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Tanya SomanaderNovember 27, 2014
06:00 AM EST
President Barack Obama tapes the Weekly Address in the Roosevelt Room of the White House. November 26, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)
In this week's address, the President wished everyone a happy Thanksgiving and reflected on the history of our country and its celebration of diversity. He gave thanks for the many Americans who sacrifice every day, from volunteer workers who serve their communities, to men and women in uniform who serve us all.
On Thanksgiving, a holiday that is uniquely American, he reminded us to focus on what unites -- our commitment to American ideals like justice and equality and our gratitude and love for our country.
November 26, 2014
06:38 PM EST
Since 1947, the chairman of the National Turkey Federation has presented a turkey to the President. Each Thanksgiving, the President “pardons” that turkey, ensuring that the bird gets to spend the rest of its days living on a farm in Virginia. Today, President Obama celebrated the 67th anniversary of the National Thanksgiving Turkey presentation by pardoning two 20-week old, 48-pound turkeys. And just like last year, the American public decided which of the two turkeys – Mac or Cheese – would become the National Thanksgiving Turkey by casting a vote for #TeamMac or #TeamCheese online.
Adam GarberNovember 26, 2014
05:27 PM ESTThis week, the President traveled to Las Vegas and Chicago to highlight the steps he is taking to reform our broken immigration system, awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and delivered a statement on the Grand Jury's decision in Ferguson, while the Vice President and Dr. Biden visited Ukraine and Turkey. That's November 21st to November 27th or, "We Need Turkey."
November 26, 2014
05:17 PM ESTThis Dayjul4In History
When was Thanksgiving officially established at the White House?
It all started on September 28, 1789, when the first Federal Congress asked President George Washington to declare a national day of thanksgiving. Just a few days later, George Washington issued a Presidential Proclamation declaring Thursday, November 26th as a national day of “public thanksgiving.”
However, it wasn’t until 1863 -- when President Abraham Lincoln declared that the last Thursday of November be marked as Thanksgiving -- that the holiday emerged as a national holiday.
But it wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without a little gravy mixed in with American history, right?
November 26, 2014
04:14 PM EST
America has developed a wide number of social innovations that have matured from novel experiments into best practices for healthy societies. We pioneered new approaches to charitable giving such as the community foundation. We developed national service into a standard rite for youth development. But in just a few short years, #GivingTuesday has emerged as a potent new model of online and offline engagement that was pioneered in our country but has taken root around the world.
Since it launched in 2012, #GivingTuesday has become a case study in community organizing in the 21st century. It follows the consumer traditions of Black Friday and Cyber Monday on the public calendar. But, unlike these commercial counterparts, #GivingTuesday offers a moment on the calendar to encourage Americans to reflect and give back. Some might choose to volunteer their talent, others might make charitable contributions and still others simply to connect with friends and loved ones. Through millions of online clicks and offline acts, we expect #GivingTuesday will take many forms, but all will be energized by a common impulse to make life better, especially for those in need.
It’s exciting that the #GivingTuesday organizers have exceeded the heights achieved in prior years. In 2015, it will take place through more than 18,000 partner organizations spread across all 50 states. It will involve 40 local communities who are developing their own unique campaigns to motivate and organize local citizens on making a difference.
This year, #GivingTuesday also could be described as #GlobalTuesday in 2015 because it is reaching beyond our borders. This year, the event will encompass citizens of dozens of countries around the world who are customizing their initiatives to their cultural norms and local needs. So, without regard to ethnicity, nationality, faith or political affiliation, millions are poised to be engaged in this worldwide moment.
Here at the White House, President Obama is proud to celebrate this American innovation that is creating world changing impact.
So now our question is – how will you celebrate #GivingTuesday?
Jonathan Greenblatt is a Special Assistant to the President and the Director of the Office of Social Innovation and Civic Participation.
Lindsay HolstNovember 26, 2014
03:05 PM EST
There's a good chance it'll take you less time to apply for health coverage than to make your Thanksgiving dinner.
Need health insurance? Visit HealthCare.gov right now, where you can shop for plans and get yourself signed up.
Check out the full recipe after the jump.
Cecilia MuñozNovember 26, 2014
01:32 PM EST
Last week, the President took action to fix as much of our broken immigration system as possible within the scope of his existing legal authority. The President’s Immigration Accountability Executive Actions are an important step to fix our broken immigration system. Millions of undocumented immigrants who live in the shadows want to play by the rules, pay their fair share of taxes, and get right with the law. The President is taking action to fix as much of the problem as he can, while continuing to work with Congress to pass a comprehensive, bipartisan immigration reform bill.
The President has been clear that he can’t fix the immigration system entirely on his own; whatever action he takes will not be a substitute for long-lasting solutions that only comprehensive immigration legislation can provide.
Here are the five things that you should know about the President’s initiatives impacting undocumented immigrants in the United States.
Tanya SomanaderNovember 26, 2014
12:22 PM EST
"I was finally able to have a physical and a gynecological check-up, which included a mammogram. The mammogram showed an irregularity ... The cancer has been detected at a very early stage, which, with a 98% survival rate, has saved my life!"
Ann, a 51-year old mother of three, is a licensed massage therapist from Westport, CT who is dedicated to healing others. As a self-employed single mother, she could not afford health insurance. But when the Health Care Marketplace opened for all Americans last year, she found out that she qualified for Medicaid in her state. That coverage finally gave her the opportunity to see a doctor -- and catch her breast cancer very early.
She will have minor surgery to remove the irregularity and now has an almost 100% chance of survival. What's more, the cost of the screening and minor procedure will be far less than treating a more developed cancer down the line.
Thanks to HealthCare.gov, she got the care she needed when she needed it most.
Read more stories about Americans whose lives are being made better by health reform.
Over the past year, we’ve seen 10 million additional Americans gain health insurance, leading to a 26 percent drop in adults living without health coverage. This is progress which can’t be adequately quantified by the numbers, and as we approach the third week of our second Open Enrollment period this Thanksgiving weekend, we fully expect hundreds of thousands of families to use part of their time together to gather around their laptops, tablets and computers to make sure everyone has the health coverage they need to stay healthy in the new year.
Of the millions of Americans who are newly covered thanks to the ACA, many saw doctors for the first time in years, many caught or prevented conditions before they became life threatening, and millions more slept soundly with the peace of mind that they weren’t living just one accident or unexpected illness away from losing everything. Every day, the President hears from hundreds or thousands of these folks who write the President and share their story. As we kick off the holiday season here at the White House, we reached out to handful of these folks to let them know the President appreciated reading their letters, and to hear a little more about their stories in hopes that their experiences may compel others to also visit HealthCare.gov this holiday season.
Regina Moran had already battled cancer twice by the time she turned 25. A social worker in Philadelphia, she was paying nearly $700 per month for insurance and costly medications not covered under her plan. She was working multiple jobs and was forced to put vacations, graduate school, and even her wedding on hold to pay for health coverage for the medicine she needed. Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, that has all changed.
Adam GarberNovember 26, 2014
11:20 AM EST
The audio series Being Biden is an opportunity for the Vice President to give you a window into his daily life, and share some of his most memorable experiences.
In this episode, Vice President Biden talks about what it was like on his recent trip to Ukraine to visit a memorial that honored those who were killed during protests in Kyiv last year. The woman with the Vice President is reporter and activist Myroslava Gongadze, who lost her husband more than a decade ago because he spoke out against a then-undemocratic government. Today, she stands with those calling for a free, whole, and prosperous Ukraine. Listen to this edition of Being Biden:
Kori SchulmanNovember 26, 2014
09:30 AM EST
On Wednesday, November 26th, President Obama will announce the National Thanksgiving Turkey and, once again, we’re inviting the American people to decide which bird takes the title.
Since at least the 19th century, Americans have been sending turkeys to the President for the holidays. As part of a more recent tradition that began in 2012, the National Thanksgiving Turkey will be chosen by the public through an online vote. This year’s top turkeys, Mac and Cheese, are going beak-to-beak on Twitter -- and it's up to you to decide who will be America's next top turkey.
Mac and Cheese flock from Cooper Farms in Oakwood, Ohio. Mac's got a grand champion style strut and his gobble has a country ring to it. Cheese is a feather-shaker with a rhythmic gobble that loves to cheese it up for the the cameras.
Which turkey has what it takes?
Jeffrey ZientsNovember 25, 2014
07:10 PM EST
The President is taking action, within his legal authority, to fix our broken immigration system. America needs a 21st century immigration system that lives up to our heritage as a nation of laws and a nation of immigrants -- and that grows our economy.
According to an analysis by the President’s Council of Economic Advisers, the President’s executive actions on immigration stand to boost the nation’s GDP by $90 billion to $210 billion, while shrinking the Federal deficit by $25 billion over the next ten years. These actions will also increase the productivity and wages of all American workers, not just immigrants.
Many of these economic benefits spring from the President’s actions to “make it easier and faster for high-skilled immigrants, graduates, and entrepreneurs to stay and contribute to our economy.” We need to build on our strengths -- after all, over one-quarter of all U.S.-based Nobel laureates over the past 50 years were foreign-born, and more than 40 percent of Fortune 500 companies were founded by immigrants or children of immigrants.
Lindsay HolstNovember 25, 2014
05:42 PM EST
This afternoon, President Obama traveled back to his hometown of Chicago to meet with civic and business leaders and detail the reasons he's acting on his own to help fix our broken immigration system.
Speaking from a Polish community center in Chicago, the President reminded us that every president since Eisenhower has used his executive authority to address immigration issues. In fact, every president for the last 50 years has taken action to keep families together and help improve our nation's immigration system.
"We didn’t raise the Statue of Liberty with her back to the world; we did it...with her light...shining." —Obama #ImmigrationAction
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) November 25, 2014
Jason FurmanNovember 25, 2014
09:35 AM EST
Today’s upward revision affirms that economic growth in the third quarter was strong, consistent with a broad range of other indicators showing improvement in the labor market, increasing domestic energy security, and continued low health cost growth. Since the financial crisis, the U.S. economy has bounced back more strongly than most others around the world, and the recent data highlight that the United States is continuing to lead the global recovery. Nevertheless, there is more work to be done to boost growth in the United States and around the world. The President’s common-sense administrative actions on immigration—which CEA estimates will raise GDP by at least 0.4 percent over 10 years—will contribute to this effort, but only Congress can finish the job and make progress on other important steps like increased infrastructure investment.
FIVE KEY POINTS IN TODAY’S REPORT FROM THE BUREAU OF ECONOMIC ANALYSIS
1. Real gross domestic product (GDP) grew 3.9 percent at an annual rate in the third quarter of 2014, according to the second estimate from the Bureau of Economic Analysis. The solid growth recorded in each of the last two quarters suggests that the economy has bounced back strongly from the first-quarter decline in GDP, which largely reflected transitory factors like unusually severe winter weather and a sharp slowdown in inventory investment. In the third quarter, net exports made a large positive contribution to growth, while consumer spending and business investment remained positive contributors but grew at a somewhat slower pace than the previous quarter. Real gross domestic income (GDI), an alternative measure of the overall size of the economy, was up 4.5 percent in Q3.
Lindsay HolstNovember 24, 2014
10:31 PM EST
Tonight, speaking from the White House Briefing Room, President Obama spoke to the American people about the announcement of the grand jury's decision in the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. The President joined Michael Brown’s parents in calling on anyone who protests to do so peacefully.
In his remarks, the President offered a path forward for our country, noting that the situation in Ferguson speaks to broader challenges we still face as a nation including the mistrust between law enforcement and communities of color. The President asked the nation to heed a grieving father’s words tonight and called on the country to seize this moment tomorrow as an opportunity for change.
Ezra MechaberNovember 24, 2014
08:49 PM EST
Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel announced today that he would be stepping down from his position overseeing the Department of Defense. Hagel, who served in the Army during Vietnam, is the 24th Secretary of Defense.
Speaking from the State Dining Room of the White House, President Obama noted that Secretary Hagel has helped to oversee a significant period of transition for both the Pentagon and the country:
The draw-down in Afghanistan, the need to prepare our forces for future missions and tough fiscal choices to keep our military strong and ready. Over nearly two years, Chuck has been an exemplary Defense Secretary, providing a steady hand as we modernized our strategy and budget to meet long-term threats, while still responding to immediate challenges like ISIL and Ebola. Thanks to Chuck, our military is on a firmer footing, engaged in these missions and looking ahead to the future.
November 24, 2014
08:26 PM EST
President Obama and our Administration understand the importance of start-ups and small businesses to economic growth in the United States and around the world. As the Secretary of Commerce and the Administrator of the Small Business Administration (SBA), we were proud to represent the U.S. last week at the premier forum on entrepreneurship in the world: the Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES).
Traveling to Morocco with a delegation led by Vice President Biden, we came to GES with a clear purpose: to reaffirm President Obama’s commitment to entrepreneurship worldwide and to emphasize America’s leadership as the epicenter of invention and innovation – a model for other countries to follow.
We came to learn; to engage with young men and women from across the globe; and, hopefully, to inspire. And we have come away from this experience inspired ourselves.
November 24, 2014
03:34 PM EST
On November 15, the Health Insurance Marketplace opened for the 2015 enrollment season, giving current Marketplace enrollees a chance to compare their options for 2015 and others the chance to think about purchasing affordable coverage through the Marketplace for the first time. Individuals can find a plan that meets their needs and their budget at HealthCare.gov.
But November 15 also saw the beginning of online shopping through the Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP). Historically, small businesses have paid as much as 18 percent more than their larger competitors for the same coverage, reflecting high broker fees, administrative costs, and other factors.
Tanya SomanaderNovember 24, 2014
03:17 PM EST
Everyone knows that our immigration system has been broken for decades. So, like many presidents before him, President Obama is taking new steps to do what he can to fix the system while the country waits for Republicans to Congress to act.
1. So what are the actions the President is taking?
President Obama is using his executive authority to fix as much of the broken system as he can, and ensure that everyone is held accountable and has the opportunity to play by the rules and contribute to the United States. You can read the full details of the plan here, but here's a breakdown of what the President’s plan will do:
- Continue to strengthen our border security by deploying more resources to bolster enforcement
- Make it easier and faster for high-skilled immigrants, graduates, and entrepreneurs to stay and contribute to our economy
- Hold more than 4 million undocumented immigrants accountable if they want to temporarily stay in the United States
For undocumented immigrants who are living in our country illegally, this is the deal: If you’ve been in America for more than five years; if you have children who are U.S. citizens or legal permanent residents; if you pass a criminal background check, you’ll be able to apply to stay in this country temporarily without fear of deportation and be required to pay taxes.
November 24, 2014
03:14 PM EST
Speaking from the East Room this afternoon, President Obama awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom to eighteen individuals who have devoted their lives to public service.
President Barack Obama presents the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Chilean journalist and author Isabel Allende during ceremony in the East Room of the White House, Nov. 24, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)
What is the Presidential Medal of Freedom?
The Presidential Medal of Freedom is the Nation’s highest civilian honor, presented to individuals who have made especially meritorious contributions to the security or national interests of the United States, to world peace, or to cultural or other significant public or private endeavors.