When the Museum of African American History and Culture opens on the National Mall in 2015, it will be “not just a record of tragedy, but a celebration of life,” as President Obama said during the ground breaking ceremony on the site today.
The museum, the 19th in the Smithsonian Institution, will feature objects collected from across the country that tell the stories that make up the African American experience, including personal items that belonged to Harriet Tubman and one of the planes flown by the Tuskegee Airmen. Lonny Bunch, the museum’s Founding Director, gives us a first look at some of the treasures that will be on display. Watch it now:
Last night, President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama hosted an incredible group of performers for a night of blues music as part of the PBS “In Performance at the White House” series. After a little encouragement from the legendary B.B. King, the President took the mic from Mick Jagger, and sang a few lines from, “Sweet Home Chicago.” Watch:
Posted by Kendra Barkoff on February 21, 2012 at 7:32 PM EST
Vice President Joe Biden
holds a conference call in the West Wing to thank first responders and to discuss the economic value of increasing spectrum, Feb. 21, 2012. (Official White House Photo by David Lienemann)
Today, Vice President Biden met with law enforcement officials, firefighters and public safety groups in the Roosevelt Room and spoke to a couple hundred more first responders by telephone to thank them for their service and to discuss the new nationwide public-safety broadband network included in the Payroll Tax Extension legislation.
Members of the audience included police chiefs and sergeants from the New York City Police Department, the International Association of Fire Chiefs, and the National Association of Police Organization, among others. The Vice President discussed the need to ensure the safety of first responders and the public,and announced a new report from the Council of Economic Advisers (CEA) that discusses the positive benefits of wireless broadband for public safety as well as jobs, growth, and investment.
The report illustrates the economic impact of President Obama’s goal of doubling the amount of spectrum available for wireless broadcast over ten years, while adopting a nationwide inter operable wireless network.
Vice President Biden said the expanded access “will enable new spectrum to be used for innovation, to speed wireless communication, and to fulfill a promise made to first responders after 9/11 that they would have the technology they need to stay safe and do their jobs.”
“I’ve been working on changing the way we allocate spectrum for a long time,” Vice President Biden said, “because a smarter system is good for our economy, good for innovation, and vital to keeping our communities as well as our cops, firefighters and EMTs safe.”
A new report from the Council of Economic Advisors found that by 2015, U.S. mobile data traffic will be 20 times higher than it was in 2010.
To provide for this projected traffic growth, much of it due to the increase in usage of smartphones, tablets, and other internet-enabled mobile devices, the Obama Administration has proposed making an additional 500 MHz of public airwaves, known as spectrum, available for wireless broadband access.
Making wireless broadband more widely available has the potential to transform many parts of the American economy, opening the door to everything from products that make businesses more productive and tools that help doctors and nurses provide better health care at lower costs to making it easier for people to interact with media-rich mobile apps and high-definition streaming video.
In addition, wireless broadband plays a vital role in enabling emergency personnel to communicate efficiently and to obtain necessary information quickly, including real-time videos, images, and other data, even when first responders are working across jurisdictional lines.
Today, Vice President Biden announced a new nationwide public safety broadband network that President Obama will soon sign into law as part of the payroll tax extension. The new legislation will create a nationwide inter-operable public safety broadband network that will, for the first time, allow law enforcement, firefighters and EMTs to have a dedicated communications network so they can talk with one another.
Read more about the benefits of a robust wireless broadband system in the CEA report.
Since the formation of the White House Rural Council in June 2011, we have had a unique opportunity to provide recommendations on how to grow the economy and create jobs in rural America.
The feedback we’re providing to the White House, based on our travels throughout the countryside, has helped us find creative ways to move the country forward without relying on Congress to act because rural Americans can’t wait.
Today’s announcements are the result of the Rural Council’s ability to cut across large federal agencies to deliver results for rural families and businesses. Along with colleagues at the Departments of Commerce, Health and Human Services, and Labor, we announced three new ways to leverage existing programs and funding to drive economic growth in rural communities.
These announcements include:
- Promoting A Bioeconomy: President Obama issued a Presidential Memorandum today directing the federal government to dramatically increase the purchase of biobased products over the next two years, which will create jobs and drive innovation where biobased products are grown and manufactured. The biobased products sector marries the two most important economic engines for rural America: agriculture and manufacturing.
- Rural Jobs Accelerator: We are launching a national competition, providing about $15 million for projects that promote innovation-fueled regional job creation. The competition will combine funding from USDA, the Economic Development Administration, Delta Regional Authority and the Appalachian Regional Commission. USDA will utilize our Rural Community Development Initiative program to support this effort and provide technical assistance and training funds to qualified intermediary organizations to develop their capacity to undertake housing, community facilities, and community and economic development projects in rural areas.
- Rural Health IT Workforce: The Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Labor signed a memorandum of understanding to connect community colleges and technical colleges that support rural communities with the materials and resources they need to support the training of Health Information Technology (HIT) professionals that work in rural hospitals and clinics.
Click here to learn more about the efforts of the White House Rural Council.
President Barack Obama, with Vice President Joe Biden, discusses the importance of the agreement passed by Congress to extend the payroll tax cut and unemployment insurance while speaking in the South Court Auditorium in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, Feb. 21, 2012. The President urged Congress to build on the success of the agreement by taking additional steps to create jobs, grow the economy and help the middle class. The President and Vice President were joined by Americans who have shared their stories on WhiteHouse.gov and Twitter about what $40 a paycheck means to them. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)
This morning, President Obama hosted an event at the White House to talk about the payroll tax cut — which Congress voted to extend last week.
Flanked by a group of Americans who shared stories about what they would be forced to give up without the tax cut, he gave credit to all of those who added their voices to the debate:
This got done because of you; because you called, you emailed, you tweeted your representatives and you demanded action. You made it clear that you wanted to see some common sense in Washington. And because you did, no working American is going to see their taxes go up this year. That’s good news. Because of what you did, millions of Americans who are out there still looking for work are going to continue to get help with unemployment insurance. That’s because of you.
Posted by Melanie Kaye on February 21, 2012 at 4:39 PM EST
Tomorrow, Dr. Jill Biden and Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis will embark on a three-day “Community College to Career” bus tour to highlight innovative industry initiativesthat are helping train students with the skills they need to meet area workforce needs.
President Obama recently announced an $8 billion Community College to Career Fund, co-administered by the Department of Labor and Department of Education,which will help forge new partnerships between community colleges and businesses to train two million workers with skills that will lead directly to jobs.
During the tour, Dr. Biden and Secretary Solis will visit several community colleges to learn about model industry partnerships, but we know there are many more success stories around the country (check out the full schedule below). We want to hear from community college faculty, students, business and community leaders about how these partnerships have benefited you and your community.
Check out this video from Secretary Solis asking for community college faculty, students and industry partners to share their stories. Got a story to share? Head over to WhiteHouse.gov/CommunityCollege/Tour to tell us about it or share your story on Twitter using the hashtag #CCtour.
Here’s the full schedule for the bus tour.
On January 18, 2011, the President issued Executive Order 13563, in which he directed regulatory agencies to base regulations on an “open exchange of information and perspectives” and to promote public participation in Federal rulemaking. The President identified Regulations.gov as the centralized portal for timely public access to regulatory content online.
In response to the President’s direction, Regulations.gov has launched a major redesign, including innovative new search tools, social media connections, and better access to regulatory data. The result is a significantly improved website that will help members of the public to engage with agencies and ultimately to improve the content of rules.
The redesign of Regulations.gov also fulfills the President’s commitment in The Open Government Partnership National Action Plan to “improve public services,” including to “expand public participation in the development of regulations.” This step is just one of many, consistent with the National Action Plan, designed to make our Federal Government more transparent, participatory, and collaborative.
Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) are technical interfaces/tools that allow people to pull regulatory content from Regulations.gov. For most of us, the addition of “APIs” on Regulations.gov doesn’t mean much, but for web managers and experts in the applications community, providing APIs will fundamentally change the way people will be able to interact with public federal regulatory data and content.
Last Friday, President Obama traveled to the Boeing aerospace factory in Everett, Washington. He met with workers and discussed his blueprint for an economy built to last with the renewed strength of American manufacturing. Part of the President’s message will focus on the Administration’s commitment to strong enforcement of U.S. trade agreements. The enforcement of trade agreements is vital to the success of large U.S. exporters like Boeing, as well as hundreds of firms of every size throughout Boeing’s global supply chain.
Here in the United States, from Washington to Kansas to South Carolina, tens of thousands of Americans depend on Boeing and its suppliers for a job and a place to put their skills to work. Trade agreements that guarantee a level playing field for global competition help make it possible for Boeing to sell its airplanes around the world in support of jobs here at home.
Boeing, like other American companies, knows from experience the importance of strong trade enforcement. For many years, the EU and its various member states provided Airbus, Boeing’s main global competitor, with more than $18 billion in subsidies. As a result, Boeing has been competing on an un-level playing field – losing market share and possible job-creating opportunities.
Fortunately, last year the Obama Administration secured a victory against EU subsidies to Airbus. It was the largest verdict in the history of the World Trade Organization. USTR is currently working to ensure that the EU implements the necessary changes and stops the illegal subsidies. Once implemented, this decision will lead to a more level playing field for Boeing and its many suppliers across America who support well-paying jobs for tens of thousands of hard-working Americans.
On October 31, 2011 President Obama signed an Executive Order directing the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to take action to help further prevent and reduce prescription drug shortages, protect consumers and prevent price gouging. Nearly four months later, it’s clear that the President’s Executive Order and the good work of the FDA are making a difference for the American people.
Since President Obama signed his Executive Order, FDA has prevented 114 drug shortages. In part, this resulted from the Administration’s call for voluntarily notification to the FDA of potential shortages. Notification of a potential shortage is crucial: with enough advance warning, FDA can take action to help stop a potential drug shortage. And since President Obama signed his Executive Order, voluntary notifications have increased six-fold.
Today, the FDA is announcing the steps it has taken to end the shortage of two important drugs that fight cancer:
- To avert an impending shortage of methotrexate, a drug used to treat children with leukemia, the FDA has worked with manufacturers to help ramp up production and has approved a new application to produce the version of the drug that is most needed , which will further bolster supply and ensure patients have access to this lifesaving medicine.
- To end the shortage of the cancer drug Doxil, the FDA will allow the temporary importation of a replacement drug. This action should address patient needs and end this drug shortage.
The FDA is also responding to President Obama’s Executive Order by releasing new draft guidance for the drug industry on requirements for both mandatory and voluntary notification to FDA of issues that could result in a drug shortage.