The White House Blog: The President
Protecting Iconic Species for Future Generations: A New National Strategy for Combating Wildlife TraffickingPosted byon February 11, 2014 at 4:30 PM EDT
To protect threatened species like elephants and rhinoceroses for future generations, today the President approved a new National Strategy for Combating Wildlife Trafficking. The Strategy strengthens U.S. leadership on countering the global security threat posed by poaching and illegal trade in wildlife, which is decimating iconic animal populations. Because of the actions of poachers, today species like elephants and rhinoceroses face the risk of significant decline or even extinction. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Today, we are taking action to stop these illicit networks and ensure that our children have the chance to grow up in a world with and experience for themselves the wildlife we know and love.
The new Strategy establishes three strategic priorities: strengthening domestic and global enforcement; reducing demand for illegally traded wildlife at home and abroad; and strengthening partnerships with international partners, local communities, NGOs, private industry, and others to combat illegal wildlife poaching and trade.
Given escalating threats to African elephants, we have also decided to implement a ban on commercial elephant ivory trade to ensure that U.S. markets do not contribute to the decline of this iconic species. The ban will impose new restrictions on the import, export, and commercial sale of elephant ivory within the United States, with some limited exceptions. Taken together, these actions will help ensure that the United States is not contributing to poaching of elephants and illegal trade in ivory.
- Posted byon February 11, 2014 at 12:57 PM EDT
President Barack Obama and President François Hollande of France listen to the French and U.S. national anthems during the state arrival ceremony on the South Lawn of the White House, Feb. 11, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
This morning, President Obama, Vice President Biden, and the First Lady welcomed French President François Hollande to the White House – the first state visit by a French president in nearly 20 years. Check out photos from throughout the day, including images from Chief White House Photographer Pete Souza's Instagram feed, and then learn more about how the White House kitchen prepared for the France State Dinner, which the President and First Lady will host tonight in honor of the visit.
- Posted byon February 10, 2014 at 8:15 PM EDT
This afternoon, President Obama and French President François Hollande visited Monticello, the home of former President Thomas Jefferson, just outside of Charlottesville, Virginia. Jefferson, who drafted the Declaration of Independence, was a noted Francophile, and served as the U.S. Minister to France from 1785 to 1789.
Monticello, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is widely regarded as an architectural masterpiece. Jefferson began work on his home at age 26, designing – and continually redesigning – the house following neoclassical principles.
After touring Monticello, President Obama remarked that it symbolizes the “incredible history between the United States and France,” and the "incredible bond and the incredible gifts that France gave to the United States.” The house also represents the "complicated history of the United States," President Obama said, as well as the “complex relations” between Jefferson and the institution of slavery. President Obama added that for France and the United States, Monticello is “a reminder for both of us that we’re going to continue to fight on behalf of the rights of all peoples."
Tomorrow morning, President Obama and the First Lady will welcome the French President to the White House, holding a state dinner in his honor tomorrow evening.
- Posted byon February 10, 2014 at 8:11 PM EDT
Two paintings by Edward Hopper (1882–1967), widely recognized as one of the most significant artists of the 20th century, were hung in the Oval Office on Friday, February 7, 2014. Cobb’s Barns, South Truro, and Burly Cobb’s House, South Truro -- oil on canvas works painted in 1930-33 on Cape Cod -- have been lent by the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, the world’s largest repository of Hopper’s works.
Before building a house on Cape Cod in 1934, Hopper and his wife rented a hillside cottage for four summers. From that house, Hopper executed a series of paintings and drawings of the buildings on their landlord’s farm below, exploring the structures from several angles and at different times of the day.
Emblematic examples of his work, the two paintings lent by the Whitney Museum capture the strong sense of atmosphere and light as well as the empty stillness that characterize much of Hopper’s imagery. They also demonstrate Hopper’s fascination with the various forms of this country’s vernacular architecture -- a subject he would return to again and again, resulting in some of the most enduring images of American art.
- Posted byon February 8, 2014 at 12:29 PM EDT
When the President took the stage to deliver this year's State of the Union, he told the American people that he intends for 2014 to be a year of action. He said:
"…What I offer tonight is a set of concrete, practical proposals to speed up growth, strengthen the middle class, and build new ladders of opportunity into the middle class. Some require Congressional action, and I'm eager to work with all of you.
But America does not stand still -- and neither will I. So wherever and whenever I can take steps without legislation to expand opportunity for more American families, that's what I'm going to do."
- Posted byon February 7, 2014 at 4:40 PM EDT
Today, in East Lansing Michigan, on the campus of one of our nation’s first land grant colleges, President Obama signed into law the Agricultural Act of 2014, also known as the Farm Bill, or as Secretary Vilsack likes to call it – the Jobs Bill, the Research Bill, the Food Bill, etc.
The President Signs the Farm Bill: "A Jobs Bill, an Innovation Bill, a Research Bill, and a Conservation Bill"Posted byon February 7, 2014 at 4:00 PM EDT
Today, President Obama traveled to Michigan State University's equine performance center in East Lansing to deliver remarks on and sign into law the Agriculture Act of 2014 -- also known as the Farm Bill, which Congress passed earlier this week.
It's a bill whose reach extends far beyond our farms -- it includes smart reforms to reduce our deficit, and the investments it makes in our rural communities will help strengthen our economy across the board.
In his remarks, the President detailed how the Farm Bill makes key investments in rural communities across the board -- from funding for hospitals, schools, and affordable housing to support for businesses working to develop cutting-edge biofuels -- all the while cutting down on loopholes that used to allow people to receive benefits year after year, whether they farmed anything or not.
Besides keeping our rural communities thriving, the President said, the Farm Bill helps vulnerable families keep food on the table by providing funding for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP. In 2012, SNAP kept nearly 5 million people -- including more than 2 million children -- out of poverty.
- Posted byon February 7, 2014 at 3:30 PM EDT
This week, the President urged action on long-term unemployment, hung out on Google+ for his first virtual road trip, announced major private-sector commitments to expand broadband Internet for students, spoke with both House and Senate Democrats, and joined the First Lady for the National Prayer Breakfast. The First Lady helped students get a leg up with filing for financial aid, and the Vice President unveiled Amtrak’s new Cities Sprinter electric locomotive.
- Posted byon February 7, 2014 at 12:43 PM EDT
The Winter Olympics kick off tonight, and people across the globe will be watching.
As Team USA represents us on the world stage and goes for the gold, folks here at home will be cheering them on every step of the way.
President Obama recorded a special message of his own for Team USA. Watch his message to some of our nation's greatest athletes -- and make sure to watch the games tonight:
- Posted byon February 6, 2014 at 5:19 PM EDT
Today President Obama welcomed Haitian President Martelly to the White House. The visit served as an opportunity for the Presidents to discuss the way forward in Haiti, and how the United States can continue to support the Haitian government’s efforts to promote economic growth and strengthen Haiti’s democracy. The Presidents also discussed the close bonds between our two countries, anchored by the dynamic role of the Haitian American community in the United States.