As the 16-day government shutdown ended Thursday, a stern President Obama blasted Republicans for deliberately trying to “break” the federal government and allowing their hatred of him to justify un-American tactics.
“If you don’t like a particular policy, or a particular president, then argue for your position,” Mr. Obama said in an address at the White House. “Go out there and win an election. Push to change it, but don’t break it. Don’t break what our predecessors spent over two centuries building. That’s not being faithful to what this country’s about.”
Mr. Obama directed his language at Republican lawmakers just hours after he signed legislation to reopen the government through Jan. 15 and extend the nation’s borrowing authority until Feb. 7. The agreement ended, for now, a bitter battle with the GOP that began as a protest over Obamacare.
“Let’s work together to make government work better, instead of treating it like an enemy or purposely making it work worse,” Mr. Obama said. “That’s not what the founders of this nation envisioned when they gave us the gift of of self-government. We are Americans first. That’s why disagreement cannot mean dysfunction. It can’t degenerate into hatred.”
The president said Americans are “completely fed up with Washington,” but said the nation would bounce back.
“These last few weeks have inflicted completely unnecessary damage on our economy,” Mr. Obama said. “The American people’s frustration with what goes on in this town has never been higher. How business is done in this town has to change.”