Read all posts from January 2011

  • Each semester the White House welcomes over 100 interns into 18 different departments across the Administrations.  While each experience is one-of-a-kind, the program maintains the overarching theme of public service.  White House Interns agree, sharing their reflections on their truly unique time with the program:

    “More than experience in government, this internship is the embodiment of the President's promise to increase civic engagement.”
    -White House Office of Legislative Affairs Intern

    “I participated in meaningful and fulfilling projects and learned volumes about the many ways the Executive Branch reaches out to communities throughout the United States.”
    -White House Communications Department Intern

    “I return to school this fall eager to find ways to further engage in public service and continue to communicate the efforts of our government to improve lives of everyday Americans. “
    -White House Department of Scheduling and Advance Intern

  • Ed. Note: In case you missed it, check out the White House blog’s Top 10 of 2010.

    Take a look back at the top ten most viewed videos of 2010 from the White House YouTube channel. You can stay up to date with the latest White House videos by subscribing to the White House YouTube channel.

    1. President Obama and Jay Leno at White House Correspondents Dinner

    President Obama and Jay Leno trade jokes at the 2010 White House Correspondents' Association Dinner in Washington, D.C.

    2. President Obama: It Gets Better

    As part of the It Gets Better Project, President Obama shares his message of hope and support for LGBT youth who are struggling with being bullied.

  • This morning the First Family returned to the White House from Hawaii:

    President Obama and the First Family Return from Hawaii to Begin 2011

    President Barack Obama waves as he, First Lady Michelle, and daughters Malia and Sasha, arrive on the South Lawn of the White House on Marine One, January 4, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)

    On the flight back the President spoke briefly with reporters, exchanging a few pleasantries and discussing his shaved ice preferences ("I'm a plain shaved ice guy.  No beans, no ice cream, no sweet milk on top").  But the President also addressed what he expects to see in Congress in the weeks ahead:

    Q    A serious question:  Are you concerned you're going to get a chilly reception in Washington?  Republicans, on Sunday, were talking about the first thing they’re going to do is repeal health care.  They’re talking about asking you to get rid of Eric Holder, the Attorney General.  It sounds like a relatively chilly reception awaiting you.

    THE PRESIDENT:  Well, I mean, I think that there’s going to be politics.  That's what happens in Washington.  They are going to play to their base for a certain period of time.  But I'm pretty confident that they’re going to recognize that our job is to govern and make sure that we are delivering jobs for the American people and that were creating a competitive economy for the 21st century; not just for this generation but the next one.

    And so my expectation, my hope is that John Boehner and Mitch McConnell will realize that there will be plenty of time to campaign for 2012 in 2012, and that our job this year is to make sure that we build on the recovery.  We started to make good progress on that during the lame duck, and I expect to build on that progress when I get back.

  • Cross posted from FoodSafety.gov.

    Even before the President signs the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), the passage of this legislation set in motion sweeping improvements to the security and safety of our nation’s food supply.

    Each year, foodborne illness strikes 48 million Americans, hospitalizing a hundred thousand and killing thousands.  I thank the President and members of Congress for recognizing that the burden that foodborne illness places on the American people is too great, and for taking this action. 

    The historic legislation the President will sign tomorrow directs the Food and Drug Administration, working with a wide range of public and private partners, to build a new system of food safety oversight – one focused on applying, more comprehensively than ever, the best available science and good common sense to prevent the problems that can make people sick. 

  • In an op-ed this morning in the Washington Post, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan looks ahead to a major opportunity for moving our country forward with bipartisan support over the next couple years:

  • As we start a new year, we bring you the White House blog's top ten most popular posts of 2010. They cover a range of topics – from what’s in the healthcare bill to supporting our military families. Check out the top ten posts below and tell us which one is your favorite on Facebook.

    1. Supporting Our Military Families (Includes Video)
      On Independence Day, First Lady Michelle Obama shares a special message for all Americans about supporting military families.
    2. On The One Year Anniversary Of The Photo of the Day  (Includes Photos)
      On the one year anniversary of the "Photo of the Day," Pete Souza, Chief Official White House Photographer and Director of the White House Photography Office, selects his ten favorites.
    3. State of the Union Address: Putting Washington at the Service of the Middle Class  (Includes Video)
      Deputy Chief of Staff Mona Sutphen gives a run-down of some key policy points in the President's State of the Union Address.
    4. Another Government Shutdown?
      Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer discusses the House Republicans agenda.
    5. What's in the Health Care Bill?
      White House Director of Health Reform Nancy-Ann DeParle outlines the key benefits of health reform for individual Americans.
    6. "On Behalf of My Mother" (Includes Video)
      The President signs health reform into law and in the process created a future for the country in which Americans and small businesses are in control of their own health care, not the insurance industry.
    7. This is What Change Looks Like (Includes Video)
      After a historic vote in the House to send health reform to the President, he speaks to all Americans on the change they will finally see as they are given back control over their own health care.
    8. President Obama and Vice President Biden’s Tax Returns
      View the President and Vice President's 2010 tax returns.
    9. President Obama: It Gets Better (Includes Video)
      As part of the It Gets Better Project, President Obama shares his message of hope and support for LGBT youth who are struggling with being bullied.
    10. The President Holds an Open Discussion Across the Aisle (Includes Video)
      The President leads something unusual in American politics – an open dialogue with members of the opposite party.

  • This afternoon President Obama signed the "James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act," which establishes the World Trade Center Health Program and extends and expands eligibility for compensation under the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund of 2001.

    President Barack Obama signs H.R. 847, the "James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act" in Kailua, Hawaii, Jan. 2, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

    [View Full Size]

    UPDATE: The President's statement:

    I was honored to sign the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act to ensure that rescue and recovery workers, residents, students, and others suffering from health consequences related to the World Trade Center disaster have access to the medical monitoring and treatment they need.  We will never forget the selfless courage demonstrated by the firefighters, police officers, and first responders who risked their lives to save others. I believe this is a critical step for those who continue to bear the physical scars of those attacks.

  • Cross posted from the Warrior Care blog.

    Brian Hawthorne, Iraq Veteran and Member of Board of Directors for Student Veterans of America

    In case you hadn’t heard, in the last days of the Session, both the House and the Senate passed a Bill, S. 3447, that significantly enhanced and changed the Post 9/11 GI Bill and other educational benefits. This effort was led by a coalition of veteran services organizations, and we are proud to have seen it through.

    This Bill made a lot of important changes to these programs specifically for wounded warriors and disabled veterans, and I wanted to take a moment to tell you about them and others so you can start to plan for your educational goals. 

    • Vocational Rehabilitation Program Stipend.  Most significantly, a disabled veteran receiving the housing stipend under the Vocational Rehabilitation   Program (Chapter 31), which is usually significantly less than the Post 9/11 GI Bill, can now opt to receive the more generous amount under the Post 9/11 GI Bill which is the BAH rate of E-5 with dependents for their local zip code. This will be hundreds of dollars more per month for tens of thousands of eligible beneficiaries.
    • Vocational School Training and Apprenticeships Now Covered.  The Post 9/11 GI Bill can now be used at many more vocational schools, apprenticeships, and on-the-job-training programs, which means that you can use it to enter into almost any field that you want.
    • Housing Allowance for Online Learners.  A housing allowance is now available for exclusively online learners, so even while you are recuperating and cannot attend class in person on a campus, you can start your education online and receive the housing support allowance you need.
    • Book Allowance for Active Duty.  If you are still on active duty, and want to start your education, you can now receive the $1,000/year book stipend that was previously not available for active duty personnel.
    • Prep Courses and Test Fees Now Covered.  If you have not yet applied for schools, and want to bring your SAT/ACT scores up, the Post 9/11 GI Bill can now be used to fund prep courses and the test fees themselves so you can be more competitive when you apply.
    • Time for Eligibility Tolled During Recovery and for Caretakers.  The Montgomery GI Bill (Chapter 30), which has a 10-year expiration date, has been extended for wounded, injured, and ill veterans and their caretakers for the length of their recovery time, which means that time spent in the hospital does not burn benefit time. This same extension also applies to children who are caretakers and have had Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits transferred to them, or recipients of Chapter 35 Survivor’s Benefits. Normally, they must use their benefits before their 26th birthday, but this can be extended for those providing care to wounded, injured, and ill veterans.

    You can read a summary of the major changes here.  There are a myriad of GI Bill benefit programs available to wounded and disabled veterans, and if you need help selecting the one that is right for you, talk to an educational advisor at your base or local school, or one of the veteran service organizations that make it our business to help you get the benefits you deserve.   Feel free to visit our home page at www.studentveterans.org.  If you are interested in information on enrollment and/or transferring your benefit to a dependant,  just click the Post 9-11 GI Bill Icon on  www.warriorcare.mil

    If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us at gibill@studentveterans.org, and we would be glad to help you. 

    Thank you for your service! 

  • The President resolves to do all he can to get the economy growing and create jobs, and encourages Republicans to embrace their new responsibility to govern. 

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