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Subject: Pool Report No. 2

Pool Report No. 2
September 18, 2013

The president spoke for about 15 minutes, beginning by telling the chief executives that he is “invested in your success.” Check transcript. Noting that he was speaking on the fifth anniversary of “the collapse of Lehman’s,” he said the country has come a long way from a time when the auto industry “was flatlining,” banks were in “deep trouble,” and people were losing their life savings. He said many in the 8th floor conference room had added to their payrolls, the housing market has begun to recover, the U.S. is producing more energy than ever and the deficits are coming down at the fastest rate since World War II, while healthcare costs are rising at a slower rate. But he said “we’re not where we need to be yet.”
He said immigration reform legislation that has passed the Senate could be called up for a House vote but for a faction opposing it as “un-American.”
He said he is working on trade agreements.
He said he appreciated BRT’s support of the “common core” in education but said more needs to be done to make college more affordable and to deal with the $1 trillion in student loan debt that’s preventing graduates from starting families and “buying your products.”
“This town, Washington, is locked up,” he said, as he began to talk about a “small faction” derailing progress on a host of issues. He said it’s necessary to  be “tight-fisted” and to look for and eliminate programs that are obsolete. He said his budget contains “smart fixes” on Medicare and Medicaid.
But he said opposition that might once have negotiated is now opposed to solutions for ideological reasons. In particular, he said the opposition wants to eliminate the Affordable Care Act two weeks before it is fully implemented and would let the country default on its debts. He said he understands that making an issue of the debt ceiling is “a fun talking point,” but said “it always gets done.” He said the country has never seen the debt ceiling used to “extort” a president, adding, “it’s irresponsible” and would fundamentally change the way government operates.
He said it’s time for Congress to return to regular order and stop putting the full faith and credit of the country on the table. He asked the audience of about 100 to use their influence to make his case. “The American people are tired of it.”
The pool was led out at the end of his remarks at 11:04 a.m. as he began taking questions and is waiting outside in vans.