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Remarks by the President on Launch of ConnectHome Initiative
THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release July 15, 2015
REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT
ON LAUNCH OF CONNECTHOME INITIATIVE
Durant High School
6:07 P.M. CDT
THE PRESIDENT: Hello, Oklahoma! (Applause.) Halito!
THE PRESIDENT: Everybody, please have a seat. Have a seat. It’s good to see you. How is everybody doing? (Applause.)
First of all, Michelle says hi. (Laughter.) And I want to thank all of you for helping to build the terrific partnership that we share with the Choctaw Nation.
AUDIENCE MEMBER: Love you!
THE PRESIDENT: I love you, too. (Laughter.) So I want to first of all thank Chief Gary Batton and the many tribal leaders who are here today. (Applause.) I want to thank the extraordinary young people that I just had a chance to meet with. Give them a big round of applause. (Applause.) They were just exceptional, and gave me all kinds of interesting thoughts and ideas about how young people can lead and thrive, and reshape America. And I could not be prouder of them.
As many of you know, we’ve held a Tribal Nations Conference each year that I’ve been President. And just last week, as part of what we call our Generation Indigenous initiative, focused on young people, we hosted our first-ever Tribal Youth Gathering with over 1,000 young leaders from 230 tribes -– including several Choctaw youth. (Applause.) You spend time with these young people from all across the country and they will blow you away. They are smart, and they’re passionate, and they are ready to seize the future.
And Michelle and I believe we’ve got a special obligation to make sure that tribal youth have every opportunity to achieve their potential not just for the benefit of themselves and their communities, but for our entire nation; that all of you young people have a chance to succeed not by leaving your communities, but by coming back and investing in your communities, and that you have a whole range of options that can lift us all up. And so we are really excited about what you’re doing, and we’re really excited about some of the work that’s going to be done not just here but all across the country. That’s why I’m here today.
When you step back and look at everything that we’ve done in the past six and a half years to rebuild our economy on a new foundation –- from retooling our industries to rethinking our schools, reforming our health care system –- all of it’s been in pursuit of one goal, and that’s creating opportunity for all people -- not just some, but everybody. (Applause.)
And thanks to the hard work and the resilience of the American people, the work we’ve done is paying off. So our businesses have created 2.8 12.8 million new jobs over the past 64 months in a row. That’s the longest streak of private sector job growth on record. (Applause.) The housing market is stronger. The stock market recovered, so people’s 401(k)s and retirement accounts got replenished. More than 16 million Americans now have the financial security of having health insurance. (Applause.) We’ve invested in clean energy. We’ve made ourselves more independent of foreign oil. We’ve seen jumps in high school enrollment and college graduation rates.
So across the board, there’s really no economic measure where we’re not doing better than we were when I came into office. That’s the good news. But I also made it clear when I came into office that even as we’re trying to make sure the entire economy recovers, we also have to pay attention to those communities that all too often have been neglected and fallen behind. And as part of that, I said we’re going to do better by our First Americans. We’re going to do better. (Applause.)
Now, we can’t reverse centuries of history -- broken treaties, broken promises. But I did believe that we could come together as partners and forge a new path based on trust and respect. And that’s what we’ve tried to do. So we strengthened the sovereignty of tribal nations. We gave more power to tribal courts and police. We restored hundreds of thousands of acres of tribal trust lands. We expanded opportunity by permanently reauthorizing the Indian Health Care Improvement Act, and helping businesses, and building roads, and moving forward on renewable energy projects in Indian Country. We untied tribal hands when it came to dealing with domestic violence, which was really important. (Applause.)
Here in Oklahoma, we designated the Choctaw Nation as one of America’s first Promise Zones -– areas where the federal government is partnering with local communities and businesses to jumpstart economic development and job creation, expand educational opportunities, and increase affordable housing, and improve public safety. And as a result, you’ve already received federal investments in Early Head Start, to make sure our young people are getting the best possible beginning in life; child care, job training, support for young entrepreneurs. And I’ve called on Congress to pass a Promise Zone tax credit to encourage employment and private sector investment in places like this. (Applause.)
So we’ve made a lot of progress not just in Indian Country but in America as a whole. But we’ve got more work to do. We’ve got more work to do, especially because the economy around the globe is changing so fast.
So today, I want to focus on one way we can prepare our kids and our workers for an increasingly competitive world, a way that we can help our entrepreneurs sell more goods here at home and overseas, a way where we can get every American ready to seize the opportunities of a 21st century economy.
Today, we’re going to take another step to close the digital divide in America, and make sure everybody in America has access to high-speed broadband Internet. (Applause.) We’re taking some initiatives today to make that happen.
Now, I don’t really have to tell you why this is important. Even old folks like me know it’s important. In this digital age, when you can apply for a job, take a course, pay your bills, order a pizza, even find a date -- (laughter) -- by tapping your phone, the Internet is not a luxury, it’s a necessity. You cannot connect with today’s economy without having access to the Internet. Now, that doesn’t mean I want folks on the Internet all the time. I always tell young people when I meet them, sometimes they just have the phone up, I’m standing right in front of them -- (laughter) -- and I got to tell them, young man, put down that phone. Shake the hand of your President. (Laughter.) And then after you shake my hand and look me in the eye, and told me your name, then you can maybe go back to taking pictures. (Laughter.) So there’s nothing wrong with every once in a while putting the technology aside and actually having a conversation. This is something I talk to Malia and Sasha about. We don’t let those phones at the dinner -- but that’s a whole other story. I went off track.
But if you’re not connected today, then it’s very hard for you to understand what’s happening in our economy. Now, here’s the problem. While high-speed Internet access is a given, it’s assumed for millions of Americans, it’s still out of reach for too many people -- especially in low-income and rural communities. More than 90 percent of households headed by a college graduate use the Internet. Fewer than half of households with less than a high school education are plugged into the Internet. So, in other words, the people who could benefit the most from the latest technology are the least likely to have it.
So if you’re a student and you don’t have Internet access at home, that means you could be struggling to type papers or do online homework assignments, or learn basic computer skills, or try to get help from your teacher. You may have to wait in long lines at public libraries or even in parking lots at the local McDonald’s just to try to get digital access. And what that means is you’re not learning the critical tech skills required to succeed in tomorrow’s economy.
And this has consequences. A lot of you have heard about the achievement gap, how some kids in certain groups consistently lag behind, and the opportunity gap, where certain groups have a tougher time getting attached to the labor market. Well, this starts with a “homework gap” for a lot of young people, and an “access to learning” gap, which then can translate into a science gap or a math gap, and eventually becomes an economic gap for our country. And that’s not what America is about. America doesn’t guarantee you success. That’s never been the promise. But what America does stand for -- has to stand for -- is if you’re willing to work hard and take responsibility, then you can succeed -- (applause) -- no matter where you start off.
That’s the essential American story. That’s why we admire stories like Abraham Lincoln’s. Starts off in a log cabin, teaches himself to read and write, and becomes our greatest President. That’s what America is supposed to be about.
And in an increasingly competitive global economy, our whole country will fall behind unless we’re got everybody on the field playing. Obviously, as President, you travel around a lot, and you go to countries like South Korea where a higher percentage of the population has high-speed broadband -- and, by the way, they pay their teachers the way they pay their doctors -- (applause) -- and they consider education to be at the highest rung of the professions. Well, we will start falling behind those countries -- which is unthinkable when we invented the stuff. It’s American ingenuity that created the Internet, that created all these technologies. And the notion that now we’d leave some Americans behind in being able to use that, while other countries are raising ahead, that’s a recipe for disaster, and it offends our most deeply held values.
A child’s ability to succeed should not be based on where she lives, how much money her parents make. That’s not who we are as a country. We’ve got a different standard. We’re a people who believe we should be able to go as far as our talents and hard work will take us. And just because you don’t have money in your household to buy fancy technology, that should not be an obstacle.
We’ve been doing a lot to encourage coding and STEM education -- math and science and technology education. And unfortunately, for too many of our kids, that’s something that’s viewed as out of reach. Listen, people are not born coders. It’s not as if suddenly if you’re born in Silicon Valley you can figure out how to code a computer. That’s not -- what happens is kids get exposed to this stuff early, and they learn, they soak it up like sponges.
And somewhere among the millions of young people who don’t have access to the digital world could be the next Mark Zuckerberg, the next Bill Gates. Some of them might be right here in the Choctaw Nation. (Applause.) But only if we make sure you have access and exposure. If we don’t give these young people the access to what they need to achieve their potential, then it’s our loss, it’s not just their loss.
So that’s why my administration has made it a priority to connect more Americans to the Internet, and close that digital divide that people have been talking about for 20 years now. We’ve invested so far in more than 100,000 miles of network infrastructure; that’s enough to circle the globe four times. We’ve laid a lot of line. We’ve supported community broadband. We’ve championed net neutrality rules to make sure that the Internet providers treat all web traffic equally. And then we launched something called ConnectEd, and this was targeted at making sure that every school was connected and classrooms were connected. And we’re now well on our way to connecting 99 percent of students to high-speed broadband in their classrooms by 2018, and that includes here in Durant. (Applause.)
So far, 29 million more students in 55,000 schools are on track to have access to high-speed broadband, and 20 million more have Wi-Fi in their classrooms. And last year, when I visited Standing Rock Nation in North Dakota, I announced that Verizon would connect 10 Native student dorms, Microsoft would donate more tablets to more Native students, including students right here in Oklahoma. So we’ve been making progress. We’re chipping away this thing.
But today, we’re going to go further. I’m announcing a new initiative called ConnectHome. Now, ConnectEd, the idea was making sure the schools were connected and that you didn’t have a situation where in a classroom, even if it was connected to the Internet, you could only have one student at a time or a couple of computers at a time. So we had to make sure that the classroom was state of the art. ConnectHome is designed to make high-speed Internet more affordable to residents in low-income housing units across the country -- because young people today, they’re not just learning in the classroom, they’re learning outside the classroom as well. So my Department of Housing and Urban Development is going to work with 28 communities, from Boston to Durham, from Seattle to Durant. About 200,000 of our most vulnerable children and their families will soon be able to access affordable Internet in their home. (Applause.)
Now, I want to give credit where credit is due. This is not something government does by itself. I’m proud to say that folks around the country are stepping up to do their part. So businesses like Cox are providing low-cost Internet and devices. Best Buy is committing free computer education and technical support so that folks learn how to make the most of the Internet. Organizations like the Boys & Girls Clubs will teach digital literacy so that kids in this community can be just as savvy as kids growing up in Silicon Valley. You’ve got non-profits like EveryoneOn and U.S. Ignite who are going to help make this work on the ground. So we’ve got some great businesses and some great non-for-profits who are partnering with us on this.
But most importantly, it really requires all of us to be involved -- parents, principals, teachers, neighbors -- because we have to demand the best in our schools and for our kids.
These investments are the right thing to do for our communities. They’re the smart thing to do for the national economy. And we can’t allow shortsighted cuts to the programs that are going to keep us competitive.
So this is a smart investment. These are the kinds of investments we need to make. Sometimes there’s a debate going on in Washington about the size of government and what we should be spending on. And look, I’ve said before, there are programs in Washington that don’t work, and we don’t want taxpayer money wasted. But there are some investments that we make in future generations, there are investments we make in things that help all of us that we can’t do by ourselves. We’re not going to build a road by ourselves; we’ve got to do that together. We’re not going to invest in basic research to solve Alzheimer’s by ourselves. At least I don’t have enough money to do that. We’ve got to do that together. I’ll pay some tax dollars, we’ll pool our money, and then we all invest in the research because we all stand to benefit at some point. We don’t know when we might get sick, and it’s good for us to keep that cutting edge of science.
Well, the same thing is true when it comes to schools and investing in our young people, making sure that they’ve got the tools they need to succeed. So this idea of ConnectHome, just like ConnectEd, this is going to make the difference for a dad who can now -- because it’s not just for the kids -- now he can learn a new skill and apply for a better job after work, because he’s working a tough shift to pay the rent, but he knows he wants to advance. He may be able to take an online course because he’s got access to the Internet -- and that could make all the difference in his family and his future. This will make a difference for the young entrepreneur -- got a great idea, wants to start a business. Can start it from her home. This will make a difference for the student who can now download the resources he needs to study for that exam that’s coming up, and then maybe come up with a new theory that’s going to make a difference in our understanding of the world.
This will make a difference for young people like Kelsey Janway. Where’s Kelsey? There’s Kelsey, right here. (Applause.) Stand up, Kelsey, so everybody can see you. All right, Kelsey, I know this is embarrassing, so you can sit down for a second. (Laughter.)
Kelsey is 16 years old, a proud member of the Choctaw Nation. This might be a game-changer for her. When she was younger, her family only got phone reception if they stood on a particular rock in their yard, or on the top window sill in their bathroom. Is that right?
MS. JANWAY: Yeah.
THE PRESIDENT: You remember the rock.
MS. JANWAY: Yeah.
THE PRESIDENT: It was this particular rock. So today she has spotty, slow Internet service at home. And at school, service is just as bad -- which makes it tough for students like Kelsey to learn the skills they need for success. Meanwhile, a high school nearby has much better technology; it gives those kids an advantage that she doesn’t have.
Now, even though she’s seen many of her peers get caught up in trouble or lose motivation and maybe drop out of school, Kelsey is keeping on pushing. She works two jobs, belongs to 11 organizations. Now, we’re going to need to talk about that. That’s a lot of organizations. I don’t know where you’re finding that time. (Applause.) She’s leading a youth council where she helps guide some of her peers. And she says that even the slow Internet that she’s got -- probably that buffer and things coming up all the time is getting on her nerves. Nevertheless, that’s opened her mind and introduced her to views outside of her own. “I have a sense of a bigger world out there.” That’s what Kelsey says.
And that glimpse of what’s possible, that can change everything. So last week, Kelsey represented Choctaw Nation at the White House Tribal Youth Gathering. Had a chance to hear from Michelle, right? And she plans to return to the White House one day -- as President. So I’m just keeping the seat warm for her until she gets there. (Laughter.) But I wanted to point out Kelsey having to stand on a rock trying to get phone service as an example of what we’re talking about here.
There are amazing young people like Kelsey all across the country. I meet them every day. Talented, smart, capable; of every race, of every ethnicity, every faith, every background. They’ve got big dreams. They’re just poised to succeed, and they’re willing to work through all kinds of obstacles to make great things happen. But they’ve got big dreams -- we’ve got to have an interest in making sure that they can achieve those dreams. Kelsey, these young people, young people all across the country -- they deserve a country that believes in those dreams, and that invests in those dreams, and that loves them for their dreams. (Applause.)
And ultimately, that’s what America is about. You know, I know sometimes folks get discouraged about Washington -- I know I do -- because the arguments between the parties are just so stark, and all the differences are exaggerated, and what attracts attention and gets on the news on TV is conflict and shouting and hollering. And as a consequence, everybody kind of goes into their corners and nobody agrees to anything, and nothing gets done, and everybody gets cynical and everybody gets frustrated.
But the thing is that for all our disagreements, for all our debates, we are one family. And we may squabble just like families do, but we’re one family -- from the First Americans to the newest Americans. We’re one family. We’re in this together. We’re bound by a shared commitment to leave a better world for our children. We’re bound together by a commitment to make sure that that next generation has inherited all the blessings that we inherited from the previous generation.
And that requires work on our part. It requires sacrifice. It requires compromise. And it requires that we invest in that future generation; that we’re thinking not just about taking care of our own kids -- because I know Malia and Sasha will be fine -- but I want to make sure Kelsey is fine. I want to make sure every one of these young people are fine. I want to make sure that some kid stuck in the inner city somewhere, that they’ve got a shot. I can’t do it for them, but I want to make sure at least that they’ve got a shot. I want to make sure that somebody down in some little border town in Texas, whose parents maybe never went to college, that they’ve got a dream and they’ve got a shot.
And I’m willing to do something about that. And we all have to be. When we make those commitments to all of our children, the great thing about it is the blessings are returned back to us -- because you end up having a workforce that is better educated, which means suddenly companies want to locate, which means businesses start booming, which means businesses start hiring, which means everybody does better.
So not only is it the right thing to do, it’s the smart thing to do. That’s our tradition. It’s not Democratic or Republican; it is the American tradition. And we forget that sometimes because we’re so caught up in our day-to-day politics, and we listen to a bunch of hooey on TV or talk radio -- (laughter) -- that doesn’t really tell the truth about what’s going on. (Applause.)
So I’m proud of Kelsey. I’m proud of these young people. I’m proud of Choctaw Nation. And I surely am proud of these United States of America. Let’s get to work and make sure we’re leaving the kind of country we want for our kids.
God bless you. God bless the United States of America. Thank you. (Applause.)
President Obama Announces Smart Cities – Smart Growth Presidential Trade Mission to the People’s Republic of China
THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 7, 2015
President Obama Announces Smart Cities – Smart Growth Presidential Trade Mission to the People’s Republic of China
President Barack Obama today announced the designation of the Smart Cities – Smart Growth Business Development Mission as a Presidential Trade Mission to the People’s Republic of China.
The Honorable Penny Pritzker, Secretary of Commerce, and The Honorable Ernest Moniz, Secretary of Energy, will lead the trade mission.
Members of the Presidential Trade Mission:
The Honorable Max Baucus, Ambassador of the United States of America to the People’s Republic of China, Department of State.
Remarks by the President on TechHire -- Louisville, KY
THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release April 2, 2015
REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT
ON TECH-HIRE INITIATIVE
6:15 P.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT: Hello, everybody! Hello! (Applause.) Please, please, have a seat. Have a seat. Well, first of all, sorry I'm late. (Laughter.) I had a couple things I had to do. (Laughter.) And obviously, when you're the President, you’ve got -- national security always take top priority. But I wanted to make sure that I still made it. And I'm so grateful that all of you were willing to come back and in welcoming me in this way.
It is great to be back in Louisville. It is great to be here at InDatus. This is such a spiffy-looking company, I'm thinking about remodeling at the White House. (Laughter.) Everything is so hip and cool and guys with, like, cool beards are -- (laughter) -- typing stuff. And it just looks wonderful.
But the reason I'm here is not just because it looks hip and cool, but because what’s happening here is essential to America, and we want to lift it up and we want people to see what’s possible in developing the kind of innovation and job creation here in the 21st century, knowing that we can succeed. This company and the network that's been developed here in Louisville are helping to prepare people of all ages for the higher-paying, in-demand jobs of the future. And we need to get more of that done.
I want to thank David for the introduction and his graciousness in hosting us. There are other folks that I want to acknowledge because they have been great friends and are doing a tremendous job on behalf of their constituencies -- your outstanding Governor Steve Beshear is here. (Applause.) Congressman John Yarmuth is here. (Applause.) Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer, who not only gave me a Slugger, but also a really big suitcase full of bourbon. (Laughter and applause.) I mean, it's a really big case. (Laughter.) And the man who served as mayor before him who now works with me at the White House, doing outstanding work with mayors and governors and county officials all across the country -- my dear friend, Jerry Abramson. (Applause.) Where’s Jerry? There he is back there. (Applause.)
So, over the past five years, our businesses have created 12 million new jobs -- over 12 million new jobs. Right now, America has more open jobs than at any point since 2001. And more than half a million openings are in tech -- nearly 2,000 here in Louisville alone. Tech jobs pay one-and-a-half times the average private sector wage. So they’re great pathways to the middle class. And what’s more, a highly trained workforce is vital for America’s long-term global economic leadership. It attracts more entrepreneurship; it attracts investors from overseas because they’re looking for an outstanding workforce.
And that’s the idea behind a new initiative of ours that we're calling TechHire. It's a pretty simple concept. It brings employers and local governments together to support innovative job training programs -- like online classes, coding boot camps, community college courses designed by local employers.
Eastern Kentucky is a TechHire Community. So is Louisville. More than 20 employers have joined it so far, including InDatus. You’re mentoring students at Code Louisville and you’ve pledged to hire their graduates. And that’s what smart training looks like -- faster, cheaper, innovative, providing new pathways -- less conventional pathways, in some cases -- for careers in tech.
And my administration is proud to be investing in Code Louisville, because we want more places to follow Kentucky’s example. We should invest in what works -- apprenticeships that give on-the-job training, gives them industry credentials that let anybody who can do the job get the job, whether they’re self-taught or have a degree. And the budget that I sent to Congress includes these priorities. Today, we’re going to unveil workforce reforms that do the same.
And just to give you a specific example -- I hope he doesn’t mind. Maybe he’s here, or maybe he’s still back somewhere. The reason I remember this guy is because his name is Ben Cool --which is a really cool name. (Laughter.) I mean, I kind of wish my name was Ben Cool. (Laughter.) Ben doesn’t have a college degree, but because of the work that's done is open-source, Ben essentially was able to teach himself. And because InDatus recognizes that not all talent goes through conventional pathways, it was able to set up a structure whereby Ben could show what he knew, how well he could do it, and InDatus was able to hire him and now they’ve got an outstanding coder and somebody who’s providing enormous value to the company -- which might have been missed had it not been for these kinds of different pathways.
And then I just heard a story -- if I'm not mistaken, Ben, you had a friend who came here and started working in -- what -- customer service?
THE PRESIDENT: Also didn’t have a degree in computer science or coding, but then he ended up taking an hour class a couple hours a week, teaching himself, getting trained, and now he’s doing coding as well. So that's the idea here, is that there are a lot of different pathways that we create so that more and more people can get trained in the jobs of the future, and we're not restricting ourselves to one narrow path.
And we're making sure that everybody has opportunity and everybody has a shot. And we're investing in the job training and apprenticeships and on-the-job training and online training that it's going to take to make sure that anybody can access a good job if they’re willing to work hard and apply themselves and focus.
Now, this doesn’t cost huge amounts of money, but it does cost some money to do it right and to do it well. And that's why it's reflected in my budget, for us to put more money into job training, apprenticeships, and these kinds of public-private partnerships that we're talking about. And there’s going to be a big debate coming up around the budget.
Republicans in Congress have put forward their budget and it provides tax cuts to folks like me and folks who are doing pretty darn well, but it would cut right now job training for 2.2 million people, including 28,800 right here in Kentucky. And that's just not the right way for us to plan in terms of long-term growth and stability.
Our economy has been growing. We've got momentum, but that momentum can stall. Because the economies in Europe are weak, the economies in Asia are weak, the dollar is becoming stronger because a lot of people want to park their money here. They think it's safer. They’re investing here more. But that makes our exports more expensive. And so we've got to stay hungry. We can't just sit back and assume that growth continues at the kind of pace that we need to give opportunity for all the young people of the future.
And that's why this is so important. So we can't prioritize tax cuts for folks at the very top and sacrifice the kinds of job-training efforts and apprenticeships that our young people are going to need. (Applause.)
So, in case you think I'm exaggerating, I mean, one of the laws that my friends on the other side of the aisle are trying to pass right now is a new, deficit-busting tax cut for a fraction of the top one-tenth of 1 percent -- that’s fewer than 50 people here in Kentucky who would, on average, get a couple million dollars in tax breaks. For that amount of money, we can provide thousands of people the kind of training they need. And that’s just not the way that we're going to build an economy that strengthens our middle class and provides ladders for people getting into the middle class.
Our economy has grown since the crisis, but when you look at what’s happened, middle-class folks, their wages, their incomes just haven't gone up that much. And a lot of folks are still struggling to get by. And our economy works best when everybody has a stake and everybody is getting ahead. (Applause.) When that happens, we all do well. And by the way, when that happens, businesses do well, because they have more customers. And our economy grows best from the bottom up and the middle out, not from the top down. And we've got to keep that in mind as we go forward.
But let me again just congratulate InDatus for the outstanding work that they’re doing. I want to congratulate the Mayor and the Governor, and all the folks who are participating in making sure that TechHire gets off the ground, not just here in Louisville but across the state and across the country. For all the young people who are -- especially the really young ones -- make sure to study math and science, because you guys are going to be our future. We're very, very proud of you.
And once again, thanks for being so patient with me, despite the delays. Thank you very much. (Applause.)
END 6:26 P.M. EDT
FACT SHEET: Executive Order Blocking the Property of Certain Persons Engaging in Significant Malicious Cyber-Enabled Activities
THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
APRIL 1, 2015
FACT SHEET: Executive Order Blocking the Property of Certain Persons Engaging in Significant Malicious Cyber-Enabled Activities
The Administration has stated repeatedly that malicious cyber actors seeking to harm critical infrastructure, damage computer systems, and steal trade secrets or sensitive information pose a serious threat to the United States’ national security and economic competitiveness.
Today, President Obama issued an Executive Order creating a new, targeted authority for the U.S. government to better respond to the most significant of these threats, particularly in situations where malicious cyber actors may operate beyond the reach of existing authorities. This Executive Order declares a national emergency with respect to the unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security, foreign policy, and economy of the United States posed by the increasing prevalence and severity of malicious cyber-enabled activities originating from, or directed by, persons located, in whole or in substantial part, outside the United States.
This new Executive Order authorizes the Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the Attorney General and the Secretary of State, to impose sanctions on individuals or entities that engage in significant malicious cyber-enabled activities that are reasonably likely to result in, or have materially contributed to, a significant threat to the national security, foreign policy, or economic health or financial stability of the United States, and that have the purpose or effect of:
The new Executive Order further authorizes the Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the Attorney General and the Secretary of State, to impose sanctions on certain individuals or entities that:
This authority will be used in a targeted manner against the most significant cyber threats that we face, whether they are directed against our critical infrastructure, our companies, or our citizens. The United States will continue to employ all available means, including diplomatic and law enforcement mechanisms, to counter these threats.
This Executive Order augments the U.S. government’s existing authorities to combat the growing threat posed by malicious cyber actors.
Statement by the President on Executive Order “Blocking the Property of Certain Persons Engaging in Significant Malicious Cyber-Enabled Activities”
THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
APRIL 1, 2015
Statement by the President on Executive Order “Blocking the Property of Certain Persons Engaging in Significant Malicious Cyber-Enabled Activities”
Today, I issued an Executive Order that provides a new authority to respond to the threat posed by malicious cyber actors. Cyber threats pose one of the most serious economic and national security challenges to the United States, and my Administration is pursuing a comprehensive strategy to confront them. As we have seen in recent months, these threats can emanate from a range of sources and target our critical infrastructure, our companies, and our citizens. This Executive Order offers a targeted tool for countering the most significant cyber threats that we face.
This Executive Order authorizes the Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the Attorney General and the Secretary of State, to impose sanctions on individuals or entities that engage in malicious cyber-enabled activities that create a significant threat to the national security, foreign policy, or economic health or financial stability of the United States. The malicious cyber-enabled activity must have the purpose or effect of significantly harming or compromising critical infrastructure; misappropriating funds or economic resources, trade secrets, personal identifiers, or financial information for commercial or competitive advantage or private financial gain; knowingly receiving or using trade secrets that were stolen by cyber-enabled means for commercial or competitive advantage or private financial gain; disrupting the availability of a computer or network of computers (for example, through a denial of service attack); and attempting, assisting or providing material support for any of the above activities.
I intend to employ the authorities of my office and this Administration, including diplomatic engagement, trade policy tools, and law enforcement mechanisms, to counter the threat posed by malicious cyber actors. This Executive Order supports the Administration’s broader strategy by adding a new authority to combat the most serious malicious cyber threats that we face.
THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release April 1, 2015
- - - - - - -
BLOCKING THE PROPERTY OF CERTAIN PERSONS ENGAGING IN
SIGNIFICANT MALICIOUS CYBER-ENABLED ACTIVITIES
By the authority vested in me as President by the
Constitution and the laws of the United States of America,
including the International Emergency Economic Powers Act
(50 U.S.C. 1701 et seq.) (IEEPA), the National Emergencies Act
(50 U.S.C. 1601 et seq.) (NEA), section 212(f) of the
Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952 (8 U.S.C. 1182(f)), and
section 301 of title 3, United States Code,
I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America,
find that the increasing prevalence and severity of malicious
cyber-enabled activities originating from, or directed by
persons located, in whole or in substantial part, outside the
United States constitute an unusual and extraordinary threat to
the national security, foreign policy, and economy of the
United States. I hereby declare a national emergency to deal
Accordingly, I hereby order:
Section 1. (a) All property and interests in property
that are in the United States, that hereafter come within the
United States, or that are or hereafter come within the
possession or control of any United States person of the
following persons are blocked and may not be transferred, paid,
exported, withdrawn, or otherwise dealt in:
(i) any person determined by the Secretary of the
Treasury, in consultation with the Attorney General
and the Secretary of State, to be responsible for or
complicit in, or to have engaged in, directly or
indirectly, cyber-enabled activities originating from,
or directed by persons located, in whole or in
substantial part, outside the United States that are
reasonably likely to result in, or have materially
contributed to, a significant threat to the national
security, foreign policy, or economic health or
financial stability of the United States and that have
the purpose or effect of:
(A) harming, or otherwise significantly
compromising the provision of services by, a
computer or network of computers that support one
or more entities in a critical infrastructure
(B) significantly compromising the provision of
services by one or more entities in a critical
(C) causing a significant disruption to the
availability of a computer or network of
(D) causing a significant misappropriation of
funds or economic resources, trade secrets,
personal identifiers, or financial information
for commercial or competitive advantage or
private financial gain; or
(ii) any person determined by the Secretary of the
Treasury, in consultation with the Attorney General
and the Secretary of State:
(A) to be responsible for or complicit in, or to
have engaged in, the receipt or use for
commercial or competitive advantage or private
financial gain, or by a commercial entity,
outside the United States of trade secrets
misappropriated through cyber-enabled means,
knowing they have been misappropriated, where the
misappropriation of such trade secrets is
reasonably likely to result in, or has materially
contributed to, a significant threat to the
national security, foreign policy, or economic
health or financial stability of the United
(B) to have materially assisted, sponsored, or
provided financial, material, or technological
support for, or goods or services in support of,
any activity described in subsections (a)(i) or
(a)(ii)(A) of this section or any person whose
property and interests in property are blocked
pursuant to this order;
(C) to be owned or controlled by, or to have
acted or purported to act for or on behalf of,
directly or indirectly, any person whose property
and interests in property are blocked pursuant to
this order; or
(D) to have attempted to engage in any of the
activities described in subsections (a)(i) and
(a)(ii)(A)-(C) of this section.
(b) The prohibitions in subsection (a) of this section
apply except to the extent provided by statutes, or in
regulations, orders, directives, or licenses that may be issued
pursuant to this order, and notwithstanding any contract entered
into or any license or permit granted prior to the effective
Sec. 2. I hereby determine that the making of donations of
the type of articles specified in section 203(b)(2) of IEEPA
(50 U.S.C. 1702(b)(2)) by, to, or for the benefit of any person
whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to
section 1 of this order would seriously impair my ability to
deal with the national emergency declared in this order, and I
hereby prohibit such donations as provided by section 1 of this
Sec. 3. The prohibitions in section 1 of this order
include but are not limited to:
(a) the making of any contribution or provision of funds,
goods, or services by, to, or for the benefit of any person
whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to
(b) the receipt of any contribution or provision of funds,
goods, or services from any such person.
Sec. 4. I hereby find that the unrestricted immigrant and
nonimmigrant entry into the United States of aliens determined
to meet one or more of the criteria in section 1(a) of this
order would be detrimental to the interests of the
United States, and I hereby suspend entry into the
United States, as immigrants or nonimmigrants, of such persons.
Such persons shall be treated as persons covered by section 1
of Proclamation 8693 of July 24, 2011 (Suspension of Entry of
Aliens Subject to United Nations Security Council Travel Bans
and International Emergency Economic Powers Act Sanctions).
Sec. 5. (a) Any transaction that evades or avoids, has
the purpose of evading or avoiding, causes a violation of, or
attempts to violate any of the prohibitions set forth in this
(b) Any conspiracy formed to violate any of the
prohibitions set forth in this order is prohibited.
Sec. 6. For the purposes of this order:
(a) the term "person" means an individual or entity;
(b) the term "entity" means a partnership, association,
trust, joint venture, corporation, group, subgroup, or other
(c) the term "United States person" means any
United States citizen, permanent resident alien, entity
organized under the laws of the United States or any
jurisdiction within the United States (including foreign
branches), or any person in the United States;
(d) the term "critical infrastructure sector" means any of
the designated critical infrastructure sectors identified in
Presidential Policy Directive 21; and
(e) the term "misappropriation" includes any taking or
obtaining by improper means, without permission or consent, or
Sec. 7. For those persons whose property and interests in
property are blocked pursuant to this order who might have a
constitutional presence in the United States, I find that
because of the ability to transfer funds or other assets
instantaneously, prior notice to such persons of measures to
be taken pursuant to this order would render those measures
ineffectual. I therefore determine that for these measures to
be effective in addressing the national emergency declared in
this order, there need be no prior notice of a listing or
determination made pursuant to section 1 of this order.
Sec. 8. The Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation
with the Attorney General and the Secretary of State, is hereby
authorized to take such actions, including the promulgation of
rules and regulations, and to employ all powers granted to the
President by IEEPA as may be necessary to carry out the purposes
of this order. The Secretary of the Treasury may redelegate any
of these functions to other officers and agencies of the
United States Government consistent with applicable law. All
agencies of the United States Government are hereby directed to
take all appropriate measures within their authority to carry
out the provisions of this order.
Sec. 9. The Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation
with the Attorney General and the Secretary of State, is hereby
authorized to submit the recurring and final reports to the
Congress on the national emergency declared in this order,
consistent with section 401(c) of the NEA (50 U.S.C. 1641(c))
and section 204(c) of IEEPA (50 U.S.C. 1703(c)).
Sec. 10. This order is not intended to, and does not,
create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural,
enforceable at law or in equity by any party against the
United States, its departments, agencies, or entities, its
officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.
Remarks by the President at White House Student Film Festival
President Obama Honors Outstanding Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Mentors
THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 27, 2015
President Obama Honors Outstanding Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Mentors
WASHINGTON, DC - President Obama today named fourteen individuals and one organization as the newest recipients of the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Mentoring (PAESMEM). These mentors will receive their awards at a White House ceremony later this year.
The Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Mentoring is awarded by the White House to individuals and organizations to recognize the crucial role that mentoring plays in the academic and personal development of students studying science and engineering—particularly those who belong to groups that are underrepresented in these fields. By offering their expertise and encouragement, mentors help prepare the next generation of scientists and engineers while ensuring that tomorrow’s innovators represent a diverse pool of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics talent throughout the United States.
Candidates for the award are nominated by colleagues, administrators, and students in their home institutions or through professional affiliations. Candidates may also self-nominate. Their mentoring can involve students at any grade level from elementary through graduate school and professional development mentoring of early career scientists. In addition to being honored at the White House, recipients receive awards of $10,000 from the National Science Foundation. The mentors and organizations announced today represent the winners for 2012 and 2013.
“These educators are helping to cultivate America’s future scientists, engineers and mathematicians,” President Obama said. “They open new worlds to their students, and give them the encouragement they need to learn, discover and innovate. That’s transforming those students’ futures, and our nation’s future, too.”
The latest set of individuals and organizations receiving the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Mentoring are:
• Sheila M. Humphreys, University of California, Berkeley
• Raymond L. Johnson, University of Maryland, College Park
• Murty S. Kambhampati, Southern University at New Orleans
• Gary S. May, Dean, Georgia Institute of Technology
• Elizabeth A. Parry, North Carolina State University
• Tilak Ratnanather, The Johns Hopkins University
• John Brooks Slaughter, University of Southern California
• GeoFORCE Texas, Jackson School of Geosciences, University of Texas at Austin
• Luis Colón, State University of New York at Buffalo
• Anne E. Donnelly, University of Florida
• Lorraine Fleming, Howard University
• John Matsui, University of California, Berkeley
• Beth Olivares, University of Rochester
• Sandra Petersen, University of Massachusetts, Amherst
• Julio Soto, San Jose State University
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release March 20, 2015
REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT
AT WHITE HOUSE STUDENT FILM FESTIVAL
11:36 P.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT: Hello! (Applause.) Thank you so much, everybody! Have a seat. Well, hello, everybody, and welcome to the second annual White House Film Festival. (Applause.) It’s like the Sundance or Cannes of film festivals that are open to the public through a government website. (Laughter.) It may also be the only film festival where one of the entrants has his tooth loose. (Laughter.) And may pull it out right here at the ceremony. (Laughter.)
Everybody looks wonderful, of course. You’ll be disappointed to know I will not be doing a musical number based on this year’s films.
AUDIENCE: Awww --
THE PRESIDENT: That’s the job of your emcees, Kal Penn and Terrence J. Give them a big round of applause. (Applause.) I don’t know if they’ll be doing musical numbers either. (Laughter.) But I do want to thank the folks at the American Film Institute and Participant Media for partnering with us on this event. Thank you very much. Give them a big round of applause. (Applause.)
I want to give a shout out to all the honorees’ dates tonight, which I assume are either parents or teachers, or somebody who’s supported these outstanding young people every step of the way. And of course, most importantly, let’s give it up to our outstanding young filmmakers! (Applause.) Yay! (Applause.) Yay! (Applause.)
So I love this event. This is the second year that we’ve hosted the White House Student Film Festival, and it's a great example of what happens when we just unleash the skills and the imagination of America’s young people. In this country, if we give all of our kids the best opportunities and technology and resources, there’s no telling what they’ll create -- now and the years ahead.
This year, we received more than 1,500 submissions that came from all across the country -- actually even came as far as Azerbaijan. Our theme was “The Impact of Giving Back.” And today, we are proud to honor our 15 official selections, because these aren’t just great films, but they’re great examples of how young people are making a difference all over the country.
Today, we’re celebrating a 6-year-old in Montana. Is that you? (Applause.) He’s the guy without -- he’s missing teeth. (Laughter.) But he’s also challenging us to see conservation through a child’s eyes.
We’re honoring a young man’s story of service to his family and our environment in his Navajo Nation, Navajo tradition. A teenager who started a wheelchair challenge and raised tens of thousands of dollars to make his school more accessible to folks with disabilities. A third-grade superhero who wears a cape as he delivers clothes and food to the homeless. You see even in indie film festivals, superhero movies are infiltrating. I'm going to have to see “Super Ewan 2” next summer. There’s going to be a sequel.
And then there are two young women, Allyson Edwards and Madison Jaco, who adopted a highway to clean up the roads in their hometown of Hawkins, Texas. Where are these young ladies? Raise your hands. A little higher. There you go. (Applause.) So they decided they wanted to make an even bigger impact, so they reached out to young people all across the globe, and this is part of the power of the Internet. And now you’ve got groups in India, France, Nigeria, Benin, Argentina, all getting into the act -- cleaning up their schools and beaches and roads -- just because of these two young women.
And as Allyson and Madison say in their film, “In today’s society, we’re often told how much we are different and how much divides us, but through our shared community service, we realized how much brings us together.” That’s a profound statement, guys. I don’t think I was that smart when I was your age.
But that’s the idea that lies at the heart of service -- empathy, understanding, being able to make a connection. And as these young people are showing us, it’s a message that can be told powerfully through film, because that’s a media that connects us with people and stories we might otherwise never know. And it puts us in the shoes of people potentially on the other side of the world, or a neighborhood very different than the one we grew up in. And that’s true whether you’re a middle schooler with a GoPro, or a Hollywood director on a custom-made soundstage.
Now, we know that if today’s middle schoolers are going to become those big-time directors -- and we’ve got some big-time folks here. Steve McQueen here, has filmed “12 Years a Slave.” It was a big Oscar winner last year and a profound film. And we appreciate his presence here today. (Applause.) So you guys could get some tips. (Laughter.)
But the next Steve McQueen, or Scorsese, or Spielberg, or documentarian like Ken Burns -- if we’re going to make sure that these young people have those opportunities, then we’ve got to do our part to support them.
That means we’ve got to give them a world-class education, access to science and technology, and engineering, and math, as well as the arts. It means that they’ve got to have access to the technology they need to learn and explore and grow.
It's not optional to have access to that technology in today’s world. That’s one of the reasons I launched the ConnectED initiative, to connect 99 percent of our students to next-generation broadband and wireless -- because when we expect free WiFi with our coffee, then we should at least have it in our schools and our libraries, too. (Applause.)
The good news is we’re making great progress. More than 1,800 school districts have pledged to bring high-speed broadband and digital learning to their students. Companies have committed billions of dollars in free technology for schools and libraries around the country. And it’s making a difference. Students in rural Alabama used software donated by Adobe to make a music video that won first place in a contest, and then earned their school $10,000 of new musical equipment. So we know this can make a difference.
But we also know that it takes more than technology to help our kids thrive -- parents, teachers, people who love and inspire them, coaches, mentors to help guide their way.
So today, as part of our “United We Serve” effort, I’m proud to announce that AFI and the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists are pairing up to give each of the young filmmakers here a mentor who can bring out the best of them in the months ahead. That’s pretty cool. (Applause.)
And the organizations are also reaching beyond these young people; they’re going to pledge a million hours of educational and mentoring programs for young people across the country over the next three years -- (applause) -- which is a remarkable commitment, so we want to thank AFI and SAG-AFTRA for that wonderful contribution.
We’ve seen how impactful these mentoring experiences can be. I’ll just take a minute to give you one example -- the story of a young woman who we honored here last year named Shelly Ortiz. And Shelly made this wonderful video -- is Shelly here? There you are. There’s Shelly. Good to see you. (Applause.) So I'm going to brag about you for a second.
So Shelly made a great video about how technology in her classroom helped fuel her passion for filmmaking. But when Shelly came to the White House, she was still working on another project that meant a lot to her, which was a short documentary about how her father was abandoned by his mom as a child, and all the ramifications, what that meant.
After the festival, AFI connected her with an accomplished documentarian, who served as her mentor, giving Shelly detailed notes and the confidence to take risks as a director. A few months later, Shelly’s documentary was featured at AFI’s International Documentary Festival. Pretty cool. And today, she says that the mentoring she received and the technology she’s been given didn’t just help her become a better filmmaker, it helped her become closer than ever with her dad.
So that’s the power of what is being done here. Experiences like these aren’t just about a young person’s future career. They’re about helping them to connect in new and meaningful ways, whether it’s somebody as close as your parents, or somebody on an iPad halfway around the world who may share more in common with you than you think.
And we don’t know what these new connections will produce down the road, but if these movies are any indication I know that these young people are going to make an even bigger impact for their communities and their country in the years ahead.
So I'm proud of you. Keep up the great work. I can’t stay to watch them all, but I'm going to get them all, digitally. And I'm going to give them a big thumbs-up. All right. Thank you. I'm really proud of you guys. (Applause.) Now it’s time to begin our feature presentations.
FACT SHEET: Next Steps in Delivering Fast, Affordable Broadband
THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 23, 2015
FACT SHEET: Next Steps in Delivering Fast, Affordable Broadband
“Twenty-first century businesses need 21st century infrastructure -- modern ports, and stronger bridges, faster trains and the fastest Internet…I intend to protect a free and open Internet, extend its reach to every classroom, and every community, and help folks build the fastest networks so that the next generation of digital innovators and entrepreneurs have the platform to keep reshaping our world.”
-President Obama, State of the Union, 2015
In January, the President traveled to Cedar Falls, Iowa to announce his plan to promote “Broadband that Works,” a public-private effort to help more Americans, in more communities around the country, get access to fast and affordable broadband. Making good on the vision he outlined in his State of the Union Address means promoting investment and rewarding competition. Today, the Administration announced progress since January and new steps in that effort, including:
Reaching the National Goal of Providing 98 Percent of Americans with Access to High-Speed, Mobile Broadband. In 2011, the President challenged the public and private sector to work together to expand wireless access and set the ambitious goal of providing 4th Generation (4G) mobile broadband to at least 98 percent of Americans. Today, based on newly released data from the U.S. Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), we are announcing that through significant private investment we have reached that goal — nearly two years ahead of schedule. The Obama Administration put in place policies that have helped drive progress toward this milestone, and will continue to promote robust investment in wireless broadband connectivity, including:
· Initiating the Most Successful Mobile Spectrum Auction in American History. Setting in motion the highest-grossing auction of mobile spectrum in American history — raising more than $41 billion. Freeing up this spectrum for private investment will lead to better mobile connectivity while funding important priorities like a first-responders network and reducing the deficit. This success will keep the momentum for the Federal Communications Commission (FCC)’s upcoming “incentive auction” of television broadcast spectrum slated for early 2016.
· Continuing to Free Up Wireless Spectrum. Concerted government efforts to successfully free up wireless spectrum previously held by government agencies have, to date, formally recommended or otherwise identified 335 Mhz of Federal and non-Federal spectrum for potential reallocation.
· Expanding Access to Broadband in Rural and Underserved Areas. Over $7 billion of Recovery Act funding went to increasing broadband connectivity, including to under-served areas, which is the foundation of high-speed wireless service. In all, these efforts have installed or upgraded over 174,000 miles of high-speed broadband infrastructure. The Administration will also continue to support the FCC’s Universal Service Fund (USF), which has invested over $25 billion since 2008, to encourage investment in high-cost and rural broadband, both fixed and mobile.
Standing up the Broadband Opportunity Council. Today the President signed a new Presidential Memorandum making good on his promise in Cedar Falls to stand up a new Council singularly focused on increasing broadband investment and adoption.
· The Council, co-chaired by the Secretaries of Commerce and Agriculture, includes over twenty-five different government agencies and components, all united around clear policy objectives to:
- Engage with industry and other stakeholders to understand ways the government can better support the needs of communities seeking broadband investment;
- Identify regulatory barriers unduly impeding broadband deployment or competition;
- Survey and report back on existing programs that currently support or could be modified to support broadband competition, deployment or adoption; and
- Take all necessary actions to remove these barriers and re-align existing programs to increase broadband competition, deployment, and adoption.
· The Council will report back to the President, within 150 days, with the steps each agency will take to advance these goals, including specific regulatory actions or budget proposals.
- These steps will build on and expand several actions agencies have already taken during this Administration, such as developing a common application form for wireless broadband providers to lease space for their rooftop antennas, sharing of best practices for “dig once” policies by state and municipal governments nationwide, and offering new online tools for finding and leasing federal assets available for broadband networks.
Building on the FCC’s Landmark Decision to Promote Local Choice. The FCC last month independently decided to take action against two of the nineteen state laws that restrict communities from deciding what broadband solutions fit their needs. This step forward helped unserved and under-served communities, many of whom have no way to stay economically competitive absent a municipal provider of broadband.
· As a result, communities in two states — Tennessee and North Carolina — will no longer be held back from setting up municipal networks like successful examples in Chattanooga and Wilson, where those networks affordably deliver broadband speeds around 100 times the national average.
Continued Support to Communities & Competitors Expanding Broadband Offerings. The Administration continues to build on the momentum we began earlier this year with the standup of Commerce’s BroadbandUSA program. Later this year, the Department of Agriculture will reopen a revamped broadband loan program, which offers financing to eligible rural carriers that invest in bringing high-speed broadband to unserved and under-served rural areas.
· Today the Department of Agriculture is announcing a total of $35 million in broadband infrastructure loans in Arkansas, New Mexico, and Iowa to deliver enhanced services to help attract and grow businesses, as well as to improve educational and health care services. Time and again, studies show that affordable broadband offers increased economic opportunities in rural areas, which is why Rural Development is committed to delivering high-speed Internet service to these communities.
· Through the BroadbandUSA program, the Department of Commerce has followed through on its promise to support more communities seeking to learn from the experts on how to increase broadband investment and competition — including through municipal broadband. Since January, Commerce has provided ongoing one-on-one advice to communities across the U.S. including in Ohio, Kansas, Florida, California, and West Virginia; organized a regional summit in Jackson, Mississippi; and held a national webinar to introduce BroadbandUSA and present the new Guide to Public-Private Partnerships for Broadband Investment.
Announcing the Community Broadband Summit. To carry forward the momentum, help communities leaders learn from one another, and report out the progress of our broadband initiatives, the White House will in June host the Community Broadband Summit. Details will follow soon at WhiteHouse.gov.
Remarks by the President at White House Science Fair
Remarks by the President at White House Science FairInboxxWhite House Press Office via service.govdelivery.com 2:16 PM (7 hours ago)to me THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release March 23, 2015
REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT
AT WHITE HOUSE SCIENCE FAIR
12:15 P.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT: Hello, everybody! (Applause.) Hello, hello! Thank you. Everybody have a seat. Thank you. Hello, scientists. (Laughter.)
So this has got to be the most fun event of the year. (Laughter.) At least in the top three. And before I go any further, though, I need to lay down some rules. We had to put these in place based on the previous science fairs. First of all, no taking your robots or electric go-karts for a spin on the South Lawn. (Laughter.) You can't do that. Rule number two, if you’re going to explode something, you have to warn us first. (Laughter.) Actually, just don’t explode anything. (Laughter.) Number three, no using a marshmallow air cannon in the house -- (laughter) -- unless you let me shoot it first. (Laughter.)
This is our fifth White House Science Fair. And every year, I walk out smarter than I walked in, because these young people have something to teach all of us -- not just about batteries, or attacking cancer cells, or how to build a working robot or a rocket. I will say, though, the robots I see keep getting smarter every year. We are keeping an eye on that, by the way. (Laughter.) You’re on notice, Skynet.
But these young scientists and engineers teach us something beyond the specific topics that they’re exploring. They teach us how to question assumptions; to wonder why something is the way it is, and how we can make it better. And they remind us that there’s always something more to learn, and to try, and to discover, and to imagine -- and that it’s never too early, or too late to create or discover something new.
That’s why we love science. It’s more than a school subject, or the periodic table, or the properties of waves. It is an approach to the world, a critical way to understand and explore and engage with the world, and then have the capacity to change that world, and to share this accumulated knowledge. It’s a mindset that says we that can use reason and logic and honest inquiry to reach new conclusions and solve big problems. And that’s what we are celebrating here today with these amazing young people.
Now, first of all, I'm going to announce the people who are not that young -- although some of them are youngish. We’re joined by some of America’s top scientists and engineers -- starting with my Science Advisor, John Holdren. (Applause.) Yay, John. The Director of the National Institutes of Health, Francis Collins is here. (Applause.) The head of our Patent and Trademark Office -- so, young people, if you’ve got something fancy, talk to Michelle Lee right here. (Applause.) She’s ready to sign you up. The Acting Director of the U.S. Geological Survey, Suzette Kimball is here. (Applause.) And somebody who has one of the coolest jobs in town, the head of NASA, Charles Bolden is here. (Applause.) Where’s Charlie? If there are any aspiring astronauts here, he’s the man to impress. He’s been in space himself.
We also have some outstanding guests who are here who’ve been participating in this on an ongoing basis. Bill Nye, the Science Guy, is here. (Applause.) Signature bowtie. So is Rush Holt, who’s one of the few scientists to serve in Congress. We could probably use some more. (Applause.) There you go. Rush is now the head of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. And just so you knew that athletes think science is cool, too, we've got Victor Cruz of the New York Giants here. (Applause.) He is a big fan of science. And he has to be -- as all-pro wide receiver, he’s got to figure out trajectories and angles and velocities and the physics of doing the salsa. (Laughter.) For those of you who don't know, he does a salsa every time he gets a touchdown, and he gets a lot of them. (Laughter.)
Now, Victor has been here before to celebrate the New York Giants winning the Super Bowl. But as I’ve said many times before, we’ve got to celebrate the winners of our science fairs as much as we celebrate the winners of football or basketball or other athletic competitions, because young scientists, mathematicians, engineers, they’re critical to our future. You guys are the ones who are going to define the contours of the 21st century.
And I just had a chance to meet some of these young people. And I fired a lot of questions at them, and they know their stuff. It is unbelievable what so many of these young people have accomplished at such an early age. And I wish I could talk about every single one of them because all of them were extraordinarily impressive. But I want to leave enough time for everybody else to explore some of their exhibits. John Holdren probably wants me to get some of their résumés in case we’re hiring. But let me just mention a few of the young people that I had a chance to talk to, to give you a sense of the scope and depth and quality of the work that they’re doing.
So, first of all, we’ve got Sophia Sánchez-Maes who’s here from Las Cruces, New Mexico. Where’s Sophia? I just talked to her. Did she get in? There she is, right there. (Applause.) Sophia is a senior in high school and she is crazy about algae. (Laughter.) Now, to the non-science buffs here, you might say, what’s so great about algae? But Sophia knows that algae is fascinating, especially as a potential fuel source.
So scientists are already working to turn algae into fuel. One of the hurdles is to make the process more efficient so less energy gets wasted along the way. Sophia saw that was a challenge. She asked why. She has created a more efficient method. She’s identified optimal algae to use in her method, and she’s helping to bring the world closer to using algae as a clean, renewable, and even inexhaustible energy source. And it’s already being tested in her hometown, the process that she’s developing. It is amazing. So let’s give Sophia a big round of applause. (Applause.)
Harry Paul is here from Port Washington, New York. Where’s Harry? There’s Harry, right here. (Applause.) So Harry graduated and is now in his first year at Tufts. But listen to this story, because I think it gives you a sense of the quality of the young people we’ve got here. Harry was born with a condition called congenital scoliosis -- a curvature of the spine. So, growing up, Harry endured more than a dozen operations. Rather than feel sorry for himself, he thought there’s got to be a better way of doing this. So he designed a new type of spinal implant.
Starting in his freshman year in high school, he started researching the processes that he himself had gone through -- his doctor was an expert on this -- and he decided, let’s see if I can come up with something better, an implant that can grow along with the growing child so it doesn’t have to be constantly replaced or adjusted, which means you don’t need as many intrusive operations. And Harry’s implant could reduce the number of surgeries that a child may need for more than a dozen to as few as five, which obviously would cut down medical costs, but more importantly, would save a lot of young people pain and time out from school and recovery time, and the potential complications of an operation.
Unbelievable stuff. Give Harry a big round of applause. (Applause.)
So Nikhil Behari is here from Pennsylvania. Where’s Nikhil. There’s Nikhil. (Applause.) He’s a freshman -- right? -- in high school, interested in how we can better protect ourselves against hackers and data thieves online. So scientists are already using biometrics to prove that each of us walk in our own distinct ways. And Nikhil wondered, what if we each type in a distinct ways? So he collected all kinds of data about how a person types -- their speed, how often they pause, how much pressure they use; built a special keyboard to test it. And he proved that his hypothesis was correct -- that even if somebody knows your password, they don’t necessarily punch it in exactly the way you do.
And he asked why -- and made discoveries that now could help keep our online accounts more secure. So in the future, if keystroke-based authentication keeps your siblings from breaking into your Facebook account or your Instagram account, you will know who to thank. (Laughter.) It will be Nikhil. Congratulations. (Applause.)
So those three are just samples of the extraordinary scientists that we’ve already -- and engineers -- that we’ve already got here.
I should give special mention to our Girl Scouts from Oklahoma. Where are those Super Girls? (Applause.) They’re standing up, but you can’t really see them -- (laughter) -- because they’re in kindergarten and first grade. They are today’s youngest scientists at six years old. They built their device out of Legos. They realized that some people who might be paralyzed or arthritic might have trouble turning pages on a book so they invented this page turner. It was awesome. It was working so well, despite the fact, as they pointed out -- this is a quote, they said, “This is just a prototype.” (Laughter.) That’s what they said. I said, well, how’d you come up with the idea? They said, well, we had a brainstorming session. (Laughter.) And then one of them asked, “Mr. President, have you had brainstorming sessions?” (Laughter.) I said, yes, but I didn’t come up with something as cool as this -- (laughter) -- an automatic page turner. Unbelievable.
Ruchi Pandya -- where’s Ruchi? There’s Ruchi. (Applause.) Found a way to use a single drop of blood to test a person’s heart function, much like a person with diabetes tests their blood sugar.
Anvita Gupta -- where’s Anvita? There she is. (Applause.) Used artificial intelligence and biochemistry to identify potential treatments for cancer, tuberculosis, Ebola. What she’s done is she’s developed an algorithm that could potentially significantly speed up the process of finding drugs that might work against these diseases.
Something smells like it’s burning there -- and I don’t think it’s an experiment. (Laughter.) I think it’s somebody’s camera. Do we have it under control? We don’t see any flames bursting. Yes? All right. Okay, it sounds like a little electrical short, but let’s keep monitoring that. (Laughter.) Exits will be -- (laughter) -- in that direction, should anything happen. The last time there was a fire here, the British were invading. (Laughter.)
But Anvita’s algorithm has the potential of speeding up pathways to discovering what drugs would work on what diseases, and is consistent with some of the work that we announced around precision medicine that we are funding at a significant pace here at the White House.
Now, I should point out that, like several of the young people here, Anvita and Ruchi are first-generation Americans. Their parents came here, in part, so their kids could develop their talents and make a difference in the world. And we’re really glad they did.
So I want to congratulate all of you for your remarkable achievements. You’ve made a lot of people proud -- your parents, your teachers, your friends, your mentors. And as President, I’m proud of you, because America is going to be stronger and smarter and healthier, and a much more interesting place because of you.
But it’s not enough for our country just to be proud of you. We’ve also got to support you. We’ve got to make sure that young people like you are going to keep on having what you need to discover and experiment and to innovate. So I’ve got three announcements to make that really were already kind of in the works before I met you guys, but it’s a pretty good occasion to announce them because you’re so inspiring.
First -- four years ago, I set a national goal to provide 98 percent of Americans with high-speed wireless Internet so that any young scientist or entrepreneur could access the world’s information. Today, I can announce that we have achieved that goal, and we did it ahead of schedule. (Applause.) That’s a big deal.
Second, to make sure that we keep expanding broadband across the country, I’m creating a new team called the Broadband Opportunity Council, made up of leaders across government, who will work with business and communities to invest in next-generation Internet nationwide. Because this not just going to be a key for your ability to learn and create; it’s also a key for America’s ability to compete and lead in the world.
Number three -- no young person in America should miss out on the chance to excel in these fields just because they don’t have the resources. So, five years ago, we launched a campaign called “Educate to Innovate,” to help more of our students explore science, technology, engineering and math. Today, I’m pleased to announce $240 million in new contributions from businesses, from schools, from foundations across the country to help kids learn in these STEM fields. So we are very, very proud to make that announcement. (Applause.)
Corporations have pledged to help expand high-quality science and technology education to more than 1.5 million students. More than 120 universities have pledged to help train 20,000 new engineers to tackle the toughest challenges of this century. Foundations like the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, and the Gates Foundation, and the Simons Foundation, will support scientists early in their careers with mentoring and funding. And, all told, these new commitments bring our grand total up to $1 billion in commitments to our kids since we first got this initiative started five years ago.
And I was talking to some of the folks who are helping to finance our efforts, and one of the things that they’ve discovered is that it’s not enough just to talk about STEM. Part of what’s important to do is also to recognize that what you do in math and engineering and science has a purpose to it; that there are huge challenges that we have to solve in how we have clean energy, and how to we clean up our environment, and how do we solve crippling diseases like Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s. And when we give students the inspiration not just that math and science are inherently interesting, and technology and engineering are inherently interesting, but there’s actual problems to solve, it turns out that young people, they rise to the challenge. And that’s what’s so exciting about it.
We don’t want to just increase the number of American students in STEM. We want to make sure everybody is involved. We want to increase the diversity of STEM programs, as well. And that’s been a theme of this science fair. We get the most out of all our nation’s talent -- and that means reaching out to boys and girls, men and women of all races and all backgrounds. Science is for all of us. And we want our classrooms and labs and workplaces and media to reflect that.
And this is something that Megan Smith, our Chief Technology Officer, is really keen about. Part of the problem is we don’t tell the stories enough of the incredible scientists and inventors along the way who are women, or people of color, and as a consequence, people don’t see themselves as potential scientists. Except the good news is these young women and African American and Latino and Asian American folks, young people who are here today -- you guys certainly see yourselves as scientists. So you’re helping to inspire your classmates and kids who are coming up behind you to pursue these dreams as well. And that’s what’s so exciting.
Because the United States has always been a place that loves science. We’ve always been obsessed with tinkering and discovering and inventing and pushing the very boundaries of what’s possible. That’s who we are. It’s in our DNA. Technological discovery helped us become the world’s greatest economic power. Scientific and medical breakthroughs helped us become the greatest source of hope around the world. And that’s not just our past, that’s also our future, because of amazing young people like this.
So I want to thank you for inspiring me. You got me off to a good start today. Keep exploring. Keep dreaming. Keep asking why. Don’t settle for what you already know. Never stop believing in the power of your ideas, your imagination, your hard work to change the world.
And to all the adults in the room, and to any members of Congress who might be listening, just think about all -- oh, Eddie Bernice Johnson is here, an outstanding member of Congress, who’s a big support of STEM education. Just remember, all these young people -- to continue to pursue the research that might bring about a new clean energy source, or might cure a disease, a lot of them are going to need the capacity to get research positions and fellowships and grants. And that, particularly when it comes to basic research, has typically been funded by the federal government. And my federal budget promotes a significant increase in the kinds of research that needs to happen. Unfortunately, some of the budgets coming out of Congress don’t make those same commitments.
So it’s not enough for us to just lift up young people and say, great job, way to go. You also have to have labs to go to, and you’ve got to be able to support yourself while you’re doing this amazing research. And that involves us as a society making the kind of investments that are going to be necessary for us to continue to innovate for many, many years to come.
So, congratulations. Give all these young people a big round of applause. (Applause.) Go take a look at their outstanding stuff. It’s really great. (Applause.)
THE WHITE HOUSE AND THE AMERICAN FILM INSTITUTE
TO CELEBRATE YOUNG STORYTELLERS AT THE SECOND ANNUAL
WHITE HOUSE STUDENT FILM FESTIVAL
Two-Day DC Event in Collaboration with Participant Media Will Put Dreams on
Display in the East Room, Showcasing Films on "The Impact of Giving Back"
AFI and Participant Media To Present Additional Screenings and Filmmaker Workshops
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, March 11, 2015, Los Angeles, CA– The White House and the American Film Institute in collaboration with Participant Media's TEACH campaign announced today that the second annual White House Student Film Festival will be held March 20 and 21, 2015 in Washington, DC. Premiere screenings of 15 films selected from more than 1,700 submissions by K-12 filmmakers from across America will explore the theme of "The Impact of Giving Back." These inspiring shorts showcase the power of compassion, the importance of educators, the influence of service on our communities, the necessity of environmental preservation and the significance of mentoring as a means of positive guidance. The March 20 event inside the White House will be streamed live at WhiteHouse.Gov/Live.
In addition to screening the 2015 Official Selections in the East Room on March 20, the festival will continue with an expansive second day at the Newseum on March 21 that will feature encore screenings of the selected films as well as additional finalists, break-out sessions with motion picture professionals, mentorship opportunities and workshops on various aspects of film production.
"The American Film Institute was born in the White House Rose Garden with a mandate to nurture young men and women wishing to pursue the art form as their life's work," said Bob Gazzale, AFI President & CEO. "Fifty years later, we continue to look to the future, and we are proud to do so in partnership with the White House – as we encourage the next generation of storytellers to share their tales well told."
Participant Media, a global entertainment company focused on inspiring social change, joins AFI's collaboration with the White House this year for the two day student film festival and workshop as part of its TEACH campaign, inspired by Davis Guggenheim's documentary film TEACH, which will be screening at the festival. The TEACH campaign encourages young students to give back by pursuing a career in teaching and highlights the positive impact our nation's teachers have on future generations.
"We're honored to be a part of the White House Student Film Festival this year and to be collaborating with such an influential educational arts organization like the American Film Institute," said Jim Berk, CEO of Participant Media. "We're committed to supporting great teaching and aspiring educators. Teachers are not only mentors, they are innovators and through TEACH, we hope to inspire the next generation of teachers."
Information about the public screenings and discussions on March 21 will be posted on AFI.com.
More information about the White House Student Film Festival can be found at WhiteHouse.Gov/FilmFest.
About Participant Media
Participant Media (ParticipantMedia.com) is a global entertainment company founded in 2004 by Jeff Skoll to focus on feature film, television, publishing and digital content that inspires social change. Participant's more than 60 films include GOOD NIGHT, AND GOOD LUCK, SYRIANA, AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH, FOOD, INC., WAITING FOR "SUPERMAN," THE HELP, CONTAGION and LINCOLN. Participant launches campaigns that bring together government entities, foundations, schools, and others to raise awareness and drive people to take action on issues from each film or television show. Pivot (pivot.tv/), the company's television network, is available nationally in 47 million homes, with a diverse slate of talent and a mix of original series, acquired programming, films and documentaries. TakePart (TakePart.com) is Participant's digital news and lifestyle magazine and social action platform for the conscious consumer. Through its films, social action campaigns, digital network, and its television network, Participant seeks to entertain, encourage and empower every individual to take action.
About the American Film Institute
AFI is America's promise to preserve the heritage of the motion picture, to honor the artists and their work and to educate the next generation of storytellers. AFI programs include the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and the AFI Archive, which preserve film heritage for future generations; the AFI Life Achievement Award, the highest honor for a career in film; AFI AWARDS, honoring the most outstanding motion pictures and television programs of the year; AFI's 100 Years…100 Movies television events and movie reference lists, which have introduced and reintroduced classic American movies to millions of film lovers; year-round and special event exhibition through AFI FEST presented by Audi, AFI DOCS and the AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center; and educating the next generation of storytellers at the world-renowned AFI Conservatory. For more information about AFI, visit AFI.com or connect with AFI at twitter.com/AmericanFilm, facebook.com/AmericanFilmInstitute and youtube.com/AFI
THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 25, 2015
U.S.-India Joint Statement
साँझा प्रयास - सबका विकास” – “Shared Effort; Progress for All”
1. The President of the United States of America, Barack Obama, accompanied by First Lady Michelle Obama, is visiting India from 25-27 January 2015. The President of India and the Prime Minister of India welcomed the U.S. President as the Chief Guest at India's 66th Republic Day celebrations, the first U.S. President to grace this historic event.
2. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Barack Obama assessed the extensive bilateral strategic and global partnership between their two countries and pledged to continue to enhance cooperation across the spectrum of human endeavor to better their citizens’ lives and that of the global community.
3. Noting that the multifaceted partnership between the United States and India is rooted in shared values of democracy and strong economic and people-to-people ties, President Obama and Prime Minister Modi elevated the bilateral relationship through their endorsement of a new India-U.S. Delhi Declaration of Friendship, which builds on their 30 September Vision Statement by articulating tangible principles to guide ongoing efforts to advance mutual prosperity, a clean and healthy environment, greater economic cooperation, regional peace, security and stability for the larger benefit of humankind.
4. Recognizing the important role that both countries play in promoting peace, prosperity, stability and security in the Asia-Pacific and Indian Ocean Region, and noting that India’s ‘Act East Policy’ and the United States’ rebalance to Asia provide opportunities for India, the United States, and other Asia-Pacific countries to work closely to strengthen regional ties, the Leaders announced a Joint Strategic Vision to guide their engagement in the region.
5. The Prime Minister and the President acknowledged and expressed satisfaction at the qualitative reinvigoration of strategic ties and the intensity of substantive interactions since the Prime Minister's visit to Washington in September 2014. They appreciated the focused action and accomplishments by both sides on the decisions taken during the Summit in September and in this regard, they welcomed:
· The 30 September 2014 signing of an implementing agreement between the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) to conduct the joint NASA-ISRO Synthetic Aperture Radar (NISAR) mission.
· The convening of the Defence Policy Group and its subgroups on 28-29 October 2014 to pursue stronger and expanded bilateral defence cooperation.
· India’s ongoing facilitation of U.S. Department of Defense humanitarian missions in India, including a mission in October and November 2014, to recover the remains of fallen U.S. soldiers who served in World War II.
· The signing of the India-U.S. Statement of Guiding Principles on Triangular Cooperation for Global Development on 3 November 2014, in furtherance of bilateral efforts to advance sustainable development in cooperation with partner countries around the world.
· The breakthrough between India and the United States on issues relating to the implementation of the Bali Ministerial Decisions regarding public stockholding for food security purposes, the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement, and post Bali work.
· Convening of the U.S.-India Joint Commission Meeting on Science and Technology Cooperation in New Delhi on 17 November 2014 to review, exchange views, and advance cooperation in diverse areas of science and technology and foster engagement in techno-entrepreneurship and innovation partnership for mutual benefit.
· Convening of the India-U.S. Higher Education Dialogue in New Delhi on 17 November 2014 to further bilateral cooperation in this field, strengthen partnerships between Indian and U.S. universities and community colleges, improve student and scholar mobility, and promote faculty collaboration.
· The signing of the MoU on 18 November 2014 between Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency Ltd. and the Export-Import Bank of the United States, which would make available up to $1 billion in financing to facilitate expanded cooperation and enhance U.S. private sector investment in Indian clean energy projects.
· Successful hosting of the bilateral India-U.S. Technology Summit on 18-19 November 2014 with the U.S. as a partner country for the first time.
· Convening of the High Technology Cooperation Group on 20-21 November 2014 to shape a cooperative agenda on high technology goods, including export control-related trade in homeland security technologies, high technology manufacturing equipment including machine tools, defence trade, and fostering collaboration in biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, medical devices, and health-related information technology.
· Convening of the Smart Cities Conclave on 22 November 2014 organised by the U.S.-India Business Council in cooperation with the Ministry of Urban Development and the Mayors and Commissioners of Ajmer (Rajasthan), Allahabad (Uttar Pradesh) and Vishakhapatnam (Andhra Pradesh) and the decision by the Government of India to constitute a high-level committee for each of the three Smart Cities comprising different departments of the Central Government, the state governments, local governments, and representatives of the U.S. industry.
· Signing of three MoUs between the State Governments of Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, and Rajasthan and the U.S. Trade and Development Agency on 25 January 2015 to develop Vishakhapatnam, Allahabad, and Ajmer as Smart Cities with the participation of U.S. industry, in furtherance of the commitment made by the Leaders in September 2014.
· The convening of the Trade Policy Forum at the Ministerial level on 24-25 November 2014, in which India and the United States agreed to work towards resolving commercial impediments in both markets, to help realize the potential of bilateral trade in goods and services, and to promote investment and manufacturing.
· Convening of the India-U.S. Political Military Dialogue on 4 December 2014 to exchange perspectives on bilateral strategic and regional issues.
· Convening the sixth round of the India-U.S.-Japan trilateral discussions on 20 December 2014 to deepen regional engagement and to discuss ways to implement projects on the ground.
· The launch of the Infrastructure Collaboration Platform in New Delhi on 13 January 2015 to promote enhanced market access and financing to increase U.S. industry participation in the growth and development of sectors that support Indian infrastructure.
· The 12-15 January 2015 expert exchange on Counter-Improvised Explosive Device (C-IED) strategies and technologies and completion of a Joint Statement of Intent and a work plan for a programme of bilateral C-IED cooperation.
· The signing of a framework on and inauguration of the India-U.S. Investment Initiative in Washington on 12-15 January 2015 to jointly cooperate on facilitating capital market development conducive to financing investment; creating an environment that encourages investment in various sectors in India; and working to overcome any obstacles to such investment.
· The convening of the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Working Group in Washington on 14-15 January 2015 and the 23 January signing of the Joint Declaration of Intent to advance implementation of the Digital India programme and further bilateral commercial ICT cooperation.
· Launching of a Knowledge Partnership in defence studies expressing a shared desire to pursue collaborative activities between the United States and Indian National Defence Universities.
· Signing of the Statement of Cooperation for Supervisory Cooperation and Exchange of Supervisory Information between the Reserve Bank of India and Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), Federal Reserve System, and Office of the Comptroller of Currency (OCC).
· Convening of Indian and U.S. CEOs who are committed to deepening bilateral economic ties by identifying current impediments to trade and investment and working with the two government to find solutions; and identifying emerging sectors where public-private partnership can unlock new collaborations between our two peoples.
· The 13 January 2015 signing of the MoU between the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Ministry of Urban Development to enable USAID to share expertise, best practices, innovation and technologies in support of India's efforts to strengthen water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) in urban areas.
· India’s recent introduction of visa-on-arrival for U.S. citizens and the convening of the first technical discussions to advance India’s membership in the United States’ Global Entry Program, initiatives aimed at easing travel between India and the United States to further strengthen people-to-people ties.
· Cooperation on scientific research collaboration on the Indian Monsoon Rainfall currently underway aboard the U.S. research vessel JOIDES Resolution in the Bay of Bengal.
· The conclusion of the first of two project annexes between the Indian Department of Atomic Energy–Department of Science and Technology and the U.S. Department of Energy, which will enable discovery science cooperation in particle accelerator and high energy physics.
· The 22 January signing of the MoU between the U.S. Department of Treasury and India’s Ministry of Finance to enhance cooperation to combat money laundering and the financing of terrorism.
· The Completion of an MoU between the Indian Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Department of Biotechnology, Indian Council of Medical Research, All Indian Institute of Medical Sciences, and the U.S National Institute of Health and National Cancer Institute.
· The 23 January signing of the Joint Declaration of Intent between USAID and the Ministry of Human Resource Development for technical support to the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs), starting with IIT Gandhinagar, to strengthen research and entrepreneurship capabilities.
· The recent finalization of the 2015 Framework for the U.S.-India Defense Relationship, which will guide and expand the bilateral defence and strategic partnership over the next ten years.
· The 22 January signing of the India-U.S. Research, Development, Testing and Evaluation (RDT&E) Agreement to facilitate cooperation in defence research and development.
· Continuing bilateral engagement on the Defence Technology and Trade Initiative (DTTI), including the 22 January 2015 agreement in principle to pursue co-production and co-development of four pathfinder projects, form a working group to explore aircraft carrier technology sharing and design, and explore possible cooperation on development of jet engine technology.
6. Prime Minister Modi and President Obama jointly appreciated the significant efforts undertaken by both sides in recent months to re-energize the strategic partnership, and affirmed expanding the substantive underpinnings of our diversified bilateral strategic partnership including through expanded strategic consultations, stronger defence, security, and economic cooperation.
7. President Obama also reiterated his support for Prime Minister Modi's vision to transform India, and recognized that India's focus on its development priorities presented substantial opportunities for forging stronger India-U.S. economic ties and greater people-to-people contacts. Reaffirming that India’s rise is also in the interest of the United States, regional and global stability, and global economic growth, President Obama reiterated the United States' readiness to partner with India in this transformation. The two leaders pledged to translate their commitment of "Chalein Saath Saath”: “Forward Together We Go" of September into action through "Sanjha Prayaas; Sab Ka Vikaas": "Shared Effort; Progress For All".
8. Prime Minister Modi and President Obama expressed confidence that continued bilateral collaboration will increase opportunities for investment, improve bilateral trade and investment ties and lead to the creation of jobs and prosperity in both economies. In this regard, the Leaders agreed to continue to strengthen their broad-based partnership for development through stronger trade, technology, manufacturing, and investment linkages between the two countries and triangular cooperation with partner countries, and that continued efforts to maintain labor standards as per domestic law and agreed international norms will make these linkages more durable. The two sides also committed to continuing to cooperate on the finalization of the Post-Bali Work Programme in the spirit of the Doha mandate.
9. The President and the Prime Minister affirmed their shared commitment to facilitating increased bilateral investment flows and fostering an open and predictable climate for investment. To this end, the Leaders instructed their officials to assess the prospects for moving forward with high-standard bilateral investment treaty discussions given their respective approaches.
10. The President and the Prime Minister also welcomed the fifth annual U.S.-India Economic and Financial Partnership Dialogue in February, in which the countries will deepen their dialogue on macroeconomic policy, financial sector regulation and development, infrastructure investment, tax policy, and efforts to combat money laundering and terrorist financing.
11. The two sides agreed to hold a discussion on the elements required in both countries to pursue an India-U.S. Totalisation Agreement.
12. President Obama commended Prime Minister Modi’s “Jan Dhan” scheme to prioritize financial inclusion for India’s poor. The Leaders noted India’s intent to join the Better Than Cash Alliance.
13. The Leaders committed to explore areas of collaboration in skill development ranging from establishing quality assurance systems for skilling certification standards, setting up of skill development centres, nurturing and promoting social entrepreneurship and strengthening the innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem.
14. President Obama and Prime Minister Modi agreed to collaborate in the implementation of India's ambitious Digital India programme and expand commercial cooperation, including by encouraging investment engagement in the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector.
15. In recognition of the importance of their ongoing commercial discussions, the two sides agreed to hold public-private discussions in early 2015 under the aegis of the India-U.S. Commercial Dialogue for a period of two years, until March 2016, on mutually agreed areas of cooperation.
16. Recognizing the progress made in constructive engagement on Intellectual Property under the last round of the India-U.S. Trade Policy Forum held in November, 2014, the Leaders also looked forward to enhancing engagement on Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) in 2015 under the High Level Working Group on Intellectual Property, to the mutual benefit of both the countries.
17. Acknowledging the potential for technological cooperation in the rail sector in augmenting and optimizing India's rail infrastructure, the Leaders agreed to facilitate U.S. Trade and Development Agency and Indian Railways technical cooperation that will assist Indian Railways’ efforts to modify its leasing and public-private partnership frameworks to attract private sector funding.
18. The Leaders recognized the robust public-private U.S.-India civil aviation partnership and agreed to continue working together to identify emerging technologies and build a larger commercial engagement agenda through key events such as the 2015 U.S.-India Aviation Summit and demonstration of advanced U.S. technologies.
19. Reaffirming their commitment to safety and security of civil aviation, the United States and India will continue consultations between the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the India Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) to ensure international safety standards set by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), with the aim of restoring Category I status at the earliest possible time.
20. Noting the importance of ongoing cooperation in higher education, the President and Prime Minister welcomed ongoing efforts to extend a knowledge partnership for supporting the Indian Institute of Technology at Gandhinagar through USAID. President Obama and Prime Minister Modi also pledged to collaborate through India's Global Initiative of Academic Networks (GIAN), to facilitate short-term teaching and research programs by up to 1000 visiting U.S. academics in Indian universities.
21. The Leaders emphasized the importance of strengthening international financial institutions, including the International Monetary Fund. The President also affirmed his commitment to enhancing India's voice and vote in international Financial Institutions and ensuring that resources are made available and used creatively through multilateral development banks for infrastructure financing. Prime Minister Modi appreciated the efforts of the U.S. Treasury for cooperating with the Ministry of Finance on the Task Force on Resolution Corporation set up in pursuance of the recommendations of the Financial Sector Legislative Reforms Commission.
High Technology, Space and Health Cooperation
22. Prime Minister Modi and President Obama reaffirmed their commitment to ensure that partnerships in science, technology and innovation are a crucial component of the overall bilateral engagement in the 21st century. They also reaffirmed their support for the role that science, technology and innovation partnerships can play in addressing pressing challenges in areas such as food, water, energy, climate, and health and developing innovative solutions that are affordable, accessible and adaptable, meet the needs of the people of the two countries and benefit the global community. To this end, the Leaders agreed to continue to develop cooperative efforts in many areas of science, technology, and innovation, including studying the impacts of water, air pollution, sanitation and hygiene on human health and well-being.
23. The Leaders also agreed to continue U.S.-India collaboration in hydrology and water studies and monsoon modelling and noted the need to expeditiously work towards launching an Indo-U.S. Climate Fellowship to facilitate human capacity building. The Prime Minister and the President also reaffirmed the importance of ongoing efforts to strengthen women's participation in science, technology, engineering, and math through networking and mentoring programs.
24. The President and the Prime Minister welcome efforts, under the bilateral High Technology Cooperation Group, to seek timely resolution of the challenges to trade in High Technology goods, including the U.S. licensing requirements for trade in certain dual use items.
25. The Leaders reaffirmed the importance of providing transparent and predictable policy environments for fostering innovation. Both countries reiterated their interest in sharing information and best practices on IPR issues, and reaffirmed their commitment to stakeholders’ consultations on policy matters concerning intellectual property protection.
26. President Obama and Prime Minister Modi agreed to further promote cooperative and commercial relations between India and the United States in the field of space. The leaders noted the on-going interactions between their space agencies, including towards realizing a dual frequency radar imaging satellite for Earth Sciences, and exploring possibilities for cooperation in studying Mars.
27. The Leaders took note of ongoing U.S.-India space cooperation, including the first face-to-face meeting of the ISRO-NASA Mars Working Group from 29-31 January 2015 in Bangalore, in which the two sides will consider opportunities for enhanced cooperation in Mars exploration, including potential coordinated observations and analysis between ISRO’s Mars Orbiter Mission and NASA’s Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN mission (MAVEN). The Prime Minister and the President also welcomed continued progress toward enhanced space cooperation via the U.S.-India Civil Space Joint Working Group, which will meet later this year in India.
28. Under the umbrella of an implementing agreement between the U.S. Department of Energy and the Department of Atomic Energy of India, the Leaders welcomed expanded collaboration in basic physics research, and accelerator research and development.
29. The Leaders reaffirmed their commitment to the Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA) and announced specific actions at home and abroad to prevent the spread of infectious diseases, including a CDC-Ministry of Health Ebola and GHSA preparedness training, expansion of the India Epidemic Intelligence Service, and development of a roadmap to achieve the objectives of the GHSA within three years.
30. The Leaders also committed to multi-sectoral actions countering the emergence and spread of antimicrobial resistance (AMR), and cooperation in training of health workers in preparedness for infectious disease threats. The Leaders agreed to focus science and technology partnerships on countering antibiotic resistant bacteria and promoting the availability, efficacy and quality of therapeutics.
31. The Leaders welcomed further progress in promoting bilateral cooperation on cancer research, prevention, control, and management and agreed to continue to strengthen the engagement between the CDC and India’s National Centre for Disease Control.
32. The President and Prime Minister also welcomed the upcoming completion of an Environmental Health, Occupational Health and Injury Prevention and Control MoU between the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Indian Council for Medical Research to further collaborative efforts to improve the health and welfare of both countries’ citizens.
33. The Prime Minister and the President also agreed to expand the India-U.S. Health Initiative into a Healthcare Dialogue with relevant stakeholders to further strengthen bilateral collaboration in health sectors including through capacity building initiatives and by exploring new areas, including affordable healthcare, cost saving mechanisms, distribution barriers, patent quality, health services information technology, and complementary and traditional medicine. The President and the Prime Minister pledged to encourage dialogue between the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and its Indian counterparts on traditional medicine. The Leaders also pledged to strengthen collaboration, dialogue, and cooperation between the regulatory authorities of the two countries to ensure safety, efficacy, and quality of pharmaceuticals, including generic medicines.
34. The Leaders also agreed to accelerate joint leadership of the global Call to Action to end preventable deaths among mothers and children through a third meeting of the 24 participating countries in India in June 2015. As host, India will showcase the power of new partnerships, innovations and systems to more effectively deliver life-saving interventions. They also lauded the highly successful collaboration on a locally produced vaccine against rotavirus which will save the lives of an estimated 80,000 children each year in India alone, and pledged to strengthen the cooperation in health research and capacity building through a new phase of the India-U.S. Vaccine Action Programme.
Defence and Homeland Security Cooperation
35. Prime Minister Modi and President Obama welcomed the efforts made by both sides to expand bilateral defence cooperation in areas of mutual interest and reaffirmed their commitment to continue to work towards deepening the bilateral defence relationship. The Leaders acknowledged bilateral military ties as the foundation of the defense relationship and encouraged their respective militaries to pursue additional opportunities for engagement through exercises, military personnel exchanges, and defense dialogues.
36. The Leaders also acknowledged the need for the two-way defence engagement to include technology cooperation and collaboration, co-production and co-development. To this end, the President and the Prime Minister emphasized the ongoing importance of the Defence Technology and Trade Initiative (DTTI) in developing new areas of technology cooperation in the defence sector including through co-development and co-production and the Prime Minister welcomed the U.S. Defense Department’s establishment of a dedicated rapid reaction team focused exclusively on advancing DTTI. The Leaders expressed confidence that continued DTTI collaboration will yield additional joint projects in the near future.
37. The President also welcomed the Prime Minister's initiatives to liberalize the Foreign Direct Investment Policy regime in the defence sector and the Leaders agreed to cooperate on India's efforts to establish a defence industrial base in India, including through initiatives like ‘Make in India.’
38. Prime Minister Modi and President Obama expressed satisfaction over the efforts made by both countries to deepen cooperation in the field of maritime security, as reflected in the 2015 Framework for the U.S.-India Defense Relationship. To this end, they agreed that the navies of both sides would continue discussions to identify specific areas for expanding maritime cooperation. They also reiterated their commitment to upgrading their bilateral naval exercise MALABAR.
39. The two sides also noted the growing cooperation between their law enforcement agencies, particularly in the areas of extradition and mutual legal assistance, to counter transnational criminal threats such as terrorism, narcotics, trafficking, financial and economic fraud, cybercrime, and transnational organized crime and pledged to enhance such cooperation further. The President and the Prime Minister also noted the serious risks to national and economic security from malicious cyber activity and agreed to cooperate on enhancing operational sharing of cyber threat information, examining how international law applies in cyberspace, and working together to build agreement on norms of responsible state behavior.
40. The Leaders committed to undertake efforts to make the U.S.-India partnership a defining counterterrorism relationship for the 21st Century by deepening collaboration to combat the full spectrum of terrorist threats and keep their respective homelands and citizens safe from attacks. The Leaders reiterated their strong condemnation of terrorism in all its forms and manifestations with ‘zero tolerance’ and reaffirmed their deep concern over the continued threat posed by transnational terrorism including by groups like Al Qaida and the ISIL, and called for eliminating terrorist safe havens and infrastructure, disrupting terrorist networks and their financing, and stopping cross-border movement of terrorists.
41. The Leaders reaffirmed the need for joint and concerted efforts to disrupt entities such as Lashkar-e-Tayyiba, Jaish-e-Mohammad, D Company and the Haqqani Network, and agreed to continue ongoing efforts through the Homeland Security Dialogue as well as the next round of the U.S.-India Joint Working Group on Counter Terrorism in late 2015 to develop actionable elements of bilateral engagement. The two sides noted the recent U.S. sanctions against three D Company affiliates. The President and the Prime Minister further agreed to continue to work toward an agreement to share information on known and suspected terrorists. They also agreed to enter discussions to deepen collaboration on UN terrorist designations, and reiterated their call for Pakistan to bring the perpetrators of the November 2008 terrorist attack in Mumbai to justice.
42. The President and the Prime Minister also noted the positive cooperative engagement between the Indian and the U.S. authorities with a view to working together to counter the threat of IEDs and to develop counterterrorism best practices.
Energy and Climate Change
43. Noting that the Contact Group set up in September 2014 to advance implementation of bilateral civil nuclear cooperation has met three times in December and January, the Leaders welcomed the understandings reached on the issues of civil nuclear liability and administrative arrangements for civil nuclear cooperation, and looked forward to U.S.-built nuclear reactors contributing to India’s energy security at the earliest.
Clean Energy Goal and Cooperation
44. President Obama and Prime Minister Modi emphasized the critical importance of expanding clean energy research, development, manufacturing and deployment, which increases energy access and reduces greenhouse gas emissions. The leaders announced actions to advance India's transition to low carbon economy. India intends to increase the share of use of renewable in electricity generation consistent with its intended goal to increase India's solar target to 100 gigawatts by 2022. The United States intends to support India's goal by enhancing cooperation on clean energy and climate change, to include:
i. Expanding Partnership to Advance Clean Energy Research (PACE-R): A renewed commitment to PACE-R, including extending funding for three existing research tracks of solar energy, building energy efficiency, and biofuels for an additional five years and launching a new track on smart grid and grid storage.
ii. Expanding Partnership to Advance Clean Energy Deployment (PACE-D): Both the countries intended to expand our current Partnership to Advance Clean Energy Deployment (PACE-D) through increased bilateral engagements and further joint initiatives to expand cooperation in support of India’s ambitious targets in renewable energy.
iii. Accelerating Clean Energy Finance: Prime Minister Modi emphasized India's ongoing efforts to create a market environment that will promote trade and investment in this sector. President Obama welcomed India's ambitious solar energy goals and encouraged India to continue its efforts to increase trade and private investment in this sector. President Obama conveyed the potential availability of U.S. Government official financing in this area, consistent with its policies, to support private sector involvement for those entities in contributing to India’s clean energy requirements.
iv. Launching Air Quality Cooperation: Implementing EPA’s AIR Now-International Program and megacities partnerships, focused on disseminating information to help the urban dwellers to reduce their exposure to harmful levels of air pollution, and enable urban policy planners to implement corrective strategies for improving Ambient Air Quality in the cities keeping in view health and climate change co-benefits of these strategies.
v. Initiating Climate Resilience Tool Development: Jointly undertaking a partnership on climate resilience that will work to downscale international climate models for the Indian sub-continent to much higher resolution than currently available, assess climate risks at the sub-national level, work with local technical institutes on capacity building, and engage local decision-makers in the process of addressing climate information needs and informing planning and climate resilient sustainable development, including for India’s State Action Plans.
vi. Demonstrating Clean Energy and Climate Initiatives on the Ground: Additional pilot programs and other collaborative projects in the areas of space cooling, super-efficient appliances, renewable energy storage, and smart grids.
vii. Concluding MOU on Energy Security, Clean Energy and Climate Change: Both countries concluded negotiations on a five year MOU to carry this work forward, to be signed as early as possible at a mutually agreed upon date.
45. The United States of America and the Republic of India recognize that global climate change is a profound threat to humanity and to the imperatives of sustainable development, growth and the eradication of poverty. President Obama and Prime Minister Modi share a deep concern regarding the climate challenge and understand that meeting it will require concerted action by their countries and the international community. They stressed the importance of enhancing their bilateral cooperation on adaptation measures, as well as joint research and development and technology innovation, adoption and diffusion for clean energy and efficiency solutions that will help achieve the goals of transitioning to a climate resilient and low carbon economy. They also stressed the importance of working together and with other countries to conclude an ambitious climate agreement in Paris in 2015. To this end, they plan to cooperate closely over the next year to achieve a successful agreement in Paris. The President and Prime Minister reaffirmed their prior understanding from September 2014 concerning the phase down of HFCs and agreed to cooperate on making concrete progress in the Montreal Protocol this year.
Global Issues and Regional Consultations
46. The Leaders agreed to expand their efforts to assist other developing countries and address global development challenges for the benefit of the wider region and the world and they lauded ongoing triangular assistance, which may involve U.S.-India collaboration to address development challenges in third countries in areas including health, energy, food security, disaster management, and women’s empowerment. The two sides noted that this collaboration, which is active with Afghanistan, East and West Africa, may be expanded to additional third countries.
47. Further underscoring the importance of implementing infrastructure projects to enhance connectivity and enable freer flow of commerce and energy in the region, the Leaders agreed to develop additional areas in which both sides could work together, including on India's initiatives to enhance its connectivity with the South and South East Asian region. The President and the Prime Minister also stressed the importance of the economic and transport connectivity between Central and South Asia and the need to promote a secure, stable, and prosperous Afghanistan as part of a secure, stable, and prosperous region. Reaffirming the importance of their strategic partnerships with Afghanistan, the Leaders asserted the importance of a sustainable, inclusive, sovereign, and democratic political order in Afghanistan and they agreed to convene further high-level consultations on Afghanistan in the near future.
48. The President and the Prime Minister also welcomed the role of the leaders- led East Asia Summit (EAS) process in promoting open, balanced and inclusive security architecture in the region. Noting the discussions in the sixth round of the India-US-Japan Trilateral Dialogue, the President and the Prime Minister underlined the importance of the cooperation between the three countries through identification of projects of common interest and their early implementation, and they decided to explore holding the dialogue among their Foreign Ministers.
49. The President and Prime Minister pledged to strengthen their efforts to forge a partnership to lead global efforts for non-proliferation of WMDs, to reduce the salience of nuclear weapons in international affairs, and to promote universal, verifiable and non-discriminatory global nuclear disarmament. They supported negotiations on a fissile material cut-off Treaty on the basis of the Shannon Mandate in the Conference on Disarmament.
50. As active participants in the Nuclear Security Summit process, the United States and India welcomed progress towards reducing the risk of terrorists acquiring nuclear weapons or related materials, and noted their shared commitment to improving nuclear security nationally and globally. The Prime Minister welcomed the hosting of the 2016 Nuclear Security Summit by the United States. President Obama and Prime Minister Modi also welcomed the recent convening of the first bilateral nuclear security best practices exchange, under the auspices of the Global Center for Nuclear Energy Partnership, as an example of their cooperation on nuclear security.
51. In a further effort to strengthen global nonproliferation and export control regimes, the President and the Prime Minister committed to continue to work towards India’s phased entry into the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), the Wassenaar Arrangement, and the Australia Group. The President reaffirmed the United States’ position that India meets MTCR requirements and is ready for NSG membership and that it supports India’s early application and eventual membership in all four regimes.
52. The Leaders expressed concern over the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s (DPRK) nuclear and ballistic missile programmes, including its uranium enrichment activity. They urged the DPRK to take concrete steps toward denuclearization, as well as to comply fully with its international obligations, including relevant UN Security Council Resolutions, and to fulfill its commitments under the 2005 Joint Statement of the Six-Party talks.
53. The Leaders welcomed recent progress and noted the criticality of Iran taking steps to verifiably assure the international community of the exclusively peaceful nature of its nuclear programme, and agreed that this is an historic opportunity for Iran to resolve outstanding concerns related to its nuclear programme.
54. Highlighting the United States' and India’s shared democratic values and recognizing the important role of women in their societies, the Leaders looked forward to reconvening the Women Empowerment Dialogue as early as possible and reasserted their zero tolerance for violence against women. The Leaders also looked forward to the reconvening of the Global Issues Forum.
55. The President and the Prime Minister also reaffirmed their commitment to consult closely on global crises, including in Iraq and Syria. The Leaders agreed to exchange information on individuals returning from these conflict zones and to continue to cooperate in protecting and responding to the needs of civilians caught up in these conflicts.
56. President Obama reaffirmed his support for a reformed UN Security Council with India as a permanent member, and both leaders committed to ensuring that the Security Council continues to play an effective role in maintaining international peace and security as envisioned in the United Nations Charter. They also committed to accelerate their peacekeeping capacity-building efforts in third countries.
57. Both sides also acknowledged that the Internet was a central element of the information society and a powerful enabler of global economic and social progress. Both sides also noted that the growth of the Internet in the coming decade would be from developing countries, of which India would be a significant contributor, especially in the context of its “Digital India” programme.
58. The Leaders recognized that a digital divide persists between and within countries in terms of the availability, affordability and use of information and communications technologies, and they stressed the need to continue to bridge that divide, to ensure that the benefits of new technologies, especially information and communications technologies for development, are available to all people, including the poorest of the poor.
59. President Obama thanked Prime Minister Modi and the people of India for the extraordinary hospitality extended to him on his second presidential visit to India, and he congratulated the nation on the celebration of its 66th Republic Day. The Leaders reflected proudly on recent achievements and looked forward to continuing to work together to build a U.S.-India partnership that is transformative for their two peoples and for the world.
WEEKLY ADDRESS: Middle-Class Economics
THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
EMBARGOED UNTIL 6:00 AM ET, SATURDAY, January 24, 2015
WEEKLY ADDRESS: Middle-Class Economics
WASHINGTON, DC — In this week’s address, the President shared his plan, outlined in his State of the Union address earlier this week, to give hardworking families the support they need to make ends meet by focusing on policies that benefit the middle class and those working to reach the middle class. Through common sense proposals like closing loopholes that benefit the wealthy and providing tax relief to the middle class, making two years of community college free for responsible students, strengthening paid leave policies and access to quality child care for working families, and raising the minimum wage, we can ensure that everyone benefits from, and contributes to, America’s success. Middle-class economics is working, and we have laid a new foundation, but there is still progress to be made, and the President said he is eager to get to work.
The audio of the address and video of the address will be available online at www.whitehouse.gov at 6:00 a.m. ET, January 24, 2015.
Remarks of President Barack Obama
The White House
January 24, 2015
Hi, everybody. This week, in my State of the Union Address, I talked about what we can do to make sure middle-class economics helps more Americans get ahead in the new economy.
See, after some tough years, and thanks to some tough decisions we made, our economy is creating jobs at the fastest pace since 1999. Our deficits are shrinking. Our energy production is booming. Our troops are coming home. Thanks to the hard work and resilience of Americans like you, we’ve risen from recession freer to write our own future than any other nation on Earth.
Now we have to choose what we want that future to look like. Will we accept an economy where only a few of us do spectacularly well? Or will we commit ourselves to an economy that generates rising incomes and rising chances for everyone who makes the effort?
I believe the choice is clear. Today, thanks to a growing economy, the recovery is touching more and more lives. Wages are finally starting to rise again. Let’s keep that going – let’s do more to restore the link between hard work and growing opportunity for every American.
That’s what middle-class economics is – the idea that this country does best when everyone gets their fair shot, everyone does their fair share, and everyone plays by the same set of rules.
Middle-class economics means helping workers feel more secure in a world of constant change – making it easier to afford childcare, college, paid leave, health care, a home, and retirement.
Middle-class economics means doing more to help Americans upgrade their skills through opportunities like apprenticeships and two years of free community college, so we can keep earning higher wages down the road.
Middle-class economics means building the most competitive economy in the world, by building the best infrastructure, opening new markets so we can sell our products around the world, and investing in research – so that businesses keep creating good jobs right here.
And we can afford to do these things by closing loopholes in our tax code that stack the decks for special interests and the superrich, and against responsible companies and the middle class.
This is where we have to go if we’re going to succeed in the new economy. I know that there are Republicans in Congress who disagree with my approach, and I look forward to hearing their ideas for how we can pay for what the middle class needs to grow. But what we can’t do is simply pretend that things like child care or college aren’t important, or pretend there’s nothing we can do to help middle class families get ahead.
Because we’ve got work to do. As a country, we have made it through some hard times. But we’ve laid a new foundation. We’ve got a new future to write. And I’m eager to get to work.
Thanks, and have a great weekend.
FACT SHEET: Helping All Working Families with Young Children Afford Child Care
THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 22, 2015
FACT SHEET: Helping All Working Families with Young Children Afford Child Care
“In today’s economy, when having both parents in the workforce is an economic necessity for many families, we need affordable, high-quality childcare more than ever. It’s not a nice-to-have -- it’s a must-have. So it’s time we stop treating childcare as a side issue, or as a women’s issue, and treat it like the national economic priority that it is for all of us.”
– President Obama, State of the Union Address, January 20, 2015
Helping working Americans meet the needs of their jobs and their families is a key part of the President’s plan to bolster and expand the middle class. Access to high-quality child care and early education not only promotes a child’s development, but it also helps support parents who are struggling to balance work and family obligations. A safe, nurturing environment that enriches children’s development is critical to working families and is one of the best investments we can make in our economy. Yet today, a year of child care costs higher than a year of in-state tuition at most colleges – putting a significant strain on parents.
Ensuring that children have access to high quality and affordable early childhood programs can help children prepare for school and succeed in later life while strengthening parents’ ability to go to work, advance their career, and increase their earning potential. Research shows that money spent on young children is an effective investment, yielding benefits immediately to parents and for many decades to come for the children. For example, the President’s Council of Economic Advisors’ report on the Economics of Early Childhood indicate that investments in high-quality early education generate economic returns of over $8 for every $1 spent.
Today, President Obama outlined his plan to make affordable, quality child care available to every working and middle-class family with young children. His plan includes:
· Making a landmark investment in the Child Care and Development Fund that helps every eligible family with young children afford high-quality child care.
· Tripling the maximum child care tax credit to $3,000 per young child.
· Creating a new innovation fund to help states design programs that better serve families that face unique challenges in finding quality care, such as those in rural areas or working non-traditional hours.
Two years ago, the President called for a continuum of high-quality early learning for America’s children – including support for children and their parents beginning prenatally with evidence-based home visitation for young children and new and expecting parents and continuing through high-quality preschool for America’s 4-year olds. Over the past two years, the federal government, states, philanthropists, and business leaders have invested nearly $3 billion in high-quality preschool and early education. Today’s announcement builds on these continuing efforts to make high-quality early education and child care available for all. These investments to expand and strengthen child care and early education programs complement the Administration’s other efforts to help working families, including offering workers the opportunity to earn paid sick and family leave, a higher minimum wage, and equal pay for women.
NEW INVESTMENTS IN CHILD CARE AFFORDABILITY, QUALITY, AND AVAILABILITY
Parents who work in low-wage jobs can face real difficulties affording quality child care – in 2013, the average cost of full-time care for an infant at a child care center was about $10,000 per year – higher than the average cost of in-state tuition at a public 4-year college - and much higher in some locations. Without help, many families can face the untenable choice of not working or leaving their children in unsafe, unstable, or poor quality child care arrangements. Affordable, quality childcare can help parents so they can go to work to support their family.
Learning begins at birth, and the earliest years of a child’s life are those most critical for building foundational cognitive skills, social and emotional skills, and patterns of engagement in school and learning. Studies show that children who attend high-quality early learning programs – including high-quality child care – are more likely to do well in school, find good jobs, have fewer interactions with the justice system, and have greater earnings as adults than those who don’t. Increasing the supply of high-quality, affordable child care can help parents balance work and family responsibilities while also investing in young children.
That’s why this year the President proposes unprecedented investments in making quality child care affordable and available for working families by:
· Expanding access to child care assistance for all eligible families with children under four years of age, within ten years. The federal Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) helps low- and moderate-income families with the cost of child care and increases the availability and quality of that care. States contribute matching resources for a portion of the CCDF funding they receive. But currently, federal and state funding for child care assistance falls well short of the need, and only a small share of young children receive federally-funded child care subsidies. The President’s proposal will ensure that all low- and moderate-income families (those with incomes below 200 percent of the poverty line, or approximately $40,000 for a family of three) with children age three and under have access to a subsidy to pay for quality child care so they can work or attend school or job training. By 2025, this investment will expand access to high-quality care to more than 1 million additional young children, reaching a total of more than 2.6 million children served monthly through the child care subsidy system. To qualify for this funding, states will be required to develop sound plans for how they will build the supply of quality care for infants and toddlers and ensure that the subsidies they provide (when combined with reasonable copayments families can afford) will cover the cost of quality care.
· Cutting taxes for families paying child care with a credit of up to $3,000 per child. The President’s tax proposal would streamline child care tax benefits and triple the maximum child care tax credit for middle class families with young children, increasing it to $3,000 per child. The President’s child care tax proposals would benefit 5.1 million families, helping them cover child care costs for 6.7 million children (including 3.5 million children under five), through the following reforms:
o Triple the maximum Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit (CDCTC) for families with children under five, increasing it to $3,000 per child. Families with young children face the highest child care costs. Under the President’s proposal, they could claim a 50 percent credit for up to $6,000 of expenses per child under five.
o Make the full credit available to most middle-class families. Under current law, almost no families qualify for the maximum CDCTC. The President’s proposal would make the maximum credit – for young children, older children, and elderly or disabled dependents – available to families with incomes up to $120,000, meaning that most middle-class families could easily determine how much help they can get.
o Eliminate complex child care flexible spending accounts and reinvest the savings in the improved CDCTC. The President’s proposal would replace the current system of complex and duplicative incentives with one generous and simple child care tax benefit.
· Improving the quality of child care. Last year Congress acted on a bipartisan basis to pass child care legislation that includes much-needed reforms to improve the quality and safety in child care settings, including requiring training for providers to prevent sudden infant death syndrome, instituting annual inspections of child care facilities, and comprehensive background checks of all providers. This proposal would provide the resources to help states implement those important reforms and support the expansion of access to quality child care programs staffed by early educators that can provide developmentally appropriate services that promote the healthy development and school readiness of young children
· Promoting Innovation in the Child Care Subsidy System. The President will also invest $100 million in new competitive grants to states, territories, tribes and communities to develop, implement and evaluate models of providing child care to address the unmet needs for families who face unique challenges to securing child care. These pilots could be used to develop promising practices for families in rural communities or have children with disabilities, parents who work non-traditional hours, and other families who struggle to find and use high-quality child care.
A COMPREHENSIVE EARLY EDUCATION AGENDA
In addition to the historic investment in helping every low-income and middle-class family afford child care, the President’s FY16 budget will make critical investments to expand access to high-quality early education, including:
· Providing Preschool for All: In his 2013 State of the Union, the Obama Administration announced a proposal to provide high-quality preschool to every American child and the FY 2016 Budget will continue to support this historic public investment in early education and in the future of America’s children. This $75 billion partnership with states would extend federal funds to expand high-quality preschool to reach all low- and moderate-income four-year-olds from families at or below 200% of poverty. The proposal, financed through an increase in tobacco taxes which will discourage youth smoking and save lives, also encourages states to broaden participation to reach additional middle-income families and to expand the availability of full-day kindergarten. In December 2014, the President and Vice President hosted the White House Summit on Early Childhood Education, highlighting over $1 billion in investments dedicated to early childhood education and development, including new efforts to expand preschool across 18 states and in over 200 high-need communities, reaching an additional 33,000 children.
· Supporting Infants and Toddlers through Early Head Start-Child Care Partnerships: This Administration has more than doubled the number of infants and toddlers in Early Head Start and, in 2014, created the new Early Head Start-Child Care Partnerships program – an effort to provide quality care to tens of thousands of additional infants and toddlers through a partnership between Early Head Start and child care providers that meet the highest standards of quality to serve children from birth through age three. The Obama Administration has invested $500 million to support communities and proposes additional funding as they improve and expand comprehensive early care and education through the Early Head Start-Child Care Partnerships program, reaching over 30,000 infants and toddlers this year.
· Increasing the duration of Head Start to a full school day and year. Head Start is a key element of the Administration’s efforts to help all children meet their full potential. The Obama Administration has already taken dramatic steps to raise the bar on Head Start quality, including requiring low-performing programs to compete for continued funding, and is revising performance standards to reflect the best available science on early learning and development. The President’s Budget includes a new proposal to further increase the impact of Head Start – while also helping the working parents of Head Start children – by providing enough resources to make sure all children in Head Start benefit from a full school day and full school year (at least six hours a day, 170 days a year), which research shows leads to better outcomes for young children.
· Investing in Voluntary, Evidence-Based Home Visiting: Established in 2010, the Maternal, Infant and Early Childhood Home Visiting program builds on research showing that home visits by a nurse, social worker, or other professional during pregnancy and in the earliest years of life has benefits to parents and to children. These programs have been shown to significantly improve maternal and child health, development, and learning. These effects have proven to be long-lasting, with one study showing improved language and math abilities at age 12. Additionally, these programs have led to increases in parental employment and reductions in child maltreatment. To date it has supported more than 1.4 million visits in over 700 communities. The President’s Budget would ensure the program does not end when funding is scheduled to expire in March 2015 and expand the program to reach additional families and communities. This proposal is also supported by the increased tobacco tax.
Remarks of President Barack Obama's State of the Union Address - As Prepared for Delivery
THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 20, 2015
Remarks of President Barack Obama – As Prepared for Delivery
State of the Union Address
The White House is making the full text of the State of the Union widely available on its Medium page. The text, as prepared for delivery, is now online HERE, along with tools that allow people to follow along with the speech as they watch in real time, to view charts and infographics on key areas, to tweet their favorite lines, and to leave notes to provide feedback.
The full text of the State of the Union Address, as prepared for delivery, is posted now on Medium and can be viewed here:
There is a ritual on State of the Union night in Washington. A little before the address, the White House sends out an embargoed copy of the President’s speech to the press (embargoed means that the press can see the speech, but they can’t report on it until a designated time). The reporters then start sending it around town to folks on Capitol Hill to get their reaction, then those people send it to all their friends, and eventually everyone in Washington can read along, but the public remains in the dark.
This year we change that.
For the first time, the White House is making the full text of the speech available to citizens around the country online. On Medium, you can follow along with the speech as you watch in real time, view charts and infographics on key areas, tweet favorite lines, and leave notes. By making the text available to the public in advance, the White House is continuing efforts to reach a wide online audience and give people a range of ways to consume the speech.
Mr. Speaker, Mr. Vice President, Members of Congress, my fellow Americans:
We are fifteen years into this new century. Fifteen years that dawned with terror touching our shores; that unfolded with a new generation fighting two long and costly wars; that saw a vicious recession spread across our nation and the world. It has been, and still is, a hard time for many.
But tonight, we turn the page.
Tonight, after a breakthrough year for America, our economy is growing and creating jobs at the fastest pace since 1999. Our unemployment rate is now lower than it was before the financial crisis. More of our kids are graduating than ever before; more of our people are insured than ever before; we are as free from the grip of foreign oil as we’ve been in almost 30 years.
Tonight, for the first time since 9/11, our combat mission in Afghanistan is over. Six years ago, nearly 180,000 American troops served in Iraq and Afghanistan. Today, fewer than 15,000 remain. And we salute the courage and sacrifice of every man and woman in this 9/11 Generation who has served to keep us safe. We are humbled and grateful for your service.
America, for all that we’ve endured; for all the grit and hard work required to come back; for all the tasks that lie ahead, know this:
The shadow of crisis has passed, and the State of the Union is strong.
At this moment – with a growing economy, shrinking deficits, bustling industry, and booming energy production – we have risen from recession freer to write our own future than any other nation on Earth. It’s now up to us to choose who we want to be over the next fifteen years, and for decades to come.
Will we accept an economy where only a few of us do spectacularly well? Or will we commit ourselves to an economy that generates rising incomes and chances for everyone who makes the effort?
Will we approach the world fearful and reactive, dragged into costly conflicts that strain our military and set back our standing? Or will we lead wisely, using all elements of our power to defeat new threats and protect our planet?
Will we allow ourselves to be sorted into factions and turned against one another – or will we recapture the sense of common purpose that has always propelled America forward?
In two weeks, I will send this Congress a budget filled with ideas that are practical, not partisan. And in the months ahead, I’ll crisscross the country making a case for those ideas.
So tonight, I want to focus less on a checklist of proposals, and focus more on the values at stake in the choices before us.
It begins with our economy.
Seven years ago, Rebekah and Ben Erler of Minneapolis were newlyweds. She waited tables. He worked construction. Their first child, Jack, was on the way.
They were young and in love in America, and it doesn’t get much better than that.
“If only we had known,” Rebekah wrote to me last spring, “what was about to happen to the housing and construction market.”
As the crisis worsened, Ben’s business dried up, so he took what jobs he could find, even if they kept him on the road for long stretches of time. Rebekah took out student loans, enrolled in community college, and retrained for a new career. They sacrificed for each other. And slowly, it paid off. They bought their first home. They had a second son, Henry. Rebekah got a better job, and then a raise. Ben is back in construction – and home for dinner every night.
“It is amazing,” Rebekah wrote, “what you can bounce back from when you have to…we are a strong, tight-knit family who has made it through some very, very hard times.”
We are a strong, tight-knit family who has made it through some very, very hard times.
America, Rebekah and Ben’s story is our story. They represent the millions who have worked hard, and scrimped, and sacrificed, and retooled. You are the reason I ran for this office. You’re the people I was thinking of six years ago today, in the darkest months of the crisis, when I stood on the steps of this Capitol and promised we would rebuild our economy on a new foundation. And it’s been your effort and resilience that has made it possible for our country to emerge stronger.
We believed we could reverse the tide of outsourcing, and draw new jobs to our shores. And over the past five years, our businesses have created more than 11 million new jobs.
We believed we could reduce our dependence on foreign oil and protect our planet. And today, America is number one in oil and gas. America is number one in wind power. Every three weeks, we bring online as much solar power as we did in all of 2008. And thanks to lower gas prices and higher fuel standards, the typical family this year should save $750 at the pump.
We believed we could prepare our kids for a more competitive world. And today, our younger students have earned the highest math and reading scores on record. Our high school graduation rate has hit an all-time high. And more Americans finish college than ever before.
We believed that sensible regulations could prevent another crisis, shield families from ruin, and encourage fair competition. Today, we have new tools to stop taxpayer-funded bailouts, and a new consumer watchdog to protect us from predatory lending and abusive credit card practices. And in the past year alone, about ten million uninsured Americans finally gained the security of health coverage.
At every step, we were told our goals were misguided or too ambitious; that we would crush jobs and explode deficits. Instead, we’ve seen the fastest economic growth in over a decade, our deficits cut by two-thirds, a stock market that has doubled, and health care inflation at its lowest rate in fifty years.
So the verdict is clear. Middle-class economics works. Expanding opportunity works. And these policies will continue to work, as long as politics don’t get in the way. We can’t slow down businesses or put our economy at risk with government shutdowns or fiscal showdowns. We can’t put the security of families at risk by taking away their health insurance, or unraveling the new rules on Wall Street, or refighting past battles on immigration when we’ve got a system to fix. And if a bill comes to my desk that tries to do any of these things, it will earn my veto.
Today, thanks to a growing economy, the recovery is touching more and more lives. Wages are finally starting to rise again. We know that more small business owners plan to raise their employees’ pay than at any time since 2007. But here’s the thing – those of us here tonight, we need to set our sights higher than just making sure government doesn’t halt the progress we’re making. We need to do more than just do no harm. Tonight, together, let’s do more to restore the link between hard work and growing opportunity for every American.
Because families like Rebekah’s still need our help. She and Ben are working as hard as ever, but have to forego vacations and a new car so they can pay off student loans and save for retirement. Basic childcare for Jack and Henry costs more than their mortgage, and almost as much as a year at the University of Minnesota. Like millions of hardworking Americans, Rebekah isn’t asking for a handout, but she is asking that we look for more ways to help families get ahead.
In fact, at every moment of economic change throughout our history, this country has taken bold action to adapt to new circumstances, and to make sure everyone gets a fair shot. We set up worker protections, Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid to protect ourselves from the harshest adversity. We gave our citizens schools and colleges, infrastructure and the internet – tools they needed to go as far as their effort will take them.
That’s what middle-class economics is – the idea that this country does best when everyone gets their fair shot, everyone does their fair share, and everyone plays by the same set of rules. We don’t just want everyone to share in America’s success – we want everyone to contribute to our success.
So what does middle-class economics require in our time?
First – middle-class economics means helping working families feel more secure in a world of constant change. That means helping folks afford childcare, college, health care, a home, retirement – and my budget will address each of these issues, lowering the taxes of working families and putting thousands of dollars back into their pockets each year.
Here’s one example. During World War II, when men like my grandfather went off to war, having women like my grandmother in the workforce was a national security priority – so this country provided universal childcare. In today’s economy, when having both parents in the workforce is an economic necessity for many families, we need affordable, high-quality childcare more than ever. It’s not a nice-to-have – it’s a must-have. It’s time we stop treating childcare as a side issue, or a women’s issue, and treat it like the national economic priority that it is for all of us. And that’s why my plan will make quality childcare more available, and more affordable, for every middle-class and low-income family with young children in America – by creating more slots and a new tax cut of up to $3,000 per child, per year.
Here’s another example. Today, we’re the only advanced country on Earth that doesn’t guarantee paid sick leave or paid maternity leave to our workers. Forty-three million workers have no paid sick leave. Forty-three million. Think about that. And that forces too many parents to make the gut-wrenching choice between a paycheck and a sick kid at home. So I’ll be taking new action to help states adopt paid leave laws of their own. And since paid sick leave won where it was on the ballot last November, let’s put it to a vote right here in Washington. Send me a bill that gives every worker in America the opportunity to earn seven days of paid sick leave. It’s the right thing to do.
Of course, nothing helps families make ends meet like higher wages. That’s why this Congress still needs to pass a law that makes sure a woman is paid the same as a man for doing the same work. Really. It’s 2015. It’s time. We still need to make sure employees get the overtime they’ve earned. And to everyone in this Congress who still refuses to raise the minimum wage, I say this: If you truly believe you could work full-time and support a family on less than $15,000 a year, go try it. If not, vote to give millions of the hardest-working people in America a raise.
These ideas won’t make everybody rich, or relieve every hardship. That’s not the job of government. To give working families a fair shot, we’ll still need more employers to see beyond next quarter’s earnings and recognize that investing in their workforce is in their company’s long-term interest. We still need laws that strengthen rather than weaken unions, and give American workers a voice. But things like child care and sick leave and equal pay; things like lower mortgage premiums and a higher minimum wage – these ideas will make a meaningful difference in the lives of millions of families. That is a fact. And that’s what all of us – Republicans and Democrats alike – were sent here to do.
Second, to make sure folks keep earning higher wages down the road, we have to do more to help Americans upgrade their skills.
America thrived in the 20th century because we made high school free, sent a generation of GIs to college, and trained the best workforce in the world. But in a 21st century economy that rewards knowledge like never before, we need to do more.
By the end of this decade, two in three job openings will require some higher education. Two in three. And yet, we still live in a country where too many bright, striving Americans are priced out of the education they need. It’s not fair to them, and it’s not smart for our future.
That’s why I am sending this Congress a bold new plan to lower the cost of community college – to zero.
Forty percent of our college students choose community college. Some are young and starting out. Some are older and looking for a better job. Some are veterans and single parents trying to transition back into the job market. Whoever you are, this plan is your chance to graduate ready for the new economy, without a load of debt. Understand, you’ve got to earn it – you’ve got to keep your grades up and graduate on time. Tennessee, a state with Republican leadership, and Chicago, a city with Democratic leadership, are showing that free community college is possible. I want to spread that idea all across America, so that two years of college becomes as free and universal in America as high school is today. And I want to work with this Congress, to make sure Americans already burdened with student loans can reduce their monthly payments, so that student debt doesn’t derail anyone’s dreams.
Thanks to Vice President Biden’s great work to update our job training system, we’re connecting community colleges with local employers to train workers to fill high-paying jobs like coding, and nursing, and robotics. Tonight, I’m also asking more businesses to follow the lead of companies like CVS and UPS, and offer more educational benefits and paid apprenticeships – opportunities that give workers the chance to earn higher-paying jobs even if they don’t have a higher education.
And as a new generation of veterans comes home, we owe them every opportunity to live the American Dream they helped defend. Already, we’ve made strides towards ensuring that every veteran has access to the highest quality care. We’re slashing the backlog that had too many veterans waiting years to get the benefits they need, and we’re making it easier for vets to translate their training and experience into civilian jobs. Joining Forces, the national campaign launched by Michelle and Jill Biden, has helped nearly 700,000 veterans and military spouses get new jobs. So to every CEO in America, let me repeat: If you want somebody who’s going to get the job done, hire a veteran.
Finally, as we better train our workers, we need the new economy to keep churning out high-wage jobs for our workers to fill.
Since 2010, America has put more people back to work than Europe, Japan, and all advanced economies combined. Our manufacturers have added almost 800,000 new jobs. Some of our bedrock sectors, like our auto industry, are booming. But there are also millions of Americans who work in jobs that didn’t even exist ten or twenty years ago – jobs at companies like Google, and eBay, and Tesla.
So no one knows for certain which industries will generate the jobs of the future. But we do know we want them here in America. That’s why the third part of middle-class economics is about building the most competitive economy anywhere, the place where businesses want to locate and hire.
21st century businesses need 21st century infrastructure – modern ports, stronger bridges, faster trains and the fastest internet. Democrats and Republicans used to agree on this. So let’s set our sights higher than a single oil pipeline. Let’s pass a bipartisan infrastructure plan that could create more than thirty times as many jobs per year, and make this country stronger for decades to come.
21st century businesses, including small businesses, need to sell more American products overseas. Today, our businesses export more than ever, and exporters tend to pay their workers higher wages. But as we speak, China wants to write the rules for the world’s fastest-growing region. That would put our workers and businesses at a disadvantage. Why would we let that happen? We should write those rules. We should level the playing field. That’s why I’m asking both parties to give me trade promotion authority to protect American workers, with strong new trade deals from Asia to Europe that aren’t just free, but fair.
Look, I’m the first one to admit that past trade deals haven’t always lived up to the hype, and that’s why we’ve gone after countries that break the rules at our expense. But ninety-five percent of the world’s customers live outside our borders, and we can’t close ourselves off from those opportunities. More than half of manufacturing executives have said they’re actively looking at bringing jobs back from China. Let’s give them one more reason to get it done.
21st century businesses will rely on American science, technology, research and development. I want the country that eliminated polio and mapped the human genome to lead a new era of medicine – one that delivers the right treatment at the right time. In some patients with cystic fibrosis, this approach has reversed a disease once thought unstoppable. Tonight, I’m launching a new Precision Medicine Initiative to bring us closer to curing diseases like cancer and diabetes – and to give all of us access to the personalized information we need to keep ourselves and our families healthier.
I intend to protect a free and open internet, extend its reach to every classroom, and every community, and help folks build the fastest networks, so that the next generation of digital innovators and entrepreneurs have the platform to keep reshaping our world.
I want Americans to win the race for the kinds of discoveries that unleash new jobs – converting sunlight into liquid fuel; creating revolutionary prosthetics, so that a veteran who gave his arms for his country can play catch with his kid; pushing out into the Solar System not just to visit, but to stay. Last month, we launched a new spacecraft as part of a re-energized space program that will send American astronauts to Mars. In two months, to prepare us for those missions, Scott Kelly will begin a year-long stay in space. Good luck, Captain – and make sure to Instagram it.
Now, the truth is, when it comes to issues like infrastructure and basic research, I know there’s bipartisan support in this chamber. Members of both parties have told me so. Where we too often run onto the rocks is how to pay for these investments. As Americans, we don’t mind paying our fair share of taxes, as long as everybody else does, too. But for far too long, lobbyists have rigged the tax code with loopholes that let some corporations pay nothing while others pay full freight. They’ve riddled it with giveaways the superrich don’t need, denying a break to middle class families who do.
This year, we have an opportunity to change that. Let’s close loopholes so we stop rewarding companies that keep profits abroad, and reward those that invest in America. Let’s use those savings to rebuild our infrastructure and make it more attractive for companies to bring jobs home. Let’s simplify the system and let a small business owner file based on her actual bank statement, instead of the number of accountants she can afford. And let’s close the loopholes that lead to inequality by allowing the top one percent to avoid paying taxes on their accumulated wealth. We can use that money to help more families pay for childcare and send their kids to college. We need a tax code that truly helps working Americans trying to get a leg up in the new economy, and we can achieve that together.
Helping hardworking families make ends meet. Giving them the tools they need for good-paying jobs in this new economy. Maintaining the conditions for growth and competitiveness. This is where America needs to go. I believe it’s where the American people want to go. It will make our economy stronger a year from now, fifteen years from now, and deep into the century ahead.
Of course, if there’s one thing this new century has taught us, it’s that we cannot separate our work at home from challenges beyond our shores.
My first duty as Commander-in-Chief is to defend the United States of America. In doing so, the question is not whether America leads in the world, but how. When we make rash decisions, reacting to the headlines instead of using our heads; when the first response to a challenge is to send in our military – then we risk getting drawn into unnecessary conflicts, and neglect the broader strategy we need for a safer, more prosperous world. That’s what our enemies want us to do.
I believe in a smarter kind of American leadership. We lead best when we combine military power with strong diplomacy; when we leverage our power with coalition building; when we don’t let our fears blind us to the opportunities that this new century presents. That’s exactly what we’re doing right now – and around the globe, it is making a difference.
First, we stand united with people around the world who’ve been targeted by terrorists – from a school in Pakistan to the streets of Paris. We will continue to hunt down terrorists and dismantle their networks, and we reserve the right to act unilaterally, as we’ve done relentlessly since I took office to take out terrorists who pose a direct threat to us and our allies.
At the same time, we’ve learned some costly lessons over the last thirteen years.
Instead of Americans patrolling the valleys of Afghanistan, we’ve trained their security forces, who’ve now taken the lead, and we’ve honored our troops’ sacrifice by supporting that country’s first democratic transition. Instead of sending large ground forces overseas, we’re partnering with nations from South Asia to North Africa to deny safe haven to terrorists who threaten America. In Iraq and Syria, American leadership – including our military power – is stopping ISIL’s advance. Instead of getting dragged into another ground war in the Middle East, we are leading a broad coalition, including Arab nations, to degrade and ultimately destroy this terrorist group. We’re also supporting a moderate opposition in Syria that can help us in this effort, and assisting people everywhere who stand up to the bankrupt ideology of violent extremism. This effort will take time. It will require focus. But we will succeed. And tonight, I call on this Congress to show the world that we are united in this mission by passing a resolution to authorize the use of force against ISIL.
Second, we are demonstrating the power of American strength and diplomacy. We’re upholding the principle that bigger nations can’t bully the small – by opposing Russian aggression, supporting Ukraine’s democracy, and reassuring our NATO allies. Last year, as we were doing the hard work of imposing sanctions along with our allies, some suggested that Mr. Putin’s aggression was a masterful display of strategy and strength. Well, today, it is America that stands strong and united with our allies, while Russia is isolated, with its economy in tatters.
That’s how America leads – not with bluster, but with persistent, steady resolve.
In Cuba, we are ending a policy that was long past its expiration date. When what you’re doing doesn’t work for fifty years, it’s time to try something new. Our shift in Cuba policy has the potential to end a legacy of mistrust in our hemisphere; removes a phony excuse for restrictions in Cuba; stands up for democratic values; and extends the hand of friendship to the Cuban people. And this year, Congress should begin the work of ending the embargo. As His Holiness, Pope Francis, has said, diplomacy is the work of “small steps.” These small steps have added up to new hope for the future in Cuba. And after years in prison, we’re overjoyed that Alan Gross is back where he belongs. Welcome home, Alan.
Our diplomacy is at work with respect to Iran, where, for the first time in a decade, we’ve halted the progress of its nuclear program and reduced its stockpile of nuclear material. Between now and this spring, we have a chance to negotiate a comprehensive agreement that prevents a nuclear-armed Iran; secures America and our allies – including Israel; while avoiding yet another Middle East conflict. There are no guarantees that negotiations will succeed, and I keep all options on the table to prevent a nuclear Iran. But new sanctions passed by this Congress, at this moment in time, will all but guarantee that diplomacy fails – alienating America from its allies; and ensuring that Iran starts up its nuclear program again. It doesn’t make sense. That is why I will veto any new sanctions bill that threatens to undo this progress. The American people expect us to only go to war as a last resort, and I intend to stay true to that wisdom.
Third, we’re looking beyond the issues that have consumed us in the past to shape the coming century.
No foreign nation, no hacker, should be able to shut down our networks, steal our trade secrets, or invade the privacy of American families, especially our kids. We are making sure our government integrates intelligence to combat cyber threats, just as we have done to combat terrorism. And tonight, I urge this Congress to finally pass the legislation we need to better meet the evolving threat of cyber-attacks, combat identity theft, and protect our children’s information. If we don’t act, we’ll leave our nation and our economy vulnerable. If we do, we can continue to protect the technologies that have unleashed untold opportunities for people around the globe.
In West Africa, our troops, our scientists, our doctors, our nurses and healthcare workers are rolling back Ebola – saving countless lives and stopping the spread of disease. I couldn’t be prouder of them, and I thank this Congress for your bipartisan support of their efforts. But the job is not yet done – and the world needs to use this lesson to build a more effective global effort to prevent the spread of future pandemics, invest in smart development, and eradicate extreme poverty.
In the Asia Pacific, we are modernizing alliances while making sure that other nations play by the rules – in how they trade, how they resolve maritime disputes, and how they participate in meeting common international challenges like nonproliferation and disaster relief. And no challenge – no challenge – poses a greater threat to future generations than climate change.
2014 was the planet’s warmest year on record. Now, one year doesn’t make a trend, but this does – 14 of the 15 warmest years on record have all fallen in the first 15 years of this century.
I’ve heard some folks try to dodge the evidence by saying they’re not scientists; that we don’t have enough information to act. Well, I’m not a scientist, either. But you know what – I know a lot of really good scientists at NASA, and NOAA, and at our major universities. The best scientists in the world are all telling us that our activities are changing the climate, and if we do not act forcefully, we’ll continue to see rising oceans, longer, hotter heat waves, dangerous droughts and floods, and massive disruptions that can trigger greater migration, conflict, and hunger around the globe. The Pentagon says that climate change poses immediate risks to our national security. We should act like it.
That’s why, over the past six years, we’ve done more than ever before to combat climate change, from the way we produce energy, to the way we use it. That’s why we’ve set aside more public lands and waters than any administration in history. And that’s why I will not let this Congress endanger the health of our children by turning back the clock on our efforts. I am determined to make sure American leadership drives international action. In Beijing, we made an historic announcement – the United States will double the pace at which we cut carbon pollution, and China committed, for the first time, to limiting their emissions. And because the world’s two largest economies came together, other nations are now stepping up, and offering hope that, this year, the world will finally reach an agreement to protect the one planet we’ve got.
There’s one last pillar to our leadership – and that’s the example of our values.
As Americans, we respect human dignity, even when we’re threatened, which is why I’ve prohibited torture, and worked to make sure our use of new technology like drones is properly constrained. It’s why we speak out against the deplorable anti-Semitism that has resurfaced in certain parts of the world. It’s why we continue to reject offensive stereotypes of Muslims – the vast majority of whom share our commitment to peace. That’s why we defend free speech, and advocate for political prisoners, and condemn the persecution of women, or religious minorities, or people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender. We do these things not only because they’re right, but because they make us safer.
As Americans, we have a profound commitment to justice – so it makes no sense to spend three million dollars per prisoner to keep open a prison that the world condemns and terrorists use to recruit. Since I’ve been President, we’ve worked responsibly to cut the population of GTMO in half. Now it’s time to finish the job. And I will not relent in my determination to shut it down. It’s not who we are.
As Americans, we cherish our civil liberties – and we need to uphold that commitment if we want maximum cooperation from other countries and industry in our fight against terrorist networks. So while some have moved on from the debates over our surveillance programs, I haven’t. As promised, our intelligence agencies have worked hard, with the recommendations of privacy advocates, to increase transparency and build more safeguards against potential abuse. And next month, we’ll issue a report on how we’re keeping our promise to keep our country safe while strengthening privacy.
Looking to the future instead of the past. Making sure we match our power with diplomacy, and use force wisely. Building coalitions to meet new challenges and opportunities. Leading – always – with the example of our values. That’s what makes us exceptional. That’s what keeps us strong. And that’s why we must keep striving to hold ourselves to the highest of standards – our own.
You know, just over a decade ago, I gave a speech in Boston where I said there wasn’t a liberal America, or a conservative America; a black America or a white America – but a United States of America. I said this because I had seen it in my own life, in a nation that gave someone like me a chance; because I grew up in Hawaii, a melting pot of races and customs; because I made Illinois my home – a state of small towns, rich farmland, and one of the world’s great cities; a microcosm of the country where Democrats and Republicans and Independents, good people of every ethnicity and every faith, share certain bedrock values.
Over the past six years, the pundits have pointed out more than once that my presidency hasn’t delivered on this vision. How ironic, they say, that our politics seems more divided than ever. It’s held up as proof not just of my own flaws – of which there are many – but also as proof that the vision itself is misguided, and naïve, and that there are too many people in this town who actually benefit from partisanship and gridlock for us to ever do anything about it.
I know how tempting such cynicism may be. But I still think the cynics are wrong.
I still believe that we are one people. I still believe that together, we can do great things, even when the odds are long. I believe this because over and over in my six years in office, I have seen America at its best. I’ve seen the hopeful faces of young graduates from New York to California; and our newest officers at West Point, Annapolis, Colorado Springs, and New London. I’ve mourned with grieving families in Tucson and Newtown; in Boston, West, Texas, and West Virginia. I’ve watched Americans beat back adversity from the Gulf Coast to the Great Plains; from Midwest assembly lines to the Mid-Atlantic seaboard. I’ve seen something like gay marriage go from a wedge issue used to drive us apart to a story of freedom across our country, a civil right now legal in states that seven in ten Americans call home.
So I know the good, and optimistic, and big-hearted generosity of the American people who, every day, live the idea that we are our brother’s keeper, and our sister’s keeper. And I know they expect those of us who serve here to set a better example.
So the question for those of us here tonight is how we, all of us, can better reflect America’s hopes. I’ve served in Congress with many of you. I know many of you well. There are a lot of good people here, on both sides of the aisle. And many of you have told me that this isn’t what you signed up for – arguing past each other on cable shows, the constant fundraising, always looking over your shoulder at how the base will react to every decision.
Imagine if we broke out of these tired old patterns. Imagine if we did something different.
Understand – a better politics isn’t one where Democrats abandon their agenda or Republicans simply embrace mine.
A better politics is one where we appeal to each other’s basic decency instead of our basest fears.
A better politics is one where we debate without demonizing each other; where we talk issues, and values, and principles, and facts, rather than “gotcha” moments, or trivial gaffes, or fake controversies that have nothing to do with people’s daily lives.
A better politics is one where we spend less time drowning in dark money for ads that pull us into the gutter, and spend more time lifting young people up, with a sense of purpose and possibility, and asking them to join in the great mission of building America.
If we’re going to have arguments, let’s have arguments – but let’s make them debates worthy of this body and worthy of this country.
We still may not agree on a woman’s right to choose, but surely we can agree it’s a good thing that teen pregnancies and abortions are nearing all-time lows, and that every woman should have access to the health care she needs.
Yes, passions still fly on immigration, but surely we can all see something of ourselves in the striving young student, and agree that no one benefits when a hardworking mom is taken from her child, and that it’s possible to shape a law that upholds our tradition as a nation of laws and a nation of immigrants.
We may go at it in campaign season, but surely we can agree that the right to vote is sacred; that it’s being denied to too many; and that, on this 50th anniversary of the great march from Selma to Montgomery and the passage of the Voting Rights Act, we can come together, Democrats and Republicans, to make voting easier for every single American.
We may have different takes on the events of Ferguson and New York. But surely we can understand a father who fears his son can’t walk home without being harassed. Surely we can understand the wife who won’t rest until the police officer she married walks through the front door at the end of his shift. Surely we can agree it’s a good thing that for the first time in 40 years, the crime rate and the incarceration rate have come down together, and use that as a starting point for Democrats and Republicans, community leaders and law enforcement, to reform America’s criminal justice system so that it protects and serves us all.
That’s a better politics. That’s how we start rebuilding trust. That’s how we move this country forward. That’s what the American people want. That’s what they deserve.
I have no more campaigns to run. My only agenda for the next two years is the same as the one I’ve had since the day I swore an oath on the steps of this Capitol – to do what I believe is best for America. If you share the broad vision I outlined tonight, join me in the work at hand. If you disagree with parts of it, I hope you’ll at least work with me where you do agree. And I commit to every Republican here tonight that I will not only seek out your ideas, I will seek to work with you to make this country stronger.
Because I want this chamber, this city, to reflect the truth – that for all our blind spots and shortcomings, we are a people with the strength and generosity of spirit to bridge divides, to unite in common effort, and help our neighbors, whether down the street or on the other side of the world.
I want our actions to tell every child, in every neighborhood: your life matters, and we are as committed to improving your life chances as we are for our own kids.
I want future generations to know that we are a people who see our differences as a great gift, that we are a people who value the dignity and worth of every citizen – man and woman, young and old, black and white, Latino and Asian, immigrant and Native American, gay and straight, Americans with mental illness or physical disability.
I want them to grow up in a country that shows the world what we still know to be true: that we are still more than a collection of red states and blue states; that we are the United States of America.
I want them to grow up in a country where a young mom like Rebekah can sit down and write a letter to her President with a story to sum up these past six years:
“It is amazing what you can bounce back from when you have to…we are a strong, tight-knit family who has made it through some very, very hard times.”
My fellow Americans, we too are a strong, tight-knit family. We, too, have made it through some hard times. Fifteen years into this new century, we have picked ourselves up, dusted ourselves off, and begun again the work of remaking America. We’ve laid a new foundation. A brighter future is ours to write. Let’s begin this new chapter – together – and let’s start the work right now.
Thank you, God bless you, and God bless this country we love.
FACT SHEET: U.S.-United Kingdom Cybersecurity Cooperation
THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 16, 2015
FACT SHEET: U.S.-United Kingdom Cybersecurity Cooperation
The United States and the United Kingdom agree that the cyber threat is one of the most serious economic and national security challenges that our nations face. Every day foreign governments, criminals, and hackers are attempting to probe, intrude into, and attack government and private sector systems in both of our countries. President Obama and Prime Minister Cameron have both made clear that domestic cybersecurity requires cooperation between governments and the private sector. Both leaders additionally recognized that the inherently international nature of cyber threats requires that governments around the world work together to confront those threats.
During their bilateral meetings in Washington, D.C. this week, President Obama and Prime Minister Cameron agreed to further strengthen and deepen the already extensive cybersecurity cooperation between the United States and the United Kingdom. Both leaders agreed to bolster efforts to enhance the cybersecurity of critical infrastructure in both countries, strengthen threat information sharing and intelligence cooperation on cyber issues, and support new educational exchanges between U.S. and British cybersecurity scholars and researchers.
Improving Critical Infrastructure Cybersecurity
The United States and United Kingdom are committed to our ongoing efforts to improve the cybersecurity of our critical infrastructure and respond to cyber incidents. Both governments have agreed to bolster our efforts to increase threat information sharing and conduct joint cybersecurity and network defense exercises to enhance our combined ability to respond to malicious cyber activity. Our initial joint exercise will focus on the financial sector, with a program running over the coming year. Further, we will work with industry to promote and align our cybersecurity best practices and standards, to include the U.S. Cybersecurity Framework and the United Kingdom’s Cyber Essentials scheme.
Strengthening Cooperation on Cyber Defense
The United States and the United Kingdom work closely on a range of cybersecurity and cyber defense matters. For example, the U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT) and CERT-UK collaborate on computer network defense and sharing information to address cyber threats and manage cyber incidents. To deepen this collaboration in other areas, the United Kingdom’s Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) and Security Service (MI5) are working with their U.S. partners – the National Security Agency and the Federal Bureau of Investigation – to further strengthen U.S.-UK collaboration on cybersecurity by establishing a joint cyber cell, with an operating presence in each country. The cell, which will allow staff from each agency to be co-located, will focus on specific cyber defense topics and enable cyber threat information and data to be shared at pace and at greater scale.
Supporting Academic Research on Cybersecurity Issues
The governments of both the United States and the United Kingdom have agreed to provide funding to support a new Fulbright Cyber Security Award. This program will provide an opportunity for some of the brightest scholars in both countries to conduct cybersecurity research for up to six months. The first cohort is expected to start in the 2016-17 academic year, and the U.S.-UK Fulbright Commission will seek applications for this cohort later this year.
In addition, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Computer Science & Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (located in Cambridge, MA) has invited the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom to take part in a “Cambridge vs. Cambridge” cybersecurity contest. This competition is intended to be the first of many international university cybersecurity competitions. The aim is to enhance cybersecurity research at the highest academic level within both countries to bolster our cyber defenses.
Remarks by the President at the National Cybersecurity Communications Integration Center
THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release January 13, 2015
REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT
ON STRENGTHENING CYBERSECURITY WITH THE PRIVATE SECTOR
National Cybersecurity Communications Integration Center
3:10 P.M. EST
THE PRESIDENT: Good afternoon, everybody. I want to thank Secretary Johnson, Deputy Secretary Mayorkas, and the dedicated public servants of the Department of Homeland Security for welcoming me here today. I’ve kind of taken over your work space. I apologize for that, but just pretend that I’m not here. (Laughter.) I want you to keep working. I did ask who dressed up for this event, and apparently, a few were brave enough to admit it.
But in advance of my State of the Union address next week, I’ve been rolling out my proposals for keeping our economy on track, keeping it growing, making sure we're creating jobs and opportunity for the American people. And that includes the extraordinary opportunities that exist in our digital economy.
Yesterday, I announced new proposals to better protect Americans from identity theft and to ensure our privacy, including making sure that our kids are safe from digital marketing and intrusions on their privacy based on what they’re doing at school. Tomorrow in Iowa, I’ll talk about how we can give more families and communities faster, cheaper access to the broadband that allows them to successfully compete in this global economy. And on Thursday, the Vice President will be in Norfolk to highlight the need to continue to invest in the education and skills for our cybersecurity professionals. But today I am here at DHS to highlight how we can work with the private sector to better protect American companies against cyber threats.
Shortly after I took office, I declared that cyber threats pose an enormous challenge for our country. It's one of the most serious economic and national security challenges we face as a nation. Foreign governments, criminals and hackers probe America’s computer networks every single day. We saw that again with the attack at Sony, which actually destroyed data and computer hardware that is going to be very costly for that company to clean up. Just yesterday, we saw the hack of a military Twitter account and You Tube channel. No military operations were impacted. So far, it appears that no classified information was released. But the investigation is ongoing, and it’s a reminder that cyber threats are an urgent and growing danger.
Moreover, much of our critical infrastructure -- our financial systems, power grids, pipelines, health care systems --run on networks connected to the Internet. So this is a matter of public safety and of public health. And most of this infrastructure is owned and operated by the private sector. So neither government, nor the private sector can defend the nation alone. It’s going to have to be a shared mission -- government and industry working hand in hand, as partners.
And that’s why I’ve said that protecting our digital infrastructure is a national security priority and a national economic priority. Over the past six years, we’ve pursued a comprehensive strategy, boosting our defenses in government, sharing more information with the private sector to help them defend themselves, working with industry through what we call the Cybersecurity Framework not just to respond to threats and recover from attacks but to prevent and disrupt them in the first place.
And that’s where these good folks come in. We are currently at the National Cybersecurity Communications Integration Center -- also known as NCCIC. I just got a tour and a briefing. I want to thank everybody here, not just from DHS but from across government and the private sector, because, again, this is a shared responsibility.
This center is one of the critical lines of America’s cyber defenses. These men and women work around the clock, 24/7, monitoring threats, issuing warnings, sharing information with the private sector, and keeping Americans safe. So, as a nation, we owe them thanks, and as a nation, we are making progress. We’re more prepared to defend against cyber attacks. But every day, our adversaries are getting more sophisticated and more determined, and more plentiful. So every day, we’ve got to keep upping our game at the same time. We’ve got to stay ahead of those who are trying to do us harm.
The problem is that government and the private sector are still not always working as closely together as we should. Sometimes it’s still too hard for government to share threat information with companies. Sometimes it’s still too hard for companies to share information about cyber threats with the government. There are legal issues involved and liability issues. Sometimes, companies are reluctant to reveal their vulnerabilities or admit publicly that they have been hacked. At the same time, the American people have a legitimate interest in making sure that government is not potentially abusing information that it's received from the private sector.
So all of us -- government and industry -- are going to have to keep doing better. The new legislation and proposals I put forward yesterday will help, especially for a strong, single national standard for notifying Americans when their information has been breached. Today, I want to announce some additional steps.
First, we’re proposing new cybersecurity legislation to promote the greater information sharing we need between government and the private sector. This builds and improves upon legislation that we’ve put forward in the past. It reflects years of extensive discussions with industry. It includes liability protections for companies that share information on cyber threats. It includes essential safeguards to ensure that government protects privacy and civil liberties even as we're doing our job of safeguarding America’s critical information networks.
I raised this issue again and the need for this legislation with congressional leaders this morning, including Speaker Boehner and Leader McConnell, and we all agree that this is a threat that has to be addressed, and I am confident that we should be able to craft bipartisan legislation soon to put these systems in place. We’re going to keep on working with Congress to get this done. And in the meantime, we’re going to do everything we can with our existing authorities to make sure industry gets the information it needs to better defend itself.
Second, we’re proposing to update the authorities that law enforcement uses to go after cyber criminals. We want to be able to better prosecute those who are involved in cyber attacks, those who are involved in the sale of cyber weapons like botnets and spyware. We want to ensure that we’re able to prosecute insiders who steal corporate secrets or individuals’ private information. And we want to expand the authority of courts to shut down botnets and other malware. The bottom line, we want cyber criminals to feel the full force of American justice, because they are doing as much damage, if not more, these days as folks who are involved in more conventional crime.
Finally, and since this is a challenge that we can only meet together, I’m announcing that next month we’ll convene a White House summit on cybersecurity and consumer protection. It’s a White House summit where we're not going to do it at the White House; we're going to go to Stanford University. And it’s going to bring everybody together -- industry, tech companies, law enforcement, consumer and privacy advocates, law professors who are specialists in the field, as well as students -- to make sure that we work through these issues in a public, transparent fashion.
Because they’re hard and they’re complicated issues. But if we keep on working on them together, and focus on concrete and pragmatic steps that we can take to boost our cybersecurity and our privacy, I'm confident that both our privacy will be more secure and our information, our networks, public health, public safety will be more secure. We’re going to keep on at this as a government, but we're also going to be working with the private sector to detect, prevent, defend, deter against attacks, and to recover quickly from any disruptions or damage. And as long as I’m President, protecting America’s digital infrastructure is going to remain a top national security priority.
In closing, I want to say one of the areas I’ll be working with Congress is to ensure that we don’t let any disagreements keep us from fulfilling our most basic responsibilities. Last week’s attack in Paris was a painful reminder that we have no greater duty than the security of the American people. And our national security should never be subject to partisan political games. Congress needs to fully fund our Department of Homeland Security, without delay, so that the dedicated public servants working here can operate with the certainty and confidence they need to keep the American people safe. And that's true across the board in the Department of Homeland Security.
So, again, I want to thank Jeh and Deputy Secretary Mayorkas, and everybody here at NCCIC and DHS for the great job you are doing. You are helping to keep the nation safe and secure.
And with that, we're going to get out of here so you can get back to work. Who knows what’s been happening while you’ve been paying attention to me? (Laughter.) All right? Thank you very much, everybody. (Applause.)
THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 13, 2015
FACT SHEET: Broadband That Works: Promoting Competition & Local Choice In Next-Generation Connectivity
Last November, the President outlined his plan to keep the Internet open to new competition and innovation by safeguarding net neutrality — which will help ensure no one company can act as a gatekeeper to digital content. But there is more work to do so that every American has access to a free and open internet. This is particularly true in areas where broadband competition is lacking, resulting in high prices and slow service.
Building on his net neutrality plan, tomorrow in Cedar Falls, Iowa President Obama will announce steps he will discuss in the State of the Union to help more Americans, in more communities around the country, get access to fast and affordable broadband. Communities like Cedar Falls have banded together to commit to broadband that works by bringing in new competition, leveraging municipal investments, and forming new partnerships to bring world-class Internet to places like this small Iowa town.
High-speed, low-cost broadband is paving the way for economic revitalization not just in Cedar Falls, but in places like Chattanooga, TN, Kansas City, MO, and Lafayette, LA — all of which have Internet speeds nearly 100 times faster than the national average and deliver it at an affordable price. To help more communities achieve these results, support economic growth, and promote a level playing field for all competitors, the Obama Administration is:
Today, too few Americans have affordable and competitive broadband choices, but some communities around the country are choosing to change that dynamic. As a result – as outlined in a new report being issued today – cities like Lafayette, Chattanooga, and Kansas City, have broadband that is nearly one hundred times faster than the national average, yet still available at a competitive price. By welcoming new competition or building next-generation networks, these communities are pioneers in broadband that works, and tomorrow in Cedar Falls, Iowa, the President is highlighting their remarkable success stories and providing municipal leadership and entrepreneurs new tools to help replicate this success across the nation.
Americans in even our busiest cities often find only one or two providers offering broadband service, and often none providing them with fast, fiber-optic connections — despite the fact that many of cities are already equipped with fast fiber-optic broadband. At the same time, in too many places, residents do not have access to broadband in their home, or their speeds continue to lag while their monthly bills continue to grow.
Both of these challenges are driven by the lack of broadband choice in many American markets. In fact, three out of four Americans have no competition or no service at speeds increasingly required for many online services. Rarely is the problem a lack of demand — too often, it is the capital costs of building out broadband infrastructure and a combination of laws that prevent communities from providing incentives to attract providers. Competitive markets translate to lower monthly prices, better products, and better customer service. In cities across the country, new competitors entering markets have provided consumers with new and often faster alternatives, spurring investment from incumbents and providing consumers with more choice.
Many of the communities that have taken aggressive steps to improve their broadband have residential and business Internet speeds among the fastest in the world — faster, even, than in San Francisco, New York City, or Los Angeles:
What sets these top-performing cities apart is that they have all taken dramatic steps to bring in more competitors, and enter into new partnerships to deliver top-quality broadband. Some specific examples of how creative thinking and partnerships are delivering faster, better broadband across the country include:
Chattanooga, TN — After investing in a visionary 1 gigabit per second broadband network, the City of Chattanooga is transforming itself into a regional center for technology and innovation. Today, Chattanooga is attracting entrepreneurs and computer programmers from around the country and boasts new business incubators and state-of-the-art public facilities. Investors have responded in kind. Since 2009, Chattanooga has gone from hosting close to zero venture capital to at least five organized funds with investable capital of over $50 million.
Wilson, NC — Through inspired leadership and the community mobilization, Wilson has been transformed from “the ‘World’s Greatest Tobacco Market’ to ‘North Carolina’s First Gigabit City,’ delivering speeds up to 100 times the national average, at a price North Carolinians can afford. Unanimously approved by the city council, Mayor Bruce Rose believes this infrastructure “is absolutely essential to improve the economy and quality of life.”
Kansas City, MO — Kansas City was the first city to successfully compete for Google Fiber, the search giant’s entry into broadband service to homes and businesses, and today is being nationally recognized for attracting new start-ups, retaining existing business, and providing better municipal services and education as a result of this new and affordable broadband.
The new report released today by the National Economic Council and Council of Economic Advisers examines these remarkable stories in greater depth.
SECURING CYBERSPACE - President Obama Announces New Cybersecurity Legislative Proposal and other cybersecurity efforts
THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 13, 2015
President Obama Announces New Cybersecurity Legislative Proposal and other cybersecurity efforts
“In this interconnected, digital world, there are going to be opportunities for hackers to engage in cyber assaults both in the private sector and the public sector. Now, our first order of business is making sure that we do everything to harden sites and prevent those kinds of attacks from taking place...But even as we get better, the hackers are going to get better, too. Some of them are going to be state actors; some of them are going to be non-state actors. All of them are going to be sophisticated and many of them can do some damage.
This is part of the reason why it’s going to be so important for Congress to work with us and get an actual bill passed that allows for the kind of information-sharing we need. Because if we don’t put in place the kind of architecture that can prevent these attacks from taking place, this is not just going to be affecting movies, this is going to be affecting our entire economy in ways that are extraordinarily significant.”
– President Obama, December 19, 2014.
Since the start of his Administration, when he issued the Cyberspace Policy Review — the first top-to-bottom, Administration-wide review of cybersecurity — President Obama has led efforts to better prepare our government, our economy, and our nation as a whole for the growing cyber threats we face.
That’s why in 2011 he issued his Cybersecurity Legislative Proposal, calling on Congress to take urgent action to give the private sector and government the tools they need to combat cyber threats at home and abroad. It’s why he issued the International Strategy for Cyberspace to make clear to nations abroad the foreign policy priority cybersecurity issues have become. And when Congress failed to pass comprehensive cybersecurity legislation, the Administration pressed forward, issuing an Executive Order to protect critical infrastructure by establishing baseline cybersecurity standards that we developed collaboratively with industry.
Today, at a time when public and private networks are facing an unprecedented threat from rogue hackers as well as organized crime and even state actors, the President is unveiling the next steps in his plan to defend the nation’s systems. These include a new legislative proposal, building on important work in Congress, to solve the challenges of information sharing that can cripple response to a cyberattack. They also include revisions to those provisions of our 2011 legislative proposal on which Congress has yet to take action, and along with them, the President is extending an invitation to work in a bipartisan, bicameral manner to advance this urgent priority for the American people.
Specifically, today’s announcements include:
Cybersecurity Legislative Proposal
Enabling Cybersecurity Information Sharing: The Administration’s updated proposal promotes better cybersecurity information sharing between the private sector and government, and it enhances collaboration and information sharing amongst the private sector. Specifically, the proposal encourages the private sector to share appropriate cyber threat information with the Department of Homeland Security’s National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center (NCCIC), which will then share it in as close to real-time as practicable with relevant federal agencies and with private sector-developed and operated Information Sharing and Analysis Organizations (ISAOs) by providing targeted liability protection for companies that share information with these entities.
The legislation also encourages the formation of these private-sector led Information Sharing and Analysis Organizations. The Administration’s proposal would also safeguard Americans’ personal privacy by requiring private entities to comply with certain privacy restrictions such as removing unnecessary personal information and taking measures to protect any personal information that must be shared in order to qualify for liability protection. The proposal further requires the Department of Homeland Security and the Attorney General, in consultation with the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board and others, to develop receipt, retention, use, and disclosure guidelines for the federal government. Finally, the Administration intends this proposal to complement and not to limit existing effective relationships between government and the private sector. These existing relationships between law enforcement and other federal agencies are critical to the cybersecurity mission.
Modernizing Law Enforcement Authorities to Combat Cyber Crime: Law enforcement must have appropriate tools to investigate, disrupt and prosecute cyber crime. The Administration’s proposal contains provisions that would allow for the prosecution of the sale of botnets, would criminalize the overseas sale of stolen U.S. financial information like credit card and bank account numbers, would expand federal law enforcement authority to deter the sale of spyware used to stalk or commit ID theft, and would give courts the authority to shut down botnets engaged in distributed denial of service attacks and other criminal activity. It also reaffirms important components of 2011 proposals to update the Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), a key piece of law used to prosecute organized crime, so that it applies to cybercrimes, clarifies the penalties for computer crimes, and makes sure these penalties are in line with other similar non-cyber crimes. Finally, the proposal modernizes the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act by ensuring that insignificant conduct does not fall within the scope of the statute, while making clear that it can be used to prosecute insiders who abuse their ability to access information to use it for their own purposes.
National Data Breach Reporting: As announced yesterday, the Administration has also updated its proposal on security breach reporting. State laws have helped consumers protect themselves against identity theft while also encouraging business to improve cybersecurity, helping to stem the tide of identity theft. These laws require businesses that have suffered an intrusion to notify consumers if consumers’ personal information has been compromised. The Administration’s updated proposal helps business and consumers by simplifying and standardizing the existing patchwork of 46 state laws (plus the District of Columbia and several territories) that contain these requirements into one federal statute, and puts in place a single clear and timely notice requirement to ensure that companies notify their employees and customers about security breaches.
White House Summit on Cybersecurity and Consumer Protection
On February 13, 2015, the White House will host a Summit on Cybersecurity and Consumer Protection at Stanford University, to help shape public and private sector efforts to protect American consumers and companies from growing threats to consumers and commercial networks.
The Summit will bring together major stakeholders on cybersecurity and consumer financial protection issues – including senior leaders from the White House and across the federal government; CEOs from a wide range of industries including the financial services industry, technology and communications companies; computer security companies and the retail industry; as well as law enforcement officials, consumer advocates, technical experts, and students. Topics at the Summit will include increasing public-private partnerships and cybersecurity information sharing, creating and promoting improved cybersecurity practices and technologies, and improving adoption and use of more secure payment technologies.
The Summit is also the next step in the President’s BuySecure Initiative, which was launched in November 2014, and will help advance national efforts the government has led over the last two years with executive orders on consumer financial protection and critical infrastructure cybersecurity. Through keynote speeches, panel discussions, and small group workshops, participants will build on efforts in the public and private sectors to further improve cybersecurity practices at a wide range of companies.
Grants to Historically Black Colleges for Cybersecurity Education
As the President stated in Executive Order 13532, “Promoting Excellence, Innovation, and Sustainability at Historically Black Colleges and Universities” in February 2010, historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) have made historic and ongoing contributions to the general welfare and prosperity of our country. Established by visionary leaders, America’s HBCUs, for over 150 years, have produced many of the Nation’s leaders in business, government, academia, and the military, and have provided generations of American men and women with hope and educational opportunity. Recognizing that HBCUs serve as engines of opportunity, innovation, and economic growth, Vice President Biden will travel to Norfolk, VA on Thursday to announce that the Department of Energy will provide $25 million in grants over the next five years to support a cybersecurity education consortium consisting of 13 HBCUs and two national labs.
This program, part of the President’s jobs-driven training initiative, will help to fill the growing demand for skilled cybersecurity professionals in the U.S. job market at the same time that it helps to grow the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) curricula for HBCUs. The participating schools include two-year colleges, four-year colleges, and research institutions in seven states, plus the Virgin Islands.
Remarks by the President at the Federal Trade Commission
President Obama to Deliver Remarks at the Federal Trade Commission
THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 10, 2015
President Obama to Deliver Remarks at the Federal Trade Commission
WASHINGTON, DC – On Monday, January 12, the President will deliver remarks at the Federal Trade Commission to lay out the next steps in his plan to improve confidence in technology by tackling identify theft and improving consumer and student privacy. The President will discuss the next steps in his BuySecure initiative on consumer financial protection and new efforts to bring more innovation to the classroom by bringing peace of mind to educators and parents.
The President’s remarks are pooled for TV and still photographers, and open to pre-credentialed correspondents.
Correspondents who wish to cover the President’s remarks must RSVP via the following link by Sunday, January 11 at 10:00 AM ET: http://www.whitehouse.gov/webform/media-rsvp-president-obama-deliver-remarks-federal-trade-commission-january-12-2015-0 .
MONDAY, January 12, 2015
President Obama Delivers Remarks at Federal Trade Commission
400 7th Street, SW
Washington, D.C. 20024
America’s Resurgence is Real
THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
EMBARGOED UNTIL 6:00 AM ET, SATURDAY, January 10, 2015
WEEKLY ADDRESS: America’s Resurgence is Real
WASHINGTON, DC —In this week’s address, President Obama discussed the economic gains we made in 2014, which was the strongest year for job growth since the 1990s. In the coming weeks, the President will continue to preview his State of the Union Address and the agenda he’ll put forward to build on that progress. The President will showcase ways he’s working to help every American get ahead in the new year, like plans he announced this week to make community college free for two years, make mortgages more affordable and accessible for creditworthy families, and support manufacturing.
The audio of the address and video of the address will be available online at www.whitehouse.gov at 6:00 a.m. ET, January 10, 2015.
Remarks of President Barack Obama
The White House
January 10, 2015
Hi, everybody. About a year ago, I promised that 2014 would be a breakthrough year for America. And this week, we got more evidence to back that up.
In December, our businesses created 240,000 new jobs. The unemployment rate fell to 5.6%. That means that 2014 was the strongest year for job growth since the 1990s. In 2014, unemployment fell faster than it has in three decades.
Over a 58-month streak, our businesses have created 11.2 million new jobs. After a decade of decline, American manufacturing is in its best stretch of job growth since the ‘90s. America is now the world’s number one producer of oil and gas, helping to save drivers about a buck-ten a gallon at the pump over this time last year. Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, about 10 million Americans have gained health insurance in the past year alone. We have cut our deficits by about two-thirds. And after 13 long years, our war in Afghanistan has come to a responsible end, and more of our brave troops have come home.
It has been six years since the crisis. Those years have demanded hard work and sacrifice on everybody’s part. So as a country, we have every right to be proud of what we’ve got to show for it. America’s resurgence is real. And now that we’ve got some calmer waters, if we all do our part, if we all pitch in, we can make sure that tide starts lifting all boats again. We can make sure that the middle class is the engine that powers America’s prosperity for decades to come.
That’ll be the focus of my State of the Union Address in a couple weeks – building on the progress we’ve made. But I figured, why wait – let’s get started right now.
On Wednesday, I visited a Ford plant outside of Detroit – because the American auto industry and its home state are redefining the word “comeback.” On Thursday, I traveled to Arizona, a state that was hit among the hardest by the housing crisis, to announce a new plan that will put hundreds of dollars in new homeowners’ pockets, and help more new families buy their first home. And, I’m speaking with you today from Pellissippi State Community College in Tennessee, a state making big strides in education, to unveil my new plan to make two years of community college free for every responsible student. I’m also here to establish a new hub that will attract more good-paying, high-tech manufacturing jobs to our shores.
Making homeownership easier. Bringing a higher education within reach. Creating more good jobs that pay good wages. These are just some of the ways we can help every American get ahead in the new economy. And there’s more to come. Because America is coming back. And I want to go full speed ahead.
Thanks, everybody, and have a great weekend.
The White House · 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW · Washington DC 20500 · 202-456-1111
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Remarks by the President on Announcing New Manufacturing Hub
S BY THE PRESIDENT AT ANNOUNCEMENT OF MANUFACTURING HUB
4:00 P.M. EST
THE PRESIDENT: Good afternoon, everybody. There’s no need to stand up. Thank you so much. First of all, it's wonderful being here in Clinton. And I want to thank Mayor Scott Burton and very much appreciate the hospitality. I want to thank John Manuck and the whole Techmer team for having me and the Vice President, as well as your own Senator, Bob Corker.
I understand I am the first President -- sitting President -- to visit Clinton. You’d think Bill would have come down here. (Laughter.)
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Missed opportunity.
THE PRESIDENT: Missed opportunity. Let me tell you, if there’s an Obama, Tennessee -- (laughter) -- I'm going there. (Laughter.) But the reason we're here is because wherever Americans are doing big things that can help build our middle class and grow our economy and extend opportunity to everybody, I want to be here to lift it up and figure out how we can promote more of it.
Last year, our economy created jobs faster than at any time since the 1990s. The key now is to make sure that that growing prosperity and resurgence is reaching everybody, not just some. And that means that that we’ve got to create more good jobs and we've got to train people for those jobs that are being created. And this is going to be the focus of my State of the Union address -- but we decided to get started a little early.
This morning, I was over in Pellissippi State, where I announced my plan to make two years of community college free for students who are willing to work hard, keep their grades up and do the right thing. And we're here in Clinton because I’m taking actions, building on what we've been doing over the last four or five years, to attract more high-quality manufacturing jobs for workers to fill in the new economy.
For decades, manufacturing was the essential ingredient in building our middle class. You punched in, you made something you were proud of -- Made in America, shipped everywhere around the world -- and as a consequence, you were able to take home a good paycheck, could support your family, had good benefits. And it was a bargain that involved more than just building things; it reflected the values that this country stood for.
Over time, technology made some jobs obsolete. Globalization and additional foreign competition meant that some jobs went overseas. American manufacturing lost about one-third of its jobs in the last decade, and the middle class paid the price.
So when I took office, I believed, and I know Joe believed, that if the last decade was characterized by outsourcing, I wanted to define this decade for insourcing, making sure that the United States was competitive and that businesses wanted to locate here, and that we had a dynamic manufacturing sector and research and development sector to support that manufacturing, so that we could reverse some of those trends.
So we invested in clean energy, saved the auto industry, and today, factories are opening their doors at the fastest pace in almost two decades. Manufacturing is actually in its best stretch of job creation since the 1990s. It's added about 786,000 jobs over the past 58 months. Manufacturing is actually growing faster than the rest of the economy. Right here in Tennessee, manufacturing jobs have jumped by about 11 percent.
And the question is, how do we keep that progress going? How do we build on it? That’s why we’re working to grow the jobs of tomorrow through a national network of manufacturing hubs. We’re launching these hubs around the country, and the concept is simple: We bring businesses, research universities, community colleges, state, local and federal governments together, and we figure out, where are some key opportunities for manufacturing in the future, how do we get out in front of the curve, how do we make sure everybody is working together.
And as a consequence, we're potentially able to get cutting-edge research and design to market faster, and businesses are intimately involved in the process of figuring out how these things can be applied in ways that are really going to boost the economy and, in some cases, create entirely new industries.
So these hubs are working on everything from 3D printing -- the idea that you can have some software and put in some materials and something pops out that actually works -- to flexible computer chips that can be woven into the fabric of your shirt.
And today, we’re proud to announce our latest manufacturing hub, and it is right here in Tennessee. Led by the University of Tennessee-Knoxville, the hub will be home to 122 public and private partners who are teaming up to develop materials that are lighter and stronger than steel. So these are materials that would be ideal for fuel-efficient cars, or longer wind turbine blades that produce more energy, or materials that might go into our aviation sector. And of course, these advanced polymer composites are a sophisticated combination of materials like carbon fiber and tough plastics. We saw some samples during our tour here. Everybody knows that. That means they’re expensive to produce. So the idea here is for the partners to come together to see if we can not only come up with improved design, but also start driving down the cost and look at new applications.
So Joe and I just watched how these folks develop the composites here at Techmer. That was cool. We lost Joe’s attention when we laid eyes on that 3D-printed sports car --(laughter) -- the carbon fiber Cobra. Biden started pulling out his aviator glasses -- (laughter) -- and we had to explain to him, you don’t get to drive on this trip. (Laughter.)
But besides being a cool car, it’s a great example of how a hub like this operates. So Oak Ridge National Labs created the design and manufacturing processes. Techmer produced the composite materials. Another company called Tru-Design developed the surface finishing techniques. Undergrads from UT worked on the project, gaining skills that can help them get hired in the future. And a number of others partners chipped in as well.
So these hubs just make sense. They work. They get people working together. They create an ecosystem for a particular type of manufacturing and a specialization that allows, then, where the hub is located, to be a magnet for others who want to participate in this particular industry. And this is why -- this is an area where Congress and I are working together. Bob Corker, myself, Governor Haslam, we’re all interested in making sure that advanced manufacturing is taking place here in the United States.
Last month, I was glad to see members of Congress from both parties pass legislation that supports the progress we’ve made by creating a real national network of hubs. Senators Brown and Blunt and Representatives Kennedy and Reed deserve credit for working together to get this legislation over the finish line. I’m working to work with Congress this year to fully fund the network.
Because places like this are who we are. We create. We innovate. We build. We do it together. When I was taking the tour and we had a chance to hear from John about how he got this company started, he started off as an engineer, worked for another big company, and then decided he could it better and struck out on his own. And that story of entrepreneurship and taking a chance, that’s what built this country.
But at every step of the way throughout our history there have been instances where government can be a partner in that progress -- whether it’s creating infrastructure, whether it’s financing the basic research that generates new products. That’s a role we can play. We’ve got the most dynamic economy in the world and we’ve got the best business people in the world and the best universities in the world. Let’s put them all together and make sure they’re working to create more good jobs and more opportunity for the American people.
So, congratulations to the new hub. Let’s get to work. And I look forward to hearing about all the great things that are coming out of Clinton and across Tennessee and across America. Appreciate you. (Applause.)
Remarks by the President on America's College Promise
THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release January 9, 2015
REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT
ON AMERICA’S COLLEGE PROMISE
Pellissippi State Community College
2:05 P.M. EST
THE PRESIDENT: Hello, everybody! (Applause.) Hey! Thank you! (Applause.) Thank you so much. Thank you. Thank you, everybody. Thank you. Everybody, please have a seat. Please have a seat. Well, it is good to be back in Tennessee. I hope you guys aren’t getting tired of me. I’ve been coming around a lot lately, because there’s a lot of good stuff happening here.
I want to begin by thanking Joe and Jill Biden. They’re not just good friends and good partners, but they really believe in the power of education and they really believe in creating those kinds of ladders of opportunity that gave all three of us and Michelle the chances, the incredible opportunities that we’ve had today. And they understand the promise of America’s community colleges. Well, Jill really understands it, and Joe -- (laughter) -- he doesn’t really have a choice.
Before I get into the reason that I’m here today, I want to begin by saying just a few words about the tragic events that we’ve watched unfold in France over the last several hours and days. And because events have been fast-moving this morning, I wanted to make sure to comment on them.
I just spoke to my counterterrorism advisor. We have been in close touch with the French government throughout this tragedy. The moment that the outrageous attack took place, we directed all of our law enforcement and counterintelligence operations to provide whatever support that our ally needs in confronting this challenge. We’re hopeful that the immediate threat is now resolved, thanks to the courage and professionalism of the French personnel on the ground.
But the French government continues to face the threat of terrorism and has to remain vigilant. The situation is fluid. President Hollande has made it clear that they’re going to do whatever is necessary to protect their people. And I think it’s important for us to understand: France is our oldest ally. I want the people of France to know that the United States stands with you today, stands with you tomorrow. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families who have been directly impacted. We grieve with you. We fight alongside you to uphold our values, the values that we share -- universal values that bind us together as friends and as allies.
And in the streets of Paris, the world has seen once again what terrorists stand for. They have nothing to offer but hatred and human suffering. And we stand for freedom and hope and the dignity of all human beings. And that’s what the city of Paris represents to the world, and that spirit will endure forever -- long after the scourge of terrorism is banished from this world. (Applause.)
Now, I’m in Knoxville not only because I just like Knoxville, but I’m here today because one of my resolutions is to make sure that folks across this great country feel like they are coming back. And there is no doubt: Thanks to the steps we took early on to rescue our economy and to rebuild it on a new foundation, America is coming back. (Applause.)
Now, I’m not running for office anymore, so let me just present the facts. I promised that 2014 would be a breakthrough year for America. This morning, we got more evidence to back that up. In December, our businesses created 240,000 new jobs. Our unemployment rate fell to 5.6 percent, which is the lowest in six and a half years. What that means is, 2014 was the strongest year for job growth since the 1990s. (Applause.) Unemployment fell in 2014 faster than any year since 1984. Now, think about that. It’s been 30 years since unemployment fell as fast as it did last year. And most importantly, we’re seeing faster job growth in industries that provide good-paying jobs, traditionally middle-class jobs, than anything else.
Since 2010, the United States of America has create more jobs than Europe, Japan, and every other advanced economy combined. (Applause.) American manufacturing is in its best stretch of job growth since the 1990s. We’re actually seeing companies insourcing instead of outsourcing. They’re realizing, we want to be here with American workers making American products. America is now the world’s number-one producer in oil, gas. We’ve doubled the production of clean energy. And, by the way, you’re saving about a buck-ten a gallon at the pump over this time last year. (Applause.)
Although I keep on reminding folks, gas prices, they go up and they come down and then they go up. (Laughter.) So I just want everybody to know that you should enjoy this. Take the money you’re saving, pay off the credit card or go get a new appliance, or buy a fuel-efficient car -- (laughter) -- so that when prices go back up, you’re still well-positioned.
Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, about 10 million Americans have gained health insurance over the past year. (Applause.) And, by the way, we’ve done this while cutting our deficits by about two-thirds. Everybody thinks that -- (applause) -- they did a survey -- in every survey, they ask, is the deficit going up or going down? And 70 percent of Americans say that the deficit is going up. The deficit has come down by two-thirds since I took office. (Applause.)
Meanwhile, thanks to the hard work of students and educators, dropout rates are down, graduation rates are up. And after 13 long years, our war in Afghanistan has come to a responsible end, and we’ve got more troops that were home this holiday season. (Applause.)
So I say all this because these six years have demanded a lot of hard work and a lot of sacrifice on everybody’s part. And as a country, we’ve got every right to be proud of what we’ve got to show for it. America’s resurgence is real. And now that we’ve seen calmer waters economically, if we all do our part, if we all pitch in, then we can start making sure that all boats are actually lifted again, and wages and incomes start rising again. And we can make sure that the middle class is the engine that powers America’s prosperity just as it always has.
So that’s going to be the focus of my State of the Union address in a couple weeks. I wanted to give you a little preview. Don’t tell anybody I said this. (Laughter.) I’m giving you the inside scoop. That’s going to be the essence of my message: How do we build on the progress that we’ve made? And I figured, why wait for the State of the Union? Why stand on formalities; let’s get the ball rolling right now.
Two days ago, I visited Michigan, where workers have brought the auto industry roaring back. And we talked about what else we can do around advanced manufacturing. Yesterday, I was in Arizona, where I announced new actions to make the dream of homeownership a reality for more middle-class families. Later today, Joe and I are going to head to a company in Clinton to take action that will develop high-tech industry even further here in Tennessee. And right here, right now, at Pellissippi State, I’m going to announce one of my most important State of the Union proposals, and that’s helping every American afford a higher education. (Applause.)
Now, part of the reason I wanted to come here was because Tennessee is at the forefront of doing some really smart stuff. (Applause.) And we’ve got some proud Tennesseans who can take some credit for the great work that’s been done. First, your Governor, Bill Haslam, who’s here. (Applause.) Your two very fine senators, -- you’ve got Bob Corker -- (applause) -- and your senior Senator, Lamar Alexander, who’s a former Secretary of Education himself, so he knows a little bit about this. (Applause.) You’ve got Congressman John Duncan. (Applause.) Your Mayor, Madeline Rogero. (Applause.) And we've got Pellissippi’s president, Anthony Wise. (Applause.) Hey! And we've got all of you. (Laughter.)
Now, Joe and Jill both already touched on these themes, but let me just amplify them a little bit. Here in America we don't guarantee equal outcomes. Some folks work harder; some folks don't. Some folks take advantage of opportunities; some folks don't. Some people have good luck; some people have bad luck and things don't always work out where everything is perfectly equal. But we do expect that everybody gets an equal shot. We do expect everybody can go as far as their dreams and hard work will take them.
We don't expect anybody to be bound by the circumstances of their birth. If they were, I wouldn't be here, and neither would Joe. Jill -- she’s so accomplished she would have succeeded no matter what. (Laughter.) But we expect everybody to get a fair shot. And in exchange, we do our fair share. That's the basic bargain at the heart of this country: If you work hard, you can get ahead. It shouldn’t matter what your last name is, or what we look like, or what family we were born into, or how we worship. What matters is effort and merit. That's the promise of America.
And the way we deliver on that is making sure that our education system works on behalf of every person who lives here. America thrived in the 20th century in large part because we made high school the norm, and then we sent a generation to college on the GI Bill -- including my grandfather. Then we dedicated ourselves to cultivating the most educated workforce in the world and we invested in what’s one of the crown jewels of this country, and that's our higher education system. And dating back to Abraham Lincoln, we invested in land-grant colleges. We understood that this was a hallmark of America, this investment in education.
But eventually, the world caught on and the world caught up. And that’s why we have to lead the world in education again. That’s why my administration is working to make high-quality early childhood education available to all of our kids. (Applause.) We know if we invest in them early, that it pays dividends on the backend.
That's why we're working to bring high-speed broadband to 99 percent of America’s students within the next four years. We want to make sure every child is plugged in. That's why we're recruiting more highly trained math and science teachers. That's why we’re working to raise standards and invest more in our elementary and middle and high schools, so that every young person is prepared for a competitive world.
And this work is not easy. Sometimes it's controversial. It's not going to be the same in every state. But in places like Tennessee, we're seeing incredible strides as a consequence of these efforts. Over the past few years, Tennessee students have improved their reading scores and math scores more than any other state in the country. (Applause.) That’s a credit to their hard work, their teachers’ hard work, to Governor Haslam’s hard work, leaders from both parties. It's been a bipartisan effort. Every Tennessean should be proud of that.
And today, in a 21st century economy, where your most valuable asset is your knowledge, the single most important way to get ahead is not just to get a high school education, you’ve got to get some higher education. That’s why all of you are here.
Now, the value of an education is not purely instrumental. Education helps us be better people. It helps us be better citizens. You came to college to learn about the world and to engage with new ideas and to discover the things you’re passionate about -- and maybe have a little fun. (Laughter.) And to expand your horizons. That’s terrific -- that’s a huge part of what college has to offer.
But you’re also here, now more than ever, because a college degree is the surest ticket to the middle class. It is the key to getting a good job that pays a good income -- and to provide you the security where even if you don't have the same job for 30 years, you're so adaptable and you have a skill set and the capacity to learn new skills, it ensures you're always employable.
And that is the key not just for individual Americans, that’s the key for this whole country’s ability to compete in the global economy. In the new economy, jobs and businesses will go wherever the most skilled, best-educated workforce resides. Because businesses are mobile now. Technology means they can locate anywhere. And where they have the most educated, most adaptable, most nimble workforce, that's where they’re going to locate. And I want them to look no further than the United States of America. I want them coming right here. I want those businesses here, and I want the American people to be able to get those businesses -- or get those jobs that those businesses create.
So that’s why we’ve increased grants and took on a student loan system that was funneling billions of taxpayer dollars through big banks, and said let’s cut out the middleman, let’s give them directly to students instead, we can help more students.
We’ve increased scholarships. We've cut taxes for people paying tuition. We've let students cap their federal student loan payments at 10 percent of income so that they can borrow with confidence, particularly if you're going into a job like nursing or teaching that may not pay a huge salary but that's where your passions are.
We’re creating a new college ratings system that will give parents and students the kind of clear, concise information you need to shop around for a school with the best value for you -- and gives us the capacity to recognize schools that offer a great education at a reasonable price.
On the flight over here, Lamar and I were talking about how we can do more to simplify the application process for federal student loans, which is still too complicated. (Applause.)
So we've done a lot of good work over the last six years; we're going to keep at it. But today, I want to focus on a centerpiece of my education agenda -- and that’s the community colleges, like this one.
For millions of Americans, community colleges are essential pathways to the middle class because they’re local, they’re flexible. They work for people who work full-time. They work for parents who have to raise kids full-time. They work for folks who have gone as far as their skills will take them and want to earn new ones, but don’t have the capacity to just suddenly go study for four years and not work. Community colleges work for veterans transitioning back into civilian life. Whether you’re the first in your family to go to college, or coming back to school after many years away, community colleges find a place for you. And you can get a great education.
Now, Jill has been teaching English at community colleges for 20 years. She started when she was like 15. (Laughter.) And she’s still full-time today. And she sees -- I talk to her and she talks about her students, and she can see the excitement and the promise, and sometimes the fear of being a 32-year-old mom who’s going back to school and never finished the degree that she had started, and life got in the way and now she’s coming back and suddenly getting a whole new skills set and seeing a whole range of career options opening up to her. It’s exciting.
And that’s what community colleges are all about -- the idea that no one with drive and discipline should be left out, should be locked out of opportunity, and certainly that nobody with that drive and discipline should be denied a college education just because they don’t have the money. Every American, whether they’re young or just young at heart, should be able to earn the skills and education necessary to compete and win in the 21st century economy.
So today I’m announcing an ambitious new plan to bring down the cost of community college tuition in America. I want to bring it down to zero. (Applause.) We’re going to -- I want to make it free. (Applause.) I want to make it free. Community colleges should be free for those willing to work for it -- because in America, a quality education cannot be a privilege that is reserved for a few. I think it’s a right for everybody who’s willing to work for it.
Now, the good news is, you already do something like this in Tennessee. You call it Tennessee Promise. (Applause.) So you call it Tennessee Promise, and we thought why not just build on what works. So we’re going to call it “America’s College Promise.” (Applause.)
And the concept is simple: America’s College Promise will make two years of community college free to responsible students who are willing to work for it. Now, I want to underscore that last clause -- everybody who’s working hard for it. There are no free rides in America. You would have to earn it. Students would have to do their part by keeping their grades up. Colleges would have to do their part by offering high-quality academics and helping students actually graduate. States would have to do their part too. This isn’t a blank check. It’s not a free lunch. But for those willing to do the work, and for states and local communities that want to be a part of this, it can be a game-changer.
Think about it: Students who started at community colleges during those two years, and then go on to a four-year institution, they essentially get the first half of their bachelor’s degree for free. People who enroll for skills training will graduate already ready to work, and they won’t have a pile of student debt. Two years of college will become as free and universal as high school is today.
Now, we’re also taking another page out of Tennessee’s playbook and making investments to expand technical training programs at community colleges, much like you do through your 27 Colleges of Applied Technology. (Applause.) Joe did a terrific job running a task force that we put together just to look at the job training and technical training systems all around the country. And at a time when jobs are changing, and higher wages call for higher skills, we’ve got to make sure workers have a chance to get those skills.
We want young people to graduate with real-world training that leads directly to good jobs, and we want older workers to get retrained so they can compete. And we want more women and minorities to get jobs in fields that traditionally they’ve been left out of, like science and technology, and engineering and math. And we want to connect community colleges with employers, because when that’s done right, these partnerships pay off for everybody: Students learn on the job, employers get access to talent, colleges get help designing courses that actually prepare people for the workplace, all of which creates better pathways to today’s middle class. So we’re going to find the programs that work and we’re going to help them grow.
Now, in a few weeks, I’m going to send to Congress my plan for free community college. I hope that Congress will come together to support it, because opening the doors of higher education shouldn’t be a Democratic issue or a Republican issue. This is an American issue. (Applause.)
Governor Haslam is a Republican. And thanks to his leadership, last year Democrats and Republicans came together and made Tennessee the first state in decades to offer free community college to its students. Meanwhile, up in my hometown of Chicago, Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who is a Democrat, is now offering free community college, and they’re pairing students with growing sectors of the economy so they graduate with good jobs. So if a state with Republican leadership is doing this and a city with Democratic leadership is doing this, then how about we all do it? Let’s do it for our future. (Applause.)
And as I said before, there are a bunch of good bipartisan ideas out there. A few days ago, Senator Alexander joined forces with a Democratic Senator, Michael Bennet, to introduce the legislation that would make financial aid forms simpler. I noticed a lot of people applauded, because it’s been a while since I filled it out -- (laughter) -- but I understand there’s more than 100 questions on it. It just shouldn’t be that hard to apply for aid for college. And so I’ve committed to working with Senator Alexander. Let’s shrink it down. Let’s make life a little easier for millions of families. The point is, we’re not going to agree on everything. But simplifying that form, that’s something we should be able to agree on. Let’s get that done this year. (Applause.)
Because in the end, nothing is more important to our country than you, our people. That’s our asset. We’ve got very nice real estate here. We’ve got this incredible bounty, the God-given resources that we enjoy in this country. But our greatest resources are people.
And I want to say to the students here and the staff and faculty how proud I am of what you guys are doing. A lot of students here, I know you had to overcome some obstacles to get here. Many of you are the first in your families to go to college. Some of you are working full time while you’re going to school. But you’re making this investment in you, and by doing that, you’re making an investment in this country’s future.
And I just want to use one person’s story as an example, Caitlin McLawhorn. Where’s Caitlin? Where is she? Is she here? I thought she was here a second ago, but I’m going to tell her story anyway.
She was raised by a single mom. She helped make ends meet, getting her first job almost the minute she could, two days after her 16th birthday. When it came time for college, the money wasn’t there. But Caitlin lives in Tennessee, so she knew she had a great, free option. She completed two years at this institution. Now she’s a senior at Maryville College. She’s working full-time, just like she has since her first day of college. And Caitlin says, “A lot of people like me got discouraged. I get discouraged. But I can look back and say, you’ve made it so far. I’ve learned that things aren’t always what you want, but you can make them what you want.” That’s wisdom.
“Things aren’t always what you want, but you can make them what you want.” That’s what America is about. We can make of our lives what we will. And there are going to be bumps, and there are going to be challenges. And we’ve come through some very hard times. Things aren’t always what we wanted, but we have overcome discouragement and we have overcome division and, sometimes, some discord. And we don’t give up. We get up, we fight back, we come back stronger than before.
Thanks to the hard work of the American people, the United States of America is coming back. And I’ve never been as confident as -- in my entire life that we’re going to make of our future what we want of it thanks to you.
Appreciate it, Tennessee. God bless you. God bless America. (Applause.)
FACT SHEET: President Obama Announces New Manufacturing Innovation Hub in Knoxville, Tennessee
FACT SHEET: President Obama Announces New Manufacturing Innovation Hub in Knoxville, TennesseeInboxxWhite House Press Office via service.govdelivery.com Jan 9 (3 days ago)
to me THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 9, 2015
FACT SHEET: President Obama Announces New Manufacturing Innovation Hub in Knoxville, Tennessee
A Knoxville-area based consortium of 122 companies, nonprofits, universities and research laboratories is partnering with the Department of Energy to create a more than $250 million manufacturing innovation institute focused on U.S. leadership in next-generation composite materials.
Today, the President is announcing the latest in a series of partnerships aimed at boosting advanced manufacturing, fostering American innovation, and attracting well-paying jobs that will strengthen the middle class. After a decade of decline, American manufacturing is coming back, adding 786,000 new jobs since February 2010. Today’s new action is the kind of investment we need to build on this progress, creating the foundation needed for American manufacturing growth and competitiveness in the years to come.
The Department of Energy and a consortium of 122 companies, nonprofits, and universities led by the University of Tennessee-Knoxville will invest more than $250 million - $70 million in federal funds and more than $180 million in non-federal funds – to launch a Manufacturing Innovation Institute for Advanced Composites.
In addition to announcing the new hub, the President will applaud the recent passage of bipartisan legislation in Congress that takes a significant step toward creating a National Network for Manufacturing Innovation consistent with his vision to strengthen the resurgence of American manufacturing and help to create new, 21st century job opportunities for American workers in high-demand sectors.
Building on the Success of the First NNMI Institute
The new manufacturing innovation institute, the fifth institute to be awarded of the eight institute competitions launched, builds on the early successes of the first manufacturing innovation institute, America Makes in Youngstown, OH.
America Makes in Youngstown, OH
America Makes is focused on reducing the cost of 3D printing, connecting small businesses like rp+m and M7 with new opportunities, and training American workers to master these sophisticated technologies. Only in its third year of operations, the institute has research underway that will help accelerate the speed of 3D printing in metals by a factor of ten, is partnering to provide over 1,000 schools with access to 3D printers, and has launched new workforce training programs that have trained over 7,000 workers in the fundamentals of 3D printing.
In addition to launching new products and filing new patents from the research underway, the institute is serving as a magnet for investment in the region. Last November, GE announced a $32 million investment in a new 3D printing research facility in the region, citing the advantages of locating near America Makes.
As GE attests, “When you consider that manufacturing has become increasingly complex and technology-intensive, you quickly realize that all U.S. manufacturers, big and small, face common challenges that are best tackled by a diverse group of stakeholders from academia, government, and industry. These institutes have provided fertile ground to discuss the common challenges facing all of us to ensure that America has the cutting-edge technology and workforce expertise to lead the world in advanced manufacturing.”
These institutes are an important part of revitalizing American manufacturing:
· Strengthening U.S. Manufacturing’s Competitiveness with Leadership in Cutting-Edge Technologies - Each manufacturing institute serves as a regional hub, bridging the gap between applied research and product development by bringing together companies, universities and other academic and training institutions, and Federal agencies to co-invest in key emerging technology areas that can encourage investment and production in the U.S.
· Preparing America’s Workers for Jobs in Manufacturing – Each institute, as a type of “teaching factory,” provides a unique opportunity for education and training of students and workers at all levels, while supporting the shared assets to help small manufacturers and other companies access the cutting-edge capabilities and equipment to design, test, and pilot new products and manufacturing processes.
· Co-investing with the Private Sector - Proving the value of these technological advances to the competitiveness of industry, each institute is launched with a five year commitment of federal resources matched by that much or more invested from the private sector, with the intent that the institutes will become self-sustaining once mature.
In a significant step forward in bringing together the manufacturing institutes into a National Network for Manufacturing Innovation, Congress passed the bipartisan Revitalize American Manufacturing and Innovation (RAMI) Act of 2014 in December as part of the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act of 2015, proving that strengthening American manufacturing is a goal on which we can all agree.
· Realizing the President’s Vision for a National Network for Manufacturing Innovation. The bipartisan legislation builds on the progress made by the President through executive action, beginning in 2012 when the Department of Defense launched the first manufacturing institute, to create a network of institutes that together provide the foundation for American leadership in the manufacturing technologies that support our competitiveness for years to come.
· Enacting Bipartisan Legislation to Establish that Network. The RAMI Act enables the institutes to come together as a network, to leverage shared expertise and common support services, and to create a governance structure across the institutes that can guide their success over the long term.
· Demonstrating Significant Bipartisan Leadership in Congress. Introduced by Sens. Brown (D-OH) and Blunt (R-MO) in the Senate and Reps. Reed (R-NY) and Kennedy (D-MA) in the House, the RAMI Act attracted significant bipartisan support with 118 co-sponsors across the two chambers.
Background on the Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation Institute:
The new institute the Department of Energy is awarding today will focus on cutting-edge research on advanced composites – such as carbon fiber – materials that are three times as strong and twice as light as the lightest metals.
· Advanced fiber-reinforced polymer composites, which combine strong fibers with tough plastics, are lighter and stronger than steel. Advanced composites are currently used for expensive applications like satellites and luxury cars.
· Bringing these materials down the cost curve can enable their use for a broader range of products including lightweight vehicles with record-breaking fuel economy; lighter and longer wind turbine blades; high pressure tanks for natural gas-fueled cars; and lighter, more efficient industrial equipment.
Advanced composites are especially important for progressing clean energy generation and improving the efficiency of the nation’s fleet.
· In the wind energy industry, advances in low-cost composite materials will help manufacturers build longer, lighter and stronger blades to create more energy.
· By doubling the length of a turbine blade these materials can help quadruple the amount of electricity generated.
· In automotive applications, advanced composites could reduce the weight of a passenger car by 50 percent and improve its fuel efficiency by roughly 35 percent without compromising performance or safety – helping to save American families more than $5,000 in fuel costs over the car’s lifetime.
The Institute for Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation will work to develop lower-cost, higher-speed, and more efficient manufacturing and recycling processes for advanced composites.
· The Institute will focus on lowering the overall manufacturing costs of advanced composites by 50 percent, reducing the energy used to make composites by 75 percent and increasing the recyclability of composites to over 95 percent within the next decade.
· The Institute has assembled a world-class team of organizations from across the industry, including leading manufacturers, material suppliers and software developers, government and academia, with both broad and deep experience in all aspects of the advanced composite product development process from design and prototyping to manufacturing at commercial scale.
· The new institute pairs leading carbon fiber producers and suppliers – like Materials Innovation Technologies, Harper International, and Strongwell – with key end users like TPI for wind turbines and Ford for automobiles.
· The new hub will also unite these manufacturers with top-flight research universities, such as the University of Tennessee with its pioneering 3D printed carbon fiber research, and the University of Kentucky with the largest U.S. open-access carbon-fiber chemistry laboratory.
· The combined resources and expertise of the team will provide a leap forward in composite manufacturing and further enhance U.S. competitiveness in clean energy as the team cultivates additional new partnerships.
The winning team, led by the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, has established a new not-for-profit organization headquartered in Knoxville, TN and includes the following 86 key partners and 36 additional consortia members:
57 Companies: A&P Technology, Inc.; Adherent Technologies, Inc.; Altair; Ashland Performance Materials; Assembly Guidance Systems, Inc.; BASF Company; Boeing Company; Celanese International; Continental Structural Plastics; Convergent Manufacturing Technologies; Cytec Engineered Materials; Dassault Systemes Americas Corp.; Dow Chemical Company; DowAksa; DuPont; ESI North America; Evonik Corporation; Faurecia US Holdings; Fives; Ford Motor Company; GE Water & Power; Graco Inc.; GrafTech International; Heil Trailer International; Herty Advanced Materials Development Center; Hills, Inc.; Honda R&D Americas, Inc.; Huntsman Polyurethanes; IN3 Applications; Johns Manville; LayStitch Technologies; LM Wind Power; Local Motors; Lockheed Martin; Materials Innovation Technologies; McWhinney Real Estate Services; Michelman Inc.; Milacron Plastics Technologies Group; Momentive; North Coast Tool & Mold Corp.; Owens Corning; Phoenix Integration; PolyNEW, Inc.; PolyOne Corporation; PPG Industries, Inc.; SABIC Innovative Plastics US; SAERTEX USA, LLC; Strongwell Inc.; Thogus Products Company; Toray Composites (America), Inc.; TPI Composites, Inc.; Vestas Americas; Volkswagen; Wetzel Engineering; Williams, White & Company; Wolf Robotics, LLC; and Xperion
15 Universities and Laboratories: The University of Tennessee, Knoxville; Colorado School of Mines; Colorado State University; Iowa State University; Michigan State University; Mississippi State University; National Renewable Energy Laboratory; Oak Ridge National Laboratory; Purdue University; The Ohio State University; University of Colorado-Boulder; University of Dayton Research Institute; University of Kentucky; University of Michigan; and Vanderbilt University
14 Other Entities: Institute for Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation (IACMI); Abaris Training Resources, Inc.; American Chemical Council; National Composites Center; Oak Ridge Carbon Fiber Composites Consortium; Polymer Ohio, Inc.; Southern Research Institute; Colorado Office of Economic Development & International Trade; Indiana Economic Development Corporation; Michigan Economic and Community Development; Ohio Development Services Agency; State of Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development; State of Tennessee; and University of Tennessee Research Foundation
36 Consortia Members: Alcoa Inc.; 3M Company; BioCycle, LLC; Braskem America; BST Nano Carbon; Chomarat North America; Cincinnati Incorporated; Concordia Fibers; Eaton Corporation; EWI; Fiber-Tech Industries, Inc.; FibrTech; Global Wind Network (GLWN); Harper International; Hexagon Lincoln; Ingersoll Machine Tools; Interlaken Technology; International Fibers, Ltd.; Johnson Controls, Inc; Koppers; Materia, Inc.; Mentis Sciences, Inc; Michigan Molecular Institute; Nexgen Composites; NONA Composites, LLC; Oerlikon Metco; OshKosh Corporation; Plasan Carbon Composites; PlastiComp; Quickstep Composites, LLC; Rocky Mountain Institute; The Magni Group; Techmer ES; Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing North America, Inc.; United Technologies Research Center; and XG Sciences
FACT SHEET - White House Unveils America’s College Promise Proposal: Tuition-Free Community College for Responsible Students
THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 9, 2015
FACT SHEET: White House Unveils America’s College Promise Proposal: Tuition-Free Community College for Responsible Students
Nearly a century ago, a movement that made high school widely available helped lead to rapid growth in the education and skills training of Americans, driving decades of economic growth and prosperity. America thrived in the 20th century in large part because we had the most educated workforce in the world. But other nations have matched or exceeded the secret to our success. Today, more than ever, Americans need more knowledge and skills to meet the demands of a growing global economy without having to take on decades of debt before they even embark on their career.
Today the President is unveiling the America’s College Promise proposal to make two years of community college free for responsible students, letting students earn the first half of a bachelor’s degree and earn skills needed in the workforce at no cost. This proposal will require everyone to do their part: community colleges must strengthen their programs and increase the number of students who graduate, states must invest more in higher education and training, and students must take responsibility for their education, earn good grades, and stay on track to graduate. The program would be undertaken in partnership with states and is inspired by new programs in Tennessee and Chicago. If all states participate, an estimated 9 million students could benefit. A full-time community college student could save an average of $3,800 in tuition per year.
In addition, today the President will propose a new American Technical Training Fund to expand innovative, high-quality technical training programs similar to Tennessee Tech Centers that meet employer needs and help prepare more Americans for better paying jobs. These proposals build on a number of historic investments the President has made in college affordability and quality since taking office, including a $1,000 increase in the maximum Pell Grant award to help working and middle class families, the creation of the $2,500 American Opportunity Tax Credit, reforming student loans to eliminate subsidies to banks to invest in making college more affordable and keeping student debt manageable, and making available over $2 billion in grants to connect community colleges with employers to develop programs that are designed to get hard-working students good jobs.
The President’s Plan: Make Two Years of College as Free and Universal as High School
By 2020, an estimated 35 percent of job openings will require at least a bachelor’s degree and 30 percent will require some college or an associate’s degree. Forty percent of college students are enrolled at one of America’s more than 1,100 community colleges, which offer students affordable tuition, open admission policies, and convenient locations. They are particularly important for students who are older, working, need remedial classes, or can only take classes part-time. For many students, they offer academic programs and an affordable route to a four-year college degree. They are also uniquely positioned to partner with employers to create tailored training programs to meet economic needs within their communities such as nursing, health information technology, and advanced manufacturing.
The America’s College Promise proposal would create a new partnership with states to help them waive tuition in high-quality programs for responsible students, while promoting key reforms to help more students complete at least two years of college. Restructuring the community college experience, coupled with free tuition, can lead to gains in student enrollment, persistence, and completion transfer, and employment. Specifically, here is what the initiative will mean:
Enhancing Student Responsibility and Cutting the Cost of College for All Americans: Students who attend at least half-time, maintain a 2.5 GPA while in college, and make steady progress toward completing their program will have their tuition eliminated. These students will be able to earn half of the academic credit they need for a four-year degree or earn a certificate or two-year degree to prepare them for a good job.
Building High-Quality Community Colleges: Community colleges will be expected to offer programs that either (1) are academic programs that fully transfer to local public four-year colleges and universities, giving students a chance to earn half of the credit they need for a four-year degree, or (2) are occupational training programs with high graduation rates and that lead to degrees and certificates that are in demand among employers. Other types of programs will not be eligible for free tuition. Colleges must also adopt promising and evidence-based institutional reforms to improve student outcomes, such as the effective Accelerated Study in Associate Programs (ASAP) programs at the City University of New York which waive tuition, help students pay for books and transit costs, and provide academic advising and supportive scheduling programs to better meet the needs of participating students, resulting in greater gains in college persistence and degree completion.
Ensuring Shared Responsibility with States: Federal funding will cover three-quarters of the average cost of community college. States that choose to participate will be expected to contribute the remaining funds necessary to eliminate community college tuition for eligible students. States that already invest more and charge students less can make smaller contributions, though all participating states will be required to put up some matching funds. States must also commit to continue existing investments in higher education; coordinate high schools, community colleges, and four-year institutions to reduce the need for remediation and repeated courses; and allocate a significant portion of funding based on performance, not enrollment alone. States will have flexibility to use some resources to expand quality community college offerings, improve affordability at four-year public universities, and improve college readiness, through outreach and early intervention.
Expanding Technical Training for Middle Class Jobs. Additionally, in order to spread the availability of high-quality and innovative programs like those in Tennessee and Texas, which achieve better than average completion and employment outcomes, the President is also proposing the American Technical Training Fund. This fund will award programs that have strong employer partnerships and include work-based learning opportunities, provide accelerated training, and are scheduled to accommodate part-time work. Programs could be created within current community colleges or other training institutions. The focus of the discretionary budget proposal would be to help high-potential, low-wage workers gain the skills to work into growing fields with significant numbers of middle-class jobs that local employers are trying to fill such as energy, IT, and advanced manufacturing. This program will fund the start-up of 100 centers and scale those efforts in succeeding years. Smaller grants would help to bring together partners and start a pilot program. Larger grants would be used for expanding programs based on evidence of effectiveness, which could include past performance on graduation rates, job placement rates and placement wages. Building on the President’s community college initiative, known as the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training Grants and for which 2014 was the final year of funding, these funds will help community colleges become more job-driven.
Building on State and Local Programs. In the past year, Tennessee and the City of Chicago initiated free community college programs. In the first year of the Tennessee program, 57,000 students representing almost 90 percent of the state’s high school graduating class applied for the program. The scholarship is coupled with college counseling, mentorship, and community service that early evidence suggests supports greater enrollment, persistence and college completion. This is coupled with efforts to spur innovation and improvement by funding colleges using performance outcomes based on student success and an innovative approach to career and technical education through the Tennessee Colleges of Applied Technology. These Tennessee Tech Centers have a graduation rate of 80 percent and a job placement rate of 85 percent.
Building on a Record of Progress. Since taking office, President Obama has taken steps to expand federal support to help more students afford college, while calling for a shared responsibility in tackling rising college costs. Key achievements include:
· Doubling the Investment in Pell Grants: The President has raised the maximum Pell Grant award to $5,730 for the 2014-15 award year — a nearly $1,000 increase since 2008. The number of Pell Grant recipients has expanded by 50 percent over that same time.
· Expanding Education Tax Credits: President Obama established the American Opportunity Tax Credit in 2009 to assist families with the costs of college, providing up to $10,000 for four years of college tuition.
· Pay-As-You-Earn Loans: All new borrowers can now cap loan payments at 10 percent of their incomes. The Department of Education has begun the process to amend its regulations and will make the new plan available on all direct loans by December 2015. We expect it to benefit up to 5 million borrowers.
· First in the World Grants: In September, the Department of Education awarded $75 million to 24 colleges and universities under the new First in the World grant program to expand college access and improve student learning while reducing costs.
· College Ratings Program: The Department of Education continues to develop a college ratings system by the 2015-2015 school year that will recognize institutions that excel at enrolling students from all backgrounds; focus on maintaining affordability; and succeed at helping all students graduate with a degree or certificate of value.
· Job-Driven Training Grants: Through the Trade Adjustment Community College and Career Training program more than 1,000 institutions have received $2 billion in federal funding to design education and training programs, working closely with employers and industry that prepare workers for jobs in-demand in their regional economies, such as health care, information technology and energy. These programs have shown early success -- through the end of FY2013, among the nearly 164,000 individuals who had enrolled in these programs 88 percent either completed a program or continued the program into a second year.
· White House Summit on Community Colleges: In October 2010, the President convened community college leaders, faculty and students; business leaders; philanthropic organizations; and other workforce development experts for the first White House summit dedicated to the role that community colleges play in our efforts to increase the number of college graduates and prepare those graduates to lead the 21st century workforce.
· Center for the Analysis of Postsecondary Readiness: Last August, the Department of Education launched a new $10 million Institute for Education Sciences-funded Center for the Analysis of Postsecondary Readiness (CAPR) that is working to strengthen the research, evaluation, and support of college readiness efforts across the nation. CAPR is documenting current practices in developmental English and math education to identify innovative instructional practices that improve student success.
· Call to Action on College Opportunity: Last December, the President, Vice President, and First Lady joined college presidents and leaders of non-profits, foundations, and other organizations to announce over 600 new commitments to produce more college graduates. Community colleges made commitments individually, and in partnership with neighboring school districts and four-year institutions, to build seamless transitions among institutions, develop clear educational and career pathways, implement strategies to increase student completion of STEM programs, and establish more accurate measures of student progress and success.
Statement on the Third Estimate of GDP for the Third Quarter of 2014
THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 23, 2014
Statement on the Third Estimate of GDP for the Third Quarter of 2014 WASHINGTON, DC – Jason Furman, Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, issued the following statement today on the third estimate of GDP for the third quarter of 2014. You can view the statement HERE.
Posted by Jason Furman on December 23, 2014 at 09:30 AM EST
Today’s upward revision indicates that the economy grew in the third quarter at the fastest pace in over a decade. The strong GDP growth is consistent with a broad range of other indicators showing improvement in the labor market, increasing domestic energy security, and continued low health cost growth. The steps that we took early on to rescue our economy and rebuild it on a new foundation helped make 2014 already the strongest year for job growth since the 1990s. Indeed, 2014 was a breakthrough year for the United States across a wide range of metrics important to middle class families. Nevertheless, there is more work to be done to ensure that all Americans can share in the accelerating recovery.
FIVE KEY POINTS IN TODAY’S REPORT FROM THE BUREAU OF ECONOMIC ANALYSIS
1. Real gross domestic product (GDP) grew 5.0 percent at an annual rate in the third quarter of 2014—the strongest single quarter since 2003—according to the third estimate from the Bureau of Economic Analysis. While quarterly growth reports are volatile, and some of the growth in Q3 reflected transitory factors, the recent robust growth data indicate a solid underlying trend of recovery. Indeed, the strong growth recorded in each of the last two quarters suggests that the economy has bounced back strongly from the first-quarter decline in GDP, which largely reflected transitory factors like unusually severe winter weather and a sharp slowdown in inventory investment. Consumer spending, business investment, and net exports all remained positive contributors this quarter. Real gross domestic income (GDI), an alternative measure of the overall size of the economy, was up 4.7 percent in Q3.
2. Third-quarter real GDP growth was revised up 1.1 percentage point from the second estimate released in November. Most of the upward revisions were in personal consumption and business investment, the most persistent and stable components of GDP. The contributions of consumer spending and business investment were revised up 0.7 and 0.2 percentage point, respectively, including increased contributions from health care and other services, nonresidential structures investment, and intellectual property investment. An upward revision to inventory investment also accounted for 0.1 percentage point of the revision.
3. In the third quarter, personal consumption expenditures rose 3.2 percent at an annual rate. With real wages rising for two years, consumer sentiment at its highest level since 2007, and households having substantially deleveraged, consumption growth continues to trend upward. Consumers cite improved employment and wage expectations—along with declining gasoline prices—as major drivers of improved economic optimism, according the Reuters/University of Michigan consumer sentiment survey. The improved optimism is borne out in broad-based consumption growth, with durable goods spending continuing its pattern of strong growth in the recovery, and nondurable goods and services consumption picking up from the previous quarter. But challenges remain for consumers, and we have more work to do to boost wages for middle class families.
4. The current account deficit remained near its lowest level since the late 1990s as the declining federal budget deficit has boosted domestic saving. The current account balance is a measure of net transactions between the United States and the rest of the world, including our trade balance and other income flows across our borders. When the current account is in deficit, as it has been for most of the past thirty years, the United States borrows from abroad to finance its spending. But our current account deficit has narrowed sharply since the crisis, in large part because of increased domestic saving including the fall of the Federal budget deficit from 9.8 percent of GDP in FY 2009 to 2.8 percent in FY 2014. The U.S. current account deficit now stands at 2.5 percent of GDP, down from more than 6 percent in the fourth quarter of 2005. The smaller deficit reduces our reliance on foreign borrowing, encouraging a more sustainable recovery.
5. Real private domestic final purchases (PDFP)—the sum of consumption and fixed investment—is up 3.3 percent over the last four quarters, a faster four-quarter growth rate than real GDP. Real PDFP growth is generally a more stable and forward-looking indicator than real GDP because it excludes highly volatile components like inventory investment and net exports. In the first and second quarters of this year, GDP growth fluctuated widely, but PDFP was positive in both quarters, showing a less sharp pattern of decline and rebound. In the third quarter, PDFP grew a bit more slowly than GDP, but on balance, it has risen faster over the past year and continued its historical pattern of more steady growth.
As the Administration stresses every quarter, GDP figures can be volatile and are subject to substantial revision. Therefore, it is important not to read too much into any one single report and it is informative to consider each report in the context of other data that are becoming available.
Year of Action: A Final Progress Report on The Obama Administration’s Actions to Help Create Opportunity for All Americans
THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 22, 2014
YEAR OF ACTION: A Final Progress Report on The Obama Administration’s Actions to Help Create Opportunity for All Americans
In last year’s final press conference, I said that 2014 would be a year of action and would be a breakthrough year for America. And it has been ... We have more work to do to make sure our economy, our justice system, and our government work not just for the few, but for the many. But there is no doubt that we can enter into the New Year with renewed confidence that America is making significant strides where it counts.
– President Barack Obama, Year-End Press Conference, December 19, 2014
When President Obama vowed that 2014 would be a year of action in his State of the Union Address, he meant it. And he followed through, announcing more than 80 new executive actions that will help grow the economy, create jobs, address the threat of climate change, and strengthen the middle class. The President also pledged to convene leaders from businesses, nonprofits, education, and communities to expand opportunity for more American families, and in some key areas, his efforts have spurred broader action.
Over the past year, President Obama successfully rallied support for raising the minimum wage in states and cities across the country, while signing an executive order to raise the minimum wage for workers on new federal contracts. And he’s offered 4 million undocumented immigrants a path out of the shadows while holding them accountable, all while doing everything in his power to attract and keep the most talented high-skill workers to our shores from around the world.
He’s supported workplace flexibility and equal pay. He’s protected large, pristine swaths of our federal lands and oceans from degradation, while putting in place historic changes that will dramatically cut greenhouse gases. He’s laid the groundwork for ambitious expansions of high-speed broadband, so that students will have access to the world’s knowledge and personalized education in real-time in the palms of their hands.
He’s also taken action to create new manufacturing jobs and to develop the next generation of breakthrough manufacturing innovation here at home. He’s expanded proven job-driven training models like apprenticeships and helped make student loan payments more affordable—all while protecting career college students from unwieldy debt burdens.
The Year of Action Report highlights key areas where we have made significant progress due to the steps taken by the President through executive authority, a calendar of all 2014 executive actions and additional detail on some of these key executive actions.
Click HERE to find a blog post by Jeff Zients, the Director of the National Economic Council and Cecilia Muñoz, the Director of the Domestic Policy Council, on this Year of Action and the progress that we’ve made.
WEEKLY ADDRESS: America’s Resurgence is Real
THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
EMBARGOED UNTIL 6:00 AM ET, SATURDAY, December 20, 2014
WEEKLY ADDRESS: America’s Resurgence is Real
WASHINGTON, DC — In this week’s address, the President reflected on the significant progress made by this country in 2014, and in the nearly six years since he took office. This past year has been the strongest for job growth since the 1990s, contributing to the nearly 11 million jobs added by our businesses over a 57-month streak. America is leading the rest of the world, in containing the spread of Ebola, degrading and ultimately destroying ISIL, and addressing the threat posed by climate change. And earlier this week, the President announced the most significant changes to our policy towards Cuba in over 50 years. America’s resurgence is real, and the President expressed his commitment to working with Congress in the coming year to make sure Americans feel the benefits.
The audio of the address and video of the address will be available online at www.whitehouse.gov at 6:00 a.m. ET, December 20, 2014.
Remarks of President Barack Obama
The White House
December 20, 2014
Hi, everybody. As 2014 comes to an end, we can enter the New Year with new confidence that America is making significant strides where it counts.
The steps we took nearly six years ago to rescue our economy and rebuild it on a new foundation helped make 2014 the strongest year for job growth since the 1990s. Over the past 57 months, our businesses have created nearly 11 million new jobs. And in a hopeful sign for middle-class families, wages are on the rise again.
Our investments in American manufacturing have helped fuel its best stretch of job growth since the ‘90s. America is now the number one producer of oil and gas, saving drivers about 70 cents a gallon at the pump over last Christmas. The auto industry we rescued is on track for its strongest year since 2005. Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, about 10 million Americans have gained health insurance in the past year alone. And since I took office, we have cut our deficits by about two-thirds.
Meanwhile, around the world, America is leading. We’re leading the coalition to degrade and ultimately destroy ISIL. We’re leading the global fight to combat the Ebola outbreak in West Africa. We’re leading global efforts to address climate change, including last month’s joint announcement with China. We’re turning a new page in our relationship with the Cuban people.
And in less than two weeks, after more than 13 years, our combat mission in Afghanistan will be over, and our war there will come to a responsible end. Today, more of our troops are home for the holidays than at any time in over a decade. Still, many of our men and women in uniform will spend this Christmas in harm’s way. And as Commander-in-Chief, I want our troops to know: your country is united in our support and gratitude for you and your families.
The six years since the financial crisis have demanded hard work and sacrifice on everyone’s part. But as a country, we have every right to be proud of what we’ve got to show for it. More jobs. More insured. A growing economy. Shrinking deficits. Bustling industry. Booming energy.
Pick any metric you want – America’s resurgence is real. And we now have the chance to reverse the decades-long erosion of middle-class jobs and incomes. We just have to invest in the things that we know will secure even faster growth in higher-paying jobs for more Americans. We have to make sure our economy, our justice system, and our government work not only for a few, but for all of us. And I look forward to working together with the new Congress next year on these priorities.
Sure, we’ll disagree on some things. We’ll have to compromise on others. I’ll act on my own when it’s necessary. But I will never stop trying to make life better for people like you.
Because thanks to your efforts, a new foundation is laid. A new future is ready to be written. We have set the stage for a new American moment, and I’m going to spend every minute of my last two years making sure we seize it.
On behalf of the Obama family, I wish all of you a very Merry Christmas.
Thanks, and have a wonderful holiday season.
Remarks by the President in Year-End Press Conference
THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release December 19, 2014
REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT
IN YEAR-END PRESS CONFERENCE
James S. Brady Press Briefing Room
1:53 P.M. EST
THE PRESIDENT: Hello, everybody. We've really got a full house today, huh? Well, all I want for Christmas is to take your questions. (Laughter.) But first let me say a little bit about this year.
In last year’s final press conference, I said that 2014 would be a year of action and would be a breakthrough year for America. And it has been. Yes, there were crises that we had to tackle around the world, many that were unanticipated. We have more work to do to make sure our economy, our justice system, and our government work not just for the few, but for the many. But there is no doubt that we can enter into the New Year with renewed confidence that America is making significant strides where it counts.
The steps that we took early on to rescue our economy and rebuild it on a new foundation helped make 2014 the strongest year for job growth since the 1990s. All told, over a 57-month streak, our businesses have created nearly 11 million new jobs. Almost all the job growth that we’ve seen have been in full-time positions. Much of the recent pickup in job growth has been in higher-paying industries. And in a hopeful sign for middle-class families, wages are on the rise again.
Our investments in American manufacturing have helped fuel its best stretch of job growth also since the 1990s. America is now the number-one producer of oil, the number-one producer of natural gas. We're saving drivers about 70 cents a gallon at the pump over last Christmas. And effectively today, our rescue of the auto industry is officially over. We've now repaid taxpayers every dime and more of what my administration committed, and the American auto industry is on track for its strongest year since 2005. And we've created about half a million new jobs in the auto industry alone.
Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, about 10 million Americans have gained health insurance just this past year. Enrollment is beginning to pick up again during the open enrollment period. The uninsured rate is at a near record low. Since the law passed, the price of health care has risen at its slowest rate in about 50 years. And we’ve cut our deficits by about two-thirds since I took office, bringing them to below their 40-year average.
Meanwhile, around the world, America is leading. We’re leading the coalition to degrade and ultimately destroy ISIL -- a coalition that includes Arab partners. We’re leading the international community to check Russian aggression in Ukraine. We are leading the global fight to combat Ebola in West Africa, and we are preventing an outbreak from taking place here at home. We’re leading efforts to address climate change, including last month’s joint announcement with China that’s already jumpstarting new progress in other countries. We’re writing a new chapter in our leadership here in the Americas by turning a new page on our relationship with the Cuban people.
And in less than two weeks, after more than 13 years, our combat mission in Afghanistan will be over. Today, more of our troops are home for the holidays than any time in over a decade. Still, many of our men and women in uniform will spend Christmas in harm’s way. And they should know that the country is united in support of you and grateful not only to you but also to your families.
The six years since the crisis have demanded hard work and sacrifice on everybody’s part. But as a country, we have every right to be proud of what we’ve accomplished -- more jobs; more people insured; a growing economy; shrinking deficits; bustling industry; booming energy. Pick any metric that you want -- America’s resurgence is real. We are better off.
I’ve always said that recovering from the crisis of 2008 was our first order of business, and on that business, America has outperformed all of our other competitors. Over the past four years, we’ve put more people back to work than all other advanced economies combined. We’ve now come to a point where we have the chance to reverse an even deeper problem, the decades-long erosion of middle-class jobs and incomes, and to make sure that the middle class is the engine that powers our prosperity for decades to come.
To do that, we're going to have to make some smart choices; we've got to make the right choices. We're going to have to invest in the things that secure even faster growth in higher-paying jobs for more Americans. And I’m being absolutely sincere when I say I want to work with this new Congress to get things done, to make those investments, to make sure the government is working better and smarter. We're going to disagree on some things, but there are going to be areas of agreement and we've got to be able to make that happen. And that's going to involve compromise every once in a while, and we saw during this lame duck period that perhaps that spirit of compromise may be coming to the fore.
In terms of my own job, I'm energized, I'm excited about the prospects for the next couple of years, and I'm certainly not going to be stopping for a minute in the effort to make life better for ordinary Americans. Because, thanks to their efforts, we really do have a new foundation that's been laid. We are better positioned than we have been in a very long time. A new future is ready to be written. We've set the stage for this American moment. And I'm going to spend every minute of my last two years making sure that we seize it.
My presidency is entering the fourth quarter; interesting stuff happens in the fourth quarter. And I'm looking forward to it. But going into the fourth quarter, you usually get a timeout. I'm now looking forward to a quiet timeout -- Christmas with my family. So I want to wish everybody a Merry Christmas, a Happy Hanukkah, a Happy New Year. I hope that all of you get some time to spend with your families as well, because one thing that we share is that we're away too much from them.
And now, Josh has given me the “who’s been naughty and who’s been nice” list -- (laughter) -- and I'm going to use it to take some questions. And we're going to start with Carrie Budoff Brown of Politico. There you go, Carrie.
Q Thank you, Mr. President. I’ll start on North Korea -- that seems to be the biggest topic today. What does a proportional response look like to the Sony hack? And did Sony make the right decision in pulling the movie? Or does that set a dangerous precedent when faced with this kind of situation?
THE PRESIDENT: Well, let me address the second question first. Sony is a corporation. It suffered significant damage. There were threats against its employees. I am sympathetic to the concerns that they faced. Having said all that, yes, I think they made a mistake.
In this interconnected, digital world, there are going to be opportunities for hackers to engage in cyber assaults both in the private sector and the public sector. Now, our first order of business is making sure that we do everything to harden sites and prevent those kinds of attacks from taking place. When I came into office, I stood up a cybersecurity interagency team to look at everything that we could at the government level to prevent these kinds of attacks. We’ve been coordinating with the private sector, but a lot more needs to be done. We’re not even close to where we need to be.
And one of the things in the New Year that I hope Congress is prepared to work with us on is strong cybersecurity laws that allow for information-sharing across private sector platforms, as well as the public sector, so that we are incorporating best practices and preventing these attacks from happening in the first place.
But even as we get better, the hackers are going to get better, too. Some of them are going to be state actors; some of them are going to be non-state actors. All of them are going to be sophisticated and many of them can do some damage.
We cannot have a society in which some dictator someplace can start imposing censorship here in the United States. Because if somebody is able to intimidate folks out of releasing a satirical movie, imagine what they start doing when they see a documentary that they don’t like, or news reports that they don’t like. Or even worse, imagine if producers and distributors and others start engaging in self-censorship because they don’t want to offend the sensibilities of somebody whose sensibilities probably need to be offended.
So that’s not who we are. That’s not what America is about.
Again, I’m sympathetic that Sony as a private company was worried about liabilities, and this and that and the other. I wish they had spoken to me first. I would have told them, do not get into a pattern in which you’re intimidated by these kinds of criminal attacks. Imagine if, instead of it being a cyber-threat, somebody had broken into their offices and destroyed a bunch of computers and stolen disks. Is that what it takes for suddenly you to pull the plug on something?
So we’ll engage with not just the film industry, but the news industry and the private sector around these issues. We already have. We will continue to do so. But I think all of us have to anticipate occasionally there are going to be breaches like this. They’re going to be costly. They’re going to be serious. We take them with the utmost seriousness. But we can’t start changing our patterns of behavior any more than we stop going to a football game because there might be the possibility of a terrorist attack; any more than Boston didn’t run its marathon this year because of the possibility that somebody might try to cause harm. So let’s not get into that way of doing business.
Q Can you just say what the response would be to this attack? Wwould you consider taking some sort of symbolic step like watching the movie yourself or doing some sort of screening here that --
THE PRESIDENT: I’ve got a long list of movies I’m going to be watching. (Laughter.)
Q Will this be one of them?
THE PRESIDENT: I never release my full movie list.
But let’s talk of the specifics of what we now know. The FBI announced today and we can confirm that North Korea engaged in this attack. I think it says something interesting about North Korea that they decided to have the state mount an all-out assault on a movie studio because of a satirical movie starring Seth Rogen and James Flacco [Franco]. (Laughter.) I love Seth and I love James, but the notion that that was a threat to them I think gives you some sense of the kind of regime we’re talking about here.
They caused a lot of damage, and we will respond. We will respond proportionally, and we’ll respond in a place and time and manner that we choose. It’s not something that I will announce here today at a press conference.
More broadly, though, this points to the need for us to work with the international community to start setting up some very clear rules of the road in terms of how the Internet and cyber operates. Right now, it’s sort of the Wild West. And part of the problem is, is you’ve got weak states that can engage in these kinds of attacks, you’ve got non-state actors that can do enormous damage. That’s part of what makes this issue of cybersecurity so urgent.
Again, this is part of the reason why it’s going to be so important for Congress to work with us and get a actual bill passed that allows for the kind of information-sharing we need. Because if we don’t put in place the kind of architecture that can prevent these attacks from taking place, this is not just going to be affecting movies, this is going to be affecting our entire economy in ways that are extraordinarily significant.
And, by the way, I hear you’re moving to Europe. Where you going to be?
THE PRESIDENT: Brussels.
Q Yes. Helping Politico start a new publication.
THE PRESIDENT: Well, congratulations.
Q I’ve been covering you since the beginning.
THE PRESIDENT: Well, I think --
Q It’s been a long road for the both of us.
THE PRESIDENT: I think there’s no doubt that what Belgium needs is a version of Politico. (Laughter.)
Q I’ll take that as an endorsement.
THE PRESIDENT: The waffles are delicious there, by the way.
Cheryl Bolen. You’ve been naughty. (Laughter.) Cheryl, go ahead.
Q Thank you, Mr. President. Looking ahead to your work with Congress next year, you’ve mentioned as an area of possible compromise tax reform. And so I am wondering, do you see a Republican Congress as presenting a better opportunity for actually getting tax reform next year? Will you be putting out a new proposal? Are you willing to consider both individual and corporate side of the tax ledger there? And also, are you still concerned about corporate inversions?
THE PRESIDENT: I think an all-Democratic Congress would have provided an even better opportunity for tax reform. But I think, talking to Speaker Boehner and Leader McConnell that they are serious about wanting to get some things done. The tax area is one area where we can get things done. And I think in the coming weeks leading up to the State of Union, there will be some conversations at the staff levels about what principles each side are looking at.
I can tell you broadly what I’d like to see. I’d like to see more simplicity in the system. I’d like to see more fairness in the system. With respect to the corporate tax reform issue, we know that there are companies that are paying the full freight -- 35 percent -- higher than just about any other company on Earth, if you're paying 35 percent, and then there are other companies that are paying zero because they’ve got better accountants or lawyers. That's not fair.
There are companies that are parking money outside the country because of tax avoidance. We think that it’s important that everybody pays something if, in fact, they are effectively headquartered in the United States. In terms of corporate inversion, those are situations where companies really are headquartered here but, on paper, switch their headquarters to see if they can avoid paying their fair share of taxes. I think that needs to be fixed.
So, fairness, everybody paying their fair share, everybody taking responsibility I think is going to be very important.
Some of those principles I’ve heard Republicans say they share. How we do that -- the devil is in the details. And I’ll be interested in seeing what they want to move forward. I’m going to make sure that we put forward some pretty specific proposals building on what we’ve already put forward.
One other element of this that I think is important is -- and I’ve been on this hobby horse now for six years. (Audience member sneezes.) Bless you. We’ve got a lot of infrastructure we’ve got to rebuild in this country if we're going to be competitive -- roads, bridges, ports, airports, electrical grids, water systems, sewage systems. We are way behind.
And early on we indicated that there is a way of us potentially doing corporate tax reform, lowering rates, eliminating loopholes so everybody is paying their fair share, and during that transition also providing a mechanism where we can get some infrastructure built. I’d like to see us work on that issue as well. Historically, obviously, infrastructure has not been a Democratic or a Republican issue, and I’d like to see if we can return to that tradition.
Q Thank you, Mr. President. I wanted to ask about Cuba. What would you say to dissidents or democracy advocates inside Cuba who fear that the policy changes you announced this week could give the Castro regime economic benefits without having to address human rights or their political system? When your administration was lifting sanctions on Myanmar you sought commitments of reform. Why not do the same with Cuba?
And if I could just follow up on North Korea. Do you have any indication that North Korea was acting in conjunction with another country, perhaps China?
THE PRESIDENT: We’ve got no indication that North Korea was acting in conjunction with another country.
With respect to Cuba, we are glad that the Cuban government have released slightly over 50 dissidents; that they are going to be allowing the International Committee of the Red Cross and the United Nations human rights agencies to operate more freely inside of Cuba and monitor what is taking place.
I share the concerns of dissidents there and human rights activists that this is still a regime that represses its people. And as I said when I made the announcement, I don’t anticipate overnight changes, but what I know deep in my bones is that if you’ve done the same thing for 50 years and nothing has changed, you should try something different if you want a different outcome.
And this gives us an opportunity for a different outcome, because suddenly Cuba is open to the world in ways that it has not been before. It’s open to Americans traveling there in ways that it hasn’t been before. It’s open to church groups visiting their fellow believers inside of Cuba in ways they haven't been before. It offers the prospect of telecommunications and the Internet being more widely available in Cuba in ways that it hasn’t been before.
And over time, that chips away at this hermetically sealed society, and I believe offers the best prospect then of leading to greater freedom, greater self-determination on the part of the Cuban people.
I think it will happen in fits and starts. But through engagement, we have a better chance of bringing about change then we would have otherwise.
Q Do you have a goal for where you see Cuba being at the end of your presidency?
THE PRESIDENT: I think it would be unrealistic for me to map out exactly where Cuba will be. But change is going to come to Cuba. It has to. They’ve got an economy that doesn’t work. They’ve been reliant for years first on subsidies from the Soviet Union, then on subsidies from Venezuela. Those can’t be sustained. And the more the Cuban people see what’s possible, the more interested they are going to be in change.
But how societies change is country-specific, it’s culturally specific. It could happen fast; it could happen slower than I’d like; but it’s going to happen. And I think this change in policy is going to advance that.
Q Thank you, Mr. President. I had a number of questions on Cuba as well. Appreciate that. I wanted to --
THE PRESIDENT: Do I have to write all these down? How many are there? (Laughter.) “A number” sounded intimidating.
Q As quick as I can. As quick as I can. I wanted to see if you got an assurances from the Cuban government that it would not revert to the same sort of -- sabotage the deal, as it has in the past when past Presidents had made similar overtures to the government.
THE PRESIDENT: Meaning? Be specific. What do you mean?
Q When the Clinton administration made some overtures, they shot down planes. They sort of had this pattern of doing provocative -- provocative events.
THE PRESIDENT: Okay, so just general provocative activity.
Q Provocative activities any time the U.S. has sort of reached out a hand to them. I wanted to see what is your knowledge of whether Fidel Castro -- did he have any role in the talks? When you talked to President Raul Castro, did Fidel Castro’s name come up? Or did you ask about him? How he’s doing? People haven't seen him in a while. Given the deep opposition from some Republicans in Congress to lifting the embargo, to an embassy, to any of the changes that you’re doing, are you going to personally get involved in terms of talking to them about efforts that they want to do to block money on a new embassy?
THE PRESIDENT: All right, Lesley, I think I’m going to cut you off here. (Laughter.) This is taking up a lot of time.
Q Okay, all right.
THE PRESIDENT: All right. So, with respect to sabotage, I mean, my understanding of the history, for example, of the plane being shot down, it’s not clear that that was the Cuban government purposely trying to undermine overtures by the Clinton administration. It was a tragic circumstance that ended up collapsing talks that had begun to take place. I haven't seen a historical record that suggests that they shot the plane down specifically in order to undermine overtures by the Clinton government.
I think it is not precedented for the President of the United States and the President of Cuba to make an announcement at the same time that they are moving towards normalizing relations. So there hasn’t been anything like this in the past. That doesn’t meant that over the next two years we can anticipate them taking certain actions that we may end up finding deeply troubling either inside of Cuba or with respect to their foreign policy. And that could put significant strains on the relationship. But that’s true of a lot of countries out there where we have an embassy. And the whole point of normalizing relations is that it gives us a greater opportunity to have influence with that government than not.
So I would be surprised if the Cuban government purposely tries to undermine what is now effectively its own policy. I wouldn’t be surprised if they take at any given time actions that we think are a problem. And we will be in a position to respond to whatever actions they take the same way we do with a whole range of countries around the world when they do things we think are wrong. But the point is, is that we will be in a better position I think to actually have some influence, and there may be carrots as well as sticks that we can then apply.
The only way that Fidel’s name came up -- I think I may have mentioned this in the Davie Muir article -- interview that I did -- was I delivered a fairly lengthy statement at the front end about how we’re looking forward to a new future in the relationship between our two countries, but that we are going to continue to press on issues of democracy and human rights, which we think are important.
My opening remarks probably took about 15 minutes, which on the phone is a pretty long time. And at the end of that, he said, Mr. President, you’re still a young man. Perhaps you have the -- at the end of my remarks I apologized for taking such a long time, but I wanted to make sure that before we engaged in the conversation he was very clear about where I stood. He said, oh, don’t worry about it, Mr. President, you’re still a young man and you have still the chance to break Fidel’s record -- he once spoke seven hours straight. (Laughter.)
And then, President Castro proceeded to deliver his own preliminary remarks that last at least twice as long as mine. (Laughter.) And then I was able to say, obviously it runs in the family. But that was the only discussion of Fidel Castro that we had.
I sort of forgot all the other questions. (Laughter.)
Q I have a few more if you’re -- how personally involved are you going to get in --
THE PRESIDENT: With respect to Congress? We cannot unilaterally bring down the embargo. That’s codified in the Libertad Act. And what I do think is going to happen, though, is there’s going to be a process where Congress digests it. There are bipartisan supporters of our new approach, there are bipartisan detractors of this new approach. People will see how the actions we take unfold. And I think there’s going to be a healthy debate inside of Congress.
And I will certainly weigh in. I think that ultimately we need to go ahead and pull down the embargo, which I think has been self-defeating in advancing the aims that we’re interested in. But I don’t anticipate that that happens right away. I think people are going to want to see how does this move forward before there’s any serious debate about whether or not we would make major shifts in the embargo.
Q I want to follow on that by asking, under what conditions would you meet with President Castro in Havana? Would you have certain preconditions that you would want to see met before doing that? And on the hack, I know that you said that you’re not going to announce your response, but can you say whether you’re considering additional economic or financial sanctions on North Korea? Can you rule out the use of military force or some kind of cyber hit of your own?
THE PRESIDENT: I think I’m going to leave it where I left it, which is we just confirmed that it was North Korea; we have been working up a range of options. They will be presented to me. I will make a decision on those based on what I believe is proportional and appropriate to the nature of this crime.
With respect to Cuba, we’re not at a stage here where me visiting Cuba or President Castro coming to the United States is in the cards. I don’t know how this relationship will develop over the next several years. I’m a fairly young man so I imagine that at some point in my life I will have the opportunity to visit Cuba and enjoy interacting with the Cuban people. But there’s nothing specific where we're trying to target some sort of visit on my part.
Colleen McCain Nelson.
Q Thank you, Mr. President.
THE PRESIDENT: There you are.
Q You spoke earlier about 2014 being a breakthrough year, and you ended the year with executive actions on Cuba and immigration and climate change. But you didn't make much progress this year on your legislative agenda. And some Republican lawmakers have said they're less inclined to work with you if you pursue executive actions so aggressively. Are you going to continue to pursue executive actions if that creates more roadblocks for your legislative agenda? Or have you concluded that it’s not possible to break the fever in Washington and the partisan gridlock here?
THE PRESIDENT: I think there are real opportunities to get things done in Congress. As I said before, I take Speaker Boehner and Mitch McConnell at their words that they want to get things done. I think the American people would like to see us get some things done. The question is going to be are we able to separate out those areas where we disagree and those areas where we agree. I think there are going to be some tough fights on areas where we disagree.
If Republicans seek to take health care away from people who just got it, they will meet stiff resistance from me. If they try to water down consumer protections that we put in place in the aftermath of the financial crisis, I will say no. And I’m confident that I’ll be able to uphold vetoes of those types of provisions. But on increasing American exports, on simplifying our tax system, on rebuilding our infrastructure, my hope is that we can get some things done.
I’ve never been persuaded by this argument that if it weren’t for the executive actions they would have been more productive. There’s no evidence of that. So I intend to continue to do what I’ve been doing, which is where I see a big problem and the opportunity to help the American people, and it is within my lawful authority to provide that help, I’m going to do it. And I will then, side-by-side, reach out to members of Congress, reach out to Republicans, and say, let’s work together; I’d rather do it with you.
Immigration is the classic example. I was really happy when the Senate passed a bipartisan, comprehensive immigration bill. And I did everything I could for a year and a half to provide Republicans the space to act, and showed not only great patience, but flexibility, saying to them, look, if there are specific changes you’d like to see, we're willing to compromise, we're willing to be patient, we're willing to work with you. Ultimately it wasn’t forthcoming.
And so the question is going to be I think if executive actions on areas like minimum wage, or equal pay, or having a more sensible immigration system are important to Republicans, if they care about those issues, and the executive actions are bothering them, there is a very simple solution, and that is: Pass bills. And work with me to make sure I’m willing to sign those bills.
Because both sides are going to have to compromise. On most issues, in order for their initiatives to become law, I’m going to have sign off. And that means they have to take into account the issues that I care about, just as I’m going to have to take into account the issues that they care about.
All right. I think this is going to be our last question. Juliet Eilperin. There you go.
Q Thanks so much. So one of the first bills that Mitch McConnell said he will send to you is one that would authorize the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline. When you talked about this in the past, you’ve minimized the benefits and you highlighted some of the risks associated with that project. I’m wondering if you could tell us both what you would do when faced with that bill, given the Republican majority that we’ll have in both chambers. And also, what do you see as the benefits? And given the precipitous drop we’ve seen in oil prices recently, does that change the calculus in terms of how it will contribute to climate change, and whether you think it makes sense to go ahead with that project?
THE PRESIDENT: Well, I don’t think I’ve minimized the benefits, I think I’ve described the benefits. At issue in Keystone is not American oil. It is Canadian oil that is drawn out of tar sands in Canada. That oil currently is being shipped out through rail or trucks, and it would save Canadian oil companies and the Canadian oil industry an enormous amount of money if they could simply pipe it all the way through the United States down to the Gulf. Once that oil gets to the Gulf, it is then entering into the world market, and it would be sold all around the world.
So there’s no -- I won’t say “no” -- there is very little impact, nominal impact, on U.S. gas prices -- what the average American consumer cares about -- by having this pipeline come through. And sometimes the way this gets sold is, let’s get this oil and it’s going to come here. And the implication is, is that’s going to lower gas prices here in the United States. It’s not. There’s a global oil market. It’s very good for Canadian oil companies and it’s good for the Canadian oil industry, but it’s not going to be a huge benefit to U.S. consumers. It’s not even going to be a nominal benefit to U.S. consumers.
Now, the construction of the pipeline itself will create probably a couple thousand jobs. Those are temporary jobs until the construction actually happens. There’s probably some additional jobs that can be created in the refining process down in the Gulf. Those aren’t completely insignificant -- it’s just like any other project. But when you consider what we could be doing if we were rebuilding our roads and bridges around the country -- something that Congress could authorize -- we could probably create hundreds of thousands of jobs, or a million jobs. So if that’s the argument, there are a lot more direct ways to create well-paying Americans construction jobs.
And then, with respect to the cost, all I’ve said is that I want to make sure that if, in fact, this project goes forward, that it’s not adding to the problem of climate change, which I think is very serious and does impose serious costs on the American people -- some of them long term, but significant costs nonetheless. If we’ve got more flooding, more wildfires, more drought, there are direct economic impacts on that.
And as we’re now rebuilding after Sandy, for example, we’re having to consider how do we increase preparedness in how we structure infrastructure and housing, and so forth, along the Jersey Shore. That’s an example of the kind of costs that are imposed, and you can put a dollar figure on it.
So, in terms of process, you’ve got a Nebraska judge that’s still determining whether or not the new path for this pipeline is appropriate. Once that is resolved, then the State Department will have all the information it needs to make its decision.
But I’ve just tried to give this perspective, because I think that there’s been this tendency to really hype this thing as some magic formula to what ails the U.S. economy, and it’s hard to see on paper where exactly they’re getting that information from.
In terms of oil prices and how it impacts the decision, I think that it won’t have a significant impact except perhaps in the minds of folks -- when gas prices are lower, maybe they’re less susceptible to the argument that this is the answer to lowering gas prices. But it was never going to be the answer to lowering gas prices, because the oil that would be piped through the Keystone pipeline would go into the world market. And that’s what determines oil prices, ultimately.
Q And in terms of Congress forcing your hand on this, is this something where you clearly say you’re not going to let Congress force your hand on whether to approve or disapprove of this?
THE PRESIDENT: I’ll see what they do. We’ll take that up in the New Year.
Q Any New Year’s resolutions?
THE PRESIDENT: I’ll ask -- April, go ahead.
Q Thank you, Mr. President. Last question, I guess. (Laughter.) Six years ago this month, I asked you what was the state of black America in the Oval Office, and you said it was the “the best of times and the worst of times.” You said it was the best of times in the sense that there was -- has never been more opportunity for African Americans to receive a good education, and the worst of times for unemployment and the lack of opportunity. We're ending 2014. What is the state of black America as we talk about those issues as well as racial issues in this country?
THE PRESIDENT: Like the rest of America, black America in the aggregate is better off now than it was when I came into office. The jobs that have been created, the people who’ve gotten health insurance, the housing equity that’s been recovered, the 401 pensions that have been recovered -- a lot of those folks are African American. They’re better off than they were.
The gap between income and wealth of white and black America persists. And we’ve got more work to do on that front. I’ve been consistent in saying that this is a legacy of a troubled racial past of Jim Crow and slavery. That’s not an excuse for black folks. And I think the overwhelming majority of black people understand it’s not an excuse. They’re working hard. They’re out there hustling and trying to get an education, trying to send their kids to college. But they’re starting behind, oftentimes, in the race.
And what’s true for all Americans is we should be willing to provide people a hand up -- not a handout, but help folks get that good early childhood education, help them graduate from high school, help them afford college. If they do, they’re going to be able to succeed, and that’s going to be good for all of us.
And we’ve seen some progress. The education reforms that we’ve initiated are showing measurable results. We have the highest high school graduation that we’ve seen in a very long time. We are seeing record numbers of young people attending college. In many states that have initiated reforms, you’re seeing progress in math scores and reading scores for African American and Latino students as well as the broader population. But we’ve still got more work to go.
Now, obviously, how we’re thinking about race relations right now has been colored by Ferguson, the Garner case in New York, a growing awareness in the broader population of what I think many communities of color have understood for some time, and that is that there are specific instances at least where law enforcement doesn’t feel as if it’s being applied in a colorblind fashion.
The task force that I formed is supposed to report back to me in 90 days -- not with a bunch of abstract musings about race relations, but some really concrete, practical things that police departments and law enforcement agencies can begin implementing right now to rebuild trust between communities of color and the police department.
And my intention is to, as soon as I get those recommendations, to start implementing them. Some of them we’ll be able to do through executive action. Some of them will require congressional action. Some of them will require action on the part of states and local jurisdictions.
But I actually think it’s been a healthy conversation that we’ve had. These are not new phenomenon. The fact that they’re now surfacing, in part because people are able to film what have just been, in the past, stories passed on around a kitchen table, allows people to make their own assessments and evaluations. And you’re not going to solve a problem if it’s not being talked about.
In the meantime, we’ve been moving forward on criminal justice reform issues more broadly. One of the things I didn’t talk about in my opening statement is the fact that last year was the first time in 40 years where we had the federal prison population go down and the crime rate go down at the same time, which indicates the degree to which it’s possible for us to think smarter about who we’re incarcerating, how long we’re incarcerating, how are we dealing with nonviolent offenders, how are we dealing with drug offenses, diversion programs, drug courts. We can do a better job of -- and save money in the process by initiating some of these reforms. And I’ve been really pleased to see that we’ve had Republicans and Democrats in Congress who are interested in these issues as well.
The one thing I will say -- and this is going to be the last thing I say -- is that one of the great things about this job is you get to know the American people. I mean, you meet folks from every walk of life and every region of the country, and every race and every faith. And what I don’t think is always captured in our political debates is the vast majority of people are just trying to do the right thing, and people are basically good and have good intentions. Sometimes our institutions and our systems don’t work as well as they should. Sometimes you've got a police department that has gotten into bad habits over a period of time and hasn’t maybe surfaced some hidden biases that we all carry around. But if you offer practical solutions, I think people want to fix these problems. It’s not -- this isn’t a situation where people feel good seeing somebody choked and dying. I think that troubles everybody. So there’s an opportunity of all of us to come together and to take a practical approach to these problems.
And I guess that's my general theme for the end of the year -- which is we’ve gone through difficult times. It is your job, press corps, to report on all the mistakes that are made and all the bad things that happen and the crises that look like they're popping. And I understand that. But through persistent effort and faith in the American people, things get better. The economy has gotten better. Our ability to generate clean energy has gotten better. We know more about how to educate our kids. We solved problems. Ebola is a real crisis; you get a mistake in the first case because it’s not something that's been seen before -- we fix it. You have some unaccompanied children who spike at a border, and it may not get fixed in the time frame of the news cycle, but it gets fixed.
And part of what I hope as we reflect on the New Year this should generate is some confidence. America knows how to solve problems. And when we work together, we can't be stopped.
And now I’m going to go on vacation. Mele Kalikimaka, everybody. (Laughter.) Mahalo. Thank you, everybody.
YEAR IN REVIEW: Creating Economic Opportunity for All Americans in 2014
THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 18, 2014
YEAR IN REVIEW: Creating Economic Opportunity for All Americans in 2014
WASHINGTON, DC – President Obama took office in the depths of the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. Six years later, thanks to the grit and determination of the American people, and the decisive actions he took early on – to bring the economy back from the brink, to save the auto industry, and to build a new foundation for middle-class growth – we’ve made real progress.
The economy grew at a combined 4.2% pace in the second and third quarters of this year, the strongest six-month period of growth in more than a decade. American businesses have added new jobs for 57 consecutive months, the longest streak of private-sector job creation on record, for a total of 10.9 million new jobs. The pickup in the pace of job growth this year has come in industries with higher wages. And wages across the economy are rising – a very welcome sign for millions of American families.
The U.S. economic recovery took a major step forward in 2014, achieving a number of important milestones:
· Jobs: By November, 2014 was already the best year of job growth since 1999.
· Manufacturing: The manufacturing sector added 15,000 jobs per month, and the average workweek for those workers is the highest since World War II.
· Education: The high school graduation rate is the highest on record, and more Americans are earning post-secondary degrees than ever before – the surest pathway to the middle class.
· Energy: America is now the number one oil and gas producer in the world. For the first time in nearly two decades, we produce more oil than we buy from abroad. And we’ve put tens of thousands of Americans to work harnessing energy from the wind and the sun. Just last month, President Obama and President Xi jointly announced the two countries’ respective post-2020 climate targets in Beijing – a move that will spark investment and innovation in clean energy technology and represent a substantial opportunity for U.S. companies.
· Housing: The continued rise in home prices has cut the number of underwater mortgages from a peak of 14 million to less than 4 million, and the share of mortgages in delinquency or foreclosure has been cut in half.
· Health Care: Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, 10 million Americans have gained health insurance in the past year alone. Meanwhile, due in part to reforms in the law, the price of health care has been rising at the slowest rate in nearly 50 years.
· The Deficit: Under the President's leadership, the deficit has been cut by nearly two-thirds as a share of the economy – putting America on a more sound financial footing for our kids and grandkids.
The President pledged that 2014 would be a year of action and he has spent the last 12 months working with Congress where he could and taking action on his own where needed to revitalize the economy. He also worked closely with leaders from businesses, nonprofits, education, and communities to expand opportunity for more American families. These efforts have helped contribute to economic progress in a number of ways. Some critical efforts include:
Supporting Job Creation Through Manufacturing and Exports
Manufacturing job growth doubled this year – to about 15,000 jobs per month compared to 7,000 jobs per month last year. In total, since February 2010, the United States has directly added 764,000 manufacturing jobs, with the sector expanding employment at its fastest rate in nearly two decades. And the United States’ renewed competitiveness in manufacturing is bringing production back, with 54 percent of U.S.-based manufacturers surveyed by the Boston Consulting Group actively considering bringing production back from China to the United States, up from 37 percent only 18 months prior. The Administration has helped support these efforts by taking steps including:
Following President Obama’s call on Congress to raise the national minimum wage to $10.10, states, cities and counties, and business leaders have taken action on their own to increase wages across the country. And on February 12, President Obama signed Executive Order 13658, requiring that workers on new Federal contracts be paid $10.10 an hour.
Supporting Job Skills and Employment Opportunities
Working with Congress, businesses, states and cities and non-profits, the President has taken action to make sure our job-training system is preparing and connecting Americans to the jobs that employers are looking to fill. From an across-the-board review of our job-training system to new grants that support apprenticeships and help connect the long-term unemployed to work, the President and his Administration have used every tool available to train Americans with the skills they need, and connect them with businesses that are looking for skilled workers.
Providing High-Quality Education to America’s Students
Ensuring that all Americans are prepared for the jobs of the future and strengthening middle-class security, starts with a strong education system. The President has taken a number of steps over the past year to expand access to high-quality early childhood education, connect every student to high-speed Internet, and make college more affordable.
ConnectED to the Future: In June 2013, President Obama visited Mooresville, NC to announce the ConnectED Initiative, which aims to ensure 99% of American students will have access to next-generation broadband in the classroom by 2017, and called for private sector leaders and the FCC To help connect our students. Since that time, the FCC has taken steps to modernize the E-rate program to support high-speed connectivity for America’s schools and libraries, providing a $2 billion down payment and passing a proposal that provides recourses needed to meet the President’s ConnectED goals. Additionally, private-sector companies have committed more than $2 billion in resources to schools to supplement federal actions and help support cutting-edge technologies across a greater number of schools and homes. On November 19, 2014, The President hosted school leaders and educators to push this effort forward and make all schools “Future Ready”. More than 1,200 superintendents joined the Administrations Future Ready District Pledge to set a vision for digital learning across America. Combined, this pledge will already reach 10 million students across 16,000 schools.
THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 16, 2014
WHITE HOUSE BLOG POST: The Economy in 2014
By Jason Furman, Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers
To view the full blog post, click HERE .
The U.S. economic recovery took a major step forward in 2014, achieving a number of important milestones. American businesses set a new record for the most consecutive months of job growth: now 57 straight months and counting. By November, the economy had already added more jobs than in any full calendar year since the 1990s. And crucially, the pickup in job growth during 2014 occurred primarily in higher-paying industries, while nearly all of the employment gains have been in full-time positions. At the same time, the unemployment rate fell below 6 percent for the first time since 2008.
Despite this progress, it is still too hard for many families to get ahead. Further reductions in long-term unemployment and faster wage growth are still needed, but the data from 2014 show that trends are clearly moving in the right direction.
The President’s policies have contributed to this progress in a number of ways, including setting the stage for the recovery in 2009 and taking further steps to accelerate several favorable underlying economic trends. Some critical policies include:
· The Recovery Act and Subsequent Fiscal Measures: The United States has come further in its recovery than most other advanced economies around the world, in part because of the President’s aggressive policy response that included the Recovery Act, the payroll tax cut, and about a dozen additional fiscal measures. Indeed, since 2010 the increase in employment in the United States exceeds that in Europe, Japan, and every other advanced economy combined.
· Response to the Financial Crisis: Even when it was not popular, the President took steps to rescue the auto industry, implement historic consumer protections, recapitalize the financial sector, and institute strict new rules for Wall Street. The President’s policies have also helped millions of families stay in their homes and weather the storm, and today we are seeing rising home prices lift millions back above water on their mortgages.
· Affordable Care Act: Changes in the health care system, in part due to the Affordable Care Act, are creating major savings for households, businesses, and the Federal government. In 2014, employer health insurance premiums grew at a rate tied for the lowest on record, reflecting in part the lowest health care price inflation in nearly half a century.
· All-of-the-Above Energy Strategy: The United States is leading the world in both oil and natural gas production, contributing to a roughly 40 percent drop in oil prices over the second half of 2014, which means lower gas prices for families. At the same time, solar energy is up tenfold since 2008, while wind energy is up threefold. In addition to this energy boom, the United States has also made great strides in energy efficiency, contributing to a 10 percent reduction in carbon emissions from 2007 to 2013—the largest absolute emissions reduction of any country in the world. These developments signal that the President’s All-of-the-Above energy strategy is having a key impact.
· Catalyzing Technological Innovation: The United States is the most innovative economy in the world, and to continue this tradition into the 21st century, the President signed into law the most sweeping patent reform in decades, made significant investments in research and development, and will nearly double the amount of wireless spectrum available for mobile broadband. Indeed, we are currently seeing the most successful wireless spectrum auction ever, a sign of the tremendous potential that stands to be unleashed as a result of these steps.
· Reducing the Deficit: The Budget Control Act, the Affordable Care Act, and returning to Clinton-era tax rates for upper-income households will contribute to nearly $4 trillion in deficit reduction over the next decade. Reflecting these policies, the additional revenues associated with an improving economy, and the aforementioned slowdown in health care costs, the deficit in fiscal year 2014 fell to 2.8 percent of GDP, below its average for the past forty years and down by about two-thirds from its peak. A shrinking deficit has boosted national saving and set the stage for more sustainable and balanced growth in the coming years.
To build on this progress, the President will continue to push for steps that support further growth of middle-class jobs and reward those who work hard and play by the rules, including investments in infrastructure, reforms to the business tax code and immigration system, expanded overseas markets for America’s goods and services, and an increase in the minimum wage.
Remarks by the First Lady at Girls' Education Conference
THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the First Lady
For Immediate Release December 12, 2014
REMARKS BY THE FIRST LADY
AT GIRLS’ EDUCATION CONFERENCE
1:14 P.M. EST
MRS. OBAMA: Thank you. (Applause.) Thank you, everyone. Good afternoon. Thank you all. Rest yourselves. You’ve been doing a lot of wonderful work. I don’t want you to get tired giving me a round of applause. (Laughter.)
Let me first begin by apologizing; I have a cold, so if I start to choke before you, don’t worry, I’m doing just fine. (Laughter.) But it is truly a pleasure to be here with you today at Brookings. And I want to thank you so much for having me.
I want to start by, of course, thanking Strobe Talbott for that very kind introduction, but, more importantly, for his tremendous service to our country. And I also want to recognize Prime Minister Julia Gillard. It’s wonderful to see you. You are a tremendous example of breaking so many barriers for women, not just through your long career but the work that you’re doing on global education. So thank you so much for being here.
And of course, I want to thank Rebecca Winthrop for organizing this amazing group of leaders on behalf of girls around the world. And finally, I want to thank all of you for the outstanding work that you all do on global girls’ education.
Now, I know you know that in recent years, this issue has finally come into the national and international spotlight. Celebrities are tweeting about it. Major corporations are funding it. Books about girls’ education have become best-sellers. And really, all of that has happened for one simple reason, and it’s because of the passionate, relentless leaders’ efforts, your efforts, the advocates and all of the young people who are working on this issue across the globe.
Long before I ever became interested in this issue as First Lady, you all were out there doing the hard work -- running schools in remote villages on shoestring budgets, taking on maddening bureaucracies, fighting year after year to change policies and laws. And you all were doing the painstaking research to show that educating girls is one of the most powerful things that we can do not just for girls and their families, but for their communities and for their countries.
And because of the work that you are doing, as of 2012, every developing region in the world had achieved or was close to achieving gender parity in primary education. And in a little over a decade, we saw nearly 56 million more girls going to school. Now, that is a breathtaking amount of progress in a very short period of time, and you all should be incredibly proud of the work that you’ve been doing.
But, as you know, when 62 million girls are still not in school, when in some countries, fewer than 10 percent of girls complete secondary school, then we know that our work is far from finished. In fact, in many ways, it’s only just beginning. Because the truth is –- and you all know this more than anyone -– we’re now coming to a new, more -- and important and challenging phase of this work.
We are beginning to confront those “second generation” issues, especially as they apply to adolescent girls. We may have more girls in those classrooms, but now we’re stepping back and asking ourselves, are they truly learning what they need to know? Are we really doing everything we can to keep them safe? How can we ensure that they don’t just start school, but they actually stay in school through adolescence, and then transition to the workforce?
Because we all know that this critical period -– when girls develop from children into women -– is when this issue truly starts to get hard. Because adolescence is often when a girl is first subject to the cultural values and practices that define what it means to be a woman in her society. And at that point, we really can’t take on the issue of girls’ education unless we are also willing to confront all of the complex issues that keep so many girls out of school –- issues like early and forced marriage, genital cutting, beliefs about women’s sexuality and their proper role in societies, and the very real economic disincentives that keep many parents from sending their daughters to school in the first place.
Again, as you all well know, these issues can become even more complicated -- make issues that are seemingly straightforward even more complicated for these second-generation challenges.
Just take the issue of safety. On the surface, the problem seems pretty obvious -- parents are afraid that their daughters will be attacked and sexually assaulted on their way to and from and even at school. Now, this is an understandable concern, one that any parent can relate to. But in many communities, parents aren’t just worried about horrific physical and emotional harm to their daughter, they’re also thinking about the harm to her honor. They’re worried that she’ll be considered damaged goods, unmarriageable, with no one to protect or provide for her, and then her entire future will be ruined. Those are the kind of stakes that we’re dealing with on this issue.
And then there are the issues of quality and value, which are similarly complex. As you know, when deciding whether it’s worth sending their girls to school, parents aren’t just asking themselves, will this be a good experience for my daughter, they’re calculating what those school fees will mean for their family’s food budget, they’re contemplating the loss of household help that is critical to the survival of that family. So they want to see real evidence that their daughter is learning real, marketable skills –- things like literacy, numeracy, vocational skills that will help her provide for herself and, ultimately, her family.
That’s the kind of bar that we need to clear as we move forward. Because in our work to educate girls, especially adolescent girls, we’re often asking families to do what seems to be in the exact opposite of their daughters’ and their families’ best interests. Often, we’re asking them to change or disregard some of their most strongly held values and traditions.
So, yes, we need more infrastructure. We need more resources. And, yes, we need more good laws and policies -– those are absolutely the necessary building blocks for change. But we also need buy-in from those families and those communities. We need parents to actually believe that their daughters are as worthy of an education as their sons, and that sending girls to school is a good investment for their future.
And that might take some real effort on the ground to actually understand people’s concerns, to gain their trust, to determine what resources they need to make the sacrifice of educating their daughters.
So what we’re talking about are the hard things like countless conversations, community meetings. We're talking about hundreds of hours spent training and empowering local leaders on the ground. And we’re also talking about a shift in our own thinking so that we see families and communities less as a barrier to girls’ education, and more as the source of the solution.
But if we really are going to be honest with ourselves –- and I’ve heard this from many of you -– while we often talk about the importance of community mobilization and local leadership, that’s not always the focus of our work.
And there are good reasons for this. When you think about it, the truth is, it’s risky. When you’re new to a community, it’s often hard to know who to work with. And then once you find the right leaders and the partners, you might not always see eye to eye on how to move forward.
And then you’ve got donor expectations -- they want a certain return on their investment, or you’ve got a reputation to uphold for your organization. So all this makes it not always so easy to go out on a limb and try something new.
Mobilizing communities and empowering local leaders can also be very resource-intensive. It requires staff on the ground who are willing to lead from the side and take their cues from local folks. So you need a lot of patience to work through misunderstandings and miscommunications. And you need even more flexibility around deadlines and timelines.
Now, this might not always feel like the most efficient approach, but every day, across the globe, so many of you are proving that programs that are developed and led by communities themselves can actually really transform girls’ lives.
For example, there’s a Population Council program in Ethiopia that convenes community conversations about the impact of child marriage and provides families with financial incentives to delay marriage. And at the end of this program, girls were three times more likely to be in school. They were 90 percent less likely to be married.
Some other wonderful examples -- a program -- organization called TOSTAN. TOSTAN brings together communities in Africa to assess barriers to girls’ education and other issues. And they work to develop their own plan of action, a plan that meets their needs and is in accordance with their values. As a result of this program, 7,000 communities have publicly announced that they are abandoning child-forced marriage and female genital cutting.
And finally, back in 1995, there was a group of Peace Corps volunteers in Romania who came together with Romanian teachers to create GLOW camps for girls -- GLOW stands for Girls Leading Our World. And the camp focused on leadership and career and life-planning. And today, just 20 years later, there are GLOW camps in more than 60 countries, and last year alone they reached 30,000 young people.
Now, we're fortunate that in a few minutes we're going to be hearing more about the Peace Corps’ work on this issue from a panel moderated by Glamour Magazine’s Cindi Leive. But these are just some of the wonderful examples of what works.
But of course, for all of the successes like these, there are plenty of failures as well. But here’s the thing -- as I tell many young people, that’s okay. Failure is good. In fact, failure is necessary because we’re all in new territory here, especially when it comes to adolescent girls. And we’re still figuring out what works and what doesn’t work.
So we need leaders like all of you out there experimenting and innovating. We need you out there conducting rigorous evaluations and learning not just from your triumphs, but from your mistakes. Now isn’t the time to be hesitant or risk-averse. Because as you know, so many girls across the globe are counting on us to be bold and creative and to give them all of the opportunities they deserve to fulfill their promise.
And right now I’m thinking about one of those girls in particular who I met a few months ago, a young woman named Mireille Muhigwa from the Democratic Republic of Congo. When Mireille was just around nine years old, rebel forces entered her community and attacked her neighbors, murdering seven children and their father. Mireille’s family was spared. But on that day, she vowed that she would do everything in her power to finish school and fight for human rights for girls’ education.
Over the years, Mireille watched many of her friends and classmates attacked, gunned down, raped. But she kept on studying. And she finished college last year, the only woman in her class to graduate with honors. Mireille came to Washington earlier this year as part of our Young African Leaders initiative, and she addressed the spouses of the Africa Leaders Summit. In her remarks, she said, simply -- and this is a quote from her -- she said, “Today, I ask you to join me without any fear, because,” she said, “fear is the little death.” She said, “This day I ask the girls all over the world to take out the fear, and to take up the pens and books.”
So here’s what I think -- if Mireille could sustain her dreams amidst unspeakable violence, then surely we can sustain our focus on the fight for girls like her across the globe. If girls like Mireille can walk miles each day to reach their classrooms, and stay up for hours each night studying like their lives depended on it; if they can risk their lives just to go to school, like Malala did; if they can stand strong against all the voices that tell them they are undeserving of an education, then surely we can find a way to provide that education. We must. Surely we can give them a future worthy of their promise.
Because in the end, when it’s all said and done, our challenges in doing that are nothing compared to the challenges these girls face. And if we can show just a fraction of their passion and courage and determination, then I’m confident that we can give all our girls the education they deserve.
That's why I’m here. Because all of you are already well on your way in this work, and it’s wonderful. And I have learned so much from all of you, and I hope to learn more. I am inspired by you. Because of you, I am here. And I want you all to know that I am committed to this issue. I’m in. (Applause.) Yes, thank you.
So clearly, we have a lot of work to do. But in the coming months and years, I’m going to be rolling up my sleeves. I’m going to be using my voice, my platform as First Lady to support your work and lift up this issue however I can, however many of you find fit for me to fit in.
So this is just the beginning of our conversation. This is just the beginning of our work together. And I truly look forward to continued collaboration, continued inspiration and continued action in the next months and years ahead.
So thank you all so much and good luck with the rest of today. And I look forward to seeing you soon. (Applause.)
Remarks by the President at Meeting of the Export Council
THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release December 11, 2014
REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT
AT MEETING OF EXPORT COUNCIL
Eisenhower Executive Office Building
11:30 A.M. EST
THE PRESIDENT: Well, good morning, everybody. I just want to offer a few thoughts before you return to the meeting. Obviously we've seen some significant economic progress here in the United States over the last year. Our businesses have added almost 11 million jobs over the past 57 months. This year our economy has already created more jobs [than] in any year since the 1990s, with still a month to go. All told, since 2010, we've created more jobs here in the United States than Japan, Europe, and all advanced nations combined.
And one of the reasons that we've been able to create so many jobs here in the United States is because our exports have been strong. Last year our businesses sold a record $2.3 trillion of Made in America goods and services. And these exports support more than 11 million American jobs -- typically, by the way, jobs that pay higher wages.
And so this Council is designed to build on this progress. It is in part a factor in the progress that we've made. We've had some terrific suggestions from some of our leading businesses, but also some small businesses and medium-sized businesses who are starting to sell overseas. The recommendations that have been generated by the Council have been implemented by our various agencies, and we're here not to rest on our laurels but rather to continue to make a big push to sell even more overseas.
I've said before I will go anywhere around the world to go to bat for American companies and American workers. We're going to keep on pushing trade agreements that benefit American companies and American workers and ensure that we've got a fair and even playing field, particularly in the fastest-growing markets. We're going to work with Congress to try to renew trade promotion authority and secure approval for a very ambitious TransPacific Partnership agreement, which would create a higher standard for trade in the fastest-growing, most populous and dynamic region in the world, the Asia Pacific region.
We're also announcing -- because manufacturing has been a real bright spot in our growing economy -- some additional measures to boost manufacturing here in the United States so we can sell more manufacturing goods overseas. We're announcing today more than $290 million in new investments to launch two additional high-tech manufacturing hubs. One is going to be focusing on flexible computer chips that can be woven into everything from the gears in a helicopter to the fabric in your shirt. Another is going to focus on advance sensors that can dramatically cut energy costs for our factories.
So far, we have launched eight of these hubs, and we intend to get 16 done, so we're more than half of the way there. And they’re helping us to compete for the next generation of manufacturing. One of the reasons that manufacturing has been growing faster here than the overall economy is because of real savings on the energy front, outstanding workers, but also because our companies have retooled and once again made that investment in innovation that has been the hallmark of American manufacturing for years.
I also want to thank many of the folks around this room who’ve been working with us to find ways that we can increase and improve the pipeline for skilled workers going into the companies that ultimately end up exporting goods and services overseas. To make sure that our workers have those skills, today, my Secretary of Labor, Tom Perez, is announcing a $100 million competition to help expand apprenticeship programs across our country. Many of the companies around this table have helped design it or are already participating in these apprenticeship programs. They give talented, motivated young people the chance to get an outstanding career. They get a pathway, a door open to them that allows them to succeed and secure a position in the middle class, and it helps us recruit the kind of workers that are going to keep us competitive for years to come.
Finally, we’ve got real opportunities to make some bipartisan progress this year on some areas that will make us more competitive in this global marketplace. For example, today our companies face the highest corporate tax rate in the world on paper. There are so many loopholes that some end up paying a much lower rate; some pay the full freight. It distorts our allocation of capital. It makes us less competitive relative to businesses that are headquartered overseas. We need to fix that. And I think that there’s genuine interest on both the Democratic and Republican side in making that happen.
And so I just want to thank everybody on the Export Council for the outstanding work that you’ve already done. I’m looking forward to hearing about the recommendations that you have generated during the course of this meeting. And rest assured that I will be your partner for the remainder of my time in this office, making sure that we have the strongest, most competitive companies, the best workers, the best research and development, and the highest exports that we’ve ever seen in our history.
Thank you very much.
Thanks, pool. Thank you, pool.
Q Mr. President, do you agree with John Brennan that the CIA’s interrogation techniques saved lives?
THE PRESIDENT: We're talking about exports, Jon. Thank you.
Q Mr. President, do you agree with John Brennan that the CIA’s interrogation program saved lives?
THE PRESIDENT: We’re talking about exports, Jon. Thank you.
MR. McNERNEY: Listen, thank you very much, Mr. President. If you look historically at the PEC, there has never been a time in its history where the administration, you personally, and the people on your Cabinet have supported this group to a greater extent. And we feel that engagement, and your presence here today once again makes that point. It energizes us, and I think it moves the agenda along.
What we did today, we focused heavily on trade with Ambassador Froman. I’d like to maybe come back and get your perspective on how we’re going to move that forward. Everybody in the room is leaning forward in every kind of way to get that done.
I think we reported out on the basis of six of our subcommittees’ recommendations we’re going to send to you, which you will get in due course. I think the other thing we talked about was a fact-finding trip we made to Turkey and Poland, which I think gave everybody in this group an on-the-ground understanding of the impact of the leadership of Penny and Mike and others on furthering things along.
But I think if there were two things I would just sort of tee up -- and I know we have limited time with you -- one would be getting these things done. We all think it’s the right time, and you’ve suggested that to us at the BRT and some other places. Any comments you’d have for us to help you get it done.
And then the other thing that came up is China. You’ve spent a lot of time with President Xi personally connecting. Penny is going to take the leadership role, starting in Chicago next week, JCCT. We’re trying to engage. But any comments on China would be -- those are sort of the themes that came out of the group this morning.
THE PRESIDENT: Well, if you heard from Mike Froman, then you heard from --
MR. McNERNEY: The Oracle. (Laughter.)
THE PRESIDENT: -- the guy who’s in the trenches on these trade negotiations. I’ll just give you a couple of quick top lines.
First of all, I’m much more optimistic about us being able to close out an agreement with our TPP partners than I was last year. Doesn’t mean that it’s a done deal, but I think the odds of us being able to get a strong agreement are significantly higher than 50-50, whereas last year I think it was still sort of up for grabs.
The question then becomes, assuming we are able to get the kind of agreement that is good for American workers and good for American businesses, how do we proceed in Congress. I think that despite the fact that we had an election I did not -- I wasn’t that happy with, the dynamics really don’t change in terms of the number of votes in the House and the Senate that are there to be gotten for a good trade deal. But we have to make the case. And I think we can make a very strong case that what we’re doing here is really setting a higher bar that will give us more access to markets, will give us greater IP protection, will make sure that U.S. companies both in goods and in services are less disadvantaged by non-tariff barriers and state support and procurement practices in these countries than they’ve been in the past.
The pushback that we’re going to get domestically derives from a couple of sources. One is from not just labor -- not just organized labor, but a public perception generally that trade has resulted in an erosion of our manufacturing base as companies moved overseas in search of lower-wage labor. And my essential response to those arguments is not to deny that there have been some consequences to China’s ascension to the WTO and offshoring, but rather that that horse is out of the barn. We are now in the worst of all worlds where they have access to our markets, much of that shift in search of low-wage labor has already occurred, and yet, we don’t have access to those markets that are growing and no levers to force these other countries to increase their labor standards and their environmental standards.
So instead of fighting the last war, what we need to be doing is looking forward. And there’s no doubt that what Mike is negotiating creates higher labor standards and greater access than the status quo. And that’s what we should be measuring against.
I’ll give you just one very specific example, and that’s Vietnam. Vietnam is probably the most interesting country involved in these negotiations: A, it's still a one-party system that provides workers very few rights, if any, and yet, in order to be part of TPP, they’re having to make some pretty radical shifts in how they treat workers. They’re not going to suddenly have the same labor standards as Germany does, but there’s going to be an improvement. And by us establishing a baseline for labor rights even in a country that has traditionally had no labor rights we’re improving our position not deteriorating our position.
The same is true for the other set of critics that we may receive and that is from the environmental community, although, there’s divisions between the large environmental groups. As I said at the BRT, I don’t know exactly what Malaysia’s environmental rules are, but I guarantee you they are lower than ours. (Laughter.) And for us to be able to include in a TPP agreement basic environmental standards is a win for us. It puts us not at a disadvantage; it puts us at more of an advantage.
The final criticism -- not the final, but another criticism that we’re going to receive domestically is this issue of -- what’s the term in terms of lawsuits?
THE PRESIDENT: Right. And we’ve looked at the facts and, generally speaking, I think the language that’s being used allows every country to maintain its public health and safety and welfare provisions. Really what we’re trying to get at here is making sure that foreign companies are not treated differently than domestic companies. That’s the primary concern, is a discriminatory application of rules in ways that are arbitrary.
And I think that that’s something that all of us should agree on.
The big bugaboo that’s lifted up there is tobacco companies suing poorer countries to make sure that anti-smoking legislation is banned, or at least tying them up with so much litigation that ultimately smaller countries cave.
Those are issues that I think can be negotiated -- there are some areas of particular sensitivity or concern. But overall, the principle that we should make sure that U.S. companies, when they invest or export to other countries, are abiding with their safety rules but that those public health and safety rules are not being discriminatorily applied or a ruse in order to keep us out. That should be something everybody is in favor of.
So in terms of timing, how TPP happens versus TPA, I think regardless of the sequence, we’re going to have to make the sale, and it’s going to be very important for business to be out there and championthis and show that this is ultimately good for you, for your suppliers, for your workers. And if you look at all the major exporters -- you take a Boeing, presumably in every congressional district you’ve got to find a bunch of suppliers who are making the case, and their workers are making the case. So it’s not just a bunch of CEOs calling but it’s people who understand that they’ve got a stake in it.
So I think that’s on the labor front. On China, all of what we’re doing with TPP has a direct application to China. China is actually not that complicated. They will take whatever they can get. They will exploit every advantage that they have until they meet some resistance. But they have a great interest in the relationship with the United States and recognize the interdependence that has evolved between our two economies.
And so the key with China I think is to continue to simply press them on those areas where trade is imbalanced, whether it’s on their currency practices, whether it’s on IP protection, whether it’s on their state-owned enterprises. The business investment treaty that they have shown an interest in negotiating could end up being a significant piece of business. We actually saw some movement during my last trip on issues surrounding technology. And I think that it’s indicative of their interest in trying to get this right.
And by the way, there’s been some suggestion that by doing TPP we’re trying to contain or disadvantage China. We’re actually not. What we are trying to do is make sure that rather than a race to the bottom in the region there’s a reasonable bar within which we can operate. And we hope that then China actually joins us in not necessarily formally being a member of TPP but in adopting some of the best practices that ensure fairness in operations.
And the climate change announcement that we made was very significant. For those of you who are impacted by the power plant rule that the EPA is initiating here, it’s good to know that one of the arguments that’s always been made about us dealing with climate change or environmental issues generally here in the United States is, well, it puts us at a disadvantage with China. Well, we’re trying to take away that excuse by making sure that China is also abiding by higher standards and in a verifiable way. So we’re going to be focused on that.
MR. McNERNEY: Do you have time for one more question?
THE PRESIDENT: One more question.
MR. McNERNEY: I think one of the things we talked about this morning with Vice President Biden was Russia sanctions. And I think, by and large, the business community, while there’s some debate about exactly to what degree this, that, or the other thing, that these have been implemented very successfully and very methodically, worked well with the business community to maximize impact -- or minimize the impact to us.
And so there was a pretty robust discussion that I think many of us in the room ended up saying, whether we’re in the third inning or the eighth inning, just keep moving. And then there’s a lot of support in the business community for what you’re doing -- keeping Europe lined up, which is our biggest concern. Merkel seems to be hanging in there. Anyway, the Vice President gave us a very robust discussion. Any views from you -- I know you’ve talked to a lot of your peers on the subject.
THE PRESIDENT: Joe has been very close to this, so he probably gave you a pretty sound overview. I think you identified what’s been important in this process, and that is our ability to keep Europe in lockstep with us. There may be some movement out of Congress for us to get out ahead of Europe further. We have argued that that would be counterproductive. And we may need some help from the business community in making that argument to the soon-to-be Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and others.
Putin does not have good cards, and he actually has not played them as well as sometimes the Western press seems to give him credit for. There’s been an improvisational quality to this whole process because the situation in Ukraine actually took Russia by surprise. And it’s working for him politically, domestically, but profoundly damaging in terms of their economy long term, not just short term.
Where Putin will succeed is if it creates a rift in the transatlantic relationship. If you start seeing Europe divided from the United States that would be a strategic victory. And I’m intent on preventing that. And the way to prevent is making sure that we are taking into account the very real economic impact on Europe from these sanctions, being measured in terms of how we apply them, and having some strategic patience.
The notion that we can simply ratchet up sanctions further and further and further, and then, ultimately, Putin changes his mind I think is a miscalculation. What will ultimately lead to Russia making a strategic decision is if they recognize that Europe is standing with us and will be in it for the long haul and we are, in fact, patient. And if they see that there aren’t any cracks in the coalition, then, over time, you could see them saying that the costs to their economy outweigh whatever strategic benefits that they get.
So you’ve got, I’m sure, everything about Ukraine, soup to nuts, from Joe. I’ll just emphasize as a takeaway for the business community that we have been successful with sanctions precisely because we’ve been systematic about it and made sure there wasn’t a lot of daylight between us and the Europeans. That should continue. And even though sometimes it’s tempting for us to say we can go further, it won’t do us any good if it means suddenly Europe peels off and then are backfilling various things that U.S. companies are obliged to abide by.
MR. McNERNEY: Terrific. Thank you very much.
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you for the great work you’re doing. Keep it up. (Applause.)
FACT SHEET: President Obama Launches Competitions for New Manufacturing Innovation Hubs and American Apprenticeship Grants
THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 11, 2014
FACT SHEET: President Obama Launches Competitions for New Manufacturing Innovation Hubs and American Apprenticeship Grants
Today, at a meeting of the President’s Export Council (PEC), President Obama will announce nearly $400 million to help improve the competitiveness of American businesses and workers by spurring new manufacturing innovations and giving America workers additional opportunities to improve and expand their skill sets for middleclass jobs.
To help support new advancements in manufacturing, the President will announce more than $290 million in public-private investment for two new Manufacturing Innovation Hub Competitions. Today’s announcement fulfills the President’s 2014 State of the Union pledge to launch four new institutes this year, for a total of eight institutes launched so far, and puts the Administration past the halfway mark on the President’s original goal of creating 15 manufacturing innovation institutes supported through executive action.
In addition, the President will announce $100 million to expand apprenticeships for American workers - a proven training strategy for workers to learn the skills that employers need for American businesses to grow and thrive in a competitive global environment. Apprenticeships are also a path to the middle class – 87 percent of apprentices are employed after completing their programs and the average starting wage for apprenticeship graduates is over $50,000.
During today’s meeting, President Obama will also highlight the continued need to reform and simplify our tax code and the importance of opening up new markets abroad for American-made goods and services through tough, fair new trade agreements.
The PEC, chaired by Jim McNerney, President and CEO of Boeing and vice-chaired by Ursula Burns, Chairman and CEO of the Xerox Corporation, is the principal national advisory committee for exporting. The Council advises the President on government policies and programs that affect U.S. trade performance; promotes export expansion; and provides a forum for discussing and resolving trade-related problems among the business, industrial, agricultural, labor, and government sectors.
New Actions to Grow America’s Competitiveness for Jobs, Exports, and Investment
Ø Announcing More Than $290 Million in Public-Private Investment Through Two New Manufacturing Innovation Hub Competitions: President Obama will launch two new competitions for manufacturing innovation institutes today—one in smart manufacturing at the Department of Energy and one in flexible hybrid electronics at the Department of Defense. Each institute will receive $70 million or more of federal investment to be matched by at least $70 million from the private sector for a total of more than $290 million in new investment.
Ø Launching the $100 Million American Apprenticeship Grants Competition: The President will also announce that the Department of Labor is opening a competition to spur partnerships between employers, labor, training providers, and local governments to expand apprenticeships into high-growth fields like advanced manufacturing and healthcare and scale models that work. Apprenticeships are a proven path to the middle-class, as 87 percent of apprentices are employed after completing their programs with an average starting wage of over $50,000.
Exports Power American Jobs and Growth
Our long-term competitiveness for jobs, exports, and investment depends on America’s ability to lead on the cutting-edge of technology and on the skills and talent of America’s workers. Last year, the United States exported $2.3 trillion dollars of goods and services, an all-time high, and today, exports support more than 11 million American jobs across 300,000 businesses. Manufacturing, in particular, is the engine behind our exports and innovation – contributing the majority of the nation’s exports and nearly three-quarters of its private-sector R&D. And American manufacturing is more competitive than it has been in decades, growing nearly twice as fast as the economy overall and adding 764,000 jobs since February 2010. At the same time, businesses looking to move production to the United States consistently cite the skills of America’s workers, the most productive workforce in the world, as the reason for rooting jobs and investment here. Today’s announcements build on that competitive strength by investing in manufacturing innovation and upgrading the skills of American workers through the proven model of apprenticeships.
Two New Manufacturing Innovation Institute Competitions:
Manufacturing institutes serve as a regional hub, bridging the gap between applied research and product development by bringing together companies, universities and other academic and training institutions, and Federal agencies to co-invest in key technology areas that encourage investment and production in the U.S. This type of “teaching factory” provides a unique opportunity for education and training of students and workers at all levels, while providing the shared assets to help small manufacturers and other companies access the cutting-edge capabilities and equipment to design, test, and pilot new products and manufacturing processes.
Department of Defense-led Flexible Hybrid Electronics Manufacturing Innovation Institute
The Department of Defense will lead a competition for a new public-private manufacturing innovation institute in flexible hybrid electronics, combining $75 million of federal investment with $75 million or more of private investment. The modern world is filled with electronics: computers, cell phones, sensors, and literally trillions of small devices that make American lives better, if somewhat busier. The vast majority of these electronic devices are made up of boxy, rigid circuit boards. But in the world around us, most things are not flat or boxy; our bodies, the environment, the vehicles that transport us all tend to reflect an organically derived shape with plenty of curves and flexibility. Flexible hybrid electronics combine advanced materials that flex with thinned silicon chips to produce the next generation of electronic products seamlessly integrated into the things around us. These include items as diverse as comfortable, wireless medical monitors, stretchable electronics for robotics and vehicles, and smart bridges capable of alerting engineers at the first signs of trouble. For the nation’s warfighters, these new technologies will make lifesaving advances and improve mission effectiveness. For example, intelligent bandages and smart clothing will alert soldiers to first signs of injury or exhaustion; structural integrity sensors will offer real-time damage assessment for helicopters or aircraft after engagement; and small, unattended sensors will give soldiers greater situational awareness.
Department of Energy-led Smart Manufacturing Innovation Institute
A third of the nation’s energy consumption goes into manufacturing. New smart manufacturing technologies – including advanced sensors and sophisticated process controls – can dramatically improve energy efficiency in manufacturing, saving manufacturers costs and conserving the nation’s energy. The Department of Energy will lead a competition for a new public-private manufacturing innovation institute focused on smart manufacturing, including advanced sensors, control, platforms, and models for manufacturing. By combining manufacturing, digital, and energy efficiency expertise, technologies developed by the institute will give American manufacturers unprecedented, real-time control of energy use across factories and companies to increase productivity and save on energy costs. For energy intensive industries – like chemical production, solar cell manufacturing, and steelmaking – these technologies can shave 10-20% off the cost of production. The new institute will receive a federal investment of $70 million that will be matched by at least $70 million in private investments and represents a critical step in the Administration’s effort to double U.S. energy efficiency by 2030.
Interested applicants can find more information on the manufacturing innovation institute competitions at Manufacturing.gov
$100 Million American Apprenticeship Grants Competition:
Today, in conjunction with the launch of the American Apprenticeships Grants competition, Secretary of Labor Tom Perez will preside over a graduation at the Urban Technology Project, an apprenticeship program in Philadelphia, PA, whose graduates learn IT skills for careers as computer support specialists. The Department of Labor competition will use $100 million or more of H-1B funds to award approximately 25 grants to partnerships between employers, labor organizations, training providers, community colleges, local and state governments, the workforce system, non-profits and faith-based organizations that:
· Launch apprenticeship models in new, high-growth fields: Many fast-growing occupations and industries with open positions such as in information technology, high-tech services, healthcare, and advanced manufacturing need the high-quality, on-the-job training provided in an apprenticeship to meet their workforce needs.
· Align apprenticeships to pathways for further learning and career advancement: Apprenticeships that embed industry-recognized skills certifications or reward workplace learning with college credit provide an affordable educational pathway for those who need to earn while they learn, and apprenticeships linked to pre-apprenticeship programs can help more Americans access this training and get on an early pathway to a good career.
· Scale apprenticeship models that work: Across the country, there are pockets of excellence in apprenticeship, but all too often these successful models are unknown in other regions or to other employers. These grants will build from strength and invest in innovations and strategies to scale apprenticeships – including to market the value of apprenticeships, make them more attractive to women and other Americans who have been underrepresented, increase the return on investment for workers and, or build national and regional partnerships to expand apprenticeships.
Interested applicants can find more information on the American Apprenticeship Grants Competition, resources for launching new registered apprenticeships, and a toolkit on federal funds for apprenticeship at www.dol.gov/apprenticeship.
In addition, Skills for America’s Future is launching an online collaboration space for apprenticeship providers and foundation funders to connect. And the Advanced Manufacturing Partnership Steering Committee, building on new apprenticeship programs launched by Dow, Siemens, and Alcoa, is launching a ‘How-to’ toolkit to help other employers launch apprenticeships.
Remarks by the President At Early Education Summit
THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release December 10, 2014
REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT
AT EARLY EDUCATION SUMMIT
South Court Auditorium
11:58 A.M. EST
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you. (Applause.) Hey! Give Alajah a big round of applause. (Applause.) Thank you so much. Everybody have a seat.
Now, Alajah clearly knows where power is. (Laughter.) She knows who has clout and who does not. You did a wonderful job. I’m so proud of you. Good job.
MS. LANE: Thank you.
THE PRESIDENT: You’re welcome. (Laughter.) In addition to Alajah, we have some important personages here. I want to thank, first of all, America’s Secretary of Education -- somebody who is so passionate about making sure every child gets a chance in this country -- Arne Duncan. Where’s Arne? (Applause.) We’ve got some of early education’s strongest supporters in Congress from both parties who are here. We’ve got Bob Casey from the great state of Pennsylvania. (Applause.) We’ve got representatives Richard Richard Hanna. Where’s Richard? There he is. (Applause.) Jared Polis. (Applause.) Bobby Scott. (Applause.)
I want to thank the business leaders and philanthropists and mayors, all who came here from across America to make big new commitments to our kids. And I know we’ve got thousands of parents and teachers and alumni from Head Start and Early Head Start watching this live in New Orleans and Fort Lauderdale. So please give them a shout out, as well. Thank you, guys. (Applause.)
Now, you may know that last week brought some good economic news, building on the momentum that we’ve seen over the past couple of years. Over the first 11 months of 2014, our economy has created more jobs than in any full year since the 1990s. So already -- we’ve still got a month to go -- we’ve already seen more jobs created this year than any time in over a decade. Over the last four years, America has put more people back to work than Europe, Japan, and every other advanced economy combined. Overall wages are rising again, which is a welcome sign for millions of families. So for all the work we have left to do, America is outpacing most of the world. And if we seize this moment, we have the chance to lead the next century just like we led the last one, and make sure that citizens in this country, our children, can have a better life than we did.
But in order to reach our full potential, kids like Alajah need a chance to reach their full potential. Because what makes America exceptional isn’t just the size of our economy or our influence around the globe -- that is a byproduct of a more fundamental fact about America. The promise we make to our children; the idea that no matter who they are, what they look like, where they start, how much their parents earn, they can make it if they try. It’s the essential promise of America -– that where you start should not and will not determine how far you can go.
And we’re here today because it’s never too early in a child’s life to begin delivering on that promise. I’m preaching to the choir now, but I’m going to go ahead and preach. Study after study shows that children who get a high-quality early education earn more over their lifetimes than peers who don’t. They’re more likely to finish school. They’re less likely to go to prison. They’re more likely to hold a job. They’re more likely to start a stable family of their own -- which means that you have a generational transmission of the early starts that kids can get. Early education is one of the best investments we can make not just in a child’s future, but in our country. It’s one of the best investments we can make.
Today, my Council of Economic Advisers is putting out a report showing that for every dollar we invest now, we can save more than eight dollars later on, by boosting graduation rates, increasing earnings, reducing violent crime. And the study also shows that access to high-quality, affordable childcare means more employment and higher incomes for working parents, especially working moms. Not surprising there. I mean, men, we’re getting better, but we’re not where we need to be. And moms all too often are juggling between work and childcare. When we have good, high-quality early childhood education, then suddenly we’re freeing up everybody to be on the field.
So early education is a win for everybody. It saves taxpayer dollars. It gives our children a better chance. And some states are proving that it’s possible to give every child that chance. For 16 years, every child in Oklahoma has been guaranteed a preschool education. Georgia is building on their successful preschool program by launching something called “Talk With Me Baby” -- which sounds like an Al Green song, but is actually -- (laughter) -- I’m not singing. But it’s actually a program to make sure make sure language learning begins at the very first weeks of a child’s life. Now, let’s face it -- Oklahoma and Georgia are not places where I do particularly well politically. They’re not known as wild-eyed liberal states. But it just goes to show you that this is an issue that’s bigger than politics. It’s not a red issue or a blue issue. It’s about doing what’s best for our kids, for our country, and that’s an American issue. And we’ve had some terrific Republican, as well as Democratic, governors and mayors who have really taken leadership on this issue because they recognize it’s a good investment.
And that’s why, in my 2013 State of the Union Address, I laid out a plan to make sure our children have every opportunity they deserve from the moment they are born. And I asked Congress to work with me to make high-quality pre-K available to every four-year-old in America. Congress hasn’t gotten that done yet, but Democrats and Republicans came together to take some steps in the right direction, with new grants that will expand preschool for children across the country.
And in the nearly two years since I called on Congress to take action, we’ve seen 34 states, along with cities and communities across our country, take action on their own. All told, they’ve invested more than a billion dollars in our children. In Michigan, a Republican governor signed the nation’s second-largest state budget increase for early education into law. Last month, voters in Denver approved a ballot measure to renew and expand their preschool program through 2026. In New York, Mayor de Blasio made pre-K for all a centerpiece of his campaign. And this year, more than 50,000 children are enrolled in New York City preschools -- more than twice as many as in 2013. (Applause.) There must be a New Yorker here.
So we’re making progress. But here’s the thing: For all the progress we’ve made, for all the children who are on a better path, today fewer than 3 in 10 four-year-olds are enrolled in high-quality preschool. It’s not that working parents don’t want their kids to be in safe, high-quality learning environments every day. It’s that they can’t afford the costs of private preschool. And for poor children who need it most, the lack of access to a great preschool can affect their entire lives. We’ve got kids in this country who are every bit as talented as Malia and Sasha, but they’re starting out the race a step behind. And they deserve better. And the whole country will do better if we fix that. So that’s what this day is all about.
I’m pleased to announce that my administration will award $750 million of new investment in our youngest Americans. Secretary Duncan is awarding $250 million in new Preschool Development Grants to 18 states. We’re giving tens of thousands more children the opportunity to go to high-quality preschool: almost 3,000 preschool students in Nevada, for example, will be able to attend full-day preschool, instead of a half-day program. Montana will create new high-quality preschool programs that will serve kids in 16 communities, including eight communities on Indian lands.
And in order to create a full pipeline of learning programs, from birth all the way to the beginning of Kindergarten, Secretary Burwell is announcing the winners of a $500 million competition that will bring early care and education to more than 30,000 infants and toddlers next year. Our child care centers will partner with our Early Head Start Centers to help kids from virtually every state, from rural Virginia to my hometown of Chicago.
So we’re stepping up, but as all of you I’m sure have already heard, investing in our kids is not just the job of the federal government -- it’s the job of all of us. So in my State of the Union Address this year, I promised to pull together a coalition of elected officials, and business leaders, and philanthropists who are willing to help more kids access the high-quality preschool that they need. And here you are. (Laughter.)
Today, we are delivering on that promise with a new campaign called “Invest in Us.” I want to highlight a few of commitments folks in this room because I think it shows how much interest there is in this issue, how much evidence there is behind making the kinds of investments for our kids that we’re talking about.
So first of all, you’re bringing entire communities together on behalf of children. In Northeast Ohio, for example, Cuyahoga County, the city of Cleveland, local schools, businesses, foundations, and child welfare agencies have all embraced a single plan to ensure that all three- and four-year olds have access to high-quality education. So today the Greater Cleveland Community is announcing $10.2 million in new investments in early childhood programs. And that’s going to make a difference. Susie Buffett is leading an effort that will invest $15 million in Omaha. That’s making a difference, bringing folks together.
Second, as important as preschool is, you’re working to make sure a great education starts even earlier. The George Kaiser Family Foundation reaches out to new parents in Tulsa with a hospital visit before the baby even goes home. After that, they provide parenting classes and literacy programs all the way through a child’s third birthday, because they believe that every parent can be a teacher and every home can be a preschool. And as a consequence, they’re committing $25 million, in additional dollars, to help achieve that goal.
Number three, you’re supporting early education programs that we already have. So the Foundation for Child Development is working with the New York City Department of Education to help train early-learning teachers. Disney is giving away $55 million worth of books and apps for young learners. And judging by trick or treating here at the White House this year, if Disney wanted to throw in some of those princess costumes from “Frozen,” that will make a difference. (Laughter.) I mean, there were a lot of Elsas. They just kept on coming, sort of nonstop. (Laughter.)
And finally, you’re investing in new, innovative approaches that have the chance to transform the way we teach our children. So thanks to neuroscientists and psychologists and child development experts, we know more about how young minds work than ever before. So we’re got the Bezos Family Foundation announcing a $5 million commitment to turn these new insights into new tools for teachers and parents, so that our children get the most out of the time and money that we invest in them. And J.B. Pritzker and M.K. Pritzker, their family foundation is committing $25 million to build on cutting-edge research to help our most vulnerable children succeed.
So all told, in addition to what we’re going to be doing at the federal level, organizations here today are making more than $330 million in new commitments. That’s worth applauding. (Applause.) And that’s pretty extraordinary, that’s real money, even in Washington, that’s real money. (Laughter.) But it’s also just the beginning. So I’m calling on all Americans across our country to make their own commitments to our children. And I’m asking our members of Congress for their commitment as well. Outside Washington, giving our children a fair shot from the earliest age is a priority that crosses party lines. So I hope that the new Congress next year will work with me to make pre-K available for all of our kids. It will not just grow the economy for everybody –- it will change young lives forever.
Just ask Chuck Mills. Where is Chuck? Chuck is here. There’s Chuck, right there. Chuck was born in 1962, the youngest of six children, raised by a single mom. A lot of the kids in the neighborhoods where Chuck grew up did not finish school, and a lot of those young people ended up in prison. But in 1966, Chuck’s mom saw a flier at a church for a new program called “Project Head Start.” Chuck became part of just the second class of Head Start students -– and two years later, he had learned so much that he skipped kindergarten and went straight to first grade. And Chuck’s been overachieving ever since. (Laughter.) He graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy. Captain Mills piloted Marine One for two different Presidents. That is something that you want the best people for. (Laughter.) Today, Chuck is the founder and CEO of not one, but two companies in Northern Virginia. “My life,” Chuck said, “can be summed up in the words, ‘Wasn’t supposed to.’”
“Wasn’t supposed to.” Well, that’s not just Chuck’s story; that’s America’s story. America is a nation that “wasn’t supposed to.” Our entire story is improbable. All of us are here because this country gave someone in our family a chance to beat the odds. None of us were supposed to. Those of us lucky enough to share in this country’s promise now have a responsibility to ensure that for all the young people coming behind us who aren’t supposed to, that they have those same opportunities.
There are a whole bunch of Chucks out there, all across the country. We have to invest in them. We have to invest in our communities. We have to invest in us. And if we do that, we give every child the same chance that we got, then America will remain the greatest nation on Earth. And I thank all of you for the extraordinary efforts you are making in fulfilling that promise.
Thank you, God bless you. God bless America. (Applause.)
FACT SHEET: Invest in US: The White House Summit on Early Childhood Education
THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 10, 2014
FACT SHEET: Invest in US: The White House Summit on Early Childhood Education
Last year, President Obama called upon Congress to expand access to high-quality preschool for every child in America, proposing investments that would support a continuum of early learning opportunity from birth through kindergarten entry. In January, he challenged more Americans – elected officials, business leaders, philanthropists, and the public – to help more children access the early education they need to succeed in school and in life. Over the course of the past year, significant progress has been made, and bipartisan cooperation has led to a substantial increase in federal investment in early education.
Today, the President convenes state and local policymakers, mayors, school superintendents, corporate and community leaders, and advocates for the White House Summit on Early Education, highlighting collective leadership in support of early education for America’s children. Leaders will share best practices in building the public-private partnerships that are expanding early education in communities across the country. Participants will discuss effective strategies and programs that support and bring high-quality early childhood education to scale.
Leading private and philanthropic organizations will commit to new actions at the White House Summit that spur greater access to high-quality preschool and early learning. Together with federal awards, this amounts to a collective investment of over $1 billion in the education and development of America’s youngest learners. It includes:
Since 2013, 34 states have increased funding for their preschool programs, amounting to over $1 billion in new state resources dedicated to early education. In November, voters approved pre-K ballot initiatives in San Francisco, Seattle, and Denver. Communities across the country have engaged public and private partners to establish new preschool programs, and push forward with a major expansions to become strong early learning communities.
An analysis released today by the White House Council of Economic Advisers describes the economic returns to investments in early childhood education, including increased parental earnings and employment in the short-term, reduced need for remedial education and later public school expenditures, as well as long-term outcomes such as increased educational attainment, increased earnings, improved health, and decreased involvement with the criminal justice system.
Launch of “Invest in US”. Invest in US is an independent initiative organized by the First Five Years Fund and its partners in response to the President’s call for action. It challenges public and private partners, business leaders, philanthropists, advocates, elected officials, and individuals to build a better nation by expanding high-quality early childhood education. Invest in US will serve as a hub to aggregate momentum and support for early learning and provide resources to community leaders working to expand access to early childhood education.
Over $330 million in new public-private actions in support of early childhood education, including commitments to America’s early learners from corporate, philanthropic and non-profit partners:
NEW FEDERAL ACTIONS
$250 million from the U.S. Department of Education under the Preschool Development Grants program. Secretary Duncan will announce awards for 18 states to expand the reach of their high-quality preschool programs in over 200 high-need communities, to enroll over 33,000 additional children. Winning states include Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Vermont, and Virginia.
Up to $500 million from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services under the Early Head Start-Child Care Partnerships program. Secretary Burwell will announce 234 preliminary awards for hundreds of communities across 49 states, Puerto Rico, the District of Columbia, and the Northern Mariana Islands. Together, these awards will support communities as they improve and expand comprehensive early care and education for over 30,000 infants and toddlers next year.
Expanding Preschool for School Turnaround. The Obama Administration has proposed new regulations to establish high-quality preschool expansion as a core strategy for school turnaround in America’s lowest-performing elementary schools. These regulations, proposed under the School Improvement Grants program (SIG), will enable school leaders to pursue preschool expansion while also promoting full-day kindergarten and reform of teaching and learning in the early grades. Today, the U.S. Department of Education will release three case studies that highlight the progress SIG schools have made by focusing on early learning. The final SIG regulation will be released in 2015.
New Investments in Pay for Success Transactions for Early Education. The Corporation for National and Community Service’s Social Innovation Fund (SIF) and the Institute for Child Success (ICS) will make new resources available to help states and municipalities launch evidence-based early childhood interventions, by providing coaches and advisors to assist communities in developing Pay for Success transactions for early childhood investments. ICS will launch a competition to select 12 jurisdictions interested in supporting and creating a cohort of experts in early childhood and Pay for Success.
Curbing Preschool Suspension and Expulsion: Exclusionary discipline practices occur at high rates in early learning settings, and at even higher rates for young boys of color. As part of President Obama’s My Brother’s Keeper Initiative, Secretaries Duncan and Burwell will release a joint policy statement to address expulsion and suspension practices in early learning settings, encouraging states, early childhood programs, and families to prevent, reduce, and eliminate the expulsion and suspension of young children from child care and preschool programs. As part of this commitment, Secretary Burwell will dedicate $4 million toward early childhood mental health consultation services to prevent this troubling practice and to help all children thrive in early learning settings.
PRESIDENT OBAMA’S PLAN FOR EARLY EDUCATION FOR ALL AMERICANS
These efforts build on the President’s call in his 2013 State of the Union address to expand access to high-quality preschool for every child in America, through a series of new investments that establish a continuum of high-quality early learning for a child—beginning at birth and continuing to age 5.
BUILDING ON SUCCESS
Since taking office, President Obama has committed to a comprehensive early learning agenda for America’s children that provides the support and services needed to set them on a path of success in school and in life:
Launching the Race to the Top – Early Learning Challenge: President Obama has challenged states to close the school readiness gap through the Early Learning Challenge, a competitive fund that has enabled 20 states to increase the quality of their early education programs, to establish higher standards across programs and to provide critical links with health, nutrition, mental health, and family support for our neediest children. 20 states have been rewarded with grants totaling $1 billion provided under this program.
Strengthening Head Start and Early Head Start: President Obama has invested over $2.1 billion in Head Start and Early Head Start to enroll an additional 61,000 children and provide them with the educational, health, nutrition, social and other services they need to grow up healthy and ready for school. The Administration has also implemented needed reforms in the program, identifying and requiring lower-performing providers to compete for funding in order to ensure that families and children receive the best services and support, while also pioneering innovative approaches to a full continuum of services for children from birth through school-entry.
Reforming the Federal Child Care System: President Obama has taken consistent steps to improve the early care and education available to families through the Child Care and Development Fund, investing more than $2 billion to assist hundreds of thousands of children and families at the height of the recession. The CCDF helps nearly 900,000 families pay for child care for over 1.4 million children each month. In November, the President signed the Child Care and Development Block Grant Act of 2014, raising health and safety requirements for child care providers, outlining family-friendly eligibility policies, and ensuring that parents have information about the child care choices available to them.
Offering Voluntary, Evidence-Based Home Visiting: Established in 2010, the Maternal, Infant and Early Childhood Home Visiting program supports voluntary, evidence-based home visiting services to parents with young children up to age five. The program builds on research showing that home visits by a nurse, social worker, or other professional during pregnancy and in the earliest years of life can significantly improve maternal and child health, child development, learning, and success. $1.9 billion has been committed by Congress for voluntary home visiting across all 50 states, supporting to date more than 1.4 million visits in over 700 communities. President Obama will pursue substantial investments to extend and expand this important program to reach additional families in need.
FACT SHEET: New Commitments to Support Computer Science Education