The White House Blog: The President
- Posted byon August 29, 2014 at 7:11 PM EDT
This week, the White House celebrated Women's Equality Day, the National Park Service celebrated its 98th birthday, and President Obama addressed the American Legion, the nation's largest veteran service organization.
Check out what else you may have missed in this week's wrap up.
This past Tuesday, the White House celebrated Women's Equality Day -- commemorating the certification of the 19th Amendment on August 26, 1920, securing women's right to vote. Although we've made a lot of progress in the decades since, there is still much work to be done.
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) August 26, 2014
Throughout the day, White House economist Betsey Stevenson also took over the popular "I Love Charts" Tumblr blog to tell the story of the progress we’ve made in closing the earnings gap between women and men, and the challenges women still face in the workforce. See her charts here.
- Posted byon August 28, 2014 at 6:24 PM EDT
This week, the White House honored two important anniversaries for women's rights and civil rights, and the President announced new actions to improve access to quality health care for veterans.
- Posted byon August 28, 2014 at 4:53 PM EDT
At the White House this afternoon, President Obama provided an update on important issues ahead of his attendance at the NATO Summit in the United Kingdom next week.
The President first addressed the "number one thing that most Americans care about" -- our economy. He noted that the economy is growing "at a stronger clip" than predicted and that we have more work to do to continue this momentum:
This morning, we found out that our economy actually grew at a stronger clip in the 2nd quarter than we originally thought. Companies are investing. Consumers are spending. Over the past four and a half years, our businesses have created now nearly 10 million new jobs. So there are reasons to feel good about the direction we’re headed. But as everybody knows, there’s a lot more we should be doing to make sure more Americans benefit from the progress that we've made and I am going to be pushing Congress hard on this when they return next week.
As the U.S. military continues to carry out targeted airstrikes against ISIL in Iraq and to address the humanitarain situation on the ground, the President reiterated his commitment as Commander-in-Chief to "always do what is necessary to protect the American people and defend against evolving threats to our homeland."
"Our military action in Iraq has to be part of a broader, comprehensive strategy to protect our people and to support our partners who are taking the fight to ISIL. And that starts with Iraq’s leaders building on the progress they’ve made so far and forming the inclusive government that will unite their country and strengthen their security forces to confront ISIL."
The President reported that our strikes have cost ISIL terrorists arms and equipment, and Iraqi and Kurdish forces are continuing to push them back. The U.S. will consider a range of options but he made clear that a successful strategy will require working with an inclusive Iraqi government and strong regional partners to meet this threat:
Now ISIL poses an immediate threat to the people of Iraq and the people throughout the region. And that’s why our military action in Iraq has to be part of a broader, comprehensive strategy to protect our people and to support our partners who are taking the fight to ISIL. And that starts with Iraq’s leaders building on the progress they’ve made so far and forming the inclusive government that will unite their country and strengthen their security forces to confront ISIL.
Any successful strategy, though, also needs strong regional partners. I’m encouraged so far that countries in the region -- countries that don’t always agree on many things -- increasingly recognize the primacy of the threat ISIL poses to all of them. And I’ve asked Secretary Kerry to travel to the region to continue to build the coalition that’s needed to meet this threat. As I’ve said, rooting out a cancer like ISIL will not be quick or easy but I’m confident that we can -- and we will -- working closely with our allies and partners.
For our part, I’ve directed Secretary Hagel and our Joint Chiefs of Staff to prepare a range of options. I’ll be meeting with my National Security Council again this evening as we continue to develop that strategy. And I’ve been consulting with Congress and I’ll continue to do so in the days ahead.
President Obama Asks Todd Park to Continue Administration Service in New Role after Returning to Silicon ValleyPosted byon August 28, 2014 at 2:30 PM EDT
President Obama today announced that he has asked U.S. Chief Technology Officer and Assistant to the President Todd Park to take on a new role for the Administration as a technology advisor based in Silicon Valley. Park will begin the new role in September after he and his family have returned home to California.
Park’s focus will be recruiting more top tech talent like Mikey Dickerson into government and identifying innovative ways to improve the quality of government digital services, two central goals of the President’s Smarter IT Delivery agenda. He will also help ensure that the Administration has an on-the-ground sense of how technology is evolving and can craft policy and initiatives accordingly.
- Posted byon August 28, 2014 at 9:30 AM EDT
Today’s revision affirms that economic growth in the second quarter was strong, consistent with the recent string of solid job growth and improvements in other economic indicators. But there's more work that needs to be done to build on this momentum. That is why the President continues to act on his own to facilitate investment in American manufacturing, energy, and infrastructure, as well as take steps to improve the financial security of working families.
FIVE KEY POINTS IN TODAY'S REPORT FROM THE BUREAU OF ECONOMIC ANALYSIS
1. Real gross domestic product (GDP) increased 4.2 percent at an annual rate in the second quarter of 2014, according to the second estimate from the Bureau of Economic Analysis. The strong second-quarter growth represents a rebound from a first-quarter decline in GDP that largely reflected transitory factors like unusually severe winter weather and a sharp slowdown in inventory investment. Growth in consumer spending and business investment picked up in the second quarter, and residential investment increased following two straight quarters of decline. Additionally, state and local government spending grew at the fastest quarterly rate in five years. However, net exports subtracted from overall GDP growth, as imports grew faster than exports. Real gross domestic income (GDI), an alternative measure of the overall size of the economy, was up 4.7 percent in Q2.
- Posted byon August 27, 2014 at 9:35 AM EDT
Last night, White House economist Betsey Stevenson sent the email below to the White House email list, telling the story of the progress women have made since gaining the right to vote -- and what's still left to accomplish.
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Hi, everyone --
In 1776, Abigail Adams wrote to John Adams, then serving on the Continental Congress in Philadelphia, and reminded him to "not put such unlimited power into the hands of the husbands."
Seventy-two years later, in 1848, women across the country gathered together for the first women's rights convention in Seneca Falls, New York.
And it wasn't until 72 years after that, in 1920, that women in the United States officially gained the right to vote.
Let's be honest: Change hasn't ever exactly come quickly for women in this country. And 94 years later -- while it's undeniable that women have made leaps and bounds in every facet of American life, from the classroom to the boardroom -- it's not enough.
Today, on the anniversary of the 19th Amendment, we celebrate Women's Equality Day. And today, the day-to-day operations of too many businesses and institutions still don't reflect true gender equality. We've got the data to prove it.
Throughout the day, I've posted charts that tell the story of the progress we've made -- and the challenges women still face in the workforce.
- Posted byon August 26, 2014 at 6:44 PM EDT
President Obama traveled to Charlotte, NC today to address the American Legion, the nation’s largest veteran service organization, and pay tribute to the service and sacrifice of our veterans from every corner of the country and every generation:
In the story of your service we see the spirit of America. When your country needed you most, you stepped forward. You raised your right hand, you swore a solemn oath. You put on that uniform and earned the title you carry to this day -- whether Soldier, Sailor, Airman, Marine, Coast Guardsman.
Among you are proud veterans of World War II; of Korea; of Vietnam; of Desert Storm and the Balkans; and our newest veterans -- from Iraq and Afghanistan. Across the generations, you served with honor. You made us proud. And you carry the memory of friends who never came home -- our fallen, our prisoners of war, those missing in action -- heroes that our nation can never forget.
- Posted byon August 26, 2014 at 2:49 PM EDT
Today, White House Economist Betsey Stevenson is taking over the popular "I Love Charts" Tumblr blog in honor of Women's Equality Day. Follow along here, or on the White House Tumblr.
Hey everyone! Betsey Stevenson here from President Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers. In honor of Women’s Equality Day, I’ll be taking over I Love Charts to tell the story of the progress we’ve made in closing the earnings gap between women and men, and the challenges women still face in the workforce.
Let’s get started. Our first chart shows how women are increasingly contributing to family income and now make up about half the workforce. Since 2000, women’s labor force participation has dropped slightly, but most of that is because of cyclical factors and an aging population. While older women participate in the workforce at lower rates than younger women, the percent of older women who are working has increased since the mid-1990s, partially offsetting the overall decline.
At the other end of the spectrum, young women are more likely to be enrolled in school than they were a generation ago, and that’s good news. Since students (even ones who work part-time) are not considered to be in the labor force, increased school enrollment will depress the participation rate.
Wanna wonk out some more on this stuff? Check out our report on “Women’s Participation in Education and the Workforce.”
- Posted byon August 26, 2014 at 2:35 PM EDT
Every day, the men and women of our military perform incredible service on behalf of our country. And as the President has made clear, just as our service members have made a commitment to America, we have a commitment to them – to have their backs at home while they serve around the world.
A new partnership announced today by President Obama with leading banks and financial services institutions is part of meeting that commitment by making it easier for service members to access important financial protections that will save them money and help protect their financial wellbeing.
In a speech at the American Legion's 96th National Convention today, the President outlined how his Administration and five of the country’s largest mortgage servicers are working together to help more members of our active-duty military lower their monthly mortgage payments. Our preliminary analysis suggests that this new partnership will help tens of thousands of military families save money by reducing their mortgage interest rates. On a $200,000 mortgage, even an interest rate reduction of only 1 percent will result in over $1,500 a year in savings for our military families – money they can put toward daily expenses, retirement savings, or sending their children to college.
- Posted byon August 26, 2014 at 1:11 PM EDT
At 108 years old, Lucy Coffey, a veteran of the Women's Army Corps in World War II, is the nation's oldest living female veteran.
Last month, a dream of hers came true when she finally had the opportunity to visit the Women in Military Service for America Memorial at Arlington National Cemetery. But while she was in the area, she also stopped by the White House — where she was greeted by none other than President Obama and Vice President Biden.