Obama hits GOP, refuses to broker budget compromise

Neil Munro White House Correspondent
Font Size:

President Barack Obama offered no plan or proposal to end the budget stand-off during his brief public appearance at 5 p.m., just seven hours before the government shuts down.

Instead, he tried to portray the GOP’s opposition to the federal takeover of the nation’s health-care system as merely ideological opposition and personal dislike of the president.

“One faction of one party in one House of Congress in one branch of government doesn’t get to shut down the entire government just to refight the results of an election,” Obama said about about the House, which was established in the Constitution to control government spending and to reflect the wishes of the people.

“Keeping the people’s government open is not a concession to me,” he added in his 10-minute statement in the White House press room.

Obama did not offer to broker a deal that would close the gap between his Democratic faction and the GOP leaders in the House.

Obama did not urge the Democrat-controlled Senate to accept a compromise deal.

Obama did not suggest he would welcome a compromise.

Obama’s hard-line, no-compromise strategy highlights the Democrats’ expectation that public opinion will turn against the GOP once government services are cut back when the 2013 financial year ends at midnight.

Public hostility could help the Democrats regain a majority in the House during the November 2014 election, Democrats hope.

Democrats say they are confident the pubic will support their no-compromise policy. “It’s going to really hurt the Republicans more,” Brad Woodhouse, told MSNBC host Martin Bashir Monday.

“It is just a shame this has to happen,” he said, adding that the crisis will run the GOP’s reputation “into the ground.”

Obama also sought to reassure the public that the budget crisis will not shut down the entire government.

Social Security, Medicare, air traffic control and the military will continue to function, he said. The U.S. Post Office will also remain open, he said. However, the national parks will be closed and government salaries will be held up, he said.

In the House, GOP leaders have announced they will try to overcome the opposition from the Democratic-dominated Senate by passing a third compromise measure.

Like the first two House bills which have been rejected by the Senate, this compromise would fully fund the federal budget for several weeks.

But the GOP expects to increase the pressure on Democratic senators by requiring popular changes to the Obamacare network.

The House bill will end the lucrative exemptions from Obamacare regulations that were granted by Obama to his aides and to Hill staffers.

The GOP bill will also set a one-year delay for the unpopular Obamacare rule that requires people to buy health-insurance. The delayed individual mandate is modeled after the delay already granted to companies by the White House.

To defeat the House budget bill, Democrat senators will have to vote against those popular measures, perhaps making some Democratic senators vulnerable in the 2014 Senate elections.

Republicans are using the vote to portray Obama and the Democrats as elitist protectors of the well-connected people who received valuable exemptions form Obamacare’s mandate.

“Democratic Senators want to exempt themselves from #ObamaCare which they forced on you. No More Special Treatment!” said a 4:44 p.m. tweet from Brad Dayspring, an aide to Rep. Eric Cantor, the majority leader in the House.

“55% (56% independents) support delaying ObamaCare individual mandate,” Dayspring tweeted.

“What our members want is fairness for the American people,” GOP Speaker of the House John Boehner said during a brief afternoon press conference.

“The president provided a one year delay of the employer mandate. He’s provided exceptions for unions and others. There’s even exceptions for members of Congress. We believe that everyone should be treated fairly. So we’re going to move here in the next several hours to take the Senate bill, add to it a one year delay of the individual mandate on the American people,” he said.

“It’s a matter of fairness for all Americans,” Boehner said.

Democrats are trying to portray the GOP’s actions are irresponsible, costly and drive by an “ideological agenda” of the “tea party faction.”

“FACT: The House GOP plan to force a government #shutdown would close our national parks and the Smithsonian museums,” said a pre-appearance tweet from Obama’s spokesman, Jay Carney.

“FACT: House Republicans would rather #shutdown the government than help millions of Americans afford health insurance,” said a subsequent tweet.

Follow Neil on Twitter