Entries in Weekly Address (84)


President Obama's Weekly Address: Reducing Gun Violence 

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza(WASHINGTON) -- In his weekly address, President Obama calls on Congress to pass "commonsense measures" to protect the nation's children by reducing gun violence.

The president says in the three months since 20 innocent children and six dedicated adults were lost in the Newtown, Conn. tragedy, Americans "began asking ourselves if we’re really doing enough to protect our communities and keep our children safe."

Those three months, he says, have forced the nation to answer difficult questions about what can be done to prevent the kinds of massacres that occurred in Newtown, Aurora and Oak Creek, and everyday tragedies that take place in cities and towns across America.

"Today there is still genuine disagreement among well-meaning people about what steps we should take to reduce the epidemic of gun violence in this country," Obama says. "But you – the American people – have spoken.  You’ve made it clear that it’s time to do something.  And over the last few weeks, Senators here in Washington have listened and taken some big steps forward."

Obama mentions actions the Senate has taken in an effort to make changes to reduce gun violence: advancing a bill to make it harder for criminals and people with severe mental illness to obtain guns; making progress on another bill to crack down on any gun buyer who intends to funnel it to criminals; and reinstating and strengthening a military-style assault weapons ban as well as setting a 10-round limit for magazines.

"These ideas shouldn’t be controversial – they’re common sense. They’re supported by a majority of the American people.  And I urge the Senate and the House to give each of them a vote," he says.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Obama's Weekly Address: Yet Another Call For Compromise On The Sequester

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza(WASHINGTON) -- The morning after $85 billion in across-the-board spending cuts kicked in, President Obama is calling once more for lawmakers to compromise to halt the damaging impact the sequester will have on the nation’s economy.

“These cuts are not smart.  They will hurt our economy and cost us jobs.  And Congress can turn them off at any time – as soon as both sides are willing to compromise,” Obama says in his weekly address.

The president warns that “not everyone will feel the pain of these cuts right away” but that “the pain will be real.”  
“Beginning this week, businesses that work with the military will have to lay folks off.  Communities near military bases will take a serious blow.  Hundreds of thousands of Americans who serve their country – Border Patrol agents, FBI agents, civilians who work for the Defense Department – will see their wages cut and their hours reduced,” he explains.

“Here’s the thing: none of this is necessary,” he says. “It’s happening because Republicans in Congress chose this outcome over closing a single wasteful tax loophole that helps reduce the deficit.  Just this week, they decided that protecting special interest tax breaks for the well-off and well-connected is more important than protecting our military and middle-class families from these cuts.”

The president is calling for a “balanced approach” of spending cuts and tax increases to replace the sequester. Republicans, however, insist that new tax revenue is off the table.

“I know there are Republicans in Congress who would actually rather see tax loopholes closed than let these cuts go through.  And I know there are Democrats who’d rather do smart entitlement reform than let these cuts go through.  There’s a caucus of common sense.  And I’m going to keep reaching out to them to fix this for good,” Obama concludes.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Obama's Weekly Address: Urging Congress to Stop the Sequester

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza(WASHINGTON) -- In recent days, Obama administration officials have warned of the devastating things that will happen if upcoming spending cuts go into effect.  Now in his weekly address, President Obama urges Republicans in Congress to take action to avoid the looming sequester cuts, saying, "Congress can turn them off anytime with just a little compromise."

The president warns that if the sequester -- set to take effect March 1 -- goes on, the economy will suffer, jobs will be lost, national security will be compromised, and education and health care programs will see deep cuts.

But, he says, instead of cutting spending in a "smart way" by closing "wasteful tax loopholes" for the wealthy, "Republicans in Congress have decided … they would rather let these cuts fall squarely on the middle class."

The president adds, however, that he is hopeful Republicans will change their minds so that Congress can "build on the more than $2.5 trillion in deficit reduction we've already achieved."

Underscoring the need to reduce the nation's deficit in a "balanced" way, the president calls for "smart spending cuts, entitlement reform and tax reform."

"That's my plan. It's got tough cuts, tough reforms, and asks more of the wealthiest Americans," he says, continuing, "And it requires Democrats and Republicans to meet half way to resolve the problem."

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


President Obama's Weekly Address: the Plan for a Strong Middle Class

TOBY MELVILLE/AFP/Getty Images(CHICAGO) -- President Obama spent much of this week traveling the country promoting his State of the Union message -- what he calls a "Plan for a Strong Middle Class." Now in his weekly address, the president's message is the same, urging lawmakers to act on the proposals he laid out in his Tuesday speech before a joint session of Congress.

Speaking from Hyde Park Academy in his hometown Chicago, the president says he wants to reignite the "true engine of America's economic growth -- a rising, thriving middle class."  

"Every day, we should ask ourselves three questions:  How do we bring good jobs to America?  How do we equip people with the skills those jobs require?  And how do we make sure your hard work leads to a decent living?" President Obama says in the address.

By launching manufacturing hubs across the country, the president says he believes it will "transform hard-hit regions into global centers of high-tech jobs and manufacturing."  America should become a "magnet for new jobs," he says.

And, the president explains, getting there should be simple.

"We need to make our tax code more competitive, ending tax breaks for companies that ship jobs overseas, and rewarding companies that create jobs here at home.  And we need to invest in the research and technology that will allow us to harness more of our own energy and put more people back to work repairing our crumbling roads and bridges," says. "These steps will help our businesses expand and create new jobs."

The president also notes his goals raising the minimum wage and providing every American child with "high-quality preschool," because, he says, "kids in these programs do better throughout their lives."
"These steps will help grow our economy and rebuild a rising, thriving middle class.  And we can do it while shrinking our deficits.  We don’t have to choose between the two – we just have to make smart choices," he says.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


GOP Address: Rep. Martha Roby on Stopping the Sequester

Douglas Graham/Roll Call/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- In this week's Republican address, Alabama Congresswoman Martha Roby calls on the president and Senate Democrats to join the House in stopping the sequester, a set of "across-the-board spending cuts" scheduled to take effect in less than two weeks.

With many lawmakers and President Obama, as Rep. Roby points out, calling the sequestration "a really bad idea," the hope is that the cuts can be replaced with "better more responsible spending cuts," she explains.

“Just this week, top military commanders testified on Capitol Hill and confirmed what I had feared from the beginning about how the president’s sequester will hurt military installations in Alabama and around the country," says Roby, who serves on the House Armed Services Committee.

“There is a smarter way to reduce the size of government than to slash defense spending, threaten national security and hurt military families," she says, accusing the president and Congressional Democrats of holding up legislation that would replace the sequester.  She adds that President Obama would like to "push through another tax increase," while "using the military he leads as leverage in an ideological crusade for higher taxes."

But, Roby implores, "These games have got to stop."

“Our goal every day in Washington should be coming together on issues like creating jobs for hardworking American families, reining in our out-of-control debt, and ensuring America maintains a strong national defense," she says.  "To meet these goals, we can come together now to replace the president’s sequester – not with more tax increases, but with better, more responsible spending cuts that put our budget on a path to balance in 10 years."

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


President Obama's Weekly Address: Urging Congress to Act on Stopping Gun Violence

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama is enlisting the public’s help to urge lawmakers to act on his proposals to curb gun violence, telling Americans “it’s got to be up to you” to make a difference.
Earlier this week, Obama unveiled his sweeping plan to halt gun violence in America through a comprehensive package of legislation and executive actions. The president is calling for a ban on some types of semiautomatic assault rifles, mandatory background checks for all gun purchases, a ban on high-capacity magazines holding more than 10 rounds, and cracking down on illicit weapons trafficking.
“None of this will be easy,” the president says in his weekly address. “Already, we’re seeing pundits, politicians, and special-interest lobbyists calling any attempt at commonsense reform an all-out assault on liberty – not because that’s true, but because that’s how they get higher ratings and make more money.  And behind the scenes, they’re doing everything they can to protect the status quo.”
“But this time, it can’t be up to them.  It’s got to be up to you,” he continues.
The White House is launching a public campaign to turn up the heat on Congress and Obama’s grassroots supporters are mobilizing to push the president’s agenda.
“Ask your Member of Congress if they support universal background checks and renewing a ban on military-style assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.  And if the answer is no, ask them why not.  Ask them why an A-grade from the gun lobby is more important than keeping kids safe in a first grade classroom,” the president suggests.
Obama reads from a letter he received in the wake of the deadly school shooting in Newtown, Conn., from an 8-year old girl named Rachel. “She wrote: ‘Please do something so that bad people cannot get guns to kill other people.  Children should be safe, especially in school.’”
“Rachel is counting on us.  Let’s get this done for her, and let’s make this country a safer place for all our children to learn and grow,” he concludes.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


GOP Weekly Address: Rep. Lankford Calls Obama's Inaugural 'Fresh Start,' Invokes MLK

US House of Representatives(WASHINGTON) -- On President Obama's inaugural weekend, Oklahoma Congressman James Lankford is choosing to look ahead with a fresh perspective.

"With the swearing in of a new Congress and the inauguration of President Obama, this is an opportunity for a fresh start," he says.

In this week's Republican address, Rep. Lankford looks past those policies on which he and the president disagree, and suggests Americans pray for President Obama as he takes the oath of office for the second time.

"Tomorrow, President Obama will be sworn in for a second term," says Lankford. "Though we disagree on many areas of policy, I join my fellow Americans in pledging to pray for the President, his family and our nation in the days ahead."

Referencing the challenges of unemployment and the climbing living costs seen by Americans over the last year, Lankford urges Democrats and Republicans to work together in creating a plan to get the country back on track.

Though Lankford's criticism of President Obama and Senate Democrats could be perceived as less aggressive than some of his Republican colleagues, he doesn't completely let the president off the hook.  Four the past four years, Lankford notes, neither the president nor Senate Democrats have introduced a budget.  

"Unfortunately, the president has already missed more budget deadlines than any of his predecessors," Lankford says in the address.

But government acting without an approved budget for this long "is not the result of Washington gridlock," he says.

"Majority Leader Harry Reid said it would be 'foolish' for his party in the Senate to produce a budget," Lankford says. "We disagree. With more than 16 trillion dollars in debt, we believe it is foolish not to have a budget."

"This debate is often argued in numbers and figures, but it’s really about families like yours that bear the burden of a slow economy," he adds.

Before closing the address, Lankford reminds Americans of another weekend highlight: the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  

In facing our country's current economic issues, which Lankford says are not "impossible obstacles," but merely the "challenges of our time," he notes, "We have the guidance of great leaders of the past who have faced tougher challenges than this with grace and dignity like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.  Dr. King once said, ‘Life's most persistent and urgent question is: 'What are you doing for others?’"

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


President Obama's Weekly Address: Ending the War in Afghanistan

Win McNamee/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- In his weekly address, President Obama reprises the rosy message he delivered Friday on the war in Afghanistan: that the U.S. is achieving its primary objective and on-track to drawdown forces by the end of 2014.
“Our core objective – the reason we went to war in the first place – is now within reach: ensuring that al Qaeda can never again use Afghanistan to launch attacks against America,” he says in the address.

“This week, we agreed that this spring, Afghan forces will take the lead for security across the entire country, and our troops will shift to a support role,” the president says. “In the coming months, I’ll announce the next phase of our drawdown.  And by the end of next year, America’s war in Afghanistan will be over.”

The progress we've seen so far is only possible due to the "heroic sacrifices" of a half million military and civilian Americans, along with forces from other nations, says the president, who points out that thousands have been wounded, and more than 2,000 have given their lives over more than a decade of war.

President Obama cautions that the road ahead will not be easy for our forces still in harm's way.   But now, he says, "[T]he nation we need to rebuild is our own."   

"As we do," he adds, "we have to care for our troops and veterans who fought in our name. We have to grow our economy and shrink our deficits.  Create new jobs and boost family incomes.  We have to fix our infrastructure and our immigration system.  We have to protect our planet from the destructive effects of climate change – and protect our children from the horrors of gun violence."

"These, too, will be difficult missions for America.  But they must be met.  And if we can summon just a fraction of the determination of our men and women in uniform, I know we can meet them.  And I intend to work as hard as I know how to make sure we do."
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


GOP Weekly Address: The 'Federal Government Spends Too Much,' Says Sen. Deb Fischer

Douglas Graham/Roll Call(WASHINGTON) -- Nebraska Sen. Deb Fischer says now that Congress is ready to focus on the nation's deficit, it's time for serious action on the issue of government spending. In this week's Republican address, Fischer says she agrees with her constituents across Nebraska who are consistent in their message: "Washington must cut out-of-control spending."  

Americans are "frustrated with the lack of progress from their elected leaders," who haven't reined in spending, but rather have "added $4 billion each day to our gross national debt," she says. A limited government, which Fischer supports, would focus on "fulfilling its core duties and responsibilities" to "identify the national priorities worthy of taxpayer funding."

The Constitution, Fischer notes, says Congress' top priority is to "provide for the common defense." But, she warns, the government is preparing to make deep cuts to national security funding -- "all because some leaders in Washington can't get their priorities straight."  A member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Fischer says she is "100 percent committed to both reducing spending and meeting my constitutional obligation to defend this nation."

"It's equally important to uphold America's promises to active city service members and veterans, those who have risked life-and-limb in defense of our nation," she says in the address.

The primary drivers of the country's debt, Sen. Fischer asserts, are programs like Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. While there's little consensus in Washington on how to do so, the senator insists these programs must be reformed in a way that "keeps our promises" to seniors, retirees and those nearing retirement.  But, she adds, "such reforms will require political courage and will demand strong leadership from the president and leaders of Congress."

"It's time for serious action. No more kicking the can down the road. No more using the threat of middle class tax hikes to force last minute deal-making. The debate over taxes is done. Tax increases barely pay for a few days of government spending, and in all my years of public service, I have never had constituents ask me to raise their taxes. The problem is not the American people are taxed too little; it's that the federal government spends too much," Fischer says.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


President Obama's Weekly Address: Warns Debt Ceiling Fight Could Be 'Catastrophic'

Pete Souza/The White House via Getty Images(HONOLULU) -- In his first weekly address of the New Year, President Obama touts the "fiscal cliff" compromise as "one more step in the broader effort to grow our economy and shrink our deficits" but warns that another "manufactured crisis" over the debt ceiling could wreak havoc on the economy.

Continuing his effort to frame the looming fight over the nation's debt limit, Obama makes clear "one thing I will not compromise over is whether or not Congress should pay the tab for a bill they’ve already racked up."

"If Congress refuses to give the United States the ability to pay its bills on time, the consequences for the entire global economy could be catastrophic," he continues. "The last time Congress threatened this course of action, our entire economy suffered for it."

Speaking from Hawaii, where the president is vacationing with his family, Obama cautions that another "messy brinksmanship" in Congress would make business owners and consumers less confident.

By the end of February, lawmakers must deal with the need to raise the nation's debt ceiling and tackle the delayed across-the-board sequester cuts.

Obama vows to do more to reduce the deficit but continues to insist that any future spending cuts must be balanced with tax reforms.

"The wealthiest individuals and the biggest corporations shouldn’t be able to take advantage of loopholes and deductions that aren’t available to most Americans," he says.

"If we focus on the interests of our country above the interests of party, I’m convinced we can cut spending and raise revenue in a manner that reduces our deficit and protects the middle class," he concludes. "These aren’t just things we should do – they’re things we must do.  And in this New Year, I’ll fight as hard as I know how to get them done."

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

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