Washington, Sept 21: As the Republican controlled US House of Representatives passed a spending plan that also defunds his signature healthcare law for the 42nd time, President Barack Obama accused the opposition of "trying to mess with me."
"You don't have to threaten to blow the whole thing up if you don't get your way," he said in a campaign-style speech at a Ford plant in the Kansas City, Missouri, Friday after the House passed the measure by a 230-189 tally almost strictly on party lines.
The House vote set the stage for a possible government shut down as the Democratic-led Senate is certain to reject the provision defunding Obamacare.
The House passed continuing resolution would keep the government funded for the first 11 weeks of the fiscal year that begins Oct 1.
Without some kind of spending measure by then, parts of the government would have to curtail services or shut down. The US debt ceiling also needs to be increased so the government can pay all its bills.
Accusing the conservative Republicans of holding the nation hostage by trying to make passing a federal budget and increasing the debt ceiling contingent on defunding health care reforms, he said the legislators in Washington were focused on politics and "trying to mess with me," rather than helping the middle class.
Republican House Majority Leader Eric Cantor said Friday the House would consider a one-year debt ceiling measure next week that contains other conservative-backed proposals, expected to include postponing implementation of Obamacare for a year and approving the Keystone oil pipeline from Canada.
Obama, however, rejected playing politics with the debt ceiling, which is the limit for how much the federal government can borrow to pay bills it owes.
"This is not a deadbeat nation. We don't run out on our tab," the president said, calling even the threat of not raising the debt ceiling "the height of irresponsibility."
Barack Obama rejected playing politics with the debt ceiling
He also made a point of telling the auto workers that raising the debt ceiling "doesn't cost a dime" and "does not add a penny to our deficits."
"All it says is, you gotta pay for what Congress already said we're spending money on," Obama said, adding that "if you don't do it, we could have another financial crisis."