White House: 'Extreme' Republicans holding leaders hostage

The White House on Thursday accused "extreme" Republican House members of holding their leadership "hostage" with demands to tie defunding ObamaCare to a government funding bill, as the administration looked to highlight discord within the GOP ranks.

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"Reasonable Republicans in Congress are being held hostage by a few extreme members of their own party who are holding the economy and middle class families hostage to an ideological agenda that has no chance of becoming law," White House assistant press secretary Amy Brundage said in a blog post.

The White House spokeswman said top Republicans agreed "it would be reckless and irresponsible to use the threat of default as a bargaining chip," and catalogued instances where leading GOP lawmakers said they disagreed with marrying the effort to undermine the Affordable Care Act to a resolution that would keep the government open.

On Wednesday, Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said that Republicans would proceed with a continuing resolution that tied keeping the government open to defunding ObamaCare.

It was a reversal for the Republican leader, who had originally supported a stopgap bill that would have forced the Senate to vote on ObamaCare funding but not made the overall budget contingent on undermining healthcare reform. But conservatives in the House had rejected the measure, saying the party should use the Oct. 1 budget deadline as leverage.

On Thursday, the White House issued an official veto threat of the Republican plan.

Brundage's post came as Boehner's office posted a video to its YouTube account asking why the president is willing to negotiate with Russian President Vladimir Putin over Syria but with not Congress over the debt ceiling.

"After adding more than $6 trillion to the national debt, the president now says he won’t work in a bipartisan way to address our spending problem and strengthen our economy," the Speaker's office says in a release. "But while the White House is stiff-arming Congress and the American people over needed spending cuts and reforms, there’s somebody out there that the Obama administration is eager to work with."