Our Top Stories
July 23, 2010
11:43 AM EDT
As the Washington Post and New York Times report, the United States has fallen from first to 12th in terms of 25 to 34-year-olds with postsecondary degrees. The finding comes from a report conducted by the College Board and confirms what we’ve known for too long: that United States’ graduation rate is lagging behind our global competitors.
We know that economic security and educational progress go hand in hand. That’s one of the reasons why the President outlined a new national goal last year: by 2020, America will once again have the highest proportion of college graduates in the world. Already we’ve taken crucial steps to help our nation meet this goal.
July 23, 2010
11:33 AM EDT
White House interns teamed up with Dr. Jill Biden to put together care packages for the families of wounded soldiers being treated at Walter Reed Army Medical Center and the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, MD as part of program “Operation Care Package.” Organized by USO of Metropolitan Washington to raise the spirits of the troops and their families, the White House volunteers completed a total of 500 care packages.
Dr. Biden talked to the interns about the importance of service, stating “It’s the small acts of kindness that make a difference to the military and their families. I hope when you go back to your colleges and communities you continue this kind of service.” The care packages serve as a reminder that the small things can help not only the soldiers, but their families that work tirelessly to support the soldiers based at Walter Reed and the National Naval Medical Center.
Arun ChaudharyJuly 23, 2010
12:00 AM EDT
Thanks for checking out the West Wing Week, your guide to everything that's happening at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. This week, walk step by step with the President as he speaks up for unemployed Americans, congratulates this year's WNBA champs, talks with astronaut John Glenn about space exploration, meets with British Prime Minister Cameron, signs the historic Wall Street Reform bill into law and much more.
Find more video, photos, and information on the events featured in this episode below:
Friday, July 16, 2010
Monday, July 19, 2010
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
Thursday, July 22, 2010
Arun Chaudhary is the official White House videographer
Elizabeth AlexanderJuly 22, 2010
06:36 PM EDT
Today, Vice President Biden traveled to Theodore, Alabama to assess efforts to counter the BP oil spill. During the visit, the Vice President toured the Theodore Staging Facility and met with fisherman and small business owners from the area. He was joined by National Incident Commander Admiral Thad Allen and NOAA Administrator Dr. Jane Lubchenco.
July 22, 2010
05:40 PM EDT
They came by plane, train, and automobile, but were making more innovative connections for students in rural schools.
More than 150 rural education and technology experts responded to an invitation from the Obama Administration to participate in a National Rural Education Technology Summit on Wednesday, July 21 at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian to learn from one another and provide feedback to federal officials.
Jesse LeeJuly 22, 2010
05:17 PM EDT
Yesterday, at long last the Senate passed an extension of unemployment insurance, not only the decent thing to do but one of the most effective ways to boost our economy, as Lawrence Summers, Chair of the National Economic Council, explained. The President has pressured the partisan minority holding it up relentlessly on behalf of those who desperately needed the helping hand, and applauded Congress for overcoming that obstruction in the statement below and today sign he signed the legislation in the Oval Office. This was the President’s statement:
Today, I signed the unemployment insurance extension to restore desperately needed assistance to two and a half million Americans who lost their jobs in the recession. After a partisan minority used procedural tactics to block the authorization of this assistance three separate times over the past weeks, Americans who are fighting to find a good job and support their families will finally get the support they need to get back on their feet during these tough economic times. Now it’s time for Congress to act on more proposals that support our economic recovery, including passing critical aid to our states and support to small businesses. Small businesses are the engine of job growth, and measures to cut their taxes and make lending available should not be held hostage to partisan tactics like those that unconscionably held up unemployment insurance.
Ed. Note: This post has been updated.
July 22, 2010
05:15 PM EDT
Ed. Note: The deadline for the G-20 SME Finance Challenge has been extended to September 5, 2010.
The Obama Administration is intensely focused on creating jobs and growing the economy so that Americans have more and better pathways to reach their goals.
At home, our efforts are centered on expanding exports, supporting small businesses, and promoting entrepreneurship and private innovation to spur growth.
Abroad, we are also working with our partners to aid the poor and generate private sector opportunities because we know that a more stable and prosperous global economy will benefit Americans while also lifting lives.
Katelyn SabochikJuly 22, 2010
02:39 PM EDT
This morning, President Obama signed the Improper Payments Elimination and Recovery Act, a bill – passed unanimously by both the House and Senate – designed to cut waste, fraud and abuse due to improper payments by federal government agencies. Making our government more efficient and cost-effective has been a priority for the President since day one. Over the past eighteen months, the Obama Administration has taken many steps to curb wasteful spending and streamline government processes.
In his remarks before signing the bill, the President reflected on some of the ways his Administration has already begun to cut wasteful spending in the budget process:
July 22, 2010
02:33 PM EDT
What a thrill it was to participate in the White House ceremony hosted by First Lady Michelle Obama yesterday as she celebrated the 2010 National Design Awards honorees. The First Lady serves as the honorary patron for this year’s National Design Awards and her commitment to arts and design based education made this a very special event. We are honored to once again receive the patronage of the First Lady, as her support does such a lot to advance awareness of the importance of design.
Secretary Gary LockeJuly 22, 2010
01:55 PM EDT
Ed Note: Last Friday, Secretary Locke kicked off a Clean Energy Economy Forum on clean energy manufacturing at the White House. You can watch the video of the opening remarks below and the videos of the first and second panels on YouTube.
Last Friday, I joined Obama administration colleagues and business leaders from across the country to participate in a forum on clean energy innovation at the White House. I told the group that the development of clean energy and energy efficient technologies could spur the greatest economic opportunity of the 21st century. That's a sentiment shared by President Obama, as well as many leaders attending Friday’s clean energy forum. But for all this promise, the overwhelming consensus among forum members was that we’ve got to do more to scale up America’s clean energy industry.
July 21, 2010
05:41 PM EDT
Yesterday, more than 120 leaders in the commercial building community came together with Federal officials at a White House Clean Energy Economy Forum to discuss the role of Federal leadership in sustainable building. White House Council on Environmental Quality Chair Nancy Sutley, Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis, General Services Administration Administrator Martha Johnson, and Housing and Urban Development Deputy Secretary Ron Sims got a conversation started that focused on three key topics: leveraging the scale, financing, and innovation.
Melody BarnesJuly 21, 2010
04:31 PM EDT
New and expecting mothers and fathers across the country will have a helping hand in those first, crucial years of child rearing thanks to the Affordable Care Act. Today, Secretary Sebelius announced $88 million in grants for the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program. These grants will help new and expecting parents by providing in-home visits by professionals who can teach them the important skills every new parent should know.
The concept is simple and the results are strong. Research shows home visits can yield substantial improvements in school readiness, father involvement, and parent employment as well as reductions in child abuse, neglect, and dependence on public supports. Home visits can actually reap Medicaid savings through fewer preterm births and emergency room use. Independent non-partisan organizations estimate that every dollar spent on evidence-based home visitation yields between $3-6 of savings to federal, state, and local governments.
By building on models that have been developing across the country, we’re working to support this crucial service and, at the same time, reaping long-term savings and rewards as children grow up in healthier environments.
For more information on Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting, go to: www.hrsa.gov
Melody Barnes is the President’s Domestic Policy Advisor and Director of the Domestic Policy Council
Gayle SmithJuly 21, 2010
03:50 PM EDT
In light of the International AIDS Society conference being held in Vienna this week, many people have raised questions about the Obama Administration’s commitment to the fight against HIV/AIDS.
First, consider the facts:
Jesse LeeJuly 21, 2010
02:22 PM EDT
This morning the President signed yet another landmark piece of legislation putting the middle class above the special interests that for so long had a stranglehold on America's government. To get an entertaining overview of what's involved in Wall Street Reform, from ending bailouts and holding Wall Street accountable to the strongest consumer protections ever, take a few minutes to watch our entertaining animated video or get into the nuts and bolts on our Wall Street Reform page. At the signing ceremony, the President laid out the historical perspective as well as the perspective focused on our common future:
July 21, 2010
01:00 PM EDT
On Monday in New York, the United States spearheaded a successful effort in the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) to accredit the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC), a U.S.-based NGO whose respected work over 20 years has shed light on discrimination, combated HIV/AIDs, and promoted human rights around the world. The move, which President Barack Obama called an “important step forward for human rights,” enriches the community of NGOs that inform, influence, and hold accountable UN members.
“The UN was founded on the premise that only through mutual respect, diversity, and dialogue can the international community effectively pursue justice and equality,” President Obama said. “Today, with the more full inclusion of the [IGLHRC], the United Nations is closer to the ideals on which it was founded, and to values of inclusion and equality to which the United States is deeply committed.”
Before Monday, no LGBT rights organizations with UN special consultative status were based in the U.S. Out of more than 3,000 accredited NGOs, only nine focused primarily on LGBT rights. Only one of those operated internationally.
Before the vote, the IGLHRC had to navigate a maze of barriers thrown up by some members of the 19-member UN Committee on NGOs, culminating in a “no action” motion in May. On Monday, despite opposition, the U.S. pushed a resolution directly to ECOSOC to grant the IGLHRC special consultative status, resulting in a debate and a vote. After 23 countries voted “yes,” 13 voted “no,” and 13 abstained, the IGLHRC won.
U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice said, “The vote was a significant achievement for all those who work to see the United Nations embody its founding principles and advance the tenets of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.”
Alex McPhillips is Press Officer, U.S. Mission to the UN
Karen MillsJuly 21, 2010
12:16 PM EDT
In recent days, some in Massachusetts have examined the impact of the state’s health reform law on small businesses, such as this article from the Boston Globe, with some comparing the Massachusetts law to the Affordable Care Act. While both laws share the goal of increasing health insurance coverage, the Affordable Care Act includes a number of features that aren’t found in the Massachusetts law that will do even more to improve our nation’s existing health care system, lower costs and provide significant benefits for small businesses.
As Administrator for the Small Business Administration, I’ve talked with entrepreneurs and small business owners around the country. The Affordable Care Act will help address many of the concerns I hear from them and make it easier for them to provide coverage to their workers.
Jen PsakiJuly 21, 2010
10:35 AM EDT
On the day when the President will sign into law the most sweeping reforms of the financial system since the Great Depression including the strongest consumer protections in history, there have been numerous reports on who is invited to the bill signing.
Let’s set the record straight with a few facts:
- There are 400 seats in the auditorium where the President is signing the bill today.
- There are thousands of hardworking Americans including consumer advocates, members of Congress, Attorney Generals who have been working for eighteen months to pass Wall Street reform into law.
- That means thousands of people who worked toward passing the bill into law will not be able to attend the signing today.
- Bill signings have always been a celebration and our priority was to invite a diverse group of stakeholders including members of the financial industry, consumer advocates, members of Congress and Americans impacted by the financial crisis—who were instrumental in making today possible.
- This is a fake controversy. The CEO’s who opposed reform never expected to be invited to the bill signing and not a single one has complained to the Administration. In fact Administration officials have been in touch with many of the same CEOs about a number of issues over the last few days and this issue has not even registered. Many of the same CEOs are meeting with Prime Minister David Cameron in New York City this morning.
Given the bill signing, Republican attempts to block the extension of UI benefits and the small business bill on the Senate floor—you would think there is plenty of substantive news to cover.
But instead some are focusing today on who made the cut on the invitation list----let’s focus on what this bill means for millions of Americans.
Jen Psaki is Deputy Communications Director
Jesse LeeJuly 21, 2010
10:00 AM EDT
We've got plenty more on the details of Wall Street Reform here at WhiteHouse.gov including The Top 10 Things You May Not Know About the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, but to get the gist of how it will hold Wall Street accountable and what the strongest consumer protections ever will do for your family, watch the video we put together below.Viewing this video requires Adobe Flash Player 8 or higher. Download the free player.
Learn more about the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.
Jen PsakiJuly 21, 2010
06:00 AM EDT
Here are 10 aspects of the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act you may not know about -- the online attention-deficit version.
- Stronger protections for consumers against unfair credit card practices like rate hikes for existing credit card balances.
- Mortgage brokers will be prohibited from making higher commissions by selling mortgages they know consumers can’t afford.
- Free annual credit scores so people can stay on top of their finances. [Clarification: free credit scores are available if you receive worse terms on a loan because of something on your credit report, or if you are rejected.]
- No more taxpayer-funded bailouts. If a company can’t make it, it will have to liquidate.
- Greater input by company shareholders over how much a CEO gets paid. And companies’ compensation boards are now required to be truly independent.
- Brokers who offer investment advice will have to act in the best interests of their customers, not their own financial interests.
- Financial firms won't be allowed to grow so large that if one fails, it will affect the entire financial system.
- There will be one agency whose sole job is to make sure that consumers get the protections they deserve and to set clear rules to hold banks, mortgage companies, payday lenders, and credit card lenders accountable.
- Businesses can't be charged extra fees for debit card “swipe fees” that exceed the cost of processing transactions.
- You can learn plenty more here at WhiteHouse,gov or at financialstability.gov
- Updated: To tack on #11, here's a new animated video we've released to further explain Wall Street Reform.
Jen Psaki is Deputy Communications Director
Jesse LeeJuly 20, 2010
07:15 PM EDT
For allies with so rich and deep a history as the United States and the United Kingdom, any bilateral meeting is likely to cover an exceptionally broad a range of topics. In their opening remarks at the press availability afterwards, President Obama and Prime Minister Cameron spoke about long term growth, long term stability and long term fiscal responsibility. They spoke about standing together internationally with regards to Iran, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. And they spoke about the profound mutual respect that is the basis of the "special relationship" between these two nations.
President Obama opened on a lighter note: