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Weekly remarks: GOP warns of new Obama taxes; Obama says reforms needed to help all

November 26, 2009 |  3:00 am

Capitol Hill at night

Remarks by Rep. Mike Pence of Indiana, as provided by the Republican National Committee

This week, like most Americans, my family came together to break bread, give thanks and celebrate our blessings.

Even in these times of struggle and trial, we have much to be thankful for, beginning with our men and women in uniform, many of whom will spend this holiday season away from hearth and home. The tragic events at Fort Hood remind us that whether they serve at home or abroad, we owe our soldiers and their families a debt of gratitude we will never be able to repay.
Republican Rep. Mike Pence of Indiana
This past Thursday, while empty chairs for America’s defenders were placed at Thanksgiving dinner tables in many homes, many other seats were filled with anxious Americans who are facing their own personal battles and struggles.  Millions of families have seen jobs and careers vanish in the midst of this recession.

Many are asking, ‘when will things get better?’ Many more are asking, ‘where are the jobs?’

President Obama told the American people that his last $787 billion ‘jobs bill,’ the so-called ‘stimulus’ package, would ensure that unemployment would not go above 8 percent.  And the Administration continues to insist their stimulus plan is working. But unemployment is now at a heartbreaking 10.2 percent.

In the city and on the farm, as millions of American families struggle to balance their checkbooks this holiday season, they watch in astonishment as Washington spends billions of dollars it doesn’t have.

And what is the White House’s answer to our struggles? Another meeting next week. A ‘jobs summit,’ and ...

... most likely another proposal to grow government, raises taxes and place more debt on the shoulders of our children and grandchildren.

The American people know we can’t borrow and spend and bail our way back to a growing economy.

The Obama Administration and the Democratic majority in Congress have taken our economy from bad to worse with their failed economic agenda and big government plans.

And as if all this wasn’t enough, Democrats in Washington continue to push for government-run insurance.  A government takeover of health care will do nothing to lower the cost of health insurance and will place further burdens on small business owners and working families.

We need leadership in Washington that will help lift the burden on struggling families and unleash the power and innovative spirit of the American people.  That’s always been the source of our national strength and the means to lasting prosperity.

The way to stimulate this economy and help working families is to let Americans keep more of their hard-earned money, not taking more from their wallets.

Republicans have proposals to get our economy moving again, to achieve energy independence and lower the cost of health care.

While these are trying times, we should remember these trials are nothing new to the American people.

The God who blessed those who landed upon these shores nearly four centuries ago still reigns today.  From the Pilgrims’ trials to the sacrifices of our Revolutionary forefathers; from the Civil War to the World Wars; from the Depression of the 1930’s to the struggles in the economy today, the American people have fought through challenges and attacks with fervor, faith and optimism.

As we were reminded this last week, our problems grow dim as we focus on our blessings.  With many families hurting during this holiday season, now is the time for us to focus on what makes America great, to join hands and work together on common sense solutions to the problems ailing our nation.

Let us resolve to help where we can help, let’s give where we can give, and let’s work together to get this economy moving on the time-honored principles of fiscal responsibility, equality of opportunity and growth.

With faith in God and the American spirit, I believe your best days still are ahead of you. And for America, the best is yet to come. I’m Congressman Mike Pence.    ###

Democratic President Obama's White House at dawn

Remarks by President Obama, as provided by the White House

For centuries, in peace and in war, in prosperity and in adversity, Americans have paused at this time of year to gather with loved ones and give thanks for life’s blessings. This week, we carry on this distinctly American tradition. All across our country, folks are coming together to spend time with family, to catch up with old friends, to cook and enjoy a big dinner – and maybe to watch a little football in between.

As always, we give thanks for the kindness of loved ones, for the joys of the previous year, and for the pride we feel in our communities and country. We keep in our thoughts and prayers the many families marking this Thanksgiving with an empty seat – saved for a son or daughter, or husband or wife, stationed in harm’s way. And we say a special thanks for the sacrifices those men and women in uniform are making for our safety and freedom, and for all those Americans who enrich the lives of our communities through acts of kindness, generosity and service.

But as much as we all have to be thankful for, we also know that this year millions of Americans are facing very difficult economic times. Many have lost jobs in this recession – the worst in generations. Many more are struggling to afford health care premiums and house payments, let alone to save for an education or retirement.

Too many are wondering if the dream of a middle class life – that American Dream – is slipping away. It’s the worry I hear from folks across the country; good, hard-working people doing the best they can for their families – but fearing that their best just isn’t good enough. These are not strangers. They are our family, our friends, and our neighbors.Their struggles must be our concern.

That’s why we passed the Recovery Act that cut taxes for 95 percent of working people and for small businesses – and that extended unemployment benefits and health coverage for millions of Americans who lost their jobs in this turmoil. 

That’s why we are reforming the health care system so that middle-class families have affordable insurance that cannot be denied because of a pre-existing condition or taken away because you happen to get sick. We’ve worked to stem the tide of foreclosures and to stop the decline in home values. We’re making it easier to save for retirement and more affordable to send a son or daughter to college.

The investments we have made and tough steps we have taken have helped break the back of the recession, and now our economy is finally growing again.  But as I said when I took office, job recovery from this crisis would not come easily or quickly. Though the job losses we were experiencing earlier this year have slowed dramatically, we’re still not creating enough new jobs each month to make up for the ones we’re losing.  And no matter what the economists say, for families and communities across the country, this recession will not end until we completely turn that tide.

So we’ve made progress. But we cannot rest – and my administration will not rest – until we have revived this economy and rebuilt it stronger than before; until we are creating jobs and opportunities for middle class families; until we have moved beyond the cycles of boom and bust – of reckless risk and speculation – that led us to so much crisis and pain these past few years.

Next week, I’ll be meeting with owners of large and small businesses, labor leaders, and non-for-profits from across the country, to talk about the additional steps we can take to help spur job creation. I will work with the Congress to enact them quickly. And it is my fervent hope – and my heartfelt expectation – that next Thanksgiving we will be able to celebrate the fact that many of those who have lost their jobs are back at work, and that as a nation we will have come through these difficult storms stronger and wiser and grateful to have reached a brighter day. Thank you, God bless you, and from my family to yours, Happy Thanksgiving.    ###

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Photo credits: Associated Press; Associated Press; Ron Edmonds / Associated Press