President Obama resorted to name-calling and insults during his weekly address to the American people Saturday morning, comparing Republicans in the House of Representatives to kidnappers who “demand ransom” and “hold our democracy or our economy hostage.”
The President discussed the government shutdown, which heads into a fifth day, as lawmakers on Capitol Hill adjourned to vote on a series of mini-funding bills with plans to work through the weekend. Obama read several stories from citizens nationwide who felt the effects of the shutdown and encouraged Republicans to pass a budget.
“The American people don’t get to demand ransom in exchange for doing their job. Neither does Congress,” the President said. “They don’t get to hold our democracy or our economy hostage over a settled law.”
Obama continued, reiterating his no-negotiations stance and said he would not “pay a ransom” to meet House Republicans’ demands.
“That’s why I won’t pay a ransom in exchange for reopening the government. And I certainly won’t pay a ransom in exchange for raising the debt ceiling,” the President said. “For as reckless as a government shutdown is, an economic shutdown that comes with default would be dramatically worse.”
While President Obama continues to tow his hard line, Republicans in the Senate answered back in their weekly address, delivered by Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) on Saturday morning.
Cornyn reiterated Senate Democrats’ failure to pass bills delaying Obamacare by one year, abolish the medical device tax and force members of Congress to receive coverage under Obamacare.
Meanwhile, the Texas Republican continued, President Obama has vowed to veto a series of bills funding veterans’ programs, the National Institutes of Health and national parks and monuments.
“It has become disturbingly clear that the Obama-Reid shutdown is no longer about health care, or spending, or ideology. It’s about politics, plain and simple,” Cornyn said. “The Democrats have calculated that by prolonging the shutdown, and maximizing the pain, they can bully Republicans into doing whatever President Obama and Majority Leader Reid want them to do. It’s a very cynical game, but Democrats have decided to play it.”
President Obama met with leadership from both the House and Senate earlier this week, offering a glimmer of hope that negotiations and an end to the shutdown were possible. But instead, he remained steadfast and said once again he would not compromise with Republicans.
As millions remain out of work, a senior administration official told the Wall Street Journal the White House believed it was “winning” and it didn’t matter how long the shutdown lasted. White House Press Secretary Jay Carney tried desperately to disavow the statement Friday, saying the President wanted the shutdown to end as quickly as possible.