the WHITE HOUSEPresident Barack Obama
Six years and 358 days after taking office, President Obama just delivered his last State of the Union address. And in this final year of his presidency, the President has made clear to his staff that he’s keeping his foot on the gas.
There’s already so much the American people have accomplished. Recovering from recession. Rescuing an auto industry. Transforming America into the global leader in fighting climate change. Reforming our healthcare system. Bringing more than 160,000 troops home.
But in his speech tonight, President Obama didn’t focus on the past. He focused on the future.
Instead of simply laying out policy proposals for the next year, the President laid out a set of questions that will define the next generation and beyond.
What are the building blocks we need to give everyone a fair shot at opportunity and security in the new economy?
How do we make technology work for us, and not against us – especially when it comes to solving our biggest challenges?
How do we keep America safe and lead the world without becoming its policeman?
Finally, how can we make our politics reflect what’s best in us, and not what’s worst?
The President believes that if we can work together to address these big challenges, we can create a better future for generations to come.
That’s why in the weeks and months to come, you will see the President unveil new efforts to address climate change and reduce our dependence on fossil fuels. He’ll work to make sure our growing economy works better for everybody. He’ll continue to invest in research and development and make sure that the next generation continues to drive innovation with more computer science training and STEM education. The President will work to keep America safe and strong without isolating ourselves or trying to nation-build all over the world. And President Obama will continue to encourage us all to work together to fix our politics and correct the structural problems in our political system that sideline too many citizens.
The President is focused on doing everything he can to embrace the remarkable potential America’s future holds.
It’s a future where every American who works hard has a chance to get ahead.
It’s a future where American innovation saves lives, creates jobs, and protects our planet.
It’s a future where American leadership is even more indispensable in the 21st century than it was in the 20th.
And it’s a future where special interests aren’t allowed to rig the system, and where every American’s voice is heard.
That’s the future we’re building, and it’s going to take a lot of us to do it. Want to help? Tell us what you’re doing to tackle big challenges in your own community. And share your own thoughts below on the main questions the President laid out in his speech.
In all my years working for President Obama, I’ve never seen him so optimistic and excited. There may not be any more State of the Union addresses to deliver, but there are 372 more days to deliver on behalf of the American people.
Now, it’s back to work.
We’ve made a lot of progress together – but we also want to hear from you about a better future for you and your family.
Learn more about what we’ve accomplished together:
Opportunity in the new economy.
In the months before President Obama took office, four million Americans lost their jobs. Another four million jobs were lost before his policies had a chance to take hold. Since then, our businesses have unleashed the longest streak of private-sector job creation in our history. 70 straight months. More than 14 million new jobs. An unemployment rate cut in half, from 10 to 5 percent. An auto industry that just had its best year ever. A manufacturing sector that has created nearly 900,000 jobs over six year. And we’ve done all this while cutting our deficits by almost three-quarters.
So anyone claiming that America’s economy is in decline compared to the rest of the world is peddling fiction. It’s a basic fact: right now, the United States of America has the strongest, most stable economy in the world.
The challenge is making sure that economy works for everybody. Today, technology can upend industries overnight. Companies can locate anywhere. More and more wealth and income has become concentrated at the top. These trends have squeezed hard-working families, even when they have a job and the economy is growing.
In his speech, President Obama put forward the building blocks of a social compact for the 21st century. His plan would lead to a growing economy while upholding a basic American belief: that everyone who works hard should get a fair shot. And it builds on steps we’ve already taken over the past seven years, including:
- Reforming Health Care in America – After 100 years of talk and countless failed efforts, Barack Obama was the President who finally made health care reform a reality for America. Read more.
- Reforming Wall Street – Signed into law the most sweeping reforms of Wall Street since the Great Depression to crack down on excessive risk-taking in our financial system, making our financial system safer, sounder, and less vulnerable to crisis. Read more.
- Cutting Taxes for Workers and Families – Established and made permanent important expansions to tax credits for low- and moderate-income working families, providing a tax cut averaging about $1,000 to roughly 24 million families each year. Called for building upon recent improvements to the Earned Income Tax Credit by strengthening it for workers without dependent children, which would reduce poverty and hardship for 13.2 million low-income workers, alongside tax cuts that help families pay for child care, education, and retirement and support two-earner families. Read more.
- Increasing the Minimum Wage – Called on Congress to raise the national minimum wage and led a national push for an increased minimum wage, supporting minimum wage increases in 17 states and the District of Columbia, which will increase wages for around 7 million workers as of 2017. In addition, roughly 40 cities and counties have raised their minimum wages. Signed an executive order raising the wage for workers on new federal contracts. Read more.
- Rewarding Hard Work by Restoring Overtime PayPut us on track to modernize overtime protections in 2016 to help make sure millions of workers who are helping to rebuild our economy can earn extra pay, get ahead when they put in extra hours at work, and are better able to balance their work and family obligations. Read more.
- Calling for Paid Leave – Signed an Executive Order requiring Federal contractors to offer paid sick leave to their employees and called on Congress to pass legislation giving Federal employees six additional weeks of paid parental leave. The President also has called on the country to guarantee paid sick leave to the around 40 percent of the total private-sector workforce that does not currently have access to it. Read more.
- Fighting for Equal Pay for Equal Work – Signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, empowering women to recover wages lost to discrimination by extending the time period for parties to bring pay discrimination claims. Issued an Executive Order prohibiting Federal contractors from discriminating against employees that discuss their compensation. Continued to call on Congress to ensure equal pay for equal work. Read more.
- Amplifying Worker Voice – Led a national conversation on worker voice and the need to promote worker rights, to ensure that middle-class Americans and those who are working hard to become a part of the middle class are sharing in the benefits of the broad-based economic growth that they are helping to create. Read more.
- Promoting Job-Driven Training – Signed the bipartisan Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), the first reform of federal job training programs in nearly 20 years, which will improve business engagement, accountability, access, and alignment across job training, employment service, vocational rehabilitation, and adult education programs. Read more.
- Launching TechHire to Help Americans Gain Access to Well-Paying Tech Jobs – Launched the TechHire initiative to rapidly train Americans for well-paying tech jobs while meeting urgent employer demand. More than 500 employers have partnered with 35 cities, states, and rural areas to expand access to tech jobs. Read more.
- Investing in Apprenticeships – Expanded registered apprenticeship programs, resulting in employers, labor unions, and training providers adding tens of thousands of new apprentices, the nation’s largest increase in nearly a decade. Read more.
- Creating Opportunityfor People with Disabilities –Issued an executive order for a more inclusive workforce, increasing Federal hiring and creating opportunities for more than 100,000 people with disabilities to join Federal service. Signed the Achieving a Better Life Experience Act, which allows access to a tax-exempt savings account that can be used for maintaining health, independence and quality of life for individuals with disabilities receiving Social Security benefits. Successfully concluded the Marrakesh Treaty to facilitate access to published works for persons who are blind, visually impaired, or otherwise print disabled. Read more.
- Making High-Quality Child Care Accessible and Affordable – Signed into law a bipartisan reauthorization of the Child Care and Development Block Grant that requires programs to meet higher quality standards. Put forward a plan to make quality child care more affordable for eligible families with children under four, including simplifying, expanding, and tripling the child care tax credit for families with young children, new investments in child care subsidies, and a specific plan to pay for it all. Read more.
- Expanding and Improving Early Education – Invested billions of dollars in quality early learning and preschool programs to help our youngest learners succeed when they enter kindergarten, especially those from low-income families, tripling the number of young children in Early Head Start from the time the President took office. In addition, the President has put forward an ambitious proposal to make high-equality preschool available to all Americans. Since the President’s call, more than 30 states have boosted their investments in preschool. Read more.
- Improving Elementary and Secondary Education – Signed the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), which fixes the No Child Left Behind Act and cements the progress we have made over the past seven years in raising academic standards, strengthening teaching, and turning around low-performing schools. Called for national effort to create more next generation high schools, and oversaw the highest-ever high school graduation effort on record. Read more.
Improving Child Health Through Healthier School Meals – Signed the Healthy, Hunger Free Kids Act, which made the most meaningful and comprehensive changes to food in schools we’ve seen in a generation, helping schools provide healthier foods to 31 million children. Read more.
- Preparing Students to Enter STEM Fields – Launched the “Educate to Innovate” initiative, which is helping more than 50,000 new STEM teachers get trained and resulting in more than $1 billion of private-sector investment for STEM education and expanded opportunities for students who are traditionally underrepresented in these fields. An historic 25,000 additional engineers are graduating yearly compared to when the President took office. Read more.
- Calling for Free Community College for Responsible Students – Laid out a specific plan and led a movement to make college the norm, like high school is today, by making two years of community college free for responsible students, with states, communities, and community colleges across the country announcing new programs or introducing legislation since the President’s announcement in January 2015. Read more.
- Making College More Affordable – Increased the maximum Pell Grant by more than $1,000 and total Pell funding by 70 percent, helping millions of students afford college every year. Created and made permanent the American Opportunity Tax Credit, which provides up to $10,000 in tuition tax credits over 4 years for families with students in college. Capped student loan payments at 10 percent of monthly income for all direct student loan borrowers through the Pay-As-You-Earn repayment plans, and signed bipartisan legislation to cut the student loan interest rate, setting it at historic lows, and saving this year’s average student $1,000 or more over the life of the loan. Read more.
- Making it Easier to Apply for Student Aid – Made applying for financial aid easier and faster by allowing automatic retrieval of tax information and by revamping the online form for all families so they can skip questions that are not relevant to them, reducing the time required to complete the FAFSA by two-thirds, to about 20 minutes. Read more.
- Helping Save for Retirement – Proposed rules to protect Americans’ hard-earned savings by ensuring that retirement advisers provide advice in their clients’ best interest. Helped workers without access to employer-sponsored plans save for retirement by proposing auto-enrollment in IRAs by employers that do not offer a workplace retirement plan, proposing rules and guidance to enable states to create their own retirement savings plans, and creating the simple, no-fee myRA account. Read more.
- Protecting Consumers – Created the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, a consumer watchdog whose sole job is looking out for consumers by protecting them from deceptive and unfair practices by mortgage lenders, payday lenders, and debt collectors. Read more.
- Reforming our Broken Immigration System – Implemented the Deferred Action for Child Arrivals policy for young undocumented people who came to the U.S. as children, and took actions to better focus enforcement resources, increase accountability, and improve our immigration system for high-skilled workers, graduates, entrepreneurs, and families. Continued to press Congress to act to reform our broken immigration system once-and-for-all. Read more.
- Accelerating Local Economic Mobility – Created a new model for Federal partnership in locally-led revitalization efforts, including designating 13 Promise Zones across the country – with seven more to be announced this year – to support communities by attracting private investment, creating jobs, improving access to affordable housing, expanding educational opportunities, and partnering with local leaders to navigate Federal programs. Read more.
Making technology work for us
America’s spirit of innovation has always led us through any challenge. From walking on the moon to curing disease, dison to the Wright Brothers, Grace Hopper to Sally Ride, we’ve reshaped our world for the better. And in this new century, we’ll need everyone’s ideas and talents to come up with the next big thing.
Over the past seven years, we’ve nurtured that spirit of innovation. We’ve protected an open Internet, cut the digital divide in our classrooms in half, and taken bold new steps to get even the lowest-income Americans online. We’ve worked to accelerate better-targeted medical treatments for patients. We’ve launched next-generation manufacturing hubs, and online tools that give an entrepreneur everything he or she needs to cut red tape and start a business in a single day. And America remains the best place to start up and scale a business.
In his speech, President Obama put forward ideas to reignite our spirit of innovation. His plan is a path to new jobs, new businesses, a stronger economy,and a safer planet and builds on a number of steps he has taken over the past seven years including:
- Establishing the Clean Power Plan – Established the first-ever national carbon pollution standards for power plants, the largest source of carbon pollution in our country. The Clean Power Plan gives states flexible, cost-effective tools to cut carbon pollution from these plants by 32 percent from 2005 levels by 2030 while preventing thousands of premature deaths and tens of thousands of childhood asthma attacks. Read more.
- Setting Fuel Economy Standards – Set standards to nearly double the fuel economy of passenger vehicles by 2025 and established the first-ever fuel economy standards for medium and heavy-duty trucks, saving Americans money at the pump and cutting carbon pollution by more than 6 billion tons. Read more.
- Accelerating Clean Energy Innovation – Launched Mission Innovation, a landmark commitment to double public funding for clean energy research at home and abroad, complemented by the Breakthrough Energy Coalition, the Clean Energy Investment Initiative, and other efforts to dramatically increase private-sector investments in clean energy innovation. Read more.
- Investing in Clean Energy – Made the largest investment in clean energy in American history, including support for thousands of wind and solar projects, loans for innovative energy projects, investments in batteries and other advanced vehicle technologies, and support for large-scale carbon capture and utilization at coal-fired power plants. Since the President took office, we have seen dramatic increases in clean energy – with wind power tripling and solar power increasing by 30 times. For the first time ever, secured stable long-term incentives for investing in renewable energy by extending the Production Tax Credit (PTC) and Investment Tax Credit (ITC) for five years. Read more.
- Setting Energy Efficiency Standards – Set new energy efficiency standards for appliances and equipment and developed new building codes, which will cut consumers’ energy bills by hundreds of billions of dollars. Taken together, efficiency standards completed during this Administration will avoid nearly 3 billion metric tons of carbon pollution by 2030. Read more.
- Investing in Research and Development – Invested in key research programs, including funding for basic research at the National Science Foundation, for energy efficiency and renewable energy, for health breakthroughs at the National Institutes of Health, and for defense research that is modernizing our military. Launched bold new initiatives in areas including brain research, precision medicine, smart cities, advanced materials, data science, and strategic computing and enabled a new era in space exploration, all leading to job creation and economic opportunity as well as new knowledge and prospects for better health and quality of life. Made the Research and Experimentation tax credit permanent, bringing certainty to companies large and small investing in innovation. Read more.
- Enhancing Climate Resilience – Worked with communities to support investments in resilient infrastructure in the areas impacted by Hurricane Sandy and other extreme weather events, and launched a $1 billion competition to ensure that infrastructure is built to withstand future disasters and other climate change impacts. Launched Resilience AmeriCorps program and announced more than $25 million in public and private investments to protect vulnerable populations from climate change. Launched the Climate Services for Resilient Development public-private partnership and committed more than $34 million in support. Read more.
- Rebuilding Domestic Manufacturing – Catalyzed over $1 billion of non-Federal resources for the National Network for Manufacturing Innovation, more than matching the $500 million of Federal resources, and awarded seven institutes with two more competitions underway, putting us on a path towards fulfilling the President’s goal of 15 manufacturing innovation institutes by the end of the Administration. Read more.
- Enabling Individualized Treatments through Precision Medicine – Launched the Precision Medicine Initiative (PMI) with the mission of enabling a new era of medicine through research, technology, and policies that empower patients, researchers, and providers to work together toward development of individualized treatments. PMI has catalyzed coordinated Federal agency action to enable patients to easily access their electronic health data, accelerate the widespread use of APIs to allow for seamless exchange of electronic health data, and execute the best approaches for data management, security, and privacy. Read more.
- Making the Internet Open and Accessible – Supported the FCC’s “net neutrality” decision to adopt the strongest rules possible to ensure Internet Service Providers (ISPs) cannot become gatekeepers to the Internet’s content or create paid fast lanes for access to the best services. Launched the President’s ConnectED initiative, which has cut the connectivity divide in schools by about half since 2013 and provides free internet access at public libraries throughout the nation, and launched the ConnectHOME initiative to deliver high-speed Internet to low-income families living in public and assisted housing. Read more.
- Reforming Patent Laws – Signed the America Invents Act into law to reform the nation’s patent laws for the 21st Century, helping companies and inventors avoid costly delays — especially in key industries like telecommunications, IT, advanced manufacturing, and medical devices that depend on a strong and healthy intellectual property system. Read more.
- Catalyzing Foreign Investment in the U.S. – Created SelectUSA, the first Federal government-wide investment-promotion program, which has directly facilitated billions of dollars in job-creating foreign direct investment and connected thousands of investors with state and local economic development officials. Read more.
- Articulating a Strategy for American Innovation – Issued the nation’s first-ever innovation strategy in 2009, and updated it in 2011 and 2015, providing a framework to ensure America continues to lead as the world’s most innovative economy, to develop the industries of the future, and to harness innovation to help address our Nation’s most important challenges. Read more.
- Promoting Entrepreneurship – Launched the Startup America initiative to accelerate high-growth entrepreneurship and democratize access to capital across the Nation. Hosted the first-ever White House Maker Faire to boost access for students and adults to the tools and resources for designing, building, and making just about anything. Announced new public and private-sector commitments at the first-ever White House Demo Day to provide more Americans, including those underrepresented in entrepreneurship like women and people of color, with the opportunity to start and scale new companies. Read more.
- Improving and Simplifying Digital Services for American Citizens – Leveraged the best private-sector technology experts to improve the way government delivers services for the American people, establishing the U.S. Digital Service at the White House and 18F at the General Services Administration. Read more.
- Harnessing Technology and Data – Created the Office of the Chief Technology Officer (CTO) to unleash the power of data, technology, and innovation. Created and made permanent the Presidential Innovation Fellows Program, which has brought over 96 executives, entrepreneurs, technologists, and other innovators into government, and has teamed them up with Federal employees to improve programs that serve more than 150 million Americans. Read more.
- Unleashing the Power of Data to Benefit Americans – Reset the default to have all Federal data be open and machine-readable. This has resulted in nearly 200,000 data sets on data.gov, including the ability for 3 million veterans and service members to access their medical data. Established the Police Data Initiative to increase transparency and improve policing. Launched the College Scorecard to increase transparency in college tuition costs and value. Read more.
Leading the world without becoming its policeman
America is the strongest nation on Earth. We spend more on our military than the next eight nations combined, and our troops are the finest fighting force in the history of the world. To meet the threat of terrorism, climate change, or the spread of disease, people around the world don’t look to Beijing or Moscow to lead – they look to us. They respect America, admire the values we stand for, and crave our leadership.
In a world of stormy waters and shifting currents, America remains the anchor of strength and stability. But as President Obama put it, you can’t save a drowning man if you let yourself get pulled underwater. So we have choices to make about how to use our power abroad, with a clear understanding of the world as it is.
In his speech, the President laid out a strategy for keeping America safe and strong without isolating ourselves or trying to nation-build all over the world. We live in dangerous times, but if we make the right decisions, America will lead the world in the 21st century just like we did in the last one.
- Securing the Historic Paris Climate Agreement – After years of hard work, and thanks to principled American leadership, more than 190 countries came together to adopt the most ambitious climate change agreement in history. The Paris Agreement establishes a long term, durable global framework to set the world on a course to significantly reduce global greenhouse gas emissions. It sets the pathway we can follow to leave the planet a better place for our children and grandchildren. Read more.
- Achieving the Iran Nuclear Deal – Built an international coalition to impose sanctions on Iran and secured a deal to verifiably prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. Read more.
- Securing the Trans-Pacific Partnership – Negotiated and finalized the text of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a 12-country agreement representing nearly 40 percent of global economic output, to increase Made-in-America exports to one of the fastest growing regions in the world, based on an open, transparent, and level playing field. Read more.
- Reopening Cuba – Took steps to normalize relations with Cuba, ending a failed policy of over 50 years by re-establishing diplomatic relations and facilitating greater travel, commerce, and people-to-people ties. Read more.
- Destroying ISIL – Established a comprehensive, government-wide strategy and is leading a 65-member coalition to degrade and ultimately destroy ISIL. Read more.
- Dismantling al Qaeda – Dismantled al Qaeda’s leadership, including the operation that killed Osama bin Laden. Read more.
- Ending Combat Missions in Afghanistan and Iraq – Responsibly ended the U.S. combat missions in Iraq and Afghanistan, bringing home some 90 percent of the nearly 180,000 American troops deployed in those countries when President Obama took office. Read more.
- Closing Guantanamo Bay – Called on Congress to close the prison at Guantanamo Bay, as it is expensive, unnecessary and only serves as a recruitment tool for terrorists and an argument for those who oppose America. Read more.
- Rebalancing to the Asia-Pacific Region – Modernized alliances with Japan and South Korea, concluded new defense agreements with Australia and the Philippines, deepened relations with key emerging partners like Singapore, Indonesia, Vietnam, and Malaysia, fostered a more durable and productive relationship with China, forged a new partnership with India, and strengthened the Asia-Pacific region’s institutional architecture. Read more.
- Supporting Central American Development – Advanced a broader Latin America strategy through promoting Central American governance, development and security, support for the Colombia peace process, and the 100,000 Strong in the Americas educational program. Read more.
- Supporting Ukraine – Working together with European and other international partners, helped Ukraine stabilize its economy and continue to implement its ambitious reform agenda. Used coordinated international sanctions to increase pressure on Russia to cease its efforts to undermine Ukraine’s security and stability, and took the steps necessary to achieve a diplomatic solution to the crisis in eastern Ukraine. Read more.
- Preventing and Treating Ebola – Led international efforts to end the Ebola epidemic in West Africa, shoring up public health systems both at home and abroad. Read more.
- Improving Global Health Security – Led in the global arena to control infectious disease with the Global Health Security Agenda, in which the United States pledged to help 30 other countries improve human health. Launched an aggressive plan to combat antibiotic-resistant bacteria through actions in the health system, in agricultural practices, in global surveillance, and specifically dedicated to managing antibiotic-resistant tuberculosis. Read more.
- Strengthening Cybersecurity – Promoted an open, secure, and reliable cyberspace by issuing the U.S. International Strategy for Cyberspace, the Cybersecurity Framework, and executive orders for critical infrastructure cybersecurity and sanctioning malicious cyber actors, and secured cybersecurity information sharing legislation. Read more.
- Growing the Open Government Partnership (OGP) – Launched with eight countries in 2011 to make governments more open, accountable, and responsive to citizens. OGP has grown to over 70 countries, in which government and civil society are working together to develop and implement ambitious open government reforms. The United States has released its third Open Government National Action Plan. Read more.
- Honoring our Nation’s Veterans – Worked to ensure that veterans receive the health care and benefits they have earned, provided the resources they need and skills and education to succeed, worked to end the scourge of veteran homelessness, and honored our commitment to military families and spouses through Joining Forces. Read more.
Making sure our politics reflect America’s best
America is a country unlike any other. We were founded for the sake of an idea: that all of us are created equal. Our unalienable rights were endowed to us by our Creator. Our power comes from system of self-government that frees us to shape our destiny as we see fit.
Government isn’t easy. But in America, government is us. That’s the system our founders designed.
Yet too often, our politics don’t reflect that optimism, or that confidence in the American people. In his speech, President Obama called on all of us to overcome our worst impulses, reject corrosive attempts to rig the system and sideline citizens, and to strengthen the bonds that unite us no matter the political views we hold. In his final State of the Union, the President reaffirmed his faith in the politics of hope, building on seven years of progress.
- Calling for Transparency in Political Spending – Following the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United, called on Congress to pass the DISCLOSE ACT to require groups or special interests who are trying to influence elections to reveal their donors so the public will know who’s funding their political ads. Read more.
- Protecting Voting Rights – Commemorated the 50th Anniversary of the Voting Rights Act by calling on Congress to restore the Voting Rights Act and ensure that every American has equal access to the right to vote. Read more.
- Ensuring Marriage Equality – Ended the government’s defense of the Defense of Marriage Act, and advocated in favor of a Constitutional guarantee of marriage equality for same-sex couples – a position the Supreme Court vindicated in its historic decision in Obergefell v. Hodges. Read more.
- Protecting Civil Rights – Repealed Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, allowing gay, lesbian, and bisexual Americans to serve openly in the Armed Forces without fear of being dismissed from service because of who they are and whom they love. Signed the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act to help more effectively investigate and prosecute hate crimes. Read more.
- Promoting Gender Equality – Worked to combat discrimination, eliminate violence against women and girls at home and abroad, expand access to girls education and women’s health care, including sexual and reproductive health and rights, assist women-owned businesses and entrepreneurs, support women and girls of color, and encourage women’s economic and political leadership. Read more.
- Taking Action to Reduce Gun Violence – Took steps within the President’s authority to keep guns out of the wrong hands through background checks, make our communities safer from gun violence, shape the future of gun safety technology, and propose new investments in mental health treatment. Read more.
- Fighting for a Fairer Criminal Justice System – Launched the Smart on Crime initiative through which the Department of Justice modified its charging policies to avoid excessive mandatory minimums for low-level, non-violent drug offenders, improved diversion and re-entry policies, and strengthened protections for the most vulnerable. Continuing to fight for historic criminal justice reform legislation that would improve our sentencing laws at the front end and the back end and give juveniles a better opportunity to earn a second chance. Read more.
- Launching “My Brother’s Keeper” – Launched the “My Brother’s Keeper” initiative to address persistent opportunity gaps faced by boys and young men of color and ensure that all young people can reach their full potential. Through the My Brother’s Keeper Community Challenge, more than 230 city, county, and tribal leaders are joining with diverse stakeholders to implement their own cradle-to-college-and-career strategies to expand opportunity for youth in their communities. Read more.
- Strengthening Policing – Created the President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing, which brought together representatives of law enforcement, community, academics, and youth to develop a unified set of 59 concrete and practical recommendations that can be used by jurisdictions across the country to enhance trust between communities and law enforcement while improving public safety. Read more.
- Revitalizing Distressed Communities – Reinvigorated 14 chronically distressed cities like Detroit, Fresno, and the Pine Ridge Reservation through a hands-on partnership between local leaders and federal staff to make better use of existing federal funds and realize local goals. Read more.
- Promoting Immigrant and Refugee Integration and Citizenship Awareness – Created the White House Task Force on New Americans, which launched the Building Welcoming Communities Campaign to help local communities strengthen integration efforts and the “Stand Stronger” Citizenship Awareness Campaign to spread awareness about the rights and responsibilities of U.S. citizenship. Read more.
- Welcoming Refugees in a Safe and Humane Way – Increased the annual number of refugees admitted to the United States following robust screening and addressed the unique challenges refugees face by increasing medical screening, providing new mental health resources, and conducting comprehensive on-going reviews of grant programs. Read more.
- Preventing and Ending Homelessness – Launched an ambitious strategy to end homelessness nationwide, including in critical areas such as veterans, families, youth, and chronic homelessness. As a result, the number of unsheltered homeless individuals has dropped 26 percent since 2010, and unsheltered veteran homelessness has declined by 47 percent. Read more.
- Improving Tribal Engagement – Strengthened the relationship between the United States and tribal governments in order to improve the quality of life for all American Indians and Alaska Natives. Engaged tribal leaders by hosting White House Tribal Leaders Conferences and ordering agencies to create detailed consultation policies. Established Generation Indigenous youth engagement initiative. Read more.
- Establishing the White House Rural Council – Created the White House Rural Council to streamline and improve the effectiveness of Federal programs in rural America and focusing on rural job creation, manufacturing, and child poverty. Read more.