WASHINGTON D. C. — Yesterday, President Barack Obama held a press conference. Among the things he discussed were the economy, jobs, the debt ceiling, and the need for Congress to act; Right Now.
In his press conference, the President took questions on anything the White House press corps could think of, but his primary argument was on the economy, the deficits, and the consequences of Congress not acting and allowing America to default on its debt. He made clear that while he continues to work on everything from streamlining regulations to getting capital to small business, there are things Congress can do right now to grow the economy and create jobs – including putting construction workers back to work rebuilding our country, passing into law trade agreements that will increase exports and create jobs and coming to an agreement to reduce the deficit. As he explained, reducing our deficits has to be done in a fair and balanced way, and that means those in Congress who are looking only at cutting core priorities like education and medical research and cutting Medicare benefits for seniors while excluding even the most egregious tax loopholes for special interests and the very wealthiest Americans need to come to the table.
On improving the economy and creating jobs the President said:
There are things that Congress could do right now that will help create good jobs. Right now, Congress can send me a bill that would make it easier for entrepreneurs to patent a new product or idea –- because we can’t give innovators in other countries a big leg up when it comes to opening new businesses and creating new jobs. That’s something Congress could do right now.
Right now, Congress could send me a bill that puts construction workers back on the job rebuilding roads and bridges –- not by having government fund and pick every project, but by providing loans to private companies and states and local governments on the basis of merit and not politics. That’s pending in Congress right now.
Right now, Congress can advance a set of trade agreements that would allow American businesses to sell more of their goods and services to countries in Asia and South America -– agreements that would support tens of thousands of American jobs while helping those adversely affected by trade. That’s pending before Congress right now.
And right now, we could give middle-class families the security of knowing that the tax cut I signed in December will be there for one more year.
So there are a number of steps that my administration is taking, but there are also a number of steps that Congress could be taking right now on items that historically have had bipartisan support and that would help put more Americans back to work.
Many of these ideas have been tied up in Congress for some time. But, as I said, all of them enjoy bipartisan support, and all of them would help grow the economy. So I urge Congress to act on these ideas now.
On the Debt Ceiling talks the president had this to say:
August 2nd is a very important date. And there’s no reason why we can’t get this done now. We know what the options are out there. This is not a technical problem any longer. This is a matter of Congress going ahead and biting the bullet and making some tough decisions. Because we know what the decisions are. We’ve identified what spending cuts are possible. We’ve identified what defense cuts are possible. We’ve identified what health care cuts are possible. We’ve identified what loopholes in the tax code can be closed that would also raise revenue. We’ve identified what the options are. And the question now is are we going to step up and get this done.
And, you know, Malia and Sasha generally finish their homework a day ahead of time. Malia is 13, Sasha is 10…They don’t wait until the night before. They’re not pulling all-nighters. They’re 13 and 10. Congress can do the same thing. If you know you’ve got to do something, just do it.
And I’ve got to say, I’m very amused when I start hearing comments about, well, the President needs to show more leadership on this. Let me tell you something. Right after we finished dealing with the government shutdown, averting a government shutdown, I called the leaders here together. I said we’ve got to get done — get this done. I put Vice President Biden in charge of a process — that, by the way, has made real progress — but these guys have met, worked through all of these issues. I met with every single caucus for an hour to an hour and a half each — Republican senators, Democratic senators; Republican House, Democratic House. I’ve met with the leaders multiple times. At a certain point, they need to do their job.
And so, this thing, which is just not on the level, where we have meetings and discussions, and we’re working through process, and when they decide they’re not happy with the fact that at some point you’ve got to make a choice, they just all step back and say, well, you know, the President needs to get this done — they need to do their job.
Now is the time to go ahead and make the tough choices. That’s why they’re called leaders. And I’ve already shown that I’m willing to make some decisions that are very tough and will give my base of voters further reason to give me a hard time. But it’s got to be done.
And so there’s no point in procrastinating. There’s no point in putting it off. We’ve got to get this done. And if by the end of this week, we have not seen substantial progress, then I think members of Congress need to understand we are going to start having to cancel things and stay here until we get it done.
They’re in one week, they’re out one week. And then they’re saying, Obama has got to step in. You need to be here. I’ve been here. I’ve been doing Afghanistan and bin Laden and the Greek crisis. You stay here. Let’s get it done.
Below is the video of the entire press conference. Click Here for the transcript.