President Barack Obama's demands to increase the nation's debt limit without having bipartisan discussions about addressing spending is the same "foolishness" that has caused the nation's current problems, House Republican Conference Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers said in the weekly GOP address.
The Washington state Republican, giving the address as a government shutdown once again looms over Capitol Hill, said lawmakers have a "golden opportunity" to fix problems coming out of Washington, but that won't happen without cooperation.
"By an overwhelming margin, Americans believe any debt ceiling increase should be coupled with solutions that help solve our debt and grow our economy," Rodgers said. "Republicans have put forward a plan that does just that."
The Republican plan couples a one-year delay on Obamacare with "cuts and real reforms to build a 21st century economy – from approving the Keystone pipeline and fixing our outdated tax code."
However, on Friday, the Democratic-controlled Senate voted to temporarily finance
the federal government through mid-December and to pay for Obamacare for the next year — dealing a major blow to Republicans who backed a House-backed resolution that would have stripped funding for Obama's beleaguered healthcare plan.
The final vote was 54-44 with two abstentions, along party lines. The amendment to strip the Obamacare funding from the House bill was sponsored by Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada and Democratic Sen. Barbara Mikulski of Maryland.
The Senate's version will be sent back to the House, where House Speaker John Boehner has said
that the lower chamber will not pass a bill that does not defund Obamacare. However, he also has said that he has “no interest in seeing a government shutdown.”
In addition, Obama reiterated at the White House on Friday that he will not sign any legislation that requires him to "gut or repeal" the healthcare law.
"That's not going to happen," he said. The president added that the Obamacare exchanges on which Americans can buy insurance, "will be open for business on Tuesday, no matter what, even if there is a government shutdown. That's a done deal."
Meanwhile, House Republicans have not said what changes they plan to make to the continuing resolution bill, reports The Washington Post
. Conservatives in the house have already stopped plans by Boehner and other House GOP leaders to tie the battle in with the fight to raise the nation's borrowing limit, and stopped efforts to vote on the debt ceiling before the spending matter is decided.
Boehner plans to meet with other Republicans at noon Saturday in the Capitol basement, The
Rodgers insisted in her Saturday morning address that tying in an increase in the debt limit with efforts to curb spending is a common-sense measure that has been used by presidents from both parties, but President Barack Obama isn't cooperating.
"Unfortunately, the president is now demanding that we increase the debt limit without engaging in any kind of bipartisan discussions about addressing our spending problem," she said. "He wants to take the easy way out — exactly the kind of foolishness that got us here in the first place."
Obama's stance on spending has changed from just a few years ago, Rodgers pointed out.
"President Obama himself worked with Republicans on a large deficit-reduction deal tied to the debt limit in the summer of 2011," Rodgers said. "It has its flaws — including the ‘sequester’ the president devised and insisted on — but it has cut spending."
But "every major deficit reduction effort of the last 30 years has been tied to the debt limit," she said.
"President [Ronald] Reagan did it in 1985 when he signed the Gramm-Rudman-Hollings deficit reduction bill," Rodgers said. "Five years later, President [George W.] Bush reached a budget deal with a Democratic Congress that included a debt limit increase. President [Bill] Clinton reached a similar agreement with a Democratic majority in 1993, and with a Republican majority on the balanced budget agreement of 1997."
Failure to come to an agreement will hit every day Americans the hardest, Rodgers said.
"As we know, it’s hard working people like you who would ultimately pay the price for business as usual through higher taxes, higher prices, and fewer jobs," she said.
But passing the Republican plan, Rodgers said, is more important than at any other point in recent history.
"Every major deficit reduction effort of the last 30 years has been tied to the debt limit," she said. "This time should be no different. If anything, it’s more important than ever if we’re serious about getting people working again and protecting our children’s future."
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