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  • The President: Hello, everybody!

  • (applause)

  • Good to see all of you.

  • Please, please have a seat.

  • Well, hello, Rockville!

  • Let me start by recognizing three public servants

  • who fight hard every day

  • for Maryland families and businesses.

  • First of all, Congressman Chris Van Hollen is here.

  • (applause)

  • Yay, Chris!

  • Congressman John Delaney is here.

  • (applause)

  • And we have the acting head

  • of the Small Business Administration --

  • Jeanne Hulit is here.

  • (applause)

  • And I also want to give a big thanks to your bosses,

  • Cidalia and Natalia, for being such gracious hosts.

  • I had a chance to meet them at the White House.

  • (applause)

  • Thank you.

  • Now I know where they got their good looks from,

  • because I had a chance to meet mom and dad,

  • and their beautiful families.

  • So I'm so glad to be here.

  • And I had a chance to learn a little bit about their story.

  • So when their parents brought them from Portugal to America

  • almost 40 years ago,

  • no one in the family spoke a word of English.

  • But that didn't stop their father, Manuel,

  • and their mother, Albertina, from having a big dream --

  • believing that if they worked hard, they could get ahead,

  • and that even though they'd never had any schooling,

  • maybe their daughters could go to college;

  • maybe in America you could make it if you tried.

  • That's what they believed.

  • So they started their own construction company

  • with a pickup truck and a wheelbarrow.

  • And when Cidalia and Natalia turned 14,

  • they began to help --

  • cleaning tools, translating documents.

  • And they became the first in their family to go to college.

  • After graduation, they started their own business,

  • and later they bought the family business from their parents.

  • So today, M. Luis Construction is a $60 million company

  • with about 250 employees.

  • (applause)

  • And I understand you're opening your fourth office

  • at the end of this month.

  • So this story is what America is all about.

  • You start off -- maybe you don't have a lot --

  • but you're willing to work hard,

  • you put in the time, opportunities out there,

  • and you're able to pass on an even better life to your family,

  • your children, your grandchildren.

  • And it's good news that after how hard the construction

  • industry got hit during the recession,

  • things are starting to get a little better.

  • Remember, it was just five years ago

  • that our economy was in free fall.

  • Businesses were shedding hundreds of thousands of jobs

  • every single month,

  • and the recession ultimately

  • cost millions of Americans their jobs,

  • their homes, their savings --

  • everything they had worked hard to build.

  • Today, over the last three and a half years,

  • our businesses have added 7.5 million new jobs.

  • (applause)

  • Our deficits are falling.

  • Our housing market is healing, which means construction

  • is improving; manufacturing is growing;

  • the auto industry is back.

  • America is on pace to become the number one energy producer

  • in the world this year.

  • (applause)

  • More small businesses have gotten loans

  • so they can grow and they can hire --

  • just like M. Luis did

  • with the help of the Small Business Jobs Act

  • that I signed three years ago.

  • So that's part of what allowed this company to grow.

  • (applause)

  • So we still have a long way to go.

  • We've still got a lot of work to do,

  • especially to rebuild the middle class.

  • But we're making steady progress.

  • And the reason I'm here is,

  • we can't afford to threaten that progress right now.

  • Right now, hundreds of thousands of Americans,

  • hardworking Americans, suddenly aren't receiving their paycheck.

  • Right now, they're worrying about missing the rent,

  • or their mortgage, or even making ends meet.

  • We can all relate to that.

  • Imagine if suddenly you weren't sure

  • whether you were going to get your next paycheck,

  • with all the bills that might be mounting up.

  • Well, that's what's happening right now

  • to hundreds of thousands of Americans across the country.

  • Companies like this one worried that their businesses

  • are going to be disrupted, because obviously,

  • particularly in an area like Maryland, Virginia,

  • where there are a lot of federal workers,

  • you don't know how that's going to impact the economy.

  • Veterans, seniors, women --

  • they're all worrying that the services they depend on

  • will be disrupted too.

  • And the worst part is, this time it's not because

  • of a once-in-a-lifetime recession.

  • This isn't happening because of some financial crisis.

  • It's happening because of a reckless

  • Republican shutdown in Washington.

  • Audience Member: That's right!

  • (applause)

  • The President: Now, we've all seen the offices locked down,

  • the monuments closed.

  • We've heard about services denied,

  • we've heard about benefits that are delayed.

  • But the impacts of a shutdown go way beyond

  • those things that you're seeing on television.

  • Those hundreds of thousands of Americans --

  • a lot of whom live around here --

  • don't know when they're going to get their next paycheck,

  • and that means stores and restaurants around here

  • don't know if they'll have as many customers.

  • Across the country you've got farmers in rural areas

  • and small business owners who deserve a loan,

  • but they're being left in the lurch right now.

  • They might have an application pending as we speak,

  • but there's nobody in the office to process the loan.

  • The SBA gives a billion dollars of loans a month

  • to small businesses --

  • a billion dollars a month goes to small businesses

  • all across the country.

  • Right now those can't be processed

  • because there's nobody there to process them.

  • Veterans who deserve our support are getting less help.

  • Little kids who deserve a Head Start have been sent home

  • from the safe places where they learn and grow every single day.

  • And of course, their families then have to scramble

  • to figure out what to do.

  • And the longer this goes on, the worse it will be.

  • And it makes no sense.

  • The American people elected their representatives

  • to make their lives easier, not harder.

  • And there is one way out of this reckless

  • and damaging Republican shutdown:

  • Congress has to pass a budget that funds our government

  • with no partisan strings attached.

  • (applause)

  • Now, I want everybody to understand what's happened,

  • because sometimes when this gets reported on

  • everybody kind of thinks,

  • well, you know, both sides are just squabbling;

  • Democrats and Republicans, they're always arguing,

  • so neither side is behaving properly.

  • I want everybody to understand what's happened here.

  • The Republicans passed a temporary budget for two months

  • at a funding level that we, as Democrats,

  • actually think is way too low because we're not providing help

  • for more small businesses,

  • doing more for early childhood education,

  • doing more to rebuild our infrastructure.

  • But we said, okay, while we're still trying

  • to figure out this budget,

  • we're prepared to go ahead

  • and take the Republican budget levels that they proposed.

  • So the Senate passed that with no strings attached --

  • not because it had everything the Democrats wanted.

  • In fact, it had very little that the Democrats wanted.

  • But we said, let's go ahead and just make sure that other people

  • aren't hurt while negotiations are still taking place.

  • So that's already passed the Senate.

  • And we know there are enough Republicans and Democrats

  • to vote in the House of Representatives

  • for the same thing.

  • So I want everybody to understand this:

  • There are enough Republicans and Democrats

  • in the House of Representatives today that,

  • if the Speaker of the House, John Boehner,

  • simply let the bill get on the floor for an up-or-down vote,

  • every congressman could vote their conscience --

  • the shutdown would end today.

  • The only thing that is keeping the government shut down;

  • the only thing preventing people from going back to work

  • and basic research starting back up,

  • and farmers and small business owners getting their loan --

  • the only thing that's preventing

  • all that from happening, right now, today,

  • in the next five minutes,

  • is that Speaker John Boehner

  • won't even let the bill get a yes-or-no vote,

  • because he doesn't want to anger the extremists in his party.

  • That's all.

  • That's what this whole thing is about.

  • We've heard a lot from congressional Republicans

  • in the past couple of days

  • saying they don't want this shutdown.

  • Well, there's a simple way to prove it.

  • Send the bill to the floor, let everybody vote -- it will pass.

  • Send me the bill; I will sign it.

  • The shutdown will be over and we can get back to the business

  • of governing and helping the American people.

  • (applause)

  • It could happen in the next half hour.

  • National parks, monuments,

  • offices would all reopen immediately.

  • Benefits and services would resume again.

  • Hundreds of thousands of dedicated public servants

  • who are worrying about whether they're going to be able

  • to pay the mortgage or pay the car note,

  • they'd start going back to work right away.

  • So my simple message today is: Call a vote.

  • Call a vote.

  • Audience: Call a vote!

  • (applause)

  • The President: Put it on the floor and let every individual member

  • of Congress make up their own minds.

  • And they can show the American people,

  • are you for a shutdown or not?

  • If you're not for a shutdown, you'll vote for the bill;

  • if you're for a shutdown, you won't vote for a bill.

  • We don't have to twist anybody's arms.

  • But that way, the American people will be clear

  • about who is responsible for the shutdown.

  • Or, alternatively, more hopefully,

  • they'd be clear that this is something that doesn't make

  • sense and we should go ahead and make sure that we're looking out

  • for the American people.

  • It should be that simple.

  • But as I said, the problem we've got

  • is that there's one faction of one party,

  • in one half of one branch of government

  • that so far has refused to allow that yes-or-no vote

  • unless they get some massive partisan concessions in exchange

  • for doing what they're supposed to be doing anyway,

  • in exchange for doing

  • what everybody else agrees is necessary.

  • And they won't agree to end the shutdown

  • until they get their way.

  • And you may think I'm exaggerating,

  • but just the other day, one tea party Republican

  • called the idea of a shutdown "wonderful."

  • Another said that a shutdown is "exactly what we wanted."

  • Well, they got exactly what they wanted.

  • Now they're trying to figure out how to get out of it.

  • Just yesterday, one House Republican said --

  • I'm quoting here, because I want to make sure people understand

  • I didn't make this up.

  • One House Republican said,

  • "We're not going to be disrespected.

  • We have to get something out of this.

  • And I don't know what that even is."

  • That was a quote.

  • "We're not going to be disrespected.

  • We have got to get something out of this.

  • And I don't know what that even is."