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.
TEXT SIZE - +
Reuters
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

Analysts Warn of Regional Proxy Conflict in Afghanistan

Analysts warn if Kabul’s neighbors do not start to cooperate, competing desires for influence could deteriorate into a bloody proxy war in the country More

Saudi Intelligence Chief Replaced

Bandar bin Sultan came under criticism for supporting al Qaida, prompting King Abdallah to wrest Syria operations away from him in February, handing them to Interior Minister Prince Mohammed bin Nayef More

Poetry Magazine editor Don Share talks what makes a good poem with VOA's David Byrd

What makes a good poem? And is poetry as viable an art form as it once was? To find out, VOA's David Byrd spoke to Don Share, the editor of Poetry Magazine. 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.
Google Buys Drone Companyi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
George Putic
April 15, 2014
In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ray Bonneville Sings the Blues and More on New CD

Singer/songwriter Ray Bonneville has released a new CD called “Easy Gone” with music that reflects his musical and personal journey from French-speaking Canada to his current home in Austin,Texas. The eclectic artist’s fan base extends from Texas to various parts of North America and Europe. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin.
Video

Video Millions Labor in Pakistan's Informal Economy

The World Bank says that in Pakistan, roughly 70 percent work in the so-called informal sector, a part of the economy that is unregulated and untaxed. VOA's Sharon Behn reports from Islamabad on how the informal sector impact's the Pakistani economy.
Video

Video Passover Celebrates Liberation from Bondage

Jewish people around the world are celebrating Passover, a commemoration of their liberation from slavery in Egypt more than 3,300 years ago. According to scripture, God helped the Jews, led by Moses, escape bondage in Egypt and cross the Red Sea into the desert. Zlatica Hoke reports that the story of the Jewish Exodus resonates with other people trying to escape slave-like conditions.
Video

Video Police Pursue Hate Crime Charges Against Kansas Shooting Suspect

Prosecutors are sifting through the evidence in the wake of Sunday’s shootings in a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri that left three people dead. A suspect in the shootings taken into custody is a white supremacist. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, he was well-known to law enforcement agencies and human rights groups alike.
Video

Video In Eastern Ukraine, Pro-unity Activists Emerge from Shadows

Amid the pro-Russian uprisings in eastern Ukraine, there is a large body of activists who support Ukrainian unity and reject Russian intervention. Their activities have remained largely underground, but they are preparing to take on their pro-Moscow opponents, as Henry Ridgwell reports from the eastern city of Donetsk.
Video

Video Basket Maker’s Skills Have World Reach

A prestigious craft show in the U.S. capital offers one-of-a-kind creations by more than 120 artists working in a variety of media. As VOA’s Julie Taboh reports from Washington, one artist lucky enough to be selected says sharing her skills with women overseas is just as significant.
Video

Video UN Report Urges Speedier Action to Avoid Climate Disaster

A new United Nations report says the world must switch from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources to control the effects of climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released the report (Sunday) following a meeting of scientists and government representatives in Berlin. The comprehensive review follows two recent IPCC reports that detail the certainty of climate change, its impacts and in this most recent report what to do about it. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble has the details.
AppleAndroid