President Barack Obama told reporters Friday that he won't negotiate with Republicans to end the budget standoff "with a gun held to the head of the American people."
"I'm happy to have negotiations but we can't do it with a gun held to the head of the American people," Obama said of congressional Republicans, according to a pool report.
The president made the comments while visiting sandwich shop Taylor Gourmet, just blocks from the White House. He told reporters that he and Vice President Joe Biden decided to visit the lunch spot in part because "we're starving" and in part because it is offering a 10 percent discount to furloughed federal workers.
Calling the restaurant’s gesture “an indication of how Americans look out for each other,” Obama said congressional leaders should “take cues from folks like this.”
Asked about a Wall Street Journal report that quoted an anonymous senior administration official saying it does not "matter" how long the shutdown goes on because "we're winning," Obama said "no one is winning" as long as the government remains shutdown and employees are unsure about their next paycheck.
"There's no winning when families don't have certainty about whether they're going to get paid or not," he said, adding "as long as they're off the job, nobody is winning. and that's the point. we should get this over with as soon as possible."
First published October 4 2013, 1:34 PM