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

    Chechen Suspected in Istanbul Attack, but Questions Remain

    Turkish sources say North Caucasus militants involved in bombing at Ataturk airport, but name of at least one alleged attacker raises doubts

    With Johnson Out, Can a New ‘Margaret Thatcher’ Save Britain?

    Contest to replace David Cameron as Britain’s prime minister started in earnest Thursday with top candidates outlining strategy to deal with Brexit fallout

    US Finds Progress Slow Against Human Trafficking in Africa

    Africa continues to be a major source and destination for human trafficking of all kinds -- from forced labor to sexual slavery, says State Department report

    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.
    Clinton Leads Trump, But Many Voters Don't Like Eitheri
    X
    Jim Malone
    June 29, 2016 6:16 PM
    In the U.S. presidential race, most recent polls show Democrat Hillary Clinton with a steady lead over Republican Donald Trump as both presumptive party nominees prepare for their party conventions next month. Trump’s disapproval ratings have risen in some recent surveys, but Clinton also suffers from high negative ratings, suggesting both candidates have a lot of work to do to improve their images before the November election. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Clinton Leads Trump, But Many Voters Don't Like Either

    In the U.S. presidential race, most recent polls show Democrat Hillary Clinton with a steady lead over Republican Donald Trump as both presumptive party nominees prepare for their party conventions next month. Trump’s disapproval ratings have risen in some recent surveys, but Clinton also suffers from high negative ratings, suggesting both candidates have a lot of work to do to improve their images before the November election. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Slow Rebuilding Amid Boko Haram Destruction in Nigeria’s Northeast

    Military operations have chased Boko Haram out of towns and cities in Nigeria’s northeast since early last year. But it is only recently that people have begun returning to their homes in Adamawa state, near the border with Cameroon, to try to rebuild their lives. For VOA, Chris Stein traveled to the area and has this report.
    Video

    Video New US Ambassador to Somalia Faces Heavy Challenges

    The new U.S. envoy to Somalia, who was sworn into office Monday, will be the first American ambassador to that nation in 25 years. He will take up his post as Somalia faces a number of crucial issues, including insecurity, an upcoming election, and the potential closure of the Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya. VOA’s Jill Craig asked Somalis living in Kenya’s capital city Nairobi how they feel about the U.S. finally installing a new ambassador.
    Video

    Video At National Zoo, Captivating Animal Sculptures Illustrate Tragedy of Ocean Pollution

    The National Zoo in Washington, D.C., is home to about 1,800 animals, representing 300 species. But throughout the summer, visitors can also see other kinds of creatures there. They are larger-than-life animal sculptures that speak volumes about a global issue — the massive plastic pollution in our oceans. VOA's June Soh takes us to the zoo's special exhibit, called Washed Ashore: Art to Save the Sea.
    Video

    Video Baghdad Bikers Defy War with a Roar

    Baghdad is a city of contradictions. War is a constant. Explosions and kidnappings are part of daily life. But the Iraqi capital remains a thriving city, even if a little beat up. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on how some in Baghdad are defying the stereotype of a nation at war by pursuing a lifestyle known for its iconic symbols of rebellion: motorbikes, leather jackets and roaring engines.
    Video

    Video Melting Pot of Immigrants Working to Restore US Capitol Dome

    The American Iron Works company is one of the firms working to renovate the iconic U.S. Capitol Dome. The company employs immigrants of many different cultural and national backgrounds. VOA’s Arman Tarjimanyan has more.
    Video

    Video Testing Bamboo as Building Material

    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Orphanage in Iraqi City Houses Kids Who Lost their Parents to Attacks by IS

    An orphanage in Iraqi Kurdistan has become home to scores of Yazidi children who lost their parents after Islamic State militants took over Sinjar in Iraq’s Nineveh Province in 2014. Iraqi Kurdish forces backed by the U.S. airstrikes have since recaptured Sinjar but the need for the care provided by the orphanage continues. VOA’s Kawa Omar filed this report narrated by Rob Raffaele.
    Video

    Video Re-Opening Old Wounds in a Bullet-Riddled Cultural Landmark

    A cultural landmark before Lebanon’s civil war transformed it into a nest of snipers, Beirut’s ‘Yellow House’ is once again set to play a crucial role in the city.  Built in a neo-Ottoman style in the 1920s, in September it is set to be re-opened as a ‘memory museum’ - its bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking the city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Brexit Resounds in US Presidential Contest

    Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is resounding in America’s presidential race. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump sees Britain’s move as an affirmation of his campaign’s core messages, while Democrat Hillary Clinton sees the episode as further evidence that Trump is unfit to be president.
    Video

    Video NASA Juno Spacecraft, Nearing Jupiter, to Shed Light on Gas Giant

    After a five-year journey, the spacecraft Juno is nearing its destination, the giant planet Jupiter, where it will enter orbit and start sending data back July 4th. As Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, the craft will pierce the veil of Jupiter's dense cloud cover to reveal its mysteries.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora