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Lindsay HolstOctober 01, 2014
11:04 AM EDT
This morning, former competitive snowboarder Kevin Pearce sent the following message to the White House email list, highlighting the importance of the President's BRAIN Initiative -- and why it's personal for him.
Didn't get the email? Sign up for email updates here.
It was New Year's Eve in 2009 when my helmet saved my life.
Training for the Winter Olympics in Utah, I was at the top of competitive snowboarding when I suffered a life-threatening traumatic brain injury that I'm still recovering from to this day. And while I can never snowboard competitively again, I hope to be a voice for the millions of Americans who grapple with diseases of the brain.
Until my injury, I didn't spend too much time thinking about my brain, but in the last few years, I've learned a lot about the engine that drives our thoughts, emotions, and actions.
I've learned that in my battle to recover from this devastating injury, I am not alone. Researchers estimate that around 100 million Americans suffer from brain disorders at some point in their lives. From Alzheimer's to autism and ALS all the way to traumatic brain injury, post-traumatic stress disorder, and chronic depression, diseases of the brain are not only catastrophic, they are common.
That's why the President's BRAIN Initiative -- an all-hands-on-deck effort to understand the human brain and enable the tools, techniques, and technologies that can improve scientists' ability to diagnose, treat, and prevent neurological diseases -- is personal for me.
John PodestaOctober 01, 2014
09:54 AM EDT
From more frequent and extreme storms to higher average temperatures and rising seas, Americans today are experiencing first-hand what climate change will mean for their communities and their children. Taking steps today to cut carbon pollution and build resilience is essential to avert far more severe climate impacts in the future. As a recent report from the Council of Economic Advisers warns, postponing action on climate change could increase costs to the American economy by hundreds of billions of dollars per year.
Local communities are on the front lines of the climate challenge — and are among the most ambitious in searching for solutions. From deploying more clean energy and setting energy efficiency goals to building more green infrastructure and revising building codes, many cities, towns, and tribal communities have emerged as leaders in the fight against climate change.
Today, the Obama administration is launching the first round of the Climate Action Champions Competition, to recognize and support the path-breaking steps that local and tribal governments are already taking to reduce carbon pollution and prepare for the impacts of climate change. This new competition, administered by the Department of Energy, will identify 10-15 communities across the country that have proven themselves to be climate leaders by pursuing ambitious climate action on both tracks — reducing greenhouse gas emissions and building climate resilience.
David HudsonSeptember 30, 2014
08:08 PM EDT
This morning, President Obama met with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, marking the first bilateral summit between the two heads of state.
"It is an extraordinary pleasure to welcome Prime Minister Modi to the White House for the first time," President Obama said in remarks after their meeting. The President recognized the Prime Minister's historic victory in the Indian general election earlier this year, and the two leaders discussed the broad partnership that exists between the United States and India:
David HudsonSeptember 30, 2014
07:30 PM EDT
Today, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced the confirmation of the first Ebola case in the United States in a person who traveled from West Africa.
In a press conference, CDC Director Tom Frieden said that the virus was diagnosed in someone traveling from Liberia. Although the person had no symptoms when leaving Liberia, or when entering the United States, he started to present symptoms four to five days following his travel. The patient was admitted and placed in isolation on Sunday, September 28.
September 30, 2014
04:53 PM EDT
In February of this year, President Obama launched the My Brother’s Keeper (MBK) initiative to ensure that all youth, including boys and young men of color, have opportunities to improve their life outcomes and overcome barriers to success. The initiative aims to bring together government, law enforcement, business, non-profit, philanthropic, faith, and community leaders around shared goals for young people in this country.
And now, the Administration is taking this effort local, by engaging Mayors, tribal leaders, and county executives who are stepping up to lead in their communities. In a speech this past Saturday at the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) awards dinner, President Obama announced the My Brother’s Keeper Community Challenge, which will encourage communities (cities, counties, suburbs, rural municipalities, and tribal nations) to implement coherent cradle-to-college-and-career strategies aimed at improving life outcomes for all young people, consistent with the goals and recommendations of the White House’s MBK Task Force’s May, 2014 report. Rather than build a new federal program, or provide a top-down solution to problems that are often unique to local neighborhoods, the President has called upon local leaders, and sought to provide them the support and momentum they need, to design and implement strategies that are proven to work to address a set of challenges that are too often taken on in silos.
There is already incredible work being done by elected and community leaders around the country. This MBK Community Challenge is about harnessing that energy, expanding upon it, and operationalizing plans of action to functionally channel it at the local level.
Ezra MechaberSeptember 30, 2014
12:09 PM EDT
Earlier today, White House Senior Advisor Dan Pfeiffer sent this message to the White House email list previewing President Obama's week ahead. Didn't get it? Make sure you sign up for email updates here.
Last week at the United Nations, President Obama laid out a forceful case that in an uncertain world, American strength and leadership is the one constant.
The United States is leading an international coalition in the fight to degrade and ultimately destroy ISIL, to counter Russian aggression in Ukraine, and to contain and combat the Ebola epidemic in West Africa.
As the President said on Sunday night: That's how we roll.
This Thursday, speaking to Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management, the President will make the case for what has always fueled America's leadership -- and that's America's economic greatness. He'll take a step back from the rush of current events to explain what we've done to recover from the Great Recession and what we need to do to ensure that more middle-class Americans feel that progress in their own lives.
Tanya SomanaderSeptember 29, 2014
05:24 PM EDT
If you watch one video today, this should be it:
Whenever challenges face the world, one fact is clear: The world looks to the United States.
Last night, in an interview with 60 Minutes, President Obama explained why the United States is "the indispensable nation" when trouble arises in the world. From responding to humanitarian crises to confronting terrorism, America leads.
Because -- as the President said -- "that’s how we roll."
Secretary Thomas E. PerezSeptember 29, 2014
01:05 PM EDT
Ed. note: This is cross-posted on the U.S. Department of Labor blog. See the original post here.
Motlow State Community College in Tennessee is working with Bridgestone Tire Company and other employers to expand their mechatronics program, creating a training facility on-site at Bridgestone to prepare students to move quickly into high-skill jobs.
Estrella Mountain Community College is leading a consortium of five Arizona colleges to develop the workforce and talent pipeline required by the region’s energy and mining industries.
Bellevue College in Washington state, together with eight other schools, is launching a program to train veterans and their eligible spouses in the high-demand, high-wage field of health information technology.
All three of these efforts – and many more – are the result of a bold, unprecedented investment the Obama administration has made to expand job-driven training at community colleges nationwide.
The program is called TAACCCT -- that stands for Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training. As acronyms go, I’m not going to say it’s our very best work. But as a commitment to building a 21st century workforce, as a tool to prepare people for the jobs of today and tomorrow, it is second-to-none.
Lindsay HolstSeptember 27, 2014
06:00 AM EDT
President Barack Obama tapes the Weekly Address in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, Sept. 25, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)
In this week’s address, the President reiterated the forceful and optimistic message of American leadership that he delivered in his speech before the United Nations General Assembly earlier this week. America is leading the world against the most pressing challenges, including the fight to degrade and destroy ISIL, the effort to stop the Ebola epidemic, and the movement to confront the threat from climate change.
The world looks to America and its commitment to freedom in the face of uncertainty, and as the President said, it will continue to do so for generations to come.
Tanya SomanaderSeptember 26, 2014
06:41 PM EDT
This week, President Obama addressed the United Nations General Assembly on issues that demand the attention of the global community -- including climate change and violent extremism. We celebrated the third birthday of We the People, wished the Jewish community a Happy New Year, and said goodbye to Attorney General Eric Holder.
Interested in seeing what happened this week at the White House? Check out this week’s Weekly Wrap Up.
On Tuesday, at the U.N. Climate Summit, the President highlighted the ambitious clean energy investments and carbon emission reductions the United States has made. And while we’ve stepped up to act on climate change, President Obama made it clear that it’s time for our global partners to stand up too, because “no nation is immune to climate change”.
“We have to answer the call. We know what we have to do to avoid irreparable harm. We have to cut carbon pollution in our own countries to prevent the worst effects of climate change. We have to adapt to the impacts that, unfortunately, we can no longer avoid. And we have to work together as a global community to tackle this global threat before it is too late.”
Check out the chart below and see why we can’t wait to act on climate change:
David HudsonSeptember 26, 2014
03:00 PM EDT
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 June 2014. Today’s release also includes visitor records generated prior to September 16, 2009 that were requested by members of the public in August 2014 pursuant to the White House voluntary disclosure policy. This release brings the total number of records made public by this White House to more than 3.96 million -- all of which can be viewed in our Disclosures section.
Adam GarberSeptember 26, 2014
01:35 PM EDT
Welcome to the West Wing Week, your guide to everything that's happening at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
This week, the President unveiled the "It's on Us" campaign, signed the America's Promise Summit Declaration, and headed to New York City for the 69th session of the United Nations General Assembly. That's September 19 to September 25, or "Stronger When We Stand United."
Tanya SomanaderSeptember 26, 2014
01:00 PM EDT
A good way to build a stronger economy is to create a fairer and more efficient tax code -- one that promotes business investment and job creation in the United States. That is why the President has proposed business tax reform that will simplify the tax code by lowering the corporate tax rate and closing wasteful loopholes.
Congress has yet to act on the President’s proposal, and in the meantime, some companies continue to exploit unfair tax loopholes. One such loophole allows U.S. corporations to undertake an "inversion," whereby a company relocates their tax residence overseas, while changing very little else about its operations or business, in order to avoid paying taxes. With a simple change of paperwork, these companies can dramatically reduce their taxes, leaving other businesses and middle-class taxpayers to pick up the tab.
Dozens of U.S. corporations have taken advantage of the inversions loophole in recent years, and more are looking to follow suit. By renouncing their U.S. citizenship, these companies will cost our country nearly $20 billion over the next decade -- critical dollars that could be used to grow and expand the middle class.
The Treasury Department is using its authority to take initial, targeted steps to discourage American companies from inverting by limiting the benefits they would receive from such action. You don’t get to pick your tax rate, and neither should corporations.
Take a look at why the President has called on Congress to close the inversion tax loophole:
September 26, 2014
09:56 AM EDT
The nations of the world, along with key international organizations, gather at the White House today to advance a Global Health Security Agenda that will help keep the world safe from infectious disease threats.
This meeting is a critical opportunity to increase international commitment and, more importantly, action to stop the Ebola epidemic in West Africa and the infectious disease threats to come.
Ebola is a critical issue for the world community. There’s a real risk to the stability and security of societies, as governments are increasingly challenged to not only control Ebola but to provide basic health services and other government functions. The stability of these countries and their economies, as well as those of their neighbors and of others, is at increasing risk.
Ebola is the most recent tragic example of why it is imperative to work together to make the world safer from infectious disease outbreaks. Ebola is precisely the kind of health threat the Global Health Security Agenda could have prevented. We and our partner countries have agreed to work together so that effective prevention, detection, and response mechanisms are present in every country around the world.
Jason FurmanSeptember 26, 2014
09:30 AM EDT
Today’s revision confirms that economic growth in the second quarter was strong, and other recent data suggest that this momentum has continued into the subsequent months. While these indicators demonstrate that the economy has come a long way in recovering from the Great Recession, there is more work to do to both boost growth and ensure that growth translates into greater financial security for working families. The President will continue to do everything in his power to support investments in job creation and encourage higher incomes for workers.
FIVE KEY POINTS IN TODAY’S REPORT FROM THE BUREAU OF ECONOMIC ANALYSIS
1. Real gross domestic product (GDP) increased 4.6 percent at an annual rate in the second quarter of 2014, the fastest pace since the fourth quarter of 2011, according to the third estimate from the Bureau of Economic Analysis. The strong second-quarter growth represents a rebound from a first-quarter decline in GDP that largely reflected transitory factors like unusually severe winter weather and a sharp slowdown in inventory investment. Growth in consumer spending and business investment picked up in the second quarter, and residential investment increased following two straight quarters of decline. Additionally, State and local government spending grew at the fastest quarterly rate in five years. However, net exports subtracted from overall GDP growth, as imports grew slightly faster than exports. Real gross domestic income (GDI), an alternative measure of the overall size of the economy, was up 5.2 percent at an annual rate in the second quarter.
David HudsonSeptember 25, 2014
06:18 PM EDT
In remarks from the White House State Dining Room this afternoon, President Obama announced that Eric Holder will be stepping down from his current position as U.S. Attorney General.
Assuming office in February 2009, Holder's nearly six-year tenure makes him one of the longest-serving Attorney Generals in U.S. history. He will continue to serve as Attorney General until the President nominates his successor, and the successor is confirmed by the Senate.
Tanya SomanaderSeptember 25, 2014
02:35 PM EDT
The Ebola outbreak afflicting West African countries is now an epidemic of unprecedented proportions. President Obama has made combating this terrible disease a top national security priority and today, at the United Nations, he called on the world to join the United States in this effort.
September 25, 2014
02:30 PM EDT
Ed. note: Applications are now being accepted for the Summer 2015 White House Internship Program. This blog post introduces readers to Larry Hailsham, a former intern who worked in the Office of Presidential Correspondence in the summer of 2014. When asked about his internship experience, here's what Larry wrote.
I remember starting my application to apply for the White House Internship Program and the hesitations that I had. I wondered if I should even apply. But the moment I hit submit, there was no going back. A few short weeks later, I was interviewed and accepted into the program, something I would have never expected.
Tanya SomanaderSeptember 24, 2014
07:04 PM EDT
Today, President Obama led the United Nations Security Council in unanimously passing a binding resolution to stem the flow of foreign terrorist fighters into -- and out of -- Iraq and Syria.
In its nearly 70-year history, the United Nations Security Council has only met six times at the Head of State level. "We convene such sessions to address the most urgent threats to peace and security," the President said, who called the meeting to specifically address this growing threat:
Our intelligence agencies estimate that more than 15,000 foreign fighters from more than 80 nations have traveled to Syria in recent years. Many have joined terrorist organizations such as al Qaeda’s affiliate, the Nusrah Front, and ISIL, which now threatens people across Syria and Iraq. And I want to acknowledge and thank Prime Minister Abadi of Iraq for being here today.
In the Middle East and elsewhere, these terrorists exacerbate conflicts; they pose an immediate threat to people in these regions; and as we’ve already seen in several cases, they may try to return to their home countries to carry out deadly attacks.
Cameron BrenchleySeptember 24, 2014
05:56 PM EDT
Every young woman on our planet should have the opportunity to learn, grow, and thrive. That was the message delivered earlier today by First Lady Michelle Obama at the U.N. Global Education First Initiative in New York City. The initiative brings together heads of state and government, leading international advocates, and U.N. principals to focus on the importance of a quality education as a way to build a more equitable, prosperous, and sustainable world.
The First Lady noted that we’ve made significant progress in achieving the goal of educating all young women, particularly in primary education. As of 2012, every developing region in the world has achieved, or was close to achieving, gender parity in primary education.
But despite this accomplishment, the First Lady said that we shouldn’t be satisfied: