Weekly Address: The Honor of Serving You as President

This week, President Obama delivered his final weekly address thanking the American people for making him a better President and a better man. Over the past eight years, we have seen the goodness, resilience, and hope of the American people. We’ve seen what’s possible when we come together in the hard, but vital work of self-government – but we can’t take our democracy for granted. Our success as a Nation depends on our participation. It’s up to all of us to be guardians of our democracy, and to embrace the task of continually trying to improve our Nation. Despite our differences, we all share the same title: Citizen. And that is why President Obama looks forward to working by your side, as a citizen, for all of his remaining days. 

Transcript | MP3 | MP4

Continue reading…

 

Weekly Address: President Obama’s Farewell Address to the Nation

In this week’s address, President Obama discussed his upcoming farewell address to the nation. In 1796, as George Washington set the precedent for a peaceful, democratic transfer of power, he also set a precedent by penning a farewell address to the American people. And over the 220 years since, many American presidents have followed his lead. Next week, the President will return to his hometown of Chicago to say a grateful farewell to the nation. This will mark the first time that a President has returned to his hometown to deliver such a speech. The President has said that the running thread through his career has been the notion that when ordinary people get involved, get engaged and come together, things change for the better. This belief is at the heart of the American experiment in self-government – and it gives purpose to new generations.

Through his address, the President will thank his supporters, celebrate the ways we have changed this country for the better these past eight years, and offer his vision on where we all go from here. The President will deliver his farewell address at 9:00 PM EST on Tuesday, January 10, at McCormick Place in Chicago, Illinois. To tune in on Tuesday, visit www.whitehouse.gov/farewell.

Transcript | MP3 | MP4

The Farewell Address

Continue reading…

 

Weekly Address: President Obama’s Farewell Address to the Nation

In this week’s address, President Obama discussed his upcoming farewell address to the nation. In 1796, as George Washington set the precedent for a peaceful, democratic transfer of power, he also set a precedent by penning a farewell address to the American people. And over the 220 years since, many American presidents have followed his lead. Next week, the President will return to his hometown of Chicago to say a grateful farewell to the nation. This will mark the first time that a President has returned to his hometown to deliver such a speech. The President has said that the running thread through his career has been the notion that when ordinary people get involved, get engaged and come together, things change for the better. This belief is at the heart of the American experiment in self-government – and it gives purpose to new generations.

Through his address, the President will thank his supporters, celebrate the ways we have changed this country for the better these past eight years, and offer his vision on where we all go from here. The President will deliver his farewell address at 9:00 PM EST on Tuesday, January 10, at McCormick Place in Chicago, Illinois. To tune in on Tuesday, visit www.whitehouse.gov/farewell.

Transcript | MP3 | MP4

The Farewell Address

Continue reading…

 

Weekly Address: Ensuring a Fair and Competitive Marketplace

In this week’s address, President Obama discussed the importance of fair competition in the marketplace. The principle of fair competition isn’t a Democratic or a Republican idea – it’s an American idea. Over the past eight years, the Obama Administration has taken many actions to keep the marketplace fair, including: defending a free, open, and accessible internet; cracking down on conflicts of interest by making sure professionals who give retirement advice do so in the consumer’s best interest; and – just this week – standing up for beef, pork, and poultry growers when they’re treated unfairly. The President believes our free-market economy only works when there’s competition and rules are in place to keep it fair, open, and honest. That’s what this is all about – ensuring that everyone has a chance to compete by leveling the playing field and keeping the rules clear and consistent.

Transcript | MP4 | MP3

Dig Deeper

Continue reading…

 

3 Letters That Explain Why President Obama Is Signing the Cures Act


Watch at 2:00pm ET: Vice President Biden joins President Obama as he signs the Cures Act into law


Today, President Obama is signing into law the 21st Century Cures Act, bipartisan legislation that will go a long way toward bringing about the medical breakthroughs we need to meet some of the biggest health challenges facing Americans today. No matter what corner of the country you live in, you or someone in your life has been touched by cancer, the opioid epidemic, devastating illnesses or serious mental health issues. The Cures Act makes significant investments in innovative technologies and research that could find a cure for Alzheimer’s, end cancer as we know it, and help those who are seeking treatment for opioid addiction. 

Cures Act investments

Read these three letters to learn why President Obama is so committed to investing in the future of health in America. 

Eugene Ammon, Jr., Columbus, OH

Letter from Eugene Ammon

Transcript: 

Hello Mr. President, my name is Eugene Ammon. I am from Columbus Ohio. I am sending this message in regards to the growing concern in this country about addiction especially the growing number of people who die each year because of this. I personally lost my mother 18 months ago to a heroin overdose and will most likely be attending my sisters funeral, a mother of 3, by the years end as she is also an addict and has been diagnosed with heart problems and Hep C. Both i assume due to her addiction and her life style that has led her to being arrested for soliciting more times than i can count. 

My concern is that this has opened my eyes as to how only those with an abundance of resources have steady and consistent access to the treatment necessary to actually treat themselves. My sister was recently released out into the world, again, without anywhere to go as waiting lists for facilities combined with over crowding in the jail system meant she would be put in a position no one could possibly succeed in. 

There are facilities available but they need you to be insured. To be blunt but even with the expanded access to health insurance this is not something a prostitute with a heroin problem is walking around with. 

Let me be clear that her decisions are hers and hers alone. They were my mothers decisions. However I cant help but wonder what kind of difference it would make if one could have access to this kind of help the moment they wanted it. I feel there are enough resources to make this a reality, I also think this would be cheaper over the long run than the countless unpaid ER visits that are occurring everyday from things like overdoses and infections. 

Its too late for my family. Its too late for me. Its not too late for countless others. 

I don’t know what they policy answers are. I as an average american can only reach out to those who might with what i see as a problem and hope someone notices or cares. I do know this is health crisis not just a criminal one and i hope for a policy approach sooner rather than later that will deal with this as such. 

If you or anyone happens to read this i thank you for your time. 

More Americans now die every year from drug overdoses than in motor vehicle crashes, and the majority involve opioids. The Cures Act invests $1 billion dollars to combat the heroin and prescription opioid epidemic, as the President’s called for in his budget. The Administration is committed to ensuring that these funds are disbursed quickly and effectively starting in early 2017.

The Opioid Epidemic

Kathyrn Green, Santa Monica, California

Letter from Kathryn Green

Transcript: 

Dear President Obama and Vice President Biden,

My name is Kathyrn Green and I’m a mother of a 14 month old daughter, a high school teacher in Los Angeles, and a wife of a husband who is battling brain cancer. While this is the first time I’m writing to offer my deepest condolences for the loss of the Vice President’s son, his family was in my paryers upon hearing the news, and will continue to be. I read in the news this morning that the Vice President was visiting the Fred Hutchinson Research Center on Monday, and I wanted to thank him for continuing to bring this terrible disease into the spotlight, and thank you both for being that ever-hopeful light in finding a way to manage cancer with your Moonshot initiative. I sat with my daughter on my lap and listened to the State of the Union address, and at one years old, I was delighted that she clapped along as the audience applauded. There are so many problems and issues that need healing in this country, and I’m deeply grateful that both President Obama and Vice President Biden are standing with the patients, families, and communities who have been touched by this disease. I will continue to follow your administrations lead and support you in your endeavors, however they manifest over the next few months and years. It is with the most sincereity and humbleness that I ask for your office to continue supporting the institutes, scientists, and resarch centers, who will, no doubt. be the harbinger of a bright future in a diagnosis which sees only dark clouds ahead. Thank you again for all of the work you have done, and will continue to do. I will be cheering from the sidelines, and envisioning better days to come. 

Warmly,

Kathyrn Green

In his last State of the Union address, President Obama asked Vice President Joe Biden to be at the head of “mission control” in a new moonshot effort to end cancer as we know it. The Cancer Moonshot’s ultimate goal is to make a decade’s worth of advances in cancer prevention, diagnosis, and treatment, in five years. The Cures Act invests $1.8 billion in this initiative — important funding that will support investment in promising new therapies like cancer immunotherapy, new prevention tools, cancer vaccine development, novel early detection tools, and pediatric cancer interventions.  

The Cancer Moonshot

Michelle McRee, Atwater, California 

Michelle McRee first wrote the President in December of 2015 in frustration over her 15-year-old grandaughter’s inability to receive the mental health services she needed. She questioned whether the health care law and the U.S. health care system would ever be able to address her daughters needs: “I am sick and I am disgusted with knowing that in a few weeks my grandchild will be coming home with another ‘band-aid’ to treat her disorders,” she wrote. “I live in fear of the day that my daughter will tell me that my grandchild has taken her own life, due to a mental health disorder that she can receive only minimal treatment for.” 

The President responded to let her know he was listening and directed his team to help advise her on the best way to find support. This is her letter in response: 

Letter from Michelle McRee

Transcript: 

Dear Mr. President, 

I wanted to take a moment to thank you for listening. Your administration’s response and assistance, at your behalf, has shown us how agencies can work together to help families such as ours. When I first wrote to you last fall, about my grandchild’s situation and our frustrations in getting the recommended care for her, I did so not just out of frustration but out of bitter anger as well. Since then I have learned a lot. I learned that the resources were already there and had been for quite some time. While it is true that finding these resources is more difficult than it should be, it is up to us parents and guardians to be proactive for our children from the very beginning, not after the fifth hospitalization and out of bitter frustration. 

I blamed you and I blamed your healthcare policy for our struggles and i have since learned that wasn’t fair. While I am not a member of your political party (no, I didn’t vote for you) and have often been critical of this new healthcare policy, I am forever grateful to you sir, for taking the time to listen, to help, and to make my granchild’s day when she read your letter. 

Since becoming my grandchild’s caregiver, and during being the primary caregiver for my parents before their deaths these past couple years, I have lost a lot. I have had to make the choice to give up a job (twice now), I am losing my car due to being financially unable to afford it, and we may have to move soon. Unfortunately. those choices have to be made because our system, both state and federal, does have many gaps. But they were choices that I made fully aware and the only thing that i have lost are just that … “things”, and can be replaced. I cannot replace the time I had with my parents, nor the joy in seeing my grandchild progress daily in learning to cope in healthy ways with her disorders whil still remaining here at home. I cannot replace the gratitude of having one of the best mental health support teams that I have ever had the honor of knowing. And I cannot replace the humbling realization that we can, and are often, wrong in where we place blame. That my government didn’t fail my grandchild. My goverment stepped in and provided the professional support for us to help my grandchild. 

Again, I thank you President Obama for what you have done for my family. I wish you and your family many happy years. 

Sincerely,

Michelle R. McRee 

The Cures Act includes bipartisan mental health provisions, including improved coordination between primary care and behavioral health serivces, reauthorization of important programs focused on suicide prevention and other prevention services, and mental health and substance use disorder parity provisions that build on the work of the President’s Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder Parity Task Force. 

Mental Health & Substance Abuse Report

The Cures Act also makes a significant investment of nearly $3 billion to continue the President’s signature biomedical research initiatives — the BRAIN and Precision Medicine Initiatives — over the next decade to tackle diseases like Alzheimer’s and create new research models to find cures and better target treatments. 

Read what that Precision Medicine Initiative has meant in another letter writer’s life here. Then dig deeper into the medical possibilites and hope that these initatives — and support from the Cures Act — can deliver in the near future. 

Precision Medicine Initiative BRAIN Initiative

 

Continue reading…

 

Watch Live: President Obama Reviews His Approach to Counterterrorism


Watch live at 4:10pm ET to hear President Obama speak on his Administration’s approach to counterterrorism: 


President Obama is in Tampa, Florida today to personally thank some of the men and women who have been at the forefront of the global fight against terrorism. While at MacDill Air Force Base, he will also deliver his last major speech dedicated to his national security record in which he will summarize what we’ve accomplished at home and abroad over the last eight years; how we’ve approached the threat of terrorism; ;and how he he believes the nation can pursue a successful and sustainable counterterrorism policy in the years to come. 

From the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, to the emergence of ISIL, to the importance of diplomacy and global development, President Obama will review exactly what he did as Commander-in-Chief and the lessons that can be drawn from this approach. Make sure you watch at 4:10pm ET. 

Continue reading…

 

Chart: Here's Where Insured Americans Get Covered and How the Affordable Care Act Impacts Them

Here's where insured Americans get covered


Dig deeper:

Join a call with the President on the Affordable Care Act and learn what you can do ahead of the open enrollment period.

Watch President Obama’s speech in Miami, Florida on our progress since the Affordable Care Act.

Read the transcript of the President’s speech.

Watch behind-the-scenes footage from the day the Affordable Care Act was passed and signed into law.

Continue reading…

 

Weekly Address: Continuing to Strengthen the Middle Class

In this week’s address, President Obama highlighted wage growth over the course of his presidency.

Since 2012, real wages have grown about 20 times faster than they did for almost three decades between 1980 and 2007. Last year, typical household income rose by $2,800 – the single largest increase on record. Across every race and age group in America, incomes rose and poverty rates fell; and 3.5 million people were lifted out of poverty – the largest one-year drop in the poverty rate since 1968. Thanks in part to states and communities that have raised the minimum wage, lower- and middle-income families saw the biggest boost in incomes. Although we’ve made significant progress, the President said more work needs to be done to strengthen the middle class – and this starts with a Congress that will put politics aside and act on commonsense ideas.

 

Transcript | mp4 | mp3

The Record: Economy

Continue reading…

 

Administrator Fugate: An Update on Hurricane Matthew

This evening, Craig Fugate, the Administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), sent the following message to the White House email list. Didn’t get it? Sign up for updates here


President Obama receives an update on Hurricane Matthew
President Barack Obama delivers a statement to the press after he receives a briefing on Hurricane Matthew at Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) headquarters in Washington, D.C., Oct. 5, 2016. Also attending are Dr. John Holdren, Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy, lower left, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson, FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate and Lisa Monaco, Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

Hurricane Matthew is a dangerous storm. 

We have not seen a hurricane this strong in almost a decade. It has already devastated Haiti, and has been building strength on its way to the U.S. As it makes landfall in Florida tonight and tracks up the eastern coastline over the coming days, Americans living in its path can expect to see life-threatening hurricane conditions, storm surges, tropical force winds, heavy rains, and all the devastation that that may bring.      

Today, President Obama declared a state of emergency in Florida. Evacuations for coastal counties in Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina are in effect. If you live in these areas, please listen to the directions of your state, tribal, and local officials. If instructed to evacuate, don’t wait. You can always repair and rebuild — and we’ll be here to help you do that. The most important thing you can do is keep you and your family safe. 

You can download the FEMA mobile app for shelter information, disaster resources, weather alerts, and safety tips, in English and in Spanish.

As a native Floridian, I am intimately aware of the devastation hurricanes can wreak. As the head of FEMA, it is my job to make sure that we do everything we can to prepare our communities for the oncoming storm and ensure that our emergency response efforts are ready to go as soon as we’re needed.

That’s why we’ve deployed teams to emergency operation centers in Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia to support preparation activities and ensure that no needs are unmet. We are staffing bases in Albany, Georgia, and Fort Bragg, North Carolina to collect and provide commodities and resources close to affected areas.

As of this morning, there were more than 414,000 liters of water, more than 513,700 meals, more than 8,000 blankets, and more than 20,600 cots in these locations. And more resources are on their way to Fort A.P. Hill, Virginia. 

We’re also coordinating with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to monitor and inspect the integrity of dams in the area. We’re working with the U.S. Coast Guard to assess and advise on the status of ports. The Department of Health and Human Services has sent emergency medical specialists to Georgia to assist if needed.

Hurricane Matthew has potential for life-threatening rain, wind, and storm surges along our coast. This serves as a reminder for residents in areas at risk and around the nation to refresh their emergency kits and review family plans. If you do not have an emergency kit or family plan, or if you want to learn about steps you can take now to prepare your family for severe weather, visit Ready.gov.

And as you’ve undoubtedly seen, this hurricane has already taken a devastating toll on Haiti , the Dominican Republic, and countries in the Caribbean. We know that many people who didn’t have a lot to begin with have lost almost everything. More than 100 people have lost their lives, and so many more are in need of substantial help. 

If you want do what you can to help, please visit the Center for International Disaster Information, www.cidi.org, to find out how you can provide support to people when they need it most.

Here at FEMA, we are hoping for the best but are preparing for the worst.

As we monitor the situation over the next couple of days, you can check back here for the latest information on response efforts

Thank you. 

Continue reading…

 

President Obama Marks an Historic Moment in Our Global Efforts to Combat Climate Change

Ten months ago, nations from across the globe gathered in Paris to announce an historic agreement to combat climate change. The Paris Agreement established a strong global consensus to reduce carbon pollution and set the world on a low-carbon course. For the agreement to go into effect, 55 countries representing 55 percent of global emissions had to formally join. In September, the U.S. and China, countries that represent 40 percent of emissions, officially joined. And today, the world crossed the threshold needed to bring the Paris Agreement into force. 

Speaking from the Rose Garden, President Obama welcomed this historic step in our global efforts to combat climate change. Watch his remarks: 

This historic moment did not happen overnight. Take a look back at significant moments on the path we took to get here: 

In 2009, we salvaged a chaotic climate summit in Copenhagen to esablish a foundational principle that all nations have a role to play in combating climate change. 

President Obama in Copenhagen 2009
President Barack Obama briefs European leaders, including British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, French President Nicolas Sarkozy, Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, European Union Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, and Danish Prime Minister Lars L. Rasmussen, following a multilateral meeting at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, Denmark, Dec. 18, 2009. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

We then led by example with historic investments in growing industries like wind and solar, creating a steady stream of new jobs. 

Solar electricity in U.S.

In June of 2015, the President announced the Clean Power Plan, which proposed the first-ever nationwide standards to limit the amount of carbon pollution that power plants can dump into the air. 

President's CPP plan

We also set new transportation standards that changed the way we consume energy—and empowered consumers to leave a smaller footprint.

Here’s how today’s new actions will spur innovation and promote more efficient vehicles: https://t.co/WoV9454Y4B pic.twitter.com/JFvIc9LZ5V

— The White House (@WhiteHouse) August 16, 2016

In September of this year, the U.S. and China—two countries that represent approximately 40 percent of global emissions—officially joined the Paris Agreement. 

The U.S. joins Paris Agreement
President Barack Obama, President Xi Jinping of China and United Nations Secretary General Ban ki-Moon exchange greetings at the conclusion of a climate event at West Lake State House in Hangzhou, China, Sept. 3, 2016. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

And today, as the President said, the world has made history: “If we follow through on the commitments this agreement embodies, history will judge it as a turning point for our planet.”

Learn more about the President’s efforts to combat climate change here: www.whitehouse.gov/climate 

The Record on Climate

 

Continue reading…