Subtitles section Play video Print subtitles 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."