Obama: GOP's 'Pledge for America' rehashes ideas that led to economic downturn

House Republicans released their "Pledge to America" on Thurs., Sept. 23. The release of the 21-page plan came with far less fanfare than the 1994 announcement of the party's "Contract with America."
By Felicia Sonmez
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, September 25, 2010; 7:30 PM

Two days after Republicans unveiled their "Pledge for America" governing agenda, President Obama took aim at the plan, calling it a rehash of the same ideas that contributed to the country's economic downturn.

"It is grounded in the same worn-out philosophy: cut taxes for millionaires and billionaires, cut the rules for Wall Street and the special interests, and cut the middle class loose to fend for itself," Obama said Saturday in his weekly radio and Internet address. "That's not a prescription for a better future. It's an echo of a disastrous decade we can't afford to relive."

Republicans contend that the plan offers concrete ideas on issues such as reining in government spending and the federal deficit and replacing Obama's national health-care overhaul. Republican leaders also point out that the unveiling of the new proposal came after a months-long initiative called "America Speaking Out," through which people contributed their ideas on a governing agenda online.

Obama took aim at that initiative in his Saturday address.

"It turns out that one of the ideas that's drawn the most interest on their Web site is ending tax breaks for companies that ship jobs overseas," Obama said. "Funny thing is, when we recently closed one of the most egregious loopholes for companies creating jobs overseas, Republicans in Congress were almost unanimously opposed."

Obama also acknowledged on Saturday the determination by economists last week that the recession officially ended in June 2009. He noted that the news is "of little comfort or value" to the millions of Americans who are still struggling and that "we have to keep pushing" to repair the damage that has been done.

In the weekly Republican address, Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), who spearheaded the "Pledge for America," argued that the plan presents "a new way forward that hasn't been tried in Washington - an approach focused on cutting spending, which is sadly a new idea for a Congress accustomed to always accelerating it."

McCarthy contended that national Democrats, not Republicans, are the ones to blame for the country's dire economic straits.

© 2010 The Washington Post Company