By Jueseppi B.
Weekly Address: Time to Replace the Sequester with a Balanced Approach to Deficit Reduction
President Obama says that because Republicans in Congress allowed a series of harmful, automatic budget cuts—called the sequester—to take effect, important programs like Head Start are now forced to reduce their services. After travelers were stuck for hours in airports and on planes this past week, members of Congress passed a temporary band-aid measure to stop the cuts that impact airlines — but they must do more to stop cuts to vital services for the American people. That’s why it’s time for a balanced approach to deficit reduction that makes smarter cuts and reforms in the tax code while creating jobs and strengthening the middle class.
Watch this week’s Weekly Address.
White House Science Fair: On Tuesday, President Obama welcomed our country’s youngest scientists and innovators for the 3rd Annual White House Science Fair. More than 100 students from more than 40 states joined the President for the all-day celebration. The President toured the fair and even hopped on a bicycle-powered, emergency water-sanitation station developed by high-school students Payton Karr and Kiona Elliott of Oakland Park, Florida.
The President launched the White House Science Fair in 2009 as way to help encourage science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education. In December of 2012 the Administration announced a goal of one million new STEM graduates in the next decade, and the President’s plan works for educational opportunities and support for women and underrepresented minorities.
Teacher of the Year: On Wednesday, the President invited the state and national teachers of the year to the White House. Jeff Charbonneau from Zillah, Washington received the honor of the 2013 National Teacher of the Year. Over a decade ago, Zillah High School did not have a single engineering class and a struggling science curriculum, but 11 years ago Charbonneau returned to his hometown to teach at Zillah High School determined to change this. Today, science enrollment is up and students are graduating with college-level science credits. The President thanked all of the educators for their hard work and commitment in the classroom.
I want you guys to know that the country appreciates you. The kids appreciate you. The parents appreciate you. What you do matters. It’s critical to our success as a country, but most importantly, it’s critical to those kids themselves. I cannot think of something more important than reaching that child who maybe came in uninspired, and suddenly, you’ve inspired them.
Texas Memorial Service: On Thursday, President Obama delivered remarks at a memorial service for emergency first responders killed during the tragic explosion at a fertilizer plant in West, Texas. The President praised the people of West for their unity and their ability “to stand tall in times of unimaginable adversity.” The President provided comfort to the people of West and amid recent crisis, he assured West the country shares their pain.
Today our prayers are with the families of all who we’ve lost — the proud sons and daughters of West whose memories will live on in our hearts. Parents who loved their kids and leaders who served their communities. They were young and old, from different backgrounds and different walks of life.
George W. Bush Presidential Library: On Thursday, thePresident and the First Lady traveled to Dallas for the dedication of the George W. Bush Presidential Library. President Bush was joined by former Presidents Jimmy Carter, George H.W. Bush, and Bill Clinton, as well as former First Ladies Roslyn Carter, Barbara Bush, Hillary Clinton, and Laura Bush. President Obama thanked President Bush for his service and love of country, while also pointing out his personality.
“He knows who he is,” said President Obama. “He doesn’t put on any pretenses. He takes his job seriously, but he doesn’t take himself too seriously. He is a good man.”
Amir of Qatar: On Tuesday, President Obama welcomed Hamad bin Khalifa al- Thani, the Amir of Qatar, to discuss issues covering commerce, trade and education. The two leaders also talked about the urgency to end the slaughter in Syria and finding a peaceful resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The President thanked Qatar for their friendship and says he looks forward to working with Qatar for many years to come.
National Park Week: Last Saturday marked the start of National Park Week, an annual tradition celebrating our country’s great natural beauty and cultural landscapes. By being involved, you can help preserve the beauty, history and values of America and protect national parks for future generations.
There are national parks located in and around America’s major cities, including San Francisco, New York City, Santa Monica, Chicago, St. Louis, Miami, San Antonio, Baltimore and Washington, DC.
Take a look at the National Park Week event calendar and plan your visit for today!
Bombings in Boston: Last Friday, the President addressed the country after the capture of the second suspect in the Boston Marathon bombing. President Obama vowed to find more answers and ensure the American people are safe.
All in all, this has been a tough week. But we’ve seen the character of our country once more. And as President, I’m confident that we have the courage and the resilience and the spirit to overcome these challenges — and to go forward, as one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.
President Barack Obama talks with King Abdullah II of Jordan during a bilateral meeting in the Oval Office, April 26, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
The Week Ahead:
Monday: President Barack Hussein Obama will deliver remarks at the National Academy of Sciences 150th Anniversary.
Tuesday: As part of the Joining Forces initiative, President Barack Hussein Obama, Vice President Biden, First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden will make a significant employment announcement for veterans and military spouses. This event will take place at the White House.
Wednesday: President Barack Hussein Obama will attend meetings at the White House.
Thursday: In the morning, President Barack Hussein Obama will depart Washington, DC for his visit to Mexico and Costa Rica.
Friday: In the afternoon, President Barack Hussein Obamat will depart Mexico for Costa Rica.
Saturday: In the afternoon, President Barack Hussein Obama will depart Costa Rica and return to Washington, DC.
Sunday: President Barack Hussein Obama will deliver the commencement address at Ohio State University. He will return to Washington, DC, later that day.
April 26, 2013
President Obama’s Bilateral Meeting with His Majesty King Abdullah II of Jordan
April 26, 2013 | 10:50 | Public Domain
President Obama and His Majesty King Abdullah II of Jordan speak to the press before a bilateral meeting in the Oval Office.
President Obama today welcomed His Majesty King Abdullah II of Jordan to the White House, where the two leaders once again discussed the very urgent issues impacting that country, and the rest of the world.
President Obama met with the Jordanian leader last month on his trip to the Middle East, and this afternoon he thanked the King for his “extraordinary” hospitality, and praised his efforts to foster democratization, entrepreneurship and economic development inside Jordan. In remarks to the press before their bilateral meeting, the President said that he believes Jordan can be an “extraordinary model for effective governance in the region.”
But the main topic on today’s agenda was the ongoing crisis in Syria, including the impact it is having on Jordan, which has seen more than half a million refugees cross their border to escape the violence in their own country. The President addressed the reports that chemical weapons may have been used on the citizens of Syria and promised that the U.S and our partners in the region would pursue a “very rigorous investigation” of the evidence:
We have to act prudently. We have to make these assessments deliberately. But I think all of us, not just in the United States but around the world, recognize how we cannot stand by and permit the systematic use of weapons like chemical weapons on civilian populations.
So this is going to be something that we’ll be paying a lot of attention to — trying to confirm, and mobilize the international community around those issues.
President Barack Obama and King Abdullah II of Jordan make statements to the press prior to a bilateral meeting, in the Oval Office, April 26, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
April 26, 2013
Advance Estimate of GDP for the First Quarter of 2013
Today’s report indicates that the economy posted its fifteenth straight quarter of positive growth, as real GDP (the total amount of goods and services produced in the country) grew at a 2.5 percent annual rate in the first quarter of this year, according to the “advance” estimate released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. Over the last fifteen quarters, the economy has expanded by 8.3 percent overall, and the private components of GDP have grown by 12.2 percent. Real GDP is now 3.2 percent larger than it was at the previous business cycle peak in 2007:Q4. While there is more work to be done, this report, together with other economic indicators, provides further evidence that the economy is moving forward in the right direction.
It is important to recognize that GDP is made up of various components. Personal consumption expenditures, for example, rose by 3.2 percent at an annual rate in 2013:Q1, the fastest rate in over two years. Residential investment grew by 12.6 percent last quarter and has increased for eight quarters in a row, its longest streak since 2004-2005. Federal defense spending fell 11.5 percent at an annual rate in 2013:Q1, while federal non-defense spending declined at a 2.0 percent rate and state and local government purchases fell at a 1.2 percent rate.
The “advance” estimate of first quarter GDP growth encompasses the first month after sequestration began on March 1. It is likely that the contraction in Federal defense and non-defense spending, at least in part, reflects the onset of sequestration. These arbitrary and unnecessary cuts to government services will be a headwind in the months to come, and will cut key investments in the nation’s future competitiveness. The Congressional Budget Office has estimated that the sequester will reduce GDP growth by 0.6 percentage point for the year.
Now is not the time for Washington to impose self-inflicted wounds on the economy. The Administration continues to urge Congress to replace the sequester with balanced deficit reduction, while working to put in place measures to put more Americans back to work, like rebuilding our roads and bridges and promoting American manufacturing. The President will continue to work with Congress to act on measures he called for in the State of the Union to promote job growth, ensure workers have the skills they need to compete, and help hardworking Americans make a decent living.
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