News / USA

Obama Pledges to Control Budget Deficits

U.S. President Barack Obama says the Senate has helped to control the deficit, by restoring the pay-as-you-go law which was in place in the 1990's.

US President Barack Obama delivers the weekly speech, 30 Jan 2010
US President Barack Obama delivers the weekly speech, 30 Jan 2010
Kent Klein

U.S. President Barack Obama says he is working to bring the government's budget deficit under control.  The president says the Senate has taken a good step in that direction.

President Obama says when it comes to making a budget, government needs to follow the same principles families follow.

"They accept that they cannot get everything they want and focus on what they really need," he said.  "They make tough decisions and sacrifice for their kids.  They do not spend what they do not have, and they make do with what they have got.  It is time their government did the same."

In his weekly radio and Internet address, Mr. Obama says the U.S. Senate has helped to control the deficit, by restoring the pay-as-you-go law which was in place in the 1990's.

"It is no coincidence that we ended that decade with a $236 billion surplus," he said. "But then we did away with PAYGO, and we ended the next decade with a $1.3 trillion deficit.  Reinstating this law will help get us back on track, ensuring that every time we spend, we find somewhere else to cut."

The president says another way to rein in the deficit is his proposed three-year freeze on some of the government's domestic spending.

"I have also proposed a spending freeze, so that as we increase investments in things we need, like job creation and middle class tax cuts, we cut spending on those we do not, like tax cuts for oil companies and investment fund managers, and programs that are redundant, obsolete or simply ineffective," he said.

The president also wants to form a fiscal commission, a panel of Republicans and Democrats who would work together to find ways to reduce the deficit.

"Because we have heard plenty of talk and a lot of yelling on TV about deficits, and it is now time to come together and make the painful choices we need to eliminate those deficits," he said.

Mr. Obama says 53 senators, from both parties, voted in the past week to create such a commission, but fell seven votes short of passage.  He says seven Republicans who originally sponsored the measure backed out for political reasons. 

The president is also emphasizing his efforts to revitalize the economy and to bring down the ten percent U.S. unemployment rate. 

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