President Obama called on bipartisanship from Congress to help rebuild the economy, saying that spurring hiring and economic growth are not issues belonging to one party.
Obama, who had just finished a meeting with Democratic and Republican Congressional leaders in the Cabinet Room to detail his latest job creation idea, said he was calling on them to extend relief to state governments and seniors and to support his plan for credits to homeowners making their homes energy efficient.
“I am absolutely committed to working with anybody who is willing to do the job to make sure that we can rebuild our economy and make sure that Americans across the country regardless of political persuasion,” Obama said.The president said he is “confident” the economy can recover but it “will require some work and cooperation.” He added that he hopes “as we enter the holiday season the leaders I just met with will feel the same.”
In fact, some of those leaders enjoyed the holiday fares at the White House Christmas party earlier this week. Obama was overheard teasing House Minority Leader John Boehner about the White House egg nog.
From the pool report:
As we entered, POTUS appeared to be in mid-banter about the congressional holiday party at the White House. “I saw Boehner drinking egg nog,” the POTUS said. “I was drinking wine,” House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio,” responded.
“My hope is that as we move forward that we can do so together,” Obama said, suggesting Congress should be able to forge consensus on the economy.
Obama announced his administration is winding down the Troubled Assets Relief Program, which he said “has served its original purpose” is cost less than expected. He said he’d use the funds to pay down the deficit.
“More will need to be done to put our nation on a firm fiscal footing,” Obama told the press, shortly before he was to leave for Oslo to accept the Nobel Peace Prize at a Thursday ceremony.
“I’m not going to rest until every American who is looking for work can find a job,” he said.
Later, lawmakers said the talk was productive and focused on how to get banks to loan more money to small businesses.
“Everybody in the room agreed we need to take action to get more people back to work,” House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) said on Fox News following the meeting.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid told reporters that Obama told Republicans in the room to “stop trying to frighten the American people.”
But Republicans weren’t happy.
House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-VA) said on Fox that what he heard from Obama was “an insistence that somehow we need to keep spending money that we don’t have.”
He said “we ought not to be doing” what Obama suggested on TARP.
Cantor said he disagreed with Obama saying the GOP is scaring Americans.
“It’s the policies and the agenda of this administration that actually are scaring” people and “causing businesses to stand on the sidelines.”