The Shutdown Speech that Obama Should Give


Dear President Obama, I wrote this for you to give next week. I didn’t have your personal e-mail, so I am just going to post it to IVN and hope that you find it. You’re welcome.

Your friend and sometimes supporter,



My fellow Americans,

As you might have noticed over the past week or two, the President does not have the authority to spend the government’s money. If I did, we wouldn’t be talking about funding “Obamacare”; I would just do it. According to the Constitution, however, all revenue bills must originate in the House of Representatives, and all government expenditures must be approved by both the House and the Senate. This is why we have been having such a battle over whether or not to fund the Affordable Healthcare Act—a law passed by both houses of Congress, signed by the President, and upheld by the Supreme Court. But Congress can still choose to withhold funding, and I can’t do anything about it.

The fact that Congress has the sole authority to spend money also means that Congress has sole responsibility for the debt that it has contracted. This is what the current debate over the “debt ceiling” is about. We are not discussing whether or not we can or should borrow more money. We are debating whether or not we are going to pay the money that we owe right now because of spending that has already occurred.

If we choose not to raise the debt ceiling, there will be consequences. Our bond rating will almost certainly be downgraded again, making it more and more expensive to borrow money. And it is very possible that this action will cause the United States of America to default on the payment of its debts—something that has not happened in more than 230 years. Make no mistake about it, this will seriously affect our ability to exercise a leadership role in the world.I do not want this to happen. But, as Senator Cruz has recently reminded me in some detail, I do not have any choice in the matter.

Only Congress could create the national debt, and only Congress can authorize its repayment. For better or for worse, this is how our system works. My thoughts and prayers are with Speaker Boehner and Majority Leader Cantor as they weigh the issues involved and determine how best to exercise their Constitutional responsibility to govern our country. I hope yours will be too.