· This has been the most productive post-election period America has seen in decades, and it has been a fitting capstone for two of the most productive years in American history.
· The President and Congressional leaders joined together to take vital steps to boost economic recovery and increase America’s national security, making progress on a number of important issues.
· The Senate ratified the new START treaty – the most important arms control agreement in almost two decades – in a bipartisan vote. In so doing, they demonstrated America’s leadership on non-proliferation issues, reinforced America’s relationship with a key ally, and made America safer.
· President Obama and Congressional leaders joined together and passed middle-class tax cuts and unemployment insurance that will create jobs, support businesses, and boost growth. Although not everyone was happy with every element of that package, the bipartisan support it received illustrates that on the whole, it is a good deal for America. And economists from both sides of the aisle would agree.
· They brought an end to the longstanding injustice created by ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.’ Ending ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ was the right thing to do for America’s military and for America as a whole. Never again will patriotic American service members be forced to live a lie or leave the military as a result of their sexual orientation. America upholds the ideal that all men and women are created equal, and the repeal of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,’ firmly establishes that ideal in the law.
· They passed a bipartisan food safety bill, undertaking the biggest upgrade of America’s food safety standards since the 1930s.
· And they passed the 9/11 health bill that will cover the health care costs of the first responders who ran into the World Trade Center to help and inhaled toxic air during the rescue effort.
· It’s regrettable that Congress couldn’t agree on a budget that would fund America’s government for the long term. Our leaders need to answer the important question of how to cut spending while still making the investments our country needs – in education, R&D, innovation, and other things that are essential to growing our economy, creating jobs, and competing with countries around the world.
· Washington is not doomed to perpetual gridlock. Our leaders have show that they have the capacity to make progress together by doing what’s best for America.
· Our President understands that there are going to be tough policy fights in the future, but he hopes that the spirit of the common purpose leaders have shown during the post-election period will carry over into next year. And if it does, that will continue to lift up the middle class and strengthen the economy.