Full Text October 4, 2011: President Barack Obama’s Speech on the American Jobs Act Impact on Teachers in Mesquite, Texas

POLITICAL SPEECHES & DOCUMENTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

President Obama: American Jobs Act Will Prevent Up to 280,000 Teachers from Losing their Jobs

Source: WH, 10-4-11
President Barack Obama at the Lab School in Mesquite, Texas

President Barack Obama tours the Lab School at Eastfield College in Mesquite, Texas, Oct. 4, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

The White House today released a report that outlines the devastating impact the recession has had on schools and students across the country. Teacher Jobs at Risk highlights the significant cuts in education spending that have resulted from state budget shortfalls since 2008, including the loss of nearly 300,000 teaching jobs across the country (see chart below).

And in the coming school year, without additional support, many school districts will have to make another round of difficult decisions. As a result of state and local funding cuts, as many as 280,000 teacher jobs could be at risk. Unless they receive federal assistance, many school districts will be forced to reduce the number of teachers in their classrooms, or turn to other measures such as shortening the school year or cutting spending on schoolbooks and supplies.

President Obama, speaking today in Texas, compared the situation here with South Korea, where their President said they can’t hire teachers fast enough:

“They call them “nation builders” — that’s what they call teachers in Korea, “nation builders,” because they know that educating their children is the best way to make sure their economy is growing, make sure that good jobs are locating there, making sure they’ve got the scientists and the engineers and the technicians who can build things and ship them all around the world. That’s what he understands. And the whole country supports him. Here in America, we’re laying off teachers in droves. It makes no sense. It has to stop. It has to stop.”

The President was at Eastfield Community College, in Mesquite, Texas where he toured a pre-school before talking about the impact the American Jobs Act will have on schools, and on teachers, across the country. He told the crowd there that the stakes for addressing this situation are high, with “nothing less than our ability to compete in this 21st century economy” at risk.

This is why one of the central components of the American Jobs Act, which the President introduced last month at a Joint Session of Congress, is funding to avoid and reverse teacher layoffs now, and to provide support for the re-hiring and hiring of educators.

Specifically, the American Jobs Act will invest $30 billion to support state and local efforts to retain, rehire, and hire early childhood, elementary, and secondary educators. If enacted, these teacher stabilization funds would help prevent layoffs and support the hiring or re-hiring of nearly 400,000 educators, includ¬ing teachers, guidance counselors, classroom assistants, afterschool personnel, tutors, and literacy and math coaches. These funds will ensure that schools are able to keep teachers in the classroom, preserve or extend the regular school day and school year, and maintain important afterschool activities.

The impact of this funding is clear:

  • In the states with the largest numbers of students, the American Jobs Act will support tens of thousands of educator jobs—California (37,300), Florida (25,900), Illinois (14,500), New York (18,000) and Texas (39,500).
  • Funding is targeted to the school districts most in need of support across the country, especially those with a high share of students living in poverty. The Department of Education projects that New York City will receive around $950 million, Los Angeles Unified School District will receive around $570 million, Dade County School District will receive around $250 million, and Houston and Dallas Independent School Districts will each receive more than $100 million.
  • Even in states with smaller student enrollments, the American Jobs Act will have a significant impact—supporting over a thousand educator jobs in states like Montana (1,400), Arkansas (4,100), Nevada (3,600), and Iowa (4,100). Medium-size school districts like those in Wake County, North Carolina and Nashville, Tennessee will receive funding ranging from $50 million to $75 million.

As the President said today in Texas, Americans cannot afford to wait for things to get better, it is time to act:

We are not people who sit back in tough times. We step up in tough times. We make things happen in tough times. We’ve been through tougher times before, and we got through them. We’re going to get through these to a brighter day, but we’re going to have to act. God helps those who help themselves. We need to help ourselves right now.

Let’s get together. Let’s get to work. Let’s get busy. Let’s pass this bill. Let’s make sure that we are shaping a destiny for our children that we are proud of, and let’s remind the entire world why the United States of America is the greatest nation on the planet.

Year-Over-Year Change, Local Government Employment in Educational Services

POLITICAL QUOTES & SPEECHES

President Obama on the American Jobs Act
White House Photo, Pete Souza, 10/4/11

Remarks by the President on the American Jobs Act

Eastfield College
Mesquite, Texas

2:47 P.M. CDT

THE PRESIDENT:  Hello, Dallas!  Thank you so much.  Thank you, everybody.  Please have a seat, have a seat.  (Applause.)  Thank you.

It’s good to be back in Texas.  (Applause.)  It is good to be back in Texas.  I am thrilled to have the opportunity to be with all of you.

I want to thank a couple of people.  First of all, the mayor of Mesquite, John Monaco is here.  (Applause.)  And the mayor of Dallas, Mike Rawlings is in the house.  (Applause.)  And I want to thank the former mayor of Dallas, who I stole from you to be one of the best trade representatives this country has ever had — my dear friend Ron Kirk is in the house.  (Applause.)

I also want to thank — I want to thank the folks over at the Children’s Lab School, who gave me a tour, and I want to especially thank Kim Russell for sharing her story.  Thank you, Kim.  (Applause.)

Now, teachers like Kim are why I came here today.  Teachers like Kim and her former students.  That’s why I’ve been traveling all across this country for the last few weeks.  These are the toughest times we’ve been through since the Great Depression.  And because the problems that led to the recession weren’t caused overnight, they won’t be solved overnight.  That’s the hard truth.  It took us a decade to see the culmination of some of the bad ideas that had been put into place — the lack of regulation on Wall Street, middle-class folks struggling.

So we’re not going to solve all those problems overnight.  But that doesn’t mean we have to sit back and do nothing about this economy.  There are steps we can take right now to put people back to work.  There are steps we can take right now to put money in the pockets of working Americans.  There are things we can do right now to restore some of the security and fairness that has always defined this great country of ours.  And that’s what will happen if this Congress will finally get its act together and pass the American Jobs Act.  (Applause.)

It has now been three weeks since I sent this bill to Congress.  It’s a detailed plan to get this economy moving.  It’s the kind of proposals that, in the past, Democrats and Republicans have supported.  There’s nothing radical in this proposal.  These are the kinds of things that in the past we’ve had bipartisan support for.  It’s fully paid for.  And that’s why I need you to help me convince the people you sent to Washington that it’s time to pass this jobs bill and get America working again.  (Applause.)

Now, you just heard Kim’s story.  There are teachers and educators like Kim all over the country.  I met a first-grade teacher from Minnesota at the White House who was laid off after having been named the Teacher of the Year in her school district.  Her peers, students, determined she was the best teacher in her school district — she got laid off.  There’s a teacher over in Grand Prairie, Texas, who actually chose to resign in order to protect the job of a single mom who also taught at the school.  Think about that.  Here in Dallas, all across the state of Texas, you’ve seen too many teachers lose their jobs because of budget cuts.  And thousands more could be at risk in the coming year.

Now, understand, this doesn’t just hurt these teachers.  It doesn’t just hurt them and their families.  It hurts our children.  It undermines our future as a nation.  If you’ve got Kim, an AP teacher, not in the classroom, those kids aren’t going to have the same opportunities.  And I want everybody to understand that what is at stake is nothing less than our ability to compete in this 21st century economy.

I told the story — a while back I was visiting South Korea and had lunch with the President there.  And I asked the President, I said, what’s your biggest challenge right now?  He said, well, my biggest challenge is our parents are way too demanding.  He said, they want their kid to learn English when they’re in first grade.  So in addition to all the science and all the math classes, I’m now having to ship in teachers from outside the country just to teach our kids English, starting in elementary school.  This is what the President of South Korea said.

They can’t hire teachers fast enough.  They call them “nation builders” — that’s what they call teachers in Korea, “nation builders,” because they know that educating their children is the best way to make sure their economy is growing, make sure that good jobs are locating there, making sure they’ve got the scientists and the engineers and the technicians who can build things and ship them all around the world.  That’s what he understands.  And the whole country supports him.  Here in America, we’re laying off teachers in droves.  It makes no sense.  It has to stop.  It has to stop.  (Applause.)

Now, this bill will prevent up to 280,000 teachers from losing their jobs.  (Applause.)  This bill will support almost 40,000 jobs right here in the great state of Texas.  (Applause.)  So here’s what I need you to do:  Tell Congress to pass this bill and put teachers back in the classroom where they belong.  (Applause.)

It’s not just teachers.  Tell Congress to pass the American Jobs Act, and there also will be funding to save the jobs of firefighters and police officers and first responders who risk their lives to keep us safe.  That’s what happens if they pass this bill.  (Applause.)

Pass this jobs bill, and hundreds of thousands of unemployed construction workers will get back on the job rebuilding our schools, rebuilding our roads, rebuilding our bridges, rebuilding our ports, rebuilding our airports.  The other day I visited a busy bridge in Ohio — actually it’s between Ohio and Kentucky.  Speaker Boehner, he’s from Ohio; Republican Leader McConnell is from Kentucky.  I thought it would be a good place to have an event.  (Laughter.)  This bridge is classified as functionally obsolete.  That’s a fancy way of saying it’s old and needs to be fixed.  (Laughter.)

There’s a public transit project in Houston that would help clear up one of the worst areas of traffic in the country.  There are schools all over this country that are literally falling apart — roof crumbling, rain dripping in, too hot in the summer, too cold in the winter, science labs all worn out, got a couple of beakers and that’s it, built back in the ‘50s before the Internet was invented.  (Laughter.)

That’s an outrage.  Understand, America became an economic superpower in part because we had the best infrastructure.  We built the transcontinental railroad, the Interstate Highway System, the Hoover Dam, Grand Central Station.  How can we sit back and now we’re seeing China build better airports than us, Europe build better railroads than us, Korea more broadband access than us — at a time when millions of unemployed construction workers could be building all that stuff right here in the United States of America.  (Applause.)

My question to Congress is, what are you waiting for?  The work is there to be done.  There are workers ready to do it.  Contractors, they’re begging for work.  They’ll come in on time, under budget.  Interest rates have never been lower.  It is time for us to put those folks back to work.  It’s time for them to pass the American Jobs Act.  Pass this bill.  (Applause.)

If Congress passes this jobs bill, new companies will get new tax credits for hiring America’s veterans.  Think about it.  We ask these men and women to leave their families, disrupt their careers, risk their lives for our nation.  The last thing they should have to do is to fight for a job when they come home.  (Applause.)

Tell Congress pass this bill so we can help the people who create most of the new jobs in this country:  America’s small businesses.  Folks in the other party, they like to talk a good game about helping America’s job creators.  “Let’s help America’s job creators.”  Okay, let’s do that.  This jobs bill provides tax cuts for nearly every small business in America.  If you hire new employees, or raise your workers’ wages, you get an extra tax cut.  (Applause.)  So my message to Congress is, don’t just talk about helping job creators; actually help some job creators by passing this bill.  (Applause.)

Here’s another reason why they need to pass this bill.  On January 1st, if nothing is done, everybody here is going to get a tax hike.

AUDIENCE:  Booo!  (Laughter.)

THE PRESIDENT:  That’s right.  See, back in December, I got an agreement with the Republicans to lower the payroll tax so that there would be more money in folks’ pockets and we could protect ourselves against recession.  Now, since that time, we’ve had a tsunami in Japan; we’ve had the Arab Spring, which shot up gas prices.  We’ve had problems in Europe.  And so the economy has gotten weaker.

That tax cut is scheduled to expire by the end of this year.  But if the American Jobs Act passes, the typical working family in Texas will have an extra $1,400 in their pockets.  (Applause.)  Now, if the bill doesn’t pass, virtually every worker in America will see their taxes go up — at the worst possible time.

So I’m not about to let that happen, Texas.  (Applause.)  Look, Republicans say they’re the party of tax cuts.  Tell them to prove it.  Tell them to fight just as hard for tax cuts for working Americans as they do for the wealthiest Americans.  (Applause.)  Pass this bill.

Now, what you’ll hear from some of these folks is, well, we’re not going to support any new spending that’s not paid for.  All right, I agree with that.  I think that’s important.  So I laid out a plan to pay for the American Jobs Act, and then some — a plan that not only pays for the bill to put folks back to work to raise our growth rate, but to also pay down more of our debt over time.  It builds on the $1 trillion in spending cuts that I already signed this summer, making it one of the biggest spending cuts in history.

So, look, I believe we’ve got to make cuts in programs that don’t work and things that aren’t helping the economy grow so we can pay for the things that are.  Right?  (Applause.)  We all believe that a government needs to live within its means.  We all agree with that.  But we also believe that how you bring down the deficit is important.  If we want to actually close the deficit — not just talk about closing the deficit, not just using it for a campaign slogan, not just playing politics — if we want to actually close the deficit, then you’ve got to combine the tough cuts with a strategy to ask the wealthiest Americans and the biggest corporations to do their part, to pay their fair share.  (Applause.)

Look, I’m not telling you anything you don’t know.  Do you really think the tax code is written for you?

AUDIENCE:  No!

THE PRESIDENT:  You think the tax code — maybe you’ve got a bunch of lobbyists in Washington.  Maybe you’ve got a bunch of special interests in there in the back rooms trying to carve something out — I don’t know.  But most folks don’t.  So the tax code, the way it’s structured, is not fair.  And so what we’ve said is, let’s reform our tax code based on a very simple principle, and it will raise more money without hurting working families.  Here’s the principle:  Middle-class families, working families, should not pay higher tax rates than millionaires or billionaires.  (Applause.)  I don’t know how you argue against that; seems pretty straightforward to me.  Warren Buffett’s secretary shouldn’t pay a higher tax rate than Warren Buffett.  (Applause.)

Now, when I point this out — it seems very logical to me, but when I point this out, some of the Republicans in Congress, they say, oh, you’re engaging in class warfare.  Class warfare?  Let me tell you something.  Years ago, a great American had a different view.  All right?  I’m going to get the quote just so you know I’m not making this up.  (Laughter.)  Great American, said that he thought it was “crazy” that certain tax loopholes made it possible for millionaires to pay nothing, while a bus driver was paying 10 percent of his salary.  All right?

You know who this guy was?  Wasn’t a Democrat.  Wasn’t some crazy socialist.  It was Ronald Reagan.  (Applause.)  It was Ronald Reagan.  Last time I checked, Republicans all thought Reagan made some sense.  (Laughter.)  So the next time you hear one of those Republicans in Congress accusing you of class warfare, you just tell them, I’m with Ronald Reagan.  (Laughter.)  I agree with Ronald Reagan that it’s crazy that a bus driver pays a higher tax rate than a millionaire because of some loophole in the tax code.  (Applause.)

And by the way, I don’t mind being called a warrior for the working class.  You guys need somebody fighting for you.  (Applause.)  The only warfare I’ve been seeing is the war against middle-class families and their ability to get ahead in this economy.

And let me make one last point, because you’ll hear this argument made:  This is not about trying to punish success.  This is the land of opportunity.  And what’s great about our country is our belief that anybody can succeed.  You’ve got a good idea?  Go out there and start a new business.  You’ve got a great product?  You invented something?  I hope you make millions of dollars.  We want to see more Steve Jobs and more Bill Gates — creating value, creating jobs.  That’s great.

Your current mayor did great work in the private sector creating jobs, creating value.  That’s important.  But remember, nobody got there on their own.  I’m standing here today, Michelle is standing here today — or Michelle’s not standing here today — (laughter) — but I know you wish she was.  I’m standing here today, Michelle — we always remind ourselves, the reason we’ve had this extraordinary opportunity is because somewhere along the line, some teacher helped us.  Somewhere along the line, we got a student loan.  We lived in a country that could move products and services everywhere.  We lived in a country where if there’s a fire, somebody comes and puts out the fire.  If you’re burglarized, somebody is coming to try to solve the crime.  I’m sure the mayor of Dallas feels the same way.  We’re here because somebody laid the foundation for success.  So the question is, are we going to maintain that foundation and strengthen that foundation for the next generation?

And this is all about priorities.  This is about choices.  If we want to actually lower the deficit and put people back to work — if we want to invest in our future, if we want to have the best science, the best technology, the best research, we want to continue to be inventing new drugs to solve cancer and making sure that the new cars of the future that are running on electricity are made here in America — if we want to do all those things, then the money has got to come from somewhere.  I wish I could do it all for free.  I wish I could say to all of you, you don’t have to pay any taxes and companies can keep all their stuff and rich people don’t have to do anything, and somehow it all works out.

But you know what, we tried it and it didn’t work.  So now you’ve got a choice.  Would you rather keep tax loopholes for big corporations that don’t need it?  Or would you rather put construction workers back to work rebuilding our schools and our roads and our bridges?  (Applause.)  Would you rather I keep a tax break that I don’t need and wasn’t looking for, didn’t ask for and if I don’t have it, I won’t miss it?  Or do you want to put teachers like Kim back to work and help small businesses and cut taxes for middle-class families?  (Applause.)  This is a choice that we’ve got to make.

And I believe, and I think you believe, it’s time we build an economy that creates good, solid, middle-class jobs in this country.  It’s time to build an economy that values the — that honors the values of hard work and responsibility.  It’s time for us to build an economy that lasts, that’s not just based on speculation and financial shenanigans, but rather is based on us making stuff and selling things to other people around the world instead of just importing from all around the world.  (Applause.)  That’s the America I believe in.  That’s the America you believe in.

And, Dallas, that starts now.  That starts with your help.  Yesterday, the Republican Majority Leader in Congress, Eric Cantor, said that right now he won’t even let this jobs bill have a vote in the House of Representatives.

AUDIENCE:  Booo!

THE PRESIDENT:  This is what he said.  Won’t even let it be debated.  Won’t even give it a chance to be debated on the floor of the House of Representatives.  Think about that.  I mean, what’s the problem?  Do they not have the time?  (Laughter.)  They just had a week off.  (Laughter.)  Is it inconvenient?

Look, I’d like Mr. Cantor to come down here to Dallas and explain what exactly in this jobs bill does he not believe in.  What exactly is he opposed to?

Does he not believe in rebuilding America’s roads and bridges?  Does he not believe in tax breaks for small businesses, or efforts to help our veterans?

Mr. Cantor should come down to Dallas and look Kim Russell in the eye and tell her why she doesn’t deserve to be back in the classroom doing what she loves, helping our kids.  Come tell her students why they don’t deserve to have their teacher back.

Come tell Dallas construction workers why they should be sitting idle instead of out there on the job.

Tell small business owners and workers in this community why you’d rather defend tax breaks for folks who don’t need them — for millionaires — rather than tax cuts for middle-class families.

And if you won’t do that, at least put this jobs bill up for a vote so that the entire country knows exactly where members of Congress stand.  (Applause.)
Put your cards on the table.  I realize that some Republicans in Washington are resistant, partly because I proposed it.  (Laughter and applause.)  I mean, they — if I took their party platform and proposed it, they’d suddenly be against it.  (Laughter.)

We’ve had folks in Congress who have said they shouldn’t pass this bill because it would give me a win.  So they’re thinking about the next election.  They’re not thinking about folks who are hurting right now.  They’re thinking, well, how is that going to play in the next election?

Give me a win?  Give me a break!  (Laughter.)  That’s why folks are fed up with Washington.  (Applause.)  This isn’t about giving me a win.  This isn’t about giving Democrats or Republicans a win.  This is about giving people who are hurting a win.  (Applause.)  This is about giving small business owners a win, and entrepreneurs a win, and students a win, and working families a win.  This is about giving America a win.  (Applause.)

Dallas, the next election is 13 months away.  The American people don’t have the luxury of waiting 13 months.  A lot of folks are living week to week; some are living paycheck to paycheck; some folks are living day to day.  (Applause.)  They need action on jobs, and they need it now.  They want Congress to do what they were elected to do.  They want Congress to do their job.  Do your job, Congress!  (Applause.)

I need you all to lift your voice — (applause)  –-  not just here in Dallas, but anyone watching, anyone listening, everybody following online.  I need you to call and tweet and fax and visit and email your congressperson and tell them the time for gridlock and games is over.  The time for action is now.  (Applause.)

Tell them that if you want to create jobs — pass this bill.  (Applause.)

If you want to put teachers back in the classroom — pass this bill.  (Applause.)

If you want construction workers back on the job — pass this bill.  (Applause.)

If you want tax cuts for the middle class and small business owners — pass this bill.

You want to help some veterans?  Pass this bill.  (Applause.)

Now is the time to act.  We are not people who sit back in tough times.  We step up in tough times.  We make things happen in tough times.  (Applause.)  We’ve been through tougher times before, and we got through them.  We’re going to get through these to a brighter day, but we’re going to have to act.  God helps those who help themselves.  We need to help ourselves right now.

Let’s get together.  Let’s get to work.  Let’s get busy.  Let’s pass this bill.  Let’s make sure that we are shaping a destiny for our children that we are proud of, and let’s remind the entire world why the United States of America is the greatest nation on the planet.  (Applause.)

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

END                 3:18 P.M. CDT

Full Text October 1, 2011: President Barack Obama’s Weekly Address Urging Republicans & Democrats in Congress to Pass the American Jobs Act

POLITICAL SPEECHES & DOCUMENTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

President Barack Obama tapes his Weekly Address
President Barack Obama tapes the weekly address, White House Photo, Chuck Kennedy, 9/30/11

Weekly Address: Fighting for the American Jobs Act

Source: WH, 10-1-11

President Obama discusses the letters he receives every day asking for action on jobs and calls on Congress to pass the American Jobs Act right away to cut taxes, create jobs and provide a win for the American people.

Transcript | Download mp4 | Download mp3

POLITICAL QUOTES & SPEECHES

WEEKLY ADDRESS: Democrats and Republicans Should Get Together and Pass the American Jobs Act

WASHINGTON—In this week’s address, President Obama told the American people that it has been nearly three weeks since he sent Congress his jobs bill, and now it is time for Congress to send it back so that it can be signed into law.  Economists agree that the American Jobs Act will spur hiring and boost the economy, and it will give workers and small businesses tax cuts, get construction workers back to work rebuilding our roads and bridges, and put more teachers in classrooms and cops on the streets.  Too many Americans are struggling and need help now, and so Republicans and Democrats should come together without delay to pass the American Jobs Act.

Remarks of President Barack Obama
Weekly Address
The White House
October 1, 2011

Hello, everyone.  It’s been almost three weeks since I sent the American Jobs Act to Congress – three weeks since I sent them a bill that would put people back to work and put money in people’s pockets.  This jobs bill is fully paid for.  This jobs bill contains the kinds of proposals that Democrats and Republicans have supported in the past.  And now I want it back.  It is time for Congress to get its act together and pass this jobs bill so I can sign it into law.

Some Republicans in Congress have said that they agree with certain parts of this jobs bill.  If so, it’s time for them to tell me what those proposals are.  And if they’re opposed to this jobs bill, I’d like to know what exactly they’re against.  Are they against putting teachers and police officers and firefighters back on the job?  Are they against hiring construction workers to rebuild our roads and bridges and schools?  Are they against giving tax cuts to virtually every worker and small business in America?

Economists from across the political spectrum have said that this jobs bill would boost the economy and spur hiring.  Why would you be against that?  Especially at a time when so many Americans are struggling and out of work.

This isn’t just about what I think is right.  It’s not just about what a group of economists think is right.  This is about what the American people want.  Everywhere I go, they tell me they want action on jobs.  Every day, I get letters from Americans who expect Washington to do something about the problems we face.

Destiny Wheeler is a sixteen year old from Georgia who wants to go to college.  She wrote to me saying, “Now-a-days it is hard to see myself pushing forward and putting my family in a better position, especially since the economy is rough and my starting situation is so poor.  Yet, the American Jobs act gives me hope that I might start to receive a better education, that one day job opportunities will be open for me to grasp, and that one day my personal American Dream will be reached.”  Destiny needs us to pass this jobs bill.

Alice Johnson is an Oregon native who, along with her husband, has been looking for a job for about two years.  She writes, “I have faithfully applied for work every week…Of the hundreds of applications I have put in, I received interview requests for about 10…I too, am sick of all the fighting in Washington DC.  Please tell the Republicans that people are hurting and are hungry and need help, pass the jobs bill.”  Alice Johnson needs our help.

Cathleen Dixon sent me pictures of the aging bridge she drives under when she takes her kids to school in Chicago every day.  She worries about their safety, and writes, “I am angry that in this country of vast resources we claim that we cannot maintain basic infrastructure.  How can we ever hope to preserve or regain our stature in this world, if we cannot find the will to protect our people and take care of our basic needs?”

I also heard from Kim Faber, who told me about the small carpet business her husband owns in New Jersey.  “We hang on by a shoe String,” she writes, “my husband worries every day about if checks might bounce, he uses our home loan to put money in the business so they will be covered.  Please pass this jobs bill! This is the job creating we need right now! It breaks my husband’s heart when he has to let people go! Pass the bill!”

Kim said it best: Pass the bill.  I know one Republican was quoted as saying that their party shouldn’t pass this jobs bill because it would give me a win.  Well this isn’t about giving me a win, and it’s not about them.  This is about Destiny Wheeler and Alice Johnson. It’s about Cathleen Dixon’s children, and the Fabers’ family business.  These are the people who need a win, and I will be fighting for this jobs bill every day on their behalf.  If anyone watching feels the same way, don’t be shy about letting your Congressman know.  It is time for the politics to end.  Let’s pass this jobs bill.

White House Recap September 25-30, 2011: The Obama Presidency’s Weekly Recap — President Obama’s Linkedin Townhall — Back-to-School Speech & Education Reforms — Hispanic Community Roundtable

WHITE HOUSE RECAP

WHITE HOUSE RECAP: SEPTEMBER 25-30, 2011

This week, the President announced reforms to No Child Left Behind, held a town hall on job growth at LinkedIn, spoke on what the American Jobs Act could mean for schools and gave his third annual Back To School address.

West Wing Week

Weekly Wrap Up: Spreading the Word

Source: WH, 9-30-11

LinkedIn Town Hall: On Monday, President Obama participated in a live Town Hall meeting with LinkedIn, the world’s largest professional network, out in Silicon Valley, California. Taking questions from the audience and online submissions, the President talked about the American Jobs Act and how it will create jobs and boost the overall economy.

Ending Violence Against Women: Vice President Biden travelled to New York City Tuesday to sit down with the women of The View. The main topic of discussion was his campaign to end violence against women and his current initiative to reduce domestic abuse among younger Americans. The Vice President told the ladies that the Violence Against Women Act of 1994 is his proudest legislative achievement, and that it has decreased domestic violence by over 50% since being signed into law.

‘Set your Sights High’: The President welcomed students back to school in his third annual Back-to-School speech at Benjamin Banneker Academic High School in Washington, D.C. Admitting that he was not a perfect student himself, he explained that doing well in school carries weight beyond college admissions. “Because you’re not just kids. You’re this country’s future. You’re young leaders. And whether we fall behind or race ahead as a nation is going to depend in large part on you.”

President Barack Obama with students after delivering his third annual Back-to-School Speech

President Barack Obama shakes hands with students after delivering his third annual Back-to-School speech at Benjamin Banneker Academic High School in Washington, D.C. Sept. 28, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Rebuilding America’s Schools:  President Obama  visited Denver’s Abraham Lincoln High School to discuss how the American Jobs Act is going to not only put workers back on the job, but also rebuild and modernize schools across the country.  The President is proposing a $25 billion investment in school infrastructure to repair and upgrade at least 35,000 public schools because, “Every child deserves a great school – and we can give it to them. We can rebuild our schools for the 21st century, with faster internet, smarter labs and cutting-edge technology.”

Talking to the Hispanic Community: During a roundtable conversation with three of the largest Hispanic online outlets, the President discussed a range of issues from immigration and education to Social Security and the American Jobs Act. Jose Siade from Yahoo Español, Karine Medina from MSN Latino and Gabriel Lerner from AOL Latino and Huff-Post Latino Voices joined the President in the White House Map Room for an hour-long chat centered on the issues that matter most to Hispanic Americans.

Full Text September 26, 2011: President Barack Obama Answers Questions at Linkedin Townhall Transcript

POLITICAL SPEECHES & DOCUMENTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

President Obama at a Town Hall sponsored by LinkedIn
White House Photo, Pete Souza, 9/26/11

President Obama’s Town Hall with LinkedIn: “We are in this thing Together”

Source: WH, 9-26-11
Today, President Obama was at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California for a discussion on putting America back to work with members of LinkedIn, the world’s largest professional network with more than 120 million users worldwide. LinkedIn members from Gainesville, Florida to Phoenix, Arizona submitted their questions on the economy and jobs for the President to answer during the live Town Hall.

LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner kicked off the Town Hall, noting the role of passing the American Jobs Act in putting the country back to work:

There’s one number you may be less familiar with, and that’s 3.2 million, the number of available jobs in this country — 3.2 million.  We have everything we need to begin to put this country back to work — the raw materials, the basic building blocks and, perhaps most importantly, the will of a nation.  What we need is the way.  With the American Jobs Act, our President is leading the way.

Then he turned it over to President Obama to say a few words before diving into questions:

As you mentioned, I put forward a proposal, the American Jobs Act, that would put thousands of teachers back into the classrooms who have been laid off due to downturns in state and local budgets; that would make sure that we are rebuilding our infrastructure — taking extraordinary numbers of construction workers who have been laid off when the housing bubbles went bust and putting them to work rebuilding our roads and our airports and our schools, and laying broadband lines — all the things that help us make a success; and also make sure that we’re providing small businesses the kinds of tax incentives that will allow them to hire and allow them to succeed.

During the discussion, the President addressed topics ranging from Social Security and Medicare to strengthening our education system and ways to jumpstart the economy. He also addressed the need to invest in our future and pay for those investments in part by making sure everyone, including the wealthiest among us, is contributing a fair share:

If we don’t prepare our people with the skills that they need to compete, we’re going to have problems.  If we don’t make sure that we continue to have the best infrastructure in the world, we’re going to have problems.  If we’re not continuing to invest in basic research, we’re going to have challenges.  If we don’t get our fiscal house in order in a way that is fair and equitable so that everybody feels like they have responsibilities to not only themselves and their family but also the country that’s given them so much opportunity, we’re going to have problems.

And so I am extraordinarily confident about America’s long-term future.  But we are going to have to make some decisions about how we move forward.  And what’s striking to me is, when we’re out of Washington and I’m just talking to ordinary folks, I don’t care whether they’re Republicans or Democrats, people are just looking for common sense.  The majority of people agree with the prescriptions I just offered.  The majority of people by a wide margin think we should be rebuilding our infrastructure.  The majority of folks by a wide margin think that we should be investing in education.  The majority of people by a wide margin think we should be investing in science and technology.  And the majority of people think by a wide margin that we should be maintaining programs like Social Security and Medicare to provide a basic safety net.

The majority of people by a significant margin think that the way we should close our deficit is a balance of cutting out those things that we don’t need, but also making sure that we’ve got a tax code that’s fair and everybody is paying their fair share.

President Obama concluded by saying, “that’s why your voices are going to be so important.” The President called on those who had joined the conversation to keep making their voices heard:

I want to hear from you directly, but I also want your voices heard in the halls of Congress.  I need everybody here to be speaking out on behalf of the things that you care about, and the values that made this country great, and to say to folks who you’ve elected — say to them, we expect you to act responsibly, and not act in terms of short-term political interest.  Act in terms of what’s going to be good for all of us over the long term.

Watch the full video from the Town Hall or use the  links below to jump to the questions you’re interested in:

Read the Transcript  |  Download Video: mp4 (577MB) | mp3 (55MB)

POLITICAL QUOTES & SPEECHES

Remarks by the President in Town Hall with Linkedin

 

President Barack Obama answers a question during a Town Hall sponsored by LinkedIn

President Barack Obama answers an audience member’s question during a Town Hall meeting sponsored by LinkedIn at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California, Sept. 26, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Samantha Appleton)

 

Computer History Museum
Mountain View, California

10:58 A.M. PDT

MR. WEINER: Good morning, everyone.

AUDIENCE MEMBER: Yes!

MR. WEINER: Oh, very nice. (Laughter.) Thank you so much for joining us here today for a very special town hall discussion on a subject we all know to be truly important, and that’s putting America back to work. In just a moment, I’m going to be introducing a very special guest, but before I do, just a few brief introductory remarks.

I think today’s venue, the Computer History Museum, here in Silicon Valley, is a very fitting one for our discussion. There’s a number of folks who’ve come to Silicon Valley not just for a job, or even a career path, but because they’re interested in changing the world. And that’s possible here because of the amazing technologies and companies that have been born in this area.

You think back to the semiconductor revolution, the age of computing, and of course, the Internet — and most recently, with regard to the Internet, the rise of social networks connecting hundreds of millions of people around the world in milliseconds. Perhaps more importantly are the behavioral changes taking place as a result. The way in which we go online, represent our identities; stay connected to friends, family and colleagues; and of course, share information, knowledge, ideas and opinions is fundamentally transforming the world — the way we live, the way we play, and the way we work.

And it’s that last dynamic, changing the way we work, which is where LinkedIn is focused. We connect hundreds of millions of people ultimately around the world by connecting talent with opportunity — today, 120 million members on a global basis, and that’s growing north of two members per second, the fastest rate of growth in our history.

When we talk about connecting talent with opportunity we’re not just referring to enabling people to find a job or their dream jobs. We’re also talking about enabling people to be great at the jobs that they’re already in. This is what we do, day in and day out. But our dream is even bigger than that. There are 153 million people in the American workforce; there are 3.3 billion people in the global workforce. Ultimately, our vision is to create economic opportunity for every one of them.

What’s somewhat unusual about this vision is it won’t simply be manifested by the employees of our company but by our members as well, because every individual that joins the LinkedIn network is in a position to, in turn, create economic opportunity for others. We’re very fortunate today to be joined by several of our members and we’re going to be hearing from them shortly.

Lastly, on the subject of economic opportunity, there seems to be one number on everybody’s minds these days — 9.1 percent, the unemployment rate in this country. Over 14 million Americans are unemployed, and that number grows to north of 25 million when you factor in those that are underemployed and marginally attached to the workforce.

There’s one number you may be less familiar with, and that’s 3.2 million, the number of available jobs in this country — 3.2 million. We have everything we need to begin to put this country back to work — the raw materials, the basic building blocks and, perhaps most importantly, the will of a nation. What we need is the way. With the American Jobs Act, our President is leading the way.

Ladies and gentlemen, it is my great honor and privilege to introduce the President of the United States. (Applause.)

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you. Everybody, please have a seat. Thank you. (Applause.) Thank you very much. It’s a nice crowd. (Laughter.) And I have to say, Jeff, you warmed them up very well.

MR. WEINER: Thank you, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you so much for your hospitality. And let me begin by just saying how excited I am to be here. Every time I come to Silicon Valley, every time that I come to this region, I am excited about America’s future. And no part of the country better represents, I think, the essence of America than here, because what you see is entrepreneurship and dynamism, a forward-orientation, an optimism, a belief that if you got a good idea and you’re willing to put in the sweat and blood and tears to make it happen, that not only can you succeed for yourself but you can grow the economy for everybody. And it’s that driving spirit that has made America an economic superpower.

But obviously we’re in a period of time right now where the economy is struggling, and a lot of folks all across the country are struggling. And so part of what I hope to do is to have a conversation with all of you about, how can we continue to spark the innovation that is going to ensure our economic success in the 21st century? How can we prepare our workforce to be able to plug in to this new economy? How do we recognize that, in this competitive environment, there are all kinds of opportunities that LinkedIn presents for interconnectedness and people being able to work together and spread ideas around the world and create value, but at the same time, understanding that there are some perils as well?

If our kids aren’t properly educated, if we don’t have an infrastructure that is world-class, if we are not investing in basic research in science — if we’re not doing all the things that made us great in the past, then we’re going to fall behind.

And we’ve got a short-term challenge, which is how do we put people back to work right now. And so, as you mentioned, I put forward a proposal, the American Jobs Act, that would put thousands of teachers back into the classrooms who have been laid off due to downturns in state and local budgets; that would make sure that we are rebuilding our infrastructure — taking extraordinary numbers of construction workers who have been laid off when the housing bubbles went bust and putting them to work rebuilding our roads and our airports and our schools, and laying broadband lines — all the things that help us make a success; and also make sure that we’re providing small businesses the kinds of tax incentives that will allow them to hire and allow them to succeed.

And I have said to Congress, I understand that there’s an election 14 months away and it’s tempting to say that we’re not going to do anything until November of 2012, but the American people cannot afford to wait. The American people need help right now. And all the proposals we’ve put forward in the American Jobs Act will not only help us now, but will also help us in the future — will lay the foundation for our long-term success.

Last point I’ll make — and then I want to get to questions — it’s all paid for. And it’s paid for in part by building on some very tough cuts in our budget to eliminate waste and things we don’t need — that we’ve already made a trillion dollars over the next 10 years. We’ve proposed an additional half a trillion dollars over the next 10 years of spending cuts and adjustments on programs that we want to keep intact but haven’t been reformed in too long.

But what I’ve also said is in order to pay for it and bring down the deficit at the same time, we’re going to have to reform our tax code in a way that’s fair and makes sure that everybody is doing their fair share. I’ve said this before, I’ll say it again: Warren Buffett’s secretary shouldn’t be paying a lower tax rate than Warren Buffett. Somebody who’s making $50,000 a year as a teacher shouldn’t be paying a higher effective tax rate than somebody like myself or Jeff, who’ve been incredibly blessed — I don’t know what you make Jeff, but I’m just guessing (laughter) — who’ve been blessed by the incredible opportunities of this country.

And I say that because whenever America has moved forward, it’s because we’ve moved forward together. And we’re going to have to make sure that we are laying the foundation for the success of future generations, and that means that each of us are doing our part to make sure that we’re investing in our future.

So, with that, thank you so much for the terrific venue. I look forward to a bunch of great questions, both live and through whatever other linkages that we’ve got here. (Laughter.)

MR. WEINER: You’ve got it. So we’re going to be going back and forth between folks in the audience members and some previously generated questions from the LinkedIn group. So we’re going to start.

Our first question is from LinkedIn member Chuck Painter. And, Chuck we’re going to get you a mic —

Q Good morning, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDENT: Good morning.

Q I’m from Austin, Texas. I’ve been in sales in the plastics industry for 20 years. I lost my job in 2009 and fortunate enough to have found another position, become reemployed. My question is what can we do as American citizens to unite ourselves and help the economy?

THE PRESIDENT: Well, first of all, are you a native of Austin? Because that’s one of my favorite cities in the country.

Q Actually, I’m a native of Charlotte, North Carolina, but just relocated to Austin, and I love it there.

THE PRESIDENT: Austin is great. Charlotte is not bad. (Laughter.)

Q Thank you, thank you, thank you.

THE PRESIDENT: That’s the reason why I’m having my convention in Charlotte, because I love North Carolina as well. But how long did it take you to find a new job after you had gotten laid off?

Q It took nine months.

THE PRESIDENT: It took nine months?

Q Yes, sir.

THE PRESIDENT: And that’s one of the challenges that a lot of folks are seeing out there. You’ve got skilled people with experience in an industry. That industry changes, and you were fortunate enough to be able to move. Some folks, because of the decline in the housing industry, are having trouble with mobility in finding new jobs and relocating in pursuit of opportunity.

Q Yes, sir.

THE PRESIDENT: The most important thing that we can do right now is to help jumpstart the economy, which has stalled, by putting people back to work. And so, not surprisingly, I think the most important thing we can do right now is pass this jobs bill.

Think about it. Independent economists have estimated that, if we pass the entire package, the American Jobs Act, we would increase GDP by close to 2 percent; we would increase employment by 1.9 million persons. And that is the kind of big, significant move in the economy that can have ripple effects and help a recovery take off.

There’s been a lot of dispute about the kind of impact that we had right after the financial crisis hit. But the fact is, the vast majority of economists who looked at it have said that the Recovery Act, by starting infrastructure projects around the country, by making sure that states had help on their budgets so they didn’t have to lay off teachers and firefighters and others, by providing tax cuts to small businesses — and by the way, we’ve cut taxes about 16 times since I’ve been in office for small businesses to give them more capital to work with and more incentives to hire — all those things made a big difference.

The American Jobs Act is specifically tailored to putting more of those folks back to work. It’s not going to solve all our problems. We’ve still got a housing situation in which too many homes are underwater. And one of the things that we’ve proposed as part of the American Jobs Act is, is that we’re going to help reduce the barriers to refinancing so that folks can get record-low rates. That will put more money into people’s pockets. It will provide tax cuts to not only small businesses, but almost every middle-class family. That means they’ve got more money in their pockets, and that means that they’re going to be able to spend it on products and services, which provide additional incentives for business to hire folks like you.

So it’s the right step to take right now. Long term, we’re going to have to pull together around making sure our education system is the best in the world, making sure our infrastructure is the best in the world, continuing to invest in science and technology. We’ve got to stabilize our finances, and we’ve got to continue to drive down health care costs, which are a drag on our whole economy. And we’ve got to continue to promote trade, but make sure that that trade is fair and that intellectual property protection, for example, is available when we’re doing business in other countries, like China.

So there are a lot of long-term agendas that we’ve got to pursue. Right now, though, the most important thing I can do for you, even if you already have a job, is to make sure that your neighbors and your friends also have jobs, because those are ultimately the customers for your products.

Q Yes, sir. Yes, thank you Mr. President.

MR. WEINER: All right. Thank you, Chuck.

We’d now like to take a question from the audience. So anyone interested?

THE PRESIDENT: This young lady right here.

MR. WEINER: Okay. Could we get a mic over there, please? Thank you.

Q Hi. I have a question actually from my mother, who is going to be 65 next March. And she lives in Ohio, which has a very high unemployment rate. She has a GED, and she’s always worked in food service. She’s currently unemployed, just got approved for Section 8 housing, gets Social Security and food stamps. And she wants to know, when can she get a job, and what’s going to happen to Social Security and Medicare?

THE PRESIDENT: Well, first of all, where does you mom live in Ohio?

Q Mentor.

THE PRESIDENT: Mentor — what part of Ohio is that?

Q It’s east side of Cleveland.

THE PRESIDENT: Okay. Well, tell mom hi. (Laughter.) You get points for being such a good daughter and using your question to tell me what’s on her mind.

Q Oh, you have no idea. (Laughter.)

THE PRESIDENT: My mother-in-law lives at home, and so I — in the White House — so I’ve got some idea. (Laughter.)

First of all, let me talk about Social Security and Medicare, because this has obviously been an issue that has been discussed a lot in the press lately as we think about our long-term finances. You can tell your mom that Medicare and Social Security will be there for her — guaranteed. There are no proposals out there that would affect folks that are about to get Social Security and Medicare, and she’ll be qualifying — she already is starting to qualify for Medicare, and she’ll be qualifying for Social Security fairly soon.

Social Security and Medicare, together, have lifted entire generations of seniors out of poverty. Our most important social safety net, and they have to be preserved. Now, both of them have some long-term challenges that we’ve got to deal with, but they’re different challenges.

Social Security is actually the easier one; it’s just a pure, simple math problem, and that is that right now the population is getting older, so more people are going on Social Security; you’ve got fewer workers supporting more retirees. And so if we don’t do anything, Social Security won’t go broke, but in a few years what will happen is that more money will be going out than coming in. And over time, people who are on Social Security would only be getting about 75 cents on every dollar that they thought they’d be getting.

And so the Social Security system is not the big driver of our deficits, but if we don’t want — if we want to make sure that Social Security is there for future generations then we’ve got to make some modest adjustments. And when I say modest, I mean, for example, right now Social Security contributions are capped at a little over $100,000 of earnings, and that means the vast majority of people pay Social Security taxes on everything they earn. But if you’re earning a million dollars, only one-tenth of your income is taxed for Social Security. We could make that modification; that would solve a big chunk of the problem.

Medicare is a bigger issue because not only is the population getting older and more people are using it, but health care costs have been going up way too fast. And that’s why part of my health care reform bill two years ago was let’s start changing how our health care system works to make it more efficient. For example, if your mom goes in for a test, she shouldn’t have to then, if she goes to another specialist, take the same test all over again and have Medicare pay for two tests. That first test should be emailed to the doctor who’s the specialist. But right now that’s not happening. So what we’ve said is let’s incentivize providers to do a more efficient job and, over time, we can start reducing those costs.

I’ve made some suggestions about how we can reform Medicare, but what I’m not going to do is what, frankly, the House Republicans proposed, which was to voucherize the Medicare system, which would mean your mom might pay an extra $6,000 every year for her Medicare.

Q Which she doesn’t have.

THE PRESIDENT: I’m assuming she doesn’t have it.

Q No.

THE PRESIDENT: So we are going to be pushing back against that kind of proposal. And that raises the point I made earlier. If people like myself aren’t paying a little more in taxes, then the only way you balance the budget is on the backs of folks like your mom, who end up paying a lot more in Medicare and they can’t afford it, whereas I can afford to pay a little more in taxes.

So that’s on Medicare and Social Security. In terms of her finding a job, the most important thing we can do right now is to pass the American Jobs Act, get people back to work. Because, think about it, if she’s been in the food service industry, that industry is dependent on people spending money on food, whether it’s at a restaurant, or a cafeteria, or buying more groceries. And if a construction worker and a teacher or a veteran have a job because of the programs that we proposed in the American Jobs Act, they’re going to be spending more money in food services, and that means that those businesses are going to have to hire more, and your mom is going to be more likely to be hired. All right?

Q Yes. And one of the other issues, though, is just a matter that there’s a big age gap between her and the other folks who are willing to come in and work for less money. They’ve got less experience.

THE PRESIDENT: That is a challenge. It is tough being unemployed if you’re in your 50s or early 60s, before retirement. That’s the toughest period of time to lose your job. Obviously, it’s never fun to lose your job, and it’s always hard in this kind of really deep recession, but it’s scariest for folks who are nearing retirement and may also be worrying about whether they’ve got enough saved up to ever retire.

So that’s part of the reason why one of the things that we’re also proposing, separate and apart from the jobs bill, is we’ve got to do a better job of retraining workers so that they, in their second or third or fourth careers, are able to go back to a community college, maybe take a short six-month course or a one-year course that trains them on the kinds of skills that are going to be needed for jobs that are actually hiring, or businesses that are actually hiring right now.

We’ve done some great work working with community colleges to try to make sure that businesses help design the training programs so that somebody who enrolls — like your mom, if she goes back to school, she knows that after six months she will be trained for the particular job that this business is looking for.
All right? Thanks so much.

Q Great.

THE PRESIDENT: Tell her I said hi.

Q Thank you. Okay.

MR. WEINER: We’re going to go to the group, the LinkedIn group. We had thousands of questions submitted, and here’s one of them from LinkedIn member Marla Hughes. Marla is from Gainesville, Florida. She is the owner of Meticulously Clean, home and apartment cleaning service, and her question is: As a small business owner, regulation and high taxes are my worst enemies when it comes to growing my business. What are you going to do to lessen the onerous regulations and taxation on small businesses?

THE PRESIDENT: Well, it’s hard to say exactly what regulations or taxes she may be referring to, because obviously it differs in different businesses. But as I said, we’ve actually cut taxes for small business 16 times since I’ve been in office. So taxes for small businesses are lower now than they were when I came into office.

Small businesses are able to get tax breaks for hiring; they’re able to get tax breaks for investment in capital investments; they are able to get tax breaks for hiring veterans. They’re able to get tax breaks for a whole host of areas, including, by the way, a proposal we put forward that says there should be no capital gains tax on a start-up, to encourage more small businesses to go out there and create a business.

In terms of regulations, most of the regulations that we have been focused on are ones that affect large businesses, like utilities, for example. In terms of how they deal with safety issues, environmental issues, we have been putting forward some tough regulations with respect to the financial sector, because we can’t have a repeat of what happened in 2007.

And the fact of the matter is, is that if what happened on Wall Street ends up having a spillover effect to all of Main Street, it is our responsibility to make sure that we have a dynamic economy, we have a dynamic financial sector, but we don’t have a mortgage brokerage operation that ends up providing people loans that can never be repaid and end up having ramifications throughout the system.

So you’re going to hear from, I think, Republicans over the next year and a half that somehow if we just eliminated pollution controls, or if we just eliminated basic consumer protections, that somehow that, in and of itself, would be a spur to growth. I disagree with that. What I do agree with is that there’s some regulations that have outlived their usefulness. And so what I’ve done is I’ve said to all the agencies in the federal government, number one, you have to always take cost as well as benefits into account when you’re proposing new regulations. Number two, don’t just be satisfied with applying that analysis to new regulations, look back at the old regulations to see if there are some that we can start weeding out.

And we initiated the most aggressive — what we call look-back provisions — when it comes to regulations, where we say to every agency, go through all the regulations that you have on your books that flow through your agencies and see if some of them are still necessary. And it turns out that a lot of them are no longer necessary. Well, let’s get rid of them if they’ve outlived their usefulness.

I think that there were some regulations that had to do with the transportation sector, for example, that didn’t take into account that everybody operates on GPS now. Well, you’ve got to adjust and adapt to how the economy is changing and how technology has changed. And we’ve already identified about $10 billion worth of savings just in the initial review, and we anticipate that that’s only going to be a fraction of some of the paperwork and bureaucracy and red tape that we’re going to be able to eliminate.

But I will never apologize for making sure that we have regulations in place to ensure that your water is clean, that your food is safe to eat — that the peanut butter you feed your kids is not going to be contaminated; making sure that if you take out a credit card there’s some clarity about what it exactly is going to do and you’re not seeing a whole bunch of hidden fees and hidden charges that you didn’t anticipate. That’s always been part of what makes the marketplace work, is if you have smart regulations in place, that means the people who are providing good value, good products, good services, those businesses are going to succeed. We don’t want to be rewarding folks who are gaming the system or cheating consumers.

And I think that’s how most Americans feel about regulations as well. They don’t want more than is necessary, but they know that there’s some things that we’ve got to do to protect ourselves and our environment and our children.

MR. WEINER: Thank you for your question, Marla.

Now we’re going to take a question from LinkedIn member Esther Abeyja (phonetic). Esther is an IT analyst from Chicago, Illinois —

THE PRESIDENT: There you go. Chicago is all right, too. (Laughter.)

MR. WEINER: Esther, what is your question for the President?

Q Good morning, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDENT: Good morning.

Q As Jeff said, I’m from Chicago, recently unemployed, and my fear is that the longer I’m unemployed the harder it is going to be for me to get employed. It seems that nowadays employers are hiring people who are currently employed because they’re in touch with their skill set. What programs do you think should be in place for individuals such as myself to keep in touch with our skills, be in demand, marketable and eventually get hired?

THE PRESIDENT: Well, first of all, you obviously are thinking ahead about how to keep your skills up. And the most important thing you can do is to make sure that, whether it’s through classes or online training, or what have you, that you’re keeping your skill sets sharp.

We, as part of the American Jobs Act, are actually supporting legislation in Congress that says employers can’t discriminate against somebody just because they’re currently unemployed — because that doesn’t seem fair. That doesn’t make any sense. But the most important thing probably we can do for you is just make sure that the unemployment rate generally goes down, the labor market gets a little tighter so that employers start looking beyond just the people who are currently employed to folks who have terrific skills and just have been out of the market for a while.

So passing the American Jobs Act is going to be important. There’s legislation in there that says you can’t be discriminated against just because you don’t have a job. The one other thing that we can do is, during this interim, as you’re looking for a job, making it easier for you to be able to go back to school if you think there’s some skill sets that you need — making it economical for you to do it.

One of the things that we did during the last two and a half years — it used to be the student loan program was run through the banks. And even though the federal government guaranteed all these loans, so the banks weren’t taking any risks, they were taking about $60 billion out of the entire program, which meant that there was less money to actually go directly to students. We ended that. We cut out the middleman and we said let’s use that money to expand the availability of Pell Grants, to increase the amount that Pell Grants — each Pell Grant a student could get. And through that process, you’ve got millions of people all across the country who are able to actually go back to school without incurring the huge debt loads that they had in the past — although, obviously, the cost of a college education is still really high.

But if we can do more to make it easier for you to keep your skills up even when you’re not already hired, hopefully that will enhance your marketability to employers in the future. All right? Just looking at you I can tell you’re going to do great.

Q Thank you.

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you.

MR. WEINER: Thanks, Esther.

Our next question is from LinkedIn member Wayne Kulich (phonetic). Wayne is from Phoenix, Arizona. He spent 25 years flying aircraft for the U.S. Navy and is now program director for American Express. Wayne.

Q Good morning, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDENT: Good morning, sir.

Q I’m from Phoenix, Arizona, where I’m a program director, as Jeff had said. I retired in 2007. When I retired, networking was essentially how I got all my jobs after retirement. How do you envision the government’s role in integrating networking tools that aid veterans that are leaving the service and getting jobs?

THE PRESIDENT: It’s a great question. And first of all, let me thank you for your service to this country.

Q My honor.

THE PRESIDENT: We are very grateful to you for that. (Applause.) Thank you. But you were extraordinarily skilled, and even then it sounds like you had to rely on informal networks rather than a formal set of processes for veterans in order for you to find a job that used all your skills. We have not done as good of a job in the past in helping veterans transition out of the armed services as we should have.

I’ll give you an example. I actually had lunch with a group of veterans from the Iraq and Afghan wars up in Minnesota. And a young man I was talking to had just gone back to school. He was getting his nursing degree. He had worked in emergency medicine in Iraq, multiple deployments; had probably dealt with the most incredible kinds of medical challenges under the most extreme circumstances; had received years of training to do this. But when he went back to nursing school, he had to start as if he had never been involved in medicine at all. And so he had to take all the same classes and take the same debt burdens from taking those classes as if I had just walked in and could barely put a Band-Aid on myself. But he had to go through the same processes.
Well, that’s an example of a failure on the part of both DOD and the VA — the Department of Defense and Veterans Administration — to think proactively, how can we help him make the transition?

So what we’ve started to say is let’s have a sort of a reverse boot camp. As folks are thinking about retiring, as folks are thinking about being discharged, let’s work with them while they’re still in the military to say is there a way to credential them so that they can go directly into the job and work with state and local governments and employers, so that if they’ve got a skill set that we know is applicable to the private sector, let’s give them a certification, let’s give them a credential that helps them do that right away.

We’ve also then started to put together a network of business, and I actually asked for a pledge from the private sector, and we’ve got a commitment that 100,000 veterans will be hired over the next several years. And that creates a network — and maybe they’ll end up using Linkedin, I don’t know. But what we want to do is to make sure that, whether it’s the certification process, whether it’s the job search process, whether it’s resume preparation, whether it’s using electronic networking, that we’re using the huge capacity of the Veterans Administration and the Department of Defense, and all the federal agencies, to link up together more effectively.

Because not only is the federal government obviously a big employer itself — and we’ve significantly increased the hiring of veterans within the federal government, including, by the way, disabled veterans and wounded warriors — but the federal government is also a big customer of a lot of businesses. And there’s nothing wrong with a big customer saying to a business, you know what, we’re not going to tell you who to hire, but here’s a list of extremely skilled veterans who are prepared to do a great job and have shown incredible leadership skills. Now, you think of these — you’ve got 23, 24, 25-year-olds who are leading men into battle, who are handling multimillion-dollar pieces of equipment, and they do so flawlessly. Those leadership skills, those technical skills should be able to translate directly into jobs.

The last thing I’ll say is, obviously, the American Jobs Act also would be helpful because it provides additional tax incentives for companies to hire our veterans.

Q Thank you.

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you. (Applause.)

MR. WEINER: Thank you, Wayne. And thank you again for your service.

Let’s turn to the audience now. A lot of hands going up. Mr. President, want to pick someone?

THE PRESIDENT: Well — (laughter) — you kind of put me on the spot here. That guy — the guy in the glasses right back in the — right in the back there. Why not?

Q Thank you, Mr. President. I don’t have a job, but that’s because I’ve been lucky enough to live in Silicon Valley for a while and work for a small startup down the street here that did quite well. So I’m unemployed by choice. My question is would you please raise my taxes? (Laughter and applause.) I would like very much to have the country to continue to invest in things like Pell Grants and infrastructure and job training programs that made it possible for me to get to where I am. And it kills me to see Congress not supporting the expiration of the tax cuts that have been benefiting so many of us for so long. I think that needs to change, and I hope that you will stay strong in doing that.

THE PRESIDENT: Well, I appreciate it. What was the startup, by the way? You want to give me a little hint?

Q It’s a search engine. (Laughter.)

THE PRESIDENT: Worked out pretty well, huh?

Q Yes. (Laughter.)

THE PRESIDENT: Well, look, let me just talk about taxes for a second. I’ve made this point before, but I want to reiterate this. So often the tax debate gets framed as “class warfare.” And, look, as I said at the outset, America’s success is premised on individuals, entrepreneurs having a great idea, going out there and pursuing their dreams and making a whole lot of money in the process. And that’s great. That’s part of what makes America so successful.

But as you just pointed out, we’re successful because somebody invested in our education, somebody built schools, somebody created incredible universities. I went to school on scholarship. Michelle — her dad was what’s called a stationary engineer at the water reclamation district; never owned his own home, but he always paid his bills; had multiple sclerosis, struggled to get to work every day, but never missed a day on the job; never went to college, but he was able to send his daughter to Princeton and on to Harvard Law School. We benefited from somebody, somewhere making an investment in us. And I don’t care who you are, that’s true of all of us.

Look at this room. I mean, look at the diversity of the people here. A lot of us are — parents came from someplace else, or grandparents came from someplace else. They benefited from a public school system, or an incredible university network, or the infrastructure that allows us to move products and services around the globe, or the scientific research that — Silicon Valley is built on research that no individual company would have made on their own because you couldn’t necessarily capture the value of the nascent Internet.

So the question becomes: If we’re going to make those investments, how do we pay for it? Now, the income of folks at the top has gone up exponentially over the last couple of decades, whereas the incomes and wages of the middle class have flat-lined over the last 15 years. So this young lady’s mom, who’s been working in food services, she doesn’t have a lot of room to spare. Those of us who have been fortunate, we do. And we’re not talking about going to punitive rates that would somehow inhibit you from wanting to be part of a startup or work hard to be successful. We’re talking about going back to the rates that existed as recently as in the ‘90s, when, as I recall, Silicon Valley was doing pretty good, and well-to-do people were going pretty well. And it turns out, in fact, during that period, the rich got richer. The middle class expanded. People rose out of poverty, because everybody was doing well.

So this is not an issue of do we somehow try to punish those who have done well. That’s the last thing we want to do. It’s a question of how can we afford to continue to make the investments that are going to propel American forward.

If we don’t improve our education system, for example, we will all fall behind. We will all fall behind. That’s just — that’s a fact. And the truth is, is that on every indicator — from college graduation rates to math and science scores — we are slipping behind other developed countries. And that’s going to have an impact in terms of, if you’re a startup, are you going to be able to find enough engineers? It’s going to have an impact in terms of, is the infrastructure here good enough that you can move products to market? It’s going to have an impact on your ability to recruit top talent from around the world. And so we all have an investment in improving our education system.

Now, money is not going to solve the entire problem. That’s why we’ve initiated reforms like Race to the Top that says we’re going to have higher standards for everybody. We’re going to not just have kids taught to the test, but we’re going to make sure that we empower teachers, but we’re also going to hold them accountable, and improve how we train our principals and our teachers. So we’re willing to make a whole bunch of reforms, but, at some point, money makes a difference. If we don’t have enough science teachers in the classroom, we’re going to have problems. Somebody has got to pay for it.

And, right now, we’ve got the lowest tax rates we’ve had since the 1950s. And some of the Republican proposals would take it back — as a percentage of GDP — back to where we were back in the 1920s. You can’t have a modern industrial economy like that.

So I appreciate your sentiment. I appreciate the fact that you recognize we’re in this thing together. We’re not on our own. And those of us who’ve been successful, we’ve always got to remember that.

Q I know a lot of people in that same situation, and every one of them has said that they would support an increase in their taxes — so, please. (Applause.)

THE PRESIDENT: Well, we’re going to get to work. Thank you.

MR. WEINER: Thank you. Thank you for your question.

Next question was submitted to the Linkedin group — it actually comes from a Linkedin employee named Theresa Sullivan. It’s a two-part question.

First, do you think our public education system and our unemployment rates are related? And second, what, if any, overhaul in education is necessary to get Americans ready for the jobs of tomorrow, rather than the jobs of 20 years ago?

THE PRESIDENT: There is no doubt that there is a connection, long term, between our economic success, our productivity, and our education system. That’s indisputable. When we were at our peak in terms of growth, back in the ’60s and the ’70s, in large part it was because we were doing a better job of training our workforce than anybody else in the world.

Now the rest of the world has caught up — or is catching up. They’re hungry. And as I said before, we are slipping behind a lot of developed countries. So our proportion of college graduates has not gone up, while everybody else’s has gone up. Our proportion of high school graduates has not gone up, while everybody else’s has gone up. And if you’ve got a billion Chinese and Indians and Eastern Europeans, all who are entering into a labor force and are becoming more skilled, and we are just sitting on the status quo, we’re going to have problems.

Now, what can we do? This is a decade-long project; it’s not a one-year project. And we’ve been pushing since we came into office to look at the evidence, to base reforms on what actually works. The single-most important ingredient in improving our schools is making sure we’ve got great teachers in front of the — in front of every classroom.

And so what we’ve said is let’s make sure that we’ve hired enough teachers; let’s train them effectively; lets pay them a good wage; let’s make sure that we’re putting a special emphasis on recruiting more math and science teachers — STEM education is an area where we’ve fallen significantly behind. Let’s make sure they’re accountable, but lets also give them flexibility in the classroom so that they don’t have to do a cookie-cutter, teach-to-the-test approach that squashes their creativity and prevents them from engaging students. But at the end of the year, let’s make sure that they’re doing a good job. And if there are teachers out there who are not doing a good job, let’s work to retrain them. And if they’re not able to be retrained, then we should probably find them a different line of work. We’ve got to have top-flight principals and leadership inside the schools. That makes a big difference.

We’ve also got to focus on — there are some schools that are just dropout factories where less than half of the kids end up graduating — a lot of them, the students are black and brown, but that’s also the demographic that’s growing the fastest in this country. So if we don’t fix those schools we’re going to have problems. So we’ve said to every state, you know what, focus on the lowest-performing schools and tell us what your game plan is to improve those schools’ performance.

And it may be that we’ve got to also, in some cases, rethink how we get students interested in learning. IBM is engaged in a really interesting experience in New York where they’re essentially setting up schools — similar to the concept I was talking about with community colleges — where they’re saying to kids pretty early on — I think as early as 8th grade — we’re going to design a program — IBM worked with the New York public schools to design a program — and this is not for the kids who are in the top 1 percent, this is for ordinary public school kids. You follow this program, you work hard, IBM will hire you at the end of this process. And it suddenly gives kids an incentive. They say, oh, the reason I’m studying math and science is there’s a practical outcome here. I will have a job. And there are practical applications to what I’m doing in the classroom.

And that’s true at high-end jobs, but it’s also true — we want to do more to train skilled workers even if they don’t have a four-year degree. It may be that the more the concept of apprenticeship and the concept of a rigorous vocational approach is incorporated in the high schools so the kids can actually see a direct connection to what they’re learning and a potential career, they’re less likely to drop out and we’re going to see more success.

So one last point I’ll make about this is George Bush actually was sincere I think in trying to improve the education system across the country through something called No Child Left Behind, that said we’re going to impose standards, there’s going to be accountability; if schools don’t meet those standards we’re going to label them as failures and they’re going to have to make significant changes. The intent was good. It wasn’t designed as well as it could have been. In some cases, states actually lowered their own standards to make sure that they weren’t labeled as failures. There wasn’t enough assistance given to these schools to meet the ambitious goals that had been set.

So what we’ve said is, look, we’ll provide states some waivers to get out from under No Child Left Behind if you can provide us with a plan to make sure that children are going to be college and career ready. And we’ll give you more flexibility but we’re still going to hold you accountable and we will provide you the tools and best practices that allow you to succeed.

So, last point I’ll make on this — there is also a cultural component to this, though. We, as a country, have to recognize that all of us are going to have to up our game and we, as parents, have to instill in our kids a sense of educational excellence. We’ve got to turn off the TV set. I know it’s dangerous to say in Silicon Valley, but put away the video games sometimes, and all the electronics, unless it’s school-related. And we’ve just got to get our kids more motivated and internalizing that sense of the importance of learning.

And if we don’t do that, we’re going to continue to slip behind, even if some of these school reform approaches that we’re taking are successful.

MR. WEINGER: Thank you, Theresa.

Our next question comes from LinkedIn member Robert Holly (phonetic) who is joining us from Charlotte, North Carolina. After a promising career in financial services, Robert was, unfortunately, recently laid off. Robert, what is your question?

Q Good morning, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDENT: Good morning.

Q As Jeff mentioned, I have a 22-year, very successful career in IT management, but I find myself displaced. And not only that, I look at the statistics of unemployment — 16.7 percent for African Americans. My question would be — and not just for the African Americans, but also for other groups that are also suffering — what would you be your statement of encouragement for those who are looking for work today?

THE PRESIDENT: What I would say is just, given your track record, given your history, seeing you stand here before this group, you’re going to be successful. You’ve got a leg up on a lot of folks. You’ve got skills, you’ve got experience, you’ve got a track record of success. Right now your challenge is not you, it’s the economy as a whole. And by the way, this is not just an American challenge; this is happening worldwide.

I hope everybody understands our biggest problem right now, part of the reason that this year, where at the beginning of the year, economists had estimated, and financial analysts had estimated that the economy was going to be growing at about 3.5 percent, and that has not happened, in part has to do with what happened in the Middle East and the Arab Spring, which disrupted energy prices and caused consumers to have to pull back because gas was getting so high; what’s happening in Europe, which they have not fully healed from the crisis back in 2007 and never fully dealt with all the challenges their banking system faced. It’s now being compounded by what’s happening in Greece. So they’re going through a financial crisis that is scaring the world. And they’re trying to take responsible actions, but those actions haven’t been quite as quick as they need to be.

So the point is, is that economies all around the world are not growing as fast as they need to. And since the world is really interconnected, that affects us as well. The encouraging thing for you is that when the economy gets back on track in the ways that it should, you are going to be prepared to be successful. The challenge is making sure that you hang in between now and then.

That’s why things like unemployment insurance, for example, are important. And part of our jobs act is to maintain unemployment insurance. It’s not a end all, be all, but it helps folks meet their basic challenges. And by the way, it also means that they’re spending that money and they’re re-circulating that into the economy so it’s good for businesses generally.

Some of the emergency measures that we’ve been taking and we’ve proposed to take help to bridge the gap to where the economy is more fully healed. And historically, after financial crises, recessions are deeper and they last longer than after the usual business cycle recessions.

So I guess the main message I have for you is the problem is not you; the problem is the economy as a whole. You are going to be well equipped to succeed and compete in this global economy once it’s growing again. My job is to work with everybody I can — from the business community to Congress, to not-for-profits, you name it — to see if we can speed up this process of healing and this process of recovery.

And in the meantime, we will make sure that things like unemployment insurance that are there to help people during tough times like this are going to continue to be available. And if there are — since you’re in IT, if there are areas where you need to be sharpening your skills, as the young lady here mentioned, we are going to make sure that the resource is available for you to be able to go back to school and do that.

Thank you.

MR. WEINER: Thank you. That was our last question. We’re going to begin to wrap it up, and before I turn it over to you for some concluding remarks, I just wanted to say thank you, and let you know how much we appreciate the work that you’re doing. I know I speak for a lot of people when I say I can’t think of anything more important than creating economic opportunity when it comes to profoundly and sustain-ably improving the quality of an individual’s life, the lives of their family members, the lives of the people that they in turn can create jobs for.

And in hard-hit American cities and developing countries around the world, these folks are creating role models for the next generation of entrepreneurs and professionals that didn’t know it was possible.

So on behalf of myself, on behalf of our visionary founder, Reid Hoffman, without whom none of this would have been possible, on behalf of our employees, of course our members, on behalf of our country, thank you, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDENT: Well, thank you so much. (Applause.) Thank you. Well, let me just say these have been terrific questions and I so appreciate all of you taking the time to do this. I appreciate LinkedIn helping to host this. And for those of you who are viewing, not in this circle but around the country, maybe around the world, I appreciate the chance to share these ideas with you.

Look, we’re going through a very tough time. But the one thing I want to remind everybody is that we’ve gone through tougher times before. And the trajectory, the trend of not just this country but also the world economy is one that’s more open, one that’s more linked, one that offers greater opportunity, but also one that has some hazards. If we don’t prepare our people with the skills that they need to compete, we’re going to have problems. If we don’t make sure that we continue to have the best infrastructure in the world, we’re going to have problems. If we’re not continuing to invest in basic research, we’re going to have challenges. If we don’t get our fiscal house in order in a way that is fair and equitable so that everybody feels like they have responsibilities to not only themselves and their family but also the country that’s given them so much opportunity, we’re going to have problems.

And so I am extraordinarily confident about America’s long-term future. But we are going to have to make some decisions about how we move forward. And what’s striking to me is, when we’re out of Washington and I’m just talking to ordinary folks, I don’t care whether they’re Republicans or Democrats, people are just looking for common sense. The majority of people agree with the prescriptions I just offered. The majority of people by a wide margin think we should be rebuilding our infrastructure. The majority of folks by a wide margin think that we should be investing in education. The majority of people by a wide margin think we should be investing in science and technology. And the majority of people think by a wide margin that we should be maintaining programs like Social Security and Medicare to provide a basic safety net.

The majority of people by a significant margin think that the way we should close our deficit is a balance of cutting out those things that we don’t need, but also making sure that we’ve got a tax code that’s fair and everybody is paying their fair share.

So the problem is not outside of Washington. The problem is, is that things have gotten so ideologically driven and everybody is so focused on the next election and putting party ahead of country that we’re not able to solve our problems. And that’s got to change. And that’s why your voices are going to be so important.

The reason I do these kinds of events is I want you to hear from me directly. I want to hear from you directly, but I also want your voices heard in the halls of Congress. I need everybody here to be speaking out on behalf of the things that you care about, and the values that made this country great, and to say to folks who you’ve elected — say to them, we expect you to act responsibly, and not act in terms of short-term political interest. Act in terms of what’s going to be good for all of us over the long term.

If that spirit, which all of you represent, starts asserting itself all across the country, then I’m absolutely confident the 21st century is going to be the American century just like the 20th century way.

So thank you very much everybody. God bless you.

MR. WEINER: Thank you, everybody.

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you. (Applause.)

END
11:58 A.M. PDT

White House Recap September 17-24, 2011: The Obama Presidency’s Weekly Recap — President Obama Addresses 66th Session United Nations General Assembly — Selling the American Jobs Act and Revising America’s Education System

WHITE HOUSE RECAP

WHITE HOUSE RECAP: SEPTEMBER 17-24, 2011

West Wing Week

Weekly Wrap Up: Rebuilding America

Source: WH, 9-23-11

We the People: President Obama released the U.S.’s Open Government National Action Plan, and a highlight of that plan is We the People, a new platform that gives all Americans a way to petition the Obama Administration to take action on a range of important issues facing our country. In the first days following the launch, numerous Americans have created petitions and are currently collecting signatures.

Promoting World Peace: The President spent two days in New York City for the 66th session of United Nations General Assembly. While there, he held numerous meetings with world leaders and addressed the General Assembly speaking about the remarkable year we have had around the world and also the many challenges that stand in the way of a lasting peace. He also attended the Clinton Global Initiative, where he talked about the positive impact the American Jobs Act will have on the global economy.

Rebuilding America: President Obama visited the Ohio River’s Brent Spence Bridge, a functionally obsolete crossing on one of North America’s busiest trucking routes that connects Cincinnati, Ohio with Kentucky. The President spoke about the pressing need to improve our national infrastructure, and detailed the provisions in the American Jobs Act that will rebuild our country and put ironworkers, construction workers and carpenters back to work.

Creating a Fair Tax System: The President laid out a balanced plan to get our fiscal house in order, based on the values of shared responsibility and shared sacrifice.  The President is calling on Congress to undertake comprehensive tax reform to simplify the system, make it more fair and efficient, and lay a stronger foundation for economic growth.  The plan details how to pay for the American Jobs Act, while also paying down our debt over time.

Improving our Education System: President Obama and representatives from the education community gathered at the White House to announce that it’s time to take action and build a world class education system. In exchange for a real commitment to undertake education reform, the Administration will enable states to request flexibility from specific mandates under No Child Left Behind.

Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell: The country marked an important milestone this week when the era of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” officially came to an end. The law that was signed in December 2010 by President Obama allows people of the LGBT community to serve openly in the military.

Full Text September 19, 2011: President Barack Obama Unveils $4 Trillion Economic Growth & Deficit Reduction Plan — $3 Trillion Deficit Cuts in Over 10 Years — $1.5 Trillion in New Taxes

POLITICAL SPEECHES & DOCUMENTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

President Obama announces his Plan for Economic Growth and Deficit Reduction

President Barack Obama delivers a statement announcing his Plan for Economic Growth and Deficit Reduction, in the Rose Garden of the White House, Sept. 19, 2011.(Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

 

The President’s Plan for Economic Growth and Deficit Reduction

Source: WH, 9-19-11

President Obama’s Plan for Economic Growth and Deficit Reduction — Full Text — PDF

The health of our economy depends on what we do right now to create the conditions where businesses can hire and middle-class families can feel a basic measure of economic security. In the long run, our prosperity also depends on our ability to pay down the massive debt the federal government has accumulated over the past decade. Today, the President sent to the Joint Committee his plan to jumpstart economic growth and job creation now – and to lay the foundation for it to continue for years to come.

The President’s Plan for Economic Growth and Deficit Reduction lives up to a simple idea: as a Nation, we can live within our means while still making the investments we need to prosper – from a jobs bill that is needed right now to long-term investments in education, innovation, and infrastructure. It follows a balanced approach: asking everyone to do their part, so no one has to bear all the burden.  And it says that everyone – including millionaires and billionaires – has to pay their fair share.

Overall, it pays for the American Jobs Act and produces net savings of more than $3 trillion over the next decade, on top of the roughly $1 trillion in spending cuts that the President already signed into law in the Budget Control Act – for a total savings of more than $4 trillion over the next decade. This would bring the country to a place, by 2017, where current spending is no longer adding to our debt, debt is falling as a share of the economy, and deficits are at a sustainable level.

Now, let me review some of its main components.

First, the plan includes the American Jobs Act – a set of ideas supported by both Democrats and Republicans that will put people back to work and put more money in the pockets of working Americans. It’s imperative that we pass this bill now both to get the economy moving again and creating jobs at the pace we need it, and to help with deficit reduction since a growing economy is a vital part to reducing our deficits and debt.

Second, the plan lays out a way to live within our means so that we can invest in the things that will power economic growth for decades to come: education, innovation, clean energy, and infrastructure. To do this, it follows a balanced approach to deficit reduction by drawing from across the Budget for savings and by asking everyone to pay their fair share.

Specifically, the President is proposing approximately $580 billion in cuts and reforms to a wide range of mandatory programs from cuts to agricultural subsidies that are no longer necessary to reform of the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation and modest changes to federal civilian worker retirement and health benefits for military retirees.

In health care programs, the President is recommending a series of reforms that builds on the historic savings and reforms in the Affordable Care Act to strengthen Medicare and Medicaid so that these vital programs are robust and healthy to serve Americans for years to come.

These proposals will save $248 billion in Medicare and $72 billion in Medicaid and other health programs over 10 years, and extend the life of the Medicare Trust Fund by three years. This is accomplished in a way that does not shift risks unfairly onto the individuals they serve; slash benefits; or undermine the fundamental compact they represent to our Nation’s seniors, people with disabilities, and low-income families. Any savings that affect beneficiaries do not begin until 2017 and do not affect middle-income and current beneficiaries. Other health and Medicaid savings amount to $72 billion, and because of the structural nature of these reforms to both programs, health savings grow to over $1 trillion in the second decade. Moreover, as he said today, the President will veto any bill that takes one dime from the Medicare benefits seniors rely on without asking the wealthiest Americans and biggest corporations to pay their fair share.

The President’s plan reflects the Administration’s current policy of drawing down our troop presence in Afghanistan and the transition from a military to a civilian-led mission in Iraq for a savings of $1 trillion.

Finally, the President calls on the Committee to undertake comprehensive tax reform and lays out five key principles. Reform should: 1) lower tax rates; 2) cut wasteful loopholes and tax breaks; 3) reduce the deficit by $1.5 trillion; 4) boost job creation and growth; and 5) comport with the “Buffett Rule” that people making more than $1 million a year should not pay a smaller share of their income in taxes than middle-class families pay.

To advance this debate, the President is offering a detailed set of specific tax loophole closers and measures to broaden the tax base that, together with the expiration of the high-income tax cuts, would be more than sufficient to hit the $1.5 trillion target for additional revenue. These measures include cutting tax preferences for high-income households, eliminating tax breaks for oil and gas companies, closing the carried interest loophole for investment fund managers, and eliminating benefits for those who own corporate jets.

We have little doubt that some of these proposals will not be popular with many of those who benefit from these affected programs and currently enjoy special tax breaks. These are tough choices that we had to make — and some of these changes we are only putting forward to address our fiscal situation. But we are all in this together, and all of us must contribute to getting our economy moving again and on a firm fiscal footing.

If we don’t take a balanced approach to deficit reduction that includes asking the wealthiest 2 percent of families and big corporations to pay their fair share, then everyone else must shoulder the load. That could mean drastic cuts to things like education, research and development, infrastructure, and food safety; and could mean severe cuts to Medicare that would burden seniors with thousands of dollars in out-of-pocket costs.

Second, if we do nothing, our economy will not get the jolt it needs now and it will be weighed down by our debt or years to come. If we don’t take these steps now, it will only get harder.

I’ve been working on these issues for three decades, and I can tell you that making these changes in this plan will require some tough choices. Everyone will have a cut or a new policy that they do not like – or wish that they could avoid. But remember: the challenge we face is one that we all face – together – as Americans. We are in this together, and the only way that we can have a balanced approach is that we all do our part.

So read the plan, and join the debate about how we can jumpstart our economy, reduce our deficit, and win the future.

President Obama: Washington Has to Live within its Means

Source: WH, 9-19-11

President Obama today unveiled a plan for economic growth and deficit reduction that details how to pay for the American Jobs Act while also paying down our debt over time. The plan, which is being sent to the Congressional Joint Committee on Deficit Reduction, offers a balanced approach to further reduce our nation’s deficit and get our fiscal house in order, based on the values of shared responsibility and shared sacrifice.

The President’s plan lays out a blueprint that will enable Washington to live within its means, something Americans across the country have been doing for years. And the balanced approach means that no one group has to bear the burden alone. It means that everyone – including millionaires and billionaires – has to pay their fair share.

The plan, which will reduce the deficit by $4 trillion, includes many of the proposals the President has previously discussed — closing tax loopholes for oil companies and hedge fund managers and asking the very wealthiest and special interests to pay their fair share. It also includes difficult spending cuts and making adjustments to strengthen programs like Medicare and Medicaid for future generations. As part of the plan, the President is also calling on Congress to undertake comprehensive tax reform to simplify the system, make it more fair and efficient, and lay a stronger foundation for economic growth:

It comes down to this: We have to prioritize. Both parties agree that we need to reduce the deficit by the same amount — by $4 trillion. So what choices are we going to make to reach that goal? Either we ask the wealthiest Americans to pay their fair share in taxes, or we’re going to have to ask seniors to pay more for Medicare. We can’t afford to do both.

Either we gut education and medical research, or we’ve got to reform the tax code so that the most profitable corporations have to give up tax loopholes that other companies don’t get. We can’t afford to do both.

This is not class warfare. It’s math. The money is going to have to come from someplace. And if we’re not willing to ask those who’ve done extraordinarily well to help America close the deficit and we are trying to reach that same target of $4 trillion, then the logic, the math says everybody else has to do a whole lot more: We’ve got to put the entire burden on the middle class and the poor. We’ve got to scale back on the investments that have always helped our economy grow. We’ve got to settle for second-rate roads and second-rate bridges and second-rate airports, and schools that are crumbling.

That’s unacceptable to me. That’s unacceptable to the American people. And it will not happen on my watch. I will not support — I will not support — any plan that puts all the burden for closing our deficit on ordinary Americans. And I will veto any bill that changes benefits for those who rely on Medicare but does not raise serious revenues by asking the wealthiest Americans or biggest corporations to pay their fair share. We are not going to have a one-sided deal that hurts the folks who are most vulnerable.

According to Jack Lew, Director of the Office of Management and Budget, taking the steps outlined in this plan would bring the country to a place, by 2017, where current spending is no longer adding to our debt, debt is falling as a share of the economy, and deficits are at a sustainable level.

You can read the entire proposal that was submitted to the Joint Committee or read an overview in this fact sheet

 

Full Text September 19, 2011: President Barack Obama’s Rose Garden Speech on Economy, American Jobs Act Introduces Deficit Reduction Plan, Including Tax Increases (Transcript)

POLITICAL SPEECHES & DOCUMENTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

POLITICAL QUOTES & SPEECHES

Doug Mills/The New York Times

President Obama discussed his deficit plan at the White House on Monday.

Remarks by the President on Economic Growth and Deficit Reduction

Source: WH, 9-19-11

Rose Garden

10:56 A.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT:  Good morning, everybody.  Please have a seat.

A week ago today, I sent Congress the American Jobs Act.  It’s a plan that will lead to new jobs for teachers, for construction workers, for veterans, and for the unemployed.  It will cut taxes for every small business owner and virtually every working man and woman in America.  And the proposals in this jobs bill are the kinds that have been supported by Democrats and Republicans in the past.  So there shouldn’t be any reason for Congress to drag its feet.  They should pass it right away.  I’m ready to sign a bill.  I’ve got the pens all ready.

Now, as I said before, Congress should pass this bill knowing that every proposal is fully paid for.  The American Jobs Act will not add to our nation’s debt.  And today, I’m releasing a plan that details how to pay for the jobs bill while also paying down our debt over time.

And this is important, because the health of our economy depends in part on what we do right now to create the conditions where businesses can hire and middle-class families can feel a basic measure of economic security.  But in the long run, our prosperity also depends on our ability to pay down the massive debt we’ve accumulated over the past decade in a way that allows us to meet our responsibilities to each other and to the future.

During this past decade, profligate spending in Washington, tax cuts for multi-millionaires and billionaires, the cost of two wars, and the recession turned a record surplus into a yawning deficit, and that left us with a big pile of IOUs.  If we don’t act, that burden will ultimately fall on our children’s shoulders.  If we don’t act, the growing debt will eventually crowd out everything else, preventing us from investing in things like education, or sustaining programs like Medicare.

So Washington has to live within its means.  The government has to do what families across this country have been doing for years.  We have to cut what we can’t afford to pay for what really matters.  We need to invest in what will promote hiring and economic growth now while still providing the confidence that will come with a plan that reduces our deficits over the long-term.

These principles were at the heart of the deficit framework that I put forward in April.  It was an approach to shrink the deficit as a share of the economy, but not to do so so abruptly with spending cuts that would hamper growth or prevent us from helping small businesses and middle-class families get back on their feet.

It was an approach that said we need to go through the budget line-by-line looking for waste, without shortchanging education and basic scientific research and road construction, because those things are essential to our future.  And it was an approach that said we shouldn’t balance the budget on the backs of the poor and the middle class; that for us to solve this problem, everybody, including the wealthiest Americans and biggest corporations, have to pay their fair share.

Now, during the debt ceiling debate, I had hoped to negotiate a compromise with the Speaker of the House that fulfilled these principles and achieved the $4 trillion in deficit reduction that leaders in both parties have agreed we need — a grand bargain that would have strengthened our economy, instead of weakened it.  Unfortunately, the Speaker walked away from a balanced package.  What we agreed to instead wasn’t all that grand.  But it was a start — roughly $1 trillion in cuts to domestic spending and defense spending.

Everyone knows we have to do more, and a special joint committee of Congress is assigned to find more deficit reduction. So, today, I’m laying out a set of specific proposals to finish what we started this summer — proposals that live up to the principles I’ve talked about from the beginning.  It’s a plan that reduces our debt by more than $4 trillion, and achieves these savings in a way that is fair — by asking everybody to do their part so that no one has to bear too much of the burden on their own.

All told, this plan cuts $2 in spending for every dollar in new revenues.  In addition to the $1 trillion in spending that we’ve already cut from the budget, our plan makes additional spending cuts that need to happen if we’re to solve this problem. We reform agricultural subsidies — subsidies that a lot of times pay large farms for crops that they don’t grow.  We make modest adjustments to federal retirement programs.  We reduce by tens of billions of dollars the tax money that goes to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.  We also ask the largest financial firms — companies saved by tax dollars during the financial crisis — to repay the American people for every dime that we spent.  And we save an additional $1 trillion as we end the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

These savings are not only counted as part of our plan, but as part of the budget plan that nearly every Republican on the House voted for.

Finally, this plan includes structural reforms to reduce the cost of health care in programs like Medicare and Medicaid.  Keep in mind we’ve already included a number of reforms in the health care law, which will go a long way towards controlling these costs.  But we’re going to have to do a little more.  This plan reduces wasteful subsidies and erroneous payments while changing some incentives that often lead to excessive health care costs.  It makes prescriptions more affordable through faster approval of generic drugs.  We’ll work with governors to make Medicaid more efficient and more accountable.  And we’ll change the way we pay for health care.  Instead of just paying for procedures, providers will be paid more when they improve results — and such steps will save money and improve care.

These changes are phased in slowly to strengthen Medicare and Medicaid over time.  Because while we do need to reduce health care costs, I’m not going to allow that to be an excuse for turning Medicare into a voucher program that leaves seniors at the mercy of the insurance industry.  And I’m not going to stand for balancing the budget by denying or reducing health care for poor children or those with disabilities.  So we will reform Medicare and Medicaid, but we will not abandon the fundamental commitment that this country has kept for generations.

And by the way, that includes our commitment to Social Security.  I’ve said before, Social Security is not the primary cause of our deficits, but it does face long-term challenges as our country grows older.  And both parties are going to need to work together on a separate track to strengthen Social Security for our children and our grandchildren.

So this is how we can reduce spending:  by scouring the budget for every dime of waste and inefficiency, by reforming government spending, and by making modest adjustments to Medicare and Medicaid.  But all these reductions in spending, by themselves, will not solve our fiscal problems.  We can’t just cut our way out of this hole.  It’s going to take a balanced approach.  If we’re going to make spending cuts — many of which we wouldn’t make if we weren’t facing such large budget deficits — then it’s only right that we ask everyone to pay their fair share.

You know, last week, Speaker of the House John Boehner gave a speech about the economy.  And to his credit, he made the point that we can’t afford the kind of politics that says it’s “my way or the highway.”  I was encouraged by that.  Here’s the problem: In that same speech, he also came out against any plan to cut the deficit that includes any additional revenues whatsoever.  He said — I’m quoting him — there is “only one option.”  And that option and only option relies entirely on cuts.  That means slashing education, surrendering the research necessary to keep America’s technological edge in the 21st century, and allowing our critical public assets like highways and bridges and airports to get worse.  It would cripple our competiveness and our ability to win the jobs of the future.  And it would also mean asking sacrifice of seniors and the middle class and the poor, while asking nothing of the wealthiest Americans and biggest corporations.

So the Speaker says we can’t have it “my way or the highway,” and then basically says, my way — or the highway.  (Laughter.)  That’s not smart.  It’s not right.  If we’re going to meet our responsibilities, we have to do it together.

Now, I’m proposing real, serious cuts in spending.  When you include the $1 trillion in cuts I’ve already signed into law, these would be among the biggest cuts in spending in our history. But they’ve got to be part of a larger plan that’s balanced –- a plan that asks the most fortunate among us to pay their fair share, just like everybody else.

And that’s why this plan eliminates tax loopholes that primarily go to the wealthiest taxpayers and biggest corporations –- tax breaks that small businesses and middle-class families don’t get.  And if tax reform doesn’t get done, this plan asks the wealthiest Americans to go back to paying the same rates that they paid during the 1990s, before the Bush tax cuts.

I promise it’s not because anybody looks forward to the prospects of raising taxes or paying more taxes.  I don’t.  In fact, I’ve cut taxes for the middle class and for small businesses, and through the American Jobs Act, we’d cut taxes again to promote hiring and put more money into the pockets of people.  But we can’t afford these special lower rates for the wealthy -– rates, by the way, that were meant to be temporary.  Back when these first — these tax cuts, back in 2001, 2003, were being talked about, they were talked about temporary measures.  We can’t afford them when we’re running these big deficits.

Now, I am also ready to work with Democrats and Republicans to reform our entire tax code, to get rid of the decades of accumulated loopholes, special interest carve-outs, and other tax expenditures that stack the deck against small business owners and ordinary families who can’t afford Washington lobbyists or fancy accountants.  Our tax code is more than 10,000 pages long. If you stack up all the volumes, they’re almost five feet tall.  That means that how much you pay often depends less on what you make and more on how well you can game the system, and that’s especially true of the corporate tax code.

We’ve got one of the highest corporate tax rates in the world, but it’s riddled with exceptions and special interest loopholes.  So some companies get out paying a lot of taxes, while the rest of them end up having to foot the bill.  And this makes our entire economy less competitive and our country a less desirable place to do business.

That has to change.  Our tax code shouldn’t give an advantage to companies with the best-connected lobbyists.  It should give an advantage to companies that invest in the United States of America and create jobs in the United States of America.  And we can lower the corporate rate if we get rid of all these special deals.

So I am ready, I am eager, to work with Democrats and Republicans to reform the tax code to make it simpler, make it fairer, and make America more competitive.  But any reform plan will have to raise revenue to help close our deficit.  That has to be part of the formula.  And any reform should follow another simple principle:  Middle-class families shouldn’t pay higher taxes than millionaires and billionaires.  That’s pretty straightforward.  It’s hard to argue against that.  Warren Buffett’s secretary shouldn’t pay a higher tax rate than Warren Buffett.  There is no justification for it.

It is wrong that in the United States of America, a teacher or a nurse or a construction worker who earns $50,000 should pay higher tax rates than somebody pulling in $50 million.  Anybody who says we can’t change the tax code to correct that, anyone who has signed some pledge to protect every single tax loophole so long as they live, they should be called out.  They should have to defend that unfairness — explain why somebody who’s making  $50 million a year in the financial markets should be paying 15 percent on their taxes, when a teacher making $50,000 a year is paying more than that — paying a higher rate.  They ought to have to answer for it.  And if they’re pledged to keep that kind of unfairness in place, they should remember, the last time I checked the only pledge that really matters is the pledge we take to uphold the Constitution.

Now, we’re already hearing the usual defenders of these kinds of loopholes saying this is just “class warfare.”  I reject the idea that asking a hedge fund manager to pay the same tax rate as a plumber or a teacher is class warfare.  I think it’s just the right the thing to do.  I believe the American middle class, who’ve been pressured relentlessly for decades, believe it’s time that they were fought for as hard as the lobbyists and some lawmakers have fought to protect special treatment for billionaires and big corporations.

Nobody wants to punish success in America.  What’s great about this country is our belief that anyone can make it and everybody should be able to try -– the idea that any one of us can open a business or have an idea and make us millionaires or billionaires.  This is the land of opportunity.  That’s great.  All I’m saying is that those who have done well, including me, should pay our fair share in taxes to contribute to the nation that made our success possible.  We shouldn’t get a better deal than ordinary families get.  And I think most wealthy Americans would agree if they knew this would help us grow the economy and deal with the debt that threatens our future.

It comes down to this:  We have to prioritize.  Both parties agree that we need to reduce the deficit by the same amount — by $4 trillion.  So what choices are we going to make to reach that goal?  Either we ask the wealthiest Americans to pay their fair share in taxes, or we’re going to have to ask seniors to pay more for Medicare.  We can’t afford to do both.

Either we gut education and medical research, or we’ve got to reform the tax code so that the most profitable corporations have to give up tax loopholes that other companies don’t get.  We can’t afford to do both.

This is not class warfare.  It’s math.  (Laughter.)  The money is going to have to come from someplace.  And if we’re not willing to ask those who’ve done extraordinarily well to help America close the deficit and we are trying to reach that same target of $4 trillion, then the logic, the math says everybody else has to do a whole lot more:  We’ve got to put the entire burden on the middle class and the poor.  We’ve got to scale back on the investments that have always helped our economy grow.  We’ve got to settle for second-rate roads and second-rate bridges and second-rate airports, and schools that are crumbling.

That’s unacceptable to me.  That’s unacceptable to the American people.  And it will not happen on my watch.  I will not support — I will not support — any plan that puts all the burden for closing our deficit on ordinary Americans.  And I will veto any bill that changes benefits for those who rely on Medicare but does not raise serious revenues by asking the wealthiest Americans or biggest corporations to pay their fair share.  We are not going to have a one-sided deal that hurts the folks who are most vulnerable.

None of the changes I’m proposing are easy or politically convenient.  It’s always more popular to promise the moon and leave the bill for after the next election or the election after that.  That’s been true since our founding.  George Washington grappled with this problem.  He said, “Towards the payment of debts, there must be revenue; that to have revenue there must be taxes; [and] no taxes can be devised which are not more or less inconvenient and unpleasant.”  He understood that dealing with the debt is — these are his words — “always a choice of difficulties.”  But he also knew that public servants weren’t elected to do what was easy; they weren’t elected to do what was politically advantageous.  It’s our responsibility to put country before party.  It’s our responsibility to do what’s right for the future.

And that’s what this debate is about.  It’s not about numbers on a ledger; it’s not about figures on a spreadsheet.  It’s about the economic future of this country, and it’s about whether we will do what it takes to create jobs and growth and opportunity while facing up to the legacy of debt that threatens everything we’ve built over generations.

And it’s also about fairness.  It’s about whether we are, in fact, in this together, and we’re looking out for one another.  We know what’s right.  It’s time to do what’s right.

Thank you very much.  (Applause.)

END
11:16 A.M. EDT

Full Text September 17, 2011: Weekly Republican Address: Rep. Peter Roskam on Addressing Excessive Regulations to Promote Job Creation (Transcript)

POLITICAL SPEECHES & DOCUMENTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

POLITICAL QUOTES & SPEECHES

Weekly Republican Address: Rep. Peter Roskam on Addressing Excessive Regulations to Promote Job Creation

Source: Speaker.gov, 9-17-11

Delivering the Weekly Republican Address, Rep. Peter Roskam (R-IL) talks about how excessive federal regulations are hurting job creation in America, and discusses the House’s efforts to address the problem.  “In the House, Majority Leader Eric Cantor has scheduled several bills for a vote this fall aimed at cutting red tape and addressing the excessive, Washington-imposed regulations that hamper job creation,” Roskam says.  One such bill passed the House on Thursday.  Last week, Roskam recruited job creators hurt by Washington overregulation to attend the president’s address to Congress as guests of Speaker Boehner.  Rep. Roskam is in his third term as Congressman for the Sixth District of Illinois and is the Chief Deputy Whip.  Audio of the address is available here.  Video will be available here for viewing and here for downloading once the embargo is lifted tomorrow at 6:00 a.m.

Hello, I’m Peter Roskam.  I serve as the House Republicans’ Chief Deputy Whip, and I have the honor of representing the people of Illinois’ Sixth Congressional District.

 

Like you, I’m frustrated with America’s jobs crisis: more than 650,000 people are out of work in Illinois, President Obama’s home state.
Small business owners are fighting every day to create and innovate, but continue to face government barriers to job creation.  Among them: our unsustainable debt, the constant threat of higher taxes, and excessive regulations.

Today I’d like to talk to you about excessive federal regulations, how they hurt jobs and household budgets, and what we can do about it.

 

Let me start with this: appropriate and responsible regulations help protect our health and safety.  But things have changed quickly – and for the worse.  Washington has become a red tape factory, with more than 4,000 rules in the pipeline – hundreds of which would cost our economy more than $100 million each annually. The disappointing reality is that what may be a faceless regulation to most can have a profound impact on local economies and families like yours.

Just one rule has Chicago White Metal Casting, a manufacturer in my district employing 240, fighting to survive in an already tough economy.  Already facing a stream of regulations, they’ll soon face new regulations from unelected bureaucrats implementing a back-door national energy tax – after it failed in Congress.  Chicago White Metal Casting already has one employee who spends half his time dealing with existing federal audits, certification requirements, and complex paperwork.

By now, you’ve probably heard about the case of Boeing, one of the world’s leading manufacturers.  This Chicago-based company invested more than $1 billion in a new plant in South Carolina that would generate thousands of good-paying jobs … only to be sued by the government and told that the plant can’t open.   Who in the government sued them?  No one that’s elected, I’ll tell you that.  No, Boeing is being sued by the National Labor Relations Board, which is charged with looking out for labor unions.

 

I’d also like to share with you the story of Gibson Guitars, a company that makes world-class guitars.  Well a few weeks ago, Gibson was raided by 26 armed federal agents. No charges have been filed and regulators have not explained to the company what they may have done wrong or how to rectify the situation. Well I’d like to know how job creators can be expected to prosper with the threat of a federal raid hanging over them?

 

Stories like these are cropping up coast-to-coast.  One Illinois farmer stood up at a town hall meeting last month and pleaded with the president.  He said, ‘please don’t challenge us with more rules and regulations from Washington.’

I couldn’t have said it better myself.

 

That farmer was one of several job creators who attended [the] president’s speech to the Congress as guests of House Speaker John Boehner.

Republicans are listening to America’s job creators and working to address their concerns with real solutions.  In the House, Majority Leader Eric Cantor has scheduled several bills for a vote this fall aimed at cutting red tape and addressing the excessive, Washington-imposed regulations that hamper job creation.

 

This week, the House passed a bill to eliminate the barriers Boeing faces.  It stops the government from telling an employer where it can – and cannot – create jobs.

We can take common-sense steps like these and still have rules that look out for our health and safety.   What’s important is that these rules are effective and dependable.  Job creators should be able to focus on their work – not on Washington’s busy-work.

 

In his speech last week, the president talked about the urgency of this moment.  He said we can act ‘right now.’  I agree.

He can help us fix this hostile regulatory environment immediately.  He already canceled some counterproductive rules that hurt our economy, and he can cancel more.

 

He can call on the Democrat-led Senate to pass the dozen or so jobs bills we’ve passed in the House and ones that are on their way.  That includes the Boeing bill that I just mentioned.  There’s also the REINS Act, common-sense legislation that gives Congress a say before Washington imposes new rules and regulations.  So instead of being circumvented, the people’s representatives should be able to hold accountable unelected bureaucrats who encroach on our freedoms and make it harder to create jobs.

I hope the president will consider our ideas as we take a look at his.  Let’s listen to the people and find common ground to remove barriers to job creation.  Let’s help small businesses return to creating jobs so that they can pick up where they left off instead of being left behind.

You can learn more about our jobs plan by visiting Jobs.GOP.gov.  Thank you for listening.

Full Text September 17, 2011: President Barack Obama’s Weekly Address Urges Congess to Pass the American Jobs Act

POLITICAL SPEECHES & DOCUMENTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

Weekly Address: Passing the American Jobs Act

President Obama discusses the need for Congress to pass the American Jobs Act to put more people back to work, and more money back in the pockets of people who are working. Read the jobs bill.

 

Transcript | Download mp4 | Download mp3

POLITICAL QUOTES & SPEECHES

President Barack Obama tapes his Weekly Address
President Barack Obama tapes the weekly address, White House Photo, Lawrence Jackson, 9/16/11

Weekly Address: Passing the American Jobs Act

In this week’s address, President Obama urged Congress to pass the American Jobs Act without delay so that businesses will be able to hire more workers and every American who wants a job will be able to find one.  The President’s jobs bill keeps cops on the streets and teachers in the classrooms, cuts taxes for small businesses, and puts construction workers back to work without adding to the deficit.  All Americans who agree with the President’s plan should call their elected officials and tell them that it’s time to pass the jobs bill, which will ensure that everyone pays their fair share and that we live within our means as we help the economy continue to grow.

Remarks of President Barack Obama Weekly Address The White House September 17, 2011

I’ve spent some time lately traveling the country and talking with folks outside of Washington.  And the number one issue for the people I meet is how we can get back to a place where we’re creating good, middle-class jobs that pay well and offer some security.

That’s the idea behind the American Jobs Act.  It’s a jobs bill that does two simple things: put more people back to work, and more money back in the pockets of people who are working.

This jobs bill puts construction workers back to work rebuilding our roads and bridges and modernizing our schools.

This jobs bill puts teachers back in the classroom, and keeps cops and firefighters on our streets.

This jobs bill gives tax credits to companies that hire our veterans, because if you sign up to fight for our country, the last thing you should have to do is fight for a job when you come home.

This jobs bill connects the long-term unemployed to temporary work to keep their skills sharp while they look for a job, and it gives hundreds of thousands of young people the hope of a job next summer.

This jobs bill cuts taxes for every small business owner in America.  It cuts them even more for small business owners that hire new workers and raise workers’ salaries.  And it cuts taxes for every working family in America so that you’ll have more money in your pockets, and businesses know they’ll have customers to buy what they sell.

That’s the American Jobs Act, and you can check it out for yourself on WhiteHouse.gov.

It will create new jobs.  It will cut taxes for every worker and small business in the country.  And it will not add to the deficit.  It will be paid for.

On Monday, I’ll lay out my plan for how we’ll do that – how we’ll pay for this plan and pay down our debt by following some basic principles: making sure we live within our means and asking everyone to pay their fair share.

But right now, we’ve got to get Congress to pass this jobs bill.  Everything in the American Jobs Act is the kind of idea that’s been supported by Democrats and Republicans before.  And if they’re ideas you agree with, too, every one of you can help make it happen by telling your congressperson to pass this jobs bill right away.

I know some of them would rather wait another year to wage another election than work together right now.  But most Americans don’t have the luxury of waiting.  It was three years ago this week that a financial crisis on Wall Street made things much more difficult for working folks on Main Street.  And too many are still hurting as a result.

So the time for action is now.  No more games or gridlock.  No more division or delay.  It’s time for the people you sent to Washington to put country before party – to stop worrying so much about their jobs and start worrying more about yours.

It’s time to get to work and show the world once again why the United States of America remains the greatest nation on Earth.

Thank you.

White House Recap September 9-16, 2011: The Obama Presidency’s Weekly Recap — President Obama Sells American Jobs Act on Tour, Sends Bill to Congress — President Attends 9/11 10th Anniversary Memorials in New York, Washington & Shankville

WHITE HOUSE RECAP

WHITE HOUSE RECAP: SEPTEMBER 9-16, 2011

President Barack Obama drops by an Interactive One panel

President Barack Obama drops by an Interactive One panel discussion in the South Court Auditorium in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, Sept. 12, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Weekly Wrap-Up: Innovative Ideas

Source: WH, 9-16-11

Here’s what happened this week on WhiteHouse.gov:

American Jobs Act On Monday, the President sent the American Jobs Act to Congress and throughout the week he met with Americans who will benefit from the measures proposed in the Act, including gatherings at  Fort Hayes High School, in Columbus, Ohio where the conversation focused on how the American Jobs Act will help teachers and student across the country, North Carolina State University and  WestStar Precision, a small business that will benefit from the proposed Jobs Act. Here on whitehouse.gov, we held  Office Hours with some of the President’s senior economic advisers and hosted an Open for Questions session, answering your tweets, Facebook posts and questions sent to WhiteHouse.gov about the bill.

Remembering September 11 Sunday marked the 10th anniversary of the worst attacks on American soil in our history. Across the country people answered the President’s call and participated in service projects, including the First Family.  The President and First Lady visited the September 11 memorials in all three of the crash sites, ground zero in New York City, Shanksville, Pennsylvania and the Pentagon. Vice President and Dr. Biden participated in the dedication ceremony for the Flight 93 National Memorial in Shanksville, and attended the Sunday service at the Pentagon.  On Sunday evening, the President told the audience at the Kennedy Center’s Concert for Hope: “We kept the faith, took a painful blow, and we are stronger than before.”

America Invents Act Thomas Jefferson would be proud.  On Friday morning, President Obama signed the America Invents Act in law at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science & Technology in Alexandria, Virginia – in a nod to Jefferson, the first official to issue a U.S. patent. This historic legislation will help American entrepreneurs and businesses get their inventions to the marketplace sooner so they can turn their ideas into new products and new jobs.

Medal of Honor Dakota Meyer On Thursday the President awarded the Medal of Honor to Dakota Meyer, a former active duty Marine Corps Corporal from Kentucky. Sergeant Meyer was recognized for his courageous actions above and beyond the call of duty while serving in Kunar Province, Afghanistan, on September 8, 2009. Meyer is the third living recipient – and the first Marine – to be awarded the Medal of Honor for actions in Iraq or Afghanistan. And at 23, he is also one of the youngest recipients in decades.

Violence Against Women Act This week marked the 17th anniversary of the landmark legislation, and Vice President Biden, who sponsored this bill as a senator, spoke about the great strides that have been made in addressing all types of violence against women. Since the enactment of the bill in 1994, major changes have been made in the ways that communities respond to domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking and dating violence.

We the People Turns out people want to know more about our upcoming petitions platform. Macon Phillips, the White House’s Director of Digital Strategy, addressed some of the questions and comments WhiteHouse.gov visitors have submitted about the new petition site.  We the People will provide you with a new way to petition the federal government to take action on a range of issues that you care about.

Don’t miss some behind the scenes footage on West Wing Week.

Full Text September 15, 2011: White House Press Secretary Jay Carney’s Reponse Statement on Speaker John Boehner’s Jobs Speech

POLITICAL SPEECHES & DOCUMENTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

POLITICAL QUOTES & SPEECHES

Statement from the Press Secretary on Speaker Boehner’s Speech

Source: WH, 9-15-11

Any plan to grow the economy and create jobs should be measured by whether it puts money in the pockets of middle class families, puts teachers, police officers, firefighters and construction workers back to work, and invests in our small businesses so they can grow and hire.  The President’s plan meets that test.  The American Jobs Act includes the kinds of proposals that have been supported in a bipartisan way in the past, is fully paid for, and prominent, independent economists say it could create between 1.5 and 2 million jobs.  And the President’s plan rebuilds the economy the American way, based on balance, fairness and ensuring there is the same set of rules for everyone from Wall Street to Main Street.  The President is committed to working with members of both parties in Congress to pass the American Jobs Act right away.

Full Text September 13, 2011: President Barack Obama’s Remarks on the American Jobs Act in Columbus, Ohio

POLITICAL SPEECHES & DOCUMENTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

President Barack Obama on the American Jobs Act in Columbus, Ohio

President Barack Obama delivers remarks to students, faculty and staff at Fort Hayes Arts and Academic High School in Columbus, Ohio, Sept. 13, 2011. The President highlights his American Jobs Act proposal to put workers back on the job by rebuilding and modernizing schools across the country. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

President Obama: “Every Child Deserves a Great School”

Source: WH, 9-13-11

It was a hot afternoon in Columbus, Ohio today when President Obama spoke to an enthusiastic crowd of over 3,000 people at Fort Hayes Arts and Academic High School and laid out how the American Jobs Act will put teachers back in the classroom and get construction workers, carpenters and electricians back on the job modernizing America’s schools.

Even though the September sun still felt like midsummer, students are back in school at Fort Hayes and on days like today they’re glad to have air-conditioning, one of many recent renovations to buildings on campus that were originally built during the Civil War. The American Jobs Act would make it possible to renovate at least 35,000 schools like Fort Hayes across the country. As the President said, putting construction workers back on the job rebuilding schools is just common sense for the economy and for the education of our kids:

When buildings are that old, they start falling apart.  They start leaking, and ceiling tiles start to cave in, and there’s no heat in the winter or air-conditioning in the summer.  Some of the schools the ventilation is so poor it can make students sick.

How do we expect our kids to do their very best in a situation like that?  The answer is we can’t.  Every child deserves a great school, and we can give it to them, but we got to pass this bill.

Modernizing America’s schools is just one of the many ways the American Jobs Act will create jobs in industries like construction hit hard by the recession:

So this bill cuts taxes for small businesses that hire new employees.  It cuts taxes for small businesses that raise salaries for current employees.  It cuts small business payroll taxes in half.  So let’s tell Congress, instead of just talking about helping America’s job creators, let’s actually do something to help America’s job creators.  Let’s pass this bill right away.

The bill that President Obama sent to Congress also cuts taxes for middle-class families. The typical working family will get $1,500 in tax cuts next year if the American Jobs Act is passed. But some are saying that even though they agree with the proposal, they shouldn’t pass it for political reason. The President made it clear that this isn’t the time for Washington game-playing:

They supported this stuff in the past, but they’re thinking maybe they don’t do it this time because Obama is promoting it.  Give me a win?  This isn’t about giving me a win.  This isn’t about giving Democrats or Republicans a win.  It’s about giving the American people a win. It’s about giving Ohio a win. It’s about your jobs and your lives and your futures, and giving our kids a win.

President Obama called on Americans that are ready to get our economy moving and create jobs “to lift your voice…tell your congressperson that the time for gridlock and the time for games is over.” He made it clear that the time to act is now:

We’re not a people who just watch things happen.  We’re Americans; we make things happen. We are tougher than the times we live in.  We are   — bigger than the politics that we’ve been putting up with.  We are patriots and pioneers, and innovators and entrepreneurs, who, through individual effort, but also through a commitment to one another, built an economy that’s the engine and the envy of the world.

We write our own destiny.  It’s within our power to write it once more.  So let’s meet this moment.  Let’s get to work.  Let’s show the world once again why the United States of America is the greatest country on Earth.

Read the Transcript  |  Download Video: mp4 (159MB) | mp3 (15MB)

POLITICAL QUOTES & SPEECHES

Remarks by the President on the American Jobs Act in Columbus, OH

Fort Hayes High School
Columbus, Ohio

2:33 P.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT: Hello, Columbus! (Applause.) It is good to be back in the state of Ohio. (Applause.) Just a couple of people I want to make sure you know are here. First of all, my outstanding Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, is in the house. (Applause.) Superintendant of Columbus City Schools, Dr. Gene T. Harris, is here. (Applause.) The principal of Fort Hayes Metropolitan Education Center, Milton Ruffin, is here. (Applause.) And the mayor of the great city of Columbus, Michael Coleman, is in the house. (Applause.)

It is a great honor to be here at Fort Hayes –- one of the best high schools in Ohio. (Applause.)

I want to thank Tom for that introduction. He just gave me a quick tour, and let me just say, these buildings look great. He did a good job. I wouldn’t mind taking a few classes here. (Applause.) You’ve got computers in every classroom, got state-of-the-art graphic design and science labs, new media center, music rooms. And when you combine that with outstanding teachers — (applause) — and a challenging curriculum, you’ve got the foundation for what you need to learn and graduate, and compete in this 21st century economy. (Applause.)

So, Fort Hayes, I’m here to talk about exactly that — about the economy. I came to talk about how we can get to a place where we’re creating good, middle-class jobs again -– jobs that pay well; jobs that offer economic security. (Applause.) And the renovation of Fort Hayes is a great example of where those jobs can come from if we can finally get our act together in Washington. (Applause.) If we can get folks in that city to stop worrying so much about their jobs and start worrying about your jobs. (Applause.)

Now, yesterday, I sent Congress the American Jobs Act. This is it right here. It’s pretty thick. This is a plan that does two things: It puts people back to work, and it puts more money in the pockets of working Americans. (Applause.) Everything in the American Jobs Act is the kind of proposal that in the past has been supported by both Republicans and Democrats. Everything in it will be paid for. And every one of you can make it happen by sending a message to Congress that says: Pass this bill. (Applause.)

Ohio, if you pass this bill, then right here in this state, tens of thousands of construction workers will have a job again. (Applause.) This is one of the most common-sense ideas out there. All over the country, there are roads and bridges and schools just like Fort Hayes in need of repair. Some of the buildings here at Fort Hayes were originally built during the Civil War. That’s old. (Laughter.) And when buildings are that old, they start falling apart. They start leaking, and ceiling tiles start to cave in, and there’s no heat in the winter or air-conditioning in the summer. Some of the schools the ventilation is so poor it can make students sick.

How do we expect our kids to do their very best in a situation like that? The answer is we can’t. Every child deserves a great school, and we can give it to them, but we got to pass this bill. (Applause.)

Your outstanding Senator, Sherrod Brown, has been fighting to make this happen. (Applause.) And those of you here at Fort Hayes have been making it happen. See, a few years back, you decided to renovate this school. And you didn’t just repair what was broken; you rebuilt this school for the 21st century -– with faster Internet and cutting-edge technology. And that hasn’t just created a better, safer learning environment for the students; it also created good jobs for construction workers.

You just heard Tom say it’s created over 250 jobs for masons and concrete workers and carpenters and plumbers and electricians -– and many of those jobs are filled by the good people of Columbus, Ohio. (Applause.)

But here’s the thing. There are schools all throughout Ohio that need this kind of renovation. There’s a bridge in Cincinnati that connects Ohio to Kentucky that needs this kind of renovation. (Applause.) There are construction projects like these all across the country just waiting to get started. And there are millions of unemployed construction workers who are looking for a job. So my question to Congress is: What on Earth are we waiting for? (Applause.)

I don’t know about you, but I don’t want any student to study in broken-down schools. I want our kids to study in great schools. I don’t want the newest airports and the fastest railroads being built in China. I want them being built right here in the United States of America. (Applause.) There is work to be done. There are workers ready to do it. So let’s tell Congress, pass this bill right away. (Applause.)

AUDIENCE: Pass this bill! Pass this bill! Pass this bill! Pass this bill!

THE PRESIDENT: Pass this jobs bill, and there will be funding to save the jobs of up to 14,000 Ohio teachers and cops and firefighters. (Applause.) Think about it. There are places like South Korea that are adding teachers to prepare their kids for the global economy, at the same time as we’re laying off our teachers left and right; where we’ve got school districts that have eliminated all extracurriculars — art, sports, you name it.

You’ve got situations where — I just heard a story from Arne Duncan driving over here. I met this young man yesterday — he’s a music teacher in Philly, and his budget — total budget is $100 for teaching music in a whole bunch of schools. So they’re using buckets to do drums because they can’t afford actual musical instruments.

You’ve seen it here in Ohio. Budget cuts are forcing superintendents here in Columbus and all over the state to make layoffs they don’t want to make. It is unfair to our kids, it undermines our future, and it has to stop. Tell Congress to pass the American Jobs Act so we can put our teachers back in the classroom where they belong. (Applause.)

Tell them to pass this bill so we can help the people that create most of the new — we can help the people who create most of the new jobs in this country. That’s America’s small business owners. It’s all well and good that big corporations have seen their profits roaring back — that’s good. We want them to be able to hire people as well. But smaller companies haven’t come back.

So this bill cuts taxes for small businesses that hire new employees. It cuts taxes for small businesses that raise salaries for current employees. It cuts small business payroll taxes in half. So let’s tell Congress, instead of just talking about helping America’s job creators, let’s actually do something to help America’s job creators. Let’s pass this bill right away. (Applause.)

AUDIENCE: Pass this bill! Pass this bill! Pass this bill!

THE PRESIDENT: If Congress passes this jobs bill, companies will get new tax credits for hiring America’s veterans. (Applause.) We ask these men and women to leave their careers, leave their families, risk their lives to make sure that we’re protected. The last thing they should have to do is fight for a job when they come home. That’s why Congress needs to pass this bill. It will help hundreds of thousands of veterans all across the country.

It will help hundreds of thousands of young people find summer jobs next year. (Applause.) It’s also got a $4,000 tax credit for companies that hire anybody who’s spent more than six months looking for a job. The American Jobs Act extends unemployment insurance, but it also says if you’re collecting benefits, you’ll get connected to temporary work as a way to build your skills and enhance your résumé while you’re looking for a permanent job. (Applause.)

And, finally, if we get Congress to pass this bill, the typical working family will get $1,500 in tax cuts next year — (applause) — $1,500 that would have been taken out of your paycheck will go right back into your pocket. But if Congress doesn’t act, if Congress refuses to pass this bill, then middle-class families will get hit with a tax increase at the worst possible time. Now, we can’t let that happen.

AUDIENCE: No!

THE PRESIDENT: Some folks have been working pretty hard to keep tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans. Tell them they need to fight just as hard — they need to fight harder — for middle-class families. Tell them to pass this jobs bill. (Applause.)

So the American Jobs Act will lead to new jobs for construction workers, jobs for teachers, jobs for veterans, jobs for young people, jobs the unemployed. It will provide tax relief for every worker and small business in America. And it will not add to the deficit. It will be paid for. (Applause.)

We will pay for this plan, we’ll pay down our debt, and we’ll do it by following the same principle that every family follows: We’ll make sure that government lives within its means. We’ll cut what we can’t afford to pay for what we really need -– including some cuts we wouldn’t make if we hadn’t racked up so much debt over the last decade.

And here’s the other thing, Columbus. We got to make sure that everybody pays their fair share — (applause) — including the wealthiest Americans and biggest corporations. (Applause.) After all, we’ve got to decide what our priorities are. Do you want to keep tax loopholes for oil companies?

AUDIENCE: No!

THE PRESIDENT: Or do you want to renovate more schools like Fort Hayes so that construction workers have jobs again? (Applause.) Do you want to keep tax breaks for multi-millionaires and billionaires?

AUDIENCE: No!

THE PRESIDENT: Or do you want to put teachers back to work, and help small businesses, and cut taxes for middle-class families? (Applause.)

So, Columbus, we know what’s right. We know what to do to create jobs now, and in the future. We know that if we want businesses to start here and stay here and hire here, we’ve got to out-build and out-educate and out-innovate every country on Earth. We’ve got to start manufacturing. We’ve got to sell more goods around the world that are stamped with three proud words — “Made in America.” (Applause.)

We need to build an economy that lasts. And, Columbus, that starts now. That starts with your help. Democrats and Republicans have supported every kind of proposal that’s in the American Jobs Act -– and we need to tell them to support those proposals now.

Already, yesterday there were some Republicans quoted in Washington saying that even if they agree with the proposals in the American Jobs Act, they shouldn’t pass it because it would give me a win.

AUDIENCE: Booo —

THE PRESIDENT: That’s the kind of games-playing we’ve gotten used to in Washington. Think about that. They supported this stuff in the past, but they’re thinking maybe they don’t do it this time because Obama is promoting it. Give me a win? This isn’t about giving me a win. This isn’t about giving Democrats or Republicans a win. It’s about giving the American people a win. (Applause.) It’s about giving Ohio a win. (Applause.) It’s about your jobs and your lives and your futures, and giving our kids a win. (Applause.)

Maybe there’s some people in Congress who’d rather settle our differences at the ballot box than work together right now. But I’ve got news for them: The next election is 14 months away. And the American people don’t have the luxury of waiting that long. You’ve got folks who are living week to week, paycheck to paycheck. They need action, and they need it now.

So I’m asking all of you to lift your voice –- not just here in Columbus, but anybody who is watching, anybody who is listening, anybody who is following online. I need you to call and email and tweet and fax and visit, and tell your congressperson that the time for gridlock and the time for games is over. The time for action is now. (Applause.)

Tell them that if you want to create jobs right now –- pass this bill. (Applause.) If you want construction workers renovating schools like this one -– pass this bill. (Applause.) If you want to put teachers back in the classroom –- pass this bill. If you want tax cuts for middle-class families and small business owners, then what to do you do? Pass this bill.

AUDIENCE: Pass this bill!

THE PRESIDENT: If you want to help our veterans share in the opportunity that they defend -– pass this bill.

Now is the time to act. We’re not a people who just watch things happen. We’re Americans; we make things happen. (Applause.) We are tougher than the times we live in. We are — bigger than the politics that we’ve been putting up with. We are patriots and pioneers, and innovators and entrepreneurs, who, through individual effort, but also through a commitment to one another, built an economy that’s the engine and the envy of the world.

We write our own destiny. It’s within our power to write it once more. So let’s meet this moment. Let’s get to work. Let’s show the world once again why the United States of America is the greatest country on Earth. (Applause.)

Thank you very much, Ohio. Thank you, Columbus. God bless you. And God bless the United States of America. (Applause.)

END
2:50 P.M. EDT

Full Text September 12, 2011: President Barack Obama’s Memorandum Sending the American Jobs Act to Congress (Transcript)

POLITICAL SPEECHES & DOCUMENTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

President Obama Sends The American Jobs Act to Congress

Source: WH, 9-12-11

Today, President Obama sent a message to Congress with the American Jobs Act of 2011 and a section-by-section analysis of the legislation. The American Jobs Act is composed of the kinds of proposals to put Americans back to work that both Democrats and Republicans have supported. That’s why President Obama is urging Congress to pass the bill right away to get the economy moving. As the President stressed this morning, this is not a time to play politics:

It’s not okay at a time of great urgency and need all across the country. These aren’t games we’re playing out here. Folks are out of work. Businesses are having trouble staying open. You’ve got a world economy that is full of uncertainty right now — in Europe, in the Middle East. Some events may be beyond our control, but this is something we can control. Whether we not — whether or not we pass this bill, whether or not we get this done, that’s something that we can control. That’s in our hands.

Read the letter to Congress, the full American Jobs Act, and the section-by-section analysis below:

Download the President’s message to Congress, a sectional analysis and the full text of the American Jobs Act of 2011 (pdf).

Find out more about the American Jobs Act

POLITICAL QUOTES & SPEECHES

Presidential Memorandum–American Jobs Act of 2011

TO THE CONGRESS OF THE UNITED STATES:

Today, I am pleased to submit to the Congress the enclosed legislative proposal, the “American Jobs Act of 2011,” together with a section-by-section analysis of the legislation.

The American people understand that the economic crisis and the deep recession were not created overnight and will not be solved overnight.  The economic security of the middle class has been under attack for decades.  That is why I believe we need to do more than just recover from this economic crisis — we need to rebuild the economy the American way, based on balance, fairness, and the same set of rules for everyone from Wall Street to Main Street.  We can work together to create the jobs of the future by helping small business entrepreneurs, by investing in education, and by making things the world buys.

To create jobs, I am submitting the American Jobs Act of 2011 — nearly all of which is made up of the kinds of proposals supported by both Republicans and Democrats, and that the Congress should pass right away to get the economy moving now.  The purpose of the American Jobs Act of 2011 is simple:  put more people back to work and put more money in the pockets of working Americans.  And it will do so without adding a dime to the deficit.

First, the American Jobs Act of 2011 provides a tax cut for small businesses, to help them hire and expand now, and an additional tax cut to any business that hires or increases wages.  In addition, the American Jobs Act of 2011 puts more money in the pockets of working and middle class Americans by cutting in half the payroll tax that comes out of the paycheck of every worker, saving typical families an average of $1,500 a year.

Second, the American Jobs Act of 2011 puts more people back to work, including teachers laid off by State budget cuts, first responders and veterans coming back from Iraq and Afghanistan, and construction workers repairing crumbling bridges, roads and more than 35,000 schools, with projects chosen by need and impact, not earmarks and politics.  It will repair and refurbish hundreds of thousands of foreclosed homes and businesses in communities across the country.

Third, the American Jobs Act of 2011 helps out-of-work Americans by extending unemployment benefits to help them support their families while looking for work, and by reforming the system with training programs that build real skills, connect to real jobs, and help the long-term unemployed.  It bans employers from discriminating against the unemployed when hiring, and provides a new tax credit to employers hiring workers who have been out of a job for over 6 months.  And, it expands job opportunities for hundreds of thousands of low income youth and adults through a new Pathways Back to Work Fund that supports summer and year round jobs for youth; innovative new job training programs to connect low-income workers to jobs quickly; and successful programs to encourage employers to bring on disadvantaged workers.

Lastly, this legislation is fully paid for.  The legislation includes specific offsets to close corporate tax loopholes and asks the wealthiest Americans to pay their fair share that more than cover the cost of the jobs measures.  The legislation also increases the deficit reduction target for the Joint Committee by the amount of the cost of the jobs package and specifies that, if the Committee reaches that higher target, then their measures would replace and turn off the specific offsets in this legislation.

I urge the prompt and favorable consideration of this proposal.

BARACK OBAMA

THE WHITE HOUSE,
September 12, 2011.

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