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Cornyn: Obama 'AWOL' on shutdown

President Obama "has been AWOL" as the White House and congressional Republicans continue to square off over the government shutdown and looming debt ceiling fight, Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) said Sunday.


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"My hope would be the president will reconsider his [decision] to sit on the sidelines" and negotiate a deal with GOP leaders, Cornyn said during an interview on CBS's "Face The Nation."

"So far [Obama] has been AWOL," the Texas Republican said.

Treasury Secretary Jack Lew fired back against those accusations on Sunday, saying Obama was open to negotiations with Congress.

But the GOP "has not come forward and made comparable movement" toward a shutdown repeal or debt limit deal, Lew said during an interview on "Fox News Sunday."

"It is irresponsible and it is reckless to take that chance" on a debt ceiling crisis," said Lew to congressional lawmakers.

Lew and Cornyn's comments come as Washington and the country heads into the sixth day of a government shutdown.

More than 800,000 federal employees were sent home without pay and federal facilities remain shuttered to the public as a result of the shutdown.

The United States already hit the debt ceiling in May, with administration officials now  telling Congress that on Oct. 17 the federal government will run out of options to continue paying the nation's bills.

"If we were to have the unthinkable happen and have the United States default, it would cause real problems," Lew told Fox News.

"The only question is how serious the problems would be, and there's a kind of range of how bad the consequences are," he added.

Lew reiterated there is room for negotiation with House Republicans on ending the shutdown.

But "the question about the debt limit is different" with very little room for compromise, he added.

"I think what the president is saying is, Congress has to do its job. It has to open the government. It has to make it so we could pay our bills," Lew said.