Obama: There Will Be a Government ‘Shutdown Threat Two Weeks Before Christmas’

By Terence P. Jeffrey | October 3, 2015 | 10:22am EDT
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(CNSNews.com) - In his Weekly Address today, President Barack Obama warned that there will be another government shutdown threat two weeks before Christmas and said he “will not sign” a short-term spending bill.

The continuing resolution that Congress passed this week runs until Dec. 11. If President Obama does “not sign” the spending bill Congress sends him to fund the government after that date, Obama will shut down the government.

The government will not be funded until Obama signs an appropriations bill passed by Congress.

“Fortunately, there were enough votes in both parties to pass a last-minute bill to keep the government open for another ten weeks,” Obama said in his address. “Unfortunately, that gimmick only sets up another shutdown threat two weeks before Christmas.”

“It just kicks the can down the road without solving any problems or doing any long-term planning for the future,” Obama said. “And that’s why I will not sign another shortsighted, short-term spending bill like the one Congress sent me this week.” 

Under the Constitution of the United States, Congress has the power to approve all spending done by the U.S. Treasury. Article 1, Section 9, Clause 7 of the Constitution says: “No Money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law.”

But the Constitution also gives the president the power to veto legislation passed by Congress. If Obama were to veto an appropriations bill to fund the government after Dec. 11—refusing to fund the government as authorized by both houses of Congress—both houses of Congress would need to muster two-thirds majorities to override the president’s veto to keep the government funded.

Here is the full text of Obama’s remarks:

Hi, everybody.  Yesterday, we learned that our businesses created another 118,000 new jobs in September.  That makes 67 straight months of job creation, and 13.2 million new jobs in all. 

But we would be doing even better if we didn’t have to keep dealing with crises in Congress every few months.  And especially at a time when the global economy is softening, our own growth could slow if Congress doesn’t do away with harmful austerity measures.

Now, on Wednesday, more than half of Republicans in Congress voted to shut down the government for the second time in two years.  Fortunately, there were enough votes in both parties to pass a last-minute bill to keep the government open for another ten weeks.  Unfortunately, that gimmick only sets up another shutdown threat two weeks before Christmas.

Look, that’s not the way America should operate.  It just kicks the can down the road without solving any problems or doing any long-term planning for the future.  And that’s why I will not sign another shortsighted, short-term spending bill like the one Congress sent me this week. 

Here’s why.  A few years ago, both parties agreed to put in place harmful, automatic cuts that make no distinction between spending we don’t need and spending we do.  Those cuts have actually kept our economy from growing faster.  Even worse, they’re actually undermining the middle class. 

Here’s one example.  If we don’t undo these mindless cuts, then next year, we’ll be funding our kids’ education at the same levels per pupil we did in the year 2000.  Compared to my budget, that would be like cutting federal funding for 4,500 schools, 17,500 teachers and aides, 1.9 million students. 

That’s not good for our kids or our economy.  It’s a prescription for American decline.  And it shouldn’t happen.  We should invest in things like education today, or we’ll pay the price tomorrow.

Congress should do its job, stop kicking the can down the road, and pass a serious budget rather than flirt with another shutdown.  A serious budget is one that keeps America strong through our military, our law enforcement; that keeps America generous through caring for our veterans and our seniors; that keeps America competitive by educating our kids and our workers.

That’s what I want to work with serious people in both parties to achieve.  Because that’s how we’ll build on the progress of 13 million new jobs, and help the middle class get ahead.

Thanks everybody, and have a great weekend.

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