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The President's Weekly Address

December 21, 2013

Hi, everybody. This week, Congress finished up some important work before heading home for the holidays.

For the first time in years, both parties came together in the spirit of compromise to pass a budget, one that helps chart our economic course for the next 2 years. This budget will unwind some of the damaging cuts that have threatened students and seniors and held back our businesses. It clears the path for critical investments in the things that grow our economy and strengthen our middle class, like education and research. And it will keep reducing our deficits, at a time when we've seen 4 years of the fastest deficit reduction since the end of World War II.

Members of Congress also voted to finally allow several dedicated and well-qualified public servants to do their jobs for the American people, many of whom waited months for a simple yes-or-no vote. These are judges, Cabinet Secretaries, and military leaders. They're men and women charged with growing our economy, keeping our homeland secure, and making sure our housing system and financial system work for ordinary Americans.

So after a year of showdowns and obstruction that only held back our economy, we've been able to break the logjam a bit over the last few weeks. It's a hopeful sign that we can end the cycle of shortsighted, crisis-driven decisionmaking and actually work together to get things done. And that's important because there's plenty of work to do.

Right now, because Congress failed to act before leaving on vacation, more than 1 million Americans are poised to lose a vital source of income just a few days after Christmas. For many people who are still looking for work, unemployment insurance is a lifeline that can make the difference between temporary hardship or lasting catastrophe. Instead of punishing these families who can least afford it—especially now—Congress should first restore that lifeline immediately, then put our entire focus on creating more good jobs that pay good wages.

That's what I'll be focused on next year and every day I have the privilege of being your President: growing the economy, expanding opportunity, building an America that offers everyone who works hard the chance to get ahead and every child a fair shot at success.

And if Congress continues to act in the spirit of cooperation we've seen in recent weeks, I'm confident we can make much more progress together in the year to come.

Thanks, and have a great weekend and a very merry Christmas.

NOTE: The address was recorded at approximately 4:30 p.m. on December 19 in the Roosevelt Room at the White House for broadcast on December 21. In the address, the President referred to H.J. Res. 59. The transcript was made available by the Office of the Press Secretary on December 20, but was embargoed for release until 6 a.m. on December 21.

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

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