Right To Choose

Mothers for Choice

Burwell v. Hobby Lobby (formerly Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby) is a United States Supreme Court case determining whether the Free Exercise Clause of the U.S. Constitution and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) can exempt a company from federal government regulations requiring employers to provide contraceptive coverage to their female employees. The case is a reaction against a requirement deriving from the Affordable Care Act. It could have widespread impact on the issue of whether companies can be religiously exempt from any federal law that protects the interests of other individuals.

For more: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sebelius_v._Hobby_Lobby


On eve of court ruling, Americans oppose contraceptive ban: Reuters/Ipsos poll

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A majority of Americans oppose letting employers, based on their religious views, exclude certain contraceptives from workers’ insurance coverage, says a Reuters/Ipsos opinion poll ahead of a U.S. Supreme Court decision expected on Monday.

In one of the most closely watched cases of the year, the nine-member court will weigh whether for-profit corporations may raise religious objections to a mandate in President Barack Obama’s signature 2010 healthcare law that their insurance cover contraceptives.

It brings to the forefront thorny questions of religious freedom and reproductive rights, along with enduring politicking over the law known as Obamacare, itself broadly upheld by the Supreme Court in 2012.

The poll asked whether employers should be able to choose what forms of contraceptives their health plans provide based on their religious beliefs. Of those responding, 53 percent disagreed and 35 percent agreed. Of those surveyed, 12 percent said they did not know.

The justices will sit at 10 a.m. ET on Monday [June 30th] for the final day of their nine-month annual term.

For more: http://news.yahoo.com/eve-court-ruling-americans-oppose-contraceptive-ban-reuters-082552408–finance.html

.The Supreme Court ruled today that some bosses can now withhold contraceptive care from their employees health coverage based on their own religious views that their employees may not even share. President Obama believes that women should make personal healthcare decisions for themselves rather then their bosses deciding for them. Today’s decision jeopardizes the health of women that are employed by these companies. As millions of women know firsthand, contraceptive is often vital to their health and wellbeing. That is why the Affordable Care Act ensures that women have coverage for contraceptive care, along with other preventative care like vaccines and cancer screenings. We will work with Congress to make sure that any women affected by this decision will still have the same coverage of vital health services as everyone else. President Obama believes strongly in the freedom of religion. That is why we have taken steps to ensure that no religious institution will have to pay or provide for contraceptive coverage. We have also made accomodations for non-profit organizations that object to contraception on religious grounds. But we believe that the owners of for profit companies should not be allowed to assert their personal religious views to deny their employees federally mandated benefits. Now, we will of course respect the Supreme Court ruling and we will continue to look for ways to improve American’s health by helping women to have more, not less, say over the personal health decisions that affect them and their families.

6/30/14 White House spokesman Josh Earnest on the Supreme Court’s ruling on Burwell v. Hobby Lobby

Freedom to Choose When to Start a Family 



42 thoughts on “Right To Choose

  1. WH

    Monday, June 30, 2014

    All Times Eastern

    President Obama receives the presidential daily briefing

    Dr. Jill Biden travels with USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah, and U.S. Ambassador Catherine Russell to Zambia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Sierra Leone

    7:00 AM
    8:00 AM
    9:00 AM
    10:00 AM
    10:55 AM
    President Obama welcomes Chilean President Michelle Bachelet to the White House

    11:00 AM
    11:30 PM
    Press Briefing by White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest

    12:00 PM
    12:30 PM
    Vice President Biden and Secretary of State John Kerry host a lunch in honor of President Bachelet
    Department of State

    1:00 PM
    2:00 PM
    2:50 PM
    President Obama Speaks on Immigration Reform
    The White House

    3:00 PM
    4:00 PM
    4:30 PM
    President Obama makes a personnel announcement

    5:00 PM
    President Obama hosts an LGBT Pride Month reception at the White House First Lady Michelle also attends
    East Room

    6:00 PM
    7:00 PM
    8:00 PM
    9:00 PM
    10:00 PM

  2. Right To Choose

    Burwell v. Hobby Lobby

    Burwell v. Hobby Lobby (formerly Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby) is a United States Supreme Court case determining whether the Free Exercise Clause of the U.S. Constitution and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) can exempt a company from federal government regulations requiring employers to provide contraceptive coverage to their female employees. The case is a reaction against a requirement deriving from the Affordable Care Act. It could have widespread impact on the issue of whether companies can be religiously exempt from any federal law that protects the interests of other individuals.

    For more: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sebelius_v._Hobby_Lobby

    • On eve of court ruling, Americans oppose contraceptive ban: Reuters/Ipsos poll

      6/29/14 By By Joan Biskupic – Reuters
      WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A majority of Americans oppose letting employers, based on their religious views, exclude certain contraceptives from workers’ insurance coverage, says a Reuters/Ipsos opinion poll ahead of a U.S. Supreme Court decision expected on Monday.

      In one of the most closely watched cases of the year, the nine-member court will weigh whether for-profit corporations may raise religious objections to a mandate in President Barack Obama’s signature 2010 healthcare law that their insurance cover contraceptives.

      It brings to the forefront thorny questions of religious freedom and reproductive rights, along with enduring politicking over the law known as Obamacare, itself broadly upheld by the Supreme Court in 2012.

      The poll asked whether employers should be able to choose what forms of contraceptives their health plans provide based on their religious beliefs. Of those responding, 53 percent disagreed and 35 percent agreed. Of those surveyed, 12 percent said they did not know.

      The justices will sit at 10 a.m. ET on Monday [June 30th] for the final day of their nine-month annual term.

      For more: http://news.yahoo.com/eve-court-ruling-americans-oppose-contraceptive-ban-reuters-082552408–finance.html

    • Obamacare Rebuffed by High Court in Contraception Ruling

      Jun 30, 2014 7:20 AM PT By Greg Stohr – bloomberg

      The U.S. Supreme Court dealt a blow to President Barack Obama’s health-care law, ruling that closely held companies can claim a religious exemption from the requirement that they offer birth-control coverage in their worker health plans.

      Voting 5-4, the justices today sided with family-run businesses, including the craft-store chain Hobby Lobby Stores Inc., that say they regard some forms of contraception as immoral.

      The ruling carves a hole in Obama’s biggest legislative accomplishment, the 2010 health-care law that the Supreme Court upheld two years ago.

    • SCOTUS’ civil rights problem: Here’s what’s behind the Court’s ignorance

      Right-wing judges say stats showing effects on minorities or women can’t prove discrimination. Here’s the problem


      In 1989, twenty-five years after the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Supreme Court Justice Harry Blackmun asked “…whether the majority [of the court] still believes that race discrimination – or, more accurately, race discrimination against nonwhites – is a problem in our society, or even remembers that it ever was.” Prompting Justice Blackmun’s question was the decided shift in the late 1980s in how the Court’s majority treated evidence of bias, especially numerical/statistical evidence. Another 25 years have now passed and the question remains apt.

      When President Lyndon Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act on July 2, 1964, and a year later the Voting Rights Act, our society was transformed and a period of dramatic movement against an array of discriminatory practices began. The workplace, in particular, was remade by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, which banned employment discrimination based on “race, color, national origin, sex, and religion,” while the Voting Rights Act significantly altered the makeup of elected bodies across the nation.

      Blatant acts of job discrimination (“colored need not apply”) were plainly illegal, but establishing more subtle and indirect forms of bias required statistical evidence. A unanimous Court recognized this implicitly in 1971 in Griggs v. Duke Power when it ruled that the Civil Rights Act barred not only “overt discrimination, but also practices that are fair in form, but discriminatory in operation.”

      How to determine whether a practice is “discriminatory in operation?” Look at the numbers; the data on hiring, wages and promotions of employees carry the relevant information. Similarly, in 1986, the Court held that the Voting Rights Act banned voting practices that had the effect of preventing minorities from electing candidates they preferred. The way to show that was to collect and analyze election data.

      Since 1987, the Supreme Court has issued a series of closely decided rulings on capital punishment, employment discrimination, and voting rights that jeopardize these legislative milestones. This is not news. What has been less noticed is the marked change in the Court’s treatment of numerical/statistical evidence. The result: a chilling effect on the advancement and protection of civil rights in elections and employment.

      For more: http://www.salon.com/2014/06/30/scotus_civil_rights_problem_heres_whats_behind_the_courts_ignorance/

    • White House: Congress Must Counter SCOTUS Birth Control Ruling

      JUNE 30, 2014, 12:51 PM EDT SAHIL KAPUR – tpm

      The White House on Monday afternoon called on Congress to “take action to solve [the] problem” created by the Supreme Court in its ruling that closely held corporations cannot be forced to comply with the contraception mandate under Obamacare.

      “Today’s decision jeopardizes the health of women that are employed by these companies,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters. He added: “We believe that a company should not be able to assert their views to deny employees federally mandated coverage.”

      Earnest emphasized that President Barack Obama “believes strongly” in religious freedom and has created accommodations for religious institutions (such as houses of worship and nonprofits). He said the White House will explore its options after it processes the ruling.

      “President Obama has said that [women] should be able to make decisions for themselves rather than their bosses deciding for them,” he said. “As millions of women know, contraception is often vital to their well-being. We will work with Congress to make sure that any women affected by this decision will still have the same coverage and vital health services as everyone else.”

      For more: http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/white-house-reacts-hobby-lobby-ruling

    • HOBBY LOBBY: Murray, Udall to Introduce Legislative Fix to Protect Women’s Health in Aftermath of Supreme Court Decision

      Jul 09 2014 murray.senate.gov

      Today, U.S. Senators Patty Murray (D-WA) and Mark Udall (D-CO) will introduce the Protect Women’s Health from Corporate Interference Act to restore the contraceptive coverage requirement guaranteed by the Affordable Care Act and protect coverage of other health services from employers who want to impose their beliefs on their employees by denying benefits. Representatives Diana DeGette (D-CO), Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), and Louise Slaughter (D-NY) are introducing companion legislation in the House of Representatives.

      “After five justices decided last week that an employer’s personal views can interfere with women’s access to essential health services, we in Congress need to act quickly to right this wrong,” said Senator Murray. “This bicameral legislation will ensure that no CEO or corporation can come between people and their guaranteed access to health care, period. I hope Republicans will join us to revoke this court-issued license to discriminate and return the right of Americans to make their own decisions, about their own health care and their own bodies.”

      “The U.S. Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision opened the door to unprecedented corporate intrusion into our private lives. Coloradans understand that women should never have to ask their bosses for a permission slip to access common forms of birth control or other critical health services,” said Senator Udall. “My common-sense proposal will keep women’s private health decisions out of corporate board rooms, because your boss shouldn’t be able to dictate what is best for you and your family.”

      “With this bill, Congress can begin to fix the damage done by the Supreme Court’s decision to allow for-profit corporations to deny their employees birth control coverage. The Supreme Court last week opened the door to a wide range of discrimination and denial of services. This bill would help close the door for denying contraception before more corporations can walk through it,” said Cecile Richards, President, Planned Parenthood Action Fund. “As the nation’s leading advocate for women’s reproductive health care, Planned Parenthood Action Fund is committed to making sure women can get the no-copay birth control benefit that we and others fought so hard to pass and protect. No woman should lose access to birth control because her boss doesn’t approve of it.”

      For more: http://www.murray.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/newsreleases?ContentRecord_id=25277c4f-00ee-45af-aded-3d03b5fec6a9

    • Senate Dems Fail To Overturn Supreme Court Hobby Lobby Ruling

      7/16/14 DailyCaller

      Democratic Senators’ attempt to nullify the Supreme Court’s ruling in Hobby Lobby and force religious employers to pay for every type of contraceptive coverage required by Obamacare failed to pass a cloture vote Wednesday.

      The bill, introduced by Democratic Senators Patty Murray and Mark Udall, failed to pass a vote Wednesday afternoon, as expected. The Senate voted 56-43 against invoking cloture on the legislation.

      The bill would have effectively annulled the Supreme Court ruling by making it impossible for employers to claim exemption from Obamacare’s full contraceptive mandate through the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

      Republican Senators Lisa Murkowski, Susan Collins, and Mark Kirk voted to advance the bill, but it still failed to attract the 60 votes needed to move forward.

      The Supreme Court ruled in favor of arts and crafts chain Hobby Lobby several weeks ago, deciding that Obamacare’s birth control mandate violates closely held companies’ religious freedom under Congress’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act. Hobby Lobby’s owners, who provide employees 16 of 20 types of birth control required by the Obamacare mandate, were religiously opposed to several types of emergency contraception

      For more: http://news.yahoo.com/senate-dems-fail-overturn-supreme-court-hobby-lobby-193208204.html

  3. June 30, 2014

    Remarks by President Obama and President Michelle Bachelet of Chile Before Bilateral Meeting

    Oval Office

    11:05 A.M. EDT

    PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, I want to welcome back to the Oval Office President Bachelet. She is my second favorite Michelle. (Laughter.) And I’m very much pleased to see her again. We had the opportunity to work together when I first came into office. Since that time, President Bachelet has been extraordinarily busy doing excellent work at the United Nations, particularly around women — an issue that the United States has been very supportive of. And we’re very proud of the work that she did there.

    She’s now back in office, and it gives us an opportunity to just strengthen further the outstanding relationship between the United States and Chile.

    Let me say, first of all, congratulations to the Chilean National Football Team for an outstanding showing at the World Cup. I know it was a tough loss, but it also showed the incredible skill and talent of the Chilean team. This is as well, I think, as it’s ever done against a very tough Brazilian team on their home turf. And so congratulations to them. We play — coming up, we’ve got a tough match as well. So I want to wish the U.S. team a lot of luck in the game to come.

    The basis for Chile’s and the United States’ strong bilateral relationship includes the fact that we have a free trade agreement that has greatly expanded commerce in both countries and has created jobs in both countries.

    We have excellent cooperation when it comes to a wide range of issues — energy, education, people-to-people relations. Chile has been a model of democracy in Latin America. It’s been able to consistently transition from center-left governments to center-right governments, but always respectful of democratic traditions. Obviously, those traditions were hard-won, and President Bachelet knows as well as anybody how difficult it was to bring about democracy. And now, the fact that Chile across the political spectrum respects and fights for the democratic process makes it a great model for the entire hemisphere.

    Today, we’re going to have an opportunity to discuss how we can deepen those relationships even further. I know that education, for example, is an issue that is at the top of President Bachelet’s agenda. It’s something that’s at the top of my agenda here in the United States. For us to be able to strengthen student exchanges and compare mechanisms and ideas for how we can build skills of young people in both countries is something that we’ll spend some time on.

    For more: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2014/06/30/remarks-president-obama-and-president-michelle-bachelet-chile-bilateral-


    June 30, 2014
    FACT SHEET: The United States and Chile – A Strategic Partnership

  4. June 24, 2014

    Dr. Jill Biden, USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah, and U.S. Ambassador Catherine Russell to Travel to Africa

    Dr. Jill Biden will travel to Zambia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Sierra Leone from June 30 – July 7, 2014. Rajiv Shah, Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and Catherine Russell, U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues, will also travel with Dr. Biden.

    During their travel, Dr. Biden, Administrator Shah, and Ambassador Russell will highlight how girls’ education and women’s participation in government, the economy, and civil society can accelerate economic development, improve health and educational outcomes, strengthen democratic governance, and foster peace and security. These themes will also be woven throughout the upcoming U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit held in Washington, D.C. in early August.

    • July 01, 2014

      Dr. Jill Biden Arrives in Lusaka, Zambia to Highlight Women’s Empowerment

      Dr. Jill Biden has arrived in Lusaka, Zambia, her first stop on a three-country visit to Africa. Dr. Biden is joined by Rajiv Shah, Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and Catherine Russell, U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues. Dr. Biden’s trip to Africa will highlight the importance of girls’ education and women’s participation in government, the economy, and civil society in accelerating economic development, improving health and educational outcomes, strengthening democratic governance, and fostering peace and security.

      While in Zambia, Dr. Biden will underscore the U.S. government’s commitment to women’s empowerment, education, and health. She will meet with Zambia’s Second Lady, Dr. Charlotte Harland Scott, to discuss the major issues affecting women in the country, with particular attention to education, gender-based violence, health and economic empowerment. They will be joined by government officials to discuss activities that the local ministries are carrying out to empower women and girls.

      For more: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2014/07/01/dr-jill-biden-arrives-lusaka-zambia-highlight-women-s-empowerment

    • https://propresobama.files.wordpress.com/2014/07/dr-jill-biden-in-zambia-e1404335495449.png?w=700

      Dr. Jill Biden, USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah, and U.S. Ambassador Catherine Russell to Travel to Africa

      July 01, 2014
      Dr. Jill Biden Arrives in Lusaka, Zambia to Highlight Women’s Empowerment

      July 02, 2014
      Dr. Jill Biden visits Shalom Community School in Zambia

      July 3
      Dr. Jill Biden Arrives in the Democratic Republic of Congo

      July 4
      Dr. Biden will meets with Madame Kabila, the Founder and President of the Mr. Laurent Desire Kabila Foundation, to discuss the status and conditions for women, children and vulnerable populations in the DRC.

      Dr. Biden meets with women entrepreneurs who are creating their own successful small businesses, including Therese Izay Kirongozi who builds and sells robots. Dr. Biden will highlight the U.S. government’s support for women entrepreneurs around the world, including in the DRC, and the important role women play in advancing and strengthening the global economy.

      Dr. Biden meets with women parliamentarians and aspiring political leaders to discuss their efforts to politically empower women in the DRC. The meeting will be an opportunity to highlight the challenges and opportunities for women in political life, and women’s role in making political parties more representative and responsive to their constituencies.

      Dr. Biden will attends a Fourth of July reception at the Chief of Mission’s Residence.

      July 5
      Dr. Biden travels to Bukavu, DRC

      Dr. Biden visits students enrolled in USAID-supported Accelerated Learning Programs (ALP). These programs aim to increase primary school access for out-of-school Congolese children and adolescents that have been impacted by the insecurity in the eastern Congo. This meeting will be an opportunity to reinforce the U.S. government’s commitment to at-risk students and vulnerable adolescent girls in the eastern DRC.

      Dr. Biden visits Panzi Hospital to see firsthand the response services provided to survivors of sexual and gender-based violence. While at the hospital, Dr. Biden will meet with U.S. government partners implementing sexual and gender-based violence interventions.

      Dr. Biden visits the UNICEF Boys Reintegration Center where she will meet with children and youth who have been removed from armed groups and who are now housed in this temporary residential center, where they stay prior to reintegration into their home communities or foster families.

      Dr. Biden will then return to Kinshasa where she will remain overnight.

      July 6
      Dr. Jill Biden Arrives in Sierra Leone

      Dr. Biden attends a reception hosted by Second Lady Khadija Sam Sumana

      July 7
      Dr. Biden meets with President Ernest Bai Koroma at the State House

      Dr. Biden observes a female quarter guard ceremony and then walk with President Koroma to the Cotton Tree

      Dr. Biden visits St. Joseph’s Secondary School

      Dr. Biden meets with the U.S. Embassy to meet with staff and families

      Dr. Biden departs Sierra Leone en route Washington, DC.

  5. Yosemite Grant Act of 1864 – 150th Anniversary

    President Abraham Lincoln signed the Yosemite Valley Grant Act, Senate Bill 203, on June 30, 1864. The legislation gave California the Yosemite Valley and the nearby Mariposa Big Tree Grove “upon the express conditions that the premises shall be held for public use, resort, and recreation.”

    • Yosemite Grant Act 1864- 2014

      Yosemite has inspired generations of people for thousands of years. On June 30, 1864, Congress enacted the Yosemite Grant Act, establishing Yosemite Valley and Mariposa Grove as the first protected wild land for all time. This grant marked the first California State Park.

      In 1890, the land surrounding these two tracts was designated Yosemite National Park. Early conservationist John Muir’s persuasive words to President Roosevelt and state authorities led to combining Yosemite Valley and Mariposa Grove with Yosemite National Park in 1906.

      We will honor the 150th anniversary in 2014 through events, programs and official merchandise found throughout the communities surrounding the park. In fact, 90% of these projects will be hosted in the gateway communities. You can be a part of this monumental anniversary!

      Our team consists of 85 volunteers, all of our park partners, California State Parks, and National Park Service staff. We have a mosaic of backgrounds and interests — with Yosemite at our core.

      In early 2011, Yosemite’s partners collaborated to define how we could collectively honor Yosemite’s rich history. Since this was the first major project in which all park partners were at the table for, our community-partnership Anniversary Program pulled from existing and relevant park documents to identify guiding principles. In addition, acknowledging that we would need to be a networked organization, we identified our mission alignment.

      Learn more: http://www.nps.gov/featurecontent/yose/anniversary/

  6. Pending Sales of U.S. Existing Homes Rise Most in Four Years

    Jun 30, 2014 7:07 AM PT By Jeanna Smialek – bloomberg

    The number of contracts to purchase previously owned U.S. homes jumped in May by the most in more than four years, a sign the residential-real estate market is rebounding after a slow start to the year.

    The pending home sales index climbed 6.1 percent, the biggest advance since April 2010, after a revised 0.5 percent increase in April, the National Association of Realtors said today in Washington. The gain exceeded the most optimistic projection in a Bloomberg survey of economists, whose median forecast called for a 1.5 percent gain.

    Housing demand is benefiting from cheaper borrowing costs, a stronger employment outlook and easier access to credit for some households. At the same time, higher prices and limited income gains are keeping the improvement in the residential real estate from becoming more broad-based.

    “We’re still seeing somewhat of a rebound from the exceptionally bad weather in the first quarter,” Russell Price, senior economist at Ameriprise Financial Inc. in Detroit, said before the report. “I’d definitely expect to continue to see long-term improvement trends. It will still take some time for the labor market to influence people’s decisions of what they will do with their housing, but we’re getting there.”

    For more: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-06-30/pending-sales-of-u-s-existing-homes-rise-by-most-in-four-years.html

  7. Unions dodge bullet at Supreme Court

    By Tim Devaney – 06/30/14 10:30 AM EDT

    Home care workers in Illinois cannot be forced to pay union dues, the Supreme Court ruled Monday in a narrow decision that mostly preserves labor’s biggest stronghold in the United States. [READ SUPREME COURT RULING.]

    In a 5-4 decision, the justices voided a requirement that personal medical assistants in Illinois contribute fees to a branch of Service Employees International Union (SEIU), even if they choose not to become members.

    But in a victory for labor, the justices did not address the broader question of whether public sector employees can be forced to pay union dues, leaving in place state laws aimed at preventing “free riding” by non-members.
    Justice Samuel Alito, writing for the majority, said the home-care workers in Illinois are “quite different from full­ fledged public employees” and are thus not subject to the rules set out in a case known as Abood v. Detroit Bd. of Ed.

    “If we allowed Abood to be extended to those who are not full-fledged public employees, it would be hard to see just where to draw the line,” Alito wrote.

    The case before the court was Harris v. Quinn.

    • June 30, 2014

      Statement by the Press Secretary on Harris v. Quinn

      Collective bargaining is a fundamental right that helped build America’s middle class. The ability of public servants to collectively bargain is crucial to ensuring both a fair day’s pay for a hard day’s work and the high quality service citizens expect and deserve from their government.

      For almost 40 years, the Supreme Court has held that the First Amendment allows state and local governments to require employees to pay a fair share of a union’s expenses for representing that worker. We are disappointed that the Supreme Court has carved out a group of workers – homecare workers who provide critical support to the elderly and people with disabilities in their own homes.

      The collective bargaining model in Illinois resulted in fairer pay and benefits for hardworking caregivers as well as improved training, safety and health protections, and tools to help those who need care to find it. The Court’s decision will not only make it significantly harder for these dedicated employees to get a fair shake in exchange for their hard work, but will make it harder for states and cities to ensure the elderly and Americans with disabilities get the care they need and deserve.

      The Administration remains committed to defending collective bargaining rights.

  8. Champions of Change: Pathways to Prosperity

    Published on Jun 30, 2014

    The White House holds a Champions of Change event on how the public and private sectors can put people with criminal records back to work. June 30, 2014.

  9. June 30, 2014

    Remarks by the President on Border Security and Immigration Reform

    Rose Garden

    3:04 P.M. EDT

    THE PRESIDENT: Good afternoon, everybody. One year ago this month, senators of both parties –- with support from the business, labor, law enforcement, faith communities –- came together to pass a commonsense immigration bill.

    Independent experts said that bill would strengthen our borders, grow our economy, shrink our deficits. As we speak, there are enough Republicans and Democrats in the House to pass an immigration bill today. I would sign it into law today, and Washington would solve a problem in a bipartisan way.

    But for more than a year, Republicans in the House of Representatives have refused to allow an up-or-down vote on that Senate bill or any legislation to fix our broken immigration system. And I held off on pressuring them for a long time to give Speaker Boehner the space he needed to get his fellow Republicans on board.

    Meanwhile, here’s what a year of obstruction has meant. It has meant fewer resources to strengthen our borders. It’s meant more businesses free to game the system by hiring undocumented workers, which punishes businesses that play by the rules, and drives down wages for hardworking Americans. It’s meant lost talent when the best and brightest from around the world come to study here but are forced to leave and then compete against our businesses and our workers. It’s meant no chance for 11 million immigrants to come out of the shadows and earn their citizenship if they pay a penalty and pass a background check, pay their fair share of taxes, learn English, and go to the back of the line. It’s meant the heartbreak of separated families.

    That’s what this obstruction has meant over the past year. That’s what the Senate bill would fix if the House allowed it to go to a vote.

    Our country and our economy would be stronger today if House Republicans had allowed a simple yes-or-no vote on this bill or, for that matter, any bill. They’d be following the will of the majority of the American people who support reform. Instead, they’ve proven again and again that they’re unwilling to stand up to the tea party in order to do what’s best for the country. And the worst part about it is a bunch of them know better.

    We now have an actual humanitarian crisis on the border that only underscores the need to drop the politics and fix our immigration system once and for all. In recent weeks, we’ve seen a surge of unaccompanied children arrive at the border, brought here and to other countries by smugglers and traffickers.

    The journey is unbelievably dangerous for these kids. The children who are fortunate enough to survive it will be taken care of while they go through the legal process, but in most cases that process will lead to them being sent back home. I’ve sent a clear message to parents in these countries not to put their kids through this. I recently sent Vice President Biden to meet with Central American leaders and find ways to address the root causes of this crisis. Secretary Kerry will also be meeting with those leaders again tomorrow. With our international partners, we’re taking new steps to go after the dangerous smugglers who are putting thousands of children’s lives at risk.

    Today, I sent a letter to congressional leaders asking that they work with me to address the urgent humanitarian challenge on the border, and support the immigration and Border Patrol agents who already apprehend and deport hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants every year. And understand, by the way, for the most part, this is not a situation where these children are slipping through. They’re being apprehended. But the problem is, is that our system is so broken, so unclear that folks don’t know what the rules are.

    For more: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2014/06/30/remarks-president-border-security-and-immigration-reform

    • June 30, 2014

      Letter from the President — Efforts to Address the Humanitarian Situation in the Rio Grande Valley Areas of Our Nation’s Southwest Border

      Dear Mr. Speaker: (Senator Reid:) (Senator McConnell:)
      (Representative Pelosi:)

      I am writing to update you on my Administration’s efforts to address the urgent humanitarian situation in the Río Grande Valley areas of our Nation’s Southwest border, and to request that the Congress support the new tools and resources we need to implement a unified, comprehensive Federal Government response.

      While overall apprehensions across our entire border have only slightly increased during this time period and remain at near historic lows, we have seen a significant rise in apprehensions and processing of children and individuals from Central America who are crossing into the United States in the Río Grande Valley areas of the Southwest border. The individuals who embark upon this perilous journey are subject to violent crime, abuse, and extortion as they rely on dangerous human smuggling networks to transport them through Central America and Mexico.

      My Administration continues to address this urgent humanitarian situation with an aggressive, unified, and coordinated Federal response on both sides of the border. Earlier this month, I directed the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency to coordinate this Government-wide response. This includes fulfilling our legal and moral obligation to make sure we appropriately care for unaccompanied children who are apprehended, while taking aggressive steps to surge resources to our Southwest border to deter both adults and children from this dangerous journey, increase capacity for enforcement and removal proceedings, and quickly return unlawful migrants to their home countries.

      For more: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2014/06/30/letter-president-efforts-address-humanitarian-situation-rio-grande-valle

  10. June 30, 2014

    Remarks by the President at Nomination of Robert McDonald as Secretary of Veterans Affairs

    Department of Veterans Affairs
    Washington, D.C.

    4:34 P.M. EDT

    THE PRESIDENT: Good afternoon, everybody. Please be seated. Let me start by thanking Acting Secretary Gibson for welcoming us here today. I am pleased to be joined by our Vice President, Joe Biden, from leaders across this department, and our many partners, particularly representatives from our incredible veterans and military family service organizations.

    I want to begin by making a basic point: Those of you who serve here at the VA do absolutely vital work every single day for our veterans and their families. I know how deeply you care about our veterans. Many of you are veterans yourselves — veterans serving veterans. You help them transition to civilian life, go to college, buy their first home, start a new business. You have some of the best doctors and nurses in the country and provide some of the best specialized health care. At our national cemeteries, you lay our veterans to rest with dignity and compassion. I know that millions of veterans are profoundly grateful for the good work that you do. And I am grateful, as well.

    But we’re here today because of problems that have outraged us all. That includes the inexcusable conduct that we’ve seen at too many VA health care facilities. So I’m here for two reasons — to update you and the American people on how we’re fixing these problems, and to announce my choice for the next Secretary of Veterans Affairs to help move us forward.

    The first thing everyone should know is that those responsible for manipulating or falsifying records at the VA — and those who tolerated it — are being held accountable. Some officials have already been relieved of their duties. Investigations are continuing. And as I’ve said, where we find misconduct, it will be punished. And I’ve made it clear that I expect the VA’s full cooperation with all the ongoing investigations into wrongdoing.

    Second, we’ve reached out to 135,000 veterans so far to get them off those wait lists and into clinics. We’ve added more staff, sent mobile medical units, and we’re making it easier for veterans to use hospitals and clinics outside the VA. And we’re going to keep at it until every one of our veterans is off a wait list and they receive the care that they have earned.

    Third, we’re moving ahead with urgent reforms at the Veterans Health Administration. That 14-day scheduling goal has been removed from employee evaluations so there is absolutely no incentive to engage in inappropriate behavior. Providing the highest quality care when our veterans need it — that’s your incentive. There will be new measures of patient satisfaction from the veteran’s perspective. And today’s outdated VA scheduling system is going to be overhauled with the latest technology.

    For more: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2014/06/30/remarks-president-nomination-robert-mcdonald-secretary-veterans-affairs

  11. https://propresobama.files.wordpress.com/2010/08/rainbow-flag.jpg?w=700

    June 30, 2014

    Remarks by the President at Pride Month Celebration

    East Room

    5:40 P.M. EDT

    THE PRESIDENT: Hello, everybody. (Applause.) Well, I want to thank Jim and Patrick. First of all, I think they supported me in my state Senate campaign. (Laughter.) Those were some early supporters, and we might not be here if it hadn’t been for them. Congratulations on finally tying the knot after 51 years. (Applause.) I looked it up, and depending on how you count, the traditional gift for your next anniversary is either paper, for year one — or whatever you want, because there is no traditional gift for 52 years. (Laughter.) But I think it’s so important to understand how rare relationships like yours are. And however you celebrate, we hope you have many, many more years together.

    And with that, why don’t you guys sit down, because that knee is acting up. (Laughter.)

    I want all of you to know how much it means to us for you to be able to join here at this year’s Pride Celebration. We’ve got some terrific public servants who are here today, including our Secretary of Labor Tom Perez. (Applause.) We’ve got mayors, and we’ve got state legislators, and we’ve got LGBT members of my administration. We also have three judges that I was proud to name to the federal bench: Todd Hughes, Judy Levy, and Nitza Quinones Alejandro. Give them a big round of applause. (Applause.)

    Before I took office, we had only one openly gay federal judge to be confirmed by the Senate. Now, along with Todd, Judy, and Nitza, that number is 11. So we’re making some progress. (Applause.)

    Three other people I want to mention. First of all, Tobias Wolff, who’s been advising me since my first presidential campaign and has had a great impact on my administration and how we’ve thought about a bunch of issues. Please give Tobias a big round of applause. (Applause.)

    Number two — a special treat for me — my college professor when I was a freshman in college at Occidental, Dr. Lawrence Goldyn is here. I want to just talk a little bit about Lawrence. When I went in as a freshman — this is 1979 at Occidental College — and according to Lawrence, I guess there were maybe a couple of other gay professors, but they weren’t wildly open about it. Lawrence was not shy. (Laughter.) And I took a class from him, and because he was one of the young professors, we became really good friends. But also, he was the first openly gay person that I knew who was unapologetic, who stood his ground. If somebody gave him guff, he’d give them guff right back, and was I think part of a generation that really fought so many battles that ultimately came into fruition later. And he also played a huge role in advising lesbian, gay and transgender students at the school at a time when that was still hard for a lot of young college kids. And he went on to become a doctor and ran an AIDS clinic, and now is the head of a health center.

    But I just wanted to acknowledge him because he helped shape how I think about so many of these issues, and those sort of quiet heroes that sometimes don’t get acknowledged. So give Lawrence a big round of applause. (Applause.)

    For more: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2014/06/30/remarks-president-pride-month-celebration

  12. French bank BNP guilty of US sanctions violations
    French bank BNP Paribas pleads guilty, will pay nearly $9 billion for violating US sanctions

    6/30/14 11 minutes ago Associated Press By Eric Tucker, Associated Press

    WASHINGTON (AP) — France’s largest bank, BNP Paribas, pleaded guilty Monday and agreed to pay nearly $9 billion to resolve criminal allegations that it processed transactions for clients in Sudan and other blacklisted countries in violation of U.S. trade sanctions, the Justice Department announced.

    After months of negotiations, the bank admitted to violating U.S. trade sanctions by conducting currency transactions for clients in Sudan, Cuba and Iran. The transactions were made through the bank’s New York office from at least 2004 through 2012. The United States had imposed the sanctions on the countries to block their participation in the global financial system.

    For more: http://news.yahoo.com/french-bank-bnp-guilty-us-210026110.html

  13. WH

    Tuesday, July 1, 2014

    All Times Eastern

    President Obama receives the presidential daily briefing

    First lady Michelle Obama delivers remarks at the American School Counselor Association’s annual conference
    Orlando, Florida

    7:00 AM
    8:00 AM
    9:00 AM
    10:00 AM
    10:55 AM
    President Obama holds a Cabinet meeting; Vice President also attends.

    11:00 AM
    12:00 PM
    1:00 PM
    Press Briefing by White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest

    2:00 PM
    2:20 PM
    President Obama delivers remarks on the economy
    Georgetown Waterfront Park, Washington, D.C

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

  14. June 25, 2014

    President Obama Announces Presidential Delegation to the Republic of Panama to attend the Inauguration of His Excellency Juan Carlos Varela Rodríguez

    President Barack Obama today announced the designation of a Presidential Delegation to Panama City, Panama to attend the Inauguration of His Excellency Juan Carlos Varela Rodríguez, President-elect of the Republic of Panama on July 1, 2014.

    The Honorable John F. Kerry, Secretary of State, will lead the delegation.

    Members of the Presidential Delegation:

    The Honorable Jonathan D. Farrar, U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Panama, Department of State

    The Honorable Deval L. Patrick, Governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts

    The Honorable Roberta S. Jacobson, Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs

  15. Good and HOPEful Monday evening, CR and all friends — there’s always HOPE with PBO in the White House. All he needs is a Congress!


    • Hi Kat! We need to elect more Democrats in the Senate & House of Representatives. We also need to keep electing Democrat Presidents so that they can nominate liberal judges.

  16. First Lady to Address School Counselors Conference in Orlando

    July 1, 2014 Associated Press

    ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — First lady Michelle Obama is visiting central Florida to promote the role school counselors play in helping families pursue higher education.

    Obama is delivering remarks today at the American School Counselor Association’s annual conference in Orlando as part of her Reach Higher Initiative. She will attend a Democratic National Committee event in Miami later in the day.

    Reach Higher focuses on the importance of pursuing and completing some form of post-secondary education. It also encourages students to support President Barack Obama’s 2020 goal of America producing the world’s highest proportion of college graduates.

    • July 01, 2014

      Remarks by the First Lady to the American School Counselor Association Annual Conference — Orlando, Florida

      The Dolphin Hotel
      Orlando, Florida

      11:42 A.M. EDT

      MRS. OBAMA: Yes! (Applause.) How is everybody feeling today? (Applause.) It is really, really my pleasure. You guys, rest yourselves. You work hard enough. (Laughter.) No need to stand for my remarks. It is truly a pleasure and an honor to be with you today, so thank you for having me. Thank you so much.

      Let me start by thanking Shari for that very kind introduction, but more importantly, for her service as your Board Chair and as a school counselor out in St. Louis.


      MRS. OBAMA: Yes! St. Louis in the house? (Applause.) All right. What about Chicago? We could try that. (Applause.) Okay, I’ll stop. (Laughter.)

      I also want to thank your Executive Director, Dr. Richard Wong, for his leadership at ASCA. And of course, I’ve got to give a big shout-out to my dear friend, Stedman Graham. Yes, indeed. (Applause.) Now, see, Stedman is a tough act to follow, but I’m going to do my best. I know he imparted words of wisdom, but I’m going to try and do the same.

      But most of all, I want to recognize all of you for everything you do for our young people every single day. And I have to tell you, when I found out that you all were making me an honorary school counselor, my first thought was, there is absolutely no way I’m worthy of this honor. Because I know that you all have one of the hardest, most stressful, most important and most underappreciated jobs of anyone in this country — and I live with the President of the United States. (Applause.) So frankly, when I think about what you all do on an average day, well, quite frankly, I’m amazed.

      An average day for all of you might start with a child sobbing in your office because she’s being bullied or having trouble at home. Or maybe it’s the kid who’s been kicked out of every class, and he’s sitting in front of you, angry and defiant, and it’s up to you to figure out how to help him get back on track.

      For more: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2014/07/01/remarks-first-lady-american-school-counselor-association-annual-conferen

  17. U.S. manufacturing expands in June at fastest rate in over four years: Markit

    7/1/14 30 minutes ago Angela Moon – Reuters

    NEW YORK (Reuters) – The U.S. manufacturing sector expanded further in June, driven by the fastest growth in output and new orders in over four years, an industry report showed on Tuesday.

    Financial data firm Markit said its final U.S. Manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index rose to 57.3 in June, the highest reading since May 2010. The preliminary read for the index was 57.5.

    A reading above 50 signals expansion in economic activity.

    The output subindex rose to 61 from 59.6 while a read on new orders rose to 61.2 from May’s final read of 58.8. Both marked the highest level for the indexes since April 2010.

    “Business was booming at US goods producers in June,” said Chris Williamson, chief economist at Markit.

    “Factory output, order books and payroll numbers rose at some of the fastest rates we’ve seen since the recession, rounding off the best quarter for four years in terms of manufacturing expansion.”

    A read on employment showed continued growth, and was slightly higher from the previous month.

  18. July 01, 2014

    Remarks by the President Before Cabinet Meeting

    Cabinet Room

    11:04 A.M. EDT

    THE PRESIDENT: I thought I’d get the Cabinet together this morning because we all know that America will be busy this afternoon. (Laughter.) Go, Team USA.

    About the halfway point through this year, we can look back and see some enormous progress that we’ve been able to make on the economy. We continue to create jobs with over 9.4 million created over the last several years. We’re continuing to see improvement in the housing market. We’re continuing to see real progress in terms of the energy sectors. But what we also know is, is that there’s so much more that’s possible.
    And part of the reason that I wanted to bring the Cabinet together today is to underscore for them my belief I think shared by most Americans that we can’t wait for Congress to actually get going on issues that are vital to the middle class.

    We’ve already seen the power of some of our executive actions in making a real difference for ordinary families — whether it’s on minimum wage for federal workers — or for workers who are with federal contractors; equal pay; and the terrific work that’s being done around climate change so we’re transitioning to a clean-energy economy.

    But what I’m going to be urging all of you to do, and what I’m going to be continually pushing throughout this year and for the next couple of years is that if Congress can’t act on core issues that would actually make a difference in helping middle-class families get ahead, then we’re going to have to be creative about how we can make real progress.

    Keep in mind that my preference is always going to be to work with Congress and to actually get legislation done. That’s how we get some more of the permanent fixes. And as I mentioned yesterday with respect to immigration, whatever we do administratively is not going to be sufficient to solve a broken immigration system.

    The same is true when it comes to infrastructure. We’ll be talking a little bit about how we need to renew the Highway Trust Fund. But, more importantly, we could potentially put people to work all across the country, rebuilding roads and bridges, putting construction workers back to work. That could boost our economy enormously. And now is the time to do it, but that requires congressional action.

    For more: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2014/07/01/remarks-president-cabinet-meeting

  19. July 01, 2014

    Remarks by the President on the Economy

    Georgetown Waterfront
    Washington, D.C.

    2:22 P.M. EDT

    THE PRESIDENT: Well, hello, everybody. Have a seat, have a seat. It’s hot. (Laughter.) It’s hot out — Anthony, take off your coat, man. (Laughter.) It is hot and Team USA takes the pitch in a couple hours, so we’ve got to get down to business. (Applause.) We don’t have time for a lot of small talk — am I right, Mr. Mayor? We’ve got to get going.

    Behind me is one of the busiest bridges in Washington. And, with the 4th of July on Friday — also Malia’s birthday, for those of you who are interested, she will be 16, a little worrisome — I would note that this bridge is named for the man who wrote the “Star-Spangled Banner” –- Francis Scott Key.

    Three years ago, I came here to this very spot, to the Key Bridge, to talk about how two of the five major bridges connecting D.C. and Virginia –- including this one -– were rated “structurally deficient.” And with almost 120,000 vehicles crossing them every day, I said it was important to fix them.

    And today, that’s exactly what we’re doing. So, soon, construction workers will be on the job making the Key Bridge safer for commuters and for families, and even for members of Congress to cross. (Laughter.) This is made possible by something called the Highway Trust Fund, which Congress established back in the 1950s, and which helps states repair and rebuild our infrastructure all across the country. It’s an example of what can happen when Washington just functions the way it was supposed to.

    Back then, you had Eisenhower, a Republican President; over time you would have Democratic Presidents, Democratic and Republican members of Congress all recognizing building bridges and roads and levees and ports and airports — that none of that is a partisan issue. That’s making sure that America continues to progress.
    Now, here is the problem. Here is the reason we’re here in the heat. If this Congress does not act by the end of the summer, the Highway Trust Fund will run out. There won’t be any money there. All told, nearly 700,000 jobs could be at risk next year. That would be like Congress threatening to lay off the entire population of Denver, or Seattle, or Boston. That’s a lot of people. It would be a bad idea. Right now, there are more than 100,000 active projects across the country where workers are paving roads, and rebuilding bridges, and modernizing our transit systems. And soon, states may have to choose which projects to continue and which ones to put the brakes on because they’re running out of money. Some have already done just that, just because they’re worried that Congress will not get its act together in time.

    Now, earlier this year, I put forward a plan not just to replenish the Highway Trust Fund, I put forward a plan to rebuild our transportation infrastructure across the country in a responsible way. And I want to thank Secretary Anthony Foxx, who is here today, for his hard work in putting this plan together. (Applause.) Because we are not spending enough on the things that help our economy grow, the things that help businesses move products, the thing that help workers get to the job, the things that help families get home to see their loved ones at night. We spend significantly less as a portion of our economy than China does, than Germany does, than just about every other advanced country. They know something that I guess we don’t, which is that’s the path to growth, that’s the path to competitiveness.

    For more: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2014/07/01/remarks-president-economy

    • President Obama Lays Out Vision for 21st Century Transportation Infrastructure

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      FACT SHEET: President Obama Lays Out Vision for 21st Century Transportation Infrastructure

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

      * Bipartisan Group Introduces The 

      * Building and Renewing Infrastructure for Development and Growth in Employment Act, or BRIDGE Act

  20. *******************

    Come on over to my newest post titled: ”The Civil Rights Act of 1964 – 50th Anniversary″


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