Read all posts from March 2012

  • Your quick look at this week on

    Welcoming the Danish Prime Minister: Five months ago, Helle Thorning-Schmidt became the first female prime minister of Denmark. In the Oval Office on Friday, Prime Minister Thorning-Schmidt joined the President to discuss a range of issues – including counterterrorism cooperation and international security.

    Challenging America’s Governors: At an annual meeting of the National Governors Association in the State Dining Room on Sunday, governors were put up to two challenges—one by the First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Biden and another by President Obama: to take action on the state level to support military spouses and to ensure that all students receive the education and skills they need for the jobs of tomorrow.

    We Demanded Responsibility: Speaking at the United Auto Workers Annual Conference on Tuesday, the President discussed the success of the American auto industry—turning profits, opening new factories, and adding hundreds of thousands of jobs—after being on the edge of collapse three years ago. “Because everyone came together and worked together,” the President explained, “the most high-tech, fuel-efficient, good-looking cars in the world are once again designed and engineered and forged and built – not in Europe, not in Asia – right here in the United States of America.”

    A Nation’s Gratitude: On Wednesday night, President Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, and Dr. Jill Biden welcomed a group of true heroes to the White House. More than 100 men and women who served in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation New Dawn were in attendance for a formal dinner both to thank them for their bravery and dedication to their mission on behalf of more than 300 million Americans, as well as to mark the end of the war.

    One Path Forward: Diagram in hand at Nashua Community College in New Hampshire on Thursday, the President spoke about America’s decreasing dependence on foreign oil and the ways in which the federal government is working to address the high costs at the pump. He also renewed his call to repeal the $4 billion in subsidies that taxpayers provide the oil industry each year.

    Want to Go, Play, and Move?: Following over a century of White House tradition, the First Family is gearing up to host the 2012 White House Easter Egg Roll on Monday April 9. Do you want your family included in the more than 35,000 people who will be joining the First Family on the South Lawn? Enter the online ticket lottery here by 10 am EST on March 5, 2012 for your chance to be part of the games, stories, singing, dancing, and, of course, egg rolling at the White House.

  • President Obama delivers remarks from a conservation conference (March 2, 2012)

    President Barack Obama is seen on a monitor as he delivers remarks during a conservation conference at the Department of the Interior in Washington, D.C., March 2, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)

    There is no doubt that our nation’s public lands – national parks, refuges, waterways and open spaces – are economic engines that produce and support jobs across the country.

    On Tuesday, a report issued by the National Park Service showed that visitors to the National Park System contributed more than $31 billion to local economies and supported 258,000 jobs in 2010, an increase of $689 million and 11,500 jobs over 2009.

    These are incredible numbers – and just a slice of the pie when it comes to the economic contributions of our public lands.  For example, recreation in national parks, refuges, and other public lands led to nearly $55 billion and 440,000 jobs in 2009.

    That’s part of the reason that President Obama called on his administration to take actions to promote travel and tourism in the United States.  Investing in our parks and public lands and promoting them to visitors, especially internationally, is one way we can make the United States - with all its natural, historic and cultural assets - the top tourist destination in the world.  International travel to the U.S. already supports 1.2 million jobs alone, so our efforts will help bolster job creation.

    This is one of the topics we’re discussing today at the White House Conference on Conservation where President Obama and senior members of his Cabinet are meeting with conservation leaders from across the country to strengthen partnerships and identify next steps in advancing community-driven conservation, preservation and outdoor recreation initiatives that are building strong local economies and healthy lands, waters and wildlife. 

    The White House conference – Growing America’s Outdoor Heritage and Economy – is bringing together hundreds of boaters, hunters, anglers, farmers, ranchers, land conservationists, historic preservationists, outdoor recreationists, small business owners, local governments, tribal leaders and other key stakeholders from around the nation.  

  • As part of our ongoing efforts to make government more accountable to the American people and cut wasteful spending, yesterday I had the honor of swearing in nine new administrative patent judges who will help reduce patent backlogs. These nine talented and dynamic individuals will serve on the Board of Patent Appeals and Interferences in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), joining the dedicated public servants at USPTO who support millions of jobs in the intellectual property industry.

    Today, a high share of companies regularly relying on robust intellectual property (IP) protections to attract investor capital and stay competitive. These IP-intensive firms create an average of three million U.S. jobs per year. More than ever, we must be efficient and effective in helping entrepreneurs protect their intellectual property.

    America’s entrepreneurs are the primary source of new ideas that drive innovation. Entrepreneurs provide us with better production processes, new advances in health, and improved consumer products. These are people who can move from ideas to products and from products to the marketplace. These activities strengthen our economy and our global competitiveness. And they create jobs.These new administrative jurists will directly help to reduce backlogs that prevent game-changing ideas from breaking through. Specifically, they will help with the new in-house review process for challenging patents that have already been granted. This process is faster and less expensive than litigation.

  • This week, the President touted the resurgence of the American auto industry, challenged governors to invest in education, held a dinner honoring Iraq War Veterans, hosted the Prime Minister of Denmark, and urged Congress to end subsidies for oil and gas companies during a trip to New Hampshire. 

  • This week, answering the President’s call in the last two State of the Union addresses, Senator Bingaman proposed legislation that would establish a Clean Energy Standard for America. This is an important step towards the President’s goal of doubling clean energy by 2035, and we look forward to working with Congress as the bill moves forward.

    Since taking office, President Obama has been committed to an all-of-the-above energy strategy that expands production of American energy resources, like oil and natural gas; increases energy efficiency to save families and businesses money at the pump; and drives investment and innovation in clean energy technologies.

    A centerpiece of that strategy is the President’s ambitious but achievable goal to double the share of the Nation’s electricity from clean energy sources – including renewable energy sources like wind, solar, biomass, and hydropower; nuclear power; efficient natural gas; clean coal; even new technologies that have yet to be invented.  It’s a wide-ranging approach that will drive innovation and create jobs across the country.

    Over the past three years, the Obama Administration has already made significant progress. We’ve made the largest investment in renewable energy in American history. We’ve nearly doubled the amount of electricity generated from renewable sources like wind, solar, and geothermal. We’ve supported the world’s largest wind farm and several of the largest solar power projects. Domestic production of natural gas has risen to near-record levels, and last year the first new nuclear power plant was approved in three decades.

    But we need to do more. We need to take additional steps to build a clean energy economy that can creates new jobs, reduces pollution, and makes America more competitive. The legislation introduced by Senator Bingaman this week is an important step forward in meeting that goal.

  • President Obama delivers remarks on energy from Nashua, New Hampshire (March 1, 2012)

    President Barack Obama delivers remarks on the economy at Nashua Community College in Nashua, N.H., March 1, 2012. The president used a diagram to illustrate the decline in U.S. dependence on foreign oil. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

    Today in New Hampshire, President Obama renewed his call to repeal the $4 billion in subsidies that taxpayers provide the oil industry each year and said there's only one real path forward for America's future -- an all of the above approach that develops every source of energy available to us.

    He also addressed the idea that we'll be able to drill our way to lower gas prices and energy independence:

    So when it comes to oil production, under my administration, America is producing more oil today than at any time in the last eight years. That is a fact ... Under my administration, we have a near-record number of oil rigs operating right now -- more working oil and gas rigs than the rest of the world combined. Think about that.

    The President is directing the federal government to address a range of issues that are having a real impact on what each of us pays at the pump. For starters, he's working to prevent speculators from taking advantage of uncertainties in the commodities market and trying to reduce bottlenecks in the supply chain.

    And the President is making a real push to eliminate the tax breaks that we provide to one of the most profitable industries in the world:

    [Oil] companies are making record profits right now -- tens of billions of dollars a year. Every time you go to the gas tank or fill up your gas tank, they’re making money.  Every time. Now, does anyone really think that Congress should give them another $4 billion this year? Of course not. It’s outrageous. It’s inexcusable. And I am asking Congress -- eliminate this oil industry giveaway right away. I want them to vote on this in the next few weeks.

    For more information about America’s decreasing dependence on foreign oil, check out our post from earlier today.

  • America’s dependence on foreign oil has gone down every single year since President Obama took office. In 2010, we imported less than 50 percent of the oil our nation consumed—the first time that’s happened in 13 years—and the trend continued in 2011.

    We’re relying less on imported oil for a number of reasons, not least that production is up here in the United States. In fact, America is producing more oil today than at any time in the last eight years. As part of his strategy to increase safe, responsible oil production in the United States, President Obama has opened millions of new acres for oil and gas exploration and we now have more working oil and gas rigs than the rest of the world—combined.

    Despite all this, Americans are still paying more at the pump when we fill up. That's because drilling for more oil here at home won’t affect the price of gas on its own. Oil is bought and sold on a world market. In the short term, it’s subject to price spikes when there’s instability or uncertainty along the global supply chain. And growing demand in countries like India, Brazil, and China, which tripled the number of cars on the road in the last five years, will drive prices even higher over the long term.

    So we have to do more than drill now to bring down prices for the future. Relying on the fossil fuels of the last century won’t be enough, especially as demand keeps increasing. We need an all-out, all-of-the-above strategy that develops every available source of American energy. This includes everything from tapping our offshore oil supplies and vast natural gas reserves, to doubling down on clean energy resources like wind and solar power, and developing new technologies that help us use less energy altogether.

  • On Monday April 9, 2012, the First Family will host the 134th annual White House Easter Egg Roll.  This year's theme is “Let's Go, Let's Play, Let's Move” and more than 35,000 people will be joining the First Family on the South Lawn for games, stories, singing, dancing and, of course, the traditional egg roll on the Lawn.

    Once again, tickets will be distributed through an online lottery system, allowing guests from across the United States to participate in a tradition that dates back to 1878.  Starting on March 1 at 10 am EST, you can click here to enter the lottery and win a chance to join the fun (the lottery closes at 10 am EST on March 5, 2012). The event is open to children aged 13 years and younger and their families.

    In addition to all the fun and games, the day's activities -- which will include sports courts and cooking demonstrations -- will help educate families on smart ways to incorporate healthy eating and exercise choices into their daily routines, which are key pillars of First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! initiative.