The White House Blog: The President
- Posted byon September 3, 2014 at 10:49 AM EDT
Yesterday, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest released the following statement about U.S. Military personnel in Iraq.
Today, the President authorized the Department of Defense to fulfill a Department of State request for approximately 350 additional U.S. military personnel to protect our diplomatic facilities and personnel in Baghdad, Iraq. This action was taken at the recommendation of the Department of Defense after an extensive interagency review, and is part of the President's commitment to protect our personnel and facilities in Iraq as we continue to support the Government of Iraq in its fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). These additional forces will not serve in a combat role.
- Posted byon September 2, 2014 at 5:56 PM EDT
Yesterday, the President celebrated Labor Day by visiting the city of Milwaukee for Laborfest, an annual festival hosted by the local AFL-CIO. While there, he spoke on a number of issues -- most notably the need to raise the minimum wage for America's workers.
Kicking off his remarks, the President said that Labor Day belongs to the "working folks who are here today, and the unions who've always had your back," and emphasized the importance of building our economy from the middle class out:
I didn't run for President to double down on top-down economics. I ran for President because I believed in bottom-up economics. I believed in middle-out economics. I placed a bet on you. I placed a bet on America’s workers. I put my money on American workers and the belief that our economy grows best when everybody has got a shot -- when folks who are willing to work hard can get into the middle class and stay in the middle class. And I’ve come back to Laborfest to say that because of your hard work, because of what we’ve been through together, that bet is starting to pay off.
- Posted byon September 2, 2014 at 12:45 PM EDT
In a video released this morning, President Obama addresses the people of West Africa about the Ebola outbreak that is currently affecting the countries of Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea, and Nigeria.
The President reiterates in the video that, along with our partners around the world, the United States is working with these countries' governments to help stop the disease. The first step in this fight, however, is knowing the facts -- which is why the President also outlines the details about the transmission and treatment of Ebola.
"Stopping this disease won't be easy," he says, "but we know how to do it." The President also notes that our countries can work together to improve public health to prevent similar outbreaks from happening in the future.
- Posted byon August 30, 2014 at 6:00 AM EDT
President Barack Obama tapes the Weekly Address in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, Aug. 29, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)
In this week’s address, the President wished Americans a happy Labor Day weekend, highlighted the important economic progress we’ve made, and reaffirmed his commitment to accelerate our progress and ensure that our growing economy fuels a strong middle class.
To do this, the President reiterated that Congress should do right by hardworking Americans across the country and raise the minimum wage, and he praised the 13 states and Washington, D.C. as well as employers large and small who have heeded his call and taken action to provide their citizens and employees a fair wage.
The President underscored that America built the world’s greatest middle class by making sure that everyone who’s willing to work hard and play by the rules can get ahead – an economic patriotism worth remembering this Labor Day, and every day.
- Posted byon August 29, 2014 at 7:11 PM EDT
This week, the White House celebrated Women's Equality Day, the National Park Service celebrated its 98th birthday, and President Obama addressed the American Legion, the nation's largest veteran service organization.
Check out what else you may have missed in this week's wrap up.
This past Tuesday, the White House celebrated Women's Equality Day -- commemorating the certification of the 19th Amendment on August 26, 1920, securing women's right to vote. Although we've made a lot of progress in the decades since, there is still much work to be done.
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) August 26, 2014
Throughout the day, White House economist Betsey Stevenson also took over the popular "I Love Charts" Tumblr blog to tell the story of the progress we’ve made in closing the earnings gap between women and men, and the challenges women still face in the workforce. See her charts here.
- Posted byon August 28, 2014 at 6:24 PM EDT
This week, the White House honored two important anniversaries for women's rights and civil rights, and the President announced new actions to improve access to quality health care for veterans.
- Posted byon August 28, 2014 at 4:53 PM EDT
At the White House this afternoon, President Obama provided an update on important issues ahead of his attendance at the NATO Summit in the United Kingdom next week.
The President first addressed the "number one thing that most Americans care about" -- our economy. He noted that the economy is growing "at a stronger clip" than predicted and that we have more work to do to continue this momentum:
This morning, we found out that our economy actually grew at a stronger clip in the 2nd quarter than we originally thought. Companies are investing. Consumers are spending. Over the past four and a half years, our businesses have created now nearly 10 million new jobs. So there are reasons to feel good about the direction we’re headed. But as everybody knows, there’s a lot more we should be doing to make sure more Americans benefit from the progress that we've made and I am going to be pushing Congress hard on this when they return next week.
As the U.S. military continues to carry out targeted airstrikes against ISIL in Iraq and to address the humanitarian situation on the ground, the President reiterated his commitment as Commander-in-Chief to "always do what is necessary to protect the American people and defend against evolving threats to our homeland."
"Our military action in Iraq has to be part of a broader, comprehensive strategy to protect our people and to support our partners who are taking the fight to ISIL. And that starts with Iraq’s leaders building on the progress they’ve made so far and forming the inclusive government that will unite their country and strengthen their security forces to confront ISIL."
The President reported that our strikes have cost ISIL terrorists arms and equipment, and Iraqi and Kurdish forces are continuing to push them back. The U.S. will consider a range of options but he made clear that a successful strategy will require working with an inclusive Iraqi government and strong regional partners to meet this threat:
Now ISIL poses an immediate threat to the people of Iraq and the people throughout the region. And that’s why our military action in Iraq has to be part of a broader, comprehensive strategy to protect our people and to support our partners who are taking the fight to ISIL. And that starts with Iraq’s leaders building on the progress they’ve made so far and forming the inclusive government that will unite their country and strengthen their security forces to confront ISIL.
Any successful strategy, though, also needs strong regional partners. I’m encouraged so far that countries in the region -- countries that don’t always agree on many things -- increasingly recognize the primacy of the threat ISIL poses to all of them. And I’ve asked Secretary Kerry to travel to the region to continue to build the coalition that’s needed to meet this threat. As I’ve said, rooting out a cancer like ISIL will not be quick or easy but I’m confident that we can -- and we will -- working closely with our allies and partners.
For our part, I’ve directed Secretary Hagel and our Joint Chiefs of Staff to prepare a range of options. I’ll be meeting with my National Security Council again this evening as we continue to develop that strategy. And I’ve been consulting with Congress and I’ll continue to do so in the days ahead.
President Obama Asks Todd Park to Continue Administration Service in New Role after Returning to Silicon ValleyPosted byon August 28, 2014 at 2:30 PM EDT
President Obama today announced that he has asked U.S. Chief Technology Officer and Assistant to the President Todd Park to take on a new role for the Administration as a technology advisor based in Silicon Valley. Park will begin the new role in September after he and his family have returned home to California.
Park’s focus will be recruiting more top tech talent like Mikey Dickerson into government and identifying innovative ways to improve the quality of government digital services, two central goals of the President’s Smarter IT Delivery agenda. He will also help ensure that the Administration has an on-the-ground sense of how technology is evolving and can craft policy and initiatives accordingly.
- Posted byon August 28, 2014 at 9:30 AM EDT
Today’s revision affirms that economic growth in the second quarter was strong, consistent with the recent string of solid job growth and improvements in other economic indicators. But there's more work that needs to be done to build on this momentum. That is why the President continues to act on his own to facilitate investment in American manufacturing, energy, and infrastructure, as well as take steps to improve the financial security of working families.
FIVE KEY POINTS IN TODAY'S REPORT FROM THE BUREAU OF ECONOMIC ANALYSIS
1. Real gross domestic product (GDP) increased 4.2 percent at an annual rate in the second quarter of 2014, according to the second estimate from the Bureau of Economic Analysis. The strong second-quarter growth represents a rebound from a first-quarter decline in GDP that largely reflected transitory factors like unusually severe winter weather and a sharp slowdown in inventory investment. Growth in consumer spending and business investment picked up in the second quarter, and residential investment increased following two straight quarters of decline. Additionally, state and local government spending grew at the fastest quarterly rate in five years. However, net exports subtracted from overall GDP growth, as imports grew faster than exports. Real gross domestic income (GDI), an alternative measure of the overall size of the economy, was up 4.7 percent in Q2.
- Posted byon August 27, 2014 at 9:35 AM EDT
Last night, White House economist Betsey Stevenson sent the email below to the White House email list, telling the story of the progress women have made since gaining the right to vote -- and what's still left to accomplish.
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Hi, everyone --
In 1776, Abigail Adams wrote to John Adams, then serving on the Continental Congress in Philadelphia, and reminded him to "not put such unlimited power into the hands of the husbands."
Seventy-two years later, in 1848, women across the country gathered together for the first women's rights convention in Seneca Falls, New York.
And it wasn't until 72 years after that, in 1920, that women in the United States officially gained the right to vote.
Let's be honest: Change hasn't ever exactly come quickly for women in this country. And 94 years later -- while it's undeniable that women have made leaps and bounds in every facet of American life, from the classroom to the boardroom -- it's not enough.
Today, on the anniversary of the 19th Amendment, we celebrate Women's Equality Day. And today, the day-to-day operations of too many businesses and institutions still don't reflect true gender equality. We've got the data to prove it.
Throughout the day, I've posted charts that tell the story of the progress we've made -- and the challenges women still face in the workforce.