ABC News' Sunlen Miller reports:
President Obama uses his weekly address to point a finger at Republicans, blasting the “dreary and familiar politics,” that – he says – is holding up important legislation on Capitol Hill.
“I was disappointed this week to see a dreary and familiar politics get in the way of our ability to move forward on a series of critical issues that have a direct impact on people’s lives,” Obama said.
The president then provided a list of areas where he believed that Republicans were standing in the way of reform.
First, on the extension of unemployment benefits, Obama claimed the Republican leadership in the Senate won’t allow for an up-or-down vote.
“If this obstruction continues, unemployed Americans will see their benefits stop," he said. "Teachers and firefighters will lose their jobs. Families will pay more for their first home. All we ask for is a simple up-or-down vote. That’s what the American people deserve.”
The president also singled out Republicans for obstruction on legislation that would uncap the amount that oil companies pay to families and small businesses suffering economic losses like those in the Gulf.
“We should remove that cap," he said. "But the Republican leadership won’t even allow a debate or a vote.”
Ticking though the list, President Obama also blasted Republicans for holding up his nominations.
"One hundred thirty-six men and women who I’ve nominated for key positions in the federal government are awaiting a vote on the floor of the Senate," he said. "All are highly qualified. Very few are controversial. The vast majority already have support from both parties. But most of them are seeing their nominations intentionally delayed by Republican leaders or even blocked altogether. They cannot get a vote.”
The president said now is a time when the nation needs “all hands on deck,” and for his nominees to start the jobs he appointed them to do.
After blasting the Republicans, the president argued that while a political season is looming, he does not want partisanship.
“I know the political season is upon us in Washington," he said. "But gridlock as a political strategy is destructive to the country. Whether we are Democrats or Republicans, we’ve got an obligation that goes beyond caring about the next election. We have an obligation to care for the next generation.”