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Obama Hails Wall Street Reform; Pence Hits Runaway Spending

President Barack Obama used his Saturday weekly radio address to tout passage of Wall Street reform as a core piece of his overall economic plan — one that he said stands in contrast to Republican job-creation plans that will only “take us backward.”

But House Republican Conference Chairman Mike Pence (Ind.) hit Democrats for 18 months of “runaway spending, bailouts and takeovers” and drew attention to a GOP website that allows users to post ideas for how government should be run.

Obama said this week’s passage of financial regulatory reform means there is now a safeguard in place that will “protect consumers and our entire economy from the recklessness and irresponsibility that led to the worst recession of our lifetime.”

Wall Street reform is “a key pillar” of the administration’s economic strategy, which is focused on digging the nation out of a recession and building an economy for the long run, said the president.

“Our economic plan is also aimed at strengthening the middle class. That’s why we’ve cut taxes for 95 percent of working families. That’s why we’ve offered tax credits that have made college more affordable for millions of students. … And that’s why we passed health insurance reform that will stop insurance companies from dropping or denying coverage based on an illness or pre-existing condition,” he said.

Obama criticized Republicans for putting forward job-creation ideas that are “surprisingly short” and “sadly familiar.” Specifically, he bashed three ideas by House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) for creating jobs: repealing health care reform, halting new clean energy investments and making tax cuts for the wealthy permanent.

“These are not new ideas. They are the same policies that led us into this recession. They will not create jobs, they will kill them. They will not reduce our deficit, they will add $1 trillion to our deficit,” the president said. “They will take us backward at a time when we need to keep America moving forward.”

Pence criticized Obama over the unemployment rate lingering at “a heartbreaking 10 percent” and said the fact that the economy has lost 3 million jobs since the stimulus became law means “the economic policies of this administration have failed.”

In an unusual move, Boehner’s office put out an embargoed response to Obama’s comments.

“The fact is that Washington Democrats’ policies have created uncertainty that has undermined our economy, shaken the confidence of the nation, and cost millions of American jobs,” Boehner said. “Our nation needs leadership — not excuses.”

Boehner added, “Republicans are offering better solutions to stop the Democrats’ tax hikes, end their massive spending spree, repeal and replace ObamaCare, and get America’s economy back on track.”

Pence also took issue with Congressional Democrats weighing the idea of letting the Bush tax cuts expire at the end of the year, something he said is akin to “the largest tax increase in American history.”

The good news, said Pence, is that the people can finally have a say in how their government is run through a new Republican website, The initiative, now in its third month of operation, has hosted thousands of solutions being debate and voted on by the general public.

“The Republicans’ America Speaking Out project is giving the American people a chance to share their ideas for building a more accountable government and a better country,” he said.

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