Obama Says Fiscal Battle With Congress Ended With No Winners
President Barack Obama criticized congressional Republicans who he said engaged in ideological brinkmanship that damaged the U.S. and said both parties must start serious negotiations on budget priorities.
Speaking hours after he signed into law legislation to raise the federal debt ceiling and fund the government into 2014, Obama said the most recent confrontation has slowed the economy and shook the public’s faith in government.
“There are no winners here,” Obama said in the State Dining Room of the White House. “The American people are completely fed up with Washington.”
Obama said the U.S. can recover by Republicans and Democrats working together and finishing by the end of the year a “responsible” budget, passage of a new immigration law and approval of a farm bill.
The partial government shutdown that began Oct. 1 has taken $24 billion out of the U.S. economy, according to Standard & Poor’s, and rattled consumers and businesses, while the threat of a U.S. default prompted Fitch Ratings put the government of the world’s biggest economy on watch for a possible credit downgrade two days ago.
Americans in October were the most pessimistic about the nation’s economic outlook in almost two years, according to the monthly Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index. Other reports today showed more Americans than forecast filed applications for unemployment benefits last week.
While the legislation passed by Congress last night resolved the immediate deadlock, it may set the stage for another round of confrontations early next year.
As Obama seeks to advance the rest of his agenda, from immigration laws to climate change, his victory in this confrontation is no guarantee that he can reach compromises with Republicans over the rest of his second term.
Senator Ted Cruz of Texas was among the Republican lawmakers vowing to keep trying to chip away at the president’s health-care law. Their demands that the law be stripped of funding or delayed and the president’s refusal to concede led to the standoff.
“We hear some members who pushed for the shutdown say they were doing it to save the American economy,” Obama said. “But nothing has done more to undermine our economy these past three years than the kind of tactics that create these manufactured crises.”
U.S. stocks rose today, sending the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index past its record close, as investors assessed the effects of the budget standoff. The benchmark index (COMFBTWR) increased 0.3 percent to 1,726.26 at 12:01 p.m.
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