• Investing in Growth While Continuing to Strengthen Our Nation’s Long Term Fiscal Position. Over the past four years the deficit has been cut in half as a share of the economy, falling by 5.7% of GDP, the largest four-year deficit reduction since the demobilization from World War II. The long-run deficit outlook has also improved considerably due to slowing the growth of Medicare while improving solvency and benefits in the Affordable Care Act, a fairer tax code enacted in the 2012 fiscal cliff deal, and discretionary spending which is on track to be the lowest as a share of the economy since Dwight Eisenhower was President. The recent bipartisan Budget agreement undoes some of last year’s damaging cuts to priorities like education and research, and clears the way for Washington to avoid setting back our economy this year with manufactured fiscal crises. The President wants to build on this progress with a growth and opportunity agenda that includes a commitment to strengthening our long-term fiscal position. This entails a commitment by the President to not only pay for all of his new, ongoing initiatives but also to support additional deficit reduction in a balanced manner from pro-growth tax reform that levels the playing field for the middle class and further efforts to reform and strengthen entitlements. This approach will accelerate growth and ensure that the debt is on a downward path as a share of the economy over the next decade and the debt and deficit are stabilized over the longer term.
• Transforming Communities Across the Country into Global Centers of Advanced Manufacturing through a National Network of Manufacturing Institutes. Building on the four institutes that the President has already launched and the four more institutes that he will launch this year through executive authority, the President is continuing to call on Congress to create up to 45 manufacturing innovation institutes over 10 years, tripling that number from the 15 institutes originally proposed in his 2012 and 2013 State of the Union addresses. The President first set a goal for Congress to triple the number of institutes supported in his July 2013 speech in Chattanooga. Last summer, Senators Brown (D-OH) and Blunt (R-MO) and Congressmen Reed (R-NY) and Kennedy (D-MA) launched bipartisan bills in both the Senate and House that would move us closer to the President’s vision for a national network of manufacturing innovation led by the Department of Commerce. The President will continue to work with Congress to make sure that we reach his goal of 45 manufacturing institutes over 10 years.
• Supporting and Scaling Innovative Partnerships Between Community Colleges and Other Public and Non-Profit Entities to Reorient Training Efforts to be Job-Driven. The President wants to work with Congress to increase funding to allow more workers of all ages to access training programs that will provide the skills that lead to good jobs and careers, and are more accountable for results.
Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., right, hugs Harold Schaitberger, General President of the International Association of Fire Fighters, after the Congressman spoke at the IAFF's Legislative Conference General Session at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill, March 9, 2015. The day featured addresses by members of Congress and Vice President Joe Biden.