By Jueseppi B.
President Obama talks about his belief that a rising, thriving middle class is the true engine of economic growth, and that to reignite that engine and continue to build on the progress we’ve made over the last four years, we need to invest in three areas: jobs, skills and opportunity.
Weekly Address: The President Talks About How to Build a Rising, Thriving Middle Class
05:50 PM EDT
As the single largest consumer of energy in the United States, the Department of Defense (DOD) knows that improving efficiency and harnessing new energy technologies is imperative– not only to achieve significant cost savings, but to give our troops better energy options on the battlefield, at sea, in the air, and at home.
At DOD’s fixed installations alone – including, barracks, offices, and hospitals – energy bills come in around $4 billion each year. Given this large footprint as well as the importance of safe, secure, and affordable energy sources to mission readiness, the Department has made one of the largest commitments to clean energy in history, by developing a goal to deploy three gigawatts of renewable energy – including solar, wind, biomass, and geothermal – on Army, Navy, and Air Force installations by 2025 – enough to power 750,000 homes.
When it comes specifically to solar power, a new report today from the Solar Energy Industries Association underscores the progress that DOD is making towards its goals.
“Enlisting the Sun: Powering the U.S. Military with Solar Energy” highlights solar energy’s growing role in powering military installations and military homes across America. According to the report, as of early 2013, there are more than 130 megawatts (MW) of solar photovoltaic (PV) energy systems powering Navy, Army, and Air Force bases in at least 31 states and the District of Columbia. Combined, these installations provide enough clean energy to power more than 20,000 American homes.
May 17, 2013
04:14 PM EDT
Yesterday, President Obama demonstrated his continued commitment to increasing the diversity of our federal judiciary, so that it better reflects the nation it serves. He nominated four distinguished women to serve on four different courts—women who not only have the necessary intellect, integrity and fair-mindedness to serve as federal judges, but whose nominations also represent important “firsts” in their state or district:
- If confirmed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, Judge Carolyn McHugh would be the first woman from Utah to serve on that court. Currently, the Tenth Circuit only has one woman judge serving among its nine active members.
- Pamela Reeves and Elizabeth Wolford would be the first women to serve as district court judges in the Eastern District of Tennessee and Western District of New York, respectively, if confirmed.
- Debra Brown would be the first African-American district court judge to serve in the Northern District of Mississippi and the first African-American woman to serve as an Article III judge in the entire state of Mississippi, if confirmed.
President Obama’s judicial nominees already have broken the gender barrier in circuit courts in six states, as well as nine district courts, and have shattered dozens of glass ceilings for minorities. And on Monday, the Senate will consider the nomination of Michael McShane to be a district court judge in Oregon; if confirmed, he would be the fifth openly gay judge appointed by President Obama, compared to only one in history before.
May 17, 2013
West Wing Week: 05/17/13 or “We the Geeks”
Obama Cares: On the Friday before Mother’s Day, President Obama explained how the Affordable Care Act is helping women. For example, the law prevents insurance companies from charging women more than men and requires insurance companies to cover preventive services like mammograms free of charge.
Thanks to the women in this room and people all across the country, we worked really hard — and it’s now been more than three years since Congress passed the Affordable Care Act and I signed it into law. It’s been nearly a year since the Supreme Court upheld the law under the Constitution. And, by the way, six months ago, the American people went to the polls and decided to keep going in this direction. So the law is here to stay.
The President asked Americans to learn the facts about the Affordable Care Act and the wide array of benefits the law is already providing. You can visit WhiteHouse.gov/HealthReformand HealthCare.gov to see what the law does for your family.
Make sure you know what the actual facts are, because you stand to benefit if you’re not already benefiting from this thing. Don’t let people confuse you. Don’t let them run the okiedoke on you. Don’t be bamboozled.
The nearly 85% of Americans who have health insurance are already benefiting from the Affordable Care Act. Now the White House is asking Americans from across the country to speak now in support of health care reform. Lend your name, share your story, and be part of making the law a success here.
Review of IRS: On Wednesday, the President delivered remarks on the Treasury Department’s review of the Internal Revenue Service and said the “misconduct that it uncovered is inexcusable.” The President said he will hold the responsible parties accountable, put in place new safeguards to make sure this does not happen again, and work with Congress as it performs its oversight role.
I’ll do everything in my power to make sure nothing like this happens again by holding the responsible parties accountable, by putting in place new checks and new safeguards, and going forward, by making sure that the law is applied as it should be — in a fair and impartial way.
Prime Minister Erdogan of Turkey: On Thursday, President Obama and Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan held a press conference at the Rose Garden. The leaders discussed U.S. – Turkey relations such as trade and investment, mutual security, and the conflict in Syria.
In the last four years, bilateral trade between our two countries has grown 75 percent to nearly $20 billion, and U.S. exports to Turkey have more than doubled. The United States and Turkey promised to remain committed to strengthening their economic partnership.
Prime Minister Cameron of Great Britain: On Tuesday, thePresident welcomed British Prime Minister David Cameron to the White House. The global partners spoke about the upcoming Group of Eight summit, sustaining the global economy, and the conflict in Syria.
As we’ve said before, the great alliance between the United States and the United Kingdom is rooted in shared interests and shared values, and it’s indispensable to global security and prosperity.
National Peace Officers Memorial Service: On Wednesday, the President headed to the U.S. Capitol for the National Peace Officers Memorial Service. The event paid respect to law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty the last year. The 143 fallen officers were recognized for their courage on the front lines and their dedication to our community.
They exemplified the very idea of citizenship — that with our God-given rights come responsibilities and obligations to ourselves and to others. They embodied that idea. That’s the way they died. That’s how we must remember them. And that’s how we must live.
TOP COPS: On Saturday, the President honored the 2013 National Association of Police Organizations TOP COPS award winners. The TOP COPS were chosen by the National Association of Police Organizations and were nominated by their colleagues for noteworthy service.
So I’d ask all Americans — everybody who is watching all across the country — when you see a police officer, you meet an officer’s family, let them know how much you appreciate it. It’s the least we can do for the men and women who give us so much and help keep us safe.
#WeTheGeeks: On Thursday, the White House launched “We the Geeks,” a new series of Google+ Hangouts highlighting the future of science, technology, and innovation in America. The first “We the Geeks” Hangout covered Grand Challenges, which are “ambitious goals on a national or global scale that capture the imagination and demand advances in innovation and breakthroughs in science and technology.”
An example of a Grand Challenge is the BRAIN Initiative. This research effort seeks to revolutionize our understanding of the human mind and find new ways to treat, prevent, and cure brain disorders like Alzheimer’s, autism, and traumatic brain injury.
We The Geeks: Grand Challenges
Published on May 16, 2013
The White House kicks off “We the Geeks,” a new series of Google+ Hangouts to highlight the future of science, technology, and innovation here in the U.S.
Our first hangout included an extraordinary panel of innovators from around the country who will discuss the elements of an “all hands on deck” effort to pursue Grand Challenges. Learn more:http://wh.gov/JuJI
Coming Together to Stop Slavery
05:28 PM EDT
Today at the White House, we convened the 10th annual meeting of the President’s Interagency Task Force to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons. Secretary of State Kerry led the meeting, which was attended by Cabinet secretaries and representatives from agencies including State, Justice, Defense, Labor, Human and Health Services, Homeland Security, Interior, Agriculture, Transportation, Education, as well as USAID, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Office of Management and Budget, and White House policy offices.
Each department, agency, and office shared their strategies to prevent trafficking, protect victims, prosecute offenders, and partner with civil society— both at home and around the world.
We reflected on the significant progress we have made over the last year, as well as the work left to do.
Last September, during his speech on human trafficking at the Clinton Global Initiative, President Obama announced several initiatives that build off the strong record of this task force.
These initiatives cover a wide range of areas, from government contracting regulation, to more coordinated responses to trafficking, to better victim services, to innovative public-private partnerships that will create technology tools for survivors and law enforcement.
The meeting today follows the first-ever White House Forum on Human Trafficking last month, as well as the convening of the President’s Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships that focus its entire report on human trafficking the next day. Furthermore, we celebrated the reauthorization of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act in March.
Today, we each committed to specific goals to combat trafficking.
First, we will implement our existing commitments, such as finalizing the victim services strategy, finalizing the T-Visa regulations, and implementing appropriate recommendations from the President’s Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships.
Second, we’ll continue to promote the rule of law to hold traffickers accountable. We will do this by ensuring law enforcement has the tools it needs at the state, local, federal and international levels. We will also seek to launch pilot technology projects that aid law enforcement and reach out to survivors.
Third, we will continue to make sure that our entire federal supply chain is free of trafficked labor. We’ll do this by implementing the Executive Order both at home and abroad.
And finally, we will develop a simple, straightforward way forcitizens to report possible instances of human trafficking. We will reach out to schools and the general public to make sure everyone has the resources they need to stay vigilant and prevent their classmates, students, and neighbors from being trafficked.
Our goal is to finish these next steps by this coming September, which marks the one year anniversary of President Obama’s speech at the Clinton Global Initiative.
Today’s meeting was another step forward in our fight to end human trafficking. Together, we can create a future free of slavery.
National Women’s Health Week: Re-Committing Ourselves to Healthy Women and Girls
May 17, 2013
02:45 PM EDT
They are our daughters. Our sisters. Our mothers.
These are some of the most important people in our lives. And asNational Women’s Health Week comes to a close, we recommit ourselves to improving opportunities for women and girls by expanding access to affordable and accessible health care.
Just before Mother’s Day (the official start of National Women’s Health Week), President Obama invited a number of women and men to the White House to talk about women, families, and the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
We know that the ACA has already ushered in a new era of access and savings for people all over the country. 47 million women have gained access to preventive services at no out-of-pocket expense, including well-woman visits, domestic violence screenings and counseling, and contraceptive care.
But women aren’t just numbers, we’re people. We are neighbors, aunts, co-workers, and daughters. We are people like Carol, who introduced the President at the event in the East Room last week.
Carol’s son, a 22-year-old college grad and traumatic brain injury survivor with a rare genetic lung disease, was able to stay on his family’s health insurance policy instead of being kicked off the plan this year. Finding coverage on his own would have been nearly impossible, as Carol wrote in a letter to the President: “Given his history, he would be virtually uninsurable under the old set of ‘rules.’ Instead of contemplating law school, all of his resources would have been channeled into somehow, somewhere, finding health insurance.”
Helping Carol and her son are why the Affordable Care Act lets young people stay on their parents’ plan until they turn 26, President Obama said.
Carol made her voice heard, and so can you. Let us know if you’re one of the nearly 85% of Americans who have already benefitted from “Obamacare.”
Lend your voice to protect the 6.6 million young adults who currently have the option of staying on their parent’s health insurance, the over 34 million seniors who pay less for preventive care like mammograms and colonoscopies, and the 18 million middle-class families who have the opportunity to save money on their monthly premiums starting in 2014.
In a proclamation this week, President Obama stated that this is a time to “reflect on how far we have come in the fight to provide Americans with the care they deserve,” and “renew our commitment to empowering all women with the chance to live strong, healthy lives.”
Our daughters, sisters, and mothers deserve nothing less.
To learn more, or to share your story, please click here.
02:00 PM EDT
Ed. note: Watch the video below to learn more about what the President is doing in Baltimore, and check back on this post for updates from the trip – we’ll post them all here together.
Previewing the President’s trip to Baltimore
Published on May 16, 2013
On Friday, May 17, the President will travel to Baltimore, Maryland in his second Middle Class Jobs and Opportunity Tour. While in Baltimore, the President will visit an elementary school that provides comprehensive early childhood services. Then, the President will visit Ellicott Dredges, which manufactures innovative dredges and dredge equipment being sold for infrastructure projects across the country and around the world. He will also be visiting a community center that helps families by ensuring parents have the skills they need to earn a decent living.
Today, President Obama is headed to Baltimore, Maryland to talk early childhood education, infrastructure and ensuring hard work leads to a decent living.
The President’s first stop today was at Moravia Park Elementary School, where he took part in a literacy lesson with pre-k students. The students are part of the school’s Judy Center, which provides comprehensive early childhood services including Head Start, child care, intervention services and family engagement. (Learn more about President Obama’s plan to expand access to high-quality preschool to every child in America)
The next item on the itinerary was a visit to Ellicot Dredges, which manufactures innovative dredges and dredge equipment being sold for infrastructure projects across the country and around the world. The President toured the facilities, and delivered remarks about creating jobs by rebuilding our nation’s infrastructure. (Read more about what he’s doing on the infrastructure front)
President Obama Speaks on Rebuilding Our Nation’s Infrastructure
Published on May 17, 2013
President Obama delivers remarks at Ellicot Dredges about growing the economy, creating jobs, and improving U.S. competitiveness by investing in 21st century infrastructure.
President Obama ended the trip with a visit to the Center for Urban Families, a non-profit that works to strengthen urban communities by helping fathers and families achieve stability and economic success.
President Barack Obama participates in a literacy lesson with children while visiting a pre-kindergarten classroom at Moravia Elementary School in Baltimore, Md., May 17, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
President Obama Talks to Pre-K Students
May 17, 2013 | 3:06 | Public Domain
President Obama sits down with a class of students at Moravia Park Elementary School.
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