Prepared Remarks for Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Shaun Donovan at the Philadelphia Jobs Press Conference
Thank you so much, Alan, for the warm welcome -- and for showing me around Northeast Building Products today.
It's great to join Governor Rendell, Mayor Nutter and Carl Greene -- thanks for your leadership and for once again hosting us in Philadelphia this morning.
Even though I was the Cabinet Member who drew the short straw and was sent to the proverbial"undisclosed location" during President Obama's State of the Union address, I'm thrilled to be the first member of his Cabinet to visit the company he made famous in that speech -- and see firsthand the incredible economic progress made possible by the Recovery Act.
Indeed, you only need look at today's employment numbers to understand that progress is very real. Of course, we all know that recovery is a marathon -- not a sprint. But thanks to our Administration's efforts to rebuild our nation through the Recovery Act, America created 162,000 jobs last month. Unemployment is on the decline. And workers like all of you are back on the job -- rebuilding America's economy stronger and smarter.
Indeed, when President Obama signed the Recovery Act into law thirteen months ago, it was designed to do three things: create jobs, help those harmed by the economic crisis, and lay a new foundation to make America competitive in the 21st century economy.
For states like Pennsylvania, it has provided $6.6 billion in Recovery funds at a time when it has been so needed. At the same time it's saved 84,000 Pennsylvania jobs and helped communities in this state avoid having to lay off almost 2,600 teachers, the Recovery Act has extended and increased unemployment insurance for more than a million Pennsylvania families and made COBRA available at a cheaper rate for people who have lost their jobs.
And with the historic law President Obama just signed, Americans will now have the security and stability of knowing their health care will be there when they need it -- and employers like Alan won't go broke simply because they want to do the right thing for their employees.
But one of the most important investments the Recovery Act made was helping communities like Philadelphia green their homes -- lowering energy costs and creating jobs, good American jobs that can't be outsourced. Indeed, nearly a third of HUD's $14 billion in Recovery Act funds can be used for"greening" America's public and assisted housing stock.
You only need to look at Northeast Building Products to know that these funds are putting people to work right now.
Now some people have asked what we've gotten out of the Recovery Act. Your own president and CEO wondered at first whether this was just Washington spending a lot of money -- and whether it would make a difference in the end. And he wasn't alone.
But let's be clear -- it has made a difference. A hundred of you are here today--building energy efficient windows for homes across the city--and you're here for one reason:
Because President Obama signed the Recovery Act into law -- and this company could begin hiring again.
Now don't get me wrong. Carl Greene has a terrific jobs program linking these investments to Philadelphia Public Housing. There's no better client when it comes to greening our homes than our public housing authorities.
On top of that, this company has benefited from the Neighborhood Stabilization Program which has provided $6 billion to communities throughout the country so that we can begin turning foreclosed houses into the green, energy-efficient, affordable rental homes we need.
And just yesterday, we made the NSP program easier to use for cities and non-profits alike -- so companies like yours, up and down the construction supply chain, can keep up the good work.
But it was the Recovery Act that has provided the platform and the spark to bring all these efforts together, dedicating $4 billion to public housing capital improvements--$126 million to Philadelphia alone--and making available up to $1,500 in tax credits to individual homeowners to make energy efficient improvements.
President Obama is committed to making green building an engine of economic growth, jobs and opportunity in communities across the country -- lowering greenhouse gas emissions and energy costs and reducing our dangerous dependence on foreign oil.
With Recovery Act investments like these, he's making good on that commitment. But it's your hard work, the commitment you bring to your jobs, and the difference you're making in homes across the city that's showing that President Obama's trust in the American people--and belief that we could turn this economy around--wasn't misplaced.
That's what you're doing every day -- and I'm glad those of us in the Obama Administration and at HUD could be a part of it.
Thank you -- and keep up the great work.
|Content Archived: February 23, 2017|