Faced with the looming prospect of a debt default, President Barack Obama on Saturday appealed to the Congress to pass the budget while pushing Republicans to agree to hike the borrowing limit to prevent an “economic shutdown”.
“Let’s pass a budget, put people back to work, and end this Republican shutdown. Let’s pay our bills, and prevent an economic shutdown,” Obama said as the government shutdown entered its 12th day.
In his weekly address to the nation, Obama outlined details of his meetings with Republican lawmakers over the past few days to resolve the unprecedented crisis.
“I know you’re frustrated by what you see in your nation’s capital right now. But because it’s easy to get lost in or give up on the political back-and-forth, I want you to remember: this is not normal,” he said. The battle between Obama and Republicans, who control the House of Representatives, over the flagship healthcare plan dubbed ‘Obamacare’ has forced the government to shutter offices and send home hundreds of thousands of workers.
Alongside the shutdown, the US is heading for a default if it does not raise its debt limit by the October 17 deadline. “Our government is closed for the first time in 17 years. A political party is risking default for the first time since the 1700s. This is not normal. That’s why we have to put a stop to it. Not only because it’s dangerous, but because it saps everyone’s faith in our extraordinary system of self-government. And that hurts us all,” he said.
Obama blamed the Republican Party for the current situation, saying “constant brinkmanship” does not let his government do a lot of things. “Whether it’s the work of creating jobs, growing the economy, or getting our fiscal house in order for the long haul, we’ve got a lot of work to do and constant brinkmanship doesn’t let us do it,” Obama said.