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President Obama devoted this week's address to the current battle in Congress to pass a budget or an increase in the "debt ceiling."
[O]ur economy is gaining traction. And we’re finally tackling threats to middle-class prosperity that Washington neglected for far too long.  But as any middle-class family listening right now knows, we’ve got a long way to go to get to where we need to be.  And after five years spent digging out of crisis, the last thing we need is for Washington to manufacture another.
Obama noted that both tasks are "basic" duties of Congress, and pointed out that the debt ceiling merely pays bills already incurred, it does not add new ones:
First: the most basic Constitutional duty Congress has is passing a budget.  But if it doesn’t pass one before September 30th – a week from Monday – the government will shut down.  And so will many services the American people expect.  Military personnel, including those deployed overseas, won’t get their paychecks on time.  Federal loans for rural communities, small business owners, and new home buyers will be frozen.  Critical research into life-saving discoveries and renewable energy will be immediately halted. All of this will be prevented if Congress just passes a budget.

Second: Congress must authorize the Treasury to pay America’s bills.  This is done with a simple, usually routine vote to raise what’s called the debt ceiling.  Since the 1950s, Congress has always passed it, and every President has signed it – Democrats and Republicans, including President Reagan.  And if this Congress doesn’t do it within the next few weeks, the United States will default on its obligations and put our entire economy at risk.

This is important: raising the debt ceiling is not the same as approving more spending.  It lets us pay for what Congress already spent.  It doesn’t cost a dime, or add a penny to our deficit.  In fact, right now, our deficits are already falling at the fastest rate since the end of World War II.  And by the end of this year, we’ll have cut our deficits by more than half since I took office.

As he did on Friday, Obama continued to highlight "a faction on the far right of the Republican party" who are battling against implementation of the Affordable Care Act.
Think about that.  They’d actually plunge this country back into recession – all to deny the basic security of health care to millions of Americans.

Well, that’s not happening.  And they know it’s not happening.

The United States of America is not a deadbeat nation.

The full transcript is below the fold, or can be read on the White House website.

Remarks of President Barack Obama
Weekly Address
The White House
September 21, 2013

Hi, everybody.  It was five years ago this week that a financial crisis on Wall Street spread to Main Street, and very nearly turned a recession into a depression.

In a matter of months, millions of Americans were robbed of their jobs, their homes, their savings – after a decade in which they’d already been working harder and harder to just get by.

It was a crisis from which we’re still trying to recover.  But thanks to the grit and determination of the American people, we are steadily recovering.

Over the past three and a half years, our businesses have created seven and a half million new jobs. Our housing market is healing. We’ve become less dependent on foreign oil.  Health care costs are growing at the slowest rate in 50 years.  And in just over a week, millions of Americans without health care will be able to get covered for less than $100 a month.

So our economy is gaining traction. And we’re finally tackling threats to middle-class prosperity that Washington neglected for far too long.  But as any middle-class family listening right now knows, we’ve got a long way to go to get to where we need to be.  And after five years spent digging out of crisis, the last thing we need is for Washington to manufacture another.

But that’s what will happen in the next few weeks if Congress doesn’t meet two deadlines.

First: the most basic Constitutional duty Congress has is passing a budget.  But if it doesn’t pass one before September 30th – a week from Monday – the government will shut down.  And so will many services the American people expect.  Military personnel, including those deployed overseas, won’t get their paychecks on time.  Federal loans for rural communities, small business owners, and new home buyers will be frozen.  Critical research into life-saving discoveries and renewable energy will be immediately halted. All of this will be prevented if Congress just passes a budget.

Second: Congress must authorize the Treasury to pay America’s bills.  This is done with a simple, usually routine vote to raise what’s called the debt ceiling.  Since the 1950s, Congress has always passed it, and every President has signed it – Democrats and Republicans, including President Reagan.  And if this Congress doesn’t do it within the next few weeks, the United States will default on its obligations and put our entire economy at risk.

This is important: raising the debt ceiling is not the same as approving more spending.  It lets us pay for what Congress already spent.  It doesn’t cost a dime, or add a penny to our deficit.  In fact, right now, our deficits are already falling at the fastest rate since the end of World War II.  And by the end of this year, we’ll have cut our deficits by more than half since I took office.

But reducing our deficits and debt isn’t even what the current standoff in Congress is about.

Now, Democrats and some reasonable Republicans are willing to raise the debt ceiling and pass a sensible budget – one that cuts spending on what we don’t need so we can invest in what we do.  And I want to work with those Democrats and Republicans on a better bargain for the middle class.

But there’s also a faction on the far right of the Republican party who’ve convinced their leadership to threaten a government shutdown if they can’t shut off the Affordable Care Act.  Some are actually willing to plunge America into default if they can’t defund the Affordable Care Act.

Think about that.  They’d actually plunge this country back into recession – all to deny the basic security of health care to millions of Americans.

Well, that’s not happening.  And they know it’s not happening.

The United States of America is not a deadbeat nation.  We are a compassionate nation.  We are the world’s bedrock investment.  And doing anything to threaten that is the height of irresponsibility.  That’s why I will not negotiate over the full faith and credit of the United States.  I will not allow anyone to harm this country’s reputation, or threaten to inflict economic pain on millions of our own people, just to make an ideological point.

So, we are running out of time to fix this.  But we could fix it tomorrow.  Both houses of Congress can take a simple vote to pay our bills on time, then work together to pass a budget on time.

Then we can declare an end to governing by crisis and govern responsibly, by putting our focus back where it should always be – on creating new jobs, growing our economy, and expanding opportunity not just for ourselves, but for future generations.

Thank you.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Everybody locked and loaded?.....Don't fire until (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SharonColeman

    you see the pink of round baby bottoms.

  •  He needs to drop (0+ / 0-)

    that "banana republic" shit from his speech the other day. Completely and totally offensive. Two words that, for me, minimized the impact of his larger message.

    Never be deceived that the rich will permit you to vote away their wealth. - Lucy Parsons

    by cruz on Sat Sep 21, 2013 at 07:13:34 AM PDT

  •  He looks like a completely different person (0+ / 0-)

    than the guy who was talking war with Syria a few weeks back.

    This should be a slam dunk if it weren't for the fair and balanced media which treat each side with equal respect.

    On would think that the US population is tired of the GOP threatening to blow up America every 6 months.

    •  His Syria policy worked so I don't really (0+ / 0-)

      Know what you're talking about.

      Global Shakedown - Alternative rock with something to say. Check out their latest release, "A Time to Recognize": Available on iTunes, Amazon, Google Play, Spotify and other major online music sites. Visit http://www.globalshakedown.com.

      by khyber900 on Sat Sep 21, 2013 at 08:05:49 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I know it worked (0+ / 0-)

        I am talking about the lack of tension in his face and mannerisms. He just looks like a different person, like the weight of the world has been taken off of his shoulders.

      •  Yeah, his Syria "policy" "worked" (0+ / 0-)

        so I'm just going to say that I don't know what you're talking about so it looks like I'm the one with more credibility because "Obama made Putin blink" is the CW around here. Yup.

        Banking on the American people to be able to sort all this out and declare the adult in the room the winner is a very big bet. -Digby

        by Boogalord on Sat Sep 21, 2013 at 01:52:14 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Yeah, sure, when pigs fly! (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RFK Lives, vigilant meerkat, 3goldens
    Both houses of Congress can take a simple vote to pay our bills on time, then work together to pass a budget on time.
    Will Obama ever stop with the ridiculous pleas for reasonableness? How about maybe changing it up just once? How about taking the Republicans seriously? Expect the worst like they promise and deliver over and over.

    MSNBC should use a war room like on election night with a countdown clock and zoom in moment by moment as Republicans march in lockstep obstruction and defiance of their Constitutional duty.

    Countdown to Republicans' next major asshole explosion shitting on America's future like it's a national holiday but the opposite. At least that gives them a new opening that hasn't been used to fuck up yet.

    •  He refers to "Congress" 7-8 times (3+ / 0-)

      He only refers to the House Visigoths once, about 3/4 of the way down.  Even then, he merely asserts:

      But there’s also a faction on the far right of the Republican party who’ve convinced their leadership to threaten a government shutdown if they can’t shut off the Affordable Care Act.  Some are actually willing to plunge America into default if they can’t defund the Affordable Care Act.
      This "faction of the far right of the Republican party" is the vast majority of their House caucus--did he see the latest vote?  It's not "some," it's almost all of them.  I'm not sure who these Goopers are "who want to work on a better bargain for the middle class."  I am reasonably sure that they could comfortably fit into a minivan.

      It's not paranoid to openly acknowledge that the GOP, as a party, is out to get you, Mr. President.

      Some men see things as they are and ask why. I dream of things that never were and ask why not?

      by RFK Lives on Sat Sep 21, 2013 at 08:05:53 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I suppose this is "new Washington"...more what? (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        RFK Lives, mwm341

        Polite? Leaving a door open?  being cynical in the face of (apparently) insurmountable odds?

        I prefer that part of "old Washington" that left bodies in the wake of making some progress now and then. A fucking budget at least! If your frame is unbelievable then what's a listener to assume?

        What use is a snake in the grass if it has no poison when confronted with a rabid predator?

      •  Not to alienate GOP voters completely ... (0+ / 0-)

        I suspect.
        After, GOP voters do vote. They certainly did in 2010.

        Censorship is rogue government.

        by scott5js on Sat Sep 21, 2013 at 12:33:29 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Yeah, gotta hold out for those GOP voters (0+ / 0-)

          that are still on the fence about Obama. Can't call out the Republicans or you'll scare off the moderate unicorns. That's a real winning strategy, just like 2010.

          Banking on the American people to be able to sort all this out and declare the adult in the room the winner is a very big bet. -Digby

          by Boogalord on Sat Sep 21, 2013 at 01:54:35 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  I hope to God you're mistaken there! (0+ / 0-)

          Getting Dem/Ind turnout is the midterm goal and Obama's help is essential to get out his 2008 new voters. Pretending to be inspirationally progressive has been the successful election time strategy for Obama so far.

  •  He looks and sounds so reasonable, (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    citizenx, Sybil Liberty, mwm341, scott5js

    not at all like a muslim socialist terrorist.

    If I ran this circus, things would be DIFFERENT!

    by CwV on Sat Sep 21, 2013 at 07:35:57 AM PDT

  •  It would be nice (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Pale Jenova, yargityblarg

    if we didn't have this stupid debt ceiling debate every few months.

    29, male, lifelong resident of LA-4.

    by Shreve on Sat Sep 21, 2013 at 07:40:42 AM PDT

  •  the agenda of the (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bewareofme, bygorry

    republicans is to destroy the economy and win the wh in 2016 then start more wars  and keep peace and harmony as the last thing that will happen on earth.
    the religious right in all nations are keeping the rest of humanity from living a peaceful and harmonious existence and treating each other with respect and tolerance.

  •  Still no counter offer from Dems! (3+ / 0-)

    Obama and the Dems are walking into another trap.  Once again they are starting their negotiations where they ought to be finishing.

    Instead of demanding a jobs program, or an expansion of Social Security, or another tax increase on the rich, all Obama and the Dems are asking for is "don't defund Obamacare".  The Repugs will give in on shutting down the government, maybe after we crossed the line for a few days, but they'll blame Obama for not negotiating.  But when it comes to the Debt ceiling, at the last minute they'll give the Dems exactly what they're asking for, full funding of Obmacare, but they'll demand more budget cuts.

    Now the tables are turned, and it'll be the Dems who will be pushing the country over the cliff because they won't reduce the deficit.  The public will turn on the Dems in a second if they don't cave, which they more than likely will.

    •  I fear we're stuck with sequester permanently. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      pollwatcher, 3goldens

      Our strategy never seems to be anything other than react.  Although I do believe the ACA is worth protecting.

      "Let's see what fresh fuckwittery these dolts can contrive to torment themselves with this time." -- Iain Banks, The Hydrogen Sonata

      by Rikon Snow on Sat Sep 21, 2013 at 08:11:48 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  The point is to not negotiate until the (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    yargityblarg, bewareofme

    Threat of shutdown and default is removed from the equation.  We can't cut a fair deal if someone brings a grenade with a hand on the pin to the table.  It's not acceptable.  The President is taking the right approach.

    Global Shakedown - Alternative rock with something to say. Check out their latest release, "A Time to Recognize": Available on iTunes, Amazon, Google Play, Spotify and other major online music sites. Visit http://www.globalshakedown.com.

    by khyber900 on Sat Sep 21, 2013 at 08:04:51 AM PDT

  •  The economy is gaining traction? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    vigilant meerkat, 3goldens

    Huh. I must have missed that

    •  It's very long and slow (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Heavy Mettle, 3goldens

      Like watching the hour hand on a clock.

      Try squinting really hard. (Or investing in the stock market. You will see it there.)

      And God said, "Let there be light"; and with a Big Bang, there was light. And God said "Ow! Ow My eyes!" and in a flash God separated light from darkness. "Whew! Now that's better. Now where was I. Oh yea . . ."

      by Pale Jenova on Sat Sep 21, 2013 at 08:11:24 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Can someone explain to me (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    3goldens

    Why we must persist in the farce that there is such a thing as a "debt ceiling" in this country?

    What real purpose does it serve? Every time we reach it, they make a big political show of blaming and hand-wringing and then go ahead raise it. Again and again. So it's not a ceiling at all. The fact that it can be raised undermines the whole idea, and the fact that it always will be raised as the debt continues to go up makes it a bad joke.

    We need to either abolish the debt ceiling, or take it seriously and butcher the sacred cow / elephant in the room- military spending- in order to stay under it.

    •  I think it could be abolished by an act of (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Odysseus

      Congress, but not THIS Congress.  They love using it as a bargaining chip.

      "It ain't right, Atticus," said Jem. "No, son, it ain't right." --Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird

      by SottoVoce on Sat Sep 21, 2013 at 09:32:24 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Been explained many times. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      yargityblarg

      Way back when, congress voted on every appropriations bill separately.

      Starting in 1917, they did away with that, and instituted a Debt Ceiling.  This allowed them to spend "up to X" to fund appropriations.

      Wikipedia: National debt of the United States

      Under Article I Section 8 of the United States Constitution, Congress has the sole power to borrow money on the credit of the United States. From the founding of the United States until 1917, Congress directly authorized each individual debt issuance separately. In order to provide more flexibility to finance the United States' involvement in World War I, Congress modified the method by which it authorizes debt in the Second Liberty Bond Act of 1917.[54] Under this act Congress established an aggregate limit, or "ceiling," on the total amount of bonds that could be issued. Denmark is the only other country with a comparable debt ceiling, although Denmark sets the level very high.[55]

      -7.75 -4.67

      "Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose."

      There are no Christians in foxholes.

      by Odysseus on Sat Sep 21, 2013 at 03:06:03 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Tackling Threats? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    3goldens, Joe Bacon
    And we’re finally tackling threats to middle-class prosperity that Washington neglected for far too long.
    We are?  We're tackling those threats to working Americans?

    Let me know how the following plays into that script:

    Like the Department of Justice publicly affirming Wall Street's Immunity?

    Like the anti-worker Free Trade deals you (Obama, D) pushed through for the 1% w/ Columbia, S. Korea, and Panama?

    Like the anti-worker 1% Wet Dream known as the Trans Pacific Partnership that you (Obama, D) are pushing through?

    Like appointing Jack Lew, a Wall Street Predator who made a fortune betting working class Americans would lose their homes, as YOUR Treasury Secretary?

    Like selecting Three Different Banksters as Chief of Staff?

    Like appointing Monsanto's Michael Taylor to the FDA?

    Bernanke, Summers, Geithner, Holder?  Anti-social program "Deficit Commission"?

    Championing "saving" Social Security by cutting it?

    Publicly Praising Wall Street Bankster Predators as "Savvy Businessmen"?

    Publicly stating "Corporate Taxes Are Too High"?

    Really?

    Based on the reality of actions / policies advanced, this looks more like Rhetoric the Working Class can Starve On while the 1% Get Results They Can Bank On.

    When you stop appointing banksters, industry insiders, and pushing through anti-worker "Free Trade" deals that benefit the 1% then perhaps I'll have a little more faith in your beautiful Rhetoric.

    So.... a Democratic President who pushes through pro-1% / anti-worker "Free" Trade Deals is complaining about Republicans wanting to hurt the poor. Do Go On.

    by Johnathan Ivan on Sat Sep 21, 2013 at 10:26:24 AM PDT

  •  Did he say one word about the hungry? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bygorry

    I'll bet he didn't mention the moral obscenity of taking food from the already hungry, poor disabled, kids and elderly. I'll also bet he didn't mention the 28 pretend Democrats in the Senate who just cut food stamps. They pat themselves on the back saying "Well, they didn't cut them as much as the GOP wants." People on SNAP already don't have enough to eat and even though the deficit is dropping like a stone these so called Democrats take food from the hungry.

  •  I have no doubt that Obama will cave (0+ / 0-)

    AGAIN!

    Oh he might not cave on his gift to the insurance company but instead he will agree to cut the Big 3 and more cuts to SNAP.

  •  Is it really true? (0+ / 0-)

    http://news.investors.com/...

    Now someone is disputing whether Republicans have conducted 42 votes to defund the Affordable Care Act. This needs to be verified.
    The Right Wing Propaganda Machine is tireless.

    Censorship is rogue government.

    by scott5js on Sat Sep 21, 2013 at 12:30:04 PM PDT

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