VOTE RESPONSE: ‘We Are Not Some Banana Republic’
(CNN) — President Obama warned Congress on Friday that shutting down the government would halt any economic momentum the country has established, telling a crowd at a Ford plant here that “our recovery still needs to build more strength.”
“Right now the debate that is going on in Congress is not meeting the test of helping middle class families,” the president said. “It is just – they are not focused on you. They are focused on politics. They are focused on trying to mess with me. They are not focused on you.”
Hours before the president took the podium, House Republicans set up a potential shutdown by approving a resolution to fund the government contingent upon defunding the president’s signature health care law. Both Democrats and Republicans in the Senate have said they will not support such a measure, creating a potential impasse.
Comparing the House Republicans’ strategy to hostage-taking and breath-holding the president urged his opponents to end their unwillingness to budge “if you don’t get 100 percent of what you want. Nobody gets 100 percent of what you want.”
“I don’t mind them disagreeing with me,” Obama said. “If they don’t like the Affordable Care Act, they’d rather have people not have health insurance. You know I’m happy to have that debate with them. But you don’t have to threaten to blow the whole thing up just because you don’t get your way, right?
Funding the government is the first of two major deadlines Congress will face in the coming weeks. If lawmakers are able to reach an agreement to keep the government open beyond September 30, they will quickly face another fight over whether to increase the nation’s borrowing limit.
On Friday, the president repeated his refusal to negotiate over the debt ceiling.
“We are not some banana republic,” Obama said. “This is not a deadbeat nation. We don’t run out on our tab. We are the world’s bedrock investment. The entire world looks to us to make sure the world economy is stable. We can’t just not pay our bills and even threatening something like that is the height of irresponsibility. What I have said is I will not negotiate over the full faith and credit of the United States.”
The president said he’s ready to work with members of both parties who are willing to negotiate to solve these problems, but they are being held up by a “faction on the far right” who won’t cooperate without dismantling Obamacare.
“They are not talking now about spending cuts,” Obama said. “They are not talking about entitlement reform. They are not talking about any of that. Now they are talking about something that has nothing to do with the budget – right? They are actually willing to plunge America into default if we can’t defund the Affordable Care Act.”