Remarks of President Barack Obama
As Prepared for Delivery
January 9, 2010
A year ago, when I took office in the midst of the worst recession since the Great Depression, I promised you two things. The first was that there would be better days ahead. And the second was that the road to recovery would be long, and sometimes bumpy.
That was brought home again yesterday. We learned that in November, our economy saw its first month of job gains in nearly two years – but last month, we lost more than we gained. Now, we know that no single month makes a trend, and job losses for the final quarter of 2009 were one-tenth what they were in the first quarter. But until we see a trend of good, sustainable job creation, we will be relentless in our efforts to put America back to work.
That task goes even deeper than replacing the seven million jobs that have been lost over the past two years. We need to rebuild our economy in such a way that our families can feel a measure of security again. Too many of the folks I’ve talked with this year, and whose stories I read in letters at night, tell me that they’ve known their own private recessions since long before economists declared one – and they’ll still feel the recession long after economists have declared it over.
That’s because, for decades, Washington avoided doing what was right in favor of doing what was easy. And the result was an economy where some made out well, but the middle class too often took a beating.
Over the past decade, the income of the average household actually declined, and we lost as many jobs as we created. Hardworking folks who did everything right suddenly found themselves forced to downscale their dreams because of economic factors beyond their control. We’re talking about simple dreams. American dreams. A good job with a good wage. A secure and dignified retirement. Stable health care so you don’t go broke just because you get sick. The chance to give our kids a better shot than we got.
That’s why, as we begin to emerge from this crisis, we will not return to the complacency that helped cause it. Even as we focus on putting America back to work today, we’re building a new foundation for our economy to create the good, lasting jobs and shared prosperity of tomorrow.
We’re making historic investments in science and in a clean energy economy that will generate and keep the jobs and industries of the future right here in America.
We’re reforming our education system, so that our kids are fully prepared to compete with workers anywhere in the world and win the race for the 21st century.
We’re fixing our broken health insurance system that’s crushing families, eating away at workers’ take-home pay, and nailing small businesses with double-digit premium increases.
And that’s what I’d like to focus on for a minute. After a long and thorough debate, we are on the verge of passing health insurance reform that will finally offer Americans the security of knowing they’ll have quality, affordable health care whether they lose their job, change jobs, move, or get sick. The worst practices of the insurance industry will be banned forever. And costs will finally come down for families, businesses, and our government.
Now, it’ll take a few years to fully implement these reforms in a responsible way. But what every American should know is that once I sign health insurance reform into law, there are dozens of protections and benefits that will take effect this year.
Uninsured Americans with a pre-existing illness or condition will finally be able to purchase coverage they can afford.
Children with pre-existing conditions will no longer be refused coverage, and young adults will be able to stay on their parents’ policy until they’re 26 or 27 years old.
Small business owners who can’t afford to cover their employees will be immediately offered tax credits to purchase coverage.
Early retirees who receive coverage from their employers will see their coverage protected and their premiums go down.
Seniors who fall into the coverage gap known as the donut hole will receive discounts of up to 50 percent on their prescriptions as we begin to close that gap altogether.
And every patient’s choice of doctor will be protected, along with access to emergency care.
Here’s what else will happen within the first year. Insurance plans will be required to offer free preventive care to their customers – so that we can start catching preventable illnesses and diseases on the front end. They’ll no longer be allowed to impose restrictive annual limits on the amount of coverage you receive or lifetime limits on the amount of benefits you receive. They’ll be prohibited from dropping your coverage when you get sick and need it most. And there will be a new, independent appeals process for anyone who feels they were unfairly denied a claim by their insurance company.
In short, once I sign health insurance reform into law, doctors and patients will have more control over their health care decisions, and insurance company bureaucrats will have less. All told, these changes represent the most sweeping reforms and toughest restrictions on insurance companies that this country has ever known. That’s how we’ll make 2010 a healthier and more secure year for every American – for those who have health insurance, and those who don’t.
We enter a new decade, now, with new perils – but we’re going to meet them. It’s also a time of tremendous promise – and we’re going to seize it. We will rebuild the American Dream for our middle class and put the American economy on a stronger footing for the future. And this year, I am as hopeful and as confident as ever that we’re going to rise to this moment the same way that generations of Americans always have: as one nation, and one people. Thanks for listening.
For Immediate Release
January 8, 2010
Statement from Vice President Joe Biden
“My mother, Catherine Eugenia “Jean” Finnegan Biden, passed away peacefully today at our home in Wilmington, Delaware, surrounded by her children, her grandchildren, her great-grandchildren and many loved ones. At 92, she was the center of our family and taught all of her children that family is to be treasured, loyalty is paramount and faith will guide you through the tough times. She believed in us, and because of that, we believed in ourselves. Together with my father, her husband of 61 years who passed away in 2002, we learned the dignity of hard work and that you are defined by your sense of honor. Her strength, which was immeasurable, will live on in all of us.”
Catherine Eugenia “Jean” Finnegan Biden was born on July 17, 1917, the daughter of the late Ambrose J. Finnegan and the former Geraldine C. Blewitt of Scranton, Pennsylvania. In 1941, she married Joseph Robinette Biden. They were married for 61 years before Mr. Biden passed away in 2002.
Mrs. Biden is survived by her eldest son, Vice President Joseph R. Biden, Jr., his wife Jill Jacobs Biden and their three children, Joseph R. Biden, III, of Wilmington, Delaware, his wife Hallie Olivere Biden and their children, Natalie Paige Biden and Robert Hunter Biden, II; R. Hunter Biden of Washington, D.C., his wife Kathleen Buhle Biden and their children, Naomi King Biden, Finnegan James Biden and Roberta Mabel Biden; and Ashley Blazer Biden of Wilmington, Delaware; and by her daughter, Valerie Biden Owens of Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, her husband John T. Owens and their children Valerie James Owens, Cuffe Biden Owens and Catherine Eugenia Owens; and by her two younger sons, James Brian Biden of Merion Station, Pennsylvania, his wife Sara Jones Biden and their children, James Brian Biden, Jr., Caroline Nicole Biden and Nicholas Coleman Biden; and Francis W. Biden of Florida and his daughter, Alana Jaquet Biden.
Details on services for Mrs. Biden, 92, will be available in the coming days. On behalf of the Biden family, Valerie Biden Owens has requested that, in lieu of flowers, those wishing to make a contribution in memory of Mrs. Biden do so to a hospice, the Ministry of Caring in Wilmington, Delaware, or the Naomi Christina Biden Minority Scholarship Fund at Archmere Academy in Claymont, Delaware.
REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT
ON JOBS AND CLEAN ENERGY INVESTMENTS
3:14 P.M. EST
THE PRESIDENT: Good afternoon, everybody. Before I announce a significant new investment we’re making in clean energy, I want to give an update on a matter of concern to every American — and that’s our employment picture.
The jobs numbers that were released by the Labor Department this morning are a reminder that the road to recovery is never straight, and that we have to continue to work every single day to get our economy moving again. For most Americans, and for me, that means jobs. It means whether we are putting people back to work.
Job losses for the last quarter of 2009 were one-tenth of what we were experiencing in the first quarter. In fact, in November we saw the first gain in jobs in nearly two years. Last month, however, we slipped back, losing more jobs than we gained, though the overall trend of job loss is still pointing in the right direction.
What this underscores, though, is that we have to continue to explore every avenue to accelerate the return to hiring, which brings me to my announcement today. The Recovery Act has been a major force in breaking the trajectory of this recession and stimulating growth and hiring. And one of the most popular elements of it has been a clean energy manufacturing initiative that will put Americans to work while helping America gain the lead when it comes to clean energy.
It’s clear why such an effort is so important. Building a robust clean energy sector is how we will create the jobs of the future — jobs that pay well and can’t be outsourced. But it’s also how we will reduce our dangerous dependence on foreign oil, a dependence that endangers our economy and our security. And it is how we will combat the threat of climate change and leave our children a planet that’s safer than the one we inherited.
Harnessing new forms of energy will be one of the defining challenges of the 21st century. And unfortunately, right now the United States, the nation that pioneered the use of clean energy, is being outpaced by nations around the world. It’s China that has launched the largest effort in history to make their economy energy efficient. We spearheaded the development of solar technology, but we’ve fallen behind countries like Germany and Japan in producing it. And almost all of the batteries that we use to power our hybrid vehicles are still manufactured by Japanese companies or in Asia — though, because of one of the steps like the one we’re taking today, we’re beginning to produce more of these batteries here at home.
Now, I welcome and am pleased to see a real competition emerging around the world to develop these kinds of clean energy technologies. Competition is what fuels innovation. But I don’t want America to lose that competition. I don’t want the industries that yield the jobs of tomorrow to be built overseas. I don’t want the technology that will transform the way we use energy to be invented abroad. I want the United States of America to be what it has always been — and that is a leader — the leader when it comes to a clean energy future.
And that’s exactly what this clean energy manufacturing initiative will help us do. It will help close the clean energy gap that’s grown between America and other nations. Through this initiative, we’re awarding $2.3 billion in tax credits for American manufacturers of clean energy technologies — companies that build wind turbines, and produce solar panels, and assemble cutting edge batteries. The initiative we’re outlining today will likely generate 17,000 jobs, and the roughly $5 billion more that we’ll leverage in the private sector investments could help create tens of thousands of additional jobs.
At the same time, this initiative will give a much-needed boost to our manufacturing sector by building new plants or upgrading old ones. And we’ll take an important step toward meeting the goal I’ve set of doubling the amount of renewable power we use in the next three years with wind turbines and solar panels built right here in the U.S. of A. Put simply, this initiative is good for middle-class families. It is good for our security. It’s good for our planet.
Over 180 projects in over 40 states will receive these tax credits. And one of them is TPI Composites, Inc., which is based in Newton, Iowa — one of America’s leading wind turbine manufacturers. Because of these tax credits, TPI Composites will not only be able to expand an existing facility in Newton, they’ll not only be able to build a brand new facility in Nebraska, they’ll also be able to hire over 200 new workers. And it’s my hope that similar stories will be told in cities and towns across America because of this initiative.
In fact, this initiative has been so popular that we have far more qualified applicants than we’ve been able to fund. We received requests for roughly three times as much in funding — $7.6 billion — as we could provide. And that’s why, as part of the jobs package on which I’m urging Congress to act, I’ve called for investing another $5 billion in this program, which could put even more Americans to work right away building and equipping clean energy manufacturing facilities here in the United States.
In the letters that I receive at night, and I — many of you know I get about 10 letters a night that I take a look at — I often hear from Americans who are facing hard times — Americans who’ve lost their jobs, or can’t afford to pay their bills; they’re worried about what the future holds. I am confident that if we harness the ingenuity of companies like TPI Composites; if we can tap the talents of our workers, and our innovators, and our entrepreneurs; if we can gain the lead in clean energy worldwide; then we’ll forge a future where a better life is possible in our country over the long run. That’s a future we’re now closer to building because of the steps that we’re taking today.
Thank you very much, everybody.
Statement By Chair Of The Council Of Economic Advisors Christina Romer On The Employment Situation In December
Statement by Chair of the Council of Economic Advisors Christina Romer on the Employment Situation in December
The statement below was posted on www.WhiteHouse.gov by the Chair of the Council of Economic Advisors Christina Romer in response to the December employment report. The statement can also be accessed at the following link: http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2010/01/08/december-jobs-numbers.
On the December Jobs Numbers
Posted by Christina Romer on January 08, 2010 at 09:37 AM EST
Today’s employment report, though a setback from November, is consistent with the gradual labor market stabilization we have been seeing over the last several months.
Payroll employment declined 85,000 in December. To put this number in perspective, employment declined 139,000 in September and 127,000 in October. So, in a broad sense the trend toward moderating job loss is continuing. This trend is particularly obvious in the quarterly pattern: average monthly job loss was 691,000 in the first quarter of 2009, 428,000 in the second quarter, 199,000 in the third quarter, and 69,000 in the fourth quarter.
Revised data now show that employment increased 4,000 in November. This is obviously welcome news and the first employment increase in 23 months. Compared with the unexpectedly good report for November, December’s job loss is a slight setback. Two industries where employment declined significantly were construction (-53,000) and wholesale and retail trade (-28,400). One continuing sign of labor market healing was that temporary help services, which is often a leading indicator of labor demand, added 46,500 jobs in December. Both the work week and aggregate hours remained stable, maintaining the significant improvement that occurred in November.
The unemployment rate remained at 10.0 percent in December. This level reflected a proportional decline in the number of people unemployed and the number of people in the labor force. The unemployment rate remains unacceptably high, which underscores the need for responsible actions to jumpstart private-sector job creation.
As the President has said for a year, the road to recovery will not be a straight line. The monthly employment and unemployment numbers are volatile and subject to substantial revision. Therefore, it is important not to read too much into any one monthly report, positive or negative. It is essential that we continue our efforts to move in the right direction and replace job losses with robust job gains.
President Obama Awards $2.3 Billion for New Clean-Tech Manufacturing Jobs
Recovery Act Tax Credits to Enable More Than $7 Billion in New Manufacturing Projects and Create Tens of Thousands of Jobs
WASHINGTON – Today at the White House, President Obama announced the award of $2.3 billion in Recovery Act Advanced Energy Manufacturing Tax Credits for clean energy manufacturing projects across the United States. One hundred eighty three projects in 43 states will create tens of thousands of high quality clean energy jobs and the domestic manufacturing of advanced clean energy technologies including solar, wind and efficiency and energy management technologies.
As part of the Recovery Act, these tax credits are focused on putting Americans back to work by building a robust domestic manufacturing capacity to supply clean and renewable energy projects with American made parts and equipment. These credits are also an important step towards meeting the President’s goal of doubling the amount of renewable energy the country uses in the next three years with wind turbines and solar panels built right here in the United States.
“Building a robust clean energy sector is how we will create the jobs of the future,” said President Obama. “The Recovery Act awards I am announcing today will help close the clean energy gap that has grown between America and other nations while creating good jobs, reducing our carbon emissions and increasing our energy security.”
“By investing in innovative clean energy manufacturing projects like these, we are not only creating good jobs now, but helping lay a new foundation to keep America competitive in the 21st century economy,” said Vice President Biden. “This is what the Recovery Act is all about.”
“There is no greater priority for this Administration than getting Americans back to work,” said Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner. “The awards announced today, together with the more than $5 billion in private sector capital spurred by our investment, will drive significant growth in the renewable energy and clean technology manufacturing sectors, good jobs, an energized private sector marketplace and a leadership role for the U.S. in these crucial high-growth markets.”
“The world urgently needs to move toward clean energy technologies, and the United States has the opportunity to lead in this new industrial revolution,” said Secretary Chu. “Today’s awards will create new jobs and jumpstart the industries we need to both solve the energy problem and ensure America’s future competitiveness.”
This effort, along with other Recovery Act investments, will drive significant growth in the renewable energy and clean technology manufacturing sectors and give the United States the ability to lead globally in these markets. The investment tax credits, worth up to thirty percent of each planned project, will leverage private capital for a total investment of nearly $7.7 billion in high-tech manufacturing in the United States.
The projects announced today address the broad spectrum of manufacturing capabilities needed to support a robust clean energy economy. The projects were competitively selected through a rigorous merit review process and the companies chosen say they will create more than 17,000 jobs in some of the fastest growing parts of our economy.
Today’s announcement includes tax credits for numerous clean energy technologies and companies, including:
Smart Grid – Itron, Inc.’s OpenWay CENTRON meter is one of the first smart meters for the residential market providing built-in, two-way communications and a remote on/off switch which will give customers more choice and enable utilities to provide higher reliability at lower cost.
The expansion of manufacturing capacity in their facility in South Carolina will allow an annual production of four million meters. Itron estimates that one year’s production of the meters will be able to reduce electricity use by approximately 1.7 million MWh per year.
Building Efficiency and Energy Management – W.L. Gore & Associates, Inc. is producing an advanced membrane for high efficiency fuel cells for buildings and vehicles. The company’s products can help enable lower-cost fuel cells for use in electric vehicles or to power homes and businesses. They are also manufacturing an advanced turbine filter to improve the performance of gas turbines to produce greater outputs at lower cost and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Solar Energy – PPG Industries, Inc. will produce a double anti-reflective coating for glass to make solar cells more efficient. At their Louisiana facility, PPG will produce a special tire tread component that reduces rolling resistance and improves fuel economy. Before the solar industry had begun, PPG pioneered the first low-iron glass that has been used in solar cells and on countless solar installations over the past two decades. Today, this credit will help to expand the manufacture of one of the critical components of glass solar cells, the transparent conductive oxide (TCO) coatings of the glass, without which the cells cannot function.
Wind Energy – TPI Composites, Inc. is building a new manufacturing facility in Nebraska to produce next generation wind turbine blades. TPI says the facility will create over 200 new jobs and will have a capacity equivalent to supplying 265 turbines rated at 2.5 MW for a total electrical output of 663 MW TPI will also be expanding their existing manufacturing facility in Iowa to meet the anticipated increased demand for composite wind turbine blades. TPI’s composite materials made in both facilities are used to make lighter and stronger wind turbine blades and lighter and stronger (and more fuel efficient) vehicles.
While projects selected for this tax credit generally must be placed in service by 2014, approximately 30 percent of them will be completed in 2010.
As part of an innovative partnership between the Departments of Treasury and Energy, the two cabinet agencies worked together to develop, launch, and award the funds for this program in record time. The Advanced Energy Manufacturing Tax Credit authorized Treasury to provide developers with an investment tax credit of 30 percent for facilities that manufacture particular types of energy equipment. Qualifying manufacturers will produce solar, wind, and geothermal energy equipment; fuel cells, microturbines, and batteries; electric cars; electric grids to support the transmission of renewable energy; energy conservation technologies; and equipment that captures and sequesters carbon dioxide or reduces greenhouse gas emissions.
One hundred eighty three projects have been selected for the tax credit today. For a full list of selected projects, CLICK HERE.