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  • Today’s downward revision to GDP growth was entirely accounted for by revisions to inventory investment and net exports, with other changes being small and neutral on balance. The first-quarter slowdown was the result of harsh winter weather, tepid foreign demand, and consumers saving the windfall from lower oil prices. The combination of personal consumption and fixed investment, the most stable components of GDP, has grown 3.4 percent over the past four quarters. This solid long-term economic trend complements the robust pace of job growth and unemployment reduction over the last year. The President is committed to further strengthening these positive trends by opening our exports to new markets with new high-standards free trade agreements that create opportunities for the middle class, expanding investments in infrastructure, and ensuring the sequester does not return in the next fiscal year as outlined in the President’s FY2016 Budget.

    FIVE KEY POINTS IN TODAY’S REPORT FROM THE BUREAU OF ECONOMIC ANALYSIS

    1. Real gross domestic product (GDP) fell 0.7 percent at an annual rate in the first quarter of 2015, according to the second estimate from the Bureau of Economic Analysis. The decline follows an increase of 3.6 percent at an annual rate during the second half of 2014. First-quarter growth was likely affected by a number of factors including especially harsh winter weather in the first quarter (see point 3) and a spike in personal saving (see point 4). A decline in the trade balance was another major contributor, partially reflecting the continued drag on U.S. exports from the slowdown in foreign growth. Indeed, net exports subtracted nearly 2 full percentage points from quarterly GDP growth. Structures investment subtracted about 0.7 percentage point from GDP, likely reflecting reduced oil mining in the wake of last year’s decline in oil prices.

  • The President just wrapped up on Twitter -- but the conversation doesn't end here: 

    Share what you would fight to protect here -- then scroll down to see all of the President's answers to your #AskPOTUS questions.


    President Obama jumped on Twitter to answer a few of your questions about Climate Change. Yes, it’s really @POTUS! Follow the conversation in real-time right here: 


    Ahead of the hurricane season, President Obama is in Florida today to get his yearly briefing on the steps that the federal government, states, and families are taking to prepare.

    Here's what he's doing next: talking to you on Twitter. Starting at 1:00 p.m. Eastern, the President is hopping on his brand-new Twitter account, @POTUS, to answer questions on climate live from the National Hurricane Center in Miami.

    Got a question about the impacts of climate change? Get on Twitter and ask it using the hashtag #AskPOTUS. You can also follow the conversation as it happens right here, where you'll find the latest on what President Obama has to say about climate change and what he's doing to combat it.

    While you wait, check out the "People's Briefing" on Hurricane Preparedness, so you are as up to date as the President on what we can do to be ready for extreme weather this year.

    Stay tuned!

  • Ed. note: This is cross-posted on the White House Conference on Aging's website. See the original post here.

    Today at the White House Conference on Aging Regional Forum in Boston, Health and Human Services Secretary Burwell announced that the 2015 White House Conference on Aging will be held on July 13.

    The July event will continue our year-long effort to listen, learn, and share with older adults, their families, caregivers, advocates, community leaders, and experts in the aging field on how to best address the changing landscape of aging in the coming decade. The 2015 Conference aims to embrace the transformative demographic shift occurring in the United States to recognize the possibilities of aging.

  • Ed. note: This blog is cross-posted from the Environmental Protection Agency. You can read the original post here


     

    Today, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Army are finalizing a Clean Water Rule to protect the streams and wetlands we rely on for our health, our economy, and our way of life.

    As summer kicks off, many of us plan to be outside with our friends and families -- fishing, paddling, surfing, and swimming. And for the lakes and rivers we love to be clean, the streams and wetlands that feed them have to be clean, too. That’s just one of many reasons why this rule is so important. Here are several more:

    Clean water is vital to our health.

    One in three Americans get drinking water from streams that lacked clear protection from pollution without the Clean Water Rule. Finalizing the rule helps protect 117 million Americans’ health.

  • This morning, I had the pleasure of kicking off the Department of Energy’s Better Building Summit. It reminded me of the founding of Better Buildings four years ago. At that time, as we continued to recover from the worst recession since the Great Depression and were faced with a paralyzed Congress, President Obama made clear to his economic team that we were to look for more creative and durable ways to contribute to an accelerated economic recovery. 

    The more work we did on this issue, the clearer it became that making buildings, plants and homes more energy efficient was a triple win — a win for jobs and economic growth; a win for businesses’ operating costs and bottom lines; and a win for our effort to reduce carbon emissions and fight climate change.

    Cutting energy waste was a common sense solution when President Obama launched the Better Buildings program in 2011 — with the goal of improving the energy use of our nation’s commercial, industrial, residential, and public buildings by 20 percent over 10 years — and it still is. In fact, four years later, we have made tremendous progress.

  • President Barack Obama signs the "Fair Pay and Safe Workplace" executive order

    President Barack Obama signs the "Fair Pay and Safe Workplace" executive order in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building South Court Auditorium, July 31, 2014. The President is joined on stage by Labor Secretary Thomas Perez as well as employers who support fair labor practices, workers who have seen firsthand the effects of workplace violations, and advocates who have worked to improve fair pay and safety standards. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

    Every business owner knows the importance of working with reliable, stand-up business partners who can deliver on-time and on-budget and follow the law. That last part is important, because a contractor who doesn’t follow the law isn’t living up to his or her obligations to you and may endanger your own workers and operations.

    The same is true for the federal government, which contracts with many thousands of private businesses that employ almost one in five American workers.  

  • Last week, the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) and its National Academy of Medicine (NAM) announced that they will convene an international meeting this fall at which researchers, ethicists, and other experts will discuss the implications of human germline gene-editing technologies in both research and clinical applications.

    The White House applauds NAS and NAM for convening this dialogue and fully supports a robust review of the ethical issues associated with using gene-editing technology to alter the human germline. The Administration believes that altering the human germline for clinical purposes is a line that should not be crossed at this time.

  • This afternoon, First Lady Michelle Obama addressed the Class of 2015 at Oberlin College in Ohio. 

    First Lady Michelle Obama at Oberlin College

    First Lady Michelle Obama is presented an honor sash during Oberlin College commencement ceremony in Oberlin, Ohio May 25, 2015. (Official White House Photo by Amanda Lucidon)

    The First Lady addressed the graduating Oberlin College class because Oberlin College was selected as part of the First Lady’s Reach Higher initiative’s “Near-Peer Mentoring College” Challenge – a challenge to institutes of higher education urging them to share videos on the ways they are helping high school students take charge of their future.

  • This Memorial Day morning, President Obama traveled to Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia to pay solemn tribute to the men and women of our armed forces who have made the ultimate sacrifice.

    President Obama participates in a wreath laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

    President Barack Obama participates in a Memorial Day wreath laying at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Va., May 25, 2015. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

    President Obama continued the tradition of many past presidents before him, laying a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and delivering remarks to those in attendance. The President was also joined by Defense Secretary Ashton Carter and Joint Chiefs Chairman Martin Dempsey. 

  • President Barack Obama tapes the Weekly Address in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, May 22, 2015

    President Barack Obama tapes the Weekly Address in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, May 22, 2015. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)

    In this week’s address, the President commemorated Memorial Day by paying tribute to the men and women in uniform who have given their lives in service to our country.

    The President will spend the first Memorial Day since the end of the war in Afghanistan at Arlington Cemetery, remembering the more than 2,200 American patriots who gave their lives in that conflict, as well as all of our fallen soldiers. The President asked that all Americans spend Monday honoring the memory and sacrifice of those heroes, and remain committed to the cause of freedom and the country for which they fought. 

    Transcript | mp4 | mp3

  • This week was National Police Week, and the President honored fallen officers at the National Peace Officers Memorial Service; celebrated the reform efforts of police officers in Camden, New Jersey; signed the National Blue Alert Act to help protect police officers; and congratulated the graduates at the 134th Commencement of the Coast Guard Academy in Connecticut. POTUS also sent his first tweet. That's May 15 to May 21 or, "@POTUS!"

  • Over the past few months, hundreds of thousands of Americans have signed petitions on our We the People petitions platform related to community policing, in the wake of the police-involved deaths of Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Freddie Gray, and others. This week, we invited these petition signers to join a White House call about improving community-police relations.

    Yesterday's conversation participants included:

    • Roy Austin, Deputy Assistant to the President for Urban Affairs, Justice, and Opportunity
    • Brittany Packnett, Member of the President's Task Force on 21st Century Policing
    • DJ Patil, U.S. Chief Data Scientist
    • David Wilkinson, Director of the White House Office of Social Innovation and Civic Participation

    During the call, they highlighted new steps we're taking to improve community-police relations through the use of open data, demilitarizing local police forces, and other recommendations from the President's Task Force on 21st Century Policing.

    The participants also answered some questions that petition signers submitted in advance of the call -- questions such as what we can achieve by looking at police data on a national level, or how we can change the view of the community to one where police are seen as "guardians" instead of "occupiers."

    If you missed yesterday's call, you can listen to the full discussion below. (And if you want to be in the loop about future events like this, make sure to visit We the People and add your voice by creating or signing a petition.)

  • Jewish American values are woven into the fabric of American life and have shaped the progress we’ve made as a country. That history has fundamentally shaped the President’s personal views and leadership. As he told The Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg: 

    "To me, being pro-Israel and pro-Jewish is part and parcel with the values that I've been fighting for since I was politically conscious and started getting involved in politics. There’s a direct line between supporting the right of the Jewish people to have a homeland and to feel safe and free of discrimination and persecution, and the right of African Americans to vote and have equal protection under the law."

    Today at 11:00 am ET, in honor of National Jewish American Heritage Month, President Obama will address the Adas Israel congregation in Washington, D.C., the first synagogue in the U.S. to be addressed by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Watch his remarks live:

    Before the President speaks, he'll meet with a few leaders from the American Jewish community who exemplify the many ways that American Jews contribute to and strengthen our country. And we wanted to share a first look with you.

  • Yesterday, President Obama delivered the commencement address to the 134th Cadet Class of the U.S. Coast Guard Academy. The President congratulated the class on all they had achieved over the last four years, but reminded them of the challenges they will face both domestic and abroad; challenges like counter-terrorism, counter-narcotics, search and rescue, and disaster relief.

    Of the greatest challenges the Cadets will face will be those wrought by our changing climate. As the President stated:

    “Around the world, climate change increases the risk of instability and conflict.  Rising seas are already swallowing low-lying lands, from Bangladesh to Pacific islands, forcing people from their homes.  Caribbean islands and Central American coasts are vulnerable, as well.  Globally, we could see a rise in climate change refugees.  And I guarantee you the Coast Guard will have to respond.  Elsewhere, more intense droughts will exacerbate shortages of water and food, increase competition for resources, and create the potential for mass migrations and new tensions.  All of which is why the Pentagon calls climate change a ‘threat multiplier.’” 

    It's time to Act on Climate graphic
     

  • This week, I had the honor of presenting 45 American companies with the President's “E” and “E” Star Awards, a recognition awarded to U.S. businesses that have made significant contributions to U.S. exports. These awardees, which range from small- and medium- sized businesses to household names, understand the importance of exports to their bottom line, American jobs, and the U.S. economy.

    Increasing U.S. exports is a top priority for President Obama and our entire Administration. With our support, America’s private sector made 2014 another record year, selling $2.35 trillion of goods and services to overseas markets. Exports also supported 11.7 million private sector jobs in 2014, an all-time high.

    We are achieving these new records because the 300,000 U.S. businesses that export, including our “E” awardees, understand that their competitiveness depends on reaching the 96 percent of the world’s customers who live beyond our borders. They are companies like Vac Pac, a family-owned business in Baltimore, whose company first won the “E” Award in 1966. Their “E” Star recognition 50 years later is a reflection of their consistent contributions to U.S. export growth.

    We also honored household names like Harley Davidson, which has exported their iconic motorcycles for over a century.

  • Yesterday, President Obama traveled to New London, Connecticut to give the commencement address to the class of 2015 at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy. 

  •  


    “We’ve grown up with you. The country has – after a tough day at the office or coming home from work, knowing you’ve been there to give us a little bit a joy a little bit of laughter – it has meant so much. You’re part of all of us.”

    – President Obama to David Letterman, May 4, 2015


    After 33 years, it’s the last night of the Late Show with David Letterman, an incomparable American icon. Since the first show aired in 1982, Letterman has taken on a lot of new territory, including interviewing President Obama -- the first sitting President to appear on late-night talk shows. 

    President Obama has sat down with Letterman a total of five times — three while in office — and joined him as one of his last guests on May 4, 2015.  

    Here are our top three favorite moments from the times David Letterman sparred with the President. 


    September 21, 2009 – “I was black before the election.”

    President Obama on Letterman 2009

    President Barack Obama reacts to a photograph of himself displayed by Late Show host David Letterman during their interview at CBS Studios in New York, N.Y. September 21, 2009. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

    On whether the rancor and vitriol surrounding the President’s health care reform efforts was “rooted in racism”: 

    THE PRESIDENT: Well, first of all, I think it’s important to realize that I was black before the election.

    LETTERMAN: And how long have you been a black man?

    THE PRESIDENT: So the American people, I think, gave me this extraordinary honor. That tells you a lot about where the country is at. I actually think that what’s happened is that whenever a President tries to bring about significant changes — particularly in times of economic unease — then, there is a certain segment of the population that gets very riled up … What has been missing from the conversation is that the overwhelming majority of people — Republican or Democrat — they just want to see some common sense, some honesty and integrity in Washington.

  • Ed. note: The following was originally posted on Tradewinds, the official blog of the United States Trade Representative. You can read the original post here


    Today’s environmental challenges are staggering in their severity and scope.

    Iconic animals such as elephants and rhinoceros, as well as lesser known species, such as the pangolin, saola, vaquita, and totoaba are under threat from wildlife trafficking. Illegal fishing is driving global economic losses in the billions each year while depleting treasured marine resources. While illegal logging is damaging ecosystems and undercutting sustainable, regulated business.

  • It is certainly true that America’s trade policy plays a large role in the resurgence and strength of our economy – but that’s not the only role it fills. Our trade policy also sits at the core of our strategy to keep America and our allies safe in the 21st century. 

    So here's the question: How can the President's progressive trade deal -- the Trans-Pacific Partnership -- help safeguard our future?

    Speaking today at Boeing Headquarters in Seattle, WA, America's top diplomat -- Secretary of State John Kerry -- offered this answer

    "It is no secret that the world in the future looks pretty complicated right now. The turbulence that we see comes from a combination of factors, including the fact that even as the world grows closer, there are powerful forces pulling people apart – terrorism, extreme nationalism, conflicts over resources, a huge number of people coming of age in parts of the world where there simply aren’t enough jobs. This creates a race between opportunity and frustration that we can’t afford to lose.

    Expanded trade can help us win that race by spurring innovation and – and as we’ve seen in Asia and elsewhere – helping hundreds of millions of people to lift themselves out of poverty. And poverty, my friends, is where you see much of this violent extremism born.

  • Advancing turbine technology will unlock 700,000 more square miles of wind potential and make it a reality in all 50 states.

    Now available in 39 states, wind power has emerged as an important source of American clean energy – and there’s potential for even more. Today, the Energy Department released a new report – Enabling Wind Power Nationwide  – that shows how the next generation of wind turbines can help expand wind power in all 50 states.

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