News / USA

Obama Hails 'Season of Progress' in Year-End News Conference

President Obama speaks at year-end news conference, 22 Dec 2010
President Obama speaks at year-end news conference, 22 Dec 2010

President Barack Obama says accomplishments in the final days of the U.S. congressional session, and cooperation with opposition Republicans, raise hopes of getting more done for Americans in the new year.

Just after the November mid-term congressional elections, President Obama spoke about what he called the "shellacking" his Democratic party suffered at the hands of Republicans, who won control of the House of Representatives with a gain of 63 seats.

Obama has since made what many political analysts say has been a remarkable political comeback, one the White House hopes will help him during the next phase of his presidency on the way to the 2012 presidential election.

The president's compromise with Republicans on extending lower tax rates, including those for wealthy Americans, subjected him to the wrath of far left Democrats.  But he emerged in many respects looking stronger and more independent.

On Wednesday, Obama pointed to two other victories -- repeal of the Don't Ask Don't Tell policy on gays and lesbians serving in the U.S. military, and the 71 to 26 U.S. Senate vote ratifying the New START nuclear arms reduction treaty with Russia.

He said these and other accomplishments in the "lame duck" session of Congress are proof that leaders in Washington are not "doomed to endless gridlock" "This has been a season of progress for the American people.  That progress is a reflection of the message that voters sent in November, a message that said it is time to find common ground on challenges facing our country.  That's a message that I will take to heart in the new year and I hope my Democratic and Republican friends will do the same," he said.

The president called U.S. Senate ratification of the New START treaty a "powerful signal" to the world that Republicans and Democrats stand together when it comes to U.S. security.  He said it will enhance cooperation with Moscow on issues such as sanctions against Iran and preventing terrorists from obtaining nuclear weapons.

Obama voiced deep disappointment with lawmaker's failure to approve the DREAM Act, which would have provided a path to citizenship for children of undocumented immigrants.  He indicated he will continue to push for its approval in a new Congress.

The president predicted "tough fights" ahead as part of what he called a coming robust debate about cutting government spending and inefficient programs, while maintaining investments needed for economic recovery and long-term growth.

Looking ahead to next year when he will face a Republican-controlled House of Representatives and a reduced majority in the Senate, the president said he hopes Democrats and Republicans can find enough common ground to help Americans.

"We don't have to agree 100 percent to get things done that enhance the lives of families all across America.  If we can sustain that spirit then regardless of how the politics play out in 2012, the American people will be better for it, and that is my ultimate goal," he said.

Saying the U.S. economy is past the crisis point, Obama said again that his main focus in the next two years will be to bring down unemployment and ensuring the U.S. can be competitive.

Saying he shares the frustration of many Democrats over his tax deal with Republicans, the president said in the "long-run" the U.S. cannot afford "a series of tax breaks" for wealthier Americans, adding this would be part of a debate beginning when the new Congress convenes.

After Wednesday's news conference, and as Congress concluded its work, President Obama left Washington for Hawaii where his wife Michelle and daughters, Sasha and Malia have already begun their holiday vacation.  

Obama is expected to spend time going over drafts of the State of the Union Address he will deliver to a joint session of the U.S. Congress in the new year.   

The importance of that speech has been elevated given the challenges the president faces with the U.S. economy, pursuing goals such as comprehensive immigration reform, and preparing Americans for the tough decisions he says will be needed to address the $1.3 trillion dollar federal government deficit, and nearly $14 trillion national debt.

You May Like

India PM Modi's party distances itself from religious conversions

BJP under fire for being slow to rein in hardline affiliate groups allegedly trying to promote a Hindu-dominant agenda by luring Muslims and Christians to convert to Hinduism More

Anti-Whaling Group Found in Contempt of Court

Radical environmentalists who threw acid and smoke bombs at Japanese whalers in the waters off Antarctica continue their campaign to disrupt Japan's annual whale hunt More

UN's Ban Urges End to Discrimination Against Ebola Workers

Ban was speaking in Guinea on the second day of a whistle-stop tour aimed at thanking healthcare workers of the countries at the heart of the epidemic More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacksi
X
December 19, 2014 12:45 AM
The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid