President Barack Obama must do more to pare back the budget deficit and cut the ballooning US national debt, which poses a "mortal threat" to the US economy, a top Republican lawmaker said on Tuesday.
"With the growing national debt posing a mortal threat to US competitiveness, now would be a good time to change course," said Republican Whip Eric Cantor, the party's number two in the House of Representatives.
Cantor, writing on the public affairs and politics publication Politico, said Obama should abandon his ambitious push to remake US health care and hit the president over rising unemployment despite a giant stimulus package.
"Racking up massive deficits is troublesome enough. Doing it without creating jobs and strengthening the economy is a national disgrace," said the lawmaker, whose home state is Virginia.
"The mushrooming federal debt poses a grave danger to America's prosperity, threatening to plunge our economy and future generations into the abyss of stagnant growth and national decline," he said.
Obama has repeatedly underlined that he inherited a catastrophic economic picture from predecessor George W. Bush's era, and accused Republicans of embracing policies that helped fuel the global financial meltdown.
Cantor acknowledged that Republicans, who controlled the US Congress for most of Bush's eight years in the White House, had sometimes "spent too much and made mistakes."
"Lawmakers must start to govern like adults and be honest about the limits we face," said Cantor.
Copyright AFP 2008, AFP stories and photos shall not be published, broadcast, rewritten for broadcast or publication or redistributed directly or indirectly in any medium