Highlights: Obama Calls on Congress to Pass Jobs Bill, European Leaders to Act
Earlier, President Barack Obama called on Congress to create work for Americans by passing his jobs bill and urged European leaders to act aggressively in the face of the continent's looming economic challenges.
During a statement to reporters in the White House media briefing room, the president said that while the country was fighting back from a deep economic crisis, a major concern was Europe, which is America's largest trading partner.
"If Europe goes into a recession, that means we're selling fewer goods, services," the president said, noting problems in Paris and Madrid could hurt business in Pittsburgh and Milwaukee.
He said Europe's leaders understood the "urgent need to act" and the White House had been in constant contact with them.
Obama specifically said European leaders should stabilize their financial industry with bank injections and create a framework for growth.
"The bottom line is that the solutions to these problems are hard, but there are solutions," Obama said.
Read more highlight from President Obama's press conference:
"Today we're fighting back from the deepest economic crisis since the Great Depression. After losing jobs for 25 months in a row, our businesses have now created jobs for 27 months in a row; 4.3 million new jobs in all. The fact is, job growth in this recovery has been stronger than in the one following the last recession a decade ago."
Measures Needed to Strengthen European Economy
"I've been in frequent contact with them over the past several weeks and we know that there are specific steps they can take right now to prevent the situation there from getting worse. In the short term, they've got to stabilize their financial system and part of that is taking clear action as soon as possible to inject capital into weak banks. Just as important, leaders can lay out a framework and a vision for a stronger Euro Zone including deeper collaboration on budgets and banking policy."
"With respect to Greece, which has important elections next weekend, we've said that it is in everybody's interests for Greece to remain in the Euro Zone while respecting its commitments to reform. We recognize the sacrifices that the Greek people have made and European leaders understand the need to provide support if the Greek people choose to remain in the Euro Zone. But the Greek people also need to recognize that their hardships will likely be worse if they choose to exit from the Euro Zone."
Congressional Inaction Impacted Jobs Numbers
"Last September, I sent Congress a detailed jobs plan full of the bipartisan ideas that would have put more Americans back to work. It had broad support from the American people, it was fully paid for … If Congress had passed it in full, we'd be on track to have a million more Americans working this year. The unemployment rate would be lower, our economy would be stronger. Of course, Congress refused to pass this jobs plan in full."
US Able to Absorb Euro Economic Shock
"The good news is a lot of the work we did back in 2009 and 2010 have put our financial system on a much more solid footing. Our insistence on increasing capital requirements for banks means that they can absorb some of the shocks that might come from across the Atlantic."
"The notion that my White House would purposely release classified national security information is offensive, it's wrong and … people, I think, need to have a better sense of how I approach this office and how the people around me here approach this office."
"It is a source of consistent frustration, not just from my administration but for previous administrations when this stuff happens … and we will continue to let everybody know in government, or after they leave government that they have certain obligations that they should carry out."