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Barack Obama on Technology

Democratic incumbent President; IL Senator (2004-2008)


World leadership via cutting-edge technology & workers

Q: What is America's role in the world?

ROMNEY: America has a responsibility and the privilege of helping defend freedom and promote the principles that make the world more peaceful.

OBAMA: America remains the one indispensable nation. And America is stronger now than when I came into office. And our alliances have never been stronger. But what we also have been able to do is position ourselves so we can start rebuilding America. That's what my plan does: Making sure that we're bringing manufacturing back to our shores so that we're creating jobs here; making sure that we've got the best education system in the world, including retraining our workers for the jobs of tomorrow; developing clean energy technologies that will allow us to cut our imports in half by 2020. And we've got to reduce our deficit, by cutting out spending we don't need but also asking the wealthiest to pay a little bit more; that way we can invest in the research and technology that's always kept us at the cutting edge.

Source: Third Obama-Romney 2012 Presidential debate , Oct 22, 2012

Military needs to think about space and cybersecurity

OBAMA: When it comes to our military, what we have to think about is not just budgets, we got to think about capabilities. We need to be thinking about cybersecurity. We need to be thinking about space. That's exactly what our budget does, but it's driven by strategy. It's not driven by politics. It's not driven by members of Congress and what they would like to see. It's driven by what are we going to need to keep the American people safe? That's exactly what our budget does. And it also then allows us to reduce our deficit, which is a significant national security concern because we've got to make sure that our economy is strong at home so that we can project military power overseas.

ROMNEY: Our Navy is smaller now than any time since 1917. The Navy said they needed 313 ships to carry out their mission. We're now down to 285. We're headed down to the low 200s if we go through with sequestration. That's unacceptable to me. I want to make sure that we have the ships that are required.

Source: Third Obama-Romney 2012 Presidential debate , Oct 22, 2012

We need to train for the next generation of Apples

ROMNEY: [China got ahead] by stealing our intellectual property; our designs, our patents, our technology. There's even a counterfeit Apple store in China, selling counterfeit goods. They hack into our computers.

OBAMA: There are some jobs that are not going to come back. Because they are low wage, low skill jobs. I want high wage, high skill jobs. That's why we have to emphasize manufacturing. That's why we have to invest in advanced manufacturing. That's why we've got to make sure that we've got the best science and research in the world. And if we're cutting investments in research and science that will create the next Apple, create the next new innovation that will sell products around the world, we will lose that race. If we're not training engineers to make sure that they are equipped here in this country, then companies won't come here. Those investments are what's going to help to make sure that we continue to lead this world economy, not just next year, but 50 years from now.

Source: Second Obama-Romney 2012 debate , Oct 16, 2012

Double funding for key research agencies

Q: Science and technology have been responsible for over half of the growth of the U.S. economy since WWII. What policies will best ensure that America remains a world leader in innovation?

A: I believe that in order to be globally competitive in the 21st century and to create an American economy that is built to last, we must create an environment where invention, innovation, and industry can flourish. We can work together to create an economy built on American manufacturing, American energy, and skills for American workers. I am committed to doubling funding for key research agencies to support scientists and entrepreneurs, so that we can preserve America's place as the world leader in innovation, and strengthen U.S. leadership in the 21st century's high-tech knowledge-based economy.

Source: The Top American Science Questions, by sciencedebate.org , Sep 4, 2012

Invest 3% of GDP in public & private R&D

Q: Given that the next Congress will face spending constraints, what priority would you give to investment in research in your upcoming budgets?

A: I strongly support investments in research and development that help spur America innovation and proposed a goal that, as a country, we invest more than 3 percent of our GDP in public and private research and development--exceeding the level achieved at the height of the space race. That's why, under the Recovery Act, my administration enacted the largest research and development increase in our nation's history. Through the Recovery Act, my Administration committed over $100 billion to support groundbreaking innovation with investments in energy, basic research, education and training, advanced vehicle technology, health IT and health research, high speed rail, smart grid, and information technology.

Source: The Top American Science Questions, by sciencedebate.org , Sep 4, 2012

Free and open Internet is essential to modern economy

Q: The Internet plays a central role in both our economy and our society. What role, if any, should the federal government play in managing the Internet to ensure its robust social, scientific, and economic role?

A: A free and open Internet is essential component of American society and of the modern economy. I support legislation to protect intellectual property online, but any effort to combat online piracy must not reduce freedom of expression, increase cybersecurity risk, or undermine the dynamic, innovative global Internet. I also believe it is essential that we take steps to strengthen our cybersecurity and ensure that we are guarding against threats to our vital information systems and critical infrastructure, all while preserving Americans' privacy, data confidentiality, and civil liberties and recognizing the civilian nature of cyberspace.

Source: The Top American Science Questions, by sciencedebate.org , Sep 4, 2012

Make science policy decisions based on facts, not ideology

Q: How will you ensure that policy decisions are fully informed by the best available scientific information?

OBAMA: I directed the Office of Science and Technology Policy to ensure that our policies reflect what science tells us without distortion or manipulation. We appointed scientific advisors based on their credentials and experience, not their politics or ideology. Only by ensuring that scientific data is never distorted or concealed to serve a political agenda, making scientific decisions based on facts, not ideology, and including the public in our decision making process will we harness the power of science to achieve our goals.

ROMNEY: Unfortunately, Pres. Obama has repeatedly manipulated technical data to support a regulatory agenda guided by politics rather than science. For example, his "Utility MACT" rule is purportedly aimed at reducing mercury pollution, yet the EPA estimates that the rule will cost $10 billion to reduce mercury pollution by only $6 million (with an "m").

Source: The Top American Science Questions, by sciencedebate.org , Sep 4, 2012

Send humans to Asteroids by 2025 & Mars by 2030s

Q: What should America's space exploration and utilization goals be in the 21st century?

A: From investing in research on advances in spaceflight technology, to expanding our commitment to an education system that prepares our students for space and science achievements, I am committed to strengthening the base for America's next generation of spaceflight. No other country can match our capabilities in Earth observation from space. In robotic space exploration, too, nobody else comes close. And I intend to keep it that way. Two years ago I set a goal of sending humans farther into space than we have ever been -- to an asteroid by 2025 and to Mars in the 2030s. We will continue to operate the Space Station until at least 2020 and perhaps beyond. When our Orion deep space crew vehicle takes its first test flight in 2014, it will travel farther into space than any spacecraft designed for humans has flown in the 40 years since our astronauts returned from the moon. That is progress.

Source: The Top American Science Questions, by sciencedebate.org , Sep 4, 2012

Media change since Clinton: intravenous Internet news feed

How did the Obama administration differ from the Clinton administration? Clinton alumni were confronting a changed world, one that the younger Obamians took for granted but the Clinton alumni did not. "The change in the media environment is dramatic-- it's had a profound impact," said a National Security Council staffer. "In the Clinton administration, we basically stopped work every night at 6:30 to watch the national network news. I don't think many people do that anymore. And in the morning you rushed to see what was above the fold of the NY Times & the Washington Post, which no one does anymore, either. Instead, we're on an intravenous feed of cable and the Internet and blogs."

Such a change may at first seem inconsequential, but the staffer argued that it has had a profound impact. "You have to resist the temptation to be totally reactive to everything you're hearing minute to minute." He said one of Obama's strengths was that he didn't get "distracted by the daily or hourly turbulence."

Source: The Obamians, by James Mann, p.338-339 , Jun 14, 2012

Space-race-level investment in R&D; biotech; & green tech

We know what it takes to compete for the jobs and industries of our time. We need to out-innovate, out-educate, and out-build the rest of the world. The first step in winning the future is encouraging American innovation.

Our free enterprise system is what drives innovation. But because it's not always profitable for companies to invest in basic research, throughout our history, our government has provided cutting-edge scientists and inventors with the support that they need.

This is our generation's Sputnik moment. Two years ago, I said that we needed to reach a level of research and development we haven't seen since the height of the Space Race. I will be sending a budget to Congress that helps us meet that goal. We'll invest in biomedical research, information technology, and especially clean energy technology--an investment that will strengthen our security, protect our planet, and create countless new jobs for our people.

Source: 2011 State of the Union speech , Jan 26, 2011

Network clean energy transmission lines like highway network

Obama offered the climate change czarina billions more in the stimulus for construction of the so-called smart grid. Obama agreed with Al Gore that boosting clean energy wouldn't mean much without building a new network of modern national transmission lines for electricity. The real goal, he thought, should be to make the grid akin to the Interstate Highway system in the 1950s or the Internet in the 1990s: a prime engine of growth for the economy. He liked to talk about thousands of miles of transmission lines and 40 million "smart meters" across the country.

But reality soon intruded. The NIMBY ("not in my backyard") problem afflicted the smart-grid debate. The regulatory hurdles to modernizing the grid were beyond belief; it turned out that no fewer than 31 different state and local regulators had to sign off on modernization. Obama was appalled. "We went to the moon!" he said. "We can do better than this! Go back and talk to more people."

Source: The Promise: Obama Year One, by Jonathan Alter, p. 89 , May 18, 2010

Cancel moon program; develop human mission to Mars

Obama wants to end NASA's moon program, turn over space transportation to commercial companies and jump-start technologies needed for future human exploration of Mars.

NASA has been working to develop a replacement for the space shuttles, which are being retired this year after five more missions to complete construction of the orbiting International Space Station, a $100 billion project of 16 nations.

Obama's budget ends work on the shuttle follow-on vehicle, known as Orion, as well as a pair of rockets developed to fly astronauts to the space station, the moon and other destinations in the solar system.

"We are proposing canceling the program, not delaying it," said a spokesperson. Funds previously earmarked for the Constellation program, initially intended to return US astronauts to the moon by 2020, instead would be used for research projects that include robotics and other technologies needed to prepare for an eventual human mission to Mars.

Source: Reuters wire service, "Obama axes NASA moon plan" , Jan 31, 2010

Iowa 2007: Tracked every college student & high school

In Iowa in 2007 Obama had two organizational advantages. First was the campaign's emphasis on younger votes. During the Christmas holidays they had devised elaborate means of tracking college-age supporters, handing them off from an organizer at their campus town to an organizer in their hometown. They also had developed a spreadsheet of every high school in the state, with organizers identified for each.

Obama's second advantage was his campaign's outreach to Independents and Republicans. Obama's team launched a last-minute push to go back to virtually every Independent voter in the state as well as selected Republicans. Their message was simple: If you want information about the caucuses, call this 800 number. "We had twelve lines dedicated to incoming 800-number calls," one organizer said. "Four days before [the caucuses], we had to add another eight. And we still couldn't keep up. People wanted to know where their caucus was, wanted to know the hours, what a caucus is."

Source: The Battle for America 2008, by Balz & Johnson, p.124 , Aug 4, 2009

My.barackobama.com key to campaign, like Wall St to finance

At internal memo to Hillary Clinton: "The biggest threat from Obama is not what we see, but what we don't see--if he is building a significant new type of organization." But the Clinton campaign did not fully appreciate--and should have--how Obama was building organizations of activists and new voters not just in Iowa but across the country, aided by skillful exploitation of the tools and technology of the Internet, the cell phone, and social networking.

Just as critical was the shrewdness with which the Obama team captured the grassroots energy that was building around his candidacy. One organizer told reporters that, to understand the Obama campaign, they had to go to my.barackobama.com. Without doing that, he said, covering the campaign was like trying to understand finance without looking at Wall Street. The potential power of the volunteers was evident from the beginning of the campaign. "We had 1,000 grassroots volunteer groups created in the first 24 hours after he announced in 2007."

Source: The Battle for America 2008, by Balz & Johnson, p.184 , Aug 4, 2009

My.BarackObama.com enabled grassroots organizing

Members of the majority culture have often failed to recognize and respond to the generation's cues. For example, when Hillary Clinton's adviser suggested that Obama's supporters "looked like Facebook," he indicated his own failure to grasp the rapid changes taking place. Like many of us, he just didn't get it.

Obama apparently did. He stated, "One of my fundamental beliefs from my days as a community organizer is that real change comes from the bottom up. And there's no more powerful tool for grass-roots organizing than the Internet." His prescience led to My.Barack.Obama.com, a website shaped by a cofounder of Facebook. It helped him turn the world of political organizing on its head, raising more than 2 million donations of less than $200 each.

The self-generating, DIY philosophy behind such ventures is hardly new. But powered by Internet technology, it can popularize and spread an idea (for instance, that Obama should be president) like brushfire.

Source: What Obama Means, by Jabari Asim, p. 17-18 , Jan 20, 2009

Google for Government was a bipartisan initiative

McCAIN: Obama has the most liberal voting record in the US Senate. Itís hard to reach across the aisle from that far to the left.

OBAMA: I worked with Tom Coburn, one of the most conservative Republicans, who John already mentioned, to set up what we call Google for Government, which says that we are going to list every dollar of federal spending to make sure that the taxpayer can take a look and see who, in fact, is promoting some of these spending projects that Johnís been railing about.

Source: 2008 first presidential debate, Obama vs. McCain , Sep 26, 2008

Invest in a digital smart grid for electricity utilities

Obama's plan states that it "will reduce oil consumption by at least 35%, or 10 million barrels per day, by 2030." Obama's plan to set America on a path to energy independence states that he will:
Source: Obamanomics, by John R. Talbott, p.137 , Jul 1, 2008

Double basic research funding; make the R&D tax permanent

We canít just focus on preserving existing industries. We have to be in the business of encouraging new ones--and that means science, research and technology. For two centuries, America led the world in innovation. But this Administrationís hostility to science has taken a toll. At a time when technology is shaping our future, we devote a smaller and smaller share of our national resources to Research and Development. Iíll double federal funding for basic research, and make the R&D tax credit permanent.
Source: Speech in Flint, MI, in Change We Can Believe In, p.253-4 , Jun 15, 2008

Feb. 2008: Had 250,000 members on Facebook to Clinton's 3250

Behind the scenes, his staff used the Internet to build a nationwide volunteer organization, and fundraising juggernaut. The campaign website allowed individuals to stay informed about the national and local efforts; make telephone calls to voters throug a central database and update records based on results; and start mini-campaigns, complete with fundraising systems, blogs and events, to organize people in their geographic area or with shared interests. Managers guided the torrent of activism harnessed by the system first to one battleground, then another.

The public responded. On Jan. 16, a University of North Dakota graduate started "One Million Strong for Barack," on the Facebook social networking site. The group attracted over 100,000 members in nine days: one of the fastest growth rates ever seen at Facebook. There were more than 250,000 members when Obama officially launched his campaign on Feb. 11. The biggest pro-Clinton group on the site at the time had just 3,251 members

Source: Obama for Beginners, by Bob Neer, p. 49 , Apr 1, 2008

Incentives for next-generation broadband in every community

Source: Campaign booklet, ďBlueprint for ChangeĒ, p. 10-15 , Feb 2, 2008

Increase funding for math and science research & education

If we want to development math and science curriculums, weíve got to make math and science jobs attractive, which means increasing research grants. This is something that is important not just for our competitiveness, but also for our long-term national security. And when Bush requests $196 billion for next yearís wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and is seeing a flatlining of investment in science research, that makes it more difficult for us to encourage our children to go into sciences.
Source: 2007 Democratic debate at Drexel University , Oct 30, 2007

Airlines got into trouble after deregulation

The airlines got into trouble after deregulation, and it has continued and compounded. They have tried to make more money. Theyíre seeing better solvency, but theyíve done it on the backs of consumers. Anybody flying commercial knows that service has gone down & deteriorated. We have to make sure thereís enough airport capacity. Weíve got to place, potentially, restrictions on some flights & encourage airlines to deal with the problems of remote areas having difficulty in terms of making connections.
Source: 2007 Democratic debate at Drexel University , Oct 30, 2007

Organizes campaign events via MySpace.com and FaceBook.com

Obamaís campaign has generated far more interest on social networking sites than any other politician. Obamaís MySpace page reached 160,000 friends. An Obama Facebook page had over 200,000 supporters in 2 weeks. Joe Trippi, Howard Deanís Internet campaig manager, observed, ďIt took our campaign 6 months to get 139,000 people on an email list. It took one Facebook group barely a month to get to 200,000. Thatís astronomical.Ē

Obama drew thousands to a university rally organized online by students using Facebook. Obama hadnít even met the student organizers until he arrived at the event. By March 1, 2007, just a few weeks after Obama began his campaign, his website My.BarackObama.com attracted 3,306 grassroots volunteer groups, 4,416 personal fundraisin pages, 6,706 blogs, and 38,799 people with individual profiles building networks to support Obama.

This new age of decentralized politics takes much of the power out of the hands of political consultants and into the grasp of individuals.

Source: The Improbable Quest, by John K. Wilson, p. 14-15 , Oct 30, 2007

JFK inspired with space program; now same with energy R&D

Q: How would you change the system to make American students competitive on the world scene?

A: [One thing is] emphasizing math and science instruction, finding innovative ways to make it interesting for students. This is an area where the president has the power to use the bully pulpit and to make math and science interesting and vibrant again. One of the things that Iím always struck by when I talk to engineers and scientists who are in their 50s and 60s is how many say they were inspired by JFK and the space program for going into science and math. And one area where I think we could actually do that is to really make a huge effort around energy independence. And if a president is talking about the importance of us engaging in research and development, doubling the amount of research dollars that are being put into basic science and basic research, all that can help lift up the importance of these areas of study for young people who basically take their cues from the larger culture.

Source: Huffington Post Mash-Up: 2007 Democratic on-line debate , Sep 13, 2007

Increase funding for basic research; expand broadband access

Some 7% of college graduates are unemployed or underemployed. Obama supports increasing federal funding for basic research, expanding broadband access, and making the research and development tax credit permanent so that young people with and without college degrees can thrive in the job market.
Source: 2008 Presidential campaign website, BarackObama.com ďFlyersĒ , Aug 26, 2007

As Senate freshman spoke out on Katrina ramifications

Obama was, in his own words, ďa blank screen on which people of vastly different political stripes project their own views,Ē or that the higher he soared, the more this politician spoke in well-worn platitudes and the more he offered warm, feel-good sentiments lacking a precise framework.

In his two years in the minority party in the US Senate, he had the clout to pass only one substantial piece of legislation or that he avoided conflict at all costs, spending none of his heavily amassed political capital on even a single controversial issue he believed in. Indeed, through his first year in the Senate, he had to argue with his cautious political advisors to speak out, however carefully, on a topic dear to him--the impact of Hurricane Katrina and its racial and economic ramifications.

Source: From Promise to Power, by David Mendell, p. 12 , Aug 14, 2007

$42B more in university-based R&D

There is another aspect of our educational system that merits attention. Institutions of higher learning have served as the nationís research and development labs. These institutions train the innovators of the future. Here too, our policies have been moving in the wrong direction. Each month, scientists and engineers visit to discuss the federal governmentís diminished commitment to funding basic research. Over the last 30 years, funding for the sciences has declined as a percentage of GDP. If we want an innovation economy, then we have to invest in our future innovators--by doubling federal funding of basic research over the next five years, training 100,000 more engineers and scientists over the next four years, or providing new research grants to the most outstanding early career researchers in the country. The price tag is $42 billion over five years. We can afford to do what needs to be done. What is missing is national urgency.
Source: The Audacity of Hope, by Barack Obama, p.165-167 , Oct 1, 2006

National broadband plan: increase access to 90% by 2020

Unfortunately, when it comes to broadband, America is falling behind. In 2001, the US ranked 4th among industrialized countries in broadband access. By 2009, we had dropped to 15th. Breaking the numbers down by race and income reveals depressing discrepancies. For instance, around 65% of Asian Americans, Caucasians, and Hispanics use broadband at home; that usage rate falls to 46% for African Americans. Among household earning more than $100,000 a year, 88% have access to broadband versus 54% among households making between $30,000 and $40,000.

To help close the widening gap between us and the rest of the digitally connected world, the Obama administration has proposed a national broadband plan, with the goal of increasing broadband access from around 63% currently to 90% by 2020. The plan would also ensure that every high school graduate is digitally literate. This sounds great. But 2020? That hardly has the sense of urgency you'd expect from a country that is quickly falling behind.

Source: Third World America, by Arianna Huffington, p.112-113 , Sep 2, 2010


Barack Obama on Infrastructure

Rebuild the country's crumbling infrastructure

[President Obama's] domestic policy: a sweeping proposal to rebuild the country's crumbling infrastructure with the labor of a group whose fortunes were uncertain: America's working class men. It was government's responsibility to ensure that the physical foundations of the country, on which its economy and way of life rested, were sound. The bridges and dams, the electrical grid, the highways--the condition and upkeep of these things could not be left to the private sector and profit motive alone. They never had been. If government did not step up soon, disaster would surely ensue.
Source: Confidence Men, by Ron Suskind, p. 23 , Sep 20, 2011

Investing in the future is federal responsibility

In the middle of a Civil War, Abraham Lincoln looked to the future--a Republican president who mobilized government to build the transcontinental railroad; launch the National Academy of Sciences; and set up the first land grant colleges. And leaders of both parties have followed the example he set.

Ask yourselves--where would we be right now if the people who sat here before us decided not to build our highways and our bridges; our dams and our airports? How many jobs would it have cost us if past Congresses decided not to support the basic research that led to the Internet and the computer chip? What kind of country would this be if this Chamber had voted down Social Security or Medicare just because it violated some rigid idea about what government could or could not do? How many Americans would have suffered as a result?

No single individual built America on their own. We built it together. Members of Congress, it is time for us to meet our responsibilities.

Source: Pres. Obama's 2011 Jobs Speech , Sep 8, 2011

FactCheck: High-speed rail for 80% possible; but not soon

Obama repeated his optimistic goal of vastly expanding high-speed rail lines, saying " Within 25 years, our goal is to give 80% of Americans access to high-speed rail. Routes in California and the Midwest are already underway." It's true that routes in California and Illinois are underway, but the US has a long way to go before 80% of Americans have access to high-speed rail. Right now, there's only one high-speed line operating in the country: the Acela line between Boston, NYC, and DC. The expansion Obama wants requires the cooperation of Republican governors; [governors in OH & WI] vowed to turn down federal funds for such projects.

Is it feasible to have 80% of Americans with access to high-speed rail? Well, if there's money and political will. About 80% of Americans live in urban areas, so connecting major cities would do it. Is it feasible in 25 years? We can't predict the future, but we'll note that efforts to launch high-speed rail corridors first began in 1991.

Source: FactCheck.org on 2011 State of the Union speech , Jan 26, 2011

High-speed rail for 80% of US; high-speed web for 98% of US

To attract new businesses to our shores, we need the fastest, most reliable ways to move people, goods, and information--from high-speed rail to high-speed Internet. Our infrastructure used to be the best, but our lead has slipped. The jobs created by the transcontinental railroad & the Interstate Highway System didn't just come from laying down track or pavement. They came from businesses that opened near a town's new train station or the new off-ramp.

We've begun rebuilding for the 21st century. And tonight, I'm proposing that we redouble those efforts. We'll put more Americans to work repairing crumbling roads and bridges. Within 25 years, our goal is to give 80% of Americans access to high-speed rail. Within the next five years, we'll make it possible for businesses to deploy the next generation of high-speed wireless coverage to 98% of all Americans. This isn't just about faster Internet or fewer dropped calls. It's about connecting every part of America to the digital age.

Source: 2011 State of the Union speech , Jan 26, 2011

$13B stimulus funds to upgrade rail lines & build new ones

The Wall Street Journal reported that "US transportation chief Ray Lahood is in Spain meeting with high-speed rail suppliers. Europe's engineering and rail companies are lining up for some potentially lucrative US contracts for high-speed rail projects. At stake is $13 billion in stimulus funds that the Obama administration is allocating to upgrade existing rail lines and build new ones that could one day rival Europe's fastest."
Source: Hopes and Prospects, by Noam Chomsky, p. 95-96 , Jun 1, 2010

There's no reason Europe & China should have fastest trains

We can put Americans to work today building the infrastructure of tomorrow. From the first railroads to the Interstate Highways, our nation has always been built to compete. There's no reason Europe or China should have the fastest trains.

Tomorrow, I'll visit Tampa FL, where workers will soon break ground on a new high-speed railroad funded by the Recovery Act. There are projects like that all across this country that will create jobs and help move our nation's goods, services, and information.

Source: 2010 State of the Union Address , Jan 27, 2010

National Infrastructure Reinvestment Bank: $60B in 10 years

If we want to keep up with China or Europe, we canít settle for crumbling roads and bridges, aging water and sewer pipes, and faltering electrical grids that cost us billions to blackouts, repairs and travel delays. Itís gotten so bad that the American Society of Civil Engineers gave our national infrastructure a ďD.Ē A century ago, Teddy Roosevelt called together leaders from business and government to develop a plan for 20th century infrastructure. It falls to us to do the same.

As President, I will launch a National Infrastructure Reinvestment Bank that will invest $60 billion over ten years--a bank that can leverage private investment in infrastructure improvements, and create nearly two million new jobs. The work will be determined by what will maximize our safety and security and ability to compete. We will fund this bank as we bring the war in Iraq to a responsible close. We can modernize our power grid, which will help conservation and spur on the development and distribution of clean energy

Source: Speech in Flint, MI, in Change We Can Believe In, p.255 , Jun 15, 2008

Broadband in heart of inner cities and rural towns

Let us be the generation that reshapes our economy to compete in the digital age. Letís set high standards for our schools and give them the resources they need to succeed. Letís recruit a new army of teachers, and give them better pay and more support in exchange for more accountability. Letís make college more affordable, and letís invest in scientific research, and letís lay down broadband lines through the heart of inner cities and rural towns all across America.
Source: Speech in Springfield, in Change We Can Believe In, p.198 , Feb 10, 2007

Invest on transportation and clean coal technology projects

Freight rail is important, and thatís part of what makes us the transportation hub of the nation. We need to significantly improve on it. Thereís already a program in place called CREATE that would create a public/private partnership in order to improve our rail line capacity. The south suburban airport is a good idea-although we may depart on how to build it. Congressman Jesse Jackson, Jr., has come up with a plan that involves private investors willing to lay out the risk for this project, and we should get moving on it quickly. I do believe in OíHare expansion. Thatís the crown jewel of our transportation system. Locks and dams has already been mentioned. The FutureGen Project down in southern Illinois, that could do something about revitalizing the coal industry in southern Illinois by funding a billion-dollar project to develop clean coal technology, so Illinois coal can be utilized in a way thatís environmentally sound. One of our highest priorities has to be energy independent in the future.
Source: IL Senate Debate, Illinois Radio Network , Oct 12, 2004

Voted NO on restoring $550M in funding for Amtrak for 2007.

An amendment to provide an additional $550,000,000 for Amtrak for fiscal year 2007. Voting YEA would increase Amtrak funding from $900 million to $1.45 billion. Voting NAY would keep Amtrak funding at $900 million.
Reference: Santorum amendment to Transportation funding bill; Bill S.Amdt.3015 to S.Con.Res.83 ; vote number 2006-052 on Mar 15, 2006

Close digital divide with high-tech training.

Obama adopted the CBC principles:

Source: Congressional Black Caucus press release 01-CBC9 on Jan 6, 2001

Ensure net neutrality: no corporate-tiered Internet.

Obama co-sponsored ensuring net neutrality: no corporate-tiered Internet

Sen. DORGAN. "The issue of Internet freedom is also known as net neutrality. I have long fought in Congress against media concentration, to prevent the consolidation of control over what Americans see in the media. Now, Americans face an equally great threat to the democratic vehicle of the Internet, which we have always taken for granted as an open and free engine for creative growth.

"The Internet became a robust engine of economic development by enabling anyone with a good idea to connect to consumers and compete on a level playing field for consumers' business. The marketplace picked winners and losers, and not some central gatekeeper.

"But now we face a situation where the FCC has removed nondiscrimination rules that applied to Internet providers for years. Broadband operators soon thereafter announced their interest in acting in discriminatory ways, planning to create tiers on the Internet that could restrict content providers' access to the Internet unless they pay extra for faster speeds or better service. Under their plan, the Internet would become a new world where those content providers who can afford to pay special fees would have better access to consumers.

"This fundamentally changes the way the Internet has operated and threaten to derail the democratic nature of the Internet. American consumers and businesses will be worse off for it. Today we introduce the Internet Freedom Preservation Act to ensure that the Internet remains a platform that spawns innovation and economic development for generations to come.

Source: Internet Freedom Preservation Act (S.215) 2007-S215 on Jan 9, 2007

Create online database of science & math scholarships.

Obama sponsored creating online database of science & math scholarships

Directs the Secretary of Education to establish and maintain, on the public website of the Department of Education, a database of information on public and private programs of financial assistance for the study of postsecondary and graduate science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

    Requires that such database:
  1. provide separate information for each field of study;
  2. be searchable by category and combinations of categories;
  3. indicate programs targeted toward specific demographic groups;
  4. provide searchers with program sponsor contact information and hyperlinks; and
  5. include a recommendation that students and families carefully review application requirements and a disclaimer that scholarships presented in the database are not provided or endorsed by the Department or the federal government.
Requires the Secretary and the entity contracted to furnish and regularly update information to consult with public and private sources of scholarships and make easily available a process for the sources to provide regular and updated information.
Source: National STEM Scholarship Database Act (S.2428/H.R.1051) 2007-S2428 on Dec 6, 2007

Website for competitive federal awards.

Obama sponsored website for competitive federal awards

A bill to strengthen transparency and accountability in Federal spending.

Source: Strengthening Transparency and Accountability Act (S.3077) 2008-S3077 on Jun 3, 2008

Overturn FCC approval of media consolidation.

Obama co-sponsored overturning FCC approval of media consolidation

Congressional Summary:Disapproves the rule submitted by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on February 22, 2008, relating to broadcast media ownership. Declares that the rule shall have no force or effect.

Proponents' Argument in Favor:Sen. DORGAN: The FCC loosened the ban on cross-ownership of newspapers and broadcast stations. We seek with this resolution of disapproval to reverse the FCC's fast march to ease media ownership rules. The FCC has taken a series of destructive actions in the past two decades that I believe have undermined the public interest. [Now they have given] a further green light to media concentration.

The FCC voted to allow cross-ownership of newspapers and broadcast stations in the top 20 markets, with loopholes for mergers outside of the top 20 markets. The newspapers would be allowed to buy stations ranked above fifth and above.

The rule change was framed as a modest compromise. But make no mistake, this is a big deal. As much as 44% of the population lives in the top 20 markets. The last time the FCC tried to do this, in 2003, the Senate voted to block it.

This rule will undercut localism and diversity of ownership around the country. Studies show that removing the ban on newspaper/broadcast cross-ownership results in a net loss in the amount of local news produced in the market as a whole. In addition, while the FCC suggests that cross-ownership is necessary to save failing newspapers, the publicly traded newspapers earn annual rates of return between 16% and 18%.

This Resolution of Disapproval will ensure this rule change has no effect. This is again a bipartisan effort to stop the FCC from destroying the local interests that we have always felt must be a part of broadcasting.

Source: S.J.RES.28&H.J.RES.79 2008-SJR28 on Mar 5, 2008

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