Washington (CNN) -- President Barack Obama sounded a stern warning Tuesday about the consequences to the nation if Congress fails to raise the debt ceiling. He also urged members of Congress to end the partial government shutdown.
"We're not going to pay ransom for" America paying its bills, he told reporters, placing the blame on the crisis squarely on House Republicans. "Let's lift these threats from our families and our businesses and let's get down to work."
Obama said is happy to talk with Republicans about issues they care about, but that "shouldn't require threats of a government shutdown" or economic chaos over the heads of the American people.
if Congress doesn't raise the debt ceiling, "every American could see their 401Ks and home values fall," and the country would see a "very significant risk" of a deep recession.
Failing to raise the debt ceiling "would be dramatically worse" than a government shutdown, he said.
Earlier, there was high-level phone call between Obama and House Speaker John Boehner, but no immediate sign of progress on reopening the government a week into a partial shutdown or reaching a deal to avoid the first-ever U.S. default next week.
Boehner demanded that Obama and Democrats negotiate with Republicans on steps needed to end the shutdown that began on October 1 and raise the nation's debt ceiling before the deadline for default on October 17.
"Americans expect us to work out our differences, but refusing to negotiate is an untenable position," Boehner said, adding that Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid are "putting our country on a pretty dangerous path" by rejecting GOP calls for talks.
Obama has refused to negotiate on the shutdown or debt ceiling, calling the need to fund the government and increase its borrowing power constitutional responsibilities that must be free of partisan politics.
The White House and Boehner's office agreed that little changed in the phone call Obama made to the speaker at 10:45 a.m.
Boehner spokesman Brendan Buck said Obama reiterated his refusal to include the debt ceiling and a short-term spending plan to end the shutdown in negotiations on broader policy issues.
A White House statement said Obama "is willing to negotiate with Republicans -- after the threat of government shutdown and default have been removed -- over policies that Republicans think would strengthen the country."
Obama also urged Boehner to allow a vote in the House on the Senate-passed measure to reopen the federal government, and called for quick action on raising the debt limit, the White House statement said.
In both cases, Obama said the House should pass "clean" proposals that don't have partisan amendments pushing GOP priorities, according to the statement.
Economists warn that failure to increase the amount the government can borrow to pay its bills would mean a spike in interest rates that would ripple through the U.S. economy, as well as other ramifications.
"If there was a problem lifting the debt ceiling, it could well be what is now a recovery would turn into a recession or even worse," Olivier Blanchard, an International Monetary Fund economist, said Tuesday.
The shutdown that began when Congress failed to authorize government spending for the new fiscal year that started October 1 entered its second week, while the October 17 deadline to raise the debt ceiling looms ahead for political leaders locked in partisan stalemate.
Boehner and conservative Republicans want to leverage the situation to wring concessions on deficit reduction and Obama's signature health care reforms from the White House and Democrats.
So far, the president and Senate Democrats have rejected the GOP efforts, causing the impasse that is escalating public anger against all the parties involved, especially Republicans, according to recent polls.
To keep up pressure on Obama and Democrats, House Republicans will propose a measure to set up negotiations on the debt limit and other fiscal issues, as well as one to guarantee paychecks for essential government workers are issued on time during the shutdown, GOP sources said Tuesday.