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Weekly remarks: McMorris Rodgers asks where the jobs are; Obama says we need to work together

July 9, 2011 |  3:00 am

Democrat president barack Obama enjoys an Oval Office phone call

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

Earlier this week, we did something that’s never been done here at the White House –- we had a Twitter town hall. I even sent my first live tweet as president. The questions at the town hall were sent in from across the country and covered all kinds of topics –- from jobs and the economy to education and energy.

Lots of people also submitted different versions of another question. They’d start by saying that our politics has grown so contentious. Then they’d ask, "When will both parties in Congress come together on behalf of the people who elected them?"

That’s a really important question, and it goes to the heart of a debate we’re having right now in this country –- and that’s the debate about how to tackle the problem of our deficits and our debt.

Now, there are obviously real differences in approach. I believe we need a....

...balanced approach. That means taking on spending in our domestic programs and our defense programs. It means addressing the challenges in programs like Medicare so we can strengthen those programs and protect them for future generations. And it means taking on spending in the tax code –-  spending on tax breaks and deductions for the wealthiest Americans. 

But I also know that Republicans and Democrats don’t see eye to eye on a number of issues. And so, we’re going to continue working over the weekend to bridge those gaps.

The good news is, we agree on some of the big things. We agree that after a decade of racking up deficits and debt, we finally need to get our fiscal house in order. We agree that to do that, both sides are going to have to step outside their comfort zones and make some political sacrifices. And we agree that we simply cannot afford to default on our national obligations for the first time in our history; that we need to uphold the full faith and credit of the United States of America

With a recovery that’s still fragile and isn’t producing all the jobs we need, the last thing we can afford is the usual partisan game-playing in Washington. By getting our fiscal house in order, Congress will be in a stronger position to focus on some of the job-creating measures I’ve already proposed –- like putting people to work rebuilding America’s infrastructure, or reforming our patent system so that our innovators and entrepreneurs have a greater incentive to generate new products, or making college more affordable for families.  And businesses that may be holding back because of the uncertainty surrounding the possibility of a default by the U.S. government will have greater confidence to invest and create jobs.

I know we can do this. We can meet our fiscal challenge. That’s what the American people sent us here to do. They didn’t send us here to kick our problems down the road. That’s exactly what they don’t like about Washington. They sent us here to work together. They sent us here to get things done.

Right now, we have an extraordinary –- and extraordinarily rare –- opportunity to move forward in a way that makes sure our government lives within its means, that puts our economy on a sounder footing for the future, and that still invests in the things we need to prosper in the years to come. And I’m hopeful that we will rise to the moment, and seize this opportunity, on behalf of all Americans, and the future we hold in common. Thanks everyone, and have a great weekend.    ####

Capitol Hill

Weekly remarks by Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, as provided by Republican Party leadership

Hello, I’m Cathy McMorris Rodgers. I have the privilege of representing Washington’s 5th Congressional District, and I serve as vice chair of the House Republican Conference.

Where are the jobs?’

It’s the only question worth asking after yesterday’s unemployment report.  Our economy is actually creating fewer jobs month-to-month right now.  More than 14 million people are out of work.  They’ve been unemployed, on average, for 40 weeks, a new record.  

The Obama administration promised its "stimulus" would keep unemployment below 8%. Two and a half years later, the unemployment rate is more than 9% and still rising.  That’s unacceptable.  America can do better.Republican Rep Cathy McMorris Rodgers

By and large, it’s uncertainty that’s holding our economy back, whether it’s uncertainty about our overwhelming debt, uncertainty about energy prices, or uncertainty about all the burdensome mandates coming down from Washington.  Small business owners are pleading for government to just get out of the way.

The Republican majority in the House has been listening. We’re focused on implementing our Plan for America’s Job Creators, which is designed to remove government barriers to private sector job growth –- the kind of growth the "stimulus" promised but failed to deliver.  You can check out the details of our plan for yourself at Jobs.GOP.gov

•    As a part of this blueprint, we’ve passed legislation to stop policies that drive up gas prices and expand domestic energy production to help lower costs and create jobs.

•    We’ve voted to modernize the patent system to help America’s innovators level the playing field.

•    And we’ve approved a budget that pays down our debt over time and makes Washington live within its means.

Unfortunately, the Democrat-led Senate hasn’t considered any of these jobs bills.  Not a single one.  In fact, it’s been more than 800 days since the Senate last passed a budget.

President Obama has said he’s open to job creation ideas from anyone in any party. If that’s the case, he should encourage Democrats in the Senate to take up the jobs bills the House has passed. 

From the look of things, the Democrats who run Washington don’t have a jobs plan; they have a spending agenda. They’re proposing a rehash of what’s already been tried: more spending, more taxes, and bigger government. These are the Washington-knows-best policies that steered us toward a dead end.

If we’ve learned anything, it’s that we cannot spend, tax, or borrow our way to prosperity.  To create jobs and set our country on a sound fiscal course, we must stop spending money we don’t have. 

That’s why Republicans have maintained there can be no increase in the national debt limit unless it is accompanied by serious spending cuts and reforms. To be truly serious, these cuts should exceed the amount by which President Obama wants the debt limit increased. And there can be no job-crushing tax hikes on families and small businesses.

Washington Democrats disagree. They say that to reduce our out-of-control debt, the American people should sacrifice in the form of higher taxes.  That’s where they’re wrong.  The American people have already sacrificed in lost jobs, more debt, and chronic uncertainty.  It’s time for Washington to do the sacrificing.

Last month, more than 150 economists echoed this viewpoint.  "We will not succeed in balancing the federal budget and overcoming the challenges of our debt," they wrote, "until we succeed in committing ourselves to government policies that allow our economy to grow."  Tax hikes won’t help our economy grow –- they would just make matters worse.

If we do this right, we can reduce uncertainty in the short-term and pay down our debt over the long-term.  That’s what our job creators need and that’s what our children deserve. 

Mr. President, Americans are asking you, ‘Where are the jobs?’  We invite you to change course and work with us to empower, not burden, our nation’s small businesses, families and entrepreneurs.  We can do this if we work together.

 Again, you can learn more about the Republicans’ jobs plan at Jobs.GOP.gov.  Thank you for listening.    ####

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Photos: Pete Souza / White House; Alex Wong / Getty Images;  Andrew Harrer / Bloomberg (McMorris Rodgers).

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