KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Hours after the Republican-controlled House voted to defund Obamacare as part of budget showdown with the White House, President Obama launched a spirited public rebuke of Congress for what he claims is an abdication of its fundamental responsibility.
“Just do your job,” Obama said of Congressional Republicans in a speech at the Ford Stamping Plant in Kansas City, Mo. “No obstruction, no games, no holding the … economy hostage if you don’t get a hundred percent of what you want. Nobody gets a hundred percent of what you want.”
“I don’t mind them disagreeing with me. They don’t like the Affordable Care Act,” he said, “but you don’t have to threaten to blow the whole thing up just because you don’t get your way.”
The House measure, which passed largely along party lines, would keep the government funded and operational through the end of the year but cut off funds for implementation of the health care law. Many Republicans have been adamant that they would rather have the federal government shut down than continue funding the health law.
The bill has no chance of passing the Democratically controlled Senate; Obama has promised to veto it. If a compromise is not reacted by Oct. 1, the government will shut down.
Obama has laid out his own non-negotiable red lines, both over the health law and the need to increase the nation’s debt ceiling with no strings attached. Congress must increase the debt limit by mid-October in order for the government to continue paying its bills or the U.S. will default.
“This is the United States of America. We’re not some banana republic. This is not a deadbeat nation. We don’t run out on our tab. We’re the world’s bedrock investment,” Obama told the crowd. “The entire world looks to us to make sure the world economy is stable. We can’t just not pay our bills. And even threatening something like that is the height of irresponsibility.”
Obama placed all the blame on congressional Republicans, telling the crowd “they’re not focused on you. They’re focused on politics. …They’re focused on trying to mess with me.”
The White House said today that Obama would be having “conversations” with congressional leaders in the days ahead. But so far, there are no negotiations underway from either side.
Obama made the attack while addressing several hundred workers at the Ford plant where, the White House contends, a growing economy had created extra shifts to churn out F-150 pickup trucks and other vehicles.
“I may roll in a Cadillac these days,” Obama said to muted murmurs and boos. “But before that, I was driving around in a 2008 Ford Escape. Came right off these assembly lines — some of you might have been involved in building it,” he said as boos turned to cheers.
As his remarks concluded, as if to drive the point home, Obama pulled a campaign-style move and climbed into the front seat of a bright red F150 parked just off stage as a prop. He waved through the windshield and posed for pictures but did not start the engine.