THE PRESIDENT: Well, I want to thank all these leaders for engaging in a very substantive conversation, and I’m going to be relatively brief in summarizing it. Obviously the top of our list was our continued response to the crisis in the Gulf and what’s happening with the oil spill. We gave them an update on all the measures that are being taken, the single largest national response in United States history to an environmental disaster. But we had a frank conversation about the fact that the laws that have been in place have not been adequate for a crisis of this magnitude. The Oil Pollution Act was passed at a time when people didn’t envision drilling four miles under the sea for oil.
And so it’s going to be important that, based on facts, based on experts, based on a thorough examination of what went wrong here and where things have gone right, but also where things have gone wrong, that we update the laws to make sure that the people in the Gulf, the fishermen, the hotel owners, families who are dependent for their livelihoods in the Gulf, that they are all made whole and that we are in a much better position to respond to any such crisis in the future.
So that was a prominent part of the discussion, and I was pleased to see bipartisan agreement that we have to deal with that in an aggressive, forward-leaning way.
Even as we deal with that crisis, we’ve still got an economy that’s on the mend, but there are a lot of people out there who are still out of work. There are a lot of families who are still struggling to pay the bills. And so a major part of our discussion was how could we continue to build on the progress that’s been made in the economy and, in particular, how can we make sure that that has an impact on job growth and the day-to-day improvements that people are seeing in their own lives.
A couple of things that we discussed was passing the package of tax extenders and unemployment insurance and so forth that is important to give families confidence that they’re going to be able to get back on their feet but also give businesses confidence in terms of what their tax structure is going to look like going forward.