U.S. gov’t shutdown would hurt ‘millions’ — Obama

WASHINGTON, (PNA/RIA Novosti) — President Barack Obama warned Friday that even a brief shutdown of the U.S. government would hurt millions of people and lashed out at opponents he accused of “grandstanding” to subvert his landmark public healthcare law.

Speaking to reporters at the White House as Congress continued wrangling over legislation needed to continue funding for the government beyond Tuesday when the current funding law expires, Obama said a halt in government services would be felt instantly far beyond Washington.

“Federal loans for rural communities, small businesses, families buying a home, will be frozen,” he said. The “political grandstanding” taking place in Congress “touches the lives of millions of people, and those people will be harmed” if the government shuts down.

Obama’s comments were the latest in an inflammatory tug-of-war between the White House and a group of lawmakers within the Republican Party who adamantly oppose the president’s new health care law and have vowed to use all legal means at their disposal to have it repealed.

Specifically, those “Tea Party Republicans” have sought to tie legislation that would keep the government operating with measures to “de-fund” the Obama healthcare law — a move strongly opposed by Obama’s Democrats and even by the majority of other Republican lawmakers.

“That’s not going to happen,” Obama said of the efforts to de-fund the healthcare program.