Washington, DC White House – President Barack Obama today announced the creation of a White House Task Force on Middle Class Working Families to be chaired by Vice President Joe Biden. The Task Force is a major initiative targeted at raising the living standards of middle-class, working families in America. It is comprised of top-level administration policy makers, and in addition to regular meetings, it will conduct outreach sessions with representatives of labor, business, and the advocacy communities.
President Obama said: “The strength of our economy can be measured by the strength of our middle class. That is why I have signed a memorandum to create the Task Force on Middle-Class Working Families – and why I have asked my Vice President to lead it. This is a difficult moment. But I believe, if we act boldly and swiftly, it can be an American moment - when we work through our differences and overcome our divisions to face this crisis.”
Vice President Biden said: “America’s middle class is hurting. Trillions of dollars in home equity and retirement savings and college savings are gone. And every day, more and more Americans are losing their jobs. President Obama and I are determined to change this. Quite simply, a strong middle class equals a strong America. We can’t have one without the other. This Task Force will be an important vehicle to assess new and existing policies across the board and determine if they are helping or hurting the middle class. It is our charge to get the middle class – the backbone of this country – up and running again.”
About the Task Force
About the White House Task Force on Middle Class Working Families: The Task Force is a major initiative targeted at raising the living standards of middle-class, working families in America. It is comprised of top-level administration policy makers, and in addition to regular meetings, it will conduct outreach sessions with representatives of labor, business, and the advocacy communities. The Task Force will be chaired by Vice President Joe Biden. The Vice President and members of the task force will work with a wide array of federal agencies that have responsibility for key issues facing the middle class and expedite administrative reforms, propose Executive orders, and develop legislative and policy proposals that can be of special importance to working families.
Members of the Middle Class Task Force include: Vice President Biden, Chair; the Secretaries of Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Commerce, as well as the Directors of the National Economic Council, the Office of Management and Budget, the Domestic Policy Council, and the Chair of the Council of Economic Advisors.
Goals of the task force:
Expanding education and lifelong training opportunities
Improving work and family balance
Restoring labor standards, including workplace safety
Helping to protect middle-class and working-family incomes
Protecting retirement security
We’d like to hear from you. Over the upcoming months, we will focus on answering those concerns that matter most to families. What can we do to make retirement more secure? How can we make child and elder care more affordable? How do we improve workplace safety? How are we going to get the cost of college within reach? What can we do to help weary parents juggle work and family? What are the jobs of the future that we can begin to create? Please share your story with us and give us ideas for how to get the middle class going again.
Transparency: The Task Force will operate in a transparent fashion, in an open, two-way dialogue directly with the American people. Any materials from meetings or reports produced will be made available to the public at A Strong Middle Class Equals A Strong America.
The task force’s first focus will be green jobs as a pathway to a strong middle class.
Green jobs are jobs that provide products and services which use renewable energy resources, reduce pollution, conserve energy and natural resources and reconstitute waste.
So what do green jobs mean for the middle class?
First, quite simply, it means more jobs. At a time when good jobs at good wages are harder and harder to come by, it is critical we find new and innovate ways to create more such jobs. Building a new power grid, manufacturing solar panels, weatherizing homes and office buildings, and renovating schools are just a few examples of ways to create new good quality jobs – green jobs – and strengthen the foundation of this country at the same time.
Second, more green jobs mean more money in your pocketbook at the end of the month. If we create jobs that aim to reduce your energy costs – like your electric bill and your home heating bill – that means you have more disposable income for other things.
Creating more green jobs has multiple benefits. It helps the economy as a whole; it helps our environment; and it will save you money.
BRIEFING ROOM: The White House provides timely and accurate information about the President's latest events and public statements. Here you'll find photos, video, and blogs, as well as proclamations, executive orders, and press releases.
CREATE JOBS WITH CLEAN, EFFICIENT, AMERICAN ENERGY
To put people back to work today and reduce our dependence on foreign oil tomorrow, we will make
investments aimed at doubling renewable energy production and renovate public buildings to make them more
! Reliable, Efficient Electricity Grid: $11 billion for research and development, pilot projects, and federal
matching funds for the Smart Grid Investment Program to modernize the electricity grid making it more
efficient, secure, and reliable and build new power lines to transmit clean, renewable energy from sources
throughout the nation.
! Renewable Energy Loan Guarantees: $8 billion for loans for renewable energy power generation and
! GSA Federal Buildings: $6.7 billion for renovations and repairs to federal buildings including at least $6
billion focused on increasing energy efficiency and conservation. Projects are selected based on GSA’s
ready-to-go priority list.
! Local Government Energy Efficiency Block Grants: $6.9 billion to help state and local governments
make investments that make them more energy efficient and reduce carbon emissions.
! Energy Efficiency Housing Retrofits: $2.5 billion for a new program to upgrade HUD sponsored lowincome
housing to increase energy efficiency, including new insulation, windows, and furnaces. Funds will
be competitively awarded.
! Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Research: $2 billion for energy efficiency and renewable
energy research, development, demonstration, and deployment activities to foster energy independence,
reduce carbon emissions, and cut utility bills. Funds are awarded on a competitive basis to universities,
companies, and national laboratories.
! Advanced Battery Loans and Grants: $2 billion for the Advanced Battery Loan Guarantee and Grants
Program, to support U.S. manufacturers of advanced vehicle batteries and battery systems. America should
lead the world in transforming the way automobiles are powered.
! Department of Defense Efficiency: $1.8 billion for efforts to make our military bases more energy
efficient, beyond benefits that will come from replacing and repairing facilities.
! Energy Efficiency Grants and Loans for Institutions: $1.5 billion for energy sustainability and efficiency
grants and loans to help school districts, institutes of higher education, local governments, and municipal
utilities implement projects that will make them more energy efficient.
! Home Weatherization: $6.2 billion to help low-income families reduce their energy costs by weatherizing
their homes and make our country more energy efficient.
! Smart Appliances: $300 million to provide consumers with rebates for buying energy efficient Energy Star
products to replace old appliances, which will lower energy bills.
! GSA Federal Fleet: $600 million to replace older vehicles owned by the federal government with
alternative fuel automobiles that will save on fuel costs and reduce carbon emissions.
! Electric Transportation: $200 million for a new grant program to encourage electric vehicle technologies.
! Cleaning Fossil Energy: $2.4 billion for carbon capture and sequestration technology demonstration
projects. This funding will provide valuable information necessary to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide
emitted into the atmosphere from industrial facilities and fossil fuel power plants.
! Department of Defense Research: $350 million for research into using renewable energy to power
weapons systems and military bases.
! Alternative Buses and Trucks: $400 million to help state and local governments purchase efficient
alternative fuel vehicles to reduce fuel costs and carbon emissions.
! Industrial Energy Efficiency: $500 million for energy efficient manufacturing demonstration projects.
! Diesel Emissions Reduction: $300 million for grants and loans to state and local governments for projects
that reduce diesel emissions, benefiting public health and reducing global warming. This includes
technologies to retrofit emission exhaust systems on school buses, replace engines and vehicles, and
establish anti-idling programs. 70% of the funds go to competitive grants and 30% funds grants to states
with approved programs. Last year EPA was able to fund only 27% of the applications received.
Contact Elected Officials
We encourage you to contact your elected officials and share your thoughts on current events and government policy. Below you'll find links to e-mail and postal addresses, and phone numbers for key elected officials.