President Obama said in his weekly address on Saturday that while the U.S. economy has recovered somewhat from the financial crisis, Congress must pass a budget by the end of the month and raise the debt ceiling to avoid another crisis.
“First: the most basic Constitutional duty Congress has is passing a budget,” Obama said. “But if it doesn’t pass one before Sept. 30 – a week from Monday – the government will shut down. And so will many services the American people expect.”
If Congress fails to pass a budget by the end of the month, the president said military and government personnel will not receive paychecks on time, and federal loans for all borrowers—including homeowners and small business owners—will be frozen.
“Second: Congress must authorize the Treasury to pay America’s bills,” Obama said. “This is done with a simple, usually routine vote to raise what’s called the debt ceiling. Since the 1950s, Congress has always passed it, and every President has signed it – Democrats and Republicans, including President Reagan. And if this Congress doesn’t do it within the next few weeks, the United States will default on its obligations and put our entire economy at risk.”
The president stressed that raising the debt ceiling “is not the same as approving more spending,” adding that doing so allows Congress to pay the bills it has already accrued. He also pointed to congressional stalemate, in which some Republicans have vowed to let the country default if the Affordable Care Act is not repealed.
“[W]e are running out of time to fix this,” Obama said. “But we could fix it tomorrow. Both houses of Congress can take a simple vote to pay our bills on time, then work together to pass a budget on time. Then we can declare an end to governing by crisis and govern responsibly, by putting our focus back where it should always be – on creating new jobs, growing our economy and expanding opportunity not just for ourselves, but for future generations.”