Obama slams Congress for government shutdown

By Alejandro Freixes, CCNN Head Writer

Speaker John Boehner signs the Pay Our Military Act to make sure America’s troops are paid during a government shutdown.

President Barack Obama spoke to a crowd on Thursday in Maryland, calling out the House of Representatives for not letting a vote take place to end the government shutdown.

In a fiery speech, he said, “There are enough Republicans and Democrats in the House of Representatives today that if the speaker of the House, John Boehner, simply let the bill get on the floor for an up or down vote, every congressman could vote their conscience, the shutdown would end today.”

Ever since the deadline for the Affordable Care Act (a.k.a. “Obamacare”) passed on October 1 at midnight, the Republicans opposed to the healthcare law have prevented a lot of non-healthcare government funding from taking place. They hope that the pressure leads to defunding of Obamacare, but a growing group of House Republicans are worried how bad the party will look after House Speaker John Boehner’s refusal to allow a vote on the spending bill.

Much of the pressure comes from conservative Republicans belonging to a group called the Tea Party, which looks to reduce the size and spending of government, even if that means holding extreme or risky positions. More middle-of-the-road Republicans want to compromise with the Democrats, like Republican Peter King of New York, but even he realizes that it’s unlikely his party will publicly come out against Boehner. Compromises will probably take place in secret meetings, and King says, “Maybe it’s because I come from New York. I rely on back room meetings to get things done. I’m hoping someone’s going to meet behind the scenes somewhere and we’re going to make a deal.”

King notes that pushing Republicans to vote on a clean spending bill would take some time and probably won’t happen until “the Tea Party has had enough.”

Republican Devin Nunes told reporters that he’ll continue to support his party’s leadership, but that he’s definitely frustrated. He explained, “Even if we have entered the valley of death, when you enter the valley of death you have to keep running and the whole team has to stick together.”

Obama sees it all in a much simpler light. He places the blame entirely on the shoulders of Boehner, explaining, “The only thing that is keeping the government shut down, the only thing preventing people from going back to work, and basic research starting back up, and farmers and small business owners, getting their loans — the only thing that’s preventing all that from happening right now today, in the next five minutes, is that Speaker John Boehner won’t even let the bill get a yes or no vote because he doesn’t want to anger the extremists in his party.”

Featured image courtesy of US Capitol on Flickr. Image of John Boehner courtesy of Speaker Boehner on Flickr.