Obama accuses Congress of holding back US recovery

A vacationing United States President Barack Obama accused Congress on Saturday of holding back the US economic recovery by blocking “common sense” measures he said would create jobs and help growth.

In remarks recorded on Wednesday on his campaign-style bus tour in Illinois and aired during his holiday in Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, Obama said the stalled construction, trade and payroll tax bills could give a boost to the economy.

“The only thing preventing us from passing these bills is the refusal by some in Congress to put country ahead of party. That’s the problem right now. That’s what’s holding this country back,” the president said in his weekly radio address, which is also transmitted on the Internet.

Wall Street stocks have suffered four weeks of losses because of investor jitters, partly over concerns that the United States may be headed for another recession after barely growing in the first half of 2011.

Re-election hopes compromised
With the national unemployment rate stuck above 9%, Obama’s re-election hopes may hinge on his ability to convince voters he is steering the US economy the right way.


He has been criticised for taking off to Martha’s Vineyard, a wealthy island retreat near Boston, at time when some 14 million Americans are out of work. Such breaks are typical for US presidents, and the Obamas also took vacations in Martha’s Vineyard in August of 2010 and 2009.

The White House has said the president would spend much of his nine-day absence from Washington working on the job and growth package he will unveil in an early September speech.

In his Saturday remarks, Obama acknowledged the country remained far from full health.

“We’re going through a tough time right now. We’re coming through a terrible recession,” he said. “So we need folks in Washington — the people whose job it is to deal with the country’s problems, the people who you elected to serve — we need them to put aside their differences to get things done.”

Bitter fighting
Republicans control the US House of Representatives and Democrats control the Senate. A bitter fight between the two parties over deficit-cutting brought the country to the edge of a debt default and sparked a credit ratings downgrade this month.

In the Republicans’ weekly address, Ohio Governor John Kasich said it was wrong for the president to stand aside and blame others for the impasse that has also affected legislation related to immigration, energy and other issues.

“Divided government is no excuse for inaction,” said Kasich, a former chairman of the House Budget Committee.

“There’s just no substitute for leadership from the president of the United States,” Kasich said. “It’s my hope President Obama will listen to the people and partner with Republicans to get our economy back to creating jobs and producing growth.”

The governor also called on conservative Republicans to show more willingness to compromise as required.

“It’s just as important that Republicans not be stiff-necked about working across the aisle when important work must be done,” he said, suggesting: “It’s OK to compromise on policy, as long as you don’t compromise on your principles.” — Reuters

Subscribe to the M&G

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years, and we’ve survived right from day one thanks to the support of readers who value fiercely independent journalism that is beholden to no-one. To help us continue for another 35 future years with the same proud values, please consider taking out a subscription.

Related stories

The journalist who was shot in cold blood

Ahmed Divela was one of Ghana’s most fearless investigative journalists. This edited excerpt about his killing is from Faces of Assassination

We cannot reform ourselves out of the times we are in

To end racism, we will have to change the structures from which it draws its mandate, and get rid of liberal and right-wing politicians who give it oxygen while we are being asphyxiated

After disastrous Zuma years, Ramaphosa must provide foreign policy clarity

For a country that is guided by ubuntu, South Africa has a record of embarrassing international blunders

What Bernie Sanders needs to learn from black voters in South Africa

Senator Sanders must explicitly demonstrate that a US government that can guarantee universal healthcare is the best path to building long-term black wealth

US presidential campaign 2020: The Democratic conundrum

As Super Tuesday looms, there are five candidates left in the Democratic race. But the party must ensure it selects someone who will be able to defeat incumbent Donald Trump

Valeria Luiselli tells stories to shame us

Over and over again she writes about the lost children picked up on the United States border
Advertising

Sekhukhune’s five-year battle for water back in court

The residents of five villages are calling for the district municipal manager to be arrested

Fees free fall, independent schools close

Parents have lost their jobs or had salaries cut; without state help the schools just can’t survive

Vaccine trial results due in December

If successful, it will then have to be manufactured and distributed

White men still rule and earn more

Women and black people occupy only a few seats at the JSE table, the latest PwC report has found
Advertising

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…

The best local and international journalism

handpicked and in your inbox every weekday