News / USA

Obama: Government Shutdown Impact is 'Heartbreaking'

Reuters
— Saying the U.S. government shutdown was having a “heartbreaking” impact on ordinary Americans, President Barack Obama on Saturday renewed his call on congressional Republicans to end the five-day stalemate and pass a funding bill without conditions.

Republicans in the House of Representatives have held firm in their refusal to fund and reopen the government until Democrats agree to delay implementation of Obama's landmark 2010 healthcare law, also known as Obamacare.

In his weekly radio address, Obama ratcheted up the pressure on Republicans, describing the toll the shutdown was having on several people who had either lost access to government services or been temporarily displaced from their jobs.



Kelly Mumper, an early education worker with three children in the military, was one of 150 workers who had to stop providing care for 770 children enrolled in an early childhood education facility in Alabama, the president said.

“I am extremely concerned for the welfare of these children,” Obama quoted Mumper as saying in a letter she wrote him.

How The Shutdown is Affecting Services

  • About 800,000 federal workers furloughed
  • The military's 1.4 million active-duty personnel remain on duty, their paychecks delayed
  • NASA is furloughing almost all its employees
  • Air traffic controllers and screeners staying on the job
  • Federal courts continue to operate
  • Mail deliveries continue since U.S. Postal Service is not funded by tax dollars
  • Most Homeland Security employees continue to work
  • Most veterans' services continue because they are funded in advance
  • National Parks and Smithsonian museums closing
Obama recounted another story about Julia Pruden, a North Dakota woman who said she wouldn't get a loan to buy a house under a Department of Agriculture rural development program in the event of a government shutdown.

“These are just a few of the many heartbreaking letters I've gotten from them in the past couple weeks - including more than 30,000 over the past few days,” he said. “I know that Republicans in the House of Representatives are hearing the same kinds of stories.”

The standoff, which began at the start of the new fiscal year on Tuesday and shuttered all but essential government operations, is the latest in a series of budget standoffs between Obama and congressional Republicans.

In the past, Republicans have insisted on spending cuts as the price for budget deals or lifting of the government debt limit. Their current stand is aimed at derailing Obamacare, which will expand insurance to millions without coverage.

Republicans argue that the law is a massive government intrusion into private medicine that will cause insurance premiums to skyrocket.

Obama and his fellow Democrats vow that they will make no such concessions in exchange for an agreement to reopen the government. A meeting between Obama and congressional leaders from both parties on Wednesday saw neither side budge.

Republicans are also seeking concessions in exchange for raising the nation's $16.7 trillion debt limit, which is due to be reached Oct. 17. If the borrowing cap is not increased, the United States will go into default, with what officials and economists say would be seriously damaging consequences for the U.S. and global economies.

Republicans fault the deadlock on the White House, saying the president is stubbornly refusing to compromise. The president has said that he is open to bartering over budget issues, but not under the threat of a shutdown, and that raising the debt limit - and avoiding default - is non-negotiable.

The president canceled a week-long trip to Asia next week to deal with the crisis.

You May Like

Video On The Scene: In Gaza, Darkness Brings Dread and Death

Palestinians fear nighttime bombardment, VOA correspondent finds More

African Small Farmers Could Be Key to Ending Food Insecurity

Experts say providing access to microloans, crop insurance, better storage facilities, irrigation, road systems and market information could enable greater production More

University of Michigan Wins Solar Car Race

Squad guided its student-designed solar-powered vehicle to fifth consecutive time victory in eight-day bi-annual American Solar Challenge More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid