And over the past seven years, we've protected an open Internet, and taken bold new steps to get more students and low-income Americans online.
We've launched next-generation manufacturing hubs, and online tools that give an entrepreneur everything he or she needs to start a business in a single day. But we can do so much more.
Source: 2016 State of the Union address to Congress
, Jan 20, 2016
We protected an open internet & got more Americans online
How do we re-ignite that spirit of innovation to meet our biggest challenges? The spirit of discovery is in our DNA. America is Thomas Edison and the Wright Brothers and George Washington Carver. America is Grace Hopper and Katherine Johnson and
Sally Ride. America is every immigrant and entrepreneur from Boston to Austin to Silicon Valley racing to shape a better future.
That's who we are, and over the past seven years, we've nurtured that spirit.
We've protected an open Internet, and taken bold new steps to get more students and low-income Americans online.
We've launched next-generation manufacturing hubs and online tools that give an entrepreneur everything he or she needs to start a business in a single day. But we can do so much more.
Precision Medicine Initiative: cures via personalized info
I want the country that eliminated polio and mapped the human genome to lead a new era of medicine--one that delivers the right treatment at the right time. In some patients with cystic fibrosis, this approach has reversed a disease once thought
unstoppable. Tonight, I'm launching a new Precision Medicine Initiative to bring us closer to curing diseases like cancer and diabetes--and to give all of us access to the personalized information we need to keep ourselves and our families healthier.
Source: 2015 State of the Union address
, Jan 20, 2015
Out to space not just to visit; but to stay
I want Americans to win the race for the kinds of discoveries that unleash new jobs--pushing out into the Solar System not just to visit, but to stay. Last month, we launched a new spacecraft as part of a re-energized space program that will send
American astronauts to Mars. In two months, to prepare us for those missions, Scott Kelly will begin a year-long stay in space. Good luck, Captain--and make sure to Instagram it.
Source: 2015 State of the Union address
, Jan 20, 2015
Better meet the threat of cyberattacks
No foreign nation, no hacker, should be able to shut down our networks, steal our trade secrets, or invade the privacy of American families, especially our kids. We are making sure our government integrates intelligence to combat cyber threats, just as
we have done to combat terrorism. And tonight, I urge this Congress to finally pass the legislation we need to better meet the evolving threat of cyber-attacks, combat identity theft, and protect our children's information.
Source: 2015 State of the Union address
, Jan 20, 2015
Patent reform: Unleash the next great discovery
We know that the nation that goes all-in on innovation today will own the global economy tomorrow. This is an edge America cannot surrender.
Federally-funded research helped lead to the ideas and inventions behind Google and smartphones.
That's why Congress should undo the damage done by last year's cuts to basic research so we can unleash the next great American discovery--whether it's vaccines that stay ahead of drug-resistant bacteria,
or paper-thin material that's stronger than steel. And let's pass a patent reform bill that allows our businesses to stay focused on innovation, not costly, needless litigation.
$140 for each $1 spent on genome; make more such investments
If we want to make the best products, we have to invest in the best ideas. Every dollar we invested to map the human genome returned $140 to our economy. Today, our scientists are mapping the human brain to unlock the answers to Alzheimer's; developing
drugs to regenerate damaged organs; devising new materials. 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.
Source: 2013 State of the Union Address
, Feb 12, 2013
Cyber-attacks are real threats to security and economy
America must also face the rapidly growing threat from cyber-attacks. We know hackers steal people's identities and infiltrate private e-mail. We know foreign countries and companies swipe our corporate secrets.
Now our enemies are also seeking the ability to sabotage our power grid, our financial institutions, and our air traffic control systems.
We cannot look back years from now and wonder why we did nothing in the face of real threats to our security and our economy.
That's why, earlier today, I signed a new executive order that will strengthen our cyber defenses by increasing information
sharing, and developing standards to protect our national security, our jobs, and our privacy. Now, Congress must act as well, by passing legislation to give our government a greater capacity to secure our networks and deter attacks.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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").
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.
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."
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
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.
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."
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."
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."
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
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.
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:
Increase fuel economy standards: Obama will double
fuel economy standards within eighteen years. Obama will also invest in advanced vehicle technology such as advanced lightweights materials and new engines.
Set national building efficiency goals: Barack Obama will establish a goal of making all new
buildings carbon neutral, or produce zero emissions, by 2030. He'll also establish a national goal of improving new building efficiency by 50% and existing building efficiency by 25% over the next decade to help us meet the 2030 goal.
Invest in a
digital smart grid: Obama will pursue a major investment in our utility grid to enable a tremendous increase in renewable generation and accommodate modern energy requirements, such as reliability, smart metering, and distributed storage.
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
Incentives for next-generation broadband in every community
Deploy Next-Generation Broadband:Obama believes we can get broadband to every community in America through a combination of reform of the Universal Service Fund, better use of the nationís wireless spectrum, promotion of next-generation
facilities, technologies and applications, and new tax and loan incentives.
Protect the Openness of the Internet:Obama supports the basic principle that network providers should not be allowed to charge fees to privilege the content or
applications of some web sites and Internet applications over others. This principle will ensure that the new competitors, especially small or nonprofit speakers, have the same opportunity as big companies to innovate and reach large audiences.
Invest in Rural Areas:Obama will invest in rural small businesses and fight to expand high-speed Internet access. He will improve rural schools and attract more doctors to rural areas.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Put Americans to work on 21st-century transportation system
We've got to accelerate the transition away from old, dirtier energy sources. Rather than subsidize the past, we should invest in the future, especially in communities that rely on fossil fuels. We do them no favor when we don't show them where the
trends are going. And that's why I'm going to push to change the way we manage our oil and coal resources so that they better reflect the costs they impose on taxpayers and our planet.
And that way, we put money back into those communities and put tens of thousands of Americans to work building a 21st century transportation system.
Now, none of this is going to happen overnight, and yes, there are plenty of entrenched interests
who want to protect the status quo. But the jobs we'll create, the money we'll save, the planet we'll preserve, that is the kind of future our kids and our grandkids deserve. And it's within our grasp.
FactCheck: Money stops infrastructure projects, not red tape
OBAMA: "We'll need Congress to protect more than 3 million jobs by finishing transportation and waterways bills this summer. But I will act on my own to slash bureaucracy and streamline the permitting process for key projects, so we can get more
construction workers on the job as fast as possible."
THE FACTS: Cutting rules and regulations doesn't address what's holding up most transportation projects, which is lack of money. The federal Highway Trust Fund will run out of money in August
without action. To finance infrastructure projects, Obama wants Congress to raise taxes on businesses that keep profits or jobs overseas, but that idea has been a political non-starter.
The number of projects affected by the administration's efforts to
cut red tape is relatively small. [One pundit says], "It's great that you are expediting the review process, but the review process isn't the problem. The problem is we don't have enough money to invest in our infrastructure in the first place."
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.
Tonight, I propose a "Fix-It-First" program to put people to work as soon as possible on our most urgent repairs, like the nearly 70,000 structurally deficient bridges across the country.
And to make sure taxpayers don't shoulder the whole burden, I'm also proposing a Partnership to Rebuild America that attracts private capital to upgrade what our businesses need most: modern ports to move our goods;
modern pipelines to withstand a storm; 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.
[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.
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.
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.
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.
$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.
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
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.
Voted YES on authorizing states to collect Internet sales taxes.
Congressional Summary: The Marketplace Fairness Act of 2013 authorizes each state to require all sellers with sales exceeding $1 million in the preceding calendar year to collect and remit sales and use taxes, but only if complying with the minimum simplification requirements relating to the administration of such taxes & audits.
Opponent's Argument for voting No (Cnet.com): Online retailers are objecting to S.743, saying it's unreasonable to expect small businesses to comply with the detailed--and sometimes conflicting--regulations of nearly 10,000 government tax collectors. S.743 caps years of lobbying by the National Retail Federation and the Retail Industry Leaders Association, which represent big box stores. President Obama also supports the bill.
Proponent's Argument for voting Yes: Sen. COLLINS. This bill rectifies a fundamental unfairness in our current system. Right now, Main Street businesses have to collect sales taxes
on every transaction, but outbecause -of-state Internet sellers don't have to charge this tax, they enjoy a price advantage over the mom-and-pop businesses. This bill would allow States to collect sales taxes on Internet sales, thereby leveling the playing field with Main Street businesses. This bill does not authorize any new or higher tax, nor does it impose an Internet tax. It simply helps ensure that taxes already owed are paid.
Opponent's Argument for voting No: Sen. WYDEN: This bill takes a function that is now vested in government--State tax collection--and outsources that function to small online retailers. The proponents say it is not going to be hard for small businesses to handle this--via a lot of new computer software and the like. It is, in fact, not so simple. There are more than 5,000 taxing jurisdictions in our country. Some of them give very different treatment for products and services that are almost identical.
Reference: Marketplace Fairness Act;
; vote number 13-SV113
on May 6, 2013
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.
Proponents of the bill say to vote YEA because:
[In my state], Philadelphia's 30th Street station is the second busiest train station nationally, with over 3.7 million boarding a year. And 3,000 people are employed by Amtrak in Pennsylvania. Amtrak and the health of Amtrak is important.
Last year the Senate transportation bill had $1.45 billion for Amtrak, which is obviously more than the $900 million in the current budget proposal. I am offering an amendment to increase that funding from the $900 million which is in the bill right now to the $1.45 billion level and adding $550 million.
I support funding through the section 920 account [without a tax increase]. We have seen that without raising the cap or without raising taxes, the Senate has been able to
come up with a robust number for Amtrak which I will support within the context of a responsible budget.
We have spent less money on Amtrak in the last 35 years than we will on highways in this year alone. And highways don't pay for themselves, even with the gas tax. Neither does mass transit, either in this country or anywhere else in the world. But we subsidize them because they improve the quality of our lives.
We have never provided the kind of commitment to Amtrak that we have for other modes of transportation, and this amendment will be an important step to getting Amtrak off the starvation budgets that it has subsisted on for far too long.
Opponents of the bill say to vote NAY because:
The problem with that is there is no money in the section 920 account. If we want to talk about "funny money" financing, that is it--taking money from an account that has no money. This whole budget takes money we don't have. The result is we keep running up the debt.
The CBC recognizes technology as one of the most important issues minorities must address over the next decade. They are focused on closing the digital divide and moving towards digital empowerment for all Americans.
Training Workers for the New Economy. The CBC believes that we need to train American workers for high-tech jobs. The majority of the high-wage jobs in the new economy are in the high-tech industry; and the U.S. high-tech industry pays higher wages than any other private sector industry. The H-1B training grants and other high-tech training grants should be targeted to train women, youth, minorities, military veterans and people with disabilities who are now under-represented in the high-tech industry. We will also seek to partner with the high-tech industry on both the hiring and retention of those persons in the previously mentioned groups who already have high-tech skills. We believe in lifelong learning and will work to support programs that help adults continue enhancing both their education and job skills. Technology skills will be critical to helping adults improve their professional standing.
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
A bill to amend the communications act of 1934 to ensure net neutrality:
Broadband service providers shall not interfere with the ability of any person to use a broadband service to access or offer any lawful content via the Internet;
only prioritize content or services based on the type of content or services and the level of service purchased by the user, without charge for such prioritization.
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:
provide separate information for each field of study;
be searchable by category and combinations of categories;
indicate programs targeted toward specific demographic groups;
provide searchers with program sponsor contact information and hyperlinks; and
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.
Improving application programming interface and website data elements.
Recipient performance transparency. [For federal awards, show on internet...]
a unique award identifier that identifies each individual award vehicle;
the date that the financial award was made;
the agency and department as well as subagencies and suboffices that have authorized the Federal award;
in negotiated procurements, the highest, lowest, and median offered price among all technically acceptable proposals or bids.
For all contracts after 2010, [show on internet...]
both a copy in a format that reproduces the original image of each page and a copy in searchable text format of the request for proposals, the announcement of the award, the contract, and the scope of work to be performed;
information about the extent of competition in making the award, including the number of qualified bids or proposals during the competitive process, and if the award was not competed, the legal authority and specific rationale for making the award without full and open competition;
PRESENTATION OF DATA- The website shall present information about Federal awards providing search results for novices displayed in summary form; and
providing more detailed information for more sophisticated users
Performance Transparency- performance of individual contractors and recipients of financial assistance starting with awards given in fiscal year 2008 including an assessment of the quality of work performed on Federal awards during the past 5 years; and information about Federal audit disputes and resolutions.
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