President Obama’s 2013 – 2016 Cabinet

President Obama's Cabinet

President Obama’s Cabinet

The tradition of the Cabinet dates back to the beginnings of the Presidency itself. Established in Article II, Section 2, of the Constitution, the Cabinet’s role is to advise the President on any subject he may require relating to the duties of each member’s respective office.

The Cabinet includes the Vice President and the heads of 15 executive departments — the Secretaries of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Education, Energy, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, Housing and Urban Development, Interior, Labor, State, Transportation, Treasury, and Veterans Affairs, as well as the Attorney General.

The 15 Secretaries from the executive departments are appointed by the President, and they must be confirmed by a majority vote (51 votes) of the Senate. They cannot be a member of Congress or hold any other elected office. Cabinet appointments are for the duration of the administration, but the President may dismiss any member at any time, without approval of the Senate. In addition, they are expected to resign when a new President takes office.

Over the next few days President Obama will be nominating his choices to fill the vacancies for his 2013-2016 Cabinet.

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In order of succession to the Presidency:

Vice President of the United States
Joseph R. Biden

Department of State
Secretary John Kerry
www.state.gov

Department of the Treasury
Secretary Jack Lew
www.treasury.gov

Department of Defense
Secretary Chuck Hagel
www.defense.gov

Department of Justice
Attorney General Eric H. Holder, Jr.
www.usdoj.gov

Department of the Interior
Secretary Sally Jewell
www.doi.gov

Department of Agriculture
Secretary Thomas J. Vilsack
www.usda.gov

Department of Commerce
Secretary Penny Pritzker
www.commerce.gov

Department of Labor
Secretary Thomas Perez
www.dol.gov

Department of Health and Human Services
Secretary Kathleen Sebelius
www.hhs.gov

Department of Housing and Urban Development
Secretary Shaun L.S. Donovan
www.hud.gov

Department of Transportation
Secretary  Anthony Foxx
www.dot.gov

Department of Energy
Secretary Ernest Moniz
www.energy.gov

Department of Education
Secretary Arne Duncan
www.ed.gov

Department of Veterans Affairs
Secretary Eric K. Shinseki
www.va.gov

Department of Homeland Security
Secretary Jeh Johnson
www.dhs.gov

The following positions have the status of Cabinet-rank:

White House Chief of Staff
Denis McDonough

Director B. Todd Jones (Nominated 2011, Confirmed 2013)
http://www.atf.gov

Director of the Central Intelligence Agency
John O. Brennan
https://www.cia.gov/

Environmental Protection Agency
Secretary Gina McCarthy
www.epa.gov

Office of Management & Budget
Sylvia Mathews Burwell
www.whitehouse.gov/omb

United States Trade Representative
Ambassador Ronald Kirk
www.ustr.gov

United States Ambassador to the United Nations
Ambassador Susan Rice
www.usunnewyork.usmission.gov/

Council of Economic Advisers
Chairman Alan B. Krueger
www.whitehouse.gov/administration/eop/cea/

Small Business Administration
* Administrator Jeanne Hulit
www.sba.gov/

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* Acting Directors

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For All WH Nominations & Appointments: http://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/nominations-and-appointments

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“As Jonathan Cohn pointed out in The New Republic, filibusters of presidential agency nominations were once very rare, happening only two times each to Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan. Bill Clinton had nine nominations blocked, and George W. Bush had seven. Obama is “already up to 16 blocks,” Cohn noted.”

Source: http://www.mercurynews.com/opinion/ci_23678239/e-j-dionne-jr-thawing-senates-deep-freeze

Obama_Biden_thumbnail

82 Responses to President Obama’s 2013 – 2016 Cabinet

  1. CR says:

    WH

    Monday, January 7,, 2013

    All Times Eastern

    Vice President Biden and Dr Jill Biden are in the U.S. Virgin Islands with family members.

    7:00 AM
    8:00 AM
    9:00 AM
    10:00 AM
    10:30 AM
    President Obama receives the presidential daily briefing

    11:00 AM
    12:00 PM
    1:00 PM
    1:05 PM
    President Obama announces his nomination to become the next Defense Secretary and CIA Director
    East Room

    2:00 PM
    White House Press Secretary Jay Carney briefs the press

    3:00 PM
    4:00 PM
    5:00 PM
    6:00 PM
    7:00 PM
    8:00 PM
    9:00 PM
    10:00 PM

  2. CR says:

    The President’s Cabinet

    The purpose of the Cabinet is to advise the President on matters relating to the duties of their respective offices. As the President’s closest and most trusted advisors, members of the Cabinet attend weekly meetings with the President. The Constitution does not directly mention a “Cabinet,” but the Constitutional authority for a Cabinet is found in Article II, Section 2. The Constitution states that the President “may require the opinion, in writing of the principle officer in each of the executive departments, upon any subject relating to the duties of their respective offices.” The Constitution does not say which or how many executive departments should be created.

    Who makes up the Cabinet?
    The Cabinet traditionally includes the Vice President and the heads of 15 executive departments-the Secretaries of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Education, Energy, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, Housing and Urban Development, Interior, Labor, State, Transportation, Treasury, and Veterans Affairs, and the Attorney General. Cabinet-level rank has also been given to the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency; the Director of the Office of Management and Budget; the Director of the National Drug Control Policy; the Assistant to the President for Homeland Security; and the U.S. Trade Representative.

    When requested by the President, other officials are asked to attend these weekly meetings including, the President’s Chief of Staff, the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, the Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisors, the Counselor to the President, the Director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Administrator of the Small Business Administration, and the U.S. Representative to the United Nations.

    How does one become a member of the Cabinet?
    The 15 Secretaries from the executive departments are appointed by the President, and they must be confirmed by a majority vote (51 votes) of the Senate. They cannot be a member of Congress or hold any other elected office. Cabinet appointments are for the duration of the administration, but the President may dismiss any member at any time, without approval of the Senate. In addition, they are expected to resign when a new President takes office.

    For more: http://bensguide.gpo.gov/9-12/government/national/cabinet.html

    —————–

    Inside the White House: The Cabinet

    Uploaded on Dec 11, 2009

    President Obama and Cabinet members share their perspectives on their bimonthly meetings in this exclusive, behind-the-scenes video. December 11, 2009

    • CR says:

      President Obama’s Nominations for his 2013-2017 Cabinet

      • CR says:

        December 21, 2012

        Remarks by the President at Nomination of Senator John Kerry as Secretary of State

        Roosevelt Room

        1:40 P.M. EST

        THE PRESIDENT: Good afternoon, everyone. When I took office, our nation was engaged in two wars, and al Qaeda was entrenched in their safe havens. Many of our alliances were frayed, and America’s standing in the world had suffered.

        Over the past four years, we’ve begun a new era of American leadership. We ended the war in Iraq, put the al Qaeda core on the path to defeat, and we’re winding down the war in Afghanistan. We’ve strengthened our alliances, including in Asia; forged new coalitions to meet global challenges; and stood up for human dignity, from North Africa to the Middle East to Burma. We still, of course, face great challenges. But today, I can say with pride that the United States is safer, stronger and more respected in the world.

        In this work, I’ve been grateful for an extraordinary national security team. Tom Donilon has been a part of that, and I’m grateful to him. Of course, one of the most important people in this whole transformation has been our outstanding Secretary of State, my friend, Secretary Hillary Clinton. Hillary wanted very much to be here today, but she continues to recuperate. I had a chance to talk to her earlier today, and she is in good spirits and could not be more excited about the announcement that I’m making.

        Over the last four years, Hillary has been everywhere — both in terms of her travels, which have seen her represent America in more countries than any previous Secretary of State, and through her tireless work to restore our global leadership. And she’s looking forward to getting back to work, and I am looking forward to paying tribute to her extraordinary service in the days to come.

        Today, though, I’m looking ahead to my second term, and I am very proud to announce my choice for America’s next Secretary of State — John Kerry.

        For more: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2012/12/21/remarks-president-nomination-senator-john-kerry-secretary-state

        • CR says:

          John Kerry sworn in as secretary of state

          02/01/2013 By David Uberti, Globe Correspondent

          WASHINGTON — John F. Kerry was sworn in as secretary of state by Associate Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan in a small, private ceremony in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee room Friday afternoon, officials said.

          After 28 years of reviewing foreign policy in that same room and representing Massachusetts in the Senate, Kerry takes the reins as America’s top diplomat from outgoing Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. The Bay State Democrat breezed through the Senate confirmation process this week, earning near-unanimous support for his appointment.

          The one-time presidential hopeful’s ascension to State Department chief came on the same day a suicide bomber struck the US Embassy in Ankara, Turkey, killing a Turkish security guard. The attack — just months after four Americans were killed during an assault on a US consulate in Benghazi, Libya — underscores the challenges Kerry will face at Foggy Bottom.

          Outgoing Secretary of State Clinton acknowleged the violence during a 7-minute farewell speech Friday, ending a four-year stint during which she traveled nearly 1 million miles and visited 112 countries. She added to employees crowded nearby that she expects them to “be as focused and dedicated for Secretary Kerry as you have been for me.”

          “We live in very complex and even dangerous times,” Clinton said. “I know that the world we are trying to help bring into being in the 21st century will have many difficult days, but I am more optimistic today than I was when I stood here four years ago.”

          For more: http://www.boston.com/politicalintelligence/2013/02/01/kerry-take-state-department-oath-today/eGnBkXHnORHEbq1SAK6s5N/story.html

      • CR says:

        January 07, 2013

        Remarks by the President in Nomination of Secretary of Defense and CIA Director

        East Room

        1:15 P.M. EST

        THE PRESIDENT: Good afternoon, everybody. Please have a seat. As President and Commander-in-Chief, my most solemn obligation is the security of the American people. Over the past four years, we’ve met that responsibility by ending the war in Iraq, and beginning a transition in Afghanistan; by decimating the al Qaeda core and taking out Osama bin Laden; by disrupting terrorist plots and saving countless American lives.

        Among an outstanding national security team, I am especially grateful to Leon Panetta, who has led the CIA and our military with incredible skill. Leon, after nearly five decades of service, you have more than earned the right to return to civilian life. I’ll have much more to say about Leon’s distinguished service in the days ahead. Today, I simply want to convey both to you and to Sylvia the eternal gratitude of the entire nation. Thank you so much, Leon.

        I also want to thank Michael Morell, who has earned the admiration of all of us who’ve worked with him across government and here in the White House. In moments of transition, he’s guided the CIA with a steady hand as Acting Director — not once, but twice. And he is a consummate professional. As I said, everybody in the White House who works with him, everybody across agencies who works with him considers him truly to be one of our most outstanding national security team members. And so, Michael, on behalf of all of us, thank you and Mary Beth for your continued service.

        As these leaders know, the work of protecting our nation is never done, and we’ve still got much to do: Ending the war in Afghanistan and caring for those who have borne the battle; preparing for the full range of threats, from the unconventional to the conventional, including things like cyber security; and within our military, continuing to ensure that our men and women in uniform can serve the country they love, no matter who they love.

        To help meet the challenges of our time, I’m proud to announce my choice for two key members of my national security team — Chuck Hagel for Secretary of Defense and John Brennan for Director of the Central Intelligence Agency.

        For more: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2013/01/07/remarks-president-nomination-secretary-defense-and-cia-director

      • CR says:

        January 10, 2013

        Remarks by the President in Nomination of Secretary of the Treasury

        East Room

        1:40 P.M. EST

        THE PRESIDENT: Good afternoon, everybody. Please have a seat. A little more than four years ago, I stood with Mr. Tim Geithner and announced him as my first nominee to my Cabinet. We were barely two months into the financial crisis. The stock market had cratered. The housing market had cratered as well. Bank after bank was on the verge of collapse. And worst of all, more than 800,000 Americans would lose their jobs in just that month. And the bottom was not yet in sight.

        So I couldn’t blame Tim when he tried to tell me he wasn’t the right guy for the job. (Laughter.) But I knew that Tim’s extensive experience with economic policy made him eminently qualified, and I also knew that he could hit the ground running. As Chairman of the New York Federal Reserve, he had just spent several sleepless and chaotic weeks immersed in the complexities of the crisis, and had been working closely with his Republican predecessor at Treasury to save the financial system.

        Then, with the wreckage of our economy still smoldering and unstable, I asked Tim to help put it back together. And thanks in large part to his steady hand, our economy has been growing again for the past three years, our businesses have created nearly 6 million new jobs. The money that we spent to save the financial system has largely been paid back. We’ve put in place rules to prevent that kind of financial meltdown from ever happening again. An auto industry was saved. We made sure taxpayers are not on the hook if the biggest firms fail again. We’ve taken steps to help underwater homeowners come up for air, and open new markets to sell American goods overseas. And we’ve begun to reduce our deficit through a balanced mix of spending cuts and reforms to a tax code that at the time that we both came in was too skewed in favor of the wealthy at the expense of middle-class Americans.

        So when the history books are written, Tim Geithner is going to go down as one of our finest Secretaries of the Treasury. (Applause.)

        All right, don’t embarrass him. (Laughter.)

        On a personal note, Tim has been a wonderful friend and a dependable advisor throughout these last four years. There’s an unofficial saying over at Treasury — “no peacocks, no jerks, no whiners.” That would be a good saying for all of Washington — (laughter) — “no peacocks, no jerks, no whiners.” Few embody that ideal better than Tim Geithner. That’s why, when Tim was thinking about leaving a couple of years ago — (laughter) — I had to personally get on my knees with Carole to help convince him to stay on a little bit longer. And I could not be more grateful to Carole and the entire Geithner family for allowing him to make the sacrifices that so many of our Cabinet members ask of their families in serving the country.

        The fact is, while a lot of work remains, especially to rebuild a strong middle class and offer working folks new pathways to rise into the middle class, our economy is better positioned for tomorrow than most of those other countries hit by the financial crisis. The tough decisions Tim made and carried out deserve a lot of credit for that. So I understand that Tim is ready for a break. Obviously, we’re sad to see him go. But I cannot think of a better person to continue Tim’s work at Treasury than Jack Lew.

        This is bittersweet not only because Tim is leaving, but also because Jack has been my Chief of Staff for the last year. He was my budget director before that. I trust his judgment. I value his friendship. I know very few people with greater integrity than the man to my left. And so I don’t want to see him go because it’s working out really well for me to have him here in the White House. But my loss will be the nation’s gain.

        Jack has the distinction of having worked — and succeeded — in some of the toughest jobs in Washington and the private sector. As a congressional staffer in the 1980s, he helped negotiate the deal between President Reagan and Tip O’Neill to save Social Security. Under President Clinton, he presided over three budget surpluses in a row. So for all the talk out there about deficit reduction, making sure our books are balanced, this is the guy who did it — three times. He helped oversee one of our nation’s finest universities and one of our largest investment banks.

        In my administration, he has managed operations for the State Department and the budget for the entire executive branch. And over the past year, I’ve sought Jack’s advice on virtually every decision that I’ve made, from economic policy to foreign policy.

        For more: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2013/01/10/remarks-president-nomination-secretary-treasury

        • CR says:

          Jack Lew sworn in as Treasury secretary

          2/28/13 Anna Yukhananov and Mark Felsenthal – Reuters – 1 hr 27 mins ago

          WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Jack Lew was sworn in as Treasury secretary on Thursday, a White House official said, after winning bipartisan support in the Senate.

          Lew, a budget expert and former chief of staff for President Barack Obama, was confirmed by the Senate on Wednesday with 20 Republicans voting for him. He replaces Timothy Geithner, a former regulator with the New York Federal Reserve who left the Treasury last month.

      • CR says:

        February 06, 2013

        Remarks by the President in the Nomination of Sally Jewell as Secretary of the Interior

        State Dining Room

        2:06 P.M. EST

        THE PRESIDENT: Well, good afternoon, everybody.

        Ken Salazar likes to say that the Department of the Interior is actually the Department of America. Other members of my Cabinet may not entirely agree with that statement, but you can see where he’s coming from. The Secretary of the Interior is in charge of overseeing 500 million acres of public land — including places like Yellowstone and the Grand Canyon — and protecting our natural heritage for our children and our grandchildren and their children to come.

        But the job also requires keeping an eye on America’s future, and making smart decisions about how we create jobs and help businesses grow, and put ourselves on a path towards energy independence. And that’s not always an easy balancing act, but with enthusiasm and skill and dedication, that’s exactly what Ken Salazar has done over the last four years.

        We were just reminiscing a little bit — I’ve known Ken since we were both running for the Senate together and became the only two incoming Democrats in our Senate class — Pete Rouse remembers this. It was a lonely time. (Laughter.) We actually lived in the same building when we first arrived in Washington. And, Ken, you’ll recall it was a little discouraging because basically everyone else who lived there was 20 or 25. (Laughter.) So we were the two geriatrics in this building.

        But I came to appreciate quickly not just his friendship — which, if you’ve got Ken Salazar as a friend, you’ve got a real friend. Not only did I come to appreciate his jump shot — he is surprisingly quick on the court — (laughter) — but also his patriotism, and his belief that we’ve got a responsibility to care for the land with which we’ve been blessed.

        And it’s not surprising that Ken feels this way — after all, his ancestors were living here before the Mayflower set sail. As he explains it — and relevant, as we are working to get immigration reform passed — his family did not cross the border, the border crossed them. (Laughter.) And that’s why, when I needed somebody to lead Interior, I didn’t have to look very far.

        Since being confirmed, Ken has cracked down on waste. He’s improved the management of the Department to make it work better for the American people. He has ushered in a new era of conservation for our land, our water and our wildlife. He’s established seven new national parks, 10 new national wildlife refuges. He has opened more public land and water for safe and responsible energy production, not just gas and oil but also wind and solar, creating thousands of new jobs and nearly doubling our use of renewable energy in this country. He has helped to forge what is probably the strongest working relationship with tribal leaders that the federal government has seen in modern times. And when the unexpected has happened — like the Gulf oil spill or Hurricane Sandy — he has been on the ground making sure that people get help right away and we deal with these challenges as professionally as possible.

        For more: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2013/02/06/remarks-president-nomination-sally-jewell-secretary-interior

        • CR says:

          Obama congratulates new interior secretary

          4/10/13 6:14 PM EDT By JENNIFER EPSTEIN – POLITICO44

          President Obama thanked the Senate for voting Wednesday to confirm his candidate for interior secretary, Sally Jewell, a former executive at outdoor-clothing company REI.

          “With her extensive business experience, including her background in the energy sector, along with her lifelong commitment to conservation, Sally is the right person for this important job,” the president said in a statement. “She brings an important mix of strong management skills, appreciation for our nation’s tradition of protecting our public lands and heritage, and a keen understanding of what it means to be good stewards of our natural resources.

          Obama also praised Jewell’s “commitment to energy and climate issues, her belief in our strong government-to-government relationship with Indian Country, and her understanding of the inherent link between conservation and good jobs.”

          The Senate voted in favor of Jewell by an overwhelming margin on Wednesday afternoon, in a 87 to 11 vote.

      • CR says:

        Brennan takes oath on draft Constitution

        Mar 08, 2013 07:52 PM cia.gov

        John O. Brennan was sworn in this morning as Director of the Central Intelligence Agency by Vice President Joseph R. Biden in a ceremony at the White House. Director Brennan took the oath of office with his hand on an original draft of the Constitution, symbolizing that the CIA is committed to the rule of law. Brennan, who most recently served as Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism, is the twenty-first Director to lead the women and men of the CIA.

        Following his swearing-in, Director Brennan addressed the Agency’s global workforce from the auditorium at CIA Headquarters in Langley, Virginia, praising their hard work, courage, and dedication, and thanking their families for the sacrifices they have made. He emphasized that the CIA’s most precious asset is its workforce, and highlighted the importance of teamwork within the CIA, across the United States government, and with allies, as well as the need to invest in the Agency’s future.

        After thanking Deputy Director Michael Morell for his outstanding stewardship of the Agency, Director Brennan told employees, “It is just terrific to be home and it is the honor and privilege of my life to be working with you as CIA Director.” He added, “I have seen first-hand the value of intelligence to policy formulation and commend the Agency’s employees for their vital role in keeping our country safe.”

        Director Brennan answered questions from the workforce about topics such as the CIA’s need to recruit and retain talented people and the responsibilities that go along with working at the Agency.

        Brennan addresses CIA employees (CIA photo)
        “I will never expect of others what I don’t expect of myself,” Director Brennan said, adding that he believed in the values of “honesty, hard work, and respect for others.” Director Brennan told CIA’s workforce that Americans who want to serve our nation in the field of national security need to know their work will be valued at the Agency and said, “We all should be committed to leaving the Agency a little better, a little stronger, a little more capable than it was when we first got here.”

        For more: https://www.cia.gov/news-information/press-releases-statements/2013-press-releases-statements/brennan-takes-helm-as-dcia.html

      • CR says:

        March 26, 2013

        President Obama Announces A Key Administration Post

        WASHINGTON, DC – Today, President Barack Obama announced his intent to appoint the following individual to a key Administration post:

        Julia A. Pierson – Director of the United States Secret Service, Department of Homeland Security

        President Obama said, “I am pleased to announce that I will appoint Julia A. Pierson to be the next Director of the United States Secret Service. Over her 30 years of experience with the Secret Service, Julia has consistently exemplified the spirit and dedication the men and women of the service demonstrate every day. A veteran of the Miami and Orlando field offices, where she began her career at the Secret Service, Julia has served as the Deputy Assistant Director of the Office of Protective Operations, Assistant Director of Human Resources and Training, and most recently as the Chief of Staff. Julia is eminently qualified to lead the agency that not only safeguards Americans at major events and secures our financial system, but also protects our leaders and our first families, including my own. Julia has had an exemplary career, and I know these experiences will guide her as she takes on this new challenge to lead the impressive men and women of this important agency.”

        President Obama announced his intent to appoint the following individual to a key Administration post:

        Julia A. Pierson, Appointee for Director of the United States Secret Service, Department of Homeland Security

        Julia A. Pierson currently serves as Chief of Staff in the Office of the Director of the United States Secret Service (USSS). Prior to her current role, from 2006 to 2008, she served as USSS Assistant Director of the Office of Human Resources and Training. Ms. Pierson’s previous leadership roles within the USSS include: Deputy Assistant Director of the Office of Protective Operations (2005-2006), Deputy Assistant Director of the Office of Administration (2001-2005), and Special Agent in Charge of the Office of Protective Operations (2000-2001). Ms. Pierson joined the USSS in 1983 as a Special Agent in Miami, Florida. Prior to joining the USSS, Ms. Pierson was a police officer in the Orlando Police Department from 1980 to 1983. She received a B.A. from the University of Central Florida.

        • CR says:

          President Obama will appoint Julia Pierson, a veteran U.S. Secret Service agent and senior official, as the first female director of the agency. Pierson does not need Senate confirmation, so Senate Republicans cannot filibuster her or make absurd demands before a confirmation vote.

          Source: 3/26/13 maddowblog

      • CR says:

        McDonough Brings Order to West Wing to Press Obama Agenda

        Apr 11, 2013 9:00 PM PT By Julianna Goldman – bloomberg

        It’s 7:45 a.m. in White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough’s office and about a dozen senior aides are focusing on two flat-screen monitors with PowerPoint slides.

        Legislative director Miguel Rodriguez is running today’s dashboard — McDonough’s term for a slide presentation on various topics — and going over the names of President Barack Obama’s cabinet nominees awaiting confirmation. A green arrow pointing up is good. A yellow horizontal arrow spells trouble. Red arrows pointing down have so far been avoided.

        On this day, Obama’s choice for budget director, Sylvia Mathews Burwell, has a green arrow next to her name, yet there’s a potential problem. Her confirmation hearings will coincide with the release of Obama’s budget, giving Republicans an opening to pose some probing questions. The slide alerts the economic, communications and legislative teams to coordinate and avoid any surprises that could jeopardize her chances.

        “What Denis is doing is making sure that two trains don’t run into each other,” said Dan Pfeiffer, a senior adviser to Obama. “He’s allowing everyone to see the whole field.”

        McDonough, 43, has brought the discipline of the White House’s Situation Room, where he helped monitor the hunt for Osama bin Laden, to the chief of staff’s office. His dashboard meetings illustrate why Obama chose his loyal and technocratic deputy national security adviser as the West Wing’s chief operating officer for the president’s second term.

        Limited Window
        With limited time to pursue an agenda that includes everything from a possible deal to rein in the nation’s debt to a new immigration policy, McDonough is making sure that objectives are defined and the organization is structured to produce results. The goal is to cement Obama’s place in history.

        Current and former administration officials, as well as onetime Republican and Democratic chiefs of staff, say a more cohesive team has been created that’s reaching outside the White House bubble. The structure, they say, compares with the frenetic days early in Obama’s first term when Rahm Emanuel had the job, or when William Daley struggled to forge a bond with the president, or Jacob Lew left political planning to others during the 2012 election year.

        McDonough “earns praise for how he manages a staff and treats people,” said Andrew Card, President George W. Bush’s former chief of staff. “He gets good reviews from people who he’s met with who do not share the president’s policy positions.”

        For more: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-04-12/mcdonough-brings-order-to-west-wing-to-press-obama-agenda.html

        • CR says:

          April 24, 2013

          Statement from the President on the Confirmation of Sylvia Mathews Burwell

          I am pleased that the Senate took bipartisan action today to confirm Sylvia Mathews Burwell as the Director of the Office of Management and Budget. Sylvia shares my commitment to growing our economy, shrinking our deficits in a balanced way, and reigniting a rising, thriving middle class. Sylvia has spent a career fighting for working families, and she was part of an OMB team that presided over three budget surpluses in a row. Her experience will be especially important as we continue our efforts to replace the indiscriminate budget cuts that are already starting to cost jobs, hurt families, and inconvenience Americans. Sylvia will be a key member of my economic team, and I look forward to working with her in the years ahead.

      • CR says:

        April 29, 2013

        Remarks by the President on the Nomination of Mayor Anthony Foxx as Secretary of Transportation

        East Room

        2:10 P.M. EDT

        THE PRESIDENT: Thank you. (Applause.) Thanks. Thank you. Everybody, please have a seat.

        AUDIENCE: Good afternoon.

        THE PRESIDENT: Ray LaHood has said that being the Secretary of Transportation is the best job he ever had in public service. And that’s fitting because Ray may be the best Secretary of Transportation that the nation’s ever had.

        From the day that he was sworn in, Ray has fought tirelessly to rebuild America’s infrastructure — creating good jobs that strengthen our economy and allow us to better compete in the global economy. Over the past four years, thanks to Ray’s leadership, we’ve built or improved more than 350,000 miles of road — enough to circle the world more than 14 times. We’ve upgraded more than 6,000 miles of rail -– enough to go coast to coast and back. We’ve repaired or replaced more than 20,000 bridges, and helped put tens of thousands of construction workers back on the job. And that’s all due in no small part to Ray LaHood’s leadership.

        So every American can thank Ray for his dedication to make our transportation system not just stronger, but also safer. When it comes to his focused attention on the dangers of distracted driving, for example, it’s saving lives.

        And on a personal note, Ray LaHood has been a good friend of mine for many years. Before he served in my Cabinet, we served together in Congress. He’s a Republican; I’m a Democrat. These days, that sometimes keeps folks apart, but what always brought Ray and I together was a shared belief that those of us who serve in public service owe their allegiance not to party but to the people who elected them to represent them.

        And it helps that we’re from the same state — Ray is from Peoria; I’m from Chicago. But we both love the state of Illinois, and we both get out there on the golf course — and we’re not that good — (laughter) — but we don’t take ourselves too seriously. He is a good man, and has been an outstanding public servant and a model for the kind of bipartisan approach to governance that I think we need so badly in this town.

        So, Ray, on a personal level, I could not be more grateful to you for your service and for your friendship. (Applause.)

        Now, unfortunately for us but fortunately for them, Ray is now looking forward to spending more time with his wife Kathy and their family –- especially a whole gaggle of grandchildren. And so, today, I’m proud to announce my intent to nominate another impressive leader to carry on his great work at the Department of Transportation: the Mayor of Charlotte, my friend from North Carolina, Mr. Anthony Foxx. (Applause.)

        Anthony’s life reflects the values he learned growing up in West Charlotte, where he was raised by his single mom and his grandparents. I should add, by the way, that his grandmother is here, and she informed me that she worked here in the White House in the Truman administration. So she’s just coming back to — (applause) — she’s just coming back for a visit. And so, the values that they instilled in them was to take pride in hard work, to take responsibility for your actions, to take care of your community. And over the past three and a half years, those values have helped Anthony become one of the most effective mayors that Charlotte’s ever seen.

        For more: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2013/04/29/remarks-president-nomination-mayor-anthony-foxx-secretary-transportation

        • CR says:

          June 27, 2013

          Statement from the President on the Confirmation of Anthony Foxx as the next Secretary of Transportation

          I am pleased that the Senate today voted unanimously to confirm Anthony Foxx as the next Secretary of Transportation. Anthony knows firsthand that investing in our roads, bridges and transit systems is vital to creating good jobs and ensuring American businesses can grow and compete in a 21st century global economy. I welcome Anthony to my team, and I look forward to working with him as we aim to modernize the infrastructure that powers our economy.

      • CR says:

        May 02, 2013

        Remarks by the President in Personnel Announcements

        Rose Garden

        10:12 A.M. EDT

        THE PRESIDENT: Thank you. (Applause.) Good morning, everybody. Please have a seat. Sit. (Laughter.)

        My top priority as President is to grow the economy, create good middle-class jobs, make sure that the next generation prospers. And in a few minutes, I’ll be departing the White House for a trip that will promote that priority.

        First, I’m going to visit Mexico, one of our largest economic partners. Then I’ll be visiting Costa Rica, where I’ll attend a summit with Central American leaders. And in both instances, I’m going to be working to deepen our economic and trade relationships across Latin America –- relationships that create jobs and growth here at home, and offer our businesses growing markets where they can sell more American-made goods and services abroad.

        But before I go, I had some business to do. I am proud to announce that I’ll be nominating two outstanding individuals to my Cabinet who will focus on precisely these issues.

        Over the past four years, I’ve tasked the Secretary of Commerce and the U.S. Trade Representative with opening new markets for American goods and services, doubling our exports for those goods and services all in support of millions of American jobs. And over those four years, Ron Kirk, along with his outstanding team at USTR, has stood up for free trade and for American workers and businesses around the world. So he’s finalized trade deals with South Korea, Colombia, Panama. He’s cracked down on unfair trading practices to give American workers a fair shot in the global economy. And I could not be prouder of the work that he has done.

        Meanwhile, at the Department of Commerce, Becky Blank has led our efforts to help promote high-tech manufacturing and travel and tourism — it is a big portfolio — and she has worked closely with the private sector to make sure that America remains the best place in the world to do business.

        So I could not be more thankful to Ron and to Becky for their outstanding service. (Applause.) Ron couldn’t be here today, but many members of his team are here, and we are so thankful to them. Becky, thank you. Becky is going to be taking on a pretty big job — making sure those badgers behave up in Wisconsin. (Laughter.) And we know she’s going to be extraordinary leading that institution.

        But today, I’m in a position to nominate two extraordinary individuals to continue the work of Ron and Becky as key members of my economic team.

        As I said in my State of the Union Address, when it comes to growing our economy and our middle class, we should focus on three things. Number one, making sure America is a magnet for good jobs. Number two, helping workers earn the skills they need to get those jobs. And number three, making sure their hard work actually leads to a decent living. Both these individuals share that focus.

        First, I’m nominating Penny Pritzker to serve as my Secretary of Commerce. Penny is one of our country’s most distinguished business leaders. She’s got more than 25 years of management experience in industries including real estate, finance, and hospitality. She’s built companies from the ground up. She knows from experience that no government program alone can take the place of a great entrepreneur. She knows that what we can do is to give every business and every worker the best possible chance to succeed by making America a magnet for good jobs.

        And Penny understands that just as great companies strengthen the community around them, strong communities and skilled workers also help companies thrive. So she’s been an extraordinary civic leader in our shared hometown of Chicago. She served as a member of my Jobs Council. She was the driving force behind Skills for America’s Future, which is a program that brings together companies and community colleges to shape and prepare skills-based training programs for workers that are tied into the businesses that potentially will hire them.

        So she’s got extraordinary experience. And in case I haven’t embarrassed her enough — she’s got a wonderful family; I watched her kids grow up — and today is her birthday. So Happy Birthday, Penny. (Applause.) For your birthday present, you get to go through confirmation. (Laughter.) It’s going to be great. (Laughter.)

        Meanwhile, over two decades in both the public and private sectors, Mike Froman, who I’m nominating to serve as my U.S. Trade Representative, has established himself as one of the world’s foremost experts on our global economy. And I’m not surprised, by the way, because we went to law school together — he was much smarter than me then, he continues to be smarter than me now.

        And over the past four years, he’s been my point person at global forums like the G8 and the G20 — and, by the way, when I say point person, he’s really been the driving force, oftentimes, in organizing these incredible international summits in which huge amounts of business gets done. He’s been a key negotiator alongside Ron Kirk on those trade agreements for South Korea, Colombia, and Panama, which support tens of thousands of American jobs.

        He has won the respect of our trading partners around the world. He has also won a reputation as being an extraordinarily tough negotiator while doing it. He does not rest until he’s delivered the best possible deal for American businesses and American workers. He’s fought to make sure that countries that break the rules are held accountable.

        And Mike believes, just as I believe and just as Penny believes, that our workers are the most competitive in the world, so they deserve a level playing field. And Mike’s going to continue to fight for that level playing field in his new role, as he helps to move forward trade negotiations with both the Asia-Pacific region and Europe, and will also continue to advise me on a broad range of economic issues.

        And as I think some of you have gathered, I’ve had a chance to get to know Penny and Mike not just as leaders and professionals, but also as friends. And one of the reasons I’m proud to nominate them is they don’t forget what matters. They know this is not about just growing balance sheets. It’s about growing opportunity for people. It’s about growing a sense of security for the middle class. And, most of all, they operate with integrity and they understand that public service is a privilege, and you’ve got to do it right when you get involved on behalf of the American people.

        For more: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2013/05/02/remarks-president-personnel-announcements

        • CR says:

          June 25, 2013

          Statement from the President on the Confirmation of Penny Pritzker as the Secretary of Commerce

          I am pleased the Senate took bipartisan action to confirm Penny Pritzker as our next Commerce Secretary. Penny is a proven leader, a successful entrepreneur, and one of the most accomplished and highly-respected women in business today. She knows what it takes to build companies from the ground up, and she shares my belief in doing everything we can to help businesses and workers succeed and make America a magnet for good jobs. Penny will be a key member of my economic team as we continue to work to grow our economy and strengthen the middle class.

      • CR says:

        Medicare gets its first confirmed leader in nearly a decade

        May 15, 2013 at 6:12 pm By Sarah Kliff – washingtonpost

        Moments ago, the Senate did something it has not done in nearly a decade: It confirmed a leader for the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

        Obama nominee Marilyn Tavenner received a 91 to 7 vote on the Senate floor to run an agency that, since 2006, has been without a confirmed leader. Her position, overseeing a $1 trillion agency that administers health benefits to millions, has long been considered too politically volatile to fill.

        Tavenner, a former hospital executive, managed to thread the needle.

        She spent more than a year as Medicare’s deputy administrator and apparently impressed Senate Republicans. Dozens of health-care associations endorsed her nomination, as did a seven former Medicare heads (three Republicans, four Democrats). As one told me, if Tavenner couldn’t get confirmed, then not even “Mother Teresa or Ghandi” could get the Senate’s blessing.

        Former Medicare administrators say that confirmation is important in running an agency. When the White House knows you’re going to be around for a significant amount of time and have the Senate’s backing, they say, it makes it easier to stand firm on crucial fights.

        “The basic work will get done either way,” Bruce Vladeck, President Bill Clinton’s former Medicare administrator, told me in an interview this year. “What’s really important is it gives someone whose primary concern is Medicare and Medicaid a little more ability and standing to push back against others in the executive branch. The stature of a Senate confirmation does give a little extra standing.”

        Now, Tavenner has that. For a bit more background, you can read our interview from a few months back and a profile from 2011, which includes a story of how Tavenner brought a patient back from the dead.

      • CR says:

        May 16, 2013

        President Obama Appoints Daniel Werfel as Acting Commissioner of Internal Revenue

        WASHINGTON – President Obama today announced the appointment of Daniel Werfel as Acting Commissioner of Internal Revenue, effective Wednesday, May 22. As Acting Commissioner, Mr. Werfel will lead efforts to ensure the IRS implements new safeguards to restore public trust and administers the tax code with fairness and integrity. Mr. Werfel has agreed to serve through the end of the fiscal year.

        President Obama said, “Throughout his career working in both Democratic and Republican administrations, Danny has proven an effective leader who serves with professionalism, integrity and skill. The American people deserve to have the utmost confidence and trust in their government, and as we work to get to the bottom of what happened and restore confidence in the IRS, Danny has the experience and management ability necessary to lead the agency at this important time.”

        Mr. Werfel, 42, currently serves as Controller of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), where he has led efforts across the federal government to improve Federal program integrity, including all areas of financial management, financial reporting, accounting standards, improper payments, and financial systems, among others. Prior to his current role, Mr. Werfel served in multiple career civil service capacities at OMB, including as Deputy Controller, Chief of the Financial Integrity and Analysis Branch, Budget Examiner in the Education Branch, and Policy Analyst in the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs. Mr. Werfel has also served as a Trial Attorney in the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division.

        Mr. Werfel is a recipient of both national and local awards from the Association of Government Accountants for his contributions to Federal financial management. During the Bush Administration, he was the recipient of the Presidential Rank Award for Meritorious Service. Mr. Werfel also served as a member of the Federal Accounting Standards Advisory Board from 2006 to 2009.

        Mr. Werfel holds a Masters Degree in Public Policy from Duke University, a Juris Doctor from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and a Bachelors Degree in Industrial and Labor Relations from Cornell University.

      • CR says:

        March 4, 2013

        Remarks by the President in Personnel Announcements
        East Room

        10:27 A.M. EST

        THE PRESIDENT: Good morning, everybody. This afternoon, I’ll hold my first Cabinet meeting of my second term. And there will be some new faces, and there will be some familiar faces in new jobs. But there will also be some seats waiting to be filled on a permanent basis. And today, I’m announcing my plan to nominate three outstanding individuals to help us tackle some of our most important challenges.

        One of those challenges is building on the work that we’ve done to control our own energy future while reducing pollution that contributes to climate change. And few people have played more of a role in addressing these issues than current Secretary of Energy Steven Chu. Steven has helped us to speed the transition to more sustainable sources of energy. He’s given more of our brightest young scientists the opportunity to pursue the ideas that will shape our future. So I could not be more grateful to Steve for the incredible contribution that he’s made to this country.

        And now that he’s decided to leave Washington for sunny California, I’m proud to nominate another brilliant scientist to take his place — Mr. Ernie Moniz. There’s Ernie right there. (Applause.)

        Now, the good news is that Ernie already knows his way around the Department of Energy. He is a physicist by training, but he also served as Under Secretary of Energy under President Clinton. Since then, he’s directed MIT’s Energy Initiative, which brings together prominent thinkers and energy companies to develop the technologies that can lead us to more energy independence and also to new jobs.

        Most importantly, Ernie knows that we can produce more energy and grow our economy while still taking care of our air, our water and our climate. And so I could not be more pleased to have Ernie join us. And he will be joined in that effort by my nominee to lead the Environmental Protection Agency.

        Over the last four years, Lisa Jackson and her team at the EPA have helped us to reduce emissions of the dangerous carbon pollution that causes climate change, put in place the toughest new pollution standards in two decades. Lisa is now ready for a well-deserved break. And I want to very much thank Bob Perciasepe, who’s not only been a great Deputy Administrator, but has also been acting as the Acting Administrator. So, please, Bob — everybody give Bob a big round of applause. (Applause.)

        As we move forward, I think there is nobody who can do a better job in filling Lisa’s shoes permanently than my nominee who’s standing beside me here — Gina McCarthy. (Applause.)

        Now, you wouldn’t know from talking to her, but Gina is from Boston. (Laughter.) And one of her proudest moments was yelling “Play ball!” at Fenway Park before a Red Sox game. But Gina has got plenty more to be proud of. As a top environmental official in Massachusetts and Connecticut, she helped design programs to expand energy efficiency and promote renewable energy. As Assistant EPA Administrator, Gina has focused on practical, cost-effective ways to keep our air clean and our economy growing. She’s earned a reputation as a straight shooter. She welcomes different points of views. I’m confident that she’s going to do an outstanding job leading the EPA.

        For more: http://www.whitehouse.gov/photos-and-video/video/2013/03/04/president-obama-makes-personnel-announcement#transcript

        • CR says:

          May 16, 2013

          Statement by the President on the Confirmation of Ernest Moniz as the Next Secretary of Energy

          I am pleased that today, by a unanimous vote, the Senate confirmed Ernest Moniz as our next Energy Secretary. Dr. Moniz is a world-class scientist with expertise in a range of energy sources and a leader with a proven record of bringing prominent thinkers and innovators together to advance new energy solutions. He also shares my conviction that the United States must lead the world in developing more sustainable sources of energy that create new jobs and new industries, and in responding to the threat of global climate change. I am thrilled that Ernie is joining my team, and I look forward to his counsel on these issues as my Administration continues to increase our nation’s energy security, strengthen our nuclear security, develop the next-generation of clean energy technologies, and compete for the jobs of the 21st century.

        • CR says:

          Senate votes 59-40 to confirm McCarthy as EPA administrator

          By Ramsey Cox and Ben Geman – 07/18/13 03:52 PM ET

          The Senate voted 59-40 on Thursday to confirm the controversial nomination of Gina McCarthy to lead the Environmental Protection Agency.

          GOP Sens. Lamar Alexander (Tenn.), Susan Collins (Maine), Bob Corker (Tenn.), Jeff Flake (Ariz.), Kelly Ayotte (N.H.) and John McCain (Ariz.) voted for McCarthy’s confirmation, while Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) joined most Republicans in voting against her nomination.

          “My fight is not with her, it’s with the agency and the president,” Manchin said ahead of the vote. “And the fight will continue until the EPA stops its over-regulatory rampage.”

          McCarthy will formally take the reins at the EPA at a time when the Obama administration is stepping up work on controversial greenhouse gas regulations.

          The agency is crafting emissions rules for new power plants.
          McCarthy will also oversee development of a more far-reaching plan: carbon rules of the nation’s existing power plants, which create about a third of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, largely from burning coal.

          As a result of the proposed regulations, some Republicans said they wouldn’t support McCarthy, who is currently the agency’s top air quality regulator.

          “This EPA has been a job killer and has slowed economic growth,” Senate Environment and Public Works Committee ranking member David Vitter (R-La.) said after the Senate voted 69-31 to end debate on her nomination. “She is not an outsider. She’s been at the very heart of many of these matters as head of the EPA’s clean air efforts. … For that reason I will vote against her nomination.”

          Read more: http://thehill.com/blogs/floor-action/senate/312093-senate-votes-59-40-to-confirm-mccarthy-as-epa-administrator

          • CR says:

            SENATE CONFIRMS GINA MCCARTHY AS EPA ADMINISTRATOR

            Thursday, July 18, 2013 sierraclub.org

            WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, the U.S. Senate confirmed Gina McCarthy as EPA Administrator in a bipartisan vote of 59-40.

            In response, Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune issued the following statement:

            “The Sierra Club and our 2.1 million members and supporters congratulate Gina McCarthy on her confirmation as Environmental Protection Agency Administrator.

            “After dedicating her 25-year career to protecting our air and water, Gina McCarthy has a proven record of protecting American families and getting things done. It’s no wonder she received bipartisan support from the Senate today. We look forward to working with her to continue the EPA’s vital work of protecting American families and holding polluters accountable.

            “And while we are pleased that McCarthy has finally been confirmed, there is simply no good reason that it should take 137 days for a qualified, experienced, bi-partisan nominee like her to be confirmed. Just as there is no good reason the leaders appointed to protect workers and consumers should be prevented from doing their jobs for upwards of two years, only to be tossed out with the bathwater.

            “These delays are the cost of Washington gridlock, and to ensure that this never happens again, the Senate must remain vigilant against further obstructionism and stand ready to do what it takes to ensure every nominee gets a fair up-or-down vote.”

          • CR says:

            July 18, 2013

            Statement from the President on the Confirmation of Gina McCarthy

            Statement from the President on the Confirmation of Gina McCarthy as the Next Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency

            I am pleased that today the Senate took bipartisan action to confirm Gina McCarthy as the next Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency. With years of experience at the state and local level, Gina is a proven leader who knows how to build bipartisan support for commonsense environmental solutions that protect the health and safety of our kids while promoting economic growth. Over the past four years, I have valued Gina’s counsel and I look forward to having her in my Cabinet as we work to slow the effects of climate change and leave a cleaner environment for future generations.

      • CR says:

        June 05, 2013

        Remarks by the President in Personnel Announcement

        Rose Garden

        2:17 P.M. EDT

        THE PRESIDENT: Thank you, everybody. (Applause.) Thank you. Please, everybody have a seat. Well, good afternoon. It is a beautiful day, and it’s good to see so many friends here.

        Of all the jobs in government, leading my national security team is certainly one of the most demanding, if not the most demanding. And since the moment I took office, I’ve counted on the exceptional experience and insights of Tom Donilon. Nearly every day for the past several years I’ve started each morning with Tom leading the presidential daily brief, hundreds of times, a sweeping assessment of global developments and the most pressing challenges. As my National Security Advisor his portfolio is literally the entire world.

        He has definitely advanced our strategic foreign policy initiatives while at the same time having to respond to unexpected crises, and that happens just about every day. He’s overseen and coordinated our entire national security team across the government, a Herculean task. And it’s non-stop — 24/7, 365 days a year.

        Today, I am wistful to announce that after more than four years of extraordinary service, Tom has decided to step aside at the beginning of July. And I am extraordinarily proud to announce my new National Security Advisor, our outstanding Ambassador to the United Nations, Susan Rice — (applause) — as well as my nominee to replace Susan in New York, Samantha Power. (Applause.)

        When I first asked Tom to join my team, I knew I was getting one of our nation’s premier foreign policy leaders, somebody with a deep sense of history and a keen understanding of our nation’s place in the world. He shared my view that in order to renew American leadership for the 21st century, we had to fundamentally rebalance our foreign policy. And more than that, he knew how we could do it.

        See, Tom is that rare combination of the strategic and the tactical. He has a strategic sense of where we need to go, and he has a tactical sense of how to get there.

        Moreover, Tom’s work ethic is legendary. He began his public service in the Carter White House when he was just 22 years old — and, somehow, he has been able to maintain the same drive, and the same stamina, and the same enthusiasm and reverence for serving in government. He has helped shape every single national security policy of my presidency — from forging a new national security strategy rooted in our economic strength here at home to ending the war in Iraq. Here at the White House, Tom oversaw the operation that led us to bin Laden. He’s helped keep our transition on track as we wind down the war in Afghanistan.

        At the same time, Tom has played a critical role as we’ve bolstered the enduring pillars of American power — strengthening our alliances, from Europe to Asia; enhancing our relationship with key powers; and moving ahead with new trade agreements and energy partnerships. And from our tough sanctions on Iran to our unprecedented military and intelligence cooperation with Israel — (baby cries) — it’s true — (laughter) — from New START with Russia to deeper partnerships with emerging powers like India, to stronger ties with the Gulf states, Tom has been instrumental every step of the way.

        For more: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2013/06/05/remarks-president-personnel-announcement

        • CR says:

          August 01, 2013

          Statement from the President on the Confirmation of Samantha Power as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations

          I’m pleased that the Senate has confirmed Samantha Power as our next U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations by a strong, bipartisan majority. As one of our country’s leading foreign policy thinkers, Samantha knows that our nation’s interests are advanced with strong and principled American leadership. As a long-time champion of human rights and dignity, she will be a fierce advocate for universal rights, fundamental freedoms and U.S. national interests. I’m grateful that Samantha will continue to be a vital member of my national security team, and I know that under her leadership our U.N. Mission in New York will continue to represent American diplomacy at its best.

      • CR says:

        July 17, 2013

        Remarks by the President on the Confirmation of Richard Cordray as Director for CFPB

        State Dining Room

        11:04 A.M. EDT

        THE PRESIDENT: Well, for decades, the middle class in this country was the engine that powered the economy, and that allowed us to all grow together. Hard work paid off. Responsibility was rewarded. It was that basic bargain that made this country great — that no matter who you are or where you came from, you could make it if you put in enough blood, sweat and tears.

        But over time, a winner-take-all philosophy began to take hold and it delivered huge rewards to those at the very top, but left everybody else working harder and harder just to stay afloat. A lot of families took on more debt just to keep up. Mortgages were sold that people really didn’t understand and, in some cases, couldn’t afford. The financial sector was able to make huge bets with other people’s money. And that strain of irresponsibility eventually came crashing down on all of us.

        Now, I ran for President to restore that basic bargain. I ran because I believed that our economy works best not from the top down, but from the middle out and from the bottom up, where you’ve got a rising, thriving middle class and ladders of opportunity for everybody.

        So four years ago, even as we were working on restoring the economy and dealing with the immediate crisis, we also wanted to figure out how do we set new rules for the road to make sure that a few bad apples in the financial sector couldn’t break the law, or cheat consumers, or put the entire economy at risk.

        And I was fortunate even when I was running for President to have some friends like Elizabeth Warren, who had already done a lot of academic work on this and had a whole series of ideas about how we might start making sure that consumers were treated better, and as a consequence, take some of the risk out of the system. And because of those conversations and that work, and because of some terrific efforts by other members in Congress, we were able, for the time in history, to get a consumer watchdog on the job — to look out for the interests of everyday Americans. And I am very proud to say that last night, Rich Cordray was finally confirmed — (laughter) — by the United States Senate to keep serving as America’s consumer watchdog and as the Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. So we’re very pleased about that. (Applause.)

        For more: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2013/07/17/remarks-president-confirmation-richard-cordray-director-cfpb

        • CR says:

          GOP WRONG WAY

          ‘We were wrong’

          Wed Jul 17, 2013 1:35 PM EDT By Steve Benen – maddowblog

          It took over 700 days, a recess appointment, and a nuclear-option showdown, but a prominent Republican senator yesterday took stock of his party’s efforts to reject Richard Cordray and nullify the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. He reached an interesting conclusion.

          “Cordray was being filibustered because we don’t like the law” that created the consumer agency, said Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina. “That’s not a reason to deny someone their appointment. We were wrong.”

          That’s not a phrase we often hear from politicians, especially congressional Republicans, and it’s a welcome concession. Indeed, since I made the same argument on Monday, I’m delighted by Graham’s candor.

          Perhaps, if Senate Republicans had come to this realization just a little sooner, Elizabeth Warren would be at the CFPB right now and Scott Brown would still be making Wall Street happy as a senator.

          Regardless, the question many Senate Democrats are asking right now is whether yesterday’s breakthrough — which overwhelmingly tilted in their favor — can help lay the foundation for broader progress, at least in the upper chamber. Greg Sargent reported this morning:

          Democrats plan to seize on yesterday’s events to exacerbate what they hope is a developing schism between the GOP leadership/hard right alliance and a bloc of GOP Senators who (Dems are betting) are genuinely fed up with that alliance’s continued flouting of basic governing norms. They hope to renew the push for a return to budget negotiations, with an eye towards replacing the sequester.”

          For more: http://maddowblog.msnbc.com/_news/2013/07/17/19523971-we-were-wrong?lite

      • CR says:

        March 18, 2013

        Remarks by the President Announcing the Nomination of Thomas Perez for Secretary of Labor

        East Room

        11:47 A.M. EDT

        THE PRESIDENT: Thank you. (Applause.) Everybody have a seat. Have a seat. As I’ve said before, my top priority as President is doing everything we need to do to make sure that we’re growing our economy and that we’re strengthening our middle class. And as I said in my State of the Union address last month, every day we should be asking ourselves three questions. One — how do we make sure America is a magnet for good jobs? Number two — how do we equip people with the skills they need to get those jobs? And number three — how do we make sure that hard work actually pays off in a decent living?

        These are the challenges that I’ve instructed my team here at the White House and in my entire Cabinet to focus on. And a position that’s instrumental to tackling these challenges is having an outstanding Secretary of Labor.

        So I want to begin by thanking Hilda Solis and her entire team — (applause) — including Acting Secretary Seth Harris — (applause) — for the outstanding work that they’ve been doing over the past four years. Their efforts at the Department of Labor have given more young people a chance to earn new skills, more returning vets the chance to find a job. They’ve looked out for worker safety from construction sites to coal mines. They’ve stood up for workers’ rights to organize, women’s rights to get paid equally for the work that they do. They’ve done an extraordinary job fighting on behalf of working families across the board.

        And today, I’m proud to nominate a leader to carry on those efforts as America’s next Secretary of Labor — Tom Perez. (Applause.)

        Like so many Americans, Tom knows what it’s like to climb the ladder of opportunity. He is the son of Dominican immigrants. He helped pay his way through college as a garbage collector and working at a warehouse. He went on to become the first lawyer in his family. So his story reminds us of this country’s promise, that if you’re willing to work hard, it doesn’t matter who you are, where you come from, what your last name is — you can make it if you try.

        And Tom has made protecting that promise — for everybody — the cause of his life. As a civil rights attorney, an aide to Senator Ted Kennedy, a member of the Montgomery, Maryland County Council, Tom fought for a level playing field where hard work and responsibility are rewarded and working families can get ahead.

        For more: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2013/03/18/remarks-president-announcing-nomination-thomas-perez-secretary-labor

        • CR says:

          July 18, 2013

          Statement from the President on the Confirmation of Thomas Perez

          I welcome today’s confirmation of Tom Perez to serve as Secretary of Labor. Tom has lived the American dream himself, and has dedicated his career to keeping it within reach for hardworking families across the country. At the Department of Labor, Tom will help us continue to grow our economy, help businesses create jobs, make sure workers have the skills those jobs require, and ensure safe workplaces and economic opportunity for all.

          I want to thank the Senate once again for agreeing to move forward on Tom and the other nominees who have waited far too long for the yes-or-no votes they deserve.

      • CR says:

        June 21, 2013

        Remarks by the President at Nomination of James Comey as Director of the FBI

        Rose Garden

        2:11 P.M. EDT

        THE PRESIDENT: Good afternoon, everybody. Please have a seat.

        For more than a century, we have counted on the dedicated men and women of the FBI to keep us safe. In that time, the FBI has been led by six directors. And the second-longest-serving director of the FBI — for the last 12 years — has been an exemplary public servant, Bob Mueller.

        By law, FBI directors only serve for 10 years. But back in 2011, when Bob’s term was up, I asked Congress to give him two more years. It wasn’t a request I made lightly, and I know Congress didn’t grant it lightly. But at a time when transitions were underway at the CIA and the Pentagon, and given the threats facing our nation, we felt it was critical to have Bob’s steady hand and strong leadership at the Bureau.

        Twelve years is a long time to do anything — and I guarantee you that Bob’s wife, Ann, agrees. So, in addition to asking Congress, I think we needed approval from Ann as well for those extra two years. Today, as Bob prepares to complete his service, this is a wonderful opportunity for all of us as a nation to say thank you to Bob and Ann, but also it gives me a chance to announce my choice to be the next director of the FBI, Jim Comey.

        Every day, our FBI special agents, analysts and professional staff devote — and often risk — their lives keeping us secure, from the streets of our cities to the battlefield of Afghanistan. They embody the core principles of fidelity, bravery and integrity.

        For more: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2013/06/21/remarks-president-nomination-james-comey-director-fbi

        • CR says:

          In 93-1 vote, Senate confirms FBI nominee

          7/29/13 06:07 PM ET By Ramsey Cox – TheHill

          The Senate voted 93-1 Monday to confirm James Comey as head of the FBI.

          The only senator to vote against Comey was Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), who has expressed concerns about the FBI’s domestic drone program.

          Comey, who worked in the Justice Department under President George W. Bush, will succeed outgoing FBI Director Robert Mueller.

          The new director is perhaps best known for his opposition to the Bush warrentless wiretapping program. He also argued against the use of water boarding as an interrogation method.

          Earlier Monday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said he was “disappointed” that he had to file a cloture motion on Comey’s nomination.

          But by the end of Monday, Republicans had agreed to hold the up-or-down vote on his nomination rather than a procedural vote to end debate.

          Read more: http://thehill.com/blogs/floor-action/senate/314179-senate-votes-93-1-to-confirm-obamas-nominee-to-lead-the-fbi

          • CR says:

            July 29, 2013

            Statement by the President on the Confirmation of James Comey as the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation

            I applaud the overwhelming, bipartisan majority of Senators who today confirmed Jim Comey to be the next director of the FBI. Jim is a natural leader of unquestioned integrity. In the face of ever-changing threats, he has repeatedly demonstrated his commitment to defending America’s security and ideals alike. With Jim at the Bureau’s helm, I know that the FBI will be in good hands long after I’ve left office.

            As welcome as today’s vote is, however, the Senate still has work to do. Like the FBI, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is a critical law enforcement agency, and it has been without a confirmed director for far too long. I urge the Senate to swiftly confirm Todd Jones, my nominee to lead the ATF, so that he and his team can do their part to keep American families safe. As Senators from both parties recognized today, we cannot allow partisan politics to get in the way of protecting the American people.

        • CR says:

          October 28, 2013

          Remarks by the President and FBI Director James Comey

          12:34 P.M. EDT

          THE PRESIDENT: Thank you. Thank you, FBI. (Applause.) Thank you so much. Please, everybody, be seated — those of you who have seats. (Laughter.)

          Well, good afternoon, everybody. I am so proud to be here and to stand once again with so many dedicated men and women of the FBI. You are the best of the best. Day in and day out, you work tirelessly to confront the most dangerous threats our nation faces. You serve with courage; you serve with integrity. You protect Americans at home and abroad. You lock up criminals. You secure the homeland against the threat of terrorism. Without a lot of fanfare, without seeking the spotlight, you do your jobs, all the while upholding our most cherished values and the rule of law.

          Fidelity, Bravery, Integrity: That’s your motto. And today, we’re here to welcome a remarkable new leader for this remarkable institution, one who lives those principles out every single day: Mr. Jim Comey.

          Before I get to Jim, I want to thank all the predecessors who are here today. We are grateful for your service. I have to give a special shout-out to Bob Mueller, who served longer than he was supposed to, but he was such an extraordinary leader through some of the most difficult times that we’ve had in national security. And I consider him a friend and I’m so grateful for him and Ann being here today. Thank you very much. (Applause.)

          Now, Jim has dedicated his life to defending our laws — to making sure that all Americans can trust our justice system to protect their rights and their well-being. He’s the grandson of a beat cop. He’s the prosecutor who helped bring down the Gambinos. He’s the relentless attorney who fought to stem the bloody tide of gun violence, rub out white-collar crime, deliver justice to terrorists. It’s just about impossible to find a matter of justice he has not tackled, and it’s hard to imagine somebody who is not more uniquely qualified to lead a bureau that covers all of it — traditional threats like violent and organized crime to the constantly changing threats like terrorism and cyber-security. So he’s got the resume.

          But, of course, Jim is also a famously cool character — the calmest in the room during a crisis. Here’s what a fellow former prosecutor said about him. He said, “You know that Rudyard Kipling line — ‘If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs’– that’s Jim.”

          For more: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2013/10/28/remarks-president-and-fbi-director-james-comey

        • CR says:

          Some Facts About James Comey:

          James Brien Comey, Jr. (born December 14, 1960) is the seventh and current director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

          He was the United States Deputy Attorney General, serving in President George W. Bush’s administration. As Deputy Attorney General, Comey was the second-highest ranking official in the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) and ran the day-to-day operations of the Department, serving in that office from December 2003 through August 2005. He was U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York prior to becoming Deputy Attorney General.

          In December 2003, as Deputy Attorney General, Comey appointed the U.S. Attorney in Chicago, close friend and former colleague Patrick Fitzgerald, as Special Counsel to head the CIA leak grand jury investigation after Attorney General John Ashcroft recused himself. In August 2005, Comey left the DOJ and he became General Counsel and Senior Vice President of Lockheed Martin. In 2010, he became General Counsel at Bridgewater Associates. In early 2013, he left Bridgewater to become Senior Research Scholar and Hertog Fellow on National Security Law at Columbia Law School. He also joined the London-based board of directors of HSBC Holdings.

          James Comey is a Republican.

          NSA domestic wiretapping
          In early January 2006, The New York Times, as part of their investigation into alleged domestic surveillance by the National Security Agency, reported that Comey, who was Acting Attorney General during the March 2004 surgical hospitalization of John Ashcroft, refused to “certify” the legality of central aspects of the NSA program at that time. The certification was required under existing White House procedures to continue the program.

          After Comey’s refusal, the newspaper reported, Andrew H. Card Jr., White House Chief of Staff, and Alberto R. Gonzales, then White House counsel and future Attorney General, made an emergency visit to the George Washington University Hospital to attempt to win approval directly from Ashcroft for the program. According to the 2007 memoir of Jack Goldsmith, who had been head of the Office of Legal Counsel at the time, Comey went to the hospital to give Ashcroft support to withstand the pressure from the White House.

          Comey confirmed these events took place (but declined to confirm the specific program) in testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee on 16 May 2007.FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III, like Comey, also supported Ashcroft’s decision; both men were prepared to resign if the White House ignored the Department of Justice’s legal conclusions on the wiretapping issue. FBI director Mueller’s notes on the March 10, 2004 incident, which were released to a House Judiciary committee, confirms that he “Saw [the] AG, John Ashcroft in the room. AG is feeble, barely articulate, clearly stressed.”[20] Comey withdrew his threat to resign after meeting directly with President Bush, who gave his support to making changes in the surveillance program.

          Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Comey

      • CR says:

        June 4, 2009

        President Obama Nominates B. Todd Jones for US Attorney for the District of Minnesota

        WASHINGTON, DC – President Obama today announced the nomination of B. Todd Jones for U.S. Attorney for the District of Minnesota. Mr. Jones previously held the position from May 1998 through January 2001.

        “Todd Jones made the utmost sacrifice for his country and served with honor as a member of the United States Marine Corps who fought in Operation Desert Storm,” President Obama said. “And he has served the public in his civilian life, too, with a distinguished career in the US Attorney’s office in Minnesota. It is my honor to ask him to serve in this capacity again.”

        B. Todd Jones: Nominee for U.S. Attorney, District of Minnesota

        B. Todd Jones, 52, is currently a partner at Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi, where he has worked since 2001. Mr. Jones graduated from Macalester College in 1979 and University of Minnesota Law School in 1983. He served on active duty with the United States Marine Corps from 1983 to 1989 and with the United States Marine Corps Reserve until January 1991, when he was recalled to active duty for Operation Desert Storm. In June 1991, he returned to the Marine Corps Reserve, earning the rank of Major and serving as the commanding officer of the 4th Marine Division Military Police Company until he received an honorable discharge in 1998. From May 1998 to January 2001, Mr. Jones served as U.S. Attorney in the District of Minnesota. He had served as a First Assistant and an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the U.S. Attorney’s office prior to his appointment.

        In addition to nominating Jones, the following nominations will be sent to the Senate today: Preet Bharara, Nominee for U.S. Attorney, Southern District of New York; Tristram Coffin, Nominee for U.S. Attorney, District of Vermont; Jenny Durkan, Nominee for U.S. Attorney, Western District of Washington; Paul Fishman, Nominee for U.S. Attorney, District of New Jersey; John Paul Kacavas, Nominee for U.S. Attorney, District of New Hampshire; Joyce Vance, Nominee for U.S. Attorney, Northern District of Alabama.

        • CR says:

          July 12, 2013

          Statement by the Press Secretary on the Senate Judiciary Committee’s Vote on the Nomination of Todd Jones

          We are pleased that the Senate Judiciary Committee today advanced the nomination of Todd Jones to serve as director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives. Despite its crucial role in protecting our communities from dangerous criminals, gun violence, and terrorism, ATF has been without a confirmed director for seven years because Senate Republicans have blocked every nominee regardless of their qualifications. Todd Jones is a uniquely qualified nominee – a former Marine, and current U.S. Attorney, with a proven record of successful leadership at ATF. The Senate has already unanimously confirmed him for the important law enforcement post in which he currently serves, so there’s no reason they should hold up his nomination to this post. We urge the full Senate to act swiftly to confirm him and give this vital law enforcement agency all the tools it needs to help keep Americans safe.

        • CR says:

          Reid files cloture on Obama’s nominees to ATF, United Nations

          7/29/13 04:10 PM ET By Ramsey Cox – TheHill

          Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) filed cloture Monday on President Obama’s nominee to lead the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).

          Earlier this month, the Senate Judiciary Committee cleared the nomination of B. Todd Jones to head the ATF on a party-line 10-8 vote.

          The bureau hasn’t had a leader for seven years.

          “Enough is enough,” Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) said on the Senate floor Monday. “I’m very glad we’re moving forward on this nomination. … They deserve a full-time leader.”

          Jones currently serves as the Minnesota U.S. attorney. Democrats have complained that Republicans have opposed a leader of the ATF because of the National Riffle Association’s powerful gun-lobby.

          Democrats will need at least six Republicans to join with them to end debate on Jones’s nomination. The cloture vote hasn’t been scheduled yet, but if cloture is invoked there would then be eight hours of debate before a final vote.

          Read more: http://thehill.com/blogs/floor-action/senate/314139-reid-files-cloture-on-obamas-nominees-to-atf-united-nations

        • CR says:

          Senate Dems approves Obama’s ATF nominee, thanks to a switch and a long, long delay

          July 31, 2013 – 6:50 PM ALAN FRAM , Associated Press

          WASHINGTON — The Senate voted in dramatic fashion Wednesday to approve one of President Barack Obama’s nominees. For Democrats to prevail, all it took was a last-ditch vote switch by one senator, a flight back from North Dakota by another and an afternoon roll call that stretched into the evening.

          Five hours after the balloting started, the Senate voted to end Republican delaying tactics against B. Todd Jones, Obama’s pick to head the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. It then voted in a comparatively instantaneous 29 minutes for his final confirmation, 53-42.

          A defeat would have been a setback for Obama, who is trying to plug gaps in his second-term administration’s lineup, and dealt a blow to the recent cooperation between the two parties over allowing votes on the president’s nominees.

          The lengthy roll call and the theatrics accompanying it nearly obscured that Jones’ approval marked a rare congressional victory for gun-control forces. His confirmation came three months after the Senate rejected Obama’s drive to expand background checks for firearms buyers.

          Obama nominated Jones weeks after the December massacre at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn., that killed 20 first-graders and six staffers. Jones, a former Marine, has been acting ATF director since 2011.

          Gun control advocates backed Jones’ nomination, saying he would strengthen an agency long weakened by congressionally imposed restraints. With a national registry of gun owners forbidden by federal law, authorities face constraints when they want to trace firearms used in crimes.

          For most of Wednesday afternoon, the Senate idled in neutral waiting for Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., to fly back from her home state, where aides said she had taken ill. She then cast the 60th vote needed to end a GOP procedural blockade aimed at derailing Jones’ nomination.

          But to get the 59th vote, Democrats earlier had to persuade Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, to switch her initial vote.

          For more: http://www.startribune.com/politics/national/217709231.html

      • CR says:

        Obama to submit new labor board nominees to Senate: aide

        7/16/13 Amanda Becker and Thomas Ferraro – Reuters

        WASHINGTON (Reuters) – As part of its bargain to avert a Senate battle over procedural rules, the White House will nominate two labor lawyers for the National Labor Relations Board, replacing two previous nominees, a senior Democratic aide said on Tuesday.

        Nancy Schiffer and Kent Hirozawa will be named by President Barack Obama as nominees to the five-member board, which oversees union elections and enforces labor laws, the aide said.

        Under the Senate deal, lawmakers will move forward in bringing up for a vote a slate of stalled nominees including current NLRB Chairman Mark Gaston Pearce; labor secretary- nominee Thomas Perez; Environmental Protection Agency nominee Gina McCarthy, Export-Import Bank president-nominee Fred Hochberg, and Consumer Financial Protection Bureau director-nominee Richard Cordray.

        A majority of senators voted on Tuesday to confirm Cordray.

        The NLRB was at the center of a broader struggle on Tuesday over those nominees and the Senate’s procedural rules. Democrats had threatened to strip Republicans of their power to block Obama nominations with procedural roadblocks known as filibusters.

        A battleground for years between pro-labor Democrats and anti-union Republicans, the NLRB has not had a full Senate-confirmed complement of members for nearly a decade.

        Sharon Block and Richard Griffin, who had been nominated for the board and were serving as NLRB members without Senate confirmation, will be dropped and replaced with Schiffer and Hirozawa, according to congressional sources.

        As their end of the bargain, Republican lawmakers have agreed in writing not to block a confirmation vote to be held by the end of July on Schiffer and Hirozawa, aides said.

        Communications Workers of America President Larry Cohen praised the Senate’s step toward ending gridlock, but lamented that Block and Griffin were casualties in the process.

        “The president nominates people he supports and believes in, and it will be two people who believe as strongly as Block and Griffin that workers’ rights matter in the 21st century whether they have a union or not, and most don’t,”

        • CR says:

          July 30, 2013

          Statement by the President on the Confirmation of the National Labor Relations Board

          I welcome today’s confirmation of Nancy Schiffer, Kent Hirozawa, Mark Pearce, Harry Johnson III, and Philip Miscimarra to the National Labor Relations Board. A critical part of our effort to strengthen the middle class is ensuring that every American who works hard has a chance to succeed. That means providing wages people can live on, safe working conditions and real opportunities to get ahead. Every day, the NLRB is focused on the concerns of working Americans, from eliminating unfair labor practices to upholding the right of employees to join a union and bargain collectively with their employers. I applaud the Senate for putting in place a full board and look forward to working together on other steps we can take to grow our economy.

        • CR says:

          The ‘Supreme Court of labor law’ can finally function again

          Wed Jul 31, 2013 11:36 AM EDT By Steve Benen – maddowblog

          I imagine a lot of folks who voted for President Obama last fall are feeling a little frustrated right now. It’s not that the president is pursuing a misguided agenda or breaking campaign promises, but the frustration likely comes with the realization that the “fever” among congressional Republicans did not break on Election Day 2012 and radicalized GOP lawmakers will make legislating all but impossible for the foreseeable future.

          And so long as Republicans won’t compromise, there’s not a whole lot Obama can do about it.

          But the news for the president’s allies isn’t all bad — Congress may be a laughingstock for the ages, but Obama can still make progress on progressive goals. Take the NLRB, for example.

          After a contentious fight over some of President Obama’s nominees, the Senate confirmed five members to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).

          On Tuesday, the Senate voted to clear all five nominees — Harry Johnson III, Philip Miscimarra, Nancy Schiffer, Kent Hirozawa and Mark Pearce.

          The Senate was acting against a deadline — over the August recess, the NRLB chair’s term will end, without confirmation of new members, the board would not have the quorum needed to function. As of yesterday, that’s no longer an issue.

          Following the confirmation votes, the NRLB will have no vacancies for the first time in over a decade.

          For more: http://maddowblog.msnbc.com/_news/2013/07/31/19796681-the-supreme-court-of-labor-law-can-finally-function-again?lite

      • CR says:

        August 01, 2013

        President Obama Announces his Intent to Nominate John Koskinen as Commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service

        WASHINGTON, DC – Today, President Obama announced his intent to nominate John Koskinen as Commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service.

        President Obama said, “John is an expert at turning around institutions in need of reform. With decades of experience, in both the private and public sectors, John knows how to lead in difficult times, whether that means ensuring new management or implementing new checks and balances. Every part of our government must operate with absolute integrity and that is especially true for the IRS. I am confident that John will do whatever it takes to restore the public’s trust in the agency.”

        For more: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2013/08/01/president-obama-announces-his-intent-nominate-john-koskinen-commissioner

      • CR says:

        NLRB at full strength as four Obama appointees are sworn in Monday

        8/12/13 03:18 PM ET By Julian Hattem – TheHill

        For the first time in a decade, there are five Senate-confirmed members on the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).

        Four new members were sworn into office on Monday. With Chairman Mark Pearce at the helm since 2011, the union watchdog now has a full slate of Senate-confirmed members for the first time since 2003.

        The full complement of members caps a period of long-running dispute over the board’s legitimacy, including two federal court rulings that cast doubt on its ability to exercise any power at all.

        Having a fully-confirmed board is “critical,” according to University of Richmond law professor Carl Tobias.

        “I think there’s a commitment to a fresh start and I think that would be good,” he told The Hill. “Certainly the two Democratic nominees said they would be open-minded and they hadn’t prejudged issues and take them as they come.”

        Republicans in the Senate have expressed concern about the new Democrats, Kent Hirozawa and Nancy Schiffer.

        Schiffer spent decades working for the AFL-CIO and the United Auto Workers, and Hirozawa was formerly the top lawyer for NLRB Chairman Pearce. Republicans have worried they will not be able to remain objective, despite their pledges to be impartial.

        Read more: http://thehill.com/blogs/regwatch/labor/316677-nlrb-full-of-senate-confirmed-members-for-first-time-in-decade-

      • CR says:

        January 15, 2014

        Remarks by the President in Nominating Maria Contreras-Sweet as Administrator of the SBA

        South Court Auditorium

        3:46 P.M. EST

        THE PRESIDENT: Thank you. (Applause.) Thank you so much. Well, welcome to the White House. And I am pleased to be joined by many of the people on the front lines when it comes to creating jobs and new opportunities — America’s small business owners. And I want to thank all of them for the hard work and the sacrifice of these entrepreneurs, as well as the workers and the families across the country that have helped us pull ourselves out of one of the worst recessions in our history.

        Now what we’re seeing is businesses having created more than 8 million new jobs since we hit bottom. Manufacturing is growing, led by a booming auto industry. Our investments have helped bring about new technologies, more affordable energy, and our slowing health care costs, all of which are making America even more attractive for investors. And we’re starting to see a lot of the jobs that had left our shores in manufacturing, for example, starting to come back, because we put ourselves in a much more competitive position.

        And so all the pieces are there to bring back even more new jobs to America this year, but it’s not going to happen by itself. This has to be a year of action. We got to keep our economy growing. We got to make sure that our working families are sharing in growth and increasing success. We’ve got to make sure that we’re creating more good jobs that pay good wages and provide families with some measure of security. We’ve got to make sure that the recovery doesn’t leave anybody behind.

        And that’s where our small businesses can help lead the way — because small businesses are the lifeblood of our economy. They create most of the country’s new jobs. They’re cornerstones of our communities. And they’re part of the pact that America makes — the idea that if you work hard, if you take responsibility, then you can build something new. You can make something of yourself. You can leave something behind for your children. And that’s the dream that brought generations of hardworking immigrants to our shores, and that’s the idea that drives small business owners to create new products and expand their businesses every single day.

        And that’s one of the reasons why I made small business a priority from day one when I took this office. It’s why we cut taxes for small business owners not once but twice — not once or twice, but 18 times in my first term. Small business owners had a real tough time in the financial crisis. When lending froze, they were the ones who were getting hit the hardest. So my administration supported record amounts of lending to small businesses through the SBA — more than $130 billion to more than 225,000 small businesses during the course of five years.

        For more: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2014/01/15/remarks-president-nominating-maria-contreras-sweet-administrator-sba

      • CR says:

        April 07, 2014

        Remarks by the President, Vice President, and SBA Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet at Swearing-In Ceremony

        South Court Auditorium

        3:35 P.M EDT

        THE PRESIDENT: All right, everybody please have a seat.
        I just wanted to stop by and congratulate Maria on officially being sworn in as the head of the SBA.

        I want to thank all the members of Congress who are here today, as well as the terrific staff at the SBA for helping America’s small businesses succeed, and who have been holding down the fort until we got this confirmation through.

        I nominated Maria because she knows first-hand the challenges that small businesses go through — and she has a proven track record of helping them succeed. She was California’s Secretary of Business, Transportation and Housing, and in that role she was the driving force behind major public investments in job-creating industries. As the founder of the ProAmerica Bank, she supported Latino entrepreneurs throughout Los Angeles.

        So Maria understands that small businesses are the lifeblood of our economy. They represent the promise that if you work hard in this country, you can succeed and you can help your children do even better.

        And that’s why this administration has been so focused on helping small businesses succeed from day one. We cut taxes 18 times for small businesses in my first term. We’ve helped more than 200,000 small businesses get loans supported by the SBA. Today, our economy is growing and our businesses have created almost 9 million jobs, and a lot of that has to do with the fact that there are small businesses out there who are making things happen every single day.

        But we can always do more. And that’s why having such a hard charger as Maria, who knows both the entrepreneurial side as well as public service, is so important. When I announced her nomination back in January, I was absolutely confident that she was going to do a terrific job. And I am no less confident today.

        For more: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2014/04/07/remarks-president-vice-president-and-sba-administrator-maria-contreras-s

    • CR says:

      January 24, 2013

      Remarks by the President at a Personnel Announcement

      State Dining Room

      2:38 P.M. EST

      THE PRESIDENT: Good afternoon, everybody. Over the last four years, I’ve talked about how shared prosperity — from Wall Street to Main Street — depends on smart, common-sense regulations that protect the vast majority of Americans from the irresponsible actions of a few.

      That’s why we passed tough reforms to protect consumers and our financial system from the kinds of abuse that nearly brought the economy to its knees. Today, there are rules to help families — responsible families buy a home or send their child to college without worrying about being tricked out of their life savings. There are rules to make sure that financial firms which do the right thing aren’t undermined by those that don’t do the right thing. And there are rules to end taxpayer-funded Wall Street bailouts once and for all.

      But it’s not enough to change the law. We also need cops on the beat to enforce the law. And that’s why, today, I am nominating Mary Jo White to lead the Security and Exchange Commission, and Richard Cordray to continue leading the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

      This guy is bothering me here — (swatting at a fly.)

      As a young girl, Mary Jo White was a big fan of the Hardy Boys. I was, too, by the way.

      MS. WHITE: Good. Good.

      THE PRESIDENT: Yes. As an adult, she’s built a career the Hardy Boys could only dream of. Over a decade as a U.S. Attorney in New York, she helped prosecute white-collar criminals and money launderers. In the early 1990s, she brought down John Gotti, the head of the Gambino crime syndicate. And she brought to justice the terrorists responsible for bombing the World Trade Center and the American embassies in Africa. So I’d say that’s a pretty good run. You don’t want to mess with Mary Jo.

      As one former SEC chairman said, Mary Jo “does not intimidate easily.” And that’s important, because she has a big job ahead of her. The SEC played a critical role in protecting our financial system during the worst of the financial crisis. But there’s much more work to be done to complete the task of reforming Wall Street and making sure that American investors are better informed and better protected going forward. And we need to keep going after irresponsible behavior in the financial industry so that taxpayers don’t pay the price.

      I am absolutely confident that Mary Jo has the experience and the resolve to tackle these complex issues and protect the American people in a way that is smart and in a way that is fair.

      And I want to thank Elisse Walter, who has done an outstanding job holding down the fort as chairwoman. And I expect the Senate to confirm Mary Jo as soon as possible so she can get to work.

      My second nominee is a familiar face. A year and a half ago, I nominated Richard Cordray to lead the watchdog agency we created to give Americans the information they need to make sound financial choices and protect them from unscrupulous lenders and debt collectors.

      As a former attorney general of Ohio with a long record of working with Democrats and Republicans on behalf of the American people, nobody questioned Richard’s qualifications. But he wasn’t allowed an up or down vote in the Senate, and as a consequence, I took action to appoint him on my own. And over the last year, Richard has proved to be a champion of American consumers.

      Thanks to his leadership, we’ve made it tougher for families to be tricked into mortgages they can’t afford. We’ve set clearer rules so that responsible lenders know how to operate fairly. We’ve launched a “Know Before You Owe” campaign to help parents and students make smart decisions about paying for college. We’ve cracked down on credit card companies that charge hidden fees, and forced those companies to make things right. And through it all, Richard has earned a reputation as a straight shooter and somebody who’s willing to bring every voice to the table in order to do what’s right for consumers and our economy.

      For more: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2013/01/24/remarks-president-personnel-announcement

      • CR says:

        Senate confirms White to lead SEC

        4/08/13 02:42 PM ET By Peter Schroeder – TheHill

        The Senate unanimously approved Mary Jo White to lead the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on Monday.

        Shortly after returning from a two-week break, the Senate quickly acted to approve the former federal prosecutor to lead the Wall Street watchdog, signing off on her confirmation by unanimous consent.

        The only lawmaker to oppose her nomination at any step in the process was Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), who voted against her when she appeared before the Senate Banking Committee but did not block the consent request on the Senate floor.

        White will now take the reins of the financial regulator following the December departure of its former head, Mary Schapiro. SEC Commissioner Elisse Walter led the agency in the interim.

        Read more: http://thehill.com/blogs/on-the-money/banking-financial-institutions/292383-senate-confirms-mary-jo-white-to-lead-the-sec

      • CR says:

        GOP WRONG WAY

        ‘We were wrong’

        Wed Jul 17, 2013 1:35 PM EDT By Steve Benen – maddowblog

        It took over 700 days, a recess appointment, and a nuclear-option showdown, but a prominent Republican senator yesterday took stock of his party’s efforts to reject Richard Cordray and nullify the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. He reached an interesting conclusion.

        “Cordray was being filibustered because we don’t like the law” that created the consumer agency, said Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina. “That’s not a reason to deny someone their appointment. We were wrong.”

        That’s not a phrase we often hear from politicians, especially congressional Republicans, and it’s a welcome concession. Indeed, since I made the same argument on Monday, I’m delighted by Graham’s candor.

        Perhaps, if Senate Republicans had come to this realization just a little sooner, Elizabeth Warren would be at the CFPB right now and Scott Brown would still be making Wall Street happy as a senator.

        Regardless, the question many Senate Democrats are asking right now is whether yesterday’s breakthrough — which overwhelmingly tilted in their favor — can help lay the foundation for broader progress, at least in the upper chamber. Greg Sargent reported this morning:

        Democrats plan to seize on yesterday’s events to exacerbate what they hope is a developing schism between the GOP leadership/hard right alliance and a bloc of GOP Senators who (Dems are betting) are genuinely fed up with that alliance’s continued flouting of basic governing norms. They hope to renew the push for a return to budget negotiations, with an eye towards replacing the sequester.”

        For more: http://maddowblog.msnbc.com/_news/2013/07/17/19523971-we-were-wrong?lite

    • CR says:

      BREAKING NEWS:

      After nearly two years of in-fighting, Senate confirms Cordray

      07/16/13 05:35 PM ET By Ramsey Cox – TheHill

      The Senate voted 66-34 Tuesday to confirm President Obama’s nominee to lead the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).

      Richard Cordray was one of several controversial nominees that Republicans will allow to get an up-or-down vote after Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) threatened to use the “nuclear option” to change the Senate rules by eliminating the ability of the minority to filibuster an executive branch nominee.

      “More than 700 days since its creation American citizens are just now getting a vote for a consumer watchdog to head the agency,” Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) said after the vote. “Confirming Richard Cordray was the right thing to do.”

      Republican Sens. Saxby Chambliss (Ga.), Tom Coburn (Okla.), Susan Collins (Maine), Jeff Flake (Ariz.), Lindsey Graham (S.C.), Johnny Isakson (Ga.), John McCain (Ariz.), Rob Portman (Ohio), Roger Wicker (Miss.), Orrin Hatch (Utah), Bob Corker (Tenn.) and Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) voted with Democrats to confirm Cordray.

      Earlier Tuesday, 17 Republicans joined Democrats in a 71-29 vote to end debate on Cordray’s nomination.

      Read more: http://thehill.com/blogs/floor-action/senate/311475-after-nearly-two-years-of-fighting-senate-confirms-cordray-on-66-34-vote

    • CR says:

      September 13, 2013

      Statement by the President

      WASHINGTON, DC – After more than four years working for the Administration, Gene B. Sperling, Director of the National Economic Council and Assistant to the President for Economic Policy, will be departing the White House on January 1, 2014. The President announced today that he will appoint Jeffrey Zients, former Acting Director of the Office of Management and Budget, to serve as Director of the National Economic Council.

      President Obama said, “Over the past four and a half years, Gene has been one of my closest advisors and a close friend. Gene understands better than anybody that our top priority as a nation is making sure that our economy once again works for working Americans. Gene’s impact in this Administration began at Treasury, where he helped us avoid a second Great Depression and led efforts to pass a Small Business Jobs Act to help entrepreneurs grow. He has been a tireless proponent of efforts to strengthen the recovery and make our tax code more fair, whether in helping to design the payroll tax cut, fighting for job-creating tax credits for tens of millions of hardworking Americans or developing the American Jobs Act. He was central to designing policies to help support the housing recovery and was a driving force behind our manufacturing agenda and our efforts to attract jobs and investment to the United States.

      For more: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2013/09/13/statement-president

    • CR says:

      October 18, 2013

      Remarks by the President at Nomination of Jeh Johnson to be Secretary of Homeland Security
      Rose Garden

      2:06 P.M. EDT

      THE PRESIDENT: Good afternoon, everybody. Please have a seat. As President, my most solemn responsibility is the safety and security of the American people. And we’ve got an outstanding team here of folks who work every single day to make sure that we’re doing everything we can to fulfill that responsibility. And that means that our entire government — our law enforcement and homeland security professionals, our troops, our diplomats, our intelligence personnel — are all working together. It means working with state and local partners to disrupt terrorist attacks, to make our borders more secure, respond to natural disasters, and make our immigration system more effective and fair.

      Addressing any one of these challenges is a tall order. Addressing all of them at once is a monumental task. But that’s what the dedicated men and women of the Department of Homeland Security do every day. And today I’m proud to announce my choice to lead them — an outstanding public servant who I’ve known and trusted for years — Mr. Jeh Johnson.

      We are, of course, enormously grateful to Secretary Janet Napolitano. Janet couldn’t be here today — she’s already made her move to her new position in sunny California, overseeing the higher education system in that great state. And I know that she’s going to do an outstanding job there with the incredible young people that are in our largest state. But we all deeply appreciate the terrific job that she did over the last four-and-a-half years. I want to thank Rand Beers for his service and for stepping in as Acting Secretary after Janet left.

      Thanks in no small part to Janet’s leadership, her team, we’ve done more to protect our homeland against those who wish to do us harm. We’ve strengthened our borders. We’ve taken steps to make sure our immigration system better reflects our values. We’ve helped thousands of Americans recover from hurricanes and tornados, floods and wildfires. And we’ve worked to clean up a massive oil spill in the Gulf as well as address a flu pandemic.

      In Jeh Johnson, we have the right person to continue this important work. From the moment I took office, Jeh was an absolutely critical member of my national security team, and he demonstrated again and again the qualities that will make him a strong Secretary of Homeland Security.

      Jeh has a deep understanding of the threats and challenges facing the United States. As the Pentagon’s top lawyer, he helped design and implement many of the policies that have kept our country safe, including our success in dismantling the core of al Qaeda and in the FATA.

      When I directed my national security team to be more open and transparent about how our policies work and how we make decisions, especially when it comes to preventing terrorist attacks, Jeh was one of the leaders who spoke eloquently about how we meet today’s threats in a way that are consistent with our values, including the rule of law.

      For more: http://www.whitehouse.gov/photos-and-video/video/2013/10/18/president-obama-nominates-jeh-johnson#transcript

      • CR says:

        December 16, 2013

        Statement by the President on the Confirmation of Jeh Johnson as Secretary of Homeland Security

        I am pleased the Senate has confirmed Jeh Johnson as our next Secretary of Homeland Security with broad bipartisan support. In Jeh, our dedicated homeland security professionals will have a strong leader with a deep understanding of the threats we face and a proven ability to work across agencies and complex organizations to keep America secure. Jeh has been a critical member of my national security team, and he helped to shape some of our most successful national security policies and strategies. As Secretary of Homeland Security, Jeh will play a leading role in our efforts to protect the homeland against terrorist attacks, adapt to changing threats, stay prepared for natural disasters, strengthen our border security, and make our immigration system fairer – while upholding the values, civil liberties, and laws that make America great. I look forward to Jeh’s counsel and sound judgment for years to come.

  3. vitaminlover says:

    I hope that it works out with Hagel.

  4. CR says:

    Clinton to resume duties Monday following treatment for clot

    1/6/13 David Morgan – Reuters – 3 hrs ago

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will resume her official duties on Monday, five days after being released from a hospital for treatment of a blood clot, the State Department said on Sunday.

    Clinton, 65, will sit down with assistant secretaries of state for a closed-door meeting on Monday at 9:15 a.m. (1415 GMT) at the start of a week-long schedule containing nearly a dozen meetings, including three at the White House.

    The secretary was released from New York Presbyterian Hospital last Wednesday, after a stay of several days during which she was given blood thinners to treat the clot in a vein behind her right ear. She has been resting at home in New York since then.

    Clinton has suffered a series of ailments over the last month, including a stomach virus and a concussion.

    Her doctors have said they expect her to make a full recovery.
    The State Department said Clinton has been keeping up with her work by talking to her staff and receiving memos.

    Her first White House meeting this week will take place on Tuesday and include Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta and national security adviser Tom Donilon, the State Department said.

    She is also scheduled to meet with the ambassadors of Ireland and South Africa on Tuesday, and with Afghan President Hamid Karzai later in the week.

    Clinton is expected to step down in the next few weeks. President Barack Obama has chosen Senator John Kerry, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, to succeed her.

    • CR says:

      Hillary Clinton back at work after hospitalization

      By ASSOCIATED PRESS | 1/7/13 2:42 PM EST

      WASHINGTON – Cheers, a standing ovation and a gag gift of protective headgear greeted Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton as she returned to work on Monday after a month-long absence caused first by a stomach virus, then a fall and a concussion and finally a brief hospitalization for a blot clot near her brain.

      A crowd of State Department officials greeted Clinton with a standing ovation as she walked in to the first senior staff meeting she has convened since early December, according to those present. Deputy Secretary of State Thomas Nides, noting that life in Washington is often a “contact sport, sometimes even in your own home” then presented Clinton with a gift – a regulation white Riddell football helmet emblazoned with the State Department seal, several officials said.

      She was also given a blue football jersey with “Clinton” and the number 112 – the record-breaking number of countries she has visited since becoming secretary of state – printed on the back. Aides said Clinton was delighted with the gifts but did not try either of them on and the meeting turned to matters of national security and diplomacy.

      Read more: http://www.politico.com/story/2013/01/hillary-clinton-back-at-work-after-hospitalization-85854.html?hp=r11

  5. CR says:

    January 03, 2013

    President Obama Announces Presidential Delegation to Ghana to Attend the Inauguration of His Excellency John Dramani Mahama

    President Barack Obama today announced the designation of a Presidential Delegation to Accra, Ghana to attend the Inauguration of His Excellency John Dramani Mahama, President-elect of the Republic of Ghana on January 7, 2013.
    The Honorable Daniel W. Yohannes, CEO of the Millennium Challenge Corporation, will lead the delegation.

    Members of the Presidential Delegation:

    The Honorable Gene Cretz, U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Ghana
    The Honorable Johnnie Carson, Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, Department of State
    The Honorable Donald Teitelbaum, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, Department of State

  6. CR says:

    Ireland’s first meeting of EU Presidency takes place today

    Updated: 13:23, Monday, 07 January 2013 rte

    The first high-level meeting of Ireland’s seventh EU Presidency takes place today, when the Norwegian Foreign Minister Espen Barth Eide starts two days of talks with Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore.

    Bilateral and trade relations between the two countries will be on the agenda.

    Norway is Ireland’s 11th largest trading partner, with annual trade worth €3.8bn.

    Norway is also a major source for Ireland’s energy needs.

    Through its global investment fund, which is one of the world’s largest, Norway has significant holdings in Ireland.

  7. CR says:

    Court Returns With Gay Marriage

    1/7/13 By Ariane de Vogue | ABC OTUS News – 2 hrs 12 mins ago

    The Supreme Court is poised to take the bench today and begin the second half of a term laced with hot button issues such as affirmative action, gay marriage, voting rights and government secrecy.

    The justices will hear two potentially blockbuster cases in March concerning gay marriage. One of the cases – Hollingsworth v. Perry – addresses whether there is a fundamental right to same-sex marriage. The other – Windsor v. United States – deals with the federal law that defines marriage as between a man and a woman.

    In both cases, the court will hear arguments on potential procedural obstacles that could stop it from getting to the core constitutional questions.

    The court will also hear a case challenging a key provision of the Voting Rights Act. Section 5 of the law says that certain states with a history of voter discrimination must clear any changes to their election laws with federal officials in Washington. Lawyers for Shelby County, Ala., are challenging the constitutionality of Section 5. The case, called Shelby County v. Holder, will be argued Feb. 27.

    The day before, the court will hear arguments in Maryland v. King, a case about whether Maryland officials can collect DNA from someone who has been arrested but not convicted of a crime.

    The justices are already working behind the scenes writing and reviewing draft opinions for cases they heard this fall.

    For more: http://news.yahoo.com/supreme-court-returns-today-gay-marriage-affirmative-action-130039454–abc-news-politics.html

    • CR says:

      Supreme Court to hear same-sex marriage cases in late March

      1/7/13 By Jonathan Stempel | Reuters – 4 hrs ago

      WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Supreme Court will in late March hear oral arguments in a pair of cases challenging laws that define marriage as a union of a man and a woman.

      On March 26, the court will review a California ban on gay marriage, which voters narrowly approved in 2008. That case could give the court a chance to accept or reject a constitutional right to same-sex marriage, or issue a narrower ruling affecting only the nation’s most populous state.

      The next day the court will review a New York court ruling striking down a centerpiece of the Defense of Marriage Act, a federal law that denies married same-sex couples a variety of federal benefits that heterosexual couples receive.

      The scheduling was announced in a calendar released by the court on Monday. In May, President Barack Obama said he believed same-sex couples deserve the right to marry, and the government is no longer defending the federal benefits law.

      Both cases are the most anticipated in the court’s current term and are among several cases that could allow the nine justices to better define what constitutes equality.

      In October, the court heard arguments challenging the use of affirmative action in admissions at the University of Texas at Austin. Next month, it will hear a challenge to a central provision in the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

      Decisions in these cases are expected by the end of June.
      In the California case, Hollingsworth v. Perry, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals had last February voided the same-sex marriage ban but ruled narrowly, saying the state could not take away a right to same-sex marriage after previously allowing it.

      That case was brought by two lawyers, Theodore Olson and David Boies, who were on opposite sides in the 2000 case Bush v. Gore, which decided the 2000 U.S. presidential election.

      The New York case, U.S. v. Windsor, challenged Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act, which defines marriage as between only a man and a woman for the purpose of benefits such as Social Security survivor payments and the right to file joint federal tax returns.

      For more: http://news.yahoo.com/supreme-court-hear-same-sex-marriage-cases-march-183542836.html

  8. CR says:

    Next Up…

    1:05 PM ET
    President Obama announces his nomination to become the next Defense Secretary and CIA Director
    East Room

    WhiteHouse.gov http://www.whitehouse.gov/live

    ABC News http://abcnews.go.com/Live/

    CSPAN http://www.c-span.org/Events/Pres-Obama-May-Announce-New-Defense-Secretary-and-CIA-Director/10737437028/

    • CR says:

      January 07, 2013

      Remarks by the President in Nomination of Secretary of Defense and CIA Director

      East Room

      1:15 P.M. EST

      THE PRESIDENT: Good afternoon, everybody. Please have a seat. As President and Commander-in-Chief, my most solemn obligation is the security of the American people. Over the past four years, we’ve met that responsibility by ending the war in Iraq, and beginning a transition in Afghanistan; by decimating the al Qaeda core and taking out Osama bin Laden; by disrupting terrorist plots and saving countless American lives.

      Among an outstanding national security team, I am especially grateful to Leon Panetta, who has led the CIA and our military with incredible skill. Leon, after nearly five decades of service, you have more than earned the right to return to civilian life. I’ll have much more to say about Leon’s distinguished service in the days ahead. Today, I simply want to convey both to you and to Sylvia the eternal gratitude of the entire nation. Thank you so much, Leon.

      I also want to thank Michael Morell, who has earned the admiration of all of us who’ve worked with him across government and here in the White House. In moments of transition, he’s guided the CIA with a steady hand as Acting Director — not once, but twice. And he is a consummate professional. As I said, everybody in the White House who works with him, everybody across agencies who works with him considers him truly to be one of our most outstanding national security team members. And so, Michael, on behalf of all of us, thank you and Mary Beth for your continued service.

      As these leaders know, the work of protecting our nation is never done, and we’ve still got much to do: Ending the war in Afghanistan and caring for those who have borne the battle; preparing for the full range of threats, from the unconventional to the conventional, including things like cyber security; and within our military, continuing to ensure that our men and women in uniform can serve the country they love, no matter who they love.

      To help meet the challenges of our time, I’m proud to announce my choice for two key members of my national security team — Chuck Hagel for Secretary of Defense and John Brennan for Director of the Central Intelligence Agency.

      For more: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2013/01/07/remarks-president-nomination-secretary-defense-and-cia-director

      • CR says:

        Hagel sworn in as Defense secretary

        02/27/13 08:48 AM ET By Jeremy Herb – TheHill

        Chuck Hagel was sworn in as Defense secretary on Wednesday morning, less than 24 hours after he was confirmed by the Senate.
        The Pentagon’s Director of Administration and Management Michael Rhodes administered the oath for Hagel in a private ceremony.

        Hagel will address DOD employees and service members later this morning from the Pentagon, after meeting with senior staff and military leaders.

        The new secretary received congratulatory calls from congressional leaders, Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki and his predecessor, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, said Pentagon press secretary George Little.

        Read more: http://thehill.com/blogs/defcon-hill/policy-and-strategy/285165-hagel-sworn-in-as-defense-secretary

  9. CR says:

    Please join me in lighting a candle for our President, First Family and the Nation.

    http://www.gratefulness.org/candles/candles.cfm?l=eng&gi=PBO

  10. CR says:

    Hagel for Secretary of Defense

    Valerie Jarrett January 07, 2013 01:43 PM EST

    Editor’s note: This post was originally published on HuffingtonPost.com.

    Earlier today, President Obama announced his intent to nominate former Senator Chuck Hagel for Secretary of Defense.

    Chuck Hagel is uniquely qualified to be Secretary of Defense. He is a decorated war hero who earned two purple hearts for his heroism in Vietnam. He knows the sacrifices that we ask our brave service members to make because he has made them himself. If confirmed, he would be the first enlisted soldier, and first Vietnam veteran, to serve as our nation’s Secretary of Defense.

    Senator Hagel also has the judgment and experience to serve. He worked tirelessly for two terms on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and Intelligence Committee. He helped lead the fight in the Senate to pass the post-9/11 GI Bill, and worked at the VA and as head of the USO, where he dedicated himself to supporting our armed forces. Throughout his career, he has been a champion for our troops, military families and veterans.

    President Obama has come to know and trust Senator Hagel over nearly a decade, dating back to their time together in the Senate. Together, they travelled to Afghanistan and Iraq in the summer of 2008, and they share a commitment to end the war in Afghanistan responsibly. Senator Hagel has been a strong supporter of the President’s approach to national security, and as Secretary of Defense, he will support and execute the President’s vision for our military. That includes continuing the President’s historic support for gay and lesbian service members, and overseeing the continued implementation of the full repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” The President is fully committed to ensuring that all of our service members and military families are treated equally. He is confident that, as Secretary of Defense, Senator Hagel will ensure that all who serve the country we love are treated equally — no matter who they love.

    Recently, some in the LGBT community have expressed concerns about Senator Hagel’s past comments. In response, Senator Hagel issued a statement in which he apologized for comments that he made in the 1990s, and affirmed both his commitment to LGBT civil rights as well as his support for open service and the families of gay and lesbian service members.

    For more: http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2013/01/07/hagel-secretary-defense

  11. CR says:

    Ballon D’Or

    FIFA Women’s Coach of the Year 2012 – Pia Sundhage
    FIFA Men’s Coach of the Year 2012 Vicente Del Bosque
    FIFA Women’s World Player 2012 – Abbey Wambach
    FIFA Men’s World Player 2012 – Lionel Messi

  12. CR says:

    Supreme Court ruling allows stem-cell research to proceed

    1/07/13 02:06 PM ET By Elise Viebeck – TheHill

    The Supreme Court will not review a challenge to federal funding of human embryonic stem-cell research, allowing the controversial studies to proceed.

    The justices on Monday rejected an appeal from two scientists who said stem-cell research violates federal law banning the creation and destruction of human embryos for scientific purposes.

    The decision is a boon to supporters of stem-cell research, who believe it will yield treatments and cures for diseases such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.

    The Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) applauded the court’s decision not to review lower-court rulings that allow research to proceed at the National Institutes of Health.

    “This is good news for patients. Research using hESCs conducted under rigorous ethical standards continues to offer great promise in the search for cures and treatments for a variety of intractable diseases,” the AAMC said in a statement. “With the legislative, regulatory, and legal barriers cleared, we hope the promise of hESC research can now be realized.”

    Read more: http://thehill.com/blogs/healthwatch/other/275923-supreme-court-allows-stem-cell-research-to-proceed

  13. CR says:

    ‘Don’t ask, don’t tell’ dischargees to receive full back pay from DOD

    1/07/13 04:54 PM ET By Carlo Muñoz – TheHill

    In a landmark settlement, the Pentagon has agreed to give full back pay to U.S. service members who were discharged due to their sexual orientation under the military’s “Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy.

    The payouts will be granted to service members dismissed from the military under the now-repealed policy on or after November 2004.

    “This means so much to those of us who dedicated ourselves to the military, only to be forced out against our will for being who we are,” former Air Force Staff Sgt. Richard Collins said in a statement from the American Civil Liberties Union, which brought the lawsuit.

    Under “Don’t ask,” service members who were honorably discharged automatically had their separation pay cut in half.

    The ACLU of New Mexico sued the Pentagon on behalf of 181 service members who were dismissed under the policy to recover their full pay. Each solider, sailor, airman and Marine in the case will receive, on average, a payout of $13,000, the ACLU said.

    The Defense Department will pay a total of $2.4 million to the plaintiffs.
    Federal law entitles service members to separation pay if they have been involuntarily and honorably discharged after completing at least six years of service, the ACLU said.

    Read more: http://thehill.com/blogs/defcon-hill/policy-and-strategy/275971-service-members-discharged-under-dont-ask-dont-tell-to-receive-full-back-pay

  14. CR says:

    WH

    Tuesday, January 8, 2013

    All Times Eastern

    7:00 AM
    8:00 AM
    9:00 AM
    10:00 AM
    10:30 AM
    President Obama receives the presidential daily briefing

    11:00 AM
    12:00 PM
    12:30 PM
    White House Press Secretary Jay Carney briefs the press

    1:00 PM
    2:00 PM
    President Obama meets with Defense Secretary Panetta

    3:00 PM
    4:00 PM
    5:00 PM
    6:00 PM
    7:00 PM
    8:00 PM
    9:00 PM
    10:00 PM

  15. CR says:

    Race for Jesse Jackson Jr. seat: Ballot position lottery today

    January 8, 2013 9:22 AM By Lynn Sweet – suntimes

    WASHINGTON–The Illinois Board of Elections holds a lottery on Tuesday to determine ballot positions for the Feb. 26 primaries to fill the seat left vacant with the resignation of former Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-Ill.)

    The filing period with the Illinois Board of Elections closed Tuesday and the field is big: 17 Democrats and 5 Republicans. The district is so heavily Democratic that the winner of the Feb. 26 primary has little to worry about in the general. Early voting starts Feb. 11, so the campaign time is short.

  16. CR says:

    Latino Inaugural 2013: In Performance at Kennedy Center

    Sun., Jan. 20, 2013, 7:00 PM
    Opera House
    $300.00
    Tickets on sale now

    Tickets went on sale January 8, 2013 to the public
    Call Kennedy Center Information or check online regularly for last-minute availability.

    In recognition of the presidential inauguration and Latino arts and culture, actress Eva Longoria, San Antonio philanthropist and business leader Henry R. Muñoz III, and San Juan attorney and activist Andrés W. López, in partnership with the nation’s leading Latino organizations, present “In Performance at the Kennedy Center.” The concert features performances by Antonio Banderas, Raúl Esparza, José Feliciano, Juan Diego Flórez, Melanie Griffith, George Lopez, Mario Lopez, Rita Moreno, Chita Rivera, Robert Rodriguez, Llewellyn Sanchez-Werner, Ballet Hispanico, Coro de Niños de San Juan, the Esperanza Azteca Youth Orchestra, the Pan American Symphony Orchestra, and other entertainers.

    Performance Timing: 75 minutes, with no intermission

    For more: http://www.kennedy-center.org/events/?event=RNXBQ

  17. CR says:

    Consumer Credit Rose in November on U.S. Auto, Student Loans

    Jan 8, 2013 1:06 PM PT By Kasia Klimasinska – bloomberg

    Consumer credit in the U.S. increased more than forecast in November, led by borrowing for student loans and automobiles.
    The $16 billion gain followed a $14.1 billion advance in October, Federal Reserve figures showed today in Washington. The median forecast of 34 economists surveyed by Bloomberg called for a $12.8 billion November rise.

    With sustained gains in the labor market, reflected by December’s 155,000 increase in payrolls, and strong demand for student loans and cars, economists expect consumer credit to continue to grow in the early months of 2013. The ability to borrow, combined with an improved labor market, signals consumer spending, which accounts for about 70 percent of the economy, will bolster the expansion.

    “We’ve seen four straight months now of very significant increases in overall consumer credit,” Thomas Simons, a money market economist at Jefferies Group Inc. in New York, said in a phone interview. “I would expect that’s going to continue.”

    For more: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-01-08/consumer-credit-rose-in-november-on-u-s-auto-student-loans-1-.html

  18. CR says:

    Please join me in lighting a candle for our President, First Family and our Nation.

    http://www.gratefulness.org/candles/candles.cfm?l=eng&gi=PBO

  19. vitaminlover says:

    I hope they all go through.

  20. CR says:

    ********************
    THIS POST IS NOW CLOSED NBLB

    Come on over to my newest post titled: “NGA – Inaugural State of the State Address ”

    ********************

    To get to the newest post click on “HOME” at the top of the thread

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