Opinion: GOP’s Kelly Ayotte stresses ‘meaningful debt reduction;’ Obama promises jobs are Job One now


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Weekly remarks by Kelly Ayotte, as provided by Republican Party leadership
I’m Kelly Ayotte, the newly-elected senator from New Hampshire.

The arrival of a new year brings a renewed sense of optimism and purpose -- an opportunity to take stock of the year just passed while looking forward to the promise of new beginnings.


For Republicans, the start of the 112th Congress on Wednesday will mark the opening of a new chapter for our country and our party. We’re keenly aware that the American people are relying on us to change business as usual in Washington -- and we’re well-positioned to do just that.

In the House, 87 new Republican members are set to make John Boehner the next Speaker -- putting Republicans in charge of the chamber. And in the Senate, 13 new Republican senators will give us greater say in the Democrat-controlled Senate.

The American people sent us to Congress with clear instructions: make....

...government smaller, not bigger. And stop spending money we don’t have on programs that aren’t working.

It’s now our responsibility to carry out the will of the people.

Americans across the country have been taking time to declare their ‘New Year’s resolutions.’ It’s an opportunity to clarify goals and make productive plans for the future.

Republicans headed to Washington are participating in a similar exercise. As we prepare to start the hard work of governing, we’re doubling our commitment to the principles on which we were elected. These resolutions, reaffirmed at the beginning of a new year, are intended to illuminate the path forward for our country.

Job one is to stop wasteful Washington spending. As the mother of two children, I’m like parents across the country who worry that our nearly $14 trillion debt threatens America’s economic future and our children’s future. To ensure generations to come have even more opportunities than we’ve had, Congress must get serious about meaningful debt reduction.

This isn’t a Republican problem or a Democrat problem -- it’s an American problem that will require tough decision-making from both parties. Republicans are ready to lead that fight.

Creating the conditions necessary for businesses to add well-paying, sustainable jobs also tops our agenda. With millions of Americans unemployed or underemployed, we must work quickly to jump-start our economy.

The successful Republican effort to prevent any income tax hikes on families and small businesses over the next two years was an important first step.

Coming from a small-business family, I’ve seen firsthand that risk-taking American entrepreneurs -- not the government -- create good jobs. We need to harness common-sense, pro-growth policies to get our economy moving again. By getting Washington out of the way, we can unleash the American entrepreneurial spirit that has made our country the most innovative in the world.

Finally, and most important, America must remain vigilant in the face of continuing threats from terrorists and rogue states. Just over one year since the ‘Christmas Day bomber’s’ failed attempt to bring down a jetliner, we’re reminded that we continue to live in a dangerous world. My husband is an Iraq war veteran and a lieutenant colonel in the Air National Guard.

As a military spouse, I personally understand the sacrifices that our servicemen and women make to keep us safe. In 2011, we resolve to stand firm with our troops as they continue the war against terrorist networks around the globe.

The challenges we face are great. But so is the resolve of the American people to face these challenges head-on. America is the greatest nation on Earth -- and we must fight to keep alive her promise.

Thank you for listening. Happy New Year and may God bless America. ####

Weekly remarks by President Obama, as provided by the White House
Hello, everybody. As we close the books on one year and begin another, I wanted to take a moment today to wish you a very Happy New Year and talk a little bit about the year that lies ahead.

At the start of 2011, we’re still just emerging from a once-in-a-lifetime recession that’s taken a terrible toll on millions of families. We all have friends and neighbors trying to get their lives back on track.

We are, however, riding a few months of economic news that suggests our recovery is gaining traction. And our most important task now is to keep that recovery going. As president, that’s my commitment to you: to do everything I can to make sure our economy is growing, creating jobs, and strengthening our middle class. That’s my resolution for the coming year.

Still, even as we work to boost our economy in the short term, it’s time to make some serious decisions about how to keep our economy strong, growing and competitive in the long run. We have to look ahead -- not just to this year, but to the next 10 years, and the next 20 years.

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?

Our parents and grandparents asked themselves those questions. And because they had the courage to answer them, we’ve had the good fortune to grow up in the greatest nation on Earth.

Now it’s our turn to think about the future. 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. And 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. And we should all expect you to hold us accountable for our progress or our failure to deliver.

As I’ve said since I first ran for this office, solving our challenges won’t be quick or easy. 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. And if we just remember what America is capable of, and live up to that legacy, then I’m confident that we are poised for a period of progress -– one in which our economy is growing, our standing in the world is rising, and we do what it takes to make sure America remains in the 21st century what it was in the 20th: the greatest country in the world. Thanks for listening. And Happy New Year. ####


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