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Obama says 'extreme' Republicans imperil economy

September 16, 2013|By Christi Parsons and Michael A. Memoli
  • President Obama speaks on the economy in the South Court Auditorium of the Eisenhower Executive Office Building in Washington, D.C.
President Obama speaks on the economy in the South Court Auditorium of the… (Jewel Samad / AFP/Getty…)

WASHINGTON – President Obama contended Monday that the Republicans are “so beholden to one extreme wing of their party” that they’re willing to imperil the entire economy to satisfy it.

In an address that marked the public opening of fall budget negotiations, Obama warned that he won’t negotiate over raising the debt limit with lawmakers intent on killing Obamacare.

“Are they really willing to hurt people just to score political points? I hope not,” Obama said. “But in case there's any confusion, I will not negotiate over whether or not America keeps its word and meets its obligations. I will not negotiate over the full faith and credit of the United States.”

On the fifth anniversary of the financial crisis, Obama took a moment in remarks at the White House to try to turn the conversation from the crisis in Syria to the upcoming budget and debt ceiling discussions expected to occupy his team this fall.

The White House issued a 49-page report detailing the administration’s action to help the country recover from the crisis, as Obama publicly warned of the weakening in the economy that could be triggered by even the hint of a fight over the debt ceiling.

Just the suggestion of default in 2011 slowed U.S. economic growth, White House aides argue.

But Republicans laid the responsibility for the slow economic recovery on the president.

Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) said the president's health law was holding the economy back.

"Employers are cutting hours and payrolls to survive Obamacare,” said Alexander, the top Republican on the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, arguing that the GOP wants to expand business by reducing regulations, while Obama wants to satisfy “big labor bosses and destroy jobs.”

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