WASHINGTON — North Carolina Congresswoman Renee Ellmers and President Barack Obama debated the best way to create new jobs in dueling addresses released Saturday.
Ellmers, who owns a small medical practice in Dunn with her husband, said that reducing government regulations is key to jump-starting job growth.
"The job creators we hear from, they don't have their hand out," she said in the weekly Republican address. "They don't want a bailout. All they ask us to do is get government out of the way."
Obama, in the weekly Democratic address, touted an initiative by the federal government, universities and corporations to explore new research and technology with the goal of strengthening American manufacturing.
"Their mission is to come up with a way to get ideas from the drawing board to the manufacturing floor to the marketplace as swiftly as possible, which will help create quality jobs, and make our businesses more competitive," Obama said.
The $500 million initiative is the latest effort by Obama to promote job creation in the midst of an economic slowdown that has reduced hiring and weakened his job approval standing with the public.
The plan includes $70 million for robotics, $300 million for national security industries and $100 million for research to more quickly develop advanced materials at lower costs. Some of the money would come from government agencies' existing budgets, but other funds are only included in Obama's 2012 budget request and must be approved by Congress.
Ellmers said that pumping more government money into the economy doesn't answer the concerns she hears from entrepreneurs who speak to the House Small Business Committee, where she heads a subcommittee.
"Their stories are different, but their message is the same: Uncertainty, burdensome regulations and the fear of higher taxes are making it harder to create jobs and stay afloat," she said.
Ellmers touted a Republican job plan to reduce regulations, expand domestic energy production, require the government to consider the effect of federal rules on jobs, open new markets to American-made goods and cut the deficit and balance the federal budget.
While Obama said he is "committed" to bipartisan efforts to cut the deficit, he said won't cut spending on education, infrastructure or researching new technology. That spending is necessary, he said, "to help make sure America remains in this century what we were in the last – a country that makes things."
Ellmers said that she's seen firsthand the negative effects "government overreach" can have on small businesses.
"We've worked to overcome it by relying on the same values that helped get our practice off the ground: freedom, opportunity and responsibility," she said.
"Washington is at its best when it’s listening to the American people. And our people are at its best when they’re working, prospering and laying the foundation for those greatest days that still lie ahead."