President Obama took some time at the start of his remarks to commemorate the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina on Thursday to pre-emptively bash congressional Republican rivals over another possible government shutdown fight next month.
Saying he was asserting “presidential privilege” to begin his remarks by discussing the economy, Obama threatened to veto any funding bill that threatened additional austerity or extra measures.
“Congress needs to fund America in a way that invests in our growth and our security and not cuts us off at the knees by locking mindless austerity or shortsighted sequester cuts to our economy,” Obama said.
Citing this week’s turmoil in the financial markets and in the Chinese economy—as well as a sunnier report that showed the economy grew in the second quarter at a much faster rate than previously thought—Obama said that failing to pass a clean budget would further harm global economic stability.
“Eventually we’re going to do it anyways, so let’s just do it without too much drama,” Obama said of a potential budget showdown. “Let’s do it without another round of threats to shut down the government. Let’s not introduce unrelated partisan issues. Nobody gets to hold the American economy hostage over their own ideological demands.”
With only 15 legislative days on the Senate calendar for the month, a brewing fight over whether to end federal funding for Planned Parenthood, and a raft of senators running for president, it could be difficult to pass even a short-term funding measure despite vows by senior Republican legislators that they will not support a shutdown.
As the Times noted, the next fight could come over the efforts of conservative backbenchers to remove federal funding for Planned Parenthood as a condition of passing a budget. Politico reported on Tuesday that Speaker John Boehner still hadn't settled on a strategy for passing a budget, and that 18 Republican lawmakers in the House have said they wouldn’t vote for any spending bill that did not cut Planned Parenthood spending.
Republican presidential candidates and senators Rand Paul and Ted Cruz have said they will try to pass measures to defund the group, which would not likely get past a Democratic filibuster in the Senate. The uproar over Planned Parenthood comes in the wake of secretly recorded videotapes of Planned Parenthood officials that have reignited the debate over research on fetal tissues. Obama was adamant that any delay over the issue could potentially harm the economy.
“My message to Congress is pass a budget, prevent a shutdown, don’t wait until the last minute,” Obama said. “Don’t worry our businesses or our workers by contributing unnecessarily to global uncertainty. Get it done.”