Grow America Act – Transportation Infrastructure Investments


InfraWeek_Infographic_Intro

Infrastructure Week 2014 is led by the U.S. Council on Competitiveness, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the AFL-CIO, the Brookings Institution’s Metropolitan Policy Program,Building America’s Future1776, the Organization for International Investment, the Value of Water Coalition, and the National Association of Manufacturers. These groups bring unique and powerful perspectives to the ongoing dialogue about the deteriorating condition of our nation’s infrastructure.

In collaboration with dozens of other affiliate organizations, they are presenting a number of public events around the United States.  

For more: http://www.infrastructureweek2014.com

WH.gov:Rebuild-AmericaWH.gov:Rebuild-America BRIDGE

Together, we can GROW AMERICA

Tuesday, April 29, 2014 dot.gov 

Earlier this year in St. Paul, Minnesota, President Obama and I promised to present Congress with a multi-year surface transportation reauthorization proposal, and with the unveiling of the GROW AMERICA Act today, we have fulfilled that promise.

The GROW AMERICA Act, or Generating Renewal, Opportunity, and Work with Accelerated Mobility, Efficiency, and Rebuilding of Infrastructure and Communities throughout America, will do exactly what its name implies:

  • It will support millions of American jobs repairing and modernizing our roads, bridges, railways, and transit systems;
  • It will help ensure that American businesses can compete effectively in the global economy and grow; and
  • It will pave the way forward by increasing access to the ladders of opportunity that help Americans get ahead.

I visited eight states and 13 cities as part of my Invest in America, Commit to the Future bus tour this month and everywhere I went, I heard the same thing –people want more transportation options and better roads and bridges to get them where they need to go. Failing to act before the Highway Trust Fund runs out is unacceptable and unaffordable.

GROW AMERICA offers the kind of job creation and certainty that the American people want and deserve. It represents a number of proposals that have historically attracted bipartisan support.

What GROW AMERICA will do

  • Address the shortfall in the Highway Trust Fund and provide $87 billion to address the nation’s backlog of deficient bridges and aging transit systems;
  • Create millions of new jobs to ensure America’s future competitiveness;
  • Increase safety across all modes of surface transportation, including increasing the civil penalties the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) can levy against automakers who fail to act quickly on vehicle recalls;
  • Provide certainty to state and local governments that must engage in long-term planning;
  • Reduce project approval and permitting timelines while delivering better outcomes for communities and the environment;
  • Bolster efficient and reliable freight networks to support trade and economic growth; and
  • Create incentives to better align planning and investment decisions to comprehensively address regional economic needs while strengthening local decision-making.

I have been pleased to see that members of both parties are already working together to solve these challenges, and I look forward to continuing our discussion and to supporting and building on the good work that’s already been done.

Please take the time to browse through our GROW AMERICA Fact Sheets to learn what this bill will do to keep our nation and our economy moving forward.

.

President Obama Lays Out Vision for 21st Century Transportation Infrastructure

President Obama announced that the Department of Transportation is making available $600 million in Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grants, a tremendously successful program investing in our nation’s infrastructure. These new grants mark the sixth round of the TIGER program, which has already invested $3.5 billion in 270 transportation projects across the country.

The President explained that “one of the fastest and best ways to create good jobs is by rebuilding America’s infrastructure — our roads, our bridges, our rails, our ports, our airports, our schools, our power grids. We’ve got a lot of work to do out there, and we’ve got to put folks to work.”

He added that we need to invest in our infrastructure to keep up with other countries that are trying to out-build us, in order to make sure that America remains attractive to businesses:

As a percentage of GDP, countries like China, Germany, they’re spending about twice what we’re spending in order to build infrastructure — because they know that if they have the fastest trains on the planet or the highest-rated airports or the busiest, most efficient ports that businesses will go there.

But we don’t want businesses to go there. We want them to come here to Minnesota. We want them to come here to the United States of America.  And that means the best airports and the best roads and the best trains should be right here in America.

President Obama then outlined his vision for a more comprehensive, long-term plan to create jobs while repairing our transportation infrastructure — investing a total of $302 billion over four years:

[N]ext week, I’m going to send Congress a budget that funds rebuilding our transportation infrastructure in a more responsible way — by doing it over four years, which gives cities and states and private investors the certainty they need to plan major projects. Projects like repairing essential highways and bridges; building new transit systems in fast-growing cities and communities, so folks who live there can get to work and school every day and spend less time sitting in traffic. And we’re going to have to construct smarter, more resilient transportation systems that can withstand the worst impacts of climate change, like bigger surges of water that we’ve seen in recent floods.

So, all told, my transportation budget will support millions of jobs nationwide. And we’ll pay for these investments in part by simplifying the tax code. We’re going to close wasteful tax loopholes, lower tax rates for businesses that create jobs here at home, stop rewarding companies for sending jobs to other countries, use the money we save in this transition to create good jobs with good wages rebuilding America. It makes sense.

Recovery Act - DOT

 

Yes, we did: the 5-Year Anniversary of the Recovery Act

2/18/14 Posted by Anthony Foxx

On February 17, 2009–five years ago–President Obama signed into law the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. In office less than a month, he took a huge step forward in leading this nation out of its worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. At the U.S. Department of Transportation, we knew the important role transportation could play in getting the economy back on its feet and when given the opportunity to help through Recovery Act funds, we said, “Yes, we can.”

Five years later, DOT is proud to say, “Yes, we did.”

By the first Recovery Act anniversary, we had created tens of thousands of jobs related to construction work across the country – all of which meant paychecks to American workers who could pay their rent or mortgages and feed their families. We improved more than 24,000 miles of highway and 1,100 bridges, tackled more than 700 transit projects, expanded options for bicyclists and pedestrians, reduced congestion and its associated pollutants, and upgraded runways and airports.

By September 30, 2010, we had awarded over $48 billion to more than 14,600 needed highway, road, transit, bridge, and airport projects across America. In fact, we were able to stretch our portion of Recovery Act funding to include additional projects because earlier projects were bid below previous estimates.

When all of the work is completed–that’s right, the Recovery Act continues to support good jobs on good projects–we will have:

* Improved nearly 42,000 miles of American road;
* Repaired or replaced more than 2,700 bridges;
* Helped transit agencies purchase more than 12,220 transit vehicles;
* Upgraded or constructed more than 6,000 miles of better performing rail;
* Purchased 120 next-generation rail cars and locomotives; and
* Increased safety and convenience with more than 360 airport and runway projects.

The projects we have supported are much more than abstract milestones. Each one represents good jobs. Each one represents a community benefiting from economic activity stimulated by construction and renovation. Each one represents greater safety. And each one represents improved infrastructure that makes getting from point A to point B easier for people and for the freight that fuels our economy.

For more: http://www.transportation.gov/fastlane/yes-we-did-5-year-anniversary-recovery-act

Obama sends Congress $302B transportation bill

04/29/14 By Keith Laing – TheHill

President Obama on Tuesday sent Congress a legislative proposal for $302 billion in federal transportation funding in a bid to spur a broader debate about how best to pay for the nation’s infrastructure.

Obama’s plan has virtually no chance of being enacted, because it relies heavily on revenue from a corporate tax reform proposal that is strongly opposed by Republicans.

But Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said the new legislation, which the administration has dubbed the “Grow America Act,” could jumpstart a conversation about how to avoid the looming bankruptcy in the trust fund that pays for transportation projects. The fund could run dry as early as August.

“Failing to act before the Highway Trust Fund runs out is unacceptable — and unaffordable,” Foxx said in a statement. “This proposal offers the kind of job creation and certainty that the American people want and deserve.”

The president’s proposal calls for a four-year extension of funding for federal road and transit funding before it expires in September.

The plan would authorize $75.5 billion in annual spending, which would be a $20 billion increase over current yearly funding levels. It would also close the $66 billion shortfall in the Highway Trust Fund.

Read more: http://thehill.com/policy/transportation/204675-obama-sends-congress-302b-transportation-bill

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UPDATE:  8/8/14 President Obama  signed [H.R.5021 - Highway and Transportation Funding Act of 2014] a $10.8 billion measure that will fund highway and bridge repairs for the next ten months.

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41 Responses to Grow America Act – Transportation Infrastructure Investments

  1. CR says:

    WH

    Wednesday, May 14, 2014

    All Times Eastern

    President Obama receives the presidential daily briefing

    Vice President Biden meets with Croatian President Ivo Josipović

    7:00 AM
    8:00 AM
    9:00 AM
    10:00 AM
    11:00 AM
    12:00 PM
    1:00 PM
    1:20 PM
    President Obama and the First Lady Michelle depart the White House en route Joint Base Andrews
    South Lawn

    1:35 PM
    President Obama and the First Lady Michelle depart Joint Base Andrews

    2:00 PM
    Vice President Biden Speaks on Infrastructure Improvement
    Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority Rail Complex, Cleveland, Ohio

    2:30 PM
    President Obama and the First Lady Michelle arrive New York
    John F. Kennedy International Airport

    3:00 PM
    Vice President Biden meets with architects and business leaders on Infrastructure Improvement
    Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority Rail Complex, Cleveland, Ohio

    3:25 PM
    President Obama delivers remarks on Infrastructure
    Tappan Zee Bridge Construction Site, New York, NY

    4:00 PM
    5:00 PM
    President Obama and the First Lady Michelle attend a DNC event
    InterContinental Hotel, New York, NY

    6:00 PM
    7:00 PM
    7:05 PM
    President Obama and the First Lady Michelle a DSCC event
    Private Residence, New York, NY

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

  2. CR says:

    Grow America Act – Transportation Infrastructure Investments

    Earlier this year in St. Paul, Minnesota, President Obama and I promised to present Congress with a multi-year surface transportation reauthorization proposal, and with the unveiling of the GROW AMERICA Act today, we have fulfilled that promise.

    The GROW AMERICA Act, or Generating Renewal, Opportunity, and Work with Accelerated Mobility, Efficiency, and Rebuilding of Infrastructure and Communities throughout America, will do exactly what its name implies:

    • It will support millions of American jobs repairing and modernizing our roads, bridges, railways, and transit systems;
    • It will help ensure that American businesses can compete effectively in the global economy and grow; and
    • It will pave the way forward by increasing access to the ladders of opportunity that help Americans get ahead.

    I visited eight states and 13 cities as part of my Invest in America, Commit to the Future bus tour this month and everywhere I went, I heard the same thing –people want more transportation options and better roads and bridges to get them where they need to go. Failing to act before the Highway Trust Fund runs out is unacceptable and unaffordable.

    GROW AMERICA offers the kind of job creation and certainty that the American people want and deserve. It represents a number of proposals that have historically attracted bipartisan support.

    .

    What GROW AMERICA will do

    • Address the shortfall in the Highway Trust Fund and provide $87 billion to address the nation’s backlog of deficient bridges and aging transit systems;
    • Create millions of new jobs to ensure America’s future competitiveness;
    • Increase safety across all modes of surface transportation, including increasing the civil penalties the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) can levy against automakers who fail to act quickly on vehicle recalls;
    • Provide certainty to state and local governments that must engage in long-term planning;
    • Reduce project approval and permitting timelines while delivering better outcomes for communities and the environment;
    • Bolster efficient and reliable freight networks to support trade and economic growth; and
    • Create incentives to better align planning and investment decisions to comprehensively address regional economic needs while strengthening local decision-making.

    I have been pleased to see that members of both parties are already working together to solve these challenges, and I look forward to continuing our discussion and to supporting and building on the good work that’s already been done.

    Please take the time to browse through our GROW AMERICA Fact Sheets to learn what this bill will do to keep our nation and our economy moving forward.

    • CR says:

      President Obama Lays Out Vision for 21st Century Transportation Infrastructure

      President Obama announced that the Department of Transportation is making available $600 million in Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grants, a tremendously successful program investing in our nation’s infrastructure. These new grants mark the sixth round of the TIGER program, which has already invested $3.5 billion in 270 transportation projects across the country.

      The President explained that “one of the fastest and best ways to create good jobs is by rebuilding America’s infrastructure — our roads, our bridges, our rails, our ports, our airports, our schools, our power grids. We’ve got a lot of work to do out there, and we’ve got to put folks to work.”

      He added that we need to invest in our infrastructure to keep up with other countries that are trying to out-build us, in order to make sure that America remains attractive to businesses:

      As a percentage of GDP, countries like China, Germany, they’re spending about twice what we’re spending in order to build infrastructure — because they know that if they have the fastest trains on the planet or the highest-rated airports or the busiest, most efficient ports that businesses will go there.

      But we don’t want businesses to go there. We want them to come here to Minnesota. We want them to come here to the United States of America. And that means the best airports and the best roads and the best trains should be right here in America.

      President Obama then outlined his vision for a more comprehensive, long-term plan to create jobs while repairing our transportation infrastructure — investing a total of $302 billion over four years:

      [N]ext week, I’m going to send Congress a budget that funds rebuilding our transportation infrastructure in a more responsible way — by doing it over four years, which gives cities and states and private investors the certainty they need to plan major projects. Projects like repairing essential highways and bridges; building new transit systems in fast-growing cities and communities, so folks who live there can get to work and school every day and spend less time sitting in traffic. And we’re going to have to construct smarter, more resilient transportation systems that can withstand the worst impacts of climate change, like bigger surges of water that we’ve seen in recent floods.

      So, all told, my transportation budget will support millions of jobs nationwide. And we’ll pay for these investments in part by simplifying the tax code. We’re going to close wasteful tax loopholes, lower tax rates for businesses that create jobs here at home, stop rewarding companies for sending jobs to other countries, use the money we save in this transition to create good jobs with good wages rebuilding America. It makes sense.

      * FACT SHEET: President Obama Lays Out Vision for 21st Century Transportation Infrastructure
      * Bipartisan Group Introduces The Building and Renewing Infrastructure for Development and Growth in Employment Act, or BRIDGE Act

    • CR says:

      February 20, 2013

      Fact Sheet: The President’s Plan to Make America a Magnet for Jobs by Investing in Infrastructure

      The President’s Plan to Make America a Magnet for Jobs by Investing in Infrastructure

      Investing in infrastructure not only makes our roads, bridges, and ports safer and allows our businesses and workers to be as competitive as they need to be in the global economy, it also creates thousands of good American jobs that cannot be outsourced. Since the President took office four years ago, America has begun the hard work of rebuilding our infrastructure. But there’s more to do, and that’s why the President’s plan ensures that the money we invest in infrastructure is spent wisely by adopting a “fix-it-first” policy.

      Repair and maintenance of our existing roads, bridges and public transportation systems should take priority before we consider investing in new facilities. This will ensure that our cities are safer and more modern. But taxpayers shouldn’t have to shoulder the entire burden either. We also know that America works best when we’re tapping the resources and ingenuity of a vibrant private sector.

      That’s why the President’s infrastructure plan calls for a Rebuild America Partnership that will attract private capital to build the infrastructure our businesses need most. By acting on the President’s plan, together we can prove that there is no better place to do business and create jobs than right here in the United States of America.

      * Investing in a “fix-it-first” policy: The President’s plan will immediately invest $50 billion in our nation’s transportation infrastructure, with $40 billion targeted to the most urgent upgrades and focused on fixing our highways, bridges, transit systems, and airports most in need of repair.

      * Attracting private investment through a “Rebuild America Partnership”: The President’s plan will partner federal, state, and local governments with businesses and private capital to provide America with the best transportation, electric, water, and communications networks in the world.

      * Cutting red tape: The President’s plan will cut timelines in half for infrastructure projects and create incentives for better outcomes for communities and the environment through a historic modernization of agency permitting and review regulations, procedures, and policies.

      For more: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2013/02/20/fact-sheet-president-s-plan-make-america-magnet-jobs-investing-infrastru

    • CR says:

      Obama sends Congress $302B transportation bill

      04/29/14 By Keith Laing – TheHill

      President Obama on Tuesday sent Congress a legislative proposal for $302 billion in federal transportation funding in a bid to spur a broader debate about how best to pay for the nation’s infrastructure.

      Obama’s plan has virtually no chance of being enacted, because it relies heavily on revenue from a corporate tax reform proposal that is strongly opposed by Republicans.

      But Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said the new legislation, which the administration has dubbed the “Grow America Act,” could jumpstart a conversation about how to avoid the looming bankruptcy in the trust fund that pays for transportation projects. The fund could run dry as early as August.

      “Failing to act before the Highway Trust Fund runs out is unacceptable — and unaffordable,” Foxx said in a statement. “This proposal offers the kind of job creation and certainty that the American people want and deserve.”

      The president’s proposal calls for a four-year extension of funding for federal road and transit funding before it expires in September.

      The plan would authorize $75.5 billion in annual spending, which would be a $20 billion increase over current yearly funding levels. It would also close the $66 billion shortfall in the Highway Trust Fund.

      Read more: http://thehill.com/policy/transportation/204675-obama-sends-congress-302b-transportation-bill

    • CR says:

      Investing in American Ports Infrastructure

      Published on May 13, 2014

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

    • CR says:

      May 14, 2014

      FACT SHEET – Building a 21st Century Infrastructure: Modernizing Infrastructure Permitting

      Building a 21st century infrastructure is a critical component of President Obama’s effort to accelerate economic growth, expand opportunity, and improve the competitiveness of the American economy.

      With the Highway Trust Fund projected to run out of money before this fall, President Obama has laid out his vision for a long-term infrastructure bill that would provide certainty for our state and local partners, support millions of jobs, and position our economy for lasting growth. The President is calling on Congress to pass a robust multi-year transportation bill before funding runs out and puts hundreds of thousands of jobs at risk.

      The President has also been clear that he is committed to making 2014 a year of action and that while he wants to work with Congress wherever they are willing, he will not hesitate to use his power as President to act on his own to promote American economic growth and opportunity.

      That is why, as part of its commitment to ensuring America has a first-class transportation infrastructure, the Administration is taking action to modernize the federal infrastructure permitting process, cutting through red tape and getting more timely decisions, while protecting our communities and the environment. For projects that are approved, this means states, local and tribal governments, and private developers will be able to start construction sooner, create jobs earlier, and fix our nation’s infrastructure faster.

      Over the past 3 years, federal agencies have worked to expedite the review and permitting of over 50 major infrastructure projects, including bridges, transit, railways, waterways, roads, and renewable energy projects, and over 30 of those projects have completed the permitting process. For example, federal agencies completed the permitting and review for the Tappan Zee Bridge in 1.5 years for a process that normally takes 3-5 years.

      Today, the Administration is releasing a comprehensive plan to accelerate and expand permitting reform government-wide.

      * Improving Interagency Coordination to Increase Decision Making Speed

      * Synchronizing Reviews

      * Driving Accountability and Transparency through the Online Permitting Dashboard

      * Launching an Interagency Permitting Center to Institutionalize Reform

      For more: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2014/05/14/fact-sheet-building-21st-century-infrastructure-modernizing-infrastructu

    • CR says:

      U.S. House passes $10.9 billion transportation funding extension

      7/15/14 19 minutes ago – David Lawder – Reuters

      The U.S. House of Representatives on Tuesday overwhelmingly passed a $10.9 billion extension of U.S. transportation funding through May 2015, a measure aimed at averting cutbacks in August in federal money for road, bridge and transit projects.

      The measure, paid for largely through revenue generated by pension accounting changes and higher customs user fees, passed on a 367-55 bipartisan vote, despite opposition from outside conservative groups.

      Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said that “as soon as I can get to it,” the Senate would begin considering a similar, $10.8 billion measure with some alternate funding provisions in the coming days.

      Without new money for the Highway Trust Fund, the Department of Transportation has said it will start to cut back federal funding for projects by nearly a third starting on Aug. 1, the same day Congress begins a five-week summer recess.

      For more: http://news.yahoo.com/u-house-passes-10-9-billion-transportation-funding-210955585–sector.html

    • CR says:

      White House White Board: Vice President Biden on Rebuild America

      Published on Jul 23, 2014

      In this installment of the White House White Board series, Vice President Biden takes the pen and discusses the importance of transportation infrastructure investment in America. Learn more at http://www.whitehouse.gov/rebuild-ame

  3. CR says:

    Obama to take two-day trip to New York this week

    May 12, 2014 by David Jackson, USA TODAY

    President Obama will head to New York this week to push for more infrastructure spending, do some campaign fundraising and dedicate a new 9/11 memorial and museum.

    The president and first lady Michelle Obama leave Wednesday on the trip that begins with an infrastructure speech at the Tappan Zee Bridge in the New York City area.

    Obama has called on Congress to approve more infrastructure projects as a way to spur the economy and improve deteriorating roads, bridges and airports across the country.

    Also on Wednesday, the president will headline fundraising events for the Democratic National Committee and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.

    The 9/11 ceremony is Thursday, as Obama speaks at the dedication of the National September 11 Memorial and Museum.

    The president and Mrs. Obama also will tour the facility honoring the recovery from the Sept. 11, 2001, attack on the World Trade Center.

    The Obamas return to the White House on Thursday.

    • CR says:

      President Obama To Visit Tappan Zee Bridge Construction Site To Tout Infrastructure Investment

      May 12, 2014 12:53 PM cbs

      NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – President Barack Obama will visit the construction site for the new Tappan Zee Bridge this week.

      The president will be in the Tri-State area on Wednesday as part of a push for more infrastructure spending.

      Construction is in full swing to replace the 58-year-old bridge.

      A $1.6 billion federal loan was recently approved for the nearly $4 billion project.

      The White House is planning several infrastructure-themed events this week.

      The new span is slated to be complete in 2018.

  4. Kat 4 Obama says:

    Happy and HOPEful Tuesday night, CR and all friends!

    >^..^<

  5. CR says:

    VP Biden to highlight infrastructure importance during Cleveland visit

    May 14, 2014 3:58 AM PDT 19action news

    CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) –
    Vice President Joe Biden is coming to Cleveland to meet with city leaders this afternoon.

    VP Biden is expected to highlight the federal funds used to rebuild the RTA rapid station in the Little Italy neighborhood.

    His remarks are slated to start at 1:30 p.m. at the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority Rail Complex at the corner of East 73rd Street and Grand Avenue.

  6. CR says:

    Mortgage Bankers’ Association Purchase Applications (MBA) Purchase Applications

    Released On 5/14/2014 7:00:00 AM For wk5/9, 2014
    Prior Actual
    Composite Index – W/W Change 5.3 % 3.6 %
    Purchase Index – W/W Change 9.0 % -1.0 %
    Refinance Index – W/W Change 2.0 % 7.0 %

    Highlights
    Against a tough week-ago comparison, the purchase index, after spiking 9.0 percent higher in the prior week, fell 1.0 percent in the May 9 week. Year-on-year, the purchase index is down 12.0 percent. In contrast, refinancing demand picked up with the refinance index up 7.0 percent. Rates were mostly lower in the week including 30-year fixed-rate conforming loans ($417,000 or less) which fell 4 basis points to 4.39 percent for the lowest rate since November.

    Source; http://www.bloomberg.com/markets/economic-calendar/

  7. CR says:

    1:00 PM ET
    Greengov Workshop on Renewable Energy Purchasing and Deployment
    The White House

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

    • CR says:

      GreenGov Workshop on Renewable Energy Purchasing and Deployment

      Published on May 14, 2014

      The White House hosts a workshop about the purchase and deployment of renewable energy, May 14, 2014.

    • CR says:

      May 14, 2014

      Readout of the Vice President’s Meeting with Croatian President Ivo Josipović

      Vice President Biden met today with Croatian President Ivo Josipović. Vice President Biden praised Croatia for its reforms over the past ten years that led to Croatia joining the European Union in 2013. The Vice President highlighted Croatia’s contributions as a valued NATO ally, honoring the sacrifices made by Croatians as they serve alongside American troops in the NATO-led missions in Afghanistan and Kosovo. The Vice President also thanked President Josipović for his strong support of European efforts to enhance energy security and diversification. The Vice President discussed the on-going situation in Ukraine, including the need to impose additional costs on Russia should it disrupt or delegitimize the May 25th presidential election. The two leaders also agreed on the need to continue to support the Ukrainian government’s preparations for the election, as well as its efforts to advance constitutional reform and national unity. Vice President Biden commended Croatia as an example to its Balkan neighbors of successful integration into European and transatlantic structures, and he reiterated the strong U.S. support for the Euro-Atlantic and European aspirations of countries in the region.

  8. CR says:

    2:00 PM ET
    Vice President Biden Speaks on Infrastructure Improvement
    Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority Rail Complex, Cleveland, Ohio

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

  9. CR says:

    3:25 PM ET
    President Obama delivers remarks on Infrastructure
    Tappan Zee Bridge Construction Site, New York, NY

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

    CSPAN http://www.c-span.org/video/?319373-1/president-obama-infrastructure

    • CR says:

      May 14, 2014

      Remarks by the President on Building a 21st Century Infrastructure

      Washington Irving Boat Club
      Tarrytown, New York

      3:37 P.M. EDT

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

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

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

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

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

      For more: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2014/05/14/remarks-president-building-21st-century-infrastructure

  10. CR says:

    5:00 PM ET
    President Obama and the First Lady Michelle attend a DNC event
    InterContinental Hotel, New York, NY

  11. CR says:

    7:05 PM ET
    President Obama and the First Lady Michelle a DSCC event
    Private Residence, New York, NY

    • CR says:

      May 14, 2014

      Remarks by the President at DSCC Dinner – NY, NY

      Private Residence
      New York, New York

      7:10 P.M. EDT

      THE PRESIDENT: Thank you, everybody. Thank you. (Applause.) Well, first of all, to Blair and Cheryl and their kids, thank you so much for opening up this gorgeous home. And to Gary, Josh and Jamie — just the whole crew — these folks have been with me dating back to when people couldn’t pronounce my name. (Laughter.) So they are early investors and they’ve been with me through thick and thin, and I couldn’t be more grateful for the incredible support and friendship that they’ve provided.

      You’ve got two of the best senators in the country in this room in Jack Reed and Michael Bennet. These are the folks you actually want in the Senate. They’re serious; they work hard; they are work horses rather than show horses. They are thoughtful. They are constantly looking for ways to be bipartisan, but are rock-solid when it comes to Democratic principles. And I’m proud to have served with them and they’re great friends. So we’re glad they’re there.

      And Shaun Donovan is one of your own, used to hang out around here a little bit. And Blair is right to acknowledge that in the aftermath of Sandy when we thought about who was somebody who we had confidence could drive a process to make sure that the federal, state and local coordination delivered for the people who had been affected, and that we could rebuild both on the New York side and the Jersey side as effectively as possible and as quickly as possible — Shaun came to mind, and working with Jamie and others I think has done a terrific job. So thank you for the great job that you’ve done.

      The country is, by most measures, doing much better than when I came into office. And that’s demonstrable. We were losing 800,000 jobs a month. Now we’ve created 9.2 million jobs; the unemployment rate has come drastically down. Because of the recovery of the stock market and the housing market, trillions of dollars of wealth have been restored to the American people. We produce more energy than ever before, and we’ve been able to accomplish that while doubling clean energy and reducing our carbon emissions faster than any other industrialized country.

      For more: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2014/05/14/remarks-president-dscc-dinner-ny-ny

  12. CR says:

    WH

    Thursday, May 15, 2014

    All Times Eastern

    President Obama receives the presidential daily briefing

    Vice President Biden meets with the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Chief of General Staff Fang Fenghui
    White House

    7:00 AM
    8:00 AM
    9:00 AM
    9:15 AM
    President Obama and First Lady Michelle tour the National September 11 Memorial and Museum
    New York, NY

    10:00 AM
    President Obama delivers remarks at a dedication ceremony of the National September 11 Memorial and Museum
    Foundation Hall, New York, NY

    11:00 AM
    Vice President Biden delivers remarks at the 33rd Annual National Peace Officers’ Memorial Service
    U.S. Capitol

    11:20 AM
    President Obama and the First Lady Michelle depart New York
    John F. Kennedy International Airport

    12:00 PM
    12:15 PM
    President Obama and First Lady Michelle arrive Joint Base Andrews

    12:30 PM
    President Obama and First Lady Michelle arrive at the White House
    South Lawn

    1:00 PM
    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

  13. CR says:

    Truck Orders at 8-Year High Signal U.S. Economy Rebound

    May 14, 2014 9:01 PM PT By Thomas Black – bloomberg

    Trucking companies are increasing their bets on the U.S. economy picking up speed.

    Old Dominion Freight Line Inc. and Knight Transportation Inc. are ordering hundreds of vehicles to keep up with freight demand. They’re part of an industrywide push that’s propelling sales of big rigs to an eight-year high, buoying trucking stocks and raising pay for drivers, who are in short supply.

    “Freight is up, availability of trucking assets is tight,” said Sandy Cutler, chief executive officer of Eaton Corp., whose products include truck transmissions. Truckers “are feeling more comfortable ordering increased assets.”

    Rising cargo rates are giving truckers confidence to expand fleets and replace tractors averaging a near-record age of 9.6 years. While first-quarter U.S. economic growth came to a near standstill, gross domestic product is expected to expand 2.5 percent this year, according to the median forecast of 94 economists surveyed by Bloomberg, topping 2013’s 1.9 percent rise, and accelerate to a 3.1 percent rate next year.

    For more: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-05-15/truck-orders-at-8-year-high-signal-u-s-economy-rebound.html

  14. CR says:

    Jobless Claims in U.S. Decline to Lowest Level in Seven Years

    May 15, 2014 5:30 AM PT By Lorraine Woellert and Victoria Stilwell – bloomberg

    The fewest Americans in seven years filed applications for unemployment benefits last week as the labor market continued to improve.

    Jobless claims dropped by 24,000 to 297,000 in the week ended May 10, less than any economist projected in a Bloomberg survey and the least since May 2007, figures from the Labor Department showed today in Washington. The median estimate of 49 economists surveyed was 320,000.

    Firings have been slowing, setting the stage for continued growth in employment and wages. While payrolls rebounded in April after the holidays and a weather-induced soft patch earlier in the year, many companies are proceeding with caution until they see a sustained pickup in consumer spending, which accounts for about 70 percent of the economy.

    “The labor market continues to improve after some funkiness associated with the holidays,” Brian Jones, senior U.S. economist at Societe General in New York, said before the report. “The economy’s generally getting better.”

    For more: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-05-15/jobless-claims-in-u-s-decline-to-lowest-level-in-seven-years.html

  15. CR says:

    10:00 AM ET
    President Obama delivers remarks at a dedication ceremony of the National September 11 Memorial and Museum
    Foundation Hall, New York, NY

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

    CSPAN http://www.c-span.org/video/?319400-1/national-september-11-memorial-museum-dedication

    National September 11 Memorial and Museum https://www.911memorial.org/dedication-ceremony

    • CR says:

      May 15, 2014

      Remarks by the President at 9/11 Museum Dedication

      New York, New York

      10:12 A.M. EDT

      THE PRESIDENT: Mayor Bloomberg, Governor Cuomo, honored guests, families of the fallen.

      In those awful moments after the South Tower was hit, some of the injured huddled in the wreckage of the 78th floor. The fires were spreading. The air was filled with smoke. It was dark, and they could barely see. It seemed as if there was no way out.

      And then there came a voice — clear, calm, saying he had found the stairs. A young man in his 20s, strong, emerged from the smoke, and over his nose and his mouth he wore a red handkerchief.

      He called for fire extinguishers to fight back the flames. He tended to the wounded. He led those survivors down the stairs to safety, and carried a woman on his shoulders down 17 flights. Then he went back. Back up all those flights. Then back down again, bringing more wounded to safety. Until that moment when the tower fell.

      They didn’t know his name. They didn’t know where he came from. But they knew their lives had been saved by the man in the red bandana.

      Again, Mayor Bloomberg; distinguished guests; Mayor de Blasio; Governors Christie and Cuomo; to the families and survivors of that day; to all those who responded with such courage — on behalf of Michelle and myself and the American people, it is an honor for us to join in your memories. To remember and to reflect. But above all, to reaffirm the true spirit of 9/11 — love, compassion, sacrifice — and to enshrine it forever in the heart of our nation.

      Michelle and I just had the opportunity to join with others on a visit with some of the survivors and families — men and women who inspire us all. And we had a chance to visit some of the exhibits. And I think all who come here will find it to be a profound and moving experience.

      I want to express our deep gratitude to everybody who was involved in this great undertaking — for bringing us to this day, for giving us this sacred place of healing and of hope.

      Here, at this memorial, this museum, we come together. We stand in the footprints of two mighty towers, graced by the rush of eternal waters. We look into the faces of nearly 3,000 innocent souls — men and women and children of every race, every creed, and every corner of the world. We can touch their names and hear their voices and glimpse the small items that speak to the beauty of their lives. A wedding ring. A dusty helmet. A shining badge.

      Here we tell their story, so that generations yet unborn will never forget. Of coworkers who led others to safety. Passengers who stormed a cockpit. Our men and women in uniform who rushed into an inferno. Our first responders who charged up those stairs. A generation of servicemembers — our 9/11 Generation — who have served with honor in more than a decade of war. A nation that stands tall and united and unafraid — because no act of terror can match the strength or the character of our country. Like the great wall and bedrock that embrace us today, nothing can ever break us; nothing can change who we are as Americans.

      For more: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2014/05/15/remarks-president-911-museum-dedication

  16. CR says:

    11:00 AM ET
    Vice President Biden delivers remarks at the 33rd Annual National Peace Officers’ Memorial Service
    U.S. Capitol

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

  17. CR says:

    FCC Advances Fast-Lane Web Plan on ‘Net-Neutrality’

    May 15, 2014 8:42 AM PT By Todd Shields and Chris Strohm – bloomberg

    U.S. regulators advanced a proposal to let Internet-service providers led by AT&T Inc. and Comcast Corp. offer fast lanes for payment from Web companies such as Google Inc. and Facebook Inc.

    Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler had enough reluctant support from his two fellow Democrats to win a 3-2 preliminary vote for his proposal, which advocacy groups and Internet companies said undermines the ‘net-neutrality’ ideal of treating Web traffic equally. Wheeler revised the proposal May 12 to add consideration of tougher regulations, including potential rate controls, under the agency’s review.

    The vote opens a comment-and-review period intended to lead to a second vote and a final rule later this year. A court in January threw out open-Internet rules the FCC adopted in 2010.

    “I will not allow the national asset of an open Internet to be compromised,” Wheeler said. The debate before the agency “is not about whether the Internet must be open, but about how and when we will have rules in place,” Wheeler said.

    Democrat Jessica Rosenworcel, renewing criticism that Wheeler had rushed the proposal, voted to advance it today after saying the chairman had “put all options on the table.”

    Both Republicans voted against the proposal.

    For more: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-05-15/fcc-advances-fast-lane-web-plan-on-net-neutrality-.html

    • CR says:

      May 15, 2014

      Statement by the Press Secretary on Net Neutrality

      The President has made clear since he was a candidate that he strongly supports net neutrality and an open Internet. As he has said, the Internet’s incredible equality – of data, content, and access to the consumer – is what has powered extraordinary economic growth and made it possible for once-tiny sites like eBay or Amazon to compete with brick and mortar behemoths.

      The FCC is an independent agency, and we will carefully review their proposal. The FCC’s efforts were dealt a real challenge by the Court of Appeals in January, but Chairman Wheeler has said his goal is to preserve an open Internet, and we are pleased to see that he is keeping all options on the table. We will be watching closely as the process moves forward in hopes that the final rule stays true to the spirit of net neutrality.

      The President is looking at every way to protect a free and open Internet, and will consider any option that might make sense.

  18. CR says:

    Nigeria vigilantes kill Islamic militants

    5/15/14 Associated Press By HARUNA UMAR and ADAMU ADAMU

    BAUCHI, Nigeria (AP) — The villagers knew an attack was coming, so they used the dark of night to ambush the suspected Boko Haram militants, killing scores and arresting at least 10 in a move to deter the extremists and make future attacks “impossible.”

    Vigilante groups have been springing up in north Nigeria over the past year amid accusations the military is not acting fast enough against the Islamic extremists who are holding captive more than 270 schoolgirls.

    In Kalabalge, a village about 250 kilometers (155 miles) from the Borno state capital of Maiduguri, where the terrorist network was born, residents said they took matters into their own hands.

    On Tuesday morning, after learning about an impending attack by the militants, villagers ambushed two trucks with gunmen, residents and a security official told The Associated Press. At least 10 militants were detained, and scores were killed, the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to give interviews to journalists. It was not immediately clear where the detainees were being held.

    Kalabalge trader Ajid Musa said that after residents organized the vigilante group, “it is impossible” for militants to successfully stage attacks there.

    “That is why most attacks by the Boko Haram on our village continued (to) fail because they cannot come in here and start shooting and killing people,” he said. Earlier this year in other parts of Borno, extremists launched more attacks in what some feared was retaliation over the vigilante groups.

    Borno is where more than 300 girls were abducted last month and one of three Nigerian states where President Goodluck Jonathan has imposed a state of emergency, giving the military special powers to fight the Islamic extremist group, whose stronghold is in northeast Nigeria.

    Britain and the U.S. are now actively involved in the effort to rescue the missing girls. U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said FBI agents and a hostage negotiating team are in Nigeria now, providing technology and other materials and working with “our Nigerian counterparts to be as helpful as we possibly can.” U.S. reconnaissance aircraft are flying over Nigeria in search of the missing girls.

    The group kidnapped the girls on April 15 from a school in Chibok. At least 276 of them are still held captive, with the group’s leader threatening to sell them into slavery. In a video released on Monday, he offered to release the girls in exchange for the freedom of jailed Boko Haram members.

    For more: http://news.yahoo.com/nigeria-vigilantes-kill-islamic-militants-131633401.html

    • CR says:

      #BringBackOurGirls: Addressing the Growing Threat of Boko Haram

      Testimony
      Robert P. Jackson
      Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary, Bureau of African Affairs
      Senate Foreign Relations Committee Subcommittee on African Affairs
      Washington, DC
      May 15, 2014

      state.gov

      Chairman Coons, Ranking Member Flake, and Members of the Committee, thank you for inviting me to update you about U.S. efforts to address the chilling threat that Boko Haram represents to Nigeria, one of our most important partners in sub-Saharan Africa.

      It has now been one month since Boko Haram kidnapped more than two hundred girls from the town of Chibok in northeastern Nigeria. At the time of the kidnapping, these brave girls had returned to their high school in order to complete examinations that would allow them to attend university. By seeking knowledge and opportunity, they represented a challenge to Boko Haram in the heart of its area of operations. As the world now knows, Boko Haram opposes democracy and formal education. It has attempted to crush the kind of faith in the promise of education and prosperity that families in Chibok showed.

      Boko Haram, the terrorist organization that kidnapped these girls, has shown it has no regard for human life. It has been killing innocent people in Nigeria for some time, and the attack at Chibok is part of that long, terrible trend. This year alone, Boko Haram has murdered more than 1000 innocent people in vicious attacks on schools, churches, and mosques. Since 2013, it has targeted and systematically kidnapped women – including these girls – seeking to deny them the education and opportunity they deserve. The abductions in Chibok fit into this larger pattern of violence. Throughout northeastern Nigeria, innocent civilians are terrified by gunmen who come in the night to kill young men and teachers and steal away young women.

      For more: http://www.state.gov/p/af/rls/rm/2014/226221.htm

  19. CR says:

    May 15, 2014

    Statement by the Press Secretary on Housing Finance Reform

    The Administration welcomes today’s strong bipartisan vote in support of the Housing Finance Reform and Taxpayer Protection Act of 2014 through the Senate Banking Committee. Today’s vote is an important step toward achieving a more sustainable housing finance system that helps protect the American dream of homeownership, and we applaud Chairman Johnson, Ranking Member Crapo and Senators Corker and Warner for their leadership on this issue. Today’s vote marks important progress toward completing one of the biggest remaining pieces of post-Recession reform of the financial system.

    The President has been clear about his commitment to preserving the American dream of sustainable homeownership for all creditworthy borrowers. That means ensuring that affordable rental options are widely available, and preserving access to mortgage credit during severe downturns while protecting taxpayers from substantial losses in the housing sector. We have worked closely with the Senate Banking Committee to provide policy, technical, and analytical support throughout the process to achieve these goals, and going forward, we will continue to work with the Senate to address affordability and access to broaden support for reform.

  20. CR says:

    May 15, 2014

    Statement by NSC Spokesperson Caitlin Hayden on the Sentencing of Meriam Yahya Ibrahim Ishag in Sudan

    Today in Sudan, Meriam Yahya Ibrahim Ishag was sentenced to be flogged for adultery and to be hanged to death for apostasy because she married a Christian man. We strongly condemn this sentence and urge the Government of Sudan to meet its obligations under international human rights law. We call on the Government of Sudan to respect Ms. Ishag’s right to freedom of religion, a universal human right enshrined in Sudan’s own 2005 Constitution as well as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

    Since 1999, Sudan has been designated as a Country of Particular Concern for its ongoing, egregious, and systematic violations of religious freedom. We continue to urge Sudan to fulfill its constitutional promise of religious freedom, and to respect the fundamental freedoms and universal human rights of all its people.

    • CR says:

      Sudanese Christian Woman Meriam Ibrahim Arrives in Italy

      4/24/14 By Gianluca Mezzofiore – IB Times

      Meriam Ibrahim, the Sudanese Christian woman released after being sentenced to death for apostasy and then rearrested over allegations she was trying to flee Sudan with forged documents, has flown to Italy after more than a month in the US embassy in Karthoum.
      The 27-year-old and her family arrived at Ciampino airport on a plane provided by the government. She was accompanied by Italy’s Deputy Foreign Minister Lapo Pistelli, who met her on 3 July. Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, who greeted Meriam on her arrival in Rome, said: “We are happy, this is a day of celebration”.
      Born to a Christian mother and a Muslim father, Ibrahim was sentenced to death by hanging under the country’s strict Sharia laws after marrying a Christian, Daniel Wani, in 2011.
      In Sudan interfaith marriage is forbidden and, according to Islamic law, children inherit the father’s religion while the mother’s line is considered irrelevant.
      Ibrahim claimed she was raised a Christian and refused to renounce her faith. She was subsequently accused of renouncing Islam through her marriage and sentenced to death.
      She was also sentenced to 100 lashes after being convicted of adultery, as her marriage was deemed invalid.
      Ibrahim was imprisoned with her 20-month-old son, and gave birth to a baby girl while in chains.
      Her case sparked global outrage with the British government calling on Sudan to release her.

      For more: https://uk.news.yahoo.com/sudanese-christian-woman-meriam-ibrahim-arrives-italy-085725098.html#0FL94Ku

    • CR says:

      July 24, 2014

      Statement by National Security Advisor Susan E. Rice on Meriam Yahya Ibrahim Ishag

      The United States is delighted that Meriam Yahya Ibrahim Ishag is now safe and free and will soon be traveling to the United States. For months, Americans of all faiths kept Ms. Ishag in their thoughts and prayers as Sudanese authorities sentenced her to death for the alleged crime of apostasy. Today, she and her family have left Sudan on their journey to freedom. Her departure with her immediate family—including her infant daughter, born in custody—is a testament to her unyielding faith and the support she received from friends and allies, including our Embassy in Khartoum and the broader US government.

      On behalf of the American people, I am proud to celebrate the arrival of Ms. Ishag and her family in Rome. We look forward to the day when they arrive in America. In addition to heralding the tireless efforts of my U.S. government colleagues to ensure her safety, I also want to extend my profound thanks to the Italian Government for its dedicated efforts on their behalf. Ms. Ishag’s freedom, while meaningful in its own right, also serves as a reminder that all countries, including Sudan, must uphold the universal right to freedom of religion. The United States has and will continue to support those denied this freedom, drawing strength from Ms. Ishag’s example.

  21. CR says:

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

    Come on over to my newest post titled: ”Brown v. Board of Education 60th Anniv. & Dr Biden speaks @ Villanova Commencement 2014 ″

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

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