Obama, GOP spell out pri­or­i­ties for 2011

Bat­tles loom on fed­eral spend­ing and tax code

The Washington Post Sunday - - NEWS - NIA- MALIKA HEN­DER­SON

Pres­i­dent Obama and Repub­li­cans laid out their par­ties’ res­o­lu­tions for the new year, pledg­ing in weekly ad­dresses to tackle the econ­omy and cut spend­ing in the new Congress, which con­venes Wed­nes­day.

Obama, who touted the pas­sage of ma­jor bills along bi­par­ti­san lines dur­ing the lame-duck ses­sion of Congress as a road map for fur­ther com­pro­mise, said Satur­day that his “res­o­lu­tion for the com­ing year” is to “do ev­ery­thing I can to make sure our econ­omy is grow­ing, cre­at­ing jobs and strength­en­ing our mid­dle class.”

He also said he would need help mak­ing good on that res­o­lu­tion.

“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,” he 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.”

Repub­li­cans tapped Sen.-elect Kelly Ayotte of New Hamp­shire to de­liver their first weekly ad­dress of the year, sig­nal­ing the new and em­bold­ened ranks of the GOP headed to Washington this week.

Ayotte out­lined her party’s pri­or­i­ties, say­ing that vot­ers are re­ly­ing on Repub­li­cans “ to change busi­ness as usual in­Wash­ing­ton” and adding that “we’re well po­si­tioned to do just that.”

Stop­ping waste­ful spend­ing is the GOP’s No. 1 pri­or­ity, Ayotte said.

“ 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,” she said. “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,” she said. “ This isn’t a Repub­li­can prob­lem or a Demo­crat prob­lem — it’s an Amer­i­can prob­lem that will re­quire tough de­ci­sion-mak­ing from both par­ties.”

One loom­ing fight will be about how to keep the govern­ment run­ning. In the clos­ing days of the last ses­sion of Congress, Repub­li­cans and some Democrats de­feated a $1.1 tril­lion om­nibus spend­ing bill with $8.3 bil­lion in ear­marks, which Repub­li­cans now say they are against. Congress passed a mea­sure that will keep the govern­ment run­ning un­tilMarch.

An­other flash point will be Obama’s fed­eral bud­get pro­posal, due in mid-Fe­bru­ary. He said that he ex­pects to have a vig­or­ous de­bate on spend­ing and re­vis­ing the tax code. In­com­ing Speaker John A. Boehner (Ohio), who takes over a House flush with tea-party-backed Repub­li­cans, said that his aim is to cut $100 bil­lion out of the fed­eral bud­get.

Obama re­turns to Washington from Hawaii on Tues­day, the day be­fore Congress re­con­venes.

Also Satur­day, the pres­i­dent is­sued a state­ment con­demn­ing New Year’s Eve ter­ror­ist bomb­ing attacks on a church in Egypt and near army bar­racks in Nige­ria.

The Egypt at­tack­ers “were clearly tar­get­ing Chris­tian wor­shipers and have no re­spect for hu­man life and dig­nity,” Obama said. At least 21 peo­ple — Chris­tians and Mus­lims — were killed, ac­cord­ing to re­ports.

The at­tack in Nige­ria killed more than 20 peo­ple. “Killing in­no­cent civil­ians who were sim­ply gath­er­ing — like so many around the world — to cel­e­brate the be­gin­ning of the new year fur­ther demon­strates the bank­rupt vi­sion of those who carry out the attacks,” Obama said.

hen­der­sonn@wash­post.com

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