Before I discuss the purpose of my visit to the Department of Transportation today, I want to take a moment to say how pleased I am about the rescue of Captain Phillips and his safe return to the USS Boxer this weekend. (Applause.) His safety has been our principal concern, and I know this came as a welcome relief to his family and his crew.
I had a chance to talk to his wife yesterday and, as she put it, she couldn’t imagine a better Easter than seeing his safe return. And I am very proud of the efforts of the U.S. military and many other departments and agencies that worked tirelessly to resolve this situation. I share our nation’s admiration for Captain Phillips’ courage and leadership and selfless concern for his crew.
And I want to be very clear that we are resolved to halt the rise of privacy [sic] in that region. And to achieve that goal we’re going to have to continue to work with our partners to prevent future attacks, we have to continue to be prepared to confront them when they arise, and we have to ensure that those who commit acts of piracy are held accountable for their crimes.
Now, as we work to ensure America’s safety out on the seas, I want to discuss what we’re doing to restore economic security here at home — to revitalize our nation’s infrastructure and create good jobs across America.
It has been nearly three months since I first took office, and I think it’s fair to say that we’ve been busy. Faced with an extraordinary economic crisis, we’ve responded with extraordinary action — action that’s both unprecedented in scale and unprecedented in its speed.
We developed plans to stabilize our housing market, to unfreeze our credit markets, and to ensure the survival of our auto industry in this new century. We passed a budget that cuts our deficit in half while making investments to spur long-term growth and lasting prosperity. And because we know that people are hurting right now, and we need to create jobs and get money into people’s pockets right now, we passed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the most sweeping economic recovery plan in history: A plan to save or create 3.5 million jobs, putting Americans back to work doing the work America needs done — and to give a tax cut to 95 percent of working Americans.
Today, I think it’s safe to say that this plan is beginning to work. We see it in the clean energy companies rehiring workers; in police departments cancelling planned layoffs; in health care clinics planning to expand to care for more folks in need. We see it in the 120 million families who are already taking home larger paychecks because of our Making Work Pay tax cut.