Read all posts from September 2013

  • If the United States government shuts down tonight and our economy takes a hit, it will be because House Republicans let it happen. Instead of allowing a simple yes or no vote on a bill that funds the government for a few more weeks, the government that these Republicans were elected to serve will close down.

    And as a result, starting tomorrow, Americans across the country won’t be allowed to show up for work. Paychecks could be delayed, meaning some folks will have to cut back on groceries or maybe not even pay a few bills. Businesses will have fewer customers. Veterans won't get services they rely on -- and it will put benefits for seniors at risk.

    Take a look at how this shutdown will affect millions of Americans, and then make sure you share it so others know too. 

  • President Barack Obama delivers remarks on the budget negotiations, in the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House

    President Barack Obama delivers remarks on the budget negotiations, in the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House, Sept. 30, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

    If Congress does not fulfill its responsibility to pass a budget today, much of the United States government will be forced to shut down tomorrow. 

    This afternoon, President Obama delivered remarks from the White House Press Briefing Room about what that shutdown would mean for the country.

    While some services will continue -- social security checks, postal service, operations related to national security or public safety –- a number of changes would go into effect immediately. 

    Office buildings would close. Paychecks would be delayed. Vital services that seniors and veterans, women and children, businesses and our economy depend on would be hamstrung. Business owners would see delays in raising capital, seeking infrastructure permits, or rebuilding after Hurricane Sandy. Veterans who’ve sacrificed for their country will find their support centers unstaffed.  Tourists will find every one of America’s national parks and monuments, from Yosemite to the Smithsonian to the Statue of Liberty, immediately closed.  And of course, the communities and small businesses that rely on these national treasures for their livelihoods will be out of customers and out of luck.

    A shutdown would also disrupt the economy, President Obama said. “It would throw a wrench into the gears of our economy at a time when those gears have gained some traction.”

  • President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel hold a bilateral meeting in the Oval Office, Sept. 30, 2013.

    President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel hold a bilateral meeting in the Oval Office, Sept. 30, 2013.(Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

    Today President Obama held a bilateral meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu.

    President Obama commended the Prime Minister for entering into good-faith negotiations with the Palestinian Authority with the goal of two states living side-by-side in peace and security

    “Both Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Abbas have assigned outstanding negotiators,” President Obama said. “They have been engaging in serious conversations. And our goal continues to be to help facilitate -- not dictate, but facilitate -- the kinds of genuine negotiations that will result in two states living side-by-side in peace and security.”

    The two leaders also discussed the situation in Syria and the possibility of eliminating Syria’s chemical weapons stockpiles; their shared commitment to a constructive relationship with Egypt; and their agreement that Iran must not acquire a nuclear weapon.

  • On October 1, millions of Americans will have a simple new way to get affordable health coverage: the Health Insurance Marketplace.  

    With one application, you'll be able to compare all your coverage options side-by-side, learn if you can get lower costs based on your income, and enroll in a plan that fits your needs and your budget.

    In fact, the new application is so simple, it's 17 pages shorter than the current application you'd fill out to enroll in coverage in the individual market. 

    Visit now and learn how to sign up starting on October 1.

  • In this week’s address, President Obama says that on October 1st, a big part of the Affordable Care Act will go live and give uninsured Americans the chance to buy the same quality, affordable health care as everyone else. It is also the day when some Republicans in Congress might shut down the government just because they don’t like the law. The President urged Congress to both pass a budget by Monday and raise the nation’s debt ceiling so that we can keep growing the economy. He also said that those without health insurance and those who buy it on the individual market should visit to find out how to get covered on Tuesday.

    Transcript | Download mp4 | Download mp3

  • Talking Healthcare: While in New York on Tuesday, President Obama joined former President Bill Clinton at the Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting to discuss health care reform in America. “What we’re saying to people is, look, just go to the website yourself,” the President said. “Go to; take a look at whether this is a good deal or not and make your own decision about whether this is good for you.” Check out their conversation here.

    On Thursday, the President spoke at Prince George’s Community College in Largo, Maryland about why access to affordable health care is a cornerstone of middle-class security, and why he took on the work of fixing our broken health care system during his first term.

    In the wealthiest nation on Earth, no one should go broke just because they get sick. In the United States of America, health care is not a privilege for the fortunate few -- it is a right.  And I knew that if we didn’t do something about our unfair and inefficient health care system, it would keep driving up our deficits, it would keep burdening our businesses, it would keep hurting our families, and it would keep holding back economic growth.

    Starting October 1, those without health insurance will be able to visit the Health Insurance Marketplace and find health coverage that fits their needs – and their budget. A new report released on Wednesday found that Marketplace premiums are lower than initially expected. This means you can get high-quality, affordable health care under the Affordable Care Act for less than your cell phone bill. 

    Make sure to watch the latest White House White Board to learn what the Affordable Care Act means for you.

    United Nations General Assembly: On Monday and Tuesday, President Obama took part in the 68th session of the U.N. General Assembly. During his time there, the President held an event on supporting civil society, engaged in discussions with world leaders, and spoke in front of the General Assembly.

  • Watch on YouTube

    Today, President Obama spoke with President Rouhani of the Islamic Republic of Iran, the first communication between an American and Iranian President since 1979.

    The two leaders discussed ongoing efforts to reach an agreement over Iran’s nuclear program. In a statement this afternoon from the White House Briefing Room, President Obama said that while “success is by no means guaranteed, I believe we can reach a comprehensive solution.”

    I’ve directed Secretary Kerry to continue pursuing this diplomatic effort with the Iranian government.  We had constructive discussions yesterday in New York with our partners -- the European Union, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Russia and China -- together with the Iranian Foreign Minister.  Going forward, President Rouhani and I have directed our teams to continue working expeditiously, in cooperation with the P5-plus-1, to pursue an agreement.  And throughout this process, we’ll stay in close touch with our friends and allies in the region, including Israel.

    “Resolving this issue, obviously, could also serve as a major step forward in a new relationship between the United States and the Islamic Republic of Iran -- one based on mutual interests and mutual respect,” President Obama said. “It would also help facilitate a better relationship between Iran and the international community, as well as others in the region -- one that would help the Iranian people fulfill their extraordinary potential, but also help us to address other concerns that could bring greater peace and stability to the Middle East.”

  • This week, I had the pleasure of welcoming a diverse coalition of leaders from the Southwest border to the White House – the group included elected officials, farmers, ranchers, business owners, law enforcement officials, faith leaders and community advocates from Texas, Arizona, New Mexico, and California. 

    We discussed what is working, and what we need to continue to work on, when it comes to increasing economic growth and strengthening public safety along the border.

    The good news is that when it comes to our border communities, a lot is working. More than half a million people and a little less than a billion dollars in goods cross the border each day. And the U.S. border communities are also among America’s safest cities, with crime rates staying steady or dropping over the past decade.

    But we also recognize that we can do more to improve efficiencies at U.S.-Mexico Ports of Entry and increase accountability of Federal enforcement officials in border states.

  • In September 2009, the President announced that—for the first time in history—White House visitor records would be made available to the public on an ongoing basis. Today, the White House releases visitor records that were generated in June 2013. This release brings the total number of records made public by this White House to more than 3.36 million—all of which can be viewed in our Disclosures section.

    Ed. note: For more information, check out

  • The sun sets over Zion National Park in Utah

    The sun sets over Zion National Park in Utah. (Photo: Kim Hang Dessoliers)

    Saturday marks the 20th annual National Public Lands Day, the largest single-day volunteer effort for public lands in the United States. At thousands of sites across the country, Americans from all stripes will come together tomorrow to lend their time and effort to the restoration of our country’s historic places and natural treasures. 

    As Secretary of the Interior, I will join hundreds of volunteers right here in Atlanta at the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Site. We will be pulling weeds at the “I Have a Dream” International World Peace Rose Garden, removing invasive plants at Freedom Park, and cleaning the interior of Ebenezer Baptist Church, where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was baptized, ordained and served as a co-pastor until his tragic death in 1968.

    It seems appropriate that we celebrate National Public Lands Day here in Atlanta at the birthplace of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., a visionary leader who inspired so many Americans to go beyond themselves for a greater good. He fought for the notion that America might finally live up to its creed that all people are created equal and have a right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. That same spirit of service and volunteerism toward creating a better America is what motivates us yet today. I am confident that Dr. King would be pleased to see people giving of themselves at a national park established in his honor.

  • This week, We the People, the White House petitions platform, turned two years old. And through the past 24 months, it's kept us pretty busy.

    Since 2012, We the People has grown from 2.8 million users to more than 10.2 million -- a 360% growth rate. And those users have signed petitions a total of more than 15 million times (up from just 3.4 million last year).

    We've already issued official responses to more than 200 petitions -- and we've got more on the way. Even those of us who thought this program would be successful weren't expecting this.

    Ultimately, We the People has become an incredible way to hear from people about the issues that they care about -- something we've seen again and again in the last year.

    We the People's Birthday (September 27, 2013)

  • The Affordable Care Act - also known as Obamacare - means better coverage for those who already have health insurance, and more options for those who don’t, including a new way to shop for affordable, high-quality coverage.

    Watch the latest White House White Board to learn more about what the law means for you.

    For more information:

  • Yesterday, I had the opportunity to join the Attorney General in opening the 3rd Annual National Forum on Youth Violence Prevention.  Officially formed in 2010 at the direction of President Obama, by the Departments of Justice and Education, this Forum brings together a wide constituency -- mayors, Members of Congress, and individuals from across the United States -- to build a national conversation about youth and gang violence. The Forum is designed to increase awareness, drive action, and build local capacity to address the impact of violence on young people more effectively. It models a new kind of federal and local collaboration, encouraging its members to change the way they do business by sharing common challenges and promising strategies and engaging in comprehensive planning and coordinated action.

  • Welcome to this week's West Wing Week. This week we take you from Pennsylvania Ave. to the heartland of America, from the Rocky Mountains, to the Big Apple and south of the border for a packed week of travel with the President and Vice President.


  • Whether it's with an infographic or a White Board video, we're always looking for new ways to highlight the work President Obama is doing on behalf of the American people in a way that's interesting and easy to understand.

    Earlier today, we released our latest feature in that effort: White House Shareables. Head over and take a look some of our favorite content in one easy-to-navigate page. You can sort by the issues important to you, or the type of content you'd like to see.

    Check out the page -- and get sharing.

  • President Barack Obama delivers remarks on the Affordable Care Act at Prince George's Community College in Largo, Md., Sept. 26, 2013.

    President Barack Obama delivers remarks on the Affordable Care Act at Prince George's Community College in Largo, Md., Sept. 26, 2013. September 26, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

    With just five days to go until millions of uninsured Americans will be able to purchase quality, affordable coverage at, President Obama headed out to Prince George’s Community College in Kettering, Maryland to deliver remarks on the Affordable Care Act.

    Acknowledging the "antics" currently going on in Congress as Republicans threaten to shut down the government if the law isn't repealed, the President outlined for the American people exactly why he is going to make sure we see this reform through:

    In the wealthiest nation on Earth, no one should go broke just because they get sick.

    In the United States of America, health care is not a privilege for the fortunate few -- it is a right. And I knew that if we didn’t do something about our unfair and inefficient health care system, it would keep driving up our deficits, it would keep burdening our businesses, it would keep hurting our families, and it would keep holding back economic growth.

    That's why we took on a broken health care system.  That's why ... we got it through Congress. That’s why we’ve been implementing it. That’s why we are going to see it through.  The Affordable Care Act is here.  

  • Manufacturing is a central pillar of the President’s agenda to create middle class jobs and grow the economy given its importance for the durability of our industries and the strength of our innovation.

    This past July, in a speech at the Brookings Institution, Director of the National Economic Council Gene Sperling outlined the case for a manufacturing renaissance in the United States – and the essential role of policy in ensuring that we take advantage of the wind at our back to drive a manufacturing renaissance. 

    Since early 2010, U.S. manufacturing has added over half a million manufacturing jobs and surveys show that more than half of all manufacturers are or are actively considering re-shoring production to the United States.  Continued productivity gains, rising costs abroad, shortening supply chains, and the domestic advantages of low-cost and plentiful energy are making the U.S. increasingly competitive for production.

    But there is no end to the global competition for these jobs. Maintaining our competitiveness in manufacturing will depend on partnerships across the private and public sectors and smart policies that build atop our strengths in manufacturing.

    That is why this week the Administration announced two significant steps to move our manufacturing agenda forward. Yesterday, the Administration awarded grants to 44 manufacturing communities from across the nation, through the Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership, for them to craft economic development strategies to build atop their strengths for manufacturing. And today, the Administration announced the launch of the President’s Advanced Manufacturing Partnership Steering Committee ‘2.0’.

  • Ed. Note: This blog is cross posted from The Huffington Post

    Ayo Megbope is a graduate of Goldman Sachs' 10,000 Women program, and the owner of “No Leftovers Nigeria”, a catering company and restaurant in Lagos, Nigeria. Photo provided by “Goldman Sachs | 10,000 Women”

    Ayo Megbope is a graduate of Goldman Sachs' 10,000 Women program, and the owner of “No Leftovers Nigeria”, a catering company and restaurant in Lagos, Nigeria. (by "Goldman Sachs | 10,000 Women”)

    With a broad smile, and a gleam in her eyes, Ayo Megbope sat beside me, and shared story after story about the humble beginnings of her business, cooking bean cakes in her fourth-floor apartment, wrapping them in banana leaves, and selling them throughout her community in Lagos, Nigeria.  It was September of 2009, and we were seated together at the first annual Goldman Sachs “10,000 Women” Dinner in New York City.  Ayo was one of the first graduates of the 10,000 Women program, which helps women entrepreneurs around the world obtain the training and access to capital they need to turn their business dreams into reality.

    Almost exactly four years later, I was back in New York City, forging partnerships, and working to secure new public and private sector commitments to promote the success and empowerment of women and girls.

    My first stop was to co-host a United Nations General Assembly event with Secretary of State, John Kerry, and U.S. Ambassador at Large for Global Women's Issues Cathy Russell, marking the one year anniversary of the day former Secretary Hillary Clinton and I launched the Equal Futures Partnership.  Equal Futures was developed in response to President Obama’s call at the 2011 UN General Assembly, for his fellow heads of state to join him in breaking down economic and political barriers that prevent women and girls from reaching their full potential. 

  • Watch on YouTube

    On Monday, Vice President Joe Biden traveled to Colorado to view damage from the recent flooding and survey recovery efforts.

    Severe storms and heavy rains that started around September 11 dumped a record-setting 10 to 18 inches of rain in parts of northern and central Colorado, causing widespread flooding, landslides and mudslides across a wide swath of the state .

    Vice President Joe Biden does an aerial tour of the flood damage with Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper

    Vice President Joe Biden does an aerial tour of the flood damage with Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper over Greeley, Colorado, Sept. 23, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)

    On September 12, President Obama signed an Emergency Declaration that provided direct federal assistance to three affected counties. This Declaration was later extended to 12 additional counties impacted by the flooding.  Additionally, the President declared a major disaster in the state of Colorado which authorized federal aid to supplement state and local recovery efforts as well as provide Individual and Public Assistance.

    “When President Obama issued the disaster declaration for the state, as you all know, that provided additional assistance -- everything from cleaning up debris to helping people with their housing costs to boots on the ground that are providing technical assistance and helping the search and rescue,” the Vice President said.

    In addition “FEMA is able to provide temporary housing, home repair that’s not covered by your insurance, medical expenses, transportation needs, moving and storage and other support for those directly impacted,” he said.

  • Back in 2006, as my father was dealing with advanced dementia, our family faced a serious set of challenges. In addition to his health problems, we struggled with the lack of transparency in what his health insurance plan covered, and with substantial out-out-pocket costs. We were often left with unanticipated bills after appointments and medical procedures with little recourse.  

    At times it felt as though the system was set up against us. On several occasions, his insurance company interfered with his treatment, dictating important decisions about his care rather than his doctors. And there was little we could do about it. Helping my mom navigate the process proved to be a frustrating and expensive burden on us. Throughout it all, I would often wonder how many other families were in the same boat struggling with rising health care costs and the worst insurance industry abuses.  

    Not long after my dad passed away I first heard then Senator Obama speak about his own mother’s struggles with health insurance and the need to pass health reform. I knew that I had to be a part of making that change. Since joining the Obama Administration in 2009, I’ve worked hard to help implement the Affordable Care Act. It’s an honor to come to work every day at the White House to help make this landmark legislation a reality for millions of hard-working Americans who will benefit from the security and peace of mind of having health insurance.