United Reprographics - Brian Sims Made Money in P0RN

Seattle, Washington 5 comments

I'm afraid it's true. The owner of United Reprographics, Brian Sims, made his first real money in the p0rn industry. And quite sleazy p0rn sites at that. He told me this himself and I could be sued if I was embellishing even one bit.

In addition, as the many, many ex-employees have commented; Brian Sims is, perhaps, the greediest, most despicable and disrespectful employer anyone has worked for.

He calls his business minority owned ( Sims is black ) yet he runs it like a slave ship.

Beyond all of this, United Reprographics is notorious for mistakes. Sims has been offered solutions but isn't bright enough to be able to properly vet them ( no, it's not spelled "vette" ) Jobs have even been sabotaged due to increasingly poor employee - employer relations. Given all the options to have print work done, it seems an unnecessary risk to use United.

Review about: Reprographics.

Comments

Anonymous
#149613

Brian Sims is, perhaps, the worst employer I've ever worked for. Check out other complaint strings at Pissed Consumer.

Anonymous
#143633

Brian cut the Christmas bonuses, health accounts and Christmas party.I saw Brian Sims the day he did that and he was laughing.

It was punishment to workers who he felt shouldn't ever talk on the floor. In fact, this makes him crazy. He tried to make a rule that nobody was allowed to speak on to each other. He has cameras covering the entire shop that are monitored online.

He watches from his computer all day and night and even calls in to reprimand people if they happen stop to exchange a word with their fellow employees.

This guy is a real life Scrooge.He would be a great 17th & 18th century slave boss

Anonymous
#143632

Brian Sims claims here that's he's been generous to the families of United workers.Of course he doesn't name one.

Also, a week before the Christmas of 2008, when United was seeing unprecedented growth and making $500k that month ( and over $700k in Jan. 2009 ), long before any economic downturn, out of nowhere he announces that there will be no Christmas bonuses. No reason given. Also, no more health accounts and not even a Christmas party.

Craig, the manager of large doc., had to use his own money to buy his people a Christmas gift. It made me sick to see a guy who probably isn't making $18/hr having to pay out of his pocket while Brian had increased his income by $10k/month by cutting health accounts. Brian Sims' greed is epic. Truly something to behold.

But for him to make false claims about helping families of his employees is truly sickening.

Everybody got screwed and right before Christmas.People went broke at Christmas while owner Brian Sims had his best month ever.

Anonymous
#143631

I noticed didn't argued the fact that during the strongest months at United ( Dec 2008, Jan 2009 ) during a year when even he claimed that the company had grown by 10%, he cut Christmas bonuses a week before Christmas, he cut the health accounts and cut the company party. This was well before the economy went south.

Anonymous
#143364

I was a hard working manager with this company based in Seattle, Washington. I discovered that the owners had been taking my health insurance deductions from my paycheck and placing the funds in the company general account, leaving me uninsured. This had gone on for 6 months and after receiving a cancellation notice from the insurance company, I asked the owner about this. He angrily fired me on the spot. My wife was very ill at the time.

To add insult to this injury, the owner, Brian Sims, gave horrible references to every prospective employer who called him about me. I could not find a job anywhere. I had to settle on working as a laborer in a shipyard. I blew out both knees in this occupation and even after surgery, am in very bad shape.

Please do not give your business to this miserable excuse for a human being. In my opinion, he deserves to go to *** hor his greed and complete lack of humanity.

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United Reprographics, Seattle Washington

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I was a hard working manager with this company based in Seattle, Washington.I discovered that the owners had been taking my health insurance deductions from my paycheck and placing the funds in the company general account, leaving me uninsured.

This had gone on for 6 months and after receiving a cancellation notice from the insurance company, I asked the owner about this. He angrily fired me on the spot. My wife was very ill at the time.

To add insult to this injury, the owner, Brian Sims, gave horrible references to every prospective employer who called him about me.

I could not find a job anywhere. I had to settle on working as a laborer in a shipyard. I blew out both knees in this occupation and even after surgery, am in very bad shape.

Please do not give your business to this miserable excuse for a human being.

In my opinion, he deserves to go to *** hor his greed and complete lack of humanity.

Review about: Reprographics.

Comments

Anonymous
#682529

I work for another independant competing reprographics company and have learned over the years that United is pretty tough competition.It's difficult to match their quality, especially on half size plans, and their customers are generally happy.

(at least that is what I hear regularly) I work for a great guy and have no reason try to compliment someone I don't know.

I have no idea what really happened or if the owner of is a *** but I do know that business' don't usually succeed by accident, even if they are fortunate enough to find great people, the owner must be doing something right.

The manager that speaks about his bad experience may be completely correct or may be a flake and deserved to be fired... I don't know.

But I personally will take all of this negativity with a grain of salt.Especially when he leaves racist comments.

Anonymous
#382084

The Racist! (chimp) really!

Anonymous
#382024

Point goes to the original poster. Thank you. You probably just saved my professional career. I could *never* work for such a shortsighted company.

Report

2. Written by Billy on June 8, 2011

Brian Sims please stop hijacking the comment section. You are a poor business man and now must face the shame you brought upon yourself and your family.

Report

3. Written by Billy on May 10, 2011

The White House Blog

Elevating the Debate on Immigration

Posted by Katelyn Sabochik on May 10, 2011 at 10:35 AM EDT

Today, David Plouffe sent an email to the White House email list about the President's speech on immigration in El Paso, Texas at 3:30 p.m. EDT (1:30 p.m. CDT) and the ways you can get involved in a national dialogue on this issue.

Check out the email below, and if you didn't get it, be sure to sign up for the White House email list.

Today, President Obama is traveling to El Paso, Texas to discuss the need to fix our broken immigration system. You can watch his speech live at WhiteHouse.gov/live starting at 3:30 p.m. EDT (1:30 p.m. MDT):

Our nation is the leader of the global economy in part because of the steady stream of hardworking and talented people who have come to our country in search of a better life for themselves and their families. As we continue to strengthen our economy, we need an immigration system that demands responsibility and accountability from government,...

In his speech today, the President will lay out his vision for an immigration system for America's 21st century economy and will call on Americans across the country to join a constructive conversation on this issue. We know that folks are already discussing this issue around their dinner tables, with their friends and neighbors and through social media communities like Twitter.

Here are just a few ways you can get involved in the conversation, and tell us here at the White House what you think:

1.Twitter. During the President's speech today, I'll have a screen up next to my TV to watch the conversation on Twitter using the #immigration hashtag, so make sure to use #immigration to share your thoughts.

2.Advise the Advisor. Cecilia Muñoz, one of the President's senior advisors on immigration issues, just posted a new Advise the Advisor video asking for your feedback on this important issue. Visit WhiteHouse.gov/Advise to see the video and tell us what you think.

3.Roundtable Discussions. In addition to all the ways you can join the conversation online, we're encouraging Americans to host roundtable discussions in your own communities over the next few months, and let us know what you talked about and what issues matter the most in your community. Visit WhiteHouse.gov/Immigration to get started.

Most Americans agree that our immigration system is broken: it hamstrings our economy, it hurts families who play by the rules, and it leaves millions living in the shadows without a path to get right with the law.

We can't out-educate, out-innovate and out-build our competitors without an immigration system that works for our economy. That's why this conversation on immigration reform is so important. We need voices from across the country to help us elevate the debate and move forward.

We're looking forward to hearing what you have to say.

Sincerely,

David Plouffe

Senior Advisor to the President

Learn more about Immigration

Helping Small Businesses in the Supply Chain as they Grow and Create Jobs

Posted by Karen Mills on May 10, 2011 at 9:50 AM EDT

Today, I’m traveling with the President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness in Dayton, Ohio. We are at a small company called Hooven-Dayton that prints the labels for products like Tide and Mr. Clean. Our purpose is to hear from the executives of small companies like these, which are often referred to as “suppliers” because most of their products and services are sold to larger companies.

Why is this important?

A recent study showed that after a small supplier lands a big purchase order or a contract from a bigger company, the small company’s revenues go up 250% and they create about 150% more jobs in just two or three years. Therefore, at this critical time in our economic recovery, the small businesses in these supply chains are an important area for us to focus and build on.

So, throughout the day, we’re talking with small suppliers themselves about how to make America’s supply chains as dynamic and innovative as possible. I’m sure that we will talk about a range of issues, from access to capital, to creating new partnerships, to exporting, and more. These are areas where the SBA and our federal partners – as well as an increasing number of large U.S. firms – offer important tools that can help suppliers grow and create jobs.

read the rest

Learn more about Economy

Today’s Health Care Court Cases

Posted by Stephanie Cutter on May 10, 2011 at 8:40 AM EDT

Today, judges of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in Virginia will hear arguments in two cases challenging the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act. In the first case – Liberty University v. Geithner – a district judge previously found that the law was constitutional. In the second case – Commonwealth of Virginia v. Kathleen Sebelius – a different district judge issued a very narrow ruling on the constitutionality of the health reform law’s “individual r

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Anonymous
#377248

:eek

First of all, let me say thank you. I was contacted to interview for this company and have decided, based on this (and other) reviews, to pass.

Whether the allegations against United Reprographics are completely true or not, it is clear that *something* went on that instigated this process.

The interactions between former employee and owner show that the company has no regard for its business reputation and took no steps to rectify the situation before it escalated to this. Otherwise, the original poster wouldn't have felt it necessary to go pubic with their complaints.

It is important to me that I am *proud* of where I work. Could I be proud at United Reprographics in Seattle? I really doubt it. Their managers are so mishandled they feel the need to strike back. The owner is so clueless he doesn't realize his business image is severely scarred for his lack of personnel skills. I can only think what a client would say reading this thread...

So, even in a recession, I will not interview with this company. It's not merely the alleged working conditions or the questionable practices of the owner with regard to benefits... but that the company has suffered severe reputation damage and has made no attempt to correct it.

Seriously... A simple severance package and am "I'm sorry you feel that way" could have gone a long way in making this all go away, but...

Point goes to the original poster. Thank you. You probably just saved my professional career. I could *never* work for such a shortsighted company.

Show more
Anonymous
#295721

Brian Sims please stop hijacking the comment section. You are a poor business man and now must face the shame you brought upon yourself and your family.

Anonymous
#284335

The White House Blog

Elevating the Debate on Immigration

Posted by Katelyn Sabochik on May 10, 2011 at 10:35 AM EDT

Today, David Plouffe sent an email to the White House email list about the President's speech on immigration in El Paso, Texas at 3:30 p.m. EDT (1:30 p.m. CDT) and the ways you can get involved in a national dialogue on this issue.

Check out the email below, and if you didn't get it, be sure to sign up for the White House email list.

Today, President Obama is traveling to El Paso, Texas to discuss the need to fix our broken immigration system. You can watch his speech live at WhiteHouse.gov/live starting at 3:30 p.m. EDT (1:30 p.m. MDT):

Our nation is the leader of the global economy in part because of the steady stream of hardworking and talented people who have come to our country in search of a better life for themselves and their families. As we continue to strengthen our economy, we need an immigration system that demands responsibility and accountability from government, businesses and immigrants themselves.

In his speech today, the President will lay out his vision for an immigration system for America's 21st century economy and will call on Americans across the country to join a constructive conversation on this issue. We know that folks are already discussing this issue around their dinner tables, with their friends and neighbors and through social media communities like Twitter....

Here are just a few ways you can get involved in the conversation, and tell us here at the White House what you think:

1.Twitter. During the President's speech today, I'll have a screen up next to my TV to watch the conversation on Twitter using the #immigration hashtag, so make sure to use #immigration to share your thoughts.

2.Advise the Advisor. Cecilia Muñoz, one of the President's senior advisors on immigration issues, just posted a new Advise the Advisor video asking for your feedback on this important issue. Visit WhiteHouse.gov/Advise to see the video and tell us what you think.

3.Roundtable Discussions. In addition to all the ways you can join the conversation online, we're encouraging Americans to host roundtable discussions in your own communities over the next few months, and let us know what you talked about and what issues matter the most in your community. Visit WhiteHouse.gov/Immigration to get started.

Most Americans agree that our immigration system is broken: it hamstrings our economy, it hurts families who play by the rules, and it leaves millions living in the shadows without a path to get right with the law.

We can't out-educate, out-innovate and out-build our competitors without an immigration system that works for our economy. That's why this conversation on immigration reform is so important. We need voices from across the country to help us elevate the debate and move forward.

We're looking forward to hearing what you have to say.

Sincerely,

David Plouffe

Senior Advisor to the President

Learn more about Immigration

Helping Small Businesses in the Supply Chain as they Grow and Create Jobs

Posted by Karen Mills on May 10, 2011 at 9:50 AM EDT

Today, I’m traveling with the President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness in Dayton, Ohio. We are at a small company called Hooven-Dayton that prints the labels for products like Tide and Mr. Clean. Our purpose is to hear from the executives of small companies like these, which are often referred to as “suppliers” because most of their products and services are sold to larger companies.

Why is this important?

A recent study showed that after a small supplier lands a big purchase order or a contract from a bigger company, the small company’s revenues go up 250% and they create about 150% more jobs in just two or three years. Therefore, at this critical time in our economic recovery, the small businesses in these supply chains are an important area for us to focus and build on.

So, throughout the day, we’re talking with small suppliers themselves about how to make America’s supply chains as dynamic and innovative as possible. I’m sure that we will talk about a range of issues, from access to capital, to creating new partnerships, to exporting, and more. These are areas where the SBA and our federal partners – as well as an increasing number of large U.S. firms – offer important tools that can help suppliers grow and create jobs.

read the rest

Learn more about Economy

Today’s Health Care Court Cases

Posted by Stephanie Cutter on May 10, 2011 at 8:40 AM EDT

Today, judges of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in Virginia will hear arguments in two cases challenging the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act. In the first case – Liberty University v. Geithner – a district judge previously found that the law was constitutional. In the second case – Commonwealth of Virginia v. Kathleen Sebelius – a different district judge issued a very narrow ruling on the constitutionality of the health reform law’s “individual responsibility” provision but upheld the rest of the law. Both cases are today being argued on appeal.

We’re confident that the Affordable Care Act is constitutional. Already, two additional judges have found the law to be constitutional. And the facts are on our side.

•Those who claim that the “individual responsibility” provision exceeds Congress’ power to regulate interstate commerce because it penalizes “inactivity” are simply wrong. Individuals who choose to go without health insurance are actively making an economic decision that affects all of us.

•A new report released today from the Department of Health and Human Services makes clear that those without insurance struggle to pay for health care. According to the report, uninsured people cannot pay the full cost of 88 percent of their hospital bills. Even the uninsured with the greatest income and assets cannot fully pay for half of their hospital bills.

When people without insurance obtain health care they cannot pay for, those with insurance and taxpayers are often left to pick up the tab.

The Affordable Care Act requires everyone who can afford it to carry some form of health insurance.

•For the 83% of Americans who have coverage and who are already taking responsibility for their health care, the Affordable Care Act will help insurance premiums to decrease over time.

•Only those who are able to pay for health insurance will be responsible for obtaining it.

•The Congressional Budget Office estimated that only 1 percent of all Americans would pay a penalty for not having health insurance in 2016.

To lower the cost of health care for everyone, we have to stop making those who act responsibly pick up the health care tab for those who don’t – and that means we need everyone to be a part of the health insurance marketplace. Bringing everyone into the system will also enable us to finally ban discrimination against individuals with pre-existing conditions. Without the individual responsibility provision, people could wait until they’re sick or injured to apply for coverage since insurance companies could no longer say no or charge more. That would lead to double digit premiums increases – up to 20% – for everyone in the individual insurance market.

We are confident the various cases regarding the law will be decided quickly, long before the law is scheduled to be fully implemented. And we are confident we will prevail.

Learn more about Health Care

Supporting Military Families and Let’s Move!

Posted by Robin Schepper and Shellie Pfohl on May 9, 2011 at 3:20 PM EDT

Cross-posted from the Let's Move! blog.

Today, First Lady Michelle Obama announced new collaborations to support our military families and ensure that everyone can get out and get moving.

Starting June 1, service members and their families will be able to visit the websites of the organizations to sign up for free sportsclub memberships and personal training.

read the rest

Learn more about Family

Calling All Questions: CBS Town Hall on the Economy with President Obama

Posted by Sarah Bernard on May 9, 2011 at 10:28 AM EDT

On Wednesday, CBS News will conduct a special town hall on the economy with President Obama. CBS News Chief Washington Correspondent Bob Schieffer and The Early Show Co-Anchor Erica Hill will join the President before a live audience at the Newseum in Washington, DC.

Submit your questions for the President in any of the following ways:

(CBS asks that you include your age, hometown and occupation with your question).

•Email

•Facebook

•Twitter with hashtag #CBSTownHall

•YouTube

On Thursday, tune in to watch the Town Hall on The Early Show during the 8:00 - 9:00am hour.

Learn more about Economy

Latest Awards Bring US Closer to National High-Speed Passenger Rail Network

Posted by Secretary Ray LaHood on May 9, 2011 at 9:39 AM EDT

Cross-posted from the Department of Transportation's blog.

This is a big day for the Department of Transportation, for the Obama Administration, and for the American people. We are bringing President Obama's vision of American high-speed rail one step closer to reality with $2.02 billion in targeted investments.

And I am thrilled.

Today we are advancing President Obama's historic high-speed rail blueprint through 22 carefully selected projects that will create jobs, boost manufacturing, and spur development while laying the foundation for our future economic competitiveness. We are providing two billion dollars to 15 states and Amtrak to help build out America's high-speed rail network, enabling people and goods to travel more quickly, safely and energy-efficiently than ever before.

When DOT announced the competition for these awards in March, we were inundated with 98 applications seeking more than $10 billion. Americans heard the President's plan to connect 80 percent of the nation to high-speed rail in the next 25 years, and they responded with a loud and clear, "Yes!"

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Learn more about Economy, Energy & Environment

The Gift of Good Health on Mother’s Day

Posted by Tom Kalil on May 8, 2011 at 3:08 PM EDT

Pregnant women and new mothers deserve more than just flowers this Mother’s Day. They deserve the precious gift of good health for themselves and their babies. That’s why today I’d like to celebrate the benefits of text4baby, a free, mobile health information service that offers useful tips timed to a woman’s due date or baby’s date of birth.

The beauty of text4baby is its simplicity. Text BABY (or BEBE in Spanish) to 511411, and receive three free SMS messages every week on important issues like nutrition, oral health, and immunization schedules. Text4baby also connects women to public clinics and support services for prenatal and infant care in their area.

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Learn more about , Family, Health Care, Women

"We and the Entire Nation Are So Proud Of All Of You": Mother's Day with the First Lady and Dr. Biden

Posted by Paul Wiley on May 8, 2011 at 2:40 PM EDT

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Read the Transcript | Download Video: mp4 (215MB) | mp3 (21MB) .For a group of military spouses, this Mother's Day will be one they never forget. First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden hosted a special Mother's Day tea to show their appreciation and thanks.

Includes Video

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Learn more about Defense, Family, Veterans, Women

Mothers Who Served, World War II – Present

Posted by Kate Hoit on May 7, 2011 at 5:51 PM EDT

Cross-posted from the Veterans Affairs blog VAntage Point. First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden welcomed military spouses, mothers and grandmothers to the White House for a Mother's Day tea this week. Watch the video.

In honor of Mother’s Day, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs is celebrating the women who have served our country and taken on one of the greatest roles in life: motherhood. In doing so, we reached out to mom Veterans and their family members for photographs and stories. We’ve received photographs and stories that stretch beyond the current conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan back to World War II. Each mother has a unique story, united by their service. Below are photos and excerpts of stories of mothers who served in World War II to Iraq and Afghanistan. Happy Mother’s Day!

Submitted by Thallassa M. Gunelius, MSgt, USAF (Ret), son

Judith Gunelius (above), enlisted in the Women’s Army Corps in 1958. After a break in service to have four children, she became the first woman in the Minnesota Air National Guard in 1972 and the first enlisted female aeromedevac technician to fly on C-130s. . .I’m grateful for my mother and all the other courageous ladies who paved the way for those of us who followed in their footsteps. The example that both of my parents set during their enlistments resulted in all four of their kids carrying on the tradition in the US Army, Coast Guard, Navy and Air Force. Collectively, our family has proudly served this great country for a total of 68 years!

Submitted by Joyce C. Leneave, U.S. Army Veteran, 1989-1993, mother

While serving in the Army at the European Command Center, Patch Barracks, Germany, I became pregnant with my eldest child. I was a single mother and my female Commander was supportive of my decision to stay in the military. On May 26, 1992, my daughter Vanessa was born at Bad Constadtt Hospital. Now she is a freshman at NKU, studying music education. She hopes to be a high school music teacher. I am taking courses that were awarded to me by Military to Medicine. I am proud of my service to my Nation and it is all the more precious to me to know that my daughter shares part of that with me.

Submitted by Margo Trueman, sister-in-law

I would like to honor my sister-in-law, AMS3 (AW) Robyn Roche-Paull (left), who served in the U.S. Navy from 1991 to 1997. Robyn served on the USS Eisenhower when it first deployed with women on board. She is also one of the first women in the U.S. Navy to be qualified to launch aircraft. During her time in the Navy, she became a mother for the first time. In fact, she was on duty the night she went into labor so she literally worked right up to the day she gave birth. She continued her service for over a year following her son’s birth before receiving an honorable discharge in 1997. Robyn’s experience as a mother in the Navy prompted her to do what she could to help other mothers overcome these hurdles with more information and support than she had. She graduated from University with a degree in Maternal Child Health and went on to become a Board Certified Lactation Consultant.

Submitted by Jeffrey Wollberg, son

This is a picture of my mom (left) taken on her 90th birthday. She is now 92. She was a WAVE during World War II and did secretarial work for the Navy. After her Navy enlistment was ended she continued in secretarial work and personnel management until she retired from her position as the president’s secretary from US Checkbook. Her services and my father’s service must have had some influence on our family. . .My two sons shown in this picture are in the Air Force, one in the Air Guard and the other active duty. They both graduated the same day from basic. I served in the Army Reserve 1986–1992 and Active Reserve 1992–2002.

Submitted by Kathryn Peacock, daughter-in-law

I’m writing to honor my mother-in-law. She has supported her son even when everyone else doubted his decisions to join the Army after college. Her family business could have made her encourage her son to travel a different route, but she knew he had to fulfill his goals to lead soldiers in battle. This February he was injured in battle. She was there at his side a day after his surgery at Walter Reed. She didn’t care he was heavily sedated, because she was able to share the moment with her son. As the wife of her son, she is an honest whole-hearted role model.

Submitted by SMSgt Katrina McIntosh, daughter

My Mom is Karin Winward, a retired SMSgt (Air Force E-8). She served 23 years and retired in 1992. She is my hero. We moved a lot as I grew up, I went to five elementary schools, two junior high schools, and two high schools, and enjoyed every minute of it. I was able to see new places and make new friends. She was the first WAF (Women in the Air Force) stationed at Tainan Air Base in Taiwan making great strides for women in the Air Force. My Mom is also my friend and my mentor. She is the reason I have served 23 years in the Air Force and am still serving. I believe that time apart just made us closer, made us appreciate each other more. She has been there every step of my career, even if we were across the world we were together in our hearts.

View the slideshow of over two dozen more photos of mothers who’ve served in uniform.

Kate Hoit is the New Media Specialist at the Department of Veterans Affairs. She is also an Iraq War Veteran.

Includes Photo Gallery

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Weekly Address: Clean Energy to Out-Innovate the Rest of the World

Posted by Jesse Lee on May 7, 2011 at 5:30 AM EDT

Speaking from a hybrid vehicle transmission company in Indiana, the President explains how investments in a clean energy economy are the only solution to high gas prices in the long term.

Transcript | Download mp4 | Download mp3

Check out an infographic below on the President's approach to gas prices, or download the full size version.

Download Full Size.

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Learn more about Economy, Energy & Environment

The President & Vice President at Fort Campbell: "Gratitude"

Posted by Jesse Lee on May 6, 2011 at 8:16 PM EDT

President Barack Obama delivers remarks to troops at Fort Campbell, Ky., May 6, 2011. Vice President Joe Biden stands at left. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

.It was an emotional week, from the relief of the President's announcement that Osama bin Laden was dead to the somber rememberance of the victims in New York City. It ended on a note of gratitude, as the President and Vice President went to Fort Campbell, Kentucky to welcome troops home from a deployment in Afghanistan after a private meeting honoring the military and intelligence professionals involved in the operation against bin Laden.

The Vice President:

I know many of you have just gotten home in the past few weeks -- so welcome home. And I know from experience that your families want more than anything to spend time with you. And so, every time I show up at a welcome home ceremony, I’m always worried about getting in the way. Because I remember when my son came back home from Iraq after a year, there were all these ceremonies. And I kept saying, ***, man, stop, I want to see my kid. (Laughter.)

So, anyway, I get it. So let me just say how much gratitude the President and I have, and all Americans do, for you all. You guys have been in the fight from the beginning. And the risk you’ve taken, the incredible sacrifices you’ve made, the comrades you’ve lost, the losses you’ve personally endured -- you’ve been in some of the most inhospitable terrain in the world.

I’ve been there a number of times, back up those *** mountains. I’d get a helicopter to go down 9,800 feet, and all I got on is a vest -- a bulletproof vest and a helmet and I’m out of breath climbing up about 40 clicks -- 40 feet. And you guys are up there, 60 to 80-pound packs running around. God, you’re amazing. You just are amazing. I’m in awe of the job you do, in awe of the job you do. (Applause.)

As I said back in February, I want to also thank your families. They made sacrifices as well, those intangible sacrifices -- those missed births and those missed birthdays, those missed graduations, those missed -- an occasional funeral. Perhaps more than anything else, just being missed, just not having you home.

The President:

They’re America’s “quiet professionals” -- because success demands secrecy. But I will say this. Like all of you, they could have chosen a life of ease. But like you, they volunteered. They chose to serve in a time of war, knowing they could be sent into harm’s way. They trained for years. They’re battle-hardened. They practiced tirelessly for this mission. And when I gave the order, they were ready.

Now, in recent days, the whole world has learned just how ready they were. These Americans deserve credit for one of the greatest intelligence military operations in our nation’s history. But so does every person who wears America’s uniform, the finest military the world has ever known. (Applause.) And that includes all of you men and women of 101st. (Applause.)

You have been on the frontlines of this fight for nearly 10 years. You were there in those early days, driving the Taliban from power, pushing al Qaeda out of its safe havens. Over time, as the insurgency grew, you went back for, in some cases, a second time, a third time, a fourth time.

When the decision was made to go into Iraq, you were there, too, making the longest air assault in history, defeating a vicious insurgency, ultimately giving Iraqis the chance to secure their democracy. And you’ve been at the forefront of our new strategy in Afghanistan.

Sending you -- more of you -- into harm’s way is the toughest decision that I’ve made as Commander-in-Chief. I don’t make it lightly. Every time I visit Walter Reed, every time I visit Bethesda, I’m reminded of the wages of war. But I made that decision because I know that this mission was vital to the security of the nation that we all love.

Learn more about Defense, Foreign Policy, Veterans

Wounded Warriors Bring Inspiration to the White House

Posted by Darienne Page on May 6, 2011 at 5:37 PM EDT

This week, the White House was host to some truly inspiring guests: wounded veterans who are participating in the Wounded Warrior's Soldier Ride Program to raise money and awareness for other veterans struggling to recover from their injuries. Take a look at a video that aims to capture the spirit of the event; we hope you enjoy it as much as we enjoyed having these heroes come inspire us.

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Download Video: mp4 (16.3MB) .Darienne Page is the Assistant Director of Public Engagement at the White House.

Learn more about Defense, Disabilities, Veterans

Europe: "The Cornerstone of our Engagement with the World"

Posted by Elizabeth Alexander on May 6, 2011 at 4:10 PM EDT

Speaking at the 50th Anniversary celebration of the Atlantic Council on Tuesday night, Vice President Biden discussed the continued importance of a strong partnership with our European allies and partners, as well as the enduring relevance of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in protecting against new and evolving threats around the world.

‪From the European Union’s role as our largest trading partner, to the significant role of NATO in Afghanistan and elsewhere, “Europe is the cornerstone of our engagement with the world and a catalyst for global cooperation,” Vice President Biden said, quoting President Obama.

Vice President Biden speaks at the 50th Anniversary celebration of the Atlantic Council, May 3, 2011. (Official White House Photo by David Lienemann)

.‪The Vice President stressed that while NATO’s membership and mission have evolved in response to the profound changes of the last two decades, our transatlantic relationship remains essential, as we move from “confrontation to cooperation with Russia” and “navigate the transformation that’s taking place in the Middle East.”

‪Vice President Biden lauded Russia’s emergence as a key partner in the greater European community, highlighting the “reset” in U.S.-Russian relations that led to a new START treaty and close cooperation on counterterrorism and nuclear nonproliferation. “Missile defense cooperation could be the next big step forward,” the Vice President said.

‪In closing, the Vice President asserted that in the next half century, one he predicted “will be just as consequential as the last,” the “lot of humanity is going to continue to depend upon…the solidarity of the Atlantic Community.”

Elizabeth Alexander is Press Secretary for the Vice President

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The President on Jobs & Gas Prices: Read His Remarks, Download the Graphic

Posted by Jesse Lee on May 6, 2011 at 1:48 PM EDT

A lot of Americans have questions about the economy – will the momentum of the past months keep up? What can we do about these gas prices eating away at our paychecks? And where will the good jobs come from for our next generation?

The jobs numbers this morning gave a positive sign on the first question, with another 268,000 private sector jobs in April bringing the total to more than 2 million over the past 14 months. The answers to the other two questions can be seen in part in factories like the one the President visited today in Indiana -- Allison Transmission. It’s a business that is creating jobs making transmissions for hybrid vehicles after a boost from a matching grant out of the President’s clean energy investments.

President Barack Obama examines a part held by Mike Clements during a tour of Allison Transmission in Indianapolis, Ind., May 6, 2011. Plant manager Mike Clements stands at right. (Official White House Photo by Samantha Appleton)

.As the President put it, “This is where the jobs of the future are at”:

This is the kind of company that will make sure that America remains the most prosperous nation in the world. See, other countries understand this. We’re in a competition all around the world, and other countries -- Germany, China, South Korea -- they know that clean energy technology is what is going to help spur job creation and economic growth for years to come.

And that's why we’ve got to make sure that we win that competition. I don't want the new breakthrough technologies and the new manufacturing taking place in China and India. I want all those new jobs right here in Indiana, right here in the United States of America, with American workers, American know-how, American ingenuity. (Applause.)

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Military Spouse Appreciation Day

Posted by Kori Schulman on May 6, 2011 at 12:05 PM EDT

Ed. Note: Watch the First Lady and Dr. Biden deliver remarks at a Military Spouse Appreciation Day and Mother's Day event at the White House at 3:15 p.m. EDT on WhiteHouse.gov/live on May 3, 2011.

As President Obama stated in a proclamation, "On Military Spouse Appreciation Day, let us join together to show our service members we are taking care of their families back home as they serve our Nation across the globe."

Last month, First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden launched Joining Forces, a national campaign to support our service members and their families. This morning, Dr. Biden sent this message to encourage all Americans to express their gratitude on Military Spouse Appreciation Day, Mothers Day, and everyday.

Check out the email below, and be sure to sign up for the Joining Forces email list to stay up to date on the initiative.

Good Morning,

This afternoon the First Lady and I will have the honor of welcoming a special group of women to the White House to celebrate Military Spouse Appreciation Day and Mother’s Day.

As a proud military mom and grandmother -- this day is especially meaningful to me, and always feel honored to be in the presence of our service members and their families.

In our travels, the First Lady and I have been privileged to meet so many heroes - from the moms who keep their families together while their loved ones are serving overseas -- to the grandparents who step in with much-needed support -- to the siblings and children who are strong and brave while mom or dad is away.

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The Employment Situation in April

Posted by Austan Goolsbee on May 6, 2011 at 9:52 AM EDT

Today’s employment report shows that private sector payrolls increased by 268,000 in April, the strongest monthly growth in five years. The economy has added 2.1 million private sector jobs over 14 consecutive months, including more than 800,000 jobs since the beginning of the year. The unemployment rate rose to 9.0 percent, but remains 0.8 percentage point below its November level.

Despite headwinds from high energy prices and disruptions from the disaster in Japan, the last three months of private job gains have been the strongest in five years.While the solid pace of employment growth in recent months is encouraging, faster growth is needed to replace the jobs lost in the downturn. We are seeing signs that the initiatives put in place by this Administration – such as the payroll tax cut and business incentives for investment – are creating the conditions for companies to add new jobs and foster the industries of the future. We will continue to work with Congress to find ways to reduce spending, so that we can live within our means without neglecting the investments in education, infrastructure, and clean energy that will strengthen our economy.

In addition to the increases last month, payroll survey estimates of private sector job growth for February (now +261,000) and March (now +231,000) were revised up. Overall payroll employment rose by 244,000 in April, well above market expectations. Payroll employment grew in almost every sector. Solid employment increases occurred in retail trade (+57,100), professional and business services (+51,000), education and health services (+49,000), leisure and hospitality (+46,000), and manufacturing (+29,000). Manufacturing has added 244,000 jobs in the last 14 months, the best period of manufacturing job growth in 13 years. State and local government experienced a decline of 22,000; this sector has shed 289,000 jobs in the past 14 months, mostly in local government.

The unemployment reading in April showed a partial reversal of the 1.0 percentage point decline over the previous four months. Employment measured in the household survey dipped in April and the labor force participation rate was unchanged. The unemployment rate data derive from a separate household survey. The payroll and household surveys can differ on a monthly basis; the household survey is more volatile, but the two surveys typically show similar long-run trends in employment.

The overall trajectory of the economy has improved dramatically over the past two years, but there will surely be bumps in the road ahead. The monthly employment and unemployment numbers are volatile and employment estimates are subject to substantial revision. Therefore, as the Administration always stresses, it is important not to read too much into any one monthly report.

.Austan Goolsbee is Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers

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Better Medicare In Your State

Posted by Stephanie Cutter on May 6, 2011 at 9:00 AM EDT

It’s been a little more than a year since the Affordable Care Act became law, but seniors and people with disabilities on Medicare are already reaping its benefits. Thanks to the new law, seniors have access to free preventive care and a free annual wellness visit. People who hit the Medicare prescription drug donut hole are getting a 50 percent discount on their prescription drugs. We have protected and expanded guaranteed benefits for all 47 million Americans on Medicare. And estimates indicate that the new benefits and services provided to seniors by the Affordable Care Act will save the typical senior over $3,500 over the next decade.

Today, we are releasing State-by-State charts that provide more detailed information on how seniors in your State are benefitting from the Affordable Care Act. Check out the data for your State below.

Unfortunately, some in Congress want to undo this progress and take us backwards. Under the Republican Medicare plan, a typical 65-year-old who becomes eligible for Medicare would pay an extra $6,400 than what he or she would pay if the plan were not adopted. You can learn more about the Republican plan here.

President Obama is committed to strengthening Medicare and building on the Affordable Care Act. As the new charts show, millions of seniors are already receiving better health care and paying less thanks to this landmark law – and, each year, these benefits will get even better.

Medicare After the Affordable Care Act

Lower Costs, Better Care for Seniors

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Select a Fact SheetAlabamaAlaskaArizonaArkansasCaliforniaColoradoConnecticutDelawareDistrict of ColumbiaFloridaGeorgiaHawaiiIdahoIllinoisIndianaIowaKansasKentuckyLouisianaMaineMarylandMassachusettsMichiganMinnesotaMississippiMissouriMontanaNebraskaNevadaNew HampshireNew JerseyNew MexicoNew YorkNorth CarolinaNorth DakotaOhioOklahomaOregonPennsylvaniaRhode IslandSouth CarolinaSouth DakotaTennesseeTexasUtahVermontVirginiaWashingtonWest VirginiaWisconsinWyoming Stephanie Cutter is Assistant to the President and Deputy Senior Advisor.

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West Wing Week: "A Good Day For America"

Posted by Arun Chaudhary on May 6, 2011 at 1:00 AM EDT

This week, the President announced the death of Osama bin Laden, visited New York City to honor the victims of 9/11 and their families, made sure the federal government was doing its part in the states devastated by storms and much more.

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Vote for Your Favorite Healthy Living Innovation

Posted by Kathleen Sebelius on May 5, 2011 at 4:21 PM EDT

How can you help improve community health across the country? By sharing your opinion with us. Are you interested in healthy nutrition in the work environment? Or does physical activity for children get your vote? We want to hear from you!

Earlier this year, the Department of Health and Human Services announced the Healthy Living Innovation Awards, an exciting chance to foster the spread of effective, community-based efforts that employ innovative approaches to promote healthy weight, physical activity, and nutrition. We asked for communities to submit creative, replicable, and sustainable innovations that demonstrate outstanding leadership and promising results---and today I’m pleased to say that by March we had received 245 applications.

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The President in NYC: "When We Say We Will Never Forget, We Mean What We Say"

Posted by Jesse Lee on May 5, 2011 at 4:12 PM EDT

previous photoPresident Barack Obama Travels To New YorkShow Gallery Info.

President Barack Obama traveled to New York, May 5, 2011, to meet with 9/11 family members, first responders, and participate in a wreath laying ceremony at the National September 11th Memorial.

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next photo .In New York City this afternoon, there was a profound mix of old grief and perhaps some new closure just a few days after the death of somebody responsible for such immense suffering in that city. The President didn’t speak as he laid a wreath at the National September 11th Memorial. And he kept it private when he met with 9/11 family members afterwards. But speaking separately to police officers from the city and firefighters at the "Pride of Midtown" Firehouse, Engine 54, Ladder 4, Battalion 9 -- which lost 15 firefighters at the World Trade Center on 9/11 -- the President had messages for all of America.

To the firefighters:

This is a symbolic site of the extraordinary sacrifice that was made on that terrible day almost 10 years ago. Obviously we can't bring back your friends that were lost, and I know that each and every one of you not only grieve for them, but have also over the last 10 years dealt with their family, their children, trying to give them comfort, trying to give them support.

What happened on Sunday, because of the courage of our military and the outstanding work of our intelligence, sent a message around the world, but also sent a message here back home that when we say we will never forget, we mean what we say; that our commitment to making sure that justice is done is something that transcended politics, transcended party; it didn’t matter which administration was in, it didn’t matter who was in charge, we were going to make sure that the perpetrators of that horrible act -- that they received justice.

So it’s some comfort, I hope, to all of you to know that when those guys took those extraordinary risks going into Pakistan, that they were doing it in part because of the sacrifices that were made in the States. They were doing it in the name of your brothers that were lost.

To the police:

And so since that time I know a lot of you have probably comforted loved ones of those who were lost. A lot of you have probably looked after kids who grew up without a parent. And a lot of you continue to do extraordinary -- extraordinarily courageous acts without a lot of fanfare. What we did on Sunday was directly connected to what you do every single day. And I know I speak for the military teams, the intelligence teams that helped get bin Laden in saying that we know the sacrifices and courage that you show as well, and that you are part of the team that helped us achieve our goal, but also help us keep our citizens safe each and every day.

So I couldn't be prouder of all of you. I couldn't be more grateful to you. And I hope that you know that the country will continue to stand behind you going forward, because there are still going to be threats out there and you're still going to be called on to take courageous actions and to remain vigilant, and you're going to have an entire country behind you when you do it.

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Brian Sims please stop hijacking the comment section. You are a poor business man and now must face the shame you brought upon yourself and your family.

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The President's schedule today is packed with bilateral meetings: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel, President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority, King Abdullah II of Jordan, and President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt. The talks will stretch into the night with a working dinner with all five leaders in the Old Family Dining Room of the White House. Learn more from last night's press briefing with Special Envoy for Middle East Peace Senator George Mitchell.

Emerging from the first in that series of meetings, President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu made clear that the "senseless slaughter" that took place last night would not deter the pursuit of peace:

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Hello, everybody. Prime Minister Netanyahu and I just had a very productive discussion about our shared efforts to advance the cause of peace between Israelis and Palestinians and throughout the Middle East. I'm going to have more to say about today’s meetings not only with Prime Minister Netanyahu but with the other participants of the talks here in the Rose Garden later this afternoon. But I did want to specifically take some time out to speak to the people of Israel and to the region about the senseless slaughter that took place near Hebron yesterday.

There are going to be extremists and rejectionists who, rather than seeking peace, are going to be seeking destruction. And the tragedy...

And so the message should go out to Hamas and everybody else who is taking credit for these heinous crimes that this is not going to stop us from not only ensuring a secure Israel but also securing a longer-lasting peace in which people throughout the region can take a different course.

I also want to express the deepest condolences of the American people to the families of those who were gunned down. And I want to thank Prime Minister Netanyahu, during a very difficult time for his country, still being so committed to the cause of peace that he is here with us today.

Prime Minister.

PRIME MINISTER NETANYAHU: Well, thank you, Mr. President, for expressing what I think is the sentiment of decent people everywhere, in the face of this savagery and brutality.

Four innocent people were gunned down and seven new orphans were added, by people who have no respect for human life and trample human rights into the dust and butcher everything that they oppose.

I think that the President’s statement is an expression of our desire to fight against this terror. And the talks that we had, which were, indeed, open, productive, serious in the quest for peace, also centered around the need to have security arrangements that are able to roll back this kind of terror and other threats to Israel’s security. That is a fundamental element, an important foundation, of the peace that we seek and work for.

And I appreciate, Mr. President, your efforts to advance this peace for us and for our neighbors, for our region, and I think we can say, for the world.

Thank you.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Thank you.

And let me just say that I will be meeting with President Abbas this afternoon. He condemned this outrageous attack, as well. I have the utmost confidence in him and his belief in a two-state solution in which the people of Israel and the Palestinians are living side by side in peace and security. And so I am also grateful to him for his presence here today.

We’ve got a lot of work to do. There are going to be those who are going to do everything they can to undermine these talks, but we are going to remain stalwart.

And so, to Prime Minister Netanyahu and to Prime Minister -- and to President Abbas, as well as to President Mubarak and King Abdullah of Jordan, I am very grateful for their participation. I will have a longer discussion about that this afternoon after my bilateral meetings.

Thank you.

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President Obama's Address on the End of the Combat Mission in Iraq

Posted by Jesse Lee on August 31, 2010 at 9:30 PM EDT

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Having returned hours earlier from a conversation with troops at Fort Bliss, Texas – troops who had seen every phase of what has become one of America’s longest wars – the President spoke to the Nation for just the second time from the Oval Office to announce the end of America’s combat role in that war. Americans in high school today may barely remember a time when America was not in combat in Iraq, and young adults – including so many of our troops who have sacrificed so much – have almost by definition gone their entire adult lives in a country divided over the war. Today, as the President put it, was a day to begin to “turn the page” – a day when America could turn its focus towards building itself back up from a devastating recession.

Over all that time, though, as the President pointed out, “there has been one constant amidst those shifting tides”:

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President Obama Salutes the Troops at Fort Bliss: "Thank You" and "Welcome Home"

Posted by Jesse Lee on August 31, 2010 at 3:19 PM EDT

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Over the past week, we’ve been inviting you to join us in saluting the troops for their service. The response has been overwhelming, and has made clear that while the end of the combat mission is an appropriate time to recognize the sacrifice the troops and their military make, the gratitude is always there, and never forgotten with the American people.

It was in that same spirit that the President flew to Fort Bliss in Texas today, home to troops who have served at every stage of the Iraq War, including troops who are redeploying back home throughout the fall, and troops supporting our new support mission in Iraq.

President Barack Obama Greets Members of the Military at Fort Bliss in El Paso, Texas

President Barack Obama greets members of the military at Fort Bliss in El Paso, Texas August 31, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

The President will address the nation from the Oval Office tonight at 8:00PM EDT, you can watch live here and submit questions for a live chat afterwards now. He told those listening that they would be the focus:

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Ben Rhodes Answers Your Questions About Iraq Following the President's Oval Address

Posted by Sarah Bernard on August 31, 2010 at 12:51 PM EDT

Tonight at 8pm EDT, President Obama will address the nation from the Oval Office regarding the end of the U.S. combat mission in Iraq. Immediately following the President's remarks, Ben Rhodes, Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications will answer questions directly from Americans across the country.

Now is your chance to hear the White House's response to your questions about the change of mission. Submit your questions now and vote your favorite ones to the top. Then tune in tonight at 8pm EDT to watch and participate at whitehouse.gov/live.

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New Resources for Employers and Unions to Help Keep Health Coverage Accessible and Affordable

Posted by Secretary Gary Locke on August 31, 2010 at 10:58 AM EDT

If you are an employer, you know how difficult it can be to find – and provide– health insurance for your retired employees who are age 55 or older and not yet eligible for Medicare.

Some Americans who retire before they are eligible for Medicare see their life savings disappear because of medical bills and exorbitant rates in the individual health insurance market. And the cost of insurance can be out of reach for individuals looking to buy health coverage on their own.

Many employers would like to help their employees make this transition comfortably and provide access to health insurance past retirement. But in these tough economic times, it is difficult for employers to keep up with skyrocketing health care costs for employees and retirees.

The Affordable Care Act’s Early Retiree Reinsurance Program will make it a little easier for employers to provide high-quality health benefits to their retirees.

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Hurricane Katrina: The Work Continues

Posted by Chris Lu on August 31, 2010 at 10:16 AM EDT

Over the past week, we’ve been remembering the tragedy of Hurricane Katrina, highlighting the progress made, and restating the Administration’s commitment to the region. This past weekend, several members of the Cabinet, the First Lady and President Obama traveled to the Gulf Coast, where the President spoke about the stories of communities and families working to restore what was lost.

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Throughout our Hurricane Katrina: 5 Years of Remembering & Rebuilding series, we heard stories of dedication and restoration from across the federal government. Here are just a few examples of the Administration’s continued support for the individuals, families and communities who were affected:

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Agent Orange and Veterans: A 40-Year Wait

Posted by Secretary Eric K. Shinseki on August 30, 2010 at 4:59 PM EDT

With the unwavering support of President Obama, VA is transforming to meet its 21st Century responsibilities. Advocacy, on behalf of every generation of Veterans, is central to this transformation.

Agent Orange was a blend of herbicides used by the U.S. military, during the Vietnam conflict, to deny concealment to enemy forces. More than 19 million gallons of herbicides were sprayed to remove foliage and undergrowth. The most common, Agent Orange, was sprayed in all four military zones of South Vietnam.

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Economic Recovery for Small Businesses: Now is Not the Time to Pull Back

Posted by Karen Mills on August 30, 2010 at 2:44 PM EDT

As I travel around the country, I meet many small business owners who are poised to take that next step to grow their business and create jobs. In fact, this morning’s USA Today looks at one of those business owners - Amarjit Kaur who runs a convenience store and gas station in Wood Village, OR. Amarjit has been approved for an SBA loan so she can buy the property she now leases. But today her application sits in a *** waiting for passage of the Small Business Jobs Act currently before the Senate.

Here’s what’s happening: Up until a few months ago, SBA was able to waive the fees for SBA loan borrowers. This allowed small business owners to put more money back into their business. In fact, these fee reductions will save Amarjit about $35,000. At the same time, we were able to increase the government guarantee on SBA loans, to encourage more banks and credit unions to go ahead and make SBA loans to good, creditworthy small businesses.

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Landmark: Number of Donut Hole Rebate Checks Passes One Million

Posted by Don Berwick on August 30, 2010 at 2:14 PM EDT

Cross-posted from HealthCare.gov

On August 10th, you may have seen Jenny Backus’ post on HealthCare Notes noting that the third round of donut hole rebate checks went into the mail.

Recently, we hit a major milestone: the millionth check was sent out over the weekend.

If you haven’t heard about the rebate checks before, they are the first step in closing the prescription drug coverage gap under the Affordable Care Act. This gap is commonly referred to as the ‘donut hole.’ We know that many people with Medicare have tight budgets and some may skip or alter the medicines their doctors recommend they take in order to save money in the donut hole. That is dangerous and unacceptable. And that’s why the Affordable Care Act takes steps to close this coverage gap.

This year, as qualifying people with Medicare enter the ‘donut hole,’ Medicare will send them a tax-free, one-time rebate check for $250. Next year, if you reach the ‘donut hole,’ you will receive a 50 percent discount when buying covered brand-name prescription drugs.

If you are eligible for this assistance, remember, you don’t need to do anything special to receive the check. People who qualify for the one-time check do not need to sign up, since their checks are mailed automatically when they enter the donut hole. So just make sure to check the mailbox.

Just a reminder: you should never give out personal information to anyone who is not a trusted source. If anyone asks for your personal information you are encouraged to contact 1-800-MEDICARE and report the inquiry. You can also visit www.stopmedicarefraud.gov for more information.

We hope that the latest round of checks will ease the burden on individuals recently entering the donut hole. This is just one of several ways that the Affordable Care Act strengthens Medicare so make sure you check out Medicare.gov and other areas of HealthCare.gov for more information.

Don Berwick is Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services

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The President on the Economy: "Pushing This Economy Forward" vs. "The Blockade"

Posted by Jesse Lee on August 30, 2010 at 1:34 PM EDT

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Speaking in the Rose Garden in the heat, the President began his remarks this morning on the economy by once again noting that for all the progress that's been made since "that terrible September when our economy teetered on the brink of collapse," there is much left to do -- and that millions of Americans are still struggling:

That’s why my administration remains focused, every single day, on pushing this economy forward, repairing the damage that’s been done to the middle class over the past decade, and promoting the growth we need to get our people back to work.

So, as Congress prepares to return to session, my economic team is hard at work in identifying additional measures that could make a difference in both promoting growth and hiring in the short term, and increasing our economy’s competitiveness in the long term. Steps like extending the tax cuts for the middle class that are set to expire this year. Redoubling our investment in clean energy and R&D. Rebuilding more of our infrastructure for the future. Further tax cuts to encourage businesses to put their capital to work creating jobs here in the United States. And I’ll be addressing these proposals in further detail in the days and weeks to come.

Having laid out this broader agenda, though, and making clear that no one bill would be the silver bullet, the President zeroed in on the obstruction that is standing in the way of even the most immediate and obvious of steps:

And there’s currently a jobs bill before Congress that would do two big things for small business owners: cut more taxes and make available more loans. It would help them get the credit they need, and eliminate capital gains taxes on key investments so they have more incentive to invest right now. And it would accelerate $55 billion of tax relief to encourage American businesses, small and large, to expand their investments over the next 14 months.

Unfortunately, this bill has been languishing in the Senate for months, held up by a partisan minority that won’t even allow it to go to a vote. That makes no sense. This bill is fully paid for. It won’t add to the deficit. And there is no reason to block it besides pure partisan politics.

Small business owners and the communities that rely on them, they don’t have time for political games. They shouldn’t have to wait any longer. In fact, just this morning, a story showed that small businesses have put hiring and expanding on hold while waiting for the Senate to act on this bill. Simply put: holding this bill hostage is directly detrimental to our economic growth.

So I ask Senate Republicans to drop the blockade. I know we’re entering election season. But the people who sent us here expect us to work together to get things done and improve this economy.

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Newsflash! Economists Agree

Posted by Jared Bernstein on August 30, 2010 at 12:38 PM EDT

The old adage goes that Presidents often wish for one-handed economists, to avoid all that “on the one hand, sir, we could be looking at X; though on the other hand, it could be Y.”

So when economic consensus forms around the outcome of a policy like the Recovery Act, it’s worth taking note. That’s why this article from USA Today, entitled (online) “Economists Agree: Stimulus Created 3 Million Jobs” is worth noting.

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Vice President Biden Lands in Iraq

Posted by Jesse Lee on August 30, 2010 at 11:34 AM EDT

An update out from the White House moments ago:

Vice President Joe Biden in Iraq

Vice President Joe Biden has arrived in Iraq to participate in a Change of Command and Change of Mission Ceremony, fulfilling the commitment made by the President in his first month in office.

This is the Vice President’s sixth trip to Iraq since January 2009. The United States ends its combat mission in Iraq on August 31st, having drawn down to fewer than 50,000 troops from approximately 144,000 troops in January 2009. The remaining troops will advise and assist Iraq’s security forces, conduct partnered counter-terrorism operations, and protect U.S. civilians. In accordance with an agreement between the U.S. and Iraqi governments, all U.S. forces will leave Iraq by December 31, 2011.

President Obama will deliver a National Address on Iraq on August 31st. The Vice President’s visit at this juncture will reinforce the long-term U.S. commitment to Iraq. The Vice President will meet with Iraqi President Jalal Talabani, Vice President Tariq al-Hashimi, Vice President Adil Abd al-Mahdi, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, leader of the Iraqiyya coalition Ayad Allawi, Chairman of the Islamic Supreme Council Ammar al-Hakim and other political leaders to discuss the latest developments in Iraq and to urge Iraqi leaders to conclude negotiations on the formation of a new government.

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Five Years Later, Our Commitment Continues

Posted by Secretary Ray LaHood on August 30, 2010 at 11:08 AM EDT

It's difficult to look back on the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina with anything but sadness. Sadness for the lives lost, sadness for the displacement of so many people.

As we mark the fifth anniversary of Katrina, there is still work to be done. And the Department of Transportation's (DOT) commitment to help rebuild Gulf communities remains strong.

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Five Years After Katrina: "New Orleans is Blossoming Again"

Posted by Jesse Lee on August 29, 2010 at 5:05 PM EDT

Ed. Note: Read posts from Members of the Cabinet on Katrina recovery in our "Five Years of Remembering & Rebuilding" series.

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The President And First Lady Mark The Fifth Anniversary Of Hurricane Katrina

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On August 29, 2010, President Barack Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, and members of the Cabinet traveled to New Orleans to commemorate the fifth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.

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Making Preparations Prior to the Impacts of Hurricane Earl

Posted by Nikki Sutton on September 2, 2010 at 2:15 PM EDT

President Obama spoke with Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Administrator Craig Fugate this afternoon and yesterday morning to ensure we are doing everything in our power to keep people safe in advance of Hurricane Earl along the eastern seaboard. The President will continue to monitor the situation as FEMA tracks the storm's movement in conjunction with the National Hurricane Center.

President Barack Obama talks on the phone with FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate

President Barack Obama talks on the phone with Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Craig Fugate about preparations for Hurricane Earl during a call in the Oval Office. Listening at right is Richard A. Reed, Special Assistant to the President for Homeland Security. September 1, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

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There’s Courage in Our Country’s Classrooms

Posted by Secretary Arne Duncan on September 2, 2010 at 1:47 PM EDT

As students head back to school this fall, I travelled over the last two weeks on an eight-state bus tour to highlight “Courage in the Classroom.” The mission of the tour was simple: to honor our nation’s unsung heroes—our teachers.

Includes Video

read the rest

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Two New Studies: Health Reform Benefits Small Business

Posted by Stephanie Cutter on September 2, 2010 at 10:01 AM EDT

Under the old health care system, many businesses found it difficult, if not impossible to provide health insurance benefits to their workers. Over the past decade the percentage of small firms offering coverage decreased and many businesses have suffered under the weight of high health care costs.

The Affordable Care Act helps make it easier for employers to provide health benefits. This year, small businesses are eligible for health care tax credits and starting in 2014, small businesses with up to 100 employees will have access to state-based Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) Exchanges, which will expand their purchasing power. Additionally, the Business Roundtable estimated that provisions in the legislation could save $3,000 per person in health costs.

read the rest

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The Worst Natural Disaster in Pakistan's History: Support Victims of the Floods

Posted by Nikki Sutton on September 1, 2010 at 7:15 PM EDT

Americans have a rich history of showing great generosity when other communities around the world face crises. Today, the people of Pakistan are confronting one of the worst crises in their history. Over 20 million people throughout Pakistan have been affected since flooding began just over a month ago and there is an urgent need for shelter, clean water, food, and medical supplies.

That is why the State Department has established the Pakistan Relief Fund for American's to join the relief, recovery and reconstruction effort by donating online or by texting "FLOOD" to 27722 for a contribution of $10 that will be added to their cell phone bill.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton encourages American's to help continue our tradition of generosity in a public service announcement released by the Ad Council.

Contributions to the Pakistan Relief Fund will go towards funding programs run by the Department of State and other federal agencies for relief, recovery and reconstruction efforts in Pakistan, or to provide funds to international organizations, non-profit organizations and other appropriate recipients for relief, recovery and reconstruction efforts in Pakistan. For more information about the Pakistan Relief Fund, visit www.state.gov/pakistanrelief.

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Continued Recovery for America’s Agricultural Economy

Posted by Secretary Tom Vilsack on September 1, 2010 at 7:01 PM EDT

Yesterday I was pleased to receive the encouraging news from two USDA reports that illustrate the strength of the recovery in our agricultural economy. The 2010 Farm Income Forecast and Outlook for U.S. Agricultural Trade show a positive picture for 2010, and predict sustained growth for the future.

This recovery is a testament to the 2008 Farm Bill, to a wide range of efforts of the Obama Administration – such as the Recovery Act – to move the economy forward and to support the agriculture economy, and the hard work and resilience of America’s farmers and ranchers.

read the rest

Learn more about Rural

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A Moment of Opportunity that Must be Seized

Posted by Prem Kumar on September 1, 2010 at 6:21 PM EDT

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Working Towards Middle East Peace

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President Barack Obama holds a bilateral meeting with President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt in the Oval Office, Sept. 1, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

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Today the White House is focused on the re-launch of direct negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians for the first time in nearly two years. As the President has said, we are under no illusions about how difficult and complex a task reaching a peace agreement will be, but we also know that resolving this conflict is in the national security interests of the United States. Re-launching direct talks is an important step along this path.

Includes Photo Gallery

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Forging Ahead on Middle East Peace Talks

Posted by Jesse Lee on September 1, 2010 at 1:30 PM EDT

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The President's schedule today is packed with bilateral meetings: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel, President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority, King Abdullah II of Jordan, and President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt. The talks will stretch into the night with a working dinner with all five leaders in the Old Family Dining Room of the White House. Learn more from last night's press briefing with Special Envoy for Middle East Peace Senator George Mitchell.

Emerging from the first in that series of meetings, President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu made clear that the "senseless slaughter" that took place last night would not deter the pursuit of peace:

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Hello, everybody. Prime Minister Netanyahu and I just had a very productive discussion about our shared efforts to advance the cause of peace between Israelis and Palestinians and throughout the Middle East. I'm going to have more to say about today’s meetings not only with Prime Minister Netanyahu but with the other participants of the talks here in the Rose Garden later this afternoon. But I did want to specifically take some time out to speak to the people of Israel and to the region about the senseless slaughter that took place near Hebron yesterday.

There are going to be extremists and rejectionists who, rather than seeking peace, are going to be seeking destruction. And the tragedy that we saw yesterday where people were gunned down on the street by terrorists who are purposely trying to undermine these talks is an example of what we're up against. But I want everybody to be very clear: The United States is going to be unwavering in its support of Israel’s security and we are going to push back against these kinds of terrorist activities.

And so the message should go out to Hamas and everybody else who is taking credit for these heinous crimes that this is not going to stop us from not only ensuring a secure Israel but also securing a longer-lasting peace in which people throughout the region can take a different course.

I also want to express the deepest condolences of the American people to the families of those who were gunned down. And I want to thank Prime Minister Netanyahu, during a very difficult time for his country, still being so committed to the cause of peace that he is here with us today.

Report

Report

9. Written by the nightmare called United, on 20-09-2010 01:52

Working for Brian Sims is a nightmare.

United Reprographics is a sweatshop

Report

10. Written by The White House, on 02-09-2010 22:02

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Making Preparations Prior to the Impacts of Hurricane Earl

Posted by Nikki Sutton on September 2, 2010 at 2:15 PM EDT

President Obama spoke with Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Administrator Craig Fugate this afternoon and yesterday morning to ensure we are doing everything in our power to keep people safe in advance of Hurricane Earl along the eastern seaboard. The President will continue to monitor the situation as FEMA tracks the storm's movement in conjunction with the National Hurricane Center.

President Barack Obama talks on the phone with FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate

President Barack Obama talks on the phone with Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Craig Fugate about preparations for Hurricane Earl during a call in the Oval Office. Listening at right is Richard A. Reed, Special Assistant to the President for Homeland Security. September 1, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

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There’s Courage in Our Country’s Classrooms

Posted by Secretary Arne Duncan on September 2, 2010 at 1:47 PM EDT

As students head back to school this fall, I travelled over the last two weeks on an eight-state bus tour to highlight “Courage in the Classroom.” The mission of the tour was simple: to honor our nation’s unsung heroes—our teachers.

Includes Video

read the rest

Learn more about Education

*

Two New Studies: Health Reform Benefits Small Business

Posted by Stephanie Cutter on September 2, 2010 at 10:01 AM EDT

Under the old health care system, many businesses found it difficult, if not impossible to provide health insurance benefits to their workers. Over the past decade the percentage of small firms offering coverage decreased and many businesses have suffered under the weight of high health care costs.

The Affordable Care Act helps make it easier for employers to provide health benefits. This year, small businesses are eligible for health care tax credits and starting in 2014, small businesses with up to 100 employees will have access to state-based Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) Exchanges, which will expand their purchasing power. Additionally, the Business Roundtable estimated that provisions in the legislation could save $3,000 per person in health costs.

read the rest

Learn more about Health Care

*

The Worst Natural Disaster in Pakistan's History: Support Victims of the Floods

Posted by Nikki Sutton on September 1, 2010 at 7:15 PM EDT

Americans have a rich history of showing great generosity when other communities around the world face crises. Today, the people of Pakistan are confronting one of the worst crises in their history. Over 20 million people throughout Pakistan have been affected since flooding began just over a month ago and there is an urgent need for shelter, clean water, food, and medical supplies.

That is why the State Department has established the Pakistan Relief Fund for American's to join the relief, recovery and reconstruction effort by donating online or by texting "FLOOD" to 27722 for a contribution of $10 that will be added to their cell phone bill.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton encourages American's to help continue our tradition of generosity in a public service announcement released by the Ad Council.

Contributions to the Pakistan Relief Fund will go towards funding programs run by the Department of State and other federal agencies for relief, recovery and reconstruction efforts in Pakistan, or to provide funds to international organizations, non-profit organizations and other appropriate recipients for relief, recovery and reconstruction efforts in Pakistan. For more information about the Pakistan Relief Fund, visit www.state.gov/pakistanrelief.

Learn more about Foreign Policy

*

Continued Recovery for America’s Agricultural Economy

Posted by Secretary Tom Vilsack on September 1, 2010 at 7:01 PM EDT

Yesterday I was pleased to receive the encouraging news from two USDA reports that illustrate the strength of the recovery in our agricultural economy. The 2010 Farm Income Forecast and Outlook for U.S. Agricultural Trade show a positive picture for 2010, and predict sustained growth for the future.

This recovery is a testament to the 2008 Farm Bill, to a wide range of efforts of the Obama Administration – such as the Recovery Act – to move the economy forward and to support the agriculture economy, and the hard work and resilience of America’s farmers and ranchers.

read the rest

Learn more about Rural

*

A Moment of Opportunity that Must be Seized

Posted by Prem Kumar on September 1, 2010 at 6:21 PM EDT

previous photo

Working Towards Middle East Peace

Show Gallery Info

President Barack Obama holds a bilateral meeting with President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt in the Oval Office, Sept. 1, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

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previous page page # 1 page # 2 page # 3 page # 4 page # 5 page # 6 next page

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Today the White House is focused on the re-launch of direct negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians for the first time in nearly two years. As the President has said, we are under no illusions about how difficult and complex a task reaching a peace agreement will be, but we also know that resolving this conflict is in the national security interests of the United States. Re-launching direct talks is an important step along this path.

Includes Photo Gallery

read the rest

Learn more about , Foreign Policy

*

Forging Ahead on Middle East Peace Talks

Posted by Jesse Lee on September 1, 2010 at 1:30 PM EDT

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The President's schedule today is packed with bilateral meetings: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel, President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority, King Abdullah II of Jordan, and President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt. The talks will stretch into the night with a working dinner with all five leaders in the Old Family Dining Room of the White House. Learn more from last night's press briefing with Special Envoy for Middle East Peace Senator George Mitchell.

Emerging from the first in that series of meetings, President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu made clear that the "senseless slaughter" that took place last night would not deter the pursuit of peace:

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Hello, everybody. Prime Minister Netanyahu and I just had a very productive discussion about our shared efforts to advance the cause of peace between Israelis and Palestinians and throughout the Middle East. I'm going to have more to say about today’s meetings not only with Prime Minister Netanyahu but with the other participants of the talks here in the Rose Garden later this afternoon. But I did want to specifically take some time out to speak to the people of Israel and to the region about the senseless slaughter that took place near Hebron yesterday.

There are going to be extremists and rejectionists who, rather than seeking peace, are going to be seeking destruction. And the tragedy that we saw yesterday where people were gunned down on the street by terrorists who are purposely trying to undermine these talks is an example of what we're up against. But I want everybody to be very clear: The United States is going to be unwavering in its support of Israel’s security and we are going to push back against these kinds of terrorist activities.

And so the message should go out to Hamas and everybody else who is taking credit for these heinous crimes that this is not going to stop us from not only ensuring a secure Israel but also securing a longer-lasting peace in which people throughout the region can take a different course.

I also want to express the deepest condolences of the American people to the families of those who were gunned down. And I want to thank Prime Minister Netanyahu, during a very difficult time for his country, still being so committed to the cause of peace that he is here with us today.

Prime Minister.

PRIME MINISTER NETANYAHU: Well, thank you, Mr. President, for expressing what I think is the sentiment of decent people everywhere, in the face of this savagery and brutality.

Four innocent people were gunned down and seven new orphans were added, by people who have no respect for human life and trample human rights into the dust and butcher everything that they oppose.

I think that the President’s statement is an expression of our desire to fight against this terror. And the talks that we had, which were, indeed, open, productive, serious in the quest for peace, also centered around the need to have security arrangements that are able to roll back this kind of terror and other threats to Israel’s security. That is a fundamental element, an important foundation, of the peace that we seek and work for.

And I appreciate, Mr. President, your efforts to advance this peace for us and for our neighbors, for our region, and I think we can say, for the world.

Thank you.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Thank you.

And let me just say that I will be meeting with President Abbas this afternoon. He condemned this outrageous attack, as well. I have the utmost confidence in him and his belief in a two-state solution in which the people of Israel and the Palestinians are living side by side in peace and security. And so I am also grateful to him for his presence here today.

We’ve got a lot of work to do. There are going to be those who are going to do everything they can to undermine these talks, but we are going to remain stalwart.

And so, to Prime Minister Netanyahu and to Prime Minister -- and to President Abbas, as well as to President Mubarak and King Abdullah of Jordan, I am very grateful for their participation. I will have a longer discussion about that this afternoon after my bilateral meetings.

Thank you.

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President Obama's Address on the End of the Combat Mission in Iraq

Posted by Jesse Lee on August 31, 2010 at 9:30 PM EDT

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Having returned hours earlier from a conversation with troops at Fort Bliss, Texas – troops who had seen every phase of what has become one of America’s longest wars – the President spoke to the Nation for just the second time from the Oval Office to announce the end of America’s combat role in that war. Americans in high school today may barely remember a time when America was not in combat in Iraq, and young adults – including so many of our troops who have sacrificed so much – have almost by definition gone their entire adult lives in a country divided over the war. Today, as the President put it, was a day to begin to “turn the page” – a day when America could turn its focus towards building itself back up from a devastating recession.

Over all that time, though, as the President pointed out, “there has been one constant amidst those shifting tides”:

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President Obama Salutes the Troops at Fort Bliss: "Thank You" and "Welcome Home"

Posted by Jesse Lee on August 31, 2010 at 3:19 PM EDT

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Over the past week, we’ve been inviting you to join us in saluting the troops for their service. The response has been overwhelming, and has made clear that while the end of the combat mission is an appropriate time to recognize the sacrifice the troops and their military make, the gratitude is always there, and never forgotten with the American people.

It was in that same spirit that the President flew to Fort Bliss in Texas today, home to troops who have served at every stage of the Iraq War, including troops who are redeploying back home throughout the fall, and troops supporting our new support mission in Iraq.

President Barack Obama Greets Members of the Military at Fort Bliss in El Paso, Texas

President Barack Obama greets members of the military at Fort Bliss in El Paso, Texas August 31, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

The President will address the nation from the Oval Office tonight at 8:00PM EDT, you can watch live here and submit questions for a live chat afterwards now. He told those listening that they would be the focus:

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Ben Rhodes Answers Your Questions About Iraq Following the President's Oval Address

Posted by Sarah Bernard on August 31, 2010 at 12:51 PM EDT

Tonight at 8pm EDT, President Obama will address the nation from the Oval Office regarding the end of the U.S. combat mission in Iraq. Immediately following the President's remarks, Ben Rhodes, Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications will answer questions directly from Americans across the country.

Now is your chance to hear the White House's response to your questions about the change of mission. Submit your questions now and vote your favorite ones to the top. Then tune in tonight at 8pm EDT to watch and participate at whitehouse.gov/live.

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New Resources for Employers and Unions to Help Keep Health Coverage Accessible and Affordable

Posted by Secretary Gary Locke on August 31, 2010 at 10:58 AM EDT

If you are an employer, you know how difficult it can be to find – and provide– health insurance for your retired employees who are age 55 or older and not yet eligible for Medicare.

Some Americans who retire before they are eligible for Medicare see their life savings disappear because of medical bills and exorbitant rates in the individual health insurance market. And the cost of insurance can be out of reach for individuals looking to buy health coverage on their own.

Many employers would like to help their employees make this transition comfortably and provide access to health insurance past retirement. But in these tough economic times, it is difficult for employers to keep up with skyrocketing health care costs for employees and retirees.

The Affordable Care Act’s Early Retiree Reinsurance Program will make it a little easier for employers to provide high-quality health benefits to their retirees.

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Hurricane Katrina: The Work Continues

Posted by Chris Lu on August 31, 2010 at 10:16 AM EDT

Over the past week, we’ve been remembering the tragedy of Hurricane Katrina, highlighting the progress made, and restating the Administration’s commitment to the region. This past weekend, several members of the Cabinet, the First Lady and President Obama traveled to the Gulf Coast, where the President spoke about the stories of communities and families working to restore what was lost.

Watch the video:

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Throughout our Hurricane Katrina: 5 Years of Remembering & Rebuilding series, we heard stories of dedication and restoration from across the federal government. Here are just a few examples of the Administration’s continued support for the individuals, families and communities who were affected:

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Agent Orange and Veterans: A 40-Year Wait

Posted by Secretary Eric K. Shinseki on August 30, 2010 at 4:59 PM EDT

With the unwavering support of President Obama, VA is transforming to meet its 21st Century responsibilities. Advocacy, on behalf of every generation of Veterans, is central to this transformation.

Agent Orange was a blend of herbicides used by the U.S. military, during the Vietnam conflict, to deny concealment to enemy forces. More than 19 million gallons of herbicides were sprayed to remove foliage and undergrowth. The most common, Agent Orange, was sprayed in all four military zones of South Vietnam.

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Economic Recovery for Small Businesses: Now is Not the Time to Pull Back

Posted by Karen Mills on August 30, 2010 at 2:44 PM EDT

As I travel around the country, I meet many small business owners who are poised to take that next step to grow their business and create jobs. In fact, this morning’s USA Today looks at one of those business owners - Amarjit Kaur who runs a convenience store and gas station in Wood Village, OR. Amarjit has been approved for an SBA loan so she can buy the property she now leases. But today her application sits in a *** waiting for passage of the Small Business Jobs Act currently before the Senate.

Here’s what’s happening: Up until a few months ago, SBA was able to waive the fees for SBA loan borrowers. This allowed small business owners to put more money back into their business. In fact, these fee reductions will save Amarjit about $35,000. At the same time, we were able to increase the government guarantee on SBA loans, to encourage more banks and credit unions to go ahead and make SBA loans to good, creditworthy small businesses.

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Landmark: Number of Donut Hole Rebate Checks Passes One Million

Posted by Don Berwick on August 30, 2010 at 2:14 PM EDT

Cross-posted from HealthCare.gov

On August 10th, you may have seen Jenny Backus’ post on HealthCare Notes noting that the third round of donut hole rebate checks went into the mail.

Recently, we hit a major milestone: the millionth check was sent out over the weekend.

If you haven’t heard about the rebate checks before, they are the first step in closing the prescription drug coverage gap under the Affordable Care Act. This gap is commonly referred to as the ‘donut hole.’ We know that many people with Medicare have tight budgets and some may skip or alter the medicines their doctors recommend they take in order to save money in the donut hole. That is dangerous and unacceptable. And that’s why the Affordable Care Act takes steps to close this coverage gap.

This year, as qualifying people with Medicare enter the ‘donut hole,’ Medicare will send them a tax-free, one-time rebate check for $250. Next year, if you reach the ‘donut hole,’ you will receive a 50 percent discount when buying covered brand-name prescription drugs.

If you are eligible for this assistance, remember, you don’t need to do anything special to receive the check. People who qualify for the one-time check do not need to sign up, since their checks are mailed automatically when they enter the donut hole. So just make sure to check the mailbox.

Just a reminder: you should never give out personal information to anyone who is not a trusted source. If anyone asks for your personal information you are encouraged to contact 1-800-MEDICARE and report the inquiry. You can also visit www.stopmedicarefraud.gov for more information.

We hope that the latest round of checks will ease the burden on individuals recently entering the donut hole. This is just one of several ways that the Affordable Care Act strengthens Medicare so make sure you check out Medicare.gov and other areas of HealthCare.gov for more information.

Don Berwick is Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services

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The President on the Economy: "Pushing This Economy Forward" vs. "The Blockade"

Posted by Jesse Lee on August 30, 2010 at 1:34 PM EDT

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Speaking in the Rose Garden in the heat, the President began his remarks this morning on the economy by once again noting that for all the progress that's been made since "that terrible September when our economy teetered on the brink of collapse," there is much left to do -- and that millions of Americans are still struggling:

That’s why my administration remains focused, every single day, on pushing this economy forward, repairing the damage that’s been done to the middle class over the past decade, and promoting the growth we need to get our people back to work.

So, as Congress prepares to return to session, my economic team is hard at work in identifying additional measures that could make a difference in both promoting growth and hiring in the short term, and increasing our economy’s competitiveness in the long term. Steps like extending the tax cuts for the middle class that are set to expire this year. Redoubling our investment in clean energy and R&D. Rebuilding more of our infrastructure for the future. Further tax cuts to encourage businesses to put their capital to work creating jobs here in the United States. And I’ll be addressing these proposals in further detail in the days and weeks to come.

Having laid out this broader agenda, though, and making clear that no one bill would be the silver bullet, the President zeroed in on the obstruction that is standing in the way of even the most immediate and obvious of steps:

And there’s currently a jobs bill before Congress that would do two big things for small business owners: cut more taxes and make available more loans. It would help them get the credit they need, and eliminate capital gains taxes on key investments so they have more incentive to invest right now. And it would accelerate $55 billion of tax relief to encourage American businesses, small and large, to expand their investments over the next 14 months.

Unfortunately, this bill has been languishing in the Senate for months, held up by a partisan minority that won’t even allow it to go to a vote. That makes no sense. This bill is fully paid for. It won’t add to the deficit. And there is no reason to block it besides pure partisan politics.

Small business owners and the communities that rely on them, they don’t have time for political games. They shouldn’t have to wait any longer. In fact, just this morning, a story showed that small businesses have put hiring and expanding on hold while waiting for the Senate to act on this bill. Simply put: holding this bill hostage is directly detrimental to our economic growth.

So I ask Senate Republicans to drop the blockade. I know we’re entering election season. But the people who sent us here expect us to work together to get things done and improve this economy.

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Newsflash! Economists Agree

Posted by Jared Bernstein on August 30, 2010 at 12:38 PM EDT

The old adage goes that Presidents often wish for one-handed economists, to avoid all that “on the one hand, sir, we could be looking at X; though on the other hand, it could be Y.”

So when economic consensus forms around the outcome of a policy like the Recovery Act, it’s worth taking note. That’s why this article from USA Today, entitled (online) “Economists Agree: Stimulus Created 3 Million Jobs” is worth noting.

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Vice President Biden Lands in Iraq

Posted by Jesse Lee on August 30, 2010 at 11:34 AM EDT

An update out from the White House moments ago:

Vice President Joe Biden in Iraq

Vice President Joe Biden has arrived in Iraq to participate in a Change of Command and Change of Mission Ceremony, fulfilling the commitment made by the President in his first month in office.

This is the Vice President’s sixth trip to Iraq since January 2009. The United States ends its combat mission in Iraq on August 31st, having drawn down to fewer than 50,000 troops from approximately 144,000 troops in January 2009. The remaining troops will advise and assist Iraq’s security forces, conduct partnered counter-terrorism operations, and protect U.S. civilians. In accordance with an agreement between the U.S. and Iraqi governments, all U.S. forces will leave Iraq by December 31, 2011.

President Obama will deliver a National Address on Iraq on August 31st. The Vice President’s visit at this juncture will reinforce the long-term U.S. commitment to Iraq. The Vice President will meet with Iraqi President Jalal Talabani, Vice President Tariq al-Hashimi, Vice President Adil Abd al-Mahdi, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, leader of the Iraqiyya coalition Ayad Allawi, Chairman of the Islamic Supreme Council Ammar al-Hakim and other political leaders to discuss the latest developments in Iraq and to urge Iraqi leaders to conclude negotiations on the formation of a new government.

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Five Years Later, Our Commitment Continues

Posted by Secretary Ray LaHood on August 30, 2010 at 11:08 AM EDT

It's difficult to look back on the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina with anything but sadness. Sadness for the lives lost, sadness for the displacement of so many people.

As we mark the fifth anniversary of Katrina, there is still work to be done. And the Department of Transportation's (DOT) commitment to help rebuild Gulf communities remains strong.

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Five Years After Katrina: "New Orleans is Blossoming Again"

Posted by Jesse Lee on August 29, 2010 at 5:05 PM EDT

Ed. Note: Read posts from Members of the Cabinet on Katrina recovery in our "Five Years of Remembering & Rebuilding" series.

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The President And First Lady Mark The Fifth Anniversary Of Hurricane Katrina

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On August 29, 2010, President Barack Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, and members of the Cabinet traveled to New Orleans to commemorate the fifth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.

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Making Preparations Prior to the Impacts of Hurricane Earl

Posted by Nikki Sutton on September 2, 2010 at 2:15 PM EDT

President Obama spoke with Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Administrator Craig Fugate this afternoon and yesterday morning to ensure we are doing everything in our power to keep people safe in advance of Hurricane Earl along the eastern seaboard. The President will continue to monitor the situation as FEMA tracks the storm's movement in conjunction with the National Hurricane Center.

President Barack Obama talks on the phone with FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate

President Barack Obama talks on the phone with Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Craig Fugate about preparations for Hurricane Earl during a call in the Oval Office. Listening at right is Richard A. Reed, Special Assistant to the President for Homeland Security. September 1, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

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There’s Courage in Our Country’s Classrooms

Posted by Secretary Arne Duncan on September 2, 2010 at 1:47 PM EDT

As students head back to school this fall, I travelled over the last two weeks on an eight-state bus tour to highlight “Courage in the Classroom.” The mission of the tour was simple: to honor our nation’s unsung heroes—our teachers.

Includes Video

read the rest

Learn more about Education

*

Two New Studies: Health Reform Benefits Small Business

Posted by Stephanie Cutter on September 2, 2010 at 10:01 AM EDT

Under the old health care system, many businesses found it difficult, if not impossible to provide health insurance benefits to their workers. Over the past decade the percentage of small firms offering coverage decreased and many businesses have suffered under the weight of high health care costs.

The Affordable Care Act helps make it easier for employers to provide health benefits. This year, small businesses are eligible for health care tax credits and starting in 2014, small businesses with up to 100 employees will have access to state-based Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) Exchanges, which will expand their purchasing power. Additionally, the Business Roundtable estimated that provisions in the legislation could save $3,000 per person in health costs.

read the rest

Learn more about Health Care

*

The Worst Natural Disaster in Pakistan's History: Support Victims of the Floods

Posted by Nikki Sutton on September 1, 2010 at 7:15 PM EDT

Americans have a rich history of showing great generosity when other communities around the world face crises. Today, the people of Pakistan are confronting one of the worst crises in their history. Over 20 million people throughout Pakistan have been affected since flooding began just over a month ago and there is an urgent need for shelter, clean water, food, and medical supplies.

That is why the State Department has established the Pakistan Relief Fund for American's to join the relief, recovery and reconstruction effort by donating online or by texting "FLOOD" to 27722 for a contribution of $10 that will be added to their cell phone bill.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton encourages American's to help continue our tradition of generosity in a public service announcement released by the Ad Council.

Contributions to the Pakistan Relief Fund will go towards funding programs run by the Department of State and other federal agencies for relief, recovery and reconstruction efforts in Pakistan, or to provide funds to international organizations, non-profit organizations and other appropriate recipients for relief, recovery and reconstruction efforts in Pakistan. For more information about the Pakistan Relief Fund, visit www.state.gov/pakistanrelief.

Learn more about Foreign Policy

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Continued Recovery for America’s Agricultural Economy

Posted by Secretary Tom Vilsack on September 1, 2010 at 7:01 PM EDT

Yesterday I was pleased to receive the encouraging news from two USDA reports that illustrate the strength of the recovery in our agricultural economy. The 2010 Farm Income Forecast and Outlook for U.S. Agricultural Trade show a positive picture for 2010, and predict sustained growth for the future.

This recovery is a testament to the 2008 Farm Bill, to a wide range of efforts of the Obama Administration – such as the Recovery Act – to move the economy forward and to support the agriculture economy, and the hard work and resilience of America’s farmers and ranchers.

read the rest

Learn more about Rural

*

A Moment of Opportunity that Must be Seized

Posted by Prem Kumar on September 1, 2010 at 6:21 PM EDT

previous photo

Working Towards Middle East Peace

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President Barack Obama holds a bilateral meeting with President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt in the Oval Office, Sept. 1, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

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Today the White House is focused on the re-launch of direct negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians for the first time in nearly two years. As the President has said, we are under no illusions about how difficult and complex a task reaching a peace agreement will be, but we also know that resolving this conflict is in the national security interests of the United States. Re-launching direct talks is an important step along this path.

Includes Photo Gallery

read the rest

Learn more about , Foreign Policy

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Forging Ahead on Middle East Peace Talks

Posted by Jesse Lee on September 1, 2010 at 1:30 PM EDT

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Anonymous
#207586

Thanks fellow poster.That did brighten my day.

Poor, Poor wittle Brian Sims.

Seriously, what a chimp.You can give a chimp a business but...

Anonymous
#206520

Daniel Washington is a Criminal convicted of Assult on a Girl. (That's so ***)

He filed for Bankrupcy!!!! When times were good for everyone else, poor danny!!

He has *** websites!!!

Such a hypocrite!!!!

A hypocrite despises those whom he deceives, but has no respect for himself. He would make a dupe of himself too, if he could.

Wait for the next installment of a day in the life of Danny Washington the criminal.

To Be Continued!!!

Anonymous
#200085

I saw that too !!

I remember offering to clean and modernize United's QC procedure, make an online order form, build websites to drive sales by catagory, run and manage a PPC advertising campaign--and more !

All I got was fired without a reason given. Even the unemployment office was never able to get an answer.

So, what have we learned here. What has Brian Sims taught all of us.

1.) Everyone *is* replaceable, that's true. But that fact should never be interpreted to mean you can treat everyone like ***. That was/is, perhaps, Sims' greatest blunder.

2.) When an employee, or really anyone offers you a golden gift--take it.

3.) Know your limitations. Seek help accordingly.

When I think of the mess and loss of revenue Sims achieved with his attempted at integrating with the web; and all the while having a $12/hr employee offering him $250/hr help, well, it's really sad

Anonymous
#200008

Yes, it's true. United Reprographics is in bankruptcy. Just Google "united reprographics" and you'll see the court filing.

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. Oh it's too good. Guess Brian Sims is as ignorant as has been claimed throughout this thread.

That's what you get Sims. You treated your people like ***, and they got you back.

Yaaaaaaaa.

Anonymous
#197532

71. Written by United is a Sweat Shop, on 04-03-2010 14:16

Hahaha. Can anyone actually believe what Brian Sims just wrote?! "It is tough at the top" and "That's just the nature of Being at the Top." You, Brian Sims, are hardly at any "top." You behave like a complete bottom feeder. Your behavior is at the bottom of the range I've experienced in my life. It's another flag of your lack of integrity that you use such narrow parameters to define what "top" is.

Report

72. Written by Classic, on 04-03-2010 05:02

Yeah, I noticed that too. Brian Sims could be used as a text book example of awful ownership and management. His comment, below, is classic. "None of you Actually worked for me (him), You worked for your Department leads and the Production Manager" [quote verbatim] Wow Brian, way to take responsibility for your own company. It's all somebody else's fault. What a *** :grin :grin

Report

73. Written by Ya Right, on 04-03-2010 04:57

Well, Brian Sims says it all in the previous posts. None of us worked for him. As owner of the company, he negates any responsibility for the conditions of *his* company. It's all the fault of the production manager or the supervisors.

No wonder the place is a sweat shop.

Report

74. Written by Correction, on 04-03-2010...

On my previous post I stated that the Christmas bonuses, health accounts and Christmas party were cut during the companies best months, which I incorrectly stated as Dec. 2009 and Jan 2010. The actual dates were Dec 2008 and Jan 2009. Sorry. The person reporting this in an earlier post was correct. I left there early in 2009 but know from old acquaintances that there were no bonuses last Christmas either, which can be understandable as the economy isn't what is was.

However, I'll restate what was reported earlier; during the best months United had ( Late 2008, early 2009 ) and long before the economy went south, Brian cut the Christmas bonuses, health accounts and Christmas party. I saw Brian Sims the day he did that and he was laughing. It was punishment to workers who he felt shouldn't ever talk on the floor. In fact, this makes him crazy. He tried to make a rule that nobody was allowed to speak on to each other. He has cameras covering the entire shop that are monitored online. He watches from his computer all day and night and even calls in to reprimand people if they happen stop to exchange a word with their fellow employees. This guy is a real life Scrooge. He would be a great 17th & 18th century slave boss.

Oh, and Brian. I coined a phrase, one I applied as I would put my QC on jobs without even looking at them, sometimes on ones I knew where screwed up; "the old me, that had a health account would have checked that"

You might want to learn from this. You told me once that everyone is replaceable, which is true. Even the president of the U.S. is replaceable, and has been at a moments notice. However, you're ignorance was that you extrapolated that to mean you could treat everyone like ***. However, a brighter owner would realize that the workers have leverage over the success of your business. You fell into a trap you built. By treating people like *** and failing to give them credit for the success of the company you brainwashed yourself into believing that they didn't matter. Oops.

Report

75. Written by Oh and one more thing Brian, on 04-03-2010 03:14

I'm laughing my head off. You can't even instigate a convincing fraud. How interesting that the alleged "happy employee" posted their message within hours of yours. What a coincidence. Again, why wouldn't they give their name. I could give plenty of reasons why complainants don't. You're so unethical they're worried about retribution. But for someone with nothing to lose to fail to leave their name, well, it's obviously you who posted that nonsense and is yet another flag of your lack of integrity.

Also, I'd love to see you provide any proof or evidence of all your altruistic claims you've made. Anyone that knows you will laugh at such. But hey, here's your chance. Let's hear about all those "charities" Brian, one's that would allow us to verify the authenticity of your comments. Also, lets get the names of all those "families" you've helped. How about all the business owners you've mentored. I'll check every one. But, of course, it's all total bull. I've had plenty of experience with people and there is no way a person like you has actually done the things you blindly claim.

BTW Brian, you're about to get some pretty bad press as part of a personal story of one of your ex-employees who's story is about to become quite public. I'll keep you posted. You'll be used as an example of an abusive company and despicable owner. Of course, you'll probably be out of business by then. You always were over your head and lacking the skills required to take a company to the next level.

Report

76. Written by Umm...Actually Brian, on 04-03-2010 03:02

The lack of cohesion and basic grammatical integrity of your comments makes clear your intellectual short comings. Not to mention the fact that most of your statements are complete bull. You, sir, are no altruistic person. You are a petty, self absorbed, greedy and dishonorable individual.

I noticed you haven't argued the fact that during the strongest months at United ( Dec 2009, Jan 2010 ) during a year when even you claimed that the company had grown by 10%, you cut Christmas bonuses a week before Christmas, you cut the health accounts and cut the company party. This was well before the economy went south.

I also find it interesting that the the positive review you just received from an alleged "happy employee" fails to give a name. Now, why, if somebody has nothing to lose, would they not mention their name? Is it because it was posted by you and is a complete fraud? Is it because we could all check with any employee that would leave such comments and discover them as lies?

Also, there have been cases when you fired employees in such an unethical manner that both the managers and the controller stated their dissension.

It's a pleasure watching your business fail. Oh, and check Yelp, looks like there are some customers giving you dramatically poor reviews.

Report

77. Written by Brian Sims, on 21-02-2010 14:40

All of you Low lifes writing about me on this page can Go to ***. None of you know me! None of you can judge me! It is tough at the top. I will never be able to please everyone with the tough decisions I have to Make. But for everyone of you that are upset, there are many many more that are not unhappy. That\'s just the nature of Being at the Top. My Character and my generosity has provided for many many Families at United and beyond. The countless Charities I support. The countless Non-profits and For profit companies I donate to. The countless hours of my own time I\'ve spent mentoring other Business owners and students. None of you have probally even given your time or your money to help anyone. My Intelligence and integrity are not in question. The fact that you are affraid to even claim your comments says alot about your Character and integrity.

Report

78. Written by Happy worked for United, on 21-02-2010 11:30

I worked for United for a couple of years and my interactions with Brian were all good. I found him to be very generous and friendly. He always gave out bonuses while I was there. It sounds like you other posters forgot we have been in a Global resession. 2008-2010

Report

79. Written by Brian Sims, on 20-02-2010 13:22

All of you Nameless Cowards! None of you Actually worked for me, You worked for your Department leads and the Production Manager. If you were Fired or Laid off, it was at their direct request. If you intentially sabatoged a customer\'s project then your the bad person and thats why you no longer work for us. :cry :cry.

Report

80. Written by Unethical to the end, on 03-02-2010 16:35

I worked with Brian for a time, and was unimpressed right from the start. Without going into too much detail, he made promises that he always avoided and eventually broke. The company benefits are an absolute joke, especially considering the income bracket that most of the employees are in. The man absolutely doesn't know how to communicate what he wants and doesn't treat people with any amount of respect or dignity unless it directly affects his pocketbook. The moment you are not lining his wallet is the moment you are discarded. He makes a big deal about being a "minority businessowner", but shouldn't advertise that fact to avoid ruining the reputation for deserving leaders. Avoid working for this company, or associating with it in any way.

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Anonymous
#197529

81. Written by Brian Sims is an anal cavity, on 30-01-2010 02:21

let's see if that works.

Report

82. Written by It's true Brian Sims is an a-, on 30-01-2010 02:20

I second and third the previous post.

Report

83. Written by Brian Sims is an ***, on 30-01-2010 02:18

Well, that's actually not my name. But I must say, you'll never know how great it was completely screw over United before leaving. Sending jobs out totally *** up was my way of registering my displeasure with Christmas bonuses being cut about a week before Christmas, along with the Christmas party and mostly the cutting of the health savings accounts.

That was my way of saying "*** YOU BRIAN SIMS" and sweet it was.

Yes sweet it still is. And you know who I am, boy.

And watching the failure of United is equally sweet.

Guess you learned something Sims. You thought you could treat everyone like ***, but looks like we had some leverage to play some get back.

I'M LAUGHING SO HARD. YOU LOST 2 GREAT CLIENTS BECAUSE I LET SCREWED UP JOBS GO OUT. I PUT MY QC ON THEM AND LAUGHED ALL THE WAY HOME.

Report

84. Written by Another happy customer, on 28-09-2009 20:41

This business is failing...Greed.

Report

85. Written by Happily Departed from United, on 06-09-2009 03:31

Brian Simms is a bit of a sociopath. He doesn't give a damb about employees and prides himself on firing anyone...

Report

86. Written by Thank you, on 24-02-2009 00:57

Thanks United Reprographics for firing me and letting me collect unemployment insurance for the past year! I'm now attending the UW, paying out of pocket and laughing at you sad sacks. You all made it quite apparent you thought I was out of my mind, but google my name and see what comes up. Of course I wasn't going to give a *** about a job so beneath me. 8)

Report

87. Written by James, on 11-06-2008 20:35

I second the fat cow comment.

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Anonymous
#192258

2. Written by The White House, on 02-09-2010 22:02

The White House Blog 

 

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Making Preparations Prior to the Impacts of Hurricane Earl 

Posted by Nikki Sutton on September 2, 2010 at 2:15 PM EDT 

 

President Obama spoke with Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Administrator Craig Fugate this afternoon and yesterday morning to ensure we are doing everything in our power to keep people safe in advance of Hurricane Earl along the eastern seaboard. The President will continue to monitor the situation as FEMA tracks the storm's movement in conjunction with the National Hurricane Center. 

President Barack Obama talks on the phone with FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate 

 

President Barack Obama talks on the phone with Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Craig Fugate about preparations for Hurricane Earl during a call in the Oval Office. Listening at right is Richard A. Reed, Special Assistant to the President for Homeland Security. September 1, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza) 

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There’s Courage in Our Country’s Classrooms 

Posted by Secretary Arne Duncan on September 2, 2010 at 1:47 PM EDT 

 

 

As students head back to school this fall, I travelled over the last two weeks on an eight-state bus tour to...

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Two New Studies: Health Reform Benefits Small Business 

Posted by Stephanie Cutter on September 2, 2010 at 10:01 AM EDT 

 

Under the old health care system, many businesses found it difficult, if not impossible to provide health insurance benefits to their workers. Over the past decade the percentage of small firms offering coverage decreased and many businesses have suffered under the weight of high health care costs. 

 

The Affordable Care Act helps make it easier for employers to provide health benefits. This year, small businesses are eligible for health care tax credits and starting in 2014, small businesses with up to 100 employees will have access to state-based Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) Exchanges, which will expand their purchasing power. Additionally, the Business Roundtable estimated that provisions in the legislation could save $3,000 per person in health costs.  

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The Worst Natural Disaster in Pakistan's History: Support Victims of the Floods 

Posted by Nikki Sutton on September 1, 2010 at 7:15 PM EDT 

 

Americans have a rich history of showing great generosity when other communities around the world face crises. Today, the people of Pakistan are confronting one of the worst crises in their history. Over 20 million people throughout Pakistan have been affected since flooding began just over a month ago and there is an urgent need for shelter, clean water, food, and medical supplies. 

 

That is why the State Department has established the Pakistan Relief Fund for American's to join the relief, recovery and reconstruction effort by donating online or by texting "FLOOD" to 27722 for a contribution of $10 that will be added to their cell phone bill.  

 

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton encourages American's to help continue our tradition of generosity in a public service announcement released by the Ad Council. 

 

Contributions to the Pakistan Relief Fund will go towards funding programs run by the Department of State and other federal agencies for relief, recovery and reconstruction efforts in Pakistan, or to provide funds to international organizations, non-profit organizations and other appropriate recipients for relief, recovery and reconstruction efforts in Pakistan. For more information about the Pakistan Relief Fund, visit www.state.gov/pakistanrelief. 

Learn more about Foreign Policy 

* 

Continued Recovery for America’s Agricultural Economy 

Posted by Secretary Tom Vilsack on September 1, 2010 at 7:01 PM EDT 

 

Yesterday I was pleased to receive the encouraging news from two USDA reports that illustrate the strength of the recovery in our agricultural economy. The 2010 Farm Income Forecast and Outlook for U.S. Agricultural Trade show a positive picture for 2010, and predict sustained growth for the future.  

 

This recovery is a testament to the 2008 Farm Bill, to a wide range of efforts of the Obama Administration – such as the Recovery Act – to move the economy forward and to support the agriculture economy, and the hard work and resilience of America’s farmers and ranchers.  

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Learn more about Rural 

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A Moment of Opportunity that Must be Seized 

Posted by Prem Kumar on September 1, 2010 at 6:21 PM EDT 

 

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Working Towards Middle East Peace 

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President Barack Obama holds a bilateral meeting with President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt in the Oval Office, Sept. 1, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza) 

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Today the White House is focused on the re-launch of direct negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians for the first time in nearly two years. As the President has said, we are under no illusions about how difficult and complex a task reaching a peace agreement will be, but we also know that resolving this conflict is in the national security interests of the United States. Re-launching direct talks is an important step along this path. 

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Forging Ahead on Middle East Peace Talks 

Posted by Jesse Lee on September 1, 2010 at 1:30 PM EDT 

 

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The President's schedule today is packed with bilateral meetings: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel, President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority, King Abdullah II of Jordan, and President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt. The talks will stretch into the night with a working dinner with all five leaders in the Old Family Dining Room of the White House. Learn more from last night's press briefing with Special Envoy for Middle East Peace Senator George Mitchell. 

 

Emerging from the first in that series of meetings, President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu made clear that the "senseless slaughter" that took place last night would not deter the pursuit of peace: 

 

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Hello, everybody. Prime Minister Netanyahu and I just had a very productive discussion about our shared efforts to advance the cause of peace between Israelis and Palestinians and throughout the Middle East. I'm going to have more to say about today’s meetings not only with Prime Minister Netanyahu but with the other participants of the talks here in the Rose Garden later this afternoon. But I did want to specifically take some time out to speak to the people of Israel and to the region about the senseless slaughter that took place near Hebron yesterday. 

 

There are going to be extremists and rejectionists who, rather than seeking peace, are going to be seeking destruction. And the tragedy that we saw yesterday where people were gunned down on the street by terrorists who are purposely trying to undermine these talks is an example of what we're up against. But I want everybody to be very clear: The United States is going to be unwavering in its support of Israel’s security and we are going to push back against these kinds of terrorist activities. 

 

And so the message should go out to Hamas and everybody else who is taking credit for these heinous crimes that this is not going to stop us from not only ensuring a secure Israel but also securing a longer-lasting peace in which people throughout the region can take a different course. 

 

I also want to express the deepest condolences of the American people to the families of those who were gunned down. And I want to thank Prime Minister Netanyahu, during a very difficult time for his country, still being so committed to the cause of peace that he is here with us today. 

 

Prime Minister. 

 

PRIME MINISTER NETANYAHU: Well, thank you, Mr. President, for expressing what I think is the sentiment of decent people everywhere, in the face of this savagery and brutality.  

 

Four innocent people were gunned down and seven new orphans were added, by people who have no respect for human life and trample human rights into the dust and butcher everything that they oppose.  

 

I think that the President’s statement is an expression of our desire to fight against this terror. And the talks that we had, which were, indeed, open, productive, serious in the quest for peace, also centered around the need to have security arrangements that are able to roll back this kind of terror and other threats to Israel’s security. That is a fundamental element, an important foundation, of the peace that we seek and work for. 

 

And I appreciate, Mr. President, your efforts to advance this peace for us and for our neighbors, for our region, and I think we can say, for the world. 

 

Thank you.  

 

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Thank you.  

 

And let me just say that I will be meeting with President Abbas this afternoon. He condemned this outrageous attack, as well. I have the utmost confidence in him and his belief in a two-state solution in which the people of Israel and the Palestinians are living side by side in peace and security. And so I am also grateful to him for his presence here today. 

 

We’ve got a lot of work to do. There are going to be those who are going to do everything they can to undermine these talks, but we are going to remain stalwart.  

 

And so, to Prime Minister Netanyahu and to Prime Minister -- and to President Abbas, as well as to President Mubarak and King Abdullah of Jordan, I am very grateful for their participation. I will have a longer discussion about that this afternoon after my bilateral meetings.  

 

Thank you.  

 

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President Obama's Address on the End of the Combat Mission in Iraq 

Posted by Jesse Lee on August 31, 2010 at 9:30 PM EDT 

 

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Having returned hours earlier from a conversation with troops at Fort Bliss, Texas – troops who had seen every phase of what has become one of America’s longest wars – the President spoke to the Nation for just the second time from the Oval Office to announce the end of America’s combat role in that war. Americans in high school today may barely remember a time when America was not in combat in Iraq, and young adults – including so many of our troops who have sacrificed so much – have almost by definition gone their entire adult lives in a country divided over the war. Today, as the President put it, was a day to begin to “turn the page” – a day when America could turn its focus towards building itself back up from a devastating recession. 

 

Over all that time, though, as the President pointed out, “there has been one constant amidst those shifting tides”: 

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President Obama Salutes the Troops at Fort Bliss: "Thank You" and "Welcome Home" 

Posted by Jesse Lee on August 31, 2010 at 3:19 PM EDT 

 

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Over the past week, we’ve been inviting you to join us in saluting the troops for their service. The response has been overwhelming, and has made clear that while the end of the combat mission is an appropriate time to recognize the sacrifice the troops and their military make, the gratitude is always there, and never forgotten with the American people. 

 

It was in that same spirit that the President flew to Fort Bliss in Texas today, home to troops who have served at every stage of the Iraq War, including troops who are redeploying back home throughout the fall, and troops supporting our new support mission in Iraq. 

President Barack Obama Greets Members of the Military at Fort Bliss in El Paso, Texas 

 

President Barack Obama greets members of the military at Fort Bliss in El Paso, Texas August 31, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza) 

 

The President will address the nation from the Oval Office tonight at 8:00PM EDT, you can watch live here and submit questions for a live chat afterwards now. He told those listening that they would be the focus: 

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Ben Rhodes Answers Your Questions About Iraq Following the President's Oval Address 

Posted by Sarah Bernard on August 31, 2010 at 12:51 PM EDT 

 

Tonight at 8pm EDT, President Obama will address the nation from the Oval Office regarding the end of the U.S. combat mission in Iraq. Immediately following the President's remarks, Ben Rhodes, Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications will answer questions directly from Americans across the country. 

 

 

 

Now is your chance to hear the White House's response to your questions about the change of mission. Submit your questions now and vote your favorite ones to the top. Then tune in tonight at 8pm EDT to watch and participate at whitehouse.gov/live. 

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New Resources for Employers and Unions to Help Keep Health Coverage Accessible and Affordable 

Posted by Secretary Gary Locke on August 31, 2010 at 10:58 AM EDT 

 

If you are an employer, you know how difficult it can be to find – and provide– health insurance for your retired employees who are age 55 or older and not yet eligible for Medicare.  

 

Some Americans who retire before they are eligible for Medicare see their life savings disappear because of medical bills and exorbitant rates in the individual health insurance market. And the cost of insurance can be out of reach for individuals looking to buy health coverage on their own. 

 

Many employers would like to help their employees make this transition comfortably and provide access to health insurance past retirement. But in these tough economic times, it is difficult for employers to keep up with skyrocketing health care costs for employees and retirees. 

 

The Affordable Care Act’s Early Retiree Reinsurance Program will make it a little easier for employers to provide high-quality health benefits to their retirees. 

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Hurricane Katrina: The Work Continues 

Posted by Chris Lu on August 31, 2010 at 10:16 AM EDT 

 

Over the past week, we’ve been remembering the tragedy of Hurricane Katrina, highlighting the progress made, and restating the Administration’s commitment to the region. This past weekend, several members of the Cabinet, the First Lady and President Obama traveled to the Gulf Coast, where the President spoke about the stories of communities and families working to restore what was lost. 

 

Watch the video: 

 

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Throughout our Hurricane Katrina: 5 Years of Remembering & Rebuilding series, we heard stories of dedication and restoration from across the federal government. Here are just a few examples of the Administration’s continued support for the individuals, families and communities who were affected: 

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Agent Orange and Veterans: A 40-Year Wait 

Posted by Secretary Eric K. Shinseki on August 30, 2010 at 4:59 PM EDT 

 

With the unwavering support of President Obama, VA is transforming to meet its 21st Century responsibilities. Advocacy, on behalf of every generation of Veterans, is central to this transformation. 

 

Agent Orange was a blend of herbicides used by the U.S. military, during the Vietnam conflict, to deny concealment to enemy forces. More than 19 million gallons of herbicides were sprayed to remove foliage and undergrowth. The most common, Agent Orange, was sprayed in all four military zones of South Vietnam. 

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Economic Recovery for Small Businesses: Now is Not the Time to Pull Back 

Posted by Karen Mills on August 30, 2010 at 2:44 PM EDT 

 

As I travel around the country, I meet many small business owners who are poised to take that next step to grow their business and create jobs. In fact, this morning’s USA Today looks at one of those business owners - Amarjit Kaur who runs a convenience store and gas station in Wood Village, OR. Amarjit has been approved for an SBA loan so she can buy the property she now leases. But today her application sits in a *** waiting for passage of the Small Business Jobs Act currently before the Senate. 

 

Here’s what’s happening: Up until a few months ago, SBA was able to waive the fees for SBA loan borrowers. This allowed small business owners to put more money back into their business. In fact, these fee reductions will save Amarjit about $35,000. At the same time, we were able to increase the government guarantee on SBA loans, to encourage more banks and credit unions to go ahead and make SBA loans to good, creditworthy small businesses. 

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Landmark: Number of Donut Hole Rebate Checks Passes One Million 

Posted by Don Berwick on August 30, 2010 at 2:14 PM EDT 

 

Cross-posted from HealthCare.gov 

 

On August 10th, you may have seen Jenny Backus’ post on HealthCare Notes noting that the third round of donut hole rebate checks went into the mail. 

 

Recently, we hit a major milestone: the millionth check was sent out over the weekend. 

 

If you haven’t heard about the rebate checks before, they are the first step in closing the prescription drug coverage gap under the Affordable Care Act. This gap is commonly referred to as the ‘donut hole.’ We know that many people with Medicare have tight budgets and some may skip or alter the medicines their doctors recommend they take in order to save money in the donut hole. That is dangerous and unacceptable. And that’s why the Affordable Care Act takes steps to close this coverage gap. 

 

This year, as qualifying people with Medicare enter the ‘donut hole,’ Medicare will send them a tax-free, one-time rebate check for $250. Next year, if you reach the ‘donut hole,’ you will receive a 50 percent discount when buying covered brand-name prescription drugs.  

 

If you are eligible for this assistance, remember, you don’t need to do anything special to receive the check. People who qualify for the one-time check do not need to sign up, since their checks are mailed automatically when they enter the donut hole. So just make sure to check the mailbox. 

 

Just a reminder: you should never give out personal information to anyone who is not a trusted source. If anyone asks for your personal information you are encouraged to contact 1-800-MEDICARE and report the inquiry. You can also visit www.stopmedicarefraud.gov for more information. 

 

We hope that the latest round of checks will ease the burden on individuals recently entering the donut hole. This is just one of several ways that the Affordable Care Act strengthens Medicare so make sure you check out Medicare.gov and other areas of HealthCare.gov for more information. 

 

Don Berwick is Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services 

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The President on the Economy: "Pushing This Economy Forward" vs. "The Blockade" 

Posted by Jesse Lee on August 30, 2010 at 1:34 PM EDT 

 

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Speaking in the Rose Garden in the heat, the President began his remarks this morning on the economy by once again noting that for all the progress that's been made since "that terrible September when our economy teetered on the brink of collapse," there is much left to do -- and that millions of Americans are still struggling: 

 

That’s why my administration remains focused, every single day, on pushing this economy forward, repairing the damage that’s been done to the middle class over the past decade, and promoting the growth we need to get our people back to work. 

 

So, as Congress prepares to return to session, my economic team is hard at work in identifying additional measures that could make a difference in both promoting growth and hiring in the short term, and increasing our economy’s competitiveness in the long term. Steps like extending the tax cuts for the middle class that are set to expire this year. Redoubling our investment in clean energy and R&D. Rebuilding more of our infrastructure for the future. Further tax cuts to encourage businesses to put their capital to work creating jobs here in the United States. And I’ll be addressing these proposals in further detail in the days and weeks to come. 

 

Having laid out this broader agenda, though, and making clear that no one bill would be the silver bullet, the President zeroed in on the obstruction that is standing in the way of even the most immediate and obvious of steps: 

 

And there’s currently a jobs bill before Congress that would do two big things for small business owners: cut more taxes and make available more loans. It would help them get the credit they need, and eliminate capital gains taxes on key investments so they have more incentive to invest right now. And it would accelerate $55 billion of tax relief to encourage American businesses, small and large, to expand their investments over the next 14 months. 

 

Unfortunately, this bill has been languishing in the Senate for months, held up by a partisan minority that won’t even allow it to go to a vote. That makes no sense. This bill is fully paid for. It won’t add to the deficit. And there is no reason to block it besides pure partisan politics.  

 

Small business owners and the communities that rely on them, they don’t have time for political games. They shouldn’t have to wait any longer. In fact, just this morning, a story showed that small businesses have put hiring and expanding on hold while waiting for the Senate to act on this bill. Simply put: holding this bill hostage is directly detrimental to our economic growth. 

 

So I ask Senate Republicans to drop the blockade. I know we’re entering election season. But the people who sent us here expect us to work together to get things done and improve this economy. 

 

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Newsflash! Economists Agree 

Posted by Jared Bernstein on August 30, 2010 at 12:38 PM EDT 

 

The old adage goes that Presidents often wish for one-handed economists, to avoid all that “on the one hand, sir, we could be looking at X; though on the other hand, it could be Y.” 

 

So when economic consensus forms around the outcome of a policy like the Recovery Act, it’s worth taking note. That’s why this article from USA Today, entitled (online) “Economists Agree: Stimulus Created 3 Million Jobs” is worth noting. 

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Vice President Biden Lands in Iraq 

Posted by Jesse Lee on August 30, 2010 at 11:34 AM EDT 

 

An update out from the White House moments ago: 

 

Vice President Joe Biden in Iraq 

 

Vice President Joe Biden has arrived in Iraq to participate in a Change of Command and Change of Mission Ceremony, fulfilling the commitment made by the President in his first month in office.  

 

This is the Vice President’s sixth trip to Iraq since January 2009. The United States ends its combat mission in Iraq on August 31st, having drawn down to fewer than 50,000 troops from approximately 144,000 troops in January 2009. The remaining troops will advise and assist Iraq’s security forces, conduct partnered counter-terrorism operations, and protect U.S. civilians. In accordance with an agreement between the U.S. and Iraqi governments, all U.S. forces will leave Iraq by December 31, 2011. 

 

President Obama will deliver a National Address on Iraq on August 31st. The Vice President’s visit at this juncture will reinforce the long-term U.S. commitment to Iraq. The Vice President will meet with Iraqi President Jalal Talabani, Vice President Tariq al-Hashimi, Vice President Adil Abd al-Mahdi, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, leader of the Iraqiyya coalition Ayad Allawi, Chairman of the Islamic Supreme Council Ammar al-Hakim and other political leaders to discuss the latest developments in Iraq and to urge Iraqi leaders to conclude negotiations on the formation of a new government.  

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Five Years Later, Our Commitment Continues 

Posted by Secretary Ray LaHood on August 30, 2010 at 11:08 AM EDT 

 

It's difficult to look back on the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina with anything but sadness. Sadness for the lives lost, sadness for the displacement of so many people. 

 

As we mark the fifth anniversary of Katrina, there is still work to be done. And the Department of Transportation's (DOT) commitment to help rebuild Gulf communities remains strong. 

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Five Years After Katrina: "New Orleans is Blossoming Again" 

Posted by Jesse Lee on August 29, 2010 at 5:05 PM EDT 

 

Ed. Note: Read posts from Members of the Cabinet on Katrina recovery in our "Five Years of Remembering & Rebuilding" series. 

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The President And First Lady Mark The Fifth Anniversary Of Hurricane Katrina 

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On August 29, 2010, President Barack Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, and members of the Cabinet traveled to New Orleans to commemorate the fifth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. 

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Making Preparations Prior to the Impacts of Hurricane Earl 

Posted by Nikki Sutton on September 2, 2010 at 2:15 PM EDT 

 

President Obama spoke with Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Administrator Craig Fugate this afternoon and yesterday morning to ensure we are doing everything in our power to keep people safe in advance of Hurricane Earl along the eastern seaboard. The President will continue to monitor the situation as FEMA tracks the storm's movement in conjunction with the National Hurricane Center. 

President Barack Obama talks on the phone with FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate 

 

President Barack Obama talks on the phone with Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Craig Fugate about preparations for Hurricane Earl during a call in the Oval Office. Listening at right is Richard A. Reed, Special Assistant to the President for Homeland Security. September 1, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza) 

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There’s Courage in Our Country’s Classrooms 

Posted by Secretary Arne Duncan on September 2, 2010 at 1:47 PM EDT 

 

 

As students head back to school this fall, I travelled over the last two weeks on an eight-state bus tour to highlight “Courage in the Classroom.” The mission of the tour was simple: to honor our nation’s unsung heroes—our teachers.  

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Two New Studies: Health Reform Benefits Small Business 

Posted by Stephanie Cutter on September 2, 2010 at 10:01 AM EDT 

 

Under the old health care system, many businesses found it difficult, if not impossible to provide health insurance benefits to their workers. Over the past decade the percentage of small firms offering coverage decreased and many businesses have suffered under the weight of high health care costs. 

 

The Affordable Care Act helps make it easier for employers to provide health benefits. This year, small businesses are eligible for health care tax credits and starting in 2014, small businesses with up to 100 employees will have access to state-based Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) Exchanges, which will expand their purchasing power. Additionally, the Business Roundtable estimated that provisions in the legislation could save $3,000 per person in health costs.  

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The Worst Natural Disaster in Pakistan's History: Support Victims of the Floods 

Posted by Nikki Sutton on September 1, 2010 at 7:15 PM EDT 

 

Americans have a rich history of showing great generosity when other communities around the world face crises. Today, the people of Pakistan are confronting one of the worst crises in their history. Over 20 million people throughout Pakistan have been affected since flooding began just over a month ago and there is an urgent need for shelter, clean water, food, and medical supplies. 

 

That is why the State Department has established the Pakistan Relief Fund for American's to join the relief, recovery and reconstruction effort by donating online or by texting "FLOOD" to 27722 for a contribution of $10 that will be added to their cell phone bill.  

 

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton encourages American's to help continue our tradition of generosity in a public service announcement released by the Ad Council. 

 

Contributions to the Pakistan Relief Fund will go towards funding programs run by the Department of State and other federal agencies for relief, recovery and reconstruction efforts in Pakistan, or to provide funds to international organizations, non-profit organizations and other appropriate recipients for relief, recovery and reconstruction efforts in Pakistan. For more information about the Pakistan Relief Fund, visit www.state.gov/pakistanrelief. 

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Continued Recovery for America’s Agricultural Economy 

Posted by Secretary Tom Vilsack on September 1, 2010 at 7:01 PM EDT 

 

Yesterday I was pleased to receive the encouraging news from two USDA reports that illustrate the strength of the recovery in our agricultural economy. The 2010 Farm Income Forecast and Outlook for U.S. Agricultural Trade show a positive picture for 2010, and predict sustained growth for the future.  

 

This recovery is a testament to the 2008 Farm Bill, to a wide range of efforts of the Obama Administration – such as the Recovery Act – to move the economy forward and to support the agriculture economy, and the hard work and resilience of America’s farmers and ranchers.  

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A Moment of Opportunity that Must be Seized 

Posted by Prem Kumar on September 1, 2010 at 6:21 PM EDT 

 

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Working Towards Middle East Peace 

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President Barack Obama holds a bilateral meeting with President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt in the Oval Office, Sept. 1, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza) 

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Today the White House is focused on the re-launch of direct negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians for the first time in nearly two years. As the President has said, we are under no illusions about how difficult and complex a task reaching a peace agreement will be, but we also know that resolving this conflict is in the national security interests of the United States. Re-launching direct talks is an important step along this path. 

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Forging Ahead on Middle East Peace Talks 

Posted by Jesse Lee on September 1, 2010 at 1:30 PM EDT 

 

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The President's schedule today is packed with bilateral meetings: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel, President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority, King Abdullah II of Jordan, and President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt. The talks will stretch into the night with a working dinner with all five leaders in the Old Family Dining Room of the White House. Learn more from last night's press briefing with Special Envoy for Middle East Peace Senator George Mitchell. 

 

Emerging from the first in that series of meetings, President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu made clear that the "senseless slaughter" that took place last night would not deter the pursuit of peace: 

 

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Hello, everybody. Prime Minister Netanyahu and I just had a very productive discussion about our shared efforts to advance the cause of peace between Israelis and Palestinians and throughout the Middle East. I'm going to have more to say about today’s meetings not only with Prime Minister Netanyahu but with the other participants of the talks here in the Rose Garden later this afternoon. But I did want to specifically take some time out to speak to the people of Israel and to the region about the senseless slaughter that took place near Hebron yesterday. 

 

There are going to be extremists and rejectionists who, rather than seeking peace, are going to be seeking destruction. And the tragedy that we saw yesterday where people were gunned down on the street by terrorists who are purposely trying to undermine these talks is an example of what we're up against. But I want everybody to be very clear: The United States is going to be unwavering in its support of Israel’s security and we are going to push back against these kinds of terrorist activities. 

 

And so the message should go out to Hamas and everybody else who is taking credit for these heinous crimes that this is not going to stop us from not only ensuring a secure Israel but also securing a longer-lasting peace in which people throughout the region can take a different course. 

 

I also want to express the deepest condolences of the American people to the families of those who were gunned down. And I want to thank Prime Minister Netanyahu, during a very difficult time for his country, still being so committed to the cause of peace that he is here with us today. 

 

Prime Minister. 

 

PRIME MINISTER NETANYAHU: Well, thank you, Mr. President, for expressing what I think is the sentiment of decent people everywhere, in the face of this savagery and brutality.  

 

Four innocent people were gunned down and seven new orphans were added, by people who have no respect for human life and trample human rights into the dust and butcher everything that they oppose.  

 

I think that the President’s statement is an expression of our desire to fight against this terror. And the talks that we had, which were, indeed, open, productive, serious in the quest for peace, also centered around the need to have security arrangements that are able to roll back this kind of terror and other threats to Israel’s security. That is a fundamental element, an important foundation, of the peace that we seek and work for. 

 

And I appreciate, Mr. President, your efforts to advance this peace for us and for our neighbors, for our region, and I think we can say, for the world. 

 

Thank you.  

 

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Thank you.  

 

And let me just say that I will be meeting with President Abbas this afternoon. He condemned this outrageous attack, as well. I have the utmost confidence in him and his belief in a two-state solution in which the people of Israel and the Palestinians are living side by side in peace and security. And so I am also grateful to him for his presence here today. 

 

We’ve got a lot of work to do. There are going to be those who are going to do everything they can to undermine these talks, but we are going to remain stalwart.  

 

And so, to Prime Minister Netanyahu and to Prime Minister -- and to President Abbas, as well as to President Mubarak and King Abdullah of Jordan, I am very grateful for their participation. I will have a longer discussion about that this afternoon after my bilateral meetings.  

 

Thank you.  

 

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President Obama's Address on the End of the Combat Mission in Iraq 

Posted by Jesse Lee on August 31, 2010 at 9:30 PM EDT 

 

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Having returned hours earlier from a conversation with troops at Fort Bliss, Texas – troops who had seen every phase of what has become one of America’s longest wars – the President spoke to the Nation for just the second time from the Oval Office to announce the end of America’s combat role in that war. Americans in high school today may barely remember a time when America was not in combat in Iraq, and young adults – including so many of our troops who have sacrificed so much – have almost by definition gone their entire adult lives in a country divided over the war. Today, as the President put it, was a day to begin to “turn the page” – a day when America could turn its focus towards building itself back up from a devastating recession. 

 

Over all that time, though, as the President pointed out, “there has been one constant amidst those shifting tides”: 

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President Obama Salutes the Troops at Fort Bliss: "Thank You" and "Welcome Home" 

Posted by Jesse Lee on August 31, 2010 at 3:19 PM EDT 

 

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Over the past week, we’ve been inviting you to join us in saluting the troops for their service. The response has been overwhelming, and has made clear that while the end of the combat mission is an appropriate time to recognize the sacrifice the troops and their military make, the gratitude is always there, and never forgotten with the American people. 

 

It was in that same spirit that the President flew to Fort Bliss in Texas today, home to troops who have served at every stage of the Iraq War, including troops who are redeploying back home throughout the fall, and troops supporting our new support mission in Iraq. 

President Barack Obama Greets Members of the Military at Fort Bliss in El Paso, Texas 

 

President Barack Obama greets members of the military at Fort Bliss in El Paso, Texas August 31, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza) 

 

The President will address the nation from the Oval Office tonight at 8:00PM EDT, you can watch live here and submit questions for a live chat afterwards now. He told those listening that they would be the focus: 

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Ben Rhodes Answers Your Questions About Iraq Following the President's Oval Address 

Posted by Sarah Bernard on August 31, 2010 at 12:51 PM EDT 

 

Tonight at 8pm EDT, President Obama will address the nation from the Oval Office regarding the end of the U.S. combat mission in Iraq. Immediately following the President's remarks, Ben Rhodes, Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications will answer questions directly from Americans across the country. 

 

 

 

Now is your chance to hear the White House's response to your questions about the change of mission. Submit your questions now and vote your favorite ones to the top. Then tune in tonight at 8pm EDT to watch and participate at whitehouse.gov/live. 

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New Resources for Employers and Unions to Help Keep Health Coverage Accessible and Affordable 

Posted by Secretary Gary Locke on August 31, 2010 at 10:58 AM EDT 

 

If you are an employer, you know how difficult it can be to find – and provide– health insurance for your retired employees who are age 55 or older and not yet eligible for Medicare.  

 

Some Americans who retire before they are eligible for Medicare see their life savings disappear because of medical bills and exorbitant rates in the individual health insurance market. And the cost of insurance can be out of reach for individuals looking to buy health coverage on their own. 

 

Many employers would like to help their employees make this transition comfortably and provide access to health insurance past retirement. But in these tough economic times, it is difficult for employers to keep up with skyrocketing health care costs for employees and retirees. 

 

The Affordable Care Act’s Early Retiree Reinsurance Program will make it a little easier for employers to provide high-quality health benefits to their retirees. 

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Hurricane Katrina: The Work Continues 

Posted by Chris Lu on August 31, 2010 at 10:16 AM EDT 

 

Over the past week, we’ve been remembering the tragedy of Hurricane Katrina, highlighting the progress made, and restating the Administration’s commitment to the region. This past weekend, several members of the Cabinet, the First Lady and President Obama traveled to the Gulf Coast, where the President spoke about the stories of communities and families working to restore what was lost. 

 

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Throughout our Hurricane Katrina: 5 Years of Remembering & Rebuilding series, we heard stories of dedication and restoration from across the federal government. Here are just a few examples of the Administration’s continued support for the individuals, families and communities who were affected: 

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Agent Orange and Veterans: A 40-Year Wait 

Posted by Secretary Eric K. Shinseki on August 30, 2010 at 4:59 PM EDT 

 

With the unwavering support of President Obama, VA is transforming to meet its 21st Century responsibilities. Advocacy, on behalf of every generation of Veterans, is central to this transformation. 

 

Agent Orange was a blend of herbicides used by the U.S. military, during the Vietnam conflict, to deny concealment to enemy forces. More than 19 million gallons of herbicides were sprayed to remove foliage and undergrowth. The most common, Agent Orange, was sprayed in all four military zones of South Vietnam. 

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Economic Recovery for Small Businesses: Now is Not the Time to Pull Back 

Posted by Karen Mills on August 30, 2010 at 2:44 PM EDT 

 

As I travel around the country, I meet many small business owners who are poised to take that next step to grow their business and create jobs. In fact, this morning’s USA Today looks at one of those business owners - Amarjit Kaur who runs a convenience store and gas station in Wood Village, OR. Amarjit has been approved for an SBA loan so she can buy the property she now leases. But today her application sits in a *** waiting for passage of the Small Business Jobs Act currently before the Senate. 

 

Here’s what’s happening: Up until a few months ago, SBA was able to waive the fees for SBA loan borrowers. This allowed small business owners to put more money back into their business. In fact, these fee reductions will save Amarjit about $35,000. At the same time, we were able to increase the government guarantee on SBA loans, to encourage more banks and credit unions to go ahead and make SBA loans to good, creditworthy small businesses. 

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Landmark: Number of Donut Hole Rebate Checks Passes One Million 

Posted by Don Berwick on August 30, 2010 at 2:14 PM EDT 

 

Cross-posted from HealthCare.gov 

 

On August 10th, you may have seen Jenny Backus’ post on HealthCare Notes noting that the third round of donut hole rebate checks went into the mail. 

 

Recently, we hit a major milestone: the millionth check was sent out over the weekend. 

 

If you haven’t heard about the rebate checks before, they are the first step in closing the prescription drug coverage gap under the Affordable Care Act. This gap is commonly referred to as the ‘donut hole.’ We know that many people with Medicare have tight budgets and some may skip or alter the medicines their doctors recommend they take in order to save money in the donut hole. That is dangerous and unacceptable. And that’s why the Affordable Care Act takes steps to close this coverage gap. 

 

This year, as qualifying people with Medicare enter the ‘donut hole,’ Medicare will send them a tax-free, one-time rebate check for $250. Next year, if you reach the ‘donut hole,’ you will receive a 50 percent discount when buying covered brand-name prescription drugs.  

 

If you are eligible for this assistance, remember, you don’t need to do anything special to receive the check. People who qualify for the one-time check do not need to sign up, since their checks are mailed automatically when they enter the donut hole. So just make sure to check the mailbox. 

 

Just a reminder: you should never give out personal information to anyone who is not a trusted source. If anyone asks for your personal information you are encouraged to contact 1-800-MEDICARE and report the inquiry. You can also visit www.stopmedicarefraud.gov for more information. 

 

We hope that the latest round of checks will ease the burden on individuals recently entering the donut hole. This is just one of several ways that the Affordable Care Act strengthens Medicare so make sure you check out Medicare.gov and other areas of HealthCare.gov for more information. 

 

Don Berwick is Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services 

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The President on the Economy: "Pushing This Economy Forward" vs. "The Blockade" 

Posted by Jesse Lee on August 30, 2010 at 1:34 PM EDT 

 

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Speaking in the Rose Garden in the heat, the President began his remarks this morning on the economy by once again noting that for all the progress that's been made since "that terrible September when our economy teetered on the brink of collapse," there is much left to do -- and that millions of Americans are still struggling: 

 

That’s why my administration remains focused, every single day, on pushing this economy forward, repairing the damage that’s been done to the middle class over the past decade, and promoting the growth we need to get our people back to work. 

 

So, as Congress prepares to return to session, my economic team is hard at work in identifying additional measures that could make a difference in both promoting growth and hiring in the short term, and increasing our economy’s competitiveness in the long term. Steps like extending the tax cuts for the middle class that are set to expire this year. Redoubling our investment in clean energy and R&D. Rebuilding more of our infrastructure for the future. Further tax cuts to encourage businesses to put their capital to work creating jobs here in the United States. And I’ll be addressing these proposals in further detail in the days and weeks to come. 

 

Having laid out this broader agenda, though, and making clear that no one bill would be the silver bullet, the President zeroed in on the obstruction that is standing in the way of even the most immediate and obvious of steps: 

 

And there’s currently a jobs bill before Congress that would do two big things for small business owners: cut more taxes and make available more loans. It would help them get the credit they need, and eliminate capital gains taxes on key investments so they have more incentive to invest right now. And it would accelerate $55 billion of tax relief to encourage American businesses, small and large, to expand their investments over the next 14 months. 

 

Unfortunately, this bill has been languishing in the Senate for months, held up by a partisan minority that won’t even allow it to go to a vote. That makes no sense. This bill is fully paid for. It won’t add to the deficit. And there is no reason to block it besides pure partisan politics.  

 

Small business owners and the communities that rely on them, they don’t have time for political games. They shouldn’t have to wait any longer. In fact, just this morning, a story showed that small businesses have put hiring and expanding on hold while waiting for the Senate to act on this bill. Simply put: holding this bill hostage is directly detrimental to our economic growth. 

 

So I ask Senate Republicans to drop the blockade. I know we’re entering election season. But the people who sent us here expect us to work together to get things done and improve this economy. 

 

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Newsflash! Economists Agree 

Posted by Jared Bernstein on August 30, 2010 at 12:38 PM EDT 

 

The old adage goes that Presidents often wish for one-handed economists, to avoid all that “on the one hand, sir, we could be looking at X; though on the other hand, it could be Y.” 

 

So when economic consensus forms around the outcome of a policy like the Recovery Act, it’s worth taking note. That’s why this article from USA Today, entitled (online) “Economists Agree: Stimulus Created 3 Million Jobs” is worth noting. 

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Vice President Biden Lands in Iraq 

Posted by Jesse Lee on August 30, 2010 at 11:34 AM EDT 

 

An update out from the White House moments ago: 

 

Vice President Joe Biden in Iraq 

 

Vice President Joe Biden has arrived in Iraq to participate in a Change of Command and Change of Mission Ceremony, fulfilling the commitment made by the President in his first month in office.  

 

This is the Vice President’s sixth trip to Iraq since January 2009. The United States ends its combat mission in Iraq on August 31st, having drawn down to fewer than 50,000 troops from approximately 144,000 troops in January 2009. The remaining troops will advise and assist Iraq’s security forces, conduct partnered counter-terrorism operations, and protect U.S. civilians. In accordance with an agreement between the U.S. and Iraqi governments, all U.S. forces will leave Iraq by December 31, 2011. 

 

President Obama will deliver a National Address on Iraq on August 31st. The Vice President’s visit at this juncture will reinforce the long-term U.S. commitment to Iraq. The Vice President will meet with Iraqi President Jalal Talabani, Vice President Tariq al-Hashimi, Vice President Adil Abd al-Mahdi, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, leader of the Iraqiyya coalition Ayad Allawi, Chairman of the Islamic Supreme Council Ammar al-Hakim and other political leaders to discuss the latest developments in Iraq and to urge Iraqi leaders to conclude negotiations on the formation of a new government.  

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Five Years Later, Our Commitment Continues 

Posted by Secretary Ray LaHood on August 30, 2010 at 11:08 AM EDT 

 

It's difficult to look back on the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina with anything but sadness. Sadness for the lives lost, sadness for the displacement of so many people. 

 

As we mark the fifth anniversary of Katrina, there is still work to be done. And the Department of Transportation's (DOT) commitment to help rebuild Gulf communities remains strong. 

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Five Years After Katrina: "New Orleans is Blossoming Again" 

Posted by Jesse Lee on August 29, 2010 at 5:05 PM EDT 

 

Ed. Note: Read posts from Members of the Cabinet on Katrina recovery in our "Five Years of Remembering & Rebuilding" series. 

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The President And First Lady Mark The Fifth Anniversary Of Hurricane Katrina 

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On August 29, 2010, President Barack Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, and members of the Cabinet traveled to New Orleans to commemorate the fifth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. 

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Making Preparations Prior to the Impacts of Hurricane Earl 

Posted by Nikki Sutton on September 2, 2010 at 2:15 PM EDT 

 

President Obama spoke with Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Administrator Craig Fugate this afternoon and yesterday morning to ensure we are doing everything in our power to keep people safe in advance of Hurricane Earl along the eastern seaboard. The President will continue to monitor the situation as FEMA tracks the storm's movement in conjunction with the National Hurricane Center. 

President Barack Obama talks on the phone with FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate 

 

President Barack Obama talks on the phone with Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Craig Fugate about preparations for Hurricane Earl during a call in the Oval Office. Listening at right is Richard A. Reed, Special Assistant to the President for Homeland Security. September 1, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza) 

Includes Video 

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There’s Courage in Our Country’s Classrooms 

Posted by Secretary Arne Duncan on September 2, 2010 at 1:47 PM EDT 

 

 

As students head back to school this fall, I travelled over the last two weeks on an eight-state bus tour to highlight “Courage in the Classroom.” The mission of the tour was simple: to honor our nation’s unsung heroes—our teachers.  

Includes Video 

read the rest 

Learn more about Education 

* 

Two New Studies: Health Reform Benefits Small Business 

Posted by Stephanie Cutter on September 2, 2010 at 10:01 AM EDT 

 

Under the old health care system, many businesses found it difficult, if not impossible to provide health insurance benefits to their workers. Over the past decade the percentage of small firms offering coverage decreased and many businesses have suffered under the weight of high health care costs. 

 

The Affordable Care Act helps make it easier for employers to provide health benefits. This year, small businesses are eligible for health care tax credits and starting in 2014, small businesses with up to 100 employees will have access to state-based Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) Exchanges, which will expand their purchasing power. Additionally, the Business Roundtable estimated that provisions in the legislation could save $3,000 per person in health costs.  

read the rest 

Learn more about Health Care 

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The Worst Natural Disaster in Pakistan's History: Support Victims of the Floods 

Posted by Nikki Sutton on September 1, 2010 at 7:15 PM EDT 

 

Americans have a rich history of showing great generosity when other communities around the world face crises. Today, the people of Pakistan are confronting one of the worst crises in their history. Over 20 million people throughout Pakistan have been affected since flooding began just over a month ago and there is an urgent need for shelter, clean water, food, and medical supplies. 

 

That is why the State Department has established the Pakistan Relief Fund for American's to join the relief, recovery and reconstruction effort by donating online or by texting "FLOOD" to 27722 for a contribution of $10 that will be added to their cell phone bill.  

 

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton encourages American's to help continue our tradition of generosity in a public service announcement released by the Ad Council. 

 

Contributions to the Pakistan Relief Fund will go towards funding programs run by the Department of State and other federal agencies for relief, recovery and reconstruction efforts in Pakistan, or to provide funds to international organizations, non-profit organizations and other appropriate recipients for relief, recovery and reconstruction efforts in Pakistan. For more information about the Pakistan Relief Fund, visit www.state.gov/pakistanrelief. 

Learn more about Foreign Policy 

* 

Continued Recovery for America’s Agricultural Economy 

Posted by Secretary Tom Vilsack on September 1, 2010 at 7:01 PM EDT 

 

Yesterday I was pleased to receive the encouraging news from two USDA reports that illustrate the strength of the recovery in our agricultural economy. The 2010 Farm Income Forecast and Outlook for U.S. Agricultural Trade show a positive picture for 2010, and predict sustained growth for the future.  

 

This recovery is a testament to the 2008 Farm Bill, to a wide range of efforts of the Obama Administration – such as the Recovery Act – to move the economy forward and to support the agriculture economy, and the hard work and resilience of America’s farmers and ranchers.  

read the rest 

Learn more about Rural 

* 

A Moment of Opportunity that Must be Seized 

Posted by Prem Kumar on September 1, 2010 at 6:21 PM EDT 

 

previous photo 

Working Towards Middle East Peace 

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President Barack Obama holds a bilateral meeting with President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt in the Oval Office, Sept. 1, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza) 

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Today the White House is focused on the re-launch of direct negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians for the first time in nearly two years. As the President has said, we are under no illusions about how difficult and complex a task reaching a peace agreement will be, but we also know that resolving this conflict is in the national security interests of the United States. Re-launching direct talks is an important step along this path. 

Includes Photo Gallery 

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Forging Ahead on Middle East Peace Talks 

Posted by Jesse Lee on September 1, 2010 at 1:30 PM EDT 

 

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The President's schedule today is packed with bilateral meetings: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel, President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority, King Abdullah II of Jordan, and President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt. The talks will stretch into the night with a working dinner with all five leaders in the Old Family Dining Room of the White House. Learn more from last night's press briefing with Special Envoy for Middle East Peace Senator George Mitchell. 

 

Emerging from the first in that series of meetings, President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu made clear that the "senseless slaughter" that took place last night would not deter the pursuit of peace: 

 

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Hello, everybody. Prime Minister Netanyahu and I just had a very productive discussion about our shared efforts to advance the cause of peace between Israelis and Palestinians and throughout the Middle East. I'm going to have more to say about today’s meetings not only with Prime Minister Netanyahu but with the other participants of the talks here in the Rose Garden later this afternoon. But I did want to specifically take some time out to speak to the people of Israel and to the region about the senseless slaughter that took place near Hebron yesterday. 

 

There are going to be extremists and rejectionists who, rather than seeking peace, are going to be seeking destruction. And the tragedy that we saw yesterday where people were gunned down on the street by terrorists who are purposely trying to undermine these talks is an example of what we're up against. But I want everybody to be very clear: The United States is going to be unwavering in its support of Israel’s security and we are going to push back against these kinds of terrorist activities. 

 

And so the message should go out to Hamas and everybody else who is taking credit for these heinous crimes that this is not going to stop us from not only ensuring a secure Israel but also securing a longer-lasting peace in which people throughout the region can take a different course. 

 

I also want to express the deepest condolences of the American people to the families of those who were gunned down. And I want to thank Prime Minister Netanyahu, during a very difficult time for his country, still being so committed to the cause of peace that he is here with us today. 

 

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Making Preparations Prior to the Impacts of Hurricane Earl

Posted by Nikki Sutton on September 2, 2010 at 2:15 PM EDT

President Obama spoke with Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Administrator Craig Fugate this afternoon and yesterday morning to ensure we are doing everything in our power to keep people safe in advance of Hurricane Earl along the eastern seaboard. The President will continue to monitor the situation as FEMA tracks the storm's movement in conjunction with the National Hurricane Center.

President Barack Obama talks on the phone with FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate

President Barack Obama talks on the phone with Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Craig Fugate about preparations for Hurricane Earl during a call in the Oval Office. Listening at right is Richard A. Reed, Special Assistant to the President for Homeland Security. September 1, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Includes Video

read the rest

Learn more about Homeland Security

*

There’s Courage in Our Country’s Classrooms

Posted by Secretary Arne Duncan on September 2, 2010 at 1:47 PM EDT

As students head back to school this fall, I travelled over the last two weeks on an eight-state bus tour to highlight “Courage in the Classroom.” The mission of the tour was simple: to honor our nation’s unsung heroes—our teachers. ...

Includes Video

read the rest

Learn more about Education

*

Two New Studies: Health Reform Benefits Small Business

Posted by Stephanie Cutter on September 2, 2010 at 10:01 AM EDT

Under the old health care system, many businesses found it difficult, if not impossible to provide health insurance benefits to their workers. Over the past decade the percentage of small firms offering coverage decreased and many businesses have suffered under the weight of high health care costs.

The Affordable Care Act helps make it easier for employers to provide health benefits. This year, small businesses are eligible for health care tax credits and starting in 2014, small businesses with up to 100 employees will have access to state-based Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) Exchanges, which will expand their purchasing power. Additionally, the Business Roundtable estimated that provisions in the legislation could save $3,000 per person in health costs.

read the rest

Learn more about Health Care

*

The Worst Natural Disaster in Pakistan's History: Support Victims of the Floods

Posted by Nikki Sutton on September 1, 2010 at 7:15 PM EDT

Americans have a rich history of showing great generosity when other communities around the world face crises. Today, the people of Pakistan are confronting one of the worst crises in their history. Over 20 million people throughout Pakistan have been affected since flooding began just over a month ago and there is an urgent need for shelter, clean water, food, and medical supplies.

That is why the State Department has established the Pakistan Relief Fund for American's to join the relief, recovery and reconstruction effort by donating online or by texting "FLOOD" to 27722 for a contribution of $10 that will be added to their cell phone bill.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton encourages American's to help continue our tradition of generosity in a public service announcement released by the Ad Council.

Contributions to the Pakistan Relief Fund will go towards funding programs run by the Department of State and other federal agencies for relief, recovery and reconstruction efforts in Pakistan, or to provide funds to international organizations, non-profit organizations and other appropriate recipients for relief, recovery and reconstruction efforts in Pakistan. For more information about the Pakistan Relief Fund, visit www.state.gov/pakistanrelief.

Learn more about Foreign Policy

*

Continued Recovery for America’s Agricultural Economy

Posted by Secretary Tom Vilsack on September 1, 2010 at 7:01 PM EDT

Yesterday I was pleased to receive the encouraging news from two USDA reports that illustrate the strength of the recovery in our agricultural economy. The 2010 Farm Income Forecast and Outlook for U.S. Agricultural Trade show a positive picture for 2010, and predict sustained growth for the future.

This recovery is a testament to the 2008 Farm Bill, to a wide range of efforts of the Obama Administration – such as the Recovery Act – to move the economy forward and to support the agriculture economy, and the hard work and resilience of America’s farmers and ranchers.

read the rest

Learn more about Rural

*

A Moment of Opportunity that Must be Seized

Posted by Prem Kumar on September 1, 2010 at 6:21 PM EDT

previous photo

Working Towards Middle East Peace

Show Gallery Info

President Barack Obama holds a bilateral meeting with President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt in the Oval Office, Sept. 1, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

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Today the White House is focused on the re-launch of direct negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians for the first time in nearly two years. As the President has said, we are under no illusions about how difficult and complex a task reaching a peace agreement will be, but we also know that resolving this conflict is in the national security interests of the United States. Re-launching direct talks is an important step along this path.

Includes Photo Gallery

read the rest

Learn more about , Foreign Policy

*

Forging Ahead on Middle East Peace Talks

Posted by Jesse Lee on September 1, 2010 at 1:30 PM EDT

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The President's schedule today is packed with bilateral meetings: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel, President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority, King Abdullah II of Jordan, and President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt. The talks will stretch into the night with a working dinner with all five leaders in the Old Family Dining Room of the White House. Learn more from last night's press briefing with Special Envoy for Middle East Peace Senator George Mitchell.

Emerging from the first in that series of meetings, President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu made clear that the "senseless slaughter" that took place last night would not deter the pursuit of peace:

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Hello, everybody. Prime Minister Netanyahu and I just had a very productive discussion about our shared efforts to advance the cause of peace between Israelis and Palestinians and throughout the Middle East. I'm going to have more to say about today’s meetings not only with Prime Minister Netanyahu but with the other participants of the talks here in the Rose Garden later this afternoon. But I did want to specifically take some time out to speak to the people of Israel and to the region about the senseless slaughter that took place near Hebron yesterday.

There are going to be extremists and rejectionists who, rather than seeking peace, are going to be seeking destruction. And the tragedy that we saw yesterday where people were gunned down on the street by terrorists who are purposely trying to undermine these talks is an example of what we're up against. But I want everybody to be very clear: The United States is going to be unwavering in its support of Israel’s security and we are going to push back against these kinds of terrorist activities.

And so the message should go out to Hamas and everybody else who is taking credit for these heinous crimes that this is not going to stop us from not only ensuring a secure Israel but also securing a longer-lasting peace in which people throughout the region can take a different course.

I also want to express the deepest condolences of the American people to the families of those who were gunned down. And I want to thank Prime Minister Netanyahu, during a very difficult time for his country, still being so committed to the cause of peace that he is here with us today.

Prime Minister.

PRIME MINISTER NETANYAHU: Well, thank you, Mr. President, for expressing what I think is the sentiment of decent people everywhere, in the face of this savagery and brutality.

Four innocent people were gunned down and seven new orphans were added, by people who have no respect for human life and trample human rights into the dust and butcher everything that they oppose.

I think that the President’s statement is an expression of our desire to fight against this terror. And the talks that we had, which were, indeed, open, productive, serious in the quest for peace, also centered around the need to have security arrangements that are able to roll back this kind of terror and other threats to Israel’s security. That is a fundamental element, an important foundation, of the peace that we seek and work for.

And I appreciate, Mr. President, your efforts to advance this peace for us and for our neighbors, for our region, and I think we can say, for the world.

Thank you.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Thank you.

And let me just say that I will be meeting with President Abbas this afternoon. He condemned this outrageous attack, as well. I have the utmost confidence in him and his belief in a two-state solution in which the people of Israel and the Palestinians are living side by side in peace and security. And so I am also grateful to him for his presence here today.

We’ve got a lot of work to do. There are going to be those who are going to do everything they can to undermine these talks, but we are going to remain stalwart.

And so, to Prime Minister Netanyahu and to Prime Minister -- and to President Abbas, as well as to President Mubarak and King Abdullah of Jordan, I am very grateful for their participation. I will have a longer discussion about that this afternoon after my bilateral meetings.

Thank you.

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President Obama's Address on the End of the Combat Mission in Iraq

Posted by Jesse Lee on August 31, 2010 at 9:30 PM EDT

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Having returned hours earlier from a conversation with troops at Fort Bliss, Texas – troops who had seen every phase of what has become one of America’s longest wars – the President spoke to the Nation for just the second time from the Oval Office to announce the end of America’s combat role in that war. Americans in high school today may barely remember a time when America was not in combat in Iraq, and young adults – including so many of our troops who have sacrificed so much – have almost by definition gone their entire adult lives in a country divided over the war. Today, as the President put it, was a day to begin to “turn the page” – a day when America could turn its focus towards building itself back up from a devastating recession.

Over all that time, though, as the President pointed out, “there has been one constant amidst those shifting tides”:

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President Obama Salutes the Troops at Fort Bliss: "Thank You" and "Welcome Home"

Posted by Jesse Lee on August 31, 2010 at 3:19 PM EDT

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Over the past week, we’ve been inviting you to join us in saluting the troops for their service. The response has been overwhelming, and has made clear that while the end of the combat mission is an appropriate time to recognize the sacrifice the troops and their military make, the gratitude is always there, and never forgotten with the American people.

It was in that same spirit that the President flew to Fort Bliss in Texas today, home to troops who have served at every stage of the Iraq War, including troops who are redeploying back home throughout the fall, and troops supporting our new support mission in Iraq.

President Barack Obama Greets Members of the Military at Fort Bliss in El Paso, Texas

President Barack Obama greets members of the military at Fort Bliss in El Paso, Texas August 31, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

The President will address the nation from the Oval Office tonight at 8:00PM EDT, you can watch live here and submit questions for a live chat afterwards now. He told those listening that they would be the focus:

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Ben Rhodes Answers Your Questions About Iraq Following the President's Oval Address

Posted by Sarah Bernard on August 31, 2010 at 12:51 PM EDT

Tonight at 8pm EDT, President Obama will address the nation from the Oval Office regarding the end of the U.S. combat mission in Iraq. Immediately following the President's remarks, Ben Rhodes, Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications will answer questions directly from Americans across the country.

Now is your chance to hear the White House's response to your questions about the change of mission. Submit your questions now and vote your favorite ones to the top. Then tune in tonight at 8pm EDT to watch and participate at whitehouse.gov/live.

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New Resources for Employers and Unions to Help Keep Health Coverage Accessible and Affordable

Posted by Secretary Gary Locke on August 31, 2010 at 10:58 AM EDT

If you are an employer, you know how difficult it can be to find – and provide– health insurance for your retired employees who are age 55 or older and not yet eligible for Medicare.

Some Americans who retire before they are eligible for Medicare see their life savings disappear because of medical bills and exorbitant rates in the individual health insurance market. And the cost of insurance can be out of reach for individuals looking to buy health coverage on their own.

Many employers would like to help their employees make this transition comfortably and provide access to health insurance past retirement. But in these tough economic times, it is difficult for employers to keep up with skyrocketing health care costs for employees and retirees.

The Affordable Care Act’s Early Retiree Reinsurance Program will make it a little easier for employers to provide high-quality health benefits to their retirees.

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Hurricane Katrina: The Work Continues

Posted by Chris Lu on August 31, 2010 at 10:16 AM EDT

Over the past week, we’ve been remembering the tragedy of Hurricane Katrina, highlighting the progress made, and restating the Administration’s commitment to the region. This past weekend, several members of the Cabinet, the First Lady and President Obama traveled to the Gulf Coast, where the President spoke about the stories of communities and families working to restore what was lost.

Watch the video:

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Throughout our Hurricane Katrina: 5 Years of Remembering & Rebuilding series, we heard stories of dedication and restoration from across the federal government. Here are just a few examples of the Administration’s continued support for the individuals, families and communities who were affected:

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Agent Orange and Veterans: A 40-Year Wait

Posted by Secretary Eric K. Shinseki on August 30, 2010 at 4:59 PM EDT

With the unwavering support of President Obama, VA is transforming to meet its 21st Century responsibilities. Advocacy, on behalf of every generation of Veterans, is central to this transformation.

Agent Orange was a blend of herbicides used by the U.S. military, during the Vietnam conflict, to deny concealment to enemy forces. More than 19 million gallons of herbicides were sprayed to remove foliage and undergrowth. The most common, Agent Orange, was sprayed in all four military zones of South Vietnam.

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Economic Recovery for Small Businesses: Now is Not the Time to Pull Back

Posted by Karen Mills on August 30, 2010 at 2:44 PM EDT

As I travel around the country, I meet many small business owners who are poised to take that next step to grow their business and create jobs. In fact, this morning’s USA Today looks at one of those business owners - Amarjit Kaur who runs a convenience store and gas station in Wood Village, OR. Amarjit has been approved for an SBA loan so she can buy the property she now leases. But today her application sits in a *** waiting for passage of the Small Business Jobs Act currently before the Senate.

Here’s what’s happening: Up until a few months ago, SBA was able to waive the fees for SBA loan borrowers. This allowed small business owners to put more money back into their business. In fact, these fee reductions will save Amarjit about $35,000. At the same time, we were able to increase the government guarantee on SBA loans, to encourage more banks and credit unions to go ahead and make SBA loans to good, creditworthy small businesses.

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Landmark: Number of Donut Hole Rebate Checks Passes One Million

Posted by Don Berwick on August 30, 2010 at 2:14 PM EDT

Cross-posted from HealthCare.gov

On August 10th, you may have seen Jenny Backus’ post on HealthCare Notes noting that the third round of donut hole rebate checks went into the mail.

Recently, we hit a major milestone: the millionth check was sent out over the weekend.

If you haven’t heard about the rebate checks before, they are the first step in closing the prescription drug coverage gap under the Affordable Care Act. This gap is commonly referred to as the ‘donut hole.’ We know that many people with Medicare have tight budgets and some may skip or alter the medicines their doctors recommend they take in order to save money in the donut hole. That is dangerous and unacceptable. And that’s why the Affordable Care Act takes steps to close this coverage gap.

This year, as qualifying people with Medicare enter the ‘donut hole,’ Medicare will send them a tax-free, one-time rebate check for $250. Next year, if you reach the ‘donut hole,’ you will receive a 50 percent discount when buying covered brand-name prescription drugs.

If you are eligible for this assistance, remember, you don’t need to do anything special to receive the check. People who qualify for the one-time check do not need to sign up, since their checks are mailed automatically when they enter the donut hole. So just make sure to check the mailbox.

Just a reminder: you should never give out personal information to anyone who is not a trusted source. If anyone asks for your personal information you are encouraged to contact 1-800-MEDICARE and report the inquiry. You can also visit www.stopmedicarefraud.gov for more information.

We hope that the latest round of checks will ease the burden on individuals recently entering the donut hole. This is just one of several ways that the Affordable Care Act strengthens Medicare so make sure you check out Medicare.gov and other areas of HealthCare.gov for more information.

Don Berwick is Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services

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The President on the Economy: "Pushing This Economy Forward" vs. "The Blockade"

Posted by Jesse Lee on August 30, 2010 at 1:34 PM EDT

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Speaking in the Rose Garden in the heat, the President began his remarks this morning on the economy by once again noting that for all the progress that's been made since "that terrible September when our economy teetered on the brink of collapse," there is much left to do -- and that millions of Americans are still struggling:

That’s why my administration remains focused, every single day, on pushing this economy forward, repairing the damage that’s been done to the middle class over the past decade, and promoting the growth we need to get our people back to work.

So, as Congress prepares to return to session, my economic team is hard at work in identifying additional measures that could make a difference in both promoting growth and hiring in the short term, and increasing our economy’s competitiveness in the long term. Steps like extending the tax cuts for the middle class that are set to expire this year. Redoubling our investment in clean energy and R&D. Rebuilding more of our infrastructure for the future. Further tax cuts to encourage businesses to put their capital to work creating jobs here in the United States. And I’ll be addressing these proposals in further detail in the days and weeks to come.

Having laid out this broader agenda, though, and making clear that no one bill would be the silver bullet, the President zeroed in on the obstruction that is standing in the way of even the most immediate and obvious of steps:

And there’s currently a jobs bill before Congress that would do two big things for small business owners: cut more taxes and make available more loans. It would help them get the credit they need, and eliminate capital gains taxes on key investments so they have more incentive to invest right now. And it would accelerate $55 billion of tax relief to encourage American businesses, small and large, to expand their investments over the next 14 months.

Unfortunately, this bill has been languishing in the Senate for months, held up by a partisan minority that won’t even allow it to go to a vote. That makes no sense. This bill is fully paid for. It won’t add to the deficit. And there is no reason to block it besides pure partisan politics.

Small business owners and the communities that rely on them, they don’t have time for political games. They shouldn’t have to wait any longer. In fact, just this morning, a story showed that small businesses have put hiring and expanding on hold while waiting for the Senate to act on this bill. Simply put: holding this bill hostage is directly detrimental to our economic growth.

So I ask Senate Republicans to drop the blockade. I know we’re entering election season. But the people who sent us here expect us to work together to get things done and improve this economy.

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Newsflash! Economists Agree

Posted by Jared Bernstein on August 30, 2010 at 12:38 PM EDT

The old adage goes that Presidents often wish for one-handed economists, to avoid all that “on the one hand, sir, we could be looking at X; though on the other hand, it could be Y.”

So when economic consensus forms around the outcome of a policy like the Recovery Act, it’s worth taking note. That’s why this article from USA Today, entitled (online) “Economists Agree: Stimulus Created 3 Million Jobs” is worth noting.

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Vice President Biden Lands in Iraq

Posted by Jesse Lee on August 30, 2010 at 11:34 AM EDT

An update out from the White House moments ago:

Vice President Joe Biden in Iraq

Vice President Joe Biden has arrived in Iraq to participate in a Change of Command and Change of Mission Ceremony, fulfilling the commitment made by the President in his first month in office.

This is the Vice President’s sixth trip to Iraq since January 2009. The United States ends its combat mission in Iraq on August 31st, having drawn down to fewer than 50,000 troops from approximately 144,000 troops in January 2009. The remaining troops will advise and assist Iraq’s security forces, conduct partnered counter-terrorism operations, and protect U.S. civilians. In accordance with an agreement between the U.S. and Iraqi governments, all U.S. forces will leave Iraq by December 31, 2011.

President Obama will deliver a National Address on Iraq on August 31st. The Vice President’s visit at this juncture will reinforce the long-term U.S. commitment to Iraq. The Vice President will meet with Iraqi President Jalal Talabani, Vice President Tariq al-Hashimi, Vice President Adil Abd al-Mahdi, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, leader of the Iraqiyya coalition Ayad Allawi, Chairman of the Islamic Supreme Council Ammar al-Hakim and other political leaders to discuss the latest developments in Iraq and to urge Iraqi leaders to conclude negotiations on the formation of a new government.

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Five Years Later, Our Commitment Continues

Posted by Secretary Ray LaHood on August 30, 2010 at 11:08 AM EDT

It's difficult to look back on the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina with anything but sadness. Sadness for the lives lost, sadness for the displacement of so many people.

As we mark the fifth anniversary of Katrina, there is still work to be done. And the Department of Transportation's (DOT) commitment to help rebuild Gulf communities remains strong.

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Five Years After Katrina: "New Orleans is Blossoming Again"

Posted by Jesse Lee on August 29, 2010 at 5:05 PM EDT

Ed. Note: Read posts from Members of the Cabinet on Katrina recovery in our "Five Years of Remembering & Rebuilding" series.

previous photo

The President And First Lady Mark The Fifth Anniversary Of Hurricane Katrina

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On August 29, 2010, President Barack Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, and members of the Cabinet traveled to New Orleans to commemorate the fifth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.

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Making Preparations Prior to the Impacts of Hurricane Earl

Posted by Nikki Sutton on September 2, 2010 at 2:15 PM EDT

President Obama spoke with Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Administrator Craig Fugate this afternoon and yesterday morning to ensure we are doing everything in our power to keep people safe in advance of Hurricane Earl along the eastern seaboard. The President will continue to monitor the situation as FEMA tracks the storm's movement in conjunction with the National Hurricane Center.

President Barack Obama talks on the phone with FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate

President Barack Obama talks on the phone with Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Craig Fugate about preparations for Hurricane Earl during a call in the Oval Office. Listening at right is Richard A. Reed, Special Assistant to the President for Homeland Security. September 1, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

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There’s Courage in Our Country’s Classrooms

Posted by Secretary Arne Duncan on September 2, 2010 at 1:47 PM EDT

As students head back to school this fall, I travelled over the last two weeks on an eight-state bus tour to highlight “Courage in the Classroom.” The mission of the tour was simple: to honor our nation’s unsung heroes—our teachers.

Includes Video

read the rest

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Two New Studies: Health Reform Benefits Small Business

Posted by Stephanie Cutter on September 2, 2010 at 10:01 AM EDT

Under the old health care system, many businesses found it difficult, if not impossible to provide health insurance benefits to their workers. Over the past decade the percentage of small firms offering coverage decreased and many businesses have suffered under the weight of high health care costs.

The Affordable Care Act helps make it easier for employers to provide health benefits. This year, small businesses are eligible for health care tax credits and starting in 2014, small businesses with up to 100 employees will have access to state-based Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) Exchanges, which will expand their purchasing power. Additionally, the Business Roundtable estimated that provisions in the legislation could save $3,000 per person in health costs.

read the rest

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The Worst Natural Disaster in Pakistan's History: Support Victims of the Floods

Posted by Nikki Sutton on September 1, 2010 at 7:15 PM EDT

Americans have a rich history of showing great generosity when other communities around the world face crises. Today, the people of Pakistan are confronting one of the worst crises in their history. Over 20 million people throughout Pakistan have been affected since flooding began just over a month ago and there is an urgent need for shelter, clean water, food, and medical supplies.

That is why the State Department has established the Pakistan Relief Fund for American's to join the relief, recovery and reconstruction effort by donating online or by texting "FLOOD" to 27722 for a contribution of $10 that will be added to their cell phone bill.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton encourages American's to help continue our tradition of generosity in a public service announcement released by the Ad Council.

Contributions to the Pakistan Relief Fund will go towards funding programs run by the Department of State and other federal agencies for relief, recovery and reconstruction efforts in Pakistan, or to provide funds to international organizations, non-profit organizations and other appropriate recipients for relief, recovery and reconstruction efforts in Pakistan. For more information about the Pakistan Relief Fund, visit www.state.gov/pakistanrelief.

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Continued Recovery for America’s Agricultural Economy

Posted by Secretary Tom Vilsack on September 1, 2010 at 7:01 PM EDT

Yesterday I was pleased to receive the encouraging news from two USDA reports that illustrate the strength of the recovery in our agricultural economy. The 2010 Farm Income Forecast and Outlook for U.S. Agricultural Trade show a positive picture for 2010, and predict sustained growth for the future.

This recovery is a testament to the 2008 Farm Bill, to a wide range of efforts of the Obama Administration – such as the Recovery Act – to move the economy forward and to support the agriculture economy, and the hard work and resilience of America’s farmers and ranchers.

read the rest

Learn more about Rural

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A Moment of Opportunity that Must be Seized

Posted by Prem Kumar on September 1, 2010 at 6:21 PM EDT

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Working Towards Middle East Peace

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President Barack Obama holds a bilateral meeting with President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt in the Oval Office, Sept. 1, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

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Today the White House is focused on the re-launch of direct negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians for the first time in nearly two years. As the President has said, we are under no illusions about how difficult and complex a task reaching a peace agreement will be, but we also know that resolving this conflict is in the national security interests of the United States. Re-launching direct talks is an important step along this path.

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Forging Ahead on Middle East Peace Talks

Posted by Jesse Lee on September 1, 2010 at 1:30 PM EDT

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The President's schedule today is packed with bilateral meetings: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel, President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority, King Abdullah II of Jordan, and President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt. The talks will stretch into the night with a working dinner with all five leaders in the Old Family Dining Room of the White House. Learn more from last night's press briefing with Special Envoy for Middle East Peace Senator George Mitchell.

Emerging from the first in that series of meetings, President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu made clear that the "senseless slaughter" that took place last night would not deter the pursuit of peace:

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Hello, everybody. Prime Minister Netanyahu and I just had a very productive discussion about our shared efforts to advance the cause of peace between Israelis and Palestinians and throughout the Middle East. I'm going to have more to say about today’s meetings not only with Prime Minister Netanyahu but with the other participants of the talks here in the Rose Garden later this afternoon. But I did want to specifically take some time out to speak to the people of Israel and to the region about the senseless slaughter that took place near Hebron yesterday.

There are going to be extremists and rejectionists who, rather than seeking peace, are going to be seeking destruction. And the tragedy that we saw yesterday where people were gunned down on the street by terrorists who are purposely trying to undermine these talks is an example of what we're up against. But I want everybody to be very clear: The United States is going to be unwavering in its support of Israel’s security and we are going to push back against these kinds of terrorist activities.

And so the message should go out to Hamas and everybody else who is taking credit for these heinous crimes that this is not going to stop us from not only ensuring a secure Israel but also securing a longer-lasting peace in which people throughout the region can take a different course.

I also want to express the deepest condolences of the American people to the families of those who were gunned down. And I want to thank Prime Minister Netanyahu, during a very difficult time for his country, still being so committed to the cause of peace that he is here with us today.

Prime Minister.

PRIME MINISTER NETANYAHU: Well, thank you, Mr. President, for expressing what I think is the sentiment of decent people everywhere, in the face of this savagery and brutality.

Four innocent people were gunned down and seven new orphans were added, by people who have no respect for human life and trample human rights into the dust and butcher everything that they oppose.

I think that the President’s statement is an expression of our desire to fight against this terror. And the talks that we had, which were, indeed, open, productive, serious in the quest for peace, also centered around the need to have security arrangements that are able to roll back this kind of terror and other threats to Israel’s security. That is a fundamental element, an important foundation, of the peace that we seek and work for.

And I appreciate, Mr. President, your efforts to advance this peace for us and for our neighbors, for our region, and I think we can say, for the world.

Thank you.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Thank you.

And let me just say that I will be meeting with President Abbas this afternoon. He condemned this outrageous attack, as well. I have the utmost confidence in him and his belief in a two-state solution in which the people of Israel and the Palestinians are living side by side in peace and security. And so I am also grateful to him for his presence here today.

We’ve got a lot of work to do. There are going to be those who are going to do everything they can to undermine these talks, but we are going to remain stalwart.

And so, to Prime Minister Netanyahu and to Prime Minister -- and to President Abbas, as well as to President Mubarak and King Abdullah of Jordan, I am very grateful for their participation. I will have a longer discussion about that this afternoon after my bilateral meetings.

Thank you.

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President Obama's Address on the End of the Combat Mission in Iraq

Posted by Jesse Lee on August 31, 2010 at 9:30 PM EDT

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Having returned hours earlier from a conversation with troops at Fort Bliss, Texas – troops who had seen every phase of what has become one of America’s longest wars – the President spoke to the Nation for just the second time from the Oval Office to announce the end of America’s combat role in that war. Americans in high school today may barely remember a time when America was not in combat in Iraq, and young adults – including so many of our troops who have sacrificed so much – have almost by definition gone their entire adult lives in a country divided over the war. Today, as the President put it, was a day to begin to “turn the page” – a day when America could turn its focus towards building itself back up from a devastating recession.

Over all that time, though, as the President pointed out, “there has been one constant amidst those shifting tides”:

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President Obama Salutes the Troops at Fort Bliss: "Thank You" and "Welcome Home"

Posted by Jesse Lee on August 31, 2010 at 3:19 PM EDT

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Over the past week, we’ve been inviting you to join us in saluting the troops for their service. The response has been overwhelming, and has made clear that while the end of the combat mission is an appropriate time to recognize the sacrifice the troops and their military make, the gratitude is always there, and never forgotten with the American people.

It was in that same spirit that the President flew to Fort Bliss in Texas today, home to troops who have served at every stage of the Iraq War, including troops who are redeploying back home throughout the fall, and troops supporting our new support mission in Iraq.

President Barack Obama Greets Members of the Military at Fort Bliss in El Paso, Texas

President Barack Obama greets members of the military at Fort Bliss in El Paso, Texas August 31, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

The President will address the nation from the Oval Office tonight at 8:00PM EDT, you can watch live here and submit questions for a live chat afterwards now. He told those listening that they would be the focus:

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Ben Rhodes Answers Your Questions About Iraq Following the President's Oval Address

Posted by Sarah Bernard on August 31, 2010 at 12:51 PM EDT

Tonight at 8pm EDT, President Obama will address the nation from the Oval Office regarding the end of the U.S. combat mission in Iraq. Immediately following the President's remarks, Ben Rhodes, Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications will answer questions directly from Americans across the country.

Now is your chance to hear the White House's response to your questions about the change of mission. Submit your questions now and vote your favorite ones to the top. Then tune in tonight at 8pm EDT to watch and participate at whitehouse.gov/live.

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New Resources for Employers and Unions to Help Keep Health Coverage Accessible and Affordable

Posted by Secretary Gary Locke on August 31, 2010 at 10:58 AM EDT

If you are an employer, you know how difficult it can be to find – and provide– health insurance for your retired employees who are age 55 or older and not yet eligible for Medicare.

Some Americans who retire before they are eligible for Medicare see their life savings disappear because of medical bills and exorbitant rates in the individual health insurance market. And the cost of insurance can be out of reach for individuals looking to buy health coverage on their own.

Many employers would like to help their employees make this transition comfortably and provide access to health insurance past retirement. But in these tough economic times, it is difficult for employers to keep up with skyrocketing health care costs for employees and retirees.

The Affordable Care Act’s Early Retiree Reinsurance Program will make it a little easier for employers to provide high-quality health benefits to their retirees.

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Hurricane Katrina: The Work Continues

Posted by Chris Lu on August 31, 2010 at 10:16 AM EDT

Over the past week, we’ve been remembering the tragedy of Hurricane Katrina, highlighting the progress made, and restating the Administration’s commitment to the region. This past weekend, several members of the Cabinet, the First Lady and President Obama traveled to the Gulf Coast, where the President spoke about the stories of communities and families working to restore what was lost.

Watch the video:

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Throughout our Hurricane Katrina: 5 Years of Remembering & Rebuilding series, we heard stories of dedication and restoration from across the federal government. Here are just a few examples of the Administration’s continued support for the individuals, families and communities who were affected:

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Agent Orange and Veterans: A 40-Year Wait

Posted by Secretary Eric K. Shinseki on August 30, 2010 at 4:59 PM EDT

With the unwavering support of President Obama, VA is transforming to meet its 21st Century responsibilities. Advocacy, on behalf of every generation of Veterans, is central to this transformation.

Agent Orange was a blend of herbicides used by the U.S. military, during the Vietnam conflict, to deny concealment to enemy forces. More than 19 million gallons of herbicides were sprayed to remove foliage and undergrowth. The most common, Agent Orange, was sprayed in all four military zones of South Vietnam.

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Economic Recovery for Small Businesses: Now is Not the Time to Pull Back

Posted by Karen Mills on August 30, 2010 at 2:44 PM EDT

As I travel around the country, I meet many small business owners who are poised to take that next step to grow their business and create jobs. In fact, this morning’s USA Today looks at one of those business owners - Amarjit Kaur who runs a convenience store and gas station in Wood Village, OR. Amarjit has been approved for an SBA loan so she can buy the property she now leases. But today her application sits in a *** waiting for passage of the Small Business Jobs Act currently before the Senate.

Here’s what’s happening: Up until a few months ago, SBA was able to waive the fees for SBA loan borrowers. This allowed small business owners to put more money back into their business. In fact, these fee reductions will save Amarjit about $35,000. At the same time, we were able to increase the government guarantee on SBA loans, to encourage more banks and credit unions to go ahead and make SBA loans to good, creditworthy small businesses.

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Landmark: Number of Donut Hole Rebate Checks Passes One Million

Posted by Don Berwick on August 30, 2010 at 2:14 PM EDT

Cross-posted from HealthCare.gov

On August 10th, you may have seen Jenny Backus’ post on HealthCare Notes noting that the third round of donut hole rebate checks went into the mail.

Recently, we hit a major milestone: the millionth check was sent out over the weekend.

If you haven’t heard about the rebate checks before, they are the first step in closing the prescription drug coverage gap under the Affordable Care Act. This gap is commonly referred to as the ‘donut hole.’ We know that many people with Medicare have tight budgets and some may skip or alter the medicines their doctors recommend they take in order to save money in the donut hole. That is dangerous and unacceptable. And that’s why the Affordable Care Act takes steps to close this coverage gap.

This year, as qualifying people with Medicare enter the ‘donut hole,’ Medicare will send them a tax-free, one-time rebate check for $250. Next year, if you reach the ‘donut hole,’ you will receive a 50 percent discount when buying covered brand-name prescription drugs.

If you are eligible for this assistance, remember, you don’t need to do anything special to receive the check. People who qualify for the one-time check do not need to sign up, since their checks are mailed automatically when they enter the donut hole. So just make sure to check the mailbox.

Just a reminder: you should never give out personal information to anyone who is not a trusted source. If anyone asks for your personal information you are encouraged to contact 1-800-MEDICARE and report the inquiry. You can also visit www.stopmedicarefraud.gov for more information.

We hope that the latest round of checks will ease the burden on individuals recently entering the donut hole. This is just one of several ways that the Affordable Care Act strengthens Medicare so make sure you check out Medicare.gov and other areas of HealthCare.gov for more information.

Don Berwick is Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services

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The President on the Economy: "Pushing This Economy Forward" vs. "The Blockade"

Posted by Jesse Lee on August 30, 2010 at 1:34 PM EDT

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Speaking in the Rose Garden in the heat, the President began his remarks this morning on the economy by once again noting that for all the progress that's been made since "that terrible September when our economy teetered on the brink of collapse," there is much left to do -- and that millions of Americans are still struggling:

That’s why my administration remains focused, every single day, on pushing this economy forward, repairing the damage that’s been done to the middle class over the past decade, and promoting the growth we need to get our people back to work.

So, as Congress prepares to return to session, my economic team is hard at work in identifying additional measures that could make a difference in both promoting growth and hiring in the short term, and increasing our economy’s competitiveness in the long term. Steps like extending the tax cuts for the middle class that are set to expire this year. Redoubling our investment in clean energy and R&D. Rebuilding more of our infrastructure for the future. Further tax cuts to encourage businesses to put their capital to work creating jobs here in the United States. And I’ll be addressing these proposals in further detail in the days and weeks to come.

Having laid out this broader agenda, though, and making clear that no one bill would be the silver bullet, the President zeroed in on the obstruction that is standing in the way of even the most immediate and obvious of steps:

And there’s currently a jobs bill before Congress that would do two big things for small business owners: cut more taxes and make available more loans. It would help them get the credit they need, and eliminate capital gains taxes on key investments so they have more incentive to invest right now. And it would accelerate $55 billion of tax relief to encourage American businesses, small and large, to expand their investments over the next 14 months.

Unfortunately, this bill has been languishing in the Senate for months, held up by a partisan minority that won’t even allow it to go to a vote. That makes no sense. This bill is fully paid for. It won’t add to the deficit. And there is no reason to block it besides pure partisan politics.

Small business owners and the communities that rely on them, they don’t have time for political games. They shouldn’t have to wait any longer. In fact, just this morning, a story showed that small businesses have put hiring and expanding on hold while waiting for the Senate to act on this bill. Simply put: holding this bill hostage is directly detrimental to our economic growth.

So I ask Senate Republicans to drop the blockade. I know we’re entering election season. But the people who sent us here expect us to work together to get things done and improve this economy.

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Newsflash! Economists Agree

Posted by Jared Bernstein on August 30, 2010 at 12:38 PM EDT

The old adage goes that Presidents often wish for one-handed economists, to avoid all that “on the one hand, sir, we could be looking at X; though on the other hand, it could be Y.”

So when economic consensus forms around the outcome of a policy like the Recovery Act, it’s worth taking note. That’s why this article from USA Today, entitled (online) “Economists Agree: Stimulus Created 3 Million Jobs” is worth noting.

read the rest

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Vice President Biden Lands in Iraq

Posted by Jesse Lee on August 30, 2010 at 11:34 AM EDT

An update out from the White House moments ago:

Vice President Joe Biden in Iraq

Vice President Joe Biden has arrived in Iraq to participate in a Change of Command and Change of Mission Ceremony, fulfilling the commitment made by the President in his first month in office.

This is the Vice President’s sixth trip to Iraq since January 2009. The United States ends its combat mission in Iraq on August 31st, having drawn down to fewer than 50,000 troops from approximately 144,000 troops in January 2009. The remaining troops will advise and assist Iraq’s security forces, conduct partnered counter-terrorism operations, and protect U.S. civilians. In accordance with an agreement between the U.S. and Iraqi governments, all U.S. forces will leave Iraq by December 31, 2011.

President Obama will deliver a National Address on Iraq on August 31st. The Vice President’s visit at this juncture will reinforce the long-term U.S. commitment to Iraq. The Vice President will meet with Iraqi President Jalal Talabani, Vice President Tariq al-Hashimi, Vice President Adil Abd al-Mahdi, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, leader of the Iraqiyya coalition Ayad Allawi, Chairman of the Islamic Supreme Council Ammar al-Hakim and other political leaders to discuss the latest developments in Iraq and to urge Iraqi leaders to conclude negotiations on the formation of a new government.

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Five Years Later, Our Commitment Continues

Posted by Secretary Ray LaHood on August 30, 2010 at 11:08 AM EDT

It's difficult to look back on the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina with anything but sadness. Sadness for the lives lost, sadness for the displacement of so many people.

As we mark the fifth anniversary of Katrina, there is still work to be done. And the Department of Transportation's (DOT) commitment to help rebuild Gulf communities remains strong.

read the rest

Learn more about Energy & Environment, Homeland Security

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Five Years After Katrina: "New Orleans is Blossoming Again"

Posted by Jesse Lee on August 29, 2010 at 5:05 PM EDT

Ed. Note: Read posts from Members of the Cabinet on Katrina recovery in our "Five Years of Remembering & Rebuilding" series.

previous photo

The President And First Lady Mark The Fifth Anniversary Of Hurricane Katrina

Show Gallery Info

On August 29, 2010, President Barack Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, and members of the Cabinet traveled to New Orleans to commemorate the fifth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.

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Making Preparations Prior to the Impacts of Hurricane Earl

Posted by Nikki Sutton on September 2, 2010 at 2:15 PM EDT

President Obama spoke with Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Administrator Craig Fugate this afternoon and yesterday morning to ensure we are doing everything in our power to keep people safe in advance of Hurricane Earl along the eastern seaboard. The President will continue to monitor the situation as FEMA tracks the storm's movement in conjunction with the National Hurricane Center.

President Barack Obama talks on the phone with FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate

President Barack Obama talks on the phone with Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Craig Fugate about preparations for Hurricane Earl during a call in the Oval Office. Listening at right is Richard A. Reed, Special Assistant to the President for Homeland Security. September 1, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

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There’s Courage in Our Country’s Classrooms

Posted by Secretary Arne Duncan on September 2, 2010 at 1:47 PM EDT

As students head back to school this fall, I travelled over the last two weeks on an eight-state bus tour to highlight “Courage in the Classroom.” The mission of the tour was simple: to honor our nation’s unsung heroes—our teachers.

Includes Video

read the rest

Learn more about Education

*

Two New Studies: Health Reform Benefits Small Business

Posted by Stephanie Cutter on September 2, 2010 at 10:01 AM EDT

Under the old health care system, many businesses found it difficult, if not impossible to provide health insurance benefits to their workers. Over the past decade the percentage of small firms offering coverage decreased and many businesses have suffered under the weight of high health care costs.

The Affordable Care Act helps make it easier for employers to provide health benefits. This year, small businesses are eligible for health care tax credits and starting in 2014, small businesses with up to 100 employees will have access to state-based Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) Exchanges, which will expand their purchasing power. Additionally, the Business Roundtable estimated that provisions in the legislation could save $3,000 per person in health costs.

read the rest

Learn more about Health Care

*

The Worst Natural Disaster in Pakistan's History: Support Victims of the Floods

Posted by Nikki Sutton on September 1, 2010 at 7:15 PM EDT

Americans have a rich history of showing great generosity when other communities around the world face crises. Today, the people of Pakistan are confronting one of the worst crises in their history. Over 20 million people throughout Pakistan have been affected since flooding began just over a month ago and there is an urgent need for shelter, clean water, food, and medical supplies.

That is why the State Department has established the Pakistan Relief Fund for American's to join the relief, recovery and reconstruction effort by donating online or by texting "FLOOD" to 27722 for a contribution of $10 that will be added to their cell phone bill.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton encourages American's to help continue our tradition of generosity in a public service announcement released by the Ad Council.

Contributions to the Pakistan Relief Fund will go towards funding programs run by the Department of State and other federal agencies for relief, recovery and reconstruction efforts in Pakistan, or to provide funds to international organizations, non-profit organizations and other appropriate recipients for relief, recovery and reconstruction efforts in Pakistan. For more information about the Pakistan Relief Fund, visit www.state.gov/pakistanrelief.

Learn more about Foreign Policy

*

Continued Recovery for America’s Agricultural Economy

Posted by Secretary Tom Vilsack on September 1, 2010 at 7:01 PM EDT

Yesterday I was pleased to receive the encouraging news from two USDA reports that illustrate the strength of the recovery in our agricultural economy. The 2010 Farm Income Forecast and Outlook for U.S. Agricultural Trade show a positive picture for 2010, and predict sustained growth for the future.

This recovery is a testament to the 2008 Farm Bill, to a wide range of efforts of the Obama Administration – such as the Recovery Act – to move the economy forward and to support the agriculture economy, and the hard work and resilience of America’s farmers and ranchers.

read the rest

Learn more about Rural

*

A Moment of Opportunity that Must be Seized

Posted by Prem Kumar on September 1, 2010 at 6:21 PM EDT

previous photo

Working Towards Middle East Peace

Show Gallery Info

President Barack Obama holds a bilateral meeting with President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt in the Oval Office, Sept. 1, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

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Today the White House is focused on the re-launch of direct negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians for the first time in nearly two years. As the President has said, we are under no illusions about how difficult and complex a task reaching a peace agreement will be, but we also know that resolving this conflict is in the national security interests of the United States. Re-launching direct talks is an important step along this path.

Includes Photo Gallery

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Forging Ahead on Middle East Peace Talks

Posted by Jesse Lee on September 1, 2010 at 1:30 PM EDT

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The President's schedule today is packed with bilateral meetings: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel, President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority, King Abdullah II of Jordan, and President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt. The talks will stretch into the night with a working dinner with all five leaders in the Old Family Dining Room of the White House. Learn more from last night's press briefing with Special Envoy for Middle East Peace Senator George Mitchell.

Emerging from the first in that series of meetings, President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu made clear that the "senseless slaughter" that took place last night would not deter the pursuit of peace:

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Hello, everybody. Prime Minister Netanyahu and I just had a very productive discussion about our shared efforts to advance the cause of peace between Israelis and Palestinians and throughout the Middle East. I'm going to have more to say about today’s meetings not only with Prime Minister Netanyahu but with the other participants of the talks here in the Rose Garden later this afternoon. But I did want to specifically take some time out to speak to the people of Israel and to the region about the senseless slaughter that took place near Hebron yesterday.

There are going to be extremists and rejectionists who, rather than seeking peace, are going to be seeking destruction. And the tragedy that we saw yesterday where people were gunned down on the street by terrorists who are purposely trying to undermine these talks is an example of what we're up against. But I want everybody to be very clear: The United States is going to be unwavering in its support of Israel’s security and we are going to push back against these kinds of terrorist activities.

And so the message should go out to Hamas and everybody else who is taking credit for these heinous crimes that this is not going to stop us from not only ensuring a secure Israel but also securing a longer-lasting peace in which people throughout the region can take a different course.

I also want to express the deepest condolences of the American people to the families of those who were gunned down. And I want to thank Prime Minister Netanyahu, during a very difficult time for his country, still being so committed to the cause of peace that he is here with us today.

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Anonymous
#185370

3. Written by The White House, on 11-08-2010 17:28

Focus on Workplace Safety

Posted by Joseph Main on July 16, 2010 at 10:49 AM EDT

Each year across America, more than 5,000 workers are killed on the job. Another four million are injured, and thousands more will subsequently become ill or die from present day occupational exposures.

Recent tragedies—like the explosions at the Upper Big Branch Mine in West Virginia and aboard the Deepwater Horizon off the Gulf Coast—make that clear. The news coverage is certainly fostering public awareness of the hazards facing many workers, but every day, countless other workplace injuries and deaths go largely unnoticed.

Shortly after the Upper Big Branch explosion, the President made clear his personal commitment and that of the Administration to honor the victims of this disaster by ensuring justice is served on their behalf and that an accident of this magnitude never happens again. He told the nation “we owe [those who perished in the UBB disaster] more than prayers. We owe them action. We owe them accountability. We owe them an assurance that when they go to work every day, when they enter that dark mine, they are not alone. They ought to know that behind them there is a company that’s doing what it takes to protect them, and a government that is looking out for their safety.”

Includes Video

read the rest

West Wing Week: "6 Principals" ...

Posted by Arun Chaudhary on July 16, 2010 at 12:00 AM EDT

Thanks for checking out the West Wing Week, your guide to everything that's happening at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. This week, walk step by step with the President as he speaks about the economy in Las Vegas, celebrates 100 years of the Boy Scouts of America, meets with President Fernandez of the Dominican Republic, visits with the 2010 Principal of the Year award winners, announces the new Director of the Office of Management and Budget and much more.

Play/pauseMute/unmuteRewind and stop

Download Video: mp4 (94.7MB) .

Find more video, photos, and information on the events featured in this episode below:

Includes Video

read the rest

Learn more about Innovations, Economy, Education, Energy & Environment, Fiscal Responsibility

President Obama on Final Passage of Wall Street Reform: An End to Bailouts, a Beginning for Accountability

Posted by Jesse Lee on July 15, 2010 at 6:25 PM EDT

Play/pauseMute/unmuteRewind and stop

Read the Transcript | Download Video: mp4 (68MB) | mp3 (7MB) .When the President came into office, the scope of the challenges and the change needed to address them seemed overwhelming, and maybe more than Washington could handle. But one by one, these monstrous challenges are being met, despite fierce opposition from hordes of lobbyists driven by a desire to protect a lucrative status quo and an opposition party driven by politics at any cost. Indeed, as the President praised final passage of Wall Street Reform today, he was forced to point out that “Already, the Republican leader in the House has called for repeal of this reform. I would suggest that America can’t afford to go backward and I think that’s how most Americans feel as well.”

With the final version of Wall Street Reform having passed the Senate this afternoon, and the House having passed it weeks ago, the bill now comes to the President’s desk. The President thanked those in Congress who stood strong, and noted that first and foremost, “Because of this reform, the American people will never again be asked to foot the bill for Wall Street’s mistakes.” But that is only a part of what reform means for the American people, and only part of what makes this almost universally described as the most sweeping reform of Wall Street since the great depression:

Includes Video

read the rest

Learn more about Economy

President Obama on Advanced Batteries in Michigan: "A Symbol of Where America is Going"

Posted by Jesse Lee on July 15, 2010 at 4:34 PM EDT

If you missed our post earlier on the future of electric vehicles and advanced batteries that the Recovery Act has helped shape, it’s well worth a read. As the President said during his visit to the advanced battery plant in Holland, Michigan, today: “This is a symbol of where Michigan is going, this is a symbol of where Holland is going, this is a symbol of where America is going.”

In short, making America a player in emerging market for electric vehicles was one of dozens of examples of the Recovery Act not only putting people to work in the short term, but building a whole new foundation for America’s economy:

That means that by 2012, the batteries will be manufactured here in Holland, Michigan. So when you buy one of these vehicles, the battery could be stamped “Made in America” -– just like the car.

The President went on to put this plant in the broader perspective, and to remind everybody about the choice between moving forward toward recovery and this new foundation, or moving back to the time that led to this crisis:

read the rest

Learn more about Economy, Energy & Environment

Tomorrow: Clean Energy Manufacturing Forum with Secretary Locke

Posted by Katelyn Sabochik on July 15, 2010 at 4:27 PM EDT

Tomorrow from 10:30 AM EDT to 1 PM EDT, the White House will host a Clean Energy Economy Forum focused on clean energy manufacturing. Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke will kick off the event with opening remarks followed by two panel discussions focusing on strategies to advance the development and commercialization of new clean energy technologies, support the creation and growth of emerging industries and small and medium enterprises, promote exports, and train workers for the clean energy economy.

You can watch the forum live tomorrow at WhiteHouse.gov/live. During the question and answer portion of the panel discussions we’ll be taking some questions from the online audience so submit your questions via Facebook or our webform.

Learn more about Economy, Energy & Environment

Electric Vehicles, Advanced Batteries, and American Jobs: Another Piece of the Puzzle in Holland, Michigan

Posted by Jesse Lee on July 15, 2010 at 1:47 PM EDT

It’s a small part of a big story that will impact how the world travels for generations to come – and the role American workers will have in that transformation.

This afternoon the President is at a groundbreaking ceremony at Compact Power, Inc. a subsidiary of LG Chem Ltd., a battery plant in Holland, Michigan. The plant is yet another piece of the puzzle for turning electric vehicles from a dream that many presumed dead into a reality that we will all one day take for granted. The plant is the ninth of nine new advanced battery factories to start construction as a result of the $2.4 billion in Recovery Act advanced battery and electric vehicle awards the President announced last August. The project is expected to create hundreds of construction and manufacturing jobs in Holland. Once fully operational, the Compact factory will produce battery cells to support 53,000 Chevy Volts a year.

read the rest

Learn more about Economy, Energy & Environment

Prevention is a Priority -- Now It's a Reality

Posted by Secretary Kathleen Sebelius on July 14, 2010 at 10:01 PM EDT

Earlier today, I joined First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden to discuss how the Affordable Care Act will give millions of Americans access to preventive care through their private health insurance.

Play/pauseMute/unmuteRewind and stop

Read the Transcript | Download Video: mp4 (265MB) | mp3 (26MB) .Today, too many Americans today aren't getting the preventive health care they need. Right now, for example, 59 million adults and 11 million children depend on private health insurance that doesn't adequately cover immunizations. And 12 percent of children haven't visited a doctor in the last year.

The statistics are even more troubling in our minority communities. African-American mothers are 2.5 times as likely as white mothers to begin prenatal care in the 3rd trimester, or not receive it at all. And only 37 percent of Latinos were screened for colon cancer in 2007, compared to 57 percent of whites.

Our challenge is to remove the obstacles between patients getting the preventive services that they need to stay healthy. If we fail in this challenge, we all pay the price. If we succeed -- we are on our way to a healthier nation. According to one study, if people got just five types of preventive services when they needed to -- colorectal and breast cancer screening, flu vaccines, counseling to help them quit smoking, and regular aspirin use to prevent strokes -- we could avert 100,000 deaths each year. Use of preventive services can also help bring costs down in a variety of ways. For example, people who are obese have health care costs that are 39 percent above average, and reducing obesity and the diseases related to it could lower premiums overall by 0.05 to 0.1 percent.

Those are just a few of the reasons why President Obama has made improving access to preventive care a priority from his first day in office and why we released new rules requiring all new private health insurance plans with plan years beginning on or after September 23, 2010 to cover recommended preventive services without cost-sharing when delivered by a network provider. The new rules mean that services like blood pressure, diabetes and cholesterol tests, cancer screenings, routine vaccinations, and well-baby visits will be provided without a deductible, co-pay or co-insurance.

We know that eliminating these costs for regular preventive services can ensure more Americans will use these services. And we know these services can save lives.

At the announcement yesterday, we met Maggie Roberts from California. When Maggie's son was just a toddler, he was diagnosed with cancer during a routine checkup. Because they caught it early, the cancer was successfully treated, and years later he is still cancer-free. It's a powerful story of how important preventive care can be.

You can learn more about the new preventive benefits available under the law, and get more tips on how to stay healthy by visiting our new website, www.HealthCare.gov.

Kathleen Sebelius is Secretary of Health and Human Services

Learn more about Health Care

Progress Report on Cybersecurity

Posted by Howard Schmidt on July 14, 2010 at 6:35 PM EDT

Today, I was honored to host an event at the White House with cybersecurity experts and discuss progress made by increased cybersecurity efforts across the administration. President Obama has recognized that the “cyber threat is one of the most serious economic and national security challenges we face as a nation” and “America's economic prosperity in the 21st century will depend on cybersecurity.”

We were joined by a broad cross section of stakeholders from the Federal government, State and local government, law enforcement and private sector representatives from across multiple sectors of the economy, as well as representatives from academia and the privacy and civil liberties communities. The purpose was to draw attention to the efforts of these communities to reduce risk and build confidence in our critical information and communications infrastructure.

read the rest

Closing the Tech Gap

Posted by CIO Vivek Kundra on July 14, 2010 at 3:24 PM EDT

What if senior management in an Agency – or anyone in the public – could identify and monitor the performance of IT projects just as easily as they could monitor the stock market or baseball scores? That’s what the IT dashboard does -- and it’s changing the way government does business.

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Learn more about Technology

The First Lady’s Trip to the Gulf Coast

Posted by Trooper Sanders on July 14, 2010 at 3:06 PM EDT

previous photoFirst Lady Michelle Obama Visits Panama City Beach, Fla.Show Gallery Info.

First Lady Michelle Obama traveled to Panama City Beach, Fla., July 12, 2010, to meet with members of the community and discuss the impact of the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

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next photo .This week, the First Lady traveled to Panama City Beach, Florida, to meet with business and community leaders in the area. The past few months have been especially challenging for families and businesses in the Gulf Coast region. The BP Oil Spill is the worst environmental disaster our nation has ever seen, and the effects of the spill are evident not only in the oil washing up on some of the shores, but in the businesses and communities that are suffering.

This Administration will not rest until the well is capped, the oil is cleaned up, the natural beauty of this region is restored, and the people of the Gulf Coast who have been affected by this tragic, ongoing spill are made whole. The President and his tireless advisors like Carol Browner, who joined us on this trip, have been doing everything they can to keep Gulf Coast families and the American people up to date on the Administration-wide response to the Gulf Coast spill, but there was one particular point of great concern that Mrs. Obama wanted to drive home to those families.

“I know that there have been lots of questions lately about how we can best help people here on the Gulf Coast who’ve been affected by the oil spill," Mrs. Obama said, "And to be honest, truly, one of the best ways that fellow Americans can help is to come on down here and spend some money.” What many Americans may not realize is that most of the Gulf Coast is still open for business. Despite what you’ve see on TV or read in the newspapers, many the beaches, like Panama City Beach, where the First Lady visited, are still clean and safe. And one of the best ways Americans can help this region and the hard working people who live in the area is by coming down and enjoying the hospitality.

For communities like Panama City Beach, summertime is peak tourist season. But this year, many business owners have seen a sharp decline in tourism to the region, despite the fact that their beaches are clean and oil free. If you’re looking for a family vacation this summer, consider visiting one of the many communities in the Gulf Coast region.

Trooper Sanders is Deputy Director of Policy to the First Lady

Learn more about Deepwater BP Oil Spill

National HIV/AIDS Strategy: Reducing New Infections, Improving Care, Ending Health Disparities

Posted by Katelyn Sabochik on July 14, 2010 at 2:26 PM EDT

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Read the Transcript | Download Video: mp4 (124MB) | mp3 (12MB) .Yesterday, the White House Office of National AIDS Policy (ONAP) released the National HIV/AIDS Strategy – a comprehensive plan for fighting HIV in our country.

In his remarks at a reception with HIV/AIDS policy experts and activists, the President acknowledged that as a Nation, we have come a long way in the battle against the domestic HIV/AIDS epidemic, but that we still have much work left to do:

Includes Video

read the rest

Learn more about Health Care

Watch and Engage: A Conversation on Sustainable Communities

Posted by Juan Cuba on July 14, 2010 at 2:18 PM EDT

Tomorrow, the White House Office of Urban Affairs will host a live chat with the leadership of the Sustainable Communities Partnership, an unprecedented agreement between HUD, Transportation, and EPA to coordinate Federal housing, transportation, and environmental investments. A part of President Obama's broader urban and metropolitan agenda, the partnership aims to break down traditional silos and craft federal programs and policies that take a more collaborative and holistic approach to better respond to the needs of communities.

Last month, the Partnership released a joint notice of funding availability (NOFA) – $35 million in TIGER II Planning grants and $40 million in Sustainable Community Challenge grants – for local planning activities that integrate transportation, housing, and economic development. And, HUD also announced $100 million in funding for Sustainable Communities Regional Planning grant program.

We invite you to join us for a live discussion on Sustainable Communities – the progress they’ve made, the funding programs available, and what the future of the partnership looks like – at www.whitehouse.gov/live tomorrow, July 15th at 2:00pm EST or you can submit questions in advance to Planetizen.

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Learn more about Urban Policy

The First Lady Answers Your Questions

Posted by Kori Schulman on July 14, 2010 at 11:49 AM EDT

To launch the new LetsMove.gov, the First Lady answered some of your questions in her first live video chat with AOL Health. AOL called on their readers to submit questions for Mrs. Obama in the days leading up to the chat. In addition to the thousands of questions received in advance, even more of you engaged in the live event. Here is what you missed:

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Download Video: mp4 (274MB) | mp3 (26MB) .

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Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy: Fueling Innovation

Posted by Dr. Arun Majumdar on July 14, 2010 at 9:42 AM EDT

The Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) is pursuing transformational solutions to our energy problems. Part of the Department of Energy, ARPA-E is modeled after the famed DARPA program at the Department of Defense that led to the internet, GPS, stealth airplane technology, and many other success stories. At ARPA-E, we are trying to hit clean energy home runs, not just base hits. Our goal is to drive the sort of energy innovation that can help us take the lead in high-tech clean energy manufacturing and export clean energy products to the world.

On Monday, we announced $92 million in funding for 43 advanced research projects. These projects focus on three areas that are critical to building a new energy future: grid scale energy storage, advanced power electronics, and energy efficient cooling systems.

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Learn more about Innovations, Energy & Environment

The Economic Case for Extending Unemployment Insurance

Posted by Lawrence Summers on July 14, 2010 at 9:03 AM EDT

The lapse in extended unemployment insurance benefits at the end of May has resulted in 2.5 million jobless Americans exhausting their assistance. If we do not reinstate benefits by the end of the month, this number will grow to 3.2 million. These losses are exacting an enormous human toll on families who count on these benefits as they continue to search for jobs.

As the President recently remarked: “Lasting unemployment takes a toll on families, takes a toll on marriages, takes a toll on children. It saps the vitality of communities, especially in places that have seen factories and other anchoring businesses shut their doors. And being unable to find work – being able to provide for your family – that doesn’t just affect your economic security, that affects your heart and your soul. It beats you up. It’s hard.”

It is also bad for the economy. But unemployment insurance puts money in the pockets of the families most likely to spend the money – which in turn expands the economy and creates jobs. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office has identified increased aid to the unemployed as one of the two most cost-effective policy options for increasing economic production and employment.

Missed unemployment insurance payments since May total over $10 billion – enough to have created 100,000 jobs. An abrupt and premature withdrawal of relief is not only something families cannot afford, it is something that the economy cannot afford at a time when the economy is at a critical juncture. The economy is finally creating jobs, but not nearly fast enough to close the 8 million-job gap opened by the recession.

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Learn more about Economy

Wall Street Reform: Final Votes Approach

Posted by Jesse Lee on July 13, 2010 at 2:35 PM EDT

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Read the Transcript | Download Video: mp4 (86MB) | mp3 (8MB) .When the President began pushing for tough reforms to the way Wall Street does business in the months after he came into office, the grip that the biggest banks in the world have held over Congress in past years left many skeptical about their prospects. Today, though, Senate Leader Harry Reid announced that the final vote in the Senate would come this week, clearing the way for the bill to be sent to the President’s desk.

As it happened, the President was meeting with Senate Democratic Leaders just this morning, and before announcing the nomination of his new OMB Director, the President took a moment to commend those Senators who have withstood the army of lobbyists working against this bill to get it to just steps from the finish line:

Before I begin, I just want to note a breakthrough that we’ve had on our efforts to pass the most comprehensive reform of Wall Street since the Great Depression. Three Republican senators have put politics and partisanship aside to support this reform, and I'm grateful for their decision, as well as all the Democrats who’ve worked so hard to make this reform a reality -- particularly Chairman Dodd and Chairman Barney Frank.

What members of both parties realize is that we can’t allow a financial crisis like this one that we just went through to happen again. This reform will prevent that from happening. It will prevent a financial crisis like this from happening again by protecting consumers against the unfair practices of credit card companies and mortgage lenders. It will ensure that taxpayers are never again on the hook for Wall Street’s mistakes. And it will end an era of irresponsibility that led to the loss of eight million jobs and trillions of dollars of wealth. This reform is good for families; it’s good for businesses; it’s good for the entire economy. And I urge the Senate to act quickly so that I can sign it into law next week.

President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden meet with the Senate Democratic Leadership Team in the Roosevelt Room of the White House to discuss legislative priorities before the August recess, July 13, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

.

Learn more about Economy

President Obama Announces a New OMB Director: Jacob Lew

Posted by Jesse Lee on July 13, 2010 at 2:13 PM EDT

Today, President Obama announced his intent to nominate Jacob J. Lew, generally caled "Jack," to serve as Director of the Office of Management and Budget – the President’s top aide in charge of overseeing the budget for the entire Federal government. Lew, who already has outstanding experience in the position under the Clinton Administration, has been serving in the State Department under President Obama. During him time under President Clinton, 11 million jobs were created, and the federal budget was balanced for the first time since Neil Armstrong walked on the moon. An inherited $290 billion deficit was turned around, and resulted in a more than $236 billion surplus at the end of 2000.

•Read more about Lew in the White House background.

President Barack Obama announces the nomination of Jack Lew to replace Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Director Peter Orszag during a statement to the press in the Diplomatic Reception Room of the White House July 13, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

.In making the announcement, the President took ample time to commend the service of Peter Orszag, who has held the position during some of the toughest economic and fiscal times the country has seen in decades:

Show more
Anonymous
#175319

Zachary Lym, I must say, just as with your tenure at United, your presence here is neither appreciated nor productive. You might want to learn what acceptable behavior is before you wax on about what is defensible and what is not.

That's why you were fired. Take a look at yourself and grow up a bit.

Anonymous
#175318

Hey Folks,

Since either Brian Sims or Zachary Lym have vandalized this string with jibberish, start at the beginning of the thread, the first page.

If you're considering working for United Reprographics, you'd be well served by reading through the posts here.

You might want to pay particular attention to the posts of Brian Sims, the owner of United Reprographics. If the tone and form of his comments don't give you pause, than you'll likely spend your life working for ignorant, greedy losers.

Anonymous
#174715

Focus on Workplace Safety

Posted by Joseph Main on July 16, 2010 at 10:49 AM EDT

Each year across America, more than 5,000 workers are killed on the job. Another four million are injured, and thousands more will subsequently become ill or die from present day occupational exposures.

Recent tragedies—like the explosions at the Upper Big Branch Mine in West Virginia and aboard the Deepwater Horizon off the Gulf Coast—make that clear. The news coverage is certainly fostering public awareness of the hazards facing many workers, but every day, countless other workplace injuries and deaths go largely unnoticed.

Shortly after the Upper Big Branch explosion, the President made clear his personal commitment and that of the Administration to honor the victims of this disaster by ensuring justice is served on their behalf and that an accident of this magnitude never happens again. He told the nation “we owe [those who perished in the UBB disaster] more than prayers. We owe them action. We owe them accountability. We owe them an assurance that when they go to work every day, when they enter that dark mine, they are not alone. They ought to know that behind them there is a company that’s doing what it takes to protect them, and a government that is looking out for their safety.”

Includes Video

read the rest

West Wing Week: "6 Principals"

Posted by Arun Chaudhary on July 16, 2010 at 12:00 AM EDT...

Thanks for checking out the West Wing Week, your guide to everything that's happening at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. This week, walk step by step with the President as he speaks about the economy in Las Vegas, celebrates 100 years of the Boy Scouts of America, meets with President Fernandez of the Dominican Republic, visits with the 2010 Principal of the Year award winners, announces the new Director of the Office of Management and Budget and much more.

Play/pauseMute/unmuteRewind and stop

Download Video: mp4 (94.7MB) .

Find more video, photos, and information on the events featured in this episode below:

Includes Video

read the rest

Learn more about Innovations, Economy, Education, Energy & Environment, Fiscal Responsibility

President Obama on Final Passage of Wall Street Reform: An End to Bailouts, a Beginning for Accountability

Posted by Jesse Lee on July 15, 2010 at 6:25 PM EDT

Play/pauseMute/unmuteRewind and stop

Read the Transcript | Download Video: mp4 (68MB) | mp3 (7MB) .When the President came into office, the scope of the challenges and the change needed to address them seemed overwhelming, and maybe more than Washington could handle. But one by one, these monstrous challenges are being met, despite fierce opposition from hordes of lobbyists driven by a desire to protect a lucrative status quo and an opposition party driven by politics at any cost. Indeed, as the President praised final passage of Wall Street Reform today, he was forced to point out that “Already, the Republican leader in the House has called for repeal of this reform. I would suggest that America can’t afford to go backward and I think that’s how most Americans feel as well.”

With the final version of Wall Street Reform having passed the Senate this afternoon, and the House having passed it weeks ago, the bill now comes to the President’s desk. The President thanked those in Congress who stood strong, and noted that first and foremost, “Because of this reform, the American people will never again be asked to foot the bill for Wall Street’s mistakes.” But that is only a part of what reform means for the American people, and only part of what makes this almost universally described as the most sweeping reform of Wall Street since the great depression:

Includes Video

read the rest

Learn more about Economy

President Obama on Advanced Batteries in Michigan: "A Symbol of Where America is Going"

Posted by Jesse Lee on July 15, 2010 at 4:34 PM EDT

If you missed our post earlier on the future of electric vehicles and advanced batteries that the Recovery Act has helped shape, it’s well worth a read. As the President said during his visit to the advanced battery plant in Holland, Michigan, today: “This is a symbol of where Michigan is going, this is a symbol of where Holland is going, this is a symbol of where America is going.”

In short, making America a player in emerging market for electric vehicles was one of dozens of examples of the Recovery Act not only putting people to work in the short term, but building a whole new foundation for America’s economy:

That means that by 2012, the batteries will be manufactured here in Holland, Michigan. So when you buy one of these vehicles, the battery could be stamped “Made in America” -– just like the car.

The President went on to put this plant in the broader perspective, and to remind everybody about the choice between moving forward toward recovery and this new foundation, or moving back to the time that led to this crisis:

read the rest

Learn more about Economy, Energy & Environment

Tomorrow: Clean Energy Manufacturing Forum with Secretary Locke

Posted by Katelyn Sabochik on July 15, 2010 at 4:27 PM EDT

Tomorrow from 10:30 AM EDT to 1 PM EDT, the White House will host a Clean Energy Economy Forum focused on clean energy manufacturing. Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke will kick off the event with opening remarks followed by two panel discussions focusing on strategies to advance the development and commercialization of new clean energy technologies, support the creation and growth of emerging industries and small and medium enterprises, promote exports, and train workers for the clean energy economy.

You can watch the forum live tomorrow at WhiteHouse.gov/live. During the question and answer portion of the panel discussions we’ll be taking some questions from the online audience so submit your questions via Facebook or our webform.

Learn more about Economy, Energy & Environment

Electric Vehicles, Advanced Batteries, and American Jobs: Another Piece of the Puzzle in Holland, Michigan

Posted by Jesse Lee on July 15, 2010 at 1:47 PM EDT

It’s a small part of a big story that will impact how the world travels for generations to come – and the role American workers will have in that transformation.

This afternoon the President is at a groundbreaking ceremony at Compact Power, Inc. a subsidiary of LG Chem Ltd., a battery plant in Holland, Michigan. The plant is yet another piece of the puzzle for turning electric vehicles from a dream that many presumed dead into a reality that we will all one day take for granted. The plant is the ninth of nine new advanced battery factories to start construction as a result of the $2.4 billion in Recovery Act advanced battery and electric vehicle awards the President announced last August. The project is expected to create hundreds of construction and manufacturing jobs in Holland. Once fully operational, the Compact factory will produce battery cells to support 53,000 Chevy Volts a year.

read the rest

Learn more about Economy, Energy & Environment

Prevention is a Priority -- Now It's a Reality

Posted by Secretary Kathleen Sebelius on July 14, 2010 at 10:01 PM EDT

Earlier today, I joined First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden to discuss how the Affordable Care Act will give millions of Americans access to preventive care through their private health insurance.

Play/pauseMute/unmuteRewind and stop

Read the Transcript | Download Video: mp4 (265MB) | mp3 (26MB) .Today, too many Americans today aren't getting the preventive health care they need. Right now, for example, 59 million adults and 11 million children depend on private health insurance that doesn't adequately cover immunizations. And 12 percent of children haven't visited a doctor in the last year.

The statistics are even more troubling in our minority communities. African-American mothers are 2.5 times as likely as white mothers to begin prenatal care in the 3rd trimester, or not receive it at all. And only 37 percent of Latinos were screened for colon cancer in 2007, compared to 57 percent of whites.

Our challenge is to remove the obstacles between patients getting the preventive services that they need to stay healthy. If we fail in this challenge, we all pay the price. If we succeed -- we are on our way to a healthier nation. According to one study, if people got just five types of preventive services when they needed to -- colorectal and breast cancer screening, flu vaccines, counseling to help them quit smoking, and regular aspirin use to prevent strokes -- we could avert 100,000 deaths each year. Use of preventive services can also help bring costs down in a variety of ways. For example, people who are obese have health care costs that are 39 percent above average, and reducing obesity and the diseases related to it could lower premiums overall by 0.05 to 0.1 percent.

Those are just a few of the reasons why President Obama has made improving access to preventive care a priority from his first day in office and why we released new rules requiring all new private health insurance plans with plan years beginning on or after September 23, 2010 to cover recommended preventive services without cost-sharing when delivered by a network provider. The new rules mean that services like blood pressure, diabetes and cholesterol tests, cancer screenings, routine vaccinations, and well-baby visits will be provided without a deductible, co-pay or co-insurance.

We know that eliminating these costs for regular preventive services can ensure more Americans will use these services. And we know these services can save lives.

At the announcement yesterday, we met Maggie Roberts from California. When Maggie's son was just a toddler, he was diagnosed with cancer during a routine checkup. Because they caught it early, the cancer was successfully treated, and years later he is still cancer-free. It's a powerful story of how important preventive care can be.

You can learn more about the new preventive benefits available under the law, and get more tips on how to stay healthy by visiting our new website, www.HealthCare.gov.

Kathleen Sebelius is Secretary of Health and Human Services

Learn more about Health Care

Progress Report on Cybersecurity

Posted by Howard Schmidt on July 14, 2010 at 6:35 PM EDT

Today, I was honored to host an event at the White House with cybersecurity experts and discuss progress made by increased cybersecurity efforts across the administration. President Obama has recognized that the “cyber threat is one of the most serious economic and national security challenges we face as a nation” and “America's economic prosperity in the 21st century will depend on cybersecurity.”

We were joined by a broad cross section of stakeholders from the Federal government, State and local government, law enforcement and private sector representatives from across multiple sectors of the economy, as well as representatives from academia and the privacy and civil liberties communities. The purpose was to draw attention to the efforts of these communities to reduce risk and build confidence in our critical information and communications infrastructure.

read the rest

Closing the Tech Gap

Posted by CIO Vivek Kundra on July 14, 2010 at 3:24 PM EDT

What if senior management in an Agency – or anyone in the public – could identify and monitor the performance of IT projects just as easily as they could monitor the stock market or baseball scores? That’s what the IT dashboard does -- and it’s changing the way government does business.

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The First Lady’s Trip to the Gulf Coast

Posted by Trooper Sanders on July 14, 2010 at 3:06 PM EDT

previous photoFirst Lady Michelle Obama Visits Panama City Beach, Fla.Show Gallery Info.

First Lady Michelle Obama traveled to Panama City Beach, Fla., July 12, 2010, to meet with members of the community and discuss the impact of the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

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next photo .This week, the First Lady traveled to Panama City Beach, Florida, to meet with business and community leaders in the area. The past few months have been especially challenging for families and businesses in the Gulf Coast region. The BP Oil Spill is the worst environmental disaster our nation has ever seen, and the effects of the spill are evident not only in the oil washing up on some of the shores, but in the businesses and communities that are suffering.

This Administration will not rest until the well is capped, the oil is cleaned up, the natural beauty of this region is restored, and the people of the Gulf Coast who have been affected by this tragic, ongoing spill are made whole. The President and his tireless advisors like Carol Browner, who joined us on this trip, have been doing everything they can to keep Gulf Coast families and the American people up to date on the Administration-wide response to the Gulf Coast spill, but there was one particular point of great concern that Mrs. Obama wanted to drive home to those families.

“I know that there have been lots of questions lately about how we can best help people here on the Gulf Coast who’ve been affected by the oil spill," Mrs. Obama said, "And to be honest, truly, one of the best ways that fellow Americans can help is to come on down here and spend some money.” What many Americans may not realize is that most of the Gulf Coast is still open for business. Despite what you’ve see on TV or read in the newspapers, many the beaches, like Panama City Beach, where the First Lady visited, are still clean and safe. And one of the best ways Americans can help this region and the hard working people who live in the area is by coming down and enjoying the hospitality.

For communities like Panama City Beach, summertime is peak tourist season. But this year, many business owners have seen a sharp decline in tourism to the region, despite the fact that their beaches are clean and oil free. If you’re looking for a family vacation this summer, consider visiting one of the many communities in the Gulf Coast region.

Trooper Sanders is Deputy Director of Policy to the First Lady

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National HIV/AIDS Strategy: Reducing New Infections, Improving Care, Ending Health Disparities

Posted by Katelyn Sabochik on July 14, 2010 at 2:26 PM EDT

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Read the Transcript | Download Video: mp4 (124MB) | mp3 (12MB) .Yesterday, the White House Office of National AIDS Policy (ONAP) released the National HIV/AIDS Strategy – a comprehensive plan for fighting HIV in our country.

In his remarks at a reception with HIV/AIDS policy experts and activists, the President acknowledged that as a Nation, we have come a long way in the battle against the domestic HIV/AIDS epidemic, but that we still have much work left to do:

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Watch and Engage: A Conversation on Sustainable Communities

Posted by Juan Cuba on July 14, 2010 at 2:18 PM EDT

Tomorrow, the White House Office of Urban Affairs will host a live chat with the leadership of the Sustainable Communities Partnership, an unprecedented agreement between HUD, Transportation, and EPA to coordinate Federal housing, transportation, and environmental investments. A part of President Obama's broader urban and metropolitan agenda, the partnership aims to break down traditional silos and craft federal programs and policies that take a more collaborative and holistic approach to better respond to the needs of communities.

Last month, the Partnership released a joint notice of funding availability (NOFA) – $35 million in TIGER II Planning grants and $40 million in Sustainable Community Challenge grants – for local planning activities that integrate transportation, housing, and economic development. And, HUD also announced $100 million in funding for Sustainable Communities Regional Planning grant program.

We invite you to join us for a live discussion on Sustainable Communities – the progress they’ve made, the funding programs available, and what the future of the partnership looks like – at www.whitehouse.gov/live tomorrow, July 15th at 2:00pm EST or you can submit questions in advance to Planetizen.

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The First Lady Answers Your Questions

Posted by Kori Schulman on July 14, 2010 at 11:49 AM EDT

To launch the new LetsMove.gov, the First Lady answered some of your questions in her first live video chat with AOL Health. AOL called on their readers to submit questions for Mrs. Obama in the days leading up to the chat. In addition to the thousands of questions received in advance, even more of you engaged in the live event. Here is what you missed:

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Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy: Fueling Innovation

Posted by Dr. Arun Majumdar on July 14, 2010 at 9:42 AM EDT

The Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) is pursuing transformational solutions to our energy problems. Part of the Department of Energy, ARPA-E is modeled after the famed DARPA program at the Department of Defense that led to the internet, GPS, stealth airplane technology, and many other success stories. At ARPA-E, we are trying to hit clean energy home runs, not just base hits. Our goal is to drive the sort of energy innovation that can help us take the lead in high-tech clean energy manufacturing and export clean energy products to the world.

On Monday, we announced $92 million in funding for 43 advanced research projects. These projects focus on three areas that are critical to building a new energy future: grid scale energy storage, advanced power electronics, and energy efficient cooling systems.

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The Economic Case for Extending Unemployment Insurance

Posted by Lawrence Summers on July 14, 2010 at 9:03 AM EDT

The lapse in extended unemployment insurance benefits at the end of May has resulted in 2.5 million jobless Americans exhausting their assistance. If we do not reinstate benefits by the end of the month, this number will grow to 3.2 million. These losses are exacting an enormous human toll on families who count on these benefits as they continue to search for jobs.

As the President recently remarked: “Lasting unemployment takes a toll on families, takes a toll on marriages, takes a toll on children. It saps the vitality of communities, especially in places that have seen factories and other anchoring businesses shut their doors. And being unable to find work – being able to provide for your family – that doesn’t just affect your economic security, that affects your heart and your soul. It beats you up. It’s hard.”

It is also bad for the economy. But unemployment insurance puts money in the pockets of the families most likely to spend the money – which in turn expands the economy and creates jobs. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office has identified increased aid to the unemployed as one of the two most cost-effective policy options for increasing economic production and employment.

Missed unemployment insurance payments since May total over $10 billion – enough to have created 100,000 jobs. An abrupt and premature withdrawal of relief is not only something families cannot afford, it is something that the economy cannot afford at a time when the economy is at a critical juncture. The economy is finally creating jobs, but not nearly fast enough to close the 8 million-job gap opened by the recession.

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Wall Street Reform: Final Votes Approach

Posted by Jesse Lee on July 13, 2010 at 2:35 PM EDT

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Read the Transcript | Download Video: mp4 (86MB) | mp3 (8MB) .When the President began pushing for tough reforms to the way Wall Street does business in the months after he came into office, the grip that the biggest banks in the world have held over Congress in past years left many skeptical about their prospects. Today, though, Senate Leader Harry Reid announced that the final vote in the Senate would come this week, clearing the way for the bill to be sent to the President’s desk.

As it happened, the President was meeting with Senate Democratic Leaders just this morning, and before announcing the nomination of his new OMB Director, the President took a moment to commend those Senators who have withstood the army of lobbyists working against this bill to get it to just steps from the finish line:

Before I begin, I just want to note a breakthrough that we’ve had on our efforts to pass the most comprehensive reform of Wall Street since the Great Depression. Three Republican senators have put politics and partisanship aside to support this reform, and I'm grateful for their decision, as well as all the Democrats who’ve worked so hard to make this reform a reality -- particularly Chairman Dodd and Chairman Barney Frank.

What members of both parties realize is that we can’t allow a financial crisis like this one that we just went through to happen again. This reform will prevent that from happening. It will prevent a financial crisis like this from happening again by protecting consumers against the unfair practices of credit card companies and mortgage lenders. It will ensure that taxpayers are never again on the hook for Wall Street’s mistakes. And it will end an era of irresponsibility that led to the loss of eight million jobs and trillions of dollars of wealth. This reform is good for families; it’s good for businesses; it’s good for the entire economy. And I urge the Senate to act quickly so that I can sign it into law next week.

President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden meet with the Senate Democratic Leadership Team in the Roosevelt Room of the White House to discuss legislative priorities before the August recess, July 13, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

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President Obama Announces a New OMB Director: Jacob Lew

Posted by Jesse Lee on July 13, 2010 at 2:13 PM EDT

Today, President Obama announced his intent to nominate Jacob J. Lew, generally caled "Jack," to serve as Director of the Office of Management and Budget – the President’s top aide in charge of overseeing the budget for the entire Federal government. Lew, who already has outstanding experience in the position under the Clinton Administration, has been serving in the State Department under President Obama. During him time under President Clinton, 11 million jobs were created, and the federal budget was balanced for the first time since Neil Armstrong walked on the moon. An inherited $290 billion deficit was turned around, and resulted in a more than $236 billion surplus at the end of 2000.

•Read more about Lew in the White House background.

President Barack Obama announces the nomination of Jack Lew to replace Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Director Peter Orszag during a statement to the press in the Diplomatic Reception Room of the White House July 13, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

.In making the announcement, the President took ample time to commend the service of Peter Orszag, who has held the position during some of the toughest economic and fiscal times the country has seen in decades:

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Announcing the National HIV/AIDS Strategy

Posted by Jeffrey Crowley on July 13, 2010 at 12:45 PM EDT

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Download Video: mp4 (463MB) | mp3 (45MB) .Today, I am pleased to announce the release of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy for the United States. The release of the strategy reaffirms President Obama’s commitment to fighting this domestic epidemic.

From the time that we first heard about the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) thirty years ago through today, HIV has become a global pandemic with more than 33 million people living with HIV around the world. In the United States, approximately 56,000 people become infected each year, more than 1.1 million Americans are living with HIV, and nearly 600,000 Americans have been lost to this disease. Unless we take bold actions, we anticipate a new era of rising infection rates and even greater challenges in serving people with HIV.

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Introducing the New and Improved LetsMove.gov

Posted by Kori Schulman on July 12, 2010 at 5:47 PM EDT

[UPDATE: This event has now concluded.]

Earlier today, the First Lady sent an email announcing the new LetMove.gov and some of its features. To kick things off, Mrs. Obama will be answering your questions about the Let’s Move! initiative in a live video chat tomorrow at 10:00 AM EDT. Watch the live event right here on WhiteHouse.gov/Live and read a message from the First Lady:

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President Obama & President Fernandez Meet on Trade, Drug-Trafficking, and Haiti

Posted by Jesse Lee on July 12, 2010 at 5:45 PM EDT

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.This afternoon President Obama held a bilateral meeting with President Leonel Fernandez of the Dominican Republic, touching on a broad range of issues from the political crisis in Honduras, to trade, to continued efforts to crack down on drug trafficking between our two countries.

Both Presidents closed their remarks afterwards with words of appreciation for each others’ friendship, but President Obama opened his remarks on a heart-breaking topic:

One of the first messages I wanted to deliver was my appreciation for the role that the Dominican Republic played in helping the international community respond to the crisis in Haiti after the devastating earthquake there. And I think that the Dominican Republic’s role, President Fernandez’s role in particular, in helping to facilitate a rapid response was extraordinarily important. It saved lives and it continues as we look at how we can reconstruct and rebuild in Haiti in a way that is good not only for the people of Haiti but also good for the region as a whole.

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President Obama and Vice President Biden’s Daily Public Schedules Now Online

Posted by Katelyn Sabochik on July 26, 2010 at 2:57 PM EDT

Starting today, the President and the Vice President’s daily public schedules are now available online. You don’t have to come to WhiteHouse.gov to find out what the President and Vice President are up to each day – you can subscribe to their schedules via RSS or even add their schedules to your own Outlook, iCal, Google calendar, or any other calendar service that’s compatible with an iCal feed. Just click here to download the iCal feed and add it to your calendar today. Your calendar will be automatically updated as new events are added to the President and Vice President’s schedule.

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Reaching Out to Rural America: Meeting with Students at the Delaware State Fair

Posted by Secretary Arne Duncan on July 26, 2010 at 12:49 PM EDT

On Friday, I joined Senator Tom Carper and Representative Mike Castle at the Delaware State Fair in Harrington, DE. We spent the day with 4-H and Future Farmers of America students. We saw the results of their hard work on farming vegetables, baking pastries and pies from scratch, sewing garments and tending to farm animals. The students participating in 4-H, a program run by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture and the National Future Farmers of America Organization, showed me first-hand the vital contributions of our nation’s rural communities.

The President is dedicated to promoting and developing the work of rural America. That’s why the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act provided $53 billion to support the ability of rural communities to gain access to the health care, educational, economic, and infrastructure development resources. To better understand the needs of rural communities, the President asked Cabinet members to visit communities across the nation on a Rural Tour. Over the last year, the Administration has engaged thousands of people in a conversation about how towns, states, and the federal government can work together to help strengthen rural America. In addition to the Delaware State Fair, I have visited remote villages in Alaska and an Indian reservation in Montana.

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Iraqi Young Leaders Exchange Program: A Step Toward Mutual Understanding

Posted by Samantha Vinograd on July 26, 2010 at 12:45 PM EDT

The Iraqi Young Leaders Exchange Program, (IYLEP) funded by the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad and implemented by AED, a nonprofit organization working globally to improve education, health, social and economic development, enables 50 highly-motivated undergraduate students from Iraq to attend a six-week intensive academic summer program at a U.S. host university.

Recently, these students visited Washington, D.C., where they had the opportunity to meet with Macon Phillips, Special Assistant to the President and Director for New Media at the White House. Macon discussed the Obama administration’s use of blogs, social networking sites, and text messaging to increase transparency and public participation in governance. The students have shared some insights below from their program and how their worldview and personal view have changed as a direct result of the Iraqi Young Leaders Exchange Program.

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Weekly Address: Moving Forward on the Economy vs. Moving Backward

Posted by Jesse Lee on July 24, 2010 at 6:00 AM EDT

Following the signing of historic Wall Street Reform legislation, the President lays out his plans to strengthen the middle class, give tax breaks to small businesses that create jobs here, invest in homegrown, clean energy, and cut taxes for working families. The President also contrasts that plan with the agenda outlined by the Republican House Leader that would return America to the policies that created this economic crisis, drastically increase the deficit, and make permanent massive tax breaks for the very wealthiest Americans

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Your Submissions: Infographics on the Challenge of Childhood Obesity

Posted by Kori Schulman on July 23, 2010 at 3:40 PM EDT

Let’s Move! and GOOD asked you to create infographics about the childhood obesity epidemic to help raise awareness about the problem and the ways we’re working to address it. There are some great submissions, see a few below and even more over on GOOD.is.

Tell us your favorites in the comments section here, on Twitter or the Let’s Move! facebook page. The winners will be announced on July 27th.

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Recovery Act in Action #8: Jobs in the Heartland

Posted by Jared Bernstein on July 23, 2010 at 3:18 PM EDT

Our latest Recovery-Act-in-Action installment features some exciting new technology, 100 good-paying manufacturing jobs, and the public/private co-investment that is critical to job growth right now.

It’s all taking place in Indianapolis, Indiana, where Allison Transmission is building a new factory to make hybrid systems that go into energy efficient trucks, buses and other commercial vehicles. The new plant, and the 100 folks Allison expects to put to work in it, was partially financed by a $62.8 million Recovery Act grant from the Department of Energy as part their advanced battery grant program.

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Reforming Wall Street, Stopping Improper Payments, and Bringing Relief to Our Friends and Neighbors Looking for Work

Posted by Katelyn Sabochik on July 23, 2010 at 1:55 PM EDT

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Read the Transcript | Download Video: mp4 (47MB) | mp3 (5MB) .This week, the President signed three bills into law that will help our economy get back on track and eliminate wasteful and fraudulent improper payments by the federal government. On Wednesday, the President signed the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. Yesterday morning, the President signed the Improper Payments Elimination and Recovery Act, and in the afternoon he signed the Unemployment Compensation Extension Act.

In his remarks today in the Roosevelt Room, President Obama reflected on these three important pieces of legislation and urged Congress to do even more to help small businesses.

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Taking America from #12 to #1

Posted by Heather Higginbottom on July 23, 2010 at 11:43 AM EDT

As the Washington Post and New York Times report, the United States has fallen from first to 12th in terms of 25 to 34-year-olds with postsecondary degrees. The finding comes from a report conducted by the College Board and confirms what we’ve known for too long: that United States’ graduation rate is lagging behind our global competitors.

We know that economic security and educational progress go hand in hand. That’s one of the reasons why the President outlined a new national goal last year: by 2020, America will once again have the highest proportion of college graduates in the world. Already we’ve taken crucial steps to help our nation meet this goal.

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"Operation Care Package"

Posted by Julia Simmons and Sophia Solomon on July 23, 2010 at 11:33 AM EDT

White House interns teamed up with Dr. Jill Biden to put together care packages for the families of wounded soldiers being treated at Walter Reed Army Medical Center and the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, MD as part of program “Operation Care Package.” Organized by USO of Metropolitan Washington to raise the spirits of the troops and their families, the White House volunteers completed a total of 500 care packages.

Dr. Biden teams up with White House Interns and helps assemble care packages for the families of wounded soldiers. July 21, 2010. (by Sophia Solomon)

.Dr. Biden talked to the interns about the importance of service, stating “It’s the small acts of kindness that make a difference to the military and their families. I hope when you go back to your colleges and communities you continue this kind of service.” The care packages serve as a reminder that the small things can help not only the soldiers, but their families that work tirelessly to support the soldiers based at Walter Reed and the National Naval Medical Center.

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West Wing Week: "A Sensible Mid Westerner"

Posted by Arun Chaudhary on July 23, 2010 at 12:00 AM EDT

Thanks for checking out the West Wing Week, your guide to everything that's happening at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. This week, walk step by step with the President as he speaks up for unemployed Americans, congratulates this year's WNBA champs, talks with astronaut John Glenn about space exploration, meets with British Prime Minister Cameron, signs the historic Wall Street Reform bill into law and much more.

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Find more video, photos, and information on the events featured in this episode below:

Friday, July 16, 2010

•The President gives an update on the BP Oil Spill in the Gulf

Monday, July 19, 2010

•The President speaks up for unemployed Americans

•The President congratulates WNBA Champs

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

•The President meets with British Prime Minister Cameron

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

•The President signs Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act

Thursday, July 22, 2010

•The President signs the Improper Payments Elimination Act

Arun Chaudhary is the official White House videographer

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Vice President Biden’s Visit to Alabama

Posted by Elizabeth Alexander on July 22, 2010 at 6:36 PM EDT

Vice President Joe Biden is led on a tour of the boom repair area by Walt Dorn of Patriot Environmental Services, at the Theodore Staging Area in Alabama, July 22, 2010. (Official White House Photo by David Lienemann)

.Today, Vice President Biden traveled to Theodore, Alabama to assess efforts to counter the BP oil spill. During the visit, the Vice President toured the Theodore Staging Facility and met with fisherman and small business owners from the area. He was joined by National Incident Commander Admiral Thad Allen and NOAA Administrator Dr. Jane Lubchenco.

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Department of Education Hosts National Rural Education Technology Summit

Posted by John White on July 22, 2010 at 5:40 PM EDT

They came by plane, train, and automobile, but were making more innovative connections for students in rural schools.

More than 150 rural education and technology experts responded to an invitation from the Obama Administration to participate in a National Rural Education Technology Summit on Wednesday, July 21 at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian to learn from one another and provide feedback to federal officials.

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At Long Last, Help for Our Neighbors and a Boost for the Economy with Extended Unemployment Insurance

Posted by Jesse Lee on July 22, 2010 at 5:17 PM EDT

Yesterday, at long last the Senate passed an extension of unemployment insurance, not only the decent thing to do but one of the most effective ways to boost our economy, as Lawrence Summers, Chair of the National Economic Council, explained. The President has pressured the partisan minority holding it up relentlessly on behalf of those who desperately needed the helping hand, and applauded Congress for overcoming that obstruction in the statement below and today sign he signed the legislation in the Oval Office. This was the President’s statement:

Today, I signed the unemployment insurance extension to restore desperately needed assistance to two and a half million Americans who lost their jobs in the recession. After a partisan minority used procedural tactics to block the authorization of this assistance three separate times over the past weeks, Americans who are fighting to find a good job and support their families will finally get the support they need to get back on their feet during these tough economic times. Now it’s time for Congress to act on more proposals that support our economic recovery, including passing critical aid to our states and support to small businesses. Small businesses are the engine of job growth, and measures to cut their taxes and make lending available should not be held hostage to partisan tactics like those that unconscionably held up unemployment insurance.

Ed. Note: This post has been updated.

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The SME Finance Challenge: Supporting Small Businesses as Big Engines of Growth

Posted by Lael Brainard on July 22, 2010 at 5:15 PM EDT

The Obama Administration is intensely focused on creating jobs and growing the economy so that Americans have more and better pathways to reach their goals.

At home, our efforts are centered on expanding exports, supporting small businesses, and promoting entrepreneurship and private innovation to spur growth.

Abroad, we are also working with our partners to aid the poor and generate private sector opportunities because we know that a more stable and prosperous global economy will benefit Americans while also lifting lives.

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Improper Payments Elimination and Recovery Act: Cutting Waste and Fraud in Government

Posted by Katelyn Sabochik on July 22, 2010 at 2:39 PM EDT

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Read the Transcript | Download Video: mp4 (110MB) | mp3 (10MB) .This morning, President Obama signed the Improper Payments Elimination and Recovery Act, a bill – passed unanimously by both the House and Senate – designed to cut waste, fraud and abuse due to improper payments by federal government agencies. Making our government more efficient and cost-effective has been a priority for the President since day one. Over the past eighteen months, the Obama Administration has taken many steps to curb wasteful spending and streamline government processes.

In his remarks before signing the bill, the President reflected on some of the ways his Administration has already begun to cut wasteful spending in the budget process:

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Honoring the Designers of Today and Inspiring the Designers of the Future

Posted by Bill Moggridge on July 22, 2010 at 2:33 PM EDT

What a thrill it was to participate in the White House ceremony hosted by First Lady Michelle Obama yesterday as she celebrated the 2010 National Design Awards honorees. The First Lady serves as the honorary patron for this year’s National Design Awards and her commitment to arts and design based education made this a very special event. We are honored to once again receive the patronage of the First Lady, as her support does such a lot to advance awareness of the importance of design.

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Follow Up: White House Forum on Clean Energy Manufacturing

Posted by Secretary Gary Locke on July 22, 2010 at 1:55 PM EDT

Ed Note: Last Friday, Secretary Locke kicked off a Clean Energy Economy Forum on clean energy manufacturing at the White House. You can watch the video of the opening remarks below and the videos of the first and second panels on YouTube.

Last Friday, I joined Obama administration colleagues and business leaders from across the country to participate in a forum on clean energy innovation at the White House. I told the group that the development of clean energy and energy efficient technologies could spur the greatest economic opportunity of the 21st century. That's a sentiment shared by President Obama, as well as many leaders attending Friday’s clean energy forum. But for all this promise, the overwhelming consensus among forum members was that we’ve got to do more to scale up America’s clean energy industry.

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Clean Energy Economy Forum on Federal Leaders and Sustainable Building

Posted by Michelle Moore on July 21, 2010 at 5:41 PM EDT

Yesterday, more than 120 leaders in the commercial building community came together with Federal officials at a White House Clean Energy Economy Forum to discuss the role of Federal leadership in sustainable building. White House Council on Environmental Quality Chair Nancy Sutley, Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis, General Services Administration Administrator Martha Johnson, and Housing and Urban Development Deputy Secretary Ron Sims got a conversation started that focused on three key topics: leveraging the scale, financing, and innovation.

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Helping New Parents and Gaining Long-Term Savings

Posted by Melody Barnes on July 21, 2010 at 4:31 PM EDT

New and expecting mothers and fathers across the country will have a helping hand in those first, crucial years of child rearing thanks to the Affordable Care Act. Today, Secretary Sebelius announced $88 million in grants for the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program. These grants will help new and expecting parents by providing in-home visits by professionals who can teach them the important skills every new parent should know.

The concept is simple and the results are strong. Research shows home visits can yield substantial improvements in school readiness, father involvement, and parent employment as well as reductions in child abuse, neglect, and dependence on public supports. Home visits can actually reap Medicaid savings through fewer preterm births and emergency room use. Independent non-partisan organizations estimate that every dollar spent on evidence-based home visitation yields between $3-6 of savings to federal, state, and local governments.

By building on models that have been developing across the country, we’re working to support this crucial service and, at the same time, reaping long-term savings and rewards as children grow up in healthier environments.

For more information on Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting, go to: www.hrsa.gov

Melody Barnes is the President’s Domestic Policy Advisor and Director of the Domestic Policy Council

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The President’s Commitment to Fight HIV/AIDS

Posted by Gayle Smith on July 21, 2010 at 3:50 PM EDT

In light of the International AIDS Society conference being held in Vienna this week, many people have raised questions about the Obama Administration’s commitment to the fight against HIV/AIDS.

First, consider the facts:

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7. Written by 3, on 26-07-2010 14:35

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Focus on Workplace Safety

Posted by Joseph Main on July 16, 2010 at 10:49 AM EDT

Each year across America, more than 5,000 workers are killed on the job. Another four million are injured, and thousands more will subsequently become ill or die from present day occupational exposures.

Recent tragedies—like the explosions at the Upper Big Branch Mine in West Virginia and aboard the Deepwater Horizon off the Gulf Coast—make that clear. The news coverage is certainly fostering public awareness of the hazards facing many workers, but every day, countless other workplace injuries and deaths go largely unnoticed.

Shortly after the Upper Big Branch explosion, the President made clear his personal commitment and that of the Administration to honor the victims of this disaster by ensuring justice is served on their behalf and that an accident of this magnitude never happens again. He told the nation “we owe [those who perished in the UBB disaster] more than prayers. We owe them action. We owe them accountability. We owe them an assurance that when they go to work every day, when they enter that dark mine, they are not alone. They ought to know that behind them there is a company that’s doing what it takes to protect them, and a government that is looking out for their safety.”

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West Wing Week: "6 Principals"

Posted by Arun Chaudhary on July 16, 2010 at 12:00 AM EDT...

Thanks for checking out the West Wing Week, your guide to everything that's happening at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. This week, walk step by step with the President as he speaks about the economy in Las Vegas, celebrates 100 years of the Boy Scouts of America, meets with President Fernandez of the Dominican Republic, visits with the 2010 Principal of the Year award winners, announces the new Director of the Office of Management and Budget and much more.

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Download Video: mp4 (94.7MB) .

Find more video, photos, and information on the events featured in this episode below:

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President Obama on Final Passage of Wall Street Reform: An End to Bailouts, a Beginning for Accountability

Posted by Jesse Lee on July 15, 2010 at 6:25 PM EDT

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Read the Transcript | Download Video: mp4 (68MB) | mp3 (7MB) .When the President came into office, the scope of the challenges and the change needed to address them seemed overwhelming, and maybe more than Washington could handle. But one by one, these monstrous challenges are being met, despite fierce opposition from hordes of lobbyists driven by a desire to protect a lucrative status quo and an opposition party driven by politics at any cost. Indeed, as the President praised final passage of Wall Street Reform today, he was forced to point out that “Already, the Republican leader in the House has called for repeal of this reform. I would suggest that America can’t afford to go backward and I think that’s how most Americans feel as well.”

With the final version of Wall Street Reform having passed the Senate this afternoon, and the House having passed it weeks ago, the bill now comes to the President’s desk. The President thanked those in Congress who stood strong, and noted that first and foremost, “Because of this reform, the American people will never again be asked to foot the bill for Wall Street’s mistakes.” But that is only a part of what reform means for the American people, and only part of what makes this almost universally described as the most sweeping reform of Wall Street since the great depression:

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President Obama on Advanced Batteries in Michigan: "A Symbol of Where America is Going"

Posted by Jesse Lee on July 15, 2010 at 4:34 PM EDT

If you missed our post earlier on the future of electric vehicles and advanced batteries that the Recovery Act has helped shape, it’s well worth a read. As the President said during his visit to the advanced battery plant in Holland, Michigan, today: “This is a symbol of where Michigan is going, this is a symbol of where Holland is going, this is a symbol of where America is going.”

In short, making America a player in emerging market for electric vehicles was one of dozens of examples of the Recovery Act not only putting people to work in the short term, but building a whole new foundation for America’s economy:

That means that by 2012, the batteries will be manufactured here in Holland, Michigan. So when you buy one of these vehicles, the battery could be stamped “Made in America” -– just like the car.

The President went on to put this plant in the broader perspective, and to remind everybody about the choice between moving forward toward recovery and this new foundation, or moving back to the time that led to this crisis:

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Tomorrow: Clean Energy Manufacturing Forum with Secretary Locke

Posted by Katelyn Sabochik on July 15, 2010 at 4:27 PM EDT

Tomorrow from 10:30 AM EDT to 1 PM EDT, the White House will host a Clean Energy Economy Forum focused on clean energy manufacturing. Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke will kick off the event with opening remarks followed by two panel discussions focusing on strategies to advance the development and commercialization of new clean energy technologies, support the creation and growth of emerging industries and small and medium enterprises, promote exports, and train workers for the clean energy economy.

You can watch the forum live tomorrow at WhiteHouse.gov/live. During the question and answer portion of the panel discussions we’ll be taking some questions from the online audience so submit your questions via Facebook or our webform.

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Electric Vehicles, Advanced Batteries, and American Jobs: Another Piece of the Puzzle in Holland, Michigan

Posted by Jesse Lee on July 15, 2010 at 1:47 PM EDT

It’s a small part of a big story that will impact how the world travels for generations to come – and the role American workers will have in that transformation.

This afternoon the President is at a groundbreaking ceremony at Compact Power, Inc. a subsidiary of LG Chem Ltd., a battery plant in Holland, Michigan. The plant is yet another piece of the puzzle for turning electric vehicles from a dream that many presumed dead into a reality that we will all one day take for granted. The plant is the ninth of nine new advanced battery factories to start construction as a result of the $2.4 billion in Recovery Act advanced battery and electric vehicle awards the President announced last August. The project is expected to create hundreds of construction and manufacturing jobs in Holland. Once fully operational, the Compact factory will produce battery cells to support 53,000 Chevy Volts a year.

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Prevention is a Priority -- Now It's a Reality

Posted by Secretary Kathleen Sebelius on July 14, 2010 at 10:01 PM EDT

Earlier today, I joined First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden to discuss how the Affordable Care Act will give millions of Americans access to preventive care through their private health insurance.

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Read the Transcript | Download Video: mp4 (265MB) | mp3 (26MB) .Today, too many Americans today aren't getting the preventive health care they need. Right now, for example, 59 million adults and 11 million children depend on private health insurance that doesn't adequately cover immunizations. And 12 percent of children haven't visited a doctor in the last year.

The statistics are even more troubling in our minority communities. African-American mothers are 2.5 times as likely as white mothers to begin prenatal care in the 3rd trimester, or not receive it at all. And only 37 percent of Latinos were screened for colon cancer in 2007, compared to 57 percent of whites.

Our challenge is to remove the obstacles between patients getting the preventive services that they need to stay healthy. If we fail in this challenge, we all pay the price. If we succeed -- we are on our way to a healthier nation. According to one study, if people got just five types of preventive services when they needed to -- colorectal and breast cancer screening, flu vaccines, counseling to help them quit smoking, and regular aspirin use to prevent strokes -- we could avert 100,000 deaths each year. Use of preventive services can also help bring costs down in a variety of ways. For example, people who are obese have health care costs that are 39 percent above average, and reducing obesity and the diseases related to it could lower premiums overall by 0.05 to 0.1 percent.

Those are just a few of the reasons why President Obama has made improving access to preventive care a priority from his first day in office and why we released new rules requiring all new private health insurance plans with plan years beginning on or after September 23, 2010 to cover recommended preventive services without cost-sharing when delivered by a network provider. The new rules mean that services like blood pressure, diabetes and cholesterol tests, cancer screenings, routine vaccinations, and well-baby visits will be provided without a deductible, co-pay or co-insurance.

We know that eliminating these costs for regular preventive services can ensure more Americans will use these services. And we know these services can save lives.

At the announcement yesterday, we met Maggie Roberts from California. When Maggie's son was just a toddler, he was diagnosed with cancer during a routine checkup. Because they caught it early, the cancer was successfully treated, and years later he is still cancer-free. It's a powerful story of how important preventive care can be.

You can learn more about the new preventive benefits available under the law, and get more tips on how to stay healthy by visiting our new website, www.HealthCare.gov.

Kathleen Sebelius is Secretary of Health and Human Services

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Progress Report on Cybersecurity

Posted by Howard Schmidt on July 14, 2010 at 6:35 PM EDT

Today, I was honored to host an event at the White House with cybersecurity experts and discuss progress made by increased cybersecurity efforts across the administration. President Obama has recognized that the “cyber threat is one of the most serious economic and national security challenges we face as a nation” and “America's economic prosperity in the 21st century will depend on cybersecurity.”

We were joined by a broad cross section of stakeholders from the Federal government, State and local government, law enforcement and private sector representatives from across multiple sectors of the economy, as well as representatives from academia and the privacy and civil liberties communities. The purpose was to draw attention to the efforts of these communities to reduce risk and build confidence in our critical information and communications infrastructure.

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Closing the Tech Gap

Posted by CIO Vivek Kundra on July 14, 2010 at 3:24 PM EDT

What if senior management in an Agency – or anyone in the public – could identify and monitor the performance of IT projects just as easily as they could monitor the stock market or baseball scores? That’s what the IT dashboard does -- and it’s changing the way government does business.

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The First Lady’s Trip to the Gulf Coast

Posted by Trooper Sanders on July 14, 2010 at 3:06 PM EDT

previous photoFirst Lady Michelle Obama Visits Panama City Beach, Fla.Show Gallery Info.

First Lady Michelle Obama traveled to Panama City Beach, Fla., July 12, 2010, to meet with members of the community and discuss the impact of the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

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next photo .This week, the First Lady traveled to Panama City Beach, Florida, to meet with business and community leaders in the area. The past few months have been especially challenging for families and businesses in the Gulf Coast region. The BP Oil Spill is the worst environmental disaster our nation has ever seen, and the effects of the spill are evident not only in the oil washing up on some of the shores, but in the businesses and communities that are suffering.

This Administration will not rest until the well is capped, the oil is cleaned up, the natural beauty of this region is restored, and the people of the Gulf Coast who have been affected by this tragic, ongoing spill are made whole. The President and his tireless advisors like Carol Browner, who joined us on this trip, have been doing everything they can to keep Gulf Coast families and the American people up to date on the Administration-wide response to the Gulf Coast spill, but there was one particular point of great concern that Mrs. Obama wanted to drive home to those families.

“I know that there have been lots of questions lately about how we can best help people here on the Gulf Coast who’ve been affected by the oil spill," Mrs. Obama said, "And to be honest, truly, one of the best ways that fellow Americans can help is to come on down here and spend some money.” What many Americans may not realize is that most of the Gulf Coast is still open for business. Despite what you’ve see on TV or read in the newspapers, many the beaches, like Panama City Beach, where the First Lady visited, are still clean and safe. And one of the best ways Americans can help this region and the hard working people who live in the area is by coming down and enjoying the hospitality.

For communities like Panama City Beach, summertime is peak tourist season. But this year, many business owners have seen a sharp decline in tourism to the region, despite the fact that their beaches are clean and oil free. If you’re looking for a family vacation this summer, consider visiting one of the many communities in the Gulf Coast region.

Trooper Sanders is Deputy Director of Policy to the First Lady

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National HIV/AIDS Strategy: Reducing New Infections, Improving Care, Ending Health Disparities

Posted by Katelyn Sabochik on July 14, 2010 at 2:26 PM EDT

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Read the Transcript | Download Video: mp4 (124MB) | mp3 (12MB) .Yesterday, the White House Office of National AIDS Policy (ONAP) released the National HIV/AIDS Strategy – a comprehensive plan for fighting HIV in our country.

In his remarks at a reception with HIV/AIDS policy experts and activists, the President acknowledged that as a Nation, we have come a long way in the battle against the domestic HIV/AIDS epidemic, but that we still have much work left to do:

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Watch and Engage: A Conversation on Sustainable Communities

Posted by Juan Cuba on July 14, 2010 at 2:18 PM EDT

Tomorrow, the White House Office of Urban Affairs will host a live chat with the leadership of the Sustainable Communities Partnership, an unprecedented agreement between HUD, Transportation, and EPA to coordinate Federal housing, transportation, and environmental investments. A part of President Obama's broader urban and metropolitan agenda, the partnership aims to break down traditional silos and craft federal programs and policies that take a more collaborative and holistic approach to better respond to the needs of communities.

Last month, the Partnership released a joint notice of funding availability (NOFA) – $35 million in TIGER II Planning grants and $40 million in Sustainable Community Challenge grants – for local planning activities that integrate transportation, housing, and economic development. And, HUD also announced $100 million in funding for Sustainable Communities Regional Planning grant program.

We invite you to join us for a live discussion on Sustainable Communities – the progress they’ve made, the funding programs available, and what the future of the partnership looks like – at www.whitehouse.gov/live tomorrow, July 15th at 2:00pm EST or you can submit questions in advance to Planetizen.

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The First Lady Answers Your Questions

Posted by Kori Schulman on July 14, 2010 at 11:49 AM EDT

To launch the new LetsMove.gov, the First Lady answered some of your questions in her first live video chat with AOL Health. AOL called on their readers to submit questions for Mrs. Obama in the days leading up to the chat. In addition to the thousands of questions received in advance, even more of you engaged in the live event. Here is what you missed:

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Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy: Fueling Innovation

Posted by Dr. Arun Majumdar on July 14, 2010 at 9:42 AM EDT

The Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) is pursuing transformational solutions to our energy problems. Part of the Department of Energy, ARPA-E is modeled after the famed DARPA program at the Department of Defense that led to the internet, GPS, stealth airplane technology, and many other success stories. At ARPA-E, we are trying to hit clean energy home runs, not just base hits. Our goal is to drive the sort of energy innovation that can help us take the lead in high-tech clean energy manufacturing and export clean energy products to the world.

On Monday, we announced $92 million in funding for 43 advanced research projects. These projects focus on three areas that are critical to building a new energy future: grid scale energy storage, advanced power electronics, and energy efficient cooling systems.

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The Economic Case for Extending Unemployment Insurance

Posted by Lawrence Summers on July 14, 2010 at 9:03 AM EDT

The lapse in extended unemployment insurance benefits at the end of May has resulted in 2.5 million jobless Americans exhausting their assistance. If we do not reinstate benefits by the end of the month, this number will grow to 3.2 million. These losses are exacting an enormous human toll on families who count on these benefits as they continue to search for jobs.

As the President recently remarked: “Lasting unemployment takes a toll on families, takes a toll on marriages, takes a toll on children. It saps the vitality of communities, especially in places that have seen factories and other anchoring businesses shut their doors. And being unable to find work – being able to provide for your family – that doesn’t just affect your economic security, that affects your heart and your soul. It beats you up. It’s hard.”

It is also bad for the economy. But unemployment insurance puts money in the pockets of the families most likely to spend the money – which in turn expands the economy and creates jobs. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office has identified increased aid to the unemployed as one of the two most cost-effective policy options for increasing economic production and employment.

Missed unemployment insurance payments since May total over $10 billion – enough to have created 100,000 jobs. An abrupt and premature withdrawal of relief is not only something families cannot afford, it is something that the economy cannot afford at a time when the economy is at a critical juncture. The economy is finally creating jobs, but not nearly fast enough to close the 8 million-job gap opened by the recession.

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Wall Street Reform: Final Votes Approach

Posted by Jesse Lee on July 13, 2010 at 2:35 PM EDT

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Read the Transcript | Download Video: mp4 (86MB) | mp3 (8MB) .When the President began pushing for tough reforms to the way Wall Street does business in the months after he came into office, the grip that the biggest banks in the world have held over Congress in past years left many skeptical about their prospects. Today, though, Senate Leader Harry Reid announced that the final vote in the Senate would come this week, clearing the way for the bill to be sent to the President’s desk.

As it happened, the President was meeting with Senate Democratic Leaders just this morning, and before announcing the nomination of his new OMB Director, the President took a moment to commend those Senators who have withstood the army of lobbyists working against this bill to get it to just steps from the finish line:

Before I begin, I just want to note a breakthrough that we’ve had on our efforts to pass the most comprehensive reform of Wall Street since the Great Depression. Three Republican senators have put politics and partisanship aside to support this reform, and I'm grateful for their decision, as well as all the Democrats who’ve worked so hard to make this reform a reality -- particularly Chairman Dodd and Chairman Barney Frank.

What members of both parties realize is that we can’t allow a financial crisis like this one that we just went through to happen again. This reform will prevent that from happening. It will prevent a financial crisis like this from happening again by protecting consumers against the unfair practices of credit card companies and mortgage lenders. It will ensure that taxpayers are never again on the hook for Wall Street’s mistakes. And it will end an era of irresponsibility that led to the loss of eight million jobs and trillions of dollars of wealth. This reform is good for families; it’s good for businesses; it’s good for the entire economy. And I urge the Senate to act quickly so that I can sign it into law next week.

President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden meet with the Senate Democratic Leadership Team in the Roosevelt Room of the White House to discuss legislative priorities before the August recess, July 13, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

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President Obama Announces a New OMB Director: Jacob Lew

Posted by Jesse Lee on July 13, 2010 at 2:13 PM EDT

Today, President Obama announced his intent to nominate Jacob J. Lew, generally caled "Jack," to serve as Director of the Office of Management and Budget – the President’s top aide in charge of overseeing the budget for the entire Federal government. Lew, who already has outstanding experience in the position under the Clinton Administration, has been serving in the State Department under President Obama. During him time under President Clinton, 11 million jobs were created, and the federal budget was balanced for the first time since Neil Armstrong walked on the moon. An inherited $290 billion deficit was turned around, and resulted in a more than $236 billion surplus at the end of 2000.

•Read more about Lew in the White House background.

President Barack Obama announces the nomination of Jack Lew to replace Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Director Peter Orszag during a statement to the press in the Diplomatic Reception Room of the White House July 13, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

.In making the announcement, the President took ample time to commend the service of Peter Orszag, who has held the position during some of the toughest economic and fiscal times the country has seen in decades:

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Announcing the National HIV/AIDS Strategy

Posted by Jeffrey Crowley on July 13, 2010 at 12:45 PM EDT

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Download Video: mp4 (463MB) | mp3 (45MB) .Today, I am pleased to announce the release of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy for the United States. The release of the strategy reaffirms President Obama’s commitment to fighting this domestic epidemic.

From the time that we first heard about the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) thirty years ago through today, HIV has become a global pandemic with more than 33 million people living with HIV around the world. In the United States, approximately 56,000 people become infected each year, more than 1.1 million Americans are living with HIV, and nearly 600,000 Americans have been lost to this disease. Unless we take bold actions, we anticipate a new era of rising infection rates and even greater challenges in serving people with HIV.

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Introducing the New and Improved LetsMove.gov

Posted by Kori Schulman on July 12, 2010 at 5:47 PM EDT

[UPDATE: This event has now concluded.]

Earlier today, the First Lady sent an email announcing the new LetMove.gov and some of its features. To kick things off, Mrs. Obama will be answering your questions about the Let’s Move! initiative in a live video chat tomorrow at 10:00 AM EDT. Watch the live event right here on WhiteHouse.gov/Live and read a message from the First Lady:

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President Obama & President Fernandez Meet on Trade, Drug-Trafficking, and Haiti

Posted by Jesse Lee on July 12, 2010 at 5:45 PM EDT

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.This afternoon President Obama held a bilateral meeting with President Leonel Fernandez of the Dominican Republic, touching on a broad range of issues from the political crisis in Honduras, to trade, to continued efforts to crack down on drug trafficking between our two countries.

Both Presidents closed their remarks afterwards with words of appreciation for each others’ friendship, but President Obama opened his remarks on a heart-breaking topic:

One of the first messages I wanted to deliver was my appreciation for the role that the Dominican Republic played in helping the international community respond to the crisis in Haiti after the devastating earthquake there. And I think that the Dominican Republic’s role, President Fernandez’s role in particular, in helping to facilitate a rapid response was extraordinarily important. It saved lives and it continues as we look at how we can reconstruct and rebuild in Haiti in a way that is good not only for the people of Haiti but also good for the region as a whole.

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5. Written by The White House, on 26-07-2010 15:01

President Obama and Vice President Biden’s Daily Public Schedules Now Online

Posted by Katelyn Sabochik on July 26, 2010 at 2:57 PM EDT

Starting today, the President and the Vice President’s daily public schedules are now available online. You don’t have to come to WhiteHouse.gov to find out what the President and Vice President are up to each day – you can subscribe to their schedules via RSS or even add their schedules to your own Outlook, iCal, Google calendar, or any other calendar service that’s compatible with an iCal feed. Just click here to download the iCal feed and add it to your calendar today. Your calendar will be automatically updated as new events are added to the President and Vice President’s schedule.

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Reaching Out to Rural America: Meeting with Students at the Delaware State Fair

Posted by Secretary Arne Duncan on July 26, 2010 at 12:49 PM EDT

On Friday, I joined Senator Tom Carper and Representative Mike Castle at the Delaware State Fair in Harrington, DE. We spent the day with 4-H and Future Farmers of America students. We saw the results of their hard work on farming vegetables, baking pastries and pies from scratch, sewing garments and tending to farm animals. The students participating in 4-H, a program run by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture and the National Future Farmers of America Organization, showed me first-hand the vital contributions of our nation’s rural communities.

The President is dedicated to promoting and developing the work of rural America. That’s why the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act provided $53 billion to support the ability of rural communities to gain access to the health care, educational, economic, and infrastructure development resources. To better understand the needs of rural communities, the President asked Cabinet members to visit communities across the nation on a Rural Tour. Over the last year, the Administration has engaged thousands of people in a conversation about how towns, states, and the federal government can work together to help strengthen rural America. In addition to the Delaware State Fair, I have visited remote villages in Alaska and an Indian reservation in Montana.

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Iraqi Young Leaders Exchange Program: A Step Toward Mutual Understanding

Posted by Samantha Vinograd on July 26, 2010 at 12:45 PM EDT

The Iraqi Young Leaders Exchange Program, (IYLEP) funded by the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad and implemented by AED, a nonprofit organization working globally to improve education, health, social and economic development, enables 50 highly-motivated undergraduate students from Iraq to attend a six-week intensive academic summer program at a U.S. host university.

Recently, these students visited Washington, D.C., where they had the opportunity to meet with Macon Phillips, Special Assistant to the President and Director for New Media at the White House. Macon discussed the Obama administration’s use of blogs, social networking sites, and text messaging to increase transparency and public participation in governance. The students have shared some insights below from their program and how their worldview and personal view have changed as a direct result of the Iraqi Young Leaders Exchange Program.

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Weekly Address: Moving Forward on the Economy vs. Moving Backward

Posted by Jesse Lee on July 24, 2010 at 6:00 AM EDT

Following the signing of historic Wall Street Reform legislation, the President lays out his plans to strengthen the middle class, give tax breaks to small businesses that create jobs here, invest in homegrown, clean energy, and cut taxes for working families. The President also contrasts that plan with the agenda outlined by the Republican House Leader that would return America to the policies that created this economic crisis, drastically increase the deficit, and make permanent massive tax breaks for the very wealthiest Americans

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Your Submissions: Infographics on the Challenge of Childhood Obesity

Posted by Kori Schulman on July 23, 2010 at 3:40 PM EDT

Let’s Move! and GOOD asked you to create infographics about the childhood obesity epidemic to help raise awareness about the problem and the ways we’re working to address it. There are some great submissions, see a few below and even more over on GOOD.is.

Tell us your favorites in the comments section here, on Twitter or the Let’s Move! facebook page. The winners will be announced on July 27th.

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Recovery Act in Action #8: Jobs in the Heartland

Posted by Jared Bernstein on July 23, 2010 at 3:18 PM EDT

Our latest Recovery-Act-in-Action installment features some exciting new technology, 100 good-paying manufacturing jobs, and the public/private co-investment that is critical to job growth right now.

It’s all taking place in Indianapolis, Indiana, where Allison Transmission is building a new factory to make hybrid systems that go into energy efficient trucks, buses and other commercial vehicles. The new plant, and the 100 folks Allison expects to put to work in it, was partially financed by a $62.8 million Recovery Act grant from the Department of Energy as part their advanced battery grant program.

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Reforming Wall Street, Stopping Improper Payments, and Bringing Relief to Our Friends and Neighbors Looking for Work

Posted by Katelyn Sabochik on July 23, 2010 at 1:55 PM EDT

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Read the Transcript | Download Video: mp4 (47MB) | mp3 (5MB) .This week, the President signed three bills into law that will help our economy get back on track and eliminate wasteful and fraudulent improper payments by the federal government. On Wednesday, the President signed the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. Yesterday morning, the President signed the Improper Payments Elimination and Recovery Act, and in the afternoon he signed the Unemployment Compensation Extension Act.

In his remarks today in the Roosevelt Room, President Obama reflected on these three important pieces of legislation and urged Congress to do even more to help small businesses.

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Taking America from #12 to #1

Posted by Heather Higginbottom on July 23, 2010 at 11:43 AM EDT

As the Washington Post and New York Times report, the United States has fallen from first to 12th in terms of 25 to 34-year-olds with postsecondary degrees. The finding comes from a report conducted by the College Board and confirms what we’ve known for too long: that United States’ graduation rate is lagging behind our global competitors.

We know that economic security and educational progress go hand in hand. That’s one of the reasons why the President outlined a new national goal last year: by 2020, America will once again have the highest proportion of college graduates in the world. Already we’ve taken crucial steps to help our nation meet this goal.

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"Operation Care Package"

Posted by Julia Simmons and Sophia Solomon on July 23, 2010 at 11:33 AM EDT

White House interns teamed up with Dr. Jill Biden to put together care packages for the families of wounded soldiers being treated at Walter Reed Army Medical Center and the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, MD as part of program “Operation Care Package.” Organized by USO of Metropolitan Washington to raise the spirits of the troops and their families, the White House volunteers completed a total of 500 care packages.

Dr. Biden teams up with White House Interns and helps assemble care packages for the families of wounded soldiers. July 21, 2010. (by Sophia Solomon)

.Dr. Biden talked to the interns about the importance of service, stating “It’s the small acts of kindness that make a difference to the military and their families. I hope when you go back to your colleges and communities you continue this kind of service.” The care packages serve as a reminder that the small things can help not only the soldiers, but their families that work tirelessly to support the soldiers based at Walter Reed and the National Naval Medical Center.

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West Wing Week: "A Sensible Mid Westerner"

Posted by Arun Chaudhary on July 23, 2010 at 12:00 AM EDT

Thanks for checking out the West Wing Week, your guide to everything that's happening at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. This week, walk step by step with the President as he speaks up for unemployed Americans, congratulates this year's WNBA champs, talks with astronaut John Glenn about space exploration, meets with British Prime Minister Cameron, signs the historic Wall Street Reform bill into law and much more.

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Download Video: mp4 (132MB) .

Find more video, photos, and information on the events featured in this episode below:

Friday, July 16, 2010

•The President gives an update on the BP Oil Spill in the Gulf

Monday, July 19, 2010

•The President speaks up for unemployed Americans

•The President congratulates WNBA Champs

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

•The President meets with British Prime Minister Cameron

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

•The President signs Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act

Thursday, July 22, 2010

•The President signs the Improper Payments Elimination Act

Arun Chaudhary is the official White House videographer

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Vice President Biden’s Visit to Alabama

Posted by Elizabeth Alexander on July 22, 2010 at 6:36 PM EDT

Vice President Joe Biden is led on a tour of the boom repair area by Walt Dorn of Patriot Environmental Services, at the Theodore Staging Area in Alabama, July 22, 2010. (Official White House Photo by David Lienemann)

.Today, Vice President Biden traveled to Theodore, Alabama to assess efforts to counter the BP oil spill. During the visit, the Vice President toured the Theodore Staging Facility and met with fisherman and small business owners from the area. He was joined by National Incident Commander Admiral Thad Allen and NOAA Administrator Dr. Jane Lubchenco.

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Department of Education Hosts National Rural Education Technology Summit

Posted by John White on July 22, 2010 at 5:40 PM EDT

They came by plane, train, and automobile, but were making more innovative connections for students in rural schools.

More than 150 rural education and technology experts responded to an invitation from the Obama Administration to participate in a National Rural Education Technology Summit on Wednesday, July 21 at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian to learn from one another and provide feedback to federal officials.

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At Long Last, Help for Our Neighbors and a Boost for the Economy with Extended Unemployment Insurance

Posted by Jesse Lee on July 22, 2010 at 5:17 PM EDT

Yesterday, at long last the Senate passed an extension of unemployment insurance, not only the decent thing to do but one of the most effective ways to boost our economy, as Lawrence Summers, Chair of the National Economic Council, explained. The President has pressured the partisan minority holding it up relentlessly on behalf of those who desperately needed the helping hand, and applauded Congress for overcoming that obstruction in the statement below and today sign he signed the legislation in the Oval Office. This was the President’s statement:

Today, I signed the unemployment insurance extension to restore desperately needed assistance to two and a half million Americans who lost their jobs in the recession. After a partisan minority used procedural tactics to block the authorization of this assistance three separate times over the past weeks, Americans who are fighting to find a good job and support their families will finally get the support they need to get back on their feet during these tough economic times. Now it’s time for Congress to act on more proposals that support our economic recovery, including passing critical aid to our states and support to small businesses. Small businesses are the engine of job growth, and measures to cut their taxes and make lending available should not be held hostage to partisan tactics like those that unconscionably held up unemployment insurance.

Ed. Note: This post has been updated.

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The SME Finance Challenge: Supporting Small Businesses as Big Engines of Growth

Posted by Lael Brainard on July 22, 2010 at 5:15 PM EDT

The Obama Administration is intensely focused on creating jobs and growing the economy so that Americans have more and better pathways to reach their goals.

At home, our efforts are centered on expanding exports, supporting small businesses, and promoting entrepreneurship and private innovation to spur growth.

Abroad, we are also working with our partners to aid the poor and generate private sector opportunities because we know that a more stable and prosperous global economy will benefit Americans while also lifting lives.

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Improper Payments Elimination and Recovery Act: Cutting Waste and Fraud in Government

Posted by Katelyn Sabochik on July 22, 2010 at 2:39 PM EDT

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Read the Transcript | Download Video: mp4 (110MB) | mp3 (10MB) .This morning, President Obama signed the Improper Payments Elimination and Recovery Act, a bill – passed unanimously by both the House and Senate – designed to cut waste, fraud and abuse due to improper payments by federal government agencies. Making our government more efficient and cost-effective has been a priority for the President since day one. Over the past eighteen months, the Obama Administration has taken many steps to curb wasteful spending and streamline government processes.

In his remarks before signing the bill, the President reflected on some of the ways his Administration has already begun to cut wasteful spending in the budget process:

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Honoring the Designers of Today and Inspiring the Designers of the Future

Posted by Bill Moggridge on July 22, 2010 at 2:33 PM EDT

What a thrill it was to participate in the White House ceremony hosted by First Lady Michelle Obama yesterday as she celebrated the 2010 National Design Awards honorees. The First Lady serves as the honorary patron for this year’s National Design Awards and her commitment to arts and design based education made this a very special event. We are honored to once again receive the patronage of the First Lady, as her support does such a lot to advance awareness of the importance of design.

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Follow Up: White House Forum on Clean Energy Manufacturing

Posted by Secretary Gary Locke on July 22, 2010 at 1:55 PM EDT

Ed Note: Last Friday, Secretary Locke kicked off a Clean Energy Economy Forum on clean energy manufacturing at the White House. You can watch the video of the opening remarks below and the videos of the first and second panels on YouTube.

Last Friday, I joined Obama administration colleagues and business leaders from across the country to participate in a forum on clean energy innovation at the White House. I told the group that the development of clean energy and energy efficient technologies could spur the greatest economic opportunity of the 21st century. That's a sentiment shared by President Obama, as well as many leaders attending Friday’s clean energy forum. But for all this promise, the overwhelming consensus among forum members was that we’ve got to do more to scale up America’s clean energy industry.

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Clean Energy Economy Forum on Federal Leaders and Sustainable Building

Posted by Michelle Moore on July 21, 2010 at 5:41 PM EDT

Yesterday, more than 120 leaders in the commercial building community came together with Federal officials at a White House Clean Energy Economy Forum to discuss the role of Federal leadership in sustainable building. White House Council on Environmental Quality Chair Nancy Sutley, Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis, General Services Administration Administrator Martha Johnson, and Housing and Urban Development Deputy Secretary Ron Sims got a conversation started that focused on three key topics: leveraging the scale, financing, and innovation.

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Helping New Parents and Gaining Long-Term Savings

Posted by Melody Barnes on July 21, 2010 at 4:31 PM EDT

New and expecting mothers and fathers across the country will have a helping hand in those first, crucial years of child rearing thanks to the Affordable Care Act. Today, Secretary Sebelius announced $88 million in grants for the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program. These grants will help new and expecting parents by providing in-home visits by professionals who can teach them the important skills every new parent should know.

The concept is simple and the results are strong. Research shows home visits can yield substantial improvements in school readiness, father involvement, and parent employment as well as reductions in child abuse, neglect, and dependence on public supports. Home visits can actually reap Medicaid savings through fewer preterm births and emergency room use. Independent non-partisan organizations estimate that every dollar spent on evidence-based home visitation yields between $3-6 of savings to federal, state, and local governments.

By building on models that have been developing across the country, we’re working to support this crucial service and, at the same time, reaping long-term savings and rewards as children grow up in healthier environments.

For more information on Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting, go to: www.hrsa.gov

Melody Barnes is the President’s Domestic Policy Advisor and Director of the Domestic Policy Council

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The President’s Commitment to Fight HIV/AIDS

Posted by Gayle Smith on July 21, 2010 at 3:50 PM EDT

In light of the International AIDS Society conference being held in Vienna this week, many people have raised questions about the Obama Administration’s commitment to the fight against HIV/AIDS.

First, consider the facts:

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6. Written by Urban Dictionary: throbber, on 26-07-2010 14:57

throbber erection *** stiffy hard on *** *** knob woody flobber dobber yogurt slinger alert viagra hard wood member hard-on buhner bone broner *** ...

www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=throbber

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7. Written by 3, on 26-07-2010 14:35

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Focus on Workplace Safety

Posted by Joseph Main on July 16, 2010 at 10:49 AM EDT

Each year across America, more than 5,000 workers are killed on the job. Another four million are injured, and thousands more will subsequently become ill or die from present day occupational exposures.

Recent tragedies—like the explosions at the Upper Big Branch Mine in West Virginia and aboard the Deepwater Horizon off the Gulf Coast—make that clear. The news coverage is certainly fostering public awareness of the hazards facing many workers, but every day, countless other workplace injuries and deaths go largely unnoticed.

Shortly after the Upper Big Branch explosion, the President made clear his personal commitment and that of the Administration to honor the victims of this disaster by ensuring justice is served on their behalf and that an accident of this magnitude never happens again. He told the nation “we owe [those who perished in the UBB disaster] more than prayers. We owe them action. We owe them accountability. We owe them an assurance that when they go to work every day, when they enter that dark mine, they are not alone. They ought to know that behind them there is a company that’s doing what it takes to protect them, and a government that is looking out for their safety.”

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West Wing Week: "6 Principals"

Posted by Arun Chaudhary on July 16, 2010 at 12:00 AM EDT...

Thanks for checking out the West Wing Week, your guide to everything that's happening at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. This week, walk step by step with the President as he speaks about the economy in Las Vegas, celebrates 100 years of the Boy Scouts of America, meets with President Fernandez of the Dominican Republic, visits with the 2010 Principal of the Year award winners, announces the new Director of the Office of Management and Budget and much more.

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Download Video: mp4 (94.7MB) .

Find more video, photos, and information on the events featured in this episode below:

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President Obama on Final Passage of Wall Street Reform: An End to Bailouts, a Beginning for Accountability

Posted by Jesse Lee on July 15, 2010 at 6:25 PM EDT

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Read the Transcript | Download Video: mp4 (68MB) | mp3 (7MB) .When the President came into office, the scope of the challenges and the change needed to address them seemed overwhelming, and maybe more than Washington could handle. But one by one, these monstrous challenges are being met, despite fierce opposition from hordes of lobbyists driven by a desire to protect a lucrative status quo and an opposition party driven by politics at any cost. Indeed, as the President praised final passage of Wall Street Reform today, he was forced to point out that “Already, the Republican leader in the House has called for repeal of this reform. I would suggest that America can’t afford to go backward and I think that’s how most Americans feel as well.”

With the final version of Wall Street Reform having passed the Senate this afternoon, and the House having passed it weeks ago, the bill now comes to the President’s desk. The President thanked those in Congress who stood strong, and noted that first and foremost, “Because of this reform, the American people will never again be asked to foot the bill for Wall Street’s mistakes.” But that is only a part of what reform means for the American people, and only part of what makes this almost universally described as the most sweeping reform of Wall Street since the great depression:

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President Obama on Advanced Batteries in Michigan: "A Symbol of Where America is Going"

Posted by Jesse Lee on July 15, 2010 at 4:34 PM EDT

If you missed our post earlier on the future of electric vehicles and advanced batteries that the Recovery Act has helped shape, it’s well worth a read. As the President said during his visit to the advanced battery plant in Holland, Michigan, today: “This is a symbol of where Michigan is going, this is a symbol of where Holland is going, this is a symbol of where America is going.”

In short, making America a player in emerging market for electric vehicles was one of dozens of examples of the Recovery Act not only putting people to work in the short term, but building a whole new foundation for America’s economy:

That means that by 2012, the batteries will be manufactured here in Holland, Michigan. So when you buy one of these vehicles, the battery could be stamped “Made in America” -– just like the car.

The President went on to put this plant in the broader perspective, and to remind everybody about the choice between moving forward toward recovery and this new foundation, or moving back to the time that led to this crisis:

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Tomorrow: Clean Energy Manufacturing Forum with Secretary Locke

Posted by Katelyn Sabochik on July 15, 2010 at 4:27 PM EDT

Tomorrow from 10:30 AM EDT to 1 PM EDT, the White House will host a Clean Energy Economy Forum focused on clean energy manufacturing. Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke will kick off the event with opening remarks followed by two panel discussions focusing on strategies to advance the development and commercialization of new clean energy technologies, support the creation and growth of emerging industries and small and medium enterprises, promote exports, and train workers for the clean energy economy.

You can watch the forum live tomorrow at WhiteHouse.gov/live. During the question and answer portion of the panel discussions we’ll be taking some questions from the online audience so submit your questions via Facebook or our webform.

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Electric Vehicles, Advanced Batteries, and American Jobs: Another Piece of the Puzzle in Holland, Michigan

Posted by Jesse Lee on July 15, 2010 at 1:47 PM EDT

It’s a small part of a big story that will impact how the world travels for generations to come – and the role American workers will have in that transformation.

This afternoon the President is at a groundbreaking ceremony at Compact Power, Inc. a subsidiary of LG Chem Ltd., a battery plant in Holland, Michigan. The plant is yet another piece of the puzzle for turning electric vehicles from a dream that many presumed dead into a reality that we will all one day take for granted. The plant is the ninth of nine new advanced battery factories to start construction as a result of the $2.4 billion in Recovery Act advanced battery and electric vehicle awards the President announced last August. The project is expected to create hundreds of construction and manufacturing jobs in Holland. Once fully operational, the Compact factory will produce battery cells to support 53,000 Chevy Volts a year.

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Prevention is a Priority -- Now It's a Reality

Posted by Secretary Kathleen Sebelius on July 14, 2010 at 10:01 PM EDT

Earlier today, I joined First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden to discuss how the Affordable Care Act will give millions of Americans access to preventive care through their private health insurance.

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Read the Transcript | Download Video: mp4 (265MB) | mp3 (26MB) .Today, too many Americans today aren't getting the preventive health care they need. Right now, for example, 59 million adults and 11 million children depend on private health insurance that doesn't adequately cover immunizations. And 12 percent of children haven't visited a doctor in the last year.

The statistics are even more troubling in our minority communities. African-American mothers are 2.5 times as likely as white mothers to begin prenatal care in the 3rd trimester, or not receive it at all. And only 37 percent of Latinos were screened for colon cancer in 2007, compared to 57 percent of whites.

Our challenge is to remove the obstacles between patients getting the preventive services that they need to stay healthy. If we fail in this challenge, we all pay the price. If we succeed -- we are on our way to a healthier nation. According to one study, if people got just five types of preventive services when they needed to -- colorectal and breast cancer screening, flu vaccines, counseling to help them quit smoking, and regular aspirin use to prevent strokes -- we could avert 100,000 deaths each year. Use of preventive services can also help bring costs down in a variety of ways. For example, people who are obese have health care costs that are 39 percent above average, and reducing obesity and the diseases related to it could lower premiums overall by 0.05 to 0.1 percent.

Those are just a few of the reasons why President Obama has made improving access to preventive care a priority from his first day in office and why we released new rules requiring all new private health insurance plans with plan years beginning on or after September 23, 2010 to cover recommended preventive services without cost-sharing when delivered by a network provider. The new rules mean that services like blood pressure, diabetes and cholesterol tests, cancer screenings, routine vaccinations, and well-baby visits will be provided without a deductible, co-pay or co-insurance.

We know that eliminating these costs for regular preventive services can ensure more Americans will use these services. And we know these services can save lives.

At the announcement yesterday, we met Maggie Roberts from California. When Maggie's son was just a toddler, he was diagnosed with cancer during a routine checkup. Because they caught it early, the cancer was successfully treated, and years later he is still cancer-free. It's a powerful story of how important preventive care can be.

You can learn more about the new preventive benefits available under the law, and get more tips on how to stay healthy by visiting our new website, www.HealthCare.gov.

Kathleen Sebelius is Secretary of Health and Human Services

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Progress Report on Cybersecurity

Posted by Howard Schmidt on July 14, 2010 at 6:35 PM EDT

Today, I was honored to host an event at the White House with cybersecurity experts and discuss progress made by increased cybersecurity efforts across the administration. President Obama has recognized that the “cyber threat is one of the most serious economic and national security challenges we face as a nation” and “America's economic prosperity in the 21st century will depend on cybersecurity.”

We were joined by a broad cross section of stakeholders from the Federal government, State and local government, law enforcement and private sector representatives from across multiple sectors of the economy, as well as representatives from academia and the privacy and civil liberties communities. The purpose was to draw attention to the efforts of these communities to reduce risk and build confidence in our critical information and communications infrastructure.

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Closing the Tech Gap

Posted by CIO Vivek Kundra on July 14, 2010 at 3:24 PM EDT

What if senior management in an Agency – or anyone in the public – could identify and monitor the performance of IT projects just as easily as they could monitor the stock market or baseball scores? That’s what the IT dashboard does -- and it’s changing the way government does business.

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The First Lady’s Trip to the Gulf Coast

Posted by Trooper Sanders on July 14, 2010 at 3:06 PM EDT

previous photoFirst Lady Michelle Obama Visits Panama City Beach, Fla.Show Gallery Info.

First Lady Michelle Obama traveled to Panama City Beach, Fla., July 12, 2010, to meet with members of the community and discuss the impact of the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

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next photo .This week, the First Lady traveled to Panama City Beach, Florida, to meet with business and community leaders in the area. The past few months have been especially challenging for families and businesses in the Gulf Coast region. The BP Oil Spill is the worst environmental disaster our nation has ever seen, and the effects of the spill are evident not only in the oil washing up on some of the shores, but in the businesses and communities that are suffering.

This Administration will not rest until the well is capped, the oil is cleaned up, the natural beauty of this region is restored, and the people of the Gulf Coast who have been affected by this tragic, ongoing spill are made whole. The President and his tireless advisors like Carol Browner, who joined us on this trip, have been doing everything they can to keep Gulf Coast families and the American people up to date on the Administration-wide response to the Gulf Coast spill, but there was one particular point of great concern that Mrs. Obama wanted to drive home to those families.

“I know that there have been lots of questions lately about how we can best help people here on the Gulf Coast who’ve been affected by the oil spill," Mrs. Obama said, "And to be honest, truly, one of the best ways that fellow Americans can help is to come on down here and spend some money.” What many Americans may not realize is that most of the Gulf Coast is still open for business. Despite what you’ve see on TV or read in the newspapers, many the beaches, like Panama City Beach, where the First Lady visited, are still clean and safe. And one of the best ways Americans can help this region and the hard working people who live in the area is by coming down and enjoying the hospitality.

For communities like Panama City Beach, summertime is peak tourist season. But this year, many business owners have seen a sharp decline in tourism to the region, despite the fact that their beaches are clean and oil free. If you’re looking for a family vacation this summer, consider visiting one of the many communities in the Gulf Coast region.

Trooper Sanders is Deputy Director of Policy to the First Lady

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National HIV/AIDS Strategy: Reducing New Infections, Improving Care, Ending Health Disparities

Posted by Katelyn Sabochik on July 14, 2010 at 2:26 PM EDT

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Read the Transcript | Download Video: mp4 (124MB) | mp3 (12MB) .Yesterday, the White House Office of National AIDS Policy (ONAP) released the National HIV/AIDS Strategy – a comprehensive plan for fighting HIV in our country.

In his remarks at a reception with HIV/AIDS policy experts and activists, the President acknowledged that as a Nation, we have come a long way in the battle against the domestic HIV/AIDS epidemic, but that we still have much work left to do:

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Watch and Engage: A Conversation on Sustainable Communities

Posted by Juan Cuba on July 14, 2010 at 2:18 PM EDT

Tomorrow, the White House Office of Urban Affairs will host a live chat with the leadership of the Sustainable Communities Partnership, an unprecedented agreement between HUD, Transportation, and EPA to coordinate Federal housing, transportation, and environmental investments. A part of President Obama's broader urban and metropolitan agenda, the partnership aims to break down traditional silos and craft federal programs and policies that take a more collaborative and holistic approach to better respond to the needs of communities.

Last month, the Partnership released a joint notice of funding availability (NOFA) – $35 million in TIGER II Planning grants and $40 million in Sustainable Community Challenge grants – for local planning activities that integrate transportation, housing, and economic development. And, HUD also announced $100 million in funding for Sustainable Communities Regional Planning grant program.

We invite you to join us for a live discussion on Sustainable Communities – the progress they’ve made, the funding programs available, and what the future of the partnership looks like – at www.whitehouse.gov/live tomorrow, July 15th at 2:00pm EST or you can submit questions in advance to Planetizen.

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The First Lady Answers Your Questions

Posted by Kori Schulman on July 14, 2010 at 11:49 AM EDT

To launch the new LetsMove.gov, the First Lady answered some of your questions in her first live video chat with AOL Health. AOL called on their readers to submit questions for Mrs. Obama in the days leading up to the chat. In addition to the thousands of questions received in advance, even more of you engaged in the live event. Here is what you missed:

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Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy: Fueling Innovation

Posted by Dr. Arun Majumdar on July 14, 2010 at 9:42 AM EDT

The Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) is pursuing transformational solutions to our energy problems. Part of the Department of Energy, ARPA-E is modeled after the famed DARPA program at the Department of Defense that led to the internet, GPS, stealth airplane technology, and many other success stories. At ARPA-E, we are trying to hit clean energy home runs, not just base hits. Our goal is to drive the sort of energy innovation that can help us take the lead in high-tech clean energy manufacturing and export clean energy products to the world.

On Monday, we announced $92 million in funding for 43 advanced research projects. These projects focus on three areas that are critical to building a new energy future: grid scale energy storage, advanced power electronics, and energy efficient cooling systems.

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The Economic Case for Extending Unemployment Insurance

Posted by Lawrence Summers on July 14, 2010 at 9:03 AM EDT

The lapse in extended unemployment insurance benefits at the end of May has resulted in 2.5 million jobless Americans exhausting their assistance. If we do not reinstate benefits by the end of the month, this number will grow to 3.2 million. These losses are exacting an enormous human toll on families who count on these benefits as they continue to search for jobs.

As the President recently remarked: “Lasting unemployment takes a toll on families, takes a toll on marriages, takes a toll on children. It saps the vitality of communities, especially in places that have seen factories and other anchoring businesses shut their doors. And being unable to find work – being able to provide for your family – that doesn’t just affect your economic security, that affects your heart and your soul. It beats you up. It’s hard.”

It is also bad for the economy. But unemployment insurance puts money in the pockets of the families most likely to spend the money – which in turn expands the economy and creates jobs. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office has identified increased aid to the unemployed as one of the two most cost-effective policy options for increasing economic production and employment.

Missed unemployment insurance payments since May total over $10 billion – enough to have created 100,000 jobs. An abrupt and premature withdrawal of relief is not only something families cannot afford, it is something that the economy cannot afford at a time when the economy is at a critical juncture. The economy is finally creating jobs, but not nearly fast enough to close the 8 million-job gap opened by the recession.

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Wall Street Reform: Final Votes Approach

Posted by Jesse Lee on July 13, 2010 at 2:35 PM EDT

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Read the Transcript | Download Video: mp4 (86MB) | mp3 (8MB) .When the President began pushing for tough reforms to the way Wall Street does business in the months after he came into office, the grip that the biggest banks in the world have held over Congress in past years left many skeptical about their prospects. Today, though, Senate Leader Harry Reid announced that the final vote in the Senate would come this week, clearing the way for the bill to be sent to the President’s desk.

As it happened, the President was meeting with Senate Democratic Leaders just this morning, and before announcing the nomination of his new OMB Director, the President took a moment to commend those Senators who have withstood the army of lobbyists working against this bill to get it to just steps from the finish line:

Before I begin, I just want to note a breakthrough that we’ve had on our efforts to pass the most comprehensive reform of Wall Street since the Great Depression. Three Republican senators have put politics and partisanship aside to support this reform, and I'm grateful for their decision, as well as all the Democrats who’ve worked so hard to make this reform a reality -- particularly Chairman Dodd and Chairman Barney Frank.

What members of both parties realize is that we can’t allow a financial crisis like this one that we just went through to happen again. This reform will prevent that from happening. It will prevent a financial crisis like this from happening again by protecting consumers against the unfair practices of credit card companies and mortgage lenders. It will ensure that taxpayers are never again on the hook for Wall Street’s mistakes. And it will end an era of irresponsibility that led to the loss of eight million jobs and trillions of dollars of wealth. This reform is good for families; it’s good for businesses; it’s good for the entire economy. And I urge the Senate to act quickly so that I can sign it into law next week.

President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden meet with the Senate Democratic Leadership Team in the Roosevelt Room of the White House to discuss legislative priorities before the August recess, July 13, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

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President Obama Announces a New OMB Director: Jacob Lew

Posted by Jesse Lee on July 13, 2010 at 2:13 PM EDT

Today, President Obama announced his intent to nominate Jacob J. Lew, generally caled "Jack," to serve as Director of the Office of Management and Budget – the President’s top aide in charge of overseeing the budget for the entire Federal government. Lew, who already has outstanding experience in the position under the Clinton Administration, has been serving in the State Department under President Obama. During him time under President Clinton, 11 million jobs were created, and the federal budget was balanced for the first time since Neil Armstrong walked on the moon. An inherited $290 billion deficit was turned around, and resulted in a more than $236 billion surplus at the end of 2000.

•Read more about Lew in the White House background.

President Barack Obama announces the nomination of Jack Lew to replace Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Director Peter Orszag during a statement to the press in the Diplomatic Reception Room of the White House July 13, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

.In making the announcement, the President took ample time to commend the service of Peter Orszag, who has held the position during some of the toughest economic and fiscal times the country has seen in decades:

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Announcing the National HIV/AIDS Strategy

Posted by Jeffrey Crowley on July 13, 2010 at 12:45 PM EDT

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Download Video: mp4 (463MB) | mp3 (45MB) .Today, I am pleased to announce the release of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy for the United States. The release of the strategy reaffirms President Obama’s commitment to fighting this domestic epidemic.

From the time that we first heard about the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) thirty years ago through today, HIV has become a global pandemic with more than 33 million people living with HIV around the world. In the United States, approximately 56,000 people become infected each year, more than 1.1 million Americans are living with HIV, and nearly 600,000 Americans have been lost to this disease. Unless we take bold actions, we anticipate a new era of rising infection rates and even greater challenges in serving people with HIV.

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Introducing the New and Improved LetsMove.gov

Posted by Kori Schulman on July 12, 2010 at 5:47 PM EDT

[UPDATE: This event has now concluded.]

Earlier today, the First Lady sent an email announcing the new LetMove.gov and some of its features. To kick things off, Mrs. Obama will be answering your questions about the Let’s Move! initiative in a live video chat tomorrow at 10:00 AM EDT. Watch the live event right here on WhiteHouse.gov/Live and read a message from the First Lady:

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President Obama & President Fernandez Meet on Trade, Drug-Trafficking, and Haiti

Posted by Jesse Lee on July 12, 2010 at 5:45 PM EDT

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.This afternoon President Obama held a bilateral meeting with President Leonel Fernandez of the Dominican Republic, touching on a broad range of issues from the political crisis in Honduras, to trade, to continued efforts to crack down on drug trafficking between our two countries.

Both Presidents closed their remarks afterwards with words of appreciation for each others’ friendship, but President Obama opened his remarks on a heart-breaking topic:

One of the first messages I wanted to deliver was my appreciation for the role that the Dominican Republic played in helping the international community respond to the crisis in Haiti after the devastating earthquake there. And I think that the Dominican Republic’s role, President Fernandez’s role in particular, in helping to facilitate a rapid response was extraordinarily important. It saved lives and it continues as we look at how we can reconstruct and rebuild in Haiti in a way that is good not only for the people of Haiti but also good for the region as a whole.

Report

5. Written by The White House, on 26-07-2010 15:01

President Obama and Vice President Biden’s Daily Public Schedules Now Online

Posted by Katelyn Sabochik on July 26, 2010 at 2:57 PM EDT

Starting today, the President and the Vice President’s daily public schedules are now available online. You don’t have to come to WhiteHouse.gov to find out what the President and Vice President are up to each day – you can subscribe to their schedules via RSS or even add their schedules to your own Outlook, iCal, Google calendar, or any other calendar service that’s compatible with an iCal feed. Just click here to download the iCal feed and add it to your calendar today. Your calendar will be automatically updated as new events are added to the President and Vice President’s schedule.

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Reaching Out to Rural America: Meeting with Students at the Delaware State Fair

Posted by Secretary Arne Duncan on July 26, 2010 at 12:49 PM EDT

On Friday, I joined Senator Tom Carper and Representative Mike Castle at the Delaware State Fair in Harrington, DE. We spent the day with 4-H and Future Farmers of America students. We saw the results of their hard work on farming vegetables, baking pastries and pies from scratch, sewing garments and tending to farm animals. The students participating in 4-H, a program run by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture and the National Future Farmers of America Organization, showed me first-hand the vital contributions of our nation’s rural communities.

The President is dedicated to promoting and developing the work of rural America. That’s why the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act provided $53 billion to support the ability of rural communities to gain access to the health care, educational, economic, and infrastructure development resources. To better understand the needs of rural communities, the President asked Cabinet members to visit communities across the nation on a Rural Tour. Over the last year, the Administration has engaged thousands of people in a conversation about how towns, states, and the federal government can work together to help strengthen rural America. In addition to the Delaware State Fair, I have visited remote villages in Alaska and an Indian reservation in Montana.

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Iraqi Young Leaders Exchange Program: A Step Toward Mutual Understanding

Posted by Samantha Vinograd on July 26, 2010 at 12:45 PM EDT

The Iraqi Young Leaders Exchange Program, (IYLEP) funded by the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad and implemented by AED, a nonprofit organization working globally to improve education, health, social and economic development, enables 50 highly-motivated undergraduate students from Iraq to attend a six-week intensive academic summer program at a U.S. host university.

Recently, these students visited Washington, D.C., where they had the opportunity to meet with Macon Phillips, Special Assistant to the President and Director for New Media at the White House. Macon discussed the Obama administration’s use of blogs, social networking sites, and text messaging to increase transparency and public participation in governance. The students have shared some insights below from their program and how their worldview and personal view have changed as a direct result of the Iraqi Young Leaders Exchange Program.

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Weekly Address: Moving Forward on the Economy vs. Moving Backward

Posted by Jesse Lee on July 24, 2010 at 6:00 AM EDT

Following the signing of historic Wall Street Reform legislation, the President lays out his plans to strengthen the middle class, give tax breaks to small businesses that create jobs here, invest in homegrown, clean energy, and cut taxes for working families. The President also contrasts that plan with the agenda outlined by the Republican House Leader that would return America to the policies that created this economic crisis, drastically increase the deficit, and make permanent massive tax breaks for the very wealthiest Americans

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Your Submissions: Infographics on the Challenge of Childhood Obesity

Posted by Kori Schulman on July 23, 2010 at 3:40 PM EDT

Let’s Move! and GOOD asked you to create infographics about the childhood obesity epidemic to help raise awareness about the problem and the ways we’re working to address it. There are some great submissions, see a few below and even more over on GOOD.is.

Tell us your favorites in the comments section here, on Twitter or the Let’s Move! facebook page. The winners will be announced on July 27th.

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Recovery Act in Action #8: Jobs in the Heartland

Posted by Jared Bernstein on July 23, 2010 at 3:18 PM EDT

Our latest Recovery-Act-in-Action installment features some exciting new technology, 100 good-paying manufacturing jobs, and the public/private co-investment that is critical to job growth right now.

It’s all taking place in Indianapolis, Indiana, where Allison Transmission is building a new factory to make hybrid systems that go into energy efficient trucks, buses and other commercial vehicles. The new plant, and the 100 folks Allison expects to put to work in it, was partially financed by a $62.8 million Recovery Act grant from the Department of Energy as part their advanced battery grant program.

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Reforming Wall Street, Stopping Improper Payments, and Bringing Relief to Our Friends and Neighbors Looking for Work

Posted by Katelyn Sabochik on July 23, 2010 at 1:55 PM EDT

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Read the Transcript | Download Video: mp4 (47MB) | mp3 (5MB) .This week, the President signed three bills into law that will help our economy get back on track and eliminate wasteful and fraudulent improper payments by the federal government. On Wednesday, the President signed the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. Yesterday morning, the President signed the Improper Payments Elimination and Recovery Act, and in the afternoon he signed the Unemployment Compensation Extension Act.

In his remarks today in the Roosevelt Room, President Obama reflected on these three important pieces of legislation and urged Congress to do even more to help small businesses.

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Taking America from #12 to #1

Posted by Heather Higginbottom on July 23, 2010 at 11:43 AM EDT

As the Washington Post and New York Times report, the United States has fallen from first to 12th in terms of 25 to 34-year-olds with postsecondary degrees. The finding comes from a report conducted by the College Board and confirms what we’ve known for too long: that United States’ graduation rate is lagging behind our global competitors.

We know that economic security and educational progress go hand in hand. That’s one of the reasons why the President outlined a new national goal last year: by 2020, America will once again have the highest proportion of college graduates in the world. Already we’ve taken crucial steps to help our nation meet this goal.

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"Operation Care Package"

Posted by Julia Simmons and Sophia Solomon on July 23, 2010 at 11:33 AM EDT

White House interns teamed up with Dr. Jill Biden to put together care packages for the families of wounded soldiers being treated at Walter Reed Army Medical Center and the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, MD as part of program “Operation Care Package.” Organized by USO of Metropolitan Washington to raise the spirits of the troops and their families, the White House volunteers completed a total of 500 care packages.

Dr. Biden teams up with White House Interns and helps assemble care packages for the families of wounded soldiers. July 21, 2010. (by Sophia Solomon)

.Dr. Biden talked to the interns about the importance of service, stating “It’s the small acts of kindness that make a difference to the military and their families. I hope when you go back to your colleges and communities you continue this kind of service.” The care packages serve as a reminder that the small things can help not only the soldiers, but their families that work tirelessly to support the soldiers based at Walter Reed and the National Naval Medical Center.

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West Wing Week: "A Sensible Mid Westerner"

Posted by Arun Chaudhary on July 23, 2010 at 12:00 AM EDT

Thanks for checking out the West Wing Week, your guide to everything that's happening at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. This week, walk step by step with the President as he speaks up for unemployed Americans, congratulates this year's WNBA champs, talks with astronaut John Glenn about space exploration, meets with British Prime Minister Cameron, signs the historic Wall Street Reform bill into law and much more.

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Download Video: mp4 (132MB) .

Find more video, photos, and information on the events featured in this episode below:

Friday, July 16, 2010

•The President gives an update on the BP Oil Spill in the Gulf

Monday, July 19, 2010

•The President speaks up for unemployed Americans

•The President congratulates WNBA Champs

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

•The President meets with British Prime Minister Cameron

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

•The President signs Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act

Thursday, July 22, 2010

•The President signs the Improper Payments Elimination Act

Arun Chaudhary is the official White House videographer

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Vice President Biden’s Visit to Alabama

Posted by Elizabeth Alexander on July 22, 2010 at 6:36 PM EDT

Vice President Joe Biden is led on a tour of the boom repair area by Walt Dorn of Patriot Environmental Services, at the Theodore Staging Area in Alabama, July 22, 2010. (Official White House Photo by David Lienemann)

.Today, Vice President Biden traveled to Theodore, Alabama to assess efforts to counter the BP oil spill. During the visit, the Vice President toured the Theodore Staging Facility and met with fisherman and small business owners from the area. He was joined by National Incident Commander Admiral Thad Allen and NOAA Administrator Dr. Jane Lubchenco.

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Department of Education Hosts National Rural Education Technology Summit

Posted by John White on July 22, 2010 at 5:40 PM EDT

They came by plane, train, and automobile, but were making more innovative connections for students in rural schools.

More than 150 rural education and technology experts responded to an invitation from the Obama Administration to participate in a National Rural Education Technology Summit on Wednesday, July 21 at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian to learn from one another and provide feedback to federal officials.

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At Long Last, Help for Our Neighbors and a Boost for the Economy with Extended Unemployment Insurance

Posted by Jesse Lee on July 22, 2010 at 5:17 PM EDT

Yesterday, at long last the Senate passed an extension of unemployment insurance, not only the decent thing to do but one of the most effective ways to boost our economy, as Lawrence Summers, Chair of the National Economic Council, explained. The President has pressured the partisan minority holding it up relentlessly on behalf of those who desperately needed the helping hand, and applauded Congress for overcoming that obstruction in the statement below and today sign he signed the legislation in the Oval Office. This was the President’s statement:

Today, I signed the unemployment insurance extension to restore desperately needed assistance to two and a half million Americans who lost their jobs in the recession. After a partisan minority used procedural tactics to block the authorization of this assistance three separate times over the past weeks, Americans who are fighting to find a good job and support their families will finally get the support they need to get back on their feet during these tough economic times. Now it’s time for Congress to act on more proposals that support our economic recovery, including passing critical aid to our states and support to small businesses. Small businesses are the engine of job growth, and measures to cut their taxes and make lending available should not be held hostage to partisan tactics like those that unconscionably held up unemployment insurance.

Ed. Note: This post has been updated.

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The SME Finance Challenge: Supporting Small Businesses as Big Engines of Growth

Posted by Lael Brainard on July 22, 2010 at 5:15 PM EDT

The Obama Administration is intensely focused on creating jobs and growing the economy so that Americans have more and better pathways to reach their goals.

At home, our efforts are centered on expanding exports, supporting small businesses, and promoting entrepreneurship and private innovation to spur growth.

Abroad, we are also working with our partners to aid the poor and generate private sector opportunities because we know that a more stable and prosperous global economy will benefit Americans while also lifting lives.

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Improper Payments Elimination and Recovery Act: Cutting Waste and Fraud in Government

Posted by Katelyn Sabochik on July 22, 2010 at 2:39 PM EDT

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Read the Transcript | Download Video: mp4 (110MB) | mp3 (10MB) .This morning, President Obama signed the Improper Payments Elimination and Recovery Act, a bill – passed unanimously by both the House and Senate – designed to cut waste, fraud and abuse due to improper payments by federal government agencies. Making our government more efficient and cost-effective has been a priority for the President since day one. Over the past eighteen months, the Obama Administration has taken many steps to curb wasteful spending and streamline government processes.

In his remarks before signing the bill, the President reflected on some of the ways his Administration has already begun to cut wasteful spending in the budget process:

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Honoring the Designers of Today and Inspiring the Designers of the Future

Posted by Bill Moggridge on July 22, 2010 at 2:33 PM EDT

What a thrill it was to participate in the White House ceremony hosted by First Lady Michelle Obama yesterday as she celebrated the 2010 National Design Awards honorees. The First Lady serves as the honorary patron for this year’s National Design Awards and her commitment to arts and design based education made this a very special event. We are honored to once again receive the patronage of the First Lady, as her support does such a lot to advance awareness of the importance of design.

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Follow Up: White House Forum on Clean Energy Manufacturing

Posted by Secretary Gary Locke on July 22, 2010 at 1:55 PM EDT

Ed Note: Last Friday, Secretary Locke kicked off a Clean Energy Economy Forum on clean energy manufacturing at the White House. You can watch the video of the opening remarks below and the videos of the first and second panels on YouTube.

Last Friday, I joined Obama administration colleagues and business leaders from across the country to participate in a forum on clean energy innovation at the White House. I told the group that the development of clean energy and energy efficient technologies could spur the greatest economic opportunity of the 21st century. That's a sentiment shared by President Obama, as well as many leaders attending Friday’s clean energy forum. But for all this promise, the overwhelming consensus among forum members was that we’ve got to do more to scale up America’s clean energy industry.

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Clean Energy Economy Forum on Federal Leaders and Sustainable Building

Posted by Michelle Moore on July 21, 2010 at 5:41 PM EDT

Yesterday, more than 120 leaders in the commercial building community came together with Federal officials at a White House Clean Energy Economy Forum to discuss the role of Federal leadership in sustainable building. White House Council on Environmental Quality Chair Nancy Sutley, Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis, General Services Administration Administrator Martha Johnson, and Housing and Urban Development Deputy Secretary Ron Sims got a conversation started that focused on three key topics: leveraging the scale, financing, and innovation.

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Helping New Parents and Gaining Long-Term Savings

Posted by Melody Barnes on July 21, 2010 at 4:31 PM EDT

New and expecting mothers and fathers across the country will have a helping hand in those first, crucial years of child rearing thanks to the Affordable Care Act. Today, Secretary Sebelius announced $88 million in grants for the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program. These grants will help new and expecting parents by providing in-home visits by professionals who can teach them the important skills every new parent should know.

The concept is simple and the results are strong. Research shows home visits can yield substantial improvements in school readiness, father involvement, and parent employment as well as reductions in child abuse, neglect, and dependence on public supports. Home visits can actually reap Medicaid savings through fewer preterm births and emergency room use. Independent non-partisan organizations estimate that every dollar spent on evidence-based home visitation yields between $3-6 of savings to federal, state, and local governments.

By building on models that have been developing across the country, we’re working to support this crucial service and, at the same time, reaping long-term savings and rewards as children grow up in healthier environments.

For more information on Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting, go to: www.hrsa.gov

Melody Barnes is the President’s Domestic Policy Advisor and Director of the Domestic Policy Council

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The President’s Commitment to Fight HIV/AIDS

Posted by Gayle Smith on July 21, 2010 at 3:50 PM EDT

In light of the International AIDS Society conference being held in Vienna this week, many people have raised questions about the Obama Administration’s commitment to the fight against HIV/AIDS.

First, consider the facts:

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6. Written by Urban Dictionary: throbber, on 26-07-2010 14:57

throbber erection *** stiffy hard on *** *** knob woody flobber dobber yogurt slinger alert viagra hard wood member hard-on buhner bone broner *** ...

www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=throbber

Report

7. Written by 3, on 26-07-2010 14:35

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Anonymous
#171396

If you want to work for a negro that made his first real money in cheap p0rn sites, well, then United Reprographics is your place.

Anonymous
#171395

Brian Sims claims here that's he's been generous to the families of United workers.Of course he doesn't name one.

Also, a week before the Christmas of 2008, when United was seeing unprecedented growth and making $500k that month ( and over $700k in Jan. 2009 ), long before any economic downturn, out of nowhere he announces that there will be no Christmas bonuses. No reason given. Also, no more health accounts and not even a Christmas party.

Craig, the manager of large doc., had to use his own money to buy his people a Christmas gift. It made me sick to see a guy who probably isn't making $18/hr having to pay out of his pocket while Brian had increased his income by $10k/month by cutting health accounts. Brian Sims' greed is epic. Truly something to behold.

But for him to make false claims about helping families of his employees is truly sickening.

Everybody got screwed and right before Christmas.People went broke at Christmas while Sims had his best month ever.

Anonymous
#171393

If you're considering working for United Reprographics, you'd be well served by reading through the posts here.

You might want to pay particular attention to the posts of Brian Sims, the owner of United Reprographics. If the tone and form of his comments don't give you pause, than you'll likely spend your life working for ignorant, greedy losers.

Anonymous
#168665

Focus on Workplace Safety

Posted by Joseph Main on July 16, 2010 at 10:49 AM EDT

Each year across America, more than 5,000 workers are killed on the job. Another four million are injured, and thousands more will subsequently become ill or die from present day occupational exposures.

Recent tragedies—like the explosions at the Upper Big Branch Mine in West Virginia and aboard the Deepwater Horizon off the Gulf Coast—make that clear. The news coverage is certainly fostering public awareness of the hazards facing many workers, but every day, countless other workplace injuries and deaths go largely unnoticed.

Shortly after the Upper Big Branch explosion, the President made clear his personal commitment and that of the Administration to honor the victims of this disaster by ensuring justice is served on their behalf and that an accident of this magnitude never happens again. He told the nation “we owe [those who perished in the UBB disaster] more than prayers. We owe them action. We owe them accountability. We owe them an assurance that when they go to work every day, when they enter that dark mine, they are not alone. They ought to know that behind them there is a company that’s doing what it takes to protect them, and a government that is looking out for their safety.”

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West Wing Week: "6 Principals"

Posted by Arun Chaudhary on July 16, 2010 at 12:00 AM...

Thanks for checking out the West Wing Week, your guide to everything that's happening at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. This week, walk step by step with the President as he speaks about the economy in Las Vegas, celebrates 100 years of the Boy Scouts of America, meets with President Fernandez of the Dominican Republic, visits with the 2010 Principal of the Year award winners, announces the new Director of the Office of Management and Budget and much more.

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Download Video: mp4 (94.7MB) .

Find more video, photos, and information on the events featured in this episode below:

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President Obama on Final Passage of Wall Street Reform: An End to Bailouts, a Beginning for Accountability

Posted by Jesse Lee on July 15, 2010 at 6:25 PM EDT

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Read the Transcript | Download Video: mp4 (68MB) | mp3 (7MB) .When the President came into office, the scope of the challenges and the change needed to address them seemed overwhelming, and maybe more than Washington could handle. But one by one, these monstrous challenges are being met, despite fierce opposition from hordes of lobbyists driven by a desire to protect a lucrative status quo and an opposition party driven by politics at any cost. Indeed, as the President praised final passage of Wall Street Reform today, he was forced to point out that “Already, the Republican leader in the House has called for repeal of this reform. I would suggest that America can’t afford to go backward and I think that’s how most Americans feel as well.”

With the final version of Wall Street Reform having passed the Senate this afternoon, and the House having passed it weeks ago, the bill now comes to the President’s desk. The President thanked those in Congress who stood strong, and noted that first and foremost, “Because of this reform, the American people will never again be asked to foot the bill for Wall Street’s mistakes.” But that is only a part of what reform means for the American people, and only part of what makes this almost universally described as the most sweeping reform of Wall Street since the great depression:

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President Obama on Advanced Batteries in Michigan: "A Symbol of Where America is Going"

Posted by Jesse Lee on July 15, 2010 at 4:34 PM EDT

If you missed our post earlier on the future of electric vehicles and advanced batteries that the Recovery Act has helped shape, it’s well worth a read. As the President said during his visit to the advanced battery plant in Holland, Michigan, today: “This is a symbol of where Michigan is going, this is a symbol of where Holland is going, this is a symbol of where America is going.”

In short, making America a player in emerging market for electric vehicles was one of dozens of examples of the Recovery Act not only putting people to work in the short term, but building a whole new foundation for America’s economy:

That means that by 2012, the batteries will be manufactured here in Holland, Michigan. So when you buy one of these vehicles, the battery could be stamped “Made in America” -– just like the car.

The President went on to put this plant in the broader perspective, and to remind everybody about the choice between moving forward toward recovery and this new foundation, or moving back to the time that led to this crisis:

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Tomorrow: Clean Energy Manufacturing Forum with Secretary Locke

Posted by Katelyn Sabochik on July 15, 2010 at 4:27 PM EDT

Tomorrow from 10:30 AM EDT to 1 PM EDT, the White House will host a Clean Energy Economy Forum focused on clean energy manufacturing. Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke will kick off the event with opening remarks followed by two panel discussions focusing on strategies to advance the development and commercialization of new clean energy technologies, support the creation and growth of emerging industries and small and medium enterprises, promote exports, and train workers for the clean energy economy.

You can watch the forum live tomorrow at WhiteHouse.gov/live. During the question and answer portion of the panel discussions we’ll be taking some questions from the online audience so submit your questions via Facebook or our webform.

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Electric Vehicles, Advanced Batteries, and American Jobs: Another Piece of the Puzzle in Holland, Michigan

Posted by Jesse Lee on July 15, 2010 at 1:47 PM EDT

It’s a small part of a big story that will impact how the world travels for generations to come – and the role American workers will have in that transformation.

This afternoon the President is at a groundbreaking ceremony at Compact Power, Inc. a subsidiary of LG Chem Ltd., a battery plant in Holland, Michigan. The plant is yet another piece of the puzzle for turning electric vehicles from a dream that many presumed dead into a reality that we will all one day take for granted. The plant is the ninth of nine new advanced battery factories to start construction as a result of the $2.4 billion in Recovery Act advanced battery and electric vehicle awards the President announced last August. The project is expected to create hundreds of construction and manufacturing jobs in Holland. Once fully operational, the Compact factory will produce battery cells to support 53,000 Chevy Volts a year.

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Prevention is a Priority -- Now It's a Reality

Posted by Secretary Kathleen Sebelius on July 14, 2010 at 10:01 PM EDT

Earlier today, I joined First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden to discuss how the Affordable Care Act will give millions of Americans access to preventive care through their private health insurance.

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Read the Transcript | Download Video: mp4 (265MB) | mp3 (26MB) .Today, too many Americans today aren't getting the preventive health care they need. Right now, for example, 59 million adults and 11 million children depend on private health insurance that doesn't adequately cover immunizations. And 12 percent of children haven't visited a doctor in the last year.

The statistics are even more troubling in our minority communities. African-American mothers are 2.5 times as likely as white mothers to begin prenatal care in the 3rd trimester, or not receive it at all. And only 37 percent of Latinos were screened for colon cancer in 2007, compared to 57 percent of whites.

Our challenge is to remove the obstacles between patients getting the preventive services that they need to stay healthy. If we fail in this challenge, we all pay the price. If we succeed -- we are on our way to a healthier nation. According to one study, if people got just five types of preventive services when they needed to -- colorectal and breast cancer screening, flu vaccines, counseling to help them quit smoking, and regular aspirin use to prevent strokes -- we could avert 100,000 deaths each year. Use of preventive services can also help bring costs down in a variety of ways. For example, people who are obese have health care costs that are 39 percent above average, and reducing obesity and the diseases related to it could lower premiums overall by 0.05 to 0.1 percent.

Those are just a few of the reasons why President Obama has made improving access to preventive care a priority from his first day in office and why we released new rules requiring all new private health insurance plans with plan years beginning on or after September 23, 2010 to cover recommended preventive services without cost-sharing when delivered by a network provider. The new rules mean that services like blood pressure, diabetes and cholesterol tests, cancer screenings, routine vaccinations, and well-baby visits will be provided without a deductible, co-pay or co-insurance.

We know that eliminating these costs for regular preventive services can ensure more Americans will use these services. And we know these services can save lives.

At the announcement yesterday, we met Maggie Roberts from California. When Maggie's son was just a toddler, he was diagnosed with cancer during a routine checkup. Because they caught it early, the cancer was successfully treated, and years later he is still cancer-free. It's a powerful story of how important preventive care can be.

You can learn more about the new preventive benefits available under the law, and get more tips on how to stay healthy by visiting our new website, www.HealthCare.gov.

Kathleen Sebelius is Secretary of Health and Human Services

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Progress Report on Cybersecurity

Posted by Howard Schmidt on July 14, 2010 at 6:35 PM EDT

Today, I was honored to host an event at the White House with cybersecurity experts and discuss progress made by increased cybersecurity efforts across the administration. President Obama has recognized that the “cyber threat is one of the most serious economic and national security challenges we face as a nation” and “America's economic prosperity in the 21st century will depend on cybersecurity.”

We were joined by a broad cross section of stakeholders from the Federal government, State and local government, law enforcement and private sector representatives from across multiple sectors of the economy, as well as representatives from academia and the privacy and civil liberties communities. The purpose was to draw attention to the efforts of these communities to reduce risk and build confidence in our critical information and communications infrastructure.

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Closing the Tech Gap

Posted by CIO Vivek Kundra on July 14, 2010 at 3:24 PM EDT

What if senior management in an Agency – or anyone in the public – could identify and monitor the performance of IT projects just as easily as they could monitor the stock market or baseball scores? That’s what the IT dashboard does -- and it’s changing the way government does business.

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The First Lady’s Trip to the Gulf Coast

Posted by Trooper Sanders on July 14, 2010 at 3:06 PM EDT

previous photoFirst Lady Michelle Obama Visits Panama City Beach, Fla.Show Gallery Info.

First Lady Michelle Obama traveled to Panama City Beach, Fla., July 12, 2010, to meet with members of the community and discuss the impact of the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

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next photo .This week, the First Lady traveled to Panama City Beach, Florida, to meet with business and community leaders in the area. The past few months have been especially challenging for families and businesses in the Gulf Coast region. The BP Oil Spill is the worst environmental disaster our nation has ever seen, and the effects of the spill are evident not only in the oil washing up on some of the shores, but in the businesses and communities that are suffering.

This Administration will not rest until the well is capped, the oil is cleaned up, the natural beauty of this region is restored, and the people of the Gulf Coast who have been affected by this tragic, ongoing spill are made whole. The President and his tireless advisors like Carol Browner, who joined us on this trip, have been doing everything they can to keep Gulf Coast families and the American people up to date on the Administration-wide response to the Gulf Coast spill, but there was one particular point of great concern that Mrs. Obama wanted to drive home to those families.

“I know that there have been lots of questions lately about how we can best help people here on the Gulf Coast who’ve been affected by the oil spill," Mrs. Obama said, "And to be honest, truly, one of the best ways that fellow Americans can help is to come on down here and spend some money.” What many Americans may not realize is that most of the Gulf Coast is still open for business. Despite what you’ve see on TV or read in the newspapers, many the beaches, like Panama City Beach, where the First Lady visited, are still clean and safe. And one of the best ways Americans can help this region and the hard working people who live in the area is by coming down and enjoying the hospitality.

For communities like Panama City Beach, summertime is peak tourist season. But this year, many business owners have seen a sharp decline in tourism to the region, despite the fact that their beaches are clean and oil free. If you’re looking for a family vacation this summer, consider visiting one of the many communities in the Gulf Coast region.

Trooper Sanders is Deputy Director of Policy to the First Lady

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National HIV/AIDS Strategy: Reducing New Infections, Improving Care, Ending Health Disparities

Posted by Katelyn Sabochik on July 14, 2010 at 2:26 PM EDT

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Read the Transcript | Download Video: mp4 (124MB) | mp3 (12MB) .Yesterday, the White House Office of National AIDS Policy (ONAP) released the National HIV/AIDS Strategy – a comprehensive plan for fighting HIV in our country.

In his remarks at a reception with HIV/AIDS policy experts and activists, the President acknowledged that as a Nation, we have come a long way in the battle against the domestic HIV/AIDS epidemic, but that we still have much work left to do:

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Watch and Engage: A Conversation on Sustainable Communities

Posted by Juan Cuba on July 14, 2010 at 2:18 PM EDT

Tomorrow, the White House Office of Urban Affairs will host a live chat with the leadership of the Sustainable Communities Partnership, an unprecedented agreement between HUD, Transportation, and EPA to coordinate Federal housing, transportation, and environmental investments. A part of President Obama's broader urban and metropolitan agenda, the partnership aims to break down traditional silos and craft federal programs and policies that take a more collaborative and holistic approach to better respond to the needs of communities.

Last month, the Partnership released a joint notice of funding availability (NOFA) – $35 million in TIGER II Planning grants and $40 million in Sustainable Community Challenge grants – for local planning activities that integrate transportation, housing, and economic development. And, HUD also announced $100 million in funding for Sustainable Communities Regional Planning grant program.

We invite you to join us for a live discussion on Sustainable Communities – the progress they’ve made, the funding programs available, and what the future of the partnership looks like – at www.whitehouse.gov/live tomorrow, July 15th at 2:00pm EST or you can submit questions in advance to Planetizen.

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The First Lady Answers Your Questions

Posted by Kori Schulman on July 14, 2010 at 11:49 AM EDT

To launch the new LetsMove.gov, the First Lady answered some of your questions in her first live video chat with AOL Health. AOL called on their readers to submit questions for Mrs. Obama in the days leading up to the chat. In addition to the thousands of questions received in advance, even more of you engaged in the live event. Here is what you missed:

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Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy: Fueling Innovation

Posted by Dr. Arun Majumdar on July 14, 2010 at 9:42 AM EDT

The Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) is pursuing transformational solutions to our energy problems. Part of the Department of Energy, ARPA-E is modeled after the famed DARPA program at the Department of Defense that led to the internet, GPS, stealth airplane technology, and many other success stories. At ARPA-E, we are trying to hit clean energy home runs, not just base hits. Our goal is to drive the sort of energy innovation that can help us take the lead in high-tech clean energy manufacturing and export clean energy products to the world.

On Monday, we announced $92 million in funding for 43 advanced research projects. These projects focus on three areas that are critical to building a new energy future: grid scale energy storage, advanced power electronics, and energy efficient cooling systems.

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The Economic Case for Extending Unemployment Insurance

Posted by Lawrence Summers on July 14, 2010 at 9:03 AM EDT

The lapse in extended unemployment insurance benefits at the end of May has resulted in 2.5 million jobless Americans exhausting their assistance. If we do not reinstate benefits by the end of the month, this number will grow to 3.2 million. These losses are exacting an enormous human toll on families who count on these benefits as they continue to search for jobs.

As the President recently remarked: “Lasting unemployment takes a toll on families, takes a toll on marriages, takes a toll on children. It saps the vitality of communities, especially in places that have seen factories and other anchoring businesses shut their doors. And being unable to find work – being able to provide for your family – that doesn’t just affect your economic security, that affects your heart and your soul. It beats you up. It’s hard.”

It is also bad for the economy. But unemployment insurance puts money in the pockets of the families most likely to spend the money – which in turn expands the economy and creates jobs. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office has identified increased aid to the unemployed as one of the two most cost-effective policy options for increasing economic production and employment.

Missed unemployment insurance payments since May total over $10 billion – enough to have created 100,000 jobs. An abrupt and premature withdrawal of relief is not only something families cannot afford, it is something that the economy cannot afford at a time when the economy is at a critical juncture. The economy is finally creating jobs, but not nearly fast enough to close the 8 million-job gap opened by the recession.

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Wall Street Reform: Final Votes Approach

Posted by Jesse Lee on July 13, 2010 at 2:35 PM EDT

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Read the Transcript | Download Video: mp4 (86MB) | mp3 (8MB) .When the President began pushing for tough reforms to the way Wall Street does business in the months after he came into office, the grip that the biggest banks in the world have held over Congress in past years left many skeptical about their prospects. Today, though, Senate Leader Harry Reid announced that the final vote in the Senate would come this week, clearing the way for the bill to be sent to the President’s desk.

As it happened, the President was meeting with Senate Democratic Leaders just this morning, and before announcing the nomination of his new OMB Director, the President took a moment to commend those Senators who have withstood the army of lobbyists working against this bill to get it to just steps from the finish line:

Before I begin, I just want to note a breakthrough that we’ve had on our efforts to pass the most comprehensive reform of Wall Street since the Great Depression. Three Republican senators have put politics and partisanship aside to support this reform, and I'm grateful for their decision, as well as all the Democrats who’ve worked so hard to make this reform a reality -- particularly Chairman Dodd and Chairman Barney Frank.

What members of both parties realize is that we can’t allow a financial crisis like this one that we just went through to happen again. This reform will prevent that from happening. It will prevent a financial crisis like this from happening again by protecting consumers against the unfair practices of credit card companies and mortgage lenders. It will ensure that taxpayers are never again on the hook for Wall Street’s mistakes. And it will end an era of irresponsibility that led to the loss of eight million jobs and trillions of dollars of wealth. This reform is good for families; it’s good for businesses; it’s good for the entire economy. And I urge the Senate to act quickly so that I can sign it into law next week.

President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden meet with the Senate Democratic Leadership Team in the Roosevelt Room of the White House to discuss legislative priorities before the August recess, July 13, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

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President Obama Announces a New OMB Director: Jacob Lew

Posted by Jesse Lee on July 13, 2010 at 2:13 PM EDT

Today, President Obama announced his intent to nominate Jacob J. Lew, generally caled "Jack," to serve as Director of the Office of Management and Budget – the President’s top aide in charge of overseeing the budget for the entire Federal government. Lew, who already has outstanding experience in the position under the Clinton Administration, has been serving in the State Department under President Obama. During him time under President Clinton, 11 million jobs were created, and the federal budget was balanced for the first time since Neil Armstrong walked on the moon. An inherited $290 billion deficit was turned around, and resulted in a more than $236 billion surplus at the end of 2000.

•Read more about Lew in the White House background.

President Barack Obama announces the nomination of Jack Lew to replace Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Director Peter Orszag during a statement to the press in the Diplomatic Reception Room of the White House July 13, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

.In making the announcement, the President took ample time to commend the service of Peter Orszag, who has held the position during some of the toughest economic and fiscal times the country has seen in decades:

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Announcing the National HIV/AIDS Strategy

Posted by Jeffrey Crowley on July 13, 2010 at 12:45 PM EDT

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Download Video: mp4 (463MB) | mp3 (45MB) .Today, I am pleased to announce the release of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy for the United States. The release of the strategy reaffirms President Obama’s commitment to fighting this domestic epidemic.

From the time that we first heard about the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) thirty years ago through today, HIV has become a global pandemic with more than 33 million people living with HIV around the world. In the United States, approximately 56,000 people become infected each year, more than 1.1 million Americans are living with HIV, and nearly 600,000 Americans have been lost to this disease. Unless we take bold actions, we anticipate a new era of rising infection rates and even greater challenges in serving people with HIV.

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Introducing the New and Improved LetsMove.gov

Posted by Kori Schulman on July 12, 2010 at 5:47 PM EDT

[UPDATE: This event has now concluded.]

Earlier today, the First Lady sent an email announcing the new LetMove.gov and some of its features. To kick things off, Mrs. Obama will be answering your questions about the Let’s Move! initiative in a live video chat tomorrow at 10:00 AM EDT. Watch the live event right here on WhiteHouse.gov/Live and read a message from the First Lady:

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President Obama & President Fernandez Meet on Trade, Drug-Trafficking, and Haiti

Posted by Jesse Lee on July 12, 2010 at 5:45 PM EDT

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.This afternoon President Obama held a bilateral meeting with President Leonel Fernandez of the Dominican Republic, touching on a broad range of issues from the political crisis in Honduras, to trade, to continued efforts to crack down on drug trafficking between our two countries.

Both Presidents closed their remarks afterwards with words of appreciation for each others’ friendship, but President Obama opened his remarks on a heart-breaking topic:

One of the first messages I wanted to deliver was my appreciation for the role that the Dominican Republic played in helping the international community respond to the crisis in Haiti after the devastating earthquake there. And I think that the Dominican Republic’s role, President Fernandez’s role in particular, in helping to facilitate a rapid response was extraordinarily important. It saved lives and it continues as we look at how we can reconstruct and rebuild in Haiti in a way that is good not only for the people of Haiti but also good for the region as a whole.

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#168663

President Obama and Vice President Biden’s Daily Public Schedules Now Online

Posted by Katelyn Sabochik on July 26, 2010 at 2:57 PM EDT

Starting today, the President and the Vice President’s daily public schedules are now available online. You don’t have to come to WhiteHouse.gov to find out what the President and Vice President are up to each day – you can subscribe to their schedules via RSS or even add their schedules to your own Outlook, iCal, Google calendar, or any other calendar service that’s compatible with an iCal feed. Just click here to download the iCal feed and add it to your calendar today. Your calendar will be automatically updated as new events are added to the President and Vice President’s schedule.

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Reaching Out to Rural America: Meeting with Students at the Delaware State Fair

Posted by Secretary Arne Duncan on July 26, 2010 at 12:49 PM EDT

On Friday, I joined Senator Tom Carper and Representative Mike Castle at the Delaware State Fair in Harrington, DE. We spent the day with 4-H and Future Farmers of America students. We saw the results of their hard work on farming vegetables, baking pastries and pies from scratch, sewing garments and tending to farm animals. The students participating in 4-H, a program run by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture and the National Future Farmers of America Organization, showed me first-hand the...

The President is dedicated to promoting and developing the work of rural America. That’s why the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act provided $53 billion to support the ability of rural communities to gain access to the health care, educational, economic, and infrastructure development resources. To better understand the needs of rural communities, the President asked Cabinet members to visit communities across the nation on a Rural Tour. Over the last year, the Administration has engaged thousands of people in a conversation about how towns, states, and the federal government can work together to help strengthen rural America. In addition to the Delaware State Fair, I have visited remote villages in Alaska and an Indian reservation in Montana.

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Iraqi Young Leaders Exchange Program: A Step Toward Mutual Understanding

Posted by Samantha Vinograd on July 26, 2010 at 12:45 PM EDT

The Iraqi Young Leaders Exchange Program, (IYLEP) funded by the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad and implemented by AED, a nonprofit organization working globally to improve education, health, social and economic development, enables 50 highly-motivated undergraduate students from Iraq to attend a six-week intensive academic summer program at a U.S. host university.

Recently, these students visited Washington, D.C., where they had the opportunity to meet with Macon Phillips, Special Assistant to the President and Director for New Media at the White House. Macon discussed the Obama administration’s use of blogs, social networking sites, and text messaging to increase transparency and public participation in governance. The students have shared some insights below from their program and how their worldview and personal view have changed as a direct result of the Iraqi Young Leaders Exchange Program.

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Weekly Address: Moving Forward on the Economy vs. Moving Backward

Posted by Jesse Lee on July 24, 2010 at 6:00 AM EDT

Following the signing of historic Wall Street Reform legislation, the President lays out his plans to strengthen the middle class, give tax breaks to small businesses that create jobs here, invest in homegrown, clean energy, and cut taxes for working families. The President also contrasts that plan with the agenda outlined by the Republican House Leader that would return America to the policies that created this economic crisis, drastically increase the deficit, and make permanent massive tax breaks for the very wealthiest Americans

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Your Submissions: Infographics on the Challenge of Childhood Obesity

Posted by Kori Schulman on July 23, 2010 at 3:40 PM EDT

Let’s Move! and GOOD asked you to create infographics about the childhood obesity epidemic to help raise awareness about the problem and the ways we’re working to address it. There are some great submissions, see a few below and even more over on GOOD.is.

Tell us your favorites in the comments section here, on Twitter or the Let’s Move! facebook page. The winners will be announced on July 27th.

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Recovery Act in Action #8: Jobs in the Heartland

Posted by Jared Bernstein on July 23, 2010 at 3:18 PM EDT

Our latest Recovery-Act-in-Action installment features some exciting new technology, 100 good-paying manufacturing jobs, and the public/private co-investment that is critical to job growth right now.

It’s all taking place in Indianapolis, Indiana, where Allison Transmission is building a new factory to make hybrid systems that go into energy efficient trucks, buses and other commercial vehicles. The new plant, and the 100 folks Allison expects to put to work in it, was partially financed by a $62.8 million Recovery Act grant from the Department of Energy as part their advanced battery grant program.

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Reforming Wall Street, Stopping Improper Payments, and Bringing Relief to Our Friends and Neighbors Looking for Work

Posted by Katelyn Sabochik on July 23, 2010 at 1:55 PM EDT

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Read the Transcript | Download Video: mp4 (47MB) | mp3 (5MB) .This week, the President signed three bills into law that will help our economy get back on track and eliminate wasteful and fraudulent improper payments by the federal government. On Wednesday, the President signed the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. Yesterday morning, the President signed the Improper Payments Elimination and Recovery Act, and in the afternoon he signed the Unemployment Compensation Extension Act.

In his remarks today in the Roosevelt Room, President Obama reflected on these three important pieces of legislation and urged Congress to do even more to help small businesses.

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Taking America from #12 to #1

Posted by Heather Higginbottom on July 23, 2010 at 11:43 AM EDT

As the Washington Post and New York Times report, the United States has fallen from first to 12th in terms of 25 to 34-year-olds with postsecondary degrees. The finding comes from a report conducted by the College Board and confirms what we’ve known for too long: that United States’ graduation rate is lagging behind our global competitors.

We know that economic security and educational progress go hand in hand. That’s one of the reasons why the President outlined a new national goal last year: by 2020, America will once again have the highest proportion of college graduates in the world. Already we’ve taken crucial steps to help our nation meet this goal.

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"Operation Care Package"

Posted by Julia Simmons and Sophia Solomon on July 23, 2010 at 11:33 AM EDT

White House interns teamed up with Dr. Jill Biden to put together care packages for the families of wounded soldiers being treated at Walter Reed Army Medical Center and the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, MD as part of program “Operation Care Package.” Organized by USO of Metropolitan Washington to raise the spirits of the troops and their families, the White House volunteers completed a total of 500 care packages.

Dr. Biden teams up with White House Interns and helps assemble care packages for the families of wounded soldiers. July 21, 2010. (by Sophia Solomon)

.Dr. Biden talked to the interns about the importance of service, stating “It’s the small acts of kindness that make a difference to the military and their families. I hope when you go back to your colleges and communities you continue this kind of service.” The care packages serve as a reminder that the small things can help not only the soldiers, but their families that work tirelessly to support the soldiers based at Walter Reed and the National Naval Medical Center.

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West Wing Week: "A Sensible Mid Westerner"

Posted by Arun Chaudhary on July 23, 2010 at 12:00 AM EDT

Thanks for checking out the West Wing Week, your guide to everything that's happening at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. This week, walk step by step with the President as he speaks up for unemployed Americans, congratulates this year's WNBA champs, talks with astronaut John Glenn about space exploration, meets with British Prime Minister Cameron, signs the historic Wall Street Reform bill into law and much more.

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Download Video: mp4 (132MB) .

Find more video, photos, and information on the events featured in this episode below:

Friday, July 16, 2010

•The President gives an update on the BP Oil Spill in the Gulf

Monday, July 19, 2010

•The President speaks up for unemployed Americans

•The President congratulates WNBA Champs

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

•The President meets with British Prime Minister Cameron

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

•The President signs Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act

Thursday, July 22, 2010

•The President signs the Improper Payments Elimination Act

Arun Chaudhary is the official White House videographer

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Vice President Biden’s Visit to Alabama

Posted by Elizabeth Alexander on July 22, 2010 at 6:36 PM EDT

Vice President Joe Biden is led on a tour of the boom repair area by Walt Dorn of Patriot Environmental Services, at the Theodore Staging Area in Alabama, July 22, 2010. (Official White House Photo by David Lienemann)

.Today, Vice President Biden traveled to Theodore, Alabama to assess efforts to counter the BP oil spill. During the visit, the Vice President toured the Theodore Staging Facility and met with fisherman and small business owners from the area. He was joined by National Incident Commander Admiral Thad Allen and NOAA Administrator Dr. Jane Lubchenco.

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Department of Education Hosts National Rural Education Technology Summit

Posted by John White on July 22, 2010 at 5:40 PM EDT

They came by plane, train, and automobile, but were making more innovative connections for students in rural schools.

More than 150 rural education and technology experts responded to an invitation from the Obama Administration to participate in a National Rural Education Technology Summit on Wednesday, July 21 at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian to learn from one another and provide feedback to federal officials.

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At Long Last, Help for Our Neighbors and a Boost for the Economy with Extended Unemployment Insurance

Posted by Jesse Lee on July 22, 2010 at 5:17 PM EDT

Yesterday, at long last the Senate passed an extension of unemployment insurance, not only the decent thing to do but one of the most effective ways to boost our economy, as Lawrence Summers, Chair of the National Economic Council, explained. The President has pressured the partisan minority holding it up relentlessly on behalf of those who desperately needed the helping hand, and applauded Congress for overcoming that obstruction in the statement below and today sign he signed the legislation in the Oval Office. This was the President’s statement:

Today, I signed the unemployment insurance extension to restore desperately needed assistance to two and a half million Americans who lost their jobs in the recession. After a partisan minority used procedural tactics to block the authorization of this assistance three separate times over the past weeks, Americans who are fighting to find a good job and support their families will finally get the support they need to get back on their feet during these tough economic times. Now it’s time for Congress to act on more proposals that support our economic recovery, including passing critical aid to our states and support to small businesses. Small businesses are the engine of job growth, and measures to cut their taxes and make lending available should not be held hostage to partisan tactics like those that unconscionably held up unemployment insurance.

Ed. Note: This post has been updated.

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The SME Finance Challenge: Supporting Small Businesses as Big Engines of Growth

Posted by Lael Brainard on July 22, 2010 at 5:15 PM EDT

The Obama Administration is intensely focused on creating jobs and growing the economy so that Americans have more and better pathways to reach their goals.

At home, our efforts are centered on expanding exports, supporting small businesses, and promoting entrepreneurship and private innovation to spur growth.

Abroad, we are also working with our partners to aid the poor and generate private sector opportunities because we know that a more stable and prosperous global economy will benefit Americans while also lifting lives.

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Improper Payments Elimination and Recovery Act: Cutting Waste and Fraud in Government

Posted by Katelyn Sabochik on July 22, 2010 at 2:39 PM EDT

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Read the Transcript | Download Video: mp4 (110MB) | mp3 (10MB) .This morning, President Obama signed the Improper Payments Elimination and Recovery Act, a bill – passed unanimously by both the House and Senate – designed to cut waste, fraud and abuse due to improper payments by federal government agencies. Making our government more efficient and cost-effective has been a priority for the President since day one. Over the past eighteen months, the Obama Administration has taken many steps to curb wasteful spending and streamline government processes.

In his remarks before signing the bill, the President reflected on some of the ways his Administration has already begun to cut wasteful spending in the budget process:

Includes Video

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Honoring the Designers of Today and Inspiring the Designers of the Future

Posted by Bill Moggridge on July 22, 2010 at 2:33 PM EDT

What a thrill it was to participate in the White House ceremony hosted by First Lady Michelle Obama yesterday as she celebrated the 2010 National Design Awards honorees. The First Lady serves as the honorary patron for this year’s National Design Awards and her commitment to arts and design based education made this a very special event. We are honored to once again receive the patronage of the First Lady, as her support does such a lot to advance awareness of the importance of design.

Includes Video

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Follow Up: White House Forum on Clean Energy Manufacturing

Posted by Secretary Gary Locke on July 22, 2010 at 1:55 PM EDT

Ed Note: Last Friday, Secretary Locke kicked off a Clean Energy Economy Forum on clean energy manufacturing at the White House. You can watch the video of the opening remarks below and the videos of the first and second panels on YouTube.

Last Friday, I joined Obama administration colleagues and business leaders from across the country to participate in a forum on clean energy innovation at the White House. I told the group that the development of clean energy and energy efficient technologies could spur the greatest economic opportunity of the 21st century. That's a sentiment shared by President Obama, as well as many leaders attending Friday’s clean energy forum. But for all this promise, the overwhelming consensus among forum members was that we’ve got to do more to scale up America’s clean energy industry.

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Clean Energy Economy Forum on Federal Leaders and Sustainable Building

Posted by Michelle Moore on July 21, 2010 at 5:41 PM EDT

Yesterday, more than 120 leaders in the commercial building community came together with Federal officials at a White House Clean Energy Economy Forum to discuss the role of Federal leadership in sustainable building. White House Council on Environmental Quality Chair Nancy Sutley, Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis, General Services Administration Administrator Martha Johnson, and Housing and Urban Development Deputy Secretary Ron Sims got a conversation started that focused on three key topics: leveraging the scale, financing, and innovation.

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Helping New Parents and Gaining Long-Term Savings

Posted by Melody Barnes on July 21, 2010 at 4:31 PM EDT

New and expecting mothers and fathers across the country will have a helping hand in those first, crucial years of child rearing thanks to the Affordable Care Act. Today, Secretary Sebelius announced $88 million in grants for the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program. These grants will help new and expecting parents by providing in-home visits by professionals who can teach them the important skills every new parent should know.

The concept is simple and the results are strong. Research shows home visits can yield substantial improvements in school readiness, father involvement, and parent employment as well as reductions in child abuse, neglect, and dependence on public supports. Home visits can actually reap Medicaid savings through fewer preterm births and emergency room use. Independent non-partisan organizations estimate that every dollar spent on evidence-based home visitation yields between $3-6 of savings to federal, state, and local governments.

By building on models that have been developing across the country, we’re working to support this crucial service and, at the same time, reaping long-term savings and rewards as children grow up in healthier environments.

For more information on Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting, go to: www.hrsa.gov

Melody Barnes is the President’s Domestic Policy Advisor and Director of the Domestic Policy Council

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The President’s Commitment to Fight HIV/AIDS

Posted by Gayle Smith on July 21, 2010 at 3:50 PM EDT

In light of the International AIDS Society conference being held in Vienna this week, many people have raised questions about the Obama Administration’s commitment to the fight against HIV/AIDS.

First, consider the facts:

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Anonymous
#168661

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Anonymous
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Anonymous
#167633

If you're considering working for United Reprographics, you'd be well served by reading through the posts here.

You might want to pay particular attention to the posts of Brian Sims, the owner of United Reprographics. If the tone and form of his comments don't give you pause, than you'll likely spend your life working for ignorant, greedy losers.

Anonymous
#167632

You were fired because you couldn't get along with *anyone*

Since you don't really know what you're talking about, it would be nice if you refrained from commenting.

Brian is a complete *** and there is no defense for his behavior.

Anonymous
#167379

Wow, this all reminds me of the movie Extract.

I was hired for an expansion and later laid off from United Repro in 2008, not long after they cut benefits and canceled the expansion.

I was laid off because A) my department was overcrowded by two people and B) I couldn't get a machine running correctly in front of Brian (and an *** salesperson saying I wasn't doing it right - another salesperson from the vendor confirmed that she had no idea what she was doing). Whatever the case, the axe came down from the man himself.

United is/was one of the largest blueprint copy places in Seattle. They rode the wave of the housing bubble into that new building, lots of new equipment, and (I'm sure) plenty of debt.

The time period everyone keeps mentioning was also the crash of the housing market. For months prior to the benefit cuts machines idled, people were sent home early, clients had $10K+ worth of printing on credit but couldn't pay it.

They may have done some drastic stuff to try and stay afloat- but it's all defensible compared to laying everyone off and going bankrupt. I personally think Brian failed to do what a lot of small business do in their transition to a medium sized company: change processes. They needed to adopt industrial quality control methods instead of scaling up their home-grown system of both management style and quality control.

Even then, they had less than 1% job defect rate. I don't know of a better...

Brian was pretty terrible at communicating with the production floor. I think he got caught up in actually managing the place and forgot the personal side of morale. Maybe he is an *** to work with, I never did so directly.

The only thing that gives me pause here is Wendy's name -she was a great person if you knew her. People treated her like ***, but she had the best smile if you could get her to laugh. If she left United Repro disgruntled there must have been a serious issue.

Also- Jennifer works her *** off. She is a kind hearted, good person who is stressed to the max. Just because she is a woman doesn't mean she can't *** about her sex life -we all shot the *** on the production floor.

I am not trying to only defend United Repro here; if they really did cut from your medical payments then they should be sued or investigated by the Seattle attorney's office.

But everyone here needs to try and see it from each others point of view- Brian was trying so save his business and the employees thought he was just getting rich but both viewpoints are "incomplete" at best. Have some empathy.

Except whoever called Brian a negro- racists can *** off.

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Anonymous
#144319

If you're considering working for United Reprographics, you'd be well served by reading through the posts here.

You might want to pay particular attention to the posts of Brian Sims, the owner of United Reprographics. If the tone and form of his comments don't give you pause, than you'll likely spend your life working for ignorant, greedy losers.

Anonymous
#143879

Brian Sims claims here that's he's been generous to the families of United workers.Of course he doesn't name one.

Also, a week before the Christmas of 2008, when United was seeing unprecedented growth and making $500k that month ( and over $700k in Jan. 2009 ), long before any economic downturn, out of nowhere he announces that there will be no Christmas bonuses. No reason given. Also, no more health accounts and not even a Christmas party.

Craig, the manager of large doc., had to use his own money to buy his people a Christmas gift. It made me sick to see a guy who probably isn't making $18/hr having to pay out of his pocket while Brian had increased his income by $10k/month by cutting health accounts. Brian Sims' greed is epic. Truly something to behold.

But for him to make false claims about helping families of his employees is truly sickening.

Everybody got screwed and right before Christmas.People went broke at Christmas while Sims had his best month ever.

Anonymous
#143273

Hey, Brian Sims.Do you have any idea how hard we're laughing when you post?

Either as yourself, or your imaginary friend, it's pure comedy without bounds.

How do you live with yourself?

Anonymous
#142983

Brian Sims ( owner of United Reprographics ) and Michael ( the parrot ) Barret; monkey see, and monkey do.

( I don't say this because Brian Sims is black, if he were white, he'd still be a monkey. Well, like Barrett ( the parrot ) :)

Anonymous
#142496

Really, "manager from another company" has all the earmarks of actually being Brian Sims.

1.) Complete lack of decency and fairness. A manager that won't hire someone from United because of anonymous complaints here. That is the *exact* corrupt thought pattern of Brian Sims. Few others would fail to recognize the problem there.

2.) Poor grammar and grade school sentence management skills.

3.) Failure to provide their name, with nothing to lose by including it. No chance at repercussions by Sims.

Yeah, "manager from another company", obviously not. More like brother from another planet. Planet Sims, where cowardice, ignorance and vapidness are coveted traits. Careful Michael Barrett (the parrot), one day you may fail Lord Vader for the last time.

Anonymous
#142360

Even if that a-hole, alleged manager is an actual person, and not Brian Sims ( more likely ), let his/her words betray him/her self.

If *any* manager refused to hire an employee because they had worked for United Reprographics, and solely based on anonymous comments here; well, that speaks volumes to a complete lack of decency, fairness and integrity.

So, let's see the hands of all the people that want to work for such a spineless loser, or the company that would hire such.

Too perfect. Seriously, too perfect. I love to give rope to boneheads like Brian Sims or the tiny handful of cowards he runs with ( actually, it's only one--Michael "Parrot" Barrett .) Here's a little rope, fellas, go play now. That's all you've got to do. Try it in the morning, by lunch they've both hung themselves. Little, baby boys just swinging in the breeze.

YOU'RE A NEVER ENDING SOURCE OF FUN, SIMS. :grin

Anonymous
#142355

Oops, I meant to direct the last statement to you, Brian Sims. After all, upon re-reading you babbling, it can be none other.

You really are one dumb negro.

Anonymous
#142230

Actually "ahole manager." It's more likely that potential *employees* will find this thread and be aware of the abuse of United Reprographics, than it is that any professional and fair *employer* will use it to preclude someone.

Your words speak volumes of your lack of integrity and the lowly conditions of the company you claim to represent. You'd be doing a person a favor by not hiring them.

Anonymous
#142225

[quote, verbatim] "...and yes, it is a low pay for little thanks job..."

Oh man, that has got to be Brian Sims or Michael Barret ( the parrot.) There can't be three people in the country that are that *** and unable to construct a basic sentence.

Anonymous
#142221

Upon reading again your poorly scripted, uncohesive and grammatically flailing nonsense, seems like Brian Sims is posting again as his imaginary friend.Since no name or company is given, as is peculiar of *every* post that defends Sims and his joke of a company, appropriate consideration should be given.

More importantly, better watch out folks.

You might not get a job with another lousy, ignorant and uneducated manager; managing another "low pay" and "thankless" company.[words in quotations are verbatim quotes]

Yikes!!

Anonymous
#142217

Oh please nameless and faceless ahole from another company--don't hire us ( of course since you didn't leave your name or company, you're either too ashamed of both or are Brian Sims or one of his minions.)

If jobs with your company are "low pay" and "thankless", as you've so proudly stated, your words betray the path that led you there.

There's a special place in *** for mid level managers. Without the integrity of an average working person, nor the guts or intelligence to create their own success--they are willing pawns in a losing game of spiritual survival. The lowliest worker is above the highest mid level manager.

Michael Barrett ( the parrot )would be a good example of this. Actually, Sim's is too.

Anonymous
#140561

Two things

For the person who was doing QC and let jobs go out wrong...really... I guess all I can say, you've pretty much screwed anybody who has United Reprographics on their resume getting hired by me...all I have to do is look at you wrong and you're going to screw with my livelihood?... At least post your name so I can *** you out early and give your other fellow employees a chance.

Second thing... I've been in this business a long time...and yes, it is a low pay for little thanks job... and if you discover it early and get out soon enough.. good for you... but it can also be rewarding for those who do stick it out... Figure out what you want and do it.. but don't spend your life trashing a business that makes no extravagant promises other than when times are good, if you are willing to work at it... you can make a decent and fair living. Get real, there isn't a company in the country right now that isn't cutting health benefits to save jobs and money... are you all really that ignorant. I'm betting that you DON'T speak for the majority and are pretty much a small band of unhappy former employees... but you've pretty much screwed everyone who might come to me for a job in the future. Not going to take the chance that a job will knowingly go out wrong... just because I looked at you wrong that morning.

Or maybe you all work for ARC?

Anonymous
#128427

Michael Barrett isn't such a bad guy.Just another brown nosing follower that will do anything he's ordered to do.

Hey, did anyone check out what Sims wrote?!

Or how he wrote it?

Did Brian Sims ever graduate 3rd grade, or what?That was scary.

Anonymous
#128425

Brian Sims and the incredible shrinking company. Everybody hates the guy. He's no genius either.

Anonymous
#126460

Yeah right. "UR Employee" starts listing names but fails to give his own. I guess Brian Sims would only be praised by a faceless coward or himself, probably one and the same.

Anonymous
#126376

Yeah, it's true. The guy is a follower. A shell of a man.

Anonymous
#126058

Brian Sims is just one of a fleet of vacant characters that our earth seems to be burdened with at any one time.Lacking both the depth of character and the intelligence to merge it with which is required to form a full person.

Just another half person wasting another empty life in a desperate pursuit of vamped possessions.

Proclaiming himself as being at the "top", as he points out, and lacking all of the wisdom required to visualize the "top" as being anything more than a narrow possession.

Just another fool heading to their final days with nothing more to look back on but a chain of people that despise him.

Anonymous
#126042

I meant libel.

Anonymous
#125954

Actually, Shane W. never posted on this site either. This would be easily provable by IP Tracking info that PissedConsumer will supply if subpoenaed( read the Terms of Service, shankapotomous ) Since "UR Employee" is almost certainly either Barrett or Sims ( or some other manager), and I would practically guarantee it came from United's computers, I believe United Reprographics has satisfied all the requirements of liable. They lied in public forum ( claiming you had posted here ), it can be assumed to have a negative impact on your professional life ( potential employers could see it ) and was done in malice ( punishment for their errant belief that you posted here .) If I were Lisa or Shane I would sue both the actual poster and United, absolutely. If not for yourselves, to protect other people from being abused, a chain of which stretches back to 2007, at least ( as the opening post made clear.)

On a more serious note. Barrett is, and will always be, an errand boy sent by grocery clerks to collect bills. He's genetically engineered to brown nose and will do so until he dies. Worse yet, he'll be brown nosing fat, black, Pillsbury Dough Boys like Brian Sims for the rest of his life. Those two are so *** it is a bit appalling.

DANIEL WASHINGTON

Anonymous
#125911

Firstly, having worked with me, you should know how to spell my last name correctly.Secondly this web site was just brought to my attention by some one telling me that my name was mentioned on this site.

Until now, I have never been on this site. To me this is slander. Don't grasp for names if you do not have proof. I do not appreciate my name being dragged through this silly mud hole!

I am a decent person, a great employee (when employed) and have been in this business for 20 years and have known most people for many years.I find this very offensive and would appreciate it if you kept my name out of this circus.

Anonymous
#125872

Hey, "UR Employee", faceless defender of Brian Sims, is that you Michael Barrett? Or is it some other gutless coward that won't leave their name? Or was it just Brian Sims, commenting on himself, as he certainly did earlier?

Thought I should mention. That $20,000.00 allegedly donated by Brian Sims should be put in context( the allegation, however, I would bet is BS anyway, either his kids school or his church, either way, why keep it secret, you didn't have a problem spouting every other piece of bull? ).

When Brian Sims cut health accounts, two months after implementing them in exchange for us all getting a far inferior health insurance program ( if it was even 2 months ); well, that put another $10,000.00 per MONTH is his POCKET!! Not to mention the hefty savings to Sims for using an inferior health insurer. This was during United's best months and long before any hint of an economic downturn.

Boy, Sims is certainly a generous man. And hey, everybody is still waiting for one ex-employee to say *anything* other than the guy is a ***. In fact, NOT ONE PERSON WHO ACTUALLY HAS A NAME HAS COME ON HERE TO DEFEND SIMS. Come on Brian. How about finding someone from that fleet of happy employees, people you have "mentored", families you've generously provided for. Even a complete a s s could get a few.

DANIEL WASHINGTON

Anonymous
#125786

After all the irrefutable, empirical statements about Brian Sims' abuse of workers; after all the posts going back to 2007; after direct challenges for Sims to qualify his statements; still not a single shred of evidence to support all his heady claims of angelic giving and altruism.Even the alleged mentored employee won't give their name.

That is because it would be a laughable fraud. It was either Sims himself writing all that or his 2nd in command. Typically, mentoring is done for the disadvantaged and with no benefit to oneself. When I train people to do their job, I don't claim, as Sims does, that I'm doing some generous mentoring.

We can lier to Sims' list of personal high points.

Sim's is a filthy, lying, low life.Working anywhere near him is a greasy experience.

Anonymous
#125507

After reading this alleged UR Employee that was mentored, I have to wonder the following:

1.) AGAIN, WHAT ARE THE SLEW OF CHARITIES THAT SIMS HAS GIVEN TO. THERE IS NOT A SINGLE REASON TO KEEP THESE SECRET. CHARITIES LIKE TO BE KNOWN. ALL THAT FREE PRINTING, COULD IT BE TO SIMS' KIDS SCHOOL OR HIS CHURCH !! HARDLY A PURELY ALTRUISTIC ACT.

2.) Could the UR Employee that strangely remains silent be a top officer, 2nd in command at United?! A person who's knowledge directly affects the success of the company. Hardly altruistic mentoring.

3.) Who are the people offered extravagant vacations? Could they be top people at UR. As a form of bonus, hardly an altruistic act. And, hey, did those come from the Christmas bonuses and health accounts of over 45 low wage working people, and a week before Christmas !!

4.) "UR Employee", all that you learned from all that "mentoring" is to tell people they are "silly" for expecting a Christmas bonus from a company that was doing great? You've learned well, dark prince.

5.) Is "UR Employee" really an a s s h o l e that sprayed homeless people that were sleeping on the loading dock with bear mace for no legitimate defensive reason?

So, UR Employee. All the greatness of Brian Sims still hasn't motivated you to even include your name. I really feel the love there. You and Sims ( if you are two actual, separate people ) are quite pathetic. And let me be the first to welcome you to...

So, my work is done and this is becoming a waste of time. I'm willing to walk away, at this point, I've said my piece. But I feel obligated to leave you with the following warning. I suggest you read carefully. If you mess with me, Brian Sims, et al., even one tiny bit, there will be a consequence. Run that by your lawyers. Seriously.

DANIEL WASHINGTON

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Anonymous
#125281

One thing I forgot to mention.I'm disgusted, not disgruntled.

There's a difference. Everybody here knows, I asked to get laid off for six months before leaving United. Getting unemployment for the first time in my life was a gift. I actually did take the opportunity to fulfilled a dream, one that revolves around helping people.

You'll hear all about it soon enough.

So, I'm far from disgruntled. However I am discusted as I hear all the awful and dispicable things you're doing to employees.

The latest is United's policy of making employee's leave the moment they give notice. What a bottom feeding policy.

Really, what does it accomplish? People know when they want their last day to be, now you'll only find out that day. What's the upside to this other than an obtuse attempt to punish people for moving away from your sweat shop? But to have done this to BM, one of the best kids I've met in some time, and retroactively, that's more of that Sims duplicability.

That's right folks, the kid honors them by offering a months notice, only to be let go a few days later, when it was convenient for Sims. Notice, they didn't let him go immediately, they needed him for a few days. Sims complete lack of integrity is nearly unbelievable. But I guess we're as silly to expect integrity from the guy as we were to expect a health account or Christmas bonus from a company experiencing solid growth and profit.

How silly.

Of course,...

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Anonymous
#125275

One other things Brian Sims, let's hear from some ex-employee's about how great you are.Not ones still working for you ( a dwindling pool ) and in fear of losing their jobs.

Haa, that's quite telling. I doubt you could find *any* real employee that will vouch for your "generosity", but certainly not an ex-employee.

Now for those of you joining us late, watch this. Sims won't be able to get one verifiable, non-anonymous, benevolent statement from a pool of over a hundred ex-employees.

That's got to tell you something.A lesson for all.

Anonymous
#125272

Hey, UR employee, you forgot to include your name. Would it be Brian Sims? Of course it is. Also, nobody is angry or obsessed; in fact we're having quite a good time making known the evils of Brian Sims.

Brian, you offered quite a list of non verifiable claims. How *** do you think we are. Remember, we KNOW you. So, all the charges preceding this message remain, and have remained unanswered. The cutting of health accounts and Christmas bonuses during United's *best* months. Despicable and faceless behavior towards employees. Having made your first real money in p0rn. In your silence your answer is clear. These are the only verifiable truths.

And hey, if you're so busy saving your business, what the *** are you doing here?

If this alleged happy employee exists, why not a name so we can verify. After having over 100 employee's you can't find one that will offer their name!!

Sims, you are a disgusting character, everybody agrees, except for your imaginary friend/happy employee. I know most of your employee's except for recent ones, the one thing true of all of them is that they are *far* from happy.

Again, you are a complete a s s, Sims. I've lived in 12 cities and overseas and have met a lot of people. I stand by my statement, you are the greediest and shallowest.

DANIEL WASHINGTON

Anonymous
#125227

Lisa Yamul, Dan Washington, Shaina Winkelmann, Wendy Gillihan, Alan McCloskey,and any other disgruntled individuals posting negetive comments on this site will find that holding on to your anger and negetivity will only bring you more of the same in your life.The following are just a few of the positive things about Brian Sims I know about, he paid the salary of an employee that was often out while going through cancer treatment over a 6 month period.

Over the years he has sent 4 employess I am aware of on trips to Vegas and Hawaii. Brian co-signed for a car loan for a production employee. Brian established a nonprofit U.R. printing account.

In 2009 over $20,000.00 in printing was donated to various nonprofits in addition to the many cash donations from the company. I am proud to say Brian Sims has mentored me, and I am a better person from it! It is silly to think you are owed a bonus or a party. It is also silly to think you are owed names of employees helped, charities donated etc when you are posting anonymously.

None of you know the percent of profit. None of you know the cost of running this business. I am sure many of you are good people, just not good employees for U.R.

I reccomend you all start your own businesses since you seem to have all the answers.Good luck with your Obsession issues.

Anonymous
#125025

It was a disaster.He spent perhaps $100,000.00 plus on FreeFlow by Xerox.

This was a monumental blunder and a waste of money. Sims is too *** to ask for advice and too ignorant to operate without it. Had he asked me, I could have quickly saved him all the lost time and money. And this is when he cut all health accounts, Christmas bonuses, etc.

The only advantage to FreeFlow is that it integrates with the machines, which, is not only unnecessary but unwise until considerable volume is achieved.

When that happens, that is the time to hire a development team to customize a platform specific to ones needs. Not use a very limited, expensive, clunky and far from robust backend that is nearly impossible to expand upon.

Also, Sims' would freak out when anyone spoke to each other about anything. His insecurity was nearly unbelievable. He wanted every person to report to him privately, no collaboration or discussion with even key members of the web team.

This is because when we spoke to each other in his presence, it always went over his head.It was like having a child in the room and the reality of this wasn't lost on him.

Anonymous
#124797

My feedback on the OnTimePrinting.com site is as follows: Graphic elements lacks proper justification.Spacing throughout is painful to the eye.

Screen real estate is not utilized properly. Text rag reads primitive. Gradients and shading not coded correctly. Coding seems to be done in-house to save costs, resulting in a poor user interface.

Information is redundant and sloppy.

ARE IMAGES USED RIGHTS MANAGED?THEY SEEM TO BE ALTERED CLIENT IMAGERY...

Anonymous
#124714

Also don't forget that UR also recently launched OnTimePrinting.com, which Brian feels will save the failing company...Yeah, it's pretty obvious why the company is failing and it's not the lack of a web portal.

This new site is coded poorly, has serious usability issues, looks unprofessional and has many browser errors...

and this was after intentionally "copying" competitor's layouts.

Customers need to understand that United does not actually fill the orders taken from this website, and are actually brokered out to other printers...meaning that you will always find a better price elsewhere.

Anonymous
#124695

Hey Brian,

You came on here, made a fool of yourself, got challenged on every lie you asserted, then ran away.

I told you folks he wouldn't come back. Check the comments, I stated clearly he wouldn't be able to answer *any* of the questions posed to him.

Brian Sims has got to be one of greediest, most despicable, dishonorable, bottom feeding cowards I have ever known.

Anonymous
#124085

Worth mentioning again. Brian Sims made his first real money in P0RN.

Anonymous
#124083

It's true, Jennifer Ludwig, the production manager, is frightening and unstable.She has constant tantrums that one wouldn't accept from a 5 year old child.

It's another example of Brian Sims' ignorance, abuse, and disregard for working people that he would expose people to this woman.She really has problems, and I mean diagnosable problems ( probably bi-polar )

Jennifer Ludwig is another flag of Brian Sims' ignorance and inability to run a company.

Anonymous
#123973

Hey, BTW, anyone can file a complaint on Yelp.com

It's free and takes only a second to sign up.Just go to Yelp, sign up, pick "Seattle" as the city and "United Reprographics" as the company and complain away.

This can really make a difference.

If there are enough complaints, when his website is Googled, it will be the first return.

And potential clients take Yelp pretty seriously.It's gaining in popularity.

Anonymous
#123972

Wow, it's so great to see so many comments. I'm building a website where soon we'll all be able to file complaints and connect, so if Brian Sims is saying anything negative when potential employers call, we'll be able to assemble and sue.

Guys like him are only safe when his victims don't know each other.

Anonymous
#123963

I laugh so hard thinking back at the production manager Jennifer Ludwig.

She possessed anger one couldn't help snicker about. Jennifer would hit, kick, and throw objects on a regular basis (as a way of displaying her animalistic heir) employees took turns watching and laughing.

Jennifer would regularly state unwanted comments regarding her lack of sex life to anyone not obviously ignoring her constant banter. Jennifer would also openly comment about her daughters sexual life, so very sick.

Beware!

Anonymous
#123947

What bothers me about you and all people is

the arrogance and bragging about being at the top.And all I have to say about that to you and the other lost souls is what goes up must come down!

And guess who you pass along the way?

A true christian would not say such things.May God put you on the right track of being a better human being in all reguards.

Anonymous
#123946

I do not miss reprographics!

Anonymous
#122439

YES, IT'S TRUE.BRIAN SIMS WAS HEAVILY INVOLVED IN SLEAZY P0RN SITES!!

Also, he was hear making some ridiculous claims.

Then he was challenged on all of them.

Then, he disappears.

Hey, Brian Sims, any honorable person would answer the fair and appropriate charges that have been leveled against you.You seem to have been full of words before.

Anonymous
#121577

Here it is again, PC edited out the actual word P0RN.

No kidding, check it out.Brian Sims made his first money from P0RN.

He was involved in P0RN websites in the early 90's.

He told me this himself.I would never embellish such a story and could be sued if I did.

Anonymous
#121576

No kidding, check it out.Brian Sims made his first money from ***.

He was involved in *** websites in the early 90's.

He told me this himself.I would never embellish such a story and could be sued if I did.

Anonymous
#121573

Funny thing, Brian Sims, you claim all your cruel and greedy behavior is the nature of "Being at the Top"

Actually Brian Sims, for some people, "being at the top" is a great opportunity to do right, to help people.

Not all people use it as an excuse for their repugnant behavior, as you do.

Anonymous
#121571

Here's another excerpt from below that's worth repeating:

"Brian cut the Christmas bonuses, health accounts and Christmas party.I saw Brian Sims the day he did that and he was laughing.

It was punishment to workers who he felt shouldn't ever talk on the floor. In fact, this makes him crazy. He tried to make a rule that nobody was allowed to speak on to each other. He has cameras covering the entire shop that are monitored online.

He watches from his computer all day and night and even calls in to reprimand people if they happen stop to exchange a word with their fellow employees. This guy is a real life Scrooge.

He would be a great 17th & 18th century slave boss."

Anonymous
#121569

Excerpt from the following comments, worth repeating

"Oh, and Brian. I coined a phrase, one I applied as I would put my QC on jobs without even looking at them, sometimes on ones I knew where screwed up; "the old me, that had a health account would have checked that"

Anonymous
#121226

Brian Sims claims "My (his) Intelligence and integrity are not in question." [quote, verbatim] Actually Brian you're right, they aren't in question.You lack both intelligence and integrity, everybody agrees.

And that is supported by direct, irrefutable facts clearly spelled out in the previous slew of messages.

Nearly all unanimous that you are a despicable, greedy, slimy critter.In fact, you have been given ample opportunity and haven't answered one of the fair questions and accusations posed to you.

Anonymous
#121101

Hey Brian, everybody is waiting:

1.) Explain how you can call yourself generous when you cut Christmas bonuses, health accounts and even a company Christmas party, a week before Christmas and when United was experiencing is greatest growth and profit?

2.) Name any of the United families you "generously" provided for? You've been asked to substantiate this claim many times.

3.) Name any charities you donated to that we can verify.

4.) Name anyone you've mentored that we can verify ( surely that won't mind a call and a chance to verify that you've helped them)

You are the biggest low life I've ever worked for. You're a creature of the ghetto.

Anonymous
#120774

Brian Sims claims here that's he's been generous to the families of United workers.Of course he doesn't name one.

Also, a week before the Christmas of 2008, when United was seeing unprecedented growth and making $500k that month ( and over $700k in Jan. 2009 ), long before any economic downturn, out of nowhere he announces that there will be no Christmas bonuses. No reason given. Also, no more health accounts and not even a Christmas party.

Craig, the manager of large doc., had to use his own money to buy his people a Christmas gift. It made me sick to see a guy who probably isn't making $18/hr having to pay out of his pocket while Brian had increased his income by $10k/month by cutting health accounts. Brian Sims' greed is epic. Truly something to behold.

But for him to make false claims about helping families of his employees is truly sickening.

Everybody got screwed and right before Christmas.People went broke at Christmas while Sims had his best month ever.

Anonymous
#120698

Hey Brian, you've been asked some legitimate questions, none of which has received an answer. Rather than ranting unsubstantiated claims and calling former employees "lowlifes" how about taking a shot at these:

1.) Isn't it true that during United's best months ( Late 2008, Early 2009 ) and long before the economic downturn. While United was experiencing unbroken growth of 5-30% per year, you got greedy and had a meeting about a week before Christmas (2008) and cut Christmas bonuses, the health savings accounts and even a Christmas party. (I saw you that night and you were laughing at how easily you could screw everyone )

2.) I challenge every altruistic claim you've made. Can you name any verifiable charities you've donated to. Nearly all charities provide a method to verify donors. Also, who have you ever mentored. MOST IMPORTANTLY: NAME ONE OF YOUR EMPLOYEES "FAMILIES" YOU GENEROUSLY PROVIDED FOR. THAT'S THE MOST OBVIOUS AND RIDICULOUS LIE OF ALL. YOU'D FIRE YOUR OWN MOTHER ON CHRISTMAS AND RUN A MISERABLE SWEAT SHOP WITH LOW WAGES AND BENEFITS THAT ARE A JOKE ( as has been stated by a post earlier that was from a top level manager )

So those are the questions. Watch this everybody. Watch him not be able to answer any of them.

Anonymous
#120696

Hahaha.Can anyone actually believe what Brian Sims just wrote?!

"It is tough at the top" and "That's just the nature of Being at the Top." You, Brian Sims, are hardly at any "top." You behave like a complete bottom feeder.

Your behavior is at the bottom of the range I've experienced in my life.It's another flag of your lack of integrity that you use such narrow parameters to define what "top" is.

Anonymous
#120553

Yeah, I noticed that too.Brian Sims could be used as a text book example of awful ownership and management.

His comment, below, is classic. "None of you Actually worked for me (him), You worked for your Department leads and the Production Manager" [quote verbatim] Wow Brian, way to take responsibility for your own company.

It's all somebody else's fault.What a *** :grin :grin

Anonymous
#120552

Well, Brian Sims says it all in the previous posts.None of us worked for him.

As owner of the company, he negates any responsibility for the conditions of *his* company.It's all the fault of the production manager or the supervisors.

No wonder the place is a sweat shop.

Anonymous
#120549

On my previous post I stated that the Christmas bonuses, health accounts and Christmas party were cut during the companies best months, which I incorrectly stated as Dec. 2009 and Jan 2010. The actual dates were Dec 2008 and Jan 2009. Sorry. The person reporting this in an earlier post was correct. I left there early in 2009 but know from old acquaintances that there were no bonuses last Christmas either, which can be understandable as the economy isn't what is was.

However, I'll restate what was reported earlier; during the best months United had ( Late 2008, early 2009 ) and long before the economy went south, Brian cut the Christmas bonuses, health accounts and Christmas party. I saw Brian Sims the day he did that and he was laughing. It was punishment to workers who he felt shouldn't ever talk on the floor. In fact, this makes him crazy. He tried to make a rule that nobody was allowed to speak on to each other. He has cameras covering the entire shop that are monitored online. He watches from his computer all day and night and even calls in to reprimand people if they happen stop to exchange a word with their fellow employees. This guy is a real life Scrooge. He would be a great 17th & 18th century slave boss.

Oh, and Brian. I coined a phrase, one I applied as I would put my QC on jobs without even looking at them, sometimes on ones I knew where screwed up; "the old me, that had a health account would have checked that"

You might...

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Anonymous
#120548

I'm laughing my head off. You can't even instigate a convincing fraud. How interesting that the alleged "happy employee" posted their message within hours of yours. What a coincidence. Again, why wouldn't they give their name. I could give plenty of reasons why complainants don't. You're so unethical they're worried about retribution. But for someone with nothing to lose to fail to leave their name, well, it's obviously you who posted that nonsense and is yet another flag of your lack of integrity.

Also, I'd love to see you provide any proof or evidence of all your altruistic claims you've made. Anyone that knows you will laugh at such. But hey, here's your chance. Let's hear about all those "charities" Brian, one's that would allow us to verify the authenticity of your comments. Also, lets get the names of all those "families" you've helped. How about all the business owners you've mentored. I'll check every one. But, of course, it's all total bull. I've had plenty of experience with people and there is no way a person like you has actually done the things you blindly claim.

BTW Brian, you're about to get some pretty bad press as part of a personal story of one of your ex-employees who's story is about to become quite public. I'll keep you posted. You'll be used as an example of an abusive company and despicable owner. Of course, you'll probably be out of business by then. You always were over your head and lacking the skills required...

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Anonymous
#120546

The lack of cohesion and basic grammatical integrity of your comments makes clear your intellectual short comings. Not to mention the fact that most of your statements are complete bull. You, sir, are no altruistic person. You are a petty, self absorbed, greedy and dishonorable individual.

I noticed you haven't argued the fact that during the strongest months at United ( Dec 2009, Jan 2010 ) during a year when even you claimed that the company had grown by 10%, you cut Christmas bonuses a week before Christmas, you cut the health accounts and cut the company party. This was well before the economy went south.

I also find it interesting that the the positive review you just received from an alleged "happy employee" fails to give a name. Now, why, if somebody has nothing to lose, would they not mention their name? Is it because it was posted by you and is a complete fraud? Is it because we could all check with any employee that would leave such comments and discover them as lies?

Also, there have been cases when you fired employees in such an unethical manner that both the managers and the controller stated their dissension.

It's a pleasure watching your business fail. Oh, and check Yelp, looks like there are some customers giving you dramatically poor reviews.

Anonymous
#116867

All of you Low lifes writing about me on this page can Go to ***.None of you know me!

None of you can judge me! It is tough at the top. I will never be able to please everyone with the tough decisions I have to Make. But for everyone of you that are upset, there are many many more that are not unhappy.

That\'s just the nature of Being at the Top. My Character and my generosity has provided for many many Families at United and beyond. The countless Charities I support. The countless Non-profits and For profit companies I donate to.

The countless hours of my own time I\'ve spent mentoring other Business owners and students. None of you have probally even given your time or your money to help anyone.

My Intelligence and integrity are not in question.The fact that you are affraid to even claim your comments says alot about your Character and integrity.

Anonymous
#116816

I worked for United for a couple of years and my interactions with Brian were all good.I found him to be very generous and friendly.

He always gave out bonuses while I was there.

It sounds like you other posters forgot we have been in a Global resession.2008-2010

Anonymous
#116570

All of you Nameless Cowards!None of you Actually worked for me, You worked for your Department leads and the Production Manager.

If you were Fired or Laid off, it was at their direct request.

If you intentially sabatoged a customer\'s project then your the bad person and thats why you no longer work for us.:cry :cry.

Anonymous
#111340

I worked with Brian for a time, and was unimpressed right from the start.Without going into too much detail, he made promises that he always avoided and eventually broke.

The company benefits are an absolute joke, especially considering the income bracket that most of the employees are in. The man absolutely doesn't know how to communicate what he wants and doesn't treat people with any amount of respect or dignity unless it directly affects his pocketbook. The moment you are not lining his wallet is the moment you are discarded.

He makes a big deal about being a "minority businessowner", but shouldn't advertise that fact to avoid ruining the reputation for deserving leaders.Avoid working for this company, or associating with it in any way.

Anonymous
#109654

let's see if that works.

Anonymous
#109653

I second and third the previous post.

Anonymous
#109652

Well, that's actually not my name. But I must say, you'll never know how great it was completely screw over United before leaving. Sending jobs out totally *** up was my way of registering my displeasure with Christmas bonuses being cut about a week before Christmas, along with the Christmas party and mostly the cutting of the health savings accounts.

That was my way of saying "*** YOU BRIAN SIMS" and sweet it was.

Yes sweet it still is. And you know who I am, boy.

And watching the failure of United is equally sweet.

Guess you learned something Sims. You thought you could treat everyone like ***, but looks like we had some leverage to play some get back.

I'M LAUGHING SO HARD. YOU LOST 2 GREAT CLIENTS BECAUSE I LET SCREWED UP JOBS GO OUT. I PUT MY QC ON THEM AND LAUGHED ALL THE WAY HOME.

Anonymous
#75415

This business is failing...Greed.

Anonymous
#70764

Brian Simms is a bit of a sociopath.He doesn't give a damb about employees and prides himself on firing anyone without cause.

He's also one of the greediest owners I've ever met, and I've met quite a few. While the company was experiencing some of it's highest grossing months (late 2008, early 2009 ), he cut health care accounts completely, decided not to give Christmas bonuses about a week before Christmas, and cut the Christmas party -- which I've seen companies 1/4 the size of United offer. There's something missing with the guy and I consider him a 'half person.' He's marginally intelligent and exudes insecurity on everyone that works closely with him.

He's leveraged help from an uncle and funding that he received from the father of the mother of one of his kids, the latter in a most dishonorable way.On an integrity scale of 1-10, I'd quite honestly give Simms a 3.

Anonymous
#52519

Thanks United Reprographics for firing me and letting me collect unemployment insurance for the past year!I'm now attending the UW, paying out of pocket and laughing at you sad sacks.

You all made it quite apparent you thought I was out of my mind, but google my name and see what comes up.

Of course I wasn't going to give a *** about a job so beneath me.8)

Anonymous
Moscow, Moscow, Russian Federation #16652

I second the fat cow comment.

Anonymous
Lebanon, Pennsylvania, United States #8151

Brian Sims seems like a nice man from the few times I was able to meet him while I worked at United Reprographics.I would venture a caution towards anyone considering working in the production area, however.

The red-headed manager is an unstable cow who should get her personal problems under control before assuming any position of responsibility.

She is not highly regarded amongst the employees of the company.;)

Anonymous
Sentul, Wilayah Persekutuan, Malaysia #829

How Dare you slander Brian that way, He would never act in such a manner.I wasn't there when you were fired, but based on your tone in this letter.

I'm sure glad I don't have to work with you.United Reprographics is the best company to work for in seattle.

Anonymous
Sentul, Wilayah Persekutuan, Malaysia #827

Richard Steverson is a lier, I work at United Reprographics an Brian Sims is a wonderful man.Richard has always been a complainer who blames everyone else for his problerms.

United covers the medical for my entire family. I was at United when Richard was fired for numerous reasons, mainly his poor attitude.

My medical has never been in jepordy.Richard get a life and stop blaming everyone for your problems.

Anonymous
Selangor, Wilayah Persekutuan, Malaysia #826

Actually, sir, My name is Angelene and I work with United, and I really don't see where you get the right to call Brian a miserable excuse for a human, because he is a very nice man, and would NEVER do something like that.. So you really need to get over yourself.

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