PRESIDENTIAL MESSAGE; Congressional Record Vol. 162, No. 23
(Senate - February 09, 2016)

Text available as:

Formatting necessary for an accurate reading of this text may be shown by tags (e.g., <DELETED> or <BOLD>) or may be missing from this TXT display. For complete and accurate display of this text, see the PDF.

[Pages S732-S734]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office []

                          PRESIDENTIAL MESSAGE



  The PRESIDING OFFICER laid before the Senate the following message 
from the President of the United States, together with accompanying 
reports and papers; which was referred jointly, pursuant to the order 
of January 30, 1975 as modified by the order of April 11, 1986; to the 
Committees on the Budget; and Appropriations:

                  The Budget Message of the President

To the Congress of the United States:
  As I look back on the past seven years, I am inspired by America's 
progress--and I am more determined than ever to keep our country moving 
forward. When I took office, our Nation was in the midst of the worst 
recession since the Great Depression. The economy was shedding 800,000 
jobs a month. The auto industry was on the brink of collapse and our 
manufacturing sector was in decline. Many families were struggling to 
pay their bills and make ends meet. Millions more saw their savings 
evaporate, even as retirement neared.
  But thanks to the grit and determination of the American people, we 
rescued our economy from the depths of the recession, revitalized our 
auto industry, and laid down new rules to safeguard our economy from 
recklessness on Wall Street. We made the largest investment in clean 
energy in our history, and made health care reform a reality. And 
today, our economy is the strongest, most durable on Earth.
  Our businesses have created more than 14 million jobs over 70 months, 
the longest streak of job growth on record. We have cut our 
unemployment rate in half. Our manufacturing sector has added nearly 
900,000 jobs in the last six years--and our auto industry just had its 
best year of sales ever. We are less reliant on foreign oil than at any 
point in the previous four decades. Nearly 18 million people have 
gained health coverage under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), cutting the 
uninsured rate to a record low. Our children are graduating from high 
school at the highest rate ever. And we managed to accomplish all of 
this while dramatically cutting our deficits by almost three-quarters 
and setting our Nation on a more sustainable fiscal path. Together, we 
have brought America back.
  Yet while it is important to take stock of our progress, this Budget 

[[Page S733]]

not about looking back at the road we have traveled. It is about 
looking forward. It is about making sure our economy works for 
everybody, not just those at the top. It is about choosing investments 
that not only make us stronger today, but also reflect the kind of 
country we aspire to be--the kind of country we want to pass on to our 
children and grandchildren. It is about answering the big questions 
that will define America and the world in the 21st Century.
  My Budget makes critical investments while adhering to the bipartisan 
budget agreement I signed into law last fall, and it lifts 
sequestration in future years so that we continue to invest in our 
economic future and our national security. It also drives down deficits 
and maintains our fiscal progress through smart savings from health 
care, immigration, and tax reforms. And, it focuses on meeting our 
greatest challenges not only for the year ahead, but for decades to 
  First, by accelerating the pace of American innovation, we can create 
jobs and build the economy of the future while tackling our greatest 
challenges, including addressing climate change and finding new 
treatments--and cures--for devastating diseases.
  The challenge of climate change will define the contours of this 
century more dramatically than any other. Last year was the hottest on 
record, surpassing the record set just a year before. Climate change is 
already causing damage, including longer, more severe droughts and 
dangerous floods, disruptions to our food and water supply, and threats 
to our health, our economy, and our security.
  We have made great strides to foster a robust clean energy industry 
and move our economy away from energy sources that fuel climate change. 
In communities across the Nation, wind power is now cheaper than 
dirtier, conventional power, and solar power is saving Americans tens 
of millions of dollars a year on their energy bills. The solar industry 
employs more workers than the coal industry--in jobs that pay better 
than average.
  Despite these advances, we can and must do more. Rather than 
shrinking from the challenge, America must foster the spirit of 
innovation to create jobs, build a climate-smart economy of the future, 
and protect the only planet we have. To speed our transition to an 
affordable, reliable, clean energy system, my Budget funds Mission 
Innovation, our landmark commitment to double clean energy research and 
development funding. It also calls for a 21st century Clean 
Transportation initiative that would help to put hundreds of thousands 
of Americans to work modernizing our infrastructure to ease congestion 
and make it easier for businesses to bring goods to market through new 
technologies such as autonomous vehicles and high-speed rail, funded 
through a fee paid by oil companies. It proposes to modernize our 
business tax system to promote innovation and job creation. It invests 
in strategies to make our communities more resilient to floods, 
wildfires, and other effects of climate change. And, it protects and 
modernizes our water supply and preserves our natural landscapes. These 
investments, coupled with those in other cutting-edge technology 
sectors ranging from manufacturing to space exploration, will drive new 
jobs, new industries, and a new understanding of the world around us.
  Just as a commitment to innovation can accelerate our efforts to 
protect our planet and create a sustainable economy, it can also drive 
critical medical breakthroughs. The Budget supports a new ``moonshot'' 
to finally cure cancer, an effort that will be led by the Vice 
President and will channel resources, technology, and our collective 
knowledge to save lives and end this deadly disease. It also supports 
the Precision Medicine Initiative to accelerate the development of 
customized treatments that take into account a patient's genes, 
environment, and lifestyle, as well as the BRAIN Initiative, which will 
dramatically increase our understanding of how the brain works.
  Second, we must work to deliver a fair shot at opportunity for all, 
both because this reflects American values and because, in the 21st 
Century global economy, our competitiveness depends on tapping the full 
potential of every American. Even as we have rebounded from the worst 
economic crisis of our lifetimes, too many families struggle to reach 
the middle class and stay there, and too many kids face obstacles on 
the path to success.
  Real opportunity begins with education. My Budget supports the 
ambitious goal that all children should have access to high-quality 
preschool, including kids from low-income families who too often enter 
kindergarten already behind. It also supports States and cities as they 
implement a new education law that will place all students on a path to 
graduate prepared for college and successful careers. The bipartisan 
Every Student Succeeds Act sets high standards for our schools and 
students, ensures that States are held accountable for the success of 
all students, including those in the lowest performing schools, spurs 
innovation in education, helps schools recruit and support great 
teachers, and encourages States to reduce unnecessary testing. And 
because jobs in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics are 
projected to grow faster than other jobs in the years ahead, the Budget 
makes critical investments in math and science. Through a new Computer 
Science for All initiative, the Budget will expand the teaching and 
learning of these important concepts across America's schools, better 
preparing our Nation's students for today's innovation economy.

  Higher education is the clearest path to the middle class. By 2020, 
two-thirds of jobs will require some education beyond high school. For 
our students and for our economy, we must make a quality college 
education affordable for every American. To support that goal, the 
Budget strengthens Pell Grants to help families pay for college by 
increasing the scholarships available to students who take enough 
courses to stay on track for on-time graduation, allowing students 
making progress toward their degrees to get support for summer classes, 
and providing scholarships to help incarcerated Americans turn their 
lives around, get jobs, and support their families. It also offers two 
years of free community college to every responsible student and 
strengthens the American Opportunity Tax Credit.
  In addition to preparing students for careers, we must help workers 
gain the skills they need to fill jobs in growing industries. My Budget 
builds on the progress we have made to improve the Nation's job 
training programs through implementation of the bipartisan Workforce 
Innovation and Opportunity Act. It funds innovative strategies to train 
more workers and young people for 21st Century jobs. And it doubles 
down on apprenticeships--a proven pathway to the middle class--and 
supports a robust set of protections for the health, safety, wages, 
working conditions, and retirement security of working Americans.
  Even as we invest in better skills and education for our workforce, 
we must respond to dramatic changes in our economy and our workforce: 
more automation; increased global competition; corporations less rooted 
in their communities; frequent job changes throughout a worker's 
career; and a growing gap between the wealthiest and everyone else. 
These trends squeeze workers, even when they have jobs, even when the 
economy is growing. They make it harder to start a career, a family, a 
business, or retirement.
  To address these changes and give Americans more economic security, 
we need to update several key benefit structures to make sure that 
workers can balance work and family, save for retirement, and get back 
on their feet if they lose a job. The Budget supports these priorities 
by funding high-quality child care, encouraging State paid leave 
policies, extending employer-based retirement plans to part-time 
workers, putting us on a path to more portable benefit models, and 
providing a new tax credit for two-earner families. It also modernizes 
the unemployment insurance system, so that more unemployed workers 
receive the unemployment benefits they need and an opportunity to 
retrain for their next job. And, if that new job does not pay as much 
initially, it offers a system of wage insurance to encourage workers to 
rejoin the workforce and help them pay their bills. The Budget includes 
tax cuts for middle-class and working families that will make paychecks 
go further in meeting the costs of child care,

[[Page S734]]

education, and saving for retirement. It builds upon the demonstrated 
success of the Earned Income Tax Credit by expanding it for workers 
without children and non-custodial parents.
  Providing opportunity to all Americans means tackling poverty. Too 
many Americans live in communities with under-performing schools and 
few jobs. We know from groundbreaking new research that growing up in 
these communities can put lifelong limits on a child's opportunities. 
Over the past few years, we have made progress in supporting families 
that were falling behind. For example, working family tax credits keep 
more than 9 million people--including 5 million children--out of 
poverty each year, and the ACA provides access to quality, affordable 
health care to millions. Nevertheless, we need to do more to ensure 
that a child's zip code does not determine his or her destiny. 
Improving the opportunity and economic security of poor children and 
families is both a moral and an economic imperative.
  The Budget funds innovative strategies to support this goal, 
including helping families move to safer neighborhoods with better 
schools and more jobs, revitalizing distressed communities to create 
more neighborhoods of opportunity, preventing families experiencing a 
financial crisis from becoming homeless, and ensuring that children 
have enough to eat when school is out for the summer. It also supports 
efforts to break the cycle of poverty and incarceration through 
criminal justice reform.
  Finally, as we work to build a brighter future at home, we must also 
strengthen our national security and global leadership. The United 
States of America is the most powerful nation on Earth, blessed with 
the finest fighting force in the history of the world.
  Still, this is a dangerous time. We face many threats, including the 
threat of terrorist attacks and violent extremism in many forms. My 
highest priority is keeping the American people safe and going after 
terrorist networks. That is why my Budget increases support for our 
comprehensive strategy to destroy the Islamic State of Iraq and the 
Levant (ISIL), in partnership with more than 60 other countries, by 
eliminating its leadership, cutting off its financing, disrupting its 
plots, stopping the flow of terrorist fighters, and stamping out its 
vicious ideology. If the Congress is serious about winning this war and 
wants to send a message to the troops and the world, it should 
specifically authorize the use of military force against ISIL.
  The Budget also sustains and builds the strength of our unmatched 
military forces, making the investments and reforms that will maintain 
our Nation's superiority and ensure our advantage over any potential 
adversary. It also makes investments to ensure that our men and women 
in uniform, who sacrifice so much to defend our Nation and keep us 
safe, get the support they have earned to succeed and thrive when they 
return home.
  Cybersecurity is one of our most important national security 
challenges. As our economy becomes increasingly digital, more sensitive 
information is vulnerable to malicious cyber activity. This challenge 
requires bold, aggressive action. My Budget significantly increases our 
investment in cybersecurity through a Cybersecurity National Action 
Plan This Plan includes retiring outdated Federal information 
technology (IT) systems that were designed in a different age and 
increasingly are vulnerable to attack, reforming the way that the 
Federal Government manages and responds to cyber threats, and 
recruiting the best cyber talent. It will also help strengthen 
cybersecurity in the private sector and the digital ecosystem as a 
whole, enhancing cyber education and making sure companies and 
consumers have the tools they need to protect themselves. But many of 
our challenges in cybersecurity require bold, long-term commitments to 
change the way we operate in an increasingly digital world. That is 
why, to complement these steps, I am also creating a commission of 
experts to make recommendations for enhancing cybersecurity awareness 
and protections inside and outside of Government, protecting privacy 
and empowering Americans to take better control of their digital 
  To ensure security at home, we must also demonstrate leadership 
around the world. Strong leadership means not only a wise application 
of military power, but also rallying other nations behind causes that 
are right. It means viewing our diplomacy and development efforts 
around the world as an essential instrument of our national security 
strategy, and mobilizing the private sector and other donors alongside 
our foreign assistance to help achieve our global development and 
climate priorities. The Budget supports this vision with funding for 
effective global health programs to fight HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other 
illnesses; assistance for displaced persons and refugees, including 
from Syria; and expanding educational opportunities for girls, among 
many other critical development initiatives.
  As we make these investments to meet our greatest challenges, we are 
also working to build a 21st Century Government that delivers for the 
American people. The Budget supports efforts to make the Federal 
Government more efficient and effective, through smarter IT delivery 
and procurement, improving digital services, eliminating outdated 
regulations, and recruiting and retaining the best talent. It also 
invests in a new approach to working in local communities, one that 
disrupts an outdated, top-down approach, and makes our efforts more 
responsive to the ideas and concerns of local citizens. The Budget 
supports the use of data and evidence to drive policymaking, so the 
Federal Government can do more of what works and stop doing what does 
  The Budget is a roadmap to a future that embodies America's values 
and aspirations: a future of opportunity and security for all of our 
families; a rising standard of living; and a sustainable, peaceful 
planet for our kids. This future is within our reach. But just as it 
took the collective efforts of the American people to rise from the 
recession and rebuild an even stronger economy, so will it take all of 
us working together to meet the challenges that lie ahead.
  It will not be easy. But I have never been more optimistic about 
America's future than I am today. Over the past seven years, I have 
seen the strength, resilience, and commitment of the American people. I 
know that when we are united in the face of challenges, our Nation 
emerges stronger and better than before. I know that when we work 
together, there are no limits to what we can achieve. Together, we will 
move forward to innovate, to expand opportunity and security, and to 
make our Nation safer and stronger than ever before.
                                                        Barack Obama.  
The White House, February 9, 2016.