President Barack Obama makes remarks before signing two executive orders regarding equal pay for women at an event in the East Room of the White House in Washington, DC on April 8, 2014. Obama chastised Republicans at a fundraiser Wednesday evening for blocking the bill, calling this Congress the least productive in modern history. UPI/Pat Benic | License Photo
WASHINGTON, April 10 (UPI) -- “This has become the least productive Congress in modern history, recent memory. And that’s by objective measures, just basic activity,” President Obama said at a fundraiser Wednesday evening, criticizing Republicans’ block of the Paycheck Fairness Act -- a bill designed to make it harder for employers to pay women less than men -- by filibuster earlier that day.
“I use this as just one example of the scores of issues that are critical to advancing this country’s future in which not only is the other side blocking progress but [they] aren’t even offering a persuasive alternative vision,” Obama said.
The president, addressing guests at a dinner in Houston to raise capital for Democrats running in the midterm elections and rally voters to the polls, spoke about his frustrations at seeing Republicans block the paycheck fairness legislation as a means of addressing the larger issue of having a stalled Congress.
"Apparently, a lot of Republicans during debate said this idea of gender pay gap is a fantasy -- it's not real," Obama said. "Every individual makes other choices; very rarely do they make the choice to get paid less for same job. This is just one example of the scores of issues that are critical to advancing the country's future which not only is the other side blocking progress, but they're not even offering an alternative vision."
Obama declared Americans need a “Congress that works,” clarifying that doesn’t mean one in “lockstep” support of all his proposals, but one that is “serious about governance.” He warned that Republican efforts to continually block Democratic legislation may be “a good defense is the best offense” tactics.
“Here’s the disconcerting thing: Obstruction may actually be a good political strategy if Democrats don't vote in the midterms. We have this congenital disease, which is in midterm elections, we don't vote at the same rates.”
The president rallied the crowd to use their votes in the midterm elections to install a more effective Congress, chiding attendees that while public opinion supports the Democratic agenda, weak voter turnout at the polls can hold the party back.
"They [may] not be as sexy or get as much publicity, but it's as important to the future of our children and grandchildren as anything we'd do."
[The Washington Post]