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Updated: 23 min 50 sec ago
Today, President Obama is in Northern Ireland for the G-8 Summit in Lough Erne. This year's G-8 is President Obama's fifth since taking office, and the second stop of his three-day trip to Northern Ireland and Germany.
President Barack Obama participates in a G8 Summit meeting on Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership in the Library at Lough Erne Resort in Enniskillen, Northern Ireland, June 17, 2013. Participating in the meeting are, clockwise from President Obama: Prime Minister David Cameron of the United Kingdom; Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany; President François Hollande of France; Prime Minister Enrico Letta of Italy; Taoiseach Enda Kenny of Ireland: José Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission; and Herman Van Rompuy, President of the European Council. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
Yesterday, following the first stop of the trip in Belfast, the President held a number of meetings with world leaders ahead of the G-8, including a visit with U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron and a meeting with EU leaders on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership.
President Barack Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron talk at the G8 Summit in Lough Erne, Northern Ireland, June 17, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
Together with European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso and European Council President Herman Van Rompuy, President Obama announced that the United States and the European Union would launch negotiations on the trade agreement in July. The partnership will boost economic growth in the United States and the EU, as President Obama explained.
[T]he U.S.-EU relationship is the largest in the world. It makes up nearly half of global GDP. We trade about $1 trillion in goods and services each year. We invest nearly $4 trillion in each other’s economies. And all that supports around 13 million jobs on both sides of the Atlantic.
And this potentially groundbreaking partnership would deepen those ties. It would increase exports, decrease barriers to trade and investment. As part of broader growth strategies in both our economies, it would support hundreds of thousands of jobs on both sides of the ocean.
President Obama discussed a range of issues in his interview last night on PBS, but the National Security Agency was the topic for an extended part of the conversation.
"My job is both to protect the American people and to protect the American way of life, which includes our privacy," he said. "So every program that we engage in, what I've said is let's examine and make sure that we're making the right tradeoffs."
Watch that part of the exchange:
June 16, 2013 marks the four-year anniversary of the Partnership for Sustainable Communities, a collaboration of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Since 2009, our three federal agencies have been working together to help communities build stronger regional economies, improve their housing and transportation options, and protect the environment.
As President Obama said when the Partnership launched in 2009, “By working together, [the agencies] can make sure that when it comes to development—housing, transportation, energy efficiency—these things aren't mutually exclusive; they go hand in hand.”
Our collaboration helps communities plan the housing, transportation and economic development they need as infrastructure for economic growth, helping them attract businesses and improve quality of life for residents.
The Partnership is a one-stop shop for communities to access federal resources that can help them become more economically and environmentally sustainable. To date, the Partnership has provided more than $4 billion in funding for projects in all 50 states, plus the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.
NASA has a new group of potential astronauts who will help push the boundaries of exploration. Check them out! http://t.co/2qZt0P6OCl
— NASA (@NASA) June 17, 2013
Today, NASA got to do one of those great things that exemplifies what we're all about, something that points us toward the future and inspires future generations. We introduced the 2013 astronaut class to the world, and we couldn't be prouder.
This is the first class in three years, and the 21st overall in our nation's nearly 55-year journey in space. From a near-record number of applicants, more than 6,100, we selected an extremely qualified class that represents a high degree of achievement and dedication to our nation's future. There are two Ph.D.'s represented, an M.D., and several naval aviators. They've served in the military, government and academia. They have the experience and physical and operational skills to help advance our nation's space program.
The new candidates have diverse background and come from across the country, the commonality being that they have a commitment to excellence in all their fields of pursuit.
The new astronaut class represents the full tapestry of our nation. They are African American, Native American, and, for the first time, representative of women equal to the population – 50%.
This is the highest percentage of women ever in a class of astronaut candidates, and will set a new standard for women in the science technology, engineering and mathematics fields. They will join the 43 American women who have already flown to space and the 12 women currently in NASA's astronaut corps. The announcement is especially meaningful as tomorrow we mark the 30th anniversary of Sally Ride's historic launch as the first American woman to space aboard the space shuttle.
There is a deep and abiding interest in space travel in this nation, and there will be many opportunities for these trainees to fly in the future. As NASA lays the groundwork for a mission to an asteroid in the 2020s and human missions to Mars in the 2030s, this 2013 class of astronaut candidates, and the 2009 class before them, will be among those who will have the opportunity to plan and carry out these exciting missions, strengthen our nation's leadership in space and push the boundaries of exploration.
The timing is especially appropriate as tomorrow we host an Asteroid Initiative Industry and Partners Day to get input on our planned, first-of-its-kind, mission to redirect an asteroid to an orbit nearer to Earth so that astronauts can visit it, collect samples and demonstrate the technologies that will help us to travel to Mars. This mission will be an early demonstration of the Space Launch System rocket and Orion crew vehicle currently in development for deep space missions. It will also demonstrate some of the many space technologies we are working on for tomorrow's missions, such as solar electric propulsion, which will power the mission to redirect the asteroid closer to home.
The new class also will be among the first to fly on new commercial space transportation systems in development right now to travel to low Earth orbit and the International Space Station. We anticipate that by 2017 at least one of our commercial partners SpaceX, Boeing and Sierra Nevada will be able to carry astronauts to space from American soil, just as SpaceX today resupplies the station with cargo, and is soon to be joined in that endeavor by Orbital Sciences.
To read more about our new astronaut candidates, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/astronauts/2013astroclass.html
I send my deepest congratulations to the new astronaut candidates, and look forward to getting to know them. Together, we'll reach higher so what we learn and do can benefit all humankind.
This morning, President Obama spoke to the people of Northern Ireland from the Belfast waterfront.
So many of the qualities that we Americans hold dear we imported from this land -- perseverance, faith, an unbending belief that we make our own destiny, and an unshakable dream that if we work hard and we live responsibly, something better lies just around the bend.
So our histories are bound by blood and belief, by culture and by commerce. And our futures are equally, inextricably linked. And that’s why I’ve come to Belfast today -- to talk about the future we can build together.
President Barack Obama delivers remarks at the Belfast Waterfront Convention Center in Belfast, Northern Ireland, June 17, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
It’s been 15 years since the people of Ireland approved the Good Friday Agreement, and President Obama called the achievement -- and the progress that followed it -- extraordinary. “For years, few conflicts in the world seemed more intractable than the one here in Northern Ireland. And when peace was achieved here, it gave the entire world hope.”
President Barack Obama participates in an interview with Charlie Rose in the White House Library, Sunday, June 16, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
Before leaving for this week's G-8 summit in the United Kingdom, President Obama sat down with Charlie Rose in the White House Library for a 45-minute interview on topics ranging from Syria to the National Security Agency.
That discussion will air tonight at 11:00 PM on PBS stations across the country. For more specifics, check your local listings.
This year marks the 50th anniversary of National Small Business Week. Although things have certainly changed since President Kennedy signed the first Presidential Proclamation in 1963, one thing that hasn’t changed is America’s entrepreneurial spirit and the important role that small business owners play in our economy and our communities.
This week, President Obama has continued America’s tradition of honoring the spirit and success of American small business owners by proclaiming June 17 - 21 to be 2013’s National Small Business Week. Small businesses have always been the backbone of our economy, and we know that the success of America’s small businesses is critical to growing our economy and increasing our nation’s global competitiveness.
Small businesses create two out of three net new private sector jobs in our economy. And today, half of all working Americans either own or work for a small business. Over the past five years, the Obama Administration has worked to rebuild the economy and ensure that small businesses are able to do what they do best: grow and create jobs.
President Obama has a lot of important responsibilities in the White House, but he’s said that no job is more important than being a father to his two daughters. We’ve put together a quick slide show of some of our favorite moments of the President being a parent.
This commitment to his family has also translated into the President’s policy agenda. For the past four years, President Obama has promoted legislation to encourage fathers to take on a more active role in their children’s lives through an inter-agency effort: the Fatherhood and Mentoring Initiative.
The Fatherhood and Mentoring Initiative has prompted government agencies to enact programs to assist fathers in raising and supporting their families and has made a significant impact throughout the country.
President Obama discusses Father’s Day and notes that nothing substitutes for the love and support of the presence of a parent in a child’s life.
President Barack Obama welcomes participants to the Father's Day luncheon in the State Dining Room of the White House, June 14, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Amanda Lucidon)
President Obama celebrated an early Father’s Day with kids from the “Becoming a Man” program at the White House on Friday. The students traveled to Washington, D.C. from Chicago for lunch in the East Room, where the President discussed the importance of fatherhood and mentorship. The “Becoming a Man” program is based in low-income public high schools in Chicago. In February, the President visited Chicago to meet the boys in the program at Hyde Park Academy and speak about the importance of education.
President Barack Obama greets participants during the Father's Day luncheon in the State Dining Room of the White House, June 14, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
Chief of Staff Denis McDonough talks with a young participant during the Father's Day luncheon in the State Dining Room of the White House, June 14, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Amanda Lucidon)
“States like California are setting up new, online marketplaces where, beginning on October 1st of this year, you can comparison shop an array of private health insurance plans side-by-side, just like you were going online to compare cars or airline tickets. And that means insurance companies will actually have to compete with each other for your business. And that means new choices.”
Equal Pay Act: Monday marked 50 years since President Kennedy signed the Equal Pay Act into law. The President spoke at an event to celebrate the anniversary, emphasizing the importance of the issue and acknowledging there’s still work to be done.
“The day that the bill was signed into law, women earned 59 cents for every dollar a man earned on average. Today, it’s about 77 cents. So it was 59 and now it’s 77 cents. It’s even less, by the way, if you’re an African American or a Latina. So I guess that’s progress, but does anybody here think that’s good enough?”
Jason Furman Nomination: President Obama announced his nomination to replace Alan Krueger as chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers Monday afternoon. Jason Furman, who currently serves in the Obama Administration as an Assistant to the President for Economic Policy and the Principal Deputy Director of the National Economic Council, is waiting for Congress to confirm his new role.
President Obama praised both Krueger and Furman, citing their hard work as a reason for America’s economic upturn.
As a group, we men are not known for doing a very good job of taking care of our own health.
National Men’s Health Week, from June 10 through Father’s Day on June 16, is a good time for us to start taking responsibility and doing what’s needed to stay healthy and active. That means eating right, taking the time to exercise, and—yes—talking to our doctors about what checkups we need.
Many health problems are preventable or more easily treated if we’re proactive about our health. The good news is the Affordable Care Actensures that most health insurance plans cover recommended preventive services at no out-of-pocket cost.
Some of these services that are particularly important to men ages 40 to 64 include blood pressure and cholesterol checks, flu shots and tobacco cessation services.
Make sure your fathers, grandfathers, friends and uncles on Medicare know that they are eligible for these and other preventive services such as a yearly wellness visit, with no co-pays or deductibles.
President Barack Obama welcomes the WNBA Champion Indiana Fever to the East Room of the White House to honor the team and their victory in the WNBA Finals, June 14, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)
Today, President Obama congratulated the Indiana Fever at the White House on their 2012 WNBA championship.
Despite being the underdog team in the finals, the President remarked that the Fever had a “Hoosiers” moment and intensified their game. With their toughness and determination, the Fever managed to defeat the Minnesota Lynx, the 2011 WNBA champions.
“And while our towns have a friendly rivalry going on, I still recognize those Midwestern values when I see them. We saw it in the Indiana Fever, which is, you look out for your teammates. You kept fighting, no matter what gets thrown at you. As Coach Dunn put it: ‘We're all blue collar. We work hard on defense. We rebound. We're tough.’”
President Obama also thanked the women for giving back to communities not only in Indiana, but across the country. He acknowledged Tamika Catchings, the MVP of the team, who started her own foundation, Catch the Stars. The foundation works with First Lady Michelle Obama’s program, Let’s Move! and urges children to stay healthy and active. Tamika isn’t the only player giving back to the country though.
“Players on the Fever have received a combined 13 WNBA Community Assist Awards for countless hours they spend volunteering," he said. "They visit local school kids as part of the Read to Achieve Program. They’ve teamed up with Habitat for Humanity to help build homes for folks in Indianapolis. And right after this, they’re going to run a basketball clinic on the South Lawn for young people here in D.C.”
Today, there are many young immigrants who were brought here by parents seeking a better life. These promising young people grew up here and call this country home. They deserve an opportunity and so do their parents.
One year ago Saturday, the Department of Homeland Security took action to lift the shadow of deportation for eligible young people – who we often call the “DREAMers” – so they can fully contribute to our economy and our society. This process is known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).
DACA is just one of the many steps the Department of Homeland Security has taken to make our immigration enforcement policies smarter and more effective at focusing on our priorities. These steps all ensure that our immigration enforcement can focus on high-priority individuals instead of clogging the system with low priority cases.
Those who have been approved for deferred action include earnest, productive young people who are ready to give back to the only country they have ever known and in the fullest possible sense. They are American in every way but on paper. As the President has said many times, it makes no sense to remove productive young people to countries where they may not have lived or even speak the language.
While DACA is an important step forward, the only way to have a lasting solution is for Congress to pass commonsense immigration reform that includes a pathway to earned citizenship. We welcome the Senate’s current debate on a commonsense immigration reform bill that has bipartisan support.
This legislation isn’t just about policy – it’s about people. The President and Vice President recently met with DREAMers as well as with the siblings and spouses of undocumented immigrants, to hear directly from those affected daily by our nation’s broken immigration system.
One person in that meeting was Kevin Lee, a DACA recipient who currently resides in Los Angeles, California. Kevin’s parents emigrated from South Korea to California in 1999 when he was 9 years old. Kevin graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles and has a B.A. in History and a minor in Asian Humanities. Understanding the struggles of recent immigrants, Kevin recently took his LSATs with the hopes obtaining a law degree in order to serve and advocate on behalf of his community.
I am also a graduate of UCLA. I am certain that Kevin and I walked the same streets on campus, studied in the same libraries, and frequented the same coffee shops on late night studying breaks during finals. When I see Kevin’s story captured here, I cannot help but imagine what his life would be like if he did not have to worry every day about his undocumented status. Imagine how much more he will be able to achieve when commonsense immigration reform is enacted.
Kevin is not alone. He stands with others who only want the chance to earn their way into the American story. We hope that the Congress will answer his call.
Felicia Escobar is Senior Policy Director for Immigration in the White House Domestic Policy Council
Public Financial Disclosure Reports (OGE Form 278) for White House officials are now available. Interested parties may request reports electronically by completing the application form available here.
Once the application form is submitted, reports will be sent via email in PDF format as quickly as possible. Please call the press office if you have any questions.
Kathryn Ruemmler is Counsel to the President
A fast, reliable Internet connection is as essential to the modern economy as electricity or phone service, and over the last four years, the country has made tremendous progress investing in and delivering high-speed broadband to an unprecedented number of Americans. Today we are releasing a new White House report entitled Four Years of Broadband Growth that makes that case even clearer.
The results speak for themselves: since 2009, average broadband speeds have doubled, and the percentage of Americans with access to high-speed wireless broadband has more than quadrupled (from under 20% to over 80%). We were the first nation to deploy next-generation 4G/LTE wireless broadband on such a scale, which has in turn helped fuel the demand for the 500 million Internet-connected devices we now own.
This technology is doing more than just enriching lives; it is creating jobs. With the right incentives in place over the last four years, companies have invested over $250 billion in broadband infrastructure. The “App economy” that has sprung up in that same time is estimated to have created 500,000 jobs alone. And America is again leading the world in these innovations; six years ago, only 5 percent of the world’s phones ran an operating system that was Made in America – today, over eighty percent do.
But there is much more to be done to make sure we fully unleash the potential of this revolution in the way we communicate, learn, and work.
As the President said last week in Mooresville, NC, “in an age when the world’s information is a just click away, it demands that we bring our schools and libraries into the 21st century.” We have an obligation to wire our schools with better Internet than our coffee houses; our kids, and our economy, deserve better. That is why President Obama unveiled the ConnectED initiative to connect 99 percent of America’s students to high-speed broadband within five years.
We also have to bring more efficiency to our increasingly crowded airwaves. The number of wireless devices is exploding, and that means increasing demands on the spectrum upon which they all rely. The federal government helps manage that resource, and we know we can do a better job of unleashing innovation by ensuring more of it is shared, unlicensed for innovations like Wi-Fi, and better used by our departments and agencies. So today we are also announcing a Presidential Memorandum outlining a number of new spectrum policies — accompanied by $100 million in spending on federal research on spectrum.
President Obama is committed to seizing these historic opportunities to deliver faster, more reliable, and more affordable Internet – and with it, new opportunity – to all Americans. That is the context for our announcements this month, and in the months and years to come.
Leaders within the LGBT community were invited to the White House yesterday to kick-off Pride month with a reception hosted by President Obama.
Introducing the President were 9 year old twins, Zea and Luna, who wrote a letter to President Obama earlier this year asking him to support same-sex marriage. They explained that they were raised by their two moms who love them dearly.
In his remarks, the President discussed some of the steps we’ve made toward equality:
"We passed a hate crimes bill in Matthew Shepard’s name. We lifted the HIV entry ban, released the first national HIV/AIDS strategy. We strengthened the Violence Against Women Act to protect LGBT victims. We told hospitals that accept Medicare and Medicaid that they have to treat LGBT patients just like everybody else. Starting next year, the Affordable Care Act will ban insurance companies from denying someone from coverage just for being LGBT. We put in place new policies that treat transgender Americans with dignity and respect. And because no one should have to hide who they love to serve the country that they love, we ended "don't ask, don't tell" once and for all."
While these are real accomplishments, the President also admitted there is still work to be done – and it might take some time.
Last week, the President issued a new challenge for our nation – one that families, businesses, school districts and the federal government can rally around together – to connect virtually every student with access to cutting-edge technology as part of a competitive, 21st century education. The new ConnectED initiative he announced was a bold, transformative vision for America’s schools, ensuring that they have access to high-speed broadband and wireless internet to expand connectivity to more schools and libraries over the next 5 years.
ConnectED will bring high-speed Internet within reach for tens of millions of America’s kids – and with it, it empowers more teachers and schools to harness the power of digital learning. As President Obama said in Mooresville, NC last week, “these are the tools that our children deserve.” Connecting schools “will better prepare our children for the jobs and challenges of the future and it will provide them a surer path into the middle class. And, as a consequence, it will mean a stronger, more secure economy for all of us. “
Since then, idea of equipping our schools with the connectivity they need has received wide support – including from members of the bipartisan Leading Education by Advancing Digital (LEAD) Commission, which Education Secretary Arne Duncan and former FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski called upon to examine how we can jumpstart technology use in America’s schools.
This week, the President hosted the new President of China at a two-day informal summit in California, spoke on the importance of supporting the implementation of the Affordable Care Act and comprehensive immigration reform, promoted a top economic advisor, and honored the LGBT community.
What was the original intent behind the Constitution and other documents that helped shape the nation? What did the Founders of our country have to say? Those questions persist in the political debates and discussions to this day, and fortunately, we have a tremendous archive left behind by those statesmen who built the government over 200 years ago.
For the past 50 years, teams of editors have been copying documents from historical collections scattered around the world that serve as a record of the Founding Era. They have transcribed hundreds of thousands of documents—letters, diaries, ledgers, and the first drafts of history—and have researched and provided annotation and context to deepen our understanding of these documents.
These papers have been assembled in 242 documentary editions covering the works of Benjamin Franklin, George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Alexander Hamilton, and James Madison, as well as hundreds of people who corresponded with them. Now for the first time ever, these documents—along with thousands of others that will appear in additional print volumes—will be available to the public.
The Founders Online is a new website at the National Archives that will allow people to search this archive of the Founding Era, and read just what the Founders wrote and discussed during the first draft of the American democracy. Students and researchers, citizens and scholars can turn to Founders Online to track and debate the meaning of documents such as the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. They can examine transcriptions of the originals and read the wit and wisdom of the Founders’ own debates.