OBAMA BROOKLYN SCHOOL REMARKS / HEAD ON
INT BROLL PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA REMARKS AT P-TECH SCHOOL / HEAD ON Friday, October 25, 2013 President Barack Obama Remarks at P-TECH High School in Brooklyn, NY SLUG: 1445 WH NY PATH1 RS33 73 AR: 16x9 DISC: 550 NYRS: 5114 15:55:28 PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA ENTERS 15:55:37 PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA SHAKES HANDS WITH STUDENTS 15:55:49 PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA HUGS RADCLIFFE ON STAGE 15:55:58 (Cheers, applause.) How you doing? (Cheers.) 15:56:11 Well, it is good to be back in Brooklyn. (Cheers.) It's good to be in New York City. And it is good to see some friends who stick up for students and teachers and education every day. 15:56:27 We've got your governor. Andrew Cuomo's in the house. Give him a big round of applause. (Cheers, applause.) We've got your senator, Chuck Schumer. (Cheers, applause.) Outstanding secretary of education, Arne Duncan. We've got -- your outstanding congressional delegation is here. Give them a big round of applause. (Cheers, applause.) We've got -- your public advocate and my friend Bill de Blasio is here. (Cheers, applause.) We've got the outstanding leader of one of America's iconic companies, IBM CEO Ginni Rometty. (Cheers, applause.) 15:57:24 And I want to give a special shout-out to a man who's been an extraordinary mayor for this city. He's been a leader throughout the country for the past 12 years. Mr. Michael Bloomberg is here. (Cheers, applause.) 15:57:48 And I want to thank your principal here at P-Tech, Rashid Davis, who I am pretty confident is the coolest-looking principal in America. (Laughter, cheers, applause.) (Rashid ?). 15:58:02 I think there just are not that many principals with dreadlocks and yellow kicks. (Laughter, applause.) There aren't that many of them. I mean, there may be some, but there aren't that many. (Laughter.) 15:58:22 And I had a wonderful time visiting with one of your teachers, Ms. Salufa (ph) -- Sakula (ph) -- Sakula (ph)? (Cheers, applause.) Ms. Sakula (ph). She was outstanding. She welcomed me into her classroom, she showed me around. I want to thank all of you for letting me spend some time here. In return, you got out of class -- (laughs) -- a little early on Friday, which I know always gets a little applause. Although in this school, maybe not, because you guys are enjoying learning so much. (Scattered applause.) That's worth applauding, that you're enjoying learning so much. (Applause.) 15:59:12 Part of the reason I'm -- I'm glad to be here is because I used to live in Brooklyn and I actually landed Marine One in Prospect Park -- I used to live across the street from Prospect Park. (Cheers.) And -- but mainly I'm here because I want to talk - 15:59:25 I wanted to come here ever since I talked about you in my State of the Union Address this year because what's going on here at P-Tech is outstanding. And I'm -- and I'm excited to see it for myself. 15:59:38 I know Brooklyn in general is blowing up right now. It's -- I -- when I was living here, Brooklyn was cool, but not this cool. (Laughter.) 15:59:48 Barclays Center hadn't been built yet. I know the Nets just picked up Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett off season -- (cheers) -- which -- which is a lesson to all the young people, old people can still play. (Cheers.) We've still got -- (laughs) -- some gas in the tank. 16:00:09 But this whole borough is where generations of hopeful, striving immigrants came in search of opportunity -- a chance to build better lives for themselves and for their kids, and that's been true for decades. 16:00:22 And I'm here today to talk about what we need to do as a country to build the same kind of opportunity for your generation, for the next generation and for your kids and for future immigrants. This country should be doing everything in our power to give more kids the chance to go to schools just like this one. 16:00:40 We should be doing everything we can to put college within the reach of more young people. We should be doing everything we can to keep your streets safe and protect you from gun violence. We should be doing everything we can to keep families from falling into poverty and build more ladders of opportunity to help people who are willing to work hard climb out of poverty. 16:01:04 We should be doing everything we can to welcome new generations of hopeful, striving immigrants. 16:01:14 I want us to do everything we can to give every single young person the same kind of opportunity that this country gave me and gave Chuck and gave Governor Cuomo and gave Mayor Bloomberg and gave your principal. That's what I'm focused on. 16:01:42 Yeah, by the way, if you have chairs, go ahead and sit down. (Laughter.) If you don't have chairs, then don't sit down, because you'll fall. I didn't realize everybody had chairs there. I would have told you to sit down earlier. (Laughter, scattered applause.) So that's what we can achieve together. It's possible. We know we can do it. P-Tech is proof of what can be accomplished, but we've got to have the courage to do it. 16:02:01 You know, the American people work hard, and they try to do right day in and day out. And that resilience and that toughness helped to turn our economy around after one of the hardest periods that we've ever faced as a country. 16:02:15 But what we also need is some political courage in Washington. We don't always see that. Right now, we need to all pull together. We need to work together to grow the economy, not shrink it; to create good jobs, not eliminate jobs. We've got to finish building a new foundation for shared and lasting prosperity so that everybody who works hard, everybody who studies hard at a school like this one or schools all across the country have a chance to get ahead. That's what we need to do, that's what I'm focused on. 16:02:49 And that all begins with the education that we give young people because all of you are growing up in changing times, especially for the economy. The world you're growing up in is different than the one that previous generations here in Brooklyn knew and here -- and all across the country knew. In the old days, a young person, they might just have followed their parents' footsteps, gotten a job in their parents' line of work, keep that job for 30, 40 years. 16:03:15 If you were willing to work hard, you didn't necessarily need a great education, if you had just gone to high school, you might get a job at a factory or in the garment district or you might be able to just get a job that allowed you to earn your wages, keep pace with people who had a chance to go to college. 16:03:33 But those days are over, and those days are not coming back. 16:03:41 We live in a 21st century global economy, and in a global economy, jobs can go anywhere. Companies, they're looking for the best educated people wherever they live. And they'll reward them with good jobs and good pay. 16:03:58 And if you don't have well-educated workforce, you're going to be left behind. If you don't have a good education, then it is going to be hard for you to find a job that pays a living wage. 16:04:13 And by the way, other countries know this. You know, in -- in previous generations, America's standing economically was so much higher than everybody else's that we didn't have a lot of competition. 16:04:32 Now, you've got billions of people from Beijing to Bangalore to Moscow, all of whom are competing with you directly. And they're -- those countries are working every day to outeducate and outcompete us. 16:04:51 And every year brings more research showing them pulling ahead, especially in some of the subject matter that this school specializes in: math and science and technology. 16:05:04 So we've got a choice to make. We can just kind of shrug our shoulders and settle for something less, or we can do what America's always done, which is adapt. 16:05:16 We pull together, we up our game, we hustle, we fight back, we work hard and we win. We have to educate our young people -- every single person here, but also all the young people all across Brooklyn, all across New York City, all across New York State and all across this country so that you're ready for this global economy. And schools like P-TECH will help us do that. 16:05:43 Here at P-TECH, you've got folks from IBM, City Tech, City University of New York, City Department of Education. Everybody's pulling together to make sure a high school education puts young people on a path to a good job. So you guys have opportunities here that you don't find in most high schools yet. You can take college- level courses in math and science. 16:06:08 You can work with mentors from IBM. So you're learning specific skills that you know leads to a good job. And most important, you'll graduate with a high school diploma and an associate's degree in computer systems or electromechanical engineering. And that means you'll be in demand. Companies will want to hire you. 16:06:30 IBM has even said that P-Tech graduates will be first in line when you apply for jobs once you graduate. And at a moment when the cost -- higher education keeps going up, and Arne and I are working hard to make sure that we're doing everything we can to reduce the burden of student loans on young people. Here is how much two years of college will cost P-Tech students and their families: Zero. Nothing. 16:06:58 (Applause, cheers.) Nothing. I notice some of the parents were the first to clap. They're all like, yeah. (Laughter.) They like that. But that's a huge burden -- I mean, that's thousands of dollars that you're saving, and that means when you start working you're going to have that much less of a burden in terms of debt, which means you can afford to buy a house sooner; you can afford to start your business sooner. You know, Radcliff (sp) was saying how he's thinking about, you know, starting his own business. And that kind of attitude is a lot easier when you're not burdened with a lot of student loans. 16:07:41 So this is a ticket into the middle class and it's available to everybody who's willing to work for it. And that's the way it should be. That's what public education is supposed to do. And the great thing is that what started small is now growing. 16:08:00 Governor Cuomo, he's opening up P-Tech-model schools in districts throughout the state. Throughout the state. (Cheers, applause.) So -- so all those schools together, they're going to prepare more than 6,000 high school students for good high school jobs. 16:08:21 Back in my hometown of Chicago, Mayor Rahm Emanuel's opening up schools like this one. He's opening up a -- a school, for example, called Sarah E. Goode STEM Academy. And -- we got a little Chicago person here. (Laughter.) Yeah. There you go. 16:08:44 Across -- across the country, companies like Verizon and Microsoft and Coned (ph) and Cisco made -- saw what IBM was doing; they said, well, this is a good idea, we can do this too. So they're working with educators and states to replicate what you're already doing here. And you guys should feel good about that. You -- you -- you're -- you're starting something all across the country. (Applause.) 16:09:07 So as a -- as a country, we should all want what all of you are receiving right now, the same chance for a great education. 16:09:15 Here is what I think we should do as a country to make sure they've got the same opportunity as you do. 16:09:23 First of all, we've got to get every child an earlier start at success by making high-quality preschool available to every four-year-old in America. (Applause.) 16:09:37 We should give every student access to the world's information. When I went into the classroom today, you know, young people were working off computers. And the problem is, a lot of places, even if they've got computers, that they're not hooked up to wireless. So what we're doing is having the federal agencies moving forward on a plan that connect 99 percent of American students to high-speed Internet within five years. We're already moving on that front. (Applause.) 16:10:08 We need to bring down the cost of college and give more young people the chance to go to college. (Applause.) So a couple of months ago, I put forward an ambitious new plan to do that, to reduce the cost of college. 16:10:21 We need to redesign more of our high schools so that they teach young people the skills required for a high-tech economy. So I've been meeting with business leaders and innovative educators to spread the best ideas. 16:10:39 And I also want to congratulate Governor Cuomo and all of you in New York for having the courage to raise your standards for teaching and learning to make sure that more students graduate from high school ready for college and a career. It's not easy, but it's the right thing to do. (Applause.) It's going to prepare more young people for today's economy. We should stay at it. 16:11:01 And here's one more thing we should do. And that is, just remember none of this works unless we've got outstanding teachers, which means we've got to -- (applause) -- we've got to make sure -- we've got to make sure that we're funding education so that teachers have the support that they need so that they can support their own families, so that they're not having to dig into their pockets for school supplies. And we've got to show them the respect and provide pathways of excellence for teachers so that they're treated like the professionals that they are. (Applause.) It is a hard job. And we've got to make sure we're investing in them. (Applause.) 16:11:46 Now, some of these ideas I've laid out before. Some of them I'm just going ahead and doing on my own. Some of them do require Congress to do something. (Scattered applause.) 16:11:57 And one way we can start is by Congress passing a budget that reflects our need to invest in our young people. 16:12:12 (Applause.) I know the budget's not the most interesting topic for a Friday afternoon even at a school where young people like math - 16:12:26 and by the way, I just sat in on a lesson called "Real World Math," which got me thinking whether it's too late to send Congress here -- (laughter) -- for a remedial course, but -- 16:12:42 But a budget is important because what a budget does is it sets our priorities. It tells us what we think is important, what our priorities are. And the stakes for our middle class could not be higher. If we don't set the right priorities now, then many of you will be put at a competitive disadvantage compared to other countries. If you think education is expensive, wait until you see how much ignorance costs. (Applause.) So we've got to invest. 16:13:15 So -- so we need a budget that is responsible, that is fiscally prudent, but a budget that cuts what we don't need, closes wasteful tax loopholes that don't create jobs, freeing up resources to invest in the things that actually do help us grow. Things like education and scientific research and infrastructure -- roads, bridges, airports. This should not be an ideological exercise, we should use some common sense. What's going to help us grow? What's going to create jobs? What is going to expand our middle class? What's going to give more opportunity to young people? Those are the things we should be putting money into. That's what we need to do. (Applause.) 16:14:03 And we've got enough resources to do it if we stop spending on things that don't work and don't make sense or if we make sure that people aren't wiggling out of their taxes through these corporate loopholes that only a few people at the very top can take advantage of. If we -- if we just do everything in a fair, common-sense way, we've got the resources to be fiscally responsible and invest in our future. 16:14:32 And this obsession with cutting just for the sake of cutting hasn't helped our economy grow; it's held it back. (Scattered applause.) It won't help us build a better society for your generation. 16:14:47 And by the way, it's important to remember, for those who are following the news, our deficits are getting smaller. They've been cut in half since I took office, all right? (Cheers, applause.) 16:15:00 So -- so that gives us room to fix longer-term debt problems without sticking it to your generation. We don't have to choose between growth and fiscal responsibility; we've got to do both. 16:15:10 And the question can't just be how much more we can cut, it's got to be how many more schools like P-Tech we can create. That should be our priority. (Applause.) 16:15:29 You know, and after the manufactured crisis that Congress -- actually, a small group in the House of Representatives just put us through, shutting down the government and threatening to potentially default on our debt, I don't want to hear the same old stuff about how America can't afford to invest in the things that have always made us strong. Don't tell me we can afford to shut down the government, which costs our economy billions of dollars, but we can't afford to invest in our education systems, because there's nothing more important than this. (Applause.) 16:16:03 In fact, what I'd like to do is have every member of Congress -- maybe Chuck can arrange a -- and the congressional delegation can arrange some tours for some of their colleagues: Come here. Come to Brooklyn. Meet some of these young people. (Applause.) They ought to meet some of the young people here. 16:16:55 You know, meet somebody like Leslie Anne John (ph), the young woman who -- who sang the national anthem this afternoon. (Applause.) You know, Leslie Anne (sp) is in the 11th grade. She's already taking -- she's already taken eight college classes, which is about as many as I took when I was in college. (Laughter.) She knows she has a great opportunity here. She's working hard to make the most of it. Eventually she plans to become a lawyer. 16:17:35 And Leslie Anne (sp) is clear-eyed about the challenges that the students here face. You know, she put it, you know, in a way that a lot of people can relate to. She said: Now, we see a whole bunch of craziness going on in the streets of Crown Heights sometimes. That's what she said. But she also said that being here at P-Tech taught her something important: There's more for us than just the streets. (Applause.) And she said that in the end of the day we've got to make something of ourselves. And that's important -- that's important. It's not just what the government or adults can do for you; it's also what you can do for yourselves.And that sense of responsibility -- (applause) -- that sense that you set the bar high for yourself, that's what America is all about. 16:18:08 That's been the history of New York -- people working hard but also working together to make sure that everybody's got a fair shot; to make sure you don't have to be born wealthy, you don't have to be born famous; that if you've got some drive and some energy, then you can go to a school that teaches you what you need to know, you can go to college even if you don't have a lot of money, you can start your own business even if you didn't inherit a business. 16:18:29 Making something of ourselves, that what we do in this country. That's a message we're sending to Washington: no more games, no more gridlock, no more gutting the things that help America grow and give people the tools to make something of themselves. That's what this is about. That's what P-Tech represents. That's what Brooklyn represents. And as long as I have the privilege to be your president, I'm going to keep fighting to make sure that no matter who you are, where you come from, what you look like. 16:18:56 This country will always be a place where you can make it if you try. (Cheers, applause.) So thank you, Brooklyn. God bless you. God bless America. (Cheers, applause.) 16:19:16 President Obama walks off stage 16:19:24 shakes hands w/ Sen. Chuck Schumer 16:20:42 President Obama shakes hands, profile shot 16:21:29 President Obama shakes hands face visible 16:23:45 President Obama waves goodbye 16:23:55 President Obama exits 16:24:09 WS of students standing on the stage
COMMERCIALS
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PRESIDENT BILL CLINTON / RON BROWN AWARD (1998)
President Clinton presents the Ron Brown Award for Corporate Leadership.
TAP-2A Beta SP; NET-435 DigiBeta (at 01:00:00:00)
OUR WORLD - 1937 #1
+World Apple Jobs 2
AP-APTN-0930: +World Apple Jobs 2 Thursday, 25 August 2011 STORY:+World Apple Jobs 2- WRAP +4:3 Jobs resigns as CEO; file; analyst ADDS reactions from China LENGTH: 03:45 FIRST RUN: 0830 RESTRICTIONS: See Script TYPE: Engliish/Mandarin SOURCE: Various STORY NUMBER: 702723 DATELINE: Various - 24/25 August 2011/FILE LENGTH: 03:45 APPLE - AP CLIENTS ONLY ABC - NO ACCESS NORTH AMERICA/INTERNET AP TELEVISION - AP CLIENTS ONLY AP PHOTOS - NO ACCESS CANADA/FOR BROADCAST USE ONLY - STRICTLY NO ACCESS ONLINE OR MOBILE SHOTLIST: (FIRST RUN 0330 - 25 AUGUST 2011) APPLE - AP CLIENTS ONLY FILE: Date and location unknown ++16:9++ 1. Wide of audience rising as Apple CEO Steve Jobs walks onto stage, AUDIO: applause 2. Tilt up across Jobs on stage (FIRST RUN 0330 - 25 AUGUST 2011) ABC - NO ACCESS NORTH AMERICA/INTERNET FILE: San Francisco, California - 2 March 2011 ++16:9++ 3. SOUNDBITE (English): Steve Jobs, Apple CEO, (on stage unveiling iPad2): "Anyone can make music now, on something that's this thick and weighs 1.3 pounds. It's unbelievable." (FIRST RUN 0330 - 25 AUGUST 2011) APPLE - AP CLIENTS ONLY FILE: San Francisco, California - 2 March 2011 ++16:9++ 4. Jobs on stage describing various Apple devices, UPSOUND (English): "In 2007 we added the iPhone, and in 2010 we added the iPad" (FIRST RUN 0530 - 25 AUGUST 2011) AP TELEVISION - AP CLIENTS ONLY Hong Kong - 25 August 2011 ++16:9++ 5. Wide of financial analyst and Francis Lun, Managing Director of Lyncean Holdings, sitting at table 6. SOUNDBITE (English) Francis Lun, financial analyst: "Steve Jobs managed to launch three different products that actually changed the lives of the world - iPod, iPhone and iPad. And single-handedly, Steve Jobs actually changed the way that we download music, changed the way we use handsets, and also changed the way we use computers." (FIRST RUN 0330 - 25 AUGUST 2011) APPLE - AP CLIENTS ONLY FILE: San Francisco, California - 2 March 2011 ++16:9++ ++MUTE++ 7. Apple VNR demonstrating how iPad works (FIRST RUN 0330 - 25 AUGUST 2011) AP TELEVISION - AP CLIENTS ONLY FILE: San Francisco, California - February 2011 (exact date unknown) ++16:9++ 8. Various of user touching screen on Apple iPhone4 (FIRST RUN 0330 - 25 AUGUST 2011) AP TELEVISION - AP CLIENTS ONLY Campbell, California - 24 August 2011 ++16:9++ 9. Mid of analyst Tim Bajarin sitting at computer 10. SOUNDBITE (English) Tim Bajarin, Analyst and President of Creative Strategies, Inc.: "There may be this, from an investor's standpoint especially, there may be this fear that Apple is going to implode. That's not even close to being true. This is one of the most well-run companies in the world, with one of the deepest benches, with one of the largest cash reserves. And if anything, I actually expect Apple to be a stronger company going forward, not weaker." (FIRST RUN 0330 - 25 AUGUST 2011) AP PHOTOS - NO ACCESS CANADA/FOR BROADCAST USE ONLY - STRICTLY NO ACCESS ONLINE OR MOBILE FILE: Cupertino, California - 14 October 2008 ++4:3++ 11. STILL of Apple's chief operating officer, Tim Cook, gesturing during meeting at Apple headquarters 12. STILL of (from left) Apple's chief operating officer, Tim Cook, CEO Steve Jobs, and vice president Phil Schiller taking questions during meeting at Apple headquarters (FIRST RUN 0330 - 25 AUGUST 2011) AP TELEVISION - AP CLIENTS ONLY San Francisco, California - 24 August 2011 ++16:9++ 13. SOUNDBITE (English) P.K. Kalyanraman, software engineer: "Even without Steve Jobs, I think almost Steve Jobs has been like a shadow figure for the last one and a half, two years now, with his health problems. So I still feel like the company will function perfectly fine without Steve Jobs for at least a few more years to come. But later on, how they progress into new technology and how they keep up with the market is what we've got to look for in the new person who comes in over there." (FIRST RUN 0330 - 25 AUGUST 2011) APPLE - AP CLIENTS ONLY FILE: San Francisco, California - 2 March 2011 ++16:9++ 14. Various of Jobs on stage during iOS presentation (FIRST RUN 0330 - 25 AUGUST 2011) AP TELEVISION - AP CLIENTS ONLY San Francisco, California - 24 August 2011 ++16:9++ 15. SOUNDBITE (English) Stephen Kelley, technical support specialist: "I don't think it's going to make that much of a difference. I think Apple has kind of built their client base and their cult of Apple, shall we say, and I don't think that it's going to do too much, they've kind of, I think their day-to-day operations aren't going to change that much." (FIRST RUN 0830 - 25 AUGUST 2011) AP TELEVISION - AP CLIENTS ONLY Beijing, China - 25 August 2011 ++16:9++ 16. Various of Apple Store 17. SOUNDBITE (Mandarin) Vox pop, Huang Xiang: "There was a celebrity effect in Apple products when Steve Jobs was the CEO. People went to buy his products for his name, because we thought he was brilliant. Now another guy becomes CEO, I think people will look at Apple products in a more objective way. People will learn about Apple products in all respects rather than buy them only for its big name." 18. SOUNDBITE (Mandarin) Vox pop, Xu Xiangyi: "I think Jobs has quit at the right time because Apple has already reached the peak of its development and it takes up a big proportion of the market. Now he's retired, we won't see Apple go down under his leadership." 19. Various of people using Apple products STORYLINE: The man in the black shirt and jeans who knew people would fall in love with the iPod, iPhone and iPad before they did is stepping back from Apple Inc., which grew into one of the world's strongest companies as its leader's health failed him. Steve Jobs's resignation on Wednesday appears to be the result of an unspecified medical condition for which he took a leave from his post in January. Apple's chief operating officer, Tim Cook, was quickly named CEO of the company Jobs co-founded in his garage 35 years ago. In a letter addressed to Apple's board and the "Apple community," Jobs said he "always said if there ever came a day when I could no longer meet my duties and expectations as Apple's CEO, I would be the first to let you know. Unfortunately, that day has come." The company said the 56-year-old Jobs gave the board his resignation on Wednesday and suggested that Cook be named the company's new leader. Apple said Jobs was elected board chairman and that Cook is becoming a member of its board. Genentech's chairman Art Levinson, in a statement issued on behalf of Apple's board, said Jobs's "extraordinary vision and leadership saved Apple and guided it to its position as the world's most innovative and valuable technology company". He said that Jobs will continue to provide "his unique insights, creativity and inspiration," and that the board has "complete confidence" that Cook is the right person to replace him. Hong Kong-based financial analyst Francis Lun said the technology pioneered by Apple under Jobs has changed for ever how the world uses phones and computers. "Steve Jobs managed to launch three different products that actually changed the lives of the world - iPod, iPhone and iPad," he said. Jobs's health has long been a concern for Apple investors who see him as an oracle of technology. After his announcement, Apple stock quickly fell 5.4 percent in after-hours trading. Tim Bajarin, a well-respected Silicon Valley analyst who's been covering Apple for 30 years, said he expects Apple to be a stronger, not weaker, company in the future. "This is one of the most well-run companies in the world, with one of the deepest benches, with one of the largest cash reserves," he said. Earlier this month, Apple became the most valuable company in America, briefly surpassing Exxon Mobil. At the market close on Wednesday, Apple's market value was 349 (b) billion US dollars, just behind Exxon Mobil's 358 (b) billion US dollars. Software engineer P.K. Kalyanraman said that Jobs had been like "a shadow figure" for at least 18 months and that Apple would "function perfectly fine" without him for at least a few more years to come. "But later on, how they progress into new technology and how they keep up with the market is what we've got to look for in the new person who comes in over there," he added. Stephen Kelley, a tech support specialist, said that while Jobs's charisma and innovative genius is one-of-a-kind, the company he built would survive without him. "I don't think it's going to make that much of a difference," he said. "I think Apple has kind of built their client base and their cult of Apple, shall we say." In Beijing, where sales of Apple products have boomed in recent years, consumers lamented the end of the Jobs era. "There was a celebrity effect in Apple products when Steve Jobs was the CEO," said student Huang Xiang. "People went to buy his products for his name, because we thought he was brilliant." Another Beijing student said she felt Jobs had chosen to go at the right time. "Apple has already reached the peak of its development and it takes up a big proportion of the market. Now he's retired, we won't see Apple go down under his leadership," said Xu Xiangyi. Jobs's hits seemed to grow bigger as the years passed: the colourful iMac computer, the now-ubiquitous iPod, the iPhone, and most recently the iPad tablet computer. Jobs shepherded Apple from a two-man start-up to Silicon Valley darling when the Apple II - the first computer for regular people that caught on - sent IBM and others scrambling to get their own personal computers (PCs) to market. But after Apple suffered a slump in the mid-1980s, he was forced out of the company. He was CEO at Next, another computer company, and Pixar, the computer-animation company that produced "Toy Story" on his watch, during the next 10 years. Apple was foundering when he returned as an adviser in 1996, the year it lost 900 (m) million US dollars as Microsoft Windows-based PCs dominated the computer market. The company's fortunes began to turn around with its first new product under Jobs's direction, the iMac, which Apple launched in 1998. It sold about 2 (m) million units in its first 12 months. Jobs eventually became interim CEO, then took the job permanently. Apple's popularity grew in the US throughout the 2000s as the ever-sleeker line of iPods introduced many lifelong Windows users to their first Apple product. Apple created another sensation in 2007 with the iPhone, the stark-looking but powerful smartphone that quickly dominated the industry. The iPad was introduced less than a year and a half ago, but has already sold nearly 29 (m) million units and inspired myriad rivals in a market that scarcely existed before Apple stepped in. Clients are reminded: (i) to check the terms of their licence agreements for use of content outside news programming and that further advice and assistance can be obtained from the AP Archive on: Tel +44 (0) 20 7482 7482 Email: infoaparchive.com (ii) they should check with the applicable collecting society in their Territory regarding the clearance of any sound recording or performance included within the AP Television News service (iii) they have editorial responsibility for the use of all and any content included within the AP Television News service and for libel, privacy, compliance and third party rights applicable to their Territory. APTN (Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.) AP-NY-08-25-11 0603EDT
ANDREW YANG LONDONDERRY NH TOWN HALL ABC UNI 2020/HD
TVU 20 ANDREW YANG LONDONDERRY NH TOWN HALL ABC UNI 011220 2020 NO MAJOR NEWS AT ALL HIGHLIGHTS Someone asked a question about how to deal with coal miners and balancing the need to help the climate change problem. Yang circled back to UBI as a solution, but then slipped into the "coal miners" can't become "coders" speech - a possible jab at Joe Biden from when he made the suggestion: 161617 So one of the jokes I tell is that anyone who thinks a coal miner should become a coder is generally neither of those things. Because if you talked to coders, they're not like "yeah, you should definitely jump into this." I mean, coding is like a sophisticated foreign language. Would you suggest that, like coal miners all become Russian translators like, doesn't make any sense. (laughs) Oh, yeah, sure. I'll just. I was just venting a little bit. Yang also took a jab at Trump for the way he has handled trade with China, saying he thinks the trade war has been counterproductive, but yet not offering specific solutions of his own: 161756 You have to try to create paths for them to be able to look good for their people in a way that, that meets our goals and ends. So, I'm very much against the way that Trump has run the China trade war. Because I've seen the victims in America of that trade war, and as far as I can tell, it has not really remedied the abuses that it was, it was meant to. Unprompted, Yang started talking about why climate change was so important to him, and how his hopes to fix people's income would help create a path to fixing the climate faster: 162552 I'm, I'm going to throw one last thing that's hopefully will tie this together. In a country where 78% of us are living paycheck to paycheck, and almost half of us can't afford an unexpected 500 dollar bill, if you go to that person, say "We need to worry about climate change" what is a natural response? How much is it going to cost me? I can't pay next month's rent. I'm worried about this week, not like years from now. 162616 We have to get the boot off of our people's throats and then we will be able to make much more rapid progress on climate change. We're gonna find that out in my administration. A light moment came when someone's phone interrupted the room. Only highlighting this moment because it demonstrates how quick Yang is on his feet, making a specific joke based on the exact way the ring tone sounded: 160625 (PHONE RINGS) No, it's fine, it's the Russians always trying to interrupt my events. I'm totally kidding. That was, that was very operatic, though. It was like with those Academy Awards where like the speech goes on too long and it's like the rising music and then I'm like, I just want to thank -- I just wanna thank three more people. HIGHLIGHTS Coders/Coal Miners 161250 Q: Those coal miners that we're putting out of work and we need to put out of work, they have a real strong sense of place, but something must be done to combat climate change...Talk to me about how you would deal with that issue? 161333 YANG>> Thank you, and this is the crux of my campaign in many ways. So, I'll tell you what I would not do. I would not say that we're gonna turn coal miners into coders because that's, essentially, ridiculous, and talking about it is a waste of time and immensely counterproductive for a society. So, the question is what are the roles of the future? For starters, if you put $1,000 a month into a community, let's say in West Virginia...let's say there's a town of 10,000 people in West Virginia. 161404 They're getting an additional 10 million dollars a month in buying power. Then, the money will flow to local non-profits and religious organizations and local businesses that will each need to hire, accessibly, right there in that community. One of the messages, I think, is a loser for Americans everywhere, and it's the subtext of a lot of what's going on, is that you have to move and leave your home and leave your family if you want to live a good life. 161435 That's a losing message. [FEED FREEZES] 161445 We're the richest, most abundant country in the history of the world. We're up to twenty one trillion dollars and counting, and we can easily put the resources into that town so that people are more able to do the kind of work that they want to do, and can reconstitute organizations and businesses that serve the needs of their community. 161505 One of the biggest farces in American life right now is that we don't have the resources to get things done. I'm the numbers guy. Does anyone here remember voting for the 4 trillion dollar bailout of Wall Street? Does anyone remember anyone there being like, "Where are we gonna get the money? Where are we gonna get the money?" No. they had a choice between nailing out the banks and keeping Americans in their homes. 161529 And they chose the banks. I was so disgusted by this decision I found it so corrupt that I quit my job, started a nonprofit, ran it for seven years to create several thousand jobs because I thought that would be generative and productive. And that's the kind of choice that we're making where towns are concerned, too. We're saying, "hey, your coal mine has been stripped bare. Now you're dead. Now you have no value. Your furniture manufacturing plant closes. You're also dead." 161558 What we have to say instead is that this is the richest country in the history of the world. We can easily put resources into the hands of every single American to help those communities have a path forward that will work for them. (applause) 161617 So one of the jokes I tell is that anyone who thinks a coal miner should become a coder is generally neither of those things. Because if you talked to coders, they're not like "yeah, you should definitely jump into this." I mean, coding is like a sophisticated foreign language. Would you suggest that, like coal miners all become Russian translators like, doesn't make any sense. (laughs) Oh, yeah, sure. I'll just. I was just venting a little bit. trump-trade war 161645 Q>> Are tariffs a policy that you think would help equalize our relation with China and other rising economies? Or are there other solutions that you propose that would be more productive? 161656 YANG>> Thanks for the question. I like it. Tariffs are a tool that sometimes can be handy and useful. I think initiating a trade war is counterproductive and I, I wa sin Iowa and their people are very angry because they've had their prices change and had to fire people and disinvest and do all these nasty things for things they had nothing to do with. 161729 Which are the Chinese piracy of intellectual property. So to me, tariffs are there as a tool, you'd want to use them very very judiciously. You'd want to use them with a lot of transparency and lead time so that if, if you are going to use them, you'd say, "hey, in 2 years time, if you don't change these practices these tariffs are going to go up" And actually use them as an instrument to push people in a direction you want to go. You don't want to put other adminst-- country's governments in a position where they feel like they're going to like win or lose. 161756 You have to try to create paths for them to be able to look good for their people in a way that, that meets our goals and ends. So, I'm very much against the way that Trump has run the China trade war. BEcause I've seen the victims in America of that trade war, and as far as I can tell, it has not really remedied the abuses that it was, it was meant to. PHONE RINGS 160625 (PHONE RINGS) No, it's fine, it's the Russians always trying to interrupt my events. I'm totally kidding. That was, that was very operatic, though. It was like with those Academy Awards where like the speech goes on too long and it's like the rising music and then I'm like, I just want to thank -- I just wanna thank three more people. Climate Change 162552 I'm, I'm going to throw one last thing that;s hopefully will tie this together. In a country where 78% of us are living paycheck to paycheck, and almost half of us can't afford an unexpected 500 dollar bill, if you go to that person, say "We need to worry about climate change" what is a natural response? How much is it going to cost me? I can't pay next month's rent. I'm worried about this week, not like years from now. 162616 We have to get the boot off of our people's throats and then we will be able to make much more rapid progress on climate change. We're gonna find that out in my administration. TRINT yang londonderry.wav [15:42:29] No, I no. It is incredible. [15:42:35] It is. [15:42:45] In 1992, they had to be back to speak about seven months ago. And I said, I haven't been back since I graduated because I didn't have a lot of time with the school and the student body then erupted in applause. [15:43:00] Now they go. No, I wasn't my intended reaction. I went to college not so far from here in Rhode Island and Brown University. [15:43:10] And then I went to Yale Law School at York City, became known to have a lawyer for five months, and then I left to start a company. How many of you have started a business or organization or club or mailing list? Raise your hand. [15:43:23] So if you put your hand up, you know a couple things. You know, number one, it's much harder than anyone ever lets on. And number two, when someone asks you how it's going, what do you say? Great. My business was great, too, until it failed. My parents told people I was still a lawyer because they're Asian. Among other things, I'd been bitten by the bug and I worked at a small company and then another. And then I became the CEO of an education company that grew to become number one in the US, was bought by a big company in 2009, and 2009 was a very tough time in much of the country because of the financial crisis. How many of you were here in New Hampshire in 2009? [15:44:05] Eleven years ago. How was that time? Here in this part of the state? [15:44:12] Not very good. I don't like to think about it. [15:44:15] I ask the same question in another part of the state. And this 14 year old boy raised his hand and said it was very, very hard. I looked and I said this before years old. How do you remember? [15:44:26] And he said, My parents had to sell the house. And that's all I remember. And I was like, oh, he would remember that. And that's the kind of thing you don't forget. It was such a tough time and so much of the country. And I had this sense, I had an insight as to why our economy crashed. And it crashed in large part because some of the wannabe whiz kids I'd go into eggs, Aaron Brown and Columbia with had gone straight to Wall Street and come up with mortgage backed securities, exotic financial instruments and derivatives. So I thought what a disaster that is. What a train wreck. Let's try to have people do the opposite of that. So I thought the opposite of that would be to head to a place like Detroit or Baltimore or Birmingham or St.. [15:45:10] Lewis to create businesses that would then create jobs in those communities. I left my job to start a nonprofit. How did you all work at non-profits now? [15:45:19] How many of you volunteer a nonprofit? [15:45:23] You also delis just pretend that allows one. And it's like, are you a good person? Yes, I am. So one time I think so. [15:45:34] When I started this nonprofit, the way I started the nonprofit was I put some of our savings into this Bible and see through that I created. And then I started calling rich friends with this question, Do you love America? This heart abundance said, What does it mean if I say yes? And then I said, Are these ten thousand dollars? And so I told them that I love America for 10000. I thought you did. So I raised a couple hundred thousand that grew to the billions. And over the next seven years running this nonprofit helped create several thousand jobs in 15 cities around the country, was honored by the Obama administration multiple times. So I got to bring my wife to meet the president. My in-laws are very excited about me that week. [15:46:16] It's like she did. All right. [15:46:17] I take these pictures, but unfortunately, I had this sinking feeling while I was traveling the country, running a venture for America that things were getting worse, not better in many places. How many of you grew up in New England or upstate New York, like me, like this general vicinity? [15:46:34] How about that? Midwest, South, West Coast or mountain, west or Southwest? [15:46:42] Yeah, I have never been to Missouri or Alabama or Louisiana or Ohio even before running a venture for America. And I felt like when you flew between St. Louis and San Francisco or Michigan in Manhattan, you felt like you were crossing dimensions or decades or ways of life and not just a few times month. I don't know if you've had that experience yourselves going between parts of the country, but I was still stunned when Donald Trump became our president in 2016. Today, I know you all remember. [15:47:13] Well, how did you all react when you want to cry, crush someone in another man's head. [15:47:22] Berman To me. Trump's victory was a red flag where tens of. [15:47:40] As in friends and neighbors who celebrated his victory. Now, if you were to turn on cable news that night or any night since then, why would. [15:48:00] Facebook social media, for sure. James Cole, Mees Lines FBI. [15:48:11] Hillary Clinton emails complacency, turn out Electoral College, change, anti politician, all. [15:48:24] All these things kind of mixed together into some sort of cocktail or brew. But I'm a numbers guy and I love when looking in the numbers for an explanation. And I found it over the past number of months and years, we have blasted away four million manufacturing jobs in this country. And where were those jobs primarily? [15:48:48] Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Missouri, Iowa, all the swing states that not all Donald Trump needed to win and did win. And you may know what this looks and feels like because this happened in New Hampshire a little bit earlier where you all lost 12000 manufacturing jobs, primarily in the northern part of the state. And when those plants or mills closed, then the shopping district closed and people started to leave and the schools shrank. And that community has never recovered. I have been to those towns in northern New Hampshire. I've been to towns that have had the exact same thing play out in Missouri, Ohio, Michigan, western Pennsylvania. [15:49:32] And what happened to those jobs is now shifting to other parts of the economy. How many of you have noticed stores closing around where you live here in Londonderry? And why are those stores closing? Amazon online. Amazon alone is soaking up 20 billion dollars in business every year. How much an Amazon pay in taxes last year? Zero. So that's the math. Londonderry 20 billion out 30 percent of your stores and malls close. You get zero back. Most common job in the economy is retail clerk, average retail clerks, a 39 year old woman making between eight to 10 dollars an hour. What is her next move going to be when the store closes? [15:50:17] We all see the self-service kiosks at the CBS and the grocery store and the fast food restaurant. But the changes are more pervasive in subtle. When you all call the customer service line of the big company and you get the bot or the software on the other end. I'm sure you do the exact same thing I do, which is you pound 0 0 0 say human, human, representative, representative, human, human until you get someone on the line. Right. Raise your hand if that's what you do. Oh yeah, we all do that. Well, Susan, you hear that software, you're like, oh no, I hope this company still employs a human that I will now get to. But in two or three short years, the software is going to sound like this. [15:50:57] Hey, Andrew, how's it going? What can I do for you? It'll be fast, efficient, peppy, delightful. You might not even know its software. What is this going to mean for the two and a half million Americans who work at call centers right now making 10 to 14 dollars an hour? [15:51:13] How many of you all know a truck driver here in New Hampshire? [15:51:17] It's the most common job in 29 states. There are three and a half million truck drivers in our country. My friends in California are working on trucks that can drive themselves. They say they're in 98 percent of the way there. And if you doubt that the robot trucks are coming. A robot truck just transported 20 tons of butter from California to Pennsylvania two weeks ago with no human intervention. [15:51:38] Why did they choose butter for this maiden voyage? I have no idea. [15:51:43] But if you Google robot butter truck, you will see. And then in Pennsylvania, there was a giant stack of pancakes. Now there were. [15:52:08] Our highway system has a circulatory system and the trucks are like blood cells carrying cargo, but they don't just carry what's inside the truck. They also carry economic vitality. Almost 10 percent of the jobs in the state of Nebraska. Support truckers and trucking. What will happen to all of those jobs when the robot truck does not need to stop in Nebraska anymore? We're in the midst of the greatest economic transformation in the history of our country, what experts are calling the fourth industrial revolution. When's the last time you heard a politician say fourth industrial revolution? Just now. Three seconds ago. And I'm barely a politician. My wife joked that I'd make a lousy politician because I'm a subpar liar. Sure, I could barely. Like I was trying to surprise her with a proposal, and I felt like I was like just like she knows, she knows we got to. [15:53:02] Yes, eventually. [15:53:06] So we're in the midst of this fourth industrial revolution. It's transforming our way of life in fundamental ways. [15:53:12] And I went to our leaders in Washington, D.C. I asked them in 2017. So Trump wins. I'm like, oh, my gosh. You know, here I am, Mr. Job Creator. Getting awards and accolades. And I feel like I'm pouring water into a bathtub that has a giant hole ripped in the bottom. The water's rushing out. Well, it helps get Donald Trump elected. We're scapegoating immigrants for things immigrants have nothing to do with. So I go to our leaders in D.C. and I say, what are we going to do to help our people manage this economic transformation? I had my facts and my figures. And what do you think the folks in D.C. said to me when I said, what are we going to do? Go home. Nothing. I didn't know that in New Hampshire. Someone made this Scooby Doo noise was like, woo, woo. [15:53:59] The main response I got out of D.C. were no one. Andrew, we cannot talk about this now. [15:54:05] It's verbatim. One was very reassuring. Number two, we should study this further. Number three, we must educate and retrain all Americans for the jobs of the future. How many of you heard that one before? Yeah, that one sounds somewhat responsible, but I'm the numbers guy. [15:54:21] So I said, hey, I looked at the studies. You all want to guess how effective the government funded retraining programs were for the manufacturing workers who lost their jobs. [15:54:32] I'm asking you very low and you're guessing low and you're guessing low in part because, you know, people you know that people aren't all just going to march out of the factory and be like, take me to the coding school now. Like, that's that's that's not the way people are. So the success rates were between zero and 15 percent. They're a total dud of the manufacturing workers in the Midwest who lost their jobs. [15:54:54] Almost half never worked again. And of that group, half filed for disability. You then saw surges and suicides and drug overdoses in those communities to the point where America's life expectancy has now declined for the last three years in a row. You know, the last time America's life expectancy declined for three years in a row worldwide 2 is a very good guess. Depression's a very good guess. It's earlier than both of those. It's the Spanish flu of 1918, the global pandemic that killed millions. You have to go back 100 years to a point where America's life expectancy declined three years in a row. [15:55:28] It is highly unusual for your life expectancy to ever decline in a developed country. It ordinarily just keeps going up and up because you're getting richer, stronger, healthier. But in the U.S., it's gone down and then down and then down again. [15:55:41] So when I said this to the folks in D.C., one of them said, well, I guess we'll get better at the programs. And another said something that brought me here to you all today, he said, Andrew, you're in the wrong town. No one here in D.C. will do anything about this because fundamentally this is a town of followers, not leaders. And the only way we will do something about it is if you were to create a wave in other parts of the country and bring that wave crashing down on our heads. And I said. Challenge accepted. I'll be back in two years with the wave. [15:56:13] As now, you may not know this, but you all are part of that wave. You all are among the most powerful people in our country today. I did the math. You know how many Californians each New Hampshire voter is worth? One thousand Californians of. So look around this cafeteria. How many of us are there today? I'm going to give a Trump an estimate. [15:56:46] There are eighteen hundred people here in the biggest room anyone's ever seen. [15:56:54] There are about 200 people here today, but two hundred people here in New Hampshire is the equivalent of five football stadiums full of Californians. That is the power you have to shape the future of this country. You all can do something that other Americans only dream about. Most of our fellow citizens look up and they see the government pipes just clogged full of lobbyist cash and they think there's nothing they can do about it. They are generally correct. There is next to nothing they can do. But you all can flush the pipes clean in 30 short days. That's the magic of this place. So I love campaigning here so much. [15:57:30] If you take a different message to the rest of the country, we can retake our own government and make it work for the people of this country. This campaign raised sixteen point five million dollars in the fourth quarter of last year with zero corporate PAC money. All grassroots donations. Average donation of only thirty five dollars each. So my fans are almost as cheap as Bernie's. We are fifth in the polls and rising to become the Democratic nominee. And this campaign is all about rewriting the rules of the 21st century economy. To work for us, to work for you, to work for your families. [15:58:16] This is the only way it's going to happen. We're in the midst of the greatest winner take all economy in the history of our country. You have trillion dollar tech companies like Amazon paying less in taxes than everyone here in this room today. Now, you may not know this, but this is what you're here to change. You are here to see to it that we get our fair share of all the value that's flowing out of your communities and bring it back, bring it back and then do what with it. Put it directly into your hands. Because when it's in your hands, what will you do with it? What does that trickle up economy look like? [15:58:49] How would you actually spend a thousand dollars a month if you were to get it? [15:58:57] Student loans, how much of it would stay right here in New Hampshire? Most all of it. Some of it would flow out. [15:59:09] You might get your own Netflix password, but most of it would stay right here in your communities. Now, I know that at some point you've seen that there's a man running for president who wants to give everyone 1000 dollars a month. And I know the first time you saw that, you thought that was too good to be true, a gimmick. That will never happen. But this is not my idea and it's not a new idea. [15:59:36] Thomas Paine was forward at the founding of the country. He called it the citizen's dividend for all Americans. Martin Luther King, whose birthday we celebrate every year, was fighting for this when he was killed in 1968. It's called a guaranteed minimum income for all Americans. I met with his son in Atlanta and he said this is what his dad was fighting for. A thousand economists, including Milton Friedman, one of the fathers of modern economic theory, endorsed this plan in the 60s, passed the U.S. House of Representatives twice in 1971 under Nixon. [16:00:10] It's called the Family Assistance Plan would have guaranteed an income floor for all Americans. And then 11 years later, one state actually passed a dividend where now everyone in that state gets between one and two thousand dollars a year. No questions asked. And what state is that and how do they pay for it? And what is the oil of the 21st century? Data technology, A.I., self-driving cars and trucks. A study just came out that said that our data is now worth more than oil. Billions of dollars a year, where's all that money going? [16:00:55] Google, Facebook, Amazon, Apple. The trillion dollar. Jeff Bezos singled out individual downstream. Jeff Bezos is where the hundred fifteen billion dollars post divorce. [16:01:08] No judgment. I mean, it's just like a statement of fact. [16:01:14] We have to make sure that we're getting our fair share from the biggest winners of the 21st century economy. If we get our fair share of every Amazon sale, every Google search, every Facebook ad, eventually every robot truck mile and a I work unit, we can easily afford this thousand dollar dividend in our hands after we spend it in our communities. Creates all sorts of new economic growth right here in New Hampshire, actually creates an environment where your kids don't necessarily feel like they have to leave your town or your state to have the kind of life that they want to lead. [16:01:49] We say there was a corrections officer right here in New Hampshire who said to me we should pay people to stay out of jail because it costs so much more when they're in jail. This was a corrections officer. He got. He knows he needs like staring at it every day. So these are the things that we can do to build this trickle up economy that would actually pay for itself many times over. One estimate said that just by making us stronger, healthier, better educated, it would increase GDP by 700 billion dollars just based on better health and education outcomes for our people. [16:02:23] I've run several organizations and I know investing in people's what good organizations do here in America right now. Are we investing in our kids? Are we setting them up to actually succeed? Are we putting them in a position where they're going to lead a better life than we have led? I know Steve said some of the same things. Steve is a parent. I'm a parent. How many of you all are parents? If you're a parent, you've had this sinking feeling that we're leaving our kids a future that is less secure or less stable and less prosperous than the lives that we have led. We feel that way because that is the truth of it in the numbers. [16:02:57] I'm not running for president because I dreamt about being president. Those are not the conversations in the Yang household. I can guarantee you that it was more like your terrible clean up your room monthly. And it was this. [16:03:10] That's true. And now I now my moms like me. Like, how did you do it anyway? [16:03:19] I'm running for president because like those of you had your hands up, I'm a parent and a patriot and I have seen the future that lies ahead for our kids. It is not something I'm willing to accept for them. They deserve better. [16:03:30] Applause. [16:03:33] And you all, unlike anyone else in the country, can insure that they actually will do better. Every other family in the country wants that kind of power that you all have. And the question is how are you going to use it? In 30 days time? It's a really profound question, but it's an awesome one. [16:03:54] As Steve said, we get told how great things are by these headline economic measurements. They say corporate profits are at record highs, GDP figures are at record highs. GDP is actually GDP. GDP is at record highs. [16:04:07] Also at record highs, United States of America right now. Debt. Student loan debt. Financial insecurity. Americans living paycheck to paycheck. Stress. Anxiety. Mental illness. Depression, suicides, drug overdoses, again, of corporate profits are going up and life expectancy is going down, which do you listen to? We know which one D.C. is listening to. [16:04:35] D.C. can't even see people on life expectancy. D.C. is just staring at the dollar signs. Washington, D.C. today is the richest city in our country. [16:04:43] Think about that. What do they produce? [16:04:49] Whatever their producing business is very good. Donald Trump said he wanted to drain the swamp and that actually evoked a lot of support in the American people. I don't want to drain the swamp. I want to distribute the swamp. Why would you employ hundreds of thousands of workers in the most expensive metro area in the state, in the country? Why wouldn't you move some of those workers and jobs to Ohio, Michigan, New Hampshire, Missouri, much lower cost. You save billions of dollars right off the bat. [16:05:23] And I'd argue that the agency would make better decisions because they'd actually live someplace normal instead of a D.C. bubble where they look at each other all day. I'm for term limits for members of Congress. [16:05:40] The job of our representatives should be to head to D.C., get work done on our behalf and then come home. Their job should not be to go to D.C. and try and crouch there for as long as possible, being like. Let me stay. Let me stay as your president. After I do everything I can for us for eight years, you will never hear from me again. [16:06:05] And I'm certainly not going to stay in D.C. a day longer, and I have to, I'll be like, what's to help sort out? All right, I'm out. [16:06:15] One of the reasons why we're so confused as a country is that certain economic measurements are going up while our quality of life is going down. And when you have that kind of issue. No, it's fine. It's the Russians always trying to interrupt my events. I totally get it. That was that was very operatic, though. It was like what those Academy Awards were like. The speech goes on too long. It is like polarizing music. Best of luck. I just want to thank what I think three more people. [16:06:48] It's fine. I'd have to say that you have to be a. [16:06:54] So we have these measurements that are heading up even as our quality of life is going down. What we have to do is bring them together. And the most obvious way to do that is actually upgrade our measurements to tell us how we are doing instead of GDP and corporate profits that are going to go up when robot trucks come. We need things that actually tell us how we are going to be progressing. So instead of GDP, how about wellness and life expectancy? [16:07:21] Mental health and freedom from substance abuse. Clean air and clean water. Environmental sustainability. Proportion of Americans who can retire in quality circumstances. [16:07:31] Childhood success rates. These are the real measurements of our society. And as your president, it will be my pleasure to go to the Bureau of Economic Analysis and say, hey, GDP. A hundred years old, really out of date, kind of useless. Even the inventors had one hundred years ago. This is a terrible measurement of national well-being, and we should never use it as that. And here we are writing it off a cliff 100 years later. [16:07:55] I'm going to modernize it to this scorecard that highlights how we are actually doing in our communities. And I will present the real data to everyone every year at the State of the Union. I will be the first president to use a PowerPoint deck in the State of the Union. And I know how deeply flawed our economic measurements are because of my own family. My wife is at home with our two boys every day taking care of Christopher and Damien, one of whom is autistic. Our boys are 7 and 4. How much is her work included in our economic measurements every day or every year? [16:08:35] Zero evolution and all the stay at home parents around the country get a zero. All the caregivers taking care of ailing loved ones. Zero. Volunteers and activists zero. Coaches and mentors making people stronger. Zero. Ninety eight percent of artists, zero. [16:08:58] Increasingly, local journalists, we have put 2000 local newspapers out of business over the last number of months because all the classified ads disappeared to the Internet. You know, it doesn't function as well without local journalism, democracy. Because how the heck are you going to vote on what's going on in your community if there's no one telling you what's going on in your community? [16:09:20] These are some of the things that we claim to value most highly in our lives, our families, our communities, our democracy. And we are allowing them to get zeroed out one by one by one. I talked to my wife about this when I started the campaign and she said, how has America gotten so far to this side? And I said that we have allowed ourselves to get collectively confused, that economic value and human value are somehow the same things when they are not. The message you have to take to our fellow Americans in 30 days is that we all and our children all have intrinsic value as Americans, as citizens and as human beings ourselves. [16:10:05] We have to say that the machines work for us, and it's not that we all work for this giant capital efficiency machine. [16:10:20] This is the way we humanize our economy and get it working for us. This is how we're able to look our kids in the eyes and say that their country loves them, their country values them, and their country will invest in them for real. [16:10:40] I love New Hampshire because you golf can make this real in a heartbeat. I know I can feel it. Energy is rising. Everything is getting focused on February 11th right here in this state. Donald Trump is our president today because he had a very, very simple message. He said he was going to make America great again. What did Hillary Clinton say in response? [16:11:01] America's already great. Remember that? It's been a long three years, I know, but it's about to end. [16:11:14] Hillary's response did not go over well because the problems are real. [16:11:18] We have to acknowledge the depth and severity and reality of the problems in our community. But then we need real solutions that will actually help move the country forward. What we're Donald Trump's solutions. Build a wall. Turn the clock back. Bring the old jobs back. [16:11:37] Londonderry You know, we have to do the opposite of these things. We have to turn the clock forward. We have to accelerate our economy and society to rise to the real challenge. [16:11:54] Deal candidate for this job, because the opposite of Donald Trump is an Asian man who likes math. [16:12:01] Thank you very much, Londonderry. You may not know this, but math is an acronym. And what does it stand for? [16:12:10] Make America think harder. That's right. That is your job in 30 days. It is your job to move this country, not left now. Right. But forward. And I know that's just where you take us. [16:12:21] Let's go. Let's make history together. New Hampshire. Thank you. Thank you, Londonderry. [16:12:33] The greatest room of all time. [16:12:36] I also love to take some questions. I think Lacey has a mike and we'll select you at her discretion. But what lazy criteria are? [16:12:49] Wow. First question, I've spent a lot of time in West Virginia and I know this is New Hampshire and I'm from here, but those coal miners that we're putting out of work and we need to put out of work, they have a real strong sense of place. And this is something we understand here in New England. They want to make a living in the mountains that they love. Yet we need to move forward on a climate change issue, which is going to put them out of work. In some ways, it's like the furniture guys up in Grafton. Talk to me about how you would deal with that issue. [16:13:33] Thank you. And this is the crux of my campaign in many ways. So I'll tell you what I would not do. I would not say that we're going to turn coal miners into coders, because that's essentially ridiculous. And talking about it is a waste of time and immensely counterproductive for society. So the question is, what are the rules of the future? For starters, if you put a thousand dollars a month into a community, let's say in West Virginia, let's say there's a town of 10000 people in West Virginia. They're getting an additional 10 million dollars a month in buying power. Then the money will flow to local nonprofits and religious organizations and local businesses that will each need to hire excessively. [16:14:18] Right there in that community, one of the messages, I think is a loser for Americans everywhere. And it's the subtext of a lot of what's going on is that you have to move and leave your home and leave your family if you want to live a good life. That's a losing message. It's where the richest, most abundant country in the history of the world, where up to twenty one trillion dollars and counting. And we can easily put the resources into that town so that people are more able to do the kind of work that they want to do and can reconstitute organizations and businesses that serve the needs of their community. [16:15:05] One of the biggest farces in American life right now is that we don't have the resources to get things done. I'm the numbers guy. Does anyone here remember voting for the four trillion dollar bailout of Wall Street? Does anyone remember anyone there being like where we're going to get the money we're running? Get the money. [16:15:23] No. They had a choice between bailing out the banks and keeping Americans in their homes and they chose the banks. I was so disgusted by this decision. I found it so corrupt that I quit my job, started a nonprofit and random for seven years to create several thousand jobs because I thought that would be generative and productive. [16:15:42] And that's the kind of. [16:15:44] Choice that we're making where towns are concerned, too, we're saying, hey, your coal mine has been stripped bare. Now you're dead. Now you have no value. Your furniture manufacturing plant closes. You're also dead. Well, we have to say instead is that this is the richest country in the history of the world. We can easily put resources into the hands of every single American to help those communities have a path forward that will work for them. [16:16:16] So one of the jokes I tell is that anyone who thinks coal miners should become a coder is generally neither of those things because you talked to coders, they're like, yeah. Incidentally, you jump into this. I mean, coding is like a sophisticated foreign language. Would you suggest that, like coal miners all become Russian translators like this that make any sense? [16:16:39] Oh, yeah, sure. I'll just. I was just venting a little bit. [16:16:44] Hello. Our tariffs, a policy that you think would help equalize our relation with China and other rising economies. Are there other solutions that you propose that be more productive? [16:16:57] Thanks for the question. I like it. [16:17:03] Tariffs are a tool that sometimes can be handy and useful. [16:17:11] I think initiating a trade war is counterproductive. And I was in Iowa and there people are very angry because they've had their prices change and had to fire people and disinvest and do all these nasty things for things they had nothing to do with, which are the Chinese piracy of intellectual property. So to me, tariffs are there is a tool. You'd want to use them very, very judiciously. You'd want to use them with a lot of transparency and lead time. [16:17:39] So if you are going to use them, you'd say, hey, in two years time, if you don't change these practices, these tariffs are going to go up and actually use them as an instrument to push people in a direction you want to go. You don't want to put other countries, governments in a position where they feel like they're going to like win or lose. You have to try and create paths for them to be able to look good for their people in a way that that meets our goals and ends. So I'm very much against the way that Trump has run the China trade war, because I've seen the victims in America of that trade war. And as far as I can tell, it has not really remedied the abuses that it was it was meant to. [16:18:18] Thank you. Good question, though. Feel like you're studying economics at the high school level was your college. [16:18:25] So you've discussed about automation and lots of and how jobs have been increasingly taken over by machines. In your debates, as we've seen previously. But one issue that I'd like to discuss is immigration. So what are your plans for immigration reform? [16:18:46] Thanks for the question. [16:18:49] I'm the son of immigrants myself. I instinctively believe that immigrants make our country stronger and more dynamic. And I talk about my family's history. So my family, my parents met us graduate students at UC Berkeley. My father went on to get a P H D in physics. And when I was a kid, I thought that everyone's dad had a PGD. So I would go and be like, what's your dad's pitched in? And then eventually someone was like, here's what is pitched. He was in. And I was like, Oh, no. [16:19:15] It's like. [16:19:16] And then I learned then I got a little bit older and I found out that my dad generated patents for G.E. and IBM and it sounded very important. So I went to him and said, how much do you get paid when you generate a patent? I was waiting for him to say like, well, it's lots of money. And he was like, I get paid about two hundred dollars. And then I said, that does not sound like a lot. And he said, well, I also get paid a salary so I can feed, housing, clothe you and your brother with a message being like, shut up. [16:19:43] And then I was like, oh I see how that that bargain worked. So I raise the story because that was a huge win for my family, a game to this country. Create a better life for me and my brother. And I would argue that my father, generating sixty nine U.S. patents for G.E. and IBM was great for the United States to. So that's the kind of equation that we need to be running more of, where we need to stay magnet for people around the world who want to come here and innovate and drive value in various ways. Almost half of the Fortune 500 companies were founded by either immigrants or children of immigrants as one very big signal. So I'm pro immigrant. We do need to enforce the southern border and have real policies in place. [16:20:37] But I believe that the people who are here and trying to create a better life for themselves. We need to have a path to citizenship for people who are here and undocumented, because right now we're in a very, very bad situation for everyone where you can pretend you can deport 12 million plus people, which would destroy regional economies and destroy families and be inhumane and all this other. So they're very deeply problematic elements in real life. You can do what we're doing now, which is just not know what's going on. And then have people run into institutions when they get into a car accident or an emergency room or have a problem. [16:21:28] Is the right one. It's a path that Marco Rubio and other Republicans supported until they lost their political courage. [16:21:35] And and even when we put this new third path in effect, the fact is many or many people who are here will never actually trust the government anyway. And they'll try and stay in the shadows. So we have to actually create a path that has like a legitimate hope for them and can inspire and inspire in them that this is all a long term place for them and their families. Like above, like the shadows or out of the shadows. [16:22:10] So you were talking earlier about, like that robot butter trucks and like all those like technology stuff taking over jobs. But I'm I'm on the robotics team here at the school and I'm an aspiring engineer. So I'm just wondering how you're planning on still encouraging people to get active in these like plenty of opportunities in these jobs that are engineering, architecture, all those things and like still be able to compete with other nations and things like that. If we try to decrease the amount of people in those. [16:22:42] Oh, no. First, let me say, let's give her a round of applause for being all over the robots in the future. That's so cool. [16:22:51] I'm friends with a guy named Dean came in. Do you know Dean came in, as you might have done? I am the most pro progress, pro innovation guy around. I think I'm just also very pro human being. Like I want human beings to all be excited about progress and innovation. Right now, eight percent of Americans work in STEM fields, science, technology, engineering and math. So it's not realistic to say, hey, we're going to turn 92 percent of you and 8 percent. That's not realistic. But we do need to invest a lot in helping channel Americans towards fields and livelihoods that will be here for a long time to come. [16:23:27] So one massive opportunity here in the U.S. we are under investing in technical, vocational and trade programs from the high school level, up only 6 percent of American high school students are in technical or apprenticeship or trade programs in Germany. That's 59 percent. Think of that Gulf. You think we're missing something there. [16:23:48] So we need to invest in those jobs and those jobs will be with us for a long time to come. We have millions of unfilled roles in those in those industries. And one joke I tell, but it's true. Can you imagine what it would take to have a robot each back repair person come to your home or, you know, it's like impossible that they're going to be humans doing very important technical work for a long time. It's just right now we are not investing enough in those programs. I'm going to team up with Mike Rowe of Dirty Jobs and go around saying like, these jobs are awesome and then like invest billions and trying to push Americans in that direction because that's what we need more of. So keep it up. You're awesome progressives, awesome inventions. Awesome. And I'm going to throw an A into stem for steam a is arts. We need to invest a lot more in arts education. [16:24:42] You see, you have another victim forum, and I'm actually all yours. [16:24:48] I guess that might be selfie time, is that what happened? It is selfie time. You never want the candidate to say, I can't take any more questions because I got to get in a flight to Des Moines. So you have somebody else do it for him. [16:24:59] So let me just say one thing, or we we close. So when I say I haven't talked that much about climate change, but how many of you are concerned about climate change? You should know that climate change is a top maybe the top priority for me and my administration. One of my first acts will be to put a price on pollution and carbon emissions so that the people that are actually speeding up climate change have to pay back into the system. And then we use all of that to move us towards renewable sources of energy. [16:25:33] So you should know I'm serious. [16:25:34] Like like I see how this is already endangering us, not just here in New Hampshire, but everywhere. We've all seen these horrific images out of Australia. How many of you seen them? Like it's like out of a science fiction nightmare movie. And we need to make progress as rapidly as possible. I'm going to throw one last thing that's hopefully a tie this together in a country where 70 percent of us are living paycheck to paycheck and almost half of us can't afford an unexpected five hundred dollar bill. If you go to that person, say we need to worry about climate change, what is a natural response? How much is going to cost me I can't pay next month's rent, I'm worried about this week, not like years from now. We have to get the boot off of our people's throats and then we will be able to make much more rapid progress on climate change. And we're gonna find that out. My administration. [16:26:32] OK, first of all, ladies and gentlemen, give it up one more time, New Hampshire. [16:26:36] Andrew yes. Yes. Yes.
WHITE HOUSE CORONAVIRUS TASK FORCE BRIEFING - HEADON POOL 1655 -1900
1655 WH COVID BRFG HEAD ON FS23 73 CBS POOL President Trump and members of the White House coronavirus task force briefing WASH 3 PRESIDENT TRUMP WHITE HOUSE CORONAVIRUS TASK FORCE BRIEFING 200414 181420 TRUMP>> Thank you very much. Please. Very importantly, I would like to begin by saying that we have just reached agreement. The Secretary of Treasury Steven Mnuchin, with the major airlines, all of our great airlines, to participate in a payroll support program. This agreement will fully support airline industry workers, preserve the vital role airlines play in our economy and protect taxpayers. 181454 Our airlines are now in good shape, and they will get over a very tough period of time that was not caused by them. 181503 The United States is continuing to make substantial progress in our war against the virus. We grieve at every precious life that's been lost to the invisible enemy, but through the darkness we can see the rays of light. We see that tunnel, and at the end of that tunnel, we see light. We are starting to see it more than ever before. We've held our rate, the numbers, everything we've done, we've been very very strong on it and very powerful on it. 181539 You look at what's happening in other countries, Spain, Italy, United Kingdom, we are working with them, we're trying to help them especially with ventilators. They've been calling a lot, they need ventilators so badly. 15% of counties within the United States have zero cases and many counties within the United States have a very small number of cases. 181604 Large sections of our country are really looking at other sections and saying, wow, that looks bad, but they don't have the problem. I salute the American people for following our guidelines on social distancing, even you people, are so different looking out there when I look at you. Their devotion, your devotion is saving lives. 181625 And today I'm instructing my administration to halt funding of the world health organization while a review is conducted to assess the world health organization's role in severely mismanaging and covering up the spread of the Coronavirus. 181644 Everybody knows what's going on there. American taxpayers provide between $400 million and 500 million dollars per year to the W.H.O. In contrast China contributes roughly $40 million a year and even less. As the organization's leading sponsor, the United States has a duty to insist on full accountability. One of the most dangerous and costly decisions from the W.H.O. was its disastrous decision to oppose travel restrictions from China and other nations. 181719 They were very much opposed to what we did. Fortunately, I was not convinced and suspended travel from China, saving untold numbers of lives. 181756 Many countries said "we're gonna listen to the W.H.O.," and they have problems with the likes of which they cannot believe. Nobody can believe. The decision of other major countries to keep travel open was one of the great tragedies and missed opportunities from the early days. The WHO's attack on travel restrictions put political correctness above life-saving measures. Travel bans work for the same reason that quarantines work. 181829 Pandemics depend on human to human transmission. Border control is fundamental to virus control. Since its establishment in 1948, the American people have generously supported the World Health Organization to provide better health outcomes for the world and, most importantly, to help prevent global health crises. With the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, we have deep concerns whether America's generosity has been put to the best use possible. 181903 The reality is that W.H.O. failed to adequately obtain, vet, and share information in a timely and transparent fashion. The world depends on the WHO to work with countries to ensure that accurate information about international health threats is shared in a timely manner. 181924 And if it's not to independently tell the world the truth about what is happening, the W.H.O. failed in this basic duty and must be held accountable. It's time after all of these decades. The W.H.O. failed to investigate credible reports from sources in Wuhan that conflicted directly with the Chinese government's official accounts. 181949 There was credible information to suspect human to human transmission in December 2019, which spurred the WHO to investigate and investigate immediately. Through the middle of January, it parroted and publicly endorsed the idea that there was not human to human transmission happening despite reports and clear evidence to the contrary. The delays the W.H.O. experienced in declaring a public health emergency cost valuable time. Tremendous amounts of time. 182028 More time was lost in the delay it took to get a team of international experts in to examine the outbreak, which we wanted to do, which they should have done. The inability of the W.H.O. to obtain virus samples to this date has deprived the scientific community of essential data. New data that emerges across the world on a daily basis points to the unreliability of the initial reports. And the world received all sorts of false information about transmission and mortality. 182110 The silence of the W.H.O. on the disappearance of scientific researchers and doctors, and on new restrictions on the sharing of research into the origins of Covid-19 in the country of origin is deeply concerning, especially when we put up by far the largest amount of money -- not even close. Had the WHO done its job to get medical experts into China to objectively assess the situation on the ground and to call out China's lack of transparency, the outbreak could have been contained at its source with very little death -- very little death. 182156 And certainly, very little death by comparison. This would have saved thousands of lives and avoided worldwide economic damage. Instead, the WHO willingly took China's assurances to face value, and they took it just at face value, and defended the actions of the Chinese government, even praising China for its so-called transparency -- I don't think so. The WHO pushed China's misinformation about the virus, saying it was not communicable and there was no need for travel bans. 182232 They told us, when we put on our travel ban, a very strong travel ban, there was no need to do it. Don't do it. They actually fought us. The WHO's reliance on China's disclosures likely caused a 20-fold increase in cases worldwide, and it may be much more than that. The W.H.O. has not addressed a single one of these concerns nor provided a serious explanation that acknowledges its own mistakes of which there were many. 182301 America and the world have chosen to rely on the W.H.O. for accurate, timely and independent information to make important public health recommendations and decisions. If we cannot trust that this is what we will receive from the WHO, our country will be forced to find other ways to work with other nations to achieve public health goals. We will have no choice but to do that. 182331 Our countries are now experiencing -- you look all over the world, tremendous death and economic devastation because those tasked with protecting us by being truthful and transparent failed to do so. It would have been so easy to be truthful. And so much death has been caused by their mistakes. We will continue to engage with the WHO to see if it can make meaningful reforms. 182403 For the time being, we will redirect global health and directly work with others. All of the aid that we send will be discussed at very, very powerful letters and with very powerful and influential groups and smart groups. Medically, politically, and every other way. 182424 And we'll be discussing it with other countries and global health partners. What we do with all of that money that goes to W.H.O., and may be W.H.O. will reform and maybe they won't, but we will be able to see. As you know, in other countries hit hard by the virus, hospitals have been tragically forced to ration medical care and the use of ventilators. 182453 But due to our early and aggressive action, the skill of our health care workers and the resilience of our health care system. 182502 No hospital in America has been forced to deny any patient access to a ventilator with all of the talk you have heard, where some states wanted 40,000 ventilators. I said, "that doesn't work. 40 thousand." And they ended up with seven or 8,000. And they had no problem. 40,000 ventilators for one state, it was ridiculous. 182530 The scariest day of my life was about a month ago, when after a long day of meetings, my team told me that we were going to be needing 130,000 ventilators. That we were short hundreds of thousands of ventilators. This is the system we inherited. I had governors requesting unreasonable sums that the federal government just didn't have. 182603 And you look at the states, the states, the states didn't have, the states were not prepared. I knew that every person who needed a ventilator, and didn't get one would die. And that's what we were told. They would die. I saw in other countries doctors having to make decisions on who got a ventilator and who didn't. And I knew that this would be a defining challenge of the crisis. 182628 Those that didn't get ventilators were said to be in a position, only of one alternative. And that was death. Would we be able to prevent Americans from dying because we couldn't get them ventilators? And the ventilators that they needed and needed immediately. 182650 I instructed my team to move heaven and Earth to make sure that this didn't happen. We started to smartly ration and distribute the ventilators that we had and that others had, and I got daily updates on the supply we had from requests coming in and people wanting to have updates. We had a great group of people working on it. I instructed my team to use the Defense Protection Act. 182720 And the Defense Production Act was used very powerfully -- more powerfully than anybody would know. In fact, so powerfully that, for the most part, we didn't officially have to take it out. It was a hammer. It was a very powerful hammer -- in order to manufacture as many ventilators as possible. Last year America manufactured, from a dead start, 30,000 ventilators and this year, the number will be over 150,000 ventilators. It could be as high as 200,000, far more than we will ever need. 182758 So we will be able to stockpile. We'll be able to talk to states about stockpiling. These are high quality ventilators. We had a choice: we could do inexpensive, less productive ventilators or high quality. We've done a high quality ventilator. So we should have any from 150 to 200,000 ventilators. In addition to that, we have 10,000 ventilators right now in the Federal stockpile ready to move, should we need them -- we might not. 182829 Should we need them in New York, or New Jersey, or in Louisiana, or in Illinois or any other state that may need them, if we have a surge. I'd like to ask Adam Boehler to come up and just say a few words. He's done a fantastic job. Young man who worked 24 hours a day on handling this situation, and I'd just like to have Adam -- wherever he may be -- come up and say a few words. Adam, please. Think you very much. ADAM BOEHLER 182904 BOEHLER>> Thank you. Thank you, Mr. President. At your direction, this country has worked hard over the past few weeks to ramp up ventilator production through all means possible. Thousands of ventilators are coming in now, monthly, with over 100,000 by the end of June. At the same time, there are over 60,000 ventilators in our hospitals right now that are not in use. Knowing this and at your direction, we reached out to the American Hospital Association to design a system that allows hospitals to lend ventilators to other hospitals right when they need it. 182942 Within the past week alone, 20 top health systems have signed up for this dynamic ventilator reserve, representing over 4,000 ventilators. Not only do we have top academic systems like Cleveland Clinic and Mayo Clinic, but we also have top health systems from New York City, New Orleans, Washington state and California. Over a week ago, these places would have needed help, but now they are here to help. 183010 There's been no American that has needed a ventilator that has not received one. This dynamic, virtual reserve, combined with our strategic stockpile, will ensure that this is always the case. I'd like to thank the President for his leadership and directive to focus on public-private partnerships like this one. I'd also like to thank Sam Hazen from HCA, Lloyd Dean from Common Spirit for leading this effort with the AHA and the Federation of American Hospitals. 183042 These have been difficult times. A few weeks ago, the vIce president came into my office, and reminded us of the power of the resilience of American people and of private companies. We needed it that day, Mr. Vice President. This partnership is another example of Americans helping Americans. Thank you. PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP 183109 TRUMP>> I'd shake his hand, but I'm not allowed to. Times have changed, haven't they? Thank you very much. You did a fantastic job. We're very proud of you. You and your whole team. Thank you. Today, we are taking further action to maximize our oversupply and available ventilators. This afternoon, I met with the leaders, the top people of many of America's big, powerful, beautiful and you know, very, very important hospitals, and hospital associations, who join us today. 183144 We had a great meeting. Learned a lot. And they've been going through a lot. They've been doing a fantastic job, as everybody here will attest. 183153 I'm pleased to announce that my administration is partnering with the hospitals across the country to create an innovative new system called the dynamic ventilator reserve. So that we're gonna have tremendous numbers of ventilators, that we're able to help our states with at a later date, if there's ever a problem like this, which we hope to God will never happen again. 183215 It was 1917-1918. That's a long time ago. We hope it never happens again. And I'd like to ask Rick Pollack, the CEO of the American hospital association, Sam Hazen, CEO of HCA healthcare, that's the largest in the United States. Warner Thomas, CEO of Ochsner Health and if I could, Mihal(?), are you here from Cleveland clinic? Somebody --Good. Come on up, folks. Please, thank you. Say a few words. RICK POLLACK 183251 POLLACK>> Thank you very much, Mr. President. We appreciate the opportunity to work with you and your team on the dynamic ventilator reserve program. This will provide a really important mechanism for us in serving our patients and communities by ensuring that this vital equipment will be available to critical areas that are in need. You know, as this battle against this disease has affected the country a little bit unevenly, the rates of infection, hospitalization and ICU use varies from one region to another. 183329 And in some places with lower infection rates, some ventilators may not be in use, while other areas are potentially stretched beyond their capacity. The database of available ventilators that we are creating will allow us to flex so that we can make sure that available equipment can be shared with those in need. 183351 We appreciate the leadership of the health systems that are here today that have stepped forward. And Adam mentioned a few. I don't know if you caught Dr. Francois from NYU Langone and David Dill, the CEO of LifePoint as well. We appreciate the work of the administration in helping us to find innovative solutions to ensure the best care for our patients. We will continue to work with hospitals and health systems across the country to add to this reserve further. 183421 Your team has provided us with important leadership, and we look forward to working with you in making this a success. Thank you, Mr. President. >> Thank you, Mr. President, Mr. Vice President, Adam, team. I stand here before you, in front of our 285,000 colleagues who provide care to patients every day across the country. One of the guiding principles we had when we went into this Covid-19 battle was to find partnerships -- partnerships with other components of the industry, partnerships with other health systems, but partnerships with government, both local and federal. 183500 And we're proud to be part of this prive-public sector partnership, and I think it will do great good for the communities, so thank you very much. TRUMP>> Gread job, thank you. THOMAS>> Thank you, Mr. President. It's great to have Ochsner Health be part of this program. We've certainly have been a recipient and the state of Louisiana has been a recipient of getting ventilators to our state and to Ochsner health. We're currently taking care of about 60% of the Covid patients in New Orleans and we did see a spike in the last few weeks, but we're starting to get on the other side of that and heading in the right direction. 183535 I also want to thank you personally for helping Oschner health. A couple weeks ago, we were running short on surgical gowns and you and your team were able to direct some to New Orleans which was helpful to us and other hospitals around the New Orleans area. So we're excited to be part of this dynamic ventilator reserve and we are proud to be part of that and help other communities around the country. Thank you. 183601 MIHALJEVIS>>>> Thank you, Mr. president, for the invitation here. On behalf of the cleveland clinic, I would just like to offer a slightly different story about the covid pandemic. In our home state of Ohio, with an early institution of social distancing, our ability to scale out the testing and ramping up capacity, we have actually seen a stable number of patients over the last 8-10 days. Only 160 patients have been hospitalized with covid infection in Cleveland clinic health system. 183632 We're also very grateful for the support from our state government as well from our federal government. This is a battle we are all in together. We coordinate our efforts, share our resources and work together as one. I'm firmly convinced that we can do a lot of good when we work together. Thank you very much for having us. 183659 TRUMP>> That was a terrific meeting, and thank you all for being here. Thank you very much. The United States has far more icu beds per capita than any other nation. We have 34.7 icu beds per 100,000 people, which is the best there is. Compared with roughly 12.5 beds per 100,000 in Italy, 11.6 beds in France, 9.7 beds in Spain. Think about that. 34.7 we have. And 6.6 in the U.K. 183734 There are more than 60,000 ventilators at hospitals and other health care facilities that are not in use at this moment. They didn't need them. We got a lot of them out, and they didn't need them. And that's a good thing, that they didn't need them. A lot of good brainpower was involved in making a lot of fantastic decisions. I want to thank our vice president for the task force, and I want to thank all members of your task force on having done an incredible job. You really have done an incredible job. Thank you, Mike, very much. 183802 Through this new partnership with hospitals, unused ventilators will voluntarily lend th, where they have unused ventilators they will voluntarily lend them to other hospitals and other areas of greater need. Thin the last several days, more than 20 of our nation's largest health systems have already split more than 4000 ventilators, should we need them. 183833 I've been told that if they need more, there are more there. We are going to be helping very soon, when the supply really starts pouring in, we'll really start, in less than a month, we will be helping other countries, and they needed very badly. They have no chance without these ventilators. Tey have -- they have to have ventilators. 183858 As we continue our medical war against the virus, the FDA has now authorized the first test, developed by researchers from Rutgers University that can use saliva from patients, it's the first one. The tests can be self administered by patients in health care settings, which will reduce exposure for medical workers and save personal protective equipment. 183924 Rutgers will begin processing 10,000 tests daily. So by using saliva, that's the first, they will be able to do things in terms of speed and ease that we haven't A A Nbeen able to do before. So a lot of great innovation is taking place during this period of time, and that's, innovation -- I call it innovation under pressure. 183943 That's a big difference. Innovation under pressure. Right? Cleveland clinic knows all about that. As we prepare for the next phase of this great struggle, we must also do everything in our power to restore prosperity for the American worker. There's tremendous interest and excitement surrounding the administration's efforts to get the economy roaring once again, and I think it is going to roar once it gets open. I think it is going to go up tremendously. 184015 You see what's happening with the stock market already, because a lot of the very smart financial people, the great minds, they're looking at the stocks and they're saying, Wow.Because what they really -- what they're really seeing is how we are doing. If we weren't doing well, the market wouldn't be at the level that it is today. 184031 They have a lot of confidence that we are doing the right thing and that our country's going to be open soon, and that our country's going to be booming. We've had request to participate from the best in the world, as we share their enthusiasm to get our country going. So I thank them for wanting to contribute, and we look forward to speaking with many industry leaders, seeking their input on how we can return to what was until very recently the greatest economy anywhere in the world, and I can say, the greatest economy in the history of the world. 184108 There's never been an economy like we had, just a little bit more than a month ago. We set every record you could set. More people working than we've ever had working before. Almost 160 million. The best unemployment numbers we've ever had, and the best employment numbers we've ever had. Everybody was doing well. 184129 Stock market hit a record -- 142 days it hit a record. And I think we are going to top those records, ok? And I think we are going to top them soon, once we get rid of the invisible enemy, which will happen. 184143 The plans to reopen the country are close to being finalized, and we will soon be sharing details and new guidelines with everybody. I will be speaking to all 50 Governors very shortly, and of their state at a time and in a manner as most appropriate. 184223 The day will be very close because certain states, as you know, are in a much different condition, and in a much different place than other states. It's going to be very, very close -- maybe even before the date of May 1st. So, that will be for some states. Actually, there are over 20 that are an extremely good shape. 184252 And we think we're gonna be able to get them open fairly quickly, and then others will follow. 184258 The federal government will be watching them very closely, and we'll be there to help, we will be there to help in many different ways, as we've been, where we built hospital beds at a number that nobody's ever seen before, where we did the ventilators, that we just discussed at a level that nobody has seen before. Nobody can believe. 184319 Other foreign countries, even powerful countries can't believe what we were able to do with ventilators. Big, powerful countries, big producing countries, can't believe what we were able to do. We will hold the governors accountable, but again, we're gonna be working with them to make sure it works really well. Now, we have a list of people that I will be speaking to over the next very short period of time, in many cases tomorrow. We're going to have elected officials, and we'll be submitting that list to you within the next 24 hours. 184358 But we have a list of different industries that I will be discussing by -- meeting by telephone, because we don't want people traveling right now. The American farm bureau federation, (?) Duval, Cisco systems, Tyson foods, Purdue farms, Cargal, Archer Daniels, Midland company, Cortiva, tractor supply company, seaboard corporation, grimmway farms, Mount Air farms, and others in the agricultural business. 184436 In banking, it's bank of America, Brian Moynahan has been great, J.P. Morgan chase, Jamie Dimon, Goldman Sachs, Citigroup, Wells Fargo, U.S. Bank corps, Morgan Stanley, James Gorman, Grand Rapids, state bank, southern bank corps, all great institutions with lots to say and lots of good ideas. And if you look at how paycheck has been working out, the numbers are incredible, and I hope congress is goig to be able to supplement the amount of money going to our workers. 184510 I hope they are able to get that done very quickly, because it has been an incredible success, and many are already spending that money, and the money's been distributed at numbers that nobody believed possible for this short period of time. It was only a week ago, but a lot of money's been disturbed already. It's gonna keep our small businesses open. 184531 The construction labor workforce, international union of operating engineers, Jim Calahan, north American building trades union, Sean McGarvey, these are a lot of friends of mine. Laborer's international union of North America, Terry O'Sullivan, International brotherhood of teamsters, James Hoffa. National electrical contractors association, David Long. Beck Tell. Floor 184600 National association of homebuilders. Association of builders and contractors. Associated general contractors. Richard Trumka, af of L-cio. GH Palmer. So these are some of the unions, pretty much, almost all of the ones that will be on the line. In defense, we have Lockheed Martin, Honeywell, Northrop grumman, these are all top of each company, CEO's, chairmans, presidents. 184634 Raytheon, general dynamics. Energy, we had tremendous success recently with energy over the weekend. It finished with tremendous credit going to Russia and Saudi Arabia, and it could be as much as 20 million barrels a day a cut, so we can get rid of some of the tremendous excess oil that's been produced because of the fact that the virus just knocked out almost 50% of the business. 184704 It has been an amazing achievement, some people say one of the biggest oil deals ever made, maybe the biggest oil deal ever made, they are saying. I didn't know that. But we were involved in getting that done and it was very important. We're gonna save hundreds of thousands of jobs for our energy industry, Texas and North Dakota, Oklahoma, all of our different energy states. It's great. So we are very happy about it. 184727 I want to thank everybody. We had the -- it's called the Opec-plus, that's opec-plus, meaning some nations outside of OPEC. And I also want to thank the president of Mexico. Because he was, he was terrific. He showed great dexterity and flexibility in getting the deal done. We want to thank him very much. On the energy front, we had Exxon Mobil, Continental resources, Chevron, Southern company, Alabama power, conocophillips, oxendale petroleum, kindermorgan, Hess corporation, Pero group, and a few others, big ones, great ones. 184806 Financial services, we have Blackstone, Stephen Schwarzman; Paulson and Company, John Paulson; Citadel, Ken Griffin; Elliott Management, Paul Singer; Vista Equity partners, Robert Smith; Fidelity investments, Abigail Johnson; Mastercard, Visa, Chubb, Sequoia, Stevens -- Warren Stevens, great -- Charles Schwab, chuck Schwab will be here by phone. 184844 Food and beverage, national restaurant association; McDonald's, Darden restaurants, Coca-Cola, Pepsi-Cola, Chik-fil-A, Subway, Bloomin' Brands, Yum Brands, papa John's, Wendy's, Waffle House, Starbucks, Wolfgang park, Thomas Keller, Jean Gorges -- my friend Jean-Georges, and Danielle. You know them. From the transportation world, FedEx, Fred Smith -- a legend. 184914 United airlines, Oscar Munos (?); UPS, David Abney; JB Hunt, YRCworldwide, Crowley, Maritime. Incredible -- big, powerful shippers and transportation companies In telecommunications, we have the legendary John Malone of Liberty media, Verizon, T-Mobile, Charter communications and Brian Roberts of Comcast, thank you all very much. 184948 Health care: New York Presbityrian, Jerry Spire -- a friend of mine -- HCA Health Care, Sam Hazen -- thank you, Sam. Just met with Sam; Ascension Health; Common Spirit Health, Community Health Systems, Trinity Health, Cardinal Health, McKisson. 3M -- Thank you Mike Roman for helping us with face masks. It worked out well for everybody. 185018 Procter & Gamble, Abbott laboratories, Johnson & Johnson, Merck, Pfizer, Eli Lilly, Thermo fisher scientific -- they've been helping us incredibly with testing. 185031 Gilead sciences, abbvie, regeneron, biogen, Roche. And Roche has been fantastic on testing, and the job they have done, I have to call them out. They have really, they have stepped up like very few. 185047 Anthem, UnitedHealth group, Aetna, Cigna, and Humana -- all the big ones. The tech companies -- We have the right ones: Apple, we have Tim cook. Google, Sundar -- thank you, Sundar. Oracle -- Larry Ellison and Safra Catz. Salesforce, Mark Benioff. SAP, sap -- Jen Morgan. Microsoft -- Satya, great job he's done. 185118 Thank you, Satya. Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg. IBM, Intel, Qualcomm, CISCO, Advanced Micro Devices, Broadcom -- incredible companies. Companies that no other country will catch, if they're smart. They have to be smart. But I've dealt with a lot of different countries, and I'll say that no -- the respect for silicon valley and our tech companies, there nobody even close to our tech companies. 185153 They can't catch them, so they try and buy them, but we sort of put an end to a lot of that. In sports -- we want to get our sports back. So importantly, these will be some separate calls -- some will be together, by the way -- lists (?) -- and some will be separate. But we have to get our sports back. I'm tired of watching baseball games that are 14 years old. But I haven't actually had too much time to watch. I would say, maybe, I watch one batter, and then I get back to work. 185223 The NBA, Adam Silver. The Major League Baseball -- we miss our baseball. This is baseball season right here. Rob Manfred, thank you very much. NFL, Roger Goodell. Thank you, Roger. UFC, Dana White. Great Dana White. PGA, Jay Moynahan. LPGA, Michael Wan. USTA, Patrick galbraith. Major league soccer, John Garber. WWE, the great Vince Mcmahon. 185259 NASCAR, Lisa Kennedy. Thank you, Lisa. NHL, Gary Bettman. From the New England Patriots, Bob Kraft. Dallas Cowboys, Jerry Jones. Dallas Mavericks, Mark Cuban. And some of the thought leaders that we are going have and there are some others that we are having -- we're just waiting to hear but everybody is saying yes, I must say. John Ellison, Heritage Foundation. Kay Cole James, great person, Hoover institute. 185330 Condoleezza rice, another great person. Art Laffer, Steve Moore. Steve Forbes. Larry Lindsey. Catherine Reynolds. Scott Gottlieb. Just spoke with Scott. Jim Demint. And Jim has been a terrific friend. Bill Haggerty and Ray Washington. And religious leaders will be coming. On Friday, we will be speaking to -- and we're gonna have a separate list, but we have tremendous enthusiasm to meet by our great religious leaders. 185407 We have incredible people, and they want to -- they want to be a part. And we will be talking about churches, and we will be talking about opening, and we'll be talking about things that are very important to a lot of people, including me. We're gonna find out how we are doing in that regard. So those are the names we have on our list, they're the names that are, I think, the best and smartest, the brightest, and they're gonna give us some ideas. But we're all set. As I said, the governors will be opening up their states. 185442 They're gonna declare when -- they're gonna know when. Some can open very, very shortly, if not almost immediately. We will give a date, but the date's gonna be in the very near future. So we will get it open. Individual states, the governors will be held accountable. 185458 If they need things, we will help them get those things, but we want them to do their testing. We want them -- because they're equipped to do testing. We've created incredible testing. We've done more testing than anybody's ever done in the world right now, and we had a broken system. And now we have a great system. We have a system where other countries are coming to us, and saying we want to get some of those tests. I want to thank Abbott.Cause Abbott came up with the first simpler test. The first one was rough, if you were, I think it was more of an operation than a test. 185529 The first one was for anyone who took it, it was not easy. But now we have a very simple test with Abbott. Now we have saliva. We have lots of other things that are happening. But we have millions of tests. 185545 The governors are responsible. They have to take charge. They have to do a great job, and we're going to suggest that they check people through tests or otherwise coming into their states, and they run their states very strong. 185558 Eventually, we won't have to do that. Eventually, this will be gone, but for a while we are going to do it, so they are going to take charge at their borders. They are going to take charge of people coming in, and maybe to an extent, depending on what they work out with a nearby state, maybe also people leaving. And they'll be able to do that very shortly. 185617 We will be announcing a date, but it will be very short and, frankly, it will be at a time that will be earlier than the deadline that we imposed, the end of April. So we think that some of the Governors will be in really good shape to open up even sooner than that. We'll speak to that, but we are all set. We're counting on the governors to do a great job. 185641 Others are going to have to take a longer period of time until they are in a position to say "we are ready to go." And that's okay. We understand that. Some of the governors have a very tough situation. But in almost all cases, it's all starting to come down. We're very proud of the job everybody has done. 185702 And if you look at the numbers, so the minimum as you -- as portrayed, Deborah is here, Dr. Birx has been fantastic. The minimum was 100,000 deaths, and I hope to be substantially under the minimum. Meaning we all hope -- Mike, right, we all hope to be substantially under. We did the right thing, because otherwise it would have been -- the projections were two million people, the actual projection was 2.2 million people, and if you cut it in half, that would be 1.1 million people. 185738 That's many more, that's double the civil war. And if you cut that in half, you are talking 5 or 600,000 people. That's what we lost in the civil war, and that is cutting it, cutting it, cutting it. And we're not gonna -- that would not be acceptable. That would not be acceptable. Nothing's accept -- One life isn't acceptable, but we weren't given that option. 185800 So I am confident that these respected people that I just read from the list will give us some great ideas, in addition to what the governors have learned. The governors have learned a lot. I've spoken to governors that, at the beginning it was a contentious relationship, and now it's a very friendly relationship, a great relationship, and I am proud to say that some of them, I think are friends. In some cases they are Democrats, but I think they like me, and I actually like them, some of them. I'll tell you who they are someday. 195830 But we are all getting along, and we all want to do the right thing, and I think they will do a great job of leading their individual states. It will be a beautiful thing to watch. They'll go and rely on their mayors and their local town officials. They bring it right now, and Washington shouldn't be doing that. We can't be thinking about a Walmart parking lot that's 2000 miles away, where we are doing testing, but a governor of the state can and a mayor can. And -- right there on the line. So it's gonna be -- I think it's gonna be a terrific system. 185901 And if we are unhappy with the state, we're going to let them know we are unhappy. And if they are not doing the job and they can't get the job done -- and for some reason things are happening that we aren't going to like, like the numbers are heading in the wrong direction, we will have to do something that's very serious -- very serious. We'll have to maybe close them up and start all over again. But I don't think we're gonna have to do that. I think the governors are going to come out at a time -- and these will be individual dates -- and the governors are gonna come out at a time when they're ready. 185931 Some can come out very, very shortly, and we look forward to watching that process. I think it's gonna be a very beautiful process. Our discussions will focus with the people that we are dealing with on rejuvenating the economy, and always health, always health. Health and life. Living is number one. But the rejuvenated economy, and I think it's going to go quickly. We will be utilizing our robust testing capacity for the Governors. 190002 We'll be giving them what they need if they don't have it themselves. We hope by now they will be able to have it themselves. We were hoping they would have had it themselves early on, but they weren't. But such great advances have been made. So we'll be dealing with them on that, and we -- They can rely on us very strongly. They're gonna be relying on us, I think, for some help, and we are there. Whether it's building hospital beds, which I don't think they're going to need. You look at Javits Center -- a great, great job that the Army Corp of Engineers did. FEMA got involved. 190034 We actually ended up sending our medical people. That was not a Covid-19 center. And they asked, "could you do that?", and even after we did that, it was not used very much, meaning they did not have to use it nearly to the extent that they thought when they conceived it. It wasn't that they made a mistake. Nobody made a mistake. We built it. I would rather have too much than too little -- err on the side of caution. And it's really incredible what they did, including the two ships -- the great ships. 190104 And I just want to thank a lot of really great people, a lot of politicians. And again, we're gonna be announcing the political list tomorrow and, on there, we're gonna have a lot of Senators. And we're going to be having a meeting with the governors probably on Thursday, a meeting by teleconference. And A lot of things will be discussed, and some of the details will be discussed. But we want them to do an incredible job of running their states. I think they will do an incredible job too. 190135 After having gotten to know so many of them, I think each one of them will do an incredible job. And again, the government is there. We have ventilators, if they need them. We have beds if they need them. We have hospitals if they need them. We have a testing capacity that is, now, second to none. We're -- again, other countries are calling us -- countries that you thought were doing well are calling us for help with testing. 190200 So we're there to help. And with that, if you have a few questions, we'll take them, and if not, that would be ok too. Yeah, go ahead. Please, Jeff. Q>> Mr. President, two questions. First on your announcement about the WHO. I understand your grievances with them, but can you address why it is the correct time to do this now, in the middle of a pandemic? 190222 TRUMP>> Well, we're going to be dealing with countries and we're gonna be dealing with leaders of different parts of the world. We spend 500 million a year. We have for many years. -- far more than anybody else, including China. And I mean, I read off a long list of problems that we have and we have had problems with them for years. It doesn't m-- We are looking at a term of 60 to 90 days. We are doing a thorough investigation right now, as we speak. But this should have been done by previous administrations a long time ago. 190253 And when you look at the mistakes that were made -- all of the mistakes that were made, it's just something we have to look at. And it is very china-centric. I told that to President Xi. I said, "The World Health Organization is very China-centric," meaning whatever it is, China was always right. You can't do that, can't do that. Not right, and we we spend -- again, it's not a question of money. But when we are spending $500 million and China is spending 38 million, 34 million, 40 million, 42 million in a case. 190330 It's, again, not money, but it's not right. So we will see. This is an evaluation period but, in the meantime, we are also putting a hold on all funds going to World Health. We will be able to take that money and channel it to the areas that most need it, and that's another way of doing it. But we have not been treated properly. Yeah, please. Q>> Mr. President, you mentioned you will be speaking with all of the governors tomorrow. TRUMP>> Yes. Q>> Make recommendations -- TRUMP>> Or, probably Thursday. 190358 Q>> What if don't' they don't listen to you take your advice? Will you consider taking away federal funding? TRUMP>> I don't want to say that. They'll listen. They'll be fine. I think we're gonna have a good relationship. They need the federal government not only for funding, and I'm not saying take it away, but they need it for advice. They'll need maybe equipment that we have. We have a tremendous stockpile that we're in the process of completing. We're in a very good position. Again, the cupboard was bare when I got here. Nobody ever thought a thing -- in all fairness to previous administrations, nobody ever thought anything like this was going to happen, but it did happen. 190435 No, the governors will be very very respectful of the presidency. Again, this isn't me, this is the presidency. The presidency has such a great importance in terms of what we're doing. And you can talk about constitution, you can talk about federalism, you can talk about whatever you want. But the best way, I'm talking now from a managerial standpoint, is to let individual governors run individual states and come to us if they have difficulty, and we will help them.
WHITE HOUSE CORONAVIRUS TASK FORCE BRIEFING - POOL CUTS 1655 -1900
1655 WH COVID BRFG CUTS FS24 74 CBS PO0L President Trump and members of the White House coronavirus task force briefing WASH 3 PRESIDENT TRUMP WHITE HOUSE CORONAVIRUS TASK FORCE BRIEFING 200414 181420 TRUMP>> Thank you very much. Please. Very importantly, I would like to begin by saying that we have just reached agreement. The Secretary of Treasury Steven Mnuchin, with the major airlines, all of our great airlines, to participate in a payroll support program. This agreement will fully support airline industry workers, preserve the vital role airlines play in our economy and protect taxpayers. 181454 Our airlines are now in good shape, and they will get over a very tough period of time that was not caused by them. 181503 The United States is continuing to make substantial progress in our war against the virus. We grieve at every precious life that's been lost to the invisible enemy, but through the darkness we can see the rays of light. We see that tunnel, and at the end of that tunnel, we see light. We are starting to see it more than ever before. We've held our rate, the numbers, everything we've done, we've been very very strong on it and very powerful on it. 181539 You look at what's happening in other countries, Spain, Italy, United Kingdom, we are working with them, we're trying to help them especially with ventilators. They've been calling a lot, they need ventilators so badly. 15% of counties within the United States have zero cases and many counties within the United States have a very small number of cases. 181604 Large sections of our country are really looking at other sections and saying, wow, that looks bad, but they don't have the problem. I salute the American people for following our guidelines on social distancing, even you people, are so different looking out there when I look at you. Their devotion, your devotion is saving lives. 181625 And today I'm instructing my administration to halt funding of the world health organization while a review is conducted to assess the world health organization's role in severely mismanaging and covering up the spread of the Coronavirus. 181644 Everybody knows what's going on there. American taxpayers provide between $400 million and 500 million dollars per year to the W.H.O. In contrast China contributes roughly $40 million a year and even less. As the organization's leading sponsor, the United States has a duty to insist on full accountability. One of the most dangerous and costly decisions from the W.H.O. was its disastrous decision to oppose travel restrictions from China and other nations. 181719 They were very much opposed to what we did. Fortunately, I was not convinced and suspended travel from China, saving untold numbers of lives. 181756 Many countries said "we're gonna listen to the W.H.O.," and they have problems with the likes of which they cannot believe. Nobody can believe. The decision of other major countries to keep travel open was one of the great tragedies and missed opportunities from the early days. The WHO's attack on travel restrictions put political correctness above life-saving measures. Travel bans work for the same reason that quarantines work. 181829 Pandemics depend on human to human transmission. Border control is fundamental to virus control. Since its establishment in 1948, the American people have generously supported the World Health Organization to provide better health outcomes for the world and, most importantly, to help prevent global health crises. With the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, we have deep concerns whether America's generosity has been put to the best use possible. 181903 The reality is that W.H.O. failed to adequately obtain, vet, and share information in a timely and transparent fashion. The world depends on the WHO to work with countries to ensure that accurate information about international health threats is shared in a timely manner. 181924 And if it's not to independently tell the world the truth about what is happening, the W.H.O. failed in this basic duty and must be held accountable. It's time after all of these decades. The W.H.O. failed to investigate credible reports from sources in Wuhan that conflicted directly with the Chinese government's official accounts. 181949 There was credible information to suspect human to human transmission in December 2019, which spurred the WHO to investigate and investigate immediately. Through the middle of January, it parroted and publicly endorsed the idea that there was not human to human transmission happening despite reports and clear evidence to the contrary. The delays the W.H.O. experienced in declaring a public health emergency cost valuable time. Tremendous amounts of time. 182028 More time was lost in the delay it took to get a team of international experts in to examine the outbreak, which we wanted to do, which they should have done. The inability of the W.H.O. to obtain virus samples to this date has deprived the scientific community of essential data. New data that emerges across the world on a daily basis points to the unreliability of the initial reports. And the world received all sorts of false information about transmission and mortality. 182110 The silence of the W.H.O. on the disappearance of scientific researchers and doctors, and on new restrictions on the sharing of research into the origins of Covid-19 in the country of origin is deeply concerning, especially when we put up by far the largest amount of money -- not even close. Had the WHO done its job to get medical experts into China to objectively assess the situation on the ground and to call out China's lack of transparency, the outbreak could have been contained at its source with very little death -- very little death. 182156 And certainly, very little death by comparison. This would have saved thousands of lives and avoided worldwide economic damage. Instead, the WHO willingly took China's assurances to face value, and they took it just at face value, and defended the actions of the Chinese government, even praising China for its so-called transparency -- I don't think so. The WHO pushed China's misinformation about the virus, saying it was not communicable and there was no need for travel bans. 182232 They told us, when we put on our travel ban, a very strong travel ban, there was no need to do it. Don't do it. They actually fought us. The WHO's reliance on China's disclosures likely caused a 20-fold increase in cases worldwide, and it may be much more than that. The W.H.O. has not addressed a single one of these concerns nor provided a serious explanation that acknowledges its own mistakes of which there were many. 182301 America and the world have chosen to rely on the W.H.O. for accurate, timely and independent information to make important public health recommendations and decisions. If we cannot trust that this is what we will receive from the WHO, our country will be forced to find other ways to work with other nations to achieve public health goals. We will have no choice but to do that. 182331 Our countries are now experiencing -- you look all over the world, tremendous death and economic devastation because those tasked with protecting us by being truthful and transparent failed to do so. It would have been so easy to be truthful. And so much death has been caused by their mistakes. We will continue to engage with the WHO to see if it can make meaningful reforms. 182403 For the time being, we will redirect global health and directly work with others. All of the aid that we send will be discussed at very, very powerful letters and with very powerful and influential groups and smart groups. Medically, politically, and every other way. 182424 And we'll be discussing it with other countries and global health partners. What we do with all of that money that goes to W.H.O., and may be W.H.O. will reform and maybe they won't, but we will be able to see. As you know, in other countries hit hard by the virus, hospitals have been tragically forced to ration medical care and the use of ventilators. 182453 But due to our early and aggressive action, the skill of our health care workers and the resilience of our health care system. 182502 No hospital in America has been forced to deny any patient access to a ventilator with all of the talk you have heard, where some states wanted 40,000 ventilators. I said, "that doesn't work. 40 thousand." And they ended up with seven or 8,000. And they had no problem. 40,000 ventilators for one state, it was ridiculous. 182530 The scariest day of my life was about a month ago, when after a long day of meetings, my team told me that we were going to be needing 130,000 ventilators. That we were short hundreds of thousands of ventilators. This is the system we inherited. I had governors requesting unreasonable sums that the federal government just didn't have. 182603 And you look at the states, the states, the states didn't have, the states were not prepared. I knew that every person who needed a ventilator, and didn't get one would die. And that's what we were told. They would die. I saw in other countries doctors having to make decisions on who got a ventilator and who didn't. And I knew that this would be a defining challenge of the crisis. 182628 Those that didn't get ventilators were said to be in a position, only of one alternative. And that was death. Would we be able to prevent Americans from dying because we couldn't get them ventilators? And the ventilators that they needed and needed immediately. 182650 I instructed my team to move heaven and Earth to make sure that this didn't happen. We started to smartly ration and distribute the ventilators that we had and that others had, and I got daily updates on the supply we had from requests coming in and people wanting to have updates. We had a great group of people working on it. I instructed my team to use the Defense Protection Act. 182720 And the Defense Production Act was used very powerfully -- more powerfully than anybody would know. In fact, so powerfully that, for the most part, we didn't officially have to take it out. It was a hammer. It was a very powerful hammer -- in order to manufacture as many ventilators as possible. Last year America manufactured, from a dead start, 30,000 ventilators and this year, the number will be over 150,000 ventilators. It could be as high as 200,000, far more than we will ever need. 182758 So we will be able to stockpile. We'll be able to talk to states about stockpiling. These are high quality ventilators. We had a choice: we could do inexpensive, less productive ventilators or high quality. We've done a high quality ventilator. So we should have any from 150 to 200,000 ventilators. In addition to that, we have 10,000 ventilators right now in the Federal stockpile ready to move, should we need them -- we might not. 182829 Should we need them in New York, or New Jersey, or in Louisiana, or in Illinois or any other state that may need them, if we have a surge. I'd like to ask Adam Boehler to come up and just say a few words. He's done a fantastic job. Young man who worked 24 hours a day on handling this situation, and I'd just like to have Adam -- wherever he may be -- come up and say a few words. Adam, please. Think you very much. ADAM BOEHLER 182904 BOEHLER>> Thank you. Thank you, Mr. President. At your direction, this country has worked hard over the past few weeks to ramp up ventilator production through all means possible. Thousands of ventilators are coming in now, monthly, with over 100,000 by the end of June. At the same time, there are over 60,000 ventilators in our hospitals right now that are not in use. Knowing this and at your direction, we reached out to the American Hospital Association to design a system that allows hospitals to lend ventilators to other hospitals right when they need it. 182942 Within the past week alone, 20 top health systems have signed up for this dynamic ventilator reserve, representing over 4,000 ventilators. Not only do we have top academic systems like Cleveland Clinic and Mayo Clinic, but we also have top health systems from New York City, New Orleans, Washington state and California. Over a week ago, these places would have needed help, but now they are here to help. 183010 There's been no American that has needed a ventilator that has not received one. This dynamic, virtual reserve, combined with our strategic stockpile, will ensure that this is always the case. I'd like to thank the President for his leadership and directive to focus on public-private partnerships like this one. I'd also like to thank Sam Hazen from HCA, Lloyd Dean from Common Spirit for leading this effort with the AHA and the Federation of American Hospitals. 183042 These have been difficult times. A few weeks ago, the vIce president came into my office, and reminded us of the power of the resilience of American people and of private companies. We needed it that day, Mr. Vice President. This partnership is another example of Americans helping Americans. Thank you. PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP 183109 TRUMP>> I'd shake his hand, but I'm not allowed to. Times have changed, haven't they? Thank you very much. You did a fantastic job. We're very proud of you. You and your whole team. Thank you. Today, we are taking further action to maximize our oversupply and available ventilators. This afternoon, I met with the leaders, the top people of many of America's big, powerful, beautiful and you know, very, very important hospitals, and hospital associations, who join us today. 183144 We had a great meeting. Learned a lot. And they've been going through a lot. They've been doing a fantastic job, as everybody here will attest. 183153 I'm pleased to announce that my administration is partnering with the hospitals across the country to create an innovative new system called the dynamic ventilator reserve. So that we're gonna have tremendous numbers of ventilators, that we're able to help our states with at a later date, if there's ever a problem like this, which we hope to God will never happen again. 183215 It was 1917-1918. That's a long time ago. We hope it never happens again. And I'd like to ask Rick Pollack, the CEO of the American hospital association, Sam Hazen, CEO of HCA healthcare, that's the largest in the United States. Warner Thomas, CEO of Ochsner Health and if I could, Mihal(?), are you here from Cleveland clinic? Somebody --Good. Come on up, folks. Please, thank you. Say a few words. RICK POLLACK 183251 POLLACK>> Thank you very much, Mr. President. We appreciate the opportunity to work with you and your team on the dynamic ventilator reserve program. This will provide a really important mechanism for us in serving our patients and communities by ensuring that this vital equipment will be available to critical areas that are in need. You know, as this battle against this disease has affected the country a little bit unevenly, the rates of infection, hospitalization and ICU use varies from one region to another. 183329 And in some places with lower infection rates, some ventilators may not be in use, while other areas are potentially stretched beyond their capacity. The database of available ventilators that we are creating will allow us to flex so that we can make sure that available equipment can be shared with those in need. 183351 We appreciate the leadership of the health systems that are here today that have stepped forward. And Adam mentioned a few. I don't know if you caught Dr. Francois from NYU Langone and David Dill, the CEO of LifePoint as well. We appreciate the work of the administration in helping us to find innovative solutions to ensure the best care for our patients. We will continue to work with hospitals and health systems across the country to add to this reserve further. 183421 Your team has provided us with important leadership, and we look forward to working with you in making this a success. Thank you, Mr. President. >> Thank you, Mr. President, Mr. Vice President, Adam, team. I stand here before you, in front of our 285,000 colleagues who provide care to patients every day across the country. One of the guiding principles we had when we went into this Covid-19 battle was to find partnerships -- partnerships with other components of the industry, partnerships with other health systems, but partnerships with government, both local and federal. 183500 And we're proud to be part of this prive-public sector partnership, and I think it will do great good for the communities, so thank you very much. TRUMP>> Gread job, thank you. THOMAS>> Thank you, Mr. President. It's great to have Ochsner Health be part of this program. We've certainly have been a recipient and the state of Louisiana has been a recipient of getting ventilators to our state and to Ochsner health. We're currently taking care of about 60% of the Covid patients in New Orleans and we did see a spike in the last few weeks, but we're starting to get on the other side of that and heading in the right direction. 183535 I also want to thank you personally for helping Oschner health. A couple weeks ago, we were running short on surgical gowns and you and your team were able to direct some to New Orleans which was helpful to us and other hospitals around the New Orleans area. So we're excited to be part of this dynamic ventilator reserve and we are proud to be part of that and help other communities around the country. Thank you. 183601 MIHALJEVIS>>>> Thank you, Mr. president, for the invitation here. On behalf of the cleveland clinic, I would just like to offer a slightly different story about the covid pandemic. In our home state of Ohio, with an early institution of social distancing, our ability to scale out the testing and ramping up capacity, we have actually seen a stable number of patients over the last 8-10 days. Only 160 patients have been hospitalized with covid infection in Cleveland clinic health system. 183632 We're also very grateful for the support from our state government as well from our federal government. This is a battle we are all in together. We coordinate our efforts, share our resources and work together as one. I'm firmly convinced that we can do a lot of good when we work together. Thank you very much for having us. 183659 TRUMP>> That was a terrific meeting, and thank you all for being here. Thank you very much. The United States has far more icu beds per capita than any other nation. We have 34.7 icu beds per 100,000 people, which is the best there is. Compared with roughly 12.5 beds per 100,000 in Italy, 11.6 beds in France, 9.7 beds in Spain. Think about that. 34.7 we have. And 6.6 in the U.K. 183734 There are more than 60,000 ventilators at hospitals and other health care facilities that are not in use at this moment. They didn't need them. We got a lot of them out, and they didn't need them. And that's a good thing, that they didn't need them. A lot of good brainpower was involved in making a lot of fantastic decisions. I want to thank our vice president for the task force, and I want to thank all members of your task force on having done an incredible job. You really have done an incredible job. Thank you, Mike, very much. 183802 Through this new partnership with hospitals, unused ventilators will voluntarily lend th, where they have unused ventilators they will voluntarily lend them to other hospitals and other areas of greater need. Thin the last several days, more than 20 of our nation's largest health systems have already split more than 4000 ventilators, should we need them. 183833 I've been told that if they need more, there are more there. We are going to be helping very soon, when the supply really starts pouring in, we'll really start, in less than a month, we will be helping other countries, and they needed very badly. They have no chance without these ventilators. Tey have -- they have to have ventilators. 183858 As we continue our medical war against the virus, the FDA has now authorized the first test, developed by researchers from Rutgers University that can use saliva from patients, it's the first one. The tests can be self administered by patients in health care settings, which will reduce exposure for medical workers and save personal protective equipment. 183924 Rutgers will begin processing 10,000 tests daily. So by using saliva, that's the first, they will be able to do things in terms of speed and ease that we haven't A A Nbeen able to do before. So a lot of great innovation is taking place during this period of time, and that's, innovation -- I call it innovation under pressure. 183943 That's a big difference. Innovation under pressure. Right? Cleveland clinic knows all about that. As we prepare for the next phase of this great struggle, we must also do everything in our power to restore prosperity for the American worker. There's tremendous interest and excitement surrounding the administration's efforts to get the economy roaring once again, and I think it is going to roar once it gets open. I think it is going to go up tremendously. 184015 You see what's happening with the stock market already, because a lot of the very smart financial people, the great minds, they're looking at the stocks and they're saying, Wow.Because what they really -- what they're really seeing is how we are doing. If we weren't doing well, the market wouldn't be at the level that it is today. 184031 They have a lot of confidence that we are doing the right thing and that our country's going to be open soon, and that our country's going to be booming. We've had request to participate from the best in the world, as we share their enthusiasm to get our country going. So I thank them for wanting to contribute, and we look forward to speaking with many industry leaders, seeking their input on how we can return to what was until very recently the greatest economy anywhere in the world, and I can say, the greatest economy in the history of the world. 184108 There's never been an economy like we had, just a little bit more than a month ago. We set every record you could set. More people working than we've ever had working before. Almost 160 million. The best unemployment numbers we've ever had, and the best employment numbers we've ever had. Everybody was doing well. 184129 Stock market hit a record -- 142 days it hit a record. And I think we are going to top those records, ok? And I think we are going to top them soon, once we get rid of the invisible enemy, which will happen. 184143 The plans to reopen the country are close to being finalized, and we will soon be sharing details and new guidelines with everybody. I will be speaking to all 50 Governors very shortly, and of their state at a time and in a manner as most appropriate. 184223 The day will be very close because certain states, as you know, are in a much different condition, and in a much different place than other states. It's going to be very, very close -- maybe even before the date of May 1st. So, that will be for some states. Actually, there are over 20 that are an extremely good shape. 184252 And we think we're gonna be able to get them open fairly quickly, and then others will follow. 184258 The federal government will be watching them very closely, and we'll be there to help, we will be there to help in many different ways, as we've been, where we built hospital beds at a number that nobody's ever seen before, where we did the ventilators, that we just discussed at a level that nobody has seen before. Nobody can believe. 184319 Other foreign countries, even powerful countries can't believe what we were able to do with ventilators. Big, powerful countries, big producing countries, can't believe what we were able to do. We will hold the governors accountable, but again, we're gonna be working with them to make sure it works really well. Now, we have a list of people that I will be speaking to over the next very short period of time, in many cases tomorrow. We're going to have elected officials, and we'll be submitting that list to you within the next 24 hours. 184358 But we have a list of different industries that I will be discussing by -- meeting by telephone, because we don't want people traveling right now. The American farm bureau federation, (?) Duval, Cisco systems, Tyson foods, Purdue farms, Cargal, Archer Daniels, Midland company, Cortiva, tractor supply company, seaboard corporation, grimmway farms, Mount Air farms, and others in the agricultural business. 184436 In banking, it's bank of America, Brian Moynahan has been great, J.P. Morgan chase, Jamie Dimon, Goldman Sachs, Citigroup, Wells Fargo, U.S. Bank corps, Morgan Stanley, James Gorman, Grand Rapids, state bank, southern bank corps, all great institutions with lots to say and lots of good ideas. And if you look at how paycheck has been working out, the numbers are incredible, and I hope congress is goig to be able to supplement the amount of money going to our workers. 184510 I hope they are able to get that done very quickly, because it has been an incredible success, and many are already spending that money, and the money's been distributed at numbers that nobody believed possible for this short period of time. It was only a week ago, but a lot of money's been disturbed already. It's gonna keep our small businesses open. 184531 The construction labor workforce, international union of operating engineers, Jim Calahan, north American building trades union, Sean McGarvey, these are a lot of friends of mine. Laborer's international union of North America, Terry O'Sullivan, International brotherhood of teamsters, James Hoffa. National electrical contractors association, David Long. Beck Tell. Floor 184600 National association of homebuilders. Association of builders and contractors. Associated general contractors. Richard Trumka, af of L-cio. GH Palmer. So these are some of the unions, pretty much, almost all of the ones that will be on the line. In defense, we have Lockheed Martin, Honeywell, Northrop grumman, these are all top of each company, CEO's, chairmans, presidents. 184634 Raytheon, general dynamics. Energy, we had tremendous success recently with energy over the weekend. It finished with tremendous credit going to Russia and Saudi Arabia, and it could be as much as 20 million barrels a day a cut, so we can get rid of some of the tremendous excess oil that's been produced because of the fact that the virus just knocked out almost 50% of the business. 184704 It has been an amazing achievement, some people say one of the biggest oil deals ever made, maybe the biggest oil deal ever made, they are saying. I didn't know that. But we were involved in getting that done and it was very important. We're gonna save hundreds of thousands of jobs for our energy industry, Texas and North Dakota, Oklahoma, all of our different energy states. It's great. So we are very happy about it. 184727 I want to thank everybody. We had the -- it's called the Opec-plus, that's opec-plus, meaning some nations outside of OPEC. And I also want to thank the president of Mexico. Because he was, he was terrific. He showed great dexterity and flexibility in getting the deal done. We want to thank him very much. On the energy front, we had Exxon Mobil, Continental resources, Chevron, Southern company, Alabama power, conocophillips, oxendale petroleum, kindermorgan, Hess corporation, Pero group, and a few others, big ones, great ones. 184806 Financial services, we have Blackstone, Stephen Schwarzman; Paulson and Company, John Paulson; Citadel, Ken Griffin; Elliott Management, Paul Singer; Vista Equity partners, Robert Smith; Fidelity investments, Abigail Johnson; Mastercard, Visa, Chubb, Sequoia, Stevens -- Warren Stevens, great -- Charles Schwab, chuck Schwab will be here by phone. 184844 Food and beverage, national restaurant association; McDonald's, Darden restaurants, Coca-Cola, Pepsi-Cola, Chik-fil-A, Subway, Bloomin' Brands, Yum Brands, papa John's, Wendy's, Waffle House, Starbucks, Wolfgang park, Thomas Keller, Jean Gorges -- my friend Jean-Georges, and Danielle. You know them. From the transportation world, FedEx, Fred Smith -- a legend. 184914 United airlines, Oscar Munos (?); UPS, David Abney; JB Hunt, YRCworldwide, Crowley, Maritime. Incredible -- big, powerful shippers and transportation companies In telecommunications, we have the legendary John Malone of Liberty media, Verizon, T-Mobile, Charter communications and Brian Roberts of Comcast, thank you all very much. 184948 Health care: New York Presbityrian, Jerry Spire -- a friend of mine -- HCA Health Care, Sam Hazen -- thank you, Sam. Just met with Sam; Ascension Health; Common Spirit Health, Community Health Systems, Trinity Health, Cardinal Health, McKisson. 3M -- Thank you Mike Roman for helping us with face masks. It worked out well for everybody. 185018 Procter & Gamble, Abbott laboratories, Johnson & Johnson, Merck, Pfizer, Eli Lilly, Thermo fisher scientific -- they've been helping us incredibly with testing. 185031 Gilead sciences, abbvie, regeneron, biogen, Roche. And Roche has been fantastic on testing, and the job they have done, I have to call them out. They have really, they have stepped up like very few. 185047 Anthem, UnitedHealth group, Aetna, Cigna, and Humana -- all the big ones. The tech companies -- We have the right ones: Apple, we have Tim cook. Google, Sundar -- thank you, Sundar. Oracle -- Larry Ellison and Safra Catz. Salesforce, Mark Benioff. SAP, sap -- Jen Morgan. Microsoft -- Satya, great job he's done. 185118 Thank you, Satya. Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg. IBM, Intel, Qualcomm, CISCO, Advanced Micro Devices, Broadcom -- incredible companies. Companies that no other country will catch, if they're smart. They have to be smart. But I've dealt with a lot of different countries, and I'll say that no -- the respect for silicon valley and our tech companies, there nobody even close to our tech companies. 185153 They can't catch them, so they try and buy them, but we sort of put an end to a lot of that. In sports -- we want to get our sports back. So importantly, these will be some separate calls -- some will be together, by the way -- lists (?) -- and some will be separate. But we have to get our sports back. I'm tired of watching baseball games that are 14 years old. But I haven't actually had too much time to watch. I would say, maybe, I watch one batter, and then I get back to work. 185223 The NBA, Adam Silver. The Major League Baseball -- we miss our baseball. This is baseball season right here. Rob Manfred, thank you very much. NFL, Roger Goodell. Thank you, Roger. UFC, Dana White. Great Dana White. PGA, Jay Moynahan. LPGA, Michael Wan. USTA, Patrick galbraith. Major league soccer, John Garber. WWE, the great Vince Mcmahon. 185259 NASCAR, Lisa Kennedy. Thank you, Lisa. NHL, Gary Bettman. From the New England Patriots, Bob Kraft. Dallas Cowboys, Jerry Jones. Dallas Mavericks, Mark Cuban. And some of the thought leaders that we are going have and there are some others that we are having -- we're just waiting to hear but everybody is saying yes, I must say. John Ellison, Heritage Foundation. Kay Cole James, great person, Hoover institute. 185330 Condoleezza rice, another great person. Art Laffer, Steve Moore. Steve Forbes. Larry Lindsey. Catherine Reynolds. Scott Gottlieb. Just spoke with Scott. Jim Demint. And Jim has been a terrific friend. Bill Haggerty and Ray Washington. And religious leaders will be coming. On Friday, we will be speaking to -- and we're gonna have a separate list, but we have tremendous enthusiasm to meet by our great religious leaders. 185407 We have incredible people, and they want to -- they want to be a part. And we will be talking about churches, and we will be talking about opening, and we'll be talking about things that are very important to a lot of people, including me. We're gonna find out how we are doing in that regard. So those are the names we have on our list, they're the names that are, I think, the best and smartest, the brightest, and they're gonna give us some ideas. But we're all set. As I said, the governors will be opening up their states. 185442 They're gonna declare when -- they're gonna know when. Some can open very, very shortly, if not almost immediately. We will give a date, but the date's gonna be in the very near future. So we will get it open. Individual states, the governors will be held accountable. 185458 If they need things, we will help them get those things, but we want them to do their testing. We want them -- because they're equipped to do testing. We've created incredible testing. We've done more testing than anybody's ever done in the world right now, and we had a broken system. And now we have a great system. We have a system where other countries are coming to us, and saying we want to get some of those tests. I want to thank Abbott.Cause Abbott came up with the first simpler test. The first one was rough, if you were, I think it was more of an operation than a test. 185529 The first one was for anyone who took it, it was not easy. But now we have a very simple test with Abbott. Now we have saliva. We have lots of other things that are happening. But we have millions of tests. 185545 The governors are responsible. They have to take charge. They have to do a great job, and we're going to suggest that they check people through tests or otherwise coming into their states, and they run their states very strong. 185558 Eventually, we won't have to do that. Eventually, this will be gone, but for a while we are going to do it, so they are going to take charge at their borders. They are going to take charge of people coming in, and maybe to an extent, depending on what they work out with a nearby state, maybe also people leaving. And they'll be able to do that very shortly. 185617 We will be announcing a date, but it will be very short and, frankly, it will be at a time that will be earlier than the deadline that we imposed, the end of April. So we think that some of the Governors will be in really good shape to open up even sooner than that. We'll speak to that, but we are all set. We're counting on the governors to do a great job. 185641 Others are going to have to take a longer period of time until they are in a position to say "we are ready to go." And that's okay. We understand that. Some of the governors have a very tough situation. But in almost all cases, it's all starting to come down. We're very proud of the job everybody has done. 185702 And if you look at the numbers, so the minimum as you -- as portrayed, Deborah is here, Dr. Birx has been fantastic. The minimum was 100,000 deaths, and I hope to be substantially under the minimum. Meaning we all hope -- Mike, right, we all hope to be substantially under. We did the right thing, because otherwise it would have been -- the projections were two million people, the actual projection was 2.2 million people, and if you cut it in half, that would be 1.1 million people. 185738 That's many more, that's double the civil war. And if you cut that in half, you are talking 5 or 600,000 people. That's what we lost in the civil war, and that is cutting it, cutting it, cutting it. And we're not gonna -- that would not be acceptable. That would not be acceptable. Nothing's accept -- One life isn't acceptable, but we weren't given that option. 185800 So I am confident that these respected people that I just read from the list will give us some great ideas, in addition to what the governors have learned. The governors have learned a lot. I've spoken to governors that, at the beginning it was a contentious relationship, and now it's a very friendly relationship, a great relationship, and I am proud to say that some of them, I think are friends. In some cases they are Democrats, but I think they like me, and I actually like them, some of them. I'll tell you who they are someday. 195830 But we are all getting along, and we all want to do the right thing, and I think they will do a great job of leading their individual states. It will be a beautiful thing to watch. They'll go and rely on their mayors and their local town officials. They bring it right now, and Washington shouldn't be doing that. We can't be thinking about a Walmart parking lot that's 2000 miles away, where we are doing testing, but a governor of the state can and a mayor can. And -- right there on the line. So it's gonna be -- I think it's gonna be a terrific system. 185901 And if we are unhappy with the state, we're going to let them know we are unhappy. And if they are not doing the job and they can't get the job done -- and for some reason things are happening that we aren't going to like, like the numbers are heading in the wrong direction, we will have to do something that's very serious -- very serious. We'll have to maybe close them up and start all over again. But I don't think we're gonna have to do that. I think the governors are going to come out at a time -- and these will be individual dates -- and the governors are gonna come out at a time when they're ready. 185931 Some can come out very, very shortly, and we look forward to watching that process. I think it's gonna be a very beautiful process. Our discussions will focus with the people that we are dealing with on rejuvenating the economy, and always health, always health. Health and life. Living is number one. But the rejuvenated economy, and I think it's going to go quickly. We will be utilizing our robust testing capacity for the Governors. 190002 We'll be giving them what they need if they don't have it themselves. We hope by now they will be able to have it themselves. We were hoping they would have had it themselves early on, but they weren't. But such great advances have been made. So we'll be dealing with them on that, and we -- They can rely on us very strongly. They're gonna be relying on us, I think, for some help, and we are there. Whether it's building hospital beds, which I don't think they're going to need. You look at Javits Center -- a great, great job that the Army Corp of Engineers did. FEMA got involved. 190034 We actually ended up sending our medical people. That was not a Covid-19 center. And they asked, "could you do that?", and even after we did that, it was not used very much, meaning they did not have to use it nearly to the extent that they thought when they conceived it. It wasn't that they made a mistake. Nobody made a mistake. We built it. I would rather have too much than too little -- err on the side of caution. And it's really incredible what they did, including the two ships -- the great ships. 190104 And I just want to thank a lot of really great people, a lot of politicians. And again, we're gonna be announcing the political list tomorrow and, on there, we're gonna have a lot of Senators. And we're going to be having a meeting with the governors probably on Thursday, a meeting by teleconference. And A lot of things will be discussed, and some of the details will be discussed. But we want them to do an incredible job of running their states. I think they will do an incredible job too. 190135 After having gotten to know so many of them, I think each one of them will do an incredible job. And again, the government is there. We have ventilators, if they need them. We have beds if they need them. We have hospitals if they need them. We have a testing capacity that is, now, second to none. We're -- again, other countries are calling us -- countries that you thought were doing well are calling us for help with testing. 190200 So we're there to help. And with that, if you have a few questions, we'll take them, and if not, that would be ok too. Yeah, go ahead. Please, Jeff. Q>> Mr. President, two questions. First on your announcement about the WHO. I understand your grievances with them, but can you address why it is the correct time to do this now, in the middle of a pandemic? 190222 TRUMP>> Well, we're going to be dealing with countries and we're gonna be dealing with leaders of different parts of the world. We spend 500 million a year. We have for many years. -- far more than anybody else, including China. And I mean, I read off a long list of problems that we have and we have had problems with them for years. It doesn't m-- We are looking at a term of 60 to 90 days. We are doing a thorough investigation right now, as we speak. But this should have been done by previous administrations a long time ago. 190253 And when you look at the mistakes that were made -- all of the mistakes that were made, it's just something we have to look at. And it is very china-centric. I told that to President Xi. I said, "The World Health Organization is very China-centric," meaning whatever it is, China was always right. You can't do that, can't do that. Not right, and we we spend -- again, it's not a question of money. But when we are spending $500 million and China is spending 38 million, 34 million, 40 million, 42 million in a case. 190330 It's, again, not money, but it's not right. So we will see. This is an evaluation period but, in the meantime, we are also putting a hold on all funds going to World Health. We will be able to take that money and channel it to the areas that most need it, and that's another way of doing it. But we have not been treated properly. Yeah, please. Q>> Mr. President, you mentioned you will be speaking with all of the governors tomorrow. TRUMP>> Yes. Q>> Make recommendations -- TRUMP>> Or, probably Thursday. 190358 Q>> What if don't' they don't listen to you take your advice? Will you consider taking away federal funding? TRUMP>> I don't want to say that. They'll listen. They'll be fine. I think we're gonna have a good relationship. They need the federal government not only for funding, and I'm not saying take it away, but they need it for advice. They'll need maybe equipment that we have. We have a tremendous stockpile that we're in the process of completing. We're in a very good position. Again, the cupboard was bare when I got here. Nobody ever thought a thing -- in all fairness to previous administrations, nobody ever thought anything like this was going to happen, but it did happen. 190435 No, the governors will be very very respectful of the presidency. Again, this isn't me, this is the presidency. The presidency has such a great importance in terms of what we're doing. And you can talk about constitution, you can talk about federalism, you can talk about whatever you want. But the best way, I'm talking now from a managerial standpoint, is to let individual governors run individual states and come to us if they have difficulty, and we will help them. 190506 Q>> You talk about having testing and tracing equipment and the facility for that in place to open up the government. Dr. Fauci said this morning that that critical test and tracing ability does not currently exist. TRUMP>> Well, I -- I don't know, look, I don't know. John, I don't know what he said. Q>> My question is -- TRUMP>> Nobody knows. Q>> My question is, will it exist by may 1?
OBAMA TUMBLR EVENT / CUTS / HD
INT BROLL PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA TUMBLR EVENT / CUTS Tuesday, June 10, 2014 President Obama Remarks at Tumblr Event Stix DC Slug: 1600 WH TUMBLR STIX RS33 73 AR: 16x9 Disc# 071 NYRS: WASH3 (4523) 16:15:32 President Obama enters the room (Applause) 16:14:50 Hello, everybody. (Off-side conversation.) Good to see you. Hello, everybody. (Laughs.) Hey, you don't have to be so formal. (Laughter.) Sheesh. Come on now. DAVID KARP: This is unusual. Thank you! Thank you, everyone. And welcome to the White House. Thank you for having us, Mr. President. I'm David Karp, the founder of Tumblr, and it is my tremendous privilege to be here with President Obama today and joined by the Tumblr community. Thank you for joining us, everyone. Yesterday the president signed an executive order intended to curb the pain of student debt. Americans now hold more than a trillion dollars in student debt, one of the greatest expenses they'll incur in their lifetime. And the generation that's just reaching college age is beginning to wonder if it's even worth it. One-third of Americans who've applied for an educational loan this year also happen to use Tumblr. So last week we asked our audience if they had questions that they'd like to ask the president about the cost value and accessibility of higher education. Turns out they had quite a few. We're not going to be able to get through all of them today, but the president has been kind enough to give us some time at his house to answer some of those questions. (Laughter.) So again, huge thank you for making yourself available today. Anything you'd like to add before we start? 16:16:59 Well, first of all, this is a rental house. (Laughter.) I just want to be clear. My lease runs out in about 2 1/2 years. Second of all, I want to thank David and the whole Tumblr community for participating in this. We're constantly looking for new ways to reach audiences that are relevant to the things we're talking about. And obviously, you know, young people disproportionately use Tumblr. A lot of Tumblr users are impacted by student debt. So for you to be able to give us this forum to speak directly to folks is wonderful. And I'm looking forward to a whole bunch of good questions. MR. KARP: Thank you. All right, so everybody's clear on how the questions work. So since we closed for questions 5:00 p.m. yesterday, we brought together a team of influential Tumblr bloggers who helped us select some of the best questions. They're -- a few of them, anyway, are joining us in the audience of the State Dining Room here today. Neither the White House nor the president have seen any of these questions in advance. Should we get started? PRESIDENT OBAMA: Let's go. MR. KARP: All right. So first came in from Caitlin (sp). I appreciate your willingness to work with legislators to attempt to retroactively diffuse the cost of some student's loans by creating new repayment plans, but it seems to me like an attempt to put a band- aid on a broken leg. What are we doing to actually lower the cost of a college degree -- excuse me, of college tuition so these loans will no longer be necessary? 16:18:21 Well, it's a great question. And let me give people some context for what's happened over the last 20, 30 years. I graduated from college in '83; I graduated from law school in 1990. And although I went to a private school, through a combination of grants, loans and working, I had a fairly low level of debt that I was able to pay in one year without getting an incredibly well-paying job. I was able to keep my debt burden pretty low. 16:18:56 Folks who were 10 years younger than me, they probably paid even less. And if you went to a state school at the time, typically, would come out with almost no debt whatsoever. Today, the average debt burden, even for young people who are going to a public university, is about $30,000. And that gives you some sense of how much the cost has escalated for the average young person. Now, you mentioned earlier some people are wondering, is this a good investment? It absolutely is. 16:19:28 The difference between a college grad and somebody with a high school diploma is about $28,000 a year in income. So it continues to be a very smart investment for you to go to college. But we have to find ways to do two things. One is, we have to lower the costs on the front end, and then, if you do have to supplement whatever you can pay with borrowing, we've got to make sure that that is a manageable debt. And we -- about 12 months ago -- maybe 16 months ago, I convened college and university presidents around the country to start working with them on how we could lower debt or lower tuition, rather. 16:20:08 The main reason that tuition has gone up so much is that state legislatures stopped subsidizing public universities as much as they used to, in part because they started spending money on things like prisons and other activities that I think are less productive. And so schools then made up for the declining state support by jacking up their tuition rates. What's also happened is, is that the cost of things like health care that a university community with a lot of personnel has to shoulder, those costs have gone up faster than wages and incomes. The combination of those things has made college tuition skyrocket faster than health care costs have. There are ways that we can bring down those costs, and we know that because there's some colleges who've done a very good job in keeping tuition low. 16:21:03 We also have to do a better job of informing students about how to keep their debt down, because frankly, universities don't always counsel young people well when they first come in. They say, don't worry about it, you can pay for it, not realizing that you're paying for it through borrowing that you're going to end up having to shoulder once you graduate. MR. KARP: What is that -- what does that help -- what does that support look like? So Chelsea (ph) sent in a very similar question from Portland. So she asks: Colleges help students get into debt. They don't often help offer financial planning services before school, after they graduate. Do you guys have a plan to help students make sound financial decisions? I mean, these are teenagers who are making decisions sometimes amounting to hundreds of thousands of dollars that are going to follow them through their entire lives. Hopefully, they have parents who can help them navigate those decisions. But if they don't, are they on their own? 16:21:53 Well, we are already doing something we called "know what you owe." And the idea is to work with every college, university, community college out there so that when you come into school -- ideally even before you accept an admission from a school -- you are given a sense of what your annual loans might be, what your financial package is going to translate into in terms of debt, assuming you through a four-year degree on schedule, and what your monthly payments are likely to be afterwards. 16:22:37 And so just that one step alone, making sure that schools are obliged to counsel you on the front end when you come in as opposed to just on the exit interview once you've already accumulated the debt, that in and of itself can make a big difference. MR. KARP: Understood. We didn't get first names for everybody, so HaikuMoon (sp) asks -- (laughter) -- it was -- PRESIDENT OBAMA: That might -- that might be the first name. That's a cool name. (Laughter.) MR. KARP: It wasn't until after I graduated college that I realized what I wanted to do with my life. Now I have a degree that has very little to do with that goal and a mountain of debt. I can't help but wonder if I wasn't pressured to go to college and was better prepared to make that decision -- and if I was better prepared to make that decision, then I might be in a better place to pursue my dream today. How can we change the public education system to better prepare and support young people making this huge decision? I mean, again, teenagers are deciding what they want to do for the rest of their lives. 16:23:29 Yeah. Well, one of the things that HaikuMoon -- (laughter) -- is alluding to is that high school should be a time in which young people have a greater exposure to actual careers, as opposed to just classroom study. And you know, I went to a wonderful school in New York called P-Tech, went there for a visit. What they've done is they have collapsed high school basically into a three-year program. You can then extend for another two years and get an associate's degree. IBM is working with them so that if, in fact, they complete the curriculum that IBM helped to design, they know they've got a job at IBM on the back end. 16:24:15 And that's just one example of what I'd like to see a lot more high schools, do, which is give young people in high school more hands-on experience, more apprenticeships, more training. If you are a graphic -- somebody who's interested in graphic design, I'd rather have you work at a company doing graphic design your senior year or junior year to see if you actually like it to get a sense of the training you need. You may not need a four-year degree. You might only need a two-year degree. You might be able to work while getting that degree. All that can save you money. 16:24:48 So that can -- that can make a really big difference for high school kids. At the same time, one of the things that we initiated several years back is something called income-based repayments. And that's something I really want to focus on -- IBR for short -- income-based repayments. 16:25:08 What we did in 2011 was to say, all student loans going forward, if you have a debt and you decide you want to go into a job that -- like teaching or social work that doesn't necessarily pay a lot, you shouldn't be hampered from making that choice just because you've got such a significant debt load. So what we said was that we will cap your repayments of your loans at 10 percent of your income above $18,000. 16:25:39 And by doing that, that gives people flexibility. It doesn't eliminate your debt, but what it does is it makes it manageable each month so that the career that you choose may not be constrained. And we then have additional programs so that if you go into one of the helping professions -- public service, law enforcement, social work, teaching -- then over time that debt could actually be forgiven. 16:26:05 Now, the problem with it was that we passed this law in 2011; it only applied going forward. It didn't apply retroactively. So yesterday, what I did was sign an executive action saying that the Department of Education is going to be developing rules so that going backwards, anybody can avail themselves of this income-based repayments, because I get a lot of letters from who took out loans in 2005 or 2000; they're also in a situation where they're making regular payments, but it's very hard for them to make ends meet, and we want to ideally finish what's called the rulemaking process -- nothing's easy around here -- hopefully by the time -- say the end of next year, the rules will be in place, that will be the law, and then, everybody and not just folks who borrowed after 2011 can take advantage of that. But there's not a lot of knowledge of this, and I hope that the Tumblr community helps to spread the word that this is something already available for loans that you took out after 2011, and hopefully, by next year, it'll be available for people even if you took out your loans before 2011. MR. KARP: Where do we find information about it? 16:27:20 You should go to whitehouse.gov -- the White House website -- it will then link you to ed.gov, which is the Education Department website, but whitehouse.gov I figure is easier to remember. (Laughter.) MR. KARP: Can you elaborate real quick on the -- you know, encouraging public service? Josh from Oak Park sent in a really good question about this. The U.S. has a long history of encouraging college-age men and women to give back to their larger communities through organizations like the Peace Corps, through organizations like Teach for America. Couldn't we make a larger commitment to that by creating tuition and loan forgiveness programs for those students who agree to work in those fields or work in those geographic areas in need of skilled employees? So you can imagine family practice doctors, you can imagine public defenders. 16:27:59 I mean, right now we have some programs like this in place, but they're typically relatively small, relatively specialized. So there are some loan forgiveness programs for primary care physicians who are going out to rural communities or inner cities or underserved communities. There are some programs that are available through the AmeriCorps program for people who are engaged in public service. 16:28:28 They are not as broad based and widespread as I would like. And we have tried to work with Congress, so far unsuccessfully, to be able to get, you know, an expansion of these areas. And I'll -- let's take health care as an example. We know that the population's aging. We know that we are -- have a severe shortage of primary care physicians. A lot of young doctors are going into specialized fields like dermatology or plastic surgery because you can make a relatively large profit, you don't end up having a lot of liability. And that's not really what we need more of. 16:29:12 And so my hope is, is that over time Congress recognizes that young people are our most precious asset. We -- there are some areas that we know we need, you know, people to get into the field, our best and brightest. And right now, the financial burdens are precluding them from doing it. And we could open up those fields, a huge influx of talent, if we were a little smarter with it. MR. KARP: Yeah, OK. So you've touched on health care and public service and health care in general. You talk a lot about STEM fields. So how do we promote -- this is one Orta (sp) asked -- how can we promote roles in STEM fields without putting humanities on the back burner? 16:29:53 Well, first of all, I want to say I was a humanities major. So -- (laughter) -- so you know, I -- I majored in political science. I majored in -- and I minored in English. And you know, I was pretty good in math, but in high school I -- I actually loved math and science until I got into high school and then I misspent those years. (Laughter.) And the thing about the humanities was you could kind of talk your way through classes -- (laughter) -- which you couldn't do in math and science, right? (Laughter.) (Chuckles.) (Laughter.) 16:30:32 So -- so a -- a -- a great liberal arts humanities education is still critically important because in today's global economy, one of the most important skills you have is your ability to work with people and communicate clearly and effectively. Having said that, what is also true is that technology is going to continue to drive innovation. And just to be a good citizen, you need some background in STEM. 16:31:04 And we are not producing enough engineers, enough computer scientists, enough math teachers and science teachers and enough researchers. And so I'm putting a big emphasis on STEM in part because we have a shortage, not because I'm privileging one over the other, but because we don't have as many people going into -- into the STEM fields. 16:31:32 And it starts early. Part of the -- what we're trying to do is work with public schools to take away some of the intimidation factor in math and science. Part of what we're trying to do is make sure that we are reaching to demographics that are very underrepresented. And yes, I mean you, women. You know, we -- girls are still more likely to be discouraged from pursuing math, science, technology degrees. You see that imbalance in Silicon Valley. You see it in a lot of high-tech firms. 16:32:10 And so, you know, we're trying to lift up curriculums that are interesting for kids, work with schools in terms of best practices. One of the things that we're also discovering is that young people who have an interest in math and science, when they go to college, oftentimes they're steered into finance, because that's been perceived as the more lucrative option. And we're trying to work with universities and departments of engineering, for example, to help mentor young people to understand that if you look at the top one hundred companies in the country, you've got a lot more engineers running companies than you do folks who have a finance background. 16:32:57 And so, you know, there are great opportunities. And, you know, one of the things that every young person should be thinking about is, A, what's their passion, what do they care about. But they should also be taking a look at where's there -- where is there a demand. And frankly, if you've got a science or engineering background, the likelihood of you being unemployed is very low, because there's always going to be a need, and it doesn't preclude you from, you know, writing a haiku at some point -- (laughter) -- and, you know, figuring out, you know, some creative outlet, but having that discipline and that skill set is still going to be invaluable. MR. KARP: What you just described is really hard to navigate -- again, a teenager making the decision between passion or an industry that's going to have demand for them. So great question: At this point, I'm stuck between majors. I know the field I have a passion for has a limited number of jobs, all of which pay very little. Assuming I get the job, the low income will make it difficult to pay the substantial debt I'll most likely be in from that education. Are there other fields -- excuse me -- there are other fields I know I could succeed in and receive a higher salary, but I'm afraid that one day I'll realize I hate what I do. PRESIDENT OBAMA: Right. Q: The question was, how did you decide on your career, and what advice do you have for somebody who's coming up, trying to navigate that marketplace; with demand or their passions? PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well -- Q: By the way, one vote for keeping kids of finance (completely ?), yes. (Laughter.) Yes. 16:34:25 Or the law, by the way, because -- (laughter) -- we have -- we have enough lawyers, although it's a fine profession. (Laughter.) You know, I can say that because I'm a lawyer. I think everybody's different. But I do think that -- first of all, when I first got out of school, I worked for a year in a job that I wasn't interested in because I wanted to pay off my loans. Now, I had the luxury, as I said, that my loan burden was only -- was small enough that I could pay it off in a year. 16:35:01 But, you know, work's not always fun, and you can't always follow your bliss right away. And so I think the young people should be practical. I know a lot of young people who worked for five years in a field that they may not be interested in but it gives them the financial stability and the base from which to do what they want. And there's nothing wrong with that. 16:35:23 I do -- the main advice I would give young people starting off, though, is --- ultimately you are going to do best at something you care deeply about. And some people have probably heard this said before, but if you really enjoy what you do, then it's -- the line between work and play starts vanishing a little bit. You know, you still have to grind it out, but you can get into the mindset where the creativity or the effort and the sweat that you're putting into what you do doesn't feel like a burden; it feels like an expression of -- of what you care about. And -- and so I think your career's not going to be straight line all the time. 16:36:16 You know, I think there may be times where you got to take a detour and you got to do something practical to pay the bills. There are going to be times where you see an opportunity and you're making a calculated risk that I'm going to start some wacky company called Tumblr. (Laughter.) And -- and how you balance the practical with your -- your -- your highest aspirations is something that'll be different for each person. Everybody's going to have different circumstances. MR. KARP: What do you say to kids right now who ask you -- you know, they see their passion. They want to build big stuff for the Internet. PRESIDENT OBAMA: Right. MR. KARP: They want to build the next big app -- PRESIDENT OBAMA: Right. MR. KARP: -- next big social network. What do you tell them when they say, hey, look, David, Zuckerberg, Jobs, Gates, all these guys -- PRESIDENT OBAMA: (Inaudible.) MR. KARP: -- who I don't necessarily deserve to be in the company of, but dropped out of school? 16:37:06 Yeah. I mean, you wouldn't know it, looking at you, but you're like LeBron or Durant. (Laughter.) You know, the -- I mean, you guys don't have the same physiques -- (laughter) -- but -- but there are only going to be so many Zuckerbergs or, you know -- well, you know, Gateses who -- who are able to short-circuit the traditional path. 16:37:38 If you can, more power to you. But let me put it this way. Had you not -- let's say Tumblr had been a bust, right, or Facebook had just ended up being, you know, some dating site that nobody was really interested in. MR. KARP: We'd be in a hard place. PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, but the truth is also you had the foundation where you could go back to school, right? I mean, it wasn't as if you were suddenly operating without a net. I'm assuming that you would have been readmitted to whatever institution you were in, and if not, then you would go to another school, and you'd do fine. 16:38:16 So the issue is not whether you may not want to take a risk at some point. The point is that for the average young person, an investment in college is always going to be a smart investment. Making sure you know what it is that you're investing in is important. 16:38:35 You know, one of the biggest areas where we see a problem is young people who are going, let's say, to technical schools or community colleges or some of these for-profit universities -- they're promised a lot, but they haven't done the research to see, OK, does, typically, a graduate coming out of one of these schools get a job in the occupation? Are they actually making money? If you're going to have $50,000 worth of debt, you'd better have factored in, you know, what are the employment prospects coming out. And -- and so I think it's good for young people -- not only good, it's imperative for young people to be good consumers of education and don't just assume that there's one way of doing things. We tell our daughters -- you know, Malia's now -- she'll be 16 next month, and she's going to be in the college process. And we tell her, you know, don't assume that there are 10 schools that you -- that you have to go to, and if you didn't go to those 10 that somehow things are going to be terrible. There are a lot of schools out there. 16:39:47 There are a lot of options, and you should do your research before you -- you decide to exercise one of those options. Having said that, the -- the overwhelming evidence is that a college education is the surest, clearest path into the middle class for most Americans. MR. KARP: Is the White House right now offering any of those tools to be a good consumer, to navigate all the choices out there? 16:40:15 Yes. Yes, so the -- so if you go -- again, go to whitehouse.gov, which will link you to the Department of Education. One of the things that we're doing is to -- we're starting to develop a score card for colleges and universities so you have just a general sense of what's the typical graduation rate? What's the typical debt that you carry once you get out? You know, what is the employment rate for graduates five years afterwards? And over time, one of the things that we're trying to do is develop a ranking system that is not exactly the same as the typical college ranking systems that you see in U.S. News and World Report, for example. 16:40:57 Part of the problem with the traditional ranking systems of schools is that, for example, high cost is actually a bonus in the ranking system. It indicates prestige. And so there -- there may be some great schools that are expensive, but what you're missing is a great school that may give you much better value, particularly in the field that you're in. Now, there's some controversy, I -- I want to confess, about that. A lot of colleges and universities say, you know, if you start ranking just based on cost and employability, et cetera, you're missing the essence of higher education and so forth. What we're really trying to do is just identify, here are some good bargains. Here are some really bad deals. Then there's going to be a bunch of schools in the middle that, you know, there's not going to be a huge amount of differentiation. But what we are trying to do is make sure that students have enough information going into it that they don't end up in a school that is pretty notorious for piling a lot of debt on their students but not really delivering a great education. MR. KARP: Back to the debt, which is top of mind for everybody here today, Silmae (ph) from Tulsa asked an interesting question: Of my $220,000 in student loan debt -- PRESIDENT OBAMA: Yikes. MR. KARP: -- from college and law school -- there you go -- less than half is receiving the benefit of loan forgiveness. Why is there no discussion on the mounting private student loan debt? 16:42:21 Well, there is a discussion. The problem is we just end up having less leverage over that. I mean, the truth is, is that both legislatively and administratively, we have some impact on federal loans. Private loans, if you take -- you know, if you go to a private company and you're taking out a loan, we have the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau that is trying to regulate this area and make sure that you have full information about what you're getting yourself into. It's another version of "know before you owe." 16:42:54 But it's harder for us to restructure some of that debt. Now, one thing that I think is really important for everybody to know here, because this is actual action you can take, as opposed to just listening to me blather on -- this week there will be a vote in the United States Senate on a bill sponsored by Elizabeth Warren, the senator from Massachusetts. And what this bill would do would allow students to refinance their existing loans at today's rates. 16:43:29 The reason that's important is because rates have been low, and typically there's going to be a pretty big spread between the -- the rates that a lot of students -- the interest rates that a lot of students have on their debt right now versus what they could do if they refinanced, the same way that a lot of people refinanced their mortgages to take advantage of historically low rates. 16:43:55 And so this vote is coming up. It will come up this week. I think everybody on Tumblr should be contacting their -- their senators and finding out where they stand on the issue because -- and by the way, this is something that will not add to the deficit because the way we pay for it is we say that we're going to eliminate some loopholes right now that allow millionaires and billionaires to pay lower rates of taxes than secretaries and teachers. And so it would pay for itself. It's a good piece of legislation. It directly affects folks in their 20s and 30s, and in some cases their 40s and 50s and 60s. But particularly the young people who use Tumblr, this is something that you should pay a lot of attention to. Make sure that you are pushing your senators around this -- around this issue. MR. KARP: Particularly important if you know you're facing that debt already or you're -- you are already today facing that debt. PRESIDENT OBAMA: Right. MR. KARP: What's the best way, though -- people who are -- again, they're thinking about higher education. They're in school today. (Inaudible) -- a thoughtful question: What is the best way for students to have a voice in their own education? So much education today, I think, really -- I don't know, I mean, so many teenagers who feel like education is happening to them, right? They're going through the motions. They know that this is what they're supposed to do, and so they follow along. PRESIDENT OBAMA: Yeah. MR. KARP: How do we make sure kids are driving? 16:45:25 Well, look. At some point it's going to be up to the young person to drive that education. It's not inevitable that you just fasten your seat belt and just go on a ride for four years or two years or whatever it is. I mean, I have to say that in my own college experience, I think the first two years I was there thinking I'm just happy to be here and I'm having fun and I'll just sort of go through the motions. 16:45:51 My last two years was when I really became much more serious about what I was doing and much more intentional about what I was doing. Too many young people see -- and I'm -- I'm grossly generalizing now, so excuse me, but I'm -- you know, I use myself as an example as well. I think too many of us see college as a box to check or a place to have fun and extend adolescence -- (laughter) -- as opposed to a opportunity each of us to figure out what is it that we're good at? What is that we care about? What is that we're willing to invest a lot of time and effort and energy into? How do we hone some skills or interests or, you know, attributes that we already have? 16:46:44 And as a consequence, I think young people waste a lot of time in school. Now, again, I'm generalizing because there are a whole bunch of folks who are working while going to school, while helping out their parents, in some cases they're already parents themselves. And so everything I just said does not apply to you. (Laughter.) You are -- and a lot of -- it's interesting, you know, one of the reasons I think I did well in law school was because I had worked for three and a half years so that by the time I got to law school I actually knew why I was studying the law, and I knew exactly what I wanted to get out of it. Not to mention, the fact that the idea of just going to class for three hours a day and then reading didn't seem particularly oppressive to me, whereas young people who had come straight out of college thought this is horrible. 16:47:34 You get -- try working for a while, and then you realize, this is pretty good deal. (Laughter.) Yeah. So -- but I think that part -- part of what we as adults have to do goes back to what I said about high schools. Education is not a passive thing. You know, you don't tip your head and somebody pours it into your ear. It is an active process of you figuring out the world and your place in it. And the earlier we can help young people -- not lock them in. Look, nobody expects that somebody who's 16 automatically knows exactly what they want to do, and people may change their kinds repeatedly. But what we can do is expose young people to enough actual work and occupations that they start getting a feel for what they would be interested in. And, you know, I really want to work with more school districts, and I've asked Secretary of Education Arne Duncan to work with more school districts, and we're actually giving grants to school districts that are thinking creatively about how high school can be used more effectively. 16:48:49 I don't want a young person who knows that they want to go into the trades to just waste four years of high school and then they've got to go through two years of apprenticeship and class work before they become a contractor. I'd rather have them doing contracting while also getting some other educational, you know, exposure, so that they're getting a jump on the things that they want to do. And they can save a lot of money in the process. Q: So Beth asked a question close to that. So instead of -- close to that point. Instead of pushing all students into college, shouldn't we focus on the other side, increasing the minimum wage and making it viable, livable to enter the workforce straight out of high school? Should we be doing both? 16:49:37 Absolutely. Well, here's what I would say. There are very few jobs now where you're not going to need some advanced training. One of the great things about being president is I get to visit companies and work sites and factories, and if you go into the average auto company today, for example, first of all, it's not at all what you'd imagine. It is spotless and it is quiet and it is humming because it is all mechanized and computerized at this point. And even if you have a, you know, four football-field sized assembly line, most of the people there are working with machines and they're working on computer keyboards. 16:50:29 So having some basic training in math, some familiarity with computers, some familiarity with programming and code, all that is a huge advantage if you are trying to get a line on an assembly line. Now, if that's true for assembly line work, that's certainly going to be true for any other trade that you're interested in. We do have to do a better job of giving young people who are interested an effective vocational education. And there are tons of opportunities out there for people -- you know, here's an interesting statistic. 16:51:00 The average trade person in Wisconsin -- and what I mean by that is an electrician, a plumber, a carpenter, a machine tool worker. The average age in Wisconsin is 59-years old, all right? Now, these jobs typically pay 25, 30 bucks and hour, potentially, with benefits. You can make a really good living doing that. And there are a lot of folks who love doing it. It's really interesting work and highly skilled work. So I don't want somebody to find out about that when they're 30, after they've already taken a bunch of classes and stuff that they ended up not using. Now they've got a bunch of debt. I'd rather, if they've got that inclination, to figure that out early and be able to go straight into something that helps them get that job. MR. KARP: So one question we heard a lot from our community that I wanted to make sure to mention today, recently I think you've been following the Department of Ed's Office of Civil Rights and the DOJ have extended Title IX protections to trans students. PRESIDENT OBAMA: Right. MR. KARP: What do you see as the next steps to ensure equal treatment of trans people in schools in America? 16:52:25 Well, you know, Title IX is a powerful tool. It's interesting. Yesterday I had the University of Connecticut men's and women's basketball teams here. This is only the second time that the men's and women's basketball teams won the national championship in the same year. The previous year was 2004, and it was UConn again. 16:52:45 But what was interesting about it is that the men were kind of a surprise. It was nice. The women were dominant. I mean, the UConn Husky women's program, they rule, and they are incredible athletes. And talking to these young women, you know, they're poised and they're beautiful and some of them are 6'6" and they're wearing high heels and, you know, supremely confident and competitive. And that's a huge shift from even 20 years ago or 30 years ago. 16:53:25 The reason for that was Title -- you know, Title IX was applied vigorously in schools, and it gave opportunities. It's not like women suddenly became athletes. They were athletic before. Michelle, when I work out with her, she puts me to shame. (Laughter.) But it had more to do with restrictions in opportunity. So the point I'm making is, is that Title IX is a very powerful tool. The fact that we are applying it to transgender students means that they are going to be in a position to assert their rights if and when they see that they are being discriminated on their college campuses, and that could manifest itself in a whole variety of ways. MR. KARP: Brilliant. This one was sent in a few days ago. Mr. President, my name is Nick Deneen (sp), and I attend the school -- excuse me -- I attend school at the University of California in Santa Barbara. I was the RA for the floor that George Chen lived at -- lived on -- excuse me -- last year as a first-year college student. I knew him. Elliot Rodger killed him and five more of my fellow students. Today another man has shot and killed at least one person and injured three others at a private Christian school in Seattle. What are you going to do? What can we all do? And of course another mass shooting this morning. 16:54:42 I -- I have to say that people often ask me, you know, how it's been being president and, you know, what are my -- you know, what am I proudest of and what are my biggest disappointments? And you know, I've got 2 1/2 years left. My biggest frustration so far is the fact that this society has not been willing to take some basic steps to -- to keep guns out of the hands of, you know, people who, you know, can -- can do just unbelievable damage. 16:55:32 We're -- we're the only -- we're the only developed country on earth where this happens. And it happens now once a week. And it -- it's a one-day story. There's no place else like this. A couple of decades ago Australia had a mass shooting similar to Columbine or -- or Newtown, and Australia just said, well, that's it. We're not doing -- we're not seeing that again - and basically imposed very severe, tough gun laws, and they've -- they haven't had a mass shooting since. 16:56:16 I mean, our levels of gun violence are off the charts. There's no advanced, developed country on earth that would put up with this. Now, we have a different tradition. We have a Second Amendment. We have historically respected gun rights. I respect gun rights. But the idea that, for example, we couldn't even get a background check bill in to make sure that if you're going to buy a weapon you have to actually go through a fairly rigorous process so that we know who you are, so you can't just walk up to a store and buy a semi-automatic weapon, it makes no sense. 16:57:06 And I don't know if anybody saw the brief press conference from the father of the young man who had been killed at Santa Barbara -- and as a father myself I just -- I couldn't understand the pain he must be going through and just the primal scream that he gave out. Why -- why aren't we doing something about this? And I will tell you that -- I have been in Washington for a while now and most things don't surprise me. The fact that 26-year-olds were gunned down in the most violent fashion possible and this town couldn't do anything about it was stunning to me. 16:58:00 And so the question then becomes, what can we do about it? The only thing that's going to change is -- is public opinion. If public opinion does not demand change in Congress, it will not change. We have -- I've initiated over 20 executive actions to try to tighten up some of the rules and the laws, but the bottom line is, is that we don't have enough tools right now to really make as big of a dent as we need to. And most members of Congress -- and I have to say to some degree this is bipartisan -- are terrified of the NRA. The combination of, you know, the NRA and gun manufacturers are very well financed and have the capacity to move votes in local elections and congressional elections. And so if you're running for office right now, that's where you feel the heat. 16:59:04 And people on the other side may be generally favorable towards things like background checks and other common-sense rules, but they're not as motivated, so that's not -- that doesn't end up being the issue that a lot of you vote on. 16:59:20 And until that changes, until there is a fundamental shift in public opinion in which people say, enough; this is not acceptable; this is not normal; this isn't sort of the price we should be paying for our freedom; that we can have respect for the Second Amendment, and responsible gun owners and sportsmen and hunters can have, you know, the ability to possess weapons, but that we are going to, you know, put some common-sense rules in place that make a dent, at least, in what's happening -- until that is not just the majority view -- because that's already the majority view, even the majority of gun owners believe that -- but until that's a view that people feel passionately about and are willing to go after folks who don't, you know, vote reflecting those values -- until that happens, sadly, not that much is going to change. Last thing I'll say -- a lot of people will say that -- you know, well, this is a mental health problem. You know, it's not a gun problem. 17:00:30 You know, the United States does not have a monopoly on crazy people. (Laughter.) It -- it -- it's not the only country that has psychosis. And yet, we kill each other in these -- in these mass shootings at rates that are exponentially higher than any place else. Well, what's the difference? 17:01:03 The difference is, is that these guys can stack up a bunch of ammunition in their houses and -- and that's sort of par for the course. So the country has to do some soul searching about this. This is becoming the norm. And we take it for granted in -- in ways that, as a parent, are terrifying to me. And -- and I -- I am prepared to work with anybody, including responsible sportsmen and gun owners, to craft some solutions. But right now, it's -- it's not even possible to get even the mildest restrictions through Congress. And that's -- we should be ashamed of that. MR. KARP: Thank you for taking the time to answer that one, obviously an incredibly difficult and disappointing conversation to have. Looks like we have time for one more question. So let's switch over to a lighter one. There are plenty of young people out there today who are watching your career incredibly closely. They're thinking about their futures, their careers, their educations that they're going off to pursue. Astonishment (sp) asked: Where do you see yourself in 10 years? (Laughter.) 17:02:27 Well, you know, I -- I haven't projected out 10 years. I -- I -- I'm really focused on making sure that I -- I make every day in the next 2 1/2 years count because it's an incredible privilege to be in this office. 17:02:43 And even when I'm frustrated with Congress or I'm frustrated with the press and how it's reporting things and Washington generally, I also know that there's something I can do every single day that's helping somebody and that, sometimes without a lot of fanfare, you know, we're making it easier for a business to get a loan, and we're making it easier for a young person to get an education, and we're making it easier for a family to get health care, and -- and -- and making sure that each day, I come away with something that we've done to make it a little easier for folks to work their way into the middle class, to stay in the middle class, to save for retirement, to finance their kids' college educations. That's a good day for me. 17:03:38 I know what I'll do, like, right after the next president's inaugurated. You know, I'll be on a beach somewhere -- (laughter) -- drinking a -- out of a coconut. (Laughter.) But that probably won't last too long. And you know, that -- one of the things that Michelle and I have talked a lot about is we're really interested in developing young people and working with them and -- and creating more institutions to promote young leadership. 17:04:16 I'm so impressed when I meet young people around the country. They're full of passion. They're full of ideas. I think they're much wiser and smarter than I was. Part of it maybe is because of Tumblr; I don't know. (Laughter.) And so there's just huge potential. And the challenge is, they're also fed a lot of cynicism. You guys are fed a lot of cynicism every single day about how nothing works and big institutions stink and government's broken, and so you channel a lot of your passion and energy into various private endeavors. 17:04:53 But this country has always been built both through an individual initiative but also a sense of some common purpose. And if there's one message I want to deliver to young people like a Tumblr audience is, don't get cynical. Guard against cynicism. I mean, the truth of the matter is, is that for all the challenges we face, all the problems that we have, if you had to be -- if you had to choose any moment to be born in human history not knowing what your position was going to be, who you were going to be, you'd choose this time. The world is less violent than it has ever been. It is healthier than it has ever been. It is more tolerant than it has ever been. It is better-fed than it's ever been. It is -- you know, it is more educated than it's ever been. 17:05:52 Terrible things happen around the world every single day, but the trend lines of progress are unmistakable. And the reason is because each successive generation tries to learn from previous mistakes and pushes the course of history in a better direction. And the only thing that stops that is if people start thinking that they don't make a difference and they can't make changes. And that's fed in our culture all the time. It's fascinating to me; I don't consume a lot of television, but generally, the culture right now is inherently in a cynical mood, in part because we went through a big trauma back in 2007, 2008 with the financial crisis, and we went through a decade of wars that were really tough, and that's the era in which you were born. 17:06:48 But I look out on the horizon, and there's a lot of opportunity out there. And that's what I'd like to do after the presidency, is make sure that I help young people guard against cynicism and do the remarkable things they can do. R. KARP: Beautiful. PRESIDENT OBAMA: Good. MR. KARP: Mr. President, thank you so much for taking time to answer our questions today. Really, thank you. PRESIDENT OBAMA: We had a great time. Appreciate it. It was great. Thank you. (Applause.) MR. KARP: Was that OK? I've never talked to a president before. 17:07:18 He's a natural. He could have gone into journalism. (Laughter.) MR. KARP: I've never talked to a president before. Thank you so much. (Laughter.) Hey, real quick, guys, before we go, I would really like to thank the president for having us over to his rental property today. It really does mean a lot to our community to know that America's leader is listening to us. I hope we've all come away with a clearer picture as to the issues that we're facing. Please make sure to follow whitehouse.tumblr.com, and lastly, please wish Sasha a happy 13th birthday today. PRESIDENT OBAMA: Yeah, it's Sasha's birthday today. (Applause.) MR. KARP: Now that she's 13, guys -- now that she's 13, according to our terms of services, she's officially old enough to use Tumblr. (Laughter.) Let us know - PRESIDENT OBAMA: So she wasn't before that? (Laughter.) MR. KARP: She wasn't, I'm sorry. We can let this one slide. (Laughter.) PRESIDENT OBAMA: I'm going to have to -- I'm going to have to talk to somebody about that. (Laughter.) All right. Thank you guys. MR. KARP: Thank you -- (inaudible) - PRESIDENT OBAMA: Have a great time. (Applause.) President Obama on Student Loan Plan President Obama answered questions about student loan reforms and his new "Pay As You Earn" plan on the social media platform Tumblr.
OBAMA TUMBLR EVENT / HEAD ON / HD
INT BROLL PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA TUMBLR EVENT / HEAD ON Tuesday, June 10, 2014 President Obama Remarks at Tumblr Event Stix DC Slug: 1600 WH TUMBLR STIX RS33 73 AR: 16x9 Disc# 071 NYRS: WASH3 (4523) 16:15:32 President Obama enters the room (Applause) 16:14:50 Hello, everybody. (Off-side conversation.) Good to see you. Hello, everybody. (Laughs.) Hey, you don't have to be so formal. (Laughter.) Sheesh. Come on now. DAVID KARP: This is unusual. Thank you! Thank you, everyone. And welcome to the White House. Thank you for having us, Mr. President. I'm David Karp, the founder of Tumblr, and it is my tremendous privilege to be here with President Obama today and joined by the Tumblr community. Thank you for joining us, everyone. Yesterday the president signed an executive order intended to curb the pain of student debt. Americans now hold more than a trillion dollars in student debt, one of the greatest expenses they'll incur in their lifetime. And the generation that's just reaching college age is beginning to wonder if it's even worth it. One-third of Americans who've applied for an educational loan this year also happen to use Tumblr. So last week we asked our audience if they had questions that they'd like to ask the president about the cost value and accessibility of higher education. Turns out they had quite a few. We're not going to be able to get through all of them today, but the president has been kind enough to give us some time at his house to answer some of those questions. (Laughter.) So again, huge thank you for making yourself available today. Anything you'd like to add before we start? 16:16:59 Well, first of all, this is a rental house. (Laughter.) I just want to be clear. My lease runs out in about 2 1/2 years. Second of all, I want to thank David and the whole Tumblr community for participating in this. We're constantly looking for new ways to reach audiences that are relevant to the things we're talking about. And obviously, you know, young people disproportionately use Tumblr. A lot of Tumblr users are impacted by student debt. So for you to be able to give us this forum to speak directly to folks is wonderful. And I'm looking forward to a whole bunch of good questions. MR. KARP: Thank you. All right, so everybody's clear on how the questions work. So since we closed for questions 5:00 p.m. yesterday, we brought together a team of influential Tumblr bloggers who helped us select some of the best questions. They're -- a few of them, anyway, are joining us in the audience of the State Dining Room here today. Neither the White House nor the president have seen any of these questions in advance. Should we get started? PRESIDENT OBAMA: Let's go. MR. KARP: All right. So first came in from Caitlin (sp). I appreciate your willingness to work with legislators to attempt to retroactively diffuse the cost of some student's loans by creating new repayment plans, but it seems to me like an attempt to put a band- aid on a broken leg. What are we doing to actually lower the cost of a college degree -- excuse me, of college tuition so these loans will no longer be necessary? 16:18:21 Well, it's a great question. And let me give people some context for what's happened over the last 20, 30 years. I graduated from college in '83; I graduated from law school in 1990. And although I went to a private school, through a combination of grants, loans and working, I had a fairly low level of debt that I was able to pay in one year without getting an incredibly well-paying job. I was able to keep my debt burden pretty low. 16:18:56 Folks who were 10 years younger than me, they probably paid even less. And if you went to a state school at the time, typically, would come out with almost no debt whatsoever. Today, the average debt burden, even for young people who are going to a public university, is about $30,000. And that gives you some sense of how much the cost has escalated for the average young person. Now, you mentioned earlier some people are wondering, is this a good investment? It absolutely is. 16:19:28 The difference between a college grad and somebody with a high school diploma is about $28,000 a year in income. So it continues to be a very smart investment for you to go to college. But we have to find ways to do two things. One is, we have to lower the costs on the front end, and then, if you do have to supplement whatever you can pay with borrowing, we've got to make sure that that is a manageable debt. And we -- about 12 months ago -- maybe 16 months ago, I convened college and university presidents around the country to start working with them on how we could lower debt or lower tuition, rather. 16:20:08 The main reason that tuition has gone up so much is that state legislatures stopped subsidizing public universities as much as they used to, in part because they started spending money on things like prisons and other activities that I think are less productive. And so schools then made up for the declining state support by jacking up their tuition rates. What's also happened is, is that the cost of things like health care that a university community with a lot of personnel has to shoulder, those costs have gone up faster than wages and incomes. The combination of those things has made college tuition skyrocket faster than health care costs have. There are ways that we can bring down those costs, and we know that because there's some colleges who've done a very good job in keeping tuition low. 16:21:03 We also have to do a better job of informing students about how to keep their debt down, because frankly, universities don't always counsel young people well when they first come in. They say, don't worry about it, you can pay for it, not realizing that you're paying for it through borrowing that you're going to end up having to shoulder once you graduate. MR. KARP: What is that -- what does that help -- what does that support look like? So Chelsea (ph) sent in a very similar question from Portland. So she asks: Colleges help students get into debt. They don't often help offer financial planning services before school, after they graduate. Do you guys have a plan to help students make sound financial decisions? I mean, these are teenagers who are making decisions sometimes amounting to hundreds of thousands of dollars that are going to follow them through their entire lives. Hopefully, they have parents who can help them navigate those decisions. But if they don't, are they on their own? 16:21:53 Well, we are already doing something we called "know what you owe." And the idea is to work with every college, university, community college out there so that when you come into school -- ideally even before you accept an admission from a school -- you are given a sense of what your annual loans might be, what your financial package is going to translate into in terms of debt, assuming you through a four-year degree on schedule, and what your monthly payments are likely to be afterwards. 16:22:37 And so just that one step alone, making sure that schools are obliged to counsel you on the front end when you come in as opposed to just on the exit interview once you've already accumulated the debt, that in and of itself can make a big difference. MR. KARP: Understood. We didn't get first names for everybody, so HaikuMoon (sp) asks -- (laughter) -- it was -- PRESIDENT OBAMA: That might -- that might be the first name. That's a cool name. (Laughter.) MR. KARP: It wasn't until after I graduated college that I realized what I wanted to do with my life. Now I have a degree that has very little to do with that goal and a mountain of debt. I can't help but wonder if I wasn't pressured to go to college and was better prepared to make that decision -- and if I was better prepared to make that decision, then I might be in a better place to pursue my dream today. How can we change the public education system to better prepare and support young people making this huge decision? I mean, again, teenagers are deciding what they want to do for the rest of their lives. 16:23:29 Yeah. Well, one of the things that HaikuMoon -- (laughter) -- is alluding to is that high school should be a time in which young people have a greater exposure to actual careers, as opposed to just classroom study. And you know, I went to a wonderful school in New York called P-Tech, went there for a visit. What they've done is they have collapsed high school basically into a three-year program. You can then extend for another two years and get an associate's degree. IBM is working with them so that if, in fact, they complete the curriculum that IBM helped to design, they know they've got a job at IBM on the back end. 16:24:15 And that's just one example of what I'd like to see a lot more high schools, do, which is give young people in high school more hands-on experience, more apprenticeships, more training. If you are a graphic -- somebody who's interested in graphic design, I'd rather have you work at a company doing graphic design your senior year or junior year to see if you actually like it to get a sense of the training you need. You may not need a four-year degree. You might only need a two-year degree. You might be able to work while getting that degree. All that can save you money. 16:24:48 So that can -- that can make a really big difference for high school kids. At the same time, one of the things that we initiated several years back is something called income-based repayments. And that's something I really want to focus on -- IBR for short -- income-based repayments. 16:25:08 What we did in 2011 was to say, all student loans going forward, if you have a debt and you decide you want to go into a job that -- like teaching or social work that doesn't necessarily pay a lot, you shouldn't be hampered from making that choice just because you've got such a significant debt load. So what we said was that we will cap your repayments of your loans at 10 percent of your income above $18,000. 16:25:39 And by doing that, that gives people flexibility. It doesn't eliminate your debt, but what it does is it makes it manageable each month so that the career that you choose may not be constrained. And we then have additional programs so that if you go into one of the helping professions -- public service, law enforcement, social work, teaching -- then over time that debt could actually be forgiven. 16:26:05 Now, the problem with it was that we passed this law in 2011; it only applied going forward. It didn't apply retroactively. So yesterday, what I did was sign an executive action saying that the Department of Education is going to be developing rules so that going backwards, anybody can avail themselves of this income-based repayments, because I get a lot of letters from who took out loans in 2005 or 2000; they're also in a situation where they're making regular payments, but it's very hard for them to make ends meet, and we want to ideally finish what's called the rulemaking process -- nothing's easy around here -- hopefully by the time -- say the end of next year, the rules will be in place, that will be the law, and then, everybody and not just folks who borrowed after 2011 can take advantage of that. But there's not a lot of knowledge of this, and I hope that the Tumblr community helps to spread the word that this is something already available for loans that you took out after 2011, and hopefully, by next year, it'll be available for people even if you took out your loans before 2011. MR. KARP: Where do we find information about it? 16:27:20 You should go to whitehouse.gov -- the White House website -- it will then link you to ed.gov, which is the Education Department website, but whitehouse.gov I figure is easier to remember. (Laughter.) MR. KARP: Can you elaborate real quick on the -- you know, encouraging public service? Josh from Oak Park sent in a really good question about this. The U.S. has a long history of encouraging college-age men and women to give back to their larger communities through organizations like the Peace Corps, through organizations like Teach for America. Couldn't we make a larger commitment to that by creating tuition and loan forgiveness programs for those students who agree to work in those fields or work in those geographic areas in need of skilled employees? So you can imagine family practice doctors, you can imagine public defenders. 16:27:59 I mean, right now we have some programs like this in place, but they're typically relatively small, relatively specialized. So there are some loan forgiveness programs for primary care physicians who are going out to rural communities or inner cities or underserved communities. There are some programs that are available through the AmeriCorps program for people who are engaged in public service. 16:28:28 They are not as broad based and widespread as I would like. And we have tried to work with Congress, so far unsuccessfully, to be able to get, you know, an expansion of these areas. And I'll -- let's take health care as an example. We know that the population's aging. We know that we are -- have a severe shortage of primary care physicians. A lot of young doctors are going into specialized fields like dermatology or plastic surgery because you can make a relatively large profit, you don't end up having a lot of liability. And that's not really what we need more of. 16:29:12 And so my hope is, is that over time Congress recognizes that young people are our most precious asset. We -- there are some areas that we know we need, you know, people to get into the field, our best and brightest. And right now, the financial burdens are precluding them from doing it. And we could open up those fields, a huge influx of talent, if we were a little smarter with it. MR. KARP: Yeah, OK. So you've touched on health care and public service and health care in general. You talk a lot about STEM fields. So how do we promote -- this is one Orta (sp) asked -- how can we promote roles in STEM fields without putting humanities on the back burner? 16:29:53 Well, first of all, I want to say I was a humanities major. So -- (laughter) -- so you know, I -- I majored in political science. I majored in -- and I minored in English. And you know, I was pretty good in math, but in high school I -- I actually loved math and science until I got into high school and then I misspent those years. (Laughter.) And the thing about the humanities was you could kind of talk your way through classes -- (laughter) -- which you couldn't do in math and science, right? (Laughter.) (Chuckles.) (Laughter.) 16:30:32 So -- so a -- a -- a great liberal arts humanities education is still critically important because in today's global economy, one of the most important skills you have is your ability to work with people and communicate clearly and effectively. Having said that, what is also true is that technology is going to continue to drive innovation. And just to be a good citizen, you need some background in STEM. 16:31:04 And we are not producing enough engineers, enough computer scientists, enough math teachers and science teachers and enough researchers. And so I'm putting a big emphasis on STEM in part because we have a shortage, not because I'm privileging one over the other, but because we don't have as many people going into -- into the STEM fields. 16:31:32 And it starts early. Part of the -- what we're trying to do is work with public schools to take away some of the intimidation factor in math and science. Part of what we're trying to do is make sure that we are reaching to demographics that are very underrepresented. And yes, I mean you, women. You know, we -- girls are still more likely to be discouraged from pursuing math, science, technology degrees. You see that imbalance in Silicon Valley. You see it in a lot of high-tech firms. 16:32:10 And so, you know, we're trying to lift up curriculums that are interesting for kids, work with schools in terms of best practices. One of the things that we're also discovering is that young people who have an interest in math and science, when they go to college, oftentimes they're steered into finance, because that's been perceived as the more lucrative option. And we're trying to work with universities and departments of engineering, for example, to help mentor young people to understand that if you look at the top one hundred companies in the country, you've got a lot more engineers running companies than you do folks who have a finance background. 16:32:57 And so, you know, there are great opportunities. And, you know, one of the things that every young person should be thinking about is, A, what's their passion, what do they care about. But they should also be taking a look at where's there -- where is there a demand. And frankly, if you've got a science or engineering background, the likelihood of you being unemployed is very low, because there's always going to be a need, and it doesn't preclude you from, you know, writing a haiku at some point -- (laughter) -- and, you know, figuring out, you know, some creative outlet, but having that discipline and that skill set is still going to be invaluable. MR. KARP: What you just described is really hard to navigate -- again, a teenager making the decision between passion or an industry that's going to have demand for them. So great question: At this point, I'm stuck between majors. I know the field I have a passion for has a limited number of jobs, all of which pay very little. Assuming I get the job, the low income will make it difficult to pay the substantial debt I'll most likely be in from that education. Are there other fields -- excuse me -- there are other fields I know I could succeed in and receive a higher salary, but I'm afraid that one day I'll realize I hate what I do. PRESIDENT OBAMA: Right. Q: The question was, how did you decide on your career, and what advice do you have for somebody who's coming up, trying to navigate that marketplace; with demand or their passions? PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well -- Q: By the way, one vote for keeping kids of finance (completely ?), yes. (Laughter.) Yes. 16:34:25 Or the law, by the way, because -- (laughter) -- we have -- we have enough lawyers, although it's a fine profession. (Laughter.) You know, I can say that because I'm a lawyer. I think everybody's different. But I do think that -- first of all, when I first got out of school, I worked for a year in a job that I wasn't interested in because I wanted to pay off my loans. Now, I had the luxury, as I said, that my loan burden was only -- was small enough that I could pay it off in a year. 16:35:01 But, you know, work's not always fun, and you can't always follow your bliss right away. And so I think the young people should be practical. I know a lot of young people who worked for five years in a field that they may not be interested in but it gives them the financial stability and the base from which to do what they want. And there's nothing wrong with that. 16:35:23 I do -- the main advice I would give young people starting off, though, is --- ultimately you are going to do best at something you care deeply about. And some people have probably heard this said before, but if you really enjoy what you do, then it's -- the line between work and play starts vanishing a little bit. You know, you still have to grind it out, but you can get into the mindset where the creativity or the effort and the sweat that you're putting into what you do doesn't feel like a burden; it feels like an expression of -- of what you care about. And -- and so I think your career's not going to be straight line all the time. 16:36:16 You know, I think there may be times where you got to take a detour and you got to do something practical to pay the bills. There are going to be times where you see an opportunity and you're making a calculated risk that I'm going to start some wacky company called Tumblr. (Laughter.) And -- and how you balance the practical with your -- your -- your highest aspirations is something that'll be different for each person. Everybody's going to have different circumstances. MR. KARP: What do you say to kids right now who ask you -- you know, they see their passion. They want to build big stuff for the Internet. PRESIDENT OBAMA: Right. MR. KARP: They want to build the next big app -- PRESIDENT OBAMA: Right. MR. KARP: -- next big social network. What do you tell them when they say, hey, look, David, Zuckerberg, Jobs, Gates, all these guys -- PRESIDENT OBAMA: (Inaudible.) MR. KARP: -- who I don't necessarily deserve to be in the company of, but dropped out of school? 16:37:06 Yeah. I mean, you wouldn't know it, looking at you, but you're like LeBron or Durant. (Laughter.) You know, the -- I mean, you guys don't have the same physiques -- (laughter) -- but -- but there are only going to be so many Zuckerbergs or, you know -- well, you know, Gateses who -- who are able to short-circuit the traditional path. 16:37:38 If you can, more power to you. But let me put it this way. Had you not -- let's say Tumblr had been a bust, right, or Facebook had just ended up being, you know, some dating site that nobody was really interested in. MR. KARP: We'd be in a hard place. PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, but the truth is also you had the foundation where you could go back to school, right? I mean, it wasn't as if you were suddenly operating without a net. I'm assuming that you would have been readmitted to whatever institution you were in, and if not, then you would go to another school, and you'd do fine. 16:38:16 So the issue is not whether you may not want to take a risk at some point. The point is that for the average young person, an investment in college is always going to be a smart investment. Making sure you know what it is that you're investing in is important. 16:38:35 You know, one of the biggest areas where we see a problem is young people who are going, let's say, to technical schools or community colleges or some of these for-profit universities -- they're promised a lot, but they haven't done the research to see, OK, does, typically, a graduate coming out of one of these schools get a job in the occupation? Are they actually making money? If you're going to have $50,000 worth of debt, you'd better have factored in, you know, what are the employment prospects coming out. And -- and so I think it's good for young people -- not only good, it's imperative for young people to be good consumers of education and don't just assume that there's one way of doing things. We tell our daughters -- you know, Malia's now -- she'll be 16 next month, and she's going to be in the college process. And we tell her, you know, don't assume that there are 10 schools that you -- that you have to go to, and if you didn't go to those 10 that somehow things are going to be terrible. There are a lot of schools out there. 16:39:47 There are a lot of options, and you should do your research before you -- you decide to exercise one of those options. Having said that, the -- the overwhelming evidence is that a college education is the surest, clearest path into the middle class for most Americans. MR. KARP: Is the White House right now offering any of those tools to be a good consumer, to navigate all the choices out there? 16:40:15 Yes. Yes, so the -- so if you go -- again, go to whitehouse.gov, which will link you to the Department of Education. One of the things that we're doing is to -- we're starting to develop a score card for colleges and universities so you have just a general sense of what's the typical graduation rate? What's the typical debt that you carry once you get out? You know, what is the employment rate for graduates five years afterwards? And over time, one of the things that we're trying to do is develop a ranking system that is not exactly the same as the typical college ranking systems that you see in U.S. News and World Report, for example. 16:40:57 Part of the problem with the traditional ranking systems of schools is that, for example, high cost is actually a bonus in the ranking system. It indicates prestige. And so there -- there may be some great schools that are expensive, but what you're missing is a great school that may give you much better value, particularly in the field that you're in. Now, there's some controversy, I -- I want to confess, about that. A lot of colleges and universities say, you know, if you start ranking just based on cost and employability, et cetera, you're missing the essence of higher education and so forth. What we're really trying to do is just identify, here are some good bargains. Here are some really bad deals. Then there's going to be a bunch of schools in the middle that, you know, there's not going to be a huge amount of differentiation. But what we are trying to do is make sure that students have enough information going into it that they don't end up in a school that is pretty notorious for piling a lot of debt on their students but not really delivering a great education. MR. KARP: Back to the debt, which is top of mind for everybody here today, Silmae (ph) from Tulsa asked an interesting question: Of my $220,000 in student loan debt -- PRESIDENT OBAMA: Yikes. MR. KARP: -- from college and law school -- there you go -- less than half is receiving the benefit of loan forgiveness. Why is there no discussion on the mounting private student loan debt? 16:42:21 Well, there is a discussion. The problem is we just end up having less leverage over that. I mean, the truth is, is that both legislatively and administratively, we have some impact on federal loans. Private loans, if you take -- you know, if you go to a private company and you're taking out a loan, we have the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau that is trying to regulate this area and make sure that you have full information about what you're getting yourself into. It's another version of "know before you owe." 16:42:54 But it's harder for us to restructure some of that debt. Now, one thing that I think is really important for everybody to know here, because this is actual action you can take, as opposed to just listening to me blather on -- this week there will be a vote in the United States Senate on a bill sponsored by Elizabeth Warren, the senator from Massachusetts. And what this bill would do would allow students to refinance their existing loans at today's rates. 16:43:29 The reason that's important is because rates have been low, and typically there's going to be a pretty big spread between the -- the rates that a lot of students -- the interest rates that a lot of students have on their debt right now versus what they could do if they refinanced, the same way that a lot of people refinanced their mortgages to take advantage of historically low rates. 16:43:55 And so this vote is coming up. It will come up this week. I think everybody on Tumblr should be contacting their -- their senators and finding out where they stand on the issue because -- and by the way, this is something that will not add to the deficit because the way we pay for it is we say that we're going to eliminate some loopholes right now that allow millionaires and billionaires to pay lower rates of taxes than secretaries and teachers. And so it would pay for itself. It's a good piece of legislation. It directly affects folks in their 20s and 30s, and in some cases their 40s and 50s and 60s. But particularly the young people who use Tumblr, this is something that you should pay a lot of attention to. Make sure that you are pushing your senators around this -- around this issue. MR. KARP: Particularly important if you know you're facing that debt already or you're -- you are already today facing that debt. PRESIDENT OBAMA: Right. MR. KARP: What's the best way, though -- people who are -- again, they're thinking about higher education. They're in school today. (Inaudible) -- a thoughtful question: What is the best way for students to have a voice in their own education? So much education today, I think, really -- I don't know, I mean, so many teenagers who feel like education is happening to them, right? They're going through the motions. They know that this is what they're supposed to do, and so they follow along. PRESIDENT OBAMA: Yeah. MR. KARP: How do we make sure kids are driving? 16:45:25 Well, look. At some point it's going to be up to the young person to drive that education. It's not inevitable that you just fasten your seat belt and just go on a ride for four years or two years or whatever it is. I mean, I have to say that in my own college experience, I think the first two years I was there thinking I'm just happy to be here and I'm having fun and I'll just sort of go through the motions. 16:45:51 My last two years was when I really became much more serious about what I was doing and much more intentional about what I was doing. Too many young people see -- and I'm -- I'm grossly generalizing now, so excuse me, but I'm -- you know, I use myself as an example as well. I think too many of us see college as a box to check or a place to have fun and extend adolescence -- (laughter) -- as opposed to a opportunity each of us to figure out what is it that we're good at? What is that we care about? What is that we're willing to invest a lot of time and effort and energy into? How do we hone some skills or interests or, you know, attributes that we already have? 16:46:44 And as a consequence, I think young people waste a lot of time in school. Now, again, I'm generalizing because there are a whole bunch of folks who are working while going to school, while helping out their parents, in some cases they're already parents themselves. And so everything I just said does not apply to you. (Laughter.) You are -- and a lot of -- it's interesting, you know, one of the reasons I think I did well in law school was because I had worked for three and a half years so that by the time I got to law school I actually knew why I was studying the law, and I knew exactly what I wanted to get out of it. Not to mention, the fact that the idea of just going to class for three hours a day and then reading didn't seem particularly oppressive to me, whereas young people who had come straight out of college thought this is horrible. 16:47:34 You get -- try working for a while, and then you realize, this is pretty good deal. (Laughter.) Yeah. So -- but I think that part -- part of what we as adults have to do goes back to what I said about high schools. Education is not a passive thing. You know, you don't tip your head and somebody pours it into your ear. It is an active process of you figuring out the world and your place in it. And the earlier we can help young people -- not lock them in. Look, nobody expects that somebody who's 16 automatically knows exactly what they want to do, and people may change their kinds repeatedly. But what we can do is expose young people to enough actual work and occupations that they start getting a feel for what they would be interested in. And, you know, I really want to work with more school districts, and I've asked Secretary of Education Arne Duncan to work with more school districts, and we're actually giving grants to school districts that are thinking creatively about how high school can be used more effectively. 16:48:49 I don't want a young person who knows that they want to go into the trades to just waste four years of high school and then they've got to go through two years of apprenticeship and class work before they become a contractor. I'd rather have them doing contracting while also getting some other educational, you know, exposure, so that they're getting a jump on the things that they want to do. And they can save a lot of money in the process. Q: So Beth asked a question close to that. So instead of -- close to that point. Instead of pushing all students into college, shouldn't we focus on the other side, increasing the minimum wage and making it viable, livable to enter the workforce straight out of high school? Should we be doing both? 16:49:37 Absolutely. Well, here's what I would say. There are very few jobs now where you're not going to need some advanced training. One of the great things about being president is I get to visit companies and work sites and factories, and if you go into the average auto company today, for example, first of all, it's not at all what you'd imagine. It is spotless and it is quiet and it is humming because it is all mechanized and computerized at this point. And even if you have a, you know, four football-field sized assembly line, most of the people there are working with machines and they're working on computer keyboards. 16:50:29 So having some basic training in math, some familiarity with computers, some familiarity with programming and code, all that is a huge advantage if you are trying to get a line on an assembly line. Now, if that's true for assembly line work, that's certainly going to be true for any other trade that you're interested in. We do have to do a better job of giving young people who are interested an effective vocational education. And there are tons of opportunities out there for people -- you know, here's an interesting statistic. 16:51:00 The average trade person in Wisconsin -- and what I mean by that is an electrician, a plumber, a carpenter, a machine tool worker. The average age in Wisconsin is 59-years old, all right? Now, these jobs typically pay 25, 30 bucks and hour, potentially, with benefits. You can make a really good living doing that. And there are a lot of folks who love doing it. It's really interesting work and highly skilled work. So I don't want somebody to find out about that when they're 30, after they've already taken a bunch of classes and stuff that they ended up not using. Now they've got a bunch of debt. I'd rather, if they've got that inclination, to figure that out early and be able to go straight into something that helps them get that job. MR. KARP: So one question we heard a lot from our community that I wanted to make sure to mention today, recently I think you've been following the Department of Ed's Office of Civil Rights and the DOJ have extended Title IX protections to trans students. PRESIDENT OBAMA: Right. MR. KARP: What do you see as the next steps to ensure equal treatment of trans people in schools in America? 16:52:25 Well, you know, Title IX is a powerful tool. It's interesting. Yesterday I had the University of Connecticut men's and women's basketball teams here. This is only the second time that the men's and women's basketball teams won the national championship in the same year. The previous year was 2004, and it was UConn again. 16:52:45 But what was interesting about it is that the men were kind of a surprise. It was nice. The women were dominant. I mean, the UConn Husky women's program, they rule, and they are incredible athletes. And talking to these young women, you know, they're poised and they're beautiful and some of them are 6'6" and they're wearing high heels and, you know, supremely confident and competitive. And that's a huge shift from even 20 years ago or 30 years ago. 16:53:25 The reason for that was Title -- you know, Title IX was applied vigorously in schools, and it gave opportunities. It's not like women suddenly became athletes. They were athletic before. Michelle, when I work out with her, she puts me to shame. (Laughter.) But it had more to do with restrictions in opportunity. So the point I'm making is, is that Title IX is a very powerful tool. The fact that we are applying it to transgender students means that they are going to be in a position to assert their rights if and when they see that they are being discriminated on their college campuses, and that could manifest itself in a whole variety of ways. MR. KARP: Brilliant. This one was sent in a few days ago. Mr. President, my name is Nick Deneen (sp), and I attend the school -- excuse me -- I attend school at the University of California in Santa Barbara. I was the RA for the floor that George Chen lived at -- lived on -- excuse me -- last year as a first-year college student. I knew him. Elliot Rodger killed him and five more of my fellow students. Today another man has shot and killed at least one person and injured three others at a private Christian school in Seattle. What are you going to do? What can we all do? And of course another mass shooting this morning. 16:54:42 I -- I have to say that people often ask me, you know, how it's been being president and, you know, what are my -- you know, what am I proudest of and what are my biggest disappointments? And you know, I've got 2 1/2 years left. My biggest frustration so far is the fact that this society has not been willing to take some basic steps to -- to keep guns out of the hands of, you know, people who, you know, can -- can do just unbelievable damage. 16:55:32 We're -- we're the only -- we're the only developed country on earth where this happens. And it happens now once a week. And it -- it's a one-day story. There's no place else like this. A couple of decades ago Australia had a mass shooting similar to Columbine or -- or Newtown, and Australia just said, well, that's it. We're not doing -- we're not seeing that again - and basically imposed very severe, tough gun laws, and they've -- they haven't had a mass shooting since. 16:56:16 I mean, our levels of gun violence are off the charts. There's no advanced, developed country on earth that would put up with this. Now, we have a different tradition. We have a Second Amendment. We have historically respected gun rights. I respect gun rights. But the idea that, for example, we couldn't even get a background check bill in to make sure that if you're going to buy a weapon you have to actually go through a fairly rigorous process so that we know who you are, so you can't just walk up to a store and buy a semi-automatic weapon, it makes no sense. 16:57:06 And I don't know if anybody saw the brief press conference from the father of the young man who had been killed at Santa Barbara -- and as a father myself I just -- I couldn't understand the pain he must be going through and just the primal scream that he gave out. Why -- why aren't we doing something about this? And I will tell you that -- I have been in Washington for a while now and most things don't surprise me. The fact that 26-year-olds were gunned down in the most violent fashion possible and this town couldn't do anything about it was stunning to me. 16:58:00 And so the question then becomes, what can we do about it? The only thing that's going to change is -- is public opinion. If public opinion does not demand change in Congress, it will not change. We have -- I've initiated over 20 executive actions to try to tighten up some of the rules and the laws, but the bottom line is, is that we don't have enough tools right now to really make as big of a dent as we need to. And most members of Congress -- and I have to say to some degree this is bipartisan -- are terrified of the NRA. The combination of, you know, the NRA and gun manufacturers are very well financed and have the capacity to move votes in local elections and congressional elections. And so if you're running for office right now, that's where you feel the heat. 16:59:04 And people on the other side may be generally favorable towards things like background checks and other common-sense rules, but they're not as motivated, so that's not -- that doesn't end up being the issue that a lot of you vote on. 16:59:20 And until that changes, until there is a fundamental shift in public opinion in which people say, enough; this is not acceptable; this is not normal; this isn't sort of the price we should be paying for our freedom; that we can have respect for the Second Amendment, and responsible gun owners and sportsmen and hunters can have, you know, the ability to possess weapons, but that we are going to, you know, put some common-sense rules in place that make a dent, at least, in what's happening -- until that is not just the majority view -- because that's already the majority view, even the majority of gun owners believe that -- but until that's a view that people feel passionately about and are willing to go after folks who don't, you know, vote reflecting those values -- until that happens, sadly, not that much is going to change. Last thing I'll say -- a lot of people will say that -- you know, well, this is a mental health problem. You know, it's not a gun problem. 17:00:30 You know, the United States does not have a monopoly on crazy people. (Laughter.) It -- it -- it's not the only country that has psychosis. And yet, we kill each other in these -- in these mass shootings at rates that are exponentially higher than any place else. Well, what's the difference? 17:01:03 The difference is, is that these guys can stack up a bunch of ammunition in their houses and -- and that's sort of par for the course. So the country has to do some soul searching about this. This is becoming the norm. And we take it for granted in -- in ways that, as a parent, are terrifying to me. And -- and I -- I am prepared to work with anybody, including responsible sportsmen and gun owners, to craft some solutions. But right now, it's -- it's not even possible to get even the mildest restrictions through Congress. And that's -- we should be ashamed of that. MR. KARP: Thank you for taking the time to answer that one, obviously an incredibly difficult and disappointing conversation to have. Looks like we have time for one more question. So let's switch over to a lighter one. There are plenty of young people out there today who are watching your career incredibly closely. They're thinking about their futures, their careers, their educations that they're going off to pursue. Astonishment (sp) asked: Where do you see yourself in 10 years? (Laughter.) 17:02:27 Well, you know, I -- I haven't projected out 10 years. I -- I -- I'm really focused on making sure that I -- I make every day in the next 2 1/2 years count because it's an incredible privilege to be in this office. 17:02:43 And even when I'm frustrated with Congress or I'm frustrated with the press and how it's reporting things and Washington generally, I also know that there's something I can do every single day that's helping somebody and that, sometimes without a lot of fanfare, you know, we're making it easier for a business to get a loan, and we're making it easier for a young person to get an education, and we're making it easier for a family to get health care, and -- and -- and making sure that each day, I come away with something that we've done to make it a little easier for folks to work their way into the middle class, to stay in the middle class, to save for retirement, to finance their kids' college educations. That's a good day for me. 17:03:38 I know what I'll do, like, right after the next president's inaugurated. You know, I'll be on a beach somewhere -- (laughter) -- drinking a -- out of a coconut. (Laughter.) But that probably won't last too long. And you know, that -- one of the things that Michelle and I have talked a lot about is we're really interested in developing young people and working with them and -- and creating more institutions to promote young leadership. 17:04:16 I'm so impressed when I meet young people around the country. They're full of passion. They're full of ideas. I think they're much wiser and smarter than I was. Part of it maybe is because of Tumblr; I don't know. (Laughter.) And so there's just huge potential. And the challenge is, they're also fed a lot of cynicism. You guys are fed a lot of cynicism every single day about how nothing works and big institutions stink and government's broken, and so you channel a lot of your passion and energy into various private endeavors. 17:04:53 But this country has always been built both through an individual initiative but also a sense of some common purpose. And if there's one message I want to deliver to young people like a Tumblr audience is, don't get cynical. Guard against cynicism. I mean, the truth of the matter is, is that for all the challenges we face, all the problems that we have, if you had to be -- if you had to choose any moment to be born in human history not knowing what your position was going to be, who you were going to be, you'd choose this time. The world is less violent than it has ever been. It is healthier than it has ever been. It is more tolerant than it has ever been. It is better-fed than it's ever been. It is -- you know, it is more educated than it's ever been. 17:05:52 Terrible things happen around the world every single day, but the trend lines of progress are unmistakable. And the reason is because each successive generation tries to learn from previous mistakes and pushes the course of history in a better direction. And the only thing that stops that is if people start thinking that they don't make a difference and they can't make changes. And that's fed in our culture all the time. It's fascinating to me; I don't consume a lot of television, but generally, the culture right now is inherently in a cynical mood, in part because we went through a big trauma back in 2007, 2008 with the financial crisis, and we went through a decade of wars that were really tough, and that's the era in which you were born. 17:06:48 But I look out on the horizon, and there's a lot of opportunity out there. And that's what I'd like to do after the presidency, is make sure that I help young people guard against cynicism and do the remarkable things they can do. R. KARP: Beautiful. PRESIDENT OBAMA: Good. MR. KARP: Mr. President, thank you so much for taking time to answer our questions today. Really, thank you. PRESIDENT OBAMA: We had a great time. Appreciate it. It was great. Thank you. (Applause.) MR. KARP: Was that OK? I've never talked to a president before. 17:07:18 He's a natural. He could have gone into journalism. (Laughter.) MR. KARP: I've never talked to a president before. Thank you so much. (Laughter.) Hey, real quick, guys, before we go, I would really like to thank the president for having us over to his rental property today. It really does mean a lot to our community to know that America's leader is listening to us. I hope we've all come away with a clearer picture as to the issues that we're facing. Please make sure to follow whitehouse.tumblr.com, and lastly, please wish Sasha a happy 13th birthday today. PRESIDENT OBAMA: Yeah, it's Sasha's birthday today. (Applause.) MR. KARP: Now that she's 13, guys -- now that she's 13, according to our terms of services, she's officially old enough to use Tumblr. (Laughter.) Let us know - PRESIDENT OBAMA: So she wasn't before that? (Laughter.) MR. KARP: She wasn't, I'm sorry. We can let this one slide. (Laughter.) PRESIDENT OBAMA: I'm going to have to -- I'm going to have to talk to somebody about that. (Laughter.) All right. Thank you guys. MR. KARP: Thank you -- (inaudible) - PRESIDENT OBAMA: Have a great time. (Applause.) President Obama on Student Loan Plan President Obama answered questions about student loan reforms and his new "Pay As You Earn" plan on the social media platform Tumblr.
OBAMA IN CALIFORNIA / TOWN HALL P1
President Barack Obama LinkedIn event in Mountain View, California - STIX. (Applause.) 14:01:46 PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: Thank you. Everybody, please, have a seat. Thank you. Thank you very much. That's a nice crowd. (Laughter.) And I have to say, Jeff, you warmed them up very well. JEFF WEINER: Thank you, Mr. President. PRESIDENT OBAMA: I thank you so much for your hospitality. And -- and let me begin by just saying how excited I am to be here. Every time I come to Silicon Valley, every time that I come to this region, I am excited about America's future. And -- and no part of the country better represents, I think, the essence of America than here because what you see is entrepreneurship and dynamism, a forward orientation, an optimism, a belief that if you've got a good idea and you're willing to put in the sweat and -- and blood and tears to make it happen that not only can you succeed for yourself, but you can grow the economy for everybody. And it's that driving spirit that has made America an economic superpower. 14:02:57 But obviously, we're in a period of time right now where the economy is struggling and a lot of folks all across the country are struggling. And so part of what I hope to do is to have a conversation with all of you about how can we continue to spark the innovation that is going to ensure our economic success in the 21st century; how can we prepare our workforce to be able to plug into this new economy; how do we recognize that, in this competitive environment, there are all kinds of opportunity that LinkedIn presents for interconnectedness and -- and -- and people being able to work together and spread ideas around the world and -- and create value, but at the same time understanding that there are some perils as well. If our kids aren't properly educated, if we don't have an infrastructure that is world-class, if we are not investing in basic research and science, if we're not doing all the things that made us great in the past, then we're going to fall behind. 14:04:07 And we've got a short-term challenge, which is how do we put people back to work right now. And so as you mentioned, I put forward a proposal, the American Jobs Act, that would put thousands of teachers back into the classrooms who've been laid off due to downturns in state and local budgets; that would make sure that we are rebuilding our infrastructure, taking extraordinary numbers of construction workers who've been laid off when the -- the housing bubble went bust and -- and -- and putting them to work rebuilding our roads and our airports and our schools and laying broadband lines and all the things that help us make a success, and also make sure that we're providing small businesses the kinds of tax incentives that will allow them to hire and allow them to succeed. And you know, I have said to Congress I understand that there's an election 14 months away, and it's tempting to say that we're not going to do anything until November of 2012, but the American people cannot afford to wait. The American people need help right now. And all the proposals we've put forward in the American Jobs Act will not help us now but will also help us in the future, will lay the foundation for our long-term success. Last point I'll make -- and then I want to get to questions -- it's all paid for. And it's paid for in part by building on some very tough cuts in our budget to eliminate waste and things we don't need that we've already made, a trillion dollars over the next 10 years. We've proposed an additional half a trillion dollars over the next 10 years of spending cuts and adjustments on programs that we want to keep intact but haven't been reformed in too long. But what I've also said is, in order to pay for it and bring down the deficit at the same time, we're going to have to reform our tax code in a way that's fair and makes sure that everybody is doing their fair share. I've said this before. I'll say it again. Warren Buffett's secretary shouldn't be paying a lower (sic) tax rate than Warren Buffett. Somebody who's making $50,000 a year as a teacher shouldn't be paying a higher effective tax rate than somebody like myself or Jeff, who have been incredibly blessed -- I don't -- I don't know what you make, Jeff, but I'm just guessing -- (laughter) -- you know, who've been blessed by the incredible opportunities of this country. And I say that because whenever America's moved forward, it's because we've moved forward together. And we're going to have to make sure that we are laying the foundation for the success of future generations, and that means that each of us are doing our part to make sure we're investing in our future. So with that, thank you so much for the terrific venue. I look forward to a bunch of great questions both live and through -- through whatever other linkages that we've got here. (Laughter.) MR. WEINER: You've got it. So we're going to be going back and forth between folks in the audience -- members, and some previously generated questions from the LinkedIn group. So we're going to start. Our first question is from LinkedIn member Chuck Painter (sp). And Chuck, we're going to get your a mic. Q: Good morning, Mr. President. PRESIDENT OBAMA: Good morning. Q: I'm from Austin, Texas. I've been in sales in the plastics industry for 20 years. I lost my job in 2009 and been fortunate enough to have found another position, become reemployed. My question is, what can we do as American citizens to unite ourselves and help the economy? 14:07:32 PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, first of all, are you a native of Austin? Because that's one of my favorite cities in the country. Q: Actually, I'm a native of Charlotte, North Carolina, but just relocated to Austin and I love it there. So -- PRESIDENT OBAMA: Austin's great. Charlotte's not bad. Q: Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. (Laughter.) PRESIDENT OBAMA: That's the reason why I'm having my convention in Charlotte, because I love North Carolina as well. But the -- how long did it take you to -- to find a new job after you got laid off? Q: It took nine months. PRESIDENT OBAMA: It took nine months. Q: Yes, sir. PRESIDENT OBAMA: And that's one of the challenges that a lot of folks are seeing out there. You've got skilled people with experience in an industry, that industry changes, and you were fortunate enough to be able to move some folks -- because of the decline in the housing industry are having trouble with mobility and finding new jobs and relocating in pursuit of opportunity. Q: Yes, sir. PRESIDENT OBAMA: The most important thing that we can do right now is to help jump-start the economy, which has stalled, by putting people back to work. And so, not surprisingly, I think the most important thing we can do right now is pass this jobs bill. Think about it. Independent economists have estimated that if we pass the entire package, the American Jobs Act, we would increase GDP by close to 2 percent, we would increase employment by 1.9 million persons, and that is the kind of big, significant move in the economy that could have ripple effects and help the recovery take off. Now, there's been a lot of dispute about the kind of impact that we had right after the financial crisis hit, but the fact is the vast majority of economists who've looked at it have said that the recovery act, by starting infrastructure projects around the country, by making sure that states had help on their budgets so they didn't have to lay off teachers and firefighters and others, by providing tax cuts to small businesses -- and by the way, we've cut taxes about 16 times since I've been in office for small businesses to give them more capital to work with and more incentives to hire -- all those things made a big difference. 14:10:06 The American Jobs Act is specifically tailored to putting more of those folks back to work. It's not going to solve all our problems. We've still got a housing situation in which too many homes are underwater. And one of the things that we've proposed as part of the American Jobs Act is -- is that we're going to help reduce the barriers to refinancing so that folks can get record-low rates. That'll put more money into people's pockets. It'll provide tax cuts to not only small businesses, but almost every middle-class family. That means they've got more money in their pockets, and that means that they're going to be able to spend it on products and services, which provide additional incentives for businesses to hire folks like you. So it's the right step to take right now. Long-term we're going to have to pull together around making sure our education system is the best in the world, making sure our infrastructure is the best world, continuing to invest in science and technology. We've got to stabilize our -- our finances, and we've got to continue to drive down health care costs, which are a drag on our whole economy. And we've got to continue to promote trade but make sure that that trade is fair and that intellectual property protection, for example, is available when we're doing business in other countries like China. So there are a lot of long-term agendas that we've got to pursue. Right now, though, the most important thing I can do for you, even if you already have a job, is to make sure that your neighbors and your friends also have jobs because those are ultimately the customers for your products. Q: Yes, sir. Yes, thank you, Mr. President. MR. WEINER: Great. Thank you, Chuck (sp). We'd now like to take a question from the audience. So anyone interested? PRESIDENT OBAMA: This young lady right here. MR. WEINER: OK. Could we get a mic over there, please? Thank you. Q: Hi. I have a question, actually, for my mother, who's going to be 65 next March. And she lives in Ohio, which has a very high unemployment rate. She has a GED, and she's always worked in food service. She's currently unemployed, just got approved for Section 8 housing, gets Social Security and food stamps. And she wants to know, when can she get a job, and what's going to happen to Social Security and Medicare? PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, first of all, where does your mom live in Ohio? Q: Mentor. PRESIDENT OBAMA: Mentor. What part of Ohio is that? Q: It's the east side of Cleveland. 14:12:18 PRESIDENT OBAMA: OK. Well, tell Mom hi. (Laughter.) You get points for being such a good daughter and using your -- using your question to tell me what's on her mind. Q: Oh, you have no idea. (Laughs.) (Laughter.) PRESIDENT OBAMA: You know, I've -- my mother-in-law lives at home, and so I -- in the White House, so I've got some idea. (Laughter.) First of all, let me talk about Social Security and Medicare, because this has obviously been an issue that has been discussed a lot in the press lately as we think about our long-term finances. You can tell your mom that Medicare and Social Security will be there for her. Guaranteed. There are no proposals out there that would affect folks that are about to get Social Security and Medicare, and she'll be qualifying -- you know, she already is starting to qualify for Medicare, and she'll be qualifying for Social Security fairly soon. Social Security and Medicare together have lifted entire generations of seniors out of poverty -- our most important social safety net -- and they have to be preserved. Now, both of them have some long-term challenges that we've got to deal with, but they're different challenges. Social Security is actually the easier one. It's just a pure, simple math problem, and that is that right now the population's getting older, so more people are going on Social Security, you've got fewer workers supporting more retirees, and so if we don't do anything, Social Security won't go broke, but in a few years what will happen is that more money will be going out than coming in, and over time, people who were on Social Security would only be getting about 75 cents on every dollar that they thought they'd be getting. 14:14:01 And so the Social Security system is not the big driver of our deficits, but if we don't want -- if we want to make sure that Social Security is there for future generations, then we've got to make some modest adjustments. And -- and when I say modest, I mean, for example, right now Social Security contributions are capped at a little over a hundred thousand dollars of earnings, and that means the vast majority of people pay Social Security taxes on everything they earn. But if you're earning a million dollars, you know, only one- tenth of your income is taxed for Social Security. And we could make that modification. That would solve a big chunk of the problem. Medicare is a bigger issue, because not only is the population getting older and more people are using it, but health care costs have been going up way too fast. And that's why part of my health care reform bill two years ago was: Let's start changing how our health care system works, to make it more efficient. For example, if your mom goes in for a test, she shouldn't have to then, if she goes to another specialist, take the same test all over again and have Medicare pay for two tests. That first test should be emailed to the doctor who's the specialist, but right now that's not happening. So what we've said is: Let's incentivize providers to do a more efficient job, and over time we can start reducing those costs. I've made some suggestions about how we can reform Medicare, but what I'm not going to do is what, frankly, the House Republicans proposed, which was to voucherize the Medicare system -- which would mean your mom might pay an extra $6,000 every year for her Medicare. Q: Which she doesn't have. PRESIDENT OBAMA: I'm assuming she doesn't have it. Q: Yeah. PRESIDENT OBAMA: So we are going to be pushing back against that kind of proposal. And that raises the point I made earlier. You know, if people like myself aren't paying a little more in taxes, then the only way you balance the budget is on the backs of folks like your mom who end up paying a lot more in Medicare, and they can't afford it, whereas I can afford to pay a little more in taxes. So that's on -- on Medicare and Social Security. 14:16:34 In terms of her finding a job, the most important thing we can do right now is to pass the American Jobs Act, get people back to work. Because think about it: If she's been in the food service industry, you know, that industry is dependent on people spending money on food, you know, whether it's at a restaurant or a cafeteria or, you know, buying more groceries. And if a construction worker and a teacher or a veteran have a job because of the programs that we proposed in the American Jobs Act, they're going to be spending more money in food services, and that means that those businesses are going to have to hire more and your mom's going to be more likely to be hired. All right? Q: Yeah. And one of the other issues, though, is just a matter that there's, you know, a big age gap between her and the other folks who are willing to come in and work for less money and have less experience. PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, that -- that is -- that is a challenge, that, you know, it is tough being unemployed if you're in your 50s or early 60s, before retirement. That's the toughest period of time to lose your job. Obviously it's never fun to lose your job, and it's always hard in this kind of really deep recession, but it's scariest for folks who are nearing retirement and may also be worrying about whether they've got enough saved up to ever retire. So that's part of the reason why one of the things that we're also proposing, separate and apart from the jobs bill, is we've got to do a better job of retraining workers so that they, in their second or third or fourth careers, are able to go back to a community college, maybe take a short six-month course or a one-year course that trains them on the kinds of skills that are going to be needed for jobs that are actually hiring or business that are actually hiring right now. We've done some great work working with community colleges to try to make sure that businesses help design the training programs so that somebody who enrolls, like your mom, if she goes back to school, she knows that after six months she will be trained for the particular job that this business is looking for. All right? Thanks so much. Tell her I said hi. Q: Great. Thank you. OK. (Chuckles.) MR. WEINER: Thank you. We're going to go to the group -- the LinkedIn group. We had thousands of questions submitted. And here's one of them from a LinkedIn member, Marla Hughes (sp). Marla (sp) is from Gainesville, Florida. She's the owner of Meticulously Clean home and apartment cleaning service. And her question is: As a small-business owner, regulation and high taxes are my worst enemies when it comes to growing my business. What are you going to do to lessen the onerous regulations and taxation on small businesses? 14:19:19 PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, you know, it's hard to say exactly what regulations or taxes she may be referring to because obviously it differs in different businesses. But as I said, we've actually cut taxes for small businesses 16 times since I've been in office. So taxes for small businesses are lower now than they were when I came into office. Small businesses are able to get tax breaks for hiring. They're able to get tax breaks for investment in capital investments. They are able to get tax breaks for hiring veterans. They're able to get tax breaks for a whole host of areas, including, by the way, a proposal that we put forward that says that there should be no capital gains tax on a startup, to encourage more small businesses to go out there and -- and -- and create -- create a business. In terms of regulations, most of the regulations that -- that we have been focused on are ones that affect large businesses, like utilities, for example, in terms of how they deal with safety issues, environmental issues. 14:20:48 We have been putting forward some tough regulations with respect to the financial sector because we can't have a repeat of what happened in 2007. And the fact of the matter is that if what happened on Wall Street ends up having a spill-over effect to all of Main Street, it is our responsibility to make sure that we have a dynamic economy, we have a dynamic financial sector but, you know, we don't have a mortgage broking -- brokerage operation that ends up providing people loans that can never be repaid and end up having ramifications throughout the system. So, you know, you're going to hear from, I think, Republicans over the next year and a half that somehow if we just eliminated pollution controls or if we just eliminated basic consumer protections, that somehow that in and of itself would be a spur to growth. I disagree with that. 14:22:14 What I do agree with is, is that there are some regulations that have outlived their usefulness. And so what I've done is I've said to all the agencies in the federal government, number one, you have to always take costs as well as benefits into account when you're proposing new regulations. Number two, don't just be satisfied with applying that analysis to new regulations. Look back at the old regulations to see if there are some that we can start weeding out. And we've initiated the most aggressive what we call look-back provisions when it comes to regulations, where we say to every agency: Go through all the regulations that you have on your books that flow through your agencies, and see if some of them are still necessary. And it turns out that a lot of them are no longer necessary. Well, let's get rid of them if they've outlived your -- their usefulness. I think that there were some regulations that had to do with the transportation for -- sector for example, that didn't take into account the fact that everybody operates on GPS now. Well, you've got to adjust and adapt to how the economy's changing and how technology -- how technology has changed. And we've already identified about $10 billion worth of savings just in the initial review, and we anticipate that that's only going to be a fraction of some of the paperwork and bureaucracy and red tape that we're going to be able to eliminate. 14:23:17 But I -- I will never apologize for making sure that we have regulations in place to ensure that your water is clean, that your food is safe to eat, you know, that the peanut butter you feed your kids is not going to be contaminated; making sure that if you take out a credit card, there's some clarity about what it exactly is going to do and you're not seeing a whole bunch of hidden fees and hidden charges that you didn't anticipate. You know, that's always been part of what makes the marketplace work, is if you have smart regulations in place, that means the people who are providing good value, good products, good services -- those businesses are going to succeed. We don't want to be rewarding folks who are gaming the system or cheating consumers. And -- and I think that's how most American(s) feels about regulations as well. They don't want more than is necessary, but they know that there's some things that we've got to do to protect ourselves and our environment and our children. MR. WEINER: Thank you for your question, Marla (sp). Now we're going to take a question from LinkedIn member Esther Abeja (sp). Esther's an IT analyst from Chicago, Illinois. PRESIDENT OBAMA: There you go. Chicago's all right, too! (Laughter.) MR. WEINER: Esther, what is your question for the president? Q: (Laughs.) Good morning, Mr. President. PRESIDENT OBAMA: Good morning. Q: As Jeff said, I'm from Chicago, recently unemployed. And my fear is that the longer I'm unemployed, the harder it is going to be for me to get employed. It seems that nowadays employers are hiring people who are currently employed because they're in touch with their skill set. What programs do you think should be in place for individuals such as myself to keep in touch with our skills, be in demand, marketable, and eventually get hired? PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, the -- first of all, you obviously are thinking ahead about how to keep your skills up. And the most important thing you can do is to make sure that, whether it's through classes or online training or what-have-you, that you're keeping your skill set sharp. We, as part of the American Jobs Act, are actually supporting legislation in Congress that says employers can't discriminate against somebody just because they're currently unemployed, because that -- that doesn't seem fair. That doesn't -- that doesn't make any sense. But the most important thing, probably, we can do for you is just make sure that the unemployment rate generally goes down, the mark -- that the labor market gets a little tighter, so that, you know, employers start looking beyond just the people who are currently employed to folks who have terrific skills and just have been out of the market for a while. So passing the American Jobs Act is going to be important. There is legislation in there that says you can't be discriminated against just because you don't have a job. The one other thing that we can do is, during this interim, as you're looking for a job, making it easier for you to be able to go back to school if you think there's some skill sets that you need, making it economical for you to do it. 14:26:14 One of the things that we did during the last two and a half years -- it used to be the student loan program was run through the banks, and even though the federal government guaranteed all these loans, so the banks weren't taking any risks, they were taking about $60 billion out of the entire program, which meant that there was less money to actually go directly to students. We ended that. We cut out the middleman, and we said let's use that money to expand the availability of Pell grants, to increase the amount that Pell grants -- each Pell grant student could get. And through that process you've got millions of people all across the country who are able to actually go back to school without incurring the huge debt loads that -- that they had in the past, although, you know, obviously the cost of a college education is still really high. But if we can do more to make it easier for you to keep your skills up even when you're not already hired, hopefully that will enhance your marketability to employers in the future. All right. But just looking at you, I can tell you're going to do great. Q: That's -- thank you. PRESIDENT OBAMA: All right. Thank you. MR. WEINER: Thanks, Esther (sp). Our next question is from LinkedIn member Wayne Kulick. Wayne is from Phoenix, Arizona. He spent 25 years flying aircraft for the U.S. Navy and is now program director for American Express. Wayne? Q: Good morning, Mr. President. PRESIDENT OBAMA: Good morning, sir. Q: I'm from Phoenix, Arizona, where I'm a program director, as Jeff had said. I retired in 2007. When I retired, networking was essentially how I got all my jobs after retirement. How do you envision the government's role in integrating networking tools to aid veterans that are leaving the service and getting jobs? PRESIDENT OBAMA: It's a great question. And first of all, let me thank you for your service. Q: (Inaudible.) PRESIDENT OBAMA: We are very grateful to you for that. (Applause.) Thank you. But you know, you were extraordinarily skilled. And even then, it sounds like you had to rely on informal networks rather than a formal set of processes for veterans in order for you to find a job that used all your skills. We have not done as good of a job in the past in helping veterans transition out of the armed services as we should have. I'll give you an example. I actually had lunch with a group of veterans from the Iraq and Afghan wars up in -- up in Minnesota. And the young man I was talking to had just gone back to school. He was getting his nursing degree. He had worked in emergency medicine in Iraq multiple deployments, had probably dealt with the most incredible kinds of medical challenges under the most extreme circumstances, had received years of training to do this. 14:29:47 But when he went back to nursing school, he had to start as if he had never -- you know, never been involved in medicine at all. And so -- so he had to take all the same classes and take the same -- take the same debt burdens from taking those classes as if I had just walked in and, you know, could barely put a Band-Aid on myself. But -- but he had to go through the same processes. Well, that's an example of a failure on the part of both DOD and the VA -- Department of Defense and Veterans Administration -- to think proactively, how can we help him make the transition? So what we've started to say is, let's have a -- sort of a reverse boot camp. As folks are thinking about retiring, as folks are thinking about being discharged, let's work with them while they're still in the military to say, is there a way to credential them so that they can go directly into the job and work with state and local governments and employers, so that if they've got a skill set that we know is applicable to the private sector, let's give them a certification, let's give them a credential that helps them do that right away. We've also then started to put together a network of businesses. And I actually asked for a pledge from the private sector, and we've got a commitment now that a hundred thousand veterans will be hired over the next several years. And that creates a network, and maybe they'll end up using LinkedIn; I don't know. But what we want to do is to make sure that, whether it's the certification process, whether it's the job search process, whether it's resume preparation, whether it's using electronic networking, that we're using the huge capacity of the Veterans Administration and the Department of Defense and all the federal agencies to link up together more effectively, because not only is the federal government, obviously, a big employer itself, and we've significantly increased the hiring of veterans within the federal government, including, by the way, disabled veterans and wounded warriors, but we're -- you know, the federal government's also a big customer of a lot of businesses. 14:31:59 And there's nothing wrong with a big customer saying to a business, you know what? We're not going to tell you who to hire, but here's a list of extremely skilled veterans who are prepared to do a great job and have shown incredible leadership skills. Now, you think of these -- you've got 23, 24, 25-year-olds who are leading men into battle, who are, you know, handling multi-million dollars pieces of equipment, and they do so flawlessly. And those leadership skills, those technical skills should be able to translate directly into jobs. And last thing I'll say is, obviously, the American Jobs Act also would be helpful because it provides additional tax incentives for companies to hire our veterans. Q: Thank you. PRESIDENT OBAMA: Thank you. (Applause.) MR. WEINER: Thank you, Wayne, and thank you again for your service. Let's turn to the audience now. Oh, a lot of hands going up. Mr. President, want to pick someone? PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, you know, they -- you kind of put me on the spot here. That -- the guy in the glasses right back -- right in the back there. Why not? Q: Thank you, Mr. President. I don't have a job, but that's because I've been lucky enough to live in Silicon Valley for a while and work for a small start-up down the -- down the street here that did quite well. So I'm unemployed by choice. My question is, would you please raise my taxes? (Laughter, applause.) I would -- I would like very much to have the country to continue to invest in things like Pell grants and infrastructure and job training programs that made it possible for me to get to where I am. And it kills me to see Congress not supporting the expiration of the tax cuts that have been benefitting so many of us for so long. I think that needs to change, and I hope that you'll stay strong in doing that. PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, I -- well, I appreciate it. What -- what was the start-up, by the way? You want to give me a little hint? 14:34:35 Q: It's a -- it's a search engine. (Laughter.) PRESIDENT OBAMA: Worked out pretty well, huh? (Laughter.) Q: Yeah. Yeah. PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well -- well, look, the -- let -- let me just talk about taxes for a second. I -- I've made this point before, but I want to reiterate this. So often, the tax debate gets framed as class warfare. And, look, I'm -- as I said at the outset, America's success is premised on individuals, entrepreneurs, having a great idea, going out there and pursuing their dreams and making a whole lot of money in the process. And that's great! That's part of what makes America so successful. But as you just pointed out, we're successful because somebody invested in our education, somebody built schools, somebody created incredible universities. I went to school on scholarship. Michelle -- you know, her dad was a -- what's called a -- a stationary engineer at the water reclamation district; never owned his own home, but he always paid his bills; had multiple sclerosis, struggled to get to work every day, but never missed a day on the job; never went to college, but he was able to send his daughter to Princeton and on to Harvard Law School. We benefited from somebody somewhere making an investment in us. And I don't care who you are, that's true of all of us. And look -- look at this room. I mean, look at the diversity of the people here. You know, a lot of us are -- you know, parents came from someplace else or grandparents came from someplace else. They benefited from a public school system or a(n) incredible university network or the infrastructure that allows us to move products and services around the globe or the scientific research that -- you know, Silicon Valley is built on research that no individual company would have made on their own because you couldn't necessarily capture the value of the nascent Internet. So -- so the question becomes if we're going to make those investments, how do we pay for it? Now, you know, the -- the income of folks at the top has gone up exponentially over the last couple -- couple of decades, whereas the incomes and wages of the middle class have flat-lined over the last 15 years. 14:37:40 So you know, this young lady's mom, who's -- you know, who's been working in food services, she doesn't have a lot of room to spare. Those of us who've been fortunate, we do. And we're not talking about going to punitive rates that would somehow inhibit you from wanting to be part of a startup or work hard to -- to be successful. We're talking about going back to the rates that existed as recently as in the '90s when, as I recall, Silicon Valley was doing pretty good and -- and well-to-do people were doing pretty well. And it turns out, in fact, during that period, the rich got richer, the middle class expanded, people rose out of poverty because everybody was doing well. So this is not an issue of do we somehow try to punish those who've done well. That's the last thing we want to do. It's a question of how can we afford to continue to make the investments that are going to propel America forward? If we don't improve our education system, for example, we will all fall behind. We will all fall behind. That's just -- that's a fact. And the truth is, is that on every indicator, from college graduation rates to math and science scores, we are slipping behind other developed countries. And that's going to have an impact in terms of if you're a start-up, are you going to be able to find enough engineers? It's going to have an impact in terms of, is the infrastructure here good enough that you can move products to market? It's going to have an impact on your ability to recruit top talent from around the world. And so, you know, we all have an investment in improving our education system. Now, money is not going to solve the entire problem. That's why we've initiated reforms like Race to the Top that says we're going to have higher standards for everybody. We're going to not just have kids taught to the test, but we're going to make sure that we empower teachers, but we're also going to hold them accountable and improve how we train our principals and our teachers. So we're willing to make a whole bunch of reforms. But at some point money makes a difference. If we don't have enough science teachers in the classroom, we're going to have problems. Somebody's got to pay for it. And -- and -- and right now we've got the lowest tax rates we've had since the 1950s. And some of the Republican proposals would take it back -- as a percentage of GDP, back to where we were back in the 1920s. But you can't have modern industrial economy like that. So -- so I appreciate your sentiment. I -- I appreciate the fact that you recognize we're in this thing together. We're not on our own. And those of us who have been successful, we've always got to remember that. Q: I know a lot of people in that same situation, and every one of them has said to me that they would support an increase in their taxes. So, you know, please -- (soft laughter) -- PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, the -- (applause) -- we're going to get to work. Thank you. MR. WEINER: Thank you. Thank you for your question. Next question was submitted to the LinkedIn Group, actually comes from a LinkedIn employee named Teresa Sullivan (sp). It's a two-part question. First, do you think our public education system and our unemployment rates are related? And second, what if any overhaul in education is necessary to get Americans ready for the jobs of tomorrow, rather than the jobs of 20 years ago? PRESIDENT OBAMA: There's no doubt that there's a connection long-term between our economic success, our productivity and our education system. That's indisputable. I mean, when we were at our peak in terms of growth back in the '60s and the '70s, in large part it was because we were doing a better job of training our workforce than anybody else in the world. Now the rest of the world's caught up or is catching up. They're hungry. And as I said before, we are slipping behind a lot of developed countries. So, you know, our proportion of college graduates has not gone up while everybody else's has gone up. Our proportion of high school graduates has not gone up whole everybody else's has gone up. And if you've got a billion Chinese and Indians and Eastern Europeans, all who are entering into a labor force and are becoming more skilled, and we are just sitting, you know, on the status quo, we're going to have problems. Now, what can we do? This is a decade-long project, it's not a -- it's not a one-year project. And we've been pushing since we came into office to look at the evidence to base reforms on what actually works. The single most important ingredient in improving our schools is making sure we've got great teachers in front of the -- in front of every classroom. And so what we've said is, let's make sure that we've hired enough teachers; let's train them effectively; let's pay them a good wage; let's make sure that we're putting special emphasis on recruiting more math and science teachers, where -- you know, STEM education is an area where we've fallen significantly behind. Let's make sure they're accountable, but let's also give them flexibility in the classroom so that they don't have to do a cookie- cutter, teach-to-the-test approach that squashes their creativity and prevents them from engaging students. But at the end of the year let's make sure that they're doing a good job, and if there are teachers out there who are not doing a good job, let's work to retrain them, and if they're not able to be retrained, then, you know, we should probably find them a different line of work. We've got to have top-flight principles and leadership inside the schools. That makes a big difference. We've also got to focus on -- you know, there are some schools that are just drop-out factories, where less than half of the kids end up graduating. A lot of them, the students are black and brown. 14:44:02 But that's also the demographic that's growing the fastest in this country. So if we don't fix those schools, we're going to have problems. So we've said to every state, you know what? Focus on the lowest-performing schools, and tell us what your game plan is to improve those schools' performance. And it may be that we've got to also, in some cases, rethink how we get students interested in learning. You know, the -- IBM is -- is engaged in a -- a really interesting experience in -- in New York, where they're essentially setting up schools similar to the concept I was talking about with community colleges, where they're saying to kids pretty early on, I think as -- as early as eighth grade, you know what, we're going to design a program -- IBM worked with the New York public schools to design a program. And this is not for the kids who are in the top 1 percent. This is for ordinary public-school kids. 14:45:08 You follow this program, you work hard, IBM will hire you at the end of this process. And it suddenly gives kids an incentive. They say, oh, you know, the reason I'm studying math and science is there is a practical outcome here: I will have a job, and there are practical applications to what I'm doing in the classroom. And that's true at high-end jobs, but it's also true -- you know, we -- we want to do more to train skilled workers even if they don't have a four-year degree. It may be that the more the concept of apprenticeship and the concept of a -- a rigorous vocational approach is incorporated into high schools so that kids can actually see a direct connection between what they're learning and a potential career -- they're -- they're less likely to drop out, and we're going to see more success. So one last point I'll make about this is George Bush actually was sincere, I think, in trying to improve the education system across the country through something called No Child Left Behind that said we're going to impose standards; there's going to be accountability. If schools don't meet those standards, we're going to label them as failures and they're going to have to make significant changes. The intent was good. It wasn't designed as well as it could have been. In some cases, states actually lowered their own standards to make sure that they weren't labeled as failures. There wasn't enough assistance given to these schools to meet the ambitious goals that had been set. So what we've said is: Look, we'll provide states some waivers to get out from under No Child Left Behind, if you can provide us with a plan to make sure that children are going to be college and career ready; and we'll give you more flexibility, but we're still going to hold you accountable; and we will provide you the tools and best practices that allow you to succeed. So the last point I'll make on this: There is also a cultural component to this, though. We as a country have to recognize that all of us are going to have to up our game. And we as parents have to instill in our kids a sense of educational excellence. We've got to turn off the TV set. I know that it's dangerous to say in -- in Silicon Valley, but put away the video games sometimes -- (laughter) -- you know, and all the electronics and -- unless it's school- related. And we've just got to get our kids more motivated and internalizing that sense of the importance of learning. And if we don't do that, we're -- we're going to continue to slip behind, even if some of these school reform approaches that we're taking are successful. Yeah. MR. WEINER: Thank you, Teresa (sp). Our next question comes from LinkedIn member Robert Holly (sp), who is joining us from Charlotte, North Carolina. After a promising career in financial services, Robert was unfortunately recently laid off. Robert, what is your question? Q: Good morning, Mr. President. PRESIDENT OBAMA: Good morning. Q: As Jeff mentioned, I had a 22-year very successful career in IT management, but I find myself displaced. And not only that, I look at the statistics for unemployment, 16.7 percent for African- Americans, and my question would be -- and not just for the African- Americans, but also for other groups that are also suffering -- what would be your statement of encouragement for those who are looking for work today? 14:48:56 PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, what I would say is just, given your track record, given your history, seeing you stand here before this group, you're going to be successful. You've got a leg up on a lot of folks. You've got skills, you've got experience, you've got a track record of success. Right now your challenge is not you, it's the economy as a whole. And by the way, this is not just an American challenge. This is happening worldwide. So I hope everybody understands. Our biggest problem right now, part of the reason that this year, where, at the beginning of the year, economists had estimated and financial analysts had estimated that the economy was going to be growing at about 3.5 percent -- and that has not happened -- in part has to do with what happened in the Middle East and the Arab Spring which disrupted energy prices and caused consumers to have to pull back because gas was getting so high; what's happening in Europe, which, you know, they have not fully healed from the crisis back in 2007 and never fully dealt with all the challenges that their banking system faced. 14:50:14 It's now being compounded with what's happening in Greece. So they're going through a financial crisis that is scaring the world. And they're trying to take responsible actions, but those actions haven't been quite as quick as they need to be. So the point is, is that economies all around the world are not growing as fast as they need to. And since the world's really interconnected, that affects us, as well. The encouraging thing for you is that when the economy gets back on track in the ways that it should, you are going to be prepared to be successful. The challenge is making sure that you hang in between now and then. That's why things like unemployment insurance, for example, are important. And part of our jobs act is to maintain unemployment insurance. It's not a(n) end-all, be-all, but it helps folks, you know, meet their basic challenges. And by the way, it also means that they're spending that money and they're recirculating that into the economy, so it's good for businesses generally. Some of the emergency measures that we've been taking and we've proposed to take help to bridge the gap to where the economy is more fully healed. And historically after financial crises, recessions are deeper and they last longer than after the usual business cycle recessions. So -- so I guess the main message I have for you is, the problem is not you, the problem's the economy as a whole. You are going to be well-equipped to succeed and compete in this global economy once it's growing again. My job is to work with everybody I can, from the business community to Congress to not-for-profits, you name it, to see if we can, you know, speed up this process of healing and this process of recovery. 14:52:15 And in the meantime we will make sure that, you know, things like unemployment insurance that are there to help people during tough times like this are going to continue to be available. And if there are -- since you're in IT, if there are areas where you need to be sharpening your skills, as the young lady here mentioned, you know, we are going to make sure that there are resources available for you to be able to go back to school and do that. All right. Thank you. MR. WEINER: Thank you. That was our last question. We're going to begin to wrap it up. And before I turn it over to you for some concluding remarks, I just want to say thank you and let you know how much we appreciate the work that you're doing. I know I speak for a lot of people when I say I can't think of anything more important than creating economic opportunity when it comes to profoundly and sustainably improving the quality of an individual's life, the lives of their family members, the lives of the people that they in turn can create jobs for, and in hard-hit American cities and developing countries around the world, these folks are creating role models for the next generation of entrepreneurs and professionals that didn't even know it was possible. So on behalf of myself; on behalf of our visionary founder, Reid Hoffman, without whom none of this would have been possible; on behalf of our employees, of course our members; on behalf of our country, thank you, Mr. President. PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, the -- (applause) -- thank you so much. I -- thank you. Well, let me just say these have been terrific questions. And I so appreciate all of you taking the time to do this. I appreciated LinkedIn helping to host this. And for those of you who are viewing not in this circle, but around the country, maybe around the world, I appreciate the chance to share these ideas with you. 14:54:39 Look, we're going through a very tough time. But the one thing I want to remind everybody is that we've gone through tougher times before. And the trajectory, the trend of not just this country but also the world economy is one that's more open, one that's more linked, one that offers greater opportunity, but also one that has some hazards. If we don't prepare our people with the skills that they need to compete, we're going to have problems. If we don't make sure that we continue to have the best infrastructure in the world, we're going to have problems. If we're not continuing to invest in basic research, we're going to have challenges. If we don't get our fiscal house in order in a way that is fair and equitable so that everybody feels like they have responsibilities to not only themselves and their -- and their family, but also to the country that's given them so much opportunity, we're going to have problems. And so I am extraordinarily confident about America's long-term future. But we are going to have to make some decisions about how we move forward. And you know, what's striking to me is when we're out of Washington and I'm just talking to ordinary folks -- I don't care whether they're Republicans or Democrats -- you know, people are just looking for common sense. The majority of people agree with the prescriptions I just offered. The majority of people, by a wide margin, think we should be rebuilding our infrastructure. The majority of folks, by a wide margin, think that we should be investing in education. The majority of people, by a wide margin, think we should be investing in science and technology. And the majority of people think, by a wide margin, that we should be maintaining programs like Social Security and Medicare to provide a basic safety net. The majority of people, by a significant margin, think that the way we should close our deficit is a balance of cutting out those things that we don't need but also making sure that we've got a tax code that's fair and everybody's paying their fair share. So the problem is not outside of Washington. The problem is, is that things have gotten so ideologically driven and everybody's so focused on the next election and putting party ahead of country that we're not able to solve our problems, and that's got to change. 14:57:08 And that's why your voices are going to be so important. The reason I do these kinds of events is I want you to hear from me directly, I want to hear from you directly; but I also want your voices heard in the halls of Congress. I need everybody here to be, you know, speaking out on behalf of -- of the things that you care about and the values that made this country great, and -- and to say to -- to folks who you've elected -- say to them: We expect you to act responsibly, and not act in terms of short-term political interests; act in terms of what's going to be good for all of us over the long term. If that spirit, which all of you represent, starts -- starts asserting itself all across the country, then I'm absolutely confident the 21st century is going to be the American century just like the 20th -- 20th century was. So, thank you very much, everybody. God bless you. (Applause.) MR. WEINER: Thank you. PRESIDENT OBAMA: Thank you. (Applause.) END. WH TVL: President Barack Obama LinkedIn event in Mountain View, California - TVL POOL CUTS 15:08:11 LinkedIn event begins 15:09:23 Obama enters room 15:17:02 cu of audience members 15:17:57 ws of room 15:20:25 audience members applaud 15:24:57 event ends WH TVL: President Barack Obama departs San Jose, CA and arrives San Diego, CA 16:27:20 AF1 seen in distance, comes in for landing, taxis 16:39:00 President exits AF1, is greeted on tarmac by: San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders Congressman Bob Filner MajGen Anthony Jackson (Commanding General for Marine Corps Installations West) MajGen Andrew W. O'Donnell Jr. (3rd. Marine Air Wing Commander - used to be CO for HMX) Colonel Frank A. Richie (Base Commander) 16:41:12 President glad hands at rope line 16:44:52 President departs in limo 16:55:34 Obama at steps of Air Force One taking photo with family 16:56:02 Obama jogs up steps of Air Force One 16:56:14 Obama waves and enters Air Force One 16:56:23 Obama waves and jogs down steps of Air Force One 16:56:34 Obama glad hands 16:57:42 Obama glad hands 16:58:40 Obama walks over to gathered crowd as they cheer 16:58:57 Obama glad hands with crowd 17:01:51 Obama jogs up steps of Air Force One 17:02:04 refeed
OBAMA IN CALIFORNIA / TOWN HALL P2
President Barack Obama LinkedIn event in Mountain View, California - STIX. (Applause.) 14:01:46 PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: Thank you. Everybody, please, have a seat. Thank you. Thank you very much. That's a nice crowd. (Laughter.) And I have to say, Jeff, you warmed them up very well. JEFF WEINER: Thank you, Mr. President. PRESIDENT OBAMA: I thank you so much for your hospitality. And -- and let me begin by just saying how excited I am to be here. Every time I come to Silicon Valley, every time that I come to this region, I am excited about America's future. And -- and no part of the country better represents, I think, the essence of America than here because what you see is entrepreneurship and dynamism, a forward orientation, an optimism, a belief that if you've got a good idea and you're willing to put in the sweat and -- and blood and tears to make it happen that not only can you succeed for yourself, but you can grow the economy for everybody. And it's that driving spirit that has made America an economic superpower. 14:02:57 But obviously, we're in a period of time right now where the economy is struggling and a lot of folks all across the country are struggling. And so part of what I hope to do is to have a conversation with all of you about how can we continue to spark the innovation that is going to ensure our economic success in the 21st century; how can we prepare our workforce to be able to plug into this new economy; how do we recognize that, in this competitive environment, there are all kinds of opportunity that LinkedIn presents for interconnectedness and -- and -- and people being able to work together and spread ideas around the world and -- and create value, but at the same time understanding that there are some perils as well. If our kids aren't properly educated, if we don't have an infrastructure that is world-class, if we are not investing in basic research and science, if we're not doing all the things that made us great in the past, then we're going to fall behind. 14:04:07 And we've got a short-term challenge, which is how do we put people back to work right now. And so as you mentioned, I put forward a proposal, the American Jobs Act, that would put thousands of teachers back into the classrooms who've been laid off due to downturns in state and local budgets; that would make sure that we are rebuilding our infrastructure, taking extraordinary numbers of construction workers who've been laid off when the -- the housing bubble went bust and -- and -- and putting them to work rebuilding our roads and our airports and our schools and laying broadband lines and all the things that help us make a success, and also make sure that we're providing small businesses the kinds of tax incentives that will allow them to hire and allow them to succeed. And you know, I have said to Congress I understand that there's an election 14 months away, and it's tempting to say that we're not going to do anything until November of 2012, but the American people cannot afford to wait. The American people need help right now. And all the proposals we've put forward in the American Jobs Act will not help us now but will also help us in the future, will lay the foundation for our long-term success. Last point I'll make -- and then I want to get to questions -- it's all paid for. And it's paid for in part by building on some very tough cuts in our budget to eliminate waste and things we don't need that we've already made, a trillion dollars over the next 10 years. We've proposed an additional half a trillion dollars over the next 10 years of spending cuts and adjustments on programs that we want to keep intact but haven't been reformed in too long. But what I've also said is, in order to pay for it and bring down the deficit at the same time, we're going to have to reform our tax code in a way that's fair and makes sure that everybody is doing their fair share. I've said this before. I'll say it again. Warren Buffett's secretary shouldn't be paying a lower (sic) tax rate than Warren Buffett. Somebody who's making $50,000 a year as a teacher shouldn't be paying a higher effective tax rate than somebody like myself or Jeff, who have been incredibly blessed -- I don't -- I don't know what you make, Jeff, but I'm just guessing -- (laughter) -- you know, who've been blessed by the incredible opportunities of this country. And I say that because whenever America's moved forward, it's because we've moved forward together. And we're going to have to make sure that we are laying the foundation for the success of future generations, and that means that each of us are doing our part to make sure we're investing in our future. So with that, thank you so much for the terrific venue. I look forward to a bunch of great questions both live and through -- through whatever other linkages that we've got here. (Laughter.) MR. WEINER: You've got it. So we're going to be going back and forth between folks in the audience -- members, and some previously generated questions from the LinkedIn group. So we're going to start. Our first question is from LinkedIn member Chuck Painter (sp). And Chuck, we're going to get your a mic. Q: Good morning, Mr. President. PRESIDENT OBAMA: Good morning. Q: I'm from Austin, Texas. I've been in sales in the plastics industry for 20 years. I lost my job in 2009 and been fortunate enough to have found another position, become reemployed. My question is, what can we do as American citizens to unite ourselves and help the economy? 14:07:32 PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, first of all, are you a native of Austin? Because that's one of my favorite cities in the country. Q: Actually, I'm a native of Charlotte, North Carolina, but just relocated to Austin and I love it there. So -- PRESIDENT OBAMA: Austin's great. Charlotte's not bad. Q: Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. (Laughter.) PRESIDENT OBAMA: That's the reason why I'm having my convention in Charlotte, because I love North Carolina as well. But the -- how long did it take you to -- to find a new job after you got laid off? Q: It took nine months. PRESIDENT OBAMA: It took nine months. Q: Yes, sir. PRESIDENT OBAMA: And that's one of the challenges that a lot of folks are seeing out there. You've got skilled people with experience in an industry, that industry changes, and you were fortunate enough to be able to move some folks -- because of the decline in the housing industry are having trouble with mobility and finding new jobs and relocating in pursuit of opportunity. Q: Yes, sir. PRESIDENT OBAMA: The most important thing that we can do right now is to help jump-start the economy, which has stalled, by putting people back to work. And so, not surprisingly, I think the most important thing we can do right now is pass this jobs bill. Think about it. Independent economists have estimated that if we pass the entire package, the American Jobs Act, we would increase GDP by close to 2 percent, we would increase employment by 1.9 million persons, and that is the kind of big, significant move in the economy that could have ripple effects and help the recovery take off. Now, there's been a lot of dispute about the kind of impact that we had right after the financial crisis hit, but the fact is the vast majority of economists who've looked at it have said that the recovery act, by starting infrastructure projects around the country, by making sure that states had help on their budgets so they didn't have to lay off teachers and firefighters and others, by providing tax cuts to small businesses -- and by the way, we've cut taxes about 16 times since I've been in office for small businesses to give them more capital to work with and more incentives to hire -- all those things made a big difference. 14:10:06 The American Jobs Act is specifically tailored to putting more of those folks back to work. It's not going to solve all our problems. We've still got a housing situation in which too many homes are underwater. And one of the things that we've proposed as part of the American Jobs Act is -- is that we're going to help reduce the barriers to refinancing so that folks can get record-low rates. That'll put more money into people's pockets. It'll provide tax cuts to not only small businesses, but almost every middle-class family. That means they've got more money in their pockets, and that means that they're going to be able to spend it on products and services, which provide additional incentives for businesses to hire folks like you. So it's the right step to take right now. Long-term we're going to have to pull together around making sure our education system is the best in the world, making sure our infrastructure is the best world, continuing to invest in science and technology. We've got to stabilize our -- our finances, and we've got to continue to drive down health care costs, which are a drag on our whole economy. And we've got to continue to promote trade but make sure that that trade is fair and that intellectual property protection, for example, is available when we're doing business in other countries like China. So there are a lot of long-term agendas that we've got to pursue. Right now, though, the most important thing I can do for you, even if you already have a job, is to make sure that your neighbors and your friends also have jobs because those are ultimately the customers for your products. Q: Yes, sir. Yes, thank you, Mr. President. MR. WEINER: Great. Thank you, Chuck (sp). We'd now like to take a question from the audience. So anyone interested? PRESIDENT OBAMA: This young lady right here. MR. WEINER: OK. Could we get a mic over there, please? Thank you. Q: Hi. I have a question, actually, for my mother, who's going to be 65 next March. And she lives in Ohio, which has a very high unemployment rate. She has a GED, and she's always worked in food service. She's currently unemployed, just got approved for Section 8 housing, gets Social Security and food stamps. And she wants to know, when can she get a job, and what's going to happen to Social Security and Medicare? PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, first of all, where does your mom live in Ohio? Q: Mentor. PRESIDENT OBAMA: Mentor. What part of Ohio is that? Q: It's the east side of Cleveland. 14:12:18 PRESIDENT OBAMA: OK. Well, tell Mom hi. (Laughter.) You get points for being such a good daughter and using your -- using your question to tell me what's on her mind. Q: Oh, you have no idea. (Laughs.) (Laughter.) PRESIDENT OBAMA: You know, I've -- my mother-in-law lives at home, and so I -- in the White House, so I've got some idea. (Laughter.) First of all, let me talk about Social Security and Medicare, because this has obviously been an issue that has been discussed a lot in the press lately as we think about our long-term finances. You can tell your mom that Medicare and Social Security will be there for her. Guaranteed. There are no proposals out there that would affect folks that are about to get Social Security and Medicare, and she'll be qualifying -- you know, she already is starting to qualify for Medicare, and she'll be qualifying for Social Security fairly soon. Social Security and Medicare together have lifted entire generations of seniors out of poverty -- our most important social safety net -- and they have to be preserved. Now, both of them have some long-term challenges that we've got to deal with, but they're different challenges. Social Security is actually the easier one. It's just a pure, simple math problem, and that is that right now the population's getting older, so more people are going on Social Security, you've got fewer workers supporting more retirees, and so if we don't do anything, Social Security won't go broke, but in a few years what will happen is that more money will be going out than coming in, and over time, people who were on Social Security would only be getting about 75 cents on every dollar that they thought they'd be getting. 14:14:01 And so the Social Security system is not the big driver of our deficits, but if we don't want -- if we want to make sure that Social Security is there for future generations, then we've got to make some modest adjustments. And -- and when I say modest, I mean, for example, right now Social Security contributions are capped at a little over a hundred thousand dollars of earnings, and that means the vast majority of people pay Social Security taxes on everything they earn. But if you're earning a million dollars, you know, only one- tenth of your income is taxed for Social Security. And we could make that modification. That would solve a big chunk of the problem. Medicare is a bigger issue, because not only is the population getting older and more people are using it, but health care costs have been going up way too fast. And that's why part of my health care reform bill two years ago was: Let's start changing how our health care system works, to make it more efficient. For example, if your mom goes in for a test, she shouldn't have to then, if she goes to another specialist, take the same test all over again and have Medicare pay for two tests. That first test should be emailed to the doctor who's the specialist, but right now that's not happening. So what we've said is: Let's incentivize providers to do a more efficient job, and over time we can start reducing those costs. I've made some suggestions about how we can reform Medicare, but what I'm not going to do is what, frankly, the House Republicans proposed, which was to voucherize the Medicare system -- which would mean your mom might pay an extra $6,000 every year for her Medicare. Q: Which she doesn't have. PRESIDENT OBAMA: I'm assuming she doesn't have it. Q: Yeah. PRESIDENT OBAMA: So we are going to be pushing back against that kind of proposal. And that raises the point I made earlier. You know, if people like myself aren't paying a little more in taxes, then the only way you balance the budget is on the backs of folks like your mom who end up paying a lot more in Medicare, and they can't afford it, whereas I can afford to pay a little more in taxes. So that's on -- on Medicare and Social Security. 14:16:34 In terms of her finding a job, the most important thing we can do right now is to pass the American Jobs Act, get people back to work. Because think about it: If she's been in the food service industry, you know, that industry is dependent on people spending money on food, you know, whether it's at a restaurant or a cafeteria or, you know, buying more groceries. And if a construction worker and a teacher or a veteran have a job because of the programs that we proposed in the American Jobs Act, they're going to be spending more money in food services, and that means that those businesses are going to have to hire more and your mom's going to be more likely to be hired. All right? Q: Yeah. And one of the other issues, though, is just a matter that there's, you know, a big age gap between her and the other folks who are willing to come in and work for less money and have less experience. PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, that -- that is -- that is a challenge, that, you know, it is tough being unemployed if you're in your 50s or early 60s, before retirement. That's the toughest period of time to lose your job. Obviously it's never fun to lose your job, and it's always hard in this kind of really deep recession, but it's scariest for folks who are nearing retirement and may also be worrying about whether they've got enough saved up to ever retire. So that's part of the reason why one of the things that we're also proposing, separate and apart from the jobs bill, is we've got to do a better job of retraining workers so that they, in their second or third or fourth careers, are able to go back to a community college, maybe take a short six-month course or a one-year course that trains them on the kinds of skills that are going to be needed for jobs that are actually hiring or business that are actually hiring right now. We've done some great work working with community colleges to try to make sure that businesses help design the training programs so that somebody who enrolls, like your mom, if she goes back to school, she knows that after six months she will be trained for the particular job that this business is looking for. All right? Thanks so much. Tell her I said hi. Q: Great. Thank you. OK. (Chuckles.) MR. WEINER: Thank you. We're going to go to the group -- the LinkedIn group. We had thousands of questions submitted. And here's one of them from a LinkedIn member, Marla Hughes (sp). Marla (sp) is from Gainesville, Florida. She's the owner of Meticulously Clean home and apartment cleaning service. And her question is: As a small-business owner, regulation and high taxes are my worst enemies when it comes to growing my business. What are you going to do to lessen the onerous regulations and taxation on small businesses? 14:19:19 PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, you know, it's hard to say exactly what regulations or taxes she may be referring to because obviously it differs in different businesses. But as I said, we've actually cut taxes for small businesses 16 times since I've been in office. So taxes for small businesses are lower now than they were when I came into office. Small businesses are able to get tax breaks for hiring. They're able to get tax breaks for investment in capital investments. They are able to get tax breaks for hiring veterans. They're able to get tax breaks for a whole host of areas, including, by the way, a proposal that we put forward that says that there should be no capital gains tax on a startup, to encourage more small businesses to go out there and -- and -- and create -- create a business. In terms of regulations, most of the regulations that -- that we have been focused on are ones that affect large businesses, like utilities, for example, in terms of how they deal with safety issues, environmental issues. 14:20:48 We have been putting forward some tough regulations with respect to the financial sector because we can't have a repeat of what happened in 2007. And the fact of the matter is that if what happened on Wall Street ends up having a spill-over effect to all of Main Street, it is our responsibility to make sure that we have a dynamic economy, we have a dynamic financial sector but, you know, we don't have a mortgage broking -- brokerage operation that ends up providing people loans that can never be repaid and end up having ramifications throughout the system. So, you know, you're going to hear from, I think, Republicans over the next year and a half that somehow if we just eliminated pollution controls or if we just eliminated basic consumer protections, that somehow that in and of itself would be a spur to growth. I disagree with that. 14:22:14 What I do agree with is, is that there are some regulations that have outlived their usefulness. And so what I've done is I've said to all the agencies in the federal government, number one, you have to always take costs as well as benefits into account when you're proposing new regulations. Number two, don't just be satisfied with applying that analysis to new regulations. Look back at the old regulations to see if there are some that we can start weeding out. And we've initiated the most aggressive what we call look-back provisions when it comes to regulations, where we say to every agency: Go through all the regulations that you have on your books that flow through your agencies, and see if some of them are still necessary. And it turns out that a lot of them are no longer necessary. Well, let's get rid of them if they've outlived your -- their usefulness. I think that there were some regulations that had to do with the transportation for -- sector for example, that didn't take into account the fact that everybody operates on GPS now. Well, you've got to adjust and adapt to how the economy's changing and how technology -- how technology has changed. And we've already identified about $10 billion worth of savings just in the initial review, and we anticipate that that's only going to be a fraction of some of the paperwork and bureaucracy and red tape that we're going to be able to eliminate. 14:23:17 But I -- I will never apologize for making sure that we have regulations in place to ensure that your water is clean, that your food is safe to eat, you know, that the peanut butter you feed your kids is not going to be contaminated; making sure that if you take out a credit card, there's some clarity about what it exactly is going to do and you're not seeing a whole bunch of hidden fees and hidden charges that you didn't anticipate. You know, that's always been part of what makes the marketplace work, is if you have smart regulations in place, that means the people who are providing good value, good products, good services -- those businesses are going to succeed. We don't want to be rewarding folks who are gaming the system or cheating consumers. And -- and I think that's how most American(s) feels about regulations as well. They don't want more than is necessary, but they know that there's some things that we've got to do to protect ourselves and our environment and our children. MR. WEINER: Thank you for your question, Marla (sp). Now we're going to take a question from LinkedIn member Esther Abeja (sp). Esther's an IT analyst from Chicago, Illinois. PRESIDENT OBAMA: There you go. Chicago's all right, too! (Laughter.) MR. WEINER: Esther, what is your question for the president? Q: (Laughs.) Good morning, Mr. President. PRESIDENT OBAMA: Good morning. Q: As Jeff said, I'm from Chicago, recently unemployed. And my fear is that the longer I'm unemployed, the harder it is going to be for me to get employed. It seems that nowadays employers are hiring people who are currently employed because they're in touch with their skill set. What programs do you think should be in place for individuals such as myself to keep in touch with our skills, be in demand, marketable, and eventually get hired? PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, the -- first of all, you obviously are thinking ahead about how to keep your skills up. And the most important thing you can do is to make sure that, whether it's through classes or online training or what-have-you, that you're keeping your skill set sharp. We, as part of the American Jobs Act, are actually supporting legislation in Congress that says employers can't discriminate against somebody just because they're currently unemployed, because that -- that doesn't seem fair. That doesn't -- that doesn't make any sense. But the most important thing, probably, we can do for you is just make sure that the unemployment rate generally goes down, the mark -- that the labor market gets a little tighter, so that, you know, employers start looking beyond just the people who are currently employed to folks who have terrific skills and just have been out of the market for a while. So passing the American Jobs Act is going to be important. There is legislation in there that says you can't be discriminated against just because you don't have a job. The one other thing that we can do is, during this interim, as you're looking for a job, making it easier for you to be able to go back to school if you think there's some skill sets that you need, making it economical for you to do it. 14:26:14 One of the things that we did during the last two and a half years -- it used to be the student loan program was run through the banks, and even though the federal government guaranteed all these loans, so the banks weren't taking any risks, they were taking about $60 billion out of the entire program, which meant that there was less money to actually go directly to students. We ended that. We cut out the middleman, and we said let's use that money to expand the availability of Pell grants, to increase the amount that Pell grants -- each Pell grant student could get. And through that process you've got millions of people all across the country who are able to actually go back to school without incurring the huge debt loads that -- that they had in the past, although, you know, obviously the cost of a college education is still really high. But if we can do more to make it easier for you to keep your skills up even when you're not already hired, hopefully that will enhance your marketability to employers in the future. All right. But just looking at you, I can tell you're going to do great. Q: That's -- thank you. PRESIDENT OBAMA: All right. Thank you. MR. WEINER: Thanks, Esther (sp). Our next question is from LinkedIn member Wayne Kulick. Wayne is from Phoenix, Arizona. He spent 25 years flying aircraft for the U.S. Navy and is now program director for American Express. Wayne? Q: Good morning, Mr. President. PRESIDENT OBAMA: Good morning, sir. Q: I'm from Phoenix, Arizona, where I'm a program director, as Jeff had said. I retired in 2007. When I retired, networking was essentially how I got all my jobs after retirement. How do you envision the government's role in integrating networking tools to aid veterans that are leaving the service and getting jobs? PRESIDENT OBAMA: It's a great question. And first of all, let me thank you for your service. Q: (Inaudible.) PRESIDENT OBAMA: We are very grateful to you for that. (Applause.) Thank you. But you know, you were extraordinarily skilled. And even then, it sounds like you had to rely on informal networks rather than a formal set of processes for veterans in order for you to find a job that used all your skills. We have not done as good of a job in the past in helping veterans transition out of the armed services as we should have. I'll give you an example. I actually had lunch with a group of veterans from the Iraq and Afghan wars up in -- up in Minnesota. And the young man I was talking to had just gone back to school. He was getting his nursing degree. He had worked in emergency medicine in Iraq multiple deployments, had probably dealt with the most incredible kinds of medical challenges under the most extreme circumstances, had received years of training to do this. 14:29:47 But when he went back to nursing school, he had to start as if he had never -- you know, never been involved in medicine at all. And so -- so he had to take all the same classes and take the same -- take the same debt burdens from taking those classes as if I had just walked in and, you know, could barely put a Band-Aid on myself. But -- but he had to go through the same processes. Well, that's an example of a failure on the part of both DOD and the VA -- Department of Defense and Veterans Administration -- to think proactively, how can we help him make the transition? So what we've started to say is, let's have a -- sort of a reverse boot camp. As folks are thinking about retiring, as folks are thinking about being discharged, let's work with them while they're still in the military to say, is there a way to credential them so that they can go directly into the job and work with state and local governments and employers, so that if they've got a skill set that we know is applicable to the private sector, let's give them a certification, let's give them a credential that helps them do that right away. We've also then started to put together a network of businesses. And I actually asked for a pledge from the private sector, and we've got a commitment now that a hundred thousand veterans will be hired over the next several years. And that creates a network, and maybe they'll end up using LinkedIn; I don't know. But what we want to do is to make sure that, whether it's the certification process, whether it's the job search process, whether it's resume preparation, whether it's using electronic networking, that we're using the huge capacity of the Veterans Administration and the Department of Defense and all the federal agencies to link up together more effectively, because not only is the federal government, obviously, a big employer itself, and we've significantly increased the hiring of veterans within the federal government, including, by the way, disabled veterans and wounded warriors, but we're -- you know, the federal government's also a big customer of a lot of businesses. 14:31:59 And there's nothing wrong with a big customer saying to a business, you know what? We're not going to tell you who to hire, but here's a list of extremely skilled veterans who are prepared to do a great job and have shown incredible leadership skills. Now, you think of these -- you've got 23, 24, 25-year-olds who are leading men into battle, who are, you know, handling multi-million dollars pieces of equipment, and they do so flawlessly. And those leadership skills, those technical skills should be able to translate directly into jobs. And last thing I'll say is, obviously, the American Jobs Act also would be helpful because it provides additional tax incentives for companies to hire our veterans. Q: Thank you. PRESIDENT OBAMA: Thank you. (Applause.) MR. WEINER: Thank you, Wayne, and thank you again for your service. Let's turn to the audience now. Oh, a lot of hands going up. Mr. President, want to pick someone? PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, you know, they -- you kind of put me on the spot here. That -- the guy in the glasses right back -- right in the back there. Why not? Q: Thank you, Mr. President. I don't have a job, but that's because I've been lucky enough to live in Silicon Valley for a while and work for a small start-up down the -- down the street here that did quite well. So I'm unemployed by choice. My question is, would you please raise my taxes? (Laughter, applause.) I would -- I would like very much to have the country to continue to invest in things like Pell grants and infrastructure and job training programs that made it possible for me to get to where I am. And it kills me to see Congress not supporting the expiration of the tax cuts that have been benefitting so many of us for so long. I think that needs to change, and I hope that you'll stay strong in doing that. PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, I -- well, I appreciate it. What -- what was the start-up, by the way? You want to give me a little hint? 14:34:35 Q: It's a -- it's a search engine. (Laughter.) PRESIDENT OBAMA: Worked out pretty well, huh? (Laughter.) Q: Yeah. Yeah. PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well -- well, look, the -- let -- let me just talk about taxes for a second. I -- I've made this point before, but I want to reiterate this. So often, the tax debate gets framed as class warfare. And, look, I'm -- as I said at the outset, America's success is premised on individuals, entrepreneurs, having a great idea, going out there and pursuing their dreams and making a whole lot of money in the process. And that's great! That's part of what makes America so successful. But as you just pointed out, we're successful because somebody invested in our education, somebody built schools, somebody created incredible universities. I went to school on scholarship. Michelle -- you know, her dad was a -- what's called a -- a stationary engineer at the water reclamation district; never owned his own home, but he always paid his bills; had multiple sclerosis, struggled to get to work every day, but never missed a day on the job; never went to college, but he was able to send his daughter to Princeton and on to Harvard Law School. We benefited from somebody somewhere making an investment in us. And I don't care who you are, that's true of all of us. And look -- look at this room. I mean, look at the diversity of the people here. You know, a lot of us are -- you know, parents came from someplace else or grandparents came from someplace else. They benefited from a public school system or a(n) incredible university network or the infrastructure that allows us to move products and services around the globe or the scientific research that -- you know, Silicon Valley is built on research that no individual company would have made on their own because you couldn't necessarily capture the value of the nascent Internet. So -- so the question becomes if we're going to make those investments, how do we pay for it? Now, you know, the -- the income of folks at the top has gone up exponentially over the last couple -- couple of decades, whereas the incomes and wages of the middle class have flat-lined over the last 15 years. 14:37:40 So you know, this young lady's mom, who's -- you know, who's been working in food services, she doesn't have a lot of room to spare. Those of us who've been fortunate, we do. And we're not talking about going to punitive rates that would somehow inhibit you from wanting to be part of a startup or work hard to -- to be successful. We're talking about going back to the rates that existed as recently as in the '90s when, as I recall, Silicon Valley was doing pretty good and -- and well-to-do people were doing pretty well. And it turns out, in fact, during that period, the rich got richer, the middle class expanded, people rose out of poverty because everybody was doing well. So this is not an issue of do we somehow try to punish those who've done well. That's the last thing we want to do. It's a question of how can we afford to continue to make the investments that are going to propel America forward? If we don't improve our education system, for example, we will all fall behind. We will all fall behind. That's just -- that's a fact. And the truth is, is that on every indicator, from college graduation rates to math and science scores, we are slipping behind other developed countries. And that's going to have an impact in terms of if you're a start-up, are you going to be able to find enough engineers? It's going to have an impact in terms of, is the infrastructure here good enough that you can move products to market? It's going to have an impact on your ability to recruit top talent from around the world. And so, you know, we all have an investment in improving our education system. Now, money is not going to solve the entire problem. That's why we've initiated reforms like Race to the Top that says we're going to have higher standards for everybody. We're going to not just have kids taught to the test, but we're going to make sure that we empower teachers, but we're also going to hold them accountable and improve how we train our principals and our teachers. So we're willing to make a whole bunch of reforms. But at some point money makes a difference. If we don't have enough science teachers in the classroom, we're going to have problems. Somebody's got to pay for it. And -- and -- and right now we've got the lowest tax rates we've had since the 1950s. And some of the Republican proposals would take it back -- as a percentage of GDP, back to where we were back in the 1920s. But you can't have modern industrial economy like that. So -- so I appreciate your sentiment. I -- I appreciate the fact that you recognize we're in this thing together. We're not on our own. And those of us who have been successful, we've always got to remember that. Q: I know a lot of people in that same situation, and every one of them has said to me that they would support an increase in their taxes. So, you know, please -- (soft laughter) -- PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, the -- (applause) -- we're going to get to work. Thank you. MR. WEINER: Thank you. Thank you for your question. Next question was submitted to the LinkedIn Group, actually comes from a LinkedIn employee named Teresa Sullivan (sp). It's a two-part question. First, do you think our public education system and our unemployment rates are related? And second, what if any overhaul in education is necessary to get Americans ready for the jobs of tomorrow, rather than the jobs of 20 years ago? PRESIDENT OBAMA: There's no doubt that there's a connection long-term between our economic success, our productivity and our education system. That's indisputable. I mean, when we were at our peak in terms of growth back in the '60s and the '70s, in large part it was because we were doing a better job of training our workforce than anybody else in the world. Now the rest of the world's caught up or is catching up. They're hungry. And as I said before, we are slipping behind a lot of developed countries. So, you know, our proportion of college graduates has not gone up while everybody else's has gone up. Our proportion of high school graduates has not gone up whole everybody else's has gone up. And if you've got a billion Chinese and Indians and Eastern Europeans, all who are entering into a labor force and are becoming more skilled, and we are just sitting, you know, on the status quo, we're going to have problems. Now, what can we do? This is a decade-long project, it's not a -- it's not a one-year project. And we've been pushing since we came into office to look at the evidence to base reforms on what actually works. The single most important ingredient in improving our schools is making sure we've got great teachers in front of the -- in front of every classroom. And so what we've said is, let's make sure that we've hired enough teachers; let's train them effectively; let's pay them a good wage; let's make sure that we're putting special emphasis on recruiting more math and science teachers, where -- you know, STEM education is an area where we've fallen significantly behind. Let's make sure they're accountable, but let's also give them flexibility in the classroom so that they don't have to do a cookie- cutter, teach-to-the-test approach that squashes their creativity and prevents them from engaging students. But at the end of the year let's make sure that they're doing a good job, and if there are teachers out there who are not doing a good job, let's work to retrain them, and if they're not able to be retrained, then, you know, we should probably find them a different line of work. We've got to have top-flight principles and leadership inside the schools. That makes a big difference. We've also got to focus on -- you know, there are some schools that are just drop-out factories, where less than half of the kids end up graduating. A lot of them, the students are black and brown. 14:44:02 But that's also the demographic that's growing the fastest in this country. So if we don't fix those schools, we're going to have problems. So we've said to every state, you know what? Focus on the lowest-performing schools, and tell us what your game plan is to improve those schools' performance. And it may be that we've got to also, in some cases, rethink how we get students interested in learning. You know, the -- IBM is -- is engaged in a -- a really interesting experience in -- in New York, where they're essentially setting up schools similar to the concept I was talking about with community colleges, where they're saying to kids pretty early on, I think as -- as early as eighth grade, you know what, we're going to design a program -- IBM worked with the New York public schools to design a program. And this is not for the kids who are in the top 1 percent. This is for ordinary public-school kids. 14:45:08 You follow this program, you work hard, IBM will hire you at the end of this process. And it suddenly gives kids an incentive. They say, oh, you know, the reason I'm studying math and science is there is a practical outcome here: I will have a job, and there are practical applications to what I'm doing in the classroom. And that's true at high-end jobs, but it's also true -- you know, we -- we want to do more to train skilled workers even if they don't have a four-year degree. It may be that the more the concept of apprenticeship and the concept of a -- a rigorous vocational approach is incorporated into high schools so that kids can actually see a direct connection between what they're learning and a potential career -- they're -- they're less likely to drop out, and we're going to see more success. So one last point I'll make about this is George Bush actually was sincere, I think, in trying to improve the education system across the country through something called No Child Left Behind that said we're going to impose standards; there's going to be accountability. If schools don't meet those standards, we're going to label them as failures and they're going to have to make significant changes. The intent was good. It wasn't designed as well as it could have been. In some cases, states actually lowered their own standards to make sure that they weren't labeled as failures. There wasn't enough assistance given to these schools to meet the ambitious goals that had been set. So what we've said is: Look, we'll provide states some waivers to get out from under No Child Left Behind, if you can provide us with a plan to make sure that children are going to be college and career ready; and we'll give you more flexibility, but we're still going to hold you accountable; and we will provide you the tools and best practices that allow you to succeed. So the last point I'll make on this: There is also a cultural component to this, though. We as a country have to recognize that all of us are going to have to up our game. And we as parents have to instill in our kids a sense of educational excellence. We've got to turn off the TV set. I know that it's dangerous to say in -- in Silicon Valley, but put away the video games sometimes -- (laughter) -- you know, and all the electronics and -- unless it's school- related. And we've just got to get our kids more motivated and internalizing that sense of the importance of learning. And if we don't do that, we're -- we're going to continue to slip behind, even if some of these school reform approaches that we're taking are successful. Yeah. MR. WEINER: Thank you, Teresa (sp). Our next question comes from LinkedIn member Robert Holly (sp), who is joining us from Charlotte, North Carolina. After a promising career in financial services, Robert was unfortunately recently laid off. Robert, what is your question? Q: Good morning, Mr. President. PRESIDENT OBAMA: Good morning. Q: As Jeff mentioned, I had a 22-year very successful career in IT management, but I find myself displaced. And not only that, I look at the statistics for unemployment, 16.7 percent for African- Americans, and my question would be -- and not just for the African- Americans, but also for other groups that are also suffering -- what would be your statement of encouragement for those who are looking for work today? 14:48:56 PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, what I would say is just, given your track record, given your history, seeing you stand here before this group, you're going to be successful. You've got a leg up on a lot of folks. You've got skills, you've got experience, you've got a track record of success. Right now your challenge is not you, it's the economy as a whole. And by the way, this is not just an American challenge. This is happening worldwide. So I hope everybody understands. Our biggest problem right now, part of the reason that this year, where, at the beginning of the year, economists had estimated and financial analysts had estimated that the economy was going to be growing at about 3.5 percent -- and that has not happened -- in part has to do with what happened in the Middle East and the Arab Spring which disrupted energy prices and caused consumers to have to pull back because gas was getting so high; what's happening in Europe, which, you know, they have not fully healed from the crisis back in 2007 and never fully dealt with all the challenges that their banking system faced. 14:50:14 It's now being compounded with what's happening in Greece. So they're going through a financial crisis that is scaring the world. And they're trying to take responsible actions, but those actions haven't been quite as quick as they need to be. So the point is, is that economies all around the world are not growing as fast as they need to. And since the world's really interconnected, that affects us, as well. The encouraging thing for you is that when the economy gets back on track in the ways that it should, you are going to be prepared to be successful. The challenge is making sure that you hang in between now and then. That's why things like unemployment insurance, for example, are important. And part of our jobs act is to maintain unemployment insurance. It's not a(n) end-all, be-all, but it helps folks, you know, meet their basic challenges. And by the way, it also means that they're spending that money and they're recirculating that into the economy, so it's good for businesses generally. Some of the emergency measures that we've been taking and we've proposed to take help to bridge the gap to where the economy is more fully healed. And historically after financial crises, recessions are deeper and they last longer than after the usual business cycle recessions. So -- so I guess the main message I have for you is, the problem is not you, the problem's the economy as a whole. You are going to be well-equipped to succeed and compete in this global economy once it's growing again. My job is to work with everybody I can, from the business community to Congress to not-for-profits, you name it, to see if we can, you know, speed up this process of healing and this process of recovery. 14:52:15 And in the meantime we will make sure that, you know, things like unemployment insurance that are there to help people during tough times like this are going to continue to be available. And if there are -- since you're in IT, if there are areas where you need to be sharpening your skills, as the young lady here mentioned, you know, we are going to make sure that there are resources available for you to be able to go back to school and do that. All right. Thank you. MR. WEINER: Thank you. That was our last question. We're going to begin to wrap it up. And before I turn it over to you for some concluding remarks, I just want to say thank you and let you know how much we appreciate the work that you're doing. I know I speak for a lot of people when I say I can't think of anything more important than creating economic opportunity when it comes to profoundly and sustainably improving the quality of an individual's life, the lives of their family members, the lives of the people that they in turn can create jobs for, and in hard-hit American cities and developing countries around the world, these folks are creating role models for the next generation of entrepreneurs and professionals that didn't even know it was possible. So on behalf of myself; on behalf of our visionary founder, Reid Hoffman, without whom none of this would have been possible; on behalf of our employees, of course our members; on behalf of our country, thank you, Mr. President. PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, the -- (applause) -- thank you so much. I -- thank you. Well, let me just say these have been terrific questions. And I so appreciate all of you taking the time to do this. I appreciated LinkedIn helping to host this. And for those of you who are viewing not in this circle, but around the country, maybe around the world, I appreciate the chance to share these ideas with you. 14:54:39 Look, we're going through a very tough time. But the one thing I want to remind everybody is that we've gone through tougher times before. And the trajectory, the trend of not just this country but also the world economy is one that's more open, one that's more linked, one that offers greater opportunity, but also one that has some hazards. If we don't prepare our people with the skills that they need to compete, we're going to have problems. If we don't make sure that we continue to have the best infrastructure in the world, we're going to have problems. If we're not continuing to invest in basic research, we're going to have challenges. If we don't get our fiscal house in order in a way that is fair and equitable so that everybody feels like they have responsibilities to not only themselves and their -- and their family, but also to the country that's given them so much opportunity, we're going to have problems. And so I am extraordinarily confident about America's long-term future. But we are going to have to make some decisions about how we move forward. And you know, what's striking to me is when we're out of Washington and I'm just talking to ordinary folks -- I don't care whether they're Republicans or Democrats -- you know, people are just looking for common sense. The majority of people agree with the prescriptions I just offered. The majority of people, by a wide margin, think we should be rebuilding our infrastructure. The majority of folks, by a wide margin, think that we should be investing in education. The majority of people, by a wide margin, think we should be investing in science and technology. And the majority of people think, by a wide margin, that we should be maintaining programs like Social Security and Medicare to provide a basic safety net. The majority of people, by a significant margin, think that the way we should close our deficit is a balance of cutting out those things that we don't need but also making sure that we've got a tax code that's fair and everybody's paying their fair share. So the problem is not outside of Washington. The problem is, is that things have gotten so ideologically driven and everybody's so focused on the next election and putting party ahead of country that we're not able to solve our problems, and that's got to change. 14:57:08 And that's why your voices are going to be so important. The reason I do these kinds of events is I want you to hear from me directly, I want to hear from you directly; but I also want your voices heard in the halls of Congress. I need everybody here to be, you know, speaking out on behalf of -- of the things that you care about and the values that made this country great, and -- and to say to -- to folks who you've elected -- say to them: We expect you to act responsibly, and not act in terms of short-term political interests; act in terms of what's going to be good for all of us over the long term. If that spirit, which all of you represent, starts -- starts asserting itself all across the country, then I'm absolutely confident the 21st century is going to be the American century just like the 20th -- 20th century was. So, thank you very much, everybody. God bless you. (Applause.) MR. WEINER: Thank you. PRESIDENT OBAMA: Thank you. (Applause.) END. WH TVL: President Barack Obama LinkedIn event in Mountain View, California - TVL POOL CUTS 15:08:11 LinkedIn event begins 15:09:23 Obama enters room 15:17:02 cu of audience members 15:17:57 ws of room 15:20:25 audience members applaud 15:24:57 event ends WH TVL: President Barack Obama departs San Jose, CA and arrives San Diego, CA 16:27:20 AF1 seen in distance, comes in for landing, taxis 16:39:00 President exits AF1, is greeted on tarmac by: San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders Congressman Bob Filner MajGen Anthony Jackson (Commanding General for Marine Corps Installations West) MajGen Andrew W. O'Donnell Jr. (3rd. Marine Air Wing Commander - used to be CO for HMX) Colonel Frank A. Richie (Base Commander) 16:41:12 President glad hands at rope line 16:44:52 President departs in limo 16:55:34 Obama at steps of Air Force One taking photo with family 16:56:02 Obama jogs up steps of Air Force One 16:56:14 Obama waves and enters Air Force One 16:56:23 Obama waves and jogs down steps of Air Force One 16:56:34 Obama glad hands 16:57:42 Obama glad hands 16:58:40 Obama walks over to gathered crowd as they cheer 16:58:57 Obama glad hands with crowd 17:01:51 Obama jogs up steps of Air Force One 17:02:04 refeed
OBAMA IN CALIFORNIA / TOWN HALL P3
President Barack Obama LinkedIn event in Mountain View, California - STIX. (Applause.) 14:01:46 PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: Thank you. Everybody, please, have a seat. Thank you. Thank you very much. That's a nice crowd. (Laughter.) And I have to say, Jeff, you warmed them up very well. JEFF WEINER: Thank you, Mr. President. PRESIDENT OBAMA: I thank you so much for your hospitality. And -- and let me begin by just saying how excited I am to be here. Every time I come to Silicon Valley, every time that I come to this region, I am excited about America's future. And -- and no part of the country better represents, I think, the essence of America than here because what you see is entrepreneurship and dynamism, a forward orientation, an optimism, a belief that if you've got a good idea and you're willing to put in the sweat and -- and blood and tears to make it happen that not only can you succeed for yourself, but you can grow the economy for everybody. And it's that driving spirit that has made America an economic superpower. 14:02:57 But obviously, we're in a period of time right now where the economy is struggling and a lot of folks all across the country are struggling. And so part of what I hope to do is to have a conversation with all of you about how can we continue to spark the innovation that is going to ensure our economic success in the 21st century; how can we prepare our workforce to be able to plug into this new economy; how do we recognize that, in this competitive environment, there are all kinds of opportunity that LinkedIn presents for interconnectedness and -- and -- and people being able to work together and spread ideas around the world and -- and create value, but at the same time understanding that there are some perils as well. If our kids aren't properly educated, if we don't have an infrastructure that is world-class, if we are not investing in basic research and science, if we're not doing all the things that made us great in the past, then we're going to fall behind. 14:04:07 And we've got a short-term challenge, which is how do we put people back to work right now. And so as you mentioned, I put forward a proposal, the American Jobs Act, that would put thousands of teachers back into the classrooms who've been laid off due to downturns in state and local budgets; that would make sure that we are rebuilding our infrastructure, taking extraordinary numbers of construction workers who've been laid off when the -- the housing bubble went bust and -- and -- and putting them to work rebuilding our roads and our airports and our schools and laying broadband lines and all the things that help us make a success, and also make sure that we're providing small businesses the kinds of tax incentives that will allow them to hire and allow them to succeed. And you know, I have said to Congress I understand that there's an election 14 months away, and it's tempting to say that we're not going to do anything until November of 2012, but the American people cannot afford to wait. The American people need help right now. And all the proposals we've put forward in the American Jobs Act will not help us now but will also help us in the future, will lay the foundation for our long-term success. Last point I'll make -- and then I want to get to questions -- it's all paid for. And it's paid for in part by building on some very tough cuts in our budget to eliminate waste and things we don't need that we've already made, a trillion dollars over the next 10 years. We've proposed an additional half a trillion dollars over the next 10 years of spending cuts and adjustments on programs that we want to keep intact but haven't been reformed in too long. But what I've also said is, in order to pay for it and bring down the deficit at the same time, we're going to have to reform our tax code in a way that's fair and makes sure that everybody is doing their fair share. I've said this before. I'll say it again. Warren Buffett's secretary shouldn't be paying a lower (sic) tax rate than Warren Buffett. Somebody who's making $50,000 a year as a teacher shouldn't be paying a higher effective tax rate than somebody like myself or Jeff, who have been incredibly blessed -- I don't -- I don't know what you make, Jeff, but I'm just guessing -- (laughter) -- you know, who've been blessed by the incredible opportunities of this country. And I say that because whenever America's moved forward, it's because we've moved forward together. And we're going to have to make sure that we are laying the foundation for the success of future generations, and that means that each of us are doing our part to make sure we're investing in our future. So with that, thank you so much for the terrific venue. I look forward to a bunch of great questions both live and through -- through whatever other linkages that we've got here. (Laughter.) MR. WEINER: You've got it. So we're going to be going back and forth between folks in the audience -- members, and some previously generated questions from the LinkedIn group. So we're going to start. Our first question is from LinkedIn member Chuck Painter (sp). And Chuck, we're going to get your a mic. Q: Good morning, Mr. President. PRESIDENT OBAMA: Good morning. Q: I'm from Austin, Texas. I've been in sales in the plastics industry for 20 years. I lost my job in 2009 and been fortunate enough to have found another position, become reemployed. My question is, what can we do as American citizens to unite ourselves and help the economy? 14:07:32 PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, first of all, are you a native of Austin? Because that's one of my favorite cities in the country. Q: Actually, I'm a native of Charlotte, North Carolina, but just relocated to Austin and I love it there. So -- PRESIDENT OBAMA: Austin's great. Charlotte's not bad. Q: Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. (Laughter.) PRESIDENT OBAMA: That's the reason why I'm having my convention in Charlotte, because I love North Carolina as well. But the -- how long did it take you to -- to find a new job after you got laid off? Q: It took nine months. PRESIDENT OBAMA: It took nine months. Q: Yes, sir. PRESIDENT OBAMA: And that's one of the challenges that a lot of folks are seeing out there. You've got skilled people with experience in an industry, that industry changes, and you were fortunate enough to be able to move some folks -- because of the decline in the housing industry are having trouble with mobility and finding new jobs and relocating in pursuit of opportunity. Q: Yes, sir. PRESIDENT OBAMA: The most important thing that we can do right now is to help jump-start the economy, which has stalled, by putting people back to work. And so, not surprisingly, I think the most important thing we can do right now is pass this jobs bill. Think about it. Independent economists have estimated that if we pass the entire package, the American Jobs Act, we would increase GDP by close to 2 percent, we would increase employment by 1.9 million persons, and that is the kind of big, significant move in the economy that could have ripple effects and help the recovery take off. Now, there's been a lot of dispute about the kind of impact that we had right after the financial crisis hit, but the fact is the vast majority of economists who've looked at it have said that the recovery act, by starting infrastructure projects around the country, by making sure that states had help on their budgets so they didn't have to lay off teachers and firefighters and others, by providing tax cuts to small businesses -- and by the way, we've cut taxes about 16 times since I've been in office for small businesses to give them more capital to work with and more incentives to hire -- all those things made a big difference. 14:10:06 The American Jobs Act is specifically tailored to putting more of those folks back to work. It's not going to solve all our problems. We've still got a housing situation in which too many homes are underwater. And one of the things that we've proposed as part of the American Jobs Act is -- is that we're going to help reduce the barriers to refinancing so that folks can get record-low rates. That'll put more money into people's pockets. It'll provide tax cuts to not only small businesses, but almost every middle-class family. That means they've got more money in their pockets, and that means that they're going to be able to spend it on products and services, which provide additional incentives for businesses to hire folks like you. So it's the right step to take right now. Long-term we're going to have to pull together around making sure our education system is the best in the world, making sure our infrastructure is the best world, continuing to invest in science and technology. We've got to stabilize our -- our finances, and we've got to continue to drive down health care costs, which are a drag on our whole economy. And we've got to continue to promote trade but make sure that that trade is fair and that intellectual property protection, for example, is available when we're doing business in other countries like China. So there are a lot of long-term agendas that we've got to pursue. Right now, though, the most important thing I can do for you, even if you already have a job, is to make sure that your neighbors and your friends also have jobs because those are ultimately the customers for your products. Q: Yes, sir. Yes, thank you, Mr. President. MR. WEINER: Great. Thank you, Chuck (sp). We'd now like to take a question from the audience. So anyone interested? PRESIDENT OBAMA: This young lady right here. MR. WEINER: OK. Could we get a mic over there, please? Thank you. Q: Hi. I have a question, actually, for my mother, who's going to be 65 next March. And she lives in Ohio, which has a very high unemployment rate. She has a GED, and she's always worked in food service. She's currently unemployed, just got approved for Section 8 housing, gets Social Security and food stamps. And she wants to know, when can she get a job, and what's going to happen to Social Security and Medicare? PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, first of all, where does your mom live in Ohio? Q: Mentor. PRESIDENT OBAMA: Mentor. What part of Ohio is that? Q: It's the east side of Cleveland. 14:12:18 PRESIDENT OBAMA: OK. Well, tell Mom hi. (Laughter.) You get points for being such a good daughter and using your -- using your question to tell me what's on her mind. Q: Oh, you have no idea. (Laughs.) (Laughter.) PRESIDENT OBAMA: You know, I've -- my mother-in-law lives at home, and so I -- in the White House, so I've got some idea. (Laughter.) First of all, let me talk about Social Security and Medicare, because this has obviously been an issue that has been discussed a lot in the press lately as we think about our long-term finances. You can tell your mom that Medicare and Social Security will be there for her. Guaranteed. There are no proposals out there that would affect folks that are about to get Social Security and Medicare, and she'll be qualifying -- you know, she already is starting to qualify for Medicare, and she'll be qualifying for Social Security fairly soon. Social Security and Medicare together have lifted entire generations of seniors out of poverty -- our most important social safety net -- and they have to be preserved. Now, both of them have some long-term challenges that we've got to deal with, but they're different challenges. Social Security is actually the easier one. It's just a pure, simple math problem, and that is that right now the population's getting older, so more people are going on Social Security, you've got fewer workers supporting more retirees, and so if we don't do anything, Social Security won't go broke, but in a few years what will happen is that more money will be going out than coming in, and over time, people who were on Social Security would only be getting about 75 cents on every dollar that they thought they'd be getting. 14:14:01 And so the Social Security system is not the big driver of our deficits, but if we don't want -- if we want to make sure that Social Security is there for future generations, then we've got to make some modest adjustments. And -- and when I say modest, I mean, for example, right now Social Security contributions are capped at a little over a hundred thousand dollars of earnings, and that means the vast majority of people pay Social Security taxes on everything they earn. But if you're earning a million dollars, you know, only one- tenth of your income is taxed for Social Security. And we could make that modification. That would solve a big chunk of the problem. Medicare is a bigger issue, because not only is the population getting older and more people are using it, but health care costs have been going up way too fast. And that's why part of my health care reform bill two years ago was: Let's start changing how our health care system works, to make it more efficient. For example, if your mom goes in for a test, she shouldn't have to then, if she goes to another specialist, take the same test all over again and have Medicare pay for two tests. That first test should be emailed to the doctor who's the specialist, but right now that's not happening. So what we've said is: Let's incentivize providers to do a more efficient job, and over time we can start reducing those costs. I've made some suggestions about how we can reform Medicare, but what I'm not going to do is what, frankly, the House Republicans proposed, which was to voucherize the Medicare system -- which would mean your mom might pay an extra $6,000 every year for her Medicare. Q: Which she doesn't have. PRESIDENT OBAMA: I'm assuming she doesn't have it. Q: Yeah. PRESIDENT OBAMA: So we are going to be pushing back against that kind of proposal. And that raises the point I made earlier. You know, if people like myself aren't paying a little more in taxes, then the only way you balance the budget is on the backs of folks like your mom who end up paying a lot more in Medicare, and they can't afford it, whereas I can afford to pay a little more in taxes. So that's on -- on Medicare and Social Security. 14:16:34 In terms of her finding a job, the most important thing we can do right now is to pass the American Jobs Act, get people back to work. Because think about it: If she's been in the food service industry, you know, that industry is dependent on people spending money on food, you know, whether it's at a restaurant or a cafeteria or, you know, buying more groceries. And if a construction worker and a teacher or a veteran have a job because of the programs that we proposed in the American Jobs Act, they're going to be spending more money in food services, and that means that those businesses are going to have to hire more and your mom's going to be more likely to be hired. All right? Q: Yeah. And one of the other issues, though, is just a matter that there's, you know, a big age gap between her and the other folks who are willing to come in and work for less money and have less experience. PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, that -- that is -- that is a challenge, that, you know, it is tough being unemployed if you're in your 50s or early 60s, before retirement. That's the toughest period of time to lose your job. Obviously it's never fun to lose your job, and it's always hard in this kind of really deep recession, but it's scariest for folks who are nearing retirement and may also be worrying about whether they've got enough saved up to ever retire. So that's part of the reason why one of the things that we're also proposing, separate and apart from the jobs bill, is we've got to do a better job of retraining workers so that they, in their second or third or fourth careers, are able to go back to a community college, maybe take a short six-month course or a one-year course that trains them on the kinds of skills that are going to be needed for jobs that are actually hiring or business that are actually hiring right now. We've done some great work working with community colleges to try to make sure that businesses help design the training programs so that somebody who enrolls, like your mom, if she goes back to school, she knows that after six months she will be trained for the particular job that this business is looking for. All right? Thanks so much. Tell her I said hi. Q: Great. Thank you. OK. (Chuckles.) MR. WEINER: Thank you. We're going to go to the group -- the LinkedIn group. We had thousands of questions submitted. And here's one of them from a LinkedIn member, Marla Hughes (sp). Marla (sp) is from Gainesville, Florida. She's the owner of Meticulously Clean home and apartment cleaning service. And her question is: As a small-business owner, regulation and high taxes are my worst enemies when it comes to growing my business. What are you going to do to lessen the onerous regulations and taxation on small businesses? 14:19:19 PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, you know, it's hard to say exactly what regulations or taxes she may be referring to because obviously it differs in different businesses. But as I said, we've actually cut taxes for small businesses 16 times since I've been in office. So taxes for small businesses are lower now than they were when I came into office. Small businesses are able to get tax breaks for hiring. They're able to get tax breaks for investment in capital investments. They are able to get tax breaks for hiring veterans. They're able to get tax breaks for a whole host of areas, including, by the way, a proposal that we put forward that says that there should be no capital gains tax on a startup, to encourage more small businesses to go out there and -- and -- and create -- create a business. In terms of regulations, most of the regulations that -- that we have been focused on are ones that affect large businesses, like utilities, for example, in terms of how they deal with safety issues, environmental issues. 14:20:48 We have been putting forward some tough regulations with respect to the financial sector because we can't have a repeat of what happened in 2007. And the fact of the matter is that if what happened on Wall Street ends up having a spill-over effect to all of Main Street, it is our responsibility to make sure that we have a dynamic economy, we have a dynamic financial sector but, you know, we don't have a mortgage broking -- brokerage operation that ends up providing people loans that can never be repaid and end up having ramifications throughout the system. So, you know, you're going to hear from, I think, Republicans over the next year and a half that somehow if we just eliminated pollution controls or if we just eliminated basic consumer protections, that somehow that in and of itself would be a spur to growth. I disagree with that. 14:22:14 What I do agree with is, is that there are some regulations that have outlived their usefulness. And so what I've done is I've said to all the agencies in the federal government, number one, you have to always take costs as well as benefits into account when you're proposing new regulations. Number two, don't just be satisfied with applying that analysis to new regulations. Look back at the old regulations to see if there are some that we can start weeding out. And we've initiated the most aggressive what we call look-back provisions when it comes to regulations, where we say to every agency: Go through all the regulations that you have on your books that flow through your agencies, and see if some of them are still necessary. And it turns out that a lot of them are no longer necessary. Well, let's get rid of them if they've outlived your -- their usefulness. I think that there were some regulations that had to do with the transportation for -- sector for example, that didn't take into account the fact that everybody operates on GPS now. Well, you've got to adjust and adapt to how the economy's changing and how technology -- how technology has changed. And we've already identified about $10 billion worth of savings just in the initial review, and we anticipate that that's only going to be a fraction of some of the paperwork and bureaucracy and red tape that we're going to be able to eliminate. 14:23:17 But I -- I will never apologize for making sure that we have regulations in place to ensure that your water is clean, that your food is safe to eat, you know, that the peanut butter you feed your kids is not going to be contaminated; making sure that if you take out a credit card, there's some clarity about what it exactly is going to do and you're not seeing a whole bunch of hidden fees and hidden charges that you didn't anticipate. You know, that's always been part of what makes the marketplace work, is if you have smart regulations in place, that means the people who are providing good value, good products, good services -- those businesses are going to succeed. We don't want to be rewarding folks who are gaming the system or cheating consumers. And -- and I think that's how most American(s) feels about regulations as well. They don't want more than is necessary, but they know that there's some things that we've got to do to protect ourselves and our environment and our children. MR. WEINER: Thank you for your question, Marla (sp). Now we're going to take a question from LinkedIn member Esther Abeja (sp). Esther's an IT analyst from Chicago, Illinois. PRESIDENT OBAMA: There you go. Chicago's all right, too! (Laughter.) MR. WEINER: Esther, what is your question for the president? Q: (Laughs.) Good morning, Mr. President. PRESIDENT OBAMA: Good morning. Q: As Jeff said, I'm from Chicago, recently unemployed. And my fear is that the longer I'm unemployed, the harder it is going to be for me to get employed. It seems that nowadays employers are hiring people who are currently employed because they're in touch with their skill set. What programs do you think should be in place for individuals such as myself to keep in touch with our skills, be in demand, marketable, and eventually get hired? PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, the -- first of all, you obviously are thinking ahead about how to keep your skills up. And the most important thing you can do is to make sure that, whether it's through classes or online training or what-have-you, that you're keeping your skill set sharp. We, as part of the American Jobs Act, are actually supporting legislation in Congress that says employers can't discriminate against somebody just because they're currently unemployed, because that -- that doesn't seem fair. That doesn't -- that doesn't make any sense. But the most important thing, probably, we can do for you is just make sure that the unemployment rate generally goes down, the mark -- that the labor market gets a little tighter, so that, you know, employers start looking beyond just the people who are currently employed to folks who have terrific skills and just have been out of the market for a while. So passing the American Jobs Act is going to be important. There is legislation in there that says you can't be discriminated against just because you don't have a job. The one other thing that we can do is, during this interim, as you're looking for a job, making it easier for you to be able to go back to school if you think there's some skill sets that you need, making it economical for you to do it. 14:26:14 One of the things that we did during the last two and a half years -- it used to be the student loan program was run through the banks, and even though the federal government guaranteed all these loans, so the banks weren't taking any risks, they were taking about $60 billion out of the entire program, which meant that there was less money to actually go directly to students. We ended that. We cut out the middleman, and we said let's use that money to expand the availability of Pell grants, to increase the amount that Pell grants -- each Pell grant student could get. And through that process you've got millions of people all across the country who are able to actually go back to school without incurring the huge debt loads that -- that they had in the past, although, you know, obviously the cost of a college education is still really high. But if we can do more to make it easier for you to keep your skills up even when you're not already hired, hopefully that will enhance your marketability to employers in the future. All right. But just looking at you, I can tell you're going to do great. Q: That's -- thank you. PRESIDENT OBAMA: All right. Thank you. MR. WEINER: Thanks, Esther (sp). Our next question is from LinkedIn member Wayne Kulick. Wayne is from Phoenix, Arizona. He spent 25 years flying aircraft for the U.S. Navy and is now program director for American Express. Wayne? Q: Good morning, Mr. President. PRESIDENT OBAMA: Good morning, sir. Q: I'm from Phoenix, Arizona, where I'm a program director, as Jeff had said. I retired in 2007. When I retired, networking was essentially how I got all my jobs after retirement. How do you envision the government's role in integrating networking tools to aid veterans that are leaving the service and getting jobs? PRESIDENT OBAMA: It's a great question. And first of all, let me thank you for your service. Q: (Inaudible.) PRESIDENT OBAMA: We are very grateful to you for that. (Applause.) Thank you. But you know, you were extraordinarily skilled. And even then, it sounds like you had to rely on informal networks rather than a formal set of processes for veterans in order for you to find a job that used all your skills. We have not done as good of a job in the past in helping veterans transition out of the armed services as we should have. I'll give you an example. I actually had lunch with a group of veterans from the Iraq and Afghan wars up in -- up in Minnesota. And the young man I was talking to had just gone back to school. He was getting his nursing degree. He had worked in emergency medicine in Iraq multiple deployments, had probably dealt with the most incredible kinds of medical challenges under the most extreme circumstances, had received years of training to do this. 14:29:47 But when he went back to nursing school, he had to start as if he had never -- you know, never been involved in medicine at all. And so -- so he had to take all the same classes and take the same -- take the same debt burdens from taking those classes as if I had just walked in and, you know, could barely put a Band-Aid on myself. But -- but he had to go through the same processes. Well, that's an example of a failure on the part of both DOD and the VA -- Department of Defense and Veterans Administration -- to think proactively, how can we help him make the transition? So what we've started to say is, let's have a -- sort of a reverse boot camp. As folks are thinking about retiring, as folks are thinking about being discharged, let's work with them while they're still in the military to say, is there a way to credential them so that they can go directly into the job and work with state and local governments and employers, so that if they've got a skill set that we know is applicable to the private sector, let's give them a certification, let's give them a credential that helps them do that right away. We've also then started to put together a network of businesses. And I actually asked for a pledge from the private sector, and we've got a commitment now that a hundred thousand veterans will be hired over the next several years. And that creates a network, and maybe they'll end up using LinkedIn; I don't know. But what we want to do is to make sure that, whether it's the certification process, whether it's the job search process, whether it's resume preparation, whether it's using electronic networking, that we're using the huge capacity of the Veterans Administration and the Department of Defense and all the federal agencies to link up together more effectively, because not only is the federal government, obviously, a big employer itself, and we've significantly increased the hiring of veterans within the federal government, including, by the way, disabled veterans and wounded warriors, but we're -- you know, the federal government's also a big customer of a lot of businesses. 14:31:59 And there's nothing wrong with a big customer saying to a business, you know what? We're not going to tell you who to hire, but here's a list of extremely skilled veterans who are prepared to do a great job and have shown incredible leadership skills. Now, you think of these -- you've got 23, 24, 25-year-olds who are leading men into battle, who are, you know, handling multi-million dollars pieces of equipment, and they do so flawlessly. And those leadership skills, those technical skills should be able to translate directly into jobs. And last thing I'll say is, obviously, the American Jobs Act also would be helpful because it provides additional tax incentives for companies to hire our veterans. Q: Thank you. PRESIDENT OBAMA: Thank you. (Applause.) MR. WEINER: Thank you, Wayne, and thank you again for your service. Let's turn to the audience now. Oh, a lot of hands going up. Mr. President, want to pick someone? PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, you know, they -- you kind of put me on the spot here. That -- the guy in the glasses right back -- right in the back there. Why not? Q: Thank you, Mr. President. I don't have a job, but that's because I've been lucky enough to live in Silicon Valley for a while and work for a small start-up down the -- down the street here that did quite well. So I'm unemployed by choice. My question is, would you please raise my taxes? (Laughter, applause.) I would -- I would like very much to have the country to continue to invest in things like Pell grants and infrastructure and job training programs that made it possible for me to get to where I am. And it kills me to see Congress not supporting the expiration of the tax cuts that have been benefitting so many of us for so long. I think that needs to change, and I hope that you'll stay strong in doing that. PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, I -- well, I appreciate it. What -- what was the start-up, by the way? You want to give me a little hint? 14:34:35 Q: It's a -- it's a search engine. (Laughter.) PRESIDENT OBAMA: Worked out pretty well, huh? (Laughter.) Q: Yeah. Yeah. PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well -- well, look, the -- let -- let me just talk about taxes for a second. I -- I've made this point before, but I want to reiterate this. So often, the tax debate gets framed as class warfare. And, look, I'm -- as I said at the outset, America's success is premised on individuals, entrepreneurs, having a great idea, going out there and pursuing their dreams and making a whole lot of money in the process. And that's great! That's part of what makes America so successful. But as you just pointed out, we're successful because somebody invested in our education, somebody built schools, somebody created incredible universities. I went to school on scholarship. Michelle -- you know, her dad was a -- what's called a -- a stationary engineer at the water reclamation district; never owned his own home, but he always paid his bills; had multiple sclerosis, struggled to get to work every day, but never missed a day on the job; never went to college, but he was able to send his daughter to Princeton and on to Harvard Law School. We benefited from somebody somewhere making an investment in us. And I don't care who you are, that's true of all of us. And look -- look at this room. I mean, look at the diversity of the people here. You know, a lot of us are -- you know, parents came from someplace else or grandparents came from someplace else. They benefited from a public school system or a(n) incredible university network or the infrastructure that allows us to move products and services around the globe or the scientific research that -- you know, Silicon Valley is built on research that no individual company would have made on their own because you couldn't necessarily capture the value of the nascent Internet. So -- so the question becomes if we're going to make those investments, how do we pay for it? Now, you know, the -- the income of folks at the top has gone up exponentially over the last couple -- couple of decades, whereas the incomes and wages of the middle class have flat-lined over the last 15 years. 14:37:40 So you know, this young lady's mom, who's -- you know, who's been working in food services, she doesn't have a lot of room to spare. Those of us who've been fortunate, we do. And we're not talking about going to punitive rates that would somehow inhibit you from wanting to be part of a startup or work hard to -- to be successful. We're talking about going back to the rates that existed as recently as in the '90s when, as I recall, Silicon Valley was doing pretty good and -- and well-to-do people were doing pretty well. And it turns out, in fact, during that period, the rich got richer, the middle class expanded, people rose out of poverty because everybody was doing well. So this is not an issue of do we somehow try to punish those who've done well. That's the last thing we want to do. It's a question of how can we afford to continue to make the investments that are going to propel America forward? If we don't improve our education system, for example, we will all fall behind. We will all fall behind. That's just -- that's a fact. And the truth is, is that on every indicator, from college graduation rates to math and science scores, we are slipping behind other developed countries. And that's going to have an impact in terms of if you're a start-up, are you going to be able to find enough engineers? It's going to have an impact in terms of, is the infrastructure here good enough that you can move products to market? It's going to have an impact on your ability to recruit top talent from around the world. And so, you know, we all have an investment in improving our education system. Now, money is not going to solve the entire problem. That's why we've initiated reforms like Race to the Top that says we're going to have higher standards for everybody. We're going to not just have kids taught to the test, but we're going to make sure that we empower teachers, but we're also going to hold them accountable and improve how we train our principals and our teachers. So we're willing to make a whole bunch of reforms. But at some point money makes a difference. If we don't have enough science teachers in the classroom, we're going to have problems. Somebody's got to pay for it. And -- and -- and right now we've got the lowest tax rates we've had since the 1950s. And some of the Republican proposals would take it back -- as a percentage of GDP, back to where we were back in the 1920s. But you can't have modern industrial economy like that. So -- so I appreciate your sentiment. I -- I appreciate the fact that you recognize we're in this thing together. We're not on our own. And those of us who have been successful, we've always got to remember that. Q: I know a lot of people in that same situation, and every one of them has said to me that they would support an increase in their taxes. So, you know, please -- (soft laughter) -- PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, the -- (applause) -- we're going to get to work. Thank you. MR. WEINER: Thank you. Thank you for your question. Next question was submitted to the LinkedIn Group, actually comes from a LinkedIn employee named Teresa Sullivan (sp). It's a two-part question. First, do you think our public education system and our unemployment rates are related? And second, what if any overhaul in education is necessary to get Americans ready for the jobs of tomorrow, rather than the jobs of 20 years ago? PRESIDENT OBAMA: There's no doubt that there's a connection long-term between our economic success, our productivity and our education system. That's indisputable. I mean, when we were at our peak in terms of growth back in the '60s and the '70s, in large part it was because we were doing a better job of training our workforce than anybody else in the world. Now the rest of the world's caught up or is catching up. They're hungry. And as I said before, we are slipping behind a lot of developed countries. So, you know, our proportion of college graduates has not gone up while everybody else's has gone up. Our proportion of high school graduates has not gone up whole everybody else's has gone up. And if you've got a billion Chinese and Indians and Eastern Europeans, all who are entering into a labor force and are becoming more skilled, and we are just sitting, you know, on the status quo, we're going to have problems. Now, what can we do? This is a decade-long project, it's not a -- it's not a one-year project. And we've been pushing since we came into office to look at the evidence to base reforms on what actually works. The single most important ingredient in improving our schools is making sure we've got great teachers in front of the -- in front of every classroom. And so what we've said is, let's make sure that we've hired enough teachers; let's train them effectively; let's pay them a good wage; let's make sure that we're putting special emphasis on recruiting more math and science teachers, where -- you know, STEM education is an area where we've fallen significantly behind. Let's make sure they're accountable, but let's also give them flexibility in the classroom so that they don't have to do a cookie- cutter, teach-to-the-test approach that squashes their creativity and prevents them from engaging students. But at the end of the year let's make sure that they're doing a good job, and if there are teachers out there who are not doing a good job, let's work to retrain them, and if they're not able to be retrained, then, you know, we should probably find them a different line of work. We've got to have top-flight principles and leadership inside the schools. That makes a big difference. We've also got to focus on -- you know, there are some schools that are just drop-out factories, where less than half of the kids end up graduating. A lot of them, the students are black and brown. 14:44:02 But that's also the demographic that's growing the fastest in this country. So if we don't fix those schools, we're going to have problems. So we've said to every state, you know what? Focus on the lowest-performing schools, and tell us what your game plan is to improve those schools' performance. And it may be that we've got to also, in some cases, rethink how we get students interested in learning. You know, the -- IBM is -- is engaged in a -- a really interesting experience in -- in New York, where they're essentially setting up schools similar to the concept I was talking about with community colleges, where they're saying to kids pretty early on, I think as -- as early as eighth grade, you know what, we're going to design a program -- IBM worked with the New York public schools to design a program. And this is not for the kids who are in the top 1 percent. This is for ordinary public-school kids. 14:45:08 You follow this program, you work hard, IBM will hire you at the end of this process. And it suddenly gives kids an incentive. They say, oh, you know, the reason I'm studying math and science is there is a practical outcome here: I will have a job, and there are practical applications to what I'm doing in the classroom. And that's true at high-end jobs, but it's also true -- you know, we -- we want to do more to train skilled workers even if they don't have a four-year degree. It may be that the more the concept of apprenticeship and the concept of a -- a rigorous vocational approach is incorporated into high schools so that kids can actually see a direct connection between what they're learning and a potential career -- they're -- they're less likely to drop out, and we're going to see more success. So one last point I'll make about this is George Bush actually was sincere, I think, in trying to improve the education system across the country through something called No Child Left Behind that said we're going to impose standards; there's going to be accountability. If schools don't meet those standards, we're going to label them as failures and they're going to have to make significant changes. The intent was good. It wasn't designed as well as it could have been. In some cases, states actually lowered their own standards to make sure that they weren't labeled as failures. There wasn't enough assistance given to these schools to meet the ambitious goals that had been set. So what we've said is: Look, we'll provide states some waivers to get out from under No Child Left Behind, if you can provide us with a plan to make sure that children are going to be college and career ready; and we'll give you more flexibility, but we're still going to hold you accountable; and we will provide you the tools and best practices that allow you to succeed. So the last point I'll make on this: There is also a cultural component to this, though. We as a country have to recognize that all of us are going to have to up our game. And we as parents have to instill in our kids a sense of educational excellence. We've got to turn off the TV set. I know that it's dangerous to say in -- in Silicon Valley, but put away the video games sometimes -- (laughter) -- you know, and all the electronics and -- unless it's school- related. And we've just got to get our kids more motivated and internalizing that sense of the importance of learning. And if we don't do that, we're -- we're going to continue to slip behind, even if some of these school reform approaches that we're taking are successful. Yeah. MR. WEINER: Thank you, Teresa (sp). Our next question comes from LinkedIn member Robert Holly (sp), who is joining us from Charlotte, North Carolina. After a promising career in financial services, Robert was unfortunately recently laid off. Robert, what is your question? Q: Good morning, Mr. President. PRESIDENT OBAMA: Good morning. Q: As Jeff mentioned, I had a 22-year very successful career in IT management, but I find myself displaced. And not only that, I look at the statistics for unemployment, 16.7 percent for African- Americans, and my question would be -- and not just for the African- Americans, but also for other groups that are also suffering -- what would be your statement of encouragement for those who are looking for work today? 14:48:56 PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, what I would say is just, given your track record, given your history, seeing you stand here before this group, you're going to be successful. You've got a leg up on a lot of folks. You've got skills, you've got experience, you've got a track record of success. Right now your challenge is not you, it's the economy as a whole. And by the way, this is not just an American challenge. This is happening worldwide. So I hope everybody understands. Our biggest problem right now, part of the reason that this year, where, at the beginning of the year, economists had estimated and financial analysts had estimated that the economy was going to be growing at about 3.5 percent -- and that has not happened -- in part has to do with what happened in the Middle East and the Arab Spring which disrupted energy prices and caused consumers to have to pull back because gas was getting so high; what's happening in Europe, which, you know, they have not fully healed from the crisis back in 2007 and never fully dealt with all the challenges that their banking system faced. 14:50:14 It's now being compounded with what's happening in Greece. So they're going through a financial crisis that is scaring the world. And they're trying to take responsible actions, but those actions haven't been quite as quick as they need to be. So the point is, is that economies all around the world are not growing as fast as they need to. And since the world's really interconnected, that affects us, as well. The encouraging thing for you is that when the economy gets back on track in the ways that it should, you are going to be prepared to be successful. The challenge is making sure that you hang in between now and then. That's why things like unemployment insurance, for example, are important. And part of our jobs act is to maintain unemployment insurance. It's not a(n) end-all, be-all, but it helps folks, you know, meet their basic challenges. And by the way, it also means that they're spending that money and they're recirculating that into the economy, so it's good for businesses generally. Some of the emergency measures that we've been taking and we've proposed to take help to bridge the gap to where the economy is more fully healed. And historically after financial crises, recessions are deeper and they last longer than after the usual business cycle recessions. So -- so I guess the main message I have for you is, the problem is not you, the problem's the economy as a whole. You are going to be well-equipped to succeed and compete in this global economy once it's growing again. My job is to work with everybody I can, from the business community to Congress to not-for-profits, you name it, to see if we can, you know, speed up this process of healing and this process of recovery. 14:52:15 And in the meantime we will make sure that, you know, things like unemployment insurance that are there to help people during tough times like this are going to continue to be available. And if there are -- since you're in IT, if there are areas where you need to be sharpening your skills, as the young lady here mentioned, you know, we are going to make sure that there are resources available for you to be able to go back to school and do that. All right. Thank you. MR. WEINER: Thank you. That was our last question. We're going to begin to wrap it up. And before I turn it over to you for some concluding remarks, I just want to say thank you and let you know how much we appreciate the work that you're doing. I know I speak for a lot of people when I say I can't think of anything more important than creating economic opportunity when it comes to profoundly and sustainably improving the quality of an individual's life, the lives of their family members, the lives of the people that they in turn can create jobs for, and in hard-hit American cities and developing countries around the world, these folks are creating role models for the next generation of entrepreneurs and professionals that didn't even know it was possible. So on behalf of myself; on behalf of our visionary founder, Reid Hoffman, without whom none of this would have been possible; on behalf of our employees, of course our members; on behalf of our country, thank you, Mr. President. PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, the -- (applause) -- thank you so much. I -- thank you. Well, let me just say these have been terrific questions. And I so appreciate all of you taking the time to do this. I appreciated LinkedIn helping to host this. And for those of you who are viewing not in this circle, but around the country, maybe around the world, I appreciate the chance to share these ideas with you. 14:54:39 Look, we're going through a very tough time. But the one thing I want to remind everybody is that we've gone through tougher times before. And the trajectory, the trend of not just this country but also the world economy is one that's more open, one that's more linked, one that offers greater opportunity, but also one that has some hazards. If we don't prepare our people with the skills that they need to compete, we're going to have problems. If we don't make sure that we continue to have the best infrastructure in the world, we're going to have problems. If we're not continuing to invest in basic research, we're going to have challenges. If we don't get our fiscal house in order in a way that is fair and equitable so that everybody feels like they have responsibilities to not only themselves and their -- and their family, but also to the country that's given them so much opportunity, we're going to have problems. And so I am extraordinarily confident about America's long-term future. But we are going to have to make some decisions about how we move forward. And you know, what's striking to me is when we're out of Washington and I'm just talking to ordinary folks -- I don't care whether they're Republicans or Democrats -- you know, people are just looking for common sense. The majority of people agree with the prescriptions I just offered. The majority of people, by a wide margin, think we should be rebuilding our infrastructure. The majority of folks, by a wide margin, think that we should be investing in education. The majority of people, by a wide margin, think we should be investing in science and technology. And the majority of people think, by a wide margin, that we should be maintaining programs like Social Security and Medicare to provide a basic safety net. The majority of people, by a significant margin, think that the way we should close our deficit is a balance of cutting out those things that we don't need but also making sure that we've got a tax code that's fair and everybody's paying their fair share. So the problem is not outside of Washington. The problem is, is that things have gotten so ideologically driven and everybody's so focused on the next election and putting party ahead of country that we're not able to solve our problems, and that's got to change. 14:57:08 And that's why your voices are going to be so important. The reason I do these kinds of events is I want you to hear from me directly, I want to hear from you directly; but I also want your voices heard in the halls of Congress. I need everybody here to be, you know, speaking out on behalf of -- of the things that you care about and the values that made this country great, and -- and to say to -- to folks who you've elected -- say to them: We expect you to act responsibly, and not act in terms of short-term political interests; act in terms of what's going to be good for all of us over the long term. If that spirit, which all of you represent, starts -- starts asserting itself all across the country, then I'm absolutely confident the 21st century is going to be the American century just like the 20th -- 20th century was. So, thank you very much, everybody. God bless you. (Applause.) MR. WEINER: Thank you. PRESIDENT OBAMA: Thank you. (Applause.) END. WH TVL: President Barack Obama LinkedIn event in Mountain View, California - TVL POOL CUTS 15:08:11 LinkedIn event begins 15:09:23 Obama enters room 15:17:02 cu of audience members 15:17:57 ws of room 15:20:25 audience members applaud 15:24:57 event ends WH TVL: President Barack Obama departs San Jose, CA and arrives San Diego, CA 16:27:20 AF1 seen in distance, comes in for landing, taxis 16:39:00 President exits AF1, is greeted on tarmac by: San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders Congressman Bob Filner MajGen Anthony Jackson (Commanding General for Marine Corps Installations West) MajGen Andrew W. O'Donnell Jr. (3rd. Marine Air Wing Commander - used to be CO for HMX) Colonel Frank A. Richie (Base Commander) 16:41:12 President glad hands at rope line 16:44:52 President departs in limo 16:55:34 Obama at steps of Air Force One taking photo with family 16:56:02 Obama jogs up steps of Air Force One 16:56:14 Obama waves and enters Air Force One 16:56:23 Obama waves and jogs down steps of Air Force One 16:56:34 Obama glad hands 16:57:42 Obama glad hands 16:58:40 Obama walks over to gathered crowd as they cheer 16:58:57 Obama glad hands with crowd 17:01:51 Obama jogs up steps of Air Force One 17:02:04 refeed
TED KENNEDY ON "LARRY KING LIVE"
FTG OF SENATOR TED KENNEDY (D-MASS) ON CNN'S, "LARRY KING LIVE" / TED'S SON, CONGRESSMAN PATRICK KENNEDY (D-RI) CHECKED HIMSELF BACK IN TO REHAB AFTER THE 38 YEAR OLD KENNEDY WAS INVOLVED IN AN EARLY MORNING CAR ACCIDENT IN CAPITOL HILL, CLAIMING HE WAS UNDER THE INFLUENCE OF THE PRESCRIPTION DRUG, "AMBIEN" LARRY KING, CNN HOST: Tonight, Senator Ted Kennedy, one of America's most influential lawmakers from one of America's most famous families making headlines on President Bush, the immigration debate and more. Senator Ted Kennedy for the hour is next on LARRY KING LIVE. Welcome to another edition of LARRY KING LIVE and a great honor to welcome to this program, whether you agree or disagree, certainly one of the most important, greatest Senators of all time, Senator Edward M. Kennedy. We all know him of Ted Kennedy, Democrat of Massachusetts, author of the new book "America Back on Track." There you see its cover, an important work again whether you agree or disagree. Of course, he's the brother of the late president and the late Senator. He's also got a -- you got a children's book coming about a dog? SEN. EDWARD KENNEDY (D), MASSACHUSETTS: That's true. KING: How did that happen? KENNEDY: Well, I read every week at the Brent (ph) School just off the capital every Tuesday from 12:00 to 1:00 with a second grader and I've been doing it for probably 12 or 14 years and found out that they didn't have many books. And, I have two wonderful dogs and I thought, well, I'll write a book about a dog. And then it developed that the book was being told, rather than me describing the dog and how legislation was made, it's done through the dog. The dog tells the story to the children and it's coming out shortly. KING: Was that fun? KENNEDY: It was a lot of fun. It's a great dog but today, today (INAUDIBLE). KING: Today (INAUDIBLE) back on track. First though some comments on current things. I want to move right into the book. KENNEDY: Sure. KING: What do you make of the changes at the White House? KENNEDY: Well, I think it's not untypical that a president in the second term is going to make these adjustments and I think particularly given the kind of conditions that he's facing in terms of the support that he has here at home and generally around the world that he's going to make some shifts and some changes. I think the real overarching issue does this really mean a change of policy, a change in direction and priorities here at home? And, I think those are real legitimate questions and I doubt whether it will make much of a change in policy with regards to Iraq, which is the overarching issue of our time. And it's on American minds or on the issues of the explosion and the cost of gasoline and the fact that the administration is not bringing the oil companies into the White House and jawboning them or asking the Federal Trade Commission to look into it and see if there's a collusion or to suggest that unless the oil companies are going to do something about the explosion of gas prices they're going to put on some kind of excess profits tax and rebate it to hardworking Americans. I don't think we're going to get much of a change of a direction on domestic policies or in foreign policy but we'll have to see. Josh Bolten has been put in now as the president's chief of staff. KING: Do you like him? KENNEDY: Yes, I think he's a very competent person, worked with him in the past. He's tough. He's fair. He's very conservative. He's very loyal to the president. That's what a president needs and he'll serve the president well. KING: Are you surprised at his low rating? KENNEDY: Well, yes and no. I'll give it the upside is I think that the president has strong interpersonal skills. He's likable. He's agreeable. He's (INAUDIBLE). KING: You get along with him right? KENNEDY: Personally I do. But I think it's against also a background of the last several years and I think it's really been the issue of the politics of fear. We went through the period of 9/11 with this extraordinary assault on our country and Americans took that to heart. It burned very deeply. We had 188 families in my own state of Massachusetts that were directly affected by that tragedy. And the depth of sadness and loss it was so real and so deep and Americans took this across the board very deeply. But I think back in other times that this country is challenged and we were really facing almost annihilation, Cuban Missile Crisis, when we could have had a nuclear war, perhaps World War II, certainly Lincoln at the time we had the Civil War, Washington at the Revolutionary War. And, our great leaders never went to the politics of fear. They had the politics of hope. We are going to do better. We are going to come together. Americans accept a challenge and we move on from here. But it's been really the politics of fear that I think has really dominated the last four year and that has been something. It's Karl Rove's mantra to win political elections and that I think eventually catches up because -- if I could just one second further. For example, in the United States Senate when we go back now in these next couple of months, you know the two constitutional issues we're going to be facing is a constitutional amendment on same sex marriage and a constitutional amendment on flag burning in order to whip up the base, whip up their base trying to get them out rather than dealing with the kinds of challenges that people are concerned about today. And that is the cost of gasoline prices, the explosion in terms of tuition for their kids to go to school, the fact that people are concerned about whether their pensions are going to still be there now. I mean the range of different other issues, health care costs. KING: Will that override the fear issue? KENNEDY: Well, I believe so. I'm basically a politician of hope and I think people have really had enough of the past. KING: The title of your book is interesting, "Back on Track." KENNEDY: Sure. KING: When were we on track? When did it go off track? Were we on track in the Clinton years? KENNEDY: Well, let me put it in perhaps some historic times the way that I really sort of told the story in the book when I sort of entered the political process, helping my brother, seeing him get elected in the '60s. We had a sort of a whole new generation that really came back in World War II and young people had accepted great responsibility. And then they got elected, went into public service and we had a vision about the Soviet Union. We're going to have containment of the Soviet Union. We were dealing with the issues of nuclear proliferation abroad. And you know what we did here at home? We responded to the leadership of Dr. King and we addressed the issue which we have never been prepared to, which our founding fathers failed on, that is the issue of race. And we dealt with that in the early 1960s, Republicans and Democrats. The country came together, knocked down the walls of discrimination and made enormous progress. We're not there yet but we've made enormous progress and we did it on gender, knocked down the Title 9, knocked down the walls of discrimination on gender, made enormous progress to include the disabled into the American family, 42 million of those. At the same time what were we doing? We passed the Medicare program to make sure that our seniors were not going to live in poverty and be able to get health care, Medicaid to look after the neediest of the people. And also made a commitment that we were going to educate every young person that they were able to get into school and college and not say that the size of their pocketbook and wallet was going to restrict them to go to any place. And we started out with the Higher Education Act that had 80 percent in grants rather than loans, so you weren't indebting all of these younger people. We did all of this part here. This is with Democrats and Republicans. It was the vision. We were saying "What do we need to do here?" We did this and we had an economic prosperity at that time, economic growth. Americans are prepared to respond and I look at where we are at the present time. We got more of the same going on in Iraq, the disaster and incompetence and Katrina, the failing to deal with this and with the issues on health care and education and the economy, the size of the debt. And I say is it the American people or the leaders? KING: Let me take a break and come right back. The book is "Back on Track." The guest is Senator Edward Kennedy. Don't go away. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) KING: We're back with Senator Ted Kennedy. The book is "America, Back on Track." So, it went off track. Why? KENNEDY: I think it was sort of the politics of 9/11 more than 9/11, 9/11 traumatized. KING: Fear. KENNEDY: It's the politics of fear. I mean this isn't an accident. I mean, you know, Karl Rove they have the tape before the Republican National Committee, the statements and comments how we're going to win the 2004, the 2002 election, the 2006 election. We're going to win it through the politics of terror and the politics of fear. And that I've seen being effective because Americans are naturally, all people are concerned in terms of their security. I mean they're concerned with security generally about themselves and particularly about their families and they're concerned about the security, homeland security but... KING: Is the administration doing a good job in those areas? In other words, if you're playing to fear, are you doing it well in the handling of it? KENNEDY: Well, this is where I think as we're seeing Americans now are as I think they have been when given the two kind of options will go for the politics of hope and the possibilities. I think individuals, I believe very deeply do best individually when they're challenged. Our country has always done best when it's been challenged, coming out of the depression, the Second World War we always have, Korean War. Let's go. We'll go to the moon. We have always done best when challenged and when we are in this together. I think the country is prepared for that kind of challenge and change and I think it's waiting to do this. In this book we've outlined some of the areas where I think we have to get it started I think. But this sense of hope and optimism is something that I believe in very deeply and I think that is the -- that is really the future. That's what the Democrats have to offer in this election. KING: You called Iraq the overriding issue. You voted to go there or not? KENNEDY: No. The best vote I cast in the United States Senate was... KING: The best? KENNEDY: The best vote, best vote I cast in the United States Senate (INAUDIBLE). KING: In your life? KENNEDY: Absolutely. KING: Was not to go to Iraq? KENNEDY: Yes, not to go to Iraq. KING: Why did you vote against? KENNEDY: Well, I'm on the Armed Services Committee and I was inclined to support the administration when we started the hearings in the Armed Services Committee. And, it was enormously interesting to me that those that had been -- that were in the armed forces that had served in combat were universally opposed to going. I mean we had Wes Clark testify in opposition to going to war at that time. You had General Zinni. You had General (INAUDIBLE). You had General Nash. You had the series of different military officials, a number of whom had been involved in the Gulf I War, others involved in Kosovo and had distinguished records in Vietnam, battle-hardened combat military figures. And, virtually all of them said no, this is not going to work and they virtually identified... KING: And that's what moved you? KENNEDY: And that really was -- influenced me to the greatest degree. And the second point that influenced me was in the time that we were having the briefings and these were classified. They've been declassified now. Secretary Rumsfeld came up and said "There are weapons of mass destruction north, south, east and west of Baghdad." This was his testimony in the Armed Services Committee. And at that time Senator Levin, who is an enormously gifted, talented member of the Armed Services Committee said, "Well, we're now providing this information to the inspectors aren't we?" This is just before the war. "Oh, yes, we're providing that." "But are they finding anything?" "No." Because the answer was because they're moving things, because when we tell the team they're all infiltrated by Saddam's people and they're leaking that so that's the reason we're not finding anything. They started giving all the places where we said there were places and they still couldn't find any. And at the end of now, history will show we never gave any information to the inspection team at all. But I kept saying, "Well, if they're not finding any of the weapons of mass destruction, where is the imminent threat to the United States security?" It didn't make sense. There were probably eight Senators on the Friday before the Thursday we voted on it. It got up to 23. I think if that had gone on another -- we had waited another ten days, I think you may have had a different story. The sad aspect was that this administration, this president insisted that we have the vote prior to the election, prior to the election. What does that say to you that they wanted to have it so it was going to be used in the election, unlike his father that had the vote on the Gulf War after the election. I thought that was an enormously interesting and powerful historical factor and I think that's why those that rushed us to war with inadequate intelligence, carefully selected and manipulated have real accountability in why they shouldn't be held accountable. KING: We'll take a break and we'll ask you about Secretary Rumsfeld. The book is "American, Back on Track." Our guest is Senator Edward M. Kennedy. Don't go away. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) KENNEDY: None of us can foresee the course of events that will unfold if we go to war. Before Congress acts, the administration has an obligation to explain to the Congress and the American people the potential consequences of war. As of now it has not. (END VIDEO CLIP) (COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) KENNEDY: Our troops deserve better, Mr. Secretary. I think the American people deserve better. They deserve competency and they deserve the facts. In baseball it's three strikes you're out. What is it for the secretary of defense? DONALD RUMSFELD, DEFENSE SECRETARY: Well that is quite a statement. (END VIDEO CLIP) KING: We're back with Senator Kennedy. I know he was a friend of your brother's, Don Rumsfeld right? KENNEDY: Yes. KING: He was a friend of Bobby. KENNEDY: That's right. KING: What do you make of the -- and you asked him to resign some time back. KENNEDY: After Abu Ghraib. KING: Yes. What do you make of the former generals' critique? KENNEDY: Well, I think they deserve... KING: Unprecedented. KENNEDY: It's unprecedented historically, unprecedented historically and therefore they have to -- they have to be listened to. I mean you can always say, well if they felt so strong about it they could have resigned during the process. I can understand. I was in the military myself but a very junior, the private first class level, but it's always interesting to me when I listen to the generals who stand next to Don Rumsfeld, they said, "Well, any of these generals could have spoken up at the time. Anybody can speak up in any of these meetings and they'll be heard." I said, "What part of the military did you belong to? I mean tell me. Am I listening to this thing right?" I mean the fact is these are very thoughtful, serious comments that relate to the leadership issues and I think that they ought to be carefully listened to. KING: Is he incompetent? KENNEDY: No, I don't think he's incompetent. I think that there was a rush to war. This is -- I mean if you go back to look at the total history of this at the time going back to President Bush, Bush I that made the decision and judgment not to go to Baghdad, if you remember that and there was a decision then by a number of people that made the public statements that they should have gone to Baghdad and that. And, the principal architects of this war, Wolfowitz and Doug Fife and Rumsfeld were all part of the group that felt that they should have gone in. I don't think there's any question that at the time of the collapse of Afghanistan that increased the intensity to try and sort of clear up the Middle East. There was a thirst to go to war. There was no question about it. And they carefully selected and picked intelligence and off it was. And, I think that that was a catastrophic mistake. In the Armed Services Committee, of which I'm a member, I listed one day in the little six minutes that I had commanders of Navy ships that made very slight little slips as a commander, as a captain of a ship and were forced to resign on this. The Navy, the military understands that if you make a mistake on it, you pay with your career. That's very, very tough. It's one of the reasons that we have the most respect because these men and women put their life on the lines, put their life on the lines for us and then suffered many of them greatly and lost great friends defending this country. But they put their career, they make one mistake and they are gone in terms of the military and that is the way and they're still prepared to have a career in serving this country but not this crowd, this crowd made a whole series of mistakes on this thing and you don't have the accountability and this I think is (INAUDIBLE). KING: But you won't call him incompetent just wrong? KENNEDY: I don't think. He's absolutely wrong. KING: Just wrong. KENNEDY: He's wrong. KING: By the way, there are a lot of other aspects to the book. I want to discuss your father. I want to get into immigration. But I never asked you this. Where were you on 9/11? KENNEDY: I was in the Russell Office Building preparing for a hearing on education when Mrs. Bush was testifying. And the phone rang in my office. It was my wife calling. The first plane had crashed into the -- and I thought this is unusual, distressing, bizarre. And then the second plane crashed and we obviously knew it was something and tried to get a hold of Mrs. Bush and she was already in the building, in the Russell Building. And I remember going out to the door and seeing her walk down the corridor and probably the Secret Service had known just at this time but she was walking down. She was probably I don't know 50, 75 yards down the corridor walking in front of her Secret Service. She came into our office. Senator Gregg from New Hampshire was there who was going to be joining in the hearings, the ranking member or I was the ranking member. KING: What did you say to her? KENNEDY: We sat down on this in that office at this time and she was enormously elegant, dignified, a woman of great composure, strength. KING: Did you talk about the... KENNEDY: Talked, didn't have a real idea of the grasp of the situation, the depth of it but nonetheless she had her own sort of thoughts and you can imagine her thinking, her husband and children. And then just within a half hour, 45 minutes, the room right opposite my office, which is the Senate Caucus Room was filled with the press because the fact that the first lady would come up and testify on an issue at this time was on early education, which is a very important policy issue. We had worked with Mrs. Bush on this issue and we were very hopeful of getting -- making some progress. She was very interested and deserved a lot of credit for coming up and testifying, speaking to it. And it was filled with press and then she went in and just spoke very briefly to the press about how we all had to maintain our calmness and that she had been thinking of those that were affected and then she... KING: And how did you feel? KENNEDY: Well, it's... KING: Were you fearful? KENNEDY: I don't think it was so much fear. I think there was a certain aspect of you that was numb from the tragedy, the human tragedy of this extraordinary dimension of the collapse of these buildings and thinking, always think of those firefighters and people rushing in at the time they're rushing out. I mean these things are just emblazoned in your mind. You're numbed by that kind of extraordinary heroism and the incredible tragedy of people going off out of those windows at a time when, you know, there's planes around. I mean we certainly had people, the Secret Service around but you're probably as safe and secure as you could expect to be. But, my lasting impression was about the, I think the elegance of Mrs. Bush. KING: Interesting. More in a minute with Senator Ted Kennedy, don't go away. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) KENNEDY: All of us deplore the acts of terrorism that we have seen in these past minutes and our hearts reach out to all of those who have suffered, lost their lives, and are injured right now. (END VIDEO CLIP) (COMMERCIAL BREAK) KING: We're back with Senator Ted Kennedy. This book, "America Back On Track," it's not just about politics. Your father's in it. What's the angle there? KENNEDY: Well, one of the very wonderful letters that I had, my father was a wonderful letter writer to all the members, large family, nine of us. And when I was eight-years-old, I make a reference to a letter that he wrote me. And he was in London, ambassador to London, the war was on. I had been over there and sent home when the bombing really intensified in London. And he wrote me a letter about the bombing and how it was destroying people's lives and how he would hope that when I grew up that, you know, you could work to try and avoid the wars and try and work to lessen the kinds of suffering that people would have as a result of conflict and war. KING: He was quite a guy, old Joe Kennedy. Tough father? KENNEDY: Yes, but a wonderful, inspiring, loving, caring, tough. He had a sense of expectation for each of us, and that always... KING: It was high. KENNEDY: ... he was high. There was -- my niece, Amanda Smith, did a wonderful collection of letters, put them together in a book, and my older brother Joe would write back "Dear dad, I got four A's and one B plus and I'm just going to work like anything to get than B plus up to an another A." And my brother Jack would have two C's or three C's and a D and he'd be looking for his allowance. And then you could see as life went on, the letters from Jack began to get better and more eloquent. KING: How old were you when Joe was killed in World War II? KENNEDY: Well it was '44, I was 12. KING: Why is immigration suddenly a big issue? It's always been the same problem. Why now? KENNEDY: We have a -- it's really touched the souls of many people across this country in the recent times. I haven't seen anything that, unless we go back to probably the civil rights movement and the antiwar movement, that has really sort of touched a raw nerve like we saw in so many different cities. You wondered, who was organizing this? Basically, we know a lot of people that are involved with -- in labor and other communities, religious communities. But who was -- this thing was going to be spontaneous. And I think that I think touched them was the fact that the House of Representatives bill effectively criminalized any of those that had come into this country or effectively overstayed in this country. And the criminalization of this thing was really sort of a touchstone that just really boiled the community because it was in some instances, these children are born Americans. And they're seeing their parents, the danger of being deported or cold criminal aspect of it. But it's -- let me spend as much time or as little, but let me just say quickly, this is a national security issue without controlling our borders. We have to deal with it because it's a national security issue. We've got the 12 million individuals that live here who, for the most part -- there are some bad apples. But for the most part, their hopes and dreams are to make a difference in this country. I believe they want to work hard, play by the rules. If they're going to work hard, play by the rules, pay a penalty and go to the back of the line and keep their nose clean for 11 years to earn their way into being part of the American system, seems to me an appropriate way of doing this. KING: That's your bill? KENNEDY: That's the bill that Senator McCain and myself. And we have a broad coalition of Republicans and -- president isn't quite where we are, but it's a great opportunity for the president to just to push this legislation over the goal line. We'd welcome that opportunity. It's a great opportunity. We're effectively stalemated. Hopefully not, we'll have an opportunity to read this back in the Senate. But it is very close. And it's -- there is nothing like civil rights, immigration and basically the debates on AIDS that bring out sort of the rawness in terms of the debates on the floor. They bring out enormous emotion. And we can understand because we're defining, in this case, in immigration, something that people hold sacred and that is citizenship and whether ought to be able to receive it and whether conditions that they ought to be able to. And that's something that's enormously important, but it is for people that have worked hard and are part of this process that want to make a difference and here, see their children grow. For those that are here, we're getting some path towards that, is something I think is consistent with the values that we consider important. KING: Our guest is Senator Edward M. Kennedy. The book is "America Back On Track." We'll be back right. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) KENNEDY: (SPEAKING IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE) (END VIDEO CLIP) (COMMERCIAL BREAK) KING: We're back with Senator Kennedy. The book is "Back on Track." John Walsh was on the show last night. And he wanted me to ask you, and I will, about reasons on the Senate has not been able to pass the law for national registry of sex offenders. He complimented you. He said you've been a great supporter of missing kids legislation, but it's stalled. Why? KENNEDY: It should go through. I support it, and I'm very hopeful. I don't think it would take more than a couple of hours to go through it. One of the issues in the House bill, they have this legislation, but they also include the hate crimes bill. And someone who -- with others, Gordon Smith, Senator Spector, who supported the hate crimes bill, we wanted to take 45 minutes or an hour -- we've already passed the hate crimes bill -- put these together and get them to conference and get it passed. That's something that I support. I know Senator Reid does support it. KING: Will it happen? KENNEDY: I certainly hope so. It makes sense. This bill that came out of our committee is a good bill. And I strongly support it. KING: The next big -- if threat is the right word -- certainly the power that's going to be most influenced in the world is China. Right? And the Chinese president was at the White House today. How do you view that? Are they going to be our biggest rival? They're our biggest lender. We borrow from them. KENNEDY: They have -- they're going to be and are an extraordinary force. They and India. They have 650,000 engineering graduates this year. We have 72,000. And half of ours are foreign students. The Indians are graduating 350,000 engineers this year. We are finding in India and Bangalore, IBM opening up advanced research centers, Intel opening advanced research centers. Many of our top companies are going to India and beginning to go to China to do advanced research into areas of technology. And we have to understand that they're playing for serious. They're playing for keeps. And they are giving focus and attention in terms of high technology and in terms of competitiveness, all things that we -- and innovativeness. I mean, they've got -- there are a number of things, obviously, that the president is going to talk -- he's going to talk about can China be helpful with North Korea or in terms of arms control, can China be helpful in terms of refugees coming out of North Korea and treat them more humanely. He's going to talk about whether we're going to deal with some of the human rights abuses that exist in China. We're going to talk about currency fluctuations and how they manipulate their currency to disadvantage us. They're going to talk about piracy and different kinds of things. All of these items are out on the table, which are going to be considered. And they're probably going to talk about the administration's proposal in terms of providing nuclear capability to India, which is in the region, and how China is going to react to all of this. So those are all current issues. But if you're looking, what your question was, in terms of the long-term interest in seeing what is happening in China and their belief that they are the center of the universe by culture, and tradition and history, and they think they're going to have that back in another 100 years or another 200 years, we have to understand that they're in there for keeps, and we are getting an awakening call here in the United States. We are going to -- I believe the challenge is to equip every man, woman and child here in the United States to be able to compete independently as an individual with the issue of what we call globalization, the rise of China, the rise of India. And we have to prepare our country to be able to do that so that we can maintain our position as number one country in the world, economically, and, therefore, militarily. And unless we do, we're in danger of being a second-level country. KING: Wouldn't it appear to you that the tide is going the other way? KENNEDY: Well, it doesn't have to. It's not there, it's not, you know, there yet, but there's strong indicators. I mean, if you look at the scientific journals, you know, we're the United States, we're contributing 40 or 50 or 60 percent of the technical journals now, which creeping increasingly into India and to China. I mean, there are all of the indicators. But they're still not there, and there is a ways to go. What I would just say is that we got the wakeup call when the Russians fired Sputnik in the 1950s, '57. Republican president, Democratic Congress, we came together and we developed our capability to do it. We're getting the warning shots now. We ought to respond. KING: Health care is going to be a major, major, major issue. I believe -- are we the only country in the world without national health care? KENNEDY: With the exception of members of Congress. We all get health... KING: Harry Truman proposed it... KENNEDY: Proposed it. KING: ... in 1948, Norman Thomas in 1932. Why don't we...? KENNEDY: We're spending the money on this, and we have -- there's aspects of our health care -- let me just give you the encouraging aspect. We passed a good bill in Massachusetts this last week. Republicans and Democrats came together and passed a good bill in Massachusetts for our state. It wouldn't have been the one I designed, but I basically support it. And it may be something that other states are going to be able to replicate. But that is what I was mentioning, which is the sort of the theme of this bill. We can come together on big issues, and we did in that state. We had really the best of Sal DiMasi and Travaglini, our two leaders in the legislature, came together with Romney and came together with the business community in that state. And we all worked it together, and we have something that's going to make a difference to people. Those -- that's what I'm -- that's what I'm thinking about. KING: That's why the book is so important. The book is "America Back on Track." Right back with Senator Kennedy. Don't go away. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) KING: We're back with Senator Kennedy. Before I ask about Iran, you mentioned Mr. Romney. He ran against you... KENNEDY: Yes. KING: ... then became governor. A Mormon in Massachusetts became governor and is hinted at as a possible Republican nominee for president. Would he be formidable? KENNEDY: I think so. I think so. I had kind of a funny incident, when I left the floor when we finished up with our immigration bill with John McCain, he knew I was going up to be at the signing of the health bill up in Boston. He said, Ted, make sure you wrap both arms around Romney, will you? But Governor Romney, I ran against him. We have important differences, but we found ways to work together, and I think Republicans will make a mistake if they underestimate him. I mean, that's -- I think he'll do what -- he'll make his own case, but I think he'll -- he'll be a figure. KING: Iran. What do we do? KENNEDY: We welcome, first of all, always the interesting point is that the Iranian people are great people themselves are great fans of the United States. They still -- there's an enormous reservoir of goodwill. It's always rather striking about countries where the people are upset with us and the leaders go along. And this is a case where the Iranian people have that, but we've got difficult leaders, obviously. What has been important has been one, we have -- we're working with our allies rather than initially going alone with regards to Iran so that we're going to try to have a common position. And then secondly, we've also indicated a willingness to talk with them directly, which I think makes a good deal of sense. The idea that we were unwilling to talk with them made absolutely no sense whatsoever. So there are a number of different kind of options. It will be more difficult to bring matters to the national security council or the security council of the U.N. because probably have China or Russia may very well get into a situation where they might veto. But there are other kind of options in terms of trying to create a -- recognize that a nuclear Iran is a danger, certainly, to the security of the free world and to that region. KING: Do you think, Senator, they will go ahead? KENNEDY: Well either there's no reason to doubt that they're going to move ahead. And there's no -- they've indicated that. How far down the line, when they'd be able to make a weapon is something that has to be evaluated. I don't think our intelligence is enormously knowledgeable about that part of the world. I do think you'd never take the military option off the table, but I don't think it does a lot of good to be -- and you have to be prepared for any kind of a situation. But I think rattling the cards on that is not enormously useful or valuable at this time. They have some very important interests in terms of technology that they're very interested in. It's going to take a lot of skilled diplomacy and I think it's going to take a full- court press. There's no question in my mind that Iran has been emboldened by the fact that United States has waited down in Iraq. There's no question that they -- were the country that were making the steps towards building the nuclear weapon. We have the wrong information with regards to Iraq. Iran was the real danger. We went and have been involved and now spending our time in Iraq, and I think that's one of the additional mistakes. KING: We'll be back with our remaining moments with Senator Kennedy. The book, "America Back On Track," right after this. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) KING: In our remaining moments, a couple of other things, how is Ethel Kennedy doing? KENNEDY: She's fine. KING: Haven't seen her in awhile. KENNEDY: She's full of... KING: Still in McLean? KENNEDY: McLean, but the cape -- she's very much -- as she always is -- totally engaged and involved in the life of her children and her grandchildren. And they're active and involved and doing a lot of interesting things. KING: Think you can take the Senate or the House or both? KENNEDY: Oh, I believe so. KING: Both? KENNEDY: I believe so. I think the Senate is -- we've got a really superb opportunity, and my best source in the House is my son, Congressman Kennedy, and he believes that could be done in the House. I think people are really ready for new and serious leadership that's going to really really get us out of Iraq with honor and prepared to end the sort of cycle of corruption in terms of the encronyism and favoritism and special interest which they've seen too much of in Washington. KING: Do you expect Hillary to be your nominee? KENNEDY: She's certainly going to be a strong contender. We've got a contender up in Massachusetts, too, my colleague. I expect John Kerry. He hasn't told me definitely whether he's going... KING: You think he's going to try again? KENNEDY: ... I would expect John would. He came very close last time. KING: How good of a senator is Senator Clinton? KENNEDY: She's good. I'm on two committees with her. Always gives you a better insight on the human resource committee. We work in areas of education and health and then on the armed services committee. I think it gives you really a great advantage to be able to be on these committees and you work and see people in there. She's very involved, engaged, she does an incredible amount outside of the Senate. But she's certainly involved in these issues. KING: You've been there 44 years. Running again, right? KENNEDY: Yes. KING: Do you have any contenders? KENNEDY: Well out there there's always people that are interested in the challenge, so we worked hard at it and we're going to continue to work hard. KING: How long do you want to stay? KENNEDY: I say until I get the hang of it. I usually get that question from my nieces and nephews, wondering, "How long are you going to stay?" KING: But you've been called one of the great senators of all time, "Time" magazine dubbed you the deal maker. That must be a great honor to you. like the Senate, obviously. KENNEDY: I enjoy it. "Time" didn't always have that, 40 years ago, they had another reference to me. I'm not going to tell you about it if you don't know. But I have enjoyed the Senate. It's a great honor. I love representing Massachusetts. It's a terrific state. People care deeply about so many things that are so important. And there's such a wide diversity of so many different viewpoints. And they -- you learn something every time you travel around the state. KING: Is your health good? KENNEDY: It's good. I've got an old chronic back problem, most people do my age. KING: I know where that came from. A plane crash, not many people have survived a plane crash. Do you think about it a lot? KENNEDY: Well, when it's bothering me. I've always remember -- lost a great friend, Ed Moss. And I always remembered --- his father Birch Bayh really saved my life, dragged me out of that plane, risked going back to the plane because it could have gone on fire. KING: Senator Heinz died. KENNEDY: Senator Heinz died. KING: Your nephew. KENNEDY: Yes, planes are dangerous. Never fly in bad weather. If it's bad weather at all, it's very easy. I'll come next year at this time. Send me an invitation. KING: Thank you, Senator. KENNEDY: Thanks Larry, enjoyed it. KING: Senator Edward M. Kennedy, the book is "America Back On Track."
OBAMA 2013 STATE OF THE UNION / SWITCHED POOL P1
FTG OF PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA DELIVERS 2013 STATE OF THE UNION ADDRESS / SWITCHED POOL FEED Tuesday, February 12, 2013 TRANSCRIPT: President Barack Obama delivers his State of the Union address SLUG: 2030 SOTU SW RS33 83 / 2030 SOTU ISO RS34 84 AR: 16X9 DISC# NYRS: 5102 / 5106 20:41:10 VP Biden entering followed by Senator Harry Reid 20:41:16 Senator Mitch McConnell entering 20:41:21 Senator Dick Durbin entering followed by Senator Patty Murray 20:41:43 Senator Dianne Feinstein entering 20:41:57 Senator Kirsten Gillibrand entering followed by Senators John McCain, Chuck Schumer and Lindsey Graham 20:42:26 Senator Elizabeth Warren entering 20:43:26 Senator Susan Collins entering 20:43:36 Senator Bob Menendez entering 20:43:47 Senator Amy Klobuchar and Pete Sessions entering 20:45:47 Senator Claire McCaskill entering 20:49:38 Senator Al Franken entering 20:49:46 Senator Kelly Ayote entering 20:57:45 Justices enter chamber 21:00:32 Cabinet enters chamber 21:10:14 Obama enters chambers with House and Senate leadership 21:12:18 Obama kisses Sheila Jackson Lee 21:13:50 MS audience applauding as Obama walks down aisle and Biden and Boehner wait at podium 21:14:35 Obama shakes hands with Vice President Joe Biden 21:14:41 Obama shakes hands with Speaker of the House John Boehner 21:15:05 WS down aisle 21:15:25 WS Obama gives copy of speech to Boehner and Biden 21:16:12 Zoom in as Obama begins speaking (Cheers, applause.) PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: Thank you. Hey! (Cheers, applause.) Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Do I give you three right now? VICE PRESIDENT JOSEPH BIDEN: (Off mic.) SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH): Members of Congress, I have the high privilege and distinct honor of presenting to you the president of the United States. (Cheers, applause.) PRESIDENT OBAMA: Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. (Applause.) (Inaudible.) Thank you. Thank you very much. Thank you so much. Thank you. Thank you very much. Thank you. 21:16:17 Please, everybody have a -- Mr. Speaker, Mr. Vice President, members of Congress, fellow Americans, 51 years ago John F. Kennedy declared to this chamber that "the Constitution makes us not rivals for power but partners for progress." (Applause.) "It is my task," he said, "to report the state of the union; to improve it is the task of us all." Tonight, thanks to the grit and determination of the American people, there is much progress to report. After a decade of grinding war, our brave men and women in uniform are coming home. (Cheers, applause.) 21:17:32 After years of grueling recession, our businesses have created over 6 million new jobs. We buy more American cars than we have in five years and less foreign oil than we have in 20. (Applause.) Our housing market is healing, our stock market is rebounding, and consumers, patients and homeowners enjoy stronger protections than ever before. (Applause.) So together, we have cleared away the rubble of crisis, and we can say with renewed confidence that the state of our union is stronger. (Applause.) 21:18:35 But -- but we gather here knowing that there are millions of Americans whose hard work and dedication have not yet been rewarded. Our economy is adding jobs, but too many people still can't find full- time employment. Corporate profits have skyrocketed to all-time highs, but for more than a decade wages and incomes have barely budged. It is our generation's task, then, to reignite the true engine of America's economic growth -- a rising, thriving middle class. (Applause.) 21:19:19 It is -- it is our unfinished task to restore the basic bargain that built this country, the idea that if you work hard and meet your responsibilities, you can get ahead, no matter where you come from, no matter what you look like or who you love. It is our unfinished task to make sure that this government works on behalf of the many and not just the few, that it encourages free enterprise, rewards individual initiative and opens the doors of opportunity to every child across this great nation. (Applause.) 21:20:08 The American people don't expect government to solve every problem. They don't expect those of us in this chamber to agree on every issue. But they do expect us to put the nation's interests before party. (Applause.) They do expect us to forge reasonable compromise where we can -- for they know that America moves forward only when we do so together and that the responsibility of improving this union remains the task of us all. 21:20:59 Our work must begin by making some basic decisions about our budget -- decisions that will have a huge impact on the strength of our recovery. Over the last few years both parties have worked together to reduce the deficit by more than $2.5 trillion -- mostly through spending cuts but also by raising tax rates on the wealthiest 1 percent of Americans. As a result, we are more than halfway towards the goal of $4 trillion in deficit reduction that economists say we need to stabilize our finances. 21:21:36 Now we need to finish the job. And the question is, how? In 2011 Congress passed a law saying that if both parties couldn't agree on a plan to reach our deficit goal, about a trillion dollars' worth of budget cuts would automatically go into effect this year. These sudden, harsh, arbitrary cuts would jeopardize our military readiness. They'd devastate priorities like education and energy and medical research. They would certainly slow our recovery and cost us hundreds of thousands of jobs. That's why Democrats, Republicans, business leaders and economists have already said that these cuts, known here in Washington as the sequester, are a really bad idea. 21:22:31 Now, some in Congress have proposed preventing only the -- the defense cuts by making even bigger cuts to things like education and job training, Medicare and Social Security benefits. That idea is even worse. (Applause.) Yes, the biggest driver of our long-term debt is the rising cost of health care for an aging population. And those of us who care deeply about programs like Medicare must embrace the need for modest reforms. (Scattered applause.) Otherwise, our retirement programs will crowd out the investments we need for our children and jeopardize the promise of a secure retirement for future generations. 21:23:40 But we can't ask senior citizens and working families to shoulder the entire burden of deficit reduction while asking nothing more from the wealthiest and the most powerful. (Applause.) We won't grow the middle class simply by shifting the cost of health care or college onto families that are already struggling or by forcing communities to lay off more teachers and more cops and more firefighters. Most Americans -- Democrats, Republicans and independents -- understand that we can't just cut our way to prosperity. They know that broad-based economic growth requires a balanced approach to deficit reduction, with spending cuts and revenue -- (applause) -- and with everybody doing their fair share. 21:24:28 And that's the approach I offer tonight. On Medicare, I'm prepared to enact reforms that will achieve the same amount of health care savings by the beginning of the next decade as the reforms proposed by the bipartisan Simpson-Bowles commission. (Applause.) Already the Affordable Care Act is helping to slow the growth of health care costs. (Applause.) And -- and the reforms I'm proposing go even further. We'll reduce taxpayer subsidies to prescription drug companies and ask more from the wealthiest seniors. (Applause.) We'll bring down costs by changing the way our government pays for Medicare, because our medical bills shouldn't be based on the number of tests ordered or days spent in the hospital. They should be based on the quality of care that our seniors receive. (Applause.) 21:25:26 And I am open to additional reforms from both parties, so long as they don't violate the guarantee of a secure retirement. Our government shouldn't make promises we cannot keep, but we must keep the promises we've already made. (Applause.) To hit the rest of our deficit-reduction target, we should do what leaders in both parties have already suggested and save hundreds of billions of dollars by getting rid of tax loopholes and deductions for the well-off and the well-connected. After all, why would we choose to make deeper cuts to education and Medicare just to protect special-interest tax breaks? How is that fair? Why is it that deficit reduction is a big emergency justifying making cuts in Social Security benefits but not closing some loopholes? How does that promote growth? (Applause.) 21:26:36 Now is our best chance for bipartisan, comprehensive tax reform that encourages job creation and helps bring down the deficit. (Applause.) We can get this done. (Applause.) The American people deserve a tax code that helps small businesses spend less time filling out complicated forms and more time expanding and hiring, a tax code that ensures billionaires with high-powered accountants can't work the system and pay a lower rate than their hardworking secretaries, a tax code that lowers incentives to move jobs overseas and lowers tax rates for businesses and manufacturers that are creating jobs right here in the United States of America. (Applause.) That's what tax reform can deliver. That's what we can do together. (Applause.) 21:48:55 I realize that tax reform and entitlement reform will not be easy. The politics will be hard for both sides. None of us will get a hundred percent of what we want. But the alternative will cost us jobs, hurt our economy, visit hardship on millions of hardworking Americans. So let's set party interests aside and work to pass a budget that replaces reckless cuts with smart savings and wise investments in our future. And let's do it without the brinksmanship that stresses consumers and scares off investors. (Applause.) The greatest nation on earth -- the greatest nation on earth cannot keep conducting its business by drifting from one manufactured crisis to the next. We can't do it. (Applause.) 21:28:44 Let's agree -- let's agree right here, right now to keep the people's government open and pay our bills on time and always uphold the full faith and credit of the United States of America. (Applause.) The American people have worked too hard for too long rebuilding from one crisis to see their elected officials cause another. (Applause.) Now, most of us agree that a plan to reduce the deficit must be part of our agenda. But let's be clear: Deficit reduction alone is not an economic plan. (Applause.) A growing economy that creates good middle-class jobs -- that must by the north star that guides our efforts. (Applause.) Every day we should ask ourselves three questions as a nation: How do we attract more jobs to our shores? How do we equip our people with the skills they need to get those jobs? And how do we make sure that hard work leads to a decent living? 21:30:07 A year and a half ago, I put forward an American Jobs Act that independent economists said would create more than 1 million new jobs. And I thank the last Congress for passing some of that agenda. I urge this Congress -- (chuckles) -- to pass the rest. (Applause.) But tonight, I'll lay out additional proposals that are fully paid for and fully consistent with the budget framework both parties agreed to just 18 months ago. Let me repeat: Nothing I'm proposing tonight should increase our deficit by a single dime. It is not a bigger government we need, but a smarter government that sets priorities and invests in broad-based growth. (Applause.) That's what we should be looking for. 21:31:04 Our first priority is making America a magnet for new jobs in manufacturing. After shedding jobs for more than 10 years, our manufacturers have added about 500,000 jobs over the past three. Caterpillar is bringing jobs back from Japan. Ford is bringing jobs back from Mexico. And this year, Apple will start making Macs in America again. (Applause.) 21:31:34 There are things we can do, right now, to accelerate this trend. Last year, we created our first manufacturing innovation institute in Youngstown, Ohio. A once-shuttered warehouse is now a state-of-the art lab where new workers are mastering the 3-D printing that has the potential to revolutionize the way we make almost everything. There's no reason this can't happen in other towns. So tonight, I'm announcing the launch of three more of these manufacturing hubs, where businesses will partner with the Department of Defense and Energy to turn regions left behind by globalization into global centers of high-tech jobs. And I ask this Congress -- (applause) -- to help create a network of 15 of these hubs and guarantee that the next revolution in manufacturing is made right here in America. We can get that done. (Applause.) 21:32:36 Now, if we want to make the best products, we also have to invest in the best ideas. Every dollar we invested to map the human genome returned $140 to our economy, every dollar. Today our scientists are mapping the human brain to unlock the answers to Alzheimer's. They're developing drugs to regenerate damaged organs, devising new materials to make batteries 10 times more powerful. Now is not the time to gut these job-creating investments in science and innovation. Now is the time to reach a level of research and development -- (applause) -- not seen since the height of the space race. We need to make those investments. (Applause.) 21:33:37 Today no area holds more promise than our investments in American energy. After years of talking about it, we're finally poised to control our own energy future. We produce more oil at home than we have in 15 years. (Cheers, applause.) We have doubled the distance our cars will go on a gallon of gas and the amount of renewable energy we generate from sources like wind and solar, with tens of thousand of good American jobs to show for it. We produce more natural gas than ever before, and nearly everyone's energy bill is lower because of it. And over the last four years our emissions of the dangerous carbon pollution that threatens our planet have actually fallen. But for the sake of our children and our future, we must do more to combat climate change. (Applause.) 21:34:38 Now -- now, it's true that no single event makes a trend. But the fact is the 12 hottest years on record have all come in the last 15. Heat waves, droughts, wildfires, floods -- all are now more frequent and more intense. We can choose to believe that Superstorm Sandy and the most severe drought in decades and the worst wildfires some states have ever seen were all just a freak coincidence, or we can choose to believe in the overwhelming judgment of science and act before it's too late. (Applause.) 21:35:29 Now, the good news is we can make meaningful progress on this issue while driving strong economic growth. I urge this Congress to get together, pursue a bipartisan market-based solution to climate change like the one John McCain and Joe Lieberman worked on together a few years ago. But if Congress won't act soon to protect future generations, I will. I will direct -- (applause) -- I will direct my Cabinet to come up with executive actions we can take now and in the future to reduce pollution, prepare our communities for the consequences of climate change and speed the transition to more sustainable sources of energy. 21:36:20 And four years ago other countries dominated the clean energy market and the jobs that came with it, and we've begun to change that. Last year wind energy added nearly half of all new power capacity in America. So let's generate even more. Solar energy gets cheaper by the year; let's drive down costs even further. As long as countries like China keep going all-in on clean energy, so must we. In the meantime, the natural gas boom has led to cleaner power and greater energy independence. We need to encourage that. That's why my administration will keep cutting red tape and speeding up new oil and gas permits. (Applause.) That's got to be part of an all-of- the-above plan. But I also want to work with this Congress to encourage the research and technology that helps natural gas burn even cleaner and protects our air and our water. 21:37:08 In fact, much of our newfound energy is drawn from lands and waters that we, the public, own together. So tonight I propose we use some of our oil and gas revenues to fund an energy security trust that will drive new research and technology to shift our cars and trucks off oil for good. If a nonpartisan coalition of CEOs and retired generals and admirals can get behind this idea, then so can we. Let's take their advice and free our families and businesses from the painful spikes in gas prices we've put up with for far too long. I'm also issuing a new goal for America: Let's cut in half the energy wasted by our homes and businesses over the next 20 years. (Applause.) We'll work with the states to do it. Those states with the best ideas to create jobs and lower energy bills by constructing more efficient buildings will receive federal support to help make that happen. 21:38:07 America's energy sector is just one part of an aging infrastructure badly in need of repair. Ask any CEO where they'd rather locate and hire, a country with deteriorating roads and bridges or one with high-speed rail and Internet, high-tech schools, self- healing power grids. The CEO of Siemens America, a company that brought hundreds of new jobs to North Carolina, said that if we upgrade our infrastructure, they'll bring even more jobs. And that's the attitude of a lot of companies all around the world. And I know you want these job-creating projects in your district. I've seen all those ribbon-cuttings. (Laughter, scattered applause.) 21:38:58 So -- (chuckles) -- tonight I propose a "Fix-It-First" program to put people to work as soon as possible on our most urgent repairs, like the nearly 70,000 structurally deficient bridges across the country. (Cheers, applause.) And to make sure taxpayers don't shoulder the whole burden, I'm also proposing a Partnership to Rebuild America that attracts private capital to upgrade what our businesses need most: modern ports to move our goods, modern pipelines to withstand a storm, modern schools worthy of our children. (Applause.) Let's prove there's no better place to do business than here in the United States of America, and let's start right away. We can get this done. 21:39:51 And part of our rebuilding effort must also involve our housing sector. The good news is our housing market is finally healing from the collapse of 2007. Home prices are rising at the fastest pace in six years, home purchases are up nearly 50 percent, and construction is expanding again. But even with mortgage rates near a 50-year low, too many families with solid credit who want to buy a home are being rejected. Too many families who never missed a payment and want to refinance are being told no. That's holding our entire economy back. We need to fix it. Right now, there's a bill in this Congress that would give every responsible homeowner in America the chance to save $3,000 a year by refinancing at today's rates. Democrats and Republicans have supported it before. So what are we waiting for? Take a vote, and send me that bill. (Applause.) Why -- why would we be against that? Why would that be a partisan issue, helping folks refinance? Right now, overlapping regulations keep responsible young families from buying their first home. What's holding us back? Let's streamline the process and help our economy grow. 21:41:23 Now, these initiatives in manufacturing, energy, infrastructure, housing -- all these things will help entrepreneurs and small-business owners expand and create new jobs. But none of it will matter unless we also equip our citizens with the skills and training to fill those jobs. (Applause.) And that has to start at the earliest possible age. You know, study after study shows that the sooner a child begins learning, the better he or she does down the road. But today, fewer than three in 10 4-year-olds are enrolled in a high- quality preschool program. Most middle-class parents can't afford a few hundred bucks a week for a private preschool. And for poor kids who need help the most, this lack of access to preschool education can shadow them for the rest of their lives. 21:42:30 So tonight I propose working with states to make high-quality preschool available to every single child in America. That's something we should be able to do. (Cheers, applause.) Every dollar we invest in high-quality early childhood education can save more than seven dollars later on -- by boosting graduation rates, reducing teen pregnancy, even reducing violent crime. In states that make it a priority to educate our youngest children, like Georgia or Oklahoma, studies show students grow up more likely to read and do math at grade level, graduate high school, hold a job, form more stable families of their own. We know this works. So let's do what works, and make sure none of our children start the race of life already behind. Let's give our kids that chance. (Applause.) 21:43:51 Let's also make sure that a high school diploma puts our kids on a path to a good job. Right now, countries like Germany focus on graduating their high school students with the equivalent of a technical degree from one of our community colleges. So those German kids, they're ready for a job when they graduate high school. They've been trained for the jobs that are there. Now at schools like P-Tech in Brooklyn, a collaboration between New York Public Schools and City University of New York and IBM, students will graduate with a high school diploma and an associate's degree in computers or engineering. We need to give every American student opportunities like this. (Applause.) And four years ago -- four years ago we started Race to the Top, a competition that convinced almost every state to develop smarter curricula and higher standards, all for about 1 percent of what we spend on education each year. Tonight I'm announcing a new challenge: to redesign America's high schools so they better equip graduates for the demands of a high-tech economy. And we'll reward schools that develop new partnerships with colleges and employers and create classes that focus on science, technology, engineering and math, the skills today's employers are looking for to fill the jobs that are there right now and will be there in the future. 21:45:19 Now, even with better high schools, most young people will need some higher education. It's a simple fact: The more education you've got, the more likely you are to have a good job and work your way into the middle class. But today's skyrocketing costs price too many young people out of a higher education or saddle them with unsustainable debt. Through tax credits, grants and better loans, we've made college more affordable for millions of students and families over the last few years. But taxpayers can't keep on subsidizing higher and higher and higher costs for higher education. Colleges must do their part to keep costs down, and it's our job to make sure that they do. (Applause.) So, tonight I ask Congress to change the Higher Education Act so that affordability and value are included in determining which colleges receive certain types of federal aid. (Applause.) And tomorrow my administration will release a new "College Scorecard" that parents and students can use to compare schools based on a simple criteria: where you can get the most bang for your educational buck. 21:46:40 Now, to grow our middle class, our citizens have to have access to the education and training that today's jobs require. But we also have to make sure that America remains a place where everyone who's willing to work -- everybody who's willing to work hard has the chance to get ahead. Our economy is stronger when we harness the talents and ingenuity of striving, hopeful immigrants. (Scattered applause.) And right now, leaders from the business, labor, law enforcement, faith communities -- they all agree that the time has come to pass comprehensive immigration reform. (Cheers, applause.) Now's the time to do it. Now's the time to get it done. Now's the time to get it done. 21:47:40 Real reform means stronger border security, and we can build on the progress my administration's already made, putting more boots on the southern border than at any time in our history and reducing illegal crossings to their lowest levels in 40 years. Real reform means establishing a responsible pathway to earned citizenship -- a path that includes passing a background check, paying taxes and a meaningful penalty, learning English, and going to the back of the line behind the folks trying to come here legally. (Applause.) And real reform means fixing the legal immigration system to cut waiting periods and attract the highly skilled entrepreneurs -- (applause) -- and engineers that will help create jobs and grow our economy. (Cheers, applause.) 21:48:44 In other words, we know what needs to be done. And as we speak, bipartisan groups in both chambers are working diligently to draft a bill, and I applaud their efforts. So let's get this done. Send me a comprehensive immigration reform bill in the next few months, and I will sign it right away, and America will be better for it. (Applause.) Let's get it done. Let's get it done. (Applause.) 21:49:28 But we can't stop there. We know our economy is stronger when our wives, our mothers, our daughters can live their lives free from discrimination in the workplace and free from the fear of domestic violence. Today the Senate passed the Violence Against Womens (sic) Act that Joe Biden originally wrote almost 20 years ago -- (applause) -- and I now urge the House to do the same. (Cheers, applause.) Good job, Joe. And I ask this Congress to declare that women should earn a -- a living equal to their efforts and finally pass the Paycheck Fairness Act this year. (Cheers, applause.) 21:50:25 We know our economy is stronger when we reward an honest day's work with honest wages. But today, a full-time worker making the minimum wage earns $14,500 a year. Even with the tax relief we've put in place, a family with two kids that earns the minimum wage still lives below the poverty line. That's wrong. That's why, since the last time this Congress raised the minimum wage, 19 states have chosen to bump theirs even higher. Tonight, let's declare that in the wealthiest nation on Earth, no one who works full-time should have to live in poverty, and raise the federal minimum wage to $9 an hour. (Cheers, applause.) We should be able to get that done. 21:51:22 This single step would raise the incomes of millions of working families. It could mean the difference between groceries or the food bank, rent or eviction, scraping by or finally getting ahead. For businesses across the country, it would mean customers with more money in their pockets. And a whole lot of folks out there would probably need less help from government. In fact, working folks shouldn't have to wait year after year for the minimum wage to go up while CEO pay has never been higher. So here's an idea -- (applause) -- that Governor Romney and I actually agreed on last year: Let's tie the minimum wage to the cost of living, so that it finally becomes a wage you can live on. (Cheers, applause.) 21:52:20 Tonight let's also recognize that there are communities in this country where no matter how hard you work, it is virtually impossible to get ahead, factory towns decimated from years of plants packing up, inescapable pockets of poverty, urban and rural, where young adults are still fighting for their first job. America's not a place where the chance of birth or circumstance should decide our destiny. And that's why we need to build new ladders of opportunity into the middle class for all who are willing to climb them. Let's offer incentives to companies that hire Americans who've got what it takes to fill that job opening but have been out of work so long that no one will give them a chance anymore. Let's put people back to work rebuilding vacant homes in rundown neighborhoods. And this year my administration will begin to partner with 20 of the hardest-hit towns in America to get these communities back on their feet, and we'll work with local leaders to target resources at public safety and education and housing. We'll give new tax credits to businesses that hire and invest, and we'll work to strengthen families by removing the financial deterrents to marriage for low- income couples and do more to encourage fatherhood, because what makes you a man isn't the ability to conceive a child; it's having the courage to raise one. (Applause.) And we want to encourage that. We want to help that. 21:53:48 Stronger families, stronger communities, a stronger America -- it is this kind of prosperity, broad, shared, built on a thriving middle class, that has always been the source of our progress at home. It's also the foundation of our power and influence throughout the world. Tonight we stand united in saluting the troops and civilians who sacrifice every day to protect us. Because of them, we can say with confidence that America will complete its mission in Afghanistan and achieve our objective of defeating the core of al-Qaida. (Applause.) 21:54:48 Already we have brought home 33,000 of our brave servicemen and - women. This spring our forces will move into a support role while Afghan security forces take the lead. Tonight I can announce that over the next year another 34,000 American troops will come home from Afghanistan. This drawdown will continue, and by the end of next year our war in Afghanistan will be over. (Cheers, applause.) Beyond 2014 America's commitment to a unified and sovereign Afghanistan will endure, but the nature of our commitment will change. We're negotiating an agreement with the Afghan government that focuses on two missions: training and equipping Afghan forces so that the country does not again slip into chaos, and counterterrorism efforts that allow us to pursue the remnants of al-Qaida and their affiliates. 21:56:12 Today the organization that attacked us on 9/11 is a shadow of its former self. (Applause.) It's true different al-Qaida affiliates and extremist groups have emerged -- from the Arabian Peninsula to Africa. The threat these groups pose is evolving. But to meet this threat, we don't need to send tens of thousands of our sons and daughters abroad, or occupy other nations. Instead, we'll need to help countries like Yemen, Libya and Somalia provide for their own security, and help allies who take the fight to terrorists, as we have in Mali. And where necessary, through a range of capabilities, we will continue to take direct action against those terrorists who pose the gravest threat to Americans. (Applause.) 21:57:02 Now, as we do, we must enlist our values in the fight. That's why my administration has worked tirelessly to forge a durable legal and policy framework to guide our counterterrorism efforts. Throughout, we have kept Congress fully informed of our efforts. I recognize that in our democracy, no one should just take my word for it that we're doing things the right way. So in the months ahead, I will continue to engage Congress to ensure not only that our targeting, detention and prosecution of terrorists remains consistent with our laws and system of checks and balances but that our efforts are even more transparent to the American people and to the world. 21:57:56 Of course -- (applause) -- our challenges don't end with al-Qaida. America will continue to lead the effort to prevent the spread of the world's most dangerous weapons. The regime in North Korea must know they will only achieve security and prosperity by meeting their international obligations. Provocations of the sort we saw last night will only further isolate them as we stand by our allies, strengthen our own missile defense and lead the world in taking firm action in response to these threats. Likewise, the leaders of Iran must recognize that now's the time for a diplomatic solution because a coalition stands united in demanding that they meet their obligations, and we will do what is necessary to prevent them from getting a nuclear weapon. (Applause.) At the same time we'll engage Russia to seek further reductions in our nuclear arsenals and continue leading the global effort to secure nuclear materials that could fall into the wrong hands because our ability to influence others depends on our willingness to lead and meet our obligations. 21:59:13 America must also face the rapidly growing threat from cyberattacks. (Applause.) Now, we know hackers steal people's identities and infiltrate private emails. We know foreign countries and companies swipe our corporate secrets. Now our enemies are also seeking the ability to sabotage our power grid, our financial institutions, our air traffic control systems. We cannot look back years from now and wonder why we did nothing in the face of real threats to our security and our economy. And that's why earlier today I signed a new executive order that will strengthen our cyberdefenses by increasing information sharing and developing standards to protect our national security, our jobs and our privacy. (Applause.) But now -- now Congress must act as well by passing legislation to give our government a greater capacity to secure our networks and deter attacks. This is something -- (scattered applause) -- we should be able to get done on a bipartisan basis. (Applause.) 22:00:35 Now, even as we protect our people, we should remember that today's world presents not just dangers, not just threats -- it presents opportunities. To boost American exports, support American jobs and level the playing field in the growing markets of Asia, we intend to complete negotiations on a Trans-Pacific Partnership. And tonight I'm announcing that we will launch talks on a comprehensive trans-Atlantic trade and investment partnership with the European Union because trade that is fair and free across the Atlantic supports millions of good-paying American jobs. (Applause.) 22:01:25 We also don't know that progress in the most impoverished parts of our world enriches us all -- not only because it creates new markets, more stable order in certain regions of the world, but also because it's the right thing to do. You know, in many places, people live on little more than a dollar a day. So the United States will join with our allies to eradicate such extreme poverty in the next two decades by connecting more people to the global economy, by empowering women, by giving our young and brightest minds new opportunities to serve, and helping communities to feed and power and educate themselves, by saving the world's children from preventable deaths, and by realizing the promise of an AIDS-free generation, which is within our reach. (Applause.) 22:02:20 You see -- (continued applause) -- you see, America must remain a beacon to all who seek freedom during this period of historic change. I saw the power of hope last year in Rangoon, in Burma, when Aung San Suu Kyi welcomed an American president into the home where she had been imprisoned for years, when thousands of Burmese lined the streets, waving American flags, including a man who said, there is justice and law in the United States. I want our country to be like that. In defense of freedom, we'll remain the anchor of strong alliances from the Americas to Africa, from Europe to Asia. In the Middle East, we will stand with citizens as they demand their universal rights and support stable transitions to democracy. (Applause.) We know the process will be messy, and we cannot presume to dictate the course of change in countries like Egypt. But we can and will insist on respect for the fundamental rights of all people. We'll keep the pressure on a Syrian regime that has murdered its own people and support opposition leaders that respect the rights of every Syrian. And we will stand steadfast with Israel in pursuit of security and a lasting peace. (Applause.) These are the messages I'll deliver when I travel to the Middle East next month. 22:04:05 And all this work depends on the courage and sacrifice of those who serve in dangerous places at great personal risk -- our diplomats, our intelligence officers and the men and women of the United States armed forces. As long as I'm commander in chief, we will do whatever we must to protect those who serve their country abroad, and we will maintain the best military the world has ever known. (Applause.) We'll invest in new capabilities, even as we reduce waste and wartime spending. We will ensure equal treatment for all service members and equal benefits for their families, gay and straight. (Cheers, applause.) We will draw upon the courage and skills of our sisters and daughters and moms, because women have proven under fire that they are ready for combat. We will keep faith with our veterans, investing in world-class care, including mental health care, for our wounded warriors -- (applause) -- supporting our military families, giving our veterans the benefits, and education, and job opportunities that they have earned. And I want to thank my wife, Michelle, and Dr. Jill Biden for their continued dedication to serving our military families as well as they have served us. (Applause.) Thank you, honey. Thank you, Jill. (Applause.) 22:06:15 Defending our freedom, though, is not just the job of our military alone. We must all do our part to make sure our God-given rights are protected here at home. That includes one of the most fundamental rights of a democracy, the right to vote. (Cheers, applause.) Now, when -- when any American, no matter where they live or what their party, are denied that right because they can't afford to wait for five or six or seven hours just to cast their ballot, we are betraying our ideals. (Cheers, applause.) So -- so tonight I'm announcing a nonpartisan commission to improve the voting experience in America. And it definitely needs improvement. I'm asking two longtime experts in the field -- who, by the way, recently served as the top attorneys for my campaign and for Governor Romney's campaign -- to lead it. We can fix this, and we will. The American people demand it, and so does our democracy. (Cheers, applause.) 22:07:55 Of course, what I've said tonight matters little if we don't come together to protect our most precious resource, our children. It has been two months since Newtown. I know this is not the first time this country has debated how to reduce gun violence, but this time is different. Overwhelming majorities of Americans, Americans who believe in the Second Amendment, have come together around common- sense reform, like background checks that will make it harder for criminals to get their hands on a gun. (Applause.) Senators -- senators -- senators of both parties are working together on tough new laws to prevent anyone from buying guns for resale to criminals. Police chiefs are asking our help to get weapons of war and massive ammunition magazines off our streets because these police chiefs, they're tired of seeing their guys and gals being outgunned. 22:09:08 Each of these proposals deserves a vote in Congress. (Applause.) Now, if you want to vote no, that's your choice. But these proposals deserve a vote, because in the two months since Newtown, more than a thousand birthdays, graduations, anniversaries have been stolen from our lives by a bullet from a gun -- more than a thousand. 22:10:02 One of those we lost was a young girl named Hadiya Pendleton. She was 15 years old. She loved Fig Newtons and lip gloss. She was a majorette. She was so good to her friends, they all thought they were her best friend. Just three weeks ago she was here, in Washington, with her classmates, performing for her country at my inauguration. And a week later she was shot and killed in a Chicago park after school, just a mile away from my house. Hadiya's parents, Nate and Cleo, are in this chamber tonight, along with more than two dozen Americans whose lives have been torn apart by gun violence. They deserve a vote. (Applause.) They deserve a vote. (Sustained applause.) They deserve a vote. (Sustained applause.) 22:11:12 Gabby Giffords deserves a vote. (Sustained applause.) The families of Newtown deserve a vote. (Cheers, sustained applause.) The families of Aurora deserve a vote. (Sustained cheers and applause.) The families of Oak Creek and Tucson and Blacksburg and the countless other communities ripped open by gun violence -- they deserve a simple vote. (Sustained cheers and applause.) They deserve -- they deserve a simple vote. 22:11:51 Our actions will not prevent every senseless act of violence in this country. In fact, no laws, no initiatives, no administrative acts will perfectly solve all the challenges I've outlined tonight. But we were never sent here to be perfect. We were sent here to make what difference we can to secure this nation, expand opportunity, uphold our ideals through the hard, often frustrating but absolutely necessary work of self-government. We were sent here to look out for our fellow Americans the same way they look out for one another every single day, usually without fanfare, all across this country. We should follow their example. 22:12:53 We should follow the example of a New York City nurse named Menchu Sanchez. When Hurricane Sandy plunged her hospital into darkness, she wasn't thinking about how her own home was faring. Her mind was on the 20 precious newborns in her care and the rescue plan she devised that kept them all safe. We should follow the example of a North Miami woman named Desiline Victor. When Desiline arrived at her polling place, she was told the wait to vote might be six hours. And as time ticked by, her concern was not with her tired body or aching feet but whether folks like her would get to have their say. And hour after hour, a throng of people stayed in line to support her because Desiline is 102 years old -- (applause) -- and they erupted in cheers when she finally put on a sticker that read "I Voted." (Cheers, applause.) You know -- (Continued applause, cheers.) There's Desiline. (Continued applause, cheers.) 22:14:19 We should follow the example of a police officer named Brian Murphy. When a gunman opened fire on a Sikh temple in Wisconsin, Brian was the first to arrive, and he did not consider his own safety. He fought back until help arrived and ordered his fellow officers to protect the safety of the fellow Americans worshipping inside even as he lay bleeding from 12 bullet wounds. And when asked how he did that, Brian said, that's just the way we're made. That's just the way we're made. 22:15:10 We may do different jobs and wear different uniforms and hold different views than the person beside us. But as Americans, we all share the same proud title. We are citizens. It's a word that doesn't just describe our nationality or our legal status. It describes the way we're made. It describes what we believe. It captures the enduring idea that this country only works when we accept certain obligations to one another and to future generations, that our rights are wrapped up in the rights of others and that well into our third century as a nation, it remains the task of us all as citizens of these United States to be the authors of the next great chapter of our American story. 22:15:58 Thank you. God bless you, and God bless these United States of America. (Cheers, applause.) 22:16:09 Obama shakes hands with Biden, Boehner 22:24:02 Obama leaving the chamber President Obama delivered the first State of the Union speech of his second term. The President pledged to create new jobs, and revive the middle class without raising the federal deficit. Perhaps the most pivotal moment came with an impassioned plea for bipartisan action on gun control. Families of gun violence victims were in the audience, including former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords. President Obama pushed for Congress to vote on gun legislation, saying "the families of Newtown deserve a vote. The families of Aurora deserve a vote." Senator Marco Rubio delivered the Republican response, saying more taxes and increase spending will hurt the middle class. Today the focus will stay on the economy as the President takes that message on the road to Asheville, North Carolina where he will speak more on the economic development.
OBAMA 2013 STATE OF THE UNION / SWITCHED POOL P2
FTG OF PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA DELIVERS 2013 STATE OF THE UNION ADDRESS / SWITCHED POOL FEED Tuesday, February 12, 2013 TRANSCRIPT: President Barack Obama delivers his State of the Union address SLUG: 2030 SOTU SW RS33 83 / 2030 SOTU ISO RS34 84 AR: 16X9 DISC# NYRS: 5102 / 5106 20:41:10 VP Biden entering followed by Senator Harry Reid 20:41:16 Senator Mitch McConnell entering 20:41:21 Senator Dick Durbin entering followed by Senator Patty Murray 20:41:43 Senator Dianne Feinstein entering 20:41:57 Senator Kirsten Gillibrand entering followed by Senators John McCain, Chuck Schumer and Lindsey Graham 20:42:26 Senator Elizabeth Warren entering 20:43:26 Senator Susan Collins entering 20:43:36 Senator Bob Menendez entering 20:43:47 Senator Amy Klobuchar and Pete Sessions entering 20:45:47 Senator Claire McCaskill entering 20:49:38 Senator Al Franken entering 20:49:46 Senator Kelly Ayote entering 20:57:45 Justices enter chamber 21:00:32 Cabinet enters chamber 21:10:14 Obama enters chambers with House and Senate leadership 21:13:50 MS audience applauding as Obama walks down aisle and Biden and Boehner wait at podium 21:14:35 Obama shakes hands with Vice President Joe Biden 21:14:41 Obama shakes hands with Speaker of the House John Boehner 21:15:05 WS down aisle 21:15:25 WS Obama gives copy of speech to Boehner and Biden 21:16:12 Zoom in as Obama begins speaking (Cheers, applause.) PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: Thank you. Hey! (Cheers, applause.) Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Do I give you three right now? VICE PRESIDENT JOSEPH BIDEN: (Off mic.) SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH): Members of Congress, I have the high privilege and distinct honor of presenting to you the president of the United States. (Cheers, applause.) PRESIDENT OBAMA: Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. (Applause.) (Inaudible.) Thank you. Thank you very much. Thank you so much. Thank you. Thank you very much. Thank you. 21:16:17 Please, everybody have a -- Mr. Speaker, Mr. Vice President, members of Congress, fellow Americans, 51 years ago John F. Kennedy declared to this chamber that "the Constitution makes us not rivals for power but partners for progress." (Applause.) "It is my task," he said, "to report the state of the union; to improve it is the task of us all." Tonight, thanks to the grit and determination of the American people, there is much progress to report. After a decade of grinding war, our brave men and women in uniform are coming home. (Cheers, applause.) 21:17:32 After years of grueling recession, our businesses have created over 6 million new jobs. We buy more American cars than we have in five years and less foreign oil than we have in 20. (Applause.) Our housing market is healing, our stock market is rebounding, and consumers, patients and homeowners enjoy stronger protections than ever before. (Applause.) So together, we have cleared away the rubble of crisis, and we can say with renewed confidence that the state of our union is stronger. (Applause.) 21:18:35 But -- but we gather here knowing that there are millions of Americans whose hard work and dedication have not yet been rewarded. Our economy is adding jobs, but too many people still can't find full- time employment. Corporate profits have skyrocketed to all-time highs, but for more than a decade wages and incomes have barely budged. It is our generation's task, then, to reignite the true engine of America's economic growth -- a rising, thriving middle class. (Applause.) 21:19:19 It is -- it is our unfinished task to restore the basic bargain that built this country, the idea that if you work hard and meet your responsibilities, you can get ahead, no matter where you come from, no matter what you look like or who you love. It is our unfinished task to make sure that this government works on behalf of the many and not just the few, that it encourages free enterprise, rewards individual initiative and opens the doors of opportunity to every child across this great nation. (Applause.) 21:20:08 The American people don't expect government to solve every problem. They don't expect those of us in this chamber to agree on every issue. But they do expect us to put the nation's interests before party. (Applause.) They do expect us to forge reasonable compromise where we can -- for they know that America moves forward only when we do so together and that the responsibility of improving this union remains the task of us all. 21:20:59 Our work must begin by making some basic decisions about our budget -- decisions that will have a huge impact on the strength of our recovery. Over the last few years both parties have worked together to reduce the deficit by more than $2.5 trillion -- mostly through spending cuts but also by raising tax rates on the wealthiest 1 percent of Americans. As a result, we are more than halfway towards the goal of $4 trillion in deficit reduction that economists say we need to stabilize our finances. 21:21:36 Now we need to finish the job. And the question is, how? In 2011 Congress passed a law saying that if both parties couldn't agree on a plan to reach our deficit goal, about a trillion dollars' worth of budget cuts would automatically go into effect this year. These sudden, harsh, arbitrary cuts would jeopardize our military readiness. They'd devastate priorities like education and energy and medical research. They would certainly slow our recovery and cost us hundreds of thousands of jobs. That's why Democrats, Republicans, business leaders and economists have already said that these cuts, known here in Washington as the sequester, are a really bad idea. 21:22:31 Now, some in Congress have proposed preventing only the -- the defense cuts by making even bigger cuts to things like education and job training, Medicare and Social Security benefits. That idea is even worse. (Applause.) Yes, the biggest driver of our long-term debt is the rising cost of health care for an aging population. And those of us who care deeply about programs like Medicare must embrace the need for modest reforms. (Scattered applause.) Otherwise, our retirement programs will crowd out the investments we need for our children and jeopardize the promise of a secure retirement for future generations. 21:23:40 But we can't ask senior citizens and working families to shoulder the entire burden of deficit reduction while asking nothing more from the wealthiest and the most powerful. (Applause.) We won't grow the middle class simply by shifting the cost of health care or college onto families that are already struggling or by forcing communities to lay off more teachers and more cops and more firefighters. Most Americans -- Democrats, Republicans and independents -- understand that we can't just cut our way to prosperity. They know that broad-based economic growth requires a balanced approach to deficit reduction, with spending cuts and revenue -- (applause) -- and with everybody doing their fair share. 21:24:28 And that's the approach I offer tonight. On Medicare, I'm prepared to enact reforms that will achieve the same amount of health care savings by the beginning of the next decade as the reforms proposed by the bipartisan Simpson-Bowles commission. (Applause.) Already the Affordable Care Act is helping to slow the growth of health care costs. (Applause.) And -- and the reforms I'm proposing go even further. We'll reduce taxpayer subsidies to prescription drug companies and ask more from the wealthiest seniors. (Applause.) We'll bring down costs by changing the way our government pays for Medicare, because our medical bills shouldn't be based on the number of tests ordered or days spent in the hospital. They should be based on the quality of care that our seniors receive. (Applause.) 21:25:26 And I am open to additional reforms from both parties, so long as they don't violate the guarantee of a secure retirement. Our government shouldn't make promises we cannot keep, but we must keep the promises we've already made. (Applause.) To hit the rest of our deficit-reduction target, we should do what leaders in both parties have already suggested and save hundreds of billions of dollars by getting rid of tax loopholes and deductions for the well-off and the well-connected. After all, why would we choose to make deeper cuts to education and Medicare just to protect special-interest tax breaks? How is that fair? Why is it that deficit reduction is a big emergency justifying making cuts in Social Security benefits but not closing some loopholes? How does that promote growth? (Applause.) 21:26:36 Now is our best chance for bipartisan, comprehensive tax reform that encourages job creation and helps bring down the deficit. (Applause.) We can get this done. (Applause.) The American people deserve a tax code that helps small businesses spend less time filling out complicated forms and more time expanding and hiring, a tax code that ensures billionaires with high-powered accountants can't work the system and pay a lower rate than their hardworking secretaries, a tax code that lowers incentives to move jobs overseas and lowers tax rates for businesses and manufacturers that are creating jobs right here in the United States of America. (Applause.) That's what tax reform can deliver. That's what we can do together. (Applause.) 21:48:55 I realize that tax reform and entitlement reform will not be easy. The politics will be hard for both sides. None of us will get a hundred percent of what we want. But the alternative will cost us jobs, hurt our economy, visit hardship on millions of hardworking Americans. So let's set party interests aside and work to pass a budget that replaces reckless cuts with smart savings and wise investments in our future. And let's do it without the brinksmanship that stresses consumers and scares off investors. (Applause.) The greatest nation on earth -- the greatest nation on earth cannot keep conducting its business by drifting from one manufactured crisis to the next. We can't do it. (Applause.) 21:28:44 Let's agree -- let's agree right here, right now to keep the people's government open and pay our bills on time and always uphold the full faith and credit of the United States of America. (Applause.) The American people have worked too hard for too long rebuilding from one crisis to see their elected officials cause another. (Applause.) Now, most of us agree that a plan to reduce the deficit must be part of our agenda. But let's be clear: Deficit reduction alone is not an economic plan. (Applause.) A growing economy that creates good middle-class jobs -- that must by the north star that guides our efforts. (Applause.) Every day we should ask ourselves three questions as a nation: How do we attract more jobs to our shores? How do we equip our people with the skills they need to get those jobs? And how do we make sure that hard work leads to a decent living? 21:30:07 A year and a half ago, I put forward an American Jobs Act that independent economists said would create more than 1 million new jobs. And I thank the last Congress for passing some of that agenda. I urge this Congress -- (chuckles) -- to pass the rest. (Applause.) But tonight, I'll lay out additional proposals that are fully paid for and fully consistent with the budget framework both parties agreed to just 18 months ago. Let me repeat: Nothing I'm proposing tonight should increase our deficit by a single dime. It is not a bigger government we need, but a smarter government that sets priorities and invests in broad-based growth. (Applause.) That's what we should be looking for. 21:31:04 Our first priority is making America a magnet for new jobs in manufacturing. After shedding jobs for more than 10 years, our manufacturers have added about 500,000 jobs over the past three. Caterpillar is bringing jobs back from Japan. Ford is bringing jobs back from Mexico. And this year, Apple will start making Macs in America again. (Applause.) 21:31:34 There are things we can do, right now, to accelerate this trend. Last year, we created our first manufacturing innovation institute in Youngstown, Ohio. A once-shuttered warehouse is now a state-of-the art lab where new workers are mastering the 3-D printing that has the potential to revolutionize the way we make almost everything. There's no reason this can't happen in other towns. So tonight, I'm announcing the launch of three more of these manufacturing hubs, where businesses will partner with the Department of Defense and Energy to turn regions left behind by globalization into global centers of high-tech jobs. And I ask this Congress -- (applause) -- to help create a network of 15 of these hubs and guarantee that the next revolution in manufacturing is made right here in America. We can get that done. (Applause.) 21:32:36 Now, if we want to make the best products, we also have to invest in the best ideas. Every dollar we invested to map the human genome returned $140 to our economy, every dollar. Today our scientists are mapping the human brain to unlock the answers to Alzheimer's. They're developing drugs to regenerate damaged organs, devising new materials to make batteries 10 times more powerful. Now is not the time to gut these job-creating investments in science and innovation. Now is the time to reach a level of research and development -- (applause) -- not seen since the height of the space race. We need to make those investments. (Applause.) 21:33:37 Today no area holds more promise than our investments in American energy. After years of talking about it, we're finally poised to control our own energy future. We produce more oil at home than we have in 15 years. (Cheers, applause.) We have doubled the distance our cars will go on a gallon of gas and the amount of renewable energy we generate from sources like wind and solar, with tens of thousand of good American jobs to show for it. We produce more natural gas than ever before, and nearly everyone's energy bill is lower because of it. And over the last four years our emissions of the dangerous carbon pollution that threatens our planet have actually fallen. But for the sake of our children and our future, we must do more to combat climate change. (Applause.) 21:34:38 Now -- now, it's true that no single event makes a trend. But the fact is the 12 hottest years on record have all come in the last 15. Heat waves, droughts, wildfires, floods -- all are now more frequent and more intense. We can choose to believe that Superstorm Sandy and the most severe drought in decades and the worst wildfires some states have ever seen were all just a freak coincidence, or we can choose to believe in the overwhelming judgment of science and act before it's too late. (Applause.) 21:35:29 Now, the good news is we can make meaningful progress on this issue while driving strong economic growth. I urge this Congress to get together, pursue a bipartisan market-based solution to climate change like the one John McCain and Joe Lieberman worked on together a few years ago. But if Congress won't act soon to protect future generations, I will. I will direct -- (applause) -- I will direct my Cabinet to come up with executive actions we can take now and in the future to reduce pollution, prepare our communities for the consequences of climate change and speed the transition to more sustainable sources of energy. 21:36:20 And four years ago other countries dominated the clean energy market and the jobs that came with it, and we've begun to change that. Last year wind energy added nearly half of all new power capacity in America. So let's generate even more. Solar energy gets cheaper by the year; let's drive down costs even further. As long as countries like China keep going all-in on clean energy, so must we. In the meantime, the natural gas boom has led to cleaner power and greater energy independence. We need to encourage that. That's why my administration will keep cutting red tape and speeding up new oil and gas permits. (Applause.) That's got to be part of an all-of- the-above plan. But I also want to work with this Congress to encourage the research and technology that helps natural gas burn even cleaner and protects our air and our water. 21:37:08 In fact, much of our newfound energy is drawn from lands and waters that we, the public, own together. So tonight I propose we use some of our oil and gas revenues to fund an energy security trust that will drive new research and technology to shift our cars and trucks off oil for good. If a nonpartisan coalition of CEOs and retired generals and admirals can get behind this idea, then so can we. Let's take their advice and free our families and businesses from the painful spikes in gas prices we've put up with for far too long. I'm also issuing a new goal for America: Let's cut in half the energy wasted by our homes and businesses over the next 20 years. (Applause.) We'll work with the states to do it. Those states with the best ideas to create jobs and lower energy bills by constructing more efficient buildings will receive federal support to help make that happen. 21:38:07 America's energy sector is just one part of an aging infrastructure badly in need of repair. Ask any CEO where they'd rather locate and hire, a country with deteriorating roads and bridges or one with high-speed rail and Internet, high-tech schools, self- healing power grids. The CEO of Siemens America, a company that brought hundreds of new jobs to North Carolina, said that if we upgrade our infrastructure, they'll bring even more jobs. And that's the attitude of a lot of companies all around the world. And I know you want these job-creating projects in your district. I've seen all those ribbon-cuttings. (Laughter, scattered applause.) 21:38:58 So -- (chuckles) -- tonight I propose a "Fix-It-First" program to put people to work as soon as possible on our most urgent repairs, like the nearly 70,000 structurally deficient bridges across the country. (Cheers, applause.) And to make sure taxpayers don't shoulder the whole burden, I'm also proposing a Partnership to Rebuild America that attracts private capital to upgrade what our businesses need most: modern ports to move our goods, modern pipelines to withstand a storm, modern schools worthy of our children. (Applause.) Let's prove there's no better place to do business than here in the United States of America, and let's start right away. We can get this done. 21:39:51 And part of our rebuilding effort must also involve our housing sector. The good news is our housing market is finally healing from the collapse of 2007. Home prices are rising at the fastest pace in six years, home purchases are up nearly 50 percent, and construction is expanding again. But even with mortgage rates near a 50-year low, too many families with solid credit who want to buy a home are being rejected. Too many families who never missed a payment and want to refinance are being told no. That's holding our entire economy back. We need to fix it. Right now, there's a bill in this Congress that would give every responsible homeowner in America the chance to save $3,000 a year by refinancing at today's rates. Democrats and Republicans have supported it before. So what are we waiting for? Take a vote, and send me that bill. (Applause.) Why -- why would we be against that? Why would that be a partisan issue, helping folks refinance? Right now, overlapping regulations keep responsible young families from buying their first home. What's holding us back? Let's streamline the process and help our economy grow. 21:41:23 Now, these initiatives in manufacturing, energy, infrastructure, housing -- all these things will help entrepreneurs and small-business owners expand and create new jobs. But none of it will matter unless we also equip our citizens with the skills and training to fill those jobs. (Applause.) And that has to start at the earliest possible age. You know, study after study shows that the sooner a child begins learning, the better he or she does down the road. But today, fewer than three in 10 4-year-olds are enrolled in a high- quality preschool program. Most middle-class parents can't afford a few hundred bucks a week for a private preschool. And for poor kids who need help the most, this lack of access to preschool education can shadow them for the rest of their lives. 21:42:30 So tonight I propose working with states to make high-quality preschool available to every single child in America. That's something we should be able to do. (Cheers, applause.) Every dollar we invest in high-quality early childhood education can save more than seven dollars later on -- by boosting graduation rates, reducing teen pregnancy, even reducing violent crime. In states that make it a priority to educate our youngest children, like Georgia or Oklahoma, studies show students grow up more likely to read and do math at grade level, graduate high school, hold a job, form more stable families of their own. We know this works. So let's do what works, and make sure none of our children start the race of life already behind. Let's give our kids that chance. (Applause.) 21:43:51 Let's also make sure that a high school diploma puts our kids on a path to a good job. Right now, countries like Germany focus on graduating their high school students with the equivalent of a technical degree from one of our community colleges. So those German kids, they're ready for a job when they graduate high school. They've been trained for the jobs that are there. Now at schools like P-Tech in Brooklyn, a collaboration between New York Public Schools and City University of New York and IBM, students will graduate with a high school diploma and an associate's degree in computers or engineering. We need to give every American student opportunities like this. (Applause.) And four years ago -- four years ago we started Race to the Top, a competition that convinced almost every state to develop smarter curricula and higher standards, all for about 1 percent of what we spend on education each year. Tonight I'm announcing a new challenge: to redesign America's high schools so they better equip graduates for the demands of a high-tech economy. And we'll reward schools that develop new partnerships with colleges and employers and create classes that focus on science, technology, engineering and math, the skills today's employers are looking for to fill the jobs that are there right now and will be there in the future. 21:45:19 Now, even with better high schools, most young people will need some higher education. It's a simple fact: The more education you've got, the more likely you are to have a good job and work your way into the middle class. But today's skyrocketing costs price too many young people out of a higher education or saddle them with unsustainable debt. Through tax credits, grants and better loans, we've made college more affordable for millions of students and families over the last few years. But taxpayers can't keep on subsidizing higher and higher and higher costs for higher education. Colleges must do their part to keep costs down, and it's our job to make sure that they do. (Applause.) So, tonight I ask Congress to change the Higher Education Act so that affordability and value are included in determining which colleges receive certain types of federal aid. (Applause.) And tomorrow my administration will release a new "College Scorecard" that parents and students can use to compare schools based on a simple criteria: where you can get the most bang for your educational buck. 21:46:40 Now, to grow our middle class, our citizens have to have access to the education and training that today's jobs require. But we also have to make sure that America remains a place where everyone who's willing to work -- everybody who's willing to work hard has the chance to get ahead. Our economy is stronger when we harness the talents and ingenuity of striving, hopeful immigrants. (Scattered applause.) And right now, leaders from the business, labor, law enforcement, faith communities -- they all agree that the time has come to pass comprehensive immigration reform. (Cheers, applause.) Now's the time to do it. Now's the time to get it done. Now's the time to get it done. 21:47:40 Real reform means stronger border security, and we can build on the progress my administration's already made, putting more boots on the southern border than at any time in our history and reducing illegal crossings to their lowest levels in 40 years. Real reform means establishing a responsible pathway to earned citizenship -- a path that includes passing a background check, paying taxes and a meaningful penalty, learning English, and going to the back of the line behind the folks trying to come here legally. (Applause.) And real reform means fixing the legal immigration system to cut waiting periods and attract the highly skilled entrepreneurs -- (applause) -- and engineers that will help create jobs and grow our economy. (Cheers, applause.) 21:48:44 In other words, we know what needs to be done. And as we speak, bipartisan groups in both chambers are working diligently to draft a bill, and I applaud their efforts. So let's get this done. Send me a comprehensive immigration reform bill in the next few months, and I will sign it right away, and America will be better for it. (Applause.) Let's get it done. Let's get it done. (Applause.) 21:49:28 But we can't stop there. We know our economy is stronger when our wives, our mothers, our daughters can live their lives free from discrimination in the workplace and free from the fear of domestic violence. Today the Senate passed the Violence Against Womens (sic) Act that Joe Biden originally wrote almost 20 years ago -- (applause) -- and I now urge the House to do the same. (Cheers, applause.) Good job, Joe. And I ask this Congress to declare that women should earn a -- a living equal to their efforts and finally pass the Paycheck Fairness Act this year. (Cheers, applause.) 21:50:25 We know our economy is stronger when we reward an honest day's work with honest wages. But today, a full-time worker making the minimum wage earns $14,500 a year. Even with the tax relief we've put in place, a family with two kids that earns the minimum wage still lives below the poverty line. That's wrong. That's why, since the last time this Congress raised the minimum wage, 19 states have chosen to bump theirs even higher. Tonight, let's declare that in the wealthiest nation on Earth, no one who works full-time should have to live in poverty, and raise the federal minimum wage to $9 an hour. (Cheers, applause.) We should be able to get that done. 21:51:22 This single step would raise the incomes of millions of working families. It could mean the difference between groceries or the food bank, rent or eviction, scraping by or finally getting ahead. For businesses across the country, it would mean customers with more money in their pockets. And a whole lot of folks out there would probably need less help from government. In fact, working folks shouldn't have to wait year after year for the minimum wage to go up while CEO pay has never been higher. So here's an idea -- (applause) -- that Governor Romney and I actually agreed on last year: Let's tie the minimum wage to the cost of living, so that it finally becomes a wage you can live on. (Cheers, applause.) 21:52:20 Tonight let's also recognize that there are communities in this country where no matter how hard you work, it is virtually impossible to get ahead, factory towns decimated from years of plants packing up, inescapable pockets of poverty, urban and rural, where young adults are still fighting for their first job. America's not a place where the chance of birth or circumstance should decide our destiny. And that's why we need to build new ladders of opportunity into the middle class for all who are willing to climb them. Let's offer incentives to companies that hire Americans who've got what it takes to fill that job opening but have been out of work so long that no one will give them a chance anymore. Let's put people back to work rebuilding vacant homes in rundown neighborhoods. And this year my administration will begin to partner with 20 of the hardest-hit towns in America to get these communities back on their feet, and we'll work with local leaders to target resources at public safety and education and housing. We'll give new tax credits to businesses that hire and invest, and we'll work to strengthen families by removing the financial deterrents to marriage for low- income couples and do more to encourage fatherhood, because what makes you a man isn't the ability to conceive a child; it's having the courage to raise one. (Applause.) And we want to encourage that. We want to help that. 21:53:48 Stronger families, stronger communities, a stronger America -- it is this kind of prosperity, broad, shared, built on a thriving middle class, that has always been the source of our progress at home. It's also the foundation of our power and influence throughout the world. Tonight we stand united in saluting the troops and civilians who sacrifice every day to protect us. Because of them, we can say with confidence that America will complete its mission in Afghanistan and achieve our objective of defeating the core of al-Qaida. (Applause.) 21:54:48 Already we have brought home 33,000 of our brave servicemen and - women. This spring our forces will move into a support role while Afghan security forces take the lead. Tonight I can announce that over the next year another 34,000 American troops will come home from Afghanistan. This drawdown will continue, and by the end of next year our war in Afghanistan will be over. (Cheers, applause.) Beyond 2014 America's commitment to a unified and sovereign Afghanistan will endure, but the nature of our commitment will change. We're negotiating an agreement with the Afghan government that focuses on two missions: training and equipping Afghan forces so that the country does not again slip into chaos, and counterterrorism efforts that allow us to pursue the remnants of al-Qaida and their affiliates. 21:56:12 Today the organization that attacked us on 9/11 is a shadow of its former self. (Applause.) It's true different al-Qaida affiliates and extremist groups have emerged -- from the Arabian Peninsula to Africa. The threat these groups pose is evolving. But to meet this threat, we don't need to send tens of thousands of our sons and daughters abroad, or occupy other nations. Instead, we'll need to help countries like Yemen, Libya and Somalia provide for their own security, and help allies who take the fight to terrorists, as we have in Mali. And where necessary, through a range of capabilities, we will continue to take direct action against those terrorists who pose the gravest threat to Americans. (Applause.) 21:57:02 Now, as we do, we must enlist our values in the fight. That's why my administration has worked tirelessly to forge a durable legal and policy framework to guide our counterterrorism efforts. Throughout, we have kept Congress fully informed of our efforts. I recognize that in our democracy, no one should just take my word for it that we're doing things the right way. So in the months ahead, I will continue to engage Congress to ensure not only that our targeting, detention and prosecution of terrorists remains consistent with our laws and system of checks and balances but that our efforts are even more transparent to the American people and to the world. 21:57:56 Of course -- (applause) -- our challenges don't end with al-Qaida. America will continue to lead the effort to prevent the spread of the world's most dangerous weapons. The regime in North Korea must know they will only achieve security and prosperity by meeting their international obligations. Provocations of the sort we saw last night will only further isolate them as we stand by our allies, strengthen our own missile defense and lead the world in taking firm action in response to these threats. Likewise, the leaders of Iran must recognize that now's the time for a diplomatic solution because a coalition stands united in demanding that they meet their obligations, and we will do what is necessary to prevent them from getting a nuclear weapon. (Applause.) At the same time we'll engage Russia to seek further reductions in our nuclear arsenals and continue leading the global effort to secure nuclear materials that could fall into the wrong hands because our ability to influence others depends on our willingness to lead and meet our obligations. 21:59:13 America must also face the rapidly growing threat from cyberattacks. (Applause.) Now, we know hackers steal people's identities and infiltrate private emails. We know foreign countries and companies swipe our corporate secrets. Now our enemies are also seeking the ability to sabotage our power grid, our financial institutions, our air traffic control systems. We cannot look back years from now and wonder why we did nothing in the face of real threats to our security and our economy. And that's why earlier today I signed a new executive order that will strengthen our cyberdefenses by increasing information sharing and developing standards to protect our national security, our jobs and our privacy. (Applause.) But now -- now Congress must act as well by passing legislation to give our government a greater capacity to secure our networks and deter attacks. This is something -- (scattered applause) -- we should be able to get done on a bipartisan basis. (Applause.) 22:00:35 Now, even as we protect our people, we should remember that today's world presents not just dangers, not just threats -- it presents opportunities. To boost American exports, support American jobs and level the playing field in the growing markets of Asia, we intend to complete negotiations on a Trans-Pacific Partnership. And tonight I'm announcing that we will launch talks on a comprehensive trans-Atlantic trade and investment partnership with the European Union because trade that is fair and free across the Atlantic supports millions of good-paying American jobs. (Applause.) 22:01:25 We also don't know that progress in the most impoverished parts of our world enriches us all -- not only because it creates new markets, more stable order in certain regions of the world, but also because it's the right thing to do. You know, in many places, people live on little more than a dollar a day. So the United States will join with our allies to eradicate such extreme poverty in the next two decades by connecting more people to the global economy, by empowering women, by giving our young and brightest minds new opportunities to serve, and helping communities to feed and power and educate themselves, by saving the world's children from preventable deaths, and by realizing the promise of an AIDS-free generation, which is within our reach. (Applause.) 22:02:20 You see -- (continued applause) -- you see, America must remain a beacon to all who seek freedom during this period of historic change. I saw the power of hope last year in Rangoon, in Burma, when Aung San Suu Kyi welcomed an American president into the home where she had been imprisoned for years, when thousands of Burmese lined the streets, waving American flags, including a man who said, there is justice and law in the United States. I want our country to be like that. In defense of freedom, we'll remain the anchor of strong alliances from the Americas to Africa, from Europe to Asia. In the Middle East, we will stand with citizens as they demand their universal rights and support stable transitions to democracy. (Applause.) We know the process will be messy, and we cannot presume to dictate the course of change in countries like Egypt. But we can and will insist on respect for the fundamental rights of all people. We'll keep the pressure on a Syrian regime that has murdered its own people and support opposition leaders that respect the rights of every Syrian. And we will stand steadfast with Israel in pursuit of security and a lasting peace. (Applause.) These are the messages I'll deliver when I travel to the Middle East next month. 22:04:05 And all this work depends on the courage and sacrifice of those who serve in dangerous places at great personal risk -- our diplomats, our intelligence officers and the men and women of the United States armed forces. As long as I'm commander in chief, we will do whatever we must to protect those who serve their country abroad, and we will maintain the best military the world has ever known. (Applause.) We'll invest in new capabilities, even as we reduce waste and wartime spending. We will ensure equal treatment for all service members and equal benefits for their families, gay and straight. (Cheers, applause.) We will draw upon the courage and skills of our sisters and daughters and moms, because women have proven under fire that they are ready for combat. We will keep faith with our veterans, investing in world-class care, including mental health care, for our wounded warriors -- (applause) -- supporting our military families, giving our veterans the benefits, and education, and job opportunities that they have earned. And I want to thank my wife, Michelle, and Dr. Jill Biden for their continued dedication to serving our military families as well as they have served us. (Applause.) Thank you, honey. Thank you, Jill. (Applause.) 22:06:15 Defending our freedom, though, is not just the job of our military alone. We must all do our part to make sure our God-given rights are protected here at home. That includes one of the most fundamental rights of a democracy, the right to vote. (Cheers, applause.) Now, when -- when any American, no matter where they live or what their party, are denied that right because they can't afford to wait for five or six or seven hours just to cast their ballot, we are betraying our ideals. (Cheers, applause.) So -- so tonight I'm announcing a nonpartisan commission to improve the voting experience in America. And it definitely needs improvement. I'm asking two longtime experts in the field -- who, by the way, recently served as the top attorneys for my campaign and for Governor Romney's campaign -- to lead it. We can fix this, and we will. The American people demand it, and so does our democracy. (Cheers, applause.) 22:07:55 Of course, what I've said tonight matters little if we don't come together to protect our most precious resource, our children. It has been two months since Newtown. I know this is not the first time this country has debated how to reduce gun violence, but this time is different. Overwhelming majorities of Americans, Americans who believe in the Second Amendment, have come together around common- sense reform, like background checks that will make it harder for criminals to get their hands on a gun. (Applause.) Senators -- senators -- senators of both parties are working together on tough new laws to prevent anyone from buying guns for resale to criminals. Police chiefs are asking our help to get weapons of war and massive ammunition magazines off our streets because these police chiefs, they're tired of seeing their guys and gals being outgunned. 22:09:08 Each of these proposals deserves a vote in Congress. (Applause.) Now, if you want to vote no, that's your choice. But these proposals deserve a vote, because in the two months since Newtown, more than a thousand birthdays, graduations, anniversaries have been stolen from our lives by a bullet from a gun -- more than a thousand. 22:10:02 One of those we lost was a young girl named Hadiya Pendleton. She was 15 years old. She loved Fig Newtons and lip gloss. She was a majorette. She was so good to her friends, they all thought they were her best friend. Just three weeks ago she was here, in Washington, with her classmates, performing for her country at my inauguration. And a week later she was shot and killed in a Chicago park after school, just a mile away from my house. Hadiya's parents, Nate and Cleo, are in this chamber tonight, along with more than two dozen Americans whose lives have been torn apart by gun violence. They deserve a vote. (Applause.) They deserve a vote. (Sustained applause.) They deserve a vote. (Sustained applause.) 22:11:12 Gabby Giffords deserves a vote. (Sustained applause.) The families of Newtown deserve a vote. (Cheers, sustained applause.) The families of Aurora deserve a vote. (Sustained cheers and applause.) The families of Oak Creek and Tucson and Blacksburg and the countless other communities ripped open by gun violence -- they deserve a simple vote. (Sustained cheers and applause.) They deserve -- they deserve a simple vote. 22:11:51 Our actions will not prevent every senseless act of violence in this country. In fact, no laws, no initiatives, no administrative acts will perfectly solve all the challenges I've outlined tonight. But we were never sent here to be perfect. We were sent here to make what difference we can to secure this nation, expand opportunity, uphold our ideals through the hard, often frustrating but absolutely necessary work of self-government. We were sent here to look out for our fellow Americans the same way they look out for one another every single day, usually without fanfare, all across this country. We should follow their example. 22:12:53 We should follow the example of a New York City nurse named Menchu Sanchez. When Hurricane Sandy plunged her hospital into darkness, she wasn't thinking about how her own home was faring. Her mind was on the 20 precious newborns in her care and the rescue plan she devised that kept them all safe. We should follow the example of a North Miami woman named Desiline Victor. When Desiline arrived at her polling place, she was told the wait to vote might be six hours. And as time ticked by, her concern was not with her tired body or aching feet but whether folks like her would get to have their say. And hour after hour, a throng of people stayed in line to support her because Desiline is 102 years old -- (applause) -- and they erupted in cheers when she finally put on a sticker that read "I Voted." (Cheers, applause.) You know -- (Continued applause, cheers.) There's Desiline. (Continued applause, cheers.) 22:14:19 We should follow the example of a police officer named Brian Murphy. When a gunman opened fire on a Sikh temple in Wisconsin, Brian was the first to arrive, and he did not consider his own safety. He fought back until help arrived and ordered his fellow officers to protect the safety of the fellow Americans worshipping inside even as he lay bleeding from 12 bullet wounds. And when asked how he did that, Brian said, that's just the way we're made. That's just the way we're made. 22:15:10 We may do different jobs and wear different uniforms and hold different views than the person beside us. But as Americans, we all share the same proud title. We are citizens. It's a word that doesn't just describe our nationality or our legal status. It describes the way we're made. It describes what we believe. It captures the enduring idea that this country only works when we accept certain obligations to one another and to future generations, that our rights are wrapped up in the rights of others and that well into our third century as a nation, it remains the task of us all as citizens of these United States to be the authors of the next great chapter of our American story. 22:15:58 Thank you. God bless you, and God bless these United States of America. (Cheers, applause.) 22:16:09 Obama shakes hands with Biden, Boehner 22:24:02 Obama leaving the chamber President Obama delivered the first State of the Union speech of his second term. The President pledged to create new jobs, and revive the middle class without raising the federal deficit. Perhaps the most pivotal moment came with an impassioned plea for bipartisan action on gun control. Families of gun violence victims were in the audience, including former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords. President Obama pushed for Congress to vote on gun legislation, saying "the families of Newtown deserve a vote. The families of Aurora deserve a vote." Senator Marco Rubio delivered the Republican response, saying more taxes and increase spending will hurt the middle class. Today the focus will stay on the economy as the President takes that message on the road to Asheville, North Carolina where he will speak more on the economic development.
OBAMA 2013 STATE OF THE UNION / HEAD ON P1
FTG OF PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA DELIVERS 2013 STATE OF THE UNION ADDRESS / HEAD ON Tuesday, February 12, 2013 TRANSCRIPT: President Barack Obama delivers his State of the Union address SLUG: 2030 SOTU SW RS33 83 / 2030 SOTU ISO RS34 84 AR: 16X9 DISC# NYRS: 5102 / 5106 20:41:10 VP Biden entering followed by Senator Harry Reid 20:41:16 Senator Mitch McConnell entering 20:41:21 Senator Dick Durbin entering followed by Senator Patty Murray 20:41:43 Senator Dianne Feinstein entering 20:41:57 Senator Kirsten Gillibrand entering followed by Senators John McCain, Chuck Schumer and Lindsey Graham 20:42:26 Senator Elizabeth Warren entering 20:43:26 Senator Susan Collins entering 20:43:36 Senator Bob Menendez entering 20:43:47 Senator Amy Klobuchar and Pete Sessions entering 20:45:47 Senator Claire McCaskill entering 20:49:38 Senator Al Franken entering 20:49:46 Senator Kelly Ayote entering 20:57:45 Justices enter chamber 21:00:32 Cabinet enters chamber 21:10:14 Obama enters chambers with House and Senate leadership 21:13:50 MS audience applauding as Obama walks down aisle and Biden and Boehner wait at podium 21:14:35 Obama shakes hands with Vice President Joe Biden 21:14:41 Obama shakes hands with Speaker of the House John Boehner 21:15:05 WS down aisle 21:15:25 WS Obama gives copy of speech to Boehner and Biden 21:16:12 Zoom in as Obama begins speaking (Cheers, applause.) PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: Thank you. Hey! (Cheers, applause.) Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Do I give you three right now? VICE PRESIDENT JOSEPH BIDEN: (Off mic.) SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH): Members of Congress, I have the high privilege and distinct honor of presenting to you the president of the United States. (Cheers, applause.) PRESIDENT OBAMA: Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. (Applause.) (Inaudible.) Thank you. Thank you very much. Thank you so much. Thank you. Thank you very much. Thank you. 21:16:17 Please, everybody have a -- Mr. Speaker, Mr. Vice President, members of Congress, fellow Americans, 51 years ago John F. Kennedy declared to this chamber that "the Constitution makes us not rivals for power but partners for progress." (Applause.) "It is my task," he said, "to report the state of the union; to improve it is the task of us all." Tonight, thanks to the grit and determination of the American people, there is much progress to report. After a decade of grinding war, our brave men and women in uniform are coming home. (Cheers, applause.) 21:17:32 After years of grueling recession, our businesses have created over 6 million new jobs. We buy more American cars than we have in five years and less foreign oil than we have in 20. (Applause.) Our housing market is healing, our stock market is rebounding, and consumers, patients and homeowners enjoy stronger protections than ever before. (Applause.) So together, we have cleared away the rubble of crisis, and we can say with renewed confidence that the state of our union is stronger. (Applause.) 21:18:35 But -- but we gather here knowing that there are millions of Americans whose hard work and dedication have not yet been rewarded. Our economy is adding jobs, but too many people still can't find full- time employment. Corporate profits have skyrocketed to all-time highs, but for more than a decade wages and incomes have barely budged. It is our generation's task, then, to reignite the true engine of America's economic growth -- a rising, thriving middle class. (Applause.) 21:19:19 It is -- it is our unfinished task to restore the basic bargain that built this country, the idea that if you work hard and meet your responsibilities, you can get ahead, no matter where you come from, no matter what you look like or who you love. It is our unfinished task to make sure that this government works on behalf of the many and not just the few, that it encourages free enterprise, rewards individual initiative and opens the doors of opportunity to every child across this great nation. (Applause.) 21:20:08 The American people don't expect government to solve every problem. They don't expect those of us in this chamber to agree on every issue. But they do expect us to put the nation's interests before party. (Applause.) They do expect us to forge reasonable compromise where we can -- for they know that America moves forward only when we do so together and that the responsibility of improving this union remains the task of us all. 21:20:59 Our work must begin by making some basic decisions about our budget -- decisions that will have a huge impact on the strength of our recovery. Over the last few years both parties have worked together to reduce the deficit by more than $2.5 trillion -- mostly through spending cuts but also by raising tax rates on the wealthiest 1 percent of Americans. As a result, we are more than halfway towards the goal of $4 trillion in deficit reduction that economists say we need to stabilize our finances. 21:21:36 Now we need to finish the job. And the question is, how? In 2011 Congress passed a law saying that if both parties couldn't agree on a plan to reach our deficit goal, about a trillion dollars' worth of budget cuts would automatically go into effect this year. These sudden, harsh, arbitrary cuts would jeopardize our military readiness. They'd devastate priorities like education and energy and medical research. They would certainly slow our recovery and cost us hundreds of thousands of jobs. That's why Democrats, Republicans, business leaders and economists have already said that these cuts, known here in Washington as the sequester, are a really bad idea. 21:22:31 Now, some in Congress have proposed preventing only the -- the defense cuts by making even bigger cuts to things like education and job training, Medicare and Social Security benefits. That idea is even worse. (Applause.) Yes, the biggest driver of our long-term debt is the rising cost of health care for an aging population. And those of us who care deeply about programs like Medicare must embrace the need for modest reforms. (Scattered applause.) Otherwise, our retirement programs will crowd out the investments we need for our children and jeopardize the promise of a secure retirement for future generations. 21:23:40 But we can't ask senior citizens and working families to shoulder the entire burden of deficit reduction while asking nothing more from the wealthiest and the most powerful. (Applause.) We won't grow the middle class simply by shifting the cost of health care or college onto families that are already struggling or by forcing communities to lay off more teachers and more cops and more firefighters. Most Americans -- Democrats, Republicans and independents -- understand that we can't just cut our way to prosperity. They know that broad-based economic growth requires a balanced approach to deficit reduction, with spending cuts and revenue -- (applause) -- and with everybody doing their fair share. 21:24:28 And that's the approach I offer tonight. On Medicare, I'm prepared to enact reforms that will achieve the same amount of health care savings by the beginning of the next decade as the reforms proposed by the bipartisan Simpson-Bowles commission. (Applause.) Already the Affordable Care Act is helping to slow the growth of health care costs. (Applause.) And -- and the reforms I'm proposing go even further. We'll reduce taxpayer subsidies to prescription drug companies and ask more from the wealthiest seniors. (Applause.) We'll bring down costs by changing the way our government pays for Medicare, because our medical bills shouldn't be based on the number of tests ordered or days spent in the hospital. They should be based on the quality of care that our seniors receive. (Applause.) 21:25:26 And I am open to additional reforms from both parties, so long as they don't violate the guarantee of a secure retirement. Our government shouldn't make promises we cannot keep, but we must keep the promises we've already made. (Applause.) To hit the rest of our deficit-reduction target, we should do what leaders in both parties have already suggested and save hundreds of billions of dollars by getting rid of tax loopholes and deductions for the well-off and the well-connected. After all, why would we choose to make deeper cuts to education and Medicare just to protect special-interest tax breaks? How is that fair? Why is it that deficit reduction is a big emergency justifying making cuts in Social Security benefits but not closing some loopholes? How does that promote growth? (Applause.) 21:26:36 Now is our best chance for bipartisan, comprehensive tax reform that encourages job creation and helps bring down the deficit. (Applause.) We can get this done. (Applause.) The American people deserve a tax code that helps small businesses spend less time filling out complicated forms and more time expanding and hiring, a tax code that ensures billionaires with high-powered accountants can't work the system and pay a lower rate than their hardworking secretaries, a tax code that lowers incentives to move jobs overseas and lowers tax rates for businesses and manufacturers that are creating jobs right here in the United States of America. (Applause.) That's what tax reform can deliver. That's what we can do together. (Applause.) 21:48:55 I realize that tax reform and entitlement reform will not be easy. The politics will be hard for both sides. None of us will get a hundred percent of what we want. But the alternative will cost us jobs, hurt our economy, visit hardship on millions of hardworking Americans. So let's set party interests aside and work to pass a budget that replaces reckless cuts with smart savings and wise investments in our future. And let's do it without the brinksmanship that stresses consumers and scares off investors. (Applause.) The greatest nation on earth -- the greatest nation on earth cannot keep conducting its business by drifting from one manufactured crisis to the next. We can't do it. (Applause.) 21:28:44 Let's agree -- let's agree right here, right now to keep the people's government open and pay our bills on time and always uphold the full faith and credit of the United States of America. (Applause.) The American people have worked too hard for too long rebuilding from one crisis to see their elected officials cause another. (Applause.) Now, most of us agree that a plan to reduce the deficit must be part of our agenda. But let's be clear: Deficit reduction alone is not an economic plan. (Applause.) A growing economy that creates good middle-class jobs -- that must by the north star that guides our efforts. (Applause.) Every day we should ask ourselves three questions as a nation: How do we attract more jobs to our shores? How do we equip our people with the skills they need to get those jobs? And how do we make sure that hard work leads to a decent living? 21:30:07 A year and a half ago, I put forward an American Jobs Act that independent economists said would create more than 1 million new jobs. And I thank the last Congress for passing some of that agenda. I urge this Congress -- (chuckles) -- to pass the rest. (Applause.) But tonight, I'll lay out additional proposals that are fully paid for and fully consistent with the budget framework both parties agreed to just 18 months ago. Let me repeat: Nothing I'm proposing tonight should increase our deficit by a single dime. It is not a bigger government we need, but a smarter government that sets priorities and invests in broad-based growth. (Applause.) That's what we should be looking for. 21:31:04 Our first priority is making America a magnet for new jobs in manufacturing. After shedding jobs for more than 10 years, our manufacturers have added about 500,000 jobs over the past three. Caterpillar is bringing jobs back from Japan. Ford is bringing jobs back from Mexico. And this year, Apple will start making Macs in America again. (Applause.) 21:31:34 There are things we can do, right now, to accelerate this trend. Last year, we created our first manufacturing innovation institute in Youngstown, Ohio. A once-shuttered warehouse is now a state-of-the art lab where new workers are mastering the 3-D printing that has the potential to revolutionize the way we make almost everything. There's no reason this can't happen in other towns. So tonight, I'm announcing the launch of three more of these manufacturing hubs, where businesses will partner with the Department of Defense and Energy to turn regions left behind by globalization into global centers of high-tech jobs. And I ask this Congress -- (applause) -- to help create a network of 15 of these hubs and guarantee that the next revolution in manufacturing is made right here in America. We can get that done. (Applause.) 21:32:36 Now, if we want to make the best products, we also have to invest in the best ideas. Every dollar we invested to map the human genome returned $140 to our economy, every dollar. Today our scientists are mapping the human brain to unlock the answers to Alzheimer's. They're developing drugs to regenerate damaged organs, devising new materials to make batteries 10 times more powerful. Now is not the time to gut these job-creating investments in science and innovation. Now is the time to reach a level of research and development -- (applause) -- not seen since the height of the space race. We need to make those investments. (Applause.) 21:33:37 Today no area holds more promise than our investments in American energy. After years of talking about it, we're finally poised to control our own energy future. We produce more oil at home than we have in 15 years. (Cheers, applause.) We have doubled the distance our cars will go on a gallon of gas and the amount of renewable energy we generate from sources like wind and solar, with tens of thousand of good American jobs to show for it. We produce more natural gas than ever before, and nearly everyone's energy bill is lower because of it. And over the last four years our emissions of the dangerous carbon pollution that threatens our planet have actually fallen. But for the sake of our children and our future, we must do more to combat climate change. (Applause.) 21:34:38 Now -- now, it's true that no single event makes a trend. But the fact is the 12 hottest years on record have all come in the last 15. Heat waves, droughts, wildfires, floods -- all are now more frequent and more intense. We can choose to believe that Superstorm Sandy and the most severe drought in decades and the worst wildfires some states have ever seen were all just a freak coincidence, or we can choose to believe in the overwhelming judgment of science and act before it's too late. (Applause.) 21:35:29 Now, the good news is we can make meaningful progress on this issue while driving strong economic growth. I urge this Congress to get together, pursue a bipartisan market-based solution to climate change like the one John McCain and Joe Lieberman worked on together a few years ago. But if Congress won't act soon to protect future generations, I will. I will direct -- (applause) -- I will direct my Cabinet to come up with executive actions we can take now and in the future to reduce pollution, prepare our communities for the consequences of climate change and speed the transition to more sustainable sources of energy. 21:36:20 And four years ago other countries dominated the clean energy market and the jobs that came with it, and we've begun to change that. Last year wind energy added nearly half of all new power capacity in America. So let's generate even more. Solar energy gets cheaper by the year; let's drive down costs even further. As long as countries like China keep going all-in on clean energy, so must we. In the meantime, the natural gas boom has led to cleaner power and greater energy independence. We need to encourage that. That's why my administration will keep cutting red tape and speeding up new oil and gas permits. (Applause.) That's got to be part of an all-of- the-above plan. But I also want to work with this Congress to encourage the research and technology that helps natural gas burn even cleaner and protects our air and our water. 21:37:08 In fact, much of our newfound energy is drawn from lands and waters that we, the public, own together. So tonight I propose we use some of our oil and gas revenues to fund an energy security trust that will drive new research and technology to shift our cars and trucks off oil for good. If a nonpartisan coalition of CEOs and retired generals and admirals can get behind this idea, then so can we. Let's take their advice and free our families and businesses from the painful spikes in gas prices we've put up with for far too long. I'm also issuing a new goal for America: Let's cut in half the energy wasted by our homes and businesses over the next 20 years. (Applause.) We'll work with the states to do it. Those states with the best ideas to create jobs and lower energy bills by constructing more efficient buildings will receive federal support to help make that happen. 21:38:07 America's energy sector is just one part of an aging infrastructure badly in need of repair. Ask any CEO where they'd rather locate and hire, a country with deteriorating roads and bridges or one with high-speed rail and Internet, high-tech schools, self- healing power grids. The CEO of Siemens America, a company that brought hundreds of new jobs to North Carolina, said that if we upgrade our infrastructure, they'll bring even more jobs. And that's the attitude of a lot of companies all around the world. And I know you want these job-creating projects in your district. I've seen all those ribbon-cuttings. (Laughter, scattered applause.) 21:38:58 So -- (chuckles) -- tonight I propose a "Fix-It-First" program to put people to work as soon as possible on our most urgent repairs, like the nearly 70,000 structurally deficient bridges across the country. (Cheers, applause.) And to make sure taxpayers don't shoulder the whole burden, I'm also proposing a Partnership to Rebuild America that attracts private capital to upgrade what our businesses need most: modern ports to move our goods, modern pipelines to withstand a storm, modern schools worthy of our children. (Applause.) Let's prove there's no better place to do business than here in the United States of America, and let's start right away. We can get this done. 21:39:51 And part of our rebuilding effort must also involve our housing sector. The good news is our housing market is finally healing from the collapse of 2007. Home prices are rising at the fastest pace in six years, home purchases are up nearly 50 percent, and construction is expanding again. But even with mortgage rates near a 50-year low, too many families with solid credit who want to buy a home are being rejected. Too many families who never missed a payment and want to refinance are being told no. That's holding our entire economy back. We need to fix it. Right now, there's a bill in this Congress that would give every responsible homeowner in America the chance to save $3,000 a year by refinancing at today's rates. Democrats and Republicans have supported it before. So what are we waiting for? Take a vote, and send me that bill. (Applause.) Why -- why would we be against that? Why would that be a partisan issue, helping folks refinance? Right now, overlapping regulations keep responsible young families from buying their first home. What's holding us back? Let's streamline the process and help our economy grow. 21:41:23 Now, these initiatives in manufacturing, energy, infrastructure, housing -- all these things will help entrepreneurs and small-business owners expand and create new jobs. But none of it will matter unless we also equip our citizens with the skills and training to fill those jobs. (Applause.) And that has to start at the earliest possible age. You know, study after study shows that the sooner a child begins learning, the better he or she does down the road. But today, fewer than three in 10 4-year-olds are enrolled in a high- quality preschool program. Most middle-class parents can't afford a few hundred bucks a week for a private preschool. And for poor kids who need help the most, this lack of access to preschool education can shadow them for the rest of their lives. 21:42:30 So tonight I propose working with states to make high-quality preschool available to every single child in America. That's something we should be able to do. (Cheers, applause.) Every dollar we invest in high-quality early childhood education can save more than seven dollars later on -- by boosting graduation rates, reducing teen pregnancy, even reducing violent crime. In states that make it a priority to educate our youngest children, like Georgia or Oklahoma, studies show students grow up more likely to read and do math at grade level, graduate high school, hold a job, form more stable families of their own. We know this works. So let's do what works, and make sure none of our children start the race of life already behind. Let's give our kids that chance. (Applause.) 21:43:51 Let's also make sure that a high school diploma puts our kids on a path to a good job. Right now, countries like Germany focus on graduating their high school students with the equivalent of a technical degree from one of our community colleges. So those German kids, they're ready for a job when they graduate high school. They've been trained for the jobs that are there. Now at schools like P-Tech in Brooklyn, a collaboration between New York Public Schools and City University of New York and IBM, students will graduate with a high school diploma and an associate's degree in computers or engineering. We need to give every American student opportunities like this. (Applause.) And four years ago -- four years ago we started Race to the Top, a competition that convinced almost every state to develop smarter curricula and higher standards, all for about 1 percent of what we spend on education each year. Tonight I'm announcing a new challenge: to redesign America's high schools so they better equip graduates for the demands of a high-tech economy. And we'll reward schools that develop new partnerships with colleges and employers and create classes that focus on science, technology, engineering and math, the skills today's employers are looking for to fill the jobs that are there right now and will be there in the future. 21:45:19 Now, even with better high schools, most young people will need some higher education. It's a simple fact: The more education you've got, the more likely you are to have a good job and work your way into the middle class. But today's skyrocketing costs price too many young people out of a higher education or saddle them with unsustainable debt. Through tax credits, grants and better loans, we've made college more affordable for millions of students and families over the last few years. But taxpayers can't keep on subsidizing higher and higher and higher costs for higher education. Colleges must do their part to keep costs down, and it's our job to make sure that they do. (Applause.) So, tonight I ask Congress to change the Higher Education Act so that affordability and value are included in determining which colleges receive certain types of federal aid. (Applause.) And tomorrow my administration will release a new "College Scorecard" that parents and students can use to compare schools based on a simple criteria: where you can get the most bang for your educational buck. 21:46:40 Now, to grow our middle class, our citizens have to have access to the education and training that today's jobs require. But we also have to make sure that America remains a place where everyone who's willing to work -- everybody who's willing to work hard has the chance to get ahead. Our economy is stronger when we harness the talents and ingenuity of striving, hopeful immigrants. (Scattered applause.) And right now, leaders from the business, labor, law enforcement, faith communities -- they all agree that the time has come to pass comprehensive immigration reform. (Cheers, applause.) Now's the time to do it. Now's the time to get it done. Now's the time to get it done. 21:47:40 Real reform means stronger border security, and we can build on the progress my administration's already made, putting more boots on the southern border than at any time in our history and reducing illegal crossings to their lowest levels in 40 years. Real reform means establishing a responsible pathway to earned citizenship -- a path that includes passing a background check, paying taxes and a meaningful penalty, learning English, and going to the back of the line behind the folks trying to come here legally. (Applause.) And real reform means fixing the legal immigration system to cut waiting periods and attract the highly skilled entrepreneurs -- (applause) -- and engineers that will help create jobs and grow our economy. (Cheers, applause.) 21:48:44 In other words, we know what needs to be done. And as we speak, bipartisan groups in both chambers are working diligently to draft a bill, and I applaud their efforts. So let's get this done. Send me a comprehensive immigration reform bill in the next few months, and I will sign it right away, and America will be better for it. (Applause.) Let's get it done. Let's get it done. (Applause.) 21:49:28 But we can't stop there. We know our economy is stronger when our wives, our mothers, our daughters can live their lives free from discrimination in the workplace and free from the fear of domestic violence. Today the Senate passed the Violence Against Womens (sic) Act that Joe Biden originally wrote almost 20 years ago -- (applause) -- and I now urge the House to do the same. (Cheers, applause.) Good job, Joe. And I ask this Congress to declare that women should earn a -- a living equal to their efforts and finally pass the Paycheck Fairness Act this year. (Cheers, applause.) 21:50:25 We know our economy is stronger when we reward an honest day's work with honest wages. But today, a full-time worker making the minimum wage earns $14,500 a year. Even with the tax relief we've put in place, a family with two kids that earns the minimum wage still lives below the poverty line. That's wrong. That's why, since the last time this Congress raised the minimum wage, 19 states have chosen to bump theirs even higher. Tonight, let's declare that in the wealthiest nation on Earth, no one who works full-time should have to live in poverty, and raise the federal minimum wage to $9 an hour. (Cheers, applause.) We should be able to get that done. 21:51:22 This single step would raise the incomes of millions of working families. It could mean the difference between groceries or the food bank, rent or eviction, scraping by or finally getting ahead. For businesses across the country, it would mean customers with more money in their pockets. And a whole lot of folks out there would probably need less help from government. In fact, working folks shouldn't have to wait year after year for the minimum wage to go up while CEO pay has never been higher. So here's an idea -- (applause) -- that Governor Romney and I actually agreed on last year: Let's tie the minimum wage to the cost of living, so that it finally becomes a wage you can live on. (Cheers, applause.) 21:52:20 Tonight let's also recognize that there are communities in this country where no matter how hard you work, it is virtually impossible to get ahead, factory towns decimated from years of plants packing up, inescapable pockets of poverty, urban and rural, where young adults are still fighting for their first job. America's not a place where the chance of birth or circumstance should decide our destiny. And that's why we need to build new ladders of opportunity into the middle class for all who are willing to climb them. Let's offer incentives to companies that hire Americans who've got what it takes to fill that job opening but have been out of work so long that no one will give them a chance anymore. Let's put people back to work rebuilding vacant homes in rundown neighborhoods. And this year my administration will begin to partner with 20 of the hardest-hit towns in America to get these communities back on their feet, and we'll work with local leaders to target resources at public safety and education and housing. We'll give new tax credits to businesses that hire and invest, and we'll work to strengthen families by removing the financial deterrents to marriage for low- income couples and do more to encourage fatherhood, because what makes you a man isn't the ability to conceive a child; it's having the courage to raise one. (Applause.) And we want to encourage that. We want to help that. 21:53:48 Stronger families, stronger communities, a stronger America -- it is this kind of prosperity, broad, shared, built on a thriving middle class, that has always been the source of our progress at home. It's also the foundation of our power and influence throughout the world. Tonight we stand united in saluting the troops and civilians who sacrifice every day to protect us. Because of them, we can say with confidence that America will complete its mission in Afghanistan and achieve our objective of defeating the core of al-Qaida. (Applause.) 21:54:48 Already we have brought home 33,000 of our brave servicemen and - women. This spring our forces will move into a support role while Afghan security forces take the lead. Tonight I can announce that over the next year another 34,000 American troops will come home from Afghanistan. This drawdown will continue, and by the end of next year our war in Afghanistan will be over. (Cheers, applause.) Beyond 2014 America's commitment to a unified and sovereign Afghanistan will endure, but the nature of our commitment will change. We're negotiating an agreement with the Afghan government that focuses on two missions: training and equipping Afghan forces so that the country does not again slip into chaos, and counterterrorism efforts that allow us to pursue the remnants of al-Qaida and their affiliates. 21:56:12 Today the organization that attacked us on 9/11 is a shadow of its former self. (Applause.) It's true different al-Qaida affiliates and extremist groups have emerged -- from the Arabian Peninsula to Africa. The threat these groups pose is evolving. But to meet this threat, we don't need to send tens of thousands of our sons and daughters abroad, or occupy other nations. Instead, we'll need to help countries like Yemen, Libya and Somalia provide for their own security, and help allies who take the fight to terrorists, as we have in Mali. And where necessary, through a range of capabilities, we will continue to take direct action against those terrorists who pose the gravest threat to Americans. (Applause.) 21:57:02 Now, as we do, we must enlist our values in the fight. That's why my administration has worked tirelessly to forge a durable legal and policy framework to guide our counterterrorism efforts. Throughout, we have kept Congress fully informed of our efforts. I recognize that in our democracy, no one should just take my word for it that we're doing things the right way. So in the months ahead, I will continue to engage Congress to ensure not only that our targeting, detention and prosecution of terrorists remains consistent with our laws and system of checks and balances but that our efforts are even more transparent to the American people and to the world. 21:57:56 Of course -- (applause) -- our challenges don't end with al-Qaida. America will continue to lead the effort to prevent the spread of the world's most dangerous weapons. The regime in North Korea must know they will only achieve security and prosperity by meeting their international obligations. Provocations of the sort we saw last night will only further isolate them as we stand by our allies, strengthen our own missile defense and lead the world in taking firm action in response to these threats. Likewise, the leaders of Iran must recognize that now's the time for a diplomatic solution because a coalition stands united in demanding that they meet their obligations, and we will do what is necessary to prevent them from getting a nuclear weapon. (Applause.) At the same time we'll engage Russia to seek further reductions in our nuclear arsenals and continue leading the global effort to secure nuclear materials that could fall into the wrong hands because our ability to influence others depends on our willingness to lead and meet our obligations. 21:59:13 America must also face the rapidly growing threat from cyberattacks. (Applause.) Now, we know hackers steal people's identities and infiltrate private emails. We know foreign countries and companies swipe our corporate secrets. Now our enemies are also seeking the ability to sabotage our power grid, our financial institutions, our air traffic control systems. We cannot look back years from now and wonder why we did nothing in the face of real threats to our security and our economy. And that's why earlier today I signed a new executive order that will strengthen our cyberdefenses by increasing information sharing and developing standards to protect our national security, our jobs and our privacy. (Applause.) But now -- now Congress must act as well by passing legislation to give our government a greater capacity to secure our networks and deter attacks. This is something -- (scattered applause) -- we should be able to get done on a bipartisan basis. (Applause.) 22:00:35 Now, even as we protect our people, we should remember that today's world presents not just dangers, not just threats -- it presents opportunities. To boost American exports, support American jobs and level the playing field in the growing markets of Asia, we intend to complete negotiations on a Trans-Pacific Partnership. And tonight I'm announcing that we will launch talks on a comprehensive trans-Atlantic trade and investment partnership with the European Union because trade that is fair and free across the Atlantic supports millions of good-paying American jobs. (Applause.) 22:01:25 We also don't know that progress in the most impoverished parts of our world enriches us all -- not only because it creates new markets, more stable order in certain regions of the world, but also because it's the right thing to do. You know, in many places, people live on little more than a dollar a day. So the United States will join with our allies to eradicate such extreme poverty in the next two decades by connecting more people to the global economy, by empowering women, by giving our young and brightest minds new opportunities to serve, and helping communities to feed and power and educate themselves, by saving the world's children from preventable deaths, and by realizing the promise of an AIDS-free generation, which is within our reach. (Applause.) 22:02:20 You see -- (continued applause) -- you see, America must remain a beacon to all who seek freedom during this period of historic change. I saw the power of hope last year in Rangoon, in Burma, when Aung San Suu Kyi welcomed an American president into the home where she had been imprisoned for years, when thousands of Burmese lined the streets, waving American flags, including a man who said, there is justice and law in the United States. I want our country to be like that. In defense of freedom, we'll remain the anchor of strong alliances from the Americas to Africa, from Europe to Asia. In the Middle East, we will stand with citizens as they demand their universal rights and support stable transitions to democracy. (Applause.) We know the process will be messy, and we cannot presume to dictate the course of change in countries like Egypt. But we can and will insist on respect for the fundamental rights of all people. We'll keep the pressure on a Syrian regime that has murdered its own people and support opposition leaders that respect the rights of every Syrian. And we will stand steadfast with Israel in pursuit of security and a lasting peace. (Applause.) These are the messages I'll deliver when I travel to the Middle East next month. 22:04:05 And all this work depends on the courage and sacrifice of those who serve in dangerous places at great personal risk -- our diplomats, our intelligence officers and the men and women of the United States armed forces. As long as I'm commander in chief, we will do whatever we must to protect those who serve their country abroad, and we will maintain the best military the world has ever known. (Applause.) We'll invest in new capabilities, even as we reduce waste and wartime spending. We will ensure equal treatment for all service members and equal benefits for their families, gay and straight. (Cheers, applause.) We will draw upon the courage and skills of our sisters and daughters and moms, because women have proven under fire that they are ready for combat. We will keep faith with our veterans, investing in world-class care, including mental health care, for our wounded warriors -- (applause) -- supporting our military families, giving our veterans the benefits, and education, and job opportunities that they have earned. And I want to thank my wife, Michelle, and Dr. Jill Biden for their continued dedication to serving our military families as well as they have served us. (Applause.) Thank you, honey. Thank you, Jill. (Applause.) 22:06:15 Defending our freedom, though, is not just the job of our military alone. We must all do our part to make sure our God-given rights are protected here at home. That includes one of the most fundamental rights of a democracy, the right to vote. (Cheers, applause.) Now, when -- when any American, no matter where they live or what their party, are denied that right because they can't afford to wait for five or six or seven hours just to cast their ballot, we are betraying our ideals. (Cheers, applause.) So -- so tonight I'm announcing a nonpartisan commission to improve the voting experience in America. And it definitely needs improvement. I'm asking two longtime experts in the field -- who, by the way, recently served as the top attorneys for my campaign and for Governor Romney's campaign -- to lead it. We can fix this, and we will. The American people demand it, and so does our democracy. (Cheers, applause.) 22:07:55 Of course, what I've said tonight matters little if we don't come together to protect our most precious resource, our children. It has been two months since Newtown. I know this is not the first time this country has debated how to reduce gun violence, but this time is different. Overwhelming majorities of Americans, Americans who believe in the Second Amendment, have come together around common- sense reform, like background checks that will make it harder for criminals to get their hands on a gun. (Applause.) Senators -- senators -- senators of both parties are working together on tough new laws to prevent anyone from buying guns for resale to criminals. Police chiefs are asking our help to get weapons of war and massive ammunition magazines off our streets because these police chiefs, they're tired of seeing their guys and gals being outgunned. 22:09:08 Each of these proposals deserves a vote in Congress. (Applause.) Now, if you want to vote no, that's your choice. But these proposals deserve a vote, because in the two months since Newtown, more than a thousand birthdays, graduations, anniversaries have been stolen from our lives by a bullet from a gun -- more than a thousand. 22:10:02 One of those we lost was a young girl named Hadiya Pendleton. She was 15 years old. She loved Fig Newtons and lip gloss. She was a majorette. She was so good to her friends, they all thought they were her best friend. Just three weeks ago she was here, in Washington, with her classmates, performing for her country at my inauguration. And a week later she was shot and killed in a Chicago park after school, just a mile away from my house. Hadiya's parents, Nate and Cleo, are in this chamber tonight, along with more than two dozen Americans whose lives have been torn apart by gun violence. They deserve a vote. (Applause.) They deserve a vote. (Sustained applause.) They deserve a vote. (Sustained applause.) 22:11:12 Gabby Giffords deserves a vote. (Sustained applause.) The families of Newtown deserve a vote. (Cheers, sustained applause.) The families of Aurora deserve a vote. (Sustained cheers and applause.) The families of Oak Creek and Tucson and Blacksburg and the countless other communities ripped open by gun violence -- they deserve a simple vote. (Sustained cheers and applause.) They deserve -- they deserve a simple vote. 22:11:51 Our actions will not prevent every senseless act of violence in this country. In fact, no laws, no initiatives, no administrative acts will perfectly solve all the challenges I've outlined tonight. But we were never sent here to be perfect. We were sent here to make what difference we can to secure this nation, expand opportunity, uphold our ideals through the hard, often frustrating but absolutely necessary work of self-government. We were sent here to look out for our fellow Americans the same way they look out for one another every single day, usually without fanfare, all across this country. We should follow their example. 22:12:53 We should follow the example of a New York City nurse named Menchu Sanchez. When Hurricane Sandy plunged her hospital into darkness, she wasn't thinking about how her own home was faring. Her mind was on the 20 precious newborns in her care and the rescue plan she devised that kept them all safe. We should follow the example of a North Miami woman named Desiline Victor. When Desiline arrived at her polling place, she was told the wait to vote might be six hours. And as time ticked by, her concern was not with her tired body or aching feet but whether folks like her would get to have their say. And hour after hour, a throng of people stayed in line to support her because Desiline is 102 years old -- (applause) -- and they erupted in cheers when she finally put on a sticker that read "I Voted." (Cheers, applause.) You know -- (Continued applause, cheers.) There's Desiline. (Continued applause, cheers.) 22:14:19 We should follow the example of a police officer named Brian Murphy. When a gunman opened fire on a Sikh temple in Wisconsin, Brian was the first to arrive, and he did not consider his own safety. He fought back until help arrived and ordered his fellow officers to protect the safety of the fellow Americans worshipping inside even as he lay bleeding from 12 bullet wounds. And when asked how he did that, Brian said, that's just the way we're made. That's just the way we're made. 22:15:10 We may do different jobs and wear different uniforms and hold different views than the person beside us. But as Americans, we all share the same proud title. We are citizens. It's a word that doesn't just describe our nationality or our legal status. It describes the way we're made. It describes what we believe. It captures the enduring idea that this country only works when we accept certain obligations to one another and to future generations, that our rights are wrapped up in the rights of others and that well into our third century as a nation, it remains the task of us all as citizens of these United States to be the authors of the next great chapter of our American story. 22:15:58 Thank you. God bless you, and God bless these United States of America. (Cheers, applause.) 22:16:09 Obama shakes hands with Biden, Boehner 22:24:02 Obama leaving the chamber President Obama delivered the first State of the Union speech of his second term. The President pledged to create new jobs, and revive the middle class without raising the federal deficit. Perhaps the most pivotal moment came with an impassioned plea for bipartisan action on gun control. Families of gun violence victims were in the audience, including former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords. President Obama pushed for Congress to vote on gun legislation, saying "the families of Newtown deserve a vote. The families of Aurora deserve a vote." Senator Marco Rubio delivered the Republican response, saying more taxes and increase spending will hurt the middle class. Today the focus will stay on the economy as the President takes that message on the road to Asheville, North Carolina where he will speak more on the economic development.
OBAMA 2013 STATE OF THE UNION / HEAD ON P2
FTG OF PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA DELIVERS 2013 STATE OF THE UNION ADDRESS / HEAD ON Tuesday, February 12, 2013 TRANSCRIPT: President Barack Obama delivers his State of the Union address SLUG: 2030 SOTU SW RS33 83 / 2030 SOTU ISO RS34 84 AR: 16X9 DISC# NYRS: 5102 / 5106 20:41:10 VP Biden entering followed by Senator Harry Reid 20:41:16 Senator Mitch McConnell entering 20:41:21 Senator Dick Durbin entering followed by Senator Patty Murray 20:41:43 Senator Dianne Feinstein entering 20:41:57 Senator Kirsten Gillibrand entering followed by Senators John McCain, Chuck Schumer and Lindsey Graham 20:42:26 Senator Elizabeth Warren entering 20:43:26 Senator Susan Collins entering 20:43:36 Senator Bob Menendez entering 20:43:47 Senator Amy Klobuchar and Pete Sessions entering 20:45:47 Senator Claire McCaskill entering 20:49:38 Senator Al Franken entering 20:49:46 Senator Kelly Ayote entering 20:57:45 Justices enter chamber 21:00:32 Cabinet enters chamber 21:10:14 Obama enters chambers with House and Senate leadership 21:13:50 MS audience applauding as Obama walks down aisle and Biden and Boehner wait at podium 21:14:35 Obama shakes hands with Vice President Joe Biden 21:14:41 Obama shakes hands with Speaker of the House John Boehner 21:15:05 WS down aisle 21:15:25 WS Obama gives copy of speech to Boehner and Biden 21:16:12 Zoom in as Obama begins speaking (Cheers, applause.) PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: Thank you. Hey! (Cheers, applause.) Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Do I give you three right now? VICE PRESIDENT JOSEPH BIDEN: (Off mic.) SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH): Members of Congress, I have the high privilege and distinct honor of presenting to you the president of the United States. (Cheers, applause.) PRESIDENT OBAMA: Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. (Applause.) (Inaudible.) Thank you. Thank you very much. Thank you so much. Thank you. Thank you very much. Thank you. 21:16:17 Please, everybody have a -- Mr. Speaker, Mr. Vice President, members of Congress, fellow Americans, 51 years ago John F. Kennedy declared to this chamber that "the Constitution makes us not rivals for power but partners for progress." (Applause.) "It is my task," he said, "to report the state of the union; to improve it is the task of us all." Tonight, thanks to the grit and determination of the American people, there is much progress to report. After a decade of grinding war, our brave men and women in uniform are coming home. (Cheers, applause.) 21:17:32 After years of grueling recession, our businesses have created over 6 million new jobs. We buy more American cars than we have in five years and less foreign oil than we have in 20. (Applause.) Our housing market is healing, our stock market is rebounding, and consumers, patients and homeowners enjoy stronger protections than ever before. (Applause.) So together, we have cleared away the rubble of crisis, and we can say with renewed confidence that the state of our union is stronger. (Applause.) 21:18:35 But -- but we gather here knowing that there are millions of Americans whose hard work and dedication have not yet been rewarded. Our economy is adding jobs, but too many people still can't find full- time employment. Corporate profits have skyrocketed to all-time highs, but for more than a decade wages and incomes have barely budged. It is our generation's task, then, to reignite the true engine of America's economic growth -- a rising, thriving middle class. (Applause.) 21:19:19 It is -- it is our unfinished task to restore the basic bargain that built this country, the idea that if you work hard and meet your responsibilities, you can get ahead, no matter where you come from, no matter what you look like or who you love. It is our unfinished task to make sure that this government works on behalf of the many and not just the few, that it encourages free enterprise, rewards individual initiative and opens the doors of opportunity to every child across this great nation. (Applause.) 21:20:08 The American people don't expect government to solve every problem. They don't expect those of us in this chamber to agree on every issue. But they do expect us to put the nation's interests before party. (Applause.) They do expect us to forge reasonable compromise where we can -- for they know that America moves forward only when we do so together and that the responsibility of improving this union remains the task of us all. 21:20:59 Our work must begin by making some basic decisions about our budget -- decisions that will have a huge impact on the strength of our recovery. Over the last few years both parties have worked together to reduce the deficit by more than $2.5 trillion -- mostly through spending cuts but also by raising tax rates on the wealthiest 1 percent of Americans. As a result, we are more than halfway towards the goal of $4 trillion in deficit reduction that economists say we need to stabilize our finances. 21:21:36 Now we need to finish the job. And the question is, how? In 2011 Congress passed a law saying that if both parties couldn't agree on a plan to reach our deficit goal, about a trillion dollars' worth of budget cuts would automatically go into effect this year. These sudden, harsh, arbitrary cuts would jeopardize our military readiness. They'd devastate priorities like education and energy and medical research. They would certainly slow our recovery and cost us hundreds of thousands of jobs. That's why Democrats, Republicans, business leaders and economists have already said that these cuts, known here in Washington as the sequester, are a really bad idea. 21:22:31 Now, some in Congress have proposed preventing only the -- the defense cuts by making even bigger cuts to things like education and job training, Medicare and Social Security benefits. That idea is even worse. (Applause.) Yes, the biggest driver of our long-term debt is the rising cost of health care for an aging population. And those of us who care deeply about programs like Medicare must embrace the need for modest reforms. (Scattered applause.) Otherwise, our retirement programs will crowd out the investments we need for our children and jeopardize the promise of a secure retirement for future generations. 21:23:40 But we can't ask senior citizens and working families to shoulder the entire burden of deficit reduction while asking nothing more from the wealthiest and the most powerful. (Applause.) We won't grow the middle class simply by shifting the cost of health care or college onto families that are already struggling or by forcing communities to lay off more teachers and more cops and more firefighters. Most Americans -- Democrats, Republicans and independents -- understand that we can't just cut our way to prosperity. They know that broad-based economic growth requires a balanced approach to deficit reduction, with spending cuts and revenue -- (applause) -- and with everybody doing their fair share. 21:24:28 And that's the approach I offer tonight. On Medicare, I'm prepared to enact reforms that will achieve the same amount of health care savings by the beginning of the next decade as the reforms proposed by the bipartisan Simpson-Bowles commission. (Applause.) Already the Affordable Care Act is helping to slow the growth of health care costs. (Applause.) And -- and the reforms I'm proposing go even further. We'll reduce taxpayer subsidies to prescription drug companies and ask more from the wealthiest seniors. (Applause.) We'll bring down costs by changing the way our government pays for Medicare, because our medical bills shouldn't be based on the number of tests ordered or days spent in the hospital. They should be based on the quality of care that our seniors receive. (Applause.) 21:25:26 And I am open to additional reforms from both parties, so long as they don't violate the guarantee of a secure retirement. Our government shouldn't make promises we cannot keep, but we must keep the promises we've already made. (Applause.) To hit the rest of our deficit-reduction target, we should do what leaders in both parties have already suggested and save hundreds of billions of dollars by getting rid of tax loopholes and deductions for the well-off and the well-connected. After all, why would we choose to make deeper cuts to education and Medicare just to protect special-interest tax breaks? How is that fair? Why is it that deficit reduction is a big emergency justifying making cuts in Social Security benefits but not closing some loopholes? How does that promote growth? (Applause.) 21:26:36 Now is our best chance for bipartisan, comprehensive tax reform that encourages job creation and helps bring down the deficit. (Applause.) We can get this done. (Applause.) The American people deserve a tax code that helps small businesses spend less time filling out complicated forms and more time expanding and hiring, a tax code that ensures billionaires with high-powered accountants can't work the system and pay a lower rate than their hardworking secretaries, a tax code that lowers incentives to move jobs overseas and lowers tax rates for businesses and manufacturers that are creating jobs right here in the United States of America. (Applause.) That's what tax reform can deliver. That's what we can do together. (Applause.) 21:48:55 I realize that tax reform and entitlement reform will not be easy. The politics will be hard for both sides. None of us will get a hundred percent of what we want. But the alternative will cost us jobs, hurt our economy, visit hardship on millions of hardworking Americans. So let's set party interests aside and work to pass a budget that replaces reckless cuts with smart savings and wise investments in our future. And let's do it without the brinksmanship that stresses consumers and scares off investors. (Applause.) The greatest nation on earth -- the greatest nation on earth cannot keep conducting its business by drifting from one manufactured crisis to the next. We can't do it. (Applause.) 21:28:44 Let's agree -- let's agree right here, right now to keep the people's government open and pay our bills on time and always uphold the full faith and credit of the United States of America. (Applause.) The American people have worked too hard for too long rebuilding from one crisis to see their elected officials cause another. (Applause.) Now, most of us agree that a plan to reduce the deficit must be part of our agenda. But let's be clear: Deficit reduction alone is not an economic plan. (Applause.) A growing economy that creates good middle-class jobs -- that must by the north star that guides our efforts. (Applause.) Every day we should ask ourselves three questions as a nation: How do we attract more jobs to our shores? How do we equip our people with the skills they need to get those jobs? And how do we make sure that hard work leads to a decent living? 21:30:07 A year and a half ago, I put forward an American Jobs Act that independent economists said would create more than 1 million new jobs. And I thank the last Congress for passing some of that agenda. I urge this Congress -- (chuckles) -- to pass the rest. (Applause.) But tonight, I'll lay out additional proposals that are fully paid for and fully consistent with the budget framework both parties agreed to just 18 months ago. Let me repeat: Nothing I'm proposing tonight should increase our deficit by a single dime. It is not a bigger government we need, but a smarter government that sets priorities and invests in broad-based growth. (Applause.) That's what we should be looking for. 21:31:04 Our first priority is making America a magnet for new jobs in manufacturing. After shedding jobs for more than 10 years, our manufacturers have added about 500,000 jobs over the past three. Caterpillar is bringing jobs back from Japan. Ford is bringing jobs back from Mexico. And this year, Apple will start making Macs in America again. (Applause.) 21:31:34 There are things we can do, right now, to accelerate this trend. Last year, we created our first manufacturing innovation institute in Youngstown, Ohio. A once-shuttered warehouse is now a state-of-the art lab where new workers are mastering the 3-D printing that has the potential to revolutionize the way we make almost everything. There's no reason this can't happen in other towns. So tonight, I'm announcing the launch of three more of these manufacturing hubs, where businesses will partner with the Department of Defense and Energy to turn regions left behind by globalization into global centers of high-tech jobs. And I ask this Congress -- (applause) -- to help create a network of 15 of these hubs and guarantee that the next revolution in manufacturing is made right here in America. We can get that done. (Applause.) 21:32:36 Now, if we want to make the best products, we also have to invest in the best ideas. Every dollar we invested to map the human genome returned $140 to our economy, every dollar. Today our scientists are mapping the human brain to unlock the answers to Alzheimer's. They're developing drugs to regenerate damaged organs, devising new materials to make batteries 10 times more powerful. Now is not the time to gut these job-creating investments in science and innovation. Now is the time to reach a level of research and development -- (applause) -- not seen since the height of the space race. We need to make those investments. (Applause.) 21:33:37 Today no area holds more promise than our investments in American energy. After years of talking about it, we're finally poised to control our own energy future. We produce more oil at home than we have in 15 years. (Cheers, applause.) We have doubled the distance our cars will go on a gallon of gas and the amount of renewable energy we generate from sources like wind and solar, with tens of thousand of good American jobs to show for it. We produce more natural gas than ever before, and nearly everyone's energy bill is lower because of it. And over the last four years our emissions of the dangerous carbon pollution that threatens our planet have actually fallen. But for the sake of our children and our future, we must do more to combat climate change. (Applause.) 21:34:38 Now -- now, it's true that no single event makes a trend. But the fact is the 12 hottest years on record have all come in the last 15. Heat waves, droughts, wildfires, floods -- all are now more frequent and more intense. We can choose to believe that Superstorm Sandy and the most severe drought in decades and the worst wildfires some states have ever seen were all just a freak coincidence, or we can choose to believe in the overwhelming judgment of science and act before it's too late. (Applause.) 21:35:29 Now, the good news is we can make meaningful progress on this issue while driving strong economic growth. I urge this Congress to get together, pursue a bipartisan market-based solution to climate change like the one John McCain and Joe Lieberman worked on together a few years ago. But if Congress won't act soon to protect future generations, I will. I will direct -- (applause) -- I will direct my Cabinet to come up with executive actions we can take now and in the future to reduce pollution, prepare our communities for the consequences of climate change and speed the transition to more sustainable sources of energy. 21:36:20 And four years ago other countries dominated the clean energy market and the jobs that came with it, and we've begun to change that. Last year wind energy added nearly half of all new power capacity in America. So let's generate even more. Solar energy gets cheaper by the year; let's drive down costs even further. As long as countries like China keep going all-in on clean energy, so must we. In the meantime, the natural gas boom has led to cleaner power and greater energy independence. We need to encourage that. That's why my administration will keep cutting red tape and speeding up new oil and gas permits. (Applause.) That's got to be part of an all-of- the-above plan. But I also want to work with this Congress to encourage the research and technology that helps natural gas burn even cleaner and protects our air and our water. 21:37:08 In fact, much of our newfound energy is drawn from lands and waters that we, the public, own together. So tonight I propose we use some of our oil and gas revenues to fund an energy security trust that will drive new research and technology to shift our cars and trucks off oil for good. If a nonpartisan coalition of CEOs and retired generals and admirals can get behind this idea, then so can we. Let's take their advice and free our families and businesses from the painful spikes in gas prices we've put up with for far too long. I'm also issuing a new goal for America: Let's cut in half the energy wasted by our homes and businesses over the next 20 years. (Applause.) We'll work with the states to do it. Those states with the best ideas to create jobs and lower energy bills by constructing more efficient buildings will receive federal support to help make that happen. 21:38:07 America's energy sector is just one part of an aging infrastructure badly in need of repair. Ask any CEO where they'd rather locate and hire, a country with deteriorating roads and bridges or one with high-speed rail and Internet, high-tech schools, self- healing power grids. The CEO of Siemens America, a company that brought hundreds of new jobs to North Carolina, said that if we upgrade our infrastructure, they'll bring even more jobs. And that's the attitude of a lot of companies all around the world. And I know you want these job-creating projects in your district. I've seen all those ribbon-cuttings. (Laughter, scattered applause.) 21:38:58 So -- (chuckles) -- tonight I propose a "Fix-It-First" program to put people to work as soon as possible on our most urgent repairs, like the nearly 70,000 structurally deficient bridges across the country. (Cheers, applause.) And to make sure taxpayers don't shoulder the whole burden, I'm also proposing a Partnership to Rebuild America that attracts private capital to upgrade what our businesses need most: modern ports to move our goods, modern pipelines to withstand a storm, modern schools worthy of our children. (Applause.) Let's prove there's no better place to do business than here in the United States of America, and let's start right away. We can get this done. 21:39:51 And part of our rebuilding effort must also involve our housing sector. The good news is our housing market is finally healing from the collapse of 2007. Home prices are rising at the fastest pace in six years, home purchases are up nearly 50 percent, and construction is expanding again. But even with mortgage rates near a 50-year low, too many families with solid credit who want to buy a home are being rejected. Too many families who never missed a payment and want to refinance are being told no. That's holding our entire economy back. We need to fix it. Right now, there's a bill in this Congress that would give every responsible homeowner in America the chance to save $3,000 a year by refinancing at today's rates. Democrats and Republicans have supported it before. So what are we waiting for? Take a vote, and send me that bill. (Applause.) Why -- why would we be against that? Why would that be a partisan issue, helping folks refinance? Right now, overlapping regulations keep responsible young families from buying their first home. What's holding us back? Let's streamline the process and help our economy grow. 21:41:23 Now, these initiatives in manufacturing, energy, infrastructure, housing -- all these things will help entrepreneurs and small-business owners expand and create new jobs. But none of it will matter unless we also equip our citizens with the skills and training to fill those jobs. (Applause.) And that has to start at the earliest possible age. You know, study after study shows that the sooner a child begins learning, the better he or she does down the road. But today, fewer than three in 10 4-year-olds are enrolled in a high- quality preschool program. Most middle-class parents can't afford a few hundred bucks a week for a private preschool. And for poor kids who need help the most, this lack of access to preschool education can shadow them for the rest of their lives. 21:42:30 So tonight I propose working with states to make high-quality preschool available to every single child in America. That's something we should be able to do. (Cheers, applause.) Every dollar we invest in high-quality early childhood education can save more than seven dollars later on -- by boosting graduation rates, reducing teen pregnancy, even reducing violent crime. In states that make it a priority to educate our youngest children, like Georgia or Oklahoma, studies show students grow up more likely to read and do math at grade level, graduate high school, hold a job, form more stable families of their own. We know this works. So let's do what works, and make sure none of our children start the race of life already behind. Let's give our kids that chance. (Applause.) 21:43:51 Let's also make sure that a high school diploma puts our kids on a path to a good job. Right now, countries like Germany focus on graduating their high school students with the equivalent of a technical degree from one of our community colleges. So those German kids, they're ready for a job when they graduate high school. They've been trained for the jobs that are there. Now at schools like P-Tech in Brooklyn, a collaboration between New York Public Schools and City University of New York and IBM, students will graduate with a high school diploma and an associate's degree in computers or engineering. We need to give every American student opportunities like this. (Applause.) And four years ago -- four years ago we started Race to the Top, a competition that convinced almost every state to develop smarter curricula and higher standards, all for about 1 percent of what we spend on education each year. Tonight I'm announcing a new challenge: to redesign America's high schools so they better equip graduates for the demands of a high-tech economy. And we'll reward schools that develop new partnerships with colleges and employers and create classes that focus on science, technology, engineering and math, the skills today's employers are looking for to fill the jobs that are there right now and will be there in the future. 21:45:19 Now, even with better high schools, most young people will need some higher education. It's a simple fact: The more education you've got, the more likely you are to have a good job and work your way into the middle class. But today's skyrocketing costs price too many young people out of a higher education or saddle them with unsustainable debt. Through tax credits, grants and better loans, we've made college more affordable for millions of students and families over the last few years. But taxpayers can't keep on subsidizing higher and higher and higher costs for higher education. Colleges must do their part to keep costs down, and it's our job to make sure that they do. (Applause.) So, tonight I ask Congress to change the Higher Education Act so that affordability and value are included in determining which colleges receive certain types of federal aid. (Applause.) And tomorrow my administration will release a new "College Scorecard" that parents and students can use to compare schools based on a simple criteria: where you can get the most bang for your educational buck. 21:46:40 Now, to grow our middle class, our citizens have to have access to the education and training that today's jobs require. But we also have to make sure that America remains a place where everyone who's willing to work -- everybody who's willing to work hard has the chance to get ahead. Our economy is stronger when we harness the talents and ingenuity of striving, hopeful immigrants. (Scattered applause.) And right now, leaders from the business, labor, law enforcement, faith communities -- they all agree that the time has come to pass comprehensive immigration reform. (Cheers, applause.) Now's the time to do it. Now's the time to get it done. Now's the time to get it done. 21:47:40 Real reform means stronger border security, and we can build on the progress my administration's already made, putting more boots on the southern border than at any time in our history and reducing illegal crossings to their lowest levels in 40 years. Real reform means establishing a responsible pathway to earned citizenship -- a path that includes passing a background check, paying taxes and a meaningful penalty, learning English, and going to the back of the line behind the folks trying to come here legally. (Applause.) And real reform means fixing the legal immigration system to cut waiting periods and attract the highly skilled entrepreneurs -- (applause) -- and engineers that will help create jobs and grow our economy. (Cheers, applause.) 21:48:44 In other words, we know what needs to be done. And as we speak, bipartisan groups in both chambers are working diligently to draft a bill, and I applaud their efforts. So let's get this done. Send me a comprehensive immigration reform bill in the next few months, and I will sign it right away, and America will be better for it. (Applause.) Let's get it done. Let's get it done. (Applause.) 21:49:28 But we can't stop there. We know our economy is stronger when our wives, our mothers, our daughters can live their lives free from discrimination in the workplace and free from the fear of domestic violence. Today the Senate passed the Violence Against Womens (sic) Act that Joe Biden originally wrote almost 20 years ago -- (applause) -- and I now urge the House to do the same. (Cheers, applause.) Good job, Joe. And I ask this Congress to declare that women should earn a -- a living equal to their efforts and finally pass the Paycheck Fairness Act this year. (Cheers, applause.) 21:50:25 We know our economy is stronger when we reward an honest day's work with honest wages. But today, a full-time worker making the minimum wage earns $14,500 a year. Even with the tax relief we've put in place, a family with two kids that earns the minimum wage still lives below the poverty line. That's wrong. That's why, since the last time this Congress raised the minimum wage, 19 states have chosen to bump theirs even higher. Tonight, let's declare that in the wealthiest nation on Earth, no one who works full-time should have to live in poverty, and raise the federal minimum wage to $9 an hour. (Cheers, applause.) We should be able to get that done. 21:51:22 This single step would raise the incomes of millions of working families. It could mean the difference between groceries or the food bank, rent or eviction, scraping by or finally getting ahead. For businesses across the country, it would mean customers with more money in their pockets. And a whole lot of folks out there would probably need less help from government. In fact, working folks shouldn't have to wait year after year for the minimum wage to go up while CEO pay has never been higher. So here's an idea -- (applause) -- that Governor Romney and I actually agreed on last year: Let's tie the minimum wage to the cost of living, so that it finally becomes a wage you can live on. (Cheers, applause.) 21:52:20 Tonight let's also recognize that there are communities in this country where no matter how hard you work, it is virtually impossible to get ahead, factory towns decimated from years of plants packing up, inescapable pockets of poverty, urban and rural, where young adults are still fighting for their first job. America's not a place where the chance of birth or circumstance should decide our destiny. And that's why we need to build new ladders of opportunity into the middle class for all who are willing to climb them. Let's offer incentives to companies that hire Americans who've got what it takes to fill that job opening but have been out of work so long that no one will give them a chance anymore. Let's put people back to work rebuilding vacant homes in rundown neighborhoods. And this year my administration will begin to partner with 20 of the hardest-hit towns in America to get these communities back on their feet, and we'll work with local leaders to target resources at public safety and education and housing. We'll give new tax credits to businesses that hire and invest, and we'll work to strengthen families by removing the financial deterrents to marriage for low- income couples and do more to encourage fatherhood, because what makes you a man isn't the ability to conceive a child; it's having the courage to raise one. (Applause.) And we want to encourage that. We want to help that. 21:53:48 Stronger families, stronger communities, a stronger America -- it is this kind of prosperity, broad, shared, built on a thriving middle class, that has always been the source of our progress at home. It's also the foundation of our power and influence throughout the world. Tonight we stand united in saluting the troops and civilians who sacrifice every day to protect us. Because of them, we can say with confidence that America will complete its mission in Afghanistan and achieve our objective of defeating the core of al-Qaida. (Applause.) 21:54:48 Already we have brought home 33,000 of our brave servicemen and - women. This spring our forces will move into a support role while Afghan security forces take the lead. Tonight I can announce that over the next year another 34,000 American troops will come home from Afghanistan. This drawdown will continue, and by the end of next year our war in Afghanistan will be over. (Cheers, applause.) Beyond 2014 America's commitment to a unified and sovereign Afghanistan will endure, but the nature of our commitment will change. We're negotiating an agreement with the Afghan government that focuses on two missions: training and equipping Afghan forces so that the country does not again slip into chaos, and counterterrorism efforts that allow us to pursue the remnants of al-Qaida and their affiliates. 21:56:12 Today the organization that attacked us on 9/11 is a shadow of its former self. (Applause.) It's true different al-Qaida affiliates and extremist groups have emerged -- from the Arabian Peninsula to Africa. The threat these groups pose is evolving. But to meet this threat, we don't need to send tens of thousands of our sons and daughters abroad, or occupy other nations. Instead, we'll need to help countries like Yemen, Libya and Somalia provide for their own security, and help allies who take the fight to terrorists, as we have in Mali. And where necessary, through a range of capabilities, we will continue to take direct action against those terrorists who pose the gravest threat to Americans. (Applause.) 21:57:02 Now, as we do, we must enlist our values in the fight. That's why my administration has worked tirelessly to forge a durable legal and policy framework to guide our counterterrorism efforts. Throughout, we have kept Congress fully informed of our efforts. I recognize that in our democracy, no one should just take my word for it that we're doing things the right way. So in the months ahead, I will continue to engage Congress to ensure not only that our targeting, detention and prosecution of terrorists remains consistent with our laws and system of checks and balances but that our efforts are even more transparent to the American people and to the world. 21:57:56 Of course -- (applause) -- our challenges don't end with al-Qaida. America will continue to lead the effort to prevent the spread of the world's most dangerous weapons. The regime in North Korea must know they will only achieve security and prosperity by meeting their international obligations. Provocations of the sort we saw last night will only further isolate them as we stand by our allies, strengthen our own missile defense and lead the world in taking firm action in response to these threats. Likewise, the leaders of Iran must recognize that now's the time for a diplomatic solution because a coalition stands united in demanding that they meet their obligations, and we will do what is necessary to prevent them from getting a nuclear weapon. (Applause.) At the same time we'll engage Russia to seek further reductions in our nuclear arsenals and continue leading the global effort to secure nuclear materials that could fall into the wrong hands because our ability to influence others depends on our willingness to lead and meet our obligations. 21:59:13 America must also face the rapidly growing threat from cyberattacks. (Applause.) Now, we know hackers steal people's identities and infiltrate private emails. We know foreign countries and companies swipe our corporate secrets. Now our enemies are also seeking the ability to sabotage our power grid, our financial institutions, our air traffic control systems. We cannot look back years from now and wonder why we did nothing in the face of real threats to our security and our economy. And that's why earlier today I signed a new executive order that will strengthen our cyberdefenses by increasing information sharing and developing standards to protect our national security, our jobs and our privacy. (Applause.) But now -- now Congress must act as well by passing legislation to give our government a greater capacity to secure our networks and deter attacks. This is something -- (scattered applause) -- we should be able to get done on a bipartisan basis. (Applause.) 22:00:35 Now, even as we protect our people, we should remember that today's world presents not just dangers, not just threats -- it presents opportunities. To boost American exports, support American jobs and level the playing field in the growing markets of Asia, we intend to complete negotiations on a Trans-Pacific Partnership. And tonight I'm announcing that we will launch talks on a comprehensive trans-Atlantic trade and investment partnership with the European Union because trade that is fair and free across the Atlantic supports millions of good-paying American jobs. (Applause.) 22:01:25 We also don't know that progress in the most impoverished parts of our world enriches us all -- not only because it creates new markets, more stable order in certain regions of the world, but also because it's the right thing to do. You know, in many places, people live on little more than a dollar a day. So the United States will join with our allies to eradicate such extreme poverty in the next two decades by connecting more people to the global economy, by empowering women, by giving our young and brightest minds new opportunities to serve, and helping communities to feed and power and educate themselves, by saving the world's children from preventable deaths, and by realizing the promise of an AIDS-free generation, which is within our reach. (Applause.) 22:02:20 You see -- (continued applause) -- you see, America must remain a beacon to all who seek freedom during this period of historic change. I saw the power of hope last year in Rangoon, in Burma, when Aung San Suu Kyi welcomed an American president into the home where she had been imprisoned for years, when thousands of Burmese lined the streets, waving American flags, including a man who said, there is justice and law in the United States. I want our country to be like that. In defense of freedom, we'll remain the anchor of strong alliances from the Americas to Africa, from Europe to Asia. In the Middle East, we will stand with citizens as they demand their universal rights and support stable transitions to democracy. (Applause.) We know the process will be messy, and we cannot presume to dictate the course of change in countries like Egypt. But we can and will insist on respect for the fundamental rights of all people. We'll keep the pressure on a Syrian regime that has murdered its own people and support opposition leaders that respect the rights of every Syrian. And we will stand steadfast with Israel in pursuit of security and a lasting peace. (Applause.) These are the messages I'll deliver when I travel to the Middle East next month. 22:04:05 And all this work depends on the courage and sacrifice of those who serve in dangerous places at great personal risk -- our diplomats, our intelligence officers and the men and women of the United States armed forces. As long as I'm commander in chief, we will do whatever we must to protect those who serve their country abroad, and we will maintain the best military the world has ever known. (Applause.) We'll invest in new capabilities, even as we reduce waste and wartime spending. We will ensure equal treatment for all service members and equal benefits for their families, gay and straight. (Cheers, applause.) We will draw upon the courage and skills of our sisters and daughters and moms, because women have proven under fire that they are ready for combat. We will keep faith with our veterans, investing in world-class care, including mental health care, for our wounded warriors -- (applause) -- supporting our military families, giving our veterans the benefits, and education, and job opportunities that they have earned. And I want to thank my wife, Michelle, and Dr. Jill Biden for their continued dedication to serving our military families as well as they have served us. (Applause.) Thank you, honey. Thank you, Jill. (Applause.) 22:06:15 Defending our freedom, though, is not just the job of our military alone. We must all do our part to make sure our God-given rights are protected here at home. That includes one of the most fundamental rights of a democracy, the right to vote. (Cheers, applause.) Now, when -- when any American, no matter where they live or what their party, are denied that right because they can't afford to wait for five or six or seven hours just to cast their ballot, we are betraying our ideals. (Cheers, applause.) So -- so tonight I'm announcing a nonpartisan commission to improve the voting experience in America. And it definitely needs improvement. I'm asking two longtime experts in the field -- who, by the way, recently served as the top attorneys for my campaign and for Governor Romney's campaign -- to lead it. We can fix this, and we will. The American people demand it, and so does our democracy. (Cheers, applause.) 22:07:55 Of course, what I've said tonight matters little if we don't come together to protect our most precious resource, our children. It has been two months since Newtown. I know this is not the first time this country has debated how to reduce gun violence, but this time is different. Overwhelming majorities of Americans, Americans who believe in the Second Amendment, have come together around common- sense reform, like background checks that will make it harder for criminals to get their hands on a gun. (Applause.) Senators -- senators -- senators of both parties are working together on tough new laws to prevent anyone from buying guns for resale to criminals. Police chiefs are asking our help to get weapons of war and massive ammunition magazines off our streets because these police chiefs, they're tired of seeing their guys and gals being outgunned. 22:09:08 Each of these proposals deserves a vote in Congress. (Applause.) Now, if you want to vote no, that's your choice. But these proposals deserve a vote, because in the two months since Newtown, more than a thousand birthdays, graduations, anniversaries have been stolen from our lives by a bullet from a gun -- more than a thousand. 22:10:02 One of those we lost was a young girl named Hadiya Pendleton. She was 15 years old. She loved Fig Newtons and lip gloss. She was a majorette. She was so good to her friends, they all thought they were her best friend. Just three weeks ago she was here, in Washington, with her classmates, performing for her country at my inauguration. And a week later she was shot and killed in a Chicago park after school, just a mile away from my house. Hadiya's parents, Nate and Cleo, are in this chamber tonight, along with more than two dozen Americans whose lives have been torn apart by gun violence. They deserve a vote. (Applause.) They deserve a vote. (Sustained applause.) They deserve a vote. (Sustained applause.) 22:11:12 Gabby Giffords deserves a vote. (Sustained applause.) The families of Newtown deserve a vote. (Cheers, sustained applause.) The families of Aurora deserve a vote. (Sustained cheers and applause.) The families of Oak Creek and Tucson and Blacksburg and the countless other communities ripped open by gun violence -- they deserve a simple vote. (Sustained cheers and applause.) They deserve -- they deserve a simple vote. 22:11:51 Our actions will not prevent every senseless act of violence in this country. In fact, no laws, no initiatives, no administrative acts will perfectly solve all the challenges I've outlined tonight. But we were never sent here to be perfect. We were sent here to make what difference we can to secure this nation, expand opportunity, uphold our ideals through the hard, often frustrating but absolutely necessary work of self-government. We were sent here to look out for our fellow Americans the same way they look out for one another every single day, usually without fanfare, all across this country. We should follow their example. 22:12:53 We should follow the example of a New York City nurse named Menchu Sanchez. When Hurricane Sandy plunged her hospital into darkness, she wasn't thinking about how her own home was faring. Her mind was on the 20 precious newborns in her care and the rescue plan she devised that kept them all safe. We should follow the example of a North Miami woman named Desiline Victor. When Desiline arrived at her polling place, she was told the wait to vote might be six hours. And as time ticked by, her concern was not with her tired body or aching feet but whether folks like her would get to have their say. And hour after hour, a throng of people stayed in line to support her because Desiline is 102 years old -- (applause) -- and they erupted in cheers when she finally put on a sticker that read "I Voted." (Cheers, applause.) You know -- (Continued applause, cheers.) There's Desiline. (Continued applause, cheers.) 22:14:19 We should follow the example of a police officer named Brian Murphy. When a gunman opened fire on a Sikh temple in Wisconsin, Brian was the first to arrive, and he did not consider his own safety. He fought back until help arrived and ordered his fellow officers to protect the safety of the fellow Americans worshipping inside even as he lay bleeding from 12 bullet wounds. And when asked how he did that, Brian said, that's just the way we're made. That's just the way we're made. 22:15:10 We may do different jobs and wear different uniforms and hold different views than the person beside us. But as Americans, we all share the same proud title. We are citizens. It's a word that doesn't just describe our nationality or our legal status. It describes the way we're made. It describes what we believe. It captures the enduring idea that this country only works when we accept certain obligations to one another and to future generations, that our rights are wrapped up in the rights of others and that well into our third century as a nation, it remains the task of us all as citizens of these United States to be the authors of the next great chapter of our American story. 22:15:58 Thank you. God bless you, and God bless these United States of America. (Cheers, applause.) 22:16:09 Obama shakes hands with Biden, Boehner 22:24:02 Obama leaving the chamber President Obama delivered the first State of the Union speech of his second term. The President pledged to create new jobs, and revive the middle class without raising the federal deficit. Perhaps the most pivotal moment came with an impassioned plea for bipartisan action on gun control. Families of gun violence victims were in the audience, including former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords. President Obama pushed for Congress to vote on gun legislation, saying "the families of Newtown deserve a vote. The families of Aurora deserve a vote." Senator Marco Rubio delivered the Republican response, saying more taxes and increase spending will hurt the middle class. Today the focus will stay on the economy as the President takes that message on the road to Asheville, North Carolina where he will speak more on the economic development.
SENATE HELP COMMITTEE HEARING ON ALEX ACOSTA NOMINATION 0850
SENATE COMMITTEE ON HEALTH EDUCATION AND LABOR HEARING ON ALEX ACOSTA NOMINATION TO BE SECRETARY OF LABOR CONFIRMATION HEARING FS5X90 Nomination of Alex Acosta to serve as Secretary of Labor Date: Wednesday, March 22, 2017 Time: 09:00 AM Location: 430 Dirksen Senate Office Building Witnesses Alexander Acosta ALEXANDER: Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions will please come to order. This morning we're holding a confirmation hearing on the nomination of Alexander Acosta to serve as United States Secretary of labor. Senator Murray and I will each have an opening statement, then we'll introduce our witness. We're delighted to have Senator Rubio with us. Senator Cruz is coming. And after our witness testimony, senators will each have two five-minute rounds of questions. Just 10 years ago in 2007, Steve Jobs announced that Apple had reinvented the mobile phone. Just 10 years ago, a micro blogging company named Twitter gained it's own separate platform and started to scale globally. And Amazon released something called Kindle, all that in 2007, just 10 years ago. The same year, IBM began to build a computer called Watson, that within a few years defeated human contestants in the jeopardy TV show. And in 2007, the cost to sequencing a genome started falling from 100 million in 2001, to $1,000 in 2015. And a new book, New York Times columnist Tom Friedman puts his finger on the year 2007, just 10 years ago as, "the technological inflection point." He uses the term great "acceleration" for all of the technological, social, environmental and market changes simultaneously sweeping across the globe. And argues we're living, "through one of the great inflection point in history." As a result, added that Ball State University's finding that automation is responsible for the loss of 88 percent of manufacturing jobs and globalization, add that, add social, cultural, climate changes and terrorism, you get a big mismatch between the change of pace and ability of the average American worker to keep up and fit into the accelerating forces shaping the workplace. A few weeks ago a group of senators set around in a forum listened to some very smart scientists talk about their advances in artificial intelligence. And after it was all over, one senator asked, where are we all going to work? Tom Friedman says that probably the most important governance challenge is the great "need to develop the learning systems, the training systems, the management systems, the social safety nets and government regulations that would enable citizens to get the most out of these accelerations and cushion their worst impacts." One of the federal government's chief actors in this drama of acceleration should be the secretary of labor. In fact, as many have suggested and the House of Representatives has done, the title of the job for which Alexander Acosta has been nominated should be changed to be secretary of the workforce, not secretary of labor. Labor union membership in the private economy today is down to less than seven percent. The issue for workers today is not whether they belong to a union, it's whether they have the skills to adapt to a changing marketplace and find and keep a job. To be accurate, to create and keep a job, my generation found jobs. This generation is more likely to have to create their own jobs. To begin with, the Obama administration unleashed a regulatory avalanche that held job creators back. President Obama's Department of Labor issued 130 percent more final rules than the previous administration's Labor Department; an average of 85 major rules -- rules with more than $100 million impact on the economy -- compared with President Bush's 62 a year. Take the overtime rule in my state, it's cost would add hundreds of dollars per student in college tuition and would force small businesses to reduce the jobs that provide stability families need. Or the joint employer rule and it's attack on franchising. Or the fiduciary rule that makes it more expensive for the average worker to obtain investment advice. One after one, a big, wet blanket of costs and time-consuming mandates on job creators. There is the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission's EEO One form requiring employers to provide to the government 20 times as much information as they do today about how they pay workers. There is the ridiculously complex 108 question FAFSA, which I know the Dean is well aware of. The federal aid application form that turns away from college many of the people who ought to be going. And the Affordable Care Act, which defined full-time work as only 30 hours forcing employers to cut their workers hours or reduce hiring altogether. Many of these, like the Persuader Rule, which chills the ability of employers to retain legal advice during union organizing activities, seem destined -- designed for the purpose of strengthening the membership and power of labor unions. We're fortunate today to have a presidential nominee for Labor Secretary who understands how a good paying job is critical to helping workers realize the American dream for themselves and for their families. Senator Rubio and Senator Cruz will introduce him in detail, so I will not. But I do want to recognize that he -- after immigrating to Miami from Cuba, Mr. Acosta's parents worked hard to create more opportunities for their son. He's the first person in his family to go to college. He's been on the NLRB and Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department, a U.S. attorney. He's the Dean of Florida International University's law school. His -- his school's president describes him as conscientious, thoughtful; says he doesn't overreach and he's already been confirmed three times by the United States Senate. So, Mr. Acosta, we welcome you today and I look forward to hearing more on your ideas about how to help American workers adjust to the changing conditions in our workforce. Senator Murray. MURRAY: Thank you very much, Chairman Alexander. MURRAY: Mr. Acosta, thank you for being here, and thank you to you and your family for your willingness to serve. The Department of Labor is really at the heart of one of our -- our -- President Trump's core campaign promises, which was to put workers first. DOL prioritizes the best interests of our workforce, enforces laws that protect workers rights and safety and livelihoods and seeks to expand economic opportunity to more workers and families across our country. I would hope that any president would share those basic goals, but especially one who's made so many promises about fighting for workers. So I have to say I was very surprised when President Trump selected Andrew Puzder, a fast food CEO who built his career on squeezing workers, as his first nominee for secretary of Labor. We heard story after story from people who worked at his restaurants about lost wages and mistreatment. And I was deeply concerned that, as secretary of Labor, his history of offensive comments and marketing campaigns would signal it's acceptable to objectify and marginalize women in the workplace. Puzder was uniquely unqualified for this role and I'm frankly -- frankly relieved he won't have the opportunity to serve in it. But just because President Trump's first selection for secretary of Labor was so deeply unacceptable, that doesn't mean we should lower our standards because workers and families across the country certainly are not. Instead, they've made very clear they want to secretary of Labor who will stand up for the core mission of the department and fight for their interests. Someone who will be an advocate within this administration for workers if President Trump continues down the path of breaking promise after promise to those he said he would help. And with this in mind, Mr. Acosta, I have some serious concerns about your nomination which I want to ask about today and in written follow-up questions. First, the Trump administration has already cemented a reputation for flouting ethic rules and attempting to exert political pressure over federal employees. So I expect our next secretary of Labor to be someone who can withstand inappropriate political pressure and prioritize workers in the mission of the Labor Department over hypothetically speaking, President Trump's business associations, associates or as Steve Bannon's frightening ideology. So, Mr. Acosta, I am concerned. Our review of your history suggests that when you led the civil rights division at the Department of Justice, you at best ignored an extraordinary politicization of the work of this critical division, and at worst actively facilitated it. A formal investigation by the inspector general show that under your tenure, hiring in the civil rights division systematically favored conservative applicants over those who appeared to be more liberal, regardless of their professional qualifications. As assistant attorney general, you chose to stay silent on a proposed Texas redistricting plan. Instead, allowing political appointees to overrule longtime attorneys who believe the plan discriminated against black and Latino voters. The Supreme Court later affirmed the plan did violate the Voting Rights Act. You inexplicably sent a letter defending a Jim Crow era Ohio Voter Challenger Law, just four days before the 2004 presidential election, although the Justice Department had no role in that lawsuit. And by the end of your time at the civil rights division, prosecutions for crimes related to gender and racial discrimination had declined by 40 percent. Altogether, these actions suggest a pattern of allowing political pressure to influence your decision making on issues that should rise above partisanship. To me, this raises questions about your commitment to defend the civil rights of all workers, which of course, is fundamental to the role as secretary of Labor. Mr. Acosta I'm also very interested in hearing more from you about your vision for this department. And specifically where you stand on a number of key issues -- issues, it will be heavily engaged in over the coming years. President Trump has spoken out against the updated overtime role which would help millions of workers get pay they earned. Our federal minimum wage has fallen far, far behind workers needs. Women still make less than their male counterparts, an economic drain on our country that is especially pronounced for women of color. And I've also heard reports that President Trump's wrongheaded cruel immigration executive order is causing undocumented workers not to come forward for backed wages and protections they are owed. I feel strongly, we need to ensure undocumented workers are safe and receive fair treatment, especially in this time of heightened fear and uncertainty. These are all challenges I expect the secretary of Labor to be committed to working on. And I'll be very interested in your thinking and plans on each because, again, the secretary must be an independent voice for workers who will push back on the president's agenda to hurt working families. DOL also plays a pivotal role in making certain there are consequences when companies discriminate or threaten employee's safety on the job. It supports job training and the development of new career pathways for unemployed workers, oversees the quality of retirement programs impacting millions of workers nationwide, collects and publishes independent foundational data about our economy and work force through the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and much more. In other words, the ability of this department to operate effectively has enormous impact on workers, on families and on our economy. So, I'm concerned about President Trump's proposal to cut more than 20 percent of the DOL budget. It is difficult to see how the department could maintain, let alone improve its performance, were such dramatic cuts to go into affect. Under the president's budget, workers would pay the price for a budget designed to help those at the top, which is unacceptable. So I want to hear how you, as someone who would be responsible for carrying out the critical work of this department, view the president's proposal. I'm looking forward to your testimony and your responses on these and many issues, and I hope we receive clear and thorough answers. I firmly believe that workers should have a strong advocate at the Department of Labor and that is what I will continue to push for. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. ALEXANDER: Thank you, Senator Murray. Now we welcome Senator Rubio and Senator Cruz. We'll invite each of you to introduce Mr. Acosta, then I know both of you have other commitments and so you're welcome to stay or welcome to go to your other commitments. After that, we'll move to his -- to his statement. So, Senator Rubio. RUBIO: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I thank you to the Ranking Member for the opportunity to be before the committee today. It is my honor to be able to introduce Mr. Acosta and to wholeheartedly encourage the committee and the full Senate to support his nomination to be our next secretary of Labor. I begin by saying that I know Alex well. As a fellow Floridian, as a native of Miami, I have been familiar with his work for many, many years and later I came to know him personally as well. And as I said when the president nominated him, I think he's an outstanding choice to lead the Department of Labor. He has a sterling record of public service to our state and country. You'll learn about that today. As you see, not just in your materials, but in his testimony as well, he was the member -- member of the National Labor Relations Board, appointed by President George W. Bush from '02 to '03. From there, he was selected by President Bush to serve as the assistant attorney general for the civil rights division of the U.S. Department of Justice, where he also served as the Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General in that office beginning in August of 2013. But the two places I would refer you -- and this place I watched him most closely and I'm most proud of his work -- the first is he was the U.S. attorney in one of the most challenging districts in the country, Florida Southern District. And I encourage you to look at the numerous cases and the complexity of many of these cases that fall under their jurisdiction and in particular during his time there. Most recently he has served as the Dean of Florida International University's College of Law, where he has been instrumental in getting this school off the ground after its recent founding. He's raised its profile, and it's begun to graduate well prepared young men and women for their careers. Florida International University is a place that I know well. I actually have been a adjunct professor there for over 10 years. But more importantly, it has a unique role in our community, where a significant percentage of the students, not just at the law school but in the school in general, are the first in their family to ever attend or graduate from college. It has a higher percentage of such students than virtually any other college or university in America. And under his tutelage and under his leadership, FIU's College of Law has opened that door for hundreds of young people, who ultimately would have had to do what I did. And that is take on significant student loan debt in order to get their juris doctor degree. And he has elevated FIU's ability not just to do that, but at a very high level. With every challenge that he has confronted throughout his distinguished career, Alex is continuously demonstrate -- continuously demonstrated his ability to effectively tackle the problems at hand with ease. He is a brilliant, brilliant legal mind, someone with deep knowledge of labor issues and a proven leader and manager. And for these reasons and many more, I am confident that Alex Acosta will serve this nation admirably. And I'm proud to introduce him to the committee today and urge you to support his nomination. I thank you, Mr. Chairman. I thank the Ranking Member and all the members of this committee for the opportunity. ALEXANDER: Thank you Senator Rubio. Senator Cruz? Welcome. CRUZ: Thank you, Mr. Chairman, ranking member, members of this committee. It is a privilege to be before you today and have the opportunity to introduce my friend Alex Acosta. I've known Alex for 25 years. He and I went to law school together. We've been friends a long time. There's a lot you can know about Alex from looking at his resume, looking at his bio. You can know that he's smart, that he's academically accomplished, that he's led a life of public service, making a difference in the lives of others. But one of the things you know getting to know someone over the course of two and a half decades, is -- is you learn the character. And I can tell you that Alex is a man of character, a man who takes very seriously fidelity to the law, fidelity to the Constitution and a man who has a passion for justice. Alex began his legal career as a law clerk for Justice Samuel Alito on the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals. He worked in a variety of locations and has three times been confirmed by the United States Senate. He was confirmed as a board member on the National Labor Relations Board. He was confirmed as the Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Civil Rights. And he was confirmed as the United States attorney for the Southern District of Florida. All three of those positions are very challenging positions, as each of you know, those are not easy assignments. Those are assignments that almost by their nature guarantee that there's going to be conflict, there are going to be difficult and important issues presented to whoever is entrusted with leading those offices. And one of the remarkable things about Alex is that he is been able to lead each of those offices with an impeccable record, a record of distinction, but also a record of inclusion. Alex, in leading those offices, has demonstrated an ability to bring people together, even if they have disparate political or ideological backgrounds to bring them together behind a shared vision and a shared commitment to justice. That is an important characteristic in any position. It's been an important characteristic in his role as the Dean at Florida International University School of Law which as Marco described, is -- is a school that is expanding opportunity to a great many people who would never have had the opportunity otherwise. That's yet another demonstration of Alex's passion for justice stepping down as U.S. attorney, he could've cashed out. There would've been plenty of law firms in Florida that would've offered him a seven-figure check and he could've lived in a nice house and driven a big car and had a very, very comfortable life. But he chose instead to be Dean of the law school, to make a difference in the lives of students. CRUZ: To those of us who've known Alex a long time, that is not surprising. That is entirely consistent with the course of -- of his entire life. I'll also tell you on a personal level, Alex is a surprisingly good poker player and not nearly as good a squash player. And one additional observation, Alex is a Cuban-American. He understands firsthand how incredible the miracle of freedom is, how incredible this country is; the beacon of freedom that it has served to the world. That is an appreciation that I think is important in any government position. But as secretary of Labor, the mandate of secretary of Labor, the kind of secretary of Labor I expect Alex will be, will be a champion for working men and women. A champion for people who want jobs, who want more jobs, who want higher wages, who want more opportunity, someone who will fight for the working men and women of this country. And I will say, I take, perhaps particular, pleasure in the observation that I suspect this is one of the first times, if not the only time, that this committee has had three Cuban-Americans seated before it. And it -- and it is a testament of the opportunity that our wonderful nation provides. I commend you, Alex Acosta, who I think will make an excellent secretary of Labor. ALEXANDER: Thank you, Senator Cruz and Senator Rubio. Thank you both for -- for coming. We'll now move to -- your welcome to go to your other hearings at whatever time you -- you choose to. Mr. Acosta, we welcome you and your family. You're welcome to introduce your family if you'd like. We'd be glad to have your statement then we'll begin a round or two of questions. ACOSTA: Thank you, Mr. Chairman, Ranking Member Murray, members of the committee. I -- I thank you for the opportunity to appear before you this morning. I know today's a busy day in the Senate and there are other ongoing hearings. And -- and so, thank you, it's an honor to be here as President Trump's nominee to be secretary of Labor. I want to take a minute to thank Senators Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz for their very kind introductions. As both noted, I've known them for many years. I appreciate their support, and -- and I deeply admire and -- and respect their dedication to public service. I'm also grateful for their support today because my family was unable to be here. My -- my wife, Jan, is an amazing woman, a fantastic mother. I'm deeply grateful for her love and her unending and unyielding support. My eldest daughter, Delia, is in first grade and there's something called an Iowa test, which is a standardized test that she's undergoing this week. And so, my wife is with Delia and with my five-year-old, Rosalia, who's going to be in kindergarten next year, back in Miami. I -- I don't know if they're watching. Well, I know my girls aren't watching; my wife may or may not be. But -- but I really want to reach out to them and thank them for everything that they do for me. I want to thank my parents, in particular. And my parents are very important to me, not simply because of what they've done for me, but because my story really begins with them and informs my perspective on what it means to be a secretary of Labor. They fled Cuba. They came to the United States seeking freedom, and they found it. They met in Miami in high school. They fell in love. They married young. My mother was in her teens when she found out she was pregnant. Neither attended college. Growing up they struggled, not as much as other Americans have struggled but they struggled. My mother started out as a typist at a real estate firm. At times, she commuted 90 minutes each way for her job. My father served in the Army. Later he tried to start a small business, but he quickly found that his lack of -- of higher education, his lack of ability to deal with forms and rules made it very difficult for him to be a small business owner. And so he went on to hold various jobs and he ended his working life as an inventory clerk at a cell phone store. Our family lived paycheck to paycheck. My grandmother cared for me while we grew up and that was an incredibly helpful and loving thing to do because both my parents worked full time. At times my parents went into debt, deep debt, the kind of debt that they tell you not to go into because credit card interest rates are high. But they went into that debt and they took on second jobs to make ends meet. And they did that because they wanted to give me an education. And so I'm here because of them. And my success is very much their success. They were able to give me these opportunities because even though they didn't have a college education, they had something very important and that's a job. And though at times they lost their job, they're always able to find another job and that was very important. Well, today, Americans are facing the same challenges and struggles but for many Americans, only worse. My parents had jobs, but not all Americans have jobs. Some Americans have seen their jobs go overseas. Some Americans have seen their jobs filled by foreign workers. And I've read and I've seen press reports that not only have they been filled by foreign workers. But to add insult to injury, they've been asked to train their foreign replacements. And some Americans have seen that jobs are available, but that these available jobs require skills they do not have. Helping Americans find good jobs, safe jobs should not be a partisan issue. In my visits with each of you, with each member of this committee, it was crystal clear that every member of this committee wants Americans to find jobs, good jobs, safe jobs, even if you don't all agree on the how. I share this school with you, we may not always agree on the how, but at least let us begin by agreeing on the need. If confirmed, I hope to benefit from an ongoing dialogue with each of you as to how we can advance these goals within the context of this. The chairman mentioned a global economy that is changing rapidly with each passing year. And with it, the constraints of limited resources. I'd like to close with a brief discussion of the few items in particular. The first is the skills gap. As I visited with members of this committee, I repeatedly heard that in your states there are jobs but the skills too often are not there. In one of your states, for example, a community college was teaching welding techniques. And it turns out that the employees are no longer using that welding technique so why are they teaching outdated technique? That is not how you teach skills. We can and we must work to reduce that skills gap. We need to make better efforts to align job training with the skills the market demands and the decreasingly changing market will demand of its workers. Especially as advancing technology changes the types of jobs that are available in our economy. The Department of Labor cannot do this alone. It has to work with local governments, with industry, with educational institutions. Public-private partnerships that can have substantial positive impact on the American workforce. This is the vision of the Workforce Innovation Opportunity Act, of apprenticeship programs, of job corps, and of many other programs; not only at DOL but across government. If confirmed, I will work with you to maximize every taxpayer dollar that is directed toward job-training programs. Second, good jobs should also be safe jobs. Congress has enacted workplace standard and safety laws. The Department of Labor enforces these. And if confirmed, I will work to enforce the laws under the department's jurisdiction fully and fairly. As a former prosecutor, my enforcement efforts will always be on the side of the law. It's enacted by Congress. It should be enforced fully. It should be enforced fairly. And it should not be enforced in favor or against any particular constituency. Finally, the Department of Labor was formed a bit more than 100 years ago, and it's an interesting history because originally it was a Department of Commerce and Labor. And then it was split into two. And so, why was it split? And the reason was this, that a voice for commerce and a voice for workers or a workforce, as the chairman mentioned, within the Executive branch would promote better decision- making. I think this concept is absolutely correct. Advocates for the American workforce within the administration are important, whether it's those were working, those you still seek work, those were discouraged or unemployed or those that have retired. If confirmed as secretary of Labor, part of my job will be to be one of those advocates. President Trump has reached out to both business and to labor in his first hundred days. I'm proud to have the support both of several dozen business groups and also of several private sector and keep public safety unions who remember, with respect, my work at DOJ and the NLRB. They know that while we did not always agree I was always willing to listen and to think and to consider and to seek out principled solutions. If confirmed, I hope that we, this committee and the Executive branch, can work together in the same way to address the need for good jobs and safe jobs. And in particular, access to training and the skills that the changing workplace will demand of its workforce. I thank you for your consideration and I look forward to answering your questions. ALEXANDER: Thank you, Mr. Acosta, we'll now begin a round of five minute questions. And if senators wish, there'll be a second round of five minute -- five minute questions. Mr. Acosta, let's -- let's start with the skills gap that you spoke about. If -- if we're to think of you, as I think we should, as secretary of the workforce to help workers in this head spinning environment that we find ourselves in and adjust to it and fit into it, we already spend a lot of money on helping people get training. We spend more than 30 billion in -- in Pell grants. The average Pell grant is -- is about the same as the average community college tuition. We spend a lot of money on student loans. Other countries do other things. Germany has an apprenticeship system. Some people say our technical institutes do a better job than our community colleges. If you're the secretary of the workforce, and if you see that according to the Manufacturing Institute, two million American's manufacturing jobs will go unfilled over the next 10 years due to the skills gap, specifically, what are some of the things we should be doing about it? ACOSTA: Senator, thank you for the question. First let me -- let me touch on the first part of your -- your comments which are the spending that we spend in education. And I think it's critical, if confirmed that the Department of Labor work very closely with the Department of Education because there's a lot of spending that is taking place in education. And we want to make sure to the extent possible and feasible, that individuals have the opportunity to align their education with the skills the workplace will demand. More specifically to the second part of your question, you mentioned to apprenticeships. So as Dean of a law school, I'm a big fan of learning by doing. We recently started a program which is a full semester internship at a law firm in addition to public defender's office for a state attorney's office. And the students have the opportunity to spend a full semester there because they can learn by doing. And -- and I think if you look at some of the apprenticeship programs where individuals work and they get credit while they are working. Or some of the other programs are available in community colleges that focus on vocational opportunities in partnership with individual businesses. Those are all options that we should be looking at because they're alternative ways of educating, they're alternative ways of providing skills. And importantly, it is a way for students to acquire skills and jobs. And -- and -- and skills to be used in jobs without taking on the enormous debt that were seeing in some secondary -- in -- in some secondary programs right now. ALEXANDER: Let -- let me ask you one other -- one other question. The overtime rule, fortunately it's not in effect. Thanks to a court, in my views one of the worst examples of regulation by the previous administration. It -- it caused millions of Americans to punch time clocks that they didn't want to punch. It raised to tuition, according to our universities, hundreds by hundreds of dollars per -- per -- per student because of its cost. It caused my local Boy Scout council to have to dismiss counselors. The -- it -- it received widespread condemnation around the country and even in Congress, there was bipartisan opposition, so there was a doubling of the threshold. There was a impact on nonprofits. What are you gonna do about the overtime rule? ACOSTA: Well, Senator, Mr. Chairman, as you mentioned, it's pending in -- in litigation. Let me -- let me offer a few observations. First the overtime rule hasn't been updated, I believe, since 2004. And I think it's unfortunate that -- that rules that involve dollar values can sometimes go more than a decade, sometimes 15 years without updating. Because life does become more expensive over time... ALEXANDER: But let me press you a little bit. I mean, it was -- would doubling the threshold, applying so heavily the -- the impact of it to nonprofits would -- doesn't that concern you? ACOSTA: So -- so Mr. Chairman, it -- it does and the point that I was making is I think it's unfortunate that it goes so long without adjusting. Because when they are adjusted, you see impacts such as a doubling of the amount that does create a -- what -- what I'll call, a -- a stress on the system as the chairman mentioned. Particularly in areas, both industry and geographic areas that are lower wage historically. And -- and so I think one of the challenges that we face in addressing the overtime rule is, since 2004 there's been no change. Now there is a very large change and -- and how should that be addressed as a policy matter I think is a very difficult decision but a very serious one because the economy does feel a substantial impact from such a large change. ALEXANDER: Thank you. Senator Murray. MURRAY: Mr. Chairman, let me follow on that. As the chairman mentioned, the Department of Labor did finalize the updated Overtime Rule last year, and that rule helped restore the 40 hour workweek, which is the cornerstone of protection for middle-class workers. Before that Overtime Rule, workers could be asked to put in extra hours -- 60, 70, 80 hours a week -- without earning a single extra dollar for the overtime hours that they spent away from their families. And that new Overtime Rule expanded the number of workers who qualify for overtime pay, increasing economic security actually for millions of families. After months of Republicans in Congress and big business fighting to block that Overtime Rule, as you stated, the court is now considering the rule and blocking additional overtime for workers from taking affect. So let me ask the question a little bit differently, do you believe that workers should be paid overtime for the overtime hours that they work? ACOSTA: Senator, I do believe that workers that are entitled to overtime pay should receive pay for their overtime. MURRAY: Will you defend this rule in court? ACOSTA: Senator, as -- as I was saying in response to the chairman's question, the Overtime Rule hasn't been updated since 2004. We now see an update that is a -- a very large revision, and -- and something that needs to be considered is the impact it has on the economy, on non-profits, on geographic areas that have lower wages. But I'm also very sensitive to the fact that it hasn't been updated since 2004. And if confirmed, I will look at this very closely. Let me also add a related issue to this, is the question of whether the dollar threshold is within the authority of the secretary. When Congress passed the statutes, it provides in essence for a duties test. And one of the questions that's in litigation is does a dollar threshold supersede the duties test. And as result, is it not in accordance with the law. And I -- I mentioned that because I think the authority of the secretary to address this is a separate issue from what the correct amount is. And the litigation needs to be considered carefully, both with respect to what would be the appropriate amount if the rule were to be changed or revised, but also what is within the authority of the secretary to do. MURRAY: OK, well, this is an issue I'm going to be following closely. I think it's an issue of fairness. And I'm -- I really do believe the secretary of Labor's job is to -- to make sure that workers are treated fairly. Let me move on to another -- another issue; you have served as a high ranking federal official. One of the few Cabinet nominees of this president that has done so. However, in your time leading the civil rights division at the Department of Justice, staff under your supervision broke federal law by systematically discriminating against individuals based on their political affiliations. An inspector general investigation found that staff on your management team sought out conservative candidates and rejected liberal ones. Your staff referred to conservatives as real Americans who were on the team. And according to the IG report, your staff called liberal department lawyers commies and pinkos and told the subordinate that your division shouldn't be limited to hiring politburo members who belong to some psychopathic left-wing organization designed to overthrow the government. MURRAY: Your -- your deputy said he should get an award for effectively breaking the will of liberal staff. These were your staffers acting under your supervision. Do you take responsibility for the acts of discrimination that occurred under your leadership? ACOSTA: Senator, you're referring to -- to the actions of one of the deputies in the division. I believe the Inspector General's Report found that the other deputies that oversaw the other divisions or the other sections of the civil rights division did not engage in that conduct. That conduct should not have happened. It happened on my watch, it should not have occurred, that language should not have been used. And -- and I deeply regret it. MURRAY: OK. And it leads me to ask you, will you stand up to the president or others in the administration if they ask you to use political views on statements in hiring decisions? ACOSTA: Senator, political views on the hiring of career attorneys or staff should not be used and the answer to your question is, if I am asked to do that I will not allow it. I'm very aware of the Inspector General's report of the impact it had on -- on that section and I would not allow that to happen. MURRAY: OK. I appreciate that very much. Thank you. ALEXANDER: Thank, Senator Murray. It'll be Senator Collins and then Senator Bennet. COLLINS: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Mr. Acosta. First of all, thank you for sharing your inspiring personal story. It really is a story of opportunity in America. And in many ways, that is the mission of the department that you've been nominated to lead, to create more opportunities for American workers. The department has a program known as the Trade Adjustment Assistance Program that helps Americans, who through no fault of their own, have lost their jobs as a result of foreign and often unfair competition. In Maine, for example, we have lost more than 38 percent of our manufacturing jobs. That's nearly 31,000 jobs in total over the last 17 years. The Trade Adjustment Assistance Program has been crucial in helping many of Maine workers who have been hit very hard by mill closures and shattered factories get the skills that they need for the jobs in higher demand industries. For example in fiscal year 2015, 740 Mainer's benefited from TAA and more than 70 percent of those who went through TAA provided education or retraining found employment within three months of completing the program. The so called skinny budget that was released last week proposes large cuts in the Department of Labor, but it's unclear what happens to TAA. What is your view on that program? ACOSTA: Senator, thank you for the question and I appreciate the way you set up the question because he provided data. And if confirmed, something that I think I would need to do and do very quickly because budget season has already begun, is -- is assess the -- the efficacy of the job-training programs. Because the budgets are, you know, to be determined, the -- the skinny budget has been submitted. Congress will have the final say on the ultimate budget. But dollars are gonna be more scarce is the reality. And so we're going to have to make difficult decisions. You've provided data that shows how successful that program has been and -- and, you know, and I -- I think the principles that need to be used to guide the spending are how successful is the program, does the program address particular needs, such as the needs of displaced individuals who have lost their jobs because of, for example, the closing of a mill. And -- and in that context, you know, the rate of -- of return on the investment of taxpayer dollars in the skills, I think, is particularly high because if you have someone that has been doing a job most of their life and that job no longer exists and now you provide them the skills to do another job. They're going to hold that job for a long time, and they're gonna become part of our economy again. And they're going to be paying taxes. And so that rate of return on those programs, I think, is very strong. And so based on your information, I -- I hope that that program remains because it sounds like it's incredibly successful, at least in your state. And -- and let me add, I think there's also room for differences within states where some program might make sense in -- in Maine, but it might not make sense in another state. And I think we need to be very sensitive that one size does not fit all. COLLINS: Thank you for that response. Despite the success that of the TAA program, there still is the category of workers in my state who are older workers, who are, in many ways, the forgotten story of this economic recovery. Older workers are having increasing difficulties in finding employment. In Maine, almost half of the private industry workers are over 44 years old. And our paper mills, which have lost more than 1,500 jobs over the past three years alone, have a disproportionately high number of older workers. And for many of them, working the paper mills been the only job they've ever known. Their families have worked there for, literally, generations. And it's very difficult to tell someone who's 54 years old, who's done this his entire life or her entire life, that they need to retrain for a new job or leave a community that's been their home their entire life. If confirmed, what ideas do you have for helping older workers in my state and others who have lost jobs due to mill closures and other factors? ACOSTA: Senator, I'll briefly -- because I -- I see the clock, I will just say that I -- I think those ideas can't come from Washington. I think what Washington needs to do is go to them and ask them what ideas do they see in their local area, and then work with them and the local governments to address that. Because I don't think that we here in Washington can understand what they're going through in their small town in Maine. COLLINS: Thank you. ALEXANDER: Thank you, Senator Collins. Senator Bennet. BENNET: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Thank you for holding this hearing. Mr. Acosta, congratulations to you on your nomination and thank you for your willingness to serve. I want to press you a little bit on what Senator Collins was just asking. Let me come back to that in one second. In Colorado, we are trying to establish an apprenticeship program throughout our universities, community colleges, school districts and businesses. And I'd like to invite you, if you're confirmed, to come out there and meet with the people that are working on that project to see how the Department of Labor might help them or help us do that better. ACOSTA: Gladly. BENNET: Good, thank you. This -- virtually, this entire campaign was about bringing back jobs and wages to places in America where people have suffered huge economic dislocation because of, some would argue trade, some might say automation. But the dislocation has been real, median family income has fallen in many places, and there's a hopelessness about what the economy is going to bring. So with respect to you, I'm not sure the answer that is all up to local communities suffices. The president ran for president, saying he was going to make that huge difference. He was can bring those jobs back. So apart from training, which I stipulate, and we talked about in my office, is an enormously important thing that we need to do better. And I think we're wasting billions of dollars, not training people for jobs that exist in the 21st century. Putting that aside, what's the plan? ACOSTA: Senator, thank you for the question. Let me -- let me first make the point that one of the reasons that I said it's important to go to the local communities is because when -- when the Senator and I met -- met in private, she gave me information about the educational background and the abilities and the other -- the other opportunities in that area. And that's by definition, gonna be different than what's available in Colorado. And in so, I do think it's important to visit Colorado and visit Maine and understand the different areas. Going to -- to your point. I think we need to look at -- at -- at several different levels for -- for job creation. You know, the president has made clear that -- that every Cabinet agency should review regulations for unneeded regulatory burden. Small businesses produce, depending on whose numbers you look at, between seven and eight new jobs -- seven and eight out of 10 new jobs. And so efforts to encourage small business will foster job creation. I think it's important to look at the issue that I highlighted about foreign workers taking American jobs. Particularly, when, you know, in those circumstances that I highlighted where Americans are being asked to train their foreign replacements. That is not the intent of the H-1B and is a matter factors and attestation that has to be made that you are not affecting the working conditions of -- of an American worker when you do that. And so one question that I would have is, how often is that happening? And is that something that we should be looking at with -- with greater degree of care? I think we also need to work with, you know, public-private partnerships. I know that there is a lot of discussion about an infrastructure program. And an infrastructure program will certainly bring back a lot of jobs. And -- and for all of these, it's not just the jobs as part of an infrastructure program or jobs that are developed for a small business but as individuals get jobs they spend money. And then those individuals that spend money go to restaurants. And you have this multiplier effect throughout the economy that I think is incredibly valuable. Let me -- let me finally touch on -- on education. And -- and I do think it's important to touch in education because the economy is changing rapidly and our educational institutions cannot ignore what the workplace is going to be demanding going forward. BENNET: Mr. Acosta, I also just wanted to -- for the record, note that -- and I appreciate this, that you've been a supporter of immigration reform in the past. With Senator Rubio as part of the Gang of Eight here who passed the Senate bill on immigration. And part of what you observed in 2012 was that the current system allowed the abuse of immigrant workers, do you still feel that way and do you still support immigration reform? ACOSTA: Senator, I -- I think there is a need to have immigration laws that are transparent and -- and clear and -- and I do think that we have an issue of abuse with immigrant workers. I -- I think when workers are not part of the system, the system can abuse them. But I also think it's important that we -- that we enforce immigration laws. And -- and I don't see enforcement of immigration laws as separate from immigration reform. BENNET: One, Mr. Chairman, I realize I'm 15 seconds over, I apologize. Along those lines as well, you mentioned the H21 (ph) program. We have huge difficulties in Colorado with the H2-A and H2-B program being administered in a way that's actually useful to workers and to businesses. So I look forward to having the chance to -- to talk with you about that at a later time. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, for holding this hearing. ALEXANDER: Thank you, Senator Bennett. I was going to call on Senator Hatch, but he's not here, so I'll call on Senator Scott. SCOTT: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Thank you for being here, again. Couple questions I've heard so far during this hearing has to do with the Overtime Rule. Moving from $23,600 to about $47,000, according to some studies, would cost about a half a million jobs in the economy. So your comments seem to be a mixed bag. According to Tammy McCutcheon, who was a hourly and wage person at the Department of Labor under the Bush administration, moving it up from $23,000 to maybe $32,000 would make sense based on the previous formulas been used for decades. What would be your approach? ACOSTA: Senator, I thank you for the question. If you were to do a cost-of-living adjustment -- and -- and as I mentioned, the world has gotten more expensive and salaries have changed since 2004 -- so if you're to apply a straight inflation adjustment, I believe that the figure, if it were to be updated, would be somewhere around $33,000, give or take. And -- and -- and so, I think the question that -- that I will have to face, if I were to become secretary of Labor, is, one, what to do with the litigation. Two, if -- if we determined that -- that the rule, as it currently stands, should not be the -- the rule that -- that -- that eventually takes place within this litigation context, what would be the correct amount. And I -- I understand that there is a desire on -- on the part of members of this committee for me to, sort of, state, this is exactly what I would do. But this is an incredibly complicated rule. This is something that gets updated about every 15 years, and so for me to -- to, sort of, on-the-fly at a hearing state with certainty I don't think is the responsible approach. What I would say is, one, I understand the extreme economic impact that a doubling has in certain parts of the economy. I understand that it goes beyond a cost-of-living adjustment. And I understand, as well, that because of the size of the increase there are serious questions as whether the secretary of Labor even has the power to enact this in the first place, which is what a lot of the litigation -- not a lot, which is what in -- the basis of the litigation is. ACOSTA: Those are issues that -- that I would want to consult with the individuals at labor and at justice that are -- that are overseeing the litigation before determining. SCOTT: Well, I certainly hope that you've already invested a lot of time contemplating what you would do is the next secretary as opposed to not having invested any time in that conversation which will be a very important conversation between the overtime rule and the fiduciary rule. There -- these are things that you should be contemplating already, but let's move to a different topic. I think Senator Bennet has mentioned it perhaps, Chairman Alexander and the Ranking Member as well, have talked about the importance of apprenticeship programs. South Carolina, perhaps, is the leading state -- at least one of the leading states in the country on -- on the success of our apprenticeship programs. I'd love to hear how you would encompass or integrate into your objectives going forward a -- a -- an apprenticeship model, taking in consideration the one that Cory Booker and myself have sponsored. The LEAP Act, over 17,734 apprenticeships and 6,400 participating programs in South Carolina. We have companies throughout the country in South Carolina from BMW, Boeing, Continental, General Electric, BlueCross BlueShield, Bosch. Also industries like healthcare and finance that are all integrated in South Carolina and involved in apprenticeship programs. I'd love to hear your model. ACOSTA: Senator, first let me say that South Carolina from -- you know, really is a model of apprenticeship programs. Some of the -- some of the qualities that makes it so successful is the -- the integration or the public private partnership where employers are not involved in -- in -- in name but they're really deeply involved in their directing. These are the types of apprenticeships we need. This is -- you know, this is what the workforce is demanding and I think that that involvement of employers is very, very important. I know that South Carolina at the state level also provides incentives for employers to engage in apprenticeships and to hire apprentices. And particularly when someone is learning, when someone is quite literally an apprentice, my understanding is that that makes the South Carolina program particularly noteworthy and attractive for an employer to hire an apprentice. SCOTT: Thank you Mr. Chairman. ALEXANDER: Thank you Senator Scott. Senator Baldwin? BALDWIN: Thank you Mr. Chairman. And welcome Mr. Acosta, congratulations on the nomination. One of the first responsibilities I -- and you alluded to in a moment ago in terms of the fact that it's budget season. One of the first responsibilities of the secretary is going to be identifying where to cut. Frankly, because President Trump's budget calls for a $2.5 billion cut to the Department of Labor, 21 percent decrease from current enacted levels. This is really significant. President Trump's budget only specifies $500 million of cuts. Mostly to seniors seeking job training and leaves about two billion unspecified. So I -- I -- I'd like to ask you, how are you going to approach this incredible task of making this math work? I mean, you could eliminate all -- or you could eliminate 15 job core centers for vulnerable youth. You could eliminate the entire Employee Benefits Security Administration charged with protecting workers retirement funds from fraud or get rid of the women in apprenticeship grant program. How are you going to approach this? Are you going to do 20 percent across the board, are you going to cut various bureaus, or what are you going to do? ACOSTA: Senator, thank you for the question. First let me say that, as a nominee, I haven't had any -- the opportunity to provide input yet into the -- the budget process. And if confirmed, it's something I'm going to have to take on very quickly because it's -- it's moving. My -- my personal perspectives -- and again Congress will make ultimate decisions on this, and so Congress may have a different view -- but my personal perspective is this should not be across the board. And at the same time, it shouldn't focus on particular programs because that's -- that's a little bit to -- to -- because programs aren't quite that -- how can I put this? Let -- you mentioned -- Senator, let me come at it this way. So, you mentioned the core centers. And -- and I think there's some job core centers in some states where the job core centers are highly successful. And for those states, those job core centers work exceedingly well; given the population, given the -- the geographic diversity of that state. Those job core centers, from my understanding, are working well. There some other job core centers that have a history of violence associated with them that -- that concerns me. And as a matter fact, the Department of Labor has looked at some of those job core centers and has identified some of those issues. And so, I -- I think this requires an analysis on -- on a few levels ... BALDWIN: And -- and I'm just going to cut you off because we have limited time. So, you're -- you're not going to look at across the board. And what I think I hear you saying, to summarize, is that you wouldn't eliminate programs, per se, but you would look at success. I think you said that earlier in response to the trade adjustment assistance question for Senator Collins. ACOSTA: That -- that would be fair. BALDWIN: I -- so what -- what troubles me is in areas where we're not seeing success is pulling it away and offering -- not offering those programs the answer, or is it going in and -- and fixing and adjusting and providing those opportunities. I mean, if you pull it away, you've left people high and dry in training and -- and many other areas. ACOSTA: Senator, I -- I understand your question and I think and -- and -- and I don't think we disagree. And -- and here's -- first, it's a question of what is success, right? Because if you have a particularly troubled area, a little bit of -- of movement can be success. But secondly, just because you pull a -- you know, if -- if there is a job core center in a particular geographic area that isn't working, that doesn't mean you pull away from that geographic area. That just means that maybe, in that area, the money is better spent on another program then on the job core center. So I don't think it would be right to -- to abandon any one area. I think that's -- that's why it needs an analysis based on the program and the geography, to ask what does this state need, what does this part of that state need, and -- and really look at it on a -- on a local basis. ALEXANDER: Thank you, Senator Baldwin. Senator Young. YOUNG: Welcome, Mr. Acosta, great to be with you here today. I'd like to first get your thoughts and on how we can better link our unemployed Americans to job opportunities. As secretary of Labor, this something you direct oversight over. There already programs out there to help facilitate these linkages. Less than half of the available workforce has the appropriate training to fill available jobs. Some communities are innovative and serving local need. In my own state, we have Jeffersonville, Indiana. They partnered with Ford for their next-generation learning program. This partnership engages businesses, educators, community leaders, various other stakeholders to enhance the workforce system throughout the region, which is in southern Indiana. It's gonna connect high school graduates to relevant post secondary education that will directly filter into businesses around that community. Every member here can no doubt site localized specific examples of -- of -- of sort of creative solutions to this linkage issue which is so important if we're gonna have flexible effective labor markets which in turn leads to faster economic growth and higher wage growth. Perhaps you could speak to how you as secretary of labor will foster this sort of engagement. And maybe serve as a conduit for information related to best practices. So that folks back in the states and our localities can scale up what's working. ACOSTA: Senator, thank you for the question. You know, it's -- it's interesting that even in this hearing each -- several members are pointing to successes in their particular states. And -- and your right, those need to be compiled and -- and put into best practices so that they can be duplicated. But -- but the other point that I would identify is not only is it a -- are these successes based on local partnerships but they're based in public private partnerships. It's not the Department of Labor going in on its own. It is businesses working at a local level with educational institutions and with other local entities to align the training opportunities with what the workforce -- with what that the -- the employers are demanding. And that partnership, I think, is -- is so critical. And so going to -- to Senator Baldwin's question of you know, wouldn't you be walking away from a particular area if a program isn't working? My -- the point is trying to make is, no if -- if there's a program that's not working in -- in -- in a particular state. If there's a program that's not working, Indiana, for example, but there's a program that's working fabulously well, then we should look at that program that's working fabulously well and perhaps double down on that program. If that program is going to address the needs that were otherwise addressed by the program that isn't working. YOUNG: I like to hear common sense from my would be secretary of labor. That strikes me as common sense. That's a good thing. I'll -- I'll -- I'll look forward to working with you to operationalize that concept through programs or policies or so forth. In my remaining time, perhaps I could give it to the gig economy. The availability, the preference for so many of our workers to take multiple part-time jobs, to do freelance work is just the way so much of our economy is moving. It's creating unique challenges for our workers and we, from a public policy standpoint, are gonna have to adapt to these challenges. One of those challenges is for parents, their day care responsibilities if in fact they either require a job outside of the home or they wish to work outside the home. I have four young children. We have some flexibility, my wife and I, in our lives and -- and so -- and some family members that help out, so we figured out a way to make it work. A single father, who's caring for a few children, works the night shift at Wal-Mart; I don't know how they do it. I don't know where they find acceptable, available day care for their children. I'm not asking you to solve this problem, but could you at least speak to this problem as perhaps the next Secretary of Labor, and how you might explore innovative ways to deal with it; partnering with our states and localities to make the gig economy work for more people. ACOSTA: Senator, thank you. The -- the gig economy is something that the Department of Labor needs to address. And in -- on several levels, the rules at DOL aren't designed -- they haven't caught up to the gig economy. They assume a more traditional workplace, and -- and so I think it goes beyond the issue that you raised to -- to several issues within the Department of Labor. It's incredibly important. There are individuals in my office who are single -- single parents. And -- and I see them, and they've got a -- got to juggle and they have the means to juggle; and it's still incredibly difficult. And so, it's something that -- that we're going to have to talk about and address, but it has to be at the local level. ALEXANDER: Thank you, Senator Young. Senator Warren and then Senator Hatch. WARREN: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Mr. Acosta you're the president's second choice for secretary of Labor, and I'll be honest, I'm glad it's not his first choice, Andrew Pudzer, who's sitting here today. It is hard to imagine a candidate who would be worse than a man who made his fortune by squeezing workers on wages and benefits. A man who repeatedly broke the laws that he would be charged with enforcing. A man who bragged about replacing his workers with robots who would never sue him for race or sex discrimination. But that said, the test for secretary of Labor is not are you better than Andrew Puzder. The test is will you stand up for 150 million American workers? And that starts by making sure that workers are safe on their jobs. A Department of Labor rule to protect 2.3 million American workers from exposure to lethal cancer-causing silica went into effect last summer. So I just wanted to know, Mr. Acosta, will you promise not to weaken the silica rule in any way, and not to delay future compliance by even a single day? ACOSTA: Senator, as -- as you mentioned, the silica rule went into effect. I -- I -- I should, however, make clear that the president, through an executive action, has directed all Cabinet secretaries to -- to put together a group to review all rules within each Cabinet agency. WARREN: I'm -- I'm aware of that. ACOSTA: And to examine. And -- and so, I -- I... WARREN: This is a rule that has gone into effect. ACOSTA: : Yes -- yes, Senator. But... WARREN: And I just want to make sure you're not going to delay this rule any further. ACOSTA: Senator, I -- I understand. The point that I'm trying to make is that the president has directed each Cabinet officer to review all rules and to make determinations if any rules should be revised. And so, based on that executive action, I cannot make a commitment without -- you know, because the Department of Labor has been ordered to review all rules. WARREN: Well, I want to understand what that means when you say Department of Labor has been ordered to review all rules. You know, you're about to be named as Secretary of Labor and your name goes on the bottom line for enforcing the law. Either you're going to stand up for 150 million American workers, including people who are being poisoned by silica or you're not. And I think that's a fair question for us to ask. Are you going to stand up for the people, finally, we have a rule in place so that people not being poisoned by silica? ACOSTA: Senator... WARREN: And you're saying that's just open? And you want to give an answer one way or the other on how you look at? ACOSTA: Senator, what -- what I'm saying is that the rule is in effect, but there is an order -- the ruled -- that the final rule went into -- was promulgated. But there is an order and executive action asking all... WARREN: And you can't give us your own sense of whether or not the silica rule is something that ought to be enforced? You're going to do this review and you're telling me you can't tell whether or not we ought to just take out rules that will cause people to die? ACOSTA: : Senator, I -- I -- I am not advocating taking out rules. I'm making the point... WARREN: Can I take that then as you will that rule? ACOSTA: Senator, I -- it is -- all Cabinet officers have been asked to review... WARREN: You said that and I've heard it. ACOSTA: Fair enough. WARREN: I'm trying to ask for your opinion and your telling me evidently that you want to be secretary of labor, but you have no opinion on whether or not high on your list of priorities would be to protect a rule that keeps people from being poisoned. ACOSTA: Senator, high on the list of priorities will be to protect the safety of workers with appropriate rules. WARREN: And you will decide what appropriate rules are, but you don't give a hand right now? ACOSTA: Senator, there is an entire staff at the Department of Labor... WARREN: Yes, there is and they've already looked at this rule. And they already have comments on this rule. And they have already received comments from the public about this rule. And they strongly support this rule. And I raised this rule with you when we talked about it two weeks ago said so there should no surprise that I'm asking you about this. ACOSTA: And -- and I gave you the same answer and I look forward to hearing from that staff if confirmed, the -- their views on this... WARREN: And following their advice? ACOSTA: If that advice is appropriate, yes. WARREN: And you will decide if it's appropriate? I -- I think we've got how this stand works. Let me ask you another question. Another huge responsibility of the secretary is to make sure that workers are paid fairly. And last December a new Labor Department rule requiring employees to pay their workers overtime when they work more than 40 hours a week was set to go into effect. It would mean a raise for 4.2 million people. Lots of employers were preparing to comply but just days before the deadline a Texas judge blocked the rule siding with giant companies over American workers. Will you commit to appealing the judge's ruling to protect these workers? ACOSTA: Senator, as I previously mentioned, I will commit to examining both the rule and the legal basis of the judge's decision... WARREN: Let me stop you there. I appreciate that because that's exactly what you said to me two weeks ago. You've had time to take a look at it and it's not a long ruling. To read the ruling and to look at the comments. To look what went behind this. I think it's time now for an answer. Are you going to appeal it or not? ACOSTA: Senator, again, the Department of Labor has staff that spent a long time working on this rule. It is also in think would be important to consult with the legal officers at DOL regarding the position that they're taking in litigation. ALEXANDER: We're -- we're a minute over Senator. WARREN: All right. I'll quit there. But I'll say, Mr. Acosta the department advisors have already made clear their position. I just want to know if you're going to follow through on it. They have prepared an appeal. That evidently, at least by measuring their actions, is their advice. I just want to know that you're going to be part of that. ALEXANDER: We'll have time for a second round of questions. WARREN: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. ALEXANDER: Thank you, Senator Warren. Senator Hatch. HATCH: Well, thank you, Mr. Chairman. Mr. Acosta, welcome, happy to see you again and we know that you've given this government a lot of -- lot of effort in the past. And I know that -- that once confirmed, you'll do a very good job in -- in this particular position. Now, the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs protects workers and potential employees of federal contractors from employment discrimination. It is my observation that the OFCCP is using statistical analysis rather than equal consideration and opportunity in evaluating contractor hiring practices and is falling short of addressing real employment discrimination. In the fiscal year '16 labor HHS Appropriations Bill, the committee pointed out, quote, "OFCCP appears to prioritize specific quota results rather than equal consideration and opportunity because of its reliance on statistical analysis in evaluating contractor hiring practices," unquote. How would you go about leading the -- the office to enforce more -- to enforce nondiscrimination standards on actual evidence of actual discrimination rather than on statistical generalizations? And let me just add one more question, how do you propose promoting actual discriminatory treatment instead of presumed discrimination based solely on statistical benchmarks that may not be uniformly applicable? ACOSTA: Senator, thank you for your question. And let me say that I -- I remember appearing before your committee, in a room very similar to this, and -- and -- and thank you for the courtesies that you extended me at that time as well. I think it as two floors down. The -- the issue that you raise is the use of disparate impact in employment cases within OFCCP. And -- and -- and so, the disparate impact is a valid and legally acceptable part of liability in employment litigation. And -- and so, without more, I would hesitate to -- to say that OFCCP shouldn't use acceptable tools that -- that are generally considered valid in employment contexts in -- in enforcing the executive order that it is charged with enforcing. HATCH: OK. Utah's home to several large employers in tech, healthcare and financial services. I hear all the time from these businesses about the need for skilled workers. And I've heard you talk about your ideas of how can -- can we modernize one such model. Apprenticeship; I'm working with Ranking Member Murray on promoting and supporting employers with apprenticeship. In addition to apprenticeship efforts, what role do you see DOL playing in encouraging other employer held -- employer led training best practices? ACOSTA: Senator, thank you. I think DOL needs to not take a leadership role in -- in compiling best practices and working with -- with employer groups to encourage employers. You know, it's -- you know, I had a -- as you were asking a question, I had a remembrance of a project that we had with the Restaurant Association around disability compliance. And we worked with the Restaurant Association when I was at the civil rights division to encourage restaurants to comply with the ADA. And the point that we made to them is that compliance can make business sense. And so, working with associations that have access to employers to encourage apprenticeship programs, to encourage job- training programs, to learn from them what needs to be done and what can be done, I think is important. This can't just be government. It has to be in partnership with employers. Let me -- let me also add, I don't think the Department of Labor can do this alone. The Department of Education is such a key player in this. And -- and in all candor, their funding is -- is somewhat deeper than the Department of Labor's funding. And so I think it's very important to break down the silos to not have this department's doing this and that department's doing that, but to really work together as one Executive Branch addressing these issues. HATCH: Well, thank you. I think, Mr. Chairman, my time is almost up. ALEXANDER: Thank you, Senator Hatch. Senator Hassan. HASSAN: Thank you, Mr. Chairman and Ranking Member Murray. And good morning, Dean Acosta, nice to see you here. I will just add support to the comments you've heard from, I think, just about everybody on the committee about the importance of job training. It's critical to the state of New Hampshire, as is our Job Corps Center, which is one of the newest if not the newest Job Corps Center in the country. And I had the opportunity to be its first graduation just recently, and it was great to see the lives were changed to that Job Corps Center. So I hope you will do everything, should you be confirmed, to support both job-training and our Job Corps Centers. I wanted to focus a little bit about the importance of OSHA to the men and women who constitute our country's workforce. Strong and targeted enforcement by the Labor Department not only saves lives but also it saves valuable resources for employers. A substantial body of empirical evidence demonstrates that OSHA inspections reduce injury rates in inspected workplaces and lowers worker's compensation costs to the tune of billions of dollars annually. The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration has about 45 percent fewer inspectors today than it had in 1980, when the workforce was almost half of current levels. In New Hampshire, we have only seven OSHA inspectors to oversee safety and health at 50,000 worksites. With these numbers, it would take OSHA 122 years to inspect every workplace in New Hampshire just once. President Trump's budget blueprint proposes to cut DOL's budget by 21 percent. Can you commit that, if confirmed as secretary, you'll advocate for and seek funding that will maintain OSHA's enforcement budget at no less than current levels? ACOSTA: Senator, I -- I can certainly commit that I -- let me come at it this way. I would be very concerned in a situation like you mentioned where there are only seven inspectors because going from seven to six has a substantial impact. HASSAN: Right. ACOSTA: Right, can I commit to no less than current levels? That's -- that's a very precise statement and something is gonna have to give somewhere in the budget. But I -- I -- I -- my background is a law enforcement background. I think that -- that worker safety is incredibly important. I mentioned in my opening statement for a reason. HASSAN: Yep. ACOSTA: : And -- and I would have a lot of concern if the number of inspectors in any one area fell to the point where they could not do their job. HASSAN: Thank you. I want to move on to the area of making sure that we are including more people who experience disabilities in this country in the workforce. Section 14C of the Fair Labor Standards Act authorizes employers to pay subminimum wages to workers who experience disabilities. Oftentimes, this type of employment occurs in a secluded environment, some might say segregated environment, known as a sheltered workplace. In 2015, with the support of the New Hampshire business community, New Hampshire was the first state to eliminate the payment of subminimum wage. And there have been efforts in Congress as well to end this practice. So first of all, do you support this practice of paying people who experience disabilities subminimum wage? ACOSTA: Senator, I certainly support the authority of any state to -- to eliminate that. And with respect to at the federal level, you know, I think this is a very difficult issue because you don't want to disrespect individuals in any way by -- the very phrase subminimum wage is a disrespectful phrase. Yet you want to provide incentives or systems to ensure that individuals, that might not otherwise have a job, have access to a job and are trained into a job. And -- and I -- I think that's a very difficult balance that I'm happy to have a further discussion about. HASSAN: I -- I hope we can because I think it isn't the phrase subminimum wage that's disrespectful. It is disrespectful and frankly discriminatory to pay people who are qualified to do a job subminimum wage on the basis of the fact that they experience a disability. So I think it's going to be really important that we continue this conversation. I think, if you go back and look at the work of the National Governors Association, for instance, around this, you find a lot of it -- it was employers who came to us and said this is a population that's doing the job, why are we paying them -- why are we allowed to pay them subminimum wage. And so I would look forward to working with you on that. I do have additional questions, but I understand will have a second round. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. ALEXANDER: That is correct. Thank you, Senator Hassan. Thank -- Senator Roberts. ROBERTS: Yes, thank you, Mr. Chairman. Mr.Acosta, thank you for coming by on your courtesy visit. Thank you for being here today. You were certainly well introduced. I think you should be confirmed. I'm gonna take a little bit different tack here. As in some of my colleagues, I'm not going to ask you about President Trump, whether or not you will follow his executive orders. Despite what some may think the -- contrary to current law, I'm not going to ask about the budget. I'm not going to ask you about the campaign. And I'm certainly not going to ask you where you are for death by silica. I've got a different view. Many folks here, not only on this committee with a lot of exceptions, but in Washington, look at this through a telescope to Washington, which -- and we have an entire regulatory agenda. And it is intended for job safety; it's intended for nondiscrimination; it is intended for -- if I just go down the entire alphabet soup of agencies that we have clean water, clean air, et cetera. And then when he gets it down to 105 counties in Kansas, people wonder what in the heck is going on. Here comes regulations that they've never seen before; and I know this because I go to town hall meeting after town hall meeting after town hall meeting. I don't get questions saying so-and-so is running a business and -- and he is running a business where my safety if I go in there or if I'm a customer is endangered, or his workforce is endangered. They hold up a piece of paper, maybe two or three, and say, what is this regulation, I don't understand it. And they do not have normally a CPA or an attorney or somebody to figure it out is exactly why they have received that. Now I used to work for my predecessor in the house. I'm one of these people that are below swamp, they can't drain me out. And my job was to go out and figure out what this new animal was called OSHA. And we had the first OSHA person go out, way out West and went out Sharon Springs. Sharon Springs is not the end of the world, but you can see it from there. We have Mount Sunflower, it's 4,000 feet high. The trick is not to climb it, the trick is to find it so you can see it's out there on the hyper (ph). And the OSHA person was supposed to go out to Goodland, Kansas, but just missed it. I don't know how you could do that but he fell short but could stay all night. And looked high and low for some somebody, somebody, anybody that he could walk in and say hey you're not performing your job right. And so he went into a manufacturer on canvas webbing that goes on the top of grain trucks. And they had a stamping machine in there that had put a whole hole in the canvas webbing, obviously to tie the rope to put it over the grain truck. And they find him -- or he one person, I think the fine was $1,000. And so he came to the courthouse and he was giving my predecessor a hard time. And he says got just the guy that will take care of it. Robert you go over there and take care that. So I go over and I look at this stamping machine and the fine was because it endangered a person's leg, the way it was constructed. And it was constructed so that a wounded veteran from Korea who had lost a leg could, you know pole (ph) the stamping machine. Obviously that was no explained to the OSHA inspector. Mr. Molestad (ph) who ran that company 40 some years ago never paid the fine. Well, now multiply that by thousands in the entire business community. I don't need to go down the all of the regulatory agenda, and the job losses, and the red tape, and their paperwork. What I want to know is can we get a cost-benefit yardstick that makes sense, where you have the regulatory cost and obviously the regulatory benefit? Now you're on the benefits side. The small business community is on the other side. And I -- I want to know what is your overall philosophy on regulation in behalf of an awful lot of people out Kansas who feel that they are being ruled and not governed. And I can tell you if they're in business in a small community on the town square and they're not performing their job right, and they're discriminating against people, and they're just pretty much bad news, and it's a bad workplace, they're out of business. I mean, that's just the way it works. So can you give me your overall philosophy on regulation? ACOSTA: Senator briefly because I noticed the clock. I'd make two points, one the president through executive action has -- has ordered -- and -- and -- I -- I think it is important that we eliminate regulations that -- that are not serving a useful purpose. Because they are impeding small business, small business is what creates jobs in this country. Seven out of 10 jobs by best estimates and if we are going to create jobs, we need to free up small business. And so that would be my -- my big picture view on regulation. ALEXANDER: Thank you Senator Roberts. Senator Murphy? MURPHY: Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. Mr. Acosta thank you for your willingness to serve. Good to see you again. Just a follow-up on Senator Warren's line of questioning, a point of clarification. During this pending review, in which you've been charged to look at all regulations and determine which ones are appropriate, according to your standards and the president's standards. You still have an obligation to enforce existing regulations. So the silica rule, for instance, will be enforced by your department pending this review? ACOSTA: Senator, we -- we would enforce all rules that are in effect pending that review, yes. MURPHY: Including the silica rule? ACOSTA: I -- I believe -- I'm hesitating only because of one item that I remember to the extent it is in effect I know it was promulgated. Assuming there is no stay, then yes. MURPHY: OK, second, to follow up on Senator Baldwin's questioning regarding funding. I get a little worried when I hear you talk about accepting a lower level of funding for job training. The president's budget has winners and losers, rights. There's a lot more money for defense. There's money for a wall. And that comes at the expense of other programs. And I think we would hope that you would be an advocate for the programs the Department of Labor funds. And in Connecticut, for example, the plus up in defense dollars doesn't do us the maximum amount of good without the Department of Labor dollars. So we can build additional submarines at Electric Boat, but if we don't have the workforce pipeline necessary to staff the supply chain those jobs will go overseas. At the Eastern Connecticut manufacturing pipeline, it's not about mismatched resources, it's simply about not having enough resources. We have a 92 percent placement rate in manufacturing jobs from the pipeline program, 3,000 people are trying to sign up and they can only take a couple hundred a year. And the consequence of not fulfilling that need is the jobs will just go to other countries because we can't hire the folks here. So, let me ask you Senator Baldwin's question in a little different way. Do you support the 20 percent cut that's been proposed to your department? ACOSTA: So Senator, thank you for rephrasing because I never said that I accepted when I was speaking -- or I don't recall saying I accepted when I was speaking with Senator Baldwin. You know, I -- I wrote myself a note when the budget -- the skinny budget came out. And it was a quote from the OMB director. And he said, to -- paraphrase, we've got 20 trillion in debt, and so it's not enough that a program sounds good. A program has to be shown to be good. And I wrote myself that note because if confirmed as secretary of Labor one of the things that I want to do -- and I forget which of your colleagues had great data -- but I want to go through these programs and compile the data. Because, for a lot of these programs, I believe the rate of return on taxpayer -- an investment of taxpayer dollar is quite significant and would pay for itself very readily in -- in money saved and -- and taxes paid by the fact that individuals have jobs. And so, I -- I readily embrace that as part of the job. And if confirmed, I'm certainly going to speak up and -- and present all that information and advocate. MURPHY: I -- I think you will -- you will find an abundance of programs that are underfunded, that will allow you to make that case. Lastly, I appreciate the number of times in which you've made references to the intersection between Department of Education and the Department of Labor. The fact the matter is as Senator Alexander pointed out, you know, most of the workforce training in this country is funded by the Department of Education. You and I had the chance to talk in my office about the migration of public dollars away from not-for-profit education, of for-profit education. And really the -- the stunning lack of results we're getting from for-profit job-training programs. One third of for- profit graduates are today making less than a minimum wage over the course of a year, 12 percent of students are attending for-profit schools but 36 percent of students who have loan defaults today come from those for-profit schools. I know you've thought about this in the context of your work in graduate education in Florida. Shouldn't there be a role for the federal government to ask more of -- of -- of all centers of job- training, not just the ones you fund but of colleges as well and demand results, results that we're not getting today from a lot of these for-profit operations. ACOSTA: Well -- well -- well, Senator, I have thought of it in the context of -- of law and the -- in -- in law schools the accrediting agencies are looking more for results. It's -- it's less about input and more about the output. What is the bar passage rate? What is the job rate? And in what you are seeing is that some of the for-profit law schools are facing challenges. And have faced challenges with the Department of Education because they haven't -- because the results are not necessarily on par. And -- and -- and so to the extent that these are -- well I don't want to go beyond -- to the extent that these are Department of Labor programs, I certainly would want to see the results and the metrics to make sure that -- that -- that it is being done appropriately. MURPHY: Thank you Mr. Chairman. ALEXANDER: Thanks Senator Murphy. Senator Enzi? ENZI: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. And thank you Mr. Acosta for being willing to go through this process and -- and serve. And you have a tremendous amount of background. I have a number of areas that I'm interested. The Senator from New Hampshire, of course mentioned job corps and she got the next to the last -- she was the next last date to finally have one Job Corps Center. We were the last state to have one Job Corps Center and ours is in the middle of a reservation inhabited by two warring tribes with high unemployment. And they're -- they're working together to get kids into this job corps and it's making a huge difference. They're doing energy industry training and that's heavy equipment, and mechanics, and welding and other things that are -- that are tied to the economy in Wyoming so their job placement is tremendous. So I -- I'm hoping that you'll take a look at that. Another pet thing that she happened to mention was the OHSA inspectors. And something that we keep overlooking is the VPP program where we allow big companies to hire an inspector, a trained inspector to come in and look at their business. And if there's anything the matter they have to fix it immediately. And if they do that they continue to be a VPP company. There isn't any provision for the small companies though. I've suggested that the small companies ought to be able to hire an expert for their particular type of business. One of the high places for injuries is in the printing industry. And if all the newspapers in Wyoming went together and hired somebody they -- they would really like to be able to have somebody come in and inspect the premises. And if there's anything that's found wrong, they fix it right away and then they still get to be a part of this program. I -- I hope that you'll take a look at that. She also mentioned the sub minimal wage. Senator Harkin and I worked on that for years while I was the chairman of this committee. And we knew that the purpose of that was to be able to get an evaluation for people that haven't been evaluated so they could find their place in the workforce. It was not intended to be a lifetime sub minimal wage. And so we tried to do some things to eliminate that -- that possibility and get people that are trained into the workforce are there any of those three things you'd like to comment on? (LAUGHTER) ACOSTA: Senator, so -- so thank you. I -- I, you know, I -- I will gladly follow up on -- on the programs that you have mentioned. You know, I -- I think it's important that we think outside the box and that we -- you know, on the private enforcement matter, I would just say I think there can be a role for that. But we need to ensure that -- that it's under appropriate guidelines. ENZI: OK, thank you. At the -- at the start of the Obama administration, the Department of Labor's wage and hour division ended the long-standing practice of providing opinion letters that answered questions about specific applications of the labor laws. These letters were made public and they were useful tool for employers and employees alike who are trying to understand the law. A typical administration issued dozens of these letters each year. The last administration, though, replaced opinion letters with administrators' interpretations that only give broad opinions on -- on a subject chosen by the agency, leaving many specific details unanswered. And they only issued a total of seven interpretations during the entire Obama administration. Many employers and employees who are trying to comply with complex labor and hour laws and regulations, and who want to be in compliance, would like to see a return to the opinion letter system. Will you commit to restoring the most robust and interactive compliance assistance system so folks can spend less time trying to decipher the law and more time complying with the law and growing successful businesses and creating new jobs? ACOSTA: Senator, I think there's a value to opinion letters and that I think the value comes from the fact that they're grounded in a specific set of facts, and not in a broad -- in -- in broad sort of legal premise. And -- and so, I see no reason why I would not encourage opinion letters. ENZI: OK, thank you. One of the innovations we're seeing right now is the on-demand economy -- the Uber, the Lyft, the Airbnb, and other services -- where users can connect goods and services more directly through an app on their phone or through website. What kind of information or data do we need to ensure that we properly understand that segment of the economy? Do you think the Bureau of Labor Statistics is able to capture that information? ACOSTA: Senator, I -- I do not know if the Bureau of Labor Statistics is capturing that information. I -- I think that's a very important question and one that I will follow up on, if confirmed. ENZI: Thank you, I have some other questions. I'll submit them. Thank you. ALEXANDER: Thank you, Senator Enzi. Senator Kaine. 10:48:39 SENATOR TIM KAINE QUESTIONS ALEX ACOSTA ON THE JEFFREY EPSTEIN PLEA DEAL IN FLORIDA. KAINE: Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and thanks, Dean Acosta. I appreciated our visit in your office and appreciate your public service. I think the committee needs to ask about and I think you're entitled to respond to an article that appeared in the Washington Post, online version, last night and this morning. And I'm just going to read the opening to it, I'm going to ask you some questions because I think you deserve an opportunity to address it. Labor nominee Acosta cut deal with billionaire guilty in sex abuse case. Just first three paragraphs and then I'll introduce the article into the record. There was once a time before the investigations, before the sexual abuse conviction, when rich and famous men loved to hang around with Jeffrey Epstein, a billionaire money manager who loved to party. They visited his mansion in Palm Beach, Florida. They flew on his jet to join him at his private estate on the Caribbean Island of Little St. James. They even joked about his taste in younger women. President Trump called Epstein a terrific guy back in 2002 saying that, "he's a lot of fun to be with. It's even said likes beautiful women as much as I do and many of them are on the younger side." Now, Trump is on the witness list in the Florida court battle over how federal prosecutors handled allegations that Epstein, 64 sexually abused more than 40 minor girls, most of whom between the ages of 13 and 17. The lawsuit questions why Trump's nominee for Labor Secretary, former Miami U.S. attorney, Alexander Acostas, who's confirmation hearing is scheduled to begin Wednesday, cut a non prosecution deal with Epstein a decade ago, rather than pursuing a federal indictment that Acosta's staff had advocated. And I'd like to introduce the article for the record, Mr. Chair. ALEXANDER: It will be introduced. KAINE: I'd like ask about this and first a couple of questions. My understanding is that there is a pending civil lawsuit filed by a couple of the victims in that case seeking to argue that they should have been given notice prior to the plea deal being entered into. Is that your understanding as well? ACOSTA: My understanding is that there is a pending civil lawsuit. The Department of Justice has defended the actions of the office in that matter under both President Bush and President Obama's administrations. KAINE: The opening that I read suggests that you decided, as U.S. attorney, to cut a non prosecution deal. That part of the decision was that that non prosecution deal be held private, not appear in the public record. And there's an allegation that I just read that you did not pursue a federal indictment, even though your staff had advocated that you do so, is that accurate? ACOSTA: : That is not accurate. Let me -- let me address the -- you know, and the -- you know, one of the difficulties with matters before the Department of Justice is that the Department of Justice does not litigate in the public record or in the media and litigates in court. I -- let me set forth some facts. This matter was originally a state case, it was presented by the state attorney to the grand jury in Palm Beach County. The grand jury in Palm Beach County recommended a single count of solicitation not involving minors, I believe. And that would have resulted in zero jail time, zero registration as a sectional offender, and zero restitution for the victims in this case. The matter was then presented to the U.S. attorney's office. It is highly unusual. And as I was speaking some of your colleagues that -- that have been involved in -- in prosecutions, they -- they mentioned that they don't know of any cases personally where a U.S. attorney becomes involved in a matter after it has already gone to a grand jury at the state level. In this case, we deemed it necessary to become involved and we early on had discussions within the office. And we decided that -- that a sentence or -- how should I put this, that Mr. Epstein should plead guilty to two years, register as a sex offender and concede liability so that victims could get restitution. And if that were done, the federal interest would be satisfied, and we would defer to the state. That was very early on in the case. I -- I say that because the article goes on to talk about a -- a view that the U.S. attorney's office was not aggressive in this matter. And... KAINE: Can I read -- can I read one -- one other statement for the article? Federal prosecutors detailed their findings in an 82 page prosecution memo and a 53 page indictment, but Epstein was never indicted, and then there's a quote -- quote, "This agreement -- the agreement you described -- will not be made part of any public record, the deal between Epstein and Acosta says. The document was unsealed as part of the civil suit in 2015." ALEXANDER: I'm going to give you -- the Senator time to ask his question and the -- and -- and -- and the nominee time to answer the question, even though it goes over the five minutes. KAINE: Thank you. Thank you. ACOSTA: So, Senator, again to -- to address your question. And -- and I can't discuss the details of the case, but let me take it generally. It is pretty typical in a prosecutions for an indictment -- a draft indictment to be written. That doesn't necessarily mean that that draft indictment is filed because that draft indictment does not consider often the strength of the underlying case. And so, as part of any plea, it is not unusual to have an indictment that says these are all the places we can go, yet at the end of the day, based on the evidence, professionals within a prosecutors office decide that a plea that guarantees that someone goes to jail, that guarantees that someone register generally, and that guarantees other outcomes is a good thing. And so...
BARACK OBAMA REMARKS TO THE NATIONAL GOVERNORS ASSOCIATION STIX
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA delivers remarks and takes questions from the National Governors Association; VICE PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN also attends State Dining Room Pooled Press STIX / HEADON President meets with the nation's Governors DC Slug: 1110 WH GOVERNORS STIX FS33 73 & 1110 WH GOVERNORS CUTS FS34 74 AR: 16x9 Disc #899/060 & 876/061 NYFS: WASH3 (4523) / WASH4 (4524) 11:29:09 OBAMA: Thank you. Thank you. Thank you, everybody. Thank you. Everybody please have a seat. Thank you so much. Thank you. Please have a seat, everybody. It is wonderful to see all of you. I hope you had just the right amount of fun last night, and not too much fun. You know, it's hard to believe that that was the final dinner Michelle and I get to host for you. Like me, some of you might be in the final year of your last term, working as hard as you can to get as much done as possible for the folks that you represent. Fixing roads, educating our children, helping people re-train, appointing judges, the usual stuff.(LAUGHTER) OBAMA: Those of you who've been in office for a while have also witnessed all the progress that we have made together, and it has been a partnership; the millions of new jobs created, the millions of people newly covered with health insurance, the new energy projects that are popping up all across every state that's represented here. 11:30:17 I do want to comment, before I take questions, on the issue of security for the American people. Whatever our party, we all raise our hand and take an oath and assume the solemn responsibility to protect our citizens. And that is a mission that should unite us all as Americans. Today, we're focused on three threats in particular. First and foremost is terrorism. The attacks in Garland, Texas, in Chattanooga, in San Bernardino, were attacks in -- in good and decent communities, but they were also attacks on our entire country. As Americans, we are united in support of the men and women in uniform from every state who lead the coalition we built with the mission to destroy ISIL. We're working with other nations to prevent terrorists from entering the United States. We're unwavering in our efforts to prevent attacks here at home, and that's where the partnership with your states come in. This is a shared mission. We have to stay vigilant. Across the country, we've got more than 100 joint terrorism task forces -- federal, state, local experts working together to disrupt threats -- and at the state level, your fusion cells are pushing information out to law enforcement. We've also -- we also need to make sure our extraordinary law enforcement professionals and first responders have the equipment and the resources that they need, and we've got to stay united as one American family, working with communities to help prevent loved ones from becoming radicalized, and rejecting any politics that tries to divide the American people on the basis of faith. So this is something that -- this is a shared project. It's not -- something that we do together. And one of the genuine areas of progress that I've seen since I came into office -- and it was started in the previous administration, and this is one of the findings of 9/11 -- was breaking down some of the silos between federal, state, and local law enforcement when it comes to countering terrorism. We've made progress on that, but that's where state and local partners are absolutely critical. This is not something the federal government can do alone, particularly because many of the attacks may end up being lone wolf attacks, rather than those imported from the outside. I do want to comment, before I take questions on the issue of 11:32:42 The attack in San Bernardino killed 14 of our fellow Americans, and here's a hard truth. We probably lost even more Americans than that to guns this weekend alone. On Saturday, another one of our communities was terrorized by gun violence. As many of you read, six people were gunned down in a rampage in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Before I joined all of you, I called the mayor, the sheriff and the police chief there and told them that they would have whatever federal support they needed in their investigation. Their local officials and first responders, by the way, did an outstanding job in apprehending the individual very quickly. But you got families who are shattered today. Earlier this year, I took some steps that will make it harder for dangerous people like this individual to buy a gun. But clearly, we're gonna need to do more if we're gonna keep innocent Americans safe. And I have got to assume that all of you are just as tired as I am of seeing this stuff happen in your states. So that's an area where we also need to partner and think about what we can do in a common-sense way, in a bipartisan way, without some of the ideological rhetoric that so often surrounds that issue. 11:34:10 A second area of threats that we're focused on is cyber threats. The technology that connects us like never before also allows our adversaries to do us harm. Hackers and nations are -- have targeted our military, our corporations, the federal government and state governments. They're a threat to our national security. They're also a threat to our economic leadership. They're a threat to our critical infrastructure. They're a threat to the privacy and public safety of the American people. This is a complex challenge, and we're not gonna be able to meet it alone. We've made a lot of progress these past seven years, including sharing more information with industry and with your states, but all of us are still vulnerable. OBAMA: So this is why, earlier this month, I launched the cyber security national action plan and proposed significant funding to push our cybersecurity efforts in a more aggressive direction. We're going to start a major overhaul of federal computer systems. I want to do more with your states, including sharing more information about threats, improving our joint response capabilities. We have initiated a joint bipartisan commission made up of one of my national security advisers -- former national security advisers, Tom Donilon, joined with the former CEO of IBM so that they can work together to help provide us a sense of direction both at the federal and state levels, as well as the private sector in terms of how we move forward on this. We're going to want your input and I think that we probably have some good ideas about where your vulnerabilities are in terms of your state databases and what you're doing there, so that's an area where I think we can probably work together. 11:36:18 Finally, we all have to remain vigilant when it comes to the spread of disease. Since late last year, my administration has been focused on the threat of Zika. So far, while there is no evidence of Zika transmission from mosquitoes here in the continental United States, there are confirmed cases in Puerto Rico. And as leaders, it's important that we convey very basic facts, including the fact that Zika is not like Ebola. Ebola was primarily spread from human to human. Based on what we know right now, Zika spreads predominately through the bite of certain kind of mosquito that's limited to certain parts of the country. The symptoms are generally very mild. Most folks don't even realize that they have it. But as all of you have read, the possible connection between Zika, birth defects and other serious health problems means that we've got to take precautions, particularly with respect to women who are pregnant or are trying to get pregnant. So we're going to be fighting this disease at every level with every tool at our disposal. I've called -- I've called on Congress to approve about $1.9 billion in emergency funding for efforts at home and abroad, including research into better diagnostic tools, new vaccines, improved methods to -- of mosquito control and support for Puerto Rico and territories where there are confirmed cases. And we're going to launching an aggressive coordinated campaign with the NGA to stop Zika at the source and keep Americans healthy. I hope each of you join us, especially if you are in some of the southern states where the risk of transmission may be higher. So fighting terrorism and gun violence, combating cyber attacks and cyber threats, guarding against the outbreak of disease, these are some areas where there shouldn't be any dispute, we've got to be working together to keep our country safe and strong. I look forward to the partnership with the NGA and each and every one of you in all of these areas. 11:38:13 I should point out that one of the things I'm proudest of over the course of the last seven years is that the federal coordination with state and local governments with respect to disaster response I think has been extraordinary. You know, I'm really proud of the work that Craig Fugate and FEMA has done and I think that that kind of model of partnership across many of these threats is exactly what's needed to give the American people the confidence that government's on their side when they need it most. All right. So with that, I'm going to take some questions and I'm going to start with your chairman, Governor Herbert. You can use the microphone. 11:38:56 HERBERT: Well, thank you, Mr. President. We, again, are appreciative of your willingness to let us come and -- and talk with you about the vice president about issues that are near and dear to us as governors and near and dear to us as an association of the NGA. I'm struck by the ability we have had to have cordial relations with your cabinet. I want to complement your -- your people there. In fact, one of them talked about the importance of communication and used the term cooperative federalism as really a way for us to get things done better in a collaborative fashion between the states and the federal government. I'll just mention one that comes to my mind, and that's working with your Department of Interior -- Sally Jewell -- secretary. During the federal shutdown, we were able to work together, communicate and collaborate, and open up the five national parks in Utah to the benefit of the people of Utah and Americans and people -- really world travelers overall. So again, an effort of communication and cooperation, which I think is a great success. HERBERT: I do harken back to a failure, maybe an epic failure, a lack of communication on a previous administration where a national monument was designated in Utah, larger than the state of Delaware, 2.5 times larger than Rhode Island. (UNKNOWN): (OFF-MIKE) (LAUGHTER) HERBERT: Still, still -- the vice president made a little... OBAMA: Where's Jack (ph)? HERBERT: Yeah, yeah. At any rate, the problem was that Governor Mike Leavitt and -- found out about that designation by reading The Washington Post. That was the other side of the coin of not good communication. I expect all of the governors have got successes and probably where we can do better. And so, my question to you, Mr. President, really is in the effort of the National Governors Association. What can we do, as an NGA, as states, to communicate better with the federal government? And what can a federal government do better to communicate with the states, so that we have this spirit of cooperation? And really, this should -- should go post-us. We'll all ride off into the sunset some time. But it would be nice if we have some kind of institutional process to make sure that we work together in a collaborative fashion, communicate better, and have better outcomes on behalf of the American people. 11:41:23 OBAMA: Good. Well, first of all, I think the NGA generally has been a terrific partner for us. I hope you feel the same way. My instructions to my cabinet, to my secretaries, have always been that we have certain laws, statutes, mandates that we have to abide by. We have certain policies that we care deeply about. But my instructions to them have been, "You check with the governors and the localities that are being impacted, and if they have ideas about how to achieve the mission in a more flexible, sensible way, and we have got that flexibility, we should exercise it." And that has been my consistent message, and I think many of you have benefited from those kinds of interactions. What I do is, Gary, throw the question back at you, not for today, but maybe one of the projects we can do jointly together, is sort of do an inventory -- what has worked and what hasn't, institutionally, in terms of communication? Where have been -- there are areas where governors are concerned that they have not gotten the heads-up fast enough? Where are the areas where communication has been strong? And let's see if we could improve that communication. But my overall impression has been communication with the cabinet secretaries has been good. 11:42:53 I think our Intergovernmental Affairs Office has tried to be very active. There may be additional things we can do to improve that. And I would be happy to hear ideas from your side about what could be done. I will tell you probably where there is the biggest gap in communications has to do with our interactions with governors versus our interactions with your congressional delegations. That is where, oftentimes, things converge. So, we will have a conversation with governors, and they will identify a priority, we work out some approach to get something done, and then it turns out the congressional delegations have an entirely different idea. And you know, the biggest example would be on transportation, for example, where Anthony Foxx probably traveled to every single one of your states, talked -- and before that, Ray LaHood talked about things that needed to get done. Everybody was excited about getting them done, but we just couldn't get Congress to move. And so, one of the things that I would think would be interesting as we explore better communications, is how do we maybe create a triangle where we have some interaction with states, states governors, and congressional delegation at the same time? Now, sometimes, that is difficult, because there have different parties, maybe different political agendas. Sometimes, though, there may be commonality and it is a matter of closing the loop, so that Congressional staff know what the governors' staff is saying, know what our staff is saying. (UNKNOWN): (OFF-MIKE) 11:44:34 OBAMA: Just assign the Congress to them, generally. (UNKNOWN): (OFF-MIKE) (LAUGHTER) OBAMA: Well, they have got their own legislatures. I know that -- I know that they enjoy those interactions tremendously. Next, Terry McAuliffe. Where is Terry? There he is. MCAULIFFE: Thank you, Mr. President. Let me first -- great night last night. Thank you on behalf of all of the governors.(APPLAUSE) 11:44:59 MCAULIFFE: Chaka Khan. I've been listening to her for 40 years. OBAMA: That -- that was -- that was Michelle, basically, that put that together. I tried to take credit last night, and nobody believed me. (LAUGHTER) And rightly so. MCAULIFFE: Well, let me just say that we just finished, Mr. President, four great days of the Governors Association with the great leadership of Gary, but we me -- Gary and I met with your team, Jerry, about six weeks ago, and Valerie. We laid out what we needed. Your administration gave us everything we needed. We had the secure briefing at the FBI, so let me just say this. This has been a great meeting. On behalf of all the governors here, let's give a round of applause to the administration and the great work that they did. Thank you very much. (APPLAUSE) We're here from 50 states, different political parties, we all have different interests in our states, but one issue that brings a lot of us together is the issue of trade. It is a global economy that we have today, many of us do international trade trips. I've done 13 in my first two years. I just got asked from the Middle East and from Cuba. Ninety-five percent of the world's customers live outside of America; 81 percent of the growth in the next five years will occur outside America. Trade is critical to grow our economies, so Mr. President, could you give us an update on the trade policy, where the legislation is, and most importantly, what can we do to help you push trade with the Congress? Thank you. 11:46:22 OBAMA: Well, I appreciate -- appreciate that question, Terry, and Governor Herbert and I were talking about this a little bit yesterday. When I visited Utah, you told me how much of Utah's economy depends on exports and international trade. And that's true for so many of us. Now, maybe the way to answer this is to give sort of a broad overview of how I think the politics have shaped the narrative around trade and then let me give you some of the facts and what's going on with TTP. Over our lifetimes, and certainly accelerated over the last 25, 30 years, this has become a global economy and not a national economy. The global supply train, distribution, the fact that a company can set up house anywhere where there is an Internet service, the fact at these big cargo containers can ship things more efficiently than ever before, the logistical hubs and speed with which they can move goods and services around the world, all of this has created a global marketplace. The good news is that we are best positioned to take this -- take advantage of this global marketplace than anybody else. We've got the best cars, we've got the best businesses, we've the best technology, the best innovation, we've got the best workers. 11:47:59 We are a free market, dynamic economy like nobody else. The challenge is that there have been disruptions as a consequence of that global trade. There's no doubt about it. And in every one of your states, there have been times where somebody has been affected, and not all the trade deals in the past were designed just to look out for workers. There were times where it was good for consumers, it was good for the businesses that may have found lower wages. But it wasn't always good for those communities that had big plants, particularly in manufacturing, that got shipped overseas. And that's made people suspicious about trade, and understandably so. You know, on the one hand, people benefit from low prices and low inflation and the degree to which globalization has given people access to more products, lower prices than ever before. That's something that people maybe take for granted. But what they see very directly oftentimes around trade is that this plant closed, you used to be able to walk in even without a college education and get a job. If you worked hard, you'd have a middle-class life with benefits and health care and could take care of your family, and now, those jobs have contracted. So that's the prism through which a lot of folks have been looking at trade. And I understand and am sympathetic because I've seen this in my own home state, of why people are suspicious. 11:49:47 But if you look at what's happened over the last seven years since I came into office, first of all, exports drove the early part of this recovery That was true in every state and in almost every sector. If you're an agricultural state, the ag community was making out great for the vast majority of this administration because of exports. OBAMA: The second thing that happened was we actually rebuilt manufacturing and started bringing manufacturing jobs back here, because what folks started to figure out was, U.S. workers have become so competitive, and we remain such a significant marketplace, and our energy costs here are low, that it makes sense often times to locate here, even if you're paying a higher wage, because net and net, it's gonna be more profitable. So we have created more manufacturing jobs than at any time since the 1990's, despite an open trade regime. 11:50:43 And it is because of my confidence in our ability to compete, and the fact that we have no choice but to compete, that we said, where's the -- where's the next big market where folks are selling us goods, but we're not able to sell them goods? And we looked at the Asia-Pacific region that is the fastest growing, most dynamic, youngest population in the world, and where, invariably, economic activity is going to be driving much of the world economy for decades to come. And our concern there was that China was the 800-pound gorilla. And if we allowed them to set trade rules out there, American businesses and American workers were gonna be cut out. And if we got in there and we set the terms of trade, making sure there were high labor standards, making sure that there were high environmental standards, making sure that intellectual property was protected, making sure that the things that we do well were protected, and that those countries that are selling to us right now, but are keeping our goods out lower those barriers. If we did all those things, then it would be an improvement for American businesses and American workers, and we would know that we would be able to compete in those areas for years to come. So we got TPP done. Mr. Michael Froman is here. He can -- if he hasn't already, he will brief you on every paragraph, every comma, every "T" that's crossed and "i" that's dotted on the agreement. 11:52:29 But the bottom line is this. It is, I believe, indisputable that, once we have TPP in place, we, American companies and American workers, will be better off than the existing trade regime that we have right now. I mean, I'll just give you a very simple example. Right now, there are 18,000 tariffs -- taxes, essentially -- on American goods and services that would all be eliminated. So if you're -- you got a rancher in Colorado, they can sell beef to Japan in ways that they cannot do right now, and that is a huge market for them. If you are interested in selling cars in Southeast Asia, right now, often times, they're gonna slap a 70 percent tax on the value of the car, which means you're not competitive. We're gonna bring those down. Nobody has described for me -- none of the critics of this trade regime -- trade deal have described for me how we're better off with the current status quo, where those folks are all keeping tariffs high, than we would be with TPP. What they argue against is old trade deals, and I keep on explaining to them, look, I can't do anything about what may have happened 40, 30 years ago. But I can do something about what's going on right now. And by the way, because Mexico and Canada are signatories to this deal, it actually does strengthen labor and environmental protections within NAFTA, which previously had been one of the main complaints of critics. Now, having said all that, the emotions around trade are still strong. Labor unions, and I am a big labor guy, you know -- they're not happy with me on this. They disagree with me, because they have memories of this weakening the manufacturing base in America. And no matter how much I indicate that the facts show this will improve the position of American workers, and we will slowly raise labor standards overseas as a consequence, they are -- they're adamant in their opposition. OBAMA: Which means that we have -- in order to get this passed through Congress, have to depend on a set of strong, pro-trade Democrats who recognize the importance of trade to their economies and their membership -- their constituencies, and Republicans who, historically, at least, have been in favor of the free market and in favor of trade. I am cautiously optimistic that we can still get it done. Leader McConnell and Speaker Ryan both have been supportive of this trade deal. They have had some concerns along the margins of the trade deal. You know, I'll just give you one example with respect to tobacco. We said very explicitly in this trade deal that any country that regulates tobacco is not somehow violating trade agreements, as long as it is done fairly, as long as they're not discriminating against Americans tobacco companies versus their own or those of other countries. 11:55:51 But as a public health matter, they can regulate tobacco. That raises some sensitivities in Kentucky. So you know, there are those kinds of issues, but overall, they have been supportive. The presidential campaigns have created some noise within and -- and -- and roiled things a little bit within the Republican Party, as well as the Democratic Party around this issue. I think we should just have a good, solid, healthy debate about it. We're going to sign to enter this -- enter this agreement, present it formally with some sort of implementation documents to Congress at some point this year and my hope is that we can get votes. What Congress can do -- what all of you can do to -- to help is to talk to your congressional delegations and let them know this is really important. It is inconceivable, if, for example, you are in California, that you don't want a Trans-Pacific Partnership that ensures the gateway for commerce in the Pacific is open to California businesses and workers for decades to come. It's inconceivable that you would be opposed to that. I mean, we've got longshoremen in California who are opposed to that. I said, "Where do you think your jobs come from?" It's from moving stuff off those containers, onto trucks and rail, just fan out all across the country. This creates jobs for you. But that gives you some sense of some of the emotions that I think are sometimes blocking this up. All of you, though, can really lift up the benefits for your states and talk to your congressional delegations directly. Talk to your businesses, by the way, because they will tell you how important this is to them. Alright. Who else have we got? 11:57:56 MEAD: Mr. President, Matt Mead from Wyoming. A great celebration is going on this year, it's the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service. And as the state with the first national park, we're very proud this -- great opportunity for the country to celebrate parks and what they bring not only to our nation, but to the world. OBAMA: You've got some pretty nice ones. MEAD: Well, you could even say the best, if really you wanted to. (LAUGHTER) OBAMA: I wasn't -- I wasn't going to go there, but they're really nice. I've got to... MEAD: Just interested in accuracy, Mr. President. But anyway, Mr. President, thank you for last night. We all enjoyed that. So I'm chair of the Natural Resources Committee for the National Governors Association and we had a good meeting this week. There was discussion and certainly we don't all agree as governors in terms of sort of national -- national energy policy and where we should go. As you know, we are a big mineral state in Wyoming and there's other mineral states here as well. And I know you've addressed climate change and we may have different points of view on that, but it does seem, from -- from my perspective that if the concern is fossil fuels, we have to continue to invest in R&D to say listen, it is real. I mean, coal produces 40 percent of electricity in this country. If it's -- if that's the concern, let's work to clean it up. We appreciate the work of the secretary of energy in doing that. We now see, though, a five percent reduction in R&D in terms of where that may go. And at least from our standpoint, we're investing in R&D in our state on how to make improvements in coal and other energy resources, and so I think from the National Governors' perspective, is there -- what is the long-term view in how we make things better better where we have areas of concerns? Thank you, Mr. President. 11:59:46 OBAMA: Sure. Well, I appreciate the constructive conversations that have taken place between the NGA and the energy producing states. Number one, climate change is real. The science is clear. We can debate how we approach the problem, but we can't debate the science. I just have to be very clear about that. At least, you know, the analogy I have used is that if you went to a doctor and he said, "You have got a disease," and you said, you wanted a second opinion. The second doctor said you have the disease. You went to 100 doctors, and 99 of them said you had the disease. At a certain point, you would say, "I have got to do something about this." And that, essentially, is the situation with respect to climate change -- 99 percent of scientists are saying this is a really serious problem. Not a sort of, kind of, maybe off in the distant future problem, this is a problem that is going to get worse in the lifetime of our children and grandchildren, and there is such a thing as being too late on this. Because if you start getting into a feedback loop, where fundamental weather patterns and ocean temperatures are changing, we can't reverse it. And the effects will be profound. So, that is point number one. Point number two is, in order to grow the economy, we have got to have energy. And economic growth remains a top priority for Democrats and Republicans alike, and every governor and every president. Whoever takes my place, they are going to want to grow the economy. And by the way, that is true internationally. In fact, there are countries like India where it is even more desperate. They do not have electricity, they have got to visit in order to develop. And if we are not giving them options, if the only message we have for them is, "Stay poor," we're not going to solve the problem. So, this is not an either/or issue. We have got to grow the economy, which means we have got to produce energy and we've got to deal with climate change. 12:02:10 The good news is that technology and research and development are accelerating rapidly, and because of the Paris agreement that we struck, you are going to see more investment from the private sector -- not just governmental sectors -- and that is going to accelerate progress even more. You take an example like solar. When I came to office, we set goals we thought were really ambitious. And the amount of solar energy that is being produced now and the unit costs dropping faster than any of us imagined means that we could be on a path where a huge portion of our energy needs can readily be provided through renewable energy, clean energy, much faster than any of us would have anticipated even a few years earlier. Now, with respect to those states that continue to have a significant, traditional fossil fuel extractive set of industries, number one, we have not discouraged, we've encouraged production. Throughout my presidency, oil and gas production have gone up significantly. We have put ourselves in a position, because of new technologies, to produce more than ever before and that has changed the geopolitical landscape. We have -- you know, Sally Jewell, I think has been -- and prior to her, Ken Salazar, have tried to be very flexible in thinking about how do we continue to meet our energy needs. We haven't shut down energy production outside of very sensitive areas that are of significant concern. 12:04:07 The main shift that has taken place is, because the U.S. production has been so high, prices have plummeted, and that has changed the equation for private sector companies. That is a global price issue. And the second thing that has changed, frankly, is natural gas starts supplanting coal, because it came so cheap, and that hurt coal industries. Now, having said that, I continue to believe that there are areas of research and development that have to be done, because we are going to continue to use fossil fuels for our lifetime. Those aren't going to immediately go away. And certainly, they will be used in other countries. OBAMA: And if we can figure out how to make those cleaner, that helps all of us. I want India and China to know how to use clean coal, because they're going to be building coal plants anyway. And I -- if we've got technology that can help make sure that it is not emitting huge amounts of carbon, all the better. So historically, since I've come into office, we have invested in technologies to capture carbon from coal-fired plants. The technologies are there, the problem is that they're just really expensive right now. And so given relative prices to natural gas and other options, they haven't been deployed. 12:05:30 We are going to continue to invest in trying to bring those costs down, but frankly, in this marketplace, it may be a while before it is economical for anybody to imagine wanting to use that. Ironically, what would actually accelerate clean coal technology, so-called clean coal technology, would be the work that we did in Paris to restrict the amount of carbon that's being produced. You know, that means that it starts becoming more expensive to generate carbon and there's greater incentive, then to -- for private sector dollars as well as public money to go into researching how do we capture coal. Similarly when it comes to oil and gas, you know, a lot of methane is generated from the extraction of oil and gas, you know, and we want to invest in research that helps us figure out how to reduce the methane that also causes climate change. 12:06:30 So my goal is to increase, overall, research and development dollars in energy, in the energy sector. We underinvest as a nation relative to, for example, our expenditures on health care research. I'm all for that. We've got our cancer moonshot and we're significantly increasing our investment in medical research. But we should be doing the exact same thing on energy. How it's allocated is something that probably I'll make sure that Ernie meets with your governors to talk about. But I want to be honest with you. If those states with extractive industries are not currently preparing for the fact that the energy mix is going to continue to change over time, you're probably doing a disservice to your constituencies. And what we should be doing at the federal government level is helping maximize your production, minimizing your pollution, but also preparing you for the fact that 20 or 30 years from now, there is going to be a higher mix of clean energy and a lower mix of traditional fossil fuels. That is almost inevitable. Even if -- even if there's somebody in this seat, in this White House who disagrees with me on all of this stuff, it's still going to happen just because of trend lines internationally, and we should prepare ourselves for that. All right, yeah. 12:08:38 DAYTON: Mr. President, I've had the chance to speak with you before about the -- appreciate the chance to speak with you before about the impact of China's dumping on Minnesota's iron ore, and thank you again for sending your chief of staff up to meet there. As I've talked with other governors here this weekend, the impact of China's exports and dumping have been affecting a lot of other industries too, and I'm wondering if it's -- you know, given your emphasis on free trade -- and you're right about that -- if there's also a way that you can be more aggressive preventing China from doing what it's doing? 12:08:49 OBAMA: Well, first of all, the good news is we've been more aggressive than previous administrations when it comes to bringing enforcement actions, and, you know, this is an area where even the steelworkers, as much as they may object to TPP, would acknowledge we've done a lot on this front. The other piece of good news is that we actually had a companion bill to our trade promotion authority that just passed the House and the Senate and that I'm getting prepared to sign, that will give us additional tools for enforcement. More resources, more personnel allows us to take more aggressive actions. OBAMA: So you're going to see firm, tough enforcement of our existing trade laws. What is important is that we don't get confused by thinking that we should close off trade as an enforcement tool because that is not possible. What is possible is making sure that everyone's playing on a level playing field and that people are operating fairly. And frankly, I don't -- I don't think it's any secret that China, in the past, has not always operated fairly. They are now in a process where they're trying to transition their economic model. They recognize that they can't forever sustain an export-driven growth model. But it's gonna take some time, and it's tempting for them to solve short-term problems by just dumping a bunch of state-subsidized goods into the U.S. market. And we've been very clear with them about the fact that that's not gonna work. We're gonna put in place tools to make sure it doesn't work. This is similar to the issue of currency manipulation. In the past, there has been currency manipulation by the Chinese. Right now, frankly, their interventions to prop up their -- their currency, rather than to devalue it, because a lot of people have been nervous about the Chinese economy -- but we've said to them, you've gotta have an orderly, market-based currency system that's not designed to advantage your companies over ours. And we are consistently pushing them very hard on that, and we've got some new tools to make progress on that, thanks to the bill that was just passed. Yeah, Governor Hogan? 12:11:52 HOGAN: Thank you, Mr. President. First of all, as your next-door neighbor in Maryland, thank you again for the hospitality. And on a personal note, I want to thank you for you personally reaching out when I was going through my cancer bout. It meant an awful lot to me. I'm the chairman of the Economic Development and Commerce Committee for the NGA, and we had a terrific meeting on Saturday. I, unfortunately, was not in attendance, because we had a funeral for one of our fallen law enforcement officers that -- killed in the line of duty. But Governor Tomblin from West Virginia did a terrific job running the meeting. He's the vice chair. There was a lot of terrific discussions that came out of that, a lot of agreement between the governors, a lot of bipartisan corporation and people focused on a number of important issues. One of them was regulatory reform, something that we're doing in Maryland and finding a lot of bipartisan support on. I think there are Democratic and Republican governors who believe that this is important to help us grow businesses and grow jobs. And I -- I believe it's something that you feel is important. And I remember, last year when we had our meeting, you talked about that as well. So my question for you is, would you be willing to commit to have the administration work with the RGA -- with a task force on taking a look at this regulatory review at the federal, state, and local level? 12:13:04 OBAMA: Absolutely, although I think you said RGA and I assume you meant NGA... (CROSSTALK) (LAUGHTER) HOGAN: I was talking about bipartisanship, and then said RGA. That was a dumb mistake. OBAMA: I'll -- I was about to say. I mean, you just cut out your Democratic brethren here. But just -- just a quick word about regulation. And this, I think, reiterates something that I've said in the past. There are some regulations we have put forward that some of you don't like. More commonly, there are regulations that we are obliged to enforce. They didn't -- they didn't just pop out of our heads, but we -- we have to enforce them, and you don't like them. There are some regulations I don't like, that I think are hugely inefficient, or were well-intended, but prove not to work well. Or just the economy's changed. I mean, my favorite example was there were a bunch of rules around rail, right, or trucks, where they didn't account for the fact that there's GPS now. And so what I have done is assigned my cabinet and the Office of Management and Budget -- OMB -- to work vigorously, not only to scrub new regulations we may be proposing, but to look back and see what are the old ones on the books that don't make sense anymore. The good news is we've made some progress. We don't get a lot of credit for that, because -- you know, it's sort of the dog that doesn't bark. If we get rid of wasteful regulations, we don't get a lot of applause for it. OBAMA: But we have eliminated tons of paperwork. We have eliminated tons of forms that have to be filled out. We have streamlined a whole lot of processes, and we're interested in doing more. And this is an area, during the next year, where we've got room to do more because we don't need Congress on a lot of this stuff to do it. 12:15:21 So I am very much in favor of the NGA give us a list of those regulatory actions or constraints that you find most troublesome, most illogical, most frustrating, and I can't guarantee you that we will be able to eliminate all of those regulations. Some of those maybe statutory, we've got no choice, even though we agree with you. Some of them, we may just not agree with you. I mean, there are going to be some environmental regulations where some governors think this is inconvenient, it's impeding development, and we're going to say well, you know, this is protecting children's health, for example. So there are going to be some -- some areas of disagreement. My suspicion is there are going to be some areas where we really welcome your advice and we'll do everything we can to see if we can strike some of these ineffective regulations off the books before we get out of here. So I -- I'm very eager to work on you on this. And by the way, if any of you doubt my claim that we have actually eliminated a bunch of regulations, we can give you a whole manual. Shaun Donovan knows because I've charged him with this and prior to that, Mr. Froman and others and Sylvia before she was HHS secretary. They have all been working on this. They know how important I think this is. I do not believe in regulation for regulation's sake, contrary to rumor. I -- this idea that somehow, I get a kick out of big government, it is just not the case. You know, the truth of the matter is if something's working without us being involved, we've got more than enough to do without getting involved in it. We really do. 12:17:18 It's not like I'm waking up every morning thinking, how can I add more work for me? (LAUGHTER) I don't think that way. So -- so if there's something that we can stop doing or do smarter, do better, we're happy to do it. But a lot of times, when folks say this is a bad regulation that's burdening government and not helping anybody, they're just looking at one side of the equation and when you actually subject it to the cost-benefit analysis, it turns out that it's saving a lot of lives, it's keeping a lot of people out of the hospital, it's -- you know, it's making a big difference. I should mention, by the way, when I was coming up back in the '80s, when I was a law student, cost-benefit analysis was considered a really radical, conservative idea and this administration has been more vigorous in applying cost-benefit analysis than any prior administration, including the one that just proceeded. I mean, we have been stringent and very tight and our numbers all check out when it comes to the cost and the benefits that we apply to the asses -- even on some of the big regulations you hear about that you don't like, they're not -- they're not issued unless we think the benefits substantially outweigh the costs. And we can -- we have the numbers to prove it. So for those of you who think that I'm just a big government crazy liberal, you know, we're -- we're actually -- we -- we crunch some numbers around here. We take it very seriously. Yes? 12:19:09 SHUMLIN: Mr. President, thank you. I'm always amazed to be in these sessions where you spend so much time with us and your next answer is even more brilliant than the last. So thank you so much for being such a great... OBAMA: He's a Democrat, isn't he? (LAUGHTER) SHUMLIN: A Republican just said that to me. (LAUGHTER) We spoke on Friday (inaudible) about the opiate crisis. I want to give you both an update and ask you a question. I think that we are probably united in making real progress across America, governors, congress folks, certainly you and your administration are helping us to fight this battle. SHUMLIN: And as someone who was on the front lines of this pretty early, you know, I think much like your frustration with the gun challenges, where you're constantly consoling moms and dads and parents, we had at our Health and Welfare Committee, which is chaired by Governor Baker and Governor Hassan, we heard from another mom who lost her son. There was someone there who told me that they had -- in their state, one of our governors had a family lose their. son and their daughter. So, I think what we are all trying to do, and frankly, director of the FBI, Loretta Lynch is a huge partner with us in this, is do criminal justice reform, start treating this as a disease and not a crime, get treatment built out as fast as we can. And get Narcan out as fast as we can, so we stop losing lives unnecessarily. Those are three things, I think, we are all doing in some way. I mentioned Friday if -- one of my challenges, and I think other governors', is you build out treatment, and particularly in rural America, we can't get enough docs who are able to meet the demand of our waiting list. So, if we could get physician assists, nurse practitioners to be able to prescribe the recovery drugs, we would all be better off. I mean, as probably know, they can now pass the stuff out, they can, you know, prescribe OxyContin. We do not let them prescribe the stuff to get you get off the OxyContin. But the most important one -- and I just want to get an update. Our committee voted unanimously to adopt protocols on prescribing practices for OxyContin and other painkillers. And I am curious. You know, we can do that as governors. It takes time. It's not -- does not apply to all 50 states. When you look at the numbers on this stuff, it is just staggering. Now, I know you know this. But in 2010, we prescribed enough OxyContin to keep every adult in America high for a month. In 2012, we prescribed enough OxyContin to give a 250 million doses, to give every adult American their own personal bottle. And I guess, I'm asking you if by rule, or with putting pressure on FDA, you might consider a national approach, which simply says, you know, for minor procedures, we're going to limit this to 10 pills, and after that, you have got to come back for more, because there is a direct correlation between the lives we're losing -- the kids are the biggest victims of this. I have got my agency of human services struggling to come up with enough foster kids, as we put more and more kids into custody, because their parents do horrid, horrid things to them when they are under the influence of this stuff. It is such an epidemic. You know, and if this was -- we are losing 130 people a day. If this was -- imagine that we were losing 130 people per day in America to terrorism. I mean, you know, we have got to come up with a more rational approach to prescribing prescription drugs. The -- to be candid, the docs, the AMA are resistant to listening to politicians like us, talking about how many pills to prescribed. But is there something you could do, on a national level, that would help us get out of this tragic mess? OBAMA: OK. Well, first of all, I appreciate the work that Governor Baker, and Governor Hassan, and you and others are doing on this. As all of you know, you know, I went down to West Virginia and had an entire hearing on this. And you know, the stories you hear are heartbreaking. 12:23:23 And what was striking was the number of high-ranking elected officials in the state whose own families had been affected directly by this. And so, the good news is, that there is strong bipartisan support to address the issue. I would be remiss if I did not also say the good news is that the broader society is recognizing the importance of taking a public health approach, as well as a criminalization approach when it comes to drug addiction and abuse generally. Because, I think when it was isolated to certain low-income communities or minority communities, the tendency was jail was a sufficient deterrent or approach. And as it has affected a broader and broader cross-section of America, people start realizing, you know, this is a complicated problem. There has to be a law enforcement element, but there also has to be a public health element to it. I want to thank -- Sylvia Burwell has been at the front lines of this at HHS -- also, by the way, a native West Virginian, so she has seen her own community affected by this. OBAMA: Loretta Lynch has been hugely active in thinking about how does the criminal element of this fit with the public health process. I want to recognize Tom Vilsack as well, though, one of your own as a former governor, who has been outstanding in chairing our rural council. And just two weeks ago, we convened -- Tom convened a meeting in which we said how do we get all hands on deck, all the agencies to focus on this in a comprehensive way. 12:25:24 And my hope is that they start to share with you and your committee what it is that we're looking at. I think there's going to be a lot of overlap. My suspicion is we're going to be seeing the same things. A couple of point I just want to make very quickly. Number one, the most striking statistic that I -- that came out of that meeting -- and I wasn't in the entire meeting -- was that in 85 percent of rural counties in America, there is insufficient or none -- or no drug treatment or mental health treatment available, so part of what's happening here, we talked about this at an earlier meeting, Peter, you know, you've got somebody who works on a farm, gets injured, they don't even have a doctor close by, it takes them two hours to drive, and finally the pain gets so bad they head out there, they get to the doctor, they don't necessarily have health insurance, although they should at this point, depending on what state they're living in -- just a -- just a small comment on the Affordable Care Act... (LAUGHTER) ... and Medicaid expansion. But if they don't have health insurance, they drive out and the doc says, well you know what? You need an operation, you need rotator cuff surgery, you need this, you need that. Doc, I can't afford that, can you just give me something to kill the pain. They get a bottle, they drive off, they get hooked on it and then it turns out that it's a lot cheaper to refill the prescription with heroin on the street than it is to try to manage getting more of these pills. And then folks are off to the races, and what we've seen is that those who are marketing heroin are now tracking where the -- which communities are most vulnerable. 12:27:26 So what we have to do I think is to make a big push for additional treatment and mental health services in rural communities generally, make a big push for public health and prevention in communities generally, and then have a very specific approach to working with the docs, the hospitals, the providers so they are not overprescribing. And that can be done at a national level, but it is most profitably done, I think, if we have bipartisan support from the governors so that by the time it gets to the national level, there is consensus and there's not a lot of politics involved in it. But I guess my point -- the reason I raise the general issues of public health is that if we go to doctors right now and say don't overprescribe without providing some mechanisms for people in these communities to deal with the pain that they have or the issues that they have, then we're not going to solve the problem because the pain is real, the mental illness is real, the -- in some cases, addiction is already there. In some cases, you know, these are underserved communities when it comes to the number of doctors and nurses and practitioners. I agree with you, by the way, that we should be pushing the doctors. This is true for our health-care system generally. Advanced practice nurses and physicians assistants can do more than they currently are allowed to do. And that could save the whole system money but it could also prevent some of the overprescribing that is currently taking place. But we're looking at a comprehensive approach. What I'd suggest -- Cynthia, have you guys already met with the governors task force on this to... (UNKNOWN): (OFF-MIKE) had a chance to... OBAMA: Yeah. But we're all over this and I -- we appreciate your interest. 12:29:39 This is an area where I can get agreement from Bernie Sanders and Mitch McConnell. That doesn't happen that often, but this one, and it indicates the severity of the -- of the issue. All right, yeah.(UNKNOWN): As a non-Democrat, I can't be quite as gratuitous, but I do appreciate the graciousness, the generosity of your time, Mr. President. OBAMA: Thank you. 12:30:00 (UNKNOWN): Quick question -- something that affects each of us as governors individually is debt. It -- it's crippling to some of us, less so to others. Curious as to your thoughts on the debt of this nation and the lack of any political discourse on either side of the aisle in any of the debates on this issue, and what, in the next 10 months, your administration can do to draw attention to this, to address it, to change -- start to change the course of direction that is currently underway? 12:32:06 OBAMA: Well, we're gonna be releasing a budget, so that will be a significant topic of conversation. Maybe I'll just break it out into its component parts. Obviously, the federal government, unlike state governments, does not have in the constitution that at the end of each year it has to balance its budget. I know that there are those in this room who would probably be for the federal government having a balanced budget amendment. I would not be one of those, because, in modern economic history, what is clear is that there has to be some flexibility for the federal government -- the sovereign nation -- to issue debt in order to deal with recession, national emergencies and so on. What is also true is that the way that the federal government keeps the books is different than an ordinary business. A lot of times, people will use a family or a business as an example, but, just to take one instance, the federal government doesn't have a separate accounting for capital expenditures, which -- you know, would then depreciate, and so you'd have a whole another way of doing bookkeeping. There you go. That happens to me all the time. (LAUGHTER) So -- so -- so the analogy is not exactly the same as the federal government versus state governments, or businesses, or families. Now, having said that, the good news is that, since I came into office, we've reduced the deficit by two-thirds. That is a combination of the recovery, which brought in more tax revenue, raising taxes on the top 2 percent, which everybody claimed was gonna be a jobs killer, but we've now had 14 million jobs created, or more, essentially over the last six years. And we've made some cuts in spending, and all of that has led to a two-thirds reduction. And that, our budget will reflect, we will sustain, more or less, in the out-years over the next decade. The real problem that we have when it comes to debt is very simple. It is that our population's getting older, and we use a lot of health care. and health care -- we spend more for less, frankly, than most other advanced nations, partly because we do a lot of emergency room care. Some of it is because we -- you know, overprescribe, we over- test. Some of it is we drive innovation and technology, and people always want the best stuff, but that costs money. Some of it is because -- the accident of how our health care system evolved means that we got private-sector involvement, and they've gotta make a profit, and they've got overhead, and so forth. So there are a whole bunch of reasons, but essentially, we spend about 6 to 8 percent more than our wealthy nation counterparts, per capita, on health care. That delta -- that difference -- is our debt. And that is the reason why, since I came into office, I was interested in reforming health care. It was not just the compassion I felt for people personally being impacted -- getting sick and losing their home, or not being able to get care for their kids, or having to go to the emergency room because of -- of routine issues that should have been dealt with by a primary care physician. It also had to do with the fact that this system is hugely inefficient, and if we don't make it more efficient, then we're not gonna solve our debt problem. OBAMA: So what you'll see reflected, I think, in the budget that I present is we have stabilized what we're adding to it each year in terms of discretionary spending, you know, taxes, revenue, income and -- but what we're going to have to tackle long-term is health care spending. And if we don't do that, then, you know -- we -- we can cut food stamps and we can cut WIC programs and we can cut education programs and you can cut out Head Start. 12:35:39 You can cut out every single discretionary program that Democrats support and a lot of governors -- Republican governors support, but sometimes, members of Congress say are a waste or big government or what have you. You can get rid of all that discretionary spending. It won't matter because the big-ticket item is Medicare, Medicaid, and in the private sector, the big-ticket item, that's where the inflation is is on the health care side. So -- so my hope is is -- is that we get into a serious conversation. 12:36:51 Maybe it'll have to happen once I'm gone because the Affordable Care Act and the debate around health care has gotten so politicized, so toxic that we can't have a sensible conversation about it, despite the fact that I implemented a measure that was passed by a Republican governor, but that's a whole other question. Used -- and we've embraced cost-saving measures that used to be championed by Republican governors and then suddenly now, this is some Obama scheme or plot. But maybe once I'm gone, we can go back to have a sensible conversation between Democrats and Republicans about how we should -- how -- how we should incentivize greater efficiency, better outcomes, higher quality for lower cost in our health care system. And if we do that, that's going to make the biggest difference. The single biggest thing that we were able to do to bring down any additions to the debt since I've been in office was over the last three to four years, we've kept health care inflation at its lowest rate in 50 years since the Affordable Care Act. And because of that, the Medicare Trust Fund, we essentially saved well over $100 billion. I think it was about $160 billion and counting just by making health care more efficient. And by the way, people got just as good or better care. This wasn't done through rationing, it wasn't done through us cutting people out of the program, it just had to do with better delivery. That's part of the reason, buy the way, why I think that Medicaid expansion, where it has been implemented, is smart. It is going to prevent you from having bigger problems down the road that your states are going to have to pay for. I don't expect any of you to agree with me right now, but if you just look at where it's been implement effectively, it's going to save you money over the long-term. It's been done really well in Kentucky, but that's a whole other question. I've got time for one more question or two. I'm going to make it two. Jack? 12:38:34 MARKELL: Mr. President, thank you. On a topic that I know is of significant interest to you and the attorney general talked to us earlier about criminal justice reform. You know, most of our conversation here is always about policy, but I do have one specific thought regarding your convening power, which I have seen play out incredibly well when it comes to some health care issues, as well as some college access issues. We all know that one of the most important predictors regarding the 97 percent of the people who are in our prisons when they come out whether or not they're going to be on a decent path is whether or not they can get a job. And so there's a lot of great work going on around the country, both Democratic and Republican governors alike. The beauty of this is it really is a bipartisan issue. But in addition to all the great policy work is that's being done, one of the most important things I think is getting employers to the table, and this is an issue -- as I was speaking with Valerie last night, an issue I was invited a couple of months ago to New Orleans by the Koch brothers to speak at a conference on criminal justice reform. Never really expected to be invited by the Koch brothers to speak at -- speak at something, but really doing some terrific work. MARKELL: But I do think there really is an opportunity to get employers across the country to the table to recognize the importance of this issue, the fact that a lot of these folks could actually do a good job. And I think if we can move the needle not only on all the policy work but on also getting employers to take a chance on some folks -- a lot of them really very low risk ex-offenders -- we can really make a difference. We can keep them out of prison and contributing. Because I think we all recognize that, you know, there is just no way we as a country, we as any community can be successful when we have so many able- bodied, able-minded people who are staying on the fringes. And we have lots of populations in that category, but I think the ex-offenders is one, specifically, where the White House's convening authority could make a huge difference. OBAMA: OK. Well, I appreciate that, Jack. Let me compliment a number of governors around this table who initiated their own reforms at the state level. 12:40:47 Part of the reason why we have confidence that we can do crime smarter, keep crime rates low, reduce long-term sentences for non- violent offenders is because there are a lot of states that already showed the way, including some very conservative states. I mean, this is an area where, for example, Texas did some really smart stuff. And it has worked. And so, I would urge all of you to take a look at what has been done in -- at the state level, as well as some of the data and the reports that we are generating as we push for federal criminal justice reform. But to your specific point, I was up in Newark to highlight best practices. There was a federal judge there, relatively young woman, district court judge, who had partnered with the local community, the U.S. attorney there. They had gotten a little bit of money out of a tiny little program that we are trying to expand within the Justice Department to make reentry work. 12:42:07 And there was a young man who is there. He was 37 years old, had spent 10 years in prison, had gotten in trouble before that, then finally got nabbed for a serious, though non-violent drug offense. Went to jail for 10 years. And he described what it was like; he had decided he was going to turn his life around. And he gets out, and by lying on his resume, he gets a job at Burger King. And he is dropped off in the same neighborhood that had produced him and had gotten him into this trouble, and so, he is standing there, 27 year old -- or 30 year old man, you know, wearing the Jack in the Box -- I think it was Jack in the Box outfit -- you know, his old gang-banger friends are coming up and saying, "Man," you know, "you are wearing the same shoes you went into jail with," and you know, "you sure you want to keep on doing this for minimum wage?" And he described the temptations that were involved. He couldn't -- he did not have permanent housing. He did not have money for a car. He did not have new cloths. He had no idea how to write a resume. But he wanted to do the right thing. And this program, the federal judge dug into her own pocket and some -- the probation officers were this great team, incredible, really humane, caring folks, helped him get into a community college, helped him study to become an EMT. And by the time I met him, he is like a 37 year-old man who is working for the state as an EMT. Paying taxes, law-abiding, mentoring younger people. And the amount of money that was spent to save this young man was a fraction of what had been -- it cost to incarcerate him. And the likelihood of recidivism has dropped precipitously as a consequence of him having a whole new identity. So, what that tells me is, is that we can be really smart about this, and I'm very proud that there has been bipartisan support around this. I do think that there is a convergence of, you know, liberals, conservatives, evangelicals who have terrific prison missions and believe in redemption; libertarians who are concerned about, you know, the growth of prison populations; the fiscal conservatives who are concerned about how much this all cost. And it is all coming together. 12:45:31 OBAMA: So -- but the last point I will make is this is the role of employers. There was, at this same roundtable, this young man, who'd had a family business for years. And for years, they had hired ex-offenders, very quietly, not as a systematic thing. They -- it was -- it was a produce and -- and meat wholesaler, and they'd hire guys in. And so this kid, who's now running the company -- this young man who had inherited the company, he described how, when he was growing up, you know, there'd always be some big guys around, that he just took for granted. And -- turned out that his dad had hired them as -- as ex- offenders. And he described how important it was to understand the -- the mentality of somebody who has never had an opportunity to work before in a -- in a -- in a regular setting. Simple things, like under -- the employer has to understand that they may not smile right off of the bat, because where they've just come from, if you smile, you don't know what might happen to you. And so there's a whole adjustment process in terms of letting your guard down. You know, talking about how the employer has to make an investment, and say, look, you -- you need the right kind of shoes, and you need the -- the right -- you know, clothes for the -- for the cooler. And we're gonna take this out of your check, but if you're here for six months, we'll -- you know, we'll -- we'll pay for it. Just all the steps that are taken. And when an employer ends up being committed like that, what they've discovered is that they will not have a more loyal employee who will go to bat for them, work harder, be more productive, because they've been given a second chance. And so us getting a critical mass of employers who are willing to give that second chance, I think, has to be part of this whole process. 12:46:52 All right. Last question. Go ahead -- my host for my outstanding Alaska trip. Those of you who have not gone to Alaska, I strongly recommend you go, because it was gorgeous up there. Now, I did go there in the summer. I don't know what it's like during the winter. It's a little cold. 12:47:08 WALKER: It's even nicer in the winter. It's even nicer in the winter. OBAMA: That's what I hear. WALKER: I -- I just want to quickly thank you and your administration for what you've done in Alaska the -- during -- I've been governor for one year. Every -- every cabinet member here, I have met with so many times -- some more than I've wanted to -- than they've wanted to. They've been to Alaska. Secretary Moniz -- we had lunch in Bethel last week, and went out to the village of Oscarville. Mr. President, Alaska was so excited about your unprecedented trip. We get a lot of business with people that are refueling, and you didn't -- you didn't refuel, but you stayed there and came back. That was your destination. What -- what you did with rural Alaska, we've never seen before. You brought a -- a hope and excitement there that -- that -- and I'm saying -- I'm -- I'm -- I'm nonpartisan. I can -- I can do this. I mean, I'm not -- I'm not -- I'm the only nonpartisan governor in the nation. So I don't have to worry about if I'm picking sides on -- on one or the other. You are as (ph) well. But my -- my question is, I -- I just -- I'm going to continue to work with your administration, because the door's always open. We don't always agree. We have a problem. I inherited a similar situation -- I've got a deficit that is -- that is huge. A $4 billion deficit with a $5.6 billion budget. We're -- we got problems. We have an oil pipeline that's empty. I need to fill it up. There's a lot of -- a lot of oil up there, and we're going to get it safely, and -- and thank you for your -- some of the positions you've taken, but we need to put oil in that pipeline. We need access to 1 percent of our national park to be able to do that. So I'm gonna continue to work with your administration on Medicaid expansion. Put -- get -- I accepted it unilaterally, after the legislature didn't -- didn't approve -- or didn't -- didn't vote. Ten thousand more people have health care, and one law firm has more work, because they sued me as a result of that. But that's OK. That's another story. (LAUGHTER) But thank you very much for -- for what you've done. Thank you. OBAMA: I appreciate that, and I mean what I say. The -- you know, Bill's hospitality up in Alaska was extraordinary. It is -- it fills up your soul, being up there -- just the landscape and the expanse -- the sheer scale of everything is remarkable, and the people could not have been more gracious and wonderful. You know, this goes back to the issue we had talked about earlier, in terms of energy. You know, we have encouraged exploration in some areas. There are some areas that are just real sensitive. And one of the ironies when I -- you're up in Alaska -- and I mean this sincerely -- it shows you that everybody can be two minds about this. I'd have some people say, in the same breath, "protect this beauty and scenic areas and make sure that nobody's polluting it," and then, "oh, and by the way -- you know, let's get going on some oil drilling" at the same time. 12:50:06 OBAMA: And our goal has been to try to balance those equities, and to make sure that economic development's taking place in Alaska, that folks are being well served, but that we're also p And I appreciate what you said, though, Bill. We -- we are always going to work with all of you and we will put all our cards on the table. My instructions to my Cabinet are, listen, if you can find a way to make something work, make it work. If you can't, at least explain why it is you can't. Make sure that it's not just because that's how we've always done things. I don't care how we've always done it in the past, if we can do it smarter this time, let's do it smarter this time. And as a consequence, we've made significant progress with many of you on a number of issues. We can make even more over the next year. And since this will be the last meeting in which I am addressing all of you, I just want to thank all of you for your service. reserving the very thing that makes that place so unique and people care about it so deeply. 12:51:08 Part of the reason we invited the cameras here -- usually, when I have Q&A with anybody, we try to restrict the press just so the people feel open and don't feel like if they ask a question, that they have to be guarded about it. But the truth is, after so many years interacting with you, every time we've had a conversation, it's been constructive and useful. I thought it'd actually be useful for the American people to see that the folks in charge aren't always just posturing. They are actually trying to get some work done. You guys are a good model of that and my hope is that -- that seeps into the broader political debates and conversations that we have. The benefit of being a chief executive, being a governor is that you can make as many political arguments as you want, but if the stuff doesn't work, people are going to notice. All of you have taken that to heart, so we appreciate your sacrifice, we appreciate your families' sacrifice and we look toward to making continued progress in the months to come. 12:52:21 For those of you who are not term-limited, good luck. (LAUGHTER) (APPLAUSE)
WHITE HOUSE BRIEFING
FTG OF DAILY WHITE HOUSE BRIEFING WITH WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY JAY CARNEY IN THE WH BRIEFING ROOM Wednesday, March 13, 2013 White House Briefing with Jay Carney / Stix DC Slug: 1200 WH BRIEF STIX RS37 83 AR: 16x9 Disc #876 NYRS: 5114 / HD2 JAY CARNEY: Hi, guys. It's one of those days -- water, four- shot espresso. 12:47:32 OK. Welcome to the White House. Sorry I'm late: had some meetings that ran long. I do have something I want to say at the top. I wanted to provide a quick update on the ongoing engagement with the business community and the president, first lady and senior members of the president's team on a broad range of issues, including the president's economic agenda, immigration reform, cyber security and issues important to our veterans and military families, to name a few. As you know, the president today will be dropping by two separate meetings with business leaders this afternoon. The president will be attending a meeting with business leaders to discuss cyber security as a part of the administration's ongoing dialogue with the private sector regarding this issue. Attendees include David Cote from Honeywell International, Wes Bush from Northrop Grumman Corporation and Randall Stephenson from AT&T. A full list of attendees will be provided later this afternoon. After that, he will attend a meeting with business leaders where he will discuss our efforts on immigration reform and its role in our broader economic agenda. Attendees of that meeting include Greg Brown from Motorola Solutions, Douglas Oberhelm from Caterpillar and Virginia Rometty from IBM Corporation. Again, a full list of the participants in that meeting will be provided afterwards. Finally, as part of the Joining Forces initiative, the first lady delivered remarks earlier today at the quarterly meeting of member CEOs of the Business Roundtable, where she continued her call on the private sector to hire America's veterans and military spouses. At that initiative -- that meeting, she continued her -- rather -- sorry. I'm getting lost here. And she also called on them to help reach their full potential within America's companies. Mrs. Obama made the case that it has never been more important to join together and help our veterans and military spouses find employment and to build their careers, especially the more -- especially with more than 1 million veterans who will be hanging up their uniforms and transitioning back to civilian life in the coming years. Also this morning, senior staff, including Valerie Jarrett, Denis McDonough, Rob Nabors, met with members of the Business Roundtable Executive Committee to address a broad array of issues on the president's agenda. And Treasury Secretary Jack Lew held a meeting yesterday with business leaders to discuss the president's economic agenda, including Jim McNerney and -- from Boeing and Fred Smith from FedEx. I'd refer you to Treasury for the full list of attendees. I do have one final note for the young among you, in spirit or fact, and that is that Gene Sperling will be participating in an Ask Me Anything session on Reddit this afternoon at 2 p.m. (Laughter.) I think you should -- I think you -- I think you should check it out. You will not regret it. Nedra. (Laughter.) I'll take your questions now. (Laughter.) (Cross talk.) MR. CARNEY: Ask me anything. (Laughter.) Q: So it sounds like yesterday the president was pushed during his meeting with Senate Democrats on chained CPI. And this is something that the president and White House aides have said all along that he is willing to support. Is it going to be in his budget? 12:50:32 MR. CARNEY: First of all, I don't have details to give to you of the president's budget, as I think I've said to Roger many times. But I can tell you that the president's offer to Speaker Boehner, which includes among the entitlement reforms so-called chained CPI, remains on the table. It is the president's position. It is one of the items that demonstrates the seriousness with which he approaches this challenge, the seriousness with which he believes it is -- the seriousness with which he approaches the necessity of bipartisan cooperation and his willingness to make tough choices in an effort to find common ground. Again, I -- I'm not trying to telegraph too much here, because I will not get ahead of the presentation of the president's budget, which is a very detailed document. But the president's offer remains on the table. And it would be wonderful if the speaker of the House were to take it up and move forward with it, because it does represent both the opportunity to achieve further balanced deficit reduction to meet and exceed the $4 trillion deficit reduction goal, to set our economy on an even more fiscally sustainable path and to invest in those areas of the economy that help us grow in the future, that ensure that we have the infrastructure necessary to compete, to ensure that we have the workforce necessary to compete. So, you know, again, the president believes that bipartisan cooperation is possible. He has put forward proposals that demonstrate his commitment to making tough choices, to meeting Republicans halfway in the arena of common ground, and he certainly hopes that Republicans will similarly come forward with proposals that demonstrate that kind of spirit. I think it's -- you know, as you know, the president is meeting with House Republicans today, the House Republican Conference, and that's, you know, part of the engagements he's having with lawmakers in an effort to talk about opportunities for bipartisan compromise on a whole range of issues, budget issues but also immigration reform -- measures to reduce gun violence, action that we can take to create more jobs and help our economy grow faster, invest in infrastructure and manufacturing. And these are the areas where there has traditionally been bipartisan cooperation and support and that he hopes there will be in the future. Q: On another topic, could you explain me a contradiction between you and the president in your statements on whether the White House made the call to cancel the tours? 12:53:18 MR. CARNEY: Nedra, the fact of the matter is that the White House runs the tours. We -- the tours are of the White House. The Secret Service staffs the tours. The Secret Service came to us with a decision that because of the sequester cuts, it would be in their view impossible to staff those tours, that they would have to withdraw staff from those tours in order to avoid more furloughs and overtime pay cuts. It was our job, then, to cancel the tours. The Secret Service cannot because we -- those are White House tours. So that is what the president was referring to. Q: But it sounds like he was wrong, though, when he said that the decision wasn't made by the White House. 12:54:03 MR. CARNEY: Well, the decision to cease providing Secret Service staff to the tours was made by the Secret Service. They have their budget. They look at it. They evaluate the options, the -- all the bad options that are on the table, including, as they have said and we have said, you know, tours versus furloughs and cutting of overtime pay, which goes to their core mission, and made the -- made a decision that their core mission was better served by canceling tours, which are very labor-intensive, than by having more furloughs and cutting more pay. And that's a decision that we agree with, that we think is not a happy choice but is the right choice when it comes to the need for every agency affected by the sequester to focus on their core mission as they implement these cuts. Q: Jay? Q: But didn't the president say this was not a decision -- MR. CARNEY: I'm -- yeah -- sorry, Reuters. Q: Jay? Q: The president said this was not a decision made by the White House. You just said it was. 12:55:04 MR. CARNEY: Well, Ed, I think I just answered that question and said that the Secret Service made the decision about its budget and to withdraw personnel from tours. Q: Right, and then you said it was -- (inaudible) -- MR. CARNEY: We had to cancel the tours. It's our job to cancel the tours. They cannot cancel them. So -- because we were -- they don't -- this is not a tour of the Secret Service building; it's a tour of the White House and the grounds. And we run the tours and the invitations and that process. So the White House, as we've said, canceled the tours, confronted with the choice made by the Secret Service, which we concur with, but it is certainly their choice, because it's their budget, that it was the right thing to do not to add further furloughs to the future in -- for Secret Service agents, the men and women who put their lives on the line to protect senior officials in our government, and that the result would be cutbacks in staffing hours in an area like tours, which are -- which are so labor- intensive. 12:56:03 So it's an -- but let's go back to the fact that none of this was necessary. These choices are all bad. And that was the point of the sequester. And that's the reason why we should be avoiding it. And while it is an unhappy choice to cancel tours on the one hand or furlough hardworking men and women who wear -- who put their lives on the line in service of the country, our even greater concern is with the 750,000 Americans who will lose their jobs because of the choice to implement the sequester. That is the worst outcome of the sequester. Another terrible outcome of the sequester is the reduction in economic growth that every economist on the outside who's analyzed this say will occur. So, you know, the -- I think we're now seeing that there are unhappy results of sequester. It may be a home run in some folks' eyes, a victory for the tea party for some, but it's bad for America. It's bad for those who will lose their jobs and those who suffer from diminished economic growth. Q: The president indicated that the White House tours are under review on -- last Thursday Major asked you that question, and you said no, they're not under review -- (inaudible) -- 12:57:16 MR. CARNEY: The decision has been made to cancel the general tours. As the president said in his interview, he's asked the White House to consult with the Secret Service to see if there's any way to provide limited tours to school groups or others. You know, that's being reviewed. But I should be clear that the choices here -- there is not an option here to reopen the tours in general here because -- again, that's not an option because of the sequester cuts. These are labor- intensive operations that require thousands of man-hours by the Secret Service, and the decision was made that, given the unhappy set of choices sequester presented to the Secret Service, that this was the best option. Yes. Q: The president said this morning that differences may be too wide to bridge the gap on reaching a grand bargain. That's a pretty pessimistic assessment. Has he thrown in the towel, and would he prefer simply to be given greater flexibility in how to administer the sequestration cuts? 12:58:20 MR. CARNEY: Well, I think you're confusing two propositions here. We -- we've addressed the flexibility issue. There is no positive way to slice $85 billion out of the budget in six months. We -- you know, we are now seeing that, it's a fact, and that's not on the table. Second issue is whether or not we can achieve the grand bargain or the completion of the bigger deal that would achieve the $4 trillion-plus in deficit reduction that outside groups as well as the president and the speaker of the House and others have identified as the goal in deficit reduction over 10 years. It's true, as the president said, the divides may be too wide, but it is also true that there is at least the potential for bipartisan compromise. I mean, if you look at it, both sides say they believe we should have additional savings from entitlement reforms, spending cuts. Both sides say that we should reform our tax code in a manner that eliminates unnecessary loopholes and special breaks and incentives. The president believes that that tax reform should generate revenue from the well-off and well-connected to contribute to the cause of deficit reduction. And if we do that and take the savings, the additional savings from the entitlement reforms that he's proposed, we can hit the mark and achieve that $4 trillion-plus in deficit reduction in a way that helps our economy, allows it to grow and does not unduly burden senior citizens or the middle class. You know, in many ways, the Ryan budget, as we talked about and as the president said, is a -- it presents the best argument for why balance is necessary, because if you don't choose balance -- a balanced approach, you have to make the stark choices that that budget represents, you know, dramatic cuts in our investments in education, in manufacturing, in infrastructure, you know, voucherization of our Medicare program, dramatic reductions in our Medicaid program. You know, these are not necessary choices if you're willing to ask the well-off and the well-connected -- as the -- as the president has said we should and as the public has said we should -- to contribute, to be part of the solution. And you know, the president will have this discussion with House Republicans today. He will also talk about a number of other issues. He will continue those discussions when he meets with Senate Republicans and House Democrats. And he will continue these discussions in conversations and meetings, small and large, with lawmakers going forward. Q: On cyber security, the national security adviser, and I guess now also the president, have mentioned China specifically in connection with cyber intrusions. Would the United States accept China's offer to hold talks about cyber security? And if there is any concrete evidence that the Chinese government is in any way behind any of the hacking attacks, what does the United States do? 13:01:28 MR. CARNEY: Well, I spoke about Mr. Donilon's speech, which was well-covered and addressed this issue, among others. And certainly the president has spoken about cyber security and made clear, as he has all along, that he sees it as an enormous priority, one that should have the attention of Congress and that Congress should act on through legislation that the president has supported, but thus far has not made it out of Congress. He has taken action, executive action, to enhance our cyber security, but Congress needs to act. That's the first. I would note -- you talked about the Chinese response and, you know, we note that response from the Chinese foreign ministry and, quote, the foreign ministry said: China is willing, on the basis of the principles of mutual respect and mutual trust, to have constructive dialogue and cooperation on this issue. And we welcome that statement and look forward to engaging in a constructive dialogue on this issue. That is one of the things that Tom Donilon talked about in his speech: We need to have that conversation. We need to have that dialogue. This is an international challenge, and we look forward to that. Yeah. Q: I wanted to get back to the comment that the president made that the differences may be just too wide. Shouldn't he talk to the Republicans in the House and the Senate before making that assessment? 13:02:47 MR. CARNEY: Well, I think you're -- isn't it a statement that is obvious, as I have said, that, you know, we're not saying that a deal is absolutely going to happen. You know, we're not trying to wish away the differences that exist. We're trying to find common ground. And the president believes there is common ground. The president believes that we all have acknowledged that we need to reduce our deficit. We all believe that economic growth and job creation is a priority, and we all believe that the way forward in reducing our deficit should include entitlement reform savings and tax reform. You know, the open question is -- in our minds, is what do you do with the savings from tax reform. You know, the speaker of the House identified, he said, up to a trillion dollars that you could gain just from the wealthy through tax reform, closing loopholes and exemptions. That was just a few months ago. He said that he would use that money to help pay down the deficit. Now he says we won't use that money to help pay down the deficit, but presumably those loopholes exist and should be closed. Those deductions can be capped, and those exemptions should be eliminated. If that was his view then, I assume it's his view now. The question is, Jen (ph), what do you do with the money. And the president's proportion is that it is in the national interest and it is in the interest of fairness to the middle class and to senior citizens that they not be asked to bear the burden of further deficit reduction alone. The spending cuts have been signed into law. Further spending cuts can be found and the president has put spending cuts on the table. He has put savings from entitlements on the table. So, there's no question here that he believes that more can be done on that side of the ledger but we need to do more on the revenue side as well. I think President Ronald Reagan's chief economist has said in the last couple of days in a - in a -- in an op-ed that he believes that we should have tax reform that generates more than $2 trillion in revenue towards deficit reduction. Well, the president admires the audacity of that proposal but the president's asking for significantly less than that. And maybe, in their veneration of Ronald Reagan, they will listen to that proposition and Republicans will say, you know, we should do this and we can do this in the name of deficit reduction, which is allegedly or supposedly a top priority. Q: Speaking of deficit reduction, the president also said that there was not an immediate crisis in terms of debt. But back in 2008 when the national debt was at 9 trillion (dollars), he called that irresponsible and unpatriotic. The national debt has nearly doubled since then. How is it not an immediate crisis? 13:05:20 MR. CARNEY: Well, here's a -- why this chart is here. When the president came into office, we were in economic freefall. We were heading towards the worst recession of our lifetimes and we were on the precipice of a great depression, the likes of which we haven't seen since the 1930s. The president took decisive action working with Congress to reverse the course of that downturn, to stabilize our economy and to set it back on the path of growth and job creation. Once that stabilization began to take hold, he turned towards the tasks of reducing our deficit, which he believes is also a worthy and necessary goal when it is part of the overall project, the overall number-one priority, which is growth and job creation. And you can see here what the effect is because of the Great Recession when he took office and because obviously of the measures necessary to be taken to avert a depression. Here is what happened to deficits as a share of GDP in 2009. Now, look at this drop -- 2010, 2011, 2012, the projection for 2013, 2014 and forward, if the president's offer were enacted going forward. You have deficits that fall consistently well below the 3 percent target that economists have said it's economically important, and you have the largest reduction in the deficit since the end of World War II, when we had massive demobilization in the wake of that war. This is progress. Work needs to be done, but the president's point is we do not have an immediate debt crisis. We are on the right trajectory. We need to make decisions that affect the long term, and the long term not just in terms of deficit reduction but in terms of economic growth. And if we make those choices now -- and that includes investments in infrastructure, investments in education, investments in manufacturing and innovation -- we will be growing faster, we will be stronger economically, and that contributes -- as the veteran reporters from the 1990s here know, growth contributes to deficit reduction. That's part of the package. It is much harder to reduce your deficit and deal with your debt if you're not growing. So that's -- Q: (Inaudible) -- you get a deal, you get some kind of -- MR. CARNEY: No, this is -- this is if -- first of all, this has happened, and this will happen, right? And that is the largest reduction in the deficit since the end of World War II. Q: But the offer would be a deal of some sort -- (inaudible) -- MR. CARNEY: But the -- and the -- the fact is, is that this -- the further projections are if the president's compromise solution were adopted. I think if a compromise solution of any sort that represented the principles the president has put forward and bipartisan commissions have put forward, of balance that includes revenues and reductions, that you would have a similar positive impact on our deficits and debt, and that would be tremendous for our economy. It would be fantastic for our middle class. And that's the goal here. But it's part of the bigger goal of growth and jobs. It is not -- as the president has said and I've said less articulately, it is not a goal unto itself. It's part of the bigger project here of growing the economy and strengthening the middle class. Jonathan Karl. 13:08:13 JON KARL Q: Jay, one of those groups that have been having bake sales and raising money to -- their trip to Washington -- the president referred -- is the St. Paul's Lutheran School in Waverly, Iowa. Their tour was scheduled for Saturday. Will you be able to provide a tour for the St. Paul's School? 13:08:30 MR. CARNEY: We have seen that report, and it's very unfortunate, as it is -- as is the case with all those who have seen their tours canceled because of the implementation of the sequester. You know, as I said, the Secret Service and the White House are talking about what is possible. I would not anticipate that opening tours that soon would be possible. But again, I don't want to prejudge the outcome of this, but I also want to set expectations here. There is a stark reality that has come about because of the imposition of the sequester, the home run, the tea party victory, and that is that these cuts are being implemented across agencies and across the country, and the effects are real. And they result in job loss or furloughs or pay cuts and closures of tours, in this case, because that's -- those are the options that are available. So the -- there's no way to gild the lily here. This is a bad situation that results in bad choices because the policy was designed to present bad choices and bad choices only, which is why Congress was supposed to avoid it and to come up with an alternative means of achieving the deficit reduction that is otherwise achieved through arbitrary, across-the-board cuts. 13:09:48 JON KARL Q: The Secret Service told us that the tours cost $74,000 a week. MR. CARNEY: Mmm hmm. JON KARL Q: How much is it going to cost for the president to travel later this week to Illinois? 13:09:54 MR. CARNEY: The president is president of the United States, and he is elected to represent all the people, and he travels around the country appropriately. I don't have a figure on the cost of presidential travel. It is, you know, obviously something, as every president deals with because of security and staff, a significant undertaking. But, you know, the president has to travel around the country. He has to travel around the world. That is part of his job. JON KARL Q: How much does it cost for him to go and play golf? MR. CARNEY: Jon, again, you know, you're trivializing an impact here. People will lose their job -- three-quarters of a million people will lose their jobs -- JON KARL Q: (Inaudible) -- this is (about choices ?). I mean, you have a certain of things -- MR. CARNEY: Right -- the law stipulates what the cost will be for each agency. Those jobs will be lost, OK? And you can report on White House tours or you can find out what the impacts are out in the real world -- additional impacts are. This is a real-world impact here, and it is unfortunate, and it is a unhappy choice. The fact of the matter is, Congress made this choice, Republicans made this choice. Their option was to do what they did a few months ago and delay the sequester to allow for time to try to negotiate a bigger deal. They chose not to because they refuse to accept the principle that the well-off and well-connected ought to pay a little bit towards deficit reduction. That was a choice. And it was a choice that was presented to the American people as a home run, as something that was politically advantageous in the back pocket of the speaker of the House. It was a tea party victory. But the -- there are consequences to that victory for the tea party, and the consequences are what we've been discussing today. JON KARL Q: When the president says there is no deficit crisis -- MR. CARNEY: He didn't say that, (actually ?). 13:11:37 JON KARL Q: -- no immediate deficit crisis when he said none for 10 years, how do you expect to get a grand bargain? How do you expect to get both sides to make those difficult choices if there's no crisis? (Inaudible.) 13:11:42 MR. CARNEY: Well, there is a long-term debt challenge. Everybody recognizes this. The president speaks frequently that our long-term deficit and debt are driven primarily by health care costs, the expense of administering programs like Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. That's why he's put on the table actually more detailed entitlement reforms than the speaker did, for example, in the "fiscal cliff" deal, and that's why he has already implemented savings out of our entitlement programs, savings that, of course, Chairman Ryan and others railed against but then adopted in their own budget proposal. So this is a challenge. But what we should not do is take action that does harm to our economy, does harm to our middle class, does harm to our seniors and only does well by the well-off and well-connected in order to address a deficit challenge that can be addressed appropriately in a balanced way that grows the economy, helps the middle class and protects our seniors. You know, that's a pretty clear choice. And the president is heartened by the fact that there are not just Democrats and independents who support the balanced approach to deficit reduction but Republicans and Republican lawmakers who have expressed it and who have an interest in finding common ground. And that's why he's having these conversations, on this issue and many others. Let me do the front row, then I'll come to you, yeah. Q: Briefly concluding the tour conversation, are the weekend staff tours -- are those also -- 13:13:07 MR. CARNEY: All tours are canceled. Q: Even for the staff members of the White House? MR. CARNEY: Well, there's no weekend staff tours. Staff are able to give tours, but those are all canceled, correct. Q: I want to ask a question that was sort of alluded to, you spoke to in brief yesterday. But obviously, this is day two of the sort of shuttle diplomacy, this charm offensive, as some -- as some have described it. Right now, is this -- as one White House anonymous individual described it, this is a joke done for the media's benefit, mind you -- is this a legitimate, genuine effort, as some Republicans have questioned, or is it -- 13:13:37 MR. CARNEY: Well, I know Kristen was here yesterday. Let me make clear: I have no idea who said that to the writer of that article. But that thought, that opinion does not represent the president's views. It does not represent the White House's views. It does not represent the administration's views. The president is absolutely committed to engaging with members of Congress. He has enjoyed his engagement so far. He believes it has been productive and constructive and has led to positive conversations both with Senate Republicans and House Republicans. And that includes his lunch with Chairman Ryan last week. So I could not be more categorical in making clear, I believe, that that remark does not represent the views of this White House or this president. Q: So given the fact that he's now had that dinner with some Republican senators and that conversation over lunch with Chairman Ryan as well as Representative Van Hollen here, now we're several days into -- then just yesterday Chairman Ryan put out a budget that a senior administration official referred to as draconian and a, quote, "gimmick." So how's it going? Is this working, this so-called charm offensive? 13:14:41 MR. CARNEY: Well, look, we're not going to shy away from our policy differences any more than Chairman Ryan has shied away from his policy differences with us. And the president believes that Chairman Ryan is sincere in the expression of his priorities that are demonstrated in his budget priorities -- in his budget proposal. But he also believes it was a constructive conversation -- I believe Chairman Ryan has said that -- and he also believes that we can and should move forward to see if we can find common ground on this -- on this -- the general proposition that we can move together and take action to reduce our deficit in what the president believes should be a balanced way. And let's just dial back to what the president said in his inaugural address. The American people do not expect us to resolve all of our differences. They do expect us to come together and work together to meet the challenges that face us. There is no question that on matters of budget policy and fiscal policy, social policy and other kinds of policy, there will -- there are and there will be stark differences between the two parties, leaders of the -- of the parties, and that is true today, and it will be true four years from now. But there is remarkable consensus on some issues, on identifying a problem that should be solved, deficit reduction. I mean, there are -- you know, we forget that, you know, now everybody takes for granted the idea that both sides agree with this notion that we should reduce our deficit by at least $4 trillion over 10 years. That's a consensus opinion. People forget that, you know, it's noteworthy that Republicans and Democrats alike believe that we ought to deal with our long-term entitlement challenges, that we ought to reduce spending in a smart way and that we ought to, you know, reduce the size of our deficits as a portion of GDP. You know, that's significant. And people forget too that, you know, when you talk about the differences, that if Republicans are firmly in the camp of no new revenues and Democrats are supposedly firmly in the camp of no spending cuts, you know, this president, this Democratic president has signed into law with Democratic support more than $2 1/2 trillion of deficit reduction -- more than 4 to 1 -- $4 to $1 in spending cuts. That represents compromise. That represents middle of the road consensus, positive action for the economy and for the country. Yeah. Q: (Off mic.) MR. CARNEY: You just -- you just seemed a little -- Q: I defer. I defer, no I -- MR. CARNEY: Did you hear that everybody? Major Garrett defers. Q: (Off mic.) MR. CARNEY: Are you deferring tomorrow? Is that -- this is a very chivalrous group. But yes. Q: There you go. On cyber security, could you talk a little bit more about what it is the president is either going to impart to the CEOs or wants to hear from the CEOs? And is there a reason in particular that the contents of that conversation, in either director, requires them to be in the Sit Room? 13:17:38 MR. CARNEY: I appreciate the question. I know it sounds super cool, but as those of you who are familiar with the West Wing, it is an amazingly small space. And when the Roosevelt Room is occupied with a meeting, as in the case, at the same time, the options are few for a meeting of any size that would exceed, say, my office. So the Situation Room is being utilized, as it is frequently, for that kind of meeting. It's not -- it's not related to -- it's not related to the subject. Q: (Off mic.) MR. CARNEY: No. And we have meetings there on occasion on different topics that are not related to national security issues or classified matters. And then on your first question, the president has obviously had discussions with business leaders on the cyber security issue. He has seen as various corporations and business leaders have gone public with their concerns about cyber security and the effects of breaches of cyber security on their -- on their operations, and that is why he wants to have this conversation and why he thinks it -- this is an important part of building a consensus about moving forward, about why it's necessary for our economy and for our national security. You know, we -- the sharing of information and working with private -- with the private sector on this issue is vitally important in the comprehensive approach the president believes we need to take to deal with it. Q: Is this more of a -- the president -- the president wanting to communicate his concerns to them and, you know, and employ them in the lobbying effort on Capitol Hill? 13:19:18 MR. CARNEY: Oh, no, I think this -- I think it's a two-way -- he wants to hear from, you know -- you know, out in the field, what they're -- in the private sector, what they're experiencing, what their concerns are, what their challenges are, what they hope to see in terms of action in Washington. And he also wants to convey to them how seriously he takes this issue and what he believes the right steps are moving forward. And he certainly hopes that out of this meeting and the many others he has on this topic, that we will build the kind of consensus necessary to compel Congress to take appropriate action. Q: Jay. MR. CARNEY: Mara. Q: Thank you. You said earlier that Republicans consider this a home run. You called it a tea party victory. MR. CARNEY: Those are quotes from your fine -- (inaudible). Q: Yeah, I know. I -- (inaudible) -- quoting Republicans. But the recent polls have shown that the president's job approval, especially on the economy, has taken a hit as the gridlock and the -- and the sequester has gone forward. It seems like he owns the economy, no matter -- and dysfunction in Washington no matter what you've tried to do. I'm wondering whether you think your efforts to explain to the country that it's the Republicans' fault have fallen short. 13:20:30 MR. CARNEY: I would say a couple of things. First of all, as I say repeatedly and as we experienced together communally, be careful of making too much of any individual poll. Q: How about a series of polls? MR. CARNEY: Or even a series of polls. I would also say -- (laughter) -- if we refer to the latest Washington Post or ABC news poll that the president at 50 percent job approval is about where he was when he won re-election overwhelmingly with 332 electoral votes. You know, I'm just a layman at making that observation but I think it's true. It is a remarkable fact about how low the public's estimation of Republicans has sunk that the news of that poll was that the president was at 50 percent, not that the Republican Party had a disapproval rating in the mid-70s (percent). And, you know, and I -- look, but let me say, having made those observations simply to urge you not to focus too much on them is that we're about the business of trying to get stuff done for the American people. We understand when Washington is dysfunctional -- as Washington was dysfunctional when Republicans made the decision to allow the sequester to be implemented -- that the American people look at that and say, enough already. They want positive action. They want bipartisan cooperation. And when Washington is dysfunctional, everybody in Washington looks bad. Q: Can I just follow up -- (inaudible). MR. CARNEY: So, you know, we -- you know, I would note in that poll as long as we're talking about it, the change in view that Americans have developed in -- as regards to the sequester, now that it has been implemented and the cuts are being felt, I think frustrations with the result of congressional inaction are growing. And it's just another reason why we need to come together and have the kind of discussions that hopefully can lead to a bipartisan compromise on deficit reduction. Q: Just to follow up on John's (sp) question about the president's own budget, you've -- other briefers have said that every -- the sequester means that every single program from top to bottom has to be cut by the same percentage. I don't know what it is for nondefense, like 9 percent or something. MR. CARNEY: I think it's 9 (percent), and 13 (percent) for defense, roughly, yeah. Q: Yeah, right. So does that mean that the president's budget, personal staff, household budget, or were those exempted, I mean, in terms of how it affected golf trips and -- MR. CARNEY: I believe the Executive Office of the President was affected just like every agency within the executive branch. Q: It was? MR. CARNEY: But you know, I -- we refer these questions to OMB for the details. And they've been providing, you know, information about how the sequester is affecting the White House and White House staff. Q: Right, but the problem you're going to be faced with every day is to show that the president himself is taking a hit; his own activities are being curtailed by the same percentage as all those other people who are getting furloughed. And I'm -- my question is are they? I mean, you work here. 13:23:30 MR. CARNEY: I mean, look -- (laughter) -- I do, and everyone here works, obviously, in service of the president. And the fact is his staff is going to be affected by the sequester. So the president will be affected. There's no question. And his -- as the sequester takes effect and as the, you know, impacts of the sequester are felt in terms of pay reductions or furloughs or the like, I mean, I think we've provided information as it's become available about what those impacts will be on the executive branch. Yes, sir. Q: Thank you, Jay. The president -- does he think that his -- American involvement and American mediation is necessary for resolving the Israel-Palestinian conflict? And why does he see the need to stress to the groups he met that he's not taking any new peace plans to the region? MR. CARNEY: Well, I think he's stressing a matter of fact; it's not a need. He's simply saying that he's going to the region, going to Israel and Jordan and the West Bank to have conversations with the leaders that he's meeting with and also with -- in Israel to engage with young people in Israel about the future of the Israeli-U.S. relationship. And when it comes to the Middle East peace process, you know, our fundamental position has been that the two sides need to come together in face-to-face negotiations to resolve the differences between them and to achieve the two-state solution that is the goal of both sides as well as the United States and our international partners. So that is why we are critical of unilateral steps by either side that we believe do not serve the cause of returning to face-to-face negotiations, and it is why we encourage both sides to return to face- to-face negotiations. In the end, peace has to be reached in negotiation between Israelis and Palestinians, not imposed by any outside party. The United States historically and in this administration has been engaged in that process, in trying to facilitate that process, and we remain very much engaged in that process. But, you know, we believe that steps need to be taken to bring the two parties back to negotiations, and that's what the president, I'm sure, will stress when he talks about this. But he doesn't have a new proposal, and I think that's the point he was making. Q: Just one more question. Does he intend to visit Syrian refugees while in Jordan? 13:26:06 MR. CARNEY: I think we're going to have a background briefing on the president's schedule. I don't have any more details for it -- about it today. Q: Thank you. MR. CARNEY: Let me go to Mike, yeah. Q: Thanks, Jay. I want to go back to the chart there and the goal that the president has set. In the past, particularly around the time of the convention, the president has praised the balanced budgets and even surpluses that had been generated during the Clinton administration with a Republican Congress. Now he's setting the goal, not at a balance or a surplus, but at 3 percent of GDP. Why is that not a contradiction? 13:26:38 MR. CARNEY: Well, because -- you were around, right? You remember the recession of 1991? Wouldn't it have been wonderful for the country if the recession of 2007, 2008 and 2009 were anything like as shallow as that recession? The country was faced with catastrophic economic decline, a global financial crisis. The president inherited deficits from the previous administration that dwarfed the size of deficits that were inherited by the incoming president in 1993, which is not to suggest that the task that President Clinton met and, you know, the success he enjoyed working with Congress in eliminating those deficits was not significant, but the size of the problem is -- was unprecedented, that the president -- this president faced when he took office in January of 2009. I mean, let's just review the fact that in the fourth quarter of 2008, prior to him taking office, the United States economy shrank by almost 9 percent -- 9 percent. It is estimated that the United States lost $16 trillion of wealth -- that's the size of the debt -- $16 trillion of wealth because of the financial crisis. Those figures are enormous and the country faced enormous challenges as the result of the financial crisis. And because of the grit and determination of the American people, because of their ingenuity, because of the focus that was applied by the president, members of Congress, business leaders and others, we have reversed that course. We have been on a period of sustained growth and sustained job creation for three years, over $6.3 trillion -- sorry, 6.3 million private sector jobs created in three months. So, you know, I think the answer to your question is, the size of the problem was exponentially larger. But the goal of reducing our deficit is worthwhile, within the context of the bigger goal of economic growth and job creation. Q: And can I ask you just about one other thing? MR. CARNEY: Sure. Q: You just announced Deborah Jones has been picked as the ambassador to Libya. Can you tell us a little bit about why the president chose her? 13:28:57 MR. CARNEY: I appreciate the question. The president has announced today his nomination of Deborah K. Jones to serve as the next U.S. ambassador to Libya and to represent the American people during this important stage of Libya's new democracy. We are pleased also to welcome Libyan Prime Minister Zidan to Washington for his first official visit. The prime minister is meeting with Secretary Kerry today at the State Department and will also be at the White House for meetings with senior administration officials. I can tell you that Ambassador-to-be Jones is a career foreign service officer who has served admirably in diplomatic posts around the world. Thanks. Q: Thank you.
WHITE HOUSE BRIEFING WITH JOSH EARNEST - STIX
THE REGULAR WHITE HOUSE BRIEFING WITH JOSH EARNEST STIX / HEADON White House Briefing with Josh Earnest DC Slugs: 1230 WH BRIEF STIX FS37 73 & 1230 WH BRIEF CUTS FS38 74 AR: 16x9 Disc #902 & 933 / 918 & 934 NYFS: WASH3 (4523) / WASH4 (4524) 13:06:35 EARNEST: Good afternoon, everybody. Nice to see you all. Welcome back to the California -- from California, those of you who traveled with the president. Let me do one quick announcement before we get started. It's an update to the president's schedule today. Today, the president is appointing Tom Donilon, former national security adviser, to serve as the chair of the Commission on Enhancing National Cybersecurity. He's also appointing Sam Palmisano, former CEO of IBM, to serve as vice chair. The president announced the establishment of this commission on February 9th as part of his Cybersecurity National Action Plan. That plan was the capstone of more than seven years of determined effort by this administration, building upon lessons learned from cybersecurity trends, threats and intrusions. The national action plan directs the federal government to take new action now and fosters the conditions required for long-term improvements in our approach to cybersecurity across the federal government, the private sector, and in the personal lives of the American people. These appointees have experienced the challenges presented by today's digital economy from different perspectives: Tom Donilon from the threats that cyber presents to our national security and how it impacts our broader strategy on the global stage; and Mr. Palmisano from the challenges cybersecurity presents to American companies and their places of global leadership. 13:08:03 The president expects both of these men to bring their experiences to bear and set the country on a path to ensuring cybersecurity over the next decade. The president has the highest confidence in these men being able to deliver on the critical task of providing the country a series of detailed recommendations on actions that can be taken over the next decade to enhance cybersecurity. The commission that they will chair will report to the president with its specific findings and recommendations before the end of this year. The president will meet with these two individuals in the Oval Office later this afternoon. At the conclusion of that meeting, we'll allow the pool in to come take a picture and hear the president talk briefly about the meeting he convened with them today. So... (CROSSTALK) EARNEST: I think we're looking in the three o'clock hour today, but we'll have some more details coming shortly. We're going to try and get out the updated guidance in the midst of this briefing. So as soon as we get that together, you can look for that in your in-box. OK? So, with that important piece of news out of the way, Josh, let's go to your questions. QUESTION: Thanks, Josh. Senator Grassley, and just in the past couple of hours, Senator Cornyn have suggested that the door could be open to possibly having a hearing on the president's Supreme Court nominee, depending on who he chooses. Coming off of what we heard McConnell and other Republicans say earlier, do you see Republicans coming around on this issue? 13:09:33 EARNEST: Well, I think Republicans will speak for themselves in terms of what their position is. We certainly know what the Constitution says what their position should be. And that is when there is a vacancy on the Supreme Court, it's the responsibility of the president of the United States to nominate someone to fill that vacancy, and it's the responsibility of the United States Senate as an institution to give that individual a fair hearing and a timely vote. EARNEST: And we certainly would expect this Senate to do it, primarily because the Constitution of the United States doesn't include any specific exceptions for an election year. The president is here to do his job, and the Senate should do theirs. QUESTION: I guess what I'm asking, I mean, the White House has been deeply engaged in talking with members of Congress about this process and that you would like to see a vote. Do you feel that you are making any headway in those discussions? 13:10:27 EARNEST: Well, again, the positions that Republicans are going to express, I will let them decide whether or not they would do that. It is clear what the Constitution expects of them. It is also, I think, pretty clear what the American people expect of them. The American people show up and do their job every day. They don't take days off just because they have got some other big meeting around the corner. And I think the American people expect of the Senate is going to show up and do their job even though they have a big election around the corner. QUESTION: Does the president plan to travel to the court on Friday, when Justice Scalia will lie in repose, or to attend the funeral on Saturday? 13:11:10 EARNEST: Josh, you apparently have very good sources here in the west wing. I can give you some -- a couple of updates on this. The president and first lady on Friday will travel to the Supreme Court to pay their respects to Justice Scalia as he lies in repose there at the Supreme Court. I can tell you that Vice President Biden and Dr. Jill Biden will attend Justice Scalia's federal at the Basilica on Saturday. QUESTION: So, the president will not attend be at the funeral on Saturday? EARNEST: The president will pay his respects at the Supreme Court on Friday and he'll be joined with the first lady when he does that. QUESTION: Josh, there is a school of thought out there that says that, if the White House looks and sees that your relisted prospects for getting a nominee are confirmed are nil, that it makes more sense to pick a nominee that would make more of a splash politically and could rile up Democrats and Republicans inevitably oppose them. How does the White House view that line of argument? 13:12:11 EARNEST: Well, what we're focusing on right now, Josh, is fulfilling the president's constitutional duty to nominate someone to fill the vacancy at the Supreme Court. That is what the Constitution requires, that is what the president and his team are focused on doing. As the president pointed out, there's ample time for him to make that decision and for the Senate to fulfill their constitutional responsibility to give that individual fair hearing and a timely vote. And for that individual to ascend to the Supreme Court. It would -- there are a lot of ways to slice and dice this, and I anticipate that we'll spend some time in the weeks and months ahead taking a look at these statistics, but it would be virtually unprecedented for there to be a vacancy. Certainly unprecedented in the modern era for there to be a vacancy on the Supreme Court that would interfere with two different Supreme Court terms. And that's what would happen if this Senate did not fulfill their constitutional responsibility. And that is why, you know, we are focused right now on what the Constitution requires of the president. And we are engaged in a process. And there's ample time, but we're going to move expeditiously to work through this process and choose -- put forward the person that the president best believes can fulfill the responsibilities that come with a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court. QUESTION: And on one other issue. There is a dispute between Apple and the FBI over a magistrate judge's order that they allow the FBI to access the cell phone used in relation to the San Bernardino shooting. Does the White House want Apple to comply with that order? 13:14:03 EARNEST: Well, you know, Josh, this is directly related to the FBI's ongoing investigation of the terrorist attack in San Bernardino. And this is an investigation that is being conducted by independent law enforcement officers. They have made a case to the court that this telephone -- this iPhone that was owned by the San Bernardino Department of Public Health, but was used by one of the terrorists -- that they should have access to that phone, and that apple should disable the auto erase security feature on the phone. That is the case that they've made to the court, and the court issued their ruling stating they -- issued a ruling indicating its agreement. EARNEST: So, for questions about, you know, whether or not that is appropriate or what additional steps the Department of Justice will take if Apple chooses to appeal the ruling, I would refer to the Department of Justice and to the FBI, because they're leading the investigation. QUESTION: Sure, but it plays directly into this broader issue of cybersecurity that Tom Donilon and others are focusing on, and the broader concept of whether -- you know, tech companies should be forced to allow this kind of access to their products for law enforcement, despite encryption. So in general, do you think that -- does the White House think that -- that the FBI should be able to access that kind of information? 13:15:35 EARNEST: Yeah, well, I think it is important to know here, Josh, exactly what the Department of Justice is requesting. They are not asking Apple to redesign its product or to create a new backdoor to one of their products. They're simply asking for something that would have an impact on this one device. And -- you know, again, for the merits of that argument and why the Department of Justice has concluded that that's important, I'd refer you to them. Obviously, the Department of Justice and the FBI can count on the full support of the White House as they conduct an investigation to learn as much as they possibly can about this particular incident. The president certainly believes that that is a -- an important national priority. But it's ultimately the responsibility of these independent law enforcement professionals to do that. So -- and that's -- and that's what they're trying to do. OK? Ayesha. QUESTION: Going back to the Supreme Court, yesterday, the president was asked about the possibility of using a recess appointment if the Republicans refused to consider your nominee. He didn't explicitly rule it out. Can you say right now -- has the White House ruled out the possibility of using a recess appointment? Is that totally off the table? And then also, what -- has there been any specific outreach from the White House to Senate Republicans in terms of the Supreme Court nomination? EARNEST: Well, Ayesha, the president was asked this direct question yesterday, and I don't have anything to -- to add to his answer. I mean, he -- he said, "I think we have more than enough time to go through regular process -- regular order and the regular processes. "I intend to nominate somebody, to present them to the American people, to present them to the Senate. I expect them to hold hearings, and I expect there to be a vote." So I think the president was pretty direct about what his plans are, and I just don't have anything to add to it beyond what he said. As Josh pointed out, the White House officials have been in touch with Senate offices to -- about this vacancy, and about the process that has now been initiated under the Constitution to fill that vacancy. I can tell you that we've been in touch with -- with both parties on this question. And I would anticipate that there will be more conversations in the days ahead. QUESTION: Can you say who you've reached out to? EARNEST: I don't have a list in front of me. I don't -- I don't think we're gonna get into -- sort of the details about who, precisely, we've been in touch with. But it's certainly been multiple offices in both parties. QUESTION: On -- in South China Sea. China has deployed advanced surface-to-air missile -- missile system for a disputed island in the South China Sea. The U.S. has repeatedly called for China to stop the militarization of that area, and it doesn't seem like that's happening. Is -- is the U.S. planning to take any additional action -- any additional steps to kind of address these actions that keep happening on the part of China? 13:18:54 EARNEST: Well, I have seen those reports, and -- you know, I've seen some of the commercial imagery that seems to indicate that China has deployed a surface-to-air missile system on a disputed outpost in the South China Sea. I think what -- frankly, the announcement yesterday, in the form of the Sunnylands Declaration that was signed by the leaders of the ASEAN countries who met with the president earlier this week, is significant. It reflects years of persistent diplomacy on the part of the United States, and it commits all of the signatories to maintaining, quote, "peace, security, and stability in the region; ensuring maritime security and safety." It goes on to say that... QUESTION: Bless you. EARNEST: ... that that includes unimpeded lawful maritime commerce, as described by the U.N. Convention of the Law of the Sea, as well as non-militarization and self-restraint in the conduct of activities. That's a pretty direct commitment by the leaders of ASEAN to this principle, and it's why we continue to urge all claimants, the United States is not one of them, but we continue to encourage all claimants to clarify their territorial and maritime claims in accordance with international law and to commit to peacefully manage and resolve these disputes. The concern -- the U.S. interest is not in particular claims of any of the land features, but rather in the continued free flow of commerce in this region of the world. That has significant consequences for the global economy and the U.S. economy. So that is why we have maintained that this is something that should be resolved peacefully among the claimants. At the same time, the United States military has undertaken operations to indicate our view and to I think, in pretty stark terms, make clear our view that we intend to continue to fly, sail, and operate anywhere that international law allows. And our commitment to that principle is quite firm. And we certainly welcomed this commitment from the leaders ASEAN that was produced in California just yesterday. But wouldn't it seem that the Chinese actions seems to fly in the face of that commitment? 13:21:29 EARNEST: Well, China did not sign the Sunnylands Declaration. And I think this is an indication though, that the 10 or so countries in southeast Asia who also have claims in that region of the world, are committed to the approach that we have advocated. Which is the peaceful resolutions of these disputes that does not wrap up the military presence or military capabilities that are located in these disputed territories. OK? Mary. 13:22:10 MARY BRUCE QUESTION: Back on the Supreme Court, has the president begun reviewing a short list? Yet. Has he started conducting interviews? 13:22:14 EARNEST: Mary, I'm not going to be able to provide a lot of details about this process. And that may be a source of some frustration for all of us I think, in the weeks ahead. We -- where we are able to provide some insight into that process, I will try to come prepared to do that. Today is not one of those days unfortunately. I can confirm for you that the president and his team take this process very seriously and understand that while there is ample time, we are going to move expeditiously to fulfill the president's constitutional responsibilities. So that process has generally, has begun, but exactly where we are in the process and what the president's reviewing at this point is not something that we're going to be prepared to discuss publicly. 13:22:58 MARY BRUCE QUESTION: Back on Apple and the FBI investigation, I know you said that the FBI isn't asking to open any kind of back door here, but critics certainly are concerned that this could be a slippery slope. Apple, for one. Does the president share these concerns at all? 13:23:13 EARNEST: Well, I don't think I am going to weigh in on the president's views on this particular case. Again, this is a case that is being investigated by independent law enforcement officials at the FBI. We have talked about the president's view when it comes to encryption and protecting privacy. The president believes in robust and strong encryption. He believes in the principle of protecting the privacy and civil liberties of the American people. But again, for the reasons that I outlined before, the question that the -- that is being debated in this proceeding is different than that, because we are not asking Apple to redesign its products or to create a new back door to its products. This is a much more specific request that the Department of Justice has put forward. 13:24:16 MARY BRUCE QUESTION: And you say -- one follow up on what the president said yesterday. He said he does not think Trump will be president because he has faith in the American people. He says they're pretty sensible. Is he suggesting that Trump supporters are not sensible? 13:24:25 EARNEST: Well, I think the president was just sort of making an observation about the process. And, I know that there's been a back and forth here between the president and Mr. Trump and I'm not sure I'd make that a whole lot more interesting by weighing in myself. All right, April. QUESTION: Josh, I want to go back to the list -- the Supreme Court list. What's different now than before when it comes to the list in the process, beyond the obvious? EARNEST: The obvious being that there is now a vacancy at the Supreme Court? QUESTION: No, beyond the obvious that Republicans are screaming about this supposedly short window. Well, it's 11 months, but they're saying it's a short window and we shouldn't do it. What's different about this process than in the times before? EARNEST: The irony is, I don't even think Republicans are suggesting that it's a short window. I think that would be a very tough case to make. The reason that would be a tough case to make is the president will be in office for almost a year and the average time that it has taken to confirm someone who's been nominated to be a Supreme Court justice over the last 40 years or so is 67 days. So that's why you continue to hear me and the president indicate that there's ample time for this to get done. And the argument that Republicans are making is one that's rooted in the observation that they've made that this is a presidential election year. Of course, there is a precedent for nominees being confirmed in a presidential election year. That occurred in 1988, when then-President Reagan nominated and Senate Democrats confirmed Justice Kennedy in early 1988 to move to the Supreme Court. So, there's a -- there's a precedent here. More importantly, there's a constitutional responsibility here. The president's going to fulfill his constitutional responsibility. The Senate should fulfill their constitutional responsibility, and if there's any doubt, then they should go back and check. They will find that there is no exception written into the Constitution about filling a Supreme Court vacancy in an election year. QUESTION: OK. So, with that, is the president feeling any pressure with this last -- well, with this Supreme Court nomination or (inaudible)? Is he feeling pressure about who he has to appoint -- a minority, a woman, what have you? Because we're hearing it from all sectors. 13:27:02 EARNEST: I think the president is -- takes this process quite seriously. And certainly this is one of the most important decisions that any president makes. A lifetime appointment to the highest court in the land is a weighty proposition. And these are the kinds of tough decisions that the American people expect their president to make. So it's certainly not one that President Obama takes lightly. And you can anticipate that there will be a rigorous process to ensure that the nominee is who the president believes is the best person to fill the vacancy on the Supreme Court. QUESTION: But that person have to be someone who is able to be confirmed. Does that best person have to be someone who's middle of the road or is he going to take a chance and make a more liberal than middle of the road? EARNEST: Well, I think the president was clear yesterday that he would appoint someone whose credentials for the job were indisputable. And ultimately, that is the question that the Senate will have to ask. As the president said yesterday, you know, is this an individual who can serve on the court with honor and distinction. And that will certainly be part of the criteria that the president includes in choosing who his nominee should be. QUESTION: (inaudible) in play? EARNEST: I'm sorry? QUESTION: Are the old lists from the potentials in play right now? EARNEST: Well, let me say it this way. Just because people have been considered before doesn't mean they can't be considered again. QUESTION: And lastly... (LAUGHTER) EARNEST: Is that a surprising development? (LAUGHTER) QUESTION: Thank you for offering that... (CROSSTALK) EARNEST: I'm doing my best. QUESTION: So lastly, going back to my initial question about the timing and people saying this is not enough time, and you're talking there is ample time and precedent. And just on the time issue, this might be kind of strange, but... EARNEST: OK. QUESTION: ... is the president's last day is January 20th, 2017 or January 19th, 2017? 13:29:04 EARNEST: My understanding -- Mark can correct me here because he's presided over a lot of these -- it's at noon on January 20th, 2017 in which the changeover in power occurs. QUESTION: So even though the 45th president will take the official oath of office quietly before the actual ceremonial, it's not until the 20th? EARNEST: I don't know that there's a... (CROSSTALK) QUESTION: Remember when Obama -- President Obama did the first... (CROSSTALK) QUESTION: ... it was a holiday. EARNEST: So there are two different situations here. In 2009, the president first took the oath of office -- it was administered by Chief Justice Roberts -- in front of a large crowd that was gathered on the National Mall. And that was the first time that the president took the oath of office. There was the highly publicized verbal slip that occurred. And so a day later, the chief justice came to the White House. EARNEST: In 2013, when the president took the oath of office, Inauguration Day fell on a Sunday and so the president had a small ceremony here at the White House to take the oath of office, again administered by the chief justice. But even that was done here at the White House in front of the pool, and was televised on live television. So, I would not envision a scenario, at this point, that anybody would secretly take the oath of office. I think that certainly would undermine the kind of transparency we've talked about lot here over the last seven years, to say it mildly. QUESTION: So, he's president until the -- noon... EARNEST: Until noon on January 20th, 2017. OK. Chris? QUESTION: Thanks, Josh. Two questions. One, on the argument that the president has been making about it being the constitutional responsibility for the Senate to do hearings and vote. EARNEST: Yeah. QUESTION: Republicans are arguing that that is a false choice; that in fact, they only have to advise and consent. And should they not hold hearings and they're not consenting, and they've lived up to their responsibility. My question is, how does the administration respond to that? 13:30:59 EARNEST: Yeah. Well, again, the -- I think it is actually pretty clear that the Senate has the responsibility to offer their advice and consent on a nominee from the president of the United States. And there is a well-established process for offering that advice and consent. It is to give that individual a fair hearing and to give them a timely up-or-down vote. And that is what has happened for centuries. And the reason it has happened for centuries is not just a coincidence, it is because that is consistent with the requirements of the United States Constitution and the long, deeply held traditions of the United States Senate. QUESTION: But their argument is, constitutionally, they do not have to do any of those things and that they can just not consent and they don't have to do any hearings, and they've done their job. 13:31:41 EARNEST: Well, again, I think it violates the -- it is certainly is inconsistent with the Constitution for the United States Senate to basically say the president should not nominate someone, which I actually believe was the language that has been used by many Republicans who have commented on this. That is inconsistent with the Constitution, and it ignores responsibility that United States Senate has as an institution to consider that nominee and offer their advice and consent. Their failure to do so is inconsistent with the Constitution, but also inconsistent with the expectations of the American people. Again, they are in office until January 3rd, 2017, I believe, but they should do their job in the meantime. I don't think anybody would suggest that somehow, they do not have a responsibility to show up to work just because it is an election year. In fact, I think that there are some members of the United States Senate on the Republican side that have been criticized for not showing up for work in an election year. I will let them sort of debate that back and forth. But I do think it illustrates that the Senate has a job to do, and the American people certainly would expect them to do it. QUESTION: Why should the American people side with the president's point of view here that the Senate should get to work when, as a senator himself, he filibustered Justice Alito? 13:33:10 EARNEST: Well, listen, again, I think -- I would draw an important distinction, here. There is a difference between the presidents symbolic vote against President Bush's Supreme Court nominee and Republicans' reflexive opposition to the idea of President Obama even nominating anybody to the Supreme Court. So, there is a pretty stark difference here. What Republicans are advocating is wrong and is inconsistent with the requirements of the Constitution, primarily because the wording of the Constitution is unambiguous and does not provide an exception for election years. QUESTION: So, if they bring it up and filibuster it, that would be consistent and OK? EARNEST: So, but let me -- so, let me keep going here, which is that in 2006, with the president was talking about his filibuster vote at the time, he noted that the filibuster effort was not likely to succeed and that then Judge Alito was likely to be confirmed. And that reflects the responsibility of the institution of the United States Senate. No party is solely responsible for the way that this process has become so politicized in recent years. And the point is, there is an institutional responsibility the Republicans have. They spent years fighting, scratching and clawing to win the majority of the United States Senate. And we have talked at some length about how that comes with a certain set of responsibilities. It comes with a responsibility to pass a budget, it comes with a responsibility to raise the debt ceiling, it also comes with the responsibility to offer advice and consent on the president's nominee to fill a Supreme Court vacancy. EARNEST: And that's the expectation that we have. So, look -- I -- as the president alluded to yesterday, he regrets the vote that he made because, frankly, I mean, as we've discussed, Democrats should have been in a position where they were making a public case. That's what Democrats should have done. And they shouldn't have looked for a way just to throw sand in the gears of the process. And frankly, looking back on it, the president believes that he should have just followed his own advice and made a strong public case on the merits about his opposition to the nomination that President Bush had put forward. QUESTION: So is this just karma? EARNEST: What do you mean? (LAUGHTER) QUESTION: If you believe that the president now believes that he should have made a public case, and, now that he did not, the Republicans are not making a public case, and they're just saying, "We're not gonna take it up." EARNEST: Well, again, I -- I think these are two different things. The president's objections to then-President Bush's nominee were based in substance. The president considered the qualifications and worldview and credentials and record of the individual that President Bush put forward, and then Senator Obama raised some substantive objections. And the -- what the president regrets is that Senate Democrats didn't focus more on making an effective public case about those substantive objections. Instead, some Democrats engaged in a process of throwing sand in the gears of the confirmation process. And that's an approach that the president regrets. And -- you know, again, he alluded to this yesterday -- that there's no one party that is responsible for the way that this has become politicized. And the president, yesterday, acknowledged his -- his role in that. And so the question is how, as an institution, knowing that these politics are gonna continue, how as an institution is the United -- is the United States Senate gonna confront their responsibility? There -- there are still gonna be pressures. There are members of the United States Senate who are running for president, and there are gonna be particular political pressures on them. That's not gonna change. The question really is what is the institution of the United States Senate gonna do to make sure that the Senate's responsibilities are fulfilled under the United States Constitution. And that's a difficult question, but it certainly is a direct question that is facing those Republicans who worked hard to get the majority of the Senate so they could be in control of the United States Senate. They faced that question when -- when -- when deciding whether or not to shut down the government over Planned Parenthood. They faced that question in -- in trying to determine whether or not they should raise the debt ceiling. And they're gonna face this question now about how they fulfill their constitutional obligation to give the president's nominee to the Supreme Court a fair hearing and a timely up or down vote. All right? Pam. QUESTION: Just to clarify, on Friday, Josh, is the president attending that private ceremony that they're having at the court on Friday? 13:38:17 EARNEST: We'll have more details about -- about the president's trip to the Supreme Court on Friday, but it will be an opportunity for the president and the first lady to pay their respects to Justice Scalia, who'll be lying in repose at the Supreme Court on Friday. QUESTION: OK. Given the fact that Ted Cruz is saying that he will filibuster any nominee, would you agree that it's an uphill battle for the president to get a justice approved? EARNEST: Well, again, I think -- just looking at the math, you would know, given the fact that Republicans are in the majority in the United States Senate, and given that the president of the United States is a Democrat, it means that the president's gonna have to make a -- a case -- a compelling case for a well-qualified nominee. And our expectation of Republicans in the Senate in 2016 is the same expectation that President Reagan had of Senate Democrats in 1988, which is that they would fairly consider a nominated -- a well- qualified nominee to the Supreme Court. And the Senate Democrats in 1988 certainly upheld their constitutional responsibility, even in an election year, to confirm the president's nominee to the Supreme Court. And we have the same expectations, and I think the American people have the same expectations of Senate Republicans here in 2016. QUESTION: But it won't be easy, will it? EARNEST: I think, as I've observed on many occasions, even the straightforward, noncontroversial things in -- are not easy when you're talking about this Congress. QUESTION: And speaking of that, given the rancor and the venom that the president talked about the atmosphere in Washington now. Do you think that that will scare off any potential candidates who might not want to go through that kind of a process? 13:40:19 EARNEST: My guess is, no. Primarily because the kind of individuals who would make good Supreme Court justices are individuals who have a thick skin and understand that they have a responsibility to defend their positions and their ideas in public as they go through a rigorous vetting process. That standard has been in place for quite some time, so anybody who's signing up for this duty is not going to be surprised, OK? Sheryl? QUESTION: So I'll just ask directly, is Attorney General Loretta Lynch on the list? Is she considered a nominee? EARNEST: Well, she appears to be on the list of many of you. But I do not have any details at this point to share about a list hat's maintained by the White House. QUESTION: Can you define any better, due time? Is that weeks? Is that months? EARNEST: In terms of the president putting forward a nominee? I don't have a specific time frame to lay out for you. I think the best I can do is remind you that when two Supreme Court vacancies occurred earlier in this presidency, the president put forward two well- qualified nominees after spending about a month or so deciding on who that should be. So, I don't know if the time frame will be different this time around, but the recent history here at least seems relevant. OK? Kelly? QUESTION: Two things. First on the court, following up the last question. Will the president consider the fact that a nominee would be subjected to a lot of scrutiny and might not ever rise to be a part of the Supreme Court and that could be damaging to a career if you were put through that process and don't become a part of the Supreme Court. 13:42:17 EARNEST: Yes, I've actually, just in terms of the coverage of this, I've seen people sort of speculate this both ways, right? That there are some people who say that well, after going through this process and getting beat up by Republicans and facing unreasonable partisan opposition, that that could have a negative impact on somebody's longer-term career prospects. On the other hand, I've seen people observe that running into that wall of unreasonable, partisan obstruction from Republicans, only serves to elevate the credentials of this individual and could eventually turn them into a cause celeb, even on the campaign trail. You could imagine a Democratic nominee running around out there saying, you saw how well so-and-so performed in the confirmation hearings. Elect me president and we'll get them on the Supreme Court. So you can imagine how this plays out, both ways. I think what the president is focusing on right now is that he puts forward the person he believes would be the best person to fill the vacancy on the Supreme Court. QUESTION: And to the New York officials are expressing a lot of concern about cuts to funding that they would use for counterterrorism measures. The mayor is speaking out, Senator Schumer, the police commissioner we're in a constant threat environment. 13:43:42 EARNEST: This administration's investment in making sure that communities across the country, including New York, are to fight terrorism and to protect the homeland are ironclad. And I think all you have to do is take a look at the numbers to indicate that this administration is serious about it commitment to Homeland Security. Right now, in the DHS funding that is provided to New York, there are $600 million that is sitting in on account. And what this administration has proposed to do is to put another $255 million or so, into that account this year. This year's contribution into that account is almost twice as much as New York officials have spent out of that account over the last two years combined. So, there are ample resources that are available and those ample resources are available and provided by the Obama administration because of our ironclad commitment to the safety and security of New York and communities all across the country. EARNEST: I would point out that the amount of funding that is devoted to protecting New York and making sure that law enforcement officials in New York have the resources that they need is higher than the amount of money that's provided to local communities across the country. We understand that New York is the largest city in the country. We understand that New York is -- certainly is a high profile target of terrorists. That would explain precisely the kind of commitment that this administration has made to homeland security in New York. I will also just say that at some point, Senator Schumer's credibility in talking about national security issues, particularly when the facts are as they are when it relates to homeland security, have to be affected by the position that he's taken on other issues. Senator Schumer is somebody that came out and opposed the international agreement to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. He was wrong about that position. And most Democrats agreed -- disagreed with him in taking that position. And when people look at the facts here when it comes to funding for homeland security, they'll recognize that he's wrong this time, too. QUESTION: Wow. (LAUGHTER) QUESTION: I understand the president was unhappy with Senator Schumer's position on that. But has the White House failed to properly, given that context to New York officials, including Mayor de Blasio and the police commissioner, that they have such a different view of how the funding is being apportioned? 13:46:32 EARNEST: This information has been provided to New York -- to New York officials. I understand that there is a -- that the news conference that they convened today is part of a -- basically an annual event. But apparently in this case, they didn't let the facts of the matter have an impact on the scheduling of this year's event. So, Mark? QUESTION: On the Scalia funeral, will Vice President Biden be delivering a eulogy on Saturday? EARNEST: I don't know all of the details about Vice President Biden's participation in the funeral on Saturday. But as we have more details, we'll provide them. QUESTION: And back on recess appointments, from what the president said yesterday, and from what you said today, it sounds like you're deliberately trying to leave options open to the possibility of a recess appointment by not definitively ruling it out. Is that a misinterpretation of what you're saying? 13:47:25 EARNEST: Well, I think the president tried to be as direct as he could yesterday about what our intent is. Our intent is to nominate an indisputably qualified individual to fill a vacancy on the Supreme Court. And our expectation is that the United States will fulfill their constitutional responsibility to give that individual a fair hearing in a timely up or down vote. And that's -- that's what our plan is right now. QUESTION: You're not ruling out a recess appointment? EARNEST: Well, I think the president in answering this question tried to be as direct as he possibly could about what our intentions are. QUESTION: I noticed that President Obama hasn't made any recess appointments in four years. Can you say why? 13:48:12 EARNEST: Well, the -- what we have tried to do, with admittedly mixed success, is to try to find common ground with Republicans to ensure that individuals that the president would like to appoint to work for him here in the administration and make sure that the government functions well, you know, we've tried to work with Republicans in the Senate to make that happen. And the president explained -- described some frustration yesterday about -- about the way that Republicans have -- have engaged in that process. But, look, that all being said, I think everybody understands that a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court is different than that. And every president -- and this is probably -- this was probably true of even President Washington, had some frustrations with Congress and the pace at which they were acting on -- on their nominations to important jobs in the administration. And we certainly have a strong case to make about how Republicans have taken that obstruction to a new level. But the fact is I think everybody understands why a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court is different. And that's why we're going to continue to make a strong case about the president fulfilling his constitutional responsibilities and why the Senate should fulfill their constitutional responsibilities and that further dragging this into the politicized context of other administration nominations is certainly not what the framers of our Constitution intended. QUESTION: To your knowledge, there hasn't been any secret agreement between the president and Senate leaders about him not making any recess appointments over the last 12 -- four years? 13:50:14 EARNEST: Well, what we have tried to do is to work in good faith with Republican leaders to see the president's appointees confirmed by the Senate so they can do the important work of the American people. And -- but again, that has been an ongoing process, so I'm sure that process will continue. But I would draw a distinction between that process and the process described by the Constitution for filling a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court. OK? Chris. QUESTION: Josh, will you rule out the possibility that President Obama will appoint himself to the Supreme Court? (LAUGHTER) EARNEST: That is a novel one. I think what I will say is that the president himself has said in the past that, while he obviously has -- holds in high esteem those who dedicate their lives to serving the country on the Supreme Court, he envisions something different for himself once he leaves the presidency. So I haven't asked him that direct question, but I think all the available evidence indicates that that option is highly unlikely. QUESTION: But do you mean to say by that -- you said that -- that the president's gonna pick somebody whose credentials for the job are indisputable. Does that mean that the president believes that his credentials for such a position are -- would be in dispute? EARNEST: Well, again -- the -- I think that what we have found, from Republicans, is they have not let the facts get in the way of raising disputes about the president and his credentials. There's even one particular Republican who's made himself famous for that. So I -- but I -- I think I'll just leave it there. QUESTION: I have two more question about (inaudible). EARNEST: OK. QUESTION: In South Dakota, the -- the legislature sent to the governor a legislation seen to discriminate against transgender students by prohibiting them from using the public restroom consistent with their gender identity. The -- the -- critics that say that's gonna be in conflict with the administration's position of Title IX, which prohibits discrimination based on gender, and the interpretation of that to apply to transgender students. Does the president oppose this legislation? EARNEST: I don't know that the president has looked carefully at this particular piece of legislation. And I don't have a legal analysis to present to you about how enactment of that legislation would have an impact on things like Title IX. What I can just say more generally is that the kind of values that this administration has championed have been values that have been dedicated to inclusiveness and nondiscrimination, and even respect, for other human beings. And there are many elements of this legislation that you've described that seem to come into sharp conflict with those basic American values. Lynn, nice to see you today. QUESTION: Nice to see you (OFF-MIKE). Change of subject. EARNEST: OK. We've covered a lot of subjects today. QUESTION: Tomorrow, the Blackhawks are coming for their third visit to the White House. EARNEST: Yes. They've been on quite a run lately. QUESTION: And I'm wondering if you could tell me -- I don't know where hockey fits in in Obama's sports interests. I know obviously he's a big, big basketball fan. EARNEST: Yeah. Yeah. QUESTION: Do you think (inaudible) a ticketed game when he still has time in the White House -- there's a little time left? EARNEST: Yeah. QUESTION: And what do you think he'll be able to say when a team comes a third time to the White House? 13:53:40 EARNEST: Yeah. Well, listen -- this -- this particular president is a sports fan, and I think we all appreciate the amount of athleticism and skill that's required to excel in that sport. You know, maybe the -- the next president will be somebody who was born in Canada and will have an even greater appreciation... (LAUGHTER) ... for that sport and the skill that it requires. But this president -- certainly proud of his hometown Chicago Blackhawks, and is looking forward to welcome -- welcoming them here. I don't -- I don't think there are too many other sports teams that have come to the White House three different times for winning championships. The UConn women's basketball team comes to mind as a team that might have broken that record. But certainly the president is -- is proud of his hometown team, and looking forward to welcoming -- welcoming them here. QUESTION: And where does hockey fit in his sports interests? EARNEST: Well, I -- the president is not a regular viewer of the -- of the sport. I think -- I think even -- even casual fans of hockey can appreciate, again, both the -- the skill and athleticism that's required to engage in that sport, but also appreciate how exciting -- you know, playoff hockey is. EARNEST: And that brand of hockey is -- is something that I think causes television ratings to spike, in playoff time for hockey, and -- but -- but, look. The -- the president's proud of his team, and is looking forward to seeing them here. George? QUESTION: On ground support? EARNEST: Yes. QUESTION: The president has said that he is not always as sensitive as he should be on optics. Can you rule out him going golfing on Saturday instead of the funeral? 13:55:20 EARNEST: I don't have a sense of what the president's plans are for Saturday. The president obviously believes it is important for the institution of the presidency to pay his respects to somebody who dedicated three decades of his life to the institution of the Supreme Court. And the president gave some pretty thoughtful words in discussing Justice Scalia's service on the Supreme Court, not just on Saturday night, but also yesterday in his news conference. And Friday will be an important opportunity for the president and the first lady to pay their respects to Justice Scalia. And I think that is important, not just on a personal level, but also on an institutional level. That recognizing -- that it is an opportunity, not just for this president to pay his personal respects to this individual who served for three decades on the Supreme Court, but it also an opportunity for the individual who is serving as the president of the United States to offer respect to someone who served in the third branch of government. It will be an important moment and we will have more details for you about the president's plans for both Friday and Saturday. Julia. QUESTION: Quick question on following up what you said was the symbolic the president took regarding Alito and what's happening now. Afterwards, you talked about how he regretted what he did, how it contributes to the polarization here. Is there a distinction, or would you say there is a distinction between what the president did and what is happening now because it is clear that his actions would not actually prevent a justice from taking a seat whereas in this case, that's an open possibility? Or would you consider them roughly equivalent in terms of contributing to the polarization surrounding traditional nominees in the United States. 13:57:18 EARNEST: Well, I actually think that what Republicans are doing now are different than what President Obama, then Senator Obama did in 2006 in two important ways. And you mentioned one of them. The first is, the president was clear at the time in 2006 as he was casting the vote, that his vote was not one that was going to have any impact on the outcome. Senator -- then Judge Alito had sufficient support in the United States Senate to ascend to the Supreme Court. And the president was direct at the time, that his vote was symbolic. But here's the second thing. The president did have substantive reasons to oppose Judge Alito's nomination. And right now, the opposition that Republicans are reflexively expressing is devoted to the idea of the president even nominating somebody to fill that vacancy. That is the difference. And that is what is so directly contrary to the requirements of individuals that are outlined in the Constitution of the United States. QUESTION: And just one question , keeping in mind that neither you or I or constitutional lawyers, Senator McConnell's staff would point out that there is nothing in the Constitution that dictates hearings or a timely vote on a Supreme Court nominee by the president. Could you just flesh out a little more on what the interpretation is of this White House, specifically, what the Constitution dictates beyond the ideas of simply advise and consent? EARNEST: Again, I'm no constitutional scholar, but there been hundreds of people who have served on the Supreme Court and best as I can remember, that is the process they have all gone through. EARNEST: So, again, I'd be surprised that anybody is suggesting that is not part of the constitutional responsibilities of the United States Senate. I would say that I feel pretty confident in tell you that even without having these facts at hand, I'm sure there are some people who ran for the United States Senate saying that they were going to have an impact on the process of confirming judges. That's certainly something that we -- that Senate candidates observe that that is part of the responsibility of individual United States senators. And I guess the other part that's relevant here is we actually have a recent and relevant historical analogy to draw. Democrats in 1988 found themselves in the same position. They were in the majority in the Senate and there was a Republican in the White House. There was a vacancy on the Supreme Court and there was a question that they faced about whether or not they were going to vote in a presidential election year to confirm the president's nominee to the Supreme Court. And even though they were not in the same part as the president, they fulfilled their constitutional responsibility and they did it even though it was an election year. And our expectation is that Senate Republicans would do the same. And again, the fact that Senate Democrats did it right in 1988 doesn't absolve the entire Democratic Party over the course of history from the role that they have played in contributing to a politicized process. President Obama acknowledged yesterday that he played a part in that. But the responsibility relies (sic) with the institution of the United States Senate. And Senator McConnell and other Republican leaders worked tirelessly campaigning across the country, raising money, giving stump speeches, holding rallies, working weekends, to try to get back the majority of the United States Senate. And I'll just remind you that on the day after they succeeded in that effort, on the day after the election, Senator McConnell now wrote -- wrote what is now I believe probably in his mind an infamous op-ed in The Wall Street Journal that was headlined "Now We Can Get Congress Moving Again." This is a basic function of Congress. And he was acknowledging the role that the majority has in getting Congress moving again. He's in charge of that institution. That institution has a constitutional responsibility. And that institution -- the American people certainly have the expectation that that institution will fulfill that duty. Bob? QUESTION: Thank, Josh. The Senate is away this week, actually, so we've heard from relatively few rank-and-file Republicans about how they feel about this issue. Does the president believe that... EARNEST: Funny how their cell phones somehow -- somehow in these kinds of situations don't work, or at least don't get answered quite as quickly. QUESTION: Does the president believe that with time, or whatever, there can be a softening of the stance among at least rank- and-file Republicans regarding this nomination? Does he think time may be on his side with this? EARNEST: I think the president's expectation is that the institution of the United States Senate can and should fulfill its constitutional responsibility. And there are no loopholes in that responsibility. There's no election year loophole. There's no loophole for a situation in which the president may not share the judicial philosophy of the -- of the previous Supreme Court justice. There's no loophole in the Constitution for a Supreme Court nominee who might have an impact on the balance of the Supreme Court. The Constitution is clear about what the expectations are of the institution of the United States Senate. That's certainly -- that's consistent with the president's expectations. And it's consistent with the expectations of the American people. QUESTION: I'm not suggesting obviously how rank-and-file Republicans should act, but does the president, you know, (inaudible) that there maybe shouldn't be a rush to this? (inaudible) names on (inaudible) that quickly? Pressure may mount on Republicans to move forward with this? 14:04:11 EARNEST: The -- the amount of time that the president and his team will devote to nominating an individual will be dedicated to making sure that the right person's been chosen for this important job. And that is the factor that will be driving the timeline for this decision. And as soon as the president and his team have concluded that they've chosen the right person for the job, then we'll make that nominee -- we'll put forward that nominee. And we hope that the Senate will fulfill their responsibility to ensure that that individual receives a fair hearing and a timely yes or no vote. OK? Angela? QUESTION: Josh, you mentioned (inaudible) campaign trail among the Democratic candidates. Has the White House been in touch with either or both of the Clinton and Sanders campaigns as you move forward with working on a nominee? 14:05:01 EARNEST: I'm not aware of any specific conversations that have taken place thus far about who the president's going to choose with either of the candidates for president on the Democratic side. Look, I think people are going to ask the Democratic candidates what their views are on this process. They will ask them primarily because it's a relevant question to ask. They are running for the job, they're running to be given the responsibility, starting in January 2017, to fill vacancies on the Supreme Court. So it makes sense they would be asked about this process. Then-Senator Obama was certainly was asked about it a lot in 2007 and 2008. And that's a natural question. Feel free to ask. QUESTION: But given that this -- we could easily foresee a scenario that could spill over until next year as you mentioned. The possibility of having a vacant seat through two Supreme Court terms. Does the president and or his staff plan to discuss this with the Democratic campaigns? Is that an important part of his strategy that he works over the next few weeks? 14:06:02 EARNEST: I would not anticipate this would require discussions with the campaigns. Again, primarily because this is a responsibility of the sitting president of the United States and there are a whole host of individuals on the Republican and Democratic side who are running to have this responsibility given to them in January of 2017. But right now this responsibility rests with the president and there will be a tendency, it's natural and even understandable, that there will be some politics that will have an influence on the process. That started a long time ago and I'm confident that will be the case here. The question is whether or not the United States Senate and in this case, I am talking about Senate Republicans who have the responsibility for running the institution of the United States Senate, whether or not they are prepared to choose their constitutional duty over narrow, partisan political considerations. It is an open question right now. The early indications are not particularly good, considering that Republicans have suggested that the president should not even bother nominating somebody. But hopefully cooler heads will prevail. QUESTION: Josh, following up on Ayisha's question on the South China Sea. Obviously, we saw China, we saw confirmation as you were seeking from the State Department that China has moved missiles to this disputed island. It was just yesterday that ASEAN released it's statement that was very similar to what we've seen from ASEAN statements in the past. It did not specifically mention China. Did the president want a stronger statement? Potentially one that actually mentioned China to come out of ASEAN, or was he satisfied with the words that were chosen to put out yesterday? 14:07:45 EARNEST: No, look, we're more than satisfied. I think we're quite pleased to see the leaders of 10 or so southeast Asian nations, many of whom do have claims on land features in the South China Sea, put forwards a coherent and unified explanation of what they're committing to. And what they're committing to is a set of principles that will promote the peaceful resolution of disputes. That is clearly within the best interests of the United States. It's in the best interest of our economy, it's in the best interest of our national security. We also believe that it benefits those countries in the same way. So, you know, we are pleased to see that there is a widespread agreement among United States and our ASEAN partners for resolving these disputes. OK. Rich? QUESTION: Will the president this week signed the North Korean sanctions bill? And in discussing North Korea, early this month the Washington post editorial board claimed that the president's strategic patience has failed with North Korea due to recent North Korean provocations, even beyond if the president does sign this sanctions bill. Does that warned a greater response from the U.S. 14:09:00 EARNEST: Well, Rich I can tell, as you've heard me say on a number of occasions, the administration is deeply concerned about North Korea's actions and their recent provocations. And I can confirm that the president does plan to sign H.R. 757, which includes sanctions measures against North Korea and will serve to increase pressure on North Korea. That is a goal that Congress stated and it's a goal that we share. I don't know precisely when the president will sign that bill but we will let you know. But our plan is to sign it. When it comes more broadly to our approach to North Korea, I think we've been clear about what our strategy is which is to work effectively with our allies in the region. Most importantly, South Korea and Japan. But also with our partners in the region like Russia and China, who have some influence over the North Korean regime. EARNEST: And we presented a united front and President Xi stood in the Rose Garden just last fall and made clear that China would not tolerate a nuclearized Korean Peninsula. That was an important declaration, and it certainly means that -- that the North Korean regime will continue to be isolated until they begin to take steps closer in the direction of not just the United States and South Korea, but even countries like China, with whom they have a vital relationship. QUESTION: On Apple, you said earlier that the White House will back up law enforcement. Does that mean that law enforcement, when it comes to these arguments between data security and national security -- that law enforcement should get what it wants? EARNEST: I think I was pretty clear about that statement applying to this particular situation, all right? That the Department of Justice and FBI investigators have been given a serious responsibility, which is to investigate an act of terrorism that occurred in San Bernardino, California at the end of last year. And they're conducting that investigation, and they're gonna do that independently. But they can count on the support of the White House and the president, who has identified that that investigation is a priority. So we're gonna support them as they do their important independent work. But -- you know, I just reiterate what I said before, which is that there is a debate -- an intense debate right now about how to balance the need for encryption and cybersecurity and protecting privacy, and the need to protect the national security of the United States. I think the president has described how he approaches that question. But fortunately the question in this instance is much more narrow. And -- you know, I think, just taking a quick look at the judge's ruling, I think the judge thought it was a pretty straightforward answer. QUESTION: But this doesn't create a marker for further cases? I mean, I understand we're talking about just this one case. But this one case could set an example, very easily, for cases in the future. 14:12:06 EARNEST: But -- but this case doesn't require Apple to -- to change their -- to redesign some element of their software, or to create a new backdoor. It's a very specific request that the Department of Justice has made, and -- and a judge agreed with them. QUESTION: Minneapolis Fed president Neil Kashkari says that possibly one of -- something that he might push in the future would be breaking up the big banks. Was that a missed opportunity in Dodd- Frank, do you think, as it's been such an important element in the Democratic debate? EARNEST: Well, we value the independent of the Fed -- the independence of the Fed here. So I'm a little limited in offering up a direct response to what Mr. Kashkari had to say. I can just tell you more generally that the president was a leading advocate of Wall Street reform, and was happy to sign it into law, and, just as importantly, was rigorous about the implementation of the regulations that that law required. And the reason for that is we saw an aggressive effort on the part of Wall Street banks and other large financial institutions to try to chip away at the law's protections and the regulatory process. And that is something that we have resisted. It has contributed, in some cases, to it taking a little longer than expected to implement rules. But the fact is, we have put in place a financial architecture that does make sure that taxpayers won't be on the hook for bailing out banks who make risky bets that go bad. That's progress. That's a good thing for our economy. It certainly is a good thing for middle-class families. At the same time, we've been mindful of the need to have an architecture that would not stifle innovation. We've continue -- one -- we -- one of the reasons that the U.S. economy is the envy of the world is we have a dynamic financial institute -- dynamic financial system where a variety of institutions can get access to capital. That's a good thing. That's an important thing for innovation. It's an important thing for the economy. It certainly is an important thing for small business. But we also want to make sure that we've got regulators and institutions in Washington, D.C. that are looking out for the interests of middle-class families. And that's a -- that's a top priority. And that's why the president, when historians take a look at his legacy, I'm confident that his success in passing and implementing Wall Street reform will be among the prominent aspects of that legacy that will be widely discussed. QUESTION: Even with the big banks intact? EARNEST: Even with the -- with the big banks intact, because of the reforms that we put in place -- things like higher capital requirements for banks, and other steps that we have taken that have -- again, according to the stress tests that are also regularly conducted -- that have put those institutions on more stable financial footing. And if we get into a situation where those institutions get weaker, we've got steps that we can take to further insulate the American economy and the American people from the -- from the fallout. So, we've learned a lot of important lessons since the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression. Many of them relate to the kinds of basic investments that are critical to the success of our economy and to middle class families. But some of them relate to the way in which our financial system should be regulated to make is more stable and to not leave taxpayers on the hook for financial institutions whose risky bets go bad. OK? Lauren, I'll give you the last one. QUESTION: Thank you, Josh. In about three hours, the pope is going to be celebrating mass on the border between the U.S. and Mexico (inaudible) Juarez. And Donald Trump has come out and said that -- basically that the pope is in the pocket of Mexico; he wants to keep the border the way it is, Mexico does, because they're making a fortune and we are losing. I was wondering if the White House has any comment (inaudible)? 14:16:17 EARNEST: I don't have any direct response to Mr. Trump's comments. I will just say more generally that I was one of those who was fortunate enough to be on the south lawn of the White House when Pope Francis visited last fall. And it was clear even from the brief remarks that he delivered here that he's a man of deep faith and he's quite passionate about what he's called to do and what that faith calls him to do. And certainly his commitment to social justice and looking out for those who are less fortunate are things that are priorities that he has set for himself, not just because he wants to cultivate his own image or to score political points, but rather because he feels called to serve those people. And I think it was pretty evident that his passion and his personal motivation through his faith were authentic. And I certainly wouldn't call it into question at all. All right? 14:17:30 Thanks a lot, everybody. We'll see you tomorrow.
PRESIDENT DOANLD TRUMP - WHITE HOUSE CORONAVIRUS TASK FORCE NEWS CONFERENCE - STIX / HEADON
1700 WH COVID19 TASK FORCE BRIEF STIX FS23 73 1900 WH COVID19 TASK FORCE BRIEF STIX FS23 87 PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP AND MEMBERS HOLD A NEWS CONFERENCE TO UPDATE THE NATION ON THE COVID19 PANDEMIC Remarks by President Trump, Vice President Pence, and Members of the Coronavirus Task Force in Press Briefing James S. Brady Press Briefing Room March 22, 2020 5:55 P.M. EDT THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much. Just before we begin, I want to mention we're working very hard - long - on getting a young group of people out of Peru. We've removed some, and the rest are being removed with the cooperation of the Peruvian government. And we're also dealing with Honduras on getting some people out that got caught up. And we are working on that very well - again, with the Honduran government's work. And they're working with us, so I appreciate that. We have a couple of other locations that we'll report to you, and we were able to get a young woman released from a certain area who was being horribly accosted, horribly treated. And we spoke to General Milley. General Milley took care of it. We went in and we got her out. And we'll - we'll report further on that one. But it's - that was rough stuff. I want to thank General Milley. I want to thank all of the people that were involved and the people that went in to get her. I want to thank you very much. As we continue to marshal every resource at America's disposal in the fight against the Chinese virus, we're profoundly grateful to our nation's state and local leaders, doctors, nurses, law enforcement, and first responders who are waging this battle on the ground. It is absolutely critical that Americans continue to follow the federal government's guidelines - so important - about social distancing, nonessential travel, and hand washing. Defeating this unseen enemy requires the help and commitment of every single American. I want to just say that Senator Rand Paul - a friend of mine; he's been a great friend of mine. He's been always there when we needed him, when the country needed him. And, as you know, he just tested positive. Jose [sic] Díaz-Balart - spoke to him yesterday - tested positive. And so people are - they're getting quite close to home, and it's a terrible thing that's going on. The hidden enemy. I call it the hidden enemy. And I think they'll all be fine. I hope they're going to be fine. But I just want to send our regards - and I think I can speak on behalf of our country - to those two great friends of mine. We're working urgently with Congress on legislation to support the millions of workers, small businesses, and industries who've been hit hard by the virus through no fault of their own. Our goal is to get relief to Americans as quickly as possible so that families can get by and small businesses can keep workers on the payroll. This will help our economy, and you will see our economy skyrocket once this is over. I think it's going to skyrocket. It's a - it's a pent-up demand. It's a built-up demand. And I guess you really have to say, "Who knows?" But I think it's going to be a tremendous day when we win this war - and we will win the war. We want to win the war with as few - if you look at it - just deaths as possible. We want to have as few number of deaths as possible. Today, I'm announcing action to help New York, California, and Washington ensure that the National Guard can effectively respond to this crisis. The National Guard - these are tremendous people. They're fully on alert. We've signed what we had to sign, and it's been activated. We're dealing also with other states. These states have been hit the hardest. Actually, pretty much by far, you could say, the hardest. Everybody can see that. Just look at the numbers. And, through FEMA, the federal government will be funding 100 percent of the cost of deploying National Guard units to carry out approved missions to stop the virus while those governors remain in command. So the governors, locally, are going to be in command, and we'll be following them and we hope they can do the job, and I think they will. I spoke with all three of the governors today, and - just a little while ago - and they're very happy with what we're going to be doing because we'll be announcing some other things for those three states and some other states where it's hit the hardest. This action will give them maximum flexibility to use the Guard against the virus without having to worry about costs or liability and freeing up state resources to protect the health and safety of the people in their state. The federal government has deployed hundreds of tons of supplies from our National Stockpile to locations with the greatest need. In order to assist in those areas, I approved the State of New York's request for a major disaster declaration - something which Governor Cuomo has been asking for and which I agree. And we had it done in very rapid fashion. We approved this on Friday evening, and we are working very, very hard to get all of these things not only signed up but completed and finished and win. The request from the State of Washington for a major disaster declaration was approved just a little while ago. It went through the process and we moved it very quickly. The request from the State of California was just received, and we will have it approved very quickly. We'll be working - I told that to Gavin Newsom. And we are - we're working on getting that done very quickly; it'll be done maybe tonight. We've large - we have large quantities of medical equipment and supplies on the way, based on all of this, to those states including: respirators, surgical masks, and gowns, face shields, coveralls, and gloves, with large quantities already delivered to Washington and to New York. In addition to large quantities of supplies, I've also directed FEMA to supply the following: four large federal medical stations with 1,000 beds for New York, eight large federal medical stations with 2,000 beds for California, and three large federal medical stations and four small federal medical stations with 1,000 beds for the State of Washington. The governors know. The supplies en route to California and New York will be delivered within the next 48 hours. In addition, the Naval Hospital ship, the USNS Mercy - it's an incredible ship; these two ships are incredible - one on the West Coast; one on the East Coast - will be deployed to Los Angeles to add emergency surge medical capacity. And they have a tremendous capacity. They are really something. I will say that, if you look at some of the things we've been doing - and now those numbers have gone up - and just to be a little bit more exacting, we've done a presidential approval for request for a major disaster declaration for the State of New York. Approval of Title 32 National Guard activation for the State of New York. We're providing all of this at no cost to the governor. I spoke with Governor Cuomo. He's working hard. We're all working hard together. The relationship has really been amazing. But it also enables the governor to provide robust National Guard support to the state. And the 25 percent - we're going to be waiving that 25 percent cost. We're picking up, we'll be coordinating, and they'll be doing something with very special people. Mission assignment of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to provide support to build out alternate care sites. They're doing various alternate care sites, which have now been designated by New York. Four large federal medical stations of one thousand beds. These are very complex places, actually, with great equipment and great people. Strategic National Stockpile order. And this is as of a number of days ago - so far delivered to New York - and this is the 19th. We had the N95 respirators - 186,416 delivered. We've delivered 444,078 surgical masks. Many have been delivered since then. Face shields - we've delivered 84,560 face shields. Surgical gowns - surgical gowns - 68,944 to New York. Coveralls - 352. Gloves - 245,486. Also, to New York, in terms of what's been delivered just since then - the numbers are quite large, and we have tremendous numbers of companies also making equipment. For the State of Washington, we've delivered 369,000 N95 respirators, 507,406 surgical masks. And this is as of about three days ago. Face shields - 63,788 face shields. Surgical gowns - 107,850. Gloves - 240,376. And we have many, many things pending. It's actually not pending; it's being - they're being fabricated. They're being made. And they're moving. Now, for Washington - so we have four small federal medical stations, 250 beds. And for Washington - State of Washington - we have three large federal medical stations, 750 beds. And then you have, as I said, the approval of the Title 32 National Guard. State of California - again, to be very precise - we're going to have the approval of the Title 32 National Guard activation. And we're providing all of this again, like in New York, at no cost to the governor - meaning to Governor Newsom and the state. No cost to the state. It enables the governor to provide robust National Guard support to the state. So they're going to have control of the National Guard. The federal government is sending - these are incredible people that are being sent. We have eight large federal medical stations with over 2,000 beds, and that's going to California. And then Strategic National Stockpile order - we've ordered, likewise, hundreds of thousands of different items. I won't go into the exact numbers, but the numbers are very substantial. But we're having a tremendous additional number sent. And whatever the states can get, they should be getting. I say we're sort of a backup for the states. And some of the states are doing really well and some don't do as well. The ones that don't do as well need more help, but these are three states that really do need help because they are - they are hit very hard. And the outpouring from the private sector has also been extraordinary. I'm pleased to report that Honeywell - great company - has just announced it will immediately expand its personal protective equipment manufacturing operations in Rhode Island to produce millions of additional N95 masks. They're very hard to get. They're actually quite complex. For the U.S. government's Strategic National Stockpile. They'll be immediately then delivered to the various states. This expansion is already underway, and it's going to provide a lot of jobs for that state - probably around 500. The masks will be distributed by the government for the use of the health, safety, and emergency. And this is for response workers - primarily for response workers. These are very high-end. This expansion is in addition to Honeywell's action to more than double production of its existing personal protective equipment manufacturing plants. They make a lot of different things and they're doubling and tripling their production. They're going around the clock. Today, I'm also announcing the launch of a new public-private consortium organized by the White House, the Department of Energy, and IBM to unleash the power of American supercomputing resources to fight the Chinese virus. The following leaders from private industries, academia, and government will be contributing, and they're going to be contributing a lot of different things, but primarily computing resources to help researchers discover new treatments and vaccines. They'll be working along with NIH and all of the people that are working on this. But tremendous help from IBM, Amazon, Google, Microsoft, MIT, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, the Department of Energy's national labor - laboratories, the National Science Foundation, and NASA. They're all contributing to this effort, and they're fully in gear. This afternoon, I also want to update you on the steps we're taking to protect and serve our country's 18 million veterans. These are great people - our amazing veterans. They've shown their eternal loyalty to our nation, and this is the time where they're in need, and we are going to show our loyalty to them. We're being very protective of our veterans. We're working on certain hospitals where we may be doing some work - in Louisiana, in particular, and some other states. Veterans hospitals. We're going to be very protective of our veterans. Some of them are of that very vulnerable age. And some of them, obviously, are not feeling well. And some of them are still suffering the wounds of war from many years ago. Yesterday, I signed vital legislation to ensure that the G.I. Bill will cover distance learning during this emergency. I also spoke with many of our veteran service organizations, or the VSOs, to describe our unprecedented action. In February, the Department of Veterans Affairs established 19 emergency operation centers throughout the country. One of the things that they've been trying to get done for many years - you all know this from following me over the last number of years, but we got it done pretty quickly; they've been trying to get it done for many, many decades - was Choice. Veterans Choice and also Veterans Accountability. Now, if it's crowded within this - if they can't get to a doctor - we have great doctors in the VA. I have to say that. We have fantastic doctors - as good as they come. But it's hard to because of what was bureaucracy, but no longer bureaucracy. We've done a lot of things, in that case, because of Accountability. When people aren't doing their jobs or if they're bad or if they're sadistic, or if they steal or anything bad happens, we're now allowed to fire them for - I signed that a year and a half ago. For many years, you weren't able to do that. So the VA is working. And I was just told by our great leader at the VA, Robert - Robert Wilkie - he said, for the first time, we got the highest marks in the history - highest poll numbers in the history of the Veterans Administration. It came out a week ago that - that they're happy. And, look, one of the reasons that happened - highest in history. One of the reasons that happened is because of Veterans Choice. If they have to wait on line, they go and see a private doctor and we pay the bill. And - and they get better. They don't have to wait two weeks and three weeks or two days. But they get better. And a lot of times, they waited so long that they would they would have a problem and it would end up being terminal because they couldn't get the kind of treatment that they deserve. So, highest poll numbers, highest approval numbers in the history of the VA. I was just given that information yesterday. We restricted visitors' access to 135 veteran community living centers which house nearly 8,000 veterans with chronic medical conditions so that we limit their exposure to the virus. We want to totally take care of our veterans. And that's what we're doing. The VA has canceled most elective medical and surgical procedures. They're delaying them until after this is gone, after we've won. We began providing lifesaving care to patients who had symptoms across the 171 VA medical centers nationwide. That's a big deal. Under my administration, the VA has also been a leader in expanding telehealth. Telehealth is becoming a bigger and bigger factor in medicine. This month, we have taken bold action to cut through the red tape and make telehealth available for millions more Americans during this crisis. They can speak to a doctor from the safety of their home rather than risk becoming infected or make it a tremendously long trip when, frankly, you'll speak to a great doctor right from your home. It's happening: telehealth. We're very much at the forefront of that, too. We're very proud of it, and it also takes a big burden off our system. We continue to accelerate the development of safe and effective vaccines. We're also aggressively investigating a number of antiviral therapies and treatments to determine their potential in reducing the severity and duration of the symptoms. And you know how I feel because how I feel is, on Tuesday, they're going to be starting it on Tuesday morning and we're going to have some medications delivered that - we're going to see if they work. They certainly are effective in other ways. And they - they are safe, from the standpoint - is that they're not - they're not killing people. We're not going to have that. So, a lot of great things have been happening in that regard. I just want to finish, and then we're going to ask a couple of people to say a few words that have been so much in the forefront of this incredible job that we've all been given. But I want to say that I know that this is a challenging time for all Americans. We're enduring a great national trial, and we will prove that we can meet the moment. I want to assure the American people that we're doing everything we can each day to confront and ultimately defeat this horrible, invisible enemy. We're at war. In a true sense, we're at war. And we're fighting an invisible enemy. Think of that. For those of you who are feeling alone and isolated, I want you to know that we are all joined together as one people, eternally linked by our shared national spirit - we love our country - a spirit of courage and love and patriotism. No American is alone as long as we are united. And we are united. We're very united. People are saying things now that, three weeks ago, they didn't talk that way. We're very united. No force is equal to the strength of a uni- - really, a unified America, a united America, an America like we have it right now. For those worried and afraid, please know: As long as I am your President, you can feel confident that you have a leader who will always fight for you, and I will not stop until we win. This will be a great victory. This is going to be a victory. And it's going to be a victory that, in my opinion, will happen much sooner than originally expected. It's now attacking - the enemy is attacking 144 countries at this moment. One hundred and forty-four. That's unthinkable. There's never been anything like this. And it's vicious. It is vicious. Some people recover well and some people have a hard time. We all know that. But we will be totally victorious. We will then get our economy up to a level that it was and, in my opinion, beyond - because there will be a pent-up demand. There is a pent-up demand. And a lot of - a lot of great things will happen. But I'm very proud of our country. I'm very proud. I'm very proud to be your President. And it's just something that's just - you're very special people. So thank you very, very much. And I'm going to ask, if I might, a combination of - Pete, why don't start off, okay? Please. ADMINISTRATOR GAYNOR: Thank you, Mr. President. THE PRESIDENT: Thank you. ADMINISTRATOR GAYNOR: Just a little bit about what we're doing in Washington, California, and New York. We understand that the states of Washington, New York, and California are the areas seeing a steady increase in COVID-19 virus cases. In order to assist with additional needs identified in those areas, the State of New York was approved for a major disaster declaration this morning. Washington State was also approved earlier today. California submitted their request, and the President will consider it immediately. We have medical supplies in route to the states, including respirators, surgical masks, gowns, face shields, coveralls, gloves, with quantities already delivered to both Washington, New York, and California. And we anticipate additional supplies to be delivered over the next 42 hours to all these states. Under President Trump's unprecedented national emergency declaration on March 13, FEMA is assisting state, local, tribal, and territorial governments, including re