Read all posts from March 2013

  • Watch the West Wing Week here.

    Call to Governors: On Monday, President Obama and Vice President Biden delivered remarks to the National Governor Association. The President drew attention to the importance of infrastructure and education, while praising the group for their great work and accomplishments across America. The President also urged the governors to push Congress to end the harmful and automatic budget cuts known as the sequester, set to take effect March 1.

    “As governors, you’re the ones who are on the ground, seeing firsthand every single day what works, what doesn’t work, and that's what makes you so indispensable,” he said. “Whatever your party, you ran for office to do everything that you could to make our folks’ lives better.”

    The First Lady and Dr. Biden also spoke and covered the importance of committing to our veterans in their transition to civilian life. Both highlighted states that have made progress in changing laws to make it easier for military spouses to attain new credentials when they move to a new state, and challenged all 50 states to follow through.

  • President Obama held a press conference this morning after meeting with Congressional leaders to talk about his plans to move the country forward in light of the severe budget cuts that will start to take effect today.

    These cuts, which are known as the sequester, will hurt our economy and cost us jobs, the President said. And as Americans all across the country work hard to keep our economic recovery going, arbitrary cuts to services and investments that businesses and workers depend on makes that far more difficult. 

    But none of this is necessary, President Obama said. These cuts are "happening because of a choice that Republicans in Congress have made." 

    They’ve allowed these cuts to happen because they refuse to budge on closing a single wasteful loophole to help reduce the deficit. As recently as yesterday, they decided to protect special interest tax breaks for the well-off and well-connected, and they think that that’s apparently more important than protecting our military or middle-class families from the pain of these cuts. 

    I do believe that we can and must replace these cuts with a more balanced approach that asks something from everybody: Smart spending cuts; entitlement reform; tax reform that makes the tax code more fair for families and businesses without raising tax rates --  all so that we can responsibly lower the deficit without laying off workers, or forcing parents to scramble for childcare, or slashing financial aid for college students.

  • Mrs. Obama at McCormick Place

    First Lady Michelle Obama participates in a “Let’s Move! Active Schools” event with athletes and students at McCormick Place in Chicago, Ill., Feb. 28, 2013. The First Lady called on leaders to support schools’ efforts to ensure all kids get the physical activity they need to stay healthy and succeed in school. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)

    According to First Lady Michelle Obama, Thursday was "a groundbreaking, earth-shattering, awesomely-inspiring day." That's because Mrs. Obama was in Chicago to announce the launch Let’s Move Active Schools, an unprecedented effort to bring physical education back to America’s schools.

    The problem is severe -- we are raising the most sedentary generation in history. Only six states require P.E. in all grades, and only one in three kids is physically active on a daily basis. In addition to the health risks associated with an inactive lifestyle, including diabetes and obesity, physical activity has been shown to lower anxiety and stress, and fight depression. In addition, physically active kids do better in school, with studies showing that physical activity enhances important skills, like concentration and problem solving, which have been shown to improve academic performance.  

    Let’s Move! Active Schools is designed to address these challenges by spurring innovative solutions and offering customized support every step of the way. It empowers schools to find free or low-cost ways to incorporate movement before, during, and after the school day. And thanks to funding and other resources being provided by NIKE, Inc., the GENYOUth Foundation, ChildObesity180, Kaiser Permanente, and the General Mills Foundation, schools can connect to grant opportunities, online resources, personal assistance, and hands-on professional development. The President’s Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition (PCFSN) the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation & Dance (AAHPERD) and the Alliance for a Healthier Generation are the managing organizations guiding the development and implementation of the program.

  • This week, the President urged Congress to take a responsible approach to deficit reduction instead of the indiscriminate across-the-board spending cuts called the sequester. He also met with the Prime Minister of Japan, America's Governors, and the country's only all-black Ranger unit, and unveiled a truly moving monument to Rosa Parks.

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