The White House Blog: The President

  • A Step Toward Cleaner Air and Healthier Communities

    Last week, the Environmental Protection Agency released a vital component of the President’s Climate Action Plan – proposed common-sense carbon pollution standards for existing power plants. Since air pollution from power plants can worsen asthma and other breathing problems, EPA’s guidelines will help protect the health of vulnerable Americans, including children and the elderly.

    In a big step forward, yesterday the American Medical Association’s House of Delegates, a body representing more than 500 medical associations and organizations, voted to formally reaffirm their support for carbon pollution standards for power plants and committed to submit comments on the EPA’s proposal underscoring the need to keep strong standards that protect public health. AMA’s vote puts them alongside other public health organizations that have taken leadership on this issue, including the American Thoracic Society and the American Lung Association.

    In addition to cutting carbon emissions from the power sector by about 30 percent from 2005 levels by 2030, EPA’s plan will also decrease that sector’s emissions of particulate matter, nitrogen oxides, and sulfur dioxide by about 25 percent. From the soot and smog reductions alone, for every dollar invested through the Clean Power Plan, American families will see up to $7 in health benefits.

    In the first year that these standards go into effect, up to 100,000 asthma attacks and up to 2,100 heart attacks will be prevented. These standards will also help more kids to be healthy enough to show up to school – with up to 72,000 fewer absences in the first year. The benefits increase each year from there.

    It’s a big step toward cleaner air and better public health.


  • President Obama: "There's No Advanced, Developed Country on Earth That Would Put Up with This"

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    During yesterday's Tumblr Q&A at the White House, the President answered a question on the epidemic of gun violence in America.

    "My biggest frustration so far," he said, "is the fact that this society has not been willing to take some basic steps to keep guns out of the hands of people who can do just unbelievable damage." Talking about the increasing frequency of school shootings across the country, the President noted that the U.S. is the only developed country where this is routine.

    "The country has to do some soul-searching about this," President Obama said. "This is becoming the norm, and we take it for granted in ways that, as a parent, are terrifying to me."


  • Thoughts on Fatherhood in the 21st Century

    This was originally posted on the Huffington Post, and is part of a series of essays about the issues facing working families in the 21st century, 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.


    Growing up, if I wanted to play catch, I often had to play it alone. Sometimes I'd even aim at a tree for lack of person with a glove at the other end of the yard. I admit, the tree wasn't a very good replacement. But when you're a kid -- and you don't have a dad to play catch with -- you'll toss a ball at anything. Even if that thing is a 40-foot-tall oak and unlikely to toss the ball back.

    In this respect, I'm probably not unique. Far too many children grow up without a dad in their lives, like I did. And for many, the effects cut deeper and last longer than being forced to have a one-way game of catch.

    I'm a father now. My daughter was born 10 years ago, and my son soon after. And one of my greatest challenges, having never grown up with a father myself, is figuring out what a dad is supposed to do. I got the memo about taking out the garbage. And I change more light bulbs than Thomas Edison. But when it comes to preparing your kids for the slings and arrows of life, that's something I've only learned about fairly recently.

    And here's the key: I only learned about it because I was able to make the time.


  • President Obama Signs the Water Resources Reform and Development Act, and Honors the "Borinqueneers"

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    It was a busy morning at the White House today, as President Obama signed two bills into law — the Water Resources Reform and Development Act (WRRDA), and the 65th Infantry Regiment Congressional Gold Medal.

    In his remarks, the President first explained how the Water Resources Reform and Development Act will "put Americans to work modernizing our water infrastructure and restoring some of our most vital ecosystems."


  • In Case You Missed It: President Obama's Very First Tumblr Q&A

    President Barack Obama participates in a Tumblr event with David Karp

    President Barack Obama participates in a Tumblr event with David Karp, Tumblr founder and CEO, in the State Dining Room of the White House, June 10, 2014. The President delivers remarks and answers questions from Tumblr users on the importance of education, college affordability, and reducing student loan debt. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

    Today, live from the White House State Dining Room, President Obama took to Tumblr to respond to some of the thousands of questions that Americans across the country asked via Tumblr about all things education.

    The event followed the executive action the President took yesterday to make student loan debt more affordable and manageable to repay, and covered a broad range of topics, from college access to student loans, and the steps the President is taking to make it all a little easier to manage.

    (And, naturally, a GIF came out of it.)


  • Watch Live: President Obama Answers Your Questions on Tumblr

    As part of his year of action to expand opportunity for all Americans, President Obama is taking steps to make student loan debt more affordable and manageable to repay. And today, for the first time ever, President Obama is taking to Tumblr to answer questions that you -- Americans around the country -- asked him about all things education.

    You can watch the President answer those questions today at WhiteHouse.Tumblr.com.


  • "Why I Was at the White House Today"

    Earlier today, the President signed a memorandum to make federal student loan debt more affordable and manageable to repay.

    After the signing, Andy MacCracken, who introduced the President, sent the message below to the White House email list, explaining why the President's action was meaninful for him.

    Didn't get the email? Make sure to sign up for White House email updates here.


    Hey, everyone --

    I owe more than $75,000 in federal student loan debt -- and that's before you count interest.

    So, as you might imagine, the action President Obama took today to make debt more manageable for millions of Americans is very personal to me.


  • President Obama on Student Loan Debt: "No Hardworking Young Person Should Be Priced Out of a Higher Education"

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    More students than ever before are relying on student loans to pay for their college education. 71 percent of students earning a bachelor's degree graduate with debt, averaging $29,400. While most students are able to repay their loans, many feel burdened by debt, especially as they seek to start a family, buy a home, launch a business, or save for retirement.

    That's why, as part of his year of action to expand opportunity for all Americans, President Obama is taking steps to make student loan debt more affordable and manageable to repay.

    Earlier this afternoon, the President signed a memorandum directing the Secretary of Education to propose regulations that would allow nearly 5 million federal direct student loan borrowers the opportunity to cap their student loan payments at 10 percent of their income. The memorandum also outlines new executive actions to support federal student loan borrowers, especially vulnerable borrowers who may be at greater risk of defaulting on their loans.


  • The NCAA Champion UConn Huskies Visit the White House

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    This afternoon, President Obama welcomed the NCAA Champion UConn Huskies to the White House. UConn's men's and women's basketball teams both won the 2014 NCAA Championships — so in an effort to "eliminate waste and cut out duplicative programs to make things more efficient," the President concurrently congratulated both of them. But "this may be carrying things a little too far," he joked.

    In the President's remarks, he highlighted the well-known legacy of UConn basketball. This is the ninth national title for the women, while it's the men's fourth title in the last 16 years. And only once before, in 2004, has one school won both the men's and women's Division I titles. That team was — you guessed it — UConn.


  • Honoring Dr. Maya Angelou

    Dr. Maya Angelou, whose timeless works such as I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings encouraged and stirred the souls of millions of readers, passed away last week at the age of 86.

    Dr. Angelou's family arranged a private memorial service in Wake Forest University’s Wait Chapel on Saturday, June 7, at 10 a.m. Eastern Time.

    The First Lady, who has called Dr. Angelou one of her "she-roes" as well as a friend, spoke at the service.

    You can watch Wake Forest University's video of the service below or read the First Lady's remarks here.