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Tag Archive | "State of the Union"

State of the Union Talking Points from the White House

Rescue, Rebuild, Restore – A New Foundation for Prosperity

The President is going to talk directly to the American people about restoring security for middle class families after a lost decade of declining wages, eroding retirement security and escalating health care and tuition costs. The President will talk to the American people about steps we need to take to build on the work we did this past year to bring the economy back from the brink of a depression. While the worst of the economic crisis has passed, for too many American families and businesses the wreckage remains.

He’ll call on Congress to pass a jobs bill to jumpstart private sector job creation with:

  • Investments in small businesses;
  • Investments in Green Jobs and clean energy;
  • Investments in road, bridge, rail and port projects; and
  • Policies to spur more exports of American manufactured products.

The President will talk to the American people about meeting the challenges that have hurt middle class families, and those who aspire to it, by building a New Foundation of prosperity for American families and businesses.

He’ll call on Congress to pass Education reforms that transform families and strengthen the country;

He’ll call on Congress to pass meaningful Financial Reforms that hold Wall Street accountable, makes sure no bank is ever too big to fail and provide clear rules of the road that give the American consumer the clear information they need to make financial decisions;

He’ll call on Congress to enact Energy Reform that creates the jobs of tomorrow, increases our energy independence and reduces pollution;

He’ll call on Congress to enact fiscal reform that recognizes that the deficits and debt exploded the last decade before the President took office.

He’ll propose measures to deal with the costs of bringing the economy back from the brink of a depression and call on Congress to engage in the bi-partisan work required to address the debt that was accumulated in the last decade.

He’ll ask Congress, Democrats and Republicans, to continue the work on health reform.

He’ll remind all members that premiums will continue to rise; businesses will continue to drop coverage and more families will deal with insurance company abuses if we don’t act.

The President will also speak directly to the American people and to Congress about changing the way business is done in Washington so that the American people know that their interests always come before the special interests.

He’ll call for more transparency so that the public is always aware of what’s being done on their behalf. The President will talk about his efforts to better protect the American people. After inheriting two wars and a growing terrorist threat, he will review the steps that he has taken to increase the pressure on al Qaeda, and refocus on Afghanistan. He will discuss the progress made in carrying out his plan to end the war in Iraq. And he will announce a new plan to protect the American people from bio-terrorism and infectious disease.

The President has renewed America’s alliances and standing in the world. He will preview the progress that we are poised to make as we near completion of a landmark arms control agreement with Russia, and prepare to host a Nuclear Security Summit in April that will rally the world behind the goal of securing all loose nuclear materials. He will also speak about America’s leadership on issues like global economic growth, climate change, and human rights.

For over a decade, American families have been working harder and falling further behind. As college become less affordable; retirement savings become less secure; home values plummet; health insurance premiums and co-pays eat into wages and the cost of living explodes, the standard of living for American families continues to decline.

While they meet their responsibilities and play by the rules, they have seen the special interests and those with political access in Washington get farther and farther ahead. Rather than seeing policies that encourage responsible behavior, American families have too often seen Washington reward irresponsibility while passing on debt to future generations.

The President will talk about the need for change that the American people want and expect. For a decade, American families and businesses have experienced an erosion of the economic security that has been at the core of our prosperity. Tonight the President will lay out his vision on what steps are required to restore that security and how Washington should do its work in a way that reflects the best of our people and our democracy.

Posted in ReformComments Off on State of the Union Talking Points from the White House

Capital Thinking Podcast

In the President’s State of the Union Address, he did not lay out a path to passing health care reform and as the days pass, Democratic Leadership has yet to determine the best way, or even whether to, move comprehensive reform. Despite House Speaker Nancy’s Pelosi’s earlier declaration that she does not have the votes to pass the Senate reform bill, Senate Majority Leader Reid has signaled that the option remains alive. Specifically, the House could pass the Senate bill along with changes to the legislation in a reconciliation bill that would only require 51 votes in the Senate for passage. We expect the trajectory of health care reform legislation to become more apparent prior to the week-long President’s Day recess.

Last week, the Senate passed a resolution to increase the debt ceiling, which creates a path for potential consideration of a five-year Medicare physician payment fix that would be exempt from the pay-go rules. Congressional action is necessary to prevent a 21 percent Medicare physician payment cut from going into effect on March 1, 2010.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services released an interim final rule, which implements the Wellstone-Domenici Act, requiring that any group health plan that offers both mental health and substance abuse benefits along with standard medical coverage must treat them equally – same out-of-pocket costs, benefit limits and practices. The regulation is effective for plan years beginning on or after July 1, 2010.

Today, President Obama will release his Fiscal Year 2011 budget.  In his State of the Union Address, the President announced that discretionary government spending will be frozen for three years. In June 2009, the Office of Management and Budget Director Peter Orzsag provided directed agencies to freeze FY 2011 discretionary funding at FY 2010 levels or reduce spending by 5 percent.  According to the OMB memorandum, the President’s budget goals are to “encourage economic growth, invest in the future, and responsibly govern the Nation.” Executive Departments and their agencies are hosting budget briefings early in the week and a number of Cabinet officials are scheduled to testify before Congress at budget hearings.

Posted in Capital Check-Up, Podcasts, ReformComments Off on Capital Thinking Podcast

Reflections on the State of the Union Address

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On January 27, 2010, President Barack Obama gave his first State of the Union Address. 

Health Care

The election of Republican Scott Brown to the Senate brought the Democratic agenda, particularly health care reform, to a halt. During last year’s unofficial address to Congress in February, the President recognized the difficult legislative hurdles that stood before him and Congress. He stated: “I suffer no illusions that this will be an easy process. It will be hard. That nearly a century after Teddy Roosevelt first called for reform, the cost of our health care has weighed down our economy and the conscience of our nation long enough. So let there be no doubt: health care reform cannot wait, it must not wait, and it will not wait another year.” He urged Congress to address the crushing cost of health care, guarantee choice of doctors and health plans, invest in prevention and wellness, improve patient safety and quality of care, and end barriers to coverage for people with pre-existing medical conditions.

In recent days, the White House has confirmed that the President’s preference is to pass a bill that meets the principles he laid out months ago. He recently stated that he “didn’t take up this issue to boost [his] poll numbers or score political points” and that he is “not going to watch more people get crushed by costs, or denied the care they need by insurance company bureaucrats, or partisan politics, or special interest power in Washington.” Last night, President Obama confirmed that he will work with Democrats and Republicans and will not give up the fight for health reform. Democrats are undecided on how to proceed and at a minimum have decided to take their time on choosing the best path forward. During his remarks last night, the President signaled that it is still his desire to make health reform a priority. He urged “everyone to take another look at the plan we’ve proposed [and] find a way to come together and finish the job for the American people.” However, the speech also indicated a shift in priority of the President’s goals, with health care remaining an important objective, but a less significant one.

Posted in Legislation, ReformComments Off on Reflections on the State of the Union Address

Capital Thinking Podcast

Last week’s election of Republican Scott Brown to the Senate brought the Democratic agenda, particularly health care reform, to a halt. This week, the President is scheduled to give his State of the Union Address and will need to work to reassure the American public that that the Democratic agenda is the vehicle to move the country in the right direction.

The Massachusetts election only makes the President’s planned message of job creation and economic recovery all the more important.  The outcome of the election was in large part a referendum on the economy with a nearly 10 percent unemployment rate and the year-long health care reform debate. The President will certainly speak about health care possibly with a tie in to job creation. A recent report released by the liberal think tank, Center for American Progress, asserts that health care reform could increase the number of jobs in the U.S. by 250,000 to 400,000 per year in the next 10 years. The report estimates that reform will create more than 200,000 new jobs in manufacturing and nearly 900,000 jobs in services by 2016. The Administration will continue to push for health care reform as a way to improve the economy and to help alleviate the pressure of increasing health care costs on middle-class families.

Governor Bob McDonnell of Virginia, who was sworn into office just last week, will deliver the Republican address following the President’s State of the Union address. Having made a first order of business the creation of a statewide commission dedicated to creating jobs, the Governor will discuss the failure of the Democrats to adequately address the weak state of the economy. We expect that he will classify the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the Democrats’ most significant legislation in 2009, as failing to create or save jobs.

Whether President Obama lays out a plan for health care reform during his State of the Union Address or not, unless Speaker Pelosi brings House Democrats together to pass the Senate bill, we expect that incremental reform legislation is the path that Democrats are most likely to use.

Posted in Capital Check-Up, Podcasts, ReformComments Off on Capital Thinking Podcast