By Jueseppi B.
December 19, 2013
05:57 PM EST
The country’s nutritional health remains a top priority for the Obama Administration. What and how we eat affects our ability to succeed, our hopes and dreams, the economy, the environment, and most of all, our children.
Despite the sobering news that 49 million Americans are food insecure, this figure has remained relatively stable since 2008. One key reason why is the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) direct ability to mitigate American hunger. When SNAP participation grew during the recession, the program expanded as intended. By providing a nutritional safety net during our economic recovery, SNAP puts food on the table for struggling Americans while they get back on their feet. SNAP also helps to feed the 15 million children living in food insecure households, as 20% of American children are living in poverty.
Today, SNAP is serving 47 million Americans. As the economy continues to improve, SNAP participation began to plateau in 2012 and is declining. The program’s ability to expand and contract with the economy reflects both President John F. Kennedy’s intention when he developed a 1961 pilot, and President Lyndon B. Johnson’s commitment to ending hunger by signing the Food Stamp Act of 1964. Thanks to their vision, SNAP still supplements the diet of food insecure Americans so that all Americans can have the food needed for an active, healthy life.
01:31 PM EST
On Wednesday afternoon, President Obama and the First Ladymet with a group of moms (and one aunt!) in the Oval Office to talk about how health reform has benefitted their families. They talked about the critical role that moms are playing in helping their families access quality, affordable health care by encouraging their adult children, family members and their peers to sign up for coverage.
Because many women in the group know first-hand why having the security of health insurance is so important, they’ve been working tirelessly to make sure that everybody in America is able to get high-quality health care coverage that provides them with financial protection and looks after them when they get sick.
“I think this conversation really drove home in a very personal way why this is important,” President Obama said. “Sometimes here in Washington, this is a very abstract conversation or an entirely political conversation. But when you boil it down to stories and people hear what it means to have the security of solid health insurance at an affordable price when you need it, it reminds me at least of why we’ve been fighting so hard to get this done.”
01:00 PM EST
The economy is finishing 2013 in a stronger place than where it began the year, though more work remains to grow the economy, create jobs, and strengthen the middle class. This is especially notable given the general fiscal environment, including the onset of the sequester in March, and the government shutdown and debt limit brinksmanship in October. The recent budget bill passed by Congress on a bipartisan basis will contribute to certainty, a better fiscal stance over the next year, and more funding for the critical ingredients of longer run growth. But more needs to be done, most immediately extending Unemployment Insurance benefits, and beyond that increasing investments to strengthen growth and making sure that growth is shared.
The slides below highlight the key themes and developments in the economy over the course of the year, and also touch on a few longer-term structural trends that continued to unfold in 2013 and will support growth into the future.
The strengthening of the economy over the course of 2013 is a testament to America’s resilient private sector and America’s workers. Businesses have added 8.1 million jobs over the past 45 months, and are on track to register the third consecutive year of job growth in excess of two million.
The growth rate of gross domestic product has risen for four straight quarters, and the private components of GDP have grown at a robust 3.7 percent annualized rate over the last two quarters. One of the biggest contributors to recent GDP growth has been the housing sector, which was the epicenter of the financial crisis but is bouncing back and has significant potential going forward.
There are also several emerging structural trends that supported growth in 2013 and will continue to play an important role in our economy. The United States is now the largest producer of oil and gas in world, passing Russia and Saudi Arabia, and for the first time since 1995, the United States is producing more oil domestically than it imports. A second, less widely appreciated trend is the dramatic slowdown in health care cost growth that in part reflects critical reforms under the Affordable Care Act. Slower health care cost growth means less pressure on employers and the federal budget and more take-home pay for families. Lastly, technological contributions such as cloud computing and mobile broadband and mobile devices continue to help the economy.
December 19, 2013
12:25 PM EST
Today the United States and Canada released the 2013 Implementation Report on the Beyond the Border Initiative. The report highlights the significant progress we have made over the last year to enhance economic cooperation and to address threats before they reach our common border. Our two countries are doing all we can to make trade and travel easier and less expensive, supporting economic competiveness and prosperity, while partnering to keep our communities safe.
Since President Obama and Canadian Prime Minister Harper announced the Beyond the Border Declaration in 2011, we have worked together to benefit residents, travelers, and industry in both countries while enhancing security, trade and travel facilitation, critical infrastructure protection, and emergency management. We are jointly collaborating before goods or travelers even arrive at the border, embracing a perimeter security approach where possible.
For example, this year, under the “cleared once, accepted twice” principle, both countries have started to rely on the other’s offshore inspections of marine shipments to reduce the need for re-inspection at the land border. Also, the U.S. truck cargo pre-inspection pilot in Surrey, British Columbia, tested new approaches for conducting screening at the land border. We are building on these accomplishments to complete preclearance negotiations for all transportation modes. Each of these initiatives helps goods move securely and more quickly across our shared border.
10:54 AM EST
Yesterday, the President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama met in the Oval Office with a group of moms who have been working to encourage their families, neighbors and friends to #GetCovered under the Affordable Care Act.
Women have a huge influence on their families and are a key demographic for the ongoing effort to ensure that consumers know about the benefits they can access through the health law. Moms understand how vital it is to nurture our kids to help them grow up strong and healthy.
As a proud mother of two college-age daughters, the President’s health care law has already ensured my own peace of mind, by allowing my soon-to-be college graduates’ to stay on my plan until age 26. It used to be the case that many insurance companies would kick young adults off of their parents’ health plans on their 19th birthday or when they stopped being a full-time student. For a lot of young adults, that’s the exact time when they need the stability of staying on their parents’ health plans because they are transitioning in and out of school or jobs.
And my daughters are just two of the nearly 1 million young Latinos under the age of 26 who have benefitted from the health care law. Instead of worrying what may happen if they get sick, our children can focus on other important things, like getting an education.
President Obama Announces Presidential Delegations For Opening & Closing Ceremonies – 2014 Olympic Winter Games
Mayors Against Illegal Guns & Moms Demand Action Joins Forces: Unite A National Movement To Protect Communities & Save Lives
New National And State Reports Showing Costs Of Repealing The Patient Protection And Affordable Care Act (ObamaCARES)
Michelle Obama on The Madison Show
Published on Dec 19, 2013
Michelle Obama on The Madison Show discussing the Affordable Care Act!
Statements and Releases
Statement by the Press Secretary on the National Defense Authorization Act
The Administration appreciates the bipartisan work of the House and Senate Armed Services Committees on the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2014, and their continued support of our service members and national defense. The bill will, among other things, assist the Armed Forces in operating in unconventional and irregular warfare and countering unconventional threats, support capacity building efforts with foreign military forces, and support contingency or stability operations.
While the bill does not address all of the Administration’s concerns, its provisions regarding foreign transfers of detainees held at the U.S. Naval Station, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba will provide the Administration additional flexibility to transfer detainees abroad consistent with our national security interests. The Administration commends the Congress for its work to expand efforts to prevent sexual assault and significantly strengthen protections for victims as well as extending important compensation and benefits for our service members, which are important for recruitment, retention and morale of our Armed Forces.
Although the bill includes a number of provisions that restrict or limit the Defense Department’s ability to align military capabilities and force structure with the President’s strategy and implement certain efficiencies, overall the Administration is pleased with the modifications and improvements contained in the bill that address most of the Administration’s significant objections with earlier versions regarding these issues. The Administration supports passage of the legislation.
Holidays at the White House
Streamed live on Dec 19, 2013
Over the course of the season, about 70,000 people will tour the White House holiday decorations. On Thursday, you’re invited to take a peek virtually through a Google+ Hangout. During a live event from the State Floor, White House pastry chef Bill Yosses and florist Laura Dowling will discuss this year’s décor and answer questions from young people around the country.
December 19th, 2013: White House Photo of the Day
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