Closing Remarks at the President's Council on Jobs and Competitiveness

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Benjamin Franklin Room
Washington, DC
October 7, 2011

Well, Bob and I have listened very carefully to everything that you have said, and we find it both very validating, because these are the issues we’re focused on to play our role in trying to respond to, but also it is a great challenge that we will take up.

And let me just make a couple of points, starting with please continue to work with Under Secretary Hormats and with his great team in the economic bureaus of the State Department, and he’s got a lot to contribute on this. And I want to thank Secretary Blank for being here and being part of this important discussion, because I thought it was really helpful on a number of issues. We will make sure, Jeff, that you have all the data you need about what we’re doing on visas and what we need to be able to respond to the legitimate issues that people raise with us, and with some suggestions for changes that would make it easier for us to do what we all want to see done to ease particularly business travel.

Secondly, we will be looking to you to give us heads up on anything we can do to help around the world. We have over a thousand economic officers, over 400 locally employed economic staff at embassies around the world, over 200 employees here at the Economic Bureau in the Department. We’re pitching opportunities. We’re your advocates. We believe strongly that we can be a good partner to you, along with Commerce, but we can’t if we don’t know about it. So we have to have a good, constant flow of information about what we can respond to to be more helpful.

The other areas that are not directly within our authority, like infrastructure, national transportation in particular, immigration reform, corporate tax reform, we see the difference that a lot of this can and will make. So we can also be part of the chorus to say, look, this is something that we need to do as a country.

And finally, let me just echo – and I appreciate what Barry Johnson said – I just want to echo the need for public education and outreach. You cannot assume that there is much of a broad understanding of the challenges we face. There’s a great deal of anxiety and insecurity among Americans because of the economic situation, but I think we can do – and it’s not just a job for government. I very much appreciate the Jobs Council and I think the President made the right decision to bring in people to have this organized effort, but it’s not just what people at the highest levels of our government say. It really is important for all of you to be more vocal in making the case for these kinds of changes. And we will certainly back you up all the way.

So thank you all very much for being here this morning.

PRN: 2011/1686