The White House Blog: The President

  • West Wing Week 07/11/14 or, "Responding to Your Letter...In Person!"

    This Fourth of July week, the President welcomed some newly naturalized Americans, and spent time with middle-class Americans in Denver and Austin, while Dr. Jill Biden wrapped up a week-long trip to Africa. 

    Watch on YouTube

  • SupplierPay and QuickPay: Strengthening America's Small Businesses

    Today, President Obama announced the creation of SupplierPay, a new partnership with the private sector that will strengthen America's small businesses by increasing their working capital. He's also renewing the QuickPay initiative for federal small business subcontractors, which the President launched in 2011.

    If you're scratching your head and asking yourself, "What does that mean, exactly?" — don't worry. We'll do our best to break it down for you.

    Why do we need to strengthen small businesses?

    Small businesses are vital to our nation's economy. Not only do they employ half of America's workers, but they create almost two out of every three new American jobs, and they're often the source of great innovation.

    The Great Recession disproportionately affected small businesses, as they lost 40 percent more jobs than the rest of the private sector combined. Although they're still creating most of our new jobs, 66 percent of small businesses say that they find it "difficult to raise new business financing," according to a recent Pepperdine and D&B study.

    What's more, it often takes too long for small businesses to get paid for their products and services. Estimates show that the average small business invoice goes unpaid for almost two months, and "past due" payments are increasing. This causes small businesses to spend unnecessary funds in order to cover the cash flow issues caused by late payments — funds that could be spent on growing their businesses and creating new jobs instead.

  • A Day in the Life: Austin

    President Obama capped off a three-day road trip with a visit to Austin, Texas, where he sat down for coffee with a letter writer, delivered a speech on the economy, and grabbed lunch at a local BBQ joint.

    Relive the President's day in Austin right here. (And, if you want to write the President yourself, you can always do that here.)

    In the morning, the President grabbed coffee with Kinsey Button, who wrote him a few months ago.

    Kinsey Button is a student at the University of Texas at Austin. She wrote the President talking about her family's struggles, after both of her parents lost their jobs.

    Kinsey said she's always been passionate about politics and engaging with this country's most important issues -- but after the government shutdown last year, she wrote in her letter that she felt like Washington wasn't listening.

  • The President Discusses the Humanitarian Situation at the Southwest Border

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    After meeting with local officials, faith leaders, and Texas Gov. Rick Perry, President Obama delivered a statement yesterday evening on the humanitarian situation at the border.

    He first described two of the crucial components of this ongoing crisis. First, the surge of unaccompanied children, and children with adults, is occurring in one concentrated sector at the border -- the Rio Grande Valley. Second, many of these children and their parents are not looking to evade law enforcement; rather, they are being apprehended in large numbers.

    In his remarks, the President reiterated the steps that his Administration is taking to ensure that sufficient resources are being provided to this region of the border:

  • The President's Been Busy This Year

    "Let's make this a year of action."

    That's what President Obama said in this year's State of the Union address — and he's been doing his part. Since January, the President has taken more than 40 executive actions to help families across the country succeed.

    The President has helped to make student loan payments more affordable, support equal pay and workplace flexibility, cut carbon pollution, and raise the minimum wage for all workers on new federal contracts. And those are just a handful of the actions he's taken.

    Find out how the President is working to ensure opportunity for all Americans.

    Learn more about the President's actions this year.

  • President Obama Speaks on the Economy in Denver

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    On a beautiful Wednesday afternoon in Denver's Cheesman Park, President Obama delivered remarks about the economy, the progress that his Administration has made, and how Republican obstructionism is making it more difficult for Americans achieve their full potential.

    The President opened his remarks poking fun at Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper over their pool game from last night at the Wynkoop Brewing Company.

    "You should not ask him who won," the President joked. "No, no, really, don't ask Governor Hickenlooper who won at pool."

    The President then quickly got down to business, telling the audience exactly what he was there to talk about:

    Every day, we get thousands of letters and emails at the White House. I think it's something like 40,000 a day of some sort of correspondence. And every night, our Correspondence Office selects 10 letters for me to read. And I've been doing that since I first came into office. And it's one of the most important things I do -- it's right there next to my national security briefing and whatever policy issues that we're supposed to be working on -- because it reminds me of why I ran for office.

  • What You Wrote the President

    Ed. note: Earlier today, the Director of Presidential Correspondence, Fiona Reeves, sent an email to the White House list. Didn't get it? Make sure you sign up for updates.

    Two weeks ago, President Obama asked you to write and tell him how you're doing. And I can tell you, as one of the people who helps sort through the mail here at the White House, that a lot of you answered.

    You told us how you're feeling about your family, your community, and our country. You shared stories about what's been going well, and what you wish was better.

    So if you were wondering if those letters actually get read, the answer is yes.

    Your stories paint a broader picture of how things have changed these past few years, and I wanted to share a few of them. Here's what folks had to say:

    Desirae, Anacortes, WA:

    "I guess I can tell you about myself now. I am a 26 year old single mother. My son is the light of my life. We live in a small city called Anacortes, located in Skagit County, Washington. It's beautiful here. A lot of the people that live here were raised here, and they have family and friends all around town. For me, it's just my son and I. His father was born and raised here, and the majority of his family is located here, too. We separated shortly after my son's first birthday, though. … I've had to do a lot of fighting to get where I am now, and I feel like I have so much more to do. I think you know what that feels like."

  • Julián Castro Confirmed by the Senate as the Next HUD Secretary

    President Obama, with Vice President Biden, delivers remarks announcing his intent to nominate HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan as OMB Director and San Antonio Mayor Julián Castro to replace him

    President Barack Obama, with Vice President Joe Biden, delivers remarks announcing his intent to nominate Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan as Office of Management and Budget Director and San Antonio Mayor Julián Castro to replace him, in the State Dining Room of the White House, May 23, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

    This afternoon, the Senate overwhelmingly approved San Antonio Mayor Julián Castro to be the next Secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The vote was 71-26.

    President Obama applauded the bipartisan majority of senators who quickly confirmed Mayor Castro for Secretary of HUD:

    Julián is a proven leader, a champion for safe, affordable housing and strong, sustainable neighborhoods. I know that together with the dedicated professionals at HUD, Julián will help build on the progress we’ve made battling back from the Great Recession -- rebuilding our housing market, reducing homelessness among veterans, and connecting neighborhoods with good schools and good jobs that help our citizens succeed.

  • A Day in the Life: Denver

    President Obama is on the road again this week, talking about the economy and meeting with working Americans who have written the White House -- from Denver to Austin.

    You can follow along right here. (And, if you want to write the President yourself, you can do that here.)

    The President sat down for dinner with five Coloradans who wrote him.

    The President sat down for dinner with five Americans who wrote him and shared their stories.

    Alex, who works at a furniture upholstery store in Denver, wrote to thank him for calling on businesses to raise the minimum wage.

    Elizabeth, a rising junior at the University of Northern Colorado majoring in mathematics, wrote about how she's struggling to pay for school.

    Carolyn and David, a couple from Denver with six children, wrote to let the President know how they were able to expand their chain of sandwich shops thanks to an SBA loan.

    And Leslie, who's worked as a teacher for 26 years, wrote about the importance of early childhood education.

    "I'm so glad you're here."

    --President Obama to his dinner guests, 7/8/2014

  • From Denver to Austin: "The Bear Is Loose" Again

    President Barack Obama has lunch with Rebekah Erler at Matt's Bar in Minneapolis, Minn., June 26, 2014. Erler is a 36-year-old working wife and mother of two pre-school aged boys who had written the President a letter about economic difficulties.

    President Barack Obama has lunch with Rebekah Erler at Matt's Bar in Minneapolis, Minn., June 26, 2014. Erler is a 36-year-old working wife and mother of two pre-school aged boys who had written the President a letter about economic difficulties. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

    Going all the way back to the early days of the campaign, whenever President Obama shook off his schedule and busted out of the bubble, we would say “the Bear is loose.”

    Lately, the Bear has been loose a lot, and this week will be no different. The President is hitting the road on a three-day swing to Colorado and Texas, where he will meet with Americans who’ve written him letters and whose stories – their challenges and successes – resonate with folks from across the country.

    While congressional Republicans continue to block votes on important issues like equal pay and the minimum wage and undertake taxpayer-funded political stunts like Speaker Boehner’s plan to sue the President for doing his job, the President will continue to do everything in his power – with and without Congress – to create economic opportunity for all Americans.