Competing messages on jobs drive Labor Day weekend addresses
August 31st, 2013
06:00 AM ET
10 years ago

Competing messages on jobs drive Labor Day weekend addresses

(CNN) - President Barack Obama and Republican Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick marked the Labor Day weekend with weeky addresses that laid out their parties' competing visions for growing the economy.

The president outlined the priorities he pushed on a recent bus tour, including education and job creation programs.

Meanwhile Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania said Obama's health reform law as well as energy and tax policies are holding back economic growth.

Read their full remarks below the jump.

Obama said:

Hi, everybody. This Labor Day weekend, as we gather with family and friends, we'll also come together as a nation to honor some of our own – the working men and women of America who, across the generations, built this country up and helped make us who we are today.

On Monday, we'll celebrate that proud history. We'll pay tribute to the values working Americans embody – hard work; responsibility; sacrifice; looking out for one another. And we'll recommit ourselves to their cause; to securing for them a better bargain so that everyone who works hard in America has a chance to get ahead.

See, over the past four and a half years, we've fought our way back from the worst recession of our lifetimes. And thanks to the grit and resilience of the American people, we've begun to lay a foundation for stronger, more durable economic growth. But as any working family will tell you, we're not where we need to be.

For over a decade, working Americans have seen their wages and incomes stagnate, even as corporate profits soar and the pay of a fortunate few explodes. For even longer than that, inequality has steadily risen; the journey of upward mobility has become harder. And in too many communities across this country, the shadow of poverty continues to cast a pall over our fellow citizens.

Reversing that trend needs to be Washington's highest priority. It's certainly mine. That's why, over the past month, I've traveled all across America, laying out my ideas for how we can build on the cornerstones of what it means to be middle class. A good job that pays a good wage. A good education. A home of your own. Health care when you get sick. A secure retirement even if you're not rich. And more chances for folks to earn their way into the middle class as long as they're willing to work for it.

The truth is, it's not going to be easy to reverse the forces that have conspired – for decades – against working Americans. But if we take a few bold steps – and if Washington is able to come together with common purpose and common resolve – we'll get there. Our economy will keep getting stronger and more Americans will be able to join the ranks of the middle-class.

So this Labor Day, while you're out there grilling in the backyard, or taking that final trip for the summer, I hope you'll also take a moment to reflect on the many contributions of our working men and women. For generations, it was the great American middle class that made our economy the envy of the world. And as long as I'm President, I'm going to keep fighting to make sure that happens again.

Thanks, and have a great weekend.

Fitzpatrick, currently in his third term, said:

Hello, I'm Mike Fitzpatrick, proudly serving Pennsylvania's eighth congressional district.

It's an honor to speak with you this weekend as we celebrate the spirit and ingenuity of America's workers.

We are a nation that builds things. From skyscrapers to smartphone apps, we live in a land where anyone can create, innovate, and pursue their American Dream.

But as I've traveled throughout my district this summer – visiting 100 local businesses in 100 days to speak with workers and business owners – it's easy to sense that Americans are frustrated.

Nearly five years into the Obama presidency, the workers who drive our economy see nothing but roadblocks coming out of Washington.

President Obama's health care law comes to mind.

It's driving up premiums, and forcing workers and their spouses out of plans that they like. Small companies say the taxes and government mandates make it more difficult for them to hire. Even doctors are warning that the law doesn't come close to addressing the real problems in our health care system.

It simply isn't working as promised – and the president knows it. He's already signed seven bills repealing or defunding parts of it. And he's been busy handing out waivers and delays.

Republicans want to protect everyone from this health care law so we can focus on step-by-step, patient-centered reforms that actually lower costs. We think it's only fair to give all Americans the same delay the president is giving to big businesses. But the president threatened to veto a bipartisan bill that would do so – why?

President Obama's energy policies are another concern.

Republicans have an all-of-the-above energy strategy that will help lower prices, boost manufacturing, and improve our national security. But the president is blocking efforts to create jobs and make energy more affordable. Case in point: the Keystone energy pipeline.

This month marks five years since the Keystone application was first filed. Since then, it's passed every environmental review. Labor unions want it. It's privately funded – no taxpayer dollars involved. And again, it has bipartisan support in Congress.

So why is the Obama administration still standing in the way of this 'shovel-ready' project?

Lastly, people in my district are also worried about the size and scope of the federal government. They're worried that the threat of higher taxes and the almost-endless stream of red tape are choking the engines of our economy.

Republicans want to get spending under control and simplify the tax code – making it flatter and fairer for everyone. And we've passed several jobs bills to eliminate excessive regulations and bring common-sense oversight to the regulatory process.

But the president is still pushing more of the same tax hikes and 'stimulus'-style policies that have left us with weak job growth, high prices, and stagnant paychecks. Again we have to ask: why?

If there's one thing I've heard a lot of these last few weeks, it's that people want Congress to focus on expanding opportunity instead of expanding the government.

That's the goal of the Republican jobs plan – and you can see it at It's focused on breaking down the government roadblocks that are hurting our economy, and putting Americans back in the driver's seat.

Because we want to make sure that the workers we're celebrating this weekend can keep doing what they do best: building. Creating. And preserving the American Dream for future generations.

Thank you for listening.

Filed under: House Republicans • President Obama
soundoff (39 Responses)
  1. Marcus

    The majority wants ACA (or Obamacare) repealed? Where did you got this old one? Source please.
    And as for Harry Reid trash can all that I can see there are bills that have 'repeal/defund Obamacare' or 'Take away women's/minorities/environment rights' in it, a few COULD be described as 'job bills' if they hadn't the little problem of having one ofthose aforementioned attached to it.

    August 31, 2013 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  2. ThinkAgain

    "While I don't see either party doing much to improve jobs in America.........I think Obama is killing jobs.......not creating them."

    Cite your evidence. Last time I checked, Repubs are the ones laying off workers at the state level, cheering the sequester's negative effect on the economy and proposing only divisive social legislation.

    Oh, and the Repub's answer to creating jobs is to give the rich more tax cuts – EVEN THOUGH THIS POLICY IS A PROVEN FAILURE!

    August 31, 2013 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  3. Ron L

    Here are the problems with the Republican position on jobs:
    1) They have not offered anything that will take the place of the Affordable Health Care Act if they repeal it. In the states that are embracing it there has been a reduction in premiums. The fact that some employers are deciding to reduce employees hours to prevent having to give them insurance is tragic. On this I blame both the law reducing the definition of full time employment from 37 hours to 30. THIS WAS STUPID!! But large very profitable companies such a Target, McDonalds, or Wal-Mart that are doing this there is another word to describe them...GREEDY.
    2) The Republicans have an "all the above" policy for energy BUT the want coal and oil to be 90% of the "all". This is a HUGE mistake for the future. America and the rest of the world needs to get to a 50-50 mix of fossil fuel and renewable fuel ASAP. It is impossible for 7,000,000,000 people producing various levels of waste not to have an impact on a "closed system" like the earths environment!! Also the level of fracking America is doing MAY becomes its biggest problem in 40 years. The wells storing the water are made of concrete and by the gas companies own data, most of them will start cracking in 30 years. All of that polluted water is going to start seeping in the ground and who can even begin to estimate its impact
    3) In my opinion the Keystone Pipeline should NEVER be approved unless technology evolves to the point that these tar sands produce the same or less carbon amounts of regular oil when processed or burned. The Canadian tar sands is a step backwards and we need to focus on the future.
    4) There may be some layers of government regulation that could be streamlined BUT if we trust those that profit from relaxing these laws the world will become a much dirtier and less moral place. We can not afford that.
    5) The current Republican Party now regards "rebuilding the infrastructure" a "stimulus package." This is absolutely ridiculous and preventing the country from rebuilding or repairing over 5 trillion dollars of roads, bridges, sewers, etc.

    So, in closing I do not agree with a lot of things the Democrats say or do but I KNOW, if we did what the Republicans are proposing two things will happen: 1) Pollution will increase overall and new technologies will be less important 2) The less unfortunate people in American will find their lives becoming even tougher.

    August 31, 2013 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  4. Ron L

    One more thing....You want to help the economy raise the minimum wage to $10.25 by 2015. The American government should not be subsidizing the extremely low wages people are being paid. Several of these workers get TAX REFUNDS of $3,000 to $4,000 (more than they pay in) even when they work 40 hours a week because their wages are statistically below the poverty line. It is both SAD and RIDICULOUS.

    August 31, 2013 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  5. J.V.Hodgson

    You want a flat tax... its not possible without flat allowances or deductions from income for charitable donations or mortgage interest relief as just two examples.
    So where do you start to level the playing field? And avoid the poverty trap of low wage earners, or people who actually earn a salary or wage as opposed to money coming in because you have money invested that has interest or dividends and the possibility of increased capital value associated therewith?
    You first set the minimum wage and also EARNED worked for income on which state or federal income taxes become payable. The former Minimum wage *40 hours ( state level no income taxes payable) nor federal income tax. at $40 k earned worked for income gross by purely child allowances and mortgage relief deductions. The amounts of child relief and mortgage deductions are fixed or flat at that level.
    Property taxes . Where is your state of residence? You pay that at 100 % you have another four houses elsewhere
    A) Choose your preference 1-5; 2-5 you pay that multiple of property tax I and 2-5 times as selected.
    B) Unearned money is taxed at 30 % dividends, interest ,capital gains as well as corporate profits.... regarding the latter , it matters not that you paid Zero US, Only if you paid 30% or more on profits calculated wherever. You did not pay the US flat corporate tax of 30 % on profits Pay the rest never mind whether remitted to Us or not did you control it directly or indirectly, or have some clever intermediary to try to evade the issue illegally, evasion being illegal, avoidance not. laws to define that are regrettably extremely complex.

    September 1, 2013 04:05 am at 4:05 am |
  6. Scott

    Tampa Tim

    Rep. Paul (Ayn) Ryan had a secret meeting with the Kochs in New Mexico, and our own FL governor Rick Scott also had a secret meeting with Charles and David. I guess the only secret is the marching orders given to them. Whatever their agenda, it is not good for Americans.
    As the Democrats do with George Soros, who really runs the Democratic Party.

    September 1, 2013 05:46 am at 5:46 am |
  7. Mike Texoma

    The statement that Obamacare is driving up in insurance premiums is false. In states that have implemented the Medicaid expansion and insurance exchanges, premiums are dropping precipitously. In Republican controlled states, which have implemented neither, premiums are going up. Blaming that on President Obama is stupid.

    Much to Republican chagrin, America is well on its ay to becoming energy independent. Natural gas drilling and development is in high gear, and the results have been astounding. Risky projects profiting Canada and that make no difference in the quest for independence take a back seat.

    And the other point is also bogus. If we defund the government and starve the beast, working people are going to take it in the neck. Some investors may profit in the short run, because wealth trickles up – not down. But in the long run we all lose if America lags further behind in health care, education, science and the arts. Success as a nation is very different from success as a privileged class.

    September 1, 2013 09:26 am at 9:26 am |
  8. Gunderson

    Mover's and Shaker's out there touting the benefit's of Obama Care. So far getting people to sign up has been a disaster. Why? Kind of hard to sign up when you no have job. So it's either Obama Care or a job. Old Gunderson say Wise Up!

    September 1, 2013 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  9. don in albuquerque

    Hey Ole Gunderson, your flipflopping between your little third world prattle, and real grammar. The lies are still the same but watch your syntax.

    September 1, 2013 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  10. Marcus

    'Gunderson – Mover's and Shaker's out there touting the benefit's of Obama Care. So far getting people to sign up has been a disaster. Why? Kind of hard to sign up when you no have job. So it's either Obama Care or a job. Old Gunderson say Wise Up!'

    Not-that-old-Marcus (but alas not very young either Marcus too) says: stop lying.
    Even GOP governors that were SOOOOOOO against Obamacare are now using it (not that they are making it very public but everyone from FAUX News to Huffington Post already showed this story), in states were the (D) governor didn't put up any trouble against the implementation of the law it's working very fine and decreasing prices.
    As for the 'choice' you're talking about, it was used about a hundred and more years to 'prevent' the creation of the unions... didn't worked out that well did it 'old man'?

    September 1, 2013 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  11. Revolution

    Democrats are so far gone there is no helping them. Public schools are dumbing the population down and yes on purpose!

    September 1, 2013 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  12. Mike D Sollows

    war and more war has to be a thing of the past as we the people can not sit back and expect things to change when 96% are effected by the other 4% that contol what goes on on our planet not their planet, between greed and coruption and false religions that were only invented to control the ones they can as a tool they control and may always control... the things we know about such as children that are sold into the porn and child prostitution industry a industry that should have never exsisted, the legal sale and shipping of zietraline(miss spelled) that is used to cut most street drugs and after 3 months of use will 100% melt the brains of the users and is over flowing all of our mental instutions and others that go psycho and commit acts of violence and fill the jails and prisons all at the tax payers exspence when will we the people wake up and create positive change for our kids sake and sanity...Mike D Sollows Edmonton Canada out....but never gone.......

    September 1, 2013 09:59 pm at 9:59 pm |
  13. Sparty

    The Republicans seem to forget that Obama permanently reduced taxes rates or all Americans making less than $400,000 effective 1/1/13. Why is that? They also fail to point out that his energy plans have been successful, with the use of alternative energies at an all time high, the import of oil products slowing, and domestic oil and gas production and exports at record highs. Why is that? They fail to point out the successes of ObamaCare, the 30+ million Americans who will gain insurance 1/1/14, the 105 million who have already used free preventative care features, the $6 Billion that Seniors have saved on their Medicare prescriptions as the donut hole has started losing in just two years, the $1.1 billion insurers have returned to some Americans when the insurers violated the new 80/20 Rule requiring 80% be spent on patient care again in just two years since the law was signed, the 15 million adults ages 18-26 on their parents plans already, children without pre-existing condition barriers, everyone without plan maximums or plans getting cancelled when you get sick, etc, etc. Why is that?

    September 2, 2013 12:13 am at 12:13 am |
  14. Anthony in California

    Democrats are so far gone there is no helping them. Public schools are dumbing the population down and yes on purpose!

    And care to enlighten us on which states rank the lowest when it comes to education? (heres a hint... they arent BLUE).
    Take your time, I'll wait...

    September 2, 2013 12:23 am at 12:23 am |
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