President Obama reiterated his call for Congress to invest in the nation's long-term future in his weekly address Saturday, at times repeating almost to the word what he said during his State of the Union address last month.

As lawmakers prepare to take up a stop-gap budget bill to keep the government funded past the end of next week, the president again linked the twin goals of out-educating and out-innovating the rest of the world while getting the nation back on sound fiscal footing.

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"Investments in education, innovation, and infrastructure are an essential down payment on our future," he said. "But ... the only way we can afford these investments is by getting our fiscal house in order. Just like any family, we have to live within our means to make room for things we absolutely need."

Fiscal conservatives criticized the president's budget proposal last week for running up the national deficit to a record $1.6 trillion this year while punting on solutions to the problem of growing entitlement spending.

In his weekly address, the president defended his proposal to freeze domestic spending over the next five years, which he said would cut non-security discretionary spending down to a share of the economy "lower than it was under Ronald Reagan."

And he called on Congress to propose cuts to "defense spending, spending in Medicare and Medicaid, and spending through and tax breaks and loopholes."


"I'm willing to consider any serious ideas to help us reduce the deficit - no matter what party is proposing them," Obama said. "But instead of cutting the investments in education and innovation we need to out-compete the rest of the world, we need a balanced approach to deficit reduction. We all need to be willing to sacrifice, but we can't sacrifice our future."

He ended with a hope that bipartisanship will prevail as the Republican-led House and the Democratic Senate negotiate a budget compromise next week. The two bodies have radically different views of what should be in the spending bill for the rest of the year, and are now expected to pass a short-term budget next week to give them some negotiating time past March 4.

"For the sake of our people and our economy, we cannot allow gridlock to prevail," Obama said. "(...)I look forward to working with members of both parties to produce a responsible budget that cuts what we can't afford, sharpens America's competitive edge in the world, and helps us win the future."