In an exclusive interview with CNN’s Chris Cuomo on Friday, President Barack Obama said that the upcoming fight over the continuation of a resolution which will fund the government does not have to be a fight at all. He said that enough Republicans in Congress agree that seeking to defund the Affordable Care Act is a bad idea, but they are afraid of angering their base or of conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh.
“Congress doesn’t have a whole lot of core responsibilities,” Obama said. “One core responsibility is passing a budget, which they have not done yet. The other core responsibility that they’ve got is to pay the bills that they’ve already accrued.”
Obama said that, if Congress does their jobs on those issues, then they can tackle “big, structural changes” like what he is proposing to the nation’s higher education system.
“How much of the lack of action in Washington do you put on yourself in terms of blame?” Cuomo asked.
“Ultimately the buck stops with me,” Obama replied. “I get frustrated, and I’ve said before and I continue to say I’m willing to do whatever it takes to get Congress — and Republicans in Congress in particular — to think less about politics and party and think more about what’s good for the country.”
He said that the notion that Republicans would shut down the government over the ACA is not good for the nation. He said the GOP sees this as “their last gasp.”
“I’ve made this argument to my Republican friends privately, and, by the way, sometimes they say to me privately, ‘I agree with you, but I’m worried about a primary from, you know, somebody in the tea party back in my district’ or, ‘I’m worried about what Rush Limbaugh is going to say about me on radio.’”
(Sources: CNN and Mediaite.com)