At his White House news conference Monday, Obama laid out a variety of potential consequences if no deal is reached in time.
"We might not be able to pay our troops, or honor our contracts with small business owners," he said. "Food inspectors, air traffic controllers, specialists who track down loose nuclear materials wouldn't get their paychecks." And more that might or might not occur.
But benefits for retirees and veterans, as he told it, were sure to lag "if congressional Republicans refuse to pay America's bills on time."
If that happens, though, it will be partly his call too.___ Associated Press writers Jim Kuhnhenn and Martin Crutsinger contributed to this report.