Our Top Stories
Matt ComptonAugust 03, 2012
03:38 PM EDT
President Barack Obama delivers remarks on extending tax cuts for the middle class, in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, South Court Auditorium, Aug. 3, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Sonya N. Hebert)
Unless the the House of Representatives takes action before January 1, a typical middle-class family of four will see their taxes go up by $2,200 in the coming year.
President Obama is fighting to prevent that from happening, and today, he again pushed lawmakers to get this done.
"What we should do right now is give middle-class families and small business owners a guarantee that their taxes will not go up next year," he said. "When families have the security of knowing that their taxes won’t go up they’re more likely to spend, and more likely to grow the economy. When small business owners have certainty on taxes and can plan ahead they’re more likely to hire and create new jobs. And that benefits all of us."
August 03, 2012
11:56 AM EDT
[Editor's Note: This has been cross-posted from the NASA blog.]
Today, I am with Kennedy Space Center Director, Bob Cabana and the program manager for NASA's Commercial Crew Program, Ed Mango, to announce the selection of three companies for the next phase of our efforts to develop private sector capabilities that will keep us on track to end the outsourcing of America's human spaceflight program.
They are: The Boeing Company, Space Exploration Technologies and Sierra Nevada Corporation.
We have selected these companies to develop crew transportation capabilities as fully integrated systems.
Each of these companies has proven track records in the aerospace industry.
By keeping three companies in the mix, we not only ensure competition, which is good for the taxpayers, we also guarantee that we never find ourselves in the situation we're in today -- dependent on a sole provider to get our crew to space.
Alan KruegerAugust 03, 2012
09:32 AM EDT
While there is more work that remains to be done, today’s employment report provides further evidence that the U.S. economy is continuing to recover from the worst downturn since the Great Depression. It is critical that we continue the policies that build an economy that works for the middle class as we dig our way out of the deep hole that was caused by the severe recession that began in December 2007. To build on the progress of the last few years, President Obama has proposed an extension of middle class tax cuts that would prevent the typical middle class family from facing a $2,200 tax increase next year. In addition, to create more jobs in particularly hard-hit sectors, President Obama continues to support the elements of the American Jobs Act that have not yet passed, including further investment in infrastructure to rebuild our Nation’s ports, roads and highways, and assistance to State and local governments to prevent layoffs and rehire hundreds of thousands of teachers and first responders.
Today’s report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) shows that private sector establishments added 172,000 jobs last month, and overall non-farm payroll employment rose by 163,000. The economy has now added private sector jobs for 29 straight months, for a total of 4.5 million jobs during that period.
The household survey showed that the unemployment rate ticked up to 8.3% in July (or, more precisely, the rate rose from 8.217% in June to 8.254% in July). Acting BLS Commissioner John Galvin noted in his statement that the unemployment rate was “essentially unchanged” from June to July.
Adam GarberAugust 03, 2012
12:00 AM EDT
This week, the First Lady brought ‘Let’s Move!’ to the Summer Olympics, the President signed both the US-Israel Enhanced Security bill and HEARTH act, hosted twelve new Ambassadors to the United States, and met with inspirational groups of young people, both the PECASE science and engineering early career award winners and the 98 boys and 98 girls of the 2012 American Legion. That’s July 27th to August 2nd or “98 & 98.”
Heather ZichalAugust 02, 2012
07:30 PM EDT
Today, in an overwhelmingly bipartisan vote, the Senate Finance Committee passed a one-year extension of the Production Tax Credit (PTC) for the domestic wind industry. For months, the President has been calling on Congress to extend the PTC – which is currently slated to expire at the end of 2012 – in order to save tens of thousands of jobs in the American wind industry, manufacturing industry, as well as the associated supply chain. We applaud the bipartisan leadership showcased today in the Finance Committee and urge the rest of Congress to follow the Committee’s lead as expeditiously as possible.
Renewing the PTC has been a top priority for the President because he views the American wind industry as an American success story. Over the past few years – thanks in part to the PTC – this industry has flourished. Today, we have enough wind capacity to power 10 million homes across the country. In 2011, which was a banner year for the industry, nearly one-third of all new power capacity in the United States came from wind.
Notably, as part of the package passed today in the Senate Finance Committee, an important provision was included that allows wind developers to use the Investment Tax Credit (ITC) instead of the Production Tax Credit, which is critical for offshore wind projects in particular.
In a parallel trend, the domestic content of wind turbines has increased dramatically in recent years. It used to be that we had to import most of the 8,000 component parts that go into a modern wind turbine. But today, with nearly 500 wind-related manufacturing facilities in 43 states, we’re producing more and more of those parts in America, which means job opportunities for tens of thousands of American workers in every corner of the country.
Matt ComptonAugust 02, 2012
06:10 PM EDT
David Plouffe, Senior Advisor to President Obama, just sent the message below to the White House email list, asking people to tune in and watch President Obama talk about extending tax cuts for the middle class. If you didn't get the email, be sure to sign up.
Good afternoon --
Last night, Republicans in the House of Representatives voted to shower the wealthiest two percent of people in America with a $1 trillion tax cut. That's what they're demanding in return for keeping taxes low for the middle class.
But here's the other thing that has happened over the past week: Tens of thousands of you from all across the country have started speaking out about why it's so important to prevent taxes from going up on 114 million middle-class families on January 1.
And tomorrow, when President Obama calls on Congress to stop holding the middle class tax cuts hostage, a group of you who have shared your stories on the White House website will be standing there beside him.
Even if you aren't one of the people in the room, we want you to tune in to hear what the President has to say. Will you watch with us tomorrow at 11:45 a.m. EDT?
- WHAT: President Obama speaks on the middle-class tax cuts
- WHEN: Friday, August 3 at 11:45 a.m. EDT
- WHERE: WhiteHouse.gov/We-Need-You
As dysfunctional as Washington can be, this fight is far from hopeless. We saw that last week when Republicans and Democrats in the Senate agreed to allow a vote on extending the middle-class tax cuts, and the legislation passed. Now the House needs to follow the Senate's lead and vote to ensure taxes don't go up on the middle class.
With so many of you adding your voices to the President's, we have a real chance to cut through the partisanship and the noise to get this done -- because the arguments we've heard from real people are all powerful.
Eileen from California wrote in to argue that "The middle class is the backbone of America. When the middle class thrives, so does America."
Katherine from Virginia told us "No one wants to pay more than their fair share of taxes, but the wealthiest of Americans CAN manage it, while still allowing the economy to continue to recover fully."
As it stands right now, House Republicans are the only folks in Washington who are willing to let a typical family of four pay an extra $2,200 in taxes next year. And if you continue to weigh in on this debate, they'll have to realize just how isolated they really are. So take the next step tomorrow and watch President Obama:
Senior Advisor to the President
Josh EarnestAugust 02, 2012
05:26 PM EDT
Today, the beam signed by President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama during their visit to the World Trade Center site on June 14th was installed in One World Trade Center – it’s among the final beams added to the 104-story building.
During their visit earlier this summer, the President toured the rising skyscraper, greeted construction workers and signed the steel beam. In red marker, the President wrote: "We remember. We rebuild. We come back stronger!"
Matt ComptonAugust 02, 2012
11:03 AM EDT
President Barack Obama talks on the phone with members of the U.S. Olympic women's gymnastics team during a phone call from Air Force One, Aug. 1, 2012. The President called the women to congratulate them on their gold medal in the team competition. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
Erin LindsayAugust 01, 2012
07:04 PM EDT
Note: This live session of Office Hours has concluded. View the full question and answer session below or at Storify.com
Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, 47 million women will have access to eight additional preventive health care services at no out-of-pocket cost. Women in private plans and Medicare already have received potentially life-saving services, such as mammograms, cholesterol screenings, and flu shots at no extra cost.
Have questions about these new preventive care benefits or the Affordable Care Act? Ask us during Office Hours.
Tomorrow, Thursday, August 2nd at 5:00 p.m. EDT, we're holding a special session of White House Office Hours on Twitter with White House Health Care Policy Advisors, Carole Johnson & Ellen Montz and Assistant Press Secretary Nick Papas who will answer your questions.
Here's how it works:
- Ask your questions now and during the live event on Twitter with the hashtag #WHChat
- Follow the Q&A live through the @WHLive Twitter account
- If you miss the live session, the full session will be posted on WhiteHouse.gov and Storify.com/Whitehouse
The law now requires new, non-grandfathered private health plans to offer eight additional screenings and tests for adolescent and adult women at no extra charge. These include:
- Well-woman visits.
- Gestational diabetes screenings that help protect women from one of the most serious pregnancy-related diseases.
- Domestic and interpersonal violence screening and counseling.
- FDA-approved contraceptive products.
- Breastfeeding support, supplies, and counseling.
- HPV DNA testing, for women 30 or older.
- Sexually transmitted infections counseling.
- HIV screening and counseling.
To learn more about these new preventive benefits, check out this blog post from Senior Advisor to the President, Valerie Jarrett and for a comprehensive overview of the Affordable Care Act, visit WhiteHouse.gov/HealthReform and HealthCare.gov.
Then, don’t forget to join us for Office Hours tomorrow at 5:00 p.m. EDT with Carole Johnson, Ellen Montz and Nick Papas.
Be sure to follow @WhiteHouse for the latest updates and more opportunities to engage.
Michael DanielAugust 01, 2012
05:18 PM EDT
As I reach the end of my first two months as Cybersecurity Coordinator, I wanted to highlight a few of the Administration’s recent accomplishments working in partnership with the private sector, and also preview some of our future activities. Some of the Government’s cybersecurity activities are already high-profile, like the recent National Level Exercise or our push for comprehensive cybersecurity legislation, but there is also substantial activity occurring outside of the spotlight. Both are needed if we are going to address the serious threats we face in cyberspace and capitalize on the exceptional opportunities cyberspace presents for governments, individuals, and U.S. businesses.
Like many tough issues, cybersecurity is a cross-cutting problem, affecting not only all Federal agencies, but also state and local governments, the private sector, non-governmental organizations, academia, and other countries. It is a national security, homeland security, economic security, network defense, and law enforcement issue all rolled into one. As a result, it takes a truly cross-cutting response to address the problem, with the public and private sector working collaboratively. Within the government and the private sector, many organizations will need to work together in new and sometimes initially uncomfortable ways. We will also need a combination of technical, policy, and legislative tools to respond.
Let me highlight a few recent initiatives where voluntary, cooperative actions are helping to improve the nation’s overall cybersecurity:
Matt ComptonAugust 01, 2012
03:59 PM EDT
This summer, Americans across the country are receiving a new set of benefits from the Affordable Care Act.One of the biggest changes has to do with your health care premiums.Because of the new health care law, insurance providers are now required to devote at least 80 percent of the premiums you pay to your health care -- not to advertising, or administrative costs, or salaries for their CEOs.Providers can make sure they meet that standard by lowering your rates or improving your care, but right now, companies that aren't meeting the standard are actually providing rebates to their customers. Nearly 13 million Americans will receive more than $1 billion from insurance companies this summer.Back in 2010, Nancy-Ann DeParle, President Obama's Deputy Chief of Staff for Policy, filmed a White Board to help explain the reform and why it matters.
Valerie JarrettAugust 01, 2012
02:04 PM EDT
As chair of the White House Council on Women and Girls, I am incredibly proud to highlight an important part of the health care law that gives women more control over their health care. Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, 47 million women will have access to the preventive services they need. We all know that women and men face unique health risks and benefit from different preventive services. For too long, too many women have gone without these services due to out-of-pocket costs or lack of coverage.
Under the Affordable Care Act, for the first time ever, women will now have access to life-saving preventive care, such as mammograms and contraception, without paying any more out of their own pockets.
Secretary Ray LaHoodAugust 01, 2012
12:42 PM EDT
Ed. Note: This article was originally published on the U.S. Department of Transportation Blog
It was my distinct pleasure to welcome the 2012 Transportation Champions of Change recognized yesterday by the White House. The 14 individuals selected for this honor comprise an amazing roster of transportation excellence and leadership.
We've accomplished a lot at DOT in the past few years, but we did not do it alone. In communities across the country, we have found bold, innovative leaders who have taken up the important cause of changing the way we think about transportation and have created jobs in the process.
These Champions are making a difference every day in their local communities and across the country. And, thanks to them, it is a new day for transportation in America.
Transportation today is not simply about building new roads or widening bridges. It's about looking at how people want to get where they need to go and how they are affected in different ways by the decisions we make.