The President spoke at the Georgetown Waterfront on Tuesday about the economy and more specifically the need to replenish the Highway Trust Fund, which is expected to run out of money by the end of August.
Obama delivered his remarks in front of the Key Bridge, named for Francis Scott Key who authored the National Anthem, stressing his call for Republicans in Congress to show some “economic patriotism,” putting aside partisan politics to take action and address the problem before it is too late.
Failure to reallocate funds could result in the loss of an estimated 700,000 jobs.
“It’d be like Congress threatening to lay off entire population of Denver, Seattle or Boston. That’s a lot of people. It would be a bad idea,” Obama said.
The President went on to note that right now across the country, there are more than 100,000 projects underway “where workers are paving roads, and rebuilding bridges, and modernizing our transit systems.” These projects are incomplete, yet might soon come to a halt as states have to choose which projects to finish and which to leave for later.
Obama ridiculed Republicans who have called everything he supports “socialism.”
“It’s not crazy, it’s not socialism. It’s not the imperial presidency — no laws are broken. We’re just building roads and bridges like we’ve been doing for the last, I don’t know, 50, 100 years. But so far, House Republicans have refused to act on this idea. I haven’t heard a good reason why they haven’t acted — it’s not like they’ve been busy with other stuff. No, seriously, I mean, they’re not doing anything. Why don’t they do this?”
Noting that an economy does not grow from the top down but rather from the middle up he vowed to continue to do what he can on his own but implored Congress to join him because we “could be doing so much more if Republicans in Congress were doing more.”
“I’d rather do things with [Congress] – pass some laws, make sure the Highway Trust Fund is funded so we don’t lay off hundreds of thousands of workers. Middle-class families can’t wait for members of Congress to do stuff. So sue me,” he said. “As long as they do nothing, I’m not going to apologize for trying to do something.”
Watch the President’s speech below.