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

    Beijing Warns Critics Over South China Sea Dispute

    Official warns critics that the more they challenge China's position regarding disputed territories in one of world’s busiest waterways, the more it will push back

    Will New Russian Force Be 'Putin’s Personal Army'?

    With broad powers to control riots, suppress dissent, National Guard may be aimed at sending a message to West as much as keeping peace at home

    Foreign Media in Pyongyang Barred From North Korean Party Congress

    Hundreds of international journalists invited to cover historic party meeting barred from entering actual event

    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.
    Image Recognition Market Seen Doubling by 2020i
    X
    Ramon Taylor
    May 05, 2016 10:05 PM
    From auto tagging on Facebook to self-driving cars, image recognition technology as it exists today is still in its beginning phases, experts say — and will soon change the way users and corporations interact with the physical world. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports.
    Video

    Video Image Recognition Market Seen Doubling by 2020

    From auto tagging on Facebook to self-driving cars, image recognition technology as it exists today is still in its beginning phases, experts say — and will soon change the way users and corporations interact with the physical world. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports.
    Video

    Video Child Labor in Afghanistan Remains a Problem

    With war still raging in Afghanistan, the country also faces the problem of child labor as families put their school-age children to work to help make ends meet. But, thanks to VOA's Afghan Service, two families whose children had been working in a brick-making factory - to earn their livings and pay off family debts - now have a new lease on life. Zabihullah Ghazi reports.
    Video

    Video Kurdish Troops Recount Firefight Which Killed US Navy SEAL

    A U.S. Navy SEAL killed Tuesday, when Islamic State fighters punched through Kurdish lines in northern Iraq, was part of a quick reaction force sent to extract other U.S. troops trapped by the surprise offensive. VOA's Kawa Omar spoke with Kurdish troops in the town of Telskuf -- the scene of what U.S. officials called a "dynamic firefight."
    Video

    Video British Lawmakers Warn EU Exit Talks Could Last A Decade

    Leaving the European Union would mean difficult negotiations that could take years to complete, according to a bipartisan group of British lawmakers. While the group did not recommend a vote either way, the lawmakers noted trade deals between the EU and non-EU states take between four and nine years on average. Henry Ridgwell reports on the mounting debate over whether Britain should stay or exit the EU as the June vote approaches.
    Video

    Video NASA Astronauts Train for Commercial Space Flights

    Since the last Shuttle flight in 2011, the United States has been relying on Russian rockets to launch fresh crews to the International Space Station. But that may change in the next few years. NASA and several private space companies are developing advanced capsules capable of taking humans into low orbit and beyond. As VOA's George Putic reports, astronauts are already training for commercial spacecraft in flight simulators.
    Video

    Video US Worried Political Chaos in Iraq Will Hurt IS Fight

    The White House is expressing concern about rising political chaos in Iraq and the impact it could have on the fight against the Islamic State. The U.S. says Iraq needs a stable, central government to help push back the group. But some say Baghdad may not have a unified government any time soon. VOA's White House correspondent Mary Alice Salinas reports.
    Video

    Video Press Freedom in Myanmar Fragile, Limited

    As Myanmar begins a new era with a democratically elected government, many issues of the past confront the new leadership. Among them is press freedom in a country where journalists have been routinely harassed or jailed.
    Video

    Video Taliban Threats Force Messi Fan to Leave Afghanistan

    A young Afghan boy, who recently received autographed shirts and a football from his soccer hero Lionel Messi, has fled his country due to safety concerns. He and his family are now taking refuge in neighboring Pakistan. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from Islamabad.
    Video

    Video Major Rubbish Burning Experiment Captures Destructive Greenhouse Gases

    The world’s first test to capture environmentally harmful carbon dioxide gases from the fumes of burning rubbish took place recently in Oslo, Norway. The successful experiment at the city's main incinerator plant, showcased a method for capturing most of the carbon dioxide. VOA’s Deborah Block has more.
    Video

    Video EU Visa Block Threatens To Derail EU-Turkey Migrant Deal

    Turkish citizens could soon benefit from visa-free travel to Europe as part of the recent deal between the EU and Ankara to stem the flow of refugees. In return, Turkey has pledged to keep the migrants on Turkish soil and crack down on those who are smuggling them. Brussels is set to publish its latest progress report Wednesday — but as Henry Ridgwell reports from London, many EU lawmakers are threatening to veto the deal over human rights concerns.
    Video

    Video Tensions Rising Ahead of South China Sea Ruling

    As the Philippines awaits an international arbitration ruling on a challenge to China's claims to nearly all of the South China Sea, it is already becoming clear that regardless of which way the decision goes, the dispute is intensifying. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
    Video

    Video Painting Captures President Lincoln Assassination Aftermath

    A newly restored painting captures the moments following President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination in 1865. It was recently unveiled at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, where America’s 16th president was shot. It is the only known painting by an eyewitness that captures the horror of that fateful night. VOA’s Julie Taboh tells us more about the painting and what it took to restore it to its original condition.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora