On Tuesday [9:00 p.m. Eastern Time], U.S. President Barack Obama will
go before a joint session of Congress for the first time to address the
American people on the challenges facing the nation. The speech is
expected to focus largely on the economy.
The president will use the speech to lay out his plans and priorities.
gave a preview on Monday in remarks to a White House economic summit
that brought together lawmakers and experts to discuss ways to bring
down the federal budget deficit.
The president noted that he
inherited a $1.3 trillion deficit from the Bush administration. He
said his goal is to cut it in half in four years.
and will not, sustain deficits like these without end. Contrary to the
prevailing wisdom in Washington these past few years, we cannot simply
spend as we please and defer the consequences to the next budget, the
next administration, or the next generation."
announced his deficit reduction goal less than one week after he signed
into law the largest spending bill in U.S. history. Mr. Obama
emphasized the $787 billion stimulus plan is a one-time expenditure to
deal with an economic emergency. He said the long-term goal must be to
cut the federal deficit and balance the budget.
"There is no
contradiction from my perspective in doing the recovery package first,
but now focusing on the medium and the long term," he said.
economic summit brought together allies and adversaries of the Obama
administration. Among those attending was Senator John McCain - Mr.
Obama's Republican opponent in last year's presidential election. Also
taking part was Republican Representative Eric Cantor, who played a key
role in unifying party members in the House of Representatives against
the stimulus bill. He said he welcomed the chance for dialog at the
"It's a great opportunity for us to really come together on some of these very big issues," he said.
Tuesday night's speech will be the next step in the process.
Mr. Obama will speak before a joint session of Congress, this will not
be a State of the Union Address - the nationally broadcast report
usually delivered at this time of year.
This speech is expected
to be narrower in scope, dealing primarily with the economy and to a
lesser extent with national security matters. Mr. Obama will deliver
his first formal State of the Union in 2010.