Here's a quick glimpse at what happened this week on WhiteHouse.gov:
NASA Success: On Monday, President Obama congratulated NASA’s Curiosity Team on the success of their rover touching down on the surface of Mars, praising them on their ingenuity and urging them to continue the good work. "Through your dedicated efforts, ‘Curiosity’ stuck her landing and captured the attention and imagination of millions of people not just across our country, but people all around the world, including Times Square," he said. "And being able to get that whole landing sequence to work the way you did is a testimony to your team."
Read the full remarks here.
Drought Relief: President Obama also toured McIntosh Family Farms in Missouri Valley, Iowa to see drought damage first-hand and offer relief to those being effected. The President announced that the Department of Agriculture will begin to buy up to $170 million worth of pork, chicken, lamb, and catfish. And the President is directing the Department of Defense -- which purchased more than 150,000 million pounds of beef and pork in the last year alone -- to encourage its vendors to accelerate meat purchases for the military and freeze it for future use.
"Understand this won't solve the problem. We can't make it rain," the President said. "But this will help families like the McIntoshes in states across the country, including here in Iowa. And we're going to keep doing what we can to help because that's what we do. We are Americans. We take care of each other."
To learn more, the Department of Agriculture is collecting resources for farmers, ranchers, and small businesses wrestling with this crisis at USDA.gov/drought. More information still is available at WhiteHouse.gov/drought.
Banner Year for the U.S. Wind Industry: Also this week, the Energy Department and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory released a new report highlighting strong growth in America’s wind energy market in 2011 and underscoring the importance of continued policy support and clean energy tax credits to ensure that the U.S. remains a leading producer and manufacturer in this booming global industry.As President Obama has made clear, we need an all-of-the-above approach to American energy and the U.S. wind industry is a critical part of this strategy. In fact, wind energy contributed 32 percent of all new U.S. electric capacity additions last year, representing $14 billion in new investment.
Dream Day: Wednesday marked “DREAM day,” when the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services began accepting requests for consideration of deferred action for childhood arrivals. Deferred action is a discretionary determination to defer removal action of an individual as an act of prosecutorial discretion. Under this process, USCIS will consider requests on a case-by-case basis. While this process does not provide lawful status or a pathway to permanent residence or citizenship, individuals whose cases are deferred will not be removed from the United States for a two year period, subject to renewal, and may also receive employment authorization. For more information, visit the UCIS website for the guidelines, latest news and updates on this process at www.uscis.gov/childhoodarrivals.
Tax Debate: This week, the Obama Administration reminded the American people that unless the House of Representatives takes action before January 1, 2013, taxes will go up on 114 million middle-class families. To prevent this from happening, President Obama is calling for-- and the Senate has already passed-- legislation that will keep the middle class from paying thousands of extra dollars next year. Republicans in the House of Representatives, however, are refusing to extend middle-class tax cuts without also giving massive tax cuts to the wealthiest 2 percent of Americans. For more information, see this infographic outlining 11 important facts about the two plans and what's at stake for middle-class families.
Strengthening the Manufacturing Sector: Also this week, Acting Commerce Secretary Rebecca Blank participated in the White House Business Council American Competitiveness Forum on Manufacturing and met with American manufacturers—representing businesses of all sizes from across the country—to hear how the Obama Administration can continue to support them as they build things in America and sell around the world. Over the past two and a half years, more than half-a-million manufacturing jobs have been created in the U.S. – the strongest job growth in that sector since the 1990s.
To further strengthen the American manufacturing sector, the Obama Administration is redoubling efforts to support America’s innovators and entrepreneurs. President Obama plans to stop rewarding companies for outsourcing jobs overseas and start rewarding companies for bringing jobs back through insourcing. The President is also calling for a network of institutes focused on manufacturing innovation to bring together top researchers, manufacturers, entrepreneurs, and other partners who can ensure that we continue to out-build and out-compete the rest of the world in the years ahead.
AmeriCorps at the White House: On Friday, the White House welcomed more than 150 AmeriCorps Alumni leaders from across the country. AmeriCorps is a national service opportunity that has helped more than 775,000 Americans serve more than 1 billion hours since 1994 (with more than 88,000 Americans serving this year alone). In FY 2011, AmeriCorps reached more than 3.5 million disadvantaged youth through tutoring, mentoring, and other services. The AmeriCorps guests participated in a day-long briefing and 12 of them were also honored as Champions of Change, a program created to honor ordinary Americans doing great work in their communities. To learn more about their stories, visit the Champions of Change blog.
The White House also hosted a live Google+ Hangout moderated by Macon Phillips, director of Digital Strategy, and Corporation for National and Community Service CEO Wendy Spencer to engage fellow AmeriCorps members across the country in conversation.
Coming Up: Next week, First Lady Michelle Obama will host the first-ever Kids’ State Dinner as part of her Let’s Move! initiative, in partnership with Epicurious, the Department of Education and USDA, to encourage healthy eating habits.