President Barack Obama rang in the new year with a national message highlighting the incoming 112th Congress, saying he is willing to work with Republicans to boost the economy and create jobs.
“In a few days, a new Congress will form, with one house controlled by Democrats and one house controlled by Republicans – who now have a shared responsibility to move this country forward,” Obama said in his weekly address, taped before he left for his annual family vacation in Hawaii.
“Here’s what I want you to know: I’m willing to work with anyone of either party who’s got a good idea and the commitment to see it through,” Obama said. “And we should all expect you to hold us accountable for our progress or our failure to deliver.”
The president said that because Americans are “emerging from a once-in-a-lifetime recession,” his new year’s resolution is to keep the economic recovery going and, “to do everything I can to make sure our economy is growing, creating jobs and strengthening our middle class.”
Obama said that as the economy rebounds, it is time to “make some serious decisions” about the nation’s economic strength over the long term. “We have to look ahead – not just to this year, but to the next 10 years and the next 20 years.”
He said the questions about the future include: “Where will new innovations come from? How will we attract the companies of tomorrow to set up shop and create jobs in our communities? What will it take to get those jobs? What will it take to out-compete other countries around the world? What will it take to see the American Dream come true for our children and grandchildren?”
Obama offered a hopeful tone for the new year: “We have come through a difficult decade; one of new threats and new trials we didn’t expect when it began. But a new year and a new decade stretch out before us.” He added a similar sentiment to what he’d said at an end-of-the-year news conference, saying in the address that the nation is “poised for a period of progress.”
At the close of the lame-duck session just before Christmas, Obama told reporters that the final days of the 111th Congress had been a “season of progress for the American people.”