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Congressman Dent's Statement on President Obama's Meeting with the Republican Conference

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I'm pleased that President Obama met with the House Republican Conference this Wednesday. It's hard to say what will come of this meeting. Some may say it is part of what the press corps is calling a "charm offensive." Perhaps it is, but that misses the point.

The legislative process is the result of two sides communicating with each other, and to the President's credit, he was willing to do that.

I disagree with President Obama on fiscal policy. The President must assert greater leadership in dealing with the enormous fiscal challenges facing our country. The President has stated that balancing the budget is not a priority. He believes in an economic model that focuses on government spending to grow the economy with little admitted concern about government deficits and their impact on private sector job growth.

I believe that unrestrained spending and excessive debt will not lead to a healthy national economy and it will put at risk important programs like Medicare.

Here's a newsflash -- neither one of us is evil, rotten, or willfully trying to harm seniors because we have a different philosophy on how to grow the economy.

I'm not going to back down on what I believe is best for the country and I know that President Obama won't either. What I am willing to do is work with President Obama to find areas where our beliefs on what is good for the country connect. For example, at the conclusion of our meeting, I conveyed to the President my interest in working with him on expanding trade opportunities with Europe. He said he agreed and that we should work together on that issue.

Moreover, I believe in making the Tax Code fairer, flatter and simpler. If the President wants to eliminate tax loopholes as part of comprehensive tax reform, I'll roll up my sleeves and bring the coffee.

If President Obama is willing to work together with me and like-minded people from both parties on areas of agreement, then we can accomplish something good for our Country. Building relationships between the President and the House are essential to legislative progress.

I hope Wednesday's meeting represents a new beginning.


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