- Posted byon October 17, 2011 at 4:16 PM EDT
This morning, President Obama kicked off the American Jobs Act Bus Tour at Asheville Regional Airport to talk to communities about the pieces of the American Jobs Act that will put more people back to work and more money in the pockets of those who are working.
Throughout the week, we'll bring you numbers from the road to highlight aspects of the jobs bill, numbers like 150 miles. The American Jobs Act includes an immediate investment in employing construction workers to restore 150 miles of runway at American airports and put in place a next-generation air-traffic control system to reduce travel time and delays.
President Obama has made it clear that investing in infrastructure is not a partisan issue and it's time to put those in industries hit hardest by the recession back to work rebuilding America. As the President said, "now people go to Beijing Airport and they say, I wish we had an airport like that. We can't compete that way, playing for 2nd or 3rd or 4th or 8th or 15th place."
- Posted byon October 17, 2011 at 2:59 PM EDT
Ed. Note: Cross-posted from Treasury Notes.
In the fall of 2008, a financial crisis of a scale and severity not seen in generations left millions of Americans unemployed and resulted in trillions in lost wealth. Our broken financial regulatory system was a principal cause of that crisis. It was fragmented, antiquated, and allowed large parts of the financial system to operate with little or no oversight.
Today, our most important challenge is creating stronger economic growth and helping the millions of Americans who lost their jobs get back to work. As part of that effort, we are committed to implementing new rules that will build a safer, more stable financial system—one that provides a robust foundation for lasting economic growth and job creation.
In order to achieve these goals, and help protect our economy from future crises, we must continue with the implementation of Wall Street Reform. However, more than a year after the enactment of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, opposition to reform persists.
Opponents are voicing a wide range of criticisms in a concerted effort to slow down, weaken, or roll back reform. Their arguments are misguided. This week, we’ll be taking a look on this blog at what those critics are saying—and rebutting their claims one by one. We begin this series by addressing one of the key misconceptions surrounding reform—its impact on small banks.
- Posted byon October 17, 2011 at 11:09 AM EDT
The first stop on the American Jobs Act Bus Tour was Asheville, North Carolina, a city of 76,000 located in the Blue Ridge Mountains.
Air Force One landed at Asheville Regional Airport, where President Obama was greeted by Senator Kay Hagan and Asheville Mayor Terry Bellamy. He spoke just before 11:00.
The American Jobs Act includes a proposal to provide $2 billion to improve safety, add capacity and modernize infrastructure at airports across the country .
Asheville Regional Airport could be eligible for $60 million of those funds. And as the President said, there's plenty of work to go around:
In this airport right here in Asheville, you've got a runway that needs to be widened and repaired. You've got a taxiway that's in the wrong spot –- which means that planes sometimes get too close together. So we could be doing some work right here at the Asheville Airport that would help boost tourism, help to boost the economy here, put people to work right now.
But it's not just here in Asheville. All across the state, you've got highways that need to be built. You've got bridges that need to be fixed. You've got schools that need to be modernized. And that's what America used to do best. We used to build things -- built the Transcontinental Railroad; built the Golden Gate Bridge; the Hoover Dam; the Grand Central Station. There's no reason why we should sit here and watch the best highways and the newest airports being built in China. We should be building them right here in the United States of America. Right here in North Carolina.
This afternoon, the President will stop for a BBQ lunch and later visit West Wilkes High School in Miller's Creek, North Carolina.
President Barack Obama delivers remarks on the American Jobs Act at Asheville Regional Airport, Asheville, N.C., Oct. 17, 2011. The event kicks off the President’s three-day American Jobs Act Bus Tour. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)
- Posted byon October 17, 2011 at 12:00 AM EDT
President Obama begins the American Jobs Act Bus Tour this morning.
For three days, he'll tour cities in both North Carolina and Virginia -- visiting schools, an airport, a military base, and a fire station. He'll be talking about his plan to put Americans back to work, upgrade our country's infrastructure, and keep teachers and emergency responders on the job.
Last week, Senate Republicans voted to block the President's proposal, playing politics instead of working to grow our economy.
But this fight to create jobs and rebuild our nation's roads and bridges is far from over. On Wednesday, President Obama said:
We will keep organizing and we will keep pressuring and we will keep voting until this Congress finally meets its responsibilities and actually does something to put people back to work and improve the economy.
This bus tour puts a face on the teachers, firefighters, and police officers whose livelihoods are threatened by inaction.
The trip began this morning in Asheville, North Carolina and wraps up Wednesday in North Chesterfield, Virginia.
The first event was this morning at Asheville Regional Airport, where the President spoke about the need to upgrade the nation's infrastructure.
At 5:00 ET this afternoon, the President will speak from West Wilkes High School in Miller's Creek, North Carolina. You can watch those remarks live at whitehouse.gov/live.
You'll also be able to watch the President speak tomorrow from Guilford Technical Community College in Jamestown, North Carolina using the same link. On Wednesday, we'll also stream video of President Obama as he speaks at Joint Base Langley-Eustis in Hampton, Virginia and a firehouse in North Chesterfield, Virginia.
- Posted byon October 15, 2011 at 5:30 AM EDT
From a GM plant in Detroit, President Obama highlights the landmark trade agreements passed this week which will support tens of thousands of American jobs, level the playing field for American workers, and help us meet our goal of doubling our exports.
- Posted byon October 14, 2011 at 5:37 PM EDT
Earlier today, South Korean President Lee Myung-bak and President Obama did something out of the ordinary for a state visit: They got out of Washington.
Together, the two leaders toured the General Motors Orion Assembly plant in Michigan -- then spoke to automotive workers.
When President Obama came into office, the plant was in trouble, slated to be closed. But the President made the decision to intervene and save the U.S. auto industry from collapse. Today, more than 1,700 full and part-time employees at Orion are hard at work producing the brand new Chevy Sonic.
President Lee wore a Detroit Tigers baseball cap as he discussed the benefits American workers will see from the new free trade agreement:
"I know, folks, that some of you here may think that with the implementation of the KORUS FTA, that somehow your jobs may be exported or go somewhere else. But let me tell you one thing: That is not true. I am here with President Obama today because I want to give this promise to you, and that is that the KORUS FTA will not take away any of your jobs. Rather, it will create more jobs for you and your family, and it is going to protect your job. And that is the pledge that I give you today."
President Obama then described the trade deal as a "win-win":
"Here in the United States, this trade agreement will support at least 70,000 American jobs. It will increase exports. It will boost our economy by more than our last nine trade agreements combined. And as I said, the good thing is we’ve got a balanced situation. It's not just a matter of folks sending a bunch of stuff here. Koreans are also buying American products. That's what makes it a win-win."
- Posted byon October 14, 2011 at 4:10 PM EDT
Vice President Biden traveled to two Michigan cities this week to highlight how the American Jobs Act would help put cops and firefighters back on the beat and help modernize schools.
In Flint, Michigan, the Vice President made clear how the Jobs Act would both create jobs and protect the nation's "most basic obligation" to keep our citizens safe by putting cops and firefighters back to work. Over the past 18 months, Flint has been has been forced to cut its police force in half due to budget cuts at the same time violent crime has increased in the city.
Nationally, in the past 18 months, 10,000 cops have been laid off around the country, while 30,000 police vacancies have gone unfilled. Thousands of firefighters were laid off between 2009 and 2010, and another 7,000 could face possible layoffs this year.
"It's hard enough to do your job in good economic times. It's a tough job in good times," the Vice President told a group of Flint cops and firefighters assembled inside the city's fire department on Wednesday. "But it's almost impossible to serve the total needs of the community in bad economic times when you get cut in half."
The American Jobs Act includes $5 billion to support public safety jobs across the country. It will also dramatically improve the way cops, firefighters and other first responders are able to communicate with each other during emergency situations by deploying a nationwide public safety broadband network.
"I don't buy people who say there is nothing we can do," said the Vice President. "This is a fight for the soul of this country. It's a fight for the middle class. ... It's about making sure America's fire departments, police departments continue to be a large part of the American fabric and be able to do their job. It's about reversing the cycle of crime and fire and unemployment, and starting a new cycle of jobs and prosperity. It's about keeping you safe so you can keep all of us safe. And it's about a President and I who are prepared to fight like crazy to do whatever we can to make sure that you have the resources to be able to protect us."
- Posted byon October 14, 2011 at 12:00 AM EDT
This week, President Obama continued to fight for the proposals in the American Jobs Act that will put folks back to work and grow the economy. The President welcomed the 1985 Chicago Bears and the Tunisian Prime Minister to the White House, traveled to Pittsburgh to convene a meeting of his Jobs Council, attended the Forum on American Latino Heritage and hosted the President of South Korea for an official visit.
- Posted byon October 13, 2011 at 4:08 PM EDT
Last night, Congress passed four significant trade initiatives President Obama has advanced to help increase U.S. exports that support additional American jobs, and help American workers who need retraining and assistance when their jobs are affected by global competition. The trade agreements with Korea, Colombia, and Panama – which we at USTR worked hard to make better at the President’s insistence – will strengthen and expand ties with strategic partners in Asia and Latin America even as they support tens of thousands of jobs here at home, from shop floors to farms to service firms across our country. And the renewal of Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) reforms will ensure that workers get retraining and assistance for the 21st-century jobs they want and need.
As I mentioned last week, when the President sent the legislation to Congress, there have recently been questions about whether trade supports jobs, and how. We have a saying at USTR: “more exports, more jobs.” Because every $1 billion of exports of American goods is estimated to support more than 6,000 additional jobs here at home. And every billion dollars of services exports is estimated to support more than 4,500 jobs. Since these trade agreements are estimated to increase U.S. goods exports alone by a combined total of at least $12 billion, they will support tens of thousands of real jobs and put more money in the pockets of hard-working Americans across the country.
Furthermore, the U.S.-Korea trade agreement will open Korea’s $580 billion services market to highly competitive American companies – creating additional jobs for American service providers in sectors from delivery and telecommunications services to distribution, and energy and environmental services. The Colombia and Panama agreements open up services sectors to American companies selling into those markets as well.
- Posted byon October 12, 2011 at 8:33 PM EDT
This past weekend, I traveled to Iowa to meet with local leaders about the urgent need to pass President Obama’s American Jobs Act. Just as in the other states I visited across the country this past month, the folks in Iowa said loud and clear that they are ready to see the economy flourish again and believe this Act will get us back to work.
On Saturday, I held a White House Business Council meeting with local business, community and agricultural leaders to discuss the Act and what it will do to strengthen the economy in Riverdale and Cedar Rapids, IA. I talked about how—without adding a dime to the deficit—it will provide a tax cut for over 60,000 Iowa businesses, support the jobs of 4,100 teachers and first responders and immediately provide over 5,000 construction workers a job improving highways and other critical infrastructure. In addition, a typical household in Iowa will receive a tax cut of around $1,580.
- Posted byon October 12, 2011 at 6:36 PM EDT
Small businesses in emerging industries – like clean energy – have cutting-edge ideas that are strengthening our country and changing the world. Today, we’re helping them continue to do just that in two major ways.
First, unlike larger firms, many small firms don’t have the staff or time to search for all of the federal opportunities that can help them grow and create jobs.
We’re pleased to announce that today, they’ve got a new tool with green.sba.gov, where they can find all federal opportunities in a single location.
How did this come about? For the past year, the U.S. Navy and the U.S. Small Business Administration worked together to help Navy tap into the innovation that is happening throughout America’s strong and growing number of small, clean-energy businesses.
One of the first, simplest efforts was to create a single web page where all of Navy’s green and renewable energy contracts could be easily found by small businesses. Navy created that site in just a couple of months.
When it was completed, we thought, “Why don’t we do this across the entire federal government?”
So we did.
- Posted byon October 12, 2011 at 6:08 PM EDT
President Obama today vowed to keep fighting for the American Jobs Act, despite the Senate’s failure to pass the bill that would keep teachers in the classroom, cops on the beat, and put construction workers back on the job while providing tax cuts for middle-class families and small business owners and help our veterans share in the opportunity they defend.
The President was speaking at the White House Forum on American Latino Heritage, where he joined Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar in celebrating Latino culture, and honoring the contributions that so many Latinos have made to our nation. He also spoke about the struggles facing the Latino community, which has one of the highest unemployment rates in the country during this time of economic crisis, and promised that his focus would remain on to restore a sense of security and fairness for all Americans:
- Posted byon October 11, 2011 at 10:00 PM EDT
Every day, President Obama reads ten letters from the public in order to stay in tune with America's issues and concerns. One recent one came from Alice Johnson of Oregon who, along with her husband, has been looking for a job for about two years. Last week, President Obama described Johnson's letter in his Weekly Address:
She writes, “I have faithfully applied for work every week…Of the hundreds of applications I have put in, I received interview requests for about 10…I too, am sick of all the fighting in Washington DC. Please tell the Republicans that people are hurting and are hungry and need help, pass the jobs bill.” Alice Johnson needs our help.
After working hard her whole life and playing by the rules, Johnson is one of the millions of Americans who have been affected by the recession through no fault of their own. "I'm an honest, loyal, dependable person who has always worked," Johnson said. She knows there are many others going through the same experience.
The American Jobs Act will help create job opportunities for people like Johnson by providing a $4,000 tax credit to employers for hiring long-term unemployed workers. The Jobs Act will also prohibit employers from discriminating against unemployed workers when hiring.
- Posted byon October 11, 2011 at 9:00 PM EDT
Jamail Larkins wants Congress to pass the American Jobs Act so he can reduce his payroll expenses and put more people to work. "The Jobs Act is critically important to small firms like mine. One of our biggest expenses is payroll, and the ability to reduce our payroll taxes will allow us to hire more people by stretching our limited capital."
Larkins, 27, is the President and CEO of Ascension Aircraft, an airplane sales and leasing company in Augusta, Georgia that he founded in 2006. This entrepreneur's love of flying began the first time he piloted a plane -- at the age of twelve. He continued taking lessons, but his decision to volunteer to wash planes at his local airport helped him establish relationships with pilots and more quickly gain confidence in his flying abilities. Eventually Larkins petitioned the Federal Aviation Administration to allow him to fly solo before his 16th birthday. Though his exemption was denied, he was undeterred and traveled to Canada, where the minimum age to fly solo was fourteen. That year, Larkins became one of the youngest American pilots to solo a powered aircraft in Canada. “I was fortunate that I discovered my calling in life at a young age. Flying a small aircraft is a very unique experience. It’s challenging, it’s exciting, always changing, and it allows you to see the world from a completely different perspective.”
- Posted byon October 11, 2011 at 8:02 PM EDT
Iraq veteran Joe Kidd said one of the hardest parts of coming home was finding a job. After two deployments in Iraq, the first in 2007 and again in 2009, Kidd was appointed to the emergency room at Camp Lejeune and later became the Leading Petty Officer, managing about forty people. Yet, like many veterans, Kidd found it was difficult for potential employers to understand his experience, making finding a job outside of the service a challenge.
“I had forty people underneath me and then I got out in April, you know thinking, hey some of this should transfer, but no nothing really transferred. That’s pretty much been the hardest thing, knowing that nothing transfers….employers don’t understand military jobs”
Last month when Kidd heard President Obama introduce the American Jobs Act from the First Lady's box at a joint session of Congress, he was heartened to hear that it included a call for ensuring we have a career-ready military. Both sides of Congress stood in support as President Obama spoke about our national obligation to help veterans find jobs:
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, risk their lives to fight for our country. The last thing they should have to do is fight for a job when they come home.
The American Jobs Act includes tax credits to encourage businesses to hire unemployed veterans and that makes sense to Kidd. "Hiring a veteran is one of the most patriotic things you can do," Kidd said. And with the American Jobs Act there is an added incentive.
Businesses that hire veterans who have been unemployed six months or longer would receive a tax credit up to $5,600, and that credit rises to $9,600 for veterans who also have service-connected disabilities. That is why President Obama is urging Congress to pass the Jobs Act right away.
- Posted byon October 11, 2011 at 6:55 PM EDT
President Obama today attended a meeting of his Council on Jobs and Competitiveness, where he heard recommendations from the group on how to get the economy moving and create more jobs. The advisory council, which includes leaders from business, labor and academia, was created by the President earlier this year to provide diverse perspectives and ideas on how to create jobs and strengthen our competitiveness.
The third quarterly meeting of the Council today in Pittsburgh was focused on a report that team presented to the President that offered five major initiatives to increase employment while improving competitiveness:
- Measures to accelerate investment into job-rich projects in infrastructure and energy development
- A comprehensive drive to ignite entrepreneurship and accelerate the number and scale of young, small businesses and high-growth firms that produce an outsized share of America’s new jobs
- A national investment initiative to boost jobs-creating inward investment in the United States, both from global firms headquartered elsewhere and from multinational corporations headquartered here
- Ideas to simplify regulatory review and streamline project approvals to accelerate jobs and growth;
- Steps to ensure America has the talent in place to fill existing job openings as well as to boost future job creation.
- Posted byon October 11, 2011 at 6:45 PM EDT
Wendy Jameson, the co-founder of ColnaTec in Gilbert, Arizona says that the American Jobs Act will enable her company to "concentrate on what we do best – putting Americans and American innovation to work. Every dollar saved by the American Jobs Act is one more dollar we can spend on innovation. This changes the growth trajectory of our company, creating opportunities at every turn. In these difficult times, with most Americans worried about what tomorrow holds, who wouldn’t want that?"
Jameson and Scott Grimshaw’s “green tech” manufacturing business lives up to its founders' motto: “fear mediocrity.” Since its launch in October 2009, ColnaTec has become one of the world’s only firms that makes the electronic sensors needed to manufacture thin film solar cells and display screens used in devices such as cell phones. The holder of numerous patents, ColnaTec has received two research grants from the Department of Energy for a new self-cleaning sensor, which will not only be more accurate than existing models, but also capable of clearing off the coating that forms on them, which leads to sensor failure – a process Grimshaw has said will work like a “self-cleaning oven.”
The co-founders, who met on Twitter, say “can’t” is a word they don’t believe in. Jameson, who has 25 years experience in sales, marketing and business strategy is the CEO, and Grimshaw, the founder of two other high tech manufacturing businesses, is the chief technology officer. Their business (which is named after Jameson's sons, Colton and Nathan) is self-funded, and the owners say their aim is to develop manufacturing products that haven’t existed before – designing those products for long life and the highest accuracy and efficiency possible.
- Posted byon October 11, 2011 at 4:22 PM EDT
Last month, President Obama introduced the American Jobs Act, a plan to to put more people back to work and put more money in the pockets of working Americans, to a special joint session of Congress. Marlena Clark from Maryland watched the President's address from the First Lady's box as a guest of Dr. Jill Biden. When asked what she thought of the President's plan, Clark said, "passing the jobs bill is just common sense."
A couple years ago, Clark was working multiple minimum wage jobs, including cleaning houses, to put herself through school so she would have a chance at a brighter future. The first person in her family to go to college, she attended her local community college where she was involved in a mentoring program focused on retaining women in IT careers and had an internship at a local IT company. Now a graduate of Anne Arundel Community College (AACC), Clark is working as a full-time systems engineer at the company where she interned, supporting the sales team and customers with networking solutions.
Clark plans to continue her education and get a bachelor's degree and she knows the American Jobs Act would help her reach her goal. The Jobs Act, which will cut payroll taxes in half next year for 160 million workers, will make her goal more affordable: The typical American family will take home an additional $1,500 in 2012 if this tax cut is approved.
Clark explained why she believes it is so important to pass the American Jobs Act, "the same struggles I went through are what so many other Americans are going through...all of us are going to benefit from it. I hope they go ahead and pass this jobs bill because people need jobs now."
See how the American Jobs Act will impact others:
What do teachers think of the American Jobs Act?
Manufacturer hopes to expand and hire through the American Jobs Act.
How the American Jobs Act will help pay for education
How small business owners will be affected by the American Jobs Act
Tax savings created by the American Jobs Act
What the American Jobs Act means for high tech manufacturers
American Jobs Act creating jobs for veterans
Creating more jobs for small firms
Putting the unemployed back to work
How the American Jobs Act will impact families
- Posted byon October 11, 2011 at 12:07 PM EDT
Philip Maung, founder and CEO of Hissho Sushi, believes that Congress should pass the American Jobs Act so that small businesses like his can fast track their growth. “The American Jobs Act has provisions that will motivate small businesses owners like me to expand in an environment in which we have been forced to put some hiring decisions on hold for quite some time. Hopefully, with these incentives, small businesses will get back on track and our company, along with many other companies, can continue in our role of being the driving engine behind job growth.”
Maung arrived in this Los Angeles from Burma in 1989 with $13 in his pocket. He had a dream of making something of himself and wanted to make his family proud. In 1998, Maung and his wife started Hissho Sushi in their dining room. What began as a tiny company providing fresh sushi to supermarkets and cafes has evolved into a dynamic foodservice and distribution enterprise, headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina. Hissho Sushi now employs more than 200 people and trains sushi chefs, distributes sushi ingredients throughout the United States and operates more than 400 sushi bars across the country.
- Posted byon October 11, 2011 at 11:00 AM EDT
Sabrina Mangrum works hard as a student teacher in Maryland, and even harder at home, where she and her husband are raising six children, aged two-25. Sabrina and Dannie, who has been a corrections officer for 17 years, are hoping Congress passes the American Jobs Act, because the extra money in every paycheck will enable them to put something aside for their children’ educations.
Education is extremely important to the Mangrum family, who are in the process of adopting the three children they have been fostering through Lutheran Social Services of the National Capital Area. “All of my heart and mind are focused on giving them a better life,” says Sabrina Mangrum. The extra money is not about luxuries in this family, but the chance to have something left over, some money to spend taking the children to museums and to places where they can expand their worldview.
“We are teaching our children the difference between wants and needs,” she said. The payroll tax holiday that is central to President Obama’s plan to put workers back on the job and put more money in the pockets of working Americans would offer a cushion to the Mangrum family. “Now it’s all hustle and bustle to make ends meet, we would be able to more easily enjoy life with additional funds – bring home, do what’s necessary and have some left over.”