Our Top Stories
Katelyn SabochikJune 28, 2010
12:25 PM EDT
On Tuesday, President Obama will meet with a bipartisan group of Senators to discuss the need for comprehensive energy and climate legislation this year. Following that meeting, Heather Zichal, Deputy Assistant to the President for Energy and Climate Change, will host a live chat on WhiteHouse.gov to take your questions on energy and climate change legislation.
Secretary Kathleen SebeliusJune 28, 2010
12:06 PM EDT
The Affordable Care Act created a number of important new benefits for seniors and other Medicare beneficiaries. On Friday, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a proposed regulation that takes us a step closer to making those promised benefits a reality.
Under the provisions of this proposed rule, Medicare would provide for expanded access to preventive services and promote the early detection and prompt treatment of medical conditions for the seniors and people with disabilities in the program.
Peter OrszagJune 28, 2010
11:22 AM EDT
As I’ve written before, one source of ineffective and inefficient government is the technology gap between the public and private sectors.
While a productivity boom has transformed private sector performance over the past two decades, the federal government has almost entirely missed this transformation and now lags far behind on efficiency and service quality. We are wasting billions of dollars a year, and more importantly are missing out on the huge productively improvements other sectors have benefited from.
Quite simply, we can’t significantly improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the federal government without fixing IT.
That’s why today, in our ongoing effort to make sure that taxpayers’ dollars are spent on projects that work, we are taking three specific actions to advance IT reform.
June 28, 2010
10:37 AM EDTToday kicks off the National Conference on Volunteering and Service – more than 5,000 (!) service leaders are pouring into New York City to create greater impact and effectiveness in meeting social needs through service and volunteering.Good news for those who want to participate online – we will be webcasting several of the events and the Twitter hashtag for the conference is #NCVS. And if you’re attending the conference in real life, don’t forget to check in on Gowalla to get a NCVS stamp.Learn about all of this – and more – at volunteeringandservice.org.
Jesse LeeJune 28, 2010
08:45 AM EDT
Supreme Court confirmation hearings have a rich history in America. Supreme Court Justices have gone through confirmation in the Senate since our country was founded, and have been considered regularly by the Senate Judiciary Committee since 1868 – nominees have been testifying there since 1925. This week Elena Kagan takes her place in that history, with the Judiciary Committee holding a hearing to evaluate her nomination. If they decide to vote her out of the committee, the entire Senate will then vote on whether to confirm her to the Supreme Court.
So what should you expect to see? Well, you’ll likely see two things really: one is Elena Kagan, a woman who has dedicated her career to public service and to the study of how American law affects the American people, with values instilled in her by a father who was an attorney and represented ordinary people in his community, and a mother who was a beloved public school teacher. You’ll see a brilliant woman who has been an independent thinker from the beginning of her career, garnering respect from all quarters as one of Nation’s leading legal minds. You’ll see a trailblazer – the first woman to become Dean of Harvard Law School, beloved by students and widely respected for her skills as a consensus builder and openness to different points of view. And you’ll see a woman widely praised as a commanding, effective advocate for the American people as America’s Solicitor General, the first woman to serve in that position as well.
Jesse LeeJune 26, 2010
09:51 PM EDT
Below find all of the resources, and several photos from the second day of the G8 Summit and the G20 in Canada.
- Remarks by President Obama and President Hu Jintao of the People's Republic of China Before Bilateral Meeting
- Remarks by President Obama and President Lee Myung-Bak of the Republic of Korea After Bilateral Meeting
- Remarks by President Obama and Prime Minister Cameron of the United Kingdom After Bilateral Meeting
- Conference Call Briefing by Ben Rhodes, Mike Froman, Ambassador Jeff Bader, and Danny Russel
- Press Briefing by Secretary of the Treasury Geithner
- G-8 Muskoka: Statement from G-8 Leaders on Countering Terrorism
- G-8 Muskoka Declaration
- G8 Summit: Joint Statement On The Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict by Dmitry Medvedev, President Of The Russian Federation, Barack Obama, President Of The United States Of America, and Nicolas Sarkozy, President Of The French Republic
- G8 Muskoka: Non-proliferation and Iran
- Readout of the President’s Meeting with Prime Minister Harper
- G-8 Muskoka: Following Through on Food Security
Jesse LeeJune 26, 2010
06:00 AM EDT
With Congress having finalized a strong Wall Street reform bill, the President urges Congress to finish the job and send the bill to his desk. The legislation reflects 90% of what the President originally proposed, including the strongest consumer financial protections in history with an independent agency to enforce them. It ensures that the trading of derivatives, which helped trigger this crisis, will be brought into the light of day, and enacts the “Volcker Rule,” which will make sure banks protected by safety nets like the FDIC cannot engage in risky trades. It also creates a resolution authority to wind down firms whose collapse would threaten the entire financial system. Wall Street reform will end taxpayer funded bailouts and make sure Main Street is never again held responsible for Wall Street’s mistakes.
Jesse LeeJune 25, 2010
09:01 PM EDT
The President spent today at the G8 Summit in Canada, which focused amongst other things on the Muskoka Initiative on maternal and child health (MCH). See an array of photos from the day below.
Secretary Shaun DonovanJune 25, 2010
05:45 PM EDT
Earlier this week, we took another big step forward in the Obama Administration’s efforts to encourage more sustainable development as we announced $100 million for our new Sustainable Communities Regional Planning Grant program to encourage regions to integrate economic development, land use, and transportation investments – which will help to tie the quality and location of housing to broader opportunities such as access to good jobs, quality schools, and safe streets.
For all the implications of “sprawl”—from job loss, economic decline and segregation, to obesity, asthma rates, to climate change and our dangerous dependence on foreign oil—all of them share by one fundamental problem: the mismatch between where we live and where we work. Whatever else we do to address these problems, America must find a way to connect housing to jobs.
Kori SchulmanJune 25, 2010
05:08 PM EDT
“Just in this performance, you have strengthened the bond between two great nations. Imagine that,” said Mrs. Obama following a music and dance program at the Duke Ellington School for the Arts in Washington, DC. First Lady Michelle Obama was joined by the First Lady of Russia, Mrs. Svetlana Medvedev.
June 25, 2010
03:57 PM EDT
In September 2009, the President announced that – for the first time in history – the White House would routinely release visitor records. Today, the White House releases visitor records that were created in March 2010. Today’s release also includes several visitor records created prior to September 16, 2009 that were requested by members of the public during May 2010 pursuant to the White House voluntary disclosure policy. This release brings the grand total of records that this White House has released to well over 450,000 records. You can view them all in our Disclosures section.
Norm Eisen is Special Counsel to the President for Ethics and Government Reform
June 25, 2010
02:16 PM EDT
SF 278 Executive Branch Personnel Public Financial Disclosure reports for White House officials are now available. Interested parties may request online those reports they would like to review. Through this streamlined distribution process, each report is available in pdf form for transmission via email once the electronic form has been filed. Requested reports will be emailed as quickly as possible. Please call the press office if you have any questions.
Bob Bauer is Counsel to the President
Howard A. SchmidtJune 25, 2010
02:00 PM EDT
Cyberspace has become an indispensible component of everyday life for all Americans. We have all witnessed how the application and use of this technology has increased exponentially over the years. Cyberspace includes the networks in our homes, businesses, schools, and our Nation’s critical infrastructure. It is where we exchange information, buy and sell products and services, and enable many other types of transactions across a wide range of sectors. But not all components of this technology have kept up with the pace of growth. Privacy and security require greater emphasis moving forward; and because of this, the technology that has brought many benefits to our society and has empowered us to do so much -- has also empowered those who are driven to cause harm.
Today, I am pleased to announce the latest step in moving our Nation forward in securing our cyberspace with the release of the draft National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace (NSTIC). This first draft of NSTIC was developed in collaboration with key government agencies, business leaders and privacy advocates. What has emerged is a blueprint to reduce cybersecurity vulnerabilities and improve online privacy protections through the use of trusted digital identities.
Nancy-Ann DeParleJune 25, 2010
12:35 PM EDT
Early this morning the President signed H.R. 3962, which prevents a 21-percent pay cut for doctors participating in Medicare. Had Congress failed to act, some physicians would have been forced to stop taking Medicare patients. That’s not an outcome that the President can accept.
The pay-cut fix is retroactive to June 1, and it doesn’t just undo the cut: it actually represents the highest update since 2001.
And to make sure that doctors see relief right away, the President also signed a directive to the Department of Health and Human Services instructing them to cut through the bureaucratic red tape and implement these changes immediately.
The bottom line: with today’s signings, doctors won’t need to worry about a drastic pay cut, and seniors can rest assured that the care they need will be there when they need it.
If you didn’t catch it, here’s the statement President Obama released last night after the bill passed:
I’m pleased that Congress has acted to ensure the security of our seniors’ health care. A 21-percent pay cut to physicians’ payments would have forced some doctors to step seeing Medicare patients – an outcome we can all agree is unacceptable.
We should also agree, as I’ve said in the past, that kicking these cuts down the road just isn’t an adequate solution to the problem. The current system of recurring cuts and temporary fixes was passed into law more than 10 years ago. It’s untenable.
I believe we need to permanently reform the Medicare formula in a way that attacks our fiscal problems without punishing our hard-working doctors or endangering the benefits on which so many of our seniors rely. I look forward to working with Congress to achieve that goal, and I’m gratified that in the meantime they’ve taken the provisional step of blocking this pay cut.
Nancy-Ann DeParle is Director of the White House Office of Health Reform
Jesse LeeJune 25, 2010
10:49 AM EDT
As the President was preparing to depart for the G8 Summit in Canada, to be followed by the G20, he received some welcome news regarding efforts to avoid another global economic crisis. The House and Senate, having both passed their own versions of Wall Street Reform, had broken through with an agreement after a long final night of negotiations. The agreement is the final product of over a year of work, and a triumph over armies of lobbyists that most predicted would be able to gut reform the same way they so often have in the past.
The President spoke early this morning, commending the House and Senate for closing in on yet another historic accomplishment:
Kori SchulmanJune 25, 2010
10:00 AM EDT
Arun ChaudharyJune 25, 2010
12:00 AM EDT
Mailbag Day! We decided to make episode thirteen of West Wing Week a chance to respond to some of your letters and emails. This week, find out if the White House composts, learn which direction the eagle on the Presidential seal faces, and examine the process by which the flag flying over the White House is lowered to half-staff.
Jesse LeeJune 24, 2010
06:08 PM EDT
It may be that no relationship has seen greater progress and been more productive over the past two years than that between the U.S. and Russia. As one of his earliest foreign policy priorities, the President sought to “reset” relations with Russia and reverse what he called a “dangerous drift.”
Every meeting of the two presidents has been preceded by countless hours of preparation and negotiations, helping to ensure that tangible steps forward could be taken on issues ranging from the New START Treaty and nuclear proliferation, to North Korea, to Kyrgyzstan, to energy and the environment.
President Obama and President Medvedev spent much of the day in meetings, along with lunch at Ray's Hell Burger in Virginia and at the U.S.–Russia Business Summit at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. At a joint press conference afterwards, the President explained how two nations who once saw each other as primary security threats to each other were now helping to keep the entire world safe:
Secretary Tom VilsackJune 24, 2010
05:53 PM EDT
The Obama Administration has made domestic production of renewable energy a national priority because it will create quality American jobs, combat global warming, reduce fossil fuel dependence and lay a strong foundation for a strong rural economy. While the President’s Biofuels Interagency Working Group, which I co-chair, continues its work to shepherd our Nation's development of this important industry and to coordinate interagency policy, the USDA released a report yesterday outlining both the current state of renewable energy efforts in America and a plan to develop regional strategies to increase the production, marketing and distribution of biofuels.
The Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS2) mandates that there will be 36 billion gallons of biofuel per year in America’s fuel supply by 2022. I am confident that we can meet this threshold, but to do so we must make further investments in areas including research and development of feedstocks; sustainable production and management systems; efficient conversion technologies and high-value bioproducts and analysis tools.
While corn-based ethanol production will remain important to America’s producers, we are also gearing up research efforts to assist growers of advanced biofuels to produce energy from new feedstocks on a regional basis and in an environmentally sustainable manner.
Renewable energy development not only promotes energy independence; the regional strategy I’ve outlined sets the stage for job creation in rural communities that are often located in distressed areas and persistent poverty counties.
To view the report in its entirety, visit www.usda.gov.
Tom Vilsack is the Secretary of Agriculture
Kori SchulmanJune 24, 2010
01:38 PM EDT
Pete Souza and the White House Photo Office just dropped a new set of behind the scene photos from the month of June. Look inside the President's meetings on the response to the deepwater BP oil spill, get an aerial view of more than 600 chefs gathered on the South Lawn for a Let’s Move! event, see Reggie Love, President Obama’s personal’s aide, hit the water in a dunk tank, and about 20 more you don't want to miss.