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December 16, 2014
01:24 PM EST
America’s fisheries drive coastal economies and put food on the tables of families across the country. Unfortunately, the twin global issues of illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing and seafood fraud undermine the economic and environmental sustainability of fisheries and fish stocks.
Global losses attributable to IUU fishing are estimated at $10 billion to $23 billion annually. Pirate fishing vessels take in fish without regard to the sustainability of ocean ecosystems. Not required to file trip plans or carry transponders, the ships roam the oceans in the shadows and become vectors for human, drug, and arms trafficking. Black-market fishing distorts legal markets and displaces law-abiding fishermen, ultimately serving as a drag on the global economy. These challenges can be compounded by seafood fraud — the mislabeling, misbranding, or falsification of product origins — which can occur at any point in the supply chain.
Today, the federal task force on combatting IUU fishing and seafood fraud released its final recommendations to tackle these complex challenges. President Obama announced the creation of the task force at the State Department’s Our Ocean conference in June, and for the last six months, under the leadership of NOAA Administrator Kathy Sullivan and Under Secretary of State Cathy Novelli, representatives from 14 agencies have come together to answer the President’s call to action.
Lindsay HolstDecember 16, 2014
01:05 PM EST
"When I opened the envelope containing my insurance card, I got a bit teary eyed. Thank you a million times."
Lynette J. is a small business owner from Hyattsville, Maryland. Her business has been open for more than seven years, she's 34 years old, and at the time she wrote the President this past August, she was about to make her first doctor's appointment in more than five years. That's because she's now covered thanks to the Affordable Care Act.
Jason FurmanDecember 16, 2014
11:45 AM EST
The U.S. economic recovery took a major step forward in 2014, achieving a number of important milestones. American businesses set a new record for the most consecutive months of job growth: now 57 straight months and counting. By November, the economy had already added more jobs than in any full calendar year since the 1990s. And crucially, the pickup in job growth during 2014 occurred primarily in higher-paying industries, while nearly all of the employment gains have been in full-time positions. At the same time, the unemployment rate fell below 6 percent for the first time since 2008.
Ken MeyerDecember 15, 2014
08:28 PM EST
First Lady Michelle Obama visited the patients at the Children’s National Medical Center today in Washington, D.C., continuing a tradition dating back more than 60 years to First Lady Bess Truman. First Dogs Bo and Sunny joined Mrs. Obama to help spread holiday cheer to the kids and their families.
After meeting with patients and doctors in the surgical care unit and with the infectious disease team, the First Lady sat down with Santa Claus to read 'Twas the Night Before Christmas to a group of children gathered in the hospital's atrium.
CHILD: I knew it was Santa!
MRS. OBAMA: You knew it was Santa! It’s a Christmas story, who else would it be?
Tanya SomanaderDecember 15, 2014
06:31 PM EST
The Surgeon General is America's doctor, responsible for providing Americans with the best scientific information on how to improve our collective well-being. Now, Dr. Vivek Murthy will be the next physician to don the lab coat of the Surgeon General after the Senate confirmed his nomination today.
"I applaud the Senate for confirming Vivek Murthy to be our country’s next Surgeon General," the President said following the confirmation. "As ‘America’s Doctor,’ Vivek will hit the ground running to make sure every American has the information they need to keep themselves and their families safe. He’ll bring his lifetime of experience promoting public health to bear on priorities ranging from stopping new diseases to helping our kids grow up healthy and strong."
Here's a quick rundown of what you need to know about our next Surgeon General:
What does the Surgeon General do?
The Surgeon General's chief responsibility is to protect, promote, and advance our nation's public health. He or she provides Americans with the best scientific information available on how to improve our health and reduce the risk of illness and injury.
On top of overseeing 6,700 members of the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, the Surgeon General is also the Chair of the National Prevention Council, a group of 20 federal departments and agencies that is committed to prevention and wellness for individuals, families, and communities.
David HudsonDecember 15, 2014
06:17 PM EST
Last week, Attorney General Eric Holder traveled to Memphis and held a roundtable discussion on improving the relationship between the city's people of color and local law enforcement.
In the wake of the recent police-involved deaths of Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, and others, the President has called for an increased effort to help rebuild communities' trust in local law enforcement and the justice system. In that vein, the Attorney General will be holding similar discussions in a number of other cities across the country.
Tanya SomanaderDecember 15, 2014
05:26 PM EST
"The message I’m here to deliver on behalf of the American people is very simple: It’s just to say thank you."
President Obama traveled to Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst in New Jersey today to offer his thanks to the U.S. military members and families stationed there and across the world for their service to our country:
David HudsonDecember 15, 2014
02:28 PM EST
Earlier today, The Tennessean published the following op-ed from President Obama. In it, he discusses his executive actions to help make America's immigration system smarter and fairer, and why we still need Congress to pass a common-sense law to fix the system.
Many Americans think of Nashville as the home of country music, barbecue, and a hit TV show. What they may not realize is that, in recent years, Music City also has had one of the fastest-growing immigrant populations in the country.
"New Nashvillians" are from Somalia and Nepal and Laos. They're from Mexico and Bangladesh. Nashville even boasts the largest Kurdish community in the United States. They work as teachers in our schools, doctors in our hospitals, and cops in our neighborhoods. They start small businesses and create jobs making this city a more prosperous, more innovative place. "They" are "us."
When done right, immigration benefits everyone. But our immigration system has been broken for a long time. Families who try to come here the right way can get stuck in line for years. Business owners who treat their workers right see the competition exploit undocumented immigrants. None of us likes the idea that someone could reap the rewards of living in America without its responsibilities. And folks who desperately want to embrace those responsibilities have no way to come out of the shadows and get right with the law.
Lindsay HolstDecember 15, 2014
10:40 AM EST
"…I was locked into my job because of health care. The Affordable Care Act enabled me to resign and devote my full efforts to what I believe is a much more important calling."
Health reform has given many Americans the freedom to pursue their dreams -- and Keith C. is one of them.
Lindsay HolstDecember 13, 2014
06:00 AM EST
President Barack Obama tapes the Weekly Address in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, Dec. 12, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Amanda Lucidon)
In this week's address, the President thanked the men and women in uniform who serve and sacrifice to protect the freedom, prosperity, and security that we all enjoy as Americans. On Monday the President will visit troops at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst in New Jersey and voice his appreciation in person for their incredible service.
These troops, as well as the many who are still overseas, have met every mission they have been tasked with, from bringing a responsible end to our war in Afghanistan, to working to degrade and ultimately destroy ISIL, to saving lives by fighting to contain the spread of Ebola. During this holiday season, a time of blessings and gratitude, the President reminded everyone to find a way to thank and serve the members of the military who serve us every day.
December 12, 2014
05:40 PM EST
For the past several years, Bo and Sunny, the First Family’s dogs, have been creatively included in the White House holiday décor. Last year’s decorations even included a 3D model of Bo with a wagging tail powered by a motor from a reindeer lawn decoration!
This year the White House enlisted Stephanie Santoso, Mark DeLoura, and Laura Gerhardt from the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) and David Naffis and Bosco So from the Presidential Innovation Fellows (PIF) program to feature Bo and Sunny in the holiday decorations as life-size, animated “dog-bots."
Adam GarberDecember 12, 2014
04:13 PM EST
This week, the President nominated a Secretary of Defense, coded with a group of budding computer scientists, took over as host of The Colbert Report, pushed for comprehensive immigration reform, hosted a summit on high quality early education, and welcomed this year's Kennedy Center Honorees to the White House. That's December 5th to December 11th or, "Zeros & Ones."
Tanya SomanaderDecember 12, 2014
03:22 PM EST
"If it wasn't for [the Affordable Care Act], I would either be dead right now or in a devastating amount of debt. Instead, I am cancer free! ... I'm only 55 years old and I'm grateful that I have a very good chance at many chapters ahead."
Kori SchulmanDecember 12, 2014
01:13 PM EST
Each year, President Obama and the First Lady welcome people from around the country to visit the White House during the holiday season. Throughout the month of December, 65,000 people will enjoy decorations adorning "The People’s House," including 26 Christmas trees, a 420-pound gingerbread house, and animated replicas of First Dogs Bo and Sunny. Visitors are taking to social media to post about their visit using #WHHolidays, and now we’re excited to share their experience with you.
If you can’t make it to the White House this season, you can explore the decorations and see what visitors are saying through a new experience powered by Spredfast. Take a look at what people are saying below, or at WhiteHouse.gov/Holidays.
Lynn RosenthalDecember 12, 2014
12:16 PM EST
On Wednesday night, I attended an important event honoring Vice President Biden for his work to reduce violence against women. Hosted by Vital Voices, a leading advocacy organization, the event recognized men who have been leading the fight to end gender-based violence around the globe. Vice President Biden was honored for his role as the author of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). This groundbreaking legislation is credited for the dramatic decline in domestic violence in the U.S. over the past 20 years.
The Vice President was introduced by Vital Voices board member and women’s activist Diane von Furstenberg who said, “for his leadership, courage, and relentless spirit, on behalf of Vital Voices, it is my privilege to recognize Vice President Joe Biden with the Solidarity Award.”
As he accepted the award, Vice President Biden spoke in stark terms about the violence women suffer around the globe and how much more there is to do. “For, as I speak, there are thousands of women around the world being brutalized, mutilated, killed – at the hands of those who allegedly love them,” he said.
Tanya SomanaderDecember 12, 2014
12:16 PM EST
Dashing through the snow, trying to pick up those last minute gifts for family and friends? It's hard to keep track of everything you need to get done this holiday season, but here's one thing you should cross off the list by December 15: health insurance.
You need to sign up by December 15 in order to have coverage on January 1, 2015.
If you don't have health insurance or you want to shop around for plans, go to HealthCare.gov right now and find an option that works for you. Already covered? Commit to get someone you know covered in time for the New Year at WhiteHouse.gov/Get-Covered.
Need to make a list (and check it twice)? Click on the image below to print out an easy #GetCovered to-do list you can fill out and pin to your fridge:
Tanya SomanaderDecember 12, 2014
11:15 AM EST
This holiday season, our economy is ringing in some good news: The U.S. is outpacing much of the world in putting people back to work. Over the first 11 months of 2014, our economy has created 2.65 million jobs -- more than in any year since the late 1990s. Businesses have created 10.9 million jobs over the past 57 months in a row, extending the longest streak of private sector job growth on record. Over the last four years, we’ve put more people back to work than Europe, Japan, and all other industrialized nations combined.
The President is also committed to making sure that all hardworking Americans can see this progress in their paycheck. That is why the latest jobs report was so encouraging -- the pickup in the pace of job growth in 2014 has been in industries that pay higher wages.
Take a look at the chart to see which industries that offer higher incomes have added more jobs over the course of this year:
December 11, 2014
06:53 PM EST
President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama take part in the Hanukkah candle lighting ceremony in the East Room of the White House, Dec. 2, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
Throughout our history here at the White House, Presidents and First Families have joined people from across the country to celebrate the joyous holiday season.
Take our quiz to find out how much you know about the holiday season at the White House. After, head to WhiteHouse.gov/Holidays to learn more about what's new this year.
How Much Do You Know about the Holidays at the White House?
From snowball fights to gingerbread houses to digital trees, the White House is a treasure trove of holiday traditions — old and new alike. Take this quiz to test your knowledge and learn a surprising thing or two about our holiday history.
1. Who was the first President to preside over the National Christmas tree lighting ceremony?
- President George Washington in 1788
- President Calvin Coolidge in 1923
- President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1934
- President Barack Obama in 2009
Yup! Back in 1923, a few school children in Washington, D.C. wrote to President Calvin Coolidge asking him if they could put a Christmas tree on the South Lawn. More than 90 years later, that simple request is now a holiday tradition. Check out this year’s ceremony to light the National Christmas Tree — “a symbol of hope and holiday spirit.”
Actually, the first National Christmas Tree was lit by President Calvin Coolidge. Back in 1923, a few school children in Washington, D.C. wrote to President Calvin Coolidge asking him if they could put a Christmas tree on the South Lawn. More than 90 years later, that simple request is now a holiday tradition. Check out this year’s ceremony to light the National Christmas Tree — “a symbol of hope and holiday spirit.”
2. True or false: A steadfast conservationist, President Teddy Roosevelt refused to allow any trees to be cut for use in the White House.
That’s right! President Teddy Roosevelt did not approve of cutting trees for Christmas decorations. But his son Archie defied the ban and smuggled in a small tree that was decorated and then hidden in a closet a sewing room in the White House.
It’s actually true! President Teddy Roosevelt was such an avowed conservationist that he prohibited cutting a single tree for Christmas decorations at the White House. However, his son Archie defied the ban and smuggled in a small tree that was decorated and then hidden in a closet in the upstairs sewing room.
3. Who helped light up the National Christmas tree for the first time in history this year?
- The First Dogs, Bo & Sonny
- Santa and his reindeer
- Girls across the country, using code
- Vice President Biden
Nailed it. Young girls from across the country joined Google in using code to give the state and territory trees a digital upgrade. Decorate your own “digi-tree” using Made w/ Code’s holiday lights program!
Nope! Neither Vice President Biden, the First Dogs, nor Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer could hold a candle to the young girls who used code for the first time in history to light up the state and territory trees. Decorate your own “digi-tree” using Made w/ Code’s holiday lights program!
4. True or false: The White House once hosted an indoor snowball fight.
Right! Snow or no-snow, President Andrew Jackson knew how to throw a party. In 1834, he threw a large party for his children and grandchildren that included games, dancing, dinner, and an indoor “snowball fight” using specially-made cotton balls for the occasion. To this day, the White House invites school groups and organizations to help decorate and participate in the holiday parties.
It’s true! Snow or no-snow, President Andrew Jackson knew how to throw a party. In 1834, he threw a large party for his children and grandchildren that included games, dancing, dinner, and an indoor “snowball fight” using specially-made cotton balls for the occasion. To this day, the White House invites school groups and organizations to help decorate and participate in the holiday parties.
5. Who was the first President to light the National Menorah?
- President Van Buren
- President Carter
- President Reagan
- President Obama
Correct! President Jimmy Carter was the first president to recognize Hanukkah, lighting the National Menorah on the first night of the Festival of Lights in 1979. Since then, each president has commemorated Hanukkah at the White House with ceremonies ranging from small presentations in the Oval Office to large parties with the First Family, but they all have shared the tradition of a unique Hanukkah Menorah. This year, the National Menorah will be lit on the night of December 16. Stay tuned for details of this year’s celebrations: wh.gov/holidays.
Actually, President Jimmy Carter was the first president to recognize Hanukkah, lighting the National Menorah on the first night of the Festival of Lights in 1979. Since then, each president has commemorated Hanukkah at the White House with ceremonies ranging from small presentations in the Oval Office to large parties with the First Family, but they all have shared the tradition of a unique Hanukkah Menorah. This year, the National Menorah will be lit on the night of December 16. Stay tuned for details of this year’s celebrations: wh.gov/holidays.
6. The official White House Gingerbread House weighs approximately how much?
- 8 Pounds
- About 50 Pounds
- 199 Pounds
- Over 300 Pounds
Correct — astounding, right? This miniature White House is actually a colossal production. Everyone from White House carpenters to plumbers to electricians lend their expertise to help make this delectable decoration possible. Located in the State Dining Room, this year’s gingerbread house – complete with a skating rink and marzipan reindeer -- contains 250 pounds of pastillage, 40 pounds of marzipan, 25 pounds of gum paste, 80 pounds of gingerbread dough, 25 pounds of sugar work, and an immeasurable amount of holiday delight. You can check it out here: wh.gov/holidays.
It’s actually more than 300 pounds! Surprised? It’s true, this miniature White House is actually a colossal production. Everyone from White House carpenters to plumbers to electricians lend their expertise to help make this delectable decoration possible. Located in the State Dining Room, this year’s gingerbread house – complete with a skating rink and marzipan reindeer -- contains 250 pounds of pastillage, 40 pounds of marzipan, 25 pounds of gum paste, 80 pounds of gingerbread dough, 25 pounds of sugar work, and an immeasurable amount of holiday delight. You can check it out here: wh.gov/holidays.
You got questions correct.
Now that you know how presidents and Americans across the country have helped deck the halls here at the White House, check out the latest décor — including a few more holiday firsts from President Obama and the First Family. Head over to wh.gov/holidays to see how we’re trimming the house in this year’s theme: A Children’s Winter Wonderland.
David HudsonDecember 11, 2014
05:21 PM EST
Earlier today, President Obama joined a meeting of his Export Council, which advises him on policies and programs that affect America's trade performance and promote export expansion.
In his remarks, the President noted the United States' economic progress over the past year, spotlighting our strong exports as one of the reasons behind our country's continued job creation:
We've seen some significant economic progress here in the United States over the last year. Our businesses have added almost 11 million jobs over the past 57 months. This year our economy has already created more jobs [than] in any year since the 1990s, with still a month to go. All told, since 2010, we've created more jobs here in the United States than Japan, Europe, and all advanced nations combined.
And one of the reasons that we've been able to create so many jobs here in the United States is because our exports have been strong. Last year our businesses sold a record $2.3 trillion of Made in America goods and services. And these exports support more than 11 million American jobs -- typically, by the way, jobs that pay higher wages.
December 11, 2014
04:26 PM EST
A painting of an elegantly dressed woman named Lady Ada Lovelace hangs on the wall at the U.K. Prime Minister's residence at 10 Downing Street.
She's considered to be the world's first programmer -- but most people have never heard of her.
Ada Lovelace's experience remains all too familiar: So many of the breakthrough contributions of women in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields continue to go untold, too often fading into obscurity.
Then add an untold history of your own, and make a commitment to share these stories in any way you can to help inspire more young women and men to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering, and math.