Weekly Wrap Up: “Live from the White House”
Two Presidents in the White House: Former President George H.W. Bush joined President Obama at the White House on Monday to honor the 5,000th Daily Point of Light Award winners. This award recognizes Americans that serve their communities in unique ways. At the event, President Obama announced his plan to continue President Bush’s legacy: a new Presidential Memorandum on expanding national service. The President’s initiative will help Americans become more engaged in service by tapping the full resources of the federal government.
Immigration Reform: Spanish-language television anchors from around the country were offered a unique opportunity on Tuesday – the chance to visit the White House with behind-the-scenes access and interview President Obama. After attending briefings surrounding issues important to Latinos, the reporters spoke with President Obama about the importance of comprehensive immigration reform. “Immigration is always difficult – it always has been in this country,” said President Obama. “But what’s also been true is that this is the thing that separated America from every other country on Earth. It’s part of what makes us special, and we have to continue that tradition by passing comprehensive immigration reform.”
Protecting Americans: After blocking a vote on his nomination for two years, the Senate confirmed Richard Cordray as director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau on Tuesday. President Obama spoke from the East Room on Wednesday about the significance of Cordray’s role – one that looks out for the financial interests of every day Americans. The President noted the accomplishments already made by the CFPB and said that with a leader in place, the Bureau would be well equipped to continue protecting consumers.
Today, if you want to take out a mortgage or a student loan or a payday loan, or you’ve got a credit reporting agency or debt collector who’s causing you problems -- maybe they're not playing by the rules, maybe they're taking advantage of you -- you have somewhere to go. The CFPB has already addressed more than 175,000 complaints from all across the nation, giving people an advocate who is working with them when they're dealing with these financial institutions that may not always be thinking about consumers first.
Health Care Refunds: President Obama spoke from the White House on Thursday to discuss the Affordable Care Act. This year, 8.5 million Americans will receive a refund from their health insurance company, thanks to a rule that requires insurance companies spend at least 80 percent of their customers’ premiums on medical care, instead of administrative costs. “So this is just an example of how the Affordable Care Act is doing what it’s designed to do: deliver more choices, better benefits, a check on rising costs, and higher quality care,” the President said. “That’s what it was designed to do, and we’re already seeing those effects take place.”
President Obama discusses Trayvon Martin: The President surprised the White House Press Corps today with an appearance in the Briefing Room to talk about Trayvon Martin and the verdict in the trial following the teenager's death. "Watching the debate over the course of the last week, I thought it might be useful for me to expand on my thoughts a little bit," the President said:
You know, when Trayvon Martin was first shot I said that this could have been my son. Another way of saying that is Trayvon Martin could have been me 35 years ago. And when you think about why, in the African American community at least, there’s a lot of pain around what happened here, I think it’s important to recognize that the African American community is looking at this issue through a set of experiences and a history that doesn’t go away.