What Did Barack Do Today™





West Wing Week 07/25/14 or, “The Irrefutable Rightness of Your Cause”


This week, the President introduced a historic Executive Action for LGBT rights, continued to address the ongoing conflicts in the Ukraine and Gaza, hosted a town hall in support of his My Brother’s Keeper Initiative, and traveled to California to deliver his response to some very striking letters he’d received … in person.



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Celebrating 24 Years of the Americans with Disabilities Act


Tomorrow marks the 24th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) — a landmark law that transformed American society for people with disabilities. It provided for full participation, independent living, and economic self-sufficiency for those of us living with disabilities, and also provided Americans with disabilities with legal remedies to safeguard all of those rights.


Watch the President’s ADA anniversary message below:




Presidential Proclamation — Anniversary of the Americans With Disabilities Act


- – - – - – -



Over two decades ago, Americans — some in wheelchairs, some using sign language, and all with an abiding belief in our Nation’s promise — came together to strengthen our commitment to equality for all.  At a time when people with disabilities were turned away at movie theaters, rejected for employment, and measured by what so many thought they could not do, leaders and activists refused to accept the world as it was.  In small towns and big cities, they spoke out.  They staged sit-ins, authored discrimination diaries, and scaled the Capitol steps.  Finally, they realized their call for simple justice in one of the most comprehensive civil rights bills in our country’s history.  On the anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), we honor those who fought against discrimination, and we recommit to tearing down barriers and guaranteeing all Americans the right to pursue their own measure of happiness.


The ADA promises equal access and equal opportunity — regardless of ability.  It secures each person’s right to an independent life, and it enables our country and our economy to benefit from the talents and contributions of all Americans.


Even as we commemorate this milestone, we recognize that too often, casual discrimination or fear of the unfamiliar still prevent disabled Americans from achieving their full potential.  That is why my Administration is pushing to fulfill the promise of and better enforce the ADA.  Fifteen years after the Olmstead decision — in which the Supreme Court ruled it discrimination to unjustifiably institutionalize someone with a disability — we have increased the number of homes integrated into communities that are available for persons with disabilities.  Under the Affordable Care Act, insurance companies are banned from discriminating on the basis of pre-existing conditions, medical history, or genetic information.  Expanding on my Executive Order to establish the Federal Government as a model employer of individuals with disabilities, my Administration is also providing Federal contractors with the tools and resources to recruit, retain, and promote people with disabilities.


The nearly one in five Americans living with a disability are our parents, children, neighbors, colleagues, and friends.  They are entitled to the same rights and freedoms as everyone else.  Today, we celebrate their accomplishments, stand against discrimination in all its forms, and honor all who sacrificed so future generations might know a more equal society.


NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim July 26, 2014, the Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act.  I encourage Americans across our Nation to celebrate the 24th anniversary of this civil rights law and the many contributions of individuals with disabilities.


IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this  twenty-fifth day of July, in the year of our Lord two thousand fourteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-ninth.





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What You Missed: A Tumblr Q&A with Valerie Jarrett on Expanding Opportunity for the LGBT Community





This afternoon, Valerie Jarrett, Senior Advisor to the President, took to Tumblr to answer some of your questions on the President’s newest Executive Order that prohibits federal contractors from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. She also answered your questions on marriage equality, bullying prevention, Star Wars, and more.


If you missed the live event, you can check out a full recap right here: A Tumblr Q&A with Valerie Jarrett 

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In September 2009, the President announced that—for the first time in history—White House visitor records would be made available to the public on an ongoing basis. Today, the White House releases visitor records that were generated in April 2014. This release brings the total number of records made public by this White House to more than 3.81 million—all of which can be viewed in our Disclosures section.


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Making the Business Case for Rural America


Ed. note: This is cross-posted from the USDA Blog, see the original post here.


These days, it seems like it’s easier than ever to turn a good idea into reality. This is the era of Kickstarter, where entrepreneurs can connect with potential investors at the click of a button.


Of course, it takes more than money to grow an idea. It takes an atmosphere that fosters creativity and rewards innovation. And at a deeper, less obvious level, it requires strong, secure infrastructure—roads and bridges, but also internet access and community facilities like hospitals and schoolsthat improves connectivity and access to information, moves products to market, and makes communities competitive and attractive to new businesses and investments.


Part of the challenge we face in rural America is that in too many places, infrastructure is outdated and cannot support the same kinds of opportunities that are easily found in cities and larger towns.


Read More.


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Joint Statement by the Presidents of the United States, Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador


President Obama Meets with Central American Presidents


Published on Jul 25, 2014

After delivering remarks, President Obama meets with President Molina of Guatemala, President Hernandez of Honduras, and President Ceren of El Salvador, July 25, 2014.




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Obama Called “Antichrist” By Insane Heckler


Published on Jul 25, 2014

President Obama was confronted by an angry heckler who interrupted his speech and repeatedly called him “the antichrist.” This incident epitomizes the blind hatred Obama – America’s first African American President – has faced throughout his time in office.
The video of the heckler is courtesy of our friends over at Occupy Democrats




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Statements and Releases – July 25th, 2014


FACT SHEET: Visit of President Perez Molina of Guatemala, President Hernandez of Honduras, and President Sanchez Ceren of El Salvador


Statement by the Press Secretary on H.R. 255, H.R. 272, H.R. 291, H.R.330, H.R.356, H.R. 507, H.R. 697, H.R 876, H.R. 1158, H.R. 1216, H.R. 1376, H.R. 1813, H.R. 2337, H.R. 3110



Statement from the President on Unlocking Consumer Choice and Wireless Competition Act


  • A Call Answered: Unlocking America’s Cell Phones


    Last year, over 114,000 of you made your voice heard and petitioned the Administration to restore a basic consumer freedom: to take your mobile service — and a phone or tablet you already own — to the carrier that best suits your needs.


    It’s common sense, good for competition and innovation, and essential to consumers.  That’s why the Administration declared last March that “It’s time to legalize cell phone unlocking,” and today the President commended Congress for doing just that:


    I applaud Members of Congress for passing the Unlocking Consumer Choice and Wireless Competition Act. Last year, in response to a “We the People” petition from consumers across our country, my Administration called for allowing Americans to use their phones or mobile devices on any network they choose. We laid out steps the FCC, industry, and Congress should take to ensure copyright law does not undermine wireless competition, and worked with wireless carriers to reach a voluntary agreement that helps restore this basic consumer freedom. The bill Congress passed today is another step toward giving ordinary Americans more flexibility and choice, so that they can find a cell phone carrier that meets their needs and their budget. I commend Chairmen Leahy and Goodlatte, and Ranking Members Grassley and Conyers for their leadership on this important consumer issue and look forward to signing this bill into law.


    Everyone has done their part to get here — from the FCC convening carriers, to the industry agreeing to voluntary steps to make their unlocking process transparent and reliable.  And as he said today, the President looks forward to signing this bill into law. It’s just one more way he is taking the lead in making life a little easier for the middle class, and ensuring our technology remains the envy of the world.


    You called, the President answered, and together we made cell phone unlocking happen.


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Connecting African Leaders to U.S. Industry Beyond the Beltway


The upcoming U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit, which is the largest single engagement by any U.S. President with our African partners, will help the United States play a driving role in the continent’s future development.

Many Americans are aware that sub-Saharan Africa is a fast-growing region with tremendous potential, but they may not know about significant plans to develop infrastructure across the continent. We believe that these plans represent enormous business opportunities for U.S. companies of all sizes, and that is why we have invited key African decision-makers to meet with private-sector leaders in Chicago and Houston prior to the Summit.

These African Leaders’ Visits, which the U.S. Trade and Development Agency is partnering with the U.S. Departments of Transportation and Energy to host from July 30 to August 1, will highlight the United States’ experience fostering economic growth through key infrastructure investments. These Visits are the only commercially focused events to take African leaders to major U.S. cities outside of Washington, D.C. on the occasion of the Summit.


Read More.


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A Day in the Life: Deric from Baltimore


Meet Deric.


Deric Richardson had been out of work for over a year. He had a GED and a Microsoft Office certificate, but needed an opportunity to improve his skills. That opportunity came in the form of tuition-free training in laboratory skills provided by the nonprofit BioTechnical Institute of Maryland. Shortly after successfully completing the training, Deric was hired by Baltimore-based Paragon Bioservices in July 2010.


Today, Secretary of Labor Tom Perez is traveling to Baltimore to meet with him.


Deric’s story is just one great example of how job-driven training is working for Americans across the country. When we talk about “job-driven” training, we’re talking about making sure we’re providing people with the skills that employers are looking for right now to fill available jobs. Earlier this week, President Obama signed the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, which will elevate more job-driven programs like BTI.


This is the second in a series of “day in the life” trips Secretary Perez — in addition to other secretaries across the President’s cabinet — will be taking over the next few months. It’s a chance to talk directly with the people the Labor Department works for every day.


We want to make sure you see what he sees, too. Follow along today to see live updates and highlights from Secretary Perez’s day.


Read More.


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It's Raining Videos™

It’s Raining Videos™


ALERT: Russia Sending More Powerful Weapons to Rebels in Russia


Published on Jul 25, 2014

BREAKING: Russia is firing across border into Ukraine.
KIEV, Ukraine (AP) – Russia is launching artillery attacks from its soil on Ukrainian troops and preparing to move heavier weaponry across the border, the U.S. and Ukraine charged Friday in what appeared to be an ominous escalation of the crisis.
Russia accused Washington of lying and charged Ukraine with firing across the border on a Russian village. It also toughened its economic measures against Ukraine by banning dairy imports.




Senator Rips Republicans for ‘Nickel and Diming’ Veterans After Wasting Trillions on Iraq War




NYPD’s “chokehold” killing of father sparks outrage


Published on Jul 25, 2014

The New York City Police Department is under intense fire from community members after video emerged online of Eric Garner, a 43-year-old father of six, dying after officer’s placed him in a chokehold for selling bootleg cigarettes. Critics are equating the department’s use of the controversial move with murder, angry it continues to be widely used despite a more than 20-year-old ban. RT’s Anastasia Churkina speaks to activists and takes a look at the practices use nationwide.




Dr. Sanjay Gupta: The science of identifying a tragedy


Published on Jul 25, 2014

Dr. Sanjay Gupta reports on the the science that will help bring closure to the families who lost loved ones on MH-17






Dove of Peace



By Jueseppi B. The Militant Negro

By Jueseppi B. The Militant Negro




The Image Of A Strong Stable Black Family.











This image is what racist caucasians in The United States Of AmeriKKKa hate most about President of The United States Of America, Barack Hussein Obama and First Lady Of The United States Of America, Michelle LaVaughn Obama.


A portrait of a unified, strong, stable Black Family.


Racist caucasian have long viewed the Black family as splintered, broken, non-existent. And along comes this first family with a strong Black father, an even stronger Black mother, children who are precious in their intelligence and manners and knowledge of their roles as first children….and a Grandmother, Mother-In-Law and Mom who is the backbone of this historic Black family unit.


How dare these Negros be all that many AmeriKKKan families are not?


How dare this Black man be a Harvard graduate, President of The Harvard Law Review. Then have the audacity to be a community organizer to boot? How dare he imagine he could occupy the White Man’s House?


How dare this Negro woman, First Lady of the United States, raised on the South Side of Chicago, attended Princeton University and Harvard Law School before returning to Chicago to work at the law firm Sidley Austin, HOW DARE THEY!!


What an uppity bunch of colored folk.




You see, many Black families in America exist, but our biased, unfair and unbalanced media refuses to put these Strong Stable Black Families on The Evening News.


Fear and loathing is further associated with the Black family by AmeriKKKan media in it’s many forms, but informed, intelligent Americans comprehend that America is comprised of many whole, complete, strong stable families of people of all colors, sexual orientations and religious beliefs.


Only the racist, moronic, idiots who want to believe in lies and misinformation of the Reich wing, choose to buy into caucasian families being the only “normal’ family units. Thats a myth.


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Parade Magazine: The President & First Lady Michelle Obama On Work, Family, And Juggling It All.




The President and Michelle Obama on Work, Family, and Juggling It All


President Barack Obama and wife Michelle have never been your typical working stiffs. With four Ivy League degrees between them, they’ve enjoyed high incomes and strong job security. But before and during college, they each worked minimum-wage jobs. And there was a time when they felt the same kind of financial aches and marriage strains that today’s dual-income families know all too well. As a young married couple in Chicago, they were mired in student debt, juggling multiple jobs and two kids, and bickering over who did what housework. “I wouldn’t fold,” remembers the president. “I didn’t separate, and Michelle’s point was, that’s not laundry.”


Silly suds stories aside, the Obamas feel they’ve been there. They know what families need, especially America’s working moms. According to the Pew Research Center, a record 40 percent of households with children under the age of 18 are led by mothers who, much like the president’s own mother, are either the sole or primary breadwinner for the family. Of working mothers with very young children, one in five has a low-wage job.


On June 23, to help raise the national discussion of these issues, the president will host the White House Summit on Working Families in Washington, D.C., a listen, learn, and recommendation session open to business leaders, lawmakers, economists, and ordinary citizens. Says the president, “There are structures that can help families around child care, health care, and schooling that make an enormous difference in people’s lives.”


In a May 20 interview with Parade editor in chief -Maggie Murphy and contributing writer Lynn Sherr in the Oval Office, the first couple discussed their work experiences, what they hope to get done before they leave the White House, and their roots in the ordinary. The president, who once scooped ice cream at Baskin-Robbins, began by recalling his days as a waiter in an assisted living facility—a story that even surprised his wife.


Read the entire interview here at TheObamaCrat™


You see, this President and First Lady started out dirt poor, as many common everyday Americans start out their journey. Now most every past 43 POTUSA started out in The Oval Office wealthy, it’s why they can fun for the highest office in the land, cash.


This POTUSA was not wealthy, rich or even well off. Barack Hussein Obama broke the mold and the rules.


Barack also loves, respects and adores his wife, his children and his Mother-In-Law.


Real Love Looks Like This


“On our first date, I treated her to the finest ice cream Baskin-Robbins had to offer, our dinner table doubling as the curb. I kissed her and it tasted like chocolate.” – President Barack Hussein Obama from an interview in O, The Oprah Magazine. February , 2007.




Barack & Michelle


Barack & Michelle Showing The World What real Unity & Love Looks Like. This Is MY POTUSA!!




Another Black Man myth busted. The Black Family is alive and well In The United States Of America, unlike the lies, misinformation, racist rhetoric and media fear mongering currently floating around in The United States Of AmeriKKKa.


Now YOU know why racist caucasians hate Barack Hussein Obama, Michelle LaVaughn Obama, Natasha Obama, Malia Ann Obama and Marian Lois Robinson.


And The Un-supreme Court says Racism in AmeriKKKa is no more.


Yeah. Right. Uh-huh.


REMEMBER! everytown1










Weekly Wrap-Up: POTUSA In Europe, OK Go, Power Plants, And More.


By Jueseppi B.



Weekly Wrap-Up: POTUS in Europe, OK Go, Power Plants, and More



There was a lot of action this week, both in Washington and overseas. President Obama traveled to Europe, we announced the first-ever White House Maker Faire, the EPA proposed a rule to curb climate change and make our children healthier, and more.


Check out what else you may have missed in this week’s wrap up:



President Obama Heads to Europe


President Obama traveled to Europe this week, visiting Poland, Belgium, and France. It was a busy four days overseas, and we have all of the highlights here.


Finishing off the week, the President traveled to Normandy to commemorate the 70th anniversary of D-Day — and narrated a behind-the-scenes video in honor of the event.




216,000 Jobs

Another jobs report, another month of positive job growth. We’re not done yet, but we’re making progress.



For a more detailed look at the 51th consecutive month of businesses adding jobs, read on.




Celebrating a Nation of Makers

With a little help from the band OK Go, we announced this week the first-ever White House Maker Faire! On June 18, the President will host America’s students and entrepreneurs who are using cutting-edge tools that might very well create the industries and jobs of the future.



We can’t wait for this event. If you’re interested in getting involved, find out more here.




New Carbon Pollution Standards for Power Plants

Earlier this week, the Environmental Protection Agency unveiled new actions to cut dangerous carbon pollution from existing power plants. This move is not only good for the health of our climate, but it’s good for the health of our children. The President made that clear when he visited the Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, D.C., where he met with children whose asthma is aggravated by air pollution.




“One of the best things we can do for our economy, our health, and our environment is to lead the world in producing cleaner, safer energy – and we’re already generating more clean energy than ever before.”



“It’s a Good Day”

On Saturday, in the White House Rose Garden, President Obama spoke on the recovery of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl — an American soldier who spent nearly five years in captivity during the war in Afghanistan. In the President’s remarks, he stressed that “while Bowe was gone, he was never forgotten.”



“As Commander-in-Chief, I am proud of the servicemembers who recovered Sergeant Bergdahl and brought him safely out of harm’s way. As usual, they performed with extraordinary courage and professionalism, and they have made their nation proud.”



As always, to see even more of this week’s events, be sure to watch the latest episode of West Wing Week:








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By Jueseppi B.



I have never in 54 years ever seen a man so comfortable in his own skin as a President Of These United States Of America. I have never witnessed or observed a real man of the people, his people, sitting in The White House as POTUSA.


The Man is a diplomat, a humanitarian and a lover of humankind. When can those words be uttered about any other President.



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Raw Video: The President Takes a Surprise Walk


Published on May 22, 2014

The President was heading over to the nearby Department of the Interior and decided to break with tradition and take a Springtime walk. On the way, he got a chance to meet with all sorts of folks, who weren’t expecting to meet the President of the United States of America.




“Am I Allowed to Slide Over?” or West Wing Peek


Published on May 21, 2014

When the President and Vice President visited Shake Shack, they found a counter in between them and their picture with the staff.




“This is Our Graduation Picture” or, West Wing Peek


Published on May 14, 2014

When the President spoke with ACA letter writers in California, one family got a graduation picture and a bit of friendly advice from the President.




These three videos say exactly what I meant, and say it so much better than I could.






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Barack Speaks On Immigration Reform. Joey B. Tackles Infrastructure. The White House Honors “Champions of Change.”


By Jueseppi B.




Remarks by the President at Law Enforcement Briefing on Immigration


Published on May 13, 2014

During a law enforcement briefing, the President delivers remarks on fixing our broken immigration system, May 13, 2014.


Room 350
Eisenhower Executive Office Building

12:01 P.M. EDT






THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you, everybody.  (Applause.)  Have a seat.  Have a seat.  Well, it’s wonderful to see all of you.  Some of you I’ve had the chance to get to know working on law enforcement issues and criminal justice issues.  But I cannot thank you enough for participating today on an issue that I think is important to our economic future, to our cultural future, to our standing in the world and to our safety and security, and that’s the issue of immigration.


I’m here with some of the leaders of America’s law enforcement agencies who recognize that fixing a broken immigration system isn’t just the right thing to do — it’s also the right thing to do for safety and security in communities all across America.


The immigration system that we have right now makes it harder, not easier, for law enforcement agencies to do their jobs.  It makes it harder for law enforcement to know when dangerous people cross our borders.  It makes it harder for business owners who play by the rules to compete when they’re undercut by those who would exploit workers in a shadow economy. And it makes it harder for law enforcement to do their jobs when large segments of the community are afraid to report crimes or serve as witnesses because they fear the consequences for themselves or their families.


This system is not fair.  It’s not fair to workers; it’s not fair to businesses who are trying to do the right thing; it’s not fair to law enforcement agencies that are already stretched thin.


Now, the good news is the Senate has already passed a bill with a wide, bipartisan majority that would go a long way towards fixing a broken system.  It would strengthen our borders even further.  And I’m sure Jeh has talked to you about the work that’s been done over the last five years — we have put unprecedented resources at the borders, and you’ve seen the results.  We have fewer folks coming in than ever before.  And the personnel that is arrayed along our borders is well beyond anything that we saw five years ago, 10 years ago, 20 years ago. So we take border enforcement seriously.


But what this reform package would also do is create a firm but fair pathway to earned citizenship for those who live in the shadows — and as a consequence, would give law enforcement a better idea of who’s in the country.  It would also help build trust between local communities and law enforcement and immigrant communities.  It would undermine criminal enterprises that prey on undocumented immigrants.  And it would allow law enforcement to focus on its primary mission, which is keeping our communities safe.


And these are some of the reasons why a broad, bipartisan coalition — including law enforcement agencies like the ones who are represented today — is pushing Congress to go ahead and get the job done, get us over the finish line and do it this year.


I hope all of you keep it up because it’s making a difference.  A number of Republicans are realizing that blocking immigration reform is not an option, and that’s the good news.  And most Americans, the majority of Americans, know this is the right thing to do.  Public opinion is on our side on this.  Unfortunately, we’ve got a handful of House Republicans right now who are blocking going ahead and letting legislation get to the floor.


To their credit, I think Speaker Boehner and some of the other leaders there do believe that immigration reform is the right thing, but they’ve got to have a political space that allows them to go ahead and get it through their caucus and get it done.  I’ve said to them, if they’ve got ideas I’m happy to talk to them.  We’re not hell-bent on making sure that every letter of what’s in the Senate bill is exactly what ultimately lands on my desk for signature, but there are some core principles that we’ve got to get done.  We’ve got to have stronger border security.  We’ve got to make sure that we are dealing with companies that are not doing the right thing by workers.  We’ve got to make sure that we’ve got an improved legal immigration system, because a lot of folks are getting pushed into the illegal system because the waits are so long through the legal process.  And we’ve got to make sure that there’s a way for people to earn some pathway to citizenship.


And keep in mind, some of these statistics you may have already heard — it’s estimated that over 80 percent of the folks who are here on an undocumented basis have been here 10 years or longer.  These are folks who are woven into the fabrics of our communities.  Their kids are going to school with our kids.  Most of them are not making trouble; most of them are not causing crimes.  And yet, we put them in this tenuous position and it creates a situation in which your personnel, who have got to go after gang-bangers and need to be going after violent criminals and deal with the whole range of challenges, and who have to cooperate with DHS around our counterterrorism activities — you’ve got to spend time dealing with somebody who is not causing any other trouble other than the fact that they were trying to make a living for their families.  That’s just not a good use of our resources.  It’s not smart.  It doesn’t make sense.


So I know I’m preaching to the choir here.  You wouldn’t be here if you didn’t agree with us that this is time for us to go ahead and get moving.  But I just want all of you to know your voices, particularly over the next couple of months, are going to be critical.  I think people have come to expect that I’m in favor of comprehensive immigration reform.  I think that people anticipate that the Congressional Hispanic Caucus is going to be in favor of comprehensive immigration reform.  I think people understand that there are a lot of agricultural enterprises that know how important their immigrant workers are to them.  But it’s more important in some ways to get over the hump when they hear from unexpected voices.


I think the evangelical Christian community has shown itself to be foursquare behind immigration reform, and that’s a powerful voice.  I think portions of the business community that people may not anticipate know that this is the key to our economic future.  It would lower our deficits; it would grow our economy; it would bring in some of the most skilled people around the world.  We want them to continue to come here.  That’s part of our competitive advantage relative to the rest of the world.  Our population is not aging the way some other populations are because it’s constantly replenished with folks who are go-getters.  And hearing from law enforcement is important and I think it lends this overall effort great credibility.


So I just want to say thank you to all of you.  But we’ve got this narrow window.  The closer we get to the midterm elections the harder it is to get things done around here.  Now, I know it’s hard to believe that things could get harder — (laughter) — that this place could get a little more dysfunctional.  But it’s just very hard right before an election. So we’ve got maybe a window of two, three months to get the ball rolling in the House of Representatives.  And your voices are going to be absolutely critical to that effort.


So I just want to say thank you to all of you.  And while I’m here, I want to thank you for a wide range of issues that we’ve had a chance to cooperate with you on.  Whether it’s dealing with counterterrorism issues and the preparations that ensure that if and when an event happens that we’re prepared, and more importantly, that we’re able to prevent such activities from taking place in the first place, or dealing with natural disasters where our first responders are always right there on the scene, day in and day out your teams, your personnel are doing heroic work on behalf of America.  And we’re very, very grateful for that.


So thank you, everybody.  Let’s make this happen.  (Applause.)


12:10 P.M. EDT






Investing in American Ports Infrastructure


Vice President Biden will visit the CityArchRiver project in the afternoon to discuss the economy and showcase the progress of the site. The project is set to redesign the grounds and enhance the experience ahead of the 50th anniversary celebration of the Gateway Arch.


Senator Richard Durbin and Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell will also attend the event at the at the Arch grounds. The vice president will also attend an event at the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee at 5 p.m. in Alton, Ill. Vice President Biden will also attend an event at a private residence at 6:15 p.m. prior to heading back to Washington D.C.



Published on May 13, 2014

In order to more efficiently accommodate massive post-panamax ships, the United States needed to widen and deepen many of its channels and harbors. TIGER grants have channeled federal transportation funding directly to 38 port projects in 22 states designed to increase efficiency and grow the economy. President Obama has proposed new investments in transportation infrastructure to jump-start job creation & build a 21st century American economy. Learn more at:   http://www.whitehouse.gov/economy




"We have to rebuild the infrastructure in this country." – VP outside the Gateway Arch in St. Louis #RebuildAmerica

“We have to rebuild the infrastructure in this country.” – VP outside the Gateway Arch in St. Louis #RebuildAmerica


“Infrastructure is the back upon which this great nation has been built.” –VP discussing the need to #RebuildAmerica

“Infrastructure is the back upon which this great nation has been built.” –VP discussing the need to #RebuildAmerica

St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay, from left, Vice President Joe Biden, Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell and Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., take a tour of the CityArchRiver project at the Gateway Arch on Tuesday, May 13, 2014, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Whitney Curtis)

St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay, from left, Vice President Joe Biden, Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell and Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., take a tour of the CityArchRiver project at the Gateway Arch on Tuesday, May 13, 2014, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Whitney Curtis)


From The Associated Press:


Vice President Biden touts St. Louis Arch renovation project


ST. LOUIS (AP) — Vice President Joe Biden made a rain-shortened appearance beneath the Gateway Arch Tuesday to tout the economic benefits of a massive renovation project at the iconic tourist attraction.

The Democratic vice president was introduced by St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay and accompanied by Interior Secretary Sally Jewell and Sen. Dick Durbin, an Illinois Democrat who was scheduled to later join Biden at a $1,000-a-plate fundraiser at the home of a lawyer in Alton, Illinois, just across the Mississippi River.

The Midwest trip came as the White House presses Congress to replenish the Federal Highway Trust Fund for road and bridge repairs. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx has said the fund could run out of money by August unless Congress acts. Obama is scheduled to speak Wednesday in front of the Tappan Zee Bridge in New York, while his vice president heads to Cleveland to promote a federally funded transit center project.

The $410 million Arch renovation project includes construction of a pedestrian bridge over Interstate 70 to connect downtown St. Louis with the National Park Service site. Project funding is expected to come from $250 million private donations, government grants and a portion of a local sales tax increase.

“Infrastructure is the back upon which this great nation has been built,” Biden told an audience of several dozen local politicians, civic and business leaders. “We have to rebuild the infrastructure in this country. We’ve stalled.”

In response to Biden’s visit, the Missouri Republican Party issued a statement calling for White House and Democratic congressional support of the Keystone XL pipeline project.

Vice President Joe Biden, center, speaks as St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay, left, and Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell listen during a visit to the CityArchRiver project at the Gateway Arch on Tuesday, May 13, 2014, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Whitney Curtis)

Vice President Joe Biden, center, speaks as St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay, left, and Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell listen during a visit to the CityArchRiver project at the Gateway Arch on Tuesday, May 13, 2014, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Whitney Curtis)

Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., left, and Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., listen as Vice President Joe Biden speaks during a visit to the CityArchRiver project at the Gateway Arch on Tuesday, May 13, 2014, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Whitney Curtis)

Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., left, and Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., listen as Vice President Joe Biden speaks during a visit to the CityArchRiver project at the Gateway Arch on Tuesday, May 13, 2014, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Whitney Curtis)

Vice President Joe Biden, left, listens as Susan Trautman, Executive Director of The Great Rivers Greenway, gives a tour of the CityArchRiver project at the Gateway Arch on Tuesday, May 13, 2014, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Whitney Curtis)

Vice President Joe Biden, left, listens as Susan Trautman, Executive Director of The Great Rivers Greenway, gives a tour of the CityArchRiver project at the Gateway Arch on Tuesday, May 13, 2014, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Whitney Curtis)

Vice President Joe Biden speaks during a visit to the CityArchRiver project at the Gateway Arch on Tuesday, May 13, 2014, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Whitney Curtis)

Vice President Joe Biden speaks during a visit to the CityArchRiver project at the Gateway Arch on Tuesday, May 13, 2014, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Whitney Curtis)

Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell, center, speaks as Vice President Joe Biden, right, and St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay listen during a visit to the CityArchRiver project at the Gateway Arch on Tuesday, May 13, 2014, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Whitney Curtis)

Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell, center, speaks as Vice President Joe Biden, right, and St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay listen during a visit to the CityArchRiver project at the Gateway Arch on Tuesday, May 13, 2014, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Whitney Curtis)

Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell, left, speaks as Vice President Joe Biden listens during a visit to the CityArchRiver project at the Gateway Arch on Tuesday, May 13, 2014, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Whitney Curtis)

Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell, left, speaks as Vice President Joe Biden listens during a visit to the CityArchRiver project at the Gateway Arch on Tuesday, May 13, 2014, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Whitney Curtis)





White House Honors “Champions of Change” for Transportation


Published on May 13, 2014

The White House honors local leaders as “Champions of Change” for their leadership to ensure that transportation facilities, services, and jobs help individuals and their communities connect to 21st century opportunities. These individuals are leading the charge across the country building connectivity, strengthening transportation career pathways, and making connections between transportation and economic growth. May 13, 2014.



WASHINGTON, DC – Tomorrow, the White House will honor eleven local heroes who are “Champions of Change” for their exemplary leadership to ensure that transportation facilities, services, and jobs help individuals and their communities connect to 21st century opportunities. These individuals are leading the charge across the country building connectivity, strengthening transportation career pathways, and making connections between transportation and economic growth.


Across the Federal government, the Administration has been dedicated to providing “ladders of opportunity” for all Americans, by investing in connecting communities to centers of employment, education, and services, and is calling for greater emphasis on those initiatives supporting this outcome.  Recent research has found that social mobility varies by geography, and poor transportation access is a factor preventing lower income Americans from gaining higher income levels than their parents. Transportation plays a critical role in connecting Americans and communities to economic opportunity through connectivity, job creation, and economic growth. Recognizing social mobility as a defining trait of America’s promise, access to reliable, safe, and affordable transportation is critical.


The Champions of Change program was created as an opportunity for the White House to feature individuals doing extraordinary things to empower and inspire members of their communities. The event is closed to press but will be live streamed on the White House website. To watch this event live, visit www.whitehouse.gov/live at 10:00 am EST on May 13, 2014.  To learn more about the White House Champions of Change program, visit www.whitehouse.gov/champions.



Josh Baker, General Manager, Radford Transit, New River Valley Community Services
Blacksburg, VA

Josh is the leader of a major investment in the development of a brand new Public Transit system in the City of Radford, Virginia. He pioneered the concept and worked with community leaders, local university administration, state officials and the Federal Transit Administration to garner support for a much needed community service.  Josh dedicated his work and time over the course of three years to help make the new service a reality. It’s the first time in over 30 years there has been any transit available to the City of Radford, and it was badly needed. Radford Transit has grown rapidly providing over 325,000 passenger trips annually, even providing transfer connections throughout the entire region. Now residents can move effortlessly and reach their destinations within and between the communities of Radford, Pulaski County, Montgomery County and the Towns of Blacksburg and Christiansburg.



Dr. Evelyn Blumenberg, Professor and Chair of Urban Planning, UCLA’s Luskin School of Public Affairs
Los Angeles, CA

Professor Evelyn Blumenberg’s research examines the effects of urban structure—the spatial location of residents, employment, and services—on economic outcomes for low-wage workers, and on the role of planning and policy in shaping the spatial structure of cities.  Evelyn has investigated the travel behavior of special population groups including low-income adults, immigrants, and youth; the effects of the economy on the travel behavior and transportation assets in low-income communities; and the relationship between residential location, automobile ownership, and employment outcomes among the poor.  Evelyn is recommended for Ladders of Opportunity because her current research examines (1) travel behavior of low-income adults; (2) the transportation expenditure burden; and (3) the relationship between transportation and the economic outcomes of low-income families.



Dan Burden, Director of Innovation and Inspiration, Walkable and Livable Communities Institute
Port Townsend, WA

Dan Burden is the Director of Innovation and Inspiration for the nonprofit Walkable and Livable Communities Institute. For more than 35 years he has worked to inspire leaders in 3500 cities on ways to design cities for people first; still accommodating the auto. His work helps define the future of transportation; and is now celebrated with thousands of new innovations giving full support to walking, bicycling, transit, and living in place; driving less, enjoying life more.  Dan has proven his ability to energize leaders of towns and cities to help them frame and focus on their assets, get beyond their barriers, raise the bar in design of place. He has an ability to help them focus on their values and become believers in their future, achieving their hopes and dreams, and once momentum is gained, expand to the rebuilding of their entire community.



Anthony Chiarello, President and CEO, TOTE
Princeton, NJ

Anthony has led TOTE to build the first liquefied natural gas (LNG) powered container ships in the world; TOTE is the first maritime company in the U.S. to convert its entire fleet to natural gas. As a result of his vision and leadership, natural gas suppliers are now creating distribution networks in major U.S. ports, making gas available to all transportation modes in those markets. Natural gas powered ships will achieve emissions reductions far below even the world’s most stringent regulatory standards. These emissions reductions will have long-lasting and far-reaching positive effects on the health and safety of citizens along the U.S. coastline, particularly in Washington, Alaska, Florida, and Puerto Rico where TOTE ships are part of the critical domestic supply chain. As the adoption of natural gas fuel spreads, air emissions will be lowered along the coastline as part of the North American Emissions Control Area, and additional environmental benefits will accrue in ports, on roads, and rail lines.



Greer Gillis, Area Manager of Parsons Brinckerhoff
Washington, DC

Greer Gillis is the Washington, D.C. Area Manager of Parsons Brinckerhoff, where she oversees transportation services staff in managing various infrastructure, planning, and design projects as well as leading client relations management, business development, and financial oversight for activities in the metropolitan Washington DC area.     She is the Vice President of the Conference of Minority Transportation Officials (COMTO) Washington, DC chapter and serves as National Chair of its “Celebrating Women Who Move the Nation” Awards Committee.  She is also a past President of the Women’s Transportation Seminar International’s Washington, D.C. Chapter. Throughout her career, she has served as a role model and advocate for building a diverse transportation workforce.



Marilyn Golden, Senior Policy Analyst, Disability Rights Education & Defense Fund
Berkeley, CA

For over 25 years, Marilyn Golden has led national system-change efforts that broaden the rights of people with disabilities to transportation. Marilyn has played a key role in federal policy development in the interconnected areas of transportation and architectural barriers. She has been a strong advocate for the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) throughout all the stages of its proposal, passage, and implementation, as well as a forceful watchdog through its many stages of regulatory interpretation and the regular challenges to its strong mandates. Her advocacy has been focused on a broad range of transportation issues—including fixed route buses, all forms of passenger rail systems, ADA complementary paratransit, privately-funded over-the-road buses, taxis, airport shuttles, as well as air travel. As a national transportation advocate, she has led the struggle for many of the policy victories during and since the ADA to provide better public transportation for people with disabilities.  Marilyn served on the U.S. Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board from 1996-2005 as a very strong and effective advocate for the interests of people with disabilities.



Daphne Izer, Founder, Parents Against Tired Truckers (PATT)
Lisbon, ME

Daphne Izer founded the nonprofit safety organization Parents Against Tired Truckers (PATT) after losing her son Jeff in a fatigue related truck crash that killed three other teenagers and seriously injured a fourth. Daphne has worked tirelessly to advance truck safety in order to help prevent other families from suffering a similar, devastating loss. PATT has focused its efforts on reducing truck driver fatigue, seeking a requirement for the use of technology to accurately record truck driver hours behind the wheel and reduce falsification of driving logs, and to promoting safe trucking. Recently, PATT took another step toward realizing its goal of requiring electronic logging devices (ELDs) in commercial trucks when the FMCSA released the NPRM for the ELD rule. This May, as PATT marks its twentieth anniversary, Daphne is recognized for her instrumental work in bringing attention to the urgent need for change in truck safety policy and programs, with a focus on reducing truck driver fatigue.



Flavio Leo, Deputy Director, Aviation Planning and Strategy, Massachusetts Port Authority
Newton, MA

Flavio has played a key role applying innovative transportation technology to enhance airport safety, security and equitable access at MassPort Airport in Boston.   This includes the implementation of aircraft related noise mitigation strategies for the surrounding urban communities and the greater Boston region , leading to an enhanced quality of life.   Through his leadership, transparency and enhanced public participation, he has established a relationship with over 30 diverse communities, which have had a long history of engagement with Massport and the FAA.   He has been the leader and “face of Massport” on an innovative program to address airport noise and other safety and technology improvements, which can be applied nationwide.  Flavio was selected for his leadership and coordination for the implementation of a set of noise reduction strategies created with extensive community participation and implemented that will reduce aircraft noise impacts to the greater Boston area including to nearby disadvantaged communities.



Susan Park Rani, President, Rani Engineering
Minneapolis, MN

Susan Park Rani is an inspiration and a role model for women, minorities, immigrants, and virtually anyone with a desire to pursue the American Dream and start their own business. As a leader in the transportation field, she has demonstrated that opportunities in this industry are widespread and growing—and open to all who wish to acquire the necessary skills and participate.  Rani, born in South Korea, moved with her family to the United States as a child, speaking no English. She ultimately obtained a degree in civil engineering, and in 1993, at the age of 34, founded one of the first woman-and-minority-owned engineering firms in Minnesota where she grew up, with just two employees.  Over the years, the company has been involved in a number of high-profile transportation projects, and today, Rani Engineering employs 50 people, the company grosses over $5 million a year, and anticipates doubling in size within the next five years. In 2012, Rani Engineering was named the Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) Contractor of the Year by the Minnesota Department of Transportation.



Big John Smith, Transportation Director, Shoshone and Arapaho Tribes, Joint Business Council
Fort Washakie, WY

For the past 25 years, “Big John Smith” has served as the Transportation Director for the Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho tribes’ Joint Business Council on the Wind River Indian Reservation in central Wyoming.  Big John is also the Rocky Mountain Regional Representative on the Tribal Transportation Committee, and the Executive Director of the Intertribal Transportation Association. Big John has succeeded in improving the reservation’s transportation infrastructure (highways and bridges), has led the effort to dramatically cut alcohol-involved crashes and fatalities on the Wind River Reservation.  He has worked with tribal leaders to toughen tribal laws to enhance seat belt compliance, and has led the effort to use positive messaging to educate drivers of all ages about the dangers of drinking and driving.  His love for the people of Wind River has been instrumental in building relationships with tribal, local, county, state and federal partners to save lives.



Wanda Vazquez, Regional Traffic Safety Liaison, Rincon Family Services
Chicago, IL

Wanda Vazquez has been an active mentor and trainer for Hispanic advocates in the Chicago area helping them become certified child passenger safety technicians. As a motivational instructor, she teaches students how to correctly install car seats and help families understand the importance of safe transportation for their children. Once the training is completed, the students become nationally certified and are able to staff car seat inspection stations or participate in community events. Statistics show that Hispanic children are at a greater risk than non-Hispanic children for injuries and death in traffic crashes because their restraint use is low. Often times this is because their parents are from home countries where car seat use is not the norm. By training Hispanic advocates on how to correctly install car seats and the value of occupant protection, they can in turn go into the Hispanic community where they are welcomed and are able to teach families the importance of keeping their children and themselves safety secured whenever they travel. Ms. Vazquez also served as the Diversity Representative on the National Child Passenger Safety Board and was instrumental in translating materials into Spanish and ensuring that the concerns of the Hispanic community were heard. Wanda is a recommended Champion for her active role as a mentor and trainer for Hispanic advocates in the Chicago.






5/13/14: White House Press Briefing


Published on May 13, 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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