Christina RomerJuly 28, 2010
03:20 PM EDT
President Obama has made it clear that he favors extending the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts for middle-income families, but letting those for high-income earners expire as called for in current law. Recently, some have argued that extending the high-income cuts is necessary for the economy. This is simply wrong.
First, extending the high-income tax cuts would provide very little job creation in 2011. There is widespread agreement that the short-run economic benefits of high-income tax cuts are small. The Congressional Budget Office lists a tax cut for high-income earners as a particularly ineffective job creation measure. Private sector forecasters have reached the same judgment.1 The vast majority of economic research shows that higher-income earners spend less of a tax cut and so tax cuts to those earners create fewer jobs throughout the economy.2
Macon PhillipsJuly 28, 2010
01:00 PM EDT
It’s not every day that the President takes time out of his schedule to record a video about a website. But that’s just what happened with HealthCare.gov, the new consumer-oriented website from the Department of Health and Human Services. In the video, he shows how anyone can learn about new rights and benefits available to them as a result of health reform law, and, for the first time ever, see all their insurance coverage options in one place. Check it out:
Making useful, easy-to-use information available online is a priority for this Administration. And putting power back into the hands of Americans is a primary focus for the President. HealthCare.gov accomplishes both. So, take a moment and check it out.
And don’t forget to leave your feedback in the yellow boxes throughout the site. The team at HHS is reviewing them on a regular basis and it’s a great way to help make HealthCare.gov a better resource for all of us.
July 28, 2010
11:55 AM EDT
Access to affordable housing is a challenge facing communities across the country. But the Recovery Act is helping our nation meet that challenge head on by providing states with cash to help them finance low-income housing construction at a time when too many projects would otherwise be stalled. These projects are helping revitalize communities through both the creation of new affordable housing developments and the tens of thousands of jobs being created to build them.
Yesterday, I joined D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty, officials from the D.C. office of Housing and Community Development, representatives of Vida Senior Residences – and even some of the building’s future residents – to break ground on an affordable housing development made possible with more than $6.8 million in Recovery Act funding. When it’s complete, The Vida Senior Residences at Brightwood in Washington, DC will provide 36 affordable apartments for low-income seniors. And while it’s under construction, this project will create an estimated 55 full-time construction jobs.
Heather ZichalJuly 28, 2010
10:09 AM EDT
Yesterday, we hosted a lively forum at the White House, which brought more than 130 stakeholders– civilian and uniformed officials from the Department of Defense (DOD) and our armed services, policy makers from the Department of Energy (DOE), think tanks, and business entrepreneurs – together for a discussion on the importance of clean energy for our national security.
Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus, delivered the keynote address, and highlighted not just the great progress happening at the Department of the Navy in terms of greening its fleet, powering its jets with biofuels, and testing new, experimental technology in efficiency and alternative energy, but also underscored just how much further we have to go to ensure our energy independence. Deputy Secretary Dan Poneman of the Department of Energy echoed these sentiments, and challenged the audience to think about ways in which our challenges might instead be viewed as opportunities for both improved mission capability, and an enhanced energy security.
Nancy-Ann DeParleJuly 28, 2010
10:00 AM EDT
Since the Affordable Care Act was signed into law on March 23, the President’s team has worked diligently to implement the new law. As part of this effort, we’ve held countless meetings with individuals and organizations to hear their thoughts and suggestions for how we can best deliver the benefits of reform to the American people.
One important change in the new law is a provision that prevents insurance companies from discriminating against children with pre-existing conditions. This new provision takes effect on September 23 and will bring welcome relief to parents of children with medical conditions who often were denied access to health insurance.
Since this policy was announced, we have had helpful discussions on how to ensure children with pre-existing conditions have access to care, while not disrupting the insurance marketplace. Some state insurance commissioners expressed concern that, without an open enrollment period that was widely communicated, people might wait until their children got sick to enroll them in coverage, causing plans’ costs to increase. And we were concerned when last week, some indicated that insurance companies would choose to stop offering policies for children rather than cover kids with pre-existing conditions.
Today, the Administration is releasing new guidance to health insurance plans to help ensure children get the high-quality care they need. The new FAQ document notes that insurance companies may establish an open enrollment period for children with pre-existing conditions and makes clear that the Administration will not hesitate to issue regulations if insurance companies unfairly limit access to insurance for children who need it most. The document also signals that kids with pre-existing conditions should not be shifted from the Children’s’ Health Insurance Program to the individual market in an attempt to reduce State health care spending and that these policies will apply to health plans that start on or after September 23.
Insurance companies have pledged to conduct a significant consumer education campaign to ensure more Americans and their children know about the coverage options that are available to them. And some of the companies that reportedly planned to stop offering policies for children have reversed course and committed to continuing to provide coverage for the youngest Americans.
The Blue Cross Blue Shield Association said the “policy will ensure that children get the comprehensive coverage they need,” and pledged to “work with our Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies on outreach efforts to educate consumers about this new provision.” Blue Cross Blue Shield of Florida said they were “pleased to announce that it will establish a process to resume the sale of Child Only policies.”
For too long, parents have been forced to worry about what they would do if their child developed a serious medical condition. Others have found that children born with illnesses were forever ineligible for insurance. Thanks the Affordable Care Act, kids will get the care they need and parents will have one less thing to worry about.
To learn more, read the FAQ document.
Nancy-Ann DeParle is Director of the White House Office of Health Reform
Kareem DaleJuly 27, 2010
07:28 PM EDT
"Celebrating with substance" is my own phrase, but others might say "partying with a purpose." No matter whether you use one of these classic phrases (yes, I’ve claimed my phrase as a classic), we did just that on Monday at the White House with our celebration to mark the 20th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act. As President Obama culminated the celebration of this historic and landmark civil rights law, and in the weeks leading to the day, we’ve had a series of announcements and information about the ADA.
President Obama, as only he can, delivered an eloquent, passionate and memorable speech that summed up this historic anniversary. Read the complete remarks here.
President Obama announced the signing of an Executive Order that will make the government a model employer for people with disabilities. He also announced the release of two new rules on the ADA that had not been updated since 1991, explaining that the rules will cover “more than 80,000 state and local government entities, and 7 million private businesses.” The President’s message about this law and our movement resonated with the audience, closing by stating, “[T]hat’s what we did with the ADA. That is what we do today. And that’s what we’re going to do tomorrow -- together.”
Notably, however, other observance activities were taking place elsewhere. The Department of Justice released the new regulations on its website. FEMA Administrator Fugate wrote a wonderful op-ed for CNN on the importance of emergency preparedness for people with disabilities. Education Secretary Duncan joined so many others throughout the administration by releasing a statement noting that this anniversary is a “cause for celebration and rededication to equal education opportunity for students with disabilities.” On a personal level, I discussed the impact of the Americans with Disabilities Act on Yahoo! Accessibility.
All and all, it was a truly historic day, once again illustrating it’s a new day for people with disabilities and the President is leading the way forward. I urge all to take time to remember those like Senator Kennedy, Justin Dart and so many more who made the ADA possible. Then reflect on the numerous steps forward we’ve taken and get ready for the work ahead because more remains to be done.
Kareem Dale is Special Assistant to the President for Disability Policy
Kori SchulmanJuly 27, 2010
03:00 PM EDT
Last month, President Obama awarded Paul McCartney the annual Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song. Artists from all the genres and backgrounds paid tribute to the music legend with a concert hosted by the President and First Lady at the White House. Take a break and go behind-the-scenes with the Jonas Brothers as they prepare for and perform the Beatles classic “Drive My Car” for President Obama and Sir Paul.
Jesse LeeJuly 27, 2010
02:34 PM EDT
In his latest meeting with Congressional leaders of both parties – a new tradition promised by the President in his State of the Union Address – the conversation was focused primarily on two topics. The first was help for small businesses, one of the most straightforward things government can do to spur job creation; the second was the need for energy reform.
In remarks afterwards, the President touched briefly on the need to pass funding for our troops in Afghanistan, saying that documents recently leaked “don’t reveal any issues that haven’t already informed our public debate on Afghanistan,” and that they were precisely the issues that led to the review at the beginning of his presidency along with the new way forward that came out of it. He also relayed the frustration he expressed to the Republican Leader in the Senate about the gratuitous delays of judicial nominations despite broad bipartisan support , which has left many courts nationwide short-handed.
On small business as the engine of our economy:
Katelyn SabochikJuly 27, 2010
02:18 PM EDT
Want to get the inside scoop on what’s going on at the White House delivered to your inbox each morning? The Daily Snapshot is a quick look at what’s happening each day at the White House. It includes the President and Vice President’s daily schedules, a look at what’s hot on the White House blog, the Photo of the Day and other important updates.
Take a look at our first edition of the Daily Snapshot below, then sign up to get updates. You can also sign up to get periodic updates from President Obama and other senior Administration officials as well as our weekly newsletters - the Energy and Climate Agenda and the Economy and Jobs Agenda.
Ed DeSeveJuly 27, 2010
01:03 PM EDT
Nearly a year and a half after the Recovery Act’s enactment, virtually all of the funds have been allocated: how they will be spent has been identified, and they are at work providing relief, creating jobs, or funding projects underway or coming soon. So why do some critics still talk about billions in “unspent” Recovery Act funds? The answer lies in how the Recovery Act works.
Two-thirds of Recovery Act funds are in tax cuts and relief payments. These funds were designed to be spent over time, generally over a two year period. Recovery Act tax cuts show up in each paycheck, people on extended unemployment get their benefits weekly, and so on. In reports and on Recovery.gov, the tax cuts and relief funds not yet paid out appear to be “unspent,” creating some confusion. But these tax cuts and relief checks are moving out as planned, on time, and on track. They aren’t “unspent” – people are expecting to get their tax cuts or their unemployment checks – they just haven’t been paid out yet.
The other one-third is the $265 billion for projects. When people talk about “unspent” Recovery Act funds, this is usually where they focus. But here too, the critics are missing the point.
July 27, 2010
10:00 AM EDT
The housing industry is of vital importance to our country’s future. It is a key sector of our economy, supporting millions of jobs in construction, manufacturing, real estate, finance, and other industries. Moreover, for many Americans, their home is their largest financial investment.
That is why the Obama Administration is strongly committed to responsibly reforming our nation’s broken system of housing finance, including Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. And that is why it is so important that we get the reforms right.
Work on this issue is well under way, as the Obama Administration continues to develop a comprehensive reform proposal for delivery to Congress by January 2011. Earlier this year, Secretaries Geithner and Donovan testified before Congress, outlining the principles that will guide the Administration’s housing finance reform efforts. In April, the Treasury Department and the Department of Housing and Urban Development issued related questions for public comment, which have received over 300 responses from a broad cross-section of stakeholders. (To view these responses, please visit: here and here.)
That commitment to public engagement will continue. Today, the Administration is announcing that it will hold on August 17 a Conference on the Future of Housing Finance at the U.S. Treasury Department in Washington, D.C. This event will bring together leading academic experts, consumer and community organizations, industry groups, market participants, and other stakeholders for an open discussion about housing finance reform.
Jesse LeeJuly 26, 2010
03:07 PM EDT
With a Senate vote tomorrow on legislation to undo some of the damage from the Citizens United Supreme Court decision, the President laid out the stakes in no uncertain terms:
A vote to oppose these reforms is nothing less than a vote to allow corporate and special interest takeovers of our elections. It is damaging to our democracy. It is precisely what led a Republican President named Theodore Roosevelt to tackle this issue a century ago.
As the President discussed in his State of the Union address months ago, this decision essentially opened the floodgates for the influence of huge corporations, including foreign-owned corporations, on our elections. Speaking in the Rose Garden, the President explained what this new limitless flow of undisclosed money will mean:
Katelyn SabochikJuly 26, 2010
02:57 PM EDT
Starting today, the President and the Vice President’s daily public schedules are now available online. You don’t have to come to WhiteHouse.gov to find out what the President and Vice President are up to each day – you can subscribe to their schedules via RSS or even add their schedules to your own Outlook, iCal, Google calendar, or any other calendar service that’s compatible with an iCal feed. Just click here to download the iCal feed and add it to your calendar today. Your calendar will be automatically updated as new events are added to the President and Vice President’s schedule.
Secretary Arne DuncanJuly 26, 2010
12:49 PM EDT
On Friday, I joined Senator Tom Carper and Representative Mike Castle at the Delaware State Fair in Harrington, DE. We spent the day with 4-H and Future Farmers of America students. We saw the results of their hard work on farming vegetables, baking pastries and pies from scratch, sewing garments and tending to farm animals. The students participating in 4-H, a program run by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture and the National Future Farmers of America Organization, showed me first-hand the vital contributions of our nation’s rural communities.
The President is dedicated to promoting and developing the work of rural America. That’s why the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act provided $53 billion to support the ability of rural communities to gain access to the health care, educational, economic, and infrastructure development resources. To better understand the needs of rural communities, the President asked Cabinet members to visit communities across the nation on a Rural Tour. Over the last year, the Administration has engaged thousands of people in a conversation about how towns, states, and the federal government can work together to help strengthen rural America. In addition to the Delaware State Fair, I have visited remote villages in Alaska and an Indian reservation in Montana.
July 26, 2010
12:45 PM EDT
The Iraqi Young Leaders Exchange Program, (IYLEP) funded by the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad and implemented by AED, a nonprofit organization working globally to improve education, health, social and economic development, enables 50 highly-motivated undergraduate students from Iraq to attend a six-week intensive academic summer program at a U.S. host university.
Recently, these students visited Washington, D.C., where they had the opportunity to meet with Macon Phillips, Special Assistant to the President and Director for New Media at the White House. Macon discussed the Obama administration’s use of blogs, social networking sites, and text messaging to increase transparency and public participation in governance. The students have shared some insights below from their program and how their worldview and personal view have changed as a direct result of the Iraqi Young Leaders Exchange Program.
Jesse LeeJuly 24, 2010
06:00 AM EDT
Following the signing of historic Wall Street Reform legislation, the President lays out his plans to strengthen the middle class, give tax breaks to small businesses that create jobs here, invest in homegrown, clean energy, and cut taxes for working families. The President also contrasts that plan with the agenda outlined by the Republican House Leader that would return America to the policies that created this economic crisis, drastically increase the deficit, and make permanent massive tax breaks for the very wealthiest Americans.
Kori SchulmanJuly 23, 2010
03:40 PM EDT
Let’s Move! and GOOD asked you to create infographics about the childhood obesity epidemic to help raise awareness about the problem and the ways we’re working to address it. There are some great submissions, see a few below and even more over on GOOD.is.
Jared BernsteinJuly 23, 2010
03:18 PM EDT
Our latest Recovery-Act-in-Action installment features some exciting new technology, 100 good-paying manufacturing jobs, and the public/private co-investment that is critical to job growth right now.
It’s all taking place in Indianapolis, Indiana, where Allison Transmission is building a new factory to make hybrid systems that go into energy efficient trucks, buses and other commercial vehicles. The new plant, and the 100 folks Allison expects to put to work in it, was partially financed by a $62.8 million Recovery Act grant from the Department of Energy as part their advanced battery grant program.
Katelyn SabochikJuly 23, 2010
01:55 PM EDT
This week, the President signed three bills into law that will help our economy get back on track and eliminate wasteful and fraudulent improper payments by the federal government. On Wednesday, the President signed the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. Yesterday morning, the President signed the Improper Payments Elimination and Recovery Act, and in the afternoon he signed the Unemployment Compensation Extension Act.
In his remarks today in the Roosevelt Room, President Obama reflected on these three important pieces of legislation and urged Congress to do even more to help small businesses.
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