WASHINGTON (AP) - President Barack Obama says the nation must make the "hard choices" to reduce the cost of health care and the size of the deficit.
But the president said every citizen deserves a basic measure of security and dignity, and he held up Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security as commitments that strengthen America.
Speaking in his inaugural address at the U.S. Capitol Monday, Obama said he rejected the belief that the country must choose between caring for the generation that built the country - or investing in the generation that will build the future.
Struggles with Republicans over reducing the deficit and paring back costly entitlement programs loom for Obama in his second term.
"Later this morning, President Obama will take the oath of office beginning his second term as President of the United States. Earlier this month, on January 3rd, the members of the 113th Congress were sworn in. Just like the American people rehired President Obama, they rehired a Republican majority in the House of Representatives. America faces serious and growing fiscal challenges. The President has a renewed opportunity to do what he chose not to do during his first term; to compromise with Congress for the well-being of the American people. I hope the President will seize this opportunity to work with Congress; rather than continuing to view Congress as an inconvenient obstacle. With a $16 trillion national debt and an economy that continues to struggle, the stakes are too high for the President to continue being the leader of only those who voted for him."
- OH Congressman, Bill Johnson(R)