La. congressman reacts to president's call - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports

La. congressman reacts to president's call for more bipartisanship

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U.S. Rep. Steve Scalise (R-Metairie) U.S. Rep. Steve Scalise (R-Metairie)

New Orleans, La. -- A newly re-elected Republican member of the state's congressional delegation believes there are areas of common ground for Democrats and Republicans after President Barack Obama's re-election victory. But there is one area he said he will not budge on.

Even as the president savored his win, what immediately confronts his second term is an avalanche of challenges.

"We are not as divided as our politics suggest," President Obama said during his victory speech early Wednesday morning.

The president's speech had areas of similarity to the concession speech by unsuccessful challenger Mitt Romney. Both spoke of the need for bipartisanship in Washington.

"At a time like this, we can't risk partisan bickering and political posturing. Our leaders have to reach across the aisle to do the people's work," said Romney in his nationally televised speech.

The president promised to work with congressional Republicans and others to get things done for the good of the American people.

"In the weeks ahead, I also look forward to sitting down with Governor Romney to talk about where we can work together to move this country forward," Obama said.

"It is kind of unusual.  You don't normally meet with your opponent right after you defeat them," said UNO political scientist Ed Chervenak.

But Chervenak said a willingness to work together is a must, given the nation's problems.  "People want them to sit down and compromise and come up with solutions," Chervenak said.

Facing the president and the Congress is the threat of the so called "fiscal cliff." Unless a deal is struck, the Bush-era tax cuts will expire at the end of the year for all Americans who pay taxes.  Additionally, across-the-board spending cuts to defense spending and domestic programs will kick in.

"We're going to have to work together and I think there's a lot of common ground," said Congressman Steve Scalise, R-Metairie.

Scalise took part in a conference call with House Speaker John Boehner Wednesday afternoon.

The president campaigned on a platform which calls for tax increases for the rich to drive down the ballooning national deficit.  Scalise is standing firm against that idea.

"We've seen throughout history that raising taxes does not help to control spending in Washington. The problem in Washington is that we're spending too much money," Scalise said.

"Both revenue increases and entitlement cuts have to be on the table," stated Chervenak.

"What we need to focus on is how do we grow the economy, how do we create jobs, and that brings in new revenue," insisted Scalise.

Chervenak said President Obama will not have long to begin showing that he is making some progress on the nation's most serious problems.  "The president's got a short period of time, he's got a little bit of honeymoon period, and so he's got to spend those political credits wisely," Chervenak said.

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