Political Musings December 13, 2014: Senate passes $1.1 trillion spending bill after Ted Cruz forced Saturday session

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OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

Senate passes $1.1 trillion spending bill after Ted Cruz forced Saturday session

By Bonnie K. Goodman

After being pushed into a rare Saturday session on Dec. 13, 2014, the Senate passed with a vote of 56 to 40 the large 1.1 trillion-dollar CRomnibus spending bill for the rest of the 2015 fiscal year, late…READ MORE

Political Musings December 11, 2014: Government shutdown averted: House passes spending bill after Democrats, Pelosi protest

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Shutdown averted: House passes spending bill after Democrats, Pelosi protest

By Bonnie K. Goodman

A government shutdown was just averted as the House of Representatives voted Thursday evening, Dec. 11, 2014 with just a few hours left to the midnight deadline to pass a 1.1 trillion dollar spending bill called CRomnibus with…READ MORE

 

 

Political Musings November 20, 2014: Emperor Obama outlines executive amnesty for nearly 5 million illegal immigrants

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Emperor Obama outlines executive amnesty for nearly 5 million illegal immigrants

By Bonnie K. Goodman

President Barack Obama addressed the nation on Thursday evening, Nov. 20, 2014 announcing and outlining his plan for immigration reform and executive actions to provide amnesty for nearly five million illegal immigrants for three years in a speech to the…READ MORE

Political Musings November 20, 2014: Obama announces immigration executive actions in speech, McConnell vows battle

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Obama announces immigration executive actions in speech, McConnell vows battle

By Bonnie K. Goodman

President Barack Obama is looking for the fight of his presidency when unveils on Thursday evening, Nov. 20, 2014 at 8 PM in his 11th speech to the nation his plans for immigration reform and amnesty for nearly five…READ MORE

Political Musings November 17, 2014: Never mind government shutdown Obama is looking to be impeached or sued by GOP Congress over immigration reform

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OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

Never mind government shutdown Obama is looking to be impeached or sued by GOP

When news broke on Thursday, Nov. 13, 2014 that President Barack Obama is planning to take executive action on immigration this week, the first thought that came to mind is that the GOP might prevent the budget bills from passing…READ MORE

Political Musings October 22, 2013: Obama, GOP approval ratings plummet in new polls, result of shutdown fallout

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Obama, GOP approval ratings plummet in new polls, result of shutdown fallout

By Bonnie K. Goodman

 

Three new polls released on Monday, Oct. 21, 2013 indicate that President Barack Obama, the House Republicans and Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-OH have not escaped the American public’s blame as a result of the…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

Political Musings October 17, 2013: Shutdown over: Obama signs, House, Senate pass budget and debt ceiling bill

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Shutdown over: Obama signs, House, Senate pass budget and debt ceiling bill (Video)

By Bonnie K. Goodman

The 16-day partial government shutdown is over after both the Senate and House of Representatives passed a short term spending bill and raised the debt ceiling limit late Wednesday evening, Oct. 16, 2013, President Barack Obama promptly signed the…READ MORE

Full Text Obama Presidency October 16, 2013: President Barack Obama’s Statement on a Deal to End the Government Shutdown

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Statement by the President of the United States

Source: WH, 10-16-13

President Obama Delivers a Statement

President Obama Delivers a Statement

James S. Brady Press Briefing Room

8:28 P.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT:  Good evening, everybody.  Tonight, the Republicans and Democrats in Congress have come together around an agreement that will reopen our government and remove the threat of default from our economy.

The Senate has now voted to approve this agreement, and Democrats and Republicans in the House still have an important vote to take, but I want to thank the leaders of both parties for getting us to this point.  Once this agreement arrives on my desk, I will sign it immediately.  We’ll begin reopening our government immediately, and we can begin to lift this cloud of uncertainty and unease from our businesses and from the American people.

I’ll have more to say about this tomorrow.  And I’ve got some thoughts about how we can move forward in the remainder of the year and stay focused on the job at hand, because there is a lot of work ahead of us, including our need to earn back the trust of the American people that has been lost over the last few weeks.  And we can begin to do that by addressing the real issues that they care about.

I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again:  I am willing to work with anybody, I am eager to work with anybody — Democrat or Republican, House or Senate members — on any idea that will grow our economy, create new jobs, strengthen the middle class, and get our fiscal house in order for the long term.  I’ve never believed that Democrats have a monopoly on good ideas.  And despite the differences over the issue of shutting down our government, I’m convinced that Democrats and Republicans can work together to make progress for America.

In fact, there are things that we know will help strengthen our economy that we could get done before this year is out.  We still need to pass a law to fix our broken immigration system.  We still need to pass a farm bill.  And with the shutdown behind us and budget committees forming, we now have an opportunity to focus on a sensible budget that is responsible, that is fair, and that helps hardworking people all across this country.

And we could get all these things done even this year if everybody comes together in a spirit of how are we going to move this country forward and put the last three weeks behind us.  That’s what I believe the American people are looking for — not a focus on politics, not a focus on elections, but a focus on the concrete steps that can improve their lives.  That’s going to be my focus.  I’m looking forward to Congress doing the same.

But, once again, I want to thank the leadership for coming together and getting this done.  Hopefully, next time, it won’t be in the 11th hour.  One of the things that I said throughout this process is we’ve got to get out of the habit of governing by crisis.  And my hope and expectation is everybody has learned that there is no reason why we can’t work on the issues at hand, why we can’t disagree between the parties while still being agreeable, and make sure that we’re not inflicting harm on the American people when we do have disagreements.

So hopefully that’s a lesson that will be internalized, not just by me but also by Democrats and Republicans, not only the leaders but also the rank and file.

Thanks very much, everybody.

Q    Mr. President, isn’t this going to happen all over again in a few months?

THE PRESIDENT:  No.  (Laughter.)

END
8:31 P.M. EDT

Political Musings October 16, 2013: Senate again responsible for deals ending shutdown and raising the debt ceiling

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Senate again responsible for deals ending shutdown and raising the debt ceiling

By Bonnie K. Goodman

The Senate is again responsible for passing bills to end the government shutdown and raise the debt ceiling before the deadline, after the House GOP on Tuesday evening, Oct. 15, 2013 failed another attempt to secure a plan ending the…READ MORE

Political Musings October 16, 2013: House GOP fails again to agree on deal to end shutdown, raise debt ceiling

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HISTORY & POLITICAL HEADLINES

House GOP fails again to agree on deal to end shutdown, raise debt ceiling

By Bonnie K. Goodman

Republican leadership in the House of Representatives tried again on Tuesday, Oct. 15, 2013 to create short-term bills to end the government shutdown and raise the debt ceiling limit, to avert any further crisis, which failed to lead even…READ MORE

Political Musings October 14, 2013: Senate at impasse over shutdown and debt deals with US sitting on the brink

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Senate at impasse over shutdown and debt deals with US sitting on the brink

By Bonnie K. Goodman

Nearly two days after commencing negotiations, and two weeks after the start of the government shutdown at the end of Sunday, October 13, 2013, the Senate Democrats and Republicans are at an impasse in agreeing on a deal that would…READ MORE

Political Musings October 14, 2013: Senate at impasse over shutdown and debt deals with US sitting on the brink

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OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

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Senate at impasse over shutdown and debt deals with US sitting on the brink

By Bonnie K. Goodman

Nearly two days after commencing negotiations, and two weeks after the start of the government shutdown at the end of Sunday, October 13, 2013, the Senate Democrats and Republicans are at an impasse in agreeing on a deal that would…READ MORE

Political Musings October 13, 2013: Obama, GOP focus on ending government shutdown, debt deal in weekly addresses

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Obama, GOP focus on ending government shutdown, debt deal in weekly addresses (Video)

By Bonnie K. Goodman

For the second week in a row both President Barack Obama and the Republican Party devoted their weekly addresses released on Saturday morning, Oct. 12, 2013 to the government shutdown and debt ceiling crisis. The addresses were delivered over…READ MORE

Political Musings October 11, 2013: President Obama refuses GOP proposed debt ceiling deal after White House meeting

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Political Musings October 9, 2013: President Obama caving in? Boehner gets White House meeting over government shutdown

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Obama caving in? Boehner gets White House meeting over government shutdown

By Bonnie K. Goodman

Speaker of the House of Representatives John Boehner, R-OH may be getting the negotiations he has been requesting all through the government shutdown and debt ceiling crisis. First on Wednesday morning Oct. 9, 2013 Boehner met with House Minority…READ MORE

Political Musings October 8, 2013: President Obama holds press conference on government shutdown and debt ceiling crisis

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Obama holds press conference on government shutdown and debt ceiling crisis (Video)

By Bonnie K. Goodman

With the government shutdown entering its second week, President Barack Obama held an unplanned press conference on the shutdown and debt ceiling crisis on Tuesday afternoon, Oct. 8, 2013 in the White House Press Briefing Room, where he reiterated his…READ MORE

Full Text Obama Presidency October 8, 2013: President Barack Obama’s press conference on the shutdown and debt limit — Transcript

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TRANSCRIPT: President Obama’s Oct. 8 news conference on the shutdown and debt limit

Source: WaPo, 10-8-13

Video: President Obama addressed the nation Tuesday regarding the government shutdown, telling Congress to take a vote on a continuing resolution to end the government shutdown.

President Obama delivered a statement and took questions from reporters on the partial government shutdown and the looming fight over raising the federal debt ceiling on Oct. 8 at the White House.
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Good afternoon, everybody. I am eager to take your questions, so I’ll try to be brief at the top.This morning I had a chance to speak with Speaker Boehner. And I told him what I’ve been saying publicly, that I am happy to talk with him and other Republicans about anything — not just issues I think are important but also issues that they think are important. But I also told him that having such a conversation, talks, negotiations shouldn’t require hanging the threats of a government shutdown or economic chaos over the heads of the American people.

Think about it this way, the American people do not get to demand a ransom for doing their jobs. You don’t get a chance to call your bank and say I’m not going to pay my mortgage this month unless you throw in a new car and an Xbox. If you’re in negotiations around buying somebody’s house, you don’t get to say, well, let’s talk about the price I’m going to pay, and if you don’t give the price then I’m going to burn down your house. That’s not how negotiations work. That’s not how it happens in business. That’s not how it happens in private life.

In the same way, members of Congress, and the House Republicans in particular, don’t get to demand ransom in exchange for doing their jobs. And two of their very basic jobs are passing a budget and making sure that America’s paying its bills. They don’t also get to say, you know, unless you give me what the voters rejected in the last election, I’m going to cause a recession.

That’s not how it works. No American president would deal with a foreign leader like this. Most of you would not deal with either co- workers or business associates in this fashion. And we shouldn’t be dealing this way here in Washington.

And you know, I’ve heard Republicans suggest that, well, no, this is reasonable, that this is entirely appropriate. But as I’ve said before, imagine if a Democratic Congress threatened to crash the global economy unless a Republican president agreed to gun background checks or immigration reform. I think it’s fair to say that Republicans would not think that was appropriate.

So let’s lift these threats from our families and our businesses, and let’s get down to work. It’s not like this is a new position that I’m taking here. I had Speaker Boehner and the other leaders in just last week. Either my chief of staff or I have had serious conversations on the budget with Republicans more than 20 times since March.

So we’ve been talking all kinds of business. What we haven’t been able to get are serious positions from the Republicans that would allow us to actually resolve some core differences. And they have decided to run out the clock until there’s a government shutdown or the possibility of default, thinking that it would give them more leverage. That’s not my characterization. They’ve said it themselves. That was their strategy from the start. And that is not how our government is supposed to run.

Political Musings October 7, 2013: Boehner, Obama stand firm on debt ceiling limit

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Boehner, Obama stand firm on debt ceiling limit (Video)

By Bonnie K. Goodman

Speaker of the House of Representatives John Boehner, R-OH emphasized in an interview on Sunday, Oct. 6, 2013 on ABC News’ This Week with George Stephanopoulos the importance of President Barack Obama negotiating with House Republicans to end…READ MORE

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

Political Musings October 6, 2013: First week of government shutdown ends, but Obama, GOP stalemate continues

POLITICAL MUSINGS

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OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

OP-EDS & ARTICLES

First week of government shutdown ends, but Obama, GOP stalemate continues (Video)

By Bonnie K. Goodman

As the first week of the government shutdown came to a close on Saturday, Oct. 5, 2013, the only aspect President Barack Obama, the Democrats and Republicans agree on is that the government shutdown needs to end and that the…READ MORE

Political Musings October 5, 2013: President Obama and GOP continue government shutdown blame game in weekly addresses

POLITICAL MUSINGS

https://historymusings.files.wordpress.com/2013/06/pol_musings.jpg?w=600

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

OP-EDS & ARTICLES

Obama and GOP continue government shutdown blame game in weekly addresses (Video)

By Bonnie K. Goodman

As the government shutdown entered its fifth day with no end in sight on Saturday, Oct. 5, 2013 President Barack Obama delivered his weekly address and Republican Sen. John Cornyn from Texas delivered the GOP weekly address, each urging the…READ MORE

Political Musings October 3, 2013: President Obama’s meeting with Congressional leaders futile, government shutdown continues

POLITICAL MUSINGS

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OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

OP-EDS & ARTICLES

Obama’s meeting with Congressional leaders futile, government shutdown continues (Video)

By Bonnie K. Goodman

With the government shutdown already in its second day President Barack Obama finally relented on Wednesday, Oct. 2, 2013 and met with Congressional leaders at the White House in effort to end the crisis. Obama has taken a hands-off…READ MORE

Full Text Obama Presidency October 3, 2013: President Barack Obama’s Speech on the Economic Impact of the Government Shutdown in Rockville, Maryland

POLITICAL TRANSCRIPTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

Remarks by the President on the Government Shutdown

Source: WH, 10-3-13 

President Obama Speaks on the Economic Impact of the Government Shutdown

President Obama Speaks on the Economic Impact of the Government Shutdown

M. Luis Construction Company, Rockville, Maryland

10:49 A.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT:  Hello, everybody!  (Applause.)  Good to see all of you.  Please, please have a seat.  Well, hello, Rockville!

Let me start by recognizing three public servants who fight hard every day for Maryland families and businesses.  First of all, Congressman Chris Van Hollen is here.  (Applause.)  Yay, Chris!  Congressman John Delaney is here.  (Applause.)  And we have the acting head of the Small Business Administration — Jeanne Hulit is here.  (Applause.)

And I also want to give a big thanks to your bosses, Cidalia and Natalia, for being such gracious hosts.  I had a chance to meet them at the White House.  (Applause.)  Thank you.  Now I know where they got their good looks from, because I had a chance to meet mom and dad, and their beautiful families.  So I’m so glad to be here.  And I had a chance to learn a little bit about their story.  So when their parents brought them from Portugal to America almost 40 years ago, no one in the family spoke a word of English.  But that didn’t stop their father, Manuel, and their mother, Albertina, from having a big dream — believing that if they worked hard, they could get ahead, and that even though they’d never had any schooling, maybe their daughters could go to college; maybe in America you could make it if you tried.  That’s what they believed.

So they started their own construction company with a pickup truck and a wheelbarrow.  And when Cidalia and Natalia turned 14, they began to help — cleaning tools, translating documents.  And they became the first in their family to go to college.  After graduation, they started their own business, and later they bought the family business from their parents.  So today, M. Luis Construction is a $60 million company with about 250 employees.  (Applause.)  And I understand you’re opening your fourth office at the end of this month.  So this story is what America is all about.  You start off — maybe you don’t have a lot — but you’re willing to work hard, you put in the time, opportunities out there, and you’re able to pass on an even better life to your family, your children, your grandchildren.

And it’s good news that after how hard the construction industry got hit during the recession, things are starting to get a little better.  Remember, it was just five years ago that our economy was in free fall.  Businesses were shedding hundreds of thousands of jobs every single month, and the recession ultimately cost millions of Americans their jobs, their homes, their savings — everything they had worked hard to build.

Today, over the last three and a half years, our businesses have added 7.5 million new jobs.  (Applause.)  Our deficits are falling.  Our housing market is healing, which means construction is improving; manufacturing is growing; the auto industry is back.  America is on pace to become the number one energy producer in the world this year.  (Applause.)  More small businesses have gotten loans so they can grow and they can hire — just like M. Luis did with the help of the Small Business Jobs Act that I signed three years ago.  So that’s part of what allowed this company to grow.  (Applause.)

So we still have a long way to go.  We’ve still got a lot of work to do, especially to rebuild the middle class.  But we’re making steady progress.  And the reason I’m here is, we can’t afford to threaten that progress right now.  Right now, hundreds of thousands of Americans, hardworking Americans, suddenly aren’t receiving their paycheck.  Right now, they’re worrying about missing the rent, or their mortgage, or even making ends meet.  We can all relate to that.  Imagine if suddenly you weren’t sure whether you were going to get your next paycheck, with all the bills that might be mounting up.  Well, that’s what’s happening right now to hundreds of thousands of Americans across the country.

Companies like this one worried that their businesses are going to be disrupted, because obviously, particularly in an area like Maryland, Virginia, where there are a lot of federal workers, you don’t know how that’s going to impact the economy.  Veterans, seniors, women — they’re all worrying that the services they depend on will be disrupted too.

And the worst part is, this time it’s not because of a once-in-a-lifetime recession.  This isn’t happening because of some financial crisis.  It’s happening because of a reckless Republican shutdown in Washington.

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  That’s right!  (Applause.)

THE PRESIDENT:  Now, we’ve all seen the offices locked down, the monuments closed.  We’ve heard about services denied, we’ve heard about benefits that are delayed.  But the impacts of a shutdown go way beyond those things that you’re seeing on television.  Those hundreds of thousands of Americans — a lot of whom live around here — don’t know when they’re going to get their next paycheck, and that means stores and restaurants around here don’t know if they’ll have as many customers.

Across the country you’ve got farmers in rural areas and small business owners who deserve a loan, but they’re being left in the lurch right now.  They might have an application pending as we speak, but there’s nobody in the office to process the loan.  The SBA gives a billion dollars of loans a month to small businesses — a billion dollars a month goes to small businesses all across the country.  Right now those can’t be processed because there’s nobody there to process them.

Veterans who deserve our support are getting less help.  Little kids who deserve a Head Start have been sent home from the safe places where they learn and grow every single day.  And of course, their families then have to scramble to figure out what to do.  And the longer this goes on, the worse it will be.  And it makes no sense.

The American people elected their representatives to make their lives easier, not harder.  And there is one way out of this reckless and damaging Republican shutdown:  Congress has to pass a budget that funds our government with no partisan strings attached.  (Applause.)

Now, I want everybody to understand what’s happened, because sometimes when this gets reported on everybody kind of thinks, well, you know, both sides are just squabbling; Democrats and Republicans, they’re always arguing, so neither side is behaving properly.  I want everybody to understand what’s happened here.  The Republicans passed a temporary budget for two months at a funding level that we, as Democrats, actually think is way too low because we’re not providing help for more small businesses, doing more for early childhood education, doing more to rebuild our infrastructure.  But we said, okay, while we’re still trying to figure out this budget, we’re prepared to go ahead and take the Republican budget levels that they proposed.

So the Senate passed that with no strings attached — not because it had everything the Democrats wanted.  In fact, it had very little that the Democrats wanted.  But we said, let’s go ahead and just make sure that other people aren’t hurt while negotiations are still taking place.

So that’s already passed the Senate.  And we know there are enough Republicans and Democrats to vote in the House of Representatives for the same thing.  So I want everybody to understand this:  There are enough Republicans and Democrats in the House of Representatives today that, if the Speaker of the House, John Boehner, simply let the bill get on the floor for an up-or-down vote, every congressman could vote their conscience  — the shutdown would end today.

The only thing that is keeping the government shut down; the only thing preventing people from going back to work and basic research starting back up, and farmers and small business owners getting their loan — the only thing that’s preventing all that from happening, right now, today, in the next five minutes, is that 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.  That’s all.  That’s what this whole thing is about.

We’ve heard a lot from congressional Republicans in the past couple of days saying they don’t want this shutdown.  Well, there’s a simple way to prove it.  Send the bill to the floor, let everybody vote — it will pass.  Send me the bill; I will sign it.  The shutdown will be over and we can get back to the business of governing and helping the American people.  (Applause.)

It could happen in the next half hour.  National parks, monuments, offices would all reopen immediately.  Benefits and services would resume again.  Hundreds of thousands of dedicated public servants who are worrying about whether they’re going to be able to pay the mortgage or pay the car note, they’d start going back to work right away.  So my simple message today is:  Call a vote.  Call a vote.

AUDIENCE:  Call a vote!  (Applause.)

THE PRESIDENT:  Put it on the floor and let every individual member of Congress make up their own minds.  And they can show the American people, are you for a shutdown or not?  If you’re not for a shutdown, you’ll vote for the bill; if you’re for a shutdown, you won’t vote for a bill.  We don’t have to twist anybody’s arms.  But that way, the American people will be clear about who is responsible for the shutdown.  Or, alternatively, more hopefully, they’d be clear that this is something that doesn’t make sense and we should go ahead and make sure that we’re looking out for the American people.  It should be that simple.

But as I said, the problem we’ve got is that there’s one faction of one party, in one half of one branch of government that so far has refused to allow that yes-or-no vote unless they get some massive partisan concessions in exchange for doing what they’re supposed to be doing anyway, in exchange for doing what everybody else agrees is necessary.  And they won’t agree to end the shutdown until they get their way.  And you may think I’m exaggerating, but just the other day, one tea party Republican called the idea of a shutdown “wonderful.”  Another said that a shutdown is “exactly what we wanted.”  Well, they got exactly what they wanted.  Now they’re trying to figure out how to get out of it.

Just yesterday, one House Republican said — I’m quoting here, because I want to make sure people understand I didn’t make this up.  One House Republican said, “We’re not going to be disrespected.  We have to get something out of this.  And I don’t know what that even is.”  That was a quote.  “We’re not going to be disrespected.  We have got to get something out of this.  And I don’t know what that even is.”  Think about that.

You have already gotten the opportunity to serve the American people.  There is no higher honor than that.  (Applause.)  You’ve already gotten the opportunity to help businesses like this one, workers like these.  So the American people aren’t in the mood to give you a goodie bag to go with it.  What you get is our intelligence professionals being back on the job.  What you get is our medical researchers back on the job.  (Applause.)  What you get are little kids back into Head Start.  (Applause.)  What you get are our national parks and monuments open again.  What you get is the economy not stalling, but continuing to grow.  (Applause.)  What you get are workers continuing to be hired.  That’s what you get.  That’s what you should be asking for.  Take a vote, stop this farce, and end this shutdown right now.  (Applause.)

If you’re being disrespected, it’s because of that attitude you got that you deserve to get something for doing your job.  Everybody here just does their job, right?  If you’re working here and in the middle of the day you just stopped and said, you know what, I want to get something, but I don’t know exactly what I’m going to get.  (Laughter.)  But I’m just going to stop working until I get something.  I’m going to shut down the whole plant until I get something.

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  You’d get fired.

THE PRESIDENT:  You’d get fired.  (Applause.)  Right?  Because the deal is you’ve already gotten hired.  You’ve got a job.  You’re getting a paycheck.  And so you also are getting the pride of doing a good job and contributing to a business and looking out for your fellow workers.  That’s what you’re getting.  Well, it shouldn’t be any different for a member of Congress.

Now, unlike past shutdowns — I want to make sure everybody understands this because, again, sometimes the tendency is to say, well, both sides are at fault.  This one has nothing to do with deficits or spending or budgets.  Our deficits are falling at the fastest pace in 60 years.  We’ve cut the deficits in half since I took office.  (Applause.)  And some of the things that the Republicans are asking for right now would actually add to our deficits, seriously.

So this is not about spending.  And this isn’t about fiscal responsibility.  This whole thing is about one thing:  the Republican obsession with dismantling the Affordable Care Act and denying affordable health insurance to millions of Americans.  (Applause.)  That’s all this has become about.  That seems to be the only thing that unites the Republican Party these days.

Through this whole fight, they’ve said the American people don’t want Obamacare, so we should shut down the government to repeal it or delay it.  But here’s the problem:  The government is now shut down, but the Affordable Care Act is still open for business.  (Applause.)  So they’re not even accomplishing what they say they want to accomplish.  And, by the way, in the first two days since the new marketplaces — basically big group plans that we’ve set up — the first two days that they opened, websites where you can compare and purchase new affordable insurance plans and maybe get tax credits to reduce your costs, millions of Americans have made it clear they do want health insurance.  (Applause.)

More than 6 million people visited the website HealthCare.gov the day it opened.  Nearly 200,000 people picked up the phone and called the call center.  In Kentucky alone — this is a state where — I didn’t win Kentucky.  (Laughter.)  So I know they weren’t doing it for me.  In Kentucky, nearly 11,000 people applied for new insurance plans in the first two days — just in one state, Kentucky.  And many Americans are finding out when they go on the website that they’ll save a lot of money or get health insurance for the first time.

So I would think that if, in fact, this was going to be such a disaster that the Republicans say it’s going to be, that it was going to be so unpopular, they wouldn’t have to shut down the government.  They could wait, nobody would show any interest, there would be, like, two people on the website — (laughter) — and everybody would then vote for candidates who want to repeal it.

It’s not as if Republicans haven’t had a chance to debate the health care law.  It passed the House of Representatives.  It passed the Senate.  The Supreme Court ruled it constitutional — you remember all this.  Last November, voters rejected the presidential candidate that ran on a platform to repeal it.  (Applause.)  So the Affordable Care Act has gone through every single democratic process, all three branches of government.  It’s the law of the land.  It’s here to stay.

I’ve said to Republicans, if there are specific things you think can improve the law to make it even better for people as opposed to just gutting it and leaving 25 million people without health insurance, I’m happy to talk to you about that.  But a Republican shutdown won’t change the fact that millions of people need health insurance, and that the Affordable Care Act is being implemented.  The shutdown does not change that.  All the shutdown is doing is making it harder for ordinary Americans to get by, and harder for businesses to create jobs at a time when our economy is just starting to gain traction again.

You’ve heard Republicans say that Obamacare will hurt the economy, but the economy has been growing and creating jobs.  The single-greatest threat to our economy and to our businesses like this one is not the Affordable Care Act, it’s the unwillingness of Republicans in Congress to stop refighting a settled election, or making the demands that have nothing to do with the budget.  They need to move on to the actual business of governing.  That’s what will help the economy.  That’s what will grow the economy.  That’s what will put people back to work.  (Applause.)

And more than that, House Republicans need to stop careening from one crisis to another in everything they do.  Have you noticed that?  Since they’ve taken over the House of Representatives, we have one of these crises every three months.  Have you noticed?  And you keep on thinking, all right, well, this is going to be the last one; they’re not going to do this again.  And then they do it again.

I know you’re tired of it.  I’m tired of it.  It doesn’t mean that they’re wrong on every single issue.  I’ve said I’m happy to negotiate with you on anything.  I don’t think any one party has a monopoly on wisdom.  But you don’t negotiate by putting a gun to the other person’s head — or, worse yet, by putting a gun to the American people’s head by threatening a shutdown.

And, by the way, even after Congress reopens your government, it’s going to have to turn around very quickly and do something else — and that’s pay America’s bills.  I want to spend a little time on this.  It’s something called raising the debt ceiling.  And it’s got a lousy name, so a lot of people end up thinking, I don’t know, I don’t think we should raise our debt ceiling, because it sounds like we’re raising our debt.  But that’s not what this is about.

It doesn’t cost taxpayers a single dime.  It doesn’t grow our deficits by a single dime.  It doesn’t allow anybody to spend any new money whatsoever.  So it’s not something that raises our debt.  What it does is allow the U.S. Treasury, the U.S. government to pay the bills that Congress has already racked up.  I want you to think about this.

If you go to a restaurant, you order a meal, you eat it.  Maybe you have some wine.  Maybe you have two glasses of wine — great meal.  And then you look at the tab — it’s pretty expensive — and you decide I’m not going to pay the bill.  But you’re not saving money.  You’re not being frugal.  You’re just a deadbeat, right?  (Laughter.)  If you buy a house and you decide, this month I’d rather go on vacation somewhere so I’m not going to pay my mortgage, you didn’t just save yourself some money.  You’re just going to get foreclosed on.

So you don’t save money by not paying your bills.  You don’t reduce your debt by not paying your bills.  All you’re doing is making yourself unreliable and hurting your credit rating.  And you’ll start getting those phone calls and those notices in the mail.  And the next time you try to borrow, somebody is going to say, uh-uh, because you don’t pay your bills, you’re a deadbeat.  Well, the same is true for countries.

The only thing that the debt ceiling does is to let the U.S. Treasury pay for what Congress has already bought.  That’s why it’s something that has been routine.  Traditionally, it’s not a big deal.  Congress has raised it 45 times since Ronald Reagan took office.  This is just kind of a routine part of keeping the government running.  The last time the House Republicans flirted with not raising the debt ceiling, back in 2011 — some of you remember this — our economy took a bad hit.  Our country’s credit rating was downgraded for the first time, just like you’d be downgraded if you didn’t pay your mortgage.

This time, they are threatening to actually force the United States to default on its obligations for the very first time in history.  Now, you’ll hear John Boehner and Mitch McConnell and these other Republicans say, we don’t want to default.  But everybody knows — it’s written about in all the papers — that their basic theory is, okay, if the shutdown doesn’t work, then we are going to try to get some extra concessions out of the President.  We’ll put like a long laundry list, all the things that we want that we can’t get passed on our own.  And if we don’t get it, we’ll tell them we don’t — we won’t vote to pay the country’s bills.  We’ll let the country default.

I’m not just making this up.  I mean, it’s common knowledge.  Every reporter here knows it.  And I want you to understand the consequences of this.  As reckless as a government shutdown is, as many people as are being hurt by a government shutdown, an economic shutdown that results from default would be dramatically worse.  In a government shutdown, Social Security checks still go out on time.  In an economic shutdown, if we don’t raise the debt ceiling, they don’t go out on time.

In a government shutdown, disability benefits still arrive on time.  In an economic shutdown, they don’t.  In a government shutdown, millions of Americans — not just federal workers — everybody faces real economic hardship.  In an economic shutdown, falling pensions and home values and rising interest rates on things like mortgages and student loans — all those things risk putting us back into a bad recession, which will affect this company and those workers and all of you.  That’s not my analysis.  That’s — every economist out there is saying the same thing.  We’ve never done it before.

And the United States is the center of the world economy.  So if we screw up, everybody gets screwed up.  The whole world will have problems, which is why generally nobody has ever thought to actually threaten not to pay our bills.  It would be the height of irresponsibility.  And that’s why I’ve said this before — I’m going to repeat it:  There will be no negotiations over this.  (Applause.)  The American people are not pawns in some political game.  You don’t get to demand some ransom in exchange for keeping the government running.  You don’t get to demand ransom in exchange for keeping the economy running.  You don’t get to demand ransom for doing your most basic job.

And the sooner that the Republicans in Congress heed the warnings not just of me or Democrats like Chris and John, but heed the warnings of the Chamber of Commerce, and CEOs, and economists, and a whole lot of Republicans outside of Congress  — they’re all saying, do not do this.  They’re all saying to Congress, do your job; and the sooner you do your job, the less damage you’ll do to our economy and to businesses like this one.

So pass a budget, end the government shutdown.  Pay our bills.  Prevent an economic shutdown.  Just vote and end this shutdown.  And you should do it today so we can get back to growing this economy, creating jobs and strengthening our middle class.  (Applause.)

Let me close just by sharing a story I heard as I was getting ready to come here today.  Many of you already know it.  Two years ago, a mulch factory next to M. Luis’s main equipment storage facility caught fire, and most of the company’s equipment was destroyed, causing millions of dollars in damage.  But even while the fire was still burning, dozens of employees rushed over to the facility and tried to save as much as they could — some of you were probably there.  And when they finished cutting fire lines and spraying down the perimeter of their own property, they went over to help their neighbors.

And afterwards, even though all the employees here at M. Luis are on salary, even though the company had just taken a big financial hit, Cidalia and Natalia paid everyone overtime, and along with each check they included a personalized note saying just how much they had appreciated the efforts of the workers.  And Cidalia said, everybody says the biggest asset to a business is employees.  Some people mean it, some people don’t — we actually do.

So this company right here is full of folks who do right by each other.  They don’t try to see if they can work every angle.  They don’t lie about each other.  They don’t try to undermine each other.  They understand they’re supposed to be on the same team.  You pitch in, you look out for one another.  When somebody gets knocked down, you help them back up.  You don’t ask what can you get out of this, because you know that success doesn’t depend on one of you, it depends on all of you working together.

Well, America is no different.  I see that same spirit in so many cities and towns that I visit all across the country.  It is alive and well all across the country.  It’s alive and well in this community where restaurants and businesses are rallying around their regulars, and they’re looking out for all the dedicated public servants who have been furloughed.  You’ve been reading stories about restaurants who are saying, you know what, while you’re on furlough, come on, we’ll give you a burger, we’ll give you a meal, we’ll help you out.

That’s the American ideal.  It says, we’re working together, looking out for one another, meeting our responsibilities, doing our jobs, thinking about future generations.  And that’s why I believe, ultimately, reason and common sense will prevail.  That spirit at some point will infiltrate Washington as well.  Because I think the American people are so good and so decent, they’re going to get better behavior from their government than this.  And we’ll once again make sure this is a country where you can make it if you try.

So thank you, everybody.  God bless you.  God bless the United States of America.  (Applause.)

END                11:21 A.M. EDT

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