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Kori SchulmanJuly 28, 2014
10:38 AM EDT
Today, President Obama kicks off a three-day Summit of the Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, the flagship program of the President’s Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI). The Washington Fellowship gives 500 of sub-Saharan Africa’s most prominent young leaders the opportunity to engage with U.S. government officials, entrepreneurs and civil society representatives, as well as leaders in international development.
July 26, 2014
04:28 PM EDT
This week, the President visited Los Angeles Trade Technical College to deliver a clear message: we need to train more hard-working Americans to fill the jobs our businesses are creating. The President explained:
I’m here for every American who works their tail off; who does everything right; who believes in the American Dream and just wants a chance to build a decent life for themselves and their families. You are why I ran for President in the first place.
In his 2014 State of the Union address, the President tasked Vice President Biden with leading a review of job training programs, with the aim of making them more job-driven. That review is complete and earlier this week, the President and Vice President announced significant reforms in the way Federal programs train and retrain workers.
As a result of this review, the Administration is kicking off a significant new public-private effort to help hard-working Americans get ahead through an initiative we are calling “upskilling”: working with employers, educators, tech innovators, unions, training providers, cities, states, and non-profits to help turn low-wage and entry-level jobs across the country into stepping stones to the middle class.
David HudsonJuly 26, 2014
06:00 AM EDT
President Barack Obama tapes the Weekly Address in the Map Room of the White House, July 25, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)
In this week’s address, the President continued his call for our nation to rally around an economic patriotism that says rather than protecting wasteful tax loopholes for a few at the top, we should be investing in things like education and job training that grow the economy for everybody.
The President highlighted the need to close one of the most unfair tax loopholes that allows companies to avoid paying taxes here at home by shifting their residence for tax purposes out of the country. The President has put forth a budget that does just that, and he has called for business tax reform that makes investment in the United States attractive, and creates incentives for companies to invest and create jobs here at home. And while he will continue to make the case for tax reform, the President is calling on Congress to take action and close this loophole now.
July 25, 2014
07:02 PM EDT
This week, some astronauts stopped by the White House (hint: think 1969), we talked about "inversions" (more on that later), the President awarded the Medal of Honor, and the Vice President got a marker and white board and gave us a little bit of history on our nation's infrastructure.
Check out what else you may have missed in this week's wrap up.
Yesterday, President Obama spoke under sunny skies at the Los Angeles Trade-Technical College. He talked about the progress that we've made since he took office and training our workers for a 21st-century economy.
The President called for a new sense of optimism and collective patriotism in this country: "Cynicism is a choice, and hope is a better choice. And if we can work together, I promise you there's no holding America back."
He also talked about something known as "inversions." What's an "inversion," you ask? Learn more here.
Adam GarberJuly 25, 2014
06:53 PM EDT
This week, the President introduced a historic Executive Action for LGBT rights, continued to address the ongoing conflicts in the Ukraine and Gaza, hosted a town hall in support of his My Brother's Keeper Initiative, and traveled to California to deliver his response to some very striking letters he'd received ... in person.
Kori SchulmanJuly 25, 2014
05:28 PM EDT
This afternoon, Valerie Jarrett, Senior Advisor to the President, took to Tumblr to answer some of your questions on the President's newest Executive Order that prohibits federal contractors from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. She also answered your questions on marriage equality, bullying prevention, Star Wars, and more.
If you missed the live event, you can check out a full recap right here:
R. David EdelmanJuly 25, 2014
04:12 PM EDT
Last year, over 114,000 of you made your voice heard and petitioned the Administration to restore a basic consumer freedom: to take your mobile service — and a phone or tablet you already own — to the carrier that best suits your needs.
It's common sense, good for competition and innovation, and essential to consumers. That's why the Administration declared last March that "It's time to legalize cell phone unlocking," and today the President commended Congress for doing just that:
I applaud Members of Congress for passing the Unlocking Consumer Choice and Wireless Competition Act. Last year, in response to a "We the People" petition from consumers across our country, my Administration called for allowing Americans to use their phones or mobile devices on any network they choose. We laid out steps the FCC, industry, and Congress should take to ensure copyright law does not undermine wireless competition, and worked with wireless carriers to reach a voluntary agreement that helps restore this basic consumer freedom. The bill Congress passed today is another step toward giving ordinary Americans more flexibility and choice, so that they can find a cell phone carrier that meets their needs and their budget. I commend Chairmen Leahy and Goodlatte, and Ranking Members Grassley and Conyers for their leadership on this important consumer issue and look forward to signing this bill into law.
Everyone has done their part to get here -- from the FCC convening carriers, to the industry agreeing to voluntary steps to make their unlocking process transparent and reliable. And as he said today, the President looks forward to signing this bill into law. It's just one more way he is taking the lead in making life a little easier for the middle class, and ensuring our technology remains the envy of the world.
You called, the President answered, and together we made cell phone unlocking happen.
July 25, 2014
03:25 PM EDT
Tomorrow marks the 24th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) -- a landmark law that transformed American society for people with disabilities. It provided for full participation, independent living, and economic self-sufficiency for those of us living with disabilities, and also provided Americans with disabilities with legal remedies to safeguard all of those rights.
Watch the President’s ADA anniversary message below:
David HudsonJuly 25, 2014
03:00 PM EDT
In September 2009, the President announced that—for the first time in history—White House visitor records would be made available to the public on an ongoing basis. Today, the White House releases visitor records that were generated in April 2014. This release brings the total number of records made public by this White House to more than 3.81 million—all of which can be viewed in our Disclosures section.
Secretary Tom VilsackJuly 25, 2014
12:12 PM EDT
Ed. note: This is cross-posted from the USDA Blog, see the original post here.
These days, it seems like it’s easier than ever to turn a good idea into reality. This is the era of Kickstarter, where entrepreneurs can connect with potential investors at the click of a button.
Of course, it takes more than money to grow an idea. It takes an atmosphere that fosters creativity and rewards innovation. And at a deeper, less obvious level, it requires strong, secure infrastructure—roads and bridges, but also internet access and community facilities like hospitals and schools—that improves connectivity and access to information, moves products to market, and makes communities competitive and attractive to new businesses and investments.
Part of the challenge we face in rural America is that in too many places, infrastructure is outdated and cannot support the same kinds of opportunities that are easily found in cities and larger towns.
Lindsay HolstJuly 25, 2014
11:23 AM EDT
Deric Richardson had been out of work for over a year. He had a GED and a Microsoft Office certificate, but needed an opportunity to improve his skills. That opportunity came in the form of tuition-free training in laboratory skills provided by the nonprofit BioTechnical Institute of Maryland. Shortly after successfully completing the training, Deric was hired by Baltimore-based Paragon Bioservices in July 2010.
Today, Secretary of Labor Tom Perez is traveling to Baltimore to meet with him.
Deric’s story is just one great example of how job-driven training is working for Americans across the country. When we talk about "job-driven" training, we're talking about making sure we're providing people with the skills that employers are looking for right now to fill available jobs. Earlier this week, President Obama signed the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, which will elevate more job-driven programs like BTI.
This is the second in a series of “day in the life” trips Secretary Perez -- in addition to other secretaries across the President's cabinet -- will be taking over the next few months. It's a chance to talk directly with the people the Labor Department works for every day.
We want to make sure you see what he sees, too. Follow along today to see live updates and highlights from Secretary Perez’s day.
July 25, 2014
09:47 AM EDT
The upcoming U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit, which is the largest single engagement by any U.S. President with our African partners, will help the United States play a driving role in the continent’s future development.
Many Americans are aware that sub-Saharan Africa is a fast-growing region with tremendous potential, but they may not know about significant plans to develop infrastructure across the continent. We believe that these plans represent enormous business opportunities for U.S. companies of all sizes, and that is why we have invited key African decision-makers to meet with private-sector leaders in Chicago and Houston prior to the Summit.
These African Leaders’ Visits, which the U.S. Trade and Development Agency is partnering with the U.S. Departments of Transportation and Energy to host from July 30 to August 1, will highlight the United States’ experience fostering economic growth through key infrastructure investments. These Visits are the only commercially focused events to take African leaders to major U.S. cities outside of Washington, D.C. on the occasion of the Summit.
July 24, 2014
05:50 PM EDT
This afternoon, President Obama addressed an excited and energized crowd under sunny skies at the Los Angeles Trade-Technical College.
In his remarks, the President said that he was excited to be back in L.A., where he spent a few "good years" in college -- and quickly explained what he was there to talk about.
"I’m here because I am listening to Kati’s story," the President said. Kati Koster wrote a letter to the President a couple years ago about the effect of student loans. Kati introduced the President -- and the President sat down with Kati and three other Americans earlier in the day at Canter's Deli, to chat about the issues that matter to them.
I’m listening to Americans all across the country, everybody who works their tail off, is doing the right thing, who believes in the American Dream, just wants a chance to build a decent life for themselves and their family. You are why I ran for President in the first place.
David HudsonJuly 24, 2014
03:39 PM EDT
Chances are you’ve heard of the Affordable Care Act – President Obama’s landmark health reform law that’s holding insurance companies accountable, lowering health care costs, giving Americans more freedom and control in their health care choices, and improving the quality of care.
One part of the act that you may not be as familiar with, however, is the “80/20 rule” – also known as the Medical Loss Ratio (MLR) rule – which went into effect in 2011.
The rule generally requires health insurance companies in the individual and small group markets to spend at least 80% of the premium dollars they collect on medical care or activities to improve health care quality. And that increases to 85% for insurance companies in the large group market.
Today, the Department of Health and Human Services released some new numbers showing just how much this rule has saved consumers over the last few years.
Lindsay HolstJuly 24, 2014
02:43 PM EDT
Today, President Obama is heading to Los Angeles Trade Technical College, where he's calling for a kind of "economic patriotism" that's based on investing in the things that we know grow the economy for everyone (like education and job training) — not protecting wasteful loopholes for a few at the top.
And he's calling attention to one kind of corporate merger deal in particular — called an "inversion" — a word you might be seeing in a lot of news headlines lately.
It's not the most intuitive name for a corporate tax loophole, so we're going to break it down for you.
Q: So what exactly is an "inversion"?
A corporate "inversion" is what happens when a U.S.-based multinational with operations in other countries restructures itself so that the U.S. "parent" is replaced by a foreign corporation — and usually one that's in a country with a lower tax rate than the United States. As a result, on the whole, this means that corporate income tax that would otherwise be paid to the United States ends up going overseas.
In other words, right now, our tax code allows any American company to merge with a foreign company (so long as that company’s shareholders own 20% of the combined firm) — and then “relocate” or “invert” to another country for tax purposes. This maneuver — which changes nothing about the actual operations that continue in the U.S. — allows companies to dramatically reduce the taxes they owe in the U.S. by taking advantage of loopholes in our tax system.
Meanwhile, they would continue enjoying the benefits and protections of the American economy — provided by our tax dollars. It's a big loophole — and right now, it’s completely legal.
Kori SchulmanJuly 23, 2014
02:03 PM EDT
This week, President Obama signed an Executive Order that prohibits federal contractors from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. From the repeal of “Don't Ask, Don’t Tell” to ending the legal defense of the so-called Defense of Marriage Act, the Obama administration has made advancing equality and leveling the playing field for the LGBT community a priority.
On Friday, you're invited to join a conversation on the new Executive Order and steps the Administration has taken to expand opportunity for the LGBT community. Join Valerie Jarrett, Senior Advisor to the President, for a Tumblr Q&A this Friday, July 25 at 1:00 p.m. ET. Here’s how it works:
- Right now, you can ask a question on the White House Tumblr
- Follow along on Friday, July 25 at 1:00 p.m. ET, as Valerie Jarrett answers your questions on the White House Tumblr
The White House uses platforms like Tumblr to connect with people around the country on the issues they care the most about. Last month, the President joined his first-ever Tumblr Q&A live from the White House focused on education. We’re excited to continue the White House Tumblr Q&A series this week, so ask away!
July 22, 2014
07:00 PM EDT
Forty-five years ago today, two American astronauts -- Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong -- landed on the moon's Sea of Tranquility, and Neil Armstrong planted the first footprint on the surface of the moon. As he made those first steps, Armstrong uttered that simple phrase we still remember today: "That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind."
Today, President Obama joined all Americans honoring that giant leap forward, by inviting Neil Armstrong's wife, Carol, Michael Collins, the astronaut who piloted the spacecraft that orbited the moon, and Buzz Aldrin, to the White House. Armstrong passed away in 2012.
In the President's statement on today's meeting, he honored the bravery and leadership that these heroes displayed, and acknowledged the influence that their mission has had on mankind:
The United States of America is stronger today thanks to the vision of President Kennedy, who set us on a course for the moon, the courage of Neil, Buzz, and Michael, who made the journey, and the spirit of service of all who’ve worked not only on the Apollo program, but who’ve dared to push the very boundaries of space and scientific discovery for all humankind.
As we commemorate that day, we take a look back at the Apollo 11 mission and the extraordinary influence of the U.S. space program.
David HudsonJuly 22, 2014
06:20 PM EDT
President Barack Obama signs H.R. 803, the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act after delivering remarks on job training, in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building South Court Auditorium, July 22, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Amanda Lucidon)
We need to make sure workers in America can find jobs that meet their skills, or get trained with the skills they need for a better job.
That's why, in this year's State of the Union address, President Obama tasked Vice President Biden with leading a review of our country's job-training programs to make sure that they have one mission: training our workers with the skills employers need, and matching them to good jobs that need to be filled right now.
The effort to make our federal training programs more job-driven was also bolstered by the bipartisan passage of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), which President Obama signed into law this afternoon.
David HudsonJuly 22, 2014
04:06 PM EDT
President Obama visited the Embassy of the Netherlands this morning, signing a condolence book for those killed in the shoot-down of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 in Ukraine. In the condolence book, the President wrote:
On behalf of the American people, I extend our deepest condolences to the people of the Netherlands as they mourn the loss of so many family and friends. No words can adequately express the sorrow the world feels over this loss. It is made more acute by the deep ties of friendship between our two countries. Bound by that friendship, we will not rest until we are certain that justice is done.
July 22, 2014
02:59 PM EDT
Last week, we had the privilege of meeting with President Obama, members of his Cabinet, and 24 other state, local, and tribal leaders for the fourth and final meeting of the President’s Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience. It was an important milestone in a productive and collaborative process.
We discussed the Task Force’s draft recommendations, including many steps that we hope federal agencies will take to help states and communities like ours get ready for climate change, and the Administration announced bold new actions it is taking to support climate preparedness.
Sitting there together, we recalled how the partnership between Vermont and Fort Collins, Colorado, began in far less auspicious circumstances. In September 2013, floods devastated many Colorado communities along the front range. Vermont, having recently rebuilt hundreds of bridges, roads, and homes after the record-setting Tropical Storm Irene, sent a team led by Vermont’s former recovery officer and current transportation Deputy Sue Minter, to provide advice and support to Colorado leaders as they faced the epic challenge of organizing a swift recovery.
The experience of a severe disaster in both our jurisdictions, and our deep concern that the risk of such events is worsening with climate change, has galvanized our determination to strengthen the resilience of our state and city, and to work together with leaders across the country as we “bounce forward," and make our communities safe and prosperous during a time of increased climate-related risks.