June 19th, 2010
10:58 AM ET
10 years ago

Obama takes on Senate GOP's 'dreary and familiar politics'

Washington (CNN) - President Obama used his weekly internet and radio address to spotlight what he called "a dreary and familiar politics" on the part of Senate Republicans.

Related: Mississippi Republican slams Obama over oil spill response

"I know the political season is upon us in Washington," Obama says. "But gridlock as a political strategy is destructive to the country. Whether we are Democrats or Republicans, we’ve got an obligation that goes beyond caring about the next election. We have an obligation to care for the next generation. So I hope that when Congress returns next week, they do so with a greater spirit of compromise and cooperation. America will be watching."

(Read Obama's full remarks after the jump)

Remarks of President Barack Obama
Saturday, June 19, 2010
Weekly Address
Washington, DC

At this moment, our nation is facing a host of big and difficult challenges. And more than anything else, what’s required to meet those challenges right now is a sense of cooperation and common purpose among our leaders. What we need is a willingness in Washington to put the public’s interests first – a willingness to score fewer political points so that we can start solving more problems.

That’s why I was disappointed this week to see a dreary and familiar politics get in the way of our ability to move forward on a series of critical issues that have a direct impact on people’s lives.

In the United States Senate, we have legislation that would boost our economic recovery and help Americans who’ve been affected by the worst recession in generations. We’ve certainly made progress since we were losing 750,000 jobs per month around the time I took office. Our economy is growing again, and we’ve added jobs for five straight months. But there are still millions of Americans out of work, and millions more who are struggling to pay the bills. The legislation in the Senate right now would extend unemployment benefits to those workers who lost their job through no fault of their own. It would provide relief to struggling states that would help save the jobs of thousands of teachers and cops and firefighters. There are also provisions in this legislation that would extend the tax credit for first-time homebuyers, as well as tax cuts to keep research and development jobs here in the United States.

Unfortunately, the Republican leadership in the Senate won’t even allow this legislation to come up for a vote. And if this obstruction continues, unemployed Americans will see their benefits stop. Teachers and firefighters will lose their jobs. Families will pay more for their first home.

All we ask for is a simple up or down vote. That’s what the American people deserve. Just like they deserve an up or down vote on legislation that would hold oil companies accountable for the disasters they cause – a vote that is also being blocked by the Republican leadership in the Senate. Right now, the law places a $75 million cap on the amount oil companies must pay to families and small businesses who suffer economic losses as a result of a spill like the one we’re witnessing in the Gulf Coast. We should remove that cap. But the Republican leadership won’t even allow a debate or a vote.

And as we speak today, 136 men and women who I’ve nominated for key positions in the federal government are awaiting a vote on the floor of the Senate. All are highly qualified. Very few are controversial. The vast majority already have support from both parties. But most of them are seeing their nominations intentionally delayed by Republican leaders, or even blocked altogether. They cannot get a vote. What this means is that, at a moment when our country is facing so many challenges – a time when we need all hands on deck – we cannot get the qualified people we need to start the jobs they were appointed to do.

Look, the nature of our democracy is that we’ll always have disagreements and debates - even heated ones. That’s healthy and it’s important. But let’s argue over genuine differences – over ideas and policies. And let’s go into those debates with an open mind – a willingness to find common ground and a conviction that, in the end, one way or another, we will have a vote to decide them. Next week, I’ll be meeting with a bipartisan group of Senators to discuss how we can transition away from our dependence on fossil fuels and embrace a clean energy future. I don’t expect that we’ll agree on a solution right away. In fact, I know that there will be plenty of disagreement and different ideas. But at least it shows that Republicans and Democrats can still sit down together in an attempt to tackle the big challenges facing our nation.

I know the political season is upon us in Washington. But gridlock as a political strategy is destructive to the country. Whether we are Democrats or Republicans, we’ve got an obligation that goes beyond caring about the next election. We have an obligation to care for the next generation. So I hope that when Congress returns next week, they do so with a greater spirit of compromise and cooperation. America will be watching.


Filed under: GOP • Popular Posts • President Obama • Senate
soundoff (102 Responses)
  1. Zaggs

    Too bad Obama still cannot tell the truth to the American people. Democrats want to talk so much about their Paygo rules and yet time and time and time again Obama willfully bypasses those rules for political gain.
    Obama doesn't want to talk about the Doc Fix in this bill because it exposes his lies on Obamacare being deficit neutral because the CBO even said with the Doc Fix included Obamacare pushes Obamacare to adding to the deficit.
    There was also the lie that the individual helth mandate was not a tax, even when Stephanopolous read the definition of tax out of Websters Obama still denied it. Yet now the administration is saying in court it is a tax and would be a tax increase on middle america exposing his biggest lie from the campaign.
    And again with the saving firefighters and teachers. They're not going to lose their jobs just like they weren't going to lose their jobs when the first stimulus was needed to "save them". its a cop out to states that refused to budget responsibly. The money wont go to teachers but to other budget items states like California can't pay for because they refuse to budget honestly.

    June 19, 2010 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  2. forrestoak

    One thing Obama doesn't seem to grasp is the idea of cooperation. Cooperation is give and take from both sides to come to an agreement and solution for the best of the country. His idea seems to be to "bribe" a couple of select opponents with special pet projects to get the votes to pass bills that will hurt America in the long run.

    June 19, 2010 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |

    I am not trust of presdient obma cause obama have too much problems

    June 19, 2010 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  4. harold

    So you think you might vote for the republicans this 2010....Consider what they did for 8 years while trying to solve the USA problems.. Consider what they are doing now..blocking un-employment benefits..etc..and the recovery from the Great Recession. Consider they want to REPEAL the new Health Insurance Law..and they want to privatize Medicare and Social Security.....They never stop being backwards... But when it comes to big Corporations etc.. you know the their game and how they deal with the so called "small people"....

    June 19, 2010 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |

    Obama pretending to be above politics? Give me a break, all he has done his entire life and during his presidency is Chicago thug-style politics. Snakeman.

    June 19, 2010 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  6. Dean

    The comments on this blog mimic the very problem that Obama was pointing out – rather than discuss issues, people want to point fingers at other people. "Obama is the worst" "Republicans are the worst". As long as this continues, no progress can be made. This is a culture that starts at the top – the leadership of each party *has* to stop claiming that it is 'the other side' that is the problem. If you take no responsibility, you have no incentive to change your decisions. Both Republicans *and* Democrats have to recognize that it is the combination of their actions that put is where we are. The BP spill is not just Obama's problem, and it is not just a Republican or Democrat problem. The environment, dependence on foreign oil, jobs, immigration, etc. are not a 'Democrat' or 'Republican' problem – they are a NATIONAL problem that must be dealt with. As Obama said – we can disagree on policies, but making personal comments all the time does not produce *any* useful outcome. And the personal comments start with the Republican and Democrat leadership – they must either stop or be removed.

    June 19, 2010 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  7. Yasmine

    He is absolutely right...

    it's very dangerous whena member of congress is so comfortable insinuates that our President and Attorney General are criminals for trying help citizens of this country..

    it is racist..

    a white president can be any man.. but black one must be superman..`

    June 19, 2010 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  8. Steve in North Carolina

    There he goes again! Poll numbers go down and it's time to blame Bush and the Republicans.

    I have an idea. How about doing your job??? Start with enforcing our immigration laws, waive the Jones Act so others can help clean up the oil spil in the gulf, and make some kind of effort to keep from spending us into oblivion!

    June 19, 2010 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  9. Morning Star

    It is the American voters'stupidity: we will vote republicans again because we forget what the 8 years of Bush have done to America.

    The loop will go on and on. The republicans are at least organized, the democrats are dogs, yes all kind of dogs...blue dogs etc .

    June 19, 2010 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  10. Nancy

    The remarks here from those that want President Obama to look bad at any cost remind me of a bumper sticker I saw a while back:

    Hatred and Intolerance are NOT Family Values!

    What a bunch of hypocrites!

    Republicans can not admit that Pres. Obama has had any successes because then their plan of "He fails – we win" falls apart. Being against everything Obama wants is not a plan for the good of our country. What nerve to imply they are more "American" .

    June 19, 2010 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  11. FLINDY

    WOW, Big surprise–OBummer blaming someone else again!

    Does this guy have an ounce of leadership in his bones?

    Thank goodness most of America has finally opened their eyes and sees how quickly this guy is ruining our country. And for those who have not opened your eyes yet, please get a clue!!

    June 19, 2010 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  12. Ray E. (Georgia)

    The Congress and Administration should be involved in making the lasw as fair as possible. The Republicians nor the Democrats need not be in charge. The people can take care of themselves. As long as the government collects and disburses money the problem will persist. People clammer for favors so the government granted them. The latest faliure was relaxing the rules so people that couldn't afford it bought houses. It failed. So if you bought into the housing bubble and lost out you only have yourself to blame.

    Now folks, I voted for you, but if you continue to vote against yourself, I can't help you. Liberal Democrat policies over the last 100 years have failed. But, keep voting those democrats in, but be prepared to accept the consequences. !6 percent unemployment is a good start.

    June 19, 2010 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |

    I love the conservative whack jobs on here with the SAME OLD untrue comments about "Obama is an apologizer" (false) "Obama is destroying the country" (false) "Obama is a socialist" (fasle) and "Obama is destryoing capitalism" (also FALSE.)

    Let's hear your ideas and solutions...let's hear something true out of you...let's hear an idea of any sort.

    You are pathetic whiners.

    June 19, 2010 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |

    I love the conservative whack jobs on here with the SAME OLD untrue comments about "Obama is an apologizer" (false) "Obama is destroying the country" (false) "Obama is a socialist" (false) and "Obama is destryoing capitalism" (also FALSE.)

    Let's hear your ideas and solutions...let's hear something true out of you...let's hear an idea of any sort.

    You are pathetic whiners.

    June 19, 2010 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  15. tom

    BP backs $20 billion spill fund,” says The Financial Times.

    BP is a producer. It makes something valuable. In fact, it makes the thing that is the pentagon’s most valuable and most important resource – liquid energy. It does so at a profit, also rewarding all the little old ladies, lonely orphans and rich sons-of-a-gun who own its shares. BP normally pays dividends; those dividends are currently suspended, as BP diverts cash to the spill fund.

    Yes, it also makes mistakes, for which it must pay.

    But circling BP today is an army of parasites. Zombies who toil not. Neither do they spin. Instead, they file lawsuits and try to get something from the producers without paying for it. BP’s Gulf disaster is a godsend for them. Like a busload of plump English tourists delivered to a bad neighborhood…

    The Democrats have always been the recipients of big donations from tort lawyers. Many lawmakers of both parties are lawyers, which is to say they were probably parasites even before they entered public service. It is not surprising that their instincts are the same – to leech onto productive businesses.

    Remember the giant tobacco settlement? In 1998, the tobacco companies lay down and opened their veins. A quarter of a trillion dollars was paid out in a huge class action settlement. The money was supposed to go to redress the damage done by smoking. But $19 out of every $20 found its way, instead, into the pockets of the lawyers, the activists, and the bureaucrats.

    June 19, 2010 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  16. Lynn

    All the GOP cares about is they lost the last election to a "black" man and they are still regurgitating. But nobody has suggested the country would be better had McCain and Palin been elected. If some of these earlier posts feel Obama is a whiner, what did they think of Palin's whine? It still rings in my ears and grates on my nerves.

    June 19, 2010 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  17. Henry Miller, Libertarian, Cary, NC

    When the far-left refuses to compromise on its vision of establishing a culture of dependency in America, of creating an abyss of debt from which the country will be able to emerge with difficulty if at all, of endlessly eroding the rights of Americans to make their own decisions, they can expect no compromise or cooperation from those of us to whom those philosophies are utterly, profoundly, repugnant. When the far-left dismisses with contempt the proposals of those whose ideals differ from their own, they can expect no other behaviour in return.

    We do have obligations that go beyond the next election; we do have obligations to the next generation. But neither of these imply an obligation to rubber-stamp the policies of the far-left we believe imperil the country's future and impose possibly insurmountable hardships on our children.

    June 19, 2010 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  18. Glennis

    I'll take dreary and familiar over the "hope and change" shuck and jiver anytime. I'm not thrilled with many of the Republicans right now, but I can state emphatically that I will never again vote for anyone who supports the destructive and divisive policies of this president and the Democratic congress. They ARE the problem.

    June 19, 2010 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  19. Bobby in Atlanta

    I agree with Rob. Vote out all Republicans this November. They do not stand up for the American people, they only stand up for corporation. When was the last time anyone heard a Republican stand up for the American worker? They have no leadership, they have no ideas.

    I still stand with President Barack Obama.

    June 19, 2010 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  20. stan

    The truth is many americans have already had there unemployement benefits stop with very little job change in at least in this area,Obama at least has the unemployed americans in mind and with his actions,those who say he was a mistake and should not be in office is the minority and not very bright because many presidents stumble or get behind the wrong legislation,he's had to undo what was done when he took office and in my book is what america voted for,and at least those who voted were not racist as many here are that are posting!!!!

    June 19, 2010 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  21. Gerry NH

    When will this president take blame for what he is doing to America and Americans. He is the worst president we have ever had. He just keeps bringing America down.

    June 19, 2010 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  22. Ann

    When Hillary said " Shame on you Barack Obama", she was so right!

    June 19, 2010 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  23. sensible Cape Coral Fl

    Strange how none of you REAL AMERICANS thought to mention what a President McCain would do in this situation.

    An oil explosion like this has never happened before. No one knows what to do – not even the oil company lovers aka the G O P!

    June 19, 2010 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  24. Pragmatic

    Republicans see politics as a battleground: they have to "win" – even though when elected they can't lead or govern. Their current candidates just prove the point: Rand Paul supports BP in all its actions: Angel wants to repeal the IRS (run the country on poultry) and Meg's first political comments were high school level – her opponents hair – then she blamed someone else! Rubio in FL is already under investigation for misusing party funds.

    Republicans want to "win" – even if they have to destroy American to do so: too many people remember the last eight years to be fooled again.

    June 19, 2010 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  25. REG in AZ

    I’ve said that I am anti-Republican but that really isn’t accurate. What I am is actually anti those who took over the Republican Party, turned the Republican representatives into their ‘puppets’, organized the perpetual campaigning to be an impressive con job aimed to constantly deceive and manipulate the people and who really are those who make the decisions that always benefit Special Interests and the few. As I see it I’m against the likes of the Carlyle Group, the oil industry executives, including Halliburton, and several others who are the real control in the wings. George W Bush was obviously only a ‘puppet’ who as they satisfied his ego and promised him substantial financial gain he simply, without even any hint of a conscience, totally did their bidding; Sarah Palin (and likely others) stand ready, again without conscience, to continue where Bush left off. It was also very apparent that Dick Cheney filled the roll of ‘puppeteer’ and liaison as he was the conduit for the instructions. The results cost this country drastically and of course, only benefited the very few.

    We have seen their overt and covert support, their powerful, influential and wealthy promotion with the ‘Swift Boat’ attacks, in their emotionally swaying of the Christian block, in using appeals to people’s biases, prejudices and attachments to manipulate public opinion and even now with the Tea Party Movement; all being impressive but deceptive efforts, and without those efforts the Republican Party would be really hurting. The people swayed feel correct and justified, being emotionally tied in, but the proof that they are being ‘used and abused’ is in the results. We have the vivid example of what happened with Bush-Cheney where they arrogantly and stubbornly totally focused on a private agenda to benefit Special Interests and a select very few while just giving everyone else apathy, the costs and an abundance of subterfuge; the list is very long, the costs were really great and the in-your-face obnoxiousness was always there. Even now, they aggressively mount unreasonable attacks, faulting and blocking everything, against Obama and again get the people emotionally tied into positions that benefit only the few. Obama could definitely use bipartisan cooperation to fine tune and adjust the efforts to resolve the drastic problems he inherited from Bush-Cheney, there simply is no doubt about that, but instead the Republican Party decision makers put political ambitions above all responsibility and just criticize and obstruct everything, no matter what the cost to the people. If those being manipulated could just resist the subterfuge and simply check their emotions to see the obvious truth, they would recognize the absurdity of faulting Obama for the problems whose origination preceded him and where he is making honest efforts to soften the effects while fighting to solve the problems – especially when the Republicans really have no answers and only want to return to ‘more of the same’.

    That explains what I am really against, what I am ‘anti’. It all likely started with Nixon, grew dynamically with Reagan and hit the extreme pits with Bush-Cheney (and Rove,,). Today it is an impressive force but it is very scary as it can only do more damage as it strives to satisfy the insatiable appetite of a few, for more, and more, and more.

    June 19, 2010 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
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