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  • Each year, as the darkness of the Arctic winter brightens into spring, as the snow melts and the hills and valleys slowly turn green, the tens of thousands of members of the Porcupine caribou herd begin their great migration — traveling some 1,500 miles through Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to their calving grounds on the Coastal Plain.

    This far northern region is known as “The Sacred Place Where Life Begins” to Alaska Native communities. The Refuge sustains the most diverse array of wildlife in the entire Arctic — home not only to the Porcupine caribou, but to polar bears, gray wolves, and muskoxen. Bird species from the Coastal Plain migrate to all 50 states of the country — meaning that no matter where you live, the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is part of your landscape.  

    But the majority of the Refuge is not protected as wilderness, including the Coastal Plain. For more than three decades, some voices have clamored to drill for oil in the Coastal Plain — a move that could irreparably damage this ecological treasure and harm the Alaska Native communities who still depend on the caribou for subsistence.

    Today, the Department of the Interior released a revised Comprehensive Conservation Plan to better sustain and manage the entire Arctic National Wildlife Refuge — and President Obama took it a step further and announced his plans to ask Congress to designate the Coastal Plain and other core areas of the refuge as wilderness:

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  • President Obama tapes the Weekly Address at the University of Kansas, Jan. 22, 2015

    President Barack Obama tapes the Weekly Address at the Anschutz Sports Pavilion at the University of Kansas in Lawrence, Kan., Jan. 22, 2015. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza) (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

    In this week’s address, the President shared his plan, outlined in his State of the Union address earlier this week, to give hardworking families the support they need to make ends meet by focusing on policies that benefit the middle class and those working to reach the middle class.

    Through common-sense proposals like closing loopholes that benefit the wealthy and providing tax relief to the middle class, making two years of community college free for responsible students, strengthening paid leave policies and access to quality child care for working families, and raising the minimum wage, we can ensure that everyone benefits from, and contributes to, America’s success.

    Middle-class economics is working, and we have laid a new foundation, but there is still progress to be made, and the President said he is eager to get to work.

    Transcript | mp4 | mp3

  • From the President's sixth State of the Union address to YouTube interviews live from the East Wing of the White House, this week was full of big moments. Here's your White House week in review: 

    Monday: A Day of Service

    On Monday, the President and the First Lady, the Vice President, Cabinet secretaries, and other senior Administration officials participated in a number of community service projects both in D.C. and throughout the nation. The President, First Lady, and their daughters volunteered at the Boys and Girls Club in D.C.

    Tuesday: The Big Speech 

    On Tuesday, the President delivered his sixth State of the Union Address to Congress and the nation. He explained why the country needs to commit to middle-class economics that will give every family a fair shot --  by instituting two free years of community college, creating paid sick leave programs, taking on climate change, and closing unfair tax loopholes. If you missed the President's speech, you can catch the enhanced version here

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    The East Room was transformed yesterday as three YouTube stars recreated their libraries and living rooms for an interview with the President. Nearly 500,000 viewers tuned in live as YouTube creators Hank Green, GloZell, and Bethany Mota sat down for one-on-one interviews that covered topics from education and gridlock in Washington, to Cuba policy and how to get more young people engaged in politics.

  • We take it for granted that outdoor lights are there to help keep America moving after the sun goes down. But the outdoor lighting when you drive your car down the road at night, cheer for your favorite baseball team, or load groceries into your car after work uses energy and takes a bite out of budgets in cities and towns across the country.

    Outdoor lighting in the U.S. will consume enough energy to power 6 million homes this year, costing cities about $10 billion annually.

    That is why we are working with mayors to deploy the latest technologies to determine how best to light their cities while saving money. Using today's new technologies, local governments can cut their outdoor lighting bills by 50 percent or more. Today we are launching the Presidential Challenge for Advanced Outdoor Lighting, and tripling the DOE Better Buildings program goal of upgrading 500,000 poles to 1.5 million, to encourage more mayors to lead their cities with this win-win solution.

  • This week, the White House was a flurry of activity during the lead up to -- and aftermath of -- the President's State of the Union Address, featuring follow up trips to Kansas and Idaho, the second annual "Big Block of Cheese Day," and YouTube stars bringing their flair to the East Room to interview the President. That's January 16th to January 22nd or, "B Is For Believe."

  • President Obama plays with children at Child Center

    President Barack Obama gestures as he talks with Akira Cooper at the Community Children's Center, one of the nation's oldest Head Start providers, in Lawrence, Kan. January 22, 2015. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

    "If we knew how to do this back in 1943 and ’44, and here we are in 2015, what’s the holdup? It is time that we stop treating child care as a side issue or a 'women’s issue.' This is a family issue. This is a national economic priority for all of us. We can do better than we’re doing right now."

    Middle-class economics is the key to restoring the link between hard work and being able to get ahead. It's about giving everyone the same set of rules so everyone has a fair shot of getting ahead. But, right now, one of the greatest obstacles for families with young children is the rising cost of of child care.   

    Providing for child care is something we used to view as a national security. Read more about the lessons we need to learn from that time in our history here. 

    Today, after delivering his State of the Union address this week, President Obama stopped by the University of Kansas in Lawrence, KS to lay out his plan to help alleviate this burden for every middle-class family who is working and trying to raise young children.

    Here's what his plan will do for millions: 

  • In Richmond, California in 1943, approximately 35 nursery school units opened up as part of a city-wide child care program. 

    The country was mobilizing around World War II and increasing employment, particularly among women, had become a national priority. In the case of Richmond, the centers opened to help provide care for the children of women working in the nearby Kaiser shipyards.

    And heres how they were funded: Congress had passed the Defense Housing and Community Facilities and Services Act of 1940 -- popularly known as the Lanham Act.

    The law was passed in order to fund public works, including child care, in communities with defense industries. Under it, all families (regardless of income) were eligible for child care for up to six days a week, including summers and holidays, and parents paid the equivalent of just $9-$10 a day in today’s dollars. In addition to being affordable, this care was also high-quality. Many centers had low student-teacher ratios, served meals and snacks, and taught children arts and educational enrichment activities. 

    So, put quite simply: Most people don’t realize it, but we’ve done this before. And, it worked.

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    Yesterday, President Obama traveled to Boise State University in Idaho -- his first time in the Gem State. Here's why: 

    For six years, President Obama and the American people have been working hard to lay a new, stronger foundation for our economy -- one that's based on what works: middle-class economics. That means building an economy on the idea that this country does best when everyone gets their fair shot and can feel more secure in a world of constant change. 

    A key part of that is ensuring that millions of hardworking Americans have the chance to earn the higher-paying jobs of the future -- in coding, nursing, and robotics. That's why, in his State of the Union address, the President called on businesses to take the lead on helping their employees upgrade their skills without having to upheave their lives to do it. 

    That's why the President stopped in Idaho. He's calling on businesses across the country to "Upskill America" -- to help workers of all ages earn a shot at better, high-paying jobs, even if they don't have higher education. 

    So here's what we know: 

  • Watch on YouTube

    This is a pretty big deal:

    Each year, the President typically spends the days following a State of the Union address answering questions and elaborating on the plans he's laid out for the year. That can mean interviews with reporters, speeches across the country, or even chatting with folks from their homes.

    But because we're constantly looking for ways to reach folks we don't usually get to talk to, today we're doing something different:

    We've invited three of YouTube's top content creators to the White House to interview the President about the issues they -- and their audiences -- care most about. 

    You can watch it all live at 5 p.m. Eastern at And in the meantime, you can join the conversation online using #YouTubeAsksObama.

  • "Thank you for taking the heat, mostly from folks who don't have to pay for insurance. It literally means life or death to some of us."

  • Last night, at his 2015 State of the Union Address, President Obama announced that he is launching a new precision medicine initiative that will help deliver the right treatment to the right patient at the right time.

    Many of you may be wondering: What exactly is “precision medicine,” and how can it transform medicine as it is practiced today?

    Today, most medical treatments have been designed for the “average patient.” In too many cases, this “one-size-fits-all” approach isn’t effective, as treatments can be very successful for some patients but not for others. Precision medicine is an emerging approach to promoting health and treating disease that takes into account individual differences in people’s genes, environments, and lifestyles, making it possible to design highly effective, targeted treatments for cancer and other diseases. In short, precision medicine gives clinicians new tools, knowledge, and therapies to select which treatments will work best for which patients.

  • Here's a piece of the State of the Union process you might not have known about:

    A couple hours before the President heads to the Capitol, we print out a "pocket card" for Members of Congress so they can get all the facts in one easy-to-read place. Staffers print out a big stack of the cards in the basement of the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, and send them over to Congress in a van.

    Staffers head up to the main floor of the Capitol, where they stack the pocket cards in the cloakrooms adjacent to the chamber. Fun fact: That's also where Members' advance copies of the speech are printed, before they're passed out in the Chamber itself, about ten minutes before the speech.

    Even-more-fun fact: This year, the American people got their own advance copy of the speech, too. We posted it on Medium, complete with helpful charts and graphics to help drill down on the President's points. Take a look -- and leave notes about your favorite parts.

    You can take a look at the actual pocket card that Members received last night here -- but it's a little dense.

    So here are the main points, broken down in three images from our enhanced speech last night. Consider it your digital pocket card:

  • Every year, we do everything we can to step up our game around the State of the Union, using new approaches to engage the public online in different and compelling ways. We want to give people a better way to understand the President’s policies and why they’re important to them and their communities. This year, the goal was no different, but we rolled out an exciting new a range of improved platforms, coordinating with the White House policy and speechwriting offices to build digital content into the speech itself. Find out more here.

  • On February 22, 1837, President Andrew Jackson had a 1,400-pound block of cheese hauled into the main foyer of the White House for an open house with thousands of citizens and his staff, where they discussed the issues of the day while carving off slabs of cheddar. 

    Here at the White House, we're dedicated to making President Obama's administration the most open and accessible in history. That's why, for the second year in a row, we thought it'd be a gouda idea to bring back this long-standing tradition.

    So today, for the second-annual virtual Big Block of Cheese Day, White House officials have been spending their day on social media to directly answer your questions using the hashtag #AskTheWH. 

    Here's What The Nation Has Been Asking: 

    Dr. Jill Biden

  • President Obama delivers the State of the Union address, Jan. 20, 2015.

    President Barack Obama delivers the State of the Union address in the House Chamber at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., Jan. 20, 2015. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

    "Fifteen years into this new century, we have picked ourselves up, dusted ourselves off, and begun again the work of remaking America. We have laid a new foundation. A brighter future is ours to write."


    Last night, President Obama stood on the House floor of the Capitol to deliver his sixth State of the Union Address to Congress and the American people.

    It was a memorable night -- with inspiring guests, important proposals, and a few irreverant quips here and there. It's a must-see speech, so if you missed it, watch the enhanced version here. But if you're looking to relive the highlights, here are a few of our favorite, can't-miss moments from the evening. 

    Middle-Class Economics: "It's Time"

    From raising the minimum wage and equal pay to child care and paid leave, there's a lot that we can do in America to give hardworking, middle-class families a fair shot at getting ahead. 

  • Ed Note: This is cross-posted from the Department of Housing and Urban Development's blog, The HUDdle. You can read the original post here.

    On Wednesday, January 21 at 9:15 a.m. ET, join Secretary Julián Castro and Zillow’s Chief Economist Stan Humphries for a live fireside chat at the Newseum in Washington, D.C.

    In a live-streamed event hosted by Zillow, Secretary Castro will respond to questions from the social media community using the #HousinginAmerica hashtag.

  • "A brighter future is ours to write. Let's begin this new chapter -- together -- and let's start the work right now."

    Those were a few of President Obama's final words as he finished delivering his sixth State of the Union address moments ago.

    He spoke not just about where we are as nation, but where we're going.

    This is a speech you don't want to miss -- so if you didn't see it live, make sure you watch the full enhanced version now.

    Watch on YouTube

  • After President Obama delivers his State of the Union address tonight, we’re hosting a conversation live from the White House -- and we hope you'll join. This year, the State of the Union is more interactive than ever, with an enhanced livestream, dynamic "river of content," and lots of opportunities to engage with Administration officials, including the President.

    When President Obama finishes his address from the Capitol, we’re going live from the White House to give you a unique look inside the speech and answer questions about the policies and ideas that he lays out.

    Right after the speech, Senior Advisor Dan Pfeiffer will sit down for an interview with The Huffington Post's Sam Stein. You can tune in to the interview live at and and ask questions with #SOTUChat.

  • President Obama will deliver his State of the Union address tonight at 9 p.m. ET.

    "How do I watch the State of the Union," you might be asking yourself?

    We've got you covered:

    Here's why: This year's viewing experience is stocked with interactive features that make clear what the President's proposals mean for you, and shareable charts and stats that help supplement and expand on the points you'll hear him make. And even if you're watching on your TV, you can still follow along on your phone or tablet.

    Learn more about all the ways you can interact with this year's address during the speech.