President Barack Hussein Obama Speaks On Economic Mobility


 

By Jueseppi B.

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President Obama Speaks on Economic Mobility

December 04, 2013 | 48:15 |Public Domain

 

President Obama discusses the twin challenges of growing income inequality and shrinking economic mobility and how they pose a fundamental threat to the American Dream.

 

 

 

Remarks by the President on Economic Mobility

 

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11:31 A.M. EST
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THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you.  (Applause.)  Thank you, everybody.  Thank you so much.  Please, please have a seat.  Thank you so much.  Well, thank you, Neera, for the wonderful introduction and sharing a story that resonated with me.  There were a lot of parallels in my life and probably resonated with some of you.
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Over the past 10 years, the Center for American Progress has done incredible work to shape the debate over expanding opportunity for all Americans.  And I could not be more grateful to CAP not only for giving me a lot of good policy ideas, but also giving me a lot of staff.  (Laughter.)  My friend, John Podesta, ran my transition; my Chief of Staff, Denis McDonough, did a stint at CAP.  So you guys are obviously doing a good job training folks.
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I also want to thank all the members of Congress and my administration who are here today for the wonderful work that they do.  I want to thank Mayor Gray and everyone here at THEARC for having me.  This center, which I’ve been to quite a bit, have had a chance to see some of the great work that’s done here.  And all the nonprofits that call THEARC home offer access to everything from education, to health care, to a safe shelter from the streets, which means that you’re harnessing the power of community to expand opportunity for folks here in D.C.  And your work reflects a tradition that runs through our history — a belief that we’re greater together than we are on our own.  And that’s what I’ve come here to talk about today.
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Over the last two months, Washington has been dominated by some pretty contentious debates — I think that’s fair to say.  And between a reckless shutdown by congressional Republicans in an effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act, and admittedly poor execution on my administration’s part in implementing the latest stage of the new law, nobody has acquitted themselves very well these past few months.  So it’s not surprising that the American people’s frustrations with Washington are at an all-time high.
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But we know that people’s frustrations run deeper than these most recent political battles.  Their frustration is rooted in their own daily battles — to make ends meet, to pay for college, buy a home, save for retirement.  It’s rooted in the nagging sense that no matter how hard they work, the deck is stacked against them.  And it’s rooted in the fear that their kids won’t be better off than they were.  They may not follow the constant back-and-forth in Washington or all the policy details, but they experience in a very personal way the relentless, decades-long trend that I want to spend some time talking about today.  And that is a dangerous and growing inequality and lack of upward mobility that has jeopardized middle-class America’s basic bargain — that if you work hard, you have a chance to get ahead.
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I believe this is the defining challenge of our time:  Making sure our economy works for every working American.  It’s why I ran for President.  It was at the center of last year’s campaign.  It drives everything I do in this office.  And I know I’ve raised this issue before, and some will ask why I raise the issue again right now.  I do it because the outcomes of the debates we’re having right now — whether it’s health care, or the budget, or reforming our housing and financial systems — all these things will have real, practical implications for every American.  And I am convinced that the decisions we make on these issues over the next few years will determine whether or not our children will grow up in an America where opportunity is real.
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Now, the premise that we’re all created equal is the opening line in the American story.  And while we don’t promise equal outcomes, we have strived to deliver equal opportunity — the idea that success doesn’t depend on being born into wealth or privilege, it depends on effort and merit.  And with every chapter we’ve added to that story, we’ve worked hard to put those words into practice.
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It was Abraham Lincoln, a self-described “poor man’s son,” who started a system of land grant colleges all over this country so that any poor man’s son could go learn something new.
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When farms gave way to factories, a rich man’s son named Teddy Roosevelt fought for an eight-hour workday, protections for workers, and busted monopolies that kept prices high and wages low.
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When millions lived in poverty, FDR fought for Social Security, and insurance for the unemployed, and a minimum wage.
When millions died without health insurance, LBJ fought for Medicare and Medicaid.
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Together, we forged a New Deal, declared a War on Poverty in a great society.  We built a ladder of opportunity to climb, and stretched out a safety net beneath so that if we fell, it wouldn’t be too far, and we could bounce back.  And as a result, America built the largest middle class the world has ever known.  And for the three decades after World War II, it was the engine of our prosperity.
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Now, we can’t look at the past through rose-colored glasses.  The economy didn’t always work for everyone.  Racial discrimination locked millions out of poverty — or out of opportunity.  Women were too often confined to a handful of often poorly paid professions.  And it was only through painstaking struggle that more women, and minorities, and Americans with disabilities began to win the right to more fairly and fully participate in the economy.
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Nevertheless, during the post-World War II years, the economic ground felt stable and secure for most Americans, and the future looked brighter than the past.  And for some, that meant following in your old man’s footsteps at the local plant, and you knew that a blue-collar job would let you buy a home, and a car, maybe a vacation once in a while, health care, a reliable pension.  For others, it meant going to college — in some cases, maybe the first in your family to go to college.  And it meant graduating without taking on loads of debt, and being able to count on advancement through a vibrant job market.
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Now, it’s true that those at the top, even in those years, claimed a much larger share of income than the rest:  The top 10 percent consistently took home about one-third of our national income.  But that kind of inequality took place in a dynamic market economy where everyone’s wages and incomes were growing.  And because of upward mobility, the guy on the factory floor could picture his kid running the company some day.
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But starting in the late ‘70s, this social compact began to unravel.  Technology made it easier for companies to do more with less, eliminating certain job occupations.  A more competitive world lets companies ship jobs anywhere.  And as good manufacturing jobs automated or headed offshore, workers lost their leverage, jobs paid less and offered fewer benefits.
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As values of community broke down, and competitive pressure increased, businesses lobbied Washington to weaken unions and the value of the minimum wage.  As a trickle-down ideology became more prominent, taxes were slashed for the wealthiest, while investments in things that make us all richer, like schools and infrastructure, were allowed to wither.  And for a certain period of time, we could ignore this weakening economic foundation, in part because more families were relying on two earners as women entered the workforce.  We took on more debt financed by a juiced-up housing market.  But when the music stopped, and the crisis hit, millions of families were stripped of whatever cushion they had left.
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And the result is an economy that’s become profoundly unequal, and families that are more insecure.  I’ll just give you a few statistics.  Since 1979, when I graduated from high school, our productivity is up by more than 90 percent, but the income of the typical family has increased by less than eight percent.  Since 1979, our economy has more than doubled in size, but most of that growth has flowed to a fortunate few.
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The top 10 percent no longer takes in one-third of our income — it now takes half.  Whereas in the past, the average CEO made about 20 to 30 times the income of the average worker, today’s CEO now makes 273 times more.  And meanwhile, a family in the top 1 percent has a net worth 288 times higher than the typical family, which is a record for this country.
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So the basic bargain at the heart of our economy has frayed.  In fact, this trend towards growing inequality is not unique to America’s market economy.  Across the developed world, inequality has increased.  Some of you may have seen just last week, the Pope himself spoke about this at eloquent length.  “How can it be,” he wrote, “that it is not a news item when an elderly homeless person dies of exposure, but it is news when the stock market loses two points?”
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But this increasing inequality is most pronounced in our country, and it challenges the very essence of who we are as a people.  Understand we’ve never begrudged success in America.  We aspire to it.  We admire folks who start new businesses, create jobs, and invent the products that enrich our lives.  And we expect them to be rewarded handsomely for it.  In fact, we’ve often accepted more income inequality than many other nations for one big reason — because we were convinced that America is a place where even if you’re born with nothing, with a little hard work you can improve your own situation over time and build something better to leave your kids.  As Lincoln once said, “While we do not propose any war upon capital, we do wish to allow the humblest man an equal chance to get rich with everybody else.”
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The problem is that alongside increased inequality, we’ve seen diminished levels of upward mobility in recent years.  A child born in the top 20 percent has about a 2-in-3 chance of staying at or near the top.  A child born into the bottom 20 percent has a less than 1-in-20 shot at making it to the top.  He’s 10 times likelier to stay where he is.  In fact, statistics show not only that our levels of income inequality rank near countries like Jamaica and Argentina, but that it is harder today for a child born here in America to improve her station in life than it is for children in most of our wealthy allies — countries like Canada or Germany or France.  They have greater mobility than we do, not less.
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The idea that so many children are born into poverty in the wealthiest nation on Earth is heartbreaking enough.  But the idea that a child may never be able to escape that poverty because she lacks a decent education or health care, or a community that views her future as their own, that should offend all of us and it should compel us to action.  We are a better country than this.
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So let me repeat:  The combined trends of increased inequality and decreasing mobility pose a fundamental threat to the American Dream, our way of life, and what we stand for around the globe.  And it is not simply a moral claim that I’m making here.  There are practical consequences to rising inequality and reduced mobility.
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For one thing, these trends are bad for our economy.  One study finds that growth is more fragile and recessions are more frequent in countries with greater inequality.  And that makes sense.  When families have less to spend, that means businesses have fewer customers, and households rack up greater mortgage and credit card debt; meanwhile, concentrated wealth at the top is less likely to result in the kind of broadly based consumer spending that drives our economy, and together with lax regulation, may contribute to risky speculative bubbles.
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And rising inequality and declining mobility are also bad for our families and social cohesion — not just because we tend to trust our institutions less, but studies show we actually tend to trust each other less when there’s greater inequality.  And greater inequality is associated with less mobility between generations.  That means it’s not just temporary; the effects last.  It creates a vicious cycle.  For example, by the time she turns three years old, a child born into a low-income home hears 30 million fewer words than a child from a well-off family, which means by the time she starts school she’s already behind, and that deficit can compound itself over time.
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And finally, rising inequality and declining mobility are bad for our democracy.  Ordinary folks can’t write massive campaign checks or hire high-priced lobbyists and lawyers to secure policies that tilt the playing field in their favor at everyone else’s expense.  And so people get the bad taste that the system is rigged, and that increases cynicism and polarization, and it decreases the political participation that is a requisite part of our system of self-government.
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So this is an issue that we have to tackle head on.  And if, in fact, the majority of Americans agree that our number-one priority is to restore opportunity and broad-based growth for all Americans, the question is why has Washington consistently failed to act?  And I think a big reason is the myths that have developed around the issue of inequality.
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First, there is the myth that this is a problem restricted to a small share of predominantly minority poor — that this isn’t a broad-based problem, this is a black problem or a Hispanic problem or a Native American problem.  Now, it’s true that the painful legacy of discrimination means that African Americans, Latinos, Native Americans are far more likely to suffer from a lack of opportunity — higher unemployment, higher poverty rates.  It’s also true that women still make 77 cents on the dollar compared to men.  So we’re going to need strong application of antidiscrimination laws.  We’re going to need immigration reform that grows the economy and takes people out of the shadows.  We’re going to need targeted initiatives to close those gaps.  (Applause.)
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But here’s an important point.  The decades-long shifts in the economy have hurt all groups:  poor and middle class; inner city and rural folks; men and women; and Americans of all races.  And as a consequence, some of the social patterns that contribute to declining mobility that were once attributed to the urban poor — that’s a particular problem for the inner city: single-parent households or drug abuse — it turns out now we’re seeing that pop up everywhere.
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A new study shows that disparities in education, mental health, obesity, absent fathers, isolation from church, isolation from community groups — these gaps are now as much about growing up rich or poor as they are about anything else.  The gap in test scores between poor kids and wealthy kids is now nearly twice what it is between white kids and black kids.  Kids with working-class parents are 10 times likelier than kids with middle- or upper-class parents to go through a time when their parents have no income.  So the fact is this:  The opportunity gap in America is now as much about class as it is about race, and that gap is growing.
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So if we’re going to take on growing inequality and try to improve upward mobility for all people, we’ve got to move beyond the false notion that this is an issue exclusively of minority concern.  And we have to reject a politics that suggests any effort to address it in a meaningful way somehow pits the interests of a deserving middle class against those of an undeserving poor in search of handouts.  (Applause.)402528_176619879142958_864642698_n
Second, we need to dispel the myth that the goals of growing the economy and reducing inequality are necessarily in conflict, when they should actually work in concert.  We know from our history that our economy grows best from the middle out, when growth is more widely shared.  And we know that beyond a certain level of inequality, growth actually slows altogether.
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Third, we need to set aside the belief that government cannot do anything about reducing inequality.  It’s true that government cannot prevent all the downsides of the technological change and global competition that are out there right now, and some of those forces are also some of the things that are helping us grow.  And it’s also true that some programs in the past, like welfare before it was reformed, were sometimes poorly designed, created disincentives to work.
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But we’ve also seen how government action time and again can make an enormous difference in increasing opportunity and bolstering ladders into the middle class.  Investments in education, laws establishing collective bargaining, and a minimum wage — these all contributed to rising standards of living for massive numbers of Americans.  (Applause.)  Likewise, when previous generations declared that every citizen of this country deserved a basic measure of security — a floor through which they could not fall — we helped millions of Americans live in dignity, and gave millions more the confidence to aspire to something better, by taking a risk on a great idea.
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Without Social Security, nearly half of seniors would be living in poverty — half.  Today, fewer than 1 in 10 do.  Before Medicare, only half of all seniors had some form of health insurance.  Today, virtually all do.  And because we’ve strengthened that safety net, and expanded pro-work and pro-family tax credits like the Earned Income Tax Credit, a recent study found that the poverty rate has fallen by 40 percent since the 1960s.  And these endeavors didn’t just make us a better country; they reaffirmed that we are a great country.  402528_176619879142958_864642698_n
So we can make a difference on this.  In fact, that’s our generation’s task — to rebuild America’s economic and civic foundation to continue the expansion of opportunity for this generation and the next generation.  (Applause.)  And like Neera, I take this personally.  I’m only here because this country educated my grandfather on the GI Bill.  When my father left and my mom hit hard times trying to raise my sister and me while she was going to school, this country helped make sure we didn’t go hungry.  When Michelle, the daughter of a shift worker at a water plant and a secretary, wanted to go to college, just like me, this country helped us afford it until we could pay it back.
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So what drives me as a grandson, a son, a father — as an American — is to make sure that every striving, hardworking, optimistic kid in America has the same incredible chance that this country gave me.  (Applause.)  It has been the driving force between everything we’ve done these past five years.  And over the course of the next year, and for the rest of my presidency, that’s where you should expect my administration to focus all our efforts.  (Applause.)
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Now, you’ll be pleased to know this is not a State of the Union Address.  (Laughter.)  And many of the ideas that can make the biggest difference in expanding opportunity I’ve presented before.  But let me offer a few key principles, just a roadmap that I believe should guide us in both our legislative agenda and our administrative efforts.
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To begin with, we have to continue to relentlessly push a growth agenda.  It may be true that in today’s economy, growth alone does not guarantee higher wages and incomes.  We’ve seen that.  But what’s also true is we can’t tackle inequality if the economic pie is shrinking or stagnant.  The fact is if you’re a progressive and you want to help the middle class and the working poor, you’ve still got to be concerned about competitiveness and productivity and business confidence that spurs private sector investment.
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And that’s why from day one we’ve worked to get the economy growing and help our businesses hire.  And thanks to their resilience and innovation, they’ve created nearly 8 million new jobs over the past 44 months.  And now we’ve got to grow the economy even faster.  And we’ve got to keep working to make America a magnet for good, middle-class jobs to replace the ones that we’ve lost in recent decades — jobs in manufacturing and energy and infrastructure and technology.
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And that means simplifying our corporate tax code in a way that closes wasteful loopholes and ends incentives to ship jobs overseas.  (Applause.)  And by broadening the base, we can actually lower rates to encourage more companies to hire here and use some of the money we save to create good jobs rebuilding our roads and our bridges and our airports, and all the infrastructure our businesses need.
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It means a trade agenda that grows exports and works for the middle class.  It means streamlining regulations that are outdated or unnecessary or too costly.  And it means coming together around a responsible budget — one that grows our economy faster right now and shrinks our long-term deficits, one that unwinds the harmful sequester cuts that haven’t made a lot of sense — (applause) — and then frees up resources to invest in things like the scientific research that’s always unleashed new innovation and new industries.
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When it comes to our budget, we should not be stuck in a stale debate from two years ago or three years ago.  A relentlessly growing deficit of opportunity is a bigger threat to our future than our rapidly shrinking fiscal deficit.  (Applause.)
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So that’s step one towards restoring mobility:  making sure our economy is growing faster.  Step two is making sure we empower more Americans with the skills and education they need to compete in a highly competitive global economy.
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We know that education is the most important predictor of income today, so we launched a Race to the Top in our schools.  We’re supporting states that have raised standards for teaching and learning.  We’re pushing for redesigned high schools that graduate more kids with the technical training and apprenticeships, and in-demand, high-tech skills that can lead directly to a good job and a middle-class life.
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We know it’s harder to find a job today without some higher education, so we’ve helped more students go to college with grants and loans that go farther than before.  We’ve made it more practical to repay those loans.  And today, more students are graduating from college than ever before.  We’re also pursuing an aggressive strategy to promote innovation that reins in tuition costs.  We’ve got lower costs so that young people are not burdened by enormous debt when they make the right decision to get higher education.  And next week, Michelle and I will bring together college presidents and non-profits to lead a campaign to help more low-income students attend and succeed in college.  (Applause.)
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But while higher education may be the surest path to the middle class, it’s not the only one.  So we should offer our people the best technical education in the world.  That’s why we’ve worked to connect local businesses with community colleges, so that workers young and old can earn the new skills that earn them more money.
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And I’ve also embraced an idea that I know all of you at the Center for American Progress have championed — and, by the way, Republican governors in a couple of states have championed — and that’s making high-quality preschool available to every child in America.  (Applause.)  We know that kids in these programs grow up likelier to get more education, earn higher wages, form more stable families of their own.  It starts a virtuous cycle, not a vicious one.  And we should invest in that.  We should give all of our children that chance.
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And as we empower our young people for future success, the third part of this middle-class economics is empowering our workers.  It’s time to ensure our collective bargaining laws function as they’re supposed to — (applause) — so unions have a level playing field to organize for a better deal for workers and better wages for the middle class.  It’s time to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act so that women will have more tools to fight pay discrimination.  (Applause.)  It’s time to pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act so workers can’t be fired for who they are or who they love.  (Applause.)
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And even though we’re bringing manufacturing jobs back to America, we’re creating more good-paying jobs in education and health care and business services; we know that we’re going to have a greater and greater portion of our people in the service sector.  And we know that there are airport workers, and fast-food workers, and nurse assistants, and retail salespeople who work their tails off and are still living at or barely above poverty.  (Applause.)  And that’s why it’s well past the time to raise a minimum wage that in real terms right now is below where it was when Harry Truman was in office.  (Applause.)
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This shouldn’t be an ideological question.  It was Adam Smith, the father of free-market economics, who once said, “They who feed, clothe, and lodge the whole body of the people should have such a share of the produce of their own labor as to be themselves tolerably well fed, clothed, and lodged.”  And for those of you who don’t speak old-English — (laughter) — let me translate.  It means if you work hard, you should make a decent living.  (Applause.)  If you work hard, you should be able to support a family.
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Now, we all know the arguments that have been used against a higher minimum wage.  Some say it actually hurts low-wage workers — businesses will be less likely to hire them.  But there’s no solid evidence that a higher minimum wage costs jobs, and research shows it raises incomes for low-wage workers and boosts short-term economic growth.  (Applause.)
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Others argue that if we raise the minimum wage, companies will just pass those costs on to consumers.  But a growing chorus of businesses, small and large, argue differently.  And  already, there are extraordinary companies in America that provide decent wages, salaries, and benefits, and training for their workers, and deliver a great product to consumers.
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SAS in North Carolina offers childcare and sick leave.  REI, a company my Secretary of the Interior used to run, offers retirement plans and strives to cultivate a good work balance.  There are companies out there that do right by their workers.  They recognize that paying a decent wage actually helps their bottom line, reduces turnover.  It means workers have more money to spend, to save, maybe eventually start a business of their own.
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A broad majority of Americans agree we should raise the minimum wage.  That’s why, last month, voters in New Jersey decided to become the 20th state to raise theirs even higher.  That’s why, yesterday, the D.C. Council voted to do it, too.  I agree with those voters.  (Applause.)  I agree with those voters, and I’m going to keep pushing until we get a higher minimum wage for hard-working Americans across the entire country.  It will be good for our economy.  It will be good for our families.  (Applause.)
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Number four, as I alluded to earlier, we still need targeted programs for the communities and workers that have been hit hardest by economic change and the Great Recession.  These communities are no longer limited to the inner city.  They’re found in neighborhoods hammered by the housing crisis, manufacturing towns hit hard by years of plants packing up, landlocked rural areas where young folks oftentimes feel like they’ve got to leave just to find a job.  There are communities that just aren’t generating enough jobs anymore.
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So we’ve put forward new plans to help these communities and their residents, because we’ve watched cities like Pittsburgh or my hometown of Chicago revamp themselves.  And if we give more cities the tools to do it — not handouts, but a hand up — cities like Detroit can do it, too.  So in a few weeks, we’ll announce the first of these Promise Zones, urban and rural communities where we’re going to support local efforts focused on a national goal — and that is a child’s course in life should not be determined by the zip code he’s born in, but by the strength of his work ethic and the scope of his dreams.  (Applause.)
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And we’re also going to have to do more for the long-term unemployed.  For people who have been out of work for more than six months, often through no fault of their own, life is a catch-22.  Companies won’t give their résumé an honest look because they’ve been laid off so long — but they’ve been laid off so long because companies won’t give their résumé an honest look.  (Laughter.)  And that’s why earlier this year, I challenged CEOs from some of America’s best companies to give these Americans a fair shot.  And next month, many of them will join us at the White House for an announcement about this.
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Fifth, we’ve got to revamp retirement to protect Americans in their golden years, to make sure another housing collapse doesn’t steal the savings in their homes.  We’ve also got to strengthen our safety net for a new age, so it doesn’t just protect people who hit a run of bad luck from falling into poverty, but also propels them back out of poverty.
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Today, nearly half of full-time workers and 80 percent of part-time workers don’t have a pension or retirement account at their job.  About half of all households don’t have any retirement savings.  So we’re going to have to do more to encourage private savings and shore up the promise of Social Security for future generations.  And remember, these are promises we make to one another.  We don’t do it to replace the free market, but we do it to reduce risk in our society by giving people the ability to take a chance and catch them if they fall.  One study shows that more than half of Americans will experience poverty at some point during their adult lives.  Think about that.  This is not an isolated situation.  More than half of Americans at some point in their lives will experience poverty.
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That’s why we have nutrition assistance or the program known as SNAP, because it makes a difference for a mother who’s working, but is just having a hard time putting food on the table for her kids.  That’s why we have unemployment insurance, because it makes a difference for a father who lost his job and is out there looking for a new one that he can keep a roof over his kids’ heads.  By the way, Christmastime is no time for Congress to tell more than 1 million of these Americans that they have lost their unemployment insurance, which is what will happen if Congress does not act before they leave on their holiday vacation.  (Applause.)
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The point is these programs are not typically hammocks for people to just lie back and relax.  These programs are almost always temporary means for hardworking people to stay afloat while they try to find a new job or go into school to retrain themselves for the jobs that are out there, or sometimes just to cope with a bout of bad luck.  Progressives should be open to reforms that actually strengthen these programs and make them more responsive to a 21st century economy.  For example, we should be willing to look at fresh ideas to revamp unemployment and disability programs to encourage faster and higher rates of re-employment without cutting benefits.  We shouldn’t weaken fundamental protections built over generations, because given the constant churn in today’s economy and the disabilities that many of our friends and neighbors live with, they’re needed more than ever.  We should strengthen them and adapt them to new circumstances so they work even better.
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But understand that these programs of social insurance benefit all of us, because we don’t know when we might have a run of bad luck.  (Applause.)  We don’t know when we might lose a job.  Of course, for decades, there was one yawning gap in the safety net that did more than anything else to expose working families to the insecurities of today’s economy — namely, our broken health care system.
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That’s why we fought for the Affordable Care Act — (applause) — because 14,000 Americans lost their health insurance every single day, and even more died each year because they didn’t have health insurance at all.  We did it because millions of families who thought they had coverage were driven into bankruptcy by out-of-pocket costs that they didn’t realize would be there.  Tens of millions of our fellow citizens couldn’t get any coverage at all.  And Dr. King once said, “Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health care is the most shocking and inhumane.”
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Well, not anymore.  (Applause.)  Because in the three years since we passed this law, the share of Americans with insurance is up, the growth of health care costs are down to their slowest rate in 50 years.  More people have insurance, and more have new benefits and protections — 100 million Americans who have gained the right for free preventive care like mammograms and contraception; the more than 7 million Americans who have saved an average of $1,200 on their prescription medicine; every American who won’t go broke when they get sick because their insurance can’t limit their care anymore.
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More people without insurance have gained insurance — more than 3 million young Americans who have been able to stay on their parents’ plan, the more than half a million Americans and counting who are poised to get covered starting on January 1st, some for the very first time.
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And it is these numbers — not the ones in any poll — that will ultimately determine the fate of this law.  (Applause.)  It’s the measurable outcomes in reduced bankruptcies and reduced hours that have been lost because somebody couldn’t make it to work, and healthier kids with better performance in schools, and young entrepreneurs who have the freedom to go out there and try a new idea — those are the things that will ultimately reduce a major source of inequality and help ensure more Americans get the start that they need to succeed in the future.
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I have acknowledged more than once that we didn’t roll out parts of this law as well as we should have.  But the law is already working in major ways that benefit millions of Americans right now, even as we’ve begun to slow the rise in health care costs, which is good for family budgets, good for federal and state budgets, and good for the budgets of businesses small and large.  So this law is going to work.  And for the sake of our economic security, it needs to work.  (Applause.)
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And as people in states as different as California and Kentucky sign up every single day for health insurance, signing up in droves, they’re proving they want that economic security.  If the Senate Republican leader still thinks he is going to be able to repeal this someday, he might want to check with the more than 60,000 people in his home state who are already set to finally have coverage that frees them from the fear of financial ruin, and lets them afford to take their kids to see a doctor.  (Applause.)
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So let me end by addressing the elephant in the room here, which is the seeming inability to get anything done in Washington these days.  I realize we are not going to resolve all of our political debates over the best ways to reduce inequality and increase upward mobility this year, or next year, or in the next five years.  But it is important that we have a serious debate about these issues.  For the longer that current trends are allowed to continue, the more it will feed the cynicism and fear that many Americans are feeling right now — that they’ll never be able to repay the debt they took on to go to college, they’ll never be able to save enough to retire, they’ll never see their own children land a good job that supports a family.
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And that’s why, even as I will keep on offering my own ideas for expanding opportunity, I’ll also keep challenging and welcoming those who oppose my ideas to offer their own.  If Republicans have concrete plans that will actually reduce inequality, build the middle class, provide more ladders of opportunity to the poor, let’s hear them.  I want to know what they are.  If you don’t think we should raise the minimum wage, let’s hear your idea to increase people’s earnings.  If you don’t think every child should have access to preschool, tell us what you’d do differently to give them a better shot.
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If you still don’t like Obamacare — and I know you don’t — (laughter) — even though it’s built on market-based ideas of choice and competition in the private sector, then you should explain how, exactly, you’d cut costs, and cover more people, and make insurance more secure.  You owe it to the American people to tell us what you are for, not just what you’re against.  (Applause.)  That way we can have a vigorous and meaningful debate.  That’s what the American people deserve.  That’s what the times demand.  It’s not enough anymore to just say we should just get our government out of the way and let the unfettered market take care of it — for our experience tells us that’s just not true.  (Applause.)
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Look, I’ve never believed that government can solve every problem or should — and neither do you.  We know that ultimately our strength is grounded in our people — individuals out there, striving, working, making things happen.  It depends on community, a rich and generous sense of community — that’s at the core of what happens at THEARC here every day.  You understand that turning back rising inequality and expanding opportunity requires parents taking responsibility for their kids, kids taking responsibility to work hard.  It requires religious leaders who mobilize their congregations to rebuild neighborhoods block by block, requires civic organizations that can help train the unemployed, link them with businesses for the jobs of the future.  It requires companies and CEOs to set an example by providing decent wages, and salaries, and benefits for their workers, and a shot for somebody who is down on his or her luck.  We know that’s our strength — our people, our communities, our businesses.
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But government can’t stand on the sidelines in our efforts.  Because government is us.  It can and should reflect our deepest values and commitments.  And if we refocus our energies on building an economy that grows for everybody, and gives every child in this country a fair chance at success, then I remain confident that the future still looks brighter than the past, and that the best days for this country we love are still ahead.  (Applause.)
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Thank you, everybody.  God bless you.  God bless America.  (Applause.)
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END
12:20 P.M. EST
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Gathering In Unity: The President And First Lady Visit Those Fasting For Immigration Reform


 

By Jueseppi B.

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Gathering in the Spirit of Unity: The President and First Lady Visit Those Fasting for Immigration Reform

 

Cecilia Muñoz
Cecilia Muñoz

November 29, 2013
02:31 PM EST

 

President Obama and the First Lady visited the brave individuals who are fasting in the shadow of the Capitol, sacrificing their health in an effort to get Congress to act swiftly on commonsense immigration reform.President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama visits with a group staging a public fast for immigration on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., Nov. 29, 2013. “Fast for Families” is seeking to pressure Congress into passing an immigration bill. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

 

Today, the President and the First Lady visited the brave individuals who are fasting in the shadow of the Capitol, sacrificing their health in an effort to get Congress to act swiftly on commonsense immigration reform. The President and the First Lady gave their support for their fight for family unity this Thanksgiving weekend, as families across the country come together to spend time with loved ones.

 

Since November 12, fasters from “Fast For Families” have abstained from all food except water in an effort to bring attention to the urgent need for the Republican leadership in the House of Representatives to take a vote on comprehensive immigration reform. Vice President Joe Biden, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, Secretary of Labor Tom Perez, Chief of Staff Denis McDonough, Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett and I have also visited Fast For families in recent weeks.

 

The fasters shared their stories and described empty stomachs but full hearts as they received an outpouring of support; to date, more than 3,000 people around the country have committed to fasting in solidarity.

 

The President and the First Lady thanked Eliseo Medina, Dae Joong Yoon, and all of the fasters for their sacrifice and dedication and told them that the country is behind them on immigration reform.  He said that the only thing standing in the way is politics.  And it is the brave commitment to change from advocates like them that will pressure the House to finally act on immigration reform.

 

This Thanksgiving, as friends, family, and community gather in the spirit of unity, we lend our support to those fighting for making commonsense immigration reform a reality. We will stand with them every step of the way to make sure that we bring coherence to our immigration laws, and pass a common sense reform that is consistent with our tradition as a nation of laws and a nation of immigrants.

 

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Fast For Families: A Call For Immigration Reform & Citizenship.

 

Fast for Families: A Call for Immigration Reform & Citizenship

 

On November 12, faith, immigrant rights and labor leaders announced the launch of “Fast for Families: A Call for Immigration Reform and Citizenship,” taking place on theNational Mall, steps away from the Capitol. Leaders and immigrant members of the community will fast every day and night, abstaining from all food—except water—to move the hearts and compassion of members of Congress to pass immigration reform with a path to citizenship.

 

The fast in Washington, DC will be in conjunction with dozens of local and solidarity fastsevents, and actions already underway in key congressional districts across the country. Fasters will be joined nationwide by groups and activists who are prepared to make sacrifices for the passage of immigration reform with a path to citizenship.

 

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TAKE ACTION

  1. Calling your Member of Congress to support commonsense immigration reform or to support H.R. 15
  2. Getting as many people as possible to fast in solidarity with the Washington, DC fasters by fasting in large groups in public places so we can bring attention to this important issue
  3. Highlighting the moral crisis caused by the broken immigration system
  4. Raising public awareness of the suffering and sacrifice immigrants face in our country

 

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About The Fast

 

What we hope to accomplish
This year, we have come the closest ever to achieving real immigration reform with a pathway to citizenship. In June, the U.S. Senate passed a comprehensive, bipartisan immigration bill (S.744). Now, the House of Representatives has chance to complete the dream for 11 million aspiring Americans by addressing the moral crisis that is our broken immigration system.

 

Unfortunately, the Republican leadership in the House continues to delay a vote on the one issue that holds strong bipartisan support and is backed by a breadth of communities and groups across the country.

 

Every day the House leadership stalls on a vote for immigration reform, families and communities suffer the impact of deportations, deaths on the border, exploitation at work and the fear of living in the shadows with no path to citizenship.

 

By fasting, we hope to follow the examples of Cesar ChavezMartin Luther King Jr. and Mahatma Gandhi to touch the compassion and sensibilities of our elected leaders to address the moral crisis of an immigration system that fails to comport with our national values, our creeds and belief in justice.

 

It’s time to once and for all pass true immigration reform.

 

Read the Fasters’ Declaration

 

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Events

 

November 27, 2013Richmond, VA
Thanksgiving Action to Stop Deportations 

 

12 Noon
Thanksgiving Action to Stop Deportations
West County Detention Facility
5555 Giant Highway, Richmond
Contact: Rev. Deborah Lee @ dlee@clueca.org

 

 

November 28, 2013Los Angeles, CA – 10:00am PST
Clergy and Laity United for Economic Justice/Los Angeles and Union de Guatemalteco Emigrantes

Immigrant Mothers, Children’s March and Prayer Vigil to LA Federal Downtown Building (Olympic Avenue and Broadway) | Sponsored by Clergy and Laity United for Economic Justice/Los Angeles and Union de Guatemalteco Emigrantes

 

 

December 1, 2013Nationwide
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Asking whole network to Fast

 


* Official ‘Fast for Families’ events

 

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Get Involved

 

Supporting Immigration Reform

 

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Cecilia Muñoz
Cecilia Muñoz 

November 21, 2013
07:00 PM EST

 

Over the many years that I have worked in the Latino community and the civil rights movement, I have seen the photo many times, perhaps more than any other photo. Often it is dog-eared from having been on a wall for many years, or pulled out of a wallet many times. It’s a photo ofCesar Chavez, weak from fasting over many weeks. Next to him is Robert Kennedy, who visited him and offered his support and solidarity during the fast. Chavez is leaning heavily on Kennedy, who has his hand on Chavez’ arm; one is smiling weakly, the other brightly.   The photo is dear to people who remember the years of Chavez organizing farmworkers, bringing his tremendous moral authority to their struggle.

 

The photo has been on my mind a great deal this week, as another fighter for justice, my friend Eliseo Medina, begins the second week of the Fast for Families, which is taking place in a tent near the U.S. Capitol. He, along with Rev. Sam Rodriguez, Dae Joong Yoon, Lisa Sharon Harper, Cristian Avila, and Marco Grimaldo are fasting to draw attention to the urgent need for immigration reform.

 

I had the honor of visiting with the fasters and hearing their stories on day 9 of their water-only fast, and I was deeply moved by their moral commitment. They described why immigration reform matters in their lives, as it does for Christian, a DREAMer who told me he is fasting for his own chance at citizenship, to honor his parents, and to call attention to the need for immigration reform to keep his family from the threat of separation. They shared with me their hopes for achieving an immigration reform that feels within reach, because the House of Representatives has the support it needs to pass legislation, and the coalition supporting it has unprecedented depth and strength. They described empty stomachs but full hearts as they receive an outpouring of support; to date, more than 3000 people around the country have committed to fasting in solidarity.

 

For my part, I was honored to share that President Obamais deeply committed to this fight; he knows that immigration reform is right for the country, for the economy, and for our communities all around the country. He will keep pushing until the job is done, and he and his team take great inspiration from the sacrifice of a handful of advocates who are following in the tradition of Cesar Chavez, Martin Luther King Jr. and Mahatma Ghandi to bring compassion and commitment to this debate.

 

Cecilia Muñoz is the Director of the Domestic Policy Council

 

Arizona Immigration

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Back To Being President: President Obama’s Bilateral Meeting With Prime Minister Letta of Italy


 

By Jueseppi B.

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President Obama’s Bilateral Meeting with Prime Minister Letta of Italy

October 17, 2013 | 11:45 |Public Domain

 

In a bilateral meeting in the Oval Office, President Obama and Prime Minister Enrico Letta of Italy highlight the strength of the U.S.-Italy relationship and discuss promoting economic growth and new jobs, their support for the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, cooperation within NATO, shared challenges in North Africa and the Middle East and other issues.

 

 

 

Remarks by President Obama and Prime Minister Letta of Italy after Bilateral Meeting

 

Oval Office

 

12:32 P.M. EDT

 

THE PRESIDENT:  Well, it’s wonderful to welcome Prime Minister Letta to the Oval Office.  We have had a chance to get to know each other over the last several international summits that we’ve attended, and I couldn’t be more impressed with the Prime Minister’s integrity, thoughtfulness, and leadership.

 

I want to congratulate him on having won a vote of confidence and passing a budget.  I think it’s clear that Italy is moving in the right direction in stabilizing its finances and embarking on reforms that will make it more competitive.  And we spent a lot of our time discussing the importance of European growth, that with high unemployment — particularly youth unemployment — and the challenges that have been created since 2008, as well as the challenges within the eurozone, I think it’s important for all of us to coordinate.  And the United States obviously is not part of Europe, but we have a great interest in Europe because if Europe is doing well, that means that we’re doing well also.

 

So we discussed how we could partner on a strong growth agenda.  Part of that growth agenda is the Transatlantic Partnership agreement[Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership], the trade agreement that we’re trying to shape between the European Union and the United States.  We’ve had several meetings already on that, and I know Prime Minister Letta is a strong proponent of expanding what is already a very important trade relationship between the United States and Europe.  So given the fact that he will be ascending to the presidency of the European Commission, it’s a great opportunity for his leadership to assert itself during those negotiations.

 

We also talked about our security cooperation, and Italy has been an outstanding partner.  A NATO ally on issues ranging from Libya to Syria, to counterterrorism efforts, consistently Italy has been a strong partner, and obviously it’s been an outstanding host to our men and women who serve in the region.  And so we very much thank the Italian people as well as the Prime Minister for their strong support there.

 

On Libya, we agreed that we want to continue to work with other international partners to strengthen the security capacity of the Libyan government.  There’s enormous potential and hope for the Libyan people, but what they need now is a government that is representative and inclusive, and can provide the basic security as well as the basic services that will help the Libyan people achieve that potential.  And I think that we both share an interest in finding ways in which we can help the Libyans move forward.

 

With respect to Syria, we have been pleased to see not only the U.N. resolution, but also now the concrete efforts to get chemical weapons out of Syria.  And Italy has been very supportive of that effort.  And we both believe that it’s important to build off that success — or at least that good start — to also talk about the humanitarian suffering that the Syrian people are experiencing.  Italy has been a contributor to the humanitarian efforts there, and we want to partner with them to find ways to not only relieve the suffering, but also to implement a political transition that can allow people to return to their homes and end the killing that’s been taking place there.

 

And we had a chance to talk about Afghanistan.  Italian troops have been extraordinary in their sacrifice and their efforts in helping to create an Afghanistan that is secure and safe for the Afghan people.  We very much appreciate it.  We talked about how well our militaries coordinate with each other and the genuine partnership that has been created.  And we both reaffirmed our commitment to make sure that when we end combat activities in Afghanistan at the end of 2014 that we are in a position to leave behind an Afghanistan that has a strong professional security service and a government that is meeting its obligations to all its people, including all ethnic groups and women and others who have started to see greater opportunities and greater freedoms over the past several years.

 

And again I want to say to the Italian people, and to Prime Minister Letta, in particular, we’re grateful for your friendship.  I think everybody understands the closeness between Italy and the United States is not just because of a friendship between leaders, but also because of the incredible history and the people-to-people relations between our two countries.  Italian Americans in this country have helped to make America what it is and in every aspect of life, and that bond is one that will never go away and hopefully will continue to be strengthened during the time that you and I have the chance to work together. I’m sure it will be.

 

The last point I want to make is that the Prime Minister is from Tuscany, from Pisa, and he has extended an invitation to me to come visit and eat some very good food.  (Laughter.)  I don’t know whether I’m going to be able to take as much time as I want while I’m still President, but Michelle and I, having been to Tuscany before I was President and seeing how spectacular and wonderful it is, I told the Prime Minister that he will not have to twist my arm to try to get me to come to Tuscany again sometime in the near future.

So thank you very much.

 

PRIME MINISTER LETTA:  Thank you very much.  Of course, the invitation to Tuscany is for now, for the future, for whenever you want — Florence, Pisa, Sienna.

 

First of all, I congratulated President Obama, for yesterday’s success is his success, but it is also our success, because yesterday’s decision was very important for the stability in the markets in the world, in Europe and in Italy, first of all.  We need stability because we have such a big debt, so we need to have low interest rates.

 

Yesterday, we had the lowest interest rates in Italy since two years ago.  That was for us a very important achievement, a demonstration of the fact that we are in the right path.  And we have to continue that, and to continue on this path we need to have an alliance — alliance of growth, first of all.

 

Next year, Italy will be President of the European Council. In the second semester, we will start the new European legislature.  The present European legislature is linked to the word austerity.  Austerity without growth — it’s a big problem for us.  This is why we passed, in Italy, a budget with the budget under control, with the debt decreasing, the deficits decreasing, public spending decreasing, and the level of taxes on families and entrepreneurs decreasing for the first time since many years.

 

So it’s very important to continue on having the budget under control, but we need to push growth.  This is why the European legislature that will start with the Italian presidency of the European Council will be a legislature based, first of all, on growth.  And of course, T-TIP is one of the most important achievements.  My dream will be to sign this agreement, both, together, before the end of next year — before the end of the Italian presidency next year.

 

It is important we have to fight against protectionism.  Both in the G8 and the G20 meetings, we have very important common positions in fighting against fiscal evasion, fiscal avoidance, fiscal havens, against protectionism, and T-TIP is so important.

 

For the Mediterranean concern, I tried to present to President Obama all our concerns about the situation, the migration problems, of course the mission, the humanitarian military mission that Italy raised in these very days — Mare Nostrum — because we don’t want to have Mediterranean as a Death Sea.  The Mediterranean has to be a sea of life.

 

And of course, we have a problem of failed states in Africa. We have to help them, and first of all Libya, of course.  We have to work together on Syria to apply the resolution as soon as possible.  And we want to have Geneva II as soon as possible, too.  And of course, there, our work will be all together.  And so I will thank President Obama’s words on Afghanistan, of course.  Our joint commitment is very important for the stabilization of the area.

 

So I am very glad for the words I listened, but I’m very glad for yesterday’s result.  It’s very important for our future. Our future will be a future of friendship, cooperation, and next legislature, next European legislature will be — has to be a legislature of growth.  And we, the Italians, we will work very hard in reaching this goal because growth and, first of all, jobs for youth is my mission, our mission, and we will work together on that.

 

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  Thank you again.

 

END
12:44 P.M. EDT

 

Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta arrives at White House for meeting with President Obama - @PeterAlexander

Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta arrives at White House for meeting with President Obama – @PeterAlexander

n a bilateral meeting in the Oval Office, President Obama and Prime Minister Enrico Letta of Italy highlight the strength of the U.S.-Italy relationship and discuss promoting economic growth and new jobs

n a bilateral meeting in the Oval Office, President Obama and Prime Minister Enrico Letta of Italy highlight the strength of the U.S.-Italy relationship and discuss promoting economic growth and new jobs

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Welcome Back…..Now Lets Get To Work. Full Video & Transcript Of Morning Statement By Barack.


 

By Jueseppi B.

Winter Storm

 

 

The Government Shutdown Is Over

Last night, President Obama signed legislation to reopen our government and pay our bills.

 

Biden, White House Welcome Federal Workers

 

Published on Oct 17, 2013

Vice President Joe Biden greeted workers returning to the Environmental Protection Agency with hugs, handshakes and muffins. Over at the White House, Chief of Staff Denis McDonough did the honors of welcoming employees back to work. (Oct. 17)

 

 

 

President Obama Speaks on Reopening the Government

 

Published on Oct 17, 2013

In a statement from the White House Press Briefing Room, President Obama says that because Democrats and responsible Republicans came together, the first government shutdown in 17 years is now over and the first default in more than 200 years will not happen. October 17, 2013.

 

 

 

Statement by the OMB Director

Statement from Sylvia Mathews Burwell, Director of the Office of Management and Budget

“Now that the bill has passed the United States Senate and the House of Representatives, the President plans to sign it tonight and employees should expect to return to work in the morning. Employees should be checking the news and OPM’s website for further updates.”

 

WH Chief of Staff Denis McDonough greets workers at EEOB on morning of gov't reopen via @AP

WH Chief of Staff Denis McDonough greets workers at EEOB on morning of gov’t reopen via @AP

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Joseph Robinette "Joe" Biden, Jr. welcomes back EPA employees.

Joseph Robinette “Joe” Biden, Jr. welcomes back EPA employees.

Joseph Robinette "Joe" Biden, Jr. is glad to welcome back federal employees.

Joseph Robinette “Joe” Biden, Jr. is glad to welcome back federal employees.

 

Remarks by the President on the Reopening of the Government

 

Remarks by the President on the Reopening of the Government

State Dining Room

 

11:00 A.M. EDT

 

THE PRESIDENT:  Good morning, everybody.  Please have a seat.

 

Well, last night, I signed legislation to reopen our government and pay America’s bills.  Because Democrats and responsible Republicans came together, the first government shutdown in 17 years is now over.  The first default in more than 200 years will not happen.  These twin threats to our economy have now been lifted.  And I want to thank those Democrats and Republicans for getting together and ultimately getting this job done.

 

Now, there’s been a lot of discussion lately of the politics of this shutdown.  But let’s be clear:  There are no winners here.  These last few weeks have inflicted completely unnecessary damage on our economy.  We don’t know yet the full scope of the damage, but every analyst out there believes it slowed our growth.

 

We know that families have gone without paychecks or services they depend on.  We know that potential homebuyers have gotten fewer mortgages, and small business loans have been put on hold.  We know that consumers have cut back on spending, and that half of all CEOs say that the shutdown and the threat of shutdown set back their plans to hire over the next six months.  We know that just the threat of default — of America not paying all the bills that we owe on time — increased our borrowing costs, which adds to our deficit.

 

And, of course, we know that the American people’s frustration with what goes on in this town has never been higher. That’s not a surprise that the American people are completely fed up with Washington.  At a moment when our economic recovery demands more jobs, more momentum, we’ve got yet another self-inflicted crisis that set our economy back.  And for what?

 

There was no economic rationale for all of this.  Over the past four years, our economy has been growing, our businesses have been creating jobs, and our deficits have been cut in half. We hear some members who pushed for the shutdown say they were doing it to save the American economy — but nothing has done more to undermine our economy these past three years than the kind of tactics that create these manufactured crises.

 

And you don’t have to take my word for it.  The agency that put America’s credit rating on watch the other day explicitly cited all of this, saying that our economy “remains more dynamic and resilient” than other advanced economies, and that the only thing putting us at risk is — and I’m quoting here — “repeated brinksmanship.”  That’s what the credit rating agency said.  That wasn’t a political statement; that was an analysis of what’s hurting our economy by people whose job it is to analyze these things.

 

That also happens to be the view of our diplomats who’ve been hearing from their counterparts internationally.  Some of the same folks who pushed for the shutdown and threatened default claim their actions were needed to get America back on the right track, to make sure we’re strong.  But probably nothing has done more damage to America’s credibility in the world, our standing with other countries, than the spectacle that we’ve seen these past several weeks.  It’s encouraged our enemies.  It’s emboldened our competitors.  And it’s depressed our friends who look to us for steady leadership.

 

Now, the good news is we’ll bounce back from this.  We always do.  America is the bedrock of the global economy for a reason.  We are the indispensable nation that the rest of the world looks to as the safest and most reliable place to invest — something that’s made it easier for generations of Americans to invest in their own futures.  We have earned that responsibility over more than two centuries because of the dynamism of our economy and our entrepreneurs, the productivity of our workers, but also because we keep our word and we meet our obligations.  That’s what full faith and credit means — you can count on us.

 
And today, I want our people and our businesses and the rest of the world to know that the full faith and credit of the United States remains unquestioned.

 

But to all my friends in Congress, understand that how business is done in this town has to change.  Because we’ve all got a lot of work to do on behalf of the American people — and that includes the hard work of regaining their trust.  Our system of self-government doesn’t function without it.  And now that the government is reopened, and this threat to our economy is removed, all of us need to stop focusing on the lobbyists and the bloggers and the talking heads on radio and the professional activists who profit from conflict, and focus on what the majority of Americans sent us here to do, and that’s grow this economy; create good jobs; strengthen the middle class; educate our kids; lay the foundation for broad-based prosperity and get our fiscal house in order for the long haul.  That’s why we’re here.  That should be our focus.

 

Now, that won’t be easy.  We all know that we have divided government right now.  There’s a lot of noise out there, and the pressure from the extremes affect how a lot of members of Congress see the day-to-day work that’s supposed to be done here. And let’s face it, the American people don’t see every issue the same way.  But that doesn’t mean we can’t make progress.  And when we disagree, we don’t have to suggest that the other side doesn’t love this country or believe in free enterprise, or all the other rhetoric that seems to get worse every single year.  If we disagree on something, we can move on and focus on the things we agree on, and get some stuff done.

 

Let me be specific about three places where I believe we can make progress right now.  First, in the coming days and weeks, we should sit down and pursue a balanced approach to a responsible budget, a budget that grows our economy faster and shrinks our long-term deficits further.

 

At the beginning of this year, that’s what both Democrats and Republicans committed to doing.  The Senate passed a budget; House passed a budget; they were supposed to come together and negotiate.  And had one side not decided to pursue a strategy of brinksmanship, each side could have gotten together and figured out, how do we shape a budget that provides certainty to businesses and people who rely on government, provides certainty to investors in our economy, and we’d be growing faster right now.

 

Now, the good news is the legislation I signed yesterday now requires Congress to do exactly that — what it could have been doing all along.

 

And we shouldn’t approach this process of creating a budget as an ideological exercise — just cutting for the sake of cutting.  The issue is not growth versus fiscal responsibility — we need both.  We need a budget that deals with the issues that most Americans are focused on:  creating more good jobs that pay better wages.

 

And remember, the deficit is getting smaller, not bigger.  It’s going down faster than it has in the last 50 years. The challenges we have right now are not short-term deficits; it’s the long-term obligations that we have around things like Medicare and Social Security.  We want to make sure those are there for future generations.

 

So the key now is a budget that cuts out the things that we don’t need, closes corporate tax loopholes that don’t help create jobs, and frees up resources for the things that do help us grow — like education and infrastructure and research.  And these things historically have not been partisan.  And this shouldn’t be as difficult as it’s been in past years because we already spend less than we did a few years ago.  Our deficits are half of what they were a few years ago.  The debt problems we have now are long term, and we can address them without shortchanging our kids, or shortchanging our grandkids, or weakening the security that current generations have earned from their hard work.

 

So that’s number one.  Number two, we should finish fixing the job of — let me say that again.  Number two, we should finish the job of fixing our broken immigration system.

 

There’s already a broad coalition across America that’s behind this effort of comprehensive immigration reform — from business leaders to faith leaders to law enforcement.  In fact, the Senate has already passed a bill with strong bipartisan support that would make the biggest commitment to border security in our history; would modernize our legal immigration system; make sure everyone plays by the same rules, makes sure that folks who came here illegally have to pay a fine, pay back taxes, meet their responsibilities.  That bill has already passed the Senate. And economists estimate that if that bill becomes law, our economy would be 5 percent larger two decades from now.  That’s $1.4 trillion in new economic growth.

 

The majority of Americans think this is the right thing to do.  And it’s sitting there waiting for the House to pass it.  Now, if the House has ideas on how to improve the Senate bill, let’s hear them.  Let’s start the negotiations.  But let’s not leave this problem to keep festering for another year, or two years, or three years.  This can and should get done by the end of this year.

 

Number three, we should pass a farm bill, one that American farmers and ranchers can depend on; one that protects vulnerable children and adults in times of need; one that gives rural communities opportunities to grow and the long-term certainty that they deserve.

 

Again, the Senate has already passed a solid bipartisan bill.  It’s got support from Democrats and Republicans.  It’s sitting in the House waiting for passage.  If House Republicans have ideas that they think would improve the farm bill, let’s see them.  Let’s negotiate.  What are we waiting for?  Let’s get this done.

 

So, passing a budget; immigration reform; farm bill.  Those are three specific things that would make a huge difference in our economy right now.  And we could get them done by the end of the year if our focus is on what’s good for the American people. And that’s just the big stuff.  There are all kinds of other things that we could be doing that don’t get as much attention.

 

I understand we will not suddenly agree on everything now that the cloud of crisis has passed.  Democrats and Republicans are far apart on a lot of issues.  And I recognize there are folks on the other side who think that my policies are misguided — that’s putting it mildly.  That’s okay.  That’s democracy.  That’s how it works.  We can debate those differences vigorously, passionately, in good faith, through the normal democratic process.

 

And sometimes, we’ll be just too far apart to forge an agreement.  But that should not hold back our efforts in areas where we do agree.  We shouldn’t fail to act on areas that we do agree or could agree just because we don’t think it’s good politics; just because the extremes in our party don’t like the word “compromise.”

 

I will look for willing partners wherever I can to get important work done.  And there’s no good reason why we can’t govern responsibly, despite our differences, without lurching from manufactured crisis to manufactured crisis.  In fact, one of the things that I hope all of us have learned these past few weeks is that it turns out smart, effective government is important.  It matters.  I think the American people during this shutdown had a chance to get some idea of all the things, large and small, that government does that make a difference in people’s lives.

 

We hear all the time about how government is the problem.  Well, it turns out we rely on it in a whole lot of ways.  Not only does it keep us strong through our military and our law enforcement, it plays a vital role in caring for our seniors and our veterans, educating our kids, making sure our workers are trained for the jobs that are being created, arming our businesses with the best science and technology so they can compete with companies from other countries.  It plays a key role in keeping our food and our toys and our workplaces safe.  It helps folks rebuild after a storm.  It conserves our natural resources.  It finances startups.  It helps to sell our products overseas.  It provides security to our diplomats abroad.

 

So let’s work together to make government work better, instead of treating it like an enemy or purposely making it work worse.  That’s not what the founders of this nation envisioned when they gave us the gift of self-government.  You don’t like a particular policy or a particular president, then argue for your position.  Go out there and win an election.  Push to change it. But don’t break it.  Don’t break what our predecessors spent over two centuries building.  That’s not being faithful to what this country is about.

 

And that brings me to one last point.  I’ve got a simple message for all the dedicated and patriotic federal workers who’ve either worked without pay or been forced off the job without pay these past few weeks, including most of my own staff: Thank you.  Thanks for your service.  Welcome back.  What you do is important.  It matters.

 

You defend our country overseas.  You deliver benefits to our troops who’ve earned them when they come home.  You guard our borders.  You protect our civil rights.  You help businesses grow and gain footholds in overseas markets.  You protect the air we breathe and the water our children drink.  And you push the boundaries of science and space, and you guide hundreds of thousands of people each day through the glories of this country. Thank you.  What you do is important.  And don’t let anybody else tell you different.  Especially the young people who come to this city to serve — believe that it matters.  Well, you know what, you’re right.  It does.

 

And those of us who have the privilege to serve this country have an obligation to do our job as best we can.  We come from different parties, but we are Americans first.  And that’s why disagreement cannot mean dysfunction.  It can’t degenerate into hatred.  The American people’s hopes and dreams are what matters, not ours.  Our obligations are to them.  Our regard for them compels us all, Democrats and Republicans, to cooperate, and compromise, and act in the best interests of our nation –- one nation, under God, indivisible with liberty and justice for all.

 

Thanks very much.

 

END
11:20 A.M. EDT

 

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Rep. John Boehner Sworn-In As Speaker Of The House

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Barack After Dark™: Ketchingup At 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue


 

By Jueseppi B.

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White House Tweets – October 15, 2013

 

 

 

 

 

Statements and Releases  October 15, 2013

 

Statement by the President on Eid al-Adha

Statement by the President on Eid al-Adha

Michelle and I extend our best wishes for a joyous Eid al-Adha to Muslims around the world and congratulate those performing the Hajj this year.  As our Muslim neighbors and friends gather for Eid celebrations, Muslim Americans are among the more than three million pilgrims joining one of the world’s largest and most diverse gatherings, which serves as a reminder of the shared roots of the world’s Abrahamic faiths.

To commemorate Eid al-Adha, Muslims around the world are joining other faith communities in offering their assistance to those suffering from hunger, disease, and conflict.  Their service is a powerful example of the positive role that faith can play in motivating communities to work together to address shared challenges.

On behalf of the American people, we extend our warmest greetings during this Hajj season.  Eid Mubarak and Hajj Mabrour.

 

Readout of the President’s Call with Leader Pelosi

 

Readout of the President’s Call with Leader Pelosi

This afternoon the President spoke with Leader Pelosi over the phone. The President and Leader Pelosi discussed the way forward on the pressing fiscal matters facing Congress today. They reinforced that there must be a clean debt limit increase that allows us to pay the bills we have incurred and avoid default, and that the House needs to pass the clean continuing resolution to open up the government and end the shutdown that is hurting middle class families and businesses across the country. The President and the Leader also discussed their willingness, once the debt limit is raised and the government reopened, to negotiate on a longer term budget solution that will grow our economy and create jobs. The President also thanked Leader Pelosi for her efforts to move forward with a clean CR and a one-year clean debt limit increase that would prevent a first-ever default of our nation’s credit.

 

 

POTUS Briefed on Shutdown Impacts

 

POTUS Briefed on Shutdown Impacts

From a WH official:

Today, the President was briefed by Denis McDonough on the impacts of the lapse in appropriations on important research programs.

 

The federal government’s research agencies have been largely shuttered, with scientists sent home and projects shelved.  There are five Nobel Prize-winning researchers currently working for the federal government, all of whom are world-renowned scientists and leaders in their field.  Four of them are currently furloughed and unable to conduct their federal research on behalf of the American public due to the government shutdown.

 

Additional details below:

•          Center for Disease Control: Two-thirds of CDC personnel have been sent home. CDC’s activities in influenza surveillance and monitoring have been cut back, just as we are moving into peak flu season.  While many flu vaccines are produced by private companies, CDC’s annual flu vaccination campaigns have been cut back and the weekly “Flu View” report that is relied upon by public-health authorities has been suspended.  CDC will continue to address any imminent threats to public health.

•          National Science Foundation: 98 percent of the National Science Foundation has been furloughed, and new scientific research grants are not being issued.

•          National Institute for Health: Currently, nearly three-quarters of NIH staff have been furloughed.  Although the NIH Clinical Center remains open for patients already enrolled in studies, most new patients have been turned away during the shutdown.  NIH will continue to monitor its admissions policy and adjust as necessary based on life and safety considerations, depending on the duration of the shutdown.

 

 

Press Briefing

October 15, 2013 | 57:53 |Public Domain

 

White House Press Briefings are conducted most weekdays from the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room in the West Wing.

 

 

 

  • Nathaniel Lubin
    Nathaniel Lubin

    October 15, 2013
    03:55 PM EDT

     

    Remarks by President Obama at Martha’s Table

    October 14, 2013 | 5:40 |Public Domain

     

    President Obama visited Martha’s Table, which helps 1,100 people a day deal with the immediate effects of poverty and finds long-term solutions with education, nutrition and family support services. President Obama also addressed the government shutdown saying, “this afternoon I am going to once again urge them to open the government and urge them to make sure that the United States government is paying its bills.”

     

     

     

    On Monday, the President traveled to Martha’s Table, a local food pantry, to thank the many furloughed federal employees who have spent time during the government shutdown volunteering for charities and non-profits. In a brief statement, he lauded their commitment to public service, noting: “They’re here contributing and giving back to the community, and I think that shows the kind of spirit that we have among all kinds of federal workers all across the country — people who dedicate their lives to public service.”

     

    While there, the President joined volunteers and helped prepare food for the pantry. He spent some time with a few elementary school students working alongside furloughed federal employees, making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for Americans who are in need of a helping hand.(Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

    While there, the President joined volunteers and helped prepare food for the pantry. He spent some time with a few elementary school students working alongside furloughed federal employees, making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for Americans who are in need of a helping hand.(Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

     

    While there, the President joined volunteers and helped prepare food for the pantry. He spent some time with a few elementary school students working alongside furloughed federal employees, making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for Americans who are in need of a helping hand.

     

    With the shutdown dragging into its third week, it’s time to let these furloughed employees return to work. In the President’s words:

    This week if we don’t start making some real progress, both the House and the Senate and if Republicans aren’t willing to set aside their partisan concerns in order to do what’s right for the country, we stand a good chance of defaulting and defaulting could have a potentially have a devastating effect on our economy.

     

    Martha’s Table has been serving the DC community for over 30 years. The organization helps more than 1,100 people per day obtain healthy food and needed clothing, daycare and after-school programs, and other family support services. To learn more about them, you can visit their website at marthastable.org.

 

 

October 2013: Photo of the Day

 

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House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) speaks to the media following a meeting with President Barack Obama on the debt limit and reopening the government

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) speaks to the media following a meeting with President Barack Obama on the debt limit and reopening the government

 

President Barack Obama meets with House Democratic leaders in the Oval Office at the White House

President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden meet with the House Democratic Leadership including, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Rep. Jame Clyburn, Rep. Xavier Becerra, Rep. Steve Crowley, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, Rep. Chris Chris Van Hollen and Rep. Steve Israel, during a meeting on the debt limit in the Oval Office

President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden meet with the House Democratic Leadership including, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Rep. Jame Clyburn, Rep. Xavier Becerra, Rep. Steve Crowley, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, Rep. Chris Chris Van Hollen and Rep. Steve Israel, during a meeting on the debt limit in the Oval Office

President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden meet with the House Democratic Leadership

President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden meet with the House Democratic Leadership

President Barack Obama listens as House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi speaks

President Barack Obama listens as House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi speaks

President Barack Obama meets with House Democratic leaders in the Oval Office at the White House

President Barack Obama meets with House Democratic leaders in the Oval Office at the White House

 

 

Speaker Boehner was busy

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US President Barack Obama making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches at Martha’s Table in Washington, DC, October 14, 2013.

President Barack Obama speaks to reporters as he visits Martha's Table, which prepares meals for the poor and where furloughed federal employees are volunteering, in Washington, Monday, Oct. 14, 2013. President Obama spoke about the government shutdown and the looming debt ceiling during remarks to reporters during his visit. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

President Barack Obama speaks to reporters as he visits Martha’s Table, which prepares meals for the poor and where furloughed federal employees are volunteering, in Washington, Monday, Oct. 14, 2013. President Obama spoke about the government shutdown and the looming debt ceiling during remarks to reporters during his visit. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

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US President Barack Obama poses for photos with children and adult volunteers that are making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches at Martha's Table in Washington, DC, October 14, 2013, as the crisis over a US government shutdown and debt ceiling standoff continues into the third week of the shutdown. The non-profit organization helps low income and homeless families and many of the current volunteers are furloughed federal workers. AFP PHOTO / Saul LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)

US President Barack Obama poses for photos with children and adult volunteers that are making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches at Martha’s Table in Washington, DC, October 14, 2013, as the crisis over a US government shutdown and debt ceiling standoff continues into the third week of the shutdown. The non-profit organization helps low income and homeless families and many of the current volunteers are furloughed federal workers. AFP PHOTO / Saul LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)

US President Barack Obama talks with children and adult volunteers that are making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches at Martha's Table in Washington, DC, October 14, 2013, as the crisis over a US government shutdown and debt ceiling standoff continues into the third week of the shutdown. The non-profit organization helps low income and homeless families and many of the current volunteers are furloughed federal workers. AFP PHOTO / Saul LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)

US President Barack Obama talks with children and adult volunteers that are making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches at Martha’s Table in Washington, DC, October 14, 2013, as the crisis over a US government shutdown and debt ceiling standoff continues into the third week of the shutdown. The non-profit organization helps low income and homeless families and many of the current volunteers are furloughed federal workers. AFP PHOTO / Saul LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)

US President Barack Obama shakes hands with volunteer Dolly Garcia (R), a federal employee from the US Census Bureau, prior to making bologna sandwiches at Martha's Table in Washington, DC, October 14, 2013, as the crisis over a US government shutdown and debt ceiling standoff continues into the third week of the shutdown. The non-profit organization helps low income and homeless families and many of the current volunteers are furloughed federal workers. AFP PHOTO / Saul LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)

US President Barack Obama shakes hands with volunteer Dolly Garcia (R), a federal employee from the US Census Bureau, prior to making bologna sandwiches at Martha’s Table in Washington, DC, October 14, 2013, as the crisis over a US government shutdown and debt ceiling standoff continues into the third week of the shutdown. The non-profit organization helps low income and homeless families and many of the current volunteers are furloughed federal workers. AFP PHOTO / Saul LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)

US President Barack Obama makes bologna sandwiches alongside Dolly Garcia (R), a federal employee from the US Census Bureau, and Chantelle Britton (L), a federal employee from the Department of Health and Human Services, at Martha's Table in Washington, DC, October 14, 2013, as the crisis over a US government shutdown and debt ceiling standoff continues into the third week of the shutdown. The non-profit organization helps low income and homeless families and many of the current volunteers are furloughed federal workers. AFP PHOTO / Saul LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)

US President Barack Obama makes bologna sandwiches alongside Dolly Garcia (R), a federal employee from the US Census Bureau, and Chantelle Britton (L), a federal employee from the Department of Health and Human Services, at Martha’s Table in Washington, DC, October 14, 2013, as the crisis over a US government shutdown and debt ceiling standoff continues into the third week of the shutdown. The non-profit organization helps low income and homeless families and many of the current volunteers are furloughed federal workers. AFP PHOTO / Saul LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)

US President Barack Obama makes bologna sandwiches at Martha's Table in Washington, DC, October 14, 2013, as the crisis over a US government shutdown and debt ceiling standoff continues into the third week of the shutdown. The non-profit organization helps low income and homeless families and many of the current volunteers are furloughed federal workers. AFP PHOTO / Saul LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)

US President Barack Obama makes bologna sandwiches at Martha’s Table in Washington, DC, October 14, 2013, as the crisis over a US government shutdown and debt ceiling standoff continues into the third week of the shutdown. The non-profit organization helps low income and homeless families and many of the current volunteers are furloughed federal workers. AFP PHOTO / Saul LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)

US President Barack Obama makes bologna sandwiches alongside volunteers Dolly Garcia (R), a federal employee from the US Census Bureau, and Chantelle Britton (L), a federal employee from the Department of Health and Human Services, at Martha's Table in Washington, DC, October 14, 2013, as the crisis over a US government shutdown and debt ceiling standoff continues into the third week of the shutdown. The non-profit organization helps low income and homeless families and many of the current volunteers are furloughed federal workers. AFP PHOTO / Saul LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)

US President Barack Obama makes bologna sandwiches alongside volunteers Dolly Garcia (R), a federal employee from the US Census Bureau, and Chantelle Britton (L), a federal employee from the Department of Health and Human Services, at Martha’s Table in Washington, DC, October 14, 2013, as the crisis over a US government shutdown and debt ceiling standoff continues into the third week of the shutdown. The non-profit organization helps low income and homeless families and many of the current volunteers are furloughed federal workers. AFP PHOTO / Saul LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)

US President Barack Obama makes bologna sandwiches alongside volunteers Dolly Garcia (R), a federal employee from the US Census Bureau, and Chantelle Britton (L), a federal employee from the Department of Health and Human Services, at Martha's Table in Washington, DC, October 14, 2013, as the crisis over a US government shutdown and debt ceiling standoff continues into the third week of the shutdown. The non-profit organization helps low income and homeless families and many of the current volunteers are furloughed federal workers. AFP PHOTO / Saul LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)

US President Barack Obama makes bologna sandwiches alongside volunteers Dolly Garcia (R), a federal employee from the US Census Bureau, and Chantelle Britton (L), a federal employee from the Department of Health and Human Services, at Martha’s Table in Washington, DC, October 14, 2013, as the crisis over a US government shutdown and debt ceiling standoff continues into the third week of the shutdown. The non-profit organization helps low income and homeless families and many of the current volunteers are furloughed federal workers. AFP PHOTO / Saul LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)

US President Barack Obama puts on protective gloves prior to making bologna sandwiches at Martha's Table in Washington, DC, October 14, 2013, as the crisis over a US government shutdown and debt ceiling standoff continues into the third week of the shutdown. The non-profit organization helps low income and homeless families and many of the current volunteers are furloughed federal workers. AFP PHOTO / Saul LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)

US President Barack Obama puts on protective gloves prior to making bologna sandwiches at Martha’s Table in Washington, DC, October 14, 2013, as the crisis over a US government shutdown and debt ceiling standoff continues into the third week of the shutdown. The non-profit organization helps low income and homeless families and many of the current volunteers are furloughed federal workers. AFP PHOTO / Saul LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)

US President Barack Obama tries to hear over the noise prior to speaking to the press as he makes bologna sandwiches alongside volunteers Dolly Garcia (R), a federal employee from the US Census Bureau, and Chantelle Britton (L), a federal employee from the Department of Health and Human Services, at Martha's Table in Washington, DC, October 14, 2013, as the crisis over a US government shutdown and debt ceiling standoff continues into the third week of the shutdown. The non-profit organization helps low income and homeless families and many of the current volunteers are furloughed federal workers. AFP PHOTO / Saul LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)

US President Barack Obama tries to hear over the noise prior to speaking to the press as he makes bologna sandwiches alongside volunteers Dolly Garcia (R), a federal employee from the US Census Bureau, and Chantelle Britton (L), a federal employee from the Department of Health and Human Services, at Martha’s Table in Washington, DC, October 14, 2013, as the crisis over a US government shutdown and debt ceiling standoff continues into the third week of the shutdown. The non-profit organization helps low income and homeless families and many of the current volunteers are furloughed federal workers. AFP PHOTO / Saul LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)

President Barack Obama stands with volunteers preparing lunches as he speaks to reporters during a visit to Martha's Table, which prepares meals for the poor and where furloughed federal employees are volunteering, in Washington, Monday, Oct. 14, 2013. Speaking there Obama said that if Republicans can't resolve the standoff over the debt ceiling and the partial government shutdown, quote, "we stand a good chance of defaulting." (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

President Barack Obama stands with volunteers preparing lunches as he speaks to reporters during a visit to Martha’s Table, which prepares meals for the poor and where furloughed federal employees are volunteering, in Washington, Monday, Oct. 14, 2013. Speaking there Obama said that if Republicans can’t resolve the standoff over the debt ceiling and the partial government shutdown, quote, “we stand a good chance of defaulting.” (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

US President Barack Obama speaks to the press as he makes bologna sandwiches alongside Dolly Garcia (R), a federal employee from the US Census Bureau, and Chantelle Britton (L), a federal employee from the Department of Health and Human Services, at Martha's Table in Washington, DC, October 14, 2013, as the crisis over a US government shutdown and debt ceiling standoff continues into the third week of the shutdown. The non-profit organization helps low income and homeless families and many of the current volunteers are furloughed federal workers. AFP PHOTO / Saul LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)

US President Barack Obama speaks to the press as he makes bologna sandwiches alongside Dolly Garcia (R), a federal employee from the US Census Bureau, and Chantelle Britton (L), a federal employee from the Department of Health and Human Services, at Martha’s Table in Washington, DC, October 14, 2013, as the crisis over a US government shutdown and debt ceiling standoff continues into the third week of the shutdown. The non-profit organization helps low income and homeless families and many of the current volunteers are furloughed federal workers. AFP PHOTO / Saul LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)

US President Barack Obama talks with children and adult volunteers that are making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches at Martha's Table in Washington, DC, October 14, 2013, as the crisis over a US government shutdown and debt ceiling standoff continues into the third week of the shutdown. The non-profit organization helps low income and homeless families and many of the current volunteers are furloughed federal workers. AFP PHOTO / Saul LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)

US President Barack Obama talks with children and adult volunteers that are making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches at Martha’s Table in Washington, DC, October 14, 2013, as the crisis over a US government shutdown and debt ceiling standoff continues into the third week of the shutdown. The non-profit organization helps low income and homeless families and many of the current volunteers are furloughed federal workers. AFP PHOTO / Saul LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)

US President Barack Obama talks with children and adult volunteers that are making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches at Martha's Table in Washington, DC, October 14, 2013, as the crisis over a US government shutdown and debt ceiling standoff continues into the third week of the shutdown. The non-profit organization helps low income and homeless families and many of the current volunteers are furloughed federal workers. AFP PHOTO / Saul LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)

US President Barack Obama talks with children and adult volunteers that are making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches at Martha’s Table in Washington, DC, October 14, 2013, as the crisis over a US government shutdown and debt ceiling standoff continues into the third week of the shutdown. The non-profit organization helps low income and homeless families and many of the current volunteers are furloughed federal workers. AFP PHOTO / Saul LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)

 

President Obama’s interview with WABC-TV, New York City.

 

Winter Storm

 

From  USA TODAY:

 

Obama’s TV talks: L.A., NYC, and Des Moines

 

David Jackson, USA TODAY

 

President Obama as seen through the lens of a television camera. (Photo: Saul Loeb, AFP/Getty Images)

President Obama as seen through the lens of a television camera.
(Photo: Saul Loeb, AFP/Getty Images)

 

President Obama’s shutdown and debt ceiling television interviews Tuesday hit the nation’s top two media markets, as well as part of the American heartland.

 

Obama sits down with KMEX-TV, a Spanish-language Univision affiliate based in Los Angeles; WABC-TV of New York City; and KCCI-TV of Des Moines, Iowa.

 

The interviews are scheduled for release at 5 p.m.

 

Obama plans to discuss the government shutdown, now in its 15th day, as well as the prospect of a debt default this week.

 

The White House says Obama is speaking to local stations “about how the government shutdown has affected their communities and how an economic shutdown would be even worse.”

 

Thank you  USA TODAY.

 

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