Obama Touts Biden-Led Task Force

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To help fight the recession's effect on some of those hit hardest, President Obama announced Thursday that he is forming a task force to concentrate on the problems of the middle class.

"When workers are prospering, they buy products that make businesses prosper," Obama said. "We can be competitive and lean and mean and still create a situation where workers are thriving in this country."

Vice President Joe Biden will head up that task force. In his remarks today, Biden said the economic downturn has been devastating.

"It's cruel but it's also threatening to sap the spirit of the country," Biden said. "Mr. President, you said it best in your inaugural address in my view. You said, and I quote, 'A nation cannot prosper long when it favors only the prosperous.' Quite simply, a strong middle class in our view equals a strong America."

Biden says some analysts suggest, "We've entered an age when only a few people can prosper and everyone else has to fall behind. We do not accept that proposition."

"There has never been and that has never ever been a part of America's story at any part of our history," he added. "And the President and I are determined that it will not be any part of America's story today."

Reversing Bush Labor Policies

Earlier today, the President also signed three executive orders reversing Bush administration policies that favored employers over workers, union leaders maintain.

The reversal will:

- Require federal contractors to offer jobs to current workers when contracts change.

- Reverse a Bush order requiring federal contractors to post notice that workers can limit financial support of unions serving as their exclusive bargaining representatives.

- Prevent federal contractors from being reimbursed for expenses meant to influence workers deciding whether to form a union and engage in collective bargaining.

"I do not view the labor movement as part of the problem. To me, it's part of the solution," Obama said, during a ceremony for the signing of the orders. "You cannot have a strong middle class without a strong labor movement."

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