The White House Blog: The President

  • Weekly Wrap Up: 10 Million Jobs, 50 Years of Conservation, and a Trip to Estonia and the U.K.

    This week, the economy added 10 million jobs; the country celebrated 50 years of environmental conservation; and the President spoke about the enduring strength of democracy to the people of Estonia.

    Check out what else you may have missed in this week’s wrap up.


    10 Million Jobs

    This week, American businesses officially marked the creation of 10 million new jobs in the last 54 months. 10 million.

    And while there’s a lot more work to do, President Obama has made good on his promise of a “year of action.” Here are some of the ways we’ve made our economy stronger than ever:

    • Automobile production has skyrocketed and the automobile industry has hit its highest production rate since 2002.
    • Our businesses are exporting more goods and services.
    • New home construction has hit groundbreaking new levels since the recession.
    • American consumers are spending billions more on goods and services.


  • President Obama Holds a Press Conference at the NATO Summit

    Watch on YouTube

    Earlier today -- the last day of his trip to Estonia and the U.K. -- President Obama held a press conference at the conclusion of the NATO Summit in Wales, and discussed a number of issues, including ISIL and the situation in Ukraine.

    The President began his remarks by thanking Prime Minister David Cameron and his team for hosting the summit, and also thanked the people of Wales for their warm welcome. "It's a great honor to be the first sitting U.S. President to visit Wales," he said.


  • West Wing Week 09/05/14 or, "Every Gray Hair Is Worth It"

    Welcome to the West Wing Week, your guide to everything that's happening at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. This week, the President celebrated Labor Day and American economic patriotism at Milwaukee's Laborfest, then traveled east for a three-day, two-country trip to Estonia and then on to the NATO summit in Wales.

    Watch on YouTube


  • The Employment Situation in August

    With today’s report, the economy has now added 10 million private-sector jobs over 54 straight months of job growth. This figure is a marker of the progress that has been made, but also a reminder that more must still be done to create jobs, especially for the long-term unemployed, and grow the middle class. Although the pace of job gains in August was below recent months, the broader trends are moving in the right direction. To continue to support the progress our economy has made, the President will act wherever he can to create good jobs, facilitate investments in American infrastructure and manufacturing, and make sure that hard work pays off with higher wages.

    FIVE KEY POINTS IN TODAY’S REPORT FROM THE BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS

    1. The private sector has added 10 million jobs over 54 straight months of job growth, extending the longest streak on record. Today we learned that total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 142,000 in August, mainly reflecting a 134,000 increase in private employment. Private-sector job growth was revised up for July and down for June for little total revisions. Over the past twelve months, private employment has risen by a total of 2.4 million.


  • President Obama Names Megan Smith U.S. CTO, Alexander Macgillivray Deputy U.S. CTO

    On his first full day in office, President Obama created the U.S. Chief Technology Officer (CTO) position within the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy to lead Administration-wide efforts to unleash the power of technology, data, and innovation to help meet our nation’s goals and the needs of our citizens.

    Today, President Obama announced that Megan Smith will serve as the next U.S. CTO and Assistant to the President, succeeding Todd Park, and that Alexander Macgillivray will serve as a Deputy U.S. CTO.

    President Obama said today:

    Megan has spent her career leading talented teams and taking cutting-edge technology and innovation initiatives from concept to design to deployment. I am confident that in her new role as America’s Chief Technology Officer, she will put her long record of leadership and exceptional skills to work on behalf of the American people. I am grateful for her commitment to serve, and I look forward to working with her and with our new Deputy U.S. CTO, Alexander Macgillivray, in the weeks and months ahead.


  • New Report Shows that Slow Health Care Spending Growth Continued in 2013, While Near-Term Trends Remain Encouraging

    New estimates out today from the Office of the Actuary at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services show that national health expenditures rose at historically slow rates in 2013, continuing the exceptionally slow growth in health costs seen in recent years. This slow growth, which is thanks in part to the Affordable Care Act, is already generating major benefits for both the Federal budget and our economy.

    The near-term outlook in today’s report is also encouraging. Consistent with recent surveys reporting that millions of Americans gained health insurance coverage over the Affordable Care Act’s initial open enrollment period, the Actuaries project a sharp reduction in the number of uninsured Americans over the next few years due to the new coverage options made available under the Affordable Care Act. Unsurprisingly, the Actuaries predict that this dramatic expansion in coverage and access to care will temporarily increase growth in aggregate health care spending. But, consistent with a variety of incoming data, their projections imply that underlying growth in health care prices and per-enrollee spending – the factors that determine the premiums and cost-sharing that families face – will remain subdued over the next few years.

    Over the long term, health expenditure projections are always more uncertain. While the Actuaries project that the recent slowdown will largely dissipate as economic recovery continues, the balance of the evidence implies that much of the recent health care spending slowdown has been driven by structural changes, which suggests that a significant portion may persist. Because of the large size of the nation’s health care sector, if even a modest portion of the recent slowdown continues in the long run, it would have a transformative effect on the Federal budget, families’ budgets, and the economy as a whole. For example, even if as little as one-third continues, then, by 2023, national health expenditures would be $1,200 per person lower than if costs returned to their prior trend. In the years ahead, the Administration will continue its efforts to create a health care delivery system that consistently provides efficient, high-quality care, with the goal of making that transformation a reality.


  • "We Are Stronger Because We Are Democracies": President Obama Addresses the People of Estonia

    President Obama Speaks to the People of Estonia

    President Barack Obama waves to the crowd after delivering remarks at Nordea Concert Hall in Tallinn, Estonia, Sept. 3, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

    At the Nordea Concert Hall in Tallinn, Estonia today, President Obama spoke to students, young professionals, and civic leaders about the enduring strength and promise of democracy. "I am honored to be the first President of the United States to deliver an address like this to the people of Estonia," he said. 

    The President first reflected on the history of the Baltic people's fight to secure democracy across the region: 

    Exactly 25 years ago, people across the Baltics came together in one of the greatest displays of freedom and non-violent resistance that the world has ever seen.

    On that August evening, perhaps two million people stepped out of their homes and joined hands -- a human chain of freedom, the Baltic Way.  And they stretched down highways and across farmlands, from Tallinn to Riga to Vilnius. They lit candles and they sang anthems.  Old men and women brought out their flags of independence.  And young parents brought their children to teach them that when ordinary people stand together, great change is possible.  

    Here in Estonia, when people joined the line, the password was “freedom.”  As one man said that day, “The Berlin Wall is made of brick and concrete.  Our wall is stronger.”  And it was. Within months, that wall in Berlin was pushed open.  The next year, the Baltic peoples finally voted in elections. And when the forces of the past made their last grab for power, you stood up.


  • President Obama Gives a Statement on the Murder of Steven Sotloff

    This morning, in a joint press conference with President Ilves of Estonia, President Obama gave the following statement about the murder of journalist Steven Sotloff.

    Finally, I want to say that today the prayers of the American people are with the family of a devoted and courageous journalist, Steven Sotloff. Overnight, our government determined that, tragically, Steven was taken from us in a horrific act of violence. We cannot even begin to imagine the agony that everyone who loved Steven is feeling right now, especially his mother, his father and his younger sister. So today, our country grieves with them.

    Like Jim Foley before him, Steve’s life stood in sharp contrast to those who have murdered him so brutally. They make the absurd claim that they kill in the name of religion, but it was Steven, his friends say, who deeply loved the Islamic world. His killers try to claim that they defend the oppressed, but it was Steven who traveled across the Middle East, risking his life to tell the story of Muslim men and women demanding justice and dignity.

    Whatever these murderers think they’ll achieve by killing innocent Americans like Steven, they have already failed. They have failed because, like people around the world, Americans are repulsed by their barbarism. We will not be intimidated. Their horrific acts only unite us as a country and stiffen our resolve to take the fight against these terrorists. And those who make the mistake of harming Americans will learn that we will not forget, and that our reach is long and that justice will be served.

    You can read the full text of the joint press conference here.


  • The Press Secretary's Statement on Troop Levels in Iraq

    Yesterday, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest released the following statement about U.S. Military personnel in Iraq.

    Today, the President authorized the Department of Defense to fulfill a Department of State request for approximately 350 additional U.S. military personnel to protect our diplomatic facilities and personnel in Baghdad, Iraq. This action was taken at the recommendation of the Department of Defense after an extensive interagency review, and is part of the President's commitment to protect our personnel and facilities in Iraq as we continue to support the Government of Iraq in its fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). These additional forces will not serve in a combat role.


  • President Obama Rallies Workers at Milwaukee's Laborfest

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    Yesterday, the President celebrated Labor Day by visiting the city of Milwaukee for Laborfest, an annual festival hosted by the local AFL-CIO. While there, he spoke on a number of issues -- most notably the need to raise the minimum wage for America's workers.

    Kicking off his remarks, the President said that Labor Day belongs to the "working folks who are here today, and the unions who've always had your back," and emphasized the importance of building our economy from the middle class out:

    I didn't run for President to double down on top-down economics. I ran for President because I believed in bottom-up economics. I believed in middle-out economics. I placed a bet on you. I placed a bet on America’s workers. I put my money on American workers and the belief that our economy grows best when everybody has got a shot -- when folks who are willing to work hard can get into the middle class and stay in the middle class. And I’ve come back to Laborfest to say that because of your hard work, because of what we’ve been through together, that bet is starting to pay off.