Full Text Political Headlines December 22, 2012: GOP Weekly Address: Speaker John Boehner on Averting the Fiscal Cliff

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Weekly Republican Address: Speaker Boehner on Averting the Fiscal Cliff

Source: Speaker.gov, 12-21-12

Posted by Speaker Boehner Press Office
December 21, 2012
Press Release

Delivering the Weekly Republican Address, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) notes that the House has acted to avert the entire fiscal cliff, and President Obama and his Democratic-controlled Senate now must do the same.  “We will continue to work with our colleagues in the Congress and the White House on a plan that protects families and small businesses,” Boehner says, before wishing all Americans a Merry Christmas.

NOTE: The Weekly Republican Address: The audio is available here, and video of the address will be available here to view and here to download.   A full transcript follows.

Download Audio | YouTube | Download Video

“As you know, unless President Obama and Congress take action, tax rates will go up on every American on January 1st.

“The day after that, a mandatory ‘sequester’ will go into effect that will implement harmful cuts to our national defense.  That is currently the law of the land.

“The House has done its part to avert this entire fiscal cliff.  On the 10th of May and again on Thursday, we passed legislation that would replace the ‘sequester’ with responsible spending cuts.  We also passed a bill to stop all of the January 1 tax hikes.  The events of the past week make it clearer than ever that these measures reflect the will of the House.

“The American people re-elected President Obama on Election Day.  They also re-elected a Republican majority in the House.  In doing so, they gave us all a mandate.  It was not a mandate to raise tax rates on families and small businesses.  It was a mandate for us to work together to begin solving the massive debt that threatens our country’s future.

“Unfortunately, the president and Senate Democrats have vowed to reject and veto all of our proposals while failing to offer a responsible solution of their own.

“What the president has offered so far simply won’t do anything to solve our spending problem and begin to address our nation’s crippling debt.  Instead, he wants more spending and more tax hikes that will hurt our economy.  And he refuses to challenge the members of his party to deal honestly with entitlement reform and the big issues facing our nation.  That is why we find ourselves here today.

“I’ve challenged the members of our party to grapple with these issues, to make tough choices.  And we’re willing to – because Washington has a serious spending problem.  This was the year the size of our debt – all 16 trillion dollars of it – surpassed the size of our entire economy.  It’s a grim milestone, one of many we’ll have to bear if we don’t come to grips with it.

“The president’s solution of raising tax rates would still leave red ink as far as the eye can see.  And it would hurt jobs, at a time when far too many of our citizens are struggling to find them.

“I used to run a small business.  I’ve seen the damage higher taxes can do to jobs and families.  I don’t want tax rates to go up.  Republicans don’t want tax rates to go up.  The best way to address our crippling debt is to make significant spending cuts and fix our tax code to pave the way for long-term growth and opportunity.  This is an approach most Americans support, and it remains Republicans’ highest priority.   But we only run the House.  Democrats run Washington.

“Of course, hope springs eternal, and I know we have it in us to come together and do the right thing.  We will continue to work with our colleagues in the Congress and the White House on a plan that protects families and small businesses.

“For now, I wish all the American people a blessed and merry Christmas.”

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Political Headlines December 22, 2012: GOP Weekly Address: House Speaker Boehner on Working to Avoid Fiscal Cliff

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OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

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GOP Weekly Address: House Speaker Boehner on Working to Avoid Fiscal Cliff

Source: ABC News Radio, 12-22-12

Alex Wong/Getty Images

House Speaker Boehner, having removed the proposed “Plan B” as an option in fiscal cliff talks, delivered this week’s Republican address about the will of the House to avert the fiscal deadline.

Boehner, R- Ohio, noted that Americans re-elected President Obama and a Republican House majority as mandate “for us to work together to begin solving the massive debt that threatens our country’s future.”

“Unfortunately,” the Speaker says, “the president and Senate Democrats have vowed to reject and veto all of our proposals while failing to offer a responsible solution of their own.”…READ MORE

Political Headlines December 22, 2012: Weekly Address: President Barack Obama & First Lady Michelle Obama Wish Special Holiday Homecoming for Troops

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OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

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Weekly Address: Obamas Wish Special Holiday Homecoming for Troops

Source: ABC News Radio, 12-22-12

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza

As the first holiday season with the U.S. military out of Iraq and winding down in Afghanistan, President Obama wishes a special homecoming on American troops in his weekly address.

“This weekend, parents are picking up their kids from college — and making room for all that laundry they bring with them. Children are counting down the hours until the grandparents arrive, and uncles, aunts and cousins are all making their way to join the family and share in the holiday spirit,” he said. “And this year, that’s especially true for some of our military families.”

Joined by First Lady Michelle Obama, the two waxed on Americans reuniting with their loved ones, including those coming from abroad….READ MORE

Full Text Obama Presidency December 22, 2012: President Barack Obama & First Lady Michelle Obama’s Weekly Address Extend a Holiday Greeting and Thank our Troops for their Service

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OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

Weekly Address: The President and First Lady Extend a Holiday Greeting and Thank our Troops for their Service

Source: WH, 12-21-12

In this week’s address, President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama wish everyone a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays, and thank our brave troops and their families for their service. The President and First Lady ask the American people to visit JoiningForces.gov to find ways to honor and support our veterans and military families, and say that we must all come together, as we always do, to care for each other during this holiday season.

Transcript | Download mp4 | Download mp3

Weekly Address: The President and First Lady Extend a Holiday Greeting and Thank our Troops for their Service

WASHINGTON, DC—In this week’s address, President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama wished everyone a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays, and thanked our brave troops and their families for their service.  The President and First Lady asked the American people to visit JoiningForces.gov to find ways to honor and support our veterans and military families, and said that we must all come together, as we always do, to care for each other during this holiday season.

Remarks of President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama
Weekly Address
The White House
December 22, 2012

THE PRESIDENTHi everybody.  This weekend, as you gather with family and friends, Michelle and I want to wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy Holidays.

THE FIRST LADY:  We both love this time of year.  And there’s nothing quite like celebrating the holidays at the White House.  It’s an incredible experience and one that we try to share with as many folks as possible.

This month, more than 90,000 people have come through the White House to see the holiday decorations.  And our theme for this year’s holiday season was “Joy to All” – a reminder to appreciate the many joys of the holidays: the joy of giving…the joy of service…and, of course, the joy of homecomings. 

THE PRESIDENTThat’s right.  This weekend, parents are picking up their kids from college – and making room for all that laundry they bring with them.  Children are counting down the hours until the grandparents arrive.  And uncles, aunts and cousins are all making their way to join the family and share in the holiday spirit.

THE FIRST LADY:  That’s what makes this season so special – getting to spend time with the people we love most.

THE PRESIDENTAnd this year, that’s especially true for some of our military families.  You see, the war in Iraq is over.  The transition in Afghanistan is underway.  After a decade of war, our heroes are coming home.  And all across America, military families are reuniting.

So this week let’s give thanks for our veterans and their families.  And let’s say a prayer for all our troops – especially those in Afghanistan – who are spending this holiday overseas, risking their lives to defend the freedoms we hold dear.

THE FIRST LADY:  And remember, when our men and women in uniform answer the call to serve, their families serve right along with them.  Across this country, military spouses have been raising their families all alone during those long deployments.  And let’s not forget about our military kids, moving from base to base – and school to school – every few years, and stepping up to help out at home when mom or dad is away.

Our military families sacrifice so much on our behalf, and Barack and I believe that we should serve them as well as they serve this country.  That’s why Dr. Jill Biden and I started Joining Forces – an effort to rally all Americans to honor and support our veterans and military families.  Just go to joiningforces.gov to find out how you can show your gratitude for their service.

THE PRESIDENT:  Because that’s what this season is all about.  For my family and millions of Americans, it’s a time to celebrate the birth of Christ. To reflect on His life and learn from His example.  Every year, we commit to love one another.  To give of ourselves.  To be our brother’s keeper.  To be our sister’s keeper.  But those ideas are not just part of our faith.  They’re part of all faiths.  And they unite us as Americans.

THE FIRST LADY:  In this country, we take care of each other.  And in this season of giving, it’s inspiring to see so many people all across America taking the time to help those most in need.

THE PRESIDENTThat’s part of what makes us such a compassionate nation.  And this year, I know many of you are extending that kindness to the families who are still picking up the pieces from Hurricane Sandy and your prayers to the people of Newtown, Connecticut.

THE FIRST LADY:  So thank you for all that you’ve done this year on behalf of your fellow Americans.

THE PRESIDENT: And on behalf of my favorite Americans – Michelle, Malia, Sasha and Bo – Merry Christmas, everybody.

THE FIRST LADY:  Happy holidays.

Political Headlines December 21, 2012: Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell: A Sassy Merry Christmas ‘I’m Stuck Here in Washington’

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OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

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A Sassy Merry Christmas from Mitch McConnell: ‘I’m Stuck Here in Washington’

Source: ABC News Radio, 12-21-12

Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call

It’s a Christmas greeting with a few digs reflecting the frustration over the fiscal cliff stalemate from Senate Minority Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.

In a video just posted to his You Tube page, the Minority Leader, sitting in front of a fireplace and Christmas tree says, “Hello I’m Senator Mitch McConnell. I’m stuck here in Washington trying to prevent my fellow Kentuckians having to shell out more money to Uncle Sam next year, but I wanted to take just a minute to wish you and your family a Merry Christmas.”

McConnell then instructs Americans to drink eggnog, sing carols and enjoy their time together – because Washington has all the arguing covered already.

“So pour some eggnog, turn up the Christmas music and enjoy your family. No need to argue with your family, there is plenty of arguing in Washington to go around. Merry Christmas everyone.”…READ MORE

Political Headlines December 21, 2012: Congress in Recess, President Barack Obama Still ‘Optimist’ On Fiscal Cliff Deal

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OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

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Congress in Recess, Obama Still ‘Optimist’ On Fiscal Cliff Deal

Source: ABC News Radio, 12-21-12

Alex Wong/Getty Images

Ten days remain before the mandatory spending cuts and tax increases known as the “fiscal cliff” take effect, but President Obama says that he is still a “hopeless optimist” that a federal budget deal can be reached before the year-end deadline that economists agree would plunge the country back into recession.

“Even though Democrats and Republicans are arguing about whether those rates should go up for the wealthiest individuals, all of us — every single one of us — agrees that tax rates shouldn’t go up for the other 98 percent of Americans, which includes 97 percent of small businesses,” he said, adding there was “no reason” not to move forward on that aspect of theoretical legislation, and that it was “within our capacity” to resolve.

The question of whether to raise taxes on incomes over $250,000 remains at an impasse, but is only one aspect of nuanced legislative wrangling that has left the parties at odds….READ MORE

Full Text Obama Presidency December 21, 2012: President Barack Obama’s Speech Discusses the Fiscal Cliff & Urges Congress to Reconsider Minimal Deal — Calls for Stopgap Tax Bill

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OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

President Obama Discusses the Fiscal Cliff

Source: WH, 12-21-12

President Barack Obama delivers a statement to the press in the Brady Press Briefing Room (December 21, 2012)President Barack Obama delivers a statement to the press in the Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House, Dec. 21, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)

After a week of negotiation and debate around the fiscal cliff, President Obama took to the James S. Brady Briefing Room in the White House to talk about where we are in the fight to keep middle-class taxes from going up.

“I just spoke to Speaker Boehner and I also met with Senator Reid,” he said. “In the next few days, I’ve asked leaders of Congress to work towards a package that prevents a tax hike on middle-class Americans, protects unemployment insurance for 2 million Americans, and lays the groundwork for further work on both growth and deficit reduction. That’s an achievable goal. That can get done in 10 days. Once this legislation is agreed to, I expect Democrats and Republicans to get back to Washington and have it pass both chambers. And I will immediately sign that legislation into law, before January 1st of next year. It’s that simple.”

He urged lawmakers to use the Christmas holiday to give the issue due consideration, and return to Washington ready to work on a solution.

“Everybody can cool off; everybody can drink some eggnog, have some Christmas cookies, sing some Christmas carols, enjoy the company of loved ones,” said President Obama. “And then I’d ask every member of Congress while they’re back home to think about that. Think about the obligations we have to the people who sent us here.”

Read the full remarks here.

Statement by the President on the Fiscal Cliff

James S. Brady Press Briefing Room

5:34 P.M. EST

THE PRESIDENT:  Good afternoon, everybody.  Over the last few weeks I’ve been working with leaders of both parties on a proposal to get our deficit under control, avoid tax cuts — or avoid tax hikes on the middle class, and to make sure that we can spur jobs and economic growth — a balanced proposal that cuts spending but also asks the wealthiest Americans to pay more; a proposal that will strengthen the middle class over the long haul and grow our economy over the long haul.

During the course of these negotiations, I offered to compromise with Republicans in Congress.  I met them halfway on taxes, and I met them more than halfway on spending.  And in terms of actual dollar amounts, we’re not that far apart.

As of today, I am still ready and willing to get a comprehensive package done.  I still believe that reducing our deficit is the right thing to do for the long-term health of our economy and the confidence of our businesses.  I remain committed to working towards that goal, whether it happens all at once or whether it happens in several different steps.

But in 10 days, we face a deadline.  In 10 days, under current law, tax rates are scheduled to rise on most Americans.  And even though Democrats and Republicans are arguing about whether those rates should go up for the wealthiest individuals, all of us — every single one of us — agrees that tax rates shouldn’t go up for the other 98 percent of Americans, which includes 97 percent of small businesses.  Every member of Congress believes that.  Every Democrat, every Republican.  So there is absolutely no reason — none — not to protect these Americans from a tax hike.  At the very least, let’s agree right now on what we already agree on.  Let’s get that done.

I just spoke to Speaker Boehner and I also met with Senator Reid.  In the next few days, I’ve asked leaders of Congress to work towards a package that prevents a tax hike on middle-class Americans, protects unemployment insurance for 2 million Americans, and lays the groundwork for further work on both growth and deficit reduction.  That’s an achievable goal.  That can get done in 10 days.

Once this legislation is agreed to, I expect Democrats and Republicans to get back to Washington and have it pass both chambers.  And I will immediately sign that legislation into law, before January 1st of next year.  It’s that simple.

Averting this middle-class tax hike is not a Democratic responsibility or a Republican responsibility.  With their votes, the American people have determined that governing is a shared responsibility between both parties.  In this Congress, laws can only pass with support from Democrats and Republicans.  And that means nobody gets 100 percent of what they want.  Everybody has got to give a little bit, in a sensible way.  We move forward together, or we don’t move forward at all.

So, as we leave town for a few days to be with our families for the holidays, I hope it gives everybody some perspective.  Everybody can cool off; everybody can drink some eggnog, have some Christmas cookies, sing some Christmas carols, enjoy the company of loved ones.  And then I’d ask every member of Congress while they’re back home to think about that.  Think about the obligations we have to the people who sent us here.  Think about the hardship that so many Americans will endure if Congress does nothing at all.

Just as our economy is really starting to recover and we’re starting to see optimistic signs, and we’ve seen actually some upside statistics from a whole range of areas including housing, now is not the time for more self-inflicted wounds — certainly not those coming from Washington.  And there’s so much more work to be done in this country — on jobs and on incomes, education and energy.  We’re a week away from one of the worst tragedies in memory, so we’ve got work to do on gun safety, a host of other issues.  These are all challenges that we can meet.  They’re all challenges that we have to meet if we want our kids to grow up in an America that’s full of opportunity and possibility, as much opportunity and possibility as the America that our parents and our grandparents left for us.

But we’re only going to be able to do it together.  We’re going to have to find some common ground.  And the challenge that we’ve got right now is that the American people are a lot more sensible and a lot more thoughtful and much more willing to compromise, and give, and sacrifice, and act responsibly than their elected representatives are.  And that’s a problem.

There’s a mismatch right now between how everybody else is thinking about these problems– Democrats and Republicans outside of this town — and how folks are operating here.  And we’ve just got to get that aligned.  But we’ve only got 10 days to do it.

So I hope that every member of Congress is thinking about that.  Nobody can get 100 percent of what they want.  And this is not simply a contest between parties in terms of who looks good and who doesn’t.  There are real-world consequences to what we do here.

And I want next year to be a year of strong economic growth. I want next year to be a year in which more jobs are created, and more businesses are started, and we’re making progress on all the challenges that we have out there — some of which, by the way, we don’t have as much control over as we have in terms of just shaping a sensible budget.

This is something within our capacity to solve.  It doesn’t take that much work.  We just have to do the right thing.  So call me a hopeless optimist, but I actually still think we can get it done.

And with that, I want to wish every American a merry Christmas.  And because we didn’t get this done, I will see you next week.

END

5:43 P.M. EST

Political Headlines December 21, 2012: President Barack Obama Nominates John Kerry for Secretary of State

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John Kerry Nominated to Head the State Department

Source: ABC News Radio, 12-21-12

MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images

President Obama announced Friday that he has nominated Sen. John Kerry to be his next Secretary of State, likely succeeding Hillary Clinton if confirmed by Congress.

With the senator and wife Theresa Heinz-Kerry standing beside him, the president said Kerry’s “entire life has prepared him for this role.”

“As the son of a foreign service officer, he has a deep respect for the men and women of the State Department; the role they play in advancing our interests and values; the risks that they undertake and the sacrifices that they make along with their families,” he said….READ MORE

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