Monday, July 25, 2011

Obama: GOP Playing 'Dangerous Game' With Americans' Livlihood

Updated throughout at 9:45 p.m. edt to add Boehner quotes, details, links, etc.

President Obama rejected tonight the House GOP plan that would force another politically charged debt ceiling battle in six months, calling it "a dangerous game" that reduces the American people to "collateral damage to Washington’s political warfare."

"The only reason this balanced approach isn’t on its way to becoming law right now is because a significant number of Republicans in Congress are insisting on a cuts-only approach – an approach that doesn’t ask the wealthiest Americans or biggest corporations to contribute anything at all," Obama said.

"Most Americans, regardless of political party, don’t understand how we can ask a senior citizen to pay more for her Medicare before we ask corporate jet owners and oil companies to give up tax breaks that other companies don’t get," Obama added.

The President urged Americans to contact lawmakers to let them know they want the GOP to stop the debt shenanigans.

Obama's address on the day GOP House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid issued dueling debt proposals. Obama wants the Reid legislation that would raise the debt limit by at least $2.4 trillion all at once, instead of the politically motivated incremental approach that GOP House Speaker John Boehner is pushing.

"That is no way to run the greatest country on Earth. It is a dangerous game we’ve never played before, and we can’t afford to play it now," Obama said of Boehner's plan. "Not when the jobs and livelihoods of so many families are at stake. We can’t allow the American people to become collateral damage to Washington’s political warfare."

If a debt-ceiling compromise is not reached, Obama warned that Washington alone would be responsible for a likely economic crisis triggered by the federal government defaulting on its bills.

"We would risk sparking a deep economic crisis – one caused almost entirely by Washington," Obama said, adding that Americans are "fed up with a town where compromise has become a dirty word."

In a brief response to Obama's nationally televised address, Boehner insisted "there's no stalemate here in Congress."

"The House passed a bill to raise the debt limit with bipartisan support. And this week, while the Senate is struggling to pass a bill filled with phony accounting and Washington gimmicks, we're going to pass another bill, one that was developed with the support of the bipartisan leadership of the U.S. Senate," Boehner said.

(Editor's note: NBC "Hardball" anchor Chris Matthews accused Boehner of fibbing when he called the House bill a bipartisan effort).

"The solution to this crisis is not complicated. If you're spending more money than you're taking in, you need to spend less of it. There's no symptom of big government more menacing than our debt. Break its grip and we begin to liberate our economy and our future. We are up to the task. And I hope President Obama will join us in this work," Boehner added.

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