Fri, 21 Oct 2016 22:31:00 +0000James S. Brady Press Briefing Room 11:50 A.M. EDT MR. EARNEST: Good morning, everybody. TGIF. I do not have any announcements at the top, so we can go straight to your questions. Kathleen, do you want to start? Q Thanks. I wanted to ask you about these requests that come into the Secretaries of State in Texas, Oklahoma and Louisiana -- Russians officials are wanting to observe elections and were rejected. I wonder if you have any thought for why that was and if you see this as another attempt from Russia to meddle in the election. MR. EARNEST: Well, I think it's unclear exactly what their intent is with regard to this specific request. The IC has reached -- the intelligence community in the United States has reached a conclusion about what their intent is with regard to some of their nefarious activity in cyberspace, which is to influence the U.S. political process. There is a system in place where the State Department receives requests like the one the Russians have put forward, and then they refer those requests to state officials, and state officials who are responsible for administering elections in their states can then determine the propriety of allowing the observers to participate. So we'll leave it to those state officials to render that judgment. There is a process that is organized by the OSCE -- the Office of Security Cooperation in Europe -- that does observe U.S. elections, and we have been able, in the past, to coordinate effectively with them. Russia has had an opportunity to send essentially individuals to be members of those OSCE delegations to observe U.S. elections. Russia has declined to participate in that way. You’d have to ask them why they didn’t take advantage of that opportunity if they were so interested in understanding more about the conduct of a free and fair election, something -- a concept that may not be as familiar to those Russian officials. Q The State Department called this a PR stunt. Do you think that's what it is? MR. EARNEST: I wouldn't quibble with that. But again, I think it is unclear exactly what the Russians were intending to do in this case. I think it's appropriate that people might be suspicious of their motives, or at least their motives might be different than what they have publicly stated, given the nefarious activities that they’ve engaged in in cyberspace. Q And then I wanted to switch to the Supreme Court. I'm sure you saw that Senator Flake came out yesterday and said that it was time to start moving on a Merrick Garland nomination. MR. EARNEST: Yes. Q I'm wondering if you -- I assume you're happy to hear that. Have there been any new conversations, or do you see that as a window to restart that process in any way? MR. EARNEST: Well, this is largely the case that we've been making for more than 200 days now, which is that Republicans in the Senate do have an obligation to do their job and to fulfill their responsibility to treat Chief Judge Garland fairly, meet with him and give him a hearing and a timely yes or no vote. And we obviously welcome the comments of Senator Flake that he believes that’s what should happen. He is somebody who has a special influence here because he serves on the Senator Judiciary Committee. This is the committee that would be responsible for organizing these kinds of hearings, as they have for generations. And I did take note yesterday that the chairman of this committee, Senator Grassley from Iowa, had a discussion with some members of the Des Moines Register Editorial Board about this process, and in the context of that discussion, Chairman Grassley indicated that taxpayers couldn't afford for him to hold those hearings. It would require hiring additional staff in order to do so. The American people have actually hire[...]
Fri, 21 Oct 2016 22:27:00 +0000NATIONAL HISTORICALLY BLACK COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES WEEK, 2016 - - - - - - - BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA A PROCLAMATION America's Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) are living monuments to the cause that has driven each generation of our citizens in the task of perfecting our Union -- helping ensure that all people can experience the fullest measure of equality, justice, and possibility. Embodying the notion that the ability to pursue a higher education should be an opportunity available to all, rather than a privilege for a few, these campuses were built from a determination to widely and profoundly expand the reach of our country's promise. During National Historically Black Colleges and Universities Week, we celebrate this aspiration and reaffirm our support for HBCUs. Rendered possible by the extraordinary sacrifices and commitment of women and men who resolved to make real and enduring the new birth of freedom that echoed across our country following the end of the Civil War, the rise of these proud institutions marked the beginning of a new chapter in our national narrative. With each generation, HBCUs have shaped America for the better in indelible ways. From a pastor who would give voice to equality's cause to the great-grandson of a slave who would reach the bench of our highest court; from pioneers of medical and scientific breakthroughs to creators of innovative and prosperous businesses; from artists who expand the boundaries of expression to historians who illuminate our past and help us write our future, so much of the progress that has come to define America has been carried forward by graduates, academics, and leaders of these colleges and universities. Since I took office, my Administration has focused on expanding opportunity and opening doors of higher education for more people. We have increased Pell Grants, expanded student loan assistance going directly to students, cut taxes for those paying tuition, allowed students to cap their Federal loan payments at 10 percent of their income, and created the College Scorecard to assist prospective students in understanding their options for pursuing a higher education. Today, more Americans are earning a degree in post-secondary education than ever before, and HBCUs are playing an important role. In the 6 years since I signed an Executive Order bolstering the White House Initiative on HBCUs, we have helped ensure that more students have greater opportunities and that these institutions can benefit from a fuller range of Federal programs and assistance. HBCUs and community colleges help build our Nation's economy and strengthen the middle class, which is why I am working to make 2 years of community college free for hardworking students across our country through America's College Promise -- a proposal that also helps 4-year HBCUs provide more low-income students with up to 2 years of college for free or at reduced tuition. This week, we recognize the ways in which HBCUs are central to our experience as a Nation and recommit ourselves to the work that lies ahead. Let us honor the spirit in which these institutions were constructed by reaffirming the enduring truths at their core, and let us continue endeavoring to ensure all people have the chance to access higher education and secure ever greater opportunity. 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 October 23 through October 29, 2016, as National Historically Black Colleges and Universities Week. I call upon educators, public officials, professional organizations, corporations, and all Americans to observe this week with appropriate programs, ceremonies, and activities that acknowledge the countless contributions these institutions and their alumni have made to our country. IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty[...]
Fri, 21 Oct 2016 21:47:00 +0000WASHINGTON, DC – Today, President Barack Obama announced his intent to nominate the following individual to a key Administration post: Richard Stengel – Member and Chairman, Broadcasting Board of Governors President Obama also announced his intent to appoint the following individuals to key Administration posts: Tam O’Shaughnessy – Member, Advisory Board of the National Air and Space Museum Amanda Wright Lane – Member, Advisory Board of the National Air and Space Museum Susan Hayman – Member, Board of Visitors to the United States Merchant Marine Academy Jacob Horowitz – Member, Coordinating Council on Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Jim St. Germain – Member, Coordinating Council on Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Francisco A. Villarruel – Member, Coordinating Council on Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Tawara D. Goode – Member, President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities Rebecca S. Salon – Member, President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities President Obama said, “I am proud that such experienced and committed individuals have agreed to serve the American people in these important roles. I look forward to working with them.” President Obama announced his intent to nominate the following individual to a key Administration post: Richard Stengel, Nominee for Member and Chairman, Broadcasting Board of Governors Richard Stengel is Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, a position he has held since 2014. Mr. Stengel served as Managing Editor of TIME from 2006 to 2013 and President and Chief Executive Officer of the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia from 2004 to 2006. Mr. Stengel was the Ferris Professor of Journalism at Princeton University in 1999. From 1992 to 1994, he collaborated with Nelson Mandela on his autobiography, Long Walk to Freedom. Mr. Stengel has written for many publications and is the author of several books. He began his career at TIME in 1981 as a writer and correspondent. Mr. Stengel received a B.A. from Princeton University and was a Rhodes Scholar at Christ Church at the University of Oxford. President Obama announced his intent to appoint the following individuals to key Administration posts: Dr. Tam O’Shaughnessy, Appointee for Member, Advisory Board of the National Air and Space Museum Dr. Tam O’Shaughnessy is Executive Director of Sally Ride Science at the University of California, San Diego and Co-Founder of Sally Ride Science, Inc., positions she has held since 2015 and 2001, respectively. Dr. O’Shaughnessy is also Associate Professor Emeritus at San Diego State University, where she has worked since 2007. Previously, Dr. O’Shaughnessy was Associate Professor at San Diego State University from 2002 to 2007, and Assistant Professor at Georgia State University from 1998 to 2001. She is a published author of children’s science books and is the surviving partner of Dr. Sally Ride, the first American woman to fly in space. Dr. O’Shaughnessy received a B.A. and M.S. from Georgia State University and a Ph.D. from the University of California, Riverside. Amanda Wright Lane, Appointee for Member, Advisory Board of the National Air and Space Museum Amanda Wright Lane is a Trustee for The Wright Brothers Family Foundation, a position she has held since 1999. Ms. Wright Lane serves on the boards of the National Aviation Heritage Alliance, Wright-Dunbar, Inc., and First Flight Foundation, positions she has held since 2004, 2006, and 2008, respectively. She previously served on the board of Dayton History from 2006 to 2011. Ms. Wright Lane is the great-grandniece of Orville and Wilbur Wright. In 2008, she was awarded the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Public Service Award. Ms. Wright Lane received a B.S[...]
Fri, 21 Oct 2016 21:12:00 +0000Oval Office 3:25 P.M. EDT THE PRESIDENT: Well, this is a treat for me, at the end of a long week, to be able to visit with a couple of friends, but also, I believe, American heroes. In particular, I want to say thank you, on behalf of the American people, to Scott Kelly. As some of you know, a while back, Scott completed what was the longest period of time that any U.S. astronaut has ever spent in space -- almost a year. And what made this so important was not just to break a record, it gave us an opportunity to learn how Scott, as an astronaut, is impacted by lengthy stay like that. And we’ve got somebody to compare him to -- his twin brother Mark, also an astronaut. So as a consequence, what we were able to learn is how does the body adapt, what kinds of physiological impacts -- psychologically, from what I understand from Scott, he was pretty good. But all this allows us to start thinking about long-term manned space flight. And as I announced recently, our goal -- our next goal -- not our ultimate goal, but our next goal is to get to Mars. And obviously, we’ve got a lot of work to do technologically to figure out how to get there, what kinds of space crafts allows us to do that most effectively. But if we’re going to do a manned flight, then one of the keys is making sure that our astronauts who are going out into space for that long period of time are also then able to come back -- what kinds of environments do we need to create for them, what are the biological sciences, and other elements that will allow for a successful mission. So we are extraordinarily grateful to Scott for the sacrifices that he’s made. He did all kinds of science experimenting up there that is over my head and I won’t even try to explain, but the data, the knowledge that we’ve accumulated from his incredible adventure is something that is going to serve us in good stead as we continue to accelerate and advance our forays into space. As everybody knows, I’m a big space fan, and Charles Bolden, another ex-astronaut, along with my Chief Science Advisor, John Holdren, have been working closely with me to maximize the investments that we make, to try to encourage Congress to work with us so that that final frontier is something that continues to inspire, continues to motivate the imaginations of young people, and creates enormous spillover effects -- because when we learn about space, we’re also learning about ourselves, and ultimately, we’re learning about technologies that can make a difference in terms of our day-to-day lives. One last point I’d make is, Scott was sharing with me what the planet looks like from up above and how much of a perspective it gives on the need for us to preserve this planet. And so I’m going to have just a couple more remarks, but I thought this would maybe be a good time, Scott, for you just to share with everybody else what you just shared with me in terms of what it means when you’re seeing day in and day out our planet Earth. MR. SCOTT KELLY: Well, thank you, Mr. President. Thank you, sir, for having us here today, and thanks for supporting NASA in your new initiative for us to start really thinking hard about going to Mars. I think that’s our next very worthy goal in space. And what the President is referring to is, being in space for a whole year, you get this perspective of seeing the Earth through changing seasons and different lighting conditions. And when I was in space for shorter periods of time, I would often think, well, maybe the Earth is just looking like that because it’s a weather pattern or it’s not how it always appears throughout the year. But seeing places like China and India, and the pollution that exists there almost all the time is quite shocking. And there was one day last summer, the summer of 2015, when I was in spac[...]
Fri, 21 Oct 2016 20:04:00 +0000
- - - - - - -
CONTINUATION OF THE NATIONAL EMERGENCY WITH RESPECT
TO THE DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO
On October 27, 2006, by Executive Order 13413, the President declared a national emergency with respect to the situation in or in relation to the Democratic Republic of the Congo and, pursuant to the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (50 U.S.C. 1701-1706), ordered related measures blocking the property of certain persons contributing to the conflict in that country. The President took this action to deal with the unusual and extraordinary threat to the foreign policy of the United States constituted by the situation in or in relation to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which has been marked by widespread violence and atrocities that continue to threaten regional stability. I took additional steps to deal with this national emergency in Executive Order 13671 of July 8, 2014.
The situation in or in relation to the Democratic Republic of the Congo continues to pose an unusual and extraordinary threat to the foreign policy of the United States. For this reason, the national emergency declared in Executive Order 13413 of October 27, 2006, as amended by Executive Order 13671 of July 8, 2014, and the measures adopted to deal with that emergency, must continue in effect beyond October 27, 2016. Therefore, in accordance with section 202(d) of the National Emergencies Act (50 U.S.C. 1622(d)), I am continuing for 1 year the national emergency with respect to the situation in or in relation to the Democratic Republic of the Congo declared in Executive Order 13413, as amended by Executive Order 13671.
This notice shall be published in the Federal Register and transmitted to the Congress.
THE WHITE HOUSE,
October 21, 2016.
Fri, 21 Oct 2016 20:04:00 +0000
TEXT OF A LETTER FROM THE PRESIDENT
TO THE SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
AND THE PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE
October 21, 2016
Dear Mr. Speaker: (Dear Mr. President:)
Section 202(d) of the National Emergencies Act (50 U.S.C. 1622(d)) provides for the automatic termination of a national emergency unless, within 90 days prior to the anniversary date of its declaration, the President publishes in the Federal Register and transmits to the Congress a notice stating that the emergency is to continue in effect beyond the anniversary date. In accordance with this provision, I have sent to the Federal Register for publication the enclosed notice stating that the national emergency with respect to the situation in or in relation to the Democratic Republic of the Congo declared in Executive Order 13413 of October 27, 2006, is to continue in effect beyond October 27, 2016.
The situation in or in relation to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which has been marked by widespread violence and atrocities that continue to threaten regional stability, continues to pose an unusual and extraordinary threat to the foreign policy of the United States. For this reason, I have determined that it is necessary to continue the national emergency declared in Executive Order 13413 with respect to the situation in or in relation to the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Fri, 21 Oct 2016 18:31:00 +0000Last week, President Obama wrote about the progress we as a Nation have made over the past 8 years to ensure our space program continues to inspire generations of students and serve as a leading source of innovation in our country. Central to this work has been developing new, innovative technologies that continue to pioneer new frontiers in space and test the bounds of knowledge and discovery. Today, astronauts Scott and Mark Kelly are visiting the White House to talk to the President about just these types of advances. One critical area for technology development is making satellites more affordable, adaptable, and adept at providing the sorts of real-time information that will help advance knowledge out in space and right here at home. Over the past several years, commercial companies, government agencies, university researchers, and national labs have demonstrated the capability of small satellites (“smallsats”) and constellations of smallsats to support important commercial, civilian, and national-security applications. These applications include providing high-speed Internet connectivity to remote rural communities and transforming humanity’s understanding of the world around us with continuously updated imagery of the entire planet. Traditional large satellites, which can weigh tens of thousands of pounds and be as large as a school bus, provide important capabilities for communications, remote sensing, and science, but they typically cost hundreds of millions of dollars per satellite and often take years to build and launch. Because of the massive investment required to build, launch, operate, and insure larger satellites, for most of the past half-century, only governments and large corporations have had the resources necessary to operate in their own satellites in space. The recent advent of smallsats, spacecraft that weigh anywhere from an ounce to as much as a few hundred pounds, has upended that status quo. The same advances in electronics and communications technologies that enabled smartphones and put significant computing power in the palm of everyone’s hand are allowing scientists and engineers to design smallsats and coordinated networks of multiple smallsats (known as “smallsat constellations”) that deliver novel and diverse capabilities from orbit. These capabilities can sometimes be delivered at a fraction of the cost and time of legacy satellite systems. Scientists and engineers can more quickly test their systems on orbit, allowing them to devise new, better systems more quickly, shortening the cycle of innovation and finally bringing “Moore’s Law” to space. For all of these reasons, today, the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) is announcing the “Harnessing the Small Satellite Revolution” initiative. Working with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the Department of Defense, the Department of Commerce, and other Federal agencies, OSTP has identified the following opportunities to promote and support both government and private use of small satellites for remote sensing, communications, science, and the exploration of space. OSTP will continue to work with Federal agencies to identify additional steps to foster innovation in the development and use of smallsat technologies. NASA will propose up to $30 million to support data buys for smallsats, including up to $25 million to support data buys derived and purchased from non-governmental small spacecraft constellations and $5 million to advance small spacecraft constellation technologies. In the near-term, NASA intends to purchase Earth Science observation data, such as (but not restricted to) moderate-resolution land imaging and radio occultation data. The agency is also committing to a comprehensive review of space missions to determine which science and exploration needs could be met more eff[...]
Fri, 21 Oct 2016 18:22:00 +0000State Dining Room 1:10 P.M. EDT MRS. OBAMA: What’s going on? I’ve got big old teleprompters right here but I’m not going to be bothered with that. (Laughter.) So whoever is operating the teleprompters, just let’s forget it. (Laughter.) This is our last workshop, because tonight we are working with BET to host our last, really, music event. And it’s going to be a good one. Because we usually highlight a particular singer or a particular genre of music, but tonight it’s going to be a little of everything -- a little gospel, a little soul, a little -- who knows who’s going to be on the menu. (Laughter.) So I am looking forward to it, but it means it’s also the last time we’re going to gather young people like you guys from all over the country to get a chance to see how you go from those seats to these seats up here. And this is really the best part of these days when we have the music here, is working with young people like all of you. And I want to take the time, again, to acknowledge and thank Bob Santelli from the Grammy Museum, who helps to make these activities possible. Bob, thank you so much. (Applause.) So look who we have here with us! We have Michelle Williams. (Applause.) I don’t even have to introduce these folks. Michelle Williams! (Applause.) And we have Yolanda Adams. Oh, my gosh! (Applause.) Now, these are award-winning artists who have done a number of things -- and the other thing, these are real -- these are “sangers.” (Laughter.) They “sang.” You know, there are people out there -- you know -- they “sing.” But these women, they “sing.” (Laughter.) You do. (Laughter.) MS. WILLIAMS: So do you! MRS. OBAMA: Well, no, I do many things, Michelle, but I do not sing. I don’t sing. (Laughter.) And I’m so excited that they’re here because you know them as the stars that they are, but they’re just like me, they’re just like you. Michelle grew up in Rockford, Illinois. I never realized you were that close to me. (Laughter.) We are Illinois girls. And through her life, she’s had to deal with some tough stuff. She’s had to deal with bullying in high school. She’s had to overcome challenges. I don’t know if you know about Yolanda -- and hopefully you guys will share these stories in more detail -- but Yolanda, before she was a singer, I understand you used to -- you held down a job as a teacher -- MS. ADAMS: Yes, I did. MRS. OBAMA: -- and helped your mother take care of your younger siblings before you got into the business. So, look, the point is that we all have some interesting challenges and obstacles that we face to get where we are today. But the difference between us and them, between you and success is not that you never fail, but it’s how you recover from those failures -- is that you keep getting up time and time again. You figure out what you did wrong, and then you make it right. I say that to my kids every day. And that’s really the point of these things. We want you to touch these stars and hear their stories, and understand that we all make mistakes, we all struggle, but perseverance is the key to anything you want to be in life. Whether you want to go into music, whether you want to be a lawyer, whether you want to be President of the United States, the bottom line for all of you is that you have got to get your education. At the foundation of everything we have all done, it’s understanding that education is key. That’s the thing in your life that you have complete[...]
Fri, 21 Oct 2016 17:23:00 +0000UNITED NATIONS DAY, 2016 - - - - - - - BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA A PROCLAMATION Seventy-one years ago, after rolling back a tide of tyranny that threatened Europe and the world, members of the international community came together to sign the United Nations Charter -- advancing a promise to replace the ravages of war with the possibilities of diplomacy. On United Nations Day, we reflect on the progress we have made in the time since, resolve to carry this progress forward, and reaffirm our commitment to international cooperation rooted in the rights and responsibilities of nations across the globe. Today, because of the international order the United Nations has helped anchor for more than seven decades, we live in a global community that, together, has overcome the greatest financial crisis of our time, lifted billions of people out of poverty, promoted the emergence of more democracies, and taken meaningful steps toward leaving our children with a world that is safer, cleaner, and more stable. Yet the same forces of integration that have helped forge closer ties and stronger partnerships among the world's nations also have exposed deep fault lines that we must address. In too many places around the world, perpetrators of atrocities go unpunished and those who violate international law face no consequences. Climate change remains a serious threat -- even after we officially crossed the threshold for the Paris Agreement to take effect earlier this month. Too many governments still silence journalists, quash dissent, and censor vital flows of information. And in camps and cities around the world, families live as refugees, surviving on aid and the compassion of others. These issues present crises of our shared security and challenges to our international system in which all nations must share in our collective responsibilities. Our world is too small, and our destinies too intertwined, for us not to see ourselves in one another. By upholding the values upon which the United Nations was founded -- pluralism, diversity, human rights, and togetherness -- we can ensure we pass these tests of our common humanity. And by continuing to build a more capable and effective United Nations, we strengthen the world's capacity to respond to global crises, keep peace in fragile societies, and tackle unprecedented humanitarian challenges. The international community relies on the United Nations today more than ever before. Now in its eighth decade, this institution -- and those selfless individuals who devote their lives to sustaining it -- is vital to our mission of shaping a better world: one defined by cooperation over confrontation, a shared sense of purpose, and the understanding that the future of a child in America is inextricably linked to that of a child in Afghanistan. On this day, let us pay tribute to the staff of the United Nations, particularly the more than 100,000 uniformed personnel serving in peacekeeping missions, for their selfless service to the cause of promoting international peace and prosperity, and as citizens of the world, let us renew our shared commitment to forging a brighter tomorrow for all. 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 October 24, 2016, as United Nations Day. I urge the Governors of the 50 States, and the officials of all other areas under the flag of the United States, to observe United Nations Day with appropriate ceremonies and activities. IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-first day of October, 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. [...]
Fri, 21 Oct 2016 11:03:00 +0000Since the beginning of his Administration, President Obama has focused on creating an economy that works for every American. Under his leadership, our businesses have added 15.3 million jobs since early 2010, and the economy has seen the longest streak of job creation on record. However, more work needs to be done to make sure the benefits of the recovery are broadly shared. We must continue to adapt to forces of globalization and technology that deliver tremendous benefits but also pose challenges, including through increasing investment in effective job training. The jobs available today, and the jobs of the future, are higher-skill jobs that require more education and advanced skills. Today, the Department of Labor (DOL) is announcing the Administration’s latest step to increase access to apprenticeship – using Fiscal Year 2016 funding for a new $50.5 million investment in State Expansion Grants to expand apprenticeships across the country in a diverse array of industry sectors. This initiative, called ApprenticeshipUSA, is part of the Administration’s strategy to grow and diversify apprenticeship. Over the next 18 months, this effort will result in thousands of new apprenticeships in diverse industries, including health care, advanced manufacturing, and information technology, that offer workers not just jobs, but careers. These grants provide funding to 36 States and one territory to undertake new apprenticeship efforts, which will include efforts in both urban and rural communities. Projects will focus on helping a diverse set of workers – including women and minorities who have too often been left out of apprenticeship efforts in the past – enter into these in-demand fields. To learn more about the efforts of all 37 winning ApprenticeshipUSA State Expansion grantees, click HERE. Job-driven apprenticeships are among the surest pathways to provide American workers from all backgrounds with the skills and knowledge they need to acquire good-paying jobs and grow the economy. In fact, 91 percent of apprentices are employed after completing their programs, with an average starting wage above $60,000. The return on investment for employers is also impressive — international studies suggest that for every dollar spent on apprenticeship, employers may get an average of $1.47 back in increased productivity and greater front-line innovation. As a result, the President has made expanding apprenticeship a priority for his Administration. Since the President's 2014 call to action, the U.S. has added more than 125,000 new apprenticeships, the largest increase in nearly a decade. And last year, the President signed into law the first-ever annual funding for apprenticeship programs in the Fiscal Year 2016 spending bill, following a bipartisan agreement based on the President’s budget request. But, we cannot carry on this work without continued funding, which the House Appropriations Committee’s Labor-HHS-Education bill unfortunately fails to provide. In contrast, the Senate Appropriations Committee provides strong support for apprenticeship, which we hope will be reflected in the final Fiscal Year 2017 spending bill. If this funding does not continue going forward, the 36 States and one territory who have received ApprenticeshipUSA State Expansion Grants will have to terminate their efforts in just 18 months. Similarly, the 14 organizations who were awarded $20.4 million in contracts to expand apprenticeship to new industries and reach historically underrepresented populations will see their funding dry up after one year. This would deprive thousands of Americans of the chance to participate in this life-changing training model. The President calls on Congress to continue its past support for apprenticeship in the final Fiscal Year 2017[...]
Fri, 21 Oct 2016 10:00:00 +0000Last week, President Obama wrote about the progress we as a Nation have made over the past 8 years to ensure our space program continues to inspire generations of students and serve as a leading source of innovation in our country. Central to this work has been developing new, innovative technologies that continue to pioneer new frontiers in space and test the bounds of knowledge and discovery. Today, astronauts Scott and Mark Kelly are visiting the White House to talk to the President about just these types of advances. One critical area for technology development is making satellites more affordable, adaptable, and adept at providing the sorts of real-time information that will help advance knowledge out in space and right here at home. Over the past several years, commercial companies, government agencies, university researchers, and national labs have demonstrated the capability of small satellites (“smallsats”) and constellations of smallsats to support important commercial, civilian, and national-security applications. These applications include providing high-speed Internet connectivity to remote rural communities and transforming humanity’s understanding of the world around us with continuously updated imagery of the entire planet. Traditional large satellites, which can weigh tens of thousands of pounds and be as large as a school bus, provide important capabilities for communications, remote sensing, and science, but they typically cost hundreds of millions of dollars per satellite and often take years to build and launch. Because of the massive investment required to build, launch, operate, and insure larger satellites, for most of the past half-century, only governments and large corporations have had the resources necessary to operate in their own satellites in space. The recent advent of smallsats, spacecraft that weigh anywhere from an ounce to as much as a few hundred pounds, has upended that status quo. The same advances in electronics and communications technologies that enabled smartphones and put significant computing power in the palm of everyone’s hand are allowing scientists and engineers to design smallsats and coordinated networks of multiple smallsats (known as “smallsat constellations”) that deliver novel and diverse capabilities from orbit. These capabilities can sometimes be delivered at a fraction of the cost and time of legacy satellite systems. Scientists and engineers can more quickly test their systems on orbit, allowing them to devise new, better systems more quickly, shortening the cycle of innovation and finally bringing “Moore’s Law” to space. For all of these reasons, today, the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) is announcing the “Harnessing the Small Satellite Revolution” initiative. Working with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the Department of Defense, the Department of Commerce, and other Federal agencies, OSTP has identified the following opportunities to promote and support both government and private use of small satellites for remote sensing, communications, science, and the exploration of space. OSTP will continue to work with Federal agencies to identify additional steps to foster innovation in the development and use of smallsat technologies. NASA will propose up to $30 million to support data buys for smallsats, including up to $25 million to support data buys derived and purchased from non-governmental small spacecraft constellations and $5 million to advance small spacecraft constellation technologies. In the near-term, NASA intends to purchase Earth Science observation data, such as (but not restricted to) moderate-resolution land imaging and [...]
Thu, 20 Oct 2016 23:04:00 +0000Florida Memorial University Athletic and Wellness Center Miami Gardens, Florida 4:12 P.M. EDT THE PRESIDENT: Hello, Miami Gardens! (Applause.) How’s everybody doing today? (Applause.) Can everybody please give a big round of applause to Dominique? (Applause.) We are so proud of her. Thank you, Florida Memorial University. Go, Lions! It’s good to be here. (Applause.) AUDIENCE MEMBER: We love you? THE PRESIDENT: Love you back. Well, I love you back, you know that. (Applause.) You know who else I love? We’ve got a bunch of elected officials here today, including some of your outstanding representatives. Frederica Wilson is in the house. (Applause.) And your next United States senator, Patrick Murphy. (Applause.) So if you have a seat, feel free to sit down. If you don’t have a seat, don’t. Just make yourself comfortable, because I’ve got some things to say here. (Applause.) So this will be probably one of my last visits to Miami as President. AUDIENCE: Nooo -- THE PRESIDENT: No, no, don’t worry. Don’t worry. I’m going to come back, but I won’t be President, so I can have more fun. (Applause.) But this is how things work in a democracy. I’ll talk about that later, too -- how things are supposed to work in a democracy. Michelle and I only get an eight-year lease on the White House. We rent, we don’t own. And right now, we’re making sure we haven’t broken anything, that Bo and Sunny haven’t ruined any carpets. (Laughter.) We have been marking off how tall Malia and Sasha were getting on the wall, but now we’ve got to erase it. (Laughter.) Because we want our security deposit back. But obviously it has been one of the great honors of my life -- the great honor of my life -- to serve the American people. And look, the truth is, I couldn’t have done it without Florida. Florida has always been good to us. I remember campaigning here in Miami in the closing days of a tough campaign eight years ago. And we had been living through two long wars. We were about to enter into the worst economic crisis of our lifetimes. On issues like health care, and issues like climate change, we hadn’t really been doing anything. We had just been kicking the can down the road. And I told you then, when I was campaigning -- I told you I wasn’t a perfect man, and I wasn’t going to be a perfect President. But I told you I would work as hard as I could every single day on your behalf; that I would fight for you to make life a little bit easier for working families all across the country. (Applause.) And I tell you what, eight years later, we can look back and we can say we fought our way back from a recession. (Applause.) Our businesses have turned job losses into 15 million new jobs. (Applause.) We have slashed our dependence on foreign oil. We've doubled our production of clean energy. Incomes are rising, poverty is falling. The uninsured rate is at an all-time low. We've brought our brave troops home to their families. We delivered justice to Osama bin Laden. (Applause.) Marriage equality is a reality in all 50 states. We've been busy these last eight years. (Applause.) By every measure, our country is stronger and more prosperous than when I came into office. But all that progress is at stake if we don't do the right thing these next 19 days. I know there are some folks who are tal[...]
Thu, 20 Oct 2016 22:47:00 +0000Phoenix Convention Center Phoenix, Arizona 2:15 P.M. MST MRS. OBAMA: Wow! Whoa! Look at those guys! Hello, everyone! (Applause.) Wow. Look at you all, there are a lot of you all in here. (Applause.) Thank you for waiting in line, all the mags, all the -- it’s just such a hassle. Thank you, though. (Applause.) You guys, I am so happy to be here in Phoenix with all of you! Thank you for coming out. (Applause.) But I want to start by thanking a few people, because there are a lot of folks who made this day possible and a lot of folks who are working to get Hillary elected. So let me start by thanking Carolyn, first of all, for that wonderful introduction. (Applause.) I also want to recognize your members of Congress -- Representatives Raul Grijalva, Ann Kirkpatrick, to Ann -- Ruben Gallego, as well. Ruben. I want to thank the Navajo Nation Vice President, Jonathan Nez, and, of course, your Mayor, Greg Stanton, who is here. (Applause.) But most of all, I want to thank you all for coming together to support the next President and Vice President of the United States -- Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine! (Applause.) Woohoo! Now, you might have heard that last week in New Hampshire, I gave a speech. (Applause.) And let me just say that since then, my office has been flooded with thousands of letters and emails from folks all across the country. Women of all ages finding the courage to stand up and tell their stories, clearing the cloud of shame that existed for far too long. Parents declaring that our daughters -- and our sons -- deserve better. (Applause.) Speaking out for the values of decency and respect that we all hold dear. Men of all backgrounds and walks of life agreeing that decent men do not demean women -- (applause) -- and we shouldn’t tolerate this behavior from any man, let alone a man who wants to be the President. (Applause.) And let me just tell you, I have been so moved and so humbled by these responses -- by the powerful affirmation of our shared values. But what I have not been is surprised. Let me tell you, because this kind of courage and decency and compassion -- this is who we are. This is the America that I know. (Applause.) And as I’ve read these letters and emails, I’ve been reminded of what my husband and I would always talk about when we were out on the campaign trail. AUDIENCE MEMBER: I love you! MRS. OBAMA: I love you, too. (Applause.) But I have been reminded of the importance of hope. Because let me just say this, this is what hope looks like. (Applause.) It’s that belief that we can be better, that we can do better for our kids; that even in our darkest hours, there’s always a brighter day ahead -- (applause) -- and if we’re willing to work for it and fight for it, we can make it happen. (Applause.) Hope is what keeps our better angels alive. It’s been the driving force behind everything we’ve achieved these last eight years, and it’s been at the heart of my life and my husband’s life since the day we were born. And I think one of the reasons this election has been so difficult for so many of us is because that's what’s being lost; in all the hateful, hurtful rhetoric we’ve been hearing, we’re losing hope. You see, in this race, we have a candidate whose vision for our country is completely and utterly lacking in hope. A candidate who tells us that our country is desperate and weak, th[...]
Thu, 20 Oct 2016 21:17:00 +0000Miami Dade College Miami, Florida 1:51 P.M. EDT THE PRESIDENT: Hello, Miami! (Applause.) Thank you so much. Well, everybody have a seat. Have a seat. It is good to see all of you! It's good to be back at Miami-Dade! (Applause.) One of my favorite institutions! (Applause.) Love this school. I want to thank your longtime president and great friend, Eduardo J. Padrón. (Applause.) And to all the faculty and staff, and of course, most importantly, the students, for hosting me -- I want to say how grateful I am. I want to thank the wonderful elected officials who are here today. I'm going to just point out two outstanding members of Congress -- Debbie Wasserman Schultz -- (applause) -- and Ted Deutch. (Applause.) So this is one of my last visits here as President. Now, once I'm not President -- AUDIENCE MEMBER: Nooo -- THE PRESIDENT: No, no, the good news is, once I'm no longer President I can come more often. (Applause.) Right now, usually I can only come to Florida when I'm working. But when I'm out of office, I can come here for fun. (Laughter.) But the first thing I want to say is thank you for your support, and thank you for the opportunity and the privilege you’ve given me to serve these past eight years. I remember standing just a few blocks north of here in the closing days of the 2008 campaign. And at that point, we were already realizing that we were in the midst of the worst economic crisis of our lifetimes. We didn’t know where the bottom would be. We were still in the middle of two wars. Over 150,000 of our troops were overseas. But thanks to the hard work and the determination of the American people, when I come here today the story is different. Working together, we’ve cut the unemployment rate in Florida by more than half. Across the country, we turned years of job losses into the longest streak of job creation on record. We slashed our dependence on foreign oil, doubled our production of renewable energy. Incomes are rising again -- they rose more last year than any time ever recorded. Poverty is falling -- fell more last year than any time since 1968. Our graduation rates from high school are at record highs. College enrollment is significantly higher than it was when we came into office. Marriage equality is a reality in all 50 states. (Applause.) So we've been busy. This is why I've got gray hair. (Laughter.) But we did one other thing. We fought to make sure that in America, health care is not just a privilege, but a right for every single American. And that’s what I want to talk about today. (Applause.) That's what I want to talk about here today. You’ve heard a lot about Obamacare, as it's come to be known. You heard a lot about it in the six and a half years since I signed it into law. And some of the things you heard might even be true. But one thing I want to start with is just reminding people why it is that we fought for health reform in the first place. Because it was one of the key motivators in my campaign. And it wasn’t just because rising health costs were eating into workers’ paychecks and straining budgets for businesses and for governments. It wasn’t just because, before the law was passed, insurance companies could just drop your coverage because you got sick, r[...]
Thu, 20 Oct 2016 19:24:00 +0000
The President today declared a major disaster exists in the State of Wisconsin and ordered federal aid to supplement state, tribal, and local recovery efforts in the area affected by severe storms, flooding, and mudslides during the period of September 21-22, 2016.
Federal funding is available to state, tribal, and eligible local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations on a cost-sharing basis for emergency work and the repair or replacement of facilities damaged by the severe storms, flooding, and mudslides in the counties of Adams, Chippewa, Clark, Crawford, Jackson, Juneau, La Crosse, Monroe, Richland, and Vernon.
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 Benigno Bern Ruiz as the Federal Coordinating Officer for federal recovery operations in the affected area.
FEMA said additional designations may be made at a later date if requested by the state and warranted by the results of further damage assessments.
Thu, 20 Oct 2016 19:18:00 +0000
The President today declared a major disaster exists in the State of Kansas and ordered federal aid to supplement state and local recovery efforts in the area affected by severe storms and flooding during the period of September 2-12, 2016.
Federal funding is available to state and eligible local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations on a cost-sharing basis for emergency work and the repair or replacement of facilities damaged by the severe storms and flooding in the counties of Cheyenne, Cowley, Ellis, Graham, Greenwood, Kingman, Norton, Rooks, Russell, Sedgwick, and Sumner.
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 Christian M. Van Alstyne as the Federal Coordinating Officer for federal recovery operations in the affected area.
FEMA said additional designations may be made at a later date if requested by the state and warranted by the results of further damage assessments.
Thu, 20 Oct 2016 18:59:00 +0000Aboard Air Force One En Route Miami, Florida 11:25 A.M. EDT MR. SCHULTZ: Good morning. Welcome aboard Air Force One en route to Miami, where the President will deliver remarks at Miami Dade College about the Affordable Care Act and the progress we've made to improve our health care system. The President will discuss what more can be done to advance affordable, accessible, quality health care in this country, and the robust enrollment period we're expecting starting on November the 1st, less than two weeks from now. As you all know, because of the Affordable Care Act, 20 million more Americans now know the financial security and peace of mind that comes with having health insurance. Our health care costs are growing at the slowest rate in decades, and improvements to our health care system, thanks to the law, are keeping patients healthier and letting doctors practice medicine the way they'd like. For additional background on why we're headed to Miami Dade, let me tell you that this is an institution that's been involved from day one in educating their students, faculty, staff, and surrounding community about open enrollment. They've hosted dozens of enrollment days with in-person assisters on all nine campuses throughout the county. They've sent regular email reminders to all their students around deadlines, and regularly use their social media platforms to amplify open enrollment. One other thing I wanted to draw to your attention this morning is that today, on our website, at WhiteHouse.gov, we're launching a new feature highlighting the letters that the President has received during his time in office. Many of you know that every night the President receives 10 letters written to him by Americans from around the country, and this first set posted today comprises Affordable Care Act letters that the President has received over the last seven and a half years. So we hope you'll check them out. And we'll continue to add letters on this topic and a range of others over the next few months. With that, I'm happy to take your questions. Q Are the letters just on health care, or will they be about other subjects in the future? MR. SCHULTZ: We're going to be uploading letters on a whole host of topics. The ones we uploaded today, this sort of inaugural batch, are on the Affordable Care Act. Q And will they be done in like chunks of different topics? Like, each dispatch will have the same topic kind of idea? MR. SCHULTZ: For today, I can tell you that today's letters are about the Affordable Care Act and what this legislation has meant to people who have been able to use it. They're amongst the 20 million people who have gotten health insurance based on the Affordable Care Act. They've written really meaningful, touching stories. These are the stories that inspire this President to make sure this law is working as best as it can. So we're going to continue to share those stories and stories on a range of other issues facing Americans. Q Was the President watching the debate last night? And if so, what was his reaction to Donald Trump refusing to commit to accept the results of the election in November? MR. SCHULTZ: Jordan, I think before we left off, the President sent out a tweet that you may have seen. He thinks these debates have been an opportunity for the American people to see what the President kn[...]
Thu, 20 Oct 2016 12:19:00 +0000Today, President Obama will travel to Miami Dade College in Miami, Florida to deliver remarks about the progress we’ve made to improve our health care system, largely because of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), and what more can be done to advance affordable, accessible and quality health care. He will discuss the upcoming open enrollment period for the Health Insurance Marketplace, which runs from November 1 through January 31, as well as the Administration’s efforts this year to sign up young adults for coverage, who compose a disproportionate share of the remaining uninsured. Miami Dade College has served as a nationwide model for its work with its surrounding community to enroll eligible Americans in health coverage. And the President will reflect on the transformation in health care over the last seven-plus years, including system-wide reforms that are putting patients at the center of their own care and laying the foundation for a generation of medical advances. Eight years ago, candidate Obama promised that he would make quality, affordable health care not a privilege, but a right. America was one of the last industrialized nations where this wasn’t already the case. Tens of millions of Americans couldn’t get health insurance, while others were forced to declare bankruptcy when they incurred crippling medical debt because of an accident or an unexpected diagnosis. High and rising health care costs placed serious burdens on our businesses, workers and economy, and threatened the future of Medicare. And our health care system too often failed to focus on patients, often waiting until Americans were sick to treat them rather than focusing on keeping them healthy. After decades of trying by presidents of both parties, President Obama made health care reform a reality. Because of the coverage expansions enacted in the ACA, an estimated 20 million adults have gained health insurance coverage as of early 2016. Children have also seen major coverage gains during this Administration, thanks in large part to the ACA and the Children’s Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act of 2009 (CHIPRA). The uninsured rate among children has fallen by almost half since 2008, resulting in more than 3 million additional children having health insurance, according to a new analysis published today by the Council of Economic Advisers. The uninsured rate for people of all ages now stands at 8.6 percent, the lowest level on record. Even as we have achieved historic coverage gains, the outlook for health care spending has improved dramatically. Over the ACA’s first decade, we are now on track to spend $2.6 trillion less than was projected without the ACA back in 2010. Thanks in part to the ACA’s focus on reducing costs and inefficiencies, health care prices have risen at the slowest rate in 50 years since the law passed, which will benefit all of us for years to come. For example, as a result of low premium growth in employer-sponsored coverage, the average premium for employer-sponsored family coverage in 2016 was nearly $3,600 lower than if premium growth since 2010 had matched the average premium growth rate recorded over the decade preceding the ACA. Slower growth compared to before the law was enacted has helped our economy, businesses, workers and state governments. The ACA is significantly improving the quality of patient care throughout the health care system. For example, the law provides incentives to hospitals in Medicare to improve quality and reduce avoidable hospital readmissions. Hospital-acquired conditions have falle[...]
Wed, 19 Oct 2016 23:04:00 +0000James S. Brady Press Briefing Room **Please see below for corrections, marked with asterisks. 12:50 P.M. EDT MR. EARNEST: Good afternoon, everybody. Nice to hear you all in a good mood. Q You're not wearing your tux. (Laughter.) MR. EARNEST: Yes, I've changed back into my civilian clothes, which is a coat and tie -- occupational hazard, I think. I do not have anything at the top, so we can go straight to your questions. Kevin, do you want to start? Q Sure. Josh, in keeping with the President's trip to Miami tomorrow, regarding the Affordable Care Act, is the President alarmed about the premium increases that many people are seeing, as well as insurers -- major insurers exiting the program in some markets? And is it a sign that some changes are needed? MR. EARNEST: Well, Kevin, the President has been clear that the Affordable Care Act has had enormous benefits for Americans all across the country. Since the Affordable Care Act went into effect, we have seen the overall growth in health care costs held down. We have seen 20 million Americans get access to health care; these are Americans who didn't previously have access to health insurance before the Affordable Care Act. And we have seen millions of Americans all across the country benefit from the kinds of consumer protections that they have long been denied. These are consumer protections that protect people from having to declare bankruptcy because they essentially exceed the lifetime limit that is imposed by their health insurance company. Those lifetime limits are no longer allowed. Individuals cannot be discriminated against because they have a preexisting condition. So these kinds of consumer benefits have not just helped those Americans who are shopping for health insurance on the individual market; those are consumer protections that also benefit the 150 million Americans that get their health insurance through their employer. So those kinds of improvements are obvious benefits of the Affordable Care Act and obviously all critical reasons why the President fought so hard to have this law go into effect. Now, I think you're acknowledging something that the President has discussed before, too, which is that there are some tweaks to the law that could be implemented that would further improve its performance. And the President has laid out some ideas for what those tweaks would look like, including further enhancing competition in the marketplace by allowing the creation of a public option that added competition in all 50 states would, we believe, have the effect of further challenging private health insurance companies to improve their offerings and reduce their prices. So these are the kinds of the things that the next Congress will have to consider. Obviously, the current Congress is one that's dominated by Republicans who have voted more than 50 times to repeal the law but have not once in the last six years actually put forward their own alternative proposal. So it's clear that Republicans in Congress don't share the President's interest in trying to improve our health care system in this country. Maybe the next batch of members of Congress will, and hopefully we'll have a President, like the candidate that President Obama has endorsed, who is determined to build on the remarkable success of the Affordable Care Act. Q But[...]
Wed, 19 Oct 2016 22:51:00 +0000
National Security Advisor Susan E. Rice met today with a group of governors representing states in Nigeria’s north and middle belt to discuss issues of strategic significance to the United States and Nigeria. They discussed the importance of strong and inclusive governance as the region works to confront security threats, including from Boko Haram—now known as ISIL's West Africa Province—and from clashes among ethnic, religious, and other groups in Nigeria. They also discussed how to strengthen collaboration on a faster and more effective response to the humanitarian crisis in northeast Nigeria as well as the importance of meeting the needs of the internally displaced and their host-communities. Finally, the group exchanged ideas for strengthening Nigeria’s economy and creating educational and employment opportunities for the millions of young people eager to contribute to the region's growth. Ambassador Rice underscored the United States' strong partnership with Nigeria at every level of government and deep and longstanding support for the Nigerian people.
Wed, 19 Oct 2016 18:41:31 +0000Remarks by Deputy National Security Advisor Avril D. Haines “The Importance of Treaties” Yale Law School As Prepared for Delivery Saturday, October 15, 2016 Good afternoon. Thank you for having me—and on a Saturday, no less. I’m thrilled to be here with so many distinguished scholars, students, and friends. And having worked for years in the State Department’s Office of Treaty Affairs, you should know that discussing treaties and international law on a Saturday is actually my idea of a good time. As Brian indicated in his remarks, in recent years, we have experienced a backlash against treaties. I am the first to admit that you have to judge the substance of a treaty – not every deal is a good deal – but the criticism has frequently been framed against treaties generally. They are criticized as unnecessary limitations on our sovereignty, tools for the federal government to take power away from the states, and vehicles through which the United States submits itself to international bodies that do not share our values. I have an entirely different image of treaties that I want to share with you – not as a treaty lawyer but as a policymaker and a national security professional in today’s complex world. I see treaties as enablers of U.S. foreign policy and core U.S. interests. From my perspective, treaties – whether advice and consent, or otherwise – are absolutely essential to meeting the challenges we face as a country. We need to change the conversation about treaties. Brian explained how, as a legal matter, there are tools available to the Senate for addressing risks or concerns about particular treaties, including any federalism issues that are raised. What I thought I would spend my time on is why we need treaties; how we use treaties, international agreements, and even non-legally binding commitments to advance American interests; and then give you a sense of why I believe that if we turn away from treaties as a tool of foreign policy or demand that they only be ratified if no compromises have been made in the context of negotiations, we will be abdicating U.S. leadership in the world when it is sorely needed and to our great advantage as a country. Let me start on an optimistic note. Thanks in large part to the international system that the United States has played a leading role in building and maintaining, we are living in the most prosperous and progressive era in human history. It has been decades since we’ve seen a war between major powers. Most people live in democracies. Over the last 25 years, more than 1 billion people have been lifted out of extreme poverty. We’ve saved over 60 million lives from measles and malaria and tuberculosis. And as President Obama likes to say, if you had to choose one moment in history in which you could be born, and you didn’t know ahead of time who you were going to be—what nationality, what gender, what race, whether you’d be rich or poor, gay or straight—you’d choose today. At the same time, we live in an increasingly complex and fast-paced world—one in which issues that first arise across the globe can reach our shores in record time or impact us from abroad, creating national security challenges for the United States. We face threats when states fail, from the strain that uncontroll[...]
Wed, 19 Oct 2016 03:24:00 +0000South Lawn Tent 9:21 P.M. EDT PRESIDENT OBAMA: Good evening, everybody! Buonasera! On behalf of Michelle and myself, welcome to the White House. And welcome to the final state dinner of my presidency. (Applause.) But in the immortal words of a great Italian-American, Yogi Berra -- “it ain’t over till it’s over.” (Applause.) And so we have a wonderful evening ahead of us as we celebrate the great alliance between the United States and Italy with our great friends, Prime Minister Matteo Renzi -- (applause) -- and Mrs. Agnese Landini. (Applause.) Now, I have to say this is a remarkable crowd. I will confess that, at first, I was a little nervous about this dinner. After all, Matteo is called Il Rottamatore -- The Scrapper, The Demolition Man. (Laughter.) And Roberto Benigni is here as well, and he has promised not to jump on the tables. (Laughter.) Ask any Italian, or Italian-American, and they’ll tell you that the dinners can get somewhat animated. People can get excited -- especially if your grandmother thinks you’re not eating enough. And so Michelle and I decided to just think of this as a typical Italian Sunday dinner -- surrounded by family and great friends, paisans -- and pasta. And tonight, we’re reminded that American democracy has been graced by the touch of Italy. Our declaration that “all men are created equal” was penned by Thomas Jefferson, and it was a concept shared by his friend, also from Florence, Filippo Mazzei. We stand before the Lincoln Memorial and see the work of the Piccirilli brothers. We look up at the dome of the U.S. Capitol and marvel at the touch of Brumidi. Then again, some days our presidential campaigns can seem like something out of Dante’s Inferno. (Laughter and applause.) Most of all, we see the spirit of Italy -- and the friendships between our people -- in so many proud Italian-Americans. I suspect that many of you here tonight are thinking of your own families -- parents, grandparents, great-grandparents -- who left the old country, who toiled and sacrificed, and gave everything they had so that the next generation could succeed. Your presence here tonight shows that America is a place where if you work hard, no matter what you look like, what your last name is, how many vowels you have in your name, you can make it if you try. And even if we are not Italian-American, or Mets fans, we can celebrate that Mike Piazza is finally in the Baseball Hall of Fame. (Laughter.) I also want to take this occasion to once again thank my friend, Matteo. He may be the youngest prime minister in modern Italian history -- he makes me feel old, which is unfortunate. (Laughter.) When I came in I was the young guy -- now he’s the young guy. (Laughter.) But from the first time we met, I could see that he represented the energy and the optimism, the vision and the values that can carry Italy, and Europe, forward. He is, as you say in Italy, buono come il pane. Matteo, I cannot thank you enough for your excellent partnership as we’ve worked to advance the security and prosperity of our citizens and the dignity of people around the world. I understand that when you were growing up, your mother would tell you stories about Robert Kennedy’s commit[...]
Wed, 19 Oct 2016 00:16:10 +0000
President Obama spoke by phone today with United Nations Secretary-General-designate António Guterres to congratulate him on his recent election and affirm that the United States will work closely with him when he assumes leadership of the United Nations on January 1, 2017. The President pledged our continued assistance on U.N. efforts to address a wide array of global challenges, including climate change, forced migration, sustainable development, nonproliferation, humanitarian assistance, conflict prevention, peacekeeping, and promoting respect for human rights. He also stressed the importance of strengthening U.N. reform efforts, including ensuring effective and accountable peacekeeping and strengthening and modernizing U.N. institutions.
The international community is asking more of the U.N. today than ever before, from negotiating ends to conflicts, deploying peacekeepers to protect, mitigating threats from climate change, responding to humanitarian catastrophes, and providing urgently-needed assistance to refugees and other vulnerable migrants around the world. As a founding member and host country of the U.N., and as a permanent member of the U.N. Security Council, the United States is firmly committed to continuing our longstanding, strong support of U.N. efforts to make a more peaceful, secure and prosperous world.
Tue, 18 Oct 2016 22:14:00 +0000
MINORITY ENTERPRISE DEVELOPMENT WEEK, 2016
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BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
Since our earliest days, entrepreneurship has embodied the very promise of our Nation, reaffirming the notion that in a place of such limitless potential, Americans can forge a prosperous future and build a better life for themselves and their families. Women and men of every faith, background, and race have channeled their talents and ingenuity into harnessing the spirit of innovation that has long been the hallmark of our people. And as an essential part of our country's story, minority-owned enterprises have helped spur this progress. During Minority Enterprise Development Week, we reflect on the significant ways they have helped put our economy on the path to success, and we recommit to empowering every hardworking American to write our next great chapters.
Minority-owned firms employ millions of workers and generate more than $1 trillion in economic output, revitalizing our communities and driving our growth. That is why my Administration is helping entrepreneurs of all backgrounds and small businesses across our country get the resources they need to get off the ground. Through the Minority Business Development Agency, we have led efforts to promote growth and competitiveness. We are helping streamline the process of starting a company and investing in entrepreneurship training and skill building for more Americans. Through www.Business.USA.gov, we are helping more enterprises get information about Federal contracts, and we are connecting them to critical resources to help develop and grow a business. In today's global economy, minority-owned businesses are essential to our country's success. They are twice as likely as other businesses to export their goods and services, and I am working to encourage entrepreneurship and innovation through a smart trade agenda that will allow us to sell more goods, boost economic competitiveness, and help more of our entrepreneurs thrive.
Our Nation has always drawn strength from the diversity of our people, and no matter who you are, what you look like, or where you come from, America is a place where everyone deserves a chance to get ahead. This week, we must continue working to support minority enterprises and all entrepreneurs -- and ensure that by expanding access to the networks, capital, and opportunities required to build a business, everybody can have a fair shot at reaching their piece of the American dream.
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 October 23 through October 29, 2016, as Minority Enterprise Development Week. I call upon all Americans to celebrate this week with appropriate programs, ceremonies, and activities to recognize the many contributions of our Nation's minority enterprises.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this eighteenth day of October, 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.
Tue, 18 Oct 2016 21:29:00 +0000Below is a list of expected attendees at tonight’s Italy State Dinner. Additional details about the State Dinner are available HERE. THE PRESIDENT AND MRS. OBAMA Honorees HIS EXCELLENCY MATTEO RENZI, PRIME MINISTER OF THE REPUBLIC OF ITALY AND MRS. AGNESE LANDINI The Honorable Adewale Adeyemo, Deputy Assistant to the President & Deputy National Security Advisor for International Economics, National Security Council Ms. Mae Podesta The Honorable Salman Ahmed, Special Assistant to the President & Senior Director for Strategic Planning & Counselor to the National Security Advisor, National Security Council Ms. Shaheen Ahmed Professor Elizabeth Alexander, Poet Mr. Mark C. Alexander Mr. Mario Andretti, Former Racing Driver Ms. Barbra Andretti-Curto Ms. Paola Antonelli, Architect & Designer, Guest of the Prime Minister of the Republic of Italy Mr. Giorgio Armani, Fashion Designer, The Armani Group, Guest of the Prime Minister of the Republic of Italy Mr. Mario Batali, Chef Ms. Susan Cahn Mr. Richard Bates, Senior Vice President of Governmental Relations, The Walt Disney Company Ms. Rose Bates Ms. Giovanna Battaglia, W Magazine & Vogue Japan Mr. Oscar Engelbert Mr. Roberto Benigni, Actor, Guest of the Prime Minister of the Republic of Italy The Honorable Steve Keith Benjamin, Mayor of Columbia, South Carolina Ms. DeAndrea Gist Benjamin Mr. Chance Bennett, Rapper Mr. Kenneth Bennett Ms. Susan Berghoef, Attorney Mr. Patrick Croke Ms. Megan Beyer, Executive Director, President’s Committee on the Arts & Humanities The Honorable Don Beyer, Jr. Ms. Ashley Blazer Biden, Executive Director, Delaware Center for Justice Mr. Hunter Biden, Chairman, Rosemont Seneca Advisors The Honorable Joseph R. Biden, Jr., Vice President of the United States Dr. Jill Biden Mr. Paul Blavin, Founder, FOR GOOD Ms. Amy Blavin The Honorable Tony Blinken, Deputy Secretary of State, U.S. Department of State The Honorable Evan Ryan Dr. Paul Boskind, Chief Executive Officer, Deer Oaks Mental Health Associates, PC Mr. Robby McMillin-Boskind Mr. David Bradley, Chairman & Owner, Atlantic Media Ms. Katherine Bradley Ms. Nicoletta Braschi, Actress, Guest of the Prime Minister of the Republic of Italy The Honorable Anita Breckenridge, Assistant to the President & Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations, The White House Ms. Rebekah Bader Mr. Donato R. Buccini, Vice President, Edward J. DeSeta Company, Inc. Ms. Bernadette De Seta Buccini Ms. Carrie Budoff, Politico Mr. Thomas Brown Ms. Cathy Burns, President, Produce Marketing Association Mr. Kenneth Burns The Honorable Kristie Canegallo, Assistant to the President & Deputy Chief of Staff for Implementation, The White House Mr. Mark James Canegallo, Jr. Mr. Raffaele Cantone, President, National Anticorruption Authority, Guest of [...]
Tue, 18 Oct 2016 20:58:00 +0000
President Barack Obama today announced the designation of a Presidential Delegation to the Republic of Cabo Verde to Attend the Inauguration of His Excellency Jorge Carlos Fonseca, President of the Republic of Cabo Verde on October 20, 2016 in Praia, Cabo Verde.
The Honorable Linda Thomas-Greenfield, Assistant Secretary for African Affairs, Department of State, will lead the delegation.
Members of the Presidential Delegation:
The Honorable Donald L. Heflin, U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Cabo Verde, Department of State
Tue, 18 Oct 2016 19:14:00 +0000Today’s Actions Respond to Executive Order Issued on April 15 to Spur Competition, Build on Strong Record to Create a More Transparent, Lower Cost, and Higher Quality Experience for Consumers More than 700 million passengers are expected to board 9 million domestic airline flights in America this year. The sheer volume of people, flights, and miles underscores how fundamental air travel is to the American economy and to the lives of so many people across the country. The Administration’s actions will spur competition in the airline industry. When American families and workers travel—whether for a long-awaited vacation or to get to a last-minute meeting—they deserve to know exactly what they’re buying. And they deserve to get what they pay for—without hidden fees or last-minute complications. Before the Obama Administration came into office, airlines were able to hide fees, shield their actual performance from consumers, and increase prices even after consumers had booked their tickets. That wasn’t fair, and it stifled transparent competition. But in 2009, as part of the President’s efforts to promote more competition and protect consumers, the Obama Administration undertook an overhaul of the rules of the road. Through a series of new regulations, for example, the Administration has given consumers new tools. Today, consumers can easily determine the full fare for a flight, hold a reservation without payment or cancel reservation within 24 hours, get real-time updates from airlines about delayed flights, and feel confident that, if they get bumped from a flight, they will be properly compensated. Today, the Department of Transportation is announcing a series of new executive actions to build on that strong record. These actions answer the President’s Executive Order that called for more competition that helps consumers, workers, and entrepreneurs. Together, the actions announced today will help consumers know how airlines are performing, make sure consumers don’t have to pay for services they don’t receive, and help consumers find the best flight options. That will create a more competitive market, with better outcomes for American consumers. REQUIRING REFUNDS FOR DELAYED BAGGAGE: Passengers should not be charged for services they do not receive. For example, if passengers are charged a fee by an airline for their checked baggage, they should expect to receive that baggage in a timely manner. The Administration has already taken steps to require airlines to reimburse bag fees when bags are lost; today, DOT is issuing an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to require airlines to refund baggage fees when a passenger’s luggage is substantially delayed. MAKING THE AIRLINE MARKET FAIRER, MORE TRANSPARENT: Today, the Department is releasing new final rules that will provide consumers more information and prohibit airlines from cherry-picking data about their performance. The rules will: STOP AIRLINES FROM DATA CHERRY-PICKING: Require the big U.S. airlines to report performance for any plane that flies under their banner - ensuring that the large carriers have to faithfully report on all domestic flights under their brand, not just the ones they select. To meet this goal, the new rule will [...]
Tue, 18 Oct 2016 19:13:00 +0000
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CONTINUATION OF THE NATIONAL EMERGENCY WITH RESPECT TO
SIGNIFICANT NARCOTICS TRAFFICKERS CENTERED IN COLOMBIA
On October 21, 1995, by Executive Order 12978, the President declared a national emergency with respect to significant narcotics traffickers centered in Colombia pursuant to the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (50 U.S.C. 1701-1706) to deal with the unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security, foreign policy, and economy of the United States constituted by the actions of significant narcotics traffickers centered in Colombia and the extreme level of violence, corruption, and harm such actions cause in the United States and abroad.
The actions of significant narcotics traffickers centered in Colombia continue to threaten the national security, foreign policy, and economy of the United States and to cause an extreme level of violence, corruption, and harm in the United States and abroad. For this reason, the national emergency declared in Executive Order 12978 of October 21, 1995, and the measures adopted pursuant thereto to deal with that emergency, must continue in effect beyond October 21, 2016. Therefore, in accordance with section 202(d) of the National Emergencies Act (50 U.S.C. 1622(d)), I am continuing for 1 year the national emergency with respect to significant narcotics traffickers centered in Colombia declared in Executive Order 12978.
This notice shall be published in the Federal Register and transmitted to the Congress.
THE WHITE HOUSE,
October 18, 2016.
Tue, 18 Oct 2016 19:13:00 +0000
TEXT OF A LETTER FROM THE PRESIDENT
TO THE SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
AND THE PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE
October 18, 2016
Dear Mr. Speaker: (Dear Mr. President:)
Section 202(d) of the National Emergencies Act, 50 U.S.C. 1622(d), provides for the automatic termination of a national emergency unless, within 90 days prior to the anniversary date of its declaration, the President publishes in the Federal Register and transmits to the Congress a notice stating that the emergency is to continue in effect beyond the anniversary date. In accordance with this provision, I have sent to the Federal Register for publication the enclosed notice stating that the national emergency with respect to significant narcotics traffickers centered in Colombia declared in Executive Order 12978 of October 21, 1995, is to continue in effect beyond October 21, 2016.
The circumstances that led to the declaration on October 21, 1995, of a national emergency have not been resolved. The actions of significant narcotics traffickers centered in Colombia continue to pose an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security, foreign policy, and economy of the United States and to cause an extreme level of violence, corruption, and harm in the United States and abroad. For this reason, I have determined that it is necessary to continue the national emergency declared in Executive Order 12978 with respect to significant narcotics traffickers centered in Colombia.
Tue, 18 Oct 2016 18:24:56 +0000South Grounds 9:26 A.M. EDT PRESIDENT OBAMA: Good morning! AUDIENCE: Good morning! PRESIDENT OBAMA: Buongiorno! AUDIENCE: Buongiorno! PRESIDENT OBAMA: Today is bittersweet for Michelle and I because this marks the final official visit and state dinner of my presidency. But it’s okay. (Laughter.) We saved the best for last. (Applause.) And so on behalf of Michelle and myself, and on behalf of the American people, it is my great honor to welcome, from Italy, Prime Minister Matteo Renzi -- (applause) -- and Mrs. Agnese Landini