Sen. Mike Johanns says the federal government shutdown needs to end, because the nation is beginning to feel its effect.
“This is not something that rolls out in a day or even a week. The issues relative to even a partial government shutdown do compound,” Johanns tells Nebraska reporters during his weekly conference call. “We’re in this situation, because both sides were unwilling to sit down and pound out an agreement. It never works if people are unwilling to talk to each other.”
President Barack Obama, a Democrat, has invited select Republican lawmakers to the White House tomorrow, including Johanns.
Obama is reaching out even as he maintains his stance that he will not negotiate with Republicans until the House relents, agrees to a continuing resolution to fund the government and to raising the debt ceiling.
Johanns, a Republican, says the federal government shutdown is serious; hitting the debt ceiling and not being able to pay bills makes the situation more serious.
“And I just think its incumbent upon the president to lead, to acknowledge there is a legislative branch. He doesn’t always agree with them. He doesn’t have to. But the one thing he does have to do in my judgment is he has to sit down and talk and negotiate and work through the problem,” Johanns says.
Johanns says the problems in Washington are starting to be felt by many Americans.
“The frustration and anger of the average citizen toward what’s happening out here is enormous and people get so frustrated, because nothing can happen, nothing gets down and it’s just constant fighting and bickering,” according to Johanns.
Johanns expects the next few days to be significant.
AUDIO: Sen. Mike Johanns on the lingering federal government shutdown. [4:30]