In a blistering warning to congressional Republicans, President Barack Obama said Monday it would be the “height of irresponsibility” for lawmakers to cause a new economic crisis just five years after the near-collapse of the nation’s financial system.
“I cannot remember a time when one faction of one party promises economic chaos if it can’t get 100 percent of what it wants,” Obama said, contending that the stance of some conservative lawmakers amounts to just that.
Some of those Republicans say they will vote to extend current spending levels or to increase the nation’s debt ceiling only if Obama delays putting in place his health care law, a condition Obama has rejected. Others say scheduled spending cuts should stay in place to reduce the deficit, while Obama wants the “sequestration” cuts reworked.
The president spoke at a White House event pegged to the fifth anniversary of the bankruptcy of the Lehman Brothers investment bank, which marked the beginning of a global financial crisis. The White House used the anniversary to lay out the president’s markers for upcoming fiscal fights with Congress over funding the government and raising the nation’s debt limit.
Obama’s remarks came as local and federal authorities dealt with the deadly shootings at the Washington Navy Yard, just a few miles from the White House.
Meanwhile, Lawrence Summers, a Harvard University economist and former Obama adviser, informed the president on Sunday that he was withdrawing as a contender to replace current Fed chairman Ben Bernanke. The president has said he plans to nominate a new Fed chair this fall, before Bernanke’s term ends in January.