Obama Warns Congress Not to Imperil Economy

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from The New York Times,

President Obama on Monday seized on the fifth anniversary of the 2008 financial collapse to warn that House Republicans would reverse the gains made and willfully cause “economic chaos” by the uncompromising stands they have staked out on looming budget deadlines.

“Budget battles and debates, those are as old as the Republic,” Mr. Obama said before a friendly audience assembled in a White House annex. But, he added, “I cannot remember a time when one faction of one party promises economic chaos if it can’t get 100 percent of what it wants.”

A bloc of conservative House Republicans have said that unless Mr. Obama’s signature health-insurance law is delayed or repealed, they will not support financing for government operations in the new fiscal year starting Oct. 1 or an essential increase in the nation’s borrowing limit in mid-October. Failure to act on federal funding would provoke a government shutdown; even worse, failing to increase the debt limit would leave the government unable to pay bills and creditors and ultimately threaten the nation’s default.

“The last time the same crew threatened this course of action back in 2011, even the mere suggestion of default slowed our economic growth,” Mr. Obama said, recalling that summer’s market-rattling showdown.

But while the unemployment rate has fallen to 7.3 percent — down from a high of 10.1 percent in late 2009 —millions of Americans are still struggling to find a job, and millions more are working for low wage or part-time jobs and having trouble making ends meet.

That has been Mr. Obama’s message in the last several months as he has delivered speeches arguing for what he calls a “better bargain for the middle class.” In those speeches, Mr. Obama argues for investments in infrastructure, education, college aid and housing as a way to help middle-class Americans and those trying to get into the middle class.

The president is scheduled to deliver another one of his “better bargain” speeches in Kansas City, Mo., on Friday when he visits a Ford Motor Company assembly plant.

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