- The Washington Times - Saturday, October 19, 2013

With the debt ceiling raised until February and Washington back up and running, President Obama on Saturday laid out three key goals for the months to come — goals that Republicans ought to work with him to achieve, he said.

In his weekly radio and internet address, the president again said “the way business is done in Washington has to change,” telling the American people it’s fully “understandable” if they’re frustrated with and angry at their elected leaders.

Mr. Obama said his road map for changing the tone of national politics and restoring citizens’ trust in their government will hinge on three legislative priorities: A long-term budget; an immigration reform package; and the long-awaited passage of a farm bill.

On the budget, the president says he’s willing to work with Republicans, but he’s also pressing, once again, for tax increases.

“There is no choice between growth and fiscal responsibility — we need both. So we’re making a serious mistake if a budget doesn’t focus on what you’re focused on: creating more good jobs that pay better wages,” Mr. Obama said. “If we’re going to free up resources for the things that help us grow — education, infrastructure, research — we should cut what we won’t need and close corporate tax loopholes that don’t help create jobs.”

The president also pressed the House to follow the Senate’s lead and pass a comprehensive immigration reform bill immediately.

“It can and should get done by the end of this year,” he said.

Lastly, he identified the farm bill as a priority both sides ought to be able to agree on.

Mr. Obama clearly wants to build off the recent fiscal compromise to achieve each of those goals, and issued an open invitation to any Republicans who want to work with him.

“I’ll look for willing partners from either party to get important work done. There’s no reason why we can’t govern responsibly, without lurching from manufactured crisis to manufactured crisis,” he said.

Mr. Obama’s address included no mention of Obamacare, his signature piece of legislation thus far.

Key parts of the law went to into effect earlier this month, but the roll-out has been plagued by problems, particularly serious glitches with the website healthcare.gov.

While Mr. Obama wants to turn the page to other domestic priorities, Republicans surely will continue to remind Americans of the problems with the health care reform law.

“President Obama’s ideas are deeply flawed and the implementation of this law has been a national embarrassment,” said Virginia Attorney General Kenneth T. Cuccinelli II in the weekly GOP address. Mr. Cuccinelli also is his party’s candidate for governor of Virginia.

“Let me be plain, the law that carries the president’s name is the hallmark of a reckless federal government that has lost its way,” he added.

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