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A Moment Of Silence: 2:49 PM. #BostonStrong.


 

By Jueseppi B.

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Statement by the President

A year ago, tragedy struck at the 117th Boston Marathon.  Four innocent people were killed that week, and hundreds more were wounded.  Today, we remember Krystle Campbell, Lingzi Lu, Martin Richard, and Sean Collier.  And we send our thoughts and prayers to those still struggling to recover.

 

We also know that the most vivid images from that day were not of smoke and chaos, but of compassion, kindness and strength: A man in a cowboy hat helping a wounded stranger out of harm’s way; runners embracing loved ones, and each other; an EMT carrying a spectator to safety.  Today, we recognize the incredible courage and leadership of so many Bostonians in the wake of unspeakable tragedy.  And we offer our deepest gratitude to the courageous firefighters, police officers, medical professionals, runners and spectators who, in an instant, displayed the spirit Boston was built on – perseverance, freedom and love.

 

One year later, we also stand in awe of the men and women who continue to inspire us – learning to stand, walk, dance and run again.  With each new step our country is moved by the resilience of a community and a city.  And when the sun rises over Boylston Street next Monday – Patriot’s Day – hundreds of thousands will come together to show the world the meaning of Boston Strong as a city chooses to run again.

 

 

108 Hours: Inside the Hunt for the Boston Marathon Bombers

 

Published on Apr 12, 2014

Airdate: April 11, 2014

 

 

 

A Moment of Silence to Mark the One-Year Anniversary of the Boston Marathon Bombing

 

 

Today at 2:49 pm ET, President Obama will observe a moment of silence to mark the one-year anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombing.

2014 Boston Marathon Tribute: Joe Biden

 

Published on Apr 15, 2014

http://www.UniversalSports.com 2014, Boston, Masschutes, USA, A week before the 118th Boston Marathon, the city of Boston came together to remember the tragic terrorist attack last year. And giving tribute to the heroes and the survivors of that day, Vice-President Joe Biden had these words.

 

President Obama also released a statement this morning on the tragedy.

Today, we remember Krystle Campbell, Lingzi Lu, Martin Richard, and Sean Collier. And we send our thoughts and prayers to those still struggling to recover.

We also know that the most vivid images from that day were not of smoke and chaos, but of compassion, kindness and strength: A man in a cowboy hat helping a wounded stranger out of harm’s way; runners embracing loved ones, and each other; an EMT carrying a spectator to safety. Today, we recognize the incredible courage and leadership of so many Bostonians in the wake of unspeakable tragedy. And we offer our deepest gratitude to the courageous firefighters, police officers, medical professionals, runners and spectators who, in an instant, displayed the spirit Boston was built on – perseverance, freedom and love.

 

 

Boston Marathon Bombing — The Hunt For Dzhokhar Tsarnaev

 

 

 

Boston and its surroundings braced for an emotional week that begins Tuesday with a large ceremony honoring the victims, first responders, medical personnel and others affected by the attack. It will be a chance to mourn the dead and remember the bloodshed, but also to proclaim that what is perhaps the world’s most famous footrace will continue for a 118th year, and to marvel at the way events have brought this community together.

 

“We’re going to turn it into a moment of unity and perseverance and [strength] as a city,” said Alison Beliveau, 25, of South Boston, who finished a run Monday morning outside Marathon Sports, where the first bomb went off one year ago. “We made it through. We’re going to make it.”

 

People stand at the site of the first Boston Marathon bombing nearly one year later at. Boston Commemorates Marathon Bombing Anniversary

People stand at the site of the first Boston Marathon bombing nearly one year later at. Boston Commemorates Marathon Bombing Anniversary

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Boston Prepares To Commemorate Year Anniversary Of Marathon Bombing

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Boston Prepares To Commemorate One Year Anniversary Of Marathon Bombing

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@VP “We will never yield. We will never cower America will never never stand down. We are Boston.” – VP #BostonStrong

@VP “We will never yield. We will never cower America will never never stand down. We are Boston.” – VP #BostonStrong

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President Obama speaks during a statement to the press following explosions near the finish line of the Boston Marathon in the briefing room of the White House April 15, 2013

President Obama speaks during a statement to the press following explosions near the finish line of the Boston Marathon in the briefing room of the White House April 15, 2013

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Equal Pay Day At Barack’s House. There Is NO Glass Ceiling At THIS White House.


 

By Jueseppi B.

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Taking Action in Honor of National Equal Pay Day

 

 

President Barack Obama signs executive actions to strengthen enforcement of equal pay laws for women, at an event marking Equal Pay Day, in the East Room of the White House, April 8, 2014.

President Barack Obama signs executive actions to strengthen enforcement of equal pay laws for women, at an event marking Equal Pay Day, in the East Room of the White House, April 8, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Today, President Obama signed a new Executive Order to prevent workplace discrimination and empower workers to take control over negotiations regarding their pay.

 

Just over two months after President Obama raised the minimum wage to $10.10 for federal contractors, he is again leading by example and taking action to protect American workers from retaliation if they broach the topic of unequal compensation. This is a problem facing a broad range of American workers, but women in particular are too often on the receiving end of subtle or overt penalties for even mentioning their pay.

 

In addition, the President is asking the Secretary of Labor to require federal contractors to submit data on employee compensation by race and gender — which will help employers take proactive efforts to ensure fair pay for all their employees.

 

President Obama is committed to ensuring equal opportunity and empowering women in the workforce. Shortly after taking office, he signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act and established theNational Equal Pay Task Force. His commitment to women’s equality stems not only from his experiences as the son of a single mom, a husband, and the father of two daughters, but also as our nation’s leader, focused every day on strengthening our economy and maintaining our competitive edge in the world.

 

Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act Signing

President Barack Obama signs into law the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act in the East Room of the White House. January 29, 2009. (Official White House Photo by Joyce Boghosian)

As the President said in his most recent State of the Union address, “when women succeed, America succeeds.” We truly can’t afford to have women held back or prevent them from reaching their full potential if we hope to maximize the strength and productivity of our workforce.

 

Fifty years ago, President Kennedy signed the Equal Pay Act into law to combat gender-based wage discrimination, and in the decades since, women have made extraordinary progress. But there is still a great amount of work that needs to be done. Women still make just 77 cents on average for every dollar a man earns, and continue to face prejudice in the workplace. And that number hasn’t improved — the pay gap has stayed constant since 2002.

 

Women now make up roughly half of America’s workforce and graduate at a higher rate than men from college and graduate schools — but even professional women make less than men in the same occupation with equivalent degrees. And the wage gapgets worse as they get older: Until they turn 35, women earn roughly 90 percent of what men make; after that, women typically earn about 75 to 80 percent of what men make.

 

This June, the President will host the first-ever White House Summit on Working Families to discuss issues ranging from fair pay and the minimum wage to childcare and flexible workplace policies to ensure that parents can be productive workers while handling their responsibilities at home.

 

The summit will convene a diverse group of business leaders, advocates, parents, and stakeholders from across the country to share best practices, identify strategies that work, and take those ideas to scale.

 

The summit and Executive Order will build on President Obama’s ongoing commitment to strengthen the middle class, maximize opportunity for all, and put every hardworking American in a position to succeed.

 

 

Presidential Actions

 

Executive Order — Non-Retaliation for Disclosure of Compensation Information

 

 

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President Obama Speaks on Equal Pay for Equal Work

 

Published on Apr 8, 2014

Following an introduction by Lilly Ledbetter, President Obama announces two new executive actions to strengthen enforcement of equal pay laws for women.

 

 

President Barack Obama is introduced to speak by Lilly Ledbetter at an event aimed at increasing transparency about women’s pay during an event at the White House. The first law President Obama signed after taking office in 2009 was the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which extended time periods for employees to file claims for wages lost as a result of discrimination.

President Barack Obama is introduced to speak by Lilly Ledbetter at an event aimed at increasing transparency about women’s pay during an event at the White House. The first law President Obama signed after taking office in 2009 was the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which extended time periods for employees to file claims for wages lost as a result of discrimination.

 

 

 

 

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Remarks by the President on Equal Pay for Equal Work

 

 

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East Room

11:58 A.M. EDT

 

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THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you, everybody.  (Applause.)  All right.  Well, thanks to my friend, Lilly Ledbetter, not only for that introduction but for fighting for a simple principle:  Equal pay for equal work.  It’s not that complicated.  And, Lilly, I assure you, you remain the face of fair pay.  (Laughter.)  People don’t want my mug on there.  (Laughter.)  They want your face.

 

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As Lilly mentioned, she did not set out to be a trailblazer. She was just somebody who was waking up every day, going to work, doing her job the best that she could.  And then one day, she finds out, after years, that she earned less than her male colleagues for doing the same job.  I want to make that point again.  (Laughter.)  Doing the same job.  Sometimes when you — when we discuss this issue of fair pay, equal pay for equal work, and the pay gap between men and women, you’ll hear all sorts of excuses about, well, they’re child-bearing, and they’re choosing to do this, and they’re this and they’re that and the other.  She was doing the same job — probably doing better.  (Laughter and applause.)  Same job.  Working just as hard, probably putting in more hours.  But she was getting systematically paid less.

 

And so she set out to make sure this country lived up to its founding, the idea that all of us are created equal.  And when the courts didn’t answer her call, Congress did.

 

The first time Lilly and I stood together in this room was my tenth day in office, and that’s when we signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act.  (Applause.)  First bill I signed into law.  And some of the leaders who helped make that happen are here today, including Leader Pelosi and Senator Mikulski and Congresswoman DeLauro.  (Applause.)  I want to thank all the members of Congress and all the state legislators who are here  and all the advocates who are here, because you all contributed to that effort.  And I want to give a special thanks to the members of the National Equal Pay Task Force, who’ve done outstanding work to make workplaces across America more fair.

 

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We’re here because today is Equal Pay Day.  (Applause.)  Equal Pay Day.  And it’s nice to have a day, but it’s even better to have equal pay.  (Applause.)  And our job is not finished yet. Equal Pay Day means that a woman has to work about this far into 2014 to earn what a man earned in 2013.  Think about that.  A woman has got to work about three more months in order to get what a man got because she’s paid less.  That’s not fair.  That’s like adding an extra six miles to a marathon.  (Laughter.)  It’s not right.

 

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  Ain’t right.

 

THE PRESIDENT:  Ain’t right.  (Laughter.)  It’s not right and it ain’t right.  (Laughter.)

 

America should be a level playing field, a fair race for everybody — a place where anybody who’s willing to work hard has a chance to get ahead.  And restoring that opportunity for every American — men and women — has to be a driving focus for our country.

 

Now, the good news is today our economy is growing; businesses have created almost 9 million new jobs over the past four years.   More than 7 million Americans have signed up for health care coverage under the Affordable Care Act. (Applause.)

 

That’s a good thing, too.  I know it’s Equal Pay Day and not Obamacare Day — (laughter) — but I do want to point out that the Affordable Care Act guarantees free preventive care, like mammograms and contraceptive care, for tens of millions of women, and ends the days when you could be charged more just for being a woman when it comes to your health insurance.  (Applause.)  And that’s true for everybody.  (Applause.)  That’s just one more place where things were not fair.

 

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We’ll talk about drycleaners next, right — (laughter) — because I know that — I don’t know why it costs more for Michelle’s blouse than my shirt.  (Laughter.)

 

But we’ve got to make sure that America works for everybody. Anybody who is willing to work hard, they should be able to get ahead.  And we’ve got to build an economy that works for everybody, not just those at the top.  Restoring opportunity for all has to be our priority.  That’s what America is about.  It doesn’t matter where you started off, what you look like — you work hard, you take responsibility, you make the effort, you should be able to get ahead.

 

And we’ve got to fight for an opportunity agenda, which means more good jobs that pay good wages, and training Americans to make sure that they can fill those jobs, and guaranteeing every child a world-class education, and making sure the economy rewards hard work for every single American.

 

And part of that is fighting for fair pay for women — because when women succeed, America succeeds.  (Applause.)  When women succeed, America succeeds.  It’s true.  I believe that.  (Applause.)  It’s true.  It’s true.  It’s true.

 

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Now, here’s the challenge:  Today, the average full-time working woman earns just 77 cents for every dollar a man earns; for African American women, Latinas, it’s even less.  And in 2014, that’s an embarrassment.  It is wrong.  And this is not just an issue of fairness.  It’s also a family issue and an economic issue, because women make up about half of our workforce and they’re increasingly the breadwinners for a whole lot of families out there.  So when they make less money, it means less money for gas, less money for groceries, less money for child care, less money for college tuition, less money is going into retirement savings.

 

And it’s all bad for business, because our economy depends on customers out there, and when customers have less money, when hardworking women don’t have the resources, that’s a problem.  When businesses lose terrific women talent because they’re fed up with unfair policies, that’s bad for business.  They lose out on the contributions that those women could be making.  When any of our citizens can’t fulfill their potential for reasons that have nothing to do with their talent or their character or their work ethic, we’re not living up to our founding values.  We don’t have second-class citizens in this country — and certainly not in the workplace.

 

So, tomorrow, the Senate has the chance to start making this right by passing a bill that Lilly already alluded to — the Paycheck Fairness Act.  (Applause.)  They’ve got a chance to do the right thing.  And it would put sensible rules into place, like making sure employees who discuss their salaries don’t face retaliation by their employers.

 

And here’s why this is important.  There are women here today who worked in offices where it was against the rules for employees to discuss salaries with one another.  And because of that, they didn’t know they were being paid less than men — just like Lilly didn’t know — for doing the exact same work.  For some, it was years before they found out.  And even then, it only happened because a manager accidentally let it slip or, as in Lilly’s case, a sympathetic co-worker quietly passed a note.  She only found out she earned less than her male colleagues for doing the same work because somebody left an anonymous note.

 

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We can’t leave that to chance.  And over the course of Lilly’s career, she lost more than $200,000 in salary, even more in pension and Social Security benefits — both of which are pegged to salary — simply because she was a woman.

 

And Lilly, and some of the other women here, decided it was wrong, set out to fix it.  They went to their bosses; they asked for a raise.  That didn’t work.  They turned to the law; they filed suit.  And for some, for years after waiting and persisting they finally got some justice.

 
Well, tomorrow, the Senate could pay tribute to their courage by voting yes for paycheck fairness.  (Applause.)  This should not be a hard proposition.  This should not be that complicated.  (Applause.)

 
And so far, Republicans in Congress have been gumming up the works.  They’ve been blocking progress on this issue, and of course other issues that would help with the economic recovery and help us grow faster.  But we don’t have to accept that.  America, you don’t have to sit still.  You can make sure that you’re putting some pressure on members of Congress about this issue.  And I don’t care whether you’re a Democrat or a Republican.  If you’re a voter — if you’ve got a daughter, you got a sister, you got a mom — I know you got a mom — (laughter) — this is something you should care about.

 

 

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And I’m not going to stand still either.  So in this year of action I’ve used my executive authority whenever I could to create opportunity for more Americans.  And today, I’m going to take action — executive action — to make it easier for working women to earn fair pay.  So first, I’m going to sign an executive order to create more pay transparency by prohibiting federal contractors from retaliating against employees who discuss their pay with each other.  (Applause.)  Pay secrecy fosters discrimination and we should not tolerate it — not in federal contracting or anywhere else.

 

Second, I’m signing a presidential memorandum directing the Department of Labor and our outstanding Secretary of Labor, Tom Perez, to require federal contractors to provide data about their employee compensation so pay discrimination can be spotted more easily.

 

Now, I want to be clear:  There are great employers out there who do the right thing.  There are plenty of employers out there who are absolutely certain that there’s no pay discrimination happening in their offices.  But then sometimes when the data is laid out, it paints a different picture.  Many times they then do everything they can to fix the problem, and so we want to encourage them to fix these problems if they exist by making sure that the data is out there.

 

So everybody who cares about this should pay attention to how the Senate votes tomorrow on this paycheck fairness act, because the majority of senators support this bill, but two years ago, a minority of Senate Republicans blocked it from getting a vote.  Even worse, some commentators are out there saying that the pay gap doesn’t even exist.  They say it’s a myth.  But it’s not a myth; it’s math.  (Laughter and applause.)  You can look at the paychecks.  You can look at the stubs.  (Applause.)

 

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I mean, Lilly Ledbetter didn’t just make this up.  (Laughter.)  The court, when it looked at the documents, said, yep, you’ve been getting paid less for doing the same job.  It’s just the court then said, you know, it’s been — as Lilly said — it’s been happening so long, you can’t do anything about it anymore — which made no sense and that’s why we had to sign another bill.  It’s basic math that adds up to real money.  It makes a real difference for a lot of Americans who are working hard to support their families.

 

And of course, the fact that we’ve got some resistance from some folks on this issue up on Capitol Hill just fits with this larger problem, this vision that the congressional Republicans seem to be continually embracing — this notion that, you know what, you’re just on your own, no matter how unfair things are.  You see it in their budget.  The budget the Republicans in Congress just put forward last week, it’s like a bad rerun.  It would give massive tax cuts to households making more than a million dollars a year, force deep cuts to things that actually help working families like early education and college grants and job training.

 

And, of course, it includes that novel idea of repealing the Affordable Care Act.  (Laughter.)  Fiftieth time they’ve tried that — which would mean the more than 7 million Americans who’ve done the responsible thing and signed up to buy health insurance, they’d lose their health insurance; and the 3 million young adults who’ve stayed on their parents’ plan, they’d no longer have that available; take us back to the days when insurers could charge women more just for being a woman.

 

On minimum wage, three out of four Americans support raising the minimum wage.  Usually when three out of four Americans support something, members of Congress are right there.  (Laughter.)  And yet here, Republicans in Congress are dead set against it, blocking a pay raise for tens of millions of Americans — a majority of them women.  This isn’t just about treating women fairly.  This is about Republicans seemingly opposing any efforts to even the playing field for working families.

 

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And I was up in Michigan last week and I just asked — I don’t understand fully the theory behind this.  I don’t know why you would resist the idea that women should be paid the same as men, and then deny that that’s not always happening out there.  If Republicans in Congress want to prove me wrong, if they want to show that they, in fact, do care about women being paid the same as men, then show me.  They can start tomorrow.  They can join us in this, the 21st century, and vote yes on the Paycheck Fairness Act.  (Applause.)  Vote yes.

 

And if anybody is watching or listening, if you care about this issue, then let your senators know where you stand — because America deserves equal pay for equal work.

 

This is not something we’re going to achieve in a day.  There’s going to be a lot of stuff that we’ve got to do to close the pay gap.  We got to make it possible for more women to enter high-paying fields that up until now have been dominated by men, like engineering and computer science.  Women hold less than 6 percent of our country’s commercial patents — that’s not good enough.  We need more parents and high school teachers and college professors encouraging girls and women to study math and science.  We need more businesses to make gender diversity a priority when they hire and when they promote.  Fewer than five percent of Fortune 500 companies have women at the helm.

 

I think we’d all agree that we need more women in Congress. (Applause.)  Fewer than 20 percent of congressional seats are held by women.  Clearly, Congress would get more done if the ratio was — (laughter) — evened out a little bit.  So we’ve got to work on that.

 

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And we’ve all got to do more to make our workplaces more welcoming to women.  Because the numbers show that even when men and women are in the same profession and have the same education, there’s still a wage gap, and it widens over time.  So we’re going to keep making the case for why these policies are the right ones for working families and businesses.  And this is all going to lead up to this first-ever White House Summit on Working Families on June 23rd.

 

So, ultimately, equal pay is not just an economic issue for millions of Americans and their families.  It’s also about whether we’re willing to build an economy that works for everybody, and whether we’re going to do our part to make sure that our daughters have the same chances to pursue their dreams as our sons, and whether or not we’re willing to restore to the heart of this country that basic idea — you can make it, no matter who you are, if you try.

 

And that’s personal for me.  I’ve said this before — I’ve got two daughters and I expect them to be treated just like anybody’s sons.  And I think about my single mom working hard, going to school, trying to raise two kids all at the same time.  And I think about my grandmother trying to work her way up through her career and then hitting the glass ceiling.  And I’ve seen how hard they’ve worked, and I’ve seen how they’ve sucked it up.  And they put up with stuff and they don’t say anything, and they just take care of their family and they take care of themselves, and they don’t complain a lot.  But at a certain point, we have the power to do something about it for the next generation.  And this is a good place to start.

 

So, for everybody out there who’s listening, ask your senator where you stand on paycheck fairness.  (Applause.)  If they tell you that there’s not a pay gap out there, you tell them to look at the data, because there is.  It’s time to get this done.  And I’m going to do my small part right now by signing this executive order and presidential memoranda.  (Applause.)

 

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FACT SHEET: Expanding Opportunity for All: Ensuring Equal Pay for Women and Promoting the Women’s Economic Agenda

When women succeed, our families succeed and America succeeds. President Obama believes that ensuring that women earn equal pay for equal work is essential to improving the economic security of our families and the growth of our middle class and our economy.  Women compose nearly half of the American workforce – yet, according to the latest U.S. Census statistics, on average, full-time working women still earn 77 cents to every dollar earned by men.

The first piece of legislation that the President signed into law after taking office was the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which empowers women to recover wages lost to discrimination by extending the time period in which an employee can file a claim.  Yet a central challenge that remains to enforcing equal pay laws is that many women do not even know that they are underpaid, and therefore cannot take steps to ensure equal pay for equal work.

That’s why the President is taking two new executive actions to help combat pay discrimination and strengthen enforcement of equal pay laws:

  • The President is signing an Executive Order prohibiting federal contractors from retaliating against employees who choose to discuss their compensation.  The Executive Order does not compel workers to discuss pay, nor does it require employers to publish or otherwise disseminate pay data – but it does provide a critical tool to encourage pay transparency, so workers have a potential way of discovering violations of equal pay laws and are able to seek appropriate remedies.

 

  • In addition, the President is signing a Presidential Memoranduminstructing the Secretary of Labor to establish new regulations requiring federal contractors to submit to the Department of Labor summary data on compensation paid to their employees, including data by sex and race.  The Department of Labor will use the data to encourage compliance with equal pay laws and to target enforcement more effectively by focusing efforts where there are discrepancies and reducing burdens on other employers.

 

This week, the Senate is considering the Paycheck Fairness Act, which the President believes Congress must pass to ensure the standards put forward by the executive order he will sign are applied to all employers covered by the Fair Labor Standards Act.  The President is using the power of his pen to act where he can on this issue, and will continue to urge Congress to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act to ensure all employers are held to the same high standard working women deserve.

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Building on Progress

Since day one, President Obama has been laser-focused on ensuring women have the fundamental rights they deserve when it comes to earning a fair and equal wage.

For example, President Obama has fought for an increase in the national minimum wage, including signing an executive order that will raise the minimum wage to $10.10 for federal contract workers.  Raising the national minimum wage would give millions of hard working Americans a raise and would especially benefit women:

  • While women account for about half of the workforce, 55 percent of non-tipped workers benefiting from increasing the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour are women – and women are even more disproportionately represented in predominantly tipped occupations.

 

  • Women account for a higher concentration of workers in low-wage sectors of the labor force such as food preparation, sales and personal care workers.

 

  • Raising the minimum wage would increase the average wage among the bottom quartile of female workers by 93 cents (from $8.78), compared to 60 cents (from $9.65) for the bottom quartile of male workers.

 

Women are the primary breadwinners in 40 percent of U.S. households but are bringing home 23 percent less than their male counterparts – which means less for families’ everyday needs, less for investments in our children’s futures, and, when added over a lifetime of work, substantially less for retirement.   And the pay gap is significantly greater for women of color, with African-American women earning 64 cents and Latinas earning 56 cents for every dollar earned by a Caucasian man. That is why the Obama Administration is:

  • Combating pay discrimination.  The President made the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act the first bill he signed into law, which extended the time period in which claimants can bring pay discrimination claims and enabled countless victims of pay discrimination to seek redress where they otherwise could not.

 

  • Created a National Equal Pay Task Force.  In 2010, the President created the National Equal Pay Task Force to crack down on violations of equal pay laws.  Under this Administration, the government has strengthened enforcement, recovered substantial monetary recoveries, and made critical investments in education and outreach for both employers and employees.

 

  • Promoting the Paycheck Fairness Act.  The President continues to call on Congress to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act, commonsense legislation that would give women additional tools to fight pay discrimination.

 

  • Encouraging State Paid Leave Initiatives. In addition, the President’s Budget provides support for States that are considering establishing paid leave programs, as California, New Jersey and Rhode Island have done.

 

  • Leveraging Technology to Close the Pay Gap.  DOL, in conjunction with the Equal Pay Task Force, launched the “Equal Pay App Challenge” and invited software developers to create applications that provide greater access to pay data, deploy interactive tools for early career coaching or online mentoring, or disseminate data to help inform pay negotiations.  The winning teams created tools that (1) provide easy access to U.S. wage estimates by city, state and job title, empowering employees or applicants for employment with reliable and specific compensation information to support informed salary negotiations; and (2) supply users with current wage data and interview, resume and negotiation tools, as well as connect users to relevant social networks.

 

  • Expanding the EITC for Childless Workers. The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) is a proven tool to increase and reward work among low-income families with children.  However, childless workers – including noncustodial parents – can receive only up to $500 and must be at least 25 years old, so the credit does little to encourage work, particularly during the crucial years at the beginning of a young person’s career. The President has proposed doubling the maximum credit to $1,000, raising the income eligibility standard so the credit is available to a full-time minimum wage worker, and lowering the age limit from 25 to 21. The proposed expansion would be fully paid for within his budget and would benefit 13.5 million workers, including 6.1 million women.

 

 

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The White House Weekend™: The Weekly Address. Miriam Carey. White House Easter Egg Roll Social. America’s PrepareAthon!


 

By Jueseppi B.

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Barack Hussein Obama Week Ahead Schedule, April 7th, To 11th, 2014

 

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On Monday, the President will travel to Prince George’s County, MD to host an event on the economy. Following this event, he will meet with the Commander-in-Chief and Executive Director of the Veterans of Foreign Wars.

 

On Tuesday, the President  will host an event on the economy at the White House.

 

On Wednesday, the President and the First Lady will travel to Houston, TX. The President will attend DCCC and DSCC events.  More details regarding the President and First Lady’s travel to Houston will be forthcoming.

 

On Thursday, the President and the First Lady will travel to the Lyndon Baines Johnson Library in Austin, TX.  The President will deliver remarks at a Civil Rights Summit to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Civil Rights Act. The President and the First Lady will return to Washington, DC, in the afternoon.

 

On Friday, the President will travel to New York, NY to deliver remarks at the National Action Network’s 16th Annual Convention.

 

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Weekly Address: The President’s Budget Ensures Opportunity for All Hardworking Americans

 

 

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VIDEO MENSAJE DE LA CASA BLANCA: El Presupuesto del Presidente –Expandiendo la oportunidad para todos

April 05, 2014 | 3:16 | Public Domain

 

En el mensaje de esta semana, la Directora del Consejo de Política Doméstica de la Casa Blanca Cecilia Muñoz habla sobre el presupuesto del Presidente que ampliará las oportunidades para todos, incluyendo a millones de familias hispanas.

 

 

 

 

In this week’s address, the President highlighted the important differences between the budget he’s put forward — built on opportunity for all — and the budget House Republicans are advocating for, which stacks the deck against the middle class.

While the President is focused on building lasting economic security and ensuring that hardworking Americans have the opportunity to get ahead, Republicans are advancing the same old top-down approach of cutting taxes for the wealthiest Americans and slashing important investments in education, infrastructure, and research and development

 

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Weekly Wrap Up: Millions Get Covered, Team USA Visits, and More

7.1 Million Americans: Covered

 

The numbers don’t lie — the Affordable Care Act is working. By the end of open enrollment on March 31, 7.1 million Americans had signed up for coverage.

 

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The First Lady and Local Students Plant the White House Kitchen Garden

 

Spring is definitely here as the White House Kitchen Garden is growing again. First Lady Michelle Obama invited local students to join her for the sixth-annual planting of the garden earlier this week, making sure the White House will have a fresh crop of healthy fruits and vegetables in the months ahead.

The First Lady delivers remarks at the sixth-annual planting of the White House Kitchen garden, emphasizing the importance of eating fresh fruits and vegetables.

The First Lady delivers remarks at the sixth-annual planting of the White House Kitchen garden, emphasizing the importance of eating fresh fruits and vegetables.

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POTUS Rallies Wolverines Around Raising the Wage

 

The President traveled to Ann Arbor, Michigan on Wednesday to speak to a crowd filled with University of Michigan Wolverines about his March Madness bracket, a famous local deli named Zingerman’s, and, of course, the importance of raising the national minimum wage.

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Team USA Stops by the White House

 

U.S. Olympians and Paralympians who competed in Sochi earlier this year visited the White House this week, spending time touring the grounds, playing with Bo and Sunny, and hearing from the President and First Lady.

President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama receive a Paralympic and Olympic flag signed by all the Olympians from Alpine Skier Jon Lujan and Ice Hockey forward Julie Chu

President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama receive a Paralympic and Olympic flag signed by all the Olympians from Alpine Skier Jon Lujan and Ice Hockey forward Julie Chu

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Hop to the White House Easter Egg Roll Social

 

Are you a social butterfly? Do you have kids ages 5-13? Want to visit the White House? The 136th annual White House Easter Egg Roll is just around the corner, and you are invited.

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West Wing Week: 4/4/14 or, “The Rosies”

 

 

This week, the President wrapped up a six day trip to Europe and Saudi Arabia, spoke on the success of the first open enrollment period of the Affordable Care Act, traveled to Michigan to highlight the importance of raising the federal minimum wage, and honored both the World Series Champion Boston Red Sox, and the 2014 US Olympic and Paralympic teams. That’s March 28th to April 3rd or, “The Rosies.”

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While Marketplace Enrollment Ended, Medicaid Enrollment Continues

 

 

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) has already provided coverage to millions of Americans. More than 7.1 million Americans signed up for coverage through the Marketplaces, 3 million additional young adults were covered under their parents’ insurance and millions more will have access through Medicaid. A new report shows that more people are gaining coverage through Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) as a result of the health law. The analysis, produced by the Health and Human Services Department shows enrollment in Medicaid and CHIP in February was at least 3 million people higher than it was, on average, between July and September. That does not include March, which saw an enormous spike in Marketplace enrollment and traffic to HealthCare.gov.

 

While this is great progress, states where governors or legislatures refuse to implement the Medicaid expansion provisions of the law will leave 5.7 million Americans uninsured. States that have expanded Medicaid, such as Kentucky and New York, have seen particularly dramatic declines in their uninsured populations. Just take Kentucky, according to the Louisville Courier-Journal, Kentucky has seen a 40 percent drop in its rate of uninsured since October 1.

 

 

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America’s PrepareAthon!

 

 

 

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Here at the White House, we’re getting ready for the first America’s PrepareAthon!, a national day of action that will take place April 30, 2014.

 

Join us this Monday, April 7 at 1:00 p.m. ET to discuss America’s PrepareAthon!, a community-based campaign to build a more secure and resilient nation by getting people to understand what disasters could happen in their communities and to take action to increase their preparedness. Actions include signing up for mobile alerts and warnings, holding a preparedness discussion to emphasize the steps people should take to be ready should a disaster occur, and conducting a drill so people are familiar with what to do beforehand.

 

Join us for a Google+ Hangout to hear from the head of FEMA, an award-winning meteorologist, and leaders from across the nation who share a passion for getting prepared. I will moderate the live discussion.

Read More

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April 4th 2014: Photo of the Day

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President Barack Obama holds the hand of Lincoln Rose Pierce Smith, the daughter of former Deputy Press Secretary Jamie Smith, in the Oval Office, April 4, 2014. Watching from the other side of the Resolute Desk are Sage and Elsa Smith. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

President Barack Obama holds the hand of Lincoln Rose Pierce Smith, the daughter of former Deputy Press Secretary Jamie Smith, in the Oval Office, April 4, 2014. Watching from the other side of the Resolute Desk are Sage and Elsa Smith. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

President Barack Obama gives a signing pen to Jacob Miller, brother of Gabriella Miller, after signing H.R. 2019, the "Gabriella Miller Kids First Research Act", in the Oval Office, April 3, 2014. The law ends taxpayer contributions to the Presidential Election Campaign Fund and diverts the money in that fund to pay for research into pediatric cancer through the National Institutes of Health. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

President Barack Obama gives a signing pen to Jacob Miller, brother of Gabriella Miller, after signing H.R. 2019, the “Gabriella Miller Kids First Research Act”, in the Oval Office, April 3, 2014. The law ends taxpayer contributions to the Presidential Election Campaign Fund and diverts the money in that fund to pay for research into pediatric cancer through the National Institutes of Health. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

@MattAntoine #TeamUSA at the White House!!

@MattAntoine
#TeamUSA at the White House!!

President Barack Obama visits with patrons during a stop for lunch at Zingerman's Delicatessen in Ann Arbor, Mich., April 2, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

President Barack Obama visits with patrons during a stop for lunch at Zingerman’s Delicatessen in Ann Arbor, Mich., April 2, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

U.S. President Obama makes a statement about the shooting at Fort Hood in Texas while in Chicago U.S. President Barack Obama stands alone as he makes a statement about the shooting at Fort Hood in Texas, while in Chicago, April 2, 2014. Obama said on Wednesday he was "heartbroken" that another shooting had occurred at the Fort Hood Army base and described the situation there as fluid. At least one gunman opened fire on Wednesday, injuring an unknown number of people at the U.S. Army base in central Texas that was the scene of a shooting rampage in 2009, officials said. REUTERS/Larry Downing

U.S. President Obama makes a statement about the shooting at Fort Hood in Texas while in Chicago
U.S. President Barack Obama stands alone as he makes a statement about the shooting at Fort Hood in Texas, while in Chicago, April 2, 2014. Obama said on Wednesday he was “heartbroken” that another shooting had occurred at the Fort Hood Army base and described the situation there as fluid. At least one gunman opened fire on Wednesday, injuring an unknown number of people at the U.S. Army base in central Texas that was the scene of a shooting rampage in 2009, officials said. REUTERS/Larry Downing

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From The Sanders Firm: THE MIRIAM CAREY FAMILY REACTS TO THE AUTOPSY REPORT. What If Miriam Carey Had Been White?

 

Where Are Rev. Al Sharpton. Rev. Jesse Jackson. ALL The So Called Civil Rights Leaders Who Speak For US?
6 Months Ago Miriam Carey Was Executed By D.C. Capitol Hill Police AND Secret Service Officers. Miriam Was Un-Armed AND Had an 18 Month Baby In A Car-seat In The Back.

 

What If Miriam Carey Had Been White? With A Neatly Dressed Caucasian Baby In The Back Seat?

 

 

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From The Sanders Firm: THE MIRIAM CAREY FAMILY REACTS TO THE AUTOPSY REPORT. What If Miriam Carey Had Been White?

 

Six months have passed since Ms. Miriam Carey was brutally gunned down in Washington D.C. by Capitol Hill police and The Secret Service, while her 18 month old child was strapped in the backseat in a baby carrier.

 

WHY was MIRIAM CAREY Chased and EXECUTED by POLICE

 

 

 

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It’s up to us to make history on "NO"vember 4th, 2014.

It’s up to us to make history on “NO”vember 4th, 2014.

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TheObamaCrat™ Wake-Up Call For Thursday The 3rd Of April. Fort Hood. Chicago. Gardens. Olympians.


 

By Jueseppi B.

Before leaving Chicago Cut, President Obama signed a menu. | @ChicagoCut photo

Before leaving Chicago Cut, President Obama signed a menu. | @ChicagoCut photo

 

 

White House Schedule – April 3rd, 2014

 

President Barack Obama briefs congressional leaders on his trip to Europe and the situation in Ukraine on Thursday and greets 2014 Sochi Winter games Olympic and Paralympic athletes at the White House.

 

THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 3rd, 2014

 

DAILY GUIDANCE AND SCHEDULE FOR
THURSDAY, April 3rd, 2014

 

In the morning, the President and the Vice President will receive the Presidential Daily Briefing in the Oval Office. This meeting is closed press.

 

In the afternoon, the President and Vice President will meet for lunch in the Private Dining Room. This lunch is closed press.

 

Following lunch, the President and First Lady will welcome members of the United States teams and delegations from the 2014 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games in Sochi to the White House.  The President and the First Lady’s remarks in the East Room are open press.

 

Later in the afternoon, the President will sign H.R. 2019, the Gabriella Miller Kids First Research Act, into law. There will be a pool spray of the signing in the Oval Office.

 

In the evening, the President and Vice President will meet with the bicameral, bipartisan Congressional Leadership to discuss his recent trip to Europe and the ongoing situation in the Ukraine.  The meeting will take place in the Oval Office.  This meeting is closed press.

 

 

Thursday, April 3rd, 2014 All Times ET

 

10:30 AM: THE PRESIDENT and THE VICE PRESIDENT receive the Presidential Daily Briefing, Oval Office.

 

 

12:00 PM: Press Briefing by Press Secretary Jay Carney, The Brady Press Briefing Room.

 

 

12:35 PM: THE PRESIDENT and VICE PRESIDENT meet for lunch, Private Dining Room.

 

 

3:20 PM: THE PRESIDENT and THE FIRST LADY welcome the 2014 U.S. Olympic and Paralympic teams to the White House, East Room.

 

 

4:00 PM:  THE PRESIDENT holds a bill signing ceremony, Oval Office.

 

 

6:00PM: THE PRESIDENT and THE VICE PRESIDENT meet with the bipartisan, bicameral Congressional Leadership, Oval Office.

 

 

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Schedule for the Week of April 3rd to April 4th, 2014.

 

On Thursday, the President and First Lady will host members of the United States teams and delegations from the 2014 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games at the White House.

 

On Friday, the President will host Prime Minister Mehdi Jomaa of Tunisia at the White House.  During the meeting, the President looks forward to discussing the commitment Tunisia’s leaders have made to advancing Tunisia’s democracy and how the United States can further support Tunisia’s historic transition.  The leaders will discuss a broad range of bilateral and regional issues of mutual interest, including U.S. economic, political, and security assistance to support the Prime Minister’s reform agenda and Tunisia’s stability.  Prime Minister Jomaa’s visit is a demonstration of the strong bonds of friendship between the American and Tunisian people, and America’s enduring commitment to Tunisia’s democratic transition. The Vice President will also attend.

 

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When Barack Comes Home Sweet Home, Chicago.

 

Air Force One sits on the runway at O'Hare.  |  AP Photo

Air Force One sits on the runway at O’Hare. | AP Photo

Air Force One sits on the runway at O'Hare.  |  AP Photo

Air Force One sits on the runway at O’Hare. | AP Photo

Obama exits Air Force One after landing at O'Hare.  |  AP Photo

Obama exits Air Force One after landing at O’Hare. | AP Photo

Marine One helicopter with Obama aboard, arrives and lands near an Osprey helicopter seen in the foreground at the Soldier Field landing zone.  |  AP Photo

Marine One helicopter with Obama aboard, arrives and lands near an Osprey helicopter seen in the foreground at the Soldier Field landing zone. | AP Photo

Obama talks with Gov. Pat Quinn while walking to Marine One helicopter at O'Hare.  |  AP Photo

Obama talks with Gov. Pat Quinn while walking to Marine One helicopter at O’Hare. | AP Photo

Willis Tower is seen through a window of an Osprey helicopter traveling with Obama.  |  AP Photo

Willis Tower is seen through a window of an Osprey helicopter traveling with Obama. | AP Photo

U.S. President Obama makes a statement about the shooting at Fort Hood in Texas while in Chicago U.S. President Barack Obama stands alone as he makes a statement about the shooting at Fort Hood in Texas, while in Chicago, April 2, 2014. Obama said on Wednesday he was "heartbroken" that another shooting had occurred at the Fort Hood Army base and described the situation there as fluid. At least one gunman opened fire on Wednesday, injuring an unknown number of people at the U.S. Army base in central Texas that was the scene of a shooting rampage in 2009, officials said. REUTERS/Larry Downing

U.S. President Obama makes a statement about the shooting at Fort Hood in Texas while in Chicago
U.S. President Barack Obama stands alone as he makes a statement about the shooting at Fort Hood in Texas, while in Chicago, April 2, 2014. Obama said on Wednesday he was “heartbroken” that another shooting had occurred at the Fort Hood Army base and described the situation there as fluid. At least one gunman opened fire on Wednesday, injuring an unknown number of people at the U.S. Army base in central Texas that was the scene of a shooting rampage in 2009, officials said. REUTERS/Larry Downing

Obama pauses as he makes a statement on the shooting at the Fort Hood.  |  Getty Images

Obama pauses as he makes a statement on the shooting at the Fort Hood. | Getty Images

 

Chicago Cut Steakhouse – Chicago, IL

 

Published on Mar 13, 2014

Chicago is one of those cities that’s already well known for steak, but The Chicago Cut Steakhouse takes things to a whole new level. Though relatively young in comparison to the city’s old guard of established steakhouses, “The Cut” only serves America’s best beef – which is arguably the best beef in the world as it is – they also do all their own in-house aging to make sure you get the best at your table. This along with countless other details and efforts in service and atmosphere make The Chicago Cut a must if you want to get serious about having a great meal in one of the greatest cities on the continent.

 

 

Official snipers are getting ready for President #Obama during the round-table

Official snipers are getting ready for President #Obama during the round-table

Official snipers are getting ready for President #Obama during the round-table

Official snipers are getting ready for President #Obama during the round-table

 

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White House LIVE!! Streaming.

 

 

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Next Up…
April 03, 2014 10:00 AM EDT

White House Champions of Change: Gun Violence Prevention Leaders

The White House, Watch White House LIVE!! Streaming.

 

 

 

April 03, 2014 12:00 PM EDT

Press Briefing by Press Secretary Jay Carney

The White House, Watch White House LIVE!! Streaming.

 

 

 

April 03, 2014 3:20 PM EDT

President Obama and the First Lady Welcome the 2014 U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games Teams to the White House

The White House, Watch White House LIVE!! Streaming.

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The White House Blog

 

The President Delivers A Statement About The Shooting At Fort Hood: Four Dead, 16 Injured At Ft. Hood, Texas.

 

U.S. President Obama makes a statement about the shooting at Fort Hood in Texas while in Chicago U.S. President Barack Obama stands alone as he makes a statement about the shooting at Fort Hood in Texas, while in Chicago, April 2, 2014. Obama said on Wednesday he was "heartbroken" that another shooting had occurred at the Fort Hood Army base and described the situation there as fluid. At least one gunman opened fire on Wednesday, injuring an unknown number of people at the U.S. Army base in central Texas that was the scene of a shooting rampage in 2009, officials said. REUTERS/Larry Downing

U.S. President Obama makes a statement about the shooting at Fort Hood in Texas while in Chicago
U.S. President Barack Obama stands alone as he makes a statement about the shooting at Fort Hood in Texas, while in Chicago, April 2, 2014. Obama said on Wednesday he was “heartbroken” that another shooting had occurred at the Fort Hood Army base and described the situation there as fluid. At least one gunman opened fire on Wednesday, injuring an unknown number of people at the U.S. Army base in central Texas that was the scene of a shooting rampage in 2009, officials said. REUTERS/Larry Downing

Obama: We will get to the bottom of Fort Hood shooting

 

Published on Apr 2, 2014

President Obama gives a statement on the shooting at Fort Hood in Texas.

 

 

 

 

It’s A Garden Party At First Lady Michelle Obama’s House. School Children & FoodCorps Leaders Plant A White House Kitchen Garden.

 

The First Lady delivers remarks at the sixth-annual planting of the White House Kitchen garden, emphasizing the importance of eating fresh fruits and vegetables.

The First Lady delivers remarks at the sixth-annual planting of the White House Kitchen garden, emphasizing the importance of eating fresh fruits and vegetables.

 

 

 

Raise The Minimum Wage: Barack Speaks At Michigan University, Ann Arbor – Full Speech.

 

President Barack Obama speaks on raising the national minimum wage at the University of Michigan on April 2, 2014 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Obama unveiled a proposal to increase the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10 an hour in his State of the Union address in January. / JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images

President Barack Obama speaks on raising the national minimum wage at the University of Michigan on April 2, 2014 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Obama unveiled a proposal to increase the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10 an hour in his State of the Union address in January. / JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images

 

 

 

 

Next Battle: The “NO”vember 4th, 2014 Mid-Term Elections.

 

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The 2014 United States elections will be held on Tuesday, November 4, 2014. During this midterm election year, all 435 seats in the United States House of Representatives and 33 of the 100 seats in the United States Senate will be contested in this election along with 38 state and territorial governorships, 46 state legislatures (except LouisianaMississippiNew Jersey and Virginia), four territorial legislatures and numerous state and local races.

 

 

 

President Obama Delivers a Statement on the Affordable Care Act

April 01, 2014 | 18:13 |Public Domain

 

Following the closing of the first open enrollment period of the Affordable Care Act, the President delivers remarks in the Rose Garden, announcing that 7.1 million Americans have now signed up for private health coverage.

 

 

 

 

The 2013 World Series Champion Boston Red Sox Visit the White House

April 01, 2014 | 10:53 |Public Domain

 

The President delivers remarks honoring the 2013 World Series Champion Boston Red Sox from the White House South Lawn.

 

 

 

 

The White House Safety Datapalooza USDA, DOT, State, CPSC and DOL Open Data in Action

 

Published on Apr 2, 2014

The second annual White House Safety Datapalooza highlighted innovators from the private, nonprofit, and academic
sectors who have used freely available government data to build products, services, and apps that advance public safety in creative and powerful ways. The event featured new safety data resources in the areas of transportation, food, occupational and consumer product safety as well as tools to improve disaster preparedness and emergency response.

 

 

 

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Speeches and Remarks - April 02, 2014

 

Remarks by the President at DNC Dinner

 

Remarks by the President on the Shooting at Fort Hood

 

Remarks by the First Lady at Sixth Annual Kitchen Garden Planting

 

Remarks by the President on Minimum Wage — Ann Arbor, MI

 

 

 

Statements and Releases - April 03/02, 2014

 

 

Readout of the President’s Conference Call on the Shooting at Fort Hood

Tonight aboard Air Force One, the President convened a conference call with Department of Defense and FBI leadership to receive an update on the shooting at Fort Hood. He commended the military personnel, first responders, and medical staff who responded swiftly and heroically to the horrific shooting.

The participants of the call included Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Martin Dempsey, Chief of Staff of the Army General Ray Odierno, FBI Deputy Director Mark Giuliano, Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism Lisa Monaco, National Security Advisor Susan Rice, and Assistant to the President and Deputy Chief of Staff Rob Nabors.

The President directed his team to utilize every resource available to fully investigate the shooting. As the President said earlier tonight, these brave men and women serve with valor and distinction, and when at home they need to feel safe. The Fort Hood community is strong and resilient, and the President emphasized the importance of doing everything we can to ensure the community has every resource needed to recover, heal, and come back stronger than before.

The Department of Defense has the lead on the investigation with support from federal partners including the FBI, as well as state and local law enforcement personnel. The President will continue to receive updates as new information becomes available and has directed that his team do everything it can to assist the families of those lost and wounded today. The President and First Lady’s thoughts and prayers go out to the families and friends of the killed and wounded individuals.

Please send your personal message of support, and we'll make sure it is delivered to the families affected by the Fort Hood shooting.

Please send your personal message of support, and we’ll make sure it is delivered to the families affected by the Fort Hood shooting.

 

President Obama Signs Washington Disaster Declaration

 

 

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April 2014: Photo of the Day

 

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For the AAers: Pres Obama at Zingerman's in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

For the AAers: Pres Obama at Zingerman’s in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

President Barack Obama visits with patrons during a stop for lunch at Zingerman's Delicatessen in Ann Arbor, Mich., April 2, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

President Barack Obama visits with patrons during a stop for lunch at Zingerman’s Delicatessen in Ann Arbor, Mich., April 2, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

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The selfie....Big Papi definitely had a better angle than me! @davidortiz @RedSox

The selfie….Big Papi definitely had a better angle than me! @davidortiz @RedSox

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Barack Obama walks into the Oval Office for his first full day in office, January 21, 2009, by Souza

Barack Obama walks into the Oval Office for his first full day in office, January 21, 2009, by Souza

 

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Hobby Lobby In YOUR Bedroom: The Birth Control Statistic Nobody Is Talking About.


 

By Jueseppi B.

HobbyLobbyStowOhio

 

Right now, the Supreme Court is deciding a case that could let right-wing bosses deny birth control to women. If craft retailer Hobby Lobby–a company headed by evangelical activists–wins, the precedent this case could set is frightening. We’re talking about HIV treatment, vaccines, blood transfusions, and more.

 

Today, a lot of people will be talking about the case, but not a lot of people know why it’s so important. We need to spread the word so Americans everywhere understand that birth control is a vital health care need for millions of women and that 1 in 3 women have a hard time paying for it.

 

That’s why we put together this timely infographic. Can you take a second to share it with your friends?

 

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Birth Control Rally at Hobby Lobby Case

 

Published on Mar 25, 2014

Defenders and protesters rally outside the Supreme Court as Justices tackle a case that allows businesses to object to health law’s birth control coverage. (March 25)

 

 

 

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Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby

 

Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby, is a United States Supreme Court case on the Affordable Care Act‘s requirement for large businesses to offer insurance for contraception and other reproductive healthcare to their female employees. It was consolidated with Conestoga Wood Specialties Corp. v. Sebelius.

 

 

Background

The United States Supreme Court ruled in Employment Division v. Smith (1990) that neutral laws of general applicability are not violations of religious freedom that would have required a strict scrutiny assessment of whether they are the least restrictive means of furthering a compelling government interest. The court wrote that “the right of free exercise [of religion] does not relieve an individual of the obligation to comply with a valid and neutral law of general applicability…” The meaning of neutral law of general applicability was elaborated by the court in 1993. The US Congress responded by passing the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), requiring strict scrutiny when a neutral law of general applicability “substantially burden[s] a person’s exercise of religion”. The Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the federal RFRA as applied to federal statutes in Gonzales v. O Centro Espirita Beneficente Uniao do Vegetal in 2006.

 

 

Conestoga Wood Specialties is a furniture company founded by the Mennonite Hahn family. It has about 1,000 employees.

 

Hobby Lobby is an arts and crafts company owned by the Evangelical Christian Green family with about 13,000 employees.

 

 

State of the law

The Affordable Care Act fines $100 per employee per day for companies that refuse to offer coverage for birth control.

 

 

Lower court history

Three federal appeals courts ruled against the contraception coverage rule, while two have upheld it.

 

 

U.S. Supreme Court consideration

 

Acceptance and briefs

On November 26, the Supreme Court accepted and consolidated the two cases. Two dozen amicus briefs support the government, and five dozen support the companies. Two of the briefs oppose each other on the constitutionality of the RFRA. Two briefs that do not formally take sides oppose each other on whether the right to religion applies to corporations.

 

 

Argument and deliberation

Oral arguments were scheduled for March 25, 2014 for 30 minutes more than the usual one hour.

 

 

Decision

A ruling is expected in late June, 2014.

 

 

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Supreme Court Weighs Birth Control Mandate

 

Published on Mar 25, 2014

The Supreme Court seemed divided Tuesday over whether employers’ religious beliefs can free them from a part of the new health care law that requires that they provide coverage of birth control for employees at no extra charge. (March 25)

 

 

 

 

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From CBS News:

 

Some of the most politically divisive themes and issues of the 2012 election –Obamacare, the left’s “war on religion,” the right’s “war on women,” and the notion of corporate personhood – all come into play in two cases that will be argued before the Supreme Court on Tuesday.

 

Two privately-held, for-profit companies — Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. and Conestoga Wood Specialties Corp. — are suing the United States government over a provision in the Affordable Care Act that requires large employers to offer their workers comprehensive health coverage, including contraception, or pay a fine. Hobby Lobby’s owners, David and Barbara Green of Oklahoma, say they have strong objections based in their Christian faith to providing health care coverage for certain types of contraception. The Pennsylvania-based Hahn family, the Mennonite owners of Conestoga Wood Specialties, have the same complaint.

 

For Christian conservatives, the cases represent the threat of government overreach.

 

“This case will decide whether a family gives up their religious freedom when they open a family business,” Lori Windham, a senior counsel for the Becket Fund, which is representing Hobby Lobby, told CBS News. “The question here is whether the Green family can be forced to do something that violates their deeply held religious conviction as a consequence of the new health care law.”

 

Reproductive rights advocates, meanwhile, consider the notion that some businesses could pick and choose which contraception methods to cover “out of touch [and] out of line,” Ilyse Hogue, president of NARAL Pro Choice America, told reporters.

 

Contraception is “integral with our economic security and our ability to hold jobs for our lifetime,” Hogue said. “We’ve had enough of this idea our reproductive health is somehow separate from our economic well being… Our bodies are not our bosses’ business.”

 

The two cases, however, have implications that go well beyond the so-called “wars” on women or religion. If Hobby Lobby and Conestoga prevail, it would prompt “a fundamental shift in the understanding of the First Amendment,” David Gans, the civil rights director for the Constitutional Accountability Center, told CBS News.

 

That shift in thinking could open the floodgates for unprecedented protections for corporations that some say amount to a license to discriminate. The ramifications could be felt nationwide, in states that are enacting laws to shield businesses from regulations that may violate their “religious beliefs.” Gov. Jan Brewer, R-Ariz., last month vetoed one such bill, which would have allowed Arizona businesses to refuse to serve gays on religious grounds. A number of other states across the country have been considering similar legislation.

 

The ramifications could theoretically go further than that. U.S. Solicitor General Donald Verrilli argued in a brief to the court that siding with Hobby Lobby “would entitle commercial employers with religious objections to opt out of virtually every statute protecting their employees” — such as laws that ban gender discrimination, minimum wage and overtime laws, the collection of Social Security taxes, or mandated health coverage for vaccinations.

 

 

Corporate personhood

The basis for Hobby Lobby’s case is the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993, which dictates that an individual’s religious expression shouldn’t be “substantially burdened” by a law unless there is a “compelling government interest.”

 

The court must first decide whether this law even applies to for-profit corporations like Hobby Lobby — in other words, whether corporations have the freedom to exercise religion that’s granted to individuals under the First Amendment. In this sense, the Hobby Lobby and Conestoga cases are the next iteration of Citizens United, the case 2010 case in which the Supreme Court ruled that corporations have the same freedom of speech guarantees afforded under the First Amendment as individuals.

 

“I do think the question of corporate personhood is at the heart of the case,” Gans told CBS. “Do corporations have these fundamental rights of human dignity and conscience that they’ve never tried to claim in the past?”

 

There are, however, noteworthy differences between these cases and Citizens United. Before Citizens United, there was a body of precedent granting corporations freedom of speech in advertising, Gans said.

 

“The theory was when corporations were selling a product — or as in the case of Citizens United, trying to influence the outcome of elections — that sort of act of expression helped shape public debate, helped shape consumers’ understanding of products,” Gans said.

 

By contrast, there’s no precedent that the Supreme Court can rely on to find a freedom of religion right for corporations. “The fundamental idea of the religious right is one of conscience, human dignity — human attributions that don’t really apply well to corporations.”

 

The Supreme Court took up a similar case in the early 1980s, after an Amish farmer argued that paying Social Security taxes on his employees’ wages violated his beliefs. The court unanimously ruled against the farmer in United States v. Lee. Chief Justice Warren Burger wrote for the court, “When followers of a particular sect enter into commercial activity as a matter of choice, the limits they accept on their own conduct as a matter of conscience and faith are not to be superimposed on the statutory schemes which are binding on others in that activity.”

 

On the other hand, Windham of the Becket Fund points out since the passage of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, the court has recognized the religious rights of religious corporations. For instance, the court ruled unanimously in 2006 that the federal government could not confiscate a hallucinogenic tea from a New Mexico religious corporation (which considered the tea a sacrament), even though the tea was barred under federal drug laws.

 

The key difference between that case and those before the court on Tuesday is that the court is now dealing with for-profit corporations — not nonprofits. In fact, nonprofits with religious affiliations, such as Catholic universities, arealready exempt from the Obamacare contraception rule.

 

“The government says that nonprofit versus for-profit is the dividing line — that is a really bad dividing line,” Windham said. “That would mean the NFL, which is a nonprofit, has religious rights but Mardel Christian Bookstores does not.” (Mardel, a bookstore chain that the Greens own along with Hobby Lobby, is also challenging the Obamacare mandate.)

 

 

Is full contraception coverage a “compelling interest”?

If the court buys that Hobby Lobby has rights under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, Hobby Lobby would then have to prove that it has been “substantially burdened” by a law for which there is no “compelling government interest.”

 

The court could cite a number of reasons why the Obamacare rule doesn’t amount to a substantial burden. For one thing, the court could point out that in lieu of providing insufficient health care coverage to its employees, Hobby Lobby could simply pay a fine to the government.

That fine would, in fact, cost less than the expense of providing health coverage to Hobby Lobby’s employees. The government would then use that money to support the new Obamacare marketplaces, where Hobby Lobby employees could then find comprehensive coverage.

 

This rationale would be similar to the logic the Supreme Court put forward when it upheld the Obamacare individual mandate in 2012 – in that case, the court ruled that the rule requiring all Americans to obtain insurance or pay a fine did not amount to a “mandate” but to a tax.

 

Windham said it’s illogical that “a company that complies with 99 percent of the Affordable Care Act — just because it doesn’t comply with 1 percent — should drop their coverage altogether.”

 

Hobby Lobby’s owners would feel compelled to compensate its employees for those lost benefits, which would be an additional burden on top of the fine, Windham said.

 

Even if there is a substantial burden on Hobby Lobby, compelling government interests could overrule that.

 

Marcia Greenberger, co-president of the National Women’s Law Center, said there’s a clear government interest in ensuring that women have full contraception coverage.

 

“Studies show what common sense tells us,” she said. “Access to birth control increases women’s participation in the workforce and contributes to an increase in women’s wages.”

 

The Supreme Court said as much in 1992 in Planned Parenthood vs. Casey: “The ability of women to participate equally in the economic and social life of the Nation has been facilitated by their ability to control their reproductive lives.”

 

Thank you CBS News.

 

 

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