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Florida gets data for voter purge

July 15, 2012   

Florida election officials will have access to a federal database to help purge its voter rolls of non-citizens under an agreement reached between state and federal officials and welcomed on Saturday by Florida’s Republican governor. The Department of Homeland Security will allow state officials to access the Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements (SAVE) database US Newspapers- News Source: Florida gets data for voter purge

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Florida gets data for voter purge

$433M Smallpox Drug Deal Questioned – NewsPlurk

November 28, 2011   

Online Game For Kids Bible Islands is a safe and protected online virtual world fora kids. It is a series of fun adventures and games that is ever expanding and developing, filled with exciting learning experiences that allows kids to interact with Bible stories, values, and characters. Start exploring for FREE right now. Click here…. Claire McCaskill Calls for Smallpox Drug Inquiry. Claire McCaskill Calls for … Claire McCaskill (D-MO) chairs a Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Subcommittee on Contracting Over… Read Moresight … More From Source: $433M Smallpox Drug Deal Questioned – NewsPlurk

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$433M Smallpox Drug Deal Questioned – NewsPlurk

Herman Cain Receives Secret Service Protection

November 18, 2011   

Cain is becoming the first Republican presidential contender to have it. His request was approved by Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and congressional leaders Thursday. » E-Mail This      » Add to Del.icio.us

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Herman Cain Receives Secret Service Protection

HIT Exchange: The Next-Generation Budgeting Strategy

November 10, 2011   

#family movie -THE LAMP- one family’s loss shows them how to turn to Faith instead of magic #kidmin If you could have anything, what would YOU ask for? Can finding an old oil lamp, complete with a genie, REALLY make your life better? The characters in the movie “The Lamp” learn that there’s a lot more to life than what you THINK you need! Here’s what one viewer had to say about this movie- “The Lamp is an inspiring story about the power of the human spirit to create from within. Trost Moving Pictures does an amazing job of winding the story line through each character. An excellent and inspiring message for viewers of any age. Great message!!! Enjoy!!!”Lynne J Baecker Find out more and pick up a copy of this DVD for your family! CLICK HERE EPIC SYSTEMS- Judy Faulkner- read about the CEO and Medical Records CZAR EXCERPT FROM EPIC SYSTEMS ARTICLE- http://hitexchangemedia.com/articles/septoct-2011/the-next-generation-budgeting-strategy/   “But I think that if these IT systems aren’t in place, and if you can’t engage in that episodic pay structure because you don’t have interoperability , it could be … ]: READ MORE HIT Exchange: The Next-Generation Budgeting Strategy #family movie -THE LAMP- one family’s loss shows them how to turn to Faith instead of magic #kidmin If you could have anything, what would YOU ask for? Can finding an old oil lamp, complete with a genie, REALLY make your life better? The characters in the movie “The Lamp” learn that there’s a lot more to life than what you THINK you need! Here’s what one viewer had to say about this movie- “The Lamp is an inspiring story about the power of the human spirit to create from within. Trost Moving Pictures does an amazing job of winding the story line through each character. An excellent and inspiring message for viewers of any age. Great message!!! Enjoy!!!”Lynne J Baecker Find out more and pick up a copy of this DVD for your family! CLICK HERE

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HIT Exchange: The Next-Generation Budgeting Strategy

Mental Health Clinic: Grand Opening of the New Epic Clinical Care …

November 10, 2011   

#family movie -THE LAMP- one family’s loss shows them how to turn to Faith instead of magic #kidmin If you could have anything, what would YOU ask for? Can finding an old oil lamp, complete with a genie, REALLY make your life better? The characters in the movie “The Lamp” learn that there’s a lot more to life than what you THINK you need! Here’s what one viewer had to say about this movie- “The Lamp is an inspiring story about the power of the human spirit to create from within. Trost Moving Pictures does an amazing job of winding the story line through each character. An excellent and inspiring message for viewers of any age. Great message!!! Enjoy!!!”Lynne J Baecker Find out more and pick up a copy of this DVD for your family! CLICK HERE EPIC SYSTEMS- Judy Faulkner- read about the CEO and Medical Records CZAR EXCERPT FROM EPIC SYSTEMS ARTICLE- http://counsellingmentalhealth.com/104749/mental-health-clinic-grand-opening-of-the-new-epic-clinical-care-center/   Grand Opening of the New Epic Clinical Care Center Nassau County Executive Edward P. Mangano along with Nassau County Legis. ]: READ MORE Mental Health Clinic: Grand Opening of the New Epic Clinical Care … #family movie -THE LAMP- one family’s loss shows them how to turn to Faith instead of magic #kidmin If you could have anything, what would YOU ask for? Can finding an old oil lamp, complete with a genie, REALLY make your life better? The characters in the movie “The Lamp” learn that there’s a lot more to life than what you THINK you need! Here’s what one viewer had to say about this movie- “The Lamp is an inspiring story about the power of the human spirit to create from within. Trost Moving Pictures does an amazing job of winding the story line through each character. An excellent and inspiring message for viewers of any age. Great message!!! Enjoy!!!”Lynne J Baecker Find out more and pick up a copy of this DVD for your family! CLICK HERE

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Mental Health Clinic: Grand Opening of the New Epic Clinical Care …

Predicted Migration of "Some" LIS Functionality from Pathology to …

November 10, 2011   

#family movie -THE LAMP- one family’s loss shows them how to turn to Faith instead of magic #kidmin If you could have anything, what would YOU ask for? Can finding an old oil lamp, complete with a genie, REALLY make your life better? The characters in the movie “The Lamp” learn that there’s a lot more to life than what you THINK you need! Here’s what one viewer had to say about this movie- “The Lamp is an inspiring story about the power of the human spirit to create from within. Trost Moving Pictures does an amazing job of winding the story line through each character. An excellent and inspiring message for viewers of any age. Great message!!! Enjoy!!!”Lynne J Baecker Find out more and pick up a copy of this DVD for your family! CLICK HERE EPIC SYSTEMS- Judy Faulkner- read about the CEO and Medical Records CZAR EXCERPT FROM EPIC SYSTEMS ARTICLE- http://www.ltsconsulting.com/news/labsoftnews/predicted-migration-of-some-lis-functionality-from-pathology-to-central-it/   In recent years, vendors like Epic have begun to promote an “enterprise-wide solution” encompassing an EMR plus numerous ancillary … ]: READ MORE Predicted Migration of “Some” LIS Functionality from Pathology to … #family movie -THE LAMP- one family’s loss shows them how to turn to Faith instead of magic #kidmin If you could have anything, what would YOU ask for? Can finding an old oil lamp, complete with a genie, REALLY make your life better? The characters in the movie “The Lamp” learn that there’s a lot more to life than what you THINK you need! Here’s what one viewer had to say about this movie- “The Lamp is an inspiring story about the power of the human spirit to create from within. Trost Moving Pictures does an amazing job of winding the story line through each character. An excellent and inspiring message for viewers of any age. Great message!!! Enjoy!!!”Lynne J Baecker Find out more and pick up a copy of this DVD for your family! CLICK HERE

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Predicted Migration of "Some" LIS Functionality from Pathology to …

British study may improve glaucoma assessment and treatment …

November 10, 2011   

#family movie -THE LAMP- one family’s loss shows them how to turn to Faith instead of magic #kidmin If you could have anything, what would YOU ask for? Can finding an old oil lamp, complete with a genie, REALLY make your life better? The characters in the movie “The Lamp” learn that there’s a lot more to life than what you THINK you need! Here’s what one viewer had to say about this movie- “The Lamp is an inspiring story about the power of the human spirit to create from within. Trost Moving Pictures does an amazing job of winding the story line through each character. An excellent and inspiring message for viewers of any age. Great message!!! Enjoy!!!”Lynne J Baecker Find out more and pick up a copy of this DVD for your family! CLICK HERE EPIC SYSTEMS- Judy Faulkner- read about the CEO and Medical Records CZAR EXCERPT FROM EPIC SYSTEMS ARTICLE- http://www.sciencecodex.com/read/british_study_may_improve_glaucoma_assessment_and_treatment-80255   Recruited between 1993 and 1997, the EPIC -Norfolk cohort was made up of approximately 25000 predominantly Caucasian men and women aged 40 to 79 living in ]: READ MORE British study may improve glaucoma assessment and treatment … #family movie -THE LAMP- one family’s loss shows them how to turn to Faith instead of magic #kidmin If you could have anything, what would YOU ask for? Can finding an old oil lamp, complete with a genie, REALLY make your life better? The characters in the movie “The Lamp” learn that there’s a lot more to life than what you THINK you need! Here’s what one viewer had to say about this movie- “The Lamp is an inspiring story about the power of the human spirit to create from within. Trost Moving Pictures does an amazing job of winding the story line through each character. An excellent and inspiring message for viewers of any age. Great message!!! Enjoy!!!”Lynne J Baecker Find out more and pick up a copy of this DVD for your family! CLICK HERE

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British study may improve glaucoma assessment and treatment …

Epic Project Manager

November 10, 2011   

#family movie -THE LAMP- one family’s loss shows them how to turn to Faith instead of magic #kidmin If you could have anything, what would YOU ask for? Can finding an old oil lamp, complete with a genie, REALLY make your life better? The characters in the movie “The Lamp” learn that there’s a lot more to life than what you THINK you need! Here’s what one viewer had to say about this movie- “The Lamp is an inspiring story about the power of the human spirit to create from within. Trost Moving Pictures does an amazing job of winding the story line through each character. An excellent and inspiring message for viewers of any age. Great message!!! Enjoy!!!”Lynne J Baecker Find out more and pick up a copy of this DVD for your family! CLICK HERE EPIC SYSTEMS- Judy Faulkner- read about the CEO and Medical Records CZAR EXCERPT FROM EPIC SYSTEMS ARTICLE- http://www.hotchicagolandjobs.com/jobseeker/Epic_Project_Manager_WJ648883.aspx   Role: We are looking for a Project Manager with experience consulting on Epic software implementations. This role will be … Epic Project Manager. (Job Id W648883). Posted on 10/24/2011 … Domain experience… ]: READ MORE Epic Project Manager #family movie -THE LAMP- one family’s loss shows them how to turn to Faith instead of magic #kidmin If you could have anything, what would YOU ask for? Can finding an old oil lamp, complete with a genie, REALLY make your life better? The characters in the movie “The Lamp” learn that there’s a lot more to life than what you THINK you need! Here’s what one viewer had to say about this movie- “The Lamp is an inspiring story about the power of the human spirit to create from within. Trost Moving Pictures does an amazing job of winding the story line through each character. An excellent and inspiring message for viewers of any age. Great message!!! Enjoy!!!”Lynne J Baecker Find out more and pick up a copy of this DVD for your family! CLICK HERE

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Epic Project Manager

4medical – Vendor Profile

November 10, 2011   

#family movie -THE LAMP- one family’s loss shows them how to turn to Faith instead of magic #kidmin If you could have anything, what would YOU ask for? Can finding an old oil lamp, complete with a genie, REALLY make your life better? The characters in the movie “The Lamp” learn that there’s a lot more to life than what you THINK you need! Here’s what one viewer had to say about this movie- “The Lamp is an inspiring story about the power of the human spirit to create from within. Trost Moving Pictures does an amazing job of winding the story line through each character. An excellent and inspiring message for viewers of any age. Great message!!! Enjoy!!!”Lynne J Baecker Find out more and pick up a copy of this DVD for your family! CLICK HERE EPIC SYSTEMS- Judy Faulkner- read about the CEO and Medical Records CZAR EXCERPT FROM EPIC SYSTEMS ARTICLE- http://healthinformationexchanges.org/4medica-vendor-profile-clinical-data-integration/   As a Cloud-based software-as-a-service(SaaS) solution, IHR can quickly and easily be deployed by hospitals, health systems… ]: READ MORE 4medical – Vendor Profile #family movie -THE LAMP- one family’s loss shows them how to turn to Faith instead of magic #kidmin If you could have anything, what would YOU ask for? Can finding an old oil lamp, complete with a genie, REALLY make your life better? The characters in the movie “The Lamp” learn that there’s a lot more to life than what you THINK you need! Here’s what one viewer had to say about this movie- “The Lamp is an inspiring story about the power of the human spirit to create from within. Trost Moving Pictures does an amazing job of winding the story line through each character. An excellent and inspiring message for viewers of any age. Great message!!! Enjoy!!!”Lynne J Baecker Find out more and pick up a copy of this DVD for your family! CLICK HERE

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4medical – Vendor Profile

Obama’s faith adviser crafted ‘perfect Islamic state’, Shariah project …

November 5, 2011   

Besides her role on the White House Advisory Council on Faith – Based and Neighborhood Partnerships , Mogahed is also on the advisory council of the Department of Homeland Security. She testified before the Senate on … More Freedom Czar News : Obama’s faith adviser crafted ‘perfect Islamic state’, Shariah project …

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Obama’s faith adviser crafted ‘perfect Islamic state’, Shariah project …

The Grand Tradition of the White House State Dinner

October 16, 2011   

Dinner with South Korean President Lee Myung-bak is part of Washington history.

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The Grand Tradition of the White House State Dinner

Employment Is Job One, but Foreign Policy Could Boost Romney

October 9, 2011   

Announcement could offer another boost as GOP front-runner rebounds.

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Employment Is Job One, but Foreign Policy Could Boost Romney

Border-security issues heightened since attack » Local News …

September 14, 2011   

Establishment of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security following the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon changed the U.S. gov. More From Source: Border-security issues heightened since attack » Local News …

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Border-security issues heightened since attack » Local News …

After 9/11, Immigration Became About Homeland Security

September 11, 2011   

9/11 Made Immigration Debate About Terrorism

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After 9/11, Immigration Became About Homeland Security

Journalists Remember 9/11

September 11, 2011   

For many journalists, no war or crisis will ever compare to that day.

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Journalists Remember 9/11

10 Years After 9/11 NATO’s Future Remains Uncertain

September 11, 2011   

Terrorism meant new challenges for the alliance, but it remains important for its members.

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10 Years After 9/11 NATO’s Future Remains Uncertain

Security Since Sept. 11: Worth The Cost?

September 9, 2011   

Is America safer today than it was a decade ago? The U.S. now spends more than $70 billion a year on homeland security efforts. The authors of a new book argue that the terrorist threat is too small to justify that level of expense. » E-Mail This      » Add to Del.icio.us

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Security Since Sept. 11: Worth The Cost?

For Now, Shoes Still Come Off At Airport Security

September 7, 2011   

Homeland Security Department Secretary Janet Napolitano predicted Tuesday that airline passengers in the future will no longer be instructed to remove their shoes at airport security. But the technology to scan shoe-wearing passengers for bombs does not yet exist and may not be available soon. » E-Mail This      » Add to Del.icio.us

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For Now, Shoes Still Come Off At Airport Security

U.S. Department of Homeland Security and Local Cyber Security …

September 7, 2011   

U.S. Department of Homeland Security and Local Cyber Security Experts to Present during Free Cyber Citizen Forum in Saint … Advertisement … for a state-wide Cyber Security Month debate in October, that will embody a available chronicle … More Freedom Czar News : U.S. Department of Homeland Security and Local Cyber Security …

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U.S. Department of Homeland Security and Local Cyber Security …

Border Patrol Plan to Triple Base Size Puts Endangered Wildlife …

September 6, 2011   

2, 2011 — The Center for Biological Diversity today criticized a new environmental analysis by the Department of Homeland Security that fails to adequately assess the effects of its border – security and enforcement activities … More From Source: Border Patrol Plan to Triple Base Size Puts Endangered Wildlife …

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Border Patrol Plan to Triple Base Size Puts Endangered Wildlife …

VIDEO – President Obama’s Faith-based and Neighborhood …

August 24, 2011   

Dr Jannah Scott was appointed by President Obama in March 2009 and currently serves as the deputy director, Center for Faith – based & Neighborhood Partnerships at the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS). … More Freedom Czar News : VIDEO – President Obama’s Faith-based and Neighborhood …

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VIDEO – President Obama’s Faith-based and Neighborhood …

The White House Internship Program: My Transformational Experience

August 21, 2011   

Ed. Note: The White House Internship Program is currently accepting applications for the Spring, 2012 . Applicants have until September 11, 2011 to apply for a Spring, 2012 White House Internship. I first met President Obama during the primaries on the campaign trail at the University of South Carolina Beaufort, while he was filming a comedy skit for the Late Show with David Letterman. At the time, I was student body president and somehow convinced the Secret Service agents, with the help of our campus security officials, to give me five to ten minutes with the inspiring U.S. Senator. During our brief conversation, I told him that he would become President of the United States and that when it happened, I would come to the White House to work for him. On July 4th of 2009, on the South Lawn of the White House during the Independence Day festivities, I personally delivered the message to inform the newly elected President and First Lady that I had made good on my promise and was serving as an inaugural class White House Intern in the Office of Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs . Born and raised in Alexander City, a small town in Alabama with a population of less than 15,000 people, I was ecstatic to learn that I had been selected to serve a President who had inspired me to pursue my dreams. Prior to attending college, I served as a Fleet Marine Force Hospital Corpsman in the U.S. Navy and fought in the Middle East. My unique background and the internship experience made my time in the White House Internship Program one of the most transformational experiences of my entire life. read more Read more about government news here: The White House Internship Program: My Transformational Experience

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The White House Internship Program: My Transformational Experience

President Obama’s Town Hall in Cannon Falls, Minnesota

August 17, 2011   

http://www.whitehouse.gov/videos/2011/August/081511_CannonFallsMN.mp3 http://www.whitehouse.gov/videos/2011/August/081511_CannonFallsMN.mp3 On the first day of his tour of rural America, the President takes questions on the economy. Read more about government news here: President Obama’s Town Hall in Cannon Falls, Minnesota

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President Obama’s Town Hall in Cannon Falls, Minnesota

Remarks by the President in a Town Hall Meeting in Decorah, Iowa

August 17, 2011   

Release Time:  For Immediate Release Seed Savers Exchange Decorah, Iowa 5:17 P.M. CDT THE PRESIDENT: Hello, Decorah! (Applause.) Hello, Iowa! (Applause.) It is good to be back. This place is as pretty as I remembered it. (Applause.) It is spectacular. Everybody please have a seat. Everybody have a seat. It is wonderful to see all of you. First of all, I’ve got a few introductions I just want to make real quick. The attorney general of Iowa, a great friend of mine, one of my earliest supporters, Tom Miller is in the house. (Applause.) The mayor of Decorah, Donald Arendt is here. Give him a big round of applause. (Applause.) You may remember this guy. He did a great job in Iowa. He’s now one of the finest Secretaries of Agriculture we’ve ever had — Tom Vilsack is in the house. (Applause.) And I want to thank Diane and everybody at the Seed Saver Exchange for this unbelievable setting. Give them a big round of applause. (Applause.) And they gave me a pack of seeds for Michelle’s garden. (Laughter.) So I’m going to be in good stead when I get home. This is a town hall meeting, so I want to spend most of my time answering your questions. But if you don’t mind, I just want to make a couple remarks at the top. We obviously have gone through one of the toughest times in our history economically over these last two and a half years. We’ve gone through the worst recession since the Great Depression, dating back to 2007, 2008. But what I said earlier today when I was in Cannon Falls is something I believe with every fiber of my being, and that is that there is not a country on Earth that would not be willing to trade places with the United States of America. (Applause.) We’ve got the best universities. We’ve got the best entrepreneurs. We’ve got the best scientists. We’ve got the best market system, the most dynamic in the world. And so as tough as things are, all of us are incredibly blessed to have been born in the United States of America. (Applause.) And that’s why we continue to attract people from all around the world who see us as a beacon of hope. But having said that, we have to acknowledge we’ve got some big challenges. Now, some of the challenges are not of our own making. We had reversed the recession, avoided a depression, got the economy moving again, created 2 million private sector jobs over the last 17 months. But over the last six months, we’ve had a run of bad luck, some things that we could not control. We had an Arab Spring that promises democracy and potentially a growth of human rights throughout the Middle East, but it also caused high gas prices that put a crimp on a lot of families just as they were trying to dig themselves out from the recession. Then we had a tsunami in Japan that disrupted supply chains and affected markets all around the world. And then in Europe, there are all kinds of challenges around the sovereign debt there, and that has made businesses hesitant and some of the effects of Europe have lapped onto our shores. And all those things have been headwinds for our economy. Now, those are things that we can’t completely control. The question is, how do we manage these challenging times and do the right things when it comes to those things that we can control? See, the problem we have is not with our country; the problem is that our politics is broken. (Applause.) The problem is, is that we’ve got the kind of partisan brinksmanship that is willing to put party ahead of country, that’s more interested in seeing their political opponents lose than seeing the country win. (Applause.) And nowhere was that more evident than this most recent debt ceiling debacle. The fact of the matter is that our debt and deficits are manageable if we make some intelligent choices and make sure that there are shared sacrifices as well as shared opportunities. (Applause.) And had we made some decent decisions over just the last two, three months. Had we been willing to seize the opportunity that was before us, then there is no reason why we had to go through this downgrade, because that did not have to do with economics, that had to do with politics. It was an assessment — (applause) — that our Congress is not able to come up with the kinds of compromises that move this country forward. And I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty frustrated about that. (Applause.) I am pretty frustrated about that because, given the challenges we face, we don’t have time to play games. There are a lot of folks, a lot of our neighbors, a lot of our friends who’ve been out of work too long. We’ve got too many small businesses that are struggling. I see a lot of young people in the audience here today, and they’re thinking about what are their prospects for the future — graduating from college knowing they’ve got a lot of debt, needing to find a job. They don’t have patience for the kind of shenanigans we’ve been seeing on Capitol Hill. They understand that now is the time for all of us to pull together and do what it takes to grow the economy and put people back to work. (Applause.) Now, the good news is there are things we could be doing right now that would make a difference for our economy. Back in December, when some of my folks on the other side of the aisle were more willing to compromise, we were able to put a package together that cut taxes for families by an average of $1,000. And what I’ve said is, let’s continue this payroll tax cut into next year, so as the economy is strengthening, ordinary families who are still digging themselves out of credit card debt or seeing their homes underwater, they’ve got a little more purchasing power. That will be good for small businesses and large businesses, and they will hire. We could right now say we are going to go ahead and renew that tax cut, and that would be good for the American people and good for the economy. There’s no reason to wait. (Applause.) There’s no reason for us to wait putting construction workers back to work all across the country. Nobody took a bigger hit than those who were involved in the housing boom when the boom went bust. So why don’t we put them to work right now rebuilding our roads and our bridges and our schools all across America? (Applause.) There’s a proposal in Congress right now. Congress should pass it and get it done. There’s no reason why we shouldn’t be helping our small businesses and startup businesses. We’ve passed 16 tax cuts for small businesses. And right now, we’ve got a bill pending that is called the American Invents bill. It basically reforms our patent system so if somebody has got a creative idea, they can turn it into a business right away without red tape, without bureaucracy. That’s who we are: a nation of inventors. This traditionally has had bipartisan support. What are we waiting for? We should pass it right now to give a spark to industry. (Applause.) We’ve got pending trade legislation. Tom Vilsack and I were talking on the way over, on the bus here, and the truth of the matter is, is that the agricultural sector in America, the cornerstone of states like Iowa, is doing very well. But we could be doing more. And my general attitude is, why don’t we want to open up markets so that the extraordinary bounty of the heartland of America is making its way there, but also manufacturing is making its way there. Look, we’ve got a whole bunch of Kias and Hyundais here in the United States of America on our roads, and that’s fine and good. But I want some Chryslers and some GMs and some Fords on the roads of the South Korea as well. We should go ahead and get those trade deals done. (Applause.) So there are a whole host of ideas that we could be implementing right now that traditionally have had bipartisan support. The only thing that is preventing us from passing them is that there are some folks in Congress who think that doing something in cooperation with me or this White House, that that somehow is bad politics. Well, you know what, you guys didn’t send us there to be thinking about our jobs. You sent us there to be thinking about your jobs and your future. (Applause.) Now, we do have to be thinking about how we invest in education and how we invest in infrastructure and how we invest in basic research, but still do it while the government is living within its means. And neither party is blameless on this. The truth is we had a balanced budget in 2000 — the last time we had a Democratic President — (applause) — and what we ended up doing was we had two wars that we didn’t pay for, a prescription drug plan we didn’t pay for. We had two tax cuts that we did not pay for, and the result was a burgeoning debt. And then what ended up happening was because of the recession and the lack of regulation on Wall Street, this wrenching recession meant less tax revenues coming in and more going out, because we were providing help to states to make sure teachers and police officers and firefighters weren’t laid off, and to make sure that we could help small businesses and put people back to work. So we’ve got a genuine problem with deficits and debt. But here, again, is the good news: If everybody is willing to make some modest sacrifices, this problem we could solve. We could solve it tomorrow. We could solve it next week. If the Speaker of the House had taken the bargain that he and I were talking about, we would have had it solved last month and we would not have gone through everything that we went through over the last several weeks. (Applause.) But it does require compromise and it requires some balance. Warren Buffett had an article published today in which he said, “Stop coddling billionaires.” (Applause.) He pointed out that — I think he made about $36 million on income; it was, I guess, an off-year for him — (laughter) — but he pointed out that he paid an effective rate of 17 percent when it came to taxes, which meant that he paid a lower tax rate than anybody else in his office, including his secretary, because most of his income came in the form of capital gains. And he made a simple point. He said, look, nobody’s income has gone up faster than the top 1 percent. In fact, nobody’s gone up faster than the top one-tenth of 1 percent. There’s nothing wrong, when it comes to closing our deficit and managing our debt, to say that we should ask a little bit of help from everybody. I don’t want a tax cut if it means that senior citizens have to pay an extra $6,000 a year for their Medicare. That’s not fair, and that’s not right. (Applause.) I think it makes sense for us to say, you know what, let’s close some loopholes that only oil and gas companies are able to take advantage of to make sure that we don’t have to cut back on Pell Grants for students who are trying to go to college and get a better education. (Applause.) Now, that doesn’t mean that we defend every single government program. Everybody has got to make sacrifices; there are programs that aren’t working well. And sometimes there are those in my party who will defend everything, even if it’s not working. Well, we do have to make some cuts on things that we don’t need, and that allows us to invest in the things that we do. But there’s got to be balance, and there’s got to be fairness. And that’s not just my view; the majority of Republicans agree with that view. Although I have to tell you, when I saw the other day — my friends in the Republican presidential primary, they were asked, “Would you take a deal in which, for every $1 of tax increases, we cut $10 in government spending?” Ten-to-one ratio, and nobody was willing to take that deal. And what that tells me is, okay, you’ve gotten to the point where you’re just thinking about politics, you’re not thinking about common sense. (Applause.) You’ve got to be willing to compromise in order to move the country forward. So here’s the upshot: We do have real challenges. We’re going to have to make some tough decisions. And I know that during the two and a half years that I’ve been President, we’ve gone through a lot of ups and downs and a lot of tough times. And our job is not finished until every single American who’s looking for a job can find a job, and until we have fixed the problems that caused me to run for President in the first place, so that we’re growing a middle class and people have basic security and they know, if they’re following the rules, if they’re working hard, if they’re looking after their families and meeting their responsibilities, that they’ve got a chance at the American Dream. (Applause.) You guys are meeting your responsibilities. (Applause.) You’re meeting your responsibilities. You’re working hard. And if you’ve gotten laid off and you don’t have a job, you’re out there looking for a job. You’re looking after your family. You’re tightening your belt where you need to, but you’re still making investments to help your kids with their future. You’re operating with common sense and you’re donating time at your church or a food pantry or Little League. Well, if you’re meeting your responsibilities, the least you can ask is your elected representatives meeting theirs. (Applause.) And so I understand that after this last midterm, you voted for divided government. But you didn’t vote for dysfunctional government. (Applause.) You didn’t vote for a broken government that can’t make any decisions, can’t move the country forward at all. That’s not what you voted for. And so some people have been saying, well, Mr. President, why don’t you call Congress back for a special session? And what I’ve said is the last thing that people need for confidence right now is to watch folks on Capitol Hill arguing all over again. (Applause.) What they need to do is come to Decorah or go to Cannon Falls or meet with their constituents back home and hear the frustration and understand that people are sick and tired of the nonsense and the political games. And hopefully, when they come back in September, they’re going to have a wakeup call that says we need to move the country forward. You’ve got to start focusing on doing the people’s business. (Applause.) That’s what everybody is expecting. I want you to help hold all of us accountable, me included. I am enlisting you in this fight, because if you are — if you’re making your voices heard, if you’re letting people know that enough is enough, it is time to move forward, it is time for us to win the future — if your voices are heard, then sooner or later these guys have to start paying attention. And if they don’t start paying attention then they’re not going to be in office and we will have a new Congress in there that will start paying attention to what is going on all across America. (Applause.) I’m confident in the power of your voice. I’m confident in your values — those are the values that we share. I don’t care whether you’re a Democrat or Republican or an independent — all of us here are patriots and everybody here cares about our country and puts it first. (Applause.) And if we can have that kind of politics then nothing can stop us. Thank you very much, everybody. God bless you. (Applause.) Thank you. Thank you, Decorah. All right. So here’s what we’re going — everybody have a seat. We got a bunch of questions coming. What we’re going to do is folks who have a question can just raise their hand. We’ve got people with microphones in the audience. And I’m going to go boy, girl, boy, girl, so it’s fair. (Laughter.) We want to be fair. All right, let’s start with this young lady right here. Right in front. And you got a microphone coming right behind you. Q Okay. I have to say before I ask my question that I’m a very big supporter. So — THE PRESIDENT: Thank you. What’s your name? Q Emily. THE PRESIDENT: Hey, Emily. Q Emily Neil (ph). And this is my daughter Kaya (ph.) THE PRESIDENT: Hey, Kaya. Q Anyhow — so — THE PRESIDENT: What you eating there? Hold on a second. (Laughter.) Q She broke her arm. THE PRESIDENT: Is that a cookie? Q You want to give him a cookie? THE PRESIDENT: How did you get a cookie that early? Q Is that allowed? THE PRESIDENT: Before dinner? (Laughter.) All right, go ahead. Go ahead. Q Oh, you don’t want to know what I do for a living. That’s funny. Okay. So when you ran for office you built a tremendous amount of trust with the American people, that you seemed like someone who wouldn’t move the bar on us. And it seems, especially in the last year, as if your negotiating tactics have sort of cut away at that trust by compromising some key principles that we believed in, like repealing the tax cut, not fighting harder for single payer. Even Social Security and Medicare seem on the line when we were dealing with the debt ceiling. So I’m just curious, moving forward, what prevents you from taking a harder negotiating stance, being that it seems that the Republicans are taking a really hard stance? THE PRESIDENT: Well, let me — no, this a good question and I’m glad you asked it — because obviously I’ve been getting a lot of this in the press lately. First of all, when it comes to health care I said during the campaign that we were not going to be able to get a single-payer system and that my priority was making sure that every American who needed health insurance was able to buy it and were going to be treated fairly and it was going to be affordable. We were going to eliminate preexisting conditions — or we were going to eliminate the bar on people getting health insurance if they had preexisting conditions. And the health care bill that we passed was not perfect, but we covered 30 million people. We had the strongest patient bill of rights ever. We made sure that folks who were under 26 could stay on their parents’ health insurance. We made sure that there were no lifetime limits and that if you got sick your insurance company — if you’d been paying your premiums, that they better be paying for your medical care and not trying to wiggle out of it. So this was a landmark piece of legislation. Yes, getting it through Congress was messy, and it didn’t have every single provision in there that we wanted, but it was entirely consistent with what I campaigned on. Now, with respect to the Bush tax cuts, I said very clearly that I thought the high-end tax cuts for folks like Warren Buffett should lapse. After the midterms, though, the economy was still weak. It wasn’t clear that we could get — that in Congress we could hold the line. We couldn’t get what’s called decoupling, which meant Republicans would not go along with just voting for continuing the middle-class tax cuts and letting the high-end lapse. And what that meant was, the choice I had to make would have been to let all the Bush tax cuts lapse, including those for the middle class, which would have meant that the average family saw their taxes go up $3,000 on average, at a time when they were still digging themselves out of a debt hole. It would have been very bad for the economy. We also would not have gotten unemployment insurance continued into this year. We would not have been able to do the payroll tax, and so the economy would have been much weaker. And so I made a decision that it was better for us at that point to strengthen the economy because we only extended those tax cuts for another two years. And we would be able to take our case to the American people as the economy got stronger as to why we’ve got a different approach than the Republicans do. Now, on this debt ceiling, it’s pretty straightforward. I felt that it was important for us to try to solve the problem rather than play games. And that was particularly important because if we had allowed default — if you think that the stock market gyrations this last couple weeks was bad, if we had had a default, then we might not — genuinely might have gone back into a financial crisis. Because the truth of the matter is, even though we got downgraded — I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but when the market got all crazy, what do you think people bought? Where did they put their money to avoid risk? They bought Treasury bills. So the market voted to say, we have complete confidence in America right now. But if we had defaulted, that meant that we might not have the legal authority to issue Treasury bills and we would have had problems making our Social Security payments, making our payments to our troops, our veterans and so forth. And that was not a risk worth taking. Now, I know that people would like to say, well, just do something to get these guys under control. This was a unique situation in which, frankly, the collateral damage from an actual default would have been so great that I didn’t want to risk the livelihoods and the well-being of millions of people even though I thought the other side was very unreasonable. Now, that’s a unique circumstance. Moving forward, my basic attitude is we know what to do. I’ll be putting forward, when they come back in September, a very specific plan to boost the economy, to create jobs, and to control our deficit. And my attitude is, get it done. (Applause.) And if they don’t get it done, then we’ll be running against a Congress that’s not doing anything for the American people, and the choice will be very stark and will be very clear. But I guess my broader point is this. Look, I think it was Mario Cuomo who once said, “Campaigning is in poetry and governing is in prose.” And my job as President goes beyond just winning the political argument. I’ve got a whole bunch of responsibilities, which means I have to make choices sometimes that are unattractive and I know will be bad for me politically and I know will get supporters of mine disappointed. But what I want everybody to think about is the trajectory in which we’ve gone. So, yes, maybe you didn’t get a public option, but we got the closest thing we’ve ever had to universal health care. (Applause.) And, yes, the economy is not fully healed, but it’s a lot better off than it was when I came into office. (Applause.) And, yes, we haven’t transformed our energy system yet, but I tell you what, administratively we just doubled fuel efficiency standards on cars — the first time that’s happened in 30 years, which will do more for our environment than any piece of legislation that we’ve seen in a very long time. (Applause.) And we will be getting our troops out of Iraq by the end of this year; we’ve already got 100,000 out and they’re all going to be out by the end of this year, and we’re starting to transition out of Afghanistan. (Applause.) So, look, the bottom line is we’re moving in the right direction. But I know it’s frustrating, because the other side is unreasonable. And you don’t want to — you don’t want to reward unreasonableness. Look, I get that. But sometimes you’ve got to make choices in order to do what’s best for the country at that particular moment, and that’s what I’ve tried to do. All right? Okay. (Applause.) It’s a guy’s turn. This gentleman in the back, in the blue shirt. Q You were heard — THE PRESIDENT: There you go. (Laughter.) Q You talk about universal health care. I guess my question is, it it’s so good, why are you allowing so many large companies to opt out? THE PRESIDENT: Well, you know what? Here’s what it is, is that any time you’re changing big systems like this, there are going to be — there’s going to be a transition period. So the overall health care reform does not take fully — does not fully take effect until 2013. That’s when we have the exchanges set up, which means that if you don’t have health insurance or if you’re a small business that only has a few employees and you can’t get a good rate, you’re going to be able to go into the exchange and essentially be part of a big pool — just like a big company or the federal workers are — and get a better deal from your insurance companies. But those exchanges are just now being set up. It took about a couple years to get it set up. So, in the meantime, the question is, how do you manage that transition in a way in which a bunch of companies don’t say to themselves, well, we’re just going to eliminate health care that’s not great but is better than nothing. And our basic attitude has been, we’re willing to give some waivers to some companies that are doing something when it comes to health care, because those employees don’t have a better option right now. But as we build up this better option, then they’ll be able to take advantage of that better option. All right? So the whole issue here has to do with, how do we transition to get to the point where all these exchanges all across the country are up and running? Now, there are some things that have already taken effect that make a difference in your life even if you’ve got health insurance. I mentioned young people who can stay on their health care — parents’ health care till they’re 26. Senior citizens, right now, have already gotten a $250 rebate on their prescription drugs, and we’re closing the so-called “doughnut hole” so that if you’ve got high drug expenses, you’re going to start saving potentially thousands of dollars over the next several years as we phase that in. If you’ve got health insurance right now, you’ve got a lot more security in your health insurance than you used to. And in the meantime, there are small businesses all across the country who are getting millions of dollars in subsidies already; they’re getting big tax breaks to provide health insurance to their employees that they didn’t provide — that they didn’t get before. So this thing is already making a big difference in the lives of millions of people all across the country, but it’s not fully implemented yet. And that’s not unusual. I mean, when Social Security started, it took a bunch of years before it was the program that we understand it to be right now. The same was true with Medicaid; the same was true with Medicare. So when you start doing something big like this, it takes a couple years in order for us to implement it. All right. It’s a young lady’s turn. Okay. Right there, in the stripes. Yes. Q First of all, I’d like to say what an honor it is to be here with you. THE PRESIDENT: Well, it’s great to be here, and it’s a beautiful night. (Applause.) It’s nice. Q We know that the tax system is pretty broken. Is there anything going on about a possible federal sales tax or a flat tax — anything like that, which would be more fair to all people? THE PRESIDENT: Well, this is the task that the so-called super committee is supposed to be working on, and that is changing the tax code and reforming it — closing loopholes, closing special-interest tax breaks. Potentially, if you closed a bunch of these loopholes and tax breaks, you could lower the overall rate, broaden the base, and it would be a fairer, easier system that would combine simplification with, actually, more revenue. So my hope is that Congress is willing to take up tax reform. So far they’ve said that they’re willing to do it, but so far we haven’t seen a lot of energy on the part of some folks in actually delivering on tax reform. Now, I have to tell you, I think it’s very important for us to maintain what’s called progressivity in the tax code, though. Because, yes, you can reform the tax code where you just have a flat tax, for example; the problem is Warren Buffett would probably pay even less in taxes, and a lot of companies would pay even less in taxes if you set up that system. So we can simplify the tax code; we can make it less distorting to the economy. There is no reason why an oil and gas company should get a tax break when a small business here in Decorah doesn’t get a tax break. There’s no reason why you should get a tax break if you build a corporate jet, but you don’t get that same tax break if you build a commercial jet. So there are a lot of distortions like that that we need to change. And my hope is, is that Congress takes tax reform seriously. But no matter what tax reform happens, it is very important for those of us who are best able to pay, to pay our fair share. That’s a basic principle that I think all of us agree on, all of us understand. (Applause.) And by the way, that’s how it was up until 2000. And when you hear this argument that somehow if you just cut taxes for wealthy folks that the economy is going to be better because they’re the job generators, et cetera, just remember that we created tens of millions of jobs under the tax code that existed before the Bush tax cuts, and we’ve had much less job growth since that time. So we’ve had an experiment in this theory that you hear propagated all the time — it didn’t work. And in the meantime, it helped to create these huge deficits, and it means we’re underinvesting in the things that are going to be important. So states all across the country are laying off teachers — this is not the time for us to be laying off teachers. We should be training teachers — (applause) — putting the best teachers in front of the classroom, because whoever’s best educated is going to win the race for the future. Now is not the time for us to not invest in infrastructure. We used to have the best roads, the best bridges, the best seaports, and these days China has got better airports than us. Europe has better rail systems. Try to get products to market — we should have the best. We should have the best smart grid that transmits energy from solar panels and wind turbines to high-population centers, which could be an income generator for rural America and would improve our environment and reduce our dependence on foreign oil. Those are investments we should be making right now. (Applause.) So there are two contrasting visions that are going to be presented over the next year and a half in this debate that we still have to finish about how to close the debt and the deficit and how we move this country forward. And I’m on the side of a vision that says we live within our means but we still make investments in the future, and everybody pays their fair share and we’ve got shared sacrifice and shared opportunity. And on the other side you’ve got a vision that says, we are going to make sure that those who have benefited the most pay the least, and we underinvest in education and we underinvest in infrastructure and we underinvest in basic research. That’s their vision. And we dismantle Medicare as we know it and make it into a voucher system. Well, that’s — I don’t think that’s the way that America is going to grow; that’s not how America is going to prosper. But the only way that we’re going to be able to win that argument is if you guys make a decision that you want a country that’s big and bold and generous, and not one that’s cramped and just believes in a winner-take-all economy in which everybody else is left out in the cold. (Applause.) That’s not the kind of America that I was raised in, not the kind of America I believe in. All right. A gentleman’s turn. Right there in the green shirt. Q Thank you, sir. Welcome to Decorah. My name is John Frandsen (ph) and I’m with the Decorah city council — I’m with the Decorah city council, my name is John Frandsen, and we have several large infrastructure construction companies. You touched on infrastructure, and I think that one of the fastest and best stimulus packages would be infrastructure in America. Can you touch base on that, please? THE PRESIDENT: Well, I completely agree with you. And, as I said, if you think about what’s happened to our economy, we had a huge housing bubble that popped, and a lot of folks who were feeling pretty good about the wealth invested in their homes suddenly felt poor when their mortgages were bigger than the assessment of their homes. And a lot of developers realized, you know what, we can’t sell all the homes that we’ve already built. And a lot of construction workers got laid off. And those construction workers, by the way, a lot of them had been in manufacturing, and when manufacturing got more efficient or moved offshore, they went into the construction trades. And that’s been a huge drag on our economy. Now, there is no better time for us to invest in infrastructure than right now — first of all, because we need it. But second of all, because interest rates are very low, so financing infrastructure is cheap. And you’ve got contractors and construction workers who are dying for work. So they’ll come in on time, under budget, if we just give them the opportunity. So what we’ve said is this: Not only should the government be investing more in infrastructure, but we should be investing in it in a smarter way. There’s been bipartisan support for something called an infrastructure bank, where the federal government would put seed capital in it, but it would basically leverage the private sector that wants to invest in smart infrastructure projects all across the country. And so if you made a $10 billion investment, that might result in $300 billion worth of investment in projects all across the country that could put people to work right now. Because, look, there are a bunch of companies and a bunch of pension funds out there that are looking for ways to invest. They don’t know where to put their money. What better way to invest than investing in America? And it would make the entire economy more productive. Now, we did some of this during the Recovery Act. So, for example, we said — thanks to Tom Vilsack, we said, you know what, rural America needs broadband access. And so what we’ve done is to help lay broadband lines; our goal is 98 percent coverage, broadband coverage all across rural America. (Applause.) That’s a good investment. Not only does it put people to work, but it makes the incredible productivity of rural America connected with the world. And if you get a product here in Decorah that sells, you can not only sell in Decorah, you can start selling it in Los Angeles, in Singapore, and all around the world if you’ve got that Internet connection. That’s a good investment. I mentioned a smart grid. We need to replace our electricity grid to make it more efficient, and then you can transmit energy form biofuels or wind power to major population centers. That’s good for rural America. That’s good for those population centers. So there’s a lot of investments that we can make. All that’s missing right now is the will to get it done, and we’re going to be pushing Congress hard in September to move forward on that proposal. All right? (Applause.) Okay. Let’s make sure I get this side here. This young lady right here. We got a microphone right by you. Q You already did a good job by calling me a young lady. (Laughter.) THE PRESIDENT: See? Absolutely. Q Thank you very much, Mr. President. Mr. President, you’ve got some wonderful ideas. And as a result of my work at Luther College at the diversity center, I’m privileged to hear a lot of good ideas. And I’m privileged to work with people, with partners, who may have different points of view, but we come to common ground. Unfortunately, Mr. President, I don’t see that you have partners. The Congress doesn’t seem to be a good partner. You said so yourself, they’re more interested in seeing you lose than the country win. My question, Mr. President, is, what actual strategy do you have behind the plan that you say that you’re going to be taking back to Washington so that when Congress comes back they’ll have all these good ideas in front of them? And then my second question is, what happens, Mr. President, to our democracy? We are in a very divided country right now. What can you say to help us with democracy itself? Good old American democracy. Thank you. (Applause.) THE PRESIDENT: You bet. Well, let me say this. First of all, democracy is always a messy business in a big country like this. We’re diverse, got a lot of points of view. We kind of romanticize sometimes what democracy used to be like. But when you listen to what the Federalists said about the anti-Federalists and the names that Jefferson called Hamilton and back and forth — I mean, those guys were tough. Lincoln, they used to talk about him almost as bad as they talk about me. (Laughter.) So democracy has never been for the faint of heart. And you’ve got to get involved and get engaged. And folks are throwing elbows, and that’s always been the way American democracy has functioned. So we don’t want to romanticize it. But what is true is because of the way our system is set up, we got different branches of government, separation of powers, and in order to do big things we always have had to compromise. That’s just the nature of how our democracies function. And what that means is, is that everybody cannot get 100 percent of what they want. Now, for those of you who are married, there is an analogy here. (Laughter.) I basically let Michelle have 90 percent of what she wants. But at a certain point, I have to draw the line and say, give me my little 10 percent. (Laughter.) Now, this is mainly — she’s right 90 percent of the time. (Laughter.) But you said in your workplace, you guys don’t all agree on everything. But at a certain point when you want to move the institution forward, you say, all right, let’s try to not focus just on our differences. Let’s try to figure out what we have in common. That is something that we have not seen lately, partly because the way congressional districts are drawn everybody is in very safe districts. And so the Republicans, they’re worried about a Republican primary and they’re not really thinking about the general election. That kind of pushes them to take more maximalist positions. Part of it is the way our media has evolved. It used to be everybody was sitting there watching Walter Cronkite. Now, everybody is on their own little blog or their own separate news forum. If you’re a Democrat, you’re reading The New York Times. If you’re a Republican, you’re watching FOX News, right? People don’t listen to each other as much. The only way that gets fixed is if voters insist on a different kind of politics and reward people who do seem to be listening to the other side, and do seem to be focusing on trying to get things done. Now, in terms of how I deal with the current Congress, what I can do is to present my best ideas about how we move the country forward. And by the way, these are ideas that — many of these ideas traditionally have had Republican support. It’s amusing to watch one of the major Republican candidates now trying to wiggle out of the fact that my health care bill is very similar to the health care bill he passed at a time when he needed to compromise because he was living in a Democratic-majority state. And so — some of these folks know better. And what I — all I can do is to say, I’m going to take the best ideas from everybody — Republicans, independents and Democrats — present to them, this is what you should do. But I can’t force them to do it; you can force them to do it. And I will take my case to the American people that this vision is how we move the country forward, and if they’ve got an alternative vision and they don’t want to sit there and do nothing for the next 16 months, while unemployment is still high and small businesses are still suffering, then ultimately they’re going to be held to account by you — just like I’m going to be held to account by you. (Applause.) But we’ve got to reward folks who are more serious about solving problems than scoring political points. And I make no apologies — sometimes people get mad at me — well, he’s too reasonable. (Laughter.) Now, think about that. Think about that. People, they’re not arguing necessarily that what I’m saying would work. They’re just saying, well, you’re too reasonable. I make no apologies for being reasonable. But, ultimately, you do have to hold people accountable, because lives are at stake and the economy is at stake and our children’s future is at stake. And so we don’t have time for games. All right? Okay. The gentleman right here. Q Hi. Thanks for coming to Decorah. It’s really awesome for you to be here. Mr. Vilsack did a great job before he left office as the governor, in reinstating voting rights for — (applause) — THE PRESIDENT: Yay, Tom Vilsack! (Applause.) Q — in reinstating voting rights for convicted felons. I have found, as somebody who made a mistake when I was young, that 10 years later it’s still affecting me. And I want to know, like, if there’s anything that is going to be done or could be done so that I can move past that past, and many of the people who are all around me and have something better than an entry-level job. THE PRESIDENT: Well, there are obviously a bunch of different aspects to the challenges for folks who have some sort of felony record. It affects them economically. It affects them in terms of voting in some states. One of the strengths of America has always been that this is a land of second chances. And as somebody who feels deeply about my faith, one of the things about my Christian faith is that I believe in redemption and second chances. And so as a consequence, I think it is very important for us — first of all, if somebody has served their time, for them to be able to participate in their democracy. (Applause.) And historically, many of these issues in terms of eligibility to vote have been set at the state level as opposed to the federal level, but the Justice Department at the federal level does have the capacity and the obligation to monitor what states are doing to make sure that they are not purposely exclusionary. And so we’re going to be monitoring voting rights all across the country as long as I’m President of the United States, because I think that the burden of proof should be on states to provide a rationale as to why somebody shouldn’t be voting, as opposed to the burden of proof on the person not voting as to why they should have a right to vote. That’s my general view. (Applause.) Economically, there are a lot of good programs out there — and to their credit, we’ve actually had some good bipartisan support for second-chance legislation that helps provide training programs and allows, for example, expungement of more minor offenses so that people can get back on their feet and contribute economically. And we’ve actually had some good Democratic and Republican support in Congress for some of that legislation. I think the challenge right now is, when the economy is weak, obviously you’re going to have a tougher time when you apply for a job if there are 100 other applicants for the same job and some of them don’t have a record. If the economy is stronger, then it puts us in a stronger position to be able to push companies to give people a second chance. And so I think my biggest job as President is to make sure that we’re strengthening the economy, we’re growing it, we’re putting people back to work generally, because this is a situation where a rising tide does lift all boats. If the economy is going strong and the unemployment rate is going down generally, then that’s going to help you as well. All right? (Applause.) Okay. The woman with the hat. She’s been waving that hat around. (Laughter.) See, you got to have a hat. That’s a huge advantage in terms of getting called on. Q Hi, my name is Bev Kromgezmi (ph), and I actually used to teach school in the district in which Seed Savers is located. And we have a number of students, former students here, that I taught. THE PRESIDENT: How was she? Was she a good teacher? (Applause.) You got thumbs up. Q What can I say? THE PRESIDENT: What did you teach? Q High school social studies. THE PRESIDENT: Well, that’s important stuff. Q Many unions, especially public sector unions, helped you get elected in 2008. Those public sector unions and their members gained their salaries and benefits through collective bargaining. Recently, those benefits have been under attack. And I realize that this is a state issue mostly, but what can you do to help support collective bargaining in the states and, most of all, support the public sector unions, the middle class, many of whom are union members? Thank you. (Applause.) THE PRESIDENT: Well, first of all, let’s make one thing clear. The right of workers to come together and join a union is part of what built America’s middle class. It’s the reason why we’ve got a minimum wage. (Applause.) It’s the reason why folks have weekends. It’s the reason why you have basic protections on the job from an abusive employer. There are a whole range of things that people take for granted, even if they’re not in a union, that they wouldn’t have had if it had not been for collective bargaining. (Applause.) So I think it is very important, whether you are in a union or not — and I speak particularly to young people, because you’ve grown up at a time when in a lot of circles “union” somehow is a dirty word — to understand all this is is people joining together so they’ve got a little more leverage; so they’ve got better working conditions, better wages; they can better support their family. And a lot of us entered into the middle class because our parent or a grandparent was in a union. Remember that. (Applause.) When I hear this kind of anti-union rhetoric and anti-union assaults, I’m thinking these folks have amnesia. They don’t remember that that helped build our middle class and strengthen our economy. Now, you’re right. Most of this activity right now is being done at the state level, although I will tell you that some of the assaults on collective bargaining are taking place at the federal level. You remember this FAA situation where they were shutting down the airports for — threatening to shut down the airports and we were going to be laying off tens of thousands of people? The reason that happened was because folks on the other side in the House of Representatives decided, let’s try to slip in a provision that could make it harder for people to collectively bargain in the aviation industry. And Democrats wouldn’t go along. And so they said, okay, well, we’re not going to renew funding for this. So we’re seeing some of that at the federal level as well, and we’re fighting back, pushing back against these efforts to diminish the capacity to exercise their basic freedoms and their basic rights. Now, at the state level, in addition to just providing vocal support for public employees, what I also have been trying to do is to help states so that they can meet their obligations to their public employees and to emphasize how important it is to our future collectively that we have, for example, teachers that are getting paid a good wage. (Applause.) We can’t recruit the kinds of teachers that we need in the classroom. And in most countries that are doing well right now educationally, their teachers are revered. They get paid on par with doctors and engineers, because there is an understanding that this is a critical profession for the future of the nation. (Applause.) I do say, though, to my friends in the public sector unions that it is important that you are on the side of reform where reform is needed. Because the truth of the matter is, is that at a time when everybody is belt-tightening, there is nothing wrong with a union saying to itself, you know what, we know budgets are hard right now. Let’s sit down and say we’re willing to negotiate so that we’re making some sacrifices to maintain the number of teachers in the classroom and keep class sizes at a reasonable level. We’re willing to make some modifications in terms of how our pension systems work so that they’re sustainable for the next generation of teachers as long as it’s a conversation, as opposed to it simply being imposed and collective bargaining rights being stripped away. So I think it’s important — remember we talked about shared sacrifice and burden sharing. Well, this is an area where there’s got to be burden sharing as well. If a public sector employee is able to retire at 55 with 80 percent of their wages, and the average public sector employee has got a 401(k) that they’ve just seen decline by about 20 percent and they have no idea how they’re going to retire, and they’re feeling burdened by a lot of taxes and they don’t feel like the public sector employers are making any adjustments whatsoever to reflect the tough economic realities that are facing folks who are not protected, then there’s going to be a natural backlash. If there’s a feeling that unions aren’t partners in reform processes in things like education, then they’re going to end up being an easy target. So there’s got to be an understanding of, on the one hand, we’ve got to revere public employees — I was saying when I was in Cannon Falls that people are tired of politics, but they’re not tired of government. They may not realize it, but government are our troops in Afghanistan and Iraq. Government are our teachers in the classroom. Government are the FEMA folks who help people when there’s a flood or a tornado or a natural disaster. (Applause.) But we also have to acknowledge — and sometimes Democrats aren’t good at this — is acknowledging that not every program in government is working perfectly and we’ve got to make adjustments to become more efficient and more productive, just like the private sector does. And the more we’re willing to be open to new ideas and reform and change, the more we’re going to be able to rally public opinion behind all the outstanding work that public employees do as opposed to public opinion being turned against public employees. Okay, how many more? We’ve got time for one more? This is always tough, this last one. Q I have a question. THE PRESIDENT: Well, I — hold on a second. I’m looking over at this — sir — Q How will we — THE PRESIDENT: Sir — Q — come together when you Vice President is calling (inaudible) terrorists? THE PRESIDENT: Sir, hold on a second. I know it’s not going to work if — I know it’s not going to work if you just stand up and start — no, he’s okay. But, sir, I know it’s not going to work if you just stand up when I asked everybody to raise their hand. Okay, so I was about to call on somebody. (Applause.) I didn’t see you. I wasn’t avoiding you. Please. Whose turn? Is it a — I’m going to call on this young man right here. And I’ll be happy to talk to you afterwards. Go ahead. This young man right here. We always end with the next generation. Go ahead. (Applause.) Q Thank you, Mr. President. It’s a real benefit of living in Iowa that we get to meet a lot of famous presidential candidates. THE PRESIDENT: Yes, people seem to — for some reason, they just seem to show up in Iowa all the time, don’t they? (Laughter.) It’s shocking. Q I’m actually in a picture with you somewhere. (Laughter.) You’re talking a lot about how to bring people together and how to get our democracy to work together. It’s all about finding common ground. But over the past — we’ve seen the rise of the tea party, and they really like to cite Thomas Jefferson for his opposition to big government and support of small government. What they don’t ever mention is his fear of monied interests in politics. (Applause.) Well, what we saw in 2010 in Iowa were — and in Wisconsin — were experienced, dedicated, wise centrist Democratic public servants being challenged by relatively unqualified Republican candidates. And these candidates were backed by millions of dollars of out-of-state company funding. And we also now have the Republican frontrunner for president calling corporations people. So I’m wondering what kind of hope do we have for our political spectrum now that we’re running — we’re going into the first presidential election where we will be facing unlimited corporate contributions in politics? (Applause.) THE PRESIDENT: All right. Well — well, let me — (applause) — let me say this. First of all, in fairness to this gentleman who raised a question, I absolutely agree that everybody needs to try to tone down the rhetoric. Now, in fairness, since I’ve been called a socialist who wasn’t born in this country, who is destroying America and taking away its freedoms because I passed a health care bill, I’m all for lowering the rhetoric. I do think that, whether it’s the tea party or activists from whatever walk of life, as I said before, democracy has always been rambunctious in this country. And that’s part of what makes America great, is everybody can express their opinions. And there is real anger and frustration — understandable — about the economic situation that we’re finding ourselves in. I get that. Think about it, we came in — you’ve got a bunch of irresponsible actors, both in Washington and on Wall Street, that almost brought this economy to the ground, and suddenly everybody else is paying for it. And I think the tea party is an expression of that anger and frustration, as much as sort of the activism on the Democratic side is an expression of anger and frustration. Obviously, I agree more with the view that it wasn’t big government per se that caused this crash, it wasn’t food stamps or public employee unions that caused this crash, and that we should direct our anger effectively at how do we prevent the most powerful forces in our society from acting irresponsibly. I do share your concern that money has become such a powerful factor in politics that it has a distorting effect, and it doesn’t just have a distorting effect during election time. I mean, this financial regulatory reform bill that we passed — Dodd-Frank — we set up a Consumer Protection Bureau, a Consumer Finance Protection Bureau — some of you may be familiar with this. The basic idea is pretty straightforward — that we should have somebody in the federal government who makes sure that you’re not getting cheated when you take out a credit card, you’re not getting cheated when you take out a mortgage, that you’re not reading a bunch of fine print that you don’t understand and that you’ve got to be a lawyer to decipher, that consumers should have somebody who’s looking out for them in these complex financial transactions that are increasingly a part of our lives. (Applause.) So we got this thing passed and we’ve set it up, and now I’ve got millions of dollars in lobbyists and special-interest donations trying to dismantle this thing before it even gets off the ground, and I can’t get the Senate to confirm anybody to take the position. It doesn’t matter how well qualified they are. So right now we’ve nominated the former attorney general of Ohio, who was also the treasurer of Ohio, who when he was in Ohio Republicans and Democrats said was a great consumer advocate who, for the last year and a half, at great sacrifice to himself, has helped to set up this agency; and I’ve got the Republican Senate — 44 of them, which means that they can filibuster any appointment — saying, we’re not going to appoint anybody to this thing unless you water down the enforcement capacities of this agency. Well, that’s just — that is pure special-interest lobbying at work. (Applause.) And that is not how our democracy should work. That is not how our democracy should work. And as we go into this presidential election, what you’re going to see is unlimited money that’s going to be going on the airwaves — and, frankly, we’re already seeing it. I mean, I think they’ve already spent about $20 million, $30 million around the country going after me, and nobody even knows where this money is coming from. You got a bunch of front groups. They’re usually called something having to do with freedom or — you know. We don’t know who they are. They’re not accountable to anybody. Here’s the good news, though — I mean, right now, the Supreme Court has made a ruling — we’re not going to be able to change it — but slowly, surely, when the American people put their voice behind something, eventually the system responds. It may not always respond as fast as we want, but eventually it responds. And so if voters all across the country say we want a different kind of politics, we will get a different kind of politics. If all of you are enlisted in the fight to make sure that we’ve got a country that is looking out for middle-class families and promoting common sense, and thinking about the next generation and not just the next election, and is thinking more about country than it is about party, and is less interested in vilifying opponents than figuring out how to get something done, then we’re going to start electing folks who do that. And let me tell you, when we have that kind of politics, watch out. Watch out. You will not be able to stop this country. You will not be able to stop America from making sure that the 21st century is the American century just like the 20th century was. But I’m going to need your help, everybody. God bless you. God bless America. (Applause.) END 6:28 P.M. CDT Read more about government news here: Remarks by the President in a Town Hall Meeting in Decorah, Iowa

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Remarks by the President in a Town Hall Meeting in Decorah, Iowa

President Obama: Our Biggest Challenge Right Now Is Putting People to Work

August 17, 2011   

var params = allowscriptaccess: “always”, allowfullscreen: “true”, wmode:”transparent”; swfobject.embedSWF(“http://www.youtube-nocookie.com/v/ZOZji2w-i30&hl=en&fs=1&showinfo=0&showsearch=0″, “flashcontent-ZOZji2w-i30_”, “560″, “340″, “8″, null, {}, params); Viewing this video requires Adobe Flash Player 8 or higher. Download the free player. During the first stop on his rural road trip, President Obama took questions on topics ranging from using renewable energy to create jobs and helping young farmers buy land and market their products effectively to the future of Social Security and his Administration’s plans to bolster education. Speaking with a crowd of 500 people at Hannah’s Bend Park in Cannon Falls, MN , the President discussed the “extraordinary challenges” our nation has faced over the last two and a half years, but extolled the “extraordinary hope that America represents” around the world, and reiterated his belief that there is “nothing wrong with America that can’t be fixed; what’s broken is our politics.” Many of the questions focused on health care, Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare, and the President stressed his commitment to making sure we preserve the integrity of these programs while ensuring they are still in place for future generations: read more Read more about government news here: President Obama: Our Biggest Challenge Right Now Is Putting People to Work

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President Obama: Our Biggest Challenge Right Now Is Putting People to Work

The Never-Ending Pivot: For Democrats, Jobs Are Always Next on the List

August 5, 2011   

The American people are still asking, “where are the jobs?” But more than two years after the spectacular failure of the “stimulus” spending binge and one year after Secretary Geithner proclaimed, “Welcome to the Recovery,” Democrats’ never-ending series of jobs “pivots” never get beyond their job-crushing agenda of more government spending, higher taxes, and scores of new regulations and red tape. Read more about government news here: The Never-Ending Pivot: For Democrats, Jobs Are Always Next on the List

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The Never-Ending Pivot: For Democrats, Jobs Are Always Next on the List

Chairman Hastings Calls on Obama Administration to Unlock American Energy in Alaska to Help Create Jobs

August 5, 2011   

In a Fairbanks Daily News-Miner op-ed this week, House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Doc Hastings (R-WA) called on the Obama Administration to roll back the red tape that is preventing energy production and costing jobs in the National Petroleum Reserve – Alaska (NPR-A). Read more about government news here: Chairman Hastings Calls on Obama Administration to Unlock American Energy in Alaska to Help Create Jobs

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Chairman Hastings Calls on Obama Administration to Unlock American Energy in Alaska to Help Create Jobs

Latest Debt Bill Confirmed By CBO To Cut More Than It Increases

August 2, 2011   

We can at least say we  will be cutting more than we spend, but there are other key elements to the latest Budget Control Act that you should know. Read here to find out the key points. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) just released analysis that confirms the Budget Control Act of 2011 cuts government spending by more than it increases the debt limit – reaffirming the principle that House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and Republicans successfully fought for throughout this debate. Specifically, the CBO analysis confirms the Budget Control Act : CUTS MORE SPENDING THAN IT INCREASES THE DEBT LIMIT : The $917 billion in spending cuts over 10 years exceeds the $900 billion debt hike – a critical test Speaker Boehner and Republicans have insisted upon; INCLUDES NO TAX HIKES : There are no job-crushing tax hikes in this bill. And Republicans will not raise taxes going forward; IMPOSES TOUGH CAPS TO RESTRAIN FUTURE SPENDING : There are more than $21 billion in spending cuts next year alone, and the bill continues to reduce the deficit in the years ahead (by $42 billion in 2013, $59 billion in 2014, $75 billion in 2015, $87 billion in 2016, and so on); and KEEPS THE FOCUS ON SERIOUS SPENDING CUTS & REFORMS : The bill creates a joint-committee with a goal of enacting at least $1.5 trillion in additional spending cuts over 10 years. Washington must adopt these cuts by the end of the year or send a Balanced Budget Amendment to the states before the president can request another debt limit increase. Even if a balanced budget amendment is sent to the states, spending must still be cut. Read more about government news here: CBO Confirms: Spending Cuts Exceed Debt Limit Hike in Budget Control Act

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Latest Debt Bill Confirmed By CBO To Cut More Than It Increases

The Bipartisan Debt Deal and Win For Our Economy

August 2, 2011   

The latest debt deal is being heralded as a win across all boards. Here is a short article explaining why it is a win for bipartisan agreement, the economy, and other factors. Release Time:  For Immediate Release BIPARTISAN DEBT DEAL: A WIN FOR THE ECONOMY AND BUDGET DISCIPLINE The debt deal announced today is a victory for bipartisan compromise, for the economy and for the American people. The agreement: Removes the cloud of uncertainty over our economy at this critical time, by ensuring that no one will be able to use the threat of the nation’s first default now, or in only a few months, for political gain; Locks in a down payment on significant deficit reduction, with savings from both domestic and Pentagon spending, and is designed to protect crucial investments like aid for college students; Establishes a bipartisan process to seek a balanced approach to larger deficit reduction through entitlement and tax reform; Deploys an enforcement mechanism that gives all sides an incentive to reach bipartisan compromise on historic deficit reduction, while protecting Social Security, Medicare beneficiaries and low-income programs; Stays true to the President’s commitment to shared sacrifice by preventing the middle class, seniors and those who are most vulnerable from shouldering the burden of deficit reduction. The President did not agree to any entitlement reforms outside of the context of a bipartisan committee process where tax reform will be on the table and the President will insist on shared sacrifice from the most well-off and those with the most indefensible tax breaks. Mechanics of the Debt Deal Immediately enacted 10-year discretionary spending caps generating nearly $1 trillion in deficit reduction; balanced between defense and non-defense spending. President authorized to increase the debt limit by at least $2.1 trillion, eliminating the need for further increases until 2013.   Bipartisan committee process tasked with identifying an additional $1.5 trillion in deficit reduction, including from entitlement and tax reform. Committee is required to report legislation by November 23, 2011, which receives fast-track protections. Congress is required to vote on Committee recommendations by December 23, 2011. Enforcement mechanism established to force all parties – Republican and Democrat – to agree to balanced deficit reduction. If Committee fails, enforcement mechanism will trigger spending reductions beginning in 2013 – split 50/50 between domestic and defense spending. Enforcement protects Social Security, Medicare beneficiaries, and low-income programs from any cuts.     1. REMOVING UNCERTAINTY TO SUPPORT THE AMERICAN ECONOMY Deal Removes Cloud of Uncertainty Until 2013, Eliminating Key Headwind on the Economy: Independent analysts, economists, and ratings agencies have all made clear that a short-term debt limit increase would create unacceptable economic uncertainty by risking default again within only a matter of months and as S&P stated, increase the chance of a downgrade. By ensuring a debt limit increase of at least $2.1 trillion, this deal removes the specter of default, providing important certainty to our economy at a fragile moment. Mechanism to Ensure Further Deficit Reduction is Designed to Phase-In Beginning in 2013 to Avoid Harming the Recovery: The deal includes a mechanism to ensure additional deficit reduction, consistent with the economic recovery. The enforcement mechanism would not be made effective until 2013, avoiding any immediate contraction that could harm the recovery. And savings from the down payment will be enacted over 10 years, consistent with supporting the economic recovery. 2. A DOWNPAYMENT ON DEFICIT REDUCTION BY LOCKING IN HISTORIC SPENDING DISCIPLINE – BALANCED BETWEEN DOMESTIC AND PENTAGON SPENDING More than $900 Billion in Savings over 10 Years By Capping Discretionary Spending: The deal includes caps on discretionary spending that will produce more than $900 billion in savings over the next 10 years compared to the CBO March baseline, even as it protects core investments from deep and economically damaging cuts. Includes Savings of $350 Billion from the Base Defense Budget – the First Defense Cut Since the 1990s: The deal puts us on track to cut $350 billion from the defense budget over 10 years. These reductions will be implemented based on the outcome of a review of our missions, roles, and capabilities that will reflect the President’s commitment to protecting our national security. Reduces Domestic Discretionary Spending to the Lowest Level Since Eisenhower: These discretionary caps will put us on track to reduce non-defense discretionary spending to its lowest level since Dwight Eisenhower was President. Includes Funding to Protect the President’s Historic Investment in Pell Grants: Since taking office, the President has increased the maximum Pell award by $819 to a maximum award $5,550, helping over 9 million students pay for college tuition bills. The deal provides specific protection in the discretionary budget to ensure that the there will be sufficient funding for the President’s historic investment in Pell Grants without undermining other critical investments. 3. ESTABLISHING A BIPARTISAN PROCESS TO ACHIEVE $1.5 TRILLION IN ADDITIONAL BALANCED DEFICIT REDUCTION BY THE END OF 2011 The Deal Locks in a Process to Enact $1.5 Trillion in Additional Deficit Reduction Through a Bipartisan, Bicameral Congressional Committee: The deal creates a bipartisan, bicameral Congressional Committee that is charged with enacting $1.5 trillion in additional deficit reduction by the end of the year. This Committee will work without the looming specter of default, ensuring time to carefully consider essential reforms without the disruption and brinksmanship of the past few months. This Committee is Empowered Beyond Previous Bipartisan Attempts at Deficit Reduction: Any recommendation of the Committee would be given fast-track privilege in the House and Senate, assuring it of an up or down vote and preventing some from using procedural gimmicks to block action. To Meet This Target, the Committee Will Consider Responsible Entitlement and Tax Reform. This means putting all the priorities of both parties on the table – including both entitlement reform and revenue-raising tax reform. 4. A STRONG ENFORCEMENT MECHANISM TO MAKE ALL SIDES COME TOGETHER The Deal Includes An Automatic Sequester to Ensure That At Least $1.2 Trillion in Deficit Reduction Is Achieved By 2013 Beyond the Discretionary Caps: The deal includes an automatic sequester on certain spending programs to ensure that—between the Committee and the trigger—we at least put in place an additional $1.2 trillion in deficit reduction by 2013. Consistent With Past Practice, Sequester Would Be Divided Equally Between Defense and Non-Defense Programs and Exempt Social Security, Medicaid, and Low-Income Programs: Consistent with the bipartisan precedents established in the 1980s and 1990s, the sequester would be divided equally between defense and non-defense program, and it would exempt Social Security, Medicaid, unemployment insurance, programs for low-income families, and civilian and military retirement. Likewise, any cuts to Medicare would be capped and limited to the provider side. Sequester Would Provide a Strong Incentive for Both Sides to Come to the Table:  If the fiscal committee took no action, the deal would automatically add nearly $500 billion in defense cuts on top of cuts already made, and, at the same time, it would cut critical programs like infrastructure or education.  That outcome would be unacceptable to many Republicans and Democrats alike – creating pressure for a bipartisan agreement without requiring the threat of a default with unthinkable consequences for our economy. 5. A BALANCED DEAL CONSISTENT WITH THE PRESIDENT’S COMMITMENT TO SHARED SACRIFICE The Deal Sets the Stage for Balanced Deficit Reduction, Consistent with the President’s Values: The deal is designed to achieve balanced deficit reduction, consistent with the values the President articulated in his April Fiscal Framework. The discretionary savings are spread between both domestic and defense spending. And the President will demand that the Committee pursue a balanced deficit reduction package, where any entitlement reforms are coupled with revenue-raising tax reform that asks for the most fortunate Americans to sacrifice.  The Enforcement Mechanism Complements the Forcing Event Already In Law – the Expiration of the Bush Tax Cuts – To Create Pressure for a Balanced Deal: The Bush tax cuts expire as of 1/1/2013, the same date that the spending sequester would go into effect. These two events together will force balanced deficit reduction. Absent a balanced deal, it would enable the President to use his veto pen to ensure nearly $1 trillion in additional deficit reduction by not extending the high-income tax cuts. In Securing this Bipartisan Deal, the President Rejected Proposals that Would Have Placed the Sole Burden of Deficit Reduction on Low-Income or Middle-Class Families: The President stood firmly against proposals that would have placed the sole burden of deficit reduction on lower-income and middle-class families. This includes not only proposals in the House Republican Budget that would have undermined the core commitments of Medicare to our seniors and forced tens of millions of low-income Americans to go without health insurance, but also enforcement mechanisms that would have forced automatic cuts to low-income programs. The enforcement mechanism in the deal exempts Social Security, Medicaid, Medicare benefits, unemployment insurance, programs for low-income families, and civilian and military retirement. Read more about government news here: Fact Sheet: Bipartisan Debt Deal: A Win for the Economy and Budget Discipline

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The Bipartisan Debt Deal and Win For Our Economy

If Peter King wants to empower moderate Muslim-Americans, why didn’t he invite any to his hearing?

July 30, 2011   

July 28, 2011 If Rep. Peter King was concerned that his pet issue, Muslim radicalization, was in danger of being overshadowed by the debt crisis, he had a strategy: attack the New York Times. At Wednesday’s Homeland Security Committee hearings on the Somali terrorist group al-Shabaab, King called out the “vacuous ideologues at the New York Times”–an apparent reference to a Roger Cohen op-ed suggesting in the wake of the Norway attacks that anti-Muslim demagogues, including King, pose a threat of their own. “Let me make this clear to the New York Times and their acolytes in the politically correct, moral-equivalency media: I will not back down from holding these hearings,” he said. Of course, getting headlines isn’t the same as addressing the issue. If King’s goal was to find real solutions to a real problem, his volley at the Times was a distraction. But, given how little of Wednesday’s three-hour hearing was devoted to proposals for curbing al-Shabaab recruitment, it’s worth asking whether that was really King’s goal. As it turns out, it wasn’t. Sure, eventually the federal government will need to look at what it can actually do about the problem, King said. But for now, his aims are more modest: raise awareness about the seriousness of the threat, and empower moderate Muslims to speak out against terrorism without fear of stigma. That’s right: awareness-raising and empowerment. Maybe King has more in common with the politically correct left than he lets on. So before we dismiss King’s hearing as disingenuous, or as an exercise in Islamophobic pandering, let’s judge it by King’s own standards. More Christian News : If Peter King wants to empower moderate Muslim-Americans, why didn’t he invite any to his hearing?

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If Peter King wants to empower moderate Muslim-Americans, why didn’t he invite any to his hearing?

Private-Sector Job Creators Back Republican Spending Cut Plan

July 29, 2011   

A nationwide coalition of private-sector job creators sent a letter to Members of Congress today urging them to support the Budget Control Act of 2011 – the House Republican plan for cutting spending and preventing a national default that would hurt job growth. Read more about government news here: Private-Sector Job Creators Back Republican Spending Cut Plan

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Private-Sector Job Creators Back Republican Spending Cut Plan

Boehner Tells Ingraham: This Is Our Best Chance to Hold the President’s Feet to the Fire

July 29, 2011   

Read more about government news here: Boehner Tells Ingraham: This Is Our Best Chance to Hold the President’s Feet to the Fire

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Boehner Tells Ingraham: This Is Our Best Chance to Hold the President’s Feet to the Fire

Speaker Boehner Praises House Passage of Bill Holding Obama Administration Accountable on Job-Creating Energy Project

July 28, 2011   

Today, the House passed the North American-Made Energy Security Act (H.R. 1938), bipartisan legislation introduced by Rep. Lee Terry (R-NE) that will require the Obama Administration to make a determination by November on whether it will allow the Keystone XL pipeline expansion to move forward. Read more about government news here: Speaker Boehner Praises House Passage of Bill Holding Obama Administration Accountable on Job-Creating Energy Project

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Speaker Boehner Praises House Passage of Bill Holding Obama Administration Accountable on Job-Creating Energy Project

House Republican Plan “Changes the Trajectory of Spending,” & More

July 28, 2011   

The House Republican plan for cutting spending and preventing a national default “is a win for conservatives, for fiscal responsibility, and for the nation,” writes the American Spectator’s Quin Hillyer. That’s because the plan… Read more about government news here: House Republican Plan “Changes the Trajectory of Spending,” & More

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House Republican Plan “Changes the Trajectory of Spending,” & More

The Boehner Plan Would Lead to the Downgrade of the U.S. Credit Rating

July 28, 2011   

Last night on CNN, Erin Burnett reported that financial analysis firm Standard & Poor’s believed that John Boehner’s plan would still lead to a downgrade of United States debt by the rating agencies. If the agencies lower our country’s AAA credit rating, interest rates on credit cards, mortgages, and car loans, would increase—and that would be tantamount to a tax hike on all Americans. It’s also important to note that the alternative plan proposed by Senator Harry Reid would keep intact America’s AAA credit rating. Read more about government news here: The Boehner Plan Would Lead to the Downgrade of the U.S. Credit Rating

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The Boehner Plan Would Lead to the Downgrade of the U.S. Credit Rating

Bloomberg: “Republican Leaders Voted for Drivers of U.S. Debt They Now Blame on Obama”

July 28, 2011   

Since President Obama took office, Republicans have attacked him for what they call out-of-control spending.  Unfortunately for the GOP, that attack is as hypocritical as it is phony. Bloomberg News reports: Yet the speaker, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell all voted for major drivers of the nation’s debt during the past decade : Wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the 2001 and 2003 Bush tax cuts and Medicare prescription drug benefits. They also voted for the Troubled Asset Relief Program, or TARP, that rescued financial institutions and the auto industry. Together, a Bloomberg News analysis shows, these initiatives added $3.4 trillion to the nation’s accumulated debt and to its current annual budget deficit of $1.5 trillion. Read the full article on the Bloomberg website. Read more about government news here: Bloomberg: “Republican Leaders Voted for Drivers of U.S. Debt They Now Blame on Obama”

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Bloomberg: “Republican Leaders Voted for Drivers of U.S. Debt They Now Blame on Obama”

On Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, Obama Administration Recommits to Enforcing and Protecting the Civil Rights of All

July 28, 2011   

Release Time:  For Immediate Release On July 26, 1990, the Americans with Disabilities Act was signed into law.  That landmark civil rights legislation reaffirmed the idea that all our citizens, regardless of disability, are entitled to the same privileges, pursuits, and opportunities as everyone else.  As the Obama Administration marks that anniversary, there still remain many steps we must take together to ensure that the spirit and letter of that law are upheld. “The promise of the ADA was that all Americans should have equal access and equal opportunity, including Americans with disabilities,” said President Obama.  “The ADA was about independence and the freedom to make of our lives what we will.  We celebrate that today, and we recommit ourselves to ending discrimination in all its forms.” Since its enactment, the ADA has opened many doors and sought to level the playing field for employment of Americans with disabilities.  Still, however, the unemployment rate for persons with disabilities remains high.  Last year, President Obama signed an Executive Order to make the federal government a model employer for individuals with disabilities. Today, following on other steps already taken, the Obama Administration announced new efforts that will continue to support increased employment opportunities for persons with disabilities and will also help make the government more open and accessible to all citizens. Specifically, the administration is working to release a draft comprehensive strategic plan to improve compliance with Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act. Section 508 requires that federal agencies’ electronic and information technology be accessible to people with disabilities, both inside and outside the government. 12 years after this law was enacted, many technological barriers still exist, limiting the ability of persons with disabilities when they try to interact with the federal government, whether as an employee or as a citizen seeking information or services. Making electronic and information technology, such as websites, 508 compliant will ensure that applicants have equal access to apply for job opportunities. 508 compliance also will promote increased retention, as federal employees will be able to successfully utilize the technology – whether it be computers, telephones, fax machines, websites and many other technological tools – necessary to perform their duties. Moreover, it will make the government more open and accessible as people with disabilities will be able to better access all the information the federal government has placed online.  Read more about government news here: On Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, Obama Administration Recommits to Enforcing and Protecting the Civil Rights of All

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On Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, Obama Administration Recommits to Enforcing and Protecting the Civil Rights of All

Deficit Crisis: State and Local Officials Call for a Balanced Approach

July 28, 2011   

On Monday evening, President Obama delivered an address to the nation on the consequences the stalemate in Congress could have on the stability of our economy. Here is what a bipartisan sampling of Governors and Mayors from across the country are saying: “We hope that at the end of the day, both sides come together and recognize that there does need to be a balanced approach, because a balanced approach is what solves the problem. The reality is the Republicans aren’t going to get 100 percent of what they want and the Democrats aren’t going to get 100 percent of what they want.” – Mayor Scott Smith, Mesa, AZ “Last night, President Obama once again demonstrated that he clearly understands that the key to winning the future includes a renewed commitment to fiscal responsibility. New Orleanians and residents in cities across our country can’t afford to let the partisan politics of Washington, D.C., dictate whether or not the United States meets its financial obligations and whether we can meet the needs of the future.  We in New Orleans certainly cannot afford the consequences of a downgraded credit rating or government shutdown if the country defaults on its debt.” – Mayor Mitch Landrieu, New Orleans, LA “President Obama is right: To create jobs and expand opportunity, we need a balanced approach to get our economy back on track.  And we need to come together now to raise the debt ceiling or else the impact on the states will be catastrophic.” – Governor Martin O’Malley, MD “America has always met tremendous challenge with unrelenting resolve, unity of purpose, and a unique toughness. That’s why I’m hopeful that the next seven days will bring broad-based congressional support for the President’s balanced approach to this nation’s debt crisis. Americans demand it, reason supports it, and a prosperous future requires it.” – Mayor Cory Booker, Newark, NJ “President Obama made a forceful case tonight for addressing our long-term debt while avoiding a default on our debt obligations. The President has it right when he insists that if seniors and those who are struggling to make ends meet have to make sacrifices, then the oil company executives, corporate jet owners and multi-millionaires should also contribute to a solution.” – Governor Peter Shumlin, VT “I think if you talk to any governor, they would say we really need you to solve this for the economic health of the country, number one. Number two, for us as states, you’ve seen where some of the credit rating agencies have said the fact that they don’t have a deal puts Tennessee’s credit ratings in peril and that speaks volumes. I think you have a country that’s literally waiting to see what will happen, and until Washington shows that, A, we can live within our means and B, come to a political agreement about how to solve that, you’re not going to see banks willing to loan money, you’re not going to see people willing to invest their own capital and so we won’t have any job growth until that happens.” – Governor Bill Haslam, TN “President Obama was right to push Congress to act and act soon on a long-term solution to the debt ceiling. We can’t just kick the can down the road for another six months. The uncertainty of the debt negotiations has caused consumers to slow spending and businesses to slow hiring. Any default or short-sighted solution could wreak havoc on our economic recovery.” – Governor Christine Gregoire, WA       Read more about government news here: Deficit Crisis: State and Local Officials Call for a Balanced Approach

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Deficit Crisis: State and Local Officials Call for a Balanced Approach

INFOGRAPHIC: Where does our national debt come from?

July 28, 2011   

One of the fundamental things to understand when considering the debate about reducing our national debt is how we accumulated so much in the first place. To explain the impact various policies have had over the past decade, shifting us from projected surpluses to actual deficits and, as a result, running up the national debt, the White House has developed a graphic for you to review and share: As you can see, we’ve also included a quote from President Obama’s speech last night  that sums up the basic issues: For the last decade, we’ve spent more money than we take in.  In the year 2000, the government had a budget surplus.  But instead of using it to pay off our debt, the money was spent on trillions of dollars in new tax cuts, while two wars and an expensive prescription drug program were simply added to our nation’s credit card. As a result, the deficit was on track to top $1 trillion the year I took office.  To make matters worse, the recession meant that there was less money coming in, and it required us to spend even more -– on tax cuts for middle-class families to spur the economy; on unemployment insurance; on aid to states so we could prevent more teachers and firefighters and police officers from being laid off.  These emergency steps also added to the deficit. Because neither party is blameless for the decisions that led to this problem, both parties have a responsibility to solve it.  And it’s worth noting that, among many others, the Pew Charitable Trusts and the New York Times have addressed this issue too. Read more about government news here: INFOGRAPHIC: Where does our national debt come from?

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INFOGRAPHIC: Where does our national debt come from?

Turning Innovation Into Jobs: SBA Licenses First Impact Investment Fund Partner

July 28, 2011   

Ed. Note: Cross posted from the  SBA’s Open for Business blog Startups and “high-growth” small businesses are responsible for the lion’s share of net new job creation in the U.S. each year. That’s a key reason that we launched an Administration-wide effort called Startup America earlier this year. As a critical part of that, SBA made a commitment to invest up to $1 billion in underserved communities and emerging sectors over the next 5 years. Today, we were delighted to announce the first public-private partnership of this Impact Investment Fund.  This first effort will focus on growing businesses in Michigan. Why Michigan? First, the need is there.  Unemployment is high in Michigan, with over 90% of counties in economic distress as defined by the Commerce Department.  It’s an economy in transition. read more Read more about government news here: Turning Innovation Into Jobs: SBA Licenses First Impact Investment Fund Partner

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Turning Innovation Into Jobs: SBA Licenses First Impact Investment Fund Partner

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