Obama: GOP budget critics holding U.S. ‘hostage’

President Barack Obama said Republicans are "holding the whole country hostage" by opposing his health care law. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)

President Barack Obama said Republicans are “holding the whole country hostage” by opposing his health care law. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)

By Josh Lederman

Associated Press

CLAYCOMO, Mo. — President Barack Obama furiously responded Friday to congressional budget battles that could threaten a partial government shutdown, accusing Republicans voting against his health care law of focusing on politics and “holding the whole country hostage.”

Locked in a stalemate with lawmakers over spending and borrowing with less than two weeks until the start of the new budget year, the president returned to a fiery campaign mode to take his critics to task. He said Republicans must stop focusing on defunding his health care law, pass a budget and raise the nation’s borrowing limit to head off a first-ever default on the nation’s debt.

“We’re not some banana republic. This isn’t some deadbeat nation,” Obama said before workers on a sprawling auto plant floor in Missouri. “We don’t run out on our tab. We’re the world’s bedrock investment. The entire world looks to us to make sure the world economy is stable. We can’t just not pay our bills. And even threating something like that is the height of irresponsibility.”

Congress faces two financial deadlines in the coming weeks. Funding for the government is set to run out at the end of September, and the government will reach the limits of its borrowing authority a few weeks later.

The Republican-led House passed a bill Friday to keep the government running while gutting funding for Obama’s health care law.

The health care provision is sure to die in the Democratic-controlled Senate, and Obama said he would veto it if it didn’t, setting up a showdown that could lead to a partial government shutdown.

“Our message to the United State Senate is real simple,” House Speaker John Boehner declared after the vote. “The American people don’t want the government shut down, and they don’t want Obamacare.”

Obama returned the combative tone soon after, accusing Republicans of threatening to “blow the whole thing up” because they couldn’t get their way on health care. He ridiculed them for the more than 40 votes they’ve taken to repeal his health care proposal as a waste of time and energy.

“Now they’ve gone beyond just holding Congress hostage. They’re holding the whole country hostage,” with the key deadlines looming, Obama said.

Obama was speaking at a Ford Motor Co. stamping plant near Kansas City, and he told the workers that the shutdown will hurt Americans like them. He laid out a menacing list of consequences if Congress fails to act: Delayed paychecks for military workers, hundreds of thousands of Americans prevented from going to work, small businesses whose loans won’t go through.

“Somebody wanting to buy an F-150 will have to pay much higher interest rates eventually, which means you will sell less cars,” he said. “That’s just one example of how profoundly destructive this could be. This is not some abstract thing.”

He continued with the automotive metaphor to explain the impact of the failure to raise the debt limit, comparing it to a driver who gets a new F-150 on a payment plan.

“I can’t just say, you know, I’m not going to make my car payment this month. That’s what Congress is threatening to do, just saying, ‘I’m not going to pay the bills.’ There are consequences to that,” Obama said.

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  • DoubleTalk

    There are consequences to taking out loans you can’t pay also.

  • guest

    What would we do if China, North Korea or Iran openly stated that they were going to purposely force the US to default on its loans and send our economy in a tail spin? Our economy is just getting its traction for a comeback and this will only set it back causing great harm to millions of Americans for no real good reason.

    What would we do if a radical group threatened to harm the US economy and its citizens for an ideological belief?

  • DoubleTalk

    I have to disagree with our economy getting ready for a comeback. It continues to be propped up just like they did the housing market until it failed.

    The “Leaders” have enslaved the US already to China and others through borrowing that can’t as of yet even make a minimum payment. Adding more will not help. Much like the homeowner that refi’s their home to pay of high interest credit cards and then runs the cards back up again, it is a delayed failure.

    • TWBDB

      Obstructionists have enslaved our government’s ability to do business and generate cash flow. That’s how a macro – economy is run: and that’s how you come out of a recession.
      Economy 101.

  • guest

    But our debt ratio to the economy does not work like a homeowner’s purchase / payment and we are not enslaved to China – your understanding of our systems is not only juvenile it borders irrational. It is a dangerous trait to be able to discuss things you don’t understand with such conviction. Maybe you do understand but want to confuse people. You mention debt without any context what so ever. Even with your false/ sophomoric “home owner’s analogy a homeowner’s income is compared to debt. What is our GDP to debt ratio in the US? The best way to fix the debt issues is to get the economy going again not by ideological games that cannot be translated into policy.

    That is the core problem of the Tea Party – they have built up their beliefs on issues that they don’t understand or don’t want to. There is more to governing than just working people up or being against who is in elected office.

    • DoubleTalk

      Debt is debt no matter what line item you try and mask it with. Ugly is still ugly when you remove the facade. Simple for most to understand. I couldn’t help but laugh when the last year or 2 has been about what if China calls in its debt. Then China and others shedding US loans for fear. I understand real well what it takes to live within ones means. Those that don’t suffer the consequences.

      Best way to fix debt IMO. Quit borrowing what you can’t repay, quit spending what you don’t have. Tried, proven, time tested for centuries.

      GDP ? It isn’t much help to the US to be getting more than sending. Killing the value of the dollar to do it is even worse. Keep pumping the pie in the sky. As in Genesis, you are enslaved.

      • TWBDB

        Our obsession with cheap foreign made products is our main economic problem. Buy American made durable goods, buy locally grown food, support sustainable energy, support education for everyone, and you’ll see our economy come back with gusto.

      • guest

        The only thing worse for our country – than your total lack of understanding of our basic economic principles / systems is your willingness to talk about them like you do know.

        You do understand that if the Tea Party should ever gets any real power or authority in our government – that they lack the basic skills / understanding to even run it. You cannot build a successful political movement on just being against everything or wishing certain people would just live the way you want them.

        The press and the public in general need to do a better job in pointing this out instead of looking at the entertainment value of the Tea Party Drama spectacles.

    • 1941641

      You got the Tea Party problem exactly right!

      “That is the core problem of the Tea Party – they have built up their beliefs on issues that they don’t understand or don’t want to. There is more to governing than just working people up or being against who is in elected office.”

      • guest

        It is a good way to raise campaign donations though LOL!!!! What do they say about a fool and his money?

  • 1941641

    Divide America into Democrats and Republicans fence the perimeter lines off so no one can cheat. Let the divisions operate independently for 5 years. Conservative budget vs. Liberal budget. Then take a long look at the results to see which budget was the best. Repubs are wanting to secede anyway so it would be a good test for America’s future existence.