Thirteen hours into the first government shutdown in 17 years, President Obama warned that the U.S. economy will suffer if Republicans in Congress continues to fail to pass a new budget or extend the current one.
“[We] know that the longer this shutdown continues, the worse the effects will be,” Obama said. “More families will be hurt. More businesses will be harmed.”
Obama called the House Republicans’ demands to delay or postpone the Affordable Care Act an “ideological crusade … They demanded ransom just for doing their job.”
Surrounded by people whom he said will benefit from the Affordable Care Act, Obama emphasized that “this is life or death stuff.”
By 7 a.m. on Tuesday, more than one million people had visited healthcare.gov — the Affordable Care Act’s signup portal. The demand “exceeds anything that we had expected,” Obama said, even comparing glitches in the system to the imperfect roll-out of iPhone 5S and 5C weeks ago.
“I don’t remember anybody suggesting Apple should stop selling iPhones or iPads or threatening to shut down the company if they didn’t,” Obama said. “That’s not how we do things in America.”
The president chided “one faction of one party in one house of Congress in one branch of government” for choosing a shutdown over the health care law.
“Congress generally has to stop governing by crisis,” Obama said. “I will not negotiate over Congress’ responsibility to pay bills it’s already racked up … Nobody gets to hurt our economy and millions of hardworking families over a law you don’t like.”