ACA (aka ObamaCare) Hospital Cost Comparison & Peace Officers Memorial Day

obamacare hospital charges comparison

9/17/13 White House Press Secretary Jay Carney announces in the Daily White House Briefing that 6 in 10 Americans without health insurance may get coverage for $100 or less per month in 2014.

9/17/13 White House Press Secretary Jay Carney announces in the Daily White House Briefing that 6 in 10 Americans without health insurance may get coverage for $100 or less per month in 2014.

Administration offers consumers an unprecedented look at hospital charges

May 8, 2013 hhs.gov

Today, as part of the Obama administration’s work to make our health care system more affordable and accountable, Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced a three-part initiative that for the first time gives consumers information on what hospitals charge. New data released today show significant variation across the country and within communities in what hospitals charge for common inpatient services. Also today, HHS made approximately $87 million available to states to enhance their rate review programs and further health care pricing transparency. In an example of how these data might be used, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) is planning a data visualization challenge which will further the dissemination of these data to larger audiences.

“Currently, consumers don’t know what a hospital is charging them or their insurance company for a given procedure, like a knee replacement, or how much of a price difference there is at different hospitals, even within the same city,” Secretary Sebelius said. “This data and new data centers will help fill that gap.”

The data posted today on CMS’s website include information comparing the charges for services that may be provided during the 100 most common Medicare inpatient stays. Hospitals determine what they will charge for items and services provided to patients and these “charges” are the amount the hospital generally bills for an item or service.

“Transformation of the health care delivery system cannot occur without greater price transparency,” said Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, M.D., RWJF president and CEO. “While more work lies ahead, the release of these hospital price data will allow us to shine a light on the often vast variations in hospital charges.” These amounts can vary widely. For example, average inpatient charges for services a hospital may provide in connection with a joint replacement range from a low of $5,300 at a hospital in Ada, Okla., to a high of $223,000 at a hospital in Monterey Park, Calif.

Even within the same geographic area, hospital charges for similar services can vary significantly. For example, average inpatient hospital charges for services that may be provided to treat heart failure range from a low of $21,000 to a high of $46,000 in Denver, Colo., and from a low of $9,000 to a high of $51,000 in Jackson, Miss.

To make these data useful to consumers, HHS is also providing funding to data centers to collect, analyze, and publish health pricing and medical claims reimbursement data. The data centers’ work helps consumers better understand the comparative price of procedures in a given region or for a specific health insurer or service setting. Businesses and consumers alike can use these data to drive decision-making and reward cost-effective provision of care.

The Affordable Care Act also makes available many tools to help ensure consumers, Medicare, and other payers get the best value for their health care dollar. Medicare is beginning to pay providers based on the quality they provide rather than just the quantity of services they furnish by implementing new programs such as value-based purchasing and readmissions reductions. HHS awarded $170 million to states to enhance their rate review programs, and since the passage of the Affordable Care Act, the proportion of insurance company requests for double-digit rate increases fell from 75 percent in 2010 to 14 percent so far in 2013.

The Health Care Law and You 

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How the Affordable Care Act is helping people in your State

Hospital Dataset  http://www.cms.gov/Research-Statistics-Data-and-Systems/Statistics-Trends-and-Reports/Medicare-Provider-Charge-Data/index.html

Funding Opportunity announcement http://www.grants.gov, and search for CFDA # 93.511 .

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” Because of the Affordable Care Act, insurers now have to justify double-digit rate increases publicly, for everybody to see.  And most states have new authority thanks to incentives under this law to reject unjustifiable rate increases.  Insurers are now required to spend at least 80 percent of the money you pay in premiums on actual health care -– not on profits, not on overhead, but on you.  And if they fail to meet that target, they actually have to reimburse you — either with a rebate or lower premiums.  Millions of Americans discovered this last year — they opened an envelope from their insurance company that wasn’t a bill, it was a check.  That’s already happened.  A lot of people don’t know it, but that’s what the Affordable Care Act is all about.

Beginning this week, as part of the law’s price transparency tools, we made public the prices that different hospitals charge you for most common services, so you can see if you’re getting what you pay for.  And soon, bad actors in the insurance industry will never again be able to discriminate against you just because you’ve gotten sick in the past.   They can’t discriminate against you because you’ve got a preexisting condition.  And, by the way, they can’t charge you more just for being a woman.  Pregnancy will no longer be considered a preexisting condition.

And finally, beginning this fall, if you’re one of the millions of Americans who don’t have health insurance, you’ll finally have the chance to buy quality, affordable care just like everybody else.

So here’s how this is going to work.  We’re setting up a new online marketplace where, beginning October 1st, you can go online, or talk to organizations in every state that are going to have this set up, and you can then comparison shop an array of private health insurance plans.  You can look at them side-by-side, just like you’d go online and compare cars.  And because you’ll now be part of a new pool of millions of other Americans, part of this exchange, insurance companies will actually want to compete for your business the same way they compete for the business of a big company with a lot of employees.

So once these marketplaces are up and running, no one can be turned away from private insurance plans.  Period.  If you’re sick, you’ll finally have the same chance to buy quality, affordable health care as everybody else.  If you can’t afford to buy private insurance, if it’s still too expensive — even though you’re getting much better prices through these exchanges than you would in the individual market, going out there by yourself, or if you work for just a small company that doesn’t have a lot of leverage with insurance companies you’re going to have a better deal through these exchanges — but if you still can’t afford it, then you’re going to get help reducing your out-of-pocket premiums with the largest health care tax cut for working families and small businesses in our history.

So what does all this mean?  It means that if you lose your job, or you change your job, or you start that new business, you’ll still be able to purchase quality, affordable care that’s yours — and you’ll have the security and peace of mind that comes with it.  If you’re a young person expecting to try many different jobs and careers until you find one that suits you, you’ll be able to buy insurance that goes with you, travels with you, that gives you the freedom to pursue whatever you want without the fear that illness or accident somehow derails your dreams.

So there’s a lot that this law is already doing for Americans with insurance, and there is a lot more that is going to happen for folks who don’t have insurance.  But we’ve still got a lot of work to do in the coming months to make sure more Americans can buy affordable coverage. “

President Obama 5/10/13

ObamaCare Toll Free Number

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Natl Peace Officers Memorial Service 5:15:13

Peace Officers Memorial Day

Peace Officers Memorial Day and Police Week is an observance in the United States that pays tribute to the local, state, and Federal peace officers. The Memorial takes place on May 15, and Police Week is the calendar week in which the Memorial falls.

 John F. Kennedy signed the bill into law on October 1, 1962. Amended in 1994, Bill Clinton, through Public Law 103-322, directed that the flag of the United States be flown at half-staff on May 15.

“Day after day, police officers in every corner of America suit up, put on the badge, and carry out their sworn duty to protect and serve. They step out the door every morning without considering bravery or heroics. They stay focused on meeting their responsibilities. They concentrate on keeping their neighborhoods safe and doing right by their fellow officers. And with quiet courage, they help fulfill the demanding yet vital task of shielding our people from harm. It is work that deserves our deepest respect — because when darkness and danger would threaten the peace, our police officers are there to step in, ready to lay down their lives to protect our own.

This week, we pay solemn tribute to men and women who did. Setting aside fear and doubt, these officers made the ultimate sacrifice to preserve the rule of law and the communities they loved. They heard the call to serve and answered it; braved the line of fire; charged toward the danger. Our hearts are heavy with their loss, and on Peace Officers Memorial Day, our Nation comes together to reflect on the legacy they left us.

As we mark this occasion, let us remember that we can do no greater service to those who perished than by upholding what they fought to protect. That means doing everything we can to make our communities safer. It means putting cops back on the beat and supporting them with the tools and training they need. It means getting weapons of war off our streets and keeping guns out of the hands of criminals — common-sense measures that would reduce gun violence and help officers do their job safely and effectively.”

5/10/13 President Barack Obama 

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Concerns of Police Survivors (COPS) – Donate

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59 Responses to ACA (aka ObamaCare) Hospital Cost Comparison & Peace Officers Memorial Day

  1. CR says:

    WH

    Wednesday, May 15, 2013

    All Times Eastern

    President Obama attends meetings at the White House

    7:00 AM
    8:00 AM
    9:00 AM
    9:45 AM
    President Obama and Vice President Biden receive the presidential daily briefing

    10:00 AM
    11:00 AM
    President Obama delivers remarks at the National Peace Officers Memorial Service
    U.S. Capitol, Washington DC

    11:15 AM
    First Lady Michelle Obama attends The Congressional Club’s charitable fundraiser luncheon as the guest of honor
    International Ballroom, Washington Hilton & Towers, Washington, DC.

    12:00 PM
    12:30 PM
    President Obama and Vice President Biden meet for lunch.

    White House Press Secretary Jay Carney briefs the press.

    1:00 PM
    2:00 PM
    2:30 PM
    Vice President Biden meets with Prime Minister Ivica Dacic of Serbia
    White House

    3:00 PM
    4:00 PM
    5:00 PM
    6:00 PM
    President Obama speaks on the situation regarding the Internal Revenue Service
    The White House

    7:00 PM
    8:00 PM
    9:00 PM
    10:00 PM

  2. CR says:

    The Affordable Care Act Hospital Cost Comparison

    Administration offers consumers an unprecedented look at hospital charges

    May 8, 2013 hhs.gov

    Today, as part of the Obama administration’s work to make our health care system more affordable and accountable, Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced a three-part initiative that for the first time gives consumers information on what hospitals charge. New data released today show significant variation across the country and within communities in what hospitals charge for common inpatient services. Also today, HHS made approximately $87 million available to states to enhance their rate review programs and further health care pricing transparency. In an example of how these data might be used, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) is planning a data visualization challenge which will further the dissemination of these data to larger audiences.

    “Currently, consumers don’t know what a hospital is charging them or their insurance company for a given procedure, like a knee replacement, or how much of a price difference there is at different hospitals, even within the same city,” Secretary Sebelius said. “This data and new data centers will help fill that gap.”

    The data posted today on CMS’s website include information comparing the charges for services that may be provided during the 100 most common Medicare inpatient stays. Hospitals determine what they will charge for items and services provided to patients and these “charges” are the amount the hospital generally bills for an item or service.

    “Transformation of the health care delivery system cannot occur without greater price transparency,” said Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, M.D., RWJF president and CEO. “While more work lies ahead, the release of these hospital price data will allow us to shine a light on the often vast variations in hospital charges.”

    These amounts can vary widely. For example, average inpatient charges for services a hospital may provide in connection with a joint replacement range from a low of $5,300 at a hospital in Ada, Okla., to a high of $223,000 at a hospital in Monterey Park, Calif.

    Even within the same geographic area, hospital charges for similar services can vary significantly. For example, average inpatient hospital charges for services that may be provided to treat heart failure range from a low of $21,000 to a high of $46,000 in Denver, Colo., and from a low of $9,000 to a high of $51,000 in Jackson, Miss.

    To make these data useful to consumers, HHS is also providing funding to data centers to collect, analyze, and publish health pricing and medical claims reimbursement data. The data centers’ work helps consumers better understand the comparative price of procedures in a given region or for a specific health insurer or service setting. Businesses and consumers alike can use these data to drive decision-making and reward cost-effective provision of care.

    The Affordable Care Act also makes available many tools to help ensure consumers, Medicare, and other payers get the best value for their health care dollar. Medicare is beginning to pay providers based on the quality they provide rather than just the quantity of services they furnish by implementing new programs such as value-based purchasing and readmissions reductions. HHS awarded $170 million to states to enhance their rate review programs, and since the passage of the Affordable Care Act, the proportion of insurance company requests for double-digit rate increases fell from 75 percent in 2010 to 14 percent so far in 2013.

    Hospital Dataset  http://www.cms.gov/Research-Statistics-Data-and-Systems/Statistics-Trends-and-Reports/Medicare-Provider-Charge-Data/index.html

    Funding Opportunity announcement http://www.grants.gov, and search for CFDA # 93.511

    “Lower Costs, Better Care: Reforming Our Health Care Delivery System,” http://www.cms.gov/apps/media/press/factsheet.asp?Counter=4550

    Medicare Data Fact Sheet  showing variation in hospital charges http://www.cms.gov/apps/media/fact_sheets.asp

  3. CR says:

    May 10, 2013

    Presidential Proclamations — Peace Officers Memorial Day and Police Week, 2013

    PEACE OFFICERS MEMORIAL DAY AND POLICE WEEK, 2013

    – – – – – – –

    BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

    A PROCLAMATION

    Day after day, police officers in every corner of America suit up, put on the badge, and carry out their sworn duty to protect and serve. They step out the door every morning without considering bravery or heroics. They stay focused on meeting their responsibilities. They concentrate on keeping their neighborhoods safe and doing right by their fellow officers. And with quiet courage, they help fulfill the demanding yet vital task of shielding our people from harm. It is work that deserves our deepest respect — because when darkness and danger would threaten the peace, our police officers are there to step in, ready to lay down their lives to protect our own.

    This week, we pay solemn tribute to men and women who did. Setting aside fear and doubt, these officers made the ultimate sacrifice to preserve the rule of law and the communities they loved. They heard the call to serve and answered it; braved the line of fire; charged toward the danger. Our hearts are heavy with their loss, and on Peace Officers Memorial Day, our Nation comes together to reflect on the legacy they left us.

    As we mark this occasion, let us remember that we can do no greater service to those who perished than by upholding what they fought to protect. That means doing everything we can to make our communities safer. It means putting cops back on the beat and supporting them with the tools and training they need. It means getting weapons of war off our streets and keeping guns out of the hands of criminals — common-sense measures that would reduce gun violence and help officers do their job safely and effectively.

    Together, we can accomplish those goals. So as we take this time to honor law enforcement in big cities and small towns all across our country, let us join them in pursuit of a brighter tomorrow. Our police officers serve and sacrifice on our behalf every day, and as citizens, we owe them nothing less than our full and lasting support.

    By a joint resolution approved October 1, 1962, as amended (76 Stat. 676), and by Public Law 103-322, as amended (36 U.S.C. 136-137), the President has been authorized and requested to designate May 15 of each year as “Peace Officers Memorial Day” and the week in which it falls as “Police Week.”

    NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim May 15, 2013, as Peace Officers Memorial Day and May 12 through May 18, 2013, as Police Week. I call upon all Americans to observe these events with appropriate ceremonies and activities. I also call on Governors of the United States and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, officials of the other territories subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, and appropriate officials of all units of government, to direct that the flag be flown at half-staff on Peace Officers Memorial Day. I further encourage all Americans to display the flag at half-staff from their homes and businesses on that day.

    IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this
    tenth day of May, in the year of our Lord two thousand thirteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-seventh.

    BARACK OBAMA

  4. CR says:

    Education Secretary Arne Duncan to visit Streamwood, Ill. school

    May 10, 2013 1:51 PM By Lynn Sweet – runtimes

    WASHINGTON–Eduation Secretary Arne Duncan, the former Chicago Schools Chief, will visit Streamwood High School next Wednesday where, according to the Education Department, “he will tour classrooms and host a roundtable discussion on successful labor-management collaboration” at the suburban Chicago school.

  5. CR says:

    May 15, 1862 – President Abraham Lincoln signs a bill into law creating the United States Bureau of Agriculture. It is later renamed the United States Department of Agriculture.

  6. CR says:

    Deficit reduction picks up speed

    May 14, 2013 4:05 PM EDT By Steve Benen – maddowblog

    This is just astounding.

    If the current laws that govern federal taxes and spending do not change, the budget deficit will shrink this year to $642 billion, CBO estimates, the smallest shortfall since 2008. Relative to the size of the economy, the deficit this year — at 4.0 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) — will be less than half as large as the shortfall in 2009, which was 10.1 percent of GDP.

    Thanks in large part to higher taxes on the wealthy, which Republicans said would not reduce the deficit, deficit reduction is picking up speed at a pace few could have predicted. We’re now looking at over $400 billion in deficit reduction in just one year, and about $800 billion in deficit reduction since President Obama took office.

    Let’s say this plainly: for those who saw the federal budget deficit as a “problem,” it’s fair to say this problem has been largely fixed.

    And while we’re at it, let’s also not forget that Republican talking points on fiscal policy have effectively been left in tatters, and every conservative political figure who’s declared “Socialist Obama is turning America into Greece!” looks incredibly foolish right now.

    The president took some heat for failing to cut the deficit in half in his first term, and the criticisms had merit, at least insofar as he didn’t reach his original goal. That said, Obama’s on track to cut it by well over half — both in real terms and as a percentage of GDP — in five years.

    It’s time to stop worrying a shrinking deficit and start worrying about creating a more robust economic recovery.

    • CR says:

      “the CBO report yesterday, the so-called baseline reestimate. And the improvements in the CBO’s report show that the President’s policies of cutting the deficit by more than $2.5 trillion in a balanced way are contributing to the most rapid deficit reduction since World War II. The most rapid deficit reduction since World War II.

      While there is still more work to be done to cut the deficit, this is important progress because we strengthen America by growing the economy from the middle out. Working with leaders from both parties, President Obama has cut the deficit by more than half when measured as a share of GDP. This is a balanced deficit reduction that cuts waste, asks millionaires and billionaires to pay their fair share in taxes, and preserves investments we need in energy, education, and manufacturing to grow the economy and create jobs.

      The administration is committed to continuing to work with Congress to create jobs, reduce the deficit, and replace the sequester in a balanced way.

      Later this week, we understand that CBO will be putting out a reestimate of the President’s budget, which includes, as you know, his plan to replace the economically damaging sequester with a balanced approach to deficit reduction that would help drive stronger economic growth in the short.”

      White House Press Secretary Jay Carney at the 5/15/13 White House Press Conference

  7. CR says:

    rainbow-flag

    Minnesota Gov. Dayton signs gay marriage bill

    5/14/13 By PATRICK CONDON | Associated Press – 11 mins ago

    ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Gov. Mark Dayton on Tuesday signed a bill making gay marriage legal in Minnesota, the 12th state to take the step, as thousands of onlookers cheered.

    “What a day for Minnesota!” Dayton, a Democrat, declared moments before putting his signature on a bill. “And what a difference a year and an election can make in our state.”

    Rainbow and American flags flapped in a sweltering breeze during the ceremony, held on the Capitol’s south steps. The crowd, estimated by the State Patrol at 6,000, spilled down the steps and across the lawn toward downtown St. Paul.

    Dayton thanked legislators for “political courage” before signing the bill just a day after it passed the state Senate. It passed the House last week.

    The push for gay marriage was a rapid turnabout from just six months ago, when gay marriage supporters had to mobilize to turn back a proposed constitutional amendment that would have banned gay marriage. Minnesota already had such a law, but an amendment would have been harder to undo.

    But voters rejected the amendment, and the forces that organized to defeat it soon turned their attention to legalizing gay marriage. Democrats’ takeover of the Legislature in the November election aided their cause.

    The two main sponsors of the bill, Rep. Karen Clark and Sen. Scott Dibble, were among the onlookers as Dayton signed, capping their long and often discouraging struggle to advance gay rights.

    For more: http://news.yahoo.com/minnesota-gov-dayton-signs-gay-marriage-bill-221037512.html

  8. CR says:

    OPDP Enforcement Actions Webinar – May 16, 2013

    The Office of Prescription Drug Promotion (OPDP) of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) invites you to participate in the next Enforcement Webinar on May 16, 2013, from 11:30 AM to 12:00 PM (ET). Viewers can begin submitting questions 30 minutes prior to the webinar start time. During the webinar, OPDP will give stakeholders a chance to directly communicate with the Agency about clarifications or questions concerning recent Warning Letters and Untitled Letters issued by OPDP. This particular webinar will cover Warning Letters and Untitled Letters issued from November 2012 through March 2013.

    These focused webinars support OPDP’s mission to protect the public health by assuring that prescription drug information is truthful, balanced, and accurately communicated.

    FOR WEB:
    To join the meeting: https://collaboration.fda.gov/ddmac3

    For more: http://www.fda.gov/Drugs/ucm349938.htm

  9. CR says:

    Wholesale Prices in U.S. Decrease by Most in Three Years

    May 15, 2013 5:35 AM PT By Alex Kowalski – bloomberg

    Wholesale prices in the U.S. dropped in April by the most in three years, reflecting a decrease in fuel costs that is helping underpin profits.

    The producer-price index declined 0.7 percent, the biggest decrease since February 2010, after falling 0.6 percent in March, according to a Labor Department report released today in Washington. The median estimate in a Bloomberg survey of 73 economists projected the index would decline 0.6 percent. So-called core wholesale inflation, which excludes often-volatile food and energy prices, climbed 0.1 percent.

    Slow growth in the U.S. and abroad is holding input-price gains in check for American factories. Absent a surge in inflation, policy makers at the Federal Reserve have the option of weighing whether the U.S. economic expansion needs more stimulus to pick up.

    “We’ve seen a moderation in inflation across the board, given the weak demand environment everywhere,” Sam Bullard, a senior economist at Wells Fargo Securities LLC in Charlotte, North Carolina, said before the report. “Inflation is just not problematic to central bankers, particularly those at the Fed.”

    For more: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-05-15/wholesale-prices-in-u-s-fell-in-april-by-most-in-three-years.html

  10. CR says:

    Homebuilder Confidence in U.S. Climbs as Outlook Improves

    By Lorraine Woellert – May 15, 2013 7:06 AM PT

    Confidence among U.S. homebuilders improved in May for the first time in five months as buyers rush to take advantage of near record-low mortgage rates.

    The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo index of builder confidence rose to 44 from a revised 41 in April, the Washington-based group reported today. The median forecast in a Bloomberg survey called for an increase to 43. Readings below 50 mean more respondents said conditions were poor.

    “Builders are noting an increased sense of urgency among potential buyers as a result of thinning inventories of homes for sale, continuing affordable mortgage rates and strengthening local economies,” said Rick Judson, chairman of the trade group and a builder from Charlotte, North Carolina. “This is definitely an encouraging sign.”

    Low mortgage rates, a strengthening job market and limited inventories are benefiting builders including PulteGroup Inc. and Lennar Corp. as the housing market contributes to growth this year after emerging as a bright spot in 2012. Gains in housing will help the world’s largest economy move through a global slowdown that is hurting manufacturing.

    For more: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-05-15/homebuilder-confidence-in-u-s-rose-in-may-on-improving-outlook.html

  11. CR says:

    E-Commerce Retail Sales

    Released On 5/15/2013 10:00:00 AM For Q1.13

    Prior Actual
    E-Sales Q/Q Change SAAR 4.4 % 2.7 %

    Highlights
    First-quarter e-commerce sales rose a quarter-to-quarter 2.7 percent, down from the fourth-quarter pace of 4.4 percent. Despite the slowing, the gain for e-commerce still easily outpaced the gain for total first-quarter retail sales which were up a quarter-to-quarter 1.1 percent. E-commerce as a percent of total sales rose to a new record 5.5 percent, up from the prior quarter’s 5.4 percent.

    Source: http://bloomberg.econoday.com/byshoweventfull.asp?fid=456500&cust=bloomberg-us&year=2013&lid=0&prev=/byweek.asp#top

  12. CR says:

    Now Streaming…

    11:00 AM ET
    President Obama delivers remarks at the National Peace Officers Memorial Service
    U.S. Capitol, Washington DC

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

    • CR says:

      May 15, 2013

      Remarks by the President at the National Peace Officers Memorial Service

      U.S. Capitol
      Washington, D.C.

      11:20 A.M. EDT

      THE PRESIDENT: Thank you. (Applause.) Thank you, everybody. Please have a seat. Thank you, Chuck, for that introduction and more importantly for your leadership as National President of the Fraternal Order of Police. I want to recognize the entire Order and all its leaders, including Jim Pasco, for everything that you do on behalf of the fine officers who walk the beat, or answer the call, and do the difficult work of keeping our communities safe all across the country.

      I want to also acknowledge FOP Auxiliary President Linda Hennie for the good work that she and all her members do to support the families of police officers. We are very grateful to you, to Speaker Boehner, Leader Pelosi, members of Congress, members of my administration who are here, to all the law enforcement officials who are and, most of all, to the survivor families.

      Scripture tells us, “None of us lives to himself, and none of us dies to himself.” The brave officers we gather to remember today devoted themselves so fully to others — to serve and to protect others — that in the process they were willing to give their lives.

      And so, today, let us not remember them just for how they died, but also for how they lived.

      For more: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2013/05/15/remarks-president-national-peace-officers-memorial-service

  13. CR says:

    11:15 AM ET
    First Lady Michelle Obama attends The Congressional Club’s charitable fundraiser luncheon as the guest of honor
    International Ballroom, Washington Hilton & Towers, Washington, DC.

  14. Kat 4 Obama says:

    Good and HOPEful Wednesday, CR and all friends!

    >^..^<

    I've got computer troubles again, but nothing will keep me away from ProPresObama for long!

  15. CR says:

    White House asks Schumer to introduce press shield law

    5/15/13 1:13 PM EDT By REID J. EPSTEIN – POLITICO44

    The White House has asked Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) to reintroduce a press shield law, White House officials said Wednesday.

    The move comes after questions were raised about the seizure of Associated Press phone records by the Justice Department as part of a national security leak investigation.

    Shield laws protect journalists from being forced to reveal sources. The version that passed the Judiciary Committee in 2009 included exemptions for national security.

    Schumer praised the new push.

    “This kind of law would balance national security needs against the public’s right to the free flow of information,” Schumer said. “At minimum, our bill would have ensured a fairer, more deliberate process in this case.”

  16. CR says:

    2:30 PM ET
    Vice President Biden meets with Prime Minister Ivica Dacic of Serbia
    White House

    • CR says:

      May 15, 2013

      Readout of Vice President Biden’s Meeting with Serbian Prime Minister Ivica Dacic

      Vice President Biden met with Serbian Prime Minister Ivica Dacic this afternoon in Washington. The Vice President reiterated the United States’ commitment to a strong and growing bilateral partnership with Serbia. The Vice President congratulated Prime Minister Dacic on reaching an initial agreement in the EU-facilitated Dialogue to normalize Serbia’s relationship with Kosovo. This agreement holds the promise of advancing the European aspirations of both countries and securing a peaceful and prosperous future for their citizens. Prime Minister Dacic and his government showed leadership and conviction in taking this important step. The Vice President underscored the importance of Serbia and Kosovo moving forward expeditiously to meet their Dialogue commitments and to implement the agreement in full. The Vice President encourages both Serbia and Kosovo to take this historic opportunity to move their countries forward.

  17. CR says:

    Now Happening…

    You’ve heard about PPP, the Dem-affiliated polling outfit that’s been on top of the news and one of the most accurate pollsters in the country over the last couple cycles. This afternoon at 4:30 PM TPM Newswriter and Assistant Polling Editor Tom Kludt is going to lead a conversation at TPMPrime with Tom Jensen, polling director at PPP.

    Get in your questions now and join us at 4:30 PM ET: http://discourse.talkingpointsmemo.com/t/tom-jensen-director-public-policy-polling-may-15-4-30-pm-edt/248/5?ref=fpblg

  18. CR says:

    6:00 PM ET
    President Obama speaks on the situation regarding the Internal Revenue Service
    The White House

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

    CSPAN http://www.c-spanvideo.org/program/312755-7

    • CR says:

      May 15, 2013

      Statement by the Presdident

      East Room

      6:21 P.M. EDT

      THE PRESIDENT: Good afternoon, everybody. I just finished speaking with Secretary Lew and senior officials at the Treasury Department to discuss the investigation into IRS personnel who improperly screened conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status. And I look forward to taking some questions at tomorrow’s press conference, but today, I wanted to make sure to get out to all of you some information about what we’re doing about this, and where we go from here.

      I’ve reviewed the Treasury Department watchdog’s report, and the misconduct that it uncovered is inexcusable. It’s inexcusable, and Americans are right to be angry about it, and I am angry about it. I will not tolerate this kind of behavior in any agency, but especially in the IRS, given the power that it has and the reach that it has into all of our lives. And as I said earlier, it should not matter what political stripe you’re from — the fact of the matter is, is that the IRS has to operate with absolute integrity. The government generally has to conduct itself in a way that is true to the public trust. That’s especially true for the IRS.

      So here’s what we’re going to do.

      First, we’re going to hold the responsible parties accountable. Yesterday, I directed Secretary Lew to follow up on the IG audit to see how this happened and who is responsible, and to make sure that we understand all the facts. Today, Secretary Lew took the first step by requesting and accepting the resignation of the acting commissioner of the IRS, because given the controversy surrounding this audit, it’s important to institute new leadership that can help restore confidence going forward.

      Second, we’re going to put in place new safeguards to make sure this kind of behavior cannot happen again. And I’ve directed Secretary Lew to ensure the IRS begins implementing the IG’s recommendations right away.

      Third, we will work with Congress as it performs its oversight role. And our administration has to make sure that we are working hand in hand with Congress to get this thing fixed. Congress, Democrats and Republicans, owe it to the American people to treat that authority with the responsibility it deserves and in a way that doesn’t smack of politics or partisan agendas. Because I think one thing that you’ve seen is, across the board, everybody believes what happened in — as reported in the IG report is an outrage. The good news is it’s fixable, and it’s in everyone’s best interest to work together to fix it.

      I’ll do everything in my power to make sure nothing like this happens again by holding the responsible parties accountable, by putting in place new checks and new safeguards, and going forward, by making sure that the law is applied as it should be — in a fair and impartial way. And we’re going to have to make sure that the laws are clear so that we can have confidence that they are enforced in a fair and impartial way, and that there’s not too much ambiguity surrounding these laws.

      So that’s what I expect. That’s what the American people deserve. And that’s what we’re going to do.

      Thank you very much.

      END 6:25 P.M. EDT

    • CR says:

      Obama Announces Resignation Of Acting IRS Commissioner

      May 15, 2013 6:32 PM by SCOTT NEUMAN – NPR

      President Obama announced late Wednesday that the acting commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service, Steve Miller, has resigned in the wake of a report that employees at the agency engaged in partisan scrutiny of conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status.

      The president, appearing for a brief statement at the White House, said he had directed Treasury Secretary Jack Lew “to accept the resignation of the acting commissioner of the IRS.”

      He said it was part of a larger effort to “make sure nothing like this ever happens again” by holding responsible individuals responsible.

      Obama said he had also directed Lew to implement the recommendations contained in the inspector general’s report that brought the situation to light.

      “I will not tolerate this conduct in any way, especially from the IRS, given the power it has,” the president said.

  19. 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.

  20. CR says:

    White House Addresses Benghazi Emails, IRS Audits

    May 15, 2013 5:57 PM SCOTT HORSLEY and AUDIE CORNISH – NPR

    Summary:

    The White House has released 100 pages of internal emails related to the development of talking points after the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, last year. President Barack Obama also addressed the controversy surrounding the Internal Revenue Service’s targeting of conservative groups. Audie Cornish talks to Scott Horsley.

    For the entire article and audio interview: http://www.npr.org/2013/05/15/184286085/white-house-addresses-benghazi-emails-irs-audits

  21. CR says:

    WH

    Thursday, May 16, 2013

    All Times Eastern

    President Obama receives the presidential daily briefing

    President Obama welcomes Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his wife, Mrs. Emine Erdoğan, of Turkey to the White House

    7:00 AM
    8:00 AM
    9:00 AM
    9:50 AM
    President Obama holds a bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey; Vice President Biden also attends

    10:00 AM
    11:00 AM
    First Lady Michelle Obama hosts a tea for Mrs. Emine Erdoğan, wife of the Prime Minister of Turkey

    12:00 PM
    President Obama and Prime Minister Erdogan of Turkey hold a joint press conference.

    1:00 PM
    1:30 PM
    Vice President Biden, Dr Jill Biden and Secretary Kerry host a lunch in honor of Prime Minister Erdogan at the Department of State.

    2:00 PM
    3:00 PM
    4:00 PM
    4:30 PM
    President Obama meets with senior advisors.

    5:00 PM
    5:15 PM
    Vice President Biden delivers remarks at an event with Prime Minister Erdogan at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

    6:00 PM
    6:30 PM
    President Obama hosts a working dinner with Prime Minister Erdogan.

    7:00 PM
    8:00 PM
    9:00 PM
    10:00 PM

  22. CR says:

    April 05, 2013

    Statement by the Press Secretary on the Visit of Prime Minister Erdogan of Turkey

    On Thursday, May 16, President Obama will welcome Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey to the White House. As friends and NATO allies, the United States and Turkey are partners in addressing a range of critical global and regional issues. The President looks forward to discussing these issues with the Prime Minister, to include Syria, trade and economic cooperation, and countering terrorism.

    The Prime Minister’s visit underscores the close friendship between the United States and Turkey and the strategic importance we place on broadening and strengthening our relationship moving forward.

    • CR says:

      May 16, 2013

      Op-Ed by President Obama: A Partnership That Delivers

      The piece was published today in Turkish by Turkish Daily “Sabah” and can be found here. The full English text of the op-ed by President Obama is printed below.

      A Partnership That Delivers
      By President Barack Obama

      Turkey and the United States have been partners since shortly after the birth of the modern Turkish Republic. As NATO allies, we have defended our common security for more than six decades. And in the United States we are grateful for the many Turkish-Americans who enrich our national life every day.

      Today, when I welcome my friend Prime Minister Erdogan back to the White House, we’ll chart the next steps in our alliance—a partnership that delivers security, prosperity and progress for both our peoples.

      On a personal level, the prime minister’s visit will be another opportunity for me to reciprocate the hospitality that he and the Turkish people showed me when I visited Ankara and Istanbul during my first year in office. I came to Turkey during my first overseas trip as president because I am committed to an even deeper relationship with our Turkish friends. Four years later, U.S.-Turkish relations are as strong as ever, and Prime Minister Erdogan’s visit will allow us to expand our cooperation in several important areas.

      For more: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2013/05/16/op-ed-president-obama-partnership-delivers

    • CR says:

      May 16, 2013

      Fact Sheet: U.S.-Turkey Economic Partnership

      In April 2009, President Obama and Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan agreed to elevate U.S.-Turkish bilateral economic relations to a strategic level commensurate with our historically close political-military ties. In the last four years, U.S.-Turkish commercial relations have touched new highs; bilateral trade reached record levels of nearly $20 billion in 2011, with U.S. FDI in Turkey of over $5 billion and Turkish FDI in the United States of nearly $1 billion.

      * The Framework for Strategic Economic & Commercial Cooperation (FSECC)

      * Cooperation to Promote Clean Energy

      * Leading the Innovation Economy

      * Forging Alliances Between our Companies

      For the entire article: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2013/05/16/fact-sheet-us-turkey-economic-partnership

    • CR says:

      May 16, 2013

      Fact Sheet: U.S.-Turkey Partnership

      The United States and Turkey share a strong partnership and friendship, rooted in common values and strategic interests, and reinforced by the enduring links between the people of both countries. The United States is firmly committed to broadening and deepening this partnership, and together we have taken great strides in recent years. A shared vision for how to advance bilateral, regional, and global issues continues to drive the United States and Turkey ever closer. The vital people-to-people connections that thrive across an extensive range of sectors and topics ensure this relationship continues to modernize and advance. Following are key areas of this important partnership.

      Global Partners: The United States welcomes Turkey’s leadership on the world stage to address a range of challenges that we are stronger confronting together. Our leaders meet often and work as partners on topics such as encouraging a political transition in Syria, promoting Middle East Peace, supporting economic reform and growth throughout the Middle East/North Africa region, advancing a comprehensive settlement in Cyprus, normalizing relations with Armenia, and encouraging the highest standards for human rights, democracy, and governance at home and abroad.

      * Economic and Trade Partners
      * Partners in Countering Terrorism
      * Security Partners
      * Partners in Education, Science, and Innovation

      For the entire article: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2013/05/16/fact-sheet-us-turkey-partnership

  23. CR says:

    Hanging out with “We the Geeks”

    Posted by Cristin Dorgelo on May 14, 2013 at 02:35 PM EDT

    Note: Watch the first ‘We the Geeks” Hangout on Thursday, May 16, at 2:00 p.m. EDT on WhiteHouse.gov and on the White House Google+ page. You can join the conversation on Twitter with the hashtag #WeTheGeeks.

    On May 16th, the White House is kicking off “We the Geeks,” a new series of Google+ Hangouts to highlight the future of science, technology, and innovation here in the United States. Topics such as commercial space exploration, science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education, turning science fiction to science fact, and others will be discussed with Administration officials and key private sector contributors.

    The first “We the Geeks” Hangout will focus on Grand Challenges, ambitious goals on a national or global scale that capture the imagination and demand advances in innovation and breakthroughs in science and technology. Grand Challenges are an important element of President Obama’s Strategy for American Innovation. On April 2nd, the President called on companies, research universities, foundations, and philanthropists to join with him in identifying and pursuing the Grand Challenges of the 21st century.

    For more: http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2013/05/14/hanging-out-we-geeks

  24. CR says:

    GOP WRONG WAY

    Congress Is Ready to Fight Over Deep Food Stamp Cuts

    May 16, 2013 – 2:39 PM ET George Zornick – TheNation

    Late Wednesday night, the House Agriculture Committee passed a comprehensive, $940 billion farm bill. This was a first step towards making a real, five-year bill law—something the last Congress failed to do, and something that, by all accounts, this Congress deems an absolute necessity.

    But one central issue could derail the farm legislation once again: food stamp cuts. Republicans are demanding even deeper cuts than what they proposed last year, and Thursday morning on Capitol Hill, several House Democrats made it clear they are willing to let the farm bill die if it contains those steep cuts.

    The bill passed by the House Agriculture Committee last night slashed $20.5 billion from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, $4 billion more than what the committee proposed last year. These cuts would take away food stamps from nearly 2 million people, and several hundred thousand low-income children would stop receiving free school meals.

    At a press conference Thursday morning, several prominent Democrats drew red lines around the cuts. “Lest anyone think that this [debate] is going quietly into the night, you have another think coming,” said Representative Rosa DeLauro. “Maybe, and I can’t say for sure, maybe we’ll take a look at whether this bill can move at all.”

    Representative Jim McGovern was more direct. “The $20.5 billion cut in SNAP is a poison pill. It means that we shouldn’t be supporting the farm bill,” he said.

    The stakes are extremely high here. The agricultural community—from farmers to the multibillion-dollar industry players—badly wants a new farm bill, and powerful senators from rural states, in particular, are bent on enacting it. President Obama has repeatedly pressed Congress to pass one.

    These threats from McGovern and DeLauro, who were joined by Representatives Marcia Fudge and Barbara Lee at Thursday’s event, carry real weight. The backdrop is that many conservatives oppose the House Agriculture committee bill in part because the SNAP cuts are too small—Paul Ryan’s 2013 budget calls for $135 billion in cuts to food stamps and for the program to be block-granted to the states.

    Many far-right conservatives will likely oppose the farm bill for this reason, and for many other reasons—voting yes on a nearly trillion-dollar bill isn’t easy for them. That means Democrats will be needed to secure House passage, and if liberal members can mobilize enough colleagues to join them in steadfast opposition to the food stamp cuts, the farm bill might not pass. (House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi did not return a request for comment about how she would instruct members on this issue.)

    Read more: http://www.thenation.com/blog/174391/congress-ready-fight-over-deep-food-stamp-cuts#ixzz2TUIrbo7d

    • CR says:

      White House Issues Statement Of Support For Senate’s 2013 Farm Bill, With Reservations

      MAY 20, 2013 obamafoodorama

      No support for proposed cuts to Food Stamps program; Congressional Budget Office updates score for the bill as it is introduced on Senate Floor…

      The White House on Monday afternoon issued a statement of support for Senate passage of the $955 billion Farm Bill, S. 954, the Agriculture Reform, Food, and Jobs Act of 2013. The statement from the Office of Management and Budget came as Senate Agriculture Committee Chair Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) introduced the bill on the Senate Floor, hailing it as a jobs bill (her remarks are below).

      The OMB statement said the Administration supports reforms to farm programs included in the Senate bill, but would like to see elements from President Obama’s own budget concerning “crop insurance and commodity program savings” included in the legislation “prior to final passage.”

      The statement also indicates that President Obama is not happy with a proposed $400 million annual cut to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, aka Food Stamps. The Senate bill offers this cut each year for the next decade.

      “The Administration also strongly supports the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), a cornerstone of our Nation’s food assistance safety net, which is why it was not subject to cuts in the President’s Budget,” the statement said. “SNAP helps families put food on the table, while also benefitting farm and rural economies.”

      For more: http://obamafoodorama.blogspot.com/2013/05/white-house-issues-statement-of-support.html

      • CR says:

        Senate passes five-year farm bill in 66-27 vote

        6/10/13 06:55 PM ET By Ramsey Cox – TheHill

        The Senate on Monday approved a five-year farm bill in a 66-27 vote.

        More than 15 Republicans joined most Democrats in supporting the bill, which would cut $24 billion from farm spending over 10 years, including a $4 billion reduction to food stamps. Democratic Sens. Sheldon Whitehouse (R.I.) and Jack Reed (R.I.) were the only Democrats who voted against the bill.

        Before the Senate vote, Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) touted her bill as supporting U.S. jobs while also reducing the deficit.

        “As we vote for this bill today we support 16 million people who depend on agriculture for their jobs,” Stabenow said. “We are providing $24 billion in deficit reduction.”

        The Senate passed a similar bill last year, but it was never enacted as the House failed to take up farm legislation.

        Stabenow said she hopes that House leaders will allow a floor vote on a farm bill this year.

        “Hopefully the House this time will complete this work and we’ll have an opportunity to go to conference,” Stabenow said. “The House, in my opinion, walked away from rural America last year.”

        The House is working on a rival, $940 billion farm bill that cuts spending by $39.7 billion over 10 years, with $20.5 billion of the cuts coming food stamps. House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas (R-Okla.) crafted the bill, which will likely get a floor vote later this month.

        Democrats are firmly against the food stamp cuts in the House farm bill, and the differences between the two versions might be difficult to bridge in a conference committee.

        Read more: http://thehill.com/blogs/floor-action/senate/304585-senate-votes-66-27-to-pass-a-five-year-farm-bill

        • CR says:

          Obama threatens to veto House farm bill

          6/17/13 06:21 PM ET By Erik Wasson – TheHill

          The White House on Monday threatened to veto the farm bill coming to the House this week.

          President Obama is opposed to $20.5 billion in food stamp cuts in the bill, the White House said in an official policy statement.

          That statement also says it does not get enough budget savings from cuts to farm subsidies.

          “The bill would reduce access to food assistance for struggling families and their children, does not contain sufficient commodity and crop insurance reforms, and does not provide funding for renewable energy, which is an important source of jobs and economic growth in rural communities across the country,” the White House said.

          “If the president were presented with H.R. 1947, his senior advisers would recommend that he veto the bill,” it added.

          The Statement of Administration Policy also faults the bill for failing to reform international food aid programs. Obama has proposed changing food aid so that it is no longer focused on purchasing U.S. farm goods.

          Critics say the approach is costly, reduces the amount of aid made available and actually has the perverse effect of driving poor Third World farmers out of business.

          Read more: http://thehill.com/blogs/on-the-money/agriculture/306043-obama-threatens-to-veto-house-farm-bill

          • CR says:

            Obama threatens veto on farm bill

            7/11/13 6:48 AM EDT By TAL KOPAN – POLITICO44

            The White House late Wednesday night responded to a new farm bill posted by House Republicans, threatening to veto it in part over it not including food stamps.

            The House Rules Committee held a hearing on the new version of the so-called farm bill, the Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act of 2013, beginning at 9 p.m. on Wednesday night and posted the more-than 600 page bill not long thereafter, with a vote expected Thursday.

            The White House statement decried the last-minute move in its veto threat late Wednesday, saying “because the 608 page bill was made available only this evening, the administration has had inadequate time to fully review the text of the bill. It is apparent, though, that the bill does not contain sufficient commodity and crop insurance reforms and does not invest in renewable energy, an important source of jobs and economic growth in rural communities across the country.”

            The veto threat was widely expected because of the bill’s lack of renewal of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or food stamps, an amendment on which was a major sticking point in the failure of the House’s last attempt to pass the bill.

  25. CR says:

    Consumer’s Outlook on US Economy Improve to Five Month High

    By Jeanna Smialek – May 16, 2013 6:45 AM PT bloomberg

    Consumers’ economic outlook improved in May to its best reading in five months, showing Americans are looking beyond the current slowdown to a rebound in growth later this year.

    The monthly Bloomberg consumer economic expectations gauge rose to minus 1 from minus 4 in April, a report today showed. The weekly Consumer Comfort Index slipped to minus 30.2 for the period ended May 12 from minus 29.5 the prior week, hovering around a five-year high reached at the end of last month.

    Rising home values and stock prices gains may be underpinning expectations and bolstering consumer spending, which accounts for about 70 percent of the economy. Nonetheless, the lagged effect of higher payroll taxes are crimping the discretionary budgets of low- to middle-wage earners, preventing total demand from accelerating.

    “It reflects a broader stabilization of the labor market and greater confidence in household economic expectations,” said Joseph Brusuelas, a senior economist at Bloomberg LP in New York. “Should consumers continue to demonstrate an increase in confidence, they’ll likely slow the rebuilding of savings and continue to spend a bit more.”

    For more: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-05-16/consumers-outlooks-on-u-s-economy-improve-to-five-month-high.html

  26. CR says:

    Obama to meet with military leaders on sexual assault

    5/16/13 10:22 AM EDT By REID J. EPSTEIN – POLITICO44

    President Obama will meet with military leaders including Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel on Thursday afternoon to discuss sexual assaults in the armed forces.

    Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Martin Dempsey and the service secretaries, service chiefs and senior enlisted advisors will also attend, National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden said.

    The meeting comes after the surfacing of sexual assault allegations against two members of the military whose jobs involved advocating for victims of sex crimes.

    It also comes after the Pentagon released a report earlier this month estimating that 26,000 sex crimes took place in the armed forces in 2012, up 37 percent from the year before.

    • CR says:

      May 16, 2013

      Remarks by the President After Meeting on Sexual Assault in the Military

      Cabinet Room

      4:53 P.M. EDT

      THE PRESIDENT: I appreciate all of you coming in just for a second. We have gathered here all the top people in not just our military but our entire national security operation. And I want to start off by thanking all the people sitting around this table and in this room for the extraordinary service that they’ve rendered this country.

      And I want to also remind everybody that we have folks active in theater right now — men and women in uniform — who are making heroic sacrifices on behalf of our security. And our thoughts and prayers are with them and their families because they are dealing with a whole lot to make sure that we are safe.

      We have focused this conversation, though, on something that is at the core of our effectiveness as a military. I told all these people that one of the great honors of my life is serving as Commander-in-Chief to what I consider to be the best military in the history of the world. And I am in awe of the work that the vast majority of our men and women in uniform do.

      But the reason we are so good is not because of the fancy equipment. It’s not because of our incredible weapon systems and technology. It’s because of our people. And the capacity for our men and women in uniform to work as a team, a disciplined unit looking out for each other in the most severe of circumstances, is premised, as Ray Odierno said, on trust. It comes down to do people trust each other and do they understand that they’re all part of a single system that has to operate under whatever circumstances effectively.

      The issue of sexual assault in our armed forces undermines that trust. So not only is it a crime, not only is it shameful and disgraceful, but it also is going to make and has made the military less effective than it can be. And as such, it is dangerous to our national security. So this is not a sideshow. This is not sort of a second-order problem that we’re experiencing. This goes to the heart and the core of who we are and how effective we’re going to be.

      Now, the good news is I am absolutely confident that everybody in this room and our leadership, starting with Chuck Hagel and Marty Dempsey and the Joint Chiefs, as well as our top enlisted men and women, they care about this. And they’re angry about it. And I heard directly from all of them that they’re ashamed by some of what’s happened.

      But it’s not fixed yet, and that’s clear. So even though I think there’s a level of concern and interest that is appropriate, we haven’t actually been able to ensure that our men and women in uniform are not experiencing this, and if they do experience it, that there’s serious accountability.

      For more: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2013/05/16/remarks-president-after-meeting-sexual-assault-military

  27. CR says:

    Senate panel OKs Perez nomination for Labor Secretary

    5/16/13 10:19 AM EDT By JOSH GERSTEIN – POLITICO44

    Tom Perez’s nomination to be Secretary of Labor is headed for the full Senate, after winning approval from a Senate panel Thursday in a party-line vote.

    At a brief morning session, the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions voted, 12-10, to back Perez’s nomination. The vote had been repeatedly delayed at the request of Republican members who said they needed more time to obtain and study information about Perez’s record as the head of the Civil Rights Division at the Department of Justice.

    Republicans have been highly critical of Perez’s role in brokering a deal with the City of St. Paul, Minn. in which the Justice Department agreed not to join a lawsuit claiming the city illegally obtained federal housing funds. In exchange for that move, the city settled litigation at the Supreme Court that Perez thought might undermine a theory of civil rights enforcement known as “disparate impact.”

    For more: http://www.politico.com/politico44/2013/05/senate-panel-oks-perez-nomination-for-labor-secretary-164140.html

  28. CR says:

    The scandals are falling apart

    May 16, 2013 at 11:47 By Ezra Klein – washingtonpost

    Things go wrong in government. Sometimes it’s just bad luck. Sometimes it’s rank incompetence. Sometimes it’s criminal wrongdoing. Most of the time you never hear about it. Or, if you do hear about it, the media eventually gets bored talking about it (see warming, global).

    But every so often an instance of government wrongdoing sprouts wings and becomes something quite exciting: A political scandal.

    President Obama speaks about the IRS and Benghazi at a news conference. (Washington Post)

    The crucial ingredient for a scandal is the prospect of high-level White House involvement and wide political repercussions. Government wrongdoing is boring. Scandals can bring down presidents, decide elections and revive down-and-out political parties. Scandals can dominate American politics for months at a time.

    On Tuesday, it looked like we had three possible political scandals brewing. Two days later, with much more evidence available, it doesn’t look like any of them will pan out. There’ll be more hearings, and more bad press for the Obama administration, and more demands for documents. But — and this is a key qualification — absent more revelations, the scandals that could reach high don’t seem to include any real wrongdoing, whereas the ones that include real wrongdoing don’t reach high enough. Let’s go through them.

    1) The Internal Revenue Service: The IRS mess was, well, a mess. But it’s not a mess that implicates the White House, or even senior IRS leadership. If we believe the agency inspector general’s report, a group of employees in a division called the “Determinations Unit” — sounds sinister, doesn’t it? — started giving tea party groups extra scrutiny, were told by agency leadership to knock it off, started doing it again, and then were reined in a second time and told that any further changes to the screening criteria needed to be approved at the highest levels of the agency.

    The White House fired the acting director of the agency on the theory that somebody had to be fired and he was about the only guy they had the power to fire. They’re also instructing the IRS to implement each and every one of the IG’s recommendations to make sure this never happens again.

    If new information emerges showing a connection between the Determination Unit’s decisions and the Obama campaign, or the Obama administration, it would crack this White House wide open. That would be a genuine scandal. But the IG report says that there’s no evidence of that. And so it’s hard to see where this one goes from here.

    2) Benghazi: We’re long past the point where it’s obvious what the Benghazi scandal is supposed to be about. The inquiry has moved on from the events in Benghazi proper, tragic as they were, to the talking points about the events in Benghazi. And the release Wednesday night of 100 pages of internal e-mails on those talking points seems to show what my colleague Glenn Kessler suspected: This was a bureaucratic knife fight between the State Department and the CIA.

    As for the White House’s role, well, the e-mails suggest there wasn’t much of one. “The internal debate did not include political interference from the White House, according to the e-mails, which were provided to congressional intelligence committees several months ago,” report The Washington Post’s Scott Wilson and Karen DeYoung. As for why the talking points seemed to blame protesters rather than terrorists for the attack that killed the U.S. ambassador and three other Americans? Well:
    According to the e-mails and initial CIA-drafted talking points, the agency believed the attack included a mix of Islamist extremists from Ansar al-Sharia, a group affiliated with al-Qaeda, and angry demonstrators.

    White House officials did not challenge that analysis, the e-mails show, nor did they object to its inclusion in the public talking points.

    But CIA deputy director Michael Morell later removed the reference to Ansar al-Sharia because the assessment was still classified and because FBI officials believed that making the information public could compromise their investigation, said senior administration officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe the internal debate.

    So far, it’s hard to see what, exactly, the scandal here is supposed to be.

    3) AP/Justice Department:. This is the weirdest of the three. There’s no evidence that the DoJ did anything illegal. Most people, in fact, think it was well within its rights to seize the phone records of Associated Press reporters. And if the Obama administration has been overzealous in prosecuting leakers, well, the GOP has been arguing that the White House hasn’t taken national security leaks seriously enough. The AP/DoJ fight has caused that position to flip, and now members of Congress are concerned that the DoJ is going after leaks too aggressively. But it’s hard for a political party to prosecute wrongdoing when they disagree with the potential remedies.

    Insofar as there’s a “scandal” here, it’s more about what’s legal than what isn’t. The DoJ simply has extraordinary power, under existing law, to spy on ordinary citizens — members of the media included. The White House has taken a step towards changing that existing law by encouraging Sen. Chuck Schumer to reintroduce the Media Shield Act. The Post’s Rachel Weiner has a good rundown of what the bill would’ve changed. It’s likely that the national security exemption in the legislation would make it relatively toothless in this particular case, but if Congress is worried, they always can — and probably should — take that language out. But that legislation has been killed by Republicans before, and it’s likely to be killed by them again.

    For more: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/05/16/the-scandals-are-falling-apart/

  29. CR says:

    Next Up..

    12:00 PM ET
    President Obama and Prime Minister Erdogan of Turkey hold a joint press conference
    White House

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

    CSPAN http://www.c-spanvideo.org/event/218888

    • CR says:

      May 16, 2013

      Joint Press Conference by President Obama and Prime Minister Erdogan of Turkey

      Rose Garden

      12:48 P.M. EDT

      PRESIDENT OBAMA: Please be seated, everybody. Good afternoon.

      It is a great pleasure to welcome my friend, Prime Minister Erdogan, back to the White House. This visit is also another opportunity for me to return the extraordinary hospitality that the Prime Minister and the Turkish people showed me on my visit to Turkey four years ago. And that included my visit to the Prime Minister’s beautiful hometown of Istanbul.

      This visit reflects the importance that the United States places on our relationship with our ally, Turkey, and I value so much the partnership that I’ve been able to develop with Prime Minister Erdogan.

      Today we discussed the many areas in which our countries cooperate, including Afghanistan, where our troops serve bravely together; the G20, where we promote our shared prosperity; and Iran, where we agree it is critical that we do not see that country acquire a nuclear weapon and potentially trigger an arms race throughout the region.
      Given our shared interest in peace, I want to note the Prime Minister’s efforts to normalize relations with Israel. This will benefit both the Turkish and Israeli people and can also help us make progress on a two-state solution, including an independent Palestinian state.

      Today, we focused on three areas that I want to highlight. First, we agreed to keep expanding trade and investment. Over the past four years, our trade has surged and U.S. exports to Turkey have more than doubled. As the United States pursues a new trade and investment partnership with the EU, I want to make sure that we also keep deepening our economic ties with Turkey. So we’re creating a new high-level committee that will focus on increasing trade and investment between our two countries and will help fuel Turkish innovation. And the progress that Turkey’s economy has made over the last several years I think has been remarkable and the Prime Minister deserves much credit for some of the reforms that are already taking place.

      Second, as NATO allies we’re reaffirming our solemn commitment to our mutual security. Mr. Prime Minister, on behalf of the American people, I want to express our condolences to the Turkish people and the victims of the outrageous bombings that took place in Reyhanli. As always, the United States stands with you as you defend your nation against terrorism. We want to thank you for the cooperation that you provided us in threats against the United States.

      And I want to take this opportunity to commend you and the Turkish people for your courage in seeking an historic and peaceful resolution of the PKK violence that has plagued Turkey for so long. And just as the United States has stood with you in your long search for security, we will support efforts in Turkey to uphold the rule of law and good governance and human rights for all.

      For more: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2013/05/16/joint-press-conference-president-obama-and-prime-minister-erdogan-turkey

    • CR says:

      May 16, 2013

      President Obama Calls on Congress to Fully Fund Embassy Security

      Today, the President called on Congress to support and fully fund the Administration’s budget request to improve security of our embassies around the world. In addition, the President called on Congress to support the full implementation of the recommendations of the Benghazi Accountability Review Board (ARB), including recommendations associated with additional support, authorities, and resources for the State Department. Finally, the President called on Congress to support our efforts to enhance our Marine Security Guard detachments around the world as a part of our effort to better secure high-risk posts.

      Every day, thousands of American men and women are serving our nation overseas – military service members, diplomats, development workers and others. They accept the risks that come with service because they understand that they are making vital contributions to our national interests and national security. We owe it to all of them to do everything in our power to protect our personnel serving overseas.

      In the wake of the attacks on U.S. diplomatic facilities in September 2012, the Department of State reviewed its global security posture and took steps necessary to address security vulnerabilities, including submitting a request to reallocate $1.4 billion in FY 2013 resources to begin work this year that was approved by the Congress.

      In addition to the $1.4 billion requested in FY 2013, the FY 2014 budget request provides over $4 billion for the Department of State’s embassy security programs, fully supporting this critical priority. As part of this effort, the budget includes $2.2 billion to support increased embassy security construction recommend by the Benghazi Accountability Review Board (ARB).

      For more: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2013/05/16/president-obama-calls-congress-fully-fund-embassy-security

    • CR says:

      Outgoing IRS Chief: Question That Sparked Scandal Was A Plant

      17, 2013, 11:33 AM 823 ERIC LACH MAY – tpm

      One of the oddest aspects of the IRS scandal was the way the story first came to light last Friday, when Lois Lerner, head of the IRS’ tax-exempt organizations division, apologized for inappropriate targeting of conservative groups. The apology, a major admission, was delivered in a decidedly low-profile place: in response to a question from an attendee at a panel during the American Bar Association tax section’s annual meeting in Washington D.C.

      It was such an unusual place for Lerner to drop such a bombshell, many people in the room thought the question had been prearranged. Turns out, it was.

      “It was a prepared Q & A,” outgoing acting IRS chief Steven Miller told Congress on Friday, in response to a question from Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA).

      Nunes asked Miller if the question itself, which was asked by Celia Roady, a veteran tax lawyer, was planted in advance.

      “I believe we talked about that, yes,” Miller responded.

      For more: http://tpmmuckraker.talkingpointsmemo.com/2013/05/steven_miller_scandal_question_plant.php?ref=fpa

      ——–

      Lois G. Lerner Selected as Director of IRS Exempt Organizations Division IR-2005-148,
      Dec. 22, 2005 (George W Bush’s Presidency)

      • CR says:

        Lois Lerner put on administrative leave by IRS

        May 23, 2013 at 5:27 By Ed O’Keefe – washingtonpost

        Lois Lerner, the director of the tax-exempt organizations division at the Internal Revenue Service, has been placed on administrative leave, sources in Congress and the administration confirm.

        Lerner was the official who revealed during a May 10 American Bar Association conference in Washington that employees in the IRS’s tax-exempt unit in Cincinnati had improperly scrutinized applications from dozens of organizations. On Wednesday, she invoked her Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination to avoid testifying before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

        “I have not done anything wrong,” she said. “I have not broken any laws. I have not violated any IRS rules or regulations. And I have not provided false information to this or any other congressional committee.”

  30. CR says:

    1:15 PM ET
    Vice President Biden Attends a Luncheon with Prime Minister Erdogan and Secretary Kerry
    Department of State, Washington, DC

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

  31. CR says:

    2:00 PM ET
    ‘We the Geeks” Hangout
    White House Google+
    White House Twitter hashtag #WeTheGeeks

  32. 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.

  33. 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.

  34. CR says:

    5:15 PM ET
    Vice President Biden delivers remarks at an event with Prime Minister Erdogan at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

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

    • CR says:

      State Department Lunch Honoring Prime Minister Erdogan of Turkey

      Published on May 16, 2013

      Vice President Joe Biden and Secretary of State John Kerry participate in a lunch at the State Department honoring Prime Minister Erdogan of Turkey.

  35. CR says:

    West Wing Week: 05/17/13 or “We the Geeks”

    Published on May 16, 2013

    This week, the President honored fallen officers and top cops, spoke on the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, invited both the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and of Turkey to the White House, and kicked off a new Google+ Hangout series on science and technology. That’s May 10th through May 16th or, “We the Geeks.”

  36. CR says:

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

    Come on over to my newest post titled: ” Navajo Technical College & Bowie State University Commencement 2013 ”

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

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

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