President Obama complained about the shutdown of parts of the federal Head Start pre-school nutritional assistance program in his weekly address October 5, even though he has already pledged to veto straightforward Republican bills that would fund similar programs.
Obama argued in his weekly presidential address that children who had benefited from Head Start programs are suffering under the shutdown. He cited one letter from an Alabama citizen:
Kelly Mumper lives in rural Alabama. She works in early education, and has three children of her own in the Marines. Here’s what she wrote to me on Wednesday.
“Our Head Start agency ... was forced to stop providing services on October 1st for over 770 children, and 175 staff were furloughed. I am extremely concerned for the welfare of these children.”
Yet if handed a simple congressional bill to fund childhood nutrition programs such as the WIC (Women, Infants and Children) and Head Start programs, Obama has already raised the specter of a veto threat. He has no objection to any funding in the House-passed Women's Infant and Children Funding bill (H. J. Res. 75), but on October 3 he pledged to veto the legislation in order to force political pressure on the Republican-dominated House to pass a single spending bill for the entire federal budget, including ObamaCare.
“There’s only one way out of this reckless and damaging shutdown,” Obama said in his weekly address: “Pass a budget that funds our government, with no partisan strings attached.” By those words, Obama means that Congress must pass funding for the entire federal budget in a single bill, and that this bill must include ObamaCare funding. Obama continued in the Saturday address: “The American people don’t get to demand ransom in exchange for doing their job. Neither does Congress. They don’t get to hold our democracy or our economy hostage over a settled law. They don’t get to kick a child out of Head Start if I don’t agree to take her parents’ health insurance away. That’s not how our democracy is supposed to work.”
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