Nikki SuttonOctober 11, 2011
10:53 AM EDT
Ed. Note: Cross-posted from the Let's Move! blog.
Something exciting is happening today on the South Lawn of the White House. In partnership with National Geographic Kids Magazine, First Lady Michelle Obama will launch a challenge to help break the Guinness World Records® title for the most people doing jumping jacks in a 24-hour period.
You can watch the jumping jacks kick-off live beginning at 2:00 p.m. EDT at WhiteHouse.gov/Live.
October 11, 2011
09:56 AM EDT
Today, as President Obama meets with his Council on Jobs and Competitiveness in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the Administration is announcing the selection of 14 infrastructure projects around the country that will be expedited through permitting and environmental review processes. This is an important next step in the Administration’s efforts to improve the efficiency of federal reviews needed to help job-creating infrastructure projects move as quickly as possible from the drawing board to completion. And it’s just one example of the President’s commitment to cutting red tape to help create jobs – the lessons we learn from expediting these projects will help us reform and improve the permitting and review process in the future.
Today’s announcement comes as a result of the Presidential Memorandum President Obama issued in late August at the recommendation of the Council on Jobs and Competitiveness.Through the Presidential Memorandum, the President directed agencies to expedite environmental reviews and permit decisions for a selection of high priority infrastructure projects that will create a significant number of jobs, have already identified necessary funding, and where the significant steps remaining before construction are within the control and jurisdiction of the federal government and can be completed within 18 months. The projects the agencies chose represent diverse sectors of the economy and combined will support the creation of tens of thousands of jobs.
Improving the federal government’s permitting and environmental review process is one of several areas where the Administration has made strides implementing the Jobs Council’s recommendations and promoting job growth. From helping small businesses grow, to bolstering travel and tourism to the U.S., to cutting through regulatory red tape, the Administration has aggressively promoted job growth in line with the Jobs Council recommendations. For example, by accelerating payments from federal agencies to small business government contractors, we’re getting money into the hands of small businesses faster so they can reinvest that money in the economy and drive job growth. We are also streamlining existing regulations, with a priority on implementing changes that benefit small businesses and spur job growth.
October 11, 2011
07:00 AM EDT
The payroll tax holiday on all new hires and wage increases that is part of the American Jobs Act will help Chris Yura of SustainU and his manufacturing partners in West Virginia, North Carolina and Tennessee "free up much needed capital to continue growing in our community and in other areas of the country as we look to expand."
Yura is especially drawn to the tax credits for hiring the long-term unemployed and for hiring service-disabled veterans that are provision of the American Jobs Act. “The growth and potential of our business lies solely in our American contracted manufacturers. Giving our partners in manufacturing the ability to rehire skilled workers increases our productivity and will change the global scope of apparel manufacturing. We have the people that want and need jobs; we need to invest in them.”
When Yura was a fullback for Notre Dame, he wore his Fighting Irish uniform with great pride. Yura recognized the power of the school’s signature apparel by the excitement generated in the stands when they took the field, and saw “The Shirt” bring people together even far from the college stadium. After graduating in 2003, Yura spent five years modeling in New York City where he became particularly interested in the sustainable fashion movement and was frustrated to learn about the misleading character of the “green” clothing movement.
Colleen CurtisOctober 11, 2011
06:00 AM EDT
Kimberly Russell was laid off in May of this year. She was teaching Social Studies and Economics at Lincoln High School in Dallas, both standard and AP classes. Unbeknownst to Russell, her position was being paid by federal stimulus funding and the funding was exhausted. Like many other educators, Russell has a family. She is a single mother of a 10 year old son, and she prides herself on being a homeowner. Now that she is unemployed, Russell is struggling to keep that dream of homeownership alive. Russell is hoping that Congress will pass the American Jobs Act to help teachers get back to work soon. She misses her students and wants to get back in the classroom.
Russell introduced President Obama last week at an event in Mesquite, Texas where he toured a pre-school before talking about the impact the American Jobs Act will have on schools, and on teachers, across the country. He told the crowd there that the stakes for addressing this situation are high, with “nothing less than our ability to compete in this 21st century economy” at risk.
And Russell points out additional long term consequences of taking teachers like her out of the classroom. “My school is in one of the worst socio-economic districts in Texas. It takes a different kind of person to build a rapport with those kids, it is a hard school to staff. And my heart fills when I think of those kids, and then it breaks when I remember that I was trying to show those children that they could change their situation through education, they could get out and do something. This makes me look like a hypocrite – look, she’s got an education and she lost her job anyway. I hope they still value the lessons I tried to drive home to them.”
Nikki SuttonOctober 08, 2011
05:30 AM EDT
October 07, 2011
06:43 PM EDT
Twenty five years after their Super Bowl win, the 1985 Chicago Bears made it to the White House to be officially honored by the President. Some of the greats, including Super Bowl MVP Richard Dent, Jim McMahon, Otis Wilson and head coach Mike Ditka, made the trip from Chicago to be recognized in front of Chicago Bears fans, friends and family. The original trip was postponed following the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster.
Valerie JarrettOctober 07, 2011
06:26 PM EDT
This morning, I was delighted to learn that three extraordinary women are the recipients of this year's Nobel Peace Prize. These leaders are inspiring role models for young women everywhere, and as the chair of the White House Council on Women and Girls, I was thrilled that the Nobel Committee recognized them for their courageous work.
President Obama issued the following statement of congratulations:
October 07, 2011
06:08 PM EDT
Here’s what happened this week on WhiteHouse.gov:
Equality for All Americans President Obama spoke at the 15th Annual Human Rights Campaign National Dinner at the Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C., stressing his continuing commitment to the cause of equality for all Americans. He also talked about the most recent progress made for human rights, the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.
Putting America Back to Work President Obama held a press conference in the East Room to discuss the American Jobs Act, which would put thousands of teachers back to work, rebuild our nation’s old and broken infrastructure and provide tax cuts that will benefit hard-working Americans. He also traveled to Texas to meet with students and teachers at Eastfield College in Mesquite, where he explained how the Jobs Act will prevent up to 280,000 teachers from losing their jobs. The President met with the members of his cabinet to emphasize the importance of all agencies doing everything possible to help pass the American Jobs Act and put thousands of people back to work.
Fall Harvest Students from two local elementary schools joined First Lady Michelle Obama for the 3rd Annual Fall Harvest of the White House kitchen garden. Mrs. Obama designed the garden as a way to connect children with the food they eat — an essential component to her Let’s Move! initiative. The students joined Mrs. Obama for grilled garden pizzas made from the produce they picked.
Girl Power The president hosted the three winners of the first Google Global Science Fair. The impressive young women—all American high school students — made remarkable scientific discoveries and beat out over 10,000 students from 91 countries.
Fun on the Field It was a week of celebrating athletic achievements as several major sports figures visited the White House, including the U.S. Women’s National Soccer team, who participated in a Let’s Move soccer clinic, the Texas A&M women’s basketball team, who won the 2011 NCAA championship and the 1985 Chicago Bears, who were recognized 25 years after winning the Super Bowl.
Pretty in Pink In honor of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the White House illuminated the exterior of the White House in a glowing pink. Actress Jennifer Aniston, who recently directed a new Lifetime Original movie exploring a family affected by breast cancer, joined Dr. Jill Biden, Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and a group of breast cancer survivors to discuss lessons learned from those who have been treated for breast cancer.
Colleen CurtisOctober 07, 2011
05:57 PM EDT
The winners of the first ever Google Science Fair met with President Obama in the Oval Office this week. The competition for the titles was fierce, with entries from more than 10,000 students from 91 countries submitted via the web. That the winners were smart and creative scholars came as no surprise to anyone. What went against conventional wisdom however, was that all three of the winners were young women from the United States, which made the win even more exciting for Naomi Shaw, 16. "It’s really great to see that the tides are shifting and women are entering the science field and the technology field. And I’m really glad to be a part of that. I hope to create a group of mentors that people kind of are aware of this field in science and technology and they’re interested in it at a younger age."
Shree Bose from Fort Worth, Texas was both the grand prize winner and named best in the 17-18 category, and was honored for her research on improving ovarian cancer treatment for people who have built up resistance to a common type of chemotherapy drugs, work she completed as a junior in high school. Shaw of Portland, Oregon, won the 15-16 category for her study on the effects of air quality on lungs, with a focus on people with asthma, and Lauren Hodge of Dallastown, Pennsylvania won the age 13-14 category for research on whether marinades reduce the amount of cancer-causing compounds produced by grilling meat. She found that lemon juice and brown sugar cut the level of carcinogens sharply.
Hodge said the reactions from her classmates surprised her. "It was funny because you come back and it’s like “how was the science fair” and it’s like, 'I won my age group.' And they were like 'that’s so cool.' It was just neat because it wasn’t just, 'oh, it’s just science, ew.' I mean, they were excited about it."
October 07, 2011
04:45 PM EDT
This afternoon, the President met with Tunisian Prime Minister Caid Essebi to discuss Tunisia’s progress toward democracy. Their Oval Office meeting was a chance to celebrate not only America’s strong and enduring friendship with Tunisia, but how far the Tunisians have come since they first ignited the Arab Spring nearly one year ago.
In less than a month, Tunisia will be first yet again. This time, Tunisians will go to the polls to participate in the first election a transition country has hosted since the Arab Spring began. Voters will choose among hundreds of political parties, many of which were not previously allowed to organize under the Ben-Ali regime. Winners from this election will form the national Constituent Assembly, a governing body with over 200 seats that will, over the course of the next year, write a new constitution, set dates for parliamentary and presidential elections, and help guide Tunisia on its path to transition.
In May, President Obama said “if you take the risks that reform entails, you will have the full support of the United States.” Indeed, Tunisia has been a trail blazer on the path of reform, and the United States has contributed over $55 million in assistance to support its transition. Today, the President recommitted America’s support to Tunisia by pledging significant new U.S. assistance to address Tunisia’s immediate budgetary needs, support private sector growth, reduce poverty, and foster youth development and opportunity. This kind of assistance will touch the lives of ordinary Tunisians. Private sector growth can boost job creation, poverty reduction can increase national security and standard of living, and youth development will help prepare Tunisian students and professionals for future employment, build local capacity, and develop citizens at the grassroots level. This is truly an investment in the future of Tunisia.
Craig FugateOctober 07, 2011
03:58 PM EDT
As part of the implementation of Presidential Policy Directive 8 (PPD-8), we are pleased to announce the release of the first-ever National Preparedness Goal. To summarize, the goal is:
To have a secure and resilient Nation with the capabilities required across the whole community to prevent, protect against, mitigate, respond to, and recover from the threats and hazards that pose the greatest risk.
You can read the full 26 page document here.
The Goal identifies the core capabilities and capability targets necessary to advance our national preparedness. It builds extensively on the prior work of many stakeholder groups from around the nation, draws upon lessons learned from large-scale and catastrophic events, and represents input from all stakeholders.
It also recognizes what many of you have known for some time – as we work to build a more prepared nation, we cannot only look at the role that government plays, we must also work with the entire community – both the public and private sectors, faith-based and non-profit organizations, and most importantly the public.
Heather ZichalOctober 07, 2011
02:18 PM EDT
October is Energy Action Month -- a national effort to focus on the critical link between American energy and prosperity, highlight the tremendous potential of clean energy technologies to create new American jobs and industries, and underscore the importance of investing in American innovation to lead the 21st century global clean energy economy.
As a country, we face a fundamental choice about our energy future. We can continue with the status quo, or we can chart a new course forward – one that prioritizes investments in cleaner sources of energy to reduce our dependence on oil, strengthen American competitiveness, and protect public health and the environment.
Dan PfeifferOctober 07, 2011
12:18 PM EDT
Yesterday, the President held a press conference and once again urged Congress to pass the American Jobs Act to jumpstart the economy and put the American people back to work. There’s no question that the American Jobs Act will put more money in the pockets of working Americans, get police officers, teachers and firefighters back to work and put construction workers back on the job rebuilding our crumbling roads and bridges. These are the steps we must take to get our economy moving again.
But don’t take our word for it. Prominent, independent experts have confirmed that the American Jobs Act will materially improve economic growth and employment next year. For example, Moody’s Mark Zandi released a report stating that “The plan would add 2 percentage points to GDP growth next year, add 1.9 million jobs, and cut the unemployment rate by a percentage point.” Macroeconomic Advisers estimated that it would increase growth by 1.3%, and result in 1.3 million more jobs in 2012. The President has proposed a plan. It’s been assessed and reviewed by independent experts.
But what do those same independent experts say about the Republican’s plan? According to an article in the New York Times this morning, Macroeconomic Advisers chairman Joel Prakken said their plan “would have little immediate effect relative to a plan that stimulates aggregate demand.” Moody’s Mark Zandi said the Republicans' ideas “won’t mean much for the economy and job market in the next year,” even as he said “it is vital for Congress and the administration to provide some near-term support to the economy.”
The Republican plan won’t create jobs in the short term. The American Jobs Act is made up of the kind of ideas that both Republicans and Democrats have supported in the past. There’s simply no excuse for them sitting on the sidelines while teachers are being laid off in droves and construction workers are out of a job. It’s time for Republicans to stop playing politics and pass this bill.
Kori SchulmanOctober 07, 2011
11:35 AM EDT
It's an exciting day for us Chicagoans at the White House. Today, President Obama will welcome the 1985 Super Bowl Champion Chicago Bears to celebrate the 25th anniversary of their Super Bowl victory. The '85 Bears' visit is long overdue -- in 1986, the team’s White House reception was canceled due to the Space Shuttle Challenger tragedy. The Bears are finally here and we hope you'll watch and join the conversation. Watch the visit live at 3:05 p.m. EDT and join the discussion on Twitter with the hashtag #85BearsWH and on Facebook.
Here's how you can watch and engage:
- Have a question for the '85 Bears? Ask on Facebook or Twitter with the hashtag #85BearsWH and they'll answer a few.
- Watch the live on Friday, October 7th at 3:05 p.m. EDT on WhiteHouse.gov/live or on ChicagoBears.com
- Join the conversation and discuss the visit with other Bears fans on Twitter with the hashtag #85BearsWH and on Facebook.
Nikki SuttonOctober 07, 2011
11:06 AM EDT
Ed. Note: Cross-posted from the Let's Move! blog.
Members of the U.S. Women's National Soccer Team and First Lady Michelle Obama took to the South Lawn yesterday afternoon for a Let's Move! soccer clinic with young players from Soccer Sisters United in Philadelphia and Prince William Courage Soccer Club in Woodbridge, Virginia. Women's National Soccer Team players Nicole Barnhart, Rachel Buehler, Lori Lindsey, Alex Morgan, Kelley O’Hara and Becky Sauerbrunn taught the kids soccer skills while highlighting the importance of physical activity, which is what Let's Move! is all about.
Katharine AbrahamOctober 07, 2011
09:52 AM EDT
Today’s employment report shows that private sector payrolls increased by 137,000 and overall payroll employment rose by 103,000 in September. The unemployment rate remained unchanged at 9.1 percent, a level that is unacceptably high. Despite a slowdown in economic growth from substantial headwinds experienced throughout the year, the economy has added private sector jobs for 19 straight months, for a total of 2.6 million jobs over that period.
Clearly, we need faster economic growth to put Americans back to work. Today’s report underscores the President’s call for Congress to pass the American Jobs Act to put more money in the pockets of working and middle class families; to make it easier for small businesses to hire workers; to keep teachers in the classroom; to put construction crews to work rebuilding our nation’s infrastructure; and other measures that will help the economy grow while not adding to the deficit over ten years.
Maureen Tracey-MooneyOctober 07, 2011
09:41 AM EDT
Last year, Mrs. Keene’s 5th grade class at Oakstead Elementary in Land O’Lakes, Florida had 19 students in it. This year, she has a class of 25. As a result of state budget cuts, Oakstead lost 8 out of 83 teachers for the 2011-2012 school year, eliminating nearly 10% of the teaching staff at a school that serves over 1000 students.
During his visit to Oakstead on Tuesday, Vice President Biden had the chance to visit Mrs. Keene’s class, as well as speak to a group of parents and teachers about how the American Jobs Act would help keep and put hundreds of thousands of teachers in the classroom.
The 8 teaching positions lost at Oakstead were just a few of the 513 positions eliminated district-wide when Pasco County Public Schools had to close a $54 million budget shortfall this year. After years of budget cuts from the state and declining tax revenues – the district now receives $780 less per pupil in funding than it did in 2007 – and cutting all of the overhead it could, the District was forced to make cuts that impact the classroom. As a result, kids are in bigger class sizes – some over the state limit – and receive less arts, music and physical education.
In his remarks, the Vice President described how smaller class sizes in the early years can increase the likelihood that kids attend and graduate from college as well as how access to arts and music education may help keep kids engaged in school and prevent them from dropping out.
Unfortunately, kids across the country are seeing the kind of cuts that the Vice President saw at Oakstead. In the last 12 months we have lost nearly 200,000 education jobs. That’s why the American Jobs Act includes $30 billion to support 400,000 education jobs nationwide. These critical resources will help prevent lay-offs and allow districts like Pasco County to rehire teachers already laid off, as well as hire new teachers.
Colleen CurtisOctober 07, 2011
12:00 AM EDT
Welcome to the West Wing Week, your guide to everything that's happening at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. This week, the President continued to call on Congress to pass the American Jobs Act, welcomed a new Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, spoke at the Human Rights Campaign annual dinner, hosted a Cabinet meeting, traveled to Texas and convened a televised news conference. That's September 30th to October 6th or "Why Is that White House Pink?"
October 06, 2011
06:46 PM EDT
President Obama held a press conference today to talk about the American Jobs Act and the upcoming Senate vote on his plan to put people back to work and put more money in the pockets of working Americans.
Before taking questions from the reporters who were gathered in the White House, the President talked about the very real danger that fallout from the economic situation in Europe could further jeopardize our own economic recovery:
This is not a game; this is not the time for the usual political gridlock. The problems Europe is having today could have a very real effect on our economy at a time when it’s already fragile. But this jobs bill can help guard against another downturn if the situation in Europe gets any worse. It will boost economic growth; it will put people back to work.
And by the way, this is not just my belief. This is what independent economists have said -- not politicians, not just people in my administration. Independent experts who do this for a living have said this jobs bill will have a significant effect for our economy and for middle-class families all across America. And what these independent experts have also said is that if we don’t act, the opposite will be true. There will be fewer jobs; there will be weaker growth.
Nikki SuttonOctober 06, 2011
06:12 PM EDT
Today, President Obama was joined by the Texas A&M University Women’s Basketball Team at the White House to celebrate their 2011 NCAA championship. The President recognized the team for the tremendous accomplishment of winning their first national championship and the work they do giving back to their community, including a basketball clinic for local students:
Fifty years ago, Texas A&M didn’t have any women -- much less a women’s basketball team. When they did finally put a team together, the story goes that players had to share uniforms. At one point, they had to use the men’s locker room, which probably wasn’t perfectly designed for your needs. Coach Blair here would be going door to door just to ask people to watch the games.
This is a team that used to be known as a bunch of “lovable losers.” But Coach Blair wasn’t going to settle for that. As he said, he came to College Station “to build champions.”
And that’s exactly what he’s done. Today, this team has thousands of fans cheering them in every game -- including some very proud members of Congress who are here today. They’ve defied expectations, they’ve won close games, and played with a whole lot of heart. And now the Aggies are the best team in women’s basketball.
A unique view of 2012