Transcript: President Obama on Congress and the economic recovery
Edited by Jenny Jiang
*Excerpt from press briefing held on Aug. 20, 2012
Transcript of President Barack Obama’s comments* on Congress and the economic recovery:
“…with the economy and unemployment still the focus of so many Americans, what they can expect in the next couple months out of Washington, if anything, when it comes to any attempt to bring some more economic growth to the country.”
“…In terms of the economy, I would love to say that when Congress comes back — they’ve got a week or 10 days before they go out and start campaigning again — that we’re going to see a flurry of action. I can’t guarantee that. I do think that there’s some specific things they could do that would make a big difference. I’ll give you a couple of examples.
“First of all, just making sure that we’ve got what’s called a continuing resolution so that we don’t have any disruptions and government shutdowns over the next couple months, that’s important. It appears that there’s an agreement on that, but we want to make sure that that gets done.
“Number two, we have put forward an idea that I think a lot of Americans think makes sense, which is we’ve got historically low interest rates now, and the housing market is beginning to tick back up but it’s still not at all where it needs to be. There are a lot of families out there whose homes are underwater. They owe more than the house is worth because housing values dropped so precipitously, and they’re having trouble refinancing.
“We’re going to be pushing Congress to see if they can pass a refinancing bill that puts $3,000 into the pockets of the average family who hasn’t yet refinanced their mortgage. That’s a big deal. That $3,00 can be used to strengthen the equity in that person’s home, which would raise home values. Alternatively, that’s $3,000 in people’s pockets that they can spend on a new computer for their kid going back to school, or new school clothes for their kids, and so that would strengthen the economy as well.
“Obviously, the biggest thing that Congress could do would be to come up with a sensible approach to reducing our deficit in ways that we had agreed to and talked about last year. And I continue to be open to seeing Congress approach this with a balanced plan that has tough spending cuts, building on the trillion dollars’ worth of spending cuts that we’ve already made, but also asks for additional revenue from folks like me, from folks in the top 1 or 2 percent, to make sure that folks who can least afford it aren’t suddenly bearing the burden, and we’re providing some additional certainty to small businesses and families going forward.
“Alternatively, they could go ahead and vote for a bill that we’ve said would definitely strengthen the economy, and that is giving everybody who’s making $250,000 a year or less certainty that their taxes aren’t going to go down [sic] next year. That would make a big difference.
“Now, obviously the Republicans have voted that down already once. It’s not likely, realistically, that they’re going to bring it back up again before Election Day. But my hope is after the election, people will step back and recognize that that’s a sensible way to bring down our deficit and allow us to still invest in things like education that are going to help the economy grow.”
- WhiteHouse.gov: Remarks by the President to the White House Press Corps
- YouTube.com/WhiteHouse: President Obama Holds News Conference on Aug. 20, 2012
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