Days after the federal government reopened for business, President Obama is pushing Congress to move forward on three domestic policy fronts.
In his weekly address, the president outlined why lawmakers should come to a consensus on a budget that tackles the nation’s deficits, reform the "broken" immigration system and pass a new farm bill.
“We won’t suddenly agree on everything now that the cloud of crisis has passed,” he said in the recorded statement, days after the government reopened its doors. “But we shouldn’t hold back on places where we do agree, just because we don’t think it’s good politics, or just because the extremes in our parties don’t like compromise.”
The weekly address is the president’s first since Congress passed legislation funding the federal government and raising the $16.7 trillion debt ceiling until early next year.
“Now that these clouds of crisis and uncertainty have lifted, we need to focus on what the majority of Americans sent us here to do – grow the economy, create good jobs, strengthen the middle class, lay the foundation for broad-based prosperity, and get our fiscal house in order for the long haul,” he said.
Obama pressed Congress to pass a “responsible” budget to shrink the country’s deficits.
Any measure should both cut spending as well as end some tax breaks, he said, to grow the economy while also trimming outdated and wasteful programs.
“If we’re going to free up resources for the things that help us grow – education, infrastructure, research – we should cut what we don’t need, and close corporate tax loopholes that don’t help create jobs,” he said.
Obama added that lawmakers in the House should pass immigration reform legislation that made its way through the Senate earlier this year.
“The majority of Americans thinks this is the right thing to do,” he said in the address. “It can and should get done by the end of this year.”
The president also repeated his call for Congress to pass a farm bill that included safety net provisions for “vulnerable children and adults in times of need” as well as gives rural communities “the longer-term certainty they deserve.”
This month, the House and Senate named conferees to begin negotiating the agriculture subsidy and food stamp bill, which has been in the works for three years.