By Jueseppi B.
West Wing Week: “A Single Sacred Word: Citizen”
This week, the President visited his old neighborhood in Chicago, conferred one of the nation’s highest civilian honors, met with the president of Italy, and continued to urge Republicans to close tax loopholes for the wealthy to prevent dangerous across-the-board budget cuts that are slated to take effect on March 1st.
Friday, February 15th
- Italian President Napolitano joined the President in the Oval Office where they discussed the friendship between our two countries, the world economy, and the President’s plan to pursue a U.S.-European Union free trade agreement.
- The President recognized the recipients of the 2012 Presidential Citizens Medal, one of the highest honors a civilian can receive.
- Then the President traveled to Chicago to talk about the importance of making sure every child in America can reach his or her potential.
Tuesday, February 19th
- The President called for a balanced approach to deficit reduction that would cut spending we don’t need but also close tax loopholes that only benefit the wealthiest Americans.
Wednesday, February 20th
- The President honored the 2012 SAVE Award winner, Frederick Winter, who proposed that all Federal employees who receive public transit benefits shift from regular transit fare to the reduced senior fare as soon as they are eligible.
- As part of “Live from the White House,” the President spoke with eight local TV anchors from across the country.
Republicans on the Sequester: Then and Now
In eight days, harmful automatic cuts are slated to take effect, threatening hundreds of thousands of jobs, and cutting vital services for children, seniors, people with mental illness and our men and women in uniform.
Only Congress can avoid this self-inflicted wound to our economy and middle class families, and the only thing standing in the way of a solution today is Congressional Republicans’ refusal to even consider closing tax loopholes that benefit wealthy Americans and well-connected corporations. The President and Congressional Democrats have put forward solutions to avoid these cuts and allow time for both sides to work on a long-term, balanced solution to our deficit challenges.
The President is serious about cutting spending, reforming entitlements and the tax code to reduce the deficit in a balanced way. The question is, will Congressional Republicans come to the table to get something done?
Let’s take a moment to look what we’ve done so far: The President has already reduced the deficit by over $2.5 trillion, cutting spending by over $1.4 trillion, bringing domestic discretionary spending to its lowest level as a share of the economy since the Eisenhower era [see below]. As a result of these savings, together with a strengthening economy, the deficit is coming down at the fastest pace of anytime in American history other than the demobilization from World War II.
And he’s laid out a specific plan to do more. His proposal resolves the sequester and reduces our deficit by over $4 trillion dollars in a balanced way- by cutting spending, finding savings in entitlement programs and asking the wealthiest to pay their fair share. As a result the deficit would be cut below its historic average and the debt would fall as a share of the economy over the next decade. Just two months ago Speaker Boehner said there was $800 billion in deficit reduction that could be achieved by only closing loopholes and reducing tax expenditures. So we know we can get this done. Let’s be clear: the President’s proposal to Speaker Boehner is still on the table. Here it is again
We can’t just cut our way to prosperity. Even as we look for ways to reduce deficits over the long term, we must grow the economy in a way that strengthens the middle class and everyone willing to work hard to get into it.
So the choice in front of Congressional Republicans today is simple: will they let these devastating cuts happen that will cost hundreds of thousands of jobs simply because they refuse to close one tax loophole for the wealthy? Or will they compromise and work with us on a balanced solution to get this done? We hope they come to the table for the sake of middle class families, our national security and our future today.
In Case You Missed It
Here are some of the top stories from the White House blog:
A Balanced Plan to Avert the Sequester and Reduce the Deficit
President Obama has already reduced the deficit by over $2.5 trillion, cutting spending by over $1.4 trillion, bringing domestic discretionary spending to its lowest level as a share of the economy since the Eisenhower era.
Don’t Miss Out! Tickets Lottery for the 2013 Easter Egg Roll Opens Today
Enter today for a chance to join President Obama and the First Family on the South Lawn for a day of singing, dancing and egg rolling.
Big Bird Visits the White House
To celebrate the third anniversary of Let’s Move!, First Lady Michelle Obama and the Sesame Workshop teamed up to create PSAs that lets kids know how easy it can be to eat healthy and stay active. Check them out!
All times are Eastern Standard Time (EST).
11:00 AM: The President and the Vice President attend the Democratic Governors Association Meeting
11:30 PM: Press Briefing by Press Secretary Jay Carney
12:15 PM: The President holds a bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan
1:15 PM: The President and the Vice President have lunch with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan
Yesterday, Vice President Biden spoke at a conference on gun violence at Western Connecticut State University. He told the crowd that while there’s no one thing that can be done to prevent gun violence, there are many steps we can – and must — take as a nation to better protect our children and communities, regardless of the politics involved.
“People write about the political risks and why they’re unacceptable to take on,” he said. “I say it’s unacceptable not to take these on.”
“There’s a moral price to be paid for inaction,” he said.
The Vice President explained for him and the President, taking action to reduce gun violence “is a simple proposition tragically highlighted by what happened in Newtown.”
We can’t remain silent. We have to speak for all those voices. We have to speak for those 20 beautiful children who died 69 days ago, 12 miles from here. They can’t speak for themselves. We have to speak for the voice of those six adults who died trying to save the children in their care that day who can’t speak for themselves. You have to speak for the 1,900 people who have died at the other end of a gun just since Sandy Hook in this country — 1,900 just since that day.
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