President Obama & Vice President Joe Biden

President Obama & Vice President Joe Biden

Sunday, April 20, 2014

President Obama Offers Easter and Passover Greetings

Remarks of President Barack Obama Weekly Address The White House April 19, 2014

Hi, everybody.  For millions of Americans, this time of year holds great meaning.  

Earlier this week, we hosted a Passover Seder at the White House, and joined Jewish families around the world in their retellings of the story of the Exodus and the victory of faith over oppression. 

And this Sunday, Michelle, Malia, Sasha, and I will join our fellow Christians around the world in celebrating the Resurrection of Christ, the salvation he offered the world, and the hope that comes with the Easter season.

These holy days have their roots in miracles that took place long ago.  And yet, they still inspire us, guide us, and strengthen us today.  They remind us of our responsibilities to God and, as God’s children, our responsibilities to one another. 

For me, and for countless other Christians, Holy Week and Easter are times for reflection and renewal.  We remember the grace of an awesome God, who loves us so deeply that He gave us his only Son, so that we might live through Him.  We recall all that Jesus endured for us – the scorn of the crowds, the agony of the cross – all so that we might be forgiven our sins and granted everlasting life.  And we recommit ourselves to following His example, to love and serve one another, particularly “the least of these” among us, just as He loves every one of us.

The common thread of humanity that connects us all – not just Christians and Jews, but Muslims and Hindus and Sikhs – is our shared commitment to love our neighbors as we love ourselves.  To remember, I am my brother’s keeper. I am my sister’s keeper.  Whatever your faith, believer or nonbeliever, there’s no better time to rededicate ourselves to that universal mission. 

For me, Easter is a story of hope – a belief in a better day to come, just around the bend.

So to all Christians who are celebrating, from my family to yours, Happy Easter.  And to every American, have a joyful weekend.

Thanks, God bless you, and may God bless this country we love.

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Saturday, April 12, 2014

Ensuring Equal Pay for Equal Work

Remarks of President Barack Obama
Weekly Address
The White House
April 12, 2014
Hi, everybody.  Earlier this week was Equal Pay Day.  It marks the extra time the average woman has to work into a new year to earn what a man earned the year before.  You see, the average woman who works full-time in America earns less than a man – even when she’s in the same profession and has the same education. 

That's wrong.  In 2014, it’s an embarrassment. Women deserve equal pay for equal work.

This is an economic issue that affects all of us.  Women make up about half our workforce.  And more and more, they’re our families’ main breadwinners.  So it’s good for everyone when women are paid fairly.  That’s why, this week, I took action to prohibit more businesses from punishing workers who discuss their salaries – because more pay transparency makes it easier to spot pay discrimination.  And I hope more business leaders will take up this cause.

But equal pay is just one part of an economic agenda for women.

Most lower-wage workers in America are women.  So I’ve taken executive action to require federal contractors to pay their federally-funded employees at least ten dollars and ten cents an hour.  I ordered a review of our nation’s overtime rules, to give more workers the chance to earn the overtime pay they deserve.  Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, tens of millions of women are now guaranteed free preventive care like mammograms and contraceptive care, and the days when you could be charged more just for being a woman are over for good.  Across the country, we’re bringing Americans together to help us make sure that a woman can have a baby without sacrificing her job, or take a day off to care for a sick child or parent without hitting hardship.  It’s time to do away with workplace policies that belong in a “Mad Men” episode, and give every woman the opportunity she deserves.

Here’s the problem, though.  On issues that would benefit millions of women, Republicans in Congress have blocked progress at every turn. Just this week, Senate Republicans blocked the Paycheck Fairness Act, commonsense legislation that would help more women win equal pay for equal work.  House Republicans won’t vote to raise the minimum wage or extend unemployment insurance for women out of work through no fault of their own.  The budget they passed this week would force deep cuts to investments that overwhelmingly benefit women and children – like Medicaid, food stamps, and college grants.  And of course, they’re trying to repeal the Affordable Care Act for the fiftieth or so time, which would take away vital benefits and protections from millions of women.

I’m going to keep fighting to make sure that doesn’t happen.  Because we do better when our economy grows for everybody, not just a few.  And when women succeed, America succeeds.  Thanks, and have a great weekend.