President Obama took a swipe at the Hard Right on Monday, accusing tea-party-aligned House Republicans of gambling with the nation’s economy by threatening to shut down the government unless Obamacare is defunded.
In a sprawling economic speech, Obama called on Congress to avert a government shutdown by passing a budget, and he insisted he would brook no wrangling over a raise in the debt ceiling. Obama said such a shutdown, or even the possibility of default, would damage the still-fragile economic recovery.
Specifically, the president went after Republicans who say they won’t vote for any budget deal that does not nullify the Affordable Care Act. “I cannot remember a time when one faction of one party promises economic chaos if it can’t get 100 percent of what it wants,” Obama said. “That’s never happened before, and that’s what happening right now.”
Obama appealed to the rest of the Republican Party for help in brokering a budget compromise, challenging members to break with those calling for defunding Obamacare.
“Are some of these folks so beholden to one extreme wing of their party that they’re willing to tank our whole economy?” he said. “Are they willing to hurt people?”
By going after one GOP “faction” and appealing to the other, Obama is seeking leverage in a tactical dispute that has vexed Republicans all summer. In one camp are legislators — headlined by Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas — who are insisting that the party shut down the government unless funding is stripped for the health care law. Other Republicans, including much of the party’s leadership, say they too want to defund the health care law, but they see connecting Obamacare to a government shutdown as too politically risky.
In seeking to further divide the camps, Obama is hoping to avert a government shutdown while also achieving some Democratic policy aims, such as rollbacks of the sequester-induced spending cuts that Obama on Monday said were hurting economic growth.
The government’s current budget is set to expire Oct. 1. If Congress cannot pass a budget before then — a possibility that seems increasingly likely as days dwindle on the legislative calendar — it has the option forestall shutdown by passing a short-term extension.
What We're Following See More »
Two powerful House members—Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster (R-PA) and Veterans Affairs Committee Chair Jeff Miller (R-FL)—are throwing their support behind Donald Trump.
There are not "ongoing, direct conversations between" the Bernie Sanders camp and the Hillary Clinton camp regarding "the platform or rules changes," but Sanders "is already making his opening arguments" about those issues on the stump. Sanders is putting "complaints about closed primaries" atop his stump speeches lately, and figures to start a "conversation about the role of superdelegates in the nominating process." He said, “Our goal, whether we win or we do not win, is to transform the Democratic Party."
Well, this is unsubtle. Former Speaker John Boehner called Ted Cruz "lucifer in the flesh," adding that he "never worked with a more miserable son of a bitch in my life." Boehner has endorsed John Kasich, but he said he'd vote for Donald Trump over Cruz. He also praised Bernie Sanders, calling him the most honest politician in the race, and predicted that Joe Biden may yet have a role to play in the Democratic contest, especially if Hillary Clinton runs into legal trouble over her emails.