This morning the President met with Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad and House Budget Committee Chairman John Spratt. After the meeting, the President spoke about the investments and hard choices his budget
makes. He noted at the outset that it "will bring discretionary spending for domestic programs as a share of the economy to its lowest level in nearly half a century" over the next decade. But he also made clear that while the budget does not attempt to solve every problem, it does not walk away from the crucial investments that will ensure our economy is on a strong footing for the future.
He committed to ending the era of the "bubble economy," and creating a solid foundation based on "investments that will lead to real growth and real prosperity." He talked about health reform that will ease the burden on businesses, budgets, and families. He talked about the need for investments and reform in education because "countries who out-educate us today will out-compete us tomorrow." He talked about shifting to a clean energy economy that will ensure that as the global economy changes, America stays ahead of the curve and creates the jobs of tomorrow here.
For those who claim that the President’s goals are too big to accomplish, he had a ready response: "What I say is that the challenges we face are too large to ignore." In closing his remarks he also reached out to his critics, and encouraged them to come to the table with a constructive mindset:
But the one thing I will say is this: With the magnitude of the challenges we face right now, what we need in Washington are not more political tactics -- we need more good ideas. We don't need more point-scoring -- we need more problem-solving. So if there are members of Congress who object to specific policies and proposals in this budget, then I ask them to be ready and willing to propose constructive, alternative solutions. If certain aspects of this budget people don't think work, provide us some ideas in terms of what you do. "Just say no" is the right advice to give your teenagers about drugs. It is not an acceptable response to whatever economic policy is proposed by the other party.
The American people sent us here to get things done. And in this moment of enormous challenge, they are watching and waiting for us to lead. Let's show them that we're equal to this task before us. Let's pass a budget that puts this nation on the road to lasting prosperity. I know Kent Conrad is committed to doing that; John Spratt is committed to doing that; I'm committed to doing that. We're going to need everybody working together to get this thing done.