Obama Extends Holiday Greeting Centered on Health, Education

Posted April 3, 2010 at 5:00am

President Barack Obama used his weekly radio address on Saturday to call on people of all faiths to remember “our shared spirit of humanity” as Easter arrives and Passover continues through the weekend.

The president said it can “be easy to lose sight of the eternal” when there is so much focus on public debates, the 24/7 media cycle and a town like Washington, D.C., that is “consumed with the day-to-day.”

“This week is a time to be mindful of this common bond, which is at the heart of all the world’s great religions,” he said.

Obama framed his holiday message around the values of health and education — two issues that Congressional Democrats made significant changes to last week with reforms to health care and student loans. In addition, Obama said it was “heartening news” that March job increases exceeded all monthly gains in the past three years.

“We have begun to reverse the devastating slide, but we have a long way to go to repair the damage from this recession, and that will continue to be my focus every single day,” Obama said.

Meanwhile, House Chief Deputy Minority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) delivered a far less congenial message: He blasted Obama and Congressional Democrats for continuing to engage in “reckless, wasteful spending,” most recently in their plans for reforming the financial sector.

“From [the Troubled Asset Relief Program] and permanent bailouts, to the cap-and-trade national energy tax, the government takeover of health care and huge increases in the national debt, and now still more demands for more spending to change the financial regulations, we have run out of money. And yet this administration and Congressional Democrats want to spend even more,” he said.

Financial reform is the next major issue on the agenda when lawmakers return from the Congressional recess. McCarthy bashed the Democratic proposals put forward for spending too much while failing to address the root cause of the economic crisis: “the lack of accountability in Washington and on Wall Street.”

He also dismissed Obama’s support for a new independent consumer financial protection agency, which he said would grant “unelected Washington bureaucrats … virtually unlimited power to pick winners and losers. And hardworking American taxpayers would pick up the tab for the reckless decisions made by irresponsible bankers.”

McCarthy said Republicans last fall proposed getting rid of TARP and using its leftover funds to pay down the debt. But instead, Democrats extended TARP to use it “as a ‘slush fund’ for more wasteful Washington spending,” he charged.