An Interview With The President: Barack Obama Talks To The Economist.


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AS HE prepares to host a summit in Washington, DC, that will bring together leaders from across Africa, how does Barack Obama see the continent’s future (see article)? Does he feel let down by Vladimir Putin? Could he have designed a more elegant health-care law? And why don’t more business leaders admit that they have lunch with him?

 

In his cabin aboard Air Force One, returning to Washington from Kansas City, where he had been speaking about economic policy, the president talked with John Micklethwait, editor-in-chief of The Economist, and Edward Carr, our foreign editor. The prompt for the interview was the Africa summit, but the conversation ranged widely through the emerging world, China and Russia and the principles underlying his foreign policy. It ended with a lengthy riposte to those, including The Economist, who have criticised the White House for its treatment of business. Mr Obama was unusually relaxed and contemplative, buoyed by the recent economic numbers and looking towards his legacy as well as the mid-term elections and his wrangles with Congress.

 

Because the interview took place on board a plane with three people hunched round a microphone, the sound quality is less than perfect. You can listen to edited highlights of the president’s thoughts on Africa, Russia,China, multilateralism and American business, or listen to the full interview here. A full transcript, lightly edited for clarity, is available below.

 

Barack Obama talks to The Economist

 

Published on Aug 2, 2014

An interview with the president. The Economist’s editor-in-chief and foreign editor talked to Barack Obama aboard Air Force One on August 1st, 2014 as he returned to Washington from Kansas City. The conversation ranged widely through the emerging world, China and Russia and the principles underlying his foreign policy. It ended with a lengthy riposte to those, including The Economist, who have criticised the White House for its treatment of business. You can listen to the full interview here or view the transcript via our website: The Economist.

 

 

 

The Economist: Our starting point, on Africa, is we think Africa is the next big emerging opportunity. You don’t have to convince us at all that the narrative has changed, that this is a completely new thing. And we’ve been writing about that a lot. But it strikes me that in Africa you have an opportunity. You have Lagos, an amazing place, full of entrepreneurs, but you also have northern Nigeria, where you’ve got threats aplenty. I look back at American foreign policy in the past—at emerging Asia. Asia came out, but America really guided it—Kissinger went to China, he helped move it. Do you think America is up for Africa? Do you think America is able to guide it through the next period?

 

Barack Obama: I think America is not going to do it alone, but I think America can be central in moving Africa into the next stage of growth and integrating it into the world economy in a way in which it’s benefitting the people of Africa and it’s not just a source of natural resources.

 

And there are a couple of reasons why I think America can be central in this process. First of all, American companies continue to be an enormous force in the global economy, and in talking to US companies, there is a real recognition of opportunity there. Secondly, I do think that the American traditions of transparency, accountability, rule of law, property rights are ingredients that are critical to unlocking Africa’s future. Third, America was, and continues to be, an economy based on ideas, and as we move deeper into the 21st century, our emphasis on developing human capital is something that Africa very much wants and we’re good at it.

 

And finally, what’s fascinating about African development is the opportunities that they have to leapfrog certain technologies and skip certain phases of development, and we are very good at the technologies that allow countries to potentially leapfrog development. So a classic example being in the telecommunications sector. We invented smartphones and there are smartphones everywhere in Africa.

 

The Economist: They’re very good at doing mobile money, though, aren’t they? They’re much better at banking than—

 

Mr Obama: Well, when we were out the last time—I started in Senegal during my tour, and talking to small farmers about how they’re now getting weather reports, market reports, information on the latest seed technologies, all through their smartphone—those are the kinds of things that we excel at. And to meet a woman who started off with a small plot, who’s able to leverage that into a thriving—still small, but profitable operation, those are the kinds of things that I think we can do better than just about anybody else.

 

The Economist: Your second point about what the US has to bring in, in terms of governance—of course, one of the big factors in Africa and the economy’s emergence has been Chinese investment. And they bring a different model. They don’t have governence. Is that something that—on the other hand, is that a problem for you? Is that something that you need to confront, or is—actually, at this stage, just the capital and the foreign direct investment all that really matters?

 

Mr Obama: My view is the more the merrier. When I was in Africa, the question of China often came up, and my attitude was every country that sees investment opportunities and is willing to partner with African countries should be welcomed. The caution is to make sure that African governments negotiate a good deal with whoever they’re partnering with. And that is true whether it’s the United States; that’s true whether it’s China.

 

And I do think that China has certain capacity, for example, to build infrastructure in Africa that’s critical. They’ve got a lot of capital and they may be less constrained than the United States is fiscally in helping roads get built and bridges and ports. On the other hand, China obviously has a need for natural resources that colours their investments in a way that’s less true for the United States.

 

And so my advice to African leaders is to make sure that if, in fact, China is putting in roads and bridges, number one, that they’re hiring African workers; number two, that the roads don’t just lead from the mine to the port to Shanghai, but that there’s an ability for the African governments to shape how this infrastructure is going to benefit them in the long term.

 

And one of the interesting things we talked about at what was then a G8 summit—the one in Northern Ireland—was how the G7 countries could assist African governments who do have natural resources to build in transparency mechanisms that ensured any infrastructure and any architecture for extraction, in fact, redounded to the benefit of the populations.

 

The Economist: The other advantage the Chinese have is they don’t have Congress. Well, they have a congress but it’s somehow more compliant, to use your word this morning. We could both agree that one of the great things would be to have more free trade in Africa if you could push people. But you face the danger that Congress may give up on the Export-Import Bank and may also get in the way of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA). These could frustrate your policy.

 

Mr Obama: There’s no doubt that—

 

The Economist: You’d rather be a dictator. (Laughter.)

 

Mr Obama: Let’s just make sure that we note that that was not my quote. (Laughter.)

 

There is no doubt that a thread has emerged in the Republican Party of anti-globalisation that runs contrary to the party’s traditional support for free trade. How the Export-Import Bank and the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) became targets for Tea Party wrath is a little strange to me. But I do think there remains a consensus within the American business community that ultimately we benefit from trade. I am confident that we can get AGOA reauthorised and refined, given the lessons learned from the first round of AGOA. And the truth is that the amount of trade between the United States and Africa is so small relative to our overall economy that in no way should it be perceived as a threat.

 

I am more concerned about the prospect, for example, that Ex-Im was not reauthorised because I think it will hurt US companies. I’m less concerned about its impact on Africa because I guarantee you that there will be German companies and Chinese companies and Indian companies who rush to fill that void. So when you’re talking about a continent with six of the ten fastest-growing economies, we would be cutting off our nose to spite our face to not be engaged and not to encourage strong trade relations. And the business community understands that.

 

Now, one thing that I want to make sure we emphasise, that multilateral institutions emphasise, and that African governments emphasise is not just trade with the advanced economies but intra-African trade. It is easier now to send a shipment of goods from Nairobi to Amsterdam than it is to send those goods to many parts of Africa. And that is an impediment to trade.

 

You mentioned Asia as a model. Part of what Asia was able to do was not simply open up markets to the West for cheaper goods, it was also able to foster homegrown businesses in Asia with regional markets that gave an opportunity for businesses to get better, to develop better products, to in some ways avoid competition on the global scale right away. Essentially, you can operate off-Broadway before you open the show on Broadway.

 

And so the more we can do to also encourage intra-African trade, the better. And we’re experimenting with that with the East Africa Trade Initiative that we are helping Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda and other countries move forward on—synchronising their regulatory schemes, reducing some of the bureaucracy and paperwork between borders, planning for joint infrastructure, planning for joint power generation.

 

We’re really excited about Power Africa as a potential transformative effort—the idea that we can double the amount of electricity in sub-Saharan Africa, which can transform everything from businesses to schools.

 

And there are a whole bunch of different models for generating power. In some cases, particularly in rural areas, if we’re building a small power plant, the key is going to be making sure that Kenya and Tanzania, for example, have some sort of cooperative agreement, so that like the Tennessee Valley Authority, it’s helping a region and you’ve got enough customers to justify the economics of the investment. That’s the kind of effort that, again, I think America can play a unique role in.

 

The Economist: The other bit where it could play a unique role is security. I mean, you are the main provider. I’ve seen a couple of European leaders recently who’ve said that they think that you see African security as their area, as their backyard, they should be dealing with it. Is that fair or is that the wrong way to depict it? That you would be prepared to expend blood and treasure to help create this new Africa in the same way as America did for Asia?

 

Mr Obama: It’s interesting. The US security presence is always a source of ambivalence everywhere in the world. If we’re not there, people think we’re neglecting them. If we’re there, then they think we’re militarising a region. Right now I think we got it about right. Our theory is that we very much need to partner with African countries, first and foremost, and regional African organisations.

 

And one of the main topics in the summit will be finding ways to strengthen peacekeeping and conflict-resolution efforts by Africans. There are certain countries that carry a very heavy load when it comes to peacekeeping and conflict resolution. And for us to engage in the African Union and ECOWAS to find ways to improve their capabilities so that they are able to police their own neighbourhood can make a huge difference.

 

We also think that we need to have a much more intentional, explicit plan for NATO to engage with African countries and regional organisations, not because the United States is not prepared to invest in security efforts in Africa, but rather to ensure that we are not perceived as trying to dominate the continent. Rather, we want to make sure that we’re seen as a reliable partner. And there are some advantages to some European countries with historical ties being engaged and taking advantage of relationships—

 

The Economist: So France might be able to—

 

Mr Obama: France—the Francophone countries—obviously is going to be able to do certain things better than we can. And one of the things we want to make sure of, though, is that when the average African thinks about US engagement in Africa, I don’t want them to think that our only interest is avoiding terrorists from spilling out into the world stage. Rather, we want them to see the partnership as comprehensive, and security being one part of our broader agenda.

 

The Economist: Can I push you a bit on that—using Africa as an example for a thing about general foreign policy? You worked really hard on this idea of getting responsible powers to work together. And I suppose as you look back, you might say the two problems you’ve had are, first, dealing with people who aren’t rational or are extremely difficult to deal with—like Mr Putin—or secondly, the problem is allies who aren’t prepared to put stuff in. And South Africa would seem to be emblematic of other new emerging powers. You’ve got South Africa, you’ve got Indonesia, you’ve got India. A lot of things you’ve tried to get them to back, they haven’t. And why do you think that is? Is that a phase they’re going through? What’s changing?

 

Mr Obama: Well, look, there’s no doubt that a robust, interventionist foreign policy on behalf of certain principles, ideals or international rules is not a tradition that most countries embrace. And in the 20th century and in the early stages of the 21st century, the United States continues to be the one indispensable power that is willing to spend blood and treasure on that. And part of my job has been to try to persuade countries that the United States will always shoulder a greater burden than others, but we still cannot do it alone given the complexity and
interconnectedness of today’s world.

 

So when it comes to South Africa, we recognise a suspicion they may have about meddling too much in the affairs of Zimbabwe, for example. But my argument to them would be, ultimately, as a key regional power, if they fail to invest in the kind of international order or regional order that helps ordinary Zimbabweans thrive, then they’re going to have an immigration problem—which they already do. That, in turn, is going to put more pressure on them and their economies. And ultimately, those chickens will come home to roost.

 

I think there’s a recognition that that may be the case, but I think there’s still a worry on the part of many regional powers that if they are too meddlesome then they’re also exposing themselves to criticism from the outside. And so there’s a little bit of a north-south, traditional, non-aligned culture that dates back 20, 30 years that may take some time and may require a new generation of leadership to discard so that they can move forward in a more effective way.

 

The Economist: It’s kind of depressing, because you don’t see those powers, not even regionally, but globally, standing up to clear abuses and unravelling of the norms. And, in fact, you see countries like China creating a BRICS bank, for instance—institutions that seem to be parallel with the system—and potentially putting pressure on the system rather than adding to it and strengthening it. Now, China you can understand. But India, Brazil, South Africa—those are countries that really belong in the system, that benefit from the system.

 

Mr Obama: Well, this is why I say there may be some generational shifts that need to take place. I mean, if you think about a Brazil, an India, a South Africa, much of the leadership in those governments came of age when those countries had very different attitudes towards the global economic system. To their credit, they have made incredible adjustments. If you think about somebody like former Prime Minister Singh of India really dragging this massive, incredibly complicated but incredibly innovative society kicking and screaming into the world marketplace, and below him, though, you’ve got an entire bureaucracy that was trained in thinking that—

 

The Economist: By the British? (Laughter.)

 

Mr Obama:—well, but also that may have been schooled by economists who were experts on dependency theory but not necessarily on how are we going to unleash innovation.

 

The Economist: What’s their incentive to learn?

 

Mr Obama: So there will be time I think for that to happen. Their incentive is that—is what you just identified—they benefit from the global system.

 

I mean, ironically, today, if India, Brazil, Indonesia—these emerging countries are to succeed and to absorb very young populations that are seeing what’s possible through the internet and have ambitions of the sort that their parents and grandparents never had, the only way to meet those expectations is to dive head first into a global system that is organised, that is fair, that is transparent. And that means that these emerging powers have to be partners in underwriting that order.

 

Another way of thinking about it is, is that the post-World War II order was necessarily a creation of the United States. There had been times where the United States took advantage of that post-World War II order to extend the reach of its companies and to extend the reach of its products, but now it really belongs to everybody. It’s an ecosystem that’s been built for everyone.

 

And when we look at something like the Trans-Pacific Partnership, for example, yes, we think it’s good for the United States, but we also think it’s good for a country like Vietnam who, in the absence of these kinds of rules, is going to have a very difficult time negotiating with its giant neighbour and getting decent terms of trade. We think it’s going to be good for a country like Malaysia that has an interest in maintaining navigation and freedom of movement in the South China Sea.

 

And I do think that what’s happening in the ASEAN countries and their concerns about the Chinese posture on maritime issues is instructive. You’ve seen many of those countries say, we want great relations with China, we don’t want to have to choose between China and the United States; on the other hand, we don’t want to be bullied just because we’re small.

 

The Economist: Because that is the key issue, whether China ends up inside that system or challenging it. That’s the really big issue of our times, I think.

 

Mr Obama: It is. And I think it’s important for the United States and Europe to continue to welcome China as a full partner in these international norms. It’s important for us to recognise that there are going to be times where there are tensions and conflicts. But I think those are manageable.

 

And it’s my belief that as China shifts its economy away from simply being the low-cost manufacturer of the world to wanting to move up the value chain, then suddenly issues like protecting intellectual property become more relevant to their companies, not just to US companies.

 

One thing I will say about China, though, is you also have to be pretty firm with them, because they will push as hard as they can until they meet resistance. They’re not sentimental, and they are not interested in abstractions. And so simple appeals to international norms are insufficient. There have to be mechanisms both to be tough with them when we think that they’re breaching international norms, but also to show them the potential benefits over the long term. And what is true for China then becomes an analogy for many of the other emerging markets.

 

The Economist: What about the people who are just outright difficult? Russia being the obvious example at the moment. You tried to “reset” with Russia. Angela Merkel spent the whole time telephoning Vladimir Putin. To what extent do you feel let down almost personally by what’s happened?

 

Mr Obama: I don’t feel let down. We had a very productive relationship with President Medvedev. We got a lot of things done that we needed to get done. Russia I think has always had a Janus-like quality, both looking east and west, and I think President Putin represents a deep strain in Russia that is probably harmful to Russia over the long term, but in the short term can be politically popular at home and very troublesome abroad.

 

But I do think it’s important to keep perspective. Russia doesn’t make anything. Immigrants aren’t rushing to Moscow in search of opportunity. The life expectancy of the Russian male is around 60 years old. The population is shrinking. And so we have to respond with resolve in what are effectively regional challenges that Russia presents. We have to make sure that they don’t escalate where suddenly nuclear weapons are back in the discussion of foreign policy. And as long as we do that, then I think history is on our side.

Anything on the US economy? I noticed the occasional cover story saying how unfriendly to business we are.

 

The Economist: Yes, tell us about that. We see a lot of business people and they do complain about regulation.

 

Mr Obama: They always complain about regulation. That’s their job. Let’s look at the track record. Let’s look at the facts. Since I have come into office, there’s almost no economic metric by which you couldn’t say that the US economy is better and that corporate bottom lines are better. None.

 

So if, in fact, our policies have produced a record stock market, record corporate profits, 52 months of consecutive job growth, 10m new jobs, the deficit being cut by more than half, an energy sector that’s booming, a clean-energy sector that’s booming, a reduction of carbon pollution greater than the Europeans or any other country, a housing market that has bounced back, and an unemployment rate that is now lower than it was pre-Lehman—I think you’d have to say that we’ve managed the economy pretty well and business has done okay.

 

There are always going to be areas where business does not want to be regulated because regulations are inconvenient.

 

The Economist: When you look at things like Dodd-Frank and health-care reform—both of which we supported in principle—that they could have been much simpler?

 

Mr Obama: Of course. This goes back to the old adage of Churchill—democracy is the worst form of government except for all the alternatives. (Laughter.) It’s messy.

 

And so could we have designed a far more elegant health-care law? Of course. Would I have greatly preferred a blank canvas in which to design financial regulations post-2008 and consolidated agencies and simplified oversight? Absolutely. But the truth of the matter is, is that we saved the financial system. It continues to be extraordinarily profitable. And essentially, what we did was to provide an additional cushion so that if and when people make bad decisions with large sums of money—which they inevitably do—the risks to the system are reduced.

 

And on health care, as messy as the whole process has been, here’s what I know—that we have millions of people [insured] who didn’t have insurance before, and health-care inflation is the lowest it’s been in 50 years, for four consecutive years, corresponding to when we passed the law.

 

So my belief is that if, in fact, we can see a reduction in some of the political temperature around Obamacare or around Dodd-Frank, then it’s an iterative process. We can go back at it and further refine it, learn lessons from things that aren’t working as well, make it simpler, make it better. That does require, though, an attitude on the part of Congress, as well as on the part of the business community, that says you don’t just get 100% of what you want.

 

The business community does have broader responsibilities to the system as a whole. And although the general view today is that the only responsibility that a corporate CEO has is to his shareholders, I think the American people generally sense—

 

The Economist: Do you really think that’s true? Because when I talk to corporate CEOs, that’s one of their complaints. If you ask for a complaint about the White House, they’ll say it is the attitude. Every CEO nowadays is involved in nine different social responsibility things—it’s ingrained in most public—

 

Mr Obama: Well, I think—here’s what’s interesting. There’s a huge gap between the professed values and visions of corporate CEOs and how their lobbyists operate in Washington. And I’ve said this to various CEOs. When they come and they have lunch with me—which they do more often than they probably care to admit (laughter)—and they’ll say, you know what, we really care about the environment, and we really care about education, and we really care about getting immigration reform done—then my challenge to them consistently is, is your lobbyist working as hard on those issues as he or she is on preserving that tax break that you’ve got? And if the answer is no, then you don’t care about it as much as you say.

 

Now, to their credit, I think on an issue like immigration reform, for example, companies did step up. And what they’re discovering is the problem is not the regulatory zealotry of the Obama administration; what they’re discovering is the dysfunction of a Republican Party that knows we need immigration reform, knows that it would actually be good for its long-term prospects, but is captive to the nativist elements in its party.

 

And the same I think goes for a whole range of other issues like climate change, for example. There aren’t any corporate CEOs that you talk to at least outside of maybe—no, I will include CEOs of the fossil-fuel industries—who are still denying that climate change is a factor. What they want is some certainty around the regulations so that they can start planning. Given the capital investments that they have to make, they’re looking at 20-, 30-year investments. They’ve got to know now are we pricing carbon? Are we serious about this? But none of them are engaging in some of the nonsense that you’re hearing out of the climate-change denialists. Denialists?

 

Eric Schultz (deputy press secretary): Deniers.

 

The Economist: Deniers.

 

Mr Obama: Deniers—thank you.

 

The Economist: Denialists sounds better. (laughter.)

 

Mr Obama: It does have more of a ring to it.

 

So the point, though, is that I would take the complaints of the corporate community with a grain of salt. If you look at what our policies have been, they have generally been friendly towards business, while at the same time recognising there are certain core interests—fiscal interests, environmental interests, interests in maintaining stability of the financial system—where, yes, we’re placing constraints on them. It probably cuts into certain profit centres in their businesses. I understand why they would be frustrated by it, but the flip side of it is that they’d be even more unhappy if the global financial system unravels. Nobody has more of a stake in it than them.

 

Last point I’ll make on this: If you look at what’s happened over the last four or five years, the folks who don’t have a right to complain are the folks at the top. Where we have made less progress than I would like, and is my obsession since I came into office and will continue to be my obsession until I leave office and afterwards, is the broader trend of an increasingly bifurcated economy where those at the top are getting a larger and larger share of GDP, increased productivity, corporate profits, and middle-class and working-class families are stuck. Their wages and incomes are stagnant. They’ve been stagnant for almost two decades now. This is not a phenomenon unique to the United States, but it is global.

 

And this to me is the big challenge: How do we preserve the incredible dynamism of the capitalist system while making sure that the distribution of wealth and incomes and goods and services in that system is broadly based, is widely spread?

 

And the reason I’m concerned about this is not in any way a punitive notion. Oftentimes, you’ll hear some hedge-fund manager say, ‘Oh, he’s just trying to stir class resentment’. No. Feel free to keep your house in the Hamptons and your corporate jet, etc. I’m not concerned about how you’re living. I am concerned about making sure that we have a system in which the ordinary person who is working hard and is being responsible can get ahead and are seeing modest improvements in their life prospects, if not for themselves, then certainly for the next generation.

 

And I believe that that’s the big challenge, not just for the United States, but that’s the big challenge for everybody.

 

And we got to go because we’re all parked. Alright?

 

The Economist: Thank you.

 

Mr Obama: That was a good conversation. I enjoyed it.

 

 

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Where In The World Is Barack Today™: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. New York City, N.Y.


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Where In The World Is Barack Today™: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. New York City, N.Y. 

 

US President Barack Obama holds his first Twitter Town Hall

 

On Tuesday, President Obama will travel to TechShop Pittsburgh in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to deliver remarks on the economy.  Following this, he will travel to New York City to attend the DNC LGBT Gala and take part in another DNC Event.

 

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In the morning, the President will receive the Presidential Daily Briefing in the Oval Office. This meeting is closed press.

Later in the morning, the President will travel to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The President’s departure from White House and the arrival at Pittsburgh International Airport are open press.

While in Pittsburgh, the President will tour the TechShop Pittsburgh, deliver remarks and answer questions on the additional ways we can continue to create good jobs and expand opportunity for Americans by spurring American manufacturing and innovation. There will be out-of-town travel pool coverage of the tour, and the remarks are open to pre-credentialed media.

In the afternoon, the President will depart Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania en route New York, NY. The departure from Pittsburgh International Airport and arrival at the John F. Kennedy International Airport are open press.

While in New York, the President will attend a Senate Majority PAC roundtable event at the Intercontinental Hotel. This roundtable is closed press. Following this event the President will attend and deliver remarks at the DNC LGBT Gala. There will be expanded pool coverage of this event.

In the evening the President will attend a DNC roundtable at a private residence. The roundtable is closed press. Following the roundtable, the President will depart New York City en route Washington, DC. The departure from John F. Kennedy International Airport and the arrival on the South Lawn are open press.

 

White House Schedule – June 17th, 2014

 

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THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday June 17th, 2014

 

THE WHITE HOUSE GUIDANCE & SCHEDULE
TUESDAY June 17th, 2014

 

Tuesday June 17th 2014  All Times ET

 

8:00 AM: The Vice President holds a bilateral meeting with Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff. Local Event Time: 9:00 AM, Palácio do Planalto – Brazil.

 

9:30 AM: The Vice President holds a bilateral meeting with Brazilian Vice President Michel Temer. Local Event Time: 10:30 AM, Vice President Michel Temer’s residence – Brazil

 

10:00 AM: The President receives the Presidential Daily Briefing, Oval Office.

 

10:50 AM: The President departs the White House en route Joint Base Andrews, South Lawn.

 

11:05 AM: The President departs Joint Base Andrews en route Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Joint Base Andrews.

 

11:15 AM: The Vice President and Vice President Temer deliver statements to the press. Local Event Time: 12:15 AM, U.S. Embassy – Brasilia.

 

12:00 PM: The President arrives Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Pittsburgh International Airport.

 

1:25 PM: The President tours TechShop Pittsburgh, Techshop Pittsburgh – Pittsburgh.

 

1:45 PM: The President delivers remarks and answers questions, Techshop Pittsburgh – Pittsburgh.

 

3:25 PM: The President departs Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania en route New York, NY, Pittsburgh International Airport.

 

4:35 PM: The President arrives New York, NY. John F. Kennedy International Airport.

 

5:25 PM: The President attends a Senate Majority PAC roundtable event, Intercontinental Hotel – New York.

 

8:00 PM: The Vice President arrives at El Dorado International Airport. Local Event Time: 7:00 PM, El Dorado International Airport – Bogota.

 

8:05 PM: The President delivers remarks at the DNC LGBT Gala, Gotham Hall – New York.

 

9:00 PM: The President attends a DNC roundtable, Private Residence – New York.

 

10:40 PM: The President departs New York, John F. Kennedy International Airport.

 

11:35 PM: The President arrives Joint Base Andrews, Joint Base Andrews.

 

11:50 PM: The President arrives at the White House, South Lawn.

 

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 White House LIVE!! 

 

Now Streaming…
June 17, 2014 11:35 AM EDT
White House Honors Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) Champions of Change
The White House,  White House LIVE!! 

 

 
Next Up…
June 17, 2014 1:45 PM EDT
President Obama Delivers Remarks and Answers Questions at TechShop Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania,  White House LIVE!! 

 

 

President Obama Delivers Remarks and Answers Questions at TechShop Pittsburgh

 

 

 

 

 

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Whats The Tweets In The Twitterverse…….

 

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U.S. embassy on alert in Iraq

 

 

 

ISIS moves closer to Baghdad

 

 

 

Kurdish fighters trying to keep ISIS at bay

 

 

 

Insurgent advance spreads in Iraq’s northwest

 

 

 

Behind the Scenes: Inside the U.S. National Team Locker Room

 

 

 

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On Wednesday, the President will host the first ever White House Maker Faire and meet with students, entrepreneurs and everyday citizens who are using new tools and techniques to launch new businesses, learn vital skills in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM), and fuel the renaissance in American manufacturing.

 

On Thursday, the President will award Corporal William “Kyle” Carpenter, U.S. Marine Corps (Ret.), the Medal of Honor for conspicuous gallantry.

 

On Friday, the President will meet with Prime Minister John Key of New Zealand to highlight our increasingly close relationship with New Zealand and our collaboration on the Trans-Pacific Partnership, climate change, and military-to-military cooperation.  The President looks forward to consulting with Prime Minister Key on these and other issues, including the U.S. rebalance to the Asia-Pacific region, regional maritime security issues, and global security issues.

 

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A Brand New Day™ Tuesday The Tenth Of June, 2014. I’ll Tumblr For Ya. Happy 13th Birthday to First Daughter Natasha ” Sasha” Obama.


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On Tuesday, the President will take to Tumblr in an event at the White House moderated by Tumblr Founder and CEO David Karp. The President will deliver remarks and answer questions from folks across the country on the importance of education, college affordability, and reducing student loan debt.

 

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Announcing the President’s First-Ever Tumblr Q&A

 

 

We’re excited to announce that on Tuesday, June 10, at 4:00 PM ET President Obama will take to Tumblr to answer your questions about education, college affordability, and reducing student loan debt.

 

Getting a higher education is the single-most important investment students can make in their own futures. At the same time, it’s never been more expensive. That’s why since taking office, the President has made historic investments to make college more affordable – and it’s why he’s inviting you to join a conversation about the issue. Starting today, you can submit questions for the President at ObamaIRL.tumblr.com.

 

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This will be the President’s first-ever Tumblr Q&A, and will be moderated by David Karp, founder and CEO of the platform, live from the White House. With more than 40 percent of users between the age of 18-34, issues like access to higher education and keeping college affordable are particlularly relevant to the Tumblr community.

We’re also inviting some of our White House Tumblr followers to attend, continuing our series of “White House Socials” that invite our social media followers to engage with administration officials and attend in-person events.

The White House joined Tumblr more than a year ago with GIFs aplenty, and even took a stance on how to pronounce “GIF” (we’re still in the hard ‘g’ camp, by the way). It’s been an incredible way to connect with followers on the issues they care about, including the latest news around the White House, behind-the-scenes photos, graphics, and more. You can follow the White House on Tumblr at WhiteHouse.tumblr.com.

Note: We are no longer accepting applications for our White House Social. Check in at whitehouse.gov/social for upcoming opportunities.

 

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White House Schedule – June 10, 2014

 

In the morning, the President will deliver remarks and sign H.R. 3080, the Water Resources Reform & Development Act of 2014, and H.R. 1726 to award a Congressional Gold Medal to the 65th Infantry Regiment, known as the Borinqueneers. The Vice President will also attend. This event in South Court Auditorium is open press.

 

In the afternoon, the President will take to Tumblr in an event at the White House moderated by Tumblr Founder and CEO David Karp. The President will deliver remarks and answer questions in the State Dining Room from folks across the country on the importance of education, college affordability, and reducing student loan debt. There will be pool coverage of this event, which will also be streamed live on WhiteHouse.Tumblr.com and Yahoo.com.

 

Later in the afternoon, the President and Vice President will meet with Secretary of Defense Hagel in the Oval Office. This meeting is closed press.

 

Tuesday, June 10 2014 All Times ET

 

10:45 AM: THE PRESIDENT signs H.R. 3080 and H.R. 1726; THE VICE PRESIDENT also attends, South Court Auditorium.

 

 

12:30 PM: Press Briefing by Principal Deputy Press Secretary Josh Earnest, The Brady Briefing Room.

 

 

4:00 PM:  THE PRESIDENT delivers remarks and answers questions in a Tumblr event, State Dining Room.

 

 

5:25 PM: THE PRESIDENT and THE VICE PRESIDENT meet with Secretary of Defense Hagel, Oval Office.

 

 

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On WednesdayPresident Obama will travel to Worcester, Massachusetts to deliver the commencement address at the Worcester Technical High School graduation ceremony. The President will also attend a DSCC event in the Boston area. Following the event, the President will return to Washington, DC.

 

 

On Thursday, the President will hold a bilateral meeting Prime Minister Tony Abbott of Australia at the White House; the Vice President will also attend. The two leaders will discuss a range of issues of mutual interest, such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership, Australia’s leadership of the G-20 this year, the future of Afghanistan, and the growing bilateral defense relationship, including the rotation of U.S. Marines through Darwin.  They will also address some of the most serious security issues that confront both Australia and the United States, including Syria, Russia’s actions in Ukraine, North Korea, and the security and stability of the Asia Pacific region. In the afternoon, the President will welcome the WNBA Champion Minnesota Lynx to the White House to honor the team and their victory in the WNBA Finals.

 

 

On Friday, the President and the First Lady will travel to the Cannonball, North Dakota area to visit the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation. Following their visit to Indian Country, the President and the First Lady will travel to Palm Springs, CA.

 

 

On Saturday, the President will deliver the commencement address at University of California, Irvine on the 50th anniversary of the dedication of the UC Irvine campus by President Lyndon B. Johnson. UC Irvine does outstanding work at the undergraduate and graduate level in science and research, humanities, and professional studies, and the President looks forward to speaking with the graduates in June. Following these events, he will return to Palm Springs, CA. The President and the First Lady will return to Washington, D.C on

 

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“Why I Was at the White House Today”

 

Earlier today, the President signed a memorandum to make federal student loan debt more affordable and manageable to repay.

 

After the signing, Andy MacCracken, who introduced the President, sent the message below to the White House email list, explaining why the President’s action was meaninful for him.

 

Didn’t get the email? Make sure to sign up for White House email updates here.

 

Read More.

 

 

President Obama on Student Loan Debt: “No Hardworking Young Person Should Be Priced Out of a Higher Education”

 

President Barack Obama signs a Presidential Memorandum on reducing the burden of student loan debt, in the East Room of the White House, June 9, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)

President Barack Obama signs a Presidential Memorandum on reducing the burden of student loan debt, in the East Room of the White House, June 9, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)

 

More students than ever before are relying on student loans to pay for their college education. 71 percent of students earning a bachelor’s degree graduate with debt, averaging $29,400. While most students are able to repay their loans, many feel burdened by debt, especially as they seek to start a family, buy a home, launch a business, or save for retirement.

 

President Obama Speaks on Student Loan Debt

 

 

That’s why, as part of his year of action to expand opportunity for all Americans, President Obama is taking steps to make student loan debt more affordable and manageable to repay.

 

Earlier this afternoon, the President signed a memorandumdirecting the Secretary of Education to propose regulations that would allow nearly 5 million federal direct student loan borrowers the opportunity to cap their student loan payments at 10 percent of their income. The memorandum also outlines new executive actions to support federal student loan borrowers, especially vulnerable borrowers who may be at greater risk of defaulting on their loans.

 

Read More

 

 

The NCAA Champion UConn Huskies Visit the White House

 

 

This afternoon, President Obama welcomed the NCAA Champion UConn Huskies to the White House. UConn’s men’s and women’s basketball teams both won the 2014 NCAA Championships — so in an effort to “eliminate waste and cut out duplicative programs to make things more efficient,” the President concurrently congratulated both of them. But “this may be carrying things a little too far,” he joked.

 

In the President’s remarks, he highlighted the well-known legacy of UConn basketball. This is the ninth national title for the women, while it’s the men’s fourth title in the last 16 years. And only once before, in 2004, has one school won both the men’s and women’s Division I titles. That team was — you guessed it — UConn.

 

Read More

 

 

The Changing Role of Fathers in the Workforce and Family

 

As part of the lead-up to the White House Summit on Working Families, we’ve been exploring policies and best practices that help both families and businesses manage the increasingly complicated interaction between work and family-life. Today, Administration officials hosted a discussion—the first of its kind at the White House—on the state of working dads and how businesses can create a win-win culture to enable these fathers to be more involved parents and better employees.

 

Working Families Summit: A Fatherhood Lead-Up Event

 

 

The need to rethink workplace policies to work better for parents is not just about working moms or women—working fathers are a key piece of the story as well. As the data compiled by the Council of Economic Advisers on “The Economics of Fatherhood and Work” show, the role of fatherhood has been changing with fathers taking a more hands-on approach to raising children. This change is both cultural and economic, with families responding to the reality of women’s increased role in the labor market. Nearly two-thirds of children now have either two working parents or a single parent who is working, contributing to the trend of father’s increasingly caring for children. Today, one in fourteen fathers with kids under 18 are single parents—a striking seven-fold increase since 1970—and dads are increasingly staying at home when their wives work.

 

Read More

 

 

Meeting on Regional Food Systems

 

Published on Jun 9, 2014

The White House Rural Council hosts a meeting on building regional food systems as a strategy for community economic development, June 9, 2014.

 

 

 

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White House Press Briefing: 6/9/14

 

Published on Jun 9, 2014

White House Press Briefings are conducted most weekdays from the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room in the West Wing.

 

 

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This lily caucasian room could use a lot of color.

 

 

Speeches and Remarks – June 09, 2014

 

Remarks by the President on Opportunity for All: Making College More Affordable

 

Remarks by the President Honoring NCAA Champions the University of Connecticut Huskies

 

 

Statements and Releases – June 09, 2014

 

FACT SHEET: Supporting Western Governors As They Deal with Wildfire, Drought, and Other Climate Impacts

 

Readout of the President’s Meeting with Western Governors on Wildfire Preparedness

 

Presidential Nominations and Withdrawal sent to the Senate

 

Readout of the President’s Meeting with Nurses on Commonsense Immigration Reform

 

FACTSHEET: Making Student Loans More Affordable

 

 

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Happy 13th Birthday to First Daughter Natasha ” Sasha” Obama!

 

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White House LIVE!!! Streaming Schedule

 

 

Next Up…

 

 
June 10, 2014 9:00 AM EDT
Ensuring Positive Futures and Academic Achievement: Student Substance Use and Educational Success
The White House, White House LIVE!!! Streaming.

 

 

 

June 10, 2014 10:45 AM EDT
President Obama Signs H.R. 3080 and H.R. 1726
The White House, White House LIVE!!! Streaming.

 

 

 

June 10, 2014 12:30 PM EDT
Press Briefing by Principal Deputy Press Secretary Josh Earnest
The White House, White House LIVE!!! Streaming.

 

 

 

June 10, 2014 1:15 PM EDT
Vice President Biden Speaks at the National Association of Manufactures Summit
Washington, DC, White House LIVE!!! Streaming.

 

 

 

June 10, 2014 4:00 PM EDT
President Obama Takes to Tumblr to Answer Questions on Education and College Affordability
The White House, White House LIVE!!! Streaming.

 

 

 

June 9th, 2014: Photo of the Day

 

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Videos emerge of Vegas shooters

 

Published on Jun 10, 2014

YouTube videos emerge shedding light on the Las Vegas couple who fatally shot two policemen. CNN’s Dan Simon reports.

 

 

 

Bernstein: This is a Clinton production

 

Published on Jun 9, 2014

Following Hillary Clinton’s primetime with Diane Sawyer, a panel of political and media experts off their reactions

 

 

 

Today in History for June 10th, Associated Press

 

Highlights of this day in history: The Six-Day War ends in the Mideast; Yugoslav troops leave Kosovo after NATO’s campaign of airstrikes; Alcoholics Anonymous founded; Actress and singer Judy Garland born; Singer Ray Charles dies. (June 10)

 

 

 

PBS News Hour For Monday, June 9th, 2014

 

Published on Jun 9, 2014

Tonight on the program, we take a look inside the Veterans Affairs Department and the revelation of cooking the books over veteran wait times. Also: Taliban militants attack a Pakistani airport in Karachi, Common Core standards face push back by Louisiana parents and politicians, examining President Obama’s new executive order on student debt and a second look at our talk with Bryan Cranston.

 

 

 

Obama Makes Starbucks Run

 

Published on Jun 9, 2014

President Barack Obama slipped out of the White House for a run to a nearby Starbucks, ahead of the knot of White House reporters who normally accompany him when he leaves the White House grounds. (June 9)

 

 

 

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TheObamaCrat™ Wake-Up Call For Monday The 9th Of June, 2014.


 

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TheObamaCrat™ Wake-Up Call: The White House Week Ahead & Daily Schedule.

 

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THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday June 9th, 2014

 

THE WHITE HOUSE SCHEDULE
June 9th – June 13th, 2014

 

In the morning, the President and Vice President will receive the Presidential Daily Briefing in the Oval Office. This meeting is closed press.

 

Later in the morning, the President will join nurses from across the country to discuss the importance of passing commonsense immigration reform. This meeting is closed press.

 

In the afternoon, the President will deliver remarks and sign a Presidential Memorandum on reducing the burden of student loan debt. This event in the East Room is open press.

 

Following this event, the President will meet with governors of Western States to discuss wildfires via video teleconference. This meeting in the Situation Room is closed press.

 

Later in the afternoon, the President will welcome the NCAA Champion UConn Huskies Men’s and Women’s Basketball teams to honor the teams and their 2014 NCAA Championships. This event in the East Room is open to pre-credentialed media.

 

 

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On Monday, the President will host an event on education at the White House. Later in the afternoon, the President will welcome the NCAA Champion UConn Huskies Men’s and Women’s Basketball teams to honor the teams and their 2014 NCAA Championships.

 

 

On Tuesday, the President will take to Tumblr in an event at the White House moderated by Tumblr Founder and CEO David Karp. The President will deliver remarks and answer questions from folks across the country on the importance of education, college affordability, and reducing student loan debt.

 

 

On Wednesday, President Obama will travel to Worcester, Massachusetts to deliver the commencement address at the Worcester Technical High School graduation ceremony. The President will also attend a DSCC event in the Boston area. Following the event, the President will return to Washington, DC.

 

 

On Thursday, the President will hold a bilateral meeting Prime Minister Tony Abbott of Australia at the White House; the Vice President will also attend. The two leaders will discuss a range of issues of mutual interest, such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership, Australia’s leadership of the G-20 this year, the future of Afghanistan, and the growing bilateral defense relationship, including the rotation of U.S. Marines through Darwin.  They will also address some of the most serious security issues that confront both Australia and the United States, including Syria, Russia’s actions in Ukraine, North Korea, and the security and stability of the Asia Pacific region. In the afternoon, the President will welcome the WNBA Champion Minnesota Lynx to the White House to honor the team and their victory in the WNBA Finals.

 

 

On Friday, the President and the First Lady will travel to the Cannonball, North Dakota area to visit the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation. Following their visit to Indian Country, the President and the First Lady will travel to Palm Springs, CA.

 

 

On Saturday, the President will deliver the commencement address at University of California, Irvine on the 50th anniversary of the dedication of the UC Irvine campus by President Lyndon B. Johnson. UC Irvine does outstanding work at the undergraduate and graduate level in science and research, humanities, and professional studies, and the President looks forward to speaking with the graduates in June. Following these events, he will return to Palm Springs, CA. The President and the First Lady will return to Washington, D.C on Monday.

 

 

White House Schedule – June 9, 2014

 

President Barack Obama on Monday has White House events on student loan debt and immigration and honors the NCAA Champion UConn Huskies Men’s and Women’s Basketball teams.

 

Monday, June 9th, 2014 All Times ET

 

10:00 AM: The President and The Vice President receives the Presidential Daily Briefing, The Oval Office.

 
10:50 AM: The President meets with nurses to discuss immigration reform, Oval Office.

 

12:30 PM: Press Secretary Josh Earnest has his first Daily Press Briefing as the Press Secretary, The Brady Press Briefing Room.

 
1:45 PM: The President delivers remarks and signs a Presidential Memorandum on reducing the burden of student loan debt, The East Room.

 
2:40 PM: The President meets with governors of Western States via video teleconference. The Situation Room.

 
4:15 PM: The President welcomes the UConn men’s and women’s NCAA champion basketball teams. The East Room.

 

 

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June 2014: Photos of the Day

 

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Federal Agencies and the Opportunities and Challenges of Big Data

 

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On June 19, the Obama Administration will continue the conversation on big data as we co-host our fourth big data conference, this time with the Georgetown University McCourt School of Public Policy’s Massive Data Institute.

 

The conference, “Improving Government Performance in the Era of Big Data; Opportunities and Challenges for Federal Agencies”, will build on prior workshops at MIT, NYU, and Berkeley, and continue to engage both subject matter experts and the public in a national discussion about the future of data innovation and policy.

 

 

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White House LIVE!!! Streaming Schedule

 

Next Up…

 

June 09, 2014 9:00 AM EDTShare
Working Families Summit on Fatherhood
The White House, White House LIVE!!! Streaming Schedule

 

 

June 09, 2014 12:30 PM EDTShare
Press Briefing by Principal Deputy Press Secretary Josh Earnest
The White House, White House LIVE!!! Streaming Schedule

 

 

June 09, 2014 1:45 PM EDTShare
President Obama Speaks and Signs a Presidential Memorandum on Reducing the Burden of Student Loan Debt
The White House, White House LIVE!!! Streaming Schedule

 

 

June 09, 2014 1:45 PM EDTShare
Regional Food Systems: A Strategy for Community Economic Development
The White House, White House LIVE!!! Streaming Schedule

 

 

 

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Driver: Tracy Morgan in crash

 

Published on Jun 9, 2014

Actor and comedian Tracy Morgan has undergone surgery and continues a slow recovery after a devastating car crash.

 

 

 

Motive Sought in Las Vegas Shooting

 

Published on Jun 9, 2014

Las Vegas authorities say they are trying to determine a motive in Sunday’s deadly shooting spree. A man and a woman killed two police officers and a third person before the female suspect killed the male and then herself. (June 9)

 

 

 

Raw: 5 Dead in Las Vegas Shooting

 

Published on Jun 8, 2014

Two suspects shot and killed two police officers in an ambush at a Las Vegas restaurant Sunday before fatally shooting a third person and killing themselves inside a nearby Walmart, authorities said. (June 8)

 

 

 

From ‘Gang-Banger’ to College Graduate

 

Published on Jun 8, 2014

Four years ago, Krishaun Branch was part of an entire class of college-bound high school graduates from Chicago’s Urban Prep. He recently graduated from Fisk University in Nashville. AP’s Martha Irvine chronicles his achievement. (June 9)

 

 

 

Raw: Teams Arrive in Brazil for World Cup

 

Published on Jun 8, 2014

The English, German, and Russian teams arrived in Brazil on Sunday ahead of the 2014 FIFA World Cup. The international soccer tournament begins in four days. (June 8)

 

 

 

Michigan Teen Carries Brother on Back for 40 Miles

 

Published on Jun 8, 2014

A Michigan teenager completed a two-day, 40-mile walk with his 7-year-old brother on his back. The Cerebral Palsy Swagger was designed to raise awareness about the muscle disorder that affects the younger brother. (June 8)

 

 

 

Raw: Pope Wades Into Mideast Peace-making

 

Published on Jun 8, 2014

Francis is welcoming the Israeli and Palestinian presidents to the Vatican for an evening of peace prayers just weeks after the collapse of the latest round of U.S.-sponsored peace talks. (June 8)

 

 

 

Hugh Jackman, NPH Walk Tonys Red Carpet

 

Published on Jun 8, 2014

Hugh Jackman talks about hosting this year’s Tony Awards on red carpet while Neil Patrick Harris, Chris O’Dowd, and Lena Hall discuss Jackman hosting show. (June 8)

 

 

 

Supporting America’s Students

 

Published on Jun 7, 2014

In this week’s address, President Obama underscored the importance of helping to lift the burden of crushing student loan debt faced by too many Americans and highlighted the efforts he’s taken to ensure we uphold America’s commitment to provide a quality education for all who are willing to work for it.

 

 

 

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From Salon.Com:

 

GOP wimps cave to the right: New plan resumes Obamacare fight, ditches immigration

 

Under pressure from conservatives, GOP leaders unveil new agenda that shows they haven’t learned a thing

 

By  for Salon.Com

 

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On Friday, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor released a memo detailing the June legislative agenda for the House of Representatives, and in doing so drove yet another final nail into immigration reform’s already well-sealed coffin.

 

Cantor’s memo lays out the various bills and issues the House GOP plans to address over the next three weeks, and immigration is conspicuously absent. By leaving it off the agenda, Cantor has effectively cut in half the time available to the House to take up any reform proposals.

 

To recap: A bipartisan group of senators passed a comprehensive reform bill last June that has been gathering dust ever since. The House Republican leadership refuses to bring it to a vote. They also won’t bring their own immigration “principles” up for a vote. Every few weeks or so they renew their verbal commitment to immigration reform, and then continue doing absolutely nothing. President Obama threatened to take executive action to limit deportations, but recently backed off that threat in order to give the Republicans the time and space they needed to bring up a bill.

 

Cantor, in leaving immigration reform off the June agenda, has made clear that time and space are not the issue. The GOP is just not going to take up immigration reform. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has made clear that the window for action by the Republicans closes at the end of July, just before the August recess. At that point, everyone expects Obama to move forward on his own.

 

You can guess what happens then. “Tyranny!” “Power-grab!” “Overreach!” The Republicans, who spurned every opportunity to compromise, will attack Obama for refusing to work with Congress. By that point the midterm elections will be too close to get anything done anyway. Everyone will retreat from policy into politics and the Senate reform bill will be quietly, solemnly interred next to its forbears.

 

There was never much hope of Cantor budging on immigration reform, but it certainly didn’t help that he’s come under fire in the last few weeks by Tea Party conservatives who suspect that he’s secretly working to implement “amnesty.” Cantor is facing a primary challenge from economics professor David Brat, who attacks Cantor mercilessly for his work on the Kids Act (the Republican-friendly version of the Dream Act). Cantor will defeat Brat and he’ll defeat him handily, but he still needs to take him seriously because Brat is pulling in support from influential conservative figures like radio host Laura Ingraham. Part of Cantor’s strategy has been to highlight how he’s fought “amnesty” for “illegal aliens.”

 

So he’s not going to lose, but he’s still had to shift to the right to try to make amends with the conservatives who are deeply suspicious that any attempt at reform will be too lenient on undocumented immigrants. Cantor’s facing a no-win situation on immigration reform, and for now the best option for him politically is to do nothing, so he’s killing immigration reform through inaction.

 

While we’re on the topic of conservatives pressuring the leadership on hot-button issues, Cantor’s June memo is also noteworthy for what it says about healthcare reform. Early last month, the House Republicans unexpectedly went dark on Obamacare – after years of hearings and countless repeal votes, legislators suddenly seemed to lose interest in the health law. According to Cantor’s memo, the cease-fire will come to an end as the House GOP plans to do … something on healthcare:

 

Our committees continue to work to expose the harmful effects of Obamacare and refine different policies that reduce costs, expand access and provide patients with greater control over their healthcare. We will be discussing these policy options with you in the weeks ahead in anticipation of additional floor action.

 

Cantor’s vague promise to discuss unnamed “policy options” comes on the heels of an effort by the hard-line conservative Republican Study Committee to force the leadership into scheduling a vote on the RSC’s Obamacare replacement plan.

 

Conservative members of the rank-and-file have to be frustrated with Cantor on Obamacare. In January he promised that “we will rally around an alternative to Obamacare and pass it on the floor of the House.” In February he said that the finishing touches were being put on the Obamacare replacement plan. Since then there’s been no action to speak of.

 

Cantor and the rest of the leadership haven’t picked a replacement plan because doing so would present significant political risks. Any plan they choose would necessarily require huge disruptions to the insurance market, and the Republican alternative plans that have been put forward to date would cover far fewer people than Obamacare. The surging expansion of Medicaid complicates their efforts even further; people are signing up in droves and are making enthusiastic use of the program, and Republicans are left to argue that they should be transitioned off their newly obtained government-paid insurance. That’s a tough sell, even if the ACA’s approval rating is in the gutter.

 

Introducing an Obamacare replacement would also put Republican midterm candidates in a tough spot, as it would force them to take a position on health reform policy at a time when many of them are trying hard to be as evasive as possible.

 

The leadership has clearly gotten the message from conservatives that inaction on Obamacare is not an option. But they’re clearly still unsure of what to do. What does appear to be certain, however, is that conservatives are succeeding in boxing in the leadership on immigration and healthcare.

 

Thank you   & Salon.Com.

 

 

June 9th 2014: Google Doodle of the Day

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June 9th 2014: Images of the Day

 

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Let’s Talk About The Minimum Wage


 

By Jueseppi B.

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Let’s Talk About the Minimum Wage

 

Published on May 1, 2014

Workers, business owners and community leaders share why they think it’s time to raise the federal minimum wage. Visit http://www.dol.gov/minwage to learn more about this issue.

 

 

 

The Employment Situation in April

 

US created 288,000 jobs in April vs 210,000 est

 

Job creation accelerated in April as the U.S. economy added 288,000 new positions, while the unemployment rate plummeted to 6.3 percent amid a sharp drop in the workforce.

Economists had been anticipating 210,000 new jobs and a 6.6 percent rate.

Employment growth was solid in April, as businesses added jobs for the 50th consecutive month, and the unemployment rate fell. The employment data can fluctuate from month-to-month, and while this month’s report happens to be above expectations, it is still broadly consistent with the recent trends we have been seeing in the labor market. The President continues to emphasize that more can and should be done to support the recovery, including acting on his own executive authority to expand economic opportunity, as well as pushing Congress for additional investments in infrastructure, education and research, an increase in the minimum wage, and a reinstatement of extended unemployment insurance benefits. In fact, CEA estimates that because of the failure to continue extended benefits into 2014, the economy has already incurred the loss of 80,000 jobs so far this year. Failure to reinstate extended unemployment insurance benefits is expected to cost another 160,000 jobs over the balance of the year.

 

FIVE KEY POINTS IN TODAY’S REPORT FROM THE BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS

 

1. The private sector has added 9.2 million jobs over 50 straight months of job growth. Today we learned that total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 288,000 in April, driven by a 273,000 increase in private employment. Job growth in February and March was revised up, so that that over the past twelve months, private employment has risen by 2.4 million, or an average of 198,000 a month. This is slightly faster than the pace of job gains over the preceding twelve-month period (182,000 a month).

 

 

2. The level of April payrolls came in 0.05 percent above expectations—meaning the consensus forecast of the levelof payroll employment was extremely accurate. Accounting for the revisions to March, the consensus forecast was for 138,182,000 nonfarm payroll jobs in April, which was only a tiny bit below the actual 138,252,000 nonfarm payroll jobs reported today by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Of course, the main focus is on the forecast for the change in jobs and in this regard the actual 288,000 jobs added was 32 percent higher than the consensus forecast of 218,000 jobs, a substantial prediction error. Forecasting the change in jobs is very difficult because anything that adds or subtracts just 0.05 percent to total jobs shows up as a 70,000 job swing that appears as a large difference from the consensus forecast, but actually may just be a transitory fluctuation, statistical sampling noise, or quirks in seasonal adjustment. That is why it is best to focus on the trend in jobs over longer periods of time as well as a range of other economic data.

 

 

3. Long-term unemployment continues to affect a demographically diverse group that is broadly similar to the group of workers that have been unemployed for shorter durations. As shown below, the educational attainment of the long-term unemployed is strikingly similar to that of the shorter-term unemployed. Additionally, as noted previously, long-term unemployment does not appear to be overly concentrated in a single occupation. These facts suggest that steps that have been proposed to support the long-term unemployed—including reinstating extended unemployment insurance—still have a critical role to play in helping to address this pressing issue.

 

 

4. The pattern of job growth across industries in April was highly consistent with the pattern observed over the past year. One way to evaluate whether the composition of job growth is in line with recent trends is to consider the correlation between the most recent one-month percent change and the average percent change over the last 12 months across various industries. Looking across the 17 industries shown in point #5, the correlation between the April change and the average percent change over the last 12 months was 0.87, suggesting that the distribution of employment gains last month was very much in line with recent trends. Since 2008, this correlation has averaged 0.63. Thus, it appears that the pickup in job growth observed in April does not reflect any outlier performance in a single industry or handful of industries.

 

 

5. Looking over the 50 straight months of private-sector job growth since March 2010, the 273,000 increase in private employment in April represents the 3rd strongest single month of job growth during this time. Construction rose by 32,000 in April, its 5th strongest month since March 2010. Over the last four months alone, the construction sector has added 124,000 jobs. Manufacturing added 12,000 jobs in April, in line with the average monthly gain over the last 50 months, during which time manufacturing employment has risen by 647,000.

 

 

As the Administration stresses every month, the monthly employment and unemployment figures can be volatile, and payroll employment estimates can be subject to substantial revision. Therefore, it is important not to read too much into any one monthly report and it is informative to consider each report in the context of other data that are becoming available.

 

 

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@BarackObama Sign the petition: Be a part of the fight to raise the federal minimum wage. http://ofa.bo/scm

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Sign the petition: Be a part of the fight to raise the federal minimum wage. http://ofa.bo/scm

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