Senate Republicans strike back at President
June 30th, 2011
02:28 PM ET
12 years ago

Senate Republicans strike back at President

Washington (CNN) - A day after President Obama testily blamed Republicans for blocking a debt deal, a Senate Republican struck back, calling the president's words "disgraceful" and saying "he should be ashamed."

"I respect the office of the President of the United States," said Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, in a speech on the Senate floor. "But I think the president has diminished that office and himself by giving the kind of campaign speeches that he gave yesterday."

Cornyn heatedly objected to the president's charge that Congress has been lackadaisical in addressing the looming debt crisis, which comes to a head when on August 2nd when, the Treasury Department says, the debt limit is set to expire.

A day earlier Obama had scolded Congress for taking too much time off and said "at a certain point, they need to do their job."

"They're in one week. They're out one week. And then they're saying 'Obama's gotta step in..."' the president told reporters Wednesday. "You need to be here. I've been here."

On Thursday morning Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid announced the Senate would cancel its planned recess next week to work on a deal saying he hoped Republicans "for once, put politics aside and help Democrats to fulfill Congress' sacred responsibility to the American people."

Speaking on the Senate floor, Reid also painted a dark picture of the consequences of a U.S. government default.

"It would plunge the United States not into recession but into full-blown depression, without a doubt. Without exception, the respected financial voices of our time have said the effects of a default crisis would be felt across the globe. I repeat: this would create a world-wide depression," he said.

House Minority Leader Mitch McConnell sought to turn the tables on the president, issuing an invitation for Obama to come to the Capitol for lunch with Republicans to hammer out a plan.

"That way he can hear directly from Republicans why what he's proposing won't pass," McConnell said on the Senate floor. "The President says he wants to get working, wants us to get working. I can't think of a better way than to have him come right on over today. We're waiting."

Cornyn, who heads up the Senate Republican campaign operation, followed up the invitation by slamming Obama for not taking a more active role in securing a solution, and faulted him for spending time on the campaign trail. The president will travel to Philadelphia today to attend two fundraisers for the Democratic National Committee.

"I wonder if he's going to cancel his fundraiser in Philadelphia tonight to meet with Senator McConnell and Speaker Boehner to try to work on this threat that he was so emphatic about yesterday," Cornyn asked. "I predict he won't cancel his fundraiser in Philadelphia tonight to get to work on something that only he can do, which is to negotiate a grand bargain with Republicans and Democrats that will solve this problem."

White House Spokesman Jay Carney responded to the remarks by reeling off several "listening sessions" the president has had with both McConnell and Reid and House and Senate Republicans at the White House on the debt issue.

"[McConnell] invited the president to hear what would not pass," Carney said. "That's not a conversation worth having. What we need to have is a conversation about what will pass."

As for the prospect of Obama cancelling his evening fundraisers, Carney demurred.

"We can walk and chew gum at the same time, as the president said yesterday," he said.

Filed under: Republicans • Senate
soundoff (84 Responses)
  1. GI Joe

    Now the House of Delegates and the Senate want HIM to do THEIR JOBS TOO?????

    HEY - he's entitled to campaign and fund-raise just like the rethugs and tbaggers.

    June 30, 2011 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |

    That Ayn Rand crap has the GOPers all effed up in the head.

    June 30, 2011 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  3. AZ DEM

    Unlike the Bush tax cuts this is an issue that the President shouldn't yield on..i know he prides himself being the great negotiator BUT the GOP is digging in their heels because they see light at the end of the won't be Obama's failed leadership that won't raise the debt ceiling it is the GOP controlled House and the strong Senate minority they possess that keeps the gov't from meeting its financial obligations. republicans are playing with fire and for once they need to get burned by their irresponsible partisan behavior.

    June 30, 2011 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  4. The Greedy Old Pigs have declared class war on US!

    The reason the filthy rich love to back the GOBP is because once one of them is bought s/he STAYS bought! More and more of them are nothing but sleazy Koch-wh0res.

    June 30, 2011 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  5. GOPs are a disgrace

    The solution is *so* simple GOPs – compromise means no one gets everything they want. That means you have to agree to rescind some tax cuts in exchange for the budget cuts you want. You think winning half of the legislature means that you get to dictate everything – that's not how it works in a Democracy. Grow up and act like statesmen instead of idiots.

    June 30, 2011 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  6. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Mr. President you keep on calling them out sir.
    You go right on ahead and tell THE WHOLE WIDE WORLD who these mental midgets are that have blocked you, and in turn the country,out of sheer spite, hate, and greed.
    CALL THEM OUT Mr. President, they have been counting on your class, dignified demeanor, and unwillingness to pull a page from their playbook and thusly they've been getting away with MURDER quite literally.
    Call them out sir for what they are unworthy of their position, betrayers of Americans' trust, and whores to their own greed, corporate sponsors, and nefarious supporters like the Koch Brothers.
    If you don't see what these RethugliKKKlans have done and continue to do to us and our country your deaf , dumb and blind. If you don't see what adherence to ideology vs. true love of country has netted us then you're living under a rock.
    CHANGE starts with YOU!!! Join in the fight with our President and reclaim our country form corporate interests, and lobbyists, and those that are quite willing to destroy it's very fiber -it's middle class- to keep themselves in power.
    Obama 2012.

    June 30, 2011 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  7. Rudy NYC

    Ed wrote:
    Clinton's biggest mistakes were Nafta and the repeal of Glass-Stegall. I'm not a fan of all of President Obama's ideas, but at least he is reasonable.
    The repeal of Glass-Stegall was an act of deception on the part of the Republican sponsors of the bill. It was the final piece of legislation that Clinton signed, and it was something he had wanted. The Republicans controlled Congress which meant they were in charge of final drafts of legislation and sending it to the White House for signature.

    Language to repeal G-S was added on to the bill AFTER it had been voted on in committee, but before it was voted in each chamber. No one noticed or read the fine print. The *gift* legislation for his final act turned out to be a Trojan Horse. The name Lindsay Graham has been tossed around as being the culprit for the deception.

    June 30, 2011 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  8. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    The problem is that the Congress is the one part of government that is to do the legislation and decides what get fund and what doesn't. The president was telling Congress to get back to work and figure out what to do. He isn't responsible, but Congress is. Where have they been?

    June 30, 2011 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  9. Poser

    The Supreme Court has virtually assured the country that the corporations are in charge – how can a corporation be a person? Every politician from here on out is bought and paid for. The solution: Term limits!

    I agree with nearly all of what you posted. I also agree that politicians going forward will be bought and paid for unless something changes. I believe term limits actually make the problem worse. Incumbents have an advantage due to name recognition. If all candidates in an election are fresh faces because the incumbent's term limit is up, the candidate with the most money can buy the most name recognition.

    Unfortunately, I can't offer much in terms of real solutions other than laws that would severely restrict campaign donations. I suspect doing that in a way that is reasonable/fair would be difficult at best. I certainly wouldn't fit a two word bumper sticker (term limits).

    June 30, 2011 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
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