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This morning, Vice President Joe Biden spoke with Iraqi Kurdistan Region President Masoud Barzani. The Vice President and President Barzani discussed the humanitarian assistance and military strikes that the U.S. has provided to support the Iraqi people trapped in the town of Amirli. Both leaders expressed their support for the ongoing efforts by Iraqi Security Forces and Kurdish Peshmerga, with U.S. and international support, to break the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant's siege of Amirli. President Barzani underscored his commitment to forming a new Iraqi government as quickly as possible.
We welcome the European Council's consensus today to show strong support for Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity and to prepare further sanctions for consideration in coming days. We are working closely with the EU and other partners to hold Russia accountable for its illegal actions in Ukraine, including through additional economic sanctions. We remain committed to supporting Ukraine as it seeks a diplomatic resolution to the crisis and call on Russia to immediately remove its military, including troops and equipment, from Ukraine and end its illicit support to the separatists.
The President congratulates Prime Minister Donald Tusk of Poland on his election as President of the European Council, and Foreign Minister Federica Mogherini of Italy on being chosen as High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy. As we advance security and prosperity around the world, the United States has no more important partner than Europe. We look forward to working closely with President Tusk and High Representative Mogherini, as well as Commission President Juncker and all of the new Commissioners.
The President spoke to Canadian Prime Minister Harper today to discuss the upcoming NATO Summit and the situation in Iraq. Both leaders agreed on the importance of ensuring Alliance unity on measures to strengthen NATO's readiness and responsiveness to the full range of current and future threats. The President stressed that agreement on increased defense investment in all areas is a top priority at the NATO Summit.
THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
EMBARGOED UNTIL 6:00 AM ET, SATURDAY, August 30, 2014
WHITE HOUSE VIDEO MESSAGE: Celebrating our workers on Labor Day
WASHINGTON, DC – In this week’s address, in celebration of Labor Day, U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas Pérez honored hardworking Americans who have helped the economy grow and contributed to our booming energy, technology, manufacturing and auto industries. That progress can be advanced by raising the minimum wage and fighting for ways to strengthen the middle class.
The audio of the address and video of the message will be available online HERE.
Remarks of U.S. Secretary of Labor, Thomas Pérez
Spanish Weekly Address
The White House
Hi, everybody. Happy Labor Day weekend. I hope you spend time with your family.
We set aside Labor Day to honor the working men and women of America. And this Labor Day, we’ve got more American workers to celebrate. Over the past 53 months, our businesses have added nearly 10 million new jobs. Our energy, technology, manufacturing, and auto industries are all booming. Last month, for the first time since 1997, we created more than 200,000 jobs for the sixth straight month. And for the first time in over a decade, business leaders worldwide have declared that the number one place to invest isn’t China – it’s America.
So there are reasons to be optimistic about where we’re headed.
Think about it this Labor Day. The things we now take for granted – things like a 40-hour workweek and weekends, Social Security and Medicare, workplace safety laws and the right to organize for better pay and benefits – we didn’t always have those. Workers and the unions who get their back had to fight for them. And those fights built a stronger middle class.
To build a stronger middle class in today’s changing economy, we’ve got to keep fighting. We’ve got to fight for the right to health insurance. The right to fair pay, family leave, and flexibility. The right to a fair living wage. No one who works full-time should ever have to raise a family in poverty. Raising the minimum wage to ten dollars and ten cents an hour would be one of the best ways to give a boost to hardworking Americans and to our entire economy right now. It would help 28 million Americans from all walks of life pay the bills, provide for their kids, and spend that money at local businesses. And that grows the economy for everybody. America deserves a raise.
America has built the greatest middle class the world has ever known, not by making sure a fortunate few at the top do well, but by making sure that everyone who’s willing to work hard and play by the rules can get ahead. That’s the bedrock this country is built on. Hard work. Responsibility. Sacrifice. And looking out for one another as one united American family.
Let’s keep that in mind this Labor Day, and every day. Have a great weekend, everybody.
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