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Blame already being cast over budget fight

  • In this Sept. 20, 2013, photo, President Barack Obama gestures as he speaks to workers at the Ford Kansas City Stamping Plant in Liberty, Mo.  Obama arrives at the United Nations on Monday, Sept. 23, with diplomatic openings, the result of help from unexpected partners, on three fronts: Iran, Syria, and elusive peace between Israel and the Palestinians. All three pathways are fraught with potential pitfalls and hinge on cooperation from often unreliable nations. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)

    In this Sept. 20, 2013, photo, President Barack Obama gestures as he speaks to workers at the Ford Kansas City Stamping Plant in Liberty, Mo. Obama arrives at the United Nations on Monday, Sept. 23, with diplomatic openings, the result of help from unexpected partners, on three fronts: Iran, Syria, and elusive peace between Israel and the Palestinians. All three pathways are fraught with potential pitfalls and hinge on cooperation from often unreliable nations. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)

  • Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, left, and Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, during a news conference with conservative Congressional Republicans at the Capitol in Washington, Thursday, Sept. 19, 2013.  Cruz and Lee stand as the Senate’s dynamic duo for conservatives, crusading against President Barack Obama’s health care law while infuriating many congressional Republicans with a tactic they consider futile, self-serving and detrimental to the party’s political hopes in 2014. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

    Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, left, and Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, during a news conference with conservative Congressional Republicans at the Capitol in Washington, Thursday, Sept. 19, 2013. Cruz and Lee stand as the Senate’s dynamic duo for conservatives, crusading against President Barack Obama’s health care law while infuriating many congressional Republicans with a tactic they consider futile, self-serving and detrimental to the party’s political hopes in 2014. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

  • In this Sept. 20, 2013, photo, President Barack Obama gestures as he speaks to workers at the Ford Kansas City Stamping Plant in Liberty, Mo.  Obama arrives at the United Nations on Monday, Sept. 23, with diplomatic openings, the result of help from unexpected partners, on three fronts: Iran, Syria, and elusive peace between Israel and the Palestinians. All three pathways are fraught with potential pitfalls and hinge on cooperation from often unreliable nations. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)
  • Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, left, and Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, during a news conference with conservative Congressional Republicans at the Capitol in Washington, Thursday, Sept. 19, 2013.  Cruz and Lee stand as the Senate’s dynamic duo for conservatives, crusading against President Barack Obama’s health care law while infuriating many congressional Republicans with a tactic they consider futile, self-serving and detrimental to the party’s political hopes in 2014. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Even before a budget deadline arrives, leaders from both parties are blaming each other – and some Republicans are criticizing their own – for a government shutdown many are treating as inevitable.

The top Democrat in the House says Republicans are “legislative arsonists” who are using their opposition to a sweeping health care overhaul as an excuse to close government’s doors. A leading tea party antagonist in the Senate counters that conservatives should use any tool available to stop the Affordable Care Act from taking hold. Former president Bill Clinton’s labor secretary said the GOP is willing “to risk the entire system of government to get your way,” while the House speaker who oversaw the last government shutdown urged fellow Republicans to remember “this is not a dictatorship.”

The unyielding political posturing yesterday came one week before Congress reaches an Oct. 1 deadline to dodge any interruptions in government services. While work continues on a temporary spending bill, a potentially more devastating separate deadline looms a few weeks later when the government could run out of money to pay its bills.

“This is totally irresponsible, completely juvenile and, as I called it, legislative arson. It’s just destructive,” House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi said in an interview that aired Sunday.

The Republican-led House on Friday approved legislation designed to wipe out the 3-year-old health care law that President Obama has vowed to preserve. But the House’s move was more a political win than a measure likely to be implemented.

Across the Capitol, Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid said he would keep the health law intact despite Republicans’ attempts, in his words, “to take an entire law hostage simply to appease the tea party anarchists.”

One of those tea party agitators, Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, showed little sign yesterday that he cared about the uphill climb to make good on his pledge to derail the health care law over Obama’s guaranteed veto.

“I believe we should stand our ground,” said Cruz, who already was trying to blame Obama and his Democratic allies if the government shuts down.

Sen. Claire McCaskill, a Missouri Democrat, said Cruz’s efforts were destructive and self-serving as Cruz eyes a White House campaign.

“I cannot believe that they are going to throw a tantrum and throw the American people and our economic recovery under the bus,” she said.

“This is about running for president with Ted Cruz. This isn’t about meaningful statesmanship,” she added later.

The wrangling over the budget comes as lawmakers consider separate legislation that would let the United States avoid a first-ever default on its debt obligations. House Republicans are planning legislation that would attach a one-year delay in the health care law in exchange for ability to increase the nation’s credit limit of $16.7 trillion.

Obama, speaking to political allies on Saturday evening, showed little patience for the GOP efforts to undermine his legislative accomplishment by either avenue.

“We will not negotiate over whether or not America should keep its word and meet its obligations,” Obama told the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation dinner. “We’re not going to allow anyone to inflict economic pain on millions of our own people just to make an ideological point.”

Congress doesn’t seem eager to help Obama, although there are deep divides – both between parties and within them – over who deserves blame.

Rep. Tom Graves, a Georgia Republican, said the goal was to defund the president’s health care legislation for at least one more year if not forever.

“We do have eight days to reach a resolution on this, and I propose an idea that kept the government operating and opened for an entire year while delaying and defunding Obamacare for a year so that we could work out those differences,” Graves said.

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, whose faceoff with Clinton led to government shutdowns that inflicted significant damage on the GOP and helped resurrect the then-president’s political fortunes in time for his 1996 re-election bid, said his GOP colleagues should not yield.

“This is not a dictatorship. Under our constitution, there should be a period of tension and there should be a compromise on both sides,” Gingrich said.

Robert Reich, who was Clinton’s labor secretary, said that works only if both parties are willing to negotiate.

“Sorry, under our constitutional system you’re not allowed to risk the entire system of government to get your way,” Reich said.

It is likely that when the House legislation arrives in the Senate, Democrats there will strip off the health care defunding mechanism. Democrats plan to send back to the House a bill that prevents disruptions in government services but not the health provision they championed.

Cruz, however, said Senate Republicans cannot allow that to happen and should mount every procedural hurdle available. Cruz, who pushed lawmakers to tie a budget bill with health care hurdles, said Republicans should mount a procedural roadblock that would require 60 votes for any changes to the House bill.

“You know what? If Senate Republicans stand together, we can stop Harry Reid from doing it,” Cruz said.

But within his own party, Cruz faced skepticism.

“It’s not a tactic that we can actually carry out and be successful,” said Sen. Tom Coburn, an Oklahoma Republican. “The answer now in the Senate, by those who propose this strategy, is to filibuster the very bill they said they wanted.”

Pelosi spoke to CNN’s State of the Union. Cruz and McCaskill were interviewed on Fox News Sunday. Reich, Gingrich and Graves appeared on ABC’s This Week. Coburn was on CBS’s Face the Nation.

Legacy Comments7

A small band of extremists is attempting to win at a game of chicken, risking the economy and the nation's standing among the nations of the world, all to get their way. They've been demonizing the ACA out of fear that the ACA will work as intended--to improve health care coverage and delivery. They're holding their breath, stamping their feet, and turning blue. The Tea Party demonstrates it is fundamentally undemocratic by blackmailing the nation to undo legislation it could not defeat at the ballot box or in Congress, and that now is the law of the land. As for the debt ceiling itself, the tool of choice for the blackmailers, most nations don't have the same kind of debt ceiling limit we have. http://www.politifact.com/truthometer/statements/2011/jul/25/arianna-huffington/arianna-huffington-says-us-debt-ceiling-rules-are-/

"since 1960, the debt limit has been raised a total of 78 times, including 49 increases under Republican Presidents and 29 increases under Democratic Presidents. President Ronald Reagan said in 1983 that, 'the full consequences of a default — or even the serious prospect of default — by the United States are impossible to predict and awesome to contemplate."........ even when Obama does just like the Republican Presidents, they still say he is still wrong. I guess they are still holding to the promise that they will vote against him on everything. He needs to utilize that children's reverse psychology and he could do anything.

democrats have not, Not, NOT passed a budget in 5 years but they have increased the debt from 10 trillion to $$$$$$17 TRILLION !!!!. The citizens are exhausted from the democrats pushing us from one made up crisis to another made up crisis... If you do not realize this is 100% democrat manufactured politics then you are a low information democrat voter

The last REAL budget was passed in 1997 when Bill Clinton was president. The Republicans have also failed to pass a budget. Just more continuing resolutions. And by the way the Decocratic controlled Congress passed a budget on March 23, 2013. It failed in the Republican House.

"The fact that we are here today to debate raising America’s debt limit is a sign of leadership failure. It is a sign that the U.S. Government can’t pay its own bills. It is a sign that we now depend on ongoing financial assistance from foreign countries to finance our Government’s reckless fiscal policies. … Increasing America’s debt weakens us domestically and internationally. Leadership means that “the buck stops here.” Instead, Washington is shifting the burden of bad choices today onto the backs of our children and grandchildren. America has a debt problem and a failure of leadership. Americans deserve better." Barack Obama 2006.

I realize the irony here, but taken at face value, just what part of this quote is not true. We have a leadership problem, more so we have an abject refusal by right and left wing elements to stop bickering and work together to lead. You can't lay it all on Obama. The GOP controlled house has held in excess or 41 votes to repeal or defund Obamacare. Now they are linking de-funding a legally passed law, ACA, to a bill to avoid shutting down the government. Can you call this leadership? No this is strictly a small group of zealots within the GOP, determined to advance their personal agendas. So yes it is fair to say that we have a leadership problem. The problem is that elected officials are so busy protecting their jobs that they won't lead. In the meantime the ultra rich keep getting richer.

do any democrat posters know the slimy maneuver the democrats pulled to pass ObamaKare that was outside of normal legislative process? In the meantime the liberals have never introduced any legislation to fix any of their perceived income inequalities - but they have raised taxes on Americans so much that tax revenue this year was the greatest EVER

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