The White House Blog: The President

  • Weekly Address: A Path Towards a Thriving Middle Class

    President Obama Tapes the Weekly Address on January 30

    President Barack Obama tapes the Weekly Address in the Roosevelt Room of the White House. January 30, 2015. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)

    In this week’s address, the President described the progress our economy has made, laying a foundation for a future that prioritizes middle-class economics.

    This week, the President will send a budget to Congress centered on the idea that everyone who works hard should have the chance to get ahead. His plan will reverse harmful sequestration cuts and instead make paychecks go further, create good jobs here in the United States, and prepare hardworking Americans to earn higher wages. The President made the case for his budget, and affirmed his commitment to doing everything he can to ensure more Americans can get ahead in this new economy.

    Transcript | mp4 | mp3

  • Chart of the Week: Businesses Are Ready to Hire More Americans Now Than at Any Point Since 2001

    Six years after the financial crisis, America’s resurgence is real and beginning to touch more and more lives across the country. As the President said, “With a growing economy, shrinking deficits, bustling industry, and booming energy production, we have risen from the recession freer to write our own future than any other nation on Earth.”   

    America’s businesses are already setting pen to paper, creating jobs in burgeoning industries at a breakneck pace. In fact, there are more open jobs today than at any point since 2001.

    Whether in information technology, health care, or other growing industries, there are more jobs now that offer higher wages and an important step up into the middle class. Here’s the chart to prove it: 

  • More than 4.26 Million Records Released

    In September 2009, the President announced that — for the first time in history — White House visitor records would be made available to the public on an ongoing basis. Today, the White House releases visitor records that were generated in October 2014. This release brings the total number of records made public by this White House to more than 4.26 million — all of which can be viewed in our Disclosures section.

  • West Wing Week: 1/30/15 or, “Namaste Obama”

    This week, the President made history by being the first sitting President to make a second visit to India. He and the First Lady also traveled to Saudi Arabia to pay their respects to the late King. And back at home, the President convened a meeting with U.S. mayors and honored outgoing Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel. That's January 23 to January 29 or, "Namaste Obama."

    Watch on YouTube

  • Behind the Budget: The Budget Methods Specialist

    "Behind the Budget" is a series of posts featuring audio stories from staffers from across the Office of Management and Budget, discussing aspects of the budget process that most Americans don't get to see.

    Underlying the President's FY 2016 budget is a database holding about 600,000 pieces of information across multiple agencies and accounts. The database keeps track of every dollar appropriated by Congress: when it was appropriated, when it was or is going to be obligated -- whether that means signing a contract or placing an order -- and when the dollar goes out the door. It catalogues what the dollar was used for, and why. It's a lot of information, and right now, Aron Greenberg -- who's worked in OMB's Budget Review Division for about 11 years -- is responsible for helping to make sure it's accurate. Listen to him describe the work of the team responsible for doing the final comb of the budget.

    Meet Aron Greenberg, Budget Methods Specialist in OMB's Budget Review Division.

    "The examining divisions are responsible for helping develop the policies that accomplish specific goals. That's not our gig. We're here to make sure that the policies of the Administration are accurately reflected in the database…So if the Administration wants to spend $10 million on something, it's our responsibility to make sure that $10 million shows up in the database."

  • Precision Medicine Is Already Working to Cure Americans: These Are Their Stories

    During his State of the Union Address, President Obama announced that he is launching a new initiative that will help deliver the right treatment to the right patient at the right time. Precision medicine gives medical professionals the resources they need to target the specific treatments of the illnesses we encounter, further develops our scientific and medical research, and keeps our families healthier. As the country that eliminated polio and mapped the human genome, America is well-positioned to lead in a new era of medicine. 

    While most of today's medical treatments have been designed for the average patient, precision medicine allows us to be more effective than a "one-size-fits-all" technique. It's an emerging approach to promoting health and treating disease that takes into account individual differences in people's genes, environments, and lifestyles. This makes it possible to design targeted treatments for cancer and other diseases. As the President noted in his speech, this revolutionary approach has even reversed cystic fibrosis, an illness once thought unstoppable. 

    This approach is already saving lives, giving those in the medical field better options, and helping keep families healthy.  Read a few of their stories: 

    William Elder Jr.

    William Elder Jr. 

    William Elder, Jr. was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis (CF) at the age of eight, when the life expectancy for CF patients was very low. Now at 27, Bill is alive thanks to Kalydeco, a treatment of a particular form for his cystic fibrosis and a remarkable drug that treats the underlying cause of his CF, rather than the symptoms.

    At a congressional briefing in 2013, Bill told members of the U.S. Senate that just knowing that there were individuals who were researching his condition gave him hope and the strength to continue his treatments and work to be healthier every day. Bill described waking up in the middle of the night after taking his new treatment for the first time. “I sat on the floor of my room for a while slowly breathing in and out through my nose, and then I realized that was it. I had never been able to easily breathe out of my nose before. This was something profound,” he said. He recalls telling his parents, "For the first time in my life, I truly believe that I will live long enough to be a grandfather.”

  • The Precision Medicine Initiative: Data-Driven Treatments as Unique as Your Own Body

    Watch Jo Handelsman, Associate Director for Science in the Office of Science and Technology Policy, explain the Precision Medicine Initiative and its significance.

    Watch on YouTube

    The President's 2016 budget includes investments in an emerging field of medicine that takes into account individual differences in people's genes, microbiomes, environments, and lifestyles -- making possible more effective, targeted treatments for diseases like cancer and diabetes. That's incredibly significant, and this is why:

    Right now, most medical treatments are designed for the average patient.

    But one size doesn't fit all, and treatments that are very successful for some patients don't work for others. Think about it:

    • If you need glasses, you aren't assigned a generic pair. You get a prescription customized for you.
    • If you have an allergy, you get tested to determine exactly what you're allergic to.
    • If you need a blood transfusion, it has to match your precise blood type.

    Enter Precision Medicine: health care tailored to you.

  • "A True American Patriot" -- President Obama Pays Tribute to Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel

    President Obama, Vice President Biden and Gen. Martin Dempsey participate in an Armed Forces farewell in honor of Secretary Hagel

    President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and Gen. Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff participate in an Armed Forces farewell in honor of Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, left, at Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall in Fort Myer, Va., Jan. 28, 2015. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

    The President traveled to Fort Myer, Virginia yesterday for the Armed Forces farewell ceremony in honor of our 24th Secretary of Defense, Chuck Hagel.

    In his remarks, the President acknowledged Secretary Hagel's courageous work during his lifelong service as a decorated veteran and Secretary:

    [T]oday is a celebration of a quintessentially American life -- a man from the heartland who devoted his life to America. Just imagine, in your mind’s eye, the defining moments of his life. The kid from Nebraska who, as Marty said, volunteered to go to Vietnam. The soldier outside Saigon, rushing to pull his own brother from a burning APC. The deputy at the VA who stood up for his fellow Vietnam vets who were exposed to Agent Orange. The senator who helped lead the fight for the Post 9/11 GI Bill, to give this generation of heroes the same opportunities that he had.

    I asked Chuck to lead this department at a moment of profound transition. And today we express our gratitude for the progress under his watch.

  • Behind the Budget: Dr. Julian Harris, OMB Associate Director for Health

    "Behind the Budget" is a series of posts featuring audio stories from staffers from across the Office of Management and Budget, discussing aspects of the budget process that most Americans don't get to see.

    In some ways, it's always budget season for the OMB health policy team: At any point in the year, they're likely to be either developing, negotiating, or implementing two or three fiscal year budgets at a time. This year's budget in particular includes a range of proposals, from those that make efficient improvements to health care acess and quality, to those with broader public health implications. That means, for instance, programs that invest in preparedness and disease prevention, efforts to combat antimicrobial resistance, and the NIH-lead effort to accelerate advances in the field of precision medicine.

    Meet Dr. Julian Harris, OMB Associate Director for Health.

  • 4.5 Million Young Adults Have Gained Coverage Since 2010, Improving Access to Care and Benefitting Our Economy

    Young adults historically faced unique challenges in obtaining health insurance coverage. In 2009, nearly one-third of young adults ages 19-25 lacked health insurance, more than twice the rate for Americans overall. But the nation has since made dramatic progress in expanding coverage among young adults, thanks to the Affordable Care Act’s provision allowing young adults to remain on a parent’s plan through age 26 and its broader expansion of coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplaces and Medicaid.

    From the time the first of these provisions took effect in 2010 through the second quarter of 2014, the uninsured rate among young adults dropped by more than 40 percent, corresponding to 4.5 million additional insured young adults. These large gains among young adults are a major reason that the nation’s overall uninsured rate was at or near the lowest level ever recorded as of the second quarter of last year. Moreover, there is evidence young adults’ expanded access to coverage is increasing their access to health care, improving their health and financial security, and potentially generating long-term benefits for our economy.

    Even with this progress, almost one in five young adults remains uninsured. But many of these young adults are eligible for financial assistance to obtain coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplaces or eligible for coverage through Medicaid. This year’s Open Enrollment period ends on February 15th, so those still without insurance should visit or call 1-800-318-2596 to get covered now.