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Christy GoldfussMarch 30, 2015
08:03 PM EDT
"For a century, rangers, and interpreters, and volunteers and visitors have kept alive what the writer Wallace Stegner once called 'the best idea we ever had' — our belief that the country’s most special places should belong not just to the rich, not just to the powerful, but belong to everybody — not just now, but for all time."
— President Obama
Next year, the National Park Service celebrates its 100th birthday. That marks 100 years of preserving, restoring, and sharing some of America's most special places — from gorgeous, iconic landscapes like Yellowstone and Yosemite to the sites across the country that tell the stories of people and events that have shaped our history. Our parks are an essential part of our heritage and a source of great pride. And, most importantly, our parks belong to all of us.
That’s a lot to celebrate, so we’re starting now. Last month, President Obama kicked things off when he launched Every Kid in a Park — an initiative that will give every fourth-grade student and their families a free pass to National Parks and all other federal lands and waters for a full year.
And today, the National Park Service and National Park Foundation are continuing the celebration with the launch of #FindYourPark, a new campaign to encourage Americans to connect to our astounding network of parks and public lands — whether it’s for the first time or the hundredth.
March 30, 2015
05:58 PM EDT
President Barack Obama delivers remarks during the dedication of the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate in Boston, Mass., March 30, 2015. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)
President Obama, Vice President Biden, and the First Lady traveled to Boston today to celebrate the opening of the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate. The building — complete with a full-scale replica of the United States Senate chamber — honors the life and legacy of Edward "Ted" Kennedy, who served as a U.S. Senator from 1962 to 2009.
Located adjacent to the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, the Institute offers interactive exhibits, a replica of Sen. Kennedy’s D.C. office, and historic documents and memorabilia from the Senator’s life.
“The John F. Kennedy Library next door is a symbol of our American idealism. The Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate is a living example of the hard, frustrating, never-ending, but critical work required to make that idealism real,” President Obama said today.
Watch the President's full remarks here:
March 30, 2015
05:34 PM EDT
Ed. note: This is cross-posted on the Corporation for National and Community Service's blog. See the original post here.
One of my priorities as CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service is using evidence and data to show results and drive greater impact on pressing national challenges. That’s why I’m so excited about new research that demonstrates AmeriCorps tutors are increasing literacy and kindergarten readiness – key benchmarks for success in school and in life.
The research, conducted by an independent evaluator, focused on the Pre-K program of the Minnesota Reading Corps, the largest AmeriCorps tutoring program. This program, started in Minnesota in 2003, has been replicated in seven other states and Washington, DC.
Among other findings, the evaluation found that students tutored by AmeriCorps members were significantly more prepared for kindergarten than students without such tutors. AmeriCorps members helped students meet or exceed targets for kindergarten readiness in all five critical literacy skills assessed. The effect sizes were not only significant, but substantial in magnitude. The program was effective across a range of settings – both in public schools and Head Start Centers – and for all students regardless of gender, race/ethnicity, or dual language learner status.
Tanya SomanaderMarch 30, 2015
02:12 PM EDT
Every President has had his own vision of how to move our country forward. So it is certainly a rare occasion when leaders from every single Administration over more than 40 years share the same view. But when it comes to ensuring Americans can compete in the 21st century global economy, officials from the Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Clinton, George W. Bush, and Obama administrations know that trade has an important role to play.
President Obama has been working with Congress to secure a new trade deal, the Trans-Pacific Partnership. It’s the most progressive trade agreement the world has ever seen, instituting fully enforceable standards that will protect our workers, our environment, and a free and open Internet.
That is why former officials from different corners of every Administration over the last four decades offered their support for the President’s trade agenda. See what they had to say:
Ten Secretaries of Commerce whose tenures span back to 1973 on why TPP is crucial to American businesses:
American companies grow and succeed in the global market place through high-quality high-standard trade agreements that help our firms gain access to new overseas markets. With 95 percent of the world’s consumers living outside the United States, we must not allow opportunities to pass us by.
March 30, 2015
10:30 AM EDT
Last summer, the United States paved new pathways for our relationship with Africa by hosting the historic U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit. Fifty-one African leaders joined President Obama in Washington for a discussion on "Investing in the Next Generation", the theme of the Summit. This gathering resulted in $33 billion dollars in new commitments to support economic growth across Africa, as well as tangible U.S. and African efforts to improve security, promote human rights and good governance, and provide opportunities for Africa’s sizeable youth population.
As the White House announced earlier today, the United States is partnering with the Government of Kenya to host the sixth annual Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES). The President will travel to Kenya this summer – his fourth trip to sub-Saharan Africa and the most of any sitting U.S. president – where he will participate in bilateral meetings and attend this important event.
David HudsonMarch 28, 2015
06:00 AM EDT
President Barack Obama tapes the Weekly Address in the Map Room of the White House, March 27, 2015. (Official White House Photo by Amanda Lucidon)
In this week’s address, the President highlighted the progress made protecting American consumers since he signed Wall Street reform into law five years ago, including an important new step taken by the independent Consumer Financial Protection Bureau earlier this week toward preventing abuses in payday lending.
The President emphasized his commitment to fighting to advance middle-class economics and ensure everybody who works hard can get ahead, while opposing attempts by Republicans both to weaken the CFPB and give large tax breaks to the wealthiest Americans at the expense of the middle class.
March 27, 2015
04:44 PM EDT
This week, the President celebrated the fifth anniversary of the Affordable Care Act becoming law, hosted students at the fifth-annual White House Science Fair, sat down with the creator of “The Wire” to discuss criminal justice policy, and traveled to Birmingham, Alabama to highlight new actions to crack down on abusive payday lending practices.
Find out more about the past week in our latest weekly wrap-up.
On March 23, 2010, President Obama signed a historic law that has transformed the lives of millions of Americans. Thanks to Obamacare, people across the country have more affordable coverage, higher-quality care, and better health.
Today, more than 16 million Americans have gained health coverage that suits their needs. 76 million people are now benefiting from preventive care coverage. Up to 129 million people with pre-existing conditions are no longer at risk of being denied coverage.
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) March 23, 2015
The facts are in: The Affordable Care Act is working. Look back at the passage of the Affordable Care Act and see all it's done for America since.
David HudsonMarch 27, 2015
03:00 PM EDT
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 December 2014. This release brings the total number of records made public by this White House to more than 4.41 million — all of which can be viewed in our Disclosures section.
Adam GarberMarch 27, 2015
02:00 PM EDT
This week, the President welcomed to the White House both student filmmakers and student scientists, hosted the Afghan president, and honored the five year anniversary of the Affordable Care Act, while the First Lady championed the Let Girls Learn initiative in Japan and Cambodia. That's March 20th to March 26th or, "The Magic Page."
Don't forget to tune in next week for a special, 5th-anniversary edition of West Wing Week:
Katy KaleMarch 27, 2015
11:54 AM EDT
Each fourth Thursday of April, millions of children across the country participate in Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day. At the White House, we usually celebrate this day by inviting children of employees to join their parents at work for a series of educational activities. The long hours that often accompany being a White House employee can be very demanding on a family, so we like to take this opportunity to express our appreciation to the children of our staff for sharing their parents with us.
This year, the Office of Management and Administration is working with the White House Council on Women and Girls and My Brother’s Keeper Initiative to expand our event to provide work-based learning opportunities for youth from the local Washington, D.C., area. In collaboration with the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Washington and the D.C. Child and Family Services Agency, we’re inviting youth who are typically unable to participate in this day – including foster youth and youth who may be at higher risk of dropping out of school, or may not have a parent with a job that allows them to bring their children to work.
We’re also encouraging other employers to expand their Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day programs. Since 1993 when the Ms. Foundation for Women established Take Our Daughters to Work Day, and later expanded the event to include boys in 2003, the goal of this effort has always been to help all of our nation’s daughters and sons to achieve brighter futures.
Jason FurmanMarch 27, 2015
09:30 AM EDT
Overall, today’s GDP report is consistent with a wide range of indicators showing continued labor market strengthening and improvement in household and corporate balance sheets. This estimate of fourth-quarter GDP affirms the robust underlying growth of the largest and most stable components of economic output, while the same volatile factors that increased growth in the third quarter subtracted from it in the fourth. Indeed, the sum of private consumption and fixed investment rose at the fastest pace in four years, despite the lower rate of overall growth. Personal consumption expenditures, which account for more than two thirds of output, grew 4.4 percent at an annual rate in the fourth quarter—the fastest single quarter since 2006. Despite the solid trend, the economy faces headwinds from weak growth abroad—as well as the lingering effects of winter weather—that economists generally expect to reduce GDP growth temporarily in the first quarter of 2015. There is more work to do to ensure that the recovery’s strong underlying trend is sustained and shared across a broad range of households. The President’s FY2016 Budget lays out a strategy to strengthen our middle class and help America's hard-working families get ahead.
FIVE KEY POINTS IN TODAY’S REPORT FROM THE BUREAU OF ECONOMIC ANALYSIS
1. Real gross domestic product (GDP) grew 2.2 percent at an annual rate in the fourth quarter of 2014, according to the third estimate from the Bureau of Economic Analysis. The report reflects especially fast growth in personal consumption expenditures (revised further upward in the final release) and continued strong increases in residential and business fixed investment. At the same time, the large third-quarter increases in Federal defense spending and net exports retreated somewhat in the fourth quarter. Despite the recent volatility of such transitory components—and though headwinds from abroad and winter weather may slow growth in the first quarter of 2015—the solid underlying trend of strong consumption and investment growth persists (see point 5).
March 27, 2015
09:00 AM EDT
Antibiotics save millions of lives every year. Today, however, the emergence of drug resistance in bacteria is undermining the effectiveness of current antibiotics and our ability to treat and prevent disease. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that drug-resistant bacteria cause two million illnesses and approximately 23,000 deaths each year in the United States alone. Antibiotic resistance also limits our ability to perform a range of modern medical procedures, such as chemotherapy, surgery, and organ transplants. That’s why fighting antibiotic resistance is a national priority.
Over the past year, the Administration has taken important steps to address the threat of antibiotic resistance. In September 2014, the President issued Executive Order (EO) 13676: Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria, which outlines steps for implementing the National Strategy on Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria and addressing the policy recommendations of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST)’s report on Combating Antibiotic Resistance. Furthermore, the President’s FY 2016 Budget released earlier this year proposed nearly doubling the amount of Federal funding for combating and preventing antibiotic resistance to more than $1.2 billion.
Combating and preventing antibiotic resistance, however, will be a long-term effort. That’s why, today, the Administration is releasing the National Action Plan for Combating Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria (NAP). The NAP outlines a whole-of-government approach over the next five years targeted at addressing this threat:
Jenna BraytonMarch 26, 2015
08:26 PM EDT
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.
Amanda LucidonMarch 26, 2015
06:45 PM EDT
Eigen Onishi thanks the First Lady for her visit to Kiyomizu-dera Buddhist temple. (Official White House Photo by Amanda Lucidon)
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
Secretary Sylvia Mathews BurwellMarch 26, 2015
05:30 PM EDT
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.
Tanya SomanaderMarch 26, 2015
04:54 PM EDT
"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:
Lindsay HolstMarch 26, 2015
03:46 PM EDT
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).
March 26, 2015
11:15 AM EDT
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.
Tanya SomanaderMarch 25, 2015
11:29 AM EDT
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) March 25, 2015
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:
March 24, 2015
06:58 PM EDT
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."