The President's Weekly Address
Hi, everybody. I'm here in Ohio, where I've spent the past couple days talking with folks about our central challenge as a country: not just reclaiming all the jobs lost to the recession, but reclaiming the economic security that so many Americans have lost over the last decade.
Our mission isn't just to put people back to work, it's to rebuild an economy where that work pays, an economy in which everyone who works hard has the chance to get ahead.
For months, we've been pushing Congress to pass several commonsense ideas that will help us do that. And on Friday, I signed into law a bill that will do two things for the American people. First, it will keep thousands of construction workers on the job rebuilding our Nation's infrastructure. Second, it will keep interest rates on Federal student loans from doubling this year, which would have hit more than 7 million students with about a thousand dollars more on their loan payments.
Those steps will make a real difference in the lives of millions of Americans. But make no mistake: We've got more to do.
The construction industry was hit brutally hard when the housing bubble burst. So it's not enough just to keep construction workers on the job doing projects that were already underway. For months, I've been calling on Congress to take half the money we're no longer spending on war and use it to do some nation-building here at home. There's work to be done building roads and bridges and wireless networks. And there are hundreds of thousands of construction workers ready to do it.
The same thing is true for our students. The bill I'm about to sign is vital for millions of students and their families. But it's not enough to just keep student loan rates from doubling. For months, I've been calling on Congress to reform and expand the financial aid that's offered to students. I've been asking them to help us give 2 million Americans the opportunity to learn the skills that businesses in their area are looking for right now through partnerships between community colleges and employers. In America, a higher education cannot be a luxury reserved for just a few privileged people. It's an economic necessity that every American family should be able to afford.
Finally, I want to thank every American who took the time to sit down and write a letter or type an e-mail or make a phone call or send a tweet hoping your voice would make a difference. I promise you, your voice made all the difference. And as long as I have the privilege of being your President, your voice will be heard in the White House.
So thanks, and have a great weekend.
Note: The address was recorded at approximately 10 a.m. on July 6 at the Summer Garden Food Manufacturing facility in Boardman, OH, for broadcast on July 7. In the address, the President referred to H.R. 4348, the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act, which was approved July 6 and assigned Public Law No. 112-141. The transcript was made available by the Office of the Press Secretary on July 6, but was embargoed for release until 6 a.m. on July 7.
Barack Obama, The President's Weekly Address Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/301844