President Obama called on Congress to end its cycle of manufactured crisis and self-inflicted wounds to fix the country's long-term debt problem.
In his weekly address Saturday, Obama said one way to resolve the nation's fiscal issues is through the House-Senate budget conference, which convened last week.
Obama expressed hope in addressing the country’s long-term debt problems, but warned that Congress does not have to do it by scaling back entitlement programs. He noted that the budget deficits have been falling at the fasted pace in the last 60 years.
“So that gives us room to fix our long-term debt problems without sticking it to young people, or undermining our bedrock retirement and health security programs, or ending basic research that helps the economy grow,” he said.
Obama commended Republican leaders in the Senate for vowing not to push another government shutdown as Congress attempts to avoid another budget standoff on the debt ceiling and government funding early next year.
“I know that what you often hear out of Washington can sound like Charlie Brown’s teacher – a jumble of unfocused noise that’s out of touch with the things you care about,” he said.
“So today, I want to cut through that noise and talk plainly about what we should do right now to keep growing this economy and creating new jobs,” he added.
Obama warned against cutting government spending for the sake of cutting. He said the country needs to protect against cuts to things like renewable energy programs and education.
He avoided talk about the rollout of the healthcare law, which has dominated headlines since the government reopened earlier this month.
Republicans made it the cornerstone of their weekly address, arguing the problems with the healthcare law run much deeper than the glitchy website.
Congress has set a Dec. 13 deadline for the budget conference to sort out spending levels for the end of the fiscal year. Government funding runs out on Jan.15, and the borrowing limit with expire in mid-February.
“Here’s the bottom line,” Obama said. “Congress should pass a budget that cuts things we don’t need, and closes wasteful tax loopholes that don’t help create jobs, so that we can free up resources for the things that actually do create jobs and growth.”