Speaking to the American people from Detroit, Michigan, President Obama highlighted the landmark trade agreements passed in a bipartisan way this week which will support tens of thousands of American jobs, level the playing field for American workers, and help us meet our goal of doubling our exports. The President will continue to urge Congress to do more and pass the American Jobs Act so we can grow our economy and create jobs now. Republicans in Congress will get a chance to support these common-sense measures or explain why they oppose providing tax breaks for working Americans, putting teachers, firefighters, and cops back to work, and repairing our crumbling infrastructure.
Remarks of President Barack Obama
The White House
October 15, 2011
I’m here in Detroit visiting workers at a GM plant in the heart of a resurgent American auto industry. And I brought a guest with me – President Lee of South Korea.
We’re here because this week, Congress passed landmark trade agreements with countries like Korea, and assistance for American workers that will be a big win for our economy.
These trade agreements will support tens of thousands of American jobs. And we’ll sell more Fords, Chevys and Chryslers abroad stamped with three proud words – “Made in America.”
So it was good to see Congress act in a bipartisan way on something that will help create jobs at a time when millions of Americans are out of work and need them now.
But that’s also why it was so disappointing to see Senate Republicans obstruct the American Jobs Act, even though a majority of Senators voted “yes” to advance this jobs bill.
We can’t afford this lack of action. And there is no reason for it. Independent economists say that this jobs bill would give the economy a jumpstart and lead to nearly two million new jobs. Every idea in that jobs bill is the kind of idea both parties have supported in the past.
The majority of the American people support the proposals in this jobs bill. And they want action from their elected leaders to create jobs and restore some security for the middle class right now. You deserve to see your hard work and responsibility rewarded – and you certainly deserve to see it reflected in the folks you send to Washington.
But rather than listen to you and put folks back to work, Republicans in the House spent the past couple days picking partisan ideological fights. They’re seeing if they can roll back clean air and water protections. They’re stirring up fights over a woman’s right to make her own health care choices. They’re not focused on the concrete actions that will put people back to work right now.
Well, we’re going to give them another chance. We’re going to give them another chance to spend more time worrying about your jobs than keeping theirs.
Next week, I’m urging Members of Congress to vote on putting hundreds of thousands of teachers back in the classroom, cops back on the streets, and firefighters back on the job.
And if they vote “no” on that, they’ll have to tell you why. They’ll have to tell you why teachers in your community don’t deserve a paycheck again. They’ll have to tell your kids why they don’t deserve to have their teacher back. They’ll have to tell you why they’re against commonsense proposals that would help families and strengthen our communities right now.
In the coming weeks, we’ll have them vote on the other parts of the jobs bill – putting construction workers back on the job, rebuilding our roads and bridges; providing tax cuts for small businesses that hire our veterans; making sure that middle-class families don’t see a tax hike next year and that the unemployed and our out-of-work youth have a chance to get back in the workforce and earn their piece of the American Dream.
That’s what’s at stake. Putting people back to work. Restoring economic security for the middle class. Rebuilding an economy where hard work is valued and responsibility is rewarded – an economy that’s built to last. And I’m going to travel all over the country over the next few weeks so that we can remind Congress that’s their job. Because there’s still time to create jobs and grow our economy right now. There’s still time for Congress to do the right thing. We just need to act.