President Barack Obama has slammed economic proposals by minority Republicans, saying they would take the United States backward. The president's comments come as political debates on economic policy escalate ahead of U.S. congressional elections in November.
President Obama says economic proposals being suggested by Republican lawmakers are not new ideas. "They are the same policies that led us into this recession," he said. "They will not create jobs; they will kill them. They will not reduce our deficit; they will add $1 trillion to our deficit. They will take us backward at a time when we need to keep America moving forward."
In his weekly address, the president says Republicans want to repeal health insurance reform and continue tax cuts for wealthy Americans instead of focusing on lower taxes for the middle class. President Obama also accused the opposition party of rejecting investments for jobs in the clean energy sector.
Mr. Obama says the financial reform bill he signed into law this week will prevent reckless behavior that sparked the country's financial crisis. He calls it a key pillar of what he is trying to do. "It is a plan based on the Main Street values of hard work and responsibility, and one that demands new accountability from Wall Street to Washington," said the president.
In his party's weekly message, Republican Congressman Mike Pence of Indiana counters by saying President Obama's policies are failing American workers. "Last year, the Obama administration said that its trillion dollar stimulus plan would create jobs immediately and keep unemployment below eight percent," he said. "Today, unemployment remains near a heartbreaking 10 percent."
Pence predicts Democrats will suggest a tax increase for all tax brackets starting next year, but he says Republicans will fight to prevent this from happening. "The American people know we cannot tax and spend and bail our way back to a growing economy," he said.
In November, all 435 seats of the U.S. House of Representatives will be up for election, along with more than a third of the 100 U.S. Senate seats. Economic policy appears to figure as one of the main issues Republicans will campaign on as they try to pick up seats from the Democrat majorities in both chambers.