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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Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009 – 5th Anniversary

03/27/2014
The Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009 permanently protects more than 2 million acres of America’s wilderness in California, Colorado, Idaho, Michigan, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Virginia, and West Virginia.

The Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009 permanently protects more than 2 million acres of America’s wilderness in California, Colorado, Idaho, Michigan, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Virginia, and West Virginia.

Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009

March 30, 2009

STATEMENT BY THE PRESIDENT

Today I have signed into law H.R. 146, the “Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009.” This landmark bill will protect millions of acres of Federal land as wilderness, protect more than 1,000 miles of rivers through the National Wild and Scenic River System, and designate thousands of miles of trails for the National Trails System. It also will authorize the 26 million-acre National Landscape Conservation System within the Department of the Interior.

Among other provisions, H.R. 146 designates three new units in our National Park System, enlarges the boundaries of several existing parks, and designates a number of National Heritage Areas. It creates a new national monument — the Prehistoric Trackways National Monument –- and four new national conservation areas, and establishes the Wyoming Range Withdrawal Area. It establishes a collaborative landscape-scale restoration program with a goal of reducing the risk of wildfire and authorizes programs to study and research the effects of climate change on natural resources and other research-related activities.

Treasured places from coast to coast will benefit from H.R. 146, including Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore in Michigan; Monongahela National Forest in West Virginia; Oregon’s Mount Hood; Idaho’s Owyhee Canyons; the Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado; Zion National Park in Utah; remarkable landscapes in the Sierra Nevada Mountains of California; and wilderness-quality National Forest lands in Virginia and public lands in New Mexico.

For the entire article: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the_press_office/Statement-from-the-Presidents-signing-statements-on-HR-146-the-Omnibus-Public-Lands-Management-Act/

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This is a historic day for conservation. For years, volunteers and conservationists from coast to coast have worked tirelessly to make this happen. This is the most important lands protection legislation in decades.

Athan Manuel, Sierra Club Public Lands Director 3/30/2009

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President Obama Establishes Point Arena-Stornetta Unit of California Coastal National Monument

 March 11, 2014

WASHINGTON, DC — As part of his commitment to make 2014 a year of action using his pen and phone, President Obama today signed a proclamation to establish the first shoreline addition to the California Coastal National Monument. Using his authorities under the Antiquities Act, President Obama designated the Point Arena-Stornetta Unit, protecting approximately 1,665 acres of a significant and spectacular stretch of public lands along the Mendocino coastline in Northern California.

“In my State of the Union address, I said that I would use my authority to protect more of our pristine federal lands for future generations.” said President Obama. “Our country is blessed with some of the most beautiful landscapes in the world. It’s up to us to protect them, so our children’s children can experience them, too,” Obama added. “That’s what today is about. By designating Point Arena-Stornetta Public Lands a national monument, we’ll also support the local economy.”

In 2000, President Clinton (D) established the California Coastal National Monument, comprising more than 20,000 rocks, islands, exposed reefs, and pinnacles along the 1,100 miles of California’s coast. Today’s action builds upon that vision, protecting the area’s scientifically valuable coastal resources, including coastal bluffs and shelves, tide pools, onshore dunes, coastal prairies, riverbanks, and the mouth and estuary of the Garcia River that provide unique habitat for breeding seabirds, marine mammals, and other native species.

The Point Arena-Stornetta Public Lands are a destination for thousands of visitors every year, offering opportunities for wildlife viewing and other outdoor recreation activities, like hiking and fishing.  In California, outdoor recreation on public lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management contributed nearly $900 million to the economy in 2012.

“The rugged coastline of Point Arena-Stornetta is simply breathtaking and a deserving addition to the California Coastal National Monument,” said Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell, who hosted a public meeting in Point Arena in November. “President Obama is supporting the community’s vision to conserve this landscape and, in doing so, strengthening the local economy through increased tourism and outdoor recreation.”

For more: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2014/03/11/president-obama-establishes-point-arena-stornetta-unit-california-coasta

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Since taking office in 2009, President Obama has designated more than 2 million acres of federal wilderness and thousands of miles of trails. He also has established eleven national monuments.

National Mounments Established by President Obama 

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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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North American Leaders’ Summit 2014

02/16/2014

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Canada's Prime Minister Harper, President Obama and Mexico's President Pena Nieto hold a press conference

Canada’s Prime Minister Harper, President Obama and Mexico’s President Pena Nieto hold a press conference

On February 19. 2014, Mexico’s President Enrique Pena Nieto will host President Obama and  Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper at the 2014 North American Leader’s Summit (NALS) to be held in Toluca, Mexico.

This meeting  built on wide-ranging and ongoing cooperation among the United States, Canada, and Mexico with a particular focus on economic competitiveness, energy and the environment, and defence and security cooperation. They will also have the opportunity to exchange views on a number of important regional and global security issues.

Canada, the U.S. and Mexico have a successful history of cooperation on environmental issues. This cooperation includes efforts to safeguard North America’s natural resources and ecosystems, as well as efforts to address the global challenges posed by climate change.

The United States, Canada and Mexico celebrate the 20th anniversary of North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Other successful cooperative agreements like the North American Agreement on Environmental Cooperation (NAAEC) , the Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC) safeguard the natural resources of North America.

U.S.-Canada Trade http://www.ustr.gov/countries-regions/americas/canada

U.S.-Mexico Trade  http://www.ustr.gov/countries-regions/americas/mexico

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North American Leaders’ Summit 2014
February 19, 2014
Toluca, Mexico

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President Obama, Canada’s Prime Minister Harper and Mexico’s President Pena Nieto hold a bilateral meeting
Palacio de Gobierno del Estado de Mexico, Toluca, Mexico

President Obama, Canada’s Prime Minister Harper and Mexico’s President Pena Nieto hold a working lunch
Cosmovitral, Botanical Gardens, Toluca, Mexico

President Obama, Canada’s Prime Minister Harper and Mexico’s President Peña Nieto meet with North American Business, Civil Society and Education Leaders
Salon del Pueblo, Palacio de Gobierno, Toluca, Mexico

President Obama, Canada’s Prime Minister Harper and Mexico’s President Pena Nieto participates in the Trilateral North American Leaders Summit Meeting
Courtyard, Palacio de Justicia, Toluca, Mexico

President Obama, Canada’s Prime Minister Harper and Mexico’s President Pena Nieto hold trilateral meetings
Courtyard, Palacio de Justicia, Toluca, Mexico

President Obama, Canada’s Prime Minister Harper and Mexico’s President Pena Nieto hold a press conference
Patio Cental, Palacio de Gobierno, Toluca, Mexico

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US-Jordan Sunnylands Meeting & CA Drought 2014

02/13/2014

American Jordian Flag

 

President Obama  meets with His Majesty King Abdullah II of Jordan at Sunnylands, Rancho Mirage, CA.

The United States and the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan are close friends and historic partners that have worked together to promote peace, prosperity, and reform. President Obama and King Abdullah will hold in depth discussions on a wide range of bilateral, regional and global issues. They look forward to discuss the U.S.-Jordan strategic partnership and how to advance our political, economic, and security cooperation.

U.S.-Jordan Trade http://www.ustr.gov/trade-agreements/other-initiatives

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Friday, February 14 – Monday, February 17

President Obama and Jordan’s King Abdullah II hold bilateral meetings

President Obama and Jordan’s King Abdullah II hold a press conference

President Obama and Jordan’s King Abdullah II hold working dinners

California Drought

In February 2014 the California drought reached for the first time in the 54-year history of the State Water Project to shortages of water supplies. The California Department of Water Resources planned to reduce water allocations to farmland by 50%. The California drought had continued 13th months. California has 38 million residents. Agricultural industry is worth of $44.7 billion. California produces nearly half of all U.S.-grown fruits, nuts, and vegetables and it is the leading dairy state.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Climate_change_in_California#Drought

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California Institute for Rural Studies:  SURFACE WATER STORAGE AND DELIVERY INFRASTRUCTURE IN CALIFORNIA

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January 29, 2014

Readout of the President’s Call to Governor Brown

Today, the President called Governor Jerry Brown to receive an update on the situation in California and express his concern for the citizens impacted by the historic drought conditions facing the state – conditions that are likely to have significant impacts on the state’s communities, economy and environment in the coming months.

The President reinforced his commitment to providing the necessary federal support to the state and local efforts. The agencies are working together to target resources to help California and other impacted states prepare for and lessen the impacts of the drought. USDA is also working with farmers and ranchers to increase their irrigation water efficiency, protect vulnerable soils from erosion, and improve the health of pasture and range lands. And the Bureau of Reclamation is working closely with federal and California state authorities to facilitate water transfers and provide operational flexibility to convey and store available water, and facilitate additional actions that can conserve and move water to critical areas.

The National Drought Resilience Partnership (NDRP) will help coordinate the federal response, working closely with state, local government, agriculture and other partners. The NDRP is already helping to enhance existing efforts that federal agencies are working on with communities, businesses, farmers and ranchers to build resilience where drought is currently an issue across the country.

http://youtu.be/3OGcUxECrx0.

Friday, February 14 

President Obama takes part in a roundtable with community leaders
San Luis Water Facility, Firebaugh, California

President Obama tours a local farm
Empresas Del Bosque, Inc., Los Banos, California

President Obama delivers remarks on California’s drought
Los Banos, California

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USDA Disaster and Drought Information http://www.usda.gov/wps/portal/usda/usdahome?navid=DISASTER_ASSISTANCE

White House Drought Response  http://www.whitehouse.gov/drought

FACT SHEET: President Obama Leading Administration-wide Drought Response
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~ CONGRESSIONAL ACTION FOR DROUGHT RELIEF ~

Senate drought bill offers $300 million, no waiving of environmental laws

2/12/14 By Josh Richman - bayareanewsgroup

California’s and Oregon’s Democratic senators offered a drought relief bill Tuesday that stands in stark contrast to the Republican bill the House approved last week, setting up a tough battle when lawmakers eventually try to merge the two.

The Senate bill would grant $300 million in emergency aid and require federal agencies to do all they can to boost water supplies, while the GOP bill had focused more on lifting environmental restrictions [such as the  Endangered Species Act] to allow more water to be pumped from the Delta south to San Joaquin Valley farms.

The stakes grow higher as water levels recede. Recent rains made no significant dent in California’s huge water deficit, leaving the state still looking at its worst drought in more than half a century. The Golden State’s $45 billion agricultural sector is at risk of devastation, some smaller water districts might run dry in the next few months, and delicate ecosystems hang in the balance.

President Barack Obama will speak about drought relief Friday in Fresno, most likely with this new bill as rhetorical fodder. Obama, like California leaders and House Democrats, had blasted the House GOP bill as a water grab for agriculture at the environment’s expense and a political power play that would undermine years of difficult negotiations. Agricultural and environmental groups alike praised the senators’ bill Tuesday, if only as a first step.

“This bill provides operational flexibility to increase water supplies and primes federal agencies to make the best use of any additional rain,” U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., said in a news release. “With so little water available, we must focus on streamlining federal programs and provide what assistance we can to those farmers and communities being hit the hardest.”

For more: http://www.mercurynews.com/science/ci_25116906/senate-drought-bill-offers-300-million-no-waiving

Contact your legislator Contact your Congress person to TELL THEM TO PASS THE SENATE’S VERSION OF THE DROUGHT BILL!!

U.S. Senators
U.S. Representatives
Tweet a Message to Your Representatives

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Agricultural Act of 2014

02/07/2014

PBO Signs 2014 Farm Bill aka Agricultural Act of 2014

Agricultural Act of 2014 - Fact Sheet

Food, Farm and Jobs Bill

usda.gov

The Agricultural Act of 2014 is important legislation that provides authorization for services and programs that impact every American and millions of people around the world. The new Farm Bill builds on historic economic gains in rural America over the past five years, while achieving meaningful reform and billions of dollars in savings for the taxpayer.

The new Farm Bill will allow USDA to continue record accomplishments on behalf of the American people, while providing new opportunity and creating jobs across rural America. It will enable USDA to further expand markets for agricultural products at home and abroad, strengthen conservation efforts, create new opportunities for local and regional food systems and grow the biobased economy. It will provide a dependable safety net for America’s farmers, ranchers and growers. It will maintain important agricultural research, and ensure access to safe and nutritious food for all Americans.

Read Statement by Secretary Vilsack on Passage of the Agricultural Act of 2014
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Farm Bill Conferees Come Through for Wildlife with Strong Water and Soil Protections” – National Wildlife Federation

One of the Strongest Farm Bills Ever for Conservation Passes the Senate” – The Nature Conservancy

Plains Cotton Growers Applaud House Approval of Agricultural Act of 2014

Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Applauds Passage of Farm Bill, Measures to Support Access to Healthy Foods for Millions

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USDA Climate Hubs

02/05/2014

USDA Climate Hubs

USDA’s Climate Hubs: Providing Targeted Solutions to Modern Challenges

Secretary Tom Vilsack February 05, 2014 12:51 PM EST

America’s farmers, ranchers and forest landowners face a complex and ever-changing threat in the form of a changing and shifting climate. The past three years alone have brought some of the most severe and devastating floods, droughts and fires our nation has experienced in recent history.

While no individual event can be linked to climate change, extreme weather conditions are increasingly impacting our farmers, ranchers and forest owners, to the detriment of their bottom lines, our food supply, and the future security of our farm economy.

We need a strategy that strengthens agriculture’s response to the impacts of a changing and shifting climate. Our farmers and ranchers need new and better tools to respond and prepare for the challenges of drought, heat stress, excessive moisture, longer growing seasons and changes in pest pressure.

USDA has answered the call from our nation’s producers and land managers and launched seven regionally-located Climate Hubs to act as repositories of data and offer the practical, science-based tools and strategies our producers need to adapt and succeed in the face of a changing climate.

Recognizing that regions face different climate challenges, the Hubs are housed in USDA facilities spread across the country. Each Hub will focus on developing research and solutions tailored to the specific vulnerabilities of its region, such as drought-tolerant seed varieties, strategies to maintain soil health, and ways to monitor and respond to fires and pest outbreaks.

We won’t work alone. Climate Hubs support President Obama’s Climate Action Plan to responsibly cut carbon pollution, slow the effects of climate change and put us on track to a cleaner environment. Through Climate Hubs, we will further strengthen our partnerships with a wide range of organizations working on climate issues, including the Department of Interior, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, land-grant universities, Native Nations and organizations, state departments of environment and agriculture, research centers, and farm groups.

In order to address climate change, we have to get ahead of it, and no one innovates in the face of challenge better than rural America. This will not be an easy task, but I am confident that working together, USDA and its partners can effectively manage the risks from a shifting climate and build a stronger, more secure future for our farm and forest resources.

Hub Leadership Contact

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Endangered Species Act of 1973 – 40th Anniversary

12/26/2013

Endangered Species Act 40th Anniversary

The Endangered Species Act of 1973 (ESA; 7 U.S.C. § 136, 16 U.S.C. § 1531 et seq.) is one of the dozens of United States environmental laws passed in the 1970s. Signed into law by President Richard Nixon on December 28, 1973, it was designed to protect critically imperiled species from extinction as a “consequence of economic growth and development untempered by adequate concern and conservation.” The U.S. Supreme Courtfound that “the plain intent of Congress in enacting” the ESA “was to halt and reverse the trend toward species extinction, whatever the cost.”

The Act is administered by two federal agencies, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

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

* View and learn more about each section of the Act.
* Learn the history of the Act.
* Know your species map: http://www.fws.gov/endangered/map/index.html
* Access the full library of documents related to the Endangered Species Act..
* View and learn more about each section of the Act.
* Learn the history of the Act.
* Access the full library of documents related to the Endangered Species Act.

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Sorry but ProPresObama thread comments &
WH daily schedule not available 12/1/13 – 1/5/14

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Clean Air Act of 1963

12/15/2013

Ecowheel_cleanair

The Clean Air Act is a United States federal law established on December 17, 1963 was designed to control air pollution on a national level. It requires the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to develop and enforce regulations to protect the public from airborne contaminants known to be hazardous to human health. The 1963 version of the legislation established a research program, expanded in 1967. Major amendments to the law, requiring regulatory controls for air pollution, passed in 1970, 1977, and 1990.

The 1970 amendments greatly expanded the federal mandate, requiring comprehensive federal and state regulations for both stationary (industrial) pollution sources and mobile sources. It also significantly expanded federal enforcement.

The 1990 amendments addressed acid rainozone depletion and toxic air pollution, established a national permits program for stationary sources, and increased enforcement authority. The amendments also established new auto gasoline reformulation requirements, set Reid vapor pressure (RVP) standards to control evaporative emissions from gasoline, and mandated new gasoline formulations sold from May to September in many states.

The Clean Air Act was the first major environmental law in the United States to include a provision for citizen suits. Numerous state and local governments have enacted similar legislation, either implementing federal programs or filling in locally important gaps in federal programs.

For more: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clean_Air_Act_(United_States)

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EPA CLEAN AIR ACT

Progress Cleaning the Air & Improving People’s Health
Actions to implement the Clean Air Act have achieved dramatic reductions in air pollution, preventing hundreds of thousands of cases of serious health effects each year.

How the Act Works:
Solving Problems with Science and Technology
The Act calls for states and EPA to solve multiple air pollution problems through programs based on the latest science and technology information.

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Air Pollution Challenges:
More to Do
Despite the dramatic progress to date, air pollution continues to threaten Americans’ health and welfare.

Learn more: http://www.epa.gov/air/caa/index.html

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Sorry but ProPresObama thread comments &
WH daily schedule not available 12/1/13 – 1/5/14

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Clean Water Act of 1972

10/17/2013

Clean Water Act

The Clean Water Act

This Act [ voted into law on October 18, 1972 by Congress' supermajority vote  over riding President Nixon's (R) veto]  , is the principle law governing pollution control and water quality of the Nation’s waterways. The objective of this Act is to restore and maintain the chemical, physical and biological integrity of the Nation’s waters (33 U.S.C. 1251). The Act has been amended numerous times and given a number of titles and codification. It was originally enacted as the Water Pollution Control Act in 1948 (P.L. 80-845), and was completely revised by the 1972 amendments, the Federal Water Pollution Control Act Amendments (P.L. 92-500). The 1972 amendments gave the Act its current form, and established a national goal that all waters of the U.S. should be fishable and swimmable. The goal was to be achieved by eliminating all pollutant discharges into waters of the U.S. by 1985 with an interim goal of making the waters safe for fish, shellfish, wildlife and people by July 1, 1983 (86 Stat. 816, 33 U.S.C. 1251) . The 1977 amendments (the Clean Water Act of 1977 (P.L. 95-217)) gave the Act its current title. Additional amendments were enacted in 1981 (Municipal Wastewater Treatment Construction Grants Amendments (P.L. 97-117)) and in 1987 (Water Quality Act of 1987 (P.L. 100-4).  The Act regulates discharges to waters of the United States through permits issued under the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permitting program. The Water Quality Protection Division, issues the NPDES permits and the Water Enforcement Branchassures that all discharges comply with the NPDES permits.

 Learn more: http://www.epa.gov/region6/6en/w/cwa.htm

Clean Water Act legislative history
  • Introduced in the Senate as S. 2770 by Edmund Muskie(DMEon October 28, 1971
  • Committee consideration by: Senate Public Works Committee
  • Passed the Senate on November 2, 1971 (86-0)
  • Passed the House on March 29, 1972 (passed)
  • Reported by the joint conference committee onOctober 4, 1972; agreed to by the House on October 4, 1972 (366-11and by the Senate on October 4, 1972 (74-0)
  • Vetoed by President Richard Nixon (R) on October 17, 1972
  • Overridden by the Senate on October 17, 1972 (52-12)
  • Overridden by the House and became law on October 18, 1972 (247-23)

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

.Water Pollution


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