Press Releases: 2011

March 1, 2011
Today marks the 50th anniversary of the Peace Corps, established by President John F. Kennedy to foster international cooperation and provide life-changing service opportunities to generations of Americans. Since its founding, more than 200,000 Americans have served with the Peace Corps, promoting goodwill by addressing global needs and providing technical assistance to 139 countries throughout the world. Thanks to the hard work and service of its volunteers, more developing countries have the skilled workers needed to build and staff schools, strengthen public health, promote business development, increase access to clean water, and assist with other critical services.
February 25, 2011
While Republicans have now proposed a two week extension to keep the government open, we must stay focused on reaching a compromise to fund the government for the remainder of the fiscal year. Republicans must abandon the extreme and arbitrary cuts they called for in their spending bill that passed the House last week, and move closer to Democrats’ position of cutting spending in a smart, targeted way. I have talked to members of the Republican leadership, and I am hopeful we can resolve our differences on a long-term measure quickly so that we are not forced to continue funding the government in disruptive two-week increments that undermine efficiency. We need to seriously discuss how we can cut spending and invest in our nation’s future, and ensure that we continue the services which are essential to the American people and our economy. If we are going to get a handle on our nation’s deficit, we cannot continue to focus on a small portion of the budget. I hope Republicans will work with us to responsibly reduce the deficit and invest in the future of our economy.
February 18, 2011
I strongly oppose the Republican effort to defund the Affordable Care Act, which would take away critical new freedoms for consumers. The American people expect us to come together to create jobs and invest in our nation’s future. Yet the Republican spending bill—especially the amendments that would defund the health reform law and take away new consumer freedoms—makes the wrong choices for the American people.
February 14, 2011
Today, President Obama released his proposed Fiscal Year 2012 budget. The president’s budget makes the tough choices we need to reduce spending and put our nation’s fiscal house in order; in fact, it would reduce our deficit by $1.1 trillion over the next decade. At the same time, however, the budget identifies those investments we need to grow our economy and create jobs—investments in out-building, out-innovating, and out-educating competitors around the world. President Obama’s priorities—protecting our fiscal future while investing in growth—stand in strong contrast to the priorities of Republicans. Their spending bill for the rest of this fiscal year would make indiscriminate and short-sighted cuts to the investments our economy needs to stay competitive. I hope that Republicans will, instead, work with President Obama to reduce our deficit without sacrificing America’s competitive edge.
February 11, 2011
This evening, Republicans announced a spending bill that would severely damage our economy’s ability to grow and create jobs. Democrats agree that spending cuts are necessary to tackle our deep budget deficit...
February 11, 2011
Today, the world witnessed a remarkable display of the power of ordinary people peacefully assembling to demand change. The resignation of Egypt’s President Mubarak is an inspiring and well-deserved victory for the protesters who have stood against his government. But Egypt’s future is still uncertain: the goal of a secular, democratically-elected civilian government, which keeps peace with its neighbors and meets its treaty obligations, will still take hard work and perhaps quite some time to realize in full. From my service as Chair of the Helsinki Commission at the end of the Cold War, I understand that the transition to democracy is an arduous process for any nation. That’s certainly true for Egypt, as well: its people’s work to shape their future is beginning today, not ending.
February 11, 2011
Tomorrow, the Trade Adjustment Assistance program will expire. As a result, tens of thousands of American workers will lose essential benefits on Monday—because Republicans have failed to extend this vital jobs program. American workers who have lost their jobs as a result of trade have been able to rely on the TAA program to train for jobs in new industries or pursue further education, helping them stay competitive in a changing economy. Democrats—who have been pursuing the Make It In America agenda to create good jobs here and rebuild our middle class—believe that programs such as TAA are essential to our national competitiveness and to economic growth. But Republicans would rather spend hours debating a symbolic resolution on the House Floor than stop TAA benefits from expiring. Once again, Republicans have failed to take job creation seriously.
February 11, 2011
This resolution directs House committees to review federal regulations for their effect on our economy. I agree with it—in fact, that’s oversight that committees should already be doing. Democrats believe that it’s important to vigorously review regulations to make sure they’re keeping pace with a changing economy—and that’s why President Obama has already issued an executive order that calls for such a review.
February 9, 2011
While we wait to see Republicans’ full proposal, what we’ve seen so far shows that they have not made the careful decisions necessary to ensure that while we cut spending, we do not cut investments in our economic future. Democrats believe we must reduce the deficit and cut spending, but not at the expense of the investments that will pay off tomorrow with an educated workforce, cutting edge research that keeps our economy the world’s leader, and a strong infrastructure.
February 8, 2011
Today, Rep. Jane Harman announced that she is resigning from the House of Representatives to serve as the president of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, a nonpartisan policy think tank. For many years, I’ve known Jane as a close friend and a trusted colleague; she has brought to Congress her deep knowledge of both foreign and domestic policy and a willingness to work with colleagues on both sides of the aisle to advance our nation’s interests. Those qualities have made her a true asset to Congress and have won her wide admiration from Democrats and Republicans alike. She is a leading voice on national security, who has built strong relationships with leaders around the world. And the same qualities that made Jane so valuable to Congress will also serve her well as leader of the Wilson Center. And while I will miss her sincerely, I wish her all the best as she continues her service to our country in a new role.
February 8, 2011
I tell people the Democratic party sees themselves as the party of workers, but if we're going to be the party of workers, we have to be the party of employers. People have to understand that synergy. I think it's appropriate that the President reaches out. We have an agenda that I call Make It In America. That has a number of meanings. Obviously going to make it, you are going to succeed. But also that we're going to manufacture things, make things and sell them abroad, grow things and sell them abroad. The President wants to double exports. The way we'll do that is to have a working relationship between business and the Congress and the President.
February 7, 2011
Today, the results of Southern Sudan’s secession referendum were released: they show that the people of Southern Sudan have overwhelmingly voted to secede from the north. This referendum marks an historic moment: it is an opportunity for the people of Sudan, both north and south, to put to rest the legacy of Africa’s bloodiest civil war. An independent Southern Sudan means the possibility of peace and security for its people; for those who have suffered from decades of civil strife, today is a day of great hope. I am grateful to those in Sudan, the international community, the Obama Administration, and the humanitarian community who helped make this vote possible.
February 4, 2011
Today’s employment report for January shows that America’s private sector grew for the 13th month in a row. For the second straight month, our unemployment rate dropped by .4%, to 9.0%, matching the sharpest one-month decline since 1998. But more needs to be done for the millions of Americans who are still out of work.
February 3, 2011
 I believe it is essential that Washington return to fiscal responsibility and tackle our deep debt. While cutting spending is part of the solution, a responsible approach must recognize there are federal investments that can best help grow our economy and create jobs. The Republican plan to cut those job-creating investments is dangerously short-sighted. The economy is starting to move again, but Republican policies would put the brakes on it. And Republicans are ignoring the calls from business, education and other leaders to increase key investments in innovation, education, and infrastructure that are at the heart of economic growth and job creation. Just as few parents would immediately cut back on their children’s education to balance their household budget, America should not follow Republican proposals to shortchange the future.
February 2, 2011
This afternoon, House Democrats held an important hearing on the ongoing work of job-creation and economic recovery for the middle class. As President Obama has argued persuasively, wise investments in innovation, education, and infrastructure are essential to America’s economic competitiveness and to creating a future of well-paying jobs. That's why Democrats continue to work to pass the Make It In America agenda, legislation aimed at rebuilding America's manufacturing strength and middle-class opportunity. It's also why Democrats have helped states and cities across our country finance much-needed roads and bridges, water and sewer projects, hospitals, energy projects, public utilities, and more. These projects mean immediate jobs--but they also mean a strong foundation for future growth.
February 2, 2011
The vote in the Senate today on the Affordable Care Act is a distraction from what the American people want us to focus on – jobs. This vote shows that Republicans are not only ignoring Americans’ priorities, but are trying to put insurance companies back in charge of American families’ health care. The American people do not support repealing critical patient protections in the new law, such as ending discrimination against people with pre-existing conditions, making prescription drugs more affordable for America’s seniors, and allowing young Americans to stay on their parents’ plans until the age of 26
February 1, 2011
Each February, America observes Black History Month to honor the legacy of the generations of African-Americans who made indelible contributions to every sphere of our national life, from culture and business to politics and science. Our nation was founded on an ideal of equality, an ideal that has the power to bind us together as Americans, no matter our race or walk of life. But for centuries, America was also marked by a failure to live up to that founding promise; as a result, African-Americans were marginalized from our national life and largely excluded from the retelling of our history. We mark Black History Month as an effort to tell an American story that is more truthful—one that recognizes the more than 400 years of African-Americans whose lives helped to make our country what it is today.
January 31, 2011
Today’s court ruling is one of many different district court rulings on this matter and represents one individual step in an ongoing judicial process. I am confident that when the legal process has been concluded, the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act will be upheld.
January 31, 2011
I strongly support the new ‘Startup America’ initiative, which goes hand-in-hand with House Democrats’ Make It In America agenda to strengthen our manufacturing sector and ensure middle-class families can succeed. I look forward to working with President Obama as we move to unleash the spirit of innovation and entrepreneurship that is so unique to the American economy. It is that spirit that will keep driving job creation and keep the U.S. as the world leader in the 21st century global economy.  
January 26, 2011
Today’s deficit report from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office shows our deficit is at an unsustainable level, clearly demonstrating the need for bipartisan action to put our country’s fiscal house in order. It is encouraging that the CBO’s forecast for economic growth has improved since its last report in August. Our economy is expected to continue growing--a positive outlook due, in part, to the Democratic policies that have helped put Americans back to work.
January 25, 2011
President Obama delivered a compelling vision of how we can work together to address America’s challenges. While our economy is on the road back to health, we know we still have a long way to go—and tonight, the president discussed a strategy for getting us there.
January 21, 2011
A year ago, with its ruling in the Citizens United case, the Supreme Court struck a severe blow against the integrity of American elections. Overturning longstanding precedent, the Court's ruling allowed special interests to spend unlimited amounts of money to directly influence elections, while keeping their identities hidden from the voters. The Citizens United ruling took power out of the hands of ordinary voters and placed it in the hands of wealthy and well-connected interests.  
January 20, 2011
Yesterday, House Republicans voted to undo Americans’ hard-won freedom to control their own health care. Today, they passed a largely empty resolution, which demonstrates Republicans’ lack of seriousness when it comes to bringing down premiums, ensuring that all Americans have health coverage, and reducing the deficit. Rather than debate a real health care plan—which they have had ample time to develop—Republicans passed a resolution declaring their support for 12 vague health care ‘goals.’ But they took no steps to ensure that those goals would ever result in real health care legislation and set no deadlines for such legislation to be passed. Rather than a fresh start, today’s resolution is just another example of how Republicans have failed to make the tough choices necessary to reform our health care system.
January 18, 2011
I’m deeply saddened by the loss of Sargent Shriver, a public servant who lived a full life dedicated to promoting justice and opportunity in America and throughout the world. As the first director of the Peace Corps, Mr. Shriver skillfully launched an organization that has strengthened respect for America across the world and has, for 50 years, exposed generations of Americans to the world beyond their borders. Mr. Shriver also made his mark as the director of important anti-poverty programs and as the leader of the Special Olympics movement. He brought to all of that work a singular commitment to service—and his good work will long outlive him.
January 17, 2011
Today we honor the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the ordinary Americans who took up his call for justice and changed their country. The great historian Taylor Branch called them ‘the modern founders of democracy.’ They sought to complete the work of America’s founding—and it falls to us, in turn, to complete their work. At the heart of that work there are not speeches and spectacles, but daily acts of service.