"I thought we'd start off the week with something we should do more often, a truly bipartisan bill signing," President Obama said Monday before signing two long-sought trade bills in the East Room of the White House. "It's a good day."
Getting the bills was a major victory for the president, and one that didn't come easy. Thanks to opposition from Democrats concerned over the impact that pending trade deals will have on American workers, the bills were "declared dead more than once," Mr. Obama acknowledged.
But, he said, "I would not be doing this, I would not be signing these bills, if I was not absolutely convinced that these pieces of legislation are ultimately good for American workers."
Supreme Court strikes down Obama's EPA rule
The Supreme Court on Monday struck down one of the Obama administration's most significant attempts to regulate power plant emissions, declaring that the Environmental Protection Agency has to consider the cost -- not just the health effects -- of its rules.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, has charged that the administration isn't sympathetic to the economic hardship caused by its environmental rules. On Monday, he said in a statement that the Supreme Court ruling "represents a cutting rebuke to the administration's callous attitude."
The White House, meanwhile, downplayed the significance of the decision. When asked about the path forward for the specific rule in question, White House spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters, "This is something the EPA is still trying to figure out."
He also noted that the ruling shouldn't impact the administration's next set of ambitious environmental regulations. "There is nothing contained in the ruling that will stop us from successfully implementing the Clean Power Plan," Earnest said.
Obama's eulogy for Clementa Pinckney
President Obama traveled to South Carolina on Friday to attend his 19th funeral or memorial service as president -- what surely seemed like a low point in his week. Yet in his eulogy for Clementa Pinckney, the reverend and South Carolina state lawmaker who was slain along with eight others after a gunman opened fire at a church in Charleston, the president delivered a soulful, inspiring call to action.
Adopting a sermon-like cadence, the president spoke about the grace of God. It was a powerful message about spirituality and politics that touched on issues like racism, gun violence and poverty.
"As a nation, out of this terrible tragedy, God has visited grace upon us," the president said. "We may not have earned it, this grace, with our rancor, complacency, shortsightedness and fear of each other. But we got it all the same. It is up to us now to make the most of it -- to receive it with gratitude, and to prove ourselves worthy of this gift."
Same-sex marriage is legalized nationwide
President Obama hailed Friday's Supreme Court's decision legalizing same-sex marriage nationwide as a "victory for America."
It was also something of a victory for his legacy as the first U.S. president to back same-sex marriage.
"I have to tell you that over the course of several years as I have talked to friends and family and neighbors... at a certain point I've just concluded that for me personally it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same sex couples should be able to get married," the president said in 2012, explaining how his position on the issue evolved.
Obamacare is preserved by the Supreme Court
President Obama commended a Supreme Court ruling that upheld a major portion of the Affordable Care Act on Thursday, hailing the decision as a vindication of his push for health care reform - and a clear signal to the law's opponents that it's time to give up the ghost.
"As the dust has settled, there can be no doubt this law is working," the president said in a brief speechfrom the White House Rose Garden. "After multiple challenges to this law before the Supreme Court, the Affordable Care Act is here to stay. This morning, the court upheld a critical part of this law - the part that's made it easier for Americans to afford health insurance no matter where you live."
Trade bill finally passes
After months of strained negotiations, Congress last week finally sent President Obamaa bill giving him authority to fast-track the approval of trade deals.
The legislation comes as the president continues to negotiate the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a 12-nation trade agreement.