News / USA

    Obama Seeks 'Willing Partners' in Congress, End to 'Government by Crisis'

    President Barack Obama speaking in the State Dining Room of the White House, Oct. 17, 2013.
    President Barack Obama speaking in the State Dining Room of the White House, Oct. 17, 2013.
    President Barack Obama says he is looking for "willing partners" for upcoming negotiations with Congress on the budget and other important priorities. Now that the 16-day U.S. government shutdown has ended and a U.S. default has been averted, Obama said Americans want an end to "government by crisis."

    As federal employees returned to work, including White House staffers furloughed by the shutdown, Obama spoke about Americans' frustrations with politics in Washington.

    He signed legislation early Thursday extending the borrowing limit until February 7 and funding government operations until January 15.

    He thanked what he called "responsible" Republicans for coming together to end the shutdown and debt-ceiling crisis. But Obama added, "There are no winners here," there was unnecessary damage to the economy, and frustration with leadership in Washington has never been higher.

    "The American people are completely fed up with Washington. At a moment when our economic recovery demands more jobs, more momentum, we got yet another self-inflicted crisis that set our economy back.  And for what? There was no economic rationale for all of this," said the president.

    Watch related video by VOA's Jeff Seldin:

    Debt Deal Done, US Government Reopens for Businessi
    X
    October 17, 2013 8:12 PM
    U.S. federal workers are returning to work now that Congress has approved a bill to reopen the government and raise the debt ceiling. President Barack Obama has signed the measure into law, ending a political stalemate and avoiding a potential U.S. debt default. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more.

    Details of the Deal

    • Reopens and funds the government until January 15, 2014
    • Raises the debt limit until February 7, 2014
    • Requires the government confirm the eligibility of people receiving federal subsidies under the Affordable Care Act
    • Sets up negotiating committee  to develop long term budget plan
    • Provides back pay to furloughed federal workers
    Without specifically identifying conservative Tea Party lawmakers, Obama said some members of Congress pursued "political brinksmanship" on the grounds it would save the American economy. But he said nothing has done more to undermine the economy, and that damage also has been done to U.S. credibility in the eyes of the world.

    "But probably nothing has done more damage to America's credibility in the world... with other countries, than the spectacle that we have seen these past several weeks. It has encouraged our enemies. It has emboldened our competitors. It has depressed our friends who look to us for steady leadership," said Obama.

    Obama said Americans and the world should know that the full faith and credit of the United States remains unquestioned. He said Americans want a change in how business is done in Washington.

    "All of us need to stop focusing on the lobbyists and the bloggers, and the talking heads on radio, and the professional activists who profit from conflict, and focus on what the majority of Americans sent us here to do. And that is, grow this economy. Create good jobs, strengthen the middle class, educate our kids, lay the foundation for broad-based prosperity and get our fiscal house in order for the long haul," said Obama.

    Obama listed three areas in which he hopes progress can be made: budget negotiations, immigration reform and completing a farm bill.

    Lawmakers tasked with coming up with new spending-reduction proposals by mid-December began their talks on Capitol Hill.

    Representative Paul Ryan, the Republican vice presidential candidate in 2012, who chairs the House Budget Committee, said, "We think it is high time that we start talking together to try to reconcile our differences.

    Senator Patty Murray, a Washington state Democrat, said, "Our job over the next eight weeks is to find out what we can agree on, and we have agreed that we are going to look at everything in front of us."
     
    In budget talks, Obama said all sides should focus on what they can agree on, but he re-stated his longstanding insistence on balanced solutions to fiscal problems.

    "We should not approach this process of creating a budget as an ideological exercise, just cutting for the sake of cutting. The issue is not growth versus fiscal responsibility, we need both," said the president.

    On immigration, Obama urged the Republican-controlled House of Representatives to approve by the end of the year a bill already passed by the U.S. Senate.

    Obama said he will look for willing partners to get important work done, because leaders cannot govern responsibly while "lurching from manufactured crisis to manufactured crisis."

    Instead of treating government "like an enemy" or trying to break it, the president said, leaders should work together to make it better.

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    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: T.P.Chia from: USA
    October 18, 2013 1:51 AM
    The United States is politically in deep trouble.The refunding of the government and the extension of debt ceiling through Jan. 15, and Feb.7, 2014 respectively are just a temporary fix. There is no guarantee that the GOP will not use the same negative and destructive tactics to force deep cuts in domestic spending, not to mention other policies the conservative Republicans oppose.

    Something is wrong with the American system of democracy--a small minority of ultra-conservatives can manipulate and paralyze the world's most powerful government, at the expanse of the interests of the American people and the nation. Forcing government shutdown and the threat of debt default become the most powerful and destructive weapon in American politics.

    What had happened is indeed a disgrace to American democracy and a laughing-stock aroud the world.

    The United States should not allow irresponsible and destructive conservative politicians to continue damaging her by intention. The White House, Senate and Congress must work on legislation to prevent the abuse of the American system of democracy.

    by: peacefulqueen from: U.S.A.
    October 18, 2013 1:43 AM
    @ Godwin I don't think anyone is thumping their chest. It just a shame that a few fringes can change the course of the country.

    by: Vanessa from: Australia
    October 17, 2013 10:30 PM
    The joke of it is that the USA continues to print its own money while European countries are forced to suffer under 'austeriity measures'.

    by: Sham! from: USA
    October 17, 2013 9:32 PM
    No one is happier with the new budget deal brokered by the Washington Establishment than the left-wing media.

    They were the most ardent supporters of Obamacare and the most vocal critics of conservatives who dared to challenge this disastrous legislation.

    As the only organization with the sole mission of documenting, exposing, and neutralizing left-wing media bias, the Media Research Center just released a study showing that the so-called “news” media were instrumental in blaming the shutdown on Republicans, while covering for President Obama.

    The study found that “Network reporters and anchors repeatedly instructed their audiences to blame Tea Party extremism for the consequences of the shutdown.”

    It was a pathetic propaganda campaign carried out by a left-wing, hyper partisan press corps determined to destroy conservatives. They were dishonest to the core in their reporting on the shutdown.

    by: GP from: USA
    October 17, 2013 5:15 PM
    Obama had more important things to do than worry about the debt ceiling. Obama was entertaining Miss America on the eve of our crisis, when he should have been rolling up his sleeves and taking care of business. And all Obama does is complain. It's sad to hear that Obama doesn't take any responsibility what-so-ever. What a shame!

    by: Derek Haines from: Switzerland
    October 17, 2013 3:56 PM
    This quote is so true. It's about time Americans grew up and realised that their inward looking political bias, attitudes and actions have a global impact. This responsibility comes with being a superpower.

    "But probably nothing has done more damage to America's credibility in the world... with other countries, than the spectacle that we have seen these past several weeks. It has encouraged our enemies. It has emboldened our competitors. It has depressed our friends who look to us for steady leadership," said Obama.

    As an outsider looking in, I found the whole shutdown process a disgrace, bordering on a childish tantrum, and agree with the US President. It has been all for nothing, except a big minus for the US on all fronts. My concern is though, forward to February, will we see the political kindergarten open again?

    by: JKF from: Great North
    October 17, 2013 1:24 PM
    As Sen MacCain indicated a very bad episode...; no question that the majority of the entire nation have been extremely negativly affected by a few extremists, that represent much less than 10% of the US population. The loss in US credibility, globally, will be felt for many years to come.
    The fact that a small number of extremists could hold the nation's people hostage and deny them basic services is very damaging; these few uncaring individuals have also done great damage to the Republican Party; it was once a party of moderate, "US first" competent legislators, that used their intellect to promote their ideas, and now was taken over by extremists, who care more about their ideology than the welfare of the nation.

    These extremists, in my opinion, have many similar traits as we see around the World from some of the religious extremists, that would destroy their countries rather than accept compromises. Some of the nasty predictions, coming out of these extremists, regarding their future intentions are also very concerning. I hope the core Republicans, with good heads on their shoulders, start making distance between themselves and the extremists for the sake of the Republican party. Not a good situation, these negative events, set a very bad example for other nations trying to develop their democracies and emulate the US. Extremists in other parts of the World will be emboldened, and point to these negative events in the US, for a long time to come.

    by: Godwin from: Nigeria
    October 17, 2013 1:20 PM
    No winners indeed! In declaring no winners, Mr. Obama must be jeering at his Republican opponents as well as corner-eying the US public with a non-verbal thumping of his chest to be the one winner. It would have been very serious calamity that because of personal pride the president was going to allow the country run aground if the Republicans did not move fast enough to rescue the situation. That is an awkward thing to do by a president when there is still time till 2016 to reopen obamacare - if that became a do-or-die affair.

    Another version of emperor Nero playing at his harp while Rome was on fire. No, Mr. president, I will be the last person to agree that you did the best under the circumstances not to lend a helping hand to rescue situation. Saying here no victor no vanquished, is quest for cheap popularity. If there is anyone who loves USA with his heart and wants to do best for it, you are not in the list. So take your quest for popularity to the birds; they will sing your praises with it.

    by: Arthur from: Moscow
    October 17, 2013 1:19 PM
    All this turmoil about debt crisis undermines your economy and reduces my credibility in WC's dollar

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