Obama blasted Republicans in the U.S. Senate for blocking a
Democratic-supported bill earlier in the day aimed at addressing a
gap in pay between male and female workers. Republicans argued that
pay discrimination is already illegal.
Obama also cited Republicans' refusal to agree to an immigration
overhaul and an increase in the minimum wage as examples of what he
called obstruction by his political opponents.
"This has become the least productive Congress in modern history,
recent memory. And that's by objective measures — just basic
activity," Obama said.
Obama was speaking to 60 contributors at the luxurious Houston home
of trial lawyer John Eddie Williams. The event raised money for both
the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and the Democratic
Congressional Campaign Committee. Tickets for the event ranged
between $16,200 and $64,800.
He also attended an earlier event benefiting the Democratic National
Obama is struggling to get Democratic voters excited about mid-term
elections in November that will set the tone for the remainder of
Usually the party that controls the White House during mid-term
elections loses seats, and Republicans believe they will be able to
build on their majority in the U.S. House of Representatives and may
oust Democrats from control of the Senate.
[to top of second column]
The president's political standing is also ringing alarm bells.
After the disastrous rollout of his signature healthcare law last
October, his job approval rating has fallen below 50 percent.
Obama said Republican "obstruction" this year may be a good
political strategy if Democrats do not vote in the mid-terms.
Democrats are active in presidential campaign years, he said, but
"we have this congenital disease, which is in mid-term elections, we
don't vote at the same rates."
"We need you to take these mid-terms as seriously as any
presidential election that you've ever been involved in," said
Obama is spending two days in Texas. On Thursday he will speak in
Austin at the presidential library of Lyndon B. Johnson to mark the
50th anniversary of the passage of the landmark Civil Rights Act.
(Editing by Ken Wills)
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