US President Barack Obama said on Friday that the 16-day partial government shutdown in October is hurting the U.S. economic growth momentum despite ongoing economic and job market recovery.
Though U.S. economy grew at its fastest pace in a year during the third quarter, the latest government shutdown was dampening U. S. economic growth and job creation, Obama said in the port city of New Orleans, U.S. state of Louisiana.
The U.S. economy rose at an annual rate of 2.8 percent in the third quarter before the 16-day government shutdown, boosted by private inventories and residential fixed investment. It is a welcome acceleration from the 2.5 percent growth rate in the second quarter and the fastest growth since the third quarter of 2012, the Commerce Department said Thursday.
"The bad news is that the very day the economic quarter ended, some folks in Washington decided to shut down the government and threatened to default on America's obligations for the first in more than 200 years," Obama said.
"It's like the gears of our economy, every time they are just about to take off, suddenly somebody taps the brakes and says, not so fast."
The federal government was forced into the first shutdown in 17 years on Oct. 1 after Republicans tried to make a bill to tie funding the government to delaying or defunding Obama's signature health care law. Facing an imminent prospect of a debt default, the bitterly-divided Congress ultimately passed a legislation on Oct. 16 to lift the debt ceiling through Feb. 7, and fund the government through Jan. 15.
Obama said his "driving focus" has been to restore the sense of security for middle-class families so they can find good jobs and make sure that their kids are doing even better than they did.
"That's what everybody in Washington should be thinking about every day," he said.
Obama called for more government spending on improving the nation's infrastructure facilities to boost exports and job creation, adding that "we should be building, not tearing things down."
"We shouldn't get caught up in the same old fights. And we shouldn't just cut things just for the sake of cutting things," he said.