As President, I spend most of my time focused on what we can do to grow the economy and grow new pathways of opportunity for Americans like you to get ahead.
And we’ve made progress. More than 12 million new private sector jobs in the past five years. More than 16 million Americans who’ve gained health insurance. More jobs creating more clean energy. More kids graduating from high school and college than ever before.
But in a relentlessly-changing economy, we’ve got more work to do. And one of the things we should be doing, for example, is rewriting the rules of global trade to benefit American workers and American businesses. I think we should write those rules before China does. That’s why I’ve been working with Congress to pass new, 21st century trade agreements with standards that are higher and protections that are tougher than any past trade agreement.
I believe it’s the right thing to do for American workers and families, or I wouldn’t be doing it.
I believe it’s what will give us the competitive edge in a new economy, or I wouldn’t be doing it.
Now, several Members of Congress disagree. That’s why it’s still tied up there, along with a lot of other good ideas that would create jobs. And eventually, I’m optimistic we’ll get this done.
But America doesn’t stand still. That’s why, on issue after issue where Congress has failed to act, my administration has partnered with mayors and governors across the country to advance economic priorities that most working families in America are in favor of right now.
And we’ve had success. Over the past couple years, 17 states and six major cities have raised the minimum wage for their workers. 19 cities have enacted paid sick days, and five states have enacted paid sick days or paid family leave. 34 states have increased funding for quality Pre-K. And 19 cities and states have signed up for our new TechHire initiative to train workers for the high-wage, high-skill jobs of tomorrow – the kind of jobs that new trade deals would help create.
Some of these victories have been small. Some have been quiet. But they’ve added up to a big difference for working families across America. And that’s what matters to me. Because it matters to you. On Friday, I talked about these initiatives and more in a speech to the U.S. Conference of Mayors. Check it out at WhiteHouse.gov. Some of it might matter to your city.
President Barack Obama’s weekly address is published Mondays in the Minden Press-Herald.