Obama: Americans 'fed up' with Washington

9:43 AM, Oct 17, 2013   |    comments
President Barack Obama
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David Jackson, USA TODAY

USA TODAY - President Obama said Thursday there have been "no winners" in the government shutdown dispute, and lawmakers will have to work hard to regain the trust of Americans.

"The American people are completely fed up with Washington," Obama said during remarks at the White House.

The president said Congress can recover through three things: A long-tern budget plan that cuts spending but preserves essential programs, a new farm bill, and a bill to fix a "broken" immigration system.

"We can get them done by the end of the year if our focus is on the American people," Obama said.

Obama spoke hours after signing a bill that ended that ended the 16-day government shutdown and extended the government's borrowing authority, averting a potential default.

The measures are temporary.

The new bill funds the government through Jan. 15. The debt ceiling borrowing authority expires Feb. 7, though the Treasury Department could use special accounting measures to extend it for a month or so.

The shutdown also hurt U.S. credibility overseas, Obama said, emboldening economic competitors and "depressing our friends" across the globe.

"The good news is we'll bounce back from this," Obama said. "We always do."

Saying that politics in Washington "has to change,' Obama urged lawmakers to ignore "bloggers" and "talk show hosts" who thrive on political conflict.

Obama did not specifically cite his Republican opponents in Congress, but did criticize "the one side" that practiced "brinksmanship" in recent weeks.

"Disagreement cannot mean dysfunction," Obama said.

In outlining his new legislative agenda, Obama called for a "balanced" budget plan. In the past, that has included new revenues from wealthier Americans; congressional Republicans say they will oppose higher taxes, saying the emphasis should be on spending cuts.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., noted that spending has been cut under the sequestration provisions of the previously signed Budget Control Act, McConnell said. "the bipartisan legislation we passed to reopen the government and prevent a default will continue the BCA spending reductions."

Obama noted that the Senate has approved an immigration bill this year on a bipartisan votes.

Members of the Republican-run House want to split that plan into separate pieces. Many also object to a provision providing a pathway to citizenship for immigrants who are already in the country illegally, describing that proposal as amnesty for lawbreakers.

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