- The Washington Times - Saturday, September 5, 2015

A possible federal government shutdown is still nearly a month away, but President Obama on Saturday began to lay the blame for such a shutdown at the feet of Republican leaders in Congress.

In his weekly address, the president said Republicans are playing games with the economy by once again allowing the end of the fiscal year to draw near without a budget deal in place. The fiscal year ends Sept. 30. If Congress doesn’t reach a budget agreement by then, the government will shut down for the second time in two years.

At the same time he warned of a potential shutdown, Mr. Obama also deepened battle lines with Republicans during his Saturday address, saying unequivocally that he’ll veto any spending bills that continue the so-called sequestration cuts or otherwise fail to make proper investments in Democratic policy priorities.

“As always, the deadline for Congress to pass a budget is the end of September. Every year. This is not new. And if they don’t, they’ll shut down the government for the second time in two years. At a time when the global economy faces headwinds and America’s economy is a relative bright spot in the world, a shutdown of our government would be wildly irresponsible. It would be an unforced error that saps the momentum we’ve worked so hard to build. Plain and simple, a shutdown would hurt working Americans,” the president said.

“It doesn’t have to happen. If Congress wants to support working Americans and strengthen our middle class, they can pass a budget that invests in, not makes cuts to, the middle class. If they pass a budget with shortsighted sequester cuts that harm our military and our economy, I’ll veto it,” Mr. Obama said. “If they make smart investments in our military readiness, our infrastructure, our schools, public health, and research, I’ll sign that budget — and they know that.”

• Ben Wolfgang can be reached at bwolfgang@washingtontimes.com.

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