Political Musings April 6, 2014: Campaigner Obama duels with GOP over Paul Ryan’s 2015 budget in weekly address

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OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

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Campaigner Obama duels with GOP over Paul Ryan’s 2015 budget in weekly address

By Bonnie K. Goodman

In full midterm election campaign mode President Barack Obama decided to fight Congressional Republicans over the fiscal year 2015 budget that Budget Committee Chairman and Rep. Paul Ryan, R-WI unveiled on Tuesday, April 1, 2014 in his weekly address…READ MORE

Political Musings April 2, 2014: Paul Ryan’s GOP midterm election FY 2015 budget aims at 2024 balanced budget

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OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

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Paul Ryan’s GOP midterm election FY 2015 budget aims at 2024 balanced budget

By Bonnie K. Goodman

House of Representative Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-WI announced and released the GOP’s budget plan entitled “The Path to Prosperity” for fiscal year 2015 on Tuesday, April 1, 2014 which will cut spending by…Continue

Political Musings March 5, 2014: Obama unveils $4 trillion FY 2015 budget aimed at Democratic support, GOP anger

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President Barack Obama is really working hard this week at making sure he holds the title of most unpopular, on Tuesday, March 4, 2014 he announced and released his budget for fiscal year 2015, which is angering Congressional Republicans, but…READ MORE

Full Text Obama Presidency March 4, 2014: President Barack Obama’s Speech Announcing his Fiscal Year 2015 Budget

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President Obama Announces His 2015 Budget

Source: WH, 3-4-14
President Barack Obama signs copies of the FY 2015 Budget as Sylvia Mathews Burwell, Director, Office of Management and Budget, and OMB staff look on in the Oval OfficPresident Barack Obama signs copies of the FY 2015 Budget as Sylvia Mathews Burwell, Director, Office of Management and Budget, and OMB staff look on in the Oval Office, March 4, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Today, after sending his 2015 budget to Congress, President Obama visited a local elementary school to discuss what he called a “roadmap” for the agenda he laid out in his State of the Union address to restore opportunity for all Americans….READ MORE

President Barack Obama talks with students during a classroom visit at Powell Elementary School in Washington, D.CPresident Barack Obama talks with students during a classroom visit at Powell Elementary School in Washington, D.C. March 4, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Remarks by the President Announcing the FY2015 Budget

Source: WH, 3-4-14

Powell Elementary School
Washington, D.C.

11:38 A.M. EST

THE PRESIDENT:  Good morning, everybody.  I’m here at Powell Elementary School, and just had a chance to see some of the outstanding students here.  And I thought it was appropriate for me to say a few words about the budget that I sent to Congress this morning — because obviously the budget is not just about numbers, it’s about our values and it’s about our future, and how well we are laying the groundwork for those young children that I was with just a few moments ago to be able to succeed here in America.  These kids may not be the most excited people in town on budget day, but my budget is designed with their generation and future generations in mind.

In my State of the Union address, I laid out an agenda to restore opportunity for all people — to uphold the principle that no matter who you are, no matter where you started, you can make it if you try here in America.

This opportunity agenda is built on four parts — more good jobs and good wages; making sure that we’re training workers with the skills they need to get those good jobs; guaranteeing every child access to a world-class education; and making sure that our economy is one in which hard work is rewarded.

The budget I sent Congress this morning lays out how we’ll implement this agenda in a balanced and responsible way.  It’s a roadmap for creating jobs with good wages and expanding opportunity for all Americans.  And at a time when our deficits have been cut in half, it allows us to meet our obligations to future generations without leaving them a mountain of debt.  This budget adheres to the spending levels that both parties in both houses of Congress already agreed to.  But it also builds on that progress with what we’re calling an Opportunity, Growth and Security Initiative that invests in our economic priorities in a smart way that is fully paid for by making smart spending cuts and closing tax loopholes that right now only benefit the well-off and the well-connected.

I’ll give you an example.  Right now, our tax system provides benefits to wealthy individuals who save, even after they’ve amassed multimillion dollar retirement accounts.  By closing that loophole, we can help create jobs and grow our economy, and expand opportunity without adding a dime to the deficit.

We know that the country that wins the race for new technologies will win the race for new jobs, so this budget creates 45 high-tech manufacturing hubs where businesses and universities will partner to turn groundbreaking research into new industries and new jobs made in America.

We know — and this is part of the reason why we’re here today — that education has to start at the earliest possible ages.  So this budget expands access to the kind of high-quality preschool and other early learning programs to give all of our children the same kinds of opportunities that those wonderful children that we just saw are getting right here at Powell.

We know that while not all of today’s good jobs are going to require a four-year college degree, more and more of them are going to require some form of higher education or specialized training.  So this budget expands apprenticeships to connect more ready-to-work Americans with ready-to-be-filled jobs.  And we know that future generations will continue to deal with the effects of a warming planet, so this budget proposes a smarter way to address the costs of wildfires.  And it includes over $1 billion in new funding for new technologies to help communities prepare for a changing climate today, and set up incentives to build smarter and more resilient infrastructure.

We also know that the most effective and historically bipartisan ways to reduce poverty and help hardworking families pull themselves up is the earned income tax credit.  Right now, it helps about half of all parents in America at some point in their lives.  This budget gives millions more workers the opportunity to take advantage of the tax credit.  And it pays for it by closing loopholes like the ones that let wealthy individuals classify themselves as a small business to avoid paying their fair share of taxes.

This budget will also continue to put our fiscal house in order over the long-term — not by putting the burden on folks who can least afford it, but by reforming our tax code and our immigration system and building on the progress that we’ve made to reduce health care costs under the Affordable Care Act.  And it puts our debt on a downward path as a share of our total economy, which independent experts have set as a critical target for fiscal responsibility.

As I said at the outset, our budget is about choices.  It’s about our values.  As a country, we’ve got to make a decision if we’re going to protect tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans, or if we’re going to make smart investments necessary to create jobs and grow our economy, and expand opportunity for every American.  At a time when our deficits are falling at the fastest rate in 60 years, we’ve got to decide if we’re going to keep squeezing the middle class, or if we’re going to continue to reduce the deficits responsibly, while taking steps to grow and strengthen the middle class.

The American people have made clear time and again which approach they prefer.  That’s the approach that my budget offers.  That’s why I’m going to fight for it this year and in the years to come as President.  Thank you very much, everybody.

END
11:52 A.M. EST

 

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Political Musings December 12, 2013: Rare display of bipartisanship, House passes bipartisan budget bill 332-94

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In a rare instance of bipartisanship the House of Representatives passed Thursday evening, Dec. 12, 2013 by a large majority the two-year budget bill 332 to 94 making sure at least for the near future there will be no…READ MORE

Political Musings November 3, 2013: Obama dedicates weekly address to passing a budget after conference first meets

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Obama dedicates weekly address to passing a budget after conference first meets

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Political Musings October 20, 2013: President Obama looks forward with agenda, GOP criticizes Obamacare in weekly addresses

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Obama looks forward with agenda, GOP criticizes Obamacare in weekly addresses (Video)

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Both President Barack Obama and the GOP looked past the government shutdown to upcoming battles in their respective weekly addresses released Saturday morning, Oct. 19, 2013. President Obama continued and reiterated the agenda he laid out…READ MORE

Political Musings October 18, 2013: President Obama delivers post-shutdown speech blaming GOP, laying out agenda

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Obama delivers post-shutdown speech blaming GOP, laying out agenda (Video)

By Bonnie K. Goodman

President Barack Obama speaking from the White House’s state dining room on Thursday morning, Oct. 17, 2013 delivered his first remarks after signing the bill reopening the government from a 16-day partial shutdown and raised the debt…

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Full Text Obama Presidency October 17, 2013: President Barack Obama’s Speech on the Reopening of the Government after Shutdown, Lays Out Year-End Agenda

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OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

Remarks by the President on the Reopening of the Government

Source: WH, 10-17-13

President Obama Speaks on Reopening the Government

President Obama Speaks on Reopening the Government

State Dining Room

11:00 A.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT:  Good morning, everybody.  Please have a seat.

Well, last night, I signed legislation to reopen our government and pay America’s bills.  Because Democrats and responsible Republicans came together, the first government shutdown in 17 years is now over.  The first default in more than 200 years will not happen.  These twin threats to our economy have now been lifted.  And I want to thank those Democrats and Republicans for getting together and ultimately getting this job done.

Now, there’s been a lot of discussion lately of the politics of this shutdown.  But let’s be clear:  There are no winners here.  These last few weeks have inflicted completely unnecessary damage on our economy.  We don’t know yet the full scope of the damage, but every analyst out there believes it slowed our growth.

We know that families have gone without paychecks or services they depend on.  We know that potential homebuyers have gotten fewer mortgages, and small business loans have been put on hold.  We know that consumers have cut back on spending, and that half of all CEOs say that the shutdown and the threat of shutdown set back their plans to hire over the next six months.  We know that just the threat of default — of America not paying all the bills that we owe on time — increased our borrowing costs, which adds to our deficit.

And, of course, we know that the American people’s frustration with what goes on in this town has never been higher. That’s not a surprise that the American people are completely fed up with Washington.  At a moment when our economic recovery demands more jobs, more momentum, we’ve got yet another self-inflicted crisis that set our economy back.  And for what?

There was no economic rationale for all of this.  Over the past four years, our economy has been growing, our businesses have been creating jobs, and our deficits have been cut in half. We hear some members who pushed for the shutdown say they were doing it to save the American economy — but nothing has done more to undermine our economy these past three years than the kind of tactics that create these manufactured crises.

And you don’t have to take my word for it.  The agency that put America’s credit rating on watch the other day explicitly cited all of this, saying that our economy “remains more dynamic and resilient” than other advanced economies, and that the only thing putting us at risk is — and I’m quoting here — “repeated brinksmanship.”  That’s what the credit rating agency said.  That wasn’t a political statement; that was an analysis of what’s hurting our economy by people whose job it is to analyze these things.

That also happens to be the view of our diplomats who’ve been hearing from their counterparts internationally.  Some of the same folks who pushed for the shutdown and threatened default claim their actions were needed to get America back on the right track, to make sure we’re strong.  But probably nothing has done more damage to America’s credibility in the world, our standing with other countries, than the spectacle that we’ve seen these past several weeks.  It’s encouraged our enemies.  It’s emboldened our competitors.  And it’s depressed our friends who look to us for steady leadership.

Now, the good news is we’ll bounce back from this.  We always do.  America is the bedrock of the global economy for a reason.  We are the indispensable nation that the rest of the world looks to as the safest and most reliable place to invest — something that’s made it easier for generations of Americans to invest in their own futures.  We have earned that responsibility over more than two centuries because of the dynamism of our economy and our entrepreneurs, the productivity of our workers, but also because we keep our word and we meet our obligations.  That’s what full faith and credit means — you can count on us.
And today, I want our people and our businesses and the rest of the world to know that the full faith and credit of the United States remains unquestioned.

But to all my friends in Congress, understand that how business is done in this town has to change.  Because we’ve all got a lot of work to do on behalf of the American people — and that includes the hard work of regaining their trust.  Our system of self-government doesn’t function without it.  And now that the government is reopened, and this threat to our economy is removed, all of us need to stop focusing on the lobbyists and the bloggers and the talking heads on radio and the professional activists who profit from conflict, and focus on what the majority of Americans sent us here to do, and that’s grow this economy; create good jobs; strengthen the middle class; educate our kids; lay the foundation for broad-based prosperity and get our fiscal house in order for the long haul.  That’s why we’re here.  That should be our focus.

Now, that won’t be easy.  We all know that we have divided government right now.  There’s a lot of noise out there, and the pressure from the extremes affect how a lot of members of Congress see the day-to-day work that’s supposed to be done here. And let’s face it, the American people don’t see every issue the same way.  But that doesn’t mean we can’t make progress.  And when we disagree, we don’t have to suggest that the other side doesn’t love this country or believe in free enterprise, or all the other rhetoric that seems to get worse every single year.  If we disagree on something, we can move on and focus on the things we agree on, and get some stuff done.

Let me be specific about three places where I believe we can make progress right now.  First, in the coming days and weeks, we should sit down and pursue a balanced approach to a responsible budget, a budget that grows our economy faster and shrinks our long-term deficits further.

At the beginning of this year, that’s what both Democrats and Republicans committed to doing.  The Senate passed a budget; House passed a budget; they were supposed to come together and negotiate.  And had one side not decided to pursue a strategy of brinksmanship, each side could have gotten together and figured out, how do we shape a budget that provides certainty to businesses and people who rely on government, provides certainty to investors in our economy, and we’d be growing faster right now.

Now, the good news is the legislation I signed yesterday now requires Congress to do exactly that — what it could have been doing all along.

And we shouldn’t approach this process of creating a budget as an ideological exercise — just cutting for the sake of cutting.  The issue is not growth versus fiscal responsibility — we need both.  We need a budget that deals with the issues that most Americans are focused on:  creating more good jobs that pay better wages.

And remember, the deficit is getting smaller, not bigger.  It’s going down faster than it has in the last 50 years. The challenges we have right now are not short-term deficits; it’s the long-term obligations that we have around things like Medicare and Social Security.  We want to make sure those are there for future generations.

So the key now is a budget that cuts out the things that we don’t need, closes corporate tax loopholes that don’t help create jobs, and frees up resources for the things that do help us grow — like education and infrastructure and research.  And these things historically have not been partisan.  And this shouldn’t be as difficult as it’s been in past years because we already spend less than we did a few years ago.  Our deficits are half of what they were a few years ago.  The debt problems we have now are long term, and we can address them without shortchanging our kids, or shortchanging our grandkids, or weakening the security that current generations have earned from their hard work.

So that’s number one.  Number two, we should finish fixing the job of — let me say that again.  Number two, we should finish the job of fixing our broken immigration system.

There’s already a broad coalition across America that’s behind this effort of comprehensive immigration reform — from business leaders to faith leaders to law enforcement.  In fact, the Senate has already passed a bill with strong bipartisan support that would make the biggest commitment to border security in our history; would modernize our legal immigration system; make sure everyone plays by the same rules, makes sure that folks who came here illegally have to pay a fine, pay back taxes, meet their responsibilities.  That bill has already passed the Senate. And economists estimate that if that bill becomes law, our economy would be 5 percent larger two decades from now.  That’s $1.4 trillion in new economic growth.

The majority of Americans think this is the right thing to do.  And it’s sitting there waiting for the House to pass it.  Now, if the House has ideas on how to improve the Senate bill, let’s hear them.  Let’s start the negotiations.  But let’s not leave this problem to keep festering for another year, or two years, or three years.  This can and should get done by the end of this year.

Number three, we should pass a farm bill, one that American farmers and ranchers can depend on; one that protects vulnerable children and adults in times of need; one that gives rural communities opportunities to grow and the long-term certainty that they deserve.

Again, the Senate has already passed a solid bipartisan bill.  It’s got support from Democrats and Republicans.  It’s sitting in the House waiting for passage.  If House Republicans have ideas that they think would improve the farm bill, let’s see them.  Let’s negotiate.  What are we waiting for?  Let’s get this done.

So, passing a budget; immigration reform; farm bill.  Those are three specific things that would make a huge difference in our economy right now.  And we could get them done by the end of the year if our focus is on what’s good for the American people. And that’s just the big stuff.  There are all kinds of other things that we could be doing that don’t get as much attention.

I understand we will not suddenly agree on everything now that the cloud of crisis has passed.  Democrats and Republicans are far apart on a lot of issues.  And I recognize there are folks on the other side who think that my policies are misguided — that’s putting it mildly.  That’s okay.  That’s democracy.  That’s how it works.  We can debate those differences vigorously, passionately, in good faith, through the normal democratic process.

And sometimes, we’ll be just too far apart to forge an agreement.  But that should not hold back our efforts in areas where we do agree.  We shouldn’t fail to act on areas that we do agree or could agree just because we don’t think it’s good politics; just because the extremes in our party don’t like the word “compromise.”

I will look for willing partners wherever I can to get important work done.  And there’s no good reason why we can’t govern responsibly, despite our differences, without lurching from manufactured crisis to manufactured crisis.  In fact, one of the things that I hope all of us have learned these past few weeks is that it turns out smart, effective government is important.  It matters.  I think the American people during this shutdown had a chance to get some idea of all the things, large and small, that government does that make a difference in people’s lives.

We hear all the time about how government is the problem.  Well, it turns out we rely on it in a whole lot of ways.  Not only does it keep us strong through our military and our law enforcement, it plays a vital role in caring for our seniors and our veterans, educating our kids, making sure our workers are trained for the jobs that are being created, arming our businesses with the best science and technology so they can compete with companies from other countries.  It plays a key role in keeping our food and our toys and our workplaces safe.  It helps folks rebuild after a storm.  It conserves our natural resources.  It finances startups.  It helps to sell our products overseas.  It provides security to our diplomats abroad.

So let’s work together to make government work better, instead of treating it like an enemy or purposely making it work worse.  That’s not what the founders of this nation envisioned when they gave us the gift of self-government.  You don’t like a particular policy or a particular president, then argue for your position.  Go out there and win an election.  Push to change it. But don’t break it.  Don’t break what our predecessors spent over two centuries building.  That’s not being faithful to what this country is about.

And that brings me to one last point.  I’ve got a simple message for all the dedicated and patriotic federal workers who’ve either worked without pay or been forced off the job without pay these past few weeks, including most of my own staff: Thank you.  Thanks for your service.  Welcome back.  What you do is important.  It matters.

You defend our country overseas.  You deliver benefits to our troops who’ve earned them when they come home.  You guard our borders.  You protect our civil rights.  You help businesses grow and gain footholds in overseas markets.  You protect the air we breathe and the water our children drink.  And you push the boundaries of science and space, and you guide hundreds of thousands of people each day through the glories of this country. Thank you.  What you do is important.  And don’t let anybody else tell you different.  Especially the young people who come to this city to serve — believe that it matters.  Well, you know what, you’re right.  It does.

And those of us who have the privilege to serve this country have an obligation to do our job as best we can.  We come from different parties, but we are Americans first.  And that’s why disagreement cannot mean dysfunction.  It can’t degenerate into hatred.  The American people’s hopes and dreams are what matters, not ours.  Our obligations are to them.  Our regard for them compels us all, Democrats and Republicans, to cooperate, and compromise, and act in the best interests of our nation –- one nation, under God, indivisible with liberty and justice for all.

Thanks very much.

END
11:20 A.M. EDT

Full Text Obama Presidency October 7, 2013: President Barack Obama’s Speech at FEMA Headquarters about the Government Shutdown

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Remarks by the President at FEMA Headquarters

Source: WH, 10-7-13

President Obama Delivers Remarks at FEMA Headquarters

President Obama Delivers Remarks at FEMA Headquarters

FEMA Headquarters
Washington, D.C.

12:30 P.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT:  I’m here at FEMA for a couple of reasons.  First of all, I want to thank Craig Fugate and his entire team, and the incredible workers who are here at FEMA.  They are having to, under less than optimal situations, still respond to Mother Nature, which doesn’t stop just because the government has shut down.

I wanted to get initially a briefing on what had happened with Hurricane Karen, became Tropical Karen, and then fortunately dissipated, so we dodged a bullet there.  In the meantime, we’re on tornado watch here in the Mid-Atlantic states because of severe weather patterns.  And we’ve got blizzards up north, we’ve got some weather patterns in the middle of the country that we’re still monitoring.  And so I just want to say thank you to all of you for the incredible work that you’re doing.

I think it’s important to understand that the people here at FEMA have been doing everything they can to respond to potential events.  Here at FEMA, they’re in touch with their state and local partners in case resources are needed.  FEMA remains prepared for natural disasters year around, with supplies pre-positioned in distribution centers across the country.

But their job has been made more difficult.  Thanks to the folks at FEMA, we were prepared for what might have happened down in Florida.  Nevertheless, the government is still shut down, services are still interrupted, and hundreds of thousands of hardworking public servants, including many FEMA professionals, are still furloughed without pay, or they’re not allowed to work at all.

So Craig was just explaining to me here at FEMA — about 86 percent of the FEMA workforce is furloughed.  In response to the potential event that might have happened down in Florida and along the coasts, Craig called back 200 of those workers.  Keep in mind, calling them back doesn’t mean they were getting paid, it just means they had the privilege of working without pay to make sure that they were doing everything they can to respond to the potential needs of their fellow citizens.

Now that this particular storm has dissipated, Craig is going to have to re-furlough at least 100 of those folks who were called back.  So think about that.  Here you are, somebody who’s a FEMA professional dedicated to doing your job; at a moment’s notice you’re willing to show up here in case people got in trouble and respond to them, even though you’re not getting paid, even though you don’t have certainty.  And now you’re being put back on furlough because the government is shut down.  That’s no way of doing business.

That, by the way, just speaks to the day-to-day emergencies that may come up and that is FEMA’s job to respond to.  Craig was also explaining the fact that when it comes to training first responders, for example, we have on a weekly basis already scheduled training for first responders that now have to be rescheduled.  It will probably end up ultimately costing the government more money for us to put those things back together again.  And so not only is this shutdown hurting FEMA workers, not only is it making it more difficult for us to respond to potential natural disasters, but it may actually end up costing taxpayers more than it should.

Right now, Congress should do what’s in the best interest of the economy and the American people, and that’s move beyond this manufactured crisis and work together to focus on growth, jobs, and providing the vital services that Americans all across the country depend on, including the services that FEMA provides.

I heard a lot of talk over the weekend that the real problem is, is that the President will not negotiate.  Well, let me tell you something — I have said from the start of the year that I’m happy to talk to Republicans about anything related to the budget.  There’s not a subject that I am not willing to engage in, work on, negotiate, and come up with common-sense compromises on.

What I’ve said is that I cannot do that under the threat that if Republicans don’t get 100 percent of their way, they’re going to either shut down the government or they are going to default on America’s debt so that America for the first time in history does not pay its bills.  That is not something I will do.  We’re not going to establish that pattern.

We’re not going to negotiate under the threat of further harm to our economy and middle-class families.  We’re not going to negotiate under the threat of a prolonged shutdown until Republicans get 100 percent of what they want.  We’re not going to negotiate under the threat of economic catastrophe that economists and CEOs increasingly warn would result if Congress chose to default on America’s obligations.

Now, the other thing I heard over the weekend was this notion that Congress doesn’t have the capacity to end this shutdown.  The truth of the matter is there are enough Republican and Democratic votes in the House of Representatives right now to end this shutdown immediately, with no partisan strings attached.  The House should hold that vote today.  If Republicans and Speaker Boehner are saying there are not enough votes, then they should prove it.  Let the bill go to the floor and let’s see what happens.  Just vote.  Let every member of Congress vote their conscience and they can determine whether or not they want to shut the government down.

My suspicion is — my very strong suspicion is that there are enough votes there.  And the reason that Speaker Boehner hasn’t called a vote on it is because he doesn’t, apparently, want to see the government shutdown end at the moment unless he’s able to extract concessions that don’t have anything to do with the budget.  Well, I think the American people simply want government to work.  And there’s no reason that there has to be a shutdown in order for the kinds of negotiations Speaker Boehner says he wants to proceed.  Hold a vote.  Call a vote right now, and let’s see what happens.

The second thing Congress needs to do is to raise the debt ceiling next week so the Treasury can pay the bills that Congress has already spent.  That’s what most Americans do if they buy something — if they buy a car or if they buy a house, if they put something on a credit card, they understand they’ve got to pay the bills.

This is something routine.  It’s been done more than 40 times since Ronald Reagan was President.  It has never before been used in the kind of ways that the Republicans are talking about using it right now.  We can’t threat an economic catastrophe in the midst of budget negotiations.

So authorize the Treasury to pay America’s bill.  Pass a budget, end the government shutdown, pay our bills, and prevent an economic shutdown.

And as soon as that happens, I am eager and ready to sit down and negotiate with Republicans on a whole range of issues:  How do we create more jobs?  How do we grow the economy?  How do we boost manufacturing?  How do we make sure our kids are getting a first-class education?  All those things will be on the table.  I’m happy to talk about health care; happy to talk about energy policy; how do we deal with our long-term fiscal situation.

All those things I’ve been eager and anxious to talk to Republicans about for the last seven months, and I’ve put out a budget that specifically lays out my vision for how we’re going to grow this economy.  And I expect the Republicans should do the same, and we can negotiate it.  But we shouldn’t hurt a whole bunch of people in order for one side to think that they’re going to have a little more leverage in those negotiations.

Last point I’m going to make:  The bill that is being presented to end the government shutdown reflects Republican priorities.  It’s the Republican budget.  The funding levels of this short-term funding bill, called the CR, is far lower than what Democrats think it should be.  Nevertheless, Democrats are prepared to put the majority of votes on to reopen the government.  So when you hear this notion that Democrats aren’t compromising — we’re compromising so much we’re willing to reopen the government at funding levels that reflect Republican wishes, don’t at all reflect our wishes.

For example, here at FEMA, they’re still subject to the sequester, so even before the shutdown they were having trouble making sure that everybody was staying on the job and fulfilling all of their various functions.  We need to get that sequester lifted that’s been hanging over the head of the economy and federal agencies during the course of this entire year.

This short-term legislation to reopen the government doesn’t even address that.  That has to be done in a broader budget framework.

So Democrats have said we are willing to pass a bill that reflects the Republicans’ priorities in terms of funding levels.  That’s a pretty significant compromise.  What we’re not willing to do is to create a permanent pattern in which unless you get your way the government is shut down or America defaults.  That’s not how we do business in this country, and we’re not going to start now.

So, again, I want to thank everybody at FEMA here for the extraordinary work that you’re doing.  You show each and every day that you take your responsibilities seriously.  You do your jobs with consummate professionalism.  And hopefully you’re setting a good example for members of Congress.  They need to be doing the same thing.  And if they do, then there’s no reason why we all can’t move forward and make sure that we’re taking care of America’s business.

Thank you very much, everybody.

END
12:41 P.M. EDT

Full Text Obama Presidency October 1, 2013: President Barack Obama’s Speech on Obamacare, the Affordable Care Act and the Government Shutdown

POLITICAL TRANSCRIPTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

Remarks by the President on the Affordable Care Act and the Government Shutdown

Source: WH, 10-1-13

Rose Garden

1:01 P.M. EDT

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  Good morning, everybody.  At midnight last night, for the first time in 17 years, Republicans in Congress chose to shut down the federal government.  Let me be more specific:  One faction, of one party, in one house of Congress, in one branch of government, shut down major parts of the government — all because they didn’t like one law.

This Republican shutdown did not have to happen.  But I want every American to understand why it did happen.  Republicans in the House of Representatives refused to fund the government unless we defunded or dismantled the Affordable Care Act.  They’ve shut down the government over an ideological crusade to deny affordable health insurance to millions of Americans.  In other words, they demanded ransom just for doing their job.

And many representatives, including an increasing number of Republicans, have made it clear that had they been allowed by Speaker Boehner to take a simple up or down vote on keeping the government open, with no partisan strings attached, enough votes from both parties would have kept the American people’s government open and operating.

We may not know the full impact of this Republican shutdown for some time.  It will depend on how long it lasts.  But we do know a couple of things.  We know that the last time Republicans shut down the government in 1996, it hurt our economy.  And unlike 1996, our economy is still recovering from the worst recession in generations.

We know that certain services and benefits that America’s seniors and veterans and business owners depend on must be put on hold.  Certain offices, along with every national park and monument, must be closed.  And while last night, I signed legislation to make sure our 1.4 million active-duty military are paid through the shutdown, hundreds of thousands of civilian workers — many still on the job, many forced to stay home — aren’t being paid, even if they have families to support and local businesses that rely on them.  And we know that the longer this shutdown continues, the worse the effects will be.  More families will be hurt.  More businesses will be harmed.

So, once again, I urge House Republicans to reopen the government, restart the services Americans depend on, and allow the public servants who have been sent home to return to work.  This is only going to happen when Republicans realize they don’t get to hold the entire economy hostage over ideological demands.

As I’ve said repeatedly, I am prepared to work with Democrats and Republicans to do the things we need to do to grow the economy and create jobs, and get our fiscal house in order over the long run.  Although I should add this shutdown isn’t about deficits, or spending, or budgets.  After all, our deficits are falling at the fastest pace in 50 years.  We’ve cut them in half since I took office.  In fact, many of the demands the Republicans are now making would actually raise our deficits.

No, this shutdown is not about deficits, it’s not about budgets.  This shutdown is about rolling back our efforts to provide health insurance to folks who don’t have it.  It’s all about rolling back the Affordable Care Act.  This, more than anything else, seems to be what the Republican Party stands for these days.  I know it’s strange that one party would make keeping people uninsured the centerpiece of their agenda, but that apparently is what it is.

And of course, what’s stranger still is that shutting down our government doesn’t accomplish their stated goal.  The Affordable Care Act is a law that passed the House; it passed the Senate.  The Supreme Court ruled it constitutional.  It was a central issue in last year’s election.  It is settled, and it is here to stay.  And because of its funding sources, it’s not impacted by a government shutdown.

And these Americans are here with me today because, even though the government is closed, a big part of the Affordable Care Act is now open for business.  And for them, and millions like them, this is a historic day for a good reason.  It’s been a long time coming, but today, Americans who have been forced to go without insurance can now visit healthcare.gov and enroll in affordable new plans that offer quality coverage.  That starts today.

And people will have six months to sign up.  So over the next six months, people are going to have the opportunity — in many cases, for the first time in their lives — to get affordable coverage that they desperately need.

Now, of course, if you’re one of the 85 percent of Americans who already have health insurance, you don’t need to do a thing. You’re already benefiting from new benefits and protections that have been in place for some time under this law.  But for the 15 percent of Americans who don’t have health insurance, this opportunity is life-changing.

Let me just tell folks a few stories that are represented here today.  A few years ago, Amanda Barrett left her job in New York to take care of her parents.  And for a while, she had temporary insurance that covered her multiple sclerosis.  But when it expired, many insurers wouldn’t cover her because of her MS.  And she ended up paying $1,200 a month.  That’s nowhere near affordable.  So starting today, she can get covered for much less, because today’s new plan can’t use your medical history to charge you more than anybody else.

Sky-high premiums once forced Nancy Beigel to choose between paying her rent or paying for health insurance.  She’s been uninsured ever since.  So she pays all of her medical bills out of pocket, puts some on her credit card, making them even harder to pay.  Nancy says, “They talk about those who fall through the cracks.  I fell through the cracks 10 years ago and I’ve been stuck there ever since.”  Well, starting today, Nancy can get covered just like everybody else.

Trinace Edwards was laid off from her job a year ago today. Six months ago, she was diagnosed with a brain tumor.  She couldn’t afford insurance on the individual market, so she hasn’t received treatment yet.  Her daughter Lenace, a student at the University of Maryland, is considering dropping out of school to help pay her mom’s bills.  Well, starting today, thanks to the Affordable Care Act, Trinace can get covered without forcing her daughter to give up on her dreams.

So if these stories of hardworking Americans sound familiar to you, well, starting today, you and your friends and your family and your coworkers can get covered, too.  Just visit healthcare.gov, and there you can compare insurance plans, side by side, the same way you’d shop for a plane ticket on Kayak or a TV on Amazon.  You enter some basic information, you’ll be presented with a list of quality, affordable plans that are available in your area, with clear descriptions of what each plan covers, and what it will cost.  You’ll find more choices, more competition, and in many cases, lower prices — most uninsured Americans will find that they can get covered for $100 or less.

And you don’t have to take my word for it.  Go on the website, healthcare.gov, check it out for yourself.  And then show it to your family and your friends and help them get covered, just like mayors and churches and community groups and companies are already fanning out to do across the country.

And there’s a hotline where you can apply over the phone and get help with the application, or just get questions that you have answered by real people, in 150 different languages.   So let me give you that number.  The number is 1-800-318-2596 — 1-800-318-2596.  Check out healthcare.gov.  Call that number.  Show your family and friends how to use it.  And we can get America covered, once and for all, so that the struggles that these folks have gone through and millions around the country have gone through for years finally get addressed.

And let me just remind people why I think this is so important.  I heard a striking statistic yesterday — if you get cancer, you are 70 percent more likely to live another five years if you have insurance than if you don’t.  Think about that.  That is what it means to have health insurance.

Set aside the issues of security and finances and how you’re impacted by that, the stress involved in not knowing whether or not you’re going to have health care.  This is life-or-death stuff.  Tens of thousands of Americans die each year just because they don’t have health insurance.  Millions more live with the fear that they’ll go broke if they get sick.  And today, we begin to free millions of our fellow Americans from that fear.

Already, millions of young adults have been able to stay on their parents’ plans until they turn 26.  Millions of seniors already have gotten a discount on their prescription medicines.  Already millions of families have actually received rebates from insurance companies that didn’t spend enough on their health care.  So this law means more choice, more competition, lower costs for millions of Americans.

And this law doesn’t just mean economic security for our families.  It means we’re finally addressing the biggest drivers of our long-term deficits.  It means a stronger economy.

Remember most Republicans have made a whole bunch of predictions about this law that haven’t come true.  There are no “death panels.”  Costs haven’t skyrocketed; they’re growing at the slowest rate in 50 years.  The last three years since I signed the Affordable Care Act into law are the three slowest rates of health spending growth on record.

And contrary to Republican claims, this law hasn’t “destroyed” our economy.  Over the past three and a half years, our businesses have created 7.5 million new jobs.  Just today, we learned that our manufacturers are growing at the fastest rate in two and a half years.  They have factored in the Affordable Care Act. They don’t think it’s a problem.  What’s weighing on the economy is not the Affordable Care Act, but the constant series of crises and the unwillingness to pass a reasonable budget by a faction of the Republican Party.

Now, like every new law, every new product rollout, there are going to be some glitches in the signup process along the way that we will fix.  I’ve been saying this from the start.  For example, we found out that there have been times this morning where the site has been running more slowly than it normally will.  The reason is because more than one million people visited healthcare.gov before 7:00 in the morning.

To put that in context, there were five times more users in the marketplace this morning than have ever been on Medicare.gov at one time.  That gives you a sense of how important this is to millions of Americans around the country, and that’s a good thing.  And we’re going to be speeding things up in the next few hours to handle all this demand that exceeds anything that we had expected.

Consider that just a couple of weeks ago, Apple rolled out a new mobile operating system.  And within days, they found a glitch, so they fixed it.  I don’t remember anybody suggesting Apple should stop selling iPhones or iPads — or threatening to shut down the company if they didn’t.  That’s not how we do things in America.  We don’t actively root for failure.  We get to work, we make things happen, we make them better, we keep going.

So in that context, I’ll work with anybody who’s got a serious idea to make the Affordable Care Act work better.  I’ve said that repeatedly.  But as long as I am President, I will not give in to reckless demands by some in the Republican Party to deny affordable health insurance to millions of hardworking Americans.

I want Republicans in Congress to know these are the Americans you’d hurt if you were allowed to dismantle this law.  Americans like Amanda, Nancy, and Trinace, who now finally have the opportunity for basic security and peace of mind of health care just like everybody else — including members of Congress.  The notion that you’d make a condition for reopening the government that I make sure these folks don’t have health care — that doesn’t make any sense.  It doesn’t make any sense.

Now, let me make one closing point:  This Republican shutdown threatens our economy at a time when millions of Americans are still looking for work, and businesses are starting to get some traction.  So the timing is not good.  Of course, a lot of the Republicans in the House ran for office two years ago promising to shut down the government, and so, apparently, they’ve now gotten their wish.  But as I’ve said before, the irony that the House Republicans have to contend with is they’ve shut down a whole bunch of parts of the government, but the Affordable Care Act is still open for business.

And this may be why you’ve got many Republican governors and senators and even a growing number of reasonable Republican congressmen who are telling the extreme right of their party to knock it off, pass a budget, move on.

And I want to underscore the fact that Congress doesn’t just have to end this shutdown and reopen the government — Congress generally has to stop governing by crisis.  They have to break this habit.  It is a drag on the economy.  It is not worthy of this country.

For example, one of the most important things Congress has to do in the next couple weeks is to raise what’s called the debt ceiling.  And it’s important to understand what this is.  This is a routine vote.  Congress has taken this vote 45 times to raise the debt ceiling since Ronald Reagan took office.  It does not cost taxpayers a single dime.  It does not grow our deficits by a single dime.  It does not authorize anybody to spend any new money whatsoever.  All it does is authorize the Treasury to pay the bills on what Congress has already spent.

Think about that.  If you buy a car and you’ve got a car note, you do not save money by not paying your car note.  You’re just a deadbeat.  If you buy a house, you don’t save money by not authorizing yourself to pay the mortgage.  You’re just going to be foreclosed on your home.  That’s what this is about.

It is routine.  It is what they’re supposed to do.  This is not a concession to me.  It is not some demand that’s unreasonable that I’m making.  This is what Congress is supposed to do as a routine matter.  And they shouldn’t wait until the last minute to do it.  The last time Republicans even threatened this course of action — many of you remember, back in 2011 — our economy staggered, our credit rating was downgraded for the first time.  If they go through with it this time and force the United States to default on its obligations for the first time in history, it would be far more dangerous than a government shutdown — as bad as a shutdown is.  It would be an economic shutdown.

So I’ll speak more on this in the coming days, but let me repeat:  I will not negotiate over Congress’s responsibility to pay bills it’s already racked up.  I’m not going to allow anybody to drag the good name of the United States of America through the mud just to refight a settled election or extract ideological demands.  Nobody gets to hurt our economy and millions of hardworking families over a law you don’t like.

There are a whole bunch of things that I’d like to see passed through Congress that the House Republicans haven’t passed yet, and I’m not out there saying, well, I’m not — I’m going to let America default unless Congress does something that they don’t want to do.  That’s not how adults operate.  Certainly that’s not how our government should operate.  And that’s true whether there’s a Democrat in this office or a Republican in this office.  Doesn’t matter whether it’s a Democratic House of Representatives or a Republican-controlled House of Representatives — there are certain rules that everybody abides by because we don’t want to hurt other people just because we have a political disagreement.

So my basic message to Congress is this:  Pass a budget.  End the government shutdown.  Pay your bills.  Prevent an economic shutdown.  Don’t wait.  Don’t delay.  Don’t put our economy or our people through this any longer.

I am more than happy to work with them on all kinds of issues.  I want to get back to work on the things that the American people sent us here to work on — creating new jobs, new growth, new security for our middle class.

We’re better than this.  Certainly the American people are a lot better than this.  And I believe that what we’ve accomplished for Amanda, and Nancy, and Trinace, and tens of millions of their fellow citizens- on this day proves that even when the odds are long and the obstacles are many, we are and always will be a country that can do great things together.

Thank you very much, everybody.  God bless you.  Thank you, all of you, for the great work that you’re doing.  And thank you, Kathleen Sebelius, for the outstanding work that she’s doing making sure that millions of Americans can get health insurance.

Thank you.

END
1:21 P.M. EDT

Political Musings October 1, 2013: With House and Senate at deadlock over spending bill, government shutdown begins

POLITICAL MUSINGS

http://historymusings.files.wordpress.com/2013/06/pol_musings.jpg?w=500&h=80?w=600

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

OP-EDS & ARTICLES

Political Musings October 1, 2013: Senate rejects House spending bill hours before government shutdown deadline

POLITICAL MUSINGS

http://historymusings.files.wordpress.com/2013/06/pol_musings.jpg?w=500&h=80?w=600

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

OP-EDS & ARTICLES

Political Musings September 30, 2013: Obama and GOP battle over spending bill as government shutdown nears

POLITICAL MUSINGS

http://historymusings.files.wordpress.com/2013/06/pol_musings.jpg?w=500&h=80?w=600

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

OP-EDS & ARTICLES

Political Headlines March 13, 2013: A First? President Barack Obama Gets Standing Ovations from House Republicans at Capitol Meeting

POLITICAL HEADLINES

http://historymusings.files.wordpress.com/2012/06/pol_headlines.jpg?w=600

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

THE HEADLINES….

A First? President Obama Gets Standing Ovations from House Republicans

Source: ABC News Radio, 3-13-13

NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images

President Obama got standing ovations at the beginning and end of his meeting Wednesday with House Republicans on Capitol Hill — his first such meeting in four years….

The biggest laugh line: The president informed the group that there was white smoke at the Vatican, and Rep. Billy Long of Missouri yelled out, “Does that mean the White House is open for tours?” Obama responded: “No, but the Vatican is.”…READ MORE

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