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End of the Iraq War, Fair Labor Protections, and Payroll Tax Cut: Deputies' Download

President Obama speaks to soldiers at Fort Bragg and announces a proposed rule to extend Fair Labor Standards Act protections to home care workers.

President Obama traveled to Fort Bragg, North Carolina on Wednesday -- home of the Airborne and Special Operations Forces -- to salute the service of the soldiers, sailors, airmen, Coast Guardsmen, and Marines who fought in Iraq and helped to bring the war to an end.

On August 31, 2010, President Obama addressed the nation from the Oval Office to announce the end of combat operations in Iraq. Now, after nearly nine years of sacrifice, the final troops stationed in Iraq will leave the country—marking the end of the war and fulfilling the promise President Obama made to the American people when he ran for President. To see more milestones from the Iraq War, check out the White House’s new timeline. The interactive timeline begins with President Obama’s first day in office and highlights the work the Administration has done to support our troops as they return home.

On Thursday, President Obama and Labor Secretary Hilda Solis announced a proposed rule from the U.S. Department of Labor to revise the Fair Labor Standards Act rules to ensure fair pay for approximately 1.8 million workers who provide in-home care services for the elderly and infirm. The new rule would apply minimum wage and overtime protections – the same protections that nearly every employee in the United States already receives under the FLSA – to  these hardworking professionals who provide valuable services to American families.

The President and Secretary Solis were joined by Pauline Beck, a home healthcare worker who will benefit from this proposed rule. The event has special significance for Pauline and the President - it was the day that then-Senator Obama spent "in her shoes" that informed him of the important work these Americans do. Because of the day spent with her, the President recognizes the need to fairly compensate home healthcare workers for their efforts. Take a minute to watch the video and learn her story.

President Obama continued to insist that Congress take action on the payroll tax cut before leaving town for the holidays. If Congress does not extend this tax cut by the end of the year, taxes will go up on middle-class families on January 1. Watch this video to learn more about the tax cut and how it will affect you.

20111215 Soldiers at Fort Bragg

Soldiers respond as President Barack Obama delivers remarks on the end of America’s war in Iraq at the 440th Squadron Maintenance Building at Pope Army Airfield, Fort Bragg, North Carolina, Dec. 14, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)

20111213 Iraq Timeline
20111215 President Obama on Home Care Workers

President Barack Obama delivers remarks on new minimum wage/overtime protections for in-home care workers at a “We Can’t Wait” event in Room 430 of the Eisenhower Executive Office Building of the White House, Dec. 15, 2011. Attendees include: Labor Secretary Hilda Solis, Karen Kulp, President & CEO Home Care Associates; and home care workers: Pauline Beck, Thelma Reta, Iterra Blackshear, Tracy Dudzinski, Manuela Butler, Elma Wauneetta Phillips, Bertie Caraway, Margaret Glover, Elva Munoz, Michelle Wise, Olive Nanette Lyons, April Jones-Britt, Martha Cobos, and Gilda Brown; and home care employers: Sascha M. Bittner and Robin L. Shaffert. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)

Blog Highlights

Champions of Change

On Thursday, December 15th, ten local leaders who are helping to give back to their communities were honored as White House Champions of Change. These men and women, who include non-profit leaders, community activists and mentors, have each taken great strides to improve the lives of others through charitable work, faith and advocacy. Watch the video from the event to learn about how these Champions are making a difference in communities across the nation.

In 2012, we look forward to honoring new Champions of Change who are working to out-innovate, out-educate and out-build the rest of the world.

Get Involved

The application for the Summer 2012 White House Internship Program is now open. The application deadline is January 22, 2012. The mission of the White House Internship Program is to make the "People’s House" accessible to future leaders from around the nation, and to cultivate and prepare those devoted to public service for future leadership opportunities. The programs and opportunities of the White House Internship Program make for days filled with unique learning experiences, thought-provoking conversation, and unforgettable events. Visit to learn more about the White House Internship Program and to apply.

The White House Fellows program is the nation’s most prestigious program for leadership and public service.  Founded by President Johnson in 1964 to engage emerging leaders in public service, the Fellows Program provides exceptional young men and women with first-hand experience working at the highest levels of the federal government. Fellows spend one year in Washington, DC working in the offices of Cabinet Secretaries, White House staff, and other high level Executive Branch officials. The Fellows Program is non-partisan, highly competitive and seeks people who have distinguished themselves through their work and dedication to public service. To learn more, we invite you to view the White House Fellows video chat in which the Program Director Cindy Moelis and former Fellows Anish Mahajan and Erica Jeffries recently answered questions about the application and the Fellowship experience. Applications for the White House Fellowship can currently be found online at  The deadline for completed applications is January 13, 2012.

For more information about ways to get involved now, check out the Office of Public Engagement’s blog, which is updated daily with upcoming engagement opportunities. Follow Jon Carson, Director of the Office of Public Engagement, on Twitter @JonCarson44. Also, take time to browse our Engage webpage, and check out for opportunities to personalize your long-term service.

Get Updates

For more information, visit the White House Office of Public Engagement website and blog and sign up for additional opportunities.

We welcome your thoughts and feedback at

Anne Filipic and Stephanie Valencia are Deputy Directors in the Office of Public Engagement