Speaking to a room full of activists who cheered and often clapped, President Obama fired up the crowd today at the Working Families Summit in DC to advocate support and flexibility for working families. You know, real family values.
“Parents who work full time should earn enough to pay the bills,” President Obama reiterated to the maxed out crowd in the Regency Ballroom at the Omni Hotel.
“Even if Republicans in Congress refuse to budge on this issue this year, everyone knows America deserves a raise,” the President thundered. He explained a few of the things he’s done without Congress, for example, “Since I asked Congress to raise the minimum wage last year, 13 states have taken steps to raise it on their own.”
Republicans scoffed when President Obama vowed to make this a year of action in spite of their legendary obstruction, but now he’s showing them exactly what he meant at the first ever Working Family Summit in DC, finally giving hard working families a voice in DC. In his 30 minute speech, the President talked about the importance of family friendly policies and how they can work in corporate America.
The summit was designed to support working families while also boosting businesses’ bottom lines — proving that a profitable business and valuing assets like people are not incompatible.
Here’s a video by Center for American Progress, “Good for the family, good for business”:
In addition to the working families summit, President Obama is working toward economic security for working families in this country by issuing a Presidential memorandum that directs agencies under the purview of the federal government to expand access to flexible work schedules and gives employees the right to request them.
The President based his memorandum on a report “Nine Facts About American Families and Work.”
Obama has already taken action like raising the minimum wage for federal contractors, expanding retirement opportunities, strengthening overtime protections, and signing an Executive Order that protects workers from being retaliated against by their boss if they discuss their wages.
While the President can make a change from the executive office for those workers whose jobs fall under the executive branch purview, only Congress can change the laws for the rest of the country. So the President is calling on Congress to pass the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, among other bills to benefit workers.
This is why elections matter, because our current Congress refuses to do anything other than shut down the government and pass fake Obamacare repeal votes.
President Obama just hijacked family values from Republicans. Only he’s not using the slogan as a bumper sticker, but rather guidance for policy, action, and aspiration. This is real change, even in the face of historical obstruction.