WASHINGTON, D.C. - President Barack Obama says he told House Speaker John Boehner he's willing to negotiate with Republicans on their priorities, but not under the threat of "economic chaos."
Obama says he's fighting the budget battle because "we can't make extortion routine as part of our democracy."
Obama spoke to reporters at the White House Tuesday in the midst of the eighth day of a partial government shutdown and a few hours after calling Boehner.
Obama said he is willing to "talk about anything" but "will not pay a ransom."
Obama says he urged Boehner to hold a vote immediately to reopen the government.
Obama also urged Boehner to hold a vote that would allow the government to borrow more money.
"I've shown myself willing to engage," Mr. Obama said.
He noted that the shutdown already made him cancel a trip to Asia this week. He argued the shutdown is hurting U.S. credibility around the world and -- quote -- "makes it look like we don't have our act together."
Senate Democrats are planning a vote this week to provide new borrowing, without new spending cuts Republicans want.
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President Barack Obama shook hands with Cuban President Raul Castro Tuesday at a memorial service for Nelson Mandela, a simple gesture that, while promptly downplayed by the White House, created a furor in Washington among critics of the Cuban regime.