Weekly Address: President Obama – Creating New Pathways of Opportunity for Americans Like You

The President’s Weekly Address post is also an Open News Thread. Feel free to share other news stories in the comments.

From the White HouseWeekly Address

In this week’s address, the President spoke to his priority of growing the economy and opening new avenues of opportunity for hardworking Americans. While the United States has already made economic progress, with more than 12 million new private sector jobs created over the past five years, there’s still more to be done. That’s why the President has continued to press for strong, high-standard trade agreements that are good for American workers and good for American businesses. And it’s why his Administration has partnered with mayors and governors across the country on issues such as minimum wage and paid leave that impact hardworking Americans. The President discussed impactful initiatives like these in his address before the Conference of Mayors on Friday.

Transcript: WEEKLY ADDRESS: Creating New Pathways of Opportunity for Americans Like You

Hi, everybody. As President, I spend most of my time focused on what we can do to grow the economy and grow new pathways of opportunity for Americans like you to get ahead.

And we’ve made progress. More than 12 million new private sector jobs in the past five years. More than 16 million Americans who’ve gained health insurance. More jobs creating more clean energy. More kids graduating from high school and college than ever before.

But in a relentlessly-changing economy, we’ve got more work to do. And one of the things we should be doing, for example, is rewriting the rules of global trade to benefit American workers and American businesses. I think we should write those rules before China does. That’s why I’ve been working with Congress to pass new, 21st century trade agreements with standards that are higher and protections that are tougher than any past trade agreement.

I believe it’s the right thing to do for American workers and families, or I wouldn’t be doing it.

I believe it’s what will give us the competitive edge in a new economy, or I wouldn’t be doing it.

Now, several Members of Congress disagree. That’s why it’s still tied up there, along with a lot of other good ideas that would create jobs. And eventually, I’m optimistic we’ll get this done.

But America doesn’t stand still. That’s why, on issue after issue where Congress has failed to act, my administration has partnered with mayors and governors across the country to advance economic priorities that most working families in America are in favor of right now.

And we’ve had success. Over the past couple years, 17 states and six major cities have raised the minimum wage for their workers. 19 cities have enacted paid sick days, and five states have enacted paid sick days or paid family leave. 34 states have increased funding for quality Pre-K. And 19 cities and states have signed up for our new TechHire initiative to train workers for the high-wage, high-skill jobs of tomorrow – the kind of jobs that new trade deals would help create.

Some of these victories have been small. Some have been quiet. But they’ve added up to a big difference for working families across America. And that’s what matters to me. Because it matters to you. On Friday, I talked about these initiatives and more in a speech to the U.S. Conference of Mayors. Check it out at WhiteHouse.gov. Some of it might matter to your city.

Thanks, and have a great weekend.

Bolding added.



  1. From the White House: President Obama Addresses the U.S. Conference of Mayors:

    (President Barack Obama makes remarks before the U.S. Conference of Mayors in San Francisco, Calif., June 19, 2015. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza))
    The President highlighted some of the great progress across the country on issues such as:

    – Early childhood education: Seattle (under Mayor Ed Murray) just passed universal pre-K, and Indianapolis (under Republican Mayor Greg Ballard) is starting citywide preschool scholarships. Across the country, 34 states have increased funding for preschool, helping give more young people the early education they need for lifelong success.
    – Job creation: Eleven cities have joined the “Startup in a Day” initiative, which helps entrepreneurs apply for all the necessary license and permits to start a business in a single day. Twenty-one communities have signed up for the TechHire initiative, which helps train workers for tomorrow’s high-skill, high-wage jobs.
    – Strengthening our communities: More than 230 local and tribal leaders have joined the My Brother’s Keeper (MBK) initiative, and are taking steps to help young people in communities across the country.

    But he implored the mayors not to stop now, “because we’ve still got a lot more work to do.” Two of the main issues he highlighted were rebuilding infrastructure, and fighting climate change.


  2. Some good news from Iowa: A Big Victory For Abortion Rights Preserves Women’s Access To The Latest Technology

    Thanks to a ruling handed down by the Iowa Supreme Court on Friday, patients in the state will continue to be able to use the latest technology that makes the abortion pill more accessible.

    The court decision is the culmination of a contentious fight over Planned Parenthood’s “telemedicine abortion” program — an innovative practice of allowing doctors to remotely prescribe abortion-inducing medication with the help of video technology — that has stretched on for the past several years.

    Planned Parenthood of the Heartland, the group that pioneered telemedicine abortion, has used its program to help an estimated 7,200 Iowans obtain medication abortion since 2008. The video technology is particularly advantageous for low-income and rural Americans who struggle to travel to the nearest abortion clinic to get the pills.[…]

    “This ruling is a big victory for Iowa women,” Cecile Richards, the president of Planned Parenthood, said in a statement, adding that the ruling confirms that a state “cannot single out abortion with a different set of rules that don’t apply to any other health care procedure.”

  3. It is not that difficult to craft a Voter Id law that does not disenfranchise people. From North Carolina: With Lawsuit Looming, North Carolina Scrambles To Loosen Voter ID Rules

    … voters who lack the an ID will still be able to cast a ballot, but only if they sign an affidavit swearing they fall into one of the acceptable categories of reasons they couldn’t obtain a government photo ID: a lack of transportation, disability or illness, lost or stolen photo ID, a lack of a birth certificate or other documents to obtain a photo ID, work schedules or family responsibilities. The voter would also need to present an “alternate form of identification,” the last four digits of their Social Security number, and their date of birth.

    Since in-person voter fraud is nearly non-existent, signing an affidavit and showing an alternate form of id will deter any attempts at fraud. Then the vote is counted and the franchise is preserved for people who cannot get an id for any number of reasons. Like this 101 year old woman from San Antonio Texas who was unable to vote for the first time in decades:

    … thanks to Texas’s asinine voter ID law, Ms. Miller was excluded from casting a ballot, ending a voting career that goes back to 1934. We’re pretty Mad About this Thing, and urge you to go read Miller’s whole story so you can be mad, too. […]

    She used to vote by mail because she lived in an assisted living facility — no ID necessary. But between applying for her ballot and the election, she moved to a new facility, and the Post Office doesn’t forward ballots. Gotta avoid fraud, after all. So Miller tried to get a photo ID, which was a problem for her; she stopped driving when she was in her early 80s, and never got a replacement ID. So when she went to the Texas Department of Public Safety to get a new ID, she was out of luck, because even though she’d been voting since Franklin Roosevelt was in office, she now finds herself not documented enough to get a Texas photo ID

    Affidavit voting. Simple solution to the non-problem of in-person voter fraud.

    • Yay for plaintiffs in that case feeling butthurt!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      “It’s a shame to lose a court case without ever walking into court,” said Francis De Luca, president of the Civitas Institute, a conservative organization that lobbied for voter ID rules.

      …Susan Myrick, elections policy analyst for Civitas Institute, said Thursday that she was caught off guard by the Senate vote.

      “To say the least, we were surprised,” Myrick said. The provisional ballot addition, she said, “guts” the ID rule. “It demolishes it,” Myrick said. “There’s no voter ID in North Carolina. It’s over.”


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