Read all posts from January 2013

  • The White House photo team has a front row view for all the events — both big and small — that take place at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., as well as on the road with the President, the Vice President and the First Family.

    Each January, Pete Souza, Chief Official White House Photographer and Director of the White House Photography Office, selects his favorite images from the past twelve months, and now, we're sharing them with you. Featuring exclusive perspectives of everything from Presidential trips and events to private moments between President Obama and his family, his staff and American citizens, this collection offers a unique view of 2012.

    See 2012: A Year in Photos

  • In this new White House White Board, Brian Deese, the Deputy Director of the National Economic Council, explains what the new agreement to extend tax cuts for the middle class means for the economy and how it met President Obama's key economic priorities.


    Learn more: 

  • While more work remains to be done, today’s employment report provides further evidence that the U.S. economy is continuing to heal from the wounds inflicted by the worst downturn since the Great Depression. It is critical that we continue the policies that are building 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.

    With the passage of the American Taxpayer Relief Act earlier this week, more than 98 percent of Americans and 97 percent of small businesses now have certainty that their income taxes will not rise. Additionally, unemployment insurance was extended for two million Americans who are searching for a job, and companies will continue to receive tax credits for the research that they do and continue to have tax incentives to accelerate investment in their businesses. By allowing income tax cuts for the top two percent of earners to expire, this legislation further reduces the deficit by $737 billion over the next decade. It is important that we continue to move toward a sustainable federal budget in a responsible way that balances revenue and spending while protecting critical investments in the economy and essential support for our most vulnerable citizens.

    Today’s report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) shows that private sector businesses added 168,000 jobs in December. Total non-farm payroll employment rose by 155,000 jobs last month. The economy has now added private sector jobs for 34 straight months, and a total of 5.8 million jobs have been added over that period, taking account of the preliminary benchmark revision. In 2012, private businesses added two million payroll jobs, taking account of the preliminary benchmark revision.

  • Welcome to the West Wing Week, your guide to everything that's happening at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. This week, the President spent several days in talks with Congressional leaders in an ultimately successful effort to reach a bipartisan compromise around the central promise of the president's re-election campaign: preventing an income tax increase on middle class families while asking the wealthiest 2 percent of Americans to pay more to help deal with our deficit. Also, White House staffers shared some of their New Year's resolutions.

  • Update: This session of Office Hours has concluded. Check out the full Q&A below, or at

    This week, President Obama signed the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 into law. That means middle-class families won't see an increase in their income tax rates, and the fiscal cliff has been avoided.

    Do you have questions about the deal and how it will impact you? Brian Deese, Deputy Director of the National Economic Council, will be on hand to answer your questions during a session of White House Office Hours on Twitter with Yahoo! Finance.

    Join us on Friday, January 4th at 11:30 a.m. ET for a live Twitter Q&A. Here’s how it works:

    • Ask your questions now and during the chat with the hashtag #fiscalcliff411
    • Follow the Q&A live through @WHLive and @YahooFinance
    • If you miss the Q&A, the full session will be posted on
    Brian Deese Twitter Office Hours

    During a session of White House Office Hours on Twitter, Brian Deese, the Deputy Director of the National Economic Council, answers questions about the new agreement to extend tax cuts for the middle class. January 4, 2013.


  • As 2012 has now drawn to a close, the White House has compiled some of our top tweets of the year. This year, the @WhiteHouse twitter account surpassed three million followers, and Twitter has become an increasingly important tool for the White House to engage with citizens and provide updates from the Obama Administration. From live-tweeting the State of the Union address in January to President Obama's twitter Q&A on #My2k in December, 2012 was a year filled with nearly 3,000 tweets, more than 50 sessions of White House Office Hours and tweetups that invite our followers on twitter to attend in-person events.

    Take a look at our top tweets below, or on Storify, and be sure to follow the White House on Twitter for news and updates in the New Year. 

  • Ed. note: The application for the Summer 2013 White House Internship Program is now open. This blog post introduces readers to Simon Boehme, a former intern who worked in the Office of Management and Administration in the summer of 2011. When asked about his internship experience, Simon writes:

    When people ask about my time as a White House intern, a smile emerges before I say anything at all. After a rush of nostalgia, I often refer to the extraordinary opportunities and memories forged throughout my time as an intern. But, what resonates most, when reflecting on my internship experience, is the importance of always giving back.

    Inspired by the President and the First Family’s commitment to helping others and making America stronger, White House interns play an integral role in furthering this mission. In addition to the opportunity to work in one of 16 different departments in the White House, interns also participate in community service projects throughout Washington, D.C. For example, within the first week of my internship, my fellow interns and I helped clean a local park, and over the course of the term, our service expanded to serving at food banks, supporting the elderly and tutoring schoolchildren.

    President Obama waves goodbye after talking with summer interns from the White House Internship Program

    President Barack Obama waves goodbye after talking with summer interns from the White House Internship Program in the Rose Garden of the White House, Aug. 10, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Samantha Appleton)

  • President Barack Obama makes a statement (January 1, 2013)

    President Barack Obama makes a statement with Vice President Joe Biden, in the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House, Jan. 1, 2013. (Official White House Photo by David Lienemann)

    Last night, Republicans and Democrats in the House of Representatives joined the Senate in passing the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012. That means middle-class families won't see an increase in their income tax rates. We've avoided the fiscal cliff.

    President Obama will sign the legislation soon. Last night, he described the agreement as, "one step in the broader effort to strengthen our economy and broaden opportunity for everybody."

    "Under this law, more than 98 percent of Americans and 97 percent of small businesses will not see their income taxes go up," he said. "Millions of families will continue to receive tax credits to help raise their kids and send them to college. Companies will continue to receive tax credits for the research that they do, the investments they make, and the clean energy jobs that they create. And 2 million Americans who are out of work but out there looking, pounding the pavement every day, are going to continue to receive unemployment benefits as long as they’re actively looking for a job."

    We know that that a lot of people have questions about the deal, so we've pulled together some of the most important facts. Here are the seven things you need to know:

  • UPDATE: The American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 was also passed by a bipartisan majority in the House of Representatives on January 1, 2013.

    President Obama has repeatedly called this a make-or-break moment for the middle class. That's why we worked with Republicans and Democrats in Congress to reach an agreement that keeps income taxes low for the middle class and helps to grow the economy. And as the President promised, millionaires and billionaires will also begin doing more to help pay down the deficit through a combination of permanent tax rate increases and reduced tax benefits. 

    This is the first time in twenty years that a bipartisan agreement has increased tax rates on the wealthy. Additionally, this deal ensures that America will continue to invest in education, clean energy, and manufacturing to strengthen our economy and the middle class. 

    As President Obama noted in a statement about the deal, while neither Democrats nor Republicans got everything they wanted, this agreement is the right thing to do for our country. And the President looks forward to working with Republicans to reduce the deficit in a balanced and bipartisan way.

    The agreement passed by an overwhelming bipartisan majority in the Senate last night permanently extends the middle-class tax cuts and also extends credits for working families. It provides additional measures to protect families and promote economic growth. The lower tax rates, an expanded Child Tax Credit, and marriage penalty relief  will provide certainty for 114 million households and together will prevent the typical family of four from seeing a $2,200 tax increase.

    By raising income tax rates on the wealthiest and keeping taxes low for the middle class, it means we will now have the most progressive tax code in decades. The agreement also prevents two million people from losing unemployment insurance benefits in January by extending emergency UI benefits for one year.