Our Top Stories
July 11, 2012
02:00 PM EDT
Studies show that Latino families have been among the most deeply impacted by the foreclosure crisis. Many continue to struggle with their mortgage payments and those with limited English proficiency remain among the most vulnerable to foreclosure prevention scams.
Fortunately, help is available for millions of struggling families, including those with limited English proficiency. To help reach more of these homeowners, Secretary Shaun Donovan of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development will announce later today a new Spanish-language web site for the Making Home Affordable Program. The site is available at MakingHomeAffordable.gov/spanish.
Megan SlackJuly 10, 2012
06:07 PM EDT
Yesterday, President Obama called on Congress to extend the middle-class tax cuts for the 98 percent of Americans making less than $250,000 for another year. If lawmakers don’t act, a typical middle-class family of four will see its taxes go up by $2,200 on January 1.
Our prosperity has always come from an economy built on a strong and growing middle class. That’s why the President has cut middle-class taxes every year– by $3,600 for the typical middle class family.
No one thinks raising taxes on the middle class is a good idea--it would be a big blow to working families, and it would drag down our entire economy. This should be one of those rare issues where everyone in Washington can agree. But so far, Congress hasn’t been able to extend middle class tax cuts because Republicans in Washington refuse to ask the wealthy and big corporations to pay their fair share.
Middle class families should have the certainty and security of knowing their taxes won’t go up in six months, and President Obama's message to Congress is clear: Pass a bill extending the tax cuts for the middle class and he’ll sign it tomorrow.
Matt ComptonJuly 10, 2012
03:32 PM EDT
On Thursday, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Shaun Donovan will sit down for a discussion with homeowners from across the country about President Obama's refinancing plan.
We're helping to kick off the conversation with a series of videos in which the Housing Secretary answers some of the most popular questions we've received about the plan.
Today, he tells us how the government is helping homeowners who owe more than the value of their mortgages.
Check it out and be sure to tune in Thursday at 3:15 PM ET. Watch Shaun Donovan, U.S. Secretary for Housing and Urban Development, answer questions here.
Jon CarsonJuly 10, 2012
10:49 AM EDT
Today, the White House responded to a petition that asked the Obama Administration to commit to vetoing any legislation that extends the Bush tax cuts for the 1%. In his response, David Plouffe, Senior Advisor to the President, stated that while the President is calling on Congress to prevent taxes from going up on 98% of Americans by extending the Bush-era tax cuts for the middle-class, he affirmed that the President will veto any legislation that extends the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest 2% of Americans.
We the People is an online petitioning platform designed to give all Americans a new and unique way to petition the Obama administration to take action on a range of important issues facing our country.
Check out the response below or on We the People.
Matt ComptonJuly 09, 2012
03:50 PM EDT
This afternoon, we sent the message below to the White House email list to help announce this week's Google+ Hangout with Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Shaun Donovan. If you didn't get the email, be sure to sign up for the White House email list. Read the email below, then join us on Thursday:
As we've been talking about President Obama's plan to make it easier for responsible homeowners to refinance, we've heard many different questions about the process.
So we've set up a special online event with the U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, Shaun Donovan, to answer your questions and go over the issue in detail.
This Thursday at 3:15 p.m. EDT, Secretary Donovan will participate in a live video conference with homeowners from across the country.
To get the conversation started, we sat down with Secretary Donovan and asked him to answer one of the most popular questions we've received -- how will cutting red tape for responsible homeowners help the economy at large?
So take a minute to watch his answer, RSVP for the conversation with the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, and find out how to submit your questions:
Also, please pass along this invite to other folks you know who may be interested in refinancing and housing generally. It's important to make sure everyone has the facts about this important issue.
Don't forget to tune in this Thursday at 3:15 p.m. EDT.
July 09, 2012
03:34 PM EDT
Today the President called on Congress to extend the middle class tax cuts for the 98 percent of Americans making less than $250,000 for another year. In fact, the President’s proposal extends tax cuts for 97 percent of all small business owners in America. If Congress fails to act, a typical middle-class family of four will see its taxes go up by $2,200, and America’s small business owners would take a big hit. The President refuses to let that happen.
This should be one of those rare moments where everyone in Washington can agree. Independent experts, economists, and folks on both side of the aisle agree that we should extend tax cuts for middle class families. But so far, Congress hasn’t been able to extend middle class tax cuts because Republicans in Washington refuse to ask the wealthy and big corporations to pay their fair share. In fact, on every issue – from reducing the deficit in a balanced way to paying for investments in education – Republican insistence on cutting taxes for millionaires and billionaires has been the major cause of gridlock in Washington.
So, we look forward to a debate on tax cuts for the wealthy, but right now Congress should act to give middle class families the certainty and security of knowing their taxes won’t go up in six months.
As the President said, if Congress passes a bill extending the tax cuts for the middle class, he’ll sign it tomorrow. It’s time for Congress to get to work.
Unfortunately, Republicans continue to push their tired, false claims to distort and distract the American people. We’ve already heard some folks opposing this proposal -- claiming we’re trying to tax “job creators.” The fact is, the people who create most new jobs in America are America’s small business owners. The President has cut taxes for small business owners 18 times. Even using an overly broad definition of who is a small business owner (a definition that includes passive investors and highly compensated lawyers and hedge fund managers), today’s proposal will extend all of the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts for 97 percent of all small business owners.
If Republicans in Congress want to act to help small businesses across the country, they should vote for the proposals the President proposed that the Senate is considering this week that include new incentives to help our nation’s small businesses grow and hire and strengthen our economy.
Secretary Ray LaHoodJuly 09, 2012
02:29 PM EDT
Ed. Note: This is a cross-post from Fast Lane, Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood's official blog
Last Friday afternoon, President Obama signed legislation that will put thousands of construction workers on job sites across the country and supports our commitment to restoring America's infrastructure.
This transportation bill, Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP-21), will sustain our Highway Trust Fund and provide states and communities with two years of steady funding to build needed roads, bridges, and transit systems. It also builds on DOT's efforts to improve safety across all forms of transportation and to make progress on transportation alternatives as we have done during the last three years.
Erin LindsayJuly 09, 2012
09:03 AM EDT
Today, home interest rates are at historic lows. The average homeowners could save $3,000 a year by refinancing, but far too many borrowers are locked out of a chance to do so. President Obama has a plan to help millions of responsible homeowners save hundreds of dollars each month by refinancing.
Want to know more about the President's plan, and other government programs that are already helping thousands of homeowners across the country? Join us on Thursday, July 12th at 3:15 p.m. EDT, for a White House Google+ Hangout on mortgage refinancing with Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Shaun Donovan, moderated by the real estate marketplace, Zillow, Inc.
Secretary Donovan will join a conversation, moderated by Zillow CEO Spencer Rascoff, with participating homeowners about refinancing options, such as the Home Affordable Refinancing Program (HARP) and President Obama's plan to streamline refinancing for responsible homeowners.
During the Hangout, the Secretary will also answer questions from the public. You can participate and ask your question by visiting the special tab on Zillow's Facebook page, or via Twitter using the hashtag #WHHangout.
Here are the details:
- When: Join us at 3:15 p.m. EDT on Thursday, July 12th, 2012
- Where: Watch on WhiteHouse.gov/refi, or on the White House Google+ page
- Engage: Ask questions and join the discussion on Zillow's Facebook page, or on Twitter with the hashtag #WHHangout
Matt ComptonJuly 07, 2012
05:30 AM EDT
President Obama discusses legislation he signed on Friday that does two important things: It keeps thousands of construction workers on the job rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure, and it stops interest rates on federal loans from doubling this year for more than seven million students.
Colleen CurtisJuly 06, 2012
07:21 PM EDT
One year ago today, July 6, 2011, President Obama participated in the first-ever Twitter Town Hall held at the White House. The event, which was moderated by Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey, was an opportunity for people across the Twitterverse to send questions directly to the President on topics that were important to them -- including health care, the economy, education, and even space exploration.
You can see the full list of questions President Obama answered during the event here.
The White House uses Twitter to share breaking news, provide updates and engage with Americans across the country. Join the 2.95 million @whitehouse followers, and be sure to check out all of our official accounts below:
Matt ComptonJuly 06, 2012
06:29 PM EDT
This afternoon, President Obama signed legislation that accomplishes two important goals -- keeping thousands of construction workers on the job rebuilding America's infrastructure and preventing interest rates on federal student loans from doubling.
"These steps will make a real difference in the lives of millions of Americans -- some of whom are standing with us here today," the President said. "But make no mistake -- we’ve got a lot more to do."
The President addressed an audience of students and construction workers from the East Room of the White House.
"[Let's] make sure that we are keeping folks on the job and we're keeping our students in school," he said.
Earlier, we shared a video with young people who helped to push for this bill describing why it's so important to speak out. Give it a watch.
July 06, 2012
03:49 PM EDT
Here's a quick glimpse at what happened this week on WhiteHouse.gov:
A Nation of Immigrants: On July 4, the President started the day with a naturalization ceremony for a group of active duty service members. At the ceremony the President reflected on the importance of immigrants in U.S. history, “Immigrants signed their names to our Declaration and helped win our independence. Immigrants helped lay the railroads and build our cities, calloused hand by calloused hand. Immigrants took up arms to preserve our union, to defeat fascism, and to win a Cold War. Immigrants and their descendants helped pioneer new industries and fuel our Information Age, from Google to the iPhone."
Celebrating America: Later that day, the President addressed a gathering of military families on the South Lawn as they enjoyed festivities for every age. The Fourth of July picnic was also joined by country music star Brad Paisley -- who played until the fireworks began over the National Mall.
Your Voice, Heard: Today, we saw the impact of your voices on another debate in Washington. President Obama signed legislation keeping the interest rate on federal Stafford loans from doubling for 7.4 million students.
July 06, 2012
02:28 PM EDT
Ed. Note: Aviation High School in New York City is a uniquely specialized, co-educational high school that prepares students for careers in aviation maintenance and the aerospace industry. Students complete both rigorous vocational and academic programs that provide excellent preparation for both college and aviation-related careers. In support of the Summer Jobs+ initiative, the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM), the nation’s largest airline union, expanded its annual mentoring partnership with New York City’s Aviation High School. This April, the IAM flew the group of Aviation High School seniors to Washington, D.C. for a four-day program that also included the students receiving career advice from a major airline’s Vice President of Human Resources, learning the responsibilities of being an aviation technician from a veteran airline mechanic, and a visit to the National Transportation Safety Board. This year’s program also included discussions between 28 seniors and officials from the Department of Education, the National Mediation Board and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Jimmy was one of the students who made the trip.
When I began school, English was my second language. It took me five years, from kindergarten to fourth grade, to move out of the ESL program, and I had to work twice as hard to keep up with my English-speaking classmates.
But in the end, that kind of dedication was an excellent way to prepare for Aviation High School.
Although it wasn’t my first choice of high schools, I have come to learn about all the great opportunities Aviation has to offer. As a sophomore, I saw my school’s hangar for the first time and was amazed by how big it was and the variety of planes it held. I asked my teachers if we would work on them and they replied “Yes of course, someone has to fix those birds.” I was more excited than ever about working in the hangar and set my goals towards that.
Matt ComptonJuly 06, 2012
12:59 PM EDT
Just a few weeks ago, there was a real possibility that Congress would allow interest rates for federal student loans to double.
But today, President Obama is signing legislation that will keep 7.4 million students from paying hundreds of extra dollars.
And it happened because of you.
All across the country, people like you spoke out. You raised your voices on Twitter and Facebook. You sent emails and talked to your friends and neighbors.
Last week, we talked to a group of students who were part of that effort -- all of whom would have been would have been affected by the higher interest rates -- and they talked about why it's so important for people to speak out.
The video is a powerful reminder of how everday Americans can make their voices resonate in Washington.
Take a moment to watch, then share it with your friends.
Alan KruegerJuly 06, 2012
10:01 AM EDT
While the economy is continuing to heal from the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression, much more remains to be done to repair the damage from the financial crisis and deep recession that followed. It is critical that we continue the policies that build an economy that works for the middle class and makes us stronger and more secure as we dig our way out of the deep hole that was caused by the severe recession. There are no quick fixes to the problems we face that were more than a decade in the making. President Obama has proposals to create jobs by ending tax breaks for companies to ship jobs overseas and supporting State and local governments to prevent layoffs and rehire hundreds of thousands of teachers.
Today’s report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) shows that private establishments added 84,000 jobs last month, and overall non-farm payroll employment rose by 80,000. The economy has now added private sector jobs for 28 straight months, for a total of 4.4 million payroll jobs during that period. Employment is growing but it is not growing fast enough given the jobs deficit caused by the deep recession.
Matt ComptonJuly 06, 2012
12:00 AM EDT
This week, the President traveled to Colorado Springs to survey fire damage and honor responders. He also celebrated Independence Day with a naturalization ceremony at the White House and a picnic for military families on the South Lawn.
Megan SlackJuly 05, 2012
02:09 PM EDT
On July 5, 2009, President Obama embarked on an official international trip, making stops in Russia, Italy, and Ghana. He met with then-Russian President Medvedev in Moscow to discuss a “reset” in U.S.-Russia relations, attended the G-8 Summit in L’Aquila, Italy, met the Pope at the Vatican, and gave an important foreign policy speech in Ghana, laying out his vision for human rights and democracy in Africa’s future.
White House photographers captured many behind-the-scenes moments from the trip, and shared some of the best images on the White House Flickr feed. Check out the slideshow below, or head over to Flickr to see the full-size gallery.
Matt ComptonJuly 05, 2012
11:51 AM EDT
Last night, the White House threw a party for more than 1,200 military service members and their families to celebrate the Fourth of July.
President Obama welcomed the crowd to the South Lawn, saying:
[As] long as I have the honor of being your Commander-in-Chief, I want you all -- our men and women in uniform, our veterans and their families -- to know this: America will always remember. We will always be there for you, just as you’ve been there for us. That’s my promise. That is America’s promise. And that is one that we pledge to fulfill on this Independence Day.
The event, organized by the USO, featured a performance by country music star Brad Paisley.
A crowd watches the end of Brad Paisley's performance on the South Lawn of the White House as fireworks erupt over the National Mall, July 4, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
As Paisley and his band finished their final song ("Welcome to the Future"), fireworks began over the National Mall. Check it out here:
Colleen CurtisJuly 04, 2012
01:39 PM EDT
President Obama began his Independence Day celebrations by hosting a naturalization ceremony for active duty service members in the East Room of the White House. It was the third time the President has hosted this kind of service, and he told the audience, which included the families of the service members who were taking the oath of citizenship, that it is one of his favorite things to do. "It brings me great joy and inspiration because it reminds us that we are a country that is bound together not simply by ethnicity or bloodlines, but by fidelity to a set of ideas."
Before the President gave his remarks, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Director Alejandro Mayorkas presented the countries of the candidates for naturalization and Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano delivered the oath of allegiance. President Obama told the new citizens that is was an honor to serve as their Commander in Chief, and to be the first to greet them as "my fellow Americans."
Matt ComptonJuly 03, 2012
03:03 PM EDT
Andy Griffith, who charmed audiences for half a century as an actor, comedian, and gospel singer, died today in his home in Manteo, North Carolina. He was 86.
Griffith, known for his iconic roles as the sheriff of Mayberry and the defense attorney Ben Matlock, was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2005.
This afternoon, President Obama marked his passing, saying, "A performer of extraordinary talent, Andy was beloved by generations of fans and revered by entertainers who followed in his footsteps."