Full Text November 21, 2011: John Boehner in USA Today: ‘I did everything possible’ on Congressional Supercommittee Deficit Deal Failure

POLITICAL SPEECHES & DOCUMENTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

POLITICAL QUOTES & SPEECHES

John Boehner: ‘I did everything possible’

Source: USA Today, 11-21-11

By Mandel Ngan, AFP/Getty Images

By John Boehner

Republicans are focused on the American people’s No. 1 priority: jobs. And everyone knows that we can’t get our economy moving again and create jobs without dealing with Washington’s out-of-control spending. That’s why I did everything possible to support the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction.

Sadly, the so-called supercommittee was unable to reach agreement because President Obama and Washington Democrats insisted on dramatic tax hikes on American job creators, which would make our economy worse.

Throughout the process, Republicans made a series of serious, good-faith offers that included tax reforms that would lead to new revenue and more economic growth. The GOP proposals would get rid of special-interest tax breaks and loopholes and replace the current tax code with a system that would lower tax rates for every single American and help create jobs.

Not everyone in our party was happy we offered this tax reform, but Republicans put forth good-faith offers that would address Democrats’ demands for more revenue.

Democrats, unfortunately, refused to offer anything they didn’t previously support — insisting on a trillion dollar tax hike on job creators and nearly a trillion dollars in new “stimulus” spending.

I am not going to give up on the country, and neither will my Republican colleagues. We will continue to try to find common ground with Democrats to address what President Obama called the single biggest contributor to our deficits — health care costs, including Medicare and Medicaid — without job-killing tax hikes.

Rep. John Boehner, R-Ohio, is speaker of the House.

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Political Buzz November 21, 2011: Congressional Supercommittee Announces Failure to Reach Deficit Reduction Deal Prior to Wednesday Deadline

POLITICAL BUZZ

By Bonnie K. Goodman

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. Ms. Goodman has also contributed the overviews, and chronologies in History of American Presidential Elections, 1789-2008, 4th edition, edited by Gil Troy, Fred L. Israel, and Arthur Meier Schlesinger to be published by Facts on File, Inc. in late 2011.

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

IN FOCUS: CONGRESSIONAL SUPERCOMMITTEE FAILS ON DEFICIT REDUCTION DEAL

“Despite our inability to bridge the committee’s significant differences, we end this process united in our belief that the nation’s fiscal crisis must be addressed and that we cannot leave it for the next generation to solve.” — Republican Representative Jeb Hensarling and Democratic Senator Patty Murray said in a joint statement.

“They simply will not budge from that negotiating position and so far that refusal has been the main stumbling block that has prevented Congress from reaching an agreement to further reduce the deficit.” — President Obama said at the White House.

“This process did not end in the desired outcome, but it did bring our enormous fiscal challenges into greater focus. I am confident the work done by this committee will play a role in the solution we must eventually find as a nation. I commend both of the panel’s leaders, Jeb Hensarling and Patty Murray, for the dignified and statesmanlike manner in which the committee carried out its difficult negotiations.” — Speaker of the House John Boehner said in a statement

“I am disappointed that Republicans never found the courage to ignore Tea Party extremists and millionaire lobbyists like Grover Norquist, and listen instead to the overwhelming majority of Americans – including the vast majority of Republicans – who want a balanced approach to deficit reduction.
For the good of our country, Democrats were prepared to strike a grand bargain that would make painful cuts while asking millionaires to pay their fair share, and we put our willingness on paper. But Republicans never came close to meeting us halfway.” — Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said in a statement

Congressional supercommittee fails to reach agreement on deficit reduction: The congressional supercommittee has failed to reach an agreement over how to cut $1.2 trillion from the U.S. budget deficit, the group said in a statement released Monday afternoon.
The co-chairs of the supercommittee, Democratic Sen. Patty Murray and Republican Rep. Jeb Hensarling, said in a joint statement, “Despite our inability to bridge the committee’s significant differences, we end this process united in our belief that the nation’s fiscal crisis must be addressed and that we cannot leave it for the next generation to solve.”
Under the law that created the bipartisan 12-member panel, the failure means that the government will face an across-the-board $1.2 trillion cut to defense and non-defense spending in 2013…. – WaPo, 11-21-11

Obama vows to veto efforts to gut automatic spending cuts: President Obama said Monday that he would veto any attempt by Congress to eliminate the automatic spending cuts triggered by the failure of the deficit supercommittee.
The law creating the supercommittee said that if it failed to reduce the deficit by $1.2 trillion, across-the-board cuts to defense and domestic spending totaling that amount would occur in 2013. Some members of Congress have already said they would look for ways to soften the impact of the automatic cuts…. – WaPo, 11-21-11

 

  • Obama statement on supercommittee failure: President Barack Obama’s statement at the White House on Monday after the congressional supercommittee failed to produce a deficit-cutting plan: Good afternoon. As you all know, last summer I signed a law that will cut nearly $1 trillion of spending … – WaPo, 11-21-11
  • Panel Fails to Reach Deal on Plan for Deficit Reduction: President Obama spoke on Monday after a joint congressional committee failed to reach a deal on deficit reduction on Monday.
    President Obama promised to veto any legislation that seeks to avoid the automatic cuts that negotiators agreed would go into effect if a deal is not reached by 2013…. – NYT, 11-21-11
  • The Deficit Deal That Wasn’t: Hopes Are Dashed: Not only could Democrats and Republicans not agree on a deficit deal, they could not even agree after it failed about what had gone wrong…. – NYT, 11-21-11
  • Lawmakers abandon deficit-cutting effort: Lawmakers abandoned their high-profile effort to rein in the country’s ballooning debt on Monday in a sign that Washington likely will not be able to resolve a dispute over taxes and spending until 2013.
    The admission of defeat by Republicans and Democrats on a 12-member congressional “super committee” is likely to cement perceptions among voters and investors that politicians are too divided to tackle trillion-dollar budget deficits and a national debt that now is roughly equal to the U.S. economy…. – Reuters, 11-21-11
  • Super Committee Says It’s Unable to Agree on Debt Reduction Deal: After months of bipartisan debt-reduction talks, the Super Committee said Monday that it will be unable to agree on terms to save $1.2 trillion over 10 years by tonight’s midnight deadline…. – Fox News, 11-21-11
  • Obama says Republicans to blame for ‘super committee’s’ failure: President Obama placed blame for the failure of the “super committee” squarely on Republicans, saying their refusal to consider raising taxes as part of a “balanced approach” to deficit … – LAT, 11-21-11
  • Supercommittee fails to find compromise on deficit: The bipartisan leadership of a special congressional committee — assigned the task of slashing more than $1 trillion dollars from the US deficit — announced Monday that the panel had failed, unable to bridge bitter ideological … – USA Today, 11-21-11
  • Five reasons why the congressional supercommittee failed: Congress’ goal when it created this panel was not to resolve a fiscal mess. It was merely to buy time so it could avoid painfully tough choices…. – CS Monitor, 11-21-11
  • Enough blame to spread around: The official statement marking the death of the supercommittee came from its co-chairs, Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) and Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), who jointly said “we were deeply disappointed” in the failure of the panel’s 12 members to reach a deficit-cutting deal…. – Politico, 11-21-11
  • Obama Vows to Veto Attempts to Undo Automatic Spending Cuts: After the Congressional supercommittee failed to reach a deal to cut the budget, President Obama tonight vowed to veto any attempts to undo $1.2 trillion in automatic spending cuts that would take effect in 2013. “Already some in Congress are trying to … – ABC News, 11-21-11
  • Obama Threatens to Veto Changes to Cuts: President Barack Obama said Monday he will veto any effort to get rid of automatic spending cuts that would begin to take effect in 2013 if Congress can’t find other ways of trimming government deficits. … – Time, AP, 11-21-11
  • The failure of the supercommittee bodes poorly for future negotiations: WHAT NEXT, NOW that the congressional supercommittee has failed? Depressingly, the answer is: not much, at least in the short term. Absent some intervening, cataclysmic event, the debt-reduction can has been kicked once again — this time. … – WaPo, 11-21-11
  • Obama pledges to veto effort to undo automatic spending cuts: President Obama is promising to veto any effort to undo the automatic spending cuts that are set to take effect now that the congressional supercommittee has announced its failure to strike a deal to cut $1.2 trillion from the deficit over the next 10 years…. – CBS News, 11-21-11
  • Super committee about to fail: Is it Obama’s fault?: Mitt Romney says it is. The GOP presidential candidate has used the super committee’s apparent failure as an opportunity to go after the incumbent…. – CS Monitor, 11-21-11
  • No Deficit Deal: US at Risk for Downgrade, Stock Correction: The Super Committee’s failure to come to an agreement on significant deficit reduction—and the possibility it may undo the automatic $1.2 trillion in budget cuts—is risking another US debt downgrade, a 10 percent drop in stocks and a decline in the US … – CNBC, 11-21-11
  • Super Committee Failure Won’t Hit US Rating: The Congressional super committee’s failure to reach a deal on cutting the US deficit will not lead to an immediate downgrade by credit ratings agencies…. – TheStreet.com, 11-21-11
  • Gingrich: Super committee failure ‘good for America’: Newt Gingrich declared that the congressional “Super Committee’s collapse” would be “good for America…. – MSNBC, 11-21-11
  • Debt ‘super committee’: the Grinch that stole the Christmas stock rally: The apparent inability of the ‘super committee’ to reach a deal, along with European economic woes, is causing angst on Wall Street…. – CS Monitor, 11-21-11
  • Super Committee’s Defeat May Mean More Cuts: Congress’ super committee admitted defeat Monday in its quest to conquer a government debt that stands at a staggering $15 trillion, unable to overcome deep and enduring political divisions over taxes and spending…. – WCVB-TV, 11-21-11

History Buzz November 21, 2011: David Cannadine: Leave UK history curriculum alone but teach it for longer, says U.S. historian

HISTORY BUZZ: HISTORY NEWS RECAP

History Buzz

HISTORY BUZZ: HISTORY NEWS RECAP

HISTORY EDUCATION NEWS

Towards the end of a typically barnstorming performance at the Hay Festival in May last year, during which Niall Ferguson had rubbished the way history was taught in this country, the spotlight was turned towards the audience to reveal that the new education secretary, Michael Gove, had snuck into the event and was sitting somewhere near the back. And after a few not entirely convincing exchanges of surprise along the lines of “Fancy seeing you here!”, “You’re marvellous”, “No, you’re marvellous”, Gove offered Ferguson a job on the spot to help reform the history curriculum….

Wisely, perhaps, Gove chose to consult not just Ferguson. Instead, using the contacts book that mysteriously opens up for new ministers, he also invited several other well-known historians, including Simon Schama and Richard Evans, to contribute their suggestions for the wholesale reform of history teaching. Somewhere not far into the process, he also asked David Cannadine, Dodge Professor of History at Princeton – and, with Ferguson and Schama, yet another of the UK’s top academic exports to the US – for his thoughts. Eighteen months down the line, Gove might rather be wishing he hadn’t.

Like Gove and Ferguson, Cannadine has also taken a profound interest in how history is taught in state schools; unlike them, he didn’t think that relying on hearsay and ideology was the best way to decide public policy. “There had been a great many theories about how history had been taught over time,” Cannadine says, “but no one had done any detailed research to provide the evidence to back them up.” So about two and a half years ago Cannadine, along with two research fellows, Jenny Keating and Nicola Sheldon, funded by the Linbury Trust and the Institute of Historical Research, set out to find the empirical data, and this week their findings are published in The Right Kind of History….READ MORE

Full Text November 21, 2011: President Barack Obama Signs the Veterans Opportunity to Work to Hire Heroes Act of 2011

POLITICAL SPEECHES & DOCUMENTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

President Barack Obama signs a bill to create tax credits that will make it easier for businesses to hire veterans — and urges Congress to take action to put more Americans back to work.

President Obama signs the VOW to Hire Heroes Act of 2011

President Obama Obama signs the Veterans Opportunity to Work to Hire Heroes Act of 2011, White House Photo, Pete Souza, 11/21/11

President Obama: “Hire a Veteran”

President Barack Obama signs the Veterans Opportunity to Work to Hire Heroes Act of 2011 (VOW to Hire Heroes Act), that will provide tax credits to help put veterans back to work. First Lady Michelle Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and Dr. Jill Biden attend the ceremony in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building South Court Auditorium, Nov. 21, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

This morning, President Obama signed the “VOW to Hire Heroes Act” into law, telling those in attendance:

Back in September, I sent Congress a jobs bill. And in it, I proposed a tax credit for any business that hires a veteran who’s been unemployed for at least four weeks. I proposed an even bigger tax break if a business hires a veteran who’s been unemployed for at least six months. And if a business hires an unemployed veteran with a disability related to their service, I proposed doubling the tax break that we already have in place.

Today, because Democrats and Republicans came together, I’m proud to sign those proposals into law. And I urge every business owner out there who’s hiring to hire a veteran right away.

The is just one of the intiatives the President has enacted in order to ensure that the country fulfills its obligation to our servicemembers and their families.

And it’s just one part of the President’s plan to put the American people back to work. At the bill signing, he told lawmakers that families all over the country are demanding the same kind of bold, bipartisan action.

“My message to every member of Congress is keep going,” President Obama said, “Keep working.”

 

Read more:

  • Tax credits for employers who hire unemployed veterans and veterans with service-connected disabilities are just one important part of the Obama Administration’s plan to to help veterans translate their military skills for the civilian workforce, New online tools are available to aid their search for jobs, and the Administration has partnered with the Chamber of Commerce and the private sector to make it easier to connect our veterans with companies that want to hire them.
  • Read the story of Jason Hansman, who managed hundreds of reconstruction projects that totaled millions of dollars while serving in Iraq, but receieved only one job offer, to fill a night mall cop position.
  • Read the story of Navy veteran Eric Smith, who has more than five years experience as a military medic, but works today as a hospital janitor.
  • Read the story of Maria Canales, an Army veteran who spent nearly four years looking for a job because she had trouble communicating how the skills she learned in the military prepared her to be an excellent employee in the civilian workforce.

POLITICAL QUOTES & SPEECHES

Remarks by the President and the First Lady at Bill Signing

South Court Auditorium

11:15 A.M. EST

MRS. OBAMA:  Thank you all.  Thanks so much.  Well, good morning, everyone.  Please, rest, rest.  I am thrilled to be here today, alongside the Vice President and my favorite person here, Jill Biden — (laughter) — oh, yes, you, too, honey.  (Laughter.)  Secretary Shinseki, members of Congress, representatives of veteran service organizations, and some of our veterans, as our nation reaffirms its commitment to the men and women who have served this country so bravely.

Over the past few years I’ve had the privilege of meeting with so many of our troops, veterans and military families.  And every time I visit with them at a base, every time I sit with them at a hospital bed, every time I talk to their kids at a barbeque or a baseball game, I walk away inspired.  Their strength, resilience, and commitment to this country is simply unmatched.

They leave home for months at a time, go to some of the most dangerous places on Earth and risk it all for the country they love.  That courage, that unwavering dedication to a higher calling really sticks with me.  It stays in my heart.  And more importantly, it moves me to act.  And that’s why Jill and I started our Joining Forces campaign — because Jill and I wanted to give something back.

So we have been traveling around the country, from city to city, talking with business executive, nonprofit leaders, school administrators, clergy members — pretty much anyone who will listen.  And we’ve been asking them to find new ways to honor and support our veterans and their families.

And the really wonderful thing that we found is that people are actually listening.  Americans are standing up to show their appreciation.  Businesses have already hired more than 18,000 veterans and military families, and they’ve made commitments to hire at least 135,000 more.  Schools are working with nonprofits and tech companies to improve the experience of our military children.  Entertainment executives are making public service announcements.  Community groups are gathering donations and putting together thousands of care packages.  And truly, the list goes on and on and on.

And what I’ve been most struck by is how excited people are to get involved, and that’s what we want our military members and their families to know.  People want to do something.  This is something that Americans want to do.  We want to give something back.  We want our veterans to know that we are humbled by their sacrifice and we’re awed by their service.  But sometimes, we just have to be asked.  And sometimes, we need a little nudge.

And I am about to introduce my favorite man — (laughter) — who is someone who’s not afraid to ask for the support for our veterans.  He has been standing up for veterans since before he was President.  And since he took office, he’s been working hard to strengthen our nation’s sacred trust with our veterans — not just with words, but with actions.

He’s helped send more than half a million veterans and military family members to college through the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill.  He’s building a 21st century VA to fully support our veterans throughout their lives.  He’s taken unprecedented steps to improve mental health care and expand care for our women veterans and wounded warriors.  And he’s working to put an end, once and for all, to the outrage of veteran homelessness.

Today, with this bill, that story continues.  So I am truly proud to introduce you to the man who is the favorite man in my life — (laughter) — our President, Barack Obama.  (Applause.)

THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you.  (Applause.)  It is wonderful to see all of you.  Thank you for being here.  Thank you, Mich, who is a pretty good speaker, so I try not to follow her.  But given the incredible work that she and Jill Biden have done in advocating for our veterans, I could not be more honored to be with them.  And I know Joe shares my feeling — we could not be proud of their efforts on this front.

Over the past three years, they have visited so many of our troops.  They have thanked them for their service.  They have comforted their spouses.  They have given voice to their struggles.  And they’ve challenged all of us at a national, state and local level, to do more for our veterans.

Joe Biden has been a champion for veterans for decades now. It is his birthday, so we speak in terms of decades.  (Laughter.) It was actually — (laughter) — actually yesterday was his birthday.  I won’t say the number.  You can ask Jill if you want. But for a man who cares as deeply about our troops as Joe does, this bill, I imagine, is a pretty good birthday gift.

Secretary Shinseki is here — where’s Ric?  There he is.  Ric has been doing an outstanding job leading our Department of Veterans Affairs.  And I’m also proud to say that we are joined by some of the nation’s leading veterans service organizations and members of Congress who helped make this bill possible.

I have often said that the most humbling part of my job is serving as Commander-in-Chief to the world’s finest military.  Not a day goes by when I’m not awed by our troops, by the strength of their character, and by the depth of their commitment and the incredible sacrifices that they and their families make on behalf of our nation’s freedom and security.  The men and women of our military don’t just fight for each other, they don’t just fight for their units or for their commanders; they fight for every single American, for the millions of fellow citizens who they have never met and who they will likely never know.

And just as they fight for us on the battlefield, it’s up to us to fight for our troops and their families when they come home.  And that’s why today is such a wonderful day, because today a deeply grateful nation is doing right by our military and paying back just a little bit of what we owe to our veterans.

Today, the message is simple:  For businesses out there, if you are hiring, hire a veteran.  It’s the right thing to do for you, it’s the right thing to do for them, and it’s the right thing to do for our economy.

While we’ve added more than 350,000 private sector jobs over the last three months, we’ve got 850,000 veterans who can’t find work.  And even though the overall unemployment rate came down just a little bit last month, unemployment for veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan continued to rise.  And that isn’t right.  These men and women are the best that America has to offer.  They are some of the most highly trained, highly educated, highly skilled workers that we have.  If they can save lives on the battlefield, then they can save a life in an ambulance.  If they can manage convoys moving tons of equipment over dangerous terrain, they can manage a company’s supply chain.  If they can track millions of dollars of assets in Iraq, they can balance the books of any company here in the United States.

Our country has benefited enormously from our veterans’ services overseas.  And we will benefit just the same from their service here at home.  And that’s why, under my direction, the federal government has already hired more than 120,000 veterans. Thanks to the work that Jill and Michelle mentioned, some of our most patriotic businesses have pledged to hire 135,000 more veterans and military spouses.  And today, we’re giving those businesses just one more reason to give veterans a job.

Back in September, I sent Congress a jobs bill.  And in it, I proposed a tax credit for any business that hires a veteran who’s been unemployed for at least four weeks.  I proposed an even bigger tax break if a business hires a veteran who’s been unemployed for at least six months.  And if a business hires an unemployed veteran with a disability related to their service, I proposed doubling the tax break that we already have in place.

Today, because Democrats and Republicans came together, I’m proud to sign those proposals into law.  And I urge every business owner out there who’s hiring to hire a veteran right away.

Now, over the past decade, nearly 3 million service members have transitioned back to civilian life, joining millions who have served through the decades.  And as we end the war in Iraq and we wind down the war in Afghanistan, over a million more will join them over the next five years.  This bill is an important step towards helping those veterans transition into the workforce.  And beyond the tax breaks that I mentioned, it also contains a number of other reforms — from education and training to career counseling, to job search assistance.

We’re still going to need to do more.  And that’s why I’ve also announced a series of executive actions to help our veterans back to work.  We’ve set up a Veteran Gold Card — this is a card that post-9/11 veterans can download today, and it gives you access to a suite of career services, including six months of personalized counseling at the roughly 3,000 one-stop career centers located across the country.

We’ve launched an easy-to-use online tool called My Next Move that allows veterans to enter information about the skills they’ve acquired during their service, and then matches that information with the civilian careers that will best put that unique experience to use.

And we’ve created a new online service called Veterans Job Bank, a partnership with leading search engines that directly connects unemployed veterans to job openings.  So all of these initiatives are up and running right now and you can find them at whitehouse.gov/vets.  That’s whitehouse.gov/vets.

So to our veterans, know that we will stand with you as long as it takes for you to find a job.  And to our businesses, let me say again, if you are hiring, hire a veteran.  Hire a veteran today.  They will make you proud, just as they’ve made this nation proud.

Now, I’m pleased that both parties came together to make this happen.  So once again, I want to thank all members of Congress who are involved.  It is important to note that in addition to our veterans, there are millions of other Americans who are still looking for work right now.  They deserve the same kind of bold, bipartisan action that we’ve seen here today.  That’s what people have sent us here to do.  So my message to every member of Congress is:  Keep going.  Keep working.  Keep finding more ways to put partisanship aside and put more Americans back to work.

Tomorrow, I’m heading to New Hampshire to talk about another proposal in the American Jobs Act, and that’s a tax cut for nearly every worker and small business owner in America.  Democrats and Republicans have traditionally supported these kinds of tax cuts.  Independent economists from across the political spectrum have said this proposal is one of the best ways to boost our economy and spur hiring.  It’s going to be easier for us to hire our vets if the overall economy is going strong.  So there’s no reason not to vote for these tax cuts.

And if Congress doesn’t act by the end of the year, then the typical family’s taxes is going to go up by roughly $1,000. That’s the last thing our middle class and our economy needs right now.  It is the last thing that our veterans need right now.

So let’s keep at it.  No politics.  No delays.  No excuses. Let’s keep doing everything we can to get America back to work. And on that note, it is my great pleasure to do my job and sign this bill into law.  Thank you.  (Applause.)

(The bill is signed.)  (Applause.)

END
11:28 A.M. EST

 

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