President Barack Obama issued blunt criticism of Republican opponents who he said had damaged America’s credibility in a stern rebuke from the White House following a prolonged standoff that forced a government shutdown and threatened default.
As Congress reopened the U.S. government on Thursday and signed off on more borrowing so America could pay its bills, the President warned that the deal reached at the last minute on Wednesday had quelled but not ended the deep political and fiscal crisis. The administration and its Republican opponents know the deal only pushed the unsolved and bitter ideological battle a few months into the future. Mr. Obama warned against doing it again.
“The American people are completely fed up with Washington,” Mr. Obama said. “Probably nothing has done more damage to America’s credibility in the world than the spectacle we’ve seen these past few weeks.”
Republican House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner said: “We fought the good fight. We just didn’t win.” The Republican-controlled House of Representatives voted 285-144 in favour of the bill, even though most Republicans voted against it. In the Democrat-controlled Senate, approval was even more lopsided, 81-18.
The agreement gives the parties some time to cool off and negotiate a broader spending plan. The government will remain open through January 15 and the deadline for default on debts is now February 7.
“There was no economic rationale for any of this,” Vice President Joe Biden said as he greeted workers returning to the Environmental Protection Agency with hugs, handshakes and muffins. “I hope everybody walks away with a lesson that this is unnecessary and I hope we can regain the trust of the American people.”