21st Century Government Latest News
- Posted byon March 11, 2013 at 9:59 AM EDT
Ed. Note: This post is the first in a Sunshine Week series on whitehouse.gov. Sunshine Week is a national initiative to celebrate and focus on government transparency and open government.
As President Barack Obama has stated, "Openness will strengthen our democracy, and promote efficiency and effectiveness in Government." This week, we celebrate Sunshine Week -- an appropriate time to discuss the importance of open government and freedom of information, and to take stock of how far we have come, and think about what more can be done.
Over the last few weeks, we have asked for your feedback on some of our open government efforts, and you have responded, whether in meetings with civil society or via Quora, or a web form on WhiteHouse.gov. We thank you for taking the time to talk to us about this important work, and we hear you – and we will continue to consult with you.
In the spirit of Sunshine Week, the White House will highlight one initiative a day which demonstrates the Obama Administration’s continued commitment to open and accessible government. Today, we will focus on progress made improving the administration of the FOIA. As Justice Louis Brandeis wrote, "sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants." In our democracy, FOIA, which encourages accountability through transparency, is the most prominent expression of a profound national commitment to ensuring an open government.
- Posted byon March 8, 2013 at 6:33 PM EDT
Violence Against Women Act: On Thursday, President Obama signed the Violence Against Women Act of 2013, which provides resources for thousands of victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence, and stalking. The renewed version of the law extends to protect LGBT victims, immigrants, Native Americans, and victims of sex-trafficking. The act will ensure victims and survivors will have the resources they need. With survivors and advocates standing behind him President Obama recognized the significance of the day:
But everybody on this stage worked extraordinarily hard. Most of all, though, this is your day. This is the day of the advocates; the day of the survivors. This is your victory.
- Watch President Obama and Vice President Biden deliver remarks at the signing.
- Read the remarks by President Obama and Vice President Biden here.
First Cabinet Meeting: On Monday, President Obama opened the 17th Cabinet meeting of his presidency and the first of the new term. The President welcomed to the table his newest cabinet members, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew and Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel. In his remarks, President Obama shared his deep concerns of the harmful and automatic budget cuts known as the sequester and advocated for bipartisan solutions so Americans can be poised for progress:
So one of the things that I’ve instructed not just my White House but every agency is to make sure that, regardless of some of the challenges that they may face because of sequestration, we’re not going to stop working on behalf of the American people to make sure that we’re doing everything we can to continue to grow this economy and improve people’s prospects.
- Posted byon March 4, 2013 at 4:52 PM EDT
We announced last week that we are doing a self-assessment of the U.S. National Action Plan on Open Government and were looking for your feedback about our implementation. We are meeting with civil society groups to solicit their feedback in person, and we set up ways for you to share your own feedback online through a dedicated Q&A site Quora, or through a web form on WhiteHouse.gov. And we take your feedback seriously.
Here’s proof: We heard from you that it would be helpful if we published the text of the President's directive extending whistleblower protections to the intelligence and national security communities for the first time. We decided you were right. Click here to find the directive.
- Posted byon February 22, 2013 at 6:54 PM EDT
Since taking office, President Obama has made clear that his Administration is committed to Open Government—that the Nation is made stronger by making the Federal Government accountable to citizens and by giving those citizens opportunities to participate in their government.
That’s why, in September 2011, President Obama, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, and the leaders of six other governments launched the global Open Government Partnership – a global effort to encourage transparent, effective, and accountable governance driven by citizens and civil society around the world. Demonstrating the Nation’s domestic commitment to the Partnership, President Obama launched the U.S. National Action Plan on Open Government that same day, saying:
“We pledge to be more transparent at every level -- because more information on government activity should be open, timely, and freely available to the people. We pledge to engage more of our citizens in decision-making -- because it makes government more effective and responsive. We pledge to implement the highest standards of integrity -- because those in power must serve the people, not themselves. And we pledge to increase access to technology -- because in this digital century, access to information is a right that is universal.”
In just over a year, the Administration has made significant progress toward implementing the National Action Plan, working closely and in partnership with American citizens and organizations.
- Posted byon February 22, 2013 at 4:00 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 November 2012. Today’s release also includes visitor records generated prior to September 16, 2009 that were requested by members of the public in January 2013 pursuant to the White House voluntary disclosure policy. This release brings the total number of records made public by this White House to more than 3 million—all of which can be viewed in our Disclosures section.
Ed. note: For more information, check out Ethics.gov.
- Posted byon February 14, 2013 at 10:10 PM EDT
During the virtual conversation, the President answered questions about a range of topics, from steps to reduce gun violence to his plan to reward hard work by raising the minimum wage. The President also addressed some more personal questions from participants on recommended reading, Valentine’s Day plans and baby names.
Use the links below to jump to specific questions and answers during the hangout (questions are paraphrased):