President Obama & Vice President Joe Biden

President Obama & Vice President Joe Biden

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Weekly Address: Health Reform Starts to Kick In

Posted by Jesse Lee on May 08, 2010 at 06:00 AM EDT

The President goes through the benefits in health insurance reform that are already kicking in for young adults, retirees, and families, and says more benefits are coming down the pike.

Statement by the President on Severe Weather and Flooding in the Southeast

“Our thoughts and prayers are with every American who has been impacted by the severe weather and flooding in the southeast, and our deepest condolences go out to those who have lost loved ones. I would also like to extend my gratitude to the local first responders who have been working tirelessly to save lives and protect property in the face of these devastating storms. I have spoken with the Governors in the most severely impacted states, and yesterday I dispatched FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate to Tennessee to view the flood damage first hand and to report back on any unmet needs. Federal officials have been dispatched to the region and we will continue working in close coordination with state and local officials to support response and recovery efforts.”

President Obama Signs Tennessee Disaster Declaration

The President today declared a major disaster exists in the State of Tennessee and ordered Federal aid to supplement State and local recovery efforts in the area struck by severe storms, flooding, straight-line winds, and tornadoes beginning on April 30, 2010, and continuing.

The President's action makes Federal funding available to affected individuals in the counties of Cheatham, Davidson, Hickman and Williamson.

Assistance can include grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses, and other programs to help individuals and business owners recover from the effects of the disaster.

Federal funding also is available to State and eligible local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations on a cost-sharing basis in the counties of Cheatham, Davidson, Hickman and Williamson for debris removal and emergency protective measures, including direct Federal assistance.

Federal funding is also available on a cost-sharing basis for hazard mitigation measures statewide.

W. Craig Fugate, Administrator, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Department of Homeland Security, named Gracia B. Szczech as the Federal Coordinating Officer for Federal recovery operations in the affected area.

FEMA said that damage surveys have been scheduled and more counties and additional forms of assistance may be designated after the assessments are fully completed in the affected areas.

FEMA said that residents and business owners who sustained losses in the designated counties can begin applying for assistance tomorrow by registering online at or by calling 1-800-621-FEMA(3362) or 1-800-462-7585 (TTY) for the hearing and speech impaired. The toll-free telephone numbers will operate from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. (local time) seven days a week until further notice.


On the Ground, Updating President Obama on the Floods in Tennessee
Posted by Craig Fugate on May 07, 2010 at 06:37 PM EDT

At the request of the President, I’m in Tennessee for the second time this week to meet with local officials and assess the damage from the severe weather and subsequent flooding that swept through this state and other parts of the Southeast this week, and to ensure that all the needs of the state and local governments – as well as communities and individuals – are being met. I met with Governor Phil Bredesen and Nashville Mayor Karl Dean yesterday and reiterated our commitment to bring every federal resource to bear in response to this – as Governor Bredesen described – “unprecedented” storm. FEMA was on the ground from the beginning and is leaning forward to ensure a swift federal response to this disaster.

We’ve been engaged with the affected states since last Saturday when the rain began to fall, and currently have representatives on the ground in Tennessee, Mississippi, Arkansas, Kentucky, and Louisiana to measure the damage and provide federal assistance where needed.

On Monday night I met with Governor Bredesen of Tennessee, and on Tuesday, the Governor requested, and the President signed, a federal disaster declaration for the state, standing up federal assistance by way of temporary housing and home repair grants, loans to cover losses from uninsured property, and other programs to help individuals and business owners recover. The President signed a similar declaration for Alabama the day before.

To date in Tennessee:

* 27 counties have been declared as federal disaster areas;
* Approximately 12,000 individuals have registered for FEMA assistance;
* FEMA has approved over $1.5 million in federal assistance for housing and other needs.

We’re working to make sure that every request is processed rapidly, and that individuals and business owners in the affected areas have all the information and resources they need to quickly recover from these storms.

I’ll join Secretary Napolitano tomorrow in Nashville, where we’ll meet with state and local officials and receive briefings on the coordinated federal, state, and local response efforts underway.

Individuals who live in the affected area can register for federal assistance by calling the FEMA hotline at 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or by visiting You can also visit the from your mobile device for more information at

Individuals should always be prepared for a disaster like this. Visit for information to prepare for the unexpected.

Craig Fugate is the Administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

The President speaks on the new jobs numbers for April. The economy created 290,000 jobs in April, the vast majority of them private sector, and with new data incorporated April became the fourth consecutive months of positive job growth.

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