President Obama believes we need to do more than just recover from the economic crisis that has hit the African American community especially hard. We need to restore security and opportunity for working Americans with the fundamental values that made our economy the strongest in the world – making sure everyone does their fair share, everyone gets a fair shake, and hard work and responsibility are rewarded. That’s why he's worked to protect African Americans from financial abuses, help them weather the financial crisis, and make health care and a college education more affordable and available. President Obama has also continued to press for equal rights for all Americans, through enhanced enforcement of anti-discrimination laws and promotion of civil rights.
Since taking office, President Obama and his Administration have made tremendous progress on the major issues of concern to Indian Country. Underlying this progress is President Obama’s belief that tribal leaders must be part of the solution to problems and have a seat at the table. The President has hosted White House Tribal Nations Conferences, where tribal leaders have had discussions with the President and Cabinet officials. In addition, the President signed a memorandum directing Federal agencies to fully implement an Executive Order on tribal consultation. These actions have led to greater tribal consultation and feedback, which has helped shape the Administration’s policy priorities for American Indians and Alaska Natives. These include improving the quality of care offered by the Indian Health Service, promoting economic development in Indian Country, and making tribal communities safer.
The Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community has made tremendous contributions to our nation, but still faces challenges. That’s why President Obama signed an executive order reestablishing the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, which has worked to improve the quality of life and opportunities for Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders by facilitating increased access to and participation in Federal programs, and ensuring educational opportunities for AAPI students.
President Obama and his Administration have made significant progress to level the playing field for people with disabilities. This commitment has included major legislative and administrative actions in support of civil rights for Americans with disabilities.
President Obama has worked to promote job creation for Hispanics and all Americans; make access to health care a right, not a privilege; make college more affordable; and protect all Americans from financial abuses. The Obama Administration has made improvements to immigration enforcement even as the President continues to call on Congress to work with him to comprehensively fix our nation’s broken immigration system.
President Obama values every American, and his Administration has made historic strides to expand opportunity, advance equality, honor differences and level the playing field for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) people and communities. The President’s efforts have included major legislative achievements such as the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” as well as significant administrative actions in support of equality.
Over the last three years, the Obama Administration has made historic investments in rural America designed to drive job growth and form the foundation of a rural economy that is built to last. We want to build a better future for the men and women who live, work and raise their families in rural communities – and to extend the promise of middle class jobs where hard work pays off and responsibility is rewarded. That’s why President Obama has focused on creating jobs and expanding opportunities in rural communities – making investments to strengthen rural businesses, support rural workers, and restore security for rural families.
President Obama knows that to create true middle class security, we can’t just cut our way to prosperity. We need to restore security and opportunity for middle class Americans with our fundamental values – making sure everyone does their fair share, everyone gets a fair shake, and hard work and responsibility are rewarded. That’s why President Obama has fought to keep America’s promises to our seniors by protecting Social Security, strengthening Medicare, and ensuring seniors and their families get the support they need. And the Obama Administration has also worked to protect seniors and taxpayers by cracking down on Medicare fraud.
President Obama and his Administration have been committed to upholding our sacred trust with America’s veterans and wounded warriors. Putting Americans, especially our veterans, back to work is job one. But we have to do more. We have to reclaim the security the middle class has lost by restoring the basic values that made our country great, and honoring those who have sacrificed the most is one piece of creating an economy built to last. The President has taken key steps to ensure that our veterans receive the best health care, get the benefits they have earned, and have access to the education and training they need to re-enter the workforce, and has provided historic levels of support to veterans and their families in his budget requests.
Today, more than ever, women are often the breadwinners in many American families. Yet women in our economy and our workforce still aren’t getting a fair shake, earning just 77 cents on every dollar paid to men. Women have been subject to deceptive loan practices, and have paid additional premiums for health insurance coverage. Expanding economic opportunities for women and ending discriminatory practices is critical to building an economy that restores security for middle class families, where hard work and responsibility are rewarded, and where everyone who wants to can find a good job.
That’s why President Obama has fought for America’s women by combatting discrimination, increasing access to health care, and supporting women-owned businesses. From creating the White House Council on Women and Girls, which produced the first comprehensive Federal report on the status of American women in almost 50 years, to appointing two women to the Supreme Court and a strong team of women leaders to his Cabinet and White House staff, President Obama has taken concrete steps to ensure that women’s voices are heard in government and society.
President Obama knows that to create true middle class security by out-innovating, out-educating, and out-building our competition, we have to invest in our young people and give them the skills they need to succeed now and in the decades to come. That’s why he's made historic investments to support young people, such as increasing Pell Grant awards and expanding health insurance coverage to 2.5 million young adults by allowing them to remain on their parents plan until the age of 26.
President Obama believes we need to provide every child with an education that will enable them to succeed in a global economy based on knowledge and innovation. That’s why shortly after he took office, President Obama set the goal of having the highest proportion of college graduates in the world by 2020. And it’s why he is working to provide every child access to a complete and competitive education.
For decades, volatile energy prices have threatened economic security for millions of middle class Americans. That volatility has hit consumers hard, raising gas prices and straining budgets for millions of American families. It’s a familiar story, but in order to restore lasting security for middle class families we need a sustained plan for American energy. To create an economy that’s built to last, we need to take control of our own energy future by out-innovating and out-building our global competitors.
During the State of the Union Address, President Obama laid out a blueprint for a new era of American energy – an economy fueled by homegrown and alternative energy that will be designed in America and produced by American workers. The President is committed to an all-of-the-above strategy that expands production of American energy resources, like oil and natural gas; increases energy efficiency to save families and businesses money at the pump; and develops cleaner, alternative fuels to reduce our oil dependence.
America prospers when we’re all in it together; when hard work pays off and responsibility is rewarded; when everyone, from Main Street to Wall Street, plays by the same rules. Paying down the massive debt the Federal Government has accumulated over the past decade is part of that effort, and President Obama has worked to restore accountability and fiscal responsibility to our government.
But to create true middle class security, we can’t just cut our way to prosperity. We must out-innovate, out-educate, and out-build the world. That’s why President Obama is working to ensure that as a nation, we can live within our means while still making the investments we need to prosper – from a jobs bill that is needed right now to long-term investments in education, innovation, and infrastructure. And the President has consistently taken a balanced approach to dealing with our debt and deficits, asking everyone – including millionaires and billionaires – to do their part and pay their fair share, so no one has to bear all the burden.
Recognizing that 95 percent of the world’s consumers live outside the United States, President Obama has worked to create jobs at home by expanding exports of U.S. goods and services abroad. Under the National Export Initiative that he launched in January 2010, the President set the ambitious goal of doubling U.S. exports while supporting millions of new jobs over five years. Over the first two years of the initiative, the Department of Commerce has assisted more than 9,200 U.S. businesses export over $100 billion in goods and services, including helping U.S. firms successfully compete for international contracts worth more than $44 billion in U.S. exports.
The American free market system is the most powerful engine of economic growth and jobs the world has known and when it works right, the American middle class is strong and secure. But the free market was never meant to be a free license to take whatever you can get, however you can get it. As we have learned again, we need rules of the road to prevent abuses and ensure fairness, openness, and accountability.
That’s why President Obama has worked to restore our financial system to its core mission: helping entrepreneurs and businesses with the best ideas to create value and jobs and enabling families to buy homes, finance college for their children, and secure a dignified retirement. And it's why he overcame a furious lobbying campaign to sign into law the most far reaching Wall Street reforms in history – new rules of the road to prevent abuses and ensure fairness, openness, and accountability in the financial system. These reforms put an end to taxpayer bailouts, hold Wall Street accountable, and ensure consumers are protected.
When the President took office, the country was facing the worst housing crisis in generations. In response, the President took the first sustained efforts to help borrowers stay in their homes to help support the economy and stabilize the housing market. While the government cannot fix the housing market on its own, the President believes that responsible homeowners should not have to sit and wait for the market to hit bottom to get relief when there are measures at hand that can make a meaningful difference. That’s why the Administration has taken efforts that help responsible homeowners save hundreds of dollars per month, reduce foreclosures so families can stay in their homes, and support the hardest-hit communities.