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  • "It ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more."

    —John Adams, 1776


  • President Barack Obama tapes his weekly address following remarks on the economy at the University of Wisconsin in La Crosse, Wisconsin, July 2, 2015.

    President Barack Obama tapes his weekly address following remarks on the economy at the University of Wisconsin in La Crosse, Wisconsin, July 2, 2015. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

    WASHINGTON, DC — In this week's address, the President wished everyone a happy Fourth of July.  He honored the individuals who, throughout the history of America, have struggled and sacrificed to make this country a better place, from our Founding Fathers, to the men and women in uniform serving at home and overseas.  The President asked that on this most American of holidays we remember the words of our founders, when they declared our independence and that all are created equal, and that we continue to protect that creed and make sure it applies to every single American.  And finally, he wished good luck to the U.S. Women’s National Team competing in the World Cup Final this weekend.

    The audio of the address and video of the address will be available online at www.whitehouse.govat 6:00 a.m. ET, July 4, 2015.

    Transcript | mp4 | mp3

  • Today, the President spoke at the University of Wisconsin in La Crosse, reflecting on the great strides America has made in the past six years in economic reform. With over 64 months of private sector job growth and the lowest uninsured rate ever, the United States had made great progress in helping middle class families, but our work isn't done.

    Here are our top three moments from the speech:

  • This week, the President signed a bipartisan trade deal, welcomed the President of Brazil to the White House--and showed her one of our national treasures--hosted 50 girls in green on the South Lawn for a campout to celebrate the great outdoors, answered questions about healthcare in Tennessee and online, and traveled to Wisconsin to announce new overtime protections for hard-working Americans. That's June 26th to July 2nd or, "Amazing Grace."


  • "My fellow citizens, we have come now to a time of testing. We must not fail. Let us close the springs of racial poison. Let us pray for wise and understanding hearts. Let us lay aside irrelevant differences and make our nation whole."

    — President Lyndon B. Johnson, upon signing the Civil Rights Act


    On June 2, 1964, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act, which was the most sweeping civil rights legislation since Reconstruction. The Act prohibited discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex or national origin, in public places, provided for the integration of schools and other public facilities, and made employment discrimination illegal.

    Congress expanded the act in subsequent years, passing additional legislation in order to move toward more equality for African-Americans, including the Voting Rights Act of 1965. 


  • It's a simple premise: A hard day's work ought to lead to a fair day's pay. 

    The problem is, our current legal code doesn't reflect that simple truth. We're doing something to change that.

    Earlier this week, President Obama announced that the Department of Labor will propose extending overtime pay to nearly 5 million workers. That would mean that most salaried workers making less than an estimated $50,440 next year would now be guaranteed overtime pay.

    Nick may be one of them.

  • This is the latest post in our "Asked and Answered" series, in which we periodically feature an exchange between the President -- or a Senior Administration Official -- and an American who wrote him. If you'd like to write the President yourself, you can do so here.


    Meet Hannah, a rising 9th grader at Indian River High School in the North Country region of New York, home to many families from the Army’s 10th Mountain Division of Fort Drum. As the daughter of Lt. Col. Todd E. Bajakian, former commander of Fort Drum’s Warriors in Transition Battalion, Hannah knows first-hand how important it is that we give our military families the support they need.

    This past May at the White House’s annual Mother’s Day Tea, Hannah had the opportunity to meet the First Lady and give her the lyrics to her original song, “All On The Line.”

  • The economy added 223,000 jobs in June as the unemployment rate fell to 5.3 percent. Our economy has now added 5.6 million jobs over the past two years, the strongest two-year job growth since 2000. But despite this progress, there is more work to do. We must continue to build on the positive trends underlying our economy by ensuring that Americans working overtime receive a fair day’s pay, opening new markets for U.S. goods and services through expanded trade, increasing investments in infrastructure, providing relief from the sequester, and raising the minimum wage.

    FIVE KEY POINTS ON THE LABOR MARKET IN JUNE 2015

    1. The private sector has added 12.8 million jobs over 64 straight months of job growth, extending the longest streak on record. Today we learned that total nonfarm employment rose by 223,000 in June—and all those jobs came from the private sector. Although total job growth was revised down somewhat in April and May, much of the revision is attributable to lower government employment than previously estimated. On the whole, our economy has added 2.9 million new jobs over the past twelve months, near the fifteen-year high achieved in February.

  • Every day, the White House receives thousands of letters and emails from across the country. Our job in the Office of Presidential Correspondence is to sort and read each message and make sure that President Obama hears directly from Americans about what matters to them.


    Today, the President is speaking in Nashville, Tennessee to talk about the ways health care reform is continuing to help millions of Americans. On his way over, he picked up Kelly Bryant to thank her for the letter she wrote him about the Affordable Care Act and to hear directly from her about how it changed her life.

    In 2011, Kelly was diagnosed with breast cancer and would later rely on insurance coverage made possible by the Affordable Care Act.  She wrote in her letter, “Because of healthcare reform, I am not scared of losing everything. I can start thinking about my new life and how the path is paved with opportunities instead of despair.”

    Together, Kelly and President Obama are at a local elementary school, where they've been joined by Natoma Canfield. They’re having a conversation with others from the Nashville area who have written to the President about the Affordable Care Act, as well as doctors, nurses, other healthcare providers and leaders, and volunteers to talk about the ways this law is making a difference in Nashville and across our country.

    Kelly has long supported health care reform, because she knew many Americans lacked quality, affordable health coverage.  And today, she will have the chance to discuss the impact of this law with her neighbors and the President.

    Read her letter here:

  • The President's down in Nashville today, where he's talking with Americans whose lives health reform has made better. (He even gave one of them a ride in his motorcade this morning.)

    He wants to open that conversation up to Americans across the country, too.

    So at 3:30 p.m. Eastern today, we're going to get him online, and he's going to take your questions and respond to your stories on Twitter.

    Participate using the hashtag #AskPOTUS, and follow along here.

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    "The progress that we mark today is yet another demonstration that we don't have to be imprisoned by the past. When something isn't working, we can and will change."

    -- President Obama


    Under President Obama, America is charting a new course in our relationship with Cuba. Today, he announced the next step on this path: Re-opening a U.S. Embassy in Havana. 

    The last time we had an embassy in Cuba was in January of 1961, when we severed diplomatic relations at the height of the Cold War. Reopening the doors is more than a symbolic step. "With this change, we will be able to substantially increase our contacts with the Cuban people," the President said.

    Watch his remarks:

  • Today at 2:30 pm ET in Nashville, TN, President Obama is participating in a discussion on how we can build on the progress we've made under the Affordable Care Act. Watch live:


    Natoma Canfield Letter

    A letter from Natoma Canfield, a woman from Ohio that President Barack Obama met who didn’t have health insurance, hangs on the wall in the hall between the Oval Office and the President's Private Office in the West Wing. June 28, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)

    More than five years ago, as Congress engaged in heated debates over the Affordable Care Act, President Obama carried a single piece of paper with him every single day: this letter from Natoma Canfield.

  • I run the White House Visitors' Office, and I wanted to share a big change the President and First Lady just made to the White House visitors photo policy:

    The longstanding ban on photography in the White House -- in place for more than 40 years -- is being lifted. Watch the First Lady share why they did this:

    So starting today, guests at the White House are now welcome to take photos throughout the White House tour route and keep those memories for a lifetime.


    We're posting our favorites all day right here. 


    Want to visit the White House or take a virtual tour? Get the details about how you can sign up here.

    We're so excited -- and we can't wait for you to come visit!

    Ellie Schafer is Director of the White House Visitors Office.

  • Tonight at midnight, America’s Export-Import Bank will shut its doors because, after 81 years, Congress has failed to reauthorize it for the first time in history. 

    So what is the Export-Import Bank?

    It’s an independent federal agency with one simple mission: support American jobs by helping businesses sell their products abroad. The majority of these companies are small businesses – the engine of our economy – and helping them go global plays a critical role in strengthening our country’s economy. 

    That’s why nearly 60 countries, including China, make significant investments in their own Export-Import Banks. These competitors are fighting for sales and the export-backed jobs that come along with it – and starting tomorrow when our bank has expired, American businesses will be less competitive to keep those jobs at home. When our Export-Import Bank lapses, China and our other rivals will pick up the slack, putting American businesses and American workers at a disadvantage. In fact, a senior official from one of China’s versions of the Export-Import Bank recently said that the expiration of our bank is a “good thing” for China. 

    Take a look to see just how far behind China we are when it comes to support for our Export-Import Bank:


  • “We, men and women who hereby constitute ourselves as the National Organization for Women, believe that the time has come for a new movement toward true equality for all women in America, and toward a fully equal partnership of the sexes, as part of the world-wide revolution of human rights now taking place within and beyond our national borders.”

    —National Organization for Women’s 1966 Statement of Purpose


    On June 30, 1966, Betty Friedan wrote three letters on a paper napkin: N O W. She invited fifteen women to her hotel room. Then, Catherine Conroy slid a five-dollar bill onto the table and said, “Put your money down and sign your name.” In that moment, the National Organization for Women became a reality.

    As representatives at the Third National Conference of Commissions on the Status of Women, these women were disgruntled by the lack of commitment to the convention's theme, “Targets for Action.” Inspired by the Civil Rights movement and historic marches such as in Selma, the women founded a parallel effort to ensure the equal treatment of both sexes. They brainstormed an alternate action plan to enforce Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits employers from discriminating against employees based on sex, race, color, nationality, and religion.

    ERA March, Washington DC

    Photograph shows people standing in front of the United States Capitol with a banner reading "Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex" and holding flags for various organizations including the National Organization for Women. July 9, 1979. (by Bettye Lane)

    NOW Through the Years:

    October 1966: NOW founding conference

    Betty Friedan, best known for her 1963 book The Feminine Mystique, which changed the conversation on traditional gender roles, was chosen as the organization’s first president.

    Betty Friedan

    Betty Friedan, half-length portrait, facing right / World Telegram & Sun. 1960 (by Fred Palumbo)

    August 1967: First picket by NOW members

    Activists dressed in vintage clothing to protest the gender segregated help-wanted advertisements in The New York Times.

    1973: NOW members organized “Take Back the Night” marches and vigils.

    Protestors stimulated the movement against sexual assault and power-based personal violence against women.

    July 1978: Biggest-ever march for the Equal Rights Amendment

    In 95-degree heat, over 100,000 people decked in purple, white, and gold marched in Washington, D.C. to call for an extension to the deadline for ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment.

    ERA March July 9, 1978

    Feminists make history with biggest-ever march for the Equal Rights Amendment, including NOW's first president Betty Friedan. (by Feminist Majority Foundation)

    April 2004: March for Women’s Lives

    A record 1.15 million people marched in Washington, D.C. to fight for women’s reproductive health care options.

    March for Women's Lives

    The March for Women’s Lives took place on April 25, 2004. (by Feminist Majority Foundation)

    Today, NOW is the largest organization of women’s rights activists in the United States, using grassroots organizing to push for social change. NOW focuses on advocating for justice and equality in reproductive healthcare and the economy and continues its work to put a stop to violence against women and discrimination based on race and sexual orientation.

    The fight to end workplace discrimination is not over. The Administration has shown its support for a number of anti-discrimination actions, including fair housing, employment non-discrimination, and health reform for women. President Obama, with help from organizations like NOW, continues to lead the charge for equal rights no matter who you are, what you look like, or who you love. 


    We have to raise our voices to demand that women get paid fairly.  We’ve got to raise our voices to make sure women can take time off to care for a loved one, and that moms and dads can spend time with a new baby.  We’ve got to raise our voices to make sure that our women maintain and keep their own health care choices.

    —President Obama, October 2014

  • In a Huffington Post op-ed, President Obama announced a plan to extend overtime protections to nearly 5 million workers in 2016.  

    Check out a fact sheet about the announcement to learn more. 

    The proposed overtime rule has people talking. Here’s what they have to say:

  • June marks Immigrant Heritage Month -- and people across the country are sharing their American stories. Whether you've recently embarked on your first day as an American or want to share how your ancestors came to arrive here, we want to hear from you. Add your voice to the conversation today.


    America is a country bound together by its diversity. Almost all of us share the common thread that our families came from somewhere else. Our immigrant families are bound by more than that, however. We also are bound by a common belief that the opportunity available to immigrants who are willing to work hard in this country outweighs the substantial risk involved in pulling up stakes and restarting life in a new country. But the equation doesn’t work if you only weigh opportunity versus risk. The secret factor that tips the scale and propels people to take on such risk for such a tenuous shot at opportunity is courage. Each immigration story -- whether it be from 1692, 1910, or 2015 -- was built on the foundation of courage.

    I see that courage at play in my own family. My heritage stems from the islands of Sicily, Italy (Bisognano/ Raffa) and Ireland (McEachern/O’Brien). On August 23, 1914 in Queenstown, Ireland, at the age of 19, my great grandmother Bridget Clougherty boarded the S.S. Franconia bound for Boston, labeled as a laborer. She boarded this ship 19 days after the declaration of war by the United Kingdom in what would become World War I. She had the courage to leave most of her family behind and risk losing the stability that had defined her life in the small village of Clifton, Ireland in order to realize the opportunity she envisioned in the new world across the Atlantic.

    The O’Brien/Cloughterty on the porch of their Quincy, MA home. (Circa. 1945)

  • Congress passed two bills that will help rewrite the rules for our trade policy: Trade Promotion Authority and the Trade Preferences Extension Act, which includes Trade Adjustment Assistance. Today, President Obama signed them into law. 

    Watch on YouTube

    That’s a good thing, because as President Obama has said, past trade deals haven’t always lived up to the hype. Now, thanks to the new rules of the road laid out by Congress, our latest trade deal — the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) — can put in place high, enforceable standards that reflect our values on the environment, on workers’ rights, on transparency, and more. 

    Here’s a quick look at the rules the President signed today and how they will help ensure American workers can benefit from the most progressive trade deal in history.

  •  


    It was one of those impromptu meetings that could only happen in a hallway.


    One afternoon in late 2012 the tech and education teams had a few minutes to compare notes. And that day, we realized the same problem had been bugging us all: Internet access in schools was incredibly slow. So slow, in fact, that the average American school had the same connectivity as the average American home -- but served hundreds of times as many people.

    We all know slow Internet is the worst -- and it’s doubly frustrating when it’s a matter of kids learning, and not just a given evening’s entertainment.


    Slow Internet in our schools meant teachers in separate classrooms couldn’t do something as basic as stream a couple of videos at the same time. It meant that interactive maps or online biology lessons simply wouldn’t load.


    So even if a school wanted to invest in a tablet for every child, in our Wi-Fi world, it couldn’t be much more than a backlit textbook. If we didn’t do anything about it, school would become the only place in kids’ lives not being transformed by technology.

  • June marks Immigrant Heritage Month -- and people across the country are sharing their American stories. Whether you've recently embarked on your first day as an American or want to share how your ancestors came to arrive here, we want to hear from you. Add your voice to the conversation today.


    I was born in Somalia, but mostly what I remember are flashes of a carefree child, happily unaware of the world beyond the Utanga Refugee Camp in Kenya. About half a mile from our UNHCR-issued blue tent was the fence that surrounded the camp. Beyond the fence was an endless blue horizon of ocean. And if you stood close enough, on the slight precipice before the fence, you could see where the beach welcomed the waves — its sand, sometimes clear and brightly glistening; other times, dark and dusky, casting sad grayish hues. It felt abandoned and desolate. I never saw any people down there. But sometimes I would catch the sight of boats with colorful sails drifting over the waves.

    Most of the other children congregated over at the dumpsites and water wells, fashioning toys out of trash and rocks. I kept to myself, a quiet but curious observer exploring the neighborhoods within the camp. I would often come home well past sundown, only to be rightfully scolded by a concerned parent. But those daily, miles-long excursions only left me hungry for more.

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