Obama Scolds Congress, Says His Own Daughters Are More Disciplined

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obama3ABC’s Matthew Jaffe reports: In an animated rant that livened up an otherwise subdued press conference, President Obama today lit into Congress for failing to reach an agreement to raise the country’s $14.3 trillion debt ceiling as an Aug. 2 deadline approaches, despite repeated urgings by the administration to do so. At one point he even reprimanded lawmakers by noting that his two daughters manage to do their homework ahead of time, a diligence rarely seen on gridlocked Capitol Hill.

“If the United States government for the first time cannot pay its bills, if it defaults, then the consequences for the US economy will be significant and unpredictable and that is not a good thing,” President Obama said of the debt ceiling debate. “We don’t know how capital markets will react, but if capital markets suddenly decide, you know what, the US government doesn’t pay its bills so we’re going to start pulling our money out and the US Treasury has to start to raise interest rates in order to attract more money to pay off our bills, that means higher interest rates for businesses, that means higher interest rates for consumers. So all the headwinds that we’re already experiencing in terms of recovery will get worse. That is not my opinion – I think that’s the consensus opinion. And that means that job growth will be further stymied, it will be further hampered as a consequence of that decision.”

“These are bills that Congress ran up,” he noted. “The money’s been spent. The obligations have been made. So this is not a situation – I think the American people have to understand this – this is not a situation where you know, Congress is going to say, ‘Okay, we won’t buy this car or we won’t take this vacation.’ They took the vacation, they bought the car, and now they’re saying maybe we don’t have to pay or we don’t have to pay as fast as we said we were going to. That’s not how responsible families act. We’re the greatest nation on earth and we can’t act that way. So this is urgent and it needs to get settled.”

In response to suggestions by prominent Republicans like House Speaker John Boehner that the Aug. 2 deadline set by the Treasury Department was “artificial,” the president said, “Aug. 2 is a very important date and there’s no reason why we can’t get this done now. We know what the options are out there. This is not a technical problem any longer. This is the matter of Congress going ahead and biting the bullet and making some tough decisions.”

If his two daughters can do their homework with plenty of time to spare, the president then asked, why can’t Congress get their work done, too?

“You know, Malia and Sasha generally finish their homework a day ahead of time. Malia is 13 and Sasha is 10. It is impressive. They don’t wait until the night before. They’re not pulling all-nighters,” he said to laughter from the assembled press corps. “They’re 13 and 10. You know, Congress can do the same thing. If you know you’ve got to do something, just do it.”

But the president wasn’t done yet. After touting his leadership on the debt ceiling issue, pointing out that he’d met with members of Congress repeatedly in recent months, the president took some shots at the Congressional calendar that leaves lawmakers ample time to leave Washington and return to their home states and districts.

“They need to do their job. Now’s the time to go ahead and make the tough choices. That’s why they’re called leaders. And I’ve already shown that I’m willing ot make decisions that are very tough and you know, give my base of voters further reason to give me a hard time, but it’s got to be done, so there’s no point in procrastinating. There’s no point in putting it off. You know, we’ve got to get this done. And if by the end of this week we have not seen substantial progress then I think members of Congress need to understand we’re going to have to start cancelling things and stay here until we get it done. They’re in one week. They’re out one week. And then they’re saying Obama’s got to step in – you need to be here, I’ve been here, I’ve been doing Afghanistan, bin Laden, and the Greek crisis. You stay here. Let’s get it done.”

“Alright, I think you know my feelings about that,” he said with a chuckle.

{ABC News/Matzav.com Newscenter}

14 COMMENTS

  1. typical of him. amost every congressman has a better resume than him. he blew the deficit with his supposed “stimulus” and now he talks down to the new congress as if its their fault.

  2. What would obama do if his daughters kept running up credit card bills and making him a pauper. Would he get them another line of credit? Obama is like the teenager who needs to be taught to spend within his limits.

  3. Get real. The Republicsns in congress are simply playing games – they obviously care nothing about the people in this country…only big business and wall street. It is easy to complain and grumble than to get off their collective bottoms and get to work. Deficits are not restricted to the Democratic party, Reagan, and Bush both created huge deficits. End the wars and raise taxes on the wealthy and watch the deficit disappear.

  4. Disappear, Nanci? I think that’s pretty optimistic. Even with the major spending cuts that are needed, it will take years before the deficit “disappears”.

  5. #3.you say “It is easy to complain and grumble than to get off their collective bottoms and get to work”.right. that’s why stimulous welfare checks make no sense.
    “tax the wealthy and end the wars” what evidence is there that taxing the wealthy helps? .Letting keep their money makes them spend it in the private sector, giving the economy a boost,instead to uncle sam to spend social programs which encourage people to stay home.
    as far as ending war. i guess the u.s. is just being a bully. we should really let iran run the world.

  6. #3.you say “It is easy to complain and grumble than to get off their collective bottoms and get to work”.right. that’s why stimulous welfare checks make no sense.
    “tax the wealthy and end the wars” what evidence is there that taxing the wealthy helps? .Letting keep their money makes them spend it in the private sector, giving the economy a boost,instead of to uncle sam to spend social programs which encourage people to stay home.
    as far as ending war. i guess the u.s. is just being a bully. we should really let iran run the world.

  7. George, the evidence is plain and you seem to be overlooking it. Taxing the wealthy under Clinton brought balanced budgets, increases in job creation, and budget surpluses.

    Cutting taxes for the wealthy under Bush, the younger, brought increases unemployment, increases in deficits, increases in debt, recession, financial corruption on an unprecedented scale, bank failure, and pointless wars to distract the public from the robbery by the rich. When has it ever been otherwise? “Letting them keep their money to spend in the private sector” is a hoax called the trickle down effect (Laffer Curve). You are being fooled.

  8. Nanci is right that Congress, led by the conservatives in the GOP, are procrastinating intentionally about getting their job–the job of government–done. They are also delaying 35 designated “emergency” judicial appointments, not to mention another 76, most of which are already actual vacancies–courts that are not hearing cases and citizens who are not getting their day in court. They are withholding justice from the people. Why? Because if they delay long enough, the GOP will get their appointees onto those benches to decide in favor of big business. You know, the same ones the US Supreme Court granted personhood to make unlimited campaign contributions. And many of Obama’s appointees have already been vetted with no opposition. All that’s required is the many-times-postponed cloture votes. Obama needs to start scolding them more and talking about what they are doing in no uncertain terms. So do we!

  9. “End the wars”?

    Who is the one spending who knows how much money in a war in Libya that goes against the War Powers Act and that Congress never approved?

    And since when does raising the debt ceiling help if we are borrowing from ourselves, which is what’s really happening?

    Try doing that with your Amex or Mastercard. Doesn’t work and it can’t work for government unless it’s accompanied by major spending cuts.

    Besides which, I don’t know which way Obama’s wind is blowing, but headwinds with 9.1% unemployment don’t sound like recovery winds to me.

  10. anyone who heard the speech knows it was far from a rant. That means that Mathew Jaffe is just another reporter who lies to draw attention to himself through sensationalism

  11. Bottom line: Mr Obama is arrogant and has brought embarrassment to this special country, the US of A. May we meri to have a new president soon.

  12. #7 lowering taxes under reagan brought much more revenue. clinton didn’t just tax the wealthy, he was also made government smaller. forced by a republican congress, he saud the era of big government is over.look at the countries with high taxes on the wealthy, they are less prosperous.

  13. George, lowering taxes under Reagan tripled the national debt during his term (with Republicans repeatedly voting to raise the debt ceiling. Continuing it under Bush, the elder, doubled it again. Look it up. When has lower taxes for the wealthy created jobs and lowered the debt?

    If you wish to compare and contrast various foreign economies and societies to our own there are numerous examples of higher taxed but higher service economies with longer life spans, less economic differential between rich and poor, and better health care. Making the rich richer has not improved our overall quality of life jobs prospects, or decreased government, as the rich are using their wealth to buy influence and bring the government under their control.

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