By Kevin Bogardus - 08/20/11 10:00 AM EDT
President Obama said that lawmakers in Washington need to set aside their partisan differences and come together to boost the struggling economy.
In his weekly radio address Saturday, Obama, speaking from Country Corner Farm in Alpha, Ill., said he had seen Americans hard at work during his bus tour of several Midwestern states this week. Members of Congress could learn a lot from people outside of Washington, according to the president.
Obama said the country is still coming through a recession with too many people unemployed and several others having to make do with smaller paychecks. The president, however, named several bills lawmakers could pass to help the economy — like extending a payroll tax cut, passing a surface transportation reauthorization bill, hiring military veterans and approving stalled trade deals with Colombia, Panama and South Korea.
Obama called these measures “commonsense ideas” that have been held up from passage on Capitol Hill because of political wrangling.
“These are commonsense ideas — ideas that have been supported by both Democrats and Republicans. The only thing holding them back is politics. The only thing preventing us from passing these bills is the refusal by some in Congress to put country ahead of party. That’s the problem right now. That’s what’s holding this country back. That’s what we have to change,” Obama said.
The president said elected officials need to look beyond partisanship to get the economy moving again and help create jobs.
“That’s why it’s so important that folks in Washington put country before party. That’s why it’s so important that our elected leaders get past their differences to help grow the economy and put this nation back to work,” said Obama.