Full Text Obama Presidency April 18, 2013: President Barack Obama’s Speech at an Interfaith Memorial Service for Boston Marathon Bombing Victims, Cathedral of the Holy Cross, Boston — Transcript

POLITICAL TRANSCRIPTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

Obama’s Remarks at Boston Service

Source: NYT, 4-18-13

In Boston, Obama Praises Spirit of City: Mourning the victims of the marathon bombings, President Obama spoke at a church service titled “Healing Our City” at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross in Boston. He also praised the spirit of the city.

The following is a transcript of President Obama’s remarks at an interfaith memorial service for the victims of the Boston Marathon bombing at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross in Boston on Thursday, as provided by the White House.

MR. OBAMA: Hello, Boston!

Scripture tells us to “run with endurance the race that is set before us.” Run with endurance the race that is set before us.

On Monday morning, the sun rose over Boston. The sunlight glistened off the Statehouse dome. In the Common and the Public Garden, spring was in bloom. On this Patriot’s Day, like so many before, fans jumped onto the T to see the Sox at Fenway. In Hopkinton, runners laced up their shoes and set out on a 26.2-mile test of dedication and grit and the human spirit. And across this city, hundreds of thousands of Bostonians lined the streets — to hand the runners cups of water and to cheer them on.

It was a beautiful day to be in Boston — a day that explains why a poet once wrote that this town is not just a capital, not just a place. Boston, he said, “is the perfect state of grace.”

And then, in an instant, the day’s beauty was shattered. A celebration became a tragedy. And so we come together to pray, and mourn, and measure our loss. But we also come together today to reclaim that state of grace — to reaffirm that the spirit of this city is undaunted, and the spirit of this country shall remain undimmed.

To Governor Patrick; Mayor Menino; Cardinal O’Malley and all the faith leaders who are here; Governors Romney, Swift, Weld and Dukakis; members of Congress; and most of all, the people of Boston and the families who’ve lost a piece of your heart. We thank you for your leadership. We thank you for your courage. We thank you for your grace.

I’m here today on behalf of the American people with a simple message: Every one of us has been touched by this attack on your beloved city. Every one of us stands with you.

Because, after all, it’s our beloved city, too. Boston may be your hometown, but we claim it, too. It’s one of America’s iconic cities. It’s one of the world’s great cities. And one of the reasons the world knows Boston so well is that Boston opens its heart to the world.

Over successive generations, you’ve welcomed again and again new arrivals to our shores — immigrants who constantly reinvigorated this city and this commonwealth and our nation. Every fall, you welcome students from all across America and all across the globe, and every spring you graduate them back into the world — a Boston diaspora that excels in every field of human endeavor. Year after year, you welcome the greatest talents in the arts and science, research — you welcome them to your concert halls and your hospitals and your laboratories to exchange ideas and insights that draw this world together.

And every third Monday in April, you welcome people from all around the world to the Hub for friendship and fellowship and healthy competition — a gathering of men and women of every race and every religion, every shape and every size; a multitude represented by all those flags that flew over the finish line.

So whether folks come here to Boston for just a day, or they stay here for years, they leave with a piece of this town tucked firmly into their hearts. So Boston is your hometown, but we claim it a little bit, too.

I know this because there’s a piece of Boston in me. You welcomed me as a young law student across the river; welcomed Michelle, too. You welcomed me during a convention when I was still a state senator and very few people could pronounce my name right. (Laughter.)

Like you, Michelle and I have walked these streets. Like you, we know these neighborhoods. And like you, in this moment of grief, we join you in saying — “Boston, you’re my home.” For millions of us, what happened on Monday is personal. It’s personal.

Today our prayers are with the Campbell family of Medford. They’re here today. Their daughter, Krystle, was always smiling. Those who knew her said that with her red hair and her freckles and her ever-eager willingness to speak her mind, she was beautiful, sometimes she could be a little noisy, and everybody loved her for it. She would have turned 30 next month. As her mother said through her tears, “This doesn’t make any sense.”

Our prayers are with the Lu family of China, who sent their daughter, Lingzi, to BU so that she could experience all this city has to offer. She was a 23-year-old student, far from home. And in the heartache of her family and friends on both sides of a great ocean, we’re reminded of the humanity that we all share.

Our prayers are with the Richard family of Dorchester — to Denise and their young daughter, Jane, as they fight to recover. And our hearts are broken for 8-year-old Martin — with his big smile and bright eyes. His last hours were as perfect as an 8-year-old boy could hope for — with his family, eating ice cream at a sporting event. And we’re left with two enduring images of this little boy — forever smiling for his beloved Bruins, and forever expressing a wish he made on a blue poster board: “No more hurting people. Peace.”

No more hurting people. Peace.

Our prayers are with the injured -— so many wounded, some gravely. From their beds, some are surely watching us gather here today. And if you are, know this: As you begin this long journey of recovery, your city is with you. Your commonwealth is with you. Your country is with you. We will all be with you as you learn to stand and walk and, yes, run again. Of that I have no doubt. You will run again. You will run again.

Because that’s what the people of Boston are made of. Your resolve is the greatest rebuke to whoever committed this heinous act. If they sought to intimidate us, to terrorize us, to shake us from those values that Deval described, the values that make us who we are, as Americans — well, it should be pretty clear by now that they picked the wrong city to do it. Not here in Boston. Not here in Boston.

You’ve shown us, Boston, that in the face of evil, Americans will lift up what’s good. In the face of cruelty, we will choose compassion. In the face of those who would visit death upon innocents, we will choose to save and to comfort and to heal. We’ll choose friendship. We’ll choose love.

Scripture teaches us, “God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.” And that’s the spirit you’ve displayed in recent days.

When doctors and nurses, police and firefighters and EMTs and Guardsmen run towards explosions to treat the wounded — that’s discipline.

When exhausted runners, including our troops and veterans — who never expected to see such carnage on the streets back home — become first responders themselves, tending to the injured — that’s real power.

When Bostonians carry victims in their arms, deliver water and blankets, line up to give blood, open their homes to total strangers, give them rides back to reunite with their families — that’s love.

That’s the message we send to those who carried this out and anyone who would do harm to our people. Yes, we will find you. And, yes, you will face justice. We will find you. We will hold you accountable. But more than that; our fidelity to our way of life — to our free and open society — will only grow stronger. For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but one of power and love and self-discipline.

Like Bill Iffrig, 78 years old — the runner in the orange tank top who we all saw get knocked down by the blast — we may be momentarily knocked off our feet, but we’ll pick ourselves up. We’ll keep going. We will finish the race. In the words of Dick Hoyt, who’s pushed his disabled son, Rick, in 31 Boston Marathons — “We can’t let something like this stop us.” This doesn’t stop us.

And that’s what you’ve taught us, Boston. That’s what you’ve reminded us — to push on. To persevere. To not grow weary. To not get faint. Even when it hurts. Even when our heart aches. We summon the strength that maybe we didn’t even know we had, and we carry on. We finish the race. We finish the race.

And we do that because of who we are. And we do that because we know that somewhere around the bend a stranger has a cup of water. Around the bend, somebody is there to boost our spirits. On that toughest mile, just when we think that we’ve hit a wall, someone will be there to cheer us on and pick us up if we fall. We know that.

And that’s what the perpetrators of such senseless violence — these small, stunted individuals who would destroy instead of build, and think somehow that makes them important — that’s what they don’t understand. Our faith in each other, our love for each other, our love for country, our common creed that cuts across whatever superficial differences there may be — that is our power. That’s our strength.

That’s why a bomb can’t beat us. That’s why we don’t hunker down. That’s why we don’t cower in fear. We carry on. We race. We strive. We build, and we work, and we love — and we raise our kids to do the same. And we come together to celebrate life, and to walk our cities, and to cheer for our teams. When the Sox and Celtics and Patriots or Bruins are champions again — to the chagrin of New York and Chicago fans — (laughter) — the crowds will gather and watch a parade go down Boylston Street.

And this time next year, on the third Monday in April, the world will return to this great American city to run harder than ever, and to cheer even louder, for the 118th Boston Marathon. Bet on it.

Tomorrow, the sun will rise over Boston. Tomorrow, the sun will rise over this country that we love. This special place. This state of grace.

Scripture tells us to “run with endurance the race that is set before us.” As we do, may God hold close those who’ve been taken from us too soon. May He comfort their families. And may He continue to watch over these United States of America.

Advertisements

Full Text Obama Presidency April 18, 2013: President Barack Obama’s Statement on the Explosion in West, Texas

POLITICAL TRANSCRIPTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

Statement from the President on the Explosion in West, Texas

Source: WH, 4-18-13 

Today our prayers go out to the people of West, Texas in the aftermath of last night’s deadly explosion at a fertilizer plant.   A tight-knit community has been shaken, and good, hard-working people have lost their lives.  I want to thank the first responders who worked tirelessly through the night to contain the situation and treat the wounded.  My Administration, through FEMA and other agencies, is in close contact with our state and local partners on the ground to make sure there are no unmet needs as search and rescue and response operations continue.  West is a town that many Texans hold near and dear to their hearts, and as residents continue to respond to this tragedy, they will have the support of the American people.

Political Headlines April 17, 2013: President Barack Obama Says Senate Gun Control Defeat Marks ‘Shameful Day for Washington’

POLITICAL HEADLINES

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

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

THE HEADLINES….

Obama Says Gun Control Defeat Marks ‘Shameful Day for Washington’

Source: ABC News Radio, 4-17-13

Win McNamee/Getty Images

Standing alongside tearful families of the victims of the Sandy Hook massacre, a seething-mad President Obama lashed out against lawmakers who opposed a bill that would have expanded background checks for gun buyers, saying Wednesday marked a “shameful day for Washington.”

“There were no coherent arguments as to why we wouldn’t do this. It came down to politics,” the president said in a Rose Garden statement shortly after the Senate defeated the bipartisan Manchin-Toomey amendment….READ MORE

Full Text Obama Presidency April 17, 2013: President Barack Obama’s Speech / Statement After Senate Vote Blocks Gun Control Legislation

POLITICAL TRANSCRIPTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

Senate Votes to Block Expanded Background Checks for Gun Sales

Source: WH, 4-17-13
Surrounded by Americans whose lives and families had been forever changed by gun violence, President Obama spoke from the Rose Garden about today’s Senate vote on expanded background checks for gun sales.

A few months ago, in response to too many tragedies — including the shootings of a United States Congresswoman, Gabby Giffords, who’s here today, and the murder of 20 innocent schoolchildren and their teachers –- this country took up the cause of protecting more of our people from gun violence.

Families that know unspeakable grief summoned the courage to petition their elected leaders –- not just to honor the memory of their children, but to protect the lives of all our children. And a few minutes ago, a minority in the United States Senate decided it wasn’t worth it. They blocked common-sense gun reforms even while these families looked on from the Senate gallery.

“A majority of senators voted “yes” to protecting more of our citizens with smarter background checks,” President Obama said. “But by this continuing distortion of Senate rules, a minority was able to block it from moving forward.”

The President said that the legislation showed respect for victims of gun violence and gun owners alike. “Nobody could honestly claim that this legislation infringed on our Second Amendment rights,” he said. “All it did was extend the same background check rules that already apply to guns purchased from a dealer to guns purchased at gun shows or over the Internet.”

But the fact is most of these senators could not offer any good reason why we wouldn’t want to make it harder for criminals and those with severe mental illnesses to buy a gun.  There were no coherent arguments as to why we wouldn’t do this.  It came down to politics — the worry that that vocal minority of gun owners would come after them in future elections.

“All in all, this was a pretty shameful day for Washington,” President Obama said. “But this effort isn’t over.  I want to make it clear to the American people that we can still bring about meaningful changes that reduce gun violence, so long as you don’t give up. “

He promised that his administration would keep doing everything it can to protect our kids and communities. “But we can do more if Congress gets its act together,” he said.

“Those who care deeply about preventing more and more gun violence will have to be as passionate, and as organized, and as vocal as those who blocked these common-sense steps to help keep our kids safe.”

The President said that he sees today’s vote as the end of round one.

I believe we’re going to be able to get this done. Sooner or later, we are going to get this right. The memories of these children demand it. And so do the American people.

Make your voice heard. Speak out if you support common-sense steps to reduce gun violence

Statement by the President

Source: WH, 4-17-13

Rose Garden

5:35 P.M. EDT

MR. BARDEN:  Hello.  My name is Mark Barden.  Just four months ago, my wife Jackie and I lost our son, and our children, James and Natalie, they lost their little brother Daniel.  Daniel was a first-grader at Sandy Hook Elementary School.  Our sweet, 7-year-old Daniel was one of 20 children, six adults lost on December 14th.  I have to say it feels like it was just yesterday.

In our deepest grief, we were supported by the love of our families and comforted by the love and prayers we received from millions of America, from every corner of the country.

What happened in Newtown can happen anywhere.  In any instant, any dad in America could be in my shoes.  No one should feel the pain.  No one should feel our pain or the pain felt by the tens of thousands of people who’ve lost loved ones to senseless gun violence.

And that’s why we’re here.  Two weeks ago, 12 of us from Newtown came to meet with U.S. senators and have a conversation about how to bring common-sense solutions to the issues of gun violence.  We came with a sense of hope, optimistic that real conversation could begin that would ultimately save the lives of so many Americans.  We met with dozens of Democrats and Republicans and shared with them pictures of our children, our spouses, our parents who lost their lives on December 14th.

Expanded background checks wouldn’t have saved our loved ones, but still we came to support the bipartisan proposal from two senators, both with “A” ratings from the NRA — a common-sense proposal supported by 90 percent of Americans.  It‘s a proposal that will save lives without interfering with the rights of responsible, law-abiding gun owners.

We’ll return home now, disappointed but not defeated.  We return home with the determination that change will happen — maybe not today, but it will happen.  It will happen soon.  We’ve always known this would be a long road, and we don’t have the luxury of turning back.  We will keep moving forward and build public support for common-sense solutions in the areas of mental health, school safety, and gun safety.

We take strength from the children and loved ones that we lost, and we carry a great faith in the American people.

On behalf of the Sandy Hook Promise, I would like to thank President Obama, Vice President Biden for their leadership and for standing strong and continuing to fight for a safer America. I would like to thank Senators Toomey, Manchin, Schumer and Kirk on coming together to seek common ground on legislation that would keep guns out of the hands of criminals and save lives.

And I would like to thank Connecticut’s Senators Blumenthal and Murphy.  They’ve been right with us.  They stood by us right from the very beginning.  From the first few hours after this tragedy they were with us.

We will not be defeated.  We are not defeated, and we will not be defeated.  We are here now; we will always be here because we have no other choice.  We are not going away.  And every day, as more people are killed in this country because of gun violence, our determination grows stronger.

We leave Washington hoping that others, both here and across the country, will join us in making the Sandy Hook Promise, a pledge that we’d had great hope that more U.S. senators would take literally.  I’d like to end by repeating the words with which the Sandy Hook Promise begins:  Our hearts are broken.  Our spirit is not.

Thank you.  It is now my great pleasure to introduce the President of the United States of America, Barack Obama.

THE PRESIDENT:  A few months ago, in response to too many tragedies — including the shootings of a United States Congresswoman, Gabby Giffords, who’s here today, and the murder of 20 innocent schoolchildren and their teachers –- this country took up the cause of protecting more of our people from gun violence.

Families that know unspeakable grief summoned the courage to petition their elected leaders –- not just to honor the memory of their children, but to protect the lives of all our children.  And a few minutes ago, a minority in the United States Senate decided it wasn’t worth it.  They blocked common-sense gun reforms even while these families looked on from the Senate gallery.

By now, it’s well known that 90 percent of the American people support universal background checks that make it harder for a dangerous person to buy a gun.  We’re talking about convicted felons, people convicted of domestic violence, people with a severe mental illness.  Ninety percent of Americans support that idea.  Most Americans think that’s already the law.

And a few minutes ago, 90 percent of Democrats in the Senate just voted for that idea.  But it’s not going to happen because 90 percent of Republicans in the Senate just voted against that idea.

A majority of senators voted “yes” to protecting more of our citizens with smarter background checks.  But by this continuing distortion of Senate rules, a minority was able to block it from moving forward.

I’m going to speak plainly and honestly about what’s happened here because the American people are trying to figure out how can something have 90 percent support and yet not happen. We had a Democrat and a Republican -– both gun owners, both fierce defenders of our Second Amendment, with “A” grades from the NRA — come together and worked together to write a common-sense compromise on background checks.  And I want to thank Joe Manchin and Pat Toomey for their courage in doing that.  That was not easy given their traditional strong support for Second Amendment rights.

As they said, nobody could honestly claim that the package they put together infringed on our Second Amendment rights.  All it did was extend the same background check rules that already apply to guns purchased from a dealer to guns purchased at gun shows or over the Internet.  So 60 percent of guns are already purchased through a background check system; this would have covered a lot of the guns that are currently outside that system.

Their legislation showed respect for gun owners, and it showed respect for the victims of gun violence.  And Gabby Giffords, by the way, is both — she’s a gun owner and a victim of gun violence.  She is a Westerner and a moderate.  And she supports these background checks.

In fact, even the NRA used to support expanded background checks.  The current leader of the NRA used to support these background checks.  So while this compromise didn’t contain everything I wanted or everything that these families wanted, it did represent progress.  It represented moderation and common sense.  That’s why 90 percent of the American people supported it.

But instead of supporting this compromise, the gun lobby and its allies willfully lied about the bill.  They claimed that it would create some sort of “big brother” gun registry, even though the bill did the opposite.  This legislation, in fact, outlawed any registry.  Plain and simple, right there in the text.  But that didn’t matter.

And unfortunately, this pattern of spreading untruths about this legislation served a purpose, because those lies upset an intense minority of gun owners, and that in turn intimidated a lot of senators.  And I talked to several of these senators over the past few weeks, and they’re all good people.  I know all of them were shocked by tragedies like Newtown.  And I also understand that they come from states that are strongly pro-gun. And I have consistently said that there are regional differences when it comes to guns, and that both sides have to listen to each other.

But the fact is most of these senators could not offer any good reason why we wouldn’t want to make it harder for criminals and those with severe mental illnesses to buy a gun.  There were no coherent arguments as to why we wouldn’t do this.  It came down to politics — the worry that that vocal minority of gun owners would come after them in future elections.  They worried that the gun lobby would spend a lot of money and paint them as anti-Second Amendment.

And obviously, a lot of Republicans had that fear, but Democrats had that fear, too.  And so they caved to the pressure, and they started looking for an excuse — any excuse — to vote “no.”

One common argument I heard was that this legislation wouldn’t prevent all future massacres.  And that’s true.  As I said from the start, no single piece of legislation can stop every act of violence and evil.  We learned that tragically just two days ago.  But if action by Congress could have saved one person, one child, a few hundred, a few thousand — if it could have prevented those people from losing their lives to gun violence in the future while preserving our Second Amendment rights, we had an obligation to try.

And this legislation met that test.  And too many senators failed theirs.

I’ve heard some say that blocking this step would be a victory.  And my question is, a victory for who?  A victory for what?  All that happened today was the preservation of the loophole that lets dangerous criminals buy guns without a background check.  That didn’t make our kids safer.  Victory for not doing something that 90 percent of Americans, 80 percent of Republicans, the vast majority of your constituents wanted to get done?  It begs the question, who are we here to represent?

I’ve heard folks say that having the families of victims lobby for this legislation was somehow misplaced.  “A prop,” somebody called them.  “Emotional blackmail,” some outlet said.  Are they serious?  Do we really think that thousands of families whose lives have been shattered by gun violence don’t have a right to weigh in on this issue?  Do we think their emotions, their loss is not relevant to this debate?

So all in all, this was a pretty shameful day for Washington.

But this effort is not over.  I want to make it clear to the American people we can still bring about meaningful changes that reduce gun violence, so long as the American people don’t give up on it.  Even without Congress, my administration will keep doing everything it can to protect more of our communities.  We’re going to address the barriers that prevent states from participating in the existing background check system.  We’re going to give law enforcement more information about lost and stolen guns so it can do its job.  We’re going to help to put in place emergency plans to protect our children in their schools.

But we can do more if Congress gets its act together.  And if this Congress refuses to listen to the American people and pass common-sense gun legislation, then the real impact is going to have to come from the voters.

To all the people who supported this legislation — law enforcement and responsible gun owners, Democrats and Republicans, urban moms, rural hunters, whoever you are — you need to let your representatives in Congress know that you are disappointed, and that if they don’t act this time, you will remember come election time.

To the wide majority of NRA households who supported this legislation, you need to let your leadership and lobbyists in Washington know they didn’t represent your views on this one.

The point is those who care deeply about preventing more and more gun violence will have to be as passionate, and as organized, and as vocal as those who blocked these common-sense steps to help keep our kids safe.  Ultimately, you outnumber those who argued the other way.  But they’re better organized.  They’re better financed.  They’ve been at it longer.  And they make sure to stay focused on this one issue during election time. And that’s the reason why you can have something that 90 percent of Americans support and you can’t get it through the Senate or the House of Representatives.

So to change Washington, you, the American people, are going to have to sustain some passion about this.  And when necessary, you’ve got to send the right people to Washington.  And that requires strength, and it requires persistence.

And that’s the one thing that these families should have inspired in all of us.  I still don’t know how they have been able to muster up the strength to do what they’ve doing over the last several weeks, last several months.

And I see this as just round one.  When Newtown happened, I met with these families and I spoke to the community, and I said, something must be different right now.  We’re going to have to change.  That’s what the whole country said.  Everybody talked about how we were going to change something to make sure this didn’t happen again, just like everybody talked about how we needed to do something after Aurora.  Everybody talked about we needed change something after Tucson.

And I’m assuming that the emotions that we’ve all felt since Newtown, the emotions that we’ve all felt since Tucson and Aurora and Chicago — the pain we share with these families and families all across the country who’ve lost a loved one to gun violence — I’m assuming that’s not a temporary thing.  I’m assuming our expressions of grief and our commitment to do something different to prevent these things from happening are not empty words.

I believe we’re going to be able to get this done.  Sooner or later, we are going to get this right.  The memories of these children demand it.  And so do the American people.

Thank you very much, everybody.

END                5:55 P.M. EDT

Political Headlines April 17, 2013: Senate Rejects Bipartisan Gun Control Legislation Background Check Measure 54 to 46

POLITICAL HEADLINES

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

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

THE HEADLINES….

Senate Rejects Bipartisan Background Check Measure

Source: NYT, 4-17-13

Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. at the Capitol before the vote on Wednesday.

Alex Wong/Getty Images

Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. at the Capitol before the vote on Wednesday.

After several senators its sponsors hoped would support it decided not to, the measure drafted by Senators Joe Manchin III of West Virginia and Patrick Toomey of Pennsylvania was defeated, 54 to 46….READ MORE

Political Headlines April 17, 2013: Rand Paul Hints at Presidential Run in 2016

POLITICAL HEADLINES

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

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

THE HEADLINES….

Rand Paul Hints at Presidential Run in 2016

Source: ABC News Radio, 4-17-13

T.J. Kirkpatrick/Getty Images

Sen. Rand Paul is considering a run for the presidency in 2016, but will not decide until next year, the Kentucky Republican said Wednesday at the Christian Science Monitor Breakfast in Washington, D.C.

A Tea Party favorite, libertarian like his father-congressman and perennial presidential candidate, Paul told reporters he plans on multiple visits to primary states in the next few months to gauge his viability as a candidate….READ MORE

Political Headlines April 16, 2013: Proposed Immigration Bill Has Widespread Senate Support

POLITICAL HEADLINES

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

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

THE HEADLINES….

Proposed Immigration Bill Has Widespread Support

Source: ABC News Radio, 4-17-13

MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images

Senators John McCain, R-Ariz., and Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., emerged from a White House meeting Tuesday confident that President Obama supports the immigration reform bill they plan to introduce Tuesday night.

“While he certainly might not agree with every single part of it, he was very supportive of the bill we have put together and simply wants to make sure we keep moving it along and get something done,” Schumer told reporters at the White House….READ MORE

Obama to Visit Boston Thursday, Speak at Service for Bombing Victims

POLITICAL HEADLINES

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

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

THE HEADLINES….

Obama to Visit Boston Thursday, Speak at Service for Bombing Victims

Source: ABC News Radio, 4-16-13

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza

President Obama is scheduled to travel to Boston on Thursday, three days after the deadly bombings at the Boston Marathon.

As the city grapples with this tragedy, the president plans to speak at an interfaith service “dedicated to those who were gravely wounded or killed in Monday’s bombing,” White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said in a written statement….READ MORE

Political Headlines April 16, 2013: President Barack Obama Calls Boston Bombings ‘an Act of Terrorism’ at Press Briefing

POLITICAL HEADLINES

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

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

THE HEADLINES….

Obama Calls Boston Bombings ‘an Act of Terrorism’

Source: ABC News Radio, 4-16-13

Mark Wilson/Getty Images

President Obama on Tuesday said the bombings at the Boston Marathon are being investigated as an “act of terrorism” and vowed that those responsible for the attack would be brought to justice.

“This was heinous and cowardly act, and given what we now know about what took place, the FBI is investigating it as an act of terrorism.  Any time bombs are used to target innocent civilians, it is an act of terror,” the president told reporters at the White House shortly after being briefed by his national security team….READ MORE

Full Text Obama Presidency April 16, 2013: President Barack Obama’s Remarks on the Boston Bombings in the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House: “The American People Refuse to be Terrorized”

POLITICAL TRANSCRIPTS


OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

President Obama: “The American People Refuse to be Terrorized”

Source: WH, 4-16-13

President Obama Delivers a Statement on the bombs in Boston, April 16, 2013President Barack Obama delivers remarks on the explosions that occurred in Boston, in the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House, April 16, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Following a briefing from FBI Director Mueller, Attorney General Holder, Secretary Napolitano, and homeland security advisor Lisa Monaco, President Obama went to the Brady Press Briefing Room to update Americans on developments in Boston, following two explosions at the finish line of the Boston Marathon on Monday afternoon.

“We continue to mobilize and deploy all appropriate law enforcement resources to protect our citizens, and to investigate and to respond to this attack,” the President said in a televised address. “Obviously our first thoughts this morning are with the victims, their families, and the city of Boston. We know that two explosions gravely wounded dozens of Americans, and took the lives of others, including a 8-year-old boy.

“This was a heinous and cowardly act. And given what we now know about what took place, the FBI is investigating it as an act of terrorism.  Any time bombs are used to target innocent civilians it is an act of terror. What we don’t yet know, however, is who carried out this attack, or why; whether it was planned and executed by a terrorist organization, foreign or domestic, or was the act of a malevolent individual.”

The President assured the American people that while it will take time to determine what happened, “we will find whoever harmed our citizens. And we will bring them to justice.”

In addition to highlighting the tremendous acts of heroism by the men and women of the FBI, the Boston Police Department, and other agencies and first responders yesterday, the President praised the kindness, generosity and love that was on display throughout the city of Boston in the aftermath of the bombings. “if you want to know who we are, what America is, how we respond to evil — that’s it. Selflessly. Compassionately. Unafraid.”

You can watch the President’s complete statement on YouTube


Learn more:

Full Text Obama Presidency April 16, 2013: Readout of the President Barack Obama’s Briefing on the Boston Bombings

POLITICAL TRANSCRIPTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

Readout of the President’s Briefing on the Explosions in Boston

Source: WH, 4-16-13

This morning the President, joined by Vice President Biden, convened a briefing in the Oval Office with his national security team on the ongoing investigation into the explosions in Boston. Participating in the briefing was Attorney General Eric Holder, FBI Director Robert Mueller, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, Chief of Staff Denis McDonough, National Security Advisor Tom Donilon, Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism Lisa Monaco, Deputy National Security Advisor Tony Blinken, White House Counsel Kathryn Ruemmler, Deputy Chief of Staff Alyssa Mastromonaco, Deputy National Security Advisor For Strategic Communications Ben Rhodes, and National Security Advisor to the Vice President Jake Sullivan.

In the briefing, which was led by Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism Lisa Monaco, the President received an update from Attorney General Holder and FBI Director Mueller on the collaborative efforts underway as part of the investigation, including the agency’s close coordination with state and local law enforcement in Boston. The President also received an update from Secretary Napolitano on coordination underway between DHS and state and local partners across the country to share information, including any additional security steps state and local law enforcement may take.

A photo of the briefing can be found HERE.

Political Headlines April 17, 2013: Letter Mailed to Senator Roger Wicker Tests Positive for Ricin

POLITICAL HEADLINES

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

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

THE HEADLINES….

Letter Mailed to Senator Tests Positive for Ricin

Source: NYT, 4-16-13

An envelope addressed to Senator Roger Wicker of Mississippi showed positive results for the toxin in tests at a mail facility in Washington. It was sent to the F.B.I. for more analysis….READ MORE

Full Text Obama Presidency April 15, 2013: President Barack Obama’s Statement on the Boston Marathon Bombings — ‘We Will Find Out Who Did This’

POLITICAL TRANSCRIPTS


OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

President Obama Speaks on the Explosions in Boston

Source: WH, 4-15-13

Watch this video on YouTube

This evening, President Obama made a statement about today’s explosions at the Boston Marathon.

The President explained that he had been briefed by his Homeland Security team, who are continuing to monitor the situation as it unfolds, and had “directed the full resources of the federal government to help state and local authorities protect our people, increase security around the United States as necessary, and investigate what happened.”

“The American people will say a prayer for Boston tonight,” he said. “And Michelle and I send our deepest thoughts and prayers to the families of the victims in the wake of this senseless loss.”

We still do not know who did this or why.  And people shouldn’t jump to conclusions before we have all the facts.  But make no mistake — we will get to the bottom of this.  And we will find out who did this; we’ll find out why they did this.  Any responsible individuals, any responsible groups will feel the full weight of justice.

Today is a holiday in Massachusetts — Patriots’ Day. It’s a day that celebrates the free and fiercely independent spirit that this great American city of Boston has reflected from the  earliest days of our nation. And it’s a day that draws the world to Boston’s streets in a spirit of friendly competition.  Boston is a tough and resilient town. So are its people. I’m supremely confident that Bostonians will pull together, take care of each other, and move forward as one proud city. And as they do, the American people will be with them every single step of the way.

You should anticipate that as we get more information, our teams will provide you briefings. We’re still in the investigation stage at this point.  But I just want to reiterate we will find out who did this and we will hold them accountable.

Transcript: Obama reacts to ‘senseless’ bombings

Source: CNN, 4-15-13

Transcript: Obama reacts to 'senseless' bombings

“Good afternoon, everybody. Earlier today, I was briefed by my homeland security team on the events in Boston. We’re continuing to monitor and respond to the situation as it unfolds. And I’ve directed the full resources of the federal government to help state and local authorities protect our people, increase security around the United States as necessary, and investigate what happened.The American people will say a prayer for Boston tonight. And Michelle and I send our deepest thoughts and prayers to the families of the victims in the wake of this senseless loss.

We don’t yet have all the answers. But we do know that multiple people have been wounded, some gravely, in explosions at the Boston Marathon.

I’ve spoken to FBI Director Mueller and Secretary of Homeland Security Napolitano, and they’re mobilizing the appropriate resources to investigate and to respond.

I’ve updated leaders of Congress in both parties, and we reaffirmed that on days like this there are no Republicans or Democrats – we are Americans, united in concern for our fellow citizens.

I’ve also spoken with Governor Patrick and Mayor Menino, and made it clear that they have every single federal resource necessary to care for the victims and counsel the families. And above all, I made clear to them that all Americans stand with the people of Boston.

Boston police, firefighters, and first responders as well as the National Guard responded heroically, and continue to do so as we speak. It’s a reminder that so many Americans serve and sacrifice on our behalf every single day, without regard to their own safety, in dangerous and difficult circumstances. And we salute all those who assisted in responding so quickly and professionally to this tragedy.

We still do not know who did this or why. And people shouldn’t jump to conclusions before we have all the facts. But make no mistake – we will get to the bottom of this. And we will find out who did this; we’ll find out why they did this. Any responsible individuals, any responsible groups will feel the full weight of justice.

Today is a holiday in Massachusetts – Patriots’ Day. It’s a day that celebrates the free and fiercely independent spirit that this great American city of Boston has reflected from the earliest days of our nation. And it’s a day that draws the world to Boston’s streets in a spirit of friendly competition. Boston is a tough and resilient town. So are its people. I’m supremely confident that Bostonians will pull together, take care of each other, and move forward as one proud city. And as they do, the American people will be with them every single step of the way.

You should anticipate that as we get more information, our teams will provide you briefings. We’re still in the investigation stage at this point. But I just want to reiterate we will find out who did this and we will hold them accountable.

Thank you very much.”

History Buzz April 15, 2013: Top Young Historian Fredrik Logevall: Cornell History Professor, Wins Pulitzer Prize for Book on Vietnam War

HISTORY BUZZ: HISTORY NEWS RECAP

History Buzz

HISTORY BUZZ: HISTORY NEWS RECAP

Fredrik Logevall, Cornell History Professor, Wins Pulitzer Prize for Book on Vietnam War

Source: Cornell Sun, 4-15-13

Top Young Historian Profile, 45: Fredrik Logevall, 2-26-07

Prof. Fredrik Logevall, history,  was “stunned” when he learned Monday that he had been awarded the Pulitzer Prize for his book, Embers of War: The Fall of an Empire and the Making of America’s Vietnam.

“It was a shock to get the news,” said Logevall, who is also the director of the Mario Einaudi Center for International Studies. ..

Embers of War is a history of the early years in the Vietnam struggle, beginning at the end of World War I and examining the next 40 years in the country’s history, Logevall said. The book is a prequel to Choosing War, Logevall’s Ph.D. dissertation — which was published as a book in 2001 — about heavy U.S. involvement in Vietnam….READ MORE

History Buzz April 15, 2013: 2013 Pulitzer Prizes for Letters, Drama and Music

HISTORY BUZZ: HISTORY NEWS RECAP

History Buzz

HISTORY BUZZ: HISTORY NEWS RECAP

2013 Pulitzer Prizes for Letters, Drama and Music

Source: NYT, 4-15-13

FICTION

ADAM JOHNSON

The Orphan Master’s Son” (Random House)

Finalists Nathan Englander, “What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank”; Eowyn Ivey, “The Snow Child.”

DRAMA

AYAD AKHTAR

“Disgraced”

Finalists Gina Gionfriddo, “Rapture, Blister, Burn”; Amy Herzog, “4000 Miles.”

HISTORY

FREDRIK LOGEVALL

Embers of War: The Fall of an Empire and the Making of America’s Vietnam” (Random House)

Finalists Bernard Bailyn, “The Barbarous Years: The Peopling of British North America: The Conflict of Civilizations, 1600-1675; John Fabian Witt, “Lincoln’s Code: The Laws of War in American History.”

BIOGRAPHY

TOM REISS

The Black Count: Glory, Revolution, Betrayal, and the Real Count of Monte Cristo” (Crown)

Finalists Michael Gorra, “Portrait of a Novel: Henry James and the Making of an American Masterpiece”; David Nasaw, “The Patriarch: The Remarkable Life and Turbulent Times of Joseph P. Kennedy.”

POETRY

SHARON OLDS

“Stag’s Leap” (Alfred A. Knopf)

Finalists Jack Gilbert, “Collected Poems”; Bruce Weigl, “The Abundance of Nothing.”

GENERAL NONFICTION

GILBERT KING

“Devil in the Grove: Thurgood Marshall, the Groveland Boys, and the Dawn of a New America” (Harper)

Finalists Katherine Boo, “Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity”; David George Haskell, “The Forest Unseen: A Year’s Watch in Nature.

MUSIC

CAROLINE SHAW

“Partita for 8 Voices” (New Amsterdam Records)

Finalists Aaron Jay Kernis, “Pieces of Winter Sky”; Wadada Leo Smith, “Ten Freedom Summers.”

Political Headlines April 12, 2013: Immigration Reform Bill to Be Introduced in Senate Tuesday

POLITICAL HEADLINES

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

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

THE HEADLINES….

Immigration Reform Bill to Be Introduced in Senate Tuesday

Source: ABC News Radio, 4-12-13

An immigration reform bill is expected to be introduced in the Senate on Tuesday….READ MORE

Political Headlines April 11, 2013: House Democrats Present Immigration Overhaul Plan

POLITICAL HEADLINES

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

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

THE HEADLINES….

House Democrats Present Immigration Overhaul Plan

Source: NYT, 4-11-13

The proposal comes just days before a bipartisan group of eight senators is expected to present its own blueprint….READ MORE

Political Headlines April 11, 2013: Senate Clears the Way for Debate on New Gun Control Laws with a Vote of 68-31

POLITICAL HEADLINES

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

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

THE HEADLINES….

Senate Vote Clears the Way for Debate on New Gun Laws

Source: NYT, 4-11-13

Jillian Soto, left, and family members of victims of the Newtown shooting and other gun violence on Thursday before the Senate voted to allow debate on gun legislation.

Doug Mills/The New York Times

Jillian Soto, left, and family members of victims of the Newtown shooting and other gun violence on Thursday before the Senate voted to allow debate on gun legislation.

The threat of a filibuster fell to a 68-31 vote. The Senate next week will consider its first major gun-control legislation in two decades, which would expand background checks and add penalties for criminal sales….READ MORE

Political Headlines April 11, 2013: Senate Overcomes GOP Filibuster, Gun Legislation Debate to Begin

POLITICAL HEADLINES

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

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

THE HEADLINES….

Senate Overcomes GOP Filibuster, Gun Debate to Begin

Source: ABC News Radio, 4-11-13

A full gun debate will begin next week in the Senate.

On a vote of 68-31, Democrats and a smaller coalition of Republicans joined forces to defeat a GOP filibuster threat. The voting began at 11:01 a.m. Eastern time and lasted for about 30 minutes….READ MORE

Political Headlines April 11, 2013: Kentucky Democrat Says Progress Kentucky Recorded Mitch McConnell Campaign Strategy Session

POLITICAL HEADLINES

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

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

THE HEADLINES….

Ky. Dem Says Progress Kentucky Recorded McConnell

Source: ABC News Radio, 4-11-13

T.J. Kirkpatrick/Getty Images

The secret recording of a Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell campaign strategy session was allegedly made by two members of Democratic super PAC Progress Kentucky, a longtime Democratic operative charged Thursday.

Jacob Conway, who is on the executive committee of the Jefferson County Democratic Party in Kentucky, told that Shawn Reilly and Curtis Morrison admitted to him that they made the tape on Feb. 2. Conway said one of the men held the elevator while the other stood by the door of McConnell’s office and recorded the conversation….READ MORE

Political Headlines April 10, 2013: President Barack Obama unveils $3.77 trillion budget proposal

POLITICAL HEADLINES

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

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

THE HEADLINES….

Obama unveils $3.77 trillion budget proposal

Source: WaPo, 4-10-13

(JIM LO SCALZO / EPA)

Spending plan would cut more than $1 trillion from programs across the government in an effort to persuade congressional Republicans to join him in the job of cutting the federal debt….READ MORE

Full Text Obama Presidency April 10, 2013: President Barack Obama’s Budget for Fiscal Year 2014

POLITICAL TRANSCRIPTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

The President’s Budget for Fiscal Year 2014

Source: WH, OMB, 4-10-13

The President’s Fiscal Year 2014 Budget demonstrates that we can make critical investments to strengthen the middle class, create jobs, and grow the economy while continuing to cut the deficit in a balanced way.

The President believes we must invest in the true engine of America’s economic growth – a rising and thriving middle class.  He is focused on addressing three fundamental questions: How do we attract more jobs to our shores? How do we equip our people with the skills needed to do the jobs of the 21st Century? How do we make sure hard work leads to a decent living?  The Budget presents the President’s plan to address each of these questions.

To make America once again a magnet for jobs, the Budget invests in high-tech manufacturing and innovation, clean energy, and infrastructure, while cutting red tape to help businesses grow.  To give workers the skills they need to compete in the global economy, it invests in education from pre-school to job training.  To ensure hard work is rewarded, it raises the minimum wage to $9 an hour so a hard day’s work pays more.

The Budget does all of these things as part of a comprehensive plan that reduces the deficit and puts the Nation on a sound fiscal course.  Every new initiative in the plan is fully paid for, so they do not add a single dime to the deficit.  The Budget also incorporates the President’s compromise offer to House Speaker Boehner to achieve another $1.8 trillion in deficit reduction in a balanced way.  When combined with the deficit reduction already achieved, this will allow us to exceed the goal of $4 trillion in deficit reduction, while growing the economy and strengthening the middle class.  By including this compromise proposal in the Budget, the President is demonstrating his willingness to make tough choices and his seriousness about finding common ground to further reduce the deficit.

Full Text Obama Presidency April 10, 2013: President Barack Obama’s Speech Announcing & Unveiling the Fiscal Year 2014 Budget

POLITICAL TRANSCRIPTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

President Obama Sends Congress his Fiscal Year 2014 Budget

Source: WH, 4-10-13

President Barack Obama delivers remarks on the FY 2014 budget in the Rose Garden, April 10, 2013President Barack Obama delivers remarks on the FY 2014 budget, in the Rose Garden of the White House, April 10, 2013. Office of Management and Budget Director Jeffrey Zients accompanies the President. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

In his 2013 State of the Union address, President Obama said that we must invest in the true engine of America’s economic growth – a rising and thriving middle class.  He said that every day, we must ask ourselves these three questions:  “How do we attract more jobs to our shores? How do we equip our people with the skills needed to do those jobs? And how do we make sure that hard work leads to a decent living?”

This morning the President sent Congress his Budget for Fiscal Year 2014, which presents his plan to address each of these questions. He also spoke to the press about his proposal in the Rose Garden, and said that while our economy is poised for progress, we need to get smarter about our priorities as a nation. And that’s what his 2014 Budget represents — a fiscally-responsible blueprint for middle-class jobs and growth:

To make America a magnet for good jobs, this budget invests in new manufacturing hubs to help turn regions left behind by globalization into global centers of high-tech jobs.  We’ll spark new American innovation and industry with cutting-edge research like the initiative I announced to map the human brain and cure disease. We’ll continue our march towards energy independence and address the threat of climate change. And our Rebuild America Partnership will attract private investment to put construction workers back on the job rebuilding our roads, our bridges and our schools, in turn attracting even more new business to communities across the country.

To help workers earn the skills they need to fill those jobs, we’ll work with states to make high-quality preschool available to every child in America. And we’re going to pay for it by raising taxes on tobacco products that harm our young people. It’s the right thing to do.

We’ll reform our high schools and job training programs to equip more Americans with the skills they need to compete in the 21st century economy. And we’ll help more middle-class families afford the rising cost of college.

To make sure hard work is rewarded, we’ll build new ladders of opportunity into the middle class for anybody who is willing to work hard to climb them. So we’ll partner with 20 of our communities hit hardest by the recession to help them improve housing, and education, and business investment. And we should make the minimum wage a wage you can live on — because no one who works full-time should have to raise his or her family in poverty.

President Obama’s budget also replaces the across-the-board spending cuts known as the sequester with smarter ones, making long-term reforms, eliminating actual waste and programs that are no longer needed.

And finally, because he is willing to make tough choices and serious about finding common ground to further reduce the deficit, President Obama’s budget incorporates his compromise offer he made to House Speaker Boehner that achieves another $1.8 trillion in deficit reduction in a balanced way. When combined with the deficit reduction already achieved, this will exceed the goal of $4 trillion in deficit reduction, while growing the economy and strengthening the middle class.

Watch President Obama discuss his 2014 Budget on YouTube

Full Text President Obama’s Budget for Fiscal Year 2014

Remarks by the President Announcing the Fiscal Year 2014 Budget

Source: WH, 4-10-13

Rose Garden

11:00 A.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT:  Good morning, everybody.  Please, please have a seat.  Well, as President, my top priority is to do everything I can to reignite what I consider to be the true engine of the American economy:  a rising, thriving middle class.  That’s what I think about every day.  That’s the driving force behind every decision that I make.

And over the past three years, our businesses have created nearly 6.5 million new jobs.  But we know we can help them create more.  Corporate profits are at an all-time high.  But we have to get wages and incomes rising, as well.  Our deficits are falling at the fastest pace in years.  But we can do more to bring them down in a balanced and responsible way.

The point is, our economy is poised for progress — as long as Washington doesn’t get in the way.  Frankly, the American people deserve better than what we’ve been seeing:  a shortsighted, crisis-driven decision-making, like the reckless, across-the-board spending cuts that are already hurting a lot of communities out there — cuts that economists predict will cost us hundreds of thousands of jobs during the course of this year.

If we want to keep rebuilding our economy on a stronger, more stable foundation, then we’ve got to get smarter about our priorities as a nation.  And that’s what the budget I’m sending to Congress today represents — a fiscally responsible blueprint for middle-class jobs and growth.

For years, the debate in this town has raged between reducing our deficits at all costs, and making the investments necessary to grow our economy.  And this budget answers that argument, because we can do both.  We can grow our economy and shrink our deficits.  In fact, as we saw in the 1990s, nothing shrinks deficits faster than a growing economy.  That’s been my goal since I took office.  And that should be our goal going forward.

At a time when too many Americans are still looking for work, my budget begins by making targeted investments in areas that will create jobs right now, and prime our economy to keep generating good jobs down the road.  As I said in my State of the Union address, we should ask ourselves three questions every day:  How do we make America a magnet for new jobs?  How do we give our workers the skills they need to do those jobs?  And how do we make sure that hard work leads to a decent living?

To make America a magnet for good jobs, this budget invests in new manufacturing hubs to help turn regions left behind by globalization into global centers of high-tech jobs.  We’ll spark new American innovation and industry with cutting-edge research like the initiative I announced to map the human brain and cure disease.  We’ll continue our march towards energy independence and address the threat of climate change.  And our Rebuild America Partnership will attract private investment to put construction workers back on the job rebuilding our roads, our bridges and our schools, in turn attracting even more new business to communities across the country.

To help workers earn the skills they need to fill those jobs, we’ll work with states to make high-quality preschool available to every child in America.  And we’re going to pay for it by raising taxes on tobacco products that harm our young people.  It’s the right thing to do.  (Applause.)

We’ll reform our high schools and job training programs to equip more Americans with the skills they need to compete in the 21st century economy.  And we’ll help more middle-class families afford the rising cost of college.

To make sure hard work is rewarded, we’ll build new ladders of opportunity into the middle class for anybody who is willing to work hard to climb them.  So we’ll partner with 20 of our communities hit hardest by the recession to help them improve housing, and education, and business investment.  And we should make the minimum wage a wage you can live on — because no one who works full-time should have to raise his or her family in poverty.  (Applause.)

My budget also replaces the foolish across-the-board spending cuts that are already hurting our economy.  And I have to point out that many of the same members of Congress who supported deep cuts are now the ones complaining about them the loudest as they hit their own communities.  Of course, the people I feel for are the people who are directly feeling the pain of these cuts — the people who can least afford it.  They’re hurting military communities that have already sacrificed enough.  They’re hurting middle-class families.  There are children who have had to enter a lottery to determine which of them get to stay in their Head Start program with their friends.  There are seniors who depend on programs like Meals on Wheels so they can live independently, but who are seeing their services cut.

That’s what this so-called sequester means.  Some people may not have been impacted, but there are a lot of folks who are being increasingly impacted all across this country.  And that’s why my budget replaces these cuts with smarter ones, making long-term reforms, eliminating actual waste and programs we don’t need anymore.

So building new roads and bridges, educating our children from the youngest age, helping more families afford college, making sure that hard work pays.  These are things that should not be partisan.  They should not be controversial.  We need to make them happen.  My budget makes these investments to grow our economy and create jobs, and it does so without adding a dime to our deficits.

Now, on the topic of deficits, despite all the noise in Washington, here’s a clear and unassailable fact: our deficits are already falling.  Over the past two years, I’ve signed legislation that will reduce our deficits by more than $2.5 trillion — more than two-thirds of it through spending cuts and the rest through asking the wealthiest Americans to begin paying their fair share.

That doesn’t mean we don’t have more work to do.  But here’s how we finish the job.  My budget will reduce our deficits by nearly another $2 trillion, so that all told we will have surpassed the goal of $4 trillion in deficit reduction that independent economists believe we need to stabilize our finances.  But it does so in a balanced and responsible way, a way that most Americans prefer.

Both parties, for example, agree that the rising cost of caring for an aging generation is the single biggest driver of our long-term deficits.  And the truth is, for those like me who deeply believe in our social insurance programs, think it’s one of the core things that our government needs to do, if we want to keep Medicare working as well as it has, if we want to preserve the ironclad guarantee that Medicare represents, then we’re going to have to make some changes.  But they don’t have to be drastic ones.  And instead of making drastic ones later, what we should be doing is making some manageable ones now.

The reforms I’m proposing will strengthen Medicare for future generations without undermining that ironclad guarantee that Medicare represents.  We’ll reduce our government’s Medicare bills by finding new ways to reduce the cost of health care — not by shifting the costs to seniors or the poor or families with disabilities.  They are reforms that keep the promise we’ve made to our seniors:  basic security that is rock-solid and dependable, and there for you when you need it.  That’s what my budget represents.

My budget does also contain the compromise I offered Speaker Boehner at the end of last year, including reforms championed by Republican leaders in Congress.  And I don’t believe that all these ideas are optimal, but I’m willing to accept them as part of a compromise — if, and only if, they contain protections for the most vulnerable Americans.

But if we’re serious about deficit reduction, then these reforms have to go hand-in-hand with reforming our tax code to make it more simple and more fair, so that the wealthiest individuals and biggest corporations cannot keep taking advantage of loopholes and deductions that most Americans don’t get.  That’s the bottom line.

If you’re serious about deficit reduction, then there’s no excuse to keep these loopholes open.  They don’t serve an economic purpose.  They don’t grow our economy.  They don’t put people back to work.  All they do is to allow folks who are already well-off and well-connected game the system.  If anyone thinks I’ll finish the job of deficit reduction on the backs of middle-class families or through spending cuts alone that actually hurt our economy short-term, they should think again.

When it comes to deficit reduction, I’ve already met Republicans more than halfway.  So in the coming days and weeks, I hope that Republicans will come forward and demonstrate that they’re really as serious about the deficits and debt as they claim to be.
So growing our economy, creating jobs, shrinking our deficits.  Keeping our promise to the generation that made us great, but also investing in the next generation — the next generation that will make us even greater.  These are not conflicting goals.  We can do them in concert.  That’s what my budget does.  That’s why I’m so grateful for the great work that Jeff Zients and his team have done in shaping this budget.  The numbers work.  There’s not a lot of smoke and mirrors in here.

And if we can come together, have a serious, reasoned debate — not driven by politics — and come together around common sense and compromise, then I’m confident we will move this country forward and leave behind something better for our children.  That’s our task.

Thank you, God bless you.  God bless the United States of America.  (Applause.)

END
11:11 A.M. EDT

Political Headlines April 10, 2013: Robin Kelly Wins Jesse Jackson Jr. House Seat by Besting Felon Paul McKinley

POLITICAL HEADLINES

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

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

THE HEADLINES….

Kelly Wins Jesse Jackson Jr. House Seat by Besting Felon

Source: Bloomberg, 4-10-13

Democrat Robin Kelly

Democrat Robin Kelly is a New York native who moved to Illinois after high school to attend Bradley University in Peoria, where according to her campaign website she received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees. Photographer: Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call/Getty Images

Democrat Robin Kelly, 56 won the special election to fill the vacated seat of former U.S. Representative Jesse Jackson Jr. in a district that includes part of Chicago’s South Side and southern suburbs…. Her Republican opponent, Paul McKinley, served almost 20 years in prison for armed robbery, burglary and aggravated battery until a 1997 parole, according to the Chicago Tribune.

When Kelly — a friend of Obama, who attended her wedding – – is sworn into her seat, the House will have 232 Republicans and 201 Democrats, with two seats vacant. She had 71 percent of the vote to 22 percent for McKinley with 99 percent of precincts reporting, according to the AP tally….READ MORE

Political Headlines April 9, 2013: As President Barack Obama releases 2014 budget, political void awaits

POLITICAL HEADLINES

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

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

THE HEADLINES….

As Obama releases budget, political void awaits

Source: WaPo, 4-9-13

(Andrew Harrer / Bloomberg)

The White House will unveil Obama’s 2014 spending plan Wednesday, which administration officials say offers a path to compromise and a centrist course. But what happens next is murky….READ MORE

%d bloggers like this: