NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- President Barack Obama went on the offensive Tuesday as a deadline for Congress to pass a budget proposal and avoid an embarrassing government shutdown drew closer. The president called out Republican leaders, including Speaker of the House John Boehner of Ohio, emphasizing that Democrats have met the original call for spending cuts totaling $73 billion yet the two sides still haven't reached an agreement. "Again, I'm going to repeat. Speaker Boehner, Chairman Rogers, the Republican appropriations chairman -- their original budget proposed $73 billion in cuts," Obama told members of the press assembled in the White House Briefing Room. "We have now agreed to $73 billion worth of cuts. What they are now saying is, well, we're not sure that every single one of the cuts that you've made are ones that we agree to; we'd rather have these cuts rather than that cut. That's not the basis for shutting down the government." Unless a budget gets passed in time, the federal government would be forced to shut down at midnight this Friday. Two stop-gap measures have already been passed to keep the government functioning. Obama also indicated a willingness to "put in as much time as necessary" to avoid a shutdown, which last occurred in the mid-nineties while Bill Clinton was president, and made clear he expects legislators to adopt the same attitude. "The only question is whether politics or ideology are going to get in the way of preventing a government shutdown," he said. Speaking a little less than 20 minutes, Obama also stressed that the timing of a potential shutdown is problematic and somewhat antithetical to how far the country has come from the worst days of the financial crisis in 2008. "At a time when the economy is just beginning to grow, where we're just starting to see a pickup in employment, the last thing we need is a disruption that's caused by a government shutdown," he said. "Not to mention all the people who depend on government services, whether you're a veteran or you're somebody who's trying to get a passport or you're planning to visit one of the national monuments or you're a business leader who's trying to get a small business loan. You don't want delays, you don't want disruptions just because of usual politics in Washington."
Obama's comments followed a meeting with Boehner, Nevada Democrat Harry Reid, the Senate Majority Leader, Rep. Hal Rogers, the Republican Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, and others. Obama put the onus squarely on the Republicans for not getting a deal done, and hinted about the potential for a possible public backlash on the Grand Old Party if the shutdown does come to pass. "We can't have a 'my way or the highway' approach to this problem," he said a number of times during the Q&A portion of his appearance, adding that while members of Congress may be able to deal with a shutdown just fine, many Americans, such as small business owners waiting for a decision on a loan or students seeking funds for education, would be penalized. "No one gets 100% of what they want," Obama added. "We have more than met the Republicans halfway." House Speaker Boehner issued his own statement on Tuesday, saying that he "applauds" the latest budget proposal from Rep. Paul Ryan, a Republican from Wisconsin who chairs the Budget Committee, "The American people understand we can't continue spending money we don't have, especially when doing so is making it harder to create jobs and get our economy back on track," Boehner's statement said. "The Administration has put forward a budget for next year that raises taxes by $1.5 trillion and is silent on our debt crisis, a surefire recipe for destroying jobs." In media reports later Tuesday, Boehner was quoted as telling fellow Republicans that the party would take a hit if the shutdown does happen. Politico quoted Boehner as saying: "The Democrats think they benefit from a government shutdown. I agree." during a meeting on Monday night. -- Written by Michael Baron in New York. >To contact the writer of this article, click here: Michael Baron. >To submit a news tip, send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org