July 14, 2010
06:35 PM EDT
Today, I was honored to host an event at the White House with cybersecurity experts and discuss progress made by increased cybersecurity efforts across the administration. President Obama has recognized that the “cyber threat is one of the most serious economic and national security challenges we face as a nation” and “America's economic prosperity in the 21st century will depend on cybersecurity.”
We were joined by a broad cross section of stakeholders from the Federal government, State and local government, law enforcement and private sector representatives from across multiple sectors of the economy, as well as representatives from academia and the privacy and civil liberties communities. The purpose was to draw attention to the efforts of these communities to reduce risk and build confidence in our critical information and communications infrastructure.
Vivek KundraJuly 14, 2010
03:24 PM EDT
What if senior management in an Agency – or anyone in the public – could identify and monitor the performance of IT projects just as easily as they could monitor the stock market or baseball scores? That’s what the IT dashboard does -- and it’s changing the way government does business.
Trooper SandersJuly 14, 2010
03:06 PM EDT
This week, the First Lady traveled to Panama City Beach, Florida, to meet with business and community leaders in the area. The past few months have been especially challenging for families and businesses in the Gulf Coast region. The BP Oil Spill is the worst environmental disaster our nation has ever seen, and the effects of the spill are evident not only in the oil washing up on some of the shores, but in the businesses and communities that are suffering.
This Administration will not rest until the well is capped, the oil is cleaned up, the natural beauty of this region is restored, and the people of the Gulf Coast who have been affected by this tragic, ongoing spill are made whole. The President and his tireless advisors like Carol Browner, who joined us on this trip, have been doing everything they can to keep Gulf Coast families and the American people up to date on the Administration-wide response to the Gulf Coast spill, but there was one particular point of great concern that Mrs. Obama wanted to drive home to those families.
“I know that there have been lots of questions lately about how we can best help people here on the Gulf Coast who’ve been affected by the oil spill," Mrs. Obama said, "And to be honest, truly, one of the best ways that fellow Americans can help is to come on down here and spend some money.” What many Americans may not realize is that most of the Gulf Coast is still open for business. Despite what you’ve see on TV or read in the newspapers, many the beaches, like Panama City Beach, where the First Lady visited, are still clean and safe. And one of the best ways Americans can help this region and the hard working people who live in the area is by coming down and enjoying the hospitality.
For communities like Panama City Beach, summertime is peak tourist season. But this year, many business owners have seen a sharp decline in tourism to the region, despite the fact that their beaches are clean and oil free. If you’re looking for a family vacation this summer, consider visiting one of the many communities in the Gulf Coast region.
Trooper Sanders is Deputy Director of Policy to the First Lady
Katelyn SabochikJuly 14, 2010
02:26 PM EDT
Yesterday, the White House Office of National AIDS Policy (ONAP) released the National HIV/AIDS Strategy – a comprehensive plan for fighting HIV in our country.
In his remarks at a reception with HIV/AIDS policy experts and activists, the President acknowledged that as a Nation, we have come a long way in the battle against the domestic HIV/AIDS epidemic, but that we still have much work left to do:
July 14, 2010
02:18 PM EDT
Tomorrow, the White House Office of Urban Affairs will host a live chat with the leadership of the Sustainable Communities Partnership, an unprecedented agreement between HUD, Transportation, and EPA to coordinate Federal housing, transportation, and environmental investments. A part of President Obama's broader urban and metropolitan agenda, the partnership aims to break down traditional silos and craft federal programs and policies that take a more collaborative and holistic approach to better respond to the needs of communities.
Last month, the Partnership released a joint notice of funding availability (NOFA) – $35 million in TIGER II Planning grants and $40 million in Sustainable Community Challenge grants – for local planning activities that integrate transportation, housing, and economic development. And, HUD also announced $100 million in funding for Sustainable Communities Regional Planning grant program.
We invite you to join us for a live discussion on Sustainable Communities – the progress they’ve made, the funding programs available, and what the future of the partnership looks like – at www.whitehouse.gov/live tomorrow, July 15th at 2:00pm EST or you can submit questions in advance to Planetizen.
Kori SchulmanJuly 14, 2010
11:49 AM EDT
To launch the new LetsMove.gov, the First Lady answered some of your questions in her first live video chat with AOL Health. AOL called on their readers to submit questions for Mrs. Obama in the days leading up to the chat. In addition to the thousands of questions received in advance, even more of you engaged in the live event. Here is what you missed:
July 14, 2010
09:42 AM EDT
The Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) is pursuing transformational solutions to our energy problems. Part of the Department of Energy, ARPA-E is modeled after the famed DARPA program at the Department of Defense that led to the internet, GPS, stealth airplane technology, and many other success stories. At ARPA-E, we are trying to hit clean energy home runs, not just base hits. Our goal is to drive the sort of energy innovation that can help us take the lead in high-tech clean energy manufacturing and export clean energy products to the world.
On Monday, we announced $92 million in funding for 43 advanced research projects. These projects focus on three areas that are critical to building a new energy future: grid scale energy storage, advanced power electronics, and energy efficient cooling systems.
July 14, 2010
09:03 AM EDT
The lapse in extended unemployment insurance benefits at the end of May has resulted in 2.5 million jobless Americans exhausting their assistance. If we do not reinstate benefits by the end of the month, this number will grow to 3.2 million. These losses are exacting an enormous human toll on families who count on these benefits as they continue to search for jobs.
As the President recently remarked: “Lasting unemployment takes a toll on families, takes a toll on marriages, takes a toll on children. It saps the vitality of communities, especially in places that have seen factories and other anchoring businesses shut their doors. And being unable to find work – being able to provide for your family – that doesn’t just affect your economic security, that affects your heart and your soul. It beats you up. It’s hard.”
It is also bad for the economy. But unemployment insurance puts money in the pockets of the families most likely to spend the money – which in turn expands the economy and creates jobs. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office has identified increased aid to the unemployed as one of the two most cost-effective policy options for increasing economic production and employment.
Missed unemployment insurance payments since May total over $10 billion – enough to have created 100,000 jobs. An abrupt and premature withdrawal of relief is not only something families cannot afford, it is something that the economy cannot afford at a time when the economy is at a critical juncture. The economy is finally creating jobs, but not nearly fast enough to close the 8 million-job gap opened by the recession.
Jesse LeeJuly 13, 2010
02:35 PM EDT
When the President began pushing for tough reforms to the way Wall Street does business in the months after he came into office, the grip that the biggest banks in the world have held over Congress in past years left many skeptical about their prospects. Today, though, Senate Leader Harry Reid announced that the final vote in the Senate would come this week, clearing the way for the bill to be sent to the President’s desk.
As it happened, the President was meeting with Senate Democratic Leaders just this morning, and before announcing the nomination of his new OMB Director, the President took a moment to commend those Senators who have withstood the army of lobbyists working against this bill to get it to just steps from the finish line:
Before I begin, I just want to note a breakthrough that we’ve had on our efforts to pass the most comprehensive reform of Wall Street since the Great Depression. Three Republican senators have put politics and partisanship aside to support this reform, and I'm grateful for their decision, as well as all the Democrats who’ve worked so hard to make this reform a reality -- particularly Chairman Dodd and Chairman Barney Frank.
What members of both parties realize is that we can’t allow a financial crisis like this one that we just went through to happen again. This reform will prevent that from happening. It will prevent a financial crisis like this from happening again by protecting consumers against the unfair practices of credit card companies and mortgage lenders. It will ensure that taxpayers are never again on the hook for Wall Street’s mistakes. And it will end an era of irresponsibility that led to the loss of eight million jobs and trillions of dollars of wealth. This reform is good for families; it’s good for businesses; it’s good for the entire economy. And I urge the Senate to act quickly so that I can sign it into law next week.
Jesse LeeJuly 13, 2010
02:13 PM EDT
Today, President Obama announced his intent to nominate Jacob J. Lew, generally caled "Jack," to serve as Director of the Office of Management and Budget – the President’s top aide in charge of overseeing the budget for the entire Federal government. Lew, who already has outstanding experience in the position under the Clinton Administration, has been serving in the State Department under President Obama. During him time under President Clinton, 11 million jobs were created, and the federal budget was balanced for the first time since Neil Armstrong walked on the moon. An inherited $290 billion deficit was turned around, and resulted in a more than $236 billion surplus at the end of 2000.
In making the announcement, the President took ample time to commend the service of Peter Orszag, who has held the position during some of the toughest economic and fiscal times the country has seen in decades:
July 13, 2010
12:45 PM EDT
Today, I am pleased to announce the release of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy for the United States. The release of the strategy reaffirms President Obama’s commitment to fighting this domestic epidemic.
From the time that we first heard about the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) thirty years ago through today, HIV has become a global pandemic with more than 33 million people living with HIV around the world. In the United States, approximately 56,000 people become infected each year, more than 1.1 million Americans are living with HIV, and nearly 600,000 Americans have been lost to this disease. Unless we take bold actions, we anticipate a new era of rising infection rates and even greater challenges in serving people with HIV.
Kori SchulmanJuly 12, 2010
05:47 PM EDT
[UPDATE: This event has now concluded.]
Earlier today, the First Lady sent an email announcing the new LetMove.gov and some of its features. To kick things off, Mrs. Obama will be answering your questions about the Let’s Move! initiative in a live video chat tomorrow at 10:00 AM EDT. Watch the live event right here on WhiteHouse.gov/Live and read a message from the First Lady:
Jesse LeeJuly 12, 2010
05:45 PM EDT
This afternoon President Obama held a bilateral meeting with President Leonel Fernandez of the Dominican Republic, touching on a broad range of issues from the political crisis in Honduras, to trade, to continued efforts to crack down on drug trafficking between our two countries.
Both Presidents closed their remarks afterwards with words of appreciation for each others’ friendship, but President Obama opened his remarks on a heart-breaking topic:
One of the first messages I wanted to deliver was my appreciation for the role that the Dominican Republic played in helping the international community respond to the crisis in Haiti after the devastating earthquake there. And I think that the Dominican Republic’s role, President Fernandez’s role in particular, in helping to facilitate a rapid response was extraordinarily important. It saved lives and it continues as we look at how we can reconstruct and rebuild in Haiti in a way that is good not only for the people of Haiti but also good for the region as a whole.
As the six-month anniversary of the tragedy approaches, it’s not too late to help again, or for the first time.
Tammy DuckworthJuly 12, 2010
04:50 PM EDT
We often hear the cliché, “the fog of war”—a simplified expression used to describe the chaos and confusion so often found in a combat zone. It’s something all combat Veterans understand. Whether you’re running toward a hardened shelter during a mortar attack or gripping the wheel as your truck races through an area known for ambushes, combat is not a place where troops often stop to document the details. Those details may be forever burned into our minds, but we often don’t come away with hard copy proof of what occurred.
Unfortunately, for years now, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has required Veterans filing disability claims for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) to do just that—to document in detail what caused them to become symptomatic. We call it a “stressor.” Our rules have been even more stringent for Veterans who didn’t serve in a combat branch of the military—like the infantry, artillery, or armor. Essentially, if a former military intelligence soldier is continually late for work because he can’t sleep at night, we ask him to provide photos or a written radio log proving he was rocketed when he says he was. If he can’t, we might deny the claim. If a former medic shows signs of depression and blames it on having watched people bleed to death, we ask her to get a written statement from her former boss. Again, if she can’t, we may not award her benefits. But starting today, we’re making this process simpler and easier for all Veterans.
Jared BernsteinJuly 12, 2010
12:01 PM EDT
At a time like this, when there are still far too many Americans out of a job, policy makers might consider this simple rule: when a program is successfully and efficiently creating jobs, don’t eliminate it.
This rule should especially be observed when the assertion that it’s working is widely agreed upon by both Democrats to Republicans, by economists and business owners and governors.
But unless the Senate acts soon to preserve the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Subsidized Jobs program, this simple rule will be broken and this great program will be taken down.
We’ve highlighted this jobs program before, and a quick look at the reasons it’s so effective explains our enthusiasm. It lets states use Recovery Act dollars to pay for part of a new employee’s wages, giving employers a strong incentive to hire unemployed workers. And we’re not talking about bureaucrats here, folks – these subsidized workers are being placed at private-sector businesses and non-profits in addition to state government agencies.
It’s a two-fer as well, because while the program helps folks get out of their homes and into jobs, it’s also helping them get off public assistance like unemployment insurance and welfare.
Jesse LeeJuly 09, 2010
02:59 PM EDT
Following up on his tour of Smith Electric’s new factory in Kansas City yesterday – an all-electric, zero emissions commercial truck manufacturer that received a $32 million Recovery Act grant – the President spoke today at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas on the nexus of government, the emerging clean energy economy, and recovery:
Kori SchulmanJuly 09, 2010
02:00 PM EDT
On Tuesday, July 13th, Mrs. Obama is answering your questions in her first-ever web chat, as part of the launch of a new Let’s Move! website. The First Lady will answer your questions on the Let's Move! initiative to solve the epidemic of childhood obesity during a live event that is moderated by AOL Health. You can participate by submitting questions now or during the chat. Then tune in to the live event at 10:00 AM EDT on Tuesday, July 13 here on WhiteHouse.gov/live or over on AOL.
Here's how to engage in the event with the First Lady:
Arun ChaudharyJuly 09, 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 6 straight months of job growth, celebrates America's Independence Day with Military Families, watches a fireworks extravaganza with the First Lady, meets with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, tours Smith Electric Vehicles in Kansas City and much more.
Secretary Steven ChuJuly 08, 2010
05:28 PM EDT
Energy investors and entrepreneurs often refer to the period between technologies being developed in the lab and making their way to the marketplace as a "valley of death" due to the multitude of factors that can prevent those advancements from reaching the consumer. Today, just miles from the real Death Valley in Nevada, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar and I announced a venture that will help promising solar technologies make that journey to the market. The Nevada Test site, which was once used to test nuclear weapons, will now be dedicated to testing new solar technologies that will help put America on a sustainable energy path.
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