Speaking at the annual Congressional Black Caucus dinner, President Obama excoriated congressional Republicans Saturday night for risking a government shutdown, and vowed to stop their efforts to defund his health care plan.
“It is time for these folks to stop governing by crisis,” Mr. Obama said at the Washington Convention Center. “Some want to shut down the government rather than provide people with health care!”
Referring to Republicans’ strategy to defund Obamacare, the president said he wanted to speak “as clearly as I can.”
“It’s not going to happen,” he said.
The administration and congressional Republicans are on a collision course over a government shutdown on Oct. 1, when funding for the current fiscal year expires. The House voted Friday to keep the government running beyond Oct. 1, but also voted to defund the health care law, legislation that the president has promised to veto.
In remarks to a traditionally friendly CBC audience, the president also spoke about the need to fight for civil rights and economic opportunity for the middle class.
He touched on a mass shooting Friday in his hometown of Chicago in which 13 people were wounded. Mr. Obama said children should be able to walk down the street “free from the fear that they will be struck down by a stray bullet.”
“Just two days ago in my hometown, 13 people were shot during a pickup basketball game,” he said. Referring to his stalled efforts at gun control, the president said, “We came up short and that means we’ve got to get back up and go back at it.”
The president will speak Sunday afternoon at a memorial service to honor the victims of last week’s mass shooting at the Washington Navy Yard.