We Can’t Wait: The White House Announces Federal and Private Sector Commitments to Provide Employment Opportunities for Nearly 180,000 Youth
We Can’t Wait: The White House Announces Federal and Private Sector Commitments to Provide Employment Opportunities for Nearly 180,000 Youth
Today, the White House announced Summer Jobs+, a new call to action for businesses, non-profits, and government to work together to provide pathways to employment for low-income and disconnected youth in the summer of 2012. The President proposed $1.5 billion for high-impact summer jobs and year-round employment for low-income youth ages 16-24 in the American Jobs Act as part of the Pathways Back to Work fund. When Congress failed to act, the Federal government and private sector came together to commit to creating nearly 180,000 employment opportunities for low-income youth in the summer of 2012, with a goal of reaching 250,000 employment opportunities by the start of summer, at least 100,000 of which will be placements in paid jobs and internships. Today’s announcement is the latest in a series of executive actions the Obama Administration is taking to strengthen the economy and move the country forward because we can’t wait for Congress to act.
“America’s young people face record unemployment, and we need to do everything we can to make sure they’ve got the opportunity to earn the skills and a work ethic that come with a job. It’s important for their future, and for America’s. That’s why I proposed a summer jobs program for youth in the American Jobs Act – a plan that Congress failed to pass. America’s youth can’t wait for Congress to act. This is an all-hands-on-deck moment. That’s why today, we’re launching Summer Jobs+, a joint initiative that challenges business leaders and communities to join my Administration in providing hundreds of thousands of summer jobs for America’s youth,” said President Obama.
“While young people who are currently disconnected from school or work are not contributing to our economy, we see these young people as ‘Opportunity Youth’ – because of the untapped potential they bring to the Nation. Today, the White House challenged all sectors to go all-in and work together in creating pathways to youth employment. Summer jobs are an important step – and to stay on the path to success, Opportunity Youth need social supports and access to relevant education, mentoring and training. This spring, the White House Council for Community Solutions will participate in community discussions nationwide to learn from best efforts by youth, families, government, business, educators, and nonprofits to connect young people to meaningful career opportunities,” said Patty Stonesifer, Chair of the White House Council for Community Solutions (WHCCS).
The Administration also announced its intention to launch, within 60 days, the Summer Jobs+ Bank, a one-stop search tool for youth to access postings for any participating employers seeking to reach them where they are online. The search tool builds upon an open standard, theJobPosting schema endorsed by schema.org in November, 2011 in support of the Veterans Jobs Bank, and will include technical and promotional support by Google, Internships.com, AfterCollege, LinkedIn and Facebook. Today the Corporation for National and Community Service released a new toolkit created in collaboration with the WHCCS and employers to support businesses and communities in their efforts to help young people become productive citizens and connect to greater opportunities, both of which are critical for the long-term strength and competiveness of the Nation.
Today’s announcements build on previous commitments from the Obama Administration to support summer youth employment. In 2009 and 2010, communities across the country used Recovery Act funds to directly support summer work opportunities for over 367,000 young people. In the summer of 2011, the Department of Labor brought together private sector commitments to employ over 80,000 youth.
A new analysis released today by the WHCCS showed that in 2011 alone, taxpayers shouldered more than $93 billion in direct costs and lost tax revenue to support young adults disconnected from school and work. Over the lifetime of these young people, taxpayers will assume a $1.6 trillion burden to meet the increased needs and lost revenue from this group. Read the full analysis here.
Businesses, non-profits and government can accept the President’s call-to-action by directly hiring youth as well as providing corporate mentorship experiences, internship, and other opportunities that connect young people to jobs. The three key ways organizations can engage are:
- · Learn and Earn: Provide youth jobs for the summer of 2012 in the form of paid internships and/or permanent positions that provide on-the-job training. Of the roughly 180,000 job commitments announced today more than 70,000 are Learn and Earn commitments.
- · Life Skills: Provide youth work-related soft skills, such as communication, time management and teamwork, through coursework and/or experience. This includes resume writing or interview workshops and mentorship programs.
- · Work Skills: Provide youth insight into the world of work to prepare for employment. This includes job shadow days and internships. More information about this initiative can be found at dol.gov/summerjobs
As the nation continues to recover from the deepest recession since the Great Depression, American youth are struggling to get the work experience they need for jobs of the future. According to the Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (Current Population Survey):
- · 48.8 percent of youth between the ages of 16-24 were employed in July, the month when youth employment usually peaks. This is significantly lower than the 59.2 percent of youth who were employed five years ago and 63.3 percent of youth who were employed 10 years ago.
- · Minority youth had an especially difficult time finding employment this past summer. Only 34.6 percent of African American youth and 42.9 percent of Hispanic youth had a job this past July.
In addition to the organizations making commitments for the summer of 2012, the Department of Labor will honor UPS, We Are Golf, Wells Fargo, and Jamba Juice for their strong participation in their 2011 summer jobs effort and the Corporation for National and Community Service will honor Bank of America, State Street, Viacom, Deloitte, and JP Morgan for their leadership in corporate mentoring over the past year.
Commitments Announced Include:
The American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) is committed to improving employment outcomes for the many people with disabilities who are ready, willing, and able to work. The AAPD Summer Internship Program will provide 30 young people with disabilities the opportunity to engage in ten weeks of public service through paid internships on Capitol Hill, in federal agencies, nonprofits, and for-profit businesses.
AT&T is committed to providing nearly 350 summer jobs in 2012 through a variety of summer job initiatives. These opportunities help students, from high school to recent college graduates, develop skills and gain insight while preparing them to more successfully enter the job market. Examples of AT&T summer opportunities for college students include leadership development internships on the fields on finance, retail, IT and engineering, as well as participation in college internship initiatives with the Thurgood Marshall College Fund and the Dr. Emmett J. Conrad Leadership Program. In addition to these unique opportunities, AT&T will also provide high school students the opportunity to experience the world of work through the Mayor’s Interns Fellows Program in Newark, NJ. Also in 2012, AT&T will reach their initial goal of providing 100,000 high school students the opportunity to learn more about career options and what it takes to be successful in today’s workforce through the AT&T/JA Worldwide Job Shadow Initiative.
Bank of America, as part of its broader three-year $50 million goal to support education and workforce development opportunities for underserved populations, will continue to invest significantly in youth and young adults in 2012, including 1,500 paid internships at the company and local nonprofits as well as job placement programs, in conjunction with more than 80,000 hours from employee volunteers. Recognizing the value of mentoring to help make opportunities possible for young people, Bank of America served as the primary sponsor of the National Mentoring Partnership’s 2011 National Mentoring Summit, at which the Corporate Mentoring Challenge was launched. In 2011, Bank of America invested more than $15 million, and its employees volunteered more than 75,000 hours to help youth and young adults attain life and work skills to propel them towards long-term success.
Baxter International Inc. pledges to support Summer Jobs+ by expanding their education initiative, Science@Work. As an extension of Science@Work – a multiyear commitment to support teacher training and student development in healthcare and biotechnology through a partnership with Chicago Public Schools – Baxter will reach 300-500 students. These students will participate in a variety of programs: the Career Training Program, in which Baxter professionals will assist students with career planning, soft skill development and interviewing skills; the 2012 Summer Job Shadowing program, in which students will participate in a unique shadowing experience with young Baxter professionals; and through Science @Work Community of Support, in which students will participate in an on-going relationship management program that provides counsel and professional support during college careers.
Bender Consulting Services, Inc. is committed to investing in youth who are living with disabilities, to support the development of life and work skills required by private and public sector employers. Partnering with local high-schools in Pittsburgh, PA and Newark, DE, Bender Consulting, through the year-long Bender Leadership Academy Program will train 60 high-school students with disabilities, many who are low-income, about how to be successful in the world of work. Four students who complete this program will work on a short-term paid summer internship in Bender Consulting’s offices in Pittsburgh, PA. Bender Consulting will also provide two to four, 12 week summer HR internships to low income youth, including youth with disabilities.
The Camber Corporation provides young people with real-life work experience, opportunities to enhance their professional skillsets, and mentorship from their qualified employees during paid internships. In 2011, 25% of their graduated interns were hired as full-time Camber employees to serve in the areas of accounting, engineering, and human resources. In 2012, Camber plans to offer 8 internship opportunities.
CenturyLink has had summer internship programs for more than 25 years and looks forward to participating in Summer Jobs+ in 2012. CenturyLink believe that one of its strengths is the diversity of its people, and they are committed to fostering diversity among the 50 summer jobs they will hire this year.
The Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) has made a commitment to provide approximately 4,000 disadvantaged youth with national service opportunities through AmeriCorps programs operating in the summer of 2012. The AmeriCorps VISTA Summer Associate Program, funded in part through private sector commitments, will place youth in communities across the country to address poverty and hunger. In addition, AmeriCorps State and National programs will engage youth in education and conservation projects, and the AmeriCorps NCCC Summer of Service program is designed to introduce teenagers, especially those from disadvantaged circumstances, to national service and to foster in them such values as teamwork, responsibility, and the ethic of serving one’s community. These stipended service opportunities train youth in the life and work skills, such as teamwork, problem solving, and leadership, that are critical for success in the labor market, while engaging in activities that tackle tough societal challenges.
CVS Caremark is committing to hire over 20,000 youth between the ages of 16 and 24 in 2012. Many of the new employees will occupy part-time and full-time positions such as pharmacy service associates, technicians, cashiers and interns in a variety of corporate functions.
Deloitte helps American high school students prepare for college and careers through its Their Future Is Our Future program. As part of this program, 500,000 students have experienced the Life Inc. career exploration curriculum and Deloitte is committed to serve tens of thousands of students in 2012. Through a series of lessons, self-discovery techniques, and virtual role models tailored for youth in middle and high school, Life, Inc. introduces students to various career possibilities and helps them determine what kind of educational experiences they will need in order to pursue them. The program includes a website, career guide, teacher’s guide and student journal, which features seven lessons that are delivered by teachers in schools and after school youth programs. Additionally, through deep relationships with national nonprofits that lead on education including MENTOR, United Way, College Summit and City Year, Deloitte contributes cash, pro bono service and the time of one-on-one mentors to help young people pursue the education and skills they need to succeed in the 21st century.
The Department of Agriculture has made a commitment to provide approximately 7,100 youth with the opportunity to gain valuable work experience during the summer of 2012 by working with various USDA Mission Areas and Agencies throughout the country. The USDA provides leadership on food, agriculture, natural resources, and related issues based on sounds public policy, the best available science, and efficient management. USDA is committed to forming a pipeline of talented youth who will be our future leaders by giving them the opportunity for hands-on work experience in a variety of science, technology, engineering, math, administrative, management, agribusiness and industry positions.
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) will commit to supporting 324 summer jobs for low-income youth in 2012. HHS offices will be supporting paid summer jobs as well as other employment enhancement opportunities. The Office of Human Resources’ Strategic Programs Division (SPD) will host at least two classes in the “Life Skills” pathway to support 120 youth. These classes will have up to 50 participants each and will focus on work-related soft skills, such as communication, time management, and teamwork. Additionally, SPD will allow for 20 students to participate in the “Work Skills” pathway. These 20 students will shadow SPD employees for the day to offer insight into the federal workplace and to prepare them for employment.
The Department of the Interior has committed to providing approximately 12,000 young Americans with work opportunities in the summer of 2012 on public lands, tribal lands, national parks, wildlife refuges, and environmental restoration projects nationwide. Interior has increased the number of summer job opportunities it offers for young people under the Obama administration by 30 percent – helping more people from all walks of life to enjoy the great outdoors, and to pursue work opportunities and careers in the stewardship of America’s natural, cultural, and historic resources as part of the President’s America’s Great Outdoors initiative.
The DirectEmployers Association is a nonprofit HR consortium of leading global employers formed to improve labor market efficiency through the sharing of best practices, research and the development of technology. They are committed to hiring 5 youths this summer in the Indianapolis area to provide opportunities to learn the skills needed to be successful in the workforce as well as to encourage and motivate them to continue with their education.
Discovery Communications provides multiple avenues for young people to discover a summer job and a lasting career. Through the Discover Your Skills campaign youth can learn about exciting career opportunities in skilled trades and critical growth areas like manufacturing, health care, energy, technology, construction and other industries. A partnership with Montgomery College provides community college students with the skills they need to take advantage of available job opportunities. In addition, Discovery’s robust internship program will provide nearly 300 college students career opportunities in a variety of fields in 2012.
Easter Seals will be working to create summer opportunities for three young people with disabilities and will be disseminating information about the Summer Jobs+ initiative throughout their nationwide network of affiliates. These positions will be in the “learn and earn” category of the initiative. While working for Easter Seals, young people will have the opportunity to learn various aspects of nonprofit management including marketing and corporate relations, public policy, program management, development and more.
Expeditors, through its Opportunity Knocks program, recruits and supports disconnected youth so they can get training in a professional environment that can be leveraged for future success. Since starting the program in 2008, Expeditors has helped 25 disconnected youth in six offices throughout the United States and is committed to adding 75 positions in another twenty offices in 2012 to bring the total participation to 100 youth.
Gap Inc. is supporting 80,000 youth in 2012 through a variety of programs, which include connecting youth to employment through the development of relevant life skills and work ready skills, as well as providing on-the-job training through learn and earn experiences.
General Dynamics C4 Systems is committed to hiring 40 young people during the summer of 2012 and is partnering with Sentinels of Freedom, Wounded Warriors, Diversity Careers, SWE, SHPE, NSBE and WOC to support hiring needs nationwide.
Goodwill Industries International is proud to be one of the first organizations to support the Summer Jobs+ program. Through Goodwill’s unique social enterprise business model, it creates employment and job training. This year, the organization will expand services for youth at the beginning their careers. Goodwill is committed to hiring 1,200 youth ages 16 to 24, provide more than 3,200 youth with life skills services and over 2,300 with work skills services. Almost 2,000 youth will be engaged in learn and earn services. Thousands more youth will be provided virtual career mentoring and exploration services.
H-E-B has committed to expand their summer jobs program by 19 percent. In the summer of 2012, 5,171 16-24 year olds will be hired to work at H-E-B.
J.B. Hunt Transport is focused on providing opportunities for young people to experience a professional working environment, particularly those in the Hispanic community in Arkansas. Through a partnership with ALPFA, the company reaches out to local high school students and helps raise awareness of opportunities in business, and provides mentors for college students. For 2012, J.B. Hunt is increasing the number of summer positions at headquarters to 20, and expanding college internships at our field locations throughout the United States.
Jamba Juice has made a significant commitment to training and hiring young people and will pledge to hire at least 2,500 youth in the summer of 2012. Jamba Juice has a successful summer in 2011 when the company hired nearly 2,700 youth for summer work — 200 more than their pledge made as part of the “Summer Jobs USA: Make a Commitment” initiative. Additionally, Jamba Juice also recently launched a new internship program for Job Corps students.
JPMorgan Chase has been a leader in supporting “Learn and Earn” and “career and skill development” programs in cities all across the country for decades. During the 2011 Corporate Mentoring Challenge, JPMorgan Chase was inspired to step up in a leadership role – by funding and launching the Illinois Mentoring Partnership, introducing other potential funders and connecting non-profit organizations, who deliver the programs. In Chicago, JPMorgan Chase also has supported, since its creation 20 years ago, After School Matters, a program that helps teens discover and nurture their talents and aspirations for future successes. The bank’s support in 2012 will provide 1,300 teens with hands-on, project-based programs to learn about rewarding careers and to help develop marketable job skills.
LinkedIn has committed to offer 200 internships in the summer of 2012. Additionally, LinkedIn is committed to adopting the JobPosting schema and letting any company post their summer internship jobs (or entry level jobs) on the LinkedIn website at no cost.
ManpowerGroup is proud to support summer jobs through a direct commitment of 20 jobs at our global headquarters in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and at Manpower branch offices across the nation. Through its work with local Workforce Investment Boards and One-Stop Career Centers, Manpower supports employment opportunities for thousands of people touched by the public workforce system.
Operation HOPE, as part of the Gallup-HOPE Index Cities Initiative, commits to secure 20 businesses and place 500 youth through youth business internships, mentorships, shadow days or actual small business or entrepreneurship start-ups. Through the Gallup-HOPE Index Cities initiative, Operation HOPE, in partnership with Gallup intend to create a new youth entrepreneurial and business class in America, along with a new culture of progressive business mentoring by Corporate America.
PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP (PwC) maintains a strong focus on providing learning and work opportunities for youth in the United States. Through its host of early-identification programs and a robust internship program designed for undergraduate students, PwC seeks to provide students the learning, coaching, and training opportunities and professional relationships they need to develop professionally and personally, while also learning about unique opportunities in a career in professional services. For the summer of 2012, PwC is committed to hiring 1,500 youth across the country.
The SI Organization will hire more than 100 young people in 2012 for full-time entry-level and internship/co-op positions focused on engineering and integration services in the U.S. Intelligence Community, Department of Defense and other agencies.
Starbucks Coffee Company is supporting more than 25,000 youth this summer through a variety of programs. The company will work with local nonprofits and others to engage 20,000 young people in life skills and job readiness development. This commitment is in alignment with our Youth Action Grants programs, supporting young people to address critical issues in their communities. Starbucks supports nonprofit organizations to give young people the skills and resources to be catalysts for change through community service. One example of an organization Starbucks supports is Generation On in multiple cities across the US; this is a program of Hands On Network. Starbucks plans to work closely with its grant recipients to maximize the life skills training and service opportunities and to increase their outreach to underserved youth. The company will also provide hands-on and learn and earn experiences for 5,000 young people working at Starbucks.
State Street Corporation is committed to providing workforce development and education opportunities to approximately 1,000 youth each summer in cities including Boston, New York, Kansas City, and Sacramento among others. The company supports a continuum of meaningful job opportunities starting with funding subsidized wage placements in community-based organizations for first-time job experiences, as well as placements in professional positions at State Street for those who have developed basic employability skills and are ready for more responsibility.
Syracuse University will provide 200 jobs to college-aged students working in the Say Yes to Education Syracuse’s Summer Camp for academic enrichment and youth leadership. Syracuse University will also provide 50 positions to 16-21 year olds in a SU partnership with CNY Works on a Summer Youth Initiative.
The McGraw-Hill Companies is committed to growing its 12-week paid summer internship program which employs youth across all of their businesses to 260 summer internships for 2012. In 2011, McGraw-Hill employed over 250 Summer Interns and roughly 10% of last year’s interns were offered full-time positions after graduation.
UPS, the global leader in logistics, is continuing its commitment to summer jobs and will offer 1,500 employment opportunities to youth across the country in 2012. Most opportunities qualify for employment benefits and UPS’ educational assistance program which can pay up to $3,000 a year for educational benefits.
Viacom has committed to provide internship and mentorship programs to connect youth to employment opportunities. Through their Summer Associates Program, VIACOM will provide 10 recent college graduates young people a 10 week paid training program in the summer 2012 fostering professional and personal development and unlocking the doors to valuable real-world experience. Through their partnership with POSSE’s Career Program, Viacom will provide 30 college students high school students with a paid internship. In addition, mentoring initiatives such as Viacom’s national mentoring program Get Connected, created with the Get Schooled Foundation, will assist students through meaningful connections with adults with the ultimate goal of helping to keep them in school and realize their true potential.
WE ARE GOLF is a national not-for-profit organization formed to tell the story of the nearly 2 million hardworking men and women who make golf a great sport and whose livelihoods depend on it. Golf courses across the country are building on their 2011 commitment of 2,700 summer jobs and WE ARE GOLF is bringing far more golf courses to this initiative in 2012 to offer tens of thousands more jobs to young people.
Wells Fargo has made an ongoing and significant commitment to its communities, including opportunities for summertime work, networking and training for young people. In the summer of 2012, Wells Fargo will support 1,000 employment opportunities for youth.
Along with significant commitments from across the business sector, national organizations are answering the President’s challenge. United Way Worldwide will work with local chapters in approximately 30 cities and regions to host a series of Community Conversations, where local leaders will join with ordinary citizens to map out what they can do to pull together the support needed to create opportunity and pathways for young adults.
Fact Sheet: Returning Heroes and Wounded Warrior Tax Credits
In August, President Obama called on Congress to enact tax credits that will help get veterans back to work. The Returning Heroes Tax Credit provides businesses that hire unemployed veterans with a maximum credit of $5,600 per veteran, and the Wounded Warriors Tax Creditoffers businesses that hire veterans with service-connected disabilities with a maximum credit of $9,600 per veteran.
These tax credits were included in the American Jobs Act and were signed into law by President Obama on November 21, 2011.
Returning Heroes and Wounded Warrior Tax Credits
Under the Recovery Act, employers who hired certain unemployed veterans were eligible for a tax credit of up to 40 percent of the first $6,000 of wages, for a maximum credit of $2,400. This credit expired at the end of 2010.
On November 21, 2011, the President signed into law two new tax credits:
- The Returning Heroes Tax Credit is a new hiring tax credit that will provide an incentive for businesses to hire unemployed veterans.
- Short-term unemployed: A new credit of 40 percent of the first $6,000 of wages (up to $2,400) for employers who hire veterans who have been unemployed at least 4 weeks.
- Long-term unemployed: A new credit of 40 percent of the first $14,000 of wages (up to $5,600) for employers who hire veterans who have been unemployed longer than 6 months.
- The Wounded Warrior Tax Credit will double the existing tax credit for long-term unemployed veterans with service-connected disabilities.
- Maintain the existing Work Opportunity Tax Credit for veterans with service-connected disabilities (currently the maximum is $4,800).
- A new credit of 40 percent of the first $24,000 of wages (up to $9,600) for firms that hire veterans with service-connected disabilities who have been unemployed longer than 6 months.
Executive Actions to Get Veterans Back to Work
Earlier this year, the President also announced a series of executive actions to help get veterans back to work.
These initiatives include:
Veteran Gold Card: Post-9/11 veterans can now download the Veteran Gold Card, which entitles them to enhanced services including six months of personalized case management, assessments and counseling, at the roughly 3,000 One-Stop Career Centers located across the country. This could help serve the more than 200,000 unemployed Post-9/11 veterans. The President directed the Department of Labor to launch this initiative in his August 5, 2011 speech at the Navy Yard.
My Next Move for Veterans: The Department of Labor has launched My Next Move for Veterans, a new online resource that allows veterans to enter their military occupation code and discover civilian occupations for which they are well qualified. The site also includes information about salaries, apprenticeships, and other related education and training programs.
Creating a Veterans Job Bank: The Administration launched the Veterans Job Bank, at National Resource Directory, an easy to use tool to help veterans find job postings from companies looking to hire them. It already searches over one million job postings and is growing. In a few easy steps, companies can make sure the job postings on their own websites are part of thisVeterans Job Bank. These resources can be accessed at www.whitehouse.gov/vets
Joining Forces: In August, the President challenged the private sector to hire or train 100,000 veterans or military spouses by the end of 2013. The President also asked First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden to lead these efforts with the private sector as part of their Joining Forces initiative. In just over 100 days, more than 1,500 private sector companies have stepped up and already employed more than 18,000 veterans and spouses. In addition, these private sector companies have committed to hiring 135,000 veterans and spouses by the end of 2013, exceeding the President’s challenge. Also included in these private sector employment efforts is a dedicated commitment to hire 5,000 wounded warriors.
Challenging Community Health Centers to Hire 8,000 Veterans in Three Years: The Obama Administration challenged Community Health Centers to hire 8,000 veterans – approximately one veteran per health center site – over the next three years. The health reform law provides funding for community health centers to serve more Americans and hire more workers. The National Association of Community Health Centers will also contribute to this effort and joined the Administration in announcing this Community Health Center Veterans Hiring Challenge.
Helping Veterans Become Physician Assistants: To fast-track medics into jobs in community health centers and other parts of the health care system, the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) pledged to open up career-paths beyond nursing and expand opportunities for veterans to become physician assistants. Through this initiative, HRSA will begin to give priority in physician assistant grant awards to universities and colleges that help train veterans for careers as physician assistants.
Together, these initiatives and the tax credits will lower veteran unemployment through increased hiring, improve resources for veterans to translate their military skills for the civilian workforce, and provide veterans with new tools to aid their search for jobs.
We Can’t Wait: Health Care Innovation Challenge Will Improve Care, Save Money, Focus On Health Care Jobs
We Can’t Wait: Health Care Innovation Challenge will improve care, save money, focus on health care jobs
New funding available for next generation of health care innovations
WASHINGTON, DC– Up to $1 billion dollars will be awarded to innovative projects across the country that test creative ways to deliver high quality medical care and save money. Launched today by the Department of Health and Human Services, the Health Care Innovation Challenge will also give preference to projects that rapidly hire, train and deploy health care workers.
“We’ve taken incredible steps to reduce health care costs and improve care, but we can’t wait to do more,” said HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. “Both public and private community organizations around the country are finding innovative solutions to improve our health care system and the Health Care Innovation Challenge will help jump start these efforts.”
Funded by the Affordable Care Act, the Health Care Innovation Challenge will award grants in March to applicants who will implement the most compelling new ideas to deliver better health, improved care and lower costs to people enrolled in Medicare, Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program, particularly those with the highest health care needs. The Challenge will support projects that can begin within six months. Additionally, projects that focus on rapid workforce development will be given priority when grants are awarded.
“When I visit communities across the country, I continually see innovative solutions at the very ground level – a large health system working with community partners to decrease the risk of diabetes with nutrition programs or a church group that sends volunteers to help home-bound seniors so they can live at home,” said Donald M. Berwick, M.D., administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. “By putting more programs like this in place and more “boots on the ground,” these types of programs can truly transform our health care system.”
Awards will be expected to range from approximately $1 million to $30 million over three years. Applications are open to providers, payers, local government, community-based organizations and particularly to public-private partnerships and multi-payer approaches. Each grantee project will be evaluated and monitored for measurable improvements in quality of care and savings generated.
For more information, including a fact sheet and the Funding Opportunity Announcement, please see the Health Care Innovation Challenge initiative web site at: www.innovation.cms.gov
APEC: FACT SHEET ON 19th ANNUAL LEADERS MEETING OUTCOMES CREATING JOBS, GROWTH, AND ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITY
APEC: FACT SHEET ON 19th ANNUAL LEADERS MEETING OUTCOMES
CREATING JOBS, GROWTH, AND ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITY
Under the chairmanship of President Obama, leaders of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum agreed today in Honolulu on a comprehensive set of measures to increase economic growth and job creation by expanding trade and investment in the Asia-Pacific region. Leaders agreed to adopt market-driven innovation policies, reduce tariffs and eliminate other barriers to trade in environmental goods and services, and improve regulatory environments to reduce unnecessary burdens on businesses. These steps will help U.S. growth and jobs by expanding export opportunities in the world’s fastest growing region.
Since its first meeting at Blake Island near Seattle in 1993, APEC has served as the premier forum for U.S. engagement with the Asia-Pacific region. APEC’s 21 member economies comprise a market of 2.7 billion consumers, account for 44 percent of world trade, and represent 55 percent of global economic output (more than $35 trillion in 2010). Six of America’s 10 largest trading partners are in APEC.
The APEC Agenda: Creating Jobs and Growth
At a time of global economic uncertainty, continued focus on creating jobs and growth is vital. Strengthening regional economic integration will help U.S. businesses and workers compete more effectively in the Asia-Pacific. Strong, balanced growth in the APEC region helps keep U.S. businesses growing, innovating, and hiring. APEC plays a central role by removing barriers to trade and investment that U.S. companies face in the region, creating new business opportunities, jobs, and buying power for Americans. Since APEC was created, average tariffs in the region have fallen from 16 percent to 5 percent – on a volume of $2.3 trillion of trade between the United States and the Asia-Pacific economies. Since 1993, U.S. exports to other APEC member economies have nearly tripled.
In 2010, APEC economies purchased 61 percent of total U.S. goods exports ($774 billion in 2010), and over 37 percent of U.S. private services exports (over $205 billion in 2010), supporting five million American jobs.
In Honolulu, the United States and other APEC economies took a number of concrete steps towards building a “seamless regional economy” by agreeing to take action in three priority areas:
1. Increasing Trade and Strengthening Regional Economic Integration
Supporting the President’s goal of doubling exports in five years, APEC leaders agreed to reduce barriers to trade and investment by:
- · Setting a model for innovation that is market-driven and non-discriminatory, not government-directed and protectionist, in recognition of the key role entrepreneurship plays in increasing productivity and ensuring economic growth;
- · Showing leadership to launch negotiations to expand the product scope and membership of the WTO Information Technology Agreement, which could create significant market-enhancing opportunities for U.S. high-tech companies;
- · Making it cheaper, easier, and faster for businesses – particularly small and medium-sized businesses – to trade in the region by exempting more low-value shipments from customs duties and simplifying customs requirements and documentation;
- · Launching an APEC Travel Facilitation Initiative to make travel in the region easier, faster, and more secure;
- · Promoting domestic structural reforms in APEC economies to minimize barriers to market-based incentives and to facilitate competition and opportunities for U.S. exporters;
- · Improving food security by extending an APEC-wide standstill on agricultural export restrictions; and
- · Promoting growth by taking concrete actions to expand economic opportunities for women in the Asia-Pacific region.
2. Supporting Green Growth and Green Jobs
As part of our larger commitment to promoting a green economy, APEC leaders agreed to support sustainable growth and create green jobs by:
- · Developing a list in 2012 of environmental goods on which APEC economies will reduce applied tariffs to 5% or less by 2015, and eliminating non-tariff barriers to environmental goods and services, including local content requirements, which will help lower their costs, increase the dissemination of clean technologies, and create more green jobs;
- · Pursuing a more aggressive target for reducing energy intensity across APEC economies by promoting technology and best practices in energy-smart buildings, transportation, and infrastructure;
- · Phasing out inefficient fossil fuel subsidies, which encourage wasteful consumption, and reporting on progress annually; and
- · Incorporating low-emissions development strategies into APEC economies’ growth plans.
3. Promoting Regulatory Practices that Facilitate Trade and Investment
Building on efforts at home to boost productivity and job creation while also protecting the environment and ensuring public health and safety, APEC leaders agreed on steps that will improve the quality of the regulatory environment for U.S. exporters in the Asia-Pacific region by:
- · Implementing a set of good regulatory practices, including ensuring internal coordination of rulemaking, assessing impacts of regulations, and conducting public consultation, in order to reduce unnecessary burdens on businesses, costing time and money;
- · Improving the quality of regulations and standards for emerging green technologies like smart grid, green buildings, and solar technologies to reduce technical barriers to trade in those products; and
- · Establishing a fund with USAID support at the World Bank to strengthen food safety collaboration in the Asia-Pacific, accounting for nearly half of global food production.
APEC Economies – The Basic Facts
APEC’s member economies include: The United States, Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Peru, the Philippines, Russia, Singapore, Chinese Taipei (Taiwan), Thailand, and Vietnam.
Number of Economies: 21 (6 of them among the top 10 U.S. goods export markets: Canada, China, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Singapore)
Market Size: 2.7 billion consumers
Combined APEC GDP: $35.2 trillion in 2010 (56 percent of world economic output)
U.S. Benefits from Trade with APEC Economies
Total U.S.-APEC Trade: At least $2.3 trillion in goods and services in 2010
(56 percent of total)
U.S.-APEC Trade Increase: Goods and services trade up 150 percent from $1 trillion in 1994
U.S. Jobs Supported: 5 million jobs
Existing U.S.-APEC FTAs: 7 (Australia, Canada, Chile, Korea, Mexico, Peru, Singapore)
Top U.S. Markets in APEC: Canada ($249.1 billion)
(Goods Exports 2010) Mexico ($163.5 billion)
China ($91.9 billion)
Japan ($60.5 billion)
Korea ($38.8 billion)
Goods Exports to APEC: $775 billion in 2010 (61 percent of total U.S. goods exports)
Up 26 percent from 2009
Up 53 percent from 2000
Up 139 percent from 1994
Key Export Categories: Machinery ($116.2 billion)
(Goods 2010) Electrical machinery ($110.8 billion)
Vehicles ($69.7 billion)
Mineral fuel (oil) ($39.7 billion)
Optic and medical instruments ($37.9 billion)
Manufacturing Exports: $665.3 billion
Up 25 percent from 2009
Agricultural Exports: $83.3 billion in 2010
Up 17 percent from 2009
Top Agricultural Exports: Soybeans ($15.8 billion)
Coarse grains ($7.9 billion)
Red meats ($7.3 billion)
Cotton ($4.3 billion)
Fresh fruit ($3.4 billion)
Services Exports to APEC: At least $204.9 billion in 2010
(Private) Over 37 percent of total U.S. services exports
Up 16 percent from 2009
Up 82 percent from 2000
Up 146 percent from 1994
WEEKLY ADDRESS: Remarks Of President Barack Obama: Honoring our Veterans for their Service and Sacrifice
WEEKLY ADDRESS: Honoring our Veterans for their Service and Sacrifice
WASHINGTON—In this week’s address, President Obama spoke from the USS Carl Vinson in San Diego during Veterans Day, and he called on all Americans to rededicate themselves to serving our brave men and women in uniform as well as they have served us. Today, there are more than 850,000 veterans unemployed, which is why the President issued a challenge to private companies to hire or train more than 100,000 post-9/11 veterans or their spouses by 2013, and he was pleased to see the Senate pass proposals in his American Jobs Act on Thursday to give businesses tax credits for hiring veterans. President Obama told veterans that just as they have fought for us, he will continue to fight for jobs and opportunities for them, and that the United States will always honor their service and sacrifice.
The audio of the address and video of the address will be available online at www.whitehouse.gov at 6:00 a.m. ET, Saturday, November 12, 2011.
Remarks of President Barack Obama
As Prepared for Delivery
San Diego, California
Saturday, November 12, 2011
I’m speaking to you from the bridge of the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson in San Diego. This is one of the biggest ships in the Navy, and on Friday it was home to one of the most unique college basketball games I’ve ever seen. It also gave members of our military and our veterans a chance to unwind a little bit, and on this Veterans Day, I want to take this opportunity to thank all our men and women in uniform for their service and their sacrifice.
But this day isn’t just about thanking our veterans. It’s about rededicating ourselves to serving our veterans as well as they’ve served us. And right now, that’s more important than ever.
Last month, I announced that, as promised, we will end the war in Iraq by the end of the year. Many of our military families will be welcoming loved ones home for the holidays. At the same time, we’ve begun to wind down the war in Afghanistan. And in the next five years, over a million servicemembers will transition back into civilian life – joining the 3 million who have already done so over the last decade.
These are men and women who have served with distinction in some of the most dangerous places on the planet. But for many of them, the challenges don’t end when they take off the uniform. Today, more than 850,000 veterans remain unemployed. And too many are struggling to find a job worthy of their talents and experience.
That’s not right. We ask these men and women to leave their families and their jobs and risk their lives to fight for our country. The last thing they should have to do is fight for a job when they get home.
To give our veterans the opportunities they’ve earned, I’ve directed the federal government to lead by example – and already, we’ve hired 120,000 veterans. We’ve also challenged private companies to hire or train 100,000 post-9/11 veterans or their spouses by the end of 2013. So far, many patriotic companies have answered the call, hiring more than 16,000 Americans. And yesterday, thanks to the hard work of Michelle and Dr. Jill Biden, companies announced their commitment to train or hire 125,000 more over the next two years.
But we need to do more. That’s why, as part of the American Jobs Act, I called on Congress to pass a Returning Heroes Tax Credit, which would give businesses a tax break for each unemployed veteran they hire; and a Wounded Warriors Tax Credit, which would give businesses a tax break for hiring an unemployed veteran with a disability related to their service in uniform.
These proposals will go a long way towards putting our veterans back to work. And on Thursday, I was pleased to see the Senate put partisanship aside and come together to pass these tax credits. After all, standing up for our veterans isn’t a Democratic responsibility or a Republican responsibility – it’s an American responsibility. It’s one that all of us have an obligation to meet. And the House should pass this bill as soon as possible so I can sign it into law.
As Commander-in-Chief, I want every veteran to know that America will always honor your service and your sacrifice – not just today, but every day. And just as you fought for us, we’re going to keep fighting for you – for more jobs, for more security, for the opportunity to keep your families strong and America competitive in the 21st century.
So to all our veterans – thank you for your service. God bless you. And may God bless the United States of America.
Statement by the Press Secretary on the Bombings in South Sudan
The United States strongly condemns the aerial bombardment by the Sudan Armed Forces of the town of Yida in South Sudan. Yida is located inside South Sudan and hosts more than 20,000 refugees who have fled the ongoing conflict in the Sudanese state of Southern Kordofan. International humanitarian workers and United Nations staff have been working to provide food and shelter for these refugees. This bombing of civilians and humanitarian workers is an outrageous act, and those responsible must be held accountable for their actions.
This abhorrent attack follows other aerial bombardments undertaken by the Sudan Armed Forces on November 8 near the international border. These provocative aerial bombardments greatly increase the potential for direct confrontation between Sudan and South Sudan.
The United States demands the Government of Sudan halt aerial bombardments immediately. We urge the Government of South Sudan to exercise restraint in responding to this provocation to prevent further escalation of hostilities.
The United States calls on the Government of Sudan and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North to immediately resume negotiations on a cessation of hostilities and resume political talks toward political and security arrangements for Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile.
PRESIDENT OBAMA ON REFORMING HEAD START: “It Is Absolutely Imperative That We Make Sure The United States is the Place Where We’ve Got the Best-Trained, Best-Educated Young People”
REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT
ON HEAD START
Yeadon Regional Head Start Center
11:43 A.M. EST
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you, everybody, please have a seat. It is great to be in Yeadon, great to be in the Philly area. I was told not to mention football at all. (Laughter.) So I’m not going to say anything about football while I’m here, because I know this is a sensitive subject. (Laughter.) This is why I have Secret Service along. (Laughter.)
Now, I want to start by acknowledging some of the folks who are with me here today. First of all, I want to thank one of our finest public servants in this country, and she’s just a great friend, but somebody who cares passionately about the health and the welfare of our kids and our families — Kathleen Sebelius, our Secretary of Health and Human Services. (Applause.) I want to acknowledge the Mayor of Yeadon — Dolores Jones-Butler is in the house. (Applause.) Two of my favorite members of Congress, Chaka Fattah and Bob Brady. (Applause.) And one of my favorite former members of Congress who I think is going to be doing big things here in Pennsylvania is here as well — I guess I can’t call you Congressman, huh? (Laughter.) That’s all right? The — Congressman Murphy. (Applause.)
I had a chance to say hello to Mayor Nutter when I landed in Philly. He couldn’t be with us this morning — I guess there are a few things going on here today. (Laughter.) But I wished him well. He’s a great partner of ours.
And I also want to say thank you to Ms. Pleasantte, Dr. O’Shea — (applause) — all the staff and the teachers who are here. They are just doing a great job. (Applause.)
I had a chance to visit one of the classrooms here. And I have to say, it got me a little choked up, because — Patrick, you need to remember this. Patrick has got small kids. And they are just so huggable at this age. (Laughter.) And now — they’re still huggable, but they’re a little — they’re 5’9” and five feet. (Laughter.) But obviously you got a lot to handle when you’re here.
And the teachers, the staff who are here, they wouldn’t be doing this for the money. They’re doing it out of love of children. All of you do it because you know that when it comes to learning and when it comes to growing, this is an absolutely critical period in a child’s life. We know that three- and four-year-olds who go to high-quality preschools — including our best Head Start programs — are less likely to repeat a grade; they’re less likely to need special education; they’re more likely to graduate from high school than the peers who did not get these services. And so this makes early education one of our best investments in America’s future. One of the best. (Applause.)
Right out of the gate, it helps prepare our kids for a competition that’s never been tougher — a competition for good middle-class, well-paying jobs. And we’re competing now with countries like China and South Korea and Europe, all of which are serious about educating their children. So at a time when a company is able to move anywhere they want in the world — and a lot of times will make the decision based on where they can find the most highly skilled workforce — it is absolutely imperative that we make sure the United States is the place where we’ve got the best-trained, best-educated young people. That is a priority. (Applause.)
And this is not, and should not be, a Democratic priority or a Republican priority. This is an American priority. (Applause.) It’s an economic imperative. Our future depends on it. And people understand this outside of Washington, which is why we’ve been able to work with Democratic and Republican governors on our efforts to strengthen education from cradle to career. Not only with more money — money is important — but also with reforms that challenge schools to develop higher standards and the best practices for teaching and for learning.
Now, unfortunately, in Congress right now, it’s a different story. The Republicans in Washington have been trying to gut our investments in education. Earlier this year, nearly every Republican in the House voted for a budget that would have cut hundreds of thousands of children from Head Start. They’ve tried to cut Pell Grants for college students. They just voted against a jobs bill that would have put 400,000 teachers back in the classroom.
Their argument is that we don’t have the money. And what I’ve said is we can make these investments in our children without adding to the deficit simply by asking people who make more than a million dollars a year to pay a little more in taxes — not right now, but starting in 2013. It’s the right thing to do for our kids. It’s the right thing to do for our country. But so far they’ve said no.
It’s not just on issues, by the way, that cost money. So far, Congress has failed to move on fixing No Child Left Behind, despite the fact that we’ve shown them bipartisan reforms that are working in states right now — reforms that are praised not only by Democrats but also by Republicans. So after trying for months to work with Congress on education, we decided to take matters into our own hands, because our future is at stake. Our children deserve action. And we can’t wait for Congress any longer.
We can’t wait to make sure that our schools give every child the chance to compete with young people from around the world. So in September, I announced that if states exceed the high standards set by No Child Left Behind, then they’ve got the flexibility to build on the reforms that they’ve already made. We can’t wait to help more young people get to college. So two weeks ago, I announced changes that will lower student loan payments by hundreds of dollars a month for around 1.6 million Americans. (Applause.)
We can’t wait to give more of our youngest children the same basic opportunities we want all children to have, that we want for our children. And that’s why today, I’m announcing a new rule that will improve the quality of Head Start programs around the country. (Applause.)
Now, I firmly believe that Head Start is an outstanding program and a critical investment. The children who have the chance to go to the best Head Start programs have an experience that can literally change their lives for years to come. We’re making today’s announcement because we believe that every child in Head Start deserves that same chance.
Now, under the old rules governing Head Start, there just wasn’t enough accountability. If a program wasn’t providing kids with quality services, there was no incentive to improve. Under the new rule, programs are going to be regularly evaluated against a set of clear, high standards. If a program meets these standards — and we believe the majority of Head Start programs will — then their grants will be renewed. But if a program isn’t giving children the support they need to be ready for school, if classrooms are unsafe, if finances aren’t in order, if kids aren’t learning what they need to learn, then other organizations will be able compete for that grant. We’re not just going to put money into programs that don’t work. We will take money and put them into programs that do. (Applause.)
If a group is going to do a better job for the community, then they need that support. If a group would do a better job serving the kids in our communities, then they’re going to have that chance.
Now, this is the first time in history that Head Start programs will be truly held accountable for performance in the classroom, and we know that raising the bar isn’t always an easy thing to do. But it’s the right thing to do. Children in Head Start deserve the best services we have to offer, and we know that Head Start programs can meet this challenge.
So because of this rule, and the other executive actions that we’ve taken to improve our education system, more children will have the chance to study hard, do well in school, graduate on time, go to college without crushing debt. More Americans will grow up to be scientists and innovators and engineers and entrepreneurs. More businesses will be able to find skilled workers.
Of course, there’s no substitute for Congress doing its job. And I have to say these two congressmen are doing their job. (Applause.) But they need some help. Congress still needs to fix No Child Left Behind. Congress still needs to put teachers back in the classroom where they belong. (Applause.)
So Congress still needs to act. But if Congress continues to stand only for dysfunction and delay, then I’m going to move ahead without them. (Applause.) I told my administration, I want you to keep on looking for actions that we can take without Congress –- steps that can save consumers money, make government more efficient and responsive, help heal the economy, improve our education system, improve our health care system. We want to work with Congress, but we’re not going to wait.
I think this is the right thing to do, not just as a President, but I think this is the right thing to do as a parent. Because I know there are some things I cannot guarantee my kids. But I can make sure — I can do my best to make certain that they get a chance to succeed or fail on their own merits, just like I did. I can do everything in my power to ensure that their children grow up in a country where anything is possible, as long as you’re willing to work for it.
That’s what my mom and my grandparents wanted for me. It’s what I want for my children. It’s the promise that every generation has made to those who came after.
We can’t be the first generation of Americans to break that promise. So we’ve got to prove that we are tougher than the times that we live in and that we’re bigger than the politics of the moment. We’ve got to meet the challenges today by preparing our children for the challenges tomorrow.
That’s what’s being done at this wonderful facility. We want to replicate these all across the country. We are proud of what you are doing. You’ve got a President who’s got your back
Thank you very much, everybody. God bless you. God bless the United States of America.
We Can’t Wait: Leading Veterans Organizations Back Returning Heroes, Wounded Warrior Tax Credits; President Obama Announces Initiatives to Get Veterans Back to Work
We Can’t Wait: Leading Veterans Organizations Back Returning Heroes, Wounded Warrior Tax Credits; President Obama Announces Initiatives to Get Veterans Back to Work
Leading veterans’ organizations today joined President Obama at the White House and announced their support for the Returning Heroes and Wounded Warrior Tax Credits, two provisions in the American Jobs Act Congress is scheduled to consider this week. President Obama also announced three executive actions that will help veterans find jobs. Today’s announcement is part of a series of executive actions to put Americans back to work and strengthen the economy.
The Returning Heroes Tax Credit provides firms that hire unemployed veterans with a maximum credit of $5,600 per veteran. The Wounded Warriors Tax Credit offers firms that hire veterans with service-connected disabilities with a maximum credit of $9,600 per veteran.
“No veteran should have to fight for a job at home after they fight for our nation overseas,” said President Obama. “Congress should pass the Returning Heroes and Wounded Warrior tax credits, but we can’t wait for Congress to act. That’s why today, I am directing my Administration to move forward with three initiatives that will help make it easier for veterans to find jobs when they return home.”
The American Legion, Disabled American Veterans, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America and Veterans of Foreign Wars announced their support for the Returning Heroes and Wounded Warrior Tax Credits.
“The American Legion, on behalf of its 2.4-million members, appreciates the efforts of President Obama and Congress to curb the unacceptably high rate of unemployment among the men and women who have selflessly served our country,” said Peter Gaytan, Executive Director of the Washington D.C. office of the American Legion. “Tax credits will augment the good and patriotic intentions of employers with tangible, financial incentives. The rewards will be great for them and, most importantly, for the most deserving of our citizens, our military veterans.”
“It’s time to pull out the stops. After their service to the country, our war fighters have been hit disproportionately hard by the economic downturn with unemployment rates that eclipse their non-military cohorts,” said Bob Wallace, executive director of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S. “Without using every option available to assist them, unemployment for veterans will only rise with the draw-down of troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. We are proud to see that the Administration has recognized the immediate needs of our veterans by focusing on extending and improving tax credits for job-creators who wish to hire hard-working, battle-proven leaders.”
“The Disabled American Veterans welcomes any and all efforts to encourage businesses to hire veterans,” said DAV National Commander Donald L. Samuels. “President Obama’s plan will be an added incentive to do so. The men and women who have served and sacrificed for our nation deserve a square deal in the job market.”
“We applaud President Obama for continuing to lead on this important issue. With new veteran unemployment increasing for the second month in a row, this announcement could not have come at a more critical time. Iraq and Afghanistan veterans are coming home to unacceptable levels of joblessness. By offering tax credits to companies that hire veterans, and setting in motion the reverse boot camp announced in August, the New Greatest Generation will have increased opportunities to lead at home,” said IAVA Founder and Executive Director Paul Rieckhoff. “There is no better way to show veterans that Washington really honors their service this Veterans Day (11/11/11) than by unanimously passing this legislation.”
The President also launched a series of initiatives that will make it easier for veterans to find jobs. Those initiatives include:
Veteran Gold Card: Effective today, Post-9/11 veterans will be able to to download the Veteran Gold Card, which entitles them to enhanced services including six months of personalized case management, assessments and counseling, at the roughly 3,000 One-Stop Career Centers located across the country. This could help serve the more than 200,000 unemployed Post-9/11 veterans. The President directed the Department of Labor to launch this initiative in his August 5, 2011 speech at the Navy Yard.
My Next Move for Veterans: The Department of Labor will launch My Next Move for Veterans, a new online resource that allows veterans to enter their military occupation code and discover civilian occupations for which they are well qualified. The site will also include information about salaries, apprenticeships, and other related education and training programs.
Creating a Veterans Job Bank: Starting Monday, the Administration will launch the Veterans Job Bank, at National Resource Directory, an easy to use tool to help veterans find job postings from companies looking to hire them. It already searches over 500,000 job postings and is growing. In a few easy steps, companies can make sure the job postings on their own websites are part of this Veterans Job Bank.
All of these services can be accessed by visiting www.whitehouse.gov/vets.
Together, these initiatives and the tax credits will lower veteran unemployment through increased hiring, improve resources for veterans to translate their military skills for the civilian workforce, and provide veterans with new tools to aid their search for jobs. View a fact sheet to learn more about these tax credits and the President’s executive actions.
Hi, this is Joe Biden. I’m speaking to you from the University of Pittsburgh, where I just spoke to students here about what we’ve done to help ease the burden on them when it comes to the rising cost of tuition and the accumulating student debt and what we’re going to do to help create jobs when they graduate.
Today we found out we’ve had the 20th month in a row where we’ve increased private sector jobs — 104,000 this month, 104,000 private sector jobs. And as all you know, that’s not nearly enough. We have to increase the pace. We have to act now to do everything in our power to keep this economy moving and to grow jobs.
President Obama is on his way back from France where he just met with the leaders of the 20 largest economies in the world, where he urged our European friends to step up and stabilize their own economies because if they fail, it will affect the whole world.
Too many Americans are still struggling. Too many college students here at the University of Pittsburgh and elsewhere are worrying about the rising cost of their tuition, and the increasing accumulation of debt. And too many of their parents are in stagnant jobs or out of work, wondering if they’re going to be able to send their child back to college next semester.
My dad used to have a saying. He said, a job is about a lot more than a paycheck. It’s about dignity. It’s about respect.
And too many Americans have been stripped of their dignity through no fault of their own. So we can’t wait to help them. The President and I believe we have to act now. That’s why we’ve introduced the jobs bill which independent validators said would create 2 million new jobs.
The entire WEEKLY REMARKS transcript can be viewed on Saturday, November 5, 2011
White House Launches 2011 Campus “Champions of Change” Challenge
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the White House announced the launch of the 2011 Campus “Champions of Change” Challenge. The Challenge invites college and university students from across the country to demonstrate how their student-led project is improving their campus community and helping America win the future. In the spring of 2012, the challenge will announce the five Campus “Champions of Change” and host a culminating event at the White House. The Challenge finalists, in addition to the concluding event, will be highlighted by mtvU and MTV Act.
“All Across America, college and university students are helping our country out-innovate, out-educate, and out-build the rest of the world,” said President Obama. “I hope this challenge shines a light on their efforts, and inspires Americans of all ages to get involved in their communities.”
“We know that students are a powerful engine for social change,” said Stephen Friedman, President of MTV. “We’re proud to partner with the White House to give students a national platform to spotlight the incredible work they’re doing to inspire change in communities, and in our country.”
In order to participate in the competition, students are asked to submit an online application atwww.WhiteHouse.gov/CampusChallenge. The application consists of three essay questions, and optional video/photos that demonstrate how their project created a solution that improved their campus or local community. The deadline to submit applications is Friday, December 9, 2011 at 11:59 pm EST. Following the application deadline, the White House will select 15 finalists based on input from a panel of judges. The public will then have an opportunity to weigh in on the projects they think best embody the President’s goal to win the future. The top five finalists will be named Campus Champions of Change.
In addition to being invited to the White House for a culminating event, these five Campus Champions of Change will have the opportunity to work with mtvU, and MTV Act to create short features about their projects that will air on mtvU and be featured on MTV.com. The winning team will also host an episode of mtvU’s signature program, “The Dean’s List”. mtvU is MTV’s 24-hour college network, reaching upwards of 9 million U.S. college students on 750 college campuses, and MTV Act celebrates young people making an impact on the big issues facing their generation.
The Champions of Change program was created as a part of President Obama’s Winning the Future initiative. Each week, a different issue is highlighted and groups of Champions, ranging from educators to entrepreneurs to community activists, are recognized for the work they are doing to better their communities.
STATEMENT OF ADMINISTRATION POLICY
S. 1769 – Rebuild America Jobs Act
(Sen. Klobuchar, D-Minnesota, and 20 cosponsors)
The Administration strongly supports passage of the Rebuild America Jobs Act, which will put hundreds of thousands of construction workers back on the job and modernize America’s crumbling infrastructure. The President proposed this measure to Congress as part of the American Jobs Act as a way to create jobs and improve the Nation’s long term economic competitiveness by allowing goods and services to more efficiently reach domestic and global markets.
S. 1769 immediately invests $50 billion in the Nation’s highways, transit, rail and aviation. This includes investments to improve the Nation’s airports, support NextGen Air Traffic Modernization efforts, and provide resources for the TIGER and TIFIA programs, which target competitive dollars to innovative multi-modal infrastructure programs. S. 1769 will also take special steps to enhance infrastructure-related job training opportunities for individuals from underrepresented groups and ensure that small businesses can compete for infrastructure contracts. Together, these investments will rebuild America – upgrading 150,000 miles of roads, constructing and maintaining 4,000 miles of rail, and rehabilitating or reconstructing 150 miles of runway.
S. 1769 also includes an innovative American Infrastructure Financing Authority capitalized with $10 billion, in order to leverage private and public capital and to invest in a broad range of infrastructure projects of nationaland regional significance, without earmarks or political influence.
S. 1769 is fully paid for through a surtax on those Americans making over $1 million per year. What is most important is putting Americans back to work right now and making sure the debt is not increased over time – and doing so in a way that is fair. S. 1769 meets that test.
By enacting S. 1769, the Congress and the President can work together to put America back to work and lay a foundation for future prosperity, and the Administration urges prompt and favorable action.
REMARKS BY PRESIDENT OBAMA
IN HONORING THE ALLIANCE
BETWEEN THE UNITED STATES AND FRANCE
4:27 P.M. CET
THE PRESIDENT: Good afternoon. Bon après-midi. (Applause.) I studied French in school, and that’s about as far as I got. (Laughter.)
But, Mr. President, I understand clearly the affection with which you’ve once again described our alliance and the friendship between our peoples. So thank you, Nicolas, my partner, mon ami. Thank you. (Applause.)
To Generals Puga and Estrate and members of the French Armed Forces; to Mayor Brochand and the people of Cannes — thank you for your wonderful hospitality and the beautiful weather — (laughter) — that I’m enjoying here today.
We stand here today as free and democratic peoples because of each other. It was the ideas of the Enlightenment, centered here in France, that helped inspire a band of Colonists across the ocean to seek our freedom. It was the success of our Revolution that helped inspire your own. In our founding documents, we pledge ourselves to the same inalienable rights, and to the truth that all men and women are created equal. We are societies where our diversity is considered a strength; where you can become President even if your name is Obama or Sarkozy. (Laughter.) We live by a common creed: life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness — liberté, égalité, fraternité. (Applause.)
And for more than two centuries, we haven’t simply professed these ideas, we have preserved them, by serving together and by sacrificing together. And not far from here is the hometown of Admiral de Grasse, who helped Americans secure our independence. Here at this memorial, we recall our shared sacrifices in the trenches of the First World War. And just as President Sarkozy and I have honored those who fell at Normandy, let it also be remembered that American and free French forces stormed the beaches of this southern coast. And not far from here, at Rhone, some of them rest in peace in the land that they liberated.
Nor have we simply defended these ideals for ourselves. Together we have stood up for our ideals around the world. And today, we pay special tribute to all those who have served and given their lives — French, American, and forces from our allies and partners — so that Afghanistan will never again become a haven for those who would attack us. They have sacrificed to keep us all safe, and we honor them all.
We saw this same solidarity most recently in the mission to protect the Libyan people. When the old regime threatened to massacre on a horrific scale, the world refused to stand by. The United States was proud to play a decisive role, especially in the early days, taking out Libyan air defenses and conducting precision strikes that stopped the regime in its tracks. But at the same time, this mission showed us why NATO remains the world’s most effective alliance. We acted quickly, in days — the fastest mobilization in NATO history. And whether contributing forces or command staff, every single one of NATO’s 28 members played a role. Eighteen nations, including Arab states, provided forces.
And in a historic first, our NATO allies, including France, and especially the extraordinary leadership of President Sarkozy, helped us to conduct 90 percent of our strike missions — (applause) — 90 percent. So that showed more nations bearing the burdens and costs of peace and security. And that’s how our alliance must work in the 21st century.
In this mission, French and American soldiers, airmen, naval officers, served shoulder to shoulder — the commanders who planned and executed this complex operation; the pilots who prevented a massacre in Benghazi; the tanker crews from bases here in France who sustained this operation; the airmen who delivered lifesaving aid; the sailors and Marines who enforced the arms embargo at sea.
In fact, American pilots even flew French fighter jets off a French aircraft carrier in the Mediterranean. Allies don’t get any closer than that. And thanks to their extraordinary service, the last air mission over Libya ended on Monday, and that operation ended in giving the Libyan people the opportunity to live with freedom and democracy. And I might add, we succeeded in bring every single one of our service members back safely, which is a remarkable achievement.
Every man and woman in uniform who participated in this effort can know that you have accomplished every objective. You saved the lives of countless Libyan men, women and children. And today, the Libyan people have liberated their country and begun to forge their own future, and the world has once again seen that the longing for freedom and dignity is universal.
Thousands of personnel made this operation a success, but we are honored to have some of them join us today. And I would ask you in joining me in saluting Admirals Jim Stavridis and Sam Locklear, as well as General Ralph Jodice, and all our service members who are here for a job well done. (Applause.)
Finally, I would note that this success is part of a larger story. After a difficult decade, the tide of war is receding. The long war in Iraq is finally coming to an end. With our allies and partners, including the extraordinary sacrifices of the French people, we’ve achieved major victories against
al Qaeda, including Osama bin Laden. In Afghanistan, where French and American soldiers fight side by side, we’ve begun a transition so Afghans can take responsibility for their security and our troops can begin coming home.
Today, America and our allies are moving forward with confidence and with strength. And these men and women in uniform carry on a legacy that I actually can see from the windows of the White House. In one direction, there’s the monument to Washington; in the other, a statue of Rochambeau, who served so well at Washington’s side. And at the base of that statue are words Washington expressed to his friend after the Revolutionary War in America was won — and I’ve shared these words with President Sarkozy on one of our visits, so I want to conclude with them this afternoon, because they capture the spirit that we celebrate today.
This is what Washington said to his dear friend from France: “We are fellow laborers in the cause of liberty, and we have lived together as brothers should do — in harmonious friendship.”
President Sarkozy, ladies and gentlemen, members of the Armed Forces of France and the United States, for more than two centuries we have stood together in friendship, and because of our unwavering commitment to the cause of liberty, I’m confident that we’ll continue to stand together, strong and free, for all the centuries to come. So vive la France. God bless America. And long live the alliance between our two great nations. (Applause.)
PRESS CONFERENCE BY PRESIDENT OBAMA
AFTER G20 SUMMIT
Claude Debussy Theater
3:40 P.M. CET
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Good afternoon, everybody. I want to begin by thanking my friend, President Sarkozy, for his leadership and his hospitality. And I want to thank the people of Cannes for this extraordinary setting.
Over the past two years, those of us in the G20 have worked together to rescue the global economy, to avert another depression, and to put us on the path to recovery. But we came to Cannes with no illusions. The recovery has been fragile. And since our last meeting in Seoul we’ve experienced a number of new shocks — disruptions in oil supplies, the tragic tsunami in Japan, and the financial crisis in Europe.
As a result, advanced economies, including the United States are growing and creating jobs, but not nearly fast enough. Emerging economies have started to slow. Global demand is weakening. Around the world, hundreds of millions of people are unemployed, or underemployed. Put simply, the world faces challenges that put our economic recovery at risk.
So the central question coming into Cannes was this: Could the world’s largest economies confront this challenge squarely — understanding that these problems will not be solved overnight, could we make progress? After two days of very substantive discussions I can say that we’ve come together and made important progress to put our economic recoveries on a firmer footing.
With respect to Europe, we came to Cannes to discuss with our European friends how they will move forward and build upon the plan they agreed to last week to resolve this crisis. Events in Greece over the past 24 hours have underscored the importance of implementing the plan, fully and as quickly as possible.
Having heard from our European partners over the past two days, I am confidence that Europe has the capacity to meet this challenge. I know it isn’t easy, but what is absolutely critical, and what the world looks for in moments such as this, is action.
That’s how we confronted our financial crisis in the United States — having our banks submit to stress tests that were rigorous, increasing capital buffers, and passing the strongest financial reforms since the Great Depression. None of that was easy, and it certainly wasn’t always popular. But we did what was necessary to address the crisis, put ourselves on a stronger footing, and help rescue the global economy.
And that’s the challenge that Europe now faces. Make no mistake, there’s more hard work ahead and more difficult choices to make. But our European partners have laid a foundation on which to build, and it has all the elements needed for success: a credible firewall to prevent the crisis from spreading, strengthening European banks, charting a sustainable path for Greece, and confronting the structural issues that are at the heart of the current crisis.
And here in Cannes we’ve moved the ball forward. Europe remains on track to implement a sustainable path for Greece. Italy has agreed to a monitoring program with the IMF — in fact, invited it. Tools have been identified that will better enable the world to support European action. And European finance ministers will carry this work forward next week.
All of us have an enormous interest in Europe’s success, and all of us will be affected if Europe is not growing — and that certainly includes the United States, which counts Europe as our largest trading partner. If Europe isn’t growing, it’s harder for us to do what we need to do for the American people: creating jobs, lifting up the middle class, and putting our fiscal house in order. And that’s why I’ve made it clear that the United States will continue to do our part to support our European partners as they work to resolve this crisis.
More broadly, we agreed to stay focused on jobs and growth with an action plan in which each nation does its part. In the United States, we recognize, as the world’s largest economy, the most important thing we can do for global growth is to get our own economy growing faster. Back home, we’re fighting for the American Jobs Act, which will put people back to work, even as we meet our responsibilities to reduce our deficit in the coming years.
We also made progress here in Cannes on our rebalancing agenda. In an important step forward, countries with large surpluses and export-oriented countries agreed to take additional steps to support growth and boost demand in their own countries. In addition, we welcome China’s determination to increase the flexibility of the RMB. This is something we’ve been calling for for some time, and it will be a critical step in boosting growth.
Finally, we also made progress across a range of challenges to our shared prosperity. Following our reforms in the United States, the G20 adopted an unprecedented set of high-level financial reforms to prevent a crisis in the future. We agreed to keep phasing out fossil fuel subsidies — perhaps the single-most important step we can take in the near term to fight climate change and create clean-energy economies.
And even as our countries work to save lives from the drought and terrible famine in the Horn of Africa, we agreed on the need to mobilize new resources to support the development that lifts nations out of poverty.
So, again, I want to thank President Sarkozy and our French hosts for a productive summit. I want to thank my fellow leaders for their partnership and for the progress we’ve made to create the jobs and prosperity that our people deserve.
So with that, let me take a few questions. I’ll start with Jim Kuhnhenn of AP.
Q New jobless numbers today back in the States. You’re on a pace to face the voters with the highest unemployment rate of any postwar President. And doesn’t that make you significantly vulnerable to a Republican who might run on a message of change? And if I may add, given that you have just witnessed the difficulties of averting economic problems beyond your control, what state do you think the economy will be in when you face reelection next year?
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Jim, I have to tell you the least of my concerns at the moment is the politics of a year from now. I’m worried about putting people back to work right now, because those folks are hurting and the U.S. economy is underperforming. And so everything that we’re doing here in the — here at the G20 mirrors our efforts back home — that is, how do we boost growth; how do we shrink our deficits in a way that doesn’t slow the recovery right now; how do we make sure that our workers are getting the skills and the training they need to compete in a global economy. And not only does the American Jobs Act answer some of the needs for jobs now, but it will also lay the foundation for future growth through investments in infrastructure, for example.
So my hope is, is that the folks back home, including those in the United States Senate and the House of Representatives, when they look at today’s job numbers — which were positive but indicate once again that the economy is growing way too slow — that they think twice before they vote “no” again on the only proposal out there right now that independent economists say would actually make a dent in unemployment right now. There’s no excuse for inaction. That’s true globally; it’s certainly true back home as well. And I’m going to keep on pushing it regardless of what the politics are.
Q Thank you, Mr. President. Clearly, there was some sort of dispute between you and the European leaders about how to fund this bailout. And you, in your remarks, emphasized the fact that TARP was done with U.S. funds, that there wasn’t any international involvement here. Are you confident now that the European leaders are going to own this firewall or bailout fund themselves, not looking for handouts from other countries, and that they will do what they have to do?
And the second part of my question is, how hard was it to convince these folks to do stimulus measures when your own stimulus measure — you’ve mentioned it twice now — is not going anywhere right now on Capitol Hill?
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, first of all, we didn’t have a long conversation about stimulus measures, so that was maybe two or three G20s ago. We had a discussion about what steps could be taken to continue to spur economic growth. And that may not always involve government spending. For example, the rebalancing agenda that I talked about is one way in which we can make a big difference in spurring on global demand. It requires some adjustments, some changes in behavior on the part of countries. But it doesn’t necessarily involve classic fiscal stimulus.
It wasn’t a dispute with the Europeans. I think the Europeans agree with us that it is important to send a clear signal that the European project is alive and well, and that they are committed to the euro, and that they are committed to resolving this crisis. And I think if you talk to European leaders, they are the first ones to say that that begins with European leaders arriving at a common course of action.
So essentially, what we’ve seen is all the elements for dealing with the crisis put in place, and we think those are the right elements. The first is having a solution to the specific problem of Greece. And although the actions of Papandreou and the referendum issue over the last couple of days I think got a lot of people nervous, the truth is, is that the general approach — which involved a voluntary reduction on the part of those who hold the Greeks’ debt, reducing the obligations of the Greek government — Greece continuing with reforms and structural change, that’s the right recipe. It just has to be carried out. And I was encouraged by the fact that despite all the turmoil in Greece, even the opposition leader in Greece indicated that it’s important to move forward on the proposal.
The second component is recapitalization of Europe’s banks. And they have identified that need and they are resourcing that need. And that I think is going to be critical to further instill confidence in the markets.
And the third part of it is creating this firewall, essentially sending a signal to the markets that Europe is going to stand behind the euro. And all the details, the structure, how it operates, are still being worked out among the European leaders. What we were able to do was to give them some ideas, some options in terms of how they would put that together.
And what we’ve said is — and I’m speaking now for the whole of the G20 — what we’ve said is the international community is going to stand ready to assist and make sure that the overall global economy is cushioned by the gyrations in the market and the shocks that arise as Europe is working these issues through. And so they’re going to have a strong partner in us. But European leaders understand that ultimately what the markets are looking for is a strong signal from Europe that they’re standing behind the euro.
Q So you’re discouraging them from looking for money — outside money?
PRESIDENT OBAMA: No, what we were saying is that — and this is reflected in the communiqué — that, for example, creating additional tools for the IMF is an important component of providing markets overall confidence in global growth and stability, but that is a supplement to the work that is being done here in Europe.
And based on my conversations with President Sarkozy, Chancellor Merkel, and all the other European leaders, I believe they have that strong commitment to the euro and the European project.
Q Thank you, Mr. President. I’m curious what you would say to Americans back home who’ve watched their 401(k)s recover largely when the bailout seemed a certainty, and then this week with the brand new political tumult in Greece, watched themselves lose essentially what they had gained back. You mentioned you’re confident in the bailout plan. Are you confident this will actually happen, and if so, that it will work?
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, first of all, if you’re talking about the movements of the U.S. stock market, the stock market was down when I first took office and the first few months I was in office about 3,000 points lower than it is now. So nothing has happened in the last two weeks that would suggest that somehow people’s 401(k)s have been affected the way you describe.
Am I confident that this will work? I think that there’s more work to do. I think there are going to be some ups and downs along the way. But I am confident that the key players in Europe — the European political leadership — understands how much of a stake they have in making sure that this crisis is resolved, that the eurozone remains intact, and I think that they are going to do what’s necessary in order to make that happen.
Now, let’s recognize how difficult this is. I have sympathy for my European counterparts. We saw how difficult it was for us to save the financial system back in the United States. It did not do wonders for anybody’s political standing, because people’s general attitude is, you know what, if the financial sector is behaving recklessly or not making good decisions, other folks shouldn’t have to suffer for it.
You layer on top of that the fact that you’re negotiating with multiple parliaments, a European parliament, a European Commission — I mean, there are just a lot of institutions here in Europe. And I think several — I’m not sure whether it was Sarkozy or Merkel or Barroso or somebody, they joked with me that I’d gotten a crash course in European politics over the last several days. And there are a lot of meetings here in Europe as well. So trying to coordinate all those different interests is laborious, it’s time consuming, but I think they’re going to get there.
What is also positive is — if there’s a silver lining in this whole process, it’s the fact that I think European leaders recognize that there are some structural reforms, institutional modifications they need to make if Europe and the eurozone is to be as effective as they want it to be.
I think that what this has exposed is that if you have a single currency but you haven’t worked out all the institutional coordination and relationships between countries on the fiscal side, on the monetary side, that that creates additional vulnerabilities. And there’s a commitment on the part of European leaders, I think, to examine those issues. But those are long term. In the short term, what they’ve got to do is just make sure that they’re sending a signal to the markets that they stand behind the euro.
And if that message is sent, then I think this crisis is averted, because some of this crisis is psychological. Italy is a big country with a enormous industrial base, great wealth, great assets, and has had substantial debt for quite some time — it’s just the market is feeling skittish right now. And that’s why I think Prime Minister Berlusconi’s invitation to the IMF to certify that the reform plan that they put in place is one that they will, in fact, follow is an example of the steady, confidence-building measures that need to take place in order for us to get back on track.
Q Thank you, Mr. President. The world leaders here have stressed growth — the importance of growth. And yet growth back at home has been anemic, the new jobs report today showing just 88,000 jobs added. The Republicans in Congress have made it clear that they’re going to block your jobs bill because they believe the tax hikes in it hurt small businesses. At what point do you feel that you declare stalemate to try and reach common ground? And do you feel like you have been an effective leader when it comes to the economy?
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, first of all, wherever Republicans indicate an interest in doing things that would actually grow the economy, I’m right there with them. So they’ve said that passing trade bills with South Korea and Panama and Colombia would help spur growth — those got done, with significant bipartisan support. They’ve suggested that we need to reform our patent laws — that’s something that was part of my long-term program for economic growth; we’ve got that done. What I’ve said is all those things are nice and they’re important, but if we want to grow the economy right now then we have to think bigger; we’ve got to do something bolder and more significant.
So we put forward the American Jobs Act, which contains ideas that are historically supported by Democrats and Republicans — like rebuilding our infrastructure, our roads and our bridges; putting teachers back in the classroom; providing tax credits to small businesses.
You say, Norah, that the reason they haven’t voted for them is because they don’t want to tax small business. Well, actually, that’s not — if that’s their rationale then it doesn’t fly, because the bill that they voted down yesterday — a component of the American jobs bill — essentially said we can create hundreds of thousands of jobs, rebuilding our infrastructure, making America more competitive, and the entire program will be paid for by a tax not on millionaires but people making a million dollars a year or more, which in the United States is about — a little over 300,000 people.
Now, there aren’t a lot of small businesses across the country that are making that kind of money. In fact, less than 3 percent of small businesses make more than $250,000 a year. So what they’ve said is, we prefer to protect 300,000 people rather than put hundreds of thousands of people back to work and benefit 300 million Americans who are hurting because of low growth.
So we’re going to keep on pushing. Now, there are steps that we can take absent congressional action. And the refinancing proposal that we put forward in Las Vegas is an example of that — helping students with student loans. We’re going to keep on rolling out administrative steps that we can take that strengthen the economy. But if we’re going to do something big to jumpstart the economy at a time when it’s stabilized but unemployment is way too high, Congress is going to need to act.
And in terms of my track record on the economy — well, here’s just a simple way of thinking about it: When I came into office, the U.S. economy had contracted by 9 percent — the largest contraction since the Great Depression. Little over a year later, the economy was growing by 4 percent, and it’s been growing ever since.
Now, is that good enough? Absolutely not. We’ve got to do more. And as soon as I get some signal from Congress that they’re willing to take their responsibilities seriously, I think we can do more. But that’s going to require them to break out of the rigid ideological positions that they’ve been taking. And the same is true, by the way, when it comes to deficit reduction.
We can solve all our problems. We can grow our economy now, put people back to work, reduce our deficit. And you get surprising consensus from economists about how to do it, from both the left and the right. It’s just a matter of setting politics aside. And we’re constantly remembering that the election is one year away. If we do that, there’s no reason why can’t solve these problems.
All right? Thank you, everybody.
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
REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT
AT THE MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. MEMORIAL DEDICATION
The National Mall
11:51 A.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much. (Applause.) Thank you. (Applause.) Please be seated.
An earthquake and a hurricane may have delayed this day, but this is a day that would not be denied.
For this day, we celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s return to the National Mall. In this place, he will stand for all time, among monuments to those who fathered this nation and those who defended it; a black preacher with no official rank or title who somehow gave voice to our deepest dreams and our most lasting ideals, a man who stirred our conscience and thereby helped make our union more perfect.
And Dr. King would be the first to remind us that this memorial is not for him alone. The movement of which he was a part depended on an entire generation of leaders. Many are here today, and for their service and their sacrifice, we owe them our everlasting gratitude. This is a monument to your collective achievement. (Applause.)
Some giants of the civil rights movement –- like Rosa Parks and Dorothy Height, Benjamin Hooks, Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth –- they’ve been taken from us these past few years. This monument attests to their strength and their courage, and while we miss them dearly, we know they rest in a better place.
And finally, there are the multitudes of men and women whose names never appear in the history books –- those who marched and those who sang, those who sat in and those who stood firm, those who organized and those who mobilized –- all those men and women who through countless acts of quiet heroism helped bring about changes few thought were even possible. “By the thousands,” said Dr. King, “faceless, anonymous, relentless young people, black and white…have taken our whole nation back to those great wells of democracy which were dug deep by the founding fathers in the formulation of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence.” To those men and women, to those foot soldiers for justice, know that this monument is yours, as well.
Nearly half a century has passed since that historic March on Washington, a day when thousands upon thousands gathered for jobs and for freedom. That is what our schoolchildren remember best when they think of Dr. King -– his booming voice across this Mall, calling on America to make freedom a reality for all of God’s children, prophesizing of a day when the jangling discord of our nation would be transformed into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood.
It is right that we honor that march, that we lift up Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech –- for without that shining moment, without Dr. King’s glorious words, we might not have had the courage to come as far as we have. Because of that hopeful vision, because of Dr. King’s moral imagination, barricades began to fall and bigotry began to fade. New doors of opportunity swung open for an entire generation. Yes, laws changed, but hearts and minds changed, as well.
Look at the faces here around you, and you see an America that is more fair and more free and more just than the one Dr. King addressed that day. We are right to savor that slow but certain progress -– progress that’s expressed itself in a million ways, large and small, across this nation every single day, as people of all colors and creeds live together, and work together, and fight alongside one another, and learn together, and build together, and love one another.
So it is right for us to celebrate today Dr. King’s dream and his vision of unity. And yet it is also important on this day to remind ourselves that such progress did not come easily; that Dr. King’s faith was hard-won; that it sprung out of a harsh reality and some bitter disappointments.
It is right for us to celebrate Dr. King’s marvelous oratory, but it is worth remembering that progress did not come from words alone. Progress was hard. Progress was purchased through enduring the smack of billy clubs and the blast of fire hoses. It was bought with days in jail cells and nights of bomb threats. For every victory during the height of the civil rights movement, there were setbacks and there were defeats.
We forget now, but during his life, Dr. King wasn’t always considered a unifying figure. Even after rising to prominence, even after winning the Nobel Peace Prize, Dr. King was vilified by many, denounced as a rabble rouser and an agitator, a communist and a radical. He was even attacked by his own people, by those who felt he was going too fast or those who felt he was going too slow; by those who felt he shouldn’t meddle in issues like the Vietnam War or the rights of union workers. We know from his own testimony the doubts and the pain this caused him, and that the controversy that would swirl around his actions would last until the fateful day he died.
I raise all this because nearly 50 years after the March on Washington, our work, Dr. King’s work, is not yet complete. We gather here at a moment of great challenge and great change. In the first decade of this new century, we have been tested by war and by tragedy; by an economic crisis and its aftermath that has left millions out of work, and poverty on the rise, and millions more just struggling to get by. Indeed, even before this crisis struck, we had endured a decade of rising inequality and stagnant wages. In too many troubled neighborhoods across the country, the conditions of our poorest citizens appear little changed from what existed 50 years ago -– neighborhoods with underfunded schools and broken-down slums, inadequate health care, constant violence, neighborhoods in which too many young people grow up with little hope and few prospects for the future.
Our work is not done. And so on this day, in which we celebrate a man and a movement that did so much for this country, let us draw strength from those earlier struggles. First and foremost, let us remember that change has never been quick. Change has never been simple, or without controversy. Change depends on persistence. Change requires determination. It took a full decade before the moral guidance of Brown v. Board of Education was translated into the enforcement measures of the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act, but those 10 long years did not lead Dr. King to give up. He kept on pushing, he kept on speaking, he kept on marching until change finally came. (Applause.)
And then when, even after the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act passed, African Americans still found themselves trapped in pockets of poverty across the country, Dr. King didn’t say those laws were a failure; he didn’t say this is too hard; he didn’t say, let’s settle for what we got and go home. Instead he said, let’s take those victories and broaden our mission to achieve not just civil and political equality but also economic justice; let’s fight for a living wage and better schools and jobs for all who are willing to work. In other words, when met with hardship, when confronting disappointment, Dr. King refused to accept what he called the “isness” of today. He kept pushing towards the “oughtness” of tomorrow.
And so, as we think about all the work that we must do –- rebuilding an economy that can compete on a global stage, and fixing our schools so that every child — not just some, but every child — gets a world-class education, and making sure that our health care system is affordable and accessible to all, and that our economic system is one in which everybody gets a fair shake and everybody does their fair share, let us not be trapped by what is. (Applause.) We can’t be discouraged by what is. We’ve got to keep pushing for what ought to be, the America we ought to leave to our children, mindful that the hardships we face are nothing compared to those Dr. King and his fellow marchers faced 50 years ago, and that if we maintain our faith, in ourselves and in the possibilities of this nation, there is no challenge we cannot surmount.
And just as we draw strength from Dr. King’s struggles, so must we draw inspiration from his constant insistence on the oneness of man; the belief in his words that “we are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny.” It was that insistence, rooted in his Christian faith, that led him to tell a group of angry young protesters, “I love you as I love my own children,” even as one threw a rock that glanced off his neck.
It was that insistence, that belief that God resides in each of us, from the high to the low, in the oppressor and the oppressed, that convinced him that people and systems could change. It fortified his belief in non-violence. It permitted him to place his faith in a government that had fallen short of its ideals. It led him to see his charge not only as freeing black America from the shackles of discrimination, but also freeing many Americans from their own prejudices, and freeing Americans of every color from the depredations of poverty.
And so at this moment, when our politics appear so sharply polarized, and faith in our institutions so greatly diminished, we need more than ever to take heed of Dr. King’s teachings. He calls on us to stand in the other person’s shoes; to see through their eyes; to understand their pain. He tells us that we have a duty to fight against poverty, even if we are well off; to care about the child in the decrepit school even if our own children are doing fine; to show compassion toward the immigrant family, with the knowledge that most of us are only a few generations removed from similar hardships. (Applause.)
To say that we are bound together as one people, and must constantly strive to see ourselves in one another, is not to argue for a false unity that papers over our differences and ratifies an unjust status quo. As was true 50 years ago, as has been true throughout human history, those with power and privilege will often decry any call for change as “divisive.” They’ll say any challenge to the existing arrangements are unwise and destabilizing. Dr. King understood that peace without justice was no peace at all; that aligning our reality with our ideals often requires the speaking of uncomfortable truths and the creative tension of non-violent protest.
But he also understood that to bring about true and lasting change, there must be the possibility of reconciliation; that any social movement has to channel this tension through the spirit of love and mutuality.
If he were alive today, I believe he would remind us that the unemployed worker can rightly challenge the excesses of Wall Street without demonizing all who work there; that the businessman can enter tough negotiations with his company’s union without vilifying the right to collectively bargain. He would want us to know we can argue fiercely about the proper size and role of government without questioning each other’s love for this country — (applause) — with the knowledge that in this democracy, government is no distant object but is rather an expression of our common commitments to one another. He would call on us to assume the best in each other rather than the worst, and challenge one another in ways that ultimately heal rather than wound.
In the end, that’s what I hope my daughters take away from this monument. I want them to come away from here with a faith in what they can accomplish when they are determined and working for a righteous cause. I want them to come away from here with a faith in other people and a faith in a benevolent God. This sculpture, massive and iconic as it is, will remind them of Dr. King’s strength, but to see him only as larger than life would do a disservice to what he taught us about ourselves. He would want them to know that he had setbacks, because they will have setbacks. He would want them to know that he had doubts, because they will have doubts. He would want them to know that he was flawed, because all of us have flaws.
It is precisely because Dr. King was a man of flesh and blood and not a figure of stone that he inspires us so. His life, his story, tells us that change can come if you don’t give up. He would not give up, no matter how long it took, because in the smallest hamlets and the darkest slums, he had witnessed the highest reaches of the human spirit; because in those moments when the struggle seemed most hopeless, he had seen men and women and children conquer their fear; because he had seen hills and mountains made low and rough places made plain, and the crooked places made straight and God make a way out of no way.
And that is why we honor this man –- because he had faith in us. And that is why he belongs on this Mall -– because he saw what we might become. That is why Dr. King was so quintessentially American — because for all the hardships we’ve endured, for all our sometimes tragic history, ours is a story of optimism and achievement and constant striving that is unique upon this Earth. And that is why the rest of the world still looks to us to lead. This is a country where ordinary people find in their hearts the courage to do extraordinary things; the courage to stand up in the face of the fiercest resistance and despair and say this is wrong, and this is right; we will not settle for what the cynics tell us we have to accept and we will reach again and again, no matter the odds, for what we know is possible.
That is the conviction we must carry now in our hearts. (Applause.) As tough as times may be, I know we will overcome. I know there are better days ahead. I know this because of the man towering over us. I know this because all he and his generation endured — we are here today in a country that dedicated a monument to that legacy.
And so with our eyes on the horizon and our faith squarely placed in one another, let us keep striving; let us keep struggling; let us keep climbing toward that promised land of a nation and a world that is more fair, and more just, and more equal for every single child of God.
Thank you, God bless you, and God bless the United States of America. (Applause.)
NOMINATIONS SENT TO THE SENATE:
Michael A. Hughes, of the District of Columbia, to be United States Marshal for the Superior Court of the District of Columbia for the term of four years, vice Stephen Thomas Conboy, resigned.
Jacqueline H. Nguyen, of California, to be United States Circuit Judge for the Ninth Circuit, vice a new position created by Public Law 110-177, approved January 7, 2008.
Brian C. Wimes, of Missouri, to be United States District Judge for the Eastern and Western Districts of Missouri, vice Nanette K. Laughrey, retired.
Statement by the President on Zambia’s Elections
On behalf of the American people, I congratulate the people of Zambia on the historic September 20 presidential, parliamentary, and local elections, and I commend you for building on your commitment to multiparty democracy. Zambia’s Electoral Commission, political leaders, civil society, and above all its citizens all contributed to this important accomplishment. The United States looks forward to working with President Michael Sata, members of parliament, and representatives of all of Zambia’s political parties to build on the long-standing partnership between our two nations. I also acknowledge former President Rupiah Banda’s contributions to Zambia’s democratic development, including his three years of distinguished leadership and his admirable acceptance of the will of the Zambian people. The hard work of a living democracy does not end when the votes are tallied and the winners announced; instead it offers the chance to reconcile and to advance greater security and prosperity for its people. Today is a day for Zambia to celebrate their democratic achievement. I hope that all Zambians will find common ground as you address the challenges and seize the opportunities facing your country and our world.
Remarks of President Barack Obama in an
Address to a Joint Session of Congress
Mr. Speaker, Mr. Vice President, Members of Congress, and fellow Americans:
Tonight we meet at an urgent time for our country. We continue to face an economic crisis that has left millions of our neighbors jobless, and a political crisis that has made things worse.
This past week, reporters have been asking “What will this speech mean for the President? What will it mean for Congress? How will it affect their polls, and the next election?”
But the millions of Americans who are watching right now: they don’t care about politics. They have real life concerns. Many have spent months looking for work. Others are doing their best just to scrape by – giving up nights out with the family to save on gas or make the mortgage; postponing retirement to send a kid to college.
These men and women grew up with faith in an America where hard work and responsibility paid off. They believed in a country where everyone gets a fair shake and does their fair share – where if you stepped up, did your job, and were loyal to your company, that loyalty would be rewarded with a decent salary and good benefits; maybe a raise once in awhile. If you did the right thing, you could make it in America.
But for decades now, Americans have watched that compact erode. They have seen the deck too often stacked against them. And they know that Washington hasn’t always put their interests first.
The people of this country work hard to meet their responsibilities. The question tonight is whether we’ll meetours. The question is whether, in the face of an ongoing national crisis, we can stop the political circus and actually do something to help the economy; whether we can restore some of the fairness and security that has defined this nation since our beginning.
Those of us here tonight can’t solve all of our nation’s woes. Ultimately, our recovery will be driven not by Washington, but by our businesses and our workers. But we can help. We can make a difference. There are steps we can take right now to improve people’s lives.
I am sending this Congress a plan that you should pass right away. It’s called the American Jobs Act. There should be nothing controversial about this piece of legislation. Everything in here is the kind of proposal that’s been supported by both Democrats and Republicans – including many who sit here tonight. And everything in this bill will be paid for. Everything.
The purpose of the American Jobs Act is simple: to put more people back to work and more money in the pockets of those who are working. It will create more jobs for construction workers, more jobs for teachers, more jobs for veterans, and more jobs for the long-term unemployed. It will provide a tax break for companies who hire new workers, and it will cut payroll taxes in half for every working American and every small business. It will provide a jolt to an economy that has stalled, and give companies confidence that if they invest and hire, there will be customers for their products and services. You should pass this jobs plan right away.
Everyone here knows that small businesses are where most new jobs begin. And you know that while corporate profits have come roaring back, smaller companies haven’t. So for everyone who speaks so passionately about making life easier for “job creators,” this plan is for you.
Pass this jobs bill, and starting tomorrow, small businesses will get a tax cut if they hire new workers or raise workers’ wages. Pass this jobs bill, and all small business owners will also see their payroll taxes cut in half next year. If you have 50 employees making an average salary, that’s an $80,000 tax cut. And all businesses will be able to continue writing off the investments they make in 2012.
It’s not just Democrats who have supported this kind of proposal. Fifty House Republicans have proposed the same payroll tax cut that’s in this plan. You should pass it right away.
Pass this jobs bill, and we can put people to work rebuilding America. Everyone here knows that we have badly decaying roads and bridges all over this country. Our highways are clogged with traffic. Our skies are the most congested in the world.
This is inexcusable. Building a world-class transportation system is part of what made us an economic superpower. And now we’re going to sit back and watch China build newer airports and faster railroads? At a time when millions of unemployed construction workers could build them right here in America?
There are private construction companies all across America just waiting to get to work. There’s a bridge that needs repair between Ohio and Kentucky that’s on one of the busiest trucking routes in North America. A public transit project in Houston that will help clear up one of the worst areas of traffic in the country. And there are schools throughout this country that desperately need renovating. How can we expect our kids to do their best in places that are literally falling apart? This is America. Every child deserves a great school – and we can give it to them, if we act now.
The American Jobs Act will repair and modernize at least 35,000 schools. It will put people to work right now fixing roofs and windows; installing science labs and high-speed internet in classrooms all across this country. It will rehabilitate homes and businesses in communities hit hardest by foreclosures. It will jumpstart thousands of transportation projects across the country. And to make sure the money is properly spent and for good purposes, we’re building on reforms we’ve already put in place. No more earmarks. No more boondoggles. No more bridges to nowhere. We’re cutting the red tape that prevents some of these projects from getting started as quickly as possible. And we’ll set up an independent fund to attract private dollars and issue loans based on two criteria: how badly a construction project is needed and how much good it would do for the economy.
This idea came from a bill written by a Texas Republican and a Massachusetts Democrat. The idea for a big boost in construction is supported by America’s largest business organization and America’s largest labor organization. It’s the kind of proposal that’s been supported in the past by Democrats and Republicans alike. You should pass it right away.
Pass this jobs bill, and thousands of teachers in every state will go back to work. These are the men and women charged with preparing our children for a world where the competition has never been tougher. But while they’re adding teachers in places like South Korea, we’re laying them off in droves. It’s unfair to our kids. It undermines their future and ours. And it has to stop. Pass this jobs bill, and put our teachers back in the classroom where they belong.
Pass this jobs bill, and companies will get extra tax credits if they hire America’s veterans. We ask these men and women to leave their careers, leave their families, and risk their lives to fight for our country. The lastthing they should have to do is fight for a job when they come home.
Pass this bill, and hundreds of thousands of disadvantaged young people will have the hope and dignity of a summer job next year. And their parents, low-income Americans who desperately want to work, will have more ladders out of poverty.
Pass this jobs bill, and companies will get a $4,000 tax credit if they hire anyone who has spent more than six months looking for a job. We have to do more to help the long-term unemployed in their search for work. This jobs plan builds on a program in Georgia that several Republican leaders have highlighted, where people who collect unemployment insurance participate in temporary work as a way to build their skills while they look for a permanent job. The plan also extends unemployment insurance for another year. If the millions of unemployed Americans stopped getting this insurance, and stopped using that money for basic necessities, it would be a devastating blow to this economy. Democrats and Republicans in this Chamber have supported unemployment insurance plenty of times in the past. At this time of prolonged hardship, you should pass it again – right away.
Pass this jobs bill, and the typical working family will get a fifteen hundred dollar tax cut next year. Fifteen hundred dollars that would have been taken out of your paycheck will go right into your pocket. This expands on the tax cut that Democrats and Republicans already passed for this year. If we allow that tax cut to expire – if we refuse to act – middle-class families will get hit with a tax increase at the worst possible time. We cannot let that happen. I know some of you have sworn oaths to never raise any taxes on anyone for as long as you live. Now is not the time to carve out an exception and raise middle-class taxes, which is why you should pass this bill right away.
This is the American Jobs Act. It will lead to new jobs for construction workers, teachers, veterans, first responders, young people and the long-term unemployed. It will provide tax credits to companies that hire new workers, tax relief for small business owners, and tax cuts for the middle-class. And here’s the other thing I want the American people to know: the American Jobs Act will not add to the deficit. It will be paid for. And here’s how:
The agreement we passed in July will cut government spending by about $1 trillion over the next ten years. It also charges this Congress to come up with an additional $1.5 trillion in savings by Christmas. Tonight, I’m asking you to increase that amount so that it covers the full cost of the American Jobs Act. And a week from Monday, I’ll be releasing a more ambitious deficit plan – a plan that will not only cover the cost of this jobs bill, but stabilize our debt in the long run.
This approach is basically the one I’ve been advocating for months. In addition to the trillion dollars of spending cuts I’ve already signed into law, it’s a balanced plan that would reduce the deficit by making additional spending cuts; by making modest adjustments to health care programs like Medicare and Medicaid; and by reforming our tax code in a way that asks the wealthiest Americans and biggest corporations to pay their fair share. What’s more, the spending cuts wouldn’t happen so abruptly that they’d be a drag on our economy, or prevent us from helping small business and middle-class families get back on their feet right away.
Now, I realize there are some in my party who don’t think we should make any changes at all to Medicare and Medicaid, and I understand their concerns. But here’s the truth. Millions of Americans rely on Medicare in their retirement. And millions more will do so in the future. They pay for this benefit during their working years. They earn it. But with an aging population and rising health care costs, we are spending too fast to sustain the program. And if we don’t gradually reform the system while protecting current beneficiaries, it won’t be there when future retirees need it. We have to reform Medicare to strengthen it.
I’m also well aware that there are many Republicans who don’t believe we should raise taxes on those who are most fortunate and can best afford it. But here is what every American knows. While most people in this country struggle to make ends meet, a few of the most affluent citizens and corporations enjoy tax breaks and loopholes that nobody else gets. Right now, Warren Buffet pays a lower tax rate than his secretary – an outrage he has asked us to fix. We need a tax code where everyone gets a fair shake, and everybody pays their fair share. And I believe the vast majority of wealthy Americans and CEOs are willing to do just that, if it helps the economy grow and gets our fiscal house in order.
I’ll also offer ideas to reform a corporate tax code that stands as a monument to special interest influence in Washington. By eliminating pages of loopholes and deductions, we can lower one of the highest corporate tax rates in the world. Our tax code shouldn’t give an advantage to companies that can afford the best-connected lobbyists. It should give an advantage to companies that invest and create jobs here in America.
So we can reduce this deficit, pay down our debt, and pay for this jobs plan in the process. But in order to do this, we have to decide what our priorities are. We have to ask ourselves, “What’s the best way to grow the economy and create jobs?”
Should we keep tax loopholes for oil companies? Or should we use that money to give small business owners a tax credit when they hire new workers? Because we can’t afford to do both. Should we keep tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires? Or should we put teachers back to work so our kids can graduate ready for college and good jobs? Right now, we can’t afford to do both.
This isn’t political grandstanding. This isn’t class warfare. This is simple math. These are real choices that we have to make. And I’m pretty sure I know what most Americans would choose. It’s not even close. And it’s time for us to do what’s right for our future.
The American Jobs Act answers the urgent need to create jobs right away. But we can’t stop there. As I’ve argued since I ran for this office, we have to look beyond the immediate crisis and start building an economy that lasts into the future – an economy that creates good, middle-class jobs that pay well and offer security. We now live in a world where technology has made it possible for companies to take their business anywhere. If we want them to start here and stay here and hire here, we have to be able to out-build, out-educate, and out-innovate every other country on Earth.
This task, of making America more competitive for the long haul, is a job for all of us. For government and for private companies. For states and for local communities – and for every American citizen. All of us will have to up our game. All of us will have to change the way we do business.
My administration can and will take some steps to improve our competitiveness on our own. For example, if you’re a small business owner who has a contract with the federal government, we’re going to make sure you get paid a lot faster than you do now. We’re also planning to cut away the red tape that prevents too many rapidly-growing start-up companies from raising capital and going public. And to help responsible homeowners, we’re going to work with Federal housing agencies to help more people refinance their mortgages at interest rates that are now near 4% — a step that can put more than $2,000 a year in a family’s pocket, and give a lift to an economy still burdened by the drop in housing prices.
Other steps will require Congressional action. Today you passed reform that will speed up the outdated patent process, so that entrepreneurs can turn a new idea into a new business as quickly as possible. That’s the kind of action we need. Now it’s time to clear the way for a series of trade agreements that would make it easier for American companies to sell their products in Panama, Colombia, and South Korea – while also helping the workers whose jobs have been affected by global competition. If Americans can buy Kias and Hyundais, I want to see folks in South Korea driving Fords and Chevys and Chryslers. I want to see more products sold around the world stamped with three proud words: “Made in America.”
And on all of our efforts to strengthen competitiveness, we need to look for ways to work side-by-side with America’s businesses. That’s why I’ve brought together a Jobs Council of leaders from different industries who are developing a wide range of new ideas to help companies grow and create jobs.
Already, we’ve mobilized business leaders to train 10,000 American engineers a year, by providing company internships and training. Other businesses are covering tuition for workers who learn new skills at community colleges. And we’re going to make sure the next generation of manufacturing takes root not in China or Europe, but right here, in the United States of America. If we provide the right incentives and support – and if we make sure our trading partners play by the rules – we can be the ones to build everything from fuel-efficient cars to advanced biofuels to semiconductors that are sold all over the world. That’s how America can be number one again. That’s how America will be number one again.
Now, I realize that some of you have a different theory on how to grow the economy. Some of you sincerely believe that the only solution to our economic challenges is to simply cut most government spending and eliminate most government regulations.
Well, I agree that we can’t afford wasteful spending, and I will continue to work with Congress to get rid of it. And I agree that there are some rules and regulations that put an unnecessary burden on businesses at a time when they can least afford it. That’s why I ordered a review of all government regulations. So far, we’ve identified over 500 reforms, which will save billions of dollars over the next few years. We should have no more regulation than the health, safety, and security of the American people require. Every rule should meet that common sense test.
But what we can’t do – what I won’t do – is let this economic crisis be used as an excuse to wipe out the basic protections that Americans have counted on for decades. I reject the idea that we need to ask people to choose between their jobs and their safety. I reject the argument that says for the economy to grow, we have to roll back protections that ban hidden fees by credit card companies, or rules that keep our kids from being exposed to mercury, or laws that prevent the health insurance industry from shortchanging patients. I reject the idea that we have to strip away collective bargaining rights to compete in a global economy. We shouldn’t be in a race to the bottom, where we try to offer the cheapest labor and the worst pollution standards. America should be in a race to the top. And I believe that’s a race we can win.
In fact, this larger notion that the only thing we can do to restore prosperity is just dismantle government, refund everyone’s money, let everyone write their own rules, and tell everyone they’re on their own – that’s not who we are. That’s not the story of America.
Yes, we are rugged individualists. Yes, we are strong and self-reliant. And it has been the drive and initiative of our workers and entrepreneurs that has made this economy the engine and envy of the world.
But there has always been another thread running throughout our history – a belief that we are all connected; and that there are some things we can only do together, as a nation.
We all remember Abraham Lincoln as the leader who saved our Union. But in the middle of a Civil War, he was also a leader who looked to the future – a Republican president who mobilized government to build the transcontinental railroad; launch the National Academy of Sciences; and set up the first land grant colleges. And leaders of both parties have followed the example he set.
Ask yourselves – where would we be right now if the people who sat here before us decided not to build our highways and our bridges; our dams and our airports? What would this country be like if we had chosen not to spend money on public high schools, or research universities, or community colleges? Millions of returning heroes, including my grandfather, had the opportunity to go to school because of the GI Bill. Where would we be if they hadn’t had that chance?
How many jobs would it have cost us if past Congresses decided not to support the basic research that led to the Internet and the computer chip? What kind of country would this be if this Chamber had voted down Social Security or Medicare just because it violated some rigid idea about what government could or could not do? How many Americans would have suffered as a result?
No single individual built America on their own. We built it together. We have been, and always will be, one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all; a nation with responsibilities to ourselves and with responsibilities to one another. Members of Congress, it is time for us to meet our responsibilities.
Every proposal I’ve laid out tonight is the kind that’s been supported by Democrats and Republicans in the past. Every proposal I’ve laid out tonight will be paid for. And every proposal is designed to meet the urgent needs of our people and our communities.
I know there’s been a lot of skepticism about whether the politics of the moment will allow us to pass this jobs plan – or any jobs plan. Already, we’re seeing the same old press releases and tweets flying back and forth. Already, the media has proclaimed that it’s impossible to bridge our differences. And maybe some of you have decided that those differences are so great that we can only resolve them at the ballot box.
But know this: the next election is fourteen months away. And the people who sent us here – the people who hired us to work for them – they don’t have the luxury of waiting fourteen months. Some of them are living week to week; paycheck to paycheck; even day to day. They need help, and they need it now.
I don’t pretend that this plan will solve all our problems. It shouldn’t be, nor will it be, the last plan of action we propose. What’s guided us from the start of this crisis hasn’t been the search for a silver bullet. It’s been a commitment to stay at it – to be persistent – to keep trying every new idea that works, and listen to every good proposal, no matter which party comes up with it.
Regardless of the arguments we’ve had in the past, regardless of the arguments we’ll have in the future, this plan is the right thing to do right now. You should pass it. And I intend to take that message to every corner of this country. I also ask every American who agrees to lift your voice and tell the people who are gathered here tonight that you want action now. Tell Washington that doing nothing is not an option. Remind us that if we act as one nation, and one people, we have it within our power to meet this challenge.
President Kennedy once said, “Our problems are man-made – therefore they can be solved by man. And man can be as big as he wants.”
These are difficult years for our country. But we are Americans. We are tougher than the times that we live in, and we are bigger than our politics have been. So let’s meet the moment. Let’s get to work, and show the world once again why the United States of America remains the greatest nation on Earth. Thank you, God bless you, and may God bless the United States of America.
President Obama Signs New York Emergency Declaration
The President today declared an emergency exists in the State of New York and ordered federal aid to supplement state and local response efforts due to the emergency conditions resulting from Hurricane Irene beginning on August 25, 2011, and continuing.
The President’s action authorizes the Department of Homeland Security, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), to coordinate all disaster relief efforts which have the purpose of alleviating the hardship and suffering caused by the emergency on the local population, and to provide appropriate assistance for required emergency measures, authorized under Title V of the Stafford Act, to save lives and to protect property and public health and safety, and to lessen or avert the threat of a catastrophe in the counties of Bronx, Kings, New York, Queens, Richmond, Nassau, and Suffolk.
Specifically, FEMA is authorized to identify, mobilize, and provide at its discretion, equipment and resources necessary to alleviate the impacts of the emergency. Emergency protective measures, including direct federal assistance, will be provided at 75 percent federal funding.
Statement by the President on the Attack on the United Nations in Abuja, Nigeria
I strongly condemn today’s horrific and cowardly attack on the United Nations headquarters building in Abuja, Nigeria, which killed and wounded many innocent civilians from Nigeria and around the world. I extend the deepest sympathies of the American people to the victims and their families, colleagues, and friends, whom we will keep in our thoughts and prayers.
The people who serve the United Nations do so with a simple purpose: to try to improve the lives of their neighbors and promote the values on which the UN was founded — dignity, freedom, security, and peace. The UN has been working in partnership with the people of Nigeria for more than five decades. An attack on Nigerian and international public servants demonstrates the bankruptcy of the ideology that led to this heinous action.