Press Releases: 2011

April 14, 2011
We had a good meeting in the White House yesterday. I think a good, frank discussion. I think the President’s speech laid out essentially what the Commission that he appointed, which was headed by former Chief of Staff Bowles and former Senator Alan Simpson, which said yes, we need to bring spending down. I think that’s generally agreed upon. We’ve got to rein in deficit and debt, it’s dangerous to our economy, our people and our competitiveness internationally. What the President indicated yesterday was yes, we’ve got it bring it down. We’re going to cut spending by about two-thirds of that $4 trillion he wants to cut over the next 12 years and rely on revenues, that is paying for what we buy, for the other third, which is essentially the formula that the Commission set forward. David Stockman in referring to the alternative Ryan budget made it very clear that he thought that was not a reasonable alternative. And that in fact, we had to rely to a much greater degree than the Republicans, who say absolutely no, on revenues.
April 14, 2011
Thank you for inviting me to testify today on the important work of the Election Assistance Commission—and why we must make sure that work continues.
April 13, 2011
Tomorrow, Republicans will mark their 100th day in the House majority, and it is now clear that they will have failed to consider even a single piece of legislation to create jobs. Today, underscoring that inaction, instead of trying to help put Americans back to work, they voted to repeal an important program to help Americans stay healthy, and help our country save money.
April 13, 2011
Budgets are a reflection of values and priorities, and the Democratic budget introduced today shows that we are focused on strengthening the economy and bringing down the deficit. This budget lays out an alternate vision of how we can reduce the deficit while protecting investments in job creation and the future of our economy. It reduces the deficit in a balanced way, unlike the Republican budget which makes working families and seniors bear the burden while cutting taxes for the wealthy and special interests. I want to commend Ranking Member Chris Van Hollen for his work on putting together this budget.
April 13, 2011
Well, I thought the President's speech was an excellent speech and what he essentially outlined was the vision that he sees going forward. First of all, he recognized that the deficit is a critical problem we must confront but we must confront it according to the President, and I agree with him, within the framework of the values that we hold dear in this country. And that is, as your previous discussion indicated, making sure that we take care of one another. He did contrast his vision with that of the Republican budget offered by Mr. Ryan, the Budget Chairman in the House, a vision which gets to the same objective of cutting $4 trillion in spending and getting toward balanced budgets but also indicated it should not be in the context of doing away with Medicare as we know it, substantially putting those on Medicaid at great risk by eliminating its guarantees, by cutting such programs as Head Start and other early education and investment in the education of our children so we will be competitive internationally; and at the same time, giving $1 trillion worth of tax cuts to the wealthiest in Americaa.
April 13, 2011
Today, President Obama outlined a fiscally-responsible plan that would reduce our deficit by $4 trillion over the next 12 years. It subjects our entire budget, including defense spending, to the scrutiny we need to find savings. And it calls for a fairer, simpler tax code that would mean lower rates for businesses and families.
April 13, 2011
I am deeply saddened by the death of Sidney Harman, an outstanding civic leader and husband of my good friend, Congresswoman Jane Harman. Sidney was a dynamic businessman and philanthropist who left lasting legacies in fields as diverse as education, the arts, and journalism. He lived a long and remarkable life, and I know that his achievements will long outlive him. At this sad time, my thoughts and condolences are with his wife, Congresswoman Harman, his children, and all those who mourn his passing.
April 13, 2011
On the CR, I'm still looking at it and our members are still looking at it, but clearly we want to keep the government running. Clearly we needed to reach compromise, and I think the President and Mr. Reid tried to reach the best compromise that was possible.
April 12, 2011
On Equal Pay Day we recognize the extra amount of time a woman must work – from January 1, 2010 to April 12, 2011 – for her wages to equal what a man could earn during 2010 alone. Today, women earn just 75% of what men earn, and the wage gap is even greater for minority women and older women. With women making a growing share of family income, this inequity is felt by families throughout the country. It is past time for this injustice to come to an end.
April 10, 2011
 I'm pleased President Obama will be giving a speech this week to lay out a path of action to seriously address our nation's deficit. I strongly believe that reducing the deficit is critical to ensuring the long-term strength of our economy. Entitlement reform must be part of that effort, to ensure that Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid are protected for seniors and working families, as well as strong for generations to come. This can only be done in a bipartisan way, and I hope Republicans work with us and put all options on the table. I support President Obama's focus on this issue, and stand ready to work with him.
April 8, 2011
Tonight President Obama, Senator Reid, and Speaker Boehner announced that a deal has been reached to fund the government for the remainder of the fiscal year. I am pleased that Republicans backed away from their hardline position of shutting the government down over divisive social issues. I will carefully review the details to ensure it contains spending cuts that do not greatly harm our ability to create jobs and invest in our economy. I believe that we must reduce the deficit, but it can be done in a way that protects investments in our future. I want to thank the President and Congressional leaders for their efforts to reach an agreement.
April 8, 2011
I hope the Speaker can come forward and say, we're ready to move forward and keep the government open and we can move on. The fact of the matter is it's been self-evident for some period of time now that this issue was not over dollars. We made substantial cuts in spending. We know we need to make cuts. We need to effect efficiencies and bring this deficit under control. The fact is this has not been about dollars. It's about social policy. It's been about, in particular, as you pointed out, women's health issues.
April 8, 2011
We have a history, a pattern of the Republicans taking control and shutting down the government as they did in 1995. It hasn't happened since then, even when we had disagreements when George Bush and the Democratic Congress. It’s not an alternative we ought to be taking. I think we're very close. [Democrats] have come 70% of the way in terms of dollars. That’s a long way to go in terms of trying to reach compromise. Now as the President and Harry Reid pointed out, there are social issues which the Republicans are holding hostage the government.
April 7, 2011
 We tried to have a unanimous consent for resolution that would in fact have kept the government open without question. The President would have signed it and the Senate would have passed it. It was what we usually do. That is a bridge to allow you to cross over and not fall into the river until you get an agreement. Unfortunately, it was not passed. And what we did pass is a resolution that the President said he would veto. Not on numbers, not on cutting spending, not on keeping troops in place, but social policy being adopted unrelated to numbers, which the President clearly indicated he was not for. I frankly think what we’re doing is playing chicken. We're driving down the road. We agreed to 70% of the cuts proposed. 70% of the cuts they proposed. And the other side says--the founder of the [Tea Party Patriots] said today that if John Boehner brought in $99 billion, he said that wouldn't be enough.
April 7, 2011
 …there is not a group that I’ve talked to, no matter how liberal, how conservative, whether it's a Democratic group, a non-partisan group, anywhere in this country and I’ve talked to a number of the heads of major corporations and I’ve talked to a lot of heads of small corporations… and all of them are appreciative of the fact that we have focused the Congress of the United States, the Administration and America on the importance of making things in America.
April 6, 2011
Republicans have announced that they are bringing to the House Floor a divisive and partisan spending bill, which will not pass the Senate. Their refusal to make tough choices moves us closer to a government shutdown, which will severely threaten our economic recovery. Instead of partisan maneuvering, we should be working to quickly find a compromise on a long-term spending bill that tackles our deficit. If that work needs a few more days, then we should pass a simple, bipartisan bill to keep the government open for the American people. Democrats are presenting such a bill as our alternative to the Republicans’ partisan patch. It is time for members of both parties who understand that ‘my way or the highway’ doesn’t work in a democracy to compromise and prevent a government shutdown.
April 6, 2011
Today’s development on issues of worker rights and violence against workers is a positive and important step towards passage of the Colombia FTA. These issues needed to be addressed, and I am pleased the Administration and Colombian government have agreed to a concrete action plan. Colombia is a key ally in South America, and it is in our economic and national security interests to further strengthen that relationship. I look forward to working with the Administration to advance the Colombia FTA, which I continue to support. As we work to enact the three pending trade agreements, we must also extend expired provisions of the Trade Adjustment Assistance program that help American workers who have lost their jobs as a result of trade.
April 6, 2011
There's so many Republicans taking the position that you either take what we passed, we'll not compromise, or we're going to shut down the government. That won't work. I think we're close and I think frankly if Mr. Boehner would put on the Floor a bill, which goes almost three quarters of the way toward where he wanted to go, three quarters of the way to where they wanted to go between their zero and 100, I think we could pass it.
April 5, 2011
Democrats believe that tackling our debt deserves serious action and shared sacrifice from all Americans—but the Republican budget shows they have the wrong priorities. It would severely damage America’s ability to out-innovate, out-educate, and out-build its competitors, and would harm job creation at a critical point in our recovery. It would end Medicare as we know it, shifting health care costs onto seniors. And it would dismantle Medicaid, restricting access to care for the most vulnerable Americans. But then Republicans find the money to give trillions of dollars in tax cuts to the wealthiest Americans.
April 4, 2011
 I am deeply saddened by the death of former Congressman John Adler of New Jersey. Like all those who were privileged to know John, I admired and respected him as a dedicated and passionate public servant. From local government to the U.S. Capitol, John was a principled advocate of high ethical standards, a clean environment, and the economic security of all Americans. A life of service to his community and his nation was cut off far too soon—but in the time he was with us, John made a real and lasting difference. My sincere condolences are with his wife, Shelley, their four sons, and all those touched by this untimely loss.
April 1, 2011
Today’s employment numbers are encouraging news for Americans. Our economy added 216,000 jobs in March, and our private sector grew for the 15th straight month. The unemployment rate dropped to 8.8%, its lowest level in two years. Nevertheless, that unemployment rate represents millions of Americans still feeling the effects of the worst economic crisis of our lifetimes. Americans need to be confident that their government is building on our economic recovery, not undermining it.
March 31, 2011
Today, America honors the pioneering labor leader César Chávez on what would have been his 84th birthday. Chávez spent his life fighting for the rights and dignity of Latino farmworkers and the underprivileged. He is rightly remembered as one of the greatest civil rights leaders of the 20th century. We can honor his legacy by carrying forward the principles for which he worked so hard: workers’ right to organize, fair and safe labor conditions, freedom from racial discrimination, and opportunity for all Americans.
March 31, 2011
Tomorrow, the report on March's job creation numbers will be released. We don't yet know what the report will tell us--but we do know that if the report is positive, Republicans will claim credit for it. But those claims will have little basis in reality. In fact, Republicans have done nothing to spark job creation: after 13 weeks in the House majority, they have yet to even consider a single job-creating bill. Instead, House Republicans have passed a spending bill full of reckless cuts to investments in our growth--a bill that nonpartisan observers agree will cost hundreds of thousands of jobs. Republicans have been working to destroy jobs, not create them; any Republican attempts to ignore that record and claim credit for job growth should be met with deep skepticism.
March 30, 2011
I congratulate the Congressional Black Caucus on 40 proud and successful years and I honor their service to our nation. The principles of the CBC— equal rights, social justice, and security and opportunity for all Americans—have guided us in some of our most important work here in Congress. And I am proud to have partnered with the CBC to advocate for health care for every American; for fairer drug sentencing; for action to protect human rights in Darfur and ensure the birth of a secure and stable Southern Sudan; and for aid to our disaster-struck neighbor, Haiti, among other important issues.
March 30, 2011
I applaud President Obama for announcing an ambitious goal of reducing oil imports by one-third by 2025. Reducing our dependence on foreign oil is an economic imperative—and a national security imperative. The continuing unrest in the Middle East and the rise of gas prices is a wake-up call that we must become more energy independent. Democrats are committed to increasing energy independence and security; in fact, we enacted the first new fuel efficiency standards for cars in 32 years.