In this week’s address, US President Barack Obama spoke to the economic progress that our country has made, from 13 million new jobs created over the past five and a half years, to 17 states raising the minimum wage. Congress needs to do its part to continue to help grow the economy, but instead left town last month with a great deal undone. Congress failed to reauthorize the Ex-Im Bank, which enjoys bipartisan support and is tasked solely with creating American jobs by growing exports. And most pressingly, the Republican Congress failed to uphold their most basic responsibility to fund the government, leaving them only a few weeks once they return to pass a budget, or shut down the government for the second time in two years. The President made clear that Congress needs to get to work on behalf of the American people and reach a budget agreement that relieves the harmful sequester cuts and keeps our economy growing.
Remarks of President Barack Obama
The White House
August 22, 2015
Hi, everybody. Seven years after the worst economic crisis in generations, our economy continues to grow and create jobs. In fact, our businesses have created 13 million new jobs over the past five and a half years.
But if we want to keep this momentum going – to make sure that working families feel like their hard work is being rewarded with a basic sense of security – then we all need to do our part.
That’s why my Administration has been partnering with states and cities to help grow the middle class. Over the past few years, nearly 20 cities and counties have implemented paid sick days. Six states have enacted paid sick days or paid family leave. Seventeen states, and more than two dozen cities and counties, have raised their minimum wage. All of this will help working families. And across the country, folks are proving that preparing all our kids for the future doesn’t have to be a partisan issue. Seattle, a city with a Democratic mayor, just passed universal pre-k, while Indianapolis, a city with a Republican mayor, is starting citywide preschool scholarships. All told, 34 states have increased funding for preschool. And that’s good for all of us.
Now, we need Congress to do its part to boost the economy, as well. Unfortunately, Congress left town for five full weeks – and they left behind a stack of unfinished business. For the first time ever, Congress failed to reauthorize the Export-Import Bank. That left thousands of business owners and their employees at a serious disadvantage compared to their competitors overseas. That’s not good for jobs. It’s not good for our economy. When it returns from recess, reauthorizing the bank ought to be a top agenda for members of Congress.
Congress also hasn’t passed a budget – and when they return from vacation, they’ll only have a few weeks to do so, or shut down the government for the second time in two years. They’ve had all year to do this. Months ago, I put forward a detailed plan to strengthen our economy and our national security in a fiscally responsible way. And for months, I’ve said I will veto any budget that locks in the sequester—those senseless cuts to domestic and national security priorities. Remember, we can’t cut our way to prosperity. We should be investing in things that help our economy grow today and tomorrow, like education or infrastructure or scientific research.
Democrats in Congress have made it clear they’re ready to sit down and work with Republicans to find common ground on this. After all, Americans expect Congress to help keep our country strong and growing – not threaten to shut down our government. When Congress gets back, they should prevent a shutdown, pass a responsible budget, and prove that this is a country that looks forward – a country that invests in our future, and keeps our economy growing for all Americans.
Thanks, everybody and have a great weekend.