As Washington gears up for another round of budget negotiations, President Obama today sent a clear message to Republicans: “I don’t want to hear the same old stuff” about spending cuts.
“We need a budget that is responsible, that is fiscally prudent, but a budget that cuts what we don’t need, closes wasteful tax loopholes that don’t create jobs, freeing up resources to invest in the things that actually do help us grow. Things like education and scientific research and infrastructure — roads, bridges, airports,” the president said in a speech at the Pathways in Technology Early College High School in Brooklyn.
“I don’t want to hear the same old stuff about how America can’t afford to invest in the things that have always made us strong,” he said. “Don’t tell me we can afford to shut down the government, which costs our economy billions of dollars, but we can’t afford to invest in our education systems, because there’s nothing more important than this.”
Earlier in the day, the president stopped by a math class as he toured the school, where students complete college-level work and get an associate’s degree in computer science or engineering after six years.
“I know the budget’s not the most interesting topic for a Friday afternoon even at a school where young people like math — and by the way, I just sat in on a lesson called ‘Real World Math,’ which got me thinking whether it’s too late to send Congress here for a remedial course,” he quipped.
Today marks Obama’s 33rd visit to New York City as president, but his first time in Brooklyn, according to unofficial White House historian Mark Knoller of CBS News.
“Brooklyn in general is blowing up right now…. When I was living here, Brooklyn was cool, but not this cool,” he said to laughter from the students.
After the speech the president and mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio made a surprise stop at Junior’s, a famous Brooklyn eatery known for its cheesecake.
“Do you know your next mayor here?” the president asked, as he shook hands with the patrons and posed for pictures.
The president ordered two cheesecakes, one plain and one strawberry, and told the employees, “We’ll be eating it on Air Force One.”
Obama is now off to raise money for Democratic candidates at two private fundraisers in New York City.