President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama being interviewed by Barbara Walters for ABC’s 20/20, airing Nov. 29, 2013.
Posted by bonniekgoodman on December 9, 2013
Source: WH, 12-4-13
Posted by bonniekgoodman on December 4, 2013
Source: WH, 11-23-13
Remarks for President Barack Obama
The White House
November 23, 2013
Hi, everybody. Over the past couple months, most of the political headlines you’ve read have probably been about the government shutdown and the launch of the Affordable Care Act. And I know that many of you have rightly never been more frustrated with Washington.
But if you look beyond those headlines, there are some good things happening in our economy. And that’s been my top priority since the day I walked into the Oval Office.
After decades in which the middle class was working harder and harder just to keep up, and a punishing recession that made it worse, we made the tough choices required not just to recover from crisis, but to rebuild on a new foundation for stronger, more durable economic growth.
Five years later, we have fought our way back. Our businesses have created 7.8 million new jobs in the past 44 months. Another 200,000 Americans went back to work last month.
The American auto industry has come roaring back with more than 350,000 new jobs – jobs churning out and selling the high-tech, fuel-efficient cars the world wants to buy. And they’re leading the charge in a manufacturing sector that has added jobs for the first time since the 1990s – a big reason why our businesses sell more goods and services “Made in America” than ever before.
We decided to reverse our addiction to foreign oil. And today, we generate more renewable energy than ever, more natural gas than anybody, and for the first time in nearly 20 years, America now produces more oil than we buy from other countries.
We decided to fix a broken health care system. And even though the rollout of the marketplace where you can buy affordable plans has been rough, so far, about 500,000 Americans are poised to gain health coverage starting January 1st. And by the way, health care costs are growing at the slowest rate in 50 years.
And one more thing: since I took office, we’ve cut our deficits by more than half. And that makes it easier to invest in the things that create jobs – education, research, and infrastructure.
Imagine how much farther along we could be if both parties were working together. Think about what we could do if a reckless few didn’t hold the economy hostage every few months, or waste time on dozens of votes to repeal the Affordable Care Act rather than try to help us fix it.
In the weeks ahead, I’ll keep talking about my plan to build a better bargain for the middle class. Good jobs. A good education. A chance to buy a home, save, and retire. And yes, the financial security of affordable health care. And I’ll look for any willing partners who want to help.
Because of your hard work and tough sacrifices over the past five years, we’re pointed in the right direction. But we’ve got more work to do to keep moving that way. And as long as I’m President, I’ll keep doing everything I can to create jobs, grow the economy, and make sure that everyone who works hard has a chance to get ahead. Thanks, and have a great weekend.
Posted by bonniekgoodman on November 23, 2013
Posted by bonniekgoodman on November 16, 2013
Source: WH, 11-14-13
ArcelorMittal Cleveland Steel Factory
3:38 P.M. EST
THE PRESIDENT: Hello, Ohio! (Applause.) It is good to be back in Cleveland. The last time I was here was about a year ago, in the final days of the campaign. I know how much you miss hearing how I approve this message every night on your TV. (Laughter.) I will say it is nice to be here when the only real battle for Ohio is the Browns-Bengals game this Sunday. (Applause.) He’s got the Browns shirt right here, Browns cap. (Laughter.)
I want to thank Scotty for that terrific introduction. Give him a big round of applause. (Applause.) He is a natural. I want to thank your CEO, Lakshmi Mittal, for investing in America and the Cleveland area. We appreciate him. (Applause.) And I want to thank all of you for having me here today.
Along with me, there are a couple of people I just want to acknowledge. First of all, America’s Secretary of Energy, Ernie Moniz, is here. Right there. (Applause.) And Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur is here. Give Marcy a big round of applause. (Applause.) Fighting for working people every day.
And earlier this afternoon I had a chance to see your mayor, Frank Jackson; your county executive, Ed FitzGerald. And even though they’re not here, I want to thank them for the great work they’re doing on behalf of working people throughout the region. (Applause.)
And then, finally, I want to thank Mark and Gary for showing me one of the biggest steel plants in America. And they told me that folks are proud to have been making steel right here for a century — 100 years — right here. (Applause.) And they explained that, today, the steel you make in Cleveland is some of the strongest you’ll find anywhere in the world. It’s one of the most productive plants in the world. Best workers in the world. (Applause.)
And what’s remarkable is, when you think about it, go back to where this plant was just a few years ago. The economy was in free fall, auto industry on the brink of collapse. And that meant demand for steel had dried up. The blast furnaces went quiet. About 1,200 steelworkers punched out for what might have been the last time. And that all came at the end of a decade when the middle class was already working harder and harder just to get by, and nearly one in three American manufacturing jobs had vanished — a lot of them going overseas. And that could have devastated this community for good.
But we rolled up our sleeves, we made some tough choices. We rescued and retooled the American auto industry; it saved more than a million jobs. We bet on American ingenuity and American workers. (Applause.) And assembly lines started humming again, and automakers started to make cars again. And just a few months after this plant shut down, your plant manager got the call: Fire those furnaces back up, get those workers back on the job. And over the last four years, you’ve made yourselves one of the most productive steel mills not just in America, but in the world. In the world. (Applause.)
So you retooled to make the stronger steel that goes into newer, better American cars and trucks. You created new partnerships with schools and community colleges to make sure that folks who work here have the high-tech skills they need for the high-tech jobs — because I was looking around this factory, and there’s a whole bunch of computer stuff going on.
One of your engineers — and I want to make sure I get Margaret’s name right here — Margaret Krolikowski. Did I get that right, Margaret? (Applause.) Where’s Margaret? Where is she? There is she is, back there. So I’m going to quote you — I’m going to quote you. Here’s what Margaret said: “When we came back, we wanted to make sure we were in a position where we never shut down again.” Never shut down again. And that means making sure that workers here are constantly upgrading their skills and investments being made in the state-of-the-art technology.
And it was interesting, when I was meeting a number of the folks who were giving me the tour — folks who have been here 30 years, 40 years — but obviously the plant has changed, and so during that period they’ve had to upgrade their skills. And that’s what’s happened. And the story of this plant is the story of America over the last five years. We haven’t just been recovering from a crisis. What we’ve been trying to do is rebuild a new foundation for growth and prosperity to protect ourselves from future crises. And because of the grit and resilience and optimism of the American people, we’re seeing comeback stories like yours all across America.
Over the last 44 months, our businesses have created 7.8 million new jobs. Last month, another 200,000 Americans went back to work. (Applause.) And a lot of those jobs are in manufacturing. So now we’ve got more work to do to get those engines of the economy churning even faster. But because we’ve been willing to do some hard things, not just kick the can down the road, factories are reopening their doors, businesses are hiring new workers, companies that were shipping jobs overseas, they’re starting to talk about bringing those jobs back to America. We’re starting to see that.
And let me give you an example, because we were talking about this — Mr. Mittal and others were talking about what’s different now. Take a look at what we’ve done with American energy. For years, folks have talked about reducing our dependence on foreign oil — but we didn’t really do it. And we were just importing more and more oil, sending more and more money overseas. Gas prices keep on going up and up and up. We finally decided we were going to do something about it.
So we invested in new American technologies to reverse our addiction to foreign oil, double wind power, double solar power, produce more oil, produce more natural gas, and do it all in a way that is actually bringing down some of our pollution, making our entire economy more energy-efficient. Today, we generate more renewable energy than ever. We produce more natural gas than anybody in the world. Just yesterday, we learned that for the first time since 1995, the United States of America produces more of our own oil here at home than we buy from other countries. First time since 1995. (Applause.) And that’s a big deal. That’s what America has done these past five years.
And that is a huge competitive advantage for us. Part of the reason companies now want to move — we were just talking about it — this plant, if it’s located in Germany, energy costs are double, maybe triple; same in Japan. So this gives us a big edge. But this is also important: We reached the milestone not just because we’re producing more energy, but also we’re wasting less energy. And this plant is a good example of it. We set new fuel standards that double the distance our cars and trucks go on a gallon of gas by the middle of the next decade. That saves the average driver, everybody here, more than $8,000 at the pump over the life of a new car. You like that? (Applause.) We launched initiatives to put people to work upgrading our homes, and our businesses, and our factories so we’re wasting less energy. All that saves businesses money on their energy bills. Your plant is one of the hundreds to answer that call. And if you’re saving money on energy costs, that means you can invest in equipment, invest in workers, hire more people, produce more products.
And here’s another thing: Between more clean energy, less wasted energy, the carbon pollution that’s helping to warm the planet, that actually starts going down. And that’s good news for anybody who cares about leaving a planet to our kids that is as beautiful as the one we got from our parents and our grandparents. (Applause.) So it’s a win-win. Our economy keeps growing, creating new jobs, which means that strengthening our energy security and increasing energy efficiency doesn’t have to be a choice between the environment and the economy — we can do both.
So we’ve tackled the way we use energy. That’s making America more competitive in order to attract good jobs. We’ve also tackled our deficits. A lot of people have been concerned about deficits. Since I took office, we cut them in half. That makes America more attractive when it comes to business investment decisions.
And we’ve tackled a broken health care system. Obviously, we’re not done yet. (Applause.) Obviously, we’re not done yet. But over the last three years, health care costs have grown at the slowest pace on record. And this is a great place to work thanks to a great steelworkers union and cooperation between management and labor. (Applause.) But just keep in mind that if businesses’ health care costs are growing at about one-third the rate that they were a decade ago, that makes America a more affordable place to do business, and it also means that the investors here, if they’re putting less money into health care costs, they can put more money in terms of hiring more workers and making sure that they’re getting good pay.
So that’s what all these tough decisions are about: Reversing the forces that have hurt the middle class for a long, long time, and building an economy where anybody, if you work hard, you can get ahead. That’s what plants like this have always been about. It’s not that it’s easy work. But it means if you work hard, you’ve got a chance to buy a home, you’ve got a chance to retire, you’ve got a chance to send your kids to school, you have a chance to maybe take a little vacation once in a while. That’s what people strive for. And that’s what will make the 21st century an American century, just like the last century was.
But I didn’t run for President to go back to where we were. I want us to go forward. I want us to go towards the future. (Applause.) I want us to get us to where we need to be. I want to solve problems, not just put them off. I want to solve problems. And we’ve got to do more to create more good, middle-class jobs like the ones folks have here.
That means we’ve got to do everything we can to prepare our children and our workers for the competition that they’re going to face. We should be doing everything we can to help put some sort of advanced education within reach for more young people. Not everybody has got to go to a four-year college, but just looking at the equipment around here, you’ve got to have a little bit of advanced training. It may come through a community college or it may come through a technical school, but we’ve got to make sure you can get that education, your kids can get that education without going broke — without going broke, without going into debt. (Applause.) So we’re working on that.
Another thing we should be working on: Fixing a broken immigration system. (Applause.) When you think about this whole region, a lot of folks forget, but almost everybody who worked in that plant 100 years ago came from someplace else. And so we’ve got now a new generation of hopeful, striving immigrants; we’ve got to make sure that they come legally and that we do what we need to secure our borders, but we’ve also got to make sure that we’re providing them opportunity just like your parents, grandparents, great-grandparents received when they arrived at this plant. And that’s important. (Applause.) And, by the way, it will help our economy grow because then they’re paying taxes and helping to invest and build here in America.
We should do everything we can to revitalize American manufacturing. Manufacturing is — that’s the hub of our economy. When our manufacturing base is strong, the entire economy is strong. A lot of service jobs depend on servicing manufacturing jobs. And, typically, manufacturing jobs pay a little bit better. So that’s been a path, a ticket to the middle class. So when we make steel and cars, make them here in America, that helps. Like I said, the work may be hard but it gives you enough money to buy a home and raise a kid, retire and send your kids to school.
And those kinds of jobs also tell us something else. It’s not just how much you get in your paycheck, it’s also a sense of, “I’m making something and I’m helping to build this country.” It helps establish a sense of — that we’re invested in this country. (Applause.) It tells us what we’re worth as a community. One of your coworkers, Mike Longa — where’s Mike?
AUDIENCE MEMBER: Back here.
THE PRESIDENT: Is he back here? That’s Mike right there. Mike grew up here. His mom and dad worked at this plant. This plant helped put Mike and four brothers and/or sisters through college. And once this plant started growing again, Mike got his chance to be a steelworker here, and provide for his own two young kids. So it’s a generational thing, and I want to keep that going.
In my State of the Union address, I talked about how we created America’s first manufacturing innovation institute right here in Ohio. Marcy Kaptur has been a big proponent of this, because she knows how important manufacturing is. I want to create more of them — places where businesses are working with universities and they’re partnering to figure out what are the new manufacturing techniques that keep us at the cutting edge so that China or Germany don’t get ahead of us in terms of the equipment that’s being invested. We want to be at the cutting edge, so what we’re producing is always the best steel, it’s always the best cars. But that requires research and investment.
And your Senator, Sherrod Brown, helped us to create that first manufacturing hub in Youngstown. And he’s now leading a bipartisan effort — (applause) — he’s now leading a bipartisan effort with Senator Blunt of Missouri to move more of these manufacturing innovation hubs all across the country. And Congress should pass Sherrod’s bill. We should be doing everything we can to guarantee the next revolution in manufacturing happens right here in Cuyahoga, happens right here in Ohio, happens right here in America. (Applause.)
And let me make one last point. We have to do everything we can to make sure every American has access to quality, affordable health care, period. (Applause.) You may have read we had some problems last month with websites. I’m not happy about that. And then I had a press conference today and I said, you know what, we fumbled the ball in terms of the rollout.
But we always knew this was going to be hard. There’s a reason why folks had tried to do it for 100 years and hadn’t done it. And it’s complicated. There are a lot of players involved. The status quo is entrenched. And so, yes, there’s no question the rollout on the Affordable Care Act was much tougher than we expected. But I want everybody here to understand, I am going to see this through. (Applause.) I want millions of Americans to make sure that they’re not going broke when they get sick and they can go to a doctor when their kids get sick. And we’re not apologizing for that. We are going to get this done. (Applause.)
So we’re going to get the website working the way it’s supposed to. The plans are already out there that are affordable and people can get tax credits. We’re going to help folks whose old plans have been canceled by the insurers — many of them weren’t very good — and we’re going to make sure that they can get newer, better options.
But we’re not going to go back to the old system, because the old system was broken. And every year, thousands of Americans would get dropped from coverage or denied their medical history or exposed to financial ruin. You guys are lucky that you work at a company with a strong union that gives you good health benefits. (Applause.) But you know friends and family members who don’t have it, and you know what it’s like when they get sick. You know how scary it is for them when they get sick. Or some of them have health insurance — they think they do — and they get sick, and suddenly the insurance company says, oh, I’m sorry, you owe $50,000. That’s not covered. Or they jack up your premium so you can’t afford it because you had some sort of preexisting condition. That happens every day.
So we’re not going to let that happen. We’re not going to let folks who pay their premiums on time get jerked around. And we’re not going to walk away from the 40 million Americans without health insurance. (Applause.) We are not going to gut this law. We will fix what needs to be fixed, but we’re going to make the Affordable Care Act work. And those who say they’re opposed to it and can’t offer a solution, we’ll push back. (Applause.)
I got to give your Governor a little bit of credit. John Kasich, along with a lot of state legislators who are here today, they expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. And think about that. Just that one step means as many as 275,000 Ohioans are going to have health insurance. And it doesn’t depend on a website. That’s already happening because of the Affordable Care Act. (Applause.)
And I think it’s fair to say that the Governor didn’t do it because he just loves me so much. (Laughter.) We don’t agree on much, but he saw, well, this makes sense — why wouldn’t we do this? Why wouldn’t we make sure that hundreds of thousands of people right here in Ohio have some security? It was the right thing to do. And, by the way, if every Republican governor did what Kasich did here rather than play politics about it, you’d have another 5.4 million Americans who could get access to health care next year, regardless of what happens with the website. That’s their decision not to do it. And it’s the wrong decision. They’ve got to go ahead and sign folks up.
So the bottom line is sometimes we just have to set aside the politics and focus on what’s good for people. What’s good to grow our middle class? What’s going to help keep plans like this growing? What’s going to make sure we’re putting more people back to work? What’s going to really make a difference in terms of our kids getting a great education?
And, look, we’ve done it before. That’s the good news. The good news is that America is — look, we make mistakes. We have our differences. Our politics get screwed up sometimes. Websites don’t work sometimes. (Laughter.) But we just keep going. We didn’t become the greatest nation on Earth by accident. We did it because we did what it took to make sure our families could succeed, make sure our businesses could succeed, make sure our communities could succeed. And if you don’t believe me, listen to one of your coworkers.
So Sherrod Brown, earlier this year, brought a special guest along with him to the State of the Union address — one of your coworkers, Cookie Hall. Where’s Cookie? Is Cookie here?
AUDIENCE MEMBER: No, she’s back at the hall.
THE PRESIDENT: She’s back at the hall working. (Laughter.) Well, let me say something nice about her behind her back. (Laughter.) So Cookie said, one of — let me make sure I can find this. She said — that night she said, “If I get a chance to meet President Obama, I’ll tell him my greatest pride is in our 2012 production record at Cleveland Works. We’re the most productive steelworkers in the world.” (Applause.) More than a ton of steel produced for every single one of the workers at this plant. That’s pretty good. That’s pretty good. (Applause.)
So all of you are an example of what we do when we put our minds to it. This plant was closed for a while. We go through hard times. And a lot of our friends are still going through hard times. But when we work at it, we know we can get to a better place, and we can restore some security to a middle class that was forged in plants just like this one, and keep giving ladders of opportunity for folks who were willing to work hard to get into the middle class. That’s what I’m about. That’s what this plant is about. I’m proud to be with you.
And as long as I have the honor of being your President, I’m going to be waking up every single day thinking about how I can keep on helping folks like the ones who work in this plant. (Applause.)
God bless you. Thank you. God bless you, and God bless the United States of America. Thank you.
END 4:02 P.M. EST
Posted by bonniekgoodman on November 14, 2013
Posted by bonniekgoodman on November 10, 2013
Posted by bonniekgoodman on November 3, 2013
Posted by bonniekgoodman on October 20, 2013
Posted by bonniekgoodman on October 18, 2013
Source: WH, 10-17-13
State Dining Room
11:00 A.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT: Good morning, everybody. Please have a seat.
Well, last night, I signed legislation to reopen our government and pay America’s bills. Because Democrats and responsible Republicans came together, the first government shutdown in 17 years is now over. The first default in more than 200 years will not happen. These twin threats to our economy have now been lifted. And I want to thank those Democrats and Republicans for getting together and ultimately getting this job done.
Now, there’s been a lot of discussion lately of the politics of this shutdown. But let’s be clear: There are no winners here. These last few weeks have inflicted completely unnecessary damage on our economy. We don’t know yet the full scope of the damage, but every analyst out there believes it slowed our growth.
We know that families have gone without paychecks or services they depend on. We know that potential homebuyers have gotten fewer mortgages, and small business loans have been put on hold. We know that consumers have cut back on spending, and that half of all CEOs say that the shutdown and the threat of shutdown set back their plans to hire over the next six months. We know that just the threat of default — of America not paying all the bills that we owe on time — increased our borrowing costs, which adds to our deficit.
And, of course, we know that the American people’s frustration with what goes on in this town has never been higher. That’s not a surprise that the American people are completely fed up with Washington. At a moment when our economic recovery demands more jobs, more momentum, we’ve got yet another self-inflicted crisis that set our economy back. And for what?
There was no economic rationale for all of this. Over the past four years, our economy has been growing, our businesses have been creating jobs, and our deficits have been cut in half. We hear some members who pushed for the shutdown say they were doing it to save the American economy — but nothing has done more to undermine our economy these past three years than the kind of tactics that create these manufactured crises.
And you don’t have to take my word for it. The agency that put America’s credit rating on watch the other day explicitly cited all of this, saying that our economy “remains more dynamic and resilient” than other advanced economies, and that the only thing putting us at risk is — and I’m quoting here — “repeated brinksmanship.” That’s what the credit rating agency said. That wasn’t a political statement; that was an analysis of what’s hurting our economy by people whose job it is to analyze these things.
That also happens to be the view of our diplomats who’ve been hearing from their counterparts internationally. Some of the same folks who pushed for the shutdown and threatened default claim their actions were needed to get America back on the right track, to make sure we’re strong. But probably nothing has done more damage to America’s credibility in the world, our standing with other countries, than the spectacle that we’ve seen these past several weeks. It’s encouraged our enemies. It’s emboldened our competitors. And it’s depressed our friends who look to us for steady leadership.
Now, the good news is we’ll bounce back from this. We always do. America is the bedrock of the global economy for a reason. We are the indispensable nation that the rest of the world looks to as the safest and most reliable place to invest — something that’s made it easier for generations of Americans to invest in their own futures. We have earned that responsibility over more than two centuries because of the dynamism of our economy and our entrepreneurs, the productivity of our workers, but also because we keep our word and we meet our obligations. That’s what full faith and credit means — you can count on us.
And today, I want our people and our businesses and the rest of the world to know that the full faith and credit of the United States remains unquestioned.
But to all my friends in Congress, understand that how business is done in this town has to change. Because we’ve all got a lot of work to do on behalf of the American people — and that includes the hard work of regaining their trust. Our system of self-government doesn’t function without it. And now that the government is reopened, and this threat to our economy is removed, all of us need to stop focusing on the lobbyists and the bloggers and the talking heads on radio and the professional activists who profit from conflict, and focus on what the majority of Americans sent us here to do, and that’s grow this economy; create good jobs; strengthen the middle class; educate our kids; lay the foundation for broad-based prosperity and get our fiscal house in order for the long haul. That’s why we’re here. That should be our focus.
Now, that won’t be easy. We all know that we have divided government right now. There’s a lot of noise out there, and the pressure from the extremes affect how a lot of members of Congress see the day-to-day work that’s supposed to be done here. And let’s face it, the American people don’t see every issue the same way. But that doesn’t mean we can’t make progress. And when we disagree, we don’t have to suggest that the other side doesn’t love this country or believe in free enterprise, or all the other rhetoric that seems to get worse every single year. If we disagree on something, we can move on and focus on the things we agree on, and get some stuff done.
Let me be specific about three places where I believe we can make progress right now. First, in the coming days and weeks, we should sit down and pursue a balanced approach to a responsible budget, a budget that grows our economy faster and shrinks our long-term deficits further.
At the beginning of this year, that’s what both Democrats and Republicans committed to doing. The Senate passed a budget; House passed a budget; they were supposed to come together and negotiate. And had one side not decided to pursue a strategy of brinksmanship, each side could have gotten together and figured out, how do we shape a budget that provides certainty to businesses and people who rely on government, provides certainty to investors in our economy, and we’d be growing faster right now.
Now, the good news is the legislation I signed yesterday now requires Congress to do exactly that — what it could have been doing all along.
And we shouldn’t approach this process of creating a budget as an ideological exercise — just cutting for the sake of cutting. The issue is not growth versus fiscal responsibility — we need both. We need a budget that deals with the issues that most Americans are focused on: creating more good jobs that pay better wages.
And remember, the deficit is getting smaller, not bigger. It’s going down faster than it has in the last 50 years. The challenges we have right now are not short-term deficits; it’s the long-term obligations that we have around things like Medicare and Social Security. We want to make sure those are there for future generations.
So the key now is a budget that cuts out the things that we don’t need, closes corporate tax loopholes that don’t help create jobs, and frees up resources for the things that do help us grow — like education and infrastructure and research. And these things historically have not been partisan. And this shouldn’t be as difficult as it’s been in past years because we already spend less than we did a few years ago. Our deficits are half of what they were a few years ago. The debt problems we have now are long term, and we can address them without shortchanging our kids, or shortchanging our grandkids, or weakening the security that current generations have earned from their hard work.
So that’s number one. Number two, we should finish fixing the job of — let me say that again. Number two, we should finish the job of fixing our broken immigration system.
There’s already a broad coalition across America that’s behind this effort of comprehensive immigration reform — from business leaders to faith leaders to law enforcement. In fact, the Senate has already passed a bill with strong bipartisan support that would make the biggest commitment to border security in our history; would modernize our legal immigration system; make sure everyone plays by the same rules, makes sure that folks who came here illegally have to pay a fine, pay back taxes, meet their responsibilities. That bill has already passed the Senate. And economists estimate that if that bill becomes law, our economy would be 5 percent larger two decades from now. That’s $1.4 trillion in new economic growth.
The majority of Americans think this is the right thing to do. And it’s sitting there waiting for the House to pass it. Now, if the House has ideas on how to improve the Senate bill, let’s hear them. Let’s start the negotiations. But let’s not leave this problem to keep festering for another year, or two years, or three years. This can and should get done by the end of this year.
Number three, we should pass a farm bill, one that American farmers and ranchers can depend on; one that protects vulnerable children and adults in times of need; one that gives rural communities opportunities to grow and the long-term certainty that they deserve.
Again, the Senate has already passed a solid bipartisan bill. It’s got support from Democrats and Republicans. It’s sitting in the House waiting for passage. If House Republicans have ideas that they think would improve the farm bill, let’s see them. Let’s negotiate. What are we waiting for? Let’s get this done.
So, passing a budget; immigration reform; farm bill. Those are three specific things that would make a huge difference in our economy right now. And we could get them done by the end of the year if our focus is on what’s good for the American people. And that’s just the big stuff. There are all kinds of other things that we could be doing that don’t get as much attention.
I understand we will not suddenly agree on everything now that the cloud of crisis has passed. Democrats and Republicans are far apart on a lot of issues. And I recognize there are folks on the other side who think that my policies are misguided — that’s putting it mildly. That’s okay. That’s democracy. That’s how it works. We can debate those differences vigorously, passionately, in good faith, through the normal democratic process.
And sometimes, we’ll be just too far apart to forge an agreement. But that should not hold back our efforts in areas where we do agree. We shouldn’t fail to act on areas that we do agree or could agree just because we don’t think it’s good politics; just because the extremes in our party don’t like the word “compromise.”
I will look for willing partners wherever I can to get important work done. And there’s no good reason why we can’t govern responsibly, despite our differences, without lurching from manufactured crisis to manufactured crisis. In fact, one of the things that I hope all of us have learned these past few weeks is that it turns out smart, effective government is important. It matters. I think the American people during this shutdown had a chance to get some idea of all the things, large and small, that government does that make a difference in people’s lives.
We hear all the time about how government is the problem. Well, it turns out we rely on it in a whole lot of ways. Not only does it keep us strong through our military and our law enforcement, it plays a vital role in caring for our seniors and our veterans, educating our kids, making sure our workers are trained for the jobs that are being created, arming our businesses with the best science and technology so they can compete with companies from other countries. It plays a key role in keeping our food and our toys and our workplaces safe. It helps folks rebuild after a storm. It conserves our natural resources. It finances startups. It helps to sell our products overseas. It provides security to our diplomats abroad.
So let’s work together to make government work better, instead of treating it like an enemy or purposely making it work worse. That’s not what the founders of this nation envisioned when they gave us the gift of self-government. You don’t like a particular policy or a particular president, then argue for your position. Go out there and win an election. Push to change it. But don’t break it. Don’t break what our predecessors spent over two centuries building. That’s not being faithful to what this country is about.
And that brings me to one last point. I’ve got a simple message for all the dedicated and patriotic federal workers who’ve either worked without pay or been forced off the job without pay these past few weeks, including most of my own staff: Thank you. Thanks for your service. Welcome back. What you do is important. It matters.
You defend our country overseas. You deliver benefits to our troops who’ve earned them when they come home. You guard our borders. You protect our civil rights. You help businesses grow and gain footholds in overseas markets. You protect the air we breathe and the water our children drink. And you push the boundaries of science and space, and you guide hundreds of thousands of people each day through the glories of this country. Thank you. What you do is important. And don’t let anybody else tell you different. Especially the young people who come to this city to serve — believe that it matters. Well, you know what, you’re right. It does.
And those of us who have the privilege to serve this country have an obligation to do our job as best we can. We come from different parties, but we are Americans first. And that’s why disagreement cannot mean dysfunction. It can’t degenerate into hatred. The American people’s hopes and dreams are what matters, not ours. Our obligations are to them. Our regard for them compels us all, Democrats and Republicans, to cooperate, and compromise, and act in the best interests of our nation –- one nation, under God, indivisible with liberty and justice for all.
Thanks very much.
11:20 A.M. EDT
Posted by bonniekgoodman on October 17, 2013
Posted by bonniekgoodman on October 17, 2013
Source: WH, 10-16-13
James S. Brady Press Briefing Room
8:28 P.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT: Good evening, everybody. Tonight, the Republicans and Democrats in Congress have come together around an agreement that will reopen our government and remove the threat of default from our economy.
The Senate has now voted to approve this agreement, and Democrats and Republicans in the House still have an important vote to take, but I want to thank the leaders of both parties for getting us to this point. Once this agreement arrives on my desk, I will sign it immediately. We’ll begin reopening our government immediately, and we can begin to lift this cloud of uncertainty and unease from our businesses and from the American people.
I’ll have more to say about this tomorrow. And I’ve got some thoughts about how we can move forward in the remainder of the year and stay focused on the job at hand, because there is a lot of work ahead of us, including our need to earn back the trust of the American people that has been lost over the last few weeks. And we can begin to do that by addressing the real issues that they care about.
I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again: I am willing to work with anybody, I am eager to work with anybody — Democrat or Republican, House or Senate members — on any idea that will grow our economy, create new jobs, strengthen the middle class, and get our fiscal house in order for the long term. I’ve never believed that Democrats have a monopoly on good ideas. And despite the differences over the issue of shutting down our government, I’m convinced that Democrats and Republicans can work together to make progress for America.
In fact, there are things that we know will help strengthen our economy that we could get done before this year is out. We still need to pass a law to fix our broken immigration system. We still need to pass a farm bill. And with the shutdown behind us and budget committees forming, we now have an opportunity to focus on a sensible budget that is responsible, that is fair, and that helps hardworking people all across this country.
And we could get all these things done even this year if everybody comes together in a spirit of how are we going to move this country forward and put the last three weeks behind us. That’s what I believe the American people are looking for — not a focus on politics, not a focus on elections, but a focus on the concrete steps that can improve their lives. That’s going to be my focus. I’m looking forward to Congress doing the same.
But, once again, I want to thank the leadership for coming together and getting this done. Hopefully, next time, it won’t be in the 11th hour. One of the things that I said throughout this process is we’ve got to get out of the habit of governing by crisis. And my hope and expectation is everybody has learned that there is no reason why we can’t work on the issues at hand, why we can’t disagree between the parties while still being agreeable, and make sure that we’re not inflicting harm on the American people when we do have disagreements.
So hopefully that’s a lesson that will be internalized, not just by me but also by Democrats and Republicans, not only the leaders but also the rank and file.
Thanks very much, everybody.
Q Mr. President, isn’t this going to happen all over again in a few months?
THE PRESIDENT: No. (Laughter.)
8:31 P.M. EDT
Posted by bonniekgoodman on October 16, 2013