Obama Weekly Address: GOP Filibustering Recovery & Obstructing Progress

WASHINGTON – In this week’s address, the President criticized the Republican leadership in the Senate for opposing initiatives which that would create jobs and strengthen the economy like cutting taxes for small businesses and extending unemployment insurance for Americans who have lost their jobs during the recession. Aiding small businesses and renewing unemployment insurance are not just the right things to do for those hit hardest by the recession, they are steps that will help strengthen the recovery. When crises strike Main Street, the President believes it’s important to put aside politics and act in the best interests of American families and small businesses.

Remarks of President Barack Obama
Weekly Address
The White House
July 17, 2010

This week, many of our largest corporations reported robust earnings – a positive sign of growth.

But too many of our small business owners and those who aspire to start their own small businesses continue to struggle, in part because they can’t get the credit they need to start up, grow, and hire.  And too many Americans whose livelihoods have fallen prey to the worst recession in our lifetimes – a recession that cost our economy eight million jobs – still wonder how they’ll make ends meet.

That’s why we need to take new, commonsense steps to help small businesses, grow our economy, and create jobs – and we need to take them now.

For months, that’s what we’ve been trying to do.  But too often, the Republican leadership in the United States Senate chooses to filibuster our recovery and obstruct our progress.  And that has very real consequences.

Consider what that obstruction means for our small businesses – the growth engines that create two of every three new jobs in this country.  A lot of small businesses still have trouble getting the loans and capital they need to keep their doors open and hire new workers.  So we proposed steps to get them that help:  Eliminating capital gains taxes on investments.  Establishing a fund for small lenders to help small businesses.  Enhancing successful SBA programs that help them access the capital they need.

But again and again, a partisan minority in the Senate said “no,” and used procedural tactics to block a simple, up-or-down vote.

Think about what these stalling tactics mean for the millions of Americans who’ve lost their jobs since the recession began.  Over the past several weeks, more than two million of them have seen their unemployment insurance expire.  For many, it was the only way to make ends meet while searching for work – the only way to cover rent, utilities, even food.

Three times, the Senate has tried to temporarily extend that emergency assistance.  And three times, a minority of Senators – basically the same crowd who said “no” to small businesses – said “no” to folks looking for work, and blocked a straight up-or-down vote. 

Some Republican leaders actually treat this unemployment insurance as if it’s a form of welfare. They say it discourages folks from looking for work.  Well, I’ve met a lot of folks looking for work these past few years, and I can tell you, I haven’t met any Americans who would rather have an unemployment check than a meaningful job that lets you provide for your family.  And we all have friends, neighbors, or family members who already knows how hard it is to land a job when five workers are competing for every opening.

Now in the past, Presidents and Congresses of both parties have treated unemployment insurance for what it is – an emergency expenditure.  That’s because an economic disaster can devastate families and communities just as surely as a flood or tornado. 

President Barack Obama - White House Photo, Samantha Appleton

Suddenly, Republican leaders want to change that.  They say we shouldn’t provide unemployment insurance because it costs money.  So after years of championing policies that turned a record surplus into a massive deficit, including a tax cut for the wealthiest Americans, they’ve finally decided to make their stand on the backs of the unemployed.  They’ve got no problem spending money on tax breaks for folks at the top who don’t need them and didn’t even ask for them; but they object to helping folks laid off in this recession who really do need help.  And every day this goes on, another 50,000 Americans lose that badly needed lifeline.

Well, I think these Senators are wrong.  We can’t afford to go back to the same misguided policies that led us into this mess.  We need to move forward with the policies that are leading us out of this mess.

The fact is, most economists agree that extending unemployment insurance is one of the single most cost-effective ways to help jumpstart the economy.  It puts money into the pockets of folks who not only need it most, but who also are most likely to spend it quickly.  That boosts local economies.  And that means jobs.

Increasing loans to small business.  Renewing unemployment insurance.  These steps aren’t just the right thing to do for those hardest hit by the recession – they’re the right thing to do for all of us.  And I’m calling on Congress once more to take these steps on behalf of America’s workers, and families, and small business owners – the people we were sent here to serve.

Because when storms strike Main Street, we don’t play politics with emergency aid.  We don’t desert our fellow Americans when they fall on hard times.  We come together.  We do what we can to help.  We rebuild stronger, and we move forward.  That’s what we’re doing today.  And I’m absolutely convinced that’s how we’re going to come through this storm to better days ahead. 


  4 comments for “Obama Weekly Address: GOP Filibustering Recovery & Obstructing Progress

  1. lefty
    July 17, 2010 at 10:58 am

    Republican legislation created this mess (& the wealth shift from the middle-class to the wealthy) – yet they stubbornly & arrogantly refuse to support fixing it, shamelessly pandering to their cronies on Wall Street.

    Democratic leadership could really use this against them – educating the public about the Republicans culpability in creating this mess – except for the fact that Bill Clinton joined the Republicans (NAFTA, PNTR, Gramm/ Leach/ Bliley Act, etc) & pressured many Congressional Democrats to do the same. So unfortunatly, it’s hands-off on giving “CREDIT WHERE CREDIT IS DUE” – it’s really costing the party – as the general public doesn’t understand why we have this mess in the first place.

    It’s now time to face-up to past mistakes – & FIX THEM.

    Let the Republicans try to obstruct that.

    • July 17, 2010 at 11:29 am

      (1) True: The Gramm/Leach/Bailey Act ended the Glass-Steagall standard for banking.
      (2) There was an amendment to the Dodd-Frank “Financial Reform” Act, that would of restored Glass-Steagall.
      (3) Obama did not allow this Glass-Steagall amendment to even be debated.

      The Dodd-Frank banking “reform” bill is a sham.

  2. July 17, 2010 at 6:33 pm


    Obama is doing via STEALTH what GEORGE BUSH COULD NOT DO DUE


  3. July 31, 2010 at 4:00 pm

    First, to gerald peechunks, are you stupid? I see you have been educating yourself in the school of glenn beck. The threat to social security, AND YOU KNOW IT, are the republicans and tea partiers who want to either abolish it or privatize it. in other words, unless you are one of the super wealthy, you won’t be getting it. It cracks me up when i see middle class wage earners who are voting against their best interests. It makes no sense. And as for the republican obstructionism, there are legitimate news media outlets who continue to educate the public to the dangers of what they are doing. I feel certain they will lose big time in november for the sins they have committed upon the middle class.

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