President Obama began this week’s address by praising the latest jobs numbers, a rebounding stock market and a quickening pace for new home sales. “And we need to do everything we can to keep that momentum going,” he said. “At a time when our businesses are gaining a little more traction, the last thing we should do is allow Washington politics to get in the way.” That's why he met with Republican senators on Wednesday, and is making plans to attend both the Democratic and Republican Party meetings in Congress next week. He hopes to “untangle some of the gridlock” and continue discussions to end the sequester. Obama acknowledged that progress won’t be easy, but added “I still believe we can come together to do big things.”
Full transcript of the President's remarks below the fold, or you can read it at the White House website.
Remarks of President Barack Obama
The White House
March 9, 2013
Hi, everybody. My top priority as President is making sure we do everything we can to reignite the true engine of America’s economic growth – a rising, thriving middle class.
Yesterday, we received some welcome news on that front. We learned that our businesses added nearly 250,000 new jobs last month. The unemployment rate fell to 7.7% – still too high, but now lower than it was when I took office.
Our businesses have created jobs every month for three years straight – nearly 6.4 million new jobs in all. Our manufacturers are bringing jobs back to America. Our stock market has rebounded. New homes are being built and sold at a faster pace. And we need to do everything we can to keep that momentum going.
That means asking ourselves three questions every day: How do we make America a magnet for new jobs? How do we equip more of our people with the skills those jobs require? And how do we make sure that your hard work leads to a decent living?
That has to be our driving focus – our North Star. And at a time when our businesses are gaining a little more traction, the last thing we should do is allow Washington politics to get in the way. You deserve better than the same political gridlock and refusal to compromise that has too often passed for serious debate over the last few years.
That’s why I’ve been reaching out to Republicans and Democrats to see if we can untangle some of the gridlock. Earlier this week, I met with some Republican Senators to see if there were smarter ways to grow our economy and reduce our deficits than the arbitrary cuts and the so-called “sequester” that recently went into place. We had an open and honest conversation about critical issues like immigration reform and gun violence, and other areas where we can work together to move this country forward. And next week, I’ll attend both the Democratic and Republican party meetings in the Capitol to continue those discussions.
The fact is, America is a nation of different beliefs and different points of view. That’s what makes us strong, and frankly, makes our democratic debates messy and often frustrating. But ultimately what makes us special is when we summon the ability to see past those differences, and come together around the belief that what binds us together will always be more powerful than what drives us apart.
As Democrats and Republicans, we may disagree on the best way to achieve our goals, but I’m confident we can agree on what those goals should be. A strong and vibrant middle class. An economy that allows businesses to grow and thrive. An education system that gives more Americans the skills they need to compete for the jobs of the future. An immigration system that actually works for families and businesses. Stronger communities and safer streets for our children.
Making progress on these issues won’t be easy. In the months ahead, there will be more contentious debate and honest disagreement between principled people who want what’s best for this country. But I still believe that compromise is possible. I still believe we can come together to do big things. And I know there are leaders on the other side who share that belief.
So I’ll keep fighting to solve the real challenges facing middle-class families. And I’ll enlist anyone who is willing to help. That’s what this country needs now – and that’s what you deserve.