Office of Intergovernmental Affairs Blog

  • Moving Forward: The Continuing Work of the President’s Task Force on Puerto Rico’s Status

    The President’s visit to Puerto Rico in June 2011 is one of many demonstrations of the Administration’s strong commitment to the Island.  The historic visit built on the strong foundation of the work of the President’s Task Force on Puerto Rico’s Status, which has developed a comprehensive approach to addressing critical issues of importance to the people of Puerto Rico. Moving forward, the Task Force is closely monitoring the implementation of the recommendations laid out in its report and is planning at least one more summit later this year and several others next year.

    The Task Force’s report issued in March 2011 addressed both political status and economic development in Puerto Rico.  The Task Force’s recommendations regarding status provided a meaningful way forward so that the residents of the Island can determine their own future.  In his arrival address, the President reiterated this commitment, stating that “when the people of Puerto Rico make a clear decision, my administration will stand by you.”

  • Watch Live: President Obama on the American Jobs Act in North Carolina

    Ed. Note: The event has now ended. Watch video and see photos from the event.

    Today, President Obama will visit Raleigh, North Carolina to continue the conversation with Americans on why Congress needs to pass the American Jobs Act to put workers back to work. Watch the President live beginning at 12:55 p.m. EDT at

    In advance of the President’s visit, Governor Beverly Perdue and mayors across North Carolina explained the importance of passing the American Jobs Act. Governor Beverly Perdue said, "My top priority is creating jobs. I'm pleased that the President put forward the American Jobs Act. Congress should pass a plan quickly that encourages companies to hire, helps unemployed people get back to work, and puts more money in the pockets of working families."

  • President Obama Speaks to State, Local, Tribal Officials on American Jobs Act

    President Obama on a call about the American Jobs Act

    President Barack Obama has a conference call with local, state and tribal officials in the Oval Office, Sept. 9, 2011 (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

    On Friday, after traveling to the University of Richmond to discuss the American Jobs Act, President Obama hosted a conference call for over 1,100 state, local and tribal officials to explain how the plan would put people back to work in communities across the country.   

    The President thanked the officials on the call for their ongoing support, as well as their input and ideas that helped shape the American Jobs Act through listening sessions, calls and meetings over the past month.  The President then laid out his policy ideas to help create more jobs immediately, including proposals to:

    • Provide $50 billion in immediate investments for highways, transit, rail and aviation;
    • Provide $10 billion to create a National Infrastructure Bank;
    • Invest $35 billion to prevent layoffs of up to 280,000 teachers while also keeping tens of thousands of police officers and firefighters on the job;
    • Modernize at least 35,000 public schools with $25 billion in infrastructure investments and $5 billion to improve community colleges; and
    • Put construction workers back on the job with $15 billion to rehabilitate and refurbish hundreds of thousands of vacant homes in communities across America.

  • More State and Local Officials Respond to the President’s Call for an American Jobs Act

    Just over 24 hours ago, President Obama spoke to a special joint session of Congress and detailed the American Jobs Act to put Americans back to work. Governors, mayors, state legislators and county officials continue to respond to the President’s call to put partisanship aside and do what is right for the American people.

    North Little Rock, Arkansas Mayor Patrick Hays:
    “Yesterday, President Obama proposed a detailed plan to strengthen our nation’s economy. Many of the components of this plan, when enacted, would have an immediate positive impact on North Little Rock and will help put Arkansans back to work. I will do everything in my power to urge our federal representatives in Congress to move the American Jobs Act forward and get our country on a stable path to economic recovery.”

    California State Senator Elaine Kontominas Alquist:
    “I support President Barack Obama in the urgency for the passage of the American Jobs Act. It will lead to real jobs for many Americans who need and want to go back to work, tax relief for small business owners, and tax cuts for the often forgotten middle class. Giving people the ability to provide for themselves and their families is a cornerstone of democracy.  It is a non partisan issue that deserves bi-partisan support.”
    Ridgecrest, California Mayor Ron Carter:
    “Our community needs jobs (with an emphasis on veterans and youth) and investments in infrastructure, law enforcement, and education.  The package presented by President Obama addresses each of these issues and gives added benefits that will uplift our ailing real estate market.  I look forward to following this process and am optimistic that Congress will act quickly to bring the funding that our community needs.”

    Florida State Representative Alan Williams:
    "The responsibility to create an environment that encourages job creation and stability in our nation does not fall solely upon the shoulders of the Democratic Party, nor the Republican Party; it falls on the shoulders of everybody who is in a position to ameliorate this issue. I agree wholeheartedly with President Obama's sentiments that the time for partisan bickering is over because it doesn't pay the mortgage, put food on the table of keep the lights on."

    Florida State Representative Dwight Bullard:
    “With President Obama's proposal of the American Jobs Act, it is important for all Americans, especially Floridians, to look to the future with promise. The President has targeted reinvestment in infrastructure as a key component in our effort to employ American workers. Floridians understand the importance of upgrading and restoring roads, bridges and schools. Investments such as these employ workers now and offer a brighter future for generations to come.”

    Chicago, Illinois Mayor Rahm Emanuel:
    “President Obama laid out a comprehensive plan to save jobs and put more Americans back to work.  As our country recovers from the worst recession since the Great Depression, we must invest in our small businesses, infrastructure and technology sectors that are creating the jobs of the future in our cities. Of the investments for highway and transit modernization projects, the President’s plan will make immediate investments of at least $1,594,000,000 in Illinois that could support a minimum of 20,700 jobs. I applaud President Obama’s vision and leadership for innovation, fiscal responsibility and bipartisanship to put hard-working Americans across our city to work.”

    Maine Senate Democratic Leader Barry Hobbins:
    “We urge Congress to work together to pass immediate job relief. Maine people are frustrated with the gridlock in Washington. They want our leaders to put forth proposals that will create jobs and put more money in their pockets.” 

    Maine House Democratic Leader Emily Cain:
    “The President’s proposal would help give the economy the jolt it needs. We hope partisan politics can be put aside to accomplish what is best for our country. The choices are clear. Tax cuts for big corporations and the very wealthy who don’t need them just aren’t working.”

    Massachusetts State Treasurer Steven Grossman:
    "As a lifelong small business owner, I am deeply grateful to the President for his unwavering commitment to helping small businesses - the backbone of our economy - grow and flourish. His payroll tax cuts for the workers and employers will have a powerful impact. Congress should pass this immediately."

    Michigan State Representative Maureen L. Stapleton:
    “The American Jobs Act outlined by President Obama this evening will put people back to work and needed money back in our citizen’s pockets. The long term unemployed will find work, teachers will be put back in our classrooms, summer jobs for our youth will be created and businesses will get what they need to expand, grow and hire. This is a win-win for Republicans and Democrats alike. I call on all of our Michigan Delegation, both Republican and Democrat, to support the American Jobs Act as soon as possible.”

    New Jersey State Senator Joseph F. Vitale:
    “In his speech to Congress, the President hit all the right marks in laying out his vision for American economic recovery.  By focusing on the principles that made America a world power – hard work, fairness and common sense – we can restore our economic well-being, reverse the tide on rising unemployment, and position the United States for the challenges that lay ahead in a 21st century global market.”

    Charlotte, North Carolina Mayor Anthony Foxx:
    “Last night, President Barack Obama put specific and sensible proposals on the table.  While Charlotte has experienced positive job growth over the last two years, we still have many people looking for a job.  The President is calling on Congress to look beyond politics and focus on a national unemployment crisis that demands urgent attention.  The focus on small business tax relief, providing tangible incentives for companies to hire, infrastructure investments, education and creating work experience opportunities for the long-term unemployed and our youth are all critical and need to be passed now.  I know they will help Charlotte families and businesses get back on their feet and growing the economy again.” 

    Durham, North Carolina Mayor William Bell:
    “Like so many other cities, Durham, N.C., has felt firsthand the impact of the nation’s economic downturn.  Yet, our city and county continue to work to recruit and maintain business opportunities in our community.  We have infrastructure and mass transportation projects in our purview and see the American Jobs Act as a vehicle to assist with accomplishing some of these major projects.”

    Charlotte, North Carolina Councilmember and President of the National League of Cities James Mitchell Jr.:
    “The President’s proposal deserves action by Congress right away, and America’s cities and towns will support efforts to ensure that happens. The outlined plan would save and create thousands of jobs in our communities that are essential to the short-term and long-term health of our communities. It would put thousands of our residents back to work in private sector positions by building and maintaining the infrastructure that is fundamental to our economic future.  Small businesses are the lifeblood of main-street and the President’s proposal would incentivize small businesses to help get our residents back to work and put dollars back in their pockets.”

    Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin:
    “I commend President Obama for his bold proposal to get Americans back to work and put the country on the road to recovery. This is the number one issue on the minds of all Americans, and I am pleased that the President’s plan will translate directly into more jobs for Vermonters. The American Jobs Act will give Vermont families and small businesses the economic relief they desperately need while putting more Vermonters back to work, including teachers, veterans, construction workers and first responders.”

    King County, Washington Executive Dow Constantine:
    “My top priority has been to build prosperity and get people back to work, and President Obama tonight laid out a bold proposal to make that happen. His plan would rebuild King County’s economy by putting more people back to work, including teachers who’ve been laid off due to state budget cuts; our military veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan; our first responders; the construction workers who are needed to rebuild our roads, bridges and schools; and the long-term unemployed who are struggling to keep their heads above water while looking for a job that can support a family.”

    Cecilia Muñoz is Deputy Assistant to the President and Director of Intergovernmental Affairs

  • State and Local Officials Respond to the President’s Call for an American Jobs Act

    Following the President’s speech where he called on Congress to pass the American Jobs Act, bi-partisan governors, mayors, and state legislators have spoken out and echoed the President’s call to put more people back to work and put more money in the pockets of working Americans.

    Mesa, Arizona Mayor Scott Smith:

    It is encouraging to hear the President's proposal include business-friendly concepts such as expanded tax cuts and smart infrastructure investment.  I am also encouraged that job creation and deficit reduction are mutual goals.

    Los Angeles, California Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa:

    President Obama delivered a strong and clear message to Congress, the silly season in Washington is over. After spending the better part of the year trading jabs, Congress must now turn its attention to creating jobs. The President's plan is practical enough to pass Congress with the inclusion of bipartisan policy proposals. It is also bold enough to have the impact our country needs to build our way out of this historic economic challenge.

    San Francisco, California Mayor Ed Lee:

    President Obama’s speech tonight must be a wakeup call to leaders from Washington to Sacramento to San Francisco that it’s time to put politics aside and unite around our nation’s number one priority – creating jobs. The President’s call for aid to cities and states and a renewed commitment to infrastructure investments will directly boost our efforts to create jobs here in San Francisco and keep our City’s economy moving on the right track.

  • Governor, Mayors to Join First Lady for President's Joint Address

    Tonight, during the President’s Joint Address to Congress, First Lady Michelle Obama will host 23 distinguished guests to watch the address with her in the First Lady’s box. The guests represent a wide variety of Americans from business owners, to veterans, to students, to construction workers and more. Among the guests will be three state and local elected leaders: Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley, Cincinnati Mayor Mark Mallory and Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.

    Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley
    Governor O’Malley is currently serving his second term as governor of Maryland. He also serves as the chair of the Democratic Governors Association and co-chair of the National Governor’s Association’s Special Committee on Homeland Security and Public Safety. Prior to assuming the governorship, O’Malley served on the Baltimore City Council from 1991 to 1999, was appointed assistant state's attorney for the city of Baltimore, and then served as the Mayor of Baltimore for two terms. As Governor, O’Malley has focused on job creation by spurring innovation in all sectors of business, academia, and government.

    Cincinnati Mayor Mark Mallory
    A lifelong Cincinnatian, Mallory was elected mayor of Cincinnati in 2005 and won a second term in 2009.  In 1994, he succeeded his father, Majority Floor Leader William L. Mallory, Sr., in the Ohio House of Representatives.  Four years later, he moved to the Ohio Senate where he rose to the position of Assistant Minority Leader.  He is the first directly-elected black mayor of Cincinnati and holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Cincinnati.

    Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa
    Antonio Villaraigosa was first elected mayor in 2005, then re-elected in 2009.  He is the current President of the U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM).  In 2008, Mayor Villaraigosa passed a sales tax increase to invest in creating 166,000 transportation jobs in Los Angeles.  As President of USCM, he has led a bipartisan coalition of 165 mayors in support of an extension of the transportation reauthorization bill.