White House Report: Economic Analysis Of Transportation Infrastructure Investment. It’s Time To Rebuild Our Nation’s Infrastructure.


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It’s time to rebuild our nation’s infrastructure.

Our infrastructure is not keeping pace with the demands or the needs of our growing economy — for today, or for future generations. It’s time for action.

 

White House Report: Economic Analysis of Transportation Infrastructure Investment

The White House today released a new report from the Council of Economic Advisers and National Economic Council on the long-term economic benefits of transportation investment and why conditions in the infrastructure sector are ripe for innovation, with new technologies and approaches promising significant gains in productivity, efficiency, and resilience.

 

The President has been clear that we need to improve our infrastructure and rebuild our roads and bridges in a smarter, more responsible way, while supporting millions of jobs. The President will continue to urge Congress to act to avoid a lapse in funding of the Highway Trust Fund, which will go insolvent as early as August – putting numerous active projects at risk. This week Congress will consider a solution to avoid that scenario.

 

In addition to today’s report, the White House released an interactive transportation map detailing the condition of and consequences for each state’s roads and bridges as well as the jobs that would be put at risk, if Congress fails to act.

 

The report can be found HERE, and the map can be found HERE.

 

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It’s Time to Rebuild America

 

Our nation’s infrastructure has long been our economic backbone — a symbol for our might and dynamism.

 

But we’ve been investing in it less and less — and right now, we have some work to do.

 

Over the years, as our transportation spending has gone down, congestion and maintenance backlogs have gone up.

 

65% of our roads are rated in less than good condition

 

25% of our bridges require significant repair or can’t handle today’s traffic

 

45% of Americans lack access to transit

 

And we’re falling behind our competitors internationally as a result.

 

Let’s fix it.

The President’s plan would rebuild our roads and bridges in a smarter, more responsible way while supporting millions of jobs will mean:

 

Providing the certainty that cities, states, and private investors need to break ground on major projects.

 

Increasing investments by 38 percent over four years to better meet the needs of a growing population.

 

Reforming our programs to make sure we’re prioritizing projects not based on politics — but on how much good they’d do.

 

Want to learn more? The White House released a report detailing the long-term benefits of investing in our transportation now — and why our current infrastructure sector is more ready than ever for these investments. You can read it here (PDF).

 

The average American household is forced to spend more on transportation each year than food. And in some cases, our crumbling infrastructure costs American lives. It should not take another collapsing bridge or failing levee to shock us into action.  ~ President Obama ~

 

Only you know what this looks like in your community. See Your State.

 

If Congress fails to reauthorize funding to repair our crumbling infrastructure by September 30, it will have very real consequences for all 50 states — jeopardizing hundreds of thousands of jobs, and slowing or stopping more than 100,000 active highway and transit projects.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The President And Vice President On The Need For Congress To Pass Transportation Funding.


 

By Jueseppi B.

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The President and Vice President Get Lunch — and Talk About Transportation Funding

 

Published on May 16, 2014

President Obama and Vice President Biden stop by Shake Shack for lunch, and talk briefly about the need for Congress to pass transportation funding, May 16, 2014.

 

 

 

Remarks by the President and Vice President on the Need for Congress to Pass Transportation Funding

Shake Shack
Washington, D.C.

12:12 P.M. EDT

 

THE PRESIDENT:  Let me say something to these folks real quick so we can eat our burgers in peace.  And excuse me, my voice is a little hoarse — I had a cold at the beginning of the week.  In addition to coming to Shake Shack — which has great burgers and pays its employees over 10 bucks an hour, so we’re very proud of them and the great work that they’re doing —  we’ve been talking a lot all across the country about the importance of raising the minimum wage.  These four individuals just completed a project here in D.C. –- an infrastructure project that put a lot of folks to work, it is going to make the economy move better, traffic move better.  And as you know, earlier this week, both Joe and I highlighted the fact that we’re fast-tracking projects all across the country.

 

One of the things that we could do right now to put more Americans back to work is to fund our transportation more effectively and more consistently.  And if Congress does not act, then by the end of this summer, we could have hundreds of thousands of projects like this all across the country stop.  And people whose livelihoods depend on those projects sent home.  And businesses that need improved infrastructure suffering under downgraded infrastructure.

 

So it is a no-brainer for Congress to do what it’s supposed to do:  Pass transportation funding.  We can do it without adding to the deficit simply by getting rid of some corporate tax loopholes that aren’t creating jobs and are basically giveaways to folks who don’t need them.  And when people — when you ask Americans from all walks of life all across the country what’s their number one priority, it’s improving the economy and putting people back to work.  And one of the best ways we can do it is to do something about the roads, the bridges, the ports, the airports, the sewer lines all across the country that need repair.

 

We know we’re going to have to do it.  This is like deferred maintenance on your house.  If you’ve got to do some tuck-pointing to fix the roof or fix the boiler, there’s no point in putting it off.  Now is the time to do it, and we’ve got outstanding contractors and workers ready to work.  So I hope Congress gets working, and I’m prepared to work with anybody on a bipartisan basis to get it done.

 

THE VICE PRESIDENT:  Mr. President, for 40 years it’s been a bipartisan notion.

 

THE PRESIDENT:  Right.

 

THE VICE PRESIDENT:  For 40 years.  This is the first time  — I’ve been hanging around and it’s like, oh, infrastructure.

 

THE PRESIDENT:  This shouldn’t be Democrat or Republican.  This is American.  We’ve got to rebuild America.  And these are folks who are doing it.

 

So thank you very much, everybody.  Enjoy your burgers if you guys are buying them.

 

END
12:14 P.M. EDT

 

 

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America’s Roads & Bridges Are Crumbling, And There’s Something Congress Can Do Right Now: Barack Speaks On Infrastructure.


 

By Jueseppi B.

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America’s Roads and Bridges Are Crumbling, and There’s Something Congress Can Do Right Now

 

The funding to fix our crumbling roads and bridges is running out, and only Congress can reauthorize it. Find out what will happen if Congress doesn’t act, and see how the President’s plan would rebuild our infrastructure in a smarter way.

 

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A Numbers-Based Case for Why It’s Time to Act on Infrastructure

 

Why We Need to Invest in Our Ports Infrastructure, in 90 Seconds:

 

Investing in our nation’s infrastructure will result in economic growth for the country, and good-paying jobs for Americans. Listen to the Vice President explain why we need to invest in America’s ports — and if you learn something new, pass it on:

 

 

 

Remarks by the President on Building a 21st Century Infrastructure

 

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Remarks by the President on Building a 21st Century Infrastructure

 

Published on May 14, 2014

President Obama travels to Tarrytown, New York to deliver remarks on the importance of building a 21st-century infrastructure, May 14, 2014.

 

Washington Irving Boat Club
Tarrytown, New York

3:37 P.M. EDT

 

THE PRESIDENT:  Hello, New York!  (Applause.)  It turned out to be a beautiful day.  Well, it’s wonderful to be here with all of you.  Take a seat, take a seat.  Relax.

 

First of all, I want to thank Governor Cuomo for that great introduction and the great job he’s doing.  I want to thank Mayor Fixell for having me in Tarrytown.  (Applause.)  Where’s the Mayor?  Where’d he go?  There he is, right there.  This is a gorgeous part of the world and I am lucky to be here, and I’m going to be coming back soon; in two weeks, I’ve got the honor of delivering the commencement at West Point just a little bit further up.

 

But today, I’m here, along with our Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx — (applause) — to talk about one of the best ways to create new jobs and spur our economy, and that is to rebuild America’s infrastructure.

 

It’s been about five and a half years since the financial crisis that rocked Wall Street and then ultimately spread to Main Street.  Thanks to the grit, the determination of the American people, we’ve been steadily fighting our way back.  In just four years, our businesses have now created 9.2 million new jobs.  Auto industry that was flatlining is now booming.  A manufacturing sector that had lost a third of its jobs back in the ‘90s is adding jobs for the first time.  Troops that were fighting two wars, they’re either home or coming home.  Rather than creating jobs in other countries, more and more companies are recognizing it makes good business sense to locate right here in the United States of America with outstanding American workers.  (Applause.)

 

So we’ve made progress, but here’s the thing:  We could be doing a lot more.  We could make the decision easier for businesses to locate here in the United States, here in New York state, if we do a better job rebuilding our roads, rebuilding our bridges, upgrading our ports, unclogging commute times.  The alternative is to do nothing and watch businesses go to places that have outstanding infrastructure.

 

And behind me is the old Tappan Zee Bridge, the longest bridge in New York and one of the busiest bridges around.  As any commuter will tell you, it is crowded.  (Laughter.)  It carries a lot more traffic than when it was built back in 1955.  At times, you can see the river through the cracks in the pavement.  Now, I’m not an engineer, but I figure that’s not good.  (Laughter.)

 

But right now, thanks to the efforts of Governor Cuomo, thanks to your outstanding congressional delegation led by Nita Lowey and including Eliot Engel, and Sean Patrick Maloney, and Jerry Nadler, all of whom are here today — stand up, congressional delegation.  We’re proud of you.  (Applause.)  Thanks to their outstanding efforts, workers are building a replacement — the first new bridge in New York in 50 years.  It’s called The “New” New York Bridge — which is fine as a name, but for your next bridge you should come up with something a little more fresh.  (Laughter.)

 

Now, here’s the thing — this never happens — you are building this bridge ahead of schedule.  Three years ago, after Republicans in Congress refused to pass multiple bills that would have put construction workers back to work, I took action on my own to fast-track the permitting process for major projects like this one.  Normally, it would have taken three to five years to permit this bridge; we did it in a year and a half — in a year and a half.  (Applause.)  That meant we were creating thousands of jobs faster while doing right by workers and tending to the environment.  And the Vice President is in Cleveland today at another project that we fast-tracked — a rapid-transit station that will make life easier for a lot of residents there.

 

So today, we’re releasing a new plan to apply the same strategy to other major projects all across America.  We’re announcing 11 more projects to accelerate, to get moving faster — from Boston’s South Station, to Pensacola Bay Bridge, to new light-rail projects north and south of Seattle.  We’re cutting bureaucratic red tape that stalls good projects from breaking ground.  We’re launching a new national permitting center to implement these reforms.  We are aiming to put every major infrastructure project on a public dashboard so everybody can go online; track our progress; hold us accountable; make sure things are coming in on time, on budget; make sure your taxpayer money is being used well, but also make sure that we’re putting folks back to work rebuilding America.  That’s our goal.  (Applause.)

 

Now, all these steps we can do without Congress.  And all these steps mean more good jobs — because nobody was hurt worse than construction workers by the financial crisis.  The housing market plummeted, and a lot of guys in hard hats and a lot of gals in hard hats, suddenly they were off the job.  And that’s why the Recovery Act back in 2009, 2010 included the most important public works jobs program since the New Deal, jumpstarting more than 15,000 construction projects around the country.

 

Over the past five years, American workers have repaired or replaced more than 20,000 bridges, improved more than 350,000 miles of American roads.  Four years ago, when we were just starting to clear away the damage from the financial crisis, the unemployment rate for construction workers stood at 20 percent — in fact, it was over 20 percent.  Today, we’ve cut it by more than half.

 

But we can do better.  We can build better — and we have to.  We’ve got ports that aren’t ready for the next generation of cargo ships.  We’ve got more than 100,000 bridges that are old enough to qualify for Medicare.  (Laughter.)  We’ve got leaky pipes that lose billions of gallons of drinking water every single day, even as we’ve got a severe drought in much of the West.  Nearly half our people don’t have access to transit at all.  And I don’t have to tell you what some of our airports look like.

 

Building a world-class transportation system is one of the reasons America became an economic superpower in the first place.  But over the past 50 years, as a share of our economy, our investment in transportation has shrunk by 50 percent.  Think about that.  Our investment in transportation has been cut by half.

 

You know what other countries are doing?  European countries now invest twice as much as we do.  China invests four times as much as we do in transportation.  One study recently found that over time, we’ve fallen to 19th place when it comes to the quality of our infrastructure — 19th place.  I don’t know about you, but I don’t like America being 19th.  I don’t like America being second.  I want us to be first when it comes to infrastructure around the world, because businesses are going to come where there’s good infrastructure to move businesses, move people, move services.  (Applause.)

 

We shouldn’t watch the top-rated airports and seaports or the fastest rail lines or fastest Internet networks get built somewhere else — they need to be built right here in New York, right here in the United States.  First-class infrastructure attracts first-class jobs.  Business owners don’t want a crumbling road or a bridge because then they can’t move out their stuff, and their workers aren’t as productive because it’s harder for them to get to work.  They want to set up shop where there’s high-speed rail and high-speed broadband, high-tech schools, self-healing power grids, new ports, tunnels.  That allows them, when they make goods here in America, to move those goods out and sell them all around the world.

 

Now, unfortunately, helping states and cities fund infrastructure is one of Congress’s chief responsibilities.  And you’ve got some outstanding members here, but let me just talk a little bit about Congress right now.  If they don’t act by the end of the summer, federal funding for transportation projects will run out — will run out.  There will be no money.  The cupboard will be bare.  And all told, nearly 700,000 jobs would be at risk over the next year — that’s like the population of Tampa and St. Louis combined.

 

Right now, there are more than 100,000 active projects paving roads and rebuilding bridges, modernizing our transit systems.  States might have to choose which ones to put the brake on.  Some states are already starting to slow down work because they’re worried Congress won’t untangle the gridlock on time.  And that’s something you should remember every time you see a story about a construction project stopped, or machines idled, or workers laid off their jobs.

 

And that’s why, earlier this year, in addition to fast-tracking projects, working with Secretary Foxx, I put forward a plan to rebuild our transportation infrastructure in a more responsible way.  It would support millions of jobs across America.  It would give cities and states and private investors the certainty they need to plan ahead and invest.  And it wouldn’t add to our deficits because we’d pay for it in part by closing wasteful tax loopholes for companies that are shipping jobs overseas that are in the tax code right now and that we could clean out and help pay to put folks back to work rebuilding America.  (Applause.)

 

Now, so far, at least, Republicans who run this Congress seem to have a different priority.  Not only have they prevented so far efforts to make sure funding is still in place for what we’ve already got, but their proposal would actually cut job-creating grant programs that have funded high-priority transportation projects in all 50 states.  They’d cut them by about 80 percent.  And they can’t say it’s to save money, because at the very same time, they voted for trillions of dollars in new tax cuts, weighted towards folks at the very top.

 

 

Obama: US Must Update Infrastructure

 

Published on May 14, 2014

President Barack Obama is warning that if the U.S. doesn’t update its roads, ports and bridges, businesses will look elsewhere to invest; calls on Congress to approve more money. (May 14)

 

 

 

So think about that for a second.  Instead of putting more workers back on the job, they’d put those workers’ jobs at risk.  Instead of breaking ground on new projects that would improve the quality of life for millions of people, they voted to give a massive tax cut to households making more than $1 million a year.  Instead of making investments that grow our economy by growing the middle class, they’re still convinced that prosperity trickles down from the very top.

 

If you want to tell them what you think about that, don’t worry, because usually they show up at ribbon-cuttings — (laughter) — for projects that they refused to fund.

 

And here is the sad part:  Rebuilding America, that shouldn’t be a partisan issue.  My favorite President happens to have been a Republican — a guy named Abraham Lincoln in my home state of Illinois.  And it was Lincoln who committed to a railroad connecting East to West, even while he was struggling mightily to hold together North and South.  It was a Republican, Dwight Eisenhower, who built the Interstate Highway System.  It was Ronald Reagan who said that rebuilding our infrastructure is “an investment in tomorrow that we must make today.”  Since when are the Republicans in Congress against Ronald Reagan?  (Laughter.)

 

But that’s part of the problem — we’ve gotten so partisan, everything is becoming political.  They’re more interested in saying no because they’re worried that maybe they’d have to be at a bill signing with me than they are at actually doing the job that they know would be good for America.  It’s time for folks to stop running around saying what’s wrong with America; roll up your sleeves and let’s get to work and help America rebuild.  That’s what we should be doing.  (Applause.)

 

We don’t need a “can’t do” spirit; we need a “can do” spirit.  That’s what Governor Cuomo has, and it sounds like the state legislature was willing to work with him on this.  Well, we need Congress to work with us on these issues.  It doesn’t mean they’re going to agree with us on everything.  I guarantee you they will have more than enough to disagree with me about, but let’s not fight on something we all know makes sense.  After all, we’re the people who, in the depths of the Depression, lifted a great bridge in California, and laid a great dam down in the Southwest, and lifted up rural America.  We shrank a sprawling continent when we pounded in that final railroad spike, connected up this amazing country of ours; stretched a network of highways all across America from coast to coast.  And then we connected the world with our imaginations and the Internet.

 

A great nation does these things.  A great nation doesn’t say “no, we can’t,” it says “yes, we can.”  (Applause.)

 

So the bottom line, Tarrytown, is America doesn’t stand still.  There is work to be done.  There are workers ready to do it, and some of them are here and they’re already on the job doing the work.  We’re proud of them.  (Applause.)  There are people all across this country that are ready and eager to move this country forward.

 

So I’m going to keep on fighting alongside all of you to make sure that we’re doing everything we can to rebuild America — not just rebuild one bridge, but I want us to rebuild every bridge.  I don’t want us to just rebuild one school, I want us to rebuild every school that needs help.  (Applause.)  I want us to most of all, most importantly, rebuild an economy where hard work is valued and responsibility is respected and rewarded, and where opportunity is available not just to some, but to every single hardworking American.  That’s what I’m fighting for, and I know that’s what you care about.

 

Thank you very much, everybody.  Good job, workers.  I look forward to seeing this bridge.  Thank you very much.  God bless you.  God bless America.  Thank you.  (Applause.)

 

END
3:54 P.M. EDT

 

 

Barack in Tarrytown, New York images.

 

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

 

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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.

 

 

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Remembering Camille Lepage, 26 Year Old Photojournalist Killed In Central African Republic (January 28, 1988 – May 9, 2014)

Remembering Camille Lepage, 26 Year Old Photojournalist Killed In Central African Republic (January 28, 1988 – May 9, 2014)

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#BringBackOurGirls


 

By Jueseppi B.

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These are the names of the kidnapped girls of Nigeria.

 

From The New York Times:

 

Nigerian Islamist Leader Threatens to Sell Kidnapped Girls

 

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DAKAR, Senegal — In a video message apparently made by the leader of the Nigerian Islamist group Boko Haram, Abubakar Shekau claimed responsibility for the kidnapping of hundreds of schoolgirls nearly three weeks ago, called them slaves and threatened to “sell them in the market, by Allah.”

“Western education should end,” Mr. Shekau said in the 57-minute video, speaking in Hausa and Arabic. “Girls, you should go and get married.” The Islamist leader also warned that he would “give their hands in marriage because they are our slaves. We would marry them out at the age of 9. We would marry them out at the age of 12.”

The message was received by news agencies in Nigeria on Monday and is similar to previous videos purportedly from Boko Haram. It is the first time the group has claimed responsibility for the kidnappings, which have gripped Nigeria, ignited a rareantigovernment protest movement and embarrassed the government of President Goodluck Jonathan, who has so far been unable to rescue any of the teenage girls. They were abducted from their school in a remote corner of northeastern Nigeria on April 14.By some counts 276 remain missing.

 

At a rally in Lagos, Nigeria, on Monday, protesters pushed for the release of teenage girls abducted from their school in Chibok nearly three weeks ago. Credit Akintunde Akinleye/Reuters

At a rally in Lagos, Nigeria, on Monday, protesters pushed for the release of teenage girls abducted from their school in Chibok nearly three weeks ago. Credit Akintunde Akinleye/Reuters

 

The kidnappings are the latest assault by Boko Haram, which has committed dozens of massacres of civilians in its five-year insurgency in Nigeria’s north with the aim of destabilizing and ultimately overthrowing the Nigerian government. Earlier this year, for instance, more than 50 teenage boys were slaughtered — some burned alive — at a government school in the north. That attack, like many others, was quickly forgotten in Nigeria and barely noticed outside of it.

But the kidnappings of the girls have attracted rare international attention, with foreign governments weighing in.

Obama administration officials said on Monday that the United States had offered intelligence and information sharing to the Nigerian authorities, although they declined to specify what federal agency or agencies were helping to locate the missing girls. Marie Harf, a State Department spokeswoman, told reporters at a daily briefing that American officials had indications that many of the girls had “likely been moved out of the country to neighboring countries at this point.” She declined to specify which countries.

Jay Carney, the White House spokesman, said that President Obama had been briefed several times on the abductions and that the State Department had been “in regular touch with the Nigerian government about what we might do to help support its efforts to find and free these young women.”

The government’s helplessness so far — the army first claimed to have rescued the girls, then retracted the claim — has shaken Mr. Jonathan’s administration, and the president has spoken of reaching out to other governments, including the United States, for help, a rare admission of incapacity for a Nigerian leader.

In a vivid demonstration of how sensitive the issue has become for the government, two women protesting its response to the kidnappings were arrested Monday after a meeting in Abuja, the capital, with the wife of the president, according to leaders of the protest movement. The country is preparing to host a major economic summit meeting this week, making the unresolved kidnappings all the more embarrassing for officials there.

 

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The leader of Nigeria’s terrorist group Boko Haram, Abubakar Shekau, said his group was fighting to reinstate a medieval Islamic caliphate in northern Nigeria.

 

Last week, protesters marched on the country’s National Assembly in Abuja, and it was leaders of those marches who apparently angered Patience Jonathan, the wife of the president.

Mrs. Jonathan had invited mothers of the abducted girls to come to Abuja from Chibok, the remote northeastern town where the girls were seized, according to Hadiza Bala Usman, the organizer of the protests. But the “timeline was too short,” Ms. Usman said — there are no flights, and Chibok is several days’ journey by road.

The mothers from Chibok “delegated the responsibility” of meeting with Mrs. Jonathan to neighbors who were already in Abuja. But when the president’s wife discovered that the women with whom she met were not mothers of the missing girls, she became enraged, according to Ms. Usman and Pogu Bitrus, a Chibok official who knows both women.

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Mrs. Jonathan told the women, “You lied to us by saying you are a mother,” according to Ms. Usman. “Because of that we are detaining you.”

Mr. Bitrus said that Mrs. Jonathan “ordered that they be arrested for impersonation.”

A spokesman for the president, Reuben Abati, could not be reached Monday. A spokesman for Mrs. Jonathan was quoted in news reports as denying that anybody had been arrested.

The message from the Boko Haram leader once again highlighted the extent to which secular, Western-style schools are a principal target of the group, whose name roughly translates as “Western education is forbidden,” in an amalgam of pidgin English, Arabic and Hausa, one of the most commonly spoken languages in Africa. Mr. Shekau emphasized that the girls were taken because they were attending such a school.

“Western education is sin, it is forbidden, women must go and marry,” he said in the video message. Mr. Shekau also tried to justify the abduction of the girls by noting that Boko Haram members remain imprisoned in Nigeria.

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More Than 20 Presidential Actions And Counting.


 

By Jueseppi B.

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More Than 20 Actions, and Counting:

 

Dan Pfeiffer
Dan Pfeiffer

May 05, 2014
06:07 PM EDT

 

This afternoon, Senior Advisor Dan Pfeiffer sent the email below to the White House email list, outlining just a few of the more than 20 actions the President has taken in 2014 so far.

 

Didn’t get the email? Make sure you’re signed up for White House email updates.

 


 

The President made something very clear in his State of the Union address this past January:

 

Wherever and whenever he can take action to expand opportunity for more American families, he’s going to do it, with Congress or without.

 

Republicans in Congress have actually set records in obstruction and inaction, blocking simple yes-or-no votes on proposals that would create jobs and expand opportunity for more Americans. On the other hand, the President has steadily acted on his own to help build real, lasting economic security for the middle class.

 

We’re talking about actions that are:

  • Creating new manufacturing hubs to spur new research and private-sector activity in communities across the country
  • Expanding apprenticeships and job training programs that we know prepare workers for jobs of the future
  • Getting the long-term unemployed back to work
  • Addressing the gender pay gap
  • Making college a reality for more young Americans
  • Raising the minimum wage for employees on new federal contracts

 

And that’s just to name a few.

But don’t take my word for it — watch President Obama describe in his own words just a few of the more than 20 actions the Administration has taken so far this year. Take a look, and then share this with someone who needs to see it.

 

 

Year of Action: “We’re not done yet”

 

Published on May 5, 2014

Since January, the President has taken more than 20 actions to help build real, lasting economic security for the middle class and expand opportunities for every hardworking American to get ahead. http://www.wh.gov/year-of-action

 

 

 

Of course, Congress has the ability to expand opportunity for more Americans even further.

 

And the President is just as eager now as he was four months ago to work with lawmakers when they are willing to act on behalf of working Americans.

 

But in the meantime, he’s not standing still — and that means working with the private sector, state and local officials, and anyone else who’s interested in building an economy where more hardworking people can get ahead. That’s what’s happening right now, and it’s what’s going to continue happening over the course of this year.

 

Take a look at what we’ve done so far this year — and if you learn something new, make sure you pass it on.

 

Thanks.

 

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Statements and Releases

 

President Obama Announces Presidential Delegation to the Republic of Costa Rica to Attend the Inauguration of His Excellency Luis Guillermo Solís

 

FACT SHEET: Marking the Administration’s Progress on Mental Health

 

Joint Statement by the Leaders of the United States and the Republic of Djibouti

 

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5/5/14: White House Press Briefing

 

 

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#BringBackOurGirls – Part 1

 

#BringBackOurGirls – Part 2

 

#BringBackOurGirls

 

Published on May 5, 2014

The leader of an Islamic extremist group in Nigeria says his group has started kidnapping women and children as part of its bloody guerrilla campaign against the country’s government, according to a video released Monday. Scores of girls and young women kidnapped from a school in Nigeria are being forced to marry their Islamic extremist abductors, a civic organization reported Wednesday.

 

 

 

 

A quick note on the White House + #BringBackOurGirls

 

By Joshua DuBois

 

Full disclosure: I have not spoken with any of my former White House colleagues about the situation in Nigeria.

I am seeing a fair amount of angst on social media asking what President Obama is doing to #BringBackOurGirls.

This reminded me of other situations we confronted in my time in the White House – where the lives of prisoners of conscience or other threatened persons hung in the balance.

In these situations, we – various White House offices, the State Department, and senior officials up to and including the President himself – were often working overtime to resolve them. But disclosing that work would actually compromise the ultimate goal, even threatening human life.

I remember being very frustrated that I could not respond to concerned friends and outside advocates with a loud, “We’re doing everything we can!” But still just working, as hard as we could, to get the best possible result.

Again, I don’t know what’s happening at NSS or State now. But I do know that President Obama is a father of two young ladies who would remind many of these missing girls. The man I know is likely very concerned, and doing whatever he can to bring them back.

Thank you Joshua DuBois.

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