Thank you for your service and sacrifice…
International Courage Awards: Last Friday, the First Lady joined Secretary of State John Kerry at the State Department for the International Women of Courage Awards—where nine different women were honored. The event was a celebration of the strength and sacrifice of individuals who have worked tirelessly for the advancement of women’s rights for all.
Trade Export Council: On Tuesday, President Obama touched base with business and government leaders at a meeting of the President’s Export Council.
“The good news is we are well on our way to meeting a very ambitious goal that we set several years ago to double U.S. exports,” said the President. “And what we know is, is that a lot of the growth, a lot of the new jobs that we’ve seen during the course of this recovery, have been export-driven.”
To maintain and ignite growth, President Obama discussed finishing new trade deals with Europe and the Asia-Pacific. The Administration signed legislation in 2011 supporting free trade agreements with Korea, Colombia, and Panama which has kept America competitive in foreign trade, while creating jobs for Americans.
Sultan of Brunei: On Tuesday, President Obama welcomed His Majesty the Sultan of Brunei to the Oval Office for a bilateral meeting to share their desire for “a strong, peaceful, prosperous Asia-Pacific region.”
Brunei, a small country in the South China Sea, will be holding the ASEAN East Asia Summit meeting in October. The visit is a symbol of the President’s goal of working towards a peaceful and prosperous presence in the Asia-Pacific region.
#AskFLOTUS : On Monday, in celebration of Let’s Move’s third anniversary the First Ladyparticipated in a question and answer session through Twitter. The First Lady tweeted responses to questions such as how much exercise our kids need a day and her favorite healthy winter recipe. For the record, a minimum of 60 minutes a day is required and the First Lady’s favorite winter dish is turkey and veggie chili. Head over to Pinterest for MyPlate Recipes which haves hundreds of tasty recipes for a healthy diet.
“Being Biden”: On Thursday, Vice President Biden introduced a new audio series called “Being Biden” to give Americans an opportunity to connect with the White House through the lens of Vice President Biden. In the series, the Vice President will discuss special photos and share why the moments matter to him. Check out the first installment atwhitehouse.gov/beingbiden.
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Ask Him Anything: On Wednesday, Gene Sperling, the Director of the National Economic Council and Assistant to President Obama for Economic Policy, fielded questions on the President’s plan to reduce the deficit. Through Reddit’s “Ask Me Anything” forum, Sperling answered economic policy questions from users, and even joked about the West Wing, a TV series on which he once worked.
You can read through the Q & A on Reddit here.
Hire Vets: On Wednesday, the First Lady addressed the Business Roundtable, an association of chief executive officers, and challenged them to hire our veterans and military spouses. Through Joining Forces, the First Lady and Dr. Jill Biden have made it a priority to support them:
“We’ve got to hold ourselves to the same standards of service and patriotism as they’ve held themselves,” said the First Lady. “And we’ve got to join forces so that we can truly serve our veterans and military families as well as they have served us.”
Dear Conservative Americans,
The years have not been kind to you. I grew up in a profoundly Republican home so I can remember when you wore a very different face than the one we see now. You’ve lost me and you’ve lost most of America. Because I believe having responsible choices is important to democracy, I’d like to give you some advice and an invitation.
Welcome to the West Wing Week, your guide to everything that’s happening at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.
This week, President Obama addressed the nation on his plan to withdraw American troops from Afghanistan, delivering on a promise he made to the American people in December of 2009.
He also traveled to Fort Drum in New York to meet with soldiers and their families, welcomed young elected officials to the White House, and talked to mayors from across the country about job creation and economic growth.
Find out more about the topics covered in this edition of West Wing Week:
Friday, June 17th:
Saturday, June 18th:
Sunday, June 19th:
Wednesday, June 22nd:
Thursday, June 23rd:
Thanks for checking out your West Wing Week.
This week, the President announced the death of Osama bin Laden, visited New York City to honor the victims of 9/11 and their families, made sure the federal government was doing its part in the states devastated by storms and much more.
Find out more about the topics covered in this West Wing Week:
Friday, April 29, 2011
Saturday, April 30, 2011
Sunday, May 1, 2011
Monday, May 2, 2011
Tuesday, May 3, 2011
Wednesday, May 4, 2011
Thursday, May 5, 2011
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs failed to inform 6 million soldiers and their families of an agreement enabling Prudential Financial Inc. to withhold lump-sum payments of life insurance benefits for survivors of fallen service members, according to records made public through a Freedom of Information request.
The amendment to Prudential’s contract is the first document to show how VA officials sanctioned a payment practice that has spurred investigations by lawmakers and regulators. Since 1999, Prudential has used so-called retained-asset accounts, which allow the company to withhold lump sum payments due to survivors and earn investment income on the money for itself.
The Sept. 1, 2009, amendment to Prudential’s contract with the VA ratified another unpublicized deal that had been struck between the insurer and the government 10 years earlier — one that was never put into writing, Bloomberg Markets magazine reports in its November issue. This verbal agreement in 1999 provoked concern among top insurance officials of the agency, the documents released in the FOIA request show. Continue reading…
WASHINGTON — The government is making it easier for combat veterans diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder to receive disability benefits.
The Veterans Affairs Department plans to announce Monday it will no longer require veterans to prove what might have triggered their illness. Instead, they would have to show that they served in combat in a job that could have contributed to post-traumatic stress disorder.
Veterans advocates and some lawmakers have argued that it sometimes could be impossible for a veteran to find records of a firefight or bomb blast. They also have contended that the old rule ignored other causes of the disorder, such as fearing a traumatic event even if it doesn’t occur. That could discriminate against female troops prohibited from serving on front lines and against other service members who don’t experience combat directly.
Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., called the change in policy “long overdue.” Last year, Schumer and Rep. John Hall, D-N.Y., proposed legislation similar to the new rule.
“It is so unfair to put the burden of proof on the brave men and women who have already put themselves in harm’s way,” Schumer said Thursday. “These guidelines rectify that and should bring more veterans who’ve served their country the help they need.”
A study last year by the RAND Corp. think tank estimated that nearly 20 percent of returning veterans, or 300,000, have symptoms of PTSD or major depression.
The change in regulations was first reported by The New York Times.