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Obama Unveils Energy Investments; GOP Calls for Spending Cuts

President Barack Obama used his weekly radio address Saturday to announce $2 billion in clean energy investments in two solar companies, as well as to highlight the meaning of Independence Day.

Obama outlined the conditional commitments to Abengoa Solar, which has agreed to build one of the largest solar plants in the world, and Abound Solar, which will manufacture advanced solar panels at two new plants. The investments, made with funds from the economic stimulus law enacted in 2009, will create 3,100 jobs in the short term.

“These are just two of the many clean energy investments in the Recovery Act,” he said. “Already, I’ve seen the payoff from these investments. I’ve seen once-shuttered factories humming with new workers who are building solar panels and wind turbines, rolling up their sleeves to help America win the race for the clean energy economy.”

The president acknowledged that the investments will not make up for the jobs lost in the recession. But he said the July Fourth holiday should remind Americans that their nation has always risen to the challenges before it.

“We are a nation that, 234 years ago, declared our independence from one of the greatest empires the world had ever known,” Obama said. “That is who we are — a nation that turns times of trial into times of triumph — and I know America will write our own destiny once more.”

Sen. Saxby Chambliss, who delivered the GOP response, focused attention on the national debt, which he described as “one of the most dangerous threats confronting America today.”

In light of the holiday, the Georgia Republican tied concerns with overspending to the words of the author of the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson, who warned of the dangers of public debt.

“As he once said, ‘There does not exist an engine so corruptive of the government and so demoralizing of the nation as public debt. It will bring us more ruin at home than all the enemies from abroad against whom this Army and Navy are to protect us,'” Chambliss said.

He criticized Obama and Congressional Democrats for continuing to “spend money that they, we, do not have.” He framed the nation’s debt as a national security issue because, he said, the United States “is vulnerable when … we are in deep debt to countries that often don’t share our values or positions.”

Chambliss called on Obama and Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) to cut back on spending and focus more on fiscal responsibility. “Ours is a great nation. We can be even greater if we heed Jefferson’s words and secure America’s fiscal future,” he said.

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