August 6, 2011
This week, Congress reached an agreement that’s going to allow us to make some progress in reducing our nation’s budget deficit. And through this compromise, both parties are going to have to work together on a larger plan to get our nation’s finances in order. That’s important. We’ve got to make sure that Washington lives within its means, just like families do. In the long term, the health of our economy depends on it.
But in the short term, our urgent mission has to be getting this economy growing faster and creating jobs. That’s what’s on people’s minds; that’s what matters to families in this country. And the fact is, this has been a tumultuous year for the economy. We’ve weathered the Arab Spring’s effect on oil and gas prices. The Japanese earthquake and tsunami’s effect on supply chains. The economic situation in Europe. And in Washington, there was a contentious debate over our nation’s budget that nearly dragged our country into financial crisis.
So our job right now has to be doing whatever we can to help folks find work; to help create the climate where a business can put up that job listing; where incomes are rising again for people. We’ve got to rebuild this economy and the sense of security that middle class has felt slipping away for years. And while deficit reduction has to be part of our economic strategy, it’s not the only thing we have to do.
We need Democrats and Republicans to work together to help grow this economy. We’ve got to put politics aside to get some things done. That’s what the American people expect of us. And there are a number of steps that Congress can take right away, when they return in September.
We need to extend tax cuts for working and middle class families so you have more money in your paychecks next year. That would help millions of people to make ends meet. And that extra money for expenses means businesses will have more customers, and will be in a better position to hire.
Yesterday, I proposed a new tax credit for companies that hire veterans who are looking for work after serving their country. We’ve got a lot of honorable and skilled people returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, and companies that could benefit from their abilities. Let’s put them together.
We need to make sure that millions of workers who are still pounding the pavement looking for jobs are not denied unemployment benefits to carry them through hard times.
We’ve got to cut the red tape that stops too many inventors and entrepreneurs from quickly turning new ideas into thriving businesses – which holds back our whole economy.
It’s time Congress finally passed a set of trade deals that would help displaced workers looking for new jobs, and that would allow our businesses to sell more products in countries in Asia and South America – products stamped with three words: Made in America.
And we ought to give more opportunities to all those construction workers who lost their jobs when the housing boom went bust. We could put them to work right now, by giving loans to companies that want to repair our roads and bridges and airports, helping to rebuild America.
Those are a few commonsense steps that would help the economy. And these are ideas that have been supported by both Democrats and Republicans in the past. So I’m going to keep calling on both parties in Congress to put aside their differences and send these bills to my desk so I can sign them right away. After all, both parties share power. Both parties share responsibility for our progress. Moving our economy and our country forward is not a Democratic or a Republican responsibility; it is our responsibility as Americans.
That’s the spirit we need in Washington right now. That’s how we’ll get this economy growing faster and reach a brighter day.
Thanks for listening, and have a great weekend.