White House Women's Update: "Newtown, You Are Not Alone"
Thursday, December 20, 2012
White House Women's
Update: "Newtown, You Are Not Alone"
We hope this message finds you well.
This week, President Obama traveled to Newtown, CT to meet with the families of
those who were lost in Friday's tragic shooting and to thank first responders
for their work. Our thoughts and prayers are with all those who lost loved ones
to this violence. The Department of Education
released a number of resources to help parents
to provide guidance on talking to children after a traumatic event, as well as
resources to help schools prepare for and recover from crisis.
On Wednesday, the White House also
released a statement on the Congressional
Republican "Plan B” legislation, and the Office of Management and Budget issued
Statement of Administration Policy. The
American people have been clear that they will not accept an economic approach
that places too big of a burden on the middle class, seniors, students and the
most vulnerable Americans while asking too little of the wealthiest Americans.
It's a busy time here, as we know it is for all of you. Thank you for engaging
with us in 2012, and we look forward to further engagement in the year ahead.
Happy holidays to you and your loved ones.
The White House Council on Women & Girls
"Words Need to Lead to Action” on Gun Violence
Five days after the
tragic shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School
in Newtown, Connecticut, President Obama said that he is committed to reducing
the epidemic of gun violence that plagues this country every single day.
President Barack Obama, with Vice President Joe Biden, delivers a
statement and takes questions about the Administration's gun policy process in
the wake of the shootings in Newtown, Connecticut, in the James S. Brady Press
Briefing Room of the White House, Dec. 19, 2012. (Official White House Photo by
President announced that Vice President Joe Biden will
lead a new initiative that has been tasked with identifying concrete
proposals for real reform by January. The Vice President, who wrote the 1994
Crime Bill that helped law enforcement bring down the rate of violent crime and
included the assault weapons ban, will work with members of the Cabinet and
outside organizations on this effort, and President Obama urged the new
Congress to hold votes on the proposals early next year.
The President made clear that this is a complex issue, and that solutions must
be wide-ranging and include everything from access to mental health services to
confronting a culture that at times glorifies violence. But he also made clear
that the price of doing nothing is much too high for our country to bear:
morning, a police officer was gunned down in Memphis, leaving four children
without their mother. Two officers were killed outside a grocery store in
Topeka. A woman was shot and killed inside a Las Vegas casino.
Three people were shot inside an Alabama hospital. A four-year-old was
caught in a drive-by in Missouri, and taken off life support just yesterday.
Each one of these Americans was a victim of the everyday gun violence that
takes the lives of more than 10,000 Americans every year -- violence that we
cannot accept as routine.
So I will use all the powers
of this office to help advance efforts aimed at preventing more tragedies like
this. We won't prevent them all -- but that can't be an excuse not to
try. It won't be easy -- but that can't be an excuse not to try."
read the President's full remarks or
watch the video.
Attends Prayer Vigil for Connecticut Shooting Victims
President Obama traveled to Newtown, CT to
meet with the families of those who were lost in Friday's tragic shooting, and
to thank first responders for their work.
That evening the President spoke at an interfaith vigil for families of the
victims, and all families from Sandy Hook Elementary School.
Watch the President's remarks
He offered the love and prayers of a nation grieving alongside
"Here in Newtown, I
come to offer the love and prayers of a nation. I am very mindful that
mere words cannot match the depths of your sorrow, nor can they heal your
wounded hearts. I can only hope it helps for you to know that you're not
alone in your grief; that our world too has been torn apart; that all across
this land of ours, we have wept with you, we've pulled our children tight.
And you must know that whatever measure of comfort we can provide, we will
provide; whatever portion of sadness that we can share with you to ease this
heavy load, we will gladly bear it.
Newtown -- you are not
President Obama also spoke about the need to engage Americans in efforts to
prevent tragedies like the one in Newtown, reiterating that America's first job
is caring for our children:
"And by that
measure, can we truly say, as a nation, that we are meeting our obligations?
Can we honestly say that we're doing enough to keep our children -- all of them
-- safe from harm? Can we claim, as a nation, that we're all together
there, letting them know that they are loved, and teaching them to love in return?
Can we say that we're truly doing enough to give all the children of this
country the chance they deserve to live out their lives in happiness and with
I've been reflecting on this
the last few days, and if we're honest with ourselves, the answer is no.
We're not doing enough. And we will have to change."
Read President Obama's full remarks from the vigil.
Watch President Obama's Friday statement from the
Republican "Plan B” Legislation: Cuts Taxes for Millionaires, Fails To Meet the
Test Of Balance
On Wednesday, White House Director of Communications Dan Pfeiffer
released a statement on the Congressional Republican
"Plan B” legislation:
people have been clear that they will not accept an economic approach that
places too big of a burden on the middle class, seniors, students and the most
vulnerable Americans while asking too little of the wealthiest Americans.
The Congressional Republican "Plan B” legislation continues large tax cuts for
the very wealthiest individuals - on average, millionaires would see a tax
break of $50,000 - while eliminating tax cuts that 25 million students and
families struggling to make ends meet depend on and ending critical incentives
for our nation's businesses. It would also cut off a vital lifeline of
unemployment assistance to 2 million Americans fighting to find a job just a
few days after Christmas, while deeply cutting Medicare. The deficit reduction
is minimal, and perversely, given its authors, solely through tax increases
with no spending cuts. This approach does not meet the test of balance, and the
President would veto the legislation in the unlikely event of its passage.
The President believes this
moment presents both sides an opportunity to reach a significant, balanced deal
that is good for American families, the economy and for our nation's
future. He has put forward a proposal that meets the Speaker halfway on
both taxes and spending, offering to work with Republicans to cut spending by
an additional more than one trillion dollars beyond what he has already signed
into law. The President urges the Republican leadership to work with us
to resolve remaining differences and find a reasonable solution to this
situation today instead of engaging in political exercises that increase the
possibility that taxes go up on every American. The American people are
watching closely and deserve no less."
In addition to the statement, the White House released a
fact sheet detailing the harmful impacts of the
Congressional Republican "Plan B” legislation.
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