President Barack Obama criticized congressional Republicans for engaging in ideological brinkmanship and said both parties must engage in serious negotiations on budget priorities.
Speaking hours after he signed into law legislation to raise the federal debt ceiling and fund the government into 2014, Obama said the most recent confrontation has slowed the U.S. economy and damaged the public’s faith in government.
“The American people are completely fed up with Washington,” Obama said in the State Dining Room of the White House. The partial government shutdown was “yet another self- inflicted crisis that set our economy back. And for what? There was no economic rationale for all of this.”
Obama said the U.S. can recover by Republicans and Democrats working together and finishing by the end of the year work on a “responsible” budget, passage of a new immigration law and approval of a farm bill.
The partial government shutdown that began Oct. 1 has taken $24 billion out of the U.S. economy, according to Standard & Poor’s, and rattled consumers and businesses while the threat of a U.S. default prompted Fitch Ratings put the government of the world’s biggest economy on watch for a possible credit downgrade two days ago.
Americans in October were the most pessimistic about the nation’s economic outlook in almost two years, according to the monthly Bloomberg Consumer Confidence Index. Other reports today showed more Americans than forecast filed applications for unemployment benefits last week.
While the legislation passed by Congress last night resolved the immediate deadlock, it may set the stage for another round of confrontations early next year.
As Obama looks to advance the rest of his agenda, from immigration laws to climate change, his victory in this confrontation is no guarantee that he can reach compromises with Republicans over the rest of his second term.
Senator Ted Cruz of Texas was among the Republican lawmakers vowing to keep trying to chip away at the president’s health-care law. Their demands that the law be stripped of funding or delayed and the president’s refusal to concede led to the standoff.
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