President Obama told reporters on Friday that he will not sign another stopgap spending bill to keep the federal government running in 10 weeks, raising the stakes on congressional Republicans to put an end to internal in-fighting over funding for Planned Parenthood and other budget priorities.
“On Wednesday, more than half of Republicans voted to shut down the government for the second time in two years,” Obama said. “The good news is that there were enough votes in both parties to pass a last-minute bill to keep the government open and operating for another 10 weeks before we can get a more long-term solution. But keep in mind that gimmick only sets up another potential manufactured crisis just two weeks before Christmas.
“I’ve said this before, I want to repeat it – this is not the way the United States should be operating,” Obama said.
Obama was speaking on the heels of news that the U.S. economy had added 118,000 new jobs in September, lower than had been expected, but still marking the 67th straight month of job growth.
The U.S. economy has grown 12 percent since 2006, and the unemployment rate has dropped from a recession-era high of 10 percent to 5.1 percent in September.
The pace of growth will not be sustained, Obama said Friday, “if Congress does not do away with some of the counterproductive austerity measures that they have put in place, and if Congress does not avoid the kind of manufactured crises that shatter consumer confidence and could disrupt an already skittish global economy.”
“Oftentimes I hear from folks up on Capitol Hill, ‘the need for American leadership,’ ‘the need for America to be number one. Well, you know what, around the globe, part of what makes us a leader is when we govern effectively and we keep our own house in order, and we pass budgets, and we can engage in long-term planning, and we can invest in the things that are important for the future. That’s U.S. leadership,” Obama said.
“When we fail to do that, we diminish U.S. leadership. It’s not how we are supposed to operate. And we can’t just keep on kicking down the road without solving any problems or doing any long-term planning for the future. That’s true for our military; that’s true for our domestic programs. The American people, American families deserve better. And we can grow faster and the economy can improve if Congress acts with dispatch. It will get worse if they don’t.”
= Story by Chris Graham