The White House Blog: The President

  • Map: Here's How the President's Actions on Immigration Will Impact Your State

    "Passions still fly on immigration, but surely we can all see something of ourselves in the striving young student, and agree that no one benefits when a hardworking mom is snatched from her child, and that it’s possible to shape a law that upholds our tradition as a nation of laws and a nation of immigrants."

    -- President Obama, State of the Union Address, January 20, 2015

    On November 20, 2014, President Obama took executive action to start fixing our broken immigration system so it works better for our people and our economy. The three main pillars of his action include:

    • Making it easier and faster for high-skilled immigrants, graduates, and entrepreneurs to stay and contribute to our economy, as many business leaders have proposed. 
    • Dealing responsibly with certain undocumented immigrants who are DREAMers or parents of citizens or lawful permanent residents, by requiring that they pass background checks and pay their fair share of taxes.
    • Building on our progress at the border and enforcing our immigration laws in smarter, more effective ways.

    These actions not only live up to our heritage as a nation but are essential to building on our hopes for a brighter future. In fact, the President's steps will allow people to contribute more fully to their communities and spark an economic boost for every single state.

    Check out the map below to see exactly how the new steps we're taking to fix our broken immigration system will improve the economy in your state: 

  • What They're Saying: Businesses are Ready to Join the President to UpSkill America

    In his State of the Union address and again at Boise State days later, the President called on more employers to adopt or expand measures to help workers gain the skills and credentials to advance into better paying jobs – including by expanding registered apprenticeships, increasing uptake of tuition benefit programs that pay for a worker to complete their college education, offering on-the-job training for career progression, and increasing access to technology-enabled learning tools.

    Tonight, I'm also asking more businesses to follow the lead of companies like CVS and UPS, and offer more educational benefits and paid apprenticeships -- opportunities that give workers the chance to earn higher-paying jobs even if they don't have a higher education.

    – President Obama, State of the Union Address, January 20, 2015

    This initiative to Upskill America includes important steps by employeers, educators, and others in the private sector. That's why more than 30 employers are already answering the President's call to grow apprenticeships, support thousands of workers to earn a college degree for free while they are working, and providing a clear path upward for employeers who develope and demonstrate critical skills in the field. It's also why President Obama is calling on Congress to invest over $2 billion to expand registered apprenticeships and spread high-quality training programs. 

    Spreading best practices like these can ensure employers get the skilled workforce that they need, while workers get an opportunity to realize their full potential and earn more. It's no wonder councils and business groups are allready talking about this new initiative. Here's what they're saying: 

    Pacific Gas and Electric Company 

    PG&E is setting a new goal of filling 75 percent of management vacancies from within PG&E by 2019, providing opportunities for upward mobility and growth for team members. These programs are targeted to individuals considering supervision, crew leaders, newly hired or promoted leaders, supervisors, and others, up to PG&E’s officer level.

  • Uniting in Support of Broadband that Works

    “21st century businesses need 21st century infrastructure -- modern ports, stronger bridges, faster trains, and the fastest internet.”

    “I intend to protect a free and open internet, extend its reach to every classroom, and every community, and help folks build the fastest networks, so that the next generation of digital innovators and entrepreneurs have the platform to keep reshaping our world.”

    – President Obama, State of the Union, January 20, 2015

    In addition to reaffirming his commitment to strong net neutrality, the President had a lot to say last week about the need for broadband that works, and how it can help drive our economy and deliver high-paying jobs. It was a renewal of his commitment earlier this month in Cedar Falls, Iowa, to use every tool the federal government has to support communities trying to deliver high-speed broadband — which, in his words, “is not a luxury; it’s a necessity.” 

    From municipal groups like the National League of Cities, to industry associations like CompTel, to leaders in Congress and public interest groups, the response was overwhelmingly positive. And as we look to what’s next, we are pleased to see Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ), Ed Markey (D-MA), and Claire McCaskill (D-MO) joining the President’s call to level the playing field for new competitors.

  • President Obama Calls on Congress to Protect Arctic Refuge as Wilderness

    Each year, as the darkness of the Arctic winter brightens into spring, as the snow melts and the hills and valleys slowly turn green, the tens of thousands of members of the Porcupine caribou herd begin their great migration — traveling some 1,500 miles through Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to their calving grounds on the Coastal Plain.

    This far northern region is known as “The Sacred Place Where Life Begins” to Alaska Native communities. The Refuge sustains the most diverse array of wildlife in the entire Arctic — home not only to the Porcupine caribou, but to polar bears, gray wolves, and muskoxen. Bird species from the Coastal Plain migrate to all 50 states of the country — meaning that no matter where you live, the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is part of your landscape.  

    But the majority of the Refuge is not protected as wilderness, including the Coastal Plain. For more than three decades, some voices have clamored to drill for oil in the Coastal Plain — a move that could irreparably damage this ecological treasure and harm the Alaska Native communities who still depend on the caribou for subsistence.

    Today, the Department of the Interior released a revised Comprehensive Conservation Plan to better sustain and manage the entire Arctic National Wildlife Refuge — and President Obama took it a step further and announced his plans to ask Congress to designate the Coastal Plain and other core areas of the refuge as wilderness:

    Watch on YouTube

  • Weekly Address: Middle-Class Economics

    President Obama tapes the Weekly Address at the University of Kansas, Jan. 22, 2015

    President Barack Obama tapes the Weekly Address at the Anschutz Sports Pavilion at the University of Kansas in Lawrence, Kan., Jan. 22, 2015. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza) (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

    In this week’s address, the President shared his plan, outlined in his State of the Union address earlier this week, to give hardworking families the support they need to make ends meet by focusing on policies that benefit the middle class and those working to reach the middle class.

    Through common-sense proposals like closing loopholes that benefit the wealthy and providing tax relief to the middle class, making two years of community college free for responsible students, strengthening paid leave policies and access to quality child care for working families, and raising the minimum wage, we can ensure that everyone benefits from, and contributes to, America’s success.

    Middle-class economics is working, and we have laid a new foundation, but there is still progress to be made, and the President said he is eager to get to work.

    Transcript | mp4 | mp3

  • Watch President Obama's Interview with YouTube Stars

    Watch on YouTube

    The East Room was transformed yesterday as three YouTube stars recreated their libraries and living rooms for an interview with the President. Nearly 500,000 viewers tuned in live as YouTube creators Hank Green, GloZell, and Bethany Mota sat down for one-on-one interviews that covered topics from education and gridlock in Washington, to Cuba policy and how to get more young people engaged in politics.

  • Launching the Presidential Challenge for Advanced Outdoor Lighting

    We take it for granted that outdoor lights are there to help keep America moving after the sun goes down. But the outdoor lighting when you drive your car down the road at night, cheer for your favorite baseball team, or load groceries into your car after work uses energy and takes a bite out of budgets in cities and towns across the country.

    Outdoor lighting in the U.S. will consume enough energy to power 6 million homes this year, costing cities about $10 billion annually.

    That is why we are working with mayors to deploy the latest technologies to determine how best to light their cities while saving money. Using today's new technologies, local governments can cut their outdoor lighting bills by 50 percent or more. Today we are launching the Presidential Challenge for Advanced Outdoor Lighting, and tripling the DOE Better Buildings program goal of upgrading 500,000 poles to 1.5 million, to encourage more mayors to lead their cities with this win-win solution.

  • West Wing Week: 1/23/15 or, "B is for Believe"

    This week, the White House was a flurry of activity during the lead up to -- and aftermath of -- the President's State of the Union Address, featuring follow up trips to Kansas and Idaho, the second annual "Big Block of Cheese Day," and YouTube stars bringing their flair to the East Room to interview the President. That's January 16th to January 22nd or, "B Is For Believe."

  • How the President Will Help All Working Families with Young Kids Afford Child Care:

    President Obama plays with children at Child Center

    President Barack Obama gestures as he talks with Akira Cooper at the Community Children's Center, one of the nation's oldest Head Start providers, in Lawrence, Kan. January 22, 2015. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

    "If we knew how to do this back in 1943 and ’44, and here we are in 2015, what’s the holdup? It is time that we stop treating child care as a side issue or a 'women’s issue.' This is a family issue. This is a national economic priority for all of us. We can do better than we’re doing right now."

  • An "Experiment" in Universal Child Care in the United States: Lessons from the Lanham Act

    In Richmond, California in 1943, approximately 35 nursery school units opened up as part of a city-wide child care program. 

    The country was mobilizing around World War II and increasing employment, particularly among women, had become a national priority. In the case of Richmond, the centers opened to help provide care for the children of women working in the nearby Kaiser shipyards.

    And heres how they were funded: Congress had passed the Defense Housing and Community Facilities and Services Act of 1940 -- popularly known as the Lanham Act.

    The law was passed in order to fund public works, including child care, in communities with defense industries. Under it, all families (regardless of income) were eligible for child care for up to six days a week, including summers and holidays, and parents paid the equivalent of just $9-$10 a day in today’s dollars. In addition to being affordable, this care was also high-quality. Many centers had low student-teacher ratios, served meals and snacks, and taught children arts and educational enrichment activities. 

    So, put quite simply: Most people don’t realize it, but we’ve done this before. And, it worked.