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Obama Tells Lawmakers to Curb Spending on Personal Projects

  • Gabe Joselow

US President Barack Obama delivers his weekly radio, TV and Internet address, 13 Nov 2010

US President Barack Obama delivers his weekly radio, TV and Internet address, 13 Nov 2010

U.S. President Barack Obama says to support economic growth, the government has to be willing to cut spending. He says lawmakers should lead by cutting back federal spending on local projects.

President Obama's weekly address to the nation comes as he concludes a trip to Asia aimed at opening up new, fast-growing markets for American products. He notes that the economic competition is fierce.

"But as I've said many times, America doesn't play for second place," said President Obama. "The future we're fighting for isn't as the world's largest importer, consuming products made elsewhere, but as the world's largest manufacturer of ideas and goods sold around the world."

The U.S. president says in order to make the most of economic growth, the U.S. must reduce its budget deficit and cut spending.

The Republican opposition has repeatedly accused the administration of overspending. That message helped Republicans trounce President Obama's Democratic Party in recent Congressional elections.

Now, the President says he is calling on Democratic and Republican lawmakers to show they are serious about reform, and to stop funding projects in their own local districts through so-called "earmarks" inserted into federal spending bills.

"Earmarks like these represent a relatively small part of overall federal spending," added President Obama. "But when it comes to signaling our commitment to fiscal responsibility, addressing them would have an important impact."

In the Republican weekly address, Representative Greg Walden promised to reform the way business is done in Congress when Republicans take control of the House of Representatives in January.

Walden, who leads the Republican transition team, emphasized that many of the incoming Republicans are Washington outsiders.

"The incoming republican freshman class, well, it's no ordinary group," said Walden. "Nearly half of its roughly 80 members have never served in elective office before. So they bring a fresh perspective and a lot of the energy, intelligence and experience that we want to incorporate into how we implement reforms that give the government back to the people."

Walden outlined a number of ways Republicans plan to make the House of Representatives more transparent, including installing public cameras in the Rules Committee, where lawmakers decide which bills and amendments will come to a vote.

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