The White House Blog: The President

  • Weekly Address: Time for Congress to Raise the Minimum Wage for the American People

    In this week's address, President Obama highlighted the momentum building across the country to give Americans a raise and reiterated his call for Congress to increase the minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10. The President has already signed an executive order to raise the minimum wage for people working under new federal contracts. Companies large and small are choosing to give workers a raise because they know it's good business. And Governors across the country are answering the President's call by working to raise their states' minimum wages. Now, it's time for Congress to get the job done and restore opportunity for all Americans by raising the minimum wage to "ten-ten."

    Transcript | mp4 | mp3


  • A World-Class Education for Every Student in America

    President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama talks with students in a classroom at Coral Reef Senior High School, Florida,

    President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama acknowledge the crowd after the President spoke at Coral Reef Senior High School, Fla., March 7, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

    Today, President Obama and the First Lady visited Coral Reef High School in Miami to discuss the President's plan to equip all Americans with the education they need to compete in the 21st century economy.

    “By working hard every single day, every single night, you are making the best investment there is in your future,” President Obama told the students. “And we want to make sure you’ve got everything, all the tools you need to succeed.” 

    President Obama talked about one tool that’s helping give more students the opportunity to afford, attend, and graduate from college: the Free Application for Student Aid or FAFSA.

    It is a simple form. It used to be complicated; we made it simple. It doesn’t cost anything -- that’s why the word “free” is right there in the name. It does not take a long time to fill out. Once you do, you’re putting yourself in the running for all kinds of financial support for college -- scholarships, grants, loans, work-study jobs. 

    Over the last five years, the Obama administration has been working to make college more affordable for more students. And today, more young people are earning college degrees than ever before. But we have to do more, President Obama said.


  • Ask President Obama Your Health Care Questions on WebMD

    Next week, President Obama will sit down for his first-ever interview with WebMD, the leading source of health information for consumers and health care professionals, to discuss the importance of signing up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act. During a conversation with the site's health care reform expert Lisa Zamosky, the President will answer questions about health care and the ACA directly from WebMD users in an interview that will air on March 14.

    What’s your question for President Obama? Ask now at WebMD.com/AskObama

    The President's interview with WebMD continues efforts by the administration to encourage as many Americans as possible to sign up for health insurance for 2014 by the end of open enrollment on March 31.

    And it's just one of many innovative and targeted strategies used by the White House to speak with Americans directly -- especially women, young adults and the uninsured -- about quality, affordable health care options available. As the leading source for health information, WebMD has enormous reach. According to WebMD, the site's more than 156 million unique visitors per month is made up of 60 percent women, 33 percent of its audience is ages 18-34 and 38 percent of those younger users are uninsured. 

    So, go ahead and submit your questions now – then tune in on March 14 to watch the full interview and find out if the President answered your question.


  • The Employment Situation in February

    February 2014 was the 48th straight month of private-sector job growth, with businesses adding 8.7 million jobs over that time. Despite a major snowstorm that hit the East Coast during the reference week for the labor market surveys, the rate of job growth picked up from the December and January pace. Nevertheless, the unemployment rate remains elevated, and for too many Americans, wages have been slow to rise.

    This week, the President put out a budget that can make progress on these issues by investing in education, job training, and innovation, by expanding tax credits for working Americans, and by extending the emergency unemployment benefits that has expired for 2 million Americans. And while the President encourages Congress to act on his proposals, he will also continue to take action on his own wherever possible to support job growth and expand economic opportunity.

    FIVE KEY POINTS IN TODAY'S REPORT FROM THE BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS

    1. The private sector has added 8.7 million jobs over 48 straight months of job growth. Today we learned that total non-farm payroll employment rose by 175,000 in February, with 162,000 of that increase in the private sector. Revisions to private employment in the previous months were small and offsetting, so that that over the past twelve months, private employment has risen by 2.2 million, or an average of 183,000 a month. This is almost identical to the pace of job gains over the preceding twelve-month period (182,000 a month).


  • West Wing Week 3/7/14 or “Look Who’s In Our Room”

    This week, The White House hosted its first ever White House Student Film Festival, while the President addressed the ongoing crisis in Ukraine, presented his budget for Fiscal Year 2015, urged Congress to raise the minimum wage, and held a town hall on Latinos and the Affordable Care Act.


  • YouTube Stars Talk Health Care (and Make History) at the White House

    This year, the President is committed to using the power of his phone and pen to create opportunity for all Americans. One ways he’s doing that is through raising awareness about policies and priorities through non-traditional platforms, like YouTube.

    Last week, senior administration officials sat down with some of the most popular content creators on YouTube to talk about the issues that they care the most about, including access to quality, affordable health care. This group of influencers has developed innovative ways to engage with tens of millions of young people in a way that few other media platforms can accomplish. To learn from the YouTube community, we're starting a dialogue with these leaders to continue the conversation about issues that are important for their audiences including anti-bullying, education, economic opportunity, and health care.


  • President Obama Discusses Efforts to Address the Ongoing Crisis in Ukraine

    Today, President Obama delivered a statement on efforts to address the ongoing crisis in Ukraine from the Brady Press Briefing Room.

    Since the Russian intervention, we’ve been mobilizing the international community to condemn this violation of international law and to support the people and government of Ukraine.

    This morning I signed an executive order that authorizes sanctions on individuals and entities responsible for violating the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine, or for stealing the assets of the Ukrainian people.

    According to my guidance, the State Department has also put in place restrictions on the travel of certain individuals and officials. These decisions continue our efforts to impose a cost on Russia and those responsible for the situation in Crimea. And they also give us the flexibility to adjust our response going forward based on Russia’s actions.

    Watch the full statement, or read the remarks here.


  • Watch Live: President Obama's Town Hall on Latinos and the Affordable Care Act

    Ed. note: This event has now concluded

    Today, President Obama will take part in a town hall at the Newseum in Washington, DC to discuss the Affordable Care Act and how the law benefits the Latino community. The town hall is hosted by Univision, Telemundo, impreMedia and the California Endowment.

    The town hall, which will be televised and livestreamed in both English and Spanish, will provide an opportunity for Latinos across the country to learn more about how to enroll in affordable, quality health care via the Health Insurance Marketplace.

    You can join the conversation and submit questions on Twitter and Facebook using the hashtag #TuSaludyObama and #Asegurate.


  • President Obama: It's Time to Give America a Raise

    President Barack Obama delivers remarks on the minimum wage, at Central Connecticut State University

    President Barack Obama delivers remarks on the minimum wage, at Central Connecticut State University in New Britain, Connecticut, March 5, 2014. The President is joined by Gov. Dannel Malloy of Connecticut; Labor Secretary Thomas Perez, Gov. Peter Shumlin of Vermont, Gov. Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island, and Gov. Deval Patrick of Massachusetts. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

    Today, President Obama traveled to Central Connecticut State University in New Britain, Connecticut to speak about the importance of raising the minimum wage.

    Joined by Secretary of Labor Tom Perez, along with Connecticut Governor Dan Malloy, Rhode Island Governer Lincoln Chafee, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick, and Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin, the President addressed a crowd filled with students to dicsuss his plan to expand opportunity for all Americans.

    He detailed the four parts of his opporuntity agenda: 1) create more new jobs; 2) train Americans with the skills to fill those jobs; 3) guarantee every young person access to a world-class education; and 4) make sure hard work pays off.

    Ensuring that hard work pays off means that women should receive equal pay for equal work, that Americans can save and retire with dignity, that people have health insurance when they need it most, and that the wage you make is enough to support yourself and your family.

    "Nobody who works full-time should ever have to raise a family in poverty. That violates a basic sense of who we are.  And that’s why it’s time to give America a raise," said President Obama. "What every American wants is a paycheck that lets them support their families, know a little economic security, pass down some hope and optimism to their kids. And that’s worth fighting for."

    That's why President Obama isn't waiting for Congress to take action. Last month, he used his pen to sign an executive order requiring federal contractors to pay their employees a fair wage of at least $10.10 an hour. 


  • Add Your Name: It's Time to Raise the Wage

    This afternoon, Secretary Tom Perez sent the message below to the White House email list, asking people to add their name in support of raising the federal minimum wage. 

    Didn't get the email? Make sure you sign up for updates from the President and other White House officials.


    Several weeks ago, I met Semethia and Anna.

    Semethia's a 36-year-old single mom. Her son hopes to go to college one day. Her daughter wants to take gymnastics lessons. But with a service job that pays just $8.25 an hour, Semethia relies on food stamps and help from friends and family just to keep food on the table -- much less build the future she'd like for her kids.

    Anna works as a tip server at two local D.C. restaurants. She doesn't yet have to support a family, but she still struggles to make ends meet when she's relying on tips to get by -- and she sees the tough decisions her colleagues make every day. One of her coworkers recently missed her son's birthday party in order to cover a shift -- that's how badly she needed the money to support her family.

    You see, when we talk about the kind of folks whose lives will be made better by raising the minimum wage, we're not talking about a couple teenagers earning extra spending money to supplement their allowance. We're talking about providers and breadwinners. Working Americans with bills to pay and mouths to feed.

    And right now, millions of them are trying to do that on just $7.25 an hour.

    We can change that. We can raise the federal minimum wage to $10.10 an hour, we can do it right now, and we should. If you agree that it's high time we do -- that America's workers deserve a raise -- then add your name right here.