White House Blog Updates™
Remarks As Prepared for Delivery by Dr. Jill Biden at Shalom Community School in Zambia
Wednesday, July 2, 2014
Hi, everyone! Thank you, Martha, for that great introduction! Dr. Scott, thank you for joining me today. I can see very quickly that we share many of the same passions.
Provincial Education Officer Ngosa Korati and District Education Board Secretary Ruth Phiri – thank you for honoring us with your presence today. Head Teacher George Kaamba and students – thank you for such a warm welcome!
It’s a pleasure to be here at Shalom Community School and to meet all of you – and to be joined by Administrator Raj Shah, head of the U.S. Agency for International Development, Cathy Russell, the U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues and David Young, our Charge d’Affaires in Zambia.
I don’t want to keep you from your studies so I just want to say a few quick words. I am very lucky – as Second Lady of the United States, I have the opportunity to travel all around the world.
And as a lifelong teacher, one of my favorite things to do when I travel is to meet students, like all of you.
What all of you are doing – putting your education first – is so important. By focusing on your studies, you are creating a lifetime of opportunities for you and your families.
So on my trip over the next few days, one of the areas I will be focusing is education.
Remarks by Dr. Jill Biden at Shalom Community School
Published on Jul 2, 2014
Wednesday July 2nd 2014, Lusaka, Zambia.
Second Lady Dr. Jill Biden speaks to students at Shalom Community School in Kanyama Township about the importance of education and gender equality in their lives and for the future of Zambia.
Being Biden Vol. 16: “50 Years Later”
July 02, 2014
03:01 PM EDT
In the latest installment of Being Biden, the Vice President reflects on the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act, and shares a photo of himself with Representative John Lewis, Jesse Jackson, and other leaders of the civil rights movement.
It was 50 years ago today that President Lyndon Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act into law. And Vice President Biden reminds us that, as we celebrate the Fourth of July, we must also celebrate and remember the struggles of a generation that pushed to make the Declaration of Independence’s inalienable rights — of “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” — a reality for all Americans.
The Vice President reminds listeners what these civil rights leaders faced in 1965 on Alabama’s Edmund Pettus Bridge — recounting a walk met by “billy clubs and beatings, at the hand of state police officers.”
Vice President Joe Biden marches across the Edmund Pettus Bridge with Congresswoman Terri Sewell and Congressman John Lewis, during the 48th annual Bridge Crossing Ceremony in Selma, Alabama, March 3, 2013. (Official White House Photo by David Lienemann)
Want to get the latest edition of Being Biden delivered straight to your inbox? Sign up.
The Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Pub.L. 88–352, 78 Stat. 241, enacted July 2, 1964) is a landmark piece of civil rights legislation in the United States that outlawed discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. It ended unequal application of voter registration requirements and racial segregation in schools, at the workplace and by facilities that served the general public (known as “public accommodations”).
The bill was called for by President John F. Kennedy in his civil rights speech of June 11, 1963, in which he asked for legislation “giving all Americans the right to be served in facilities which are open to the public—hotels, restaurants, theaters, retail stores, and similar establishments”, as well as “greater protection for the right to vote”.
50 Years After The Civil Rights Act African Americans Face a Different Kind of Segregation
Published on Jul 2, 2014
Bob Moore and Dayvon Love – How American Civil Rights have Failed the American People
The President Heads to D.C.’s Key Bridge to Talk Infrastructure and the Economy
July 02, 2014
01:04 PM EDT
Yesterday afternoon, President Obama talked about infrastructure and the economy, with Washington, D.C.’s Francis Scott Key Bridge serving as the backdrop.
On a hot and muggy day, the President quickly got down to business, talking about the merits of the Highway Trust Fund, established by Congress in the 1950s, which helps states build and repair roads, bridges, and other infrastructure projects across the country.
But funding for the Highway Trust Fund is in danger of running out by the end of the summer, jeopardizing nearly 700,000 American jobs. Putting that in more tangible terms, the President noted that it “would be like Congress threatening to lay off the entire population of Denver, or Seattle, or Boston. That’s a lot of people. It would be a bad idea.”
Some projects are already running out of money, and our failure to adequately fund infrastructure projects is also hurting us on a global scale. “We spend significantly less as a portion of our economy than China does, than Germany does, than just about every other advanced country,” President Obama said. “They know something that I guess we don’t, which is that’s the path to growth, that’s the path to competitiveness.”
Earlier this year, the President put forth a plan to replenish the Highway Trust Fund. It’s a plan that wouldn’t add to the deficit — and we would pay for it in part by closing tax loopholes for corporations that are shipping their jobs overseas.
The President reminded the audience that this issue is not out of the ordinary:
“It’s not crazy, it’s not socialism. It’s not the imperial presidency — no laws are broken. We’re just building roads and bridges like we’ve been doing for the last, I don’t know, 50, 100 years.”
But House Republicans have refused to act — and this obstructionism has real consequences for working-class Americans.
So far this year, the President noted, “Republicans have said no to raising the minimum wage, they’ve said no to fair pay, they’ve said no to extending unemployment insurance for over 3 million Americans looking for a new job.” But where Congress refuses to act, the President is going to continue to do what he can to strengthen the middle class and move our country forward.
Already this year, President Obama has signed executive actions that ensure Americans earn a decent wage, attract new manufacturing jobs, speed up construction projects, build 21st-century workplaces, and make it easier for students to pay off their loans.
“And they criticize me for this,” the President said. “Boehner sued me for this.”
And I told him, I’d rather do things with you, pass some laws, make sure the Highway Trust Fund is funded so we don’t lay off hundreds of thousands of workers. It’s not that hard. Middle-class families can’t wait for Republicans in Congress to do stuff. So sue me. As long as they’re doing nothing, I’m not going to apologize for trying to do something.
The President went on to note the flaws in Republicans’ theory of how the economy works, saying that “they believe that all we should be doing is giving more tax breaks to those at the top, eliminating regulations that stop big banks or polluters from doing what they want, cut the safety net for people trying to work their way into the middle class, and then somehow the economy is going to get stronger and jobs and prosperity trickle down to everybody.”
“It’s just not accurate,” the President countered. “It does not work. We know from our history our economy doesn’t grow from the top down; it grows from the middle out.”
“We could do so much more if we just rallied around an economic patriotism,” he continued, “a sense that our job is to get things done as one nation and as one people.”
Economic patriotism says that instead of stacking the deck in the favor of folks just at the top, let’s harness the talents and ingenuity of every American and give every child access to quality education, and make sure that if your job was stamped obsolete or shipped overseas, you’re going to get retrained for an even better job.
Economic patriotism says that instead of making it tougher for middle-class families to get ahead, let’s reward hard work for every American. Let’s make sure women earn pay that’s equal to their efforts. Let’s make sure families can make ends meet if their child gets sick and they need to take a day off. Let’s make sure no American who works full-time ever has to live in poverty.
This is the sort of economic patriotism that we should all be able to get behind — where everybody is worth something, and everybody has a stake in the future economic growth of this country. So in order to move forward, we need to all be in this together.
And so I just want everybody here to understand that as frustrating as it may be sometimes, as stuck as Congress may be sometimes, if the American people put pressure on this town to actually get something done and everybody is looking at some commonsense agenda items that we should be able to do because Democrats and Republicans were able to do them in the past, we can grow our economy, we can lift people’s incomes, we can make sure that people who are fighting hard can get into the middle class and stay there. But it’s going to take you. It’s going to take you. This is not going to happen on its own. And I’m confident if that’s what we do, if all of you are fighting alongside me every single day instead of just giving up on this place, then we’re going to make America better than ever. That’s a promise.
What They’re Saying Around the Country: The Consequences of State Decisions Not to Expand Medicaid
July 02, 2014
12:44 PM EDT
Today, the Council of Economic Advisers released a report,Missed Opportunities: The Consequences of State Decisions Not to Expand Medicaid, which shows the effects of state decisions regarding Medicaid expansion on access to care, financial security, overall health and well-being of residents, and state economies.
Under the Affordable Care Act, states had the opportunity to expand Medicaid coverage to give citizens in their states access to affordable health care, and in return receive 100 percent of federal funding to cover those costs for the first three years and no less than 90 percent federal support in the years ahead.
A number of governors and legislators in both parties decided to put people over politics by expanding Medicaid in their states. To date, 26 states have chosen to do the right thing by expanding coverage, and in those states, 5.2 million Americans have gained access to affordable health care through Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program.
Unfortunately, some governors and legislators are still holding hostage a Medicaid expansion that we know would help thousands of their residents, reduce the rate of uninsured, and could have significant economic benefits for their states.
And now, in this report, we can see the opportunities that these states are missing out on.
Read The State By State Report
White House Report: Missed Opportunities and the Consequences of State Decisions Not to Expand Medicaid
Today, the Council of Economic Advisers released a report, Missed Opportunities: The Consequences of State Decisions Not to Expand Medicaid, which details the effects of state decisions regarding Medicaid expansion on access to care, financial security, overall health and well-being of residents, and state economies.
The Affordable Care Act has expanded high‐quality, affordable health insurance coverage to millions of Americans. One important way in which the Affordable Care Act is expanding coverage is by providing generous financial support to States that opt to expand Medicaid eligibility to all non‐elderly individuals in families with incomes below 133 percent of the Federal Poverty Level.
To date, 26 States and the District of Columbia have seized this opportunity, and since the beginning of the Affordable Care Act’s first open enrollment period, 5.2 million people have gained Medicaid or Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) coverage in these States, a tally that will grow in the months and years ahead as Medicaid enrollment continues. In contrast, 24 States have not yet expanded Medicaid—including many of the States that would benefit most and sometimes because State legislatures have defied even their own governors—and denied health insurance coverage to millions of their citizens. Researchers at the Urban Institute estimate that, if these States do not change course, 5.7 million people will be deprived of health insurance coverage in 2016. Meanwhile, these States will forgo billions in Federal dollars that could boost their economies.
This analysis uses the best evidence from the economics and health policy literatures to quantify several important consequences of States’ decisions not to expand Medicaid. That evidence, which is based primarily on careful analysis of the effects of past policy decisions, is necessarily an imperfect guide to the future, and the actual effects of Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act could be larger or smaller than the estimates presented below. However, this evidence is clear that the consequences of States’ decisions are far‐reaching, with implications for the health and well‐being of their citizens, their economies, and the economy of the Nation as a whole.
Readout of Vice President Biden’s Conversation with Osama al-Nujaifi
This morning, Vice President Biden spoke with Osama al-Nujaifi, who served as Speaker of the previous session of Iraq’s Council of Representatives. The Vice President expressed the United States’ strong support for Iraq in the fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant and concern for those Iraqis affected by the current crisis. The two agreed on the importance of Iraqis moving expeditiously to form a new government capable of uniting the country.
July 1st 2014: Photo of the Day
President Barack Obama and staff watch the U.S. soccer team vs Belgium in World Cup action in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building South Court Auditorium, July 1, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
In Case You Missed It: LGBT Pride at the White House
President Obama Speaks at Pride Month Celebration
June 30, 2014 | 14:56 | Public Domain
President Obama delivers remarks at a reception celebrating LGBT Pride Month in the East Room of the White House.
Obama’s Biggest Disappointment As President
Published on Jul 2, 2014
President Barack Obama answers a question about gun control and his frustration with congress’ inaction on the issue during a town hall-style Q&A in Minnesota.
Simon Anholt: Which country does the most good for the world?
Published on Jul 2, 2014
It’s an unexpected side effect of globalization: problems that once would have stayed local—say, a bank lending out too much money—now have consequences worldwide. But still, countries operate independently, as if alone on the planet. Policy advisor Simon Anholt has dreamed up an unusual scale to get governments thinking outwardly: The Good Country Index. In a riveting and funny talk, he answers the question, “Which country does the most good?” The answer may surprise you (especially if you live in the US or China).
U.S. bridges in danger of collapse on the brink of a highway crisis
Published on Jul 2, 2014
The nation may be on the brink of a highway crisis and lawmakers are scrambling to avoid a “transportation fiscal cliff.”
Filed under: Politics | Tagged: Edmund Pettus Bridge, Jill Biden, Joe Biden, Lusaka, Shalom Community School, United States, United States Agency for International Development, Zambia | 4 Comments »