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Yep, they passed a budget without taking the government hostage. Amazing. So amazing the president of the United States had to take note of it.
... after a year of showdowns and obstruction that only held back our economy, we’ve been able to break the logjam a bit over the last few weeks. It’s a hopeful sign that we can end the cycle of short-sighted, crisis-driven decision-making and actually work together to get things done.

And that’s important. Because there’s plenty of work to do.

Yeah. That. About that work still to do ... like not forgetting a whole bunch of people who need their unemployment insurance extended and who are heading into the holidays worried sick about how they're going to eat for the next few months.
Right now, because Congress failed to act before leaving on vacation, more than one million Americans are poised to lose a vital source of income just a few days after Christmas. For many people who are still looking for work, unemployment insurance is a lifeline that can make the difference between temporary hardship or lasting catastrophe. Instead of punishing these families who can least afford it – especially now – Congress should first restore that lifeline immediately, then put their entire focus on creating more good jobs that pay good wages.
He closed the address with high hopes for next year and a promise about his own focus:
That’s what I’ll be focused on next year, and every day I have the privilege of being your President. Growing the economy. Expanding opportunity. Building an America that offers everyone who works hard the chance to get ahead, and every child a fair shot at success.

And if Congress continues to act in the spirit of cooperation we’ve seen in recent weeks, I’m confident we can make much more progress together in the year to come.

To read the transcript in full, check below the fold or visit the White House website.

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

Hi, everybody. This week, Congress finished up some important work before heading home for the holidays.

For the first time in years, both parties came together in the spirit of compromise to pass a budget – one that helps chart our economic course for the next two years. This budget will unwind some of the damaging cuts that have threatened students and seniors and held back our businesses. It clears the path for critical investments in the things that grow our economy and strengthen our middle class, like education and research. And it will keep reducing our deficits – at a time when we’ve seen four years of the fastest deficit reduction since the end of World War II.

Members of Congress also voted to finally allow several dedicated and well-qualified public servants to do their jobs for the American people – many of whom waited months for a simple yes-or-no vote. These are judges, cabinet secretaries and military leaders. They’re men and women charged with growing our economy, keeping our homeland secure, and making sure our housing system and financial system work for ordinary Americans.

So after a year of showdowns and obstruction that only held back our economy, we’ve been able to break the logjam a bit over the last few weeks. It’s a hopeful sign that we can end the cycle of short-sighted, crisis-driven decision-making and actually work together to get things done.

And that’s important. Because there’s plenty of work to do.

Right now, because Congress failed to act before leaving on vacation, more than one million Americans are poised to lose a vital source of income just a few days after Christmas. For many people who are still looking for work, unemployment insurance is a lifeline that can make the difference between temporary hardship or lasting catastrophe. Instead of punishing these families who can least afford it – especially now – Congress should first restore that lifeline immediately, then put their entire focus on creating more good jobs that pay good wages.

That’s what I’ll be focused on next year, and every day I have the privilege of being your President. Growing the economy. Expanding opportunity. Building an America that offers everyone who works hard the chance to get ahead, and every child a fair shot at success.

And if Congress continues to act in the spirit of cooperation we’ve seen in recent weeks, I’m confident we can make much more progress together in the year to come.

Thank you. Have a great weekend and a very Merry Christmas.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Oh crap. (12+ / 0-)

    I was going to write something pithy and funny about this, but I'm just too damn tired of the same old thing.

    Happy Holidays, everybody.  And may your new year's prosperity and happiness not depend on the fecklessness of politicians.

  •  By most other measures the budget was a big (7+ / 0-)

    fat fail.  

    Last month, a delegation of activists took to Capitol Hill to demand a decrease in the massive, out-of-control military budget. As millions of Americans struggle with inadequate health care, low wages, deteriorating public services and uncertainty about their futures as the wage gap between the wealthy elite and the working poor widens, billions upon billions of taxpayer dollars are pouring into the coffers of the Department of Defense every year. The Pentagon budget currently makes up half of the U.S. government's entire operating budget. Estimated to be around $716 billion in 2013, the U.S. defense budget is greater than the defense budgets of the next ten highest spending nations combined. The gathering was, appropriately, scheduled on International Human Rights Day.

    Some of the groups present were: Roots Action, the Hunger Action Network of New York State, Code Pink, Green Shadow Cabinet, Coalition Against Nukes, Poor People's Economic Human Rights Campaign, U.S. Labor Against the War and many more. See their open letter to members of Congress and President Obama here.

    The consortium of activists' are asking Congress to slash the bloated military budget and use the significant savings to enhance critical social programs that actually help people, things like food stamps, Social Security and improved full Medicare-for-all healthcare. They also suggested a massive public works agenda that creates good paying un-exportable jobs in every community around the country -- jobs that include clean, renewable energy for the future. And what of America's crumbling infrastructure? Our clinics, roads, schools, bridges, libraries, public transit, public water and sewage systems and national parks are in dire need of repair and modernization. The savings from defense spending could be used to repair infrastructure -- much of which was a product of FDR's New Deal in the 1930s -- and ensure a cleaner, safer, more prosperous America.

    These are proposals that would benefit our citizenry rather then ravage and destroy countries abroad whose citizens far too regularly become victims in the U.S.'s perpetual military adventures.

    Move Single Payer Forward? Join 18,000 Doctors of PNHP and 185,000 member National Nurses United

    by divineorder on Sat Dec 21, 2013 at 07:14:26 AM PST

    •  Good question from strange source (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      divineorder, paradox, quill, tb mare, stewarjt
      "Why does the Air Force need expensive new bombers? Have the people we've been bombing over the years been complaining?"
      George Wallace

      "If you pour some music on whatever's wrong, it'll sure help out." Levon Helm

      by BOHICA on Sat Dec 21, 2013 at 07:18:15 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Don't tell Hillary (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      BOHICA, maryabein, divineorder, TJ, stewarjt

      She doesn't give a damn, and she'll spend more just to prove a woman can kill if she has to.

      We cut food stamps so Michelle Obama could have a nutrition program, all the while spending over $500 billion on the DOD and another $120 billion on Afghanistan.

      What searing, offensive stupid insanity. Then these congressional soap dishes walk around like they're happy badasses.

      When we get a candidate who believes enough in him or herself and the county to cut the defense budget we are finally on our way to building a country again. Any time you see a candidate act otherwise you're being lied to, he or she knows it's insanity and they're selling it anyway.

    •  Better than the damned "Grand Bargain" (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      maryabein

      So a tiny tilt to the left along with the swoon to the right. But better than I expected from the parties involved.

      After all, the Democratic old guard still haven't swayed far from "Vote of us. Because we won't cut Social Security quite as much."

      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 Dec 21, 2013 at 09:12:35 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Propaganda Saturdays!!! (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    BOHICA, divineorder, quill, stewarjt

    I literally expect the opposite of what he says...

    The Republicans are crazy, but why we follow them down the rabbit hole is beyond me.

    by Jazzenterprises on Sat Dec 21, 2013 at 07:16:48 AM PST

  •  "Congress" is not the problem w/ UI benefits (4+ / 0-)

    I am unaware of any Dems opposing their extension.  

    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 Dec 21, 2013 at 07:18:40 AM PST

    •  Thank you. (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      maryabein, melvynny, Sue B, tb mare

      Blaming "Congress" as opposed to Republicans lets the Republicans off the hook.

      If I ran this circus, things would be DIFFERENT!

      by CwV on Sat Dec 21, 2013 at 07:35:35 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I really don't get this "congress" not Republicans (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Sue B

      The WH repeatedly blames "congress" for the BS the Republicans are doing!  I don't get it.  Do they really believe that the 10% of uninformed swing voters who decide elections understand that criticism of "congress" really means Republicans?  Is the WH crazy?  Please don't answer that.

      The worst thing that can happen to Democrats next year is that those 10%, and weak Dem independents get a "through the bums out" attitude.  We lose the Senate and the few swing house districts.  The Republicans have a large strong base that will vote for a Republican even if the candidate kicked them in the ass on the way into the voting booth.  The Dems have a larger but very mushy base, where the Dem leaning Indies will stay home if they think the Dems in "congress" aren't doing the job.

      The WH isn't helping the Dems in 2014 by blaming the BS the Republicans are doing, on the "congress"!

  •  doubt (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    stewarjt, demreplib33

    I doubt many people watch/listen to these addresses--or to Obama, in general.  To the right, he's apiece of dark shit.  To the left, he apologizes and pleads too often.  He deserves more praise for his accomplishments, yet seems to overplay his "failures."  He reminds me of a genius professor who can't inspire the lecture hall.  Sometimes substance gets lost by a lack of affirmative style.

    Actions speak louder than petitions.

    by melvynny on Sat Dec 21, 2013 at 07:27:32 AM PST

  •  Please proceed Republicans? (0+ / 0-)

    Sometimes it's really hard to figure out if the President is setting up the Republicans for when they come back and start blocking everything again, or if he is being politically naive and praising them for at least doing some little piece of crap, in hopes of reaching compromises in the future.

    I cross my fingers for the gazillionth time in hopes that it's a setup and not another naive attempt at compromise.

    •  Most politicians thrive on praise (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      pollwatcher, FiredUpInCA

      and ignore negativity. They are ego-driven.
      Obama tries to pull rather than push and in normal times, with normal politicians, this would be a winning strategy. It certainly is what the public wants. In poll after poll for years now, the public want Washington to stop bickering and get their work done, to work together, to get over the partisanship and end the gridlock.
      Obama and most of the Dems got that message and have tried, too hard IMNSHO, to comply. Unfortunately that message has bounced off of the new breed of Republicans. Whipped in by Rush Lympdyk and Grover Norquist et al, with massive money screaming at them, they can't hear the polls, they can only hear their "base".

      If I ran this circus, things would be DIFFERENT!

      by CwV on Sat Dec 21, 2013 at 07:45:10 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I vote that we stop (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tb mare, maryabein, stewarjt, demreplib33

    Treating the getting of Republicans to do their jobs when placated by more misery for the poor as a victory.

    "Given the choice between a Republican and someone who acts like a Republican, people will vote for a real Republican every time." Harry Truman

    by MargaretPOA on Sat Dec 21, 2013 at 08:17:10 AM PST

  •  Sounds like an Onion headline (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    stewarjt

    "Obama praises congress for finally doing something."

    Other than "Repeal the Job Munching Obamacare and Jobs Act, opus 47" and then taking a well earned vacation.

    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 Dec 21, 2013 at 09:10:28 AM PST

  •  Obama has sat back and let Congress do it all (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    stewarjt

    For the entirety of his Presidential term.

    No issues-oriented legislation has originated in this White House. He's given that priority to Harry Reid and the House. He has not fought for a goddamned thing except against the shutdown, when he made a speech every day.

    I don't like the job Obama has done as President. And the results speak for themselves--in his Bush-like approval ratings. What were Clinton's ratings at this point in his Presidency? In the 60s? There are VERY good reasons for that number, and Obama's, too.

    "I feel a lot safer already."--Emil Sitka

    by DaddyO on Sat Dec 21, 2013 at 09:15:07 AM PST

    •  So, Obama didn't fight for the gun bill with (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      demreplib33

      speeches everyday, Obama didn't fight for job legislation with the cry "Pass this jobs bill!" a cry, which came out of a state of the union address and one he traveled the country delivering. Obama didn't pass the Affordable Care Act and save the car industry.

      You seem to be spewing a whole lot of misinformation about what the President has not done. And to top it off you speak of Bush-like approval ratings. Sure, the last time I remember Bush was polling in the low 30s.

      Still I love this winning quote:

      Obama has sat back and let Congress do it all for the entirety of his Presidential term.
      You mean the Congress that has blocked the President with half the amount of blocking filibusters that has accumulated over 240 years?

      Is that what Obama sat back and allowed Congress to do?
      Oh let me not forget....

      I don't like the job Obama has done as President. And the results speak for themselves--in his Bush-like approval ratings.
      You don't say....
  •  Congratulations, GOP!! (0+ / 0-)

    "We, the People" want to congratulate the GOP for doing their "JOB"--ONE [1] time!

    Also, how can we FORGET the new "buzz" phrase; "holding the country HOSTAGE??"

    VOTE DEMOCRATIC IN 2014

  •  I wouldn't get too giddy, (0+ / 0-)

    I suspect the Republicans looked at their polling and realized that no one was buying that it was the Democrat's fault. They had to hold their noses to pass even a crumby budget but they are still hoping for a splashy default to make themselves feel better.

  •  NOT GOOD ENOUGH (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    maryabein
    "That’s what I’ll be focused on next year, and every day I have the privilege of being your President. Growing the economy." -President Obama
    Economic growth does jack all for the working class if the overwhelming benefits and income from it accrue to the capitalist class.

    We need you to do more than promote growth to directly help the working class, Mr. President.

    If I was a communist, rich men would fear me...And the opposite applies. The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles.

    by stewarjt on Sat Dec 21, 2013 at 09:58:54 AM PST

    •  The President has actually grown the economy (0+ / 0-)

      despite historic sabotage of his initiatives by Republicans. The Affordable Care Act I feel will contribute to middle class savings in the long run has it is already contributing to the slowing of the cost of healthcare. But granted a lot more can be done, but how would you stop the Congress from blocking the President again?

      •  I Predicted Last Winter (0+ / 0-)

        That President Obama wouldn't work for, push, campaign or advertise the minimum wage increase he mentioned in his state of the union speech.  The Republicans had little if anything to do with his not following up on that.

        Man, I'm tired of being right.

        If I was a communist, rich men would fear me...And the opposite applies. The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles.

        by stewarjt on Sat Dec 21, 2013 at 06:10:53 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  You mean the (0+ / 0-)

          bully pulpit to change the minimum wage like he did at the State of the Union Address this past January? or like he did in a speech in July of this year?

          We need new partnerships with some of the hardest-hit towns in America to get them back on their feet.  And because no one who works full-time in America should have to live in poverty, I am going to keep making the case that we need to raise the minimum wage -- (applause) -- because it's lower right now than it was when Ronald Reagan took office.  It's time for the minimum wage to go up.  (Applause.)
          http://www.whitehouse.gov/...

          Or as he said earlier this month:

          It will be good for our economy, it will be good for our families,” Obama said of a minimum wage hike. The White House is backing a bill that would raise the federal minimum to just over $10 an hour, up from $7.25.
          http://www.foxnews.com/...

          It should be noted that following the President's raising of the issue at the state of the union, Democrats responded beginning this past March to work on a bill to raise the minimum wage.

          WASHINGTON — Democrats will propose a bill Tuesday to raise the minimum wage, hoping to seize on momentum after President Obama endorsed the issue in his the State of the Union Address.

          Obama urged Congress in his January speech to increase the federal rate from $7.25 to $9 an hour, but Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, and Rep. George Miller, D-Calif., want to go even further with the Fair Minimum Wage Act. The bill would raise the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour by 2016 and then index it to inflation, providing for automatic adjustments each year.

          Harkin and Miller have scheduled a news conference for Tuesday to introduce the bill. The two have previously said that while they support Obama's call for an increase in the minimum wage, his proposal did not go far enough.

          Proponents of raising the minimum wage, mainly Democrats and labor unions, claim it improves the quality of life for working Americans and can stimulate the economy. A recent USA TODAY/Pew Research Center poll found that 71% of Americans supported Obama's call for raising the minimum wage.

          But most Republicans and pro-business groups have already voiced opposition on the issue, and the upcoming bill has little chance of survival in the GOP-controlled House.

          http://www.usatoday.com/...

          Let me reiterate the last line:


          But most Republicans and pro-business groups have already voiced opposition on the issue, and the upcoming bill has little chance of survival in the GOP-controlled House.

          It's easy to blame the President who was working hard to pass immigration reform this year. A legislation that passed the Senate but is currently being held up by the Republican speaker of the house from ever getting an up or down vote.

          The President also had to deal this year with a Republican Party which shut down the government....

          I'll re-ask my question since you failed to answer it and skipped right over the Republicans to blame the President. How would you stop the Republicans from blocking, blocking, blocking the President and Democrats again?

           

          •  Four Times In One Year! (0+ / 0-)

            Wow!  You're right.  He's really been pushing it, not deficit reduction or cutting Social Security benefits.

            I know when I'm dealing with a paid operative for the so-called Democratic party.  Well done, shill.  You earned your keep.

            If I was a communist, rich men would fear me...And the opposite applies. The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles.

            by stewarjt on Sat Dec 21, 2013 at 08:45:35 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Well done Obama hater. I would drop you a donut (0+ / 0-)

              for accusing me of being a paid shill, but it isn't worth it.

              I know you have no solution on stopping the Republican Congress from sabotaging the nation, because they are helping you out. They block the President so you can get online and be condescending that Obama or the "So called Democratic party" as you call them, aren't doing anything.

              Guess what though? Obama and the "So called Democratic party" defeated you haters in the last general election. It must have been rough going. I take great pleasure in knowing you will have to live with President Obama being president for three more years. This alone makes me smile....

              •  Paid Political Announcement (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Bobba Louie

                First, I support any politician or party that fights for the working class.  I'm not under any delusion that the current Democratic party fights for the working class any longer like some people apparently are.

                You're under the mistaken belief that somehow being a Democrat as the party is constituted now is superior to being a Republican.  This is the my team versus their team mentality that apologizes for any Democratic policy because it's Democratic and blames the worst of their actions on Republicans.  

                Next, any politician who proposes Social Security cuts for ANY REASON is a piece of SHIT!!!  

                You're welcome to engage in all the apologetics you want and you will.  You must get paid or some feeling of superiority thinking that in some way Democrats are better than Republicans and what matters is that your team wins, not the policies it enacts and the people it fights for.  Why else would you do it?

                The lesser of two evils is still evil.

                If I was a communist, rich men would fear me...And the opposite applies. The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles.

                by stewarjt on Sun Dec 22, 2013 at 07:50:37 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

  •  Christmas clueless... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    maryabein

    It seems as if even the few Senators and Congressional stiffs who have mentioned the lack of unemployment insurance extension have any idea what the ripple effect is when people living on half or less than a livable wage do when they don't get ANYTHING for a month or two or three! THe 67 year old landlord (me) who lives to within $94 of his entire cash flow when the one tenant pays the rent now is $500 behind. The Credit Card payment for that broken water heater doesn't get made. The water bill has to go and the town is out $68. Also the usual ability to pay other bills goes to floating them and paying some of as many as possible and turning to Rice Checks for one meal a day. THe dentist doesn't get his monthly payment on that bill from three months ago and the Plan F insurance doesn't get paid for so that's gone. Meanwhile the tenant is begging not to be evicted but eviction costs money too and - well I don't have it because .... Phooey. So Have a nice christmas Senate and Congress and get back to us in the first of the year - right? Because you are "disappointed" in not having done anything. REALLY! How about you all line up on the Steps and explain how that means a damn thing to real people - you know - the people you have fooled into believing that you care about. Better yet - take a hike and don't bother coming back.

  •  the blame game (0+ / 0-)

    Most Americans blame politicians for the focus on the rich in wash. in a nation of individuals that worships at the altar of individualism like America systemic thinking is almost nonexistent.

    They have yet to look deeply into the economic and political system that is creating such hardships for many in America.

    When communism failed Americans cheered not realizing that capitalism was next. but Reagan economics had just started so they did not realize what that economic agenda would do to middle class America.

    Treated capitalism as an absolute not to be questioned and regaulated is like religions treating their bibles as absolutes.       disaster in the making.

  •  The poor were forced to embrace the suck (0+ / 0-)

    and the rich went home to their splendid Christian festivities:
    America's true soul shines though again in this Congress.

  •  Thanks Fer Nuttin (0+ / 0-)

    No, this isn't good Barry. It isn't your Grand Bargin Thx god.
    You did sell out the Fed workers, and unemployed, WTG.

    So you got one ball, how about growing a pair?

    No more corporate welfare, tax havens, Cut the military for gods sake!

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