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News & Press: Administration News

White House Women’s Update: An Historic Week

Monday, July 01, 2013  
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White House Women’s Update: An Historic Week

Friends,

Last Thursday, 68 members of the U.S. Senate, Republicans and Democrats, came together and voted to reform our nation's immigration system. The President commended the compromise in the Senate, but urged everyone who cares about this issue to keep a watchful eye. Click here to tell us why immigration reform is important to you.

On June 26th, the Supreme Court struck down Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act. Read the President’s remarks and learn more about what these decisions mean for LGBT couples throughout the country here.

On Tuesday of the same week, President Obama laid out his comprehensive plan to cut carbon pollution, prepare our country for the impacts of climate change, and lead global efforts to fight it. What does this plan mean for your state? Check out our state-by-state reports.

That same day, Vice President Biden commemorated the 75th anniversary of the Fair Labor Standards Act and echoed President Obama’s previous calls to raise the minimum wage. See the Vice President’s remarks and learn what a minimum wage increase would mean to the American family here.

Over the last few days, the First Family has been traveling across Africa, visiting Senegal, South Africa, and Tanzania. Read more about why the First Lady thinks this trip is so important and access her travel updates here.

Thank you for all that you do!

White House Council on Women & Girls

Senate Votes to Reform Our Nation's Immigration System

On June 27th, 68 members of the U.S. Senate, Republicans and Democrats, came together and voted to reform our nation's immigration system. They voted for a bill that secures our borders and cracks down on employers who refuse to play by the rules. They voted for a bill that provides undocumented immigrants with a way to earn citizenship so they can come out of the shadows. They voted for a bill that provides visas to foreign entrepreneurs looking to start American businesses, reunites families, and helps the students and young people who've never known any home but America fully embrace the country that they love. Read President Obama’s statement about this bill here.

We took a big step forward with this Senate vote. But we haven't won the debate. This bill isn't yet a law, and there are a lot of policymakers who are still weighing their options. As the conversation unfolds here in Washington, we need you to be part of it.

Learn more about commonsense immigration reform and what you can do to help!

A Victory for Equality

On June 26th, the Supreme Court struck down Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act. As President Obamastated, ”this ruling is a victory for couples who have long fought for equal treatment under the law; for children whose parents’ marriages will now be recognized, rightly, as legitimate; for families that, at long last, will get the respect and protection they deserve; and for friends and supporters who have wanted nothing more than to see their loved ones treated fairly and have worked hard to persuade their nation to change for the better.”

These historic rulings were victories for LGBT couples across America including gay and lesbian service members, their spouses, and their families. As Secretary Hagel said in his statement last week, "Today's ruling helps ensure that all men and women who serve this country can be treated fairly and equally, with the full dignity and respect they so richly deserve.”

See what Administration Officials had to say about the ruling here.

The President Announces His Plan to Cut Carbon Pollution

On June 25th, President Obama laid out his comprehensive plan to cut carbon pollution,

The President explained the moral obligation to leave our children a planet that’s not polluted or damaged and emphasized his determination to take responsible steps to cut carbon pollution, in order to begin to slow the effects of climate change. The President’s plan is a comprehensive approach to cutting the pollution that causes climate change and threatens public health, setting us on a path to make our communities healthier, safer, and more resilient.

Read the President’s complete speech and learn more about the state-by-state specifics of the plan here.

Vice President Biden Reminds America Why We Need to Raise the Minimum Wage

biden min wage video

In his State of the Union, President Obama laid out a simple principle: "in the wealthiest nation on Earth, no one who works full-time should have to live in poverty.” On June 25th, President Biden commemorated an important milestone in upholding that principle – the 75th anniversary of the Fair Labor Standards Act.

The Fair Labor Standards Act, signed into law by President Franklin Roosevelt, was responsible for minimum wage, restrictions on child labor, and overtime, but a look back at history demonstrates how much work still needs to be done to make the Act’s aims a reality. Over the past three decades, the minimum wage has failed to keep pace with inflation – eroding its value for working families. A full-time worker making the minimum wage now earns only $14,500 a year – leaving a family with two kids below the poverty line even once tax credits are taken into account. As President Obama has said, for these families, a minimum wage increase "could mean the difference between groceries or the food bank; rent or eviction; scraping by or finally getting ahead.”

That’s why in February, President Obama called on Congress to raise the minimum wage and why Vice President Biden echoed that call last week. See the Vice President’s remarks here and learn more about the President’s plan to reward work by raising the minimum wage here.

The First Family’s Travel to Africa

first lady addresses johannesburg google hangout

First Lady Michelle Obama delivers remarks during a Google + Hangout on education at the Sci Bono Discovery Center in Johannesburg, South Africa, June 29, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

Over the last few days, the First Family has been traveling across Africa, visiting Senegal, South Africa, and Tanzania. In the First Lady’s own words "This [was] such an important trip because Africa is such an important partner to the United States on so many of the issues facing our world today – from climate change and terrorism, to poverty and disease, to the challenge of creating jobs in our global economy. And more than ever before, our success here in the U.S. is tied to the success of other countries around the world – in so many ways, we will all rise or fall together.”

To make sure that Americans were able to keep up to date on the major developments of the trip, the First Lady posted travel updates to the White House blog about her visits to Goree Island and Dakar, Senegal and hosted a special town hall on Saturday June 29th. Read more about what this trip means to the First Lady and find links to her other social media and blog updates here.

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