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Payroll Tax Cut, American-Made Energy, and Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights: Deputies' Download

President Obama signs the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012, travels to Miami to discuss American-made energy, and unveils a new blueprint to protect consumers online.

Just last week, the President called on Americans from across the country to add their voices to the debate and let us know how losing $40 in their paychecks would impact them. Thousands of individuals did exactly that, and it made all the difference: on Wednesday, President Obama signed the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012 -- extending the payroll tax cut and emergency jobless benefits through the end of the year.

President Obama was at the University of Miami last Thursday to talk about securing a future for America built on home-grown energy -- and his blueprint to help us get there. President Obama emphasized the need for a sustained, all-of-the-above strategy that develops every available source of American energy, from oil and gas to wind and solar to take control of our energy future and protect ourselves from fuel price spikes. As evidence of what his Administration has done on this front, President Obama pointed out that foreign oil reliance in 2011 was the lowest in 16 years and that because of the investments made, the use of clean, renewable energy in this country has nearly doubled – and thousands of American jobs have been created.

President Obama signs the payroll tax cut (February 22, 2012)

President Barack Obama signs H.R. 3630 - Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012 in the Oval Office, Feb. 22, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

President Barack Obama tours the University of Miami Industrial Assessment Center (February 23, 2012)

President Barack Obama tours the University of Miami Industrial Assessment Center in Miami, Florida, Feb. 23, 2012. The IAC is where students learn how to become industrial energy-efficiency experts as they help small to mid-sized manufacturers reduce their energy costs. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

President Barack Obama drops by The Arc community leaders briefing (February 10, 2012)

President Barack Obama drops by The Arc community leaders briefing in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building South Court Auditorium, Feb. 10, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Also last Thursday, at the White House, the Obama Administration unveiled a blueprint for a Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights to protect consumers online. As the President wrote in his cover letter to the report, we must apply "our timeless privacy values to the new technologies and circumstances of our times." The White House has proposed a Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights as part of a strategy to improve consumers’ privacy protections and to ensure that the Internet remains an engine for innovation and economic growth.  These rights give consumers clear guidance on what they should expect from those who handle their personal information, and set expectations for companies that use personal data.

President Obama was on hand for last Thursday's ground breaking at the site of the future Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture. As he considered what the museum will mean and the history that it will cover, the President talked about what he wants his daughters to experience: “I want them to appreciate this museum not just as a record of tragedy, but as a celebration of life.”

On Friday, in celebration of American Heart Month, the White House hosted the American Heart Association and WomenHeart, The National Coalition for Women with Heart Disease, as part of the White House Community Leaders Briefing Series. One hundred and fifty American Heart Association and WomenHeart volunteers, members, advocates, and staff from across the country attended this briefing for individuals and organizations who work to raise awareness among women about their risk of cardiovascular disease.

Blog Highlights

Champions of Change

The Champions of Change series spotlights everyday heroes who are demonstrating commitment to improving their own communities, their country, or the lives of their fellow citizens. We are looking for you to nominate someone who is doing extraordinary things to make a difference in your community as a “Champion of Change.”

In April,  the Council on Environmental Quality will host a Champions of Change event at the White House to highlight individuals and organizations across the country that are using innovative strategies increase the use of renewable energy and develop state-of-the-art implementation strategies for the future. We need your help to identify these Champions! To learn more about this event and to nominate a Champion, check out the webform here.

Get Involved

For more information about ways to get involved, check out the Office of Public Engagement’s blog, which is updated daily with upcoming engagement opportunities. Be sure to participate in the online conversation by following @JonCarson44.

Last month, President Obama and Department of Labor Secretary Hilda Solis announced the Summer Jobs+ Initiative, a call-to-action for American business, nonprofits, and government to provide pathways to employment for low-income and disconnected youth in the summer of 2012. Our goal is to provide 250,000 summer job opportunities for America’s youth. We need your help to reach our goal. Employers can commit to offering employment opportunities for youth this summer by signing up HERE. Youth and communities can sign-up HERE to be alerted when the jobs bank goes live.

Finally, we invite you to join the White House’s Equal Pay App Challenge to develop an application that will educate and empower Americans by making information about the pay gap more accessible. This is another facet of the Administration’s bottom-up, open government initiative. To find out more about the initiative check out the Open Innovator’s Toolkit.  

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.