All posts by bonniekgoodman
Political Musings March 5, 2014: Obama unveils $4 trillion FY 2015 budget aimed at Democratic support, GOP anger
Posted by bonniekgoodman on March 5, 2014
Full Text Obama Presidency March 4, 2014: President Barack Obama’s Remarks on Russia President Vladimir Putin’s Military Action in the Ukraine
OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:
President Barack Obama’s Remarks on Russia President Vladimir Putin’s Military Action in the Ukraine
Source: WH, 3-4-14
Q Mr. President?
THE PRESIDENT: Yes, Mike.
Q Do you have response to President Putin’s press conference this morning? Is Chancellor Merkel right that he’s lost touch with reality? And have you spoken with him again personally?
THE PRESIDENT: I haven’t spoken to him since I spoke to him this past weekend. But obviously, me and my national security team have been watching events unfolding in Ukraine very closely. I met with them again today. As many of you know, John Kerry is in Kyiv as we speak, at my direction. He’s expressing our full support for the Ukrainian people.
Over the past several weeks, we’ve been working with our partners and with the IMF to build international support for a package that helps to stabilize Ukraine’s economy. And today we announced a significant package of our own to support Ukraine’s economy, and also to provide them with the technical assistance that they need. So it includes a planned loan guarantee package of $1 billion. It provides immediate technical expertise to Ukraine to repair its economy. And, importantly, it provides for assistance to help Ukraine plan for elections that are going to be coming up very soon.
As I said yesterday, it is important that Congress stand with us. I don’t doubt the bipartisan concern that’s been expressed by the situation in Ukraine. There is something immediately Congress can do to help us, and that is to help finance the economic package that can stabilize the economy in Ukraine, help to make sure that fair and free elections take place very soon, and as a consequence, helps to deescalate the crisis.
In the meantime, we’re consulting with our international allies across the board. Together, the international community has condemned Russia’s violation of the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine. We’ve condemned their intervention in Crimea. And we are calling for a de-escalation of the situation, and international monitors that can go into the country right away.
And, above all, we believe that the Ukrainian people should be able to decide their own future, which is why the world should be focused on helping them stabilize the situation economically and move towards the fair and free elections that are currently scheduled to take place in May.
There have been some reports that President Putin is pausing for a moment and reflecting on what’s happened. I think that we’ve all seen that — from the perspective of the European Union, the United States, allies like Canada and Japan, and allies and friends and partners around the world — there is a strong belief that Russia’s action is violating international law. I know President Putin seems to have a different set of lawyers making a different set of interpretations, but I don’t think that’s fooling anybody.
I think everybody recognizes that although Russia has legitimate interests in what happens in a neighboring state, that does not give it the right to use force as a means of exerting influence inside of that state. We have said that if, in fact, there is any evidence out there that Russian speakers or Russian natives or Russian nationals are in any way being threatened, there are ways of dealing with that through international mechanisms. And we’re prepared to make sure that the rights of all Ukrainians are upheld. And, in fact, in conversations that we’ve had with the government in Kyiv, they have been more than willing to work with the international community and with Russia to provide such assurances.
So the fact that we are still seeing soldiers out of their barracks in Crimea is an indication to which what’s happening there is not based on actual concern for Russian nationals or Russian speakers inside of Ukraine, but is based on Russia seeking, through force, to exert influence on a neighboring country. That is not how international law is supposed to operate.
I would also note just the way that some of this has been reported, that there’s a suggestion somehow that the Russian actions have been clever strategically. I actually think that this has not been a sign of strength but rather is a reflection that countries near Russia have deep concerns and suspicions about this kind of meddling, and if anything, it will push many countries further away from Russia.
There is the ability for Ukraine to be a friend of the West’s and a friend of Russia’s as long as none of us are inside of Ukraine trying to meddle and intervene, certainly not militarily, with decisions that properly belong to the Ukrainian people. And that’s the principle that John Kerry is going to be speaking to during his visit. I’ll be making additional calls today to some of our key foreign partners, and I suspect I’ll be doing that all week and in through the weekend.
But as I indicated yesterday, the course of history is for people to want to be free to make their own decisions about their own futures. And the international community I think is unified in believing that it is not the role of an outside force — where there’s been no evidence of serious violence, where there’s been no rationale under international law — to intervene in people trying to determine their own destiny.
So we stand on the side of history that I think more and more people around the world deeply believe in — the principle that a sovereign people, an independent people are able to make their own decisions about their own lives. And Mr. Putin can throw a lot of words out there, but the facts on the ground indicate that right now he’s not abiding by that principle. There is still the opportunity for Russia to do so, working with the international community to help stabilize the situation.
And we’ve sent a clear message that we are prepared to work with anybody if their genuine interest is making sure that Ukraine is able to govern itself. And as I indicated before, and something that I think has not been emphasized enough, they are currently scheduled to have elections in May. And everybody in the international community should be invested in making sure that the economic deterioration that’s happened in Ukraine stops, but also that these elections proceed in a fair and free way in which all Ukrainians, including Russian speakers inside of Ukraine, are able to express their choice of who should lead them.
And if we have a strong, robust, legitimate election, then there shouldn’t be any question as to whether the Ukrainian people govern themselves without the kinds of outside interference that we see Russia exerting.
All right, thank you very much, everybody.
Posted by bonniekgoodman on March 4, 2014
Full Text Obama Presidency March 4, 2014: President Barack Obama’s Speech Announcing his Fiscal Year 2015 Budget
OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:
President Obama Announces His 2015 Budget
Today, after sending his 2015 budget to Congress, President Obama visited a local elementary school to discuss what he called a “roadmap” for the agenda he laid out in his State of the Union address to restore opportunity for all Americans….READ MORE
Remarks by the President Announcing the FY2015 Budget
Source: WH, 3-4-14
Powell Elementary School
11:38 A.M. EST
THE PRESIDENT: Good morning, everybody. I’m here at Powell Elementary School, and just had a chance to see some of the outstanding students here. And I thought it was appropriate for me to say a few words about the budget that I sent to Congress this morning — because obviously the budget is not just about numbers, it’s about our values and it’s about our future, and how well we are laying the groundwork for those young children that I was with just a few moments ago to be able to succeed here in America. These kids may not be the most excited people in town on budget day, but my budget is designed with their generation and future generations in mind.
In my State of the Union address, I laid out an agenda to restore opportunity for all people — to uphold the principle that no matter who you are, no matter where you started, you can make it if you try here in America.
This opportunity agenda is built on four parts — more good jobs and good wages; making sure that we’re training workers with the skills they need to get those good jobs; guaranteeing every child access to a world-class education; and making sure that our economy is one in which hard work is rewarded.
The budget I sent Congress this morning lays out how we’ll implement this agenda in a balanced and responsible way. It’s a roadmap for creating jobs with good wages and expanding opportunity for all Americans. And at a time when our deficits have been cut in half, it allows us to meet our obligations to future generations without leaving them a mountain of debt. This budget adheres to the spending levels that both parties in both houses of Congress already agreed to. But it also builds on that progress with what we’re calling an Opportunity, Growth and Security Initiative that invests in our economic priorities in a smart way that is fully paid for by making smart spending cuts and closing tax loopholes that right now only benefit the well-off and the well-connected.
I’ll give you an example. Right now, our tax system provides benefits to wealthy individuals who save, even after they’ve amassed multimillion dollar retirement accounts. By closing that loophole, we can help create jobs and grow our economy, and expand opportunity without adding a dime to the deficit.
We know that the country that wins the race for new technologies will win the race for new jobs, so this budget creates 45 high-tech manufacturing hubs where businesses and universities will partner to turn groundbreaking research into new industries and new jobs made in America.
We know — and this is part of the reason why we’re here today — that education has to start at the earliest possible ages. So this budget expands access to the kind of high-quality preschool and other early learning programs to give all of our children the same kinds of opportunities that those wonderful children that we just saw are getting right here at Powell.
We know that while not all of today’s good jobs are going to require a four-year college degree, more and more of them are going to require some form of higher education or specialized training. So this budget expands apprenticeships to connect more ready-to-work Americans with ready-to-be-filled jobs. And we know that future generations will continue to deal with the effects of a warming planet, so this budget proposes a smarter way to address the costs of wildfires. And it includes over $1 billion in new funding for new technologies to help communities prepare for a changing climate today, and set up incentives to build smarter and more resilient infrastructure.
We also know that the most effective and historically bipartisan ways to reduce poverty and help hardworking families pull themselves up is the earned income tax credit. Right now, it helps about half of all parents in America at some point in their lives. This budget gives millions more workers the opportunity to take advantage of the tax credit. And it pays for it by closing loopholes like the ones that let wealthy individuals classify themselves as a small business to avoid paying their fair share of taxes.
This budget will also continue to put our fiscal house in order over the long-term — not by putting the burden on folks who can least afford it, but by reforming our tax code and our immigration system and building on the progress that we’ve made to reduce health care costs under the Affordable Care Act. And it puts our debt on a downward path as a share of our total economy, which independent experts have set as a critical target for fiscal responsibility.
As I said at the outset, our budget is about choices. It’s about our values. As a country, we’ve got to make a decision if we’re going to protect tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans, or if we’re going to make smart investments necessary to create jobs and grow our economy, and expand opportunity for every American. At a time when our deficits are falling at the fastest rate in 60 years, we’ve got to decide if we’re going to keep squeezing the middle class, or if we’re going to continue to reduce the deficits responsibly, while taking steps to grow and strengthen the middle class.
The American people have made clear time and again which approach they prefer. That’s the approach that my budget offers. That’s why I’m going to fight for it this year and in the years to come as President. Thank you very much, everybody.
11:52 A.M. EST
Posted by bonniekgoodman on March 4, 2014
Full Text Obama Presidency February 28, 2014: President Barack Obama’s Statement Warning Russia Against Military Intervention in the Ukraine
OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:
Statement by the President on Ukraine
Source: WH, 2-28-14
James S. Brady Press Briefing Room
5:05 P.M. EST
THE PRESIDENT: Good afternoon, everybody.
Over the last several days, the United States has been responding to events as they unfold in Ukraine. Throughout this crisis, we have been very clear about one fundamental principle: The Ukrainian people deserve the opportunity to determine their own future. Together with our European allies, we have urged an end to the violence and encouraged Ukrainians to pursue a course in which they stabilize their country, forge a broad-based government and move to elections this spring.
I also spoke several days ago with President Putin, and my administration has been in daily communication with Russian officials, and we’ve made clear that they can be part of an international community’s effort to support the stability and success of a united Ukraine going forward, which is not only in the interest of The people of Ukraine and the international community, but also in Russia’s interest.
However, we are now deeply concerned by reports of military movements taken by the Russian Federation inside of Ukraine. Russia has a historic relationship with Ukraine, including cultural and economic ties, and a military facility in Crimea, but any violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity would be deeply destabilizing, which is not in the interest of Ukraine, Russia, or Europe.
It would represent a profound interference in matters that must be determined by the Ukrainian people. It would be a clear violation of Russia’s commitment to respect the independence and sovereignty and borders of Ukraine, and of international laws. And just days after the world came to Russia for the Olympic Games, it would invite the condemnation of nations around the world. And indeed, the United States will stand with the international community in affirming that there will be costs for any military intervention in Ukraine.
The events of the past several months remind us of how difficult democracy can be in a country with deep divisions. But the Ukrainian people have also reminded us that human beings have a universal right to determine their own future.
Right now, the situation remains very fluid. Vice President Biden just spoke with Prime Minister — the Prime Minister of Ukraine to assure him that in this difficult moment the United States supports his government’s efforts and stands for the sovereignty, territorial integrity and democratic future of Ukraine. I also commend the Ukrainian government’s restraint and its commitment to uphold its international obligations.
We will continue to coordinate closely with our European allies. We will continue to communicate directly with the Russian government. And we will continue to keep all of you in the press corps and the American people informed as events develop.
Thanks very much.
5:09 P.M. EST
Posted by bonniekgoodman on March 1, 2014
Full Text Obama Presidency March 1, 2014: President Barack Obama’s Weekly Address: Investing in Technology and Infrastructure to Create Jobs
OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:
Weekly Address: Investing in Technology and Infrastructure to Create Jobs
Source: WH, 3-1-14
WASHINGTON, DC — In his weekly address, President Obama said he took action this week to launch new manufacturing hubs and expand a competition to fund transformative infrastructure projects. Both are policies aimed at expanding economic opportunity for all by creating jobs and ensuring the long-term strength of the American economy. Congress can boost this effort by passing a bipartisan proposal to create a nationwide network of high-tech manufacturing hubs and taking steps to invest in our nation’s infrastructure — rebuilding our transportation system, creating new construction jobs, and better connecting Americans to economic opportunities.
Video Remarks of President Barack Obama
The White House
March 1, 2014
Hi everybody. In my State of the Union Address, I said that the best measure of opportunity is access to a good job. And after the worst recession of our lifetimes, our businesses have created eight and a half million new jobs in the last four years.
But we need to do more to make America a magnet for good jobs for the future. And in this year of action, where Congress won’t do that, I will do whatever I can to expand opportunity for more Americans. This week, I took two actions to attract new jobs to America – jobs in American manufacturing, and jobs rebuilding America’s infrastructure.
Here’s why this is important. In the 2000s alone, we lost more than one-third of all American manufacturing jobs. One in three. And when the housing bubble burst, workers in the construction industry were hit harder than just about anybody. The good news is, today, our manufacturers have added more than 620,000 jobs over the last four years – the first sustained growth in manufacturing jobs since the 1990s.
Still, the economy has changed. If we want to attract more good manufacturing jobs to America, we’ve got to make sure we’re on the cutting edge of new manufacturing technologies and techniques. And in today’s global economy, first-class jobs gravitate to first-class infrastructure.
That’s why, on Tuesday, I launched two new high-tech manufacturing hubs – places where businesses and universities will partner to turn groundbreaking research into real-world goods Made in America. So far, we’ve launched four of these hubs, where our workers can master 3-D printing, energy-efficient electronics, lightweight metals, and digital manufacturing – all technologies that can help ensure a steady stream of good jobs well into the 21st century.
Then on Wednesday, I launched a new competition to build 21st century infrastructure – roads and bridges, mass transit, more efficient ports, and faster passenger rail. Rebuilding America won’t just attract new businesses; it will create good construction jobs that can’t be shipped overseas.
Of course, Congress could make an even bigger difference in both areas. Thanks to the leadership of a bipartisan group of lawmakers, there’s a bill in Congress right now that would create an entire network of high-tech manufacturing hubs all across the country. And next week, I’ll send Congress a budget that will rebuild our transportation systems and support millions of jobs nationwide.
There’s a lot we can do if we work together. And while Congress decides what it’s going to do, I’m going to keep doing everything in my power to rebuild an economy where everyone who works hard has the chance to get ahead – where we’re restoring our founding vision of opportunity for all.
Thanks, everybody, and have a great weekend.
Posted by bonniekgoodman on March 1, 2014
Political Musings February 28, 2014: Emotional Obama launches My Brother’s Keeper program to help minority youth
OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:
OP-EDS & ARTICLES
Posted by bonniekgoodman on February 28, 2014
HISTORY BUZZ: HISTORY HEADLINE NEWS
HISTORY MAKING HEADLINES
Thousands of Bill Clinton White House Papers Released
Source: NYT, 2-28-14
Newly released papers underscored what a pivotal force Hillary Rodham Clinton was in her husband’s White House, intimately involved in the policy and politics that shaped Washington in the 1990s….READ MORE
Posted by bonniekgoodman on February 28, 2014
Full Text Obama Presidency February 27, 2014: President Barack Obama’s Speech Launching My Brother’s Keeper, His New Initiative to Help Young Men of Color
OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:
President Obama Launches My Brother’s Keeper, His New Initiative to Help Young Men of Color
Source: WH, 2-27-14
This afternoon, in the East Room of the White House, President Obama delivered remarks at the launch event for My Brother’s Keeper – his new initiative aimed at helping young men and boys of color facing tough odds reach their full potential. The initiative will bring together private philanthropies, businesses, governors, mayors, faith leaders, and nonprofit organizations that are committed to helping them succeed….READ MORE
President Barack Obama delivers remarks at an event to highlight “My Brother’s Keeper,” an initiative to expand opportunity for young men and boys of color, in the East Room of the White House, Feb. 27, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
Remarks by the President on “My Brother’s Keeper” Initiative
Source: WH, 2-27-14
3:43 P.M. EST
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you. Everybody, please have a seat. Well, good afternoon, everybody.
AUDIENCE: Good afternoon.
THE PRESIDENT: Welcome to the White House. And thank you, Christian, for that outstanding introduction. And thank you for cheering for the White Sox, which is the right thing to do. (Laughter.) Like your parents and your teachers, I could not be prouder of you. I could not be prouder of the other young men who are here today. But just so we’re clear — you’re only excused for one day of school. (Laughter.) And I’m assuming you’ve got your assignments with you so that you can catch up — perhaps even on the flight back. (Laughter.)
As Christian mentioned, I first met Christian about a year ago. I visited the Hyde Park Academy in Chicago, which is only about a mile from my house. And Christian was part of this program called “Becoming a Man.” It’s a program that Mayor Rahm Emanuel introduced to me. And it helps young men who show a lot of potential but may have gotten in some trouble to stay on the right path.
They get help with schoolwork, but they also learn life skills like how to be a responsible citizen, and how to deal with life’s challenges, and how to manage frustrations in a constructive way, and how to set goals for themselves. And it works. One study found that, among young men who participate in the BAM program, arrests for violent crimes dropped 44 percent, and they were more likely to graduate from high school. (Applause.)
So as Christian mentioned, during my visit, they’re in a circle and I sat down in the circle, and we went around, led by their counselor, and guys talked about their lives, talked about their stories. They talked about what they were struggling with, and how they were trying to do the right thing, and how sometimes they didn’t always do the right thing. And when it was my turn, I explained to them that when I was their age I was a lot like them. I didn’t have a dad in the house. And I was angry about it, even though I didn’t necessarily realize it at the time. I made bad choices. I got high without always thinking about the harm that it could do. I didn’t always take school as seriously as I should have. I made excuses. Sometimes I sold myself short.
And I remember when I was saying this — Christian, you may remember this — after I was finished, the guy sitting next to me said, “Are you talking about you?” (Laughter.) I said, yes.
And the point was I could see myself in these young men. And the only difference is that I grew up in an environment that was a little bit more forgiving, so when I made a mistake the consequences were not as severe. I had people who encouraged me — not just my mom and grandparents, but wonderful teachers and community leaders — and they’d push me to work hard and study hard and make the most of myself. And if I didn’t listen they said it again. And if I didn’t listen they said it a third time. And they would give me second chances, and third chances. They never gave up on me, and so I didn’t give up on myself.
I told these young men my story then, and I repeat it now because I firmly believe that every child deserves the same chances that I had. And that’s why we’re here today — to do what we can, in this year of action, to give more young Americans the support they need to make good choices, and to be resilient, and to overcome obstacles, and achieve their dreams.
This is an issue of national importance — it’s as important as any issue that I work on. It’s an issue that goes to the very heart of why I ran for President — because if America stands for anything, it stands for the idea of opportunity for everybody; the notion that no matter who you are, or where you came from, or the circumstances into which you are born, if you work hard, if you take responsibility, then you can make it in this country. (Applause.) That’s the core idea.
And that’s the idea behind everything that I’ll do this year, and for the rest of my presidency. Because at a time when the economy is growing, we’ve got to make sure that every American shares in that growth, not just a few. And that means guaranteeing every child in America has access to a world-class education. It means creating more jobs and empowering more workers with the skills they need to do those jobs. It means making sure that hard work pays off with wages you can live on and savings you can retire on and health care that you can count on. It means building more ladders of opportunity into the middle class for anybody who’s willing to work hard to climb them.
Those are national issues. They have an impact on everybody. And the problem of stagnant wages and economic insecurity and stalled mobility are issues that affect all demographic groups all across the country. My administration’s policies — from early childhood education to job training, to minimum wages — are designed to give a hand up to everybody, every child, every American willing to work hard and take responsibility for their own success. That’s the larger agenda.
But the plain fact is there are some Americans who, in the aggregate, are consistently doing worse in our society — groups that have had the odds stacked against them in unique ways that require unique solutions; groups who’ve seen fewer opportunities that have spanned generations. And by almost every measure, the group that is facing some of the most severe challenges in the 21st century in this country are boys and young men of color.
Now, to say this is not to deny the enormous strides we’ve made in closing the opportunity gaps that marred our history for so long. My presence is a testimony to that progress. Across this country, in government, in business, in our military, in communities in every state we see extraordinary examples of African American and Latino men who are standing tall and leading, and building businesses, and making our country stronger. Some of those role models who have defied the odds are with us here today — the Magic Johnsons or the Colin Powells who are doing extraordinary things — the Anthony Foxxes.
Anthony, yesterday he and I were talking about how both of us never knew our dads, and shared that sense of both how hard that had been but also how that had driven us to succeed in many ways. So there are examples of extraordinary achievement. We all know that. We don’t need to stereotype and pretend that there’s only dysfunction out there. But 50 years after Dr. King talked about his dream for America’s children, the stubborn fact is that the life chances of the average black or brown child in this country lags behind by almost every measure, and is worse for boys and young men.
If you’re African American, there’s about a one in two chance you grow up without a father in your house — one in two. If you’re Latino, you have about a one in four chance. We know that boys who grow up without a father are more likely to be poor, more likely to underperform in school.
As a black student, you are far less likely than a white student to be able to read proficiently by the time you are in 4th grade. By the time you reach high school, you’re far more likely to have been suspended or expelled. There’s a higher chance you end up in the criminal justice system, and a far higher chance that you are the victim of a violent crime. Fewer young black and Latino men participate in the labor force compared to young white men. And all of this translates into higher unemployment rates and poverty rates as adults.
And the worst part is we’ve become numb to these statistics. We’re not surprised by them. We take them as the norm. We just assume this is an inevitable part of American life, instead of the outrage that it is. (Applause.) That’s how we think about it. It’s like a cultural backdrop for us — in movies and television. We just assume, of course, it’s going to be like that. But these statistics should break our hearts. And they should compel us to act.
Michelle and I are blessed with two beautiful daughters. We don’t have a son. But I know if I had a son, on the day he was born I would have felt everything I felt with Malia and Sasha — the awe, the gratitude, the overwhelming sense of responsibility to do everything in my power to protect that amazing new life from this big world out there. And just as our daughters are growing up into wonderful, beautiful young women, I’d want my son to feel a sense of boundless possibility. And I’d want him to have independence and confidence. And I’d want him to have empathy and compassion. I’d want him to have a sense of diligence and commitment, and a respect for others and himself — the tools that he’d need to succeed.
I don’t have a son, but as parents, that’s what we should want not just for our children, but for all children. (Applause.) And I believe the continuing struggles of so many boys and young men — the fact that too many of them are falling by the wayside, dropping out, unemployed, involved in negative behavior, going to jail, being profiled — this is a moral issue for our country. It’s also an economic issue for our country.
After all, these boys are a growing segment of our population. They are our future workforce. When, generation after generation, they lag behind, our economy suffers. Our family structure suffers. Our civic life suffers. Cycles of hopelessness breed violence and mistrust. And our country is a little less than what we know it can be. So we need to change the statistics — not just for the sake of the young men and boys, but for the sake of America’s future.
That’s why, in the aftermath of the Trayvon Martin verdict, with all the emotions and controversy that it sparked, I spoke about the need to bolster and reinforce our young men, and give them the sense that their country cares about them and values them and is willing to invest in them. (Applause.) And I’m grateful that Trayvon’s parents, Sybrina and Tracy, are here with us today, along with Jordan Davis’s parents, Lucy and Ron.
In my State of the Union address last month, I said I’d pick up the phone and reach out to Americans willing to help more young men of color facing especially tough odds to stay on track and reach their full potential, so America can reach its full potential. And that’s what today is all about.
After months of conversation with a wide range of people, we’ve pulled together private philanthropies and businesses, mayors, state and local leaders, faith leaders, nonprofits, all who are committed to creating more pathways to success. And we’re committed to building on what works. And we call it “My Brother’s Keeper.”
Now, just to be clear — “My Brother’s Keeper” is not some big, new government program. In my State of the Union address, I outlined the work that needs to be done for broad-based economic growth and opportunity for all Americans. We have manufacturing hubs, infrastructure spending — I’ve been traveling around the country for the last several weeks talking about what we need to do to grow the economy and expand opportunity for everybody. And in the absence of some of those macroeconomic policies that create more good jobs and restore middle-class security, it’s going to be harder for everyone to make progress. And for the last four years, we’ve been working through initiatives like Promise Zones to help break down the structural barriers — from lack of transportation to substandard schools — that afflict some of this country’s most impoverished counties, and we’ll continue to promote these efforts in urban and rural counties alike.
Those are all government initiatives, government programs that we think are good for all Americans and we’re going to keep on pushing for them. But what we’re talking about here today with “My Brother’s Keeper” is a more focused effort on boys and young men of color who are having a particularly tough time. And in this effort, government cannot play the only — or even the primary — role. We can help give every child access to quality preschool and help them start learning from an early age, but we can’t replace the power of a parent who’s reading to that child. We can reform our criminal justice system to ensure that it’s not infected with bias, but nothing keeps a young man out of trouble like a father who takes an active role in his son’s life. (Applause.)
In other words, broadening the horizons for our young men and giving them the tools they need to succeed will require a sustained effort from all of us. Parents will have to parent — and turn off the television, and help with homework. (Applause.) Teachers will need to do their part to make sure our kids don’t fall behind and that we’re setting high expectations for those children and not giving up on them. Business leaders will need to create more mentorships and apprenticeships to show more young people what careers are out there. Tech leaders will need to open young eyes to fields like computer science and engineering. Faith leaders will need to help our young men develop the values and ethical framework that is the foundation for a good and productive life.
So we all have a job to do. And we can do it together — black and white, urban and rural, Democrat and Republican. So often, the issues facing boys and young men of color get caught up in long-running ideological arguments about race and class, and crime and poverty, the role of government, partisan politics. We’ve all heard those arguments before. But the urgency of the situation requires us to move past some of those old arguments and focus on getting something done and focusing on what works. It doesn’t mean the arguments are unimportant; it just means that they can’t paralyze us. And there’s enough goodwill and enough overlap and agreement that we should be able to go ahead and get some things done, without resolved everything about our history or our future.
Twenty years ago, Congresswoman Frederica Wilson started a program in the Miami public school system — feel free to stand up. (Applause.) To help young boys at risk of dropping out of school. Today, it serves thousands of students in dozens of schools.
As Mayor of New York, Mayor Bloomberg — Michael Bloomberg, who’s here today, started a “Young Men’s Initiative” for African-American and Latino boys, because he understood that in order for America to compete we need to make it easier for all our young people to do better in the classroom and find a job once they graduate.
A bipartisan group of mayors called “Cities United” has made this issue a priority in communities across the country. Senator Mike Lee — a leader of the tea party — has been working with Senator Dick Durbin — a Democrat from my home state of Illinois — to reduce disparities in our criminal justice system that have hit the African American and Latino communities especially hard.
So I want to thank everybody who’s been doing incredible work — many of the people who are here today, including members of Congress, who have been focused on this and are moving the needle in their communities and around the country.
They understand that giving every young person who’s willing to work hard a shot at opportunity should not be a partisan issue. Yes, we need to train our workers, invest in our schools, make college more affordable — and government has a role to play. And, yes, we need to encourage fathers to stick around, and remove the barriers to marriage, and talk openly about things like responsibility and faith and community. In the words of Dr. King, it is not either-or; it is both-and.
And if I can persuade Sharpton and O’Reilly to be in the same meeting — (laughter and applause) — then it means that there are people of good faith who want to get some stuff done, even if we don’t agree on everything. And that’s our focus.
While there may not be much of an appetite in Congress for sweeping new programs or major new initiatives right now, we all know we can’t wait. And so the good news is folks in the private sector who know how important boosting the achievement of young men of color is to this country — they are ready to step up.
Today, I’m pleased to announce that some of the most forward-looking foundations in America are looking to invest at least $200 million over the next five years — on top of the $150 million that they’ve already invested — to test which strategies are working for our kids and expand them in cities across the country. (Applause.)
Many of these folks have been on the front lines in this fight for a long time. What’s more, they’re joined by business leaders, corporate leaders, entrepreneurs who are stepping forward to support this effort as well. And my administration is going to do its part. So today after my remarks are done, I’m going to pen this presidential memorandum directing the federal government not to spend more money, but to do things smarter, to determine what we can do right now to improve the odds for boys and young men of color, and make sure our agencies are working more effectively with each other, with those businesses, with those philanthropies, and with local communities to implement proven solutions.
And part of what makes this initiative so promising is that we actually know what works — and we know when it works. Now, what do I mean by that? Over the years, we’ve identified key moments in the life of a boy or a young man of color that will, more often than not, determine whether he succeeds, or falls through the cracks. We know the data. We know the statistics. And if we can focus on those key moments, those life-changing points in their lives, you can have a big impact; you can boost the odds for more of our kids.
First of all, we know that during the first three years of life, a child born into a low-income family hears 30 million fewer words than a child born into a well-off family. And everybody knows babies are sponges, they just soak that up. A 30-million-word deficit is hard to make up. And if a black or Latino kid isn’t ready for kindergarten, he’s half as likely to finish middle school with strong academic and social skills. So by giving more of our kids access to high-quality early education — and by helping parents get the tools they need to help their children succeed — we can give more kids a better shot at the career they’re capable of, and the life that will make us all better off. So that’s point number one right at the beginning.
Point number two, if a child can’t read well by the time he’s in 3rd grade, he’s four times less likely to graduate from high school by age 19 than one who can. And if he happens to be poor, he’s six times less likely to graduate. So by boosting reading levels, we can help more of our kids make the grade, keep on advancing, reach that day that so many parents dream of — until it comes close and then you start tearing up — and that’s when they’re walking across the stage, holding that high school diploma.
Number three, we know that Latino kids are almost twice as likely as white kids to be suspended from school. Black kids are nearly four times as likely. And if a student has been suspended even once by the time they’re in 9th grade they are twice as likely to drop out.
That’s why my administration has been working with schools on alternatives to the so-called “zero tolerance” guidelines — not because teachers or administrators or fellow students shold have to put up with bad behavior, but because there are ways to modify bad behavior that lead to good behavior — as opposed to bad behavior out of school. We can make classrooms good places for learning for everybody without jeopardizing a child’s future. (Applause.) And by building on that work, we can keep more of our young men where they belong — in the classroom, learning, growing, gaining the skills they need to succeed.
Number four, we know that students of color are far more likely than their white classmates to find themselves in trouble with the law. If a student gets arrested, he’s almost twice as likely to drop out of school. By making sure our criminal justice system doesn’t just function as a pipeline from underfunded schools to overcrowded jails, we can help young men of color stay out of prison, stay out of jail. And that means then, they’re more likely to be employable, and to invest in their own families, and to pass on a legacy of love and hope.
And finally, we know young black men are twice as likely as young white men to be “disconnected” — not in school, not working. We’ve got to reconnect them. We’ve got to give more of these young men access to mentors. We’ve got to contine to encourage responsible fatherhood. We’ve got to provide more pathways to apply to college or find a job. We can keep them from falling through the cracks, and help them lay a foundation for a career and a family and a better life.
In the discussion before we came in, General Powell talked about the fact that there are going to be some kids who just don’t have a family at home that is functional, no matter how hard we try. But just an adult, any adult who’s paying attention can make a difference. Any adult who cares can make a difference.
Magic was talking about being in a school in Chicago, and rather than going to the school he brought the school to the company, All-State, that was doing the work. And suddenly, just that one conversation meant these young men saw something different. A world opened up for them. It doesn’t take that much. But it takes more than we’re doing now.
And that’s what “My Brother’s Keeper” is all about — helping more of our young people stay on track; providing the support they need to think more broadly about their future; building on what works, when it works, in those critical life-changing moments. And when I say, by the way, building on what works, it means looking at the actual evidence of what works. There are a lot of programs out there that sound good, are well-intentioned, well-inspired, but they’re not actually having an impact. We don’t have enough money or time or resources to invest in things that don’t work, so we’ve got to be pretty hard-headed about saying if something is not working, let’s stop doing it. Let’s do things that work. And we shouldn’t care whether it was a Democratic program or a Republican program, or a fait-based program or — if it works, we should support it. If it doesn’t, we shouldn’t.
And all the time recognizing that “my neighbor’s child is my child” — that each of us has an obligation to give every child the same chance this country gave so many of us.
So, in closing, let me just say this. None of this is going to be easy. This is not a one-year proposition. It’s not a two-year proposition. It’s going to take time. We’re dealing with complicated issues that run deep in our history, run deep in our society, and are entrenched in our minds. And addressing these issues will have to be a two-way bargain. Because no matter how much the community chips in, it’s ultimately going to be up to these young men and all the young men who are out there to step up and seize responsibility for their own lives. (Applause.)
And that’s why I want to close by speaking directly to the young men who are here today and all the boys and young men who are watching at home. Part of my message, part of our message in this initiative is “no excuses.” Government and private sector and philanthropy and all the faith communities — we all have a responsibility to help provide you the tools you need; we’ve got to help you knock down some of the barriers that you experience. That’s what we’re here for. But you’ve got responsibilities, too.
And I know you can meet the challenge — many of you already are — if you make the effort. It may be hard, but you will have to reject the cynicism that says the circumstances of your birth or society’s lingering injustices necessarily define you and your future. It will take courage, but you will have to tune out the naysayers who say the deck is stacked against you, you might as well just give up — or settle into the stereotype.
It’s not going to happen overnight, but you’re going to have to set goals and you’re going to have to work for those goals. Nothing will be given to you. The world is tough out there, there’s a lot of competition for jobs and college positions, and everybody has to work hard. But I know you guys can succeed. We’ve got young men up here who are starting to make those good choices because somebody stepped in and gave them a sense of how they might go about it.
And I know it can work because of men like Maurice Owens, who’s here today. I want to tell Moe’s story just real quick.
When Moe was four years old, he moved with his mom Chauvet from South Carolina to the Bronx. His mom didn’t have a lot of money, and they lived in a tough neighborhood. Crime was high. A lot of young men ended up in jail or worse. But she knew the importance of education, so she got Moe into the best elementary school that she could find. And every morning, she put him on a bus; every night, she welcomed him when he came home.
She took the initiative, she eventually found a sponsorship program that allowed Moe to attend a good high school. And while many of his friends got into trouble, some of it pretty serious, Moe just kept on getting on the bus, and kept on working hard and reaching for something better. And he had some adults in his life that were willing to give him advice and help him along the way. And he ended up going to college. And he ended up serving his country in the Air Force. And today, Moe works in the White House, just two doors down from the Oval Office, as the Special Assistant to my Chief of Staff. (Applause.) And Moe never misses a chance to tell kids who grew up just like he did that if he can make it, they can, too.
Moe and his mom are here today, so I want to thank them both for this incredible example. Stand up, Moe, and show off your mom there. (Applause.) Good job, Moe.
So Moe didn’t make excuses. His mom had high expectations. America needs more citizens like Moe. We need more young men like Christian. We will beat the odds. We need to give every child, no matter what they look like, where they live, the chance to reach their full potential. Because if we do — if we help these wonderful young men become better husbands and fathers, and well-educated, hardworking, good citizens — then not only will they contribute to the growth and prosperity of this country, but they will pass on those lessons on to their children, on to their grandchildren, will start a different cycle. And this country will be richer and stronger for it for generations to come.
So let’s get going. Thank you. God bless you. God bless the United States of America. (Applause.)
4:17 P.M. EST
Posted by bonniekgoodman on February 27, 2014
Political Musings February 26, 2014: Obama and Boehner have rare and constructive White House meeting
OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:
OP-EDS & ARTICLES
Posted by bonniekgoodman on February 26, 2014
Full Text Obama Presidency February 26, 2014: President Barack Obama’s Speech Unveils $300 Billion Plan for Upgrading Transportation Infrastructure
OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:
President Obama Lays Out New Plan for Upgrading Our Transportation Infrastructure
Source: WH, 2-26-17
President Barack Obama sits in the cab and talks with a worker during a tour of the Light Rail Maintenance Building in St. Paul, Minn., Feb. 26, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
Remarks by the President on Jobs in American Infrastructure
Source: WH, 2-26-14
Watch the Video
St. Paul, Minnesota
2:40 P.M. CST
THE PRESIDENT: Hello, St. Paul! (Applause.) It is good to be back in Minnesota. (Applause.)
AUDIENCE MEMBER: We love you!
THE PRESIDENT: I love you back. That’s why I came here. Good to see you.
Although, can I just say that when we got off the plane, Secretary Foxx, who is from North Carolina, turned to me and he said, this is the coldest I’ve ever been in my life. (Laughter.) Now, we were only out there for like a minute — (laughter) — which goes to show how soft these folks from North Carolina are when it comes to the weather. (Laughter and applause). I, on the other hand, am from Chicago — (applause) — I walked off those stairs and I was like, this is balmy, this is great. (Laughter.) February, in Minnesota — can’t beat it. Cannot beat it.
Now, in addition to Secretary Foxx, who I want to — give him a big round of applause for that introduction. (Applause.) You’ve two champions for the people of Minnesota who are here today. You’ve got Representative Betty McCollum — (applause) — and Representative Keith Ellison. (Applause.) You’ve got your Mayor, Chris Coleman, in the house. (Applause.) The new Mayor of Minneapolis, Betsy Hodges, is here. (Applause.) And my great friend, who actually told me I was running for President before I knew I was running for President — R.T. Rybak. Love that name. (Applause.) Where’s R.T.?
Now, I want to thank everybody who showed me around Union Depot and gave me a preview of this new light rail line. It is fantastic. (Applause.) And I also just want to say — even though he’s not here today — I want to say to everybody how Michelle and I have been keeping in our thoughts and prayers one of the great Americans that we know, as well as a great Minnesotan — Walter Mondale. (Applause.)
Now, like millions of Americans, I’ve spent some time with Minnesotans lately — because I was watching the Olympics. (Laughter.) Minnesota sent 19 athletes to the games. (Applause.) That’s tied for second most of any state, and they did us all proud. It is not shocking that Minnesotans might be pretty good at the Winter Olympics. (Laughter.) What is particularly interesting is that, once again, the tiny town of Warroad proved that it really is Hockeytown, USA, thanks to T.J. Oshie and Gigi Marvin, who we’re just so proud of. And T.J.’s shootout performance against the Russians I might say I enjoyed a lot. (Applause.) I tweeted at him about it.
So we’ve spent some time over the last few weeks on hockey, but I’m not here to talk about hockey. By the way, I cannot play hockey. (Laughter.) I grew up in Hawaii — we do not have hockey in Hawaii. But I’m here to talk about what you’re doing in the Twin Cities, and how you’re helping to create new jobs and new opportunities for every American.
We are at a moment when our economy is growing. Our businesses have created about 8.5 million new jobs in the past four years. Unemployment is at the lowest it’s been in over five years; in Minnesota, it’s lower than it’s been in six and a half years. (Applause.) And, by the way, you’ve got a great governor who I served with in the Senate, Mark Dayton, who is helping to make that happen. (Applause.)
So in a lot of ways things are looking up. But in some ways, the trends that had been battering middle-class families for a long time have gotten even starker, because those at the top are doing better than ever, while wages and incomes for a lot of families have barely budged. And too many families are working harder than ever just to keep up. So as I said at the State of the Union address a few weeks back, our job is to reverse those trends. (Applause.) We’ve got to build an economy that works for everybody. We’ve got to restore opportunity for all people, so that no matter who you are, where you come from, what you look like, you can get ahead if you work hard and you’re responsible.
And so I laid out an opportunity agenda that has four parts. Number one, good jobs that pay good wages in manufacturing, in energy, in innovation and infrastructure. Number two, train folks with the skills they need to get those good jobs, something that your senator, Al Franken, is doing great work on every single day. He cares a lot about that job training issue. (Applause.) Number three, guaranteeing every child has access to a world-class education. (Applause.) And, number four, making sure that hard work is rewarded with wages you can live on, and savings you can retire on, and health care you can count on. That’s what we’re fighting for. (Applause.)
Minnesota is helping to lead the way on these issues. Your state legislature is poised to raise your minimum wage this year. (Applause.) In my State of the Union address, I called for a new women’s economic agenda. It’s actually a family economic agenda — equal pay for equal work, paid sick leave and more. And there are leaders in your state legislature that are working hard at this, because they know when women succeed, America succeeds. (Applause.)
So on all these issues, we’re reaching out to members of Congress, looking to see if they’re willing to work with us on some of these priorities. But what I also said at the State of the Union is, in this year of action, whenever I can partner directly with states or cities or business leaders or civic leaders to act on this opportunity agenda, I’m going to go ahead and do it. We can’t wait. We’ve got to move. We’ve got to get things going. Too many families are counting on it. (Applause.)
So yesterday, I launched new hubs to attract 21st century manufacturing jobs to America. And today, I’m here to launch a new competition for 21st century infrastructure and the jobs that come with it, because any opportunity agenda begins with creating more good jobs. And one of the fastest and best ways to create good jobs is by rebuilding America’s infrastructure — our roads, our bridges, our rails, our ports, our airports, our schools, our power grids. We’ve got a lot of work to do out there, and we’ve got to put folks to work. (Applause.)
One of the most difficult things about the financial crisis we went through was the housing bubble bursting, and construction workers were hammered harder than just about anybody. And while we’ve cut the unemployment rate for construction workers almost in half since 2010, too many are still looking for jobs at a time when we’ve got so much that we could put them to work on rebuilding. We’ve got ports that aren’t ready for the next generation of supertankers. We’ve got more than 100,000 bridges that are old enough to qualify for Medicare. (Laughter.)
Everybody knows, and nobody knows better than Minnesotans, when we’ve gone through a winter like this, roads are wrecked, full of potholes all across the country. (Applause.)
Now, other countries are not waiting to rebuild their infrastructure. They’re trying to out-build us today so they can out-compete us tomorrow. As a percentage of GDP, countries like China, Germany, they’re spending about twice what we’re spending in order to build infrastructure — because they know that if they have the fastest trains on the planet or the highest-rated airports or the busiest, most efficient ports that businesses will go there.
But we don’t want businesses to go there. We want them to come here to Minnesota. (Applause.) We want them to come here to the United States of America. And that means the best airports and the best roads and the best trains should be right here in America.
At a time when companies are saying they intend to hire more people this year, we need to make that decision easier for them. And we can create jobs at the same time, rebuilding our transportation systems, our power grids, our communications networks — all the things that commerce relies on and that help get workers to those jobs.
So the bottom line is there’s work to be done, workers ready to do it. Rebuilding our infrastructure is vital to business. It creates good-paying jobs that, by the way, cannot be outsourced. (Applause.) This is one of Congress’s major responsibilities — helping states and cities fund new infrastructure projects. (Applause.)
And part of the reason I’m focused on this is Congress has an important deadline coming up. If Congress doesn’t finish a transportation bill by the end of the summer, we could see construction projects stop in their tracks, machines sitting idle, workers off the job.
So next week, I’m going to send Congress a budget that funds rebuilding our transportation infrastructure in a more responsible way — by doing it over four years, which gives cities and states and private investors the certainty they need to plan major projects. Projects like repairing essential highways and bridges; building new transit systems in fast-growing cities and communities, so folks who live there can get to work and school every day and spend less time sitting in traffic. (Applause.) And we’re going to have to construct smarter, more resilient transportation systems that can withstand the worst impacts of climate change, like bigger surges of water that we’ve seen in recent floods.
So, all told, my transportation budget will support millions of jobs nationwide. And we’ll pay for these investments in part by simplifying the tax code. We’re going to close wasteful tax loopholes, lower tax rates for businesses that create jobs here at home, stop rewarding companies for sending jobs to other countries, use the money we save in this transition to create good jobs with good wages rebuilding America. It makes sense. (Applause.)
Now, I’ll be honest with you, there are leaders in both parties who are willing to reach across the aisle in Congress when it comes to American infrastructure. They know how important it is. And infrastructure didn’t use to be a partisan issue — shouldn’t be Democrat or Republican. Everybody uses roads, everybody uses ports, airports. Unfortunately, time and again over the past few years, there have been some Republicans in Congress who refused to act on common-sense proposals that will create jobs and grow our economy. It’s not that they’re — I guess they don’t like roads; they just don’t want to pay for them. It doesn’t work that way. You’ve got to come up with a way to get these projects going.
So while Congress is deciding what it’s going to do next, I’m just going to go ahead and do what I can to create more good jobs. And that’s why I came here to St. Paul. (Applause.)
Because this project symbolizes what’s possible. Union Depot was renovated and expanded with the help of what we call TIGER grants. These are competitive grants that we created as part of the Recovery Act, also known as the stimulus, which actually worked despite what everybody claims. (Applause.) So the idea is, if a city or state comes up with a plan to modernize transportation infrastructure that will have a significant impact on economic activity, and if they line up other sources of funding to help pay for it, they can win a TIGER grant and the federal government becomes a partner with these local communities.
So far, these grants have given a boost to 270 infrastructure projects across all 50 states. (Applause.) And you heard Secretary Foxx talk about — these grants are helping cities like LA and states like North Carolina, and they helped you rebuild this depot into a hub that will bring different modes of transportation together under one roof instead of scattered across the city. Amtrak is going to be here. The new Metro Green Line will be here. Bus lines will be here. (Applause.)
And I just had a chance to take a look at some of those spiffy new trains. (Laughter.) They are nice. And they’re energy efficient. They’re going to be reliable. You can get from one downtown to the other in a little over 30 minutes instead of when it’s snowing being in traffic for two hours. (Applause.) The trains were made in California, which meant folks were put to work here in the United States building them. (Applause.)
And here’s the best part of it: Not only have you made a more efficient transportation system, cutting down commutes, saving on gas, reducing carbon pollution, but this depot has helped to boost economic development in Lowertown St. Paul. (Applause.) Just across the street the old downtown post office building is becoming apartments and shops. All told, more than 4,000 jobs were created for this project. (Applause.) And we’re seeing businesses crop up and new development crop up all along the line.
So everybody is winning. And in part because of some flexibility that we showed during the planning process, the line is also going to stop in some poor neighborhoods that oftentimes have difficulty getting to the places where there are jobs. (Applause.) So it’s going to help folks who are willing to work hard, trying to get into the middle class, it helps them get access — helps people get access to opportunity that, up until this point, had a tough time.
So we know this works. Today, we’re kicking off the next round of competition for TIGER grants. Mayors and governors, city councils, state legislatures, all of you who are watching here today, if you’ve got a great idea for your city or your state, then let us know your plan. If it will encourage economic activity and support local businesses, and help put people to work, then your country is interested in partnering with you.
And TIGER grants aren’t the only way that we can help cities like St. Paul and Minneapolis rebuild their infrastructure. You’ve got — federal funding helped to build the Green Line; that’s going to make it easier than ever to travel between the two cities. You’ve got more than 5,000 construction workers from all over Minnesota helping to build it. Nearly 200 police officers, train operators and maintenance workers are being hired. And that’s not counting all the jobs that are being created from the offices and the apartment buildings that are going to be built along the line. Because the trains stopped at neighborhoods that have access to public transportation, those folks are going to work. And all of this can be duplicated all across the country.
But unfortunately, funding for these projects are going to be in jeopardy unless Congress passes this new transportation bill. So I want everybody to understand. Now, the good news is Keith Ellison, Betty, they’re already onboard. (Applause.) They know this needs to happen. Al Franken, all over it. Some Democrats and Republicans are already working together to make sure transportation doesn’t — funding doesn’t run out. And we’re seeing some glimmers of hope, because this new round of TIGER grants was the result of bipartisan cooperation. That’s what needs to happen when we work together.
But we’re going to need your voices telling a story around the country about why this is so important. Roads and bridges should not be a partisan issue. More Americans should have access to the kind of efficient, affordable transit you’re going to have with the Green Line. (Applause.) There’s no faster way or better way for Congress to create jobs right now and to grow our economy right now, and have a positive impact on our economy for decades than if we start more projects and finish more projects like this one.
Let’s create more good jobs, build smarter schools, better airports, faster railways, better broadband networks. Let’s educate our kids and our workers better. Let’s rebuild an economy where everybody who is willing to hard has a chance to get ahead. (Applause.)
This is the beginning, not the end. We’ve got a lot more rail we got to lay. We’ve got a lot more roads we got to travel. Let’s get going, Minnesota.
Thank you. God bless you. God bless the United States of America. (Applause.)
3:00 P.M. CST
Posted by bonniekgoodman on February 26, 2014
Political Musings February 25, 2014: Obama, Governors have turbulent dinner and meeting over 2016, economy, pipeline
OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:
OP-EDS & ARTICLES
Posted by bonniekgoodman on February 25, 2014
Full Text Obama Presidency February 25, 2014: President Barack Obama’s Speech Announcing Manufacturing Innovation Institutes
OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:
Manufacturing Innovation Institutes: Putting America at the Forefront of 21st Century Manufacturing
President Barack Obama delivers remarks announcing two new public-private Manufacturing Innovation Institutes, and launches the first of four new Manufacturing Innovation Institute Competitions, in the East Room of the White House, Feb. 25, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)
Today President Obama announced two new public-private manufacturing innovation institutes – one in Chicago and one in the Detroit area — as well as a competition for the first of four additional institutes that will will boost advanced manufacturing in the United States and attract the types of high-quality jobs that a growing middle class requires….READ MORE
Remarks by the President on Manufacturing Innovation Institutes
Source: WH, 2-25-17
Watch the Video
3:19 P.M. EST
THE PRESIDENT: Hello, everybody! Everybody, please have a seat. Thank you. Thank you very much. Hey! Thank you. (Applause.)
Welcome to the White House, everybody. We’ve got some pretty cool stuff up here, and we also have people here who can explain what it all is. But thank you so much for being here. We’ve got, first and foremost, some people who I’m proud to call friends and have been fighting on behalf of American workers every single day.
We’ve got the Governor of the great state of Illinois — Pat Quinn is here in the house. (Applause.) We’ve got somebody who is responsible for trimming my trees and potholes in front of my house — (laughter) — and shoveling snow. And I haven’t been back for a while; I don’t know how it’s going, but I’m assuming he’s handling his business — the Mayor of the great city of Chicago, Rahm Emmanuel is here. (Applause.) We’ve got Phil LaJoy, who’s the supervisor of Canton Township, Michigan, who is here. There he is. (Applause.) Good job, Phil.
And we’ve got some outstanding members of Congress who are here, especially someone who just announced that this would be his last term in Congress, but is somebody who so many of us have learned from, have admired. He is a man who has every single day of his life, in office, made sure that he was fighting on behalf of people who really needed help. And he’s going to be very missed. John, you are not just the longest-serving member of Congress in American history, you’re also one of the very best. Michigan’s own John Dingell is here. (Applause.) And we are better off because of John’s service, and we’re going to miss you.
Now, today I am joined by researchers who invent some of the most advanced metals on the planet, designers who are modeling prototypes in the digital cloud, folks from the Pentagon who help to support their work. Basically, I’m here to announce that we’re building Iron Man. (Laughter.) I’m going to blast off in a second. (Laughter.) We’ve been — this has been a secret project we’ve been working on for a long time. (Laughter.) Not really. Maybe. It’s classified. (Laughter.)
But keeping America at the cutting edge of technology and innovation is what is going to ensure a steady stream of good jobs into the 21st century. And that’s why we’re here today — to take new action to put America at the forefront of 21st century manufacturing.
This is a moment when our economy is growing, and it has been growing steadily for over four years now. Our businesses have created about 8.5 million new jobs over the past four years. The unemployment rate is the lowest it’s been in over five years. Our manufacturing sector is adding jobs for the first time since the 1990s. So there’s some good news to report, but the trends that have battered the middle class for decades have become, in some ways, even starker. While those at the top are doing better than ever, average wages have barely budged. Too many Americans are working harder than ever just to keep up. And it’s our job to reverse those trends.
We’ve got to build an economy that works for everyone, not just a fortunate few. We’ve got to restore opportunity for all people. That’s the essence of America: No matter who you are or where you come from, what you look like, how you started out — if you are willing to work hard and take responsibility, you can get ahead in America.
So I’ve been talking now for months about an opportunity agenda. And let me break it down into four parts. Number one, more good jobs that pay good wages — jobs in American manufacturing, rebuilding our infrastructure, innovation, energy. Number two, training workers with the skills they need to fill those jobs. Number three, guaranteed access to a world-class education for every child in America. And number four, making sure that hard work pays off with wages you can live on and savings you can retire on and health insurance you can count on when you need it.
Now, I’m looking forward to working with Congress wherever they’re willing to do something on any of these priorities. And I have to say that the members of Congress who are here all care deeply about these issues. But let’s face it — sometimes it’s hard to get moving in Congress. We’ve got a divided Congress at this point. And so, in this year of action, wherever I can act on my own to expand opportunity for more Americans, I’m going to seize that opportunity.
And that’s why we’re here today. Already, my administration has launched two hubs for high-tech manufacturing. One is in Youngstown, Ohio and is focused on 3-D printing, an entirely new way by which the manufacturing process can accelerate and supply chains get stitched together, and you integrate design and all the way through production in ways that can potentially be revolutionary. We’ve also focused on energy-efficient electronics in Raleigh, North Carolina. And what happens at each of these hubs is we’re connecting leading businesses to research universities, so they’re able to ensure that America leads the world in the advanced technologies that are going to make sure that we’re at the forefront when it comes to manufacturing.
Now, my friend Congressman Tim Ryan, who’s here today, helped — where’s Tim? I just saw him, there he is — helped us get the first of these hubs off the ground. There’s growing bipartisan momentum now behind these efforts. We’ve got two Republicans and two Democrats, Roy Blunt and Sherrod Brown in the Senate, and Tom Reed and Joe Kennedy in the House, that have written bills that would help us create a true network of these hubs all across the country.
So I’m really encouraging Congress to pass these bills. They’re good ideas. And what they do is not only help link up our top researchers with our best business people, but suddenly they become a focal point of opportunity, and businesses around the country and around the world start seeing, huh, if I’m interested in digital technologies that’s the place I should locate. If I’m interested in 3-D printing, let me go there. And so you get a virtuous cycle that can take place. And Congress I think has an opportunity to really expand these in a significant way.
In the meantime, while Congress decides on what it’s going to do, we’re going to go ahead and take some action to launch more of these hubs this year. And today, we’re announcing the next two advanced manufacturing hubs. One is in the Detroit area, and the other is in Chicago, Illinois. (Applause.)
Now, let me describe a little more why this is so important. For generations of Americans, manufacturing was the ticket to a good middle-class life. We made stuff. And the stuff we made — like steel and cars and planes — made us the economic leader of the world. And the work was hard, but the jobs were good. And if you got on an assembly plant in Detroit or in a steel plant in Youngstown, you could buy a home. You could raise kids. You could send them to college. You could retire with some security. And those jobs didn’t just tell us how much we were worth, they told us how we were contributing to the society and how we were helping to build America, and gave people a sense of dignity and purpose. They saw a Boeing plane or one of the Big Three cars rolling off the assembly line, and they said, you know what, I made that. And they were iconic. And people understood that’s what it meant for something to be made in America.
Now, advances in technology have allowed manufacturers to do more with less. Global competition means a lot of good manufacturing jobs went overseas. There was just more competition. Folks caught up to us, and they in some cases just copied what we were doing with lower wages, so the competition was fierce. And in the 2000s alone, we lost about one-third of all American manufacturing jobs — and the middle class suffered for it.
Now, the good news is, today, our manufacturers have added more than 620,000 new manufacturing jobs over the last four years. That’s the first sustained manufacturing growth in over 20 years. But the economy has changed. So if we want to attract more good manufacturing jobs to America, we’ve got to make sure we’re on the cutting edge of new manufacturing techniques and technologies.
And I just have to emphasize here that — because you’ll hear some people say, well, why are manufacturing jobs so special, and this is a service economy. Nobody believes that we’re going to duplicate all the manufacturing jobs that existed back in the ‘40s and the ‘50s just because the economy has changed. You go into an auto plant now, it’s different then it was. Fewer people can make more cars.
But keep in mind that when we have manufacturing in this country, what ends up happening is that, first of all, there are a whole lot of suppliers to those manufacturers, so that one plant may be deceptive. It doesn’t tell you all the companies all across the country that are working on behalf of those manufacturers. The services that are provided to those manufacturers, the advertising that’s connected to it, and the architects and the designers and the software engineers — all those things may not be counted as manufacturing, but by us having those hubs of manufacturing, it has a ripple effect throughout the economy.
So we’ve got to focus on advanced manufacturing to keep that manufacturing here in the United States. That’s what’s going to help get the next Stark Industries off the ground. (Laughter.)
So today — by the way, my Commerce Secretary, Penny Pritzker, is not here because she’s in Silicon Valley meeting with business leaders and talking about how together we can work together to spur economic growth.
The point is, I don’t want the next big job-creating discovery to come from Germany or China or Japan. I want it to be made here in America.
And this is one last point I’m going to make about this. Typically, a lot of research and development wants to be co-located with where manufacturing is taking place — because if you design something, you want to see how is it working and how is it getting made, and then tinker with it and fix it, and try something different. So if all the manufacturing is somewhere else, the lead we’ve got in terms of design and research and development, we’ll lose that too. That will start locating overseas. And we will have lost what is the single most important thing about American economy, and that is innovation.
So that’s what all these hubs are about. They’re partnerships that bring together companies and universities to develop cutting-edge technology, train workers to use that technology, and then make sure that the research is translated into real-world products made by American workers.
So the first hub, in Michigan, is going to focus on developing advanced lightweight materials. Detroit has already helping lead the American comeback in manufacturing. Since we stepped in to help our automakers retool, the American auto industry has created almost 425,000 new jobs. And they’ve already begun using new high-strength steel to make lighter cars that use less gas, save money, help save the planet, cars are still safe — because of these new metals.
And that’s just one example of the incredible things these new metals can do. You’re seeing the same thing when it comes to lighter armored vehicles for our troops; planes and helicopters that can carry bigger payloads. If you look at some of the new planes that Boeing is manufacturing, they look lighter; even though they have the same capacity, they use less fuel. Wind turbines that generate more power at less cost. Prosthetic limbs that help people walk again who never thought they could. So we believe there’s going to be an incredible demand for these metals, both from the military and from the private sector, and we want to make sure they’re made right here in America. We want our workers to have those jobs. So that’s what our first hub is going to do — focus on making these cool metals.
Second hub — based in Chicago, but keep in mind this is a consortium of more than 40 companies, 23 universities, labs like Northwestern and the University of Illinois, and nearly 200 small businesses. A number of other states are participating in this consortium. It’s funded by a $70-million award led by the Defense Department, but the state and its businesses raised $250 million in private funding commitments to help win this bid and make it happen.
So this Digital Manufacturing and Design Innovation [Institute] is going to be headquartered not far from downtown Chicago, on Goose Island, where there’s also a very superior beer in case you are — (laughter and applause) — I’m just letting you know. (Laughter.) A little hometown plug there. Feel free to use that, Goose Island. (Laughter.) And it’s going to focus on using digital technology and data management to help manufacturers turn their ideas into real-world products faster and cheaper than before. And it will include training to help more Americans earn the skills to do these digital manufacturing jobs.
And this is critical: The country that gets new products to market faster and at less cost, they’ll win the race for the good jobs of tomorrow. And if you look at what’s happening in manufacturing, a lot of it is much more specific. Companies want to keep their inventories low. They want to respond to consumer demand faster. And what that means is, is that manufacturers who can adapt, retool, get something out, change for a particular spec of a particular customer, they’re going to win the competition every time.
And we want that country that is specialized in this to be us, the United States of America. We want suppliers to be able to collaborate with customers in real-time, test their parts digitally, cut down on the time and money that they spend producing expensive prototypes. We want our manufacturers to be able to custom-design products tailored to each individual consumer. We want our troops to be able to download digital blueprints they can use to 3-D print new parts and repair equipment right there in the field. And these are all ambitious goals, but this is America — that’s what we do, we’re ambitious. We don’t make small planes.
Now, that doesn’t mean we’re going to be able to make all these happen overnight. This stuff takes time. And we also know these manufacturing hubs have the potential to fundamentally change the way we build things in America. So 10 years from now, 20 years from now, imagine our workers manufacturing materials that used to be science fiction — a sheet of metal that’s thinner than paper but is strong as steel. Or our workers being able to design a product using these materials entirely on a computer, they bring it to market, less money, hire folks to build it right here, sell it all over the world. That’s what the next generation of American manufacturing could look like.
But to get there, we can’t stop at just four of these hubs. I’m really excited about these four hubs; the only problem is Germany has 60 of them. Germany has 60 of them. Part of the reason Germany has been able to take the lead in certain manufacturing areas is because they’ve invested in these hubs and then they invest in the training of the workers for these very precise machines and tools, and that means that that cuts into our market share when it comes to manufacturing around the world.
So we can’t let Germany have 60 and us have four. We’ve got to do better. So I’m hoping that we can get these outstanding members of Congress to push this through so I can sign a bill. But without waiting for Congress, we can launch four new manufacturing hubs this year. That’s our intention. My Department of Energy is announcing the competition for the first of these new hubs today. So to businesses and universities or civic leaders who are watching, start forming those partnerships now. Turn your community into a global center for creating high-tech jobs.
We can’t turn the clock back to earlier, easier times when thousands of Americans would just punch in at a single factory and pound out the products for the industrial age. But thanks in part to our investment and most importantly to the collaboration of some of these outstanding institutions and leaders, factories that once went dark are turning their lights on again. More assembly lines are churning out the cars that the world wants to buy, humming with components of the clean energy age. If we stay focused on winning this race, we will make sure the next revolution in manufacturing is an American revolution. (Applause.) And we’ll make sure that opportunity for all is something that’s made in the USA.
Thanks very much, everybody. Congratulations. Good job. Keep it up. (Applause.)
3:40 P.M. EST
Posted by bonniekgoodman on February 25, 2014
Political Musings February 24, 2014: Bush highlights Military Service Initiative helping veterans reintegrate
OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:
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Posted by bonniekgoodman on February 24, 2014
HISTORY BUZZ: HISTORY NEWS RECAP
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Posted by bonniekgoodman on February 24, 2014
Full Text Obama Presidency February 24, 2014: President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden’s Remarks at National Governors’ Association White House Meeting
OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:
Remarks by the President and Vice President at NGA Meeting
Source: WH, 2-24-14
Watch the Video
State Dining Room
11:15 A.M. EST
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much. Thanks for making the Cabinet stand up for me. (Laughter.) I appreciate it.
It’s great to see you all. And I don’t know about you all, I had a great time last night and got a chance to actually do what we should be doing more of — talking without thinking about politics and figuring how we can solve problems.
You’ve observed by now the reason the President and I like doing this every year is it’s nice dealing with people who know they got to get a job done, and they get a job done. And I’ve gotten a chance to work directly with an awful lot of you in the days of the Recovery Act, and even when we were working on the gun violence; rebuilding from that super storm Sandy, which hit my state as well, and tornadoes and floods in a number of your states.
But it never ceases to amaze me how you all mobilize. You just mobilize. When crises hit your states, you mobilize and you rebuild. And you rebuild your infrastructure not to the standards that existed before, but to 21st century standards. You balance your budgets, you save neighborhoods, and you bring back jobs to your communities.
And the other thing I pick up — and I may be wrong. I’m always labeled as the White House optimist, like I’m the kid who fell off the turnip truck yesterday, but I am the youngest here — (laughter) — and new. But it always amazes me your sense of optimism. You’re the one group of folks you go to with all the problems you have that you’re optimistic. You’re optimistic about it being able to be done, getting things done. That is not always the mood up in the place where I spent a large portion of my career.
And last night I got to speak to a bunch of you, particularly about the job skills initiative the President asked me to lead, and I had a chance to speak with some of you specifically, and I’m going to ask to — I’m going to get a chance to see more of you this afternoon. But this is more than just — at least from the President’s perspective and mine — more than just a job skills initiative. It’s about literally opening the aperture to the middle class. The middle class has actually shrunk.
And we always have these debates with our economists — is the middle class $49,820 or $52,000. The middle class to me, and I think to most of you, it’s really a state of mind. It’s about being able to own your home and not have to rent it. It’s about being able to send your kid to a park where you know you can send them out, and they’ll come home safely. It’s about being able to send them to school, that if they do well in the school, they’re going to be able to get to something beyond high school if they want to do that. And you’re going to be able to pay for it. And in the meantime, you may be able to take care of your mom and dad who are in tough shape and hope that your kids never have to take care of you. That’s the middle class.
And before the Great Recession, it was already beginning to shrink. So together, we got to open — Mary, you and I have talked about this — about opening the aperture here for access to the middle class. But we’ll be speaking a lot more about that in the next several months. A couple of you invited me to come out your way, including some of my Republican friends. And I’m going to be working with all of you.
But today I just want to say thank you. Thank you for what you always do. You come to town; you come to town with answers. You come to town with suggestions. You come to town to get things done. And believe me, we need that and the American people are looking for it.
And I want to welcome you back to the White House, and introduce you now to my friend, your President, Barack Obama. (Applause.)
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you, everybody. Thank you. Please, have a seat. Thank you so much.
Welcome to the White House. I know that you’ve already been doing a lot of work, and I’m glad to be able to come here and engage in a dialogue with all of you. I want to thank Mary and John for their leadership at the NGA. I want to thank my outstanding Vice President, Joe Biden, who is very excited I think about the jobs initiative, and is going to be — the job training initiative, and I think is going to be doing a great job on that.
Michelle and I had a wonderful time hosting you guys last night, and I hope all the spouses enjoyed it. And I know Alex enjoyed it. (Laughter.) One good thing about living here is that you can make all the noise you want and nobody is going to complain. (Laughter.) And I enjoyed watching some of you with your eyes on higher office size up the drapes — (laughter) –and each other.
We don’t have a lot of time today, so I want to be very brief, go straight to Q&A and discussion. We’re at a moment when our economy is growing; our businesses have now created over 8.5 million new jobs over the past four years. But, as I’ve said several times, the trends that have battered the middle class for a couple of decades now are still there and still have to be addressed. Those at the top are doing very well. Ordinary families still feeling squeezed. Too many Americans are working harder than ever, and just barely getting by.
And reversing these trends are going to require us to work together around what I’m calling an opportunity agenda based on four things. Number one, more good jobs that pay good wages. Number two, training more Americans to be able to take the jobs that are out there right now and the jobs that are created. Number three, guaranteeing access to a world-class education for every American child all across our 50 states and our territories. And making sure that hard work pays off — with wages that you can live on, savings that you can retire on, health insurance that you can count on.
And all of this is going to take some action. So far, just in the past few weeks, I’ve acted to lift the wages of workers who work for federal contractors to pay their — make sure their employees are getting paid at least $10.10 an hour. We’ve ordered an across-the-board reform of our job training programs, much of it aligned with some of the work that Mary has done during her tenure as head of the NGA. We directed our Treasury to create a new way for Americans to start saving for retirement. We’ve been able to rally America’s business leaders to help more of the long-term unemployed find work, and to help us make sure that all of our kids have access to high-speed Internet and high-tech learning tools in the classroom.
The point is, this has to be a year of action. And I’m eager to work with Congress wherever I can. My hope is, is that despite this being an election year, that there will be occasions where both parties determine that it makes sense to actually get some things done in this town. But wherever I can work on my own to expand opportunity for more Americans, I’m going to do that. And I am absolutely convinced that the time is right to partner with the states and governors all across the country on these agendas, because I know that you guys are doing some terrific work in your own states.
There may not be much of an appetite in Congress for doing big jobs bills, but we can still grow SelectUSA. Secretary Pritzker’s team has put together a terrific formula where we’re attracting investors from all around the world to see America as an outstanding place to invest. And I mentioned this at the State of the Union: For the first time last year, what we’re seeing is, is that world investors now see America as the number-one place to do business rather than China. And it’s a sign of a lot of things converging, both on the energy front, worker productivity, our innovation, our research, ease of doing business. And a lot of that work is as a consequence of steps we’ve taken not just at the federal level, but also at the state level. So we’ve got to take advantage of that.
Secretary Pritzker has been helping a Belgian company create jobs in Stillwater, Oklahoma; helping an Austrian company create jobs in Cartersville, Georgia. So we can do more of this, and we really want to engage with you over the next several months to find ways that we can help market America and your states to businesses all around the world and bring jobs back.
Since I called on Congress to raise the minimum wage last year, six states have gone ahead and done it on their own. Last month, I asked more business leaders to raise their workers’ wages. Last week, GAP said it would lift wages for about 65,000 of its employees. Several of you are trying to boost wages for your workers. I’m going to do everything I can to support those efforts.
While Congress decides what it’s going to do on making high-quality pre-K available to more kids, there is bipartisan work being done among the folks in this room. You’ve got governors like Robert Bentley and Jack Markell, Susana Martinez, Deval Patrick — all expanding funding or dedicating funds to make that happen in their states. And we want to partner with you. This year, I’ll pull together a coalition of philanthropists, elected officials and business leaders, all of whom are excited and interested in working with you to help more kids access the high-quality pre-K that they need.
And while Congress talks about repealing the Affordable Care Act or doing this or doing that to it, places like California and Kentucky are going gangbusters and enrolling more Americans in quality, affordable health care plans. You’ve got Republican governors here — I won’t name them in front of the press, because I don’t want to get you all in trouble — who have chosen to cover more people through new options under Medicaid. And as a result, millions of people are going to get help.
States that don’t expand Medicaid are going to be leaving up to 5.4 million Americans uninsured. And that doesn’t have to happen. Work with us to get this done. We can provide a lot of flexibility. Folks like Mike Beebe in Arkansas have done some terrific work designing programs that are right for their states but also provide access to care for people who need it. And I think Kathleen Sebelius, a former governor herself, has shown herself willing to work with all of you to try to find ways to get that done.
On the West Coast, you’ve got Governors Brown, Inslee, Kitzhaber who are working together to combat the effects of climate change on their states. We’ve set up a taskforce of governors and mayors and tribal leaders to help communities prepare for what we anticipate are going to be intensifying impacts of climate change. And we’re setting up climate hubs in seven states across the country to help farmers and ranchers adapt their operations to a changing environment.
In the budget that I’ll send to Congress next week, I’m going to propose fundamentally reforming the way federal governments fund wildfire suppression and prevention to make it more stable and secure, and this is an idea that’s supported by both Democrats and Republicans.
And finally, I want to thank those of you who have worked with Michelle and Jill Biden on their Joining Forces initiative to support our military families. At your meeting here two years ago, they asked for your help to make it easier for servicemembers and their spouses to carry licenses for professions like teaching or nursing from state to state, rather than have to get a new one every time they were reassigned. At the time, only 12 states had acted to make this easier for spouses; only nine had acted to make it easier for servicemembers. Today, 42 states have passed legislation to help spouses; 45 states have made it easier for servicemembers. We’ve got a few states remaining. Let’s get it done for everybody, because it’s the right thing to do for those men and women who are working every day to make sure we stay free and secure.
The point is, even when there is little appetite in Congress to move on some of these priorities, at the state level you guys are governed by practical considerations. You want to do right by your people and you see how good policy impacts your citizens, and you see how bad policy impacts your citizens, and that means that there’s less room for posturing and politics, and more room for getting stuff done.
We want to work with you. And I’m committed to making sure that every single member of my Cabinet, every single person in the White House, every single member of my team will be responsive to you. We won’t agree on every single issue every single time, but I guarantee you that we will work as hard as we can to make sure that you succeed — because when you succeed, the people in your states succeed and America succeeds, and that’s our goal.
So thank you very much, and I look forward to having a great discussion. Thank you, everybody. (Applause.)
11:27 A.M. EST
Posted by bonniekgoodman on February 24, 2014