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The President's Weekly Address

May 17, 2014

Hi, everybody. At a time when our businesses have created 9.2 million new jobs in just over 4 years and more companies are considering bringing jobs back from to foreign countries overseas, we have a choice to make: We can make it easier for businesses to invest in America, or we can make it harder.

I want to work with Congress to create jobs and opportunity for more Americans. But where Congress won't act, I will. And I want to talk about three things we're doing right now.

First, we're helping more businesses bring jobs to America from overseas. Three years ago, my administration created SelectUSA, a team of people in Embassies abroad and agencies here at home focused on insourcing instead of outsourcing. Today, they're helping a Belgian company create jobs in Oklahoma. They're helping a Canadian company create jobs in Kansas. In my State of the Union Address, I asked more businesses to do their part. And this week, business leaders from across the country are coming here to the White House to discuss new investments that will create even more jobs.

Second, on Thursday, I'll be heading to Cooperstown, New York, home of the Baseball Hall of Fame, to talk about tourism. Because believe it or not, tourism is an export. And if we make it easier for more foreign visitors to visit and spend money at America's attractions and unparalleled national parks, that helps local businesses and grows the economy for everyone.

Finally, we know that investing in first-class infrastructure attracts first-class jobs. And I want to spend a minute on this, because it's very important this year.

We know business owners don't seek out crumbling roads and bridges and backed-up supply chains. They set up shop where the newest, fastest, most convenient transportation and communications networks let them invent and sell goods made in America to the rest of the world as fast as possible.

Here's the problem: If Congress doesn't act by the end of this summer, Federal funding for transportation projects will run out. States might have to put some of their projects on hold. In fact, some already are, because they're worried Congress won't clear up its own gridlock. And if Congress fails to act, nearly 700,000 jobs would be at risk over the next year.

That's why I put forward a plan to rebuild our transportation infrastructure in a more responsible way. It would support millions of jobs across the country. And we'd pay for it without adding to the deficit by closing wasteful tax loopholes for companies that ship jobs overseas.

Now, the Republicans in Congress seem to have very different priorities. Not only have they neglected to prevent this funding from running out, their proposal would actually cut by 80 percent a job-creating grant program that has funded high-priority transportation projects in all 50 States. And they can't say it's to save money, because at the very same time, they voted for trillions of dollars in new tax cuts, weighted towards those at the very top.

Think about that. Instead of putting people to work on projects that would grow the economy for everyone, they voted to give a huge tax cut to households making more than a million dollars a year. So while Congress decides what it's going to do, I'll keep doing what I can on my own. On Wednesday, I was in New York where workers are building the area's first large, new bridge in 50 years. And they're doing it ahead of schedule. Three years ago, I took action without Congress to fast-track the permitting process for major projects. Normally, it would have taken 3 to 5 years to permit that bridge in New York. We did it in a year and a half. And I announced a new plan to cut redtape and speed up the process for even more projects across the country.

All these steps will make it easier for businesses to invest in America and create more good jobs. All of them can be done without Congress. But we could do a lot more if Congress was willing to help. In the meantime, I'll do whatever I can, not just to make America a better place to do business, but to make sure hard work pays off and opportunity is open to all.

Thanks, and have a great weekend.

NOTE: The address was recorded at approximately 3:20 p.m. on May 15 in the Grand Foyer at the White House for broadcast on May 17. The transcript was made available by the Office of the Press Secretary on May 16, but was embargoed for release until 6 a.m. on May 17.

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

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