Obama: 'America will be watching' to see if GOP will cooperate

President Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaDems punch back over GOP holdup of Biden SBA nominee Biden congratulates Trudeau for winning third term as Canadian prime minister Republicans have moral and financial reasons to oppose raising the debt ceiling MORE went on the attack against Republicans on Saturday, accusing the GOP of obstructing a litany of his legislative priorities in Congress.

The president struck a decidedly partisan note in his address, castigating Senate Republicans in particular for using their 41-vote bloc to slow down and filibuster a number of pieces of legislation.


"What we need is a willingness in Washington to put the public’s interests first – a willingness to score fewer political points so that we can start solving more problems," Obama said. "That’s why I was disappointed this week to see a dreary and familiar politics get in the way of our ability to move forward on a series of critical issues that have a direct impact on people’s lives."

Obama took aim in particular at the Senate's failure to end debate and pass legislation containing a series of extensions to unemployment benefits, tax credits, and other benefits.

The Senate voted 56-40 on Thursday night to end debate, four short of the 60 senators needed on such a vote. One Democrat, Sen. Ben Nelson (Neb.), joined with the GOP on the vote.

The president hammered Republicans on that stalled legislation, as well as on GOP efforts to hold up legislation to raise the liability cap for oil companies that suffer accidents, as well as 136 nominees to federal positions requiring a confirmation vote.

"All we ask for is a simple up or down vote," he said. "That’s what the American people deserve."

It was on these partisan notes that Obama sought to set the stage for a bipartisan meeting on Wednesday at the White House, where he'll look to build consensus with lawmakers on an energy bill that can win enough support to pass through Congress.

Republicans have already criticized Obama for his Oval Office address on Tuesday, and using that time to talk about the need for an energy bill, legislation that, in its current form, Republicans contend, results in a "national energy tax."

Next week, Obama implored, should be more productive and less partisan.

"Whether we are Democrats or Republicans, we’ve got an obligation that goes beyond caring about the next election. We have an obligation to care for the next generation," he said. "So I hope that when Congress returns next week, they do so with a greater spirit of compromise and cooperation. America will be watching."