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Press Briefing by Principal Deputy Press Secretary Eric Schultz, 12/9/16

Fri, 09 Dec 2016 23:16:00 +0000

1:16 P.M. EST MR. SCHULTZ:  Good afternoon.  I apologize profusely for being so late.  But I will try to move through this swiftly, so you all can get started on your weekends. Darlene, I don't have anything at the top.  You're welcome to lead us off. Q    Thank you.  Can you speak to what prompted the President to order this review on the Russian hacking into the presidential elections? MR. SCHULTZ:  Sure, Darlene.  And we should just clarify that the President, earlier this week, instructed the intelligence community to conduct a full review of the pattern of malicious cyber activity related to our presidential election cycle.  So he’s requested this report be completed and submitted to him before the end of his term. As you all know, in 2008, there were intrusions into both the Obama and McCain campaigns.  There haven't been any noted episodes in 2012, but the President asked to go back, with what we know now, to make sure that we're using every tool possible as a means of due diligence.  And then, of course, in 2016, our intelligence community determined that there was malicious cyber activity intended to interfere with our elections.  In the high confidence assessment that was released this past October, the intelligence community made very clear that this was activity directed by the highest levels of the Russian government.   So as we've made clear, we are committed to ensuring the integrity of our elections.  And this report will dig into this pattern of malicious cyber activity timed to our elections, take stock of our defensive capabilities, and capture lessons learned to make sure that we brief members of Congress and stakeholders, as appropriate. Q    Will the review go all the way back to ’08? MR. SCHULTZ:  So we're going to actually -- what the President asked for is a review to look at malicious activity timed to our presidential election cycle.  And so it will be broader than just looking at this past election. Q    Will it also look at whether state election systems were tampered with, or will it just be about email intrusions? MR. SCHULTZ:  Well, what we determined in mid-November, a few weeks ago now, is that state election systems did not -- the federal government did not detect any increased malicious cyber activity on Election Day or related to the administering of the elections.  So we've already made that determination, and that's something we've announced publicly from here.  But in terms of what this review will look at, this is going to be a review that’s conducted by the intelligence community. As you know, in that October statement that we released, that was released by the *Department[Office of the Director] of National Intelligence and Department of Homeland Security.  Obviously there’s other agencies that work on those issues, including the FBI, the Department of Justice and Department of State. Q    Will it be made public? MR. SCHULTZ:  So we're going to make public as much as we can.  Obviously, you can imagine a report like this is going to contain highly sensitive and even classified information, perhaps, so when that report is submitted we're going to take a look.  We want to make sure we brief Congress and relevant stakeholders, like possibly state administrators who actually operationalize the elections.   So given that the directive to launch this review was just this week, we want to make sure that that process unfolds in all due accord. Q    And quickly on one other subject.  Can you go into what guidance the White House may be giving to departments and agencies in the event there’s a shutdown tonight? MR. SCHULTZ:  I can, Darlene.  And we should just take a step back and remember that the fact that we're even talking about this is an indication of the failure of Republicans t[...]



Presidential Memoranda -- Minnesota World's Fair 2023

Fri, 09 Dec 2016 22:48:00 +0000

MEMORANDUM FOR THE SECRETARY OF COMMERCE

SUBJECT:            Minnesota World's Fair 2023:   Wellness and
                             Well Being for All

I have reviewed the reports and recommendations presented to me by you and the Secretary of State that recognition be given to the "Minnesota World's Fair 2023: Wellness and Well Being for All," and find that such recognition will be in the national interest.

I approve granting Federal recognition to the Exposition.

On that basis, please advise the appropriate agencies that official recognition is hereby granted.

I would also appreciate your taking the appropriate steps to notify the Congress of this action, in accordance with section 2(c) of Public Law 91-269.

BARACK OBAMA




Presidential Proclamation -- Human Rights Day and Human Rights Week, 2016

Fri, 09 Dec 2016 21:01:41 +0000

HUMAN RIGHTS DAY AND HUMAN RIGHTS WEEK, 2016

- - - - - - -

BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

A PROCLAMATION

When the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was adopted on December 10, 1948, it set in motion a movement to secure liberty and justice for all people. Out of the ashes of the Second World War, the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed that "All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights." On Human Rights Day and during Human Rights Week, we reflect on how far we have come in upholding these universal rights and resolve to continue fighting to safeguard them wherever they are threatened.

In the last few decades, our world has made great strides in advancing human rights and the institutions that protect them. More countries have pursued self-government and democracy -- and more people are electing their leaders freely and fairly and holding their governments accountable through calls for increased transparency. Around the world, the United States has promoted freedom: We have worked to expand the protection of human rights, end gender-based violence, and defend the freedoms of expression, peaceful assembly, and the press. In promoting these liberties and pushing back against tyranny, corruption, and oppression, we have recognized that universal human rights and fundamental freedoms do not stop at our borders. They are the birthright of people everywhere.

History ultimately moves in the direction of justice and inclusion, but despite the great progress we have made, unprecedented and rapid change has posed great challenges. It is our collective duty to continue striving for a world where nobody is left behind, forgotten, or mistreated, and where all nations recognize that societies that draw on the contributions of every citizen are stronger. Far too many people around the world are still denied their human rights and fundamental freedoms, and we must work to end the discrimination that is too often felt by LGBT individuals, people with disabilities, immigrants, women and girls of all ages, and members of religious, ethnic, and other minorities. And we must strengthen our ongoing efforts to rid the world of violence, oppression, and hatred.

Our relationships to one another -- person to person, nation to nation -- are defined not by our differences, but by our shared belief in the ideals enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. As we observe the anniversary of the affirmation that inalienable rights exist for every individual, we vow to ensure these rights are afforded to every person. Together, let us continue striving to stamp out all forms of injustice and promote dignity, humanity, and respect around the world.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim December 10, 2016, as Human Rights Day and the week beginning December 10, 2016, as Human Rights Week. I call upon the people of the United States to mark these observances with appropriate ceremonies and activities.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this ninth day of December, in the year of our Lord two thousand sixteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and forty-first.

BARACK OBAMA




Message to the Senate -- UN Convention on Transparency in Treaty-Based Investor-State Arbitration

Fri, 09 Dec 2016 20:49:53 +0000

TO THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES:

With a view to receiving the advice and consent of the Senate to ratification, subject to certain reservations, I transmit herewith the United Nations Convention on Transparency in Treaty-Based Investor-State Arbitration (Convention), done at New York on December 10, 2014. The report of the Secretary of State, which includes an overview of the Convention, is enclosed for the information of the Senate.

The Convention requires the application of the modern transparency measures contained in the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) Transparency Rules to certain investor-state arbitrations occurring under international investment agreements concluded before April 2014, including under the investment chapters of U.S. free trade agreements and U.S. bilateral investment treaties. These transparency measures include publication of various key documents from the arbitration proceeding, opening of hearings to the public, and permitting non-disputing parties and other interested third persons to make submissions to the tribunal. As the UNCITRAL Transparency Rules by their terms automatically apply to arbitrations commenced under international investment agreements concluded on or after April 1, 2014, and that use the UNCITRAL Arbitration Rules (unless the parties to such agreements agree otherwise), there is no need for the Convention to apply to international investment agreements concluded after that date.

Transparency in investor-state arbitration is vital, given that governmental measures of interest to the broader public can be the subject matter of the proceedings. The United States has long been a leader in promoting transparency in investor-state arbitration, and the 11 most recently concluded U.S. international investment agreements that contain investor-state arbitration already provide for modern transparency measures similar to those made applicable by the Convention. However, 41 older U.S. international investment agreements lack all or some of the transparency measures. Should the United States become a party, the Convention would require the transparency measures to apply to arbitrations under U.S. international investment agreements concluded before April 2014, to the extent that other parties to those agreements also join the Convention and to the extent the United States and such other parties do not take reservations regarding such arbitrations. The Convention would also require the transparency measures to apply in investor-state arbitrations under those agreements when the United States is the respondent and the claimants consent to their application, even if the claimants are not from a party to the Convention.

The United States was a central participant in the negotiation of the Convention in the UNCITRAL. Ratification by the United States can be expected to encourage other countries to become parties to the Convention. The Convention would not require any implementing legislation.

I recommend, therefore, that the Senate give early and favorable consideration to the Convention and give its advice and consent to ratification by the United States, subject to certain reservations.

BARACK OBAMA

THE WHITE HOUSE,
December 9, 2016.




Message to the Senate -- Arms Trade Treaty

Fri, 09 Dec 2016 20:44:43 +0000

TO THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES: With a view to receiving the advice and consent of the Senate to ratification, subject to certain declarations and understandings set forth in the enclosed report, I transmit herewith the Arms Trade Treaty, done at New York on April 2, 2013, and signed by the United States on September 25, 2013. I also transmit, for the information of the Senate, the report of the Secretary of State with respect to the Treaty, which contains a detailed article-by-article analysis of the Treaty. The Treaty is designed to regulate the international trade in conventional arms -- including small arms, tanks, combat aircraft, and warships -- and to reduce the risk that international arms transfers will be used to commit atrocities, without impeding the legitimate arms trade. It will contribute to international peace and security, will strengthen the legitimate international trade in conventional arms, and is fully consistent with rights of U.S. citizens (including those secured by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution). United States national control systems and practices to regulate the international transfer of conventional arms already meet or exceed the requirements of the Treaty, and no further legislation is necessary to comply with the Treaty. A key goal of the Treaty is to persuade other States to adopt national control systems for the international transfer of conventional arms that are closer to our own high standards. By providing a basis for insisting that other countries improve national control systems for the international transfer of conventional arms, the Treaty will help reduce the risk that international transfers of specific conventional arms and items will be abused to carry out the world's worst crimes, including genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes. It will be an important foundational tool in ongoing efforts to prevent the illicit proliferation of conventional weapons around the world, which creates instability and supports some of the world's most violent regimes, terrorists, and criminals. The Treaty commits States Parties to establish and maintain a national system for the international transfer of conventional arms and to implement provisions of the Treaty that establish common international standards for conducting the international trade in conventional arms in a responsible manner. The Treaty is an important first step in bringing other countries up towards our own high national standards that already meet or exceed those of the Treaty. The Treaty will strengthen our security without undermining legitimate international trade in conventional arms. The Treaty reflects the realities of the global nature of the defense supply chain in today's world. It will benefit U.S. companies by requiring States Parties to apply a common set of standards in regulating the defense trade, which establishes a more level playing field for U.S. industry. Industry also will benefit from the international transparency required by the Treaty, allowing U.S. industry to be better informed in advance of the national regulations of countries with which it is engaged in trade. This will provide U.S. industry with a clearer view of the international trading arena, fostering its ability to make more competitive and responsible business decisions based on more refined strategic analyses of the risks, including risks of possible diversion or potential gaps in accountability for international arms transfers, and the associated mitigation measures to reduce such risks in a given market. The Treaty explicitly reaffirms the sovereign right of each country to decide for itself, pursuant to its own constitutional and legal system, how to deal with conventional arms that are traded exclusively within its borders. It also recognizes that legitimate purposes and interests exist for both individuals and governments to own, transfer, and use conventional arms. Th[...]



Executive Order -- Amending the Order of Succession in the Department of Homeland Security

Fri, 09 Dec 2016 20:32:00 +0000

EXECUTIVE ORDER

- - - - - - -

AMENDING THE ORDER OF SUCCESSION IN THE

DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY

By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, including the Federal Vacancies Reform Act of 1998, 5 U.S.C. 3345, et seq., it is hereby ordered as follows:

Section 1. Section 88 of Executive Order 13286 of February 28, 2003 ("Amendment of Executive Orders, and Other Actions, in Connection With the Transfer of Certain Functions to the Secretary of Homeland Security"), is amended by striking the text of such section in its entirety and inserting the following in lieu thereof:

"Sec. 88. Order of Succession.

Subject to the provisions of subsection (b) of this section, the officers named in subsection (a) of this section, in the order listed, shall act as, and perform the functions and duties of the office of, the Secretary of Homeland Security (Secretary), if they are eligible to act as Secretary under the provisions of the Federal Vacancies Reform Act of 1998, 5 U.S.C. 3345 et seq. (Vacancies Act), during any period in which the Secretary has died, resigned, or otherwise become unable to perform the functions and duties of the office of Secretary.

(a) Order of Succession.

(i) Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security;

(ii) Under Secretary for Management;

(iii) Administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency;

(iv) Under Secretary for National Protection and Programs;

(v) Under Secretary for Science and Technology;

(vi) Under Secretary for Intelligence and Analysis;

(vii) Commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection;

(viii) Administrator of the Transportation Security Administration;

(ix) Director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement;

(x) Director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services;

(xi) Assistant Secretary for Policy;

(xii) General Counsel;

(xiii) Deputy Under Secretary for Management;

(xiv) Deputy Commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection;

(xv) Deputy Administrator of the Transportation Security Administration;

(xvi) Deputy Director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement;

(xvii) Deputy Director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services; and

(xviii) Director of the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center.

(b) Exceptions.

(i) No individual who is serving in an office listed in subsection (a) in an acting capacity, by virtue of so serving, shall act as Secretary pursuant to this section.

(ii) Notwithstanding the provisions of this section, the President retains discretion, to the extent permitted by the Vacancies Act, to depart from this order in designating an acting Secretary."

Sec. 2. Executive Order 13442 of August 13, 2007 ("Amending the Order of Succession in the Department of Homeland Security"), is hereby revoked.

BARACK OBAMA

THE WHITE HOUSE,
December 9, 2016.




Presidential Proclamation -- Death of John Glenn

Fri, 09 Dec 2016 20:04:49 +0000

DEATH OF JOHN GLENN

- - - - - - -

BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

A PROCLAMATION

As a mark of respect for the memory of John Glenn, I hereby order, by the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, that the flag of the United States shall be flown at half-staff at the White House and upon all public buildings and grounds, at all military posts and naval stations, and on all naval vessels of the Federal Government in the District of Columbia and throughout the United States and its Territories and possessions until sunset, on the day of interment. I also direct that the flag shall be flown at half-staff for the same period at all United States embassies, legations, consular offices, and other facilities abroad, including all military facilities and naval vessels and stations.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this
ninth day of December, in the year of our Lord two thousand sixteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and forty-first.

BARACK OBAMA




Readout of Vice President Biden’s Meeting with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada

Fri, 09 Dec 2016 17:25:00 +0000

The Vice President met today with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in Ottawa, where they discussed the importance of maintaining and expanding the world's most comprehensive trade relationship.  The two leaders underscored the breadth and depth of bilateral cooperation on a range of global issues, including their commitment to NATO, the counter-ISIL campaign, supporting Ukraine, and combating global climate change. The Prime Minister highlighted his initiatives to improve the welfare of Canada's First Nations and praised the Vice President's work to develop policies to reduce violence against women and girls.  The Vice President emphasized the importance of strengthening the North American partnership between the United States, Canada, and Mexico, and noted that the region has the potential to become the epicenter of the world's energy market. The two leaders pledged their commitment to a hemisphere that is democratic, middle‎ class, and secure.




Executive Order -- Northern Bering Sea Climate Resilience

Fri, 09 Dec 2016 17:04:00 +0000

EXECUTIVE ORDER - - - - - - - NORTHERN BERING SEA CLIMATE RESILIENCE By the authority vested in me as the President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, including the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act, 43 U.S.C. 1331 et seq., it is hereby ordered as follows: Section 1. Purpose. As recognized in Executive Order 13689 of January 21, 2015, (Enhancing Coordination of National Efforts in the Arctic), Arctic environmental stewardship is in the national interest. In furtherance of this principle, and as articulated in the March 10, 2016, U.S.-Canada Joint Statement on Climate, Energy, and Arctic Leadership, the United States has resolved to confront the challenges of a changing Arctic by working to conserve Arctic biodiversity; support and engage Alaska Native tribes; incorporate traditional knowledge into decisionmaking; and build a sustainable Arctic economy that relies on the highest safety and environmental standards, including adherence to national climate goals. The United States is committed to achieving these goals in partnership with indigenous communities and through science-based decisionmaking. This order carries forth that vision in the northern Bering Sea region. The Bering Sea and Bering Strait are home to numerous subsistence communities, rich indigenous cultures, and unique marine ecosystems, each of which plays an important role in maintaining regional resilience. The changing climate and rising average temperatures are reducing the occurrence of sea ice; changing the conditions for fishing, hunting, and subsistence whaling; and opening new navigable routes to increased ship traffic. The preservation of a healthy and resilient Bering ecosystem, including its migratory pathways, habitat, and breeding grounds, is essential for the survival of marine mammals, fish, seabirds, other wildlife, and the subsistence communities that depend on them. These communities possess a unique understanding of the Arctic ecosystem, and their traditional knowledge should serve as an important resource to inform Federal decisionmaking. Sec. 2. Policy. It shall be the policy of the United States to enhance the resilience of the northern Bering Sea region by conserving the region's ecosystem, including those natural resources that provide important cultural and subsistence value and services to the people of the region. For the purpose of carrying out the specific directives provided herein, this order delineates an area hereafter referred to as the "Northern Bering Sea Climate Resilience Area," in which the exercise of relevant authorities shall be coordinated among all executive departments and agencies (agencies). All agencies charged with regulating, overseeing, or conducting activities in the Northern Bering Sea Climate Resilience Area shall do so with attention to the rights, needs, and knowledge of Alaska Native tribes; the delicate and unique ecosystem; the protection of marine mammals, fish, seabirds, and other wildlife; and with appropriate coordination with the State of Alaska. The boundary of the Northern Bering Sea Climate Resilience Area includes waters within the U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone bounded to the north by the seaward boundary of the Bering Straits Native Corporation established pursuant to the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act; to the south by the southern boundaries of the Northern Bering Sea Research Area, the St. Matthew Habitat Conservation Area, and the Nunivak-Kuskokwim Habitat Conservation Area; and to the west by the maritime boundary delimited by the Agreement Between the United States of America and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics on the Maritime Boundary, signed at Washington, June 1, 1990. Sec. 3. Withdrawal. Under the authority granted to me in section 12(a) of the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act, 43 U.S.C. 1341(a), I h[...]



FACT SHEET: White House Announces Actions to Protect Natural and Cultural Resources in Alaskan Arctic Ocean

Fri, 09 Dec 2016 17:02:00 +0000

Since taking office, President Obama has worked to protect the Arctic’s natural and cultural resources and the communities that rely upon them through the use of science-based decision making, enhanced coordination of Federal Arctic management, efforts to combat illegal fishing, and revitalization of the process for establishing new marine sanctuaries.  Building on this effort, today, President Obama is announcing new steps to enhance the resilience of the Alaskan Arctic environment and the sustainability of Alaskan native communities with the creation of the Northern Bering Sea Climate Resilience Area. In addition to today’s protections, the Obama Administration is announcing approximately $30 million in philanthropic commitments for projects in rural northern Alaska and Canada.  These projects include investments over the next three years related to shipping, ecosystem science, community and ecological resilience, and tribal engagement.  Earlier this week, the Department of Commerce deployed an Economic Development Assessment Team to Nome, Alaska to help the region diversify, grow its economy, and address challenges related to climate change and community resilience. Today’s actions are also supportive of the March 2016 U.S.-Canada Joint Statement on Climate, Energy, and Arctic Leadership and make substantial progress on its objectives of  conserving Arctic biodiversity through science-based decision-making, incorporating indigenous science and traditional knowledge into decision-making, and supporting strong Arctic communities. These actions employ science-based leadership to improve marine and coastal resilience and sustain our Nation’s precious natural resources. Executive Order Creating the Northern Bering Sea Climate Resilience Area Native villages in the northern Bering Sea region of Alaska largely practice a subsistence-based lifestyle that is inextricably tied to the rich marine ecosystem of the Bering Sea.  Warming ocean temperatures, sea ice loss, and increasing ship traffic all threaten the subsistence practices and food security of these communities.  The coastal tribes along the northern Bering Sea and the Bering Strait have requested that the Federal Government take action to protect the health of the marine ecosystems of the Northern Bering Sea and Bering Strait while maintaining opportunities for sustainable fishing and sustainable economic development.  In direct response to these requests, the President signed an Executive Order creating the Northern Bering Sea Climate Resilience Area.  This area, encompassing 112,300 square miles, represents a hugely productive, high-latitude ocean ecosystem and supports one of the largest seasonal marine mammal migrations in the world, including thousands of bowhead and beluga whales, hundreds of thousands of walruses and ice seals, and millions of migratory birds.  It is home to more than 40 tribes of coastal Yup’ik and Inupiaq peoples whose way of life has been linked with the marine environment for thousands of years.  The Northern Bering Sea Climate Resilience Area is delineated for the purpose of focusing a locally-tailored collection of protections related to oil and gas, shipping, and fishing. The order also establishes a Task Force charged with coordinating Federal activities in this area to enhance ecosystem and community resilience, conserve natural resources, and protect the cultural and subsistence values this ecosystem provides for Alaskan native communities. Further, agencies are directed to consider traditional knowledge in decision making and establish a formal consultative mechanism for engaging with regional tribal governments to seek their input on Federal activities. This action advances science-based decision-making and engagement[...]



Upcoming Guidance for First Lady Michelle Obama

Fri, 09 Dec 2016 16:00:00 +0000

Monday, December 12th

Washington, DC * 11:30AM ET – Continuing a tradition dating back to Bess Truman, First Lady Michelle Obama will visit the Children’s National Health System in Washington, DC.  This year Mrs. Obama will be joined by television and radio host Ryan Seacrest. The Children’s National Health System is home to the Ryan Seacrest Foundation’s Seacrest Studios, a state-of-the-art broadcast media center located in the hospital’s atrium.

As part of their visit, Mrs. Obama and Mr. Seacrest will tour the facility and visit with patients and their families. Following the tour, they will visit the hospital’s atrium to read holiday stories to children and participate in a broadcast from Seacrest Studios. 




WHITE HOUSE REPORT: The Continuing Need To Rethink Discipline

Fri, 09 Dec 2016 15:02:05 +0000

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, the White House released a new capstone report with updates about projects launched and local progress made in response to the Administration’s Rethink Discipline efforts. Rethink Discipline was launched as part of President Barack Obama’s My Brothers’ Keeper initiative and aims to support all students and promote a welcome and safe climate in schools. The full report is available HERE. The White House will also convene stakeholders and leaders to discuss the progress made and the work ahead to encourage and support local leaders as they work to implement supportive school discipline practices. Today’s meeting in the Roosevelt Room will include remarks by Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett, Cabinet Secretary and Chair of the My Brother's Keeper Task Force Broderick Johnson, Domestic Policy Council Director Cecilia Muñoz and Secretary of Education John King. As noted in a joint Department of Education and Department Health and Human Services Policy Statement, suspension and expulsion can contribute to  a number of adverse outcomes for childhood development in areas such as personal health, interactions with the criminal justice system, and education. The 2013-14 Civil Rights Data Collection reveals that out-of-school suspensions decreased by nearly 20 percent compared to the 2011-12 school year. However, 2.8 million students received out-of-school suspensions in the 2013-14 school year, representing approximately 6% of all students enrolled in elementary and secondary schools. The application of exclusionary discipline practices is especially significant for students of color and students with disabilities, who, in general, are disciplined more often than their classmates.  As stated in the Department of Education’s First Look brief about 2013-14 CRDC data, in preschool, black children are 3.6 times more likely to be suspended than white children. In K-12, black students are 3.8 times more likely to receive one or more out-of-school suspensions compared to white students. Students with disabilities are more than twice as likely to receive one or more out-of-school suspensions as students without disabilities Addressing these disparities and rethinking discipline have remained top priorities of the Administration, which has focused attention on the importance of school disciplinary approaches that foster safe, supportive, and productive learning environments in which students can thrive. Announcements made as part of this comprehensive effort include: Supportive School Discipline Initiative: In 2011, the Departments of Education and Justice announced the launch of a collaborative project to support the use of school discipline practices that foster safe, supportive, and productive learning environments while keeping students in school. A cornerstone of this Initiative is the School Discipline Consensus Project, managed by the Council of State Governments and supported by various philanthropic organizations. The Consensus Project brought together practitioners from various fields to develop consensus recommendations to dismantle the “school-to-prison pipeline.” Joint Federal Policy and Legal Guidance: Education and Justice jointly released a School Climate and Discipline Guidance Package in 2014 to provide schools with a roadmap to reduce the usage of exclusionary discipline practices and clarify schools’ civil rights obligation to not discriminate on the basis of race, color, or national origin in the administration of school discipline. #RethinkDiscipline Convening and Public Awareness Campaign: The Departments of Education and Justice launched Rethink Discipline at the White House in July of 2015, convening school dis[...]



Readout of Vice President Biden’s Meeting with Masrour Barzani, Chancellor of the Iraqi Kurdistan Region Security Council

Fri, 09 Dec 2016 05:04:00 +0000

The Vice President met today with Masrour Barzani, Chancellor of the Iraqi Kurdistan Region Security Council, on the margins of the Chancellor's meeting with Deputy National Security Advisor Avril Haines.   The Vice President commended Peshmerga and Iraqi forces for their bravery and sacrifice in the fight against ISIL and offered condolences for lives lost.  The Vice President applauded the close cooperation between the Iraqi Government and the Kurdistan Regional Government to ensure ISIL's lasting defeat and reaffirmed strong U.S. support for a united, democratic, and federal Iraq committed to the welfare of all Iraqi citizens.




Statement by the Vice President and Dr. Jill Biden on the Passing of John Glenn

Fri, 09 Dec 2016 04:01:00 +0000

Any minute spent with John Glenn was a blessing. Because for all his heroism that history will remember—in war, in space, in public life—you felt something deeper. You felt his capacity to love—the country he inspired, the people of Ohio he served. And most especially, love for his Annie, a hero in her own right, and together, they forged a true partnership that bore the weight of fame and responsibility with the humility and sense of duty that defined them as the greatest of America’s greatest generation. 

Jill and I are blessed for the twenty-five years we shared with John and Annie in the United States Senate, and for the forty years we have shared as dear friends. In our prayers to Annie, their children John David and Lyn, and the entire Glenn family, we can only offer the solace that future generations of Americans, when tested and challenged, will find a model for how to explore, serve, and love. For if there is ever a message to send beyond our time here on our Earth for what it means to be an American, it is the life of John Glenn. Godspeed, friend.




Letter from the President -- Alternative Plan for Locality Pay

Fri, 09 Dec 2016 00:57:00 +0000

TEXT OF A LETTER FROM THE PRESIDENT
TO THE SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
AND THE PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE

December 8, 2016

Dear Mr. Speaker: (Dear Mr. President:)

I am transmitting a revised alternative plan for locality pay increases for civilian Federal employees covered by the General Schedule and certain other pay systems in January 2017. This revised plan supersedes the original plan issued on November 29, 2016. Title 5, United States Code, authorizes me to implement alternative pay plans for pay increases for civilian Federal employees covered by the General Schedule and certain other pay systems if, because of "national emergency or serious economic conditions affecting the general welfare," I view the adjustments that would otherwise take effect as inappropriate.

Civilian Federal employees made significant sacrifices as a result of the 3-year pay freeze that ended in January 2014. Since the pay freeze ended, annual adjustments for civilian Federal employees have also been lower than private sector pay increases and statutory formulas for adjustments to the General Schedule for 2014 through 2016. However, keeping our Nation on a sustainable fiscal course requires tough choices.

Under current law, locality pay increases averaging 28.49 percent and costing $26 billion would go into effect in January 2017. Federal agency budgets cannot sustain such increases. In my August 31, 2016, submission of an alternative plan for base pay increases, I stated that the alternative plan for locality payments would be limited so that the total combined cost of the 1.0 percent across-the-board base pay increase and the varying locality pay increases would be 1.6 percent of basic payroll, consistent with the assumption in my 2017 Budget. However, in light of the decision of Congress to provide a 2.1 percent pay increase for military personnel in 2017 and reconsideration of current and projected economic conditions, I have concluded it would be appropriate to revise my original alternative plan for locality payments so that the total combined cost of the 1.0 percent across-the-board base pay increase and varying locality payments will be 2.1 percent of basic payroll. Thus, under the revised alternative plan, the varying locality pay increases will generate costs of 1.1 percent of basic payroll.

Accordingly, I have determined that under the authority of section 5304a of title 5, United States Code, locality-based comparability payments for the locality pay areas established by the President's Pay Agent, in the amounts set forth in the attached table, shall become effective on the first day of the first applicable pay period beginning on or after January 1, 2017. These decisions will not materially affect our ability to attract and retain a well-qualified Federal workforce.

Sincerely,

BARACK OBAMA




Statement by the Press Secretary on H.R. 4665, H.R. 4902, H.R. 5785, H.R. 5873, S. 2754

Thu, 08 Dec 2016 23:08:18 +0000

On Thursday, December 8, 2016, the President signed into law:

H.R. 4665, the "Outdoor Recreation Jobs and Economic Impact Act of 2016," which requires the Department of Commerce to conduct an assessment of the outdoor recreation economy of the United States;

H.R. 4902, which amends the overtime compensation system for U.S. Customs and Border Protection's Air and Marine Operations officers to Law Enforcement Availability Pay;

H.R. 5785, which exempts retired air traffic controllers under contract with the Federal Aviation Administration as full-time air traffic control instructors from a reduction to their Federal Employees Retirement System annuity supplement;

H.R. 5873, which designates the Federal building and United States courthouse located at 511 East San Antonio Avenue in El Paso, Texas, as the R.E. Thomason Federal Building and United States Courthouse; and 

S. 2754, which designates the Federal building and United States courthouse located at 300 Fannin Street in Shreveport, Louisiana, as the Tom Stagg Federal Building and United States Courthouse.




Continued Rise in Opioid Overdose Deaths in 2015 Shows Urgent Need for Treatment

Thu, 08 Dec 2016 21:50:49 +0000

Congress Acts on President’s Call for $1 Billion for Treatment Washington, D.C. – Today, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released new data that show that overdose deaths associated with prescription and illicit opioids increased to 33,091 in 2015 (see data summary below). The increase in deaths was driven in large part by continued sharp increases in deaths involving heroin and synthetic opioids such as fentanyl. As in 2014, overdose deaths involving prescription opioids (excluding the category of synthetic opioids that includes fentanyl) rose only slightly, suggesting that efforts in recent years to reduce the misuse of these drugs may be having an impact. “The prescription opioid and heroin epidemic continues to devastate communities and families across the country—in large part because too many people still do not get effective substance use disorder treatment,” said Michael Botticelli, Director of National Drug Control Policy. “That is why the President has called since February for $1 billion in new funding to expand access to treatment. This week Congress finally acted on the President's request. The Administration will work to get this new funding out to States as quickly as possible to make sure that every American who wants treatment for an opioid use disorder is able to get it.” "The epidemic of deaths involving opioids continues to worsen," said CDC Director Tom Frieden, M.D., M.P.H. "Prescription opioid misuse and use of heroin and illicitly manufactured fentanyl are intertwined and deeply troubling problems. We need to drastically improve both the treatment of pain and the treatment of opioid use disorders and increase the use of naloxone to reverse opioid overdose. We must also work collaboratively with our public safety partners to further reduce access to illicit opioids." The data released today are for 2015; since then the Administration has taken significant new actions to address the epidemic, including: Issuing the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Chronic Pain – the Agency’s first-ever recommendations for primary care clinicians on prescribing opioids. Subsequently, more than 60 medical schools, nearly 200 nursing schools and more than 50 pharmacy schools have committed to prescriber training. Establishing enhanced measures in conjunction with the Chinese government to combat the supply of fentanyl and its analogues coming to the United States. Providing new funding to 271 Community Health Centers across the country to increase substance use disorder treatment services, with a specific focus on expanding medication-assisted treatment for opioid use disorders in underserved communities. Increasing the patient limit from 100 to 275 for practitioners prescribing buprenorphine to treat opioid use disorders. Since August 2016, more than 2,000 practitioners have applied for and been granted waivers to prescribe at the increased limit—improving access to medication-assisted treatment (MAT). Increasing funding by nearly $100 million to improve opioid prescribing, increase access to naloxone, build MAT treatment capacity to address the epidemic, and improve state surveillance efforts. This week, Congress passed the 21st Century Cures Act, which provides $1 billion in new funding that the President requested to combat the epidemic, primarily by increasing access to substance use disorder treatment. Summary of 2015 Drug Overdose Data According to the National Center for Health Statistics, the number of overdose deaths involving o[...]



FACT SHEET: High Level Economic Dialogue: Three Years of Achievements

Thu, 08 Dec 2016 21:39:00 +0000

Over the last eight years, this Administration has made improving the already strong relationship between the United State and Mexico a top priority because improved relations between our two countries has a direct impact on the lives of the Mexican and American people.  The Joint Declaration issued by President Obama and Mexican President Peña Nieto in July 2016 detailed that the High-Level Economic Dialogue (HLED) has been a critical part of our strategy and is valuable mechanism to advance our countries’ strategic economic and trade priorities, and as an instrument of cooperation on regional priorities.  Since created in 2013, the HLED has been co-chaired by Vice President Joe Biden and Mexico’s Secretary of Finance and Public Credit.  Under the HLED, our two governments have engaged on a broad range of economic and commercial issues including energy, modern borders, workforce development, entrepreneurship and innovation, regulatory cooperation, and regional and global leadership, making life better for the people in both our countries. HLED achievements include: Modern Borders We have modernized our shared border with innovative infrastructure such as: the Cross Border Xpress, a pedestrian footbridge linking San Diego and the Tijuana Airport; the Brownsville-Matamoros West Rail Bypass; the Tornillo-Guadalupe International Bridge; and the Pedestrian West Facility at the San Ysidro-El Chaparral Port of Entry. We are working toward an agreement on common principles to improve coordination on border crossing infrastructure priorities.  The United States is developing a reference guide that will help identify innovative funding and financing options to improve U.S. border infrastructure.  We have modernized customs and trade facilitation procedures through mutual recognition of certified trusted trader companies and the implementation of cargo pre-inspection pilots.  We have raised enrollment in our individual country’s trusted traveler programs—Global Entry and Viajero Confiable— to nearly five million. Since the new air services agreement entered into force in August, new passenger and cargo routes between our countries were added with more new routes expected, benefiting travelers and businesses. The Freight and Passenger Scenario Flow Study, conducted by the U.S. Department of Transportation through the Federal Highway Administration, will be released in 2017. This will be an additional tool for both countries, as well as the private sector, to support freight and passenger infrastructure planning. Energy We established the U.S.-Mexico Energy Business Council, which will meet on December 15-16 to deepen energy cooperation through dialogue with industry. We developed an integrated trilateral energy information platform, as a sharing mechanism for publicly available energy information, data and statistics, including updates on the North American mapping system. The first U.S. Quadrennial Energy Review (QER) was published in 2015, focusing on energy infrastructure.  Mexico provided technical input on a North America chapter.  The second QER, scheduled to be completed in December 2016, will focus on the U.S. electric system and include further analysis on North American integration.  Mexico’s energy reform and the implementation of proactive domestic policies and programs in both countries opened further opportunities for increased electricity integration, as well as through pipeline transport of natural gas and oil products. We have strengthened ou[...]



Statement by the President on the Passing of John Glenn

Thu, 08 Dec 2016 21:04:00 +0000

When John Glenn blasted off from Cape Canaveral atop an Atlas rocket in 1962, he lifted the hopes of a nation.  And when his Friendship 7 spacecraft splashed down a few hours later, the first American to orbit the Earth reminded us that with courage and a spirit of discovery there's no limit to the heights we can reach together.  With John's passing, our nation has lost an icon and Michelle and I have lost a friend.  John spent his life breaking barriers, from defending our freedom as a decorated Marine Corps fighter pilot in World War II and Korea, to setting a transcontinental speed record, to becoming, at age 77, the oldest human to touch the stars.  John always had the right stuff, inspiring generations of scientists, engineers and astronauts who will take us to Mars and beyond--not just to visit, but to stay.  Today, the people of Ohio remember a devoted public servant who represented his fellow Buckeyes in the U.S. Senate for a quarter century and who fought to keep America a leader in science and technology.  Our thoughts are with his beloved wife Annie, their children John and Carolyn and the entire Glenn family.  The last of America's first astronauts has left us, but propelled by their example we know that our future here on Earth compels us to keep reaching for the heavens.  On behalf of a grateful nation, Godspeed, John Glenn.




Presidential Determination and Waiver -- Pursuant to Section 2249a of Title 10, United States Code, and Sections 40 and 40A of the Arms Export Control Act to Support U.S. Special Operations to Combat Terrorism in Syria

Thu, 08 Dec 2016 20:34:00 +0000

December 8, 2016

Presidential Determination
No. 2017-05

MEMORANDUM FOR THE SECRETARY OF STATE
                                      THE SECRETARY OF DEFENSE

SUBJECT: Presidential Determination and Waiver Pursuant to Section 2249a of Title 10, United States Code, and Sections 40 and 40A of the Arms Export Control Act to Support U.S. Special Operations to Combat Terrorism in Syria

By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, including section 2249a of title 10, United States Code, sections 40 and 40A of the Arms Export Control Act (AECA) (22 U.S.C. 2780 and 2781), and section 301 of title 3, United States Code, I hereby:

  • determine that the transaction, encompassing the provision of defense articles and services to foreign forces, irregular forces, groups, or individuals engaged in supporting or facilitating ongoing U.S. military operations to counter terrorism in Syria, is essential to the national security interests of the United States;
  • waive the prohibitions in sections 40 and 40A of the AECA related to such a transaction;
  • delegate to the Secretary of State the responsibility under section 40(g)(2) of the AECA to consult with and submit reports to the Congress for proposed exports, 15 days prior to authorizing them to proceed, that are necessary for and within the scope of this waiver determination and the transaction referred to herein;
  • waive the prohibitions in section 2249a of title 10, United States Code, to the extent necessary to allow the Department of Defense to carry out such support; and
  • delegate to the Secretary of Defense the responsibility under section 2249a(b)(2) of title 10, United States Code, to notify the appropriate congressional committees at least 15 days before this waiver takes effect.

The Secretary of Defense is authorized and directed to publish this determination in the Federal Register.

BARACK OBAMA




Executive Order -- Relating to the Implementation of the Convention on the International Recovery of Child Support and Other Forms of Family Maintenance

Thu, 08 Dec 2016 20:14:52 +0000

EXECUTIVE ORDER

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RELATING TO THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE CONVENTION ON THE
INTERNATIONAL RECOVERY OF CHILD SUPPORT AND OTHER FORMS
OF FAMILY MAINTENANCE

The United States of America deposited its instrument of ratification of the Hague Convention on the International Recovery of Child Support and Other Forms of Family Maintenance (Convention) on September 7, 2016. The Convention will enter into force for the United States on January 1, 2017. Article 4 of the Convention imposes upon States Parties an obligation to designate a "Central Authority" for the purpose of discharging certain specified functions.

NOW, THEREFORE, by virtue of the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, it is ordered as follows:

Section 1. Designation of Central Authority. The Department of Health and Human Services is hereby designated as the Central Authority of the United States for purposes of the Convention. The Secretary of Health and Human Services is hereby authorized and empowered, in accordance with such regulations as the Secretary may prescribe, to perform all lawful acts that may be necessary and proper in order to execute the functions of the Central Authority in a timely and efficient manner.

Sec. 2. Designation of State IV-D Child Support Agencies. The Central Authority may designate the State agencies responsible for implementing an approved State Plan under title IV-D of the Social Security Act, 42 U.S.C. 651 et seq., as public bodies authorized to perform specific functions in relation to applications under the Convention.

Sec. 3. General Provisions. (a) Nothing in this order shall be construed to impair or otherwise affect:

(i) the authority granted by law to an executive department, agency, or the head thereof, or the status of that department or agency within the Federal Government; or

(ii) the functions of the Director of the Office of Management and Budget relating to budgetary, administrative, or legislative proposals.

(b) This order shall be implemented consistent with applicable law and subject to the availability of appropriations.

(c) This order is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any party against the United States, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.

BARACK OBAMA

THE WHITE HOUSE,
December 8, 2016.




Statement by NSC Spokesperson Ned Price on National Security Advisor Susan E. Rice’s Meeting with State Councilor Guo Shengkun of China

Thu, 08 Dec 2016 19:38:00 +0000

National Security Advisor Susan E. Rice met today with State Councilor Guo Shengkun of China to emphasize the importance of fully adhering to the U.S.-China cyber commitments from President Xi's September 2015 State Visit.   The meeting occurred following the conclusion of the third U.S.-China High-Level Joint Dialogue on Cybercrime and Related Issues, which State Councilor Guo co-chaired along with Attorney General Lynch and Secretary of Homeland Security Johnson on December 7.

Ambassador Rice raised U.S. concerns about the potential impacts of China's cybersecurity law and Foreign Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) management law on commercial and people-to-people links between the United States and China.  She underscored the United States’ enduring concern about human rights conditions in China.  She also encouraged further promoting bilateral risk reduction measures, including between both sides' Coast Guards.  Ambassador Rice and State Councilor Guo agreed that the United States - China relationship is the most consequential relationship in the world, and both expressed support for continued efforts to develop more durable and constructive bilateral ties.




Message to Congress -- Brazil Social Security Agreement

Thu, 08 Dec 2016 19:26:00 +0000

TO THE CONGRESS OF THE UNITED STATES:

Pursuant to section 233(e)(1) of the Social Security Act, as amended by the Social Security Amendments of 1977 (Public Law 95-216, 42 U.S.C. 433(e)(1)), I transmit herewith a social security totalization agreement with Brazil, titled "Agreement on Social Security between the United States of America and the Federative Republic of Brazil," and a related agreement titled "Administrative Arrangement between the Competent Authorities of the United States of America and the Federative Republic of Brazil for the Implementation of the Agreement on Social Security" (collectively the "Agreements"). The Agreements were signed in Washington, D.C., on June 30, 2015.

The Agreements are similar in objective to the social security agreements already in force with most European Union countries, Australia, Canada, Chile, Japan, Norway, the Republic of Korea, and Switzerland. Such bilateral agreements provide for limited coordination between the United States and foreign social security systems to eliminate dual social security coverage and taxation and to help prevent the lost benefit protection that can occur when workers divide their careers between two countries.

The Agreements contain all provisions mandated by section 233 of the Social Security Act and other provisions that I deem appropriate to carry out the purposes of section 233, pursuant to section 233(c)(4) of the Social Security Act.

I also transmit for the information of the Congress a report required by section 233(e)(1) of the Social Security Act on the estimated number of individuals who will be affected by the Agreements and the Agreements' estimated cost effect. The Department of State and the Social Security Administration have recommended the Agreements to me.

I commend the Agreement on Social Security between the United States of America and the Federative Republic of Brazil and the Administrative Arrangement between the Competent Authorities of the United States of America and the Federative Republic of Brazil for the Implementation of the Agreement on Social Security.

BARACK OBAMA

THE WHITE HOUSE,
December 8, 2016.

 




Press Briefing by Press Secretary Josh Earnest, 12/8/16

Thu, 08 Dec 2016 19:01:00 +0000

James S. Brady Press Briefing Room 12:43 P.M. EST MR. EARNEST:  Good afternoon, everybody.  Nice to see you all.  I do not have any comments at the top so we can go straight to questions.  Mr. Freking, would you like to go first?   Q    Sure.  Thank you, Josh.  So a Russian deputy foreign minister says Russia is close to reaching a deal with the U.S. on a ceasefire in Aleppo.  Is the White House becoming more hopeful that an agreement can be reached?   MR. EARNEST:  Kevin, our approach to the situation from the beginning has been to listen carefully to what the Russians say, but scrutinize their actions.  So, obviously, that statement is an indication that something positive could happen, but we’re going to have to wait and see whether those statements are reflected on the ground.     Obviously, Secretary Kerry has been working tenaciously almost around the clock with the Russians and other countries in the region to try to reduce the violence in Aleppo so that humanitarian assistance can reach those communities that so desperately need it.  And if that occurs, we obviously would welcome that development.  And if that occurs, it won’t be some sort of accident or coincidence or serendipity; it will be the product and result of skilled, principled, tough, tenacious diplomacy.  And much of the credit will go the Secretary Kerry.  But we’ll see what happens.   Q    Do you have any sense of a timeline as far as how long these discussions, these negotiations are expected to continue before there is some sort of either agreement or non-agreement?   MR. EARNEST:  Listen, as we’ve said before, there’s no military solution to this problem.  We can certainly use our military -- and we have -- to go after ISIL, to take back territory that they’d previously controlled and to take their leaders off the battlefield.   But when it comes to resolving the underlying political instability that has led to the chaos, that’s going to require a diplomatic solution.  And this diplomacy will continue until we can start seeing the political results on the ground that we would like to see, and that will include and be characterized by a reduction in violence and enough stability in the security situation that humanitarian assistance can consistently flow to needed areas.   Q    I wanted to ask about the nomination of Scott Pruitt to run the EPA.  And I know you’re not talking about nominations or any individuals, but in this case, would his confirmation really be game, set, match for the U.S. and other countries meeting their commitments under the Paris agreement?  Or do you still view this agreement as setting an irrevocable trajectory toward the U.S. and other countries moving to clean energy?   MR. EARNEST:  Well, listen, Kevin, I think this is a perfectly legitimate question.  The President has, himself, observed that it’s one thing to make grand pronouncements on the campaign trail, but once you enter the Oval Office and you’re responsible for managing the affairs of the United States and being leader of the free world, reality has a way of intruding.   We’ll see to what extent reality intrudes on some of the rhetoric that was used by the President-elect in [...]



Press Briefing by Press Secretary Josh Earnest, 12/7/2016

Thu, 08 Dec 2016 03:09:00 +0000

James S. Brady Press Briefing Room 12:24 P.M. EST MR. EARNEST:  Good afternoon, everybody.  Very calm in here.  Let’s see if we can keep it that way.  (Laughter.)  Josh, no pressure, but you’ll go first. Q    Thanks, Josh.  I wanted to start with a statement that President Obama and some of the Western leaders released this morning on Syria and the crisis in Aleppo.  And I was wondering if that statement was intended to signal support specifically for this five-day ceasefire that a number of Syrian rebel factions are calling for, or if the leaders were just referring more generally to the crisis and trying to call attention to it.  MR. EARNEST:  Josh, my understanding is they’re not seeking to show support for any one specific plan.  There are a variety of proposals that have been put forward that would reduce the violence sufficiently to allow innocent Syrians in Aleppo to get out of harm’s way, and for the consistent flow of humanitarian aid to commence, particularly to those regions of the country and to those areas of the city that have been under siege for a long time. So as you’d expect, Josh, these kinds of statements take some time to be negotiated through diplomatic channels, and so this isn't in response to one specific proposal that's been put forward, but rather demonstrating clear, unified international support for some kind of diplomatic arrangement that reduces the violence and allows the flow of humanitarian assistance to commence in a sustained way. Q    And the statement was very critical, even condemning, of Russia for its role in facilitating the continuation of violence through its actions at the U.N. and elsewhere.  And I'm wondering, given the fact that the U.S. is still talking with Russia about this -- I believe Secretary of State Kerry is meeting Lavrov even today in Germany -- what is the utility of continuing to try to work with Russia on that when we're, in the same breath, saying you guys are the problem, you're the reason that there is not progress on this? MR. EARNEST:  Well, Josh, I think the strategy is essentially to apply pressure to Russia because of the tactics that they have been willing to not just condone but, in some cases, actively support that have resulted in significant innocent loss of life.  And it's continuing.  And the President does not believe it's an effective strategy to gloss over or somehow obscure Russia’s complicity in this sordid affair in order to reach a solution.  In fact, we actually believe that Russia bears special responsibility to help bring about a diplomatic solution because of the way that it intervened on behalf of the Assad regime and because of their own stated significant national interest in the outcome of the situation inside of Syria. So we're not going to advance a diplomatic solution by somehow acting like Russia has been a good actor when they haven't, or pretending that Russia somehow doesn’t have a stake in the outcome when the truth is they’ve got as big a stake in the outcome as any other country outside of Syria.  So it's time for them to play a responsible role.  And thus far, they haven't. And that's isolated them in the international community.  It's wha[...]



President Obama Announces More Key Administration Posts

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 23:26:00 +0000

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, President Barack Obama announced his intent to appoint the following individuals to key Administration posts: Jason Glass – Member, Board of Directors of the National Board for Education Sciences Susanna Loeb – Member, Board of Directors of the National Board for Education Sciences Lesley Israel – Member, Commission for the Preservation of America’s Heritage Abroad Sheila Lirio Marcelo – Member, Library of Congress Trust Fund Board John W. Miller – Member, Library of Congress Trust Fund Board Rickey D. James – Commissioner, Mississippi River Commission Rear Admiral Shepard Smith – Commissioner, Mississippi River Commission   President Obama said, “I am grateful that these talented and dedicated individuals have agreed to take on these important roles and devote their talents to serving the American people.  I look forward to working with them.” President Obama announced his intent to appoint the following individuals to key Administration posts: Dr. Jason Glass, Appointee for Member, Board of Directors of the National Board for Education Sciences Dr. Jason Glass is Superintendent of the Eagle County School District in Colorado, a position he has held since 2013. Previously, Dr. Glass served as Chief School Officer for the State of Iowa, a position he held from 2010 to 2013. Prior to his work in Iowa, Mr. Glass was the Senior Director of Human Capital Strategy with Battelle for Kids in 2010. From 2007 to 2010, Mr. Glass served as the Director of Human Resources and Director of Research and Assessment with Eagle County Schools. He has also served as Vice President of Quality Ratings with Qualistar Early Learning, held several posts with the Colorado Department of Education, and worked as a university instructor and high school teacher in Kentucky. Dr. Glass received a B.A and two M.A.s from the University of Kentucky and a Ph.D from Seton Hall University. Dr. Susanna Loeb, Appointee for Member, Board of Directors of the National Board for Education Sciences Dr. Susanna Loeb was previously appointed to the Board of Directors of National Board for Education Sciences in 2012.  Dr. Loeb is the Barnett Family Professor of Education at Stanford University.  She also serves as a Senior Fellow at the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research, Director of the Institute for Research on Education Policy and Practice, and Co-Director of Policy Analysis for California Education.  In addition to her work at Stanford, Dr. Loeb is currently a policy council member with the Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management, co-editor of Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, and a Faculty Research Fellow with the National Bureau of Economic Research.  From 2010 to 2011, Dr. Loeb served as President of the Association for Education Finance and Policy.  She previously served as a member of the National Research Council Committee on Test-Based Accountability and the Council Committee on Evaluation of the Impact of Teacher Certification by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards. Dr. Loeb received a B.A. and B.S. from Stanford University, and an M.P.P. and Ph.D. from the University of Michigan. Lesley Israel, Appointee for Member, Commission for the Preservation of America’s Heritage Abroad [...]



Readout of the President's Call with Prime Minister John Key of New Zealand

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 23:16:38 +0000

President Obama spoke yesterday by phone with Prime Minister John Key of New Zealand to thank him for the close friendship and partnership the two leaders have enjoyed over the last eight years.  During that time, U.S.-New Zealand cooperation reached unprecedented levels.  The President underscored that New Zealand will remain one of the United States' closest partners as we continue to work together on a wide array of issues, including contributing to global peace and security, encouraging sustainable and inclusive economic growth, and addressing climate change and conservation challenges.




Presidential Proclamation -- National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day, 2016

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 22:00:00 +0000

NATIONAL PEARL HARBOR REMEMBRANCE DAY, 2016

- - - - - - -

BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

A PROCLAMATION

Seventy-five years ago, Japanese fighter planes attacked the United States Naval Base at Pearl Harbor, destroying much of our Pacific Fleet and killing more than 2,400 Americans. The following day, President Franklin D. Roosevelt called on the Congress to declare war and "make it very certain that this form of treachery shall never again endanger us." In that spirit, Americans came together to pay tribute to the victims, support the survivors, and shed the comforts of civilian life to serve in our military and fight for our Union. Each year on National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day, we honor those whose lives were forever changed that December morning and resolve to uphold the legacy of all who stepped forward in our time of need.

From the docks of Pearl Harbor to the beaches of Normandy and far around the world, brave patriots served their country and defended the values that have sustained our Nation since its founding. They went to war for liberty and sacrificed more than most of us will ever know; they chased victory and defeated fascism, turning adversaries into allies and writing a new chapter in our history. Through their service and unparalleled devotion, they inspired a generation with their refusal to give in despite overwhelming odds. And as we reflect on the profound debt of gratitude we owe them for the freedoms we cherish, we are reminded of the everlasting responsibilities we have to one another and to our country.

In memory of all who lost their lives on December 7, 1941 -- and those who responded by leaving their homes for the battlefields -- we must ensure the sacrifices they made in the name of liberty and democracy were not made in vain. On this solemn anniversary, there can be no higher tribute to these American patriots than forging a united commitment to honor our troops and veterans, give them the support and care they deserve, and carry on their work of keeping our country strong and free.

The Congress, by Public Law 103-308, as amended, has designated December 7 of each year as "National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day."

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim December 7, 2016, as National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day. I encourage all Americans to observe this solemn day of remembrance and to honor our military, past and present, with appropriate ceremonies and activities. I urge all Federal agencies and interested organizations, groups, and individuals to fly the flag of the United States at half-staff this December 7 in honor of those American patriots who died as a result of their service at Pearl Harbor.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this sixth day of December, in the year of our Lord two thousand sixteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and forty-first.

BARACK OBAMA




Presidential Nomination Sent to the Senate

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 21:29:54 +0000

NOMINATION SENT TO THE SENATE:

Ann Begeman, of South Dakota, to be a Member of the Surface Transportation Board for a term expiring December 31, 2020. (Reappointment)




Readout of the President’s Call with President Francois Hollande of France

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 21:27:57 +0000

President Obama spoke today by phone with President Francois Hollande of France to offer his appreciation for their close partnership since President Hollande took office in 2012.  President Obama thanked President Hollande for his leadership and expressed his appreciation for France’s steady contributions to the strength and unity of the trans-Atlantic alliance.