Photo: Obama Addresses NCLR Luncheon, Touches on Immigration, Economy
Monday, President Obama spoke at the National Council of La Raza (NCLR) luncheon in Washington D.C. and reiterated his commitment to the DREAM Act, and stated what it will take to make sure that America remains a place where opportunity is open to all who work for it, and how the American family will only be as strong as our growing Hispanic community.
The President’s address came just two weeks after the White House hosted a Hispanic Policy Conference that brought together 160 community leaders and local elected officials from 25 states, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia with more than 100 White House and Cabinet officials for an in-depth series of interactive workshops and substantive conversations on the Administration’s efforts as they relate to the Hispanic community.
The President stated that he would continue to “work tirelessly to fix our broken immigration system and make the DREAM Act a reality.” Adding that the country needs an “immigration system that holds true to our values and our heritage, and meets our economic and security needs.”
President Obama went on to say that his “number-one priority, every single day, is to figure out how we can get businesses to hire and create jobs with decent wages. And in the short-term, there are some things we can do right away. I want to extend tax relief that we already put in place for middle-class families, to make sure that folks have more money in their paychecks. And I want to cut red tape that keeps entrepreneurs from turning new ideas into thriving businesses. I want to sign trade deals so our businesses can sell more goods made in America to the rest of the world, especially to the Americas.”
He remarked, “Every day, NCLR and your affiliates hear from families figuring out how to stretch every dollar a little bit further, what sacrifices they’ve got to make, how they’re going to budget only what’s truly important. So they should expect the same thing from Washington…both parties have a responsibility to come together and solve the problem and make sure that the American people aren’t hurt on this issue.
“We can’t just close our deficits by cutting spending,” President Obama stated. And it’s “not fair if all of this is done on the backs of middle-class families and poor families, it doesn’t make sense.
And that’s why people from both parties have said that the best way to take on our deficit is with a balanced approach –- one where the wealthiest Americans and big corporations pay their fair share, too. Before we stop funding energy research, we should ask oil companies and corporate jet owners to give up special tax breaks that other folks don’t get. Before we ask college students to pay more to go to college, we should ask hedge fund managers to stop paying taxes that are lower in terms of rates than their secretaries. Before we ask seniors to pay more for Medicare—before we ask seniors to pay more for Medicare, we should ask people like me to give up tax breaks that we don’t need and weren’t even asking for.”
The President also slammed Senate Republicans for blocking the DREAM Act after it passed in the House last year, and argued that in order to pass any immigration reform he needed supporters “to keep building a movement for change outside of Washington, one that they [the Republicans] can’t stop.”