1 October 2013, 01:36

Obama says government shutdown still preventable

US President Barack Obama said on Monday a government shutdown was entirely preventable and accused Republicans in the House of Representatives of manufacturing a crisis that would hurt the economy and citizens across the country.

- President Obama delivers statement on impending government shutdown: LIVE UPDATES

"A shutdown will have a very real economic impact on real people right away," Obama told reporters at the White House.

Obama said his hope and expectation was that lawmakers would still do the right thing and prevent a shutdown.


President Obama’s remarks on the looming government shutdow: full transcript

Good afternoon, everybody.

Of all the responsibilities the Constitution endows to Congress, two should be fairly simple: Pass a budget, and pay America's bills. But if the United States Congress does not fulfill its responsibility to pass a budget today, much of the United States government will be forced to shut down tomorrow. And I want to be very clear about what that shutdown would mean, what will remain open and what will not.

With regard to operations that will continue, if you're on Social Security, you will keep receiving your checks. If you're on Medicare, your doctor will still see you. Everyone's mail will still be delivered, and government operations related to national security or public safety will go on.

Our troops will continue to serve with skill, honor and courage. Air traffic controllers, prison guards, those who are with border control -- Border Patrol will remain on their posts, but their paychecks will be delayed until the government reopens.

NASA will shut down almost entirely, but Mission Control will remain open to support the astronauts serving on the space station.

I also want to be very clear about what would change. Office buildings would close. Paychecks would be delayed. Vital services that seniors and veterans, women and children, businesses and our economy depend on would be hamstrung. Business owners would see delays in raising capital, seeking infrastructure permits or rebuilding after Hurricane Sandy.

Veterans, who've sacrificed for their country, will find their support centers unstaffed.

Tourists will find every one of America's national parks and monuments, from Yosemite to the Smithsonian to the Statue of Liberty, immediately closed. And of course the communities and small business that rely on these national treasures for their livelihoods will be out of customers and out of luck.

And in keeping with the broad ramifications of a shutdown, I think it's important that everybody understands the federal government is America's largest employer. More than 2 million civilian workers and 1.4 million active duty military serve in all 50 states and all around the world.

In the event of a government shutdown, hundreds of thousands of these dedicated public servants who stay on the job will do so without pay. And several hundred thousand more will be immediately and indefinitely furloughed without pay. What, of course, will not be furloughed are the bills that they have to pay: their mortgages, their tuition payments, their car notes. These Americans are our neighbors. Their kids go to our schools. They worship where we do. They serve their country with pride. They are the customers of every business in this country. And they would be hurt greatly, and as a consequence all of us will be hurt greatly, should Congress choose to shut the people's government down.

So a shutdown will have a very real economic impact on real people, right away. Past -- past shutdowns have disrupted the economy significantly. This one would too. It would throw a wrench into the gears of our economy at a time when those gears have gained some traction.

Voice of Russia, Reuters, Washington Post

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