The White House Blog: The President

  • West Wing Week 07/25/14 or, "The Irrefutable Rightness of Your Cause"

    This week, the President introduced a historic Executive Action for LGBT rights, continued to address the ongoing conflicts in the Ukraine and Gaza, hosted a town hall in support of his My Brother's Keeper Initiative, and traveled to California to deliver his response to some very striking letters he'd received ... in person. 

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  • Celebrating 24 Years of the Americans with Disabilities Act

    Tomorrow marks the 24th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) -- a landmark law that transformed American society for people with disabilities. It provided for full participation, independent living, and economic self-sufficiency for those of us living with disabilities, and also provided Americans with disabilities with legal remedies to safeguard all of those rights.

    Watch the President’s ADA anniversary message below:

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    Read the President’s proclamation in support of the anniversary here.


  • A Day in the Life: Deric from Baltimore

    Meet Deric.

    Deric Richardson had been out of work for over a year. He had a GED and a Microsoft Office certificate, but needed an opportunity to improve his skills. That opportunity came in the form of tuition-free training in laboratory skills provided by the nonprofit BioTechnical Institute of Maryland. Shortly after successfully completing the training, Deric was hired by Baltimore-based Paragon Bioservices in July 2010.

    Today, Secretary of Labor Tom Perez is traveling to Baltimore to meet with him.

    Deric’s story is just one great example of how job-driven training is working for Americans across the country. When we talk about "job-driven" training, we're talking about making sure we're providing people with the skills that employers are looking for right now to fill available jobs. Earlier this week, President Obama signed the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, which will elevate more job-driven programs like BTI.

    This is the second in a series of “day in the life” trips Secretary Perez -- in addition to other secretaries across the President's cabinet -- will be taking over the next few months. It's a chance to talk directly with the people the Labor Department works for every day.

    We want to make sure you see what he sees, too. Follow along today to see live updates and highlights from Secretary Perez’s day.


  • President Obama in L.A.: "You Are Why I Ran for President in the First Place"

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    This afternoon, President Obama addressed an excited and energized crowd under sunny skies at the Los Angeles Trade-Technical College. 

    In his remarks, the President said that he was excited to be back in L.A., where he spent a few "good years" in college -- and quickly explained what he was there to talk about.

    "I’m here because I am listening to Kati’s story," the President said. Kati Koster wrote a letter to the President a couple years ago about the effect of student loans. Kati introduced the President -- and the President sat down with Kati and three other Americans earlier in the day at Canter's Deli, to chat about the issues that matter to them.

    I’m listening to Americans all across the country, everybody who works their tail off, is doing the right thing, who believes in the American Dream, just wants a chance to build a decent life for themselves and their family. You are why I ran for President in the first place.


  • What Are "Inversions," and Why Should You Care?

    Today, President Obama is heading to Los Angeles Trade Technical College, where he's calling for a kind of "economic patriotism" that's based on investing in the things that we know grow the economy for everyone (like education and job training) — not protecting wasteful loopholes for a few at the top.

    And he's calling attention to one kind of corporate merger deal in particular — called an "inversion" — a word you might be seeing in a lot of news headlines lately.

    It's not the most intuitive name for a corporate tax loophole, so we're going to break it down for you.

    Q: So what exactly is an "inversion"?

    A corporate "inversion" is what happens when a U.S.-based multinational with operations in other countries restructures itself so that the U.S. "parent" is replaced by a foreign corporation — and usually one that's in a country with a lower tax rate than the United States. As a result, on the whole, this means that corporate income tax that would otherwise be paid to the United States ends up going overseas.

    In other words, right now, our tax code allows any American company to merge with a foreign company (so long as that company’s shareholders own 20% of the combined firm) — and then “relocate” or “invert” to another country for tax purposes. This maneuver — which changes nothing about the actual operations that continue in the U.S. — allows companies to dramatically reduce the taxes they owe in the U.S. by taking advantage of loopholes in our tax system.

    Meanwhile, they would continue enjoying the benefits and protections of the American economy — provided by our tax dollars. It's a big loophole — and right now, it’s completely legal.


  • The Apollo 11 Mission: 45 Years Later

    Forty-five years ago today, two American astronauts -- Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong -- landed on the moon's Sea of Tranquility, and Neil Armstrong planted the first footprint on the surface of the moon. As he made those first steps, Armstrong uttered that simple phrase we still remember today: "That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind."

    Today, President Obama joined all Americans honoring that giant leap forward, by inviting Neil Armstrong's wife, Carol, Michael Collins, the astronaut who piloted the spacecraft that orbited the moon, and Buzz Aldrin, to the White House. Armstrong passed away in 2012.

    President Barack Obama meets with Apollo 11 astronauts

    President Barack Obama meets with Apollo 11 astronauts Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins, right, Carol Armstrong, widow of Apollo 11 commander Neil Armstrong, NASA Administrator Charles Bolden, and Patricia Falcone, OSTP Associate Director for National Security and International Affairs, left, in the Oval Office. This week marked the 45th anniversary of the Apollo 11 lunar landing. July 22, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

    In the President's statement on today's meeting, he honored the bravery and leadership that these heroes displayed, and acknowledged the influence that their mission has had on mankind:

    The United States of America is stronger today thanks to the vision of President Kennedy, who set us on a course for the moon, the courage of Neil, Buzz, and Michael, who made the journey, and the spirit of service of all who’ve worked not only on the Apollo program, but who’ve dared to push the very boundaries of space and scientific discovery for all humankind.

    As we commemorate that day, we take a look back at the Apollo 11 mission and the extraordinary influence of the U.S. space program.


  • The First Significant Legislative Reform of Our Job-Training System in a Number of Years:

    President Barack Obama signs H.R. 803

    President Barack Obama signs H.R. 803, the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act after delivering remarks on job training, in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building South Court Auditorium, July 22, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Amanda Lucidon)

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    We need to make sure workers in America can find jobs that meet their skills, or get trained with the skills they need for a better job.

    That's why, in this year's State of the Union address, President Obama tasked Vice President Biden with leading a review of our country's job-training programs to make sure that they have one mission: training our workers with the skills employers need, and matching them to good jobs that need to be filled right now.

    The effort to make our federal training programs more job-driven was also bolstered by the bipartisan passage of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), which President Obama signed into law this afternoon.


  • President Obama Visits the Dutch Embassy: "We're All Heartbroken by What's Happened"

    President Barack Obama visits the Embassy of the Netherlands

    President Barack Obama visits the Embassy of the Netherlands in Washington, D.C., July 22, 2014, to sign a condolence book honoring those who were lost in the shoot-down of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 in Ukraine. Standing with President Obama is Peter Mollema, the deputy chief of mission for the Netherlands Embassy. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

    President Obama visited the Embassy of the Netherlands this morning, signing a condolence book for those killed in the shoot-down of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 in Ukraine. In the condolence book, the President wrote:

    On behalf of the American people, I extend our deepest condolences to the people of the Netherlands as they mourn the loss of so many family and friends. No words can adequately express the sorrow the world feels over this loss. It is made more acute by the deep ties of friendship between our two countries. Bound by that friendship, we will not rest until we are certain that justice is done.


  • When Climate Change Hits Home – A Partnership for the Future

    Last week, we had the privilege of meeting with President Obama, members of his Cabinet, and 24 other state, local, and tribal leaders for the fourth and final meeting of the President’s Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience. It was an important milestone in a productive and collaborative process.

    We discussed the Task Force’s draft recommendations, including many steps that we hope federal agencies will take to help states and communities like ours get ready for climate change, and the Administration announced bold new actions it is taking to support climate preparedness.

    Sitting there together, we recalled how the partnership between Vermont and Fort Collins, Colorado, began in far less auspicious circumstances. In September 2013, floods devastated many Colorado communities along the front range. Vermont, having recently rebuilt hundreds of bridges, roads, and homes after the record-setting Tropical Storm Irene, sent a team led by Vermont’s former recovery officer and current transportation Deputy Sue Minter, to provide advice and support to Colorado leaders as they faced the epic challenge of organizing a swift recovery. 

    The experience of a severe disaster in both our jurisdictions, and our deep concern that the risk of such events is worsening with climate change, has galvanized our determination to strengthen the resilience of our state and city, and to work together with leaders across the country as we “bounce forward," and make our communities safe and prosperous during a time of increased climate-related risks.


  • President Obama at My Brother’s Keeper Town Hall: “America Will Succeed If We Are Investing in Our Young People”

    This afternoon, President Obama visited the Walker Jones Education Campus in Washington, D.C. to participate in a town hall with youth, and to announce new commitments in support of the My Brother’s Keeper Initiative.

    As the President said today, "We want fewer young men in jail; we want more of them in college. We want fewer young men on the streets; we want more in the boardrooms. We want everybody to have a chance to succeed in America. And it’s possible if we’ve got the kind of team that we set up today."

    Watch President Obama answer questions during today’s town hall:

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