OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:
OP-EDS & ARTICLES
- November 25, 2013
Posted by bonniekgoodman on November 25, 2013
Posted by bonniekgoodman on November 14, 2013
Posted by bonniekgoodman on October 29, 2013
Source: ABC News, 2-5-13
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) speaks at the American Enterprise Institute, on February 5, 2013 in Washington, DC. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor attempted to project a softer Republican tone on immigration during a speech at the American Enterprise Institute on Tuesday, but indicated there is a ways to go until Republicans and Democrats agree on an overhaul of the nation’s immigration laws.
Cantor, the second-ranking House Republican, endorsed a path to citizenship for DREAMers, the undocumented young people brought to the United States as children. House Republicans helped sink the DREAM Act, which would have granted a path to citizenship to DREAMers seeking a college education or military service, in 2010….READ MORE
Posted by bonniekgoodman on February 5, 2013
Source: WaPo, 2-5-13
Today, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor delivered remarks at the American Enterprise Institute “outlining a number of major policy initiatives designed to ‘Make Life Work’ for more people.” Cantor’s speech, as prepared for delivery, appears below. Wonkblog will have more analysis of the policies shortly.
In Washington, over the past few weeks and months, our attention has been on cliffs, debt ceilings and budgets, on deadlines and negotiations. All of this is very important, as there is no substitute for getting our fiscal house in order. There is no greater moral imperative than to reduce the mountain of debt facing us, our children and theirs. The House Republican Majority stands ready for President Obama and his party to finally join us in our efforts to tackle the big problems facing America.
But today, I’d like to focus our attention on what lies beyond these fiscal debates. Over the next two years, the House majority will pursue an agenda based on a shared vision of creating the conditions for health, happiness and prosperity for more Americans and their families. And to restrain Washington from interfering in those pursuits.
We will advance proposals aimed at producing results in areas like education, health care, innovation and job growth. Our solutions will be based on the conservative principles of self-reliance, faith in the individual, trust in the family and accountability in government. Our goal – to ensure every American has a fair shot at earning their success and achieving their dreams.
It is my hope that I can stand before you in two years and report back that our side, as well as the president’s, found within us the ability to set differences aside, to provide relief to so many millions of Americans who simply want their life to work again.
In so many countries throughout history, children were largely consigned to the same station in life as their parents. But not here. In America, the son of a shoe salesman can grow up to be president. In America, the daughter of a poor single mother can grow up to own her own television network. In America, the grandson of poor immigrants who fled religious persecution in Russia can become the Majority Leader of the U.S. House of Representatives.
In America, in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, two bicycle shop mechanics gave mankind the gift of flight. The Wright brothers flew only 22 feet, 18 feet in the air, but they performed a miracle. As a result, only 66 years later, this great country of ours put a man on the moon and brought him back. We can do an enormous amount. That’s who we are.
The Wright brothers’ father, Milton, first inspired his sons with a toy helicopter. But he never wanted Orville and Wilbur to fly together, for fear he would lose them both. In 1910, seven years after the boys’ first flight, Milton gave them permission to fly together, the only time they ever did, and it lasted six minutes. Later that day, Orville took 82-year-old Milton on the only flight of his life. It lasted seven minutes, rising 350 feet, while his elderly father shouted: “Higher, Orville, higher.”
What a great commentary. In America, we do have higher expectations for our nation. Since our founding, we believed we could be the best hope to mankind. That hope led generations of immigrants to risk everything, to endure a tough journey to our shores, looking for a better future.
The driving motivation for millions of immigrants passing by Lady Liberty in New York Harbor was the generation that came after them. And because of that hope – those high expectations – coupled with a determination to see them come true, every generation since has had it better off than the one before. Until now.
Lately, it has become all too common in our country to hear parents fear whether their children will indeed have it better than they have. And for all of us parents, that is a scary thought. Let’s face it. It has gotten a lot tougher to raise a family here in America. Our goal should be to eliminate this doubt gripping our nation’s families, and to restore their hope and confidence so that parents can once again see a better tomorrow for their children.
Together, my wife Diana and I raised our three children, Evan, Jenna and Mikey, and we couldn’t be more proud of the young adults they have become. Our nest is now empty, but I understand the pressure all parents are under, and the trying times they go through.
Parents working, saving for school, paying for braces, helping with homework and going from one after-school activity to the next. It’s not easy.
That’s why we worry so much. Where can you find an affordable home in a good neighborhood to raise your kids? Which health-care plan can I afford that allows you to see your doctors? Will the children make it through high school and get into a college of their choice, and if so, can you afford it? What about a career? Will that be available to them? These are real-life concerns. This is what keeps parents awake at night fearful that life won’t work out the way they hoped.
During the last several years with the stagnant economy, too many mothers and fathers have had to come home, walk into the kitchen and tell their families they didn’t have a job anymore. How does a family like that save for a rainy day, when it just got tough to even make it through the next month?
These families are desperate to wake up in the morning and have the nightmare over. The best way to restore their hope for the future and to heal our country is by making opportunity a reality for them and everyone. This comes with a growing economy, business expansion and start-ups creating jobs.
Just like parents, Washington must start showing care for the generations ahead while leaving the parenting to the parents.
Government policy should aim to strike a balance between what is needed to advance the next generation, what we can afford, what is a federal responsibility and what is necessary to ensure our children are safe, healthy and able to reach their dreams.
Opportunity and the belief in a better tomorrow start with an education system that works. In an 1822 letter, Thomas Jefferson wrote: “I look to the diffusion of light and education as the resource to be relied on for ameliorating the condition, promoting the virtue, and advancing the happiness of man.”
With an eye toward Mr. Jefferson’s vision, since 1965, the federal government has poured hundreds of billions of dollars into improving schools in low-income areas – over $15 billion just last year. And frankly, the results have not matched the investment.
Joining us here today is Joseph Kelley and his family. A heroic Dad, Joseph worried that the public school wasn’t helping his son. Rashawn flunked the first grade, and by fifth grade was three years behind on most subjects. The school actually put him in special education classes. Joseph would try and sit in on classes in order to help Rashawn, but was met with hostility, and even had to obtain a court order so Rashawn could have a tutor.
Violence was so prevalent in Rashawn’s schools that eight D.C. police officers patrolled it on a daily basis. Mr. Kelly heard of the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program and dedicated himself to making sure Rashawn and his three sisters could gain access to a school that would put them on a path to graduation, and college – an opportunity he himself did not have.
Within two years at a private school, Rashawn caught up to his classmates, and is now a student at the University of the District of Columbia. And his sisters, Domonique, Shakeyta and Rhunetta, are attending the Preparatory School of D.C. and are on a similar path to opportunity.
I visited this school yesterday, and it is impressive. The kids are in a safe environment, with great teachers, terrific administrators, small class sizes and a mission that every kid succeeds.
No one should deny Rashawn and his sisters this opportunity. Joseph Kelley, nor any parent, should have to wait for failing school systems to get their acts together. Throughout the country there are promising signs that we can bring schools and parents together to improve our educational system.
San Francisco public schools adopted a funding mechanism according to what’s termed a “weighted student formula.” Under this policy, the more students a school attracts, the more money that school, its administrators and teachers receive. Low-income students are weighted heavier in the funding formula, as are children with disabilities, and those learning English as a second language. So, there’s incentive for schools to seek the more vulnerable population, and reasons for schools to differentiate themselves and excel.
Imagine if we were to try and move in this direction with federal funding. Allow the money we currently spend to actually follow individual children. Students, including those without a lot of money or those with special needs, would be able to access the best available school, not just the failing school they are assigned to.
And their options ought to include not just public schools or private schools, but also charter schools. A competitive environment, where schools compete for students rather than the other way around, gives every child from the inner city of Washington to the streets of Los Angeles, an equal chance at a greater destiny.
One of our priorities this year will be to move heaven and earth to fix our education system for the most vulnerable. And when those children graduate from high school, we must expand their choices and college should be a viable option. In 1980, the average cost of college was roughly $8,000 a year. Today, it is over $20,000, and less than 60 percent of the students who enroll in a four-year program graduate within six years. Clearly, something is broken.
According to President Obama’s former jobs council, by 2020 there will be 1.5 million jobs without the college graduates to fill them. While there is a persistent unmet demand of 400,000 to 500,000 job openings in the health-care sector alone. Recent reports indicate there are not enough applicants with the skills necessary to fill the jobs in the booming natural gas industry in America.
Suppose colleges provided prospective students with reliable information on the unemployment rate and potential earnings by major. What if parents had access to clear and understandable breakdowns between academic studies and amenities? Armed with this knowledge, families and students could make better decisions about where to go to school, and how to budget their tuition dollars. Students would actually have a better chance of graduating within four years and getting a job.
Helping students realize opportunity and a career, while keeping tuition costs low, makes common sense. Senators Rubio and Wyden have a proposal that they unveiled here at AEI, which addresses this goal. I look forward to working with them and Chairman John Kline in pursuing legislative action in the House.
Over the course of this Congress, we will also work to reform our student aid process to give students a financial incentive to finish their studies sooner. We will encourage entrepreneurship in higher education, including for-profit schools. And we will fix the way we subsidize education by making the costs more transparent to parents, students and the millions of taxpayers who help pay some of the bill. We owe it to them.
A good education leads to more innovation. Throughout our history, American colleges and universities have served as the crucible for the world’s innovation. They are a big part of why the United States remains the destination for the world’s best and brightest. Investment in education leads to innovation, which leads to more opportunity and jobs for all. Our problem? The investment we make is not yielding maximum returns.
Each year our colleges and universities graduate approximately 40,000 foreign nationals with Masters and PhDs, many of whom are then forced to leave the country because there are not enough visa slots in our immigration system to permit them to stay. So rather than being able to invent things here in America, grow businesses or start one on their own, they do all of those things somewhere else.
Fiona Zhou is here today. She is earning her master’s degree at the George Washington University School of Engineering and Applied Science. Originally from China, she’s been in the U.S. for five years, studying operations research in the systems engineering department. She’s pretty smart. She would like to stay here and invest her talents in America, and maybe even start her own company. But she has seen too many of her friends with advanced degrees have to go back home despite sharing her same dreams and aspirations.
Last year, the House passed the bipartisan STEM Jobs Act which helped fix this problem. We will act again in this Congress, and we hope the Senate chooses to join us this time. I look forward to Fiona realizing her dreams and our country reaping the rewards of her hard work and talent.
Whether it’s college or the cost of day care, making life work for more families means reducing the economic insecurity plaguing so many working moms and dads. Over the last 20 years, the world has changed. It used to be that one could make a career out of working for one company. Today, the average worker stays at his or her job for barely four years.
Median income in 2010 was about the same as it was in 1997. Experts correctly point out that this statistic ignores that many working families are getting more benefits like health care from their employer and not just wages.
But, explaining that rising health-care costs are depressing take-home pay is little consolation to a working mom. Her grocery bills are higher, her kids’ school needs are more expensive, rent is up – and now, she’s just trying to get by. And getting by is not the American Dream.
As job markets are changing, more skills training and education are needed. Federal jobs training programs ought to make it easier for Americans who are out of work or who are changing careers to get the skills they need.
Yet today, the federal government has a patchwork of over 47 different overlapping programs that are not dynamic or innovative enough to meet the needs of employers or potential employees. We can fix this, and we should be able to muster bipartisan support to do so.
If you’re a working parent, you know there’s hardly ever enough time at home to be with the kids. Too many parents have to weigh whether they can afford to miss work even for half a day to see their child off on the first day of school or attend a parent-teacher conference.
Federal laws dating back to the 1930s make it harder for parents who hold hourly jobs to balance the demands of work and home. An hourly employee cannot convert previous overtime into future comp-time or flex-time. In 1985, Congress passed a law that gave state and municipal employees this flexibility, but today still denies that same privilege to the entire private sector. That’s not right.
There’s a police officer at home in my district, her name is Vicki. She is working a tough job, with long hours, while raising her children. Her life is made a little easier because as a local government employee, she is permitted to work some extra hours and save it up for a sick day or a school event.
Imagine if we simply chose to give all employees and employers this option. A working mom could work overtime this month and use it as time off next month without having to worry about whether she’ll be able to take home enough money to pay the rent. This is the kind of common sense legislation that should be non-controversial and moves us in the right direction to help make life work for families.
Another step we have to take is on taxes. There is a lot of talk about taxes in Washington right now. For most families, tax preparation is hard and it is time consuming – this time of year especially. Think about what they’re going through.
What tax form are you supposed to fill out, is it more beneficial to file jointly as a married couple or separately? Is a truck or gas mileage deductible or are you forgetting something that the IRS gives you credit for?
In 1935, the Form 1040 was accompanied by a two-page instruction booklet. Today, taxpayers must wade through over 100 total pages of instructions. Just filling out a W-4 at a new job is confusing. You shouldn’t need a worksheet to know how many dependents you have. Chairman Dave Camp and his committee are already underway in the effort to responsibly rewrite our nation’s tax laws.
As in education policy, health care and all else, tax reform, should reflect the priorities of working families and the future they’re trying to shape for their kids. If nothing else, we must stop putting special interests ahead of our working families’ best interests.
Loopholes and gimmicks benefitting those who’ve come to know how to work the system in Washington, are no more defensible than the path of wasteful and irresponsible spending we’ve been on for decades. Working families should come first. Everyone agrees a fairer, simpler tax code would give us all more time.
In our attempt to make the tax code simpler, we must continue to demonstrate support for young parents who invest in having kids and raising a family. They are America’s most valued investors.
In 1997, a Republican Congress created the child tax credit specifically to help ease the financial burden of families raising children. In 2001, it was expanded. Such a policy helps to limit the size of government and results in fewer Americans looking to the government for support.
Leading up to April 15th, families will be besieged by concerns over their taxes. But it’s health care and a concern for a healthy family that always worry parents most. Most Americans have come to expect the best health care in the world. But there’s no doubt our current system is too expensive and too complicated.
President Obama’s health-care law resulted in higher premiums and costs for families, and has made access to quality health care and innovation tougher. If we want to reverse this trend, we should start by choosing to repeal the new taxes that are increasing the costs of health care and health insurance, like the medical device tax.
With us today is Erin Shucosky. Erin has been a clinical nurse for 30 years in Baltimore. She spent the past ten years coordinating the research on a study to approve new replacement discs to treat patients suffering from crippling neck and back pain. Over time, Erin discovered she suffered from the very condition her work aimed to treat. On her days off, Erin would spend time at her daughter’s lacrosse tournaments barely able to move, and would then go home and spend most of her time there with an ice pack on her neck. So she went in for surgery and got those new disc replacements. Erin’s in a cervical collar today, but thankfully she’s on the mend.
The new medical device tax in ObamaCare makes it harder for researchers to develop these innovative devices in the U.S. and thus makes it harder for patients like Erin to get the care they need.
ObamaCare has unnecessarily raised the costs of our health care. Even those who have pre-existing conditions could get the coverage they need without a trillion dollar government program costing us all more. And that’s only the tip of the iceberg when we talk about health-care reform.
Many families, like mine, are dealing with the challenges presented by aging and very sick parents. They rely on Medicare for relief. In 1965 the federal government created Medicare modeled after the standard Blue-Cross Blue Shield insurance plan commonly available at that time. In the past 50 years both health care and health insurance have changed dramatically, but the government and Medicare have not kept pace.
Medicaid isn’t doing any better. Under the Medicaid system the rules are set in Washington, but much of the bills are paid in our state capitals. Collectively states are spending more on Medicaid than they do on K-12 education. And states don’t have the flexibility to innovate in order to lower costs and provide better care.
As a result, in many cases, patients have been swallowed up by the system, and have become an afterthought. These programs are broken, and many patients are going without proper care. That’s not fair to the people who depend on these programs. We’ve got to fix them.
We can modernize Medicare so it isn’t so complicated for seniors or health-care providers and make it easier for them to get the care they need in a cost effective manner. We should begin by ending the arbitrary division between Part A, the hospital program, and Part B, the doctor services. We can create reasonable and predictable levels of out-of-pocket expenses without forcing seniors to rely on Medigap plans.
Seniors who choose to receive their health-care treatment through a group of doctors and hospitals working together to control costs, should share in the savings through lower Medicare premiums and out of pocket costs. This is both cost effective and good for seniors.
We can provide states more flexibility with respect to Medicaid that will allow them to provide better care for low-income families in a way that ultimately lowers costs. Options for states should include streamlining the process for determining eligibility, and allowing them to offer health coverage through patient-directed health care or flexible benefit programs. And we must make it faster and simpler for states to gain approval of federal waivers to modify their Medicaid programs.
Long term, controlling health-care costs will require smarter federal investments in medical research. Many of today’s cures and life saving treatments are a result of an initial federal investment. And much of it is spent on cancer research and other grave illnesses.
One of the most courageous people I know is a young girl from Richmond named Katie. I’ve known Katie for many years. Katie was diagnosed with a brain tumor just after her first birthday. This is every parent’s worst nightmare. For years, she went through different treatments and therapies with little success. At age 7, she and her parents headed to St. Jude Children’s Hospital in Memphis. She had a positive radiation treatment and is doing well today, but this month she will again travel back to St. Jude as she often does.
Katie became a part of my congressional office’s family and even interned with us. We rooted for her, and prayed for her. Today, she is a bright 12-year-old that is making her own life work despite ongoing challenges. Katie is down here in the front row. Katie, thank you for being here with us.
Prayers for Katie’s recovery help. But we also must pray that scientists and researchers find cures to these diseases so our parents and grandparents don’t leave us too soon, or that children like Katie are not robbed of a healthy life.
There is an appropriate and necessary role for the federal government to ensure funding for basic medical research. Doing all we can to facilitate medical breakthroughs for people like Katie should be a priority. We can and must do better.
This includes cutting unnecessary red tape in order to speed up the availability of life saving drugs and treatments and reprioritizing existing federal research spending. Funds currently spent by the government on social science – including on politics of all things – would be better spent helping find cures to diseases.
Scientific breakthroughs are the result of and have helped contribute to America’s being the world’s capital of innovation and opportunity in nearly every field. For this and many other reasons, people across the globe want to become a part of our country. We must never diminish that desire, or worse, become a place that is no longer desirable.
It’s no secret that there are more than 11 million people here illegally, many of whom have become part of the fabric of our country. They, like us, have families and dreams.
While we are a nation that allows anyone to start anew, we are also a nation of laws, and that’s what makes tackling the issue of immigration reform so difficult. In looking to solve this problem soon, we must balance respect for the rule of law and respect for those waiting to enter this country legally, with care for the people and families, most of whom just want to make a better life, and contribute to America.
A good place to start is with the kids. One of the great founding principles of our country was that children would not be punished for the mistakes of their parents. It is time to provide an opportunity for legal residence and citizenship for those who were brought to this country as children and who know no other home.
I’m pleased that many of my colleagues in both chambers of Congress on both sides of the aisle have begun work in good faith to address these issues. And I’m pleased these discussions make border security, employment verification and creating a workable guest worker program an immediate priority. It’s the right thing to do for our families, for our security, and for our economy.
There are some who would rather avoid fixing the problem in order to save this as a political issue. I reject this notion and call on the president to help lead us towards a bipartisan solution rather than encourage the common political divisions of the past.
A sonnet by Emma Lazarus, “The New Colossus,” was placed at the Statue of Liberty in 1903. Parts of it read: “Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand A mighty woman with a torch…From her beacon-hand Glows world-wide welcome…I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
The message of this sonnet should sound familiar to most of us. The image of the Statue of Liberty blended with the stories of our immigrant past serve as humble reminders of who we are as a country. It’s the reason I’m able to stand here before you.
Like so many of their generation living in Eastern Europe at the turn of the last century, my grandparents fled the vicious anti-Semitic programs of the czars of Russia to come to America. Widowed at a young age, my grandmother raised her two sons in a tiny apartment atop a grocery store she and my grandfather had opened.
With little but her faith, thrift and hope for a better tomorrow, my grandma worked seven days a week to ensure my dad and uncle could realize the promise of this great country. And today, my children and I stand as proof of the possibility to what may have seemed to her like an impossible dream.
To uphold this legacy of those who’ve come before us, Washington will need to make choices. And in a divided government, these choices are often tough. We in the House Majority remain committed to making those tough choices and stand ready to lead with this president.
“Higher” – Milton Wright once shouted from the air. “Higher.” Making life work for more working people, and all who want to work, is the best way to a future of higher growth and more opportunity.
Posted by bonniekgoodman on February 5, 2013
Source: ABC News Radio, 1-1-13
Top House Republicans Tuesday opposed a bipartisan compromise that passed the Senate in the wee hours of New Year’s Day to avert the “fiscal cliff,” as new studies conclude that the compromise on taxes and spending would add trillions to the U.S. deficit.
If House Republicans tweak the legislation, as they seem likely to do, there’s no clear path for its return to the Senate before a new Congress is sworn in Thursday.
GOP leaders emerged from a morning conference meeting disenchanted by the legislative package devised by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and Vice President Biden early Tuesday morning, with several insisting they cannot vote on it as it now stands….READ MORE
Posted by bonniekgoodman on January 1, 2013
At a press conference today with Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA), House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) underscored the need for President Obama and his Democratic-controlled Senate to take action to avert the massive tax hikes and replace the defense sequester scheduled to take effect in just 10 days. As Speaker Boehner noted, the House has already passed legislation to avert the entire fiscal cliff, and it is now up to the Democrats who run Washington to get serious about the spending cuts and entitlement reforms needed to address our debt and resolve the fiscal cliff. Following are Speaker Boehner’s remarks:
“As you know, the House did not take up the tax bill last night because we didn’t have the votes to pass it. It’s not the outcome that I wanted, but that was the will of the House.
“So, unless the President and Congress take action, tax rates will go up on every American taxpayer and devastating defense cuts will go into effect in ten days.
“The House has already passed bills addressing the fiscal cliff. We passed a bill replacing the president’s sequester with responsible spending cuts and did it last May. We passed a bill to stop all the tax hikes on the American people scheduled to take effect January 1, and we did that on August 1. And we’ve proposed plans over and over again that Democrats used to support, but now they won’t.
“I don’t want taxes to go up. Republicans don’t want taxes to go up. But we only run the House, the Democrats continue to run Washington.
“What the president has proposed so far simply won’t do anything to solve our spending problem. He wants more spending and more tax hikes that will hurt our economy. And he simply won’t deal honestly with entitlement reform and the big issues that are facing our country.
“We need significant spending cuts and real tax reform to address our long-term debt problem and pave the way for long-term growth and real growth in jobs in our country.
“We’ll continue to work with our colleagues in the House and the Senate on a plan that protects families and small businesses from the fiscal cliff.”
Posted by bonniekgoodman on December 21, 2012
Source: ABC News Radio, 12-20-12
Mark Wilson/Getty Images
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor says Republicans will move forward with a vote Thursday evening to pass Speaker of the House John Boehner’s so-called “Plan B” option — a permanent extension of the current tax rates for taxpayers making up to $1 million, while also replacing the first year of cuts in the sequester set to take effect on Jan. 2.
While Republicans voted months ago to replace the sequester and extend all of the current tax rates, Cantor, R-Va., said the votes Thursday will show Republicans are “taking concrete action to avoid the fiscal cliff.”
“Our members understand that the nation faces the largest tax increase in its history come January 1, 2013,” he said. “We protect 99.81 percent of American taxpayers from a tax increase in these very difficult economic times. We hope that the Senate will take this bill up along with the Spending Reduction Act and get the job done in lieu of or absent any kind of agreement coming from the White House.”…READ MORE
Posted by bonniekgoodman on December 20, 2012
Source: ABC News Radio, 11-12-12
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor knew of David Petraeus’ affair with biographer Paula Broadwell almost two weeks before the former CIA director resigned his post.
A senior Cantor aide told ABC News that the Republican congressman from Virginia learned about the FBI investigation that brought the affair to light in a phone conversation with an FBI agent Oct. 27….READ MORE
Posted by bonniekgoodman on November 12, 2012
Source: ABC News Radio, 11-11-12
DoD photo by Cherie Cullen/Released
As a biographer to Gen. David Petraeus, Paula Broadwell enjoyed tremendous access to the general during the year they spent together in Afghanistan, finding out the idiosyncrasies that helped shaped the man who was the public face of the war.
“He was really motivated to please his father when he was younger,” Broadwell told ABC News’ Christiane Amanpour earlier this year. “His father doled out what he called gruff love, so he was always working hard to keep his father happy and I think that’s reflected in his personality now.”
It was clear in interviews Broadwell gave to promote her book, “All In: The Education of General David Petraeus” that she and the general shared a mutual trust. What remained unseen, however, was an extramarital affair that sources say was discovered by the FBI after intimate emails sent from the CIA director were found in Broadwell’s email inbox….READ MORE
Posted by bonniekgoodman on November 11, 2012
Source: ABC News Radio, 8-4-12
Alex Wong/Getty Images
In this week’s Republican address, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor focuses on rebutting the president’s tax proposals, but joins the president in wishing well for the athletes.
“Watching the Olympics this week, I am reminded that one of the things that sets America apart is that ordinary people have the freedom to accomplish extraordinary things,” Cantor states. “Every day I hear from Americans who are ready to do the extraordinary: Open a new business, create new jobs, build a better future for our children and theirs. All they ask is that Washington get out of the way.”
“While we continue to work to provide solutions here at home, we wish our athletes in London the very best,” he said….READ MORE
Source: House Majority Leader, 8-4-12
“Hello, I’m Eric Cantor, the House Majority Leader, from Virginia.
“Throughout the country, whether I’m in my hometown of Richmond or on the road, I hear a lot from small business owners…people who have chased their dreams, taken risks and built a business. They tell me that they are deeply concerned about what Washington will do next. The threat of higher taxes and more red tape has our small business owners anxiously sitting on the sidelines rather than starting a new business and hiring another employee. They tell me they long for the moment when they can once again think about growing their businesses and hiring people.
“These men and women know what some in Washington apparently do not, that higher taxes and more regulations do not create jobs. Entrepreneurs do. Red tape and new taxes just make the job of creating jobs that much harder. This week in Washington, we saw a collision of two very different plans for economic growth.
“House Republicans, joined by 19 Democrats, passed a bill to stop the looming tax hike that will hit all Americans next year. On the other side of the Capitol, in the Senate, a Democrat-only plan to hike taxes passed. The President sided with Harry Reid and the Democrats, insisting that their plan to raise taxes was the answer for economic growth.
“But a recent independent study concluded that the President’s tax hike could result in the loss of over 700,000 jobs.
“You know, it’s odd that less than two years ago President Obama actually agreed with House Republicans that a tax increase on our small businessmen and women would hurt our economy. This raises the question: does President Obama now believe our economy is doing so well that we can afford to raise taxes on small businesses?
“Today, there are millions of Americans who are looking for work or trying to decide whether to open a new business. They are rightly frustrated by the lack of results in Washington. But I am hopeful that with the passage of a bipartisan bill to stop the tax hike in the House and with unemployment still above 8 percent that President Obama will return to the position that he embraced less than two years ago and agree that now is NOT the time to be raising taxes on small business job-creators and the hardworking taxpayers of this country.
“We have made clear our willingness to be here in Washington if the President and Harry Reid will finally decide to join us in a bipartisan solution to stop the massive tax hike.
“Watching the Olympics this week, I am reminded that one of things that sets America apart is that ordinary people have the freedom to accomplish extraordinary things. Every day I hear from Americans who are ready to do the extraordinary… open a new business… create new jobs… build a better future for our children and theirs. All they ask is that Washington get out of the way. After over 40 straight months of 8 percent-plus unemployment, isn’t it time to make jobs priority one?
“While we continue to work to provide solutions here at home, we wish our athletes in London the very best. Thank you for joining me.”
Posted by bonniekgoodman on August 4, 2012
Source: Mitt Romney, 8-1-12
“I am proud to have the support of so many distinguished Jewish Americans,” said Mitt Romney. “The Jewish community has made contributions to American society that stand in amazing disproportion to its numbers, and I am genuinely honored to have so many of its leading thinkers, diplomats, and political leaders support my campaign. Having just visited Israel at a critical juncture in the history of the Middle East, I am persuaded that now, more than ever, America needs to stand with Israel. I will extend the hand of friendship because our partnership is not merely a strategic alliance but a force for good in the world.”
Majority Leader Eric Cantor said, “I urge all American Jews – Democrat, Republican, and independent alike – to give a serious look at Mitt Romney’s candidacy. Throughout his life, Governor Romney has been an unwavering supporter of the state of Israel. As he stated during his most recent trip to Jerusalem, ‘by history and by conviction, our two countries are bound together. No individual, no nation, no world organization, will pry us apart. And as long as we stay together and stand together, there is no threat we cannot overcome.’ Governor Romney understands that peace in the Middle East will only be achieved when Israel is secure within its borders and not the target of violence fueled by senseless hatred. He will leave no stone unturned in the effort to keep Israel secure.”
“Like every other group in America, American Jews want an economy that is growing and creating jobs for all who seek them. Given his background and experience, Governor Romney will succeed in turning around the U.S. economy where Barack Obama has failed,” said Senator Norm Coleman. “Governor Romney understands the special concerns of the American Jewish community about the security of the state of Israel. Gov. Romney has just returned from visiting Israel; it was his fourth visit. He understands that Israel is targeted by the failed states of the Middle East as a convenient scapegoat. He understands that there is a worldwide campaign to demonize the Jewish state. It is for this very reason that he has pledged that his first foreign trip as president will be to Jerusalem. He intends to send a signal to the world — and especially to Israel’s adversaries — that the United States is not a fair-weather friend of Israel, but a partner in an abiding relationship based upon a common commitment to our most fundamental values.”
Congressman Eric Cantor (R-VA)
Former Governor Linda Lingle (R-HI)
Former Senator Norm Coleman (R-MN)
Former Senator Rudy Boschwitz (R-MN)
Adam Hasner, Florida
Ambassador Eric Edelman
Ambassador Mitchell Reiss
Hon. Phyllis Greenberg Heideman
Ambassador Ned Siegel
Ambassador Mel Sembler
Ambassador Sam Fox
Jay and Ann Davis
Ambassador Cliff Sobel
Posted by bonniekgoodman on August 1, 2012
President Barack Obama signs the Jumpstart Our Business Startups (JOBS) Act, which includes key initiatives the President proposed last fall to help small businesses and startups grow and create jobs, in the Rose Garden of the White House, April 5, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
Earlier this week, I was back in my home state of Iowa talking with tech entrepreneurs about the Administration’s progress leveraging technology to innovate with less, improve transparency and efficiency, and better serve the American people. As fellow tech junkies, we spent plenty of time talking about Government’s role in open data, application programming interfaces to Federal systems and more. But we also had a chance to talk more broadly about the vital role start-ups and small businesses play in strengthening our economy, creating jobs, and nurturing innovation.
President Obama recognizes the critical role these types of high-growth startups and innovative entrepreneurs play in creating an economy that’s built to last. That’s why back in the fall – and again in his State of the Union Address – the President put forward a series of specific proposals to ease regulations that prevent aspiring entrepreneurs from accessing the capital they need to grow and create jobs. Today, the President put many of those proposals to work when he signed into law the Jumpstart Our Business Startups (JOBS) Act – a bipartisan bill that will help encourage startups and support our nation’s small businesses.
As the President said at today’s signing, “this bill is a potential gamechanger” for America’s entrepreneurs. For the first time, Americans will be able to go online and invest in small businesses and entrepreneurs. Not only will this help small businesses and high-growth enterprises raise capital more efficiently, but it will also allow small and young firms to expand and hire faster.
Whether you’re in Silicon Valley, Silicon Alley, or Silicon Prairie, this bill is a win-win for small businesses, for the economy, and for the American people.
Steven VanRoekel is the Federal Chief Information Officer – for more information visit www.cio.gov.
2:36 P.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you. (Applause.) Hello, everybody. Please, please have a seat. Good afternoon. I want to thank all of you for coming, and in particular, I want to thank the members of Congress who are here today from both parties, whose leadership and hard work made this bill a reality.
One of the great things about America is that we are a nation of doers — not just talkers, but doers. We think big. We take risks. And we believe that anyone with a solid plan and a willingness to work hard can turn even the most improbable idea into a successful business. So ours is a legacy of Edisons and Graham Bells, Fords and Boeings, of Googles and of Twitters. This is a country that’s always been on the cutting edge. And the reason is that America has always had the most daring entrepreneurs in the world.
Some of them are standing with me today. When their ideas take root, we get inventions that can change the way we live. And when their businesses take off, more people become employed because, overall, new businesses account for almost every new job that’s created in America.
Now, because we’re still recovering from one of the worst recessions in our history, the last few years have been pretty tough on entrepreneurs. Credit has been tight. And no matter how good their ideas are, if an entrepreneur can’t get a loan from a bank or backing from investors, it’s almost impossible to get their businesses off the ground. And that’s why back in September, and again in my State of the Union, I called on Congress to remove a number of barriers that were preventing aspiring entrepreneurs from getting funding. And this is one useful and important step along that journey.
Here’s what’s going to happen because of this bill. For business owners who want to take their companies to the next level, this bill will make it easier for you to go public. And that’s a big deal because going public is a major step towards expanding and hiring more workers. It’s a big deal for investors as well, because public companies operate with greater oversight and greater transparency.
And for start-ups and small businesses, this bill is a potential game changer. Right now, you can only turn to a limited group of investors — including banks and wealthy individuals — to get funding. Laws that are nearly eight decades old make it impossible for others to invest. But a lot has changed in 80 years, and it’s time our laws did as well. Because of this bill, start-ups and small business will now have access to a big, new pool of potential investors — namely, the American people. For the first time, ordinary Americans will be able to go online and invest in entrepreneurs that they believe in.
Of course, to make sure Americans don’t get taken advantage of, the websites where folks will go to fund all these start-ups and small businesses will be subject to rigorous oversight. The SEC is going to play an important role in implementing this bill. And I’ve directed my administration to keep a close eye as this law goes into effect and to provide me with regular updates.
It also means that, to all the members of Congress who are here today, I want to say publicly before I sign this bill, it’s going to be important that we continue to make sure that the SEC is properly funded, just like all our other regulatory agencies, so that they can do the job and make sure that our investors get adequate protections.
This bill represents exactly the kind of bipartisan action we should be taking in Washington to help our economy. I’ve always said that the true engine of job creation in this country is the private sector, not the government. Our job is to help our companies grow and hire. That’s why I pushed for this bill. That’s why I know that the bipartisan group of legislators here pushed for this bill. That’s why I’ve cut taxes for small businesses over 17 times. That’s why every day I’m fighting to make sure America is the best place on Earth to do business.
Our economy has begun to turn a corner, but we’ve still got a long way to go. We’ve still got a lot of Americans out there who are looking for a job or looking for a job that pays better than the one that they’ve got. And we’re going to have to keep working together so that we can keep moving the economy forward.
But I’ve never been more confident about our future. And the reason is because of the American people. Some of the folks beside me here today are a testimony to that. Day after day, they’re out there pitching investors. Some meetings go well; some meetings don’t go so well. That’s true for me, too. (Laughter.) But no matter what, they keep at it. And who knows, maybe one of them or one of the folks in the audience here today will be the next Bill Gates or Steve Jobs or Mark Zuckerberg. And one of them may be the next entrepreneur to turn a big idea into an entire new industry. That’s the promise of America. That’s what this country is all about.
So if these entrepreneurs are willing to keep giving their all, the least Washington can do is to help them succeed. I plan to do that now by proudly signing this bill.
Thank you very much, everybody.
(The bill is signed.) (Applause.)
THE PRESIDENT: All right, everybody. Enjoy a great day. (Applause.)
2:44 P.M. EDT
Will Announce New Steps to Promote Access to Capital for Entrepreneurs and Protections for Investors
WASHINGTON, DC – Today President Obama will sign the Jumpstart Our Business Startups (JOBS) Act, a bipartisan bill that enacts many of the President’s proposals to encourage startups and support our nation’s small businesses.
The President believes that our small businesses and startups are driving the recovery and job creation. That’s why he put forward a number of specific ways to encourage small business and startup investment in the American Jobs Act last fall, and worked with members on both sides of the aisle to sign these common-sense measures into law today. The JOBS Act will allow Main Street small businesses and high-growth enterprises to raise capital from investors more efficiently, allowing small and young firms across the country to grow and hire faster.
“America’s high-growth entrepreneurs and small businesses play a vital role in creating jobs and growing the economy,” said President Obama. “I’m pleased Congress took bipartisan action to pass this bill. These proposals will help entrepreneurs raise the capital they need to put Americans back to work and create an economy that’s built to last.”
Throughout this effort, the President has maintained a strong focus on ensuring that we expand access to capital for young firms in a way that is consistent with sound investor protections. To that end, the President today will call on the Treasury, Small Business Administration and Department of Justice to closely monitor this legislation and report regularly to him with its findings. In addition, major crowfunding organizations sent a letter to the President today committing to core investor protections, including a new code of conduct for crowdfunding platforms.
In March of last year, the President directed his Administration to host a conference titled “Access to Capital: Fostering Growth and Innovation for Small Companies.” The conference brought together policymakers and key stakeholders whose ideas directly led to many of the proposals contained in the JOBS Act. A primary takeaway from the conference was that capital from public and private investors helps entrepreneurs achieve their dreams and turn ideas into startups that create jobs and fuel sustainable economic growth.
Key Elements of the JOBS Act
The JOBS Act includes all three of the capital formation priorities that the President first raised in his September 2011 address to a Joint Session of Congress, and outlined in more detail in his Startup America Legislative Agenda to Congress in January 2012: allowing “crowdfunding,” expanding “mini-public offerings,” and creating an “IPO on-ramp” consistent with investor protections.
The JOBS Act is a product of bipartisan cooperation, with the President and Congress working together to promote American entrepreneurship and innovation while maintaining important protections for American investors. It will help growing businesses access financing while maintaining investor protections, in several ways:
• Allowing Small Businesses to Harness “Crowdfunding”: The Internet already has been a tool for fundraising from many thousands of donors. Subject to rulemaking by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), startups and small businesses will be allowed to raise up to $1 million annually from many small-dollar investors through web-based platforms, democratizing access to capital. Because the Senate acted on a bipartisan amendment, the bill includes key investor protections the President called for, including a requirement that all crowdfunding must occur through platforms that are registered with a self-regulatory organization and regulated by the SEC. In addition, investors’ annual combined investments in crowdfunded securities will be limited based on an income and net worth test.
• Expanding “Mini Public Offerings”: Prior to this legislation, the existing “Regulation A” exemption from certain SEC requirements for small businesses seeking to raise less than $5 million in a public offering was seldom used. The JOBS Act will raise this threshold to $50 million, streamlining the process for smaller innovative companies to raise capital consistent with investor protections.
• Creating an “IPO On-Ramp”: The JOBS Act makes it easier for young, high-growth firms to go public by providing an incubator period for a new class of “Emerging Growth Companies.” During this period, qualifying companies will have time to reach compliance with certain public company disclosure and auditing requirements after their initial public offering (IPO). Any firm that goes public already has up to two years after its IPO to comply with certain Sarbanes-Oxley auditing requirements. The JOBS Act extends that period to a maximum of five years, or less if during the on-ramp period a company achieves $1 billion in gross revenue, $700 million in public float, or issues more than $1 billion in non-convertible debt in the previous three years.
Additionally, the JOBS Act changes some existing limitations on how companies can solicit private investments from “accredited investors,” tasks the SEC with ensuring that companies take reasonable steps to verify that such investors are accredited, and gives companies more flexibility to plan their access to public markets and incentivize employees.
Additional Initiatives Announced Today to Promote Capital Access and Investor Protection
• Monitoring of JOBS Act Implementation: The President is directing the Treasury Department, Small Business Administration and Department of Justice to closely monitor the implementation of this legislation to ensure that it is achieving its goals of enhancing access capital while maintaining appropriate investor protections. These agencies, consulting closely with the SEC and key non-governmental stakeholders, will report their findings to the President on a biannual basis, and will include recommendations for additional necessary steps to ensure that the legislation achieves its goals.
• Crowdfunding Platforms Commit to Investor Protections: In a letter to President Obama, a consortium of crowdfunding companies are committing to work with the SEC to develop appropriate regulation of the industry, as required by the JOBS Act. Members of this leadership group are committing to establish core investor protections, including an enforceable code of conduct for crowdfunding platforms, standardized methods to ensure that investors do not exceed statutory limits, thorough vetting of companies raising funds through crowdfunding, and an industry standard “Investors’ Bill of Rights.”
Posted by bonniekgoodman on April 5, 2012
Source: Eric Cantor, Originally published in The Washington Post, 8-22-11
Our country is facing two related but separate crises. The first is the federal government’s debt crisis, the result of decades of fiscal mismanagement by both political parties as well as unsustainable entitlement commitments. The second is the jobs crisis, which has resulted in painful levels of unemployment and underemployment. President Obama is wrong to think that the answer is to increase spending or raise taxes when so many millions of Americans are out of work.
In fact, the Obama administration’s anti-business, hyper-regulatory, pro-tax agenda has fueled economic uncertainty and sent the message from the administration that “we want to make it harder to create jobs.” There is no other conclusion for policies such as the new Environmental Protection Agency regulations, including the “Transport Rule,” which could eliminate thousands of jobs, or the ozone regulation that would cost upward of $1 trillion and millions of jobs in the construction industry over the next decade. The administration’s new maximum achievable control technology standards for cement are expected to affect nearly 100 cement plants, setting over-the-top requirements resulting in increased costs and possibly thousands of jobs being offshored. There is the president’s silence as the National Labor Relations Board seeks to prevent Boeing from opening a plant in South Carolina that would create thousands of jobs. Such behavior, coupled with the president’s insistence on raising the top tax rate paid by individuals and small businesses, has resulted in a lag in growth that has added to the debt crisis, contributing to our nation’s credit downgrade.
The debt crisis threatens our long-term future: the ability of our children and their children to have the same opportunities to succeed that this and previous generations enjoyed. Republicans passed a budget this spring, written by Rep. Paul Ryan, that would address our challenges head-on by putting in place common-sense reforms to manage our debt over the short and long term.
Unfortunately, we have found President Obama to be an unwilling partner when it comes to getting America’s fiscal house in order. Since taking office, he has added trillions to the debt, ignored the recommendations of his own fiscal commission and put forth a budget that failed to address the drivers of our debt. Then we had to drag him to the table to make even the modest spending cuts that Standard & Poor’s says don’t go far enough.
The president has acknowledged that without reform, spending on entitlement programs is unsustainable. But he has also made clear that he would never support the type of structural changes to Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security needed to make these programs solvent as envisioned in our budget — even if Republicans agree to his demand for tax increases. While a compromise on the way to strengthen entitlements may be one thing, raising taxes in this economy is another. Doing so would exacerbate the jobs crisis for the 14 million Americans out of work. It would negatively affect the businesses across America that we are counting on to get our economy going.
It is critical that as we work toward solutions to overcome both crises, the paths we take don’t expedite or worsen the other.
But the politics of division have reared up, fueled by efforts to incite class warfare. For example, though he often talks about millionaires, billionaires and corporate jet owners paying their “fair share,” behind closed doors the president admits to wanting to raise taxes on individuals making $200,000 per year and families and small businesses earning $250,000 per year.
Why does the president insist on higher taxes? Behind the rhetoric lies a desire to permanently increase the size of government — a philosophy that most Americans, who already think the government is trying to do too much — do not agree with. For the past few years, investors, families and businesses small and large have felt the threat of higher taxes, increased regulations and government expansion. Business people I talk to are worried about the massive costs imposed by the president’s health-care law and new regulations. Yet last week, the president called for more stimulus spending paid for by higher taxes and more job-killing regulations. The past two years have shown that this is no way to create jobs.
In lieu of more wasteful stimulus spending, we should go all-in on ways to invigorate growth. The Congressional Budget Office has found that for every one-tenth of 1 percent of additional economic growth, the budget deficit is narrowed by nearly $300 billion. Economic growth will help reduce the deficit and get people back to work.
That is why this fall the Republican Party will pursue a legislative agenda that boosts economic growth through reducing the regulatory and tax burden. We will make sure that Washington policies are less restrictive to businesses small and large. Our goals include repealing the “3 percent withholding rule,” which serves as an effective tax increase on those who do business with the government, and overturning the EPA’s proposed regulations that inhibit jobs in areas as varied as cement and farm dust. We plan to prevent the NLRB from inhibiting where a business chooses to create jobs. We well know that the Republican majority was not elected to raise taxes or take more money out of the pockets of hardworking families and business people. We were elected to change the way Washington does business and spends money.
The writer, a Republican from Virginia, is the House majority leader.
Posted by bonniekgoodman on August 23, 2011
Ms. Goodman is the Editor of History Musings. She has a BA in History & Art History & a Masters in Library and Information Studies from McGill University, and has done graduate work in history at Concordia University.
Obama calls on Syrian President Assad to resign: President Obama on Thursday for the first time explicitly called on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to step down, a symbolically significant step intended to ratchet up pressure on the government five months after the start of the uprising in that country. The president also issued an executive order expanding sanctions against Syrian government officials.
The future of Syria must be determined by its people, but President Bashar al-Assad is standing in their way. His calls for dialogue and reform have rung hollow while he is imprisoning, torturing, and slaughtering his own people. We have consistently said that President Assad must lead a democratic transition or get out of the way. He has not led. For the sake of the Syrian people, the time has come for President Assad to step aside.
The United States cannot and will not impose this transition upon Syria. It is up to the Syrian people to choose their own leaders, and we have heard their strong desire that there not be foreign intervention in their movement. What the United States will support is an effort to bring about a Syria that is democratic, just, and inclusive for all Syrians. We will support this outcome by pressuring President Assad to get out of the way of this transition, and standing up for the universal rights of the Syrian people along with others in the international community. — President Barack Obama
“The Obama Administration’s call for Syrian President Assad to step down is long overdue. President Assad threatens the safety and security not only of the Syrian people, but the entire Middle East. He also supports terrorist organizations Hezbollah and Hamas. Every diplomatic option should be brought to bear to prevent President Assad from wreaking further violence on his people and the region.” — Statement by Gov. Rick Perry on Syria
“America must show leadership on the world stage and work to move these developing nations toward modernity. This means using the bullhorn of the presidency and not remaining silent for too long while voices of freedom and dissent are under attack.” — Mitt Romney’s Statement on Syria
“The recent atrocities and Assad’s brutalization of his own people in Syria are extremely alarming and reflect a long history of anti-American hostility, and I join President Obama in calling for Mr. Assad’s resignation.” — House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) Statement on Syria
U.S. and European Union Statements on Syria — NYT
Posted by bonniekgoodman on August 18, 2011