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Buffett Rule, Nuclear Security Summit, and the "Community College to Career" Tour: Deputies' Downloa

President Obama wraps up a trip to Seoul, calls on Congress to end tax breaks for the oil industry, and speaks about the Buffett Rule.

In the most recent Weekly Address, President Obama asked us the following question: “When it comes to paying down the deficit and investing in our future, should we ask middle-class Americans to pay even more at a time when their budgets are already stretched to the breaking point?  Or should we ask the wealthy to pay a share of taxes similar to what they paid in the 1990s – a time when everyone did better and the entire economy grew?”

President Obama is calling on Congress to pass commonsense legislation called the Buffett Rule: If you make more than $1 million a year, you should pay at least the same tax rate as the average middle class family.  On the other hand, if you make under $250,000 a year – like 98 percent of American families do – your taxes shouldn’t go up.

We believe that anyone who does well for themselves should do their fair share in return, so that more people have the opportunity to get ahead – not just a few. That’s how we’ll make this country a little fairer, a little more just, and a whole lot stronger.

The House of Representatives voted last Thursday to continue subsidizing the oil industry. President Obama has repeatedly called for an end to these unwarranted tax breaks that not only cost American taxpayers billions of dollars every year, but also come at a time when oil companies are posting record profits while American families are feeling pain at the pump. The President knows that to end the cycle of high prices that happen year after year, we need to move to an all-of-the-above energy strategy that invests in our future, and doesn't subsidize our past with century-old tax breaks.

The President recently wrapped up a trip to Seoul where he attended a nuclear security summit and held a pair of bilateral meetings with President Lee Myung-Bak of South Korea and Prime Minister Erdogan of Turkey. The summit highlighted the accomplishments that had been made since President Obama convened a nuclear security summit in Washington two years ago. The world has come together to improve security at nuclear facilities and remove, or in some cases get rid of entirely, nuclear materials. Just last Tuesday, the United States announced that more than 280 pounds of highly enriched uranium from the Ukraine had been transferred to Russia, where it will be downblended into low-enriched uranium that cannot be used to make a nuclear weapon.

President Barack Obama and President Lee Myung-bak (March 25, 2012)

President Barack Obama and President Lee Myung-bak participate in a press conference at the Blue House in Seoul, Republic of Korea, March 25, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

Dr. Jill Biden was at the Mercer County Community College in New Jersey last Wednesday, the latest stop in her “Community College to Career” tour. The bus tour visits community colleges that have formed innovative partnerships with local business leaders to train students with the skills they need to join the area workforce.

The White House Community Partnership Summit series made a stop in Orlando, Florida last Friday. These “unconferences” have been put together out of recognition that some of the best ideas can be found in people and communities from all across the United States. The blank slate agenda allowed for a productive and energizing day-long dialogue with the more than 300 present participants. Sustained engagement with people of all walks of life with their many ideas of how to best move our country forward is a critical part of creating and sustaining an America built to last.

Blog Highlights

White House Champions of Change Program

The White House honored 10 local leaders last Thursday who exemplify Cesar Chavez’s core values, including service to others, knowledge, innovation, acceptance of all people, and respect for life and the environment, and have dedicated themselves to improving the lives of others throughout their community and across the Nation.

The Champions of Change series spotlights everyday heroes who are demonstrating a 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.”

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.

On Tuesday, April 3rd, Vice President Biden is traveling to Norfolk, Virginia to discuss how the Obama Administration is tackling rising college costs. Here's how you can participate:

  • Starting now, ask the Vice President about college affordability using the hashtag #AskVP
  • On Tuesday, April 3rd at 3:45 p.m. EDT the Vice President will answer some of your questions from the @VP account
  • Follow the whole chat live on Twitter live through the @VP handle
  • If you miss the live event, the full conversation will be posted on and on Storify

Three months ago, 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. Youthand 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.