With less than 100 days to go before the election this November, each one of us has to answer a simple question: will you have the President's back by electing candidates that will support the President's agenda to create jobs and move our economy forward? As I watched President Obama sworn in as the 44th President of the United States, I felt an enormous sense of pride, of purpose, of energy. I believed then and believe now - President Obama is the right man to lead the nation through this critical tipping point in American history.
The challenges that face us, creating jobs, encouraging our nation's global competitiveness, investing in our children's futures, are not President Obama's alone to solve. He needs thoughtful and willing partners in Congress that can see past partisan rhetoric and work with the White House in the best interest of the nation. The election in November is an opportunity for each of us to determine whether President Obama will have that essential support.
During the first two years of the Obama Administration, the President had a partner in a Democratic led Congress. As a team we:
•Passed into law the Affordable Care Act ensuring that no American can be denied health insurance and providing tax cuts to small businesses that cover their employees.
•Focused on making college affordable for everyone: Investing in HBCUs, increasing Pell grants, and signing the American Opportunities Tax Credit (AOTC). The tax credit was a bill I wrote that President Obama signed into law. It provides up to $2,500 in tax credits to college students and their families. Since 2011, it has helped millions of Americans with much needed assistance.
•We added 4.5 million jobs to the economy in the last 29 months and extended unemployment insurance for hard working Americans who lost their jobs and struggled through this crisis to find another.
•Through the stimulus package, we assisted states and local government with the cost of essential services keeping our neighbors: police officers, firefighters, and teachers employed.
In hindsight, some of these initiatives seem like obvious solutions to pressing problems. It is clearer now that saving the auto industry was the right decision, that increasing assistance for the long-term unemployed and providing bridge loans to homeowners in crisis were critical moves in creating economic stability. However, at the time, during the height of partisanship, these initiatives required leadership.
Throughout my career, I have remained a consistent voice for the middle class and I can tell you honestly that President Obama is one of the best advocates for our issues with whom I've served.
In the past two years, under Republican control, Congress has lost its way, focused only on "making President Obama a one-term president." Yet, the decisions facing our nation are too serious for this type of lowest denominator politics.
In December 2012, Congress and the Administration scheduled cuts to the federal budget, to domestic and defense spending, and to end the Bush Tax Cuts. Described as the "fiscal cliff," Congress will need to make tough choices that will alter the arc of our nation's history.
Under Republican leadership, the House of Representatives has delayed these decisions until after the November election. Their hope is that a Romney Administration, reflective of their priorities, will make the Ryan budget and cuts to education and healthcare a reality.
Your vote couldn't be more important in impacting the direction of our nation - determining whether we invest in smart babies or smart bombs, deciding whether we look to the future or fall into the same traps of the past. All of these decisions and more are on the line this November.
This election is about leadership, and about the future of America. I am proud of this President's first term. I stood with the President when he put his entire Presidency on the line to ensure that every American would have access to affordable, functional, and health care. And I continue to stand with him to improve the life chances of children and middle class families and will continue to do so.
We cannot do this work alone. Go to www.HavehisBack.com to register to vote and to pledge to have President Obama's back. We need your support and that of your neighbors and friends. We need you to have President Obama's back by voting down the ballot for Democratic candidates.
Follow Rep. Chaka Fattah on Twitter: www.twitter.com/ChakaFattah