Read all posts from July 2011
Colleen CurtisJuly 25, 2011
10:02 AM EST
FIrst Lady Michelle Obama joined three thousand military and civilian volunteers last week in Fayetteville, NC to give one selfless Navy veteran the surprise of her life.
Barbara Summey Marshall, who served 15 years in the Navy, shares her home with the Steps N Stages Jubilee House,which provides shelter, support and services such as mentoring and life coaching, to homeless female veterans. Marshell's intentions were impressive, but the modest, 1,600- square-foot ranch house was in need of major renovations.
Fortunately, the volunteers working on the home renovations were overseen by a team that has some impressive experience of their own: Ty Pennington and his crew from "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition". In one week of 24 hour days, Marshall's humble home was replaced by a two-story, 5,000-square-foot house with plenty of space for her family, and for the women she has dedicated her life to helping.
Dan PfeifferJuly 25, 2011
08:00 AM EST
Despite warnings that a short-term extension could lead to a credit downgrade and higher interest rates resulting in a tax increase on every American, Republicans in Congress continue to push for a “my way or the highway” solution that could put our credit rating at risk and leave the cloud of uncertainty over the American people.
In June, House Majority Leader Cantor “Was Explicit That He Wants A Single Debt Ceiling Vote For This Congress - Not A Series Of Short-Term Extensions.” Now House Republicans are arguing that we should adopt multiple short term solutions that would leave that cloud of uncertainty hanging over our economy continually for the next two years, if not longer.
Indeed, before they were for a short term solution, it turns out they were against it for the very same reasons President Obama believes it is the wrong approach. As recently as earlier this month, Republicans in Congress expressed concern about the impact of a short term solution.
July 24, 2011
09:32 AM EST
I joined Monica Lozano, CEO of impreMedia and a fellow Jobs Council Member, and Executive Director of the Jobs Council Don Graves yesterday in Los Angeles to meet with mayors from across the country to discuss job creation in their local communities and get feedback from them on what’s working and what’s not.
We had a frank and productive discussion about some of the things that the private sector and government can do right now to help stimulate job creation – ranging from investment in infrastructure, to improving workforce training to meet the skill requirements of local industries, to retrofitting commercial buildings to increase energy efficiency. We talked about the value of public-private partnerships and about how Mayors can use their convening power to bring businesses, workers, and other community leaders together to spur action in these vital areas.
Nikki SuttonJuly 23, 2011
05:30 AM EST
Colleen CurtisJuly 22, 2011
09:30 PM EST
Tonight, the President held a press conference to provide an update on the ongoing budget negotiations to get our fiscal house in order and reduce our nation’s deficit to help our economy grow. Unfortunately, Speaker Boehner walked away from these negotiations as they worked towards a big deficit and debt reduction package.
Tomorrow at the White House, the President will meet with members of both parties, including Leader Reid, Leader McConnell, Speaker Boehner and Leader Pelosi, to continue to hammer out a deal to ensure that Congress acts to reduce our deficit and prevent America from defaulting on its obligations.
Kalpen ModiJuly 22, 2011
07:58 PM EST
This morning President Obama held a town hall at the University of Maryland. Before taking the stage, he briefly met with Kaiyi Xie, the Student Body President of UMD, and one of 120 college and university student body presidents who signed a joint letter to President Obama, Speaker Boehner, Leader Reid, Leader McConnell, and Leader Pelosi, regarding the debt ceiling. Read the letter below:
July 22, 2011
07:21 PM EST
With ten days left before the looming Congressional deadline to raise the debt ceiling, I am hosting a gathering of fifty of the nation’s mayors in Los Angeles over the next two days, to urge Congress to reach an agreement on the debt limit to prevent default and ask them to invest in job creating programs.
Default will have an immediate and catastrophic impact on our cities, the implications are global, and economists agree. A credit downgrade will plunge us into a deep, double-dip recession. We urge Congressional leaders to act now.
The Congressional Research Service has estimated that if the debt ceiling is not increased, “the federal government would have to eliminate all spending on discretionary programs.” That means every federal payment to cities will stop, either immediately or shortly after default. The cuts would eliminate support for critical local programs including housing and community development, CDBG, COPS, Homeland Security, job training, and transportation infrastructure. This would have a crippling effect on our cities and on our people.
Additionally, local governments would also be prevented from issuing tax-exempt bonds. And cuts in Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security would take billions more out of local economies.
Mayors understand that raising the debt ceiling isn't a partisan issue. The debt ceiling was raised 17 times under President Reagan, 4 times under President Clinton, 7 times under President George W. Bush, and has been raised 3 times under President Obama.
July 22, 2011
05:50 PM EST
President Obama today extended his personal condolences to the people of Norway and said the terror attacks in Oslo are a reminder that the entire world must work together to prevent future attacks
I wanted to personally extend my condolences to the people of Norway. And it's a reminder that the entire international community has a stake in preventing this kind of terror from occurring. And so we have to work cooperatively together both on intelligence and in terms of prevention of these kinds of horrible attacks.
I remember fondly my visit to Oslo and how warmly the people of Norway treated me. And so our hearts go out to them, and we'll provide any support we can to them as they investigate these occurrences.
The President made the remarks during a press briefing with Prime Minister John Key of New Zealand.
Katelyn SabochikJuly 22, 2011
05:49 PM EST
Today, President Obama signed a certification ending the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy for good beginning September 20, 2011. The President signed the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" into law last December.
The President sent the email below to individuals and organizations who worked hard to make this victory possible.
Colleen CurtisJuly 22, 2011
02:24 PM EST
President Obama told a town hall meeting today at the University of Maryland that he won’t be satisfied “until every American who wants a job can find one, and until workers are getting paychecks that actually pay the bills, until families don’t have to choose between buying groceries and buying medicine, between sending their kids to college and being able to retire in some dignity and some respect. “
Addressing the ongoing deficit negotiations, he told the crowd of students, parents and teachers “this is actually a debate about you and everybody else in America and the choices that we face.”
Colleen CurtisJuly 22, 2011
01:33 PM EST
Join us at the White House for an event to launch the Strategy to Combat Transnational Organized Crime on Monday, July 25 at 11:00am. This new strategy seeks to build, balance, and integrate the tools of American power to combat the threats from transnational organized crime to our national and international security. The strategy also seeks to disrupt and dismantle transnational illicit networks and converging threats — and to urge our partners around the world to do the same.
We will have a number of senior U.S. officials on hand to speak about the strategy and how we will carry it out, including:
John Brennan, Assistant to the President for Counterterrorism and Homeland Security
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder
Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano
Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs William J. Burns
Treasury Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence David Cohen
USAID Deputy Administrator Don Steinberg
Office of National Drug Control Policy Director R. Gil Kerlikowske
Tune in at http://wh.gov/live starting at 11:00am on Monday
Stephanie ValenciaJuly 22, 2011
12:06 PM EST
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) officially opened for business this week.
At last week’s White House Hispanic Policy Conference, we had several fascinating conversations with Latino leaders about what the CFPB means for Latino families in particular.
For the first time, all Americans will have an agency with the primary mission to look out for consumers in the financial marketplace. The CFPB, created by last year’s Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, will be a cop on the beat to enforce the laws on credit cards, mortgages, student loans, payday loans, and other kinds of financial products and services.
July 22, 2011
11:13 AM EST
Your quick look at happened this week on WhiteHouse.gov
President Barack Obama announces the nomination of former Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray, right, as the first director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) during a statement in the Rose Garden of the White House, July 18, 2011. At left is Elizabeth Warren, interim director of the CFPB. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)
Deficit Talks: President Obama believes the current debt crisis offers a chance "to do something big and meaningful" and in an editorial he wrote for USA Today, he urges leaders "to seize the opportunity." The President stressed the urgency of the looming deadline in a press conference where he repeated his commitment to solving the issue through shared sacrifice. At a University of Maryland town hall, he told the crowd he was willing to make tough choices.
Colleen CurtisJuly 22, 2011
12:01 AM EST
Welcome to the West Wing Week, your guide to everything that's happening at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. This week, President Obama welcomed a civil rights icon, placed a call to the international space station, made an important personnel announcement and hosted a roundtable focused on education with business leaders. But throughout he remained focused on finding a balanced solution to deficit reduction. That's July 15th-21st, or "Two Minute Warning."Viewing this video requires Adobe Flash Player 8 or higher. Download the free player.
Kori SchulmanJuly 21, 2011
07:35 PM EST
Join @ONECampaign and @WhiteHouse for a Twitter interview on development and aid on Friday, July 22nd at 11:30 AM EDT. Gayle Smith, Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Development and Democracy for the National Security Staff, is taking your questions on topics ranging from the White House’s GAVI vaccines pledge to the latest issues on foreign aid, global health and international development.
Here’s how you can participate:
- Submit your questions via Twitter to @ONECampaign
- Follow @WhiteHouse for Gayle's answers to your questions
Don't miss the live Twitter interview with the ONE Campaign and Gayle Smith on Friday, July 22nd at 11:30 AM EDT.
Nikki SuttonJuly 21, 2011
07:08 PM EST
This morning, First Lady Michelle Obama was at the Naval Air Station Oceana Aerotheater in Virginia Beach, Virginia with military families for a screening of Warner Brothers' Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part Two. The screening is part of the Joining Forces Movie Series, where some of our country’s biggest movie studios are offering special screenings for military families at bases all across America. President Obama kicked off the Joining Forces Movie Series with a screening of Disney’s Cars 2 at the White House last month. Here is what some of the participants had to say about the event:
July 21, 2011
06:49 PM EST
Editor's Note: This blog post is cross-posted from the FastLane, the official blog of the Department of Transportation
Tomorrow night, the FAA reauthorization bill is set to expire. And without swift action from Congress to pass an extension, the Federal Aviation Administration will be unable to move forward on important airport construction projects and thousands of FAA employees across the country will be immediately furloughed.
Congress needs to do its work. If they can’t pass a bill, new construction projects won’t begin. And construction workers will suffer.
Colleen CurtisJuly 21, 2011
06:19 PM EST
President Obama believes that the current debt crisis gives us "an opportunity to do something big and meaningful."
In an editorial in USA Today, the President writes that we now have "the chance to put our economy on stronger footing, restore a sense of fairness in our country, and secure a better future for our children. I want to seize that opportunity, and ask Americans of both parties and no party to join me in that effort."
He also writes that the American people expect both parties to come together and solve the problem. "Every day, families are figuring out how to stretch their paychecks a little further, sacrifice what they can't afford, and budget only for what's truly important. It's time for Washington to do the same."
Ben RhodesJuly 21, 2011
05:19 PM EST
The United States has a long-standing commitment to supporting religious freedom around the globe. That commitment is rooted in our own values and experience as a nation, which dates back to our Founding. It is also rooted in our belief that the freedom of religion is a universal right that should be respected everywhere. To that end, the United States government continues to speak out for right of people to practice their religion in all parts of the world.
On Saturday, July 16, President Obama and Secretary Clinton each met with different world religious leaders and were able to underscore the Administration’s commitment. Secretary Clinton met in Istanbul with the Ecumenical Patriarch, His All Holiness Bartholomew I, His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios Trakatellis of America, and Father Alexander Karloutsos. Secretary Clinton discussed the Obama Administration's commitment to religious freedom, including the importance of reopening the Halki Seminary. Meanwhile, the President met with His Holiness the XIV Dalai Lama in the White House. The President reiterated his strong and enduring support for Tibet’s unique religious traditions, and called for the protection of human rights of Tibetans in China, including religious freedom.
Ben Rhodes is the Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communication
Katelyn SabochikJuly 21, 2011
03:42 PM EST
One year ago today, President Obama signed the Wall Street Reform bill into law.
This groundbreaking law does three important things. First, it brings to an end taxpayer funded bailouts -- so taxpayers will never again be left paying the bill if a big bank fails. Second, it stops the reckless risk-taking by Wall Street that put consumers in jeopardy and led to the economic crisis. And third, this law puts in place the strongest consumer protections in history.