News / USA

Obama, Biden Rally Congressional Democrats on Middle Class Agenda

U.S. President Barack Obama speaks at the House Democratic Issues Conference in Cambridge, Maryland February 14, 2014.
U.S. President Barack Obama speaks at the House Democratic Issues Conference in Cambridge, Maryland February 14, 2014.
U.S. President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden rallied House Democrats on Friday, saying they need to be aggressive in pressing the Democratic Party agenda in the months leading to the U.S. mid-term congressional elections.
 
The president and Biden made their remarks in Cambridge, Maryland at the issues conference of Democrats in the House of Representatives.

It's an annual event at which lawmakers discuss legislative priorities and strategy, and often hear from the titular leader of their party, the president.

This year's gathering came as Democrats gear up for an intense period of campaigning for the November mid-term congressional elections.   

Obama largely repeated major points from his State of the Union Address, including his pledge to use executive orders to achieve key objectives when he encounters resistance from Republicans in Congress.

He praised the "courage, unity and discipline" of House Democrats. And he described the recent decision by House Republicans to drop an effort to link political conditions to increasing the federal government's debt limit as a victory.

"We are no longer going to see, I believe, anybody try to hold our government hostage and threaten the full faith and credit of the United States of America in order to contract policy concessions," said Obama. "The fact that we were able to pass a clean debt limit is just one example of why when you guys are unified, you guys stick together, this country is better off and I could not be more thankful and more appreciate and prouder of what you're doing."

House Republicans recently rejected a proposal by their leadership to link the borrowing authority limit to a budget issue, and were helped by minority Democrats in a 221-201 House vote. Obama hopes it will mark a change in Republicans' approach during the remainder of his second term.

The president also highlighted progress in the number of people signing up for insurance under his signature health care reform law, known as Obamacare. His job approval ratings suffered last year from what he acknowledged was the "fumbled" handling of the federal health care website.

But Republicans running for re-election plan to escalate use of the Obamacare issue as they campaign against Democrats.  The president said the health care reform eventually will be seen in a positive light.

"I just want to say thank you, for all of you, hanging in their tough, on an issue that I think 10 years from now, five years from now, we're going to look back and say this was a monumental achievement that could not have happened had it not been for this caucus," said Obama.

Biden delivered tough remarks to the gathering, in support of Democratic policies to help the middle class, and critical of positions taken by Republicans.

Americans, Biden said, agree with core Democratic Party positions on a range of issues, including the debt ceiling, immigration reform, stronger background checks for gun purchases and infrastructure.

He said Democrats need to advocate strongly for their agenda in the months leading to to the November mid-term elections.

"Keep your eye on the ball. The American people are where we are. And let's go out and make every single effort not just to defend, but to aggressively push, aggressively push, our agenda," said Biden.

Obama flew later Friday to California, where he focused on federal government responses to drought afflicting virtually the entire state.

He wants Congress to approve a $1-billion Climate Resilience Fund, part of the budget he will send to Capitol Hill next month. This would be separate from the climate action agenda he announced last year.

The proposal would fund research on impacts of climate change, help communities and fund “breakthrough technologies and resilient infrastructure."

It's not certain the president can win approval for the fund, as Republicans have broadly opposed his climate agenda.

You May Like

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said To Be Improving

Experimental drugs have been tried on six people: three Westerners and now, three African pyhysicians More

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities residents rebuild their lives, but many say everyone is being treated with suspicion More

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

Girls learn to object; FGM practitioners face penalties from jail sentences to stiff fines More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improvingi
X
Carol Pearson
August 19, 2014 11:43 PM
The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improving

The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As the Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities from pro-Russian separatists, residents are getting a chance to rebuild their lives. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the town of Kramatorsk in Donetsk province, where a sense of fear is still in the air, and distrust of the government in Kyiv still runs deep.
Video

Video China Targets Overseas Assets of Corrupt Officials

As China presses forward with its anti-graft effort, authorities are targeting corrupt officials who have sent family members and assets overseas. The efforts have stirred up a debate at home on exactly how many officials take that route and how likely it is they will be caught. Rebecca Valli has this report.
Video

Video Leading The Fight Against Islamic State, Kurds Question Iraqi Future

Western countries including the United States have begun arming the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq to aid their battle against extremist Sunni militants from the Islamic State. But there are concerns that a heavily-armed Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, might seek to declare independence and cause the break-up of the Iraqi state. As Henry Ridgwell reports from London, the KRG says it will only seek greater autonomy from Baghdad.
Video

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

In some Kenyan communities, female genital mutilation remains a rite of passage. But activists are pushing back, with education for girls and with threats of punishment those who perform the circumcision. Mohammed Yusuf looks at the practice in the rural eastern community of Tharaka-Nithi.
Video

Video For Obama, Racial Violence is Personal Issue

The racial violence in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson is presenting U.S. President Barack Obama with an issue to which he has a deep personal connection. To many Americans, Obama's election as America's first black president marked a turning point in race relations in the United States, and Obama has made ending the violence a policy priority. On Monday he issued a new call for calm and understanding. Luis Ramirez reports from the White House.
Video

Video Clinton-Obama Relationship Could Impact 2016 Election

President Barack Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have a long and complicated relationship. That relationship took another turn recently when Clinton criticized the president’s foreign policy. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports there is renewed attention on the Clinton-Obama relationship as Hillary Clinton considers running for
Video

Video Iran Looks to Maintain Influence in Baghdad With New Shia PM

Washington and Tehran share the goal of stopping Syrian-based militants in Iraq. But experts say it's Iran, not the United States, that will most influence how the new government in Baghdad approaches internal reforms and the war in Syria. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns has the story.

AppleAndroid