Republicans wary of Democrats' budget in weekly address
Obama takes milder tone, touts new jobless numbers
In his weekly address, President Barack Obama continued to carry his new approach toward Republicans Saturday, using less partisan language and addressing both parties on how to move the economy forward.
Republican Sen. Jeff Sessions, on the other hand, pulled no punches in the GOP weekly address. The senator warned of what he expects to be a damaging budget proposed by Senate Democrats next week.
In his remarks, Obama touted the new unemployment numbers released Friday, pointing to the 236,000 jobs created last month and the jobless number that fell to 7.7% from 7.9% in January.
In order to keep the momentum going, he said, Washington must untangle "the same political gridlock and refusal to compromise that has too often passed for serious debate over the last few years."
He brought up, as an example, his dinner with 12 Republican senators Wednesday night, in which they discussed how to tackle the country's fiscal problems, among other issues.
"We had an open and honest conversation about critical issues like immigration reform and gun violence, and other areas where we can work together," he said, adding that he'll attend both Democratic and Republican party meetings on Capitol Hill next week.
The president also met with House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan on Thursday.
While his address last week took aim squarely at Republicans, his language on Saturday had a lighter tone, one targeted to breaking the political stalemate in the nation's capital rather than placing blame on the other side.
"Making progress on these issues won't be easy. In the months ahead, there will be more contentious debate and honest disagreement between principled people who want what's best for this country," he said Saturday. "But I still believe that compromise is possible. I still believe we can come together to do big things."
Sen. Sessions, the ranking member on the Senate budget committee, also addressed the economy in the GOP weekly address. While Obama has maintained that tax revenues need to be part of the deficit-reduction equation, Republicans say taxes are off the table. Spending, they argue, is the real problem.
Sessions proposed a specific number for a spending cap Saturday, saying the economy can improve if the government holds the annual growth of spending to 3.4% each year.
"But I fear the Democrat proposal will fail this defining test and will never achieve balance," he said referring to the Senate's budget plan to be unveiled next week--the first time the chamber has introduced a budget in four years.
"I fear it will crush American workers and our economy with trillions in new taxes, spending and debt," he added. "I fear Chairman (Patty) Murray will follow the president's lead: raising taxes to enrich the bureaucracy at the expense of the people."
Sessions argued that Democrats want to grow the government but "shield (the Washington establishment) from accountability."
"Government has never been bigger or more out of control," he continued. "(Democrats) say the problem is you; they say you are not sending them enough money; they say they have wisely spent every penny. So, you must just send them more. And, if you don't? Well, they won't stop spending, they'll just borrow more. These destructive policies cannot continue. We are at the breaking point."
Sessions instead proposed to put limits on welfare programs, tap into domestic energy sources, tackle unfair trade practices, cut regulations and reform the tax code.
"(These policies) will help create a future in which the central bonds in our lives are not government rules but the love and loyalty we have for one another," he said.
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