Full Text Obama Presidency July 1, 2014: President Barack Obama’s Remarks Before Cabinet Meeting

POLITICAL TRANSCRIPTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

Remarks by the President Before Cabinet Meeting

Source: WH, 7-1-14

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.

And so we’re always going to prefer working on a bipartisan basis to get things done.  That’s what folks expect out of Washington.  They’re not looking for excuses and they’re not looking for a lot of partisan sniping.  But if Congress is unable to do it, then all of our Cabinet members here — and the head of big agencies that touch people’s live in all sorts of ways — and I’m going to be continuing looking for ways in which we can show some real progress.

And the second topic that we’re going to be spending a lot of time talking about is how to do we continue to improve the functioning of government to make it more customer-friendly.  This is something that we’ve been working on since Sylvia was head of OMB.  This is something that Shaun will be prioritizing.  I expect every agency to look and see how can we get more bang for the buck in the agencies that we operate.  And I know that many of you can report some significant progress in reducing paperwork and bureaucracy and red tape for projects and initiatives around the country in education, in energy, in housing and in transportation.  But I think we can do even better.

So I’m looking forward to getting a report from you on the progress that has been made.  And hopefully we can share some ideas to see if we can make even more progress.

The bottom line is this:  I went to Minnesota — many of the press here accompanied me — and had a wonderful conversation with folks around the country who are doing their jobs every single day — raising families, working hard, contributing to their communities.  And their hopes and aspirations are my primary focus and should be the primary focus of this town.  They are extraordinarily cynical about Washington right now, and rightfully so.  They just don’t see any capacity by Congress to do anything.  We’ve seen a Congress that said no to increasing the minimum wage; said no to immigration reform; has said no to equal pay legislation.  The only thing they seem to say yes to, the Republican in the House at least, is more tax breaks for folks at the top.  And as a consequence, the people who sent us here, they just don’t feel as if anybody is fighting for them and working for them.

We’re not always going to be able to get things through Congress, at least this Congress, the way we want to.  But we sure as heck can make sure that the folks back home know that we’re pushing their agenda and that we’re working hard on their behalf and we’re doing every single thing we can do to make a difference in their lives.  So I want to make sure that we emphasize not what we can’t do, but what we can do in the coming months.
Thank you very much, everybody.

END
11:10 A.M. EDT

Political Musings May 10, 2014: Perez sends Boehner a letter urges House to pass unemployment benefits extension

POLITICAL MUSINGS

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OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

OP-EDS & ARTICLES

Perez sends Boehner a letter urges House to pass unemployment benefits extension

By Bonnie K. Goodman

Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez sent a letter to Speaker of House of Representatives John Boehner, R-OH on Wednesday, May 7, 2014 urging the speaker to put the unemployment benefits extension bill to a vote. The secretary looked…READ MORE

Political Headlines April 29, 2013: President Barack Obama Nominates Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx for Transportation Secretary

POLITICAL HEADLINES

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OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

THE HEADLINES….

Obama Taps Charlotte Mayor for Transportation Secretary

Source: ABC News Radio, 4-30-13

Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

President Obama announced his nomination for Transportation Secretary on Monday, calling Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx a “friend” and an “impressive leader.”

“I know Anthony’s experience will make him an outstanding Transportation Secretary.  He’s got the respect of his peers, mayors and governors all across the country.  And as a consequence, I think that he’s going to be extraordinarily effective,” the president said a White House ceremony….READ MORE

Political Headlines April 21, 2013: President Barack Obama & National Security Team Meet After Arrest of Bombing Suspect

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OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

THE HEADLINES….

Obama, National Security Team Meet After Arrest of Bombing Suspect

Source: ABC News Radio, 4-21-13

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza

President Obama and his national security team met on Saturday in the wake of Friday night’s dramatic arrest of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the surviving suspect of the terror attack at the Boston Marathon.

The weekend meeting lasted 90 minutes and was attended by FBI Director Robert Mueller, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, CIA director John Brennan, Attorney General Eric Holder and other members of the National Security Council, according to a White House statement….READ MORE

Political Headlines March 18, 2013: President Barack Obama Nominates Thomas Perez for Labor Secretary

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OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

THE HEADLINES….

Obama Nominates Thomas Perez for Labor Secretary

Source: ABC  News Radio, 3-18-13

Alex Wong/Getty Images

President Obama on Monday nominated Assistant Attorney General Thomas Perez to be the next secretary of labor, calling him a “consensus-builder” who “reminds us of this country’s promise.”

Announcing his nomination in the East Room of the White House, Obama said Perez embodies the notion that “if you’re willing to work hard, it doesn’t matter who you are, where you come from, what your last name is — you can make it if you try.”…READ MORE

Full Text Obama Presidency March 18, 2013: President Barack Obama’s Speech Announcing the Nomination of Thomas Perez for Secretary of Labor

POLITICAL BUZZ

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

President Obama Nominates Thomas Perez for Secretary of Labor

Source: WH, 3-18-13

President Barack Obama announces Thomas Perez as his nominee for Labor Secretary, in the East Room of the White House, March 18, 2013.  Thomas Perez delivers remarks after President Barack Obama announced Perez as his nominee for Labor Secretary, in the East Room of the White House, March 18, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

President Obama today announced that he has chosen Thomas Perez, the head of the U.S. Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, to be the next Secretary of Labor. Speaking in the East Room of the White House, the President introduced Perez, the son of Dominican immigrants and a lawyer who helped pay his way through college by working as a garbage collector, to the American people….READ MORE

Remarks by the President Announcing the Nomination of Thomas Perez for Secretary of Labor

Source: WH, 3-18-13 

East Room

11:47 A.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you.  (Applause.)  Everybody have a seat.  Have a seat.  As I’ve said before, my top priority as President is doing everything we need to do to make sure that we’re growing our economy and that we’re strengthening our middle class.  And as I said in my State of the Union address last month, every day we should be asking ourselves three questions.  One — how do we make sure America is a magnet for good jobs?  Number two — how do we equip people with the skills they need to get those jobs?  And number three — how do we make sure that hard work actually pays off in a decent living?

These are the challenges that I’ve instructed my team here at the White House and in my entire Cabinet to focus on.  And a position that’s instrumental to tackling these challenges is having an outstanding Secretary of Labor.

So I want to begin by thanking Hilda Solis and her entire team — (applause) — including Acting Secretary Seth Harris — (applause) — for the outstanding work that they’ve been doing over the past four years.  Their efforts at the Department of Labor have given more young people a chance to earn new skills, more returning vets the chance to find a job.  They’ve looked out for worker safety from construction sites to coal mines.  They’ve stood up for workers’ rights to organize, women’s rights to get paid equally for the work that they do.  They’ve done an extraordinary job fighting on behalf of working families across the board.

And today, I’m proud to nominate a leader to carry on those efforts as America’s next Secretary of Labor — Tom Perez.  (Applause.)

Like so many Americans, Tom knows what it’s like to climb the ladder of opportunity.  He is the son of Dominican immigrants.  He helped pay his way through college as a garbage collector and working at a warehouse.  He went on to become the first lawyer in his family.  So his story reminds us of this country’s promise, that if you’re willing to work hard, it doesn’t matter who you are, where you come from, what your last name is — you can make it if you try.

And Tom has made protecting that promise — for everybody  — the cause of his life.  As a civil rights attorney, an aide to Senator Ted Kennedy, a member of the Montgomery, Maryland County Council, Tom fought for a level playing field where hard work and responsibility are rewarded and working families can get ahead.

And this is not the first time that he’s chosen to be a labor secretary, either.  We’ve got here today Governor Martin O’Malley, and Martin appointed Tom as Secretary of Maryland’s Department of Labor, where he helped implement the country’s first statewide living-wage law, because he understood that a minimum wage should be a wage that you can live on.

In his current role as the head of the U.S. Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, Tom has fought to open pathways into the workforce for everyone willing to contribute, including people with disabilities, LGBT Americans, and immigrants.  And he has helped settle some of the largest cases ever on behalf of families targeted by unfair mortgage lending.

Now, while he’s tackled plenty of tough issues, Tom has also spent a career as a consensus-builder.  He’s worked with CEOs, he’s worked with labor leaders.  He’s worked at federal, state, and local government levels.  And throughout, he understands that our economy works best when the middle class and those working to get into the middle class have the security they need on the job, a democratic voice in the workplace, everybody playing by the same set of rules.

So Tom’s knowledge and experience will make him an outstanding Secretary of Labor.  And there’s plenty of work to do.  We’re going to have to work very hard to make sure that folks find jobs with good wages and good benefits.  We’ve got to make sure that our veterans who are returning home from Iraq and Afghanistan have a chance to put their incredible skills and leadership to work at home.  We need to build an immigration system that works for every employee and every family and every business.  I’m confident that Tom is going to be able to work to promote economic growth, but also make sure that that growth is broad-based.  And he’s going to be an integral part of our overall economic team.

So these are just a few of the many challenges working families out there are facing and where they need an advocate, and Tom is the right person for that job.  So I hope that the Senate will act swiftly to confirm Tom so we can work together to address all these concerns.  I want to thank not only Tom but his wonderful family for agreeing to take on this new role.  I just heard that Tom has been coaching basketball and baseball.  He doesn’t claim to be a great coach — (laughter) — but he brings passion to it.  He may end up missing a few of the games over the next several months, but it’s going to be for a good cause.  And I appreciate his family being willing to make these sacrifices as well.

So with that, I would like to introduce my nominee to be our next Secretary of Labor, give him a chance to say a few words.  And, again, I’d urge the Senate to confirm him as quickly as possible.

Mr. Tom Perez.  (Applause.)

MR. PEREZ:  Thank you.  (Applause.)  Thank you very much.  Thank you, Mr. President, for your confidence in me.  (Speaks in Spanish.)  It is a remarkably humbling and exciting phenomenon to be here today.

My parents taught my four siblings and me to work hard, to give back to our community, and to make sure that the ladder of opportunity was there for those coming after us.  Over my career, I’ve learned that true progress is possible if you keep an open mind, listen to all sides, and focus on results.  I look forward to taking these lessons with me, if confirmed, to my new role as Secretary of the Department of Labor.

As you well know, our nation still faces critical economic challenges, and the Department’s mission is as important as ever.  I am confident that together with our partners in organized labor, the business community, grassroots communities, Republicans, Democrats, and independents alike, we can keep making progress for all working families.

In the coming weeks, as the confirmation process unfolds, I look forward to meeting with senators of both parties to discuss the Labor Department’s key role — protecting and growing the middle class.

I’ll close again, Mr. President, by thanking you once again for this tremendous opportunity.  (Speaks in Spanish.)  I look forward to this opportunity to continue serving our nation.

Thank you so much.  (Applause.)

END
11:55 A.M. EDT

Political Headlines March 11, 2013: President Barack Obama to Nominate Thomas Perez as Labor Secretary

POLITICAL HEADLINES

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OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

THE HEADLINES….

Obama to Nominate Thomas Perez as Labor Secretary: Reports

Source: ABC News Radio, 3-11-13

SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images

President Obama is expected to tap Thomas Perez, the head of the Department of Justice’s civil rights division, to serve as his next labor secretary. The appointment would make Perez the only Latino in the president’s second-term cabinet….READ MORE

Political Headlines March 7, 2013: Senate Confirms John Brennan as CIA Director with a Vote of 63-34

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OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

THE HEADLINES….

Senate Confirms John Brennan as CIA Director

Source: ABC News Radio, 3-7-13

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza

Senator Rand Paul’s nearly thirteen hour filibuster may have started a conversation about U.S. drone policy, but it didn’t stop John Brennan from becoming CIA director.

Senators voted to 63 – 34 to elevate President Obama’s top counter-terrorism adviser at the White House to lead the Central Intelligence Agency after Paul, R-Ky., dropped his opposition to a vote Thursday afternoon….READ MORE

Political Headlines March 6, 2013: Rand Paul Filibusters John Brennan Nomination

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OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

THE HEADLINES….

Rand Paul Filibusters Brennan Nomination

Source: New York Times (blog), 3-6-13

Senator Rand Paul, Republican of Kentucky, began an old-school, speak-until-you-can-speak-no-more filibuster on Wednesday just before noon, and was still going strong more than an hour later….READ MORE

Political Headlines March 5, 2013: Senate Committee Approves John Brennan for CIA Director

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OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

THE HEADLINES….

Senate Committee Approves Brennan for C.I.A. Director

Source: NYT, 3-5-13

The White House’s decision to provide more information on targeted killings and the attack in Benghazi eased the confirmation process for John O. Brennan….READ MORE

Political Headlines March 5, 2013: President Barack Obama Shares Data on Drones & Libya as John Brennan Senate Vote Nears

POLITICAL HEADLINES

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OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

THE HEADLINES….

Obama Shares Data on Drones and Libya as Brennan Vote Nears

Source: NYT, 3-5-13

The White House’s decision to provide more information on targeted killings and the attack in Benghazi was expected to ease the confirmation of John O. Brennan as the new director of the C.I.A….READ MORE

Political Headlines March 4, 2013: Taxpayer Dollars Spent on Official Government Portraits

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OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

THE HEADLINES….

Taxpayer Dollars Spent on Official Government Portraits

Source: ABC News Radio, 3-4-13

Department of Agriculture

Long before cameras were invented, our founding fathers kept their images alive with painted portraits. Paintings of George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, and Thomas Jefferson are part of American history.

But what began as official documentation of early leaders is now a formality, a tradition, a sign of prestige — and, some say, a burden on taxpayers….READ MORE

Full Text Obama Presidency March 4, 2013: President Barack Obama’s Remarks Before at First Cabinet Meeting of Second Term Discusses the Sequester

POLITICAL BUZZ


OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

Remarks by the President Before a Cabinet Meeting

Source: WH, 3-4-13 

Cabinet Room

1:08 P.M. EST

THE PRESIDENT:  Well, this is my 17th meeting with my Cabinet; the first one in a second term.  And, obviously, we’ve got some familiar faces, we have some new faces, we have some familiar faces in new positions.  I want to make sure that I say thank you to all of you for the work that you’ve already done and the work that you’re going to be doing.

I want to welcome Jack Lew, former Chief of Staff and OMB Director, and now Secretary of the Treasury.  We’re thrilled to have him in that position.  I want to welcome Mr. Chuck Hagel, who’s in the position of Secretary of Defense.  And to all of you, I appreciate everything that you’ve done.

Obviously, we’re going to be spending some time talking about the potential impact of the sequester on all the agencies and missions across the board.  It is an area of deep concern and I think everybody knows where I stand on this issue.  We are going to manage it as best we can, try to minimize the impacts on American families, but it’s not the right way for us to go about deficit reduction.

It makes sense for us to take a balanced approach that takes a long view and doesn’t reduce our commitment to things like education and basic research that will help us grow over the long term.  And so I will continue to seek out partners on the other side of the aisle so that we can create the kind of balanced approach of spending cuts, revenues, entitlement reform that everybody knows is the right way to do things.

In the meantime, we’re going to do our best to make sure that our agencies have the support they need to try to make some very difficult decisions, understanding that there are going to be families and communities that are hurt, and that this will slow our growth.  It will mean lower employment in the United States than otherwise would have been.

But we can manage through it, and we’re going to rely on the outstanding leadership of all these agencies to make sure that we do whatever it is that we need to get done to help America’s families.

Now, my agenda obviously is broader than just the sequester, because I laid out both in the inauguration and during the State of the Union a very robust agenda to make sure that we’re doing everything we can to grow this economy and to help families thrive and expand their opportunities.  We want to make sure we’ve got a growing middle class and more ladders of opportunity into the middle class.

So in addition to talking about budget issues, we’re also going to spend some time talking about making sure that we have comprehensive immigration reform done.  And I want to again thank members of Congress who on a bipartisan basis are moving forward on that agenda.  We’re going to have the opportunity to talk about initiatives like early childhood education that can have an enormous impact on our kids and, ultimately, our growth and productivity.  We’ll have a chance to hear from Joe and other members of the Cabinet about progress in reducing gun violence in this country.

So one of the things that I’ve instructed not just my White House but every agency is to make sure that, regardless of some of the challenges that they may face because of sequestration, we’re not going to stop working on behalf of the American people to make sure that we’re doing everything we can to continue to grow this economy and improve people’s prospects.

Thank you very much, everybody.

END
1:12 P.M. EST

Political Headlines March 4, 2013: President Barack Obama Vows at Cabinet Meeting to Manage Sequester ‘As Best We Can’

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OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

THE HEADLINES….

Obama Vows to Manage Sequester ‘As Best We Can’

Source: ABC News Radio, 3-4-13

BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/GettyImages

President Obama on Monday vowed to continue working with Republicans to develop a long-term deficit reduction plan, while making clear the sequester will not prevent him from pursuing his broader second-term agenda.

“I will continue to seek out partners on the other side of the aisle so that we can create the kind of balanced approach of spending cuts, revenues, entitlement reform that everybody knows is the right way to do things,” Obama told reporters at the first Cabinet meeting of his second term….READ MORE

Full Text Obama Presidency March 4, 2013: President Barack Obama Speech Announces Cabinet-Level Positions for Budget Office, Environmental Protection Agency & Energy Department

POLITICAL BUZZ


OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

Remarks by the President in Personnel Announcements

Source: WH, 3-4-13 

East Room

10:27 A.M. EST

THE PRESIDENT:  Good morning, everybody.  This afternoon, I’ll hold my first Cabinet meeting of my second term.  And there will be some new faces, and there will be some familiar faces in new jobs.  But there will also be some seats waiting to be filled on a permanent basis.  And today, I’m announcing my plan to nominate three outstanding individuals to help us tackle some of our most important challenges.

One of those challenges is building on the work that we’ve done to control our own energy future while reducing pollution that contributes to climate change.  And few people have played more of a role in addressing these issues than current Secretary of Energy Steven Chu.  Steven has helped us to speed the transition to more sustainable sources of energy.  He’s given more of our brightest young scientists the opportunity to pursue the ideas that will shape our future.  So I could not be more grateful to Steve for the incredible contribution that he’s made to this country.

And now that he’s decided to leave Washington for sunny California, I’m proud to nominate another brilliant scientist to take his place — Mr. Ernie Moniz.  There’s Ernie right there.  (Applause.)

Now, the good news is that Ernie already knows his way around the Department of Energy.  He is a physicist by training, but he also served as Under Secretary of Energy under President Clinton.  Since then, he’s directed MIT’s Energy Initiative, which brings together prominent thinkers and energy companies to develop the technologies that can lead us to more energy independence and also to new jobs.

Most importantly, Ernie knows that we can produce more energy and grow our economy while still taking care of our air, our water and our climate.  And so I could not be more pleased to have Ernie join us.  And he will be joined in that effort by my nominee to lead the Environmental Protection Agency.

Over the last four years, Lisa Jackson and her team at the EPA have helped us to reduce emissions of the dangerous carbon pollution that causes climate change, put in place the toughest new pollution standards in two decades.  Lisa is now ready for a well-deserved break.  And I want to very much thank Bob Perciasepe, who’s not only been a great Deputy Administrator, but has also been acting as the Acting Administrator.  So, please, Bob — everybody give Bob a big round of applause.  (Applause.)

As we move forward, I think there is nobody who can do a better job in filling Lisa’s shoes permanently than my nominee who’s standing beside me here — Gina McCarthy.  (Applause.)

Now, you wouldn’t know from talking to her, but Gina is from Boston.  (Laughter.)  And one of her proudest moments was yelling “Play ball!” at Fenway Park before a Red Sox game.  But Gina has got plenty more to be proud of.  As a top environmental official in Massachusetts and Connecticut, she helped design programs to expand energy efficiency and promote renewable energy.  As Assistant EPA Administrator, Gina has focused on practical, cost-effective ways to keep our air clean and our economy growing.  She’s earned a reputation as a straight shooter.  She welcomes different points of views.  I’m confident that she’s going to do an outstanding job leading the EPA.

So these two over here, they’re going to be making sure that we’re investing in American energy, that we’re doing everything that we can to combat the threat of climate change, that we’re going to be creating jobs and economic opportunity in the first place.  They are going to be a great team.  And these are some of my top priorities going forward.

But as President, one of the things you learn very quickly is that it’s not enough just to talk a big game; the real test is whether your priorities are reflected in a budget.  And that’s where the rubber hits the road.  That’s where my third nominee comes in.

Since I took office, Jeff Zients has served as America’s first Chief Performance Officer and the Deputy Director of the management — Director for Management of the Office of Management and Budget.  He’s made our government more efficient.  He’s saved taxpayers a lot of money.  He’s stepped in as Acting Director of OMB not once, but twice, including leading up to the fiscal cliff.  So there’s no question that Jeff’s skill and versatility have served the American people very well.  I expect it will continue to serve us well in the future.

In the meantime, I am confident that my nominee for OMB Director, Sylvia Mathews Burwell, is the right person to continue Jeff’s great work.  (Applause.)

In the 1990s, when she was, what, 19 — (laughter) — Sylvia served under Jack Lew as Deputy Director of OMB — part of a team that presided over three budget surpluses in a row.  Later, she helped the Gates Foundation grow into a global force for good, and then she helped the Walmart Foundation expand its charitable work.  So Sylvia knows her way around a budget.

But as the granddaughter of Greek immigrants, she also understands that our goal when we put together a budget is not just to make the numbers add up.  Our goal is also to reignite the true engine of economic growth in this country, and that is a strong and growing middle class — to offer ladders of opportunity for anybody willing to climb them.

Sylvia’s mom is here.  And Sylvia loves to talk about her parents growing up in West Virginia and the values that they instilled in her as educators.  And I think that reflects everything that Sylvia now does.  And so I’m absolutely confident that she’s going to do a great job at OMB.  And those values are especially important to remember now, as we continue to try and find a way forward in light of the budget cuts that are already starting to cost us jobs and hurt our economy.

As I said before, the American people are resilient.  And I know that Jeff and Sylvia will do everything in their power to blunt the impact of these cuts on businesses and middle-class families.  But eventually, a lot of people are going to feel some pain.  That’s why we’ve got to keep on working to reduce our deficit in a balanced way — an approach that’s supported by the majority of the American people, including a majority of Republicans.  And I’m confident that we can get there if people of goodwill come together.

So I want to thank Steve and Lisa and Jeff once more for their outstanding service, for all the great work that they’ve done in this administration over the last several years.  I want to thank Ernie, Gina and Sylvia, and their families, for agreeing to take on these big roles.

I hope the Senate will confirm them as soon as possible, because we’ve got a lot of work to do and we cannot afford delay. But I can promise you that as soon as the Senate gives them the go ahead, they’re going to hit the ground running and they’re going to help make America a stronger and more prosperous country.

So thank you very much, everybody.  (Applause.)

END
10:36 A.M. EST

Political Headlines March 4, 2013: President Barack Obama Announces Trio of Cabinet-Level Positions for Budget Office, Environmental Protection Agency & Energy Department

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OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

THE HEADLINES….

Obama Announces Trio of Cabinet-Level Positions

Source: ABC News Radio, 3-4-13

Pete Marovich/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Rounding out his second-term cabinet, President Obama on Monday announced his picks to run the budget office, Environmental Protection Agency and Energy Department.

The president named Gina McCarthy, who heads the EPA’s air and radiation office, as the agency’s next administrator, MIT physicist Ernest Moniz as Energy Secretary, and Walmart’s Sylvia Matthews Burwell as his next budget director….READ MORE

Political Headlines February 27, 2013: Senate confirms Jack Lew as Treasury secretary with a 71-26 vote

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OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

THE HEADLINES….

Senate confirms Jack Lew as Treasury secretary

Source: WaPo, 2-27-13

The Senate confirmed Jacob Lew to be Treasury secretary, affirming President Barack Obama’s choice of a budget expert at a time when Congress and the White House are at odds over sharp government spending cuts….READ MORE

Political Headlines February 27, 2013: Chuck Hagel sworn in as Defense Secretary & first remarks at the Pentagon

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OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

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Chuck Hagel sworn in, first remarks at the Pentagon (video)

Source: Politico, 2-27-13

Chuck Hagel was sworn in Wednesday as defense secretary — President Barack Obama’s third in just over four years — and said that one of his highest priorities will be ensuring fair treatment of troops, veterans and their families….READ MORE

Political Headlines February 26, 2013: Senate Finance Committee Votes to Approve Jack Lew’s Treasury Secretary Nomination

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Senate Finance Committee Votes to Approve Jack Lew’s Nomination

Source: ABC News Radio, 2-26-13

Alex Wong/Getty Images

The Senate Finance Committee voted Tuesday to approve Jack Lew’s nomination for secretary of the Treasury.

The approval came with a 19-5 vote.  All the “no” votes came from Republican senators — John Cornyn of Texas, Mike Crapo of Idaho, Mike Enzi of Wyoming, Chuck Grassley of Iowa and Pat Roberts of Kansas….READ MORE

Full Text Political Headlines February 14, 2013: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s Statement on the Unprecedented Republican Filibuster of Chuck Hagel’s Nomination

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Reid Statement On Unprecedented Republican Filibuster Of Hagel Nomination

Source: Reid.Senate.gov, 2-14-13

Nevada Senator Harry Reid released the following statement after Senate Republicans blocked the nomination of Senator Chuck Hagel to be Defense Secretary from receiving an up-or-down vote, continuing the first-ever filibuster of a Defense Secretary nominee. The vote was 58-40 with one Senator voting present:

“In a time of war and threats to Americans at home and abroad, Senate Republicans are waging the first-ever filibuster of a Defense Secretary nominee. Despite unprecedented responsiveness and transparency from the White House, Republicans have constantly invented new pretexts for opposing Senator Hagel’s nomination, and Republicans continued their embarrassing display of disregard for our national security by blocking Senator Hagel’s nomination today.

“Watching Republicans with otherwise distinguished records on national security place their desire to please the Tea Party ahead of doing the right thing for our troops is one of the saddest spectacles I have witnessed in my twenty-seven years in the Senate.

“Senator Hagel is a decorated war veteran, an expert on national security issues and the right man to lead the Pentagon in these troubling times. Democrats will continue to fight for Senator Hagel, and we will reconsider his nomination in the coming days. Some Republican senators have said that they will change their votes, and allow his nomination to proceed at some point in the future. I will take them at their word, and I will hold them to their pledge.”

Political Headlines February 14, 2013: Senate Blocks Hagel Nomination

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Senate Blocks Hagel Nomination

Source: ABC News Radio, 2-15-13

US Senate

Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta will have to stay on the job a little bit longer.

As expected, the Senate on Thursday failed to invoke cloture, essentially cutting off debate and not moving closer toward final passage of Chuck Hagel’s nomination to be the next defense secretary.

The vote was 58-40. Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, voted present. Four Republicans voted with the Democrats to end debate.

This marks the first time a Cabinet nominee has ever been blocked on a cloture vote….READ MORE

Political Headlines February 14, 2013: Senate Republicans block Chuck Hagel nomination for defense secretary

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Senate Republicans block Hagel nomination for defense secretary

Source: WaPo, 2-14-13

(J. Scott Applewhite / AP)

Senate Republicans have blocked former senator Chuck Hagel’s (R-Neb.) nomination for secretary of defense, filibustering his confirmation amid demands for more time to study their former colleague’s speeches and finances after leaving the Senate in 2008. It is the first time a national security Cabinet nominee has ever faced a filibuster…..READ MORE

Political Headlines February 14, 2013: Chuck Hagel blocked: Harry Reid says he doesn’t have the votes

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Chuck Hagel blocked: Harry Reid says he doesn’t have the votes

Source: Politico, 2-14-13

Chuck Hagel’s path to the Pentagon struck another major roadblock on Thursday when Senate Republicans kept up their threat to filibuster, throwing the nomination into limbo as Congress prepared to quit town for a weeklong recess….READ MORE

Political Headlines February 14, 2013: Senate Republicans have the votes to filibuster on Chuck Hagel

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Senate Republicans have the votes to filibuster on Hagel

Source: Washington Post, 2-14-13

Senate Republicans have secured enough votes to mount a filibuster of Chuck Hagel’s nomination as secretary of defense, Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid announced Thursday, increasing the stakes in the showdown over the former GOP senator’s bid….READ MORE

Political Headlines February 12, 2013: Chuck Hagel’s Secretary of Defense Nomination Heads to Senate After Partisan Committee Vote

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Hagel Nomination Heads to Senate After Partisan Committee Vote

Source: ABC News Radio, 2-12-13

US Senate

Chuck Hagel’s nomination to be the next secretary of defense has been sent to the full Senate, following a 14-to-11 committee vote that split along partisan lines. Tuesday’s vote by the Senate Armed Services Committee reflects how unpopular Hagel’s nomination has been among his former Republican Senate colleagues.

Two hours of debate prior to the vote were indicative of the partisan divide over his nomination.  Republicans assailed his Senate voting record and his qualifications for the job; some Democrats expressed lukewarm support and defended his character….READ MORE

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