President Barack Obama slammed Republican opponents Saturday for their “obstruction” in Congress and called for a “willingness to score fewer political points” in order to deal with the nation’s problems.
The United States “is facing a host of big and difficult challenges,” Obama noted in his weekly radio and Internet address, saying Americans need a “willingness in Washington to put the public’s interests first.”
Obama said he was “disappointed” at obstacles put up by opposition lawmakers this week to the Democrat’s economic recovery efforts in the US Senate, including legislation to extend unemployment benefits.
Hailing the bill as vital protection for workers, as well as the bill’s other provisions such as homebuyers’ tax credits, Obama lamented that Republican leaders would not “even allow this legislation to come up for a vote.”
If the “obstruction continues, unemployed Americans will see their benefits stop. Teachers and firefighters will lose their jobs… All we ask for is a simple up or down vote. That’s what the American people deserve,” he said.
In a stinging hit back at the White House, Republican Senator Roger Wicker delivered his party’s weekly response in a bid to reinforce perception that Obama was too late getting involved in the massive oil slick hitting the Gulf of Mexico.
“I’m glad President Obama is finally putting this catastrophe at the top of his agenda, but his response has been too slow,” said the Mississippi lawmaker.
“He was slow in listening to state and local leaders, slow in getting skimmers to the Gulf, slow in understanding the seriousness of this crisis, and slow in taking ownership and responsibility for the recovery. Many of his actions have actually taken us in the wrong direction,” he said.
Wicker said Obama’s primetime Oval Office address on Tuesday about the oil spill disaster and US energy policy was a failure because “now is not the time to push a controversial, job-killing, partisan agenda through Congress.”
This video is from the White House, published Saturday, June 19, 2010.