Obama, GOP spar over economy in weekly addresses
February 11th, 2012
06:00 AM ET
11 years ago

Obama, GOP spar over economy in weekly addresses

(CNN) - A fight over how best to improve the nation's economy emerged in the weekly presidential and Republican addresses Saturday as each side accused the other of obstructing economic progress for political gain.

President Barack Obama zeroed in on the payroll tax cut extension, which remains stuck on Capitol Hill after lawmakers failed to agree on terms of a 10-month extension earlier this week. Congress passed a two-month extension of the cut in December, but members of Congress and the president are loathe to continue extending the measure in 60-day increments.

In his address, Obama laid out the ramifications of letting the payroll tax cut expire.
"At the end of the month, taxes are set to go up on 160 million working Americans," Obama said. "If you're one of them, then you know better than anyone that the last thing you need right now is a tax hike. But if Congress refuses to act, middle class taxes will go up. It's that simple."

Congressional Republicans insist the 2% payroll tax cut be fully paid for in order to pass. The total cost is estimated to be $160 billion.

Obama said Saturday that the delay boiled down to political posturing.

"Congress needs to stop this middle class tax hike from happening," Obama said. "Period. No drama. No delay. And no ideological side issues that have nothing to do with this tax cut. Now is not the time for self-inflicted wounds to our recovery. Now is the time for common-sense action. And this tax cut is common-sense."

Obama encouraged listeners to contact their representatives and urge them to pass the extension.
Meanwhile Saturday, Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell also levied the charge of political obstructionism in the weekly Republican address, saying Obama and Senate Majority Leader Sen. Harry Reid were stalling on presenting a federal budget proposal.

"While federal law mandates that the president release his budget on the first Monday of every February, the administration has extended that period another seven days," McDonnell said.

On Friday, the White House released their budget proposal, which forecast a $901 billion deficit in 2013, and included plans to make investments in infrastructure while raises taxes for the rich.

McDonnell also charged Reid with holding up the budget process, saying, "Senator Harry Reid's majority hasn't passed a budget in over 1,000 days. Now, the senator is refusing to even consider a budget on the floor. This is an astounding failure of leadership and management of the nation's finances."

McDonnell went on to predict portions of Obama's budget, saying he expected the president to increase taxes, ignore entitlement reform and fail to address the federal debt.

"In short, we can expect that this will not be a proactive budget built to promote fiscal responsibility and future prosperity," McDonnell said. "Rather it appears we'll see a bloated budget that doubles down on the failed policies of the past. Republicans know that we can do better."

McDonnell said Obama and Senate Democrats were ignoring their responsibilities as leaders, saying, "At every level, governments should pass budgets on time that fund core functions like education, transportation, and public safety well, and don't waste precious taxpayer dollars. And, at every level, governments should enact policies that ensure our private sector job creators, small business owners, and entrepreneurs can compete against the world, create jobs, and innovate."

Filed under: Bob McDonnell • President Obama
soundoff (5 Responses)
  1. KatR

    Republicans keep spouting the lack of a budget. They also keep spouting their desire for the government to abide by the Constitution. The word "budget" is nowhere in the Constitution. How hypocritical is that?

    February 11, 2012 07:11 am at 7:11 am |
  2. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    To sum it up, if republicans let the payroll tax cut expire, then Obama is raising taxes. The obstructionist GOP has damaged the country enough, it is time for them to start working with the president for all Americans, not just the wealthy and big corporations.

    February 11, 2012 07:38 am at 7:38 am |
  3. diridi

    I can see it is getting better. Focus on Manufacturing, and Agriculture. Cut Inflation too. Watch Gas Prices, till we are enough of Energy Free.

    February 11, 2012 07:45 am at 7:45 am |
  4. Namejkane fl

    Everybody knows the republicans are obstructing the economy,its clear as day and night and we will show you how successful you have been in Nov. People like teaparty Dick armey have said it on national tv saying they will and have, wall out the dem president. Dem landslide in Nov.

    February 11, 2012 08:05 am at 8:05 am |
  5. Namejkane fl

    DEMS in the senate would have passed all of the budget bills if the teapublicans had not attached extremest poison pills to each and every bill sent up from the house, and then try to blame the DEMS for not passing them. Nov can't come fast enough to vote out the Gop obstructionest clowns!!!!!

    February 11, 2012 08:29 am at 8:29 am |