In Charleston, President Obama Honors the Life of Pastor and State Senator Clementa Pinckney

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"We are here today to remember a man of God who lived by faith. A man who believed in things not seen. A man who believed there were better days ahead, off in the distance. A man of service who persevered, knowing full well he would not receive all those things he was promised, because he believed his efforts would deliver a better life for those who followed."

-- President Obama, on the late Rev. Clementa Pinckney

Today, President Obama traveled to Charleston, South Carolina to honor the life of pastor and state senator Clementa Pinckney -- one of the nine who lost their lives in last week's shooting at the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston.

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What Today’s Supreme Court Decision on Housing Means:

More than one important decision from the Supreme Court today that's worth noting → pic.twitter.com/WPuh8y8cZC

— Josh Earnest (@PressSec) June 25, 2015

This morning, the Supreme Court ruled to preserve a critical tool that helps prevent housing discrimination.

In a 5-4 vote, the Court ruled that disparate-impact claims can be filed under the Fair Housing Act of 1968. Under the disparate-impact doctrine, a policy can be considered discriminatory if it has a disproportionately adverse impact against any group of people, based on race, national origin, color, religion, sex, familial status, or disability.

As Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote in the majority opinion, the Fair Housing Act (FHA) was created to eliminate discriminatory housing practices, such as "zoning laws and other housing restrictions that function unfairly to exclude minorities from certain neighborhoods" without sufficient justification.

"Recognition of disparate-impact claims," he added, "is consistent with the FHA's central purpose."

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Weekly Address: Tuition-Free Community College

President Barack Obama tapes the weekly address at Hill Air Force Base in Layton, Utah, April 3, 2015. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza) In this week’s address, the Vi... Read more »

Why Conversion Therapy Hurts All of Us

This afternoon, Amanda Simpson -- Executive Director of the U.S. Army Office of Energy Initiatives, and the first openly transgender woman Presidential appointee ever -- sent the following message to the White House email list. Her message explains why "conversion therapy" is so harmful to all of us, and why it was important for the White House to stand up against the practice.

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Across the country, there are doctors working to convince people to change their sexual orientation or gender identity. It's known as "conversion therapy," but it could also be called brainwashing, or reprogramming.

Loving and compassionate parents and ministers who are trying to do the right thing are doing just the opposite. They are influenced by bad science, not grounded in fact. This so-called "conversion therapy" is harmful.

A couple of days ago, the White House came out in support of efforts to ban the use of conversion therapy. And as a transgender woman, this is especially personal to me.

No one should be forced to be someone they're not. Everyone should be valued for their authentic, true self -- who they are -- regardless of the gender with which they identify, or who they love.

I recently talked with a few other people in the Administration about why conversion therapy is so dangerous, and why it was so important for the White House to take a strong stance against the practice.

Here's what we have to say:

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President Obama Offers Easter and Passover Greetings

In a special video message, President Obama offered his warmest wishes to people across the country and around the world celebrating the Easter and Passover holidays.

Last night, the President and First Lady hosted a Seder here at the White House to mark the start of the Jewish holiday of Passover. Tomorrow, the First Family will celebrate Easter, reflecting on Christ's sacrifice and embracing the hope that this sacred season represents.

"Whether we’re Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Sikh, Hindu, or Buddhist; whether faith in God shapes our daily lives completely or not at all, we believe that with common effort, and shared sacrifice, a brighter future is just around the bend," the President said. "And we embrace our obligation to do something meaningful, something lasting, with the precious time we’ve been allotted on this Earth."

The President also encouraged all Americans to "pause and give thanks for the chance to live in a country where everyone has the right to worship and pray and love as they choose."

Watch the President's Easter and Passover greetings below:

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A Message from President Obama: Preventing Iran from Acquiring a Nuclear Weapon

President Obama sent the following message to the White House email list laying out how today's historic understanding with Iran will prevent Iran from producing a nuclear weapon. Didn't see it in your inbox? Sign up to get email updates here

Today, the United States, together with our allies and partners, reached a historic understanding with Iran.

If fully implemented, this framework will prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon, making our nation, our allies, and our world safer.

For decades, Iran has been advancing its nuclear program. When I took office, Iran was operating thousands of centrifuges -- which can produce the materials for a nuclear bomb -- and was concealing a secret nuclear facility. I made it clear that the United States was prepared to find a diplomatic resolution, if Iran came to the table in a serious way.

But that didn't happen.

So we rallied the world to impose the toughest sanctions in history, profoundly impacting Iran's economy. Sanctions couldn't stop Iran's nuclear program on their own, but they helped bring Iran to the negotiating table.

And after many months of tough and principled diplomacy, the United States -- joined by the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Russia, China, and the European Union -- achieved the framework for a deal that will cut off every pathway Iran could take to develop a nuclear weapon.

I want you to understand exactly what this deal entails:

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“A True American Patriot” — President Obama Pays Tribute to Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel

President Obama, Vice President Biden and Gen. Martin Dempsey participate in an Armed Forces farewell in honor of Secretary Hagel

President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and Gen. Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff participate in an Armed Forces farewell in honor of Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, left, at Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall in Fort Myer, Va., Jan. 28, 2015. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

The President traveled to Fort Myer, Virginia yesterday for the Armed Forces farewell ceremony in honor of our 24th Secretary of Defense, Chuck Hagel.

In his remarks, the President acknowledged Secretary Hagel's courageous work during his lifelong service as a decorated veteran and Secretary:

[T]oday is a celebration of a quintessentially American life -- a man from the heartland who devoted his life to America. Just imagine, in your mind’s eye, the defining moments of his life. The kid from Nebraska who, as Marty said, volunteered to go to Vietnam. The soldier outside Saigon, rushing to pull his own brother from a burning APC. The deputy at the VA who stood up for his fellow Vietnam vets who were exposed to Agent Orange. The senator who helped lead the fight for the Post 9/11 GI Bill, to give this generation of heroes the same opportunities that he had.

I asked Chuck to lead this department at a moment of profound transition. And today we express our gratitude for the progress under his watch.

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President Obama: “Nashville Shows How Immigrants Benefit All”

Earlier today, The Tennessean published the following op-ed from President Obama. In it, he discusses his executive actions to help make America's immigration system smarter and fairer, and why we still need Congress to pass a common-sense law to fix the system.

Learn more about the actions the President is taking on immigration.

Many Americans think of Nashville as the home of country music, barbecue, and a hit TV show. What they may not realize is that, in recent years, Music City also has had one of the fastest-growing immigrant populations in the country.

"New Nashvillians" are from Somalia and Nepal and Laos. They're from Mexico and Bangladesh. Nashville even boasts the largest Kurdish community in the United States. They work as teachers in our schools, doctors in our hospitals, and cops in our neighborhoods. They start small businesses and create jobs making this city a more prosperous, more innovative place. "They" are "us."

When done right, immigration benefits everyone. But our immigration system has been broken for a long time. Families who try to come here the right way can get stuck in line for years. Business owners who treat their workers right see the competition exploit undocumented immigrants. None of us likes the idea that someone could reap the rewards of living in America without its responsibilities. And folks who desperately want to embrace those responsibilities have no way to come out of the shadows and get right with the law.

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President Obama Nominates Ashton Carter as the Next Secretary of Defense

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This morning, President Obama announced his nomination of former Deputy Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter to be the next U.S. Secretary of Defense. Carter has been in public service for more than 30 years, and has served in various positions under 11 Secretaries of Defense.

"Ash is rightly regarded as one of our nation’s foremost national security leaders," the President said in today's remarks. "As a top member of our Pentagon team for the first five years of my presidency, including his two years as deputy secretary, he was at the table in the Situation Room; he was by my side navigating complex security challenges that we were confronting. I relied on his expertise, and I relied on his judgment."

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