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  • President Obama Tapes the Weekly Address on January 30

    President Barack Obama tapes the Weekly Address in the Roosevelt Room of the White House. January 30, 2015. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)

    In this week’s address, the President described the progress our economy has made, laying a foundation for a future that prioritizes middle-class economics.

    This week, the President will send a budget to Congress centered on the idea that everyone who works hard should have the chance to get ahead. His plan will reverse harmful sequestration cuts and instead make paychecks go further, create good jobs here in the United States, and prepare hardworking Americans to earn higher wages. The President made the case for his budget, and affirmed his commitment to doing everything he can to ensure more Americans can get ahead in this new economy.

    Transcript | mp4 | mp3

  • This week, the President traveled to India, launched the new Precision Medicine Initiative, and called on Congress to protect the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

    Find out more about the past week at the White House in our latest weekly wrap-up.

    A Historic Visit to India

    “Chalein saath saath.” It means "forward together we go," and it perfectly sums up the President's recent trip to India.

    The President and First Lady traveled to India this week -- their first time visiting since Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi was sworn in on May 26, 2014. President Obama also made history as the first sitting U.S. president to visit India twice.

    The United States and India are true global partners, both in strengthening economies and strong democracies. From a pledge on fighting climate change to beautiful parades, the trip was full of notable moments.

    Take a look at the highlights and photos from the trip, and see how our two nations are moving forward together.

  • Six years after the financial crisis, America’s resurgence is real and beginning to touch more and more lives across the country. As the President said, “With a growing economy, shrinking deficits, bustling industry, and booming energy production, we have risen from the recession freer to write our own future than any other nation on Earth.”   

    America’s businesses are already setting pen to paper, creating jobs in burgeoning industries at a breakneck pace. In fact, there are more open jobs today than at any point since 2001.

    Whether in information technology, health care, or other growing industries, there are more jobs now that offer higher wages and an important step up into the middle class. Here’s the chart to prove it: 

  • First Lady Michelle Obama and Connie Britton applaud as Counselor of the Year Cory Notestine delivers remarks

    First Lady Michelle Obama and actor and singer Connie Britton, right, applaud as Counselor of the Year Cory Notestine, a school counselor at Alamosa High School in Alamosa, Colo., delivers remarks during the Counselor of the Year event in the East Room of the White House, Jan. 30, 2015. (Official White House Photo by Amanda Lucidon)

    Today, First Lady Michelle Obama’s Reach Higher initiative closed out the week with a very special thank you to some of the hardest-working, caring, and critically important adults charged with putting young people on the path to college: America’s school counselors.

    In collaboration with the American School Counselor Association (ASCA), the White House, for the first time ever, hosted the Counselor of the Year Ceremony. The First Lady, along with television star Connie Britton, spoke in the East Room to honor the 36 finalists and semi-finalists, and 2015 School Counselor of the Year, Cory Notestine.

    This past July, when the First Lady spoke at the ASCA Annual Conference in Orlando, Florida, she declared that “school counseling is a necessity to ensure that all our young people get the education they need to succeed in today’s economy.” She also promised to bring the Counselor of the Year Ceremony to the White House – and this afternoon, that promise became a reality.

  • The view from aerial tour of Hurricane Sandy damage  of New Jersey's barrier beaches

    The view from aerial tour of Hurricane Sandy damage of New Jersey's barrier beaches, Nov. 18, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Sonya N. Hebert)

    When Hurricane Sandy hit New York City, the storm sent water cascading into the South Ferry subway station, pouring into the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel, inundating neighborhoods from Staten Island to Queens. At Battery Park in lower Manhattan, water reached more than 9 feet above the average high-tide line.

    One factor fueling the surge -- New York Harbor, where waters have risen about a foot since 1900. We know that rising sea levels, higher average temperatures, higher ocean temperatures, and other effects of climate change will make extreme weather events more frequent and more severe. And the climate is changing -- earlier this month, NASA and NOAA announced that 2014 was the hottest year on record globally, meaning that 14 of the 15 hottest years in recorded history have happened this century.

    That’s why when we invested billions to help communities rebuild from Sandy, we also committed to “build back better” -- to rebuild infrastructure to a higher standard so it can withstand the increased risks posed by sea level rise and other climate impacts.

    Today, the White House is building on that experience by releasing a new flood risk management standard for new and rebuilt federally funded structures in and around floodplains. This new resilience standard will help ensure taxpayer dollars are well spent on infrastructure that can better withstand the impacts of flooding.

  • 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 October 2014. This release brings the total number of records made public by this White House to more than 4.26 million — all of which can be viewed in our Disclosures section.

  • I have lived a lot of life, most of it on the go, and always an adventure. Challenging myself and pushing limits. From 25 to 35, I worked hard and lived with that sense of freedom, full of fun and exploration, believing every year would only get better and better. In that decade, I took some chances – moved to three different cities where I didn’t know anyone, and I took jobs I wasn’t sure about. I was always confident things would work out, or at least I could figure it out how to make it work.

    I was lucky. Things did work, and my life in that time was wonderful. I deepened friendships and made even more great friends, completed graduate degrees, traveled the world, saw my nephews born and grow, helped elect a Senator and then a President, lived my dream of improving policies to help others, and even fell in love with the most incredible woman. I remember thinking, here I was in my mid-30s truly living the ultimate adventure, living life to the fullest every day – but also knowing the best years of my life were still in front of me. What I didn’t know during those 10 years was how uncertain my future really was, and how much control I was about to lose.

    Two months after my wife said yes to being my adventure partner for life, I was diagnosed with Stage IV cancer. In the same decade I spent building my life, the cancer had been growing, and silently threatening to tear it down. Right at the dawn of my future. Literally, the worst news, at the worst time. Like any good sports fan, I turned to statistics to understand the odds. Only the numbers were no help. For the stage and type of cancer I have, my chances of seeing my 40th birthday were only about 10 percent.

    Fortunately I had been paying out of my paycheck for health insurance through my employer. I’d never really given the choice of buying health coverage much thought. I never thought that one day the small choice to get covered would be one of the most important things to keep me alive. Insurance helped me do two things that greatly improved my chances – it helped me get diagnosed, and it helped me begin my treatment quickly.

  • This week, the President made history by being the first sitting President to make a second visit to India. He and the First Lady also traveled to Saudi Arabia to pay their respects to the late King. And back at home, the President convened a meeting with U.S. mayors and honored outgoing Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel. That's January 23 to January 29 or, "Namaste Obama."

    Watch on YouTube

  • "Behind the Budget" is a series of posts featuring audio stories from staffers from across the Office of Management and Budget, discussing aspects of the budget process that most Americans don't get to see.

    Underlying the President's FY 2016 budget is a database holding about 600,000 pieces of information across multiple agencies and accounts. The database keeps track of every dollar appropriated by Congress: when it was appropriated, when it was or is going to be obligated -- whether that means signing a contract or placing an order -- and when the dollar goes out the door. It catalogues what the dollar was used for, and why. It's a lot of information, and right now, Aron Greenberg -- who's worked in OMB's Budget Review Division for about 11 years -- is responsible for helping to make sure it's accurate. Listen to him describe the work of the team responsible for doing the final comb of the budget.

    Meet Aron Greenberg, Budget Methods Specialist in OMB's Budget Review Division.

    "The examining divisions are responsible for helping develop the policies that accomplish specific goals. That's not our gig. We're here to make sure that the policies of the Administration are accurately reflected in the database…So if the Administration wants to spend $10 million on something, it's our responsibility to make sure that $10 million shows up in the database."

  • During his State of the Union Address, President Obama announced that he is launching a new initiative that will help deliver the right treatment to the right patient at the right time. Precision medicine gives medical professionals the resources they need to target the specific treatments of the illnesses we encounter, further develops our scientific and medical research, and keeps our families healthier. As the country that eliminated polio and mapped the human genome, America is well-positioned to lead in a new era of medicine. 

    While most of today's medical treatments have been designed for the average patient, precision medicine allows us to be more effective than a "one-size-fits-all" technique. It's an emerging approach to promoting health and treating disease that takes into account individual differences in people's genes, environments, and lifestyles. This makes it possible to design targeted treatments for cancer and other diseases. As the President noted in his speech, this revolutionary approach has even reversed cystic fibrosis, an illness once thought unstoppable. 

    This approach is already saving lives, giving those in the medical field better options, and helping keep families healthy.  Read a few of their stories: 

    William Elder Jr.

    William Elder Jr. 

    William Elder, Jr. was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis (CF) at the age of eight, when the life expectancy for CF patients was very low. Now at 27, Bill is alive thanks to Kalydeco, a treatment of a particular form for his cystic fibrosis and a remarkable drug that treats the underlying cause of his CF, rather than the symptoms.

    At a congressional briefing in 2013, Bill told members of the U.S. Senate that just knowing that there were individuals who were researching his condition gave him hope and the strength to continue his treatments and work to be healthier every day. Bill described waking up in the middle of the night after taking his new treatment for the first time. “I sat on the floor of my room for a while slowly breathing in and out through my nose, and then I realized that was it. I had never been able to easily breathe out of my nose before. This was something profound,” he said. He recalls telling his parents, "For the first time in my life, I truly believe that I will live long enough to be a grandfather.”

  • Economic growth in the fourth quarter was consistent with a broad range of other indicators showing solid improvement in the labor market, rising consumer sentiment, increasing domestic energy security, and continued low health cost growth. The combination of consumer spending and fixed investment grew at about the same strong pace as in the third quarter, while more volatile factors that elevated the overall growth rate in the third quarter subtracted from it in the fourth quarter. The President’s approach to middle-class economics, including the proposals he will release in his Budget on Monday, would build on this growth while helping to ensure that our recovery is widely shared with all American families.


    1. Real gross domestic product (GDP) grew 2.6 percent at an annual rate in the fourth quarter of 2014, according to the advance estimate from the Bureau of Economic Analysis. The report reflects very strong consumption growth, continued increases in residential investment, weaker business investment after two quarters of strong growth, an unusually large decline in federal spending that reversed last quarter’s above-trend increase, and stronger imports, which while subtracting from GDP, partly reflect improved consumer sentiment. Overall, real GDP rose 2.5 percent versus the fourth quarter of 2013. Indeed, today’s report affirms the underlying pattern of resurgence in the economy. 

  • Watch Jo Handelsman, Associate Director for Science in the Office of Science and Technology Policy, explain the Precision Medicine Initiative and its significance.

    Watch on YouTube

    The President's 2016 budget includes investments in an emerging field of medicine that takes into account individual differences in people's genes, microbiomes, environments, and lifestyles -- making possible more effective, targeted treatments for diseases like cancer and diabetes. That's incredibly significant, and this is why:

    Right now, most medical treatments are designed for the average patient.

    But one size doesn't fit all, and treatments that are very successful for some patients don't work for others. Think about it:

    • If you need glasses, you aren't assigned a generic pair. You get a prescription customized for you.
    • If you have an allergy, you get tested to determine exactly what you're allergic to.
    • If you need a blood transfusion, it has to match your precise blood type.

    Enter Precision Medicine: health care tailored to you.

  • President Obama, Vice President Biden and Gen. Martin Dempsey participate in an Armed Forces farewell in honor of Secretary Hagel

    President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and Gen. Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff participate in an Armed Forces farewell in honor of Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, left, at Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall in Fort Myer, Va., Jan. 28, 2015. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

    The President traveled to Fort Myer, Virginia yesterday for the Armed Forces farewell ceremony in honor of our 24th Secretary of Defense, Chuck Hagel.

    In his remarks, the President acknowledged Secretary Hagel's courageous work during his lifelong service as a decorated veteran and Secretary:

    [T]oday is a celebration of a quintessentially American life -- a man from the heartland who devoted his life to America. Just imagine, in your mind’s eye, the defining moments of his life. The kid from Nebraska who, as Marty said, volunteered to go to Vietnam. The soldier outside Saigon, rushing to pull his own brother from a burning APC. The deputy at the VA who stood up for his fellow Vietnam vets who were exposed to Agent Orange. The senator who helped lead the fight for the Post 9/11 GI Bill, to give this generation of heroes the same opportunities that he had.

    I asked Chuck to lead this department at a moment of profound transition. And today we express our gratitude for the progress under his watch.

  • "Behind the Budget" is a series of posts featuring audio stories from staffers from across the Office of Management and Budget, discussing aspects of the budget process that most Americans don't get to see.

    In some ways, it's always budget season for the OMB health policy team: At any point in the year, they're likely to be either developing, negotiating, or implementing two or three fiscal year budgets at a time. This year's budget in particular includes a range of proposals, from those that make efficient improvements to health care acess and quality, to those with broader public health implications. That means, for instance, programs that invest in preparedness and disease prevention, efforts to combat antimicrobial resistance, and the NIH-lead effort to accelerate advances in the field of precision medicine.

    Meet Dr. Julian Harris, OMB Associate Director for Health.

  • Young adults historically faced unique challenges in obtaining health insurance coverage. In 2009, nearly one-third of young adults ages 19-25 lacked health insurance, more than twice the rate for Americans overall. But the nation has since made dramatic progress in expanding coverage among young adults, thanks to the Affordable Care Act’s provision allowing young adults to remain on a parent’s plan through age 26 and its broader expansion of coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplaces and Medicaid.

    From the time the first of these provisions took effect in 2010 through the second quarter of 2014, the uninsured rate among young adults dropped by more than 40 percent, corresponding to 4.5 million additional insured young adults. These large gains among young adults are a major reason that the nation’s overall uninsured rate was at or near the lowest level ever recorded as of the second quarter of last year. Moreover, there is evidence young adults’ expanded access to coverage is increasing their access to health care, improving their health and financial security, and potentially generating long-term benefits for our economy.

    Even with this progress, almost one in five young adults remains uninsured. But many of these young adults are eligible for financial assistance to obtain coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplaces or eligible for coverage through Medicaid. This year’s Open Enrollment period ends on February 15th, so those still without insurance should visit or call 1-800-318-2596 to get covered now.

  • "Behind the Budget" is a series of posts featuring audio stories from staffers from across the Office of Management and Budget, discussing aspects of the budget process that most Americans don't get to see.

    Tucked away in a series of offices in the New Executive Office Building are a group of program examiners who have been helping to develop the budget for months. That means wrangling and sorting through the many ideas brought to the table -- from agencies, from other White House offices, and from the Office of Management and Budget itself. A key part of this year's budget is the investments in both higher and early education. Listen to two examiners in this area describe their role in the budget process.

    Meet Erin O'Brien, Program Examiner for Student Aid Programs.


  • Ed. Note: This post is cross-posted at the U.S. Small Business Administration's (SBA) blog. You can read the original post here

    During his State of the Union address, President Obama noted that “21st-century businesses, including small businesses, need to sell more American products overseas. … 95 percent of the world’s customers live outside our borders, and we can’t close ourselves off from those opportunities.”

    Today, 98 percent of American companies that export are small businesses, but more than half of our exporters are only selling to one foreign market, usually Canada or Mexico.

    It’s time to take action to help more entrepreneurs reach new markets for their goods and services.

  • President Obama Offers Namaste Greeting in India

    President Barack Obama clasped his hands in the traditional "namaste" greeting after delivering remarks on India and America relations at the Siri Fort Auditorium in New Delhi, India. January 27, 2015. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)

    "The peace we seek in the world begins in human hearts. And it finds its glorious expression when we look beyond any differences in religion or tribe, and rejoice in the beauty of every soul."

    On his last day in India, President Obama delivered a message from America to the people of India on the importance of our relationship as true global partners. "I’m here because I’m absolutely convinced that both our peoples will have more jobs and opportunity, and our nations will be more secure, and the world will be a safer and a more just place when our two democracies -- the world’s largest democracy and the world’s oldest democracy -- stand together," he said. 

  • Ed. note: This is cross-posted on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's blog. See the original post here.

    2014 was the hottest year on record, and each of the last three decades has been hotter than the last.

    In mountain towns that depend on winter tourism, the realities of climate change really hit home. Shorter, warmer winters mean a shorter season to enjoy the winter sports we love—and a financial hit for local economies that depend on winter sports.

    Even if you hate winter, climate change affects you – because climate risks are economic risks. Skiing, snowboarding and other types of winter recreation add $67 billion to the economy every year, and they support 900,000 jobs.

    Last week I went to the X-Games in Colorado to meet with some of our country’s top pro snowboarders and the businesses that support them to hear how they are taking action on climate.

  • President Obama at India's Republic Day Celebration

    President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama view the Republic Day Parade with President Pranab Mukherjee and Prime Minister Narendra Modi from the Rajpath saluting base in New Delhi, India January 26, 2015. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

    Sixty-five years ago this week, India's post-independence democratic constitution went into effect, paving the way for the country to become not only a democracy but the world's largest democracy. Today, as a country of well over a billion people encompassing great diversity of ethnicity and economic status and spanning crowded cities and remote villages, India is a paradigm of both the challenges and the successes of building a government that seeks to empower all its people.

    This week, as I travel to India with President Obama on the occasion of Republic Day, I am heartened to see an extensive portfolio of projects that OPIC has supported with financing and political risk insurance to advance development in India in sectors from power generation to technology to small business finance. As the U.S. Government’s development finance institution, OPIC has invested nearly $2.7 billion across 148 development projects in India since 1974. Over the past five years, our portfolio in India has increased more than five-fold to $734.3 million.