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Obama blasts Republicans, blames GOP for shutdown during White House address

000_was7961561_siIn an address from the White House Rose Garden Tuesday afternoon, President Barack Obama blamed Republican lawmakers for triggering the first government shutdown in nearly two decades.

Obama spoke roughly 12 hours after a longstanding budget  stalemate on Capitol Hill caused a midnight shutdown, impacting a  number of government agencies and initiatives across the board.

At midnight last night, for the first time in 17 years, the  Republicans in Congress chose to shut down the federal  government,” Obama began his address.

Let me be more specific: One faction of one party in one  house of Congress in one branch of government shut down major  parts of the government, all because they didn’t like one  law,” the president said.

The shutdown erupted after the Republican-controlled House of  Representatives failed to come to an agreement with the  Democrat-led Senate with regards to passing the federal budget.  At the core of the issue was the GOP’s reluctance to accept  Obama’s Affordable Care Act, or “Obamacare,” which finally went  into effect Tuesday morning amid the shutdown, notwithstanding  negative sentiment from the Republican party.

This Republican shutdown did not have to happen, but I want  every American to understand why it did happen,” the  president said Tuesday. “Republicans in the House of  Representatives refused to fund the government unless we defunded  or dismantled the Affordable Care Act. They’ve shut down the  government over an ideological crusade to deny affordable health  insurance to millions of Americans.”

In other words,” said Obama, “they demanded ransom  just for doing their job.”

In all, Congress’ failure to compromise on a budget is expected  to end with 800,000 federal workers being sent home without pay  and the closure of national parks and government programs across  the country.  “Veterans, who’ve sacrificed for their country, will find  their support centers unstaffed,” Obama said Monday afternoon  before the midnight deadline came and went without a compromise.  “Tourists will find every one of America’s national parks and  monuments, from Yosemite to the Smithsonian to the Statue of  Liberty, immediately closed.”

On Tuesday, Obama said that hundreds of thousands of civilian  workers, many still on the job and many forced to go home, aren’t  being paid “even if they have families to support and local  business to rely on them.”

We know that the longer this shutdown continues, the worse  the effects will be more families will be hurt, more businesses  will be harmed,” he said. “Once again, I urge House  Republicans to reopen the government. Re-start the services that  Americans depend on.”

When the midnight deadline hit early Tuesday, the presidential  Twitter account announced, “They actually did it. A group of  Republicans in the House just forced a government shutdown over  Obamacare instead of passing a real budget.”

Hours later at the White House Rose Garden, the president warned,   “We may not know the full impact of this Republican shutdown  for some time. It will depend on how long it lasts.”

But despite the shutdown, the president announced that starting  Tuesday morning, millions of uninsured Americans are now provided  the opportunity to purchase affordable healthcare through the  hallmark legislation.  Speaking of the roughly 15 percent of uninsured Americans, the  president said, “For them, and millions like them, this is a  historic day.”

And while Republicans have largely opposed the president’s  healthcare plan since before it was even approved in Congress,  Obama dismissed allegations from his opponents that have yet to  prove accurate.

Most Republicans have made a whole bunch of predictions about  this law that haven’t come true. There are no death panels. Costs  haven’t skyrocketed,” he said.

Obama said the US has actually experienced its slowest rate of  health spending growth on record since his insurance plan was  announced, and added that the demand for Obamacare was so  significant that more than one million Americans visited newly  launched websites for those programs early Tuesday.

I know it’s strange that one party would make keeping people  uninsured the centerpiece of their agenda,” Obama said of  House Republicans.

The last government shutdown occurred in 1996 during the  administration of then-President Bill Clinton.


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