BREAKING NEWS: ALAN KRUEGAR, CHAIRMAN OF THE COUNCIL OF ECONOMIC ADVISERS, ISSUES STATEMENT ON THE EMPLOYMENT SITUATION IN OCTOBER
Statement on the Employment Situation in October
WASHINGTON, DC – Alan Krueger, Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, issued the following statement today on the employment situation in October. You can view the statement HERE.
The Employment Situation in October
Posted by Alan Krueger on November 04, 2011 at 11:46 AM EDT
Today’s employment report provides further evidence that the economy is continuing to recover from the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression, but the pace of improvement is not fast enough. Private sector payrolls increased by 104,000 and overall payroll employment rose by 80,000 in October. The unemployment rate edged down 0.1 percentage point to 9.0 percent, a level that remains unacceptably high. Despite adverse shocks that have created headwinds for economic growth, the economy has added private sector jobs for 20 straight months, for a total of 2.8 million jobs over that period.
We need faster economic growth to put more Americans back to work. Today’s report provides further evidence for why it is so important that Congress pass the President’s American Jobs Act to put more money in the paychecks of working and middle class families; to make it easier for small businesses to hire workers; to keep teachers in the classroom; to put construction crews to work rebuilding our nation’s infrastructure; and other measures that will help the economy grow while not adding to the deficit over ten years. The report underscores that one area that remains notably weak is the construction sector. That’s why it is disappointing that the Senate was not able to proceed to the infrastructure part of the American Jobs Act.
Sectors with employment increases included professional and business services (+32,000), leisure and hospitality (+22,000), retail trade (+17,800), health care and social assistance (+16,300), and manufacturing (+5,000). Sectors with employment declines included government (-24,000) and construction (-20,000). State and local governments lost 22,000 jobs and have shed more than 430,000 jobs since February 2010.
The monthly employment and unemployment numbers are volatile and employment estimates are subject to substantial revision. There is no better example than August’s jobs figure, which was initially reported at zero and in the latest revision increased to 104,000. This illustrates why the Administration always stresses it is important not to read too much into any one monthly report.
Alan Krueger is Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers
Late Sunday evening, President Barack Obama announced to the nation and the world that U.S. forces discovered the hiding place of known world terrorist Osama Bin Laden and that he had been killed. The President remarked in his dramatic statement that at his direction “the United States launched a targeted operation against that compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan. After a firefight, they killed Osama bin Laden and took custody of his body.”
President Obama was notified in September of last year by the CIA of the possible location of Osama Bin Laden. By mid-February, special operation forces had solid intelligence that confirmed Bin Laden was residing at a unique mansion compound thirty-five miles north of Islamabad. President Obama authorized the compound raid on Friday. The compound where Bin Laden was hiding was built in 2005 on a secluded plot of land. The mansion was eight times larger than any of the homes in the neighborhood and featured 12 – 18 foot walls with barbed wire. To provide extra privacy and security, the main structure of the compound mansion had internal walls that seperated different parts of the homes, two security gates, very few windows and a seven foot wall located outside of the terrace on the third floor. The compound, is said to be worth a million dollars, however there were no signs of a telephone, Internet service, or wealth. The compound was obviously “custom built to hide someone of significance,” White House officials acknowledge.
Living at the compound were various members of the Bin Laden family, including two of Osama Bin Laden’s brothers, and his youngest wife. Sunday afternoon, Navy Seals conducted a helicopter raid on the Bin Laden compound. The raid on the compound lasted for forty minutes and three men were killed in addition to Bin Laden, who was shot in the head. Two are believed to be couriers and the third was Bin Laden’s son. Two women were injured and one was killed when she was used as a human shield. Children were also found living at the compound.
Senior administration officials noted early Monday morning that the U.S. did not share the intelligence on Osama Bin Laden with any other country because “we believed it was essential to the security of the operation and our personnel. In fact, only a very small group of people inside our own government knew of this operation in advance.”
Osama Bin Laden was the leader of Al Qaeda, a militant extremist Islamic organization responsible for murderous terrorist activities throughout the world. Al Qaeda unleashed a horrific attack upon the United States on September 11, 2001 when 19 Al Qaeda members hijacked several airplanes, crashing two into the World Trade Center and a third into the Pentagon. A fourth plane crashed into a rural field near Pennsylvania. There were a total of 2,996 deaths as a result. 246 victims from the plane crashes, 2,606 in the Twin Towers and emergency rescue workers, and 125 deaths at the Pentagon. To date, the identity of 1,629 victims of the attack have been identified.
Osama Bin Laden’s body was buried at sea. U.S. officials remarked solemnly that “we are ensuring that it is handled in accordance with Islamic practice and tradition. This is something that we take very seriously. And so therefore this is being handled in an appropriate manner.”
Senior administration officials told reporters that the raid was a “kill mission” not a capture mission. “There’s also no doubt that the death of Osama bin Laden marks the single greatest victory in the U.S.-led campaign to disrupt, dismantle, and defeat Al Qaeda. It is a major and essential step in bringing about al Qaeda’s eventual destruction,” the White House stated Monday via teleconference.
REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT
ON OSAMA BIN LADEN
11:35 P.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT: Good evening. Tonight, I can report to the American people and to the world that the United States has conducted an operation that killed Osama bin Laden, the leader of al Qaeda, and a terrorist who’s responsible for the murder of thousands of innocent men, women, and children.
It was nearly 10 years ago that a bright September day was darkened by the worst attack on the American people in our history. The images of 9/11 are seared into our national memory — hijacked planes cutting through a cloudless September sky; the Twin Towers collapsing to the ground; black smoke billowing up from the Pentagon; the wreckage of Flight 93 in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, where the actions of heroic citizens saved even more heartbreak and destruction.
And yet we know that the worst images are those that were unseen to the world. The empty seat at the dinner table. Children who were forced to grow up without their mother or their father. Parents who would never know the feeling of their child’s embrace. Nearly 3,000 citizens taken from us, leaving a gaping hole in our hearts.
On September 11, 2001, in our time of grief, the American people came together. We offered our neighbors a hand, and we offered the wounded our blood. We reaffirmed our ties to each other, and our love of community and country. On that day, no matter where we came from, what God we prayed to, or what race or ethnicity we were, we were united as one American family.
We were also united in our resolve to protect our nation and to bring those who committed this vicious attack to justice. We quickly learned that the 9/11 attacks were carried out by al Qaeda — an organization headed by Osama bin Laden, which had openly declared war on the United States and was committed to killing innocents in our country and around the globe. And so we went to war against al Qaeda to protect our citizens, our friends, and our allies.
Over the last 10 years, thanks to the tireless and heroic work of our military and our counterterrorism professionals, we’ve made great strides in that effort. We’ve disrupted terrorist attacks and strengthened our homeland defense. In Afghanistan, we removed the Taliban government, which had given bin Laden and al Qaeda safe haven and support. And around the globe, we worked with our friends and allies to capture or kill scores of al Qaeda terrorists, including several who were a part of the 9/11 plot.
Yet Osama bin Laden avoided capture and escaped across the Afghan border into Pakistan. Meanwhile, al Qaeda continued to operate from along that border and operate through its affiliates across the world.
And so shortly after taking office, I directed Leon Panetta, the director of the CIA, to make the killing or capture of bin Laden the top priority of our war against al Qaeda, even as we continued our broader efforts to disrupt, dismantle, and defeat his network.
Then, last August, after years of painstaking work by our intelligence community, I was briefed on a possible lead to bin Laden. It was far from certain, and it took many months to run this thread to ground. I met repeatedly with my national security team as we developed more information about the possibility that we had located bin Laden hiding within a compound deep inside of Pakistan. And finally, last week, I determined that we had enough intelligence to take action, and authorized an operation to get Osama bin Laden and bring him to justice.
Today, at my direction, the United States launched a targeted operation against that compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan. A small team of Americans carried out the operation with extraordinary courage and capability. No Americans were harmed. They took care to avoid civilian casualties. After a firefight, they killed Osama bin Laden and took custody of his body.
For over two decades, bin Laden has been al Qaeda’s leader and symbol, and has continued to plot attacks against our country and our friends and allies. The death of bin Laden marks the most significant achievement to date in our nation’s effort to defeat al Qaeda.
Yet his death does not mark the end of our effort. There’s no doubt that al Qaeda will continue to pursue attacks against us. We must –- and we will — remain vigilant at home and abroad.
As we do, we must also reaffirm that the United States is not –- and never will be -– at war with Islam. I’ve made clear, just as President Bush did shortly after 9/11, that our war is not against Islam. Bin Laden was not a Muslim leader; he was a mass murderer of Muslims. Indeed, al Qaeda has slaughtered scores of Muslims in many countries, including our own. So his demise should be welcomed by all who believe in peace and human dignity.
Over the years, I’ve repeatedly made clear that we would take action within Pakistan if we knew where bin Laden was. That is what we’ve done. But it’s important to note that our counterterrorism cooperation with Pakistan helped lead us to bin Laden and the compound where he was hiding. Indeed, bin Laden had declared war against Pakistan as well, and ordered attacks against the Pakistani people.
Tonight, I called President Zardari, and my team has also spoken with their Pakistani counterparts. They agree that this is a good and historic day for both of our nations. And going forward, it is essential that Pakistan continue to join us in the fight against al Qaeda and its affiliates.
The American people did not choose this fight. It came to our shores, and started with the senseless slaughter of our citizens. After nearly 10 years of service, struggle, and sacrifice, we know well the costs of war. These efforts weigh on me every time I, as Commander-in-Chief, have to sign a letter to a family that has lost a loved one, or look into the eyes of a service member who’s been gravely wounded.
So Americans understand the costs of war. Yet as a country, we will never tolerate our security being threatened, nor stand idly by when our people have been killed. We will be relentless in defense of our citizens and our friends and allies. We will be true to the values that make us who we are. And on nights like this one, we can say to those families who have lost loved ones to al Qaeda’s terror: Justice has been done.
Tonight, we give thanks to the countless intelligence and counterterrorism professionals who’ve worked tirelessly to achieve this outcome. The American people do not see their work, nor know their names. But tonight, they feel the satisfaction of their work and the result of their pursuit of justice.
We give thanks for the men who carried out this operation, for they exemplify the professionalism, patriotism, and unparalleled courage of those who serve our country. And they are part of a generation that has borne the heaviest share of the burden since that September day.
Finally, let me say to the families who lost loved ones on 9/11 that we have never forgotten your loss, nor wavered in our commitment to see that we do whatever it takes to prevent another attack on our shores.
And tonight, let us think back to the sense of unity that prevailed on 9/11. I know that it has, at times, frayed. Yet today’s achievement is a testament to the greatness of our country and the determination of the American people.
The cause of securing our country is not complete. But tonight, we are once again reminded that America can do whatever we set our mind to. That is the story of our history, whether it’s the pursuit of prosperity for our people, or the struggle for equality for all our citizens; our commitment to stand up for our values abroad, and our sacrifices to make the world a safer place.
Let us remember that we can do these things not just because of wealth or power, but because of who we are: one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.
Thank you. May God bless you. And may God bless the United States of America.
Statement by CEA Chairman Austan Goolsbee on the Employment Situation in March
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 March. You can view the statementHERE.
The Employment Situation in March
Posted by Austan Goolsbee on April 01, 2011
Today’s employment report shows that private sector payrolls increased by 230,000 in March, marking 13 consecutive months of private employment growth. Private sector employers added 1.8 million jobs over that period, including more than half a million jobs in the last three months. The unemployment rate fell for the fourth straight month to 8.8 percent. The full percentage point drop in the unemployment rate over the past four months is the largest such decline since 1984, and, importantly, it has been driven primarily by increased employment, rather than people leaving the labor force.
As long as millions of people are looking for jobs, there is still considerable work to do to replace the jobs lost in the downturn. Nonetheless, the steep decline in the jobless rate and the solid employment growth in recent months are encouraging. The last two months of private job gains have been the strongest in five years. We are seeing signs that the initiatives put in place by this Administration – such as the payroll tax cut and business incentives for investment – are creating the conditions for sustained growth and job creation. We will continue to work with Congress to find ways to reduce spending, so that we can live within our means and focus on the investments that are most likely to help grow our economy and create jobs – investments in education, infrastructure, and clean energy.
In addition to the increases last month, the estimates of private sector job growth for January (now +94,000) and February (now +240,000) were revised up significantly. Overall payroll employment rose by 216,000 in March. Payroll employment grew in almost every sector. Solid employment increases occurred in professional and business services (+78,000), education and health services (+45,000), leisure and hospitality (+37,000), wholesale and retail trade (+31,800), and manufacturing (+17,000). Local government experienced a decline of 15,000, and has shed jobs in 16 of the past 17 months.
The overall trajectory of the economy has improved dramatically over the past two years, but there will surely 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.
Readout of the President’s Cabinet Meeting
The President’s meeting with his Cabinet this morning began with an update on several national security issues including the ongoing events in Egypt as well as Afghanistan and Iraq. With regard to Egypt, Secretary Clinton discussed our focus on opposing violence and calling for restraint; supporting universal rights, including the right to peaceful assembly, association, and speech; and supporting an orderly transition to a government that is responsive to the aspirations of the Egyptian people. With regard to homeland security, Secretary Napolitano provided an update on the federal government’s efforts to prepare for serious winter storms affecting a large portion of the country.
The President discussed his plan for tapping into the creativity and imagination of the American people to win the future by out-innovating, out-educating, and out-building the rest of the world. In stressing the need for greater investments in initiatives that foster innovation and competitiveness, the President also discussed the tough choices that will be reflected in 2012 Budget, which will provide a responsible 10-year path for reining in the deficit. Beyond simply reducing government spending, the President emphasized the need to reform and reorganize the government so it operates smarter and more efficiently.
Statement from White House Drug Policy Director on Synthetic Stimulants, a.k.a “Bath Salts”
Washington, D.C. – Today, Gil Kerlikowske, Director of National Drug Control Policy, released the following statement following recent reports indicating the emerging threat of synthetic stimulants, including MDPV (3,4-methylenedioxypyrovalerone) and mephedrone. These stimulants are often sold and marketed in stores as “bath salts” under names such as “Ivory Wave” or “Purple Wave.”
“I am deeply concerned about the distribution, sale, and use of synthetic stimulants – especially those that are marketed as legal substances. Although we lack sufficient data to understand exactly how prevalent the use of these stimulants are, we know they pose a serious threat to the health and well-being of young people and anyone who may use them. At a time when drug use in America is increasing, the marketing and sale of these poisons as “bath salts” is both unacceptable and dangerous. As public health officials work to address this emerging threat, I ask that parents and other adult influencers act immediately to discuss with young people the severe harm that can be caused by the use of both legal and illegal drugs and to prevent drug use before it starts.”
Recent information from poison control centers indicates that abuse of these unlicensed and unregulated drugs is growing across the country. According to the American Association of Poison Control Centers, there were 251 calls related to “bath salts” to poison control centers so far this year. This number already exceeds the 236 calls received by poison control centers for all of 2010. Doctors and clinicians at U.S. poison centers have indicated that ingesting “bath salts,” containing synthetic stimulants, can cause chest pains, increased blood pressure, increased heart rate, agitation, hallucinations, extreme paranoia, and delusions. Already, several states have introduced legislation to ban these products, including Hawaii, Michigan, Louisiana, Kentucky, and North Dakota. Several counties, cities, and local municipalities have also taken action to ban these products.
Director Kerlikowske also cited three steps parents can take today to protect young people:
1. Talk to your kids about drugs. Research shows parents are the best messengers to deliver critical information on drug use. Make sure they know of the harms that can result from drug use and that you don’t approve of them. For tips and parenting advice visit www.TheAntiDrug.com.
2. Learn to spot risk factors that can lead to drug use. Association with drug-abusing peers is often the most immediate risk factor that can lead young people to drug use and delinquent behavior. Other risk factors include poor classroom behavior or social skills and academic failure. Parents can protect their kids from these influences by building strong bonds with their children, staying involved in their lives, and setting clear limits and consistent enforcement of discipline.
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.
Readout of the President’s Meeting on Egypt
At 1:00 pm today, the President convened a meeting of his national security team at the White House. Participants included Vice President Joe Biden, National Security Advisor Tom Donilon, Deputy National Security Advisor Denis McDonough, Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism John Brennan, National Security Advisor to the Vice President Tony Blinken, Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications Ben Rhodes, Senior Director for the Central Region Dennis Ross, Senior Director for the Middle East and North Africa Dan Shapiro, Chief of Staff Bill Daley, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs, and Senior Advisor David Plouffe. The meeting lasted just over an hour. The President was updated on the situation in Egypt. He reiterated our focus on opposing violence and calling for restraint; supporting universal rights; and supporting concrete steps that advance political reform within Egypt.
REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT
ON THE SITUATION IN EGYPT
State Dining Room
6:33 P.M. EST
THE PRESIDENT: Good evening, everybody. My administration has been closely monitoring the situation in Egypt, and I know that we will be learning more tomorrow when day breaks. As the situation continues to unfold, our first concern is preventing injury or loss of life. So I want to be very clear in calling upon the Egyptian authorities to refrain from any violence against peaceful protestors.
The people of Egypt have rights that are universal. That includes the right to peaceful assembly and association, the right to free speech, and the ability to determine their own destiny. These are human rights. And the United States will stand up for them everywhere.
I also call upon the Egyptian government to reverse the actions that they’ve taken to interfere with access to the Internet, to cell phone service and to social networks that do so much to connect people in the 21st century.
At the same time, those protesting in the streets have a responsibility to express themselves peacefully. Violence and destruction will not lead to the reforms that they seek.
Now, going forward, this moment of volatility has to be turned into a moment of promise. The United States has a close partnership with Egypt and we’ve cooperated on many issues, including working together to advance a more peaceful region. But we’ve also been clear that there must be reform — political, social, and economic reforms that meet the aspirations of the Egyptian people.
In the absence of these reforms, grievances have built up over time. When President Mubarak addressed the Egyptian people tonight, he pledged a better democracy and greater economic opportunity. I just spoke to him after his speech and I told him he has a responsibility to give meaning to those words, to take concrete steps and actions that deliver on that promise.
Violence will not address the grievances of the Egyptian people. And suppressing ideas never succeeds in making them go away. What’s needed right now are concrete steps that advance the rights of the Egyptian people: a meaningful dialogue between the government and its citizens, and a path of political change that leads to a future of greater freedom and greater opportunity and justice for the Egyptian people.
Now, ultimately the future of Egypt will be determined by the Egyptian people. And I believe that the Egyptian people want the same things that we all want — a better life for ourselves and our children, and a government that is fair and just and responsive. Put simply, the Egyptian people want a future that befits the heirs to a great and ancient civilization.
The United States always will be a partner in pursuit of that future. And we are committed to working with the Egyptian government and the Egyptian people — all quarters — to achieve it.
Around the world governments have an obligation to respond to their citizens. That’s true here in the United States; that’s true in Asia; it is true in Europe; it is true in Africa; and it’s certainly true in the Arab world, where a new generation of citizens has the right to be heard.
When I was in Cairo, shortly after I was elected President, I said that all governments must maintain power through consent, not coercion. That is the single standard by which the people of Egypt will achieve the future they deserve.
Surely there will be difficult days to come. But the United States will continue to stand up for the rights of the Egyptian people and work with their government in pursuit of a future that is more just, more free, and more hopeful.
Thank you very much.
WEEKLY ADDRESS: “America Will Win the Future by Out-Innovating, Out-Educating, and Out-Building Our Competitors”
WEEKLY ADDRESS: “America Will Win the Future by Out-Innovating, Out-Educating, and Out-Building Our Competitors”
WASHINGTON – In this week’s address, President Obama called Orion Energy Systems in Manitowoc, Wisconsin an example of how America can win the future by being the best place on Earth to do business. Orion was able to open with the help of small business loans and incentives that are creating demand for clean energy technologies. By sparking innovation and spurring new products and technologies, America will unleash the talent and ingenuity of American workers and businesses, which will lead to new, good jobs.
The audio and video of the address will be available online at www.whitehouse.gov at 6:00 a.m. EDT, Saturday, January 29, 2011.
Remarks of President Barack Obama
January 29, 2011
I’m speaking to you today from Manitowoc, Wisconsin, where I’m at an innovative company called Orion Energy Systems.
Just a few years ago, this was an empty warehouse. A major employer had shut down this factory, moved its operations abroad, and took a lot of jobs away from this town.
But today, as you can see behind me, this is a thriving enterprise once more. You are looking at a factory where 250 workers are building advanced clean energy systems – state-of-the-art technologies that use solar power and energy efficiency to save farms and businesses thousands of dollars on their utility bills.
I’m here because this business and others like it are showing us the way forward. And in the coming days, I’ll be shining a spotlight on innovators across America who are relying on new technologies to create new jobs and opportunities in new industries.
That’s what companies like Orion are doing. And that’s how America will win the future – by out-innovating, out-educating, and out-building our competitors. We’ll win the future by being the best place on Earth to do business. That is what we are called to do at this moment. And in my state of the union, I talked about how we get there.
It starts by making sure that every single child can get a good education and every American can afford college or career training. Because that’s what will help light the spark in the minds of innovators – and ensure that our people have the skills to work for innovative companies.
We also need to make sure that America can move goods and information as fast as any of our competitors, whether on the road or online. Because good infrastructure helps our businesses sell their products and services faster and cheaper.
We have to reform our government and cut wasteful spending, so that we eliminate what we don’t need to pay for the investments we need to grow, like education and medical research.
And as we can see here in Manitowoc, we need to ensure that we are promoting innovation – especially in promising areas like clean energy. This is going to be key to growing our economy and helping businesses create jobs. Orion, for example, was able to open with the help of small business loans and incentives that are creating demand for clean energy technologies like wind power and solar panels.
That’s why I’ve proposed a bigger tax credit for the research that companies do. And to give these companies the certainty of knowing there will be a market for what they sell, I’ve set this goal for America: by 2035, 80 percent of electricity should come from clean energy.
This is going to help spark innovation at businesses across America. This is going to spur new products and technologies. This is going to lead to good, new jobs. And that’s how we win the future – by unleashing the talent and ingenuity of American businesses and American workers in every corner of this country.
So to those who say that America’s best days are behind us, let them come here, to Manitowoc. Let them come to this once-shuttered factory that is now bustling with workers building new technologies for the world. Let them come here to see the incredible promise of our country.
This is the future. And it’s bright.
Remarks of President Barack Obama – As Prepared for Delivery
State of the Union Address
Tuesday, January 25, 2011
As Prepared for Delivery—
Mr. Speaker, Mr. Vice President, Members of Congress, distinguished guests, and fellow Americans:
Tonight I want to begin by congratulating the men and women of the 112th Congress, as well as your new Speaker, John Boehner. And as we mark this occasion, we are also mindful of the empty chair in this Chamber, and pray for the health of our colleague – and our friend – Gabby Giffords.
It’s no secret that those of us here tonight have had our differences over the last two years. The debates have been contentious; we have fought fiercely for our beliefs. And that’s a good thing. That’s what a robust democracy demands. That’s what helps set us apart as a nation.
But there’s a reason the tragedy in Tucson gave us pause. Amid all the noise and passions and rancor of our public debate, Tucson reminded us that no matter who we are or where we come from, each of us is a part of something greater – something more consequential than party or political preference.
We are part of the American family. We believe that in a country where every race and faith and point of view can be found, we are still bound together as one people; that we share common hopes and a common creed; that the dreams of a little girl in Tucson are not so different than those of our own children, and that they all deserve the chance to be fulfilled.
That, too, is what sets us apart as a nation.
Now, by itself, this simple recognition won’t usher in a new era of cooperation. What comes of this moment is up to us. What comes of this moment will be determined not by whether we can sit together tonight, but whether we can work together tomorrow.
I believe we can. I believe we must. That’s what the people who sent us here expect of us. With their votes, they’ve determined that governing will now be a shared responsibility between parties. New laws will only pass with support from Democrats and Republicans. We will move forward together, or not at all – for the challenges we face are bigger than party, and bigger than politics.
At stake right now is not who wins the next election – after all, we just had an election. At stake is whether new jobs and industries take root in this country, or somewhere else. It’s whether the hard work and industry of our people is rewarded. It’s whether we sustain the leadership that has made America not just a place on a map, but a light to the world.
We are poised for progress. Two years after the worst recession most of us have ever known, the stock market has come roaring back. Corporate profits are up. The economy is growing again.
But we have never measured progress by these yardsticks alone. We measure progress by the success of our people. By the jobs they can find and the quality of life those jobs offer. By the prospects of a small business owner who dreams of turning a good idea into a thriving enterprise. By the opportunities for a better life that we pass on to our children.
That’s the project the American people want us to work on. Together.
We did that in December. Thanks to the tax cuts we passed, Americans’ paychecks are a little bigger today. Every business can write off the full cost of the new investments they make this year. These steps, taken by Democrats and Republicans, will grow the economy and add to the more than one million private sector jobs created last year.
But we have more work to do. The steps we’ve taken over the last two years may have broken the back of this recession – but to win the future, we’ll need to take on challenges that have been decades in the making.
Many people watching tonight can probably remember a time when finding a good job meant showing up at a nearby factory or a business downtown. You didn’t always need a degree, and your competition was pretty much limited to your neighbors. If you worked hard, chances are you’d have a job for life, with a decent paycheck, good benefits, and the occasional promotion. Maybe you’d even have the pride of seeing your kids work at the same company.
That world has changed. And for many, the change has been painful. I’ve seen it in the shuttered windows of once booming factories, and the vacant storefronts of once busy Main Streets. I’ve heard it in the frustrations of Americans who’ve seen their paychecks dwindle or their jobs disappear – proud men and women who feel like the rules have been changed in the middle of the game.
They’re right. The rules have changed. In a single generation, revolutions in technology have transformed the way we live, work and do business. Steel mills that once needed 1,000 workers can now do the same work with 100. Today, just about any company can set up shop, hire workers, and sell their products wherever there’s an internet connection.
Meanwhile, nations like China and India realized that with some changes of their own, they could compete in this new world. And so they started educating their children earlier and longer, with greater emphasis on math and science. They’re investing in research and new technologies. Just recently, China became home to the world’s largest private solar research facility, and the world’s fastest computer.
So yes, the world has changed. The competition for jobs is real. But this shouldn’t discourage us. It should challenge us. Remember – for all the hits we’ve taken these last few years, for all the naysayers predicting our decline, America still has the largest, most prosperous economy in the world. No workers are more productive than ours. No country has more successful companies, or grants more patents to inventors and entrepreneurs. We are home to the world’s best colleges and universities, where more students come to study than any other place on Earth.
What’s more, we are the first nation to be founded for the sake of an idea – the idea that each of us deserves the chance to shape our own destiny. That is why centuries of pioneers and immigrants have risked everything to come here. It’s why our students don’t just memorize equations, but answer questions like “What do you think of that idea? What would you change about the world? What do you want to be when you grow up?”
The future is ours to win. But to get there, we can’t just stand still. As Robert Kennedy told us, “The future is not a gift. It is an achievement.” Sustaining the American Dream has never been about standing pat. It has required each generation to sacrifice, and struggle, and meet the demands of a new age.
Now it’s our turn. We know what it takes to compete for the jobs and industries of our time. We need to out-innovate, out-educate, and out-build the rest of the world. We have to make America the best place on Earth to do business. We need to take responsibility for our deficit, and reform our government. That’s how our people will prosper. That’s how we’ll win the future. And tonight, I’d like to talk about how we get there.
The first step in winning the future is encouraging American innovation.
None of us can predict with certainty what the next big industry will be, or where the new jobs will come from. Thirty years ago, we couldn’t know that something called the Internet would lead to an economic revolution. What we can do – what America does better than anyone – is spark the creativity and imagination of our people. We are the nation that put cars in driveways and computers in offices; the nation of Edison and the Wright brothers; of Google and Facebook. In America, innovation doesn’t just change our lives. It’s how we make a living.
Our free enterprise system is what drives innovation. But because it’s not always profitable for companies to invest in basic research, throughout history our government has provided cutting-edge scientists and inventors with the support that they need. That’s what planted the seeds for the Internet. That’s what helped make possible things like computer chips and GPS.
Just think of all the good jobs – from manufacturing to retail – that have come from those breakthroughs.
Half a century ago, when the Soviets beat us into space with the launch of a satellite called Sputnik¸ we had no idea how we’d beat them to the moon. The science wasn’t there yet. NASA didn’t even exist. But after investing in better research and education, we didn’t just surpass the Soviets; we unleashed a wave of innovation that created new industries and millions of new jobs.
This is our generation’s Sputnik moment. Two years ago, I said that we needed to reach a level of research and development we haven’t seen since the height of the Space Race. In a few weeks, I will be sending a budget to Congress that helps us meet that goal. We’ll invest in biomedical research, information technology, and especially clean energy technology – an investment that will strengthen our security, protect our planet, and create countless new jobs for our people.
Already, we are seeing the promise of renewable energy. Robert and Gary Allen are brothers who run a small Michigan roofing company. After September 11th, they volunteered their best roofers to help repair the Pentagon. But half of their factory went unused, and the recession hit them hard.
Today, with the help of a government loan, that empty space is being used to manufacture solar shingles that are being sold all across the country. In Robert’s words, “We reinvented ourselves.”
That’s what Americans have done for over two hundred years: reinvented ourselves. And to spur on more success stories like the Allen Brothers, we’ve begun to reinvent our energy policy. We’re not just handing out money. We’re issuing a challenge. We’re telling America’s scientists and engineers that if they assemble teams of the best minds in their fields, and focus on the hardest problems in clean energy, we’ll fund the Apollo Projects of our time.
At the California Institute of Technology, they’re developing a way to turn sunlight and water into fuel for our cars. At Oak Ridge National Laboratory, they’re using supercomputers to get a lot more power out of our nuclear facilities. With more research and incentives, we can break our dependence on oil with biofuels, and become the first country to have 1 million electric vehicles on the road by 2015.
We need to get behind this innovation. And to help pay for it, I’m asking Congress to eliminate the billions in taxpayer dollars we currently give to oil companies. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but they’re doing just fine on their own. So instead of subsidizing yesterday’s energy, let’s invest in tomorrow’s.
Now, clean energy breakthroughs will only translate into clean energy jobs if businesses know there will be a market for what they’re selling. So tonight, I challenge you to join me in setting a new goal: by 2035, 80% of America’s electricity will come from clean energy sources. Some folks want wind and solar. Others want nuclear, clean coal, and natural gas. To meet this goal, we will need them all – and I urge Democrats and Republicans to work together to make it happen.
Maintaining our leadership in research and technology is crucial to America’s success. But if we want to win the future – if we want innovation to produce jobs in America and not overseas – then we also have to win the race to educate our kids.
Think about it. Over the next ten years, nearly half of all new jobs will require education that goes beyond a high school degree. And yet, as many as a quarter of our students aren’t even finishing high school. The quality of our math and science education lags behind many other nations. America has fallen to 9th in the proportion of young people with a college degree. And so the question is whether all of us – as citizens, and as parents – are willing to do what’s necessary to give every child a chance to succeed.
That responsibility begins not in our classrooms, but in our homes and communities. It’s family that first instills the love of learning in a child. Only parents can make sure the TV is turned off and homework gets done. We need to teach our kids that it’s not just the winner of the Super Bowl who deserves to be celebrated, but the winner of the science fair; that success is not a function of fame or PR, but of hard work and discipline.
Our schools share this responsibility. When a child walks into a classroom, it should be a place of high expectations and high performance. But too many schools don’t meet this test. That’s why instead of just pouring money into a system that’s not working, we launched a competition called Race to the Top. To all fifty states, we said, “If you show us the most innovative plans to improve teacher quality and student achievement, we’ll show you the money.”
Race to the Top is the most meaningful reform of our public schools in a generation. For less than one percent of what we spend on education each year, it has led over 40 states to raise their standards for teaching and learning. These standards were developed, not by Washington, but by Republican and Democratic governors throughout the country. And Race to the Top should be the approach we follow this year as we replace No Child Left Behind with a law that is more flexible and focused on what’s best for our kids.
You see, we know what’s possible for our children when reform isn’t just a top-down mandate, but the work of local teachers and principals; school boards and communities.
Take a school like Bruce Randolph in Denver. Three years ago, it was rated one of the worst schools in Colorado; located on turf between two rival gangs. But last May, 97% of the seniors received their diploma. Most will be the first in their family to go to college. And after the first year of the school’s transformation, the principal who made it possible wiped away tears when a student said “Thank you, Mrs. Waters, for showing… that we are smart and we can make it.”
Let’s also remember that after parents, the biggest impact on a child’s success comes from the man or woman at the front of the classroom. In South Korea, teachers are known as “nation builders.” Here in America, it’s time we treated the people who educate our children with the same level of respect. We want to reward good teachers and stop making excuses for bad ones. And over the next ten years, with so many Baby Boomers retiring from our classrooms, we want to prepare 100,000 new teachers in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math.
In fact, to every young person listening tonight who’s contemplating their career choice: If you want to make a difference in the life of our nation; if you want to make a difference in the life of a child – become a teacher. Your country needs you.
Of course, the education race doesn’t end with a high school diploma. To compete, higher education must be within reach of every American. That’s why we’ve ended the unwarranted taxpayer subsidies that went to banks, and used the savings to make college affordable for millions of students. And this year, I ask Congress to go further, and make permanent our tuition tax credit – worth $10,000 for four years of college.
Because people need to be able to train for new jobs and careers in today’s fast-changing economy, we are also revitalizing America’s community colleges. Last month, I saw the promise of these schools at Forsyth Tech in North Carolina. Many of the students there used to work in the surrounding factories that have since left town. One mother of two, a woman named Kathy Proctor, had worked in the furniture industry since she was 18 years old. And she told me she’s earning her degree in biotechnology now, at 55 years old, not just because the furniture jobs are gone, but because she wants to inspire her children to pursue their dreams too. As Kathy said, “I hope it tells them to never give up.”
If we take these steps – if we raise expectations for every child, and give them the best possible chance at an education, from the day they’re born until the last job they take – we will reach the goal I set two years ago: by the end of the decade, America will once again have the highest proportion of college graduates in the world.
One last point about education. Today, there are hundreds of thousands of students excelling in our schools who are not American citizens. Some are the children of undocumented workers, who had nothing to do with the actions of their parents. They grew up as Americans and pledge allegiance to our flag, and yet live every day with the threat of deportation. Others come here from abroad to study in our colleges and universities. But as soon as they obtain advanced degrees, we send them back home to compete against us. It makes no sense.
Now, I strongly believe that we should take on, once and for all, the issue of illegal immigration. I am prepared to work with Republicans and Democrats to protect our borders, enforce our laws and address the millions of undocumented workers who are now living in the shadows. I know that debate will be difficult and take time. But tonight, let’s agree to make that effort. And let’s stop expelling talented, responsible young people who can staff our research labs, start new businesses, and further enrich this nation.
The third step in winning the future is rebuilding America. To attract new businesses to our shores, we need the fastest, most reliable ways to move people, goods, and information – from high-speed rail to high-speed internet.
Our infrastructure used to be the best – but our lead has slipped. South Korean homes now have greater internet access than we do. Countries in Europe and Russia invest more in their roads and railways than we do. China is building faster trains and newer airports. Meanwhile, when our own engineers graded our nation’s infrastructure, they gave us a “D.”
We have to do better. America is the nation that built the transcontinental railroad, brought electricity to rural communities, and constructed the interstate highway system. The jobs created by these projects didn’t just come from laying down tracks or pavement. They came from businesses that opened near a town’s new train station or the new off-ramp.
Over the last two years, we have begun rebuilding for the 21st century, a project that has meant thousands of good jobs for the hard-hit construction industry. Tonight, I’m proposing that we redouble these efforts.
We will put more Americans to work repairing crumbling roads and bridges. We will make sure this is fully paid for, attract private investment, and pick projects based on what’s best for the economy, not politicians.
Within 25 years, our goal is to give 80% of Americans access to high-speed rail, which could allow you go places in half the time it takes to travel by car. For some trips, it will be faster than flying – without the pat-down. As we speak, routes in California and the Midwest are already underway.
Within the next five years, we will make it possible for business to deploy the next generation of high-speed wireless coverage to 98% of all Americans. This isn’t just about a faster internet and fewer dropped calls. It’s about connecting every part of America to the digital age. It’s about a rural community in Iowa or Alabama where farmers and small business owners will be able to sell their products all over the world. It’s about a firefighter who can download the design of a burning building onto a handheld device; a student who can take classes with a digital textbook; or a patient who can have face-to-face video chats with her doctor.
All these investments – in innovation, education, and infrastructure – will make America a better place to do business and create jobs. But to help our companies compete, we also have to knock down barriers that stand in the way of their success.
Over the years, a parade of lobbyists has rigged the tax code to benefit particular companies and industries. Those with accountants or lawyers to work the system can end up paying no taxes at all. But all the rest are hit with one of the highest corporate tax rates in the world. It makes no sense, and it has to change.
So tonight, I’m asking Democrats and Republicans to simplify the system. Get rid of the loopholes. Level the playing field. And use the savings to lower the corporate tax rate for the first time in 25 years – without adding to our deficit.
To help businesses sell more products abroad, we set a goal of doubling our exports by 2014 – because the more we export, the more jobs we create at home. Already, our exports are up. Recently, we signed agreements with India and China that will support more than 250,000 jobs in the United States. And last month, we finalized a trade agreement with South Korea that will support at least 70,000 American jobs. This agreement has unprecedented support from business and labor; Democrats and Republicans, and I ask this Congress to pass it as soon as possible.
Before I took office, I made it clear that we would enforce our trade agreements, and that I would only sign deals that keep faith with American workers, and promote American jobs. That’s what we did with Korea, and that’s what I intend to do as we pursue agreements with Panama and Colombia, and continue our Asia Pacific and global trade talks.
To reduce barriers to growth and investment, I’ve ordered a review of government regulations. When we find rules that put an unnecessary burden on businesses, we will fix them. But I will not hesitate to create or enforce commonsense safeguards to protect the American people. That’s what we’ve done in this country for more than a century. It’s why our food is safe to eat, our water is safe to drink, and our air is safe to breathe. It’s why we have speed limits and child labor laws. It’s why last year, we put in place consumer protections against hidden fees and penalties by credit card companies, and new rules to prevent another financial crisis. And it’s why we passed reform that finally prevents the health insurance industry from exploiting patients.
Now, I’ve heard rumors that a few of you have some concerns about the new health care law. So let me be the first to say that anything can be improved. If you have ideas about how to improve this law by making care better or more affordable, I am eager to work with you. We can start right now by correcting a flaw in the legislation that has placed an unnecessary bookkeeping burden on small businesses.
What I’m not willing to do is go back to the days when insurance companies could deny someone coverage because of a pre-existing condition. I’m not willing to tell James Howard, a brain cancer patient from Texas, that his treatment might not be covered. I’m not willing to tell Jim Houser, a small business owner from Oregon, that he has to go back to paying $5,000 more to cover his employees. As we speak, this law is making prescription drugs cheaper for seniors and giving uninsured students a chance to stay on their parents’ coverage. So instead of re-fighting the battles of the last two years, let’s fix what needs fixing and move forward.
Now, the final step – a critical step – in winning the future is to make sure we aren’t buried under a mountain of debt.
We are living with a legacy of deficit-spending that began almost a decade ago. And in the wake of the financial crisis, some of that was necessary to keep credit flowing, save jobs, and put money in people’s pockets.
But now that the worst of the recession is over, we have to confront the fact that our government spends more than it takes in. That is not sustainable. Every day, families sacrifice to live within their means. They deserve a government that does the same.
So tonight, I am proposing that starting this year, we freeze annual domestic spending for the next five years. This would reduce the deficit by more than $400 billion over the next decade, and will bring discretionary spending to the lowest share of our economy since Dwight Eisenhower was president.
This freeze will require painful cuts. Already, we have frozen the salaries of hardworking federal employees for the next two years. I’ve proposed cuts to things I care deeply about, like community action programs. The Secretary of Defense has also agreed to cut tens of billions of dollars in spending that he and his generals believe our military can do without.
I recognize that some in this Chamber have already proposed deeper cuts, and I’m willing to eliminate whatever we can honestly afford to do without. But let’s make sure that we’re not doing it on the backs of our most vulnerable citizens. And let’s make sure what we’re cutting is really excess weight. Cutting the deficit by gutting our investments in innovation and education is like lightening an overloaded airplane by removing its engine. It may feel like you’re flying high at first, but it won’t take long before you’ll feel the impact.
Now, most of the cuts and savings I’ve proposed only address annual domestic spending, which represents a little more than 12% of our budget. To make further progress, we have to stop pretending that cutting this kind of spending alone will be enough. It won’t.
The bipartisan Fiscal Commission I created last year made this crystal clear. I don’t agree with all their proposals, but they made important progress. And their conclusion is that the only way to tackle our deficit is to cut excessive spending wherever we find it – in domestic spending, defense spending, health care spending, and spending through tax breaks and loopholes.
This means further reducing health care costs, including programs like Medicare and Medicaid, which are the single biggest contributor to our long-term deficit. Health insurance reform will slow these rising costs, which is part of why nonpartisan economists have said that repealing the health care law would add a quarter of a trillion dollars to our deficit. Still, I’m willing to look at other ideas to bring down costs, including one that Republicans suggested last year: medical malpractice reform to rein in frivolous lawsuits.
To put us on solid ground, we should also find a bipartisan solution to strengthen Social Security for future generations. And we must do it without putting at risk current retirees, the most vulnerable, or people with disabilities; without slashing benefits for future generations; and without subjecting Americans’ guaranteed retirement income to the whims of the stock market.
And if we truly care about our deficit, we simply cannot afford a permanent extension of the tax cuts for the wealthiest 2% of Americans. Before we take money away from our schools, or scholarships away from our students, we should ask millionaires to give up their tax break.
It’s not a matter of punishing their success. It’s about promoting America’s success.
In fact, the best thing we could do on taxes for all Americans is to simplify the individual tax code. This will be a tough job, but members of both parties have expressed interest in doing this, and I am prepared to join them.
So now is the time to act. Now is the time for both sides and both houses of Congress – Democrats and Republicans – to forge a principled compromise that gets the job done. If we make the hard choices now to rein in our deficits, we can make the investments we need to win the future.
Let me take this one step further. We shouldn’t just give our people a government that’s more affordable. We should give them a government that’s more competent and efficient. We cannot win the future with a government of the past.
We live and do business in the information age, but the last major reorganization of the government happened in the age of black and white TV. There are twelve different agencies that deal with exports. There are at least five different entities that deal with housing policy. Then there’s my favorite example: the Interior Department is in charge of salmon while they’re in fresh water, but the Commerce Department handles them in when they’re in saltwater. And I hear it gets even more complicated once they’re smoked.
Now, we have made great strides over the last two years in using technology and getting rid of waste. Veterans can now download their electronic medical records with a click of the mouse. We’re selling acres of federal office space that hasn’t been used in years, and we will cut through red tape to get rid of more. But we need to think bigger. In the coming months, my administration will develop a proposal to merge, consolidate, and reorganize the federal government in a way that best serves the goal of a more competitive America. I will submit that proposal to Congress for a vote – and we will push to get it passed.
In the coming year, we will also work to rebuild people’s faith in the institution of government. Because you deserve to know exactly how and where your tax dollars are being spent, you will be able to go to a website and get that information for the very first time in history. Because you deserve to know when your elected officials are meeting with lobbyists, I ask Congress to do what the White House has already done: put that information online. And because the American people deserve to know that special interests aren’t larding up legislation with pet projects, both parties in Congress should know this: if a bill comes to my desk with earmarks inside, I will veto it.
A 21st century government that’s open and competent. A government that lives within its means. An economy that’s driven by new skills and ideas. Our success in this new and changing world will require reform, responsibility, and innovation. It will also require us to approach that world with a new level of engagement in our foreign affairs.
Just as jobs and businesses can now race across borders, so can new threats and new challenges. No single wall separates East and West; no one rival superpower is aligned against us.
And so we must defeat determined enemies wherever they are, and build coalitions that cut across lines of region and race and religion. America’s moral example must always shine for all who yearn for freedom, justice, and dignity. And because we have begun this work, tonight we can say that American leadership has been renewed and America’s standing has been restored.
Look to Iraq, where nearly 100,000 of our brave men and women have left with their heads held high; where American combat patrols have ended; violence has come down; and a new government has been formed. This year, our civilians will forge a lasting partnership with the Iraqi people, while we finish the job of bringing our troops out of Iraq. America’s commitment has been kept; the Iraq War is coming to an end.
Of course, as we speak, al Qaeda and their affiliates continue to plan attacks against us. Thanks to our intelligence and law enforcement professionals, we are disrupting plots and securing our cities and skies. And as extremists try to inspire acts of violence within our borders, we are responding with the strength of our communities, with respect for the rule of law, and with the conviction that American Muslims are a part of our American family.
We have also taken the fight to al Qaeda and their allies abroad. In Afghanistan, our troops have taken Taliban strongholds and trained Afghan Security Forces. Our purpose is clear – by preventing the Taliban from reestablishing a stranglehold over the Afghan people, we will deny al Qaeda the safe-haven that served as a launching pad for 9/11.
Thanks to our heroic troops and civilians, fewer Afghans are under the control of the insurgency. There will be tough fighting ahead, and the Afghan government will need to deliver better governance. But we are strengthening the capacity of the Afghan people and building an enduring partnership with them. This year, we will work with nearly 50 countries to begin a transition to an Afghan lead. And this July, we will begin to bring our troops home.
In Pakistan, al Qaeda’s leadership is under more pressure than at any point since 2001. Their leaders and operatives are being removed from the battlefield. Their safe-havens are shrinking. And we have sent a message from the Afghan border to the Arabian Peninsula to all parts of the globe: we will not relent, we will not waver, and we will defeat you.
American leadership can also be seen in the effort to secure the worst weapons of war. Because Republicans and Democrats approved the New START Treaty, far fewer nuclear weapons and launchers will be deployed. Because we rallied the world, nuclear materials are being locked down on every continent so they never fall into the hands of terrorists.
Because of a diplomatic effort to insist that Iran meet its obligations, the Iranian government now faces tougher and tighter sanctions than ever before. And on the Korean peninsula, we stand with our ally South Korea, and insist that North Korea keeps its commitment to abandon nuclear weapons.
This is just a part of how we are shaping a world that favors peace and prosperity. With our European allies, we revitalized NATO, and increased our cooperation on everything from counter-terrorism to missile defense. We have reset our relationship with Russia, strengthened Asian alliances, and built new partnerships with nations like India. This March, I will travel to Brazil, Chile, and El Salvador to forge new alliances for progress in the Americas. Around the globe, we are standing with those who take responsibility – helping farmers grow more food; supporting doctors who care for the sick; and combating the corruption that can rot a society and rob people of opportunity.
Recent events have shown us that what sets us apart must not just be our power – it must be the purpose behind it. In South Sudan – with our assistance – the people were finally able to vote for independence after years of war. Thousands lined up before dawn. People danced in the streets. One man who lost four of his brothers at war summed up the scene around him: “This was a battlefield for most of my life. Now we want to be free.”
We saw that same desire to be free in Tunisia, where the will of the people proved more powerful than the writ of a dictator. And tonight, let us be clear: the United States of America stands with the people of Tunisia, and supports the democratic aspirations of all people.
We must never forget that the things we’ve struggled for, and fought for, live in the hearts of people everywhere. And we must always remember that the Americans who have borne the greatest burden in this struggle are the men and women who serve our country.
Tonight, let us speak with one voice in reaffirming that our nation is united in support of our troops and their families. Let us serve them as well as they have served us – by giving them the equipment they need; by providing them with the care and benefits they have earned; and by enlisting our veterans in the great task of building our own nation.
Our troops come from every corner of this country – they are black, white, Latino, Asian and Native American. They are Christian and Hindu, Jewish and Muslim. And, yes, we know that some of them are gay. Starting this year, no American will be forbidden from serving the country they love because of who they love. And with that change, I call on all of our college campuses to open their doors to our military recruiters and the ROTC. It is time to leave behind the divisive battles of the past. It is time to move forward as one nation.
We should have no illusions about the work ahead of us. Reforming our schools; changing the way we use energy; reducing our deficit – none of this is easy. All of it will take time. And it will be harder because we will argue about everything. The cost. The details. The letter of every law.
Of course, some countries don’t have this problem. If the central government wants a railroad, they get a railroad – no matter how many homes are bulldozed. If they don’t want a bad story in the newspaper, it doesn’t get written.
And yet, as contentious and frustrating and messy as our democracy can sometimes be, I know there isn’t a person here who would trade places with any other nation on Earth.
We may have differences in policy, but we all believe in the rights enshrined in our Constitution. We may have different opinions, but we believe in the same promise that says this is a place where you can make it if you try. We may have different backgrounds, but we believe in the same dream that says this is a country where anything’s possible. No matter who you are. No matter where you come from.
That dream is why I can stand here before you tonight. That dream is why a working class kid from Scranton can stand behind me. That dream is why someone who began by sweeping the floors of his father’s Cincinnati bar can preside as Speaker of the House in the greatest nation on Earth.
That dream – that American Dream – is what drove the Allen Brothers to reinvent their roofing company for a new era. It’s what drove those students at Forsyth Tech to learn a new skill and work towards the future. And that dream is the story of a small business owner named Brandon Fisher.
Brandon started a company in Berlin, Pennsylvania that specializes in a new kind of drilling technology. One day last summer, he saw the news that halfway across the world, 33 men were trapped in a Chilean mine, and no one knew how to save them.
But Brandon thought his company could help. And so he designed a rescue that would come to be known as Plan B. His employees worked around the clock to manufacture the necessary drilling equipment. And Brandon left for Chile.
Along with others, he began drilling a 2,000 foot hole into the ground, working three or four days at a time with no sleep. Thirty-seven days later, Plan B succeeded, and the miners were rescued. But because he didn’t want all of the attention, Brandon wasn’t there when the miners emerged. He had already gone home, back to work on his next project.
Later, one of his employees said of the rescue, “We proved that Center Rock is a little company, but we do big things.”
We do big things.
From the earliest days of our founding, America has been the story of ordinary people who dare to dream. That’s how we win the future.
We are a nation that says, “I might not have a lot of money, but I have this great idea for a new company. I might not come from a family of college graduates, but I will be the first to get my degree. I might not know those people in trouble, but I think I can help them, and I need to try. I’m not sure how we’ll reach that better place beyond the horizon, but I know we’ll get there. I know we will.”
We do big things.
The idea of America endures. Our destiny remains our choice. And tonight, more than two centuries later, it is because of our people that our future is hopeful, our journey goes forward, and the state of our union is strong.
Thank you, God Bless You, and may God Bless the United States of America.
WHAT TO EXPECT FROM PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA’S STATE OF THE UNION ADDRESS
Written By Tracey Ricks Foster, Editorial Director of Washington Review & Commentary
In his State of the Union Address, President Barack Obama will endeavor to build upon the favorable momentum that his administration created late last year. With the repeal of ”Don’t ask, don’t tell,” the Obama administration gained a positive resurgence in the polls. For President Obama, the State of the Union speech is the blueprint from which the second half of his first term will be constructed and judged.
With the economy on the rebound according to the CBO, and an upward outlook on the unemployment situation in America, President Obama’s State of the Union Address will primarily focus on job creation and help for small businesses with tax incentives and health care insurance. November 2010 saw the unemployment rate drop to 9.4. The CBO forecasts the jobless rate will fall under nine percent by the end of 2011 and that by 2014, the rate will have fallen an additional four points and steady itself at five percent.
It is imperitive for President Obama to express within the State of the Union a willingness to work across political party lines to accomplish his main objectives, which are stabilizing the economy and reducing America’s debt ceiling. In his State of the Union, President Obama will stress the importance of cutting back in order to reduce the deficit, that by some estimates, is in the area of $70 trillion. Education and becoming globally competitve will be another focus of the President’s speech to America on Tuesday. With a national public school system surviving on a failing infrastructure, America’s educational system, which at one point decades ago was a benchmark for excellence around the world, is sinking and in dire need of an overhaul. President Obama will stress the need to bring education back to the forefront of America so that generations of children can fairly compete in a global world market.
President Obama’s speech will touch emphatically on the violent rhetoric that Washington politicians have engaged in for the past two years. Not pointing fingers at which political party is to blame for the violence in Tucson, Arizona earlier this month, the President will strongly make it clear that America was built on passionate discussion, freedom of speech, and healthy debate. However, President Obama will discourage inciteful and provocative language that could perpetuate violence. A bipartisanship commitment unilaterally between the White House and the legislative bodies, primarily the Republican majority of the House of Representatives, is the direction that President Obama will allude to in order for Washington to work for the American people.
The State of the Union Address will predictably feature many high notes. But if President Barack Obama seeks to remain in the White House beyond 2012, the tone of this speech will be the GPS to get him reelected.
GUEST LIST FOR THE FIRST LADY’S BOX
STATE OF THE UNION ADDRESS
JANUARY 25, 2011
First Lady Michelle Obama
Dr. Jill Biden
Phil Schiliro, Assistant to the President and Director, Office of Legislative Affairs
Gary and Robert Allen (Rochester Hills, MI)
Gary and his brother Robert have been partners in the family business, Allen Brothers Inc., a roofing products manufacturing company, for 25 years. With the help of $500,000 from the Recovery Act, the Allen brothers were able to retool half of their manufacturing facility in order to manufacture solar shingles and launch a whole new business, Luma Resources. A graduate of Saginaw Valley State University, Gary, his wife Diane, and their six children are residents of Rochester Hills, Michigan. Robert lives in Oakland Township, Michigan with his wife Nicole, and their three children.
Ursula M. Burns (Norwalk, CT)
Ursula M. Burns is the chief executive officer of Xerox Corporation. She joined Xerox in 1980 as a mechanical engineer summer intern and later assumed roles in product development and planning. From 1992 through 2000, Ms. Burns led several business teams including the office color and fax business and office network printing business. In 2000, she was named senior vice president, Corporate Strategic Services, heading up manufacturing and supply chain operations. She then took on the broader role of leading Xerox’s global research as well as product development, marketing and delivery. In April 2007, Ms. Burns was named president of Xerox, expanding her leadership to also include the company’s IT organization, corporate strategy, human resources, corporate marketing and global accounts. At that time, she was also elected a member of the company’s Board of Directors. Ms. Burns was named chief executive officer in July 2009. Ms. Burns earned a Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical engineering from Polytechnic Institute of NYU and a Master of Science degree in mechanical engineering from Columbia University. Ms. Burns was named by the President to help lead the White House national campaign on STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education in November 2009, and is on the board of Change the Equation, a coalition of over 100 CEOs focused on STEM education that the President announced in September 2010. She was appointed vice chair of the President’s Export Council in March 2010.
Amy Chyao (Richardson, TX)
Amy, a sixteen-year-old high school junior from Richardson, Texas, has developed a photosensitizer for photodynamic therapy (PDT), an emerging cancer treatment which uses light energy to activate a drug that kills cancer cells. After her freshman year biology class, Amy became interested in cancer research and came up with an idea for improving the way medicine is designed. So over her summer vacation she taught herself some basic chemistry and began her research. With her work, Amy won the first place Gordon E. Moore Award at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair, a program of Society for Science & the Public, in May 2010. Since taking home the top prize at the Intel science fair, she and her teacher have received inquiries from researchers who are actually implementing the therapy and are interested in her work. Amy, whose parents came here from China, is also a cellist and tutors younger children in her spare time. Amy met the President at the October 2010 White House Science Fair.
Kendra Baker and Zachary Davis (Santa Cruz, CA)
Business partners Kendra Baker and Zachary Davis had a dream of opening an organic, homemade ice cream shop in Santa Cruz, California, but had trouble finding a lender that would help finance their dream. With the help of a Recovery Act SBA loan of $250,000, Kendra and Zack were able open the doors to The Penny Ice Creamery in August 2010. The SBA Recovery Act funding allowed them to not only open the shop, but also to employ eleven people, purchase American-made equipment, and to hire nearly twenty local businesses to design and renovate the space. Kendra and Zack were so thankful for the financing help, that they posted a video on YouTube thanking the Administration and Members of Congress for their Recovery Act SBA loan. As a result of the video, the Vice President called them in November 2010 to thank them for the video and wish them good luck.
Brandon and Julie Fisher (Berlin, PA)
Brandon Fisher is the owner of a small business, Center Rock, in Berlin, Pennsylvania that specializes in a new kind of drilling technology. Last summer, Center Rock manufactured the drill bits and other equipment used to find and rescue the 33 trapped Chilean miners. The technology enabled a considerable shortening of the rescue timeline. Brandon and his wife, sales director Julie, spent 37 days in Chile working to drill the rescue shaft. Brandon, along with some of the Americans involved in the Chilean mine rescue efforts, met the President in October 2010.
Brandon Ford (Philadelphia, PA)
Brandon, a junior at West Philadelphia High School, is a leader of the West Philly Hybrid X Team which includes students from an after school program at the West Philadelphia High School Academy of Automotive and Mechanical Engineering. West Philadelphia is a public high school serving one of the most disadvantaged neighborhoods in Philadelphia. Brandon and the Hybrid X team recently entered two cars in the Progressive Automotive X PRIZE competition, a global challenge that sought to deliver production-ready highly fuel efficient vehicles. As high school students, they successfully went head to head with corporations, universities and other well-funded organizations from around the world, even advancing to an elimination round with their Ford Focus that got an official 65.1 MPGe. Brandon is also one of a group of students who entered the Conrad Foundation’s Spirit of Innovation Awards with their proposal for an Electric Very Light Car. He and 4 other students spent many hours writing the proposal and graphic for the contest. Brandon is a dedicated and hard working team member; for example, last week he worked with the team Tuesday, Thursday, all day Saturday, and then on Sunday participated with the team in a MLK Day of Service activity. He also plays varsity football for West Philadelphia High School. Brandon and the West Philly Hybrid X team attended the President’s September 2010 “Change the Equation” event.
The Green Family (Tucson, AZ)
John and Roxanna are the parents of eleven-year-old Dallas and the late Christina Taylor, the nine-year-old girl killed when a gunman opened fire on Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords in Tucson earlier this month. At just nine-years-old, Christina Taylor already had big plans to one day serve her country. Christina Taylor was born on 9/11 and had used her birthdate as a source of inspiration during her short life. Christina Taylor attended Mesa Verde Elementary, where she was a member of the student council.
Staff Sergeant Salvatore Giunta (Hiawatha, IA)
Staff Sergeant Salvatore Giunta, a native of Hiawatha, Iowa, enlisted in the United States Army in November 2003. He attended Basic Training and Advanced Individual Training at Fort Benning, Georgia. Staff Sergeant Giunta is currently assigned to 2-503rd Infantry Battalion, Rear Detachment, Camp Ederle, Italy. Staff Sergeant Giunta has completed two combat tours to Afghanistan totaling 27 months of deployment. His military decorations include: the Bronze Star, Purple Heart, Army Commendation Medal w/oak leaf cluster, Army Achievement Medal, National Defense Service Medal, two Army Good Conduct Medals, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, to name a few. He is married to Jennifer Lynn Mueller. In November 2010, the President awarded Staff Sergeant Salvatore Giunta, U.S. Army, the Medal of Honor for conspicuous gallantry. He received the Medal of Honor for his courageous actions during combat operations against an armed enemy in the Korengal Valley, Afghanistan in October 2007.
Daniel Hernandez (Tucson, AZ)
Daniel Hernandez is a student advocate and political activist from Tucson, Arizona. He currently serves as a Congressional Intern for Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and a Director with the Arizona Students’ Association. Born in 1990, Daniel attended public schools in the Sunnyside Unified School District and is earning a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science as a junior at the University of Arizona.
Jim Houser (Portland, OR)
Jim Houser and his wife have owned an auto repair shop in Portland, Oregon for over 25 years, and it’s important to them to retain their employees and keep them healthy. They invest time, energy and money to train their workers and they don’t want to lose valuable employees. That’s why Jim has always provided health insurance to his employees. But in the last ten years, Jim has been forced to contend with skyrocketing premium increases, with premiums making up over 20 percent of his payroll. Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, Jim and small business owners like him are getting immediate relief. The health reform law provides tax credits for small businesses that offer employees health insurance. And small business owners like Jim are benefiting from the tax credit today. Jim estimates that the tax credits will save him over $10,000.
James Howard (Katy, TX)
James Howard was diagnosed with brain cancer in March and later thought his lack of health insurance was a death sentence. Fortunately, he was able to join the Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan and is now getting the treatment he needs.
Staff Sergeant Brian Mast and Brianna Mast (Washington, DC)
Staff Sergeant Brian Mast is a native of Grand Rapids, Michigan, and joined the United States Army Reserves after graduating from high school in 1999. Four years ago he joined the Special Forces and was trained in bomb disposal. Staff Sergeant Mast deployed to Afghanistan in July 2010. He was seriously injured by a roadside bomb on September 19, 2010. He lost both legs just below the knee and an index finger. Staff Sergeant Mast suffered a broken arm, shrapnel wounds, and a damaged ear drum in the blast and is currently recovering at Walter Reed. Staff Sergeant Mast, his wife, Brianna, and their son, Magnum, met the Vice President and Dr. Biden at a Thanksgiving dinner for military families that the Bidens hosted at the Vice President’s Residence in November 2010.
Gunnery Sergeant Nicole Mohabir (Fort Lee, VA)
Gunnery Sergeant Mohabir enlisted in the United States Marine Corps in December 1991. After completing recruit training at Parris Island, South Carolina, she attended the Marine Corps Basic Food Service School at Camp Johnson, North Carolina, and was assigned as a Food Service Specialist. Gunnery Sergeant Mohabir made her first deployment to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) from December 2002 to June 2003 with Combat Service Support Group-12. In 2004, she made her second deployment in support of OIF and was assigned to Headquarters and Service Battalion, 1st Force Service Support Group at Camp Taqaddum, Iraq. Gunnery Sergeant Mohabir deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in March 2010 and is currently back at her duty station in Fort Lee, Virginia.
Mikayla Nelson (Billings, MT)
Mikayla Nelson is currently a freshman at Central Catholic High School in Billings, Montana. As a middle schooler at Will James Middle School, she led her Science Bowl team to a 1st place finish at the National Science Bowl for the design document of their solar car. They also won 5th place in the U.S. Dept of Energy’s Junior Solar Sprint. In addition to excelling academically, Mikayla is taking flying lessons in hopes of attaining her pilot’s license, is building a 1932 Pietenpol Sky Scout airplane, runs her own birdhouse business, and is restoring a 1967 VW Beetle . She also works at a local hobby store to help cover the cost of her school tuition. Mikayla is working towards acceptance at the United State Air Force Academy where she hopes to major in mechanical engineering. Mikayla met the President at the October 2010 White House Science Fair where she represented her Science Bowl team and exhibited their solar car.
Kathy Proctor (Winston-Salem, NC)
Kathy Proctor grew up in Trinity, North Carolina where, after graduating, she went to work in the furniture industry like many others in the area. About six years ago, Kathy realized that furniture jobs were dwindling and started taking Math and English classes at night and on weekends to brush up on her skills after being out of school for so long. When she was laid off in 2009, Kathy began taking classes in biotechnology at Forsyth Technical Community College. Kathy will graduate in July 2011, with an Associate Degree in Science, and hopes to attain a job working as a bio-fuels analyst. Kathy met the President when he visited Forsyth Tech in early December 2010.
Dr. Peter Rhee (Tucson, AZ)
Dr. Peter Rhee is an United States Navy veteran and military surgeon, currently serving as the Chief of Trauma at the University Medical Center in Tucson, Arizona. Dr. Rhee oversaw the medical care associated with Arizona’s recent shooting tragedy, including the care of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. Rhee has handled hundreds of battlefield injuries in two war deployments beginning in 2001. He was one of the first battlefield surgeons to be deployed to Camp Rhino, the first U.S. land base in Afghanistan, located in the remote desert about 100 miles southwest of Kandahar. In 2005, he served in Iraq. Rhee earned his medical degree at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences F. Edward Hebert School of Medicine in 1987. He has a master’s degree in public health from the University of Washington in Seattle and a diploma in the medical care of catastrophes.
Diego Vasquez (Phoenix, AZ)
Diego Vasquez, currently a freshman at South Mountain Community College in Phoenix, Arizona, was a member of the 12 person team from Cesar Chavez High School in Laveen, Arizona that won a grant through the Lemelson-MIT Program’s InvenTeams initiative for their design of a fully adjustable motorized chair for medically fragile individuals. The team decided to design the chair, which is to be used primarily for physical therapy, after seeing a disabled friend and fellow student struggle at school. The students and their families held a tamale “bake sale” so that the entire team could travel to MIT to attend EurekaFest, the Lemelson-MIT Program’s annual celebration of invention. For many members of the team, flying to Eurekafest was their first time on a plane. Diego hopes to become an aerospace engineer. Diego met the President at the October 2010 White House Science Fair where he represented his team and demonstrated their chair.
Wendell P. Weeks (Corning, NY)
Wendell P. Weeks is chairman and chief executive officer of Corning Incorporated. He was named chief executive officer in April 2005 and chairman of the board in April 2007. He has been a member of the company’s board of directors since December 2000. Mr. Weeks began his career with Corning in 1983 in the corporate control group and moved through a variety of financial and business development roles. He then progressed through commercial and general management leadership positions in the company’s television and specialty glass businesses. In 1993, Mr. Weeks was named general manager of external development in Corning’s telecommunications business. He was named vice president and general manager of the company’s optical fiber business in 1996. In early 2001, Mr. Weeks was named president of Corning’s optical communications businesses, leading them through both dynamic market growth and the subsequent challenges of market declines. Mr. Weeks was named president and chief operating officer of Corning in April 2002. Mr. Weeks is a graduate of Lehigh University and earned a Master of Business Administration from Harvard University as a Baker Scholar.
U.S. – China Joint Statement
January 19, 2011
1. At the invitation of President Barack Obama of the United States of America, President Hu Jintao of the People’s Republic of China is paying a state visit to the United States of America from January 18-21, 2011. During his visit, President Hu met with Vice President Joseph Biden, will meet with U.S. Congressional leadership, and will visit Chicago.
2. The two Presidents reviewed the progress made in the relationship since President Obama’s November 2009 State Visit to China and reaffirmed their commitment to building a positive, cooperative, and comprehensive U.S. – China relationship for the 21st century, which serves the interests of the American and Chinese peoples and of the global community. The two sides reaffirmed that the three Joint Communiqués issued by the United States and China laid the political foundation for the relationship and will continue to guide the development of U.S. – China relations. The two sides reaffirmed respect for each other’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. The Presidents further reaffirmed their commitment to the November 2009 U.S. – China Joint Statement.
3. The United States and China committed to work together to build a cooperative partnership based on mutual respect and mutual benefit in order to promote the common interests of both countries and to address the 21st century’s opportunities and challenges. The United States and China are actively cooperating on a wide range of security, economic, social, energy, and environmental issues which require deeper bilateral engagement and coordination. The two leaders agreed that broader and deeper collaboration with international partners and institutions is required to develop and implement sustainable solutions and to promote peace, stability, prosperity, and the well-being of peoples throughout the world.
Strengthening U.S. – China Relations
4. Recognizing the importance of the common challenges that they face together, the United States and China decided to continue working toward a partnership that advances common interests, addresses shared concerns, and highlights international responsibilities. The two leaders recognize that the relationship between the United States and China is both vital and complex. The United States and China have set an example of positive and cooperative relations between countries, despite different political systems, historical and cultural backgrounds, and levels of economic development. The two sides agreed to work further to nurture and deepen bilateral strategic trust to enhance their relations. They reiterated the importance of deepening dialogue aimed at expanding practical cooperation and affirmed the need to work together to address areas of disagreement, expand common ground, and strengthen coordination on a range of issues.
5. The United States reiterated that it welcomes a strong, prosperous, and successful China that plays a greater role in world affairs. China welcomes the United States as an Asia-Pacific nation that contributes to peace, stability and prosperity in the region. Working together, both leaders support efforts to build a more stable, peaceful, and prosperous Asia-Pacific region for the 21st century.
6. Both sides underscored the importance of the Taiwan issue in U.S. – China relations. The Chinese side emphasized that the Taiwan issue concerns China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, and expressed the hope that the U.S. side will honor its relevant commitments and appreciate and support the Chinese side’s position on this issue. The U.S. side stated that the United States follows its one China policy and abides by the principles of the three U.S.-China Joint Communiqués. The United States applauded the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait and welcomed the new lines of communications developing between them. The United States supports the peaceful development of relations across the Taiwan Strait and looks forward to efforts by both sides to increase dialogues and interactions in economic, political, and other fields, and to develop more positive and stable cross-Strait relations.
7. The United States and China reiterated their commitment to the promotion and protection of human rights, even as they continue to have significant differences on these issues. The United States stressed that the promotion of human rights and democracy is an important part of its foreign policy. China stressed that there should be no interference in any country’s internal affairs. The United States and China underscored that each country and its people have the right to choose their own path, and all countries should respect each other’s choice of a development model. Addressing differences on human rights in a spirit of equality and mutual respect, as well as promoting and protecting human rights consistent with international instruments, the two sides agreed to hold the next round of the U.S.- C hina Human Rights Dialogue before the third round of the Strategic and Economic Dialogue (S&ED).
8. The United States and China agreed to hold the next round of the resumed Legal Experts Dialogue before the next Human Rights Dialogue convenes. The United States and China further agreed to strengthen cooperation in the field of law and exchanges on the rule of law. The United States and China are actively exploring exchanges and discussions on the increasing role of women in society.
9. The United States and China affirmed that a healthy, stable, and reliable military-to-military relationship is an essential part of President Obama’s and President Hu’s shared vision for a positive, cooperative, and comprehensive U.S.-China relationship. Both sides agreed on the need for enhanced and substantive dialogue and communication at all levels: to reduce misunderstanding, misperception, and miscalculation; to foster greater understanding and expand mutual interest; and to promote the healthy, stable, and reliable development of the military-to-military relationship. Both sides noted the successful visit of Secretary of Defense Robert Gates to China earlier this month, and that the United States welcomes Chief of the PLA General Staff General Chen Bingde to the United States in the first half of 2011. Both sides reaffirmed that the Defense Consultative Talks, the Defense Policy Coordination Talks, and the Military Maritime Consultative Agreement will remain important channels of communication in the future. Both sides will work to execute the seven priority areas for developing military-to-military relations as agreed to by Secretary Gates and General Xu Caihou, Vice Chairman of the Central Military Commission in October 2009.
10. The United States and China agreed to take specific actions to deepen dialogue and exchanges in the field of space. The United States invited a Chinese delegation to visit NASA headquarters and other appropriate NASA facilities in 2011 to reciprocate for the productive visit of the U.S. NASA Administrator to China in 2010. The two sides agreed to continue discussions on opportunities for practical future cooperation in the space arena, based on principles of transparency, reciprocity, and mutual benefit.
11. The United States and China acknowledged the accomplishments under the bilateral Agreement on Cooperation in Science and Technology, one of the longest-standing bilateral agreements between the two countries, and welcomed the signing of its extension. The United States and China will continue to cooperate in such diverse areas as agriculture, health, energy, environment, fisheries, student exchanges, and technological innovation in order to advance mutual well-being.
12. The United States and China welcomed progress by the U.S.-China Joint Liaison Group on Law Enforcement Cooperation (JLG) to strengthen law enforcement cooperation across a range of issues, including counterterrorism. The United States and China also agreed to enhance joint efforts to combat corruption through bilateral and other means.
Promoting High-Level Exchanges
13. The two sides agreed that high-level exchanges are indispensable to strong U.S.-China relations, and that close, frequent, and in-depth dialogue is important to advance bilateral relations and international peace and development. In this spirit, both Presidents look forward to meeting again in the coming year, including in the state of Hawaii for the U.S.-hosted 2011 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Leaders’ meeting. China welcomed Vice President Biden for a visit in 2011. The United States welcomed a subsequent visit by Vice President Xi Jinping.
14. The two sides praised the S&ED as a key mechanism for coordination between the two governments, and agreed to hold the third round of the S&ED in Washington, D.C., in May 2011. The S&ED has played an important role in helping build trust and confidence between the two countries. The two sides also agreed to hold the second meeting of the High-Level Consultation on People-to-People Exchange in the United States in the spring of 2011, and the 22nd meeting of the U.S.-China Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade (JCCT) in China in the second half of 2011. The two sides agreed to maintain close communication between the foreign ministers of the two countries through mutual visits, meetings, and other means.
15. The two sides emphasized the importance of continued interaction between their legislatures, including institutionalized exchanges between the National People’s Congress of China and the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives.
Addressing Regional and Global Challenges
16. The two sides believe that the United States and China have a common interest in promoting peace and security in the Asia-Pacific region and beyond, and agreed to enhance communication and coordination to address pressing regional and global challenges. The two sides undertake to act to protect the global environment and to work in concert on global issues to help safeguard and promote the sustainable development of all countries and peoples. Specifically, the United States and China agreed to advance cooperation to: counter violent extremism; prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons, other weapons of mass destruction, and their means of delivery; strengthen nuclear security; eliminate infectious disease and hunger; end extreme poverty; respond effectively to the challenge of climate change; counter piracy; prevent and mitigate disasters; address cyber-security; fight transnational crime; and combat trafficking in persons. In coordination with other parties, the United States and China will endeavor to increase cooperation to address common concerns and promote shared interests.
17. The United States and China underlined their commitment to the eventual realization of a world without nuclear weapons and the need to strengthen the international nuclear non-proliferation regime to address the threats of nuclear proliferation and nuclear terrorism. In this regard, both sides support early entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), reaffirmed their support for the early commencement of negotiations on a Fissile Material Cutoff Treaty in the Conference on Disarmament, and agreed to work together to reach these goals. The two sides also noted their deepening cooperation on nuclear security following the Washington Nuclear Security Summit and signed a Memorandum of Understanding that will help establish a Center of Excellence on Nuclear Security in China.
18. The United States and China agreed on the critical importance of maintaining peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula as underscored by the Joint Statement of September 19, 2005 and relevant UN Security Council Resolutions. Both sides expressed concern over heightened tensions on the Peninsula triggered by recent developments. The two sides noted their continuing efforts to cooperate closely on matters concerning the Peninsula. The United States and China emphasized the importance of an improvement in North-South relations and agreed that sincere and constructive inter-Korean dialogue is an essential step. Agreeing on the crucial importance of denuclearization of the Peninsula in order to preserve peace and stability in Northeast Asia, the United States and China reiterated the need for concrete and effective steps to achieve the goal of denuclearization and for full implementation of the other commitments made in the September 19, 2005 Joint Statement of the Six-Party Talks. In this context, the United States and China expressed concern regarding the DPRK’s claimed uranium enrichment program. Both sides oppose all activities inconsistent with the 2005 Joint Statement and relevant international obligations and commitments. The two sides called for the necessary steps that would allow for early resumption of the Six-Party Talks process to address this and other relevant issues.
19. On the Iranian nuclear issue, the United States and China reiterated their commitment to seeking a comprehensive and long-term solution that would restore international confidence in the exclusively peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear program. Both sides agreed that Iran has the right to peaceful uses of nuclear energy under the Non-Proliferation Treaty and that Iran should fulfill its due international obligations under that treaty. Both sides called for full implementation of all relevant UN Security Council Resolutions. The United States and China welcomed and will actively participate in the P5+1 process with Iran, and stressed the importance of all parties – including Iran – committing to a constructive dialogue process.
20. Regarding Sudan, the United States and China agreed to fully support the North-South peace process, including full and effective implementation of Sudan’s Comprehensive Peace Agreement. The two sides stressed the need for all sides to respect the result of a free, fair, and transparent referendum. Both the United States and China expressed concern on the Darfur issue and believed that further, substantive progress should be made in the political process in Darfur to promote the early, comprehensive, and appropriate solution to this issue. Both the United States and China have a continuing interest in the maintenance of peace and stability in the wider region.
21. The two sides agreed to enhance communication and coordination in the Asia-Pacific region in a spirit of mutual respect and cooperation, and to work together with other Asia-Pacific countries, including through multilateral institutions, to promote peace, stability, and prosperity.
Building a Comprehensive and Mutually Beneficial Economic Partnership
22. President Obama and President Hu recognized the vital importance of working together to build a cooperative economic partnership of mutual respect and mutual benefit to both countries and to the global economy. The two leaders agreed to promote comprehensive economic cooperation, and will develop further a framework of comprehensive economic cooperation, relying on existing mechanisms, by the third round of the S&ED in May, based on the main elements outlined below:
23. The two sides agreed to strengthen macroeconomic communication and cooperation, in support of strong, sustainable and balanced growth in the United States, China and the global economy:
- The United States will focus on reducing its medium-term federal deficit and ensuring long-term fiscal sustainability, and will maintain vigilance against excess volatility in exchange rates. The Federal Reserve has taken important steps in recent years to increase the clarity of its communications regarding its outlook and longer run objectives.
- China will intensify efforts to expand domestic demand, to promote private investment in the service sector, and to give greater play to the fundamental role of the market in resource allocation. China will continue to promote RMB exchange rate reform and enhance RMB exchange rate flexibility, and promote the transformation of its economic development model.
- Both sides agree to continue to pursue forward-looking monetary policies with due regards to the ramifications of those policies for the international economy.
- The two sides affirmed support for efforts by European leaders to reinforce market stability and promote sustainable, long-term growth.
24. The two countries, recognizing the importance of open trade and investment in fostering economic growth, job creation, innovation, and prosperity, affirmed their commitment to take further steps to liberalize global trade and investment, and to oppose trade and investment protectionism. The two sides also agreed to work proactively to resolve bilateral trade and investment disputes in a constructive, cooperative, and mutually beneficial manner.
25. The two leaders emphasized their strong commitment to direct their negotiators to engage in across-the-board negotiations to promptly bring the WTO Doha Development Round to a successful, ambitious, comprehensive, and balanced conclusion, consistent with the mandate of the Doha Development Round and built on the progress already achieved. The two sides agreed that engagement between our representatives must intensify and expand in order to complete the end game.
26. The two leaders agreed on the importance of achieving a more balanced trade relationship, and spoke highly of the progress made on this front, including at the recent 21st Meeting of the JCCT in Washington, D.C.
27. China will continue to strengthen its efforts to protect IPR, including by conducting audits to ensure that government agencies at all levels use legitimate software and by publishing the auditing results as required by China’s law. China will not link its innovation policies to the provision of government procurement preferences. The United States welcomed China’s agreement to submit a robust, second revised offer to the WTO Government Procurement Committee before the Committee’s final meeting in 2011, which will include sub-central entities.
28. The two leaders acknowledged the importance of fostering open, fair, and transparent investment environments to their domestic economies and to the global economy and reaffirmed their commitment to the ongoing bilateral investment treaty (BIT) negotiations, recognizing that a successful BIT negotiation would support an open global economy by facilitating and protecting investment, and enhancing transparency and predictability for investors of both countries. China welcomed the United States’ commitment to consult through the JCCT in a cooperative manner to work towards China’s Market Economy Status in an expeditious manner. China welcomed discussion between the two sides on the ongoing reform of the U.S. export control system, and its potential implications for U.S. exports to its major trading partners, including China, consistent with U.S. national security interests.
29. The two sides further acknowledged the deep and robust nature of the commercial relationship, including the contracts concluded at this visit, and welcomed the mutual economic benefits resulting from the relationship.
30. The two sides agreed to continue working to make concrete progress on the bilateral economic relationship through the upcoming S&ED and the JCCT process.
31. The United States and China recognized the potential for their firms to play a positive role in the infrastructure development in each country and agreed to strengthen cooperation in this area.
32. The two countries committed to deepen bilateral and multilateral cooperation on financial sector investment and regulation, and support open environments for investment in financial services and cross-border portfolio investment, consistent with prudential and national security requirements. The United States is committed to ensuring that the GSEs have sufficient capital and the ability to meet their financial obligations.
33. The United States and China agree that currencies in the SDR basket should only be those that are heavily used in international trade and financial transactions. In that regard, the United States supports China’s efforts over time to promote inclusion of the RMB in the SDR basket.
34. The two countries pledged to work together to strengthen the global financial system and reform the international financial architecture. The two sides will continue their strong cooperation to strengthen the legitimacy and improve the effectiveness of the International Monetary Fund and Multilateral Development Banks (MDBs). The two sides will jointly promote efforts of the international community to assist developing countries, in particular the Least Developed Countries to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The two sides will also, in partnership with the Multilateral Development Banks, explore cooperation that supports global poverty reduction and development, and regional integration including in Africa, to contribute to inclusive and sustainable economic growth.
35. The two countries reiterated their support for the G-20 Framework for Strong, Sustainable and Balanced Growth and reaffirmed their commitments made in the Seoul Summit Declaration, including using the full range of policies to strengthen the global recovery and to reduce excessive imbalances and maintain current account imbalances at sustainable levels. The two sides support a bigger role for the G-20 in international economic and financial affairs, and pledged to strengthen communication and coordination to follow through on the commitments of the G-20 summits and push for positive outcomes at the Cannes Summit.
Cooperating on Climate Change, Energy and the Environment
36. The two sides view climate change and energy security as two of the greatest challenges of our time. The United States and China agreed to continue their close consultations on action to address climate change, coordinate to achieve energy security for our peoples and the world, build on existing clean energy cooperation, ensure open markets, promote mutually beneficial investment in climate friendly energy, encourage clean energy, and facilitate advanced clean energy technology development.
37. Both sides applauded the progress made in clean energy and energy security since the launch of the U.S.-China Clean Energy Research Center, Renewable Energy Partnership, U.S.-China Joint Statement on Energy Security Cooperation, and Energy Cooperation Program (ECP). Both sides reaffirmed their ongoing exchanges on energy policy and cooperation on oil, natural gas (including shale gas), civilian nuclear energy, wind and solar energy, smart grid, advanced bio-fuels, clean coal, energy efficiency, electric vehicles and clean energy technology standards.
38. The two sides commended the progress made since the launch of the U.S.-China Ten Year Framework on Energy and Environment Cooperation (TYF) in 2008. They agreed to further strengthen practical cooperation under the TYF, carry out action plans in the priority areas of water, air, transportation, electricity, protected areas, wetlands, and energy efficiency, engage in policy dialogues, and implement the EcoPartnerships program. The United States and China were also pleased to announce two new EcoPartnerships. The two sides welcomed local governments, enterprises, and research institutes of the two countries to participate in the TYF, and jointly explore innovative models for U.S.-China energy and environment cooperation. The two sides welcomed the cooperation projects and activities which will be carried out in 2011 under the TYF.
39. The two sides welcomed the Cancun agreements and believed that it is important that efforts to address climate change also advance economic and social development. Working together and with other countries, the two sides agreed to actively promote the comprehensive, effective, and sustained implementation of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, including the implementation of the Cancun agreements and support efforts to achieve positive outcomes at this year’s conference in South Africa.
Expanding People-to-People Exchanges
40. The United States and China have long supported deeper and broader people-to-people ties as part of a larger effort to build a cooperative partnership based on mutual respect and mutual benefit. Both sides agreed to take concrete steps to enhance these people-to-people exchanges. Both sides noted with satisfaction the successful Expo 2010 Shanghai, and the Chinese side complimented the United States on its USA Pavilion. The two sides announced the launch of a U.S.-China Governors Forum and decided to further support exchanges and cooperation at local levels in a variety of fields, including support for the expansion of the sister province and city relationships. The United States and China also agreed to take concrete steps to strengthen dialogue and exchanges between their young people, particularly through the 100,000 Strong Initiative. The United States warmly welcomes more Chinese students in American educational institutions, and will continue to facilitate visa issuance for them. The two sides agreed to discuss ways of expanding cultural interaction, including exploring a U.S.-China cultural year event and other activities. The two sides underscored their commitment to further promoting and facilitating increased tourism. The United States and China agreed that all these activities help deepen understanding, trust, and cooperation.
41. President Hu Jintao expressed his thanks to President Obama and the American people for their warm reception and hospitality during his visit. The two Presidents agreed that the visit has furthered U.S.-China relations, and both sides resolved to work together to build a cooperative partnership based on mutual respect and mutual benefit. The two Presidents shared a deep belief that a stronger U.S.-China relationship not only serves the fundamental interests of their respective peoples, but also benefits the entire Asia-Pacific region and the world.
REMARKS BY PRESIDENT OBAMA AND PRESIDENT HU OF THE PEOPLE’S REPUBLIC OF CHINA IN ROUNDTABLE WITH AMERICAN AND CHINESE BUSINESS LEADERS
REMARKS BY PRESIDENT OBAMA
AND PRESIDENT HU OF THE PEOPLE’S REPUBLIC OF CHINA
IN ROUNDTABLE WITH AMERICAN AND CHINESE BUSINESS LEADERS
Eisenhower Executive Office Building
12:36 P.M. EST
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, first of all, thanks to all of you for joining, both American and Chinese business leaders.
President Hu and I have had some excellent discussions, both last night in a smaller dinner and then this morning with our respective teams. But we very much believe that in order for the U.S.-China relationship to deepen and to grow, that it can’t just be a matter of government-to-government contacts.
And there has been no sector of our societies that have been stronger proponents of U.S.-China relations than the business sector. And so I’m very pleased that we have some of America’s top businesses here. Many of them have a longstanding relationship with China; have been selling American goods, promoting American services in China. And they, I think, can testify to the benefits that the United States obtains from strong relations with China.
We’ve got some Chinese business leaders here, who I know are already doing business in the United States, making investments in the United States, engaging in joint ventures in the United States, and helping grow the economy here in the United States. I know they’re interested in finding ways that they can expand their activities in the United States.
And so I think our goal here today was to make sure that we break out of the old stereotypes that somehow China is simply taking manufacturing jobs and taking advantage of low wages; the U.S. is importing cheap goods and thereby having cheaper products, but also putting strains on our employment base — the relationship is much more complex than that, and it has much more potential than that.
China is one of the top markets for American exports. We’re now exporting more than $100 billion a year in goods and services to China, and that supports about half a million American jobs, from manufacturing to agriculture. And in fact, our exports to China are growing nearly twice as fast as our exports to the rest of the world.
Of course, here in the United States, we’ve got one of the most open economies in the world, and that makes us a top destination for Chinese exports, but also Chinese investment.
It is important, I think, to note that even with China’s enormous population, the United States still does more trade with Europe than it does with China. That, I think, gives an indication of the amount of progress that can be made if we are consulting with each other, if we are hearing specifically from businesses in terms of how we can ease some of the frictions that exist in our trading relationship.
And so my hope is that today, in the brief time that we have, we’ll be able to hear some concrete ideas about how we make sure that trade is fair, that there’s a level playing field; how can we protect intellectual property; how can we promote innovation; how can both of our governments remove barriers to trade and barriers to job creation.
And with China’s growing middle class, I believe that over the coming years, we can more than double our exports to China and create more jobs here in the United States. And I’m sure that Chinese business leaders see enormous opportunities here as well.
So with that, I’d like to just turn it over briefly to President Hu, and then maybe we can hear from some of the leaders around the table.
PRESIDENT HU: (As translated.) Business leaders, today it gives me a great pleasure to be here with President Obama and meet with you, business leaders.
All of you around this table and your companies are leading performers of the two countries. You have not only made positive contribution to the economic growth of your respective countries, but also to China-U.S. relations.
So I wish to offer you my sincere appreciation. All business leaders around this table have seized the opportunities presented by the deepening economic globalization. You have been working vigorously to expand market in each other’s countries. You have grown your business, but also promoted mutual beneficial cooperation between the two countries.
I will cite a set of statistics to show how far we have come.
In 1979, when we firmly established diplomatic ties, our two-way trade was less than $2.5 billion U.S. But the figure for last year was $380 billion U.S., which is more than 150-fold increase. Our mutual investment also started from virtually nothing to an accumulation of $70 billion U.S.
The trade and investment cooperation between our two countries have indeed brought real benefits to the people of our countries and important business communities — opportunities for our business communities.
According to figures, our total trade has brought about $60 billion U.S. of benefits to U.S. consumers.
If we look ahead to the future, our trade cooperation enjoys a promising future. Here I have a message to all of you — that is, China is speeding up this transformation of economic growth pattern and economic restructuring. We are focusing our efforts to boosting domestic demand, especially consumer spending.
In recent years, China’s domestic spending has been growing at a double-digit rate every year. In 2010, our domestic market has surpassed a scale of $2 trillion U.S. And here in the United States, you are also working all-out to stimulate your economy.
President Obama has launched a program to double your exports. Both in the dinner last night and in my meeting with President Obama just now, we discussed how to advance economic cooperation between our two countries across the board.
We agreed to strengthen our cooperation in the financial, economic, trade and the environment, science and technology, agriculture, infrastructure and many other fields.
So, indeed, there is a promising future for trade and investment cooperation between our two countries. I do hope that companies from both countries can seize the opportunities, take active options and achieve great things.
I also have a message to American entrepreneurs. That is, we welcome you as companies to China. China follows reform and opening up. We will, as always, try to provide a transparent, just, fair, highly efficient investment climate to U.S. companies and other foreign companies.
I also wish to tell you that all companies registered in China are given national treatment. In terms of innovation products, accreditation, government procurement, IPR protection, the Chinese government will give them equal treatment.
Here, I also have a message to Chinese entrepreneurs. That is, the Chinese government will, as it has always done, support you in making investments and doing business here in the United States. I hope that you can continue to be enterprising and creative, and at the same time, don’t forget to give back to the local communities.
I do believe that President Obama and the U.S. administration will provide a level playing field for Chinese companies to make investments here in the United States.
To conclude, I wish the companies you represent even greater growth in the new year. And I also expect that you can make even greater contribution to promoting trade and investment cooperation between our two countries.
And now I’m ready to listen to your views. Thank you.
Readout of White House Drug Policy Deputy Director David K. Mineta’s Participation in a Veterans Substance Abuse Treatment Roundtable in Brooklyn, NY
Readout of White House Drug Policy Deputy Director David K. Mineta’s Participation in a Veterans Substance Abuse Treatment Roundtable in Brooklyn, NY
Washington, D.C. – Today, David K. Mineta, Deputy Director of Demand Reduction for National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), held a roundtable discussion at Phoenix House Career Academy in Brooklyn, New York with 30 – 40 veterans participating in various therapeutic communities. The participating veterans are past or current clients at approximately 12 different New York City-based substance abuse treatment programs.
Topics covered in today’s roundtable included the challenges and barriers veterans uniquely confront as they recover from addiction to alcohol and drugs, and deal with myriad of other issues, including housing, employment, and mental health disorders. Particular attention was given to the experiences of women veterans and their children and the need for specialty services.
“Supporting military personnel and their families is a top priority of the Obama Administration. The treatment providers who participated in the roundtable today provide examples of how evidence-based treatment programs tailored to the specific needs of all veterans, including their families, can help restore the lives of those who have made great sacrifices for our country,” said Deputy Director Mineta. “Recent data show about one in eight active-duty military personnel reported past-month illicit drug use, a trend largely driven by prescription drug abuse. An active-duty service member who doesn’t get the appropriate treatment will one day be a veteran with a substance abuse problem – which highlights the need for treatment options specifically targeted to the unique needs of veterans and their families.”
ONDCP is coordinating an unprecedented government-wide public health approach to reduce drug use and its consequences. This effort includes requesting an increase in funding for drug prevention by $203 million and treatment programs by $137 million dollars for Fiscal Year 2011, to train and engage primary health care to intervene in emerging cases of drug abuse, expand and improve specialty care for addiction—including veterans care and family-based treatment, and to better manage drug-related offenders in community corrections.
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.
Health Care Providers: What They’re Saying About the Affordable Care Act
As Congress considers legislation that would repeal the Affordable Care Act, it’s important to take a look at who is opposing repeal. Here’s what organizations representing doctors, nurses and health care providers are saying:
American Nurses Association
“…[W]e believe that a vote for repeal would be a devastating step backward.”
American Medical Association
“The AMA does not support initiatives to repeal the Affordable Care Act. Expanding health coverage, insurance market reforms, administrative simplifications and initiatives to promote wellness and prevention are key parts of the new law that reflect AMA priorities.”
American Academy of Family Physicians
“A repeal of all provisions in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will return our health care system to its previous trends of unsustainable, increasing costs and ever-growing numbers of under- and uninsured Americans. It will have negative consequences on Americans’ access to needed health care for years to come.”
American College of Physicians
“ACP believes that Congress should preserve and – as necessary – improve on these and other important reforms created by the Affordable Care Act, not repeal them.”
Association of American Medical Colleges
“The nation’s medical schools and teaching hospitals stand behind the Affordable Care Act. Ensuring that all Americans have health care coverage is a moral imperative for our nation, and enactment of the Affordable Care Act was an important step toward that goal.”
National Association of Community Health Centers
“From the perspective of community health, however, the new law moves our nation to the goal of more affordable and accessible health care for all people and we stand strongly in support of it.”
American Osteopathic Association
“The Affordable Care Act made fundamental and important changes in our health care system that will improve the health of our patients individually and our nation as a whole.”
Catholic Health Association
“On behalf of the Catholic Health Association of the United States (CHA), the national leadership organization of more than 2,000 Catholic health care systems, hospitals, long-term care facilities, sponsors, and related organizations, I strongly urge you to maintain support for efforts to improve and strengthen our nation’s health care system by opposing the legislation before the House to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA).”
American Public Health Association
“Implementation of the Affordable Care Act is critical to addressing a number of the biggest challenges facing our health system including the escalating costs associated with our health care system, uneven quality and more than 100,000 deaths due to medical errors, discriminatory practices by health insurance providers and the shrinking ranks of the nation’s primary care providers. The enactment of the Affordable Care Act begins to shift our health system from one that focuses on treating the sick to one that focuses on keeping people healthy and addresses these challenges.”
Asian and Pacific Islander American Health Forum
“Almost 60 percent of Asian Americans receive health care coverage through their employers and the last thing we should be doing is weakening the ability of small business owners to provide quality health care to their employees. We must not place the interests of insurance companies ahead of small businesses, our communities, and our families. When insurance companies are free to pursue profit without accountability, people have fewer choices, fewer options, and little recourse. We can’t let that happen.”
Doctors for America
“As doctors, we see how our broken health care system is failing patients and health care providers. Passing and implementing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is an important first step to fixing a broken system, and we must continue to move forward. Repealing the health care reform law will only move our health care system backward – and millions of patients simply can’t afford that. We urge the new Congress to work with patients and providers to improve the health reform law so we can build a health care system that works for everyone.”
National Hispanic Medical Association
“NHMA supports the Affordable Care Act as it is a step forward in caring for the health of the underserved communities and all Americans. Investing in the health of Americans, our most valuable resource, is sound policy and a wise course of action when so many diseases are preventable and treatable. For this reason we ask you to cast a vote against H.R.2.”
State Legislators: What They’re Saying About the Affordable Care Act
As Congress considers legislation that would repeal the Affordable Care Act, it’s important to take a look at who is opposing repeal. Here’s what state legislators are saying:
Iowa State Senator Jack Hatch:
“Before they vote, they need to think about the Iowa mother who can now get coverage for her 3-year old son who has severe asthma, a pre-existing condition; the Iowa cancer survivor who now no longer has to worry his insurance company will cut off his coverage due to an arbitrary lifetime limit; and, the tens of thousands of young Iowa men and women who now can get coverage on their parents’ health care plan.”
Connecticut House Speaker Christopher G. Donovan and Rep. Betsy Ritter:
“We would like to thank Connecticut’s Congressional Delegation for standing up for quality, affordable health care for Connecticut’s working families. Under federal health reform, our constituents are already seeing better access to affordable care, an end to arbitrary lifetime limits on benefits and denials without a chance of appeal. In addition, our state is taking advantage of millions of new health care dollars for Medicaid and retiree health insurance. We stand behind our delegation as they stand up to the special interests and put Connecticut’s people before insurance industry profits.”
Arizona State Senator Kyrsten Sinema:
“I strongly urge every member of Arizona’s congressional delegation to stop the political games, stand up for Arizona families and vote against the Repealing Patients’ Rights Act.”
Nebraska State Senator Jeremy Nordquist:
“Any attempts to weaken or repeal the Affordable Care Act will eliminate the ability of Nebraskans to get the coverage and care they need. We must work to ensure that Nebraska families can keep their coverage if they like it, increase access for those who are unable to get the care they need, and to ensure that all Nebraska families can see a family doctor.”
Texas Representative Garnet F. Coleman:
“It’s telling that just weeks after taking office, Republicans in Congress have made it a priority to change current law to take away Americans’ healthcare rights and allow insurance companies to drop someone from coverage if they develop a catastrophic illness like cancer. The Republican repeal would add billions to our national deficit and would have very real and drastic consequences on Texas families.”
Texas Representative Rafael Anchia:
“Repeal of the Affordable Care Act would be a disaster for the people I represent in North Texas, and would be a very bad turn of events for all Texans. One in four families with children in my district lives in poverty, so my constituents need more access to affordable health insurance – not less.”
Minnesota Representative Tom Huntley:
“Every day, Minnesotans are coming to appreciate the Affordable Care Act more and more. Adult children are being offered coverage on their parents’ policy, seniors are getting help with the costly donut hole, and small businesses are adding jobs because the tax credit is helping them provide health coverage.”
Minnesota Representative Erin Murphy:
“Repealing the Affordable Care Act means repealing affordable coverage for Minnesotans with preexisting conditions like asthma or diabetes. It means repealing consumer protections that protects an insured family from unfair premium increases. It means bringing back the prescription drug donut hole that prices seniors citizens out of the prescription drugs they need to stay healthy… Repealing the Affordable Care Act represents a fatal step backwards and the consequence is a less stable, more costly health care system for Minnesotans.”
New York Assemblyman Felix Ortiz:
“Simply said, revoking the National Health Care Reform Act will make preventative health care non affordable at a time when it is most needed and when it makes the most sense for our country economically. We must provide the means to allow people to seek preventive health care in order to stop the explosive cost of caring for people in emergency settings.”
Washington State Senator Karen Keiser:
“For Washington State, going backward is not an option. For small businesses, seniors, families and our most vulnerable communities, we simply cannot afford repeal.”
New York Assemblyman Roberto Rodriguez:
“In the past few years we have taken great steps forward and overcome many barriers to finally enact Health Care Reform, it would be disgraceful to revoke this legislation which stands to benefit our citizens.”
North Dakota State Senator Tim Mathern:
“I use my time in the Legislature to make health care reform work for North Dakotans. All of us need to tell Congress to move on and give families freedom from the anxiety of medical cost bankruptcy and family stress from health care problems. Don’t repeal what we have – build on it to make it better.”
Maryland Delegate James W. Hubbard:
“I strongly urge every member of Maryland’s congressional delegation to stop the political games, stand up for Maryland families and vote against the Repealing Patients’ Rights Act. A repeal of the Patient Bill of Rights would mean:…41,465 Marylanders on Medicare would see significantly higher prescription drug costs… small businesses will once again have to pay higher rates for health insurance than big corporations… (and) adding hundreds of billions of dollars to the deficit without creating a single job.”
Maryland Delegate Joseline A. Peña-Melnyk:
“If the bill is repealed, the State of Maryland would lose funding for several initiatives, including resources proposed to help limit health insurance premium increases, consumer assistance programs designed to protect our citizens from unscrupulous industry practices, planning for a health insurance exchange to provide low cost insurance, and assistance to 101 employers through the Early Retiree Reinsurance Program.”
FACT SHEET: U.S.-China Economic Issues
The United States and China share one of the most important trade and economic relationships in the world. The U.S. exports $100 billion of goods and services to China, making China our largest trading partner after Canada and Mexico. Those exports support more than half a million U.S. jobs. China’s GDP growth is expected to have reached 10 percent in 2010, and U.S. goods and services exports to China are growing almost two times as fast as overall U.S. goods and services exports. We seek to base our relationship on mutual prosperity, respect for the rules-based trading system, and a deep commitment to resolve outstanding economic issues. President Obama and President Hu took note of the following commitments to strengthen the U.S.-China trade and economic relationship.
Strengthening Intellectual Property Rights Protection
China committed to strengthen intellectual property rights enforcement to protect innovative industries and the jobs they create.
- Private sector experts suggest decreasing China’s software piracy rate by 50 percent could increase legitimate software sales by $4 billion. The United States supports China’s commitment to assess and ensure its government’s use of legal software, by, among other measures, 1) allocating government budget funding for legal software purchases, 2) auditing the use of legal software and publishing the results of those audits, and 3) promoting the use of licensed software in private companies and in state owned enterprises through software asset management programs.
- The United States welcomed China’s agreement to hold accountable violators of intellectual property on the internet, including those who facilitate the counterfeiting and piracy of others, and to strengthen IPR protections in China’s libraries. China has also agreed to clarify the IPR liabilities of relevant third parties, like landlords, managers, and operators of markets that sell counterfeit products.
Eliminating Discriminatory Innovation Policies
- The United States and China committed that 1) government procurement decisions will not be made based on where the goods’ or services’ intellectual property is developed or maintained, 2) that there will be no discrimination against innovative products made by foreign suppliers operating in China, and 3) China will delink its innovation policies from its government procurement preferences.
- China agreed to eliminate discriminatory “indigenous innovation” criteria used to select industrial equipment for an important government catalogue prepared by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, to ensure that it will not be used for import substitution, the provision of export subsidies, or to discriminate against American equipment manufacturers in Chinese government programs targeting these products.
- The United States welcomed China’s commitment to let its “3G” third generation and future technologies develop free of discriminatory technology or standards preferences. China’s 3G infrastructure investment is expected to reach $10 to $12 billion in 2011.
- The United States supports China’s commitment to allow foreign companies equal opportunities to participate in the development of the country’s “smart” electric power grid. China committed that purchases of smart grid products and technologies will be made solely on commercial considerations with no discrimination against foreign companies. China also will ensure that foreign stakeholders have full opportunities to participate in an open, transparent process for establishing smart grid standards. China also committed to make purchases solely on commercial considerations. China plans to spend $10 billion annually on smart grid investments.
Expanding Market Access for U.S. Manufactured Goods, Agricultural Products and Services
China committed to submit this year a robust revised offer to join the Government Procurement Agreement (GPA).
- China committed that its revised GPA offer would include not just commitments for central government purchases, but also purchases by sub-central entities. The Chinese central government has indicated that it alone procures more than $88 billion in goods and services annually; sub-central entities’ procurement is even more significant.
The United States and China are building on their successful and growing agricultural trade relationship. U.S. agricultural exports to China last year exceeded $12 billion, including soybeans, cotton, and wheat.
- The United States welcomed China’s December 2010 lifting of Avian influenza-related bans on U.S. poultry products from Idaho and Kentucky, and urged prompt action to lift the four remaining U.S. state-level bans.