May 17, 2013
06:08 PM EDT
Obama Cares: On the Friday before Mother’s Day, President Obama explained how the Affordable Care Act is helping women. For example, the law prevents insurance companies from charging women more than men and requires insurance companies to cover preventive services like mammograms free of charge.
Thanks to the women in this room and people all across the country, we worked really hard -- and it’s now been more than three years since Congress passed the Affordable Care Act and I signed it into law. It’s been nearly a year since the Supreme Court upheld the law under the Constitution. And, by the way, six months ago, the American people went to the polls and decided to keep going in this direction. So the law is here to stay.
The President asked Americans to learn the facts about the Affordable Care Act and the wide array of benefits the law is already providing. You can visit WhiteHouse.gov/HealthReform and HealthCare.gov to see what the law does for your family.
Make sure you know what the actual facts are, because you stand to benefit if you’re not already benefiting from this thing. Don’t let people confuse you. Don’t let them run the okiedoke on you. Don’t be bamboozled.
The nearly 85% of Americans who have health insurance are already benefiting from the Affordable Care Act. Now the White House is asking Americans from across the country to speak now in support of health care reform. Lend your name, share your story, and be part of making the law a success here.
Heather ZichalMay 17, 2013
05:50 PM EDT
As the single largest consumer of energy in the United States, the Department of Defense (DOD) knows that improving efficiency and harnessing new energy technologies is imperative – not only to achieve significant cost savings, but to give our troops better energy options on the battlefield, at sea, in the air, and at home.
At DOD’s fixed installations alone – including, barracks, offices, and hospitals – energy bills come in around $4 billion each year. Given this large footprint as well as the importance of safe, secure, and affordable energy sources to mission readiness, the Department has made one of the largest commitments to clean energy in history, by developing a goal to deploy three gigawatts of renewable energy – including solar, wind, biomass, and geothermal – on Army, Navy, and Air Force installations by 2025 – enough to power 750,000 homes.
When it comes specifically to solar power, a new report today from the Solar Energy Industries Association underscores the progress that DOD is making towards its goals.
“Enlisting the Sun: Powering the U.S. Military with Solar Energy” highlights solar energy’s growing role in powering military installations and military homes across America. According to the report, as of early 2013, there are more than 130 megawatts (MW) of solar photovoltaic (PV) energy systems powering Navy, Army, and Air Force bases in at least 31 states and the District of Columbia. Combined, these installations provide enough clean energy to power more than 20,000 American homes.
Valerie JarrettMay 17, 2013
05:28 PM EDT
Today at the White House, we convened the 10th annual meeting of the President’s Interagency Task Force to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons. Secretary of State Kerry led the meeting, which was attended by Cabinet secretaries and representatives from agencies including State, Justice, Defense, Labor, Human and Health Services, Homeland Security, Interior, Agriculture, Transportation, Education, as well as USAID, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Office of Management and Budget, and White House policy offices.
Each department, agency, and office shared their strategies to prevent trafficking, protect victims, prosecute offenders, and partner with civil society— both at home and around the world.
We reflected on the significant progress we have made over the last year, as well as the work left to do.
Last September, during his speech on human trafficking at the Clinton Global Initiative, President Obama announced several initiatives that build off the strong record of this task force.
These initiatives cover a wide range of areas, from government contracting regulation, to more coordinated responses to trafficking, to better victim services, to innovative public-private partnerships that will create technology tools for survivors and law enforcement.
The meeting today follows the first-ever White House Forum on Human Trafficking last month, as well as the convening of the President’s Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships that focus its entire report on human trafficking the next day. Furthermore, we celebrated the reauthorization of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act in March.
Today, we each committed to specific goals to combat trafficking.
May 17, 2013
04:14 PM EDT
Yesterday, President Obama demonstrated his continued commitment to increasing the diversity of our federal judiciary, so that it better reflects the nation it serves. He nominated four distinguished women to serve on four different courts—women who not only have the necessary intellect, integrity and fair-mindedness to serve as federal judges, but whose nominations also represent important “firsts” in their state or district:
- If confirmed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, Judge Carolyn McHugh would be the first woman from Utah to serve on that court. Currently, the Tenth Circuit only has one woman judge serving among its nine active members.
- Pamela Reeves and Elizabeth Wolford would be the first women to serve as district court judges in the Eastern District of Tennessee and Western District of New York, respectively, if confirmed.
- Debra Brown would be the first African-American district court judge to serve in the Northern District of Mississippi and the first African-American woman to serve as an Article III judge in the entire state of Mississippi, if confirmed.
President Obama’s judicial nominees already have broken the gender barrier in circuit courts in six states, as well as nine district courts, and have shattered dozens of glass ceilings for minorities. And on Monday, the Senate will consider the nomination of Michael McShane to be a district court judge in Oregon; if confirmed, he would be the fifth openly gay judge appointed by President Obama, compared to only one in history before.
Megan SlackMay 17, 2013
02:00 PM EDT
Ed. note: Watch the video below to learn more about what the President is doing in Baltimore, and check back on this post for updates from the trip – we’ll post them all here together.
Today, President Obama is headed to Baltimore, Maryland to talk early childhood education, infrastructure and ensuring hard work leads to a decent living.
The President’s first stop today was at Moravia Park Elementary School, where he took part in a literacy lesson with pre-k students. The students are part of the school’s Judy Center, which provides comprehensive early childhood services including Head Start, child care, intervention services and family engagement. (Learn more about President Obama’s plan to expand access to high-quality preschool to every child in America)
The next item on the itinerary was a visit to Ellicot Dredges, which manufactures innovative dredges and dredge equipment being sold for infrastructure projects across the country and around the world. The President toured the facilities, and delivered remarks about creating jobs by rebuilding our nation’s infrastructure. (Read more about what he’s doing on the infrastructure front)
President Obama ended the trip with a visit to the Center for Urban Families, a non-profit that works to strengthen urban communities by helping fathers and families achieve stability and economic success.
Kori SchulmanMay 17, 2013
11:02 AM EDT
A class of third graders from North Philadelphia recently wrote to Vice President Biden about reducing gun violence. This week, the Vice President sat down to share some of these children's words with you — and an expression that belonged to his mom: "out of the mouths of babes come gems of wisdom." Take a listen.
May 17, 2013
10:28 AM EDT
President Obama today signed a Presidential Memorandum that will shave months, and even years, off the time it takes to review and approve major infrastructure projects. This means that states, local governments, and private developers will be able to start construction sooner, create jobs earlier, and fix our nation’s infrastructure faster.
On March 22, 2012, the President issued an Executive Order launching a government-wide initiative to improve the efficiency of federal review and permitting of infrastructure projects. Since then, agencies have expedited the review and permitting of 50 major projects, including bridges, transit , railways, waterways, roads, and renewable energy projects.
Federal agencies have also identified a set of best practices for efficient review and permitting. Those range from expanding information technology (IT) tools to strategies - like simultaneous review - for improving collaboration. Today’s Presidential Memorandum directs all relevant agencies to put these best practices into effect.
Cutting red tape and streamlining the process for making permitting decisions will help us meet the President’s goal of cutting in half the timelines for major infrastructure projects, while creating better outcomes for our communities and for the environment.
The President’s initiative is already showing real results. For example, this afternoon, President Obama and Deputy Transportation Secretary John Porcari will visit Baltimore, where we sped up the approval process for the city’s Red Line rail transit corridor by six months.
We also recently expedited Federal approval for the Tappan Zee Bridge replacement project in New York. By speeding up the approval process, Federal agencies trimmed up to three years off the timeline for this multi-billion dollar project that will help put Americans back to work.
May 17, 2013
12:00 AM EDT
This week, the President honored fallen officers and top cops, spoke on the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, invited both the Prime Minister of England and of Turkey to the White House, and kicked off a new Google hangout series on science and technology.
Matt ComptonMay 16, 2013
04:20 PM EDT
This afternoon, David Simas sent the message below to the White House email list, asking people to speak out in favor of the health care law. If you didn't get the email, be sure to sign up.
Hi all --
Today, Republicans in the House of Representatives are going to come together, cast a vote, and try to repeal the Affordable Care Act just as they've done nearly 40 times before.
Don't expect much to come of it.
The health care law was passed by Congress, signed by the President, and upheld by the Supreme Court. It's been the law of the land for more than three years. It's not going anywhere. We know that, and so do the lawmakers on Capitol Hill. But instead of creating jobs and growing the economy, some of them want to make yet another gesture of protest -- even if it's meaningless.
So we're responding with a little gesture of our own, and we need your help.
We're asking people like you to speak out, to let us know if you're one of the 85 percent of Americans who've already benefitted from the health care law, and make a public stand in support of Obamacare.
Megan SlackMay 16, 2013
03:35 PM EDT
Following their bilateral meeting this morning, President Obama and Prime Minister Erdogan of Turkey held a press conference in the Rose Garden this afternoon.
The President highlighted three areas of focus the two leaders discussed: expanding trade and investment between the U.S. and Turkey, mutual security, and the issue of Syria.
May 16, 2013
02:59 PM EDT
As a working mom, I know how hard it is to find good child care so that I can have some peace of mind when I come to work. At ACF, we’ve been working hard to strengthen the nation’s child care system so that moms and dads, especially moms and dads with the fewest resources, can have better child care choices while they work to support their families.
In his 2013 State of the Union address, President Obama made a historic commitment to young children, making it a priority to ensure that “none of our children start the race of life already behind.” Improving child care is an important part of this effort and a key component of the President’s Plan for Early Education for All Americans.
Today, HHS announces a big new step in this direction - new proposed regulations for the Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF), which is administered here at the Office of Child Care. CCDF supports 1.6 million children in child care each month and invests over $1 billion each year in quality improvements like teacher training and grants to child care programs. All over the country, child care providers are dedicated to preparing children for school success. Despite the terrific efforts of public and private organizations around the country, there are some critical gaps in our child care programs. Some children are in child care settings that don’t meet basic health and safety standards. Often, there is a lack of useful comparative information for parents choosing child care. The new regulations are intended to close some of those gaps.
Matt ComptonMay 15, 2013
07:16 PM EDT
Just after 6:00 PM ET, President Obama spoke from the East Room of the White House about the Treasury Department's review of the Internal Revenue Service.
"I’ve reviewed the Treasury Department watchdog’s report, and the misconduct that it uncovered is inexcusable," he said. "It’s inexcusable, and Americans are right to be angry about it, and I am angry about it. I will not tolerate this kind of behavior in any agency, but especially in the IRS, given the power that it has and the reach that it has into all of our lives. And as I said earlier, it should not matter what political stripe you’re from -- the fact of the matter is, is that the IRS has to operate with absolute integrity. The government generally has to conduct itself in a way that is true to the public trust. That’s especially true for the IRS."
May 15, 2013
03:05 PM EDT
Today, the President and Vice President released their 2012 financial disclosure reports.
The Ethics in Government Act of 1978 requires high-level federal officials to publicly disclose their personal financial interests. The public filing system serves to prevent financial conflicts of interest by providing for a systematic review of the finances of government officials. Those finances are set forth in annual disclosures which are reviewed and certified by ethics officials. Neither the President nor the Vice President have any conflicts of interest, and their reports have been reviewed and certified by the independent Office of Government Ethics. We are continuing this Administration's practice of posting these forms online here in the interests of transparency:
White House staff are also completing their forms and we anticipate they will be available here next month, also in electronic form.
For more information
Megan SlackMay 15, 2013
02:15 PM EDT
Today, President Obama spoke at the National Peace Officers Memorial Service, an annual ceremony honoring law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty in the previous year.
The President said that the 143 officers honored today “exemplified the very idea of citizenship -- that with our God-given rights come responsibilities and obligations to ourselves and to others.”
They embodied that idea. That’s the way they died. That’s how we must remember them. And that’s how we must live.
We can never repay our debt to these officers and their families, but we must do what we can, with all that we have, to live our lives in a way that pays tribute to their memory.
May 14, 2013
02:35 PM EDT
On May 16th, the White House is kicking off “We the Geeks,” a new series of Google+ Hangouts to highlight the future of science, technology, and innovation here in the United States. Topics such as commercial space exploration, science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education, turning science fiction to science fact, and others will be discussed with Administration officials and key private sector contributors.
The first "We the Geeks" Hangout will focus on Grand Challenges, ambitious goals on a national or global scale that capture the imagination and demand advances in innovation and breakthroughs in science and technology. Grand Challenges are an important element of President Obama’s Strategy for American Innovation. On April 2nd, the President called on companies, research universities, foundations, and philanthropists to join with him in identifying and pursuing the Grand Challenges of the 21st century.
Kasie CoccaroMay 14, 2013
11:30 AM EDT
On Friday, May 17th at 10:00am MT (12:00pm ET), Dr. Biden will give the commencement address to the 33rd graduating class of Navajo Technical College (NTC) -- one of two tribal colleges serving the Navajo Nation.
Many of the programs at NTC are designed to help create new jobs and economic opportunities on or near the Navajo Nation, while equipping their students with the skills they need to succeed in those jobs.
You can watch live using the video player below.
Cecilia MuñozMay 14, 2013
10:11 AM EDT
During his State of the Union address in February, President Obama called on Congress to expand access to high-quality preschool to every four-year old in America. As the President put it that day:
In states that make it a priority to educate our youngest children, like Georgia or Oklahoma, studies show students grow up more likely to read and do math at grade level, graduate high school, hold a job, form more stable families of their own. We know this works. So let’s do what works and make sure none of our children start the race of life already behind. Let’s give our kids that chance.
Yesterday, I had the pleasure to meet with mothers, leaders, and tireless advocates that understand that the best investment we can make as a country is in our children’s future.
The coalition came to the White House to deliver 30,000 letters and art work thanking the President for his proposal to make high-quality preschool available for all children – and I used the opportunity to thank them for all their hard work, and to hear from them about the work they continue to do advocating for children.
They understand that for every dollar spent on high-quality early education, we save more than seven dollars in the long run by boosting kindergarten readiness, graduation rates, reducing teen pregnancy, and even reducing violent crime. They also understand that providing our children with the best start possible in life is not only a moral imperative, but an economic imperative that will benefit our communities and our nation far into the future.
Matt ComptonMay 13, 2013
05:02 PM EDT
Today President Obama welcomed British Prime Minister David Cameron to the White House, where the two leaders discussed issues ranging from economic development to the unfolding conflict in Syria.
"[T]he great alliance between the United States and the United Kingdom is rooted in shared interests and shared values, and it’s indispensable to global security and prosperity," President Obama said. "But as we’ve seen again recently, it's also a partnership of the heart."
The President thanked the people of the United Kingdom for their support in the wake of the bombings in Boston. In London, marathoners observed a moment of silence and dedicated their race to the victims in Massachusetts.
Prime Minister Cameron echoed the President's sentiments on the strength of the alliance between the United States and the United Kingdom.
"[The] relationship between Britain and the United States is a partnership without parallel," the Prime Minister said. "Day in, day out across the world, our diplomats and intelligence agencies work together, our soldiers serve together, and our businesses trade with each other."
In his remarks today, Prime Minister Cameron made a point to focus on three issues under discussion: the economy, the G8, and Syria. The United Kingdom currently holds the presidency of the G8 and will host the group's next summit in June -- in Northern Ireland.
Watch the full video of the press conference here:
Matt ComptonMay 12, 2013
04:06 PM EDT
First Lady Michelle Obama yesterday celebrated a new class of graduates from Eastern Kentucky University.
"You all went through so much to make it to this day -- the highs and the lows, the triumphs, the challenges, the celebrations, the devastations -- and I'm not just talking about your love lives, either," the First Lady told the graduates. "I'm talking about all those papers you poured your heart into; all those caffeine-fueled all-nighters; those moments of anxiety as you set out on your own, looking to find new friends you clicked with and a new community to call your own."
Matt ComptonMay 11, 2013
02:19 PM EDT
Today President Obama welcomed a group of the nation's best police officers to the White House to celebrate their service and heroism.
"We don't always get that opportunity to stand and applaud the men and women who keep us safe," he said from the East Room. "But they're out there, hundreds of thousands of you, patrolling our streets every single day. And we know that when we need you most, you’ll be ready to dash into danger, to protect our lives even if it means putting your lives on the line. That's what these folks are all about."
The President celebrated more than 40 law enforcement officials -- including Lieutenant Brian Murphy, who was one of First Lady Michelle Obama's guests at the State of the Union earlier this year. Lt. Murphy was the first officer on the scene in response to the shooting at the Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin last August.
"He fought back until help arrived and ordered his fellow officers, who are here today, to protect the safety of the Americans worshiping inside -- even though he was lying there bleeding from 12 bullet wounds," President Obama said. "When he was asked how he did it, he said, 'That’s just the way we’re made.'"
The TOP COPS are chosen by the National Association of Police Organizations each year after being nominated by their colleagues for noteworthy service.
Read President Obama's full remarks here.
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