President Barack Obama took a victory lap Friday to boost the morale of House Democrats, many of whom are facing tough battles in the 2014 midterms, as he touted the first time the nation’s borrowing limit was raised without conditions since Republicans won the majority in the House of Representatives.
“The fact that we are no longer going to see, I believe, anybody try to hold our government hostage and threaten the full faith and credit of the United States of America in order to contract policy concessions, the fact that we were able to pass a clean debt limit is just one example of why when you guys are unified, you guys stick together, this country is better off,” Obama said at the House Democratic Issues Conference in Cambridge, Mass. “And I could not be more thankful and more appreciative and prouder of what you’re doing.”
Earlier this week, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) announced he would make no policy demands from Democrats in order to raise the borrowing limit for the country. Previously, Boehner – with a push from Tea Party members in his caucus – pushed for spending reductions Just 28 Republicans joined House Democrats to push the measure through.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) also helped break a filibuster in the Senate by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) to allow a vote on raising the debt ceiling with no strings attached. Both McConnell and Cornyn voted against the final measure to increase the debt limit.
Obama had high praise for Democratic leaders including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (Calif.), House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (Md.) and Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (Fla.), who chairs the Democratic National Committee. Obama wished Pelosi a happy Valentine’s Day.
Turning to the future, Obama went on to to call for a “smart immigration policy in this country.”
“When it comes to immigration reform, we have to remind ourselves that there are people behind the statistics, that there are lives that are being impacted — that punting and putting things off for another year, another two years, another three years, it hurts people,” Obama said. “It hurts our economy. It hurts families, and part of what I’d like to think makes us Democrats is not simply some abstract ideological set of beliefs, but the fact that we’re reminded every single day that we’re here to help a whole bunch of folks out there — our neighbors, our friends, our communities — who are struggling still and need our help.”
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