Obama pushes for action on jobs

August 20, 2011 - 6:10 AM
Obama Vacation

President Barack Obama, left, waves as he departs a book store with his daughters Malia Obama, right, and Sasha Obama, partially obscured behind center, in Vineyard Haven, Mass., on the island of Martha's Vineyard, Friday, Aug. 19, 2011. Obama is vacationing on the island with his family during the last half of August 2011. Woman in center is unidentified. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

VINEYARD HAVEN, Mass. (AP) — President Barack Obama says members of Congress should put country before politics, set aside their differences and act together to put people back to work.

The president is vacationing on Martha's Vineyard in Massachusetts, but he recorded his weekly Saturday radio and Internet address earlier in the week while in Alpha, Ill., during an economy-focused Midwestern bus tour.

He said that lawmakers in Washington could learn something from the people in small towns in Illinois and Iowa. And if they did, Obama said there are some things they could get done right away, like passing a road construction bill or extending a reduction in the payroll tax that pays for Social Security.

"These are common-sense ideas — ideas that have been supported by both Democrats and Republicans," Obama said. "The only thing holding them back is politics. 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. That's what we have to change."

Obama has been promoting those ideas and others for weeks and didn't offer any new proposals or rhetoric Saturday. He's saving that for a jobs package he's to unroll in a post-Labor Day speech once he returns to Washington. Instead, Obama repeated familiar themes Saturday about working to recover from the recession.

"We're coming through a terrible recession; a lot of folks are still looking for work. A lot of people are getting by with smaller paychecks or less money in the cash register," Obama 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."

In the Republican address, Ohio Gov. John Kasich boasted of reducing Ohio's budget shortfall and cutting taxes in that state and said it should be a model for the federal government. He said the federal government should get out of the way and let states succeed without raising taxes or imposing regulations, but he also called on Republicans to work with Democrats without compromising their principles.

"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," Kasich said. "And it's just as important that Republicans not be stiff-necked about working across the aisle when important work must be done. It's OK to compromise on policy, as long as you don't compromise on your principles."

"The playbook we're following here in Ohio is simple: to grow more, you have to tax less, spend less and regulate less," Kasich said. "If we can do it here in Ohio, Washington can — and should — do it also."