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Your Update from the White House Business Team

Monday, June 17, 2013  
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The White House

Your Update from the White House Business Team


Things have been busy at the White House the past couple of weeks. There has been movement in a number of areas that impact economic competitiveness and growth and the business community overall. In this issue, we cover the following:

  • Moving forward on commonsense immigration reform
  • Commemorating the anniversary of the Equal Pay Act
  • Announcing the ConnectEd initiative to bring broadband to all of our students' classrooms
  • Helping improve summer employment opportunities for youth
  • Combatting patent trolls and other abuses of our patent system
  • Convening the first ever White House Hispanic Business Leaders' Forum

Commonsense Immigration Reform

Standing with a diverse, bipartisan group of leaders on Tuesday, the President spoke about the need for the Senate to pass bipartisan, commonsense immigration reform. He urgedaction on this critical legislation that will continue to strengthen the border, provide a path to citizenship, improve the legal immigration system to attract high-skilled entrepreneurs tofuel innovation, and improve an E-Verify system for employers.

"It will build on what we’ve done and continue to strengthen our borders. It will make sure that businesses and workers are all playing by the same set of rules, and it includes tough penalties for those who don’t. It’s fair for middle-class families, by making sure that those who are brought into the system pay their fair share in taxes and for services. And it’s fair for those who try to immigrate legally by stopping those who try to skip the line. It’s the right thing to do.” – President Obama

potus east room immigration remarks 6.11.13

President Barack Obama delivers remarks on immigration reform in the East Room of the White House, June 11, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

The President believes that this issue must be solved both to provide an economic boost and to grant the promise of the American Dream to those who want nothing more than to write their version of the American story. If you support commonsense immigration reform, we encourage you to talk to your friends, your colleagues and your local media about why. Share your stories here.

Launch of ConnectED

The President knows that a strong education system that equips students for the 21st century economyis vital to long-term economic growth. Without access to the internet and technology, our classrooms will not be able to fully deliver on that mission. That’s why the President traveled to Mooresville, NC last week to unveil an initiative calledConnectED. In Mooresville, President Obama called on the Federal Communications Commission to take the steps necessary to build high-speed digital connections to America’s schools and libraries, ensuring that 99% of American students can benefit from the advances in teaching and learning that come with such access.

The President wants to work with private companies over the next five years to lay fiber optic cables to provide faster wireless and wired connections, provide affordable digital devices designed for the connected classroom and encourage private sector innovation to create new learning resources, techniques and devices. We hope that you’ll join the President in this exciting initiative.

Combatting Patent Trolls and Other Abuses of Our Patent System

While equipping our students to succeed with the latest and greatest in technology, we also want to make sure that business leaders are not afraid to innovate. As such, last week the White House issued five executive actions and seven legislative recommendations designed to protect innovators from frivolous litigation and ensure the highest-quality patents in our patent system. Further, the National Economic Council and the President’s Council of Economic Advisors released a report documenting just how significant of an impact "patent trolls” and other abuses of the patent system are having on our economy and innovators. While the five executive actions we have taken are a big step forward, we will be pushing for more legislation on this important topic for American businesses.

Equal Pay Act

On Monday, the President spoke at an event to mark the anniversary of the Equal Pay Act. The President has made tackling this issue a priority since his first day in the White House. The first bill that President Obama ever signed was the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. His administration was the first to create a White House Council on Women and Girls. He launched a National Equal Pay Task Force to help crack down on violations of equal pay laws, and earlier this year, he signed a presidential memorandum directing the federal government to close the gender gap for its employees.

Youth Jobs+ Initiative

Through its Youth Jobs+ Initiative, the Administration is working to both increase employment opportunities for low-income or disconnected youth and decrease juvenile violence. This initiative builds off the highly successful 2012 Summer Jobs+ program. To help local communities that are developing and enhancing programs that support these goals, the Administration is offering online resources, technical assistance, and local events across the country that highlight the value and importance of providing pathways to employment for young people. The Administration is also working with several national organizations to disseminate these resources, including the U.S. Conference of Mayors, which issued its own summer youth jobs challenge this year.

Convening the Inaugural White House Hispanic Business Leaders Forum

Finally, the White House convenedthe nation’s top Hispanic business leaders from across the country for the first ever Hispanic Business Leaders' Forum on May 29. The event, held in conjunction with the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (USHCC), focused on jobs and the economy. The day-long event included panels with senior Administration officials discussing the economy, innovation, entrepreneurship, Latino leadership in America, supplier diversity and commonsense immigration reform. Around 90 top Hispanic business leaders attended the Forum, from a range of industries. The group included half of the Hispanic CEOs from the Fortune 500 and several top executives and next-generation high-growth entrepreneurs.

latino leadership panel

A Panel Discussion: Latino Leadership in America at the Hispanic Business Leaders’ Forum, May 29, 2013. (Photo Credit of the White House Office of Public Engagement)

Until the next time,

The White House Business Team

Ari, Patrick, and Cesi

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