Obama Focuses on Energy Spending
PHOTO: Barack Obama

Following the first energy speech of his second term, President Obama promoted new energy spending in his weekly address Saturday while Republicans looked to the budget in an address delivered by Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis.

The president noted the increase in gas prices in recent weeks and cited the problem as a "reminder that we need to do more."

"We went through another spike in gas prices, just like last year and the year before that," Obama said in his address. "It happens every year. It's a serious blow to your budget - like getting hit with a new tax coming right out of your pocket. But the only way we're going to break this cycle of spiking gas prices for good is to shift our cars and trucks off of oil for good.

"I'm proposing that we take some of our oil and gas revenues from public lands and put it towards research that will benefit the public, so that we can support American ingenuity without adding a dime to our deficit," he said. "We can support scientists who are designing new engines that are more energy efficient; developing cheaper batteries that go farther on a single charge; and devising new ways to fuel our cars and trucks with new sources of clean energy - like advanced biofuels and natural gas - so drivers can one day go coast-to-coast without using a drop of oil."

Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP Photo

Obama recorded the address at the Argonne National Laboratory in Lemont, Ill., where on Friday he delivered a speech calling on Congress to establish the energy security trust, an initiative setting aside $2 billion for energy research in technologies that will help decrease the country's dependence on oil.

But while the president advocated for more spending on energy research, Ryan used the Republicans' weekly address to lay out his budget blueprint and to call on the president to work with Republicans to achieve a balanced budget and rein in spending.

"President Obama and Senate Democrats say they want a 'balanced approach' to our fiscal issues, but their budgets never balance - ever. Instead, they want to raise taxes to fuel more spending," said Ryan, who chairs the House Budget Committee. "Today, we invite President Obama to do what President Clinton did - to work with Republicans in Congress to balance the budget. He can join in the effort or he can choose the status quo. But he must choose."

Ryan unveiled his balanced budget plan, called "The Path to Prosperity: A Responsible, Balanced Budget," earlier this week. Ryan's plan aims to cut spending by $4.6 trillion by 2023, repeal the president's health care plan, simplify the tax code into two brackets and cut Medicare and federal pensions.

"If we take these steps, our economy will grow, our country will regain confidence and we will reignite the American dream," Ryan said in the address. "All we need is leadership. We owe the American people a responsible, balanced budget. It's not fair to take more from families just to spend more in Washington."

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