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tv   First Presidential Addresses to Congress  CSPAN  February 22, 2017 10:03am-11:57am EST

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.eggy hubbard she gained notoriety in 2015 after posting a video on facebook criticizing black lives matter that program is tonight at 8:00 eastern on c-span. politico has this online story last night. paul ryan will take his first tour of the u.s. southern border today, kicking off house -- the trip tod the rio grande valley in texas will also include home insecurity chair michael mccaul and congressman john carter who chairs the homeland security appropriations subcommittee as well as several homeland security officials. -- homeland security chair .ichael mccaul ap president trump will make his first speech to the joint
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session of congress on generate 28 -- generate 28. february 28.8 we look back at the first speeches of president clinton, obama and both president bushes. >> members of the congress, i have the highest privilege and the distinct honor of presenting to you the president of the united states. [applause] president reagan: thank you very much. [applause] president reagan: thank you.
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[applause] president reagan: thank you very much. mr. speaker, distinguished members of congress, honored guests and fellow citizens, only a month ago, i was you are guest in this historic building and i pledged to you my cooperation in doing what is right for this nation that we all love so much i'm here tonight to reaffirm that pledge and to ask that we share in restoring the promise that is offered to every citizen by this with the last best hope of man honor. all of us are aware of the punishing inflation which has
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held a double-digit figure for two years in a row. all across this land, one can see newly built homes standing bacon, unsold because of mortgage interest rates. 8 million americans are out of work. these are people who want to be productive. not only have hourly earnings after adjusted
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inflation declined 5% of the past five years, but in these five years, federal personal taxes for the average family have increased 67%. we can no longer procrastinate and hope that things will get better. they will not paid unless we act forcefully and now, the economy will get worse. deny it is somewhat out of control? i would national debt is approaching $1 trillion. i called such a figure a trillion dollars income principle and dust i calledensible -- such a figure, $1 trillion, incomprehensible. if you had a stack of thousand dollar bills in your hand four inches high, you would be a millionaire. $1 trillion would be a stack of thousand dollar bills 67 miles
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high. the interest on the public debt this year will be over $90 million. change the proposed spending, we were at $80 million to the debt. the rate of increase in productivity is among the lowest of all industrial nations. it has actually declined in the last three years. i have painted a pretty grim picture. i think i have painted it accurately. it is within our power to change this picture and we can act with hope. there's nothing wrong with our internal strength. there's been no breakdown of the human technological and natural economy upon which the
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is built. based on this confidence in a system which has never failed us what which we have failed three rack of confidence -- lack of confidence and they believe that -- and a belief that we can find o our liking.y twir this plan is aimed at reducing reform andand eliminate regulations which are unnecessary and counterproductive and encouraging a consistent monetary policy aimed at maintaining the value of the currency. full, this program can help america create 13 million new jobs, nearly 3 million more than we would have without these measures. it will also help us to gain control of inflation. it is important to note that we are only reducing the rate of
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increase in taxing and spending. we are not attempting to cut spending or taxing levels below what we currently have. this will get our economy moving again, productivity growth and create the jobs that are people must have paid i'm asking that you join me in reducing direct federal spending by $41.4 billion in fiscal year 1982. [applause] this goes along with another $7.7 million in user fees and budget savings for a total of $49.1 billion.
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i know that exaggerated and inaccurate stories about these cuts have disturbed many people. particularly those dependent upon grant and benefit programs for their basic needs. some of you have heard from constituents afraid that social security checks would be taken away from them. i regret the fear that these stories have caused, and i take this opportunity to set things straight. we will continue to fulfill the obligations that spring from our national conscience. those who, through no fault of their own, must depend on the rest of us, all those with true need can rest assured that the social safety net of programs they depend on are exempt from any cuts. the full retirement benefits to social security recipients will be continued, along with an annual cost-of-living increase.
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medicare will not be cut, nor will supplemental income for the blind, the aged, and the disabled. and funding will continue for veterans pensions. school breakfast and lunches for the children of low income families will continue, as will nutrition for other special services. there will be no cut in summer youth jobs. all in all, nearly $216 billion worth of programs providing help for tens of millions of americans will be fully funded, but government will not continue to subsidize individuals or particular business interest where real need cannot be demonstrated. i am sure there is one department you have been waiting for me to mention, the department of defense. it is the only department in our entire program that will actually be increased over the present budgeted figure. [applause]
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pres. reagan: but even here, there was no exception. the department of defense came up with a number of cuts which reduced the budget increase needed to reduce our military balance. these measures will save $2.9 billion in 1982 outlays, and by 1986, a total of $28.2 billion will be saved, or, perhaps i should say, will be made available for the things we must do. the aim will be to provide the most effective defense for the lowest cost. i believe my duty as president requires that i recommended increases in defense spending over the coming years. [applause] pres. reagan: i know that you are all aware, but i think it
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bears saying again that the soviet union has invested $3 -- 00 billion more in its military forces then we have. as a result, the soviets have made a significant numerical advantage in strategic nuclear delivery systems, tactical aircraft, submarines, artillery, and antiaircraft defense. to allow this to continue is a threat to our national security. notwithstanding our economic strength, making the changes now is far less costly than waiting and having to do a crash program several years from now. we remain committed to the goal of arms limitation through negotiation. i hope we can persuade our adversaries to come to a realistic balance and verifiable agreements. [applause]
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pres. reagan: but, as we negotiate, our security must be fully negotiated by a balanced and realistic defense program. let me say a word about the general problem of waste and fraud in the federal government. one estimate indicated that fraud alone may indicate anywhere from 1% to 10% for social programs. if the tax dollars that are wasted or mismanaged are added to this total, the staggering dimensions of this problem begin to emerge. the office of management and budget is now putting together an interagency tax force to attack waste and fraud. we are also planning to appoint as inspectors general highly trained professionals who will spend no effort to do this job. no administration can promise to really stop a trend that has grown. let me say this, waste and fraud in the federal government is exactly what i have called it before, an unrelenting national
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scandal, a scandal we are bound and determined to do something about. [applause] pres. reagan: marching in lockstep with the whole program of reduction in spending is the equally important program of reduced tax rates. both are essential if we are to have economic recovery. it is time to create jobs and gave the american people room to do what they do best, and that can only be done with a tax program that provides incentive to increase productivity for both workers and industry. our proposal is for a 10% cut across the board for three years , every year, for all income taxpayers, making a total cut in
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tax rates of 30%. this three-year reduction will also like to the tax on unearned income, leading to an eventual elimination of the differential between the tax on earned and unearned income. i would hope that we can be retroactive with this, but as it stands, the effective starting date for these 10% reductions we will call for july 1 of this year. again, let me remind you that 30% reduction will leave the taxpayers with $500 billion more in their pockets over the next five years, but it is actually a reduction in the tax increase already built into the system. unlike some past "tax reforms," this is not merely a shift in wealth from different taxpayers. this proposal of an equal reduction of everyone's tax rates will expand our prosperity and increase opportunities for all americans. some will argue that i know that
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reducing tax rates now will be inflationary. a solid body of economic experts does not agree. and tax cuts adopted over the past 3/4 of a century indicate these economic experts are right they will not be inflationary. i had a device that in 1980 our real production in goods and services will grow by 20% and the $300 billion higher than it is today. the average worker's wage will rise in real purchasing power 8%, and this is in after-tax dollars, and this is predicated on a program of cuts implemented. the other part of the tax package is aimed at providing business and industry with the capital needed to modernize and engage in development. this will involve an increase in depreciation allowances, and this part of our tax proposal
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will be retroactive to january 1. the present depreciation system is obsolete, needlessly complex, and economically counterproductive. very simply, it bases the depreciation on their original cost with no recognition of how reflation has increased their replacement cost. we are proposing a must shorter write off time than is presently allowed. in fiscal year 1982, businesses will acquire nearly $10 billion for investment. by 1985, the figure will be nearly $45 billion. these changes are essential to provide the new between now and investment needed to create
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millions of new jobs between now and 1985. and to make america competitive once again in the world market. [applause] pres. reagan: these will not be makework jobs. they are productive jobs, jobs with a future. i am well aware that there are other needed tax changes, such as indexing the income tax brackets to protect taxpayers against inflation, the unjust discrimination against married couples if both are working, tuition tax credits, the unfairness of the inheritance tax, and a number of others. but our program for economic recovery is so urgently needed to bring down inflation that i am asking you to act on this with greater urgency, and then i pledge i will join you in seeking these additional tax changes at the earliest date possible. [applause]
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pres. reagan: american society experienced a virtual explosion in government regulation during the past decade. between 1977 and 1979, expenditures for the regulatory agencies properly billed. -- nearly tripled. the number of pages in the code of federal regulations increased by two thirds. the result has been higher prices, higher unemployment, and low productivity growth. over regulation causes small businessmen and women, as well as large businesses, to defer plans for expansion. since they are responsible for most of the new jobs, those jobs are just not created. we have no intention of dismantling regulatory agencies, especially those to ensure
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protection of the environment. and ensure public health and safety. however, we must come to grips with an efficient and -- in efficient and burdensome regulations, eliminate those we can, and reform the others. i have asked vice president bush to head a task force on regulatory relief. secondly, i asked my cabinet to postpone regulations which is not yet been implemented. third, in coordination with the task force, many agencies have already taken prompt action to review and resend burdensome regulations. finally, just yesterday, i signed an executive order that for the first time provides for effective and coordinated management for the processes. much as been accomplished. but it is only the beginning. we will eliminate those regulations that are unproductive and unnecessary by executive order where possible, and cooperate fully with you on those that require legislation. the final aspect of our plan
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requires a national monetary policy that does not allow money growth to increase consistently faster than the growth of goods and services. in order to curb inflation, we need to slow the growth in our money supply. we fully recognize the independence of the federal reserve system and will do nothing to undermine that. we will consult with the federal reserve board on all aspects of our economic program, and will vigorously pursue budget policy that will make their job easier in reducing monetary growth. a successful program to achieve stable and moderate growth patterns in the money supply will keep both interest rates and inflation down and restore vigor to our financial institutions and markets. this is our proposal, america's new beginning, a program for economic recovery. i don't want it to be simply the plan of my administration. i am here tonight to ask you to
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join me in making our plan. together, we can embark on this. [applause] pres. reagan: thank you very much. [applause] pres. reagan: i should have arranged to quit right there. [laughter] [applause] pres. reagan: well, together we can embark on this road not to make things easy, but to make things better. our social, political, and cultural, as well as our
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economic institutions can no longer absorb the repeated shocks that have been dealt them over the past decades. can we do the job? the answer is yes, but we must begin now. we are in control. there is nothing wrong with america that together we can't fix. i'm sure there will be cries of don't touch my program. cut somewhere else. i hope i have made it plain that our approach is evenhanded, and only the programs for the truly deserving and needy are untouched. the question is, will we get on the same path we have gone out before, carving out one special program here or there? i don't think that is what the american people expect, more important, i don't think that's what they want. they are ready to return to the source of our strength. the substance and prosperity of our nation is built by the wages brought home from the factories, and the mills, the farms, and
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the shops. they are the services provided in 10,000 corners of america. the interest on the thrift of our people, and the returns for their risk-taking. the production of america is the possession of those who build, serve, create, and produce. for too long, we have removed from our people the decisions on how to dispose of what they have created. we have strayed from first principles. we must alter our course. the taxing power of government must be used to provide revenues for legitimate government purposes. it must not be used to regulate the economy or bring about social change. [applause] pres. reagan: we tried that, and surely we must be able to see it
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does not work. spending by government must be limited to those functions which are the proper province of government. we can no longer afford things simply because we think of them. next year, we can reduce the budget by $41.4 billion without harm to government's legitimate purposes, or to our responsibility to all who need our benevolence. this reduction in tax rates will help bring an end to inflation. in the help and services area -- health and social services area alone, the plan we are proposing will reduce the need for 465 pages of law, 1400 pages of regulations, 5000 federal employees who presently administer 7600 separate grants in about 25,000 separate locations. [applause] pres. reagan: over 7 million men and women hours at work are required to fill out government
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forms. i would direct the question to those who have indicated already an unwillingness to accept such a plan. have they an alternative which offers a greater chance of balancing the budget, stimulating the creation of jobs, and reducing the tax burden? and if they have not, are they suggesting that we can continue on the present course without coming to a day of reckoning? [applause] pres. reagan: if we don't do this, inflation and the growing tax burden will put in end to end to everything we believe in and our dreams to the future. we don't have an option of living with inflation. millions of productive people willing and able to work, but unable to find a buyer for their
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work in the job market. we have alternative, and that is the program for economic recovery. true, it will take time, but the favorable effects to be felt, so we must begin now. the people are watching and waiting. they don't demand miracles. they do expect us to act. let us act together. thank you. [applause] announcer: you are watching this special program featuring the first speeches to congress by new presidents. donald trump delivers his first address to a joint session on tuesday, february 28. up next, portions from a speech by president george h.w. bush from february 9, 1989, just a few weeks after his inauguration. >> ladies and gentlemen, i have the high honor and distinct
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privilege to present the president of the united states. [applause] pres. h.w. bush: speaker, this
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distinguished members of the house and senate, honored guests and fellow citizens, less than three weeks ago i joined you on the west front of this very building. looking over the monuments of our proud past. i offered you my hand in filling the next page of american history with a story of extended prosperity and continued peace. and tonight, i am back to offer you my plans as well. the hand remains extended. the sleeves are rolled up. america has been waiting, and now, we must produce. together, we can build a better america. it is comforting to return to this historic chamber. here, 22 years ago, i first raised my hand to be sworn into public life.
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so, tonight, i feel as if i am returning home to friends. and i intended -- [applause] pres. h.w. bush: and i intend in the months and years to come to give you what friends deserve, frankness, respect, and my best judgment about ways to improve america's future. in return, i ask for an honest commitment to our common mission of progress. if we seize the opportunities on the road before us, there will be praised enough are all. -- praise enough are all. the people did not set is here to bicker. it is time to govern. many presidents have come to this chamber in times of great crisis, war, depression, loss of national spirit.
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eight years ago, i sat in that very chair as president reagan spoke of punishing inflation and devastatingly high interest rates and people out of work. american confidence on the wane. our challenge is different. we are fortunate. a much-changed landscape lays before us tonight. so, i do not propose to reverse direction. we are headed the right way. but, we cannot rest. we are a people whose energy and drive has fueled our rise to greatness. we are a forward-looking nation. generous, yes. but, ambitious as well. not for ourselves, but for the world. complacency is not in our character. not before, not now, not ever. [applause]
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pres. h.w. bush: so, tonight, we must take a strong america and make it even better. we must address some very real problems. we must establish very clear priorities and make a very substantial cut in the federal budget deficit. [applause] pres. h.w. bush: some people find that agenda impossible. but, i am presenting to you a realistic plan for tackling it. my plan has four broad features. attention to urgent priorities, investment in the future, an attack on the deficit, and no new taxes. [applause]
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pres. h.w. bush: this budget represents my best judgment of how we can address our priorities. there are many areas in which we would all like to spend more than i propose. i understand that. but we cannot until we get our fiscal house in order. next year alone, thanks to economic growth, without any change in the law, the federal government will take in over $80 billion more than it does this year. that is right. over $80 billion in new revenues with no new increases in taxes. our job is to allocate those resources wisely. we can afford to increase spending by a modest amount. but enough to invest in key
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priorities and cut the deficit by almost 40% in one year. that will allow us to meet the targets set forth in the law. to do that, we must recognize the growth about inflation and federal programs is not preordained. that not all spending initiatives were designed to be immortal. [applause] pres. h.w. bush: i make this pledge tonight. my team and i are ready to work with the congress to form a special leadership group to negotiate in good faith, to work day and night, if that is what it takes to meet the budget target and to produce a budget on time. we cannot settle for business as usual.
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government by continuing resolution or government my by crisis will not do. i ask the congress tonight to approve several measures which will make budgeting more sensible. we could save time and improve efficiency by enacting two-year budgets. [applause] pres. h.w. bush: 43 governors have the line item veto. presidents should have it, too. [applause] pres. h.w. bush: at the very least, when a president proposes to rescind federal spending, the congress should be required to vote on a proposal in that of instead of killing it by inaction. [applause]
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pres. h.w. bush: and i ask the congress to honor the public's wishes by passing a constitutional amendment to require a balanced budget. such an amendment -- [applause] pres. h.w. bush: such an amendment once phased in will discipline both the congress and the executive branch. several principles described the kind of america i hope to build with your help in the years ahead. we will not have the luxury of taking the easy spendthrift approach to solving problems because higher spending and higher taxes put economic growth at risk. economic growth provides jobs and hope. economic growth enables us to pay for social programs. economic growth enhances the security of the nation. low tax rates create economic growth. i believe in giving americans greater freedom and greater
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choice. and i will work for choice for american families, whether in the housing in which they live, the schools to which they send their children, or the childcare they select for their young. [applause] pres. h.w. bush: i believe that we have an obligation to those in need. but that government should not be the provider of first resort for things that private sector can produce better. i believe in a society that is free from discrimination and bigotry of any kind. [applause]
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pres. h.w. bush: i will work to knock down the barriers left by past discrimination and to build a more tolerant society that will stop such barriers from ever being built again. i believe that family and faith represents the moral compass of the nation. i will work to make them strong. as benjamin franklin said, "if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without his notice, can a great nation rise without his aid?" together, let's put power in the hands of people. [applause]
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pres. h.w. bush: three weeks ago, we celebrated bicentennial inaugural. the 200th anniversary of the first presidency. if you look back, one thing is so striking about the way the founding fathers looked at america. they did not talk about themselves, they talked about prosperity. they talked about the future. we must think in terms bigger than ourselves. we must take actions today that will ensure a better tomorrow. [applause] pres. h.w. bush: we must extend american leadership in technology. increase long-term investments, improve our educational system, and boost productivity.
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these are the keys to building a better future for the families of america. hold fast to your dream because ultimately, america's future rests in your hands. to my friends in this chamber, i ask for your cooperation to keep america growing while cutting the deficit. it is only fair to those who have no vote for generations to come. let them look back and say we had the foresight to understand that in the time of peace and prosperity is not a time to rest , but a time to press forward, a time to invest in the future. no problem of human making is too great to be overcome by human ingenuity, energy, and the untiring hope of the human spirit. i believe this.
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tomorrow, we will debate on the plan i put forward. i ask that congress come forward with your own proposals. let's not question each other's motives. let's debate. let's negotiate, but let us solve the problem. [applause] pres. h.w. bush: recalling anniversaries may not be my specialty in speeches. [laughter] [applause] pres. h.w. bush: but, tonight is one of some note. on february 9 1941, 48 years ago
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tonight, sir winston churchill took to the airwaves during britain's hour of peril. he received from president roosevelt a handcarried letter quoting longfellow's famous poem. sail on, oh ship of state. sail on, a union strong and great. humanity, with all its years, with all the hopes of future years, it is hanging breathless on your feet. churchill responded on this night by radio broadcasts to a nation at war. he directed his words to franklin roosevelt. "we shall not fail or falter. we shall not weaken or tire. give us the tools, and we will
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finish the job. " tonight, almost half a century later, our peril may be less immediate, but the need for perseverance and clear-sighted fortitude is just as great. now, as then, there are those who say it cannot be done. there are voices who say that america's best days have passed. that we are bound by constraints, threatened by problems, surrounded by troubles that limit our ability to hope. tonight, i remain full of hope. we americans have only begun on our mission of goodness and greatness. to those timid souls, i repeat the plea, give us the tools and we will do the job. thank you. god bless you, and god bless america. [applause]
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>> as the nation prepares to hear from president donald trump in an address to a joint session of congress, c-span will at portions of the first speeches by the last five presidents. bill clinton spoke before congress february 17, 1993. use the occasion to outline his plan for boosting the economy while also cutting the budget deficit. >> members of the congress, i have the high privilege and distinct honor of presenting to you, the president of the united states. [applause]
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pres. clinton: thank you. thank you. thank you very much. thank you. [applause] pres. clinton: mr. president, mr. speaker, members of the house and the senate, distinguished americans. it is nice to have a fresh excuse for giving a long speech. [laughter] pres. clinton: when presidents
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speak to congress and the nation from this podium, typically they comment on the opportunities and challenges we face in the united eights. -- united states. but this is not an ordinary time. for all the many tasks that require our attention, i believe tonight that one calls on to focus tonight and to act. that is our economy. more than anything else, artest our task tonight as american is s is to make our economy thrive again. let me begin by saying it has been too long, at least three decades since a president has come and challenged americans to join him on a national journey, not only to consume the bounty of today but to invest for a much greater one tomorrow. [applause] pres. clinton: like individuals, nations ultimately decide how they wish to conduct themselves.
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how they wish to be thought of by those who with they live and dust with whom they -- those with whom they live and later how they wish to be judged by history. like every individual, nations must decide whether they are prepared to rise to the occasion history presents them. we have always been a people of youthful energy and daring spirit. at this historic moment as communism has fallen, as freedom is spreading around the world, as the global economy is taking shape before our eyes, and americans have called for change. now, it is up to us in this room to deliver for them. our nation needs a new direction. tonight, i present to you a comprehensive plan to set our nation on that new course. i believe we will find our new direction in the basic, old values that brought us here over the last two centuries. a commitment to opportunity. to individual responsibility. to community, work, family, and fate.
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we must now break the habit of s of both political parties and say that there can be no more something for nothing. and admit that we are all in this together. [applause] pres. clinton: the conditions which brought us to this point are well-known. two decades of low productivity growth and stagnant wages, persistent unemployment and underemployment, years of huge government deficit declining in our future, exploding health care costs and lack of coverage for millions of americans, legions of poor children, education and job training opportunities in adequate to the -- inadequate to the demands of this global economy. for too long we have drifted. without a strong sense of purpose or responsibility to our
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community. our political the them is seen paralyzed and special interest groups, by partisan bickering. also, by the sheer complexity of our problems. i believe we can do better because we remain the greatest nation on earth, the world's strongest economy, the world's only military superpower. if we have the vision, the will and the heart to make the changes we must, we can sell ail into the 21st century with possibility of our parents could not have even imagined and secure the american dream for ourselves and future generations. [applause] pres. clinton: i remember 12 years ago, president reagan stood at this very podium and told you and the american people that if our national debt were stacked in thousand dollar bills, that stack would reach 67
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miles. today, that stack would reach 267 miles. i tell you this not to assign blame for this problem. there is plenty of blame to go around in most branches of the government and for parties. -- both parties. the time has come for the blame to end. [applause] pres. clinton: i did not seek this office to place blame. i come here tonight to accept
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responsibility with me. -- to accept responsibility and i want you to accept responsibility with me. if we do right by this country, i do not care who get the credit for it. [applause] pres. clinton: the plan i offer you has four fundamental components. emphasis onifts our public and private spending from consumption to investment. initially, by jumpstarting the economy in the short term and investing in our people, their jobs, and their income. over the long run. second, it changes the rhetoric of the past into the actions of the present by honoring work and families in every part of our public decision-making. third, is substantially reduces the federal deficit honestly and credibly by beginning the most conservative estimates of
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government revenues, not using the most optimistic ones. [applause] pres. clinton: finally, it seeks to earn the trust of the american people by paying for these plans with cut in government waste and inefficiency. second, with cuts not gimmicks in government spending. and by fairness and change in the way additional burdens are born. [applause] pres. clinton: tonight, i want to talk with you about what government can do, because i believe government must do more. let me say first that the real engine of economic growth is the private sector. [applause]
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pres. clinton: second, that each of us must be an engine of growth and change. the truth is, as government creates more opportunity in this new and different time, we must also demand more responsibility in turn. our immediate priority must be to create jobs and create job s now. some people say we are in a recovery and do not need to do that. we all hope we are in a recovery, but we are not creating new jobs. there is no recovery worth its salt that does not but the -- put the american people back to work. [applause] pres. clinton: to create jobs and guarantee a strong recovery,
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i call on congress to enact an immediate package of jobs investment of over $30 billion, to put people to work now, to create half a million jobs, to rebuild our highways and airports and renovate housing ruraling new life to communities and spread hope and opportunity among our nation's youth. especially i want to emphasize after the events of last year in los angeles. the countless stories of despair in our cities. this proposal will create almost 700,000 new summer jobs for displaced young people this summer. [applause] pres. clinton: tonight, i invite america's business leaders to join us in this effort so that together we can provide over one million summer jobs in cities and rural areas for our young people.
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[applause] pres. clinton: second, our plan looks beyond today's business cycle because our aspirations extend into the next century. the heart of this plan deals with the long-term. it is an investment program designed to increase private and public investment in areas critical to our economic future. it has a deficit reduction program that will increase the savings available for the private sector to invest. it will lower interest rates to a decrease the percentage of the federal budget, and decrease the risk of financial market disruptions that could adversely affect our economy. all of this will bring us a higher rate of economic growth, improved productivity, more high-quality jobs, and improved economic position in the world.
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in order to accomplish both something no american government , has been called upon to do at the same time before. spending must be cut, and taxes must be raised. but all of our efforts will fail -- let me say this again -- i feel so strongly about this -- all of our efforts to strengthen the economy will fail unless we also take this year, not next year or five years from now, but this year, bold steps to reform our health care system. [applause]
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pres. clinton: in 1992, we spent 14% of our income on health care. more than 30% more than any other country in the world yet we were the only advanced nation that did not provide health care benefits to all of its citizens. unless we change that resin present pattern, 50% of the growth in the deficit will be in health care costs. by the year 2000, almost 20% of our income will be in health care. our families will never be secure, our businesses will never be strong, and our government will never again be fully solvent until we tackle the health care crisis. we must do it this year. [applause]
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president clinton: the combination of the rising cost of care and the lack of care, and the fear of losing care. they are endangering the security and the very lives of millions of our people. they are weakening our economy every day. reducing health care costs can liberate hundreds of billions of dollars for new investment in growth and jobs. bringing costs in line with inflation would do more for the private sector in this country than any other tax cut that we could give. reforming health care of the -- over the long run is critically essential to reducing not only are deficit but expanding investment in america. [applause]
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later this spring, i will deliver a comprehensive plan to congress that will finally bring costs under control and provide security to all of our families so no one will be denied the coverage they need so are economic future will not be compromised either. [applause] pres. clinton: we will have to root out fraud and overcharges and make sure paperwork no longer chokes your doctor. we will maintain the right to choose the worlds finest for all of those who can access them. [applause]
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pres. clinton: but first we must make traces. we must choose to give the american people the quality they demand in teaser with a system that will not encrypt the country or further drive more americans into agony. let me further say that i want to work with all of you on this. i realize this is a complicated issue but we must and dress it. -- address it. those who disagree on taxes and spending or anything else can agree on one thing, surely we can look at these numbers and go home until the people the truth. we cannot continue these spending patterns for less and less and less every year. we can do better. in the end, we have to give back. there has been a lot of talk and very few credible efforts to deal with it and now i understand after having dealt with the real numbers for four
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weeks. this plan tackles the budget deficit seriously and over the long term. it puts in place one of the biggest deficits in -- at the same time over the next four years. let me say to all the people watching us tonight who will ask these questions beginning tomorrow as i go around the country. we are not cutting the deficit just because experts say it is the thing to do more because it has some intricate merit, we have to cut the deficit because the more we spend paying off the debt, the less we have to invest in the future of this country and the more money we take out of the pool of available savings, the harder it is for people in the privatsector tomorrow money at affordable interest rates for a college loan for their children, a home mortgage, or to start a new business.
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that is why we have to reduce the debt. it is crowding out other activities we ought to be engaged in and the american people at to be engaged in. [applause] pres. clinton: we cut the deficit so that our children will be able to buy a home so that our companies can invest in the future and read -- retraining the future so our government can make the kind of investment we need to be a stronger, smarter, safer nation. if we do not act now, you and i might not even recognize this government 10 years from now. if we stay with the same trends, at the end of the decade the deficit will be higher -- almost 80% of our domestic is paying interest on that debt is the most costly of all.
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we will still be the world's largest debtors and when members of congress come here they will be devoting over $.20 on the dollar to interest, more than half of the budget to health care and other and title months and you will come here to deliberate and argue over six cents or seven cents on the dollar. we will not be able to have the independence we need to have the future we must and we will be terribly dependent on large -- foreign funds for a large portion of our investment. this budget plan by contrast will by 1997 cut $140 billion from the deficit, a real spending cut. a real deficit reduction using the independent numbers of the congressional argent office. [laughter] pres. clinton: you can laugh, my fellow republicans, but i will point out it was closer to right
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than the previous presidents. [applause] [cheers] pres. clinton: i did this -- [applause] pres. clinton: i did this -- [cheers and applause] pres. clinton: i did this so that we can argue about our set of priority with the same numbers. so nobody could say i was estimating my way out. i did this so that if we can agree together on the most prudent revenues where likely to get, if the recovery stays and we do the right thing economically it will turn out better for the american people than it did in the last 12 years
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because there were differences in the revenue estimates. you and i know that both parties were given greater elbowroom for irresponsibility. this is tightening the rain on the democrats as well as a republican so we can argue about the same set of numbers so the american people will think -- [applause] pres. clinton: taken together, this will save the average american families less than $12 a month. it will cost families with an income under $30,000 nothing because of other programs we proposed, principally those raising the earned income tax credits. because of the publicly stated desire to increase the deficit, if we do these things we will see the continuation of the things that happened just since the election. since the secretary of the treasury, the director of the
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office of budget and management have begun to speak out publicly in favor of a tell deficit reduction plan. interest rates have continued to fall long-term. that means for the middle class, we will pay something more each month. if they have any credit needs or demands, their increased energy cost will be more than offset by lower interest cost for mortgages, consumer loans, credit cards. this can be an investment for them and to their country now. [applause] pres. clinton: i would also point out with the american people might already know and that is because we are a big, vast country where we drive long distances, we have maintained far lower burdens on energy than any other advanced country. we will still have far lower burdens on energy than any other advanced country and these will be spread fairly with real
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attempts to make sure that nothing is imposed on families with incomes under $30,000 and very modest until you get into the higher income groups where income taxes trigger in. i ask all of you to consider this, whatever you think of the tax program, would everything of the spending cuts, consider the cost of not changing. remember the numbers that you all know. if we just keep doing what we are doing by the end of the decade we will have a 650 -- 20% of our national income will go to health care every year, twice is much as any other country on the face of the club. if we keep doing what we are doing over $.20 of the dollar will have to go to service the debt. unless we have the courage now to start holding our future and stop borrowing from it we are condemning ourselves to years of stagnation and the --
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interrupted by -- more debt, more disappointment. unless we change, unless we reduce the debt, to raise productivity so that we can generate both jobs and income, we will be condemning our children and our children's children to a lesser life then we enjoy. once americans looked forward to doubling their living standards over 25 years, at present productivity years it will take 100 years to double living standards until our grandchildren's grandchildren are born. i say that is too long to wait. [applause]
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pres. clinton: tonight the american people know we need to change but there are also likely to ask me tomorrow and in the weeks and months ahead whether we have the fortitude to make the changes happen in the right way. they know as soon as i leave this chamber and you go home, various interest groups will be out in force lobbying against this or that piece of the plan and if the forces of conventional wisdom will offer 1000 reasons why we ought to do this but we can't. our people will be watching and wondering, not to see if you disagree with me on a particular issue, but just to see whether this will be business as usual or a brand new day. whether we will all conduct ourselves as if we know we are working for this. we must scale the people's skepticism, not with our words but with our deeds. [applause]
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pres. clinton: after so many years of deadlock, the american people are going to be harsh in their judgment on all of us if we fail to seize this moment. this economic plan cannot please everybody. there will be something that will anger each of us and won't please anybody. but if it is taken as a whole and will help all of us. so i ask you all to begin by resisting the temptation to focus only on a particular spending cut you do not like or some particular investment that was not made. nobody likes tax increases but let's race facts. for 20 years, through
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administrations of both parties, incomes have stalled. debt has exploded. productivity has background as it should. we cannot deny the reality of our condition. we have got to play the hand we are dealt and play it as best we can. [applause] pres. clinton: my fellow americans, the test of this plan cannot the "what is in it for me?", it has got to be, "what is in it for us?" if we work hard and we were together, if we rededicate ourselves to creating jobs, rewarding work, strengthening
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our families, reinventing our government, we can lift our country's fortunes again. tonight i will ask everyone in this chamber and everyone in america to look simply enter your own heart. spark your own hopes. higher your own imagination. there is so much good, so much possibility, so much excitement in this country now that if we act boldly and honestly, as leaders should, our legacy will be one of prosperity. this must be america's new direction. let us summon the courage to seek it. thank you. god bless you. announcer: president donald trump delivers an address to a joint session of congress on tuesday, february 28. the first addressed by a new president is typically used to lay policy and budget priorities. c-span's look back at the last
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five presidents continues with george w. bush speaking before a joint session on february 27, 2001. >> i have the high privilege and distinct honor of presenting to the president of the united states. [cheers and applause] president bush: thank you very much. thank you very much. thank you. mr. speaker.
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mr. speaker, mr. vice president, members of congress. it is a great privilege to be here to outline a new budget and a new approach to govern our great country. i thank you for your invitation to speak your tonight. i know congress had to formally invite me and it could've been a close vote. [laughter] so mr. vice president, i appreciate you being here to break the tie. i want to thank so many of you who accepted my invitation to come to the white house to discuss important issues. we are off to a good start. i will continue to meet with you and ask for your input. you have been kind and candid and i thank you for making a new president feel welcome. [applause]
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pres. bush: the last time i visited the capital became to take an oath on the steps of this building. i pledged to honor our constitution and laws. [applause] pres. bush: and i ask you to join me in setting a tone of civility and respect in washington. [applause] pres. bush: i hope america is noticing the difference because we are making progress. together we are changing the tone in the nation's capital and this spirit of respect and cooperation is vital, because in the end we will be judged only by what we say or how we say it, we will be judged by what we are able to accomplish.
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america today is a nation with great challenges at greater resources. an artist using statistics as a brush could paint two very different pictures of our country. one would have warning signs, increasing layoffs, rising energy prices, too many feeling schools, persistent poverty, the stubborn vestiges of racism. another picture would be full of blessings. a balanced budget, big surpluses, a military that is second to none, a country at peace with its neighbors. technology that is revolutionizing the world and our greatest strength, concerned citizens who care for our country and care for each other. neither picture is complete in and of itself and tonight i challenge and invite congress to work with me to use the resources of one picture to repaint the other. to erect the advantages of our
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time to solve the problems of our people. some of these resources will come from government. some, but not all. year after year in washington, budget debate seem to come down to an old, tired argument. on one side those who want more government regardless of the cost and on the other those who want less government regardless of the need. we should leave those arguments to the last century and chart a different course. [applause] pres. bush: government has a role and an important role, get too much government crowds out private charity, and the private economy. our new governing vision says government should be active but limited.
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engaged but not overbearing. my budget is based on that philosophy. it is reasonable and it is responsible. it meets our obligations and funds our growing needs. we increase spending next year for social security and medicare and other entitlement programs by $81 billion. we've increased spending for discretionary programs by a very responsible 4% above the rate of inflation. it plays down an unprecedented amount of our national debt and there is still money left over. my plan returns it to the people who earned it in the first place will stop -- in the first place. [cheers and applause]
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pres. bush: a budgets impact is counted in dollars but measured in lives. excellent schools, quality health care, a secure retirement, a cleaner environment, a stronger defense. these are all important needs and we fund them. the highest percentage increase in our budget should go to our children's education. education is my top priority. [applause]
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pres. bush: education is my top priority, and by supporting this budget will be yours as well. reading is the foundation so in the next years we triple the investment to allow every child in america to read. value is important. education to teach our children not only reading and writing but right from wrong. [applause] pres. bush: we have increased funding to train and recruit teachers because we know a good education starts with a good teacher and i have a wonderful partner in this effort. i like teachers so much, i married one. [applause]
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pres. bush: we have increased our budget at a responsible 4%. we have funded our priorities. we paid down all of the available data. -- available debt. we have prepared for contingencies. and we still have money left over. yogi berra once said, when you come to a fork in the road -- take it. we have come to a fork in the road. we of two choices. even though we have already met our needs, we could spend the money on more and bigger government. that is the road our nation has traveled in recent years. lester governor -- government -- last your government spending shot up 4%. more than our economy grew, more than personal income grew, and more than a inflation. if you continue on that road you
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will spend the surplus and have to dip into social security to pay other bills. unrestrained government spending is a dangerous road to deficits. we must take a different path. [applause] pres. bush: the other choices to let the american people spend their own money to meet their own needs. [applause] pres. bush: i hope you'll join
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me in standing firmly on the side of the people. you see, the growing surplus exists because taxes are too high and government is charging more thing and it needs. the people of america have been overcharged and on their behalf i am here asking for a refund. [cheers and applause] pres. bush: some say my tax plan is too big. others say it is too small.
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i respectfully disagree. [laughter] pres. bush: this plan is just right. the agenda i have set before you tonight is worthy of a great nation. america is a nation at peace, but not a nation at rest. much has been given to us and much is expected. let us agree to bridge old divides. let us also agree our goodwill must be dedicated to great goals. bipartisanship is more than minding our matters, it is doing our duty. no one can speak -- [applause] pres. bush: no one can speak in this capital and not be on by history. so many turning points and debates in these chambers have reflected the conscience of this
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country and when we walk the statuary hall and see those men in women of marble, we are reminded of the courage and achievement. yet america's purpose is never only found in statues or history. america's purpose always stands before us. our generation must show courage in a time of blessing as our nation has always shown in times of crisis. and, our courage to gather the greatness to serve our country. this is a privilege and responsibility we share. if we were together, we can prove that public service is noble. we'll came here for a reason. we'll have things we want to accomplish and promises to keep. together we can. [applause]
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pres. bush: we can make americans proud of their government. together we can share in the credit of making our country more prosperous and generous and just. and learn from our conscience and our -- and earned from our conscience and fellow citizens, the highest praise. well done, good, faithful servants. good night and god bless. announcer: our special program looking at first presidential speeches to congress concludes with barack obama speaking before a joint session on february 24, 2009. the speech happened after congress passed an economic stimulus will along party lines and includes a call for the
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president does from the president for comprehensive health care reform. reminder, you can watch donaldyf donald trump's address through the joint session of congress on tuesday, february 28 on c-span. [applause] pres. obama: meta-speaker -- >> members of congress i have the high privilege and the distinct honor of presenting to you the president of the united states. >> [applause] pres. obama: thank you. thank you. thank you everybody.
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please, thank you. thank you very much. thank you very much. speakerspeaker -- madam , mr. vice president, members of congress, the first lady of the united states -- [applause] pres. obama: i have come here tonight not only to address the distinguished men and women in this great chamber but to speak frankly and directly to the men and women who sent us here. i know for many americans watching right now the state of
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our economy is a concern that rises above all others. and rightly so. if you haven't been personally affected by this recession you probably know someone who has. a friend. a neighbor. a member of your family. hear oft need to another list of specifics to know that our economy is in crisis because you live it every day. it is the worry you wake up with and a source of sleepless nights. you wouldu thought retire from is now lost, the business you have built, your dreams upon is now hanging by a thread. the college acceptance letter your child had to put back in the envelope. the impact of this recession real and it is everywhere. but while our economy may be weakened and our confidence shaken and we are living through
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uncertain times, tonight i want every american to know this. we will rebuild. we will recover and the united states of america will be stronger than before. >> [applause] pres. obama: the wake of this crisis will not determine the destiny of this nation. the answers to our problems don't lie beyond our reach. they exist in our laboratories and our universities. in our fields and our factories. and the imagination of our entrepreneurs and the pride of the hardest working people honor.
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those qualities that have made america the greatest force of progress and prosperity in human history, we still possess in ample measure. is for thisired now country to pull together, confront boldly the challenges we face and take responsibility for our future once more. >> [applause] pres. obama: if we are honest with ourselves, for too long we have not always met these responsibilities. as a government or as a people. it is only by understanding how we arrived at this moment that we will be able to lift ourselves out of this predicament. the fact is our economy did not fall into decline overnight, nor did our problems begin when the housing market collapsed or the stock market sank. we have known for decades that our survival depends on finding
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new sources of energy. if we import more oil today than ever before, the cost of health care eats up more of our savings each year. yet we keep delaying reform. our children will compete for jobs in a global economy that too many of our schools do not prepare them for. to all these challenges, we still managed to spend more money and pile up more debt both as individuals and throughout government than ever before. in other words, we have lived through an arrow where too often, short-term gains were prized over long-term prosperity. where we failed to look beyond the next payment, the next quarter or the next election. surplus became an excuse to transfer wealth to the wealthy instead of an opportunity to invest in our future. >> [applause] pres. obama: regulations were gutted for the sake of a quick
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profit at the expense of a healthy market. people bought homes they knew they couldn't afford from banks and lenders who pushed those bad loans anyway. all the while difficult decisions were put off for some other time on some other day. that day of reckoning has arrived and the time to take charge of our future is here. now is the time to act boldly and wisely, to not only revive this economy but build a new foundation for lasting prosperity. now is the time to jumpstart job creation, restart lending and invest in energy and health care and education which will grow our economy even as we make hard choices to bring our deficit down. that is what my economic agenda is designed to do and that is what i would like to talk about tonight. the agenda begins with jobs. >> [applause] pres. obama: as soon as i took
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office i asked congress to send me a recovery plan that would put people back to work and put money in their pockets. not because i believe in bigger government. i don't. because i am- not not mindful of the massive debt we inherit. i am. i called for action because a failure to do so would have cost more jobs and caused more hardship. the failure to act would have worsened our long-term deficit by ensuring weak economic growth for years. that is why i pushed for quick action. tonight, i am grateful that this congress delivered and pleased to say that the american recovery and reinvestment act is now law. >> [applause]
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pres. obama: over the next two years this plan will save or create 3.5 million jobs. more than 90% of these jobs will be in the private sector. jobs rebuilding our roads and bridges, constructing wind turbines and solar panels, laying broadband and expanding mass transit. because of this plan there are teachers who can now keep their jobs and educate our kids. health care professionals can continue caring for our sick. 57 police officer's who are still on the street of minneapolis tonight because this plan prevented the layoff that their department was about to make. >> [applause] pres. obama: because of this plan, 95% of working households in america will receive a tax cut. a tax cut that you will see in your paycheck beginning on april
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1. familiesf this plan, who are struggling to pay tuition costs will receive a $2500 tax credit for all four years of college. >> [applause] pres. obama: and americans who have lost their jobs in this recession will receive extended unemployment benefits and continued health care coverage to help them weather this storm. >> [applause] pres. obama: i know there are some in this chamber and watching at home who are skeptical of whether this plan will work. i understand that skepticism. here in washington, we have all seen how quickly good intentions could turn into broken promises and wasteful spending and when a comes in as scale, normal's response to get it right. that is why i asked vice president biden to lead a tough
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oversight effort because nobody messes with joe. >> [applause] and the financial stability plan are the immediate steps we are taking to revive our economy in the short term. but the only way to fully restore america's economic strength is to make the long-term investments that will lead to new jobs, new industries, and a renewed ability to compete with the rest of the world. the only way this century will be another american century is if we confront at last the price of our dependence on oil and the high cost of health care. the schools that are not caring for our children and the amount of debt they stand to inherit. that is our responsibility. in the next few days i will submit a budget to congress. so often we come to view these documents as simply numbers on a page or a laundry list of programs. i see this document differently. i see it as a vision for america . a blueprint for our future.
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my budget does not attempt to solve every problem or address every issue. it reflects the stark reality of what we have inherited, a trillion dollar deficits, a financial crisis and a costly recession. given these realities, everyone in this chamber, democrats and republicans, will have to sacrifice some worthy priorities for which there are no dollars. that includes me. but that does not mean we can afford to ignore our long-term challenges. i reject the view that says our problems will simply take care of themselves. that says government has no role in laying the foundation for our common prosperity. history tells a different story. history reminds us that at every moment of economic upheaval and transformation, this nation has responded with bold action and big ideas. in the midst of civil war we laid railroad tracks from one coast to another.
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from the to an oil the industrial revolution came a system of public high schools that prepared our citizens for a new age. in the wake of war and depression the g.i. bill sent a generation to college and created the largest middle class in history. >> [applause] pres. obama: and a twilight struggle for freedom led to a nation of highways, and america on the move and an explosion of technology that still shapes our world. in each case government didn't supplant private enterprise. it catalyzed private enterprise. it created the conditions for thousands of entrepreneurs and new businesses to adapt and thrive. we have seen progress and claimed opportunity.
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now we must be that nation again. that is why even as it cuts back on programs we don't need the budget i submit will invest in the three areas that are absolutely critical to our economic future. energy, health care and education. >> [applause] but this is america. we don't do what is easy. we do what is necessary to move this country forward. for that reason we must also address the crushing cost of health care. the cost causes a bankruptcy in america every 30 seconds. by the end of the year it could cause 1.5 million americans to lose their homes. in the last eight years, premiums have grown four times faster than wages. each of these years, one million more americans have lost their health insurance. it is one of the major reasons businesses close their doors
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and what corporations ship jobs overseas and it is one of the largest and fastest-growing parts of our budget. given these facts, we can no longer afford to put health care reform on hold. we can't afford to do it. >> [applause] pres. obama: it is time. already, we have done more to advance the cause of health care the last 30 days and we have done in the last decade. when it was days old this congress passed a law that provides and protects health insurance for 11 million american children whose parents work full-time. >> [applause]
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pres. obama: our recovery plan will invest in the electronic technologies that will reduce errors, bring down costs and ensure privacy and save lives. it will launch a new effort to conquer a disease that has touched the life of nearly every american, including me. by seeking a cure for cancer in our time. >> [applause] pres. obama: and it makes the largest investment ever in preventative care because that is one of the best ways to keep our people healthy and our costs under control. this budget builds on a historic commitment to copperheads of health care reform, a down payment on the principle that we must have quality, affordable health care for every american. that is paidtment
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for, in part, by efficiency's in our system that are long overdue and it is a step we must take if we hope to bring down our deficit in the years to come. there will be many different opinions and ideas about how to achieve reform. that is why i am bringing together businesses and workers, doctors and health care providers. democrats and republicans could begin work on this issue next week. i suffer no illusions that this will be an easy process. once again, it will be hard. i also know that nearly a century after teddy roosevelt first called for reform the cost of our health care has weighed down our economy and our .onscious long enough let there be no doubt. health care reform cannot wait. it must not wait and it will not wait another year. >> [applause] pres. obama: there is another response ability we have to our
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children. tot is the responsibility ensure that we do not pass on to them a debt they cannot pay. >> [applause] pres. obama: i agree. i know we can get some consensus in here. >> [laughter] pres. obama: with the deficit we -- rited, the cost >> [applause] pres. obama: the cost of the crisis we face and the long-term challenges we must meet has than that more sure as our economy covers we do what it takes to bring the deficit
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down. that is critical. >> [applause] pres. obama: i am proud that the passed a recovery plan free of earmarks and i want to pass a budget next year that ensures that each dollar we spend reflects only our most important national priorities. held a fiscal summit where i pledged to cut the deficit in half by the end of my first term in office. my administration has also begun to go line by line through the federal budget to eliminate wasteful and ineffective programs. as you can imagine, it will take some time but we have already identified $2 trillion in savings over the next decade. in this budget -- >> [applause] pres. obama: in this budget, we will end education programs that don't work and direct payments that don't work.
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we will eliminate -- >> [applause] pres. obama: we will eliminate the contracts that have wasted billions in iraq and -- >> [applause] our. obama: and reform defense budget that we are not paying for cold war era weapon systems we do not use. we will root out the waste and fraud and abuse in our medicare programs. it doesn't make our seniors any healthier. we will restore a sense of fairness and balance to our tax code by finally ending the tax break for corporations that shift our jobs overseas. >> [applause]
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pres. obama: in order to save our children from a future of the tax will also end breaks for the wealthiest 2% of americans. let me be absolutely clear, because i know you will and appearing some of the same claims that rolling back these tax breaks means a massive tax increase on the american people. if your family earns less than $250,000 a year, a quarter million dollars a year, you will not see your taxes increase a single dime. i repeat, not one single dime. >> [applause] not aobama: in fact, dime. >> [applause] in fact, the
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recovery plan provides a tax cut . that is right, a tax cut for 95% of working families. these checks are on the way. >> [applause] pres. obama: to preserve our long-term physical health must also address the going -- the growing cost in medicare and social security. copperheads of health care reform is the best way to strengthen medicare for years to come. we must also begin a conversation on how to do the , whiler social security creating tax-free universal savings accounts for all americans. finally, because we are also suffering from a deficit of trust, i am committed to restoring a sense of honesty and accountability to our budget. that is why this budget looks
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ahead 10 years and accounts for underng that was left out the old rules. thethe first time, adding full cost of fighting in iraq and afghanistan. for seven years, no longer we will hide its cost. we stand at this crossroads of history. the eyes of all people and all nations are once again upon us. watching to see what we do with this moment. waiting for us to lead. those of us gathered tonight have been called to govern in extraordinary times. it is a tremendous burden but also a great privilege. one that has been entrusted to a few generations of americans. in our hands lies the ability to shape our world, for good or for ill. i know that it is easy to lose sight of this truth, to become cynical and doubtful, consumed with the petty and trivial.
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but i have learned that hope is found in unlikely places. inspiration often comes not from the most powerful or the celebrities but from the dreams and dr. -- aspirations of ordinary people who are anything but ordinary. think of a bank president from miami who reportedly cashed out of his company, took a $60 out to bonus and gave it all 399 people who work for him. plus, another 72 used to work for him. he didn't tell anyone but when the local newspaper found out he simply said "i knew some of these people since i was seven years old. it didn't feel right keeping the money to myself." >> [applause]
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pres. obama: i think about greensburg, kansas. a town that was completely destroyed by a tornado but is being rebuilt by residents as a global example of how clean energy can power an entire community. how it can bring jobs and businesses to a place where piles of bricks and rubble once lay. the tragedy was terrible, says one of the men who helped rebuild. but the folks here know it provided an incredible opportunity. i think about the young girl from that school i visited in
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dillon, south carolina. a place where the ceilings leak in the paint peels off the walls and they have to stop teaching six times a day because a train barrels by their classroom. she had been told her skill is hopeless -- her school is hopeless. but after class she went to the public library and typed up a letter to the people sitting in this chamber. she even asked her principal for the money to buy a stamp. the letter asks us for help. it says "we are just students trying to become lawyers, doctors, congressmen like yourself and one-day presidents. so we can make a change not just to south carolina but also the world. we are not quitters." that is what she said. "we are not quitters." these words -- >> [applause]
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pres. obama: these words and these stories tell us something about the spirit of the people who sent us here. ,ven in the most trying times amidst the most difficult circumstances, there is a generosity, a resilience, a decency and a determination that perseveres. a willingness to take on civility for our future and for posterity. their resolve must be our inspiration.
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their concerns must be our cause. we must show them and all our people that we are equal to the task before us. >> [applause] i know that we haven't agreed on every issue us far. >> [laughter] pres. obama: there are surely times in the future where we will part ways. but i also know that every american who is sitting here tonight loves this country and wants it to succeed. >> [applause] pres. obama: i know that. that must be the starting point for every debate we have in the coming months.


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