April 6th, 2011
06:38 PM ET
(FAIRLESS HILLS, PA) CNN - As a federal government shutdown looms, President Obama Wednesday scolded congressional Republicans for injecting ideology into the budget debate and holding up a deal on funding the government for the rest of the year. “[B]ut somehow we don't have a deal, because some folks are trying to inject politics in what should be a simple debate about how to pay our bills,” the president told workers at a Pennsylvania wind turbine factory. “They're stuffing all kinds of issues in there, abortion, the environment, health care. There are times to have those discussions, but the time is not now. Right now we need to pay our bills, and the government needs to stay open.”
The comments were made at a town hall where the president tried to focus his message yet again on clean, renewable energy. He spoke to more than 400 workers at the Gamesa Technology Corporation in Fairless Hills, PA, 25 miles north-east of Philadelphia. The president reiterated his administration’s commitment to renewable energy like wind turbines and the development of job markets and investment in these fields to bolster the economy. “We are going to get 80% of our electricity from clean sources,” Mr. Obama told the workers. “If we follow through on this, if we tackle this challenge, our economy will be less vulnerable to swings in oil prices our nation will no longer be beholden to the country we now rely on for oil imports.”
Gamesa Technology Corporation is part of a Spanish company and the White House says it is the first overseas company to set up wind production facilities in the United States. The company employs 800 workers at facilities which are part of an abandoned U.S. Steel plant. It built one of Pennsylvania’s largest wind farms on the Allegheny Ridge farm.
Wind turbines are used to generate energy that is then turned into electricity. Wind energy accounts for 3% of the electricity generated in the United States.
This Gamesa plant is the same one the president visited almost three years ago to the day when candidate Obama held a similar town hall. In a speech on March 11, 2008, then Senator Obama told Gamesa workers he understood they faced the same challenges as many Americans including rising healthcare costs, concerns about immigration and border security, and gas at over $3.00 a gallon.
So, which of those concerns has the president tackled since that town hall three years ago? A massive overhaul of the healthcare system passed in Congress last year but it remains controversial and several states have challenged its constitutionality in court. Also many of the most sweeping healthcare reforms will not go into effect until 2014. On immigration, the president has been criticized for not fulfilling his campaign commitment to push through comprehensive reform. In fact just last week a coalition of grassroots organizations pushing for immigration rights released a media campaign called “Change Takes Courage” in order to hold the president “accountable for promises “ he made during the campaign. As for reducing those 2008 gas prices that were over $3.00 per gallon? Wednesday, as the White House press charter passed a local gas station in Fairless Hills, the price of a gallon of regular was $3.75.