Read all posts from August 2013

  • In this week’s address, President Obama tells the American people that his plan for creating a better bargain for the middle class builds on the progress we’ve made, fighting our way back from the worst economic recession of our lifetimes. 

    Transcript | Download mp4 | Download mp3

  • This week, Senators Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Roy Blunt (R-MO) and Representatives Tom Reed (R-NY) and Joe Kennedy (D-MA) took action that’ll bolster the manufacturing sector, strengthen the economy, and help create a better bargain for middle class families. The bipartisan Revitalize American Manufacturing and Innovation Act of 2013, introduced yesterday in the Senate and today in the House, calls for the creation of a Network for Manufacturing Innovation, expanding our ability to compete for advanced manufacturing jobs by investing in manufacturing technologies and capabilities.

    The Act calls for resources to create a network of manufacturing innovation institutes, based on the pilot institute in Youngstown, Ohio launched by President Obama last year, and the efforts under way by the Administration to launch three new institutes this year. The Act builds on the President’s past and current proposals for a National Network for Manufacturing Innovation with a goal of up to 45 institutes over the next decade. These institutes bring together companies and universities, supported by Federal agencies, to co-invest in world-leading manufacturing technologies and workforce capabilities, giving our workers and firms the tools they need to compete.

  • Watch the West Wing Week here.

    Korean War Veterans: Speaking from the National Mall, President Obama honored veterans and commemorated the 60th anniversary of the end of the Korean War on Saturday. The President praised the men and women for their sacrifices, saying,

    Veterans of the Korean War -- in the spring of your youth you learned how short and precious life can be. And because of you, millions of people can keep on living it, in freedom and in peace. Your lives are an inspiration. Your service will never be forgotten. You have the thanks of a grateful nation. And your shining deeds will live -- now and forever.

    Voting Rights: Following last month’s Supreme Court decision overturning the Voting Rights Act, President Obama met with civil rights leaders and elected officials on Monday. While at the White House, the President expressed his disappointment in the ruling and the group discussed ways to ensure every American has the right to vote.

    San Francisco Giants: The San Francisco Giants visited the White House on Monday to celebrate their 2012 World Series championship. President Obama congratulated the team on their win and highlighted the steps they’re taking toward improving their neighborhoods by stressing the importance of healthy eating and supporting the LGBT community.

  • While more work remains to be done, today’s employment report provides further confirmation that the U.S. economy is continuing to recover from the worst downturn since the Great Depression. It is critical that we remain focused on pursuing policies to speed job creation and expand the middle class, as we continue to dig our way out of the deep hole that was caused by the severe recession that began in December 2007. 

    Today’s report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) indicates that the unemployment rate declined from 7.6 percent to 7.4 percent in July, reaching its lowest level since December 2008. The unemployment rate for African Americans fell from 13.7 percent to 12.6 percent, also its lowest level since December 2008. The unemployment rate for women fell from 7.3 percent to 7.0 percent, its lowest level since January 2009, and from 7.8 percent to 7.7 percent for men.

    The establishment survey showed that private sector employers added 161,000 jobs last month (see chart below). Total non-farm payroll employment rose by 162,000 jobs in July. The economy has now added private sector jobs for 41 consecutive months, and a total of 7.3 million jobs have been added over that period. So far this year, 1.4 million private sector jobs have been added.

    With the recovery entering its fifth year, we need to build on the progress we have made so far and now is not the time for Washington to impose self-inflicted wounds.  The across-the-board budget cuts known as the sequester continue to be a drag on the economy now and in the future.  The Administration continues to urge Congress to replace the sequester with balanced deficit reduction, and promote the investments our economy needs to put more Americans back to work, such as by rebuilding our roads and bridges.

  • This week, the Vice President and Dr. Biden wrapped up a trip to India and Singapore, the President announced a bargain for middle class jobs, welcomed the Huskies and the Giants, the American Legion, Girls & Boys Nation, the President of Yemen, and civil rights leaders to the White House, and marked the 60th anniversary of the Korean War Armistice.

  • Yesterday, I joined eleven Champions of Change at the White House to honor their achievements toward making science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) industries more inclusive for underrepresented communities.

    The Champions of Change are an amazing group of ordinary citizens doing extraordinary things. They are sparking imaginations, and captivating young minds, all across the country.

    From teaching computer science to high school students, to encouraging young women, and urban teens to code, to writing children’s books, to providing low-income students with programming classes—they are doing phenomenal work for our country’s youth, and their futures.

    President Obama cares deeply about making sure that our young people have the opportunity to dream big. Whatever their background, our children deserve the chance to reach for the sky, pursue whatever they put their minds to, and live up to their fullest potential—including working in STEM.

    I saw this potential firsthand in April, when I had the opportunity to visit the White House Science Fair. What an experience that was—I visited several of the 30 exhibits, and spoke with students about their projects—they were so excited to be in the White House, and I learned a lot too.

  • As we implement the Affordable Care Act, we continue listening to the needs of the business community. Based on our many conversations with leaders of our nation’s businesses, large and small, today we are launching, a one-stop-shop where employers of all sizes can go for information on the Affordable Care Act.

    The new site includes a web-based tool that allows employers to get tailored information on how the health law may affect them based on their business’ size, location, and plans for offering health benefits to their workers next year. From tax credits for small businesses to help make coverage affordable, to measures to help slow the growth of health care costs, there are a variety of ways that the Affordable Care Act can help businesses expand health care coverage and compete.

  • America has always been a nation of immigrants, and throughout the nation’s history, immigrants from around the globe have kept our workforce vibrant, our businesses on the cutting edge, and helped to build the greatest economic engine in the world. But our nation’s immigration system is broken and has not kept pace with changing times. Today, too many employers game the system by hiring undocumented workers and there are 11 million people living and working in the shadow economy. Neither is good for the U.S. economy or American  families.

    Commonsense immigration reform will strengthen the U.S. economy and create jobs. Independent studies affirm that commonsense immigration reform will increase economic growth by adding more high-demand workers to the labor force, increasing capital investment and overall productivity, and leading to greater numbers of entrepreneurs starting companies in the U.S.

    Economists, business leaders, and American workers agree –  and it’s why a bipartisan, diverse coalition of stakeholders have come together to urge Congress to act now to fix the broken immigration system in a way that requires responsibility from everyone —both from unauthorized workers and from those who hire them—and guarantees that everyone is playing by the same rules. The Senate recently passed a bipartisan, commonsense immigration reform bill would do just that – and it’s time for the House of Representations to join them in taking action to make sure that commonsense immigration reform becomes a reality as soon as possible.