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Friday, September 27, 2013

ouse Republican: 'Where's the president in all of this?'

House Republican: 'Where's the president in all of this?'
By Pete Kasperowicz - 09-26-13 05:17 PM ET

Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) on Thursday blasted President Obama for refusing to negotiate with Republicans on the issue of raising the debt ceiling.

"The American people sent us to Washington to work together for our great nation, and it is unacceptable for one side to refuse to negotiate," Ros-Lehtinen said on the House floor.

"Where's the president in all of this? The bully pulpit can just as equally be used for constructive leadership as it can be used for political showmanship."

Ros-Lehtinen was reacting to Obama's recent comment that he would not negotiate with House Republicans on the debt ceiling. That prompted House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) to reply, "Well I'm sorry, but it just doesn't work that way."

Her question might also apply to the so-far unsuccessful efforts in Congress to reach a spending deal. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said Wednesday that he had no plans to talk to Boehner about spending this week, and there were no signs of an effort to reach out by the White House.

Ros-Lehtinen spoke moments after Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) criticized Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) for delaying a vote on a 2014 spending bill until Friday. Corker and many others believe the Senate should act today to give the House more time to consider the bill.

But House Republicans have already said they wouldn't take up the Senate version, which is expected to strip House language that defunds ObamaCare.

As the House and Senate looked increasingly unsure about how to handle the spending bill or the debt ceiling, Ros-Lehtinen called on all sides to work together to find some way to keep the government open after Sept. 30.

"It's time for all parties to work together in a genuine, bipartisan and adult manner to avoid a government shutdown," she said. "A shutdown is not some abstract exercise. It has real consequences for our communities and our families."

The House and Senate are already expected to be working through the weekend. Even if the Senate does vote in the coming days on a clean spending bill, it may not matter because House Republicans are already considering a one-week spending bill to give Congress more time.

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