For your submission
August 16, 2013
09:45 AM EST
This week in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, U.S. Trade Representative Mike Froman and senior members of the President’s economic team joined trade ministers, civil society, and business leaders from across sub-Saharan Africa to focus on “Sustainable Growth through Trade and Technology” at the African Growth and Opportunity Act Forum. The Forum also kicked off the process leading to AGOA’s renewal in 2015.
As the President highlighted on his trip to Senegal, South Africa, and Tanzania this summer, Africa is experiencing historic growth. Six of the ten fastest growing economies in the world are in Africa. The continent has enormous economic potential, and it’s in our interest to help African countries expand trade and investment to fuel their development.
AGOA has transformed the way the United States and Africa interact on trade and economic issues. Since 2001 – the first full year of AGOA trade -- U.S. total trade with sub-Saharan Africa has more than doubled, from $28.2 billion to $72.3 billion in 2012. AGOA enabled U.S. exports to the region to more than triple from $6.9 billion in 2001 to $22.6 billion in 2012. At the same time, AGOA imports (including GSP) to the United States have climbed to $34.9 billion in 2012, more than four times the amount in 2001. That increase in trade has created thousands of new jobs in Africa.
Kori SchulmanAugust 15, 2013
02:30 PM EST
"Every once and a while someone comes along in a community that literally transforms a community—and that's exactly what Father Roberto Balducelli did," said the Vice President in the latest edition of Being Biden. 'Father Roberto' passed away last week, on the eve of his 100th birthday. The Vice President was among the hundreds who gathered at St. Anthony of Padua Church in Wilmington to remember Balducelli's life.
The Vice President wanted to share his story with you — take a listen.
Sign up to receive email updates when new stories posted.
Cecilia MuñozAugust 15, 2013
01:51 PM EST
One year ago today, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) began implementing a policy that makes our immigration system more representative of our values as a nation. On this day, DHS began accepting requests for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) – a policy that provides young people who were brought to the United States as children with temporary protection from deportation if they can demonstrate that they meet several criteria.
By removing the threat of deportation for young people brought to this country as children – known as “DREAMers” – DHS has been able to focus its enforcement efforts on those who endanger our communities rather than students pursuing an education and seeking to better themselves and their communities. As the President stated when the policy was announced, “[t]hey are Americans in their heart, in their minds, in every single way but one: on paper.”
Matt ComptonAugust 15, 2013
12:58 PM EST
President Obama this morning issued a statement on the unfolding situation in Egypt and called for an end to violence.
"The United States strongly condemns the steps that have been taken by Egypt’s interim government and security forces," he said. "We deplore violence against civilians. We support universal rights essential to human dignity, including the right to peaceful protest. We oppose the pursuit of martial law, which denies those rights to citizens under the principle that security trumps individual freedom, or that might makes right. And today the United States extends its condolences to the families of those who were killed and those who were wounded."
The President announced that he is canceling the biannual joint military training exercise that U.S. forces hold with Egyptian counterparts and weighing the implications of the Egyptian interim government's actions as the United States considers further steps that we may take.
"The Egyptian people deserve better than what we’ve seen," he said.
Watch video of President Obama's statement here:
Listen to the audio of the President's statement here:
Ari MatusiakAugust 14, 2013
05:05 PM EST
Small businesses are the backbone of our economy, and for the 28 million small employers across the country, healthcare is a major concern. The Affordable Care Act provides benefits and opportunities to small businesses that will help increase access to affordable coverage options.
Here are five key ways the Affordable Care Act can benefit small employers and their workers:
Kasie CoccaroAugust 14, 2013
03:20 PM EST
In the following months, additional provisions of the Affordable Care Act will be available, including critical new consumer protections for Americans and their families that end the worst insurance company abuses by banning discrimination based on pre-existing health conditions, ending annual limits on what an insurance company will cover, and giving all Americans access to health care plans that cap out-of-pocket medical costs for the first time.
We wanted to debunk some of the other myths about Obamacare – here are 214 words to describe the law.
August 14, 2013
01:45 PM EST
Seventy-eight years ago today, when President Roosevelt signed the Social Security Act into law, he sent across a simple but significant message: Americans, no matter their age or physical ability, should be able to live their lives with dignity. Though the times and technologies have changed, that message remains at the core of this Administration.
Currently, Social Security helps provide almost 58 million Americans, including 37 million retired workers and 8 million disabled workers, with economic security. It is the major source of income for most of the elderly, who paid into the system throughout their lives.
Even as we celebrate Social Security’s birthday, we have to work to ensure that future generations have access to that same type of security. That’s why President Obama is committed to protect and strengthen Social Security, finding new ways to improve service delivery while cutting waste and fraud.
August 13, 2013
05:10 PM EST
Landmark consumer protections, including limits on out-of pocket costs in health insurance plans, are taking effect next year, on time. Here are the facts:
Under the Affordable Care Act, for the first time, new historic consumer protections will stop the worst insurance company abuses, by making it illegal for companies to discriminate based on pre-existing health conditions, ending lifetime and annual dollar limits on what an insurance company will cover, and capping out-of pocket spending to protect Americans and their families.
August 13, 2013
02:11 PM EST
Today, the White House released a report detailing the economic benefits of providing a path to earned citizenship for the 11 million undocumented immigrants currently living and working in the U.S. shadow economy. As highlighted in the report, a range of economic research has shown that immigrants living and working in the United States without authorization are earning far less than their potential, paying much less in taxes, and contributing significantly less to the U.S. economy than they would if they were given the opportunity to gain legal status and earn U.S. citizenship. According to outside estimates, providing earned citizenship for these workers would increase their wages and, over 10 years, boost U.S. GDP by $1.4 trillion, increase total income for all Americans by $791 billion, generate $184 billion in additional state and federal tax revenue from currently undocumented immigrants, and add about 2 million jobs to the U.S. economy.
Julie Chavez RodriguezAugust 13, 2013
01:25 PM EST
Today, Jason Berry the owner of Berry Farms in Vivaldia, Georgia joined a call with Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack to highlight the important economic benefits of immigration reform to the agricultural industry. Jason’s company produces 200 acres of organic blueberries, in addition to 50 acres of vegetables. In the spring and summer of 2011 a drastic shortage of farm workers, invoked by the passage of a local law, almost caused him to lose his farm. Desperate for workers, Jason began offering $50 signing bonuses to locals who were willing to work harvesting his crops; however, based on his estimates, 90% of those new hires quit within three days. Jason says the losses at his blueberry and vegetable farm were almost enough to put his small operation under, which would have drastically impacted him and his 15 year round employees. Jason’s story is one echoed by many farmers in Georgia. Jason shared his story with President Obama in late June and continues to use his story to demonstrate why immigration reform is so important to America’s farmers and the entire agricultural industry. Check out Jason’s video here.
August 12, 2013
04:55 PM EST
This week marks the tenth anniversary of one of the worst power outages in the United States, during which tens of millions of Americans were affected across parts of Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania, New York, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and New Jersey. Severe weather is the number one cause of power outages on the nation’s electric grid, which serves as the backbone of the nation’s infrastructure that delivers electric power to millions of Americans in homes, schools, offices, and factories across the United States.
A new report from the White House Council of Economic Advisers and the Energy Department evaluates the economic cost of power outages and calls for increased cross-sector investment to make the electric grid more resilient in the face of increasingly severe weather events due to climate change.
Julie Chavez RodriguezAugust 12, 2013
04:50 PM EST
As members of Congress go home to their districts for the August recess, they are hearing directly from Americans of all political stripes who are calling for a vote on commonsense immigration reform. In hundreds of town hall meetings, business roundtables, vigils, pilgrimages and rallies across the country, supporters of immigration reform including evangelicals, business owners, labor and law enforcement leaders, are asking their representatives to pass legislation to fix our broken immigration system as soon as they return to Washington in September.
Pro-reform supporters are making waves across the country as they continue to build momentum for immigration reform. The broad coalition of constituents who support reform is stronger and more bipartisan than ever. They have a clear message: Congress must work to fix our immigration system as soon as members return to the Capitol this fall.
In a meeting last week with the Modesto Chamber of Commerce, Representative Jeff Denham, a Republican lawmaker from California, expressed his support for moving commonsense immigration reform legislation in the House: “I thought we'd get this done before the August work period. I think the Senate made tremendous progress. It was done bipartisan [sic] and I thought that would be enough to get the House moving forward."
August 10, 2013
06:22 PM EST
On Saturday, the President and First Lady spoke at the Disabled American Veterans (DAV) National Convention in Orlando, FL. Founded in September of 1920, the DAV celebrates 92 years of service to disabled veterans and their families with this three-day event.
The forerunner to the Department of Veterans Affairs, the DAV has empowered disabled veterans and their families serving in every conflict from World War I to Iraq and Afghanistan.
Ezra MechaberAugust 10, 2013
06:00 AM EST
In this week’s address, President Obama says that the housing market is starting to heal, and now it’s time to build on that progress by creating a better bargain for responsible, middle class homeowners. The President announced steps he will take to strengthen the housing market, and now Congress must act to help make homeownership a source of pride and middle class security for generations to come.
August 09, 2013
07:46 PM EST
A Birthday Celebration: President Obama celebrated his 52nd birthday on Sunday – and we posted 52 of our favorite pictures from the year!
Live from Phoenix: The President left Washington on Tuesday and headed to Phoenix, Arizona, one of the cities hit the hardest when the housing bubble burst in 2009. Speaking from Desert Vista High School, President Obama discussed the progress we’ve made as a country and his commitment to continue helping responsible homeowners and promote the American Dream of homeownership.
We’ll make owning a home a symbol of responsibility, not speculation -- a source of security for generations to come, just like it was for my grandparents. I want it to be just like that for all the young people who are here today and their children and their grandchildren.
The Tonight Show with Jay Leno: While on the West Coast, President Obama stopped by The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and discussed housing and the economy. The President spoke about the progress we’ve made in the last five years and urged leaders in Washington to work hard to help the Americans who are still being affected by the recession.
What Washington should be thinking about every single day is how do we make sure we’ve got an economy where if folks work hard, they can find a good job that pays a decent wage; they can send their kids to college; they've got health care they can count on; they can retire even if they don't get rich -- or even if they're not rich; and that we’re creating these ladders of opportunities for people to get into the middle class.
#AskObamaHousing: On Wednesday, President Obama partnered with Zillow, the online real estate market place, and Yahoo!, to answer questions submitted through Twitter, Facebook, Vine and Instagram about the housing market.
We’ve got to give more hardworking Americans the chance to buy their first home. We have to help more responsible homeowners refinance their mortgages,” President Obama said. “And we’ve got to turn the page on this kind of bubble-and-bust mentality that helped to create this mess in the first place.
Ezra MechaberAugust 09, 2013
07:07 PM EST
President Obama took questions from the White House Press Corps today in the East Room of the White House, addressing a range of topics including the National Security Agency's role and reforms to intelligence gathering programs.
Cecilia MuñozAugust 09, 2013
02:40 PM EST
My immigrant parents taught me that there is no surer pathway to success than a good education. I am grateful that, by coming to the United States, they made this opportunity available to me; it’s a privilege to be working in the White House to make higher education available to every American willing to work for it. And as I am about to have two daughters in college at the same time, it’s clear to me that if a college degree is really going to be available to all families, we must make sure students and their families don’t leave college saddled with a mountain of debt.
This afternoon, President Obama made an important step toward that promise by signing into law the bipartisan student loan interest rate compromise, which advances our nation's commitment to students by cutting rates on nearly all new loans this year – saving a typical undergraduate student $1,500 over the life of his or her loans. This legislation allows borrowers to benefit from the low interest rates currently available in the marketplace, guarantees that borrowers are able to lock in these rates over the life of their loans, and protects future borrowers by capping how high rates can rise.
The signing of this legislation is a key victory for students, one in which Members of Congress from both sides of the aisle came together around the important mission of keeping college affordable for American students and their families.
August 09, 2013
12:40 PM EST
What do baseball player Ernie Banks, former President Bill Clinton, and Oprah Winfrey all have in common? Later this year, they will be honored by President Obama as three of the sixteen recipients of the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Fifty years ago, President Kennedy signed an Executive Order establishing the Presidential Medal of Freedom, which is the Nation’s highest civilian honor. President Obama said, “The Presidential Medal of Freedom goes to men and women who have dedicated their own lives to enriching ours. This year’s honorees have been blessed with extraordinary talent, but what sets them apart is their gift for sharing that talent with the world. It will be my honor to present them with a token of our nation’s gratitude.”
August 09, 2013
10:45 AM EST
Ed. note: This is cross-posted from hhs.gov. See the original post here.
More than three years ago, the most important women’s health legislation in my lifetime was passed into law — the Affordable Care Act. This law lowers the costs of health care for women, increases access to quality health care, and pays attention to the distinct health needs of women and families. As women, we often make health care decisions for ourselves and for our families, so it is important that we know how the health care law benefits us.
Women have often been charged more than men for the exact same health coverage. We have paid higher premiums and out-of-pocket costs. We also tend to make less than men and have a harder time paying for health care costs. As a result, women have not always had access to the health care they needed or the freedom to make the best health care choices for themselves and their families.
But that’s all changing. The new health care law already requires most health plans and insurance policies to cover recommended preventive services at no additional cost. This means that, each year, a woman can have a well-woman visit with her doctor at no cost to her. It also means we can get free screenings for breast and cervical cancer; FDA-approved contraception; breastfeeding support and equipment; screening and counseling for domestic violence; smoking cessation medications and services; and more. Furthermore, more low-income women will be eligible for Medicaid in 2014 even if they do not have children.
Adam GarberAugust 09, 2013
12:00 AM EST
This week, the President embarked on a two-day trip west, to Arizona and California, to continue talking with Americans about his better bargain for the middle class, this time focusing on housing, to pay a visit to service members at Marine Base Camp Pendleton, and to sit down for a visit with Jay Leno. Back at home, he met with the Prime Minister of Greece, the outgoing class of summer interns, and former Negro League baseball players.