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Kyle LiermanDecember 04, 2013
07:50 PM EST
This afternoon, youth leaders from across the country gathered here for our White House Youth Summit. The Summit was made of up 160 of this country's finest national and local leaders aged 18-35. Joined by White House and Administration staff, these millennial participants discussed issues important to their generation -- especially spreading the word about the Affordable Care Act and organizing to get people enrolled in their respective communities. They also participated in a series of panels and breakout workshops with administration officials, stakeholder groups, and advocates.
To kick off the event, a very special guest dropped by to speak to the Youth Summit: President Obama -- who let young Americans know he needed their help.
So I'm going to need you all to spread the word about how the Affordable Care Act really works, what its benefits are, what its protections are and, most importantly, how people can sign up. I know people call this law Obamacare. And that's okay -- because I do care. I care about you. I care about families. I care about Americans.
But no matter how much I care, the truth is, is that for your friends and your family, the most important source of information is not going to be me, it's going to be you. They are going to trust you. If you're taking them on a website, walking them through it saying, look at the price you're able to get, look at the benefits you're able to get. That's what's going to be making a difference.
Megan SlackDecember 04, 2013
05:16 PM EST
Today in Southeast Washington, DC, President Obama spoke about what he called the defining challenge of our time: reversing a decades-long slope toward growing inequality and a lack of upward mobility. It's a trend that has jeopardized middle-class America’s basic bargain, the idea that if you work hard, you have a chance to get ahead.
In the years after World War II, America built the largest middle class the world has ever known, President Obama said.
[D]uring the post-World War II years, the economic ground felt stable and secure for most Americans, and the future looked brighter than the past. And for some, that meant following in your old man’s footsteps at the local plant, and you knew that a blue-collar job would let you buy a home, and a car, maybe a vacation once in a while, health care, a reliable pension. For others, it meant going to college -- in some cases, maybe the first in your family to go to college. And it meant graduating without taking on loads of debt, and being able to count on advancement through a vibrant job market.
“Everyone’s wages and incomes were growing,” President Obama said “And because of upward mobility, the guy on the factory floor could picture his kid running the company some day.”
But by the late 1970s, this social compact began to unravel as jobs began to disappear and our economic foundation weakened. Inequality started to grow, and it got harder for children of lower-income families to move upward. Today, a family in the top 1 percent has a net worth 288 times higher than the typical family. And a child born in the top 20 percent has about a 2-in-3 chance of staying at or near the top, while a child born into the bottom 20 percent has a less than a 1-in-20 shot at making it to the top.
Lindsay HolstDecember 04, 2013
03:46 PM ESTYou've probably been hearing a lot about health reform and HealthCare.gov these past few months.Here's the bottom line: Reform is improving the lives of millions of Americans, right now. Here are just a few of their stories.
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December 04, 2013
12:43 PM EST
Last August, President Obama outlined an ambitious plan to increase value and affordability in postsecondary education. There were a number of commitments he made in his proposal, and, today, the U.S. Department of Education is announcing further action on the President’s initiatives.
President Obama told students and families that helping to ensure their debt is manageable is a priority, and equipping counselors and advisers with the resources they need to help students prepare for higher education and understand college costs is a key component. To meet these goals, the Department has launched a “one-stop shop” for guidance counselors, college advisers, mentors and volunteers to assist students through the process of choosing and financing their higher education.
The Financial Aid Toolkit, available at FinancialAidToolkit.ed.gov, consolidates financial aid resources and content into a searchable online database. That makes it easy for individuals to quickly access the information they need to support students on their path to college, including details on how to apply for financial aid along with presentations, brochures and videos.
By equipping counselors and advisers with financial aid information in an easy-to-use format, we can help to ensure that current and potential students get the assistance they need to successfully navigate the process of planning and paying for a postsecondary education.
Katherine VargasDecember 03, 2013
04:47 PM EST
Today, President Obama hosted President Juan Manuel Santos of Colombia at the White House. Their visit underscored the growing partnership with Colombia, founded on our shared democratic values, deepening economic ties, and our long history of shared security goals.
Colombia is a respected leader in the region. We are expanding our partnership far beyond security into new areas of mutual interest like commerce, energy access, regional infrastructure and economic integration. Thanks to the U.S.-Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement – a win-win for both countries - U.S. exports to Colombia are up nearly 20 percent, supporting thousands of American jobs and helping to achieve President Obama’s goal of doubling U.S. exports.
Colombia is an example of the profound transformations underway in Latin America. Elections that once were exceptions are now largely the norm. Some of the world’s fastest growing economies are in Latin America and across the region. Tens of millions of people have escaped poverty and entered the middle class. This represents an incredible opportunity for a new era of relations between the United States and the Americas.
David SimasDecember 03, 2013
04:25 PM EST
Today, HHS released its first monthly report on Medicaid enrollment and enrollment in the Children’s Health Insurance Program – and it’s good news. Thanks to the Affordable Care Act and decisions by Democratic and Republican elected officials in 26 states to expand their Medicaid programs, 1.46 million hardworking Americans have applied for and been deemed eligible to enroll in quality, affordable health care.
More hardworking Americans will know the security of health care coverage in states that chose to expand Medicaid than those states that chose to recklessly and irresponsibly deny health coverage to millions of Americans. In fact, if every state expanded Medicaid coverage, over 5.4 million more Americans—and more than 1 million in Texas alone—would get health coverage. And today’s report showed that states that expanded Medicaid have seen over a 15 percent increase in applications for Medicaid and CHIP, compared to the average monthly enrollment in the three preceding months. While states that refused to expand Medicaid only saw a 4.1 percent increase in applications.
This spike in applications confirmed what we have always known: hardworking Americans need and want the security of affordable health coverage.
Gene SperlingDecember 03, 2013
09:49 AM EST
A core component of President Obama’s agenda to grow the middle class is to make the U.S. a magnet for the location of high-quality jobs – especially those that support manufacturing and innovation.
The President has already taken significant steps to support America’s manufacturers, including by announcing nearly $250 million in funding to support four new manufacturing innovation institutes, aggressive new efforts to enforce trade agreements and open new markets, new investments in community colleges to help workers get the high-demand advanced manufacturing credentials needed by our manufacturers, and launching the first-ever federal effort to bring job-creating foreign investment to the U.S.
And going forward, the President will continue to push a comprehensive agenda to support a manufacturing renaissance that includes supporting a network of up to 45 manufacturing innovation institutes with a one-time $3 billion investment, making the U.S. more cost competitive by reforming our business tax code including a rate no higher than 25% for manufacturing, expanding and making permanent the R&D tax credit, continuing to ensure that trading partners like China are playing by the rules, and pushing new efforts to train workers for the jobs of today and tomorrow.
Our emphasis on manufacturing is due to the unique role that the sector plays in creating positive “spillover” benefits to our broader economy, particularly in its connection to our ability to innovate. Manufacturing punches above its weight; despite representing 12 percent of GDP, manufacturing accounts for roughly 70 percent of private sector research and development, 60 percent of all US R&D employees, over 90 percent of patents issued, and the majority of all U.S. exports. The benefits from a stronger manufacturing sector go far beyond factory jobs and include the production capabilities needed in design and innovation for many technologies, the high-skill talent that enable our services industries, and the dense web of suppliers that employ millions outside of the manufacturing sector.
While our emphasis on manufacturing must have a long-term focus – one that goes beyond the ups and downs in our economy in any month or quarter – today we received more good news that growth in America’s manufacturing sector continues to be strong.
On Monday, ISM released its monthly purchasing managers’ index (PMI), which rose to 57.3 in November – the fastest monthly pace of growth since April 2011, with all five components of the index showing strength, including employment (a reading above 50 indicates expansion). he index has shown sector expansion for six straight months and is on track to have its strongest quarter since mid-2011. Recent strength in the ISM report underscores that America’s manufacturing sector is helping to lead our recovery. Today there is little disagreement that the U.S. is a more competitive location for production, and we are beginning to see the results. America’s manufactures have created jobs at the fastest pace in 15 years, with over 500,000 new jobs added since February 2010, and our manufacturing sector has grown roughly twice as fast as the overall economy since the beginning of 2010. And there is little doubt that without the threat of default and harm from the arbitrary sequester, America’s manufacturing sector and the economy would be performing even better today.
Erin LindsayDecember 02, 2013
08:09 PM EST
Back in August 2013, Young Invincibles, in partnership with the Department of Health and Human Services, launched the Healthy Young America Video Contest, an effort to mobilize young people to help educate and inform one another about the Affordable Care Act. Participants submitted their videos, the public weighed in, and a finalist was selected in each of three categories: "You Are Not Invincible," original song performance, and animation.
Erin McDonald was announced as the overall Grand Prize winner with her video "Forget about the Price Tag" in a Google+ Hangout featuring Kal Penn and White House Health Care policy expert Christen Linke Young on December 2.
During the Hangout, Christen and Kal also helped preview the White House Youth Summit coming up on December 4 and took questions about what the Affordable Care Act means for young people. You can tune into the Youth Summit starting at 2:00 pm ET on whitehouse.gov/live.
Watch Erin's video below, and also check out videos from finalists in the other two categories.
Grand Prize & Perform a Song Winner:
Forget About the Price Tag: Erin McDonald
December 02, 2013
04:07 PM EST
The theme of this year’s World AIDS Day is “Shared Responsibility: Strengthening Results for an AIDS-Free Generation.” Now more than ever, it is a fitting theme as the United States focuses, both on the domestic and global fronts, on building partnerships that strengthen our response to HIV and AIDS.
Here in the U.S., we are working with state, tribal and local governments, community groups, and other key stakeholders to implement this country’s first comprehensive National HIV/AIDS Strategy (the Strategy) launched by President Obama in 2010. Since the launch, we have made significant progress in strengthening scientific investments, expanding effective HIV prevention, and connecting stakeholders in both the public and private sectors.
Last July, as the next step in implementing the Strategy, the President established via Executive Order the HIV Care Continuum Initiative, which focuses on the gaps in care and prevention, especially among communities with the greatest HIV burden. Today the White House Office of National AIDS Policy released a report that contains the first recommendations from the Initiative describing how federal efforts will be integrated to strengthen testing, linkage to care, retention and treatment for people living with HIV.
The next stage of implementing the Strategy will be guided by the work on the Initiative, in conjunction with ongoing implementation of the Affordable Care Act, which will increase access to affordable healthcare coverage for thousands of persons living with HIV and millions at risk for infection.
Kasie CoccaroNovember 29, 2013
06:08 PM EST
Today, First Lady Michelle Obama welcomed the delivery of the Official White House Christmas Tree. The tree, a 18 1/2-foot high and nearly 11 foot wide Douglas Fir arrived in a horse-drawn carriage.
Members of the National Christmas Tree Association have presented the official White House Christmas Tree for display in the Blue Room each year since 1966. This year, the tree will be presented to the First Lady by the Botek family, growers of this year’s tree, and the Wyckoff family, winners of the National Christmas Tree Association’s National Christmas Tree contest. The Boteks are second-generation Christmas Tree farmers from Crystal Spring Tree Farm in Lehighton, PA, and the Wyckoff farm has been family owned for six generations -- since 1839. This year, four trees from the farm will be featured throughout the White House during the holiday season.
The official White House Christmas Tree will be displayed in the heart of the White House: the Blue Room. As in many years past, the tree will be decorated in honor of military families.
Learn more about past White House Holidays and stay tuned for more information about this years White House holiday décor.
November 29, 2013
04:06 PM EST
On her first foreign trip as National Security Advisor, Ambassador Susan Rice spent three and a half days in Afghanistan to thank our troops and civilians around the holidays, and assess the situation on the ground.
Afghanistan continues to be one of the United States’ top national security priorities, and this was opportunity for Ambassador Rice to take stock of our efforts and meet with American troops serving in the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) and our civilians at the U.S. Mission to Afghanistan.
Megan SlackNovember 29, 2013
03:00 PM EST
In September 2009, the President announced that—for the first time in history—White House visitor records would be made available to the public on an ongoing basis. Today, the White House releases visitor records that were generated in August 2013. This release brings the total number of records made public by this White House to over 3.4 million—all of which can be viewed in our Disclosures section.
Cecilia MuñozNovember 29, 2013
02:31 PM EST
Today, the President and the First Lady visited the brave individuals who are fasting in the shadow of the Capitol, sacrificing their health in an effort to get Congress to act swiftly on commonsense immigration reform. The President and the First Lady gave their support for their fight for family unity this Thanksgiving weekend, as families across the country come together to spend time with loved ones.
Since November 12, fasters from “Fast For Families” have abstained from all food except water in an effort to bring attention to the urgent need for the Republican leadership in the House of Representatives to take a vote on comprehensive immigration reform. Vice President Joe Biden, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, Secretary of Labor Tom Perez, Chief of Staff Denis McDonough, Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett and I have also visited Fast For families in recent weeks.
The fasters shared their stories and described empty stomachs but full hearts as they received an outpouring of support; to date, more than 3,000 people around the country have committed to fasting in solidarity.
The President and the First Lady thanked Eliseo Medina, Dae Joong Yoon, and all of the fasters for their sacrifice and dedication and told them that the country is behind them on immigration reform. He said that the only thing standing in the way is politics. And it is the brave commitment to change from advocates like them that will pressure the House to finally act on immigration reform.
This Thanksgiving, as friends, family, and community gather in the spirit of unity, we lend our support to those fighting for making commonsense immigration reform a reality. We will stand with them every step of the way to make sure that we bring coherence to our immigration laws, and pass a common sense reform that is consistent with our tradition as a nation of laws and a nation of immigrants.
November 29, 2013
11:00 AM EST
Adam GarberNovember 29, 2013
09:00 AM EST
Welcome to this Thanksgiving Edition of West Wing Week, your guide to everything that's happening at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, and beyond. This week, the President traveled to the west coast for a three day, three city swing, sat down for an interview with Barbara Walters, met with student entrepreneurs, held a video conference with Peace Corps volunteers, and announced a breakthrough in diplomatic talks with Iran. That's November 22rd to November 28th or "Kindness Covers All of My Political Beliefs."
Lindsay HolstNovember 28, 2013
06:00 AM EST
In his weekly address, President Obama gave thanks to all the men and women defending our freedom and acknowledged their sacrifice might mean they can’t spend the holidays with their families. The President also recognized that as Americans, we gather together this Thanksgiving to lift up those who need a helping hand, letting us move forward as a country and lead us to a brighter tomorrow.
Lindsay HolstNovember 27, 2013
04:39 PM EST
We've come a long way since 11-year-old Tad Lincoln convinced his father to "adopt" a turkey named Jack in 1863.Today, President Obama pardoned two 20-week-old, 38-pound turkeys named Popcorn and Caramel -- and announced Popcorn as the official "National Thanksgiving Turkey," after the American public weighed in on their favorites via Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.The President noted:The competition was stiff, but we can officially declare that Popcorn is the winner -- proving that even a turkey with a funny name can find a place in politics. As for Caramel, he’s sticking around, and he’s already busy raising money for his next campaign.And so, all "Hunger Games" references aside, both turkeys will live. Popcorn and Caramel will spend the rest of their natural days in the historic rolling pastures of Morven Park's Turkey Hill -- located at the home of former Virginia governor Westmoreland Davis in Leesburg, Virginia.
November 27, 2013
04:30 PM EST
Ed. note: This is cross-posted from the Department of Labor blog. See the original post here.
If you have had the chance to step onto a community college campus recently, you know the special role they are playing in rebuilding the American economy. Over the last three years, this administration has made unprecedented investments in the community college system through the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training − or TAACCCT − grant program. These grants encourage schools across the country to work with each other, with the workforce system and with employers to create cutting edge training programs that prepare workers for the jobs of today and tomorrow.
November 27, 2013
03:55 PM EST
Throughout President Obama's career, he has been fighting for young people. Whether it is increasing access to higher education, or expanding health care coverage, giving young people a fair shot has been and always will be a priority.
The President also believes in reaching out to youth across the country to make sure we’re hearing what they have to say, and helping them better understand the policies and programs that impact them. That’s why, on Wednesday, December 4th, we’re hosting over 150 leaders from across the country at the White House for a Youth Summit. The Summit will offer young people coming to the White House and across the country a chance to discuss the Affordable Care Act and others issues important to them.
Even if you can't be at the Summit in person, we still want to hear from you!
On Monday, December 2nd at 8:00 p.m. ET, join White House Senior Commnications Advisor Tara McGuinness, Kal Penn, and Young Invincibles for a Google+ Hangout. During this live video chat, we'll announce the winners of the "Healthy Young America Video Contest," preview the upcoming Youth Summit, and take questions about the Affordable Care Act and what It means for young Americans.
You can watch the Hangout live on the White House Google+ page. Have a comments or questions? Ask them using the hashtag #WHYouth on Twitter and on Google+ and we'll answer some of them during the live Hangout.
Additionally, on December 4th, you can watch the Summit live starting at 2:00 pm ET on Whitehouse.gov/live. Throughout the day White House staff, HHS officials, and other special guests will be taking questions submitted on twitter using the hashtag #WHYouthSummit.
Kyle Lierman serves Youth Liaison in the White House Office of Public Engagement.
Valerie JarrettNovember 27, 2013
03:02 PM EST
This Saturday, November 30th, I will join a number of White House and Cabinet Officials, along with millions of Americans around the country, in paying tribute to small businesses, which drive our economy, and help to define the spirit of our communities.
I will be spending Small Business Saturday in Chicago, to start on my holiday shopping, and reacquaint myself with the small businesses lining my hometown streets, and breathing life into my neighborhood.
There is of course, no need to wait for Small Business Saturday to enjoy the local delicacies and the unique goods being sold in our communities. It can be a concerted effort throughout the year, and an ongoing priority for all Americans. The President certainly sees it that way, and has made support for small business a top priority every day he has spent in office.