(CNSNews.com) – President Barack Obama on Tuesday signaled that he would be willing to negotiate with Republicans on health care, spending and deficit reduction once Congress passes a clean continuing resolution and debt ceiling bill even if they are short-term measures.
“Absolutely. What I’ve said is that I will talk about anything,” Obama said in response to a reporter’s question about whether the president is willing to sit down for talks on those issues even if Congress passes measures that are only weeks or months long.
This comes on the heels of repeated claims by Obama and congressional Democrats that they would not negotiate on the CR. House Republicans passed a CR along party lines that includes a one-year delay for the implementation of Obamacare.
As CNSNews.com reported, on Monday the president called on Republicans to fund the government and raise the debt ceiling with no negotiating and no strings attached.
"Pass a budget, end the government shutdown, pay our bills and prevent an economic shutdown," Obama told Republicans Monday. "And as soon as that happens, I am eager and ready to sit down and negotiate with Republicans on a whole range of issues."
The president warned Tuesday that even if Republicans pass a clean CR and debt ceiling bill and Obama sits down with Republicans to negotiate, there would still be division “on a whole bunch of issues.”
‘What’ll happen is we won’t agree on everything. The truth is, is that the parties are pretty divided on a whole bunch of big issues right now. Everybody understands that, and by the way, voters are divided on those issues too,” Obama said.
“And I recognize that there are some Republican House members where I got clobbered in the last election, and they don’t get politically rewarded a lot for being seen as negotiating with me, and that makes it harder for divided government to come together,” he added.
“So I will not eliminate any topic of conversation, and I’ve shown myself willing to engage all the parties involved, every leader, on every issue,” Obama said.
When asked whether that offer stands no matter how long the time frame on the debt ceiling bills passed by Congress would be, Obama said, “we’re not going to pay a ransom for America paying its bills.”
“That’s something that should be non-negotiable, and everybody should agree on that. Everybody should say one of the most valuable things we have is America’s creditworthiness. This is not something we should even come close to fooling around with,” he added.