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Weekly remarks: Obama says all must sacrifice; GOP's Jeb Hensarling asks, Where are the jobs?

July 23, 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

For years, the government has spent more money than it takes in.  The result is a lot of debt on our nation’s credit card – debt that unless we act will weaken our economy, cause higher interest rates for families, and force us to scale back things like education and Medicare. 

Now, folks in Washington like to blame one another for this problem. But the truth is, neither party is blameless.  And both parties have a responsibility to do something about it. Every day, families are figuring out how stretch their paychecks – struggling to cut what they can’t afford so they can....

...pay for what’s really important. It’s time for Washington to do the same thing. But for that to happen, it means that Democrats and Republicans have to work together. It means we need to put aside our differences to do what’s right for the country. Everyone is going to have to be willing to compromise. Otherwise, we’ll never get anything done. 

That’s why we need a balanced approach to cutting the deficit. We need an approach that goes after waste in the budget and gets rid of pet projects that cost billions of dollars. We need an approach that makes some serious cuts to worthy programs – cuts I wouldn’t make under normal circumstances. And we need an approach that asks everybody to do their part.

So that means, yes, we have to make serious budget cuts; but that it’s not right to ask middle class families to pay more for college before we ask the biggest corporations to pay their fair share of taxes.  It means that before we stop funding clean energy, we should ask oil companies and corporate jet owners to give up the tax breaks that other companies don’t get. Before we cut medical research, we should ask hedge fund managers to stop paying taxes at a lower rate than their secretaries. Before we ask seniors to pay more for Medicare, we should ask the wealthiest taxpayers to give up tax breaks we simply cannot afford under these circumstances. 
 
That’s the heart of this approach: serious cuts, balanced by some new revenues. And it’s been the position of every Democratic and Republican leader who has worked to reduce the deficit, from Bill Clinton to Ronald Reagan. In fact, earlier this week, one of the most conservative members of the Senate, Tom Coburn, announced his support for a balanced, bipartisan plan that shows promise. And then a funny thing happened.  He received a round of applause – from a group of Republican and Democratic senators. That’s a rare event in Washington.

So there will be plenty of haggling over the details in the days ahead. But this debate boils down to a simple choice. We can come together for the good of the country and reach a compromise; we can strengthen our economy and leave for our children a more secure future. Or we can issue insults and demands and ultimatums at each another, withdraw to our partisan corners, and achieve nothing. Well, we know the right thing to do. And we know what the American people expect us to do.     ###

Capitol Hill

Weekly remarks by Rep. Jeb Hensarling, as provided by Republican Party leadership

Hello, I’m Congressman Jeb Hensarling of Texas and I serve as the chairman of the House Republican Conference.

You know, unfortunately, every day we hear about some friend or some neighbor who just got laid off or still can’t find a job. The Obama Administration promised its ‘stimulus’ plan would help keep unemployment below eight percent. 

And instead, unemployment has been above eight percent for 29 straight months, the longest such stretch since the Great Depression.  14 million of our fellow citizens remain out of work. So is it any surprise that the number one question in America remains, ‘where are the jobs?’

You know, by and large, it’s a lack of confidence in our nation’s future that’s holding our economy back, whether it’s uncertainty about our national debt, uncertainty about taxes, uncertainty about all the regulations and mandates that just keep pouring out of Washington. Small business owners are pleading for the government to stop the reckless spending, balance the budget, and then just get out of the way.

That’s why the Republican-led House is focused on removing government barriers to private-sector job growth – the kind of growth the President promised with his ‘stimulus’ but failed to deliver. As part of our Plan for America’s Job Creators, we’ve passed a series of jobs bills to cut wasteful Washington spending, rein in needless red tape, and increase American energy production.Texas Republican representative Jeb Hensarling

Our plan includes the budget, written by Chairman Paul Ryan and the Budget Committee that actually pays down our debt over time and paves a path to prosperity and economic growth. 

We Americans are the best entrepreneurs and workers in the world. Given a level playing field, we can compete and win against anyone, anywhere, anytime.

But not as long as the policies coming out of Washington remain harmful to jobs. What we need to do is get government out of the way so our economy can get back to creating jobs.

That’s what makes this debate we’re having about America’s fiscal future so important. Our government has gotten so big, so expensive it’s keeping our economy from recovering as it should. Job creators are fearful that our $14 trillion debt is going to lead to higher taxes, which could harm their businesses and destroy even more jobs. 

Just this week the co-founder of Home Depot, Bernie Marcus, when he was asked what’s the ‘single biggest impediment to job growth,’ he answered: ‘The U.S. government.’ He went on to say: ‘If we don’t lower spending and if we don’t deal with paying down the debt, we are going to have to raise taxes … [and ] when you raise taxes, you cost jobs.’ This sentiment is echoed by small business people and entrepreneurs from coast to coast. 

The American people have long since said, ‘It’s time to quit spending money we don’t have.  It’s time to stop borrowing 42 cents on the dollar – much of it from the Chinese – and then sending the bill to our children and grandchildren.’

Credit rating agencies have spelled out the consequences of failing to heed this message, warning that even if we’re able to avoid any type of default, that may very well downgrade our status unless we take serious action to get our fiscal house in order.

That’s why the House this week passed ‘cut, cap, and balance’ legislation. 

First, the legislation immediately cuts government spending to 2008 levels.  You know, I just haven’t really met anybody who thought government was too small before President Obama became president.

Second, it puts caps in place to ensure government spending is put on a glide path to be no more than 20 percent of our economy, as it has been on average since World War II.

Last, but not least, it amends the Constitution to balance the budget once and for all.  Every family, small business, and almost every state has to balance their budget.  Why should the federal government be any different?  And our plan accomplishes this without imposing job-crushing tax hikes. 

Now unfortunately, the Democratic-led Senate tabled this common-sense measure despite the fact it received bipartisan backing in the House and overwhelming support from the American people.

You know, the Democrats who run Washington are pretty good at telling us what they’re against, but they have yet to put a plan on the table that tells us what they’re for.  Speeches and press releases won’t do the trick.  It’s time for some action.  Senator Reid, if you don’t like our plan to deal with the debt crisis, where is your plan?  Mr. President, if you don’t like our plan to deal with the debt crisis, where is your plan?

If we’re going to avoid any type of default and downgrade – if we’re going to resume job creation in America – the president and his allies need to listen to the people and work with Republicans to cut up the credit cards once and for all. 

It’s time to ‘cut, cap, and balance.’  That’s what will give us jobs, hope, and opportunity. Thank you for listening.    ####

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Photos: Pete Souza / White House; Alex Wong / Getty Images; Office of Rep. Hensarling.

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