Jesse LeeOctober 11, 2010
11:56 AM EDT
During tough economic times, one of the toughest jobs to hold is as a construction worker. In almost any city or town in America, you're likely to see buildings, projects, or roads left half-done after investments made by private enterprise or state and local governments based on expectations of a brighter economic future dried up.
Meanwhile, there is a near-universal consensus that America's infrastructure is both falling apart and lagging behind as our competitors move forward on the next generation of transportation. That's part of why a new report from the Council of Economic Advisers and the Treasury Department (pdf) encourages a bold new plan to invest, finding that infrastructure projects have a high bang for the buck because construction costs are low due to underutilized resources, and that these investments would create jobs in sectors of the economy suffering from some of the highest levels of unemployment. The Recovery Act already created hundreds of thousands of jobs this way, but there is more than enough left to do.
After meeting with some of his Cabinet secretaries, along with a bipartisan group of former secretaries of Transportation, mayors and governors who have come together in support of infrastructure investment, the President spoke both on the depth of the problem and value of the solution.
Brian BondOctober 09, 2010
08:55 PM EDT
Tonight Senior Advisor to the President Valerie Jarrett spoke at the annual national dinner of the Human Rights Campaign to directly address the recent tragedies surrounding youth who are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender. In recent months, there have been far too many LGBT youth who have faced bullying and harassment, and Valerie talked about what we can all do to address this important issue.
Her remarks as prepared are below. At the dinner she also took time to recognize Tammy Aaberg, mother of Justin Aaberg who tragically took his own life in July, along with her son Andrew who joined her there. As Valerie noted, Tammy and the other parents of these young Americans are good parents, but they can’t do it alone and America’s youths can’t just stay at home where it’s safe.
Kori SchulmanOctober 09, 2010
08:25 AM EDT
A quick look at the week of October 4th, 2010:
America’s Best Kept Secret: At the first ever White House Summit on Community Colleges, Dr. Jill Biden and President Obama emphasize the importance of providing all students access to a quality higher education. Not to be missed: A video featuring community college grads, including Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and, yes, even Billy Crystal. http://wh.gov/3D4
West Wing Week: "A Farewell to Rahm" Video: http://wh.gov/3Dx
Notable Number: 64,000. More on the employment situation in September: http://wh.gov/3bc
Approved: One week after President Obama signed the Small Business Jobs Act, nearly 2,000 small business owners who had been waiting for loans are approved and will soon have loan funds – totaling nearly $1 billion – in hand. http://wh.gov/3YQ
The White House Goes Solar: As we move toward a clean energy economy, the White House is leading by example. Energy Secretary Chu announces, “by the end of this spring, there will be solar panels and a solar hot water heater on the roof of the White House.” http://huff.to/c7sZtb
Video: Elizabeth Warren, who’s standing up the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, talks transparency on PBS news hour, “This is about making sure that families have the power to make good decisions, that they can see the contracts, they can see what the stuff costs, and they can get a competitive market to start working for them.” http://to.pbs.org/aAgCYP
Take it from Abe: Administrator Craig Fugate with Nationals racing president Abe share simple steps to save lives during Fire Prevention Week. http://bit.ly/cBVbpp
Not Signing It: President Obama will not sign H.R. 3808, the Interstate Recognition of Notarizations Act of 2010. White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer explains: http://wh.gov/3T1
Favorite photo: A curtsey in the Oval.
Jesse LeeOctober 09, 2010
06:00 AM EDT
The President explains that even as we focus on creating jobs immediately, we must also ensure the economy is better for our children by investing in education – not cutting it by 20% as Congressional Republicans propose.
Heather ZichalOctober 08, 2010
05:49 PM EDT
Since taking office, President Obama has emphasized the critical role America’s rural communities play not only in our national economy but also in helping to tackle our nation’s toughest energy challenges.
Today, nearly all of the fuel that powers our cars, trucks, and aircraft currently comes from oil. This oil – half of which is imported from overseas – also accounts for over one-third of our total carbon emissions.
Yet in small towns and on family farms all across the country, a renewable fuels movement has gained momentum and is reducing our dependence on foreign oil, creating new jobs and industries, and cutting the pollution that contributes to climate change. This is why the President has and will continue to advocate for a robust biofuel industry as part of his comprehensive energy strategy.
Howard A. SchmidtOctober 08, 2010
04:42 PM EDT
We have just completed our first full week of Cyber Security Awareness Month 2010. Together with Deputy Secretary Jane Lute from the Department of Homeland Security as well as friends and colleagues from the private sector, state and local government, we officially launched the month on Monday, October 4th. The level of engagement both in Seattle and in the National Capital Region was unprecedented and underscored our shared responsibility and the significance of the public private partnership in enhancing our national cybersecurity efforts.
October 08, 2010
03:56 PM EDT
Welcome to this week’s edition of our Friday Highlights. This week there were a number of events focused on celebrating and empowering women and girls. We invite you to read about our activities and remember - if you have friends or family that would like to join our efforts, please have them contact us at email@example.com. Thanks!
Have a great weekend!
Jesse LeeOctober 08, 2010
03:16 PM EDT
This morning the President took a tour of Ernest Maier Block, a family business in Maryland. Speaking afterwards, he said, “These are the guys that build serious stuff – concrete blocks, bricks for walls that are thick, difficult to move, and can stop anything in their path – sort of like the way I feel about Congress sometimes.”
That joke was born out of almost 2 years in which the fight has been enormously tough, not only against an economy that was barreling downward when the President came into office, but against a Republican minority that has joined arms to oppose virtually every attempt to get it back on track. From the Recovery Act, responsible for more than 3 million jobs, to 16 small business tax cuts, to keeping teachers and firefighters on the job – even the most common sense measures have been fought tooth and nail.
In his remarks, the President made clear that he was still in the fight every day to boost our economic recovery, and to overcome the intransigence of those blocking solutions. He reiterated what CEA Chair Austan Goolsbee spelled out earlier– that while there’s a lot of work left to do to get Americans back to work, nine straight months of positive private sector job growth is a far cry from the hemorrhaging that was taking place when he came into office.
But the President also spent a lot of time looking to the future:
Jared BernsteinOctober 08, 2010
12:57 PM EDT
When the Recovery Act was signed into law a year and a half ago, we moved swiftly to provide immediate relief for millions of hard-hit Americans, from tax cuts for 95% of working families to $250 emergency relief checks for seniors and people with disabilities. The deepest economic crisis since the Great Depression called for an unprecedented response to help American families stay afloat – and we delivered. Within six weeks, tax cuts were being provided in 110 million Americans’ paychecks and within three months, nearly 52 million Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) beneficiaries were receiving checks in the mail.
A new report out finds that over 99.8% of these checks were delivered accurately. Of the remaining 0.2% (two-tenths of one percent), more than half have already been returned, meaning the “error rate” is 0.1%. Now, we strongly believe that no inaccuracy is acceptable, but magnitude matters here. Over 51.8 million individual checks worth over $12.9 billion were swiftly and accurately delivered to eligible recipients.
Gene SperlingOctober 08, 2010
10:58 AM EDT
When President Obama signed the Small Business Jobs Act last week, there was an understandable focus on its eight new tax cuts, the $30 billion Small Business Lending Fund, and its provision to more than double the maximum size of Small Business Administration loans. But one item that seemed to get far less attention may provide some of the biggest benefits: The State Small Business Credit Initiative – a program to support $15 billion in lending through innovative public-private partnerships facilitated by states from coast to coast.
The State Small Business Credit Initiative is not a one-size-fits-all program. Rather, it provides states with the flexibility to strengthen a wide range of initiatives that they have designed to respond to local economic needs – from the manufacturing sector to hard-hit urban areas to rural communities – provided that they lead to $10 of private sector lending for each dollar of public funds invested.
Austan GoolsbeeOctober 08, 2010
09:33 AM EDT
Today’s employment report shows that private sector payrolls increased by 64,000 in September, continuing nine consecutive months of private sector job growth. This growth provides more evidence that the economy continues to recover, but we must do more to put the economy on a path of robust economic growth. At the same time, the rate of job growth is not as large as needed to bring the unemployment rate down quickly, as the unemployment rate remained at 9.6%.
In addition to the increase in September, the estimates of private sector job growth for July and August were revised up by a total of 36,000. Since last December, private sector employment has risen by 863,000. Over the last quarter of this year, including today’s results, private sector employers added an average of 91,000 jobs per month.
Despite the rise in private sector employment, overall payroll employment fell by 95,000 last month. In addition to the anticipated layoffs of 77,000 temporary Census jobs, state and local government also experienced a drop in employment of 83,000.
Arun ChaudharyOctober 08, 2010
07:50 AM EDT
Welcome to the West Wing Week, your guide to everything that's happening at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. Walk step by step with the President as he bids farewell to his outgoing Chief of Staff, Rahm Emanuel, and appoints Pete Rouse the new Interim Chief of Staff, holds the first ever Community College Summit at the White House alongside Dr. Biden, signs the bill granting the Congressional Gold Medal to Japanese-American World War II vets - the Army’s 100th Infantry Battalion and 442nd Regimental Combat Team, awards the Medal of Honor to Staff Sergeant Robert J. Miller, and much more...
For more information on the events in this edition of West Wing Week, check out the links below:
October 1st, 2010
October 4th, 2010
October 5th, 2010
Stephanie CutterOctober 07, 2010
08:35 PM EDT
When President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act into law, he made it clear that his Administration would move quickly and responsibly to implement the new law between now and 2014 when all Americans would have more affordable private insurance options and the worst insurance industry abuses are ended. Fixing a broken health care system won’t happen overnight. It will take time to implement new reforms in a way that protects consumers because, as the President said when he signed the Affordable Care Act into law, “We need to get this right.”
Part of getting it right is ensuring a smooth transition in the market place between now and 2014, when the law is fully implemented, so that consumers don’t become worse off along the way. Last month, we implemented a new Patient’s Bill of Rights that helps put doctors and patients, not insurance companies, in control of their health care. Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, insurance companies can no longer drop your coverage when you get sick. If you join a new plan, you will get preventive services, like mammograms and colonoscopies, at no out-of-pocket costs. Young adults can stay on their parents’ plan until they turn 26. And it is illegal for insurance companies to place a lifetime limit on the dollar amount of care you can receive.
Dr. Jill BidenOctober 07, 2010
04:14 PM EDT
Ed. Note: Also check out the write-up from Adm. Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
We did it! This Tuesday’s first-ever White House Summit on Community Colleges was an historic and exciting day – and one I am so proud to have chaired.
I was personally moved by the people I met at Tuesday’s Summit. Whether a student, a fellow faculty member, a business leader, Cabinet Secretary or college President or trustee – every person brought such a diverse range of experiences and expertise, yet all shared a firm commitment to strengthening community colleges and their future. I am still reading through the great feedback from attendees and thoughtful comments from those who participated online. I visited each of the day’s breakout sessions and heard great discussions around issues ranging from credit transfer, veterans support services, industry best practices, and – my favorite- solutions that might be applied to various challenges facing community colleges and their students.
October 07, 2010
03:06 PM EDT
Today, the President signed into law bipartisan legislation to decrease over-classification and promote information sharing across the federal government and with state, local, tribal, and private sector entities.
As the President has highlighted previously, protecting national security information and demonstrating our commitment to open government through the proper application of classification standards are equally important and compatible priorities. Enlisting the power of our democratic values strengthens our ability to counter terrorism, and is critical to keeping America secure and the American people informed.
Dan PfeifferOctober 07, 2010
01:15 PM EDT
Today, the White House announced that President Obama will not sign H.R. 3808, the Interstate Recognition of Notarizations Act of 2010, and will return the bill to the House of Representatives. The Interstate Recognition of Notarizations Act of 2010 was designed to remove impediments to interstate commerce. While we share this goal, we believe it is necessary to have further deliberations about the intended and unintended impact of this bill on consumer protections, including those for mortgages, before this bill can be finalized.
Notarizations are important for a large range of documents, including financial documents. As the President has made clear, consumer financial protections are incredibly important, and he has made this one of his top priorities, including signing into law the strongest consumer protections in history in the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. That is why we need to think through the intended and unintended consequences of this bill on consumer protections, especially in light of the recent developments with mortgage processors.
The authors of this bill no doubt had the best intentions in mind when trying to remove impediments to interstate commerce. We will work with them and other leaders in Congress to explore the best ways to achieve this goal going forward.
Kori SchulmanOctober 07, 2010
01:05 PM EDT
Today marks the retirement of Archbishop Desmond Tutu, an "event [that] invites us to celebrate his many accomplishments from which we have all benefited," said President Obama. "We will miss his insight and his activism, but will continue to learn from his example."
In 2009, Archbishop Desmond Tutu was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom. America’s highest civilian honor -- the 2009 awardees were chosen for their work as agents of change. In a never-before-seen video interview from the event, Tutu discusses being a catalyst of change and realizing one's full potential:
Tina TchenOctober 06, 2010
10:13 PM EDT
Yesterday, I participated in events for the Fortune Most Powerful Women’s Summit - held for the first time ever in Washington, D.C.! The Summit included over 500 women leaders from business, government, philanthropy, media, education, and the arts. I started the evening at a Minute Mentoring session with 75 impressive high school girls from across the Washington, DC area. This lively group of girls was selected because they submitted applications where they were asked to write about their career aspirations. During the mentoring session, I got to spend one-on-one time with the girls, answering their questions, offering support and providing advice. They were remarkable young women!
After the mentoring session, the girls and I were off to the Fortune dinner. This event was attended by incredible women - including a number of senior level women from our Administration. President Obama keynoted the event and talked about the efforts we are undertaking to rebuild our economy, and the importance of women in business and the workforce. The President highlighted the 75 young women leaders and listed some of their career aspirations – "cultural anthropologist", "classical singer", "U.S. Senator" and a "professional race car driver". He spoke eloquently about the steps that the Administration has taken to support their dreams and make women and girls a priority. The President addressed more broadly our efforts on behalf of small businesses, our efforts to train and educate workers, make our workplace more flexible, and make America more competitive. It was a special evening and an important statement about the Administration's commitment to women and girls.
Tina Tchen is Director of the White House Office of Public Engagement and Executive Director of the Council on Women and Girls
Jesse LeeOctober 06, 2010
04:59 PM EDT
The Vice President and the First Lady were also present as the President awarded Robert J. Miller, Staff Sergeant, U.S. Army, the Medal of Honor for conspicuous gallantry. Staff Sergeant Miller received the Medal of Honor posthumously for his heroic actions in combat on January 25, 2008 in Afghanistan. As is always the case, his story -- recounted by the President -- truly makes one proud to be An American:
Karen MillsOctober 06, 2010
04:48 PM EDT
Small businesses have played a critical role in supporting economic growth and creating jobs. Small firms employ half of all working Americans and create two out of every three net new jobs in the U.S. economy.
A specific subset of these small businesses, high growth firms, account for a disproportionately high share of job growth and innovation. These high-growth firms have different needs, face different barriers, and require different policies than the traditional “Main Street” small businesses.
In May 2010, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) brought together a group of practitioners for a High-Growth Conference, to discuss specific ideas for the role of government in supporting high-growth firms. During the Conference the group discussed the barriers facing high-growth small businesses, ways the government can help reduce these barriers and areas in which the government can do more or less to support high-growth firms.
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