WASHINGTON — Facing a congressional logjam over the nation's debt ceiling, President Barack Obama said Saturday that the U.S. can't just cut its way back to prosperity.
Using his weekly Internet and radio address recorded at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh to stress jobs and education, Obama said he's committed to working with members of both parties to cut deficits and debt.
But the president gave no specific hints on how he'll tackle key meetings, scheduled to begin Monday, with congressional leaders over stalled debt-ceiling talks.
"We need to do what's necessary to grow our economy; create good, middle-class jobs; and make it possible for all Americans to pursue their dreams," Obama said. "That means giving our kids the best education in the world so they have the knowledge and skills to succeed in this economy. It means rebuilding our crumbling roads, railways and runways. And it means investing in the cutting-edge research and technologies that will spur growth in the years ahead — from clean energy to advanced manufacturing."
The comments came ahead of the meeting between Obama and Senate leaders from the Republican and Democratic parties to try to revive stalled talks about raising the national debt ceiling and avoiding a government shutdown.
In the Republican response to Obama, Rep. Renee Ellmers, R-N.C,, said the "job creators" from the U.S. small business community "don't have their hand out ... they don't want a bailout. All they ask us to do is get government out of the way. Uncertainty, burdensome regulations and the fear of higher taxes are making it harder to create jobs and stay afloat."
Ellmers said 2.3 million more Americans are looking for work than when Obama took office in early 2009.