Weekly remarks: Obama hails tax cuts' impact; GOP's Diane Black says spending and regs must be cut
I’m talking with you from Miami, Florida, where I’m visiting Miami Central High School, a school that’s turning itself around on behalf of its kids. And I came here with Jeb Bush, former governor of this state, because he and I share the view that education isn’t a partisan issue – it’s an American issue.
But in a larger sense, this is a moment when we’ve all got to do what the students and teachers are doing here. We’ve got to step up our game.
Our top priority right now has to be creating new jobs and opportunities in a fiercely competitive world. And this week, we received very good news on that front. We learned that the unemployment rate has fallen to its lowest level in nearly two years as our economy added another 222,000 private sector jobs last month.
Now, we have a lot more work to do, not just for the Americans who still don’t have a job, but....
What’s also helping to fuel this economic growth are the tax cuts that Democrats and Republicans came together to pass in December and I signed into law – tax cuts that are already making Americans’ paychecks bigger and allowing businesses to write off their investments, freeing up more money for job creation.
Just as both parties cooperated on tax relief that is now fueling job growth, we need to come together around a budget that cuts spending without slowing our economic momentum.
We need a government that lives within its means without sacrificing job-creating investments in education, innovation, and infrastructure.
The budget I sent to Congress makes these investments, but it also includes a 5-year spending freeze, and it will reduce our deficits by $1 trillion over the next decade. In fact, the cuts I’ve proposed would bring annual domestic spending to its lowest share of the economy under any president in more than 50 years.
Over the last few weeks, Members of Congress have been debating their own proposals. And I was pleased that Democrats and Republicans in Congress came together a few days ago and passed a plan to cut spending and keep the government running for two more weeks. Still, we can’t do business two weeks at a time. It’s not responsible, and it threatens the progress our economy has been making. We’ve got to keep that momentum going.
We need to come together, Democrats and Republicans, around a long-term budget that sacrifices wasteful spending without sacrificing the job-creating investments in our future. My administration has already put forward specific cuts that meet congressional Republicans halfway. And I’m prepared to do more. But we’ll only finish the job together – by sitting at the same table, working out our differences, and finding common ground. That’s why I’ve asked Vice President Biden and members of my Administration to meet with leaders of Congress going forward.
Getting our fiscal house in order can’t just be something we use as cover to do away with things we dislike politically. And it can’t just be about how much we cut. It’s got to be about how we cut and how we invest. We’ve got to be smart about it. Because if we cut back on the kids I’ve met here and their education, for example, we’d be risking the future of an entire generation of Americans. And there’s nothing responsible about that.
We’ve got to come together to put America back on a fiscally sustainable course – and make sure that when it comes to the economy of the 21st century, our children and our country are better-prepared than anyone else in the world to take it on. Our future depends on it. That’s not a Democratic or a Republican challenge – that’s an American challenge. And I’m confident it’s one we’ll meet. Thanks for listening. ####
Hello, I’m Diane Black. In addition to being a nurse, I'm also a small business owner and I taught at a local community college. I’m also a proud mother of three and grandmother of six – all of them wonderful. Just two months ago today, I had the honor of being sworn-in to serve the people of Tennessee’s Sixth Congressional District, as part of the new Republican freshman class in the House of Representatives.
My colleagues and I in the freshman class know that we weren’t sent to Washington to sit on our hands, or to find new ways to avoid old problems. We were sent here by our constituents to help put an end to Washington's policies that are making it harder to create jobs and threatening our nation’s future.
Job creation has to be the number-one priority for both parties. The policies of the past haven’t worked, and despite some signs of life in our economy, the unemployment rate is still far above the levels that the president’s advisors promised when the ‘stimulus’ spending bill was signed into law.
What we need is a new approach – a path to prosperity that gets government out of the way by cutting unnecessary spending and removing barriers to job growth. We need to unleash our nation’s economy instead of burying it under a mountain of regulation, taxation and debt.
Since the moment we were sworn into office, this has been the focus of our new majority in the House.
Whenever I tour my district and I ask small businesspeople ‘what can I do to help?,’ they tell me to just get government out of the way and they’ll create the jobs and grow on their own.
That’s exactly why our new majority is taking a complete inventory of Washington's rules and regulations, looking to root out the ones that make it harder to create jobs.
We’re hoping to find things that could have been discovered if Washington had been doing its work in an open and transparent way. There’s no better example of this than the 1099 paperwork mandate in ObamaCare. The House passed a bill this week to repeal it.
And soon, we’re going to vote to cut wasteful mandatory spending programs – not just in ObamaCare, but also in the Dodd-Frank financial regulation bill that’s drying up credit for our small businesses. We’ve also got our eye on EPA rules that are hurting job creation and creating higher gas prices.
It’s not just the overreaching that has to stop – it’s the overspending, which many economists agree is a barrier to job creation.
It’s now been just two weeks since the House passed H.R. 1, a bill that makes much-needed spending cuts and keeps the government running through the end of the fiscal year. Unfortunately, the Democrats who run the Senate haven’t allowed the vote on this bill or any other bill that would cut spending and keep the government running long-term.
You may have heard President Obama say that we need to make sure ‘we're living within our means.’ He’s right about that. Unfortunately, his budget doesn’t match his words. It continues out-of-control spending, it adds to our $14 trillion debt, and it adds to the uncertainty that makes it harder to create jobs. Maintaining the status quo – and refusing to offer a credible plan to cut spending – is just unacceptable and inexcusable.
Again, we weren’t sent here to sit on our hands. The American people want us to keep the government running while cutting its cost. So with your support, Republicans spearheaded the passage of a short-term measure that cuts spending by $4 billion.
That’s $4 billion of YOUR money that would otherwise have gone to earmarks and other wasteful programs. It’s a start, but it’s not nearly enough. By enacting this bill, we’ve provided another two weeks for our Democrat colleagues in the Senate to either pass H.R. 1, or to pass a credible alternative that meets the people’s priorities. Doing nothing is not an option.
After two years, we know that government doesn’t create private-sector jobs. It’s small businesses and the people behind them who do. That’s why our majority is focused on getting government out of the way and charting a new path to prosperity. It’s what our constituents sent us here to do, and it’s what we need to do for the future of our children and our country. Thank you for listening. ####
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Photos: Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times; Emily Michot / MCT (Bush and Obama, March 4, 2011); Manuel Balce Ceneta / Associated Press; Jason Reed / Reuters (Black).