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Friday
Sep272013

Obama Calls on Congress to Avoid Government Shutdown

File photo. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)(WASHINGTON) -- As the House of Representatives begins consideration of a continuing resolution to fund the government, President Obama on Friday bluntly called on Congress not to shut the federal government down warning of the "dampening effect" it could have on the U.S. economy.

Republicans, the president said in a statement from the White House, were too "concerned with appeasing the Tea Party."

Looking ahead to another standoff with Congressional Republicans, Obama reiterated his position that he would not negotiate over the debt ceiling, saying a default would have a "profound destabilizing effect on the economy."

A spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner responded, calling the president's remarks: "grandstanding."

"The House will take action that reflects the fundamental fact that Americans don't want a government shutdown and they don't want the train wreck that is Obamacare," spokesman Brendan Buck said in a statement. "Grandstanding from the president, who refuses to even be a part of the process, won't bring Congress any closer to a resolution."

The president has not called the speaker this week, aides tell ABC News.

In his statement, President Obama also said he spoke by phone Friday with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani about ongoing efforts to reach an agreement over Iran's nuclear program, the first time the heads of these two countries have had direct communications since 1979.

"While there will surely be important obstacles to moving forward and success is by no means guaranteed, I believe we can reach a comprehensive solution," the president said in a hastily announced statement in briefing room.

Obama underscored the significance of the phone call.

"The very fact that this was the first communication between an American and Iranian president since 1979 underscores the deep mistrust between our countries, but it also indicates the prospect of moving beyond that difficult history," he said.

The Iranian news agency IRNA confirmed the call and said it took place while Rouhani was in a car and heading towards John F. Kennedy International Airport. Rouhani had been in New York for the United Nations General Assembly.

The call about the Iran's nuclear program came days after Iran's president avoided a face-to-face meeting with Obama. U.S. officials said at the time that it was "too complicated" for the Iranian president to meet Obama and shake hands.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio