The White House Blog: The President

  • Chart of the Week: Why We Can’t Wait to Act on Climate Change

    President Obama addressed 120 countries at the United Nations General Assembly today on a global challenge that concerns us all: Climate change.  

    Climate change is a problem that knows no borders, causes devastating destruction in communities, and requires global action. Our climate will continue to change over this century, but the magnitude and significant consequences of that change depends on the amount of heat-trapping gases that countries emit. 

    It will take all of us working together – governments, communities, businesses, and individuals -- to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and change the future of our climate. In fact, the choices we make right now will determine the extent of future global warming and its impact on the environment, public health, and the economy. 

    Check out the chart to see the difference we can make if we work together to reduce emissions -- and the disastrous consequences if we fail to act: 

  • An Important Step in Our Fight Against Climate Change

    Ed. Note: This is cross-posted from the Huffington Post. See the original post here

    Today, leaders from more than 120 countries gathered in New York. On the agenda: a challenge that knows no borders, produces devastating local impacts, and requires global action.

    President Obama joined the international community at the UN Secretary General's Climate Summit because he believes that we have a moral obligation to our children and to future generations to take decisive action now -- to reduce the carbon pollution and other greenhouse gas emissions warming the planet, and to build resilience to the climate impacts already being felt in communities across the country and around the world.

    We are the first generation to experience first-hand the chaos that climate scientists have long warned was coming. In recent years, we have been battered by more frequent and severe storms, become inundated by rising seas and storm surge, parched by deeper drought, and burned by fiercer wildfires. From the world's poorest villages to the tiniest seaside communities, climate change poses a real and dangerous threat.

  • President Obama Delivers a Statement on Airstrikes in Syria

    President Obama Delivers a Statement on Airstrikes in Syria

    President Barack Obama delivers a statement on confronting the terrorist group ISIL in Syria, on the South Lawn of the White House prior to departure for New York, N.Y. September 23, 2014. (Official White House Photo by David Lienemann)

    Watch on YouTube

    Last night, President Obama ordered American armed forces to begin targeted airstrikes against ISIL targets in Syria. Speaking from the White House South Lawn today, the President made it clear that these strikes are part of the U.S. campaign to deliver one message on ISIL: They will find no safe-haven.

    The U.S. military actions also included strikes to disrupt plotting against the U.S. and our allies by the Khorasan Group -- seasoned al Qaeda operatives in Syria. 

  • Wishing You a Sweet, Happy, and Healthy New Year

    Shanah Tovah from the White House! On Wednesday evening, Jews in the United States and around the world will begin celebrating Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year.

    The High Holidays offer the Jewish community a moment of pause, a time to reflect on the previous year and recommit to the unending task of Tikkun Olam, repairing the world. Together, working with people of all faiths, we can bring greater peace and prosperity to the world in 5775.

    In his 2014 video message for the High Holidays, President Obama extends his wishes for a sweet new year and discusses why this time of year is so significant.

    Watch on YouTube

    Read the remarks: 

    Hello. As Jews across America, Israel, and the world gather together for the High Holidays, Michelle and I extend our warmest wishes to you and your families for a sweet and happy new year.

    My good friend Elie Wiesel once said that God gave human beings a secret, and that secret was not how to begin but how to begin again. These days of awe are a chance to celebrate that gift, to give thanks for the secret, the miracle of renewal.

    In synagogues and homes over the coming days, Jews will reflect on a year that carried its shares of challenges. We’ve been reminded many times that our world still needs repair. So here at home we continue the hard work of rebuilding our economy and restoring our American dream of opportunity for all. Around the world, we continue to stand for the dignity of every human being, and against the scourge of anti-Semitism, and we reaffirm the friendships and bonds that keep us strong, including our unshakeable alliance with the State of Israel.

    So let’s approach this new year with new confidence and new hope. Let’s recommit ourselves to living out the values we share as individuals and as a country. Above all, let’s embrace this God-given miracle of renewal, this extraordinary opportunity to begin again in pursuit of justice, prosperity, and peace. From my family to yours, shanah tovah.

  • The President's Statement on Today's Treasury Department Action on Inversions

    Today, the Treasury Department announced that it's taking action to reduce the tax benefits of -- and, where possible, stop -- corporate tax inversions from happening.

    What's an inversion again? In short, it's a type of corporate tax deal wherein a U.S.-based multinational with operations in other countries moves the tax residence of the parent company overseas -- moving into a low-tax jurisdiction to avoid paying U.S. taxes. (Want more details? We break it down pretty thoroughly in this post.)

    The President issued the following statement today about the Treasury's action.

  • Weekly Address: The World Is United in the Fight Against ISIL

    President Barack Obama tapes the Weekly Address in Map Room of the White House, Sept. 19, 2014.

    President Barack Obama tapes the Weekly Address in Map Room of the White House, Sept. 19, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)

    In this week’s address, the President thanked Congress for its strong bipartisan support for efforts to train and equip Syrian opposition forces to fight ISIL. This plan is part of the President’s comprehensive counter-terrorism strategy to degrade and destroy the terrorist group, and does not commit our troops to fighting another ground war. America, working with a broad coalition of nations, will continue to train, equip, advise, and assist our partners in the region in the battle against ISIL.

    In the coming week, the President will speak at the United Nations General Assembly and continue to lead the world against terror, a fight in which all countries have a stake.

    Transcript | mp4 | mp3

  • Weekly Wrap Up: #ItsOnUs

    This week, President Obama awarded the Medal of Honor to Army Command Sergeant Major Bennie G. Adkins and Army Specialist Four Donald P. Sloat, met with National Spelling Bee winners, announced a major increase in our efforts to help fight Ebola in West Africa, gave a statement about the bipartisan support of our strategy to defeat ISIL, and launched a campaign to help stop sexual assault.

    Check out the rest of the highlights from this week.


    A Closer Look at the Medal of Honor Ceremony

    President Obama awarded the Medal of Honor to Army Command Sergeant Major Bennie G. Adkins and Army Specialist Four Donald P. Sloat for their heroic and brave actions in Vietnam. While you probably know that the Medal of Honor is the highest military award that a member of the U.S. Armed Forces can receive, have you ever wondered what goes into the actual ceremony at the White House?

    We went behind the scenes as the President presented the Medal of Honor in June to Cpl. William "Kyle" Carpenter, a retired United States Marine, for his actions during combat operations in Afghanistan. Take a look here:

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  • What’s a Continuing Resolution and Why Does It Matter?

    This week, Congress passed and President Obama signed something called a Continuing Resolution, an important measure that ensures our government has the resources necessary to address key domestic and national security goals in the months ahead, including our strategy to degrade and destroy ISIL, and to continue normal government operations without disruption.

    The President thanked Congress for their quick action in supporting our efforts: “I believe that we’re strongest as a nation when the President and Congress work together.  And I thank leaders in Congress for the speed and seriousness with which they approached this urgent issue -- in keeping with the bipartisanship that is the hallmark of American foreign policy at its best.”

    But what exactly is a Continuing Resolution and what does this one include? Here’s a few answers to some key questions that many Americans may be asking: 

    Q: So what is a Continuing Resolution?

    In our government, the legislative branch holds the power of the purse, which means Congress is responsible for passing legislation to fund the government.  From funding our national defense to investing in job training and public infrastructure to maintaining government operations, Congress decides how to appropriate taxpayer dollars each fiscal year.  

    However, if Congress fails to pass legislation to fund the government before a new fiscal year begins, they can pass legislation to keep federal operations going at the current spending levels. That legislation is called a Continuing Resolution (CR).

  • President Obama Launches the "It's On Us" Campaign to End Sexual Assault on Campus

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    Today at the White House, President Obama joined Vice President Biden and Americans across the country to launch the “It’s On Us” initiative -- an awareness campaign to help put an end to sexual assault on college campuses. 

    It's On Us asks everyone -- men and women across America -- to make a personal commitment to step off the sidelines and be part of the solution to campus sexual assault. 

    "An estimated one in five women has been sexually assaulted during her college years -- one in five," the President noted. "Of those assaults, only 12 percent are reported, and of those reported assaults, only a fraction of the offenders are punished." 

  • Chart of the Week: The Persistent Gender Pay Gap

    In a country founded on the principle of equality, an unfortunate fact remains: Women still do not receive the fair pay that they have earned. This gender pay gap not only flies in the face of our national values -- it undercuts our economic growth and hurts the financial security of families across the country.

    Looking back over the last 40 years, the wage gap narrowed from around 60% in the 1970s to above 70% in the 1990s, but progress stalled in the mid-2000s. For much of the last decade, women consistently earned 77% of what their male counterparts earned. But new data released this week shows that in 2013, the female-to-male earnings ratio climbed above 78% for the first time on record.

    Take a look at the gender pay gap over the years to the recent progress, and more importantly, just how far we have left to go to achieve equal pay: