Political Musings February 25, 2014: Obama, Governors have turbulent dinner and meeting over 2016, economy, pipeline

POLITICAL MUSINGS

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OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

OP-EDS & ARTICLES

Obama, Governors have turbulent dinner and meeting over 2016, economy, pipeline

By Bonnie K. Goodman

President Barack Obama spent his weekend with the National Governors Association (NGA) at what were suppose to be bipartisan events, a dinner hosted at the White House on Sunday evening, Feb. 23, 2014 and a White House meeting on Monday…READ MORE
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Full Text Obama Presidency February 25, 2014: President Barack Obama’s Speech Announcing Manufacturing Innovation Institutes

POLITICAL TRANSCRIPTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

Manufacturing Innovation Institutes: Putting America at the Forefront of 21st Century Manufacturing

Source: WH, 2-25-14

President Barack Obama delivers remarks announcing two new public-private Manufacturing Innovation Institutes, and launches the first of four new Manufacturing Innovation Institute CompetitionsPresident Barack Obama delivers remarks announcing two new public-private Manufacturing Innovation Institutes, and launches the first of four new Manufacturing Innovation Institute Competitions, in the East Room of the White House, Feb. 25, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)

Today President Obama announced two new public-private manufacturing innovation institutes – one in Chicago and one in the Detroit area — as well as a competition for the first of four additional institutes that will will boost advanced manufacturing in the United States and attract the types of high-quality jobs that a growing middle class requires….READ MORE

Remarks by the President on Manufacturing Innovation Institutes

Source: WH,  2-25-17

Watch the Video

President Obama Speaks on Manufacturing Innovation
February 25, 2014 8:08 PM

President Obama Speaks on Manufacturing Innovation

East Room

3:19 P.M. EST

THE PRESIDENT:  Hello, everybody!  Everybody, please have a seat.  Thank you.  Thank you very much.  Hey!  Thank you.  (Applause.)

Welcome to the White House, everybody.  We’ve got some pretty cool stuff up here, and we also have people here who can explain what it all is.  But thank you so much for being here.  We’ve got, first and foremost, some people who I’m proud to call friends and have been fighting on behalf of American workers every single day.

We’ve got the Governor of the great state of Illinois — Pat Quinn is here in the house.  (Applause.)  We’ve got somebody who is responsible for trimming my trees and potholes in front of my house — (laughter) — and shoveling snow.  And I haven’t been back for a while; I don’t know how it’s going, but I’m assuming he’s handling his business — the Mayor of the great city of Chicago, Rahm Emmanuel is here.  (Applause.)  We’ve got Phil LaJoy, who’s the supervisor of Canton Township, Michigan, who is here.  There he is.  (Applause.)  Good job, Phil.

And we’ve got some outstanding members of Congress who are here, especially someone who just announced that this would be his last term in Congress, but is somebody who so many of us have learned from, have admired.  He is a man who has every single day of his life, in office, made sure that he was fighting on behalf of people who really needed help.  And he’s going to be very missed.  John, you are not just the longest-serving member of Congress in American history, you’re also one of the very best.  Michigan’s own John Dingell is here.  (Applause.)  And we are better off because of John’s service, and we’re going to miss you.

Now, today I am joined by researchers who invent some of the most advanced metals on the planet, designers who are modeling prototypes in the digital cloud, folks from the Pentagon who help to support their work.  Basically, I’m here to announce that we’re building Iron Man.  (Laughter.)  I’m going to blast off in a second.  (Laughter.)  We’ve been — this has been a secret project we’ve been working on for a long time.  (Laughter.)  Not really.  Maybe.  It’s classified.  (Laughter.)

But keeping America at the cutting edge of technology and innovation is what is going to ensure a steady stream of good jobs into the 21st century.  And that’s why we’re here today — to take new action to put America at the forefront of 21st century manufacturing.

This is a moment when our economy is growing, and it has been growing steadily for over four years now.  Our businesses have created about 8.5 million new jobs over the past four years.  The unemployment rate is the lowest it’s been in over five years.  Our manufacturing sector is adding jobs for the first time since the 1990s.  So there’s some good news to report, but the trends that have battered the middle class for decades have become, in some ways, even starker.  While those at the top are doing better than ever, average wages have barely budged.  Too many Americans are working harder than ever just to keep up.  And it’s our job to reverse those trends.

We’ve got to build an economy that works for everyone, not just a fortunate few.  We’ve got to restore opportunity for all people.  That’s the essence of America:  No matter who you are or where you come from, what you look like, how you started out — if you are willing to work hard and take responsibility, you can get ahead in America.

So I’ve been talking now for months about an opportunity agenda.  And let me break it down into four parts.  Number one, more good jobs that pay good wages — jobs in American manufacturing, rebuilding our infrastructure, innovation, energy.  Number two, training workers with the skills they need to fill those jobs.  Number three, guaranteed access to a world-class education for every child in America.  And number four, making sure that hard work pays off with wages you can live on and savings you can retire on and health insurance you can count on when you need it.

Now, I’m looking forward to working with Congress wherever they’re willing to do something on any of these priorities.  And I have to say that the members of Congress who are here all care deeply about these issues.  But let’s face it — sometimes it’s hard to get moving in Congress.  We’ve got a divided Congress at this point.  And so, in this year of action, wherever I can act on my own to expand opportunity for more Americans, I’m going to seize that opportunity.

And that’s why we’re here today.  Already, my administration has launched two hubs for high-tech manufacturing.  One is in Youngstown, Ohio and is focused on 3-D printing, an entirely new way by which the manufacturing process can accelerate and supply chains get stitched together, and you integrate design and all the way through production in ways that can potentially be revolutionary.  We’ve also focused on energy-efficient electronics in Raleigh, North Carolina.  And what happens at each of these hubs is we’re connecting leading businesses to research universities, so they’re able to ensure that America leads the world in the advanced technologies that are going to make sure that we’re at the forefront when it comes to manufacturing.

Now, my friend Congressman Tim Ryan, who’s here today, helped — where’s Tim? I just saw him, there he is — helped us get the first of these hubs off the ground.  There’s growing bipartisan momentum now behind these efforts.  We’ve got two Republicans and two Democrats, Roy Blunt and Sherrod Brown in the Senate, and Tom Reed and Joe Kennedy in the House, that have written bills that would help us create a true network of these hubs all across the country.

So I’m really encouraging Congress to pass these bills.  They’re good ideas.  And what they do is not only help link up our top researchers with our best business people, but suddenly they become a focal point of opportunity, and businesses around the country and around the world start seeing, huh, if I’m interested in digital technologies that’s the place I should locate.  If I’m interested in 3-D printing, let me go there.  And so you get a virtuous cycle that can take place.   And Congress I think has an opportunity to really expand these in a significant way.

In the meantime, while Congress decides on what it’s going to do, we’re going to go ahead and take some action to launch more of these hubs this year.  And today, we’re announcing the next two advanced manufacturing hubs.  One is in the Detroit area, and the other is in Chicago, Illinois.  (Applause.)

Now, let me describe a little more why this is so important.  For generations of Americans, manufacturing was the ticket to a good middle-class life.  We made stuff.  And the stuff we made — like steel and cars and planes — made us the economic leader of the world.  And the work was hard, but the jobs were good.  And if you got on an assembly plant in Detroit or in a steel plant in Youngstown, you could buy a home.  You could raise kids.  You could send them to college.  You could retire with some security.  And those jobs didn’t just tell us how much we were worth, they told us how we were contributing to the society and how we were helping to build America, and gave people a sense of dignity and purpose.  They saw a Boeing plane or one of the Big Three cars rolling off the assembly line, and they said, you know what, I made that.  And they were iconic.  And people understood that’s what it meant for something to be made in America.

Now, advances in technology have allowed manufacturers to do more with less.  Global competition means a lot of good manufacturing jobs went overseas.  There was just more competition.  Folks caught up to us, and they in some cases just copied what we were doing with lower wages, so the competition was fierce.  And in the 2000s alone, we lost about one-third of all American manufacturing jobs — and the middle class suffered for it.

Now, the good news is, today, our manufacturers have added more than 620,000 new manufacturing jobs over the last four years.  That’s the first sustained manufacturing growth in over 20 years.  But the economy has changed.  So if we want to attract more good manufacturing jobs to America, we’ve got to make sure we’re on the cutting edge of new manufacturing techniques and technologies.

And I just have to emphasize here that — because you’ll hear some people say, well, why are manufacturing jobs so special, and this is a service economy.  Nobody believes that we’re going to duplicate all the manufacturing jobs that existed back in the ‘40s and the ‘50s just because the economy has changed.  You go into an auto plant now, it’s different then it was.  Fewer people can make more cars.

But keep in mind that when we have manufacturing in this country, what ends up happening is that, first of all, there are a whole lot of suppliers to those manufacturers, so that one plant may be deceptive.  It doesn’t tell you all the companies all across the country that are working on behalf of those manufacturers.  The services that are provided to those manufacturers, the advertising that’s connected to it, and the architects and the designers and the software engineers — all those things may not be counted as manufacturing, but by us having those hubs of manufacturing, it has a ripple effect throughout the economy.

So we’ve got to focus on advanced manufacturing to keep that manufacturing here in the United States.  That’s what’s going to help get the next Stark Industries off the ground.  (Laughter.)

So today — by the way, my Commerce Secretary, Penny Pritzker, is not here because she’s in Silicon Valley meeting with business leaders and talking about how together we can work together to spur economic growth.

The point is, I don’t want the next big job-creating discovery to come from Germany or China or Japan.  I want it to be made here in America.

And this is one last point I’m going to make about this. Typically, a lot of research and development wants to be co-located with where manufacturing is taking place — because if you design something, you want to see how is it working and how is it getting made, and then tinker with it and fix it, and try something different.  So if all the manufacturing is somewhere else, the lead we’ve got in terms of design and research and development, we’ll lose that too.  That will start locating overseas.  And we will have lost what is the single most important thing about American economy, and that is innovation.

So that’s what all these hubs are about.  They’re partnerships that bring together companies and universities to develop cutting-edge technology, train workers to use that technology, and then make sure that the research is translated into real-world products made by American workers.

So the first hub, in Michigan, is going to focus on developing advanced lightweight materials.  Detroit has already helping lead the American comeback in manufacturing.  Since we stepped in to help our automakers retool, the American auto industry has created almost 425,000 new jobs.  And they’ve already begun using new high-strength steel to make lighter cars that use less gas, save money, help save the planet, cars are still safe — because of these new metals.

And that’s just one example of the incredible things these new metals can do.  You’re seeing the same thing when it comes to lighter armored vehicles for our troops; planes and helicopters that can carry bigger payloads.  If you look at some of the new planes that Boeing is manufacturing, they look lighter; even though they have the same capacity, they use less fuel.  Wind turbines that generate more power at less cost.  Prosthetic limbs that help people walk again who never thought they could.  So we believe there’s going to be an incredible demand for these metals, both from the military and from the private sector, and we want to make sure they’re made right here in America.  We want our workers to have those jobs.  So that’s what our first hub is going to do — focus on making these cool metals.

Second hub — based in Chicago, but keep in mind this is a consortium of more than 40 companies, 23 universities, labs like Northwestern and the University of Illinois, and nearly 200 small businesses.  A number of other states are participating in this consortium.  It’s funded by a $70-million award led by the Defense Department, but the state and its businesses raised $250 million in private funding commitments to help win this bid and make it happen.

So this Digital Manufacturing and Design Innovation [Institute] is going to be headquartered not far from downtown Chicago, on Goose Island, where there’s also a very superior beer in case you are — (laughter and applause) — I’m just letting you know.  (Laughter.)  A little hometown plug there.  Feel free to use that, Goose Island.  (Laughter.)  And it’s going to focus on using digital technology and data management to help manufacturers turn their ideas into real-world products faster and cheaper than before.  And it will include training to help more Americans earn the skills to do these digital manufacturing jobs.

And this is critical:  The country that gets new products to market faster and at less cost, they’ll win the race for the good jobs of tomorrow.  And if you look at what’s happening in manufacturing, a lot of it is much more specific.  Companies want to keep their inventories low.  They want to respond to consumer demand faster.  And what that means is, is that manufacturers who can adapt, retool, get something out, change for a particular spec of a particular customer, they’re going to win the competition every time.

And we want that country that is specialized in this to be us, the United States of America.  We want suppliers to be able to collaborate with customers in real-time, test their parts digitally, cut down on the time and money that they spend producing expensive prototypes.  We want our manufacturers to be able to custom-design products tailored to each individual consumer.  We want our troops to be able to download digital blueprints they can use to 3-D print new parts and repair equipment right there in the field.  And these are all ambitious goals, but this is America — that’s what we do, we’re ambitious.  We don’t make small planes.

Now, that doesn’t mean we’re going to be able to make all these happen overnight.  This stuff takes time.  And we also know these manufacturing hubs have the potential to fundamentally change the way we build things in America.  So 10 years from now, 20 years from now, imagine our workers manufacturing materials that used to be science fiction — a sheet of metal that’s thinner than paper but is strong as steel.  Or our workers being able to design a product using these materials entirely on a computer, they bring it to market, less money, hire folks to build it right here, sell it all over the world.  That’s what the next generation of American manufacturing could look like.

But to get there, we can’t stop at just four of these hubs.  I’m really excited about these four hubs; the only problem is Germany has 60 of them.  Germany has 60 of them.  Part of the reason Germany has been able to take the lead in certain manufacturing areas is because they’ve invested in these hubs and then they invest in the training of the workers for these very precise machines and tools, and that means that that cuts into our market share when it comes to manufacturing around the world.

So we can’t let Germany have 60 and us have four.  We’ve got to do better.  So I’m hoping that we can get these outstanding members of Congress to push this through so I can sign a bill.  But without waiting for Congress, we can launch four new manufacturing hubs this year.  That’s our intention.  My Department of Energy is announcing the competition for the first of these new hubs today.  So to businesses and universities or civic leaders who are watching, start forming those partnerships now.  Turn your community into a global center for creating high-tech jobs.

We can’t turn the clock back to earlier, easier times when thousands of Americans would just punch in at a single factory and pound out the products for the industrial age.  But thanks in part to our investment and most importantly to the collaboration of some of these outstanding institutions and leaders, factories that once went dark are turning their lights on again.  More assembly lines are churning out the cars that the world wants to buy, humming with components of the clean energy age.  If we stay focused on winning this race, we will make sure the next revolution in manufacturing is an American revolution.  (Applause.)  And we’ll make sure that opportunity for all is something that’s made in the USA.

Thanks very much, everybody.  Congratulations.  Good job.  Keep it up.  (Applause.)

END
3:40 P.M. EST

Full Text Obama Presidency February 24, 2014: President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden’s Remarks at National Governors’ Association White House Meeting

POLITICAL TRANSCRIPTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

Remarks by the President and Vice President at NGA Meeting

Source: WH, 2-24-14

State Dining Room

11:15 A.M. EST

THE VICE PRESIDENT:  Thank you very much.  Thanks for making the Cabinet stand up for me.  (Laughter.)  I appreciate it.

It’s great to see you all.  And I don’t know about you all, I had a great time last night and got a chance to actually do what we should be doing more of — talking without thinking about politics and figuring how we can solve problems.

You’ve observed by now the reason the President and I like doing this every year is it’s nice dealing with people who know they got to get a job done, and they get a job done.  And I’ve gotten a chance to work directly with an awful lot of you in the days of the Recovery Act, and even when we were working on the gun violence; rebuilding from that super storm Sandy, which hit my state as well, and tornadoes and floods in a number of your states.

But it never ceases to amaze me how you all mobilize.  You just mobilize.  When crises hit your states, you mobilize and you rebuild.  And you rebuild your infrastructure not to the standards that existed before, but to 21st century standards.  You balance your budgets, you save neighborhoods, and you bring back jobs to your communities.

And the other thing I pick up — and I may be wrong.  I’m always labeled as the White House optimist, like I’m the kid who fell off the turnip truck yesterday, but I am the youngest here — (laughter) — and new.  But it always amazes me your sense of optimism.  You’re the one group of folks you go to with all the problems you have that you’re optimistic.  You’re optimistic about it being able to be done, getting things done.  That is not always the mood up in the place where I spent a large portion of my career.

And last night I got to speak to a bunch of you, particularly about the job skills initiative the President asked me to lead, and I had a chance to speak with some of you specifically, and I’m going to ask to — I’m going to get a chance to see more of you this afternoon.  But this is more than just — at least from the President’s perspective and mine — more than just a job skills initiative.  It’s about literally opening the aperture to the middle class.  The middle class has actually shrunk.

And we always have these debates with our economists — is the middle class $49,820 or $52,000.  The middle class to me, and I think to most of you, it’s really a state of mind.  It’s about being able to own your home and not have to rent it.  It’s about being able to send your kid to a park where you know you can send them out, and they’ll come home safely.  It’s about being able to send them to school, that if they do well in the school, they’re going to be able to get to something beyond high school if they want to do that.  And you’re going to be able to pay for it.  And in the meantime, you may be able to take care of your mom and dad who are in tough shape and hope that your kids never have to take care of you.  That’s the middle class.

And before the Great Recession, it was already beginning to shrink.  So together, we got to open — Mary, you and I have talked about this — about opening the aperture here for access to the middle class.  But we’ll be speaking a lot more about that in the next several months.  A couple of you invited me to come out your way, including some of my Republican friends.  And I’m going to be working with all of you.

But today I just want to say thank you.  Thank you for what you always do.  You come to town; you come to town with answers.  You come to town with suggestions.  You come to town to get things done.  And believe me, we need that and the American people are looking for it.

And I want to welcome you back to the White House, and introduce you now to my friend, your President, Barack Obama.  (Applause.)

THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you, everybody.  Thank you.  Please, have a seat.  Thank you so much.

Welcome to the White House.  I know that you’ve already been doing a lot of work, and I’m glad to be able to come here and engage in a dialogue with all of you.  I want to thank Mary and John for their leadership at the NGA.  I want to thank my outstanding Vice President, Joe Biden, who is very excited I think about the jobs initiative, and is going to be — the job training initiative, and I think is going to be doing a great job on that.

Michelle and I had a wonderful time hosting you guys last night, and I hope all the spouses enjoyed it.  And I know Alex enjoyed it.  (Laughter.)  One good thing about living here is that you can make all the noise you want and nobody is going to complain.  (Laughter.)  And I enjoyed watching some of you with your eyes on higher office size up the drapes — (laughter) –and each other.

We don’t have a lot of time today, so I want to be very brief, go straight to Q&A and discussion.  We’re at a moment when our economy is growing; our businesses have now created over 8.5 million new jobs over the past four years.  But, as I’ve said several times, the trends that have battered the middle class for a couple of decades now are still there and still have to be addressed.  Those at the top are doing very well.  Ordinary families still feeling squeezed.  Too many Americans are working harder than ever, and just barely getting by.

And reversing these trends are going to require us to work together around what I’m calling an opportunity agenda based on four things.  Number one, more good jobs that pay good wages.  Number two, training more Americans to be able to take the jobs that are out there right now and the jobs that are created.  Number three, guaranteeing access to a world-class education for every American child all across our 50 states and our territories.  And making sure that hard work pays off — with wages that you can live on, savings that you can retire on, health insurance that you can count on.

And all of this is going to take some action.  So far, just in the past few weeks, I’ve acted to lift the wages of workers who work for federal contractors to pay their — make sure their employees are getting paid at least $10.10 an hour.  We’ve ordered an across-the-board reform of our job training programs, much of it aligned with some of the work that Mary has done during her tenure as head of the NGA.  We directed our Treasury to create a new way for Americans to start saving for retirement.  We’ve been able to rally America’s business leaders to help more of the long-term unemployed find work, and to help us make sure that all of our kids have access to high-speed Internet and high-tech learning tools in the classroom.

The point is, this has to be a year of action.  And I’m eager to work with Congress wherever I can.  My hope is, is that despite this being an election year, that there will be occasions where both parties determine that it makes sense to actually get some things done in this town.  But wherever I can work on my own to expand opportunity for more Americans, I’m going to do that.  And I am absolutely convinced that the time is right to partner with the states and governors all across the country on these agendas, because I know that you guys are doing some terrific work in your own states.

There may not be much of an appetite in Congress for doing big jobs bills, but we can still grow SelectUSA.  Secretary Pritzker’s team has put together a terrific formula where we’re attracting investors from all around the world to see America as an outstanding place to invest.  And I mentioned this at the State of the Union:  For the first time last year, what we’re seeing is, is that world investors now see America as the number-one place to do business rather than China.  And it’s a sign of a lot of things converging, both on the energy front, worker productivity, our innovation, our research, ease of doing business.  And a lot of that work is as a consequence of steps we’ve taken not just at the federal level, but also at the state level.  So we’ve got to take advantage of that.

Secretary Pritzker has been helping a Belgian company create jobs in Stillwater, Oklahoma; helping an Austrian company create jobs in Cartersville, Georgia.  So we can do more of this, and we really want to engage with you over the next several months to find ways that we can help market America and your states to businesses all around the world and bring jobs back.

Since I called on Congress to raise the minimum wage last year, six states have gone ahead and done it on their own.  Last month, I asked more business leaders to raise their workers’ wages.  Last week, GAP said it would lift wages for about 65,000 of its employees.  Several of you are trying to boost wages for your workers.  I’m going to do everything I can to support those efforts.

While Congress decides what it’s going to do on making high-quality pre-K available to more kids, there is bipartisan work being done among the folks in this room.  You’ve got governors like Robert Bentley and Jack Markell, Susana Martinez, Deval Patrick — all expanding funding or dedicating funds to make that happen in their states.  And we want to partner with you.  This year, I’ll pull together a coalition of philanthropists, elected officials and business leaders, all of whom are excited and interested in working with you to help more kids access the high-quality pre-K that they need.

And while Congress talks about repealing the Affordable Care Act or doing this or doing that to it, places like California and Kentucky are going gangbusters and enrolling more Americans in quality, affordable health care plans.  You’ve got Republican governors here — I won’t name them in front of the press, because I don’t want to get you all in trouble — who have chosen to cover more people through new options under Medicaid.  And as a result, millions of people are going to get help.

States that don’t expand Medicaid are going to be leaving up to 5.4 million Americans uninsured.  And that doesn’t have to happen.  Work with us to get this done.  We can provide a lot of flexibility.  Folks like Mike Beebe in Arkansas have done some terrific work designing programs that are right for their states but also provide access to care for people who need it.  And I think Kathleen Sebelius, a former governor herself, has shown herself willing to work with all of you to try to find ways to get that done.

On the West Coast, you’ve got Governors Brown, Inslee, Kitzhaber who are working together to combat the effects of climate change on their states.  We’ve set up a taskforce of governors and mayors and tribal leaders to help communities prepare for what we anticipate are going to be intensifying impacts of climate change.  And we’re setting up climate hubs in seven states across the country to help farmers and ranchers adapt their operations to a changing environment.

In the budget that I’ll send to Congress next week, I’m going to propose fundamentally reforming the way federal governments fund wildfire suppression and prevention to make it more stable and secure, and this is an idea that’s supported by both Democrats and Republicans.

And finally, I want to thank those of you who have worked with Michelle and Jill Biden on their Joining Forces initiative to support our military families.  At your meeting here two years ago, they asked for your help to make it easier for servicemembers and their spouses to carry licenses for professions like teaching or nursing from state to state, rather than have to get a new one every time they were reassigned.  At the time, only 12 states had acted to make this easier for spouses; only nine had acted to make it easier for servicemembers.  Today, 42 states have passed legislation to help spouses; 45 states have made it easier for servicemembers.  We’ve got a few states remaining.  Let’s get it done for everybody, because it’s the right thing to do for those men and women who are working every day to make sure we stay free and secure.

The point is, even when there is little appetite in Congress to move on some of these priorities, at the state level you guys are governed by practical considerations.  You want to do right by your people and you see how good policy impacts your citizens, and you see how bad policy impacts your citizens, and that means that there’s less room for posturing and politics, and more room for getting stuff done.

We want to work with you.  And I’m committed to making sure that every single member of my Cabinet, every single person in the White House, every single member of my team will be responsive to you.  We won’t agree on every single issue every single time, but I guarantee you that we will work as hard as we can to make sure that you succeed — because when you succeed, the people in your states succeed and America succeeds, and that’s our goal.

So thank you very much, and I look forward to having a great discussion.  Thank you, everybody.  (Applause.)

END
11:27 A.M. EST

Full Text Obama Presidency February 23, 2014: President Barack Obama’s Speech at the National Governors Association Dinner

POLITICAL TRANSCRIPTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

Remarks by the President at the National Governors Association Dinner

Source: WH, 2-23-14

Watch the Video

President Obama Speaks to National Governors Association
February 23, 2014 8:42 PM

President Obama Speaks to National Governors Association

State Dining Room

7:11 P.M. EST

THE PRESIDENT:  Good evening, everybody.  Please have a seat.  Have a seat.  Well, welcome to the White House.  Everybody looks fabulous.  I am truly honored to be one of Michelle Obama’s guests tonight here at dinner.  (Laughter.)  I want to thank all the governors and their better halves for being here tonight, especially your chair, Mary Fallin, and your vice chair, John Hickenlooper.  (Applause.)

Tonight, we want to make sure that all of you make yourselves at home, to which I’m sure some of you are thinking that’s been the plan all along.  (Laughter.)  But keep in mind what a wise man once wrote:  “I am more than contented to be governor and shall not care if I never hold another office.”  Of course, that was Teddy Roosevelt.  (Laughter.)  So I guess plans change.

I look forward to working with each of you not just in our meetings tomorrow, but throughout this year, what I hope to be a year of action.  Our partnership on behalf of the American people, on issues ranging from education to health care to climate change runs deep, deeper than what usually hits the front page.

Being here tonight, I’m thinking about moments that I’ve spent with so many of you during the course of the year — with Governor Patrick in a hospital in Boston, seeing the survivors of the Boston bombing, seeing them fight through their wounds, determined to return to their families, but also realizing that a lot of lives were saved because of the preparations that federal and state and local officials had carried out beforehand; with Governor Fallin at a firehouse in Moore, thanking first responders who risked their lives to save others after a devastating tornado, but once again seeing the kind of state-federal cooperation that’s so vital in these kinds of circumstances; spending time with Governor O’Malley at the Naval Academy graduation last spring and looking out over some of our newest sailors and Marines as they join the greatest military in the world, and reminding ourselves that on national security issues, the contributions of the National Guard obviously are extraordinary and all of you work so closely with them.

So if there’s one thing in common in the moments like these, it’s that our cooperation is vital to make sure that we’re doing right by the American people.  And what’s common also is the incredible resilience and the goodness and the strength of the American people that we’re so privileged to serve.  And that resilience has carried us from the depths of the worst economic crisis in our lifetimes to what I am convinced can be a breakthrough year for America and the American people.

That of course will require that we collectively take action on what matters to them — jobs and opportunity.  And when we’ve got a Congress that sometimes seems to have a difficult time acting, I want to make sure that I have the opportunity to partner with each of you in any way that I can to help more Americans work and study and strive, and make sure that they see their efforts and their faith in this country rewarded.

I know we’ll talk more about areas where we can work together tomorrow.  So tonight, I simply would like to propose a toast to the families that support us, to the citizens that inspire us and to this exceptional country that has given us so much.  Cheers.

END
7:16 P.M. EST

Political Musings February 19, 2014: Obama rehabs art history loving image, sends apology letter, hosts Monuments Men

POLITICAL MUSINGS

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OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

OP-EDS & ARTICLES

Obama rehabs art history loving image, sends apology letter, hosts Monuments Men

By Bonnie K. Goodman

 
Since causing an uproar when he mocked the importance and relevance of graduating university with an art history degree, President Barack Obama has been publicly trying to make up for the “glib” remark, showing he truly “loves…

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President Barack Obama looks at the Edward Hopper paintings now displayed in the Oval Office, Feb. 7, 2014.

Obama appreciates two new Edward Hopper paintings now adorning the Oval Office

President Barack Obama appreciates two new Edward Hopper painting now adorning the Oval Office, Jan. 7, 2014; Obama is trying to rehab his image relating to the arts after joking about art history degrees in a speech about technical job training, Jan. 30, 2014 (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

Full Text Obama Presidency February 18, 2014: President Barack Obama’s Speech on Fuel Efficiency Standards of Medium and Heavy-Duty Vehicles

POLITICAL TRANSCRIPTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

Remarks by the President on Fuel Efficiency Standards of Medium and Heavy-Duty Vehicles

Source: WH, 2-18-14 

Safeway Distribution Center
Upper Marlboro, Maryland

11:30 A.M. EST

THE PRESIDENT:  Well, good morning, everybody.  (Applause.)  It is good to be here.  And I want to thank Jack Jacobs and all the folks at Safeway for having us here today, at this busy distribution center where delivery trucks get everything from Doritos to diapers where they need to go.  And by the way, I have a little soft spot for Safeway in my heart because some of you know I went to high school in Hawaii and I was living with my grandparents, and our main grocery store was Safeway.  It was right down the way.  (Applause.)  And so my grandmother would send me out to go shopping at Safeway, and everybody there always treated me very well.  So I very much appreciate the good work you guys do.

And I want to thank all the workers and businesspeople and labor leaders and environmental leaders who are here today as we take another big step to grow our economy and reduce America’s dependence on foreign oil.

In my State of the Union address, I said that this would be a year of action, and I meant it.  So over the past three weeks, I’ve acted to require federal contractors to pay their employees a fair wage of at least $10.10 an hour, because we believe in a higher minimum wage.  (Applause.)  I’ve ordered an across-the-board reform of job training programs so we can train workers with the skills that employers actually need and match them to the good jobs that are out there right now needing to be filled.  I directed the Treasury Secretary to create something we’re calling “myRA” — it’s a new way to help working Americans start saving for retirement.  And we’ve brought together business leaders who’ve committed to helping more unemployed Americans find work, no matter how long they’ve been looking.

So the point is I’m eager to work with Congress wherever I can — but whenever I can act on my own to expand opportunity for more Americans and help build our middle class, I’m going to do that.

And all of you I think understand that although the economy has been doing better, we’ve spent the past five years fighting our way back from the worst recession of our lifetimes.  Now, the economy is growing.  Our businesses have created over 8.5 million new jobs over the past four years.  The unemployment rate is actually the lowest it’s been in over five years.  But the trends, the long-term trends that have hurt middle-class families for decades have continued — folks at the top doing better than ever before; average wages and incomes have barely budged.  Too many Americans are working harder than ever just to keep up.

So our job is to not only get the economy growing but also to reverse these trends and make sure that everybody can succeed.  We’ve got to build an economy that works for everybody, not just the fortunate few.  Opportunity for all — that’s the essence of America.  No matter who you are, no matter where you come from, no matter how you start out, if you’re willing to work hard and take responsibility, you can succeed.

So I’ve laid out an opportunity agenda to help us do that.  Part one is create more new jobs that pay good wages — jobs in manufacturing, energy, exports, innovation.  Part two, we’ve got to train folks with the skills they need to fill those jobs.  Part three, we’ve got to guarantee every child access to a world-class education.  Part four is making sure that the economy rewards hard work with equal pay for equal work and wages you can live on, savings you can retire on, health insurance you can count on that’s there when you need it.

Now, there are very few factors that are helping grow our economy more, bringing more good jobs back to America than our commitment to American manufacturing and American energy.  And that’s why we’re here today.

Five years ago, we set out to break our dependence on foreign oil.  And today, America is closer to energy independence than we’ve been in decades.  For the first time in nearly 20 years, America produces more oil here at home than we buy from other countries.  Our levels of dangerous carbon pollution that contributes to climate change has actually gone down even as our production has gone up.  And one of the reasons why is because we dedicated ourselves to manufacturing new cars and new trucks that go farther on a gallon of gas — and that saves families money, it cuts down harmful pollution, and it creates new advances in American technology.

So for decades, the fuel efficiency standards of our cars and trucks was stuck in neutral even as other kinds of technology leapt forward.  And that left families and businesses and our economy vulnerable to fluctuations in oil prices.  Every time oil prices shot up the economy got hurt.  Our automakers were in danger of being left in the dust by foreign automakers.  Carbon pollution was going unchecked, which was having severe impacts on our weather.

And that’s why, after taking office, my administration worked with automakers, autoworkers, environmental advocates, and states across the country, and we set in motion the first-ever national policy aimed at both increasing gas mileage and decreasing greenhouse gas pollution for all new cars and trucks sold in the United States.  And as our automakers retooled and prepared to start making the world’s best cars again, we aimed to raise fuel economy standards to 35.5 miles per gallon for a new vehicle by 2016.

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  Wow!

THE PRESIDENT:  Yeah, wow.  (Laughter and applause.)

That was an increase of more than eight miles per gallon over what cars had averaged at the time.  And what we were clear about was if you set a rule, if you set a clear goal, we would give our companies the certainty that they needed to innovate and out-build the rest of the world.  They could figure it out if they had a goal that they were trying to reach.  And thanks to their ingenuity and hard work, we’re going to meet that goal.

Two years later, we’ve already seen enormous progress, and we’re building on that progress by setting an even more ambitious target:  We’re going to double the distance our cars and light trucks can go on a gallon of gas by 2025.  We’re going to double it.  And that means — (applause) — that’s big news.  Because what it means is you’ve got to fill up every two weeks instead of every week, and that saves the typical family more than $8,000 at the pump over time.  I’m assuming you can use $8,000 — (laughter and applause) — that you’re not paying at the gas station.  And, in the process, it cuts American oil consumption by 12 billion barrels.

So we let the automakers decide how they were going to do it.  We set the goal and we said, go figure it out.  And they invested in innovative and cost-effective technologies.  And some are already making cars that beat the target of nearly 55 miles per gallon.  They’ve got plug-in hybrids.  They’ve got electric vehicles.  They’re taking advantage of the investments that the Recovery Act made in American advances in battery technology.  So cars are getting better and they’re getting more fuel-efficient all the time.

And for anybody who said this couldn’t be done or that it would hurt the American auto industry, the American auto industry sold more cars last year than any time since 2007.  (Applause.)  And since we stepped in to help the automakers retool, the American auto industry has created almost 425,000 new jobs.

So we raised fuel efficiency, helped consumers, helped improve air quality, and we’re making better cars than ever and the automakers are hiring more folks again for good jobs all across the country.  (Applause.)  More plants are running at full capacity — some are even running three shifts, 24 hours a day — churning out some of the most high-tech, fuel-efficient, high-performance cars in the world.

And that’s a story of American ingenuity, American grit, and everybody has a right to be proud of it.  But today we’re taking the next step.

Heavy-duty trucks account for just 4 percent of all the vehicles on the highway.  I know when you’re driving sometimes it feels like it’s more — (laughter) — but they’re only 4 percent of all the vehicles.  But they’re responsible for about 20 percent of carbon pollution in the transportation sector.  So trucks like these are responsible for about 20 percent of our on-road fuel consumption.  And because they haul about 70 percent of all domestic freight — 70 percent of the stuff we use, everything from flat-screen TVs to diapers to produce to you name it — every mile that we gain in fuel efficiency is worth thousands of dollars of savings every year.

So that’s why we’re investing in research to get more fuel economy gains.  And thanks to a partnership between industry and my administration, the truck behind me was able to achieve a 75 percent improvement in fuel economy over the last year — 75 percent.  That’s why we call this “SuperTruck.”  (Laughter.)  It’s impressive, this one right here, as well.  I mean, these are — first of all, they’re really big.  (Laughter.)  But you can see how they’ve redesigned the truck in order for us to save fuel economy.

And improving gas mileage for these trucks are going to drive down our oil imports even further.  That reduces carbon pollution even more, cuts down on businesses’ fuel costs, which should pay off in lower prices for consumers.  So it’s not just a win-win, it’s a win-win-win.  You’ve got three wins.

AUDIENCE:  Right!

THE PRESIDENT:  In 2011, we set new standards for medium- and heavy-duty trucks that take effect this year and last until 2018.  Three weeks ago, in my State of the Union address, I said we’d build on that success.  Today, I’m directing the Secretary of Transportation, Anthony Foxx, who is right here — former mayor of Charlotte — (applause) — and Gina McCarthy, the Administrator of EPA — (applause) — two outstanding public servants — their charge, their goal is to develop fuel economy standards for heavy-duty trucks that will take us well into the next decade, just like our cars.  And they’re going to partner with manufacturers and autoworkers and states and other stakeholders, truckers, to come up with a proposal by March of next year, and they’ll complete the rule a year after that.

And businesses that buy these types of trucks have sent a clear message to the nearly 30,000 workers who build them:  We want trucks that use less oil, save more money, cut pollution.  So far, 23 companies have joined our National Clean Fleets Partnership to reduce their oil consumption or replace their old fleets of trucks with more fuel-efficient models.  And, collectively, they operate about 1 million commercial vehicles nationwide.

So this is a lot of companies, and some of them are competitors.  And if rivals like PepsiCo and Coca-Cola, or UPS and FedEx, or AT&T and Verizon — if they can join together on this, then maybe Democrats and Republicans can do the same.  (Applause.)  Maybe Democrats and Republicans can get together.  (Applause.)

So when you see these companies’ new electric or natural gas-powered delivery or garbage trucks, it’s due to this partnership.  And the reason we’re here is because Safeway was an early leader on this issue.  By improving the aerodynamics of its trucks, investing in larger trailers, more efficient tires, Safeway has improved its own fuel efficiency.  And the results are so solid that Safeway now encourages all the companies it hires to ship its products to do the same.

So to help our businesses and manufacturers meet this new goal, we’re offering new tax credits — both for companies that manufacture heavy-duty alternative-fuel vehicles and those that build fuel infrastructure so that trucks running on biodiesel or natural gas or hybrid electric technology, they’ll have more places to fill up.

Let me say this.  The goal we’re setting is ambitious, but these are areas where ambition has worked out really well for us so far.  Don’t make small plans, make big plans.  And anybody who had dire predictions for the auto industry, said we couldn’t do it, manufacturers couldn’t bring jobs back to America — every time they say that they’re proven wrong.  Every time somebody says you can’t grow the economy while bringing down pollution, it’s turned out they’ve been wrong.  (Applause.)  Anybody who says we can’t compete when it comes to clean energy technologies like solar and wind, they’ve had to eat those words.  You can’t bet against American workers or American industry.  You can’t bet against America.  Otherwise you’re going to lose money every time, because we know how to do this when we set broad, ambitious goals for ourselves.  (Applause.)

So from day one, we’ve known we had to rebuild our economy and transition to a clean-energy future, and we knew it wouldn’t be easy or quick, and we’ve got a lot of work to do on both counts.  But the economy is growing.  We’re creating jobs.  We’re generating more clean energy.  We’re cutting our dependence on foreign oil.  We’re pumping out less dangerous carbon pollution.  If we keep going down this road, then we’re going to have a future full of good-paying jobs.

We’ve got assembly lines that are humming with the components of a clean energy age.  We got more of the best trucks and cars in the world designed and engineered and made in America.

If we keep on going, we’re going to leave a better future for our children.  And I’m proud of Safeway and all its workers for helping to show us the way.  If it can be done here, it can be done all across the country.

So congratulations to all of you.  Thank you and God bless you.  God bless America.  (Applause.)

END
11:47 A.M. EST

RELATED LINKS

University Musings February 16, 2014: Obama puts the humanities vs professional degrees debate back in the spotlight

EDUCATION BUZZ

EDUCATION & UNIVERSITY MUSINGS

EDUCATION HEADLINES

Obama puts the humanities vs professional degrees debate back in the spotlight

By Bonnie K. Goodman

President Obama needs to look back at President Kennedy’s idealism to recognize the importance of the arts
The debate of the importance of the humanities, liberal arts and social science university degree versus a professional degree, or a degree…READ MORE

Political Musings February 15, 2014: Obama revisits urging Congress to raise the minimum wage in his weekly address

POLITICAL MUSINGS

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OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

OP-EDS & ARTICLES

Obama revisits urging Congress to raise the minimum wage in his weekly address

By Bonnie K. Goodman

 
For his weekly address released Saturday morning, Feb. 15, 2014 President Barack Obama revisited his executive order raising the minimum wage for federal contractors from $7.25 to $10.10 and urged Congress to complete his effort by universally raising…

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Political Musings February 13, 2014: Obama signs executive order raises federal minimum wage urges Congress to follow

POLITICAL MUSINGS

https://historymusings.files.wordpress.com/2013/06/pol_musings.jpg?w=600

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

OP-EDS & ARTICLES

Obama signs executive order raises federal minimum wage urges Congress to follow

By Bonnie K. Goodman

Full Text Obama Presidency February 12, 2014: President Barack Obama’s Remarks on Signing of Executive Order to Raise the Federal Contract Minimum Wage

POLITICAL TRANSCRIPTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

The Economic Case for Raising the Minimum Wage

 
Source: WH, 2-12-14
President Barack Obama delivers remarks on the importance of raising the federal minimum wage for all workers

President Barack Obama delivers remarks on the importance of raising the federal minimum wage for all workers, during an event in the in the East Room of the White House, Feb. 12, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

In his 2014 State of the Union address, President Obama announced his intention to move forward using his own authority and raise the minimum wage for workers on new and replacement Federal service contracts to $10.10 an hour. As the President said, “If you cook our troops’ meals or wash their dishes, you shouldn’t have to live in poverty.” Today, the President will sign an Executive Order making this vision a reality….READ MORE

 

Remarks by the President on Signing of Executive Order

Source: WH, 2-12-14

East Room

2:18 P.M. EST

THE PRESIDENT:  Well, welcome to the White House, everybody. I know you had to come here before you go buy some shovels and some salt.  (Laughter.)  It sounds like we may get a little snow. But I very much appreciate everybody being here.  I want to thank, first and foremost, the workers who are with me here this afternoon.  (Applause.)  And I want to thank two champions for all hardworking Americans:  We’ve got Secretary of Labor Tom Perez — (applause) — he’s in the house.  Where is Tom?  Right here.  Tom is right here.  (Applause.)  I didn’t know where he was.  And we’ve got an outstanding Congressman — who’s used to snow because he’s from Minnesota — Congressman Keith Ellison.  (Applause.)
 
Now, it’s been just over two weeks since I delivered my State of the Union address, and I said this year would be a year of action, and I meant it.  Over the past 14 days I’ve ordered an across-the-board reform of our job training programs to train folks with the skills that employers need, and then match them up with good jobs that are ready to be filled right now. 

I’ve directed the Treasury to create something we’re calling “MyRA” — sort of like an IRA, but it’s MyRA.  And that’s a new way for Americans to start saving for retirement.  And you can start with as little as $25, $50 and start building up a little bit of a nest egg and get tax benefits for doing it so. 

We’ve rallied the leaders of some of America’s biggest high-tech companies to help us make sure that all of our kids have access to high-speed Internet and up-to-date technology in their classroom so that they’re learning the skills that they need for the new economy.

We’ve brought together business leaders who are committed to hiring more unemployed Americans, particularly long-term unemployed who oftentimes are discriminated against.  They’re in a Catch-22 — they haven’t had a job for a while and then the employer is not willing to look at their resume because they haven’t had a job for a while. 

So the point is I’m eager to work with Congress whenever I can find opportunities to expand opportunity for more families.  But wherever I can act on my own, without Congress, by using my pen to take executive actions, or picking up the phone and rallying folks around a common cause, that’s what I’m going to do.  (Applause.)  

And so that brings me to the issue we’re going to talk about today.  After the worst economic crisis in generations, our economy has been growing for the past four years.  (Applause.)   And our businesses have created 8.5 million new jobs.  Unemployment rate has come down.  But while those at the top are doing better than ever, — corporate profits have been high, the stock market has been high — average wages have barely budged.  So you’ve got too many Americans who are working harder than ever before just to get by, but they can’t seem to get ahead, can’t seem to make all the ends meet. 

And that’s been true since long before the recession hit.  We’ve got to reverse those trends.  We’ve got to build an economy that works for everybody, not just the fortunate few.  And we’ve got to restore opportunity for everybody, so that no matter who you are, no matter how you started out, no matter what you look like, no matter what your last name is, you can get ahead in America if you’re willing to work hard and take responsibility for your life.  (Applause.)  Right? 

So the opportunity agenda I’ve laid out is going to help us do just that.  Part one of this agenda is more new jobs that pay a good wage — jobs in manufacturing, and exports, and energy, and innovation.  Part two:  We’ve got to train the folks with the skills to fill those jobs.  Part three:  We’ve got to make sure every child gets a world-class education.  And part four:  We’ve got to make sure that the economy rewards hard work for every American.

Making hard work pay off with economic security and decent wages and benefits is what we’re about here today.  It means making sure women earn equal pay for equal work.  (Applause.)   It means making sure workers have the chance to save for a dignified retirement.  (Applause.)  It means access to affordable health insurance that gives you the freedom to change jobs or be your own boss, and the peace of mind that it will be there for you when you get sick and you need it most.  (Applause.) 

So if you know anybody who doesn’t have health insurance right now — (laughter) — send them to healthcare.gov.  The website is working.  (Laughter.)  Sign them up.  You can get health care for less than your cellphone bill for a lot of folks.

But it also means that in the wealthiest nation on Earth, nobody who works full-time should have to live in poverty.  (Applause.)  Nobody.  Not here in America.  (Applause.)

Now, it was one year ago today — one year ago today — that I first asked Congress to raise the federal minimum wage — a federal minimum wage that in real terms is worth about 20 percent less than it was when Ronald Reagan took office — 20 percent less, a fifth less. 

So this afternoon, I’ve invited some of the folks who would see a raise if we raised that federal minimum wage.  They happened to join me here at the White House.  And like most workers in their situation, they’re not teenagers — they look like teenagers, some of them are very young looking.  (Laughter.) But they’re not teenagers taking on their first job.  They’re adults — average age is 35 years old.  A majority of lower-wage jobs are held by women.  Many of them have children that they’re supporting.  These are Americans who work full-time, often to support a family, and if the minimum wage had kept pace with our economic productivity, they’d already be getting paid well over $10 an hour. 

Instead, the minimum wage is still just $7.25.  And when Congress refuses to raise it, it loses value — because there’s a little bit inflation, everything else starts costing a little bit more — even though inflation has been pretty low, it’s still costing a little bit more each year.  That means each dollar isn’t going as far and they’ve got a little bit less.  So over the past year, the failure of Congress to act was the equivalent of a $200 pay cut for these folks — for a typical minimum wage worker.  That’s a month worth of groceries, maybe two months’ worth of electricity.  It makes a big difference for a lot of families.

Now, the good news is that in the year since I first asked Congress to raise the minimum wage, six states went ahead and passed laws to raise theirs.  (Applause.)  We appreciate that. You got more states and cities and counties that are taking steps to raise their minimum wage as we speak.  And a lot of companies are doing it, too — not out of charity, but because they’ve discovered it’s good business. 

Two weeks ago, I visited a Costco store in Maryland.  Now, Costco is a very profitable company.  Its stock has done great.  It’s expanding all over the place.  But their philosophy is higher wages are a smart way to boost productivity and reduce turnover.  If employees are happy and feel like the company is invested in them, then they’re going to do more for the company. They’re going to go above and beyond. 

And when I was over at the Costco store I was meeting folks who had started off at the cash register and now were in supervisory positions, and had been there for 20 years, and you could see the kind of pride that they had in the company because the company cared about them.  I even received a letter the next day from a woman who saw my visit on TV — she decided to apply for a job at Costco.  (Laughter.)  She said, let me apply for a job at Costco.  They look like they can do a good job. 

So across the country, owners of small and large businesses are recognizing that fair wages and higher profits go hand in hand; it’s good for the bottom line.

And as America’s chief executive, I agree.  So while Congress decides what it’s going to do — and I hope this year, and I’m going to work this year and urge this year that they actually pass a law — today, I’m going to do what I can to help raise working Americans’ wages.  (Applause.) 

So today, I’m issuing an executive order requiring federal contractors to pay their employees a fair wage of at least $10.10 an hour — (applause) — $10.10 an hour.  (Applause.)

This will make a difference for folks.  Right now, there’s a dishwasher at Randolph Air Force Base in Texas making $7.76 an hour — $7.76 an hour.  There’s a fast-food worker at Andrews, right down the street, making $8.91 an hour.  There’s a laundry worker at Camp Dodge in Iowa making $9.03 an hour.  Once I sign this order, starting next year, as their contracts come up, each of them and many of their fellow coworkers are going to get a raise.  And by the way, that includes folks who get paid in tips — they’ll get a raise, too.  (Applause.)  A tip wage has gone up even slower than the regular minimum wage.

So just as it’s good for companies across the country, this will be good for America’s bottom line — for contractors and for taxpayers.  The opponents of the minimum wage have been using the same arguments for years, and time and again they’ve been proven wrong.  Raising the minimum wage is good for business, and it’s good for workers, and it’s good for the economy.  Put more money in these folks’ pockets, that means they got some money to go shopping, which in turn means the business has more customers — (applause) — which means they may hire more workers and make more of a profit.  (Applause.) 

And let’s not forget — not only is it good for the economy, it’s the right thing to do.  (Applause.)  There’s a simple moral principle at stake — if you take responsibility and you work as hard as these folks work, if you work full-time, you shouldn’t be living in poverty.  Not in America.  We believe that.  (Applause.)  

And this executive order will cover Americans with disabilities — (applause) — because this principle doesn’t just apply to some of us; it applies to all of us.  (Applause.) 

So I’m going to keep doing whatever I can to raise working Americans’ wages.  And I would ask any business leader out there, any governor, any mayor, any local leader listening, do what you can to raise your employees’ wages; to work to raise the wages of citizens in your jurisdiction.  They’ll support these efforts.  A majority of Americans — not just Democrats, not just independents, but Republicans, too — support raising the minimum wage.  (Applause.)  It’s the right thing to do.  So that’s something Congress should keep in mind this year. 

There’s a bill right now in front of both the House and the Senate that would boost America’s minimum wage to $10.10 an hour — just like I’m doing with this executive action.  It’s easy to remember:  10-10 — 10-10.  Let’s get that done.  Raise the federal minimum wage to $10.10 wouldn’t just raise wages for minimum-wage workers, its effect would lift wages for about 28 million Americans.  It would lift millions of Americans out of poverty immediately.  (Applause.)  It would help millions more work their way out of poverty — without requiring a single dollar in new taxes or spending.  (Applause.)  It’s the right thing to do.

Just last month, 600 economists, including seven Nobel Prize winners, wrote the leaders of houses of Congress to remind them that the bill before Congress would have little or no negative effect on hiring, on jobs.  So it’s not going to depress the economy.  It will boost the economy.  (Baby says, “Yes!”)  Yes!  (Laughter and applause.)  It will give more businesses more customers with more money to spend.  It will grow the economy for everybody.  So — yeah!  (Laughter.)  He’s excited about it.  (Laughter.) 

So members of Congress have a pretty clear choice to make right now:  Raise our workers’ wages, grow our economy — or let wages stagnate further, and give workers what amounts to another pay cut this year.  Restore unemployment insurance for Americans still looking for that job — (applause) — or expose them further to hardship.  (Applause.)  Members of Congress, you can help people make progress in their own lives, or you can hinder that progress.

And every American deserves to know where your elected representative stands on this issue.  So ask your senator; ask your representative in the House:  Do you support raising the federal minimum wage to $10.10 an hour?  If they say, yes, tell them “good job.”  (Laughter.)  They don’t hear that that often so — (laughter) — give them a pat on the back, give them a hug, let them know “way to go.”  That’s the right thing to do.  If they say, no — be polite, I mean, don’t just yell at them, but say, “Well, why not?”  Ask them to reconsider siding with an overwhelming majority of Americans.  Encourage them to say yes.  Give America a raise.  

So I’m about to sign this executive order.  When you hear me talking about my pen and my phone to make a difference for middle-class Americans and those working to get into the middle class, this is exactly what I mean.  I’m doing to do what I can. Congress should do what it needs to do.  I will not give up on this fight, no matter how long it takes.  America deserves a raise.  (Applause.)  Working families deserve to know some more economic security in their own lives.  (Applause.) 

We’ve got to create new jobs, strengthen the middle class, build new ladders of opportunity for folks working their way into the middle class — just like these folks are doing right here.  There are millions of Americans who could just use a little bit of boost — millions of Americans outside Washington who are tired of the old, stale political arguments, or tired of folks just looking out for people who can afford big lobbyists and big campaign contributions.  There are folks out there who want to see us restore an economy that works for everybody, and get back to our founding vision of opportunity for all.

So I know you guys will work with me.  But go out there and organize some more.  Thank you, everybody.  (Applause.)  Let’s give Americans a raise right now.  I’m going to sign this.  (Applause.)

END  
2:30 P.M. EST

Political Musings February 10, 2014: Obama focuses on economic opportunity through executive orders in weekly address

POLITICAL MUSINGS

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OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

OP-EDS & ARTICLES

Obama focuses on economic opportunity through executive orders in weekly address

By Bonnie K. Goodman

For the second week in a row President Barack Obama centered his weekly address on the economic opportunity program he introduced in his State of Union Address, outlining both the economic initiatives and his “go-it-alone strategy”….READ MORE

Full Text Obama Presidency February 4, 2014: President Barack Obama’s Speech on Education and ConnectED Wireless Internet Access Initiative

POLITICAL TRANSCRIPTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

President Obama Visits a Middle School Classroom

Source: WH, 2-4-14

Watch on YouTube

President Barack Obama records video on an iPad

President Barack Obama records video on an iPad using an app from NASA during a classroom visit at Buck Lodge Middle School in Adelphi, Md., February 4, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Earlier today, President Obama visited Buck Lodge Middle School in Adelphi, Maryland to announce major progress on his ConnectED initiative. Before his remarks, however, he stopped by one of the school’s math classes to chat with students – and have some fun with their technology….READ MORE

Remarks by the President on ConnectED

Source: WH, 2-4-14

Watch the Video

President Obama Speaks on ConnectED
February 04, 2014 5:14 PM

President Obama Speaks on ConnectED

Buck Lodge Middle School
Adelphi, Maryland

11:37 A.M. EST

THE PRESIDENT:  Hello, everybody.  (Applause.)  Thank you so much.  Well, can everybody please give Nelson a big round of applause for the outstanding job that he did?  (Applause.)  So Nelson just told me backstage he plans on being a Navy SEAL.  So I was really nice to him now so he doesn’t mess with me later.  (Laughter.)  We are very proud of him, proud of all the students who are here today.

I want to thank Principal Richardson for the great job that he’s doing.  (Applause.)  And I want to thank all the wonderful teachers who are here at Buck Lodge Middle School.  Go, Vikings!  (Applause.)

I brought along some people who very much care about the future of these young people.  We’ve got America’s Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, in the house.  (Applause.)  We’ve got the FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler and two of his fellow commissioners who are here, doing great work.  (Applause.)  Congressman Steny Hoyer is in the house.  (Applause.)  County Executive Rushern Baker is here.  (Applause.)  And we’ve got some business leaders who’ve made some very big commitments today — because they know that your education is the very best investment that all of us can make in America.

Now, last week, in my State of the Union address, I spent some time talking about opportunity for everybody, which is at the heart of this country — the idea that no matter who you are, no matter what you look like — if you have a chair feel free to sit down.  (Laughter.)  That wasn’t actually my line, but I thought — (laughter.)  But at the core of America, the essence of it, what makes us exceptional is this idea, no matter what you look like, where you come from, what your last name is, if you’re willing to work hard, if you’re willing to live up to your responsibilities, you can make it here in America.

But each generation has to work hard to make sure that dream of opportunity stays alive for the next generation.  And the opportunity agenda that I laid out last week will help us do that.  It’s focused on four areas:  Number one, more new jobs; number two, training folks with the skills to fill those jobs;  number three, making sure our economy rewards hard work with decent wages and economic security; and number four, the piece I’m here to talk about today — guaranteeing every child access to a world-class education.  Every child.  Not just some, but everybody.  (Applause.)

Now, I’m only standing here today because my education gave me a chance.  I’m not so different than a lot of these young people.  I was raised by a single mom, with the help of my grandma and my grandpa.  We didn’t have a lot of money, and for a while my mother was working and going to school at the same time as she was raising a couple of kids.  And there were times where times were tight.  But with a family who loved me, and with some hard work on my part — although it wasn’t always consistent — as my mother and my grandparents would point out.  And then, ultimately, with the help of scholarships and student loans, I was able to go to college.  I was able to go to law school.  And entire worlds of opportunity opened up to me that might not otherwise have been available.

So the country invested in me.  My parents invested in me, my grandparents invested in me, but my country invested in me.  And I want America to now invest in you — because in the faces of these students, these are future doctors and lawyers and engineers, scientists, business leaders.  We don’t know what kinds of products, services, good work that any of these students may do.  But I’m betting on them, and all of us have to bet on them.

So five years ago, we set out to change the odds on all of our kids.  Our Race to the Top challenge has helped raise expectations and performance in states all across the country.  Our high school graduation rate is the highest that it’s been in more than 30 years.  (Applause.)  That’s an achievement.  The dropout rate among Latino students has been cut in half since 2000 — a really big deal.  (Applause.)  We reformed our student loan programs, so that more young people are able to afford to go to college, and now we’ve got more young people earning a college degree than ever before.

Teachers and principals across the country are working hard to prepare students like you with the skills you need for a new economy — not just the basics of reading and writing and arithmetic, but skills like science and technology, engineering, critical thinking, creativity — asking, what do you think about that idea, and how would you do things differently.

Now, we still have more work to do to reach more kids and reach them faster.  And some of the ideas that I’ve presented will require Congress to act.  But while Congress decides what it’s going to do, I said at the State of the Union — and I want to repeat here today — I will act on my own.  Wherever I have the opportunity to expand opportunity for more young people, wherever I have a chance to make a difference in their lives, I’m going to act.  I’m going to act.  (Applause.)

So in this Year of Action, we’re going to work with states and communities to help them make high-quality pre-K available to more young children.  We know it’s a good investment.  (Applause.)  We want to keep working to partner high schools with colleges and employers to offer real-world education experiences that can lead directly to jobs and careers.  And we want to do more to make sure no middle-class kid is priced out of a college education and, obviously, no poor kid is priced out of a college education.  That’s got to be a priority for us.  (Applause.)

But today, we’re here to announce some big strides that we’re making to put the world and outer space at every child’s fingertips — whether they live in a big city or a quiet suburb or in rural America.

Last year, I launched something called ConnectED — a new initiative to close the technology gap in our schools and connect 99 percent of America’s students to high-speed broadband Internet within five years.  Now, this is something we can do without waiting for Congress.  We do need some help, though.  So we picked up the phone and we started asking some outstanding business leaders to help bring our schools and libraries into the 21st century.  Today, thanks to the leadership of some of these companies, we’ve got some big announcements to make.

But first, I want you to know why it matters that we make sure technology is available to every child.  Technology is not the entire answer, by the way, when it comes to educational excellence.  We’ve got to make sure we’ve got outstanding teachers.  (Applause.)  We’ve got to make sure that parents are doing what they need to do.  (Applause.)  We need young people to make the effort and to have high expectations for themselves.  (Applause.)  But technology can help; t’s a tool, it’s just one more tool.

So today, the average American school has about the same Internet bandwidth as the average American home, but it serves 200 times as many people.  Think about it.  So you’ve got the same bandwidth, but it’s a school — it’s not your house.  Only around 30 percent of our students have true high-speed Internet in the classroom.  In countries like South Korea, that’s 100 percent.  We shouldn’t give that kind of competitive advantage over to other countries.  We want to make sure our young people have the same advantages that some child in South Korea has right now.  In a country where we expect free Wi-Fi with our coffee, we should definitely demand it in our schools.  (Applause.)

Now, here at Buck Lodge, you are showing how we can use technology to teach our young people in innovative ways.  And by the way, the principal told me that part of how this got started was some of the stimulus dollars that we put in place almost five years ago now.  But every student here has access to their own iPad.  And you don’t just write papers or take tests; they’re animating movies, they’re designing blogs, they’re collaborating on multimedia projects.  In the word of an 8th grader, Annie Gomez, she says, “You can learn even more, you can take in more, and then you know more about the world.”

And new technologies are helping teachers.  So in Mr. Jeter’s science class, students take quizzes on their tablets; he then can check the answers in real time and he can figure out who needs extra help. In Ms. Galinat’s language arts class, students learn vocabulary not just with flashcards, but with online video. In Ms. Stover’s math class — I was just over with Ms. Stover — students bring their tablets home to watch lectures about concepts like ratios and rational numbers, and then use the next day’s classroom time applying those concepts to the real world.  So technology allows teachers here to spend more time being creative, less time teaching to the test, giving continual feedback, being able to pinpoint where a young person is having trouble because they’re able to see their work right away in a pretty efficient way.

And I will say, I was just in a classroom — there was a lesson plan that was organized around the Curiosity Rover on Mars.  And the young people there were doing some amazing stuff  — making their own iBooks with video and multimedia.  And as I was walking out, I was talking to Steny Hoyer about how I remember using gluesticks — (laughter) — and scissors to cut stuff out and it didn’t look very good.  (Laughter.)  These guys were making books you could publish.  (Laughter.)

But it makes learning exciting, it makes it interesting.  If you’re studying science and you are actually seeing the engineers who built Rover talk about what it is — or the Curiosity Rover  — talking about what they’re doing and how they did it, and being able to see the Rover on the Martian landscape, it makes vivid and real math and science in a way that is more interesting to students, which means that they’re more likely to be engaged and can potentially do better.

And this is how it should be for every student and every teacher at every school and library in the country.  That’s how it should be for everbody, not just some.  (Applause.)

Today, almost eight months after we launched ConnectED, we can announce some very big commitments that are going to go a long way towards realizing that vision where every child has the access to the technology that they can use to help them learn.  So, under Tom Wheeler’s leadership, the FCC is announcing a down payment of $2 billion to connect more than 15,000 schools and 20 million students to high-speed broadband over the next two years — (applause) — 15,000 schools, 20 million students.  (Applause.)  It won’t require a single piece of legislation from Congress.  It won’t add a single dime to the deficit.

And even better, some of America’s biggest tech companies have decided to join this effort, with commitments worth more than three-quarters of a billion dollars.  So let me just give you some examples.

Apple will donate $100 million worth of iPads, MacBooks, and other products to schools across the country.  (Applause.)  That’s an enormous commitment.
Sprint will provide free wireless service for up to 50,000 low-income high school students over the next four years, so their 21st century education isn’t confined to the classroom.  (Applause.)

AT&T will donate over $100 million worth of wireless service to middle-school students, so that they can continue to do homework when they get home.  (Applause.)

Autodesk will make its 3D-design software available for free to every high school in the country.  (Applause.)

Microsoft will offer products like Windows to students and teachers at a deep discount, and provide 12 million free copies of Office to our schools.  (Applause.)

O’Reilly Media and Safari Books Online will donate more than $100 million worth of eBooks that will help students learn technology skills like coding and web design.  (Applause.)

And finally, because no technology will ever be as important as a great teacher, Verizon will expand a program to help train educators to use all these new tools in all 50 states.  (Applause.)

So I want to thank all the business leaders who are here today for stepping up.  Why don’t you stand up?  Let’s give them a big round of applause.  (Applause.)  We’re very proud of them. Thank you.  (Applause.)

Now, this is an extraordinary commitment by these business leaders, but they’re business leaders, so they’re not just doing it out of the goodness of their heart.  They want the country to do well, but they also understand that they want educated customers.  They want customers who are able to get good jobs, who are going to be using these tools in the future.  They want that next young architect coming out of here to be familiar with using that iPad so that they’re designing buildings and using their products.

They know that the entire economy will be lifted if more of our young people are doing better.  So they’re doing good, but it will also help them succeed from a bottom-line perspective by this kind of participation.  They are united in their support of young people like you, even though sometimes they compete against each other — because all of us have a stake in your education and in your future.

And that’s why we have to build on this progress together.  Later this year, I’m going to ask Congress to do its part and give teachers using cutting-edge technologies the training they deserve.  (Applause.)  Because it’s important — as I said before, technology is not a silver bullet.  It’s only as good as the teachers who are there using it as one more tool to help inspire and teach and work through problems.

And although I’ve noticed that these days when I visit schools, most teachers are much younger than I am — (laughter)  — I’m getting on in years, obviously, which means that I’m not always as familiar with iPads and technology as I need to be.  We want every teacher in every school to understand from soup to nuts how you can potentially use this technology.  And that oftentimes requires a training component that makes sure that the technology is not just sitting there, but is actually used and incorporated in the best way possible.

So I’m going to ask every business leader across America to join us in this effort.  Ask yourself what you can do to help us connect our students to the 21st century.  Ask yourselves what you can do to support our teachers and our parents and give every young people every shot at success.

And we can make this happen.  And just imagine what it will mean for our country when we do.  Imagine what it could mean for a girl growing up on a farm to be able to take AP Biology or AP Physics even if her school is too small to offer it, because she’s got the access to technology that allows her to take those classes online.  Imagine what it means for a boy with an illness that confines him sometimes to home where he can join his classmates for every lesson with FaceTime or Skype.  Imagine what it means for educators to spend less time grading tests and papers, more time helping young people learn.  Imagine more businesses starting here and hiring here, because they know for a fact that the young people here are going to be equipped with the skills that are better than anybody else on Earth.

That’s the future we’re building.  That’s what these companies are investing in.  And if America pulls together now — if we do our part to make sure every young person can go as far as their passion and their hard work will take them, whether it’s to Mars or to the bottom of the ocean or to anywhere on this planet where you’ve got an Internet connection — if we commit ourselves to restoring opportunity for everybody, then we can keep the American Dream alive for generations to come.

That’s our main project.  That’s our main obligation.  That’s why I ran for President.  That’s what I’m going to be working on for the next three years.  (Applause.)

Thank you for all the work that you’re doing here at this outstanding school.  God bless you.  God bless America.  Thank you.  (Applause.)

END
12:04 P.M. EST

Political Musings February 2, 2014: Obama recaps State of the Union in three-minute weekly address

POLITICAL MUSINGS

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OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

OP-EDS & ARTICLES

Obama recaps State of the Union in three-minute weekly address

By Bonnie K. Goodman

For his weekly address released on Saturday morning, Feb. 1, 2014 President Barack Obama decided to revisit his State of the Union, and it the most important program he introduced promising to improve economic opportunity. The President also recapped his…READ MORE

Political Musings February 1, 2014: Obama follows through with economic opportunity tour after State of the Union

POLITICAL MUSINGS

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OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

OP-EDS & ARTICLES

Obama follows through with economic opportunity tour after State of the Union

By Bonnie K. Goodman

For two day after his State of Union on Wednesday and Thursday, Jan. 29 and 30, 2014 President Barack Obama embarked on a policy tour to sell his economic agenda. On Wednesday, Jan. 29 Obama spoke at the Costco store…

READ MORE

Full Text Obama Presidency January 29, 2014: President Barack Obama’s Speech on Raising Minimum Wage at Costco in Lanham, MD

POLITICAL TRANSCRIPTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

Remarks by the President on Minimum Wage — Lanham, MD

Source: WH, 1-29-14

Costco
Lanham, Maryland

10:15.M. EST

THE PRESIDENT:  Hello, Maryland!  (Applause.)  It’s good to see you.  I love getting outside the Beltway, even if it is just a few hundred feet away.  (Laughter.)

Well, first of all, give Teressa a great big round of applause for the great job she did.  (Applause.)  It is good to be here with all of you.  I want to acknowledge a champion for working families right here in Maryland — Governor Martin O’Malley.  (Applause.)  Some folks who go to bat for working people every single day:  Senator Ben Cardin is here.  (Applause.)  Congresswoman Donna Edwards is here.  (Applause.)   And all of you are here.  (Applause.)

Teressa’s story proves that treating workers well is not just the right thing to do — it is an investment.  And Teressa’s 27 years of hard work at Costco proves that investment pays off.

I talked a little bit about this last night in my State of the Union address.  Now, I only finished 12 hours ago, so these remarks will be quicker.  (Laughter.)  And I needed some time to pick up a snow shovel and one of those 50-pound bags of dog food for Bo and Sunny.  (Applause.)  I was told I’d get a big-screen TV, too, for the Super Bowl coming up — 80-inch.  (Laughter.)   So 60 is not enough?  Got to go 80.  (Laughter.)

It is funny, though — I was looking — you can buy a sofa, chocolate chip cookies and a snorkel set all in the same — (laughter and applause.)  The sofa didn’t surprise me, but the snorkel set — (laughter) — that was impressive.  Although I do want to ask, who’s snorkeling right now?  (Laughter.)  How many of those are you guys selling?  You never know.  (Laughter.)

But what I talked about last night was a simple but profound idea — and it’s an idea that’s at the heart of who we are as Americans:  Opportunity for everybody.  Giving everybody a fair chance.  If they’re willing to work hard, take responsibility, give them a shot.  The idea that no matter who you are, where you come from, what you look like, what your last name is, if you work hard, you live up to your responsibilities, you can succeed; you can support a family.  (Applause.)  That’s what America should be about.  Nobody is looking for a free lunch, but give people a chance.  If they’re working hard, make sure they can support a family.

Now, we’re at a moment where businesses all across the country, businesses like Costco have created 8 million new jobs over the last four years.  Our unemployment rate is the lowest it’s been in more than five years.  Our deficits have been cut in half.  Housing is rebounding.  Manufacturing is adding jobs for the first time since the ‘90s.  We sell more of what we make here in America to other places than ever before.  Business leaders are deciding that China’s not the best place to invest and create jobs — America is.

So this could be a breakthrough year for America.  After five years of hard work, overcoming the worst recession in our lifetimes, we’re better-positioned for this young century than anybody else.  But the question for folks in Washington is whether they’re going to help that progress or hinder that progress; whether they’re going to waste time creating new crises for people and new uncertainty — like the shutdown — or are we going to spend time creating new jobs and new opportunities.

And I know what I’m choosing to do because it’s what you do — I’m choosing this to be a year of action.  (Applause.)   Because too many Americans are working harder than ever just to get by, much less get ahead.  The scars of the recession are real.  The middle class has been taking it on the chin since before the recession.  The economy has been growing for four years now, and corporate profits, stock prices have all soared.  But the wages and incomes of ordinary people haven’t gone up in over a decade.

So that’s why last night, I laid out some steps that we can take, concrete, common-sense proposals to speed up economic growth, strengthen the middle class, build new ladders of opportunity into the middle class.

And this opportunity agenda has four parts.  Number one, we need more new jobs.  Number two, we need to train more Americans with the skills that they need to fill those jobs.  Number three, we should guarantee every child access to a world-class education.  (Applause.)  And number four, let’s make sure hard work pays off.  (Applause.)

Now, some of my ideas I’ll need Congress.  But America can’t just stand still if Congress isn’t doing anything.  I’m not going to stand still either.  Wherever I can take steps to expand opportunity for more families, I’m going to do it — with or without Congress.  (Applause.)  Because the defining project of our time, of our generation, is to restore opportunity for everybody.

And so I’m here at Costco today to talk about the fourth part of the opportunity agenda, and that is making hard work pay off for every single American.

Five years ago I signed my first bill into law.  I didn’t have any gray hair.  (Laughter.)  You think it’s distinguished?  Okay.  (Laughter.)  That’s the guy with the gray beard saying — (Laughter).  So this first bill that I signed was called the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act.  (Applause.)  Lilly was at my speech last night.  And it’s a law to help protect a woman’s right to fair pay.  But at a time when women make up about half of the workforce, but still make 77 cents for every dollar a man earns -– we’ve got to finish the job and give women the tools they need to fight for equal pay.  Women deserve equal pay for equal work.  (Applause.)  They deserve — if they’re having a baby, they shouldn’t have to sacrifice their job.  A mom deserves a day off to care for a sick child or a sick parent -– and a father does, too.

As I said last night, we got to get rid of some of these workplace policies that belong in a “Mad Men” episode, belong back in the ‘50s.  We’ve got to give every woman the opportunity she deserves.  Because when women succeed, America succeeds.  (Applause.)

Now, women happen to hold a majority of lower-wage jobs in America.  But they’re not the only ones who are stifled when wages aren’t going up.  As Americans, we understand some people are going to earn more than other people, and we don’t resent those who because they work hard, because they come up with a new idea, they achieve incredible success.  We want our kids to be successful.

And it’s funny — Michelle and I sometimes talk — Michelle’s dad was a blue-collar worker; her mom was a secretary. I was raised by a single mom.  We didn’t go around when we were growing up being jealous about folks who had made a lot of money — as long as if we were working hard, we could have enough.

So Americans overwhelmingly agree nobody who works full-time should ever have to raise a family in poverty.  (Applause.)  And that is why I firmly believe it’s time to give America a raise.  (Applause.)

A hundred years ago, Henry Ford started Ford Motor Company. Model T — you remember all that?  Henry Ford realized he could sell more cars if his workers made enough money to buy the cars. He had started this — factories and mass production and all that, but then he realized, if my workers aren’t getting paid, they won’t be able to buy the cars.  And then I can’t make a profit and reinvest to hire more workers.  But if I pay my workers a good wage, they can buy my product, I make more cars.  Ultimately, I’ll make more money, they’ve got more money in their pockets — so it’s a win-win for everybody.

And leaders today, business leaders today, some of them understand this same concept.  Costco’s CEO, Craig Jelinek, he understands this.  He feels the same way.  He knows that Costco is going to do better, all our businesses do better when customers have more money to spend.  And listen, Craig is a wonderful guy, but he’s not in this for philanthropy.  He’s a businessman.  He’s looking at the bottom line.  But he sees that if he’s doing right by Costco’s workers, then they can buy that 80-inch TV, too.  (Laughter and applause.)  Right?

Profitable corporations like Costco see higher wages as a smart way to boost productivity and to reduce turnover.  So entry-level employees here -– stock associates, cashiers –- start out at $11.50 an hour.  (Applause.)  Start at $11.50.

AUIDENCE MEMBER:  Mr. President, we love you!

THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you.

The average hourly wage is more than $20, not including overtime or benefits.  And Costco’s commitment to fairness doesn’t stop at the checkout counter; it extends down the supply chain, including to many of the farmworkers who grow the product — the produce that you sell.  (Applause.)

Now, what this means is that that Costco has some of the lowest employee turnover in your industry.  So you’re not constantly retraining folks because they quit.  You got people like Teressa who has been here 27 years — because it’s a company that’s looking out for workers.

And I got to tell you, when I walk around, just — I had a little tour of the produce section, the bakery — you could just tell people feel good about their job and they feel good about the company, and you have a good atmosphere, and the managers and people all take pride in what you do.

Now, folks who work at Costco understand that, but there are a lot of Americans who don’t work somewhere like Costco, and they’re working for wages that don’t go as far as they once did. Today, the minimum wage — the federal minimum wage doesn’t even go as far as it did back in the 1950s.  And as the cost of living goes up, the value of the minimum wage goes down over time.  Just last year alone, workers earning the minimum wage basically got the equivalent of a $200 pay cut because the minimum wage stayed the same but costs of everything else are going up.

I don’t need to tell you this.  You go shopping.  (Laughter.)  So you’re like, mm-hmm.  (Laughter.)  For a typical minimum-wage worker, that’s a month’s worth of groceries.  It’s two months of electricity.  It’s a big deal to a lot of families.

So I brought a guy here today who knows a little bit about this — Tom Perez is America’s Secretary of Labor — (applause)  — works for working families every day.  I stole him from Governor O’Malley.  (Laughter.)  He came here from Maryland.  But when he was Governor O’Malley’s labor secretary here in Maryland, he helped implement the country’s first statewide living wage law.  And that helped a lot of Maryland families.  But there are more families in Maryland and across the country who put in long days, they’ve got hard jobs — they deserve higher wages.

In the year since I first asked Congress to raise the federal minimum wage, five states have passed laws to raise theirs.  Governor O’Malley is trying to do it here in Maryland, and lift the minimum wage to $10.10.  He says, “We all do better when we’re all doing better.”  He’s right.  Prince George’s County, Montgomery County are banding together with D.C. to raise the regional minimum wage.  And I’m here to support your efforts. (Applause.)  I’m here to support your efforts.  And as I said last night, to every governor, mayor, state legislator out there, if you want to take the initiative to raise your minimum wage laws to help more hardworking Americans make ends meet, then I’m going to be right there at your side.

While Congress decides whether it’s going to raise the minimum wage or not, people outside Washington are not waiting for Congress.  And I’m not, either.  So as a chief executive, I’m going to lead by example.  In the coming weeks, I will issue an executive order requiring federal contractors to pay their federally funded employees on new contracts a fair wage of at least $10.10 an hour.  (Applause.)  Because if you cook our troops’ meals and wash their dishes, you shouldn’t have to live in poverty.

So there’s some steps businesses are taking on their own.  There are steps that certain states and counties and cities are taking on their own.  There are steps I’m going to take as President.  But ultimately, Congress does have to do its part to catch up to the rest of the country on this.

And there’s a reason why a wide majority of Americans support increasing the minimum wage.  Look, most Americans who are working make more than the minimum wage.  So it’s interesting that the overwhelming number of Americans support raising the minimum wage.  It’s not that it’s going to necessarily affect them personally right now; it’s that they know, they understand the value behind the minimum wage.  If you work hard, you should be able to pay your rent, buy your groceries, look after your kids.  (Applause.)  If you put in a hard day’s work, you deserve decent pay for it.  That’s a principle everybody understands, everybody believes.

So right now in Congress, there’s a bill that would lift the federal minimum wage to $10.10 an hour — 10.10 — 10.10, it’s easy.  It will give more businesses more customers with more money to spend.  I guarantee you, if workers have a little more money in their pocket, they’ll spend more at Costco.  (Applause.) And if Costco is seeing more customers, they’ll hire some more folk.  Everybody does better.

And the thing about it is raising the minimum wage doesn’t require new spending by the federal government.  It doesn’t require a big bureaucratic program.  It would help a lot of Americans make ends meet.

So I need everybody here and everybody who’s going to be watching, tell Congress to make this happen.  Give America a raise.  Making work pay means doing more to help Americans all across this country, but it also means improving the economy — because one of the things that’s been holding our economy back is wages and incomes being flat, which means consumers aren’t spending as much, which means businesses don’t have as many customers, which means they don’t hire as much and they don’t invest as much, and we don’t get that liftoff on the economy that we could.

If we want to make work pay, we also have to help Americans save for retirement — and I’m going to be flying up to Pittsburgh this afternoon to talk about that.  (Applause.)  Making work pay means access to health care that’s there when you get sick.  And the Affordable Care Act means nobody can ever be dropped or denied coverage for a preexisting condition like asthma or cancer.  (Applause.)  You can’t be charged more if you’re a woman.  You can’t be charged just because your job makes your back hurt sometimes.  Those days are over.  (Laughter.)

More Americans are signing up for new private health insurance plans every day.  Already 3 million people have signed up.  So if you know somebody who isn’t covered, who doesn’t have health insurance, call them up, sit them down, help them get covered at healthcare.gov by March 31st.

So this is the opportunity agenda that I’m going to be talking about this year.  I don’t know — I hope Congress will be talking about it, too.  But I’m not going to wait.  Because we’ve got to restore some economic security in a 21st century economy, and that means jobs that are more plentiful, skills that are more employable, savings that are more portable, health care that’s yours and can’t be canceled if you get sick.

I just focused on one piece of that opportunity agenda today — raising the minimum wage.  But these are real, practical, achievable solutions that can help shift the odds back in favor of working and middle-class Americans who haven’t been seeing some of the benefits of growth that we’ve seen over the last four years.

And before I grab a 10-pound barrel of pretzels and — (laughter) — 500 golf balls — (laughter) — let me just leave you with something I heard from Costco’s founder, Jim Sinegal, who’s been a great friend of mine and somebody who I greatly admire.  And Jim is rightly proud of everything he’s accomplished.  “But,” he said, “here’s the thing about the Costco story.  We did not build our company in a vacuum.  We built it in the greatest country on Earth.  We built our company in a place where anyone can make it with hard work, a little luck, and a little help from their neighbors and their country.”

That’s what Jim said — a place where anyone can make it.  That’s who we are.  That’s our story.  If we pull together, work together, put our shoulder to the wheel, keep moving forward, that’s going to be our future as well, and the future for our kids and grandkids.

Thanks so much, everybody.  God bless you.  God bless America.  (Applause.)

END
10:34 A.M. EST

Full Text Political Transcripts January 28, 2014: Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers Delivers Official Republican GOP Response to the 2014 State of the Union Address Transcript

POLITICAL TRANSCRIPTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers Delivers Official Republican GOP Response to the 2014 State of the Union Address Transcript

Source: NYT, 1-28-14

REPRESENTATIVE CATHY McMORRIS RODGERS (R-Wash.):

What an honor it is for me to be with you after the president’s State of the Union.

Tonight we honor America, a nation that has witnessed the greatest rise of freedom and opportunity our world has ever seen, a nation where we are not defined by our limits but by our potential, and a nation where a girl who worked at the McDonald’s drive-through to help pay for college can be with you from the United States Capitol.

But the most important moments right now aren’t happening here. They’re not in the Oval Office or in the House Chamber. They’re in your homes, kissing your kids good night, figuring out how to pay the bills, getting ready for tomorrow’s doctor’s visit, waiting to hear from those you love serving in Afghanistan or searching for that big job interview. After all, we the people have been the foundation of America since her earliest days, people from all walks of life and from all corners of the world, people who come to America because here no challenge is too great and no dream too big. That’s the genius of America.

Tonight the president made more promises that sound good but won’t actually solve the problems facing Americans. We want you to have a better life. The president wants that too. But we part ways when it comes to how to make that happen. So tonight I’d like to share a more hopeful Republican vision, one that empowers you, not the government. It’s one that champions free markets and trusts people to make their own decisions, not a government that decides for you. It helps working families rise above the limits of poverty and protects our most vulnerable, and it’s one where Washington plays by the same rule that you do. It’s a vision that is fair and offers the promise of a better future for every American.

If you would have told me as a little girl that I would one day put my hand on the Bible and be sworn in as the 200th woman to serve in the House of Representatives, I wouldn’t have thought it possible. I grew up working on my family’s orchard and fruit stand in Kettle Falls, a small town in eastern Washington, getting up before dawn with my brother to pick apples.

My dad drove a school bus and my mom worked as a part-time bookkeeper. They taught me to work hard, help others, and always, always dream for more.

So, when I showed my 4H animals at the county fair, my parents used to say to me, “Cathy, you need to save this money so you can go to college one day!” And so I did — I saved, I worked hard, and I became the first in my family to graduate from college.

The chance to go from my Washington to this one was unexpected. I came to Congress to help empower people, not politicians; to grow the working middle class, not the government; and to ensure that everyone in this country can find a job. Because a job is so much more than a paycheck: It gives us purpose, dignity and the foundation to build a future.

I was single when I was elected — but it wasn’t long before I met Brian, a retired Navy commander, and now we have three beautiful children, one who was born just eight weeks ago.

Like all parents, we have high hopes and dreams for our children. But we also know what it’s like to face challenges. Three days after our son was born, Cole, we got news no parent expects. Cole was diagnosed with Down syndrome. The doctors told us he could have endless complications, heart defects, even early Alzheimer’s. They told us all the problems.

But when we looked at our son, we saw only possibilities. We saw a gift from God. And today we see a 6-year-old boy who dances to Bruce Springsteen; who reads above grade level; and who is the best big brother in the world.

We see all the things he can do, not those he can’t.

And Cole, and his sisters, Grace and Brynn, have only made me more determined to see the potential in every human life, that whether we’re born with an extra 21st chromosome or without a dollar to our name, we are not defined by our limits, but by our potential, because our mission, not only as Republicans, but as Americans, is to once again to ensure that we are not bound by where we come from, but empowered by what we can become. That is the gap Republicans are working to close. It’s the gap we all face: between where you are and where you want to be.

The President talks a lot about income inequality, but the real gap we face today is one of opportunity inequality. And with this Administration’s policies, that gap has become far too wide. We see this gap growing every single day. We see it in our neighbors who are struggling to find jobs, a husband who’s now working just part-time, a child who drops out of college because she can’t afford tuition, or parents who are outliving their life’s savings.

Last month, more Americans stopped looking for a job than found one. Too many people are falling further and further behind, because right now, the President’s policies are making people’s lives harder. Republicans have plans to close the gap, plans that focus on jobs first without more spending, government bailouts, and red tape. Every day, we’re working to expand our economy, one manufacturing job, nursing degree and small business at a time.

We have plans to improve our education and training systems so you have the choice to determine where your kids go to school, so college is affordable and skill training is modernized.

And yes, it’s time to honor our history of legal immigration. We’re working on a step-by-step solution to immigration reform by first securing our borders and making sure America will always attract the best, brightest and hardest working from around the world.

And with too many Americans living paycheck to paycheck, we have solutions to help you take home more of your pay, through lower taxes, cheaper energy costs and affordable health care.

Not long ago I got a letter from Bette in Spokane, who had hoped the president’s health care law would save her money but found out instead that her premiums were going up nearly $700 a month. We’ve all talked to too many people who received cancellations notices they didn’t expect or who can no longer see the doctors they always have. No, we shouldn’t go back to the things — the way things were, but this law is not working. Republicans believe health care choices should be yours, not the government’s, and that whether you’re a boy with Downs syndrome or a woman with breast cancer, you can find coverage and a doctor who will treat you.

So we hope the President will join us in a year of real action by empowering people, not by making their lives harder with unprecedented spending, higher taxes and fewer jobs. As Republicans, we advance these plans every day because we believe in a government that trusts people and doesn’t limit where you finish because of where you started. That is what we stand for. It’s for an America that is every bit as compassionate as it is exceptional.

If we’re successful, years from now our children will say that we rebuilt the American dream. We built a working middle class that could take in anyone, and a work force that could take on the world. Whether you’re a girl in Kettle Falls or a boy from Brooklyn, our children should be able to say that we closed the gap. Our plan is one that dreams big for everyone and turns its back on no one.

The president said many things tonight. But now I ask him to listen to you, for the true state of the union lies in your heart and in your home.

Tomorrow I’ll watch my son Cole get on the school bus. Others will wait in the doctor’s office, or interview for that first job. Some of us will celebrate new beginnings. Others will face great challenges. But all of us will wake up and do what is uniquely American. We will look forward to the boundless potential that lies ahead. We will give thanks to the brave men and women who have answered America’s call to freedom, like Sergeant Jacob Hess from Spokane, who recently gave his life to protect all of ours. So tonight I simply offer a prayer, a prayer for Sergeant Hess’s family, your family and for our larger American family, that with the guidance of God, we may prove — proves ourselves worthy of His blessings of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. For when we embrace these gifts, we are each doing our part to form a more perfect union.

May God guide you and our president, and may God continue to bless the United States of America.

Political Musings January 28, 2014: Obama vows executive orders for economic opportunity in State of the Union Address

POLITICAL MUSINGS

https://historymusings.files.wordpress.com/2013/06/pol_musings.jpg?w=600

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

OP-EDS & ARTICLES

State of the Union Address Obama vows executive orders for economic opportunity

By Bonnie K. Goodman

One of the major themes of President Barack Obama’s 2014 State of the Union Address delivered on Tuesday, January 28, 2014 was that the President will not wait for Congress to pass necessary economic legislation; he will issue…READ MORE

Full Text Obama Presidency January 28, 2014: President Barack Obama’s 2014 State of the Union Transcript

POLITICAL TRANSCRIPTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

President Barack Obama’s 2014 State of the Union Transcript

Source: USA Today, 1-28-14

Charles Dharapak/Associated Press – President Barack Obama takes the podium to give his State of the Union address on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday Jan. 28, 2014. Vice President Joe Biden and House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio are behind the president.

President Obama’s 2014 State of the Union Address, as prepared for delivery.

Mr. Speaker, Mr. Vice President, Members of Congress, my fellow Americans:

Today in America, a teacher spent extra time with a student who needed it, and did her part to lift America’s graduation rate to its highest level in more than three decades.

An entrepreneur flipped on the lights in her tech startup, and did her part to add to the more than eight million new jobs our businesses have created over the past four years.

An autoworker fine-tuned some of the best, most fuel-efficient cars in the world, and did his part to help America wean itself off foreign oil.

A farmer prepared for the spring after the strongest five-year stretch of farm exports in our history. A rural doctor gave a young child the first prescription to treat asthma that his mother could afford. A man took the bus home from the graveyard shift, bone-tired but dreaming big dreams for his son. And in tight-knit communities across America, fathers and mothers will tuck in their kids, put an arm around their spouse, remember fallen comrades, and give thanks for being home from a war that, after twelve long years, is finally coming to an end.

Tonight, this chamber speaks with one voice to the people we represent: it is you, our citizens, who make the state of our union strong.

Here are the results of your efforts: The lowest unemployment rate in over five years. A rebounding housing market. A manufacturing sector that’s adding jobs for the first time since the 1990s. More oil produced at home than we buy from the rest of the world – the first time that’s happened in nearly twenty years. Our deficits – cut by more than half. And for the first time in over a decade, business leaders around the world have declared that China is no longer the world’s number one place to invest; America is.

That’s why I believe this can be a breakthrough year for America. After five years of grit and determined effort, the United States is better-positioned for the 21st century than any other nation on Earth.

The question for everyone in this chamber, running through every decision we make this year, is whether we are going to help or hinder this progress. For several years now, this town has been consumed by a rancorous argument over the proper size of the federal government. It’s an important debate – one that dates back to our very founding. But when that debate prevents us from carrying out even the most basic functions of our democracy – when our differences shut down government or threaten the full faith and credit of the United States – then we are not doing right by the American people.

As President, I’m committed to making Washington work better, and rebuilding the trust of the people who sent us here. I believe most of you are, too. Last month, thanks to the work of Democrats and Republicans, this Congress finally produced a budget that undoes some of last year’s severe cuts to priorities like education. Nobody got everything they wanted, and we can still do more to invest in this country’s future while bringing down our deficit in a balanced way. But the budget compromise should leave us freer to focus on creating new jobs, not creating new crises.

In the coming months, let’s see where else we can make progress together. Let’s make this a year of action. That’s what most Americans want – for all of us in this chamber to focus on their lives, their hopes, their aspirations. And what I believe unites the people of this nation, regardless of race or region or party, young or old, rich or poor, is the simple, profound belief in opportunity for all – the notion that if you work hard and take responsibility, you can get ahead.

Let’s face it: that belief has suffered some serious blows. Over more than three decades, even before the Great Recession hit, massive shifts in technology and global competition had eliminated a lot of good, middle-class jobs, and weakened the economic foundations that families depend on.

Today, after four years of economic growth, corporate profits and stock prices have rarely been higher, and those at the top have never done better. But average wages have barely budged. Inequality has deepened. Upward mobility has stalled. The cold, hard fact is that even in the midst of recovery, too many Americans are working more than ever just to get by – let alone get ahead. And too many still aren’t working at all.

Our job is to reverse these trends. It won’t happen right away, and we won’t agree on everything. But what I offer tonight is a set of concrete, practical proposals to speed up growth, strengthen the middle class, and build new ladders of opportunity into the middle class. Some require Congressional action, and I’m eager to work with all of you. But America does not stand still – and neither will I. So wherever and whenever I can take steps without legislation to expand opportunity for more American families, that’s what I’m going to do.

As usual, our First Lady sets a good example. Michelle’s Let’s Move partnership with schools, businesses, and local leaders has helped bring down childhood obesity rates for the first time in thirty years – an achievement that will improve lives and reduce health care costs for decades to come. The Joining Forces alliance that Michelle and Jill Biden launched has already encouraged employers to hire or train nearly 400,000 veterans and military spouses. Taking a page from that playbook, the White House just organized a College Opportunity Summit where already, 150 universities, businesses, and nonprofits have made concrete commitments to reduce inequality in access to higher education – and help every hardworking kid go to college and succeed when they get to campus. Across the country, we’re partnering with mayors, governors, and state legislatures on issues from homelessness to marriage equality.

The point is, there are millions of Americans outside Washington who are tired of stale political arguments, and are moving this country forward. They believe, and I believe, that here in America, our success should depend not on accident of birth, but the strength of our work ethic and the scope of our dreams. That’s what drew our forebears here. It’s how the daughter of a factory worker is CEO of America’s largest automaker; how the son of a barkeeper is Speaker of the House; how the son of a single mom can be President of the greatest nation on Earth.

Opportunity is who we are. And the defining project of our generation is to restore that promise.

We know where to start: the best measure of opportunity is access to a good job. With the economy picking up speed, companies say they intend to hire more people this year. And over half of big manufacturers say they’re thinking of insourcing jobs from abroad.

So let’s make that decision easier for more companies. Both Democrats and Republicans have argued that our tax code is riddled with wasteful, complicated loopholes that punish businesses investing here, and reward companies that keep profits abroad. Let’s flip that equation. Let’s work together to close those loopholes, end those incentives to ship jobs overseas, and lower tax rates for businesses that create jobs here at home.

Moreover, we can take the money we save with this transition to tax reform to create jobs rebuilding our roads, upgrading our ports, unclogging our commutes – because in today’s global economy, first-class jobs gravitate to first-class infrastructure. We’ll need Congress to protect more than three million jobs by finishing transportation and waterways bills this summer. But I will act on my own to slash bureaucracy and streamline the permitting process for key projects, so we can get more construction workers on the job as fast as possible.

We also have the chance, right now, to beat other countries in the race for the next wave of high-tech manufacturing jobs. My administration has launched two hubs for high-tech manufacturing in Raleigh and Youngstown, where we’ve connected businesses to research universities that can help America lead the world in advanced technologies. Tonight, I’m announcing we’ll launch six more this year. Bipartisan bills in both houses could double the number of these hubs and the jobs they create. So get those bills to my desk and put more Americans back to work.

Let’s do more to help the entrepreneurs and small business owners who create most new jobs in America. Over the past five years, my administration has made more loans to small business owners than any other. And when ninety-eight percent of our exporters are small businesses, new trade partnerships with Europe and the Asia-Pacific will help them create more jobs. We need to work together on tools like bipartisan trade promotion authority to protect our workers, protect our environment, and open new markets to new goods stamped “Made in the USA.” China and Europe aren’t standing on the sidelines. Neither should we.

We know that the nation that goes all-in on innovation today will own the global economy tomorrow. This is an edge America cannot surrender. Federally-funded research helped lead to the ideas and inventions behind Google and smartphones. That’s why Congress should undo the damage done by last year’s cuts to basic research so we can unleash the next great American discovery – whether it’s vaccines that stay ahead of drug-resistant bacteria, or paper-thin material that’s stronger than steel. And let’s pass a patent reform bill that allows our businesses to stay focused on innovation, not costly, needless litigation.

Now, one of the biggest factors in bringing more jobs back is our commitment to American energy. The all-of-the-above energy strategy I announced a few years ago is working, and today, America is closer to energy independence than we’ve been in decades.

One of the reasons why is natural gas – if extracted safely, it’s the bridge fuel that can power our economy with less of the carbon pollution that causes climate change. Businesses plan to invest almost $100 billion in new factories that use natural gas. I’ll cut red tape to help states get those factories built, and this Congress can help by putting people to work building fueling stations that shift more cars and trucks from foreign oil to American natural gas. My administration will keep working with the industry to sustain production and job growth while strengthening protection of our air, our water, and our communities. And while we’re at it, I’ll use my authority to protect more of our pristine federal lands for future generations.

It’s not just oil and natural gas production that’s booming; we’re becoming a global leader in solar, too. Every four minutes, another American home or business goes solar; every panel pounded into place by a worker whose job can’t be outsourced. Let’s continue that progress with a smarter tax policy that stops giving $4 billion a year to fossil fuel industries that don’t need it, so that we can invest more in fuels of the future that do.

And even as we’ve increased energy production, we’ve partnered with businesses, builders, and local communities to reduce the energy we consume. When we rescued our automakers, for example, we worked with them to set higher fuel efficiency standards for our cars. In the coming months, I’ll build on that success by setting new standards for our trucks, so we can keep driving down oil imports and what we pay at the pump.

Taken together, our energy policy is creating jobs and leading to a cleaner, safer planet. Over the past eight years, the United States has reduced our total carbon pollution more than any other nation on Earth. But we have to act with more urgency – because a changing climate is already harming western communities struggling with drought, and coastal cities dealing with floods. That’s why I directed my administration to work with states, utilities, and others to set new standards on the amount of carbon pollution our power plants are allowed to dump into the air. The shift to a cleaner energy economy won’t happen overnight, and it will require tough choices along the way. But the debate is settled. Climate change is a fact. And when our children’s children look us in the eye and ask if we did all we could to leave them a safer, more stable world, with new sources of energy, I want us to be able to say yes, we did.

Finally, if we are serious about economic growth, it is time to heed the call of business leaders, labor leaders, faith leaders, and law enforcement – and fix our broken immigration system. Republicans and Democrats in the Senate have acted. I know that members of both parties in the House want to do the same. Independent economists say immigration reform will grow our economy and shrink our deficits by almost $1 trillion in the next two decades. And for good reason: when people come here to fulfill their dreams – to study, invent, and contribute to our culture – they make our country a more attractive place for businesses to locate and create jobs for everyone. So let’s get immigration reform done this year.

The ideas I’ve outlined so far can speed up growth and create more jobs. But in this rapidly-changing economy, we have to make sure that every American has the skills to fill those jobs.

The good news is, we know how to do it. Two years ago, as the auto industry came roaring back, Andra Rush opened up a manufacturing firm in Detroit. She knew that Ford needed parts for the best-selling truck in America, and she knew how to make them. She just needed the workforce. So she dialed up what we call an American Job Center – places where folks can walk in to get the help or training they need to find a new job, or better job. She was flooded with new workers. And today, Detroit Manufacturing Systems has more than 700 employees.

What Andra and her employees experienced is how it should be for every employer – and every job seeker. So tonight, I’ve asked Vice President Biden to lead an across-the-board reform of America’s training programs to make sure they have one mission: train Americans with the skills employers need, and match them to good jobs that need to be filled right now. That means more on-the-job training, and more apprenticeships that set a young worker on an upward trajectory for life. It means connecting companies to community colleges that can help design training to fill their specific needs. And if Congress wants to help, you can concentrate funding on proven programs that connect more ready-to-work Americans with ready-to-be-filled jobs.

I’m also convinced we can help Americans return to the workforce faster by reforming unemployment insurance so that it’s more effective in today’s economy. But first, this Congress needs to restore the unemployment insurance you just let expire for 1.6 million people.

Let me tell you why.

Misty DeMars is a mother of two young boys. She’d been steadily employed since she was a teenager. She put herself through college. She’d never collected unemployment benefits. In May, she and her husband used their life savings to buy their first home. A week later, budget cuts claimed the job she loved. Last month, when their unemployment insurance was cut off, she sat down and wrote me a letter – the kind I get every day. “We are the face of the unemployment crisis,” she wrote. “I am not dependent on the government…Our country depends on people like us who build careers, contribute to society…care about our neighbors…I am confident that in time I will find a job…I will pay my taxes, and we will raise our children in their own home in the community we love. Please give us this chance.”

Congress, give these hardworking, responsible Americans that chance. They need our help, but more important, this country needs them in the game. That’s why I’ve been asking CEOs to give more long-term unemployed workers a fair shot at that new job and new chance to support their families; this week, many will come to the White House to make that commitment real. Tonight, I ask every business leader in America to join us and to do the same – because we are stronger when America fields a full team.

Of course, it’s not enough to train today’s workforce. We also have to prepare tomorrow’s workforce, by guaranteeing every child access to a world-class education.

Estiven Rodriguez couldn’t speak a word of English when he moved to New York City at age nine. But last month, thanks to the support of great teachers and an innovative tutoring program, he led a march of his classmates – through a crowd of cheering parents and neighbors – from their high school to the post office, where they mailed off their college applications. And this son of a factory worker just found out he’s going to college this fall.

Five years ago, we set out to change the odds for all our kids. We worked with lenders to reform student loans, and today, more young people are earning college degrees than ever before. Race to the Top, with the help of governors from both parties, has helped states raise expectations and performance. Teachers and principals in schools from Tennessee to Washington, D.C. are making big strides in preparing students with skills for the new economy – problem solving, critical thinking, science, technology, engineering, and math. Some of this change is hard. It requires everything from more challenging curriculums and more demanding parents to better support for teachers and new ways to measure how well our kids think, not how well they can fill in a bubble on a test. But it’s worth it – and it’s working.

The problem is we’re still not reaching enough kids, and we’re not reaching them in time. That has to change.

Research shows that one of the best investments we can make in a child’s life is high-quality early education. Last year, I asked this Congress to help states make high-quality pre-K available to every four year-old. As a parent as well as a President, I repeat that request tonight. But in the meantime, thirty states have raised pre-k funding on their own. They know we can’t wait. So just as we worked with states to reform our schools, this year, we’ll invest in new partnerships with states and communities across the country in a race to the top for our youngest children. And as Congress decides what it’s going to do, I’m going to pull together a coalition of elected officials, business leaders, and philanthropists willing to help more kids access the high-quality pre-K they need.

Last year, I also pledged to connect 99 percent of our students to high-speed broadband over the next four years. Tonight, I can announce that with the support of the FCC and companies like Apple, Microsoft, Sprint, and Verizon, we’ve got a down payment to start connecting more than 15,000 schools and twenty million students over the next two years, without adding a dime to the deficit.

We’re working to redesign high schools and partner them with colleges and employers that offer the real-world education and hands-on training that can lead directly to a job and career. We’re shaking up our system of higher education to give parents more information, and colleges more incentives to offer better value, so that no middle-class kid is priced out of a college education. We’re offering millions the opportunity to cap their monthly student loan payments to ten percent of their income, and I want to work with Congress to see how we can help even more Americans who feel trapped by student loan debt. And I’m reaching out to some of America’s leading foundations and corporations on a new initiative to help more young men of color facing tough odds stay on track and reach their full potential.

The bottom line is, Michelle and I want every child to have the same chance this country gave us. But we know our opportunity agenda won’t be complete – and too many young people entering the workforce today will see the American Dream as an empty promise – unless we do more to make sure our economy honors the dignity of work, and hard work pays off for every single American.

Today, women make up about half our workforce. But they still make 77 cents for every dollar a man earns. That is wrong, and in 2014, it’s an embarrassment. A woman deserves equal pay for equal work. She deserves to have a baby without sacrificing her job. A mother deserves a day off to care for a sick child or sick parent without running into hardship – and you know what, a father does, too. It’s time to do away with workplace policies that belong in a “Mad Men” episode. This year, let’s all come together – Congress, the White House, and businesses from Wall Street to Main Street – to give every woman the opportunity she deserves. Because I firmly believe when women succeed, America succeeds.

Now, women hold a majority of lower-wage jobs – but they’re not the only ones stifled by stagnant wages. Americans understand that some people will earn more than others, and we don’t resent those who, by virtue of their efforts, achieve incredible success. But Americans overwhelmingly agree that no one who works full time should ever have to raise a family in poverty.

In the year since I asked this Congress to raise the minimum wage, five states have passed laws to raise theirs. Many businesses have done it on their own. Nick Chute is here tonight with his boss, John Soranno. John’s an owner of Punch Pizza in Minneapolis, and Nick helps make the dough. Only now he makes more of it: John just gave his employees a raise, to ten bucks an hour – a decision that eased their financial stress and boosted their morale.

Tonight, I ask more of America’s business leaders to follow John’s lead and do what you can to raise your employees’ wages. To every mayor, governor, and state legislator in America, I say, you don’t have to wait for Congress to act; Americans will support you if you take this on. And as a chief executive, I intend to lead by example. Profitable corporations like Costco see higher wages as the smart way to boost productivity and reduce turnover. We should too. In the coming weeks, I will issue an Executive Order requiring federal contractors to pay their federally-funded employees a fair wage of at least $10.10 an hour – because if you cook our troops’ meals or wash their dishes, you shouldn’t have to live in poverty.

Of course, to reach millions more, Congress needs to get on board. Today, the federal minimum wage is worth about twenty percent less than it was when Ronald Reagan first stood here. Tom Harkin and George Miller have a bill to fix that by lifting the minimum wage to $10.10. This will help families. It will give businesses customers with more money to spend. It doesn’t involve any new bureaucratic program. So join the rest of the country. Say yes. Give America a raise.

There are other steps we can take to help families make ends meet, and few are more effective at reducing inequality and helping families pull themselves up through hard work than the Earned Income Tax Credit. Right now, it helps about half of all parents at some point. But I agree with Republicans like Senator Rubio that it doesn’t do enough for single workers who don’t have kids. So let’s work together to strengthen the credit, reward work, and help more Americans get ahead.

Let’s do more to help Americans save for retirement. Today, most workers don’t have a pension. A Social Security check often isn’t enough on its own. And while the stock market has doubled over the last five years, that doesn’t help folks who don’t have 401ks. That’s why, tomorrow, I will direct the Treasury to create a new way for working Americans to start their own retirement savings: MyRA. It’s a new savings bond that encourages folks to build a nest egg. MyRA guarantees a decent return with no risk of losing what you put in. And if this Congress wants to help, work with me to fix an upside-down tax code that gives big tax breaks to help the wealthy save, but does little to nothing for middle-class Americans. Offer every American access to an automatic IRA on the job, so they can save at work just like everyone in this chamber can. And since the most important investment many families make is their home, send me legislation that protects taxpayers from footing the bill for a housing crisis ever again, and keeps the dream of homeownership alive for future generations of Americans.

One last point on financial security. For decades, few things exposed hard-working families to economic hardship more than a broken health care system. And in case you haven’t heard, we’re in the process of fixing that.

A pre-existing condition used to mean that someone like Amanda Shelley, a physician assistant and single mom from Arizona, couldn’t get health insurance. But on January 1st, she got covered. On January 3rd, she felt a sharp pain. On January 6th, she had emergency surgery. Just one week earlier, Amanda said, that surgery would’ve meant bankruptcy.

That’s what health insurance reform is all about – the peace of mind that if misfortune strikes, you don’t have to lose everything.

Already, because of the Affordable Care Act, more than three million Americans under age 26 have gained coverage under their parents’ plans.

More than nine million Americans have signed up for private health insurance or Medicaid coverage.

And here’s another number: zero. Because of this law, no American can ever again be dropped or denied coverage for a preexisting condition like asthma, back pain, or cancer. No woman can ever be charged more just because she’s a woman. And we did all this while adding years to Medicare’s finances, keeping Medicare premiums flat, and lowering prescription costs for millions of seniors.

Now, I don’t expect to convince my Republican friends on the merits of this law. But I know that the American people aren’t interested in refighting old battles. So again, if you have specific plans to cut costs, cover more people, and increase choice – tell America what you’d do differently. Let’s see if the numbers add up. But let’s not have another forty-something votes to repeal a law that’s already helping millions of Americans like Amanda. The first forty were plenty. We got it. We all owe it to the American people to say what we’re for, not just what we’re against.

And if you want to know the real impact this law is having, just talk to Governor Steve Beshear of Kentucky, who’s here tonight. Kentucky’s not the most liberal part of the country, but he’s like a man possessed when it comes to covering his commonwealth’s families. “They are our friends and neighbors,” he said. “They are people we shop and go to church with…farmers out on the tractors…grocery clerks…they are people who go to work every morning praying they don’t get sick. No one deserves to live that way.”

Steve’s right. That’s why, tonight, I ask every American who knows someone without health insurance to help them get covered by March 31st. Moms, get on your kids to sign up. Kids, call your mom and walk her through the application. It will give her some peace of mind – plus, she’ll appreciate hearing from you.

After all, that’s the spirit that has always moved this nation forward. It’s the spirit of citizenship – the recognition that through hard work and responsibility, we can pursue our individual dreams, but still come together as one American family to make sure the next generation can pursue its dreams as well.

Citizenship means standing up for everyone’s right to vote. Last year, part of the Voting Rights Act was weakened. But conservative Republicans and liberal Democrats are working together to strengthen it; and the bipartisan commission I appointed last year has offered reforms so that no one has to wait more than a half hour to vote. Let’s support these efforts. It should be the power of our vote, not the size of our bank account, that drives our democracy.

Citizenship means standing up for the lives that gun violence steals from us each day. I have seen the courage of parents, students, pastors, and police officers all over this country who say “we are not afraid,” and I intend to keep trying, with or without Congress, to help stop more tragedies from visiting innocent Americans in our movie theaters, shopping malls, or schools like Sandy Hook.

Citizenship demands a sense of common cause; participation in the hard work of self-government; an obligation to serve to our communities. And I know this chamber agrees that few Americans give more to their country than our diplomats and the men and women of the United States Armed Forces.

Tonight, because of the extraordinary troops and civilians who risk and lay down their lives to keep us free, the United States is more secure. When I took office, nearly 180,000 Americans were serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. Today, all our troops are out of Iraq. More than 60,000 of our troops have already come home from Afghanistan. With Afghan forces now in the lead for their own security, our troops have moved to a support role. Together with our allies, we will complete our mission there by the end of this year, and America’s longest war will finally be over.

After 2014, we will support a unified Afghanistan as it takes responsibility for its own future. If the Afghan government signs a security agreement that we have negotiated, a small force of Americans could remain in Afghanistan with NATO allies to carry out two narrow missions: training and assisting Afghan forces, and counterterrorism operations to pursue any remnants of al Qaeda. For while our relationship with Afghanistan will change, one thing will not: our resolve that terrorists do not launch attacks against our country.

The fact is, that danger remains. While we have put al Qaeda’s core leadership on a path to defeat, the threat has evolved, as al Qaeda affiliates and other extremists take root in different parts of the world. In Yemen, Somalia, Iraq, and Mali, we have to keep working with partners to disrupt and disable these networks. In Syria, we’ll support the opposition that rejects the agenda of terrorist networks. Here at home, we’ll keep strengthening our defenses, and combat new threats like cyberattacks. And as we reform our defense budget, we have to keep faith with our men and women in uniform, and invest in the capabilities they need to succeed in future missions.

We have to remain vigilant. But I strongly believe our leadership and our security cannot depend on our military alone. As Commander-in-Chief, I have used force when needed to protect the American people, and I will never hesitate to do so as long as I hold this office. But I will not send our troops into harm’s way unless it’s truly necessary; nor will I allow our sons and daughters to be mired in open-ended conflicts. We must fight the battles that need to be fought, not those that terrorists prefer from us – large-scale deployments that drain our strength and may ultimately feed extremism.

So, even as we aggressively pursue terrorist networks – through more targeted efforts and by building the capacity of our foreign partners – America must move off a permanent war footing. That’s why I’ve imposed prudent limits on the use of drones – for we will not be safer if people abroad believe we strike within their countries without regard for the consequence. That’s why, working with this Congress, I will reform our surveillance programs – because the vital work of our intelligence community depends on public confidence, here and abroad, that the privacy of ordinary people is not being violated. And with the Afghan war ending, this needs to be the year Congress lifts the remaining restrictions on detainee transfers and we close the prison at Guantanamo Bay – because we counter terrorism not just through intelligence and military action, but by remaining true to our Constitutional ideals, and setting an example for the rest of the world.

You see, in a world of complex threats, our security and leadership depends on all elements of our power – including strong and principled diplomacy. American diplomacy has rallied more than fifty countries to prevent nuclear materials from falling into the wrong hands, and allowed us to reduce our own reliance on Cold War stockpiles. American diplomacy, backed by the threat of force, is why Syria’s chemical weapons are being eliminated, and we will continue to work with the international community to usher in the future the Syrian people deserve – a future free of dictatorship, terror and fear. As we speak, American diplomacy is supporting Israelis and Palestinians as they engage in difficult but necessary talks to end the conflict there; to achieve dignity and an independent state for Palestinians, and lasting peace and security for the State of Israel – a Jewish state that knows America will always be at their side.

And it is American diplomacy, backed by pressure, that has halted the progress of Iran’s nuclear program – and rolled parts of that program back – for the very first time in a decade. As we gather here tonight, Iran has begun to eliminate its stockpile of higher levels of enriched uranium. It is not installing advanced centrifuges. Unprecedented inspections help the world verify, every day, that Iran is not building a bomb. And with our allies and partners, we’re engaged in negotiations to see if we can peacefully achieve a goal we all share: preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.

These negotiations will be difficult. They may not succeed. We are clear-eyed about Iran’s support for terrorist organizations like Hezbollah, which threaten our allies; and the mistrust between our nations cannot be wished away. But these negotiations do not rely on trust; any long-term deal we agree to must be based on verifiable action that convinces us and the international community that Iran is not building a nuclear bomb. If John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan could negotiate with the Soviet Union, then surely a strong and confident America can negotiate with less powerful adversaries today.

The sanctions that we put in place helped make this opportunity possible. But let me be clear: if this Congress sends me a new sanctions bill now that threatens to derail these talks, I will veto it. For the sake of our national security, we must give diplomacy a chance to succeed. If Iran’s leaders do not seize this opportunity, then I will be the first to call for more sanctions, and stand ready to exercise all options to make sure Iran does not build a nuclear weapon. But if Iran’s leaders do seize the chance, then Iran could take an important step to rejoin the community of nations, and we will have resolved one of the leading security challenges of our time without the risks of war.

Finally, let’s remember that our leadership is defined not just by our defense against threats, but by the enormous opportunities to do good and promote understanding around the globe – to forge greater cooperation, to expand new markets, to free people from fear and want. And no one is better positioned to take advantage of those opportunities than America.

Our alliance with Europe remains the strongest the world has ever known. From Tunisia to Burma, we’re supporting those who are willing to do the hard work of building democracy. In Ukraine, we stand for the principle that all people have the right to express themselves freely and peacefully, and have a say in their country’s future. Across Africa, we’re bringing together businesses and governments to double access to electricity and help end extreme poverty. In the Americas, we are building new ties of commerce, but we’re also expanding cultural and educational exchanges among young people. And we will continue to focus on the Asia-Pacific, where we support our allies, shape a future of greater security and prosperity, and extend a hand to those devastated by disaster – as we did in the Philippines, when our Marines and civilians rushed to aid those battered by a typhoon, and were greeted with words like, “We will never forget your kindness” and “God bless America!”

We do these things because they help promote our long-term security. And we do them because we believe in the inherent dignity and equality of every human being, regardless of race or religion, creed or sexual orientation. And next week, the world will see one expression of that commitment – when Team USA marches the red, white, and blue into the Olympic Stadium – and brings home the gold.

My fellow Americans, no other country in the world does what we do. On every issue, the world turns to us, not simply because of the size of our economy or our military might – but because of the ideals we stand for, and the burdens we bear to advance them.

No one knows this better than those who serve in uniform. As this time of war draws to a close, a new generation of heroes returns to civilian life. We’ll keep slashing that backlog so our veterans receive the benefits they’ve earned, and our wounded warriors receive the health care – including the mental health care – that they need. We’ll keep working to help all our veterans translate their skills and leadership into jobs here at home. And we all continue to join forces to honor and support our remarkable military families.

Let me tell you about one of those families I’ve come to know.

I first met Cory Remsburg, a proud Army Ranger, at Omaha Beach on the 65th anniversary of D-Day. Along with some of his fellow Rangers, he walked me through the program – a strong, impressive young man, with an easy manner, sharp as a tack. We joked around, and took pictures, and I told him to stay in touch.

A few months later, on his tenth deployment, Cory was nearly killed by a massive roadside bomb in Afghanistan. His comrades found him in a canal, face down, underwater, shrapnel in his brain.

For months, he lay in a coma. The next time I met him, in the hospital, he couldn’t speak; he could barely move. Over the years, he’s endured dozens of surgeries and procedures, and hours of grueling rehab every day.

Even now, Cory is still blind in one eye. He still struggles on his left side. But slowly, steadily, with the support of caregivers like his dad Craig, and the community around him, Cory has grown stronger. Day by day, he’s learned to speak again and stand again and walk again – and he’s working toward the day when he can serve his country again.

“My recovery has not been easy,” he says. “Nothing in life that’s worth anything is easy.”

Cory is here tonight. And like the Army he loves, like the America he serves, Sergeant First Class Cory Remsburg never gives up, and he does not quit.

My fellow Americans, men and women like Cory remind us that America has never come easy. Our freedom, our democracy, has never been easy. Sometimes we stumble; we make mistakes; we get frustrated or discouraged. But for more than two hundred years, we have put those things aside and placed our collective shoulder to the wheel of progress – to create and build and expand the possibilities of individual achievement; to free other nations from tyranny and fear; to promote justice, and fairness, and equality under the law, so that the words set to paper by our founders are made real for every citizen. The America we want for our kids – a rising America where honest work is plentiful and communities are strong; where prosperity is widely shared and opportunity for all lets us go as far as our dreams and toil will take us – none of it is easy. But if we work together; if we summon what is best in us, with our feet planted firmly in today but our eyes cast towards tomorrow – I know it’s within our reach.

Believe it.

God bless you, and God bless the United States of America.

 

Full Text Obama Presidency January 28, 2014: President Barack Obama’s 2014 State of the Union Transcript Excerpts

POLITICAL TRANSCRIPTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

2014 State of the Union Excerpts

Source: WH, USA Today, 1-28-14

A request to Congress

“In the coming months, let’s see where else we can make progress together. Let’s make this a year of action. That’s what most Americans want — for all of us in this chamber to focus on their lives, their hopes, their aspirations. And what I believe unites the people of this nation, regardless of race or region or party, young or old, rich or poor, is the simple, profound belief in opportunity for all — the notion that if you work hard and take responsibility, you can get ahead.”

A changing economy

“Let’s face it: that belief has suffered some serious blows. Over more than three decades, even before the Great Recession hit, massive shifts in technology and global competition had eliminated a lot of good, middle-class jobs, and weakened the economic foundations that families depend on.”

Income inequality

“Today, after four years of economic growth, corporate profits and stock prices have rarely been higher, and those at the top have never done better. But average wages have barely budged. Inequality has deepened. Upward mobility has stalled. The cold, hard fact is that even in the midst of recovery, too many Americans are working more than ever just to get by — let alone get ahead. And too many still aren’t working at all.

Obama’s economic plans — and executive actions

“Our job is to reverse these tides. It won’t happen right away, and we won’t agree on everything. But what I offer tonight is a set of concrete, practical proposals to speed up growth, strengthen the middle class, and build new ladders of opportunity into the middle class. Some require Congressional action, and I’m eager to work with all of you. But America does not stand still — and neither will I. So wherever and whenever I can take steps without legislation to expand opportunity for more American families, that’s what I’m going to do.”

The theme of opportunity

“Opportunity is who we are. And the defining project of our generation is to restore that promise.”

Full Text Political Transcripts January 28, 2014: Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers Official Republican Response to the 2014 State of the Union Address Transcript Excerpts

POLITICAL TRANSCRIPTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

Official Republican Response to the 2014 State of the Union Address Excerpts

Source: CBS News, 1-28-14

“The most important moments right now aren’t happening here. They’re not in the Oval Office or in the House Chamber. They’re in your homes. Kissing your kids goodnight. Figuring out how to pay the bills. Getting ready for tomorrow’s doctor’s visit. Waiting to hear from those you love serving in Afghanistan, or searching for that big job interview. After all, ‘We the People’ have been the foundation of America since her earliest days – people from all walks of life, and from all corners of the world – people who come to America because here, no challenge is too great and no dream too big.

“So tonight I’d like to share a more hopeful, Republican vision – one that empowers you, not the government. It’s one that champions free markets – and trusts people to make their own decisions, not a government that decides for you. It helps working families rise above the limits of poverty and protects our most vulnerable. And it’s one where Washington plays by the same rules that you do. It’s a vision that is fair and offers the promise of a better future for every American.”

“Because our mission – not only as Republicans, but as Americans, is to once again to ensure that we are not bound by where we come from, but empowered by what we can become. That is the gap Republicans are working to close. It’s the gap we all face: between where you are and where you want to be.”

“Last month, more Americans stopped looking for a job than found one. Too many people are falling further and further behind because, right now, the President’s policies are making people’s lives harder. Republicans have plans to close the gap…Plans that focus on jobs first without more spending, government bailouts, and red tape…Every day, we’re working to expand our economy, one manufacturing job, nursing degree and small business at a time. We have plans to improve our education and training systems so you have the choice to determine where your kids go to school…to help you take home more of your paycheck…with lower taxes, cheaper energy costs, and affordable health care.

“We’ve all talked to too many people who have received cancellation notices they didn’t expect or who can no longer see the doctors they always have. No, we shouldn’t go back to the way things were, but the President’s health care law is not working. Republicans believe health care choices should be yours, not the government’s. And that whether you’re a boy with Down syndrome or a woman with breast cancer, you can find coverage and a doctor who will treat you.”

“As Republicans, we advance these plans every day because we believe in a government that trusts people and doesn’t limit where you finish because of where you started. That is what we stand for – for an America that is every bit as compassionate as it is exceptional…Our plan is one that dreams big for everyone and turns its back on no one.”

Political Musings January 26, 2014: GOP weekly address criticizes Obama prior to State of the Union Address

POLITICAL MUSINGS

https://historymusings.files.wordpress.com/2013/06/pol_musings.jpg?w=600

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

OP-EDS & ARTICLES

GOP weekly address criticizes Obama prior to State of the Union Address

By Bonnie K. Goodman

The Republican Party has decided three responses after President Barack Obama’s State of the Union Address was not enough and thought it would best to give a “pre-emptive strike” and use the GOP weekly address…READ MORE

Political Musings January 25, 2014: State of the Union guessing game: predicted Obama will give economy heavy speech

POLITICAL MUSINGS

https://historymusings.files.wordpress.com/2013/06/pol_musings.jpg?w=600

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

OP-EDS & ARTICLES

State of the Union guessing game: predicted Obama will give economy heavy speech

By Bonnie K. Goodman

With days left before the big speech, the guessing game is full swing, what will President Obama say and include in the 2014 State of the Union Address, the sixth of his presidency to be delivered on Tuesday, Jan. 28…READ MORE

Political Musings January 24, 2014: Three GOP responses planned to Obama’s State of the Union Address

POLITICAL MUSINGS

https://historymusings.files.wordpress.com/2013/06/pol_musings.jpg?w=600

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

OP-EDS & ARTICLES

Three GOP responses planned to Obama’s State of the Union Address

By Bonnie K. Goodman

Not to be outdone this year the Republican Party will have three responses to President Barack Obama’s 2014 State of the Union Address on Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2014. On Thursday, Jan. 23, the GOP announced the official response…READ MORE
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