Katie LaPotin, Red Alert Politics, January 14, 2013
During the final press conference of his first term in office, President Obama once again blamed Congressional Republicans for failing to work with him on fixing the nation’s financial problems, including raising the debt ceiling so that Congress can “pay its bills.”
He even asked Congress to give him permission to raise the debt ceiling himself so that “we don’t have a debate every three months” on the issue. While a deal was reached that delayed the nation from falling off the so-called ‘fiscal cliff’ on January 1, the government is due to reach the $16.4 billion debt limit sometime next month.
“[It] is not a question of authoizing more debt spending. [Raising the debt ceiling] simply allows the country to pay for the spending that Congress has already committed to and we need to pay them,” Obama explained.
“America cannot afford another debate with this Congress about whether we should pay the bills they’ve already racked up.”
“Raising the debt ceiling doesn’t authorize us to pay more. We are not a deadbeat nation,” the president continued.
The president left no stone unturned when it came to attacking Congressional Republicans during the last-minute press conference, even going so far as to say that their insistence on getting what they want without compromising was ruining the country.
“In order for us to get our way on our spending priorities that we would risk the full faith and credit of the United States that I think is not what the founding fathers intended and how most Americans think our democracy should work,” Obama said.
After all, the American people re-elected him last fall so they must agree with him when it comes to raising America’s debt limit, as he pointed out several times during the conference.
“I don’t think anyone would consider my position unreasonable here,” he opined at one point.
He also apparently doesn’t think that Congress – or the press – understands what the debt ceiling is. Obama spent about half of the presser giving analogies, such as dining and dashing, to explain how the debt ceiling works to the White House press corps.
The press conference really went downhill when the President claimed that Republicans were willing to cut funding for expensive programs like Medicare and food stamps because they don’t want seniors to have healthcare of kids in poverty to have food.
“What I will not do is to have that negotiation with a gun at the head of the American people — the threat that ‘unless we get our way, unless you gut Medicare or Medicaid, or otherwise slash things that the American people don’t believe should be slashed, that we’re going to threaten to wreck the entire economy,’ Obama stated. “That is not how historically this has been done. That’s not how we’re going to do it this time.”
House Speaker John Boehner shot back in a press release immediately after the press conference that, “The American people do not support raising the debt ceiling without reducing government spending at the same time. The consequences of failing to increase the debt ceiling are real, but so too are the consequences of allowing our spending problem to go unresolved.
“Without meaningful action, the debt will continue to act as an anchor on our economy, costing American jobs and endangering our children’s future. The House will do its job and pass responsible legislation that controls spending, meets our nation’s obligations and keeps the government running, and we will insist that the Democratic majority in Washington do the same,” Boehner said.
Today’s press conference was the President’s thirty-seventh solo conference since taking office four years ago. While Obama has already held several press conferences this month to announce Cabinet nominations for his second term, today’s press conference was entirely unexpected. The White House announced it less than two hours before it started and didn’t release the topic of the presser – the debt ceiling – until shortly before it began.
President Obama also answered several questions on gun control, noting that earlier today he received the proposal from the guns task force led by Vice President Joe Biden. The President said that he would discuss the proposals with the Vice President later today and then release his final proposal to the American public later this week.
Unlike his remarks on the debt ceiling, the president strayed away from partisan attacks when discussing the task force. “My starting point is not to worry about the politics but instead what works,” he said.