WASHINGTON (CNN) - President Obama blasted Republicans Saturday evening for risking a government shutdown in their effort to defund Obamacare saying, “It is time for these folks to stop governing by crisis."
President Barack Obama was speaking at the 43rd Annual Congressional Black Caucus Foundation Phoenix Awards Dinner. His speech focused on an array of topics, including health care, gun violence and creating economic opportunity.
Hitting at Congressional Republicans, Obama said, “You'd be willing to shut down the government and potentially default for the first time in United States history because it bothers you so much that we're actually going to make sure that everybody has affordable health care. Let me say as clearly as I can: It is not going to happen.”
Obama added, “We have come too far, we've overcome far darker threats than those. We will not negotiate whether or not America should keep its word and meet its obligations. We're not going to allow anyone to inflict economic pain on millions of our own people just to make an ideological point.”
Another theme of the night was gun violence, with the president citing recent mass shootings in Chicago and Washington’s Navy Yard. He also spoke of others “whose loved ones were torn from them without headlines sometimes, or public outcry.”
“We can’t rest until all of our children can go to school or walk down the street free from the fear that they will be struck down by a stray bullet.”
The president also returned frequently in his remarks to the topic of income inequality, economic opportunity and the need to build on the legacy of the civil rights movement, echoing the main themes of the evening.
The Phoenix Awards Dinner is part of the Congressional Black Caucus’ annual conference. This year’s dinner honored Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Maryland); former president and director-counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund Elaine Jones; and former President Bill Clinton, who was unable to attend the event but addressed the attendees in a video.