Speaking to a crowd at a construction company in Maryland on Thursday, President Barack Obama blamed House Republicans for causing the government shutdown. He pointed his finger at conservative Tea Party members who want to kill his Affordable Care Act.

SOUNDBITE: U.S. PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA SAYING:

"This isn't happening because of some financial crisis, it's happening because of a reckless Republican shutdown in Washington."

As Washington entered its third day of the shutdown, national parks and monuments remained closed. And hundreds of thousands of federal workers continued to be furloughed.

Obama called for a straight up or down vote to reopen the government. He ridiculed weak leadership in the House for prolonging the shutdown.

SOUNDBITE: U.S. PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA SAYING:

"Speaker John Boehner won't even let the bill get a yes or no vote because he doesn't want to anger the extremists in his party."

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor says it's the president who has let the situation spiral out of control.

SOUNDBITE: ERIC CANTOR SAYING: U.S. REPRESENTATIVE ERIC CANTOR (R-VA) SAYING:

"The President's refusal to work in a bipartisan way has led us to this shutdown."

In a couple of weeks, Congress will have to tackle the bigger battle of raising the debt ceiling, something the President says is not up for negotiating.

SOUNDBITE: U.S. PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA SAYING:

"The United States is the center of the world economy so if we screw up, everyone gets screwed up, the whole world will have problems."

If Congress does not raise the debt ceiling by October 17th, the U.S. will default on its debt.