Beyond political posturing to lay blame for a potential government shutdown, the key takeaways from President Obama’s press conference on the continuing resolution (CR) negotiations were these: The president suggested he will not support any policy riders in the bill and won’t support a one-week CR introduced by the GOP to delay a shutdown if talks fail.
The Republican-passed CR includes a slew of policy riders that would defund Obamacare, EPA regulations, Planned Parenthood and National Public Radio, among other things.
Obama said “What we can’t be doing is using last year’s budget process to have arguments about abortion; to have arguments about the Environmental Protection Agency; to try to use this budget negotiation as a vehicle for every ideological or political difference between the two parties. That’s what the legislature is for, is to have those arguments, but not stuff it all into one budget bill.”
The other key issue he addressed is a one-week CR introduced by Republicans who say it is a last-ditch backstop if talks fail.
On this topic, Obama said, “On the issue of a short-term extension, we’ve already done that twice. We did it once for two weeks, then we did another one for three weeks. That is not a way to run a government. I can’t have our agencies making plans based on two-week budgets. I can’t have the Defense Department, I can’t have the State Department, I can’t have our various agencies on food safety and making sure our water is clean and making sure that our airports are functioning, I can’t have them making decisions based on two-week-at-a-time budgets.
“So I have been very clear that the last time we had an extension, it was to give the parties time to go ahead and get something done. We are now at the point where there is no excuse to extend this further.
“If over the next 24 to 48 hours a deal is done and we just can’t get the paperwork through Congress quick enough and they want to do a clean extension for two or three days in order to go ahead and complete a deal, then that’s something that we could support. But what we’re not going to do is to once again put off something that should have gotten done several months ago.”