President Obama & Vice President Joe Biden

President Obama & Vice President Joe Biden

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Ensuring Equal Pay for Equal Work

Remarks of President Barack Obama
Weekly Address
The White House
April 12, 2014
Hi, everybody.  Earlier this week was Equal Pay Day.  It marks the extra time the average woman has to work into a new year to earn what a man earned the year before.  You see, the average woman who works full-time in America earns less than a man – even when she’s in the same profession and has the same education. 

That's wrong.  In 2014, it’s an embarrassment. Women deserve equal pay for equal work.

This is an economic issue that affects all of us.  Women make up about half our workforce.  And more and more, they’re our families’ main breadwinners.  So it’s good for everyone when women are paid fairly.  That’s why, this week, I took action to prohibit more businesses from punishing workers who discuss their salaries – because more pay transparency makes it easier to spot pay discrimination.  And I hope more business leaders will take up this cause.

But equal pay is just one part of an economic agenda for women.

Most lower-wage workers in America are women.  So I’ve taken executive action to require federal contractors to pay their federally-funded employees at least ten dollars and ten cents an hour.  I ordered a review of our nation’s overtime rules, to give more workers the chance to earn the overtime pay they deserve.  Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, tens of millions of women are now guaranteed free preventive care like mammograms and contraceptive care, and the days when you could be charged more just for being a woman are over for good.  Across the country, we’re bringing Americans together to help us make sure that a woman can have a baby without sacrificing her job, or take a day off to care for a sick child or parent without hitting hardship.  It’s time to do away with workplace policies that belong in a “Mad Men” episode, and give every woman the opportunity she deserves.

Here’s the problem, though.  On issues that would benefit millions of women, Republicans in Congress have blocked progress at every turn. Just this week, Senate Republicans blocked the Paycheck Fairness Act, commonsense legislation that would help more women win equal pay for equal work.  House Republicans won’t vote to raise the minimum wage or extend unemployment insurance for women out of work through no fault of their own.  The budget they passed this week would force deep cuts to investments that overwhelmingly benefit women and children – like Medicaid, food stamps, and college grants.  And of course, they’re trying to repeal the Affordable Care Act for the fiftieth or so time, which would take away vital benefits and protections from millions of women.

I’m going to keep fighting to make sure that doesn’t happen.  Because we do better when our economy grows for everybody, not just a few.  And when women succeed, America succeeds.  Thanks, and have a great weekend.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

The President’s Budget Ensures Opportunity for All Hard-Working Americans

Remarks of President Barack Obama
Weekly Address
The White House
April 5, 2014

Hi, everybody.
Today, our economy is growing and our businesses are consistently generating new jobs.  But decades-long trends still threaten the middle class.  While those at the top are doing better than ever, too many Americans are working harder than ever, but feel like they can’t get ahead.
That’s why the budget I sent Congress earlier this year is built on the idea of opportunity for all.  It will grow the middle class and shrink the deficits we’ve already cut in half since I took office.
It’s an opportunity agenda with four goals. Number one is creating more good jobs that pay good wages. Number two is training more Americans with the skills to fill those jobs. Number three is guaranteeing every child access to a great education.  And number four is making work pay – with wages you can live on, savings you can retire on, and health care that’s there for you when you need it.
This week, the Republicans in Congress put forward a very different budget.  And it does just the opposite: it shrinks opportunity and makes it harder for Americans who work hard to get ahead.
The Republican budget begins by handing out massive tax cuts to households making more than $1 million a year.  Then, to keep from blowing a hole in the deficit, they’d have to raise taxes on middle-class families with kids.  Next, their budget forces deep cuts to investments that help our economy create jobs, like education and scientific research.
Now, they won’t tell you where these cuts will fall.  But compared to my budget, if they cut everything evenly, then within a few years, about 170,000 kids will be cut from early education programs.  About 200,000 new mothers and kids will be cut off from programs to help them get healthy food.  Schools across the country will lose funding that supports 21,000 special education teachers.  And if they want to make smaller cuts to one of these areas, that means larger cuts in others.
Unsurprisingly, the Republican budget also tries to repeal the Affordable Care Act – even though that would take away health coverage from the more than seven million Americans who’ve done the responsible thing and signed up to buy health insurance.  And for good measure, their budget guts the rules we put in place to protect the middle class from another financial crisis like the one we’ve had to fight so hard to recover from.
Policies that benefit a fortunate few while making it harder for working Americans to succeed are not what we need right now.  Our economy doesn’t grow best from the top-down; it grows best from the middle-out.  That’s what my opportunity agenda does – and it’s what I’ll keep fighting for.  Thanks.  And have a great weekend.