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Keeping Interest Rates Low, Welcoming New American Citizens, and Saluting the Troops: Deputies' Download

President Obama signs legislation to keep student loan interest rates low and hosts a ceremony to welcome new American citizens, and the White House celebrates the troops on the Fourth of July.

You Did It!

Just a few weeks ago, there was a real possibility that Congress would allow interest rates for federal student loans to double. But last Friday, President Obama signed legislation that will keep 7.4 million students from paying thousands of extra dollars.

President Barack Obama delivers remarks before signing HR 4348 (July 6, 2012)

President Barack Obama delivers remarks before signing HR 4348, the Transportation and Student Loan Interest Rate bill, during a ceremony in the East Room of the White House, July 6, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Last week, we talked to a group of students who were part of that effort -- all of whom would have affected by the higher interest rates -- and they talked about why it's so important for people to speak out.

The video is a powerful reminder of how everyday Americans can make their voices resonate in Washington. Watch it here.

President Obama Welcomes New American Citizens

President Obama began his Independence Day celebrations by hosting a naturalization ceremony for active duty service members in the East Room of the White House. It was the third time the President has hosted this kind of service, and he told the audience, which included the families of the service members who were taking the oath of citizenship, that it is one of his favorite things to do. "It brings me great joy and inspiration because it reminds us that we are a country that is bound together not simply by ethnicity or bloodlines, but by fidelity to a set of ideas."

President Obama at Naturalization Ceremony July 4, 2012

President Barack Obama listens as Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano administers the oath of allegiance during a military naturalization ceremony for active duty service members in the East Room of the White House, July 4, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Brad Paisley Salutes the Troops

Last week, the White House threw a party for more than 1,200 military service members and their families to celebrate the Fourth of July. The event, organized by the USO, featured a performance by country music star Brad Paisley.

Brad Paisley performs on the South Lawn of the White House (July 4, 2012)

Brad Paisley performs on the South Lawn of the White House, July 4, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

Watch more Independence Day performances at the White House.

Blog Highlights

White House Champions of Change Program

Last week, The White House Office of Public Engagement honored 6 individuals who were nominated by friends, family, neighbors, and co-workers as Champions of Change. These Champions of Change were selected from a pool of more than 1500 candidates for the positive impact they are making in their communities and the communities they serve.

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

We've been talking to you about President Obama's plan to cut through the red tape keeping millions of responsible homeowners from refinancing their mortgages, but we want to make sure your friends get the message, too. So we've put together a graphic that boils the President's proposal down to the five things that everyone should know, and the information is all right here.

We just need you to share it, and tell President Obama you support his plan. Will you share it online or forward this email to your friends?

Get Updates

For more information, visit the White House Office of Public Engagement website and blog and sign up for additional opportunities. Be sure to participate in the online conversation by following @vj44 and @JonCarson44.

We welcome your thoughts and feedback at

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