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Obama: "Reason We Are Where We Are Right Now Is Because Of Boehner"

TRACY SEARS, WTVR-TV RICHMOND: There is so much at stake with this shutdown, particularly in Virginia where we have so many federal workers. How do you see — or what do you see as the biggest impact to Virginia, to the Commonwealth right now.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, as you mentioned, there are a lot of people who work for the federal government. And one of the most frustrating things I’ve seen in the political rhetoric is people denigrating federal workers. These are the folks who help veterans get what their benefits, help to keep us safe, help keep our water clean, help small businesses get loans. They work really hard. They don’t deserve what’s happening right now with this government shutdown. Right off the bat, you’ve got hundreds of thousands of people across the country who aren’t sure about their paychecks.

That also has an economic impact. It means the restaurants in Virginia, maybe they’re not getting as many customers because some of those federal workers are worried and holding back on spending. It means that businesses who provide services to the federal government. They’re not getting paid, so that may have an impact on their payroll. So the ripple effects of this across the board are particularly damaging for this area, for Virginia.

That’s why what I’ve said repeatedly is this is completely unnecessary. The reason we are where we are right now is because Speaker Boehner, the House Republicans, thought that they could get leverage in budget negotiations – or defund the Affordable Care Act: Obamacare – by taking us to the brink and essentially trying to hold the entire U.S. economy hostage.

And what I’ve said is, I’m happy to negotiate – and Democrats have shown themselves happy to negotiate — on any issue, but you can’t threaten to shut down the government as means of getting leverage in negotiations. You’ve got to take that off the table and I think most people understand that.

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