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The President's Weekly Address

June 20, 2015

Hi, everybody. As President, I spend most of my time focused on what we can do to grow the economy and grow new pathways of opportunity for Americans like you to get ahead.

And we've made progress: more than 12 million new private sector jobs in the past 5 years, more than 16 million Americans who have gained health insurance, more jobs creating more clean energy, more kids graduating from high school and college than ever before.

But in a relentlessly changing economy, we've still got more work to do. And one of the things we should be doing, for example, is rewriting the rules of global trade to benefit American workers and American businesses. I think we should write those rules before China does. That's why I've been working with Congress to pass new, 21st-century trade agreements with standards that are higher and protections that are tougher than any past trade agreement.

I believe it's the right thing to do for American workers and families, or I wouldn't be doing it. I believe it's what will give us the competitive edge in a new economy, or I would not be doing it. Now, several Members of Congress disagree. That's why it's still tied up there, along with a lot of other good ideas that would create jobs. And eventually, I'm optimistic we'll get this done.

But America doesn't stand still. And that's why, on issue after issue where Congress has failed to act, my administration has partnered with mayors and Governors across the country to advance economic priorities that most working families in America are in favor of doing right now.

And we've had success. Over the past couple years, 17 States and 6 major cities have raised the minimum wage for their workers, 19 cities have enacted paid sick days, and 5 States have enacted paid sick days or paid family leave. Thirty-four States increased funding for quality pre-K, and 19 cities and States have signed up for our new TechHire initiative to train workers for the high-wage, high-skill jobs of tomorrow, the kind of jobs that new trade deals would help create.

Some of these victories have been small. Some have been quiet. But they've added up to a big difference for working families across America. And that's what matters to me the most, because it matters to you. On Friday, I talked about these initiatives and more in a speech to the U.S. Conference of Mayors. Check it out at Some of it might matter to your city.

Thanks, and have a great weekend.

NOTE: The address was recorded at approximately 10:55 a.m. on June 18 in the Map Room at the White House for broadcast on June 20. The transcript was made available by the Office of the Press Secretary on June 19, but was embargoed for release until 6 a.m. on June 20.

Barack Obama, The President's Weekly Address Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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