US President Barack Obama speaks about hurricane preparedness as well as the budget showdown with Congress, at the headquarters of FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, in Washington, DC, October 7, 2013, on the seventh day of the government shutdown. (SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
David Jackson, USA TODAY
President Obama said Monday he is "eager and ready" to negotiate with Republicans on the budget and other issues, but not until the House GOP votes to re-open the government and increase the debt ceiling.
"I'm happy to talk to Republicans about anything," Obama said during a visit to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, where he took his campaign against the shutdown now in its seventh day.
While some 200 FEMA staff members were recalled from furlough -- some without pay -- to prepare for Tropical Storm Karen in the Gulf of Mexico, at least 100 of them will now have to be re-furloughed, Obama said.
"Their job has been made more difficult," Obama said during remarks to FEMA employees, praising them for performing their duties under "less than optimal situations."
Noting that Tropical Storm Karen dissipated, Obama said: "We dodged a bullet there."
Obama again called on the Republican-run House to pass a new spending plan and raise the debt ceiling with no conditions.
Congress must raise the $16.7 trillion debt ceiling before the government hits it on Oct. 17. Otherwise, Obama said, the government will have to default on its debts.
House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, and other Republicans want to negotiate provisions to a spending and a debt ceiling bill, including a one-year delay in Obama's new health care plan.
During his visit to FEMA, Obama again called on Boehner to put a "clean" spending bill on the House floor, predicting it would pass.
Boehner spokesman Brendan Buck noted that the House passed a limited bill that would have restored FEMA funding, but Obama threatened to veto it and the Democratic-run Senate defeated it.
The FEMA visit was an addition to the schedule for Obama, who was supposed to be in Indonesia on Monday for an Asian economic summit.
Obama canceled a week-long trip to Asia because of the shutdown.