Obama calls for ending Washington 'gridlock'

WASHINGTON, Aug 13, 2011 (AFP) - US President Barack Obama on Saturday urged members of Congress to end what he termed a political "gridlock" in Washington by passing legislation aimed at creating more jobs.

"We can no longer let partisan brinksmanship get in our way - the idea that making it through the next election is more important than making things right," the president said in his weekly radio and Internet address. 

AFP - US President Barack Obama

"That's what's holding us back - the fact that some in Congress would rather see their opponents lose than see America win," he added.

The comments came as Obama is assailed by foes in the Republican Party and elements of his own Democratic base over turmoil in the economy, especially unemployment, which remains at 9.1 percent amid a stagnant recovery.

Next week, he will try to reconnect with US voters on a bus tour of Minnesota, Iowa and Illinois as Americans are gripped by fear of a return to recession.

Obama acknowledged the country was facing "some very tough economic challenges," but put the blame for slow recovery on the shoulders of Congress.

"But lately, the response from Washington has been partisanship and gridlock that's only undermined public confidence and hindered our efforts to grow the economy," he said.

The president urged lawmakers to approve a payroll tax cut, streamline the process of getting new patents for innovation and ratify free trade deals that he argued will help sell more American-made goods around the world.

There was "no excuse for inaction," he said. 

"After all, America voted for divided government, not dysfunctional government, and we've got work to do," Obama pointed out.

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