Weekly Wrap Up: Ringing in the Holiday Season

Watch West Wing Week here.

What happened this week on WhiteHouse.gov:

Payroll Tax Cut On Wednesday President Obama spoke in Scranton, Pennsylvania urging Congress to extend a tax break for middle class families. Yesterday Congress rejected an extension of this payroll tax cut that is set to expire at the end of the month. Because of this failed attempt to extend tax cuts, the typical middle-class family is going to see their taxes go up by $1,000 in 2012. The President released a statement calling the vote “unacceptable” -- and urging Congress to stop playing politics. 

White House Holidays  The trees are lit and the ornaments are out. The First Lady welcomed military families to the White House Wednesday for a preview of this year’s holiday decorations. This year’s White House Holiday theme “Shine.Give.Share” celebrates the countless way we can lift up those around us and share our blessings with all.  Mrs. Obama’s guests saw the 18-foot  official White House Christmas tree in the Blue Room that honors our military, the Gold Star tree in the  East Landing plus a series of topiaries built in the image of  the First Dog, Bo. On Thursday, the First Family welcomed hundreds to the National Tree Lighting Ceremony to bring in holiday cheer with guest performances including a reading of “the Night Before Christmas” by the First Lady and Kermit the Frog.

Green Building Initiative President Obama was joined by former President Bill Clinton on Friday as he announced the next piece of his “We Can’t Wait” initiative—a $4 billion investment in improving energy efficiency in buildings across the country. The President has also directed all Federal agencies to make at least $2 billion worth of energy efficiency upgrades over the next two months.

World AIDS Day To mark World Aids Day on Thursday, the President spoke about the progress made in the fight against the disease worldwide. He was joined via satellite by former Presidents George Bush and Bill Clinton, while Bono, Alicia Keys and others were on hand to make a new commitment to help extend the progress made in the fight against this global pandemic. The commitment plans to help 6 million people get treatment by the end of 2013, 2 million more than the original goal.

EU Summit President Obama met with a group of senior officials from the European Union Wednesday to help find a solution to the Eurozone Crisis. The leaders issued a joint statement describing their shared commitment to create jobs and ensure financial stability. Later in the week, he met with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte to discuss his government’s commitment to keeping the euro intact.

Related Topics: Economy, Taxes, Pennsylvania
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