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Tanya SomanaderOctober 29, 2014
06:45 PM EDT
America has never been defined by fear. We are defined by courage and passion and hope and selflessness and sacrifice and a willingness to take on challenges when others can’t and others will not, and ordinary Americans who risk their own safety to help those in need, and who inspire, thereby, the example of others -- all in the constant pursuit of building a better world not just for ourselves but for people in every corner of the Earth.
-- President Obama, October 29, 2014
October 28, 2014
08:36 PM EDT
On Monday, we had the privilege of participating alongside the President in a meeting with his American Manufacturing Partnership (AMP) Steering Committee.
AMP -- led by its co-chairs, Dow’s Andrew Liveris and MIT’s Rafael Reif -- presented its final report with a set of new recommendations, and we discussed additional policy steps we’re taking to respond to them.
The President created AMP -- a working group of 19 leaders in industry, academia, and labor -- in June 2011 as part of his continuing effort to maintain the competitive edge on emerging technologies and invest in the future of our manufacturing sector. We’ve come a long way since then, and the policies fueled by AMP’s recommendations have been a big contributor to that progress.
When the President first launched AMP, unemployment was at 9.1 percent. We were just starting to see some fragile signs of life in the manufacturing sector after more than a decade of erosion. But not many shared our view that together we could build a foundation to revitalize American manufacturing or that manufacturing could continue to play a central role in our economy and our ability to innovate.
Contrast that picture to today. Growth has steadily strengthened and recently accelerated, with GDP rising 2.6 percent over the past year, faster than the 2.0 percent annualized pace of the preceding two years. Job growth is accelerating too. Unemployment is now down to 5.9 percent, falling 1.3 percentage points in the last year.
Tanya SomanaderOctober 28, 2014
07:30 PM EDT
President Barack Obama delivers a statement regarding U.S. health care workers responding to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, prior to his departure aboard Marine One from the White House South Lawn. October 28, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
Speaking on the South Lawn of the White House today, President Obama provided an update on America's comprehensive response to end the Ebola outbreak. So far, of the seven Americans treated for Ebola, all have survived. Only two people have contracted Ebola on American soil -- the two Dallas nurses who treated a patient who had contracted the virus in West Africa. And the only American still undergoing treatment is Dr. Craig Spencer, who contracted the disease abroad while working to protect others.
Rajiv ShahOctober 28, 2014
02:37 PM EDT
Ed. note: Below are excepts of an op-ed by USAID Administrator Raj Shah for USA Today. Read his op-ed in its entirety here.
In the heart of the Ebola epidemic, there is a clear sense of hope. I've just returned from Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, where I met dozens of health workers, humanitarians and community leaders who are making a difference in this fight.
There is no question that the pace, ingenuity, and scale of our global response must continue to grow quickly. But at a time when fear and misinformation spread panic faster than a virus, let's not miss the opportunity to scale up what's working, fix what isn't and bring the best of science, technology and innovation to bear on this devastating disease.
I spoke with Ebola survivors who now care for sick patients in the very same Ebola Treatment Unit (ETU) that saved their lives. I met local workers on burial teams who enter communities threatened by Ebola and endure the stigma of the virus to bury loved ones. At a training session for health care workers, I met a young doctor from Germany who gave up her holiday to put on a personal protective suit in the stifling heat and train others to work in the hot zone. We need hundreds more just like her. And we must ensure that when these brave individuals do volunteer to serve, we not prevent or unduly discourage them from undertaking this indispensable and selfless work.
Gina McCarthyOctober 28, 2014
12:56 PM EDT
Ed. note: This is cross-posted on EPA Connect, the official blog of EPA's leadership. See the original post here.
Let’s start with a few numbers:
$300 billion in savings. That’s how much consumers and businesses have saved on utility bills in the last 22 years because of the ENERGY STAR program.
Two billion metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions avoided, or the equivalent to the annual emissions of more than 420 million cars, over the last 22 years. Thanks to our little blue ENERGY STAR label, folks are doing their part to reduce their greenhouse emissions and combat climate change.
Since President Obama took office, ENERGY STAR has helped American consumers and businesses save over one billion metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions and approximately $110 billion on their utility bills.
That’s one powerful little label.
Tanya SomanaderOctober 27, 2014
06:56 PM EDT
Ed. Note: This factsheet is cross-posted from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Read the original factsheet in its entirety here.
Yesterday, based on the best medical science, the CDC updated its guidance to provide new information for public health officials on monitoring people who may have been exposed to Ebola; overseeing their care; and -- when warranted to protect the public health or our communities -- limiting their movement or activities.
These guidelines are crafted to keep the American public safe while not unnecessarily discouraging these workers from serving on the frontlines against this disease. They are heroes whose courage is worthy of our praise. Through these changes, we will help ensure that their symptoms are monitored and a system is in place to quickly recognize when they need to be routed to care. These actions will better protect potentially exposed individuals and the American public as a whole.
Alex WallOctober 27, 2014
01:30 PM EDT
We’re excited to announce that on Monday, November 3, First Lady Michelle Obama will take to Tumblr for the first time to answer your questions on education as part of her Reach Higher initiative, which aims to inspire every student to take charge of their future and complete their education past high school.
Getting a higher education has never been more important, because in today’s economy, a high school diploma just isn’t enough. That’s why the First Lady is working to rally the country around President Obama’s “North Star” goal -- that by 2020, America will once again have the highest proportion of college graduates in the world.
If you’ve got questions about preparing for college or how to pay for it, here’s how you can join the conversation:
- Starting today, ask your education questions for the First Lady on the White House Tumblr page. Be sure to get your questions in by 10:00 am ET on Friday.
- Beginning at 4:00 pm ET on Monday, November 3, we'll post the First Lady's answers to your questions on WhiteHouse.Tumblr.com.
- If you miss the Q&A, a recap will be posted on the White House Tumblr page and WhiteHouse.gov.
Learn more about the First Lady's initiative and how you can reach higher at WhiteHouse.gov/Reach-Higher, and then ask the First Lady a question on Tumblr before her first-ever Tumblr Q&A on Monday, November 3.
David HudsonOctober 25, 2014
06:00 AM EDT
President Barack Obama tapes the Weekly Address in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, Oct. 24, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)
In this week’s address, the President discussed the measures we are taking to respond to Ebola cases at home, while containing the epidemic at its source in West Africa. This week, we continued to focus on domestic preparedness, with the creation of new CDC guidelines and the announcement of new travel measures ensuring all travelers from the three affected countries are directed to and screened at one of five airports.
The President emphasized that it’s important to follow the facts, rather than fear, as New Yorkers did yesterday when they stuck to their daily routine. Ebola is not an easily transmitted disease, and America is leading the world in the fight to stamp it out in West Africa.
October 24, 2014
06:52 PM EDT
This week, we continued to actively monitor Ebola, invited Americans to participate in a We the People Meet Up, took a look back at the first White House website, and took a critical step to help protect consumers’ financial security.
Photo of the Week
David HudsonOctober 24, 2014
06:17 PM EDT
While caring for Ebola patient Thomas Eric Duncan at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital earlier this month, 26-year-old nurse Nina Pham was also infected with the disease. After first being hospitalized at the Texas hospital, she was later transferred to the National Institutes of Health Clinical Center in Bethesda, Maryland to continue treatment.
But today, 15 days after she first tested positive for Ebola, Nina was declared Ebola-free. Shortly after she left the hospital, President Obama welcomed her to the Oval Office.
Kori SchulmanOctober 24, 2014
06:06 PM EDT
Dr. Anthony Fauci, infectious disease chief at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), sat down to share an update on Ebola. Speaking from his office at NIH headquarters in Bethesda, MD, Dr. Fauci explains how Ebola spreads and what we’re doing to address it in the U.S. and in West Africa.
Take four minutes to get the facts from Dr. Fauci, then pass this video on.
Ashleigh AxiosOctober 24, 2014
05:53 PM EDT
Whether you noticed or not, WhiteHouse.gov casually turned 20 this past Tuesday. That’s right – it was two decades ago this week that the very first version of WhiteHouse.gov was introduced to the world by the first term of the Clinton administration.
We understand that it may have been awhile since you reflected on how far our nation’s information infrastructure has come and how much the website of the president has changed, so we wanted to zoom out for a second, recap some of the highlights of how WhiteHouse.gov has progressed, and forecast some future improvements that are currently under way.
October 24, 2014
03:27 PM EDT
In the United States of America, we invest less than 1 percent of our GDP in transportation infrastructure. We rank 28th in the world among advanced nations. We rank 28th in the world. The greatest country in the world ranks 28th in the world. And it costs in every way.
– Vice President Joe Biden
The Vice President has been traveling across the country, making the case that we need to invest in American infrastructure. Since 2009, the Obama administration has improved over 350,000 miles of roads, more than 6,000 miles of rail, and repaired or replaced over 20,000 bridges. As the Vice President says, “These are long-term investments in the health, the might and the dynamism of this country.”
But right now, 65 percent of our major roads are still rated in less than good condition, and 25 percent of our bridges require significant repair.
The world is not waiting, and the U.S. is lagging behind other advanced countries when it comes to total transportation investment.
Take a look at this chart to see where the U.S. ranks when it comes to investment in our basic infrastructure:
Secretary Tom VilsackOctober 24, 2014
02:09 PM EDT
This post is the first in a new series that will highlight the work happening across the President's cabinet on any given week. Check back each week -- we guarantee you'll learn something that surprises you.
Those of us who call rural America home know that there’s more to the rural economy than just farms and ranches. From bio-based products to rural manufacturing, the potential to grow and make innovative products in rural America is limitless. Most rural businesses are small ones -- and they support one in three jobs in rural America. Our loans and grants are helping those businesses thrive -- supporting reliable services like water, housing and broadband to make these same communities attract and retain a talented workforce. Collectively, these investments support the businesses and families that call America’s rural areas “home.” That's because we know that the better we equip those communities with the resources they need to succeed, the stronger our entire country's economy will be as a result.
I'm proud to report that the Department of Agriculture did several really important things to help rural communities across the country this week. Here's a run down on what we've been up to. Take a look, and if you learned something new -- pass it on.
Want to stay up to date with USDA? Follow along with us on Twitter at @USDA.
Cameron BrenchleyOctober 24, 2014
12:46 PM EDT
Last year, we launched “Of the People: Live from the White House,” a virtual field trip series with Discovery Education to give middle and high school students unique access to the White House and Obama administration officials.
On October 29, the “Of the People” series continues with a live cooking demonstration and a discussion about nutrition with Sam Kass, Executive Director of Let’s Move! and White House Senior Policy Advisor for Nutrition Policy.
Adam GarberOctober 23, 2014
07:05 PM EDT
This week, the President took action to make consumers' credit card transactions more secure, voted early at the Martin Luther King Jr. Community Service Center in Chicago, welcomed the new Ebola Response Coordinator on his first day on the job, and talked science and tech with some of his top advisors. That's October 17 to October 23 or, "A Chip and PIN."
Ezra MechaberOctober 23, 2014
05:52 PM EDT
— WeThePeople (@wethepeople) October 23, 2014
On September 22, 2011, we launched We the People to give Americans a new way to petition their government around issues they care about. Since then, more than 15 million users have participated, collecting more than 22 million signatures on more than 360,000 petitions. And to celebrate its third birthday, we hosted our first-ever meetup for We the People users and petition creators right here at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
Meetup participants toured the White House, then spent the afternoon across the street at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, where they discussed their experience using the petitions platform and heard from Administration officials.
During the afternoon session, they spoke with Megan Smith, the government's Chief Technology Officer, Paulette Aniskoff, Director of the Office of Public Engagement, and James Kvaal, Deputy Director of the Domestic Policy Council. Finally, the petition creators and signers capped off their day meeting with Press Secretary Josh Earnest to talk broadly about how new technologies have changed the way the government engages with media and with the public.
Check out their day at the White House below and over on Storify.
October 23, 2014
03:51 PM EDT
Ed. Note: This is cross-posted on the Department of Agriculture's blog. See the original post here.
Birthdays are truly special occasions, celebrating a milestone of achievement. This week, USDA’s Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (better known as WIC) celebrates the program’s 40th anniversary, highlighting four decades of helping improve the lives of millions of infants and children across America.
Since the first WIC clinic opened in Pineville, KY, back in 1974, the program now provides services through almost 1,900 local agencies in all 50 states, 34 Tribal Organizations, the District of Columbia, American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Guam, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.
Leigh HeymanOctober 23, 2014
12:24 PM EDT
The White House petitions platform, We the People, just became more accessible and open than ever before. We are very excited to announce the launch of the "write" version of the Petitions Application Programming Interface, or "API."
Starting today, people can sign We the People petitions even when they’re not on WhiteHouse.gov. Now, users can also use third-party platforms, including other petitions services, or even their own websites or blogs. All of those signatures, once validated, will count towards a petition’s objective of meeting the 100,000-signature threshold needed for an official White House response.
We the People started with a simple goal: to give more Americans a way to reach their government. To date, the platform has been more successful than we could have imagined, with more than 16 million users creating and signing more than 360,000 petitions.
We launched our Write API beta test last year, and since then we’ve been hard at work, both internally and in collaboration with our beta test participants. Last spring, as part of the National Day of Civic Hacking, we hosted a hackathon right here at the White House, where our engineers spent a day sitting side-by-side with our beta testers to help get our code and theirs ready for the big day.
That big day has finally come.
Click here if you want to get started right away, or read on to learn more about the Petitions Write API.
October 23, 2014
10:20 AM EDT
When was the first White House website launched?
The first White House website went live under the Clinton administration 20 years ago in 1994, the same year we were born. As interns in the White House Office of Digital Strategy and children of the 90s, we grew up alongside the several updated versions of the White House website.
In a way, we’ve shared our awkward teenage years with the site -- including our transition from clip art to emoji, VHS to YouTube videos, and full sentences to 140 characters.