President Barack Obama derided an economic plan from the top House Republican as repeating job-killing policies of the past that help drive the country into recession.
In turn, House GOP leader John Boehner said the president had stooped to partisan attacks because he can't sell his own plan at a time when millions of people want to know what happened to the jobs Obama promised to create.
Days after signing into law tougher regulations on the financial industry, Obama said Saturday that those new rules are an important part of his approach to reviving the economy.
"It took nearly a decade of failed economic policies to create this mess, and it will take years to fully repair the damage," Obama said in his weekly radio and Internet address. "But I am confident that we are finally headed in the right direction. We are moving forward. And what we can't afford right now is to go back to the same ideas that created this mess in the first place."
Previewing one of the arguments he'll be making as he campaigns for congressional Democrats heading into the November elections, Obama acknowledged that the economic growth on his watch isn't nearly enough to replace the millions of lost jobs.
But he said essentially that the Republican alternative — repealing the health care law, continuing tax cuts for the wealthiest individuals and rejecting investments in clean energy — would be much worse.
"They are the same policies that led us into this recession," Obama said. "They will not create jobs, they will kill them. "
Boehner, R-Ohio, countered that Republicans have better solutions and will stop Democratic tax increases and spending sprees.
"The fact is that Washington Democrats' policies have created uncertainty that has undermined our economy, shaken the confidence of the nation and cost millions of American jobs," he said. "Our nation needs leadership, not excuses."
In the Republican's weekly address, Rep. Mike Pence, R-Ind., promised a fight against a tax increase that he said is coming next year.
Tax cuts enacted under Republican President George W. Bush are set to expire in January. Partly because of voter concern over the rising federal budget deficit, Democrats are undecided over whether to extend those cuts, as Republicans advocate.
"The American people know we can't tax and spend and bail our way back to a growing economy," Pence said. "House Republicans opposed the Democrats' failed stimulus bill, their national energy tax, their government takeover of health care and House Republicans will oppose this tax increase with everything we've got."