Our Top Stories
Megan SlackMay 16, 2013
03:35 PM EDT
Following their bilateral meeting this morning, President Obama and Prime Minister Erdogan of Turkey held a press conference in the Rose Garden this afternoon.
The President highlighted three areas of focus the two leaders discussed: expanding trade and investment between the U.S. and Turkey, mutual security, and the issue of Syria.
May 16, 2013
02:59 PM EDT
As a working mom, I know how hard it is to find good child care so that I can have some peace of mind when I come to work. At ACF, we’ve been working hard to strengthen the nation’s child care system so that moms and dads, especially moms and dads with the fewest resources, can have better child care choices while they work to support their families.
In his 2013 State of the Union address, President Obama made a historic commitment to young children, making it a priority to ensure that “none of our children start the race of life already behind.” Improving child care is an important part of this effort and a key component of the President’s Plan for Early Education for All Americans.
Today, HHS announces a big new step in this direction - new proposed regulations for the Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF), which is administered here at the Office of Child Care. CCDF supports 1.6 million children in child care each month and invests over $1 billion each year in quality improvements like teacher training and grants to child care programs. All over the country, child care providers are dedicated to preparing children for school success. Despite the terrific efforts of public and private organizations around the country, there are some critical gaps in our child care programs. Some children are in child care settings that don’t meet basic health and safety standards. Often, there is a lack of useful comparative information for parents choosing child care. The new regulations are intended to close some of those gaps.
Matt ComptonMay 15, 2013
07:16 PM EDT
Just after 6:00 PM ET, President Obama spoke from the East Room of the White House about the Treasury Department's review of the Internal Revenue Service.
"I’ve reviewed the Treasury Department watchdog’s report, and the misconduct that it uncovered is inexcusable," he said. "It’s inexcusable, and Americans are right to be angry about it, and I am angry about it. I will not tolerate this kind of behavior in any agency, but especially in the IRS, given the power that it has and the reach that it has into all of our lives. And as I said earlier, it should not matter what political stripe you’re from -- the fact of the matter is, is that the IRS has to operate with absolute integrity. The government generally has to conduct itself in a way that is true to the public trust. That’s especially true for the IRS."
May 15, 2013
03:05 PM EDT
Today, the President and Vice President released their 2012 financial disclosure reports.
The Ethics in Government Act of 1978 requires high-level federal officials to publicly disclose their personal financial interests. The public filing system serves to prevent financial conflicts of interest by providing for a systematic review of the finances of government officials. Those finances are set forth in annual disclosures which are reviewed and certified by ethics officials. Neither the President nor the Vice President have any conflicts of interest, and their reports have been reviewed and certified by the independent Office of Government Ethics. We are continuing this Administration's practice of posting these forms online here in the interests of transparency:
White House staff are also completing their forms and we anticipate they will be available here next month, also in electronic form.
For more information
Megan SlackMay 15, 2013
02:15 PM EDT
Today, President Obama spoke at the National Peace Officers Memorial Service, an annual ceremony honoring law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty in the previous year.
The President said that the 143 officers honored today “exemplified the very idea of citizenship -- that with our God-given rights come responsibilities and obligations to ourselves and to others.”
They embodied that idea. That’s the way they died. That’s how we must remember them. And that’s how we must live.
We can never repay our debt to these officers and their families, but we must do what we can, with all that we have, to live our lives in a way that pays tribute to their memory.
May 14, 2013
02:35 PM EDT
On May 16th, the White House is kicking off “We the Geeks,” a new series of Google+ Hangouts to highlight the future of science, technology, and innovation here in the United States. Topics such as commercial space exploration, science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education, turning science fiction to science fact, and others will be discussed with Administration officials and key private sector contributors.
The first "We the Geeks" Hangout will focus on Grand Challenges, ambitious goals on a national or global scale that capture the imagination and demand advances in innovation and breakthroughs in science and technology. Grand Challenges are an important element of President Obama’s Strategy for American Innovation. On April 2nd, the President called on companies, research universities, foundations, and philanthropists to join with him in identifying and pursuing the Grand Challenges of the 21st century.
Kasie CoccaroMay 14, 2013
11:30 AM EDT
On Friday, May 17th at 10:00am MT (12:00pm ET), Dr. Biden will give the commencement address to the 33rd graduating class of Navajo Technical College (NTC) -- one of two tribal colleges serving the Navajo Nation.
Many of the programs at NTC are designed to help create new jobs and economic opportunities on or near the Navajo Nation, while equipping their students with the skills they need to succeed in those jobs.
You can watch live using the video player below.
Cecilia MuñozMay 14, 2013
10:11 AM EDT
During his State of the Union address in February, President Obama called on Congress to expand access to high-quality preschool to every four-year old in America. As the President put it that day:
In states that make it a priority to educate our youngest children, like Georgia or Oklahoma, studies show students grow up more likely to read and do math at grade level, graduate high school, hold a job, form more stable families of their own. We know this works. So let’s do what works and make sure none of our children start the race of life already behind. Let’s give our kids that chance.
Yesterday, I had the pleasure to meet with mothers, leaders, and tireless advocates that understand that the best investment we can make as a country is in our children’s future.
The coalition came to the White House to deliver 30,000 letters and art work thanking the President for his proposal to make high-quality preschool available for all children – and I used the opportunity to thank them for all their hard work, and to hear from them about the work they continue to do advocating for children.
They understand that for every dollar spent on high-quality early education, we save more than seven dollars in the long run by boosting kindergarten readiness, graduation rates, reducing teen pregnancy, and even reducing violent crime. They also understand that providing our children with the best start possible in life is not only a moral imperative, but an economic imperative that will benefit our communities and our nation far into the future.
Matt ComptonMay 13, 2013
05:02 PM EDT
Today President Obama welcomed British Prime Minister David Cameron to the White House, where the two leaders discussed issues ranging from economic development to the unfolding conflict in Syria.
"[T]he great alliance between the United States and the United Kingdom is rooted in shared interests and shared values, and it’s indispensable to global security and prosperity," President Obama said. "But as we’ve seen again recently, it's also a partnership of the heart."
The President thanked the people of the United Kingdom for their support in the wake of the bombings in Boston. In London, marathoners observed a moment of silence and dedicated their race to the victims in Massachusetts.
Prime Minister Cameron echoed the President's sentiments on the strength of the alliance between the United States and the United Kingdom.
"[The] relationship between Britain and the United States is a partnership without parallel," the Prime Minister said. "Day in, day out across the world, our diplomats and intelligence agencies work together, our soldiers serve together, and our businesses trade with each other."
In his remarks today, Prime Minister Cameron made a point to focus on three issues under discussion: the economy, the G8, and Syria. The United Kingdom currently holds the presidency of the G8 and will host the group's next summit in June -- in Northern Ireland.
Watch the full video of the press conference here:
Matt ComptonMay 12, 2013
04:06 PM EDT
First Lady Michelle Obama yesterday celebrated a new class of graduates from Eastern Kentucky University.
"You all went through so much to make it to this day -- the highs and the lows, the triumphs, the challenges, the celebrations, the devastations -- and I'm not just talking about your love lives, either," the First Lady told the graduates. "I'm talking about all those papers you poured your heart into; all those caffeine-fueled all-nighters; those moments of anxiety as you set out on your own, looking to find new friends you clicked with and a new community to call your own."
Matt ComptonMay 11, 2013
02:19 PM EDT
Today President Obama welcomed a group of the nation's best police officers to the White House to celebrate their service and heroism.
"We don't always get that opportunity to stand and applaud the men and women who keep us safe," he said from the East Room. "But they're out there, hundreds of thousands of you, patrolling our streets every single day. And we know that when we need you most, you’ll be ready to dash into danger, to protect our lives even if it means putting your lives on the line. That's what these folks are all about."
The President celebrated more than 40 law enforcement officials -- including Lieutenant Brian Murphy, who was one of First Lady Michelle Obama's guests at the State of the Union earlier this year. Lt. Murphy was the first officer on the scene in response to the shooting at the Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin last August.
"He fought back until help arrived and ordered his fellow officers, who are here today, to protect the safety of the Americans worshiping inside -- even though he was lying there bleeding from 12 bullet wounds," President Obama said. "When he was asked how he did it, he said, 'That’s just the way we’re made.'"
The TOP COPS are chosen by the National Association of Police Organizations each year after being nominated by their colleagues for noteworthy service.
Read President Obama's full remarks here.
Matt ComptonMay 11, 2013
05:30 AM EDT
May 10, 2013
05:41 PM EDT
The Arctic is rapidly changing. While the Arctic region has experienced warming and cooling cycles over millennia, the current warming trend is unlike anything previously recorded. As sea ice diminishes, ocean resources are more readily accessible. This accessibility, along with recent scientific estimates indicating the presence of significant energy and other resources, have inspired strong interest for new commercial initiatives in the region, including energy production, increased shipping, scientific research, tourism, and related infrastructure development. As an Arctic nation, the United States must be proactive and disciplined in addressing changing regional conditions and in developing adaptive strategies to protect its interests. An undisciplined approach to exploring new opportunities in this frontier could result in significant harm to the region, to our national security interests, and to the global good.
Today, we are releasing the National Strategy for the Arctic Region. Through this strategy, we are setting the United States Government’s strategic priorities for the Arctic region. These priorities are intended to position the United States to respond effectively to emerging opportunities – while simultaneously pursuing efforts to protect and conserve this unique environment.
Megan SlackMay 10, 2013
05:20 PM EDT
With Mother’s Day just around the corner, President Obama today spoke to a group of women – including many moms – about the ways the Affordable Care Act is already helping millions of Americans like them.
"Women in particular now have more control over their own care than ever before," the President said. "And I’m pleased to be joined today by many women who wrote in to tell us what the Affordable Care Act means to them."
Carol was one of the women who wrote to the President, and today, she introduced him in the East Room. Carol's son, a 22-year-old college grad and traumatic brain injury survivor with a rare genetic lung disease, was able to stay on his family’s health insurance policy instead of being kicked off the plan this year. Finding coverage on his own would have been nearly impossible, as Carol wrote to the President: “Given his history, he would be virtually uninsurable under the old set of ‘rules.’ Instead of contemplating law school, all of his resources would have been channeled into somehow, somewhere, finding health insurance.”
Carol and her son are why the Affordable Care Act lets young people stay on their parent’s plan until they turn 26, President Obama said.
Alycia was also standing behind the President today.
"Alycia is the mother of Avey, who is a beautiful, sweet, 3-year-old girl who also happens to have Leukemia," he explained. "Imagine what that’s like for a parent. While you’re just figuring out how to take care of a baby, you’ve got to figure out how you’re going to pay for expensive treatment that could save your baby’s life.
May 10, 2013
03:53 PM EDT
Launching the Jobs & Opportunity Tour: On Thursday, the President was in Austin to launch his Middle Class Jobs & Opportunity Tour. Austin is leading the nation in manufacturing and tech job growth and is a benchmark for “a thriving, rising middle class and a dynamic, cutting-edge economy.” The President met with high school students, local residents, and entrepreneurs as he toured the city.
The President also announced two executive actions to help make America a magnet for jobs and manufacturing. The Administration is launching competitions to create three new manufacturing innovation institutes and is also requiring government data to be more open and accessible to fuel entrepreneurship and economic growth.
- A Plan to Revitalize American Manufacturing
- Manufacturing Innovation Institutes Explained in 60 Seconds
- Learn more about the Administration’s open data efforts
- Landmark Steps to Liberate Open Data
President Park of South Korea Visit: On Tuesday, President Obama was joined by South Korean President Park Geun-hye for a joint press conference. Park is South Korea’s first female president and the visit was her first foreign trip as head of her nation. The visit marked the 60th anniversary of our alliance, and both leaders made it clear they will not tolerate North Korea’s threats and provocations.
The United States and the Republic of Korea are as united as ever. And faced with new international sanctions, North Korea is more isolated than ever. In short, the days when North Korea could create a crisis and elicit concessions -- those days are over.
South Korea has been a strong economic partner, and in part due to the the Korea-U.S. Free Trade Agreement, American automobile exports are up almost 50 percent. The agreement is projected to boost U.S. exports by $10 billion and support tens of thousands of American jobs, while also creating jobs in Korea.
Kasie CoccaroMay 10, 2013
10:00 AM EDT
Yesterday, First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden hosted a special Mother's Day tea to honor military mothers and show their appreciation and thanks for all the important work they do as well as the sacrifices their families have made in service of our country.
Adam GarberMay 10, 2013
12:00 AM EDT
This week, the President made his fourth trip to Mexico, continued on to Costa Rica, spoke to the graduating class of 2013 at The Ohio State University, hosted the new President of South Korea, discussed hurricane preparedness, and kicked off a series of Middle Class Jobs & Opportunity Tour in the Lone Star State.
Megan SlackMay 09, 2013
06:00 PM EDT
Today President Obama traveled to Austin, Texas, kicking off a series of Middle Class Jobs & Opportunity Tours focused on creating a strong and vibrant economy built on good middle class jobs.
The first stop on today’s tour was Manor New Tech High School, where students are learning the real-world skills they need to fill jobs that are available right now. Watch the President’s remarks at the school here.
Next, President Obama sat down for lunch (Texas barbecue, of course) with local residents to discuss his vision for making sure that hard work leads to a decent living. He also met with technology entrepreneurs who showed him some of the tools and products they are developing that will drive America’s long-term economic growth.
Valerie JarrettMay 09, 2013
05:22 PM EDT
Ed. note: The full text of the op-ed by Senior Advisor to the President Valerie Jarrett is printed below. The piece is published today on The Huffington Post, and can be found here.
Yesterday, I was honored to attend the 7th Annual Pearls of Purpose Gala hosted by FAIRgirls. FAIR stands for Free, Aware, Inspired, and Restored, and it works to prevent the exploitation of girls worldwide with empowerment and education. At the gala, I spoke about the horror of child sex trafficking—a crime that President Obama and his administration have been fighting hard to end for good.
About a year ago, I visited FAIRgirls. I will never forget sitting around the table with a group of girls as they used beads to make earrings, necklaces, and bracelets. At first, I was struck at how hard they each concentrated on their masterpieces, with meticulous attention to detail. But then, slowly, they began to share their stories.
As the girls described the atrocities they had suffered—in many cases, for years—my blood boiled. How on earth could this happen time and time again, right here in our community? How could the internet be used so blatantly as a tool to sell our children into slavery?
At the same time, I was inspired by the professionalism and sensitivity of the FAIRgirls staff and the resilience, strength, and courage of each of the girls, as well as the steadfast and tender support they demonstrated to one another. Were it not for FAIRgirls, I cannot imagine what the future of thousands of girls would be.
It still shocks me that we are forced to ever string these three words together: Child. Sex. Trafficking.There is no issue as grave and devastating.While FAIRgirls is helping to transform the lives of girls, one girl at a time, we must all accept responsibility to vigilantly ensure that no girls are exploited, abused, or trafficked in the first place. And if they are, we must provide them with loving, patient, and comprehensive care so that they do not just survive, but thrive.
Megan SlackMay 09, 2013
03:30 PM EDT
After shedding jobs for a decade, American manufacturers have added about 500,000 positions over the past three years. Production is growing at its fastest pace in over a decade. And as part of his plan to do everything he can to create jobs, strengthen the middle class, and fuel economic growth, President Obama is committed to continuing this progress, which is why he’s laid out a comprehensive agenda to make America a magnet for manufacturing.
Today, following through on a promise he made in his State of the Union, the President rolled out the first piece of that agenda, announcing competitions to establish three new Manufacturing Innovation Institutes. These new institutes, partnerships among business, universities and community colleges, and government, will develop and build manufacturing technologies and capabilities to help U.S.-based businesses and workers create good jobs.
We asked Gene Sperling, Director of the National Economic Council, to explain in 60 seconds or less why these institutes are an important part of the President’s strategy to invest in manufacturing. Hear what he had to say below.
For more information: