Stephanie CutterAugust 27, 2010
01:24 PM EDT
Throughout the debate on the Affordable Care Act, the Administration was focused on ways to bring down costs and decrease long term deficits - and independent analysts repeatedly validated these efforts as successful. But many critics continued to insist that the bill would somehow bust the budget anyway, despite proof to the contrary.
Well, to his credit perhaps, one Senator who opposed reform recently put his money where his mouth was, as they say, and asked the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) to examine the impact of repealing parts of the Affordable Care Act on the deficit over the next 10 years. As you have likely heard, some of those who opposed reform have adopted repeal as their new rallying cry, so the answer he got may have come as a bit of a surprise to him:
Finally, you asked what the net deficit impact would be if certain provisions of PPACA and the Reconciliation Act that were estimated to generate net savings were eliminated…If those provisions were repealed, CBO estimates that there would be an increase in deficits similar to its original estimate of $455 billion in net savings over that period.
In other words, repealing these provisions would add about $455 billion to the deficits over the next 10 years, hardly a contribution to our long term fiscal stability. As we say, we commend the Senator for his genuine concern for America’s budget deficits, a concern we have all clearly shared. We invite him and any others in Congress who opposed reform and who share that genuine concern to now embrace the Affordable Care Act as one of the most important deficit reduction laws in recent memory, which it clearly is.
The Affordable Care Act is already strengthening our health care system. Small businesses are eligible for tax cuts to help provide coverage to their employees, eligible seniors are receiving $250 checks to help with the cost of their prescription drugs and new consumer protections that put the American people in charge of their own care take effect in less than a month. Further, the new law strengthens the long-term viability of Medicare that millions of seniors depend on, by cutting waste and fraud, and increasing efficiency. It is also improving quality of care and giving consumers new benefits. But repealing the law means a larger budget deficit, and a health care system that gives insurance companies all the power.
As the CBO has once again made clear, we can’t afford to go back.
Stephanie Cutter is Assistant to the President for Special Projects
Secretary Kathleen SebeliusAugust 27, 2010
12:02 PM EDT
We can’t look back on the five years since Hurricane Katrina ripped through Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama’s Gulf Coast communities without recognizing the extraordinary determination of the people who live there. When the wind subsided and the clouds cleared, more than 1800 people had lost their lives; and property damage was as high as $75 billion. But folks rolled up their sleeves and got to work.
Our job at the Department of Health and Human Services was to make sure the health system was there for them. There are families who have called the Gulf region home for generations, and they aim to call it home for generations to come. That’s why this Department worked quickly in the immediate aftermath of the storm to provide emergency services and supplies to the region, and it’s why we have set out to rebuild the health care infrastructure to meet Gulf communities’ long-term medical needs.
Kori SchulmanAugust 27, 2010
10:40 AM EDT
Watch on Tuesday, August 31, 2010, as President Obama addresses the nation on Iraq from the Oval Office at 8 p.m. EST.
On August 31, 2010, President Obama will mark the end of America’s combat mission in Iraq. At this key transition point, it is important to show our support to the troops and their families who have made tremendous sacrifices for our country. President Obama kicks off “Saluting Service in Iraq” with his own video message:Viewing this video requires Adobe Flash Player 8 or higher. Download the free player.“Saluting Service in Iraq” is a social media campaign to encourage all Americans to get online and use their own social networks to show their support for the troops through photos, videos and written messages.It's easy to join in:
Administrator Lisa P. JacksonAugust 27, 2010
09:50 AM EDT
Administrator Jackson speaks with a response worker at the Incident Command Post in Alabama. June 3, 2010. (by USEPA photo by Eric Vance)
I grew up in New Orleans. As a chemical engineering student at Tulane University, I worked and studied in the local environment, particularly the wetlands, marshes and swamps. I saw then that the wetlands were the beating heart of the region. The coastal waters support a multi-billion-dollar fishing industry that is a way of life for many families and communities. The rich sediment and marsh grasses help filter pollution and provide the home for a priceless and delicate ecosystem. And the abundant vegetation growing above the surface helps buffer storm surges during hurricanes – a vital function whose importance was all too apparent after Hurricane Katrina.
My mother was still living in New Orleans when Katrina struck. I happened to be visiting her at the time, and drove her to safety. But her house – the house where I grew up – was destroyed by the flooding. After the storm, she and many other Gulf residents learned that the flooding had been made worse because the marshes and wetlands had been destabilized by navigation channels, covered over by levee construction, and most damagingly, cut away for the placement of oil and gas lines.
Arun ChaudharyAugust 27, 2010
12:00 AM EDT
Welcome to the West Wing Week, your guide to everything that’s happening at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. This week, watch a sneak preview of next Friday’s “Dispatches from Iraq” and join our brave men and women, both troops and civilians, on the ground as combat operations end in Iraq. Go behind the scenes with Provisional Reconstruction Teams, train with the Iraqi Federal Police, learn how millions of tons of equipment gets redeployed or sent home and much more. That’s happening next Friday, only at whitehouse.gov.
For information on what the Vice President has been up to this week, check out the links below:
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
Monday, August 23, 2010
- Vice President Biden speaks to the Veterans of Foreign Wars as combat operations in Iraq draw to a close.
Arun Chaudhary is the official White House videographer
August 26, 2010
05:26 PM EDT
Ed. Note: Cross posted from the Energy Blog
Today Vice President Biden announced that 200,000 homes have been weatherized under the Recovery Act. Cathy Zoi, Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy shares her thoughts:
Andy Oare is a New Media Specialist at the Department of Energy
Valerie JarrettAugust 26, 2010
04:33 PM EDT
Today we celebrate Women’s Equality Day and we mark the 90th Anniversary of the 19th Amendment. We honor those who made this day possible like Alice Paul and Ida Wells-Barnett and the countless women who fought for suffrage. They understood what we know now – that there is power in participation. We believe in the importance of voting.
Since 1920, women have made enormous strides toward social, political, and economic equality in the United States. Today, women and girls comprise just over 50 percent of the United States' population. Women now outnumber men in undergraduate education, as they now earn 57 percent of bachelor’s degrees and they makeup nearly half of the U.S. workforce.
While we have made great strides, there is still more work to do. As President Obama noted in the Women’s Equality Day Proclamation “we celebrate this important milestone and the achievements and shattered ceilings of the past, we also recognize the inequalities that remain and our charge to overcome them.” Women in the U.S. only earn a mere 77 cents for every dollar a man earns and the wage gap grows for women of color: African American women earn 69 cents and Latina women earn 62 cents for every dollar earned by a white male per week. And women and girls continue to lag in key sectors that are critical to building our 21st century economy. For example, women hold only 27 percent of jobs in science and engineering.
For these reasons and many more, the Obama Administration is focused on keeping up the fight for equality. This is why we created the White House Council on Women and Girls. The Council is working to institutionalize and embed an ongoing focus on women and girls as part of how the federal government develops policies, pursues programs, and works with Congress. We strive to embed the fight for equality in all we do. Every day we stand on the shoulders of the women who went before us and we keep them in mind as we forge ahead for another 90 years.
You can learn more about Women's Equality by reading President Obama's Presidential Proclamation on Women's Equality Day.
Valerie Jarrett is Senior Advisor to the President and Chair of the White House Council on Women and Girls.
August 26, 2010
01:41 PM EDT
In honor of this year’s Women’s Equality Day and the 90th anniversary of the 19th Amendment, I did a live web chat with Shireen Mitchell from the BlogHer community. Shireen and I had a great conversation, in which Shireen asked me a variety of questions from online participants. Watch the full video or use the links below to jump to the topics that interest you most:
- Opening remarks
- The long struggle women had to get the right to vote in 1920
- Importance of women exercising their right to vote
- Inequalities the exists for women today
- The online community’s power to organize around politics and voting
- How the White House Office of Public Engagement works
- Voting rights in particular for incarcerated women and injustices in the criminal justice system
- Equal pay for working women and their families
- How Social Security affects women
- Domestic and international human trafficking
- The Equal Rights Amendment and Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women
- Violence against women, participation, and medical care and services for women in the military
- The White House Office on Violence Against Women
- Overall equality of women
- Getting more women and girls involved in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields
- Concluding remarks
The conversation left me energized about the progress women have made, but focused on the challenges ahead. There are countless opportunities for the public’s engagement in politics and government. The importance of voting and other forms of public participation in government is the foundation of our country. As the Director of the White House Office of Public Engagement and Director of the White House Council on Women and Girls, I am proud to commemorate Women’s Equality Day and the 90th anniversary of the 19th Amendment in such an inclusive way.
A special thank you to Shireen Mitchell, the BlogHer community, and all of those who participated for providing me this opportunity.
Tina Tchen is Director of the White House Office of Public Engagement and Executive Director of the Council on Women and Girls
Liz OxhornAugust 26, 2010
01:12 PM EDT
Earlier this week, Vice President Biden unveiled a new report detailing how the Recovery Act is investing $100 billion in groundbreaking scientific research and advances in technology. The report focuses on how Recovery Act investments in modernizing transportation, jumpstarting the renewable energy sector, advancing medical research, and building a platform to enhance the private sector’s ability to innovate have helped put America on-track to achieve some major science and technology breakthroughs. You can read more about those efforts in Time Magazine this week, which calls the Recovery Act "the most ambitious energy legislation in history," and also looks at key investments in broadband, high-speed rail, science and tech, education, and health IT. As the Time article points out, "Any of those programs would have been a revolution in its own right."
While getting up to speed on the report, you may also come across a “fact-check” story the Associated Press is running on it. Unfortunately, the only thing AP’s “fact check” seems to be missing is… the full facts. Here’s the scoop:
Karen MillsAugust 26, 2010
01:02 PM EDT
Tommy and Maria DeLaune are a prime example of small business owners who suffered a one-two punch from Hurricane Katrina and the Deepwater BP oil spill. They run Tommy’s Seafood, a New Orleans seafood processor and wholesaler that employs about 20 people.
When Hurricane Katrina hit, the business suffered major damage at its two facilities, including loss of equipment and inventory. They applied for an SBA disaster loan in October 2005 but didn’t get approved until May 2006 and the loan wasn’t fully disbursed until October 2006, a year later.
They got hit again when the oil spill forced closures on fishing waters in the Gulf of Mexico, where their suppliers work. Tommy and his wife Maria had to look 500 miles away to find more seafood to process, so they had higher expenses and lower profit margins. This time around, however, their experience with SBA was “amazing,” according to Maria. Their disaster loan was approved in just 16 days and it was fully disbursed just a month later. Additionally, SBA deferred their existing Katrina loan for 12 months so they can use more of their resources to deal with the financial strain caused by the oil spill.
August 26, 2010
11:11 AM EDT
In recent weeks, an outbreak of Salmonella Enteritidis has sickened hundreds of people across the country and has led to a recall of shell eggs. FDA, CDC and state colleagues have worked hard to review reports of illness, to link these illnesses to eggs, and to trace these eggs to the farms involved.
We have had a team of investigators on two farms in Iowa investigating the problem, and ensuring that contaminated eggs are not shipped. The FDA is monitoring the recall, including conducting audit checks at retail stores, wholesalers, and distributors to make sure the recalled shell eggs are being removed from the market.
August 26, 2010
09:47 AM EDT
Cross-posted from HealthCare.gov
We’ve heard from seniors and other Medicare beneficiaries that sorting through the over 4,000 prescription drug plan choices, many of which offer similar benefits, can be a confusing and time-consuming process. Experts agree. That’s why seniors on Medicare, health policy researchers supported CMS’ efforts to make the Medicare Prescription Drug program less confusing by eliminating duplicative plans and making it easier for seniors to choose the plan that works for them.
Making Medicare Part D easier to use is one of our top priorities. A report for the Commonwealth Fund discussing seniors and the program found that “A significant majority of them reported that the benefit was too complicated, and some observers suggest that the complexity may have thwarted some beneficiaries from finding the plan that was best for them.”
Craig FugateAugust 26, 2010
09:24 AM EDT
Five years ago, Hurricanes Katrina and Rita devastated communities across the Gulf Coast. Five years later, the communities are still working to recover and rebuild from the destruction and damage wrought by those storms. We know these efforts have been incredibly challenging and frustrating at times, but they have also been a powerful testament to the courage, hope and determination of the people of the Gulf Coast – and those across our country who helped.
The Obama Administration remains committed to supporting the people of the Gulf Coast in their ongoing efforts to rebuild stronger, vibrant communities. FEMA will continue to be a partner to the Gulf Coast region and support the ongoing work of our state and local partners, the private sector, and the numerous faith groups and non-profits throughout the region. We’re also continuing to work with our federal partners to build on the improvements that have been made in recent years, accelerate the recovery by cutting through red tape, and get money moving to important projects on the ground, from schools to police stations to hospitals to libraries and transportation systems. We know a lot of work still lies ahead.
Brian LevineAugust 25, 2010
06:21 PM EDT
Today the Vice President held a Middle Class Task Force roundtable discussion with workers and small business owners at Pete’s New Haven Style Apizza, a local restaurant that has benefitted from the small business provisions in the Recovery Act.
The discussion focused on tax policies—some already in place, others we’re fighting for—designed to help middle class families make ends meet and help small businesses invest and grow.
Vice President Biden, the Chair of the Middle Class Task Force, emphasized the importance of preserving tax cuts for the middle class - cuts that mean more than $2,000 per year for an average middle class family. He also stressed the need for Congress to pass legislation to give small businesses additional tax relief and access to capital so that they can continue to invest and create new jobs.
August 25, 2010
06:13 PM EDT
Devastation caused five years ago to the Gulf region by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita remains historic in proportion. It resulted in loss of life, families being displaced, homes and businesses destroyed, and communities left in ruins. In the midst of this great tragedy, USDA Rural Development lent their knowledge and time to assist in the immediate hours following the passing of the storms. It was a new, but critical role of supporting other Federal agencies in swiftly establishing 80 disaster recovery centers; assisting local residents and leaders as they faced unparalleled adversity.
Secretary Shaun DonovanAugust 25, 2010
04:39 PM EDT
Five years ago, one of the most destructive natural disasters in our nation’s history hit the Gulf Coast. When they hit the coasts of Louisiana and Mississippi, Hurricanes Katrina and Rita took thousands of lives, displaced millions of residents, wiped out hundreds of square miles of coastal land, and inflicted major damage to nearly 300,000 homes.
A half-decade later, Gulf Coast residents are still trying to pick up the pieces. Since taking office in January 2009, the Obama Administration has been working hard to ensure residents are given the tools they need to recover from the hurricanes and rebuild their lives and communities. As a result, $2.43 billion in public assistance funds for recovery that had been stalled for years has been obligated since the beginning of the Administration, with President Obama’s Recovery Act providing billions more.
Jared BernsteinAugust 25, 2010
04:09 PM EDT
Ever since the Recovery Act passed last February, Congressional Republicans who opposed this economic rescue plan have had to do an awkward dance around the truth. After all, when you declare from the beginning that the Recovery Act won’t create a single job, you’re going to be forced to do a little two-step around the facts as week after week leading economists, the nation’s governors, and even your own constituents say otherwise.
But yesterday, when Representative Boehner declared that “all this ‘stimulus’ spending has gotten us nowhere” on the same day the nonpartisan CBO said the program has created or saved as many as 3.3 million jobs nationwide and his own home state’s Department of Transportation said nearly 9,500 construction workers were on the job in July just on Ohio Recovery Act transportation projects alone… well, let’s just say that dance got a little more… awkward.
Chris LuAugust 25, 2010
12:37 PM EDT
This weekend marks the fifth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina and provides an opportunity to remember what was lost, celebrate what has been regained, and restate our commitment to the Gulf region and to all those still working to rebuild lives and communities. The Obama Administration remains deeply committed to serving the needs of Gulf Coast residents. Since taking office, President Obama has made it clear that he will stand with the people in Gulf through this restoration process and on Sunday, the President and several members of the Cabinet will travel to New Orleans as a continued demonstration of that support (you can watch the event live on Sunday).
The storm and its tragic aftermath took more than a thousand lives, displaced more than a million residents, inflicted major damage to nearly 300,000 homes, and wiped out hundreds of square miles of coastal land. Since the hurricanes hit, the people of the Gulf Coast have never stopped working to rebuild their communities, but their resilience and determination were sometimes challenged by unnecessary bureaucratic obstacles. Since taking office, the Administration has eliminated bureaucratic red tape that has delayed assistance, including obligating nearly $2.42 billion in Public Assistance funds for recovery in Louisiana and Mississippi that had been stalled for years, and supported the Federal agencies and state and local partners who continue to provide assistance to the region. President Obama has also worked to improve disaster preparedness, response, and recovery nationwide, so that the Gulf Coast and all other regions of the country will be more resilient and better prepared in the face of future disasters.
August 24, 2010
07:01 PM EDT
Cross-posted from HealthCare.gov
HealthCare.gov puts the power of information at your fingertips. Not only can you learn about how the Affordable Care Act affects you, but you can also search for both public and private health coverage options through a new, easy to use health insurance finder tool.
Based on your answers to a series of questions, the insurance finder produces a menu of potential coverage choices – personalized just for you.
We’ve made it even easier for you to search for coverage options (or help others search for them) by developing a widget that you can embed on your website. Check it out!
Todd Park is the Chief Technology Officer at the Department of Health and Human Services
Secretary Arne DuncanAugust 24, 2010
01:52 PM EDT
Today, 10 applicants have won grants in the second phase of the Race to the Top competition. Along with Phase 1 winners Delaware and Tennessee, 11 states and the District of Columbia have now been awarded money in the Obama Administration's groundbreaking education reform program that will directly impact 13.6 million students, and 980,000 teachers in 25,000 schools.
The 10 winning Phase 2 applications in alphabetical order are: the District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, and Rhode Island.
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