Delivering the Weekly Republican Address, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) offers prayers to those affected and appreciation for the heroes who responded swiftly to the horrific tragedy in Aurora, Colorado. NOTE: The Weekly Republican Address is embargoed until 6:00 a.m. ET, Saturday, July 21, 2012. The audio of the address is available here , the video will be available here to view and here to download. A full transcript of the address follows: Download Audio | YouTube | Download Video “Hello, I’m John Boehner, Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives. “My plan today was to share some thoughts with you about the economy. But life, they say, is what happens when you’re busy making other plans. “There is still so much, too much, to sort out about the tragedy in Aurora, Colorado. Words cannot capture the horror, or make sense of something so senseless. So I won’t try. “This much I know. “I know that when confronted with evil we cannot comprehend, Americans pull together and embrace our national family more tightly. “We join President Obama in sending condolences and prayers to the loved ones of those who were killed and wounded. And we all say ‘thank God’ for the police, the first responders, the doctors, and the nurses whose swift and heroic efforts saved lives. “At a time like this, we count our blessings. And as we do, we come to be reminded that the depth of our grief also reveals the depth of our love and our resolve. “Scripture tells us that the faith that sustains us is ‘the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen.’ We may not yet see or fathom comfort for the mourning, but we’ll stand by them and we’ll stand together, as one nation, in the difficult hours that lie ahead. “May God bless the grieving families – and yours. And may God continue to bless the United States of America. “Thank you.”
Posts Tagged ‘faith’
This year marks the 40th anniversary of the Pell Grant, a program that has helped over 60 million low-income Americans afford a college education. Pell Grants are available to those students who would otherwise be unable to pay for college without need-based assistance. The grants also allow students to be less concerned about paying off debt once they complete their degree. Senator Claiborne Pell, the chief sponsor of the program, said, “Any student with the talent, desire, and drive, should be able to pursue higher education.” President Obama agrees with Senator Pell’s statement, and is committed to continuing and expanding Pell Grants as an investment in America’s future. President Obama has prioritized Pell Grants as a reliable way to financially support students who need the most help. The administration has doubled funding for Pell Grants—helping nearly 10 million students afford college last year—and has raised the maximum Pell Grant award to keep up with rapidly rising college costs. President Obama also lowered administrative costs and secured more money for students by cutting banks out of the process of federal student lending. “Federal Pell Grants have helped millions of Americans achieve their fullest potential by not only opening the doors to college,” he said, “but also providing students the financial support necessary to complete their studies and prosper in today’s economy.” The improvements the administration has made to the Pell Grant Program are another example of President Obama’s commitment to ensuring everyone has the chance to reach their fullest potential through a good education. President Obama, who himself had to take on substantial debt to go to college, understands how the financial burden of school can be a roadblock to an education. Improving the Pell Grant Program gives young people from low income families the tools to get a quality education and have a successful career. Senator Pell once said on the Senate floor, “The strength of the United States is not the gold at Fort Knox or the weapons of mass destruction that we have, but the sum total of the education and the character of our people.” By providing larger Pell Grants to more students, President Obama is making a strong investment in America’s future and giving opportunity to everyone with a desire to learn. Click here to learn more about Pell Grants.
With High Joblessness Among Recent College Grads, When Will Democrats Respond to GOP’s Good Faith Offer on Student Loans?
“[O]verwhelming student debt and a weak economy that makes it difficult to find high-paying jobs ” are plaguing recent college graduates, half of whom are out of work or underemployed in President Obama’s economy. And with less than a month to go before interest rates on student loans double – the result of a 2007 law passed by a Democratic-controlled Congress – Senate Democrats and the White House still haven’t responded to Republicans’ good faith effort to extend current rates . U.S. News & World Report reports that Republican leaders have “proposed a new plan” to “keep student loan interest rates from doubling” on July 1 . The Republican plan has been called a “ good-faith, workable offer ” because, similar to legislation passed by the House in April, it presents bipartisan options from President Obama’s budget to pay for extending current interest rates. See them here . After Friday’s dismal jobs report , there’s no excuse for imposing small business tax hikes that would make it harder for college graduates to find work (the preferred option of many Democrats). That’s why Republicans are once again trying to stop student loan rates from doubling by using cuts and reforms previously supported by Democrats in Congress and President Obama . The House has also passed 30 jobs bills removing government barriers to private-sector job growth (building a stronger economy for college graduates and all Americans) that remain stuck in the Democratic-controlled Senate . And the House schedule for the summer is “ heavy on jobs ” bills. But as recently as Friday, a White House spokesman “wouldn’t acknowledge whether or not President Barack Obama was onboard with either of the new plans” offered by Republicans. And Senate Democrats still haven’t passed a responsible plan of their own (let alone a budget, but that’s another story). Contrast the “we can’t wait” Democrats’ lack of urgency with the letter from Republican leaders , which said, “There is no reason we cannot quickly and in a bipartisan manner enact fiscally responsible legislation” to extend “the student interest rate reduction.” The House has taken reasonable and responsible action. Will Democrats finally work with Republicans to stop this rate increase – or do they just want another campaign talking point?
As President Obama has said, as a leader, he simply can’t leave his faith at the door. For him, and for so many of our leaders throughout American history, their efforts to build a better nation aren’t just about politics and policy. They were motivated every single day by their faith and values. The President’s values are fundamental to his commitment to effecting change in this country. Our story has never been about what we can do alone. It’s about what we can do together. We are greater together than we are on our own. We are greater together than we are divided. Read the Obama administration’s impact on faith-based communities here .
President Obama welcomes faith leaders from all across the country — from churches and congregations large and small; from different denominations and different backgrounds — to the third annual Easter prayer breakfast.
On January 22, 1973, the Supreme Court handed down the landmark Roe v. Wade decision, guaranteeing a woman’s right to keep decisions about her body between her and her doctor. Yet 39 years later, women’s reproductive freedoms are under attack in 24 states across the country. Rather than working hard to create jobs and focus on our economic recovery, Republicans have decided that their priority is to wage a war on women’s access to critical health services. Last November, Mississippi voters prevented a dangerous step backward for women’s rights by rejecting the so-called “personhood” amendment, an extreme ballot measure that would have outlawed abortion in all cases, banned certain forms of birth control for millions of women, and restricted access to infertility treatments. Thankfully, the people of Mississippi saw through this ideologically motivated attack and voted to uphold the rights of women and families, soundly defeating this out-of-touch initiative. But as women—and those who care about their health—our fight is far from over. Republicans are working day and night to get similar measures on the ballot in states across the country, including in my home state of Florida. We must redouble our efforts to stop them from rolling back the critical protections that women have fought so hard to achieve. Unfortunately, we can’t simply dismiss these dangerous initiatives as the radical efforts of some small fringe movement. The fact is that all of the mainstream Republican candidates have endorsed the “personhood” initiative—including Mitt Romney, who said he would have “absolutely” supported such an amendment as the governor of Massachusetts. We cannot afford their failed agenda. We must show them that it is time to stop playing politics with women’s lives. I was six years old when Roe v. Wade was decided. I was fortunate to be able to grow up in a time when birth control was accessible, and our rights seemed safe. I never could have imagined that only a generation later, these rights would be imperiled as part of a calculated political movement. Nearly four decades after Roe , Republicans have truly reached an all-time low. They are diverting time and precious resources away from putting Americans back to work and getting our economy back on track in an effort to launch a full fledged assault on women’s health. We cannot let that happen. Please join me in standing up for the rights of women and families across the country by telling Republicans that we are fed up with their right-wing attacks on women’s health. President Obama has been a staunch advocate for women since the day he took office, whether fighting back attempts to defund family planning, or blocking legislation that would limit insurance coverage for reproductive health. He’s protected and advanced policies that promote fairness, equal opportunity, and a level playing field for women in this country. But he cannot do it alone. On the anniversary of this landmark case, we must preserve it for generations to come by doing our part to re-elect the President. Your help is crucial, even if it’s volunteering for just an hour a week at your local field office or making a $5 donation . We’ve already seen a preview of what Republicans aim to do to our rights and our health. We cannot afford to sit this one out—there is simply too much at stake.
As we mark the anniversary of the historic Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion, it is my hope that the Latina voices in favor of comprehensive healthcare—which includes abortion—remain strong. In recent years, Congress has created a toxic environment in Washington, and the 112th Congress appears to want to strip away Latinas’ and all women’s rights to reproductive autonomy. We cannot allow Congress to interfere with personal decisions about abortion. We all care about immigration, education, and jobs, and we care deeply about women’s access to a full range of reproductive health services. Fighting to uphold Roe v. Wade must remain a priority for all Americans.
The U.S. Supreme Court issued its landmark Roe v. Wade decision on January 22, 1973. It was a monumental moment in my life as well as the lives of women across the country. For the first time, we had the right to make decisions about our own bodies. Many women today have never known a life without Roe v. Wade . They grew up in a world where they always had access to essential health care, including family planning care and safe and legal abortions. Roe v. Wade and the pro-choice agenda is not simply about a woman’s right to choose—it is also about trusting women and their families to make informed decisions. It is a fundamental human right that must be protected. As we celebrate the anniversary of Roe v. Wade , we must look back and recognize the courage of those who fought for reproductive rights, and we must look ahead to a new generation that must be ever-vigilant in protecting those hard-fought rights.
The Republicans are debating each other right now in Charleston—and a team of Democrats is gathered in this South Carolina city for a watch party. We’re here with Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz, South Carolina’s own Rep. Jim Clyburn, Obama for America national field director Jeremy Bird, and State Sen. Vincent Shaheen. We’re also here with a restaurant full of of Generation 44 supporters who are fired up* and ready to work for the next 10 months to ensure none of the four candidates on stage makes it to the Oval Office. Bird welcomed Gen44, thanking them for the history the folks in this room helped create in 2008. He would know: Bird arrived in March 2007 as then-Sen. Obama’s South Carolina field director, “back when the naysayers and cynics thought we had no chance.” He told this story: “Everyone told us, you don’t organize in South Carolina. You can’t actually get Democrats in South Carolina to volunteer. I remember someone coming up to me and saying, ‘What you guys are doing, registering young people to vote, going to all the barber shops and beauty salons, that’s all very nice. But young people and people who haven’t voted before are not going to turn out for a Democratic primary.’ “We ignored the cynics and naysayers. We went to every part of the state, every county. And on primary day, we propelled Barack Obama toward the presidency. Twenty-seven percent of the people who voted that day had never voted in an election in their lives.” “And this year, we are slowly, methodically, doggedly building a campaign that is going to make what we did in 2008 look prehistoric. And we’re going to do that because of you.” And as the Republican candidates took the debate stage, Rep. Wasserman Schultz set the tone for the night. After more than a dozen GOP primary debates, she said, the Republicans are doing a great job of proving that it doesn’t get more extreme than the 2012 Republican field. “They are demonstrating night after night with these debates that they are remarkably out of step with american families. And we’re going to continue to be out there every single day spreading that message. But we are going to need you. The President is only one person. We need supporters like you to help amplify his accomplishments, his remarkable record. We know we can count on you.” “And with that,” she closed, “May I present the people who will NOT be president of the United States after November 6.” *Fun fact from OFA’s Jeremy Bird: The Obama chant “Fired up! Ready to go!” was born in South Carolina.
Even Republican voters in South Carolina booed Mitt Romney’s answer on tax returns at last night’s debate.
Mitt Romney has a habit of dodging questions. During last night’s debate, he dodged questions about how regularly he hunts, his involvement with Super PACS, and his tax returns. Unsurprisingly, Romney spent this morning dodging even more questions—once again concerning whether he will release his tax returns. The question is, what’s Mitt hiding?
Every year, we pay homage to the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. during the month of January. Most offices are closed, kids are home from school, and people generally enjoy the day off from their normal routines. But how many of us take the time to emulate Dr. King’s teachings? How many of us actually understand the fight he waged on our behalf? How many of us emulate his nonviolent dedication to defending the poor and seeking economic justice in society? In 2012, instead of just verbally praising Dr. King, we should continue his quest for equality and tackle today’s greatest civil rights challenges. Then and only then will we truly understand the depth and meaning of celebrating Dr. King’s life, legacy, and purpose. One of Dr. King’s last efforts prior to his untimely death was the Poor People’s Campaign. Combatting issues of economic injustice and housing for the poor, the campaign included an “Economic Bill of Rights” and efforts to lobby elected officials to pass progressive legislation. Because Dr. King intently understood that the most vulnerable and disenfranchised in society were the poor, he dedicated much of his own life to giving them a platform, fighting for their rights and creating a society where they would no longer be dehumanized. Today, as many politicians cut vital programs like food stamps and unemployment insurance, the poor are increasingly watching their concerns fall on deaf ears and their voices drowned out in a sea of political wrangling. That is precisely why we cannot sit silently in the face of oppression. Until the weakest among us are afforded the same opportunities as the wealthiest, we cannot in good conscience accept that the fight for justice is complete. One of the greatest civil rights achievements we ever obtained was the capability to vote. Long denied the very basic ability to participate in the electoral process of the nation we helped construct, African Americans spent years post-slavery battling poll taxes and other discriminatory practices in order to secure the promise of one man, one vote. After some literally gave their lives so that others could one day participate in the democratic process of this nation, that very core human right is once again under attack. Passing “voter ID requirements,” several states have taken it upon themselves to alter the way in which citizens elect their next leaders—and these changes disproportionately affect the poor and people of color. It is the most egregious form of voter suppression we have witnessed in our lifetimes, and it is a blatant attempt to reverse the very work Dr. King dedicated his life to. No society can advance to the next level if all of its children do not receive the same quality education. As I’ve stated many times in the past, education is often times the key that opens the door to entirely new possibilities and helps to equalize the playing field like nothing else can. But when a child doesn’t receive adequate education because of his/her socio-economic status, then we have failed as a nation. As perhaps our greatest modern civil rights struggle to date, good education is something we must ensure all children receive regardless of their race or income status. We agreed that ‘separate but equal’ was separate and unfair; now let’s work to create a united, equal educational system for all. “In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends,” were words spoken by the great Dr. King. As we gather to honor this civil rights advocate, let’s remember to pick up the mantle and continue the good fight, for there are many obstacles which remain. So let us not celebrate in silence, but commemorate with our actions; do something today to bring justice for tomorrow.
Out on the campaign trail, Mitt Romney likes to scoff at the role of government in helping create jobs. So one might assume that in his much-touted 25 years of experience in “free enterprise,” he and his company, Bain Capital, never leaned on the government. Wrong. Today’s Los Angeles Times has a new report on how as head of Bain Capital, Romney routinely sought and accepted generous tax breaks and subsidies for the companies Bain acquired before bankrupting them for profit—leaving middle-class workers and taxpayers to foot the bill. “Romney, during his business career, made avid use of public-private partnerships, something that many conservatives consider to be ‘corporate welfare.’ It is a commitment that carried over into his term as governor of Massachusetts, when he offered similar incentives to lure businesses to his state.” One of Romney’s favorite success stories is a steel company in Indiana that received an $18.2 million investment from Bain, its main equity holder—but what Romney neglects to mention as he recounts the story is that “government support was a key ingredient to getting it off the ground.” The State of Indiana and DeKalb County lured Steel Dynamics with $37 million in subsidies and grants. The county also created a new income tax to finance infrastructure projects that would benefit the steel mill. Local taxpayers weren’t happy. “‘I’m very pro-business, but I’m not pro-business-welfare,’ said DeKalb County resident Suzanne Beaman, 58, who fought the incentives. Steel Dynamics ‘would have done fine without our tax dollars, I have no doubt.’” Five years after its investment in Steel Dynamics, Bain made an $85 million return. “‘This is corporate welfare,’ said Tad DeHaven, a budget analyst with the Washington-based Cato Institute, which encourages free-market economic policies. DeHaven, who is familiar with corporate tax subsidies in Indiana and other states, called the incentives Steel Dynamics received ‘an example of the government stepping into the marketplace, picking winners and losers, providing profits to business owners and leaving taxpayers stuck with the bill.’” Another steel mill, GS Technologies in Kansas City, had been in business since 1888 and was a major local employer. Romney’s Bain took over and bankrupted the company in 2001 , which led to the loss of jobs, health insurance, and pensions for 700 middle-class workers. But, as the Times points out, prior to declaring bankruptcy, the company paid large dividends to Bain partners, expanded its plan through tax subsidies, and got a $50 million federal loan guarantee. So while 700 workers lost their livelihoods, Mitt Romney and his Bain partners were cashing in—with the help of Uncle Sam.
This week President Obama hosted a forum called “Insourcing American Jobs,” where President Obama discussed his plan for our country’s future: “I don’t want America to be a nation that’s primarily known for financial speculation and racking up debt buying stuff from other nations. I want us to be known for making and selling products all over the world stamped with three proud words: ‘Made in America.’ And we can make that happen. “I don’t want the next generation of manufacturing jobs taking root in countries like China or Germany. I want them taking root in places like Michigan and Ohio and Virginia and North Carolina. And that’s a race that America can win.” Read full remarks from President Obama here .
President Obama has demonstrated that his vision for a brighter future includes greater equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Americans. The President and his administration are dedicated to eliminating barriers to equality, fighting discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, and engaging LGBT communities across the country. As part of the Obama administration’s commitment, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) continues to engage in a concerted effort to improve the health and well-being of all Americans, including LGBT Americans. Secretary Kathleen Sebelius has led these efforts to promote equal treatment of LGBT Americans, provide enhanced resources for LGBT health issues, and develop better information regarding LGBT health needs. Read more here .
Another day, another debate. Tune into Meet the Press (9 a.m. ET on MSNBC, check your local listings for NBC’s schedule) and follow along as we fact check the GOP candidates in New Hampshire.
Mitt Romney admits he’s raised money for his super PAC, and that it is run by former staffers, but in yesterday’s debate he claimed never to have seen one of their ads. Just 14 seconds later, he changed his tune, spelling out details from “the ad I saw…” Why can’t Mitt just tell the truth?
Spotted in Manchester: New Hampshire Democratic volunteers are passing out pink slips at Romney events across the Granite State.
DNC Memo: Romney Slammed for Being Out of Touch with Middle Class Prior to New Hampshire Primary, Wh
From: Brad Woodhouse, Democratic National Committee To: Interested Parties Date: January 10, 2012 RE: Romney Slammed for Being Out of Touch with Middle Class Prior to New Hampshire Primary, Which He Needs to Win by Wide Margin As voters head to the polls in New Hampshire’s Republican primary tonight, the bar is set very high for Mitt Romney. Romney has been up by 30 points against his Republican contenders for months here in the Granite State, and for good reason: in addition to having a home here and having worked and raised a family next door in Massachusetts where he was governor for four years, Romney has spent four years investing time and resources to win New Hampshire by a huge margin. By anyone’s reckoning, Romney should be running away with this thing. Yet over the past 48 hours, we have seen increased scrutiny over central claims to Romney’s candidacy from the media and Romney’s opponents, and that scrutiny has caused his support to drop in advance of the primary. That’s because the more New Hampshire voters see of Mitt Romney, the less they like him. They continue to lose trust for Mitt Romney as they find out that he’ll say anything to win, he has no idea what working and middle-class families have been going through in this country, and while he says he’s a job creator, he’s actually a corporate raider. ROMNEY HAS CONTINUED TO MAKE FALSE CLAIMS ON JOB CREATION Over the weekend and heading into tonight’s primary, Mitt Romney has continued to make inaccurate claims about the number of jobs he created in the private sector. He keeps falsely claiming credit for creating 100,000 jobs as a corporate-buyout specialist for Bain Capital. As the Washington Post pointed out in a fact-check today , that’s “an untenable figure,” and the Romney campaign has failed to provide “a real accounting of how many jobs were gained or lost through Bain Capital investments.” And Romney makes this unsubstantiated claim worse by failing to account for job losses that resulted from bankruptcies, layoffs and outsourcing. Even one of Romney’s own colleagues from his days at Bain has said he never considered what they did to be job creation – but instead it was to create wealth for themselves and investors. So why can’t Mitt Romney level with the American people? ROMNEY SAID HE ENJOYS BEING ABLE TO FIRE PEOPLE, DISINGENUOUSLY CLAIMED THAT HE FEARED GETTING A PINK SLIP Over the weekend, Mitt Romney said , “There were a couple of times I wondered whether I was going to get a pink slip,” yet his campaign has been unable to offer any examples of when he might have been concerned about losing his job. This is not surprising, as we know that Romney took the job with Bain Capital after working out a deal that was so sweet, it included zero risk. The Boston Globe reported in 2007 that Romney only agreed to run Bain Capital after he was able to negotiate terms that prevented any financial or professional risk. Romney had no skin in the game – and the only reason he knows what a pink slip looks like is that he’s handed out so many. Just yesterday morning, in a shocking moment of true honesty, Mitt Romney said , “I like being able to fire people who provide services to me.” That’s precisely the approach he took at Bain, where his business model was to put profits over people – regardless of the consequences for working and middle-class families. CONCLUSION As New Hampshire voters learn more about Mitt Romney, it becomes harder and harder to trust him. They see someone who will say anything to get elected, and someone who claims he cares about helping the middle class but has played by a different set of rules than most Americans – one he writes for himself that is oriented towards creating profit at any cost. And the central rationale Romney has made for his candidacy – that his business experience and economic background make him fit to lead the country – is unraveling before our very eyes. That’s where Mitt Romney stands heading into tonight’s New Hampshire primary – and simply put, if Romney doesn’t greatly exceed 32 points he got in his 2008 second-place finish, this will be a loss for him.
There are three days before the New Hampshire primary—and tonight, the GOP candidates are gathering at St. Anselm College in Manchester. We’ll be following along closely—fact checking the distortions, mistruths, and flat-out lies coming out of the Republicans’ mouths. Tune into ABC at 9 p.m. ET to watch the debate, and join in at our debate headquarters page for the Democratic response.
Don’t miss this interview with our executive director, Patrick Gaspard, who talks about Mitt Romney’s dismal jobs record as governor—during Romney’s tenure, Massachusetts lost manufacturing jobs at twice the national rate and finished 47th out of 50 in job creation. Under President Obama, we’ve grown manufacturing jobs for the second straight year. Prior to the Obama administration, the last year the country saw manufacturing job growth was 1997. The contrast between President Obama and Mitt Romney’s records on manufacturing couldn’t be more stark. Get the word out by passing this video along to your networks.
Romney’s Rationale for Candidacy Unravels Over Bogus Jobs Claims, Record in Public & Private Sectors
From: Brad Woodhouse, Democratic National Committee To: Sunday Show Producers Date: January 7, 2012 RE: Romney’s Rationale for Candidacy Unravels Over Bogus Jobs Claims, Record in Public and Private Sectors From day one, we’ve heard Mitt Romney say that the basis of his campaign for president is that he has the business experience and economic know-how to create jobs and improve our nation’s economy. With that in mind, it’s only fair that the American people get a chance to take a closer look at his record. Upon doing so, they’ll find a number of misleading statements by Romney: his false claim this week that he was responsible for creating 100,000 jobs at Bain Capital and that he had a strong job creation record as Massachusetts Governor, the notion that he’s interested in helping working and middle-class families, and his dishonest attacks on the President’s economic record. And when those claims are held to even the most basic level of scrutiny, Mitt Romney’s rationale for his candidacy simply doesn’t hold up. ROMNEY MISLEADS ON HIS OWN JOB CREATION RECORD During an interview with “Fox and Friends” with FOX News on January 3 this week, Mitt Romney said: “And I’m very happy in my former life; we helped create over 100,000 new jobs. By the way, we created more jobs in Massachusetts than this president’s created in the entire country. So if the President wants to talk about jobs, and I hope he does, we’ll be comparing my record with his record and he comes up very, very short.” While Romney boasts about the jobs he created as Governor of Massachusetts, the reality is that those were mostly government jobs. In fact, despite Romney’s near-constant references to his private sector business experience, for every one private sector job that was created in Massachusetts, there were 6 government jobs created. Under Romney’s leadership, the state actually ranked 47 th out of 50 in job creation, badly trailing the rest of the country with manufacturing jobs falling by more than double the national average. With regard to Romney’s claim that that during his tenure as the head of Bain Capital, he created over 100,000 new jobs, a fact-check conducted this week by the Washington Post found that Romney’s story just doesn’t add up. First of all, by the admission of Romney’s own spokesperson, while this figure stems from the sum of job gains at three companies that Romney “helped to start or grow” – Staples, The Sports Authority and Domino’s – it is based on current employment figures, not the period when Romney worked at Bain. In other words, Mitt Romney is trying to bolster his own economic credentials by talking about jobs he wasn’t even there to create. What’s more, in 1994, following his claim that he created 10,000 jobs at Bain, Romney even backed away from that statement – acknowledging in an interview with the Boston Globe that there was no way to determine whether jobs had been lost or gained economy-wide on account of his ventures at Bain. Now Mitt Romney wants to argue he was responsible for creating 100,000 jobs? The other problem with Romney’s math is that it does not factor in for the thousands of workers Bain laid off under his leadership, not to mention the American jobs he outsourced. Let’s remember that as the head of Bain Capital, Mitt Romney made any number of profit-based business decisions that led to firing thousands of workers, closing plants, bankrupting American companies and outsourcing jobs overseas. That includes companies like GS Technologies, which was profiled this week in a Reuters story . GS Technologies was a steel mill in Kansas City that was acquired by Bain Capital, leading to the layoffs of roughly 750 workers. Thanks to Mitt Romney and his business partners, the employees at GS Technologies lost severance pay and health insurance that had been promised to them, and their pension benefits were slashed. A federal government insurance agency had to swoop in and bail out the company’s pension plan – all while Bain raked in millions of dollars in profits. But apparently when it comes to this fantasy figure of 100,000 jobs, Mitt Romney wasn’t about to let the facts get in the way. ROMNEY’S TAX PLAN HURTS MIDDLE CLASS AND WORKING FAMILIES BUT GIVES A HEFTY TAX CUT TO THE WEALTHIEST FEW Mitt Romney likes to say that his tax plan is written for middle-class families. “The wealthy are doing just fine,” he recently told Chris Wallace at FOX News. “The people that have been hurt are the people in the middle class so I focus those precious dollars that we have, I focus that on the middle class.” The truth is that Romney’s tax plan would actually increase the federal budget deficit and give more tax cuts to the wealthiest Americans while providing little or no relief to the middle class and those still working to get there. Under Romney’s plan, people making more than $1 million would get an average tax cut of $146,000, while many middle class and working families would actually see their taxes increase. This plan is just the latest example of how phenomenally out of touch Mitt Romney really is. Whether he is betting $10,000 without batting an eye, calling a $1,000 payroll tax cut a “little Band-Aid,” or advocating for a plan that gives more tax cuts to millionaires and billionaires while working families foot the bill, Mitt Romney just doesn’t seem to get it. CONCLUSION With such deeply misguided policies and a distinct history of sending hardworking Americans to the unemployment line, you’d think that Mitt Romney would be hesitant to throw punches at the President on economic grounds. But that’s exactly what Romney has tried to do. So while Romney continues to launch misguided attacks on President Obama, we’ll let the numbers do the talking: under the President’s leadership, we have now seen 22 straight months of private sector job growth. We have also increased manufacturing job growth for the second straight year – prior to the Obama Administration, the last year the country saw manufacturing job growth was 1997. Those are numbers Mitt Romney would have loved to see when he was Massachusetts Governor and manufacturing jobs plummeted in his state. When push comes to shove, Romney’s story just doesn’t hold up. His job-creation claims are factually inaccurate, and his plan to double down on the same failed policies that caused the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression is enough to send America’s working families running in the other direction. The American people deserve to know the truth – and as we continue to see, Mitt Romney is terrified to give it to them.
“Romney’s lackluster percentage underscored the absence of enthusiasm among many Republicans for the candidate long seen as the party’s likeliest nominee.” – Washington Post “Mitt Romney has a problem—three-quarters of the Republican Party gets a really good look at him and says no.” – Chris Matthews, MSNBC “After a dramatic, confusing night of suspense in the Republican Party’s Iowa caucuses, the big winner may well have been a Democrat: Barack Obama.” – Reuters “Despite Romney’s heavy spending in Iowa and the five years he’s had to make his case to conservative voters, about 3/4 of caucus-goers last night chose someone other than the man who’s been making the case he’s the most electable for five years. More embarrassing for Romney: President Obama—who faced no competition—actually pulled out a competitive number of votes last night. Democrats say 25,000 Iowans turned out to caucus for the president.” – Talking Points Memo “The questions about whether he can expand his base of support — roughly 75 percent of GOP voters did not vote for him—live on for another day.” – Maggie Haberman, Politico “Democrats in Iowa delivered President Obama a resounding vote of confidence yesterday, gathering for caucuses that provided an opportunity for Democrats to test their ability to mobilize the party faithful.” – Boston Globe
Last weekend, Mitt Romney said that as president, he would veto the DREAM Act , a law that would create a path to citizenship for hardworking young people who arrived in this country with undocumented parents through no fault of their own. For these students and military members, this country is home. One DREAM Act student wanted to speak out against Romney’s extremism on the DREAM Act and immigration. Here’s what Benita Veliz—Veliz, valedictorian of her San Antonio high school and a St. Mary’s University graduate—had to say. For the full call, listen here . “My parents brought me to the U.S. when I was eight years old. I wasn’t looking for a handout then, and I’m not looking for one now. The DREAM Act isn’t about giving driven young people like me a special opportunity to go to college or serve in the military. It is about equal opportunity to contribute to the well-being of the only country we know—so I was appalled when I heard Mitt Romney said he would veto the DREAM Act. “President Obama is the only one who will pass comprehensive immigration reform and the DREAM Act, and he has already taken action on immigration. The government’s case for my removal is closed because President Obama refocused the efforts of immigration authorities on deporting criminals instead of young people like me who have so much to contribute. But without the DREAM Act, I’m still undocumented, and our immigration system is still broken.”
In 2008, then-Senator Obama spoke to a full house on the eve of the Iowa caucuses, promising to make health care affordable and available to all Americans, cut taxes for the middle class, work to build a clean-energy economy, and end the war in Iraq. Four years later, President Obama has kept the promises he made to Iowa caucus-goers in 2008. And four years later, this video is still a great watch. Pass it along to your networks.
Tonight, a packed cafeteria of fired-up Democratic caucus-goers at East High School in Des Moines got a pep talk from the chair of the Democratic Party, Debbie Wasserman Schultz. The chair told the caucus, “We wouldn’t be here without you”—the folks who showed up on a chilly night in January 2008, the folks who cast their ballots to elect Barack Obama President of the United States, the folks who stood with the President to reform our health care system and end the war in Iraq. And, as Rep. Wasserman Schultz told the room, this same group of people must continue to have the President’s back throughout the primaries, through the fall—and after we’ve re-elected Barack Obama. Take a look at some of the photos from the caucus.
Iowa Democratic Party Chair Sue Dvorsky has this statement on tonight’s Democratic caucuses: “Tonight’s caucus successfully brought our supporters together, and we’re overwhelmed that more than 25,000 Iowans turned out to talk about the President’s record and vision for an economy that restores security for the middle class. We not only saw how excited Iowans are to support President Obama, but to also work for his reelection. The Iowa caucus was a great opportunity to test our campaign organization and expand our volunteer base as we move toward November. In a strong show of support, more than 7,500 Iowans tonight pledged to volunteer for the campaign over the course of the next year, underscoring their commitment to continuing the change the country has seen under President Obama’s leadership.”
In direct contrast to President Obama, Mitt Romney said on Saturday at a campaign stop in Iowa that he would veto the DREAM Act if it passed and he were president. This statement confirms that on immigration, Mitt Romney is the most extreme presidential candidate in recent memory. Thousands of young people who live in this country are upstanding and productive members of their communities, but through no fault of their own cannot attend college or serve in the military. Last year, Secretary Arne Duncan wrote about these students and how the DREAM Act could help them: “The students of the DREAM Act are some of the country’s best and brightest. They were raised and educated in America. They are valedictorians, star athletes, community leaders, and are active in their faith. They text and go to the mall. They are Americans in every sense of the word. They have deep roots here and are loyal to the country that has been the only home they’ve known. They are our future pediatricians, teachers, and engineers — if we give them a chance. They are exactly the type of young people America should be embracing. But, unlike their classmates, DREAM Act students are in a bind. It goes against the basic American sense of fairness to punish children for the choices of their parents. But thousands of young people find themselves in that position. We can’t let them continue to live unfulfilled lives of fear and squandered hopes. We need to act before we lose this generation. It’s who we are as Americans, at our best. The time is now.” If Mitt Romney were president, he would veto the DREAM Act, ensuring that these young people will never get the chance to go to college or serve in the military, regardless of moral standing or contributions to their community. We think it’s time to make clear that Mitt Romney’s views on immigration are not only extreme, but would be harmful to productive members of our society. To read our response to Mitt Romney, click here .
Randy Johnson is one of the many middle-class workers who were laid off by Mitt Romney’s company, Bain Capital. He has joined us in Des Moines this week to speak out against Romney’s “distorted record” as a job creator. This is his story. For nine years, Randy Johnson worked as a hanging file folder operator at an office supply plant in Marion, Indiana. In 1994, the plant was bought by American Pad and Paper (Ampad), which had been acquired by Bain Capital. Johnson says that his union plant was the only thing that was valuable to the company—a fact that Bain/Ampad recognized, because they bought it in an asset sale, which means they bought the plant’s assets but not the union contracts. They quickly fired all the employees. Ampad walked the fired workers out of the building, handing them applications as they left, telling the employees if they wanted to work for the new company, they were welcome to apply. Johnson was hired back as a packer during the night shift. He worked for them for about two months—but as an employee of Ampad without a union contract, he no longer had a pension plan, was given reduced benefits and reduced wages, paid half for their heath insurance when they’d paid none before, and could be scheduled for a 12-hour shift. As Johnson says, “It didn’t matter how much seniority you had. You would go on whatever shift they told you and whatever machine they told you.” The employees didn’t take it lying down. They tried hard to negotiate a contract, and spent the two months trying to get Bain’s attention through informational picketing, letters, and other tactics. Bain in turn brought in a self-proclaimed union-busting attorney named Bayoff (prounounced “buyoff”). A labor dispute began on September 1, and three weeks later, the international union told us that Bain Capital was the owner and that the CEO was a guy by the name of Mitt Romney. “That was the first time I ever heard that name,” Johnson says. Romney was running for Senate against Ted Kennedy at the time—and Johnson and his co-workers spent the next several months making sure Massachusetts voters knew their story. Romney lost to Kennedy. Right before Christmas, Ampad announced that if they weren’t able to get a contract soon, it would have to close. The last, best, and final offer was rejected by union members in a 156–14 vote—the members said they couldn’t work for such a company. On February 15, 1995, Johnson’s plant closed. As a last resort, Johnson wrote a personal letter to Romney. He got a response February 15, the day the plant closed saying, formal and formulaic, saying, “There’s probably no one in Massachusetts who wishes more than I that Union leaders, like you, and company officials had settled their differences and that its workers still had their jobs.” But as the months and years went by, it became clearer that Johnson’s plant wasn’t a singular case. Bain bought other facilities cheaply, ran up massive amounts of debt, and charged huge fees, closing plants and laying off hundreds of workers. Despite this, Bain Capital made more than $100 million off its dealings with Ampad. After the plant closed, Johnson went to work as a temp for the State of Indiana helping dislocated workers—including his former co-workers. He says, “I had people the age I am now—57—who cried at my desk because they didn’t have a high school education and didn’t know what they were going to do. I had husbands and wives. It was probably the hardest time in my life to help these folks. You don’t forget that.” Today Johnson works for United Steelworkers, helping union members avoid strikes, avoid lockouts, and negotiate a decent contract. “I’m doing the things I learned,” says Johnson. “I guess I can thank Romney for that.” As someone who has experienced the effects of Romney’s tenure at Bain firsthand, Johnson wants to set the record straight. After all, Romney wasn’t making cars—like his dad—or even widgets. He was buying and selling companies. Romney was doing whatever it took to make money, even if it meant bankrupting companies and laying off workers. Johnson says, “I think it’s a distorted record he has, talking about creating jobs. The record needs to be straight so voters can make informed decisions. He made over $100 million off bankrupting Ampad. They were in a scheme for the rich to get richer. It’s perfectly legal, but is it right? That’s a fundamental problem.” Johnson adds, “We can’t verify where the balance is: How many jobs did Romney create vs. how many good, industrial-type jobs did we lose? He needs to share that.”
Editor’s note: Today marks one year since President Obama signed into law the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” After 17 years of this discriminatory policy being on the books, the President kept his promise to bring equality to our armed forces. One veteran reflects on the magnitude of repeal—and where she was one year ago. One year ago, the United States came a little closer to equal justice for all. I remember the moment when I heard the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” repeal bill had passed in the House of Representatives. It felt like I was dreaming. Could we really have repealed it—after 17 years and more than 14,000 service men and women discharged because of sexual orientation? That day, I wept with a sense of vindication for all the efforts that had preceded this moment, and I knew I wanted to be where the action was—to witness history being made. I was asked to lead the Pledge of Allegiance at the signing ceremony for the repeal bill on December 22, 2011. As a naturalized American citizen who lost my career because of sexual orientation and who fought with thousands of activists for the repeal of DADT, it was a humbling moment. As we recited the pledge, it sounded louder, voices proud and breaking with the awesomeness of the moment. So many of us wore the uniform representing the flag. And from that day on, thanks to the repeal of DADT, the flag now truly represents us. From the beginning of his time in office, President Obama worked for repeal of DADT—and what extraordinary leadership he showed to assure that it happened. It is a tremendous testament to perseverance and achievement—and a true promise kept—for those of us who worked for repeal.
While House Republicans continue their efforts to avoid voting on the Senate’s extension of the payroll tax bill, this afternoon President Obama urged the House to listen to voices across the country and reconsider—because American families nationwide are counting on this tax cut. For a family making about $50,000 a year, it amounts to about $1,000 per year. That’s about $40 per paycheck for the average American family. Since Monday, more than 30,000 people have written in to tell the White House what $40 would mean to them. Here are a few examples of what they’re saying: #40dollars helps my son keep studying since we can’t afford college, it keeps him reading #Books — enigma4ever (@watergatesummer) December 22, 2011 #40dollars or buying a full bag of groceries OR filling the car with gas to get to work. Without that $40, we’ll be doing neither… — Reynaldo Macias (@reynaldomacias) December 22, 2011 You can check out more tweets here , or join the conversation by tweeting with #40dollars. As the President stated today, “These are the things at stake for millions of Americans. They matter to people a lot. … We should negotiate an agreement as quickly as possible to extend the payroll tax cut and unemployment insurance for the rest of 2012.” On Saturday, in a show of overwhelming bipartisan support, the Senate voted to cut taxes for 160 million middle-class families, and sent their bill to the House. In his speech this afternoon, the President reiterated the importance of the House passing a short-term version of this compromise rather than continuing to play their partisan game. “E nough is enough. The people standing with me today can’t afford any more games. They can’t afford to lose $1,000 because of some ridiculous Washington standoff.” You can read the full remarks here , and sign on to tell House GOP to act .
Two days before Christmas, the House of Representatives has passed the two-month payroll tax cut extension by unanimous consent, preventing a tax increase on the middle class that would have gone into effect January 1. President Obama is expected to sign the bill shortly. This is a victory for all those who demanded action from their representatives—and for the middle class.
Today the President announced that after nearly nine years, the war in Iraq is coming to an end, and our troops are coming home. He delivered his remarks to troops and military families at Fort Bragg, NC. “We knew this day would come… But still, there is something profound about the end of a war that has lasted so long.” Before he became President, Barack Obama pledged that if elected he would end the war in Iraq and bring our troops home. December 2011 marks the fulfillment of that promise. Check out this interactive timeline on WhiteHouse.gov charting the events that helped bring the war to a close, and learn more about President Obama’s efforts to fight for veterans.
The U.S. Department of Labor is proposing a new rule requiring federal contractors and subcontracts to set a hiring goal of having 7 percent of their workforces be peoples with disabilities. This proposed rule would strengthen the affirmative action requirements established in the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Section 503 which obligates federal contractors and subcontractors to ensure equal employment opportunities for qualified workers with disabilities. Under this new rule the department’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs will define specific goals contractors will have to meet as well as detailing specific actions contractors must take in the areas of recruitment, training, record keeping and policy discrimination as well as providing specific guidance on how to comply with the law. To read the notice of proposed rulemaking or submit a comment, visit the federal e-rulemaking portal at http://www.regulations.gov.
Today, following Mitt Romney’s comments in Iowa that he did not understand the difference between entitlements like Medicare and Medicaid until he got into government, DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman released the following statement: “One has to wonder how Mitt Romney thinks he can represent American workers, their families and seniors when his concern for the poor and the middle class comes across like an afterthought. A clear example of this was when he admitted today that he didn’t understand the difference between entitlements such as Medicare and Medicaid until he got into government some three or four decades after they were established. “Perhaps no one should be surprised that Mitt Romney was well into middle age and had begun a new career in politics before he bothered to learn about Medicare and Medicaid. After all, prior to that, Romney was too busy as a corporate buyout specialist laying off workers, shipping jobs overseas and bankrupting companies for his own profit to be bothered with the problems facing working Americans and their families. “There is not one thing in Mitt Romney’s entire history that shows one bit of concern for middle-class Americans. To the contrary, just as he was as a Governor, Mitt Romney as president would be a disaster for seniors and folks trying to make ends meet.”
In a pitiful but expected act of desperation to appeal to the extreme right wing of the GOP, Mitt Romney is proudly touting a recent quote from Ann Coulter saying he’s the strongest candidate in the 2012 Republican field. We’re not sure Coulter is someone whose admiration you should advertise. After all, Coulter is the speaker of such zingers as: “It would be a much better country if women did not vote.” “I think a baseball bat is the most effective way to talk to liberals.” “I think the government should be spying on all Arabs.” On Facebook? “Like” the Democratic Party , and respond to our poll about Coulter’s most shocking quote.
Last Friday President Obama recognized International Day of Persons with Disabilities, proclaiming: “…we recommit to ensuring people living with disabilities enjoy full equality and unhindered participation in all facets of our national life. We recognize the myriad contributions that persons with disabilities make at home and abroad, and we remember that disability rights are universals right to be recognized and promoted around the world.” Read the entire presidential proclamation here .
This morning, President Obama urged Congress to put politics aside and pass clean extensions of the Surface Transportation Bill and FAA Reauthorization—which would prevent nearly one million Americans from losing their jobs over the next year. Watch the President’s remarks:
Earlier today, President Obama delivered a statement on the current situation in Libya: The situation [in Libya] is still very fluid. There remains a degree of uncertainty and there are still regime elements who pose a threat. But this much is clear: The Qaddafi regime is coming to an end, and the future of Libya is in the hands of its people. In just six months, the 42-year reign of Muammar Qaddafi has unraveled. Earlier this year, we were inspired by the peaceful protests that broke out across Libya. This basic and joyful longing for human freedom echoed the voices that we had heard all across the region, from Tunis to Cairo. In the face of these protests, the Qaddafi regime responded with brutal crackdowns. Civilians were murdered in the streets. A campaign of violence was launched against the Libyan people. Qaddafi threatened to hunt peaceful protestors down like rats. As his forces advanced across the country, there existed the potential for wholesale massacres of innocent civilians. In the face of this aggression, the international community took action. In the early days of this intervention the United States provided the bulk of the firepower, and then our friends and allies stepped forward. The Transitional National Council established itself as a credible representative of the Libyan people. And the United States, together with our European allies and friends across the region, recognized the TNC as the legitimate governing authority in Libya. The President continued: As we move forward, we should also recognize the extraordinary work that has already been done. To the American people, these events have particular resonance. Qaddafi’s regime has murdered scores of American citizens in acts of terror in the past. Today we remember the lives of those who were taken in those acts of terror and stand in solidarity with their families. We also pay tribute to Admiral Sam Locklear and all of the men and women in uniform who have saved so many lives over the last several months, including our brave pilots that have executed their mission with skill and extraordinary bravery. And all of this was done without putting a single U.S. troop on the ground. Click here to read the President’s full statement.
The Obama administration yesterday announced a new immigration strategy that is designed to improve enforcement to make the system smarter, more efficient, and more fair. The President is committed to a comprehensive approach to fixing our broken immigration system that meets America’s economic and security needs, and yesterday’s announcement marks a change that will prioritize individuals with criminal backgrounds over low-priority cases. It reflects the administration’s willingness to take important, common-sense steps in the interest of producing a better process for thousands of families. To date, more than 300,000 immigration cases are pending before Justice Department courts that will decide whether or not to remove undocumented individuals. But these cases are clogged due to limited resources. Under the new directive from the President, Departments of Justice and Homeland Security have established an interagency group that will begin immediately reviewing its existing caseload and prioritize the removal of people who have been convicted of crimes in the United States. According to Cecilia Muñoz, White House Director of Intergovernmental Affairs: [The administration] announced that they are strengthening their ability to target criminals even further by making sure they are not focusing our resources on deporting people who are low priorities for deportation. This includes individuals such as young people who were brought to this country as small children, and who know no other home. It also includes individuals such as military veterans and the spouses of active-duty military personnel. It makes no sense to spend our enforcement resources on these low-priority cases when they could be used with more impact on others, including individuals who have been convicted of serious crimes. This new policy applies “ common sense guidelines ” to make decisions about an individual’s immigration status, such as ties and contributions to his or her community, family relationships, and military service. Yesterday’s announcement will not fix our broken immigration laws. But it will add more civility, efficiency, and fairness to laws that affect friends, family, and communities—it’s progress that can be enacted right now, and can help guide Congress on a path toward meaningful, broader reform. Read Cecilia Muñoz’s full blog post here .
Even for Mitt Romney, yesterday’s flip flop on taxes is dizzying. During two different New Hampshire campaign stops, in Plymouth and Berlin, Romney first opposed tax cuts for the wealthy, then supported them. To be absolutely clear, Romney argued both positions in the same day. In Plymouth, Romney told a crowd that he opposes tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans: I’m not for tax cuts for the rich. The rich can take care of themselves. I want to get America working again. And so I want to make sure that whatever we do in the tax code, we’re not giving a windfall to the very wealthy. Then in Berlin, still yesterday, Romney argued the exact opposite position : I disagree with Warren [Buffet]. And I do want to keep the Bush tax cuts in place. Once again, Mitt Romney proved that he will shamelessly tell voters anything they want to hear to win their approval—even if it means reversing himself the same day.
Last week, while giving a speech in Iowa, Mitt Romney told a voter who was concerned that the former governor’s platform benefits corporations at the expense of individuals and families that “corporations are people, my friend.” That remark drew immediate fire. But instead of walking back that comment, Mitt Romney doubled down. This weekend, he was back at it, reiterating to a group of New Hampshire Republicans that he believed “ businesses are people .” What do [Democrats] think they are? Little men from Mars? The answer is no. Democrats don’t think businesses are little men from Mars. But we’ve never seen a corporation change a tire, administer a vaccine, or teach long division. And we also know that corporate profits are at an all-time high : The Fortune 500 generated nearly $10.8 trillion in total revenues last year, up 10.5 percent. Total profits soared 81 percent. At a time when working and middle class families are fighting to stay afloat, now is not the time to further cushion record-setting profits—and corporations should pay their fair share. Unfortunately, the only “people” Mitt Romney is standing up for are the ones bankrolling his campaign.
From: Melanie Roussell, DNC National Press Secretary To: Interested Parties Date: August 11, 2011 Re: What to Expect from Tonight’s Republican Debate With 179 days left before the Iowa Caucuses, the American people are increasingly turned off by what they are learning about the Republican presidential candidates and who they fight for. Instead of new ideas that give the middle class more security, we hear the same old policies that carve out special benefits for the special interests. Instead of a new approach that puts party aside and America first, we hear a rigid and extreme ideology that asks working and middle class families to carry the entire load. This is why the GOP is seeing its support erode significantly. In two recent polls the GOP is seeing some of the highest negative ratings ever—driven in large part by their willingness to let the extreme Tea Party dictate the Republican Party’s agenda and take over the party, with the 2012 Republican candidates following their lead. In a CNN/ORC poll released Tuesday: “[F]avorable views of the Republican party dropped eight points over the past month, to 33 percent. Fifty-nine percent say they have an unfavorable view of the Republican party, an all-time high dating back to 1992 when the question was first asked.” http://bit.ly/pp9t8F : “More Americans now think that members of Congress who support the Tea Party are having a negative effect than said that in January, at the start of the new Congress. Currently, 29% judge the impact of Tea Party supporters as mostly negative compared with 22% who see their impact as mostly positive. At the beginning of the year, the balance of opinion was just the opposite: 27% said that Tea Party members in Congress would have a positive impact, while 18% expected a negative effect.” http://t.co/v7hZidL Despite these historic negative ratings, we should expect to hear more from this field of Republican presidential contenders who have not only embraced the same failed policies of the past that eroded middle class security and led our country to the brink of depression,but who have also embraced an extreme and rigid ideology that will hurt America’s seniors and the middle class. In advance of tonight’s debate, we wanted to highlight some key points we expect to hear from the Republican candidates as they continue to fight for the title of “Most Extreme,” in their efforts to pander to the far-right Tea Party base of the Republican Party to seek the nomination. Failure of Leadership – Duck, Dodge and Dismantle Make no mistake the Republican presidential contenders have fully embraced what we call the Duck, Dodge and Dismantle approach to leadership because they are ducking their obligation to the Middle Class; dodging their obligation to our nation’s seniors; and, they want to dismantle critical education and job creation programs while protecting tax breaks for the wealthy, big oil and corporate jet owners. They support the same unbalanced economic policies as Washington Republicans. Tonight you will hear GOP presidential contenders continue to tout their support for the Republican budget that would end Medicare as we know while giving NEW tax breaks to millionaires and billionaires and the special interests. While they ask average Americans to cut back and sacrifice, they ask nothing of those at the very top. Moreover, the actions or lack thereof of candidates like Mitt Romney, Tim Pawlenty, Michele Bachmann and others are clear – these Republican candidates for President are not interested in leading. They simply want to please the far-right, extreme Tea Party base of their partybecause that is what being the standard bearer of the Republican Party today requires. Pushing the Nation to the Brink Expect the overwhelming majority of the Republicans on the stage tonight to proudly state that they would not have supported the bipartisan debt agreement that prevented our country from defaulting on its debt for the first time in history. To these candidates, compromise is a dirty word and the prospect of America not paying its bills was a risk they were willing to take. The recent decision by S & P to downgrade the United States debt, as flawed as it is, highlighted the need for the type of compromise and consensus that the candidates opposed. In fact, part of what the S & P based its reasoning on was the fact that Republicans in Congress were unwilling to consider revenues. While Democratic leaders showed their commitment to standing with President Obama to support a grand bargain that asked everyone to compromise, Speaker Boehner and his Tea Party Caucus, during negotiations, walked away no less than three times. At a moment when America should have been their top concern, they put politics, party and rigid ideology first. And the Republican presidential candidates backed them up – and the GOP field will double down on that flawed approach to leadership tonight. Extreme Aims toward America’s Seniors Over the course of their campaigns, each of the Republicans running for president has proven that their priority is not standing up for seniors or America’s middle class; their priority is protecting the wealthy and the special interests. Look for them to say more of the same tonight. Both Mitt Romney and Tim Pawlenty endorsed a Cut, Cap and Balance proposal that would have cut Medicaid by one-third over 10 years and nearly half by 2050. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, that alone could cause 36 million people to lose their Medicaid coverage, including individuals with disabilities and seniors in nursing homes. Jon Huntsman, who proudly called himself a radical for wanting to end Medicare as we know it, endorsed the principles of Cut, Cap and Balance including a balanced budget amendment. The amendment that the House will consider would put a cap on what the government pays out in Social Security and Medicare while allowing one-third of the members of Congress to block asking the wealthiest to pay their fair share. It would be easier to cut Social Security than it would to close corporate tax loopholes for private jets and Wall Street bankers. The amendment, coupled with the cuts from the House Republican budget, would change the rules for generations of Americans who paid into Social Security and Medicare week after week and paycheck after paycheck. Instead of getting what they paid for and earned, they would see cuts that could result in a $1,500 per year average reduction in benefits for the 70 million seniors on Social Security, and an average reduction of approximately $1,100 per year for those who receive Medicare. Extreme Aims toward the Middle Class All of the Republicans have committed to the same extreme economic policies of the Republicans who held Washington hostage over the course of the last month. They all support protecting corporate subsidies and tax loopholes instead of protecting investments in critical programs that would create the jobs of the future, like education, research and development of clean energy. In addition, their cuts would cost middle class families jobs. For example, Mitt Romney has consistently ducked and dodged on the most pressing issues facing America including the debt ceiling debate. Not only did he wait until 12 hours before the final vote to actually say something—leading one reporter to say Romney was in a “ Mittness Protection Program ”—he endorsed the Cut, Cap and Balance plan that would have harmed our economic recovery in the short-term while simultaneously hurting our long-term economic competitiveness all while putting a greater burden on America’s oldest citizens and our most vulnerable. Look for him to reassert his support for Cut, Cap and Balance tonight. To her credit Michele Bachmann did not actually vote for the Cut, Cap, and Balance – because she didn’t think it was extreme enough! She told Fox News that America should pay off all our foreign creditors first, even if that means slashing Medicare and Social Security payments to America’s seniors. We expect her to repeat similar sentiments tonight. Additionally, look for Herman Cain to tout more failed economic policies like his support for a “fair tax” for everyone, which even the Wall Street Journal editorial board called “the most radical reform imaginable” and one that would “hit hard the young, middle-income families.” Conclusion As we expect to see tonight, the GOP candidates’ extreme aims to appease the far-right wing of the Republican Party show that Republicans are more concerned with protecting their special interest friends and the wealthy than protecting working families. The GOP would rather seniors and the middle class sacrifice and the wealthy pay even less in taxes. Unlike President Obama, their policies would eliminate, not create, opportunities for the middle class. They are not interested in a balanced approach to reducing America’s deficit that increases revenues and protects America’s promise to our seniors and middle class through Medicare, Social Security and Medicaid. From day one President Obama has been willing to do the hard work to address the fiscal mess he inherited and move our country in the right direction. The President has worked tirelessly to bring our economy back from the brink, get it growing again and to create jobs for middle class families. He understands we have a long term deficit problem and that special interests aren’t left off the hook when it comes to paying their fair share. And sadly, to date all we’ve seen from the current GOP field is a Duck, Dodge and Dismantle approach. Tonight in Iowa we should not expect anything different than more of the same failed economic policies that brought our economy to the brink and advocacy of extreme policies that will hurt seniors and the middle class.
Today in Wisconsin, voters head to the polls to hold six Republican State Senators accountable for violating the trust of their voters, and failing to serve the needs of their communities. Earlier this year, these six Republicans supported the Governor’s extreme policies to strip the rights of Wisconsin’s workers and slash funding for schools and seniors, all while cutting tax rates for special interests. It’s a backwards agenda that sacrifices the interests of working and middle-class families. But Democrats are fighting back. Thousands of supporters from across the state have signed petitions and rallied voters affected by Republicans’ radical agenda. And today, those Republicans will be held to account. Recent polling suggests a reason to be optimistic, but all six races are still a dead heat and those districts have been solidly Republican for decades. If at least three Democratic candidates pull off upset victories, Democrats will resume control of the state Senate and the extreme agenda of an ideological few will no longer be imposed on the state. You can make phone calls from home, and every person you call can make a difference. Get started right away . If you live in Wisconsin, you can look up your polling place here: recallpollingplace.com Paid for by the Democratic National Committee — 430 South Capitol Street SE, Washington, D.C. 20003. Michelle Kleppe, Designated Agent in Wisconsin. Not authorized by any federal candidate or federal candidate’s campaign committee.
Earlier today, President Obama delivered a statement to the press and the American people about our economy, debt and deficit, the decision from S&P to change our nation’s credit rating, and the need for both parties to come together to help spur job creation. He also spoke about the military causalities this weekend in Afghanistan.
On Tuesday, August 9th, Wisconsin voters will head to the polls to determine whether six Republican state senators with should be held accountable for failing to serve the needs of Wisconsin’s hard-working families. The six Democrats running to replace them are doing so because Wisconsin workers, students, and seniors, all deserve better. The six candidates listed below will deliver for Wisconsin voters. Get to know them, then click on the link to call voters in their district—every phone call will make a difference. Nancy Nusbaum During her seven-year tenure as De Pere mayor, Nancy Nusbaum led the revitalization of the city’s downtown, creating more than 1,800 community jobs and reducing the city’s debt by $7 million—all while cutting taxes by 29 percent. Nancy went on to serve as Brown County Executive for eight years, where she spearheaded the building of the Resch Center, the Convention Center, and the Fox River Trail. She was also awarded an “Innovation in Government” award by Governing Magazine for her role in creating a tri-county solid waste and recycling agreement with Winnebago and Outagamie Counties that saved taxpayers $47 million. More recently, Nancy has directed Crime Victim Services for Wisconsin, leading the fight to protect abused children and standing up for victims of rape, domestic abuse, and other crimes. Make calls for Nancy: democrats.org/campaigns/WI865 Jennifer Shilling First elected to the Wisconsin Assembly in 2000, Jennifer Shilling has fought to ensure that Wisconsin residents have access to high-quality health care, education, and a clean environment. She has also been recognized for her leadership in protecting the rights of victims of domestic violence and other crimes. She currently sits on the legislature’s Joint Committee on Finance, where she has been fighting to responsibly balance the state’s budget—guided by the principle of shared sacrifice—and voting against Governor Walker’s tax giveaways to millionaires and out-of-state corporations. Make calls for Jennifer: democrats.org/campaigns/WI871 Shelly Moore A fourth-generation Wisconsinite and a local schoolteacher, Shelly Moore is making her first run for public office with the hope of representing families of northwest Wisconsin. Shelly grew up in Beloit and Minocqua, graduated from UW-Stevens Point, and is a National Board Certified teacher who currently teaches English and drama at Ellsworth Community High School. Living in northwest Wisconsin has taught Shelly that there is no problem so great or issue so divisive that good people can’t come together and come to a productive solution. Make calls for Shelly: democrats.org/campaigns/WI868 Fred Clark Fred Clark has been a small business owner for nearly two decades, running a forestry management business that provides consulting services to farmers, family forest owners, and government agencies throughout Wisconsin. As a member of the State Assembly, Fred has brought both parties together, and has been recognized by Democratic and Republican governors for his pragmatic approach to problem solving. He is a leader on forestry, conservation, education, and tourism issues. Make calls for Fred: democrats.org/campaigns/WI869 Jessica King From Fond du Lac County, Jessica King put herself through college at UW-Oshkosh with hard work and scholarships after spending much of her childhood in and out of foster care. After earning a law degree from Thomas Jefferson Law School, she opened her own firm specializing in helping families to overcome financial hardships. In 2007, Jessica was elected to the Oshkosh City Council and subsequently served as the city’s deputy mayor. On the Oshkosh City Council, Jessica was a strong voice for fiscal responsibility, voting against a pay raise for the council and helping to pass a balanced budget on schedule. Make calls for Jessica: democrats.org/campaigns/WI870 Sandy Pasch Currently a State Assembly member, Sandy Pasch is a leader in the public and non-profit sectors on public health and mental health matters. She fought insurance companies by ensuring care for patients with pre-existing conditions; fought predatory lenders by cracking down on the payday lending industry; and fought big corporations by closing a tax loophole. Sandy was one of three Wisconsin legislators awarded a fellowship for the Bowhay Institute for Legislative Leadership Development and was appointed to the Wisconsin Women’s Council, an agency committed to enhancing economic opportunities for women in Wisconsin. Make calls for Sandy: democrats.org/campaigns/WI867 Paid for by the Democratic National Committee — 430 South Capitol Street SE, Washington, D.C. 20003. Michelle Kleppe, Designated Agent in Wisconsin. Not authorized by any federal candidate or federal candidate’s campaign committee.
This morning, The Labor Department announced better-than-expected numbers for jobs—the private sector added 154,000 jobs during the month of July, and unemployment ticked down to 9.1 percent. Today’s better than expected report marks 17 consecutive months of private-sector gains totaling more than 2.4 million jobs. The President welcomes this positive news but remains unsatisfied with the pace of recovery—and he will continue to do everything in his control, which includes pushing Congress, to help accelerate American growth. That’s why Austan Goolsbee, Chairman of the Council on Economic Advisors, called on Congress to take action: Bipartisan action is needed to help the private sector and the economy grow – such as measures to extend both the payroll tax cut and unemployment insurance, as well as passing the pending free trade agreements with re-employment assistance for displaced workers, the patent reform bill, and a bipartisan infrastructure bill to help put Americans back to work. […] We will continue to work with Congress to build on these efforts to achieve a broader balanced deficit reduction agreement that instills confidence and allows us to live within our means without shortchanging future growth. The chart below shows the economic turnaround since President Obama took office, from precipitous loss to steady gains:
This morning at 8:30 a.m. ET, the Labor Department released July’s jobs numbers. As the responsible, thoughtful, and highest-ranking GOP leader, one might hope that Speaker Boehner could have reviewed the data, huddled with his economic advisors, and composed an appropriate response befitting the nuance and depth of the report. Instead, he released a press statement, even before considering that the economy added a better than expected 154,000 private-sector jobs, loaded with the same shallow rhetoric and false claims as usual. It’s a response that couldn’t have been more partisan, and Americans deserve better. So, let’s set the record straight: Speaker Boehner claim: Today’s unemployment report is more proof that all of the Washington spending, taxing, and regulating is devastating our economy. The Facts: Government spending under President Obama has decreased as a share of GDP from 25 percent to 23.6 percent (2012 estimate)—under President Bush (with John Boehner’s support), spending increased from 18.2 percent of GDP to 25 percent. President Obama reduced the overall tax rate to historically low levels , and cut taxes for 95 percent of working families through the Recovery Act and 159 million workers through the payroll tax cut included in the December tax agreement. Also, the President has spearheaded an unprecedented administration-wide effort to streamline unnecessary regulations to eliminate barriers to job creation. Speaker Boehner claim: [The] Democrats running Washington are determined to punish small businesses with higher taxes and more red tape – including hundreds of new regulations last month alone – and to keep their spending binge going at all costs. The Facts: President Obama has cut taxes for small business at least 17 times , launched the National Export Initiative to expand markets, created Startup America to connect small businesses with resources and knowledge, and the SBA has issued loans to more than 113,000 loans to small businesses. Hardly impediments for small businesses to grow. Speaker Boehner claim: Instead of more jobs, they’re creating more fear, more uncertainty, and more debt. T he Facts: The Labor Department today announced the private sector added 154,000 new jobs during the month of July—totaling more than 2.4 million jobs created over the past 17 consecutive months. The pace of recovery isn’t fast enough, but 2.4 million families are now better able to make ends meet. Additionally, it’s absolutely unbelievable that Speaker Boehner still has the gall to claim that Democrats are creating uncertainty. Over the past nine months, Republicans have threatened a tax hike on American families (fighting for the wealthiest Americans), a government shutdown, and the first-ever government default. The GOP has institutionalized brinksmanship as their standard operating procedure. Time and again, their intransigence and reckless tactics have created widespread economic uncertainty . To claim otherwise is simply disingenuous. While President Obama and Congressional Democrats continue to govern responsibly, fighting every day to create jobs and strengthen the working and middle-class families, the GOP is blinded by ideology and focused on tax breaks for millionaires and loopholes for oil companies.
The White House today released this great infographic explaining the details of the bipartisan debt agreement reached earlier this week:
For the past 11 days, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has been partially shut down. That fact has thus far resulted in $250 million in lost revenue, put 74,000 employees out of work, stalled construction projects, and forced safety inspectors to cover their own travel expenses while working without pay. Why? Congress refused to approve the FAA’s budget before skipping town for August recess. What staggering impediment is preventing Congress from doing its job? House Republicans’ insistence on overturning a non-partisan, objective ruling that benefits workers. Here’s some background. In May 2010, the National Mediation Board ruled that union-organized elections should be decided by a majority of those who vote. But now House Republicans are using the FAA reauthorization as a hostage to revert back to an antiquated airline-election rule that says eligible voters who don’t vote are considered a “no” vote. Funding for the FAA expired on July 23rd and needed to be reauthorized by Congress. Instead of passing a clean, non-controversial extension, as Congress has done 20 times before , House Republicans passed a bill that attempts to overturn the National Mediation Board’s ruling—and they refuse to consider any alterative. The controversial anti-worker provision in the House-passed bill would benefit Delta Airlines, a non-unionized company, specifically. Here’s what Senator Reid had to say about the impasse: Four thousand air travel employees are out of work and safety inspectors are working without pay because Republicans are playing reckless games with airline safety. Republicans are trying to jam through a policy that benefits the CEO of Delta Airlines, and laying off thousands of air travel workers just because they are not getting their way. If this partial shutdown continues until September 7th, when both houses of Congress return, roughly $1.4 billion in revenue will be lost. Republicans are essentially using the same strategy of brinksmanship that almost caused a government default—expect in this case, the FAA actually has partially shut down. Ray LaHood, Secretary of Transportation and former Republican Congressman, pointed the finger at Republicans and blamed their intransigence for bringing us to this point. Earlier today at a Cabinet meeting, President Obama implored Congress to resolve the issue: So I’m urging the House and the Senate to take care of this. This is an example of a self-inflicted wound that is unnecessary. And my expectation and I think the American people’s expectation is, is that this gets resolved before the end of this week. Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz echoed the President’s appeal, citing the harm it’s caused in her Florida Congressional District: [This] action has frozen roughly $10 million in construction grants, halted much needed improvements to our local airports and left local workers on these projects without a paycheck. Click here to read the President’s full remarks at today’s Cabinet meeting.