Obama Blames Gridlock on 'Ideologically Driven' House GOP

Thursday, 03 Jul 2014 02:12 PM

By Jennifer G. Hickey

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President Barack Obama asserted on Wednesday that he is using executive orders and taking administrative actions because Congress is unable to carry out the "basic functions" of governing.

In an interview with the "Marketplace" radio show, Obama said Americans are wrong to hold a "plague on both your houses" view of Washington because the gridlock is a solely the result of an "ideologically driven" Republican majority in the House.

"But the truth is that we have a very specific problem. We have a House of Representatives that is so ideologically driven at this point that they are not able to carry out basic functions of government. So we saw this during the government shutdown. The idea that we would shut down the government based on a notion that we've got to drastically cut the basic safety net — despite the fact that the deficit has come down by more than half during my presidency — is not based on common sense, it's not based on any sound economic theories. It's based on the ideological predispositions of a handful of folks who are currently calling the shots in the House of Representatives," he told host Kai Ryssdal.

Obama, however, said he believes "over time" the Republican Party will "move back to the center, mainly because if they don't, they'll never win the presidency again. Until then, he added, he would continue to use his "pen" to implement his policy goals.

Ryssdal and his team were contacted by the White House on Tuesday asking if they wanted 15 minutes to interview the president.

Obama's growing reliance on the use of executive orders to achieve his policy goals has drawn the ire of Republicans, particularly House Speaker John Boehner, who is weighing filing suit against the president over an alleged abuse of executive power.

Just this week, Obama announced more executive actions.

On June 30, he unveiled his intention of moving on the controversial issue of immigration reform via executive action, and on July 1, he announced an executive order banning federal contractors from discriminating in hiring on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity

On June 26, the Supreme Court issued a unanimous opinion stating that Obama had overstepped his executive authority in making recess appointments to the National Labor Relations Board.

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