For Obama, There Are No Winners or Losers — but There Are Villains

Spoiler alert: It’s House Republicans. And the president wants them to play nice for the rest of the year.

President Obama speaks about the reopening of the U.S. government following a shutdown Thursday morning in the State Dining Room of the White House.
National Journal
Marina Koren
Oct. 17, 2013, 8:36 a.m.

Now that the gov­ern­ment has opened and the threat of de­fault is off the table, some are won­der­ing what the first shut­down in 17 years was for. A ma­jor­ity of Amer­ic­ans are fed up with Wash­ing­ton — and its lead­ers. In the shut­down’s af­ter­math, those lead­ers are be­ing neatly sor­ted in­to two groups: win­ners and losers.

For Pres­id­ent Obama, however, no one won or lost, and there wasn’t any eco­nom­ic ra­tionale for the shut­down, either. “At a mo­ment when our eco­nom­ic re­cov­ery de­mands more jobs, more mo­mentum, we’ve got yet an­oth­er self-in­flic­ted crisis that set our eco­nomy back,” he said in a speech from the State Din­ing Room on Thursday morn­ing. “And for what?”

But there are vil­lains. “Had one side not de­cided to pur­sue a strategy of brinks­man­ship, each side could have got­ten to­geth­er and figured out how do we shape a budget that provides cer­tainty to busi­nesses and people who rely on gov­ern­ment, provides cer­tainty to in­vestors and our eco­nomy, and we’d be grow­ing faster right now,” Obama said.

That side is House Re­pub­lic­ans, and the pres­id­ent is wor­ried they will con­tin­ue to block le­gis­la­tion for the rest of the year. He poin­ted to an im­mig­ra­tion bill passed by the Sen­ate earli­er this year that is await­ing a House vote:

The ma­jor­ity of Amer­ic­ans think this is the right thing to do. And it’s sit­ting there wait­ing for the House to pass it. Now, if the House has ideas on how to im­prove the Sen­ate bill, let’s hear them. Let’s start the ne­go­ti­ations. But let’s not leave this prob­lem to keep fes­ter­ing for an­oth­er year or two years or three years. This can and should get done by the end of this year.

And a Sen­ate-ap­proved $500 bil­lion farm bill that has been re­peatedly delayed by House Re­pub­lic­ans:

Again, the Sen­ate’s already passed a sol­id bi­par­tis­an bill. It’s got sup­port from Demo­crats and Re­pub­lic­ans. It’s sit­ting in the House wait­ing for pas­sage. If House Re­pub­lic­ans have ideas that they think would im­prove the farm bill, let’s see them. Let’s ne­go­ti­ate. What are we wait­ing for? Let’s get this done.

The pres­id­ent’s re­marks sug­gest that Amer­ic­ans haven’t seen the last of Re­pub­lic­an-led blocks to le­gis­la­tion in 2013. But Obama wants the House GOP to know it’s on thin ice with the White House. And he’s not alone: A ma­jor­ity of Amer­ic­ans blame Re­pub­lic­ans for the shut­down, and the party’s pop­ular­ity has hit a re­cord low. Mov­ing for­ward, get­ting a head start on ne­go­ti­ations — and maybe even budging on some these is­sues — may not be a bad idea for the Grand Old Party.

What We're Following See More »
‘PULLING A TRUMP’
GOP Budget Chiefs Won’t Invite Administration to Testify
23 hours ago
THE DETAILS

The administration will release its 2017 budget blueprint tomorrow, but the House and Senate budget committees won’t be inviting anyone from the White House to come talk about it. “The chairmen of the House and Senate Budget committees released a joint statement saying it simply wasn’t worth their time” to hear from OMB Director Shaun Donovan. Accusing the members of pulling a “Donald Trump,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest said the move “raises some questions about how confident they are about the kinds of arguments that they could make.”

Source:
A DARK CLOUD OVER TRUMP?
Snowstorm Could Impact Primary Turnout
19 hours ago
THE LATEST

A snowstorm is supposed to hit New Hampshire today and “linger into Primary Tuesday.” GOP consultant Ron Kaufman said lower turnout should help candidates who have spent a lot of time in the state tending to retail politicking. Donald Trump “has acknowledged that he needs to step up his ground-game, and a heavy snowfall could depress his figures relative to more organized candidates.”

Source:
IN CASE OF EMERGENCY
A Shake-Up in the Offing in the Clinton Camp?
14 hours ago
THE DETAILS

Anticipating a primary loss in New Hampshire on Tuesday, Hillary and Bill Clinton “are considering staffing and strategy changes” to their campaign. Sources tell Politico that the Clintons are likely to layer over top officials with experienced talent, rather than fire their staff en masse.

Source:
THE LAST ROUND OF NEW HAMPSHIRE POLLS
Trump Is Still Ahead, but Who’s in Second?
1 hours ago
THE LATEST

We may not be talking about New Hampshire primary polls for another three-and-a-half years, so here goes:

  • American Research Group’s tracking poll has Donald Trump in the lead with 30% support, followed by Marco Rubio and John Kasich tying for second place at 16%. On the Democratic side, Bernie Sanders leads Hillary Clinton 53%-41%.
  • The 7 News/UMass Lowell tracking poll has Trump way out front with 34%, followed by Rubio and Ted Cruz with 13% apiece. Among the Democrats, Sanders is in front 56%-40%.
  • A Gravis poll puts Trump ahead with 28%, followed by Kasich with 17% and Rubio with 15%.
×