Weekly Address: President Obama – It’s Time for Congress To Pass a Responsible Budget

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 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.

Transcript: Weekly Address: It’s Time for Congress To Pass a Responsible Budget

Remarks of President Barack Obama
Weekly Address, 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.

Bolding added.




  1. The week ahead:

    Next week, the President will travel to Las Vegas for the National Clean Energy Summit, before heading to New Orleans to highlight the region’s rebirth since Hurricane Katrina. Later in the week, he’ll take a trip to Alaska to emphasize the continued need to fight climate change.

  2. I don’t share the president’s optimism that Congress has either the will or the wherewithal to pass a responsible budget.

    With states struggling to find money to repair their roads and bridges, the “responsible” Congress passed a kick-it-down-the-road patch to the highway budget that is making planning impossible.

    And with the silly season upon us as the 2016 presidential race heats up, we are more likely to see the government shut down over defunding Planned Parenthood than anything approaching “reasonableness”.

  3. Thanks for this, Jan! Is it likely that Congress will pass a responsible budget? They’re proud of themselves for being so obstructionist during Obama’s tenure in the White House. I’m sure they wouldn’t want to spoil their record.

    Cruz is even threatening to shut down the government over defunding Planned Parenthood. The thing I’m most grateful for this summer is how The Vulgarian has sucked all the “outrage factor” from the campaigns of Teddy, Scotty, and Jebby. No one is interested in anything they have to say.

    We’ve got to persuade people to vote Democratic down ballot. Madam President will need all the help she can get.

    • It is one of the reasons I support Hillary Clinton: she understands that you need a Democratic Congress to get things done and she has as her goal party building as well as winning the presidency. Oh, how I wish someone would re-hire Howard Dean and put the 50-state strategy back in place! Part of the reason we are doing so horribly in state legislatures and governorships is because instead of keeping Howard Dean, the national party put Tim “Yawn” Kaine in charge of the DNC. He had no vision and no understanding of how Barack Obama got elected: by going to every single state to campaign in the primary and the general election. Democrats in red states need to know that there is hope and you build that hope by having the national party show some interest in you.

      • You are so right, Jan! Kaine got the job because he supported Obama in the primaries; he should have been left alone to continue as governor of the Commonwealth. As a result, he did neither job very well. He is now a U.S. senator in Virginia, along with Mark Warner, but they are Dinos. Neither has the vision of Howard Dean.

  4. In the News: Trump rises in the Reuter poll

    Nearly 32 percent of Republicans surveyed online said they backed Trump, up from 24 percent a week earlier, the opinion poll found. Trump had nearly double the support of his closest competitor, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, who got 16 percent. Retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson was third at 8 percent.

    Someone needs to explain to people about “birthright billions”. This:

    “He’s not taking any guff from anybody,” Dewey Stedman, 70, a Republican from East Wenatchee, Washington, said of the publicity-loving billionaire. “If you don’t have something in your brains, you’re not going to have billions of dollars.”

    No, you just have to be a member of the lucky sperm club and have a rich father. It has nothing to do with brain power.

  5. In the News: “Deeply Christian” candidate wants to take out illegal immigrants with drones …

    Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson is open to using military drone strikes on American soil to secure the border.

    “You look at some of these caves and things out there one drone strike, boom, and they’re gone,” Carson told reporters near the border Wednesday, according to CNN affiliate KPHO. […]

    Following a strong performance in the first Republican debate, Carson has solidified his spot as a top-tier candidate in the CNN/ORC poll — and has been a consistent favorite among evangelicals.

  6. In the News: Texas denies birthright citizenship, families ask judge for help

    Lawyers are asking a federal judge to intervene on the behalf of immigrant families who were denied birth certificates for their U.S.-born children because Texas health officials refused to recognize as valid certain forms of identification.

    The lawyers asked a federal judge in Austin on Friday for an emergency injunction. The say harm is being done to children and their families who need birth certificates to enroll in school and ensure parental rights.

    Dozens of families and children filed suit against the Texas Department of State Health Services after local authorities refused various foreign identifications. The state agency wants the suit dismissed.

    • Gad…I used to regard Oklahoma as the armpit of the country but Texas is quickly overtaking it. However, one must remember that the Castro brothers come from Texas, and they are good. I’d like to see one of them become the Veep. Problem is, I can’t remember their names because both their names begin with “J”!

      • We will all need to memorize the codes to create the “á” and the “í”.

        Julián Castro and Joaquín Castro … I like both of them!

  7. In the News: Moab recreational area to be protected

    A long-anticipated management plan for national public lands near Moab, Utah, unveiled last Friday by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), is being hailed by outdoor recreation and conservation leaders for its landmark protections of the area’s iconic slickrock trails and backcountry experiences.

    The so-called “master leasing plan,” or MLP, officially published in the Federal Register on Friday, is a new Obama administration policy tool that aims to reduce the environmental impacts and conflicts associated with resource extraction on public lands, such as oil and gas drilling and potash mining.

    The draft plan, which covers upwards of one million acres, prohibits development or surface disturbance on almost 500,000 acres. Under the plan, new oil and gas drilling would be prohibited on 145,000 acres of land, while surface occupancy would be restricted on another 306,000 acres. Close to one-quarter of the planning area already open to leasing would not be affected. The plan further provides strong protections for the famous Arches and Canyonlands National Parks by closing off mineral leasing and development on adjacent BLM lands, as well as prohibiting future development or surface occupancy at Fisher Towers, Porcupine Rim, Six-Shooter, and Goldbar Canyon.

  8. In the News: Bernie Sanders in South Carolina

    Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders brought his progressive populism to deeply Republican South Carolina, and made a pitch to connect with the black voters that provide most of the Democratic support in the early primary state.

    It was the Vermont senator’s first visit to the state since announcing his candidacy in late April, in a challenge to Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton. […]

    In North Charleston, the last of five stops in the state, he invoked the names of Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Freddie Gray and Walter Scott, all unarmed black men who died in the hands of police officers in a little over a year.

    “We are going to end institutional racism and we are going to transform and make changes in the criminal justice system that isn’t working,” he said to loud cheering from a crowd of about 3,100. “When a police officer breaks the law, that police officer must be held accountable. We need new rules on the use of force.” […]

    Sanders drew crowds of more than 2,000 in Greenville, a conservative enclave in the northwest corner of the state, and Columbia, the state capital, where he met with black pastors, said campaign spokesman Michael Briggs.

    A mostly white crowd of supporters began lining up hours ahead of Sanders’ speech

    “He’s for getting the money out of politics,” said Matt Thomas, 24, a college student.

    Sanders has no Super-PAC and has raised $1.5 million and counts 400,000 individual donors, Briggs said. Clinton, in contrast, has raised more than $45 million.

    “Other candidates just want to benefit the super wealthy and corporations,” said Greg Zills, who drove from Jacksonville, Florida.

  9. In the News: Hey, Trump! The Koch brothers are not so into you

    According to [Americans For Prosperity], 3,600 people came to this year’s annual Defending the American Dream Summit from around the country Friday and Saturday, taking in appearances by a handful of the 17 Republican presidential candidates. Trump was not invited.

    On the national level, Trump is dominating the contest for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination and widened his lead over the crowded field in a Reuters/Ipsos poll on Friday, with 32 percent of those surveyed saying they backed the billionaire.[…]

    AFP President Tim Phillips told Reuters on Saturday the group would keep its “laser” focus on advocating for issues like tax reform, repealing the Affordable Care Act and fighting environmental regulations, no matter who is elected.

    Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, Texas Senator Ted Cruz, Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal, former Texas Governor Rick Perry, and Florida Senator Marco Rubio were among the scheduled speakers. When it came to choosing candidates to invite to the summit, Phillips said “We talked to people who had records that for the most part were philosophically aligned with us.”

    Here, let me fix that for you, Mr. Phillips:

    “We talked to people who would bend to our will on every single issue.”

    • Some commentary on the Trump phenomenon …

      Here’s why Donald Trump won’t win the Republican presidential nomination

      For nearly six weeks, in survey after survey, Trump has soared above the rest of the field by a double-digit margin. It’s a dramatic performance, one the candidate himself is clearly exhilarated by.

      Except when you overlay it with, for example, the arc of the early frontrunner in the 2008 Republican nominating race, Rudy Giuliani.

      Next to Giuliani’s lead, Trump’s lead looks like … a joke. Trump is having trouble cracking 25%, while for months at a stretch in 2007, Giuliani swanned around in the 30s. And yet Giuliani ended up winning not a single primary or caucus. He ultimately focused all his efforts in Florida, where he came in third.

      What happened to Giuliani? He is said to have made tactical errors such as bad hires and ad buys. But the real explanation, many analysts think, is that Giuliani’s lead was a phantom lead. He was just ahead in the polls in a race most people were mostly ignoring.

      The Trump Expansion Plan

      Given the way the primary schedule is set up — as many as 20 states will assign delegates proportionally before Florida’s winner-take-all primary on March 15 — there’s a good chance that no candidate will lock up the nomination until May. This means that even if Trump’s poll numbers fall, he can remain a plausible-enough contender to keep the primary conversation around subjects like whether immigrants are rapists and television anchors are menstruating.

      It’s also possible that a Trump who is losing would be more erratic than the one who is winning. “His numbers are going to come down, and then he’s going to panic,” a Trump friend told me. “He doesn’t believe it will ever happen. He has not confronted this in his mind,” says another conservative who knows Trump well. So, if you think Trump has been unpredictable now, just wait. “The things that have already come out of his mouth are so much worse than so many things that sunk Herman Cain and the other flavors of the month last time,” another Trump friend says. It’s not hard to imagine Trump launching a kamikaze mission against the candidates left standing.

      The candidate most imperiled by Trump’s staying power is Bush, whose campaign had expected that Trump’s childish antics would position the former governor favorably as the party’s resident grown-up. […]

      In a recent phone call with a longtime friend who has been acting as an informal adviser, Trump warned: “If I’m going down, then Bush is going down with me. He’s not going to be president of the United States.”

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