President Barack Hussein Obama Addresses The 2014 Mid Term Elections.
Published on Nov 5, 2014
Following Republicans’ big wins in the Senate and House on election night, President Barack Obama and incoming Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said they would try to avoid the gridlock that has gripped the government lately.
“To everyone that voted — I hear you,” Obama said in news conference Wednesday. “To the two-thirds who didn’t participate, I hear you too.”
Yesterday, millions of Americans cast their ballots. Republicans had a good night, and I congratulate all the candidates who won.
But what stands out to me is that the message Americans sent yesterday is one you’ve sent for several elections in a row now. You expect the people you elect to work as hard as you do. You expect us to focus on your ambitions — not ours — and you want us to get the job done. Period.
I plan on spending every moment of the next two years rolling up my sleeves and working as hard as I can for the American people. This country has made real and undeniable progress in the six years since the 2008 economic crisis. But our work will not be done until every single American feels the gains of a growing economy where it matters most: in your own lives.
While I’m sure we’ll continue to disagree on some issues that we’re passionate about, I’m eager to work with Congress over the next two years to get the job done. The challenges that lay ahead of us are far too important to allow partisanship or ideology to prevent our progress as a nation.
As we make progress, I’ll need your help, too. Over the weeks and months ahead, I’ll be looking to Americans like you, asking you to stay engaged.
I am optimistic about our future. Because for all the maps plastered across our screens today, for all the cynics who say otherwise, we are more than a simple collection of red and blue states. We are the United States.
And yesterday, millions of Americans — Democrats and Republicans, women and men, young and old, black and white — took the time out of their day to perform a simple, profound act of citizenship. That’s something we shouldn’t forget amid the din of political commentary. Because making progress starts with showing up.
Let’s get to work.
President Barack Obama
Remarks by the President in a Press Conference
2:57 P.M. EST
THE PRESIDENT: Good afternoon, everybody. Have a seat.
Today, I had a chance to speak with John Boehner and congratulated Mitch McConnell on becoming the next Senate Majority Leader. And I told them both that I look forward to finishing up this Congress’ business, and then working together for the next two years to advance America’s business. And I very much appreciated Leader McConnell’s words last night about the prospect of working together to deliver for the American people. On Friday, I look forward to hosting the entire Republican and Democratic leadership at the White House to chart a new course forward.
Obviously, Republicans had a good night, and they deserve credit for running good campaigns. Beyond that, I’ll leave it to all of you and the professional pundits to pick through yesterday’s results. What stands out to me, though, is that the American people sent a message, one that they’ve sent for several elections now. They expect the people they elect to work as hard as they do. They expect us to focus on their ambitions and not ours. They want us to get the job done.
All of us, in both parties, have a responsibility to address that sentiment. Still, as President, I have a unique responsibility to try and make this town work. So, to everyone who voted, I want you to know that I hear you. To the two-thirds of voters who chose not to participate in the process yesterday, I hear you, too. All of us have to give more Americans a reason to feel like the ground is stable beneath their feet, that the future is secure, that there’s a path for young people to succeed, and that folks here in Washington are concerned about them. So I plan on spending every moment of the next two-plus years doing my job the best I can to keep this country safe and to make sure that more Americans share in its prosperity.
This country has made real progress since the crisis six years ago. The fact is more Americans are working; unemployment has come down. More Americans have health insurance. Manufacturing has grown. Our deficits have shrunk. Our dependence on foreign oil is down, as are gas prices. Our graduation rates are up. Our businesses aren’t just creating jobs at the fastest pace since the 1990s, our economy is outpacing most of the world. But we’ve just got to keep at it until every American feels the gains of a growing economy where it matters most, and that’s in their own lives.
Obviously, much of that will take action from Congress. And I’m eager to work with the new Congress to make the next two years as productive as possible. I’m committed to making sure that I measure ideas not by whether they are from Democrats or Republicans, but whether they work for the American people. And that’s not to say that we won’t disagree over some issues that we’re passionate about. We will. Congress will pass some bills I cannot sign. I’m pretty sure I’ll take some actions that some in Congress will not like. That’s natural. That’s how our democracy works. But we can surely find ways to work together on issues where there’s broad agreement among the American people.
So I look forward to Republicans putting forward their governing agenda. I will offer my ideas on areas where I think we can move together to respond to people’s economic needs.
So, just take one example. We all agree on the need to create more jobs that pay well. Traditionally, both parties have been for creating jobs rebuilding our infrastructure — our roads, bridges, ports, waterways. I think we can hone in on a way to pay for it through tax reform that closes loopholes and makes it more attractive for companies to create jobs here in the United States.
We can also work together to grow our exports and open new markets for our manufacturers to sell more American-made goods to the rest of the world. That’s something I’ll be focused on when I travel to Asia next week.
We all share the same aspirations for our young people. And I was encouraged that this year Republicans agreed to investments that expanded early childhood education. I think we’ve got a chance to do more on that front. We’ve got some common ideas to help more young people afford college and graduate without crippling debt so that they have the freedom to fill the good jobs of tomorrow and buy their first homes and start a family.
And in the five states where a minimum wage increase was on the ballot last night, voters went five for five to increase it. That will give about 325,000 Americans a raise in states where Republican candidates prevailed. So that should give us new reason to get it done for everybody, with a national increase in the minimum wage.
So those are some areas where I think we’ve got some real opportunities to cooperate. And I am very eager to hear Republican ideas for what they think we can do together over the next couple of years. Of course, there’s still business on the docket that needs attention this year. And here are three places where I think we can work together over the next several weeks, before this Congress wraps up for the holidays.
First, I’m submitting a request to Congress for funding to ensure that our doctors, scientists, and troops have the resources that they need to combat the spread of Ebola in Africa and to increase our preparedness for any future cases here at home.
Second, I’m going to begin engaging Congress over a new Authorization to Use Military Force against ISIL. The world needs to know we are united behind this effort, and the men and women of our military deserve our clear and unified support.
Third, back in September, Congress passed short-term legislation to keep the government open and operating into December. That gives Congress five weeks to pass a budget for the rest of the fiscal year. And I hope that they’ll do it in the same bipartisan, drama-free way that they did earlier this year. When our companies are steadily creating jobs — which they are — we don’t want to inject any new uncertainty into the world economy and to the American economy.
The point is it’s time for us to take care of business. There are things this country has to do that can’t wait another two years or another four years. There are plans this country has to put in place for our future.
And the truth is I’m optimistic about our future. I have good reason to be. I meet Americans all across the country who are determined, and big-hearted, and ask what they can do, and never give up, and overcome obstacles. And they inspire me every single day. So the fact is I still believe in what I said when I was first elected six years ago last night. For all the maps plastered across our TV screens today, and for all the cynics who say otherwise, I continue to believe we are simply more than just a collection of red and blue states. We are the United States.
And whether it’s immigration or climate change, or making sure our kids are going to the best possible schools, to making sure that our communities are creating jobs; whether it’s stopping the spread of terror and disease, to opening up doors of opportunity to everybody who’s willing to work hard and take responsibility — the United States has big things to do. We can and we will make progress if we do it together. And I look forward to the work ahead.
So, with that, let me take some questions. I think that our team has got my list. And we’re going to start with Julie Pace at Associated Press.
The question & answer session can be found here: Press Conference Q & A
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