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. Donkey Party

    To "snow" – what the hell does your stupid little pet name for the President even mean? Try making some sense you effing mental midget, or I'll call your mommy and tell her to take away your computer privileges.

    June 19, 2010 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  2. chris

    Can anyone tell me one positive thing that Republicans have done since the last election? For a year and a half now they have done absoutely nothing except sit and their butts and complain. They vote no against everything, even against bills that originally were their own. They criticize and attack the president for literally every single thing that he does. The obstruct every piece of legislation they can, then turn around proclaim that nothing is getting done in Washington under the Democrats. They are trying to deliberatly sabotage the President – all in a naked grab for power. The GOP doesn't care about the harm it is doing to America. All that matters to them is regaining power and control.

    June 19, 2010 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  3. Mike in SA

    TAKE THE "DOC FIX" OUT OF THE JOBS BILL DUMMY!!!!! What the heck is it doing in there anyway???? And you say Republicans are playing politics?!?!? Try looking in the mirror dude!

    June 19, 2010 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  4. NVa Native

    So many stupid lies posted here. Obama did reach across the isle to the point of making the moderates and liberals sick. And each and every time the repubs acted like they would work together then they filibustered or voted against every effort.
    The right wing whines and crys about how afraid they are of Obama then acuse him of whining in fear as he stands up to them. The repubs are corrupt with deception and un-patriotism for the purpose of what they hope is Obama's failure. repubs are continiueally trying to re-write history "Obama the worst President" – kept us from the second Great Depression, moving toward our leaving Iraq, and trying to win in Afganistan, restoring our marketable good standing in the world, and so much more. Basically trying to correct all the destruction and de-evolution that was done to the US under the failure that was the Bus/Cheney regime.
    SO "Dubya" doesn't trigger any memories (nightmares) for you?

    June 19, 2010 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  5. Mesa Mick

    The GOBP is, was and always will be the party of "NO"...

    NO ideas...

    NO respect for the middle class...

    NO integrity, and most of all...

    NO class.

    Or as Congressman Boneher would say not just the party of "NO" but the party of "HELL NO!"

    June 19, 2010 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  6. JES

    We are worse now than before you took office.

    A reminder that you counted 390,000 part time jobs that go away after the census is finished. How much did that cost the taxpayers.

    June 19, 2010 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  7. Louis

    By now it is becoming very clear that the GOP is not interested in trying to help Obama,

    He has tried to reach across the aisle only to be rebuffed time and time again by the Republicans, who then turn around and say that Obama doesn't involve them enough. We voted for change, at least I did from the Bush/Cheney years. They were more concerned with Big Business/Wall Street than Main Street. We are paying a heavy, heavy price for those decisions.

    Obama is trying, so either engage and try to help, which would help ALL Americans, not just the privilged few or get out of the way so he can do the things that need to be done for the AMERICAN people.

    June 19, 2010 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  8. Drew

    The GOP is lead by people who can in no way, shape or form honestly debate individual policies of the Obama administration for one big reason: they're slaves to the hard-right ideologies of their ultra-conservative, disenfranchised base. And how did those people get that way? Basically by being egged on by the conservative culture-war pimps, scumbags like Limbaugh, Beck, Hannity, Savage and all the local wannabees who make a pretty nice living off the division, obstruction and right-wing anger .It's like a nauseating perpetual motion machine.

    June 19, 2010 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  9. Peter

    Dave wrote:......"I have never seen a better time for us to be divided as exist at this moment with Obama in office. Nine hundred and forty six more days and we'll finally be rid of 'America's Greatest Mistake' if he's not impeached first. Everyone should get down on their knees and thank God for everyone who continues to fight Obama and his radical plan to destroy America!"...........And do what? Return to Republican control?
    They were no better. American keep bouncing back and forth between the two parties, completely forgetting the previous mistakes of the party out of power. Ridiculous. Changing the deck chairs on the Titanic won't help, you idiots!

    June 19, 2010 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  10. Steve

    We need to vote out the Democrats and their leader of "no urgency reaction" to anything. He's is so slowwwwww. Need a leader with quick decisions. Bring back all Republicans and Bush. Jeb Bush that is.
    Since the Democrats took over Congress in 2006 it's been going downhill ever since. Giving away everything for free. At least under Bush the unemployment was 4.6% and I had a job. Today I don't have a job. Must be all the supporters on this blog must be rich liberals or a majority that's unemployed on welfare. Obviously you must love it to be unemployed.
    Reminder again vote out all looser lying Liberal Democrats. By the way support the Arizona Law, take back America.
    A message to all the liberals and the unemployed, for you info your Democratic leaders like Pelosi, Ried and Clintons are all multi,multi millioners and even Obama now is a millionaire(writing books while in office). They are all laughing at you, more power to them that's America, but don't get taken by the hype. . .

    June 19, 2010 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  11. Drew

    The Republicans couldn't fool the public anymore in 2006 or 2008, so they've become obsessed with trying to deny Obama and the Democrats the victory anyway. If that's not the definition of an obstructionist, I don't know what is.

    June 19, 2010 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  12. Gil

    Dreary and pathetic is more like it. They have come to the support of BP, have Rubio running in Florida who is possible having his house foreclosed, have a billionaire running in California who is against the Arizona Immigration law because she knows she will lose on that issue alone, Have Steele condeming Obama foir his choice of words, but nothing when Obama gets called a Nazi. The republican party is just plain disgusting and I'm so please I left it some 30 years ago!

    June 19, 2010 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  13. Connecticutian

    Sometimes gridlock is the BEST outcome.

    "Progress" isn't always positive; sometimes it's even "regress" (as in following the same "stimulus" policies that worsened the Great Depression.)

    You don't foster a "greater spirit of compromise and cooperation" by demanding that one side capitulate completely to the other. That's partisanship, you hypocrite. Notice that the ONLY time Obama reached out to the GOP is after Sen Brown of MA got elected; and even then it was just for show.

    The President (and many commenters here, apparently) forget that the two houses of Congress together have a different, and sometimes contradictory, role from the office of the President. Congress is not his "staff". He is the one who carries out the laws, he doesn't impose them.

    June 19, 2010 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  14. mother and sister of soldiers

    Congressional deadlock....thank God! The narsacisstic Obama will have no way other than his way. He is quick to blame and not take responsibility. He has no leadership abilities nor experience but he does have the speaking ability to recruit and lead the sheep. Please remember it was a democratic congress during the Bush years and he was one of them. Oh right, he only voted "present". We need to get the dems out and end his reign of destruction!

    June 19, 2010 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  15. Edith

    Then leave. Somalia's nice this time of year.

    June 19, 2010 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  16. Dean

    If Obama would try to do something for the good of the country he might get a little support from the right.

    June 19, 2010 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  17. Erik Gosswiller

    The republicans rhetoric is tiresome, counter productive and un-patriotic.
    It is not a party of new ideas for old problems, it is a party of no ideas for any problem. They are a party of whiners. Can you imagine what could happen if we worked together?

    June 19, 2010 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  18. W L jones

    Give the GOPS a break it in there nature not to wont a highly intelligent person in a position of authority. ..if they do not have your ear you are dirt in there book. sorry but it true.

    June 19, 2010 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  19. TonyInLargo

    Mr. Prsident:

    Let's make sure that Plans A, B and C are structured, because as unfortunate as it is to say, I believe that, Republicans in elected office today are angry about losing the Presidential Election and the Control of both Houses as much as they are about losing it to you as the first descendant of part African ascent.

    The basic tenets that they still have is what keeps them from reeling-in others within the Republican Party who make remarks and assume positions on issues that are throwbacks to the times of exclusion in our country.

    You are doing a great job. Keep-up the good work.

    June 19, 2010 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  20. El Gordo

    Obama is not the perfect president. However, he is head and shoulders above Nixon, Ford, Reagan, Bush (the good one), Bush (the other one), McCain, the former half-time governor of Alaska, Romney, and the former DA from Law and Order.

    He is a more capable president than either Clinton or Carter, in my opinion.

    The perfect president would have stopped the oil leak on day 1, passed the health bill in one month, and moved on to more pressing issues like regulating global corporations, increasing the wages of American workers, dealing with global warming, dealing with terrorism, and preventing Conservatives from gridlocking government. Obama is not perfect. He's just our best possible choice at the moment.

    He is certainly a better choice than any of the mediocre national embarrassments that the Republican Party will be considering in 2012.

    June 19, 2010 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  21. Nancyg

    Dave please stop your whinning and by the way rejoicing at the fact that we are divided is nothing to joyful about. It's downright "un-american".

    June 19, 2010 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  22. Army wife

    Yeah, we know Obama.....it's all Bush's fault. He's the one who caused
    the oil leak, he is the one responsible for racism, he is the devil.....every
    Republican is evil..... the Democrat are pure angels.

    June 19, 2010 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  23. one voice

    The GOP simply out of touch with reality, PERIOD.

    June 19, 2010 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  24. single mom

    Maybe if the President fulfilled his Constitutionally outlined duties by securing our borders he'd have the respect of the American people who can think for themselves. Anyone see CNN report on how a national wildlife refuge in Arizona has been basically turned over to the Mexican gangs, druglords and illegals crossing into our country? No, because CNN won't. Since when do we cede territory to another country without a fight? There have been dozens of incursions into the US by the Mexican military. Both Bush and Obama seriously have failed in this regard.

    June 19, 2010 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  25. Former Republican, now an Independent

    It,s about time this president realizes that no matter how hard he tries, the current republicans are going to block everything they can no matter how it hurts the American public. It is time he quits trying to get them to come to the table and he calls them out for what they are, "obstructionist politicions of the worst sort"!

    June 19, 2010 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
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