Committed to Passing Bipartisan Immigration Reform

nation-of-immigrants

President Obama understands the importance and urgency in fixing the broken immigration system and outlined his vision for a 21st century immigration policy:

  • Responsibility by the federal government to secure our borders:Today, our borders are more secure than at any time in the past several decades, and the Administration continues to refine and strengthen its strategy. Enforcement resources should be focused on preventing those who would do our nation harm from entering our country.
  • Accountability for businesses that break the law by undermining American workers and exploiting undocumented workers: Employers who deliberately hire and exploit undocumented workers must be held accountable. At the same time, we must give employers who want to play by the rules a reliable way to verify that their employees are here legally.
  • Strengthening our economic competiveness by creating a legal immigration system that reflects our values and diverse needs: Our immigration laws should continue to reunify families and encourage individuals we train in our world-class institutions to stay and develop new technologies and industries in the United States rather than abroad. The law should stop punishing innocent young people whose parents brought them here illegally and give those young men and women a chance to stay in this country if they serve in the military or pursue higher education. A smart 21st century system should also provide farmers a legal way to hire the workers they rely on year after year, and it should improve procedures for employers who seek to hire foreign workers for jobs if U.S. workers are not available.
  • Responsibility from people who are living in the United States illegally: Those people living here illegally must also be held accountable for their actions and get on the right side of the law by registering and undergoing national security and criminal background checks, paying taxes and a penalty, and learning English before they can get in line to become eligible for citizenship. Being a citizen of this country comes not only with rights but also with fundamental responsibilities. We can create a pathway for legal status that is fair and reflects our values.

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For the immediate time President Obama has issued these  important policies for immigration:

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals
President Obama’s new DREAM relief policy [Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program, or DACA] would allow undocumented youth who qualify to request temporary relief from deportation, making them eligible to receive work permits and a social security number. For more: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2012/06/15/remarks-president-immigration

Family Unity Immigration Policy Change
President Obama’s  final rule in the Federal Register that reduces the time U.S. citizens are separated from their immediate relatives (spouse, children and parents), who are in the process of obtaining visas to become lawful permanent residents of the United States under certain circumstances. The process will be effective on March 4, 2013 and more information about the filing process will be made available in the coming weeks at http://www.uscis.gov/.

DHS Announces Proposals to Attract and Retain Highly Skilled Immigrants
As part of the Administration’s continuing commitment to attract and retain highly skilled immigrants, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) today announced the publication of two proposed rules, including a rule to extend employment authorization to spouses of certain H-1B workers, and a proposal to enhance opportunities for certain groups of highly-skilled workers by removing obstacles to their remaining in the United States.

Issue Guidance for School Districts to Ensure Equal Access for All Children to Public Schools, Regardless of Immigration Status
Secretary Arne Duncan and Attorney General Eric Holder today announced updated guidance to assist public elementary and secondary schools to ensure enrollment processes are consistent with the law and fulfill their obligation to provide all children—no matter their background—equal access to an education.

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January 25, 2013

Readout of the President’s Meeting with Congressional Hispanic Caucus Leadership

The President and Senior Administration Officials met this morning with leaders of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus to discuss the need to make things fairer for and grow the middle class by fixing our broken immigration system so everyone plays by the same rules. The President thanked the Members for their long standing leadership on the issue, and reiterated that this is a top legislative priority.

The President was pleased to hear from CHC members and noted that they share the same vision, including that any legislation must include a path to earned citizenship. The President further noted that there is no excuse for stalling or delay. The President made it clear he will continue to lead on this issue, and that he looks forward to working with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and other key Members of Congress in a bipartisan process to move this debate forward at the earliest possible opportunity.

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Readout of [Homeland Security] Secretary Johnson’s Meeting with Organizations Committed to Passing Bipartisan Immigration Reform

March 25, 2014 dhs.gov

WASHINGTON—Today, Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson met with important stakeholders from across the country to discuss the need for commonsense immigration reform, and hear firsthand their comments and perspective on a wide range of immigration issues. The meeting was part of Secretary Johnson’s focus on the effective and sensible enforcement of our nation’s immigration laws, including the ongoing review to assess how the Department of Homeland Security can conduct enforcement more humanely within the confines of the law.

As part of that effort, Secretary Johnson has been taking a hard look at these tough issues, meeting with a range of stakeholders and employees, and assessing where we can further align our enforcement policies with our goal of sound law enforcement practice that prioritizes public safety.

During the meeting, Secretary Johnson underscored his focus on supporting the passage of commonsense immigration reform this year – which remains the only path to fixing our broken immigration system.

Participants in today’s meeting included:

Josh Bernstein, Director of Immigration Policy and Strategy, Service Employees International Union
Greg Chen, Director of Advocacy, American Immigration Lawyers Association
Ron Coleman, Government Affairs Manager, California Immigrant Policy Center
Joanne Lin, Legislative Counsel, American Civil Liberties Union
Brian Erickson, Policy Advocate, ACLU of New Mexico Regional Center for Border Rights
Jose Manuel Escobedo, Deputy Director for Policy, Border Network for Human Rights
Kamal Essaheb, Immigration Policy Attorney, National Immigration Law Center
Marshall Fitz, Director of Immigration Policy, Center for American Progress
Matthew Ginsburg, Associate General Counsel, AFL-CIO
Melissa Crow, Director of the Legal Action Center, American Immigration Council
Giev Kashkooli, Political/Legislative Director, United Farm Workers
Richard Morales, Detention Prevention Coordinator, PICO National Network
Royce Bernstein Murray, Director of Policy, National Immigrant Justice Center
Jumana Musa, Consultant, CAMBIO
Brittney Nystrom, Director for Advocacy, Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service
JJ Rosenbaum, Legal and Policy Director, New Orleans Workers’ Center for Racial Justice and National   Guestworker Alliance
Linda Sarsour, National Network for Arab American Communities
Paromita Shah, Associate Director, National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild
Silky Shah, Interim Executive Director/Communications Director, Detention Watch Network
Tania Unzueta Carrasco, Immigration Strategist, National Day Laborer Organizing Network

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March 26, 2014

Statement by the President on Immigration Reform

Last year, Democrats and Republicans in the Senate came together to pass a commonsense bill to fix our broken immigration system – a bill that would grow our economy, shrink our deficits, and reward businesses and workers that play by the rules. But so far, Republicans in the House have refused to allow meaningful immigration reform legislation to even come up for a vote.

That’s why, today, I applaud the efforts of Democrats in the House to give immigration reform the yes-or-no vote it deserves. Like the Senate bill, the House bill would strengthen our borders, modernize our legal immigration system, and keep more families together. It would make sure everyone plays by the same rules by providing a pathway to earned citizenship for those who are living in the shadows. And according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, it would grow our economy and reduce our deficits by $900 billion over the next 20 years.

Immigration reform is the right thing to do for our economy, our security, and our future. A vast majority of the American people agree. The only thing standing in the way is the unwillingness of Republicans in Congress to catch up with the rest of the country. And I want to thank the leaders in Congress who are doing their part to move us forward.

 

GOP_Elephant_WRONG_WAY_small

UPDATES:

 

comparison_immigration_wh_2013immigration_wh

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UPDATE: Republican leaders to block US immigration measure

5/16/14 Associated Press By ERICA WERNER and DONNA CASSATA

WASHINGTON (AP) — House Republican leaders intervened Friday to prevent a vote on U.S. immigration legislation, dealing a severe blow to election-year efforts to overhaul the widely denigrated system.

The move came after a Republican congressman announced plans to try to force a vote next week, over strong conservative opposition, on his measure creating a path to citizenship for immigrants who live here illegally yet serve in the military.

Rep. Jeff Denham labeled his bill the ENLIST Act and said he would seek a vote as an amendment to the popular annual defense bill, the National Defense Authorization Act, or NDAA.

In response, Doug Heye, spokesman for House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, said: “No proposed ENLIST amendments to NDAA will be made in order.”

Heye said no stand-alone vote on the measure would be permitted, either.

It was the latest setback for President Barack Obama’s efforts to move comprehensive immigration legislation through Congress to boost border security, remake legal worker programs and offer legal status to the estimated 11.5 million people now living here illegally. The Senate passed an immigration bill last year, but it’s been stalled in the Republican-led House.

Friday’s developments seemed to all but rule out anything happening on the issue this year in the House, if even Denham’s limited measure could not advance. Despite a wide coalition of business, labor, religious groups, farmers and others pushing for an immigration overhaul, many individual Republican House members who represent largely white districts have been unmoved.

Cantor, House Speaker John Boehner and other House Republican leaders have insisted they want to advance immigration legislation, though they’ve rejected the Senate’s comprehensive bill. Chances have always looked slim, but the White House and outside advocates saw a window for action over the next several months, before Congress’ August recess and November midterm elections.

Denham’s measure was widely popular and seen as perhaps the likeliest area for compromise.

But in recent weeks prominent conservative groups, including the Heritage Foundation, announced their opposition. Heritage Action, the group’s political arm, announced it would include the vote in its ratings on lawmakers and called Denham’s legislation “deplorable.”

Cantor himself faces a primary election challenge in the state of Virginia June 10 from a tea party opponent who has criticized the majority leader for not being conservative enough and accused him of supporting amnesty for immigrants living here illegally.

For more: http://news.yahoo.com/republican-leaders-block-us-immigration-measure-201549527.html

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46 Responses to Committed to Passing Bipartisan Immigration Reform

  1. CR says:

    WH

    Wednesday,March 26, 2014

    All Times Eastern

    President Obama receives the presidential daily briefing

    President Obama meets with Belgian King King Philippe and Belgian Prime Minister Elio Di Rupo
    Flanders Fields Cemetery, Brussels, Belgium

    First Lady Michelle Obama visits the Chengdu Panda Base. The Chengdu Panda Base is currently home to approximately 50 pandas, ranging in age from infancy to full-grown adults. Chinese scientists spend their days working to increase the panda population through research, conservation, and breeding.

    First Lady Michelle Obama departs Chengdu and returns to Washington D.C.

    5:40 AM
    President Obama attends a wreath laying
    Flanders Fields Cemetery, Brussels, Belgium

    5:50 AM
    President Obama tours battlefield
    Flanders Fields Cemetery Brussels, Belgium

    6:00 AM
    President Obama delivers remarks
    Flanders Fields Cemetery, Brussels, Belgium

    7:00 AM
    7:35 AM
    President Obama arrives to the Council of the European Union to participate in the EU-U.S. Summit
    Council of the European Union, Brussels, Belgium

    8:00 AM
    9:00 AM
    9:10 AM
    President Obama, European Commission Presidents Barroso and Van Rompuy hold a press conference
    Council of the European Union, Brussels, Belgium

    10:00 AM
    11:00 AM
    11:10 AM
    President Obama meets with employees and family members of the U.S. Tri-Mission to Belgium
    The Hotel, Brussels, Belgium

    11:35 AM
    President Obama meets with NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen
    The Hotel, Brussels, Belgium

    12:00 PM
    12:45 PM
    President Obama in Address to European Youth
    The Palais des Beaux-Arts (BOZAR) aka Paleis voor Schone Kunsten (PSK)
    The Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium, Brussels, Belgium

    1:00 PM
    1:45 PM
    President Obama departs Brussels en route Rome, Italy
    Brussels International Airport

    2:00 PM
    3:00 PM
    Vice President Biden ceremonially swears in Bruce Heyman as U.S. Ambassador to Canada
    State Department

    3:40 PM
    President Obama arrives Rome, Italy

    4:00 PM
    5:00 PM
    6:00 PM
    6:30 PM
    Vice President Biden and Dr. Jill Biden Hosts a Reception in Honor of Women’s History Month
    United States Naval Observatory, Washington, DC

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

  2. CR says:

    Committed to Passing Bipartisan Immigration Reform

    President Obama understands the importance and urgency in fixing the broken immigration system and outlined his vision for a 21st century immigration policy:

    • Responsibility by the federal government to secure our borders:Today, our borders are more secure than at any time in the past several decades, and the Administration continues to refine and strengthen its strategy. Enforcement resources should be focused on preventing those who would do our nation harm from entering our country.
    • Accountability for businesses that break the law by undermining American workers and exploiting undocumented workers: Employers who deliberately hire and exploit undocumented workers must be held accountable. At the same time, we must give employers who want to play by the rules a reliable way to verify that their employees are here legally.
    • Strengthening our economic competiveness by creating a legal immigration system that reflects our values and diverse needs: Our immigration laws should continue to reunify families and encourage individuals we train in our world-class institutions to stay and develop new technologies and industries in the United States rather than abroad. The law should stop punishing innocent young people whose parents brought them here illegally and give those young men and women a chance to stay in this country if they serve in the military or pursue higher education. A smart 21st century system should also provide farmers a legal way to hire the workers they rely on year after year, and it should improve procedures for employers who seek to hire foreign workers for jobs if U.S. workers are not available.
    • Responsibility from people who are living in the United States illegally: Those people living here illegally must also be held accountable for their actions and get on the right side of the law by registering and undergoing national security and criminal background checks, paying taxes and a penalty, and learning English before they can get in line to become eligible for citizenship. Being a citizen of this country comes not only with rights but also with fundamental responsibilities. We can create a pathway for legal status that is fair and reflects our values.
    • CR says:

      Obama challenges immigration heckler

      11/25/13 3:27 PM EST By JENNIFER EPSTEIN – POLITICO

      President Obama was heckled Monday by an immigration reform activist who argued that the president has the power to pause all deportations, a notion he challenged as he made the case for the need for congressional action.

      “I need your help,” a young man shouted, as he called for the president to halt the deportations of some of the 11 million undocumented immigrants in the country. “You have a power to stop deportations for all,” he added.

      “Actually, I don’t, and that’s why we’re here,” the president responded as the heckler and several others continued shouting, breaking out into a chant of “stop deportations!”

      As security guards moved to pull the protesters out of the room, Obama said those challenging him could stay.

      “I respect the passion of these young people because they feel deeply about the concerns of their families,” he said, pivoting to a tougher stance.

      “Now, what you need to know, when I’m speaking as president of the United States, and I come to this community, is that, in fact, if I could solve all these problems without passing laws in Congress, then I would do so,” Obama said. “But we’re also a nation of laws. That’s part of our tradition. And so the easy way out is to try to yell and pretend like I can do something by violating our laws.”

      “What I’m proposing is the harder path, which is to use our democratic processes to achieve the same goal that you want to achieve, but it won’t be as easy as just shouting,” he continued. “It requires us lobbying and getting it done.”

      “So for those of you who are committed to getting this done, I am going to march with you and fight with you every step of the way,” he said as he closed out his speech. “It is going to require work, it is not simply a matter of us just saying we’re gonna violate the law. That’s not our tradition.”

    • CR says:

      Gathering in the Spirit of Unity: The President and First Lady Visit Those Fasting for Immigration Reform

      Cecilia Muñoz November 29, 2013 02:31 PM EST

      Today, the President and the First Lady visited the brave individuals who are fasting in the shadow of the Capitol, sacrificing their health in an effort to get Congress to act swiftly on commonsense immigration reform. The President and the First Lady gave their support for their fight for family unity this Thanksgiving weekend, as families across the country come together to spend time with loved ones.

      Since November 12, fasters from “Fast For Families” have abstained from all food except water in an effort to bring attention to the urgent need for the Republican leadership in the House of Representatives to take a vote on comprehensive immigration reform. Vice President Joe Biden, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, Secretary of Labor Tom Perez, Chief of Staff Denis McDonough, Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett and I have also visited Fast For families in recent weeks.

      The fasters shared their stories and described empty stomachs but full hearts as they received an outpouring of support; to date, more than 3,000 people around the country have committed to fasting in solidarity.

      The President and the First Lady thanked Eliseo Medina, Dae Joong Yoon, and all of the fasters for their sacrifice and dedication and told them that the country is behind them on immigration reform. He said that the only thing standing in the way is politics. And it is the brave commitment to change from advocates like them that will pressure the House to finally act on immigration reform.

      This Thanksgiving, as friends, family, and community gather in the spirit of unity, we lend our support to those fighting for making commonsense immigration reform a reality. We will stand with them every step of the way to make sure that we bring coherence to our immigration laws, and pass a common sense reform that is consistent with our tradition as a nation of laws and a nation of immigrants.

    • CR says:

      On Obama’s Agenda: Immigration, Inequality And Unfinished Business

      January 28, 2014 4:00 PM NPR

      Ahead of the State of the Union, Robert Siegel sits down with White House press secretary Jay Carney. They discuss President Obama’s plans for Tuesday night’s address to Congress and millions of Americans.

      ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

      From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I’m Robert Siegel.

      AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

      And I’m Audie Cornish. President Obama heads to Capitol Hill tonight for his fifth official State of the Union address. After a challenging year, it’s a chance for Obama to turn the page and lay out his priorities for 2014 ahead of this fall’s midterm elections. We’ll bring you full coverage of the speech later tonight. First, a preview of what the president is expected to say.

      SIEGEL: Joining us now, White House press secretary Jay Carney. Welcome to the program.

      JAY CARNEY: Thank you for having me.

      SIEGEL: We expect the president to be talking a good deal about inequality in this State of the Union, inequality meaning that both the poor are making too little and the very rich too much or just that there should be more opportunity for the poor?

      CARNEY: You’re right in the second part, Robert. He’s going to talk a lot about the need to expand opportunity for everyone in America. The focus that many have had on income inequality in this country is really a focus on a symptom, a part of a broader problem, part of a stress that we’ve seen develop on the middle class over the course of three decades or more.

      And what the president’s going to focus on tonight is not just one of the symptoms of the problem, but on the solutions to the problem, on the cures to the problem. And, you know, he’s going to really lay out three key principles, opportunity, action and optimism and he believes that we should all be focused in Washington on everything we can do to expand opportunity.

      SIEGEL: What about the – what I believe the president would see as the disproportionate opportunities that the very rich have had over the past three decades, I guess, in America. Will he once again call for raising taxes on the wealthiest Americans?

      CARNEY: No. Robert, as you know, he succeeded last year in fulfilling his promise to lock in tax cuts for middle class Americans for the vast majority of the American people and also to return the marginal tax rates at the very high end for millionaires and billionaires to what they were under President Clinton.

      Now, he’s going to focus on expanding opportunity and rewarding hard work. You saw this morning that he will be announcing tonight that, using an executive order, he is going to raise the minimum wage for federal contractors under new contracts to $10.10 an hour. That’s a significant raise to the minimum wage.

      And he’s doing that because last year he called on Congress to raise the minimum wage across the country. Congress has, thus far, refused to act and he is determined to use the authority he has where he can to expand opportunity. It’s very much his firm belief that in the United States of America if you’re working full time, you’re working hard, that you should not be paid a wage that still keeps you in poverty.

      And that’s why we ought to move – lift the minimum wage. He will, in addition to taking executive action, call again on Congress to pass a law to raise the minimum wage.

      For the entire article and audio interview: http://www.npr.org/2014/01/28/267797232/on-obamas-agenda-immigration-inequality-and-unfinished-business

    • CR says:

      March 26, 2014

      Statement by the President on Immigration Reform

      Last year, Democrats and Republicans in the Senate came together to pass a commonsense bill to fix our broken immigration system – a bill that would grow our economy, shrink our deficits, and reward businesses and workers that play by the rules. But so far, Republicans in the House have refused to allow meaningful immigration reform legislation to even come up for a vote.

      That’s why, today, I applaud the efforts of Democrats in the House to give immigration reform the yes-or-no vote it deserves. Like the Senate bill, the House bill would strengthen our borders, modernize our legal immigration system, and keep more families together. It would make sure everyone plays by the same rules by providing a pathway to earned citizenship for those who are living in the shadows. And according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, it would grow our economy and reduce our deficits by $900 billion over the next 20 years.

      Immigration reform is the right thing to do for our economy, our security, and our future. A vast majority of the American people agree. The only thing standing in the way is the unwillingness of Republicans in Congress to catch up with the rest of the country. And I want to thank the leaders in Congress who are doing their part to move us forward.

    • CR says:

      A Risk Worth Taking

      An Obama administration reform gives undocumented Luz Elena Hernandez a chance to pursue her dream, but it’s shaky ground.

      3/27/14 By Luz Elena Herndandez – KQED

      I needed a job after high school to help my family and to be able to pay for college. I opened my computer to fill out job applications and questionnaires from Safeway, Old Navy and Target. What’s your name and address? Do you have a high school diploma? What would you do if a customer needs help? I breezed through the questions until I got to the one that read, “Please enter your social security number.” I didn’t have one.

      Sitting in my room I remember feeling so frustrated because I was born in another country. A place I don’t remember and haven’t visited since I was two. Because I don’t have legal status, I couldn’t do even the simplest things that my friends could do. I had never been able to find a job that paid me at least minimum wage. Pell Grants were not an option. Plus, I had a never ending fear of getting my life taken away from me.

      That all changed when the Obama Administration announced the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program, or DACA. It allows immigrant youth to get social security number, and a two-year work permit.

      I applied for the new status and got it. A month and a half later, I had three job offers. And the job I picked pays me hourly plus commission. I could finally start saving to transfer to a four-year university.

      My new immigration status was a dream come true, but it’s one I might have to wake up from. I’m not on a path to citizenship. The status is supposed be renewable, but the program might not even be here in two years when a new President is elected.

      For 18 years my family has kept our immigration status a secret. My parents taught me to always avoid the question “Where were you born?”, and to be extremely cautious in everything, especially driving. None of us could afford to get stopped by the police because of risk of deportation.

      Now, thanks to me, my family’s best kept secret is in the immigration database. I decided to put myself out there in order to get a better life. I just really hope it’s all worth it.

      With a Perspective, I’m Luz Elena Hernandez.

      Luz Elena Hernandez attends community college in the East Bay and is headed to a four-year school this fall. Youth Radio produced her commentary

      For the audio version of this commentary: http://www.kqed.org/a/perspectives/R201403270735

    • CR says:

      Pentagon Plan to Enlist Young Immigrants Is Delayed at White House’s Request

      MAY 31, 2014 By JULIA PRESTON – nytimes

      A Pentagon plan to allow a small number of young immigrants who grew up in the United States without legal status to enlist in the military has been delayed by the White House, senior officials there said Saturday, to avoid any conflict with House Republicans considering whether to move on immigration legislation.

      The Pentagon proposal would create a first but very limited pathway to citizenship for those who call themselves Dreamers.

      In a letter to a number of senators that was drafted Wednesday, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said he had “taken initial action to allow for the enlistment” of the young immigrants.

      But the White House asked Mr. Hagel to hold off taking any further steps on the new policy until August, after Congress’s summer session, the administration officials said.

      President Obama said last week that he would not take any executive action on immigration during the next two months, to give Republican leaders in the House a chance to move forward on legislation that could grant legal status to illegal immigrants.

      For more: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/01/us/politics/pentagon-puts-off-a-plan-to-enlist-young-immigrants.html?partner=rss&emc=rss&smid=tw-thecaucus&_r=0

  3. CR says:

    GOP WRONG WAY

    Immigration groups ready ‘punishment’ for GOP

    2/11/14 02:21 PM By Benjy Sarlin – msnbc

    Frustrated by the Speaker John Boehner’s reluctance to press ahead with immigration reform, activist groups are launching an aggressive new campaign to pressure and unseat House Republicans.

    “From now on, any lawmaker who does not support comprehensive immigration reform should expect relentless and constant confrontations that will escalate until they agree to support immigration reform,” Kica Matos, spokeswoman for the Fair Immigration Reform Movement, told reporters in a conference call on Tuesday.

    According to FIRM, an umbrella group for a variety of pro-reform organizations, the new tactics signal a move into the “electoral punishment” phase of the debate.

    THE DAILY RUNDOWN WITH CHUCK TODD, 2/10/14, 11:04 AM ET
    Is immigration reform at an impasse?

    Boehner, who released a set of Republican principles for reform last month, has not ruled out passing immigration reform this year and some of the same reform leaders backing the escalation say they haven’t given up on the idea Boehner will eventually move forward with legislation. But their latest action reflects growing concern that House Republicans are close to tabling the issue. According to Boehner, it will be difficult to take action until his members become more comfortable trusting the White House to implement new border security and immigration enforcement measures.

    Democratic Congressman Luis Gutierrez, who is close to the reform movement and has often praised Republicans working on immigration, said in a floor speech on Tuesday that he believed reports of reform’s demise were premature. But he also delivered a searing indictment of House leadership, warning the Speaker “you are not going to be spared” if reform fails to advance.

    “You thought the Super Bowl was a blow out?” he said. “Wait until November 2016 if immigration reform is still hanging out there.”

    A number of House Republicans have suggested punting reform to next year because it’s unlikely to help them in the 2014 elections, where members overwhelmingly occupy safe and disproportionately white districts, compared to the 2016 presidential election, where the party wants to improve its performance with Hispanic and Asian voters to compete for swing states like Colorado, Nevada, Florida and Virginia.

    For more: http://www.msnbc.com/msnbc/immigration-groups-plan-punish-gop

    • CR says:

      House Democrats to Try and Force Floor Vote on Immigration Overhaul

      March 25, 2014 By Emma Dumain – blogs.rollcall.com

      House Democrats to Try and Force Floor Vote on Immigration Overhaul6
      House Democrats are poised to offer their third discharge petition of 2014 Wednesday, this one to force a floor vote on an immigration overhaul bill.

      They’ll need to get 218 signatures on the petition in order to compel GOP leadership to bring up their legislation, which mirrors the Senate-passed immigration bill, except for some tweaks in the border security language.

      The likelihood of that outcome is approximately zero: Even the few House Republicans who have broken with their leaders to sign on as co-sponsors to the House bill are not expected to embrace a procedural tactic that would embarrass the majority party.

      A CQ Roll Call whip count also shows that there are few members of the House GOP willing to even put their necks out for their leadership’s broad immigration “principles.”

      No Republicans have signed onto the Democratic discharge petitions to force votes on bills to raise the minimum wage and extend emergency unemployment insurance, either.

      But Democrats will also be touting a Congressional Budget Office report reaffirming that overhauling the nation’s immigration system would cut the deficit by about $900 billion over twenty years, a figure that had lawmakers crowing Tuesday.

      Here’s the official announcement for the Democrats’ unrolling of the discharge petition Wednesday morning:

      “Washington, D.C. – House Democrats will be joined by immigration leaders and advocates at a press event tomorrow on the House East steps of the Capitol at 10:45 a.m. to announce a #DemandAVote discharge petition. House Democrats will call on Speaker Boehner and the House Republican Conference to bring up H.R. 15 – bipartisan comprehensive immigration bill with 200 co-sponsors, including 3 Republicans – before proceeding to the House floor to sign the #DemandAVote petition.

      Speaker Boehner and House Republicans have long stalled on an immigration reform bill that will reduce the deficit by nearly $1 trillion, secure our borders, protect our workers, unite our families, strengthen our nation’s economy, and provide an earned pathway to citizenship. It has been over 265 days since the Senate passed their version of comprehensive immigration reform and over 50 days since Republicans introduced their so-called immigration principles. The #TimesIsNow, our country and our families deserve a vote.”

      • CR says:

        March 26, 2014

        Statement by the President on Immigration Reform

        Last year, Democrats and Republicans in the Senate came together to pass a commonsense bill to fix our broken immigration system – a bill that would grow our economy, shrink our deficits, and reward businesses and workers that play by the rules. But so far, Republicans in the House have refused to allow meaningful immigration reform legislation to even come up for a vote.

        That’s why, today, I applaud the efforts of Democrats in the House to give immigration reform the yes-or-no vote it deserves. Like the Senate bill, the House bill would strengthen our borders, modernize our legal immigration system, and keep more families together. It would make sure everyone plays by the same rules by providing a pathway to earned citizenship for those who are living in the shadows. And according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, it would grow our economy and reduce our deficits by $900 billion over the next 20 years.

        Immigration reform is the right thing to do for our economy, our security, and our future. A vast majority of the American people agree. The only thing standing in the way is the unwillingness of Republicans in Congress to catch up with the rest of the country. And I want to thank the leaders in Congress who are doing their part to move us forward.

  4. CR says:

    President Obama’s European Travel Itinerary

    March 26

    President Obama meets with Belgian King King Philippe and Belgian Prime Minister Elio Di Rupo
    Flanders Fields Cemetery, Brussels, Belgium

    President Obama attends a wreath laying
    Flanders Fields Cemetery, Brussels, Belgium

    President Obama tours battlefield
    Flanders Fields Cemetery, Brussels, Belgium

    President delivers remarks
    Flanders Fields Cemetery, Brussels, Belgium

    President Obama attends the US-EU Summit
    Council of the European Union, Brussels, Belgium

    President Obama meets with European Commission Presidents Barroso and Van Rompuy – US-EU Summit
    Council of the European Union, Justus Lipsius Building, Brussels, Belgium

    President Obama attends a US-EU Summit working lunch
    Council of the European Union, Justus Lipsius Building, Brussels, Belgium

    President Obama, European Commission Presidents Barroso and Van Rompuy hold a press conference – EU-US Summit
    Council of the European Union, Justus Lipsius Building, Brussels, Belgium

    President Obama meets with employees and family members of the U.S. Tri-Mission to Belgium
    The Hotel, Brussels, Belgium

    President Obama meets with NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen
    The Hotel,, Brussels, Belgium

    President Obama in Address to European Youth
    The Palais des Beaux-Arts (BOZAR) aka Paleis voor Schone Kunsten (PSK) The Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium, Brussels, Belgium

    President Obama departs for Rome

    • CR says:

      March 26, 2014

      Remarks by President Obama, His Majesty King Philippe, and Prime Minister di Rupo of Belgium at Flanders Field Cemetery

      Waregem, Belgium

      11:17 A.M. CET

      HIS MAJESTY KING PHILIPPE: Mr. President, we are deeply moved to stand here with you amidst the graves of brave American soldiers who gave their lives for our freedom. We remember and honor all those who took part in the First World War and who were killed or maimed, and those who, even if they survived, were often scarred forever by the dreadful experience. We will always be grateful for the sacrifice.

      The United States of America fought side-by-side with Belgium and other European nations. As President Woodrow Wilson said, “There is a price which is too great to pay for peace, and that price can be put in one word. One cannot pay the price of self-respect.”

      For Belgium, this was true when my great-grandfather, King Albert I, led our country in its rejection of the Kaiser’s ultimatum, and defended Belgium’s status of neutrality. The horrors of the trench warfare, including the use of chemical weapons for the first time ever in world history, the deaths of so many soldiers — all this was the acid bath in which many of the old beliefs were dissolved.

      The First World War led to many changes in all our countries. Many reforms were introduced in the following years. However, the so-called “war to end all wars” was followed by an even more brutal one, which engulfed most of the world and which, moreover, saw the heartrending atrocity of the Holocaust.

      Our countries have learned the hard way that national sovereignty quickly reaches its limits when confronted to its heavily armed adversary who do not respect that sovereignty. Thanks to visionary people, we started on the road of European integration. It was and remains a rocky road, but we are truly convinced that it is the only one. Today, international cooperation, both regional and global, is more than ever necessary to roll back the scourge of war and violence with the tragic wake of human suffering.

      For more: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2014/03/26/remarks-president-obama-his-majesty-king-philippe-and-prime-minister-di-

    • CR says:

      March 26, 2014

      Press Conference by President Obama, European Council President Van Rompuy, and European Commission President Barroso

      Council of the European Union
      Brussels, Belgium

      2:42 P.M. CET

      PRESIDENT VAN ROMPUY: Good afternoon. It has been a great pleasure to welcome President Obama to this EU-U.S. Summit in Brussels.

      We meet at a hugely important moment, certainly for peace and security on the European continent. Events in Ukraine and elsewhere go to show that there are many unsettling uncertainties, and that’s why the solid certainty of the transatlantic relationship is so crucial. It is the bedrock to face these challenges — a bond of friendship tested by history, and that bond is shockproof. Cooperation among our countries is unrivaled. So in our meeting today, we focused on the issues where together — together we can provide the political (inaudible) at the highest level.

      We obviously spoke about Ukraine, today’s most pressing matter. It was a follow-up to our excellent exchange at the G7 meeting in The Hague two days ago. Europe and the United States have a strong and coordinated position. For the EU side, I refer you to the bold statements of last week’s European Council. We support Ukraine and its people in their pursuit for a better life as a nation. Crimea’s illegal annexation is a disgrace in the 21st century and we will not recognize it.

      The first priority is to deescalate the situation. Russia’s support for an OSCE mission in Ukraine is a positive step. The fact that Russia’s and Ukraine’s foreign ministers finally met in The Hague is another sign of more openness. However, if there is further escalation, we Europeans and Americans are ready to intensify sanctions. With the understanding that sanctions are a means to an end, the goal is a negotiated solution in respect of Ukraine’s sovereignty and of international law.

      We also stand by Georgia and Moldova, and the European Union has brought forward to June the signing of the Association Agreement with them.

      Apart from Ukraine, we talked about negotiations with Iran, about working to end the terrible war in Syria, and to stop violence and anarchy in the Central African Republic. Both are humanitarian tragedies.

      For more: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2014/03/26/press-conference-president-obama-european-council-president-van-rompuy-a

    • CR says:

      March 26, 2014

      Remarks by President Obama and NATO Secretary General Rasmussen Before Meeting

      The Hotel

      Brussels, Belgium

      5:33 P.M. CET

      PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, let me just say how much I appreciate the opportunity once again to meet with Secretary General Rasmussen. I have to say that in the entire time that he has served in this position he has done an outstanding job. His leadership, his vision, his clarity, and his political skills — because there are a lot of NATO members — have all been on display, and as a consequence, the Transatlantic Alliance is stronger, more robust than it was without him. And so we’re very grateful for his extraordinary work.

      At a time when the situation in Ukraine I think has focused everyone’s attention on the importance of the transatlantic relationships, we spent most of our discussion reaffirming the importance of NATO, that it is the bedrock of America’s security as well as European security. We share the view that Russia’s illegal incursion into Ukraine and the violations of territorial integrity and sovereignty have to be condemned, but it also reminds us that the NATO commitments that we’ve made under Article 5 are something that are not just items on a piece of paper, but are critically important to all NATO members. And we have to have the resources and preparation to make sure that every member of NATO feels confident in Article 5’s effect.

      We’ve already made a series of decisions to help underscore the importance of NATO and collective defense in the wake of what has happened in Ukraine. There will be a ministerial summit coming up at which I have asked the United States delegation to work cooperatively with the Secretary General’s office and evaluate all the additional steps that we might take in order to bolster that confidence among all NATO members.

      And we also talked about a project that the Secretary General has been working on for quite some time to continue to develop the joint capabilities of NATO. And I think that at this moment, as I said at the press conference earlier today, both the United States and Europe are going to have to make sure that we are stepping up our game and making the contributions that are required in order for us to give full effect to our NATO obligations.

      One of the things that I’ve been very proud of in working with Secretary Rasmussen is the degree of unanimity that he has been able to forge on a whole range of issues. One of his biggest jobs has been dealing with the situation in Afghanistan as we end our combat mission in Afghanistan and we transition to a train-and-advise situation. He has helped to oversee that process. We do not yet have a Bilateral Security Agreement that fully clarifies what the nature of our mission will be post-2014, but working together, we’re confident that we can prepare for any eventuality and that we can continue to maintain both the counterterrorism commitments as well as the commitments to help develop an Afghan security force that can ensure that Afghanistan does not end up being, once again, a safe haven for terrorism and that it can be a stable and secure country that serves the prosperity and the security of the Afghan people.

      For more: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2014/03/26/remarks-president-obama-and-nato-secretary-general-rasmussen-meeting

    • CR says:

      March 26, 2014
      Remarks by the President in Address to European Youth

      Palais des Beaux Arts
      Brussels, Belgium

      6:16 P.M. EDT

      PRESIDENT OBAMA: Thank you so much. Thank you. (Applause.) Please, please have a seat. Good evening. Goede avond. Bonsoir. Guten abend. (Applause.) Thank you, Laura, for that remarkable introduction. Before she came out she told me not to be nervous. (Laughter.) And I can only imagine — I think her father is in the audience, and I can only imagine how proud he is of her. We’re grateful for her work, but she’s also reminding us that our future will be defined by young people like her.

      Your Majesties, Mr. Prime Minister, and the people of Belgium — on behalf of the American people, we are grateful for your friendship. We stand together as inseparable allies, and I thank you for your wonderful hospitality. I have to admit it is easy to love a country famous for chocolate and beer. (Laughter.)

      Leaders and dignitaries of the European Union; representatives of our NATO Alliance; distinguished guests: We meet here at a moment of testing for Europe and the United States, and for the international order that we have worked for generations to build.

      Throughout human history, societies have grappled with fundamental questions of how to organize themselves, the proper relationship between the individual and the state, the best means to resolve inevitable conflicts between states. And it was here in Europe, through centuries of struggle — through war and Enlightenment, repression and revolution — that a particular set of ideals began to emerge: The belief that through conscience and free will, each of us has the right to live as we choose. The belief that power is derived from the consent of the governed, and that laws and institutions should be established to protect that understanding. And those ideas eventually inspired a band of colonialists across an ocean, and they wrote them into the founding documents that still guide America today, including the simple truth that all men — and women — are created equal.

      But those ideals have also been tested — here in Europe and around the world. Those ideals have often been threatened by an older, more traditional view of power. This alternative vision argues that ordinary men and women are too small-minded to govern their own affairs, that order and progress can only come when individuals surrender their rights to an all-powerful sovereign. Often, this alternative vision roots itself in the notion that by virtue of race or faith or ethnicity, some are inherently superior to others, and that individual identity must be defined by “us” versus “them,” or that national greatness must flow not by what a people stand for, but by what they are against.

      For more: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2014/03/26/remarks-president-address-european-youth

    • CR says:

      Travels with The President – Rome & Vatican City

      Published on Mar 27, 2014

      Thursday March 27th, 2014 – In Italy, President Obama meets with His Holiness Pope Francis at the Vatican and then tours the Colosseum in Rome before departing Italy for Saudi Arabia on Friday, March 28th.

    • CR says:

      1:30 PM ET
      President Obama meets with members of The Holy See,The Holy See, and the UN Agencies in Rome
      U.S. Ambassador’s residence, Rome, Italy

  5. CR says:

    First Lady Michelle Obama Travels To China

    Chengdu, China

    March 26

    First Lady Michelle Obama visits the Chengdu Panda Base. The Chengdu Panda Base is currently home to approximately 50 pandas, ranging in age from infancy to full-grown adults. Chinese scientists spend their days working to increase the panda population through research, conservation, and breeding.

    First Lady Michelle Obama departs Chengdu and returns to Washington D.C.

    • CR says:

      Raw Video: Behind the Scenes at Chengdu Panda Base with Fist Lady Michelle Obama

      Published on Mar 26, 2014

      Go behind the scenes with the First Lady at Chengdu Panda Base in Chengdu, China, on the last day of her official visit to China. Learn more about the First Lady’s trip at http://www.wh.gov/First-Lady-China-Trip

  6. CR says:

    GOP WRONG WAY

    Conservative Justices Appear Ready To Strike Birth Control Mandate

    MARCH 25, 2014 SAHIL KAPUR – tpm

    During oral arguments Tuesday, conservative Supreme Court justices appeared broadly ready to rule against the birth control mandate under Obamacare, and their line of questioning indicated they may have a majority to do it.

    Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Antonin Scalia and Samuel Alito expressed no sympathy for the regulation while appearing concerned for the Christian business owners of Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood who said the contraceptive mandate violates their religious liberty and fails strict scrutiny standards under the 1993 Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA).

    “Under your view, a profit corporation … could be forced in principle to pay for abortions,” Justice Anthony Kennedy, the traditional swing vote, told U.S. Solicitor General Donald Verrilli, who was defending the law.

    Kennedy wasn’t so unequivocal as that question suggested, signaling in his other remarks that the outcome is unclear. Still, he appeared to be leaning against the government. He warned that the administration’s reasoning could lead to more onerous mandates. He wondered aloud if other exemptions under Obamacare, such as the accommodation that lets religious nonprofits opt out of paying for contraception, suggest that the government has decided the services were “not that important.”

    At one point, however, Kennedy alluded to a common argument by supporters of the birth control rule, asking if the “rights of the employees” whom Congress promised contraceptive services would be “trump[ed]” by the rights of the religious business owners. He asked the challengers’ lawyer if axing the mandate would “put the employee in a disadvantageous position.”

    Alito wondered if there were “ways of accommodating the interests of the women who may want these particular drugs or devices without imposing a substantial burden on the employer who has the religious objection to it.”

    The female justices led the charge in questioning the challengers’ lawyer, Paul Clement. When Justice Elena Kagan posited that a ruling against the government could empower businesses to sue for exemptions from other laws, such as the minimum wage, Alito jumped in to counter, “Have any of these claims involving the minimum wage been brought [since RFRA was passed] and have they succeeded?” he asked. (The answer was no.)

    When Kagan later argued that the business owners had a choice, and could simply pay the tax penalty for noncompliance with the mandate, Scalia jumped in to call that an “absurd” suggestion, contending that it would harm them financially.

    For more: http://talkingpointsmemo.com/dc/conservative-justices-ready-strike-birth-control-mandate

  7. Kat 4 Obama says:

    Happy and HOPEful Tuesday night, CR and all friends!

    >^..^<

  8. Kat 4 Obama says:

  9. Kat 4 Obama says:

    Happy and HOPEful Wednesday, CR and all friends!

    >^..^<

  10. CR says:

    6:30 PM ET
    Vice President Biden and Dr. Jill Biden Hosts a Reception in Honor of Women’s History Month
    United States Naval Observatory, Washington, DC

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

  11. CR says:

    WH

    Thursday, March 27, 2014

    All Times Eastern

    President Obama receives the presidential daily briefing

    5:30 AM
    President Obama meets with His Holiness Pope Francis
    The Holy See, Vatican City, Italy

    6:00 AM
    6:25 AM
    President Obama meets with Cardinal Secretary of State Parolin
    The Holy See, Vatican City, Italy

    7:00 AM
    7:15 AM
    President Obama arrives the Quirinal Palace
    Quirinal Palace, Rome, Italy

    7:25 AM
    President Obama participates in a restricted bilateral meeting with President Giorgio Napolitano of Italy
    Quirinal Palace, Rome, Italy

    7:40 AM
    President Obama participates in a extended bilateral meeting with President Giorgio Napolitano of Italy
    Quirinal Palace, Rome, Italy

    8:00 AM
    8:05 AM
    President Obama and Italian President Napolitano hold a working lunch
    Quirinal Palace, Rome, Italy

    9:00 AM
    9:20 AM
    President Obama arrives Villa Madama
    Villa Madama, Rome, Italy

    9:25 AM
    President Obama and Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi of Italy participates in a bilateral meeting
    Villa Madama, Rome, Italy

    10:00 AM
    10:35 AM
    President Obama and Italian Prime Minister Renzi hold a press conference
    Villa Madama, Rome, Italy

    11:00 AM
    11:40 AM
    President Obama tours the Colossum
    Rome, Italy

    12:00 PM
    1:00 PM
    1:30 PM
    President Obama meets with members of The Holy See,The Holy See, and the UN Agencies in Rome
    U.S. Ambassador’s residence, Rome, Italy

    Vice President Biden Speaks to the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce’s 2014 Legislative Summit
    Washington, DC

    2:00 PM
    3:00 PM
    4:00 PM
    5:00 PM
    6:00 PM
    7:00 PM
    8:00 PM
    9:00 PM
    10:00 PM

  12. CR says:

    President Obama’s European Travel Itinerary

    March 27, Thursday

    President Obama meets with His Holiness Pope Francis
    The Holy See Vatican City, Italy

    President Obama meets with Cardinal Secretary of State Parolin
    The Holy See, Vatican City, Italy

    President Obama participates in a restricted bilateral meeting with President Giorgio Napolitano of Italy
    Quirinal Palace, Rome, Italy

    President Obama participates in a extended bilateral meeting with President Giorgio Napolitano of Italy

    President Obama and Italian President Napolitano hold a working lunch
    Quirinal Palace, Rome, Italy

    President Obama and Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi of Italy participates in a bilateral meeting
    Villa Madama, Rome, Italy

    President Obama and Italian Prime Minister Renzi hold a press conference
    Villa Madama, Rome, Italy

    President Obama tours the Colossum
    Rome, Italy

    President Obama meets with members of The Holy See,The Holy See, and the UN Agencies in Rome
    U.S. Ambassador’s residence, Rome, Italy

    • CR says:

      5:30 AM ET
      President Obama meets with His Holiness Pope Francis
      The Holy See Vatican City, Italy

      • CR says:

        March 27, 2014

        Readout of the President’s Audience with His Holiness Pope Francis

        Excerpts of the President’s remarks on his meeting with His Holiness Pope Francis are below, from a press conference:

        Q Mr. President, in your meeting with His Holiness, Pope Francis, did he register any objections with you about the contraception coverage mandate in the Affordable Care Act or your efforts to advance the rights of gays and lesbians in the United States that worry so many Catholics? And what were his concerns?

        And on Russia, with reports of troops building on the Ukrainian border, by taking the military option off the table are you sending a signal to Vladimir Putin that other parts of Ukraine are his for the taking? And why not send multinational peacekeepers to the Ukrainian border as a deterrent?

        And to you, Mr. Prime Minister, the President said yesterday that the U.S. would defend any NATO ally. Are you making that same commitment when it comes to Russia?

        PRESIDENT OBAMA: In terms of the meeting with His Holiness, Pope Francis, we had a wide-ranging discussion. I would say that the largest bulk of the time was discussing two central concerns of his. One is the issues of the poor, the marginalized, those without opportunity, and growing inequality.

        And those of us as politicians have the task of trying to come up with policies to address issues, but His Holiness has the capacity to open people’s eyes and make sure they’re seeing that this is an issue. And he’s discussed in the past I think the dangers of indifference or cynicism when it comes to our ability to reach out to those less fortunate or those locked out of opportunity.

        For more: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2014/03/27/readout-president-s-audience-his-holiness-pope-francis

      • CR says:

        Raw: Obama’s First Meet With Pope Francis

        Published on Mar 27, 2014

        President Barack Obama called himself a “great admirer” of Pope Francis as he sat down at the Vatican in their first meeting Thursday with the pontiff he considers a kindred spirit on issues of economic inequality. (March 27)

      • CR says:

        President Obama has a gift for Pope Francis

        3/27/14 7:23 AM EDT By TAL KOPAN – POLITICO

        President Barack Obama didn’t show up at the Vatican for his meeting with Pope Francis on Thursday empty-handed — he brought the Roman Catholic leader a gift straight from the White House garden.

        Obama presented the Pope with a custom seed chest that included seeds for fruits and vegetables used in the White House garden, according to pool reports.

        When presenting the gifts, Obama mentioned he had heard the Pope was opening up Vatican gardens to the public and explained the contents.

        “These I think are carrots,” the president said, holding a pouch, according to pool reports. “Each one has a different seed in it. The box is made from timber from the first cathedral to open in the United States, in Baltimore.”

        The chest is made from American leather and wood reclaimed from the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin May, a Baltimore, Md., cathedral that was the first major metropolitan cathedral built in the U.S. after the signing of the Constitution.

        An inscription on the chest reads: “Presented to His Holiness Pope Francis by Barack Obama, President of the United States of America, March 27, 2014.”

        Along with the seeds for the Vatican gardens, Thomas Jefferson’s home Monticello in Virginia will donate produce seeds to a charity of the Pope’s choice.

        “If you have a chance to come to the White House, we can show you our garden, as well,” Obama said.

        The Pope reportedly smiled and laughed frequently during the gift exchange.

        Read more: http://www.politico.com/story/2014/03/obama-pope-francis-gift-105095.html?hp=r1

    • CR says:

      6:25 AM ET
      President Obama meets with Cardinal Secretary of State Parolin
      The Holy See, Vatican City, Italy

    • CR says:

      8:05 AM ET
      President Obama and Italian President Napolitano hold a working lunch
      Quirinal Palace, Rome, Italy

    • CR says:

      March 27, 2014

      Remarks by President Obama and Prime Minister Renzi of Italy in Joint Press Conference

      Villa Madama
      Rome, Italy

      4:18 P.M. CET

      PRIME MINISTER RENZI: Good afternoon, everybody. Thank you so much. And obviously, thank you so much, President Obama, because for me it’s a very great pleasure to host here in Villa Madama President Obama. All Italian journalists know very well President Obama is not only the President of the United States, obviously, but for me and my team, is also an inspiration and model. And so for this reason, I have particularly appreciate this opportunity of meeting.

      Now, I speak in Italian. (As interpreted.) I wish to thank the United States government for this wonderful opportunity to meet. I wish to thank President Obama because I think that today’s dialogue not only confirms the fact that there’s a great friendship and a great partnership between our two countries, but it also confirms the fact that considering the crises that we have to face up to, the role of the United States and Europe and Italy is to be a beacon. We have to safeguard common values and ideals, so cooperation and partnership embrace important international issues and everyday issues.

      I’m happy to say that President Obama has taken a bit of time — will be taking a bit of time to visit some of our monuments and historical places here in Rome, and hopefully Ambassador John Phillips has prepared some wonderful Italian meals for him and I’m sure he’ll have a taste of the excellent quality of life in this one and a half days that he’ll be spending in our country.

      When it comes to Italian lifestyle, I think that next year’s meeting in Milan at the Expo 2015 is going to be of utmost importance. We’re talking there about food, the environment, innovation, and that, of course, is all part of our way of living, and it will be a wonderful opportunity for Italy to host countries from all over the world.

      I wish to thank the President of the United States of America for what he said yesterday in Brussels. The great challenge that’s been thrown out in the relationship between the U.S. and the European Union is a fascinating challenge. I do think that in Europe we need reforms, but we also need more growth. I think that Europe must be the place where politics will give hope back to our families.

      For more: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2014/03/27/remarks-president-obama-and-prime-minister-renzi-italy-joint-press-confe

  13. CR says:

    Economy in U.S. Expands More Than Previously Estimated

    Mar 27, 2014 5:52 AM PT By Lorraine Woellert – bloomberg

    The U.S. economy grew more rapidly in the fourth quarter than previously estimated as consumer spending climbed by the most in three years, showing the expansion had momentum heading into this year’s harsh winter.

    Gross domestic product grew at a 2.6 percent annualized rate from October through December, more than the 2.4 percent gain reported last month, figures from the Commerce Department showed today in Washington. The median forecast of 79 economists surveyed by Bloomberg called for a 2.7 percent increase.

    Robust consumer spending on services, particularly health care, helped accelerate the expansion, a sign that this year’s slowdown is partly due to heavy snowfall and freezing temperatures. Retailers such as Macy’s Inc. are waiting for the weather to improve to get a clearer picture of the economy.

    “The economy is shaking off the negative impacts from the weather,” said Sam Bullard, a senior economist at Wells Fargo Securities LLC in Charlotte, North Carolina, who accurately forecast the growth in GDP. “We’re beginning to see signs that growth is going to gain some traction and strengthen and accelerate as the year progresses.”

    For more: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-03-27/economy-in-u-s-expands-at-faster-pace-than-previously-estimated.html

  14. CR says:

    Jobless Claims in U.S. Unexpectedly Decreased Last Week

    Mar 27, 2014 5:47 AM PT By Michelle Jamrisko – bloomberg

    Applications for U.S. unemployment benefits unexpectedly declined last week to an almost four-month low, a sign companies are confident in the outlook for demand.

    Jobless claims decreased by 10,000 to 311,000 in the period ended March 22, Labor Department data showed today in Washington. The median forecast of 49 economists surveyed by Bloomberg called for 323,000 claims. The four-week average of applications filed with state agencies dropped to the lowest level since September.

    A slower pace of firings helps give employers room to add staff when sales pick up after harsher winter weather weighed on first-quarter growth. Federal Reserve policy makers are counting on sustained improvement in the job market as they wind down their unprecedented bond-buying program and consider when to raise interest rates.

    “It seems to be genuinely good news for the labor market,” said Guy Berger, a U.S. economist at RBS Securities Inc. in Stamford, Connecticut, who projected a decline in claims. “In all likelihood, employment growth in March is going to be stronger than what we’ve seen in the last three months, and this claims data is consistent with that.”

    For more: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-03-27/jobless-claims-in-u-s-unexpectedly-fell-last-week-to-311-000.html

  15. CR says:

    March 26, 2014

    Statement by the President

    Today, the Connecticut Legislature took an important step towards raising the state minimum wage to $10.10 an hour and giving more Connecticut workers the raise they deserve. When I visited Connecticut earlier this month I was joined by Governor Malloy and three of his fellow New England governors, who represent just a few of the many states, cities, and counties across our country working to raise their minimum wages. I support these efforts, and I commend Governor Malloy for his leadership. But to truly make sure our economy rewards the hard work of every American, Congress must act. I hope Members of Congress, governors, state legislators and business leaders across our country will follow Connecticut’s lead to help ensure that no American who works full time has to raise a family in poverty, and that every American who works hard has the chance to get ahead.

  16. CR says:

    March 27, 2014

    Statement by the Press Secretary on Ukraine

    The United States welcomes the preliminary agreement between the Government of Ukraine and International Monetary Fund (IMF) staff on a loan program of $14-18 billion. This represents a powerful sign of support from the international community for the Ukrainian government, as we help them stabilize and grow their economy, and move their democracy forward. The agreement is expected to unlock roughly $27 billion in total support from the international community for Ukraine’s people over the next two years, as the country implements historic reforms to address long-standing problems that have undermined Ukraine’s economic strength and prosperity. It is important now for both the Government of Ukraine and the IMF to move expeditiously and complete the steps necessary to gain approval from the IMF Executive Board.

    Together with our allies and partners, President Obama will continue to build international support for the Ukrainian people at this critical time. The IMF program will be a central component of a package of assistance to support Ukraine as it implements reforms and conducts free and fair elections that will allow all the Ukrainian people to determine the future of their country. We are working alongside international partners, including the World Bank and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), to disburse rapid additional assistance to complement the IMF program and ease Ukraine’s economic transition, particularly for the most vulnerable. As part of this international effort, we are working with Congress to quickly provide a $1 billion loan guarantee and are offering technical and financial assistance to help Ukraine meet its most pressing needs. We also remain committed to providing the IMF with the resources it needs – in partnership with Congress – to provide strong support to countries like Ukraine as well as reinforcing the Fund’s governance to reflect the global economy.

  17. CR says:

    1:30 PM ET
    Vice President Biden Speaks to the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce’s 2014 Legislative Summit
    Washington, DC

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

  18. CR says:

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

    Come on over to my newest post titled: ”Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009 – 5th Anniversary″

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

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

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