WASHINGTON (AP) — In withering day-after criticism, President Barack Obama declared Thursday that the 16-day partial government shutdown was a Republican-provoked spectacle that “encouraged our enemies” around the world.

Elsewhere in Washington, and around the country, federal employees simply streamed back to their jobs. National parks reopened. The popular panda cam at the National Zoo came back online.

But there was no letup in the political fight.

Fresh from a defeat, tea party groups and their allies renewed fundraising efforts with a promise of future assaults on Obama’s health care overhaul — and a threat of more election primaries against Republican incumbents who don’t stand with them.

Government spending was still front and center. Inside the Capitol, lawmakers charged with forging a post-shutdown deficit-cutting agreement in the next 60 days met privately.  “We believe there is common ground,” said Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., chairwoman of the Senate Budget Committee.

Privately, however, officials in both parties said the prospects for a major breakthrough were dim, given differences over taxes and spending that have proved compromise-proof throughout the current three-year era of divided government.

A few hours after Obama placed his post-midnight signature on legislation ending the long political showdown, Vice President Joe Biden was at the Environmental Protection Agency to greet returning employees. “I hope this is the end of this,” he said, but he acknowledged “There’s no guarantees.”

That was a reference to the last-minute legislation that will fund the government only until Jan. 15 and give Treasury the ability to borrow above the $16.7 trillion limit until Feb. 7 or a few weeks longer.

At the White House, Obama blended sharp criticism of Republicans with a plea for their cooperation over the remainder of the year and a call for less shrillness on both sides.

“Some of the same folks who pushed for the shutdown and threatened default claimed their actions were needed to get America back on track,” he said in remarks in the State Dining Room.

“But probably nothing has done more damage to America’s credibility to the world. ... It’s encouraged our enemies. It’s emboldened our competitors. And it’s depressed our friends who look to us for steady leadership,” he said.

Obama said the public is “completely fed up with Washington” and he and Congress face hard work in regaining trust. It was a reference to public opinion polls that show the nation in a sour mood — though more inclined to blame Republicans than the president and his party for the first partial government shutdown caused by politics in 17 years.

Hoping to jump-start his own stalled agenda, Obama urged lawmakers to concentrate on three items in the coming weeks: a balanced plan to reduce long-term deficits, legislation to overhaul the immigration system and passage of a farm bill.

Polling aside, Obama’s party emerged from the three-week showdown in Congress united. All Democrats in Congress supported the legislation that passed Wednesday night to fund the government and raise the debt limit.

Not so of the Republicans. Eighteen GOP members in the Senate and 144 in the House opposed the legislation, while 27 in the Senate and 87 in the House supported it.

Spending will be the focus for the high-level budget negotiators who began their new assignment Thursday.

“Talking doesn’t guarantee success,” said Rep. Chris Van Hollen, of Maryland, senior Democrat on the House Budget Committee, after he met with Democratic Sen. Murray, Republican House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan, of Wisconsin, and Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions, senior Republican on the Senate committee. But, Van Hollen added, “if you don’t get together, obviously you don’t move forward.”

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Associated Press writer Alan Fram contributed to this story.

(17) comments

backroomfrederick

Obama carries his head high as Republican money takes bats to his knees. Actually proud of the guy and his family. Classy and well intentioned. Bush created such a mess on so many levels...

chesapeakecountry

Obama is such a bridge builder!

logletters162

Let's start the cutting with closing the borders, quit paying for the illegal...er ah....undocumented migrants. I'm all for immigration just go about through the proper channels. Second, let's stop funding other countries with money we borrowed. Drug screens for all welfare recipients. Streamline the goverment by deleting redundant programs.

tomgeiser

Our great Pres. started planning this shutdown when he got elected the 2nd time!

It's all about the '14 election! AND THOSE THAT WOULD STAND AND TRY TO SAVE US FROM SELF DESTRUCTION ARE THE "BAD GUYS" ONLY IN AMERICA!

Upton Golfer

Obama drinks tea, as in the Tea Party.

sodalite3

es they are...how perceptive of you. Thanks...Hillary will love ya!

Upton Golfer

Obama is the greatest President of all time.

pretzel

Our "enemies around the world" already know we are a "spectacle" laughing at Obama for 5 years now. They can see he is weak and quite frankly I'm a bit surprised we haven't experienced more attacks then we have. Almost singlehandedly he has turned the once dominate country into what is perceived to others as a big joke, literally a big joke with us dropping in ranks across the board.

kjswartz

The Tea Party better understand one thing: devalue our currency will inflate the COST of our debt. The debt has to be erased, but crumbling bridges, overused water systems, fewer college students, poor pay to established and experienced employees, defunding basic research and space science programs, scoffing at planetary monitoring programs - all do one thing.

Makes it more difficult to pay down the debt.

Chron

The Tea Party is nothing but a bunch of religious nuts. They believe what they believe with religious fervor. Therefore, logic and reason escape them.

Arcticdc5

That's your opinion, and has zero facts to back it up.

Enjoy the excessive & unnecessary tax increases and unlimited debt ceiling...

kitty1967

really? i'm not religious at all. i believe what i believe with logic and reason. and i have a better grasp at what devaluates our currency much better than you or kj, it would seem.

pixie-dust

[thumbup][thumbup]

matthewboh

[thumbup]

edelnardo

Your comment is so far off base that its laughable. Printing money de-values it. If you have 100 dollar the value of the money decreases by 50% if you print another 100 dollar with no standard such as gold behind it. The Fed has devalued US currency every time they print a dollar or add fake money to a banks demand deposits, it causes the value of the dollar in your wallet to decline. Borrowing money with no end in site devalues the dollar due to the worlds perception that America is bankrupt. The Republicans added to that perception that America is unstable. But the De-valuing of the dollar has been going on long before 2013. Just look at the price of gas and food. Can you buy the same amount today that you could by 5 years ago. NO because your money is worh less. Its how you drive the middleclass into poverty.

Sourdoh1

The republicans added to that perception?

There is really nothing complicated about the facts. The Republican-controlled House of Representatives voted all the money required to keep all government activities going — except for ObamaCare. This is not a matter of opinion. You can check the Congressional Record.

As for the House of Representatives' right to grant or withhold money, that is not a matter of opinion either. You can check the Constitution of the United States. All spending bills must originate in the House of Representatives, which means that Congressmen there have a right to decide whether or not they want to spend money on a particular government activity.

Sourdoh1

kj, your ignorance is astounding. Big Ben has devalued our currency with his runaway printing presses. Ben has also kept the interest rates artificially low to allow the government to be able to service our out of control debt. All you talk about is spending, we as a country need to stop borrowing and figure out how to live within our means.

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