President Bush said Wednesday he’ll submit a five-year budget proposal that will balance the federal budget by 2012 and called on Congress to sharply cut back on costly pet projects hidden in spending bills.
“It’s time to set aside politics and focus on the future,” Bush said in the Rose Garden after a meeting with his Cabinet.
Bush, faced with working with an opposition Congress for the first time of his presidency, welcomed new members of Congress to Washington and said he’s anxious to work with them on the nation’s priorities during the remaining two years of his presidency.
“Congress has changed,” Bush said. “Our obligations to the country haven’t changed.”
Bush in a newspaper opinion piece published Wednesday, the president warned lawmakers:
“If the Congress chooses to pass bills that are simply political statements, they will have chosen stalemate,” Bush wrote. “If a different approach is taken, the next two years can be fruitful ones for our nation. We can show the American people that Republicans and Democrats can come together to find ways to help make America a more secure, prosperous and hopeful society.”
He said fiscal restraint is one area where the executive and legislative branches of government can work together.
“Over the past few years, pro-growth economic policies have generated higher revenues,” he said. “Together with spending restraint, these policies allowed us to meet our goal of cutting the budget deficit in half three years ahead of schedule.”
Bush called on Congress to sharply reduce spending on pet projects prized by lawmakers.
“One important message we all should take from the elections is that people want to end the secretive process by which Washington insiders are able to get billions of dollars directed to projects—many of them pork-barrel projects that have never been reviewed or voted on by the Congress,” the president said.