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Weekly remarks: Obama on Easter unity, GOP's Kevin McCarthy on jobs and jobs

April 3, 2010 |  3:00 am

Democrat president Barack Obama talking on the phone at the historic Oval Office desk

Weekly remarks by President Obama, as provided by the White House

This is a week of faithful celebration. On Monday and Tuesday nights, Jewish families and friends in the United States and around the world gathered for a Seder to commemorate the Exodus from Egypt and the triumph of hope and perseverance over injustice and oppression. On Sunday, my family will join other Christians all over the world in marking the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

And while we worship in different ways, we also remember the shared spirit of humanity that inhabits us all – Jews and Christians, Muslims and Hindus, believers and nonbelievers alike.

Amid the storm of public debate, with our 24/7 media cycle, in a town like Washington that’s consumed with the day-to-day, it can sometimes be easy to lose sight of the eternal. So, on this Easter weekend, let us hold fast to those aspirations we hold in common as brothers and sisters, as members of the same family – the family of man.

All of us know how important work is – not just for the paycheck, but for the peace of mind that comes with knowing you can provide for your family. As Americans, and as human beings, we seek not only the security, but the sense of dignity, the sense of community, that.... confers. That is why it was heartening news that last month, for the first time in more than two years, our economy created a substantial number of jobs, instead of losing them. We have begun to reverse the devastating slide, but we have a long way to go to repair the damage from this recession, and that will continue to be my focus every single day.

All of us value our health and the health of our loved ones. All of us have experienced an illness, a loss, a personal tragedy. All of us know that no matter what we’re doing or what else is going on in our lives, if the health of someone we love is endangered, nothing else matters. Our health is the rock upon which our lives are built, for better and for worse.

All of us value education. We know that in an economy as competitive as ours, an education is a prerequisite for success. But we also know that ultimately, education is about something more, something greater. It is about the ability that lies within each of us to rise above any barrier, no matter how high; to pursue any dream, no matter how big; to fulfill our God-given potential.

All of us are striving to make a way in this world; to build a purposeful and fulfilling life in the fleeting time we have here. A dignified life. A healthy life. A life, true to its potential. And a life that serves others. These are aspirations that stretch back through the ages – aspirations at the heart of Judaism, at the heart of Christianity, at the heart of all of the world’s great religions.  

The rites of Passover, and the traditions of Easter, have been marked by people in every corner of the planet for thousands of years. They have been marked in times of peace, in times of upheaval, in times of war.

One such war-time service was held on the black sands of Iwo Jima more than sixty years ago. There, in the wake of some of the fiercest fighting of World War II, a chaplain rose to deliver an Easter sermon, consecrating the memory, he said “of American dead – Catholic, Protestant, Jew. Together,” he said, “they huddled in foxholes or crouched in the bloody sands…Together they practiced virtue, patriotism, love of country, love of you and of me.” The chaplain continued, “The heritage they have left us, the vision of a new world, [was] made possible by the common bond that united them…their only hope that this unity will endure.”

Their only hope that this unity will endure.

On this weekend, as Easter begins and Passover comes to a close, let us remain ever mindful of the unity of purpose, the common bond, the love of you and of me, for which they sacrificed all they had; and for which so many others have sacrificed so much. And let us make its pursuit – and fulfillment – our highest aspiration, as individuals and as a nation. Happy Easter and Happy Passover to all those celebrating, here in America, and around the world.     ####

Capitol Hill

Remarks by Rep. Kevin McCarthy of California, as provided by the Republican National Committee

Hi, I’m Congressman Kevin McCarthy. I have the great honor of representing California’s 22nd Congressional District.  I also serve as the House Republican Chief Deputy Whip. I’d like to start by wishing all those families celebrating Easter and Passover a year of peace and prosperity in this holiday season.

I need not remind you that this is a time of great economic anxiety for almost everyone.  Americans are rightfully asking ‘where are the jobs?’  ‘Why is Washington raising taxes in times of recession?’ ‘Doesn’t anyone care about us?’  ‘Is anyone actually listening?’  

I know what you’re thinking. Enough is enough. Stop the spending. Stop the waste. Stop the broken promises.  

Republicans agree.

Major employers are already being squeezed because of the tax increases and cost hikes thanks to the new health care law signed by President Obama.  The new law is just the latest in a series of anti-taxpayer policies coming out of Washington that is making it harder for Americans to save, invest, and hire, but it is by no means the last.

As a former small business owner – a deli here in Bakersfield – I know that there is risk involved in turning a new idea into a successful business.  There is no reward without some risk.  My small business – like many small businesses – was started on credit.  At this time of high unemployment, when we need to focus on jobs, we should not be expanding government spending, government commitments, and government promises that crowd out the small businessman and businesswoman.  That’s not good for jobs.  That’s not good for anyone.  
California Republican representative Kevin McCarthy
From TARP and permanent bailouts, to the cap-and-trade national energy tax, the government takeover of healthcare, and huge increases in the national debt – and now still more demands for more spending to change the financial regulations, we have run out of money.  And yet this Administration and Congressional Democrats want to spend even more.  

So on behalf of the hardworking taxpayers of my district, I have one question for Washington: who is going to pay for all your new spending?  

Last fall, when the controversial TARP program was on track to expire, Republicans voted to terminate the program and ensure that any unused funds were used to pay down our crushing national debt. Democrats instead forced through an extension so that they could use it as a ‘slush fund’ for more wasteful Washington spending.

Now, President Obama wants Congress to pass job-killing legislation that would guarantee permanent bailouts for Wall Street. Under his plan, unelected Washington bureaucrats would be granted virtually unlimited power to pick winners and losers – and hardworking American taxpayers would pick up the tab for the reckless decisions made by irresponsible bankers.

What’s worse, this legislation fails to address the root causes of the economic crisis and housing meltdown – the lack of accountability in Washington and on Wall Street.  

Republicans have proposed a plan to protect taxpayers, end the permanent bailout and get rid of TARP.  Our plan would address the causes of the financial crisis and institute accountability while adopting a new approach to the markets that will no longer include using the taxpayer as Wall Street’s financial lifeline.

Because more Washington bureaucrats, more federal agencies and more blue-ribbon commissions are not the answer. And putting taxpayers on the hook for more bailouts will not revive our struggling economy – it will only compound the pain for struggling small businesses and for families who played by the rules, lived within their means and acted responsibly.

Earlier I asked whether anyone was listening. I’m Kevin McCarthy, a member of the House Republican Conference, and we’re listening. And if you want to put an end to these big government bailouts, the reckless wasteful spending and the mountain of debt, we hope you’re listening, too.     ####

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Photos: Pete Souza / White House; Associated Press; McCarthy's office.