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President Obama on how the American Jobs Act will Modernize America’s Schools

President Obama on how the American Jobs Act will Modernize America’s Schools


The President:
Hello, Columbus! (applause) It is good to be back
in the state of Ohio. (applause) Just a couple of people I want
to make sure you know are here. First of all, my outstanding
Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, is in the house. (applause) Superintendant of Columbus
City Schools, Dr. Gene T. Harris, is here. (applause) The principal of Fort Hayes
Metropolitan Education Center, Milton Ruffin, is here. (applause) And the mayor of the great city
of Columbus, Michael Coleman, is in the house. (applause) It is a great honor to be here
at Fort Hayes — one of the best high schools in Ohio. (applause) I want to thank Tom
for that introduction. He just gave me a quick
tour, and let me just say, these buildings look great. He did a good job. I wouldn’t mind taking
a few classes here. (applause) You’ve got computers
in every classroom, got state-of-the-art graphic
design and science labs, new media center, music rooms. And when you combine that
with outstanding teachers — (applause) — and a challenging curriculum,
you’ve got the foundation for what you need to
learn and graduate, and compete in this
21st century economy. (applause) So, Fort Hayes, I’m here to
talk about exactly that — about the economy. I came to talk about how we
can get to a place where we’re creating good, middle-class jobs
again — jobs that pay well; jobs that offer
economic security. (applause) And the renovation of Fort Hayes
is a great example of where those jobs can come from if we
can finally get our act together in Washington. (applause) If we can get folks in that city
to stop worrying so much about their jobs and start
worrying about your jobs. (applause) Now, yesterday, I sent
Congress the American Jobs Act. This is it right here. It’s pretty thick. This is a plan that does two
things: It puts people back to work, and it puts more
money in the pockets of working Americans. (applause) Everything in the American Jobs
Act is the kind of proposal that in the past has been
supported by both Republicans and Democrats. Everything in it
will be paid for. And every one of you can make
it happen by sending a message to Congress that
says: Pass this bill. (applause) Ohio, if you pass this bill,
then right here in this state, tens of thousands of
construction workers will have a job again. (applause) This is one of the most
common-sense ideas out there. All over the country, there are
roads and bridges and schools just like Fort Hayes
in need of repair. Some of the buildings here at
Fort Hayes were originally built during the Civil War. That’s old. (laughter) And when buildings are that
old, they start falling apart. They start leaking, and
ceiling tiles start to cave in, and there’s no heat in the
winter or air-conditioning in the summer. Some of the schools the
ventilation is so poor it can make students sick. How do we expect our kids to do
their very best in a situation like that? The answer is we can’t. Every child deserves
a great school, and we can give it to them,
but we got to pass this bill. (applause) Your outstanding
Senator, Sherrod Brown, has been fighting
to make this happen. (applause) And those of you here
at Fort Hayes have been making it happen. See, a few years back, you
decided to renovate this school. And you didn’t just
repair what was broken; you rebuilt this school
for the 21st century — with faster Internet and
cutting-edge technology. And that hasn’t just
created a better, safer learning environment
for the students; it also created good jobs
for construction workers. You just heard Tom say it’s
created over 250 jobs for masons and concrete workers and
carpenters and plumbers and electricians — and many of
those jobs are filled by the good people of Columbus, Ohio. (applause) But here’s the thing. There are schools all
throughout Ohio that need this kind of renovation. There’s a bridge in Cincinnati
that connects Ohio to Kentucky that needs this
kind of renovation. (applause) There are construction projects
like these all across the country just waiting
to get started. And there are millions of
unemployed construction workers who are looking for a job. So my question to Congress
is: What on Earth are we waiting for? (applause) I don’t know about you, but
I don’t want any student to study in broken-down schools. I want our kids to
study in great schools. I don’t want the newest airports
and the fastest railroads being built in China. I want them being built
right here in the United States of America. (applause) There is work to be done. There are workers
ready to do it. So let’s tell Congress,
pass this bill right away. (applause) Audience:
Pass this bill! Pass this bill!
Pass this bill! Pass this bill! The President:
Pass this jobs bill, and there
will be funding to save the jobs of up to 14,000 Ohio teachers
and cops and firefighters. (applause) Think about it. There are places like South
Korea that are adding teachers to prepare their kids
for the global economy, at the same time as we’re laying
off our teachers left and right; where we’ve got school districts
that have eliminated all extracurriculars — art,
sports, you name it. You’ve got situations where —
I just heard a story from Arne Duncan driving over here. I met this young man yesterday
— he’s a music teacher in Philly, and his budget — total
budget is $100 for teaching music in a whole
bunch of schools. So they’re using buckets to do
drums because they can’t afford actual musical instruments. You’ve seen it here in Ohio. Budget cuts are forcing
superintendents here in Columbus and all over the state to make
layoffs they don’t want to make. It is unfair to our kids,
it undermines our future, and it has to stop. Tell Congress to pass the
American Jobs Act so we can put our teachers back in the
classroom where they belong. (applause) Tell them to pass this bill
so we can help the people that create most of the new — we can
help the people who create most of the new jobs in this country. That’s America’s
small business owners. It’s all well and good that big
corporations have seen their profits roaring
back — that’s good. We want them to be able
to hire people as well. But smaller companies
haven’t come back. So this bill cuts taxes
for small businesses that hire new employees. It cuts taxes for small
businesses that raise salaries for current employees. It cuts small business
payroll taxes in half. So let’s tell Congress, instead
of just talking about helping America’s job creators, let’s
actually do something to help America’s job creators. Let’s pass this bill right away. (applause) Audience:
Pass this bill! Pass this bill!
Pass this bill! Pass this bill! The President:
If Congress passes
this jobs bill, companies will get new
tax credits for hiring America’s veterans. (applause) We ask these men and women
to leave their careers, leave their families, risk
their lives to make sure that we’re protected. The last thing they should have
to do is fight for a job when they come home. That’s why Congress
needs to pass this bill. It will help hundreds of
thousands of veterans all across the country. It will help hundreds of
thousands of young people find summer jobs next year. (applause) It’s also got a $4,000 tax
credit for companies that hire anybody who’s spent more than
six months looking for a job. The American Jobs Act extends
unemployment insurance, but it also says if you’re
collecting benefits, you’ll get connected to
temporary work as a way to build your skills and enhance your
résumé while you’re looking for a permanent job. (applause) And, finally, if we get
Congress to pass this bill, the typical working
family will get $1,500 in tax cuts next year — (applause) — $1,500 that would have been
taken out of your paycheck will go right back into your pocket. But if Congress doesn’t act, if
Congress refuses to pass this bill, then middle-class families
will get hit with a tax increase at the worst possible time. Now, we can’t let that happen. Audience:
No! The President:
Some folks have been working
pretty hard to keep tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans. Tell them they need to fight
just as hard — they need to fight harder — for
middle-class families. Tell them to pass
this jobs bill. (applause) So the American Jobs Act
will lead to new jobs for construction workers, jobs for
teachers, jobs for veterans, jobs for young people,
jobs for the unemployed. It will provide tax relief
for every worker and small business in America. And it will not
add to the deficit. It will be paid for. (applause) We will pay for this plan,
we’ll pay down our debt, and we’ll do it by following the
same principle that every family follows: We’ll make
sure that government lives within its means. We’ll cut what we can’t afford
to pay for what we really need — including some cuts we
wouldn’t make if we hadn’t racked up so much debt
over the last decade. And here’s the other
thing, Columbus. We got to make sure that
everybody pays their fair share — (applause) — including the
wealthiest Americans and biggest corporations. (applause) After all, we’ve got to decide
what our priorities are. Do you want to keep tax
loopholes for oil companies? Audience:
No! The President:
Or do you want to renovate more
schools like Fort Hayes so that construction workers
have jobs again? (applause) Do you want to keep tax
breaks for multi-millionaires and billionaires? Audience:
No! The President:
Or do you want to put
teachers back to work, and help small businesses, and cut
taxes for middle-class families? (applause) So, Columbus, we
know what’s right. We know what to do to create
jobs now, and in the future. We know that if we want
businesses to start here and stay here and hire here, we’ve
got to out-build and out-educate and out-innovate every
country on Earth. We’ve got to start
manufacturing. We’ve got to sell more goods
around the world that are stamped with three proud
words — “Made in America.” (applause) We need to build an
economy that lasts. And, Columbus, that starts now. That starts with your help. Democrats and Republicans have
supported every kind of proposal that’s in the American Jobs Act
— and we need to tell them to support those proposals now. Already, yesterday there were
some Republicans quoted in Washington saying that even if
they agree with the proposals in the American Jobs Act, they
shouldn’t pass it because it would give me a win. Audience:
Booo — The President:
That’s the kind of
games-playing we’ve gotten used to in Washington. Think about that. They supported this
stuff in the past, but they’re thinking maybe they
don’t do it this time because Obama is promoting it. Give me a win? This isn’t about
giving me a win. This isn’t about giving
Democrats or Republicans a win. It’s about giving the
American people a win. (applause) It’s about giving Ohio a win. (applause) It’s about your jobs and
your lives and your futures, and giving our kids a win. (applause) Maybe there’s some people in
Congress who’d rather settle our differences at the ballot box
than work together right now. But I’ve got news for them: The
next election is 14 months away. And the American people
don’t have the luxury of waiting that long. You’ve got folks who
are living week to week, paycheck to paycheck. They need action,
and they need it now. So I’m asking all of you to lift
your voice — not just here in Columbus, but anybody
who is watching, anybody who is listening,
anybody who is following online. I need you to call and email
and tweet and fax and visit, and tell your congressperson
that the time for gridlock and the time for games is over. The time for action is now. (applause) Tell them that if you want to
create jobs right now — pass this bill. (applause) If you want construction workers
renovating schools like this one — pass this bill. (applause) If you want to put teachers
back in the classroom — pass this bill. If you want tax cuts for
middle-class families and small business owners,
then what to do you do? Pass this bill. Audience:
Pass this bill! The President:
If you want to help our veterans
share in the opportunity that they defend — pass this bill. Now is the time to act. We’re not a people who
just watch things happen. We’re Americans; we
make things happen. (applause) We are tougher than
the times we live in. We are — bigger than the
politics that we’ve been putting up with. We are patriots and
pioneers, and innovators and entrepreneurs, who,
through individual effort, but also through a
commitment to one another, built an economy that’s
the engine and the envy of the world. We write our own destiny. It’s within our power
to write it once more. So let’s meet this moment. Let’s get to work. Let’s show the world once again
why the United States of America is the greatest
country on Earth. (applause) Thank you very much, Ohio. Thank you, Columbus. God bless you. And God bless the United
States of America. (applause)

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