A Historic Day For Our Judiciary.


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A Historic Day for Our Judiciary

 

This morning, the Senate confirmed three federal judges. On the one hand, they are not unique; like all of the President’s judges and judicial nominees, they have the necessary intellect, experience, integrity, and temperament. But they are special in that each of them is a trailblazer on their courts:

 

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Today’s confirmations also set historic milestones:

  • For the first time in history, the Senate has confirmed two openly gay judges on the same day.

 

 

  • President Obama also has now appointed more Hispanic judges than any other President, breaking the record previously held by President George W. Bush.

 

As we’ve said before, these “firsts” — and these milestones — are important, not because these judges will consider cases differently, but because a judiciary that better resembles our nation instills even greater confidence in our justice system, and because these judges will serve as role models for generations of lawyers to come.

Congratulations to our newest federal judges, who we are confident will serve with honor, distinction, and fidelity to the rule of law.

 

For more information about other “firsts” appointed by President Obama and other milestones, please see this full-size infographic.

 

 

This is the First Time Our Judicial Pool Has Been This Diverse

 

The men and women the President has nominated to enforce our laws and deliver justice represent his unprecedented commitment expanding the diversity of our nation’s highest courts. That’s a big deal — so if you learned something new here, pass it on.

 

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First Lady Michelle LaVaughn Obama, Sailors, Celebrate PCU Illinois’ Keel Laying.


 

By Jueseppi B.

Pacific Partnership 2014

 

First Lady, Sailors Celebrate PCU Illinois‘ Keel Laying

 

By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class (SW/EXW) Jason J. Perry, Submarine Group 2 Public Affairs

 

NORTH KINGSTOWN, R.I. (NNS) — First Lady Michelle Obama‘s initials were welded onto a metal plate as Sailors from Pre-Commissioning Unit (PCU) Illinois (SSN 786) looked on during a keel-laying ceremony for the new Virginia-class submarine, June 2.

 

Obama joined Navy leaders, shipyard personnel and crew families in celebrating the ongoing construction of the Navy’s 13th Virginia-class submarine during an event at the Quonset Point facility for General Dynamics Electric Boat.

 

Three-quarters of the ship’s construction is complete, said Adm. John Richardson, the Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program director.

 

Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus also participated in the event and served as the keynote speaker.

 

“This vessel whose keel we lay today will be the most advanced ship in the world, its technology absolutely unmatched,” said Mabus.

 

Obama was named, by Mabus, as the ship’s sponsor. The metal plate with the First Lady’s initials will later be mounted on the submarine, in keeping with Navy tradition.

 

“I am honored and humbled to be putting my initials to this new submarine with an exceptional crew like this one,” said Obama.

 

“I am here today, not just as a representative of my family but, as a representative of a grateful nation,” Obama continued. “I am going to do my very best to honor your service by being a really good sponsor.”

 

Illinois will become the Navy’s second vessel to bear the name of the First Lady’s home state once commissioned.

 

The pre-commissioning unit currently includes a crew of more than 100 Sailors, with others scheduled to arrive through the summer. By August, leaders expect the crew to reach its full strength of about 140 officers and enlisted personnel.

 

The vessel presently has three crew members from the nation’s 21st state, including Machinist’s Mate 1st Class Robert Schmitz of Fayetteville, Ill., who joined the Navy 12 years ago. Schmitz said Midwestern values are essential as a submariner.

 

“Honesty and a strong work ethic are vital to being successful on a submarine,” said Schmitz.

 

Mokena, Ill., native Electronics Technician 2nd Class Scott Wiscons reflected on the close bond he shares with fellow crew members.

 

“My family and friends back home have a similar sort of humor to the Navy – tough love and a little teasing. But deep down we truly care about one another. The spirit of camaraderie is very strong,” said Wiscons.

 

As the crew trains ashore, construction personnel from both Electric Boat and Newport News Shipbuilding in Virginia will continue to assemble the $2.7 billion vessel.

 

Once complete, the submarine will be equipped to conduct covert surveillance, support special forces, and track other ships and submarines.

 

Illinois will measure 377 feet in length, displace 7,835 tons while submerged, and be able to operate at speeds greater than 25 knots (28 mph).

 

“The keel-laying ceremony is an important step in the process,” said Wiscons. “The Navy has always valued tradition and ceremony, and the ceremony symbolizes an important step in the boat’s life.”

 

Illinois (SSN 786)

 

Remarks by the First Lady at the Keel Laying Ceremony for the PCU ILLINOIS

General Dynamics Electric Boat Shipyard
Quonset Point, Rhode Island

2:24 P.M. EDT

 

MRS. OBAMA:  (Applause.)  Thank you.  Thank you so much.  Good afternoon.  Wow.  All right, can I just break with protocol and say, this is really cool.  (Laughter.)  I mean, come on.  This is so nice.  (Applause.)

 

I want to start by thanking Secretary Mabus for that very kind introduction, but more importantly, for his tremendous leadership for our country for so many years.  I also want to recognize Governor Chaffee, Governor Malloy, Senators Reed and Whitehouse, and all of the members of Congress and the elected officials that we have with us today, and all of the distinguished guests and military leaders who serve our country so bravely every single day.

 

Now, I have been a sponsor for a Coast Guard cutter before, but I’ve heard that working with submariners is a whole different ballgame.  Is that true?  So I am beyond excited, and I am truly honored.  And I couldn’t be more proud that I have my daughters, Malia and Sasha, who join me to serve as maids of honor for this vessel.  They are not here today because they had tests to take.  That’s no indication of their commitment going forward, but today they had history and something else.  But they send their love, and they are truly excited by the honor.  But know that you have three really solid Chicago girls that are very excited to support this vessel.

 

And we understand what a fine submarine the ILLINOIS will be.  And it has been fascinating for me to learn more about all that goes into building a submarine -– from laying the keel, to the christening, to the commissioning.  It is truly a privilege to be part of this very unique process.  It is something that I will take away as one of the extraordinary experiences that I’ve had in my entire life.

 

So I want to thank everyone from General Dynamics Electric Boat for hosting us here today, for all the work that they’re doing, along with the folks from Newport News Shipbuilding to build this submarine.  And I especially want to, again, join in thanking all of the outstanding folks who work to make these submarines happen — all of the welders, the machinists, the metalworkers, the electricians.  I know there are so many more.  I got to see some of you guys earlier — some of you guys and gals, because we got some strong women on the team, as well.  But thank you for everything that you do, for being part of this effort.  I’ve heard that you all are some of the most skilled shipbuilders we have around, so I’m confident that this is going to be an outstanding vessel.

 

And it takes a lot to make it happen.  I know that in the coming months, you all will be working around the clock.  You’re going to be pouring your heart and soul into this vessel, you’ll be pulling all-night shifts — I hear you probably have already done a few of those already — and you’ll be creating one of the finest, most state-of-the-art submarines we have ever seen.  And as you all are building this sub, the sailors here will be working alongside you to build a top-notch crew to bring her to life.  So I want to just take a moment to give a round of applause to the crew of the ILLINOIS.  (Applause.)

 

Now, I have learned that they don’t pick just anybody to be a part of a Pre-Comm crew.  That’s true, right?  You guys are pretty special.  These jobs aren’t easy.  They demand an intense sense of mission and discipline, as well as organizational skills, critical thinking, and the ability to perform under pressure.  So, again, I am honored and humbled to be putting my initials into this submarine with an exceptional crew like this one.

 

And as we gather here for this keel laying ceremony, it’s important to remind ourselves why we’re building this new submarine now.  Yes, our war in Iraq is over.  Our war in Afghanistan will be over by the end of the year.  And as we saw this weekend, after nearly five years of captivity, we will welcome home Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl.

 

But you all know that the work of keeping our country safe and secure will never be over.  And our Navy is a daily testament to that truth.

 

No matter what’s going on in the world –- whether we’re at war or at peace, whether it’s day or night — the Navy is always out there, watching out for our nation.  At any given time, tens of thousands of sailors like all of you are out to sea on behalf of our country, including nearly 4,000 in submarines.  You’re gathering crucial intelligence and taking on some of our most dangerous missions, often providing the quickest response to emerging threats around the globe.  And by keeping the seas safe and free for all nations, you’re fueling the engine of our global economy as well.

 

In fact, 90 percent of our goods worldwide are carried by water.  And that cargo literally puts food on the table for millions of American families every single day.  So in a very real way, our nation depends on the Navy’s constant forward presence all around the world.

 

But I know that folks aren’t always aware of the kind of sacrifices you all are making.  Because even when we’re at war, and we hear about boots on the ground, the image that comes to mind is usually men and women on combat patrols, or riding in Humvees, or parachuting into danger in the dead of night.  We often don’t hear about folks like you deployed at sea, hundreds of feet below the waves.  So we have no idea that for months at a time, you don’t see the sun or breathe fresh air.  We have no idea that you all go for weeks with no phone calls, no texts, no Skype sessions with your kids.

 

And that brings me to your families.  For a long time, I was one of those Americans who didn’t really know much about the service and sacrifice of military families like yours –- the emotional toll of long and multiple deployments, the spouses putting their careers on hold, the kids starting up in a new school every couple of years, having to make new friends and readjust.

 

But even though you don’t always get the recognition you deserve, our Navy and our Navy families always keep moving forward — always — doing the hard work of protecting our freedom.  As one Navy spouse told me a few weeks ago, she said “You just keep marching.  You just keep marching.” So it is no wonder that you all are known as the “silent service.”

 

But I want you to know that every day, your service speaks volumes.  And one of my most important roles as First Lady is to make sure people know that.  You all are the reason why, three years ago, Jill Biden and I started Joining Forces — because we wanted to make sure to honor and support servicemembers, veterans, and military families like yours.  Absolutely.  (Applause.)  It has truly been one of my greatest privileges, getting to know these families.  And I just want you to know that we’re going to keep serving and supporting you in the years ahead, long after the wars are over.

 

So in many ways, this submarine represents not only a new vessel for our Navy, but a new chapter for our country.  In the years ahead, we may not have brigades deployed to outposts in the middle of a desert, but no matter what, we will have sailors like all of you looking out for us around the globe.

 

You’re the sailors who step forward for our country when others step back.  You’re the sailors willing to go to the depths of the ocean to protect all of our freedoms.  That is the kind of service that inspires me, it inspires my husband, and I know it inspires millions of Americans in this country.

 

So I’m here today not just as a representative of my family, but as a representative of a grateful nation.  And I’m going to do my best to honor your service by being a really good sponsor, okay?  I’m going to do my job really, really well.  (Applause.)  I’m going to think about you always.  But more importantly, I’m going to use every fiber in my body to make sure that we live in a country that never forgets your service.

 

So I want to thank you again for your unparalleled service to this country.  Thank you to all the shipbuilders for the work that you all will do.  We are so proud of you.  You can see on this stage how many people are proud of you.  And I know for every one of you there are family members who will support and love you every step of the way, so we honor them, as well.  It is an honor to serve as your sponsor.

 

God bless you all.  And God bless the United States of America.

 

END
2:35 P.M. EDT

 

USS Virginia

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Remarks by the President at DSCC Dinner — Chicago, IL: “I need a Democratic Senate.” Don’t Forget A Democratic House.


 

By Jueseppi B.

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Remarks by the President at DSCC Dinner — Chicago, IL

Private Residence
Chicago, Illinois

8:17 P.M. CDT

 

THE PRESIDENT:  First of all, to Fred and Dan, I’m so grateful for you guys hosting us here today.  I’m trying to remember — was it two years ago or three years ago that I was here?

 

Response from audience:  Two years ago.  And you were here in –

 

THE PRESIDENT:  Well, I’ve been here a lot, I know.  (Laughter.)  I meant most recently.  I have abused Fred’s hospitality for quite some time.  But it is wonderful to be home now that is has warmed up.  (Laughter.)  And it is wonderful to be with a lot of old friends.

 

There are a couple other people I just want to acknowledge real quickly.  Obviously, our Governor Pat Quinn is in the house.  Please give him a big round of applause.  (Applause.)  Pat is doing a lot of hard stuff, and he’s doing it the right way.  And I’m very appreciative for all the efforts that he’s making down in Springfield.

 

We also have two of our finest public servants in the country.  The first has the thankless job of being the chair of the Democratic Senatorial Reelection Committee, and that is our outstanding senator from Colorado, Michael Bennet.  (Applause.)  And the second guy is the person who, upon my election to the United States Senate, essentially taught me everything that he knew and kept me out of trouble, and supported me every step of the way when I ran for President, and has been a great friend and champion on behalf of working families not just in Illinois, but all across the country.  He is a great friend.  I couldn’t be prouder to be associated with him — Dick Durbin.  (Applause.)

 

So the goal here is not for me to give a long speech, because I want to have a conversation with you, but let me just set the context.  A little over five years since I’ve been elected.  We’ve gone from losing 800,000 jobs a month to creating over 9 million jobs.  The unemployment rate has come down.  The housing value has come up.  The stock market — gone up.  Trillions of dollars of wealth restored for families all across the country.  The deficit — you wouldn’t know it always from reading the newspapers — has been cut by more than half.

 

Clean energy — we’ve doubled.  Greenhouse gases — we’ve lowered.  Exports — we’re on track to double.  College enrollment hitting all-time peaks.  High school dropout rates going down.  Latino dropout rates cut in half since 2000.

 

We’ve ended two wars.  We are — or we’ve ended one war and we’re in the process of ending the second.  We’re producing more energy than we ever have before, and we’re importing less foreign oil than we have in close to two decades.

 

So there are a whole bunch of metrics — a whole bunch of measures by which you’d say, indisputably, that we are better off now than we were when I came into office.  And a lot of that has to do with the incredible resilience and grit and hard work of the American people.  And yet, there’s still anxiety all across America.  And some of it is that people still feel the trauma of seeing their home values drop, or their 401(k)s plunge, or losing their job, or seeing a friend of theirs lose their home.  And you don’t shake those things off right away.  It feels as if the ground is less firm under your feet.

 

But a lot of it has to do with the fact that we’ve got trends that have continued over the course of decades in which those of us, frankly, in this room continue to do better and better.  Folks at the top have seen their incomes and their wealth soar.  And ordinary Americans have seen their wages and incomes flat-line at the same time as the costs of everything has gone up.  And so they’re less confident that not only they will be able to retire with some dignity and maintain their standard of living; more importantly, they’re concerned that their kids are not going to be able to match their standard of living and the upward trajectory of their lives — the idea that if you work hard, if you take responsibility in this country, you can get ahead.

 

Now, there are a lot of issues that we face in this country, but nothing is more important than restoring, making real that ideal that if you work hard in this country, you can make it.  And everything I think about every single day that I’m President revolves around that issue, along with keeping the American people safe.  And the problem I’ve got right now is not that we’re on the wrong side of issues.  There’s not an issue out there in which we do not enjoy majority support.  Immigration reform — the majority agrees with us.  Minimum wage — the majority agrees with us.  Equal pay for equal work — the majority agrees with us.  Increasing clean energy — the majority agrees with us.  Invest in education, early childhood education, making college more affordable — folks on our side.  That’s not my problem.  That’s not our problem.

 

Our problem is very simple:  We have a Congress that currently is controlled, at least half of it, by an ideological faction that is not representative of the traditions of the Republican Party as I understood them — maybe because I come from the land of Lincoln.  I thought we believed in investing in infrastructure.  I thought we believed in science.  I didn’t think those were partisan issues.  I thought we believed in education.  But this crowd doesn’t believe in science; doesn’t really believe in investing in our kids to make sure that upward mobility exists; doesn’t believe in climate change; doesn’t think that there’s really a problem in terms of the pay gap between men and women; isn’t interested in providing help for families.

 

They operate on a single theory — which is, if government is dismantled and folks at the top can do more and more without restraint, that everybody else is going to benefit from it.  I don’t know if they actually believe it, but that’s what they say.  And this is not a situation of equivalence where the Democrats are this far-left crazy group and we’re not willing to meet in the middle.  And if you need a better example than that, take a look at a health care law that uses the private sector to encourage people to buy insurance and has brought health care inflation down to its lowest rate in 50 years.  And you would think that I had dismantled the entire free-market system — despite the fact that we now have somewhere between 13 and 15 million people who have insurance now that didn’t have it before.

 

So I need a new Congress.  But at a minimum, I’ve got to have a Democratic Senate.  And that’s why you’re here.  Which leads me to my last point:  If, in fact, people agree with us, why is it so hard for us to get a Democratic Senate and a Democratic House?  Well, part of it is demographics.  I was in Brooklyn with de Blasio — this is right before he was about to be elected — and we were coming from this wonderful school that’s training kids in math and science.  And we’re driving down Brooklyn and crowds are cheering, and we go into this place to buy some cheesecake and people are hugging me — and, oh, my uncle just got on Obamacare and it’s terrific.  And a woman yells out, what can I do to help?  And I said, move to Nebraska!  (Laughter.)  I don’t need 80 percent of the vote in New York City — (laughter) — or Chicago.  But Democrats tend to congregate a little more densely, which puts us at a disadvantage in the House.  Obviously, the nature of the Senate means that California has the same number of Senate seats as Wyoming.  That puts us at a disadvantage.  Gerrymandering in many of these states puts us at a disadvantage.

 

So there are some structural reasons why, despite the fact that Republican ideas are largely rejected by the public, it’s still hard for us to break through.  But the second reason is we have a congenital disease, which is we don’t like voting in midterms.  Our voters are younger, more minorities, more single women, more working-class folks who are busy and trying to get to work, trying to find work.  And oftentimes we opt out during midterms.  If we had the same turnout in 2012 that we had had in 2010, I might have lost.  Instead, of course, we had a very significant and solid victory.

 

So this is pretty straightforward — I need more votes.  I need more people voting to reflect our values and what we care about and our stance on the issues, which, in turn, leads to senators and congressman who then vote on behalf of actually getting stuff done.  A bunch of you, because you’ve known me for a long time, came up and commiserated while we were taking pictures — oh, these folks are so mean and there’s always slinging and hurling stones and arrows at you, and all this.  And I said, you know what, it turns out — maybe I’m from Chicago — I’m a tough guy.  It doesn’t really bother me too much.

 

There is one thing that bothers me, which is when I hear folks saying, oh, you know, if you just play golf with John Boehner more — (laughter) — and we’re just trying harder to be more bipartisan, then we’d get more stuff done.  That’s not the problem.  (Laughter.)  On every issue we are more than happy to sit down in reasonable fashion and compromise.  The problem is not that we’re too mean or we’re too partisan.  The problem is I don’t have enough votes — full stop.

 

The first two years, when we had a Democratic House and a Democratic Senate, we had the most productive legislature since the 1960s, since Lyndon Johnson — more significant, meaningful domestic legislation than any time since Medicare was passed.  House Republicans take over and we now have — you remember Harry Truman with the do-nothing Congress?  This is a less productive Congress than the do-nothing Congress.  (Laughter.)  This Congress makes the do-nothing Congress look like the New Deal.  (Laughter.)

 

So I need everybody to feel a sense of urgency.  That’s what we’re here tonight to talk about.  And whatever else I say, whatever issues you are concerned about, ultimately it translates into math — are we turning out voters who, in turn, produce majorities that allow us to advance the values that we care about.  Everything else is just talk.  And if we don’t feel that sense of urgency in this election, we’re going to have problems.  And if we do, then in the next two and half years we can make as much progress as we did the first two years I was in office.

 

All right.  Thank you very much, everybody.  Thank you.  (Applause.)

 

END
8:32 P.M. CDT

 

 

And The Very Next Morning At Breakfast…..

 

Obama Breakfasts At Old Chicago Favorite

It was an old home kind of Friday for President Obama. The president — and former Chicago resident — had breakfast at a favored old stomping ground, Valois Restaurant in Hyde Park. Obama, who dined with Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn, ordered two eggs over medium with bacon and hash browns, and then plopped down a pair of $20 bills. “I don’t take free food,” Obama said.

It was a familiar place for Obama. A glass cabinet featured Valois coffee mugs adorned with Obama’s face, while assorted Obama clippings and photos hung on a wall. A separate menu board featured “President Obama’s favorites,” including “N.Y. steak and eggs”; two eggs with bacon or sausage; two pancakes; steak omelet; Mediterranean omelet; and an “all-vegi” egg white omelet.

 

 

Obama gives hugs, selfies at Chicago restaurant at Valois Cafeteria in Hyde Park 

 

 

 

 President Obama gets breakfast at Valois Cafeteria in Chicago, IL, eggs, bacon & hash browns

President Obama gets breakfast at Valois Cafeteria in Chicago, IL, eggs, bacon & hash browns

Barack greets diners during a breakfast stop at Valois Cafeteria in Chicago, on the South SIIIIDDDDEEEE.

Barack greets diners during a breakfast stop at Valois Cafeteria in Chicago, on the South SIIIIDDDDEEEE.

 

Back home briefly, Obama breakfasts with Illinois governor

 

Published on May 23, 2014

After a quick overnight at his Chicago house for the first time in almost a year, the president patronized one of his favorite local haunts, Valois Restaurant, with Gov. Pat Quinn, D-Ill.

 

 

 

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Returing Home

 

 

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HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius Does Her Job: 9.1 Covered Under ObamaCARES. Now Time To Move On.


 

By Jueseppi B.

Job well done, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius Resigning

Job well done, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius Resigning.

 

All The TeaTardedRepubliCANT Pseudo-Freudian Psycho-Sexual Secret-Whore Pro-caucasian Pro-Racist Anti-LGBTQA1 Anti- Feminist Reich Wing GOPretender Conselfishservative NRA-Gun Loving Nut Bag Party members who said: ““She had an impossible task: nobody can make Obamacare work,” Eric Cantor Verified @GOPLeader turned out to be lying dumbass fool.

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Official: Health Secretary Kathleen Sebelius resigning

 

From CNN:

 

By Jim Acosta and Greg Botelho, CNN

 

(CNN) — Kathleen Sebelius — who weathered heavy criticism over the flaw-filled launch of the Obamacare website, then saw the program through as it topped a major milestone — is resigning as secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, a White House official said Thursday.

President Barack Obama intends to nominate Sylvia Mathews Burwell, current director of the Office of Management and Budget, to replace Sebelius, according to the official.

Sylvia Mathews Burwell

Sylvia Mathews Burwell

A former Kansas governor and, before that, state insurance commissioner, Sebelius was sworn in as HHS secretary in April 2009.

Her time as head of the federal health agency coincided with the passage and implementation of the Affordable Care Act, the bill often referred to as Obamacare.

Sebelius came under fire last fall for the rocky rollout of HealthCare.gov, the website central to the new law’s implementation.

That included being subject of a “Saturday Night Live” parody and talk show one-liners panning her. Republicans in Congress were especially critical of what they saw as her lack of leadership shepherding through what they saw as an ill-conceived, ill-advised law. Wyoming Sen. John Barrasso went so far as to characterize her last October as the “laughingstock of America.”

But Sebelius, 65, held on to her job, insisting America shouldn’t abandon the legislation and all that it hopes to achieve.

In an interview with CNN’s Sanjay Gupta, she admitted that Obama didn’t know of the website’s many technical problems until “the first couple of days” after it went live October 1.

“There are people in this country who have waited for decades for affordable health coverage for themselves and their families,” Sebelius said, explaining why the website’s launch wasn’t pushed back despite anticipated problems. “…So waiting is not really an option.”

The website’s performance did improve significantly, prompting the calls for her job to die down as well. Earlier this month, in a letter to department employees, Sebelius reflected on Obamacare enrollment exceeding its target of 7 million as evidence of “the progress we’ve made, together,” while stating “our work is far from over.”

“I know that this law has been at the center of much debate and discourse in Washington, but what this enrollment demonstrates is that the Affordable Care Act is working and much needed,” she said in the note.

Obamacare hits 7.5 million sign-ups, Sebelius says

According to senior Obama administration officials, Sebelius told the President in early March that she thought the enrollment period would end well and, after that, she planned to step down. Even granted the initial uproar over the website, her decision to resign was on her own accord, the officials said.

One White House official praised her overseeing “one of the most consequential initiatives of this administration” as well as her efforts to “improve children’s health, expand mental health care, reduce racial and ethnic disparities, bring us closer to the first AIDS-free generation and promote women’s health.”

“The President is deeply grateful for her service,” the official said.

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, a Virginia Republican, thanked Sebelius for her five years in the federal government — while taking at a swipe at the legislation she is most closely associated with.

“She had an impossible task: nobody can make Obamacare work,” Cantor tweeted.

Other Republicans weren’t that gracious. Rep. Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee said Sebelius’ departure “has been a long time coming after a litany of failures and total mismanagement.”

Not surprisingly, given the sharp partisan divide that defines the Obamacare debate, Democrats came to her support. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi commended the outgoing health secretary for her dedication “to a single purpose: to make health care a right, not a privilege, for all Americans.”

“When all is said and done,” tweeted ex-Obama senior adviser David Axelrod, “Sebelius has lots to be proud of, including the surprisingly strong finish on exchange signups after rocky start.”

Sebelius is expected to be by the President’s side at 11 a.m. Friday when he announces Burwell’s nomination, according to a White House official.

Burwell, 48, was confirmed to her current Cabinet-rank position in April 2013. She came to the White House from her spot atop the Walmart Foundation — the giant retail chain’s charitable organization which, according to its website, donated nearly $1 billion to causes worldwide in 2011.

Prior to that, Burwell worked for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and in President Bill Clinton’s administration under then-Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin.

States work with Obamacare to help undocumented immigrants

CNN‘s Jake Tapper contributed to this report.

Thank you CNN.

 

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius wave goodbye to the du,nass 113th CongrASS, thats the 113th Do Nothing CongrASS

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius wave goodbye to the du,nass 113th CongrASS, thats the 113th Do Nothing CongrASS

 

From ABC News:

 

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius will announce Friday she is stepping down, ABC News has confirmed.

 

The president will nominate Sylvia Burwell, director of the Office of Management and Budget, to replace her.

 

Sylvia Mathews Burwell

Sylvia Mathews Burwell

 

Sebelius approached President Obama about a month ago and asked to step down after the health care sign-up numbers were released, two senior administration officials and a confidante of Sebelius’ told ABC News.

 

The White House always worried about finding someone to win confirmation at HHS, but Burwell was overwhelmingly confirmed as budget director with a vote of 96-0 about a year ago.

 

Earlier today Sebelius was on Capitol Hill to announce that 400,000 additional people have chosen insurance plans through the Obamacare exchanges as of this week, raising the total number of enrollees to approximately 7.5 million.

 

“As of this week, 400,000 additional Americans have signed up and we expect that number to continue to grow,” Sebelius said at a Senate Finance Committee hearing Thursday.

 

Last week, the administration announced 7.1 million people had enrolled as of April 1.

 

“From her work on Head Start, to expanding mental health coverage, to advancing cutting-edge health care research and, of course, her unwavering leadership in implementing the Affordable Care Act, Secretary Sebelius often calls her work here the most meaningful of her life,” an HHS official said in a statement. “As she closes this chapter, Secretary Sebelius is extremely thankful to President Obama and very proud of the historic accomplishments of this Administration.”

 

ABC ’s Arlette Saenz and Devin Dwyer contributed reporting.

 

Thank you ABC News

 

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President Obama Announces his Intent to Nominate Dr. William “Bro” Adams as Chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities

 

President William (Br0) Adams

 

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, President Obama announced his intent to nominate Dr. William “Bro” Adams as Chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

President Obama said, “Bro brings demonstrated leadership and decades of experience as an administrator at major universities and liberal arts institutions.  His clear dedication and lifelong commitment to the humanities make him uniquely qualified to lead the nation’s cultural agency. I’m proud to nominate Bro as Chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities and look forward to working with him in the months and years to come.”

President Obama announced his intent to nominate Dr. William “Bro” Adams as Chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities:

Dr. William “Bro” Adams, Nominee for Chairman, National Endowment for the Humanities
Dr. William “Bro” Adams is President of Colby College, a position he has held since 2000.  Previously, he was President of Bucknell University from 1995 to 2000.  Dr. Adams was Vice President and Secretary of Wesleyan University from 1993 to 1995, and was Program Coordinator of the Great Works in Western Culture program at Stanford University from 1986 to 1988.  Earlier in his career, he held various teaching positions at Stanford University, Santa Clara University, and the University of North Carolina.  Dr. Adams served in the Vietnam War as a First Lieutenant in the U.S. Army.  In 1977, he became a Fulbright Scholar and conducted research at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes and the Ecole Normale Superieure in Paris, France.  Dr. Adams is a member of the Board of Directors of the Maine Film Center and the Maine Public Broadcasting Corporation.  Dr. Adams received a B.A. from the Colorado College and a Ph.D. from the University of California, Santa Cruz.

 

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Statement by the President

Today, the Minnesota Legislature took action to increase the state minimum wage, giving more hardworking Minnesotans the raise they deserve. With this important step, Minnesota joins a growing coalition of states, cities, counties and businesses that have taken action to do the right thing for their workers and their citizens. I commend the state legislature for raising their minimum wage and we look forward to Governor Dayton signing the bill into law soon.  I urge Congress to follow Minnesota’s lead, raise the federal minimum wage, and lift wages for 28 million Americans.  Congress should listen to the majority of Americans who say it’s time to give America a raise and help ensure that no American who works full time has to raise a family in poverty.

 

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Statement by the President

Today, Senate Republicans overwhelmingly blocked the Paycheck Fairness Act – preventing it from even receiving an honest debate, let alone a simple yes-or-no vote.  The Paycheck Fairness Act is commonsense legislation that would strengthen the 1963 Equal Pay Act and reinforce our country’s commitment to the principle of equal pay for equal work.  Yesterday, I took two actions that will make it easier for working women to earn fair pay, and my Administration will continue to do everything we can to make sure that every hard-working American earns the respect and wages that they deserve on the job.  But Republicans in Congress continue to oppose serious efforts to create jobs, grow the economy, and level the playing field for working families.  That’s wrong, and it’s harmful for our national efforts to rebuild an economy that gives every American who works hard a fair shot to get ahead.

 

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Statement by the President

The Maryland Legislature did the right thing for its workers today by increasing the state minimum wage to $10.10 an hour. Maryland’s important action is a reminder that many states, cities and counties – as well as a majority of the American people – are way ahead of Washington on this crucial issue. I applaud Governor O’Malley and the state legislature for leading by example and giving more Maryland workers the raise they deserve. But there’s only one group who can get the job done for the entire country – that’s Congress. They should follow Maryland’s lead and lift wages for 28 million Americans by passing legislation to increase the federal minimum wage to $10.10, helping to ensure that no American who works full time has to raise a family in poverty, and that every American who works hard has the opportunity to succeed.

 

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From Politics Early & Often, Chicago Sun-Times:

 

House kills effort to ban ‘conversion therapy’ for gay kids

 

State Rep. Jeanne Ives, R-Wheaton, voted against a bill to outlaw “conversion therapy” -- intended to make gay, bisexual and transgender youth heterosexual. File Photo | Rich Hein/Sun-Times

State Rep. Jeanne Ives, R-Wheaton, voted against a bill to outlaw “conversion therapy” — intended to make gay, bisexual and transgender youth heterosexual. File Photo | Rich Hein/Sun-Times

 

SPRINGFIELD-A bid to block therapists from engaging in “conversion therapy” with gay, bisexual and transgender youth in order to make them heterosexual failed Thursday in the Illinois House.

 

The measure, proposed by Rep. Kelly Cassidy, D-Chicago, lost on a 44-51 roll call despite her plea to colleagues to stop gay, bisexual and transgender teens 17 and under from being “horribly and humiliatingly abused.”

“This treatment plan causes depression, causes suicidal actions and is incredibly harmful to children,” said Cassidy, who is openly lesbian and one of the lead architects of Illinois’ same-sex marriage law.

“The practice of conversion therapy is dismissed by every major scientific organization and should not be utilized. There’s not a single scientific basis for one’s sex orientation being a disorder,” she said. “We need to protect our children.”

House Bill 5569 states that being lesbian, gay or bisexual is not a disease, and that mental health practitioners should not be treating it as such. Conversion therapy would be considered “unprofessional conduct” under Cassidy’s bill and those who perform it could have their state licenses sanctioned.

 

Twenty-two House members didn’t vote on her legislation either because they chose not to or decided to begin their two-week break early Thursday. Because the legislation failed to receive 47 votes, Cassidy could not keep her measure alive for another vote.

Critics of the bill included conservative Republicans, who argued state lawmakers lacked the knowledge about whether such therapy works or not and that, ultimately, people should decide what type of professional help is right for them.

 “I honestly don’t believe there’s one single individual in this body that’s absolutely able to stand here and say that they know enough about this area to make a decision on what is appropriate or what is not appropriate, “ said Rep. Jeanne Ives, R-Wheaton, who voted against the bill.

“This is not stuff we should be legislating on at all. Let people decide for themselves what they need to have for themselves,” Ives said.

 

Thank you Politics Early & Often, Chicago Sun-Times.

 

Seems we are headed back to the stone ages, or rather the ages of stoning witches, or members of The LGBTQA1 community. Lets “Pray The Gay Away” legislation!

 

 

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The President Wants You To Get Covered Today: “Don’t Just Think About It, Just Do It”


 

By Jueseppi B.

healthcare.gov

 

 

 

 

Message from President Obama: Get Covered Today

 

Published on Mar 26, 2014

Time is running out to get health insurance coverage for 2014 at http://HealthCare.gov — open enrollment ends on March 31. If you haven’t signed up yet, get covered today.

 

 

 

There are only 5 days left to get health insurance coverage for 2014 at HealthCare.gov before open enrollment ends on March 31. If you haven’t signed up yet, the President wants you to get covered today.

 

As the President says, “No one’s invincible. We all get sick, or get into accidents. Life happens. But you should never have to worry you’ll lose everything to medical bills. That’s why health insurance is so important.”

 

If you’re not covered, don’t wait any longer — sign up today.

 

And if you already have health insurance, tell your friends, family, and co-workers that they need to get covered, too. VisitWH.gov/GetCovered for tips on how to spread the word.

 


 

Learn more:

 

 

The White House Extends The Patient Protection And Affordable Care Act (ObamaCARES) Enrollment Deadline.

 

Federal officials confirmed Tuesday evening that all consumers who have begun to apply for coverage on HealthCare.gov, but who do not finish by Monday, will have until about mid-April to ask for an extension.

 

The Obama administration has decided to give extra time to Americans who say that they are unable to enroll in health plans through the federal insurance marketplace by the March 31 deadline.

 

Under the new rules, people will be able to qualify for an extension by checking a blue box on HealthCare.gov to indicate that they tried to enroll before the deadline. This method will rely on an honor system; the government will not try to determine whether the person is telling the truth.

 

Obama administration will allow more time to enroll in health care on federal marketplace

 

 

The rules, which will apply to the federal exchanges operating in three dozen states, will essentially create a large loophole even as White House officials have repeatedly said that the March 31 deadline was firm. The extra time will not technically alter the deadline but will create a broad new category of people eligible for what’s known as a special enrollment period.

 

The change, which the administration is scheduled to announce Wednesday, is supported by consumer advocates who want as many people as possible to gain insurance under the 2010 Affordable Care Act. But it’s likely to be criticized by Republicans who oppose the law and have denounced the way the administration is implementing it.

 

Administration officials said the accommodation is an attempt to prepare for a possible surge of people trying to sign up in the final days before the deadline. Such a flood could leave some people unable to get through the system.

 

“We are . . . making sure that we will be ready to help consumers who may be in line by the deadline to complete enrollment — either online or over the phone,” said Julie Bataille, director of the office of communications for theCenters for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the agency overseeing the federal health-care exchange.

 

The extra time will not be restricted, though, to people who wait until the last minute to try to sign up. Although no one will be asked why they need an extension, the idea is to help people whose applications have been held up because of the Web site’s technical problems, or who haven’t been able to get the system to calculate subsidies to help them pay for coverage.

 

According to a Health and Human Services official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity about decisions that have not been made public, an exact time frame for this extension has not been set, and it will depend in part on how many people request it. Nor have officials decided precisely how long people will have to select a health plan after they get the extra time.

 

Starting in about mid-April, people will no longer be able to get extensions through HealthCare.gov. After that, consumers will be able to request one through one of the federally sponsored call centers nationwide. At that point, the grounds for an extension will become narrower, matching rules for special enrollment periods that have existed for the past few months. Those include people who have a new baby, are getting a divorce, lose a job with health insurance or had a technical problem signing up for coverage through HealthCare.gov.

 

Once the narrower rules take effect, people will still be trusted to tell the truth about why they need more time — a method known as “self-attestation.”

 

The new rules are similar to steps being taken — or contemplated — by some of the 14 states that are running their own health-insurance exchanges.

 

Last week, the governing board of Maryland’s exchange, which has been hampered by serious computer problems, decided to let residents complete their enrollments after the March 31 deadline, as long as they had started the process beforehand. Minnesota officials announced this week that they would do the same thing. Oregon’s governor plans to announce a similar plan this week, according to his spokeswoman, and the board of Nevada’s exchange is considering several alternatives, including a special enrollment period.

 

The impact of such leeway, coming in the final days of a sign-up period that began in October, remains unclear. This year’s enrollment period is the first opportunity for Americans who are unable to get affordable insurance through a job to choose whether to enroll in one of the plans offered under the 2010 law.

 

In recent weeks, the White House and its allies have been mounting an intense public relations campaign to motivate people to sign up. Amid signs of increasing interest, federal health officials have privately worried whether HealthCare.gov could withstand an expected last-minute enrollment surge this weekend.

 

Administration officials have adopted an enrollment target of 6 million Americans, forecast this winter by congressional budget analysts. The analysts had lowered their previous prediction of 7 million after problems with HealthCare.gov thwarted many people who attempted to enroll during the fall.

 

Until now, the March 31 deadline has been the date by which most Americans must choose a plan — or risk a government fine in the form of a tax penalty when they file their 2014 taxes next year. The fine will not apply to people who get an extension under the new rules and enroll in plans within the allotted time.

 

The constituency that has been most wary of extra sign-up time has been the insurance industry. Insurance firms selling plans in the new marketplace want to minimize the possibility that people might wait to get coverage until they become sick — a practice that would undermine the central idea of keeping costs in check by balancing people who are expensive to insure with those who are healthy and require little medical treatment.

 

On the other hand, consumer advocates say it is important to give as many people as possible a chance to obtain insurance.

 

“The whole point of the thing is to get people covered,” said Jon Kingsdale, a health-care consultant and former director of Massachusetts’s insurance exchange, which was the first in the country, opening several years before the federal law set up a similar national marketplace. “In the first year, there has been so much confusion, I think it’s only natural there will be people who just don’t feel as if they fully understood what the law was and what they were supposed to do and that the opportunity would close.”

 

The change will be announced Wednesday.

 

 

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