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Obama sharply criticizes Republicans in new budget clashes

U.S. President Barack Obama (C) delivers remarks at a meeting of his Export Council in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on the White
U.S. President Barack Obama (C) delivers remarks at a meeting of his Export Council in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on the White

By Roberta Rampton

LIBERTY, Missouri (Reuters) - President Barack Obama warned Republicans in Congress on Friday to quickly resolve two festering budget issues or risk a government shutdown and a debt default that would send the U.S. economy into a tailspin.

"Just do your job," Obama said in a speech in which he offered his sharpest criticism to date of Republican attempts to gut funding for his signature health care law as part of any agreement on the budget or debt limit extension.

Washington faces two looming deadlines, with Obama and his Democrats and Republicans far apart on a solution. The government runs out of money on September 30 unless Congress approves a new spending law and will be unable to pay its bills by mid-October if the debt limit is not increased.

At a Ford automotive plant in the Kansas City suburb of Liberty, Obama said the U.S. recovery from recession would be at risk should the debt limit not be extended. And if no budget bill is passed by September 30, the government will shut down, idling hundreds of thousands of public employees.

If the United States is unable to pay its bills, said Obama, "We're deadbeats."

He offered withering criticism to a faction of conservatives in the Republican-controlled House of Representatives who are adamant about trying to cut funding for the healthcare law.

Referring to a comment from North Carolina Republican Senator Richard Burr that trying to defund the healthcare law was "the dumbest idea I'd ever heard of," Obama said he agreed with the statement.

"This is not a deadbeat nation. We don't run out on our tab," said Obama, vowing he would not negotiate over the "full faith and credit of the United States."

While Obama and Republicans ridicule each other, so far there has been little in the way of substantive negotiations aimed at resolving the budget snafu.

"Be the guy who's doing your job. No obstruction. No games. No holding the economy hostage if you don't get 100 percent of what you want," he said.

Obama toured a factory at Liberty, Missouri, where Ford is boosting its workforce by more than 80 percent. The company has added 900 people to help build the popular F-150 pickup truck, and will add more than 1,000 jobs over the next year building a new line of vans.

(Editing by Mohammad Zargham)

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