By Christopher Doering
WASHINGTON – South Dakota Republicans said the White House must agree to reduce spending before meaningful progress can be made on major issues in Washington.
Rep. Kristi Noem and Sen. John Thune on Wednesday criticized President Obama for using a combative, forceful tone during the first few weeks of his second term in office. The South Dakota Republicans said the Obama administration needs to be more vigilant about reaching out and working with Republicans rather than moving ahead undeterred with its own agenda.
“I feel like he has a plan for where he wants to go and will work with us as long as we fall in line to his ideas, but if not he’ll do whatever he can to implement it in the manner he sees fit,” Noem said. “As long as he continues to do that, it really isn’t going to bring us together. There has to be some relationship building and some consensus building.”
Republican lawmakers have routinely called for the White House to make significant changes to long-term entitlement programs such as Social Security and Medicare to address the country's burgeoning $16 trillion debt.
Washington is facing a series of looming fiscal issues this year with the most pressing how to deal with sequestration - a series of automatic spending reductions that would take effect on March 1 unless Congress acts. Lawmakers and the Obama administration avoided a Jan. 1 deadline for cutting spending by raising taxes on wealthy Americans, but delayed the automatic cuts for two months.
The White House ratcheted up pressure on Congress last week when it warned that a failure to act on sequestration would have harsh consequences and could leave the middle class "paying the price.” Education, food inspections, small businesses and the mentally ill are among those programs that would be subjected to spending cuts.
Thune said after Obama delivered an inaugural speech in January that was “very confrontational, very combative, unusual for an inauguration speech,” the president backed off a bit during his address on Tuesday evening. Still, Thune said most of the policy proposals discussed by the president this week involved more spending.
To read more: http://www.argusleader.com/article/20130213/UPDATES/130213032/Noem-Thune-criticize-Obama-combative-approach-second-term