Read all posts from January 2014

  • Fifty years ago, in January of 1964, President Lyndon B. Johnson declared a “War on Poverty” and introduced initiatives designed to improve the education, health, skills, jobs, and access to economic resources of those struggling to make ends meet.

    Read the President's statement on the 50th anniversary of the War on Poverty here.

    In the decades since, we have made progress in reducing poverty -- but we still have work to do. Today, in a new report, the Council of Economic Advisers presents evidence of the progress made possible by decades of bipartisan efforts to fight poverty by expanding economic opportunity and rewarding hard work. 

    Take a look at the report here.

  • President Barack Obama delivers remarks on emergency unemployment insurance in the East Room of the White House, Jan. 7, 2014.

    President Barack Obama delivers remarks on emergency unemployment insurance in the East Room of the White House, Jan. 7, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

    Katherine is a nursing home administrator who is currently unemployed -- and who has relied on unemployment insurance to pay her bills and stay financially afloat for the past few months. She is a college graduate, and a single mom with two sons -- both of whom are serving in the military. Since losing her job, she has lost 15 pounds, and keeps her home at 58 degrees just to cut costs -- she wears a coat and hat indoors at all times. 

    She wrote to the President last month, and she told him this: "Please let those who think I am sitting at home enjoying being unemployed know that I would much rather be working."

    Katherine introduced the President today before he delievered remarks calling on Congress to pass a bipartisan plan to temporarily extend emergency unemployment insurance.

    Because when members of Congress went home for the holidays two weeks ago, they failed to renew emergency unemployment insurance -- taking away a vital lifeline for 1.3 million Americans like Katherine who are currently looking for work. Temporarily extending this insurance would provide immediate relief to those folks, and would prevent millions more unemployed Americans and their families from getting hurt this year.

  • Ed. note: This live event has concluded. You can check out the full Q&A below or on Storify

    Today at 11:40 a.m. ET, President Obama will deliver remarks from the White House urging Congress to extend emergency unemployment insurance for more than one million Americans who have lost that vital lifeline while looking for a job. Letting emergency unemployment insurance expire not only harms American families; it's also a drag on the overall economy (to the tune of 240,000 jobs lost in 2014). 

    Immediately following the remarks, Betsey Stevenson, @CEABetsey, member of President Obama's Council of Economic Advisors, will host a session of White House Office Hours on Twitter to answer answer your questions about the economic benefits of extending unemployment insurance.

    Here are the details: 

  • Over the last five years, American inventors and investors have delivered significant progress in developing and deploying key clean energy technologies, supported by Administration policies.  Electricity production from solar and wind has doubled.  Our cars and trucks go further on a gallon of gasoline, saving families money at the pump.  And in 2012, U.S. carbon pollution fell to its lowest level in nearly 20 years. The simple fact is that key clean energy technology costs are continuing to come down, and these technologies are producing more American energy than ever before.  

    Wind Energy

    In 2012, wind was America’s largest source of new electricity generation capacity, accounting for 43 percent of all new installations. Altogether the United States has deployed about 60 gigawatts of wind power — enough to power 15 million homes. This growth in wind deployment has spurred more U.S. manufacturing.  A recent DOE wind market report estimates 72 percent of the wind turbine equipment installed in the United States last year was made by domestic manufacturers, nearly tripling from 25 percent in 2006-2007. And according to the American Wind Energy Association, by 2012 there were well over 80,000 workers employed in wind-related jobs in the U.S. 

    Supported by Administration investments, generation of electricity from wind and solar has more than doubled, and the costs of solar and wind technologies have come down significantly.  

  • Note: This live event has concluded. Watch the full video below, or on YouTube.

    From early personal computers to the World Wide Web to the tablets and smartphones many Americans hold so closely today, we’ve come a long way in the development of technology for computing devices and it’s safe to say it won’t stop here. This week, all eyes in the tech industry will focus on Las Vegas for the Consumer Electronics Show 2014, or CES, where we can peek into the future as new computing breakthroughs will be unveiled and showcased.

    In concert with CES, and building on the moment from December’s Computer Science Education Week, join us on January 8th at 2pm ET for We the Geeks: Future of Computing, as we explore what possibilities the future of computing may bring – from wearables to Holodecks – and what’s needed to get there! 

    Tom Kalil and Cristin Dorgelo from the White House Office of Science and Technology will join Mark Papermaster, Chief Technology Officer at Advanced Micro Devices, Alex Kipman of Microsoft Kinect, Alicia Gibb of the Open Source Hardware Association, and Palmer Luckey, founder of Oculus Rift to discuss:

    • What new computing advancements might we see in the next few years? What about 10-15 years from now?
    • What are the technological breakthroughs that need to happen to get there?
    • And finally, what might be the impact of the ever growing intelligent connection of people, processes, data and things?

  • For years, health care costs in America skyrocketed, with brutal consequences for our country. Escalating costs hurt our economy, eating into workers’ wages and holding back hiring.  They contributed to our deficits, and crowded out crucial investments like education and maintaining a world-class infrastructure.  And they've taken money directly out of consumers' pockets, with Americans paying far higher health care prices than others around the world for no better outcomes.

    The Affordable Care Act, for the first time in decades, has helped to stop that trend.

    New data released today by the Office of the Actuary at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services today shows that national health expenditures grew by just 3.7 percent in 2012.  That means that the years 2009 to 2012 saw the slowest growth in U.S. health care expenditures since the government started collecting this information in the 1960s. 

  • In this week's address, President Obama said Congress should act to extend emergency unemployment insurance for more than one million Americans who have lost this vital economic lifeline while looking for a job. Letting emergency unemployment insurance expire not only harms American families, but it is also a drag on the overall economy. The President urges both parties to pass the bipartisan three-month extension under consideration in the Senate so that we can once again focus on expanding opportunities for the middle class and creating jobs for all hardworking Americans.

    Transcript | Download mp4 | Download mp3

  • As we move into 2014 we'd like to take a quick look back with you at some of our favorite moments, large and small from the 2013 White House video library. There was quite a bit to choose from, but we were able to narrow it down to 10. Take a look in this years edition of "Best of the West (Wing Week)."

  • Today is a new day for the millions of Americans who finally have the security that comes from quality, affordable health coverage. And those who already have health insurance will have better, more reliable coverage than ever before. From now on, insured Americans won't be forced to put off a check-up or worry about going broke if they get sick.

    While there is much more work to be done, beginning today, no family will be denied coverage because of a pre-existing condition like high blood pressure or asthma. Women can no longer be charged more than men for the same coverage. No American will have to worry that losing a job means you can't get health coverage. And small businesses may qualify for more financial help to pay for new affordable coverage options for their employees.

    The challenges in our health care system were decades in the making and won't be solved overnight, but now more than 6 million Americans have been enrolled in Marketplace or Medicaid coverage and are getting peace of mind, knowing that they can get the care they need without losing everything they've worked and saved for.

    New Benefits and Consumer Protections Begin Today

    • Protections for People with Pre-Existing Conditions: Up to 129 million Americans with pre-existing conditions no longer have to worry about being denied health coverage or charged higher premiums because of their health status.
    • New Insurance Options: Many previously uninsured Americans have new health insurance options through private health plans in the Marketplace or Medicaid in States that have opted to expand it. Nearly 6 in 10 of Americans who were uninsured could pay $100 or less per month for coverage.
    • No More Annual Caps on Health Benefits: Millions of Americans no longer have to worry about having their health benefits cut off after they reach an annual dollar limit on benefits.
    • Comprehensive Coverage: Health plans in the individual and small group markets are now required to cover ten categories of essential health benefits – including emergency services, maternity and newborn care, mental health and substance use disorder services, and prescription drug coverage. As a result of these new protections, approximately 60 million people will gain expanded mental health and substance use disorder benefits and/or parity protections.

  • As we ring in the start of 2014, today millions of Americans across the country will finally have the security and peace of mind that comes from having quality, affordable health insurance coverage. Today is the first day that coverage kicks in for more than 6 million people who purchased private health insurance plans through the Marketplaces, or signed up for coverage through Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program.

    One of those Americans is Trinace Edwards, who was diagnosed with a brain tumor shortly after being laid off and losing her insurance. Unable to work or afford private insurance, she has not received treatment. Her daughter Lenace, a student at the University of Maryland, had considered dropping out of school in order to help pay for her mother’s bills.

    When Trinace began shopping for coverage after the Health Insurance Marketplace opened, she learned she would be eligible for coverage through Medicaid. Starting today, Trinace can get the health care she needs, without forcing her daughter to give up on her dreams.

    In October, President Obama met with a group of Americans – including Trinace and Lenace – who are benefitting from the Affordable Care Act. Watch what the mother and daughter had to say to him about what the law means for their family.

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