Obama Challenges GOP to 'Win an Election' If They Want New Policies

PHOTO: President Barack Obama speaks in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington, Oct. 17, 2013.
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The threat of default and 16-day government shutdown that ended Wednesday night left the American people -- and President Obama -- frustrated.

"You don't like a particular policy or a particular president? Then argue for your position. Go out there and win an election," Obama said. "Push to change it.

"But don't break it," Obama told Republicans.

FULL COVERAGE: Government Shutdown

In an address to the nation from the White House hours after signing into law a compromise that ended the standoff, Obama said the American people are "fed up" with Washington and the shutdown and threat of default have inflicted damage on the economy and weakened the country's standing around the world.

He denounced lobbyists, bloggers, talking heads and "professional activists" who he said "profit from conflict" in government.

"Let's be clear: There are no winners here," Obama said at the White House. "Every analysis out there believes it has slowed our growth.

"Probably nothing has done more damage to America's credibility in the world, our standing with other countries than the spectacle we've seen over the last several weeks," he added.

The president laid out several priorities -- a long-term budget compromise, immigration overhaul and a farm bill -- that Congress should get working on soon. But he urged lawmakers to govern despite their differences.

"We need a budget that deals with the issues that most Americans are focused on, creating more good jobs that pay better wages," Obama said. "And there's no good reason why we can't govern responsibly, despite our differences, without lurching from manufactured crisis to manufactured crisis."

To furloughed federal workers who returned to their jobs today, Obama thanked them for working -- many of them without pay -- or for being furloughed without pay for more than two weeks.

"Thank you, thanks for your service. Welcome back," Obama said. "What you do is important. It matters."

$174K to Senator's Widow: Surprises in Fiscal Compromise Bill

Shortly after midnight, Obama signed the bill that ended the government shutdown after the Senate and House approved budget legislation and extended the debt limit.

With the president's signature, federal employees returned to work today, some of them greeted by special guests.

Vice President Joe Biden and Chief of Staff Denis McDonough greeted federal employees at the Environmental Protection Agency and the White House today.

Biden carrying mini-coffee cakes and McDonough greeted workers with a pat on the back and a "good morning" as they came through the security checkpoint at the Old Executive Office Building.

Work has already begun on Capitol Hill for bipartisan negotiators, who, as part of the Senate's compromise to reopen government, have been tasked with brokering a long term budget deal by Dec. 13.

The group, Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., the chairman of the House Budget committee, and Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., the chairman of the Senate Budget committee, joined together with their respective counterparts, Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., the ranking Democrat, and Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., the ranking Republican on the Senate Budget committee for breakfast this morning to jump start talks.

Budget Gurus Begin Next Phase of Federal Spending Battle

Just hours after announcing that Senate leaders had brokered a compromise Wednesdsay night to fund the government until Jan. 15 and extend the debt limit until Feb. 7, the chamber voted and passed the legislation.

Eighty-one senators voted in favor of the measure and 18, all Republican senators, voted against it.

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