While U.S. House Republicans celebrated passage of a dramatically slimmed down federal budget on Saturday, President Obama called for continued investment in math and science education as well as partnerships with private firms willing to help workers develop new skills.
"If we want to win the global competition for new jobs and industries, we'e got to win the global competition to educate our people," the president said in his weekly address. "We've got to have the best trained, best skilled workforce in the world. That's how we'll ensure that the next Intel, the next Google, or the next Microsoft is created in America, and hires American workers."
Obama actually recorded his remarks Friday just outside of Portland, Ore., where he toured Intel Corp. He said the pioneerng digital company is making a 10-year commitment to upgrade math and science education, in part by helping classroom teachers improve their skills.
"Companies like Intel are proving that we can compete -- that instead of just being a nation that buys what's made overseas, we can make things in America and sell them around the globe," he said. "Winning the global competition depends on the ingenuity and creativity of our private sector ... But it's also going to depend on what we do as a nation to make America the best place on earth to do business."
Obama said education remains a top priority for the federal government. In his 2012 budget, he calls for more spending on research and development, improving high-speed Internet connections and incentives for school excellence.
"These have been a few tough years for our country. And in tough times, it's' natural to question what the future holds..." he said. But "we are poised to lead in this new century -- and not just because of the good work that large companies like Intel are doing. All across America, there are innovators and entrepreneurs who are trying to start the next Intel, or just get a small business of their own off the ground."
Republicans, in their weekly talk, said Obama's new budget avoids facing up to spending controls on big ticket items, such as Social Security and Medicare. After bidding to cut nearly $61 billion from current spending, Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.) said the GOP will focus on saving retirement and health programs "for current and future generations of Americans and on getting our debt under control and our economy growing." The House-approved 2011 budget, extending through Sept. 30, must still pass the Senate.
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