(NBC NEWS) -- President Barack Obama again pressured House Republicans to put a
"clean" government spending bill up for a vote Monday, challenging House
Speaker John Boehner's claim that the funding bill lacks sufficient
support to pass.
"My very strong suspicion is there are enough
votes there" to pass the government funding legislation, he said during
an unannounced stop at FEMA National Response Coordination Center in
"Hold a vote. Call a vote right now. Let's see what happens.''
Boehner said on Sunday that a government funding bill without
substantial changes to the president's health care law would not pass
the GOP-dominated House.
The administration - as well as numerous whip counts by media outlets, including NBC News - disputes that claim.
also reiterated Monday that he will not allow the GOP to tack major
policy changes onto a measure to raise the debt ceiling before the
government runs out of borrowed funds on October 17.
"We can't threaten an economic catastrophe in the midst of budget negotiations," he said.
Democrats are poised to introduce legislation as early as today to
raise the debt ceiling with no strings attached, according to aides.
That measure would extend the nation's borrowing authority until after
next year's midterm elections.
That's a measure Boehner says also
can't pass the House. He insisted Sunday that the Republican-led lower
chamber would not approve a measure to raise the debt ceiling without
first negotiating additional measures to address causes of the nation's
"I'm not going to raise the debt limit without a serious conversation
about dealing with problems that are driving the debt up," Boehner said
on ABC's This Week.
The renewed back-and-forth comes as a pair of
new polls show that Americans are unhappy with both sides for the
dispute, although congressional Republicans are carrying more of the
A new Washington Post/ABC poll shows that 70 percent of
respondents disapprove of how congressional Republicans are handing the
budget fight, versus 61 percent disapproving of congressional Democrats
and 51 percent disapproving of the president's role in the impasse.
poll from Pew shows that Americans blame Republicans more than Obama
for the shutdown by a margin of 38 percent to 30 percent.
GOP continues to argue that Obama is refusing to negotiate over the
shutdown, Democrats insist that the "clean" bill already represents a
compromise because it funds the government at lower levels than some
liberals in Congress wanted.
"The bill that is being presented to
end the government shutdown reflects Republican priorities," Obama said
during the stop at FEMA. "It is the Republican budget."
immediately responded to the FEMA visit by urging Obama to green-light a
piecemeal measure that would temporarily fund the agency during the
shutdown. Senate Democrats have balked at talking up the piecemeal
funding bills, and the president has threatened to veto them, saying the
entire government should be reopened.
The House passed one such
measure late Monday to restore funding for the Food and Drug
Administration during the shutdown. The legislation, the ninth piecemeal
funding bill approved by the House, passed 235-162.
Monday that FEMA remains prepared for national disasters but "their job
has been made more difficult" by the shutdown. He said that Florida and
the nation's Atlantic coast "dodged a bullet" when a potential storm
along the coast disappeared but that many FEMA workers called back from
furlough to prepare for the storm will now be sent home again.
stop was part of the administration's continuing effort to highlight
the impact of the ongoing federal shutdown on government services. He
visited a Maryland small business last week to speak about the
shutdown's effects on the economy.
NBC's Kasie Hunt contributed to this report.
By Carrie Dann, NBC News