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Weekly remarks: John Barrasso on Democrats' broken promises; Obama on more education reform

October 9, 2010 |  3:00 am

Capitol Dome

Weekly Remarks by Sen. John Barrasso, as provided by Republican Party leadership 

I’m John Barrasso, United States Senator for Wyoming.
 
The Code of the West says "when you make a promise, keep it."  In Washington, promises don’t seem to mean much these days.   
 
For almost two years, President Obama and Democrats in Congress have broken their promises on jobs, on spending and on health care. 
 
The White House promised that massive federal spending would keep the....

...unemployment rate below 8%. Instead what taxpayers got was $800 billion in new debt and nearly 10% unemployment.
 
48 states have lost jobs.  Friday’s job figures confirm that far too many Americans are still looking for work.  

While the White House touts its Recovery Summer, most Americans see an alarming autumn. 
 
People are beginning to realize that the only jobs Congressional Democrats are really focused on are their own. 
 
The President promised to be financially responsible with your tax dollars.  Yet our federal government continues down a ruinous path of outrageous spending, borrowing and piling more and more debt on future generations. 
 
Our nation is now over $13 trillion in the red.  A number so large it’s difficult to imagine. 
 
Since Democrats took over the Congress, the national debt has grown by five trillion dollars and the President’s own budget says it will grow by trillions more by the end of his term.

Astonishingly, instead of cutting wasteful Washington spending, President Obama and the Democrats plan to raise taxes.  Last week, Congress fled Washington while one of the largest tax hikes in our nation’s history hangs over the heads of working families.

Rather than forcing Congress back into session to do the people’s business, the President merely waved goodbye.
 
Interviewed recently about why he wouldn’t extend all of the tax cuts, President Obama declared that he had, quote, ‘a whole bunch of better ways for us to spend that money.’
Wyoming Republican Senator John Barrasso
With all due respect, Mr. President, this money isn’t yours. It belongs to the American people.
 
The Obama tax hikes are yet another job-killing burden that the American people and American employers cannot afford. Raising taxes on anyone in the middle of a recession is the worst thing we can do.

Our problem is not that we are taxed too little – the problem is that Washington spends too much.

As a doctor, I’ve also heard from Americans who are concerned about the President’s broken healthcare promises. 
 
In Wyoming and across the country, we are now bracing for the President’s new health care law. As you may remember, during the debate over health care President Obama promised time and time again that ‘if you like your current health care plan, you can keep it.’
 
Well, it’s now clear that the President has broken that promise too.   
 
In June, the Obama administration took two pages of the health care law and transformed them into 121 pages of bureaucratic rules, regulations, and red tape that clearly violate the President’s promise.
 
Employers large and small across the country say they may be forced to stop offering health insurance to employees --- simply because of the cost and the penalties of the President’s new health care law.

And millions of American seniors could be forced from the Medicare Advantage plans that they know and they like.

At the time of his inauguration, President Obama talked about how the American people had entrusted him with a great responsibility to keep the public’s trust.
 
The President has failed to keep his promises on jobs, on spending and on health care.  Frankly, very little trust remains. 

The President’s policies are irresponsible, and unsustainable.  Worse, many Americans fear the damage done by these policies may also be irreversible. 

I believe there is too much at stake, and far too much to lose, for us to allow bad policies and reckless spending to remain unchecked or unchallenged.  And so we will fight for a dramatic change in priority and direction.

Republicans have a Pledge to America. A Pledge to prevent tax hikes, to reduce federal spending, and to work every day to repeal the massive new health care law and replace it with commonsense reforms that lower costs.

If you are tired of Washington’s broken promises, you now have a choice.  More of the same or a new direction. Thanks for listening.    ####

Happy Democrat president Barack Obama relaxes in the Oval Office

President Obama's weekly remarks, as provided by the White House 

The other day, I was talking about education with some folks in the backyard of an Albuquerque home, and someone asked a question that’s stayed with me. He asked, if we don’t have homes to go to, what good is an education? It was a heartfelt question, one that could be asked by anyone who’s lost a home or a job in this recession.

Because if you’re out of work or facing foreclosure, all that really matters is a new job. All that really matters is a roof over your head. All that really matters is getting back on your feet. That’s why I’m fighting each and every day to jump-start job creation in the private sector; to help our small business owners grow and hire; to rebuild our economy so it lifts up a middle class that’s been battered for so long.

But even as we focus on doing all that; even as we focus on speeding up our economic recovery; we also know that when it comes to jobs, opportunity, and prosperity in the 21st century, nothing is more important than the quality of your education. At a time when most of the new jobs being created will require some kind of higher education; when countries that out-educate us today will outcompete us tomorrow, giving our kids the best education possible is an economic imperative.

That’s why, from the start of my administration, we’ve been fighting to offer every child in this country a world-class education -– from the cradle to the classroom, from college through a career. Earlier this week, I announced a new Skills for America’s Future initiative that will help community colleges and employers match what’s taught in the classroom with what’s needed in the private sector, so we can connect students looking for jobs with businesses looking to hire.

We’re eliminating tens of billions of dollars in wasteful subsidies for banks to administer student loans, and using that money to make college more affordable for millions of students. And we’ve launched a Race to the Top in our states to make sure our students, all of them, are graduating from high school ready for college -– so we can meet our goal of graduating a higher proportion of students from college than any other country in the world by 2020.

And yet, if Republicans in Congress had their way, we’d have a harder time meeting that goal. We’d have a harder time offering our kids the best education possible. Because they’d have us cut education by 20 percent -– cuts that would reduce financial aid for eight million students; cuts that would leave our great and undervalued community colleges without the resources they need to prepare our graduates for the jobs of the future.

Now, it is true that when it comes to our budget, we have real challenges to meet. And if we’re serious about getting our fiscal house in order, we’ll need to make some tough choices. I’m prepared to make those choices. But what I’m not prepared to do is shortchange our children’s education. What I’m not prepared to do is undercut their economic future, your economic future, or the economic future of the United States of America.

Nothing would be more detrimental to our prospects for success than cutting back on education. It would consign America to second place in our fiercely competitive global economy. But China and India aren’t playing for second. South Korea and Germany aren’t playing for second. They’re playing for first -– and so should America.

Instead of being shortsighted and shortchanging our kids, we should be doubling down on them. We should be giving every child in America a chance to make the most of their lives; to fulfill their God-given potential. We should be fighting to lead the global economy in this century, just like we did in the last. And that’s what I’ll continue fighting to do in the months and years ahead. Thanks, everybody, and have a nice weekend.     ####

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Photos: Manuel Balce Ceneta / Associated Press (lone worker vents hot air from the Capitol); Barrasso's office; Pete Souza / White House.

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