The White House Blog: The President

  • President Obama and Vice President Biden Honor America's TOP COPS

    Watch on YouTube

    This afternoon, the President and Vice President welcomed America's "TOP COPS" – some of our nation's best law enforcement officials – to the White House to honor their remarkable service and sacrifice.


  • A Numbers-Based Case for Why It's Time to Act on Infrastructure

    The United States was once known as a leader in infrastructure, and we're slipping: 

    When the American Society of Civil Engineers graded our infrastructure systems last fall, they gave our road and transit systems a D, our bridges a C+, and our levees a D-.

    But here's the real problem: The funding we have in place to fix them is set to run out by fall. That puts at risk more than 112,000 active projects that are currently paving our roads and building our bridges, as well as approximately 5,600 projects that are actively improving our transit systems — not to mention the nearly 700,000 jobs that these collective projects support.

    It's time to get this done. That's why this week, the President is calling on Congress to pass a bill to put Americans to work repairing our crumbling roads and bridges — avoiding a crisis in the short term, and helping to position our economy for long-term growth.

    And today, we're releasing a new analysis that makes a numbers-based case for exactly why we need to invest in infrastructure right now — and what it's going to mean for all of us if Congress fails to act.

    Take a look at the new analysis that the White House released today — we guarantee you'll learn something you didn't know. And when you do, you should pass it on.


  • A Call to Action for Off-Grid Energy in Africa

    The President launched Power Africa in Africa almost one year ago to double access to power in Sub-Saharan Africa. With a private sector orientation and transaction focus, Power Africa has already catalyzed more than 35 private sector partners to commit more than $14 billion for energy investment in Africa. Their engagement is critical and emblematic of the National Impact Initiative that seeks to spread market-based models and private investment to create jobs and economic value while solving social and environmental problems.

    Recognizing that Power Africa cannot achieve its energy access goals through large generation projects alone, the Obama Administration is exploring opportunities to unlock further investment in and growth of small-scale energy systems at the household and village level. Toward that goal, the Administration hosted two events in the last week – one here at the White House and a second roundtable at Stanford University in Palo Alto, California – to engage nearly 60 impact investors and venture philanthropists interested in small-scale energy investment in Africa.

    Consistent with the core modus operandi of Power Africa to date, this new effort will leverage the combined capabilities of 12 U.S. government agencies to deploy the “glue and grease” needed to assist private sector transactions to close. It will also build upon early Power Africa successes, such as:

    • Off-Grid Electric – the pioneering household solar services company initially supported by early-stage grant funding from the Development Innovation Ventures and the U.S.-Africa Clean Energy Finance Initiative, an innovative finance program developed by the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, the U.S. Department of State, the U.S. Trade Development Agency, and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)
    • Kiwira River Hydro – a 10MW run-of-river hydropower project in Tanzania that received a USAID Development Credit Authority credit guarantee that reduced its financing costs and paved the way to financial close

    With input from individual investors, investment funds, single family offices, and large foundations seeding and scaling innovative off-grid business models, this new effort will also develop new capabilities to strengthen the enabling environment and catalyze further private sector investment into off-grid and mini-grid energy solutions. 

    We know that great ideas and impactful small scale energy investments aren’t limited to the people that joined us at the recent events. Do the activities of your investment fund or foundation align with this new strategy under the President’s Power Africa initiative? Are you actively pursuing small-scale energy deals in the six Power Africa countries that could use a little glue or grease? Do you have thoughts on steps the public sector can take to further unlock investment and growth?

    If you have such thoughts, please email us at innovation@who.eop.gov. Working together, we can increase access to energy, eradicate extreme poverty, and achieve sustained, inclusive economic growth.


  • A 21st Century Workplace for Today's Working Families

    This was originally posted on the Huffington Post, and is part of a series of essays about the issues facing working families, leading up to the White House Summit on Working Families on June 23, 2014.

    You can learn more about the Summit and how you can get involved at www.workingfamiliessummit.org.


    Every day in America, there are single moms struggling to take sick children to doctors’ appointments because missing work isn’t an option. Working dads find themselves straining to focus at work, because their employer doesn't provide paternity leave that would enable them to contribute at home and bond with their new babies. Young women are questioning their ability to thrive in the workplace as they try to balance the needs of their families with their responsibilities at work.

    Nearly half of America’s workforce is now comprised of women, and three-fourths of households are headed by a working single parent, or two working parents. Still, our workplaces have yet to catch up by implementing policies which empower women, and provide flexibility for parents.

    Most parents, myself included, have felt at times like we were barely holding on by our finger tips as we try to meet all of the demands on our time. I often recall a time while working for Mayor Richard Daley in Chicago, when the value of a flexible work environment was made clear. I had just been promoted to the role of Commissioner of Planning and Development, and he had convened a meeting with members of his cabinet and Susan Sher, who was the corporation counsel at the time. She was also one of my dearest friends, and a single mom too.


  • Weekly Address: The First Lady Marks Mother’s Day and Speaks Out on the Tragic Kidnapping in Nigeria

    In this week’s address, First Lady Michelle Obama honored all mothers on this upcoming Mother’s Day and offered her thoughts, prayers and support in the wake of the unconscionable terrorist kidnapping of more than 200 Nigerian girls.

    Transcript | mp4 | mp3


  • Weekly Wrap Up: Climate Change Is Here, the President Is Taking Action, and More

    This week, the President attended the annual White House Correspondents' Dinner; the most comprehensive report on the effects of climate change was released, Dr. Jill Biden and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan met with educators at the White House; and more. Check out what else you may have missed in this week's wrap up.


    President and Comedian-in-Chief

    Over the weekend, the President attended the annual White House Correspondents' Dinner and, in keeping with the dinner's tradition, assumed the role of Comedian-in-Chief in his remarks. From poking fun at the administration to jabs at the news media, many were roasted and few were spared.

    President Obama ended his remarks on a high note, thanking the White House Correspondents' Association for all of their hard work as the organization celebrated its 100th anniversary.

    Watch on YouTube

    And in case you missed it, two Vice Presidents opened the White House Correspondents' Dinner in a great new video.



  • Changing the Way We Use Energy to Move America Forward

    President Barack Obama delivers remarks on energy efficiency, at the Walmart in Mountain View, California

    President Barack Obama delivers remarks on energy efficiency, at the Walmart in Mountain View, California, May 9, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

    Today in Mountain View, California President Obama stopped by a business that's making big changes to the way it uses energy.

    It's a big store in fact, and one that millions of Americans have in their own hometowns: Walmart.

    But this isn't your typical Walmart, President Obama said.

    "A few years ago, you decided to put solar panels on the roof of the store," he explained. "You replaced some traditional light bulbs with LEDs. You made refrigerator cases more efficient. And you even put in a charging station for electric vehicles."

    Those upgrades are helping Mountain View's Walmart save money on its energy bills -- and created dozens of construction jobs in the process.

    "More and more companies like Walmart are realizing that wasting less energy isn't just good for the planet. It's good for business," he said. "And it means jobs." 

    Today President Obama announced several new steps that build on the 20 executive actions he's already taken this year to create jobs and opportunity for more Americans -- new steps that will help generate more clean energy, waste less energy overall, and leave our kids and grandkids a cleaner, safer planet in the process.


  • Committing to a Clean Energy Future

    In his State of the Union address, President Obama pledged to make 2014 a year of action. And today, we announced new ways we’re taking action to advance clean energy and create opportunity for hardworking Americans. The Obama Administration has made historic investments in the research, development, and deployment of clean energy. And these investments are paying off; solar power provides a strong example.

    Since President Obama took office, U.S. solar generation has grown more than ten-fold. Since 2011 alone, the cost of a solar energy system has dropped by more than 50 percent. And last year, about one quarter of new power generation capacity came from solar. 

    We know that solar is winning in America: It’s good for our environment, our economy, and our energy security. But it’s not alone. Energy efficiency is one of the easiest and cheapest tools we have for combating climate change while expanding opportunity. That’s why the Obama Administration has developed efficiency measures, such as new appliance standards, that will cut carbon pollution and save consumers billions on their utility bills in the next two decades. The Energy Department has partnered with 190 organizations through the Better Buildings Challenge to advance energy efficiency over the next 10 years – and they are making tremendous progress. And fuel economy standards for our cars and trucks mean we are – and will continue to be – less reliant on foreign oil.

    But there’s more we can do. That’s why today we announced new executive actions to cut energy waste, create jobs, and reduce carbon pollution. These initiatives will help build a skilled solar workforce, provide innovative financing for deploying solar, improve appliance efficiency, strengthen building codes, and drive investment in energy upgrades to federal buildings. You can read more about our announcements on this fact sheet.

    We’re making great progress. But we can’t do it alone. That’s why we asked leaders from every sector to build on the momentum that’s driving solar deployment and efficiency investments throughout the country – and make a commitment to do more.


  • The Roof of the White House

    Earlier this afternoon, John Podesta, Counselor to the President, sent the following message to the White House email list. In the email, he highlights the solar panels on the White House roof, as well as the outstanding solar progress our country is making.

    Didn't get the email? Make sure you're signed up for White House email updates.


    On America’s path toward a clean energy future, solar power is an increasingly important building block.

    That's why we installed solar panels on the roof of the White House – it’s a clear sign of our commitment to energy efficiency.

    Go behind the scenes with Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz and other experts, and take a closer look at the solar panels on the White House roof:

    Watch on YouTube


  • West Wing Week 05/09/14 or, “Reach Higher”

     

    This week, the First Lady launched her new Reach Higher education initiative, while the President hosted two bilateral meetings and a press conference, let loose some humor at the White House Correspondents Dinner, and traveled to Arkansas and California.