|Tonight, I am asking my Attorney General to create a special unit of federal prosecutors and leading state attorneys general to expand our investigations into the abusive lending and packaging of risky mortgages that led to the housing crisis. This new unit will hold accountable those who broke the law, speed assistance to homeowners, and help turn the page on an era of recklessness that hurt so many Americans.
Did you see last night’s State of the Union? It was clear throughout the President’s speech that the era of the 1% is over.
One big victory—among many—in last night’s speech was President Obama’s announcement of a thorough investigation into the misconduct in the mortgage market that wrecked our economy. The president also announced the creation of a new mortgage crisis unit to be co-chaired by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.
The investigation President Obama launches is a major deal. As Mark Ayers of the AFL-CIO Building and Construction Trades Department said, this new investigative team will “hold accountable those who recklessly caused our economic free fall.”
We demanded a strong stand on behalf of working families—and the president heard us. We’ll keep raising our voices. Next time I meet with him, I’m going to deliver each and every note sent by AFL-CIO activists thanking him for listening. Can you add your voice?
Thank President Obama for listening—and urge him to keep it up.
It’s our job to point out when the Obama administration isn’t being aggressive enough for working families. We won’t back down from that, even in an election year. Because we know that good policies are good politics.
That’s why we will continue monitoring the investigation closely. And if criminals aren’t held accountable or underwater homeowners don’t get real relief, we may ask you to take action again. But this is an enormous start—a shot in the arm for accountability. And you helped make it possible.
Thank Obama for listening to us, for holding Big Banks and mortgage fraudsters accountable. Tell him you’ll keep watching the progress.
The mortgage investigation alone marked an important victory for working people. But President Obama’s speech did more.
Our president made it clear that the era of the 1% getting richer by looting the economy is over. He outlined a vision of an America that works for everyone, addressed devastating income inequality, called for investment in jobs and infrastructure, proposed tax rules that aren’t skewed to favor the 1%—and more.
President Obama made it clear that children and our future must be priorities. As Randi Weingarten of the AFT said last night:
Obama also made clear tonight what America’s teachers have long understood: We can’t test our way to a middle class; we must educate our way to a middle class….Respecting public school teachers and providing them with the tools and resources they need to help our children learn and grow are essential to building a strong public education system, competing in a global economy and restoring economic opportunity for all.
And Obama demanded investment in good, high-paying jobs—and said he would work to bring manufacturing back to America. That’s just what America’s working families need—and just what the members of the United Steelworkers need, said Leo Gerard, president of the United Steelworkers:
Strengthening American manufacturing by looking to build good jobs, green jobs and sustainable jobs with American energy, skills and values is a program for us….The president’s commitment to discourage job outsourcing and promote insourcing is a ticket to a better economy.
As President Gerald W. McEntee of AFSCME summed up:
President Obama presented a comprehensive plan to move our country forward, bolster job creation and find real solutions for the problems confronting our country.
In today’s political environment, it takes guts to stand strong with working families—even when we make our voices heard, loud and clear. Because the toxic influence of money in politics—which the president spoke out against last night—is powerful.
I want to personally show the president what a big difference that kind of leadership makes. Please send the president a note thanking him for listening, and I’ll deliver it soon.
Brothers and sisters, there’s much to celebrate in last night’s State of the Union address. President Obama listened to the out-of-work construction worker, to the retired factory worker, to the student serving coffee to help pay for college, to the single mom working two jobs to get by.
But there’s also much to fear about the state of politics in America today. I need to point out one more thing—and this is important. It may be difficult to hear for some of my Republican friends. But this needs to be said plainly, because this is worse than I’ve ever seen: The national Republican Party—as an institution—is openly and brazenly waging war on workers.
Indiana’s rabidly anti-worker governor, Mitch Daniels, was chosen by GOP leaders to deliver the party’s official response to Obama’s State of the Union address last night. He was chosen at the exact moment that he’s pushing an attack on workers’ rights in Indiana—rights more severe than the one rammed through by Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin.
This is no coincidence. In today’s Republican Party, attacks like these are celebrated.
The stark contrast between the record and rhetoric of President Obama last night and that of Gov. Daniels—who is pushing to put an end to workers’ rights in Indiana—couldn’t be more profound.
At this defining moment, working people need to demand that leaders like President Obama continue to draw a clear, unambiguous contrast with the 1% politicians. This is not a moment for sitting on fences, but for bold words and bold action.
Please thank President Obama for listening—and let him know you’ll keep making your voice heard.
Thank you for all the work you do.
Richard L. Trumka
P.S. Did you miss the speech? Watch it here.