Washington (CNN) – President Barack Obama in his weekly Saturday address praised his signature health care legislation while lashing out at congressional Republicans who would seek to defund it.
Tuesday is going to be a big day, Obama tells viewers, because “it’s the day a big part of the Affordable Care Act kicks in” - the opening of new exchanges for private health insurance. He praised the accessibility to health insurance that the exchanges will provide.
But the exchanges' debut is not the only thing that happens Tuesday.
“It’s also the day that a group of far-right Republicans in Congress might choose to shut down the government and potentially damage the economy just because they don’t like this law,” Obama said.
Congress has a little over two-and-a-half days for both chambers to pass identical funding bills for the federal government.
The Senate passed a funding bill Friday and sent it back to the House. That version stripped House language that would have defunded Obamacare; it remains unclear what the House will do with the bill.
“Republicans in the House have been more concerned with appeasing an extreme faction of their party than working to pass a budget that creates new jobs or strengthens the middle class,” Obama warned.
“And in the next couple days, these Republicans will have to decide whether to join the Senate and keep the government open, or create a crisis that will hurt people for the sole purpose of advancing their ideological agenda,” he said.
The funding bill isn't the only issue at hand, Obama said. He warned against any attempt by Republicans to attach items of their agenda onto a bill authorizing the Treasury Department to increase the debt limit. Obama vowed once again not to negotiate over the debt limit - saying raising it to ensure the country can pay its bills is Congress' Constitutional responsibility - although he said he would negotiate over “our economic future.”
“I don’t know how to be more clear about this: No one gets to threaten the full faith and credit of the United States of America just to extract ideological concessions,” he said.