Senator Levin’s Address to The Michigan Democratic Party’s 2009 Jefferson - Jackson Day Dinner: 04/25/09
Thank you Senator Stabenow! Senator Stabenow’s passion for her work in the Senate is second to none. And now, thanks to what all of you did since we were here last year, we now have a great leader in the White House to work with and bigger Democratic majorities that Michigan Democrats helped elect last year. We are working with President Obama to bring change to the world. And the world the Bush administration left behind sure as heck needs changing.
Think about what the Bush administration left us:
- They left skyrocketing unemployment.
- They left more Americans without health insurance, including uninsured children.
- They left record home foreclosures.
- They left sky high national debt.
- They left a foreign policy in shambles.
- And they left a world America was no longer a moral leader.
Well, because of your work last year, we’ve been able to start to clean up that mess. Look what Congress and the President have accomplished just in the first 100 days of the Obama administration.
- We enacted a recovery plan to create millions of jobs.
- We expanded the Children’s Health Insurance Program - an expansion that George Bush vetoed twice! And President Obama overturned the Bush era rules restricting stem cell research!
- Working with President Obama, we provided tax cuts for the middle class, and we’re ending the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest 1%.
- We made sure that people like Lily Ledbetter can sue for pay discrimination - the Republicans blocked our efforts last year.
- We enacted a national service bill, named after Senator Ted Kennedy, to triple the number of Americans who participate in the national service program Americorps. Thank you Governor Patrick and people of Massachusetts for giving us Ted Kennedy for all these years.
But Job #1, #2 and #3 for the Michigan Congressional Delegation’s is fighting for our auto industry. Our auto industry and auto workers don’t want a bailout…but they should not be sold out.
We and the UAW are fighting like hell to drive that message home - to protect hard-earned pensions and benefits and to help our workers and retirees weather this economic storm.
While our auto manufacturers and their suppliers need a boost, just as the manufacturers in every other auto producing country do, other sectors of the economy need to be reined in. We need to put the cop back on Wall Street and regulate the financial institutions that have run wild, crack down on credit card companies that take unfair advantage of consumers, and eliminate tax loopholes that some use to avoid paying their taxes by hiding assets and income in tax havens overseas.
And we’ve got a lot of other work to do overseas as well.
We have a President who is ready to lead, and we are leading once again. President Obama is closing Guantanamo, and he banned torture of detainees. President Obama is strengthening our bonds with our allies, and he’s reaching out to nations that we need to work with to improve our security and make the world a safer place.
President Obama has put an end to an era of arrogance and began a new era of partnership, pragmatism and, once we right this economy, prosperity.
Thank you Michigan Democrats for helping bring all these changes about. And, by the way, thanks also for all your help reelecting me to my 6th term. You made it look easy!