U.S. President Barack Obama speaks to the National Governors Association in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington, Feb. 24, 2014. UPI/Jim Lo Scalzo/Pool | License Photo
WASHINGTON, Feb. 24 (UPI) -- U.S. President Barack Obama said Monday he is "absolutely convinced" the time is right for a federal-state partnership on jobs, training, education and wages.
Re-emphasizing that this "has to be a year of action," the president told National Governors Association attendees at the White House the two levels of government should work together on the four points of his "opportunity agenda."
"I am absolutely convinced that the time is right to partner with the states and governors all across the country on these agendas, because I know that you guys are doing some terrific work in your own states," he said.
Obama dished out praise to governors who have increased their states' minimum wage as well as those who expanded Medicaid coverage as part of implementing the Affordable Care Act.
"You've got Republican governors here -- I won't name them in front of the press because I don't want to get y'all in trouble -- who have chosen to cover more people through new options under Medicaid, and as a result millions of people are going to get help," the president said.
Vice President Joe Biden also commented on the governors' ability to get things done.
"It never ceases to amaze me how you all mobilize. You just mobilize," Biden told the bipartisan group. "When crises hit your states, you mobilize and you rebuild. And you rebuild your infrastructure not to the standards that existed before, but to 21st century standards. You balance your budgets, you save neighborhoods, and you bring back jobs to your communities."
Obama assured the governors his administration would be responsive.
"I'm committed to making sure that every single member of my Cabinet, every single person in the White House, every single member of my team will be responsive to you," Obama said. "We won't agree on every single issue every single time, but I guarantee you that we will work as hard as we can to make sure that you succeed -- because when you succeed, the people in your states succeed and America succeeds, and that's our goal."