President Obama responded indignantly, during a Tuesday morning press conference at the White House, to a question about whether he had enough “juice” to advance his agenda, in light of recent legislative setbacks like the Senate’s failure to advance a gun background check bill.
“If you put it that way Jonathan, maybe I should just pack up and go home,” Obama told ABC’s Jonathan Karl. “Golly!”
“Rumors of my demise may be a little exaggerated at this point,” Obama added, adapting a quote from Mark Twain.
Obama went on to note that Senate Republicans’ unprecedented use of the filibuster has been a major hurdle. “This habit of requiring 60 votes for even the most modest piece of legislation has gummed up the works there,” he said. “Congress is pretty dysfunctional right now.”
And he sounded a theme that many of his supporters have been pushing for months: He can’t magically force Republicans to act constructively if they’re determined not to. “It’s not my job to get [Congress] to behave,” Obama said. “That’s their job.”
Obama also said the only way to replace the sequester, with its damaging cuts to various government services, was with a bigger, comprehensive budget deal: “It’s slowed our growth; it’s throwing people out of work; and it’s hurting people across the country.”
Obama called Congress’ last-minute halt to FAA furloughs “not a solution,” adding: “The fact that Congress responded to the short-term problem of flight delays by giving us the option of shifting money that’s designed to repair and improve airports over the long-term to fix the short-term problem, that’s not a solution.”