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September 26, 2013

Pfeiffer: White House won't negotiate with people who have bombs strapped to their chests

White House senior adviser Dan Pfeiffer used strong language when referring to House Republicans on national TV Thursday -- alluding to suicide bombers, kidnappers and arsonists.

"What we're not for is negotiating with people with a bomb strapped to their chest," Pfeiffer told CNN's Jake Tapper. "We're not going to do that."

The House of Representatives and the Senate must approve a dozen appropriations bills by Sept. 30 – the last day of the fiscal year – to keep the government running.

The House, run by Republicans, passed a temporary proposal last week to keep the government open until mid-December, but the measure also would defund the federal health care law, large parts of which are scheduled to take effect Tuesday. The Democratic-controlled Senate expects to defeat that bill in the coming days, leaving the two sides without a way forward.

White House officials have repeatedly said that they are willing to negotiate on the budget, but that Congress should increase the debt limit. The Treasury Department says the nation will default on its debt if the ceiling is not increased by mid-October.

"The House Republicans are not asking for negotiation," he said. "It's a negotiation if I'm trying to sell you my house and we are just debating the price of it.  It is not a negotiation if I show up at your house and say give me everything inside or I'm going to burn it down."  

Pfieffer said he believes House Republicans are "entirely responsible." 

"The Republicans have provided a laundry list of essentially ransom demands of things that were essentially the Romney agenda that was rejected by voters that they know can't pass in normal circumstances," he said. "They say give us these things or we will blow up the economy."  


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"Planet Washington" covers politics and government. It is written by journalists in McClatchy's Washington Bureau.

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