Obama says shutdown encouraged US foes

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WASHINGTON, D.C.: United States (US) President Barack Obama warned on Thursday (Friday in Manila) that America’s recent bout of political dysfunction had encouraged its enemies and dismayed its friends, and said the crisis left “no winners” in Washington.

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In trying to heal the wounds of the last two weeks of internecine drama, Obama hoped to avoid a new stalemate within months, after a temporary truce between Republicans and Democrats.

“There’s been a lot of discussion lately of the politics of this shutdown,” Obama told an audience of returning executive branch workers in the State Dining Room of the White House. “Let’s be clear. There are no winners here.”

Obama called on warring politicians to come together to pass a long-term budget and to give up the “brinkmanship” that squandered the trust of the American people.

He spoke less than 11 hours after signing legislation that ended a 16-day government shutdown and a showdown over raising his government’s borrowing authority.

The bill brought a temporary end to a standoff that had threatened to pitch the US economy into a historic default.

Investors cheered the deal, signed to end the shutdown and debt drama, powering the S&P 500 index to an all-time high of 1,733.15, up 0.67 percent.

Obama urged Congress, specifically Republicans in the House of Representatives, to pass stalled bills on agriculture and on reforming America’s immigration system.

“Probably nothing has done more damage to America’s credibility in the world, our standing with other countries, than the spectacle that we’ve seen these past several weeks,” he said.

“It’s encouraged our enemies, it’s emboldened our competitors and depressed our friends who look to us for steady leadership.”

The president implicitly warned conservative “Tea Party” Republicans to stop using their most potent weapons—threatening to halt US debt payments and withholding government funding.

AFP

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