The White House Blog: The First Lady
- Posted byon April 19, 2012 at 11:25 AM EDT
Go behind the scenes as First Lady Michelle Obama travels from Washington DC to Philadelphia, New York City, Shreveport and Jacksonville to honor our servicemen and women and their families. Join us on set at the Colbert Report, on stage with Ellen DeGeneris and on the ground with thousands of nurses and meet the 50,000 person to get a job through the Joining Forces hiring initiatives.
- View a gallery of the Anniversary events
- See highlights from the first year of Joining Forces in a video or photo gallery
- Posted byon April 13, 2012 at 3:34 PM EDT
It was a great day in Shreveport, Louisiana, yesterday. First Lady Michelle Obama joined the leadership of the Kansas City Southern (KCS) Railway Company in announcing Michael Abitago, Junior as the 50,000 veteran or military spouse to have been hired by a company through the Joining Forces employment efforts this past year! Abitago literally left active duty in the Army last Saturday after 4 years of service (including 2 tours in Iraq) and starts work on Monday as a Conductor-trainee. He was hired by KCS in mid-March at a Joining Forces hiring event in Ft Hood, Texas.
And there’s even more great news. A couple of months ago when we first wanted to highlight this event, we had planned on announcing our 50,000 hire. But as we approached our visit to Shreveport we had already hit that mark. By April another 8,000 veterans and military spouses were hired. And yesterday, Mrs. Obama revealed the news that the surge in hiring pushed the number of veterans and military spouses hired through Joining Forces to 60,000!
Through Joining Forces, American businesses have not only hired more than 60,000 veterans and military spouses to date, they have also pledged to hire at least 160,000 more in the years ahead.
More than 1,600 companies have been involved in this effort, including Microsoft, Comcast, Honeywell, Safeway and Sears. JPMorgan Chase and the 40 companies of the “100,000 jobs mission” hired more than 6,000 veterans -- alone – in the January-March 2012 timeframe.
- Posted byon April 13, 2012 at 10:30 AM EDT
Today, the President released his 2011 federal income and gift tax returns. He and the First Lady filed their income tax returns jointly and reported adjusted gross income of $789,674. About half of the first family’s income is the President’s salary; the other half is from sales proceeds of the President’s books. The Obamas paid $162,074 in total tax.
The President and First Lady also reported donating $172,130 – or about 22% of their adjusted gross income – to 39 different charities. The largest reported gift to charity was a $117,130 contribution to the Fisher House Foundation. The President is donating the after-tax proceeds from his children’s book to Fisher House, a scholarship fund for children of fallen and disabled soldiers.
The President’s effective federal income tax rate is 20.5%. The President believes we must reform our tax system which is why he has proposed policies like the Buffett Rule that would ask the wealthiest Americans to pay their fair share while protecting families making under $250,000 from seeing their taxes go up. Under the President’s own tax proposals, including the expiration of the high-income tax cuts and limitations on the value of tax preferences for high-income households, he would pay more in taxes while ensuring we cut taxes for the middle class and those trying to get in it.
The President and First Lady also released their Illinois income tax return and reported paying $31,941 in state income tax.
The Vice President and Dr. Jill Biden also released their 2011 federal income tax returns, as well as state income tax returns for both Delaware and Virginia. The Bidens filed joint federal and combined Delaware income tax returns. Dr. Biden filed a separate non-resident tax return for the state of Virginia. Together, they reported adjusted gross income of $379,035. The Bidens paid $87,900 in total federal tax for 2011. They paid $13,843 in Delaware income tax and $3,614 in Virginia income tax. The Bidens contributed $5,540 to charity in 2011.
American taxpayers are able to go online and see exactly how their federal tax dollars are spent. You can visit the taxpayer receipt and after entering a few pieces of information about your taxes, the taxpayer receipt will give you a breakdown of how your tax dollars are spent on priorities like education, veterans benefits, or health care.
- Posted byon April 12, 2012 at 3:38 PM EDT
Over the past 12 months First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden have encouraged an entire nation to commit to honoring and serving military families as they have served us. As Dr. Biden has said: “while troops serving our nation may be only 1 percent of the population, we want to make sure that 100 percent of Americans are supporting them.”
While the primary focus of the first year has been to increase employment opportunities and to promote improved care for service members, veterans, and their families, we've also had a lot of fun meeting with the families of our brave troops and been inspired by the courage and sacrifice of so many proud Americans.
To celebrate the one year anniversary of Joining Forces, we've put together a slideshow that chronicles the journey -- check it out:Prev Next
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- Posted byon April 12, 2012 at 2:54 PM EDT
Sidewinder, the Missouri Air National Guard rock band, was at the White House Wednesday to help First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden celebrate the one-year anniversary of Joining Forces.
While the band was deployed in the Middle East, a video taken by an audience member went viral on YouTube, garnering national attention. If you weren't one of the millions of people that watched Sidewinder's version of Adele's "Rolling in the Deep" on YouTube, you may have seen them perform recently on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" or watched Staff Sgt. Angie Johnson on "The Voice." And if you haven't heard of Sidewinder before, be sure to check out their performance at the White House.
Go backstage with the band at the White House and check out video of their performances, including their covers of Adele's "Rolling in the Deep", KT Tunstall's "Black Horse and the Cherry Tree" and Journey's "Don't Stop Believing."
- See a gallery of highlights from the first year of Joining Forces
- Find out how Joining Forces is helping veterans and military spouses find jobs
- Find out how you can get involved
- Posted byon April 12, 2012 at 2:17 PM EDT
Yesterday, I had the wonderful privilege of joining First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden at the University of Pennsylvania for arguably the most far-reaching announcement we have had to date in Joining Forces -- a commitment from our nation's nursing leaders to train more than 3 million nurses to have a better understanding of health issues impacting our troops, veterans and their families – with a specific focus on Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome (PTSD) and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI).
The announcement was made at the University of Pennsylvania -- one of America's leading nursing schools -- and the audience included our troops, nursing students and leaders from nursing organizations and schools throughout America.
The atmosphere was energetic -- and it was apparent from the minute Mrs. Obama and Dr. Biden walked onto the stage that these nurses and nursing students were eager and excited to get to work and support military families.
Nurses are some of America's most trusted professionals. They are the first to care for us when we go to a hospital or clinic and they are known for their compassion for their patients.
- Posted byon April 11, 2012 at 2:31 PM EDT
First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden today marked the one year anniversary of the launch of Joining Forces with an event on the South Lawn of the White House, and Mrs. Obama used the occasion to renew her call of action, and challenged all Americans to keep finding new ways to show their support for military families.
The First Lady told the crowd that over the past year, as she and Dr. Biden reached out on behalf of our military families, "not a single person that we've talked to, that we have approached, has told us that they could not help -- not a single person. We've asked; they said yes.
And the good thing is, is that once people get started, they just keep coming up with new ideas on their own. We’ll present something, and they double it. They want to do even more. They just keep raising their goals even higher. They just keep figuring out how to get more and more people involved."
And her message for all military families, is that "you do live in a grateful nation."
- Posted byon April 10, 2012 at 2:18 PM EDT
Yesterday the President and First Lady hosted more than 30,000 people from all 50 states on the South Lawn of the White House for the 134th annual Easter Egg Roll. There was singing, there was dancing, there was reading, there were crafts, there were cooking demonstrations,and there was basketball drills, hula hoops, and, of course, there were Easter eggs. WhiteHouse.gov captured it all on camera, and livestreamed the day from several locations around the Lawn for those who couldn't join in person. But it came to our attention that some people found the sheer volume of choices overwhelming, so we packaged it into one 1:48 video. Enjoy!
- Posted byon April 5, 2012 at 10:19 AM EDT
Starting tomorrow night, the Jewish community in the United States, Israel, and throughout the world will come together to celebrate the holiday of Passover.
President and Mrs. Obama will join them, continuing their tradition of hosting a small Seder at the White House. By now, the story of how that tradition began has been told and retold, but in the spirit of Passover, I’ll tell it again: In April of 2008, the President and his staff were on the trail in Pennsylvania in the midst of a long primary campaign. Weary from a long day of work and away from their families, a small group of staffers came together to hold an impromptu Seder. When then-Senator Obama got wind of the Seder, he gathered some other staff and friends and decided to join. At the end of the Seder, the President followed the traditional “Next year in Jerusalem” declaration with a pledge of his own – “Next year in the White House.” Each year since, he has followed through on that promise. This year, he also added a new touch, a video message to Jews everywhere wishing them Chag Sameach as they continue their own traditions or start new ones this Passover.
Here it is:
- Posted byon April 4, 2012 at 6:58 PM EDT
Earlier today, I joined with First Lady Michelle Obama, to announce a major commitment by forward looking businesses that have launched an ambitious new effort to deliver more than 15,000 jobs to military spouses and veterans in the coming years. This new effort will help deliver jobs that are physically located near bases, as well as thousands of highly sought-after at-home employment opportunities to military families across the country.
Military families are 10 times more likely to move across state lines than civilian families. Home based jobs are especially valuable for military families because they can move with military spouses as they relocate from base to base across the country, accommodate flexible work hours, enable spouses who care for children or elderly parents to work from home, and give home-bound veterans with disabilities new opportunities to have a fulfilling job.
At home jobs with flexible work schedules can also lead to better work life balance, and extend job opportunities into communities often left behind. Military families will also benefit from the new job commitments being announced at nearly two-dozen physical contact centers located in close proximity to active military bases. These contact centers often support military families through: family-friendly scheduling, maintaining service accrual records, enabling the seamless transfer from one contact center to another in an event of a relocation, as well as extensive training and immense growth opportunities from agents to supervisors.
These companies and their associated job opportunities will also be integrated into the Military Spouse Employment Partnership (MSEP), a Department of Defense-led effort with more than 100 companies in the private sector who have committed to a focused effort on military spouse employment. MSEP was launched by Dr Jill Biden last summer.
Additional information specifics of the commitments can be found at: www.joiningforces.gov/commitments