A fed-up President Barack Obama told congressional Republicans who disagree with his policies to “make an argument” and “win an election,” the day after Washington’s latest budget crises came to an end.
“You don’t like a particular policy or a particular president? Then argue for your position. Go out there win an election,” Obama said in the State Dining Room of the White House.
“Push to change it. But don’t break it. Don’t break what our predecessors spent over two centuries building. That’s not being faithful to what this country’s about.”
Obama’s remarks came at the end of a 16-day federal government shutdown, the third longest in history. And they come as Congress voted to extend the nation’s borrowing authority, preventing a possible default on obligations.
As Congress prepared to enter into budget negotiations, Obama hailed the “Democrats and responsible Republicans” who had ended the shutdown and debt-ceiling crises. But he also reamed into Congress for a constant stream of governing by crisis.
He said that the American people have become “completely fed up with Washington.” And he said that the way things get done in Washington “has to change.”
“Now that the government has reopened and this threat to our economy is removed, all of us need to stop focusing on the lobbyists, and the bloggers, and the talking heads on radio and the professional activists who profit from conflict,” Obama said.
“Focus on what the majority of Americans sent us here to do. And that’s grow this economy, create good jobs, strengthen the middle class, educate our kids, lay the foundation for broad-based prosperity and get our fiscal house in order for the long haul. That’s why we’re here. That should be our focus.”
Obama also used the statement to push a few of the items on his legislative agenda before the end of the year — namely, immigration reform and passage of a farm bill.
Making good on Tuesday comments, Obama urged the House to take up the Senate’s immigration bill, which passed all the way back in June. He said that immigration reform could happen by the end of the year.
“Now, if the House has ideas on how to improve the Senate bill, let’s hear them,” he said. “Let’s start the negotiations. But let’s not leave this problem to keep festering for another year or two years or three years. This can and should get done by the end of this year.”
At the end of very brief , three-minute statement Wednesday night, a reporter shouted at Obama, “Isn’t this going to happen all over again in a few months?”
“No,” Obama said, laughing.
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