Delivering the Weekly Republican Address, Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) shares a Thanksgiving message focused on the importance of service and optimism at a time of great fiscal and economic challenges.  “That’s why,” McMorris Rodgers says, “Republicans have reached out to President Obama in the hope of working together to help our economy grow and solve the debt that threatens our children’s future.”  With the fiscal cliff approaching, “Republicans believe this is an opportunity to finally solve problems that Washington has ignored for too long, whether it’s a tax code that’s too costly and complicated or entitlement programs that are on the path to bankruptcy."  Rep. McMorris Rodgers was recently elected chairman of the House Republican Conference.

NOTE: The Weekly Republican Address is embargoed until 6:00 a.m. ET, Thursday, November 22, 2012.  The audio is available here, and video of the address will be available here to view and here to download.   A full transcript follows.

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“Hello and Happy Thanksgiving. I’m Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers from Washington State.

“Though the Thanksgiving story began long before our founding, the holiday itself started in 1863, when President Lincoln gave thanks for ‘the gracious gifts of the Most High God,’ first among them being freedom.  He invited Americans to mark a day of Thanksgiving so that these gifts could be ‘solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged with one heart and one voice by the whole American People.’ 

“To think that Lincoln, at the height of the Civil War, could look ahead and see a future of peace and unity – it’s an inspiring reminder of how truly blessed we are.

“This is certainly a time of testing for our country.  A hard-fought campaign has just come to a close. Far too many Americans remain out of work.  Our national debt exceeds the size of the economy and threatens to derail our children’s future.  As a mother of two young children, this is a constant worry, as is the cost of gas and groceries.

“Yet today, we will honor the Thanksgiving tradition with wishes of peace and grace.  We’ll pray for those less fortunate.  We’ll think of servicemembers away from home, and give thanks for them and their families.  Our hearts will go out to families still without power after Hurricane Sandy.  We’ll look ahead to the holidays and a new year. 

“The same spirit of service and optimism that brings us together today should inspire us all year round.

“That’s why, here in Washington, DC, Republicans have reached out to President Obama in the hope of working together to help our economy grow and solve the debt that threatens our children’s future.

“The clock is ticking.  A little more than a month from now, unless Congress and the President take action, the current tax rates will expire and we will experience the largest tax increase in U.S. history.  At a time of so much economic suffering, raising taxes would have a devastating impact on small businesses and our economy.  We can’t let this happen. 

“Republicans believe this is an opportunity to finally solve problems that Washington has ignored for too long, whether it’s a tax code that’s too costly and complicated or entitlement programs that are on the path to bankruptcy.  No more short-term band-aids or shopworn excuses.  We can do this right. 

“We can pass on to our children an economy of growth and opportunity, and a government that empowers small businesses and stays out of their way.  We can pass on a country in which everyone has a shot at the American Dream.

“Republicans are ready and eager to get to work, and we hope President Obama is as well.  Because America is a country whose people can do anything, and whose leaders can envision a limitless future. 

“Today, as you join friends and family, be sure to celebrate just as Lincoln did, with a determined spirit and a hopeful heart.  Centuries on, Americans still have so many ‘gracious gifts ‘for which to be thankful.”