Read all posts from March 2014

  • Last Thursday, Vice President Biden spoke to 350 Hispanic businessmen, entrepreneurs, and community leaders at the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Annual Legislative Summit.

    During his speech, he spoke passionately about the need for immigration reform and thanked the Chamber for their continued leadership on this issue.

    The Vice President stated, “The single most important thing we can do for our economy, for America’s future, is pass immigration reform now.”

    He cited the findings of the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) on the economic benefits of the immigration reform bill (S. 744) the Senate passed in June and similar legislation recently introduced by House Democrats. The CBO determined common-sense reform would increase our gross domestic product by $1.4 trillion and reduce the deficit by $850 billion over the next 20 years.

    The Vice President offered several examples to illustrate why our current broken immigration system is damaging our economy.

  • If you don't have health insurance, today is the last day to get coverage that starts in 2014. Go right now to to sign up. 

    There are three ways to sign up:

    • Online. You can sign up at . You can also sign up in Spanish at
    • On the Phone. You can call 1-800-318-2596, any time, any hour, and a trained representative will help you enroll.
    • In Person. You can also find a person in your community to help you at

    Don't put it off any longer -- get covered now!

  • I saw it firsthand today: The surge of folks across the country getting covered ahead of the March 31 deadline is continuing.

    Today, I stopped by a D.C. Health Link faith-based enrollment event -- put on by a community that's played a key role in efforts to educate and enroll District residents, small businesses, and their employees.

    It was really inspiring to see -- and it was just one of hundreds of events happening around the country this weekend.

    Take a look at a couple photos from that event -- and a few more from events happening this weekend. If you're getting covered yourself, share a photo of your own.

    And, of course, if you still need coverage, visit right now and get yourself signed up.

    Washington, D.C.:

  • The line started forming at 5 a.m. in front of an enrollment center in Miami -- where trained workers have signed up 25,000 of their fellow Floridians since November. It was standing-room-only at a center in Houston yesterday.

    The final deadline to get covered in 2014 is in just two days, and Americans are literally lining up at grassroots events across the country to make sure they're covered.

    This is what momentum looks like.

    Take a look at some of the photos folks are sending in from events around the country -- and if you like, share one of your own.

    And if you still need health insurance, go to right now, submit an application, and get yourself signed up.

    Las Vegas, NV:


  • In this week’s address, Vice President Biden discusses the importance of raising the federal minimum wage. It’s good for workers, it’s good for business, and it would help close the gender pay gap, as women make up more than half of the workers who stand to benefit from a raise. And as the Vice President highlights, Congress should boost the federal minimum wage because it is what a majority of the American people want.

    Transcript | mp4 | mp3

  • Secretary of Labor Tom Perez with Jesseca Hudson, 11, of Cleveland after talking at the SEIU District 1199 building in Cleveland on Friday, March 28, 2014.

    Secretary of Labor Tom Perez with Jesseca Hudson, 11, of Cleveland after talking at the SEIU District 1199 building in Cleveland on Friday, March 28, 2014. (U.S. Department of Labor)

    Ed. note: This is cross-posted on the U.S. Department of Labor's (Work in Progress) blog. See the original post here.

    As I travel across the country, I hear stories from so many remarkable Americans who inspire me to work harder every day. In Cleveland this morning, I spoke at a rally about the importance of raising the minimum wage. While I was there, I talked with 11-year-old Jesseca, who came out to show her support for giving millions of workers the dignity and respect a hard day’s work deserves. I gave her my business card – as I do with many people I meet on the road. Before I boarded the plane back to D.C., I got this email in my inbox:

  • This week, the First Lady wrapped up her visit to China -- of course, pandas were involved -- while the President started a week-long trip to Europe and Saudi Arabia. And the Vice President gave seven reasons why you should get covered before open enrollment ends on March 31. Check out what else you may have missed in this week's wrap up.

    FLOTUS Shows Us How She Moves in China

    While touring Xi'an, China, First Lady Michelle Obama was greeted by local kids and students performing music, double-dutch jump roping, flying kites, and more. Of course, the First Lady couldn't resist getting in on the fun and showing the kids how she moves. 

  • First Lady Michelle Obama just returned from a week-long visit to China that focused on the power and importance of education. Throughout the visit, the First Lady posed a daily travel blog, complete with video and photos, and along the way answered questions from kids across America.

    It has been a tremendous honor for me, my daughters and my mother to experience this fascinating country over this past week. I've especially enjoyed speaking with young people in China, learning about their hopes and dreams, and sharing your stories with them and their stories with all of you.

    In Beijing, Xi'an, and Chengdu, the First Lady met with young people to hear about their challenges, hopes, and dreams. Mrs. Obama tried her hand at calligraphy during a school visit with First Lady Peng and met with President Xi. At Peking University, Mrs. Obama spoke to students about the value of study abroad and the importance of free speech. She shared her personal story with young people at the Chengdu No. 7 High School, highlighting the value of education in her own life. And the First Lady, along with her daughters and mother, took in the ancient wonders that China has to offer -- including the Great WallForbidden CityTerra Cotta Warriors, and the Summer Palace -- and had a chance to see the Chengdu Panda Base.

    See the highlights from Mrs. Obama's visit below, or over at Storify.

  • 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 December 2013. Today’s release also includes visitor records generated prior to September 16, 2009 that were requested by members of the public in February 2014 pursuant to the White House voluntary disclosure policy. This release brings the total number of records made public by this White House to more than 3.57 million—all of which can be viewed in our Disclosures section.

  • Welcome to a special, travel edition of the West Wing Week. The President spent this whirlwind week working in Europe, where he attended the third, biennial Nuclear Security Summit in The Hague, traveled to Brussels for an EU-US Summit, and then on to Rome, where he met with His High Holiness Pope Francis.


  • Mark D. Bearden is a retired psychologist living in Monroe, North Carolina. In February, he wrote a letter to the President letting him know what the Affordable Care Act has meant to him. The message below was sent to the White House email list today.

    Didn't get the email? Be sure to sign up here.


    I am a staunch Republican, a self-proclaimed Fox News addict, and I didn't vote for the President. And I'm here to tell you that Obamacare works. I'm living proof.

    I'm a chemotherapy patient, and was previously paying $428 a month for my health coverage. I was not thrilled when it was cancelled.

    Then I submitted an application at I looked at my options. And I signed up for a plan for $62 a month.

    It's the best health care I have ever had.

    So right now, here's what I want to tell anyone who still needs health insurance, or knows someone who does:

    Sign up. Follow the instructions on the website. Apply, and look at your options. You still have time, and take it from me: This is something you want to do.

    I wrote a letter to President Obama this past February to tell him about my experience with the Health Insurance Marketplace. I hoped he'd read it, and he did.

    I may not be a supporter of the President. But now, I get mad when I see Obamacare dragged through the mud on television.

    And even though I regularly tune in to conservative pundits, I'd like to tell them they're getting it wrong. Obamacare works.

    So one more time: If you still need health insurance, you have just three days to get it. Do what I did. Go to, submit an application, and pick a plan that works for you.

    It just might change your life.

    Mark D. Bearden, Ph.D.
    Monroe, North Carolina

  • This week, the Supreme Court decided a case that will save women’s lives.

    Back in 1996, Congress made it a crime for anyone convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence to possess a gun. As Vice President Biden has often noted, there is a direct connection between gun violence and domestic violence: when a domestic abuser has a gun, a victim is 12 times more likely to die than when he doesn’t. 

    Some courts, however, have set a high bar for what counts as a “misdemeanor crime of domestic violence” – which has meant that many domestic abusers have been allowed to keep their guns. 

    But in United States v. Castleman (written by Justice Sotomayor), the Court changed all that. It recognized that domestic violence is a unique kind of crime that doesn’t always fit everyone’s idea of what’s “violent”: often, it can involve pushing, grabbing, shoving, scratching, or hair pulling – and which, over time, can “subject one intimate partner to the other’s control.” The Court also recognized that, in a number of states, these acts are prosecuted as crimes of “offensive touching” – which, before this week, meant some courts didn’t consider them to be domestic violence. But now, according to the Court, that’s enough to subject a convicted domestic abuser to the federal gun ban.

    This is a landmark opinion. As so many abused women know, what happens to them is a far cry from “offensive touching.” It is terrifying and debilitating, and can rob her of all manner of trust, security, and hope. It can make her – as the Vice President has also said – a prisoner in her own home. But at least now, the law recognizes that those who are convicted of these crimes have no business having a gun.

    Lynn Rosenthal is the White House Advisor on Violence Against Women.

  • In June 2013, President Obama gave a speech at Georgetown University where he laid out both the case for action on climate change and the steps his Administration will take to address it. The Climate Action Plan that the President announced includes steps to cut carbon pollution, help prepare the United States for the impacts of climate change that are already on the way, and continue American leadership in international efforts to combat global climate change.

    In his Climate Action Plan, President Obama directed the Administration to develop a comprehensive, interagency strategy to cut methane emissions. Today, the White House released the Climate Action Plan – Strategy to Cut Methane Emissions. Learn more about the strategy in the fact sheet below, and check out the full Strategy here.

    Dan Utech is the Special Assistant to the President for Energy and Climate Change.

    FACT SHEET: Climate Action Plan – Strategy to Cut Methane Emissions

    With an all-of-the-above approach to develop homegrown energy and steady, responsible steps to cut carbon pollution, we can protect our kids’ health and begin to slow the effects of climate change so we leave a cleaner, more stable environment for future generations. That’s why last June, President Obama issued a broad-based Climate Action Plan, announcing a series of executive actions to reduce carbon pollution, prepare the U.S. for the impacts of climate change, and lead international efforts to address global climate change.

  • Today -- with just four days left to sign up for health insurance -- the White House joined the BuzzFeed Community by laying out seven reasons why Vice President Biden thinks you should get covered. In GIFs.

    Folks, the deadline to sign up for health insurance is March 31. If you’re not covered by then, you won’t be able to enroll again until next year. So this is serious. Need some extra inspiration? Here are seven reasons why Vice President Biden thinks you should get covered right now.

    Go to BuzzFeed to see all of the reasons the VP thinks you should get covered (Hint: One of them is a BFD).

  • Watch on YouTube

    Today, President Obama headed to Italy, continuing his five-country trip across Europe and Saudi Arabia.

    The President started off the day at the Vatican, where he had an audience with His Holiness Pope Francis. This was President Obama's first time meeting Pope Francis, and the two "had a wide-ranging discussion," the President said.

    "I would say that the largest bulk of the time was discussing two central concerns of his," said the President. "One is the issues of the poor, the marginalized, those without opportunity, and growing inequality. ... And then we spent a lot of time talking about the challenges of conflict and how elusive peace is around the world."

  • Dr. Jill Biden Meets with Members of the LGBT community about ACA

    Dr. Jill Biden meets with members of the LGBT community who have benefited from the Affordable Care Act in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, March 26, 2014.

    An important deadline is coming up for all Americans, including the LGBT community: March 31 is the end of the open enrollment period for individuals to sign up for health care in the state and federal Marketplaces. If you miss the deadline, you may not be able to get health insurance again until next year.

    The Affordable Care Act has the potential to improve the health and well-being of the LGBT community for generations to come. (Here’s how.) Many LGBT individuals across the country have signed up for coverage — and they’re already seeing the benefits.

  • President Barack Obama delivers remarks at the Palais Des Beaux Arts (BOZAR) in Brussels, Belgium, March 26, 2014.

    President Barack Obama delivers remarks at the Palais Des Beaux Arts (BOZAR) in Brussels, Belgium, March 26, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

    Today, President Obama traveled to Belgium — the second leg of his five-country trip to Europe and Saudi Arabia.

    At the Palais des Beaux Arts (BOZAR) in Brussels, the President talked at length about the relationship between the United States and Europe. He discussed the history shared by the two regions, and how best to preserve the values and ideals that are central to the relationship.

    “I come here today to insist that we must never take for granted the progress that has been won here in Europe and advanced around the world,” because the contest of ideas continues, President Obama said. “And that’s what’s at stake in Ukraine today.

  • Over the past 30 years, modest minimum wage increases have not kept pace with the rising costs of basic necessities. Moreover, the tipped minimum wage—the portion of wages that employers must cover for tipped workers—has fallen steadily in value since 1991, and is now at historically low levels.
    Raising the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour and indexing it to inflation, while also increasing the tipped minimum wage, would have particular benefits for women. The following are four key points from a new report by the National Economic Council, Council of Economic Advisers, Domestic Policy Council, and Department of Labor. The full report discusses these four important facts in more detail:

  • Watch on YouTube

    There are only 5 days left to get health insurance coverage for 2014 at before open enrollment ends on March 31. If you haven’t signed up yet, the President wants you to get covered today.

    As the President says, “No one’s invincible. We all get sick, or get into accidents. Life happens. But you should never have to worry you’ll lose everything to medical bills. That’s why health insurance is so important.”

    If you’re not covered, don’t wait any longer — sign up today.

    And if you already have health insurance, tell your friends, family, and co-workers that they need to get covered, too. Visit for tips on how to spread the word.

  • First Lady Michelle Obama, Sasha, Malia and Mrs. Robinson feed apples to Giant Pandas during their visit to Chengdu Panda Base

    First Lady Michelle Obama, Sasha, Malia and Mrs. Robinson feed apples to Giant Pandas during their visit to Chengdu Panda Base in Chengdu, China on March 26, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Amanda Lucidon)

    Note: This post is part of a series authored by First Lady Michelle Obama to share her visit to China with young people in the U.S. You can read all of the First Lady's posts at