The White House Blog: The President
- Posted byon December 3, 2014 at 6:52 PM EST
Earlier today, President Obama spoke with Business Roundtable, a group of CEOs of some of the country's leading companies, at an event in Washington, D.C.
The President discussed where our economy and our country stand, as well as the challenges and opportunities ahead:
Around this time six years ago, America’s businesses were shedding about 800,000 jobs per month. Today, our businesses, including some of the most important businesses in the world that are represented here today, have created over 10.6 million new jobs; 56 months of uninterrupted job growth, which is the longest private sector job growth in our history. We just saw the best six-month period of economic growth in over a decade. For the first time in six years, the unemployment rate is under 6 percent.
All told, the United States of America, over the last six years, has put more people back to work than Europe, Japan, and the rest of the advanced world combined. And that's a record for us to build on.
- Posted byon December 3, 2014 at 5:39 PM EST
Ed. Note: This post was updated on December 4, 2014.
Yesterday, a grand jury in Staten Island decided not to bring criminal charges against police officers involved in the tragic death of Eric Garner.
Speaking at the 2014 White House Tribal Nations Conference yesterday evening, President Obama delivered the following statement:
"Some of you may have heard there was a decision that came out today by a grand jury not to indict police officers who had interacted with an individual with Eric Garner in New York City, all of which was caught on videotape and speaks to the larger issues that we’ve been talking about now for the last week, the last month, the last year, and, sadly, for decades, and that is the concern on the part of too many minority communities that law enforcement is not working with them and dealing with them in a fair way.
"And there’s going to be, I’m sure, additional statements by law enforcement. My tradition is not to remark on cases where there may still be an investigation. But I want everybody to understand that this week, in the wake of Ferguson, we initiated a task force whose job it is to come back to me with specific recommendations about how we strengthen the relationship between law enforcement and communities of color and minority communities that feel that bias is taking place; that we are going to take specific steps to improve the training and the work with state and local governments when it comes to policing in communities of color; that we are going to be scrupulous in investigating cases where we are concerned about the impartiality and accountability that’s taking place.
"And as I said when I met with folks both from Ferguson and law enforcement and clergy and civil rights activists, I said this is an issue that we’ve been dealing with for too long and it’s time for us to make more progress than we’ve made. And I’m not interested in talk; I’m interested in action. And I am absolutely committed as President of the United States to making sure that we have a country in which everybody believes in the core principle that we are equal under the law.
"So I just got off the phone with my Attorney General, Eric Holder. He will have more specific comments about the case in New York. But I want everybody to know here, as well as everybody who may be viewing my remarks here today, we are not going to let up until we see a strengthening of the trust and a strengthening of the accountability that exists between our communities and our law enforcement.
"And I say that as somebody who believes that law enforcement has an incredibly difficult job; that every man or woman in uniform are putting their lives at risk to protect us; that they have the right to come home, just like we do from our jobs; that there’s real crime out there that they’ve got to tackle day in and day out -- but that they’re only going to be able to do their job effectively if everybody has confidence in the system.
"And right now, unfortunately, we are seeing too many instances where people just do not have confidence that folks are being treated fairly. And in some cases, those may be misperceptions; but in some cases, that’s a reality. And it is incumbent upon all of us, as Americans, regardless of race, region, faith, that we recognize this is an American problem, and not just a black problem or a brown problem or a Native American problem.
"This is an American problem. When anybody in this country is not being treated equally under the law, that’s a problem. And it’s my job as President to help solve it."
Later that evening, Attorney General Eric Holder announced that the Department of Justice will proceed with a federal civil rights investigation into Mr. Garner's death. The Attorney General made the following statement:
- Posted byon December 3, 2014 at 12:06 PM EST
At the beginning of his administration, President Obama set a goal that the U.S. would once again lead the world in college graduates. The President believes that expanding opportunity for more students to enroll and succeed in college is vital to building a strong economy and a strong middle class.
The President has already taken important steps to increase college access, including:
- Increasing Pell scholarships by $1,000 a year
- Creating the American Opportunity Tax Credit, worth up to $10,000 over four years of college
- Limiting student loan payments to 10 percent of income
- Laying out an ambitious agenda to reduce college costs and promote innovation and competition
In January, 140 college presidents and other leaders made commitments to support student success at the first White House College Opportunity Summit. To build upon the success of that summit, on Thursday, December 4, President Obama and the First Lady will join college presidents and other leaders making new commitments to improve degree completion, sustain community collaborations that encourage college-going, train high school counselors as part of the First Lady’s Reach Higher initiative, and produce more STEM graduates with diverse backgrounds.
Here’s how you can participate in the College Opportunity Summit on Thursday, December 4th:
- Posted byon December 2, 2014 at 7:27 PM EST
President Obama visited the Naitonal Institutes of Health (NIH) today to visit the team of scientists who recently made significant progress in developing an Ebola vaccine. "No potential Ebola vaccine has ever made it this far," he noted.
Indeed, the United States is taking the lead in the world's response to Ebola -- in treating, containing, and preventing the spread of this devastating outbreak. As the President said, "Part of American leadership in the world -- one of the things that has always marked us as exceptional -- is our leadership in science and our leadership in research."
- Posted byon December 2, 2014 at 4:18 PM EST
Ed. Note: President Obama penned an op-ed explaining his decision to do what he can to fix our broken immigration system. This post originally appeared in Gannett newspapers and websites. You can learn more about the President's new steps here.
We are a nation of immigrants.
For more than 200 years, that heritage has given America a big advantage over other countries. It has kept us young, dynamic, and entrepreneurial. But today, our immigration system is broken.
When I took office, I committed to fixing our broken immigration system. I began by doing what I could to secure our borders. Today, we have more agents and technology deployed to secure our southern border than at any time in our history. Over the past six years, illegal border crossings have been cut by more than half. Although this summer, there was a brief spike in unaccompanied children being apprehended at our border, the number of such children is now actually lower than it's been in nearly two years. Overall, the number of people trying to cross our border illegally is at its lowest level since the 1970s.
- Posted byon December 2, 2014 at 2:26 PM EST
Yesterday, the President announced that he will take a number of steps to strengthen community policing and fortify the trust that must exist between law enforcement officers and the communities they serve. As part of this, he proposed a new three-year, $263 million Community Policing Initiative investment package that will increase use of body worn cameras (BWCs) by law enforcement, expand training for law enforcement agencies (LEAs), add more resources for police department reform, and multiply the number of cities where the Department of Justice (DOJ) facilitates community and local LEA engagement.
The new initiative expands programs within the President’s FY 2015 Budget, and builds on them by adding more resources to help integrate the federal government with state and local LEAs to build and sustain trust between communities and those who serve and protect these communities.
The funding would support the following activities:
- Posted byon December 2, 2014 at 1:25 PM EST
Something big happened earlier this year at the White House Maker Faire:
The bust of President Obama was created by a Smithsonian-led team of 3D-digital-imaging specialists, Autodesk and 3D Systems, in collaboration with the University of Southern California’s Institute for Creative Technologies. It took two different technologically sophisticated 3D documentation processes to generate the data needed to create this portrait.
- Posted byon December 1, 2014 at 8:25 PM EST
President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden meet with elected officials, community and faith leaders, and law enforcement officials to discuss how communities and law enforcement can work together to build trust to strengthen neighborhoods across the country. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)
Recent events in Ferguson, Missouri and around the country have grabbed the attention of the nation and the world, and have highlighted the importance of strong, collaborative relationships between local police and the communities that they protect.
Today, the Administration announced new steps we’re taking to strengthen the relationships between law enforcement agencies and the communities they are obligated to protect and serve, including:
- Advancing the use of body worn cameras and promoting proven community policing initiatives
- Creating a new task force to promote expansion of the community-oriented policing model, which encourages strong relationships between law enforcement and the communities that they serve as a proven method of fighting crime
- Reforming how the federal government equips state and local law enforcement – particularly with military-style equipment
Get more details about these new actions below.
- Posted byon December 1, 2014 at 3:10 PM EST
"On this day, let us rededicate ourselves to continuing our work until we reach the day we know is possible -- when no child has to know the pain of HIV/AIDS and no life is limited by this virus."
--President Barack Obama, World AIDS Day 2014 Proclamation
Today is World AIDS Day -- a day where the world comes together to remember those we've lost to HIV/AIDS and to recommit ourselves to the international fight against this devestating disease. What began as the first-ever global health day is now an important opportunity to measure the progress we've made and the work we have left to do to achieve our ultimate goal: an AIDS-free generation. In fact, this year's theme is "Focus, Partner, Achieve: An AIDS-Free Generation."
- Posted byon December 1, 2014 at 6:00 AM EST
The Internet is part of everyone’s life, every day. We use the Internet at work, at home, to connect with those close to us, and to buy goods and services. That’s especially the case today, the Monday after Thanksgiving -- dubbed “Cyber Monday."
Today is far and away the busiest online shopping day of the year. Last year, according to Adobe, online shopping sales were over $2.29 billion for just one day. IBM said that shopping was up 20.6 percent over 2012 and experts expect a rise again this year. Along with increased convenience, shopping online also brings with it the potential for increased risks of theft, fraud, and abuse.
President Obama is taking action on cybersecurity. His 2013 Executive Order on Cybersecurity created an industry driven Cybersecurity Framework that has helped strengthen our businesses and networks. In October, he signed a consumer financial protection Executive Order that will move the government forward to invest in technologies that increase the financial protection and cybersecurity for everyone.