News / USA

Obama, Biden Rally Congressional Democrats on Middle Class Agenda

U.S. President Barack Obama speaks at the House Democratic Issues Conference in Cambridge, Maryland February 14, 2014.
U.S. President Barack Obama speaks at the House Democratic Issues Conference in Cambridge, Maryland February 14, 2014.
U.S. President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden rallied House Democrats on Friday, saying they need to be aggressive in pressing the Democratic Party agenda in the months leading to the U.S. mid-term congressional elections.
 
The president and Biden made their remarks in Cambridge, Maryland at the issues conference of Democrats in the House of Representatives.

It's an annual event at which lawmakers discuss legislative priorities and strategy, and often hear from the titular leader of their party, the president.

This year's gathering came as Democrats gear up for an intense period of campaigning for the November mid-term congressional elections.   

Obama largely repeated major points from his State of the Union Address, including his pledge to use executive orders to achieve key objectives when he encounters resistance from Republicans in Congress.

He praised the "courage, unity and discipline" of House Democrats. And he described the recent decision by House Republicans to drop an effort to link political conditions to increasing the federal government's debt limit as a victory.

"We are no longer going to see, I believe, anybody try to hold our government hostage and threaten the full faith and credit of the United States of America in order to contract policy concessions," said Obama. "The fact that we were able to pass a clean debt limit is just one example of why when you guys are unified, you guys stick together, this country is better off and I could not be more thankful and more appreciate and prouder of what you're doing."

House Republicans recently rejected a proposal by their leadership to link the borrowing authority limit to a budget issue, and were helped by minority Democrats in a 221-201 House vote. Obama hopes it will mark a change in Republicans' approach during the remainder of his second term.

The president also highlighted progress in the number of people signing up for insurance under his signature health care reform law, known as Obamacare. His job approval ratings suffered last year from what he acknowledged was the "fumbled" handling of the federal health care website.

But Republicans running for re-election plan to escalate use of the Obamacare issue as they campaign against Democrats.  The president said the health care reform eventually will be seen in a positive light.

"I just want to say thank you, for all of you, hanging in their tough, on an issue that I think 10 years from now, five years from now, we're going to look back and say this was a monumental achievement that could not have happened had it not been for this caucus," said Obama.

Biden delivered tough remarks to the gathering, in support of Democratic policies to help the middle class, and critical of positions taken by Republicans.

Americans, Biden said, agree with core Democratic Party positions on a range of issues, including the debt ceiling, immigration reform, stronger background checks for gun purchases and infrastructure.

He said Democrats need to advocate strongly for their agenda in the months leading to to the November mid-term elections.

"Keep your eye on the ball. The American people are where we are. And let's go out and make every single effort not just to defend, but to aggressively push, aggressively push, our agenda," said Biden.

Obama flew later Friday to California, where he focused on federal government responses to drought afflicting virtually the entire state.

He wants Congress to approve a $1-billion Climate Resilience Fund, part of the budget he will send to Capitol Hill next month. This would be separate from the climate action agenda he announced last year.

The proposal would fund research on impacts of climate change, help communities and fund “breakthrough technologies and resilient infrastructure."

It's not certain the president can win approval for the fund, as Republicans have broadly opposed his climate agenda.

You May Like

Tired of Waiting, South Africans Demand Change ‘Now’

With chronic poverty and lack of basic services largely fueling recent xenophobic attacks, many in Rainbow Nation say it’s time for government to act More

Challenges Ahead for China's Development Plans in Pakistan

Planned $46 billion in energy and infrastructure investments in Pakistan are aimed at transforming the country into a regional hub for trade and investment More

Audio 'Forbidden City' Revisits Little Known Era of Asian-American Entertainment

Little-known chapter of entertainment history captured in 80s documentary is revisited in new digitally remastered format and book More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populationsi
X
April 24, 2015 10:13 PM
A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populations

A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Data Servers Could Heat Private Homes

As every computer owner knows, when their machines run a complex program they get pretty hot. In fact, cooling the processors can be expensive, especially when you're dealing with huge banks of computer servers. But what if that energy could heat private homes? VOA’s George Putic reports that a Dutch energy firm aims to do just that.
Video

Video Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festival

Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video UN Confronts Threat of Young Radicals

The radicalization and recruitment of young people into Islamist extremist groups has become a growing challenge for governments worldwide. On Thursday, the U.N. Security Council heard from experts on the issue, which has become a potent threat to international peace and security. VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports.
Video

Video Growing Numbers of Turks Discover Armenian Ancestry

In a climate of improved tolerance, growing numbers of people in Turkey are discovering their grandmothers were Armenian. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians escaped the mass deportations and slaughter of the early 1900's by forced conversion to Islam. Or, Armenian children were taken in by Turkish families and assimilated. Now their stories are increasingly being heard. Dorian Jones reports from Istanbul that the revelations are viewed as an important step.
Video

Video Migrants Trek Through Western Balkans to Reach EU

Migrants from Africa and other places are finding different routes into the European Union in search of a better life. The Associated Press followed one clandestine group to document their trek through the western Balkans to Hungary. Zlatica Hoke reports that the migrants started using that route about four years ago. Since then, it has become the second-most popular path into Western Europe, after the option of sailing from North Africa to Italy.
Video

Video TIME Magazine Honors Activists, Pioneers Seen as Influential

TIME Magazine has released its list of celebrities, leaders and activists, whom it deems the world’s “most influential” in 2015. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports from New York.
Video

Video US Businesses See Cuba as New Frontier

The Obama administration's opening toward Cuba is giving U.S. companies hope they'll be able to do business in Cuba despite the continuation of the U.S. economic embargo against the communist nation. Some American companies have been able to export some products to Cuba, but the recent lifting of Cuba's terrorism designation could relax other restrictions. As VOA's Daniela Schrier reports, corporate heavy hitters are lining up to head across the Florida Straits - though experts urge caution.
Video

Video Kenya Launches Police Recruitment Drive After Terror Attacks

Kenya launched a major police recruitment drive this week as part of a large-scale effort to boost security following a recent spate of terror attacks. VOA’s Gabe Joselow reports that allegations of corruption in the process are raising old concerns about the integrity of Kenya’s security forces.
Video

Video Japan, China in Race for Asia High-Speed Rail Projects

A lucrative competition is underway in Asia for billions of dollars in high-speed rail projects. Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia Thailand and Vietnam are among the countries planning to move onto the fast track. They are negotiating with Japan and the upstart Chinese who are locked in a duel to revolutionize transportation across Asia. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok has details.
Video

Video Scientists: Mosquitoes Attracted By Our Genes

Some people always seem to get bitten by mosquitoes more than others. Now, scientists have proved that is really the case - and they say it’s all because of genes. It’s hoped the research might lead to new preventative treatments for diseases like malaria, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Bible Museum Coming to Washington DC

Washington is the center of American political power and also home to some of the nation’s most visited museums. A new one that will showcase the Bible has skeptics questioning the motives of its conservative Christian funders. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Armenia and Politics of Word 'Genocide'

A century ago this April, hundreds of thousands of Armenians of the Turkish Ottoman empire were deported and massacred, and their culture erased from their traditional lands. While broadly accepted by the U.N. and at least 20 countries as “genocide”, the United States and Turkey have resisted using that word to describe the atrocities that stretched from 1915 to 1923. But Armenians have never forgotten.
Video

Video Afghan First Lady Pledges No Roll Back on Women's Rights

Afghan First Lady Rula Ghani, named one of Time's 100 Most Influential, says women should take part in talks with Taliban. VOA's Rokhsar Azamee has more from Kabul.
Video

Video New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Pain

From Boulder, Colorado, Shelley Schlender reports that new methods for mapping pain in the brain are providing validation for chronic pain and might someday guide better treatment.

VOA Blogs