As law enforcement officials searched Monday for possible suspects involved in a mass shooting at the Washington Naval Yard, President Barack Obama praised his administration for supposedly rescuing the U.S. economy and attacked Republicans for opposing his agenda.
The president began by addressing the crisis in the nation’s capital and then made some quick remarks regarding the situation in Syria.
“[T]he horrible use of chemical weapons on innocent people including children, the need for a firm response from the international community and over the weekend, we took an important step in that direction towards moving Syria’s chemical weapons under international control so that they can be destroyed,” he said.
“And we’re not there yet. But if properly implemented, this agreement could end the threat these weapons pose not only to the Syrian people, but to the world,” he added.
The president proceeded as planned with a speech on the U.S. economy and how things can only move forward if Republicans stop blocking his agenda.
Here are the top five most partisan things President Obama said in his oddly-timed economic speech:
5. Republicans Don’t Care About the Middle Class
The problem is — at the moment, Republicans in Congress don’t seem to be focused on how to growth economy and build the middle class. I say, at the moment, because I am still hoping that a light bulb goes off here.
So far, their budget ideas revolve primarily around even deeper cuts to education, even deeper cuts that would gut America’s scientific research and development, even deeper cuts to America’s infrastructure investment — our roads, our bridges, our schools our energy grid. These aren’t the policies that would grow the economy faster.
4. Republicans Embracing Sequester and It’s Hurting the Economy
I do believe we should cut our programs that we don’t need. We need to fix ones that aren’t working the way they’re supposed to or have outlived their initial mission. We’ve got to make government faster and more efficient.
But that’s not what is being proposed by the Republican budgets. Instead of making necessary changes with a scalpel, so far at least, Republicans have chosen to leave in place the so-called sequester cuts that have cost jobs, harmed growth, are hurting our military readiness.
3. Republicans Are Willing to Destroy Everything for Ideology
Now, look, it’s never been easy to get 535 people here in Washington to agree on anything. And, you know, budget battles and debates, those are as old as the republic. It’s even harder when you have divided government, and right now, you’ve got Republicans controlling the House of Representatives and Democrats controlling the Senate and a Democrat in the White House. So this is always going to be tough.
Having said that, I cannot remember a time when one faction of one party promises economic chaos if it can’t get 100 percent of what it wants. That’s never happened before. But that’s what’s happening right now.
2. Remember, I Won in 2012
The last time the same grew threatened this course of action back in 2011, even the mere suggestion of default slowed our economic growth. Everybody here remembers that; it wasn’t that long ago. Now, keep in mind, initially the whole argument was, we’re going to do this because we want to reduce our debt. That doesn’t seem to be the focus now. Now the focus is on Obamacare.
So let’s put this in perspective. The Affordable Care Act has been the law for three-and-a-half years now. It passed both houses of Congress. The Supreme Court ruled it constitutional. It was an issue in last year’s election, and the candidate who called for repeal lost.
1. Why Do Republicans Want to Hurt People?
But the larger point is, after all that we’ve been through these past five years, after all the work Americans like those standing behind me have done to come back from the depths of a crisis, are some of these folks really so beholden to one extreme wing of their party that they’re willing to tank the entire economy just because they can’t get their way on this issue? Are they really willing to hurt people just to score political points? I hope not.
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney was asked later on Monday whether he believes the president’s tone was appropriate considering the situation unraveling in the nation’s capital.
“I think that’s an important thing for the president to talk about,” Carney responded. “It’s an important thing for Congress to talk about and act on. And it’s entirely appropriate, today, for the president to talk about that.”
We face, as the president noted, some looming deadlines. Congress needs to act. It has some very clear top-line responsibilities. Fund the government, pass bills that pay for the activities of the United States government. They insisted on a process whereby budgets were passed in the Senate and the House and now Republicans have blocked the process of reconciliation. They insisted on a process where the president would put forward his proposals that included compromise on things like entitlements. The president has done that. We’ve yet to see a counter-offer many, many, many months later.
“So, time is short,” he added. “We need to address these challenges.”
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Featured image Getty Images. This post has been updated.