Politics
Jack Lew, the current White House chief of staff, speaks in the East Room of the White House in Washington, Thursday, Jan. 10, 2013, where President Barack Obama announced Lew as his nominee as the next Treasury Secretary. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak) Jack Lew, the current White House chief of staff, speaks in the East Room of the White House in Washington, Thursday, Jan. 10, 2013, where President Barack Obama announced Lew as his nominee as the next Treasury Secretary. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)  

GOP congressmen push Obama to address nation’s ‘dire financial straits’ in State of the Union

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Caroline May
Political Reporter

In a letter delivered to the White House Friday, two Republican Congressmen requested that President Barack Obama “be open and honest with the American people” about the nation’s financial situation during his upcoming State of the Union address.

“It seems to me in order for us to address our big fiscal problems — debt, deficit, and entitlement reform — we are going to have to have the American people on the same page,” one of the letter’s authors Arkansas Republican Rep. Tim Griffin explained to The Daily Caller in a Friday interview.

In their letter to Obama, Griffin and Colorado Republican Rep. Cory Gardner demanded that the president specifically lay out data regarding the increase in the national debt, the per-person share of the debt, as well as Social Security and Medicare solvency.

“There is little disagreement across the nation that Washington has a spending problem,” the pair wrote. “With deficits over $1 trillion during each of the last four years and a national debt over $16 trillion and rising, our nation is in dire financial straits, and continuing down this path is not an option.”

Griffin recalled to TheDC a Wall Street Journal report in which House Speaker John Boehner noted that “the president said to me, ‘We don’t have a spending problem.’”

“I believe we need to do an intervention with the president, and this is part of that,” he said. “I believe that the young people of America need to get the president in the room sit around the couch and say, ‘Mr. President, you’ve got a spending addiction, you don’t admit it, and it is hurting Americans.’”

In a statement about the letter Gardner criticized Obama for failing to live up to his promise of transparency, explaining that the State of the Union is a forum for him to rectify it.

“This President has claimed to be one of the most transparent in history, yet his health care overhaul was passed behind closed doors and ended up cutting $500 billion from Medicare,” Gardner said. “The American people deserve better than that. The State of the Union is President Obama’s chance to come clean and lay out an honest plan for protecting Medicare and Social Security, which is something he failed to do during his first term.”

The pair acknowledge in their letter that “[w]hile we may not agree on the ways to address these problems, the start of a discussion begin with acknowledging they exist.”

“Your administration pledged to be transparent and honest with America, and we believe providing this information to the American people in this forum is an ideal way to fulfill that pledge,” they conclude.

Friday, House Speaker John Boehner invited President Obama to deliver his State of the Union on Feb. 12.

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