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Obama: Debt Deal 'Important First Step' Toward Deficit Reduction

2:10 PM, Aug 2, 2011 • By MICHAEL WARREN
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Speaking in the Rose Garden at the White House Tuesday afternoon, President Barack Obama tepidly praised Congress for passing the debt limit deal that he said will “avert a default that would have devastated our economy.” The president called the bill an “important first step” in reducing the deficit.

Obama in Cairo

“It was a long and contentious debate,” Obama said. “And I want to thank the American people for keeping up the pressure on their elected officials to put politics aside and work together for the good of the country.”

Echoing many of his speeches and public statements over the past few weeks, President Obama also recommitted himself to a so-called “balanced approach” on continuing to reduce the budget deficit by raising taxes, particularly for the wealthiest Americans. “Everyone’s going to have to chip in—that’s only fair,” Obama said. “That’s the principle I’m going to be fighting for during the next phase of this process.”

The president then brought up jobs. With the latest quarterly report showing an anemic 1.3 percent growth in GDP, and with unemployment still at 9.2 percent, Obama explained both the terrible numbers and his plan for improving them in the months ahead.

“In the last few months, the economy’s already had to absorb an earthquake in Japan, the economic headwinds coming from Europe, the Arab Spring and the rise in oil prices,” he said. “All of which have been very challenging for the recovery.”

After the August recess, Obama went on to say, he wants Congress to consider patent reform, to create an infrastructure bank, and to pass trade deals.

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