Both parties look for action from Congress
January 19th, 2013
06:00 AM ET
10 years ago

Both parties look for action from Congress

(CNN) - Some might call them overly optimistic.

President Barack Obama and Republican Rep. James Lankford each called on Congress to take up legislation in their weekly addresses Saturday, the likes of which have not passed in years.

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Obama advocated for the gun restrictions he outlined this week, including an assault weapons ban and stronger background check requirements.

Lankford, a second-term Republican from Oklahoma, urged Democrats in the Senate to pass a federal budget.

The Senate, he pointed out in the GOP weekly address, "hasn't approved such a resolution for almost four years - 1,361 days to be exact."

The assault weapons ban passed in 1994 and expired in 2004. It has not been renewed since.

Their calls for Congress to pick up the legislation come as the Houses have a full plate with self-created deadlines.

At the end of the year, the federal government went over its debt ceiling, and the treasury department is now using "extraordinary measures" to pay the country's bills. Should the Congress not raise the ceiling in the next few weeks, bills for spending it has already authorized will come due, but the government will not have authorization to write more checks.

On March 1 comes the sequester, those across the board spending cuts that both parties consider undesirable.

Congress created the sequester as an incentive to reach a deficit reduction deal, but when the deadline came, it only pushed back the spending cuts for March 1. Without action, the cuts trigger automatically.

Then on March 27, the resolution currently funding much of the government expires.

Lankford pointed to out-of-control government spending as a reason for the current fiscal mess.

"In the long history of our nation, we have never increased spending and federal debt faster than we have in this period," he said. "Every family and every business has a budget. Our nation should have a budget as well."

Both Obama and congressional Republicans have put forward annual budgets, though those proposals have either not been brought up for a vote or did not pass both Houses. Obama's 2012 budget was seen by analysts as a political document, both because it was an election year and any proposal was seen as unlikely to pass Congress.

He called this week for Congress to pass an assault weapons ban and tighten requirements for background checks. The assault weapons ban is considered unlikely to pass, but extending background checks to all gun sales has more support on Capitol Hill, from advocates on all sides of the gun rights debate, and in public opinion polls.

"While we may not be able to prevent every senseless act of violence in this country, if there is even one thing we can do to reduce it - if even one life can be saved - we've got an obligation to try," Obama said.

He also announced this week 23 "executive actions" that he says will contribute to reducing gun violence.

In his address, Obama issued a call for action from his supporters.

"Ask your member of Congress if they support universal background checks and renewing a ban on military-style assault weapons and high-capacity magazines," he said. "And if the answer is no, ask them why not. Ask them why an A-grade from the gun lobby is more important than keeping kids safe in a first grade classroom."

In the GOP address, Lankford said that the new term is an opportunity for a fresh start.

"Though we disagree on many areas of policy, I join my fellow Americans in pledging to pray for the president, his family and our nation in the days ahead," he said.

Filed under: President Obama
soundoff (12 Responses)
  1. Gurgyl

    Congress needs term-limits, so does senate. This congress is the most horrible one in decades.

    January 19, 2013 07:15 am at 7:15 am |
  2. Name lynn

    Hear the people go again about the gun laws what can obama do about the gun law, what can congress do about the gun law what is wrong with you people. No can stop the good an the bad people from getting guns.

    January 19, 2013 08:38 am at 8:38 am |
  3. WiredweirdinSF

    Remember when the CNN Fact Checker blasted Romney for claiming that Fiat was going to start production of Jeeps in China, infact some lying liberal bloggers (aided of course by the corrupt Obama campaign) claimed it was the biggest lie of the campaign. Well it seems like Fiat has now announced that it will begin production of Jeeps in China after our tax dollars bailed them out. Obama lied again and still this corrupt, inept, incompetent, union toady will start his second term as president on Monday. Sad that the American people fall for his lies, of course if all they read and see are lying stories by an adoring anc corrupt media, and they have been trained by a corrupt and lying NEA to believe that media, what can we expect.

    January 19, 2013 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  4. Anonymous

    "Some might call them overly optimistic."

    You know, CNN, at some point Americans really do want Congress and the President to find common ground. I know this hate each other at all cost has been a very lucrative business for CNN, but eventually even the lowest of low voters get the message of who is promoting fear and hate ... and who isn't. Isn't it time for you media folks to put the TeaPer talking points aside and finally begin that long crawl back to responsible reporting? It's bad enough TeaPers have all but dug the Republican party into a very deep and very muddy hole, but to allow TeaPers to take the American media into that hole as well is beyond credulous. TeaPers are such a very small group to weld such awesome power not only over our political candidates, but our own mainstream media as well.

    January 19, 2013 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  5. Donkey Party

    Eff you GOP, the President doesn't need your "prayers", you bunch of condescending jackholes. What the President and the rest of the country needs, is for the domestic terrorist GOP to stop holding the country hostage by forcing their diseased conservative ideology on us. I, like many, have grown tired of the GOP, and if their goal is to destroy the economy and the country, then it's fair time we as a nation exercise our right to fight back, and if our votes won't change their minds, armed insurrection sure as hell will.

    January 19, 2013 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  6. Malloy

    I will foretell the future: NO action on the debt limit. NO action on assault weapons ban. NO action on the annual budget. It's easy, the Teapublicans are far to predictable.

    January 19, 2013 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  7. Tony in Maine

    Action? Congress? An oxymoron. Maybe that's why both look so grim.

    January 19, 2013 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  8. Randy, San Francisco

    Rep Lankford should find fault in his own House of Representatives. GOP/Tea Party extremists have diminished Speaker Boehner's leadership to the point where he depends on Democratic votes to pass bills. This has made Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi defacto leader of the House of Representatives because she has established unity within the Democratic ranks.

    January 19, 2013 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  9. Anonymous

    I thought it was congress job to come up with a budget??? Congress seems to want to kick everything down the road. Will it look better in 3 months? They can't do gun control because they are in the pockets of the NRA . They can't cut military spending because they are beholden to the bases in their districts so just what can theses clowns do besides thwart the president on everything and roll over for people like Grover .Really sick of this. congress

    January 19, 2013 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  10. Harry Wreckdom

    C'mon, people – let's face it....

    McConnel made the statement that "We will make Obama a one-term president" by doing anything and everything possible to make him look bad. Why? Because we can't have a 'person of color' in the "White" house.

    And the game continues. There is no way that the Republicans can allow him to succeed or do anything positive for the country.

    God help us all.....

    January 19, 2013 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  11. Squigman

    Congress, is too attached to the K-Street interest to do what's right for the people. The one sure fire way to make the next congress different, would be to make sure that the current obstructionist's are never allowed back in office.

    January 19, 2013 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  12. Ray E. (Georgia)

    Ya Know,
    It's called democracy. Except when we have one house, the Senate holding up the budget process. Then you can call it a Dictatorship. Question. Will the Senate take up the budget this year? The House has passed budgets so why hasn't the Senate?

    Remove all Social Programs out of the Federal Government and let the states take them over, or end them. Then we won't need no stinking budget to speak of.

    January 19, 2013 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |