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    This afternoon, President Obama traveled to Birmingham, Alabama to highlight new actions the Administration is taking to protect you, the American consumer.

    While in Birmingham, the President hosted a roundtable on the economy and delivered remarks at Lawson State Community College. He advocated for stricter payday lending rules and taked about the progress we’ve made building a safer and stronger financial system.

    President Obama praised the  Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), an independent watchdog that is taking new steps towards cracking down on abusive practices involving payday loans. Now, lenders will be required to verify that borrowers can pay them back, and limit short-term credits to 45 days.

    President Obama participates in a roundtable at Lawson State

    President Barack Obama participates in a roundtable on consumer protection issues, at Lawson State Community College in Birmingham, Alabama, March 26, 2015. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)


  • As part of the “Let Girls Learn” initiative to open the doors of education for girls around the world, First Lady Michelle Obama traveled to Tokyo, Japan; Kyoto, Japan; and Siem Reap, Cambodia from March 18 to March 22, 2015. Take a look at her trip in pictures:

    “Educating girls is the best investment we can make, not just in their future, but in the future of their families, their communities, and their countries.” — The First Lady in Tokyo, Japan

  • We lose too many of our fellow Americans to drug overdoses. Especially alarming is the high rate of prescription drug overdose and the rising rate of overdoses due to heroin use. In 2012 alone, 259 million opioid prescriptions were written -- enough for every American adult to have a bottle.

    Rural America, including my home state of West Virginia, knows this issue all too well. Opioid injuries and overdoses are very real and affect many families. The situation is urgent – but there is reason for optimism: There are targeted actions we can take to save lives and turn these trends around. But we need all stakeholders at the table.

    Therefore, I am asking federal, state and local government officials, doctors, treatment providers, drug companies, individuals and family members to work together to address this nationwide crisis.

  • "What is it that you saw, you learned, you heard, that made you think about the drug trade and its impact on the inner cities that compelled you to then want to tell these stories?" 

    A beat reporter in Baltimore and a state senator from Chicago: two men who saw the disproportionate impact of America’s war on drugs firsthand early in their careers.

    That experience would shape the way they viewed criminal justice in America and the reforms they hope to make a reality for communities that the drug trade – and the way we currently enforce our drug laws – can tear apart.

    This week, that former reporter – David Simon, the creator of HBO’s The Wire – and that former young senator -- President Barack Obama -- sat down to talk honestly about the challenges law enforcement face and the consequences communities bear from the war on drugs. Listen to what they had to say:  

  • People tend to tune out when they hear the phrase "consumer protection," and that's probably because we don't really think about ourselves as "consumers." But we do think about ourselves as a "mom," or "dad," or "student borrower," or "employee."

    So with that in mind, if you're someone who wants to buy a house, pay for school, get solid retirement advice that actually leaves you with more money in your pocket, avoid hidden credit card fees, and generally avoid getting unfairly trapped in a cycle of debt, we've got good news: The Wall Street reforms the President has put in place are working for you.

    One of the core beliefs of this Administration has always been that good government ought to look out for American consumers and protect them from abusive and unfair practices, and that's why in 2010, we created a new independent agency responsible for doing exactly that: the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).

    As a now fully operational, independent watchdog, the CFPB is responsible for cracking down on bad actors like unscrupulous lenders, or fraudulent debt collectors, and giving you the information you need to take charge of your financial future. And today, they took another huge step toward protecting working families against abuses in payday and similar types of lending.

    Read on to learn more about what the CFPB announced today, and how it builds on the reforms you might not have realized the President put in place to protect you (and your money).

  • Watch on YouTube

    For the sake of our economy and our security, legal immigration should be simple and efficient. After the long wait for a legislative solution to fix our broken system, the President took action within his authority to help streamline the legal immigration system until Congress passes commonsense, comprehensive reform.

    Earlier this week, speaking at the 2015 SelectUSA Investment Summit, President Obama announced the next steps the Administration is taking to attract the world’s top talented professionals by making it easier for global companies to launch and invest in the United States: 

    My administration is going to reform the L-1B visa category, which allows corporations to temporarily move workers from a foreign office to a U.S. office in a faster, simpler way. And this could benefit hundreds of thousands of nonimmigrant workers and their employers; that, in turn, will benefit our entire economy and spur additional investment.

    Specifically, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) issued proposed guidance this week clarifying the standards and creating consistency for decisions of L-1B nonimmigrant visa applications. This is a popular visa category that allows global companies to temporarily transfer specialized workers to the U.S. for the purpose of launching or expanding a U.S. operation.

  • American medicine is the best in the world. But waste and inefficiencies in the system have traditionally put your health and your pocketbook at risk. Patients who stay in the hospital longer than they need to could be exposed to infection. Vital information can get lost in the transition from primary care doctors to specialists. And when patients are given different prescriptions from multiple doctors, dangerous drug interactions can occur.

    That’s why the Affordable Care Act has been so crucial to tackling these and other challenges and increasing the quality of health care for Americans. Here’s how this landmark law is improving health care for you:

  • At yesterday's White House Science Fair, President Obama announced that we've reached our major broadband connectivity goal -- 98 percent of Americans nationwide are now connected to high-speed wireless Internet, surpassing any point in history.

    "Four years ago, I set a national goal to provide 98 percent of Americans with high-speed wireless Internet so that any young scientist or entrepreneur could access the world’s information," the President said. "Today, I can announce that we have achieved that goal, and we did it ahead of schedule." 

    98% of Americans Have Access to High-Speed Wireless Internet

  • Ed. note: This was first posted on the U.S. Department of Commerce's blog yesterday. See the original post here.

    With more than 2,600 people from more than 70 markets, and economic development organizations from all corners of the United States, the 2015 SelectUSA Investment Summit has record attendance. In fact, it is more than twice as large as the inaugural 2013 event and reflects growing global interest in the United States as a place to launch and expand operations, invest in research and development, and create jobs.

    Day one of the 2015 SelectUSA Investment Summit just concluded, and what an exciting day it was. We were honored to have President Obama speak and announce some new initiatives to make investing and expanding within the United States even easier.

    Watch on YouTube

  • This week, Congress will vote on the House and Senate Republican Budget Resolutions for Fiscal Year 2016.

    The Republican budgets rely on the same failed trickle-down economics as in previous years, standing in stark contrast to the President’s FY 2016 budget, which strengthens our economy and the middle class. The Republican budgets would put economic growth at risk and would have real impacts on the middle class. And at the same time as they are voting on this harmful budget resolution, House Republicans are doubling down on their failed approach and moving to also repeal the estate tax, at a cost of hundreds of billions of dollars.

    Bottom line, their priorities are clear: cutting taxes for the wealthiest 0.1 percent, while slashing funding for critical investments and services that benefit millions of Americans.  

    Americans across the country deserve to know the consequences of this approach.  So today, we have released a report that takes a closer look at what their proposed cuts would mean. The report illustrates that the consequences of enacting the Republican budget plan could not be more stark. Congressional Republicans have a choice to make: lift sequestration and strengthen the standing of working and middle-class families, or go back to the same failed top-down economics.

    Check out the map below to see the consequences of the House Republican budget in your state

  • Five years after the Affordable Care Act became law, its vision of affordable, quality health insurance for America is a reality. The state of our nation's health care is better off than it was when the President took office.  This is thanks to the variety of critical provisions within the Affordable Care Act. 

    Read on for five core ways that the Affordable Care Act is working to help Americans.

    1. After five years of the Affordable Care Act, more than 16 million people have health coverage.

    That's more people than the populations of New York City, Los Angeles, and Chicago combined. This number includes parents who can finally afford to take their kids to the doctor, families who no longer risk losing their homes or savings because someone becomes ill, and young people who are now free to pursue their dreams without worrying about losing access to health care. 

    With millions of people getting covered, the uninsured rate for non-elderly adults has dropped by 35% since October 2013. “The Affordable Care Act is working,” President Obama said after hearing the news that millions of Americans had signed up and gotten covered. “And I'll tell you, everywhere I go around the country, I'm meeting individuals who come up and thank me. How passionate they are about the difference it's made in their lives, it really reminds me why we do all of this." 

  • President Obama looks at two Arizona students' robot at the fifth annual White House Science Fair

    President Barack Obama talks with Sergio Corral and Isela Martinez while viewing science exhibits during the 2015 White House Science Fair celebrating student winners of a broad range of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) competitions, in the State Dining Room, March 23, 2015. The two 17-year-old students are current leaders of the robotics program from Carl Hayden High School in Phoenix, Ariz., which was chronicled in the recent documentary "Underwater Dreams" where their under-served high school beat out MIT and other colleges in an underwater robotics competition. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

    Today, the halls of the White House were packed with science projects -- robots, 3D-printed objects, computer programs, apps, and extraordinary scientific discoveries -- all built, invented, designed, and brought to fruition by students.

    At the fifth-annual White House Science Fair, President Obama welcomed more than 100 students from more than 30 states for a celebration and showcase of their truly remarkable achievmenets in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).

    As part of the Science Fair, approximately 35 student teams exhibited innovative projects -- including discoveries and insights in key areas such as disease diagnostics, clean energy, and information security -- as well as inventions ranging from the “why didn’t I think of that?” (automatic page-turner for people with arthritis) to the “who’d have ever thought that possible?” (a hiccup-curing lollipop!).

    The President personally viewed some of these projects, marveling at the incredible ingenuity on display from student innovators across the country including some as young as six years old.

  • The Vice President sent the following message to the White House email list today, sharing his personal audio reflections on the five-year anniversary of the Affordable Care Act. Didn't get the email? Make sure you're on the list to receive them in the future.

    Today marks five years since 11-year-old Marcelas Owens and I watched the President sign the Affordable Care Act into law.

    Marcelas lost his mom to an illness when he was a younger boy. She didn't have insurance, so she couldn't afford the care that she needed. No family -- no child -- in America should have to go through what his family has experienced.

    That's why we fought so hard for this reform bill. That's why the President -- whose own mother argued with insurance companies in her final days as she battled cancer -- signed this bill into law.

    And that's worth remembering today.

    I sat down to reflect on that day, and what's happened since then. Have a listen, and then pass this on to anyone you think who needs to hear it.

  • This Day
    In History

    113 years ago today, Emmy Noether, one of the most important mathematicians of the 20th century, was born in Germany. Denied and discouraged as a woman, Noether is finally getting the respect she deserves for her brilliant underpaid and unpaid contributions. Featured in today’s Google Doodle, each circle illustrated symbolizes a branch of math or physics to which Noether made groundbreaking contributions. 


    Her trailblazing work has inspired women in science, tech, engineering and math (STEM) to continue to shatter the glass celling. And today, more women than ever were invited to the 5th-annual White House Science Fair.

    That makes this the second year in a row that women scientists represented the majority at the White House Science Fair. 

  • Last night, we sent this message to the White House email list updating America on The Affordable Care Act to mark the five year anniversary since it became law. Didn't get it? Make sure you sign up for email updates here.

    Better with Obamacare:

    On March 23, 2010, President Obama signed a historic law that has transformed the lives of millions of Americans.

    Tomorrow, the Affordable Care Act will celebrate five years of significant progress. That's a fact that people across the country can see in more affordable coverage, higher quality care, and better health, thanks to Obamacare.

    After five years of the ACA:

    More than 16 million

    Americans have gained health coverage

    Take a look back at history in the making:

  • Last year, the President directed Vice President Biden to lead a review of federal job training programs in order to identify and implement steps to make these programs more “job-driven” and responsive to the needs of employers. The idea was that -- even as the economy continues to recover, with more open jobs than at any point since 2001 -- we need to do more to make sure that we are giving workers the skills they need to compete for those jobs. This is core to the President’s vision for “middle-class economics,” in which Americans who are unemployed or in low-wage jobs have the opportunity to train and find jobs that create pathways to the middle-class.

    Friday, as part of this effort, Secretaries Vilsack and Perez announced $200 million for projects designed to identify the most effective strategies to help participants in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) improve their skills and find jobs.

  • This weekend, President Obama hosted the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Check out who kicked off the show!

    A few months ago, we asked students across the country to create short films about the Impact of Giving Back, and to show us what service meant to them. We received more than 1,500 submissions this year, and this past Friday and Saturday, we screened our 15 Official Selections at the White House.

    We saw films that showcased a real drive to give back. We saw students go into their communities and make changes to help others. We saw young filmmakers show how one person really can make a difference, big or small. We even saw one superhero who used his super powers for good. 

    And "kid president" wasn't the only person to lend his star-power to the event. Hilary Swank, Steve McQueen, Jake Johnson, Terrence J, LaLa Anthony, Kal Penn, Amber Riley, Michael Ealy, and Will Packer all joined us at the White House to support the President’s Call to Arts initiative, and to emphasize the importance of giving back to your community at the White House Student Film Fest.

    Even though the film fest is over, the fun isn't. At the film fest, the President committed himself to making a difference too! On Friday, he announced the creation of the new Call to Arts initiative, a program in partnership with the American Film Institute and the Screen Actors Guild-America Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) to encourage mentorship.

  • On Monday, April 6, 2015 President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama will host the 137th annual White House Easter Egg Roll, a historic White House South Lawn celebration featuring games, sports and fitness zones, cooking demonstrations, live music, and of course the White House Easter classics like the egg roll and egg hunt. 

    We want you to apply to come join us for a day of social media  and Easter festivities at the White House Easter Egg Roll Social. This year’s Egg Roll theme is #GimmeFive, in support of the First Lady’s Let’s Move! initiative encouraging children to lead heathy, active lives. Selected participants will be invited to join the Easter Egg Roll event on the South Lawn on April 6th. All applicants must have children ages 5-13.

  • This post is part of a series authored by First Lady Michelle Obama to share her visit to Japan and Cambodia and the Let Girls Learn initiative with young people in the U.S. Find out how you can get involved at

    On this trip, I had the pleasure of standing with leaders who are making historic investments in girls’ education — and I had the privilege of meeting extraordinary girls and the community leaders, volunteers and teachers who are working so hard to help them go to school and pursue their dreams. Along the way, I experienced the rich culture and history of two fascinating countries.

    First Lady Michelle waves upon departure from Siem Reap Airport in Siem, Reap

    First Lady Michelle waves upon departure from Siem Reap Airport in Siem, Reap Cambodia on March 22, 2015. The First Lady traveled to Japan and Cambodia as part of the “Let Girls Learn” initiative. (Official White House Photo by Amanda Lucidon)

  • This post is part of a series authored by First Lady Michelle Obama to share her visit to Japan and Cambodia and the Let Girls Learn initiative with young people in the U.S.

    After visiting the Let Girls Learn training, I traveled to Angkor Wat, a massive, ancient temple located just outside of Siem Reap. Angkor Wat was built in the early twelfth century, and it still stands as the largest religious monument on earth. It has become known as a national symbol for Cambodia — it’s even on Cambodia’s flag. Angkor Wat was originally built to celebrate the Hindu god Vishnu and then later became a Buddhist temple site. It is located in what was the capital of the ancient Khmer Empire here in Cambodia. Back then, temples, homes and farms stretched for miles around, and people created elaborate irrigation structures to bring water from rivers to farmers’ fields.

    After meeting with these remarkable young women, I dropped by one of the very first Let Girls Learn trainings for Peace Corps Volunteers and the local leaders, educators and students they’re working with here in Cambodia. Together, they are doing such amazing work. They’re running girls’ leadership camps and girls’ sports teams and learning about health and nutrition, and this training will give them even more skills and tools to educate and empower girls. The Peace Corps will eventually be conducting these girls’ education trainings for all of its nearly 7,000 volunteers, and I cannot wait to see what they do with everything they learn!