33rd Annual Protecting Our Children Conference

Native American Tribal map

National Indian Child Welfare Association’s
Protecting Our Children Conference

April 19, 2015 11:00 ET to April 22, 2015
6:00 ET
Portland, Oregon

33rd annual Protecting Our Children Conference is hosted by the National Indian Child Welfare Association, the event is the nation’s largest gathering on American Indian and Alaska Native child advocacy issues. This three-day conference creates a space where participants can learn about the latest information across Indian Country in child welfare.  Conference attendees are a cross-section of experts including child welfare, mental health, and juvenile justice service providers; legal professionals; students; advocates for children; and tribal and federal leaders. This year’s conference theme is “Healing from Trauma: Supporting Native Communities, Family, and Children.”

NICWA Facebook

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Bill aims to keep American Indian children with families

 Published on Tuesday, 07 April 2015 21:37 Written by ANNA GRONEWOLD, Associated Press

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) – While applying for her driver’s license at age 16, Karen Hardenbrook saw her birth certificate and learned what her adoptive parents from Broken Bow never told her: she was born in Winnebago and her mother was a member of the Omaha Tribe of Nebraska. As a baby, the state removed her from her biological grandmother’s crowded home on the reservation.

Today Hardenbrook, 57, lives on the Omaha Reservation in Walthill. She’s an enrolled member but at times still feels like an outsider.

“I had a wonderful, beautiful (adoptive) home. I couldn’t have asked for anything more,” Hardenbrook said. “But I still wish I would have never left the res. I would have learned to dance. I would have learned to sing the songs. Now when I get out to the arena, I have to watch everyone, at 57 years old, because I don’t know the steps.”

A bill slated for a committee vote this week in the Nebraska Legislature would further strengthen protections of cultural identities for children like Hardenbrook by engaging tribal government and extended family mediation before removing children from tribal homes.

In 1978, Congress passed the Indian Child Welfare Act in response to what it deemed “a crisis of massive proportions.” Between 25 percent and 35 percent of American Indian children were living in out-of-home placement, endangering the preservation of already dwindling American Indian tribes.

For more: http://www.nativetimes.com/index.php/news/federal/11358-bill-aims-to-keep-american-indian-children-with-families

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Impoverished tribe faces surge in teen suicides

Tuesday, 14 April 2015 15:19 Written by REGINA GARCIA CANO, Associated Press

PINE RIDGE, South Dakota (AP) – The people of the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation are no strangers to hardship or to the risk of lives being cut short. But a string of seven suicides by teenagers in recent months has shaken this impoverished Midwestern U.S. community to its core and sent school and tribal leaders on an urgent mission to stop the deaths.

On Dec. 12, a 14-year-old boy hanged himself at his home on the reservation, a sprawling expanse of badlands on the border between the states of South Dakota and Nebraska. On Christmas Day, a 15-year-old girl was found dead, followed weeks later by a high school cheerleader. Two more teenagers took their lives in February and two more in March, along with several more attempts. The youngest to die was 12.

Somewhere between 16,000 and 40,000 members of the Oglala Sioux Tribe live on the reservation, which at over 2 million acres (nearly 1 million hectares) is among the largest in the U.S. Famous as the site of the Wounded Knee massacre, in which the U.S. Army slaughtered about 300 tribe members in 1890, it includes the county with the highest poverty rate in the U.S., and some of the worst rates of alcoholism and drug abuse, violence and unemployment. Life expectancy for men is below 50 years, the lowest in the Western Hemisphere.

For more: http://www.nativetimes.com/index.php/life/people/11398-impoverished-tribe-faces-surge-in-teen-suicides

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April 08, 2015

Remarks of First Lady Michelle Obama for White House Convening on Creating Opportunity for Native Youth
Washington, DC

Good morning everyone, and welcome to the White House. We are so thrilled to have you here today for our Generation Indigenous convening.I want to start by thanking Walter Isaacson and Senator Dorgan for their outstanding leadership and for the terrific work that they’re doing at the Aspen Institute.

And as for T.C – there really are no words to express how proud I am of this young man and how impressed I am by his courage, determination and maturity. Barack and I were blown away by T.C. and by the other young people we met when we visited T.C.’s tribe, the Standing Rock Sioux Nation, last June. And I want to start off today by telling you a little bit about that visit.

It began when we arrived in North Dakota, and as we left the airport where we’d landed, we looked around, and all we could see was flat, empty land. There were almost no signs of typical community life, no police stations, no community or business centers, no malls, no doctor’s offices, no churches, just flat, empty land.

Eventually, we pulled up to a little community with a cluster of houses, a few buildings, and a tiny school – and that was the town of Cannon Ball, North Dakota, which is part of the Standing Rock Sioux Nation. And at that school, a small group of young people gathered in a classroom, anxiously but quietly waiting to meet with the President and the First Lady.

These teens were the best and brightest – hand-selected for this meeting – and after we all introduced ourselves, they shared their stories.

One young woman was in foster care because of substance abuse in her household. She talked about how hard it was to be separated from her five siblings. One young man had spent his high school years homeless, crashing on the sofa of his friends, even for a period living in the local community center. Another young man had gotten himself into college, but when he got there, he had trouble choosing the right classes; he realized that he’d never been taught how to properly write an essay; and when family problems arose back home, he struggled to balance all the stress and eventually had to drop out.

And just about every kid in that room had lost at least one friend or family member to drug or alcohol-related problems, or to preventable illnesses like heart disease, or to suicide. In fact, two of the girls went back and forth for several minutes trying to remember how many students in their freshman class had committed suicide – the number was either four or five…this is out of a class of 70.

For more: https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2015/04/08/prepared-remarks-first-lady-michelle-obama-white-house-convening-creatin

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U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR, SECRETARY JEWELL KICKS OFF PRESIDENT OBAMA’S NATIVE YOUTH LISTENING TOUR

20 FEB 2015 BY NATIVE NEWS ONLINE STAFF 

WASHINGTON – Last week, Secretary Jewell kicked off President Obama’s Native Youth Listening Tour. The tour is a key part of the Obama Administration’s Generation Indigenous (Gen-I) initiative, a program meant to break down barriers standing between Native youth and their opportunity for success.

The Department of the Interior put together this short video below to show why the Administration is doing this listening tour and why it’s important for the next generation of Indian Country.

Source: http://nativenewsonline.net/currents/u-s-department-interior/

Ending Youth Homelessness

Luke Tate May 08, 2015

No young person should lack a stable and safe home, or be without a caring adult they can count on. Too many of America’s youth have been robbed of that essential foundation — and thanks to the extraordinary work of practitioners and volunteers across the country, we are learning what it takes to reestablish that footing and end youth homelessness nationwide.

In 2012, the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH) issued the Framework to End Youth Homelessness detailing the steps necessary to achieve the goal of ending youth homelessness by 2020, and strategies to improve outcomes for children and youth experiencing homelessness. This framework articulates the need for government, non-profit, civic, and faith community partners to focus together on the overall well-being of youth experiencing homelessness — addressing not just their need for stable housing, but also their educational and employment goals, and the importance of permanent adult connections in their lives.

It’s clear that success in those ambitious goals requires better data on youth experiencing unaccompanied homelessness, stronger capacity in the systems and organizations serving youth directly, and clearer evidence on what works. To advance those efforts, last week we welcomed youth, service providers, advocates, policymakers, and researchers to the White House on 40 to None Day, for an afternoon of discussions on the strongest approaches for serving youth in need, and the path forward, leveraging better data and evidence and strengthening our partnerships to end youth homelessness.

For more: https://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2015/05/08/ending-youth-homelessness

Champions of Change: Native American Youth Leaders

In honor of the National Native American Heritage Month, the White House honored eleven Native American Youth leaders as Champions of Change. These young people are Champions in their tribes and communities as they work to improve the lives of those around them through innovative programs that help others, raise awareness of important issues like suicide and bullying prevention, energy efficiency and healthy eating. Watch the video from the Champions of Change discussion with White House and Administration officials which focused on the great work that these young people do every day.

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31 thoughts on “33rd Annual Protecting Our Children Conference

  1. WH

    Sunday, April 19, 2015

    All Times Eastern

    President Obama receives the presidential daily briefing

    7:00 AM
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    10:00 AM
    11:00 AM
    12:00 PM
    1:00 PM
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  2. National Indian Child Welfare Association’s Protecting Our Children Conference

    April 19, 2015 11:00 ET to April 22, 2015
    6:00 ET
    Portland, Oregon

    33rd annual Protecting Our Children Conference is hosted by the National Indian Child Welfare Association, the event is the nation’s largest gathering on American Indian and Alaska Native child advocacy issues. This three-day conference creates a space where participants can learn about the latest information across Indian Country in child welfare. Conference attendees are a cross-section of experts including child welfare, mental health, and juvenile justice service providers; legal professionals; students; advocates for children; and tribal and federal leaders. This year’s conference theme is “Healing from Trauma: Supporting Native Communities, Family, and Children.”

    For more: http://www.nicwa.org/conference/index.asp

    • Bill aims to keep American Indian children with families

      Published on Tuesday, 07 April 2015 21:37 Written by ANNA GRONEWOLD, Associated Press

      LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) – While applying for her driver’s license at age 16, Karen Hardenbrook saw her birth certificate and learned what her adoptive parents from Broken Bow never told her: she was born in Winnebago and her mother was a member of the Omaha Tribe of Nebraska. As a baby, the state removed her from her biological grandmother’s crowded home on the reservation.

      Today Hardenbrook, 57, lives on the Omaha Reservation in Walthill. She’s an enrolled member but at times still feels like an outsider.

      “I had a wonderful, beautiful (adoptive) home. I couldn’t have asked for anything more,” Hardenbrook said. “But I still wish I would have never left the res. I would have learned to dance. I would have learned to sing the songs. Now when I get out to the arena, I have to watch everyone, at 57 years old, because I don’t know the steps.”

      A bill slated for a committee vote this week in the Nebraska Legislature would further strengthen protections of cultural identities for children like Hardenbrook by engaging tribal government and extended family mediation before removing children from tribal homes.

      In 1978, Congress passed the Indian Child Welfare Act in response to what it deemed “a crisis of massive proportions.” Between 25 percent and 35 percent of American Indian children were living in out-of-home placement, endangering the preservation of already dwindling American Indian tribes.

      For more: http://www.nativetimes.com/index.php/news/federal/11358-bill-aims-to-keep-american-indian-children-with-families

    • Impoverished tribe faces surge in teen suicides

      Tuesday, 14 April 2015 15:19 Written by REGINA GARCIA CANO, Associated Press

      PINE RIDGE, South Dakota (AP) – The people of the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation are no strangers to hardship or to the risk of lives being cut short. But a string of seven suicides by teenagers in recent months has shaken this impoverished Midwestern U.S. community to its core and sent school and tribal leaders on an urgent mission to stop the deaths.

      On Dec. 12, a 14-year-old boy hanged himself at his home on the reservation, a sprawling expanse of badlands on the border between the states of South Dakota and Nebraska. On Christmas Day, a 15-year-old girl was found dead, followed weeks later by a high school cheerleader. Two more teenagers took their lives in February and two more in March, along with several more attempts. The youngest to die was 12.

      Somewhere between 16,000 and 40,000 members of the Oglala Sioux Tribe live on the reservation, which at over 2 million acres (nearly 1 million hectares) is among the largest in the U.S. Famous as the site of the Wounded Knee massacre, in which the U.S. Army slaughtered about 300 tribe members in 1890, it includes the county with the highest poverty rate in the U.S., and some of the worst rates of alcoholism and drug abuse, violence and unemployment. Life expectancy for men is below 50 years, the lowest in the Western Hemisphere.

      For more: http://www.nativetimes.com/index.php/life/people/11398-impoverished-tribe-faces-surge-in-teen-suicides

    • U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR, SECRETARY JEWELL KICKS OFF PRESIDENT OBAMA’S NATIVE YOUTH LISTENING TOUR

      20 FEB 2015 BY NATIVE NEWS ONLINE STAFF

      WASHINGTON – Last week, Secretary Jewell kicked off President Obama’s Native Youth Listening Tour. The tour is a key part of the Obama Administration’s Generation Indigenous (Gen-I) initiative, a program meant to break down barriers standing between Native youth and their opportunity for success.

      The Department of the Interior put together this short video below to show why the Administration is doing this listening tour and why it’s important for the next generation of Indian Country.

      Source: http://nativenewsonline.net/currents/u-s-department-interior/

    • April 08, 2015

      Prepared Remarks of First Lady Michelle Obama for White House Convening on Creating Opportunity for Native Youth

      As Prepared for Delivery

      Washington, DC

      Good morning everyone, and welcome to the White House. We are so thrilled to have you here today for our Generation Indigenous convening.

      I want to start by thanking Walter Isaacson and Senator Dorgan for their outstanding leadership and for the terrific work that they’re doing at the Aspen Institute.

      And as for T.C – there really are no words to express how proud I am of this young man and how impressed I am by his courage, determination and maturity. Barack and I were blown away by T.C. and by the other young people we met when we visited T.C.’s tribe, the Standing Rock Sioux Nation, last June. And I want to start off today by telling you a little bit about that visit.

      It began when we arrived in North Dakota, and as we left the airport where we’d landed, we looked around, and all we could see was flat, empty land. There were almost no signs of typical community life, no police stations, no community or business centers, no malls, no doctor’s offices, no churches, just flat, empty land.

      Eventually, we pulled up to a little community with a cluster of houses, a few buildings, and a tiny school – and that was the town of Cannon Ball, North Dakota, which is part of the Standing Rock Sioux Nation. And at that school, a small group of young people gathered in a classroom, anxiously but quietly waiting to meet with the President and the First Lady.

      These teens were the best and brightest – hand-selected for this meeting – and after we all introduced ourselves, they shared their stories.

      One young woman was in foster care because of substance abuse in her household. She talked about how hard it was to be separated from her five siblings. One young man had spent his high school years homeless, crashing on the sofa of his friends, even for a period living in the local community center. Another young man had gotten himself into college, but when he got there, he had trouble choosing the right classes; he realized that he’d never been taught how to properly write an essay; and when family problems arose back home, he struggled to balance all the stress and eventually had to drop out.

      And just about every kid in that room had lost at least one friend or family member to drug or alcohol-related problems, or to preventable illnesses like heart disease, or to suicide. In fact, two of the girls went back and forth for several minutes trying to remember how many students in their freshman class had committed suicide – the number was either four or five…this is out of a class of 70.

      For more: https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2015/04/08/prepared-remarks-first-lady-michelle-obama-white-house-convening-creatin

    • Solar Power Makes Electricity More Accessible On Navajo Reservation

      APRIL 21, 2015 3:57 AM ET npr

      Most people can’t imagine living without smartphones or the Internet, let alone without electricity. But even today — even in the United States — there are still people who live without lights and refrigeration. Many are Native Americans living on tribal reservations.

      For many, electricity is a luxury; it can even be magical. Derrick Terry remembers the first winter when there were lights on at his grandmother’s house.

      “You see the Christmas lights in the distance, it’s like seeing that unicorn,” he says. “It’s an indescribable feeling, I guess, when you first get electricity.”

      Terry grew up on the Navajo Nation. It’s about the size of West Virginia and covers the where Arizona, New Mexico and Utah portions of the Four Corners region. When Terry was a boy, his family used a 12-volt car battery to supply their house with power. He says the battery would get low simply by running the TV or house lights.

      “And then what you would do is you would run back outside and you start the vehicle up so it can charge back up,” he says.

      Terry, who now works as the renewable energy specialist for the Navajo Tribal Utility Authority, says his family was not alone. In fact, the U.S. Department of Energy estimates 18,000 Navajo homes still lack electricity.

      Navajo engineer Sandra Begay-Campbell runs the Tribal Energy Program for Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, N.M., which provides technical assistance to tribes. Begay-Campbell says the main challenge to electrifying Navajo homes is the price of infrastructure — it can cost up to $50,000 to extend the electrical grid by just one mile.

      “If you’re going to put in power poles, you’re going to have to go through really hard dirt roads, lot of rocks, maybe go over a mountain, go through a canyon,” she says.

      Many Navajos live and graze animals in the wide-open spaces far away from the power grid. With more than half of all Navajos living at or below the federal poverty line, Begay-Campbell says it’s an unrealistic expense. But with the help of government grants, some Navajos have experimented with a more affordable option: solar power.

      For the entire article and audio interview: http://www.npr.org/2015/04/21/401000427/solar-power-makes-electricity-more-accessible-on-navajo-reservation

  3. April 19, 2015

    Statement by the President on the 20th Anniversary of the Oklahoma City Bombing

    Twenty years ago today in Oklahoma City, two terrorists attacked their own country, killing 168 people and injuring hundreds more. We will never forget the men and women who lost their lives in the bombing that day. The passing of time will never extinguish the pain we feel. But if those murderers hoped to terrorize the American people that day, to break our spirits or shatter the bonds that unite us, then they completely and utterly failed. We will be forever grateful to the first responders who risked their lives to save others, the law enforcement officers and prosecutors who brought the perpetrators to justice, and the ordinary men and women who set an “Oklahoma standard” for resilience that we still hold today.

    It is with heavy hearts that Michelle and I send our condolences to the families of those we lost 20 years ago. And it is with great pride that we send our deepest gratitude to all those who have served as an example of America at its best.

  4. April 19, 2015

    Statement by National Security Council Spokesperson Bernadette Meehan on Murders in Libya

    The United States condemns in the strongest terms the brutal mass murder purportedly of Ethiopian Christians by ISIL-affiliated terrorists in Libya. We express our condolences to the families of the victims and our support to the Ethiopian government and people as they grieve for their fellow citizens. That these terrorists killed these men solely because of their faith lays bare the terrorists’ vicious, senseless brutality. This atrocity once again underscores the urgent need for a political resolution to the conflict in Libya to empower a unified Libyan rejection of terrorist groups.

    For more: https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2015/04/19/statement-national-security-council-spokesperson-bernadette-meehan-mur-0

  5. WH

    Monday, April 20 2015

    All Times Eastern

    President Obama receives the presidential daily briefing

    7:00 AM
    8:00 AM
    9:00 AM
    10:00 AM

    11:00 AM
    President Obama meets with Secretary of State Kerry
    Oval Office

    12:00 PM
    12:25 PM
    President Obama greets Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan of the United Arab Emirates
    Oval Office

    12:30 PM
    President Obama hosts Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan of the United Arab Emirates for a working lunch
    Private Dining Room

    1:00 PM
    White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest briefs the press

    2:00 PM
    2:40 PM
    President Obama welcomes the College Football Playoff National Championship winner Ohio State University Buckeyes football team
    East Room

    3:00 PM
    3:15 PM
    President Obama meets with Secretary of the Treasury Lew; THE VICE PRESIDENT also attends
    Oval Office

    4:00 PM
    5:00 PM
    6:00 PM
    7:00 PM
    8:00 PM
    9:00 PM
    10:00 PM

    • POTUS podium

      April 20, 2015

      WhiteHouse.gov http://www.whitehouse.gov/live

      10:00 AM EDT
      Patents for Humanity Ceremony
      The White House

      1:00 PM ET
      White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest briefs the press

      2:40 PM ET
      President Obama welcomes the College Football Playoff National Championship winner Ohio State University Buckeyes football team
      East Room

      —-

      CSPAN http://www.cspan.org/

      9:30 AM ET
      U.S. Institute of Peace
      Politics of a Nuclear Deal with Iran
      Former Iranian and U.S. officials outlined Iran nuclear agreement negotiations, Iran and the P5+1* agreed to a framework to limit Iran’s nuclear activities in exchange for an end to international economic sanctions. http://www.c-spanvideo.org/program/325474-1

      11:30 AM ET
      State Department Briefing with Acting Spokesperson Marie Harf
      Spokesman Marie Harf briefs reporters and responds to their questions on a variety of international topics. http://www.c-span.org/video/?325499-1/state-department-briefing

      1:00 PM ET
      White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest briefs the press http://www.c-span.org/video/?325465-2/white-house-briefing

      1:45 PM ET
      Hillary Clinton at Whitney Brothers Inc. in New Hampshire
      Democratic Presidential Candidate Hillary Clinton participates in a roundtable discussion with employees of furniture company Whitney Brothers
      Keene, New Hampshire http://www.c-span.org/video/?325503-1/hillary-clinton-roundtable-new-hampshire

      2:30 PM ET
      Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
      Turkey and the Middle East
      Turkish Foreign Affairs Minister Mevlüt Çavusoglu talked about evolving violence in the Middle East as well as Turkey’s role in the conflicts in Syria, Iraq, and Yemen. http://www.c-spanvideo.org/program/325475-1

      2:40 PM ET
      President Obama welcomes the College Football Playoff National Championship winner Ohio State University Buckeyes football team
      East Room

      3:00 PM ET
      House Budget Committee,Senate Budget Committee
      Fiscal Year 2016 Budget Conference Committee
      House and Senate negotiators held their first formal meeting on the fiscal year 2016 federal budget. http://www.c-span.org/video/?325466-1/bicameral-fiscal-year-2016-budget-resolution-conference-committee

  6. April 14, 2015

    Statement by the Press Secretary on the Visit of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan of the United Arab Emirates

    On Monday, April 20, President Obama will meet at the White House with Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces and Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan to consult on a wide range of regional and bilateral issues. The United States and the United Arab Emirates share strong ties and the two leaders will explore how to further strengthen this partnership in areas ranging from defense cooperation to climate change. They will also discuss joint efforts to counter ISIL and address violent extremism; the recent framework between the P5+1 and Iran to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon; our cooperation with respect to Yemen; and how best to resolve the conflicts in Libya and Syria.

    • April 20, 2015

      Readout of the President’s Meeting with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan of the United Arab Emirates

      During their meeting today at the White House, President Obama and the UAE’s Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan discussed a range of regional and bilateral issues, and consulted on how best to deepen our cooperation in areas of shared interest. They underscored the strong partnership between our two countries, and reaffirmed their mutual commitment to close defense and security cooperation, including in counterterrorism, in particular against ISIL and Al Qaeda. The President and Crown Prince also reviewed the expanding ties between the United States and the UAE in areas ranging from trade and commerce to clean energy.

      The President and the Crown Prince also discussed a range of regional challenges, including the ongoing conflicts in Yemen, Libya, Iraq and Syria; and efforts to reach a long-term, comprehensive deal between the P5+1 and Iran to ensure that Iran does not acquire a nuclear weapon. The President and Crown Prince also discussed the upcoming May meetings at the White House and Camp David with Gulf Cooperation Council leaders as an important opportunity to deepen cooperation between the U.S. and GCC partners.

  7. Patents for Humanity Ceremony

    Published on Apr 20, 2015

    The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) will co-host a ceremony honoring the 2015 recipients of the Patents for Humanity Awards. Patents for Humanity is a USPTO program that recognizes private sector leaders who bring life-saving technologies to those in need, while showing how patents are an integral part of tackling the world’s challenges.

  8. April 20, 2015

    Remarks by the First Lady at Joining Forces Event for the Mayors Challenge to End Veteran Homelessness — New Orleans, Louisiana

    Gallier Hall
    New Orleans, Louisiana

    11:28 A.M. CDT

    MRS. OBAMA: Thank you, everybody. (Applause.) Thank you so much. You all rest yourselves. You’ve been working hard. You deserve a seat. (Laughter.)

    Of course, I want to start by thanking Dylan for his service, for his sacrifice, for his wonderful introduction. I am so proud of him. I’m proud of his family. And I know he’s got a lot of good work to do ahead.

    I also want to thank my dear friend, Mayor Landrieu, and Cheryl, my girl — (laughter) — for all the great work. I’m so proud of this city. I’m so proud of the work that you’ve done. I’m proud to call you both friends, and I’m honored to be here to be able to lift up the great work that you all are doing.

    I also want to recognize our Executive Director at the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness, Matthew Doherty, who is here — absolutely. Great work. (Applause.) As well as all of the mayors and local leaders from across the country who have joined us here today and are working hard to achieve this goal in their communities, as well.

    And finally, I want to pass along some warm wishes from my friend and partner in Joining Forces, Jill Biden. Jill is feeling a little bit under the weather and couldn’t make it today, but she wanted me to be here to say thank you. Thank you to you all for everything you’re doing to give back to those who have done so much for this country. She’s been a phenomenal partner. She is my girl. And I know that if she could be here she would.

    That message of thanks is a message that Jill and I are delivering all month long as we celebrate the fourth anniversary of Joining Forces. And over the past four years, because of folks like all of you, we have come so far on so many issues — issues like employment, education, health care, particularly mental health.

    For more: https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2015/04/20/remarks-first-lady-joining-forces-event-mayors-challenge-end-veteran-hom

    • April 20, 2015

      FACT SHEET: Preventing and Ending Veteran Homelessness

      The President has pledged not just to address veteran homelessness, but to end it. The Administration has made historic investments, using proven strategies in partnership between HUD and VA, to achieve this goal. We’ve helped veterans and their families access rapid rehousing when falling into homelessness, and have aided chronically homeless veterans in stabilizing their lives through permanent supportive housing, which – in addition to serving those veterans – generates public sector savings exceeding the cost of the intervention.

      As a result, we’ve made strong progress. Since 2010, nearly 230,000 veterans and their family members have been supported by HUD’s targeted housing vouchers and VA homelessness programs designed to permanently house, rapidly rehouse, or prevent families from falling into homelessness. According to the most recent nationwide data, from 2010 to January 2014 the total number of homeless veterans nationwide declined 33 percent, and the number of unsheltered veterans – those sleeping on the street or outside at night – declined 44 percent. While more work remains, this overall progress shows that veteran homelessness is not an intractable problem, it is a challenge that can be solved over time if we act decisively and have a shared commitment from the Federal government, state and local governments, private businesses, philanthropies, and communities.

      Ending veteran homelessness does not mean that we can prevent every veteran from facing a housing crisis in the future. But it does mean that when and if a housing crisis does occur, we can have systems in place to identify and quickly house all of our veterans.

      For more: https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2015/04/20/fact-sheet-preventing-and-ending-veteran-homelessness

    • @JoiningForces is Answering Your Questions to Celebrate Its 4th Anniversary

      Posted by Ken Meyer on April 16, 2015 at 06:29 PM EDT

      The First Lady and Dr. Jill Biden launched Joining Forces in April 2011 to call on Americans across the country to rally around service members, veterans, and their families.

      This month, Joining Forces is celebrating its fourth anniversary! We’re talking about how we can inspire, educate, and spark action from all sectors of society to ensure service members, veterans, and their families have the tools they need to succeed throughout their lives.

      Want to join the conversation? We’ll be focusing on specific themes throughout the month. Around each theme, the Joining Forces team will be hosting a Twitter chat to answer your questions on mental health, homelessness, employment, and education — and hear from you.

      Ask your questions and join the conversation now using the hashtags below, and we’ll answer from @JoiningForces on the day of the chat!

      Homelessness: #HonoringVets
      Twitter Chat: Tuesday, April 21 at 2:30 p.m. ET
      Host: Colonel Steve Parker, Executive Director of Joining Forces

      For more: https://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2015/04/16/joiningforces-answering-your-questions-celebrate-its-4th-anniversary

  9. April 20, 2015

    Remarks by the President Honoring the 2014 College Football National Champion Ohio State Buckeyes

    East Room

    2:52 P.M. EDT

    THE PRESIDENT: O-H!

    AUDIENCE: I-O!

    THE PRESIDENT: O-H!

    AUDIENCE: I-O!

    THE PRESIDENT: O-H!

    AUDIENCE: I-O! (Laughter.)

    THE PRESIDENT: That last one was a little weak there. Everybody, please have a seat. Welcome to the White House. And give it up for the 2014 college football National Champions, The Ohio State Buckeyes! (Applause.)

    You may have noticed we have a lot of Buckeye fans here today, including some members of Congress. Representative Joyce Beatty was once a leader in the OSU community, and now she represents the OSU community here in Congress.

    I want to thank The Ohio State University President, Michael Drake, who is here; Athletic Director, Gene Smith; and of course, Coach Urban Meyer. (Applause.) So this is Ohio State Football’s eighth National Championship. It’s Coach Meyer’s third time winning it all, with his second team, which is pretty impressive. I’ve only done it twice. (Laughter.) And for the same team both times. (Laughter.)

    This was an historic year in college football. The country got to enjoy its first-ever College Football Playoffs. And I will say it — it was about time. I cannot claim full credit — (laughter) — I will point out that I pushed for a playoff system in 2008. (Laughter.) I’d say I threw my weight around. PolitiFact, which keeps track of whether politicians keep their promises — this is a promise kept by me. (Laughter.) So you’re welcome, America. It was a great playoffs. (Laughter.)

    For more: https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2015/04/20/remarks-president-honoring-2014-college-football-national-champion-ohio-

  10. WH

    Tuesday, April 21, 2015

    All Times Eastern

    President Obama receives the presidential daily briefing

    President Obama attend meetings at the White House

    7:00 AM
    8:00 AM
    9:00 AM
    10:00 AM
    11:00 AM
    11:40 AM
    President Obama tapes an interview with MSNBC Hardball’s host, Chris Matthews
    Fairfax Chamber of Commerce , Fairfax, Virginia

    12:00 PM
    12:30 PM
    White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest briefs the press

    1:00 PM
    2:00 PM
    2:30 PM
    Vice President Biden and Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz deliver remarks at PECO on Energy
    PECO, Center City, Pennsylvania

    2:40 PM
    President Obama welcomes 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship winner Kevin Harvick and his Stewart-Haas Racing team members
    South Lawn

    3:00 PM
    4:00 PM
    4:25 PM
    President Obama meets with Secretary of Defense Carter
    Oval Office

    5:00 PM
    5:15 PM
    President Obama holds a reception for supporters of H.R. 2, the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015
    Rose Garden

    6:00 PM
    7:00 PM
    8:00 PM
    9:00 PM
    10:00 PM

    • April 21, 2015

      FACT SHEET: Administration Announces New Agenda To Modernize Energy Infrastructure

      Releases Quadrennial Energy Review

      The Obama Administration is committed to taking responsible steps to modernize our energy infrastructure, create a clean energy economy built to last, combat climate change, and increase reliance on domestic energy resources.

      That is why, today, the Administration released the initial installment of the first-ever Quadrennial Energy Review (QER), which examines how to modernize the Nation’s energy infrastructure to promote economic competitiveness, energy security, and environmental responsibility and take full advantage of American innovation and the new sources of domestic energy supply that are transforming the Nation’s energy marketplace. This report focuses on energy transmission, storage, and distribution (TS&D) infrastructure — the networks of pipelines, wires, storage, waterways, railroads, and other facilities that form the backbone of our energy system. The QER identifies opportunities these systems provide for a clean and secure energy future, as well as some growing and potential vulnerabilities of these systems. The report also proposes policy recommendations and investments to replace, protect, expand, and modernize TS&D infrastructure.

      For more; https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2015/04/21/fact-sheet-administration-announces-new-agenda-modernize-energy-infrastr

  11. April 21, 2015

    Remarks by the President Honoring the NASCAR Sprint Cup Champion Kevin Harvick

    South Lawn

    2:53 P.M. EDT

    THE PRESIDENT: Hello, everybody! Please have a seat. Welcome to the White House on this beautiful day. And congratulations to Kevin Harvick, the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup champion. Hey! (Applause.) It is always wonderful to have the NASCAR family here. We’ve got huge fans in the White House, and we’ve got some big fans, including some members of Congress who are here.

    It’s great to have Kevin’s crew chief, Rodney Childers, who is here. We’ve also got Greg Zipadelli –- almost messed it up there; it’s like Obama, too many vowels. (Laughter.) And the team from Stewart-Haas Racing. NASCAR’s leadership is here as well. Brian France is here and Mike Helton. Welcome back.

    And even though the Budweiser Chevy got the White House parking pass this year, I am sure Tony Stewart doesn’t mind adding another Owner’s Championship to his collection. So congratulations to Tony.

    I also want to offer my condolences to everybody in the NASCAR community on the passing of a legendary reporter and broadcaster, Steve Byrnes. And I know a lot of fans’ thoughts and prayers today are with his wife, Karen, and his son, Bryson.
    We are here to celebrate, though, Kevin Harvick. This was an exciting year for the “Four Car.” As the season started, Kevin had a new team, a new crew chief to adjust to. It usually takes a little time for a driver and a crew chief to find their groove, but Kevin and Rodney seemed to figure out each other in a hurry — sort of like when Joe Biden joined my team. (Laughter.)

    So they had instant chemistry. And as Kevin can tell you, when you have a trusted partner shouting world-class advice into your ear at every turn, you can’t lose.

    It wasn’t long before Kevin and Rodney and the team behind the Budweiser Chevy were firing on all cylinders. But the season was not without its ups and downs. By the second race in the season, Kevin had picked up his first checkered flag with Stewart-Haas. And then came a tough stretch — the kind where most championship seasons are forged.

    For more: https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2015/04/21/remarks-president-honoring-nascar-sprint-cup-champion-kevin-harvick

  12. April 21, 2015

    First Lady Michelle Obama to Address 2015 Graduating Seniors

    This year, as part of her Reach Higher initiative, First Lady Michelle Obama will deliver commencement addresses at Tuskegee University in Tuskegee, AL; Oberlin College in Oberlin, OH; and the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Preparatory High School (King College Prep) in Chicago, IL. All of these institutions are doing their part to answer the President’s call to ensure that America once again has the highest proportion of college graduates in the world.

    Mrs. Obama will deliver remarks at Tuskegee University because of its legacy as one of America’s top historically black universities. She will deliver remarks at Oberlin College and King College Prep because of their outstanding video submissions to two commencement challenges issued by the First Lady last October: the “Near-Peer” Mentoring College Challenge and the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) Completion Challenge.

    The “Near-Peer Mentoring College” Challenge was directed at college communities and institutes of higher education, urging them to share via student-produced video the ways that they are creating college immersion experiences for high school students. Research has shown that students connecting with other students, or “near-peers,” can make a significant difference in motivating them to make higher education a reality.
    View the First Lady’s video issuing the challenge HERE.

    The FAFSA Completion Challenge was directed at high schools, urging them to creatively share via student-produced video how they are increasing Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) completion rates among their seniors.
    View the First Lady’s video issuing the challenge HERE.

    The First Lady’s Office received nearly 200 video submissions from schools across the country who are striving to make attending and completing college a reality for all students. Watch highlights of these video submissions HERE.

    For more: https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2015/04/21/first-lady-michelle-obama-address-2015-graduating-seniors

  13. Trafficking deal clears path for attorney general vote

    4/21/15 1 hour ago By ERICA WERNER – Associated Press

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Senate leaders announced a deal Tuesday to move forward on a stalled human trafficking bill, clearing the way for a vote on President Barack Obama’s attorney general nominee within days.

    The deal unveiled on the Senate floor aimed to solve a dispute over abortion that had stalled the once-popular trafficking bill for weeks. Attorney General-designate Loretta Lynch was caught in the crossfire, infuriating Democrats, because Republican leaders decided to hold off on her confirmation vote until the trafficking bill was resolved.

    “I’m glad we can say there is a bipartisan proposal that will allow us to complete action on this important legislation so we can provide help to the victims who desperately need it,” said Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. He said he anticipated a vote on Lynch, who will become the nation’s first black female attorney general, “in the next day or so.”

    “Let’s get out of this quickly,” said Democratic Leader Harry Reid of Nevada. “Let’s get Loretta Lynch confirmed.”

    Lynch was nominated last fall [November 09, 2014] and Democrats have become increasingly agitated about the delays in confirming her to replace Eric Holder, even though they controlled the Senate for part of that time and failed to call her nomination up for a vote [164 days and counting]. Obama on Friday called the delays “embarrassing.”

    The trafficking deal aims to address Democratic concerns that the legislation would expand existing prohibitions on spending federal funds for abortions. The legislation envisions a new victims fund made up of fees paid by sex criminals, and Democrats asserted that applying abortion spending prohibitions to that new source of non-taxpayer funds was an expansion they could not accept.

    For more: http://news.yahoo.com/senate-nears-votes-trafficking-bill-loretta-lynch-071646497–politics.htm

  14. President Obama holds a reception for supporters of H.R. 2, the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015
    Rose Garden

    Published on Apr 21, 2015

    • April 16, 2015

      Remarks by the President Before Signing Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act

      Rose Garden

      4:44 P.M. EDT

      THE PRESIDENT: I decided that on a day like today, we shouldn’t be inside. So I am very pleased to mark a significant bipartisan achievement, and I want to congratulate Speaker Boehner and Leader Nancy Pelosi for the work they did to help make this happen.

      For the last 13 years, we have been confronted with what’s called a “doc fix.” Basically, the way the law was written, to deal with Medicaid payments to doctors, there was always the danger each year that suddenly, arbitrarily, doctors’ payments would get cut off, and that was going to be a significant danger to Medicare patients. And obviously the doctors had a lot of trouble continuing to provide services.

      Not only does this legislation permanently fix payments to doctors, but it also improves it, because what it starts doing is encouraging payments based on quality and not the number of tests that are provided or the number of procedures that are applied, but whether or not people actually start feeling better. And it encourages us to continue to make the health care system smarter without denying service. As a consequence, it’s going to be good for people who use Medicare, it’s going to be good for our seniors. Ultimately, it’s going to be good for all of us because what we’ve seen is over the last three, four years, the cost of health care has slowed to the lowest levels in 50 years and part of that’s because we’re starting to do health care smarter.

      This is going to build on that progress that we’ve already made. It also expands the Children’s Health Insurance Program. It provides health insurance to young people all across the country, and when our kids are healthy, that means they’re going to be healthy adults. Ultimately, that’s going to put less strain on the system as well. So this was a bipartisan effort with Republicans and Democrats coming together to do something that’s smart and common-sense. And my hope is, is it becomes a habit.

      But I want to congratulate all of the folks involved. Because we wanted to make sure doctors’ payments didn’t cut off, I’m signing it now rather than wait for getting members of Congress down here. Hopefully sometime next week or the week after we’ll be able to have a reception where I can acknowledge the great work that they did while they’re enjoying White House hospitality.

      With that, I will start signing the bill.

      END
      4:48 P.M. EDT

      _______________________

      April 16, 2015
       
       Statement by the Press Secretary on H.R. 2
       
      On Thursday, April 16, 2015, the President signed into law:
      H.R. 2, the “Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015,” which permanently replaces Medicare’s sustainable growth rate system for physician payments and reforms Medicare physician payment policies to encourage efficient, high-quality care; extends for two years funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program; extends numerous other expiring health provisions and the Secure Rural Schools program; and removes Social Security numbers from Medicare cards and makes other Medicare improvements.

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