Obama: Government ‘Hostage’ No Longer

Photograph by Charles Dharapak/AP Photo

President Barack Obama on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, on Feb. 14, 2014, before boarding the Marine One helicopter to travel to the Democratic House members retreat in Cambridge, Md.

President Barack Obama is taking a victory lap with the debt deal approved by Congress this week — suspending the ceiling on the federal debt until March 2015.

Obama heralded “the fact that we are no longer going to see, I believe, people trying to hold our government hostage.”

He was addressing fellow Democrats at their retreat on the Eastern Shore of Maryland this morning before heading out to California to talk about the drought there — stopping in Fresno — and then on to a meeting this evening with King Abdullah II of Jordan at the Sunnylands retreat in Rancho Mirage.

The Senate’s Republicans opposed the debt measure on its way to Obama for his signature — after Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and others first agreed to advance it to a vote.

“Sometimes the debates on Capitol Hill get so abstract,” Obama said today. “We can get a whole lot more done if we’ve got Congress working with us.”

Obama drew applause for his word that enrollment in the Affordable Care Act health exchanges  “slightly exceeded our targets” last month. “We’re starting to see the uninsured rate coming down.”

At the same time, Congress has headed out for its Presidents Day recess — off all of next week — with House leaders saying they won’t advance the immigration legislation that has cleared the Senate this year.

“Punting” on immigration reform “hurts people” and the economy, the president said today, citing the “resistance” from Republicans that has prevented an agreement.




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