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

Advertising

Subscribers only

How smuggled gold destined for Dubai or Singapore has links...

Three Malagasy citizens were apprehended at OR Tambo International airport, but now the trail is found to connect to France and Mali

How lottery execs received dubious payments through a private company

The National Lottery Commission is being investigated by the SIU for alleged corruption and maladministration, including suspicious payments made to senior NLC employees between 2016 and 2017

More top stories

2020-21 NBA SEASON – AFRICAN BLOGTABLE

Joel Embiid gets the nod, and though Curry has performed well lately, there are doubts that the Warriors will prevail

Beyond the digital cold war: Technology and the future of...

Several African governments have published plans to establish smart cities, including Cairo, Johannesburg, Kigali and Nairobi. They require the most advanced technologies available

Funding a vaccine will tax our limits

VAT should not be hiked, but a once-off levy on mineral resources or a solidarity tax seems likely

‘SA can’t leave its shift to a low-carbon future to...

Innovation and creativity is crucial to guide financing, say experts
Advertising

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…