Our Top Stories
July 20, 2010
05:19 PM EDT
On behalf of Major League baseball players, I was honored today to stand with the First Lady at Camden Yards as we kicked off a new partnership with the Let's Move! campaign.
As we gathered with local RBI and Boys & Girls Clubs of America youth, I was struck by the First Lady's wisdom and courage to confront childhood obesity and her ongoing commitment to making a difference. I’m sure there are other, politically safer, social issues to champion, but this is not a problem that can be solved simply by pretending it does not exist. Nor is this a problem we can afford to ignore.
The Major League Baseball Players Association is excited about the Let's Move! campaign because it promises to actually do something about a serious problem facing our youth, rather than just talk about it. Today we kicked off a new public service campaign featuring 30 MLB players, one from every Club, that will run in stadiums, online and on media with the Ad Council later in the summer.Viewing this video requires Adobe Flash Player 8 or higher. Download the free player.
July 20, 2010
01:12 PM EDT
Ed. Note: Yesterday President Obama honored WNBA Champion Phoenix Mercury at the White House. In his remarks, the President congratulated the team on winning their second WNBA title and thanked them for their extraordinary service. The team is committed to serving the Phoenix community -– from putting on basketball camps for children of veterans to collecting clothes for the homeless. Yesterday, the team continued that commitment at the White House by holding a clinic as part of First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! initiative to help young people live healthy and active lives. We caught up with Phoenix Mercury point guard Temeka Johnson following her visit. Here is what she had to say:
Today’s experience at the White House is hard to put into words, but if I could use one word, it would be inspiring! My Phoenix Mercury teammates and I were honored by President Obama and his administration for winning the 2009 WNBA Championship. It was a great experience and a moment a lot of us have been waiting for. You play to win championships, but to be honored by our President is a dream come true. This is not a dream that we normally have, but it feels like the icing on the cake. We are all inspired to do it again and get back here this time next year!
July 20, 2010
12:05 PM EDT
Today marks the second and final day of the world’s first Clean Energy Ministerial. We want you to be part of it. That’s why we’re webcasting all of today’s proceedings as they happen, so you can observe and weigh in on the discussion. Watch it live from 10am to 5pm today. As you watch, we invite you to submit your questions and comments directly via:
Jesse LeeJuly 20, 2010
11:56 AM EDT
One of the first pieces of legislation the President signed was the Ledbetter Fair Pay Act -- watch the video of the historic signing below from just about a week into his term:
Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis gave a great update on the impact of that law on the one-year anniversary, but the Administration's work on women and the workplace has gone well beyond that as a prominent focus of the Council on Women and Girls established by President Obama. Today, the President talks about next steps in a statement:
Valerie JarrettJuly 20, 2010
11:33 AM EDT
At today’s Middle Class Task Force event Vice President Biden addressed two issues that affect the lives of women across our nation: closing the gender wage gap and balancing the demands of work and family. For the majority of American families, it is no longer the case that one parent is the breadwinner while the other is the caregiver. Women now make up nearly half of the labor force, and men and women are more evenly sharing care-giving responsibilities at home. American families’ economic security depends in part on ensuring equitable pay, regardless of who is bringing home the paycheck, and on helping Americans balance work and family obligations.
The Obama Administration has already made great strides towards achieving these important goals, through actions such as passage of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, creation of the Equal Pay Enforcement Task Force, and hosting a White House forum that showcased the best practices in workplace flexibility. But there is still much work to be done.
Today, we are announcing the White House’s launch of a Work-Flex Event Starter Kit to encourage greater dialogue around workplace flexibility at the community level and bring people together to start making changes.
Katelyn SabochikJuly 20, 2010
10:35 AM EDT
Don’t have time to check WH.gov everyday? That’s ok – we’ve got a new feature to make staying current even easier. Starting today, the White House will offer a brand new weekly email with updates and latest news on the economy and job creation in America. Each week, we’ll send you the latest economy and jobs related posts from the White House blog as well as a look ahead to what’s on tap for next week.
You can check out the first edition of the Economy and Jobs Agenda below and sign up to get the weekly updates in your inbox here. We'll also launch a Energy and Climate Agenda later this week - sign up now. Look for more topics coming soon.
Craig FugateJuly 19, 2010
06:16 PM EDT
Back in May, we launched our mobile site, http://m.fema.gov to make it easier than ever for people to access information from FEMA quickly and easily. This launch was only a first step and I’m glad to announce today a new feature to our mobile site that allows disaster survivors to apply for federal assistance directly on their web-enabled mobile devices after Presidentially declared disasters (such as BlackBerry®, Apple iPhone®, and Windows Mobile® devices).
Kori SchulmanJuly 19, 2010
01:14 PM EDT
Today the President and First Lady continue their White House music series with "A Broadway Celebration" to honor the arts and demonstrate the importance of arts education. The White House has consistently looked to support the arts even during these tough times. As the President has said, “the arts are not somehow apart from our national life, the arts are at the heart of our national life.” This evening’s event is the sixth in a series that showcases the music that has shaped and enriched our country – preceded by tributes to jazz, country, Latin, classical and the music of the Civil Rights Movement.
This afternoon, dance students from the local Duke Ellington School of the Arts and the Joy of Motion Dance Center will work with Tony Award winning choreographer Jerry Mitchell on a segment from the Broadway show Hairspray. The youth ensemble will come to the White House to perform in a special dress rehearsal for the First Lady, their parents and teachers, before joining the ranks of some of Broadway’s most prestigious performers.
Jesse LeeJuly 19, 2010
12:09 PM EDT
The President opened his remarks today describing some of the people he is focused on as he deals with the economy every day:
Right now, across this country, many Americans are sitting at the kitchen table, they’re scanning the classifieds, they’re updating their resumes or sending out another job application, hoping that this time they’ll hear back from a potential employer. And they’re filled with a sense of uncertainty about where their next paycheck will come from. And I know the only thing that will entirely free them of those worries –- the only thing that will fully lift that sense of uncertainty –- is the security of a new job.
Katelyn SabochikJuly 19, 2010
11:44 AM EDT
Starting in September, insurance plans will be required to pay the entire cost of recommended, preventive services. That means that, without paying a deductible, co-pay or coinsurance, many Americans will be able to take the preventive steps needed to keep themselves and their families healthy. To help raise awareness about this important issue, The First Lady and Dr. Biden recorded this video message:
Katelyn SabochikJuly 19, 2010
11:20 AM EDT
On Saturday, David Axelrod sent this email to the White House list highlighting the President’s Weekly Address calling on Congress to stand up for small businesses and unemployed Americans by quickly passing legislation that would provide small businesses with the credit they need to hire and grow and extend unemployment benefits for Americans looking for work.
If you didn’t get the email, you can sign up for the White House email list here.
Jesse LeeJuly 17, 2010
06:00 AM EDT
The President blasts Republicans in the Senate who are blocking unemployment insurance and small business tax breaks to create jobs -- even as they push for permanent, massive tax cuts for the richest Americans.
Jesse LeeJuly 16, 2010
11:21 AM EDT
This morning the President spoke on the news from the Gulf, emphasizing that while there may be good news, the work is not done containing the leak, and will not be until the relief wells are finished and functioning. After his opening remarks where he explained exactly what is happening, he was asked what his message for the people in the Gulf region would be:
Well, I would expect that sometime in the next several weeks I’ll be back down. What we’re trying to do right now is to make sure that the technical folks on the ground are making the best possible decisions to shut this well down as quickly as possible, that we’re standing up the fund so that people are compensated quickly. I’m staying in touch each and every day, monitoring the progress and getting briefed by the scientists.
The key here right now is for us to make decisions based on science, based on what’s best for the people of the Gulf -- not based on PR, not based on politics. And that’s part of the reason why I wanted to speak this morning, because I know that there were a lot of reports coming out in the media that seemed to indicate, well, maybe this thing is done. We won’t be done until we actually know that we’ve killed the well and that we have a permanent solution in place. We’re moving in that direction, but I don’t want us to get too far ahead of ourselves.
His opening remarks with a little more detail below:
July 16, 2010
10:49 AM EDT
Each year across America, more than 5,000 workers are killed on the job. Another four million are injured, and thousands more will subsequently become ill or die from present day occupational exposures.
Recent tragedies—like the explosions at the Upper Big Branch Mine in West Virginia and aboard the Deepwater Horizon off the Gulf Coast—make that clear. The news coverage is certainly fostering public awareness of the hazards facing many workers, but every day, countless other workplace injuries and deaths go largely unnoticed.
Shortly after the Upper Big Branch explosion, the President made clear his personal commitment and that of the Administration to honor the victims of this disaster by ensuring justice is served on their behalf and that an accident of this magnitude never happens again. He told the nation “we owe [those who perished in the UBB disaster] more than prayers. We owe them action. We owe them accountability. We owe them an assurance that when they go to work every day, when they enter that dark mine, they are not alone. They ought to know that behind them there is a company that’s doing what it takes to protect them, and a government that is looking out for their safety.”
Arun ChaudharyJuly 16, 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 about the economy in Las Vegas, celebrates 100 years of the Boy Scouts of America, meets with President Fernandez of the Dominican Republic, visits with the 2010 Principal of the Year award winners, announces the new Director of the Office of Management and Budget and much more.
Find more video, photos, and information on the events featured in this episode below:
Jesse LeeJuly 15, 2010
06:25 PM EDT
When the President came into office, the scope of the challenges and the change needed to address them seemed overwhelming, and maybe more than Washington could handle. But one by one, these monstrous challenges are being met, despite fierce opposition from hordes of lobbyists driven by a desire to protect a lucrative status quo and an opposition party driven by politics at any cost. Indeed, as the President praised final passage of Wall Street Reform today, he was forced to point out that “Already, the Republican leader in the House has called for repeal of this reform. I would suggest that America can’t afford to go backward and I think that’s how most Americans feel as well.”
With the final version of Wall Street Reform having passed the Senate this afternoon, and the House having passed it weeks ago, the bill now comes to the President’s desk. The President thanked those in Congress who stood strong, and noted that first and foremost, “Because of this reform, the American people will never again be asked to foot the bill for Wall Street’s mistakes.” But that is only a part of what reform means for the American people, and only part of what makes this almost universally described as the most sweeping reform of Wall Street since the great depression:
Jesse LeeJuly 15, 2010
04:34 PM EDT
If you missed our post earlier on the future of electric vehicles and advanced batteries that the Recovery Act has helped shape, it’s well worth a read. As the President said during his visit to the advanced battery plant in Holland, Michigan, today: “This is a symbol of where Michigan is going, this is a symbol of where Holland is going, this is a symbol of where America is going.”
In short, making America a player in emerging market for electric vehicles was one of dozens of examples of the Recovery Act not only putting people to work in the short term, but building a whole new foundation for America’s economy:
That means that by 2012, the batteries will be manufactured here in Holland, Michigan. So when you buy one of these vehicles, the battery could be stamped “Made in America” -– just like the car.
The President went on to put this plant in the broader perspective, and to remind everybody about the choice between moving forward toward recovery and this new foundation, or moving back to the time that led to this crisis:
Katelyn SabochikJuly 15, 2010
04:27 PM EDT
Tomorrow from 10:30 AM EDT to 1 PM EDT, the White House will host a Clean Energy Economy Forum focused on clean energy manufacturing. Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke will kick off the event with opening remarks followed by two panel discussions focusing on strategies to advance the development and commercialization of new clean energy technologies, support the creation and growth of emerging industries and small and medium enterprises, promote exports, and train workers for the clean energy economy.
You can watch the forum live tomorrow at WhiteHouse.gov/live. During the question and answer portion of the panel discussions we’ll be taking some questions from the online audience so submit your questions via Facebook or our webform.
Jesse LeeJuly 15, 2010
01:47 PM EDT
It’s a small part of a big story that will impact how the world travels for generations to come – and the role American workers will have in that transformation.
This afternoon the President is at a groundbreaking ceremony at Compact Power, Inc. a subsidiary of LG Chem Ltd., a battery plant in Holland, Michigan. The plant is yet another piece of the puzzle for turning electric vehicles from a dream that many presumed dead into a reality that we will all one day take for granted. The plant is the ninth of nine new advanced battery factories to start construction as a result of the $2.4 billion in Recovery Act advanced battery and electric vehicle awards the President announced last August. The project is expected to create hundreds of construction and manufacturing jobs in Holland. Once fully operational, the Compact factory will produce battery cells to support 53,000 Chevy Volts a year.
Secretary Kathleen SebeliusJuly 14, 2010
10:01 PM EDT
Earlier today, I joined First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden to discuss how the Affordable Care Act will give millions of Americans access to preventive care through their private health insurance.
Today, too many Americans today aren't getting the preventive health care they need. Right now, for example, 59 million adults and 11 million children depend on private health insurance that doesn't adequately cover immunizations. And 12 percent of children haven't visited a doctor in the last year.
The statistics are even more troubling in our minority communities. African-American mothers are 2.5 times as likely as white mothers to begin prenatal care in the 3rd trimester, or not receive it at all. And only 37 percent of Latinos were screened for colon cancer in 2007, compared to 57 percent of whites.
Our challenge is to remove the obstacles between patients getting the preventive services that they need to stay healthy. If we fail in this challenge, we all pay the price. If we succeed -- we are on our way to a healthier nation. According to one study, if people got just five types of preventive services when they needed to -- colorectal and breast cancer screening, flu vaccines, counseling to help them quit smoking, and regular aspirin use to prevent strokes -- we could avert 100,000 deaths each year. Use of preventive services can also help bring costs down in a variety of ways. For example, people who are obese have health care costs that are 39 percent above average, and reducing obesity and the diseases related to it could lower premiums overall by 0.05 to 0.1 percent.
Those are just a few of the reasons why President Obama has made improving access to preventive care a priority from his first day in office and why we released new rules requiring all new private health insurance plans with plan years beginning on or after September 23, 2010 to cover recommended preventive services without cost-sharing when delivered by a network provider. The new rules mean that services like blood pressure, diabetes and cholesterol tests, cancer screenings, routine vaccinations, and well-baby visits will be provided without a deductible, co-pay or co-insurance.
We know that eliminating these costs for regular preventive services can ensure more Americans will use these services. And we know these services can save lives.
At the announcement yesterday, we met Maggie Roberts from California. When Maggie's son was just a toddler, he was diagnosed with cancer during a routine checkup. Because they caught it early, the cancer was successfully treated, and years later he is still cancer-free. It's a powerful story of how important preventive care can be.
You can learn more about the new preventive benefits available under the law, and get more tips on how to stay healthy by visiting our new website, www.HealthCare.gov.
Kathleen Sebelius is Secretary of Health and Human Services