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.

You May Like

DRC Tries Mega-Farms to Feed Population

Park at Boukanga Lonzo currently has 5,000 hectares under cultivation, crops stretching as far as eye can see, and is start of ambitious large-scale agriculture plan More

Video Survivor Video Testimonies Recount Horrors of Guatemalan Genocide

During a conflict that spanned more than three decades, tens of thousands of indigenous Mayans were killed More

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Areas are spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, source of livelihood for fishermen and herders who have called the marshes home for generations More

This forum has been closed.
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

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs