How much could you (and everyone else) pay for health care in the years ahead thanks to the president’s health care law? According to the nation’s insurers, a lot more — in the individual market an average of double what we pay now with some rates soaring by more than 400 percent. That’s what the nation’s 17 largest insurers told the House Energy & Commerce Committee. You can see the whole report here . “Internal cost estimates from 17 of the nation’s largest insurance companies indicate that health insurance premiums will grow an average of 100 percent under Obamacare ,” reported the Washington Examiner . “ [S]ome will soar more than 400 percent , crushing the administration’s goal of affordability.” “The report said existing customers in the individual market can expect rate hikes of 73 percent,” wrote The Hill . “[N]ew customers’ premiums will cost 96 percent more. Small businesses could see rates climb by 50 percent, according to data from one insurer.” Health & Human Services Secretary Sebelius herself admitted premiums will increase for Americans . See Energy & Commerce’s state-by-state breakdown to get an idea of the higher costs ahead under ObamaCare, and read more in the report here . With all the new “ mandates, taxes, and fees ,” as well as a tower of new regulations (seriously — a red tape tower ), ObamaCare is undermining our economy by driving prices up and making it harder for small businesses to hire . Then of course, there’s this: the IRS will “ play a dominant role in health care ” under the president’s law. Do we trust these guys to “enforce most of the laws involved in the reform?” The House will vote today to fully repeal the health care law. Learn more about this vote, and other successful efforts to repeal and defund parts of the law, here . LIKE & SHARE THE GRAPHIC ABOVE ON FACEBOOK & GOOGLE +
Posts Tagged ‘taxes’
WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) released the following statement after the House passed H.R. 45, legislation fully repealing and defunding the president’s health care law: “This is all about jobs. The president’s health care law is already undermining our economy — employers are cutting workers and cutting hours, costs are going up, and even Democrats are worried the whole thing is headed for a train wreck. There are also serious concerns about whether the IRS should be involved in our health care at all, let alone as the law’s chief enforcer. Fully repealing ObamaCare will help us build a stronger, healthier economy, and will clear the way for patient-centered reforms that lower health care costs and protect jobs. This is a good, common-sense bill, and I thank Congresswoman Bachmann for her leadership in bringing it to a vote today.” NOTE : This is the third time the Republican-led House has voted to fully repeal the president’s health care law since 2011. President Obama has signed several other bills that repeal or defund parts of the law — you can see a list of those bills here . # # # # #
This week’s Republican address focuses on the president’s health care law, from how it’s hurting jobs in America to how the IRS will be in charge of enforcing many of its rules and regulations. Delivering the address is Rep. Andy Harris (R-MD), a physician who, like many Americans, supports repealing ObamaCare to focus on patient-centered reforms that lower costs, protect jobs, and bolster disease and disorder research. There are a number of ways you can access the Weekly Republican Address: Watch the video on YouTube . Listen to the audio on GOP.gov . Read the transcript right here on Speaker.gov . For now, here are some excerpts from early coverage of the address: ObamaCare & the IRS: “ GOP links ObamaCare, IRS scandal in address. House Republicans on Saturday touted their recent vote to repeal the Affordable Healthcare Act, tying it to the unfolding IRS scandal and a member of President Obama’s cabinet under fire for fundraising. … Harris decried the new healthcare law by suggesting that it would be mismanaged by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). …. ‘Now, just think about the fact that it’s the IRS that will be responsible for enforcing many of these regulations,’ Harris said in this week’s GOP address. ‘If we’ve learned anything this week, it’s that the IRS needs less power, not more.’” ( The Hill , 5/18/13) “ GOP: IRS scandal is one more strike against health care law. Republicans capped the week with another attack against President Obama’s health care reform, criticizing the law and its relationship with the Internal Revenue Service. … Republicans … used the controversy to further criticize health care reform, as the IRS is tasked with implementing many of the law’s provisions. Lawmakers also highlighted the fact that the current director of the Affordable Care Act office in the IRS used to head up the agency’s tax exempt/government entities office, the same department taking heat over the recent dust-up with conservative groups . ‘You can’t make this stuff up,’ Harris said in the address.” ( CNN , 5/18/13) “ Harris links IRS scandal to Obamacare in address . Rep. Andy Harris of Maryland used a rare opportunity to speak on behalf of the Republican Party on Saturday to tie the unfolding IRS scandal to President Barack Obama’s 2010 overhaul of the nation’s health care system. Noting that the Internal Revenue Service will be responsible with taxing individuals who fail to obtain health insurance, Harris argued that, ‘if we’ve learned anything this week, it’s that the IRS needs less power, not more.’ ” ( Baltimore Sun , 5/18/13) “Harris, in the weekly Saturday Republican media address, questioned the federal tax agency’s responsibility for levying fines against individuals who fail to meet new health insurance mandates….” ( UPI , 5/18/13) ObamaCare & Jobs: “With several of the health care reforms taking effect next year, Republicans are drumming up more opposition to the law. Harris argued the law’s mandate to purchase health insurance would ‘turn lives upside down’ and fears of rising costs are discouraging small business owners from hiring new workers. ‘Obamacare is knocking Americans off the ladder of opportunity, and the sooner we repeal it, the sooner we can start fixing health care for working families,’ said the congressman, who was elected in 2010.” ( CNN , 5/18/13) “…Republicans used the incidents as a rallying call to repeal the healthcare law. … ‘ Well here’s the problem: the train wreck is already here. ObamaCare is knocking Americans off the ladder of opportunity, and the sooner we repeal it, the sooner we can start fixing health care for working families,’ he said.” ( ABC News , 5/18/13) ObamaCare & Higher Costs From Red Tape: “ Congressman Andy Harris of Maryland delivers this week’s Republican address, joined by Sen. Mitch McConnell’s Red Tape Tower, a seven-foot tall collection of ‘all the regulations already associated with President Obama’s health care law .’ … The Red Tape Tower, standing ‘20,000 pages high and seven feet tall,’ says Harris, includes ‘the taxes, the mandates, the tricks, the traps [and] the fine print’ that he warns will be enforced by the IRS.” ( ABC News Radio , 5/18/13) “In the Republican address, Rep. Andy Harris of Maryland says red tape in Obama’s health care law will drive up costs. He says the embattled IRS needs less power, not more.” ( Associated Press , 5/18/13) “In the Republican Party address, Representative Andy Harris of the eastern state of Maryland says ‘red tape’ in the president’s health care law … will drive up costs for Americans.” ( VOA News , 5/18/13) ObamaCare & Higher Premiums: “Rep. Andy Harris (R-Md.) used the Republican weekly address to highlight a report released by the House Energy and Commerce Committee this week that found insurance premium rates for people under ObamaCare may increase in many states . … The report found that premiums for people in about 45 states could increase by about 100 percent on average, according to 17 insurance companies that responded to questions from the committee.” ( The Hill , 5/18/13)
Your Guide to President Obama’s Upcoming Road Trip, Part Two: Will POTUS Address Admin Efforts to Block American Energy?
President Obama is embarking on a series of road trips to convince Americans he’s focused on the economy, but his administration’s history of blocking American energy production and destroying jobs suggests otherwise. When President Obama heads out to “ tout his economy and jobs plan ” this week, will he account for his administration’s record of …. Driving Down Energy Production on Federal Land? When President Obama was on the road in March, he took credit for America producing “more oil than we have in 15 years” and “more natural gas than we ever have before.” What he failed to mention was that American energy production has increased in spite of his policies, not because of them. According to the Energy Information Administration, oil production on federal land plummeted 14 percent from 2010-2011. A separate report by the non-partisan Congressional Research Service found that, since 2007, the share of total U.S. oil production coming from federal lands is down seven percent. The CRS report also notes that natural gas production “on federal lands…fell by about 33%” during that time, while “production on non-federal lands grew by 40%.” Blocking Thousands of Keystone Pipeline Jobs? President Obama has rejected , personally lobbied against , and delayed a final decision on the Keystone pipeline for more than four years. That delay has blocked the creation of 20,000 direct jobs and 100,000 indirect jobs , prevented nearly a million barrels of oil a day from reaching U.S. refineries, held back American manufacturing , and forced Canada to consider shipping Keystone jobs and energy security to China. Handing Down New Regulations That Will Drive Up Gas Prices? The Obama administration recently announced it is moving forward with a new regulation – the “Tier 3 rule” – that will drive up gas prices “ as much as an additional 9 cents per gallon .” Gas prices have already nearly doubled on President Obama’s watch, forcing American families to spend an average of four percent of their household income on gas – the highest percentage in three decades. Closing Off 85 Percent of America’s Offshore Areas to Energy Production? President Obama’s five-year leasing plan “closes 85 percent of America’s offshore areas to energy production,” according to the House Natural Resources Committee. A report by Securing America’s Future Energy – cited by the president in his own State of the Union Address – found that “[s]ignificant oil and natural gas resources on federal lands, both onshore and offshore, remain unavailable for development due to statutory restrictions and bureaucratic inertia.” Waging a War on Coal That’s Destroying Jobs? The Obama administration’s relentless war on coal – carried out through a barrage of excessive energy regulations – will contribute to the shutdown of “more than 280 coal-fired generating units….across 32 states,” The Daily Caller reports. The war on coal has already claimed hundreds of American jobs , and puts thousands more at risk – and there’s no relief in sight. According to The Hill , the Obama administration “last year unveiled draft emissions standards for new power plants that are effectively another nail in the coffin for attempts to build new coal-fired facilities,” forcing companies to cancel job-creating energy projects . If the president wants to show the American people his latest “ pivot ” to jobs is more than a PR gimmick, he can start by backing Republicans’ balanced budget that unlocks American energy , and approve the Keystone pipeline, which will create thousands of American jobs. Learn more and follow the Republican-led effort to expand American energy to help grow the economy, revitalize American manufacturing, lower gas prices and create jobs at Facebook.com/americanenergy .
Unless you’re a government employee, an outdated federal law prohibits your boss from offering you paid time off for overtime you’ve worked. Republicans want to change that, and give all Americans the same flexibility to better balance the demands of work and family. Debate begins today on the Working Families Flexibility Act (H.R. 1406) by Rep. Martha Roby (R-AL) . The bill allows employers to offer workers the choice of comp time or cash for overtime. So “if you work a few extra hours one day and prefer to take time off on another, you can,” says Speaker John Boehner in a new video. “Or if you want, you can just take the cash. Either way, YOU get to make the choice. Not your boss. And not Washington .” Watch Speaker Boehner here and read his full remarks below: For decades, government employees who work overtime have been able to choose between getting paid in cash or taking time off later. Republicans want to make sure that ALL workers have that choice. The Working Families Flexibility Act changes an outdated law so that private-sector employers are allowed to offer comp time to their employees. Under our bill, the choice is completely up to you. If you work a few extra hours one day and prefer to take time off on another, you can. That’s the time you can spend helping out your parents, taking the kids to a ballgame, or whatever you see fit. Or if you want, you can just take the cash. Either way, YOU get to make the choice. Not your boss. And not Washington. Let me know what you think by visiting speaker.gov or by joining the conversation on Twitter. I look forward to hearing from you. Here’s where to learn more about the Working Families Flexibility Act : H.R. 1406, The Working Families Flexibility Act of 2013 (Education & the Workforce Committee) H.R. 1406, The Working Families Flexibility Act of 2013: Empowering Families and Protecting Workers (Education & the Workforce Committee) Alabama Bookkeeper Shares What ‘Comp Time’ Bill Would Mean for Her & Millions of Hardworking Americans New Video Highlights Working Families Flexibility Act: “You Shouldn’t Have to Choose Work or Family”
On Fox Business & Bloomberg TV, Boehner Highlights GOP Plan to Promote Stronger Economic Growth & Job Creation
Speaker Boehner sat down with Peter Cook of Bloomberg TV and Rich Edson of Fox Business this evening to continue pressing the need for policies – including fixing our broken tax code, expanding American energy, and addressing America’s fiscal crisis – that will produce the type of sustained, robust economic growth and job creation American families and small businesses need. Here are a few excerpts from the interviews: On the Republican Plan to Get the Economy Moving Again: “Republicans have a plan to get our economy going again, get wages growing again and get job opportunities growing again. Things like fixing our long-term spending problem, fixing our broken tax code to make America more competitive. How about expanding American energy production and the Keystone Pipeline? There are a lot of things. The red tape – in many cases, it’s the president’s own policies that are getting in the way of growing our economy.” (Bloomberg) On the President’s Policies Holding Back Economic Growth: “The president wants to go out there and crow about the fact that the economy is growing, barely. This is not the kind of economic growth that – that’s going to help our country long term. You’ve got wages that are stagnant. You have few opportunities of, if you will, walking up the economic ladder. … I used to run a small business. I know exactly what small businesses are thinking. They’re looking at ObamaCare. They’re looking at all these rules and regulations, an outdated tax system, and they’re scared to death. And when they’re scared to death, you know what they do? They sit on their wallet and wait for the picture to clear.” (Bloomberg) On the Need to Simplify the Tax Code to Boost U.S. Competitiveness: “But I do know that the president understands that our tax system is broken. Members of Congress on both sides of the aisle understand that our system is broken. We need to simplify our code, bring the rates down, get rid of the loopholes, and fix our international problem. We can make America more competitive if we had a tax code that people understood.” (Fox Business) On There Being No Reason to Continue Blocking the Keystone Pipeline: “There is no reason for Keystone not to be approved. None. Do you realize there are almost 200,000 of pipeline that operate safely in the United States every day? This is an important part of our energy future. Taking the crude oil from North Dakota, Southern Canada and moving it to where the refineries are on the Gulf Coast. We can do it safely, there’s no reason – no reason – why it should not be approved.” (Fox Business) On the Need for a Balanced Budget: “The federal government has spent more than what it has brought in for 55 of the last 60 years. This year we’ll have the highest amount of revenue to our government we’ve ever had in our history and yet still have a trillion dollar budget deficit. We have a long-term spending problem that has to be resolved, and it will be resolved. And so, I don’t know what it’s going to take. Republicans put our budget out, passed it back in March. Democrats passed a budget in the Senate. Our budget balances over the next 10 years. The Democrats’ budget and the president’s budget never come to balance. And if they don’t ever come to balance, well then you can continue to keep spending money you don’t have.” (Fox Business)
Appearing on CBS’ This Morning, Rep. Martha Roby (R-AL) highlighted the Working Families Flexibility Act (H.R. 1406), legislation on the House floor today that will help hardworking Americans better balance the demands of work and family. By eliminating an outdated federal law, the bill gives workers the freedom to choose whether to be compensated for overtime with extra pay or time off – a choice public-sector employees have had for decades. As a working mother of two, Rep. Roby explained what that extra flexibility will mean for millions of moms and dads: “As a mom that wants to be there for the PTA meeting or for the swim meet, to have that flexibility is huge. “The great thing about this is that it’s up to the employee to determine how to use it because it’s your time. You get to decide how to use your time.” Responding to the Obama administration’s patently false claim that workers would be denied overtime pay under the law, Rep. Roby set the record straight: “That’s just false. It doesn’t undermine overtime pay because if an employee wants overtime pay for time that they’ve worked beyond the 40-hour work week, under this law they’re certainly still entitled to that.” When it comes to the ability to choose paid time off over extra pay, The Working Families Flexibility Act extends the same rights and protections to private-sector workers as their public-sector counterparts. Whether a worker chooses to take time off for a ball game or parent-teacher conference, or takes the extra pay, the bottom line is “you get to make the choice. Not your boss. And not Washington,” Speaker Boehner said in a recent video supporting the bill. All hardworking Americans are doing the best they can to make ends meet and make time for their families, private-sector workers shouldn’t have to face extra obstacles put in front of them by an arbitrary and outdated law. Learn more at about the Working Families Flexibility Act at edworkforce.house.gov/yourtime , share your thoughts here on the Speaker’s blog or join the conversation on Twitter using the hashtag #yourtime.
WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) today issued the following statement applauding South Korean president Park Geun-hye’s address to a joint meeting of Congress: “What a powerful and inspiring address by President Park, who reminded us that we will only live in peace and freedom if we truly celebrate these values and defend them when they are tested. Fittingly, she spoke to Congress on the birthday of President Harry Truman, who planted the seeds of this friendship and whose commitment to defending South Korea is one the United States always has kept and will keep. It was a great honor to welcome President Park to the Capitol, discuss shared economic and security priorities, and thank her and her people for their steadfastness and friendship.” NOTE: Speaker Boehner welcomed President Park to the U.S. Capitol in a one-on-one meeting prior to her address, the first by a visiting dignitary to the 113th Congress. A high-resolution photo of their meeting can be found here .
It’s well documented that in the days and weeks following the attack on the American consulate in Benghazi on September 11, 2012, the Obama administration conveyed to the American people a wholly inaccurate account of the events. The talking points used by senior administration officials, including U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice, had been altered to remove any references to the participation of Islamic terrorists in the attack and the previous terrorist threats in the area. For months, the White House has suggested it had no part in editing the talking points – which served as the United State’s government’s official explanation of what took place that night. We now know those claims aren’t true. Again today the White House said that changes made to the talking points were made almost exclusively by the intelligence community, ignoring the fact that senior White House and State Department officials directed the CIA to change those talking points. Hiding behind the CIA, the President’s spokesman claimed this afternoon that White House changes amounted to a single word, for “stylistic” purposes. However, the recent disclosure by a five-committee investigation of internal email correspondence demonstrates that substantive edits – nearly a wholesale rewrite – were directed by White House and senior State Department officials to the CIA. From the multi-committee interim report : “When draft talking points were sent to officials throughout the Executive Branch, senior State Department officials requested the talking points be changed to avoid criticism for ignoring the threat environment in Benghazi. Specifically, State Department emails reveal senior officials had ‘serious concerns’ about the talking points, because Members of Congress might attack the State Department for “not paying attention to Agency warnings” about the growing threat in Benghazi. This process to alter the talking points can only be construed as a deliberate effort to mislead Congress and the American people. “After slight modifications were made on Friday, September 14, a senior State Department official again responded that the edits did not ‘resolve all my issues or those of my building leadership,’ and that the Department’s leadership was ‘consulting with [National Security Staff].’ Several minutes later, White House officials responded by stating that the State Department’s concerns would have to be taken into account and asserted further discussion would occur the following morning at a Deputies Committee Meeting. “After the Deputies Committee Meeting on Saturday, September 15, 2012, at which any interagency disagreement would be resolved by the White House, a small group of officials from both the State Department and the CIA worked to modify the talking points to their final form to reflect the decision reached in the Deputies meeting. The actual edits were made by a current high-ranking CIA official. Those edits struck any and all suggestions that the State Department had been previously warned of threats in the region, that there had been previous attacks in Benghazi by al-Qa’ida-linked groups in Benghazi and eastern Libya, and that extremists linked to al-Qa’ida may have participated in the attack on the Benghazi Mission . The talking points also excluded details about the wide availability of weapons and experienced fighters in Libya, an exacerbating factor that contributed to the lethality of the attacks.” From these emails (recently denied to be made public by the White House), it’s clear that the State Department and White House were deeply involved in re-drafting these talking points. Cynically claiming that the White House bears no responsibility for the talking points because a CIA officer physically made the changes is the kind of evasion that won’t fly with the American people. The question isn’t who was sitting at the keyboard; it’s who decided not to tell the American people the truth. The White House should make these emails public and explain to the American people their motives for stripping the talking points of critical information.
As a working mom, I’ve always been a big fan of “Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day,” and I couldn’t wait to meet everyone’s families at the DNC headquarters this year! I have twins, Rebecca and Jake, who are about to head into high school and my baby girl, Shelby, is nine years old. With them in mind, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about and advocating for policies that will help provide families the opportunity to succeed both at work and at home. This is personal for me. I’ve missed birthdays for votes and votes for birthdays. I’ve reviewed homework by fax and now thankfully, on my iPad. I’ve come up with ideas for legislation while grocery shopping and on the soccer fields. And I’ve had some pretty surreal conversations with the leaders of our country while cheering on my kids from the sidelines of many, many games. That’s why I was thrilled to be asked to join President Obama’s team as DNC Chair and why I’m so proud to work with President Obama to make America’s children and working families a priority. Since taking office, President Obama and his administration has: Cut taxes for 95% of working families, who received up to $800 for a couple in 2009 and 2010. Cut payroll taxes for 160 million workers, saving a typical family earning $50,000 a year $1,000 in 2011 and 2012. Provided as much as $10,000 over four years to help working families put a child through college. As a result of the Affordable Care Act, starting in 2014, about 18 million individuals and families will get tax credits for health insurance coverage. Young adults will be able to stay on their parents’ health care plan until age 26 and over the next ten years, working families will receive nearly $700 billion in tax credits to help them pay for health insurance. And much more. In fact, federal income taxes on middle-income families are now at nearly their lowest level as a share of income since the Eisenhower Administration. President Obama has invested in America’s working families from day one. But he can’t do it alone. We need to elect more good people at all levels of government who share common values and can both understand and empathize with the needs of working families. Working families want the American Dream. They want an America that works for everyone and they have the right to expect nothing less.
WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) today announced that he will invite President Park Geun-hye of the Republic of Korea to address a joint meeting of Congress on Wednesday, May 8, 2013. “It will be my honor to welcome President Park to the United States Capitol next month,” Speaker Boehner said. “ Given the North Korean regime’s recent provocative actions, President Park’s address to Congress will serve as a vital and timely reminder that Americans and South Koreans will continue to stand shoulder to shoulder to preserve our hopes for peace and freedom.” President Park is the 11th president of the Republic of Korea, and will be the sixth to address a joint meeting of Congress . Previous South Korean presidents to address Congress include: October 13, 2011: Joint meeting with Lee Myung-bak, President of the Republic of Korea June 10, 1998 : Joint meeting with Kim Dae-jung, President of the Republic of Korea July 26, 1995 : Joint meeting with Kim Yong-sam, President of the Republic of Korea October 18, 1989 : Joint meeting with Roh Tae Woo, President of the Republic of Korea July 28, 1954 : Joint meeting with Syngman Rhee, President of the Republic of Korea
WASHINGTON, D.C. – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers (R-KY), and House Administration Committee Chairman Candice Miller (R-MI) announced today that after three years under Republican leadership, the House of Representatives is on track to save taxpayers more than $400 million in House operations by the end of the fiscal year, keeping the GOP pledge to “make Congress do more with less by significantly reducing its budget.” “House Republicans made a pledge to rein in government spending, starting with Congress’ own budget, and from the very first vote of our new majority in the House, we’ve worked to keep that promise,” said Speaker Boehner . “Many families and small businesses are cutting back, and it’s only right that the House of Representatives lead by example.” “Just as we are asking every federal agency to rein in their spending, we in the House are making serious cuts to our own budgets – tightening our belts, trimming the fat, and running a leaner, more efficient legislative branch,” said Chairman Rogers . “While it hasn’t always been easy, we’ve made responsible choices to find ways to make these budget cuts work. As a result, these cuts are dyed-in-wool proof for the American people that their government can make some of the same sacrifices that they’ve had to make, and still get the job done.” “While Executive Branch spending continues to rise, American taxpayers are struggling to make ends meet,” added Chairman Miller . “That’s not right. Congress is not, and should not be, immune to our economic hardship, which is why Republicans have implemented the largest cut to the House’s operating budget in recent history, forcing Members to do more with less – just like the rest of the country.” NOTE : House Republicans are on track to save taxpayers $405 million in the first three years of the new Republican majority. This includes approximately $58 million in savings in FY 2011, another $143 million in FY 2012, and $205 million in FY 2013 (a portion of which is the result of sequestration, which the House has implemented without furloughs). The largest share of the cuts come from House committees, leadership offices, and individual lawmakers’ MRAs. House officers, including the Clerk, Sergeant at Arms, and CAO, are also doing more with less. The infographic below ( click here for high-res version ) compares the spending trajectory of the previous Democratic majority through FY 2010 with the savings enacted under Republican leadership.
WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) issued the following statement on the Assad regime’s use of chemical weapons in Syria: “I have and will continue to support the President’s articulated red line of confirmation of the use of chemical weapons or the transfer of such weapons to terrorist groups. At the same time, I am deeply concerned with reports that further confirmation of use may be outsourced to the United Nations. If Assad sees any equivocation on the red line, it will embolden his regime. “The United States has vital national interests in Syria becoming a peaceful country with a stable, representative government. After two years of brutal conflict, it’s past time for the President to have a robust conversation with the Congress and the American people about how best to bring Assad’s tyranny to an end.”
WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) released the following statement after the House passed a bipartisan bill to transfer funds within the FAA budget to alleviate the need for furloughs of American air traffic controllers: “The disruption to America’s air traffic system over the past week was a consequence of the administration’s choice to implement the president’s sequestration cuts in the most painful manner possible. It’s unacceptable that the FAA chose not to plan for sequestration or utilize the flexibility it already has. Americans were rightly fed up, and it’s unfortunate that the House and Senate were forced to step in and fix the problem when the President chose not to act. “With this solution, Americans will no longer be burdened by President Obama’s flight delays and our economy will not take an unnecessary hit. This fix will prevent furloughs of air traffic controllers and do so without any new revenue and without adding to the debt. Just like we’ve done here in the House , the administration must learn how to do more with less. Sequestration is bad policy. That’s why the House voted twice to replace it with smarter cuts. But while it is here, the president has an obligation to implement these cuts in a way that respects the American people, rather than using them for political leverage.”
WASHINGTON, DC – Delivering the Weekly Republican Address, House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster (R-PA) discusses the House’s efforts to ease the flight delays Americans have been experiencing because of the way in which the Obama administration implemented the president’s automatic sequestration cuts. NOTE: The Weekly Republican Address is embargoed until 6:00 a.m. ET, Saturday, April 27, 2013. The audio is accessible now , and video of the address will be available to view and download once the embargo is lifted. A full transcript follows. “ Hello, I’m Congressman Bill Shuster, and I serve as chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. “This week, many Americans had their flights delayed or cancelled because of the way in which the Obama administration chose to implement the president’s automatic sequestration cuts. Travelers were fed up, and rightly so. Sequestration is bad policy – the wrong way to reduce the deficit. That’s why House Republicans have voted twice to replace these automatic cuts with smarter ones. “Fortunately, after a public outcry and pressure from Congress, the Obama Administration agreed to a legislative solution to address these flight delays. That travelers will soon get relief is good news, but it shouldn’t have taken this long, and you deserve an explanation of what happened. “From the get-go, the Federal Aviation Administration could have acted on its own to responsibly implement the president’s sequester without inflicting this kind of pain on the public. “They could have cut spending elsewhere. They could have taken into account air traffic patterns, and made sure controllers would be in place where they were most needed. Or they could have reached out to Congress and the airlines to have a plan in place ahead of time. “Instead, the FAA imposed blanket across-the-board furloughs, including air traffic controllers, causing these extensive delays. Why? Because there are some in the Obama Administration who thought inflicting pain on the public would give the president more leverage to avoid making necessary spending cuts, and to impose more tax hikes on the American people. “So rather than fix the problem immediately, the Obama Administration spent days claiming its hands were tied, when just the opposite was true. The government’s top lawyers during the Clinton and George W. Bush Administrations came out and stated that the FAA had options to limit or avoid these delays. Members of both parties echoed these sentiments, asking the FAA to explain its decision-making. Republicans kept the heat on using every available platform, including Twitter, with the hashtag ObamaFlightDelays. “The pressure worked, and again we’ve seen that when the people speak out, government has an obligation to listen. “This episode is yet another demonstration of why we need to replace the president’s sequester with smarter, more responsible cuts. The American people deserve better, and leaders in Washington have an obligation to respect your time and money. “Here in the House, we began planning well ahead of time to make sure the president’s sequester would not interfere with the business of the people and their ability to tour the Capitol. Going back even further – to Republicans’ first vote in the majority in 2011 – we have focused on making operations more efficient and cost-effective. As a result, the House is on track to save taxpayers more than $400 million in operational costs. We’ve shown working families we can do more with less, just as they are. This isn’t something to pat our backs over; it’s just what good government looks like. “Thank you for making your voice heard. Enjoy the rest of your weekend.”
In this week’s Republican address , House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster (R-PA) says the Obama administration’s plan to gain leverage for more tax increases by imposing flight delays failed in the face of a public outcry and pressure from Congress. Shuster thanks fed-up travelers and taxpayers for making their voices heard, saying, “Again we’ve seen that when the people speak out, government has an obligation to listen.” Here are some highlights from early coverage of the address, which you can now read , listen to , watch , and download : “ GOP: Administration wanted to inflict pain with flight delays. The Republican chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee on Saturday accused the Obama administration of purposefully wanting to inflict pain on the public through flight delays. … Shuster applauded the public for putting pressure on the White House to accept a legislative fix to the flight delays. … ‘The pressure worked, and again we’ve seen that when the people speak out, government has an obligation to listen,’ Shuster said.” ( The Hill , 4/26/13) “ White House, GOP spar after FAA reprieve. … Rep. Bill Shuster, chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, agreed in the GOP weekly address that the automatic spending cuts needed to be replaced. But he said the delays caused by the FAA staffing shortages were an unnecessary – and politically motivated – move to force Congress into agreeing to higher taxes . The agency could have found other ways to cut its budget aside from staffing reductions, he said. ‘They could have taken into account air traffic patterns, and made sure controllers would be in place where they were most needed,’ Shuster argued. ‘Or they could have reached out to Congress and the airlines to have a plan in place ahead of time.’” ( CNN , 4/26/13) “ Obama and GOP Spar Over Direction of Cuts. … Republicans responded by accusing the president of deliberately provoking a crisis for political purposes. … In the Republican response, Representative Bill Shuster of Pennsylvania, chairman of the House transportation committee, asked why the controllers were furloughed. ‘Because,’ he said, ‘there are some in the Obama administration who thought inflicting pain on the public would give the president more leverage to avoid making necessary spending cuts and to impose more tax hikes on the American people.’ … Mr. Shuster said the Obama administration always had enough flexibility to avert the airport bottlenecks of the last week.” ( The New York Times , 4/26/13) “Republicans have rejected Obama’s proposal to replace the spending reductions with a mix of spending cuts and tax increases. ‘There are some in the Obama administration who thought inflicting pain on the public would give the president more leverage to avoid making necessary spending cuts, and to impose more tax hikes on the American people,’ said Rep. Bill Shuster of Pennsylvania in the Republican address. … Shuster, chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, said the FAA could have averted the flight delays on its own by cutting costs elsewhere and rejiggering work schedules, but chose not to do so.” ( Associated Press , 4/26/13) “In the Republican address Saturday, Representative Bill Shuster of Pennsylvania argued that the Federal Aviation Administration could have averted flight delays by cutting costs elsewhere and changing work schedules, but intentionally chose not to. He also said some in the White House ‘thought inflicting pain on the public’ would give the president leverage to avoid making spending cuts and to impose tax hikes on Americans.” ( VOA News , 4/26/13) “Rep. Bill Shuster, delivering the GOP’s weekly media address, said the layoffs were caused by ‘bad policy’ – across the board budget cuts from sequestration… Charging such a practice was ‘the wrong way to reduce the deficit,’ the Pennsylvania Republican noted that Congress approved a temporary solution to the flight delays on Friday, restructuring $600 million in FAA cuts… The solution shouldn’t have taken so long, he said. … He said sequestration needed to be replaced with ‘smarter, more responsible cuts .’” ( UPI , 4/26/13) “The Chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, Rep. Bill Shuster, discusses in this week’s Republican address the House’s efforts to ease flight delays for Americans due to staffing furloughs as a result of sequester cuts. … Shuster says that instead of making cuts elsewhere, the FAA imposed ‘blanket across-the-board furloughs’ that caused the extensive delays. ‘This episode is yet another demonstration of why we need to replace the president’s sequester with smarter, more responsible cuts,’ Shuster says, criticizing President Obama’s handling of the deficit. ‘The American people deserve better, and leaders in Washington have an obligation to respect your time and money.’” ( ABC News Radio , 4/26/13) “Blaming the week’s flight delays on ‘the way in which the Obama administration chose to implement the president’s automatic sequestration cuts,’ Shuster, the chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, said, ‘From the get-go, the Federal Aviation Administration could have acted on its own to responsibly implement the president’s sequester without inflicting this kind of pain on the public.” ( CBS News , 4/26/13)
The House Energy & Commerce Committee today approved the Northern Route Approval Act (H.R. 3), legislation by Rep. Lee Terry (R-NE) that clears the way for construction of the popular Keystone XL pipeline . Keystone XL has already been delayed for more than four years, and there remain a number of bureaucratic and legal hurdles even if the president approves the project. H.R. 3 clears those roadblocks . According to the Energy & Commerce committee , “Similar legislation was necessary in 1973 to achieve construction of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline after facing many of the same challenges.” And “just as the Trans-Alaskan Pipeline was a game changer in the 1970s, the Keystone XL project will be a game changer in our pursuit of North American energy independence,” said Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) . Keystone will create tens of thousands of new jobs and help make gas prices and energy more affordable , and it has broad bipartisan support in Washington and among the American people. Learn more about the Northern Route Approval Act here and about the Keystone XL pipeline here .
Last year, Speaker John Boehner directed five House committees to begin investigating the terrorist attacks in Benghazi. At his press conference today, the Speaker said the committees will soon release a progress report outlining their findings and the next steps in the investigation: “We are determined to get to the truth regarding the terrorist attack on our Mission in Benghazi, Libya, in which four Americans lost their lives. “Last year, I directed five Committees to look at various parts of this investigation. Next week, these committees will provide a comprehensive progress report on the investigation up to now. This progress report will NOT represent the conclusion of their investigation, but it’ll be the beginning of what I would describe as the next phase. “This is a matter of national security and national importance, and our investigation will in fact continue.”
The House Education & the Workforce Committee has voted to advance the Working Families Flexibility Act ( H.R. 1406 ), legislation introduced by Rep. Martha Roby (R-AL) that will help hardworking Americans better balance the demands of work and family. For nearly 30 years, federal workers have been able to choose between overtime pay and ‘comp time,’ while federal regulations have barred their private-sector counterparts from doing the same. “For some workers, having extra paid time off is actually more valuable than money. And, if that’s the case, why should Washington stand in the way?” said Rep. Roby . “The Working Families Flexibility Act would finally offer working Americans in the private-sector what their peers in the public-sector already enjoy – more freedom and more control over their time so they can spend it the way they choose.” The Working Families Flexibility Act makes clear that “receiving paid time off or ‘comp time’ for working overtime hours is completely voluntary,” according to the committee, and any “employee who prefers to receive cash payment for overtime hours worked is always free to do so.” For Karen DeLoach , a bookkeeper from Montgomery, AL who testified in support of the legislation earlier this month, the Working Families Flexiblity Act will “empower families across the nation with the freedom of choice.” “You could afford me the freedom to choose to use my overtime as leave time, while my coworker can still choose overtime pay, if she likes,” said DeLoach. Learn more about the Working Families Flexibility Act at edworkforce.house.gov/yourtime and join the conversation on Twitter using the hashtag #YourTime.
House Vote Requires NLRB to “Cease All Activity,” “Stop Exacerbating a Crisis That is Harming the American Workforce”
A bill passed by the House today protects workers and employers by stopping the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) from issuing new decisions until its members are constitutionally appointed. The Preventing Greater Uncertainty in Labor-Management Relations Act (H.R. 1120) by Rep. Phil Roe (R-TN) requires the board to “cease all activity” and prohibits it “from enforcing any action taken after January 2012 or making any interagency appointments that require a quorum.” The problem began in January 2012 when President Obama unilaterally installed three members to the NLRB without the approval of the U.S. Senate – even though Congress wasn’t in recess. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled that those appointments were unconstitutional. But the board said it would continue to hand out decisions “ as if the court’s ruling didn’t happen .” The Education & the Workforce Committee says “legal uncertainty surrounding the board has increased” since the court’s ruling. Chairman John Kline (R-MN) says, “Roughly 600 decisions are now constitutionally suspect and that number grows with each new decision.” And the Wall Street Journal reported that, “Dozens of companies are seeking to void or block rulings” by NLRB “in the wake of a court decision that found President Barack Obama’s board appointments unconstitutional.” “Every decision made by this rogue panel creates more uncertainty and threatens American jobs,” said Speaker John Boehner. “This bill protects both workers and employers by shutting down the board until the legal and constitutional questions created by the president’s appointments have been resolved.” In a letter to President Obama earlier this year, Speaker Boehner and Republican leaders said without a “Constitutionally confirmed quorum,” all of the NLRB’s actions are suspect, and create uncertainty – for employers and workers – that “exacerbates the jobs crisis plaguing the nation.” Under H.R. 1120, either the Supreme Court needs to rule on the constitutionality of the recess appointments, or the U.S. Senate must constitutionally confirm a quorum of the board, before the board can resume activity. “Today the House has simply instructed the board to stop exacerbating a crisis that is harming the American workforce,” said Chairman Kline . Learn more about H.R. 1120 here .
WASHINGTON, D.C. – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) today announced he will send a delegation to London this week to represent the U.S. House of Representatives at the funeral of Baroness Margaret Thatcher, former prime minister of the United Kingdom. The delegation will be led by Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN). “ Margaret Thatcher was one of the greatest champions freedom has ever known, and her funeral gives Americans and friends around the world an opportunity to pay final respects ,” Boehner said. “ I’m pleased that Congressman Blackburn will lead a House delegation to Baroness Thatcher’s funeral to communicate our prayers and condolences to her family and the British people.” The House delegation to London will also include Reps. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) and George Holding (R-NC). The House delegation will fly to London on commercial air flights, in compliance with the Speaker’s directive that Member use of military air transportation be suspended with sequestration in effect.
WASHINGTON, DC – House and Senate leaders presented Professor Muhammad Yunus with a Congressional Gold Medal today in a ceremony held in the Rotunda of the United States Capitol. The medal, awarded to Yunus in 2010 , recognizes his contributions to the fight against global poverty. Prior to the presentation, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) made the following remarks, as prepared for delivery: “Let me thank my colleagues for their fine words. In a few moments, we will present Professor Yunus with the Gold Medal. “What makes this medal so unique – so American – is that it can go to anyone from anywhere. It’s not an award we only give to generals and presidents. Because one thing that makes America more than a country is the idea that you don’t need a big job or a fancy title to do something bigger than yourself. “Professor Yunus set out to do what may be the biggest thing of all, and that is liberating people to seek a better life. And not just any people, but men and women who had only known misery, who had been told they were no good. “To do all this, he first had to teach himself how to run a bank from scratch. That was when he realized he had to do the exact opposite of what a bank normally does to make his idea work Then there was actually getting people to borrow the money, to see value in themselves, to spark their sense of wonder. He had to convince them that they too didn’t need rank or status to advance their place in life. “Then of course there were all the skeptics. One banker called his experiment ‘nothing, a flyspeck.’ Another said this ‘is not really a bank. It depends too much on Professor Yunus’s personality. We can’t have a Yunus in every branch.’ “Right then and there, in front of a table full of bankers, Professor Yunus drew up a five-year expansion plan for his experiment. And challenged them to choose areas he could never reach all at once. Of course, his plan succeeded, and millions around the world are better for it. “Yes, the idea is the thing. But as the paintings on this wall remind us, it’s the hard work and the sacrifice that separates the doers from the dreamers. “And so for Professor Muhammad Yunus – a revolutionary in his own right – the United States Mint has struck a Gold Medal, which we present with awe and gratitude.”
President Obama released his budget yesterday and – give or tax a few hundred billion in additional tax hikes – it’s pretty much what we expected. It’s been called “ a dud ,” and a “ budget fantasyland ” that is “ based on bad math, phantom revenues, imagined spending cuts .” But the best way to get a feel for what a wasted opportunity it is might be through a few simple graphics … While Republicans passed a balanced budget that would help our economy grow and improve the lives of the American people, the White House says the president’s budget doesn’t balance. In fact, instead of addressing our spending problem, it adds to it — $8.2 trillion in new debt. His budget doesn’t mention the popular Keystone XL pipeline, and it continues to block energy production that would create jobs and make energy more affordable. It raises taxes another $1.1 trillion but has zero net spending cuts. And it ignores the growing problem of ObamaCare, which is driving up prices and making it harder for small businesses to hire. Have a look, share, and let us know what you think in the comments below.
At a Small Business Committee hearing yesterday, Ways & Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-MI) explained what a fairer, simpler tax code would mean for small businesses (fewer costs and headaches) and workers (more jobs and higher wages): “Simply put, the tax code ought to be easier to understand and less expensive for small businesses to comply with – because every dollar they aren’t spending on taxes and tax compliance is a dollar they have to invest in equipment, start a new production line, hire a new employee or provide more wages and benefits. That is my goal for comprehensive tax reform – a simpler, fairer tax code that leads to more jobs and higher wages.” Our current tax code imposes big costs on small businesses. According to the National Federation of Independent Business , small business owners have to “spend nearly 2 billion hours and $18 to $19 billion complying with the tax code” – that’s 65 percent more than larger businesses. Given the added tax burdens facing small businesses, Chairman Sam Graves (R-MO) noted that “the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Small Business survey released last week” found “eight out of ten small businesses support reforming the tax code.” Sam Griffith, President and CEO of National Jet Company , told the committee “the current tax code is a maze of mismatched provisions which provide disincentives to grow our businesses and hire new employees.” And Roger Harris, President and COO of Padgett Business Services , said “Chairman Camp’s proposal definitely heads in the right direction for entrepreneurs looking for a simpler system that simplifies their lives and lets them just focus on running and building their businesses.” The balanced budget passed by the House last month lays the groundwork for fixes to our broken tax code that close loopholes and lower rates for everyone. The president’s budget, on the other hand, would raise taxes by $1.1 trillion , never balances, and doesn’t address Washington’s spending problem that is holding back our economy. As Speaker Boehner said today, “All this budget does is preserve the status quo. It’s time to look at the cost drivers and to stop the spending here in Washington.” Learn more about the GOP’s balanced budget here and about ongoing efforts to fix our tax code here .
A full 65 days after it was due by law , the president will finally release his budget tomorrow. Early previews suggest it’s a package that few outside of the White House would support. The critical remaining question is whether the president will approach it as a take-it-or-leave-it offer or recognize that finding common ground and making progress is more important than imposing his will on Congress. We know that the president will propose some savings from our safety net programs in his budget. They will be modest reforms – far short of what is needed to put them on sound fiscal footing or balance the budget. Still, the president acknowledging that something must be done to prevent their looming bankruptcy is a positive development. Republicans have long led on this issue , proposing specific, meaningful reforms to save programs like Medicare and Medicaid, upon which so many Americans rely. We welcome the president to this effort. While the president’s reforms are inadequate, that doesn’t mean we can’t make progress to help bolster these programs. If both Republicans and the president agree that at least incremental reforms are needed, it should be easy enough to get them done. Right? Well, no. It turns out the president is not willing to do anything unless he can get even higher taxes to fund even higher spending. As a White House official told Roll Call newspaper this week, these savings are on the table “ only in the context of a package…that has balance and includes revenues from the wealthiest Americans… ” With the president enacting higher tax rates on upper income Americans just this year, this approach is disappointing and defies common sense. If both parties agree that spending reforms are needed, why must they be held up over unrelated policy on which there is disagreement? Shouldn’t we focus on the areas which overlap? It’s not a novel concept. In fact, this is an argument the president himself has made numerous times. “ When Democrats and Republicans agree on something, it should be pretty easy to get it done ,” the president said in one of his weekly addresses last year. “ [L]et’s at least agree to do what we all agree on. That’s what compromise is all about ,” he said in another . There is clearly disagreement about the need for further taxes, but as the president told a group gathered at the White House this past July, “ We can have that debate, but let’s not hold up working on the thing that we already agree on .” We agree. As the Speaker said last week , “ If the president believes these modest entitlement savings are needed to help shore up these programs, there’s no reason they should be held hostage for more tax hikes. That’s no way to lead and move the country forward.” Tomorrow we’ll find out – finally – whether the president agrees and is willing to live up to his own rhetoric on common ground.
WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) issued the following statement today in response to media reports on President Obama’s upcoming budget submission: “The president and I were not able to reach an agreement late last year because his offers never lived up to his rhetoric. Despite talk about so-called balance , the president’s last offer was significantly skewed in favor of higher taxes and included only modest entitlement savings. He said he could go no further toward the middle, and that’s why his last offer was rejected. In the end, the president got his tax hikes on the wealthy with no corresponding spending cuts. At some point we need to solve our spending problem, and what the president has offered would leave us with a budget that never balances. In reality, he’s moved in the wrong direction, routinely taking off the table entitlement reforms he’s previously told me he could support. “When the president visited the Capitol last month, House Republicans stated a desire to find common ground and urged him not to make savings we agree upon conditional on another round of tax increases. If reports are accurate, the president has not heeded that call. If the president believes these modest entitlement savings are needed to help shore up these programs, there’s no reason they should be held hostage for more tax hikes. That’s no way to lead and move the country forward.”
President Obama likes to say that he won’t balance the budget, “just for the sake of balance” – but will he balance it for the sake of economic growth and jobs? According to an analysis by Stanford University Professors John Cogan and John Taylor published in The Wall Street Journal , the House-passed budget, “would boost the economy immediately. … The entire plan would raise gross domestic product by one percentage point in 2014, equivalent to about a $1,500 increase for each U.S. household. Ten years from now, at the end of the official budget horizon, we estimate that the entire plan would raise GDP by three percentage points, or more than $4,000 for each U.S. household.” We all know that, when it comes to getting the government out of the way so our economy can grow, spending is the problem. In fact, over 180 economists have signed a statement that, “ The large structural deficit due to excessive government spending is hurting the economy.” As Budget Chairman Paul Ryan said on March 19, “The reason we are balancing the budget is because it is a necessary means to end. Which is to improve people’s lives. Our plan balances the budget without raising taxes and fosters a healthier, stronger economy so we can create more jobs.” In an op-ed in The Washington Post , Speaker Boehner wrote that for the economy to create jobs, the President must embrace the goal of balancing the budget. He wrote, “Our balanced budget means more economic security for workers and parents, a more secure retirement for the elderly and more opportunities for younger workers. … All of these bipartisan discussions are encouraging, and Republicans hope they will lead to real solutions that help American families. But presidential leadership is really what’s needed.” In eight days, we’ll know – at last – whether President Obama is serious about supporting the economic growth and jobs we can only get by balancing the budget.
The House of Representatives community is mourning one of its own today. Dr. Robert V. Remini, who served as House historian and wrote the definitive history of the institution, passed away late last week at the age of 91. The Associated Press reported earlier today on Dr. Remini’s passing, noting that he was the first chairman of the history department at the University of Illinois at Chicago and “was appointed as official historian for the House by then-Rep. Dennis Hastert, serving in the post from 2005 to 2010.” “ By the time he retired in 2010,” Roll Call added , “Remini had brought on a staff of five and built an operation that would provide lasting resources to the congressional community.” Prior to that appointment, the Librarian of Congress commissioned Dr. Remini to write what would be the first comprehensive history of the U.S. House of Representatives. Published in 2006, The House set out to portray – in Dr. Remini’s words – how the institution “evolved from a fragile union of a handful of states in 1789 into the towering edifice for democracy and liberty that it is today.” Dr. Remini’s work, which earned him a number of awards, has essentially become required reading for current and aspiring lawmakers. Speaker Boehner offered the following brief tribute to Dr. Remini: “Robert Remini literally wrote the book on the House, bringing to life its stories and personalities in a way that no one had before. More than that, he brought the people closer to their House, and left proof that our founders succeeded in making a legislative body that would reflect the will and the spirit of the people. He was a fine scholar and a good man. We are forever in Dr. Remini’s debt, and his family is in our thoughts and prayers.”
It may take the Obama administration more than four years to decide whether to finally stop blocking the Keystone pipeline, but the American people are much more decisive. According to a newly-released Pew Research Center survey, “ two-thirds of Americans (66%) favor building the pipeline ,” which would create tens of thousands of new jobs and pump nearly a million barrels of oil to U.S. refineries each day. As Rep. Lee Terry (R-NE) noted in the Weekly Republic Address , the project has “picked up support from a broad, grassroots coalition of unions and employers,” as well as the Democratic-controlled Senate, which “ endorsed Keystone with a filibuster-proof of 62 votes – a bipartisan show of support rarely seen in Washington.” It’s been more than year since President Obama’s tour-de-farce took him to Cushing, OK, where he led Americans to believe he supported the pipeline by publicly backing the southern portion that did not even require his approval – a PR gimmick that has done nothing to create American jobs or further our energy independence. A decision on the northern portion of the pipeline, which does require the president’s approval, remains stalled to this day – and there’s no excuse for it. That’s why House Republicans passed a balanced budget that moves the Keystone pipeline and other energy projects forward. Learn more & tell us what you think about the president’s Keystone delay at http://speaker.gov/keystone .
President Obama delivers remarks at a swearing-in ceremony for Julia Pierson as the Director of the U.S. Secret Service.
President welcomes President Ernest Bai Koroma of Sierra Leone, President Macky Sall of Senegal, President Joyce Banda of Malawi, and Prime Minister José Maria Pereira Neves of Cape Verde to the White House.
On Wednesday, we kicked off a 12-day countdown to the April 8th release of President Obama’s budget, asking a number of unanswered questions . Then yesterday, the White House announced the document won’t arrive until April 10th – 12 days from now. This is yet another embarrassing delay for a president already nearly two months behind the statutory date his budget is due. The hold-up is unprecedented . Still, it gives us further opportunities to examine what we might expect from the president this year. So, here I go again – this is the 12-day countdown to the president’s budget. One major question still lingering is whether the president will include any of the reforms to our entitlement programs that he’s previously proclaimed to support. Based on his history, that’s no sure bet. Rather than making progress on measures needed to save our safety net programs, the president has moved backwards – routinely taking off the table reforms that he once supported. If the president really believes in the few changes he’s proposed before, surely they will be prominent in his plan. Having already walked back from so much, anything less than these modest entitlement savings would fully evaporate what little credibility the president has left. In reality, much more is needed to save these programs and balance our budget (as House Republicans have demonstrated ). We’ll find out if the president has the courage to follow through in another 12 days (supposedly).
Though already nearly two months late – an historic failure of leadership – the president’s annual budget submission is now on the horizon. In a matter of 12 days, the president’s spending plan will finally – finally – come into focus, and Americans will be able to see how the president would spend their money. The president has offered a number of hints to what he’ll propose, but as we continue to wait patiently, there remain many questions to explore. Such as: Will the president’s budget balance – ever? How many new job-destroying tax hikes will the president recommend imposing on American families and small businesses? Will the president endorse the job-creating Keystone XL energy project ? How much debt will the president propose handing over to future generations? Will his plan include a re-write of our tax code that will simplify it, close loopholes to lower rates, and promote job creation? Will the president’s budget include the meaningful savings from our entitlement programs that he once supported but has since taken off the table ? Will he offer any credible plan to save our safety net programs or leave them to their looming bankruptcy? Will he offer any reforms to Obamacare that we are already finding out will raise costs for patients and destroy full-time jobs ? Will he propose greater American energy production that can lower gas prices while creating good American jobs? Will the president recognize that spending is, in fact, the problem ? Last week, House Republicans passed a responsible, balanced budget focused on creating jobs, expanding opportunity, and removing the burden of debt that threatens the American Dream for our children and grandchildren. Now it’s the president’s turn. It is unprecedented for a sitting president to submit his budget proposal after the Congress has already done its work. But now that the legislative branch has acted, all eyes turn to the president’s proposal. Surely, given the time the president is taking to put his blueprint together, he will have good answers to all of the questions above. We can’t wait to find out – in just 12 days. It is the final countdown .
President Obama has kept the brakes on the Keystone pipeline – and 20,000 new jobs that come with it – for more than 1600 days, and now he’s coming under increasing pressure from members of his own party to move the project forward. Here’s more from the House Energy & Commerce Committee : “In a strong show of bipartisan support for the landmark jobs project, 17 Democrats joined every Senate Republican voting in favor of the amendment, sending a strong message to the president that the American people want this pipeline. While the amendment is non-binding, this victory in the Senate is indicative of growing support for the Keystone XL pipeline and signals future filibuster-proof support for legislation to build the pipeline using congressional authority.” The Keystone pipeline “enjoys huge public backing,” an editorial in today’s Wall Street Journal notes, putting President Obama “out of the mainstream” in his continued refusal to support the project. Apparently, that’s something the Obama administration hopes to keep under wraps. As McClatchy explains: “Thousands of comments are expected to be filed by people and businesses eager to influence the outcome of the intense international debate over the project. “But the public will not find it easy to examine these documents. … “[T]he only way to see the comments themselves is by filing a request under the Freedom of Information Act, or FOIA, a process that can take so long that the Keystone debate could be over before the documents are made available. “The public will not be able to access the full electronic docket online.” President Obama wasn’t feeling quite so shy a year ago, when he traveled to Cushing, OK to publicly showcase his support for the southern portion of the pipeline – which did not require his approval - while holding up the northern part of the pipeline that is still languishing. “That section will create thousands of new jobs. The section that will deliver energy to the United States instead of China,” Speaker Boehner said in video marking the one-year anniversary of the president’s tour de farce , “THAT section is still being blocked by the president.” With even more members of the president’s own party joining Republicans and standing with the American people in support of the Keystone pipeline, the president is out of excuses for delaying the project. Last week, House Republicans passed a balanced budget that green-lights the Keystone pipeline and unlocks more American energy to create jobs and bolster America’s energy independence. After more than four years of delays, it’s time for President Obama to support American energy and jobs. Learn more & share your thoughts at speaker.gov/keystone .
President Obama and President Shimon Peres of Israel speak to the press after a meeting in Jerusalem.
President Obama attends a dinner hosted by President Peres at the President’s residence in Jerusalem.
In an interview with Rep. John Campbell (R-CA), subbing in on The Hugh Hewitt Show yesterday, Speaker Boehner highlighted a statement from 180 economists who agree America’s spending problem must be addressed to help the economy grow and create jobs. Speaker Boehner also discussed Republicans’ balanced budget , passed by the House yesterday, that will address the fiscal crisis that is jeopardizing the American Dream for future generations. Here are a few excerpts from the interview: Boehner: 180 Economists Say “Spending Is the Problem”: “Well, we got a letter from 180 economists saying that spending is the problem, and that by reducing spending and putting us on a firmer fiscal path, we will give confidence to the economy and help grow the economy. And that’s really the whole point, and this is where the president and I have a big disagreement. He thinks that federal spending helps spur the economy. But he doesn’t realize that we’re also running up deficits and debts that dampen economic activity. And so 180 economists believe that cutting spending will improve our economy and put more Americans back to work.” Boehner: “Our Budget Balances in 10 Years & Has No Increase in Taxes,” Democrats’ Budget “Never Balances”: “Our budget balances in 10 years and has no increase in taxes. Their budget has a trillion dollars worth of tax increases and never balances. … And the president says ‘well, my goal isn’t to balance the budget just for the sake of balancing the budget.’ So it’s going to be very difficult to reconcile this spending issue until people would recognize that at some point, you can’t continue to spend money you don’t have. We’ve spent more money than what we’ve brought in 50 of the last 60 years. Now no business can run that way, no household can run that way. And this $16 trillion dollars worth of debt, and another trillion dollars this year, is not going to help brighten the future for our kids and our grandkids.” Boehner: “Our Debt Is Too Large, & It’s Going to Imperil the Future for Our Kids & Our Grandkids”: “Right now, I think our spending is out of control, our debt is too large, and it’s going to imperil the future for our kids and our grandkids. …. I’ve watched leaders for 22 years kick this can down the road, kick it down the road and never want to deal with it, because it’s hard. Well, I made up my mind two years ago. We are not going to kick the can down the road. We are going to deal with our spending problem.”
WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) welcomed Prime Minister Enda Kenny of Ireland and members of the Irish government to the U.S. Capitol today. After meeting in Speaker Boehner’s ceremonial office, the two leaders received President Obama and proceeded to the annual Friends of Ireland Luncheon. At the luncheon, the invocation and benediction were delivered by Rev. William Byrne, pastor of St. Peter’s Church on Capitol Hill. Additionally, Anthony Kearns, a founding member of The Irish Tenors, performed three songs: “O’ America,” “Phil the Fluther,” and “The Star of the County Down.” Following are Speaker Boehner’s remarks during the luncheon, as prepared for delivery: “Judging by the weather, the luck of the Irish is with us. And judging by the crowd, the noise of the Irish is with us as well. “Yes, I’d say this is the loudest gathering of Irishmen in Washington since the last time Joe Biden dined alone. It’s like I’m always telling the president: you only tease the ones you love. “In any case, this is a day for a hundred thousand welcomes: welcoming you to our Capitol, welcoming your continued friendship, and welcoming all the contributions the Irish have made in America. Out of our 44 presidents, at least 22 can trace their roots to Ireland. Well, 23 if you count Daniel Day Lewis… “Even as we gather to honor St. Patrick, our thoughts are on another celebration, in Rome. I know we all pray that the blessings of Ireland’s patron saint are with our new Holy Father. “The legend goes that Patrick drove out the snakes, but it’s really what he brought to Ireland that we celebrate. That, of course, is the name and word of God. “When Patrick defied the king and lit the Easter fire, he stoked embers of wonder and purpose in the hearts of the Irish, gifts that they have spread through the world over and over. “It’s what led an American newspaper to describe the ‘several sorts of power working at the fabric of this Republic: waterpower, steam power, horsepower, and Irish power.’ It’s why the great general, Douglas MacArthur, said, ‘By God, it takes the Irish when you want a hard thing done.’ And it’s how two fierce political opponents, Reagan and O’Neill, teamed up to become the first two friends in this tradition. “As this is our pride and joy, let it be our cause to keep that flame lit … to break the same bread and tread the same path to a future of peace and prosperity. “For as it is written in the Old Testament: ‘Where thou go, I will go; And where thou lodge, I will lodge; Thy people shall be my people, And thy God my God.’ “So please join me now in a toast. To old stories, old land, and old friends: may you live as long as you want, and never want as long as you live.”
Excerpts from Boehner’s Interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper Previewing This Week’s Vote on House GOP’s Balanced Budget
In an interview with Jake Tapper on CNN’s The Lead today, Speaker Boehner previewed this week’s House vote on a balanced budget that will help create jobs and opportunities for American families. Speaker Boehner rejected Democrats’ call for more tax hikes, noting once again that spending is the problem in Washington and both sides need to work together to address it. Here are a few excerpts from the interview: On House Republicans Taking Action on a Balanced Budget This Week: “Our budget will balance in 10 years. We’re going to pass our budget, hopefully the Senate will pass their budget. Except their budget never comes to balance. The president’s budget never comes to balance. You can’t continue to spend money as far as the eye can see that you don’t have. And that’s what they’re continuing to propose along with higher taxes on the American people.” On House Republicans Voting to Replace the President’s Sequester: “We’ve tried over the last 16 months to avert these automatic spending cuts that the president demanded as a result of the agreement on the budget act in 2011. … The president, for his own convenience, didn’t want another vote on the debt ceiling before his re-election…and so he forced this process to occur. … And I’ve told my colleagues in the House that the sequester will stay in effect until there’s an agreement that will include cuts and reforms that put us on a path to balance the budget over the next 10 years.” On Democrats’ Call for More Tax Hikes, Refusal to Acknowledge that Spending Is the Problem: “No tax increases. … This year the federal government will bring more revenue in than any year in our history, and yet we’re still going to have a trillion dollar budget deficit. Spending is the problem. … They already got their tax increase in January. How much more do they want to take from the American people?”
Jill and I want to offer our congratulations to His Holiness Pope Francis, and extend our prayers as he takes on this holy responsibility. I am happy to have the chance to personally relay my well wishes, and those of the American people, when I travel to Rome for his Inaugural Mass. The Catholic Church plays an essential role in my life and the lives of more than a billion people in America and around the world, not just in matters of our faith, but in pursuit of peace and human dignity for all faiths. I look forward to our work together in the coming years on many important issues.
This afternoon, the President met with business leaders to discuss the importance of commonsense immigration reform. In the meeting, the President reiterated his belief that any bill must strengthen border security, create an earned path to citizenship, hold employers accountable, and streamline the legal immigration process. The President and the business leaders discussed their shared belief that achieving this reform holds meaningful economic promise for the United States, creating a fair playing field for employers and workers alike. The business leaders made clear that they support the principles that the President and key Senators leading this effort have made central to the reform effort, most notably a meaningful pathway to citizenship that is based on fairness and which requires those who came here illegally to pay back taxes, pay a fine, and get to the back of the line behind those already engaged in the legal immigration process. The business leaders also discussed their focus on continuing to increase border security, an issue the President made clear continues to be a key priority, while also making sure all employers play by the same rules and have access to the talent they need to compete globally. The President made clear that he continues to support the progress being made by the bipartisan group of Senators, but also stands ready to introduce his own bill if that process fails to produce legislation. Participants in the meeting included: • Joe Almeida, Chairman, President and CEO, Covidien • George Barrett, Chairman and CEO, Cardinal Health • Jorge Benitez, CEO of United States and Managing Director of North America, Accenture • Greg Brown, CEO, Motorola Solutions • John T. Chambers, Chairman and CEO, Cisco Systems • Scott Donnelly, Chairman, President and CEO, Textron • Francisco D’Souza, CEO, Cognizant • Dan Fulton, President and CEO, Weyerhaeuser Company • Omar Ishrak, Chairman and CEO, Medtronic • Klaus Kleinfeld, Chairman and CEO, Alcoa • Doug Oberhelman, Chairman and CEO, Caterpillar • Clarence Otis Jr., Chairman and CEO, Darden Restaurants • Carlos Rodriguez, President and CEO, Automatic Data Processing • Jim Rogers, Chairman and CEO, Eastman Chemical • Virginia Rometty, Chairman, President and CEO, IBM Corporation • Ed Rust, Chairman and CEO, State Farm • Joseph Welch, Founder, Chairman, President, and CEO, ITC Holdings • Valerie Jarrett, Senior Advisor to the President • Cecilia Muñoz, Director of the Domestic Policy Center • Gene Sperling, Director of the National Economic Council
The President called Chinese President Xi Jinping today to congratulate him on his new position and to discuss the future of the U.S.-China relationship. The President underscored his firm commitment to increasing practical cooperation to address Asia’s and the world’s most pressing economic and security challenges. Both leaders agreed on the value of regular high-level engagement to expand cooperation and coordination. The President noted that Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew will visit China next week and that Secretary of State John Kerry will also visit Beijing in the coming weeks as part of his upcoming trip to Asia. The President highlighted the threat to the United States, its allies, and the region from North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs and stressed the need for close coordination with China to ensure North Korea meets its denuclearization commitments. President Obama welcomed China’s G-20 commitment to move towards a more flexible exchange rate, and he underscored the importance of working together to expand trade and investment opportunities and to address issues such as the protection of intellectual property rights. In this context, the President highlighted the importance of addressing cyber-security threats, which represent a shared challenge. The two leaders agreed to maintain frequent and direct communication.
EXECUTIVE ORDER – - – - – - – AMENDMENTS TO EXECUTIVE ORDER 12777 By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, it is hereby ordered as follows: Section 1 . Section 4 of Executive Order 12777 of October 18, 1991, as amended (Implementation of Section 311 of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act of October 18, 1972, as Amended, and the Oil Pollution Act of 1990) is further amended by striking section 4 in its entirety and inserting in lieu thereof the following: ” Sec . 4 . Liability Limit Adjustment . (a)(1) The following functions vested in the President by section 1004(d) of OPA are delegated to the Secretary of the department in which the Coast Guard is operating, acting in consultation with the Administrator, the Secretary of Transportation, the Secretary of the Interior, and the Attorney General: (A) the adjustment of the limits of liability listed in section 1004(a) of OPA for vessels, onshore facilities, and deepwater ports subject to the DPA, to reflect significant increases in the Consumer Price Index; (B) the establishment of limits of liability under section 1004(d)(1), with respect to classes or categories of marine transportation-related onshore facilities, and the adjustment of any such limits of liability established under section 1004(d)(1), and of any limits of liability established under section 1004(d)(2) with respect to deepwater ports subject to the DPA, to reflect significant increases in the Consumer Price Index; and (C) the reporting to Congress on the desirability of adjusting limits of liability, with respect to vessels, marine transportation-related onshore facilities, and deepwater ports subject to the DPA. (2) The Administrator and the Secretary of Transportation will provide necessary regulatory analysis support to ensure timely regulatory Consumer Price Index adjustments by the Secretary of the department in which the Coast Guard is operating of the limits of liability listed in section 1004(a) of OPA for onshore facilities under subparagraph (a)(1)(A) of this section. (b) The following functions vested in the President by section 1004(d) of OPA are delegated to the Administrator, acting in consultation with the Secretary of the department in which the Coast Guard is operating, the Secretary of Transportation, the Secretary of the Interior, the Secretary of Energy, and the Attorney General: (1) the establishment of limits of liability under section 1004(d)(1), with respect to classes or categories of non-transportation-related onshore facilities, and the adjustment of any such limits of liability established under section 1004(d)(1) by the Administrator to reflect significant increases in the Consumer Price Index; and (2) the reporting to Congress on the desirability of adjusting limits of liability with respect to non-transportation-related onshore facilities. (c) The following functions vested in the President by section 1004(d) of OPA are delegated to the Secretary of Transportation, acting in consultation with the Secretary of the department in which the Coast Guard is operating, the Administrator, the Secretary of the Interior, and the Attorney General: (1) the establishment of limits of liability under section 1004(d)(1), with respect to classes or categories of non-marine transportation-related onshore facilities, and the adjustment of any such limits of liability established under section 1004(d)(1) by the Secretary of Transportation to reflect significant increases in the Consumer Price Index; and (2) the reporting to Congress on the desirability of adjusting limits of liability, with respect to non-marine transportation-related onshore facilities. (d) The following functions vested in the President by section 1004(d) of OPA are delegated to the Secretary of the Interior, acting in consultation with the Secretary of the department in which the Coast Guard is operating, the Administrator, the Secretary of Transportation, and the Attorney General: (1) the adjustment of limits of liability to reflect significant increases in the Consumer Price Index with respect to offshore facilities, including associated pipelines, other than deepwater ports subject to the DPA; and (2) the reporting to Congress on the desirability of adjusting limits of liability with respect to offshore facilities, including associated pipelines, other than deepwater ports subject to the DPA.” Sec . 2 . (a) Nothing in this order shall be construed to impair or otherwise affect: (i) the authority granted by law to an executive department, agency, or the head thereof; or (ii) the functions of the Director of the Office of Management and Budget relating to budgetary, administrative, or legislative proposals. (b) This order is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any party against the United States, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person. BARACK OBAMA
Argonne National Laboratory Lemont, Illinois 1:31 P.M. CDT THE PRESIDENT: Hello, everybody! (Applause.) Hello, Illinois! Hello! It is good to be home! (Applause.) Well, let me begin by thanking Ann for the great introduction, the great work she’s doing, the leadership she’s showing with her team on so many different, amazing technological breakthroughs. I want to thank Dr. Isaacs and Dr. Crabtree for giving me a great tour of your facilities. It’s not every day that I get to walk into a thermal test chamber. (Laughter.) I told my girls that I was going to go into a thermal test chamber and they were pretty excited. I told them I’d come out looking like the Hulk. (Laughter.) They didn’t believe that. I want to thank my friend and your friend — a truly great U.S. Senator, Senator Dick Durbin — huge supporter of Argonne. (Applause.) An outstanding member of Congress who actually could explain some of the stuff that’s going on here — Bill Foster is here. (Applause.) Congressman Bobby Rush, a big supporter of Argonne — glad he’s here. (Applause.) We’ve got a number of state and local officials with us, including your Mayor, Brian Reaves. (Applause.) And I could not come to Argonne without bringing my own Nobel Prize-winning scientist, someone who has served our country so well over the past four years — our Energy Secretary, Dr. Steven Chu. (Applause.) Now, I’m here today to talk about what should be our top priority as a nation, and that’s reigniting the true engine of America’s economic growth — a rising, thriving middle class and an economy built on innovation. In my State of the Union address, I said our most important task was to drive that economic growth, and I meant it. And every day, we should be asking ourselves three questions: How do we make America a magnet for good jobs? How do we equip our people with the skills and training to do those jobs? And how do we make sure that hard work leads to a decent living? Those of you who have chairs — I wasn’t sure everybody had chairs there. (Laughter.) Please feel free to sit down — I’m sorry. Everybody was standing and I thought Argonne — one of the effects of the sequester, you had to — (laughter) — get rid of chairs. (Applause.) That’s good, I’m glad we’ve got some chairs. So I chose Argonne National Lab because right now, few areas hold more promise for creating good jobs and growing our economy than how we use American energy. After years of talking about it, we’re finally poised to take control of our energy future. We produce more oil than we have in 15 years. We import less oil than we have in 20 years. We’ve doubled the amount of renewable energy that we generate from sources like wind and solar — with tens of thousands of good jobs to show for it. We’re producing more natural gas than we ever have before — with hundreds of thousands of good jobs to show for it. We supported the first new nuclear power plant in America since the 1970s. And we’re sending less carbon pollution into the environment than we have in nearly 20 years. So we’re making real progress across the board. And it’s possible, in part, because of labs like this and outstanding scientists like so many of you, entrepreneurs, innovators — all of you who are working together to take your discoveries and turn them into a business. So think about this: Just a few years ago, the American auto industry was flat-lining. Today, thanks in part to discoveries made right here at Argonne, some of the most high-tech, fuel-efficient, pretty spiffy cars in the world are once again designed, engineered and built here in the United States. And that’s why we have to keep investing in scientific research. It’s why we have to maintain our edge — because the work you’re doing today will end up in the products that we make and sell tomorrow. You’re helping to secure our energy future. And if we do it well, then that’s going to help us avoid some of the perils of climate change and leave a healthier planet for our kids. But to do it, we’ve got to make sure that we’re making the right choices in Washington. Just the other day, Dr. Isaacs and directors of two of our other national laboratories wrote about the effects of the so-called sequester — these across-the-board budget cuts put in place two weeks ago — and specifically the effects it will have on America’s scientific research. And one of the reasons I was opposed to these cuts is because they don’t distinguish between wasteful programs and vital investments. They don’t trim the fat; they cut into muscle and into bone — like research and development being done right here that not only gives a great place for young researchers to come and ply their trade, but also ends up creating all kinds of spinoffs that create good jobs and good wages. So Dr. Isaacs said these cuts will force him to stop any new project that’s coming down the line. And I’m quoting him now — he says, “This sudden halt on new starts will freeze American science in place while the rest of the world races forward, and it will knock a generation of young scientists off their stride, ultimately costing billions of dollars in missed future opportunities.” I mean, essentially because of this sequester, we’re looking at two years where we don’t start new research. And at a time when every month you’ve got to replace your smartphone because something new has come up, imagine what that means when China and Germany and Japan are all continuing to plump up their basic research, and we’re just sitting there doing nothing. We can’t afford to miss these opportunities while the rest of the world races forward. We have to seize these opportunities. I want the next great job-creating breakthroughs — whether it’s in energy or nanotechnology or bioengineering — I want those breakthroughs to be right here in the United States of America, creating American jobs and maintaining our technological lead. (Applause.) So I just want to be clear — these cuts will harm, not help, our economy. They aren’t the smart way to cut our deficits. And that’s why I’m reaching out to Republicans and Democrats to come together around a balanced approach, a smart, phased-in approach to deficit reduction that includes smart spending cuts and entitlement reforms and new revenue, and that won’t hurt our middle class or slow economic growth. And if we do that, then we can move beyond governing from crisis to crisis to crisis, and we keep our focus on policies that actually create jobs and grow our economy, and move forward to face all of the other challenges we face, from fixing our broken immigration system to educating our kids to keeping them safe from gun violence. And few pieces of business are more important for us than getting our energy future right. So here at Argonne, and other labs around the country, scientists are working on getting us where we need to get 10 years from now, 20 years from now. Today, what most Americans feel first when it comes to energy prices — or energy issues are prices that they pay at the pump. And over the past few weeks, we saw — we went through another spike in gas prices. And people are nodding here. They weren’t happy about it. The problem is this happens every year. It happened last year, the year before that. And it’s a serious blow to family budgets. It feels like you’re getting hit with a new tax coming right out of your pocket. And every time it happens, politicians — they dust off their three-point plans for $2 gas, but nothing happens and then we go through the same cycle again. But here’s the thing: Over the past four years, we haven’t just talked about it, we’ve actually started doing something about it. We’ve worked with the auto companies to put in place the toughest fuel economy standards in our history. And what that means is, by the middle of the next decade, our cars will go twice as far on a gallon of gas. And the standards that we set are part of what’s driving some of the amazing scientists and engineers who are working here at Argonne Labs. We’ve set some achievable but ambitious goals. So in the middle of the next decade, we expect that you’ll fill up half as often, which means you spend half as much. And over the life of a new car, the average family will save more than $8,000 at the pump. That’s worth applauding. That’s big news. (Applause.) In fact, a new report issued today shows that America is becoming a global leader in advanced vehicles. You walk into any dealership today, and you’ll see twice as many hybrids to choose from as there were five years ago. You’ll see seven times as many cars that can go 40 miles a gallon or more. And as costs go down, sales are going up. Last year, General Motors sold more hybrid vehicles than ever before. Ford is selling some of the most fuel-efficient cars so quickly that dealers are having a tough time keeping up with the demand. So by investing in our energy security, we’re helping our businesses succeed and we’re creating good middle-class jobs right here in America. So we’re making progress, but the only way to really break this cycle of spiking gas prices, the only way to break that cycle for good is to shift our cars entirely — our cars and trucks — off oil. That’s why, in my State of the Union address, I called on Congress to set up an Energy Security Trust to fund research into new technologies that will help us reach that goal. Now, I’d like to take credit for this idea because it’s a good idea, but I can’t. Basically, my proposal builds off a proposal that was put forward by a non-partisan coalition that includes retired generals and admirals and leading CEOs. And these leaders came together around a simple idea — much of our energy is drawn from lands and waters that we, the public, own together. So what they’ve proposed is let’s take some of our oil and gas revenues from public lands and put it towards research that will benefit the public so we can support American ingenuity without adding a dime to our deficit. We can support scientists who are designing new engines that are more energy efficient; support scientists that are developing cheaper batteries that can go farther on a single charge; support scientists and engineers that are devising new ways to fuel our cars and trucks with new sources of clean energy — like advanced biofuels and natural gas — so drivers can one day go coast to coast without using a drop of oil. And the reason so many different people from the private sector, the public sector, our military support this idea is because it’s not just about saving money; it’s also about saving the environment, but it’s also about our national security. For military officials — like General Paul Kelley, a former Commandant of the Marine Corps — this is about national security. Our reliance on oil makes us way too dependent on other parts of the world, many of which are very volatile. For business leaders — like Fred Smith, the CEO of FedEx — this is about economic security, because when fuel prices shoot up, it’s harder to plan investments, expand operations, create new jobs. So these leaders all say we need to fix this. This is not a Democratic idea or a Republican idea. This is just a smart idea. And we should be taking their advice. Let’s set up an Energy Security Trust that helps us free our families and our businesses from painful spikes in gas once and for all. (Applause.) Let’s do that. We can do it. We’ve done it before. We innovated here at Argonne. And in the meantime, we’ll keep moving on the all-of-the-above energy strategy that we’ve been working on for the last couple years, where we’re producing more oil and gas here at home but we’re also producing more biofuels, we’re also producing more fuel-efficient vehicles; more solar power; more wind power. We’re working to make sure that here in America we’re building cars and homes and businesses that waste less energy. We can do this. The nature of America’s miraculous rise has been our drive, our restless spirit, our willingness to reach out to new horizons, our willingness to take risks, our willingness to innovate. We are not satisfied just because things — this is how things have been. We’re going to try something that maybe we just imagine now, but if we work at it, we’ll achieve it. That’s the nature of America. That’s what Argonne National Lab is about. That’s what this facility is about. (Applause.) Two decades ago, scientists at Argonne, led by Mike Thackeray, who’s here today — where is Mike? There he is right here. (Applause.) Mike started work on a rechargeable lithium battery for cars. And some folks at the time said the idea wasn’t worth the effort. They said that even if you had the technology, the car would cost too much, it wouldn’t go far enough. But Mike and his team knew better. They knew you could do better. And America, our government, our federal government made it a priority, and we funded those efforts. And Mike went to work. And when others gave up, the team kept on at it. And when development hit a snag, the team found solutions. And a few years ago, all of this hard work paid off, and scientists here at Argonne helped create a lithium ion battery that costs less, lasts longer than any that had come before. So what was just an idea two decades ago is now rolling off assembly lines in cutting-edge fuel efficient cars that you can plug in at night. Well, imagine all the ideas right now with all of these young scientists and engineers that 20 years ago — or 20 years from now will be offering solutions to our problems that we can’t even comprehend — as long as we’re still funding these young scientists and engineers; as long as the pipeline for research is maintained; as long as we recognize there are some things we do together as a country because individually we can’t do it — and, by the way, the private sector on its own will not invest in this research because it’s too expensive. It’s too risky. They can’t afford it in terms of their bottom lines. So we’ve got to support it. And we’ll all benefit from it, and our kids will benefit from it, and our grandkids will benefit from it. That’s who we are. That’s been the American story. We don’t stand still, we look forward. We invent. We build. We turn new ideas into new industries. We change the way we can live our lives here at home and around the world. That’s how we sent a man to the moon. That’s how we invented the Internet. When somebody tells us we can’t, we say, yes we can. And I’m telling all of you, I am absolutely confident that America is poised to succeed in the same way as long as we don’t lose that spirit of innovation and recognize that we can only do it together. And I’m going to work as hard as I can every single day to make sure that we do. So congratulations, Argonne. (Applause.) Let’s keep it up. Thank you. God bless you. God bless America. END 1:50 P.M. CDT
DC— In this week’s address, President Obama spoke to the American people from the Argonne National Laboratory, which he toured earlier that day, about the facility’s focus on harnessing American energy in order to reduce our dependence on oil and make the United States a magnet for new jobs. The President highlighted his “all-of-the-above” approach to American energy, including his proposal to establish an Energy Security Trust, which invests revenue from offshore oil and gas development in research that will help shift our cars and trucks off of oil. These investments, which are focused on a range of technologies including electric vehicles and advanced batteries as well as investments in advanced biofuels and cars that run on natural gas, will continue to reduce our nation’s dependence on oil, support job creation, increase energy security, and save families money at the pump – all while cutting harmful carbon pollution. These efforts build on the historic steps taken in the President’s first term to protect consumers and reduce oil consumption, including the historic fuel economy standards established which will double the distance our cars can go on a gallon of gas. In line with those efforts, the Energy Security Trust will continue to create good jobs for the middle class as we take control of our energy future. The audio of the address and video of the address will be available online at www.whitehouse.gov at 6:00 a.m. ET, Saturday, March 16, 2013. Remarks of President Barack Obama Weekly Address Lemont, Illinois March 16, 2013 Hi, everybody. As a nation, our top priority is growing our economy and creating good middle class jobs. That’s why this week I’m speaking to you from the Argonne National Laboratory in Illinois, because few areas hold as much promise as what they’re focused on right here – harnessing American energy. You see, after years of talking about it, we’re finally poised to take control of our energy future. We produce more oil than we have in 15 years. We import less oil than we have in 20 years. We’ve doubled the amount of renewable energy we generate from sources like wind and solar – with tens of thousands of good jobs to show for it. We’re producing more natural gas than ever before – with hundreds of thousands of good jobs to show for it. We’ve supported the first new nuclear power plant since the 1970s. And we’re sending less carbon pollution into the environment than we have in nearly 20 years. So we’re making real progress. But over the past few weeks, we got a reminder that we need to do more. We went through another spike in gas prices, just like last year, and the year before that. It happens every year. It’s a serious blow to your budget – like getting hit with a new tax coming right out of your pocket. Over the past four years, as part of our all-of-the-above energy strategy, we’ve taken steps to soften that blow by making sure our cars use less gas. We’ve put in place the toughest fuel economy standards in our history so that by the middle of the next decade, our cars will go twice as far on a gallon of gas. Over the life of a new car, the average family will save more than $8,000 at the pump. But the only way we’re going to break this cycle of spiking gas prices for good is to shift our cars and trucks off of oil for good. That’s why, in my State of the Union Address, I called on Congress to set up an Energy Security Trust to fund research into new technologies that will help us reach that goal. Here’s how it would work. Much of our energy is drawn from lands and waters that we, the public, own together. So I’m proposing that we take some of our oil and gas revenues from public lands and put it towards research that will benefit the public, so that we can support American ingenuity without adding a dime to our deficit. We can support scientists who are designing new engines that are more energy efficient; developing cheaper batteries that go farther on a single charge; and devising new ways to fuel our cars and trucks with new sources of clean energy – like advanced biofuels and natural gas – so drivers can one day go coast-to-coast without using a drop of oil. Now, this idea isn’t mine. It’s actually built off a proposal put forward by a non-partisan coalition of CEOs and retired generals and admirals. So let’s take their advice and free our families and our businesses from painful spikes in gas prices once and for all. And in the meantime, let’s keep moving forward on an all-of-the-above energy strategy. A strategy where we produce more oil and gas here at home, but also more biofuels and fuel-efficient vehicles; more solar power and wind power. A strategy where we put more people to work building cars, homes and businesses that waste less energy. We can do this. We’re Americans. And when we commit ourselves to something, there’s no telling how far we’ll go. Thanks and have a great weekend. ###
I want to thank Dr. Blank for her hard work and exceptional service on behalf of the American people. Over the past four years I have asked Becky to take on several roles at the Department of Commerce, and in each one she has distinguished herself as a steady leader and a vital member of my economic team. A tireless advocate for American businesses, Becky has helped to increase our competitiveness, support our innovators and entrepreneurs, and bring good-paying jobs back to our shores. While I will be sad to see her go this summer, I want to wish her the best of luck in her exciting new role. I know the University of Wisconsin Badgers will have an outstanding chancellor for years to come.
Dorood. As you and your families come together to celebrate Nowruz, I want to extend my best wishes on this new spring and new year. Around the world, and here in the United States, you are gathering at the Nowruz table—to give thanks for loved ones, reflect on your blessings and welcome all the possibilities of a new season. As I have every year as President, I want to take this opportunity to speak directly to the people and leaders of Iran. Since taking office, I have offered the Iranian government an opportunity—if it meets its international obligations, then there could be a new relationship between our two countries, and Iran could begin to return to its rightful place among the community of nations. I have had no illusions about the difficulty of overcoming decades of mistrust. It will take a serious and sustained effort to resolve the many differences between Iran and the United States. This includes the world’s serious and growing concerns about Iran’s nuclear program, which threatens peace and security in the region and beyond. Iran’s leaders say that their nuclear program is for medical research and electricity. To date, however, they have been unable to convince the international community that their nuclear activities are solely for peaceful purposes. That’s why the world is united in its resolve to address this issue and why Iran is now so isolated. The people of Iran have paid a high and unnecessary price because of your leaders’ unwillingness to address this issue. As I’ve said all along, the United States prefers to resolve this matter peacefully, diplomatically. Indeed, if—as Iran’s leaders say—their nuclear program is for peaceful purposes, then there is a basis for a practical solution. It’s a solution that would give Iran access to peaceful nuclear energy while resolving once and for all the serious questions that the world has about the true nature of the Iranian nuclear program. The United States, alongside the rest of the international community, is ready to reach such a solution. Now is the time for the Iranian government to take immediate and meaningful steps to reduce tensions and work toward an enduring, long-term settlement of the nuclear issue. Finding a solution will be no easy task. But if we can, the Iranian people will begin to see the benefits of greater trade and ties with other nations, including the United States. Whereas if the Iranian government continues down its current path, it will only further isolate Iran. This is the choice now before Iran’s leaders. I hope they choose a better path—for the sake of the Iranian people and for the sake of the world. Because there’s no good reason for Iranians to be denied the opportunities enjoyed by people in other countries, just as Iranians deserve the same freedoms and rights as people everywhere. Iran’s isolation isn’t good for the world either. Just as your forbearers enriched the arts and sciences throughout history, all nations would benefit from the talents and creativity of the Iranian people, especially your young people. Every day that you are cut off from us is a day we’re not working together, building together, innovating together—and building a future of peace and prosperity that is at the heart of this holiday. As you gather with family and friends this Nowruz, many of you will turn to the poet Hafez who wrote: “Plant the tree of friendship that bears the fruit of fulfillment; uproot the sapling of enmity that bears endless suffering.” As a new spring begins, I remain hopeful that our two countries can move beyond tension. And I will continue to work toward a new day between our nations that bears the fruit of friendship and peace. Thank you, and Eid-eh Shoma Mobarak.
Washington, D.C.—The Vice President and Dr. Jill Biden today released the following statement after President Obama announced that he plans to nominate Cathy Russell, Chief of Staff to Dr. Biden, for the position of Ambassador at Large for Global Women’s Issues at the Department of State. “We are so grateful for all of Cathy’s hard work and can’t imagine a better choice to be our next Ambassador to work on the most pressing issues faced by women and girls around the globe. Through the more than 25 years we have known Cathy, she has made a tremendous difference in the fight to promote gender equality and advance the status of women and girls, helped raise awareness about the issues critical to military families through Joining Forces, and strengthened the role community colleges play in creating the workforce of the future. We will miss Cathy, but know that she will make a real difference in the lives of women and girls throughout the world in her new role.” Russell, who served as Dr. Biden’s Chief of Staff for the Administration’s first term, was also Staff Director of the Senate Judiciary Committee for Senator Biden in 1994 when the landmark Violence Against Women Act passed. She served as a Senior Advisor to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee where she drafted S.2279, The International Violence Against Women Act of 2007, and last year, supervised the interagency process for developing the first United States Strategy to Prevent and Respond to Gender-based Violence Globally. She also served in a volunteer capacity on the Communications Advisory Council of Women for Women International, an organization that helps women survivors of war move from crisis and poverty to stability and self-sufficiency.
President Obama looks forward to welcoming President Ernest Bai Koroma of Sierra Leone, President Macky Sall of Senegal, President Joyce Banda of Malawi, and Prime Minister José Maria Pereira Neves of Cape Verde to the White House on Thursday, March 28. The United States has strong partnerships with these countries based on shared democratic values and shared interests. The five leaders will discuss strengthening democratic institutions across sub-Saharan Africa, and building on Africa’s democratic progress to generate increased economic opportunities and expanded trade and investment. The visit of these four leaders underscores the strategic importance the President places on building partnerships and substantive engagement with sub-Saharan Africa, and our commitment to working with strong and emerging African democracies.
As we mark the 10th anniversary of the beginning of the Iraq war, Michelle and I join our fellow Americans in paying tribute to all who served and sacrificed in one of our nation’s longest wars. We salute the courage and resolve of more than 1.5 million service members and civilians who during multiple tours wrote one of the most extraordinary chapters in military service. We honor the memory of the nearly 4,500 Americans who made the ultimate sacrifice to give the Iraqi people an opportunity to forge their own future after many years of hardship. And we express our gratitude to our extraordinary military families who sacrificed on the home front, especially our Gold Star families who remain in our prayers. The last of our troops left Iraq with their heads held high in 2011, and the United States continues to work with our Iraqi partners to advance our shared interest in security and peace. Here at home, our obligations to those who served endure. We must ensure that the more than 30,000 Americans wounded in Iraq receive the care and benefits they deserve and that we continue to improve treatment for traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder. With a strong Post 9/11 GI Bill, we must help our newest veterans pursue their education and find jobs worthy of their incredible talents. And all Americans can continue to support and honor our military families who are pillars of so many of our communities. On this solemn anniversary, we draw strength and inspiration from these American patriots who exemplify the values of courage, selflessness and teamwork that define our Armed Forces and keep our nation great.