In the Republicans’ first weekly address to the nation since taking control of the House, Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) emphasized their intention to repeal and replace President Barack Obama’s signature health care overhaul.
Obama, meanwhile, credited a tax-cut package that he negotiated with Republicans late last year with helping to brighten the country’s economic outlook.
Repealing and replacing the health care law are significant elements of the GOP’s plan for cutting spending and creating jobs. The overhaul is “destroying jobs and piling up more debt” while engaging in budget “gimmicks,” Cantor said in Saturday’s address.
“Republicans care about health care,” he said. “We simply disagree that excessive government regulation and sweeping mandates on individuals and businesses are the right way to go about it. The status quo is unacceptable, and we understand that the key to real health care reform is to lower costs and improve access.”
Cantor also pointed to a House resolution that cuts all committee, leadership and Member office budgets by 5 percent as being in the same “cut and grow” spirit. The chamber passed the resolution Thursday, 408-13.
“We know that we have been given a golden opportunity to listen, lead and deliver results,” Cantor said. “From the start, I think you’ll see that our actions will define us as the ‘cut and grow’ majority. We are going to cut spending and cut job-killing government regulations while growing the economy and private-sector jobs.”
The president made the case in his weekly address Saturday that the country is already on the path to improved economic health. He cited a report released Friday that showed a drop from 9.8 percent unemployment in November to 9.4 percent last month, as well as other “encouraging economic news, from increased auto sales to continued expansion of our manufacturing sector.”
“Now we’re seeing more optimistic economic forecasts for the year ahead, in part due to the package of tax cuts I signed last month,” he said. The law, which included an extension of the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts, was significantly shaped around GOP input, upsetting liberal House Democrats.
“I fought for that package because, while we are recovering, we plainly still have a lot of work to do. The recession rocked the foundations of our economy, and left a lot of destruction and doubt in its wake,” Obama said.
The president outlined the law’s tax benefits for individuals and businesses, and he encouraged business owners to capitalize on the breaks.
Spurring jobs and growth “should be the focus, day in and day out, of our work in Washington in the coming months, as we wrestle with a challenging budget and long-term deficits,” Obama said. “And I’m determined to work with everyone, Republicans and Democrats, to achieve that goal.”