Happy Independence Day, everyone!
This week, President Obama cheered on and congratulated the U.S. men's soccer team; we saw a promising jobs report for June; the President talked about planes, trains, and automobiles in a speech on infrastructure and the economy; and the Vice President reflected on the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act.
Check out what else you may have missed in this week's wrap up.52 Months, 9.7 Million Jobs
Yesterday's jobs report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics showed that private-sector employment has increased for 52 straight months — the longest such streak on record. Over that time, businesses have added 9.7 million jobs, and the 1.4 million jobs added in the first half of this year are the most in any first half since 1999.
President Barack Obama tapes the Weekly Address in the Blue Room of the White House, June 27, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)
In this week’s address, President Obama commemorated Independence Day by noting the contributions and sacrifices from individuals throughout the history of this country -- from our Founding Fathers, to the men and women in our military serving at home and abroad.
Tomorrow's the Fourth of July, and we're pretty excited about it here at the White House.
To celebrate the holiday, the President and First Lady are inviting military heroes and their families to the White House tomorrow for a special Independence Day event, including a USO program featuring Grammy award-winning recording artist Pitbull.
But you don't need to be on the South Lawn to enjoy the show! Check out the live-stream of all of tomorrow's events -- including a naturalization ceremony for service members and civilians, remarks from the President on the South Lawn, and the fireworks on the National Mall tomorrow night -- right here at WhiteHouse.gov/Fourth-of-July.
In the meantime, check out some of our favorite Fourth of July moments from the past few years:1. "One of the best perks about being President is anyone will hand you their baby."
President Barack Obama holds a baby while greeting guests during an Independence Day celebration on the South Lawn of the White House, July 4, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
This week, the President wrapped up a trip to Minneapolis, nominated a new VA Secretary, and caught some World Cup fever.
President Barack Obama delivers remarks on the economy at 1776, a tech startup hub in Washington, D.C., July 3, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)
On the day before we celebrate America’s independence, President Obama had a chance to stop by 1776, a tech startup incubator in D.C. that supports entrepreneurs tackling major challenges in education, energy, health care, and other critical industries. The President’s visit coincided with the June jobs report, which shows the supporting role that startups and new businesses are playing in the American economy.
For Adelina of Sunland Park, New Mexico, living in one state over another made all the difference in getting health care. Because she lives in New Mexico, rather than nearby Texas, she was able to access health care. The real difference of a state’s decision making is demonstrated in both Adelina’s story and a new report released yesterday by the Council of Economic Advisers entitled Missed Opportunities: The Consequences of State Decisions Not to Expand Medicaid.
Finding herself needing to care for her sick mother, Adelina was unemployed and without insurance for over six months. But after keeping up with the news, she found that because New Mexico had expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, she had access to the affordable health insurance coverage she needed.
She recently wrote to President Obama to share her experience, explaining, “I write because I feel it is important to let our leaders know how their policies impact their constituencies.” She went on to say her coverage “has not only saved me thousands of dollars, but in some ways has kept me from further stress complications as anyone that is out of work knows how stressful that is.”
The 1.4 million jobs added in the first half of this year are the most in any first half since 1999. Furthermore, this is the first time since September 1999-January 2000 we have seen total job growth above 200,000 for five straight months. While today’s jobs report is encouraging, many families are still struggling with long-term unemployment and wages that have been stagnant for decades. The President continues to press Congress to take steps to further strengthen the economy, including passing a transportation bill to avoid jeopardizing hundreds of thousands of jobs later this year. But he will also continue to make progress using his own authority to increase economic opportunity, support wage growth, and ensure America’s workplaces are adapting to the 21st century.
FIVE KEY POINTS IN TODAY’S REPORT FROM THE BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS
The President just called U.S. Men's National Team captain Clint Dempsey and goalkeeper Tim Howard to commend them on their team's performance during the 2014 World Cup.
--President Barack Obama, 7/2/2014
Twenty-four states still haven't acted to make more struggling families eligible for Medicaid — including many of the states that would benefit most.
Here's why that's a problem: If these states don't opt to expand Medicaid, 5.7 million people won't have access to health insurance coverage in 2016.
Want to know exactly how Medicaid expansion will help millions of Americans? Check out our new resource center, featuring an interactive map that shows what expanding Medicaid would mean for people in each state — from access to affordable health insurance and preventive care, to new jobs created.
On Tuesday, Dr. Jill Biden arrived in Lusaka, Zambia, her first stop on a three-country visit to Africa. Dr. Biden is joined by Rajiv Shah, Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and Catherine Russell, U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women's Issues.
Dr. Biden’s trip to Africa will highlight the importance of girls’ education and women’s participation in government, the economy, and civil society in accelerating economic development; improving health and educational outcomes; strengthening democratic governance; and fostering peace and security.
Upon arrival, Dr. Biden met with Zambia’s Second Lady, Dr. Charlotte Harland Scott, to discuss the major issues affecting women in the country, with particular attention to education, gender-based violence, health, and economic empowerment. They were joined by government officials to discuss activities that the local ministries are carrying out to empower women and girls.
In the latest installment of Being Biden, the Vice President reflects on the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act, and shares a photo of himself with Representative John Lewis, Jesse Jackson, and other leaders of the civil rights movement.
It was 50 years ago today that President Lyndon Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act into law. And Vice President Biden reminds us that, as we celebrate the Fourth of July, we must also celebrate and remember the struggles of a generation that pushed to make the Declaration of Independence's inalienable rights -- of "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" -- a reality for all Americans.
The Vice President reminds listeners what these civil rights leaders faced in 1965 on Alabama's Edmund Pettus Bridge -- recounting a walk met by "billy clubs and beatings, at the hand of state police officers."
Yesterday afternoon, President Obama talked about infrastructure and the economy, with Washington, D.C.'s Francis Scott Key Bridge serving as the backdrop.
On a hot and muggy day, the President quickly got down to business, talking about the merits of the Highway Trust Fund, established by Congress in the 1950s, which helps states build and repair roads, bridges, and other infrastructure projects across the country.
But funding for the Highway Trust Fund is in danger of running out by the end of the summer, jeopardizing nearly 700,000 American jobs. Putting that in more tangible terms, the President noted that it "would be like Congress threatening to lay off the entire population of Denver, or Seattle, or Boston. That's a lot of people. It would be a bad idea."
Today, the Council of Economic Advisers released a report, Missed Opportunities: The Consequences of State Decisions Not to Expand Medicaid, which shows the effects of state decisions regarding Medicaid expansion on access to care, financial security, overall health and well-being of residents, and state economies.
Under the Affordable Care Act, states had the opportunity to expand Medicaid coverage to give citizens in their states access to affordable health care, and in return receive 100 percent of federal funding to cover those costs for the first three years and no less than 90 percent federal support in the years ahead.
A number of governors and legislators in both parties decided to put people over politics by expanding Medicaid in their states. To date, 26 states have chosen to do the right thing by expanding coverage, and in those states, 5.2 million Americans have gained access to affordable health care through Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program.
Unfortunately, some governors and legislators are still holding hostage a Medicaid expansion that we know would help thousands of their residents, reduce the rate of uninsured, and could have significant economic benefits for their states.
And now, in this report, we can see the opportunities that these states are missing out on.
Here is a small sample of the coverage that the report has received across the country:
Last week, I delivered a keynote speech on cybersecurity at the Garter Security & Risk Management Summit in Maryland.
Cybersecurity touches so much of our lives now that we need a rich and continuing dialogue that includes the broadest possible set of stakeholders. So one of the great things about coming to forums such as this one is that I get the opportunity to engage and interact with a diverse range of cybersecurity practitioners from across the private sector, all levels of government, and academia. All organizations face many of the same challenges in keeping networks and information secure, and it is encouraging to talk to so many people who are working on these problems and sharing their ideas to develop community-wide solutions.
In my remarks, I outlined some of the ongoing “wicked” problems we face in cybersecurity and some of the approaches the U.S. government is taking in trying to make progress on these challenges.
In an overall strategic context, I think that we need to continue to work on how we can flip the economics of cyberspace; specifically, how we can change our overall approach to cybersecurity to more directly address economic and human behavioral factors. For example, we need to figure out how to use economic incentives to create a market for systems that are secure by default and that increase cost of conducting malicious activities in cyberspace. In the end, what makes cybersecurity hard is the non-technical aspects of it. As a result, cybersecurity requires a holistic approach that takes into account human behaviors and economics, as well as the technical factors.
You can read the text of my remarks here, and I look forward to continuing to engage with the cybersecurity community at events in the future.
In keeping with the President and First Lady's commitment to open the People's House to as many people as possible, tours of the White House Kitchen Garden are back and now available to community organizations as well as school groups with an interest in gardening and healthy eating. Come smell the beautiful, brightly colored fruits and vegetables in the Kitchen Garden, including herbs grown from Thomas Jefferson's garden at Monticello; see the vibrant flowers in the Pollinator Garden; and hear the bees buzzing around the White House Beehive.
Nestled on the White House South Lawn, the Kitchen Garden is home to different fruits, vegetables, and herbs each growing season. The First Lady planted the White House Kitchen Garden in 2009 to initiate a national conversation around the health and wellbeing of our nation and to serve as an inspiration for schools and community groups across the country to plant gardens of their own. Now nearly five years later, the Kitchen Garden is as healthy as ever and is an example of just how easy it is to plant a garden in your backyard, school, or community space.
So if you haven’t already started your own garden, click here to check out the Let’s Move! Gardening Guide, which has all the information you need to get planting!
Yesterday, for the sixth time since taking office, President Obama joined national, state, and local community leaders, business leaders, grassroots activists, elected officials, and others for an event celebrating Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Pride Month at the White House.
With the First Lady by his side, the President spoke about the tremendous progress we have made during the course of his Administration -- from repealing "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" to implementing the Affordable Care Act with important protections for LGBT people -- and restated his commitment to taking executive action on behalf of LGBT workers:
The majority of Fortune 500 companies already have nondiscrimination policies to protect their employees because it’s the right thing to do and because many say it helps to retain and attract the best talent. And I agree. So if Congress won’t act, I will. I have directed my staff to prepare an executive order for my signature that prohibits discrimination by federal contractors on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.
Today, the Supreme Court ruled on the much-publicized Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. case.
This decision would allow some bosses to withhold contraceptive care from their employees' health coverage based on their own religious beliefs -- which their employees may not share.
At the top of today's press briefing, Press Secretary Josh Earnest delivered a statement about where the President stands on this ruling, noting:"President Obama believes that women should make personal health care decisions for themselves, rather than their bosses deciding for them."
He went on to state that "today's decision jeopardizes the health of women who are employed by these companies."
You can read a full transcript of the statement and press briefing here.
In the Rose Garden this afternoon, President Obama reiterated his commitment to immigration reform and reproached House Republicans for their unwillingness to confront this important issue.
Speaking a year ago to the month when the Senate passed an immigration reform bill, the President outlined what Republican obstruction has meant over the past year:
- We have fewer resources to strengthen our borders;
- Businesses can still game the system by hiring undocumented workers -- which punishes businesses that are playing by the rules and hurting the wages of hard-working Americans;
- The best and brightest that come to study in the United States are still forced to leave, heading overseas and subsequently competing against our workers; and
- Eleven million immigrants are still living in the shadows, instead of having the opportunity to earn their citizenship.
What's more, "it's meant the heartbreak of separated families," the President stressed.
Meanwhile, the majority of Americans -- ranging from law enforcement to labor to faith communities -- continue to support immigration reform.
President Barack Obama tapes the Weekly Address in the Blue Room of the White House, June 27, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)
In this week’s address, the President discussed his recent trip to Minneapolis where he met a working mother named Rebekah, who wrote the President to share the challenges her family and many middle-class Americans are facing where they work hard and sacrifice yet still can’t seem to get ahead. But instead of focusing on growing the middle class and expanding opportunity for all, Republicans in Congress continue to block commonsense economic proposals such as raising the minimum wage, extending unemployment insurance and making college more affordable.
The President will keep fighting his economic priorities in the weeks and months ahead, because he knows the best way to expand opportunity for all hardworking Americans and continue to strengthen the economy is to grow it from the middle out.
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 2014. Today’s release also includes visitor records generated prior to September 16, 2009 that were requested by members of the public in May 2014 pursuant to the White House voluntary disclosure policy. This release brings the total number of records made public by this White House to more than 3.74 million—all of which can be viewed in our Disclosures section.