Politics
U.S. President Barack Obama speaks about the continuing government shutdown during a news conference from the White House Briefing Room in Washington, October 8, 2013. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque U.S. President Barack Obama speaks about the continuing government shutdown during a news conference from the White House Briefing Room in Washington, October 8, 2013. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque  

Obama summons Senate Democrats to Oval Office after Hill defeat

Photo of Neil Munro
Neil Munro
White House Correspondent

President Barack Obama held a Saturday afternoon meeting in the Oval Office with top Senate Democrats after the GOP blocked an Obama-backed bill to sharply raise the government’s credit-limit by $1.1 trillion.

The bill only won 52 yes votes, when it needed 60. The Democrats’ majority leader, Sen. Harry Reid, voted against the bill, because Senate rules say that his no vote allows him to bring the bill up again.

Democrats tried, but failed, to persuade six swing-voting GOP Senators to support their debt-boosting bill.

But the GOP Senators are pushing for a bill that raises the debt limit until January, and are also trying to curb future spending.

In turn, top Senate Democrats blocked a GOP-drafted bill that would have set 2014 spending to match the 2011 sequester plan.

On Friday and Saturday, Obama rejected the latest compromise offered by the House GOP.

Roughly one-sixth of Obama’s administration is shut down because 2013 spending bills have expired, and he is expected to hits his credit-limit Oct. 17. Since his 2009 inauguration, his government has borrowed $6 trillion to fund its ambitious spending programs.

Since September, the GOP has demanded an end to funding for the Obamcare takeover of the nation’s healthcare sector, in exchange for funding all of the administration. But Republicans have rolled back their goals several times, and are now pushing for only minor changes to the Obamacare network, while opposing demands by Democrats and Obama for increased spending and taxes.

Obama and his team are watching polls, which shows that many swing-voters have accepted Obama’s claim that the shutdown of roughly 17 percent of  the government is being caused by GOP’s self-serving political goals.

In fact, Obama and his Democratic allies have blocked numerous small-scale budget bills supported by the GOP. The mini budget-bills have not included reforms of Obamacare.

During the first half of 2012, the far-reaching regulations in Obamacare changed companies’ hiring practices, encouraging them to cut full-time jobs and hire only part-time workers.

“Between Jan. 1 and June 30, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the economy added 833,000 part-time jobs and lost 97,000 full-time jobs,” according to recent article in the Wall Street Journal. “Keith Hall, who ran the Bureau of Labor Statistics from 2008-12… [said] that the results were ‘really remarkable… I’m not sure that has ever happened over six months before.’”

However, although Obama and the Senate Democrats have accepted some of the popular small-scale budget bills to fund narrow portion of the government, he has rejected every Obamacare reform proposed by the GOP.

“Congress must do its job and raise the debt limit to pay the bills we have incurred and avoid default,” said a White House statement issued shortly after the defeat. “With five days until the government runs out of borrowing authority, Congress needs to move forward with a solution that reopens the government and allows us to pay our bills.”

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