News / USA

Obama's Economic Speeches Pound Republicans

Obama discussed the economy and the middle class in Phoenix, Arizona, August 6, 2013.
Obama discussed the economy and the middle class in Phoenix, Arizona, August 6, 2013.
The economic policy speeches President Barack Obama has been delivering in recent weeks are turning out to be blunt attacks on Republicans, with an eye toward coming fiscal battles and the 2014 congressional elections.
Obama's basic message across the country, most recently sounded on Tuesday in Arizona, is that while he has made great strides in improving the economy, further progress is being thwarted by Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives.
By obstructing his proposals, Republicans are hurting the nation's “most vulnerable children,” Obama said, along with farmers, the military, home-buyers, middle-class job seekers, immigrants and businesses seeking to hire immigrants.
From Galesburg, Illinois, to Chattanooga, Tennessee, to Phoenix, Arizona, Obama has been unrelenting in tone, attacking “slash-and-burn partisanship,” “phony scandals,” and the “gutted” farm bill - all the work of Republicans now spoiling for a fight that “could plunge us back in financial crisis.”
Offering what he considers a moderate position on overhauling policies governing the housing industry, Obama said in Phoenix on Tuesday: “First, private capital should take a bigger role in the mortgage market. I know that's confusing to folks who call me a socialist.”
Republicans, equally combative, began their counterattack even before Obama hit the road on July 24. “He ought to stop threatening to shut down the government unless we raise taxes,” House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner said. “Americans aren't asking the question 'where are the speeches?' They're asking 'where are the jobs?”'
The barbs are likely to continue for some time.
The president and Republicans in Congress confront two major spending showdowns this fall: the first over a bill in September to continue funding the government and the second, probably in October, to raise the government's borrowing power so it can keep paying its bills.

Campaign fundraising well under way

The midterm elections, held in years when a president is not being selected, are in November 2014 and fundraising by Democrats and Republicans is well under way. Both parties need issues to inspire contributions.
It is normal for a president to join the fray on behalf of his party in a midterm election, though White House officials insist that beyond fundraising for Democrats, Obama is not focused at all on the 2014 races.
“The president is focused on using every day in office to try to advance his agenda and when it comes to affecting the outcome of the midterms, the Republicans appear to be taking the lead on that,” said a senior White House official.
But bit by bit, Obama is building an argument for why he feels many Republicans are willing to do damage to the U.S. economy for political gain.
Brad Woodhouse, head of the liberal group Americans United For Change, said Obama's speeches are helping to crystallize where the parties stand on the issues in a way that will prove helpful to Democrats in 2014.
“I think all of us would just prefer get the two parties together and get something done but I think it really does lay the groundwork for a foundation about priorities in midterms,” said Woodhouse.
The potential for a government shutdown over the budget is tricky politics for Obama. On the one hand, Americans have generally sided with the president against attempts to shut down the federal government over budget politics.
But on the other hand, Obama was widely viewed as the loser in the debate over $84 billion in “sequestration” budget cuts that began in March. In most cases, Americans have simply shrugged and gotten accustomed to the cuts.
This makes it essential for Obama to make sure the blame falls squarely on Republicans for a government shutdown should one occur this fall.
“It feels like a campaign and it feels like they are setting it up so he (Obama) can't be blamed if they go to a government shutdown,” said one Democratic loyalist.
While the outcome of the budget showdown could potentially help Obama politically, he still faces difficulty in turning this into votes for more Democratic lawmakers in November 2014.
Democrats need a net gain of 27 seats to win control of the House. They control the Senate with a 54-46 margin and may see their majority narrowed in 2014.
Dave Wasserman, an expert on House races at the non-partisan Cook Political Report, said he could not see how Democrats can pick up House seats in 2014, but that Obama has to make an effort to improve chances that he can get some action taken on his agenda before he turns into a lame duck president.
“Obama has very little choice,” he said. “The parties in Congress are so polarized that he can't reasonably search for Republican votes in the House. They simply aren't there on big ticket issues.”

You May Like

Guatemala Mudslide Death Toll Rises to 86

Death toll is expected to continue to rise as emergency crews dig through tons of earth for an estimated 350 people still missing More

Debris Found in Search for Missing Ship

Objects located Sunday have not yet been confirmed to be from the 240 meter container ship, El Faro, which disappeared in the eye of Hurricane Joaquin, according to US Coast Guard More

Survivor: Gunman Spared 'Lucky One' to Give Police Message

Law enforcement official says a manifesto of several pages was recovered; contents not revealed More

This forum has been closed.
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.
Russia’s Syria Involvement Raising Concerns in Europei
Luis Ramirez
October 02, 2015 4:45 PM
European nations are joining the United States in demanding that Russia stop targeting opposition groups other than the Islamic State militants as Russian warplanes continue to conduct raids in Syria. The demand came in a statement from Britain, France, Germany, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United States Friday. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video Russia’s Syria Involvement Raising Concerns in Europe

European nations are joining the United States in demanding that Russia stop targeting opposition groups other than the Islamic State militants as Russian warplanes continue to conduct raids in Syria. The demand came in a statement from Britain, France, Germany, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United States Friday. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video First Self-Driving Truck Debuts on European Highways

The first automated semi-trailer truck started its maiden voyage Friday, Oct. 2, on a European highway. The Daimler truck called 'Actros' is the first potentially mass-produced truck whose driver will be required only to monitor the situation, similar to the role of an airline captain while the plane is in autopilot mode. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video Nano-tech Filter Cleans Dirty Water

Access to clean water is a problem for hundreds of millions of people around the world. Now, a scientist and chemical engineer in Tanzania (in East Africa) is working to change that by creating an innovative water filter that makes dirty water safe. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.

Video Demand Rising for Organic Produce in Cambodia

In Cambodia, where rice has long been the main cash crop, farmers are being encouraged to turn to vegetables to satisfy the growing demand for locally produced organic farm products. Daniel de Carteret has more from Phnom Penh.

Video Migrant Influx Costs Europe, But Economy Could Benefit

The influx of hundreds of thousands of refugees and migrants is testing Europe’s ability to respond – especially in the poorer Balkan states. But some analysts argue that Europe will benefit by welcoming the huge numbers of young people – many of them well educated and willing to work. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

Video Botanists Grow Furniture, with Pruning Shears

For something a bit out of the ordinary to furnish your home, why not consider wooden chairs, crafted by nature, with a little help from some British botanists with an eye for design. VOA’s Jessica Berman reports.

Video New Fabric Helps Fight Dust-Related Allergies

Many people around the world suffer from dust-related allergies, caused mainly by tiny mites that live in bed linen. Polish scientists report they have successfully tested a fabric that is impenetrable to the microscopic creatures. VOA’s George Putic has more.

Video Burkina Faso's Economy Deeply Affected by Political Turmoil

Political turmoil in Burkina Faso over the past year has taken a toll on the economy. The transitional government is reporting nearly $70 million in losses in the ten days that followed a short-lived coup by members of the presidential guard earlier this month. The crisis shut businesses and workers went on strike. With elections on the horizon, Emilie Iob reports on what a return to political stability can do for the country's economic recovery.

Video Fleeing Violence, Some Syrians Find Refuge in Irbil

As Syrians continue to flee their country’s unrest to seek new lives in safer places, VOA Persian Service reporter Shepol Abbassi visited Irbil, where a number Syrians have taken refuge. During the religious holidy of Eid al-Adha, the city largely shut down, as temperatures soared. Amy Katz narrates his report.

Video Nigeria’s Wecyclers Work for Reusable Future in Lagos

The streets and lagoons of Africa's largest city - Lagos, Nigeria - are often clogged with trash, almost none of which gets recycled. One company is trying to change that. Chris Stein reports for VOA from Lagos.

Video Sketch Artist Helps Catch Criminals, Gives a Face to Deceased

Police often face the problem of trying to find a crime suspect based on general descriptions that could fit hundreds of people in the vicinity of the crime. In these cases, an artist can use information from witnesses to sketch a likeness that police can show the public via newspapers and television. But, as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, such sketches can also help bring back faces of the dead.

Video Thailand Set to Build China-like Internet Firewall

Thai authorities are planning to tighten control over the Internet, creating a single international access point so they can better monitor content. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Bangkok on what is being called Thailand’s own "Great Firewall."

Video Croatian Town’s War History Evokes Empathy for Migrants

As thousands of Afghanistan, Iraqi and Syrian migrants pass through Croatia, locals are reminded of their own experiences with war and refugees in the 1990s. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from the town of Vukovar, where wartime scars still are visible today.

Video Long Drought Affecting California’s Sequoias

California is suffering under a historic four-year drought and scientists say even the state's famed sequoia trees are feeling the pain. The National Park Service has started detailed research to see how it can help the oldest living things on earth survive. VOA’s George Putic reports.

VOA Blogs