President Barack Obama called on lawmakers Thursday to tap into the spirit of the holidays and work together in the coming weeks, while Rep.-elect Austin Scott (R-Ga.) countered that Republicans are ready to push their agenda following their electoral wave.
This Thanksgiving may not be the hardest that America has ever faced, Obama said in his weekly radio address, but it serves as a reminder that many families are hurting because of the economy and because loved ones are overseas at war.
The only way to help these families, he said, is to shed partisan labels and come together as Americans. “In the coming weeks and months, I hope that we can work together, Democrats and Republicans and independents alike, to make progress on these and other issues,” Obama said.
He called attention to the bipartisan meeting he scheduled for Tuesday with Congressional leaders and framed it as a chance to make progress together. “I believe that if we stop talking at one another, and start talking with one another, we can get a lot done,” Obama said. “For what we are called to do again today isn’t about Democrats or Republicans. It’s not about left or right. It’s about us. It’s about what we know this country is capable of.”
Scott, who was elected president of the House freshman class last week and was chosen to give the Republican address this week, called the incoming lawmakers “a new breed of leaders for a new majority and a new Congress.”
He echoed Obama’s concerns about unemployment rates, but he said Republicans have their own agenda for responding to the economy. “Our new Republican majority is ready to focus on creating jobs and putting a stop to the runaway spending in Washington, D.C.,” he said. While Americans have much to be thankful for this Thanksgiving, there are still too many people who have been out of work “for far too long,” and freshman Republicans can help, Scott said.
Nearly three dozen small-business owners are in the new GOP class, he said, and these are “folks who understand what it’s like to sign the front of a paycheck, and not just the back of one.”
Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., right, hugs Harold Schaitberger, General President of the International Association of Fire Fighters, after the Congressman spoke at the IAFF's Legislative Conference General Session at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill, March 9, 2015. The day featured addresses by members of Congress and Vice President Joe Biden.