The American people don’t expect government to solve every problem.
They don’t expect those of us in this chamber to agree on every issue.
But they do expect us to put the nation’s interests before party. They
do expect us to forge reasonable compromise where we can. For they know
that America moves forward only when we do so together; and that the
responsibility of improving this union remains the task of us all.
And those of us who care deeply about programs like Medicare must embrace the need
for modest reforms.
Most Americans – Democrats, Republicans, and
Independents – understand that we can’t just cut our way to prosperity.
They know that broad-based economic growth requires a balanced approach
to deficit reduction, with spending cuts and revenue, and with
everybody doing their fair share. And that’s the approach I offer
So let’s set party interests aside, and work to pass a budget that
replaces reckless cuts with smart savings and wise investments in our
Our first priority is making America a magnet for new jobs and
If we want to make the best products, we also have to invest in the
best ideas. Today, our scientists are….devising new material to make batteries ten times more
powerful. Now is not the time to gut these job-creating investments in
science and innovation. Now is the time to reach a level of research
and development not seen since the height of the Space Race. And today,
no area holds more promise than our investments in American energy.
After years of talking about it, we are finally poised to control our
own energy future. We produce more oil at home than we have in 15
years. We have doubled the distance our cars will go on a gallon of
gas, and the amount of renewable energy we generate from sources like
wind and solar – with tens of thousands of good, American jobs to show
for it. We produce more natural gas than ever before – and nearly
everyone’s energy bill is lower because of it. And over the last four
years, our emissions of the dangerous carbon pollution that threatens
our planet have actually fallen.
But for the sake of our children and our future, we must do more to
combat climate change. Yes, it’s true that no single event makes a
trend. But the fact is, the 12 hottest years on record have all come in
the last 15. Heat waves, droughts, wildfires, and floods – all are now
more frequent and intense. We can choose to believe that Superstorm
Sandy, and the most severe drought in decades, and the worst wildfires
some states have ever seen were all just a freak coincidence. Or we can
choose to believe in the overwhelming judgment of science – and act
before it’s too late.
The good news is, we can make meaningful progress on this issue while
driving strong economic growth. I urge this Congress to pursue a
bipartisan, market-based solution to climate change, like the one John
McCain and Joe Lieberman worked on together a few years ago. But if
Congress won’t act soon to protect future generations, I will. I will
direct my Cabinet to come up with executive actions we can take, now
and in the future, to reduce pollution, prepare our communities for the
consequences of climate change, and speed the transition to more
sustainable sources of energy.
Four years ago, other countries dominated the clean energy market and
the jobs that came with it. We’ve begun to change that. Last year, wind
energy added nearly half of all new power capacity in America. So let’s
generate even more. Solar energy gets cheaper by the year – so let’s
drive costs down even further. As long as countries like China keep
going all-in on clean energy, so must we.
In the meantime, the natural gas boom has led to cleaner power and
greater energy independence. That’s why my Administration will keep
cutting red tape and speeding up new oil and gas permits. But I also
want to work with this Congress to encourage the research and
technology that helps natural gas burn even cleaner and protects our
air and water.
Indeed, much of our new-found energy is drawn from lands and waters
that we, the public, own together. So tonight, I propose we use some of
our oil and gas revenues to fund an Energy Security Trust that will
drive new research and technology to shift our cars and trucks off oil
for good. If a non-partisan coalition of CEOs and retired generals and
admirals can get behind this idea, then so can we. Let’s take their
advice and free our families and businesses from the painful spikes in
gas prices we’ve put up with for far too long. I’m also issuing a new
goal for America: let’s cut in half the energy wasted by our homes and
businesses over the next twenty years. The states with the best ideas
to create jobs and lower energy bills by constructing more efficient
buildings will receive federal support to help make it happen.
America’s energy sector is just one part of an aging infrastructure
badly in need of repair. Ask any CEO where they’d rather locate and
hire: a country with deteriorating roads and bridges, or one with
high-speed rail and internet; high-tech schools and self-healing power
grids. The CEO of Siemens America – a company that brought hundreds of
new jobs to North Carolina – has said that if we upgrade our
infrastructure, they’ll bring even more jobs. And I know that you want
these job-creating projects in your districts. I’ve seen you all at the
modern schools worthy of our children.
Let’s prove that there is no better place to do business than the
United States of America. And let’s start right away.
But none of it will matter unless we also equip our citizens with
the skills and training to fill those jobs. And that has to start at
the earliest possible age.
Tonight, I’m announcing a new challenge to redesign America’s high schools so
they better equip graduates for the demands of a high-tech economy.
We’ll reward schools that develop new partnerships with colleges and
employers, and create classes that focus on science, technology,
engineering, and math – the skills today’s employers are looking for to
fill jobs right now and in the future.
We are citizens. It’s a word that doesn’t just describe our nationality
or legal status. It describes the way we’re made. It describes what we
believe. It captures the enduring idea that this country only works
when we accept certain obligations to one another and to future
generations; that our rights are wrapped up in the rights of others;
and that well into our third century as a nation, it remains the task
of us all, as citizens of these United States, to be the authors of the
next great chapter in our American story.
Thank you, God bless you, and God bless the United States of America.
Will Obama’s Actions Match his Words?
President Obama’s 2013 Inaugural Address: “We Will Respond to the Threat of Climate Change”
Green Inauguration of President Obama: “Faith in America’s Future”
Hopes for Environmental Action in President Obama’s Second Term
President Obama’s Victory Speech: “The Best is Yet to Come”
Taking Stock of President Obama’s Environmental Efforts in His First Term
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