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Weekly remarks: Obama on the economic truth; GOP's John Barrasso on healthcare repeal

January 22, 2011 |  3:00 am

Democrat president Barack Obama enjoys an Oval Office phone chat

Weekly remarks by President Obama, as provided by the White House

Here’s the truth about today’s economy: If we’re serious about fighting for American jobs and American businesses, one of the most important things we can do is open up more markets to American goods around the world.

That’s why I met with China’s President Hu Jintao at the White House this past week. We’re now exporting more than $100 billion a year to China in goods and services. And as a result of deals we completed this week, we’ll be increasing U.S. exports to China by more than $45 billion, and China’s investments in America by several billion dollars.  Most important, these deals will support some 235,000 American jobs. And that includes a lot of manufacturing jobs.

That goal is why I fought so hard to negotiate a new and better trade deal with....

....South Korea -- a deal with unprecedented support from business and labor -- that will support more than 70,000 American jobs. And that’s why I traveled to India last fall to help pave the way for $10 billion in new deals for American businesses and more than 50,000 new American jobs.

Now, these may just sound like statistics.  But yesterday, I saw what that means firsthand when I traveled to a GE plant in Schenectady, New York. This plant is manufacturing steam turbines and generators for a big project in India that resulted from a deal we announced around that trip -- a project that’s helping support more than 1,200 manufacturing jobs and more than 400 engineering jobs in Schenectady. Good jobs at good wages, producing American products for the world.

At the same time, GE has also been investing in innovation, building a clean-energy center, an advanced battery manufacturing plant and other state-of-the-art facilities in Schenectady that are resulting in hundreds of new American jobs and contributing to America’s global economic leadership.

Leading the world in innovation. Opening new markets to American products. That’s how we’ll create jobs today. That’s how we’ll make America more competitive tomorrow. And that’s how we’ll win the future.

While I was in Schenectady, I announced that Jeff Immelt, GE’s CEO and one of the most imaginative and visionary business leaders in America, has agreed to head up our new Council on Jobs and Competitiveness. The purpose of this council is to help us find ways to grow our economy by investing in our businesses here at home. And under Jeff’s leadership, I’m confident that they’ll generate good ideas about how we can spur hiring, educate our workers to compete in the 21st century, and attract the best jobs and businesses to America rather than seeing them spring up overseas.

We’re living in a new and challenging time, in which technology has made competition easier and fiercer than ever before. Countries around the world are upping their game and giving their workers and companies every advantage possible. But that shouldn’t discourage us. Because I know we can win that competition. I know we can out-compete any other nation on Earth. We just have to make sure we’re doing everything we can to unlock the productivity of American workers, unleash the ingenuity of American businesses, and harness the dynamism of America’s economy. Thanks everyone, and have a nice weekend.    ####

Capitol Dome

Weekly remarks by Sen. John Barrasso, as provided by Republican Party leadership

I’m John Barrasso, a doctor and a United States Senator for Wyoming. I’m pleased to talk with you today from my hometown of Casper. 

Across our country, Americans remain shocked and saddened by the recent violence in Arizona. As we return to work in Washington, our hearts go out to Congresswoman Giffords, the other victims and their families.  They remain in our thoughts and in our prayers. 

Earlier this week, the newly elected House of Representatives immediately kept its promise to you, the American people. It did so by voting to repeal the president’s healthcare spending law.

Now it’s the Senate’s turn.

The president’s party has wasted millions of your taxpayer dollars trying to persuade you to support this law.

Well, in spite of the mailings and the misleading television ads, they have failed. A recent poll showed that a majority of Americans still want this law repealed. 

And the reasons are clear.

Ask yourself --are you better off or worse off now that the healthcare law has been on the books for almost a year? Has the cost of your own health insurance gone down?

Remember, the president promised that the law would significantly reduce your costs. If you get health insurance through your job, are you confident that you can keep it?

Wyoming Republican Senator Dr John Barrasso We’ve already heard how the new law forces many employers to choose between keeping workers and paying for insurance coverage.  

How about the availability of your care? As most Americans know, coverage does not equal good care. 

According to the government's own experts, it could get a lot harder for many Americans to find a doctor or a hospital to go to. 

Now, for seniors, the reason is because the law cuts $500 billion from Medicare -- not to save Medicare, but to start a whole new Washington program.

And seniors are not the only Americans targeted by the president’s new law.

Small-business owners now have to file burdensome tax forms for basic business expenses such as phone and Internet service, shipping costs, office supplies. This absurd provision only increases the costs of owning and operating a small business.

Each and every day, more people pay the price of Obamacare’s mountain of mandates. 

As I travel across the country, I continue to hear from Americans who want Washington to take its hands off of their healthcare.     
 
Interestingly, the only way to get out of this law is to have friends in high places -- like in the president’s own administration.

While the administration is forcing most Americans to accept the new law, over one and a half million Americans now get a free pass. These people have been given special Washington waivers. 

Many of these waivers have gone to labor unions who supported the law in the first place, but now don’t want to live under it. 

Well, if you don’t have a lawyer or a lobbyist connected to this administration, you’re out of luck. This isn’t fair and it’s not the American way.

As a doctor, I have taken care of families for over a quarter of a century. I know that this law is bad for patients, it’s bad for providers –- the nurses and the doctors who care for those patients -- and it’s bad for taxpayers.

As a doctor, I’m disturbed that the law will require more IRS agents to investigate you. To make sure you actually buy insurance –- but it fails to deal in any meaningful way with the shortage of nurses and doctors to actually take care of you.

Your health care decisions should be decided in your doctor’s office –- not a Washington office. Nothing should come between you and your doctor.

Not a government bureaucrat.

Not an insurance company bureaucrat. Nothing.

Republicans will fight to repeal this job-destroying law and replace it with patient-centered reforms. Reforms like making it legal for Americans to buy health insurance from companies in other states. Ending junk lawsuits that drive up the cost of everyone’s care. 

And restoring Americans’ freedom over their own healthcare decisions. 

Thanks to the vote in the House of Representatives, we are now one step closer to victory in the fight for a health care policy that puts Americans first –- not Washington. 

Our job won’t be done until we repeal and replace this bad law.  Thanks for listening.    ####

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Photos: Pete Souza / White House; Manuel Balce Ceneta / Associated Press (lone worker vents hot air from the Capitol); Associated Press (Dr. Barrasso).

 

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