President Obama is scheduled to make a statement on the budget situation from the White House today at 3:30 PM ET. It's not a leap to assume he'll focus on the need for Congress to pass legislation to prevent a government shutdown. Here's video, and we'll post updates throughout his remarks once they begin:
12:31 PM PT: It's 3:31 PM—the president hasn't begun yet, but it's never a guarantee that remarks like these will start on time.
12:41 PM PT: Well, President Obama has pretty much said nothing so far. Literally—he hasn't taken the podium yet. But somebody just put a sheet of paper on his podium.
12:42 PM PT: Here's the president. He's beginning by saying he just spoke on the phone with the president of Iran about resolving the situation around Iran's nuclear program.
12:44 PM PT: President Obama said he and Iranian President Rouhani have directed their governments to work together on making sure that Iran never develops nuclear weapons.
12:45 PM PT: Obama says if an agreement could be achieved, it wouldn't just be good for the U.S., Israel, and our allies, but it would also be good for Iran and its people because it could set the stage for a new relationship between Iran and the world.
12:46 PM PT: President Obama also says the agreement on Syria in the U.N. Security Council could be a victory for the world and the country.
12:46 PM PT: The president segues to the budget fight by saying that the U.S. strength is fundamentally rooted in our economy. He says Congress has two tasks in front of it: Funding the government, and raising the debt limit, to make sure we can pay bills we've already incurred.
12:47 PM PT: Obama applauds the Senate for passing legislation to keep the government open, and says the burden is now on House Republicans—who he says have thus far refused to take action.
12:48 PM PT: "House Republicans are so concerned with appeasing the tea party that they've threatened a government shutdown or worse unless I repeal Obamacare or part of it. As I said yesterday, that's not going to happen."
12:48 PM PT: Shorter Obama: You get nothing for not blowing yourself up.
12:49 PM PT: Obama says he's happy to talk about ways to improve Obamacare, but not in the context of a threat. "Over the next three days, the House Republicans will have to decide whether to keep the government open or shut it down because they can't get their way." Absolutely no give or wiggle room here. Perfectly resolved.
12:50 PM PT: "Any Republican in Congress who is watching, I encourage you think about who you're hurting." Damn, Obama is just laying down the law to these guys.
12:51 PM PT: Oh, and Obama isn't done. That was just the budget. Now he's on the debt limit.
12:52 PM PT: Not raising the debt limit would be worse than a government shutdown, he says. "It would be more like an economic shutdown." It's unclear how bad it would be, but, he says the damage would be "profound."
12:53 PM PT: Obama just let out a chuckle at the hilarious overreach of the GOP's demands that he enact Mitt Romney's economic program in exchange for raising the debt limit.
12:54 PM PT: "I will not negotiate over Congress's responsibility to pay the bills that have already been racked up. Voting for the treasury to pay America's bills is not a concession to me. That's not doing me a favor. That's simply carrying out the solemn responsibilities that come with holding office up there. Nobody gets to threaten the full faith and credit of the United States just to get political concessions. ... It has not been done in the past. We're not going to start doing it now."
12:55 PM PT: Just blistering here. If this is a bluff, it's the best bluff I've ever seen, because I've got no doubt he's deadly serious in his resolve.12:57 PM PT: Uh, if Iran were threatening to blow up the U.S. economy like Republicans are, Obama would not be negotiating with them.
12:58 PM PT: And the president has concluded his remarks. Really no shades of gray as it relates to the budget and debt limit. A simple message to Congress: Do your job, and if you think that hostage taking will help you get your way, you're wrong.