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  • 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.

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    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.

  • President Barack Obama tapes the Weekly Address in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, June 25, 2015

    President Barack Obama tapes the Weekly Address in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, June 25, 2015. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)

    In this week's address, the President called the Supreme Court’s decision on the Affordable Care Act a victory for hardworking Americans across the country, whose lives are more secure because of this law.  The Affordable Care Act is working, and it is here to stay. So far more than 16 million uninsured Americans have gained coverage.  Nearly one in three Americans who was uninsured a few years ago is insured today. The uninsured rate in America is the lowest since we began to keep such records. With this case behind us, the President reaffirmed his commitment to getting more people covered and making health care in America even better and more affordable.

    Transcript | mp4 | mp3

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    "We are here today to remember a man of God who lived by faith. A man who believed in things not seen. A man who believed there were better days ahead, off in the distance. A man of service who persevered, knowing full well he would not receive all those things he was promised, because he believed his efforts would deliver a better life for those who followed."

    -- President Obama, on the late Rev. Clementa Pinckney


    Today, President Obama traveled to Charleston, South Carolina to honor the life of pastor and state senator Clementa Pinckney -- one of the nine who lost their lives in last week's shooting at the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston.

  • This week, the President talked with podcast star Marc Maron in Los Angeles, spoke with Mayors at a conference in San Francisco, and hosted an LGBT reception back in the People's House. The First Lady wrapped up her trip to Europe. And the Supreme Court issued a landmark decision, ensuring millions of Americans will continue to receive tax credits to make their health insurance more affordable. That's June 19th to June 25th or, "This Is Healthcare In America."

  • 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 March 2015. This release brings the total number of records made public by this White House to more than 4.59 million — all of which can be viewed in our Disclosures section.

  • President Obama delivers a statement regarding the Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage

    President Barack Obama delivers a statement regarding the Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage, in the Rose Garden of the White House, June 26, 2015. (Official White House Photo by Amanda Lucidon)

     

    America should be very proud. #LoveWins

    Posted by The White House on Friday, June 26, 2015

     

    In a 5-4 decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, the Supreme Court took a huge step forward in our progress toward a more perfect union.

    Today, gay and lesbian couples won their right to marry. Today, love wins. 

    You can read the decision here

    Following the ruling, President Obama delivered a statement from the Rose Garden. Watch: 

    The President first reacted to the decision on Twitter: 

  • Ed. note: This is cross-posted on the U.S. Department of Labor's blog. See the original post here.

    Secretary Perez meets with inmates at the Montgomery County Correctional Facility

    Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez meets with inmates at the Montgomery County Correctional Facility in Boyds, MD on July 28, 2014 who are getting employment services on-site as they prepare for release. The grants awarded today will help improve job opportunities for thousands of other inmates across the country.

    For so many people going through the criminal justice system, it can be hard to get back on their feet after they walk out of the prison house door. But if you’ve paid your debt to society, there’s no reason you should be further sentenced upon your release to dead ends, closed doors and economic hopelessness. Successful reentry isn’t just important for formerly incarcerated individuals themselves; it matters to their communities and our entire society.

    Until very recently, the assumption was we could build our way to public safety — spending millions and millions of taxpayer dollars on fences and barbed wire. But at the end of the day, 95 percent of those we locked up were returning home worse off than before. We’re finally getting smarter on crime, recognizing that not every tool in your arsenal has to be a hammer.

    We can’t just lock people up; we also have to unlock their potential.

    That’s what we aim to do with our new grants for the Face Forward and Training to Work programs. We’re investing a total of $59 million to offer critical employment and training services, like career counseling, support services, resume help and job search assistance.

  • This morning, the Supreme Court ruled to preserve a critical tool that helps prevent housing discrimination.

    In a 5-4 vote, the Court ruled that disparate-impact claims can be filed under the Fair Housing Act of 1968. Under the disparate-impact doctrine, a policy can be considered discriminatory if it has a disproportionately adverse impact against any group of people, based on race, national origin, color, religion, sex, familial status, or disability.

    As Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote in the majority opinion, the Fair Housing Act (FHA) was created to eliminate discriminatory housing practices, such as "zoning laws and other housing restrictions that function unfairly to exclude minorities from certain neighborhoods" without sufficient justification.

    "Recognition of disparate-impact claims," he added, "is consistent with the FHA's central purpose."

  • Today, the Supreme Court upheld a critical part of the Affordable Care Act — landmark health care reform that the President signed into law five years ago. Millions of Americans who got covered in the Health Insurance Marketplaces can now stay covered, no matter where they live.

    Learn more about today's decision, and about the history of health care in America.


    On March 23, 2010, I sat down at a table in the East Room of the White House and signed my name on a law that said, once and for all, that health care would no longer be a privilege for a few. It would be a right for everyone.

    Five years later, after more than 50 votes in Congress to repeal or weaken this law and multiple challenges before the Supreme Court, here is what we know today:

    This law worked. It's still working. It has changed and saved American lives. It has set this country on a smarter, stronger course.

    And it's here to stay.

    If that means something to you today, add your voice here.

  • Today, in a 6-3 decision, the Supreme Court upheld a critical part of the Affordable Care Act, historic health care reform that the President signed into law five years ago. Now, millions of Americans who got covered in health insurance marketplaces can stay covered, no matter where they live. 

    The President made the following statement from the Rose Garden following the decision:

     

    "Today is a victory for hardworking Americans all across this country whose lives will continue to become more secure in a changing economy because of this law." —President Obama on today's Supreme Court ruling upholding a critical part of the Affordable Care Act: http://go.wh.gov/vV1uUX #ACAWorks

    Posted by The White House on Thursday, June 25, 2015

  • Ed. note: This is cross-posted on the First Lady's Medium account. See the original post here.

    Last week, the First Lady headed to the U.K. and Italy on a trip that took her from talking to girls about their education, to helping share tips for healthy living at the Expo, to visiting with our military families stationed abroad.

    #LetGirlsLearn: London, U.K.

    In London, the First Lady was inspired and impressed by the hard-working students she met at the Mulberry School for Girls. More than 62 million girls around the world are not in school. That’s a devastating loss for all of us who are missing out on their promise. That’s why while at the Mulberry School, the First Lady also announced a nearly $200 million British and American partnership to continue their collective support for adolescent girls’ education, part of which will be directed to countries affected by conflict and crisis.

    FLOTUS Europe 1

    Students welcome First Lady Michelle Obama at Mulberry School for Girls in London, England, June 16, 2015. The First Lady visited to discuss the Let Girls Learn initiative. (Official White House Photo by Amanda Lucidon)

  • Real GDP for the first quarter was revised up this morning, reflecting slightly higher growth in personal consumption, private investment, and government expenditures than previously estimated. The small first-quarter decline in overall GDP was driven by a number of factors including harsh winter weather and tepid foreign demand. However, the combination of consumption and investment—the most stable and persistent components of output—continued to rise at a robust year-over-year pace. This solid trend matches the strong pace of job growth and employment reduction observed over the last year. The President is working to build on these underlying trends by opening our exports to new markets with high-standards free trade agreements, boosting investment in infrastructure, and avoiding harmful budget cuts like the sequester.

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

    1. Real gross domestic product (GDP) edged down 0.2 percent at an annual rate in the first quarter of 2015, according to the third estimate from the Bureau of Economic Analysis. This report reflects an upward revision of 0.5 percentage point to overall GDP growth. The slower first quarter follows a solid increase of 3.6 percent at an annual rate during the second half of 2014. Over the past four quarters, GDP rose 2.9 percent. First-quarter growth was likely affected by a number of transitory factors including unusually severe weather, the West Coast ports dispute, and various measurement issues. A decline in net exports was another important contributor to weak GDP growth. Indeed, net exports subtracted nearly 2 full percentage points from quarterly GDP growth. Furthermore, structures investment subtracted about 0.6 percentage point from GDP (see point 4), reflecting reduced oil drilling in the wake of last year’s decline in oil prices. Despite the decrease in GDP, real gross domestic income—an alternate measure of economic output—increased 1.9 percent at an annual rate in the first quarter.

  • For decades, we’ve fought to secure a series of trade programs that have delivered results at home and around the globe.  This week, Congress will consider whether or not to continue these programs that help bring people out of poverty, create new opportunities for developing countries to grow, and help retrain American workers who have lost their jobs through no fault of their own.

    The Trade Preferences Extension Act, which the Administration has worked on closely with Congress, will not only expand and improve Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA), which helps laid-off U.S. workers get back on their feet, but will also extend programs that help support jobs and economic growth in developing countries. These programs include the African Growth & Opportunity Act (AGOA), Generalized System of Preferences (GSP), and Haitian Hemispheric Opportunity through Partnership Encouragement (HOPE) Act.

    Combined, these improved trade programs present a unique opportunity to both support American workers and help create jobs in the developing world.

    Here is a look at key provisions of the Trade Preferences Extension Act that Congress is considering this week:

  • Yesterday evening, President Obama hosted an Iftar dinner celebrating the Muslim holy month of Ramadan at the White House.

    President Obama hosts an Iftar dinner celebrating Ramadan 2015

    President Barack Obama hosts an Iftar dinner celebrating Ramadan in the East Room of the White House, June 22, 2015. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)

    The Iftar is the evening meal after sunset that concludes the daily fasting during the month of Ramadan. Observers around the world gather with families, loved ones, and communities to break their fast together. For observers, the Iftar dinner and Ramadan are a time to reflect on humanity and to reaffirm commitments to helping the less fortunate. This year, Ramadan, which follows the lunar calendar, is taking place during the longest days of the year.

  • 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 am a proud Vietnamese American who is working at the White House for the President and the First Lady of the United States on education and youth empowerment domestically and internationally. My parents reminded me and my two younger brothers day in and day out to appreciate being born in this country. They taught us to work hard, focus on our education, and go to a good college.

    My parents.

    My parents rarely spoke about their past, and it wasn’t until I was older that I came to fully appreciate the odyssey each of my parents undertook in their journey 40 years ago. They had very different stories about their pathway to citizenship but similar journeys of looking for refuge and starting a new life chapter in America.

  • Since 2013, President Obama has been calling on Congress to raise the federal minimum wage. Under the Fair Labor Standards Act, the minimum hourly wage an employer must pay an employee for work is currently $7.25. While Congress has not moved to increase the federal minimum wage, many states, cities, and business owners have heeded the President’s call to action by raising their minimum wages to well above the federal standard. 


    “To every mayor, governor, and state legislator in America, I say, you don’t have to wait for Congress to act; Americans will support you if you take this on.”

    — President Obama


    Since the President first asked Congress to #RaiseTheWage, 17 states have answered his call. Will your state be next? 


    “This year, more than half of our states guarantee their workers a wage higher than the federal minimum, but despite this progress we still have work to do. I continue to encourage states, cities, counties and companies to lift their workers' wages, and I urge Congress to finally do the right thing and give America a raise.”

    — President Obama


     When it comes to raising the minimum wage, the numbers speak for themselves:

  • 51st class of U.S. Presidential Scholars

    Members of the 51st class of U.S. Presidential Scholars pose for a picture outside of the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, June 22, 2015. (Photo by U.S. Department of Education)

    Yesterday, President Obama signed an Executive Order expanding the United States Presidential Scholars program to establish a new category of outstanding scholars in career and technical education (CTE).

    The announcement of this new award category of CTE Presidential Scholars is fitting because the White House also welcomed and honored the 51st class of Presidential Scholars yesterday afternoon. The Presidential Scholars program is among the nation’s most distinguished honors for high school students, and has not been expanded since 1979.

    Established by President Johnson in 1964, the Presidential Scholars Program has honored almost 7,000 of America’s top-performing students. The program was expanded in 1979 by President Carter to recognize students who demonstrate exceptional talent in the visual, literary, and performing arts. Each year, the program recognizes two high school seniors from each state and 15 scholars at-large on the basis of excellence in scholarship. An additional 20 scholars are selected for exceptional talent in the arts.

  • What has health reform meant to this country? That's a question being answered by millions of Americans every day. Cody is one of them. Read more of their stories here.


    "I was nervous every day that during dance, my ankle would break and I wouldn't have money to fix it. ... I now have health insurance (a silver plan) for $54.99 a month."


    Cody began his letter to the President with this line:

    "I don't have a complaint." Here's why.

    Cody grew up a self-proclaimed "normal kid" in Carmel, Indiana. After his mom passed away, he was cut off financially and left unable to afford health insurance.

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