If the government shudders to a halt at the end of the month, blame far-right factions of the Republican Party, President Obama said Saturday in his weekly address.
“The United States of America is not a deadbeat nation,” Obama said. “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.”
After caving to Tea Party demands, Speaker John Boehner brought a stop-gap spending bill to the House floor Friday that keeps the government running through Dec. 15, on the condition that President Obama’s health care law is completely dismantled, with all of its funds cut. The House passed the temporary spending bill in a 230-189 vote largely along party lines, but the legislation has slim chances of survival in the Democrat-controlled Senate. President Obama has repeatedly vowed to veto any legislation that would end his landmark health care law, leaving Congress few options before the federal government grinds to a halt when the fiscal year ends Sept. 30.
“Think about that,” Obama said in his address. “They’d actually plunge this country back into recession–all to deny the basic security of health care to millions of Americans.”
The legislation heads to the Senate next week, where lawmakers could consider either stripping the provision to defund Obamacare out of the bill, or sending back a new budget for both chambers to hash out a compromise. But with just nine days before the fiscal year ends, the clock is ticking. Earlier this week, Boehner said “There’s no interest on our part on shutting the government down.” Instead, he is punting the heat to conservatives in the Senate to take up the anti-Obamacare campaign.
White House officials tell NBC News that President Obama spoke on the phone with Boehner Friday evening to reiterate to the speaker that “the full faith and credit of the United States should not and will not be subjected to negotiation.”