Both President Barack Obama and the Republicans used their weekly radio addresses on Saturday to tell the American people their hopes and resolutions for the New Year.
Obama promised to make jobs his top priority in 2011, but also said he was happy the country had been “riding a few months of economic news that suggests our recovery is gaining traction.” He said even though economic indicators were trending more positively, there was much work left to do.
“And our most important task now is to keep that recovery going,” he said in his weekly radio address. “As president, that’s my commitment to you: to do everything I can to make sure our economy is growing, creating jobs and strengthening our middle class. That’s my resolution for the coming year.”
He also used the address to once again call for bipartisanship in Congress especially when it came to dealing with the economy. He took time to acknowledge it might be more difficult with Republicans now controlling the House of Representatives, but that they now shared the responsibility of moving the country forward.
“In a few days, a new Congress will form, with one house controlled by Democrats, and one house controlled by Republicans – who now have a shared responsibility to move this country forward,” the president said. “And here’s what I want you to know: I’m willing to work with anyone of either party who’s got a good idea and the commitment to see it through. And we should all expect you to hold us accountable for our progress or our failure to deliver.”
While Obama used his weekly radio address to tout his committed focus on jobs, Republicans used their weekly address to focus on the priorities they have said they believed the American people entrusted to them: reducing the size of government, reducing the amount of government spending and reducing the national deficit.
“We’re keenly aware that the American people are relying on us to change business as usual in Washington – and we’re well-positioned to do just that,” Republican Sen.-elect Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire said in the GOP address. “The American people sent us to Congress with clear instructions: make government smaller, not bigger. And stop spending money we don’t have on programs that aren’t working. It’s now our responsibility to carry out the will of the people. To ensure generations to come have even more opportunities than we’ve had, Congress must get serious about meaningful debt reduction. This isn’t a Republican problem or a Democrat problem – it’s an American problem that will require tough decision-making from both parties.”
The differences in priorities also would seem to suggest Obama’s continued calls for bipartisanship might not happen as much as he would hope. The president’s focus and top priority might be jobs, but Ayotte said the Republicans’ “job one” was “to stop wasteful Washington spending.” This means as Obama might look to increase spending in an effort to help job growth both in the short term and in the long term, Republicans would be expected to fight him on that idea and thus set up contentious debates in the months and years to come.
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