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Weekly remarks: GOP says president AWOL on budget; Obama wants more South America trade

March 19, 2011 |  3:00 am

Democrat president barack Obama enjoys an Oval Office phone call

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

In recent days, we’ve seen turmoil and tragedy around the world, from change in the Middle East and North Africa to the earthquake and tsunami in Japan. As I said on Friday, we will work with our partners in the region to protect innocent civilians in Libya and hold the Gaddafi regime accountable. And we will continue to stand with the people of Japan in their greatest hour of need. 

As we respond to these immediate crises abroad, we also will not let up in our efforts to tackle the pressing, ongoing challenges facing our country, including accelerating economic growth. That’s why, over the weekend, I’ll be in Latin America. One of the main reasons for my trip is to strengthen economic partnerships abroad so that we create good jobs at home.

Latin America is a part of the world where the economy is growing very quickly. And as these markets grow, so does their demand for goods and services. The question is, Where are....

...those goods and services going to come from? As President, I want to make sure these products are made in America. I want to open more markets around the world so that American companies can do more business and hire more of our people.

Here’s a statistic to explain why this is important. Every $1 billion of goods and services we export supports more than 5,000 jobs in the United States. So, the more we sell overseas, the more jobs we create on our shores. That’s why, last year, I set a goal for this country: to double our exports by 2014. And it’s a goal we’re on track to meet. 

Part of the reason why is the rapid growth of Latin America, and their openness to American business. We now export more than three times as much to Latin America as we do to China, and our exports to the region will soon support more than two million jobs here in the United States. Brazil, the first stop on our trip, is a great example. 

In 2010, America’s exports to Brazil supported more than 250,000 American jobs. These are jobs at places like Capstone Turbine in California, which recently sold $2 million worth of high-tech energy equipment to Brazil. Another company is Rhino Assembly, a small business in Charlotte, North Carolina that sells and repairs tools for building cars and planes.

A deal with a distributor in Brazil has resulted in new sales and new employees at that firm. And we can point to large companies like Sikorsky, whose helicopter sales to Brazil help sustain a large, skilled workforce in Connecticut, Alabama, and Pennsylvania. 

Today, Brazil imports more goods from the United States than from any other nation. And I’ll be meeting with business leaders from both countries to talk about how we can create even more jobs by deepening these economic ties. After Brazil, I’ll also visit Chile, a country with a growing economy, and increasing demand for American goods. In fact, since 2004, our exports there are up 300 percent, and now support about 70,000 jobs in the United States. Finally, we’ll head to El Salvador, a nation with so much promise for growth with the potential to benefit both of our nations. 

We’ve always had a special bond with our neighbors to the south. It’s a bond born of shared history and values, and strengthened by the millions of Americans who proudly trace their roots to Latin America. But what is clear is that in an increasingly global economy, our partnership with these nations is only going to become more vital. For it’s a source of growth and prosperity – and not just for the people of Latin America, but for the American people as well. Thank you.    ####

Capitol Dome

Weekly remarks by Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, as provided by Republican Party leadership

Hello, I’m Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler, and I have the great privilege of serving Washington State’s Third Congressional District.

I’d just like to begin by saying, on behalf of the people I represent, that we are thinking of the people of Japan and praying for them as they continue to deal with the devastation following last week’s earthquake and tsunami. 

I’ve only been in Congress about two months now, and I like to think about my job as a tale of two Washingtons. In the hard-working communities of southwest Washington state, families are scraping to save more than they spend as they cope with double-digit unemployment, rising costs of gas and health care, and other challenges. Small business owners are working hard to stay afloat while struggling with fear and uncertainty over what new regulation or tax hike the government’s going to hanWashington Republican Representative Jaime Herrera Beutlerd down to them next.

Meanwhile, here in Washington, D.C., the powers-that-be have enlisted an ‘army of lobbyists’ to try and block even the modest efforts to address our $14 trillion debt.

They’re also throwing a wrench into the gears of job creation with regulation after regulation that, just by entering the pipeline, breed more fear and uncertainty. As a result, our economy isn’t producing enough jobs. It’s struggling.

I was sent here to get this Washington, with all its overspending and overregulation, out of the way, so the country we know and love can thrive and prosper.

Right now, the new House majority is hard at work on eliminating regulatory barriers to job creation. Earlier this month, the House voted to repeal the 1099 mandate in ObamaCare that will hamstring small businesses.

Soon, we will vote to stop the EPA’s backdoor national energy tax that would drive up gas prices. And we’re holding hearings on the REINS Act, common-sense reforms that give the people’s Congress a say before the government tries to implement any costly, job-crushing regulations.

We’re also working to cut wasteful spending, so we can send a strong signal: that Washington is going to stop using our small businesses as piggy banks and focus on helping them get back to creating jobs. Already, we have cut Washington spending by $10 billion over five weeks. This is real money, especially when you consider that the president and Democrats in Congress originally suggested that not a single dime in spending cuts would be had.

Of course, if we’re serious about ending the uncertainty for job creators in our economy, we need to cut more. As economists have explained and many Americans already know, it’s the private sector that creates jobs and government overspending just crowds out private investment.

That’s why last month the House passed a measure, reflecting the will of the people, that includes significant cuts and reforms in the way Washington D.C. spends taxpayers’ time and money. This legislation is necessary because last year, when Democrats ran both houses of Congress, they failed to offer a budget.  For the first time in modern history, Congress failed to do this.

The Senate needs to step up and follow us in passing a bill so we can prevent a government shutdown and support job growth by reducing spending. But to date, the Democrats in the Senate haven’t passed anything – and instead of offering a credible, long-term plan, the president has stayed on the sidelines.

If we want to get our economy back to creating jobs, we can’t duck our responsibility to rein in spending. It’s important we get beyond last year’s mess so we can focus on the full scope of the spending problems in Washington D.C.  Republicans are determined to begin a dialogue about entitlement reform, even though the president's budget is silent.

Failing to address the explosive growth of autopilot spending means failing to address our debt crisis. That means more uncertainty for our small businesses who create jobs, and more uncertainty for every American who counts on programs like Medicare and Medicaid. Without reforms, they simply won’t be there for future generations. And that’s unacceptable. 

My Republican colleagues and I have headed back to our districts this week to start a dialogue with the American people about all of these issues. We invite the President and our Democratic colleagues to join us in this dialogue. Together, we can end the uncertainty in our economy, help small businesses begin hiring again, and replace the crushing burden of debt in America with economic growth, freedom, and prosperity. Thank you so much for listening.      ####


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Photos: Pete Souza / White House; Manuel Balce Ceneta / Associated Press; Herrera Beutler's office.