August 25, 2011
05:31 PM EDT
Ed. Note: Cross-posted in part from The Commerce Blog.
Last week, as part of his three day bus tour, President Obama stopped in Peosta, Iowa to participate in the White House Rural Economic Forum, where he announced a series of initiatives that leverage existing programs and funding to help small businesses and meet the critical needs in rural communities. In the coming weeks, the President will put forth additional proposals that will help put people back to work and give the middle class greater economic security. Promoting economic and job growth in rural communities is central to these goals.
Earlier this week, I traveled to Louisiana, Tennessee and Arkansas with Federal Co-Chairman of the Delta Regional Authority (DRA) Chris Masingill and Doug O'Brien, Deputy Under Secretary for Rural Development at the U.S. Department of Agriculture to conduct project site visits and participate in White House Rural Council Roundtables in Houma and Bastrop, LA as well as Pine Bluff, AR. We heard from stakeholders in the region about how the federal government has and can be a better partner as we invest in rural economies.
On August 26, 2011, U.S. Commerce Department’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) will host a webinar to discuss best practices to promote rural small business development. White House Rural Council members Chris Masingill of DRA and Federal Co-Chairman of the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) Earl Gohl will share best practices and successes with close to 400 participants.
August 25, 2011
03:23 PM EDT
A White House Internship is an opportunity to serve your country, learn valuable skills to make a difference in your community, and be part of something bigger than yourself. After all, President Obama once said, “…it’s only when you hitch your wagon to something larger than yourself that you realize your true potential.”
During my internship I witnessed the passage of the Affordable Care Act. This historic piece of legislation made a difference in the lives of everyday Americans to make health care more affordable and available. As an uninsured 22 year-old, the Affordable Care Act impacted me directly. Now I and other young people can be covered under our parent’s health insurance.
Colleen CurtisAugust 25, 2011
03:12 PM EDT
When visitors tour the White House, the panels of candid photos featuring White House life on the walls of the East Wing are one of the most popular things to explore. This one is a special favorite, because it reminds people that while the President of the United States shoulders enormous responsibilities, he has an equally important role as just husband and father, and that the family living in the White House celebrates the same milestones and daily joys as families everywhere.
Amy DudleyAugust 24, 2011
04:43 PM EDT
Arriving at Ulaanbaatar’s Chinggis Khaan Airport on Monday, Vice President Biden was formally welcomed to Mongolia – the second country on his trip through Asia – by Prime Minster Sukhabaatar Batbold and the sounds of a 32-person honor guard.
From there, it was off to the Government House, set on Ulaanbaatar’s central Sukhbaatar Square, for meetings with Prime Minister Batbold and President Tsakhia Elbegdorj.
Speaking after his meeting with Prime Minister Batbold, Vice President Biden praised Mongolia’s 22 years of democracy. “Mongolia is not just a shining example for other nations in transition,” said the Vice President, “it’s an emerging leader in the worldwide democratic movement, a responsible actor on the world stage, and a close friend and partner of the United States.”
Vice President also thanked Mongolians for their contributions to international peace and security. Over the past decade, Mongolia’s army, trained as peacekeepers, has been deployed to countries around the world, including Sierra Leone, Chad, Darfur, Kosovo and Western Sahara, as well as tours in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Before his meeting with President Elbegdorj, Vice President Biden paid a visit to the President’s ceremonial ger – a traditional tent still used by nomadic Mongolians – set up on the fifth floor of the Government House.
After a morning of official business came the ultimate Mongolian cultural experience – a mini-Naadam festival in a field just outside of Ulaanbaatar at the foot of rolling hills encircling the capitol city. Naadams – traditional Mongolian festivals held throughout the country during the summertime – showcase the “Three Games of Men”: Mongolian wrestling, horse racing and archery. The Naadam for Vice President Biden also included traditional music and dance performances, as well as the ceremonial presentation of a gift horse, which the Vice President named Celtic.
For more information about the Vice President's trip to Asia, check out our photo galleries from China and Mongolia and watch his first travelogue from the road. You can follow the Vice President's trip in real time on Twitter, #VPinAsia
Kasie CoccaroAugust 24, 2011
03:09 PM EDT
On August 31st, the President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness will hold the next in a series of Listening and Action Sessions with local businesses and stakeholders to discuss how the public and private sectors can partner to create opportunity and support job creation.
The panel will include US Secretary of Energy Steven Chu, Jobs Council Members Paul Otellini, Darlene Miller and Don Graves as well as Dr. Gary May, Dean of the College of Engineering at Georgia Tech, Dr. Shankar Sastry, Dean of the College of Engineering at University of California, Berkeley, Dr. Renjeng Su the Dean of the College of Engineering at Portland State University, Dr. Leah Jamieson the Dean of the College of Engineering at Purdue, Guy Primus the Chief Operating Officer at Overbrook Entertainment, and Dr. Telle Whitney, the President & CEO of Anita Borg Institute for Women & Technology.
The panel will focus on the steps that we can take as a country to curb our engineering shortage, which threatens America’s role as the world’s leading innovator and hinders our ability to create jobs.During the Session, Council members will respond to questions and comments from people across the country submitted via LinkedIn.
Add your voice to the dialogue by sending us your questions and comments:
- Right now, you can post your questions and comments on the White House LinkedIn group and whitehouse.gov.
- Watch live on Wednesday, August 31st at 2:00 p.m. ET/ 11:00 a.m PT on www.whitehouse.gov/live
- Have questions for the panel? Ask during the live event on Twitter with the hashtag #jobscouncil
This session is part of a series of regional Council Listening and Action Sessions that are taking place around the country as a result of the President’s challenge to the Council to bring new voices to the table and ensure that everyone can participate and inform the Council’s work and recommendations. We look forward to hearing from you.
August 24, 2011
02:11 PM EDT
Flooding. Drought. Tornadoes. And now, the first major hurricane of the season. Americans have been hard-hit by natural disasters this year, and small businesses are no exception.
Hurricane Irene left thousands of Puerto Rico businesses without power. Now, Irene is fast approaching the East Coast. Businesses owners from Georgia to New England should take time now – if they haven’t already – to ensure that their disaster preparedness plans are up to date.If you’re in the path of Hurricane Irene, make sure to check out the resources and updates available below.
We know that some of the busiest people in America are small business owners. Sometimes it’s hard for them to look beyond the most pressing, immediate business concerns. But an “ounce of prevention” today could mean the difference in whether a business is able to return to regular operations after a disaster.
Colleen CurtisAugust 24, 2011
02:01 PM EDT
One of the highlights for visitors taking the official tour of the White House is looking at the panels of photos that line the halls of the East Wing. This one features Presidents going about some of their more noteworthy official duties, from honoring a future President with a Distinguished Service Medal to sending a telegraph to open the first ever world's fair.
Click here to see another popular panel on the tour, which features pets that have called 1600 Pennsylvania Ave home
August 23, 2011
05:26 PM EDT
This past January, President Obama called on both the Federal government and the private sector to dramatically increase the success of high-growth entrepreneurs, who are creating jobs and fueling innovation across the country. To help increase their success, the White House-led Startup America initiative has rolled out new policies to benefit fledgling companies (including new efforts to attract and retain immigrant entrepreneurs) in tandem with the independent Startup America Partnership, which has been hard at work mobilizing the private sector to “raise the entrepreneurial game of the United States.”
Today the Startup America Partnership announced two major new developments. First, they appointed their first slate of founding board members, who represent some of America’s most successful entrepreneurs. The board includes Fred Smith, who came up with the idea for FedEx in a college economics class; Lynn Jurich, who grew SunRun into one of the nation’s leading home solar companies in just the last four years; and Earvin “Magic” Johnson, who has built up Magic Johnson Enterprises and the Magic Johnson Foundation since retiring from the NBA. The full current roster of board members includes:
Colleen CurtisAugust 23, 2011
05:06 PM EDT
As Hurricane Irene makes its way through the Caribbean, current forecasts from the National Hurricane Center project that the storm may continue to strengthen and could make landfall anywhere along the East Coast. Yesterday, President Obama signed an emergency declaration for Puerto Rico and ordered federal aid to supplement commonwealth and local response efforts in the area.
While the future path of Irene is uncertain, it’s important that those along the East Coast take steps to get prepared and stay informed. Ready.gov/hurricanes offers complete advice on how to prepare for severe storms, and hurricanes.gov always has the latest forecast from the National Hurricane Center.
Here are some other web resources that will be useful if you or people you know are impacted by this storm.
August 23, 2011
04:45 PM EDT
According to United States Geologic Survey, the mid-Atlantic Region of the United States experienced a 5.9 magnitude earthquake this afternoon. Along with the entire federal family, we are closely monitoring the situation and are in close contact and coordination with our federal and state partners in Virginia, the District of Columbia, Maryland and the surrounding areas.
There are no initial reports of significant damages, but we will continue to coordinate closely with our state and local partners to assess their needs.
Today’s earthquake in the mid-Atlantic region is a great reminder that emergencies can strike anywhere and often happen without warning. Be sure your family has an emergency plan and a kit of emergency supplies to sustain yourselves for at least 72 hours.
And as a reminder, here are a few tips on what to do during/after an earthquake:
August 23, 2011
12:00 PM EDT
Prior to submitting my application as a White House intern I asked myself, “Can a broadcast journalist student really be welcomed by the Executive Office of the President?” I found that the answer was an overwhelming yes.
So many university students have the incorrect perception that the White House Internship Program is only for political science majors or students with political ambitions. The White House Intern Program is, in many ways, just like a college campus – made up of students from diverse backgrounds and scholastic interests. In fact, as a White House Intern, I learned that there was no better place for a student studying Communications than the White House.
I will not deny I found the application process challenging, but I also found it to be thrilling. It was by far the most daunting job interview I had ever experienced. But, after the application process was complete, I knew I wanted to be a part of something so special. My jubilation in being accepted into the program was not merely because I had been selected, but also because I knew that I would work with a dedicated White House team that shared the President's desire to encourage the public to share their insights and views with the Administration.
Colleen CurtisAugust 23, 2011
11:34 AM EDT
Visitors to the White House love to look at the archival photos that are featured in the halls of the East Wing. The photos in this gallery are among the most popular - it's a look back at some Presidential pets.
Want to learn more about the pets who have called 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue home over the years? This gallery goes all the way back to WW II.
And this one features the current resident of the White House dog house, who joined the Obama family on April 14, 2009.
Amy DudleyAugust 23, 2011
09:17 AM EDT
Sichuan University, located in China's rapidly developing southwestern city of Chengdu, was the site of Vice President Biden's major speech on U.S.-China relations on the morning of his 4th day in China. Speaking on a range of issues facing the two largest economies in the world, the Vice President reiterated that a "rising China" is a "positive development, not only for the people of China but for the United States and the world as a whole."
He noted that with increased cooperation between the US and China comes increased competition. "We should reject the misplaced notion of the zero-sum game in which everything one nation achieves somehow comes at the expense of the other," said Vice President Biden (you can watch the full speech, above). Vice President Biden also expressed confidence in America's ability to compete in the 21st century. "The United States is hardwired for innovation," he said. "Openness, free exchange of ideas, free enterprise and liberty are among the reasons why the United States, in my view is at this moment the wealthiest nation in the history of the world. It's why our workers are the most productive, why our inventors and entrepreneurs hold more patents than any other country in the world, why we are reinvesting in the fundamental sources of our strength -- education, infrastructure, innovation -- and why President Obama and I are so confident that America will weather the current economic storm and emerge even stronger."
Cass SunsteinAugust 23, 2011
09:00 AM EDT
In January of this year, the President emphasized that our regulatory system “must measure, and seek to improve, the actual results of regulatory requirements.” With this point in mind, he ordered an unprecedentedly ambitious government-wide review of existing federal regulations. He directed agencies and departments to produce plans to eliminate red tape and to streamline current requirements.
Today, we are announcing that agencies are releasing their final regulatory reform plans, including hundreds of initiatives that will reduce costs, simplify the system, and eliminate redundancy and inconsistency.
As the plans demonstrate, a great deal has been achieved in a short time. Significant burden-reducing rules have been finalized or publicly proposed from the Department of Labor, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Department of Transportation. These rules are expected to save more than $4 billion over the next five years.
Nikki SuttonAugust 22, 2011
05:20 PM EDT
This afternoon, following a call with the National Security Council, President Obama spoke about the evolving situation in Libya. Over the past six months, the United States has worked with allies to protect the people of Libya from Muammar Qaddafi's brutality and support them as they seek the opportunity for the citizens of Libya to determine their own destiny. Today, President Obama said, "The Qaddafi regime is coming to an end, and the future of Libya is in the hands of its people," making it clear that the courage of the Libyan people has brought freedom within reach:
Earlier this year, we were inspired by the peaceful protests that broke out across Libya. This basic and joyful longing for human freedom echoed the voices that we had heard all across the region, from Tunis to Cairo. In the face of these protests, the Qaddafi regime responded with brutal crackdowns. Civilians were murdered in the streets. A campaign of violence was launched against the Libyan people. Qaddafi threatened to hunt peaceful protestors down like rats. As his forces advanced across the country, there existed the potential for wholesale massacres of innocent civilians.
In the face of this aggression, the international community took action. The United States helped shape a U.N. Security Council resolution that mandated the protection of Libyan civilians. An unprecedented coalition was formed that included the United States, our NATO partners and Arab nations. And in March, the international community launched a military operation to save lives and stop Qaddafi’s forces in their tracks.
In the early days of this intervention the United States provided the bulk of the firepower, and then our friends and allies stepped forward. The Transitional National Council established itself as a credible representative of the Libyan people. And the United States, together with our European allies and friends across the region, recognized the TNC as the legitimate governing authority in Libya.
August 22, 2011
03:48 PM EDT
Ed. note: This article has been cross-posted from the Department of the Interior's web site
President Obama has made it clear that job creation is, and must remain, front and center for his Administration day in and day out.
With that in mind, I traveled to New England this week to highlight the economic power of outdoor recreation and tourism to create jobs. Hunting, fishing, and outdoor recreation contribute an estimated $730 billion to the U.S. economy each year. And one in twenty U.S. jobs are in the recreation economy – more than there are doctors, lawyers or teachers.
More than 12 million Americans hunt; more than 30 million Americans fish; and three out of four Americans engage in some kind of healthy outdoor activity.
A letter I recently received from a Canadian family shows just how big an impact tourism and recreation can have. The family spent 42 days on the road, exploring national parks across the U.S. Over the course of their travels, they stayed in motels and hotels, ate in restaurants and spent money in local businesses from coast to coast:
“Our family spent almost $20,000 on our trip,” the letter reads, “almost all of it at local stores and services as we traveled. Without the National Park Service, our destination would have probably been somewhere in Europe.”
Many small and large businesses in New England are also key drivers of the outdoor economy. A store like LL Bean is a shining example of how a home-grown business can fulfill the American dream. What started almost 100 years ago as one man’s idea to sell a waterproof boot to hunters has grown into a company that today employs 5,000 people and generates 1.4 billion in revenue.
The businesses I visited this week -- including L.L. Bean’s headquarters in Freeport, Maine, Bibens Ace Hardware in Colchester, Vermont, and Eastern Mountain Sports near Portsmouth, New Hampshire -- demonstrate the power of outdoor recreation to create jobs and spur economic growth in communities both in New England and across our country. When we invest in conservation and encourage people to reconnect with nature, we aren’t just investing in the land, water, and wildlife we love, but also in our economic future.
Nikki SuttonAugust 22, 2011
02:30 PM EDT
Yesterday, Vice President Joe Biden spoke from Sichuan University in Chengdu, China on the important relationship between the United States and China. During his remarks, the Vice President reflected on the partnership that our two nations have been working to build:
A rising China will fuel economic growth and prosperity and it will bring to the fore a new partner with whom we can meet global challenges together. When President Obama and I took office in January of 2009, we made our relationship with China a top priority. We were determined to set it on a stable and sustainable course that would benefit the citizens of both our countries. Our Presidents have met nine times since then, including very successful state visits in Beijing and Washington, and have spoken numerous times by telephone.
Direct discussions between senior policymakers and the personal ties that result from such discussions in my view over the last 35 years of conducting foreign policy are the keys to building cooperation. They're built on understanding. They allow us to better understand each other and allow us to define our interests in ways that are clear so that each one of us know what the other country’s interests are, and to see the world through the eyes of the other with the intention of preventing miscommunications and misconceptions that tend to fuel mistrust.
With that goal in mind, we have worked very hard to develop our cooperative partnership through more than 60 separate dialogues on issues of matter to both China and to the United States; and I would suggest to the world as a whole.
August 22, 2011
01:45 PM EDT
Last week, one of President Obama's stops during his economic bus tour was a Rural Economic Forum in Peosta, Iowa, held in conjunction with the White House Rural Council. Along with members of his Cabinet, the President met with a diverse group of local business leaders, farmers, private sector leaders and rural organizations. During the forum, the President walked through his new jobs initiative for rural America, which includes committing up to $350 million in SBA growth capital to investors in rural small businesses over the next 5 years, launching a series of events to connect private equity and venture capital investors with rural start ups and creating teams to link federal funding opportunities with private investors interested in making rural investments.
As the President said in his closing remarks, our job “has to be to get behind what you’re doing; our task has to be making sure that nothing stands in your way, that we remove any obstacles to your success.” Listening to those remarks were a few area business leaders who are succeeding in their communities, creating jobs and growing their companies.
August 22, 2011
12:58 PM EDT
Ed note: this article was cross-posted from the Department of Transportation's blog
Visiting the Illinois State Fair is one of my favorite summertime traditions. From livestock competitions to concerts to a giant butter cow, the Fair is great opportunity to spend time with my grandkids and see everything that Illinois has to offer.
But my visit to the Fair on Friday wasn’t only about fun and games. As part of the President's efforts to reach out to people in America's heartland, I was pleased to lead a roundtable with members of the Illinois Chamber of Commerce, small business owners, farmers, rural organizations, and government officials to hear their ideas about what DOT can do to continue expanding opportunities for them.
Look, every day, President Obama, Vice President Biden, and all of us in this Administration are working hard to put Americans back on the jobsite. We know that continued federal investments in rural communities will create construction jobs and ensure that farmers and ranchers have the roads, rail lines, and ports they need to move their products to market.
We have worked hard to create opportunities across all regions of the U.S., and during our first two years in office, we put Americans to work on more than 7,000 individual transportation projects in rural areas.
When the rural economy in America is growing and prospering, the overall economy benefits. President Obama and this Administration won't be satisfied until every American who wants work can find a job, and we're working tirelessly to accelerate our economy recovery.
DOT is doing our part to help rural communities thrive. Earlier this month, we released guidance for states to make sure they clearly understand the very common-sense exceptions to regulations governing the transport of agricultural products, which allow farmers, their employees, and their family members to accomplish their day-to-day work and get their products to market.
DOT is now in the third round of funding for the Transportation Investments Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) program, a competitive grants program that has helped a number of rural cities and towns build innovative projects and lay the foundation for future economic growth. Through this program we have also invested in safety--we have already funded 24 major rural projects to replace unsafe bridges, and make roads safer.
Friday's roundtable was a great opportunity to speak to Americans who live in rural areas and work every day to keep our heartland's economy thriving. I hope to keep the dialogue open and look forward to continuing DOT's work expanding opportunities and supporting economic growth in rural communities across America.
Amy DudleyAugust 21, 2011
08:38 AM EDT
The second day in Beijing began in a familiar setting for Vice President Biden. The site of today's U.S.-China Business Dialogue, the Beijing Hotel, was also the site of meetings held during his first trip to China in 1979, when some of the earliest discussions about the possibility of American companies doing business in China took place. Over 30 years later, Vice President Biden and Vice President Xi brought together 19 CEOs and business leaders from the United States and China to bring the conversation into the 21st century. "President Obama and I, we welcome, encourage and see nothing but positive benefits flowing from direct investment in the United States from Chinese businesses and Chinese entities. It means jobs. It means American jobs," said Vice President Biden.
Participants at the roundtable ranged from the CEO of Coca Cola to the Group President of Caterpillar, from the Captain of Cosco to the Board Chairman of Lenovo.
In his opening remarks at the Dialogue, Vice President Xi expressed strong confidence in the U.S. economy, calling it "highly resilient" with "a strong capacity for self-repairment." "We believe that the U.S. economy will achieve even better development as it rises to the challenge," he continued.
Next up for Vice President Biden was a meeting with Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao at Ziguangge, Zhongnanhai, or, the Leadership Compound, which serves as the primary residence for leaders of the Politburo.
Seated side by side in the compound's Purple Light Pavillion, Wen praised the Vice President for engaging widely with the sectors in China, both public and private. "You have been sending a very strong message that the further growth of U.S.-China ties is not only important for our two countries, but also for the whole world."
Vice President Biden later took Premier Wen up on an impromptu invitation to tour the lakeside grounds of the compound. Tight schedule in mind, the Vice President joked that he would need a note to explain his tardiness to President Hu, the last meeting of his day back at the Great Hall of the People.
Next stop, Chengdu of Sichuan Province in China's Southwest.
For more information about the Vice President's trip to Asia, check out this photo gallery and watch his first travelogue from the road. You can follow the Vice President's trip in real time on Twitter, #VPinAsia
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