President Obama 2014 Year In Review

12/18/2014

YEAR IN REVIEW: Creating Economic Opportunity for All Americans in 2014

December 18, 2014

WASHINGTON, DC – President Obama took office in the depths of the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.  Six years later, thanks to the grit and determination of the American people, and the decisive actions he took early on – to bring the economy back from the brink, to save the auto industry, and to build a new foundation for middle-class growth – we’ve made real progress.

The economy grew at a combined 4.2% pace in the second and third quarters of this year, the strongest six-month period of growth in more than a decade.  American businesses have added new jobs for 57 consecutive months, the longest streak of private-sector job creation on record, for a total of 10.9 million new jobs. The pickup in the pace of job growth this year has come in industries with higher wages.  And wages across the economy are rising – a very welcome sign for millions of American families.

The U.S. economic recovery took a major step forward in 2014, achieving a number of important milestones:

The President pledged that 2014 would be a year of action and he has spent the last 12 months working with Congress where he could and taking action on his own where needed to revitalize the economy. He also worked closely with leaders from businesses, nonprofits, education, and communities to expand opportunity for more American families. These efforts have helped contribute to economic progress in a number of ways. Some critical efforts include:

Supporting Job Creation Through Manufacturing and Exports

Manufacturing job growth doubled this year – to about 15,000 jobs per month compared to 7,000 jobs per month last year. In total, since February 2010, the United States has directly added 764,000 manufacturing jobs, with the sector expanding employment at its fastest rate in nearly two decades. And the United States’ renewed competitiveness in manufacturing is bringing production back, with 54 percent of U.S.-based manufacturers surveyed by the Boston Consulting Group actively considering bringing production back from China to the United States, up from 37 percent only 18 months prior. The Administration has helped support these efforts by taking steps including:

  • Launching New Hubs as Part of a National Network for Manufacturing Innovation
  • Supporting Efforts to Foster Manufacturing Entrepreneurship and Investment in the United States
  • Growing Our Investments in Advanced Manufacturing Research
  • Another Year of Record-Breaking Exports
    • The Made in Rural America Initiative Leads to a Boost in Small Rural Manufacturing Exports and Other Companies
    • Intensifying and Broadening Our Export Promotion
    • The Advocacy Center at the Department of Commerce Enjoyed a Record-Breaking Year in Helping U.S. Firms Win Contracts Abroad to Create Jobs at Home

Taking Action to Raise the Minimum Wage

Following President Obama’s call on Congress to raise the national minimum wage to $10.10, states, cities and counties, and business leaders have taken action on their own to increase wages across the country. And on February 12, President Obama signed Executive Order 13658, requiring that workers on new Federal contracts be paid $10.10 an hour.

  • 14 States Passed Minimum Wage Increases – and 7 Million Workers Are Set to Benefit From Increases Passed Since the President’s Initial Call in 2013
  • Cities and Counties Have Also Taken Steps to Raise Wages
  • Businesses – Both Large and Small – Are Taking Action
  • President Obama’s Action will Ensure that All Employees of Federal Contractors are Paid at Least $10.10 an HourSupporting Job Skills and Employment Opportunities

Working with Congress, businesses, states and cities and non-profits, the President has taken action to make sure our job-training system is preparing and connecting Americans to the jobs that employers are looking to fill. From an across-the-board review of our job-training system to new grants that support apprenticeships and help connect the long-term unemployed to work, the President and his Administration have used every tool available to train Americans with the skills they need, and connect them with businesses that are looking for skilled workers.

  • Reforming Our Job-Training System to Make It Demand Driven
  • Passage of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act
  • Getting Long-Term Unemployed Americans Back to Work: President Obama issued a three-part call to action – to employers, to communities across the country, and to federal agencies – to help Americans who are out of work, including the long-term unemployed, find jobs or get the skills they need so they can succeed in the labor force. Since that call to action, long-term unemployment has declined by 1.1 million and progress has been made on all three fronts, including:
    • $170 million in grants awarded in October to programs in 20 states and Puerto Rico to partnerships between non-profits, local government, and employers to train and match long-term unemployed job seekers for in-demand jobs.
    • A new set of best practices for hiring and recruiting the long-term unemployed signed by over 200 businesses – including 80 of the nation’s largest companies – to ensure that these candidates receive a fair shot during the hiring process.
    • Toolkits created by Deloitte Consulting in partnership with the Rockefeller Foundation and with the input of about 100 White House Best Practice signatories to help more employers implement the best practices.
    • Finally, following up on a Presidential Memorandum issued in January, the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) issued guidance to Federal agencies to ensure that individuals who are unemployed or have faced financial difficulties because of circumstances like job loss receive fair treatment and consideration for employment by Federal agencies.
  • $450 Million in Grants to Nearly 270 Community Colleges Partnering with More than 400 Employers Nationally
  • Investing in a Competitive Workforce Through Apprenticeships

Providing High-Quality Education to America’s Students

Ensuring that all Americans are prepared for the jobs of the future and strengthening middle-class security, starts with a strong education system.  The President has taken a number of steps over the past year to expand access to high-quality early childhood education, connect every student to high-speed Internet, and make college more affordable.

  • Committing to Affordable Higher Education
    • Expanding Pay As You Earn (PAYE)
    • The President and First Lady’s Call to Action on College Opportunity
    • Protecting Students from Unaffordable Debts at Career College Programs
  • Committing to Early Education: Throughout 2013 and 2014, the President challenged states, business leaders, and Congress to help more children gain access to the early education they need to succeed in school and in life.  On December 10, 2014, the President convened philanthropists, educators, community leaders and others to announce a collective investment of over $1 billion for early childhood education.  Federal commitments of $750 million will support early learning for over 63,000 children while corporate and philanthropic leaders’ independent commitments of $330 million will expand the reach and enhance the quality for thousands more.
  • ConnectED to the Future:  In June 2013, President Obama visited Mooresville, NC to announce the ConnectED Initiative, which aims to ensure 99% of American students will have access to next-generation broadband in the classroom by 2017, and called for private sector leaders and the FCC To help connect our students. Since that time, the FCC has taken steps to modernize the E-rate program to support high-speed connectivity for America’s schools and libraries, providing a $2 billion down payment and passing a proposal that provides recourses needed to meet the President’s ConnectED goals.  Additionally, private-sector companies have committed more than $2 billion in resources to schools to supplement federal actions and help support cutting-edge technologies across a greater number of schools and homes. On November 19, 2014, The President hosted school leaders and educators to push this effort forward and make all schools “Future Ready”.  More than 1,200 superintendents joined the Administrations Future Ready District Pledge to set a vision for digital learning across America.  Combined, this pledge will already reach 10 million students across 16,000 schools.

For the entire article: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2014/12/18/year-review-creating-economic-opportunity-all-americans-2014

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Pres Obama Year of Action

2014 the Year of Action

In his 2014 State of the Union, the President said that 2014 would be a “year of action” to ensure opportunity for all Americans. He’s making good on that promise (despite that Congress did not help, labeling them the ‘Worst Congress ever’.

What does a “year of action” mean, exactly?
The President will continue to work with Congress wherever he can to keep our economy moving forward and creating jobs. But in the meantime, he’s also going to do everything he can on his own to fight for middle-class families every single day.

And he’s been busy. Using his pen and his phone, the President has helped create new manufacturing jobs, expand apprenticeships, and job training, make student loan payments more affordable, support equal pay and workplace flexibility, cut carbon pollution, and rally support across the country while raising the minimum wage for all workers on new federal contracts. And that’s not all.

Here’s an update on the more than 40 actions he’s taken since January to do just that.

Learn more: http://www.whitehouse.gov/year-of-action

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List of President Obama’s 2014 Executive Actions to Help Americans – ProPresObama compilation

Pres Obama US - Cuba Relations

and on 12/17/14 President Obama Charts a New Course on US – Cuba Relations

Moving-America-Forward_Democrat-party

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2014 Pres Obama’s Year of Action vs GOP Abandoning the 99%

06/27/2014

Jon Stewart takes down GOP “warfare queens”

The GOP are starring in the play “A Streetcar Named We’re Always Wrong”

JUN 27, 2014 SARAH GRAY – SALON

Last night Jon Stewart destroyed the GOP’s hypocrisy when it comes to readily spending on nation building (military interventions everywhere), but their desire to block nation building when it is our own country (infrastructure, healthcare, gun control).

“I’m really worried about the Republicans,” Stewart explained. “Their inability to wean themselves off of military intervention. They have a culture of defendency, if you will. And I believe it’s turned them all into warfare queens. And I think we need to cut them off for their own good.”

After plenty of mocking of John McCain (“We are the party of hell no!”), Stewart turned his eyes to another GOP leader who could uses some serious weaning off the military industrial complex: Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama.

GOP_Elephant_WRONG_WAY_smallWHAT GOP CONGRESS HAS DONE in 2014 FOR 99% OF  AMERICANS

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Pres Obama Year of Action

President Obama is Taking Action – ProPresObama compilation

In his 2014 State of the Union address, President Obama affirmed that this would be “A Year of Action” to help ensure opportunity for all Americans.

Since January, the President has taken more than 20 actions on his own to help build real, lasting economic security for the middle class and expand opportunities for every hardworking American to get ahead:

VOTE SMART & VOTE DEMOCRAT 2014

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Better Buildings Summit 2014

05/05/2014

2014 Better Buildings Summit - Energy.gov

2014 Better Buildings Summit

In February of 2011, President Obama launched the Better Buildings Challenge to help American commercial and industrial buildings become at least 20 percent more efficient by 2020.  More than 120 diverse organizations representing over 2 billion square feet of real estate are already on track to meet that 2020 goal and cut their energy use by 2.5 percent annually. These efforts obviously save families and businesses money on their utility bills, they reduce energy demand, and they help us to achieve our climate goals by reducing greenhouse emissions. This week’s events will highlight the progress for our private and public sector.

As promised in his State of the Union Address, President Obama said that this is a Year of Action and that he will act on his own if need be to get things done such as in the case to avoid the most catastrophic impacts of climate change. He has been using the power of his phone, and all of the people in his administration have been working to get more commitments from more partners on these key sectors to get more efficiency in our build sector, more deployment of solar across the economy.

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President Obama’s plan to fight Climate Change:  http://www.whitehouse.gov//climate-change

President Obama Announces Commitments and Executive Actions to Advance Solar Deployment and Energy Efficiency

 

Better Buildings Summit

energy.gov

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) invites Better Buildings partners and stakeholders to a national Summit to catalyze investment in energy efficiency across the public, private, commercial, industrial, and multifamily housing sectors. We look forward to highlighting innovative market solutions, and recognizing leaders for their innovation and accomplishments.

Attendees across sectors and Better Buildings programs will engage in dialogue focused on sharing demonstrated market and technology solutions and proven approaches with an equal emphasis on discussing future opportunities for greater energy efficiency in America’s homes and buildings.

Better Buildings Summit sessions will focus on the following high-impact areas:

  • Innovative Replicable Solutions from Market Leaders: Implement energy management practices and demonstrated business solutions.
  • Making Energy Efficiency Investment Easier: Make use of data and information and strategies to mobilize capital.
  • High Impact Technologies: Explore technologies and the systems/whole-building approaches deployed by Better Buildings partners.
  • Collaborations and Partnerships: Collaborate or partner with labs, utilities, manufacturers, cities, states, and other stakeholders to cut energy waste in our nation’s buildings by 20% in 10 years.

For more: http://www1.eere.energy.gov/buildings/betterbuildings/summit/

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Better Buildings Summit 2014
May 7-9, 2014

Washington, DC

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2015 US Government Budget

04/01/2014

gopbudget

Why Paul Ryan’s Budget Is A Fantasy

Rep. Paul Ryan, the chair of the House Budget Committee, released the fiscal-year 2015 House Budget proposal on Tuesday, a largely political document that will help shape the partisan debate ahead of the 2014 midterm elections.

As with some of his past budget proposals, Ryan will have trouble explaining the details and the means that get to the end — a balanced budget. This year, the consensus on the most implausible parts of his plan comes on two fronts.

The first are the levels at which non-defense discretionary spending is set in the budget. Discretionary spending is comprised of  spending on programs that have to be reauthorized by Congress every year, not including entitlement programs like Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.

The second is an accounting trick that is likely to be controversial, and that some call a gimmick.

The last year of the budget window, 2024, gives a good example of what Ryan does to balance the budget:

  • He ups non-defense discretionary cuts by $50 billion in 2024.
  • He assumes lower war spending by about $25 billion that same year.
  • He still needs a trick to get the budget to complete balance. Ryan uses a “dynamic” scoring method that helps balance his budget — one that could generate controversy. The “macroeconomic feedback effect” assumes the macroeconomic effects of cutting deficits will lead to about $74 billion in savings in 2024.

The non-defense discretionary spending levels, especially in the last year, seem to be the most implausible part of the budget. In 2024, per the budget, the non-defense discretionary spending levels would be $467 billion — a 22 percent cut from post-sequester levels.  In raw dollars, that’s lower than it was in 2005. It’s also much lower than the 2013 level of $576 billion.

Loren Adler, a research director at the  at  Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, told Business Insider it would “c ertainly be one of the toughest pieces to feasibly achieve.”

In inflation-adjusted terms, it amounts to about a 29 percent cut from current levels. According to a Senate Democratic aide, it’s also 28 percent below the average amount of the non-defense discretionary spending levels during the Bush administration.

By 2024, the Ryan budget adds $483 billion to defense spending beyond sequester-set spending caps. But to get overall savings, the budget cuts $791 billion from non-defense discretionary spending.

“NDD levels by end of budget window totally implausible — damage to safety net as well,” Jared Bernstein, a former Obama administration economist and now a senior fellow at the left-leaning  Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, said in an email.

Ryan also uses the accounting trick to achieve balance. It’s a method he hasn’t employed in past budgets, and one that usually isn’t used by the Congressional Budget Office when scoring legislation. Ryan says the “macroeconomic feedback effect” of the deficit-cutting provisions in his budget will amount to $175 billion in savings over the 10-year budget window. And about $74 billion of that will come in the last year — coincidentally providing the U.S. with a $5 billion surplus.

Here’s Ryan’s reasoning for doing so:

The Congressional Budget Office has estimated several times over nearly 20 years that congressional action to reduce deficits will ultimately result in lower interest rates and faster economic growth by freeing up savings for use in productive investment. In addition, CBO has estimated that the positive economic effects of deficit reduction will feed back into the budget and further reduce deficits and debt over the medium and longer term.

Ryan notes the CBO used such dynamic scoring, for example, in 1998, when analyzing the 1998 bipartisan budget resolution that planned to balance the budget. But in general, the CBO says it does not usually analyze the macroeconomic effects due to several reasons (emphasis added):

Doing macroeconomic analysis of all proposed legislation would not be feasible; nearly all legislation analyzed by CBO would have negligible macroeconomic effects anyway (and thus negligible feedback to the federal budget); and estimates of macroeconomic effects are highly uncertain.

In his budget last year, Ryan included guidance about the macroeconomic effects to argue how his budget would be even better for deficits than the numbers showed. However, he did not employ the scoring method to achieve a balanced budget.

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Republican budget proposes deep cuts in domestic programs

4/1/14 2 hours ago By David Lawder – Reuters

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Representative Paul Ryan, the leading Republican voice on budget policy, rolled out a new fiscal blueprint on Tuesday that calls for deep cuts in domestic programs, increased defense spending and a goal of erasing annual deficits in 10 years.

Ryan’s budget, called the “Path to Prosperity,” has almost no chance of passing the Democratic-controlled Senate but is expected to serve as a campaign manifesto for Republicans in November’s congressional elections.

It proposes to kill President Barack Obama’s 2010 healthcare reforms and revives cuts in social programs such as the popular Medicare entitlement for the elderly that Ryan, who chairs the House Budget Committee, has proposed in other recent budgets.

The plan calls for savings of $5.1 trillion over a decade, with the goal of reaching a balanced budget by 2024 with no new tax revenues but increased defense spending.

Nearly $2.1 trillion would be saved over a decade by the proposal to kill Obamacare, according to the plan.

A sweeping overhaul of Medicare has been slightly revised, with phased-in changes applying to workers 55 years old and younger, compared to last year’s proposal which affected workers who were 54 and younger.

The document aims to bolster Republicans’ credentials as the party of fiscal prudence, but could open them up to fresh attacks from Democrats, who are calling for steps to reduce the gap between the rich and poor.

For more: http://news.yahoo.com/republican-budget-proposes-deep-cuts-social-programs-143537137–business.html;_ylt=AwrTWVVA.TpT_kMAeebQtDMD

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Pelosi Statement on Ryan Republican Budget

April 1, 2014

Washington, D.C. – Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi released the following statement today after Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan released this year’s version of the House Republican budget:

“Today, Republicans have laid out their vision for a less prosperous America, demonstrating, yet again, the weakness of their arithmetic and the strength of their indifference to the concerns of struggling middle class families across the country.  They are proving the lengths they will go to protect the special interests at the expense of the public interest.  They are undermining seniors, students, and the middle class, crippling our economic competitiveness, and gutting our nation’s investments in the future – all to protect loopholes for the wealthy few and corporations that ship jobs overseas.

“Under this Republican budget, the wealthy and well-connected wouldn’t be asked to pay even a little more.  But seniors would be asked to pay more for preventive services and prescription drugs and see the end of the Medicare guarantee.  Families would witness devastating cuts to research, innovation, education, clean energy, and manufacturing, ceding economic leadership to other nations.  All Americans would see a budget that rejects comprehensive immigration reform, with its promise of job creation, stronger small businesses, a growing economy, and a shrinking deficit.

“Democrats have a better approach: creating jobs, strengthening the middle class, investing in our infrastructure and our children’s education, closing the opportunity gap, and responsibly reducing the deficit.  Together, we can reignite the American Dream and build an economy that works for everyone.”

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Hoyer Statement on Republican Budget for Fiscal Year 2015

April 1, 2014

WASHINGTON, DC – House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (MD) released the following statement today in response to the House Republican budget for Fiscal Year 2015:

“No one ought to be surprised at the budget unveiled by Chairman Paul Ryan and House Republicans today, which once again asks those with less to give more and those with more to give less.  This year’s Republican budget builds on the disastrous approach Republicans have followed over the past three years, embracing the painful and irrational sequestration cuts and slashing funding that supports investments in opportunity, growth, and security.

“While anyone who looks at the FY2015 Republican budget can readily see that it would do serious damage to our economy and society, Republicans do their best to hide the extent of the damage.  As in previous years, Chairman Ryan relies on gimmicks, magic asterisks, and spurious accounting assumptions to presume that his budget will achieve its anticipated deficit savings.  Additionally, his budget ends the Medicare guarantee as we know it, turns Medicaid into a block grant, repeals the Affordable Care Act [aka ObamaCare], fails to invest in job creation, and does not include any new revenue.  His budget simply doesn’t work – and would lead to significant harm for our country.

“Last week, I delivered a speech in which I called on both parties in Congress to maximize every opportunity to move us closer toward the long-term fiscal sustainability that our country needs.  Our budget process is just such an opportunity; unfortunately, House Republicans chose to make it a partisan messaging exercise rather than a real effort to achieve balanced deficit savings and invest in the programs that strengthen our economy, grow our middle class, and help more of our businesses and families Make It In America.”

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Statement by the White House Press Secretary on the House Republican Budget

April 01, 2014

To build real, lasting economic security for the middle class, the President and Democrats in Congress have a plan to grow our economy from the middle out, not the top down, and create more opportunities for every hardworking American to get ahead. Unfortunately, Republicans in Congress do not have a plan that works for the middle class and the House Republican Budget is the same old top-down approach. Because of a stubborn unwillingness to cut the deficit in a balanced way by closing tax loopholes for the wealthy and well connected, the House Republican Budget would slow the economy, stack the deck against the middle class, and threaten the guaranteed benefits seniors have paid for and earned.

The House Republican Budget would raise taxes on middle class families with children by an average of at least $2,000 in order to cut taxes for households with incomes over $1 million. It would force deep cuts to investments in our roads and bridges, scientific research to cure diseases like Alzheimer’s and at every level of education from early childhood to community college. It would end Medicare as we know it, turning it into a voucher program and risking a death spiral in traditional Medicare. Instead of ensuring that Americans earn a fair wage for a hard day’s work and lifting millions of people out of poverty, the House Republican approach undermines Americans working hard to support their families by slashing food stamps and Medicaid. And rather than expanding health coverage for all Americans and making it more affordable, it would repeal the Affordable Care Act, raising health care costs on families and businesses and eliminating coverage for the 3 million young adults who have gained coverage by staying on their parent’s plan, the millions of people who have signed up for private insurance plans through the Marketplaces, and millions more who can continue to gain coverage through Medicaid.

The House Republican Budget stands in stark contrast to the President’s Budget, which would accelerate economic growth and expand opportunity for all hardworking Americans, while continuing to cut the deficit in a balanced way. The President has put forward a Budget that rewards hard work with fair wages, equips all children with a high-quality education to prepare them for a good job, puts a secure retirement within reach, and ensures health care is affordable and reliable, while at the same time asking the wealthiest to pay their fair share and making tough cuts to programs we can’t afford. And by paying for new investments and tackling our true fiscal challenges, the President’s Budget builds on the progress we’ve already made to cut the deficit by more than half since 2009 and cuts the deficit as a share of the economy to 1.6 percent by 2024. It also stabilizes the debt as a share of the economy by 2015 and puts it on a declining path after that.

Budgets are about choices and values. House Republicans have chosen to protect tax breaks for the wealthiest rather than create opportunities for middle class families to get ahead. The President believes that is the wrong approach and that we should instead be making smart investments necessary to create jobs, grow our economy, and expand opportunity, while still cutting the deficit in a balanced way and securing our nation’s future.

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A State-by-State Breakdown of the Damage That Would Be Caused by the House Republican Budget

Amy Brundage April 09, 2014 05:13 PM EDT

House Republicans this week are voting on a budget that protects tax breaks for the wealthiest rather than create opportunities for middle-class families to get ahead. It is the same old top-down approach and would raise taxes on middle-class families with children by an average of at least $2,000 in order to cut taxes for households with incomes over $1 million.

As in previous years, the House Republican Budget proposes deep funding reductions that would result in severe cuts to critical areas that are needed to support job creation, economic growth, a strong middle class, and assistance for lower income individuals, especially when compared to the overall level of investment in the President’s budget. Since House Republicans aren’t willing to identify specifically what they actually want to cut, one way to assess the potential damaging impact is to look at what would happen to key programs if the cuts compared to the President’s budget were applied evenly across the board.

The results show the potential extent of the damage across the country. Within a few years:

  • In Florida, 290,000 seniors benefited from the closure of the Medicare Part D prescription drug donut hole in 2013 alone and at least that many likely would have to pay more for their needed medications in future years.
  • In California, more than 50,000 fewer students would receive Pell Grants to help them pay for college.
  • In Ohio, the proposed Medicaid block grant would cut federal Medicaid funding for the state by more than $30 billion over the next decade, likely resulting in more uninsured individuals and less care for those still covered.
  • In Texas, 12,000 fewer children would receive Head Start services.
  • In Pennsylvania, more than 100,000 people would lose job search assistance.
  • In Missouri, 1,700 fewer victims of domestic violence would be served through the STOP Violence Against Women Program.

A full list of state-by-state impacts can be found here.

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President Obama’s 2015 Budget Proposal

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Pres Obama’s European Travel: NS Summit, EU-US Summit & NATO

03/22/2014

2014 Nuclear Security Summit The Netherlands, the organising country, will focus on the following achievable and visible goals:

  1. Optimal security for and, if at all possible, a reduction in the use of highly enriched uranium and plutonium.
  2. Ratification of the amended Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material by more countries to ensure that the amendment enters into force as soon as possible.
  3. More frequent reviews of state security structures by IAEA advisory missions.
  4. National registration and protection of highly radioactive sources (e.g. medical equipment).
  5. Greater role for industry in nuclear security, to enhance the security culture and existing regulations.States should provide information to their own people and the international community to demonstrate that they are taking appropriate measures to maintain the security of their nuclear material and facilities.
  6. These confidence-building measures will increase trust in the international protection system.

For more: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2014_Nuclear_Security_Summit http://youtu.be/IA-iJtNNir0

NSS  2014 2014 Nuclear Security Summit

2014 NSS Family Photo

2014 Nuclear Security Summit
24-25 March 2014
World Forum Convention Center The Hague, Netherlands

Website: https://www.nss2014.com

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President Obama’s European Travel Itinerary

March 24, Monday

President Obama arrives in the Hague, Netherlands

President Obama meets with Dutch Prime Minister Rutte
Amsterdam, Netherlands

President Obama tours the Rijksmuseum with Dutch Prime Minister Rutte
Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, Netherlands

President Obama and Dutch Prime Minister Rutte hold a bilateral meeting
U.S. Ambassador’s Residence, The Hague, Netherlands

President Obama and Dutch Prime Minister Rutte deliver remarks
U.S. Ambassador’s Residence, The Hague, Netherlands

President Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping hold a bilateral meeting
U.S. Ambassador’s Residence, The Hague, Netherlands

President Obama attends opening Nuclear Security Summit sessions
World Forum Convention Center , The Hague, Netherlands

President Obama attends first plenary Nuclear Security Summit sessions
World Forum Convention Center , The Hague, Netherlands

President Obama attends Nuclear Security Summit scenario-based policy seasons
World Forum Convention Center , The Hague, Netherlands

President Obama attends a G-7 meeting
Dutch Prime Minister Rutte’s residence, Catshuis, The Hague, Netherlands

President Obama meets with Dutch King Willem-Alexander
Royal Palace of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, Netherlands

President Obama participates in a family photo
Royal Palace of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, Netherlands

President Obama and Dutch King Willem-Alexander hold a working dinner
Royal Palace of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, Netherlands

March 25, Tuesday

President Obama meets with Kazakhstan President Nazarbayev
U.S. Ambassador’s residence, The Netherlands

President Obama holds a joint press conference with Dutch Prime Minister Rutte
Gemeentemuseum Den Haag, The Hague, Netherlands

President Obama attends plenary Nuclear Security Summit sessions
World Forum Convention Center , The Hague, Netherlands

President Obama attends additional Nuclear Security Summit sessions
World Forum Convention Center , The Hague, Netherlands

President Obama speaks at the closing session of the Nuclear Security Summit 
World Forum Convention Center , The Hague, Netherlands

President Obama and Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan hold a bilateral meeting
United States Ambassador’s residence, The Hague, Netherlands

President Obama, South Korean President Park Geun-hye and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe hold a trilateral meeting
United States Ambassador’s residence , The Hague, Netherlands

President Obama meets with U.S. Embassy members
United States Ambassador’s residence , The Hague, Netherlands

President Obama travels to Brussels, Belgium

March 26, Wednesday

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, Brussels, Belgium

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

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

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

March 28, Friday

President Obama and His Majesty King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz of His Majesty hold a bilateral meeting
Rawdat Khuraim,  Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

President Obama spends the night
Ritz Carlton, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

March 29, Saturday

President Obama Presents to Dr. Maha Al Muneef the State Department’s 2014 Women of Courage Award
Ritz Carlton, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

President Obama meets and greets with Embassy personnel
Ritz Carlton, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

President Obama departs Saudi Arabia for the White House

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United Nations Climate Change Conference 2013

11/07/2013

Global warming

The 19th United Nations Climate Change Conference
November 11 to 22, 2013
Warsaw, Poland

UN Framework Convention on Climate Change 

Warsaw Climate Change Conference – November 2013.

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“You’ve inherited a country that’s all about living large,”

“each person takes up not only the space occupied by their home and school, but also land in Iowa to grow their food, in Brazil and China to make all their “stuff,” and in the Middle East to get fuel to drive around.”

“Can you believe that the average American teenager uses about 21 football fields of Earth’s resources to live?” 

Cy Maramangalam – Alliance for Climate Education

Source: http://www.npr.org/2013/05/07/181899846/filling-in-the-gap-on-climate-education-in-classrooms

Combating Climate Change

“…We, the people, still believe that our obligations as Americans are not just to ourselves, but to all posterity. We will respond to the threat of climate change, knowing that the failure to do so would betray our children and future generations.  Some may still deny the overwhelming judgment of science, but none can avoid the devastating impact of raging fires and crippling drought and more powerful storms.

The path towards sustainable energy sources will be long and sometimes difficult. But America cannot resist this transition, we must lead it. We cannot cede to other nations the technology that will power new jobs and new industries, we must claim its promise. That’s how we will maintain our economic vitality and our national treasure — our forests and waterways, our crop lands and snow-capped peaks. That is how we will preserve our planet, commanded to our care by God. That’s what will lend meaning to the creed our fathers once declared…”

President Barack Obama 1/21/13

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“for the sake of our children and our future, we must do more to combat climate change.  (Applause.)  Now, it’s true that no single event makes a trend.  But the fact is the 12 hottest years on record have all come in the last 15.  Heat waves, droughts, wildfires, floods — all are now more frequent and more intense.  We can choose to believe that Superstorm Sandy, and the most severe drought in decades, and the worst wildfires some states have ever seen were all just a freak coincidence.  Or we can choose to believe in the overwhelming judgment of science — and act before it’s too late.

Now, the good news is we can make meaningful progress on this issue while driving strong economic growth.  I urge this Congress to get together, pursue a bipartisan, market-based solution to climate change, like the one John McCain and Joe Lieberman worked on together a few years ago.  But if Congress won’t act soon to protect future generations, I will.  “
President Barack Obama 2/12/13
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President Obama Establishes a Task Force on Climate

FACT SHEET: Executive Order on Climate Preparedness

November 01, 2013

“We’re going to need to get prepared. And that’s why this plan will also protect critical sectors of our economy and prepare the United States for the impacts of climate change that we cannot avoid. States and cities across the country are already taking it upon themselves to get ready… And we’ll partner with communities seeking help to prepare for droughts and floods, reduce the risk of wildfires, protect the dunes and wetlands that pull double duty as green space and as natural storm barriers.” –

President Barack Obama, June 25, 2013

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Today, President Obama established a Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience to advise the Administration on how the Federal Government can respond to the needs of communities nationwide that are dealing with the impacts of climate change. The Task Force members include state, local and tribal leaders from across the country who will use their first-hand experiences in building climate preparedness and resilience in their communities to inform their recommendations to the Administration.

The President signed an Executive Order that directs Federal agencies to take a series of steps to make it easier for American communities to strengthen their resilience to extreme weather and prepare for other impacts of climate change.

For more: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2013/11/01/fact-sheet-executive-order-climate-preparedness

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Climate change is happening

Our Earth is warming. Earth’s average temperature has risen by 1.4°F over the past century, and is projected to rise another 2 to 11.5°F over the next hundred years. Small changes in the average temperature of the planet can translate to large and potentially dangerous shifts in climate and weather.

The evidence is clear. Rising global temperatures have been accompanied by changes in weather and climate. Many places have seen changes in rainfall, resulting in more floods, droughts, or intense rain, as well as more frequent and severe heat waves. The planet’s oceans and glaciers have also experienced some big changes – oceans are warming and becoming more acidic, ice caps are melting, and sea levels are rising. As these and other changes become more pronounced in the coming decades, they will likely present challenges to our society and our environment.

Humans are largely responsible for recent climate change

Over the past century, human activities have released large amounts of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. The majority of greenhouse gases come from burning fossil fuels to produce energy, although deforestation, industrial processes, and some agricultural practices also emit gases into the atmosphere.

Greenhouse gases act like a blanket around Earth, trapping energy in the atmosphere and causing it to warm. This phenomenon is called the greenhouse effect and is natural and necessary to support life on Earth. However, the buildup of greenhouse gases can change Earth’s climate and result in dangerous effects to human health and welfare and to ecosystems.

The choices we make today will affect the amount of greenhouse gases we put in the atmosphere in the near future and for years to come.

Climate change affects everyone

Our lives are connected to the climate. Human societies have adapted to the relatively stable climate we have enjoyed since the last ice age which ended several thousand years ago. A warming climate will bring changes that can affect our water supplies, agriculture, power and transportation systems, the natural environment, and even our own health and safety.

Some changes to the climate are unavoidable. Carbon dioxide can stay in the atmosphere for nearly a century, so Earth will continue to warm in the coming decades. The warmer it gets, the greater the risk for more severe changes to the climate and Earth’s system. Although it’s difficult to predict the exact impacts of climate change, what’s clear is that the climate we are accustomed to is no longer a reliable guide for what to expect in the future.

We can make a difference

You can take action. You can take steps at home, on the road, and in your office to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and the risks associated with climate change. Many of these steps can save you money; some, such as walking or biking to work can even improve your health! You can also get involved on a local or state level to support energy efficiency, clean energy programs, or other climate programs.

Calculate your carbon footprint and find ways to reduce your emissions through simple everyday actions.
Personal Greenhouse Gas Emissions Calculator
EPA and other federal agencies are taking action. EPA is working to protect the health and welfare of Americans through common sense measures to reduce greenhouse gas pollution and to help communities prepare for climate change.

Todd Stern, U.S. State Department Special Envoy for Climate Change

Science

Climate Change Impacts and Adapting to Change

Greenhouse Gas Emissions

What You Can Do

What EPA is Doing

 

EPA Climate Change Home

EPA Mobile app

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P5+1 Negotiations – Geneva 2013

10/14/2013

UN Geneva

The P5+1 is a group of countries which in 2006 joined the diplomatic efforts with Iran in regard to its nuclear program. The term refers to the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany, namely United StatesRussiaChinaUnited Kingdom,France and Germany. P5+1 is sometimes referred to as the E3+3 by European countries.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/P5%2B1

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* Background Briefing on P5+1 Negotiations http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2013/10/215369.htm

P5+1 Meeting
October 15-16, 2013
Geneva, Switzerland

Secretary of State Department Under Secretary Wendy R. Sherman to lead the United States’ delegation

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UPDATE:   Iran, six world powers clinch breakthrough nuclear deal

11/23/13 1 hour ago By Parisa Hafezi and Justyna Pawlak – Reuters

GENEVA (Reuters) – Iran and six world powers reached a breakthrough agreement early on Sunday to curb Tehran’s nuclear program in exchange for limited sanctions relief, in a first step towards resolving a dangerous decade-old standoff.

The deal between the Islamic state and the United States, France, Germany, Britain, China and Russia was nailed down after more than four days of negotiations.

“We have reached an agreement,” Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif announced on his Twitter feed. French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius also confirmed the deal.

Iran will get access to $4.2 billion in foreign exchange as part of the accord, a Western diplomat said. No other details of the agreement were immediately available.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and foreign ministers of the five other world powers joined the negotiations with Iran early on Saturday as the two sides appeared to be edging closer to a long-sought preliminary agreement.

The talks were aimed at finding a package of confidence-building steps to ease decades of tensions and banish the specter of a Middle East war over Tehran’s nuclear aspirations.

The Western powers’ goal had been to cap Iran’s nuclear energy program, which has a history of evading U.N. inspections and investigations, to remove any risk of Tehran covertly refining uranium to a level suitable for bombs.

For more: http://news.yahoo.com/iran-nuclear-deal-reached-geneva-021222943.html

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November 23, 2013

Statement By The President On First Step Agreement On Iran’s Nuclear Program

THE PRESIDENT: Good evening. Today, the United States — together with our close allies and partners — took an important first step toward a comprehensive solution that addresses our concerns with the Islamic Republic of Iran’s nuclear program.

Since I took office, I’ve made clear my determination to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. As I’ve said many times, my strong preference is to resolve this issue peacefully, and we’ve extended the hand of diplomacy. Yet for many years, Iran has been unwilling to meet its obligations to the international community. So my administration worked with Congress, the United Nations Security Council and countries around the world to impose unprecedented sanctions on the Iranian government.

These sanctions have had a substantial impact on the Iranian economy, and with the election of a new Iranian President earlier this year, an opening for diplomacy emerged. I spoke personally with President Rouhani of Iran earlier this fall. Secretary Kerry has met multiple times with Iran’s Foreign Minister. And we have pursued intensive diplomacy — bilaterally with the Iranians, and together with our P5-plus-1 partners — the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Russia, and China, as well as the European Union.

Today, that diplomacy opened up a new path toward a world that is more secure — a future in which we can verify that Iran’s nuclear program is peaceful and that it cannot build a nuclear weapon.

While today’s announcement is just a first step, it achieves a great deal. For the first time in nearly a decade, we have halted the progress of the Iranian nuclear program, and key parts of the program will be rolled back. Iran has committed to halting certain levels of enrichment and neutralizing part of its stockpiles. Iran cannot use its next-generation centrifuges, which are used for enriching uranium. Iran cannot install or start up new centrifuges, and its production of centrifuges will be limited. Iran will halt work at its plutonium reactor. And new inspections will provide extensive access to Iran’s nuclear facilities and allow the international community to verify whether Iran is keeping its commitments.

These are substantial limitations which will help prevent Iran from building a nuclear weapon. Simply put, they cut off Iran’s most likely paths to a bomb. Meanwhile, this first step will create time and space over the next six months for more negotiations to fully address our comprehensive concerns about the Iranian program. And because of this agreement, Iran cannot use negotiations as cover to advance its program.

For more: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2013/11/23/statement-president-first-step-agreement-irans-nuclear-program


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