Loading text...
Mr. Speaker, Mr. Vice President, Members of Congress, my fellow Americans:
Today in America, a teacher spent extra time with a student who needed it, and
did her part to lift America's graduation rate to its highest level in more than
three decades.
An entrepreneur flipped on the lights in her tech startup, and did her part to
add to the more than eight million new jobs our businesses have created over the
past four years.
An autoworker fine-tuned some of the best, most fuel-efficient cars in the
world, and did his part to help America wean itself off foreign oil.
A farmer prepared for the spring after the strongest five-year stretch of farm
exports in our history. A rural doctor gave a young child the first prescription
to treat asthma that his mother could afford. A man took the bus home from the
graveyard shift, bone-tired but dreaming big dreams for his son. And in tight-
knit communities across America, fathers and mothers will tuck in their kids,
put an arm around their spouse, remember fallen comrades, and give thanks for
being home from a war that, after twelve long years, is finally coming to an
Tonight, this chamber speaks with one voice to the people we represent: it is
you, our citizens, who make the state of our union strong.
Here are the results of your efforts: The lowest unemployment rate in over five
years. A rebounding housing market. A manufacturing sector that's adding jobs
for the first time since the 1990s. More oil produced at home than we buy from
the rest of the world – the first time that's happened in nearly twenty years.
Our deficits – cut by more than half. And for the first time in over a decade,
business leaders around the world have declared that China is no longer the
world's number one place to invest; America is.
That's why I believe this can be a breakthrough year for America. After five
years of grit and determined effort, the United States is better-positioned for
the 21st century than any other nation on Earth.
The question for everyone in this chamber, running through every decision we
make this year, is whether we are going to help or hinder this progress. For
several years now, this town has been consumed by a rancorous argument over the
proper size of the federal government. It's an important debate – one that
dates back to our very founding. But when that debate prevents us from carrying
out even the most basic functions of our democracy – when our differences shut
down government or threaten the full faith and credit of the United States –
then we are not doing right by the American people.
As President, I'm committed to making Washington work better, and rebuilding the
trust of the people who sent us here. I believe most of you are, too. Last
month, thanks to the work of Democrats and Republicans, this Congress finally
produced a budget that undoes some of last year's severe cuts to priorities like
education. Nobody got everything they wanted, and we can still do more to invest
in this country's future while bringing down our deficit in a balanced way. But
the budget compromise should leave us freer to focus on creating new jobs, not
creating new crises.
In the coming months, let's see where else we can make progress together. Let's
make this a year of action. That's what most Americans want – for all of us in
this chamber to focus on their lives, their hopes, their aspirations. And what I
believe unites the people of this nation, regardless of race or region or party,
young or old, rich or poor, is the simple, profound belief in opportunity for
all – the notion that if you work hard and take responsibility, you can get
Let's face it: that belief has suffered some serious blows. Over more than three
decades, even before the Great Recession hit, massive shifts in technology and
global competition had eliminated a lot of good, middle-class jobs, and weakened
the economic foundations that families depend on.
Today, after four years of economic growth, corporate profits and stock prices
have rarely been higher, and those at the top have never done better. But
average wages have barely budged. Inequality has deepened. Upward mobility has
stalled. The cold, hard fact is that even in the midst of recovery, too many
Americans are working more than ever just to get by – let alone get ahead. And
too many still aren't working at all.
Our job is to reverse these trends. It won't happen right away, and we won't
agree on everything. But what I offer tonight is a set of concrete, practical
proposals to speed up growth, strengthen the middle class, and build new ladders
of opportunity into the middle class. Some require Congressional action, and I'm
eager to work with all of you. But America does not stand still – and neither
will I. So wherever and whenever I can take steps without legislation to expand
opportunity for more American families, that's what I'm going to do.
As usual, our First Lady sets a good example. Michelle's Let's Move partnership
with schools, businesses, and local leaders has helped bring down childhood
obesity rates for the first time in thirty years – an achievement that will
improve lives and reduce health care costs for decades to come. The Joining
Forces alliance that Michelle and Jill Biden launched has already encouraged
employers to hire or train nearly 400,000 veterans and military spouses. Taking
a page from that playbook, the White House just organized a College Opportunity
Summit where already, 150 universities, businesses, and nonprofits have made
concrete commitments to reduce inequality in access to higher education – and
help every hardworking kid go to college and succeed when they get to campus.
Across the country, we're partnering with mayors, governors, and state
legislatures on issues from homelessness to marriage equality.
The point is, there are millions of Americans outside Washington who are tired
of stale political arguments, and are moving this country forward. They believe,
and I believe, that here in America, our success should depend not on accident
of birth, but the strength of our work ethic and the scope of our dreams. That's
what drew our forebears here. It's how the daughter of a factory worker is CEO
of America's largest automaker; how the son of a barkeeper is Speaker of the
House; how the son of a single mom can be President of the greatest nation on
Opportunity is who we are. And the defining project of our generation is to
restore that promise.
We know where to start: the best measure of opportunity is access to a good job.
With the economy picking up speed, companies say they intend to hire more people
this year. And over half of big manufacturers say they're thinking of insourcing
jobs from abroad.
So let's make that decision easier for more companies. Both Democrats and
Republicans have argued that our tax code is riddled with wasteful, complicated
loopholes that punish businesses investing here, and reward companies that keep
profits abroad. Let's flip that equation. Let's work together to close those
loopholes, end those incentives to ship jobs overseas, and lower tax rates for
businesses that create jobs here at home.
Moreover, we can take the money we save with this transition to tax reform to
create jobs rebuilding our roads, upgrading our ports, unclogging our commutes
– because in today's global economy, first-class jobs gravitate to first-class
infrastructure. We'll need Congress to protect more than three 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.
We also have the chance, right now, to beat other countries in the race for the
next wave of high-tech manufacturing jobs. My administration has launched two
hubs for high-tech manufacturing in Raleigh and Youngstown, where we've
connected businesses to research universities that can help America lead the
world in advanced technologies. Tonight, I'm announcing we'll launch six more
this year. Bipartisan bills in both houses could double the number of these hubs
and the jobs they create. So get those bills to my desk and put more Americans
back to work.
Let's do more to help the entrepreneurs and small business owners who create
most new jobs in America. Over the past five years, my administration has made
more loans to small business owners than any other. And when ninety-eight
percent of our exporters are small businesses, new trade partnerships with
Europe and the Asia-Pacific will help them create more jobs. We need to work
together on tools like bipartisan trade promotion authority to protect our
workers, protect our environment, and open new markets to new goods stamped
“Made in the USA.” China and Europe aren't standing on the sidelines.
Neither should we.
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.
Now, one of the biggest factors in bringing more jobs back is our commitment to
American energy. The all-of-the-above energy strategy I announced a few years
ago is working, and today, America is closer to energy independence than we've
been in decades.
One of the reasons why is natural gas – if extracted safely, it's the bridge
fuel that can power our economy with less of the carbon pollution that causes
climate change. Businesses plan to invest almost $100 billion in new factories
that use natural gas. I'll cut red tape to help states get those factories
built, and this Congress can help by putting people to work building fueling
stations that shift more cars and trucks from foreign oil to American natural
gas. My administration will keep working with the industry to sustain production
and job growth while strengthening protection of our air, our water, and our
communities. And while we're at it, I'll use my authority to protect more of our
pristine federal lands for future generations.
It's not just oil and natural gas production that's booming; we're becoming a
global leader in solar, too. Every four minutes, another American home or
business goes solar; every panel pounded into place by a worker whose job can't
be outsourced. Let's continue that progress with a smarter tax policy that stops
giving $4 billion a year to fossil fuel industries that don't need it, so that
we can invest more in fuels of the future that do.
And even as we've increased energy production, we've partnered with businesses,
builders, and local communities to reduce the energy we consume. When we rescued
our automakers, for example, we worked with them to set higher fuel efficiency
standards for our cars. In the coming months, I'll build on that success by
setting new standards for our trucks, so we can keep driving down oil imports
and what we pay at the pump.
Taken together, our energy policy is creating jobs and leading to a cleaner,
safer planet. Over the past eight years, the United States has reduced our total
carbon pollution more than any other nation on Earth. But we have to act with
more urgency – because a changing climate is already harming western
communities struggling with drought, and coastal cities dealing with floods.
That's why I directed my administration to work with states, utilities, and
others to set new standards on the amount of carbon pollution our power plants
are allowed to dump into the air. The shift to a cleaner energy economy won't
happen overnight, and it will require tough choices along the way. But the
debate is settled. Climate change is a fact. And when our children's children
look us in the eye and ask if we did all we could to leave them a safer, more
stable world, with new sources of energy, I want us to be able to say yes, we
Finally, if we are serious about economic growth, it is time to heed the call of
business leaders, labor leaders, faith leaders, and law enforcement – and fix
our broken immigration system. Republicans and Democrats in the Senate have
acted. I know that members of both parties in the House want to do the same.
Independent economists say immigration reform will grow our economy and shrink
our deficits by almost $1 trillion in the next two decades. And for good reason:
when people come here to fulfill their dreams – to study, invent, and
contribute to our culture – they make our country a more attractive place for
businesses to locate and create jobs for everyone. So let's get immigration
reform done this year.
The ideas I've outlined so far can speed up growth and create more jobs. But in
this rapidly-changing economy, we have to make sure that every American has the
skills to fill those jobs.
The good news is, we know how to do it. Two years ago, as the auto industry came
roaring back, Andra Rush opened up a manufacturing firm in Detroit. She knew
that Ford needed parts for the best-selling truck in America, and she knew how
to make them. She just needed the workforce. So she dialed up what we call an
American Job Center – places where folks can walk in to get the help or
training they need to find a new job, or better job. She was flooded with new
workers. And today, Detroit Manufacturing Systems has more than 700 employees.
What Andra and her employees experienced is how it should be for every employer
– and every job seeker. So tonight, I've asked Vice President Biden to lead an
across-the-board reform of America's training programs to make sure they have
one mission: train Americans with the skills employers need, and match them to
good jobs that need to be filled right now. That means more on-the-job training,
and more apprenticeships that set a young worker on an upward trajectory for
life. It means connecting companies to community colleges that can help design
training to fill their specific needs. And if Congress wants to help, you can
concentrate funding on proven programs that connect more ready-to-work Americans
with ready-to-be-filled jobs.
I'm also convinced we can help Americans return to the workforce faster by
reforming unemployment insurance so that it's more effective in today's economy.
But first, this Congress needs to restore the unemployment insurance you just
let expire for 1.6 million people.
Let me tell you why.
Misty DeMars is a mother of two young boys. She'd been steadily employed since
she was a teenager. She put herself through college. She'd never collected
unemployment benefits. In May, she and her husband used their life savings to
buy their first home. A week later, budget cuts claimed the job she loved. Last
month, when their unemployment insurance was cut off, she sat down and wrote me
a letter – the kind I get every day. “We are the face of the unemployment
crisis,” she wrote. “I am not dependent on the government…Our country
depends on people like us who build careers, contribute to society…care about
our neighborsI am confident that in time I will find a jobI will pay my
taxes, and we will raise our children in their own home in the community we
love. Please give us this chance.”
Congress, give these hardworking, responsible Americans that chance. They need
our help, but more important, this country needs them in the game. That's why
I've been asking CEOs to give more long-term unemployed workers a fair shot at
that new job and new chance to support their families; this week, many will come
to the White House to make that commitment real. Tonight, I ask every business
leader in America to join us and to do the same – because we are stronger when
America fields a full team.
Of course, it's not enough to train today's workforce. We also have to prepare
tomorrow's workforce, by guaranteeing every child access to a world-class
Estiven Rodriguez couldn't speak a word of English when he moved to New York
City at age nine. But last month, thanks to the support of great teachers and an
innovative tutoring program, he led a march of his classmates – through a
crowd of cheering parents and neighbors – from their high school to the post
office, where they mailed off their college applications. And this son of a
factory worker just found out he's going to college this fall.
Five years ago, we set out to change the odds for all our kids. We worked with
lenders to reform student loans, and today, more young people are earning
college degrees than ever before. Race to the Top, with the help of governors
from both parties, has helped states raise expectations and performance.
Teachers and principals in schools from Tennessee to Washington, D.C. are making
big strides in preparing students with skills for the new economy – problem
solving, critical thinking, science, technology, engineering, and math. Some of
this change is hard. It requires everything from more challenging curriculums
and more demanding parents to better support for teachers and new ways to
measure how well our kids think, not how well they can fill in a bubble on a
test. But it's worth it – and it's working.
The problem is we're still not reaching enough kids, and we're not reaching them
in time. That has to change.
Research shows that one of the best investments we can make in a child's life is
high-quality early education. Last year, I asked this Congress to help states
make high-quality pre-K available to every four year-old. As a parent as well as
a President, I repeat that request tonight. But in the meantime, thirty states
have raised pre-k funding on their own. They know we can't wait. So just as we
worked with states to reform our schools, this year, we'll invest in new
partnerships with states and communities across the country in a race to the top
for our youngest children. And as Congress decides what it's going to do, I'm
going to pull together a coalition of elected officials, business leaders, and
philanthropists willing to help more kids access the high-quality pre-K they
Last year, I also pledged to connect 99 percent of our students to high-speed
broadband over the next four years. Tonight, I can announce that with the
support of the FCC and companies like Apple, Microsoft, Sprint, and Verizon,
we've got a down payment to start connecting more than 15,000 schools and twenty
million students over the next two years, without adding a dime to the deficit.
We're working to redesign high schools and partner them with colleges and
employers that offer the real-world education and hands-on training that can
lead directly to a job and career. We're shaking up our system of higher
education to give parents more information, and colleges more incentives to
offer better value, so that no middle-class kid is priced out of a college
education. We're offering millions the opportunity to cap their monthly student
loan payments to ten percent of their income, and I want to work with Congress
to see how we can help even more Americans who feel trapped by student loan
debt. And I'm reaching out to some of America's leading foundations and
corporations on a new initiative to help more young men of color facing tough
odds stay on track and reach their full potential.
The bottom line is, Michelle and I want every child to have the same chance this
country gave us. But we know our opportunity agenda won't be complete – and
too many young people entering the workforce today will see the American Dream
as an empty promise – unless we do more to make sure our economy honors the
dignity of work, and hard work pays off for every single American.
Today, women make up about half our workforce. But they still make 77 cents for
every dollar a man earns. That is wrong, and in 2014, it's an embarrassment. A
woman deserves equal pay for equal work. She deserves to have a baby without
sacrificing her job. A mother deserves a day off to care for a sick child or
sick parent without running into hardship – and you know what, a father does,
too. It's time to do away with workplace policies that belong in a “Mad Men”
episode. This year, let's all come together – Congress, the White House, and
businesses from Wall Street to Main Street – to give every woman the
opportunity she deserves. Because I firmly believe when women succeed, America
Now, women hold a majority of lower-wage jobs – but they're not the only ones
stifled by stagnant wages. Americans understand that some people will earn more
than others, and we don't resent those who, by virtue of their efforts, achieve
incredible success. But Americans overwhelmingly agree that no one who works
full time should ever have to raise a family in poverty.
In the year since I asked this Congress to raise the minimum wage, five states
have passed laws to raise theirs. Many businesses have done it on their own.
Nick Chute is here tonight with his boss, John Soranno. John's an owner of Punch
Pizza in Minneapolis, and Nick helps make the dough. Only now he makes more of
it: John just gave his employees a raise, to ten bucks an hour – a decision
that eased their financial stress and boosted their morale.
Tonight, I ask more of America's business leaders to follow John's lead and do
what you can to raise your employees' wages. To every mayor, governor, and state
legislator in America, I say, you don't have to wait for Congress to act;
Americans will support you if you take this on. And as a chief executive, I
intend to lead by example. Profitable corporations like Costco see higher wages
as the smart way to boost productivity and reduce turnover. We should too. In
the coming weeks, I will issue an Executive Order requiring federal contractors
to pay their federally-funded employees a fair wage of at least $10.10 an hour
– because if you cook our troops' meals or wash their dishes, you shouldn't
have to live in poverty.
Of course, to reach millions more, Congress needs to get on board. Today, the
federal minimum wage is worth about twenty percent less than it was when Ronald
Reagan first stood here. Tom Harkin and George Miller have a bill to fix that by
lifting the minimum wage to $10.10. This will help families. It will give
businesses customers with more money to spend. It doesn't involve any new
bureaucratic program. So join the rest of the country. Say yes. Give America a
There are other steps we can take to help families make ends meet, and few are
more effective at reducing inequality and helping families pull themselves up
through hard work than the Earned Income Tax Credit. Right now, it helps about
half of all parents at some point. But I agree with Republicans like Senator
Rubio that it doesn't do enough for single workers who don't have kids. So let's
work together to strengthen the credit, reward work, and help more Americans get
Let's do more to help Americans save for retirement. Today, most workers don't
have a pension. A Social Security check often isn't enough on its own. And while
the stock market has doubled over the last five years, that doesn't help folks
who don't have 401ks. That's why, tomorrow, I will direct the Treasury to create
a new way for working Americans to start their own retirement savings: MyRA.
It's a new savings bond that encourages folks to build a nest egg. MyRA
guarantees a decent return with no risk of losing what you put in. And if this
Congress wants to help, work with me to fix an upside-down tax code that gives
big tax breaks to help the wealthy save, but does little to nothing for middle-
class Americans. Offer every American access to an automatic IRA on the job, so
they can save at work just like everyone in this chamber can. And since the most
important investment many families make is their home, send me legislation that
protects taxpayers from footing the bill for a housing crisis ever again, and
keeps the dream of homeownership alive for future generations of Americans.
One last point on financial security. For decades, few things exposed hard-
working families to economic hardship more than a broken health care system. And
in case you haven't heard, we're in the process of fixing that.
A pre-existing condition used to mean that someone like Amanda Shelley, a
physician assistant and single mom from Arizona, couldn't get health insurance.
But on January 1st, she got covered. On January 3rd, she felt a sharp pain. On
January 6th, she had emergency surgery. Just one week earlier, Amanda said, that
surgery would've meant bankruptcy.
That's what health insurance reform is all about – the peace of mind that if
misfortune strikes, you don't have to lose everything.
Already, because of the Affordable Care Act, more than three million Americans
under age 26 have gained coverage under their parents' plans.
More than nine million Americans have signed up for private health insurance or
Medicaid coverage.
And here's another number: zero. Because of this law, no American can ever again
be dropped or denied coverage for a preexisting condition like asthma, back
pain, or cancer. No woman can ever be charged more just because she's a woman.
And we did all this while adding years to Medicare's finances, keeping Medicare
premiums flat, and lowering prescription costs for millions of seniors.
Now, I don't expect to convince my Republican friends on the merits of this law.
But I know that the American people aren't interested in refighting old battles.
So again, if you have specific plans to cut costs, cover more people, and
increase choice – tell America what you'd do differently. Let's see if the
numbers add up. But let's not have another forty-something votes to repeal a law
that's already helping millions of Americans like Amanda. The first forty were
plenty. We got it. We all owe it to the American people to say what we're for,
not just what we're against.
And if you want to know the real impact this law is having, just talk to
Governor Steve Beshear of Kentucky, who's here tonight. Kentucky's not the most
liberal part of the country, but he's like a man possessed when it comes to
covering his commonwealth's families. “They are our friends and neighbors,”
he said. “They are people we shop and go to church with…farmers out on the
tractorsgrocery clerks…they are people who go to work every morning praying
they don't get sick. No one deserves to live that way.”
Steve's right. That's why, tonight, I ask every American who knows someone
without health insurance to help them get covered by March 31st. Moms, get on
your kids to sign up. Kids, call your mom and walk her through the application.
It will give her some peace of mind – plus, she'll appreciate hearing from
After all, that's the spirit that has always moved this nation forward. It's the
spirit of citizenship – the recognition that through hard work and
responsibility, we can pursue our individual dreams, but still come together as
one American family to make sure the next generation can pursue its dreams as
Citizenship means standing up for everyone's right to vote. Last year, part of
the Voting Rights Act was weakened. But conservative Republicans and liberal
Democrats are working together to strengthen it; and the bipartisan commission I
appointed last year has offered reforms so that no one has to wait more than a
half hour to vote. Let's support these efforts. It should be the power of our
vote, not the size of our bank account, that drives our democracy.
Citizenship means standing up for the lives that gun violence steals from us
each day. I have seen the courage of parents, students, pastors, and police
officers all over this country who say “we are not afraid,” and I intend to
keep trying, with or without Congress, to help stop more tragedies from visiting
innocent Americans in our movie theaters, shopping malls, or schools like Sandy
Citizenship demands a sense of common cause; participation in the hard work of
self-government; an obligation to serve to our communities. And I know this
chamber agrees that few Americans give more to their country than our diplomats
and the men and women of the United States Armed Forces.
Tonight, because of the extraordinary troops and civilians who risk and lay down
their lives to keep us free, the United States is more secure. When I took
office, nearly 180,000 Americans were serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. Today,
all our troops are out of Iraq. More than 60,000 of our troops have already come
home from Afghanistan. With Afghan forces now in the lead for their own
security, our troops have moved to a support role. Together with our allies, we
will complete our mission there by the end of this year, and America's longest
war will finally be over.
After 2014, we will support a unified Afghanistan as it takes responsibility for
its own future. If the Afghan government signs a security agreement that we have
negotiated, a small force of Americans could remain in Afghanistan with NATO
allies to carry out two narrow missions: training and assisting Afghan forces,
and counterterrorism operations to pursue any remnants of al Qaeda. For while
our relationship with Afghanistan will change, one thing will not: our resolve
that terrorists do not launch attacks against our country.
The fact is, that danger remains. While we have put al Qaeda's core leadership
on a path to defeat, the threat has evolved, as al Qaeda affiliates and other
extremists take root in different parts of the world. In Yemen, Somalia, Iraq,
and Mali, we have to keep working with partners to disrupt and disable these
networks. In Syria, we'll support the opposition that rejects the agenda of
terrorist networks. Here at home, we'll keep strengthening our defenses, and
combat new threats like cyberattacks. And as we reform our defense budget, we
have to keep faith with our men and women in uniform, and invest in the
capabilities they need to succeed in future missions.
We have to remain vigilant. But I strongly believe our leadership and our
security cannot depend on our military alone. As Commander-in-Chief, I have used
force when needed to protect the American people, and I will never hesitate to
do so as long as I hold this office. But I will not send our troops into harm's
way unless it's truly necessary; nor will I allow our sons and daughters to be
mired in open-ended conflicts. We must fight the battles that need to be fought,
not those that terrorists prefer from us – large-scale deployments that drain
our strength and may ultimately feed extremism.
So, even as we aggressively pursue terrorist networks – through more targeted
efforts and by building the capacity of our foreign partnersAmerica must
move off a permanent war footing. That's why I've imposed prudent limits on the
use of drones – for we will not be safer if people abroad believe we strike
within their countries without regard for the consequence. That's why, working
with this Congress, I will reform our surveillance programs – because the
vital work of our intelligence community depends on public confidence, here and
abroad, that the privacy of ordinary people is not being violated. And with the
Afghan war ending, this needs to be the year Congress lifts the remaining
restrictions on detainee transfers and we close the prison at Guantanamo Bay –
because we counter terrorism not just through intelligence and military action,
but by remaining true to our Constitutional ideals, and setting an example for
the rest of the world.
You see, in a world of complex threats, our security and leadership depends on
all elements of our power – including strong and principled diplomacy.
American diplomacy has rallied more than fifty countries to prevent nuclear
materials from falling into the wrong hands, and allowed us to reduce our own
reliance on Cold War stockpiles. American diplomacy, backed by the threat of
force, is why Syria's chemical weapons are being eliminated, and we will
continue to work with the international community to usher in the future the
Syrian people deserve – a future free of dictatorship, terror and fear. As we
speak, American diplomacy is supporting Israelis and Palestinians as they engage
in difficult but necessary talks to end the conflict there; to achieve dignity
and an independent state for Palestinians, and lasting peace and security for
the State of Israel – a Jewish state that knows America will always be at
their side.
And it is American diplomacy, backed by pressure, that has halted the progress
of Iran's nuclear program – and rolled parts of that program back – for the
very first time in a decade. As we gather here tonight, Iran has begun to
eliminate its stockpile of higher levels of enriched uranium. It is not
installing advanced centrifuges. Unprecedented inspections help the world
verify, every day, that Iran is not building a bomb. And with our allies and
partners, we're engaged in negotiations to see if we can peacefully achieve a
goal we all share: preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.
These negotiations will be difficult. They may not succeed. We are clear-eyed
about Iran's support for terrorist organizations like Hezbollah, which threaten
our allies; and the mistrust between our nations cannot be wished away. But
these negotiations do not rely on trust; any long-term deal we agree to must be
based on verifiable action that convinces us and the international community
that Iran is not building a nuclear bomb. If John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan
could negotiate with the Soviet Union, then surely a strong and confident
America can negotiate with less powerful adversaries today.
The sanctions that we put in place helped make this opportunity possible. But
let me be clear: if this Congress sends me a new sanctions bill now that
threatens to derail these talks, I will veto it. For the sake of our national
security, we must give diplomacy a chance to succeed. If Iran's leaders do not
seize this opportunity, then I will be the first to call for more sanctions, and
stand ready to exercise all options to make sure Iran does not build a nuclear
weapon. But if Iran's leaders do seize the chance, then Iran could take an
important step to rejoin the community of nations, and we will have resolved one
of the leading security challenges of our time without the risks of war.
Finally, let's remember that our leadership is defined not just by our defense
against threats, but by the enormous opportunities to do good and promote
understanding around the globe – to forge greater cooperation, to expand new
markets, to free people from fear and want. And no one is better positioned to
take advantage of those opportunities than America.
Our alliance with Europe remains the strongest the world has ever known. From
Tunisia to Burma, we're supporting those who are willing to do the hard work of
building democracy. In Ukraine, we stand for the principle that all people have
the right to express themselves freely and peacefully, and have a say in their
country's future. Across Africa, we're bringing together businesses and
governments to double access to electricity and help end extreme poverty. In the
Americas, we are building new ties of commerce, but we're also expanding
cultural and educational exchanges among young people. And we will continue to
focus on the Asia-Pacific, where we support our allies, shape a future of
greater security and prosperity, and extend a hand to those devastated by
disaster – as we did in the Philippines, when our Marines and civilians rushed
to aid those battered by a typhoon, and were greeted with words like, “We will
never forget your kindness” and “God bless America!”
We do these things because they help promote our long-term security. And we do
them because we believe in the inherent dignity and equality of every human
being, regardless of race or religion, creed or sexual orientation. And next
week, the world will see one expression of that commitment – when Team USA
marches the red, white, and blue into the Olympic Stadium – and brings home
the gold.
My fellow Americans, no other country in the world does what we do. On every
issue, the world turns to us, not simply because of the size of our economy or
our military might – but because of the ideals we stand for, and the burdens
we bear to advance them.
No one knows this better than those who serve in uniform. As this time of war
draws to a close, a new generation of heroes returns to civilian life. We'll
keep slashing that backlog so our veterans receive the benefits they've earned,
and our wounded warriors receive the health care – including the mental health
care – that they need. We'll keep working to help all our veterans translate
their skills and leadership into jobs here at home. And we all continue to join
forces to honor and support our remarkable military families.
Let me tell you about one of those families I've come to know.
I first met Cory Remsburg, a proud Army Ranger, at Omaha Beach on the 65th
anniversary of D-Day. Along with some of his fellow Rangers, he walked me
through the program – a strong, impressive young man, with an easy manner,
sharp as a tack. We joked around, and took pictures, and I told him to stay in
A few months later, on his tenth deployment, Cory was nearly killed by a massive
roadside bomb in Afghanistan. His comrades found him in a canal, face down,
underwater, shrapnel in his brain.
For months, he lay in a coma. The next time I met him, in the hospital, he
couldn't speak; he could barely move. Over the years, he's endured dozens of
surgeries and procedures, and hours of grueling rehab every day.
Even now, Cory is still blind in one eye. He still struggles on his left side.
But slowly, steadily, with the support of caregivers like his dad Craig, and the
community around him, Cory has grown stronger. Day by day, he's learned to speak
again and stand again and walk again – and he's working toward the day when he
can serve his country again.
My recovery has not been easy,” he says. “Nothing in life that's worth
anything is easy.”
Cory is here tonight. And like the Army he loves, like the America he serves,
Sergeant First Class Cory Remsburg never gives up, and he does not quit.
My fellow Americans, men and women like Cory remind us that America has never
come easy. Our freedom, our democracy, has never been easy. Sometimes we
stumble; we make mistakes; we get frustrated or discouraged. But for more than
two hundred years, we have put those things aside and placed our collective
shoulder to the wheel of progress – to create and build and expand the
possibilities of individual achievement; to free other nations from tyranny and
fear; to promote justice, and fairness, and equality under the law, so that the
words set to paper by our founders are made real for every citizen. The America
we want for our kids – a rising America where honest work is plentiful and
communities are strong; where prosperity is widely shared and opportunity for
all lets us go as far as our dreams and toil will take us – none of it is
easy. But if we work together; if we summon what is best in us, with our feet
planted firmly in today but our eyes cast towards tomorrowI know it's
within our reach.
Believe it.
God bless you, and God bless the United States of America.
Selected word: (search)

Frequency in the corpus (click to view):


Word usage statistics for “

Percentage of words uncommon in each year:
The lines show the % of words more common earlier, later, or both.

This text has been saved! Copy this link to share it or access it in the future:

The server encountered an error saving the text.
blue words are more common earlier
red words are more common later
yellow words are more common both earlier and later
blue words have average frequency below the selected value
red words are not found in the corpus at all
red words are omitted from the selected dictionary
blue words are marked as rare or obsolete
yellow words are marked as vulgar, colloquial, or improper
This interactive text was created by The Distance Machine, a tool that highlights words that are uncommon in texts from a particular point in the past.
Use the controls at the top left to see what words are uncommon in texts from different years, to find words in the text that were omitted from a given dictionary, or to find very uncommon words. When highlighting words by year or frequency, you can also click the play button to animate. Double-click or tap on words in the text to see details, including the full historical usage data and dictionary entries.
About this program | How it works | Legal