Political Musings June 12, 2014: Heller wants Obama to be involved in unemployment benefits extension negotiation

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Political Musings June 2, 2014: Obama still hopeful House will pass unemployment extension bill after deadline

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Although the chances of the House of Representatives passing the Senate passed unemployment benefits bill is dwindling to nil, President Barack Obama still remains optimistic that Congress will extend benefits for the 2.8 million long-term jobless Americans that…READ MORE

Political Musings May 22, 2014: White House speaks out on unemployment extension urges House to pass bill

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Political Musings April 23, 2014: White House refuses Boehner, GOP unemployment benefits extension bill compromise

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Full Text Obama Presidency March 6, 2014: President Barack Obama’s Statement Discusses Efforts to Address the Ongoing Crisis in Ukraine, Russia Sanctions

POLITICAL TRANSCRIPTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

President Obama Discusses Efforts to Address the Ongoing Crisis in Ukraine

Source: WH, 3-6-14
President Barack Obama delivers a statement on Ukraine in the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room of the White HousePresident Barack Obama delivers a statement on Ukraine in the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House, March 6, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

President Obama delivered a statement on efforts to address the ongoing crisis in Ukraine from the Brady Press Briefing Room….READ MORE

Statement by the President on Ukraine

Source: WH, 3-6-14

James S. Brady Press Briefing Room

1:05 P.M. EST

THE PRESIDENT:  Good afternoon, everybody.  Before Jay takes some of your questions, I wanted to provide a brief update on our efforts to address the ongoing crisis in Ukraine.

Since the Russian intervention, we’ve been mobilizing the international community to condemn this violation of international law and to support the people and government of Ukraine.

This morning I signed an executive order that authorizes sanctions on individuals and entities responsible for violating the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine, or for stealing the assets of the Ukrainian people.

According to my guidance, the State Department has also put in place restrictions on the travel of certain individuals and officials.  These decisions continue our efforts to impose a cost on Russia and those responsible for the situation in Crimea.  And they also give us the flexibility to adjust our response going forward based on Russia’s actions.

We took these steps in close coordination with our European allies.  I’ve spoken to several of our closest friends around the world, and I’m pleased that our international unity is on display at this important moment.  Already, we’ve moved together to announced substantial assistance for the government in Kyiv, and today in Brussels, our allies took similar steps to impose costs on Russia.  I am confident that we are moving forward together, united in our determination to oppose actions that violate international law and to support the government and people of Ukraine.

And that includes standing up for the principle of state sovereignty.  The proposed referendum on the future of Crimea would violate the Ukrainian constitution and violate international law.  Any discussion about the future of Ukraine must include the legitimate government of Ukraine.  In 2014, we are well beyond the days when borders can be redrawn over the heads of democratic leaders.

While we take these steps, I want to be clear that there is also a way to resolve this crisis that respects the interests of the Russian Federation, as well as the Ukrainian people.  Let international monitors into all of Ukraine, including Crimea, to ensure the rights of all Ukrainians are being respected, including ethnic Russians.  Begin consultations between the government of Russia and Ukraine, with the participation of the international community.  Russia would maintain its basing rights in Crimea, provided that it abides by its agreements and respects Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.  And the world should support the people of Ukraine as they move to elections in May.

That’s the path of de-escalation, and Secretary Kerry is engaged in discussions with all of the relevant parties, including Russia and Ukraine to pursue that path.  But if this violation of international law continues, the resolve of the United States, and our allies and the international community will remain firm.  Meanwhile, we’ve taken steps to reaffirm our commitment to the security and democracy of our allies in Eastern Europe and to support the people of Ukraine.

One last point — there’s been a lot of talk in Congress about these issues.  Today, once again, I’m calling on Congress to follow up on these words with action, specifically to support the IMF’s capacity to lend resources to Ukraine and to provide American assistance for the Ukrainian government so that they can weather this storm and stabilize their economy, make needed reforms, deliver for their people, all of which will provide a smoother pathway for the elections that have already been scheduled in May.

Today the world can see that the United States is united with our allies and partners in upholding international law and pursuing a just outcome that advances global security and the future that the Ukrainian people deserve.  That’s what we’re going to continue to do in the days to come until we have seen a resolution to this crisis.

Thanks very much.  And Jay and Ben and others will be happy to take your questions.

END
1:10 P.M. EST

Statement by the Press Secretary on Ukraine

Source: WH, 3-6-14

Watch the Video

President Obama Speaks on Ukraine
March 06, 2014 7:06 PM

President Obama Speaks on Ukraine

As President Obama has made clear, the United States is pursuing and reviewing a wide range of options in response to Russia’s ongoing violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity – actions that constitute a threat to peace and security and a breach of international law, including Russia’s obligations under the UN Charter and of its 1997 military basing agreement with Ukraine, and that are inconsistent with the 1994 Budapest Memorandum and the Helsinki Final Act.

Pursuant to the President’s guidance, today the State Department is putting in place visa restrictions on a number of officials and individuals, reflecting a policy decision to deny visas to those responsible for or complicit in threatening the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine.  This new step stands in addition to the policy already implemented to deny visas to those involved in human rights abuses related to political oppression in Ukraine.

In addition, the President has signed an Executive Order that authorizes sanctions on individuals and entities responsible for activities undermining democratic processes or institutions in Ukraine; threatening the peace, security, stability, sovereignty, or territorial integrity of Ukraine; contributing to the misappropriation of state assets of Ukraine; or purporting to assert governmental authority over any part of Ukraine without authorization from the Ukrainian government in Kyiv.  This E.O. is a flexible tool that will allow us to sanction those who are most directly involved in destabilizing Ukraine, including the military intervention in Crimea, and does not preclude further steps should the situation deteriorate.

These actions build upon the previous actions the United States has taken, including suspending bilateral discussions with Russia on trade and investment; suspending other bilateral meetings on a case-by-case basis; putting on hold U.S.-Russia military-to-military engagement, including exercises, bilateral meetings, port visits, and planning conferences; and our agreement with G-7 nations to suspend for the time being our participation in activities associated with the preparation of the scheduled G-8 Summit in Sochi in June.  Depending on how the situation develops, the United States is prepared to consider additional steps and sanctions as necessary.

At the same time, as the President has said, we seek to work with all parties to achieve a diplomatic solution that de-escalates the situation and restores Ukraine’s sovereignty.  We call on Russia to take the opportunity before it to resolve this crisis through direct and immediate dialogue with the Government of Ukraine, the immediate pull-back of Russia’s military forces to their bases, the restoration of Ukraine’s territorial integrity, and support for the urgent deployment of international observers and human rights monitors who can assure that the rights of all Ukrainians are protected, including ethnic Russians, and who can support the Ukrainian government’s efforts to hold a free and fair election on May 25.

As we follow developments in Ukraine closely, the United States reaffirms its unwavering commitment to our collective defense commitments under the North Atlantic Treaty.  We will continue to pursue measures that reinforce those commitments, to include the provision of additional support to NATO’s Baltic Air Policing mission and our aviation detachment in Poland.

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Political Musings July 12, 2013: House passes farm spending bill without food stamps, White House promises veto

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House passes farm spending bill without food stamps, White House promises veto

By Bonnie K. Goodman

On Thursday, July 11, 2013, the House of Representatives passed the farm spending bill, the Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act of 2013 by a vote 216-208. The new bill however, has quickly become a contentious issue since…READ MORE

Political Headlines July 1, 2013: President Barack Obama & Former President George W. Bush to Meet in Tanzania

POLITICAL HEADLINES

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Obama and Bush to Meet in Tanzania

Source: ABC News Radio, 7-1-13

BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images

Two U.S. presidents will make a joint public appearance in Africa on Tuesday.

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney says former President George W. Bush will join President Obama at a wreath-laying ceremony at the U.S. Embassy in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, to honor the victims of the 1998 bombing.  The event will be at 10 a.m. local time, 3 a.m. ET….READ MORE

Political Headlines June 2, 2013: Rep. Darrell Issa Says Washington Directed IRS Targetting Out of Cincinnati

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Rep. Issa Says Washington Directed IRS Targetting Out of Cincinnati

Source: ABC News Radio, 6-2-13

The IRS agents in Cincinnati who were involved in the targeting of conservative groups were “being directly ordered from Washington,” Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., said on Sunday on CNN’s State of the Union, as he accused the White House of lying about the involvement of IRS headquarters officials in the scandal, calling White House Press Secretary Jay Carney a “paid liar.”…READ MORE

Political Headlines May 28, 2013: White House Say They Knew of Sen John McCain’s Syria Trip

POLITICAL HEADLINES

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White House Knew of McCain’s Syria Trip

Source: ABC News Radio, 5-28-13

Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call

The White House was made aware ahead of time that Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., would travel to Syria this week, White House spokesman Jay Carney said Tuesday….READ MORE

Political Headlines May 14, 2013: White House Dodges Queries on IRS & Justice Department Controversies

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Facing Controversies, White House Dodges Queries

Source: NYT, 5-14-13

The press secretary, Jay Carney, deflected questions about the seizure of journalists’ telephone records and allegations that the I.R.S targeted conservative groups….READ MORE

Political Headlines April 5, 2013: President Barack Obama Apologizes for ‘Best Looking’ Attorney General Comment to Kamala Harris

POLITICAL HEADLINES

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Obama Apologizes for ‘Best Looking’ Attorney General Comment

Source: ABC News Radio, 4-5-13

John Gurzinski/Getty Images

President Obama called California Attorney General Kamala Harris on Thursday night to apologize for referring to her as the “best looking” attorney general.

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters Friday that Obama told Harris he was sorry both for the joking remark and the distraction it caused.

“He called her to apologize for the distraction created by his comments, and they are old friends and good friends, and he did not want in any way to diminish the attorney general’s professional accomplishments and her capabilities,” Carney said….READ MORE

Political Headlines March 13, 2013: Press Secretary Jay Carney: White House endorses Senate Democrats budget

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White House endorses Senate Dem budget

Source: Politico, 3-13-13

White House press secretary Jay Carney praised the budget proposed by Senate Democrats on Wednesday, saying it represents a balanced approach to deficit reduction that won’t place an undue burden on the middle class.

“The Senate Democratic budget is a concrete plan that will grow our economy and shrink our deficits in a balanced way, consistent with the President’s belief that our economy grows best from the middle-out, not the top-down, while reducing the debt as a share of the economy,” Carney said in a statement….READ MORE

Full Text Obama Presidency March 12, 2013: Press Secretary Jay Carney’s Statement on the House Republican Budget

POLITICAL BUZZ

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

Statement by the Press Secretary on the House Republican Budget

Source: WH, 3-12-13 

The President believes that there is an opportunity for Democrats and Republicans to come together around a balanced plan to grow the economy and shrink the deficit by investing to create jobs, cutting wasteful spending, and strengthening programs like Medicare and Medicaid.  This approach will require both parties to compromise and make tough choices.

While the House Republican budget aims to reduce the deficit, the math just doesn’t add up.  Deficit reduction that asks nothing from the wealthiest Americans has serious consequences for the middle class.  By choosing to give the wealthiest Americans a new tax cut, this budget as written will either fail to achieve any meaningful deficit reduction, raise taxes on middle class families by more than $2,000 – or both.  By choosing not to ask for a single dime of deficit reduction from closing tax loopholes for the wealthy and well-connected, this budget identifies deep cuts to investments like education and research – investments critical to creating jobs and growing the middle class.  And to save money, this budget would turn Medicare into a voucher program–undercutting the guaranteed benefits that seniors have earned and forcing them to pay thousands more out of their own pockets.  We’ve tried this top-down approach before.  The President still believes it is the wrong course for America.

That’s why the President has put forward a balanced approach to deficit reduction with no sacred cows.  It includes more Medicare savings over the next decade than the House Republican budget, but it does so by cracking down on waste and fraud, not by asking middle class seniors to bear the burden.  It closes tax loopholes for the wealthiest and biggest corporations so we can still afford to create jobs by investing in education, manufacturing, infrastructure, and small businesses.  The President’s plan puts our nation on a fiscally sustainable path and grows our economy from the middle class out.

While the President disagrees with the House Republican approach, we all agree we need to leave a better future for our children.  The President will continue to work with Republicans and Democrats in Congress to grow the economy and cut the deficit in a balanced way. This is the approach the American people overwhelmingly support, and that is what the President will continue to fight for each day.

Political Headlines February 5, 2013: White House Press Secretary Jay Carney: Drone Strikes on Terror Suspects ‘Legal,’ ‘Ethical,’ ‘Wise’ — Press Briefing Transcript

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White House: Drone Strikes on Terror Suspects ‘Legal,’ ‘Ethical,’ ‘Wise’

Source: ABC News Radio, 2-5-13

JOEL SAGET/AFP/Getty Images

The White House on Tuesday defended the use of targeted drone strikes against American citizens abroad suspected of high-level terrorist activity, but declined to detail the criteria for ordering such an attack.

“Sometimes we use remotely piloted aircraft to conduct targeted strikes against specific al-Qaida terrorists in order to prevent attacks on the United States and to save American lives,” White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters….READ MORE

Press Briefing by Press Secretary Jay Carney, 2/5/13

Q    Thank you.  How can the government determine that an American citizen is an imminent threat to the U.S. or U.S. interests without having any kind of specific evidence that that person is planning an immediate — an attack in the immediate future?

MR. CARNEY:  Well, the question, obviously, that you ask relates to some stories out today regarding a document prepared  — an unclassified document prepared for some members of Congress — and understandable questions.  And I can just say that this President takes his responsibilities very seriously, and first and foremost, that’s his responsibility, to protect the United States and American citizens.  He also takes his responsibility in conducting the war against al Qaeda as authorized by Congress in a way that is fully consistent with our Constitution and all the applicable laws.

We have acknowledged, the United States, that sometimes we use remotely piloted aircraft to conduct targeted strikes against specific al Qaeda terrorists in order to prevent attacks on the United States and to save American lives.  We conduct those strikes because they are necessary to mitigate ongoing actual threats, to stop plots, prevent future attacks, and, again, save American lives.  These strikes are legal, they are ethical and they are wise.  The U.S. government takes great care in deciding to pursue an al Qaeda terrorist, to ensure precision and to avoid loss of innocent life.

As you know, in spite of these stories — or prior to these stories, this administration, through numerous senior administration officials, including Deputy National Security and Counterterrorism Advisor John Brennan, State Department Legal Advisor Harold Koh, and former Department of Defense General Counsel Jeh Johnson — have spoken publicly and at length about the U.S. commitment to conducting counterterrorism operations in accordance with all applicable domestic and international law, including the laws of war.

In March 2012, the Attorney General gave a speech at Northwestern University Law School in which he outlined the legal framework that would apply if it was necessary to take a strike against one of the “small number of U.S. citizens who have decided to commit violent acts against their own country from abroad.”  The Attorney General made clear that in taking such a strike, the government must take into account all relevant constitutional considerations, but that under generations-old legal principles and Supreme Court decisions, U.S. citizenship alone does not make a leader of an enemy force immune from being targeted.

Q    But how can the government decide that there’s an imminent threat if there’s no evidence that an attack is happening in the immediate future?

MR. CARNEY:  As you know, Congress authorized in an authorization of the use of military force all necessary military force to be used in our fight against al Qaeda.  And certainly under that authority, the President acts in the United States’ interest to protect the United States and its citizens from al Qaeda.

The nature of the fight against al Qaeda and its affiliates is certainly different from the kinds of conflicts that have involved nations against nations.  But this has been discussed amply, again, in the effort that we have made through our senior administration officials to explain the process that we use, by the officials I named — by John Brennan in a speech, and he addressed this very issue about “imminent.”

I would point you to the now-released — it was not meant for public release, but it’s not classified — the now-released white paper, which goes into some detail on that very issue.

Q    Should the American people be comfortable with the administration’s definition of “imminent” if it also means that there is no specific evidence to back that up?

MR. CARNEY:  Well, again, I think that what you have in general with al Qaeda senior leadership is a continuing process of plotting against the United States and American citizens, plotting attacks against the United States and American citizens. I think that’s fairly irrefutable.

What you also have is the authorization for the use of military force by Congress.  You also have a President who is very mindful of the very questions that you are asking and is, in his capacity as Commander-in-Chief, taking all the necessary steps to ensure that he fulfills his constitutional obligation to protect the United States and its citizens, and does so in a way that comports with our Constitution and with our laws.

Q    Did he sign off on this memo and any classified documents to back it up?

MR. CARNEY:  Well, I certainly have no information on any classified documents.  I don’t know the specific process by which this memo was generated.

Political Headlines February 1, 2013: White House Press Secretary Jay Carney: Bombing at US Embassy in Ankara, Turkey a ‘Terrorist Attack’

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White House: Bombing at US Embassy in Turkey a ‘Terrorist Attack’

Source: ABC News Radio, 2-1-13

YAVUZ OZDEN/AFP/Getty Images

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney on Friday strongly condemned the attack on the U.S. embassy in Ankara, Turkey, saying “a suicide bombing on the perimeter of an embassy is by definition an act of terror.”….READ MORE

Press Briefing by Press Secretary Jay Carney, 2/1/13

Q    Thanks, Jay.  Does the President consider the attack on our embassy in Turkey to be a terrorist attack?  And does he have any information about who may have perpetrated it?

MR. CARNEY:  That’s an excellent question.  A suicide bombing on the perimeter of an embassy is by definition an act of terror.  It is a terrorist attack.  However, we  not know at this point who is responsible or the motivations behind the attack.  The attack itself is clearly an act of terror.

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