BREAKING NEWS: STATEMENT BY THE PRESIDENT ON THE SHOOTING OF ARIZONA CONGRESSWOMAN GABRIELLE GIFFORDS
STATEMENT BY THE PRESIDENT
This morning, in an unspeakable tragedy, a number of Americans were shot in Tuscon, Arizona, at a constituent meeting with Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. And while we are continuing to receive information, we know that some have passed away, and that Representative Giffords is gravely wounded.
We do not yet have all the answers. What we do know is that such a senseless and terrible act of violence has no place in a free society. I ask all Americans to join me and Michelle in keeping Representative Giffords, the victims of this tragedy, and their families in our prayers.
WEEKLY ADDRESS: President Obama Touts Benefits of Tax Cut Package to Take Place in the New Year
WASHINGTON – In his weekly address, President Obama looked forward to how the tax cut package he signed into law in December will benefit millions of Americans in the new year. For one year, any business, large or small, can write off the full cost of most of their capital investments. The payroll tax cut will mean $1,000 more this year for a typical family – 155 million workers will see larger paychecks because of that tax cut. Twelve million families will benefit from a $1,000 child tax credit and an expanded Earned Income Tax Credit. And eight million students and families will continue to benefit from a $2,500 tuition tax credit. Independent experts have concluded that the tax cut package should significantly accelerate the pace of the recovery.
The audio and video of the address will be available online at www.whitehouse.gov at 6:00 a.m. ET, Saturday, January 08, 2011.
Remarks of President Barack Obama
As Prepared for Delivery
The White House
January 08, 2011
Last month, our economy added more than 100,000 private sector jobs and the unemployment rate fell sharply. This follows encouraging economic news from increased auto sales to continued expansion of our manufacturing sector.
Now, we know that these numbers can bounce around from month to month. But the trend is clear. We saw 12 straight months of private sector job growth – the first time that’s been true since 2006. The economy added 1.3 million jobs last year. And each quarter was stronger than the last, which means the pace of hiring is picking up.
Now we’re seeing more optimistic economic forecasts for the year ahead, in part due to the package of tax cuts I signed last month. I fought for that package because, while we are recovering, we plainly still have a lot of work to do. The recession rocked the foundations of our economy, and left a lot of destruction and doubt in its wake.
So, our fundamental mission must be to accelerate hiring and growth, while we do the things we know are necessary to insure America’s leadership in an increasingly competitive world and build an economy that will provide opportunity to any American willing to work for it.
I’m absolutely confident we will get there. I am confident, first and foremost, because of you; because of the ingenuity of our entrepreneurs and business owners; the tenacity of our workers; and the determination of the American people. This is what has made our economy the envy of the world. But we have to do everything we can to help our businesses and workers win in this new economy.
Yesterday, I visited the Thompson Creek Window Company, a small business in Maryland. Over the past year, sales there have grown by 55% thanks, in part, to an energy tax credit we created. And this year, they’re also planning to take advantage of a new tax incentive for businesses. For one year, any business, large or small, can write off the full cost of most of their capital investments. This will make it more affordable for businesses like Thompson Creek to expand and hire.
So, if you’re a business owner, I’d encourage you to take advantage of this temporary provision. It will save you money today and help you grow your business tomorrow.
This incentive is part of the economic package I signed into law last month – a package that also includes a payroll tax cut that will mean $1,000 more this year for a typical family. In fact, 155 million workers will see larger paychecks this month as a result of this tax cut.
Twelve million families will benefit from a $1,000 child tax credit and an expanded Earned Income Tax Credit. Eight million students and families will continue to benefit from a $2,500 tuition tax credit to make college more affordable.
And millions of entrepreneurs in big cities and small towns across the country will benefit not only from the business expensing plan I mentioned, but from additional tax cuts that will spur research and development.
Independent experts have concluded that, taken together, this package of tax cuts will significantly accelerate the pace of our economic recovery, spurring additional jobs and growth.
And that is our mission. That should be the focus, day in and day out, of our work in Washington in the coming months, as we wrestle with a challenging budget and long-term deficits. And I’m determined to work with everyone, Republicans and Democrats, to achieve that goal. What we can’t do is refight the battles of the past two years that distract us from the hard work of moving our economy forward. What we can’t do is engage in the kinds of symbolic battles that so often consume Washington while the rest of America waits for us to solve problems.
The tax cuts and other progress we made in December were a much-needed departure from that pattern. Let’s build on that admirable example and do our part, here in Washington, so the doers, builders, and innovators in America can do their best in 2011 and beyond. Thanks everyone, and have a nice weekend.
STATEMENT BY THE PRESIDENT ON H.R. 6523
Today I have signed into law H.R. 6523, the “Ike Skelton National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2011.” The Act authorizes funding for the defense of the United States and its interests abroad, for military construction, and for national security-related energy programs.
Section 1032 bars the use of funds authorized to be appropriated by this Act for fiscal year 2011 to transfer Guantanamo detainees into the United States, and section 1033 bars the use of certain funds to transfer detainees to the custody or effective control of foreign countries unless specified conditions are met. Section 1032 represents a dangerous and unprecedented challenge to critical executive branch authority to determine when and where to prosecute Guantanamo detainees, based on the facts and the circumstances of each case and our national security interests. The prosecution of terrorists in Federal court is a powerful tool in our efforts to protect the Nation and must be among the options available to us. Any attempt to deprive the executive branch of that tool undermines our Nation’s counterterrorism efforts and has the potential to harm our national security.
With respect to section 1033, the restrictions on the transfer of detainees to the custody or effective control of foreign countries interfere with the authority of the executive branch to make important and consequential foreign policy and national security determinations regarding whether and under what circumstances such transfers should occur in the context of an ongoing armed conflict. We must have the ability to act swiftly and to have broad flexibility in conducting our negotiations with foreign countries. The executive branch has sought and obtained from countries that are prospective recipients of Guantanamo detainees assurances that they will take or have taken measures reasonably designed to be effective in preventing, or ensuring against, returned detainees taking action to threaten the United States or engage in terrorist activities. Consistent with existing statutes, the executive branch has kept the Congress informed about these assurances and notified the Congress prior to transfers. Requiring the executive branch to certify to additional conditions would hinder the conduct of delicate negotiations with foreign countries and therefore the effort to conclude detainee transfers in accord with our national security.
Despite my strong objection to these provisions, which my Administration has consistently opposed, I have signed this Act because of the importance of authorizing appropriations for, among other things, our military activities in 2011.
Nevertheless, my Administration will work with the Congress to seek repeal of these restrictions, will seek to mitigate their effects, and will oppose any attempt to extend or expand them in the future.
THE WHITE HOUSE,
January 7, 2011.
Repealing the Affordable Care Act will Hurt the Economy
By Stephanie Cutter
The House Republican Health Care Plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act and take away all the new freedom and control it gives the American people over their health care and gives it back to insurance companies will not only raise costs for individuals and businesses, but it will hurt our economy.
Since the President signed the Affordable Care Act into law last March, the economy has created over 1 million private sector jobs, including the 113,000 private sector jobs created in December announced today. So, at a time when our economy is getting stronger, repealing the law would hamper that important economic progress by increasing costs on individuals and businesses, weakening the benefits and protections that Americans with private insurance are already enjoying, and adding more than a trillion dollars to our deficits.
Opponents’ claim that the law is “job-killing” is in direct contradiction to what has actually been happening in the economy since enactment. In fact, repealing the law would likely slow down the growth of our economy. Here are the facts:
- Since the Affordable Care Act was signed into law, the economy has created over 1 million private sector jobs. The unemployment rate is 9.4%, lower than it was in March 2010—9.7%.
- In the period during and right after the enactment of the law, the economy grew by 2.7%.
- Consumer confidence in a range of areas have improved, including retail and food sales by 4%, and auto sales by 7% since the enactment of the law.
- Slowing the growth of health care costs—as the Affordable Care Act does—will have the likely impact of creating more jobs since businesses will have to spend less on health care for their employees. This reduction could create more than 300,000 additional jobs.
- The law widely expands coverage to Americans, thereby reducing the hidden tax of about $1,000 that families with insurance pay each year in additional premium costs to cover the uncompensated costs of the uninsured.
- The law reduces small businesses’ health care expenses by giving them $40 billion worth of tax credits and through the creation of new, competitive state-based insurance Exchanges. Exchanges will enable individuals and small businesses to pool together and use their market strength to buy coverage at a lower cost, the same way large employers do today, giving them the freedom to launch their own companies without worrying whether health care will be available when they need it.
- The law will lower the deficit by over $100 billion this decade and by over $1 trillion in the following decade.
Repealing the Affordable Care Act would have a devastating impact on our economy. In addition to hurting some of the economic progress that has been made over the past ten months the Congressional Budget Office found that repealing the law would add over a quarter of a trillion dollars–$230 billion—to the deficit in the first decade, and more than a trillion dollars in the second decade; increase the number of uninsured by 32 million Americans; increase premiums for large employers; and will force consumers who buy coverage on the individual market to pay more out of pocket for fewer benefits.
In addition, Harvard Economist David Cutler found in a report released today by the Center for American Progress that repealing the law would significantly increase costs and reduce job growth. It will “…revert us back to the old system for financing and delivering health care and lead to substantial increases in total medical spending” by:
- Adding up to $2,000 annually to family premiums and increasing overall medical spending $125 billion by the end of this decade.
- Preventing 250,000 to 400,000 jobs from being created annually over the next decade.
- Suppressing entrepreneurship among workers who may have started new businesses, or sought new opportunities in the economy since they will no longer be free from worrying whether affordable coverage would be available to them in the new Exchanges, when they need it the most.
Again, these facts speak for themselves. Repealing the Affordable Care Act would hurt families, businesses, and our economy.
Read more about how many jobs our economy has created here: http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2011/01/07/employment-situation-december
Read the full Center for American Progress report on the economic consequences of repealing the law here: http://www.americanprogress.org/issues/2011/01/jobs_health_repeal.html
REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT
ON THE DECEMBER JOBS REPORT AND
ECONOMIC PERSONNEL ANNOUNCEMENTS
Thompson Creek Manufacturing
11:40 A.M. EST
THE PRESIDENT: Please, everybody have a seat. It is wonderful to be with all of you today. I want to make just a couple of quick acknowledgments. First of all, we have one of the fine senators from the great state of Maryland, Ben Cardin, in the house. Where’s Ben? There he is right here. (Applause.) Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker is here. (Applause.)
I want to thank Rick Wuest, the CEO and owner of Thompson Creek Manufacturing, and all the employees here at Thompson. Thank you so much for your hospitality and the great work that you’re doing. (Applause.) And I want to acknowledge the family and guests of those who are standing behind me today.
It is wonderful to be here at Thompson Creek, and I want to thank Rick for showing me how you manufacture more efficient windows at this factory. This is, as he explained to me, a family business. Rick was just 13 when his father Fred opened the company. And back then, his family lived above the store, and Rick started out sweeping the floors. Three decades later, Thompson Creek has expanded. It’s already outgrown this new 80,000 square-foot facility that it moved into just three years ago. And I’ll bet sometimes Rick still feels like he’s living at the plant. (Laughter.) That’s what happens when you’re in charge.
But building this business has been an extraordinary accomplishment for the Wuest family. And it speaks not only to him — it also speaks to all the employees here today, the hardworking men and women who make this company work. And it speaks to the promise of America. It’s the idea that if you’ve got a dream and you’re willing to work hard, then you can succeed.
That promise is at the heart of who we are as a people, and it’s at the heart of our economic might. It’s what helps give an entrepreneur the courage to start a business, or a company the confidence to expand. It’s what leads to new products and new ideas, and technologies that have not only made us the world’s largest economy, but also the most innovative economy in the world. Making it possible for businesses to succeed is how we ensure that our economy succeeds and all our people succeed. It’s how we create jobs.
And that’s what’s guided my administration for the past two years. Government can’t guarantee Thompson Creek or any business will be successful, but government can knock down barriers like a lack of affordable credit or high costs for investment or high costs for hiring — we can do something about that. Government can remove obstacles in your path.
And that’s why we cut taxes for small businesses over the last two years. For example, with a tax break for hiring unemployed workers, Thompson Creek was able to grow its workforce from 200 employees to nearly 300 employees in just one year. And it took advantage of the tax credits that we put into place. We also passed a tax credit for products like energy-saving windows, and that led to a 55-percent boost in the sales at this firm.
Rick was telling me that when that tax credit got into place, the marketing arm of Thompson Creek got busy. (Laughter.) And that’s the right — that exactly what we intended. That’s exactly what we wanted to see, is explaining to the American people you can save money on your energy bill, this is a smart thing to do, take advantage of it.
So incentives like these are helping companies across America. And the jobs numbers released this morning reflect that growth. The economy added more than 100,000 jobs last month, and the unemployment rate fell sharply.
Now, we know these numbers can bounce around from month to month. But the trend is clear. We saw 12 straight months of private sector job growth. That’s the first time that’s been true since 2006. The economy added 1.3 million jobs last year. And each quarter was stronger than the previous quarter, which means that the pace of hiring is beginning to pick up. We’re also seeing more optimistic economic forecasts for the year ahead, in part due to the package of tax cuts I signed last month, including a payroll tax cut for workers and a series of tax cuts to encourage investment and innovation and hiring.
And I fought for that package because, even though our economy is recovering, we’ve still got a lot to do. This was a brutal recession that we went through, the worst in our lifetimes. It left a lot of destruction in its wake. More than 8 million jobs were lost. So even though we’ve created 1.3 million jobs and we saved a whole lot of jobs, you’ve still got a whole bunch of folks who are out there looking, still struggling. We’ve got a big hole that we’re digging ourselves out of.
And so our mission has to be to accelerate hiring and to accelerate growth. And that depends on making our economy more competitive so that we’re fostering new jobs in new industries, and training workers to fill them. It depends on keeping up the fight for every job and every business and every opportunity to spur growth. And so standing with me here today are men and women who will help America fulfill in this mission. Let me just introduce each of them.
We’re joined, first of all, by Gene Sperling, who I have appointed Director of the National Economic Council. Give Gene a big round of applause. (Applause.) Now, Gene has been an extraordinary asset to me and this administration over the past two years. He’s been working with me. He led our efforts to pass the small business jobs bill to help companies all across America. He also helped negotiate the tax compromise that we passed at the end of this year. He’s a public servant who has devoted his life to making this economy work -– and making it work specifically for middle-class families.
Now, one of the reasons I’ve selected Gene is he’s done this before. This is his second tour of duty heading up the NEC, and in his tenure in the Clinton administration during the late ‘90s, he helped formulate the policies that contributed to turning deficits to surpluses and a time of prosperity and progress for American families in a sustained way. Few people bring the level of intelligence and sheer work ethic that Gene brings to every assignment he’s ever taken. And few do so with such decency and integrity. So, Gene, we are lucky to have you back at the NEC. And I know you’re going to do a terrific job.
Part of the reason I know that Gene will do a terrific job is because he’s going to have Jason Furman working with him. I’m pleased to elevate Jason Furman to be principal deputy at the National Economic Council. Give Jason a big round of applause. (Applause.)
Over the past two years, I’ve relied on Jason’s advice and expertise on a range of economic issues, from helping design the emergency steps we took to prevent our economy from sinking into a second depression, to most recently working with Gene and the economic team to pass the tax cut compromise. And I’m confident that he will continue to do terrific work in this greater capacity.
We’re also joined by somebody I’ve come to rely on as an advisor and a friend since my first days as a presidential candidate. Heather Higginbottom is currently the deputy director of the Domestic Policy Council where she’s been the point person on education as we’ve pursued some of the most innovative and important reforms in decades. I’m proud to nominate Heather to now serve as deputy director of the Office of Management and Budget.
And she understands the relationship between numbers on a ledger and the lives of real people. As we make cuts that are necessary to rein in the deficit, I want to make sure I’ve got Heather there so that we’re meeting our fundamental obligations to our people and to our economy as well. So give Heather a big round of applause. Thank you. (Applause.)
And, finally, I’m nominating Katharine Abraham to the Council of Economic Advisers. Go ahead. (Applause.) Katharine brings a wealth of experience as an economist, as a commissioner of the Bureau of Labor Statistics during the Clinton administration. I am confident that she is going to provide the kind of unbiased, unvarnished advice that will help us craft the best policies to strengthen this economy in the years to come.
Now, part of our mission — part of this team’s mission — in the months ahead will be to maximize the steps we’ve taken to spur the economy. And one of the most important is allowing businesses to immediately deduct the entire cost of certain investments like the new equipment that I was taking a look at. This is a policy I fought for over the past two years. We were able to pass it finally as part of the tax cut compromise. It is going to make a real difference for our economy.
So, talking to Rick, I know Thompson Creek is planning to take full advantage of this tax break. And that’s going to help Thompson Creek renovate, expand, and add another hundred new employees right here. And that’s worth applauding. (Applause.) That’s good. So you’ve got companies like this all over the country. And the Treasury Department estimates that overall this will accelerate $150 billion in tax cuts for 2 million businesses over the next two years.
So I want to urge all businesses with capital needs to take advantage of this temporary expensing provision, because we expect it to lower the average cost of investment by more than 75 percent for companies like Thompson Creek. It is a powerful new incentive for businesses. It is a great opportunity for companies to grow and add jobs. Now is the time to act.
Companies who are listening out there: If you are planning or thinking about making investments sometime in the future, make those investments now and you’re going to save money. And that will help us grow the economy. It will help you grow your business.
Overall, the decline in the unemployment rate is positive news, but it only underscores the importance of us not letting up on our efforts. So I’m looking forward to working with Heather and Gene and Katharine and Jason and everybody at the White House. We have one focus, and that is making sure that we are duplicating the success of places like Thompson Creek all across the country. We want businesses to grow. We want this economy to grow. And we want to put people back to work.
And I want to promise everybody at Thompson Creek and across the country: We will not rest until we have fully recovered from this recession and we have reached that brighter day.
Thank you very much, everybody. (Applause.)
Statement by CEA Chairman Austan Goolsbee on the Employment Situation in December
WASHINGTON – Today, the Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers Austan Goolsbee posted the following statement to the White House blog on the Employment Situation in December. You can view the statement HERE.
The Employment Situation in December
Posted by Austan Goolsbee on January 07, 2011 at 09:40 AM EST
Today’s employment report shows that private sector payrolls increased by 113,000 in December, capping 12 consecutive months of growth that added 1.3 million private sector jobs to the economy during 2010, the strongest private sector job growth since 2006. The unemployment rate fell 0.4 percentage point to 9.4 percent last month.
The overall trend of economic data over the past several months has been encouraging, due in large part to the initiatives passed by this Administration, but we still have a ways to go. The measures we worked with Congress to pass last month that continue tax cuts for the middle class and extensions to unemployment insurance are vital to sustaining the recovery. The Administration will also continue to focus on actions that the President has recommended to increase growth and job creation, such as providing incentives to encourage businesses to invest and hire here at home, investing in education and infrastructure, and promoting exports abroad.
In addition to the increases last month, the estimates of private sector job growth for October (now 193,000) and November (now 79,000) were revised up. Including today’s revisions, private sector employers have added an average of 128,000 jobs per month in the 4th quarter, the highest quarterly average in almost four years.
Overall payroll employment rose by 103,000 last month. Among the sectors with the largest payroll employment growth were leisure and hospitality (+47,000), education and health services (+44,000), temporary help services (+15,900), and manufacturing (+10,000). Local government (-20,000) and construction (-16,000) were among the sectors that subtracted from the total.
Even though the unemployment rate fell sharply in December, it is still unacceptably high and we need robust employment growth in order to recover from the deep job losses that began over two years ago. The overall trajectory of the economy has improved dramatically since then, but there will surely continue to be bumps in the road ahead. The monthly employment and unemployment numbers are volatile and employment estimates are subject to substantial revision. Therefore, as the Administration always stresses, it is important not to read too much into any one monthly report.
EXECUTIVE OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT
OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET
WASHINGTON, D.C. 20503
January 6, 2011
STATEMENT OF ADMINISTRATION POLICY
H. R. 2 – Repealing the Affordable Care Act
(Rep. Cantor, R–VA, and 162 cosponsors)
The Administration strongly opposes House passage of H.R. 2 because it would explode the deficit, raise costs for the American people and businesses, deny an estimated 32 million people health insurance, and take us back to the days when insurers could deny, limit or drop coverage for any American.
In a preliminary analysis of H.R. 2, the Congressional Budget Office found that repealing the law would increase the deficit by $230 billion in the first decade and roughly one-half of one percent of GDP, or over a trillion dollars, in the second decade; increase the number of uninsured Americans by 32 million; impose higher premiums on large firms; and cause consumers who buy coverage in the individual market to pay more out of pocket for fewer benefits. Medicare’s insolvency would be accelerated by repeal – the Medicare actuaries previously stated that the Affordable Care Act extended solvency by 12 years. Repealing the Affordable Care Act would not only increase deficits in the coming decade, but would also significantly worsen the long-term fiscal burdens on American businesses and families.
When the Affordable Care Act provisions are fully in effect, insurance companies will no longer be able to discriminate against any American with a preexisting condition, charge women higher rates, or charge drastically higher premiums for older Americans. H.R. 2 would eliminate the important patient protections, coverage expansions, affordability provisions, and fiscal savings in the Affordable Care Act. If the President were presented with H.R. 2, he would veto it.
Official White House Press Statement: Jack Lew White House Blog Post on ACA Repeal and Today’s CBO letter
Jack Lew Blog Post on ACA Repeal and Today’s CBO letter
WASHINGTON – Today, the Director of the Office of Management and Budget Jack Lew posted the following statement to the White House blog. You can view the statement HERE.
New Year, New Estimate, Same Result
Posted by Jack Lew on January 06, 2011 at 04:18 PM EST
The new year starts with a renewed focus on the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which the President signed into law last year and has already delivered a host of consumer protections and benefits to millions of Americans.
Yesterday, the House Republican leadership introduced a bill to repeal the ACA. Today, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) sent a letter to the Speaker of the House giving its assessment of the budgetary effects of a repeal: it would increase the budget deficit by hundreds of billions of dollars over the next decade. The CBO letter notes that “over the 2012–2021 period, the effect of H.R. 2 [the repeal of ACA] on federal deficits … is likely to be an increase in the vicinity of $230 billion.” This result is not surprising since CBO scored the ACA as reducing the deficit by more than $100 billion through 2019 and by more than $1 trillion in the decade after that.
To be fair, CBO is clear that this is a preliminary estimate that does not take into account a host of changes in the economy, technical matters, and the effects of the implementation to date. But even after a more comprehensive analysis, we should expect the same outcome: the deficit would increase substantially if ACA were repealed. As CBO Director Elmendorf wrote in his blog today, “those developments will probably not have a major effect on the overall budgetary impact of repealing the legislation.”
For those in both parties who care about the deficit and our future fiscal course, the repeal of the ACA should concern them deeply. Rising health care costs are the biggest driver of our long-term deficits, and getting them under control is crucial for the fiscal health of the nation and to keep our economy growing, creating jobs, and competing in the world economy. Beyond that, we need to keep in mind that repealing the ACA also would roll back what the bill already has done to help millions of Americans — from the families benefitting from the end to lifetime dollar limits on essential benefits to the young people now able to join their parents’ policies and the seniors who now are able to afford their prescription drugs. And repeal would deny an estimated 32 million American citizens health insurance in years to come.
Jack Lew is the Director of the Office of Management and Budget
Readout of the Vice President’s Meeting with Haitian-American Leaders
Earlier today, Vice President Biden met with a broad group of Haitian-American leaders to discuss the United States’ lasting commitment to Haiti. The Vice President underscored the important work the United States and our international partners have engaged upon in partnership with the Haitian people since last year’s devastating earthquake.
The Vice President and the Haitian-American leaders were joined by a team of senior U.S. government officials who discussed the whole-of-government U.S. effort relating to Haiti and the unprecedented challenges that remain for recovery and reconstruction efforts.
REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT
ANNOUNCING WILLIAM M. DALEY
AS WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF
2:29 P.M. EST
THE PRESIDENT: Please have a seat, everybody. Happy New Year. Last October, when my former Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel departed to pursue other opportunities in Chicago, I asked Pete Rouse, one of my most trusted aides, to step into the breach and lead us through a very difficult time. And I also asked Pete to help us think about how the White House should be structured and run over the next two years.
Thanks in no small part to his efforts, a period that everybody thought would be one of retrenchment turned out to be one of great progress for our country. And Pete’s leadership is all the more remarkable when you consider that when I first met him and asked him to lead my Senate staff, he told me in that gruff voice of his that his strong inclination was to leave government. (Laughter and applause.) The reason everybody is applauding is because they’ve heard him say that every day — (laughter) — they’ve heard him say that every day for the last six years. And yet, each time I’ve asked him to accept one more assignment, he’s saddled up and he’s taken the job. And it’s fair to say that I would not be where I am today without his extraordinary counsel.
Pete didn’t volunteer to serve as interim Chief of Staff. He made it clear that that was not his preference. But he accepted the responsibility, and as he oversaw our strategy during the lame duck session of Congress, he also was working to develop a structure and a plan for the next two years that I believe will serve the White House, and more importantly the American people, very well. One of those assignments was providing me recommendations for candidates to serve as Chief of Staff moving forward.
As part of that process, today I am proud to announce the appointment of an experienced public servant, a devoted patriot, my friend, fellow Chicagoan Bill Daley, to serve as my Chief of Staff. (Applause.)
Few Americans can boast the breadth of experience that Bill brings to this job. He served as a member of President Clinton’s Cabinet as Commerce Secretary. He took on several other important duties over the years on behalf of our country. He’s led major corporations. He possesses a deep understanding of how jobs are created and how to grow our economy. And needless to say, Bill also has a smidgen of awareness of how our system of government and politics works. You might say it is a genetic trait. (Laughter.)
But most of all, I know Bill to be somebody who cares deeply about this country, believes in its promise and considers no calling higher and more important than serving the American people. He will bring his tremendous experience, his strong values and forward-looking vision to this White House. I’m convinced that he’ll help us in our mission of growing our economy and moving America forward. And I very much look forward to working with Bill in the years to come.
Before I ask Bill to say a few words, I should also confess that I have prevailed once again on Pete’s sense of duty — or sense of guilt, I’m not sure which — and I’m grateful that he has agreed to one more tour of duty as my counselor for the next two years. (Applause.)
As you might have noticed, people like Pete. (Laughter.) He is a unique and indispensable asset to me and to this administration. I cannot imagine life here without him, and I told him so. And I’m delighted that we’re able to keep him a little bit longer.
I’ll be making further announcements in the days and weeks ahead, and I am absolutely confident that we will have a great team that’s equal to America’s task in the years to come. But with that, what I’d like to do is to introduce my new Chief of Staff, Bill Daley. (Applause.)
MR. DALEY: Thank you very much. (Applause.) Thank you. Thank you, Mr. President. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you very much. Thank you, Mr. President. (Applause.)
Thank you very much, Mr. President, Mr. Vice President. You have honored me and my family by giving me an opportunity to serve you and to serve our nation.
Fifty years ago this month I visited the White House with my parents and my brothers and sisters to visit a young President who went on to show great strength, leadership and vision in the face of enormous challenges in those times.
You, Mr. President, are proving your strength, your leadership, your vision during a most difficult time for our nation and for the world. You have also shown through your example that public service is an honorable calling, and I am pleased to answer your call.
I look forward to working with the wonderful staff which you have assembled, and I know my job will be made easier by the great work and direction of Pete Rouse, the direction and great work he has provided over these past couple of months, and the President talked about the enormous successes under Pete’s watch.
Pete, too, has dedicated his life to public service and to our nation, and I’m grateful for his efforts, and I am proud to call him my colleague. I assure you, Mr. President, as they have done in the last two years, that this team will not let you down, nor the nation.
Thank you very much for this extreme honor. (Applause.)
White House Drug Policy Director Highlights Growing Public Health Toll of the “Prescription Drug Abuse Epidemic”
New Data Reveal Doubling of Emergency Department Visits Involving Pharmaceutical Abuse
White House Drug Policy Director Highlights Growing Public Health Toll of the “Prescription Drug Abuse Epidemic”
WASHINGTON – According to new data from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA) Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN), visits by individuals to hospital emergency rooms involving the misuse or abuse of pharmaceutical drugs have doubled over the past five years and, for the third year in a row, exceed the number of visits involving illicit drugs.
According to DAWN, which provides national estimates on individuals who experience drug-related medical emergencies that are severe enough to require treatment in an emergency department, there were approximately 1.2 million visits by individuals to hospital emergency rooms involving pharmaceutical drugs in 2009. This compares to about 974,000 visits involving illicit drugs in 2009.
Additionally, while visits to emergency rooms involving illicit drugs have remained relatively stable at just under 1 million visits per year from 2004 to 2009, visits involving pharmaceutical drugs have almost doubled – increasing by 98 percent over the past five years. In 2009, there were approximately 1.2 million visits to emergency rooms involving pharmaceutical drugs, compared to 627,000 in 2004. These visits do not include adverse reactions to pharmaceuticals taken as prescribed.
“Prescription drug abuse is our Nation’s fastest-growing drug problem, with shocking consequences measured by overdose deaths, emergency room visits, treatment admissions, and increases in youth drug use, said Gil Kerlikowske, Director of National Drug Control Policy. “The Obama Administration is mounting an unprecedented effort to address this public health epidemic, and as we coordinate a national response to reduce drug use and its consequences, we need communities to be our partners in this effort. Parents should act today to protect young people by talking to their kids about the consequences of drug use, even legal drugs such as prescription drugs, and by properly disposing of unused, expired, or unneeded medications found at home.”
The Obama Administration is mounting an unprecedented government-wide effort to combat prescription drug abuse. These efforts include:
· Increasing prescription drug return, take-back, and disposal programs across the Nation. Prescription drugs that are commonly abused are often found in the family medicine cabinet. In October 2010, President Obama signed into law the Secure and Responsible Drug Disposal Act, which will support local efforts to curb prescription drug abuse by providing Americans with safe, environmentally sound ways to dispose of unused, unneeded, or expired prescription drugs found at home.
· Expanding state-based prescription drug monitoring programs. Currently, monitoring programs are operating in 34 states. The Administration supports expanding these programs in every state, and is seeking to ensure new and existing monitoring programs effectively use the data they acquire and share information across state lines.
· Educating prescribers about opiate painkiller prescribing. The Administration’s FY 2011 Budget request asks Congress for funding to train prescribers on how to instruct patients in the use and proper disposal of painkillers, to observe signs of dependence, and to use state-based prescription drug monitoring programs to detect when an individual is going from doctor to doctor in search of prescriptions (also called “doctor shopping”).
· Assisting states in cracking down on doctor shopping and so-called “pill mills.” Criminal organizations have established thriving businesses of transporting people to states with little regulation to obtain prescription drugs from multiple doctors or from “pill mills,” which distribute drugs indiscriminately. ONDCP is working closely with Federal, state, local, and tribal authorities to address this problem.
DAWN data are based on a national sample of general, non-Federal hospitals operating 24-hour emergency departments. In each participating hospital, emergency department medical records are reviewed retrospectively to determine visits that involved recent drug use. All types of drugs—illegal drugs, prescription and over-the-counter pharmaceuticals, and non-pharmaceutical inhalants—are included.
Click here to see the full DAWN report.
For more information on how to properly dispose of prescription drugs click here.
For more information on National efforts to reduce drug use and its consequences visit www.WhiteHouseDrugPolicy.gov
The Office of National Drug Control Policy seeks to foster healthy individuals and safe communities by effectively leading the Nation’s effort to reduce drug use and its consequences.