Obama urges Congress to approve US budget

GMT 10:25 2015 Saturday ,19 September

Arab Today, arab today Obama urges Congress to approve US budget

US President Barack Obama
Washington - AFP

President Barack Obama used his weekly radio and online address Saturday to urge the Republican-controlled Congress to pass a budget in a timely fashion.

Rival lawmakers on Capitol Hill are quickly running out of time to reach a deal to fund the government beyond October 1.

Conservative Republicans are refusing to back any plan that keeps funding for Planned Parenthood, a reproductive health organization that performs abortions.

In his Saturday address Obama touted progress that the economy has made since he took office in January 2009.

"If Republicans want to help, they can choose, right now, to pass a budget that helps us grow our economy even faster, create jobs even faster, lift people’s incomes and prospects even faster," he said.

"But they’ve only got until the end of the month to do it – or they’ll shut down our government for the second time in two years."

Any shutdown would result in millions in lost wages and could prompt economic and financial turmoil at a time China's slowdown has already roiled markets.

The last government shutdown happened in 2013, when Republicans sought to derail President Barack Obama's health care reforms.

The two-week closure saw hundreds of thousands of federal employees sent home and national parks closed.

The US economy lost an estimated $24 billion.

Obama said that his party's lawmakers are ready to negotiate with the Republicans. "But it should be over legitimate issues like how much do we invest in education, job training, and infrastructure – not unrelated ideological issues like Planned Parenthood."

The president said that "there’s nothing principled about the idea of another government shutdown." 

The Republican-led US House of Representatives passed two anti-abortion measures Friday, with lawmakers voting largely along party lines to halt federal funding for Planned Parenthood.

Nearly all Democrats voted against both bills, which are almost certain to be blocked by the Democratic minority in the Senate. Obama has also pledged a veto.

Hardcore conservatives have pledged to oppose any spending bill that does not defund Planned Parenthood.

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