Carefully celebrating a pending political victory, President Barack Obama said late Wednesday that a deal to reopen the government and avoid a cataclysmic default should help Washington break “the habit of governing by crisis” and set the stage for achieving immigration reform in 2013.
“Once this agreement arrives on my desk, I will sign it immediately, we’ll begin reopening our government immediately, and we can begin to lift this cloud of uncertainty and unease from our businesses and from the American people,” Obama said in the White House briefing room.
The president, who raised eyebrows in some quarters for speaking before the Republican-held House of Representatives voted on the compact, renewed his vow to “work with anybody” on proposals to bolster the fragile economy and saying that Democrats do not have a “monopoly on good ideas.”
Obama pleaded for a break from “the habit of governing by crisis “ and painted the shutdown as a pointless distraction from the nation’s true business.
“There’s a lot of work ahead of us — including our need to earn back the trust of the American people that’s been lost over last few weeks. And we can begin to do that by addressing the real issues that they care about,” he said.
“There are things that we know will help strengthen our economy that we could get done before this year is out,” Obama said. “We still need to pass a law to fix our broken immigration system. We still need to pass a farm bill.”
And the hard-fought deal opens the door for cooperation to craft a “sensible budget that is fair” and helps the middle class, he said.
“We could get all these things done even this year,” said the president, who planned a 10:35 a.m. statement from the White House's State Dining Room on Thursday echoing many of the same themes.
The agreement reopens the government through Jan. 15 and raises the debt limit through Feb. 7, raising the prospect of another confrontation. But Obama curtly dismissed prospect of a repeat of the 16-day shutdown under the cloud of a possible debt default.
"Mr. President, isn't this going to happen all over again in a few months?" a reporter called out as the president walked out.
"No," he replied. The official White House transcript noted "(Laughter.)" in response.