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Obama upbraids Congress over unfinished business

The president scolded Congress for leaving a host of tasks undone before leaving town on a five-week vacation
Obama urges Congress to pass budget after August recess 02:58

When Congress skipped town for a five-week vacation in August, it "left behind a stack of unfinished business," President Obama chided in a video released Saturday.

And, as the nation's top executive reminds the elected officials, chief among these legislative chores is compromising on and passing a budget before the federal government runs out of money at the beginning of October.

"When they return from vacation, they'll only have a few weeks to do so or shut down the government for the second time in two years," the president said. "They've had all year to do this."

Undercover videos spark funding fight for Planned Parenthood 05:08

While Republicans in the Senate and House have agreed to a combined budget plan, the spending blueprint will face tough opposition from Democrats in the fall -- especially with the president's threat to veto any bill that increases a defense budget and relies on cuts to domestic programs to pay for it.

Some Republicans have also threatened to tie the budget fight to Planned Parenthood and the push to defund the organization.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker John Boehner have both promised to work together to avoid a government shutdown, but skirmishes within the GOP could lead to a long, drawn-out battle before the Oct. 1 deadline.

"Remember, we can't cut our way to prosperity," Mr. Obama said. "We should be investing in things that help our economy grow today and tomorrow, like education or infrastructure or scientific research."

The president also admonished Congress for failing to reauthorize the Export-Import Bank, which he said "left thousands of business owners and their employees at a serious disadvantage compared to their competitors overseas."

The bank's charter expired at the beginning of July for the first time since it was founded in 1934. The federal agency, which generated a $675 million revenue surplus for the Treasury in 2014, acts as a loan provider and credit insurer to U.S. companies that work abroad.

"When it returns from recess, reauthorizing the bank ought to be a top agenda for members of Congress," Mr. Obama added.

He's scolded the legislative body before, just as Congress passed a temporary 11th-hour extension to a highway funding bill and left town for their August recess.

"We should not be leaving all the business of the U.S. government to the last minute," Mr. Obama said at the end of July. "Congress is leaving on vacation without the budget done. And when they get back, they're going to have about two weeks in order to do the people's business."

GOP: We've had "most productive" streak in Congress 04:01

In their own video, Republicans painted a different picture of their productivity, saying that in the Senate, they "built a track record of success with bill after bill to deliver real results for the American people."

Sen. John Thune, R-South Dakota, pointed to legislation like the last-minute transportation bill fix, Social Security and Medicare reform and fast-track trade authority as Republican victories in Congress. He added that without the GOP-led effort for a legislative review of the president's Iran nuclear agreement, "there would be no chance for the American people to weigh in on one of the most important national security issues."

"The first eight months of 2015 have been some of the most productive in recent memory," Thune said. "This spring, we passed the first House and Senate balanced budget resolution since 2001. And we did it without raising taxes."

The South Dakota Republican cited the "joint balanced budget resolution" as a win for the GOP, though the blueprint they agreed to still has far to go before it heads to the president's desk.

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