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March 03, 2015
05:55 PM EST
This afternoon, President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama announced that the White House is ramping up its efforts to Let Girls Learn with a new initiative focused on supporting girls’ education around the world.
The Obama administration has partnered with the Peace Corps to take on the challenge of keeping girls in school. Even in 2015, more than 62 million girls across the globe are not receiving an education, and even more are fighting to stay there. In many countries around the world, a girl risks dangerous walks to school, pressure to give up her education, and a lack of support for the resources she needs in her schooling.
March 03, 2015
12:05 PM EST
President Barack Obama, with First Lady Michelle Obama, delivers remarks during a reception celebrating Black History Month in the East Room of the White House, Feb. 26, 2015. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
In 1926, the great historian and author Carter G. Woodson pioneered "Negro History Week" — a time set aside to honor African Americans and their contributions to our history.
"If a race has no history, it has no worthwhile tradition," Woodson once wrote. "It becomes a negligible factor in the thought of the world, and it stands in danger of being exterminated."
That week would later become Black History Month — and this year, the White House hosted a number of events and activities to celebrate the contributions and the accomplishments of African Americans both past and present.
Tanya SomanaderMarch 03, 2015
09:53 AM EST
"Thank you for the Affordable Care Act. Because of it, I have been able to get health insurance for just about $52 a month."
She wasn't going to sign up. But on the last day of Open Enrollment last year, Lori's mom insisted that she at least check out HealthCare.gov. Surprised by the reasonable rates, Lori signed up for an affordable plan that covers almost everything she would need.
March 02, 2015
06:05 PM EST
Thursday was a historic day for the Internet. The FCC voted in favor of a strong net neutrality rule to keep the Internet open and free. This didn’t just happen over night and by no means was it easy. It happened because millions of Americans across the country didn’t just care about securing an open and free Internet, spoke out.
More than 4 million people wrote in to the FCC to call for the protection of a free and fair Internet. Others added their names to petitions, spoke out on social media, and talked with peers about why this issue couldn’t wait any longer. Prior to being elected in 2008, President Obama pledged support for net neutrality. On Thursday, he thanked Americans for their hard work.
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) February 26, 2015
Since then, both individuals and groups have joined the President in showing support for the net neutrality decision. Here's what they're saying:
Holy cow. Net neutrality is official. Congrats, thank you, and !!! to everybody on the internet. http://t.co/ejGEobz3UC
— Tumblr (@tumblr) February 26, 2015
March 02, 2015
04:16 PM EST
Earlier today, President Obama met with the Task Force on 21st Century Policing to discuss their recommendations to help communities and law enforcement agencies across the country to strengthen trust and collaboration, while continuing to reduce crime.
The Task Force was announced in December, and has been co-chaired by Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey and former Assistant Attorney General Laurie Robinson. Joining them on the Task Force is a diverse array of experts from the law enforcement community, academia, youth activists, as well as community and civil rights leaders. Their recommendations for helping to keep police officers and neighborhoods safe were released today, as called for by the Executive Order that established the Task Force.
David HudsonMarch 02, 2015
03:34 PM EST
Throughout February, a number of Departments and Cabinet Secretaries held special events and participated in activities to commemorate Black History Month. Take a look at a few of the highlights below.
Secretary Perez sat down with Rep. John Lewis to talk about the Civil Rights Movement.
Last Friday, Labor Secretary Tom Perez and Rep. John Lewis sat down for an in-depth conversation and Q&A about the Civil Rights Movement, as well as the Department of Labor’s role in the movement.
Watch some of the highlights of the conversation below -- or listen to the full conversation here.
Tanya SomanaderMarch 02, 2015
10:27 AM EST
"The Affordable Care Act has made it possible for my family to be covered at more than a reasonable price."
Jason T. is "just a regular guy with a wife and two kids." A native of Holland, Michigan, Jason wrote a letter to the President simply to tell him that the Affordable Care Act works.
Jason and his family went through a financial upheaval a few years ago, going into bankruptcy and facing foreclosure. Thankfully, he and his family are back on their feet, but they still needed ways to get ahead.
Finding affordable coverage on HealthCare.gov "helped close a huge gap in my finances." So he wrote the President to say thanks, and offer an invitation:
"If you ever find yourself in the Midwest with some time to spare, the Medici or Lou Malnati's Pizza and Garrett's is on my family."
March 02, 2015
09:30 AM EST
Continuing the Administration’s active engagement in Central America, the Vice President is traveling to Guatemala City on Monday to meet with the Presidents of El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and the President of the Inter-American Development Bank.
Last November in Washington D.C., the leaders of these countries rolled out their Alliance for Prosperity plan to tackle the endemic violence and poverty that have held the region back while the rest of the hemisphere has prospered. The Vice President also outlined how the United States, the international community, and the private sector could support the plan’s implementation.
This week in Guatemala City, the presidents will update Vice President Biden on their progress. The presidents of the countries have already taken courageous steps to target criminal smuggling groups, root out corruption, and promote the transparency of their institutions.
March 01, 2015
04:12 PM EST
Since Israel’s founding in 1948, the United States has stood firmly as its closest ally in the Middle East. The first country to recognize Israel, the United States has forged a deep and unshakable bond with Israel through a multifaceted relationship that reflects the depth and breadth of the ties between our people and the values that we share.
Under President Obama’s leadership, American engagement with Israel has grown and strengthened to an unprecedented degree. From meeting frequently with Israeli leaders to ensuring that Israel remains the largest recipient of U.S. foreign assistance, the President is deeply committed to helping Israel maintain its strength and security.
Here are the five key facts you need to know about the U.S.-Israel relationship under President Obama:
David HudsonFebruary 28, 2015
01:44 PM EST
Yesterday evening, the President spoke at the portrait unveiling ceremony for U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder. The event marked Holder's anticipated departure from the Department of Justice after more than six years of service as Attorney General.
David HudsonFebruary 28, 2015
06:00 AM EST
President Barack Obama tapes the Weekly Address in the Library of the White House, Feb. 27, 2015. (Official White House Photo by Amanda Lucidon)
In this week’s address, the President reiterated his commitment to middle-class economics, and to ensuring that all hardworking Americans get the secure and dignified retirement they deserve.
While most financial advisers prioritize their clients’ futures, there are some who direct their clients towards bad investments in return for back-door payments and hidden fees. That’s why, earlier this week, the President announced that he is calling on the Department of Labor to update rules to protect families from conflicts of interest by requiring financial advisers to put their clients’ best interest before their own profits.
The President emphasized his promise to keep fighting for this policy and for others that benefit millions of working and middle-class Americans.
February 27, 2015
07:05 PM EST
This week, the President announced a new initiative to protect Americans' retirement savings, hosted governors at the White House, thanked advocates for their work in securing a free and open Internet, and celebrated the first anniversary of the My Brother's Keeper initiative.
Find out more about the past week at the White House in our latest weekly wrap-up.
On Monday, the President announced major actions to update the rules in place to protect you and your retirement savings. Under our current system, financial advisors can accept a back-door payment or hidden fees for directing you toward a retirement plan that's not in your best interest. On average, these conflicts of interest cost Americans $17 billion in total losses every year.
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) February 23, 2015
That's why the President is directing the Department of Labor to crack down on this kind of behavior. Check out this quick explainer video and see what the President is doing to help.
Tanya SomanaderFebruary 27, 2015
04:20 PM EST
With less than one day left before the Department of Homeland Security's funding expires, House Republicans continue to threaten a shutdown of a department that keeps Americans safe. Set to run out tomorrow, this critical funding pays for more than 30,000 American workers, helps keep our cities safe and our border secure, and is essential to our overall national security.
That's why President Obama has continually pushed Congress to pass a clean bill that funds the Department without any strings attached. Here are five things you need to know about the House Republicans' threat to shut down the Department of Homeland Security:
1. It would furlough thousands of employees who keep us safe, and would force many to work without pay.
If the Republicans follow through on their threat to shut down the Department, at least 30,000 employees who keep us safe would be forced to go on furlough. Also, hundreds of thousands of employees would be forced to work without pay. This includes:
- More than 40,000 Border Patrol agents and Customs and Border Protection officers
- More than 50,000 TSA aviation security screeners
- More than 13,000 Immigration and Customs Enforcement law enforcement agents and officers
- More than 40,000 active-duty Coast Guard military members
- More than 4,000 Secret Service law enforcement agents and officers
David HudsonFebruary 27, 2015
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 November 2014. This release brings the total number of records made public by this White House to more than 4.32 million — all of which can be viewed in our Disclosures section.
February 27, 2015
02:53 PM EST
"Helping more of our young people stay on track. Providing the support they need to think more broadly about their future. Building on what works, when it works, in those critical life-changing moments."
That's how President Obama explained the My Brother's Keeper initiative a year ago when it first launched. And in the 12 months since, we've seen a tremendous response from people and organizations at all levels that are answering the President's call to action.
Adam GarberFebruary 27, 2015
01:26 PM EST
This week, the President hosted civil rights and consumer protection advocates, filmed a Let's Move sketch with the First Lady, sat down for a heart-to-heart with a White House mentee, held an immigration town hall in Florida, and honored Black History Month at the White House.
Jason FurmanFebruary 27, 2015
09:51 AM EST
Today’s estimate of fourth-quarter economic growth affirms the strong underlying trend of the largest and most persistent components of output, while reflecting downward revisions to more volatile sectors. The combination of personal consumption and business fixed investment—known as private domestic final purchases—grew at a somewhat faster pace than in the third quarter, indicating the same positive trend. Meanwhile, the more volatile and transitory factors that boosted growth in the third quarter subtracted from it in the fourth. Overall, today’s report is consistent with a wide range of indicators showing further labor market strengthening, increasing domestic energy security, continued low health cost growth, and resiliency in the face of slower growth in the global economy. The President’s approach to middle-class economics would build on this growth while helping to ensure that our recovery is widely shared with all American families.
FIVE KEY POINTS IN TODAY’S REPORT FROM THE BUREAU OF ECONOMIC ANALYSIS
1. Real gross domestic product (GDP) grew 2.2 percent at an annual rate in the fourth quarter of 2014, according to the second estimate from the Bureau of Economic Analysis. The report reflects especially strong consumption growth, an upward revision to business fixed investment, and continued residential investment increases. At the same time, the large third-quarter increase in Federal defense spending reversed, and inventory investment was revised down (see point 2). Overall, real GDP has risen 2.4 percent versus the fourth quarter of 2013.
Gayle SmithFebruary 26, 2015
07:02 PM EST
Yesterday, the White House launched the President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI) strategy for 2015-2020 with our special guest, Steph Curry, a malaria champion who also happens to be a basketball player for the Golden State Warriors. Steph inspires legions around the world with his basketball skills, including those of us sports fans here in the White House. We were thrilled to have him speak about his passionate efforts—including at and around his alma mater, Davidson College—to raise awareness of and resources for malaria prevention, the results of which he saw firsthand in Tanzania.
Tanya SomanaderFebruary 26, 2015
05:15 PM EST
"Export" -- a rather formal word for such an important piece of our economic strength, and our daily lives. Think about it: When you're browsing eBay or Etsy, or perusing a small business in your community, you may be shopping with business owners who sell their products to consumers across the globe.
Those exports have helped strengthen the economy in every state and for our nation as a whole. In fact, American exports contributed nearly one-third to our economic growth in the recovery. They supported nearly 11.3 million jobs in 2013. And companies that sell their goods and services abroad pay their employees on average up to 18% more than companies that don't.
The bottom line? Exports are good for American businesses, and great for American workers.
Check out what happens for our economy when we export more goods and services stamped with three proud words: Made in America.
Jeffrey ZientsFebruary 26, 2015
03:00 PM EST
Senator Warren raises some important questions about an element of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) called Investor-State Dispute settlement, or ISDS.
There are good answers.
The purpose of investment provisions in our trade agreements is to provide American individuals and businesses who do business abroad with the same protections we provide to domestic and foreign investors alike in the United States.
ISDS is an arbitration procedure – similar to procedures used every day by businesses, governments, and private citizens across the globe – that allows for an impartial, law-based approach to resolve conflicts and has been important to encouraging development, rule of law, and good governance around the world. ISDS does not undermine U.S. sovereignty, change U.S. law, nor grant any new substantive rights to multinational companies.
The reality is that ISDS does not and cannot require countries to change any law or regulation.
ISDS has come under criticism because of some legitimate complaints about poorly written agreements. The U.S. shares some of those concerns, and agrees with the need for new, higher standards, stronger safeguards and better transparency provisions. Through TPP and other agreements, that is exactly what we are putting in place.