News / USA

Obama: GOP Holding Americans, Economy Hostage in 'Ideological' Shutdown

US Government Shuts Down; Most Government Workers Sent Homei
X
October 01, 2013 8:06 PM
The US government shut down at midnight Monday, after Congress failed to pass a bill to keep the government running. The standoff revolves around a dispute between Democrats and Republicans over the President's signature health care reform law, with Republicans first proposing to defund it and then delay it in return for temporarily funding the government. Except for those considered "essential," federal workers in the United States are not on the job and many agencies are closed or partially closed. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti shows us the scene in Washington.
Related video report by Carolyn Presutti
With the federal government partially shut down amid vociferous debate in Congress over the health care reform law, President Barack Obama said Republicans are holding Americans and the U.S. economy hostage for ideological reasons.  

The first full day of shutdown coincided with the launch of new online exchanges that millions of uninsured Americans can use to purchase plans under the Affordable Care Act.

Republicans want the health care law to be defunded or parts of it delayed. They have linked these demands to legislation that would fund government operations.

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
In the Oval Office, Obama met with citizens who have purchased or plan to buy insurance. Afterwards, they went with him to the Rose Garden where he accused Republicans of holding the government and the economy hostage.

"Republicans in the House of Representatives refused to fund the government unless we defunded or dismantled the Affordable Care Act," he said. "They have shut down the government over an ideological crusade to deny affordable health insurance to millions of Americans.  In other words, they demanded ransom just for doing their job."

Under Obamacare, companies cannot deny coverage based on a pre-existing medical condition, or impose lifetime coverage limits.

Starting in 2014, most Americans must have health insurance or pay a fine, and have until March to sign up for insurance plans.  

The White House delayed online enrollment for small businesses until November, and postponed by a year a requirement for large employers to offer insurance to employees or pay a fine.

Obama acknowledged glitches in the rollout of the health care sign up process, including slowness of online exchanges, as millions of people accessed web sites.

Saying the longer the government shutdown continues the worse the effects for a recovering economy, he said he remains open to negotiation about ways to improve the health care law, but not open to dismantling it.

"I will work with anybody who has got a serious idea to make the Affordable Care Act work better, I have said that repeatedly, but as long as I am president I will not give in to reckless demands by some in the Republican party to deny affordable health insurance to millions of hardworking Americans," he said.

But political stalemate continued on Capitol Hill. After the Senate rejected a House request for negotiations on the matter, Republican Speaker John Boehner expressed disappointment.

"My goodness, they will not even sit down and have a discussion about this," he said.

In addition to the nationwide impacts, the White House is hit by the government shutdown. More than 1,000 staff members are on unpaid leave, as are some 800,000 federal workers.

President Obama is due to depart Saturday on a week-long trip to Asia where he is scheduled to attend the APEC economic summit and other meetings.

Addressing speculation that Obama may be forced to cancel the trip to remain in Washington to deal with the government shutdown, White House spokesman Jay Carney said Obama still plans to make the trip.
 

You May Like

Photogallery Americans Celebrate Thanksgiving With Feasts, Festivities

Holiday traditions include turkey dinners, 'turkey trots,' American-style football and New York parade with giant balloons More

Video For Obama, Ferguson Violence is a Personal Issue

With two years left in term, analysts say, president has less to lose by taking conversation on race further More

Video Italian Espresso Expands Into Space

When Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti headed for the ISS, her countrymen worried how she would survive six months drinking only instant coffee More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments page of 2
    Next 
by: Nat from: perth, australia
October 03, 2013 12:11 PM
From an Australian....Why don't some Americans want affordable access for all Americans...to progress and advance your country u need to protect the vulnerable..How can u want to stop a legislation which is fair and equitable...America u are selfish and greedy and should be ashamed of yourselves!!!


by: BrianL
October 02, 2013 6:24 PM
I really don't see the role of the US president when he is being controlled by congress. The republicans need to be fine at a minimum of 1 million dollars a day for such nonsense and their private assets be sold and banned from congress that's what should be done even if illegal or unconstitutional to send a strong message.

Congress should not have such power, the president should be the one having the ultimate say in any country. In addition, if there is a majority of one party in a congress, the president should not be of an opposite party but of the majority. This is just an open mess when the president does not have a majority in congress.


by: Markt
October 02, 2013 8:39 AM
Oh, the irony...our Commander in Chief, the President is NOT going to remain in country to help solve this problem, but will fly to Asia for an economic summit. His own country in economic turmoil, and he intends to teach other countries about economics? Sure, we can't fund the government right now, so lets spend $182,000 an hour to fly Air Force One halfway around the world and back....(btw, that is the actual cost per hour to operate and maintain Air Force One). When the going gets tough, the leaders point fingers while the President takes a trip.


by: Cranksy from: USA
October 02, 2013 3:21 AM
The Republicans in Congress have gotten closer to destroying the country they love. Would that make them the legislative equivalent to suicide bombers?


by: Mike Siller from: Long Beach, Ca
October 01, 2013 10:02 PM
All the tea party members are becoming what they disliked about their party. We need the names and make sure we do what we need to make sure they do not get reelected.


by: JKF from: the great north!
October 01, 2013 8:25 PM
The Affordable Health Care Act (AHCA) is the law; shutting down the gvmt and holding every gvmt worker hostage, because you do not like the law, is no way to legislate; it has become the lazy man's way to oppose a law. The Republicans instead of using the moral hi ground and legislate/ advance/ persuade/etc through intellect and address the majority THEIR STRATEGY is dastardly- why not hold everyone hostage? maybe that way the majority will support them-NOT LIKELY .... The people that are holding everyone hostage, because they are too lazy to do their work, are harming everyone in the US and US allies alike. Once again, as polls indicate, people support the AHCA. If any thing, its scope should be increased, and just as low income individuals get a subsidy, so should low income companies. I guess some in congress just want to see the entire economy of the US go down the drain, so that their big bank buddies can dramatically increase their earnings and bonuses, while the average US citizen struggles with his/her daily survival. Not a good situation, I guess as the people see how big interests are acting against them, the democrats will be a shoe in in the next election; and the Republicans are down the drain by their own foolishness; shuting down the gvmt is a failed strategy, putting low income gvmt employees on the streets is a failed strategy, harrassing citizens by deying services through this forced closure is a failed strategy....


by: Anonymous
October 01, 2013 7:10 PM
another anti-republican story from the Obama media lap dogs.


by: Insider from: D.C.
October 01, 2013 5:29 PM
AGENDA21 is ruining this country. Educate yourself about AGENDA21. AGENDA21 !!!


by: Markt
October 01, 2013 10:59 AM
800,000 people are not working today, they will not be working tomorrow, or the next day, or the next day, or the next....while the 537 in congress keep working (I thought it affected ALL non-essential government employees) and keep getting paid their over-blown salaries. Obamacare, like much of the Obama Administration, is going to destroy millions of families already teetering on the edge. While it may allow 23 million Americans healthcare, it will hurt the other 290 million trying to keep any hold on their current health care. While Congress, of course, keeps its exclusive health care that is denied to every tax paying American. What a nice bunch of caring, sensitive and well meaning folks we have looking out for our best interests.....

In Response

by: tom from: work
October 01, 2013 12:34 PM
What we have from our goverment is big school yard with one small group of bullies, another group of standby do nothings, and the other group in denial. Seems like that is how Hitler came to power


by: Godwin from: Nigeria
October 01, 2013 10:07 AM
This is called 'audacity of hope'. This hope has failed; the government has shut down. The president had hoped it was going to be one of those times when bills are passed at the last minute, but he has mistaken. Subsidizing healthcare in America, are you going back to socialism? Insisting on the president's idea not the people's, is America staging a return to autocracy? What happens to compromise? What happens to president playing the card to avoid government shut down pending further negotiation? O yea, America seems to want to have a taste of the power of potentates in the Arab world. Welcome to Obamakingdom.

In Response

by: catharina from: usa
October 01, 2013 5:56 PM
you are seeing things all upside down ,the president has been negotiating with the repups many times before one can only do so much WE THE PEOPLE WANT affordable healthcare The repups do not want us to have it. The "little" people would be better off THAT is not on their agenda

In Response

by: catharina from: usa
October 01, 2013 5:49 PM
We are talking about affordable healthcare something every American can use ,not Obamacare .That is just the name given to it by the repulsive republicans who would like to see it gone.
We voted this President in for the 2nd time I guess a bit hard to swallow for the repubs

Comments page of 2
    Next 

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
South Africa Sees Male Circumcision as Way to Reduce HIV Infectionsi
X
November 28, 2014 3:31 PM
South Africa remains plagued by AIDS despite massive government and NGO efforts on prevention and life-sustaining Anti-Retro-Viral programs. But the country has opened up another front to reduce new HIV infections: promoting circumcision. Emilie Iob reports for VOA News from a pioneering circumcision center in Orange Farm, Johannesburg.
Video

Video South Africa Sees Male Circumcision as Way to Reduce HIV Infections

South Africa remains plagued by AIDS despite massive government and NGO efforts on prevention and life-sustaining Anti-Retro-Viral programs. But the country has opened up another front to reduce new HIV infections: promoting circumcision. Emilie Iob reports for VOA News from a pioneering circumcision center in Orange Farm, Johannesburg.
Video

Video To Make A Living, Nairobi Street Vendors Face Legal Hurdles, Physical Violence

The Nairobi City Council has been accused of brutality in dealing with hawkers in the Central Business District - in order to stop them from illegally selling their wares on the streets. Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video For Obama, Ferguson Violence is a Personal Issue

Throughout the crisis in Ferguson, Missouri, President Barack Obama has urged calm, restraint and respect for the rule of law. But the events in Ferguson have prompted him to call — more openly than he has before — for profound changes to end the racism and distrust that he believes still exists between whites and blacks in the United States. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Online Magazine Gets Kids Discussing Big Questions

Teen culture in America is often criticized for being superficial. But an online magazine has been encouraging some teenagers to explore deeper issues, and rewarding their efforts. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky went to this year’s Kidspirit awards ceremony in New York.
Video

Video US Community Kicks Off Thanksgiving With Parade

Thursday is Thanksgiving in the United States, a holiday whose roots go back to the country's earliest days as a British colony. One way Americans celebrate the occasion is with parades. Anush Avetisyan takes us to one such event on the day before Thanksgiving near Washington, where a community's diversity is on display. Joy Wagner narrates
Video

Video Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Change

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Mali Attempts to Shut Down Ebola Transmission Chain

Senegal and Nigeria were able to stop small Ebola outbreaks by closely monitoring those who had contact with the sick person and quickly isolating anyone with symptoms. Mali is now scrambling to do the same. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Mali on what the country is doing to shut down the chain of transmission.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.

All About America

AppleAndroid