Its crunch time and President Obama needs to take a page from the Regan/Clinton book and take his case directly to the American people. Here is what he should do on 1 October.
Go on national TV and give some form of the following speech:
My fellow Americans, your government is going to be shut down in a few hours. It doent have to be but it will. It has been XXXX days since the house has passed a budget. This is one of the most fundamental functions of the House of Representatives as laid out in the Constitution. No President, no Senator can fund the the Government. It takes the House to do so. When we didnt get a budget in XXXX we set in motion the automatic budget that created Sequester. It was set up to be so painful that no reasonable Representative could allow it to happen. It happened which tells you a lot about what is now considered reasonable. We have lived with the Sequester budget for most of 2013 and despite the difficulties your government has continued to operate. I want to thank the heads of every federal agency, the leadership of the Armed Forces and all federal employees for their outstanding work during this difficult time and also apologize for the financial pain caused by sequester. Your dedication to the American people is admirable.
As bad a sequester is, what we face now is worse. Where sequester reduced the level of service Americans received from their government, now you will get none. Because the House could not pass a budget, the government of the United States is now closed for business. For a time essential services will continue but those too are in danger.
Some time in the next two weeks the US government will hit the debt limit. We can debate blame and responsibility for past borrowing. We can argue that others before us lived beyond their means. Those are great debates to have, but not at the expense of the Good Faith and Credit of the Untied States. If the House does not act NOW, we will default on our debts. We will become deadbeats. This is not a threat, it is reality. And if that happens our cost of borrowing will rise exponentially. Many of you have experienced this in your own lives. Miss a payment and your credit card goes from 10% to 26%. Instead of getting a car loan at 2% you pay 8%. Many of you know how hard it can be to repair damaged credit ratings. The last time we faced a debt limit the just the threat of a default damaged our credit rating. If we actually default the damage will be far worse.
If the House and Senate send me a bill simply continuing to fund the government at 2013 levels, I will sign it tonight. If they send me a bill extending the debt limit to what is projected to be needed through 2025 I will sign it tonight. But if they send me a bill loaded with unrelated amendments I will veto it and do so in front of the American people. This is not about party politics, its about the American people.