Jon CarsonAugust 04, 2011
10:47 AM EDT
The budget compromise removes the cloud of uncertainty over the economy, and takes important steps toward reducing our deficit. In that sense, it’s a win for all Americans. (A picture is worth a thousand words, so click here to see an infographic on exactly how this agreement will work going forward.)
Here at the Office of Public Engagement, we’ve been working overtime to help explain all the details of this deal – and why we think it’s a win for our shared agenda. We also know that in the rush to figure out exactly what the deal is all about, there has been a lot of inaccurate information and analysis.
Below, I’ve tried to address, head-on, some the most common misconceptions we’ve been hearing about the deal.
Myth: President Obama caved.
Fact: President Obama laid out key priorities that had to be part of any deal. Those priorities are reflected in this compromise. First, we avoided default which would have plunged the economy into a deep recession, imperiling the well-being of millions of Americans. Second, the initial down payment on deficit reductions does not cut low-income and safety-net programs such as Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security. Third, we set up a path forward that will put pressure on Congress to adopt a balanced approach. And finally, we raised the debt ceiling until 2013, ensuring that House Republicans could not use the threat of default in just a few months to force severe cuts in Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.
Stephanie CutterAugust 03, 2011
09:14 PM EDT
House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan offered an interesting take on the President’s leadership on dealing with our long-term debt and deficits the recent deficit reduction negotiations in today’s Wall Street Journal. Below are a few of Congressman Ryan’s claims along with our responses.
Claim: The President has failed to put forward a plan to tackle our long term debt and deficits.
Since the beginning of the current debate on the debt ceiling, the President has led with a comprehensive plan for deficit reduction.
In April, the President released a fiscal framework for $4 trillion in deficit reduction, which described the President’s plans for closing tax loopholes and for responsible reforms of Medicare and Medicaid so they are strengthened for future generations.
Beginning less than a week after he announced this Framework, the President led four separate efforts to negotiate a compromise on the debt limit – talks with Vice President Joe Biden, meetings with all eight Congressional leaders from both parties, and two rounds of negotiations directly with Speaker Boehner.
- Throughout this process, the Administration put forward specific policy proposals with the goal of reaching an agreement on a $4 trillion package – an agreement which Speaker Boehner ultimately walked away from.
- Since the beginning of the current debate on the debt ceiling, the President has led with a comprehensive plan for deficit reduction.
Kori SchulmanAugust 03, 2011
07:51 PM EDT
In another session of White House Office Hours, Deputy Director of the National Economic Council Brian Deese answered your questions on Twitter, submitted with the hashtag #WHChat (see all the previous sessions here). Today's Q&A covered a range of topics, including the FAA shutdown, the debt compromise, new fuel economy standards, and more. See the archive of today's Office Hours below, or on Storify.
Follow @Whitehouse for the latest from the Administration and upcoming opportunities to engage. Have ideas on how we can improve Office Hours or our online program? Share feedback with us using the hashtag #WHWeb.
On Wednesday, August 3rd, Brian Deese Tweets back at followers in the 9th edition of White House Office Hours. August 3, 2011. (by Rohan Siddhanti)
Nikki SuttonAugust 03, 2011
04:59 PM EDT
Before meeting with his Cabinet today to discuss rebuilding the economy and putting Americans back to work, President Obama spoke about the impact Congressional inaction is having on our country's bottom line. The President addressed the stalemate over extending the Federal Aviation Administration's authority, which is leaving an estimated 70,000 construction and related workers and 4,000 FAA employees out of work:
A good example of how undone work here in Washington can have an adverse impact on that economy is what’s going on with the Federal Aviation Administration. And I’m going to be hearing from Ray LaHood about the situation that is looming as a consequence of Congress not acting. Some of you may be aware of the fact that the FAA routinely gets its authorities extended through Congress; it’s happened 20 times since 2007. This time, Congress has decided to play some politics with it. And as a consequence, they left town without getting this extension done.
Here is what this means -- thousands of FAA workers being furloughed, including safety inspectors. It also means projects all across the country involving tens of thousands of construction workers being suspended, because Congress didn’t get its work done. And that means folks who are on construction sites, doing work and bringing home a paycheck, now potentially find themselves going home without one, and important projects all across the country are left undone.
August 03, 2011
12:48 PM EDT
To celebrate the first six months of the White House-led Startup America initiative, this week we are highlighting the stories of real entrepreneurs who are creating jobs across the country. Startup America aims to create the right policy environment for entrepreneurs to flourish. For example, the Department of Homeland Security has clarified the eligibility of immigrant entrepreneurs for existing visa categories, and has expanded the number of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) graduates who can extend their work training in the U.S.
I came to the United States in 1992 at the age of 17 to attend college in Pittsburgh. Today, I am proud to be a naturalized U.S. citizen. I have helped found four companies, three of which have been successfully acquired, and one is poised to change an entire industry. As an investor, I have helped fund 15 companies. Collectively the companies I have been involved with have created well over 400 jobs – all here in the United States.
Yesterday, I attended the President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness meeting here in Silicon Valley with Steve Case, Sheryl Sandberg, John Doerr and Reed Hastings, and U.S. Chief Technology Officer Aneesh Chopra. I was very pleased to hear Aneesh announce that the Obama Administration has worked to clarify the existing immigration laws when it comes to immigrant founders. This is a huge step in the right direction, and I am so pleased to see that the Administration has not only listened to and acted upon feedback from entrepreneurs like me to help make our country’s immigration system more friendly towards immigrant founders.
August 03, 2011
08:00 AM EDT
At the Department of Veterans Affairs, Secretary Shinseki often talks about the tyranny of distance – the distance that often separates Veterans from care at their nearest VA medical facilities. For about 3.3 million Vets, or 41 percent of the total enrolled in VA’s health care system, distance is more than a challenge. Distance can mean rural Veterans don’t have access to the care and services they’ve earned.
Secretary Shinseki made it clear – this summer, he wanted to hear from Veterans in the hardest to reach places. “I know from previous experience that sitting in Washington with a 2,000-mile screwdriver trying to fine tune things at the local level never works,” he said. So, we hit the road to learn firsthand.
From the plains of North Dakota and Montana to the isolated island of Guam, Veterans from rural areas talked with Secretary Shinseki about what’s working and what the department can do better. To many Veterans, it was clear VA has shifted its approach to be more accessible. But we also quickly learned that standard definitions like “urban, rural, and highly rural” may not be exact enough. Often, “remote, extreme rural, and inaccessible” is more accurate.
The “inaccessible” category would definitely include Kwigillingok, Alaska, or Kwig, located in the far reaches of Central Yup’ik near the Bering Sea. On Memorial Day, Secretary Shinseki visited Kwig to meet and honor living members of the Alaska Territorial Guard, who served bravely during World War II. No roads lead to Kwig, so the trip wasn’t easy. We hopped on a flight in Anchorage, and connected in the small town of Bethel – about 1,000 miles roundtrip. When we finally landed on the dirt landing strip in Kwig, villagers on all-terrain vehicles appeared from all over to give us rides to the village center.
August 03, 2011
02:19 AM EDT
To celebrate the first six months of the White House-led Startup America initiative, this week we are highlighting the stories of real entrepreneurs who are creating jobs across the country.
The Startup America initiative aims to create the right policy environment for entrepreneurs to flourish. For example, the President signed into law a 100% capital gains tax cut for investment in small businesses made throughout 2011. The President’s budget would make this tax incentive permanent.
Taxi drivers in America can spend as much as 57% of their day driving around an empty cab. In most cities and towns, there is almost always an available taxi within an acceptable distance to someone who needs a ride, but the cabs are “out of sight and out of mind,” and, rather than finding one that might be around the corner, people get in their cars and drive, adding to congestion, pollution and the number of intoxicated drivers on the road.
It makes sense that if drivers were more visible, if potential passengers had the equivalent of x-ray vision to spot and hail cabs from blocks away, drivers would make more money and communities would benefit from improved transit efficiency. My partners and I spotted an opportunity, and outlined a plan for a company we called Cabulous. Our goal? Putting an end to “invisible taxi drivers” -- and to wasteful inefficiency.
Kori SchulmanAugust 02, 2011
07:24 PM EDT
After President Obama spoke about a compromise to reduce the deficit and avert default, Jason Furman, Principal Deputy Director of the National Economic Council, was available on Twitter for Office Hours to answer questions on what the deal means for Americans and its impact on the economy. Tweeps around the country submitted questions with the hashtag #WHChat and Jason responded from the White House Twitter account, sometimes with a Twoosh (a Tweet with exactly 140 characters. A Tweet-swoosh, if you will). See the full Q&A below, or on Storify.
If you missed today's Office Hours, Brian Deese, Deputy Director of the National Economic Council, will be @WhiteHouse tomorrow at 4:00 p.m. EDT to answer more questions. Use #WHChat to ask a question and share your feedback on Office Hours and the online program with #WHWeb.
Colleen CurtisAugust 02, 2011
04:49 PM EDT
The President today urged Congress to resolve another impasse that is impacting our country’s ability to grow and thrive.
“And there is another stalemate in Congress right now involving our aviation industry which has stalled airport construction projects all around the country – and put the jobs of tens of thousands of construction workers and others at risk – because of politics. It’s another Washington-inflicted wound on America, and Congress needs to break that impasse now so these folks can get back to work.”
Since Congress refused to approve its budget 11 days ago, the Federal Aviation Administration has been without the authorization to go about a portion of its daily business, which is costing taxpayers money and putting Americans out of work. The shutdown lifted the requirement for airlines to collect certain ticket taxes, resulting in a loss of $250 million in revenue so far that would have gone to a trust fund that helps pay for airport infrastructure projects. A shutdown through August could raise that total to more than $1 billion.
Kori SchulmanAugust 02, 2011
02:11 PM EDT
This afternoon, Congress approved a compromise to reduce the deficit and avert a default that would have devastated the economy. Speaking from the Rose Garden, President Obama thanked the American people for reaching out to their elected officials during the debate, and stressed that this compromise guarantees more than $2 trillion in deficit reduction, and will ensure that as a nation we live within our means, while still making key investments in things that lead to new jobs, like education and research.
The President noted that this is just the first step, and that both parties must work together on a larger plan for the long-term health of our economy:
And since you can’t close the deficit with just spending cuts, we’ll need a balanced approach where everything is on the table. Yes, that means making some adjustments to protect health care programs like Medicare so they’re there for future generations. It also means reforming our tax code so that the wealthiest Americans and biggest corporations pay their fair share. And it means getting rid of taxpayer subsidies to oil and gas companies, and tax loopholes that help billionaires pay a lower tax rate than teachers and nurses.
I’ve said it before; I will say it again: We can’t balance the budget on the backs of the very people who have borne the biggest brunt of this recession. We can’t make it tougher for young people to go to college, or ask seniors to pay more for health care, or ask scientists to give up on promising medical research because we couldn’t close a tax shelter for the most fortunate among us. Everyone is going to have to chip in. It’s only fair. That’s the principle I’ll be fighting for during the next phase of this process.
Karen MillsAugust 02, 2011
01:56 PM EDT
Ed. Note: This article is cross-posted from the SBA Blog
I’m pleased to announce the SBA 100, a showcase of 100 small businesses that got SBA help to create at least 100 jobs. These include Main Street businesses ranging from a small brewery in Delaware to a Dairy Queen owner in Alaska. They also include high-growth, high-impact firms that have made a major impact on our economy, like Oregon-based Columbia Sportswear, which now generates over $1 billion in annual revenue.
What they all have in common is that they directly benefited from SBA help at a critical moment in their growth. Some received great advice from our staff or our counselors. Many got SBA loans. Others won federal contracts. Still others used unique programs like Small Business Investment Companies or the Small Business Innovation Research program.
I’m looking forward to visiting my first SBA 100 business this week in Madison, Wisconsin: Full Compass, an audio/video and lighting equipment firm. Back in the early 80s, they received an SBA 7(a) loan to start building their business. Today, they have 180 employees, a new 80,000-square-foot facility, and $100 million in annual sales.
Browse through the gallery of stories and – if you’re a small business owner – see how the SBA might be able to help you build, expand, and hire. If you know someone who wants to start a business, forward them the link to the SBA 100.
And keep in mind that this is just a small cross-section of the millions of small businesses we’ve helped in recent years. Now more than ever, the SBA stands ready to help all kinds of small businesses do what they do best: grow a business, create jobs, and drive our economy forward.
August 02, 2011
01:14 PM EDT
The United States has a long, rich history of welcoming innovative entrepreneurs and skilled workers into our country. These men and women fuel our nation’s economy by creating jobs, and promoting new technologies and ideas. Today, I joined Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano and outlined a series of new policy, operational, and outreach efforts that will help fuel the nation’s economy and stimulate investment by making it easier for high-skill immigrants to start and grow companies and create jobs here in the United States.
Encouraging the kinds of streamlining measures USCIS is taking today has been one key focus of the President's Council on Jobs and Competitiveness because they help ensure that America can continue to out-innovate and out-compete the world in a global economy.
As part of the Administration’s comprehensive effort to attract and retain high-skill entrepreneurs, USCIS announced today that it will:
- Clarify that immigrant entrepreneurs may obtain an employment-based second preference (EB-2) immigrant visa if they satisfy the existing requirements, and also may qualify for a National Interested Waiver under the EB-2 immigrant visa category if they can demonstrate that their business endeavors will be in the interest of the United States;
- Expand the Premium Processing Service to immigrant petitions for multinational executives and managers;
- Clarify when a sole employee-entrepreneur can establish a valid employer-employee relationship for the purposes of qualifying for an H-1B non-immigrant visa;
- Implement fundamental enhancements to streamline the EB-5 process based directly on stakeholder feedback;
- Launch new engagement opportunities to seek input and feedback on how to address the unique circumstances of entrepreneurs, new businesses and startup companies.
Today, I am also launching Conversations with the Director, a new series of small group meetings I will hold to discuss immigration issues important to communities around the country. The first meeting will focus on economic development and the EB-5 investor program.
For more information on USCIS and its programs, please visit www.uscis.gov or follow us on Twitter (@uscis), YouTube (/uscis) and the USCIS blog The Beacon. To read the Department of Homeland Security press release, click here.
Aneesh ChopraAugust 02, 2011
10:01 AM EDT
Ed. Note: Champions of Change is a weekly initiative to highlight Americans who are making an impact in their communities and helping our country rise to meet the many challenges of the 21st century.
Leigh Budlong is an accidental technologist. After years of experience struggling to make sense of the myriad of zoning rules associated with commercial real estate, often with real implications for entrepreneurs looking to start a new business, she decided to solve the problem by launching a new service. Her award-winning ZonabilitySF app is fueled by open government data, a valuable (public) resource at the center of a movement directed by the President on his first full day in office and replicated by dozens of Governors, Mayors, and even foreign leaders to make it more accessible.
Waldo Jaquith used his free time to facilitate a more open government. Despite long hours at his day job, Waldo found the time to launch Richmond Sunlight, a volunteer-run site that keeps track of the Virginia legislature, including manually uploading hundreds of hours of CSPAN-inspired video of floor speeches, tagging relevant information on bills and committee votes, and inviting the public to comment on any particular legislation. He solicits feedback, introduces new products and services, and encourages others to participate. In short, he embodies the spirit that drives the Internet economy – “rough consensus, running code.”
Kori SchulmanAugust 01, 2011
07:13 PM EDT
We're just one week in to White House "Office Hours," a question and answer session with Administration officials on Twitter, submitted using the hashtag #WHChat. Today, Brian Deese, Deputy Director of the National Economic Council, was back to answer your questions on the bipartisan debt deal anounced by President Obama last night. Have a look at a transcript of today's Office Hours below, or on Storify.
If you missed this session, check out the schedule for upcoming chances to join. Follow us at @WhiteHouse for the latest updates and use the hashtag #WHWeb to share your feedback and ideas on how we can improve Office Hours and our online program.
During White House Office Hours, Deputy Director of the National Economic Council Brian Deese answers questions from the public on the bipartisan debt deal through Twitter. August 1, 2011. (Photo by Deanne Chen)
Secretary Kathleen SebeliusAugust 01, 2011
04:58 PM EDT
Everyone wants their family to be healthy. And a key component of this is ensuring that mothers, daughters, and sisters have access to the preventive services they need. When it comes to health, women are often the sole decision maker for their families and the trusted source in circles of friends – and they are also key consumers of health care.
Women have unique healthcare needs across their life span and have high rates of chronic disease, including diabetes, heart disease and stroke. Yet while women are more likely to need preventive health care services, they often have less ability to pay. Too often, the combination of women’s lower incomes and out-of-pocket health costs mean that women forgo necessary preventive services. But removing cost sharing requirements improves women’s access to important preventive services. In fact, one study found that the rate of women getting a mammogram went up as much as 9 percent when cost sharing was removed.
The Affordable Care Act helps make prevention affordable and accessible for all Americans by requiring new health plans to cover recommended preventive services and by eliminating cost sharing, such as deductibles, copayments or co-insurance, for many preventive services. The law also requires insurance companies to cover additional preventive health benefits for women.
For the first time ever, HHS is adopting a new comprehensive set of guidelines for women’s preventive services that builds on and fills the gaps in existing preventive services recommendations for women’s health. Together, these guidelines will help ensure that women stay healthy at every stage of life.
Gene SperlingAugust 01, 2011
04:07 PM EDT
The budget deal sets the stage for balanced deficit reduction. It immediately makes a down payment on deficit reduction of more than $900 billion by limiting discretionary spending and sets up a new Joint Congressional Committee charged with recommending $1.5 trillion in additional deficit reduction by the end of the year. As the President has said, that deficit reduction should be balanced and cut tax loopholes and expenditures just like it cuts traditional spending.
There are now reports that this Joint Committee won’t be able to raise revenue at all because of the way the budget deal is drafted. That is simply wrong.
The Joint Committee is tasked with deficit reduction, and the Committee can reduce the deficit by cutting spending and getting rid of tax loopholes and expenditures. Everything is on the table, as it should be.
First, the Committee can consider getting rid of tax expenditures like subsidies for oil and gas companies or corporate jet owners. These types of tax changes have been a major part of the recent deficit reduction conversation and would be a smart part of an overall balanced plan. No one on any side can dispute that the Joint Committee could consider them.
Second, the Committee can consider the kind of revenue raising tax reform that has broad and growing bipartisan support.
The argument against this second claim is based on a misrepresentation of what is called “the baseline.” The “baseline” is what deficit reduction is measured against. Reports have suggested that the Committee would have to use a “current law” baseline—a baseline that assumes that all of the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts expire along with relief from the Alternative Minimum tax. That would mean that any tax reform effort that raised less revenue than allowing all those tax cuts to expire would be scored as increasing the deficit. Even conservative Republican proposals for “revenue neutral” tax reform would be scored under this approach as increasing the deficit by more than $3 trillion.
However the claim that the Committee is required to follow this approach is simply false.
The Budget legislation specifically calls for deficit reduction – not simply spending cuts – and does not anywhere require the Committee to work off a current law baseline. Nor does it preclude the Committee from requesting CBO estimates based on alternative baselines and using those estimates for purposes of the certifying the deficit reduction achieved in the Committee.
In fact, Congressional requests to CBO to score proposals off different baselines happen as a matter of course. For example, at the request of members of Congress, CBO scored the deal being considered today using two different baselines. Or, to take another example—Paul Ryan, Chairman of the House Budget Committee, requested that CBO score his budget “Roadmap” against an “alternative fiscal scenario,” which assumed extension of the tax cuts described above. As CBO said in response to Chairman Ryan: “As you requested, the analysis in this letter compares the Roadmap with the alternative fiscal scenario.” Relative to that baseline, tax reform—like that proposed by the bipartisan Fiscal Commission and Gang of Six—would reduce the deficit by hundreds of billions of dollars.
The bottom line is that the Joint Committee can reduce the deficit through tax reform and eliminating tax expenditures just like it can cut spending. What it ultimately does is up to the members of that Committee. We hope that they seize this an opportunity to come together and build on the down-payment in this deal to put the Nation on a sustainable fiscal course in a balanced way that cuts spending in the tax code as well in the rest of the budget. The President believes that is possible and looks forward to working with both parties to accomplish this.
Gene Sperling is Director of the National Economic Council and Assistant to the President for Economic Policy
Erin LindsayAugust 01, 2011
01:50 PM EDT
Last week, White House staff began holding regular “Office Hours” on Twitter. Once or twice a day, officials from the National Economic Council came by to answer questions, submitted using the hashtag #WHChat, regarding the ongoing debt and deficit debate.
One week in, it's clear that White House Office Hours have been a success. Since Office Hours were announced on Tuesday, July 26th we have answered nearly 100 questions, and @WhiteHouse has gained nearly 22,000 followers, an average of 3,100 per day. This is an increase of over 37% over our previous daily increase in followers of 2,257* followers.
August 01, 2011
09:11 AM EDT
Six months ago, we joined together at the White House in a room packed full of entrepreneurs, to celebrate the launch of Startup America. In President Obama’s words, “Startup America [is] a national campaign to help win the future by knocking down barriers in the path of men and women in every corner of this country hoping to take a chance, follow a dream, and start a business.”
Throughout this Administration, we understand that young companies are responsible for virtually all new job growth across the U.S., and we are committed to accelerating entrepreneurial success. So what has the Obama Administration accomplished over the past 180 days since launching the Startup America initiative?
Aneesh ChopraAugust 01, 2011
09:00 AM EDT
On Tuesday, the President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness is holding the next in a series of Listening and Action Sessions to get input on how the public and private sectors can come together to foster opportunity and promote job creation for startups and high growth businesses. We want to hear from you.
I’ll be joining Jobs Council Members Steve Case, John Doerr, Sheryl Sandberg, as well as Netflix CEO Reed Hastings on a panel moderated by the Editor-in-Chief of Wired Magazine Chris Anderson. The panel will focus on issues that impact entrepreneurs and high growth businesses, as well the importance of innovation, entrepreneurship and high growth companies to our economy. During the Session, Council members will respond to questions and comments from people across the country submitted via LinkedIn and Facebook.
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. Here's what we're looking for:
- What questions do you have for Steve Case, John Doerr, Reed Hastings and Sheryl Sandberg about accelerating growth and job creation for innovative companies?
- What policy recommendations would you want them to consider for their report to the President?
- What are some of the obstacles you’re facing with regard to your workforce and finding talent?
- What have you found to be successful practices in hiring and managing your workforce
- Watch live on Tuesday, August 2nd at 1:00 p.m. ET/ 10:00 a.m PT on www.whitehouse.gov/live
- Submit questions in real-time through the White House Live Facebook application.
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.
- Right now, you can post your questions and comments on the White House LinkedIn group. Here's what we're looking for:
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