Full Text Obama Presidency July 1, 2014: President Barack Obama’s Remarks Before Cabinet Meeting

POLITICAL TRANSCRIPTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

Remarks by the President Before Cabinet Meeting

Source: WH, 7-1-14

Cabinet Room

11:04 A.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT:  I thought I’d get the Cabinet together this morning because we all know that America will be busy this afternoon.  (Laughter.)  Go, Team USA.

About the halfway point through this year, we can look back and see some enormous progress that we’ve been able to make on the economy.  We continue to create jobs with over 9.4 million created over the last several years.  We’re continuing to see improvement in the housing market.  We’re continuing to see real progress in terms of the energy sectors.  But what we also know is, is that there’s so much more that’s possible.

And part of the reason that I wanted to bring the Cabinet together today is to underscore for them my belief I think shared by most Americans that we can’t wait for Congress to actually get going on issues that are vital to the middle class.

We’ve already seen the power of some of our executive actions in making a real difference for ordinary families — whether it’s on minimum wage for federal workers — or for workers who are with federal contractors; equal pay; and the terrific work that’s being done around climate change so we’re transitioning to a clean-energy economy.

But what I’m going to be urging all of you to do, and what I’m going to be continually pushing throughout this year and for the next couple of years is that if Congress can’t act on core issues that would actually make a difference in helping middle-class families get ahead, then we’re going to have to be creative about how we can make real progress.

Keep in mind that my preference is always going to be to work with Congress and to actually get legislation done.  That’s how we get some more of the permanent fixes.  And as I mentioned yesterday with respect to immigration, whatever we do administratively is not going to be sufficient to solve a broken immigration system.

The same is true when it comes to infrastructure.  We’ll be talking a little bit about how we need to renew the Highway Trust Fund.  But, more importantly, we could potentially put people to work all across the country, rebuilding roads and bridges, putting construction workers back to work.  That could boost our economy enormously.  And now is the time to do it, but that requires congressional action.

And so we’re always going to prefer working on a bipartisan basis to get things done.  That’s what folks expect out of Washington.  They’re not looking for excuses and they’re not looking for a lot of partisan sniping.  But if Congress is unable to do it, then all of our Cabinet members here — and the head of big agencies that touch people’s live in all sorts of ways — and I’m going to be continuing looking for ways in which we can show some real progress.

And the second topic that we’re going to be spending a lot of time talking about is how to do we continue to improve the functioning of government to make it more customer-friendly.  This is something that we’ve been working on since Sylvia was head of OMB.  This is something that Shaun will be prioritizing.  I expect every agency to look and see how can we get more bang for the buck in the agencies that we operate.  And I know that many of you can report some significant progress in reducing paperwork and bureaucracy and red tape for projects and initiatives around the country in education, in energy, in housing and in transportation.  But I think we can do even better.

So I’m looking forward to getting a report from you on the progress that has been made.  And hopefully we can share some ideas to see if we can make even more progress.

The bottom line is this:  I went to Minnesota — many of the press here accompanied me — and had a wonderful conversation with folks around the country who are doing their jobs every single day — raising families, working hard, contributing to their communities.  And their hopes and aspirations are my primary focus and should be the primary focus of this town.  They are extraordinarily cynical about Washington right now, and rightfully so.  They just don’t see any capacity by Congress to do anything.  We’ve seen a Congress that said no to increasing the minimum wage; said no to immigration reform; has said no to equal pay legislation.  The only thing they seem to say yes to, the Republican in the House at least, is more tax breaks for folks at the top.  And as a consequence, the people who sent us here, they just don’t feel as if anybody is fighting for them and working for them.

We’re not always going to be able to get things through Congress, at least this Congress, the way we want to.  But we sure as heck can make sure that the folks back home know that we’re pushing their agenda and that we’re working hard on their behalf and we’re doing every single thing we can do to make a difference in their lives.  So I want to make sure that we emphasize not what we can’t do, but what we can do in the coming months.
Thank you very much, everybody.

END
11:10 A.M. EDT

Full Text Obama Presidency March 4, 2013: President Barack Obama’s Remarks Before at First Cabinet Meeting of Second Term Discusses the Sequester

POLITICAL BUZZ


OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

Remarks by the President Before a Cabinet Meeting

Source: WH, 3-4-13 

Cabinet Room

1:08 P.M. EST

THE PRESIDENT:  Well, this is my 17th meeting with my Cabinet; the first one in a second term.  And, obviously, we’ve got some familiar faces, we have some new faces, we have some familiar faces in new positions.  I want to make sure that I say thank you to all of you for the work that you’ve already done and the work that you’re going to be doing.

I want to welcome Jack Lew, former Chief of Staff and OMB Director, and now Secretary of the Treasury.  We’re thrilled to have him in that position.  I want to welcome Mr. Chuck Hagel, who’s in the position of Secretary of Defense.  And to all of you, I appreciate everything that you’ve done.

Obviously, we’re going to be spending some time talking about the potential impact of the sequester on all the agencies and missions across the board.  It is an area of deep concern and I think everybody knows where I stand on this issue.  We are going to manage it as best we can, try to minimize the impacts on American families, but it’s not the right way for us to go about deficit reduction.

It makes sense for us to take a balanced approach that takes a long view and doesn’t reduce our commitment to things like education and basic research that will help us grow over the long term.  And so I will continue to seek out partners on the other side of the aisle so that we can create the kind of balanced approach of spending cuts, revenues, entitlement reform that everybody knows is the right way to do things.

In the meantime, we’re going to do our best to make sure that our agencies have the support they need to try to make some very difficult decisions, understanding that there are going to be families and communities that are hurt, and that this will slow our growth.  It will mean lower employment in the United States than otherwise would have been.

But we can manage through it, and we’re going to rely on the outstanding leadership of all these agencies to make sure that we do whatever it is that we need to get done to help America’s families.

Now, my agenda obviously is broader than just the sequester, because I laid out both in the inauguration and during the State of the Union a very robust agenda to make sure that we’re doing everything we can to grow this economy and to help families thrive and expand their opportunities.  We want to make sure we’ve got a growing middle class and more ladders of opportunity into the middle class.

So in addition to talking about budget issues, we’re also going to spend some time talking about making sure that we have comprehensive immigration reform done.  And I want to again thank members of Congress who on a bipartisan basis are moving forward on that agenda.  We’re going to have the opportunity to talk about initiatives like early childhood education that can have an enormous impact on our kids and, ultimately, our growth and productivity.  We’ll have a chance to hear from Joe and other members of the Cabinet about progress in reducing gun violence in this country.

So one of the things that I’ve instructed not just my White House but every agency is to make sure that, regardless of some of the challenges that they may face because of sequestration, we’re not going to stop working on behalf of the American people to make sure that we’re doing everything we can to continue to grow this economy and improve people’s prospects.

Thank you very much, everybody.

END
1:12 P.M. EST

Political Headlines March 4, 2013: President Barack Obama Vows at Cabinet Meeting to Manage Sequester ‘As Best We Can’

POLITICAL HEADLINES

http://historymusings.files.wordpress.com/2012/06/pol_headlines.jpg?w=600

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

THE HEADLINES….

Obama Vows to Manage Sequester ‘As Best We Can’

Source: ABC News Radio, 3-4-13

BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/GettyImages

President Obama on Monday vowed to continue working with Republicans to develop a long-term deficit reduction plan, while making clear the sequester will not prevent him from pursuing his broader second-term agenda.

“I will continue to seek out partners on the other side of the aisle so that we can create the kind of balanced approach of spending cuts, revenues, entitlement reform that everybody knows is the right way to do things,” Obama told reporters at the first Cabinet meeting of his second term….READ MORE

Political Headlines January 24, 2013: John Kerry Tears Up During His Secretary of State Senate Confirmation Hearing

POLITICAL HEADLINES

http://historymusings.files.wordpress.com/2012/06/pol_headlines.jpg?w=600

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

THE HEADLINES….

John Kerry Tears Up During His Confirmation Hearing

Source: ABC News Radio, 1-24-13

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza

First there were near-tears, and then a protester had to be forced out, but Sen. John Kerry took it all in stride.

Kerry choked up at his secretary of state confirmation hearings Thursday morning when discussing his father’s history in the U.S. Foreign Service, and how he was “equally proud” of both that history and his own as part of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

“If you confirm me, I would take office as secretary proud that the Senate is in my blood, but equally proud that so, too, is the Foreign Service,” the Massachusetts Democrat told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in Washington….READ MORE

Full Text Obama Presidency November 28, 2012: President Barack Obama’s Remarks at First Cabinet Meeting Since Presidential Election

POLITICAL BUZZ

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

President Obama Holds a Cabinet Meeting

Source: WH, 11-28-12

President Barack Obama holds a Cabinet meeting in the Cabinet RoomPresident Barack Obama holds a Cabinet meeting in the Cabinet Room of the White House, Nov. 28, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Today, President Obama held his first full Cabinet meeting since the election took place.

He first thanked Cabinet members for doing “a remarkable job on behalf of the American people, across the board, on a range of issues” including growing our economy, putting people back to work, and keeping Americans safe around the world.

But there’s still much work to be done, he reminded them. In today’s meeting, President Obama said the Cabinet would discuss efforts to help communities recover and rebuild after Hurricane Sandy, as well as something that’s on the minds of many American families across the country: making sure taxes on the middle class don’t go up.

There is no reason why taxes on middle-class families should go up. It would be bad for the economy.  It would be bad for those families. In fact, it would be bad for the world economy. And so I think it’s very important that we get that resolved, and I am very open to a fair and balanced approach to reduce our deficit and provide the kind of certainty that businesses and consumers need so that we can keep this recovery going.

Earlier in the day, President Obama called on Americans to make their voices heard about how a $2,000 tax increase in 2013 would impact their family by visiting WH.gov/My2K, using the hashtag #My2K on Twitter, or speaking out on Facebook.

Watch his full remarks at the Cabinet meeting below:

Remarks by the President at a Cabinet Meeting

The Cabinet Room

3:11 P.M. EST

THE PRESIDENT: Hello, everybody. Is that brighter than usual? (Laughter.) Yes, that’s serious.

Well, listen, this is a wonderful opportunity for me to meet with my full Cabinet for the first time since the election took place. The primary purpose from my perspective is to say thank you, because everybody here, in their respective agencies, has done a remarkable job on behalf of the American people, across the board on a wide range of issues. They’ve always prioritized how do we make sure that we have a strong middle class, how do we grow our economy, how do we put people back to work, and how do we keep the American people safe and continue to extend our influence and our ideals around the world. And I could not have a better collection of people, many of whom have stayed here throughout my first term. And I think we’ve had as little turnover as any President during the course of a first term, and the reason is because everybody has done such a remarkable job.

So my main purpose is to say thank you to them, but also to remind them that we’ve got a lot of work to do. There are going to be a few specific issues that we spend a lot of time on. One in particular that I should note is that the devastating impact of Hurricane Sandy is still being felt by families all across New York and New Jersey, parts of Connecticut. We are very pleased that under the leadership initially of Janet Napolitano and FEMA, but now Shaun Donovan, who’s heading up a task force, we’re focusing not only on recovery, but now on rebuilding and making sure those communities come back stronger than ever and people get the help that they need. So that will be an important topic because it’s really going to be an interagency concern.

The second thing that we’ll be talking about, obviously, is what’s on the minds of a lot of American families across the country, and that is making sure that we’ve got this fiscal cliff dealt with and that middle-class taxes don’t go up. I already spoke extensively about that today. I’ll just repeat: There is no reason why taxes on middle-class families should go up. It would be bad for the economy. It would be bad for those families. In fact, it would be bad for the world economy. And so I think it’s very important that we get that resolved, and I am very open to a fair and balanced approach to reduce our deficit and provide the kind of certainty that businesses and consumers need so that we can keep this recovery going.

And obviously, we’ll be spending some time talking about national security issues as well.

But I just want to say thank you to this extraordinary Cabinet for a job well done. And I will take this opportunity to publicly embarrass two members of the Cabinet whose birthdays are either today or tomorrow: Ric Shinseki, who is the Department of Veterans Affairs. Happy birthday to you. And that is actually today. (Applause.) And Janet Napolitano’s birthday is tomorrow. (Applause.)

All right, guys. Thank you. We want to get back to work.

Q Mr. President, do you think the Hill is being fair to Susan Rice in its meetings?

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you so much guys.

Q Any thoughts on that at all?

THE PRESIDENT: Susan Rice is extraordinary. I couldn’t be prouder of the job that she’s done as the USPR. (Applause.)
END
3:15 P.M. EST

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