President Obama today welcomed two new members to his Cabinet, as he held the 17th Cabinet meeting of his Presidency, and the first in 2013. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew, the former White House Chief of Staff and OMB Director, and Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, a former Senator from Nebraska, joined the President and other Cabinet members in the West Wing to discuss the potential impact of the sequester on all the agencies and missions, and ways to minimize the impacts on American families.
But the President made clear that while budget issues are a deep concern, he has confidence in the Cabinet leadership to steer all government agencies in making the best possible decisions to help American families. In his remarks before the meeting, President Obama laid out the other topics that were on his agenda — growing the economy and helping families thrive:
We’re going to have the opportunity to talk about initiatives like early childhood education that can have an enormous impact on our kids and, ultimately, our growth and productivity. We’ll have a chance to hear from Joe and other members of the Cabinet about progress in reducing gun violence in this country.
So one of the things that I’ve instructed not just my White House but every agency is to make sure that, regardless of some of the challenges that they may face because of sequestration, we’re not going to stop working on behalf of the American people to make sure that we’re doing everything we can to continue to grow this economy and improve people’s prospects.