The White House Blog: The President
- Posted byon July 24, 2013 at 4:31 PM EST
Today President Obama returned to Knox College in Illinois to kick off a series of speeches about his vision for rebuilding an economy that puts the middle class -- and those fighting to join it – front and center.
In his remarks, President Obama laid out the progress we’ve made together in the five years since the start of the recession that cost millions of Americans their jobs, their homes, and their savings
Thanks to the grit and resilience and determination of the American people -- of folks like you -- we’ve been able to clear away the rubble from the financial crisis. We started to lay a new foundation for stronger, more durable economic growth.
As a country, we’ve recovered faster and gone further than most other advanced nations in the world. With new American revolutions in energy and technology and manufacturing and health care, we're actually poised to reverse the forces that battered the middle class for so long, and start building an economy where everyone who works hard can get ahead.
But, he said, “I’m here to tell you today that we're not there yet.”
- Posted byon July 24, 2013 at 12:55 PM EST
Pete Souza, the Chief Official White House Photographer, is now on Instagram—and it's an account worth following. Through his Instagram account, you'll get a unique look at the presidency with behind-the-scenes photos from the road and around the White House.
Take a look at Pete's first day on Instagram (so far), as President Obama traveled to Knox College in Galesburg, IL to lay out his economic vision where everyone who works hard can get ahead. Then, head on over to Instagram to follow Pete Souza (and to check out our other official Instagram accounts for the White House and First Lady Michelle Obama).
- Posted byon July 21, 2013 at 7:00 PM EST
I just finished reading the draft of a speech the President plans to deliver on Wednesday, and I want to explain why it’s one worth checking out.
Eight years ago, not long after he was elected to the United States Senate, President Obama went to Knox College in his home state of Illinois where he laid out his economic vision for the country. It’s a vision that says America is strongest when everybody’s got a shot at opportunity – not when our economy is winner-take-all, but when we’re all in this together.
Revisiting that speech, it’s clear that it sowed the seeds of a consistent vision for the middle class he’s followed ever since. It’s a vision he carried through his first campaign in 2008, it’s a vision he carried through speeches like the one he gave at Georgetown University shortly after taking office that imagined a new foundation for our economy and one in Osawatomie, Kansas on economic inequality in 2011 -- and it’s a vision he carried through his last campaign in 2012.
All of these speeches – Knox College, Georgetown, Osawatomie – make clear that since day one, the President has had one clear economic philosophy: The American economy works best when it grows from the middle-out, not the top down.
- Posted byon July 20, 2013 at 5:00 AM EST
In this week’s address, President Obama discusses the Senate’s confirmation of Rich Cordray as Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The CFPB is an independent watchdog set up to protect families from irresponsible behavior in the financial sector – one that puts mortgage lenders, student lenders, payday lenders, and credit reporting and debt collection agencies under greater scrutiny, while providing the American people a place to get some measure of justice if they don’t play by the rules.
- Posted byon July 19, 2013 at 2:08 PM EST
This afternoon, President Obama spoke from the White House Press Briefing Room about Trayvon Martin and the verdict of the court trial that followed the Florida teenager’s death.
- Posted byon July 18, 2013 at 11:00 PM EST
This week, the 44th President hosted the 41st President at the White House to confer the 5,000th Daily Point of Light award, honored Richard Cordray as the newly confirmed Director of the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau, sat down to talk with Spanish language news anchors, and spoke on the importance of supporting full implementation of the Affordable Care Act.
- Posted byon July 18, 2013 at 3:40 PM EST
Did you know that 8.5 million Americans are getting a refund this year from their health insurance companies?
Thanks to a provision in the Affordable Care Act, if your insurance company isn’t spending at least 80 percent of your premium dollars on medical care, they have to send you some money back.
Today in the East Room, President Obama explained that “last year, millions of Americans opened letters from their insurance companies -- but instead of the usual dread that comes from getting a bill they were pleasantly surprised with a check. In 2012, 13 million rebates went out, in all 50 states." Another 8.5 million rebates are being sent out this summer, averaging around $100 each, he said.
Morgan, a woman from Maryland who has been purchasing her own health insurance for many years, introduced the President today. She said that after she got a rebate for the first time, “it felt like someone was actually being held accountable for the dollars I was spending on health care.”
That’s one of core principles of the Affordable Care Act, President Obama said today – “holding insurance companies and providers accountable so that we all get a better deal.”
- Posted byon July 18, 2013 at 11:30 AM EST
For the first time ever, the White House invited four local Spanish-language television anchors to participate in the “Live from the White House” series, or in this case “En Vivo desde la Casa Blanca”. During this full day of behind-the-scenes and special access, each reporter had the opportunity to interview President Barack Obama. “Live from the White House” is an initiative which provides reporters outside of the Beltway a unique opportunity to cover the President and the Administration.
Spanish language television anchors from Dallas, Denver, Los Angeles and New Jersey/New York City were given the opportunity to broadcast Tuesday from a special location on the South Lawn and attended briefings with some of the President’s top advisers on issues that are important to their Latino audiences like healthcare and immigration reform.
The reporters interviewed the President in the Blue Room, where he made the case for bipartisan, commonsense immigration reform which would be a big boost to our economy; offer a pathway to earned citizenship for the 11 million individuals and modernize our legal immigration system to make it more consistent with our values.
In the interviews, the President made clear the key principles which must be a part of any bipartisan, commonsense effort, including continuing to strengthen border security, creating an earned path to citizenship, holding employers accountable, and bringing our immigration system into the 21st century. Immigration reform has broad bipartisan support from Democrats and Republicans, CEOs and labor leaders, and law enforcement and faith leaders. Most importantly, it has the support of the American people.
- Posted byon July 17, 2013 at 5:46 PM EST
Today, President Obama thanked lawmakers from both parties for coming together to confirm Richard Cordray as Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The CFPB was established to make sure American consumers are treated fairly in the financial market place, whether applying for a credit card, taking out a loan to buy a home or pay for college, dealing with a debt collector or other activities.
“Four years ago, even as we were working on restoring the economy and dealing with the immediate crisis,” President Obama said, “we also wanted to figure out how do we set new rules for the road to make sure that a few bad apples in the financial sector couldn't break the law, or cheat consumers, or put the entire economy at risk.”
Those efforts led to the creation of the CFPB in 2011, and two years ago this week, President Obama first nominated Cordray to run the new agency. But the Senate wouldn't vote on his confirmation, and the CFPB was severly hampered without a director, President Obama said.
The CFPB wasn’t able to give consumers the information they needed to make good, informed decisions. Folks in the financial system who were doing the right thing didn’t have much certainty or clear rules of the road. And the CFPB didn’t have all the tools it needed to protect consumers against mortgage brokers, or credit reporting agencies, or debt collectors who were taking advantage of ordinary Americans.
President Obama took action to temporarily appoint Cordray as Director so CFPB could get to work. And as a result, President Obama said, Americans everywhere are better off.
Today, if you want to take out a mortgage or a student loan or a payday loan, or you’ve got a credit reporting agency or debt collector who’s causing you problems -- maybe they're not playing by the rules, maybe they're taking advantage of you -- you have somewhere to go. The CFPB has already addressed more than 175,000 complaints from all across the nation, giving people an advocate who is working with them when they're dealing with these financial institutions that may not always be thinking about consumers first.
- Posted byon July 15, 2013 at 2:30 PM EST
The first immigrants to America came seeking freedom, but they survived -- and, in time, came to thrive -- because of their determination and because of each other. They valued self-reliance, but in times of strife they also knew could rely on neighbors, friends, sometimes even strangers to offer a helping hand.
That neighbor-helping-neighbor spirit is woven into the DNA of the American spirit. It defines in a very real sense who we are as a people.
It also unites us.
That unity was on vivid display this Monday when President Obama welcomed the man who launched the modern service movement, President George H. W. Bush, back to the White House to honor the recipients of the 5,000th Daily Point of Light award. Together, they lauded Kathy Hamilton and Floyd Hammer of Union, Iowa for stepping up to fight hunger and improve the lives of children worldwide.
Nearly 10 years ago, Hamilton and Hammer participated in a volunteer mission to Tanzania to help renovate an HIV/AIDS hospital there. Startled by the starvation they saw, the couple started Outreach, Inc., which has engaged thousands of volunteers in packaging and distributing 230 million free meals to children in more than 15 countries, including the United States.
Their story is a simple one: Two people decided that they simply had to do something. Telling that story, day in and day out, is what the Daily Point of Light Award is all about.
President Bush was the first president in U.S. history to institute a daily presidential recognition program from the White House, conferring 1,020 Daily Point of Light Awards between 1990 and 1993. And President Bush helped launch a nonprofit – Points of Light – that has become the largest organization in the world dedicated to volunteer service.
While he didn't originate the notion of helping our fellow man, he reasserted it as a national priority and insisted that "there can be no definition of a successful life that does not include service to others."
President Obama built on this commitment to service when he signed the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act in 2009, which will increase the size of AmeriCorps from 75,000 volunteers to 250,000 by 2017. In 2012, the President created the FEMA Corps program, which established a FEMA-dedicated unit of AmeriCorps members to work solely on disaster preparedness, response and recovery efforts -- and he launched the Serve.gov platform to make it easier for Americans to find and post local volunteer opportunities.