By Jueseppi B.
February 06, 2014
05:16 PM EST
On Wednesday, during her visit to T.C. Williams High School in Alexandria, Virginia, First Lady Michelle Obama asked students a good question: Why would the First Lady of the United States come to a school and spend time with students “just to watch you fill out a computer form?”
The answer is that filling out one particular form – the FAFSA, or Free Application for Federal Student Aid – is one of the most important things students and families can do in planning for college success.
“You don’t have to be the valedictorian. You don’t have to major in a certain subject,” the First Lady said in her remarks. “You don’t even have to be at the bottom of the income ladder to receive the money.”
There is no income cutoff to qualify for financial aid, and most federal student aid programs don’t take grades into consideration when you apply.
Remarks by First Lady Michelle Obama at a FAFSA Workshop
February 2014: Photo of the Day
04:58 PM EST
“Collective bargaining is the bedrock of our economy. It’s not just about you. It’s about economic growth,” the Vice President remarked at the United Auto Workers annual Community Action Program (CAP) Conference in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday February 5th.
His remarks highlighted the contributions and sacrifices made by labor that led to the success of the auto industry recovery.
“No one gave more at the office to rescue the industry than labor,” stated the Vice President and drawing attention to the layoffs, wage freezes, and reduction in health care benefits that employees sacrificed.
The Vice President told the crowd and reminded those listening that, “You guys at the UAW not only saved the auto industry, you saved the heartbeat of American manufacturing,” emphasizing that it was thanks to labor that Chrysler and General Motors emerged from bankruptcy. Since then, the industry has added 380,000 jobs; including 8,300 in December of 2013.
12:08 PM EST
This morning, the President, the First Lady, and the Vice President attended the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, D.C. The annual event brings together legislators, officials, and clergy from all faiths and political ideologies.
During his remarks, the President focused on the importance of freedom of religion – not only in America, but also around the world:
History shows that nations that uphold the rights of their people, including the freedom of religion, are ultimately more just and more peaceful and more successful. Nations that do not uphold these rights sow the bitter seeds of instability and violence and extremism. So freedom of religion matters to our national security.
As I’ve said before, there are times when we work with governments that don’t always meet our highest standards, but they’re working with us on core interests such as the security of the American people. At the same time, we also deeply believe that it’s in our interest, even with our partners, sometimes with our friends, to stand up for universal human rights. So promoting religious freedom is a key objective of U.S. foreign policy. And I’m proud that no nation on Earth does more to stand up for the freedom of religion around the world than the United States of America.
Every President since Dwight D. Eisenhower has attended the National Prayer Breakfast since the initial event in 1953; this is President Obama’s sixth appearance.
Full Transcript Of President’s Remarks:
President Obama Speaks at the 2014 National Prayer Breakfast
February 06, 2014 | 20:04 |Public Domain
President Obama delivers remarks to legislators, officials, and clergy from all faiths and political ideologies at the annual National Prayer Breakfast.
February 06, 2014
04:19 PM EST
Today President Obama welcomed Haitian President Martelly to the White House. The visit served as an opportunity for the Presidents to discuss the way forward in Haiti, and how the United States can continue to support the Haitian government’s efforts to promote economic growth and strengthen Haiti’s democracy. The Presidents also discussed the close bonds between our two countries, anchored by the dynamic role of the Haitian American community in the United States.
President Obama’s Bilateral Meeting with President Martelly of Haiti
February 06, 2014 | 4:26 |Public Domain
President Obama and President Martelly of Haiti speak to the press before a bilateral meeting to discuss the way forward in Haiti, and how the United States can continue to support the Haitian government’s efforts to promote economic growth and strengthen Haiti’s democracy.
In recent years, much of our partnership has been focused on supporting Haiti’s recovery from the devastating 2010 earthquake, but our relationship is broader than short-term reconstruction alone. With our Haitian partners, we are making steady progress on a number of fronts. Nearly all earthquake rubble has been cleared away. More than 90% of Haitians have transitioned out of camps and into housing. HIV/AIDS is on the decline. Cholera is down 83% from 2011 and the rate of fatality is below 1%. Crime is down.
More than 2000 new members of the Haitian National Police are on the streets since 2011. GDP growth is on the rise (4% last year). Reliable access to electricity is up – with U.S. assistance having helped rehabilitate and upgrade 5 electrical substations in Port-au-Prince. Crop yields are improving thanks to better seeds, farming techniques, and improved market access provided to 100,000 farmers from USAID. More Haitian children are in school than ever before, including 60,000 students who were able to return to school following U.S. construction of more than 600 classrooms.
Haiti continues to face major challenges, but the country has demonstrated its resilience and is moving forward. As it does, the United States remains committed to working with Haiti to create the conditions for sustainable long-term development, stability, growth, and prosperity.
February 06, 2014 | 45:50 |Public Domain
White House Press Briefings are conducted most weekdays from the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room in the West Wing.
12:47 PM EST
This week has seen the release of a Congressional Budget Office (CBO) analysis that refuted claims by opponents of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) that it is a “job killer” and demonstrated that, by giving families more options for obtaining affordable health insurance outside the workplace, the ACA will make it easier for people take a risk and start a business, take time out of the labor force to raise a family, or retire when they are ready.
As CBO made clear, however, its analysis was not a comprehensive analysis of how the ACA will affect the labor market in particular or the economy as a whole. This blog post illustrates six ways that the ACA is helping the labor market, laying the foundation for future economic growth, and improving families’ financial security and well-being.
1.Putting more money in families’ pockets, boosting demand, and bringing down unemployment today. As of January 1, more than 2 million people had selected a plan in the health insurance marketplace, and nearly 80 percent of those people will – thanks to the ACA – benefit from tax credits to help pay their premiums. All told, the Congressional Budget Officeestimates that over the entirety of 2014, 5 million people will benefit from premium tax credits and help with cost-sharing averaging $4,700 per person. In 2015, 11 million people are estimated to benefit, rising to 19 million in 2016. Many millions more will gain affordable health insurance coverage through Medicaid.
These provisions of the ACA make it easier for families to access health care services and to meet other pressing needs, which willincrease the demand for goods and services throughout the economy at a time when the unemployment rate is still elevated. For this reason, as CBO Director Doug Elmendorf testified, the ACA “spurs employment and would reduce unemployment over the next few years.” The ACA is thus – today – helping ensure that every American who wants a job can find one.
Statements and Releases
Statement by the Press Secretary
It is disappointing that Republicans in the Senate chose to again deny emergency unemployment insurance for 1.7 million Americans who need this vital lifeline to support their families as they actively search each and every day for a job. As the President said during the State of the Union, we need to give these hardworking, responsible Americans a chance. We cannot allow one vote to stand in the way of supporting these Americans as they struggle to find work. Both sides of the aisle have worked together to prevent this kind of hardship in the past, and neglecting to do so now is unacceptable – especially given the high long-term unemployment rate.
Last week the President took action on his own, bringing together CEOs whose companies have agreed to take steps to help give the long-term unemployed a fair shot at a job, and announced new steps to expand partnerships that connect the long-term unemployed to good jobs. Republicans in Congress need to allow this bill to have an up or down vote and remove this needless drag on our economy and American families.
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