BREAKING NEWS: PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA ON WITHDRAWING TROOPS FROM AFGHANISTAN: “TIME TO FOCUS ON NATION BUILDING AT HOME”
Remarks of President Barack Obama – As Prepared for Delivery
On the Way Forward in Afghanistan
June 22, 2011
As Prepared for Delivery—
Good evening. Nearly ten years ago, America suffered the worst attack on our shores since Pearl Harbor. This mass murder was planned by Osama bin Laden and his al Qaeda network in Afghanistan, and signaled a new threat to our security – one in which the targets were no longer soldiers on a battlefield, but innocent men, women and children going about their daily lives.
In the days that followed, our nation was united as we struck at al Qaeda and routed the Taliban in Afghanistan. Then, our focus shifted. A second war was launched in Iraq, and we spent enormous blood and treasure to support a new government there. By the time I took office, the war in Afghanistan had entered its seventh year. But al Qaeda’s leaders had escaped into Pakistan and were plotting new attacks, while the Taliban had regrouped and gone on the offensive. Without a new strategy and decisive action, our military commanders warned that we could face a resurgent al Qaeda, and a Taliban taking over large parts of Afghanistan.
For this reason, in one of the most difficult decisions that I’ve made as President, I ordered an additional 30,000 American troops into Afghanistan. When I announced this surge at West Point, we set clear objectives: to refocus on al Qaeda; reverse the Taliban’s momentum; and train Afghan Security Forces to defend their own country. I also made it clear that our commitment would not be open-ended, and that we would begin to drawdown our forces this July.
Tonight, I can tell you that we are fulfilling that commitment. Thanks to our men and women in uniform, our civilian personnel, and our many coalition partners, we are meeting our goals. As a result, starting next month, we will be able to remove 10,000 of our troops from Afghanistan by the end of this year, and we will bring home a total of 33,000 troops by next summer, fully recovering the surge I announced at West Point. After this initial reduction, our troops will continue coming home at a steady pace as Afghan Security forces move into the lead. Our mission will change from combat to support. By 2014, this process of transition will be complete, and the Afghan people will be responsible for their own security.
We are starting this drawdown from a position of strength. Al Qaeda is under more pressure than at any time since 9/11. Together with the Pakistanis, we have taken out more than half of al Qaeda’s leadership. And thanks to our intelligence professionals and Special Forces, we killed Osama bin Laden, the only leader that al Qaeda had ever known. This was a victory for all who have served since 9/11. One soldier summed it up well. “The message,” he said, “is we don’t forget. You will be held accountable, no matter how long it takes.”
The information that we recovered from bin Laden’s compound shows al Qaeda under enormous strain. Bin Laden expressed concern that al Qaeda has been unable to effectively replace senior terrorists that have been killed, and that al Qaeda has failed in its effort to portray America as a nation at war with Islam – thereby draining more widespread support. Al Qaeda remains dangerous, and we must be vigilant against attacks. But we have put al Qaeda on a path to defeat, and we will not relent until the job is done.
In Afghanistan, we’ve inflicted serious losses on the Taliban and taken a number of its strongholds. Along with our surge, our allies also increased their commitments, which helped stabilize more of the country. Afghan Security Forces have grown by over 100,000 troops, and in some provinces and municipalities we have already begun to transition responsibility for security to the Afghan people. In the face of violence and intimidation, Afghans are fighting and dying for their country, establishing local police forces, opening markets and schools, creating new opportunities for women and girls, and trying to turn the page on decades of war.
Of course, huge challenges remain. This is the beginning – but not the end – of our effort to wind down this war. We will have to do the hard work of keeping the gains that we have made, while we drawdown our forces and transition responsibility for security to the Afghan government. And next May, in Chicago, we will host a summit with our NATO allies and partners to shape the next phase of this transition.
We do know that peace cannot come to a land that has known so much war without a political settlement. So as we strengthen the Afghan government and Security Forces, America will join initiatives that reconcile the Afghan people, including the Taliban. Our position on these talks is clear: they must be led by the Afghan government, and those who want to be a part of a peaceful Afghanistan must break from al Qaeda, abandon violence, and abide by the Afghan Constitution. But, in part because of our military effort, we have reason to believe that progress can be made.
The goal that we seek is achievable, and can be expressed simply: no safe-haven from which al Qaeda or its affiliates can launch attacks against our homeland, or our allies. We will not try to make Afghanistan a perfect place. We will not police its streets or patrol its mountains indefinitely. That is the responsibility of the Afghan government, which must step up its ability to protect its people; and move from an economy shaped by war to one that can sustain a lasting peace. What we can do, and will do, is build a partnership with the Afghan people that endures – one that ensures that we will be able to continue targeting terrorists and supporting a sovereign Afghan government.
Of course, our efforts must also address terrorist safe-havens in Pakistan. No country is more endangered by the presence of violent extremists, which is why we will continue to press Pakistan to expand its participation in securing a more peaceful future for this war-torn region. We will work with the Pakistani government to root out the cancer of violent extremism, and we will insist that it keep its commitments. For there should be no doubt that so long as I am President, the United States will never tolerate a safe-haven for those who aim to kill us: they cannot elude us, nor escape the justice they deserve.
My fellow Americans, this has been a difficult decade for our country. We have learned anew the profound cost of war — a cost that has been paid by the nearly 4500 Americans who have given their lives in Iraq, and the over 1500 who have done so in Afghanistan – men and women who will not live to enjoy the freedom that they defended. Thousands more have been wounded. Some have lost limbs on the field of battle, and others still battle the demons that have followed them home.
Yet tonight, we take comfort in knowing that the tide of war is receding. Fewer of our sons and daughters are serving in harm’s way. We have ended our combat mission in Iraq, with 100,000 American troops already out of that country. And even as there will be dark days ahead in Afghanistan, the light of a secure peace can be seen in the distance. These long wars will come to a responsible end.
As they do, we must learn their lessons. Already this decade of war has caused many to question the nature of America’s engagement around the world. Some would have America retreat from our responsibility as an anchor of global security, and embrace an isolation that ignores the very real threats that we face. Others would have America over-extend ourselves, confronting every evil that can be found abroad.
We must chart a more centered course. Like generations before, we must embrace America’s singular role in the course of human events. But we must be as pragmatic as we are passionate; as strategic as we are resolute. When threatened, we must respond with force – but when that force can be targeted, we need not deploy large armies overseas. When innocents are being slaughtered and global security endangered, we don’t have to choose between standing idly by or acting on our own. Instead, we must rally international action, which we are doing in Libya, where we do not have a single soldier on the ground, but are supporting allies in protecting the Libyan people and giving them the chance to determine their destiny.
In all that we do, we must remember that what sets America apart is not solely our power – it is the principles upon which our union was founded. We are a nation that brings our enemies to justice while adhering to the rule of law, and respecting the rights of all our citizens. We protect our own freedom and prosperity by extending it to others. We stand not for empire, but for self-determination. That is why we have a stake in the democratic aspirations that are now washing across the Arab World. We will support those revolutions with fidelity to our ideals, with the power of our example, and with an unwavering belief that all human beings deserve to live with freedom and dignity.
Above all, we are a nation whose strength abroad has been anchored in opportunity for our citizens at home. Over the last decade, we have spent a trillion dollars on war, at a time of rising debt and hard economic times. Now, we must invest in America’s greatest resource – our people. We must unleash innovation that creates new jobs and industry, while living within our means. We must rebuild our infrastructure and find new and clean sources of energy. And most of all, after a decade of passionate debate, we must recapture the common purpose that we shared at the beginning of this time of war. For our nation draws strength from our differences, and when our union is strong no hill is too steep and no horizon is beyond our reach.
America, it is time to focus on nation building here at home.
In this effort, we draw inspiration from our fellow Americans who have sacrificed so much on our behalf. To our troops, our veterans and their families, I speak for all Americans when I say that we will keep our sacred trust with you, and provide you with the care, and benefits, and opportunity that you deserve.
I met some of those patriotic Americans at Fort Campbell. A while back, I spoke to the 101st Airborne that has fought to turn the tide in Afghanistan, and to the team that took out Osama bin Laden. Standing in front of a model of bin Laden’s compound, the Navy SEAL who led that effort paid tribute to those who had been lost – brothers and sisters in arms whose names are now written on bases where our troops stand guard overseas, and on headstones in quiet corners of our country where their memory will never be forgotten. This officer – like so many others I have met with on bases, in Baghdad and Bagram, at Walter Reed and Bethesda Naval Hospital – spoke with humility about how his unit worked together as one – depending on each other, and trusting one another, as a family might do in a time of peril.
That’s a lesson worth remembering – that we are all a part of one American family. Though we have known disagreement and division, we are bound together by the creed that is written into our founding documents, and a conviction that the United States of America is a country that can achieve whatever it sets out to accomplish. Now, let us finish the work at hand. Let us responsibly end these wars, and reclaim the American Dream that is at the center of our story. With confidence in our cause; with faith in our fellow citizens; and with hope in our hearts, let us go about the work of extending the promise of America – for this generation, and the next. May God bless our troops. And may God bless the United States of America.
STATEMENT OF ADMINISTRATION POLICY
S. 782 – Economic Development Revitalization Act of 2011
(Sen. Boxer, D-California, and 4 cosponsors)
The Administration supports Senate passage of S. 782. The bill provides the Commerce Department’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) with important tools to help America’s communities meet the challenges of innovation-led economic growth. However, the bill would authorize spending levels higher than those requested by the President’s Budget, and the Administration believes that the need for smart investments that help America win the future must be balanced with the need to control spending and reduce the deficit. The Administration looks forward to working with the Congress to enact legislation that helps EDA enhance its mission of assisting America’s distressed communities in forging partnerships with the private sector to create jobs.
President Obama Announces More Key Administration Posts
WASHINGTON – Today, President Barack Obama announced his intent to appoint the following individuals to key Administration posts:
- Azizah al-Hibri, Member, United States Commission on International Religious Freedom
- Nancy Brooks Gilbert, Member, United States Holocaust Memorial Council
- Mark Gorenberg, Member, President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology
- Rear Admiral Michelle J. Howard, Member, Board of Visitors to the United States Naval Academy
- Deborah E. Lipstadt, Member, United States Holocaust Memorial Council
- Ike Skelton, Member, American Battle Monuments Commission
- Marc R. Stanley, Member, United States Holocaust Memorial Council
- Tamara Toussaint, Member, Commission on Presidential Scholars
President Obama said, “I am grateful these accomplished men and women have agreed to join this Administration, and I’m confident they will serve ably in these important roles. I look forward to working with them in the coming months and years.”
President Obama announced his intent to appoint the following individuals to key Administration posts:
Azizah al-Hibri, Appointee for Member, United States Commission on International Religious Freedom
Azizah al-Hibri is a professor of law at the T. C. Williams School of Law, University of Richmond. She is the founding editor of Hypatia: a Journal of Feminist Philosophy, and founder of KARAMAH: Muslim Women Lawyers for Human Rights. Professor al-Hibri has written extensively on issues of Islam and democracy, Muslim women’s rights, and human rights in Islam. Professor al-Hibri has traveled extensively throughout the Muslim world in support of Muslim women’s rights and acted as a consultant to the Supreme Council for Family Affairs in Qatar in the development of that country’s personal status code. She has also guest edited a special volume on Islam by the Journal of Law and Religion and is currently completing a book on the Islamic marriage contract in American courts. Professor al-Hibri received a B.A. from the American University of Beirut, a J.D. from the University of Pennsylvania Law School, and a Ph.D. in Philosophy from the University of Pennsylvania.
Nancy Brooks Gilbert, Appointee for Member, United States Holocaust Memorial Council
Nancy Gilbert is the CEO and President of Travels and Dialogues and its subsidiary The Masorti Travel Bureau, companies specializing in tourism to Israel. Since 1995, Ms Gilbert has organized groups for tens of thousands of passengers, winning awards and commendations from El Al Israel Airlines and the Israel Ministry of Tourism. She developed the pilot itinerary for what is now known as BIRTHRIGHT ISRAEL, an international program which provides trips to Israel for young Jewish adults around the world. She has served on the executive boards of the South Palm Beach County Jewish Federation, The National Council of Jewish Women Boca–Delray Section, The Levis JCC in Boca Raton, Florida and was an honorary board member of the Palm Beach County Chapter of the American Jewish Committee. She is currently a sponsor of Aghozo Shalom, a youth village in Rwanda for now-teens orphaned in the 1994 genocide modeled after the youth villages in Israel created after the Holocaust. Ms. Gilbert earned a B.A. and M.A. from Northwestern University, majoring in Spanish Language & Literature and Latin American Studies.
Mark Gorenberg, Appointee for Member, President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology
Mark Gorenberg is a Managing Director of Hummer Winblad Venture Partners, which he joined in 1990 when the firm began investing its first fund. Previously, Mr. Gorenberg was with Sun Microsystems, where he managed emerging new media areas and was a member of the original SparcStation team. Over the last 20 years, Mr. Gorenberg has served as a board member for numerous Hummer Winblad start-ups, including Omniture, AdForce, NetDynamics, and Scopus Technologies. Mr. Gorenberg is a member of the Board of Trustees of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Corporation, a member of the Steering Committee of the Deshpande Center for Technological Innovation, and the Leadership Board of the McGovern Institute for Brain Research at MIT. Mr. Gorenberg is also the current chair of the H. John Heinz III Center for Science, Economics, and the Environment. Mr. Gorenberg received a B.S.E.E. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, an M.S.E.E. from the University of Minnesota, and an M.S. in Engineering Management from Stanford University.
Rear Admiral Michelle J. Howard, Appointee for Member, Board of Visitors to the United States Naval Academy
Rear Admiral Michelle Howard has commanded USS RUSHMORE (LSD 47), Amphibious Squadron SEVEN, and Expeditionary Strike Group TWO. Her operational experiences include: Desert Shield/Desert Storm, a West African Training Cruise, Indonesia Tsunami Relief Efforts, Maritime Security Operations in the North Arabian Gulf, and Counter-piracy efforts in Gulf of Aden/Somalia Basin. In 1987, she received the Secretary of the Navy/Navy League Captain Winifred Collins award for leadership. She is a recipient of the National Women of Color STEM Conference Career Achievement in Government award. In 2009, she received Dominion Power Strong Men Strong Women Excellence in Leadership award. She graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 1982 and from the Army’s Command and General Staff College in 1998.
Deborah E. Lipstadt, Appointee for Member, United States Holocaust Memorial Council
Deborah Lipstadt is the Dorot Professor of Modern Jewish History and Holocaust Studies at Emory University and one of the leading Holocaust scholars in the United States. Dr. Lipstadt is the author of the recently published The Eichmann Trial. Her book History on Trial: My Day in Court with David Irving is the story of her libel trial in London against David Irving, who sued her for calling him a Holocaust denier. She was an historical consultant to the US Holocaust Museum and helped design the section of the museum on the American response to the Holocaust. President Clinton previously appointed her to two terms on the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Council. From 1996 to 1999 she served on the U.S. State Department Advisory Committee on Religious Freedom Abroad. In this capacity she, together with other leaders and scholars, advised Secretary of State Madeline Albright on matters of religious persecution abroad. In 2005 she represented former President George W. Bush at the 60th anniversary commemoration of the liberation of Auschwitz. Dr. Lipstadt received her B.A. from the City College of New York, and her M.A. and Ph.D. from Brandeis University.
Ike Skelton, Appointee for Member, American Battle Monuments Commission
Isaac “Ike” Skelton represented Missouri’s Fourth Congressional District from 1977 until early 2011 and is currently a partner at the law firm of Husch Blackwell LLP. During his career, Mr. Skelton chaired the House Armed Services Committee and was instrumental in bringing the Army Engineer School to Fort Leonard Wood and the B-2 Stealth bomber to Whiteman Air Force Base, both of which are located in his district. Before serving in Congress, Mr. Skelton was a State Senator from 1971 until 1976, and a Special Assistant Attorney General in Missouri from 1961 to 1963. He received his Associate of Arts degree from the Wentworth Military Academy and Junior College and his Bachelor’s degree and LL.B. from the University of Missouri-Columbia.
Marc R. Stanley, Appointee for Member, United States Holocaust Memorial Council
Marc R. Stanley is a founder and partner of Stanley•Iola, LLP, a law firm that focuses on complex litigation nationally. He is the Chairman of the National Jewish Democratic Council, is a Vice-Chair of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, and is Treasurer/Co-Chair Elect of the Foundation for Jewish Culture. In addition, Mr. Stanley has served as President of the Texas Trial Lawyers Association, President of the Dallas Trial Lawyers Association, President of the Dallas Home for the Jewish Aged, and President of the Southwest Region of the American Jewish Congress. Mr. Stanley has previously been appointed as Chairman of the Texas Public Finance Authority and as a Member of the Board of Visitors of the Air University of the United States Air Force. Mr. Stanley received a B.B.A. from the George Washington University and a J.D. from the University of Texas.
Tamara Toussaint, Appointee for Member, Commission on Presidential Scholars
Tamara Toussaint is currently the Diversity and Inclusion Coordinator for Ford & Harrison LLP, a labor and employment law firm with eighteen offices headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia. Prior to her position with Ford & Harrison, Ms. Toussaint worked as the Diversity Coordinator at the University of Miami School of Law, crafting the school’s first ever diversity related programming. Over the course of the last thirteen years she has volunteered with programs that aid at-risk, low income children such as SOS Children’s Village, The Urban League of Philadelphia, and Community Action Network. In addition, Ms. Toussaint volunteers once a week with Everybody Wins!, a lunch time reading program at an Atlanta inner city elementary school focused on raising the reading levels of children with low reading test scores. Currently, Ms. Toussaint is a member of the Association of Law Firm Diversity Professionals and is Co-Chair of the Diversity Section of the National Association for Law Placement (NALP). Ms. Toussaint holds a B.A. from the University of Michigan and a J.D. from the University of Miami School of Law.
Fact Sheet: The United States and Germany — Leaders for the 21st Century
President Obama is hosting German Chancellor Angela Merkel for an Official Visit June 6-7, which includes a State Dinner, where he is presenting the Chancellor with the Medal of Freedom in recognition of her many contributions to freedom, peace and security in Europe and around the world. The visit reaffirms the strong ties between the United States and Germany, which are grounded in common heritage, ideals, values and interests and encompass a wide variety of endeavors, including cooperating on defense and security, fostering economic development and prosperity, advancing science and technology, and promoting democracy and human rights.
Defense and Security Cooperation: The United States and Germany are committed to each other’s defense and partner in critical crisis areas around the world, taking on difficult challenges, from combating terrorism to stemming nuclear proliferation.
· Linchpin of the NATO Alliance: Germany enables the United States to maintain a strong and robust transatlantic relationship with its European partners and allies by hosting 51,000 U.S. troops, several U.S. military commands and the largest U.S. military training center and military medical facility outside the United States. The strong U.S. presence in Germany also demonstrates our commitment to European security and collective defense.
· Afghanistan: Germany has been a key contributor from the start of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) mission and has the third largest contingent with 5,000-plus troops. It leads Regional Command North, commands two Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRTs), and operates the logistical support base for all forces in the region, including 5,000 U.S. troops.
· Iran sanctions: Germany’s role in the United Nations, European Union, and G8 is critical to building international consensus.
· Counterterrorism: Through the Security Cooperation Group, the Department of Homeland Security and the German Federal Ministry of Interior have forged close bilateral cooperation on aviation security, cyber-security, countering violent extremism and transnational crime.
Economic Prosperity: The United States and Germany have a dynamic economic partnership with high levels of trade, investment and private sector job creation.
· Jobs: Exports to Germany support roughly 400,000 U.S. jobs. In 2008, 722,700 Americans worked for German headquartered companies. American headquartered firms in Germany employ 671,500 Germans. In the past year, two German firms opened U.S. plants of several billion dollar value, employing thousands of U.S. workers.
· Investment: Germany is among the top five largest sources of foreign direct investment (FDI) in the U.S., with a total stock of $218 billion. The total stock of U.S. FDI in Germany reaches more than $116 billion.
· Trade: Germany is the sixth largest export market for the United States. In 2010, U.S. goods and services exports to Germany rose to $73.5 billion. German goods and services exports to the United States in 2010 were $113.7 billion.
Cultural ties: About one quarter of Americans trace their ancestry to Germany and many American traditions originate in German models. Cultural relations and people-to-people exchanges between the United States and Germany are dynamic.
· Education: over 1,500 American and German higher-education institutions are partnered with one another.
· Exchange and Partnership: 170 German and American cities have partnerships. The Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange Program annually selects 700 American and German young people to represent their country in reciprocal visits.
Science and Technology (S&T): The United States and Germany recognize the many shared benefits of cooperation in S&T and are committed to pursue a wide range of joint efforts in S&T research and development.
· Wide-Ranging Collaboration: More than 50 bilateral cooperation agreements spur work on renewable energy research and green jobs, medical and agricultural research, technological improvements for national defense and security as well as outer space. Collaboration exists among laboratories, universities, scientific societies, think tanks, and government agencies in advanced manufacturing, clean energy, health and nutrition, space, and national security. The United States and Germany entered into an S&T Cooperation Agreement in 2010, and the first Joint Committee Meeting will be held in Berlin in September 2011.
THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the First Lady
For Immediate Release June 7, 2011
REMARKS BY THE FIRST LADY
AT STATE DINNER PRESS PREVIEW
2:02 P.M. EDT
MRS. OBAMA: Well, you all look lovely. How are you? Good afternoon and welcome to the White House. You know, this is a special day. We’re hosting another state visit. And one of the things that we really love to do when we have state visits is to invite you guys in so that you have a better sense of what happens in this place, because we always give the press a preview, right? They want to know what we’re serving and what the tables are going to look like. And these are — this is what the tables are going to look like, so everybody take a look.
But we also like to use it as an opportunity to educate you guys and give you a chance to be in on what’s going to happen tonight, right? You guys live in Washington. You live in the Washington, D.C. area. People — you read about these state visits. But how often is it that you get a chance to get a little piece of it, right?
So that’s why all of the staff, everyone that works on the state dinners — this is really one of the best parts of the dinner, is inviting you guys in and letting you get a little peek.
But let me just tell you about this visit. The President is hosting the leader of Germany, Chancellor Merkel, and this is an official visit, so it’s something a little bit different from when a world leader just comes by and comes by the Oval Office. I mean, this is when we roll out the red carpet because we have a special relationship with the visiting country.
And tonight is special because the President and I, in addition to hosting the Chancellor and her husband — the President is going to give the Chancellor the Medal of Freedom, which is the higher honor that any civilian can receive from the President of the United States. So that’s pretty cool. She’s really excited about that.
And very few people from outside of our country have ever received this honor. Usually it’s for people here in this country. But that’s a testament to Chancellor Merkel’s extraordinary life, and it’s one of great service not just to her country but to the rest of the world.
She grew up under Communist rule in East Germany, back when Berlin was divided by the wall. And when the wall came down and her country reunited, she dedicated herself to public service.
And she has been a leader in Germany’s democracy more than ten [two] decades, so her career spans, well, time longer than most of you have been alive. And six years ago, she became the first East German and the first woman to serve as Germany’s Chancellor.
And her life reminds us of the opportunity that women have to lead our governments and to strengthen our world. I mean, you look at someone as powerful and influential and as dedicated as Chancellor Merkel, and you’re reminded that women are amazing and they play a critical role in strengthening ties around the world.
And it’s not just women like Chancellor Merkel in other countries. We have some of our own powerhouses right here in the United States, people like Secretary of State Hillary Clinton as well as United Nations Ambassador Susan Rice. They are working very hard in this country to foster ties with governments all around the world.
So I want you all to know that no matter where you come from, or what you look like, or how much money your family may have, you can have a real impact on the world. And that’s a message that we try to tell young people all across the world.
And I’m going to be traveling to Africa soon, spending time in South Africa and Botswana, working with young leaders and women leaders and delivering some of the same messages. And we’re going to figure out ways for young girls like you all to be a part of that trip, as well.
But for now it’s time for me to turn it over to our special guest, Brooke Anderson, who’s the Chief of Staff for the National Security Staff here at the White House. And Brooke is going to give you a few more of the details about the official visit. She is a great role model for all that young women can be, and a reminder of what you can do when you work hard at anything. And she loves doing this stuff, as well. We’re always grateful to have her on board. So I’m going to turn it over to Brooke. And then we’ll get to try a little dessert and talk a little bit more amongst ourselves after these guys leave, okay?
So with that, I’ll turn it over to Brooke — and come and sit down. I’m sitting over here. Brooke, come on. Thank you so much.
Fact Sheet: U.S.-German Global Economic and Development Cooperation
The United States and Germany share global economic goals, from addressing financial reforms to development and food needs worldwide. Reinforced through strong bilateral economic and political ties, we also cooperate in fora such as the U.S.-EU Transatlantic Economic Council, the G-8 and G-20. We work together to advance energy security and efficiency and to address environmental concerns while promoting policy measures to benefit emerging economies and sustainable practices worldwide. The United States and Germany look to increase bilateral cooperation through:
- Expansion of TEC priorities, specifically electro-mobility: The work of the Transatlantic Economic Council (TEC) underscores how intertwined the economies of the European Union (EU) and the United States have become. In 2007, when Germany held the rotating EU Presidency, Chancellor Merkel played a key role in the creation of the TEC. The TEC is guiding joint efforts to tackle regulatory and other non-tariff barriers to trade and investment across the Atlantic. German companies, and U.S. companies active in Germany, will be among the beneficiaries of TEC efforts to dismantle regulatory barriers in the transatlantic market.
Germany was instrumental in asking the TEC to accelerate transatlantic work on common standards for electric vehicles. The auto industry on both sides of the Atlantic strongly supports common standards for electric vehicles, allowing for the development of a transatlantic production base and consumer market. The United States and Germany are committed to contributing constructively within the TEC framework to achieve common standards and compatible regulatory approaches for electric vehicles. The U.S. Department of Energy has proposed two projects to be implemented through its Argonne National Laboratory (ANL) with Germany as part of U.S.-EU cooperation under the TEC and the U.S.-EU Energy Council on e-mobility: sharing information on e-mobility demonstration projects in the U.S. and Germany and joint field testing to verify proposed electric vehicle-smart grid connectivity standards using ANL’s End-Use Measurement Device (EUMD).
- G-20: The United States, Germany and other leading economies agreed to pursue policies that lead to strong, sustainable, and balanced global growth and to promote external sustainability by reducing excessive current account imbalances. The G-20 also has agreed that exchange rates should reflect underlying economic fundamentals and is working toward establishing stronger norms for exchange rate policies that will help facilitate a more effective and efficient global adjustment process. We are working to build a better framework to help countries manage volatility in capital flows without imposing undue adjustment burdens on others. A more stable international financial system also requires stronger oversight of the major global financial institutions and markets, and both countries are committed to tougher restraints on risk taking and leverage, stronger oversight of the derivatives markets, and more robust resolution systems for large financial institutions. Recently, the G-20 also expanded cooperation to include energy, anticorruption and development issues.
- Development: The United States is the world’s largest provider of official development assistance (ODA). Germany is among the world’s top ODA contributors. Germany and the United States coordinate closely on development assistance on both strategic and operational levels, and are exploring mechanisms for enhanced cooperation. In the multilateral context, the United States, Germany and other major donors have launched a comprehensive, G-20 multi-year Plan of Action, focusing on infrastructure, trade, human resource development, private sector investment and job creation, food security, domestic resource mobilization, knowledge sharing and growth with resilience. The United States and Germany are committed to working with the IMF and World Bank, and have supported historic increases in the resources of both institutions. The United States and Germany are committed to working with the Multilateral Development Banks, and have supported historic increases in the resources of these institutions.
Fact Sheet: U.S.-Germany Cultural Relations
Nearly one-quarter of all Americans trace their ancestry to Germany. Many traditions and institutions have become so accepted as parts of the American way of life – Christmas trees, Broadway musicals, kindergarten and graduate degrees – that many people do not realize their German origins. Germany today is at the forefront of the Euro-Atlantic relationship, and organizations such as the Atlantic Council, the Atlantik-Bruecke, the German Marshall Fund, the American Council on Germany, and the American Academy in Berlin energize frequent and productive exchanges on shared values, responsibilities and policies.
Cultural connections between the United States and the Federal Republic are dynamic. The immensely popular Amerika Haus public diplomacy program brought America to Germany with speakers, exhibits and concerts. Many Amerika Haus centers are now German-American Institutes, supported by German local, state and federal governments, as well as by the U.S. Embassy and corporate sponsors. The Berlinale Film Festival, established in 1950 with Marshall Plan funding, helped revive the German film industry. Today, the Berlinale is a major event on Germany’s cultural calendar and a prominent part of the international film circuit. For its part, Germany has seven Goethe Institutes across the U.S., augmenting the cultural diplomacy work of its Embassy and eight consulates.
The United States is the top-ranked destination for German high school students studying abroad with a 47% share; and Germany is the top-ranked host country for American high school students studying abroad with a 19% share. Germany is the second-ranked European country of origin of all international college-level students in the United States.
The U.S. and German governments support many bilateral exchange programs. The German-American Fulbright Program is one of the largest bi-national educational exchange programs in the world. Over 40,000 Americans and Germans – students, teachers, researchers and professors – have been awarded Fulbright grants, supplemented by a new short-term Fulbright program that highlights cultural diversity. The German American Partnership Program, an exchange of high school students, is the largest government-supported program of its kind. The Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange Program annually selects 700 German and American young people to represent their nation in reciprocal visits.
Private programs through institutions and sister cities, German-American clubs, sports and cultural groups far exceed government-sponsored exchanges. Over 1300 American and German institutions of higher education have partnerships; 170 German and American cities have partnerships, with 31 in eastern German states since unification. Cultural and educational institutions regularly produce cooperative exhibits, performance series, research projects, sport events and other initiatives. German and American institutions that are focused on music and dance, art, sports and environmental issues connect young audiences, especially through YouTube, Facebook and other social media portals.
The U.S. and German private sectors also are significant promoters of educational and cultural exchange. A survey by the American Chamber of Commerce in Germany shows that over 40% of U.S businesses in Germany support educational, environmental and other community-based activities. The U.S. Embassy and the private sector have together extended exchange opportunities for students from diverse audiences. The private sector contributes to short-term U.S.-based training programs for teachers from the former East Germany. A new pilot project that focuses on volunteerism and community service has just been initiated. In the United States, German businesses regularly sponsor the public diplomacy efforts of the Embassy, the Consulates, and the Goethe Institutes.
REMARKS BY PRESIDENT OBAMA
AND GERMAN CHANCELLOR ANGELA MERKEL
IN A JOINT PRESS CONFERENCE
11:41 A.M. EDT
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Please, everyone, have a seat. Good morning again. It is an honor to welcome my good friend and partner Chancellor Merkel back to the White House. We had a wonderful dinner last night, one on one — although, as you saw again this morning, Angela’s English is much better than my German.
Michelle and I are very much looking forward to hosting the Chancellor and Professor Sauer at tonight’s state dinner, where I’ll have the privilege of presenting Angela with the Medal of Freedom.
As I said earlier, Germany is one of our strongest allies. We see our partnership in the drive of our workers and businesses who sustain the largest trade relationships in the world. We see it in the students and teachers, the scientists and researchers who are unlocking new innovations, including the clean, renewable energy sources that we need to combat climate change and create the industries of the future.
We see our partnership in the courage of our service members who stand shoulder to shoulder in Afghanistan — where Germans serve under Americans and Americans serve under Germans. Chancellor Merkel, I want to thank you and the German people for your strong commitment to this vital mission, and our hearts go out to the wounded warriors and all the families, American and German and others, whose loved ones have given their lives to keep us safe. We remember and honor them all.
We see our partnership in the skill of our diplomats who prevent the spread of deadly weapons and stand up for democracy in Europe and beyond; and in the passion of our development experts as they work to avert suffering in countries like Sudan.
This is the essence of our alliance — two peoples, bound by common values and committed to the security, the prosperity, and the dignity not just of our own citizens, but those far beyond our borders. And that’s also the essence of my partnership with Chancellor Merkel.
Angela, I believe this is our tenth meeting together. That doesn’t include the many phone calls and video conferences that we seem to have at all hours of the day and night. There’s hardly any global issue where we don’t consult one another. I’ve said before I always value Angela’s pragmatic approach to complex issues, her intelligence, her frankness. I trust her. And as she’s said herself, it’s just fun to work together. And it has been, again, fun today, even as we’ve addressed some very urgent challenges.
Germany is one of our largest trading partners, and we discussed how to keep our economies growing and create the jobs that our people need. As Angela mentioned in her remarks at the opening ceremony, hundreds of thousands of American jobs are supported by our exports to Germany; hundreds of thousands of Americans work for German companies that have chosen to invest in America. I’m pleased that billions of dollars more in German investment is making possible new plants — steel in Alabama, manufacturing in Tennessee — all of which go to create thousands of new American jobs.
The Chancellor and I discussed the need to eliminate regulations and barriers so we can unleash even more trade and investment, including in the area of electric vehicles, where both our countries are leaders and where the possibilities of American-German cooperation are enormous. And of course, I very much appreciated the Chancellor’s views on the financial situation in Europe, which we agree cannot be allowed to put the global economic recovery at risk.
With regard to security, we discussed our progress in Afghanistan, where we’ve broken the Taliban’s momentum, trained Afghan forces, and are now preparing to turn a corner in our efforts. We’re scheduled to begin the transition to Afghan lead. And I reiterated that we’ll begin reducing American forces this summer, even as we join with Germany and our NATO allies in supporting Afghans in their political and economic efforts to forge a lasting peace.
I thanked the Chancellor for her support for the principles that I laid out last month as the basis for negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians. And I want to commend Angela for her personal efforts to bring the parties back to the negotiating table. Just as we agree that both sides will need to make difficult choices, we agree that unilateral actions — such as Palestinians seeking a vote on statehood at the U.N. General Assembly — should be avoided.
We agreed that Iran’s continuing nuclear program, and its refusal to engage in any meaningful talks with the international community, remain a very serious concern. So we agreed that if the International Atomic Energy Agency this week determines again that Iran is continuing to ignore its international obligations, then we will have no choice but to consider additional steps, including potentially additional sanctions, to intensify the pressure on the Iranian regime.
Finally, we discussed the historic changes underway in North Africa and the Middle East. With regard to Libya, I’d note that Germany’s deployment of additional resources and personnel to Afghanistan has allowed other NATO allies to increase their support for the mission to protect the Libyan people. The Chancellor and I have been clear — Qaddafi must step down and hand power to the Libyan people, and the pressure will only continue to increase until he does.
And following our agreement with our G8 partners in Deauville, the Chancellor and I discussed our support for political and economic reform across the Middle East and North Africa, especially in Tunisia and Egypt. The United States and Germany are the two largest donors of assistance — largest donors of assistance to the region, and we agree that this historic moment must not be squandered.
Along with the entire world, we have an enormous stake in seeing that these transitions to democracy succeed. And given the Chancellor’s own remarkable life story — and her experience helping to heal the wounds of the past and build a united Germany — I very much appreciate her leadership and her partnership in this effort.
So, again, I’m very grateful to the Chancellor for being here. I’m confident that the great alliance between our nations is going to remain an indispensable pillar of a world that’s more secure and more prosperous and more just. And I very much appreciate the personal friendship that I enjoy with the Chancellor. So, Angela.
CHANCELLOR MERKEL: (As translated.) Well, ladies and gentlemen, Mr. President, dear Barack, I would like to use this opportunity to thank you most warmly for this wonderful reception. I’m saying this also on behalf of the members of my delegation.
This reception I say to the White House is welcome that I see as a testimony of our very close friendship, of our partnership. If we remind ourselves of the fact that every fifth American today rightly points and perhaps also with a certain degree of pride to his German ancestry or her German ancestry, we can safely say that we, indeed, share common roots. And if we look at the names that loom large in American history, Frederick Steuben, but many leading leaders of the German — of the American business community, Guggenheim, Steinway, Strauss, Singer — all of these German names. So that is a broad foundation on which we can build.
And we are still grateful that so many Germans found asylum and a safe place to live during the Second World War in the United States. We have a broad-based exchange of students. We have cooperation in science. We work in air and space with the ISS. We share a lot of successes. I mentioned the 50,000 soldiers — American soldiers — that are present today in Germany are very welcome, indeed, in my country.
Let me say this on a personal note. Without the United States of America, I would in all probably not be able to stand here before you today. Overcoming the Cold War required courage from the people of Central and Eastern Europe and what was then the German Democratic Republic, but it also required the steadfastness of Western partner over many decades when many had long lost hope of integration of the two Germanys and Europe. Many perhaps didn’t even want this anymore. But the then-President George Herbert Walker Bush said German unity, European unity, is indeed something that deserves our support.
So there are a lot of tasks that we have in common, a lot of challenges that we need to meet together. We’re doing this in this spirit of freedom, of shared values. We want to bring these values to bear on the international agenda. We’re dealing and — ever since the month of January with these issues, the Arab Spring in Syria, in Tunisia, in Egypt, in Libya. That is a very great challenge.
But if I remember — let me take you back perhaps to the period after the Second World War when, through the Marshall Plan, Germany was able to get back on its feet again. I see this also as our common task, as a task of the Europeans and of the Americans and the Germans to support this change, to make it possible for these young people to have a perspective for the future.
We talked about this. We talked about Germany in particular with its experience and vocational training schemes, offering an alliance for jobs, for training and education. We’re working together with the Egyptians and the Tunisians on this with our foundations. Building up institutions, for example, is something that we want to do.
I said that we after all opened up an office in Benghazi that will serve as a clearinghouse for training schemes, for example, for the security forces, the police there on the ground, and we will also, through an additional commitment to Afghanistan, lend a contribution to mastering the common challenges.
We talked about economic issues in the G20. We worked very closely together, and I believe we have been able to make a lot of progress there and be successful. The situation in the Euro group in Europe obviously is also of very great interest over here. Finance ministers talked about these issues, but we, too, talked about this at some length. And I said, yet again, for Germany, Europe is not only indispensable, it is part and parcel of our identity. We’ve always said German unity, European unity and integration, that’s two parts of one and the same coin. But we want, obviously, to boost our competitiveness.
We are very much aware — very well aware of the fact — both of us, I think — that we are in a tough competition with the emerging economies. So Europe needs to be competitive and we also need to be competitive if we wish to remain an interesting economic partner for the United States. This has to be done on the basis of strength, of competitiveness. So this is why the Germans are pursuing a policy of a competitive Europe, and this is — and it is also an approach of solidarity, so we need to show solidarity to the countries that need it, but they also need to come to enhance competitiveness.
We talked about the Middle East peace process. I think this was a very important initiative to point out yet again that the United States of America, just as Germany and the European Union, wish to promote a further development of the peace process. We’re saying this to both countries: We want a two-state solution. We want a Jewish state of Israel and alongside a independent Palestinian state. Unilateral measures are not helping at all to bring about this cause, and we agree that we wish to cooperate very closely on this, because as we both say, time is of the essence. And looking at the changes in the Arab area and the Arab region, it would be a very good signal indeed if it came out that talks between the parties are again possible.
The commitment we take in Afghanistan shows that we’re very close. We’re very grateful for the close cooperation in the north of Afghanistan; that has turned out excellently. We share the opinion that in Afghanistan we wish to approach an — the matters in the sense of an integrated security approach, a network security approach. It was said we want to build up not only the military side of it, but the civil side of it. We wish to go in together, out together. Afghanistan will need our support, however, in the long run. So we will not abandon them.
Barack, thank you very much again for the very friendly talks, for this very warm atmosphere, for making it possible to have this exchange of views in a very candid manner. I think even though we make look differently than our predecessors we have a lot in common, I think, and we have a lot to discuss.
PRESIDENT OBAMA: I’ll start off with Steve Holland of Reuters.
Q Thank you, Mr. President. You both face economic troubles. Mr. President, how worried are you about the threat of a double-dip recession? What specific policies are you considering to help head it off? And abroad, do you expect Germany to fund another bailout for Greece?
And Chancellor Merkel, is Europe concerned about the possibility of the U.S. defaulting on its debt? Thank you.
PRESIDENT OBAMA: I’m not concerned about a double-dip recession. I am concerned about the fact that the recovery that we’re on is not producing jobs as quickly as I want it to happen.
Prior to this month we had seen three months of very robust job growth in the private sector. And so we were very encouraged by that. This month you still saw job growth in the private sector, but it had slowed down. We don’t yet know whether this is a one-month episode or a longer trend.
Obviously we’re experiencing some headwinds, gas prices probably being most prominent. It has an enormous impact on family budgets and on the psychology of consumers. And so we are taking a range of steps to make sure that we’ve got an energy policy that can bring some stability to world oil prices.
But the overall trend that we’ve seen over the last 15 months — 2 million — over 2 million jobs created over the past 15 months — a rebounding of the manufacturing sector in the United States that’s exemplified by the recovery of the Big Three automakers here — all indicates that we have set a path that will lead us to long-term economic growth.
But we’ve still got some enormous work to do. And as long as there are some folks out there who are unemployed, looking for work, then every morning when I wake up, I’m going to be thinking about how we can get them back to work.
Some of the steps that we took during the lame duck session, the payroll tax, the extension of unemployment insurance, the investment in — or the tax breaks for business investment in plants and equipment — all those things have helped. And one of the things that I’m going to be interested in exploring with the members of both parties in Congress is how do we continue some of these policies to make sure that we get this recovery up and running in a robust way.
We then have a set of long-term competitiveness challenges that aren’t so different from what Germany or any advanced country is having to go through in the 21st century, where we have emerging markets who are becoming more competitive themselves. And we’re going to have to step up our game.
So making sure that our school systems are working well and we’ve got the best-trained workers in the world; making sure that we’re investing in infrastructure so that we can attract businesses to our shores; making sure that we reform our tax system so it’s less complex, more transparent, and is encouraging of business investment; and getting a hold — getting a handle on our deficit in a way that’s balanced and sensible.
So we’re going to have some days where things aren’t going as well as we’d like. There are going to be some times where we’re surprised with better economic data than we expected. We are on the path of a recovery, but it’s got to accelerate. And that’s going to require a continuation of a lot of the steps that I’ve already discussed.
With respect to the European situation, I have had extensive discussions with Angela about the situation there. It’s a tough situation and I think we all acknowledge it.
Greece’s debt is significant, and it is taking some difficult steps to improve its situation. But they’re under the gun from the international capital markets, and as part — as a member of the euro zone, they necessarily are going to be looking to other members of the euro zone to help them figure out a path forward.
Germany is going to be a key leader in that process. And the politics of it are tough. You recall how difficult it was for us to make investments in our own auto industry or to make sure that we didn’t have a financial meltdown here. Well, imagine if you’re having to make those same decisions with 27 other countries with respect to somebody else’s economic problems. That gives you some sense of how tough the politics are.
But I am confident that Germany’s leadership, along with other key actors in Europe, will help us arrive at a path for Greece to return to growth, for this debt to become more manageable. But it’s going to require some patience and some time, and we have pledged to cooperate fully in working through these issues both on a bilateral basis but also through international and financial institutions like the IMF.
CHANCELLOR MERKEL: Well, in Europe we are very well aware of responsibility for the global economy. Barack just outlined what the Americans are doing in order to generate growth and combat unemployment, which is what we’re doing in Europe as well.
Through the global financial and economic crisis, we’ve seen how interdependent we are. And the stability of the euro zone is therefore an important factor of stability for the whole of the global economy. So we do see clearly our European responsibility and we’re shouldering that responsibility together with the IMF.
We’ve seen that the stability of the euro as a whole will also be influenced if one country is in trouble. And that is what this assistance is all about. There are actually — there’s actually a ban on bailouts in the treaties underpinning the stability and growth pact. But if a country is in danger and thereby endangers the euro as a whole, it is in each and every country’s vested interest to see to it that this common currency area is not endangered. And we will act in such a way, however, that sustainability is guaranteed, as I said previously.
As far as the situation in the United States is concerned, I think each and every one ought to deal with his or her own problems. We in Europe have our hands full already with what we need to do, and I’m absolutely convinced that as we shoulder our responsibility and meet our responsibility, so will the United States of America.
Q (Off-mic) — of her accomplishments in the past, or is it as well an expression of the expectations that you would have for the future? And if so, where do you see areas globally where the Chancellor and Germany can do more?
(As translated.) And Madam Chancellor, addressed to you, Germany is after all actually being praised in America through its economic might, its progress. Does this mean, however, also that it entails certain enhanced responsibilities and where you have to live up to responsibilities, or do you think Germany needs to do more in the future?
PRESIDENT OBAMA: With respect to the Medal of Freedom, it certainly is a recognition of the Chancellor’s remarkable career. I think not only has she been an excellent steward of the German economy and the European project, but she represents the unification of Europe through her own life story and the capacity to overcome the past and point towards a brighter future.
So the extraordinary work that she’s already done I think would by itself merit the Medal of Freedom. Fortunately she’s going to be around quite a bit longer. And so she’s going to be doing outstanding work in the future. Her leadership will be critical on economic issues of the sort that we just discussed in the euro zone. And I very much compliment her on the courage with which she approaches some of these very difficult political issues, at some significant political costs to herself.
On the international stage, there’s no issues that we don’t coordinate closely with Germany. And our work in Afghanistan, our work together with NATO, the approach that we’ve taken with respect to the Middle East and the Arab Spring, our approaches to development issues and how we help the poorest countries find their place in the international economy, these are all going to be areas where I think Angela’s leadership will be welcomed and will be absolutely critical for us to be able to achieve the kind of more peaceful and prosperous world that we want to see.
So she’s not finished yet; she’s got a lot more work to do. I know sometimes she probably wouldn’t mind a couple of days off, but she’ll have to wait for that.
CHANCELLOR MERKEL: Well, I believe when you see me standing here before you today and receiving this prestigious award of the Medal of Freedom, it will perhaps also be a moment where one needs to look back to 1989 and German unification, and what actually happened there.
If you like, Germany entered into a qualitatively new phase. We were all of a sudden a reunited country, a country with all rights, but also with all the obligations.
If I think back to the beginning of the ‘90s, we were struggling for a decision that would enable us to send ships on the Adria, taking part in reconnaissance missions. And if you compare this to where we are today, you see the road that we have traveled in the direction of assuming more international responsibility. Military missions — participating in military missions are part and parcel of that — on the Balkans, in UNIFIL, in Afghanistan, in combating piracy, and in many other areas.
But what’s also important in this context — and that’s an approach that we both share, Barack and I — is that we need to combine military and civil engagement. And so I think we live up to our international responsibilities. The world is full of problems that we need to address. That’s a reality and you cannot have enough partners that work together with you in a coordinated way, and this is why this cooperation is so extremely important for our common future.
I’m saying this also as someone who comes from Europe. The changes in North Africa are changes that happen on our doorstep. Those are our immediate neighbors and we have a choice. Either this works out well or we have an enormous refugee problem.
And so it’s not only out of charity that we help people. There’s not only a moral obligation. But we have also a vested interest in seeing to it that this continent, this region, comes on its feet.
Q Thank you, Mr. President, Chancellor Merkel. Mr. President, you called Chancellor Merkel one of your closest global allies, but you have differed in approach on a couple of key issues — Libya and the global economic recovery over the years. In Libya, do you believe more German military involvement in that operation would bring it to a faster, more decisive conclusion? And did you ask Chancellor Merkel for such a commitment?
And on the European economic question, did you ask her specifically to drop her insistence that the private sector become involved in the Greek debt bailout, which is holding up that and which you’ve blamed the European sluggishness for America’s own stalled recovery?
Chancellor Merkel, if I could ask you, do you believe NATO was mistaken in getting involved militarily in Libya? And if not, why are you not more directly involved militarily there? And what more can you do to promote an accelerated European economic recovery? Thank you.
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, first of all, with respect to Libya, I think it is important to note that this is a NATO operation that’s fully integrated, which means you have German personnel who are involved actively in these activities in their NATO role. As I indicated before, Germany has stepped up and taken additional responsibilities in Afghanistan that have freed up resources for us to be able to conduct our operations in Libya.
Chancellor Merkel and I share the belief that Qaddafi needs to step down for the sake of his own people. And with respect to the pace of operations and participation, I think if you look at where we were three months ago and where we are now — or two months ago and where we are now — the progress that has been made in Libya in significant.
Our goal there was to protect the Libyan people from a potential slaughter. We have done so. Benghazi is free from threat of the Libyan regime right now. They are hunkered down. Misurata, which was under severe attack, is now in a situation where although still threatened, Qaddafi’s forces have been pushed back. So what you’re seeing across the country is a inexorable trend of the regime forces being pushed back, being incapacitated. You’re seeing defections, oftentimes of some very high-profile members of the Qaddafi government, as well as the military. And I think it is just a matter of time before Qaddafi goes.
And each country that is part of this coalition is playing a different role. So we did a whole bunch of stuff at the front end to disable Qaddafi’s air defenses, to take out some of their most significant firepower. Now we are in a more supportive role as other countries have stepped up.
Germany — we did discuss last night Germany’s role, and there is going to be a lot of work to do when Qaddafi does step down, in terms of getting the Libyan people back on their feet — economic, political work that’s going to have to be done. And my expectation is going to be that there will be full and robust German support as there has been in the past from Germany on a wide range of issues.
With respect to the economy, as I said before, this is a tough and complicated piece of business. And ultimately, Europeans are going to have to make decisions about how they proceed forward. What you have to do is balance the recognition that Greece has to grow, and that means that there has to be private investment there. They’ve got to make structural reforms that make them more competitive. They have to have greater transparency in their economic system.
But given their level of debt, it also means that other countries in the euro zone are going to have to provide them a backstop and support. And frankly, people who are holding Greek debt are going to have to make some decisions, working with the European countries in the euro zone about how that debt is managed.
What we’ve done is to say to Germany and other countries that are involved; we will be there for you; we are interested in being supportive; we think that America’s economic growth depends on a sensible resolution of this issue; we think it would be disastrous for us to see an uncontrolled spiral and default in Europe, because that could trigger a whole range of other events. And I think Angela shares that same view.
And so we’re going to have to work through this issue methodically, and we will be supportive in any ways that we can to make sure that all the best ideas are brought to bear on the problem.
But let me just make one larger point about — because it relates also to the question that Steve asked earlier. I think people on both sides of the Atlantic are understandably frustrated with the ups and downs of the economy, the world economy. And it’s just very important for folks to remember how close we came to complete disaster.
The world economy took a severe blow two and a half years ago. And in part that was because of a whole set of policy decisions that had been made and challenges that had been unaddressed over the course of the previous decade. And recovering from that kind of body blow takes time. And recovery is going to be uneven, and there are going to be times where we are making progress but people are still skittish and nervous, and the markets get skittish and nervous, and so they pull back because they’re still thinking about the traumas of just two and a half years ago.
And so economic data that in better times would pass without comment, now suddenly people wonder, well, are we going to go back to this terrible crisis? And all that affects consumer confidence, it affects business confidence. It affects the capital markets.
And so our task is to not panic, not overreact, to make sure that we’ve got a plan, a path forward in terms of how we make our economies competitive; making sure we’re dealing with the structural issues and the basic fundamentals that will allow us to grow and create a good, sound business environment.
So in America, for example, the need for us to get a handle on our debt and our deficit is going to be important, making sure that our investments in education, in clean energy, in infrastructure — that we find a way to do that.
In Germany and Europe, there are going to be different sets of challenges. But the important point is, is that — I think Angela would agree — what we try not to do is to look day to day at whatever is happening in the marketplace or whatever headlines are taking place and be reactive. Our job is to set a course for the medium and the long term that assures that not only both our economies grow, but the world economy is stable and prosperous. And I think we can do that together.
CHANCELLOR MERKEL: Well, maybe I should comment briefly on this as well. Two and a half years ago, we experienced something that didn’t exist for decades — ever since the ‘20s and ‘30s of the previous century. And generally around, because we cooperated so well, we were able to ward off the worst that could have happened. And now we have a situation that we believe is something that meets the challenges of the future.
Before the crisis, we discussed what sort of format are we to choose — a G20, G8, G30. Now we have the G20, which is a good format, has proved to be a good format, and has, for example, as regards settling this situation and setting up rules for the financial markets, has been able to come up with credible solutions. And that has strengthened our cooperation, although we do debate matters in a controversial manner. For example, do we need more stimulus? How much do we need? How many savings programs and cuts programs do we need? What structural programs do we need?
I think that shows great openness because we’re all breaking new ground. These are unchartered waters, and we cannot, with all due respect, rely completely on the financial business community to give us good advice every day. They have their own vested interest. So we were dependent on our own good and sound judgment. And exchanges will be necessary on this in the future as well.
As regards Libya, the United Nations resolution is apply — still applies. Qaddafi needs to step down and he will step down. I’m convinced of that, because we have made great progress. And then there will still be a lot of work to do. And in the future when we have the talks on this, we agree that Germany is showing — will be showing that it is responsible and committed to the Libyan cause. There will be a lot of problems still to contend with, and we’ll be in the closest possible contact.
We support — Germany supports the NATO operation simply by being present in the stance there, and also by stepping up our commitment in Afghanistan. It is our joint will that this NATO mission is successful. And this is important for the people in Libya, but it’s also important for NATO, for the alliance at large. And here we have one heart of allies that beats with the other allies.
Q (As translated.) The German decision on Libya has burdened the German-American relationship somewhat. Were you surprised by these irritations and this warm reception? Is this something like a reset button or a breaking up out into a new future? And you, President Obama, were in Buchenwald and Baden-Baden, but as a new President not in Berlin. Why not? And will this happen once you have your new term of office?
CHANCELLOR MERKEL: Well, I believe that this present event here today after all has been agreed for a long time, and our partnership, our friendship rests on a very broad basis, as I said this morning. And sometimes there may be differences of opinion in such a friendship and partnership.
What’s important is that we wish each other every success. Not each and everyone can be in on missions. For example, we participated in UNIFIL where the United States are not participating.
Without sort of mixing up things here, there will be areas in the world where we shoulder different responsibilities. Partners are doing together with others things that we believe can be useful. And this is what we want to do. We want to see to it that our contribution is bringing about a success, is encouraging other people to now see we wish to live in a democracy, this is good, this is sensible.
So I see today’s event as a wonderful reception, but it’s not something that’s so unusual. I see it in a continuity of our very close relations, and I do see it as another starting point, if you like, for meeting other challenges of the future.
On the question of Germany, you said that the American President some people say in Germany has not really been to Germany at all. He was in Dresden, he was in Buchenwald, he was in Baden-Baden for the NATO conference. Berlin opens its arms to him every day. But the Berliners can also wait. They have proved this throughout their history.
PRESIDENT OBAMA: I look very much forward to being in Berlin. And the last time I was there we had a lot of fun. (Laughter.) And I’m sure that I’ll have a wonderful time the next time I’m there as well. And I appreciate you assuming that I’ll have another term. (Laughter.) And so I’ll have plenty of time to be able to put Berlin on my schedule. All right? Thank you very much, everybody.
CHANCELLOR MERKEL: And I can promise that the Brandenburg Gate will be standing for some more time.
Statement by the Press Secretary on U.S. Support for Ban Ki-moon
President Obama welcomes United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s announcement that he will run for a second term, and the United States supports his candidacy. Under Ban’s leadership, the United Nations has played a critical role in responding to crises and challenges across the globe, including most recently supporting democratic transitions in Cote d’Ivoire and earthquake-affected Haiti, the conduct of the referendum on South Sudan’s self-determination, and efforts to resolve the political and humanitarian crisis in Libya.
The United Nations is an imperfect, but indispensible institution. The Secretary General has made important reforms, such as increasing the hiring of women to senior posts and proposing the deepest reduction in the UN’s budget in more than a decade. The United States strongly supports further efforts for reform to improve effectiveness, streamline bureaucracy, reduce costs, and update business practices to improve the United Nations’ ability to meet its mandate to promote global peace and security, human rights and development.
Dr. Austan D. Goolsbee, Chairman of the President’s Council of Economic Advisers, to Return to the University of Chicago
Dr. Austan D. Goolsbee, Chairman of the President’s Council of Economic Advisers, to Return to the University of Chicago
WASHINGTON — Dr. Austan D. Goolsbee, Chairman of the President’s Council of Economic Advisers (CEA), announced his plans to return to his position as the Robert P. Gwinn Professor of Economics at the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business. He will return to Chicago in time for the upcoming school year. Prior to his time in the Obama Administration, he was a professor at the University of Chicago for fourteen years.
“Since I first ran for the U.S. Senate, Austan has been a close friend and one of my most trusted advisers,”President Obama said. “Over the past several years, he has helped steer our country out of the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, and although there is still much work ahead, his insights and counsel have helped lead us toward an economy that is growing and creating millions of jobs. He is one of America’s great economic thinkers.”
Chairman Goolsbee said, “Working each day on behalf of the American people has been a rare privilege, particularly at such a historic time. While I am looking forward to returning home to Chicago, I will always be proud of the years I have spent working for this President. I believe that his judgment, his courage in confronting the worst economic crisis of our lifetimes, and his commitment to the American people have made a tremendous difference for the nation.”
In addition to serving as Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, Dr. Goolsbee was the Staff Economist for the President’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board, where he helped guide the Administration’s response to the economic crisis. He has also worked as a senior adviser to the President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness, serving as an important link with the business community. Under his leadership, the CEA focused on policies related to small business, education, innovation and competition, which are essential to ensuring long-term economic growth.
Statement by President Obama on Chrysler’s Repayment
Chrysler’s repayment of its outstanding loans to the U.S. Treasury and American taxpayers marks a significant milestone for the turnaround of Chrysler and the countless communities and families who rely on the American auto industry. This announcement comes six years ahead of schedule and just two years after emerging from bankruptcy, allowing Chrysler to build on its progress and continue to grow as the economy recovers. Supporting the American auto industry required making some tough decisions, but I was not willing to walk away from the workers at Chrysler and the communities that rely on this iconic American company. I said if Chrysler and all its stakeholders were willing to take the difficult steps necessary to become more competitive, America would stand by them, and we did. While there is more work to be done, we are starting to see stronger sales, additional shifts at plants and signs of strength in the auto industry and our economy, a true testament to the resolve and determination of American workers across the nation.
STATEMENT OF ADMINISTRATION POLICY H.R. 1216 – Converting Funding for Graduate Medical Education in Qualified Teaching Health Centers from Direct Appropriations to an Authorization of Appropriations
STATEMENT OF ADMINISTRATION POLICY
H.R. 1216 – Converting Funding for Graduate Medical Education in Qualified Teaching Health Centers from Direct Appropriations to an Authorization of Appropriations
(Rep. Guthrie, R-KY)
The Affordable Care Act made significant improvements to our Nation’s health care system that are helping to improve individuals’ health and give American families and small business owners more control of their own health care. These important changes include: ending the worst practices of insurance companies; giving uninsured individuals and small business owners the same kind of choice of private health insurance that Members of Congress have; and bringing down the cost of health care for families and businesses while also reducing Federal budget deficits.
As the President indicated in the State of the Union, the Administration is eager to work with the Congress to improve the Affordable Care Act by making care better or more affordable. H.R. 1216 does not advance the key objectives of the Affordable Care Act or offer alternative solutions for meeting these important objectives. Rather than making refinements to improve the law, the bill simply proposes to convert the Affordable Care Act’s appropriations for graduate medical education in qualified teaching health centers to an authorization of appropriations, and rescind unobligated balances. These funds promote training of medical residents in qualifying health centers, strengthening the health care workforce, and supporting an increased number of primary care medical and dental residents trained in community-based settings across the country.
The Administration will continue to work with the Congress to responsibly implement the Affordable Care Act. However, the Administration will strongly oppose legislation that attempts to erode the important provisions of the Affordable Care Act that are making health care more affordable and accessible for all Americans.
President Obama Announces Members of the President’s Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for Hispanics
President Obama Announces Members of the President’s Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for Hispanics
WASHINGTON – Today, President Barack Obama announced his appointment of the following individuals to the President’s Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for Hispanics:
- Alicia Abella, Member, President’s Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for Hispanics
- Sylvia Acevedo, Member, President’s Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for Hispanics
- Alfredo J. Artiles, Member, President’s Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for Hispanics
- Daniel J. Cardinali, Member, President’s Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for Hispanics
- Francisco G. Cigarroa, Member, President’s Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for Hispanics
- Cesar Conde, Member, President’s Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for Hispanics
- Luis Ricardo Fraga, Member, President’s Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for Hispanics
- JoAnn Gama, Member, President’s Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for Hispanics
- Patricia Gándara, Member, President’s Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for Hispanics
- Maria Neira, Member, President’s Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for Hispanics
- Lisette Nieves, Member, President’s Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for Hispanics
- Darline P. Robles, Member, President’s Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for Hispanics
- Ricardo Romo, Member, President’s Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for Hispanics
- Manny Sanchez, Member, President’s Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for Hispanics
- Marta Tienda, Member, President’s Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for Hispanics
President Obama said, “The extraordinary dedication these men and women bring to their new roles will greatly serve the American people. I am grateful they have agreed to serve in this Administration and I look forward to working with them in the months and years to come.”
President Obama announced his appointment of the following individuals to key Administration posts:
Alicia Abella, Appointee for Member, President’s Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for Hispanics
Dr. Alicia Abella is currently Executive Director of the Innovative Services Research Department at AT&T Labs Research and she also chairs the AT&T Labs Fellowship program. Previously, Dr. Abella served as Group Manager and Principal Member at AT&T Labs Research. She also serves as Executive Vice President for the Young Science Achievers Program, where she encourages high school-aged women and minority students to pursue careers in science and engineering. Dr. Abella has been recognized as one of the Top Five Women of the Year by Hispanic Business Magazine and was the recipient of the Pioneer Award from the Women of Color STEM Conference and the Latinos in Information Sciences and Technology Association Leadership of the Year Award. She holds a B.S. degree from New York University, and an M.S., M.Phil, and Ph.D. from Columbia University.
Sylvia Acevedo, Appointee for Member, President’s Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for Hispanics
Sylvia Acevedo is the Co-Founder and CEO of CommuniCard LLC., and the Co-Founder and President of Advancing America LLC. Previously, Ms. Acevedo was the Vice President and Co-Founder of Reba Technologies. She also worked at Dell Computer Corporation in a variety of capacities including Director of Home and Small Businesses and Director of Latin American Marketing and Business Development. Prior to working at Dell, Ms. Acevedo worked at Apple and IBM. She sits on the boards of the Hispanic Scholarship Consortium and the Ann Richards School for Young Women Leaders. Ms. Acevedo is the recipient of the Gold Education Award from the Texas Association and the Business Woman of the Year from the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Region III. She holds a B.S in Engineering from New Mexico State University and an M.S. in Engineering from Stanford University.
Alfredo J. Artiles, Appointee for Member, President’s Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for Hispanics
Dr. Alfredo J. Artiles is currently a Professor of Education, Culture, & Society in the School of Social Transformation at Arizona State University (ASU). Dr. Artiles is also affiliated faculty at ASU’s School of Transborder Studies. Prior to his appointment at ASU, he was a faculty member at Vanderbilt University and at the University of California in Los Angeles. Dr. Artiles has published and presented his work at professional conferences in the United States, Latin America, Africa, and Europe. He currently serves as Vice President of the American Educational Research Association’s Division on the Social Contexts of Education and on editorial boards of nine national and international journals. Dr. Artiles was the recipient of the Distinguished Alumnus Award given by the University of Virginia’s Curry School of Education Foundation. He holds a M.Ed. and a Ph.D. from the University of Virginia.
Daniel J. Cardinali, Appointee for Member, President’s Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for Hispanics
Daniel J. Cardinali is President of Communities in Schools, an organization focused on dropout prevention. Prior to his role as President, Mr. Cardinali served as Executive Vice President of Field Operations at Communities in Schools. From 1996 to 1999, he served as both Acting Director of the Partners Reach Out/Advocacy Program and as Assistant Director of Leadership and Training at Partners of America. Mr. Cardinali currently serves as a Trustee for America’s Promise, Vice Chair of National Human Services Assembly, and member of the board of Director of Child Trends and the Harwood Institute’s Public Innovators Summit. He holds a B.S. from Georgetown University and a M.A. from Fordham University.
Francisco G. Cigarroa, Appointee for Member, President’s Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for Hispanics
Francisco G. Cigarroa, M.D. is currently Chancellor of The University of Texas (UT) System. Dr. Cigarroa is also a Professor of Pediatric and Transplant Surgery at the UT Health Science Center in San Antonio and a member of the medical staff at numerous hospitals. From 2000 to 2009, he was the President of UT’s Health Science Center. Previously, Dr. Cigarroa served as the Trauma Director at Christus Santa Rosa Children’s Hospital. Earlier in his career, he was chief resident at Harvard’s teaching hospital, Massachusetts General in Boston, and completed a fellowship at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore. Dr. Cigarroa is a former member of the President’s Committee on the National Medal of Science and a member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies. He is the recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award given by the Eagle Pass Business Journal and the Heart of Gold Award given by the American Heart Association. Dr. Cigarroa was named among the Top 25 Latinos in Education by the National Magazine of the American Latino. He holds a B.S. from Yale and an M.D. from The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas.
Cesar Conde, Appointee for Member, President’s Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for Hispanics
Cesar Conde is the president of Univision Networks at Univision Communications, Inc. Mr. Conde has held several positions within the company, including executive vice president, chief strategy officer, special assistant to the CEO, president of Univision Interactive, and vice president and Operating Manager for the Galavision Network, Univision’s leading cable network. From September 2002 to October 2003, he served as a White House Fellow for Secretary of State Colin L. Powell. Mr. Conde has been the recipient of numerous awards for his efforts on behalf of the Hispanic community, including: induction into the Hispanic Scholarship Fund Hall of Fame; the Eugene M. Lang Achievement Award from the “I Have a Dream” Foundation; the Harvard Foundation Award; the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Foundation Award; and the Cuban-American National Council’s Young Leader Award. He is the chairman and co-founder of the Futuro Program, a nonprofit organization that provides role models and education workshops to Hispanic high school students. Mr. Conde is a full Member at the Council on Foreign Relations and a Henry Crown Fellow at the Aspen Institute. He holds a B.A. from Harvard University and an M.B.A. from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.
Luis Ricardo Fraga, Appointee for Member, President’s Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for Hispanics
Luis Ricardo Fraga is currently Associate Vice Provost for Faculty Advancement at the University of Washington in Seattle where he also serves as Russell F. Stark University Professor, Director of the Diversity Research Institute, and Professor of Political Science. Prior to his work at the University of Washington, Mr. Fraga was an Assistant Professor at Stanford University, the University of Notre Dame, and the University of Oklahoma. He has edited and published numerous journal articles and authored books on Latino politics, immigration, education, and voting rights policy. Mr. Fraga serves on the boards of the Public Education Network, OneAmerica, and New Futures. He received his A.B. from Harvard University, and his M.A. and Ph.D. from Rice University.
JoAnn Gama, Appointee for Member, President’s Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for Hispanics
JoAnn Gama is Chief of Schools at IDEA Public Schools, which she co-founded in 1998 as an academy, and after receiving a state charter, opened IDEA as an independent charter school in August, 2000. Since IDEA Public Schools’ launch, Mrs. Gama has served as Principal and Chief Operating Officer. In 1997, she joined Teach For America in Donna, Texas, where she taught 4th and 5th grade English as a Second Language. Mrs. Gama earned her B.A. from Boston University and her M.ED. in Educational Leadership from the University of Texas-Pan American.
Patricia Gándara, Appointee for Member, President’s Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for Hispanics
Patricia Gándara is a professor of education in the Graduate School of Education and Information Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles. Ms. Gándara is also co-director of the Civil Rights Project based at UCLA. From 2000 to 2009, she was the associate director of the University of California’s Linguistic Minority Research Institute. Prior to this, Ms. Gándara served as commissioner for postsecondary education for the state of California. She has been a bilingual school psychologist, a social scientist with the RAND Corporation, and director of education research in the California Legislature (State Assembly). Ms. Gándara earned her bachelor’s degree in sociology in 1969 from UCLA and a master’s degree in counseling and school psychology in 1972 from California State University, Los Angeles. In 1979, she earned her Ph.D. in educational psychology from UCLA.
Maria Neira, Appointee for Member, President’s Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for Hispanics
Maria Neira is currently the Vice President of New York State United Teachers (NYSUT), where she oversees the union’s initiatives on educational policy. Ms. Neira previously served as Assistant to the President on education issues for the United Federation of Teachers (UFT). From 1994 to 1998, she was Director of UFT’s Special Education Support Program. Earlier in her career, Ms. Neira was a teacher and education consultant. She is the founder and publisher of Educator’s Voice, a professional journal dedicated to research on closing the achievement gap. Ms. Neira is a member of the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, and the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement. She is a recipient of the Ellis Island Medal of Honor from the National Ethnic Coalition of Organizations and the Northeast New York Woman of Achievement Award from the YMCA. Ms. Neira holds a B.A. and an M.S. from Hunter College.
Lisette Nieves, Appointee for Member, President’s Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for Hispanics
Lisette Nieves is currently a Social Entrepreneur-in-Residence at the Blue Ridge Foundation. Ms. Nieves was recently appointed as the Belle Zeller Distinguished Visiting Professor in Public Policy at the City University of New York at Brooklyn College. Previously, she served as the founding Executive Director for Year Up NY, a workforce and education program for young adults. From 2002 to 2004, Ms. Nieves served as Chief of Staff at the Department of Youth and Community Development (DYCD) for the City of New York. Earlier in her career, she was the Director of Special Projects at the After School Corporation in New York. Ms. Nieves currently serves as the Vice-Chair of New York City’s Panel for Education Policy, a trustee of the New York State Teachers’ Retirement System, member of the Year Up National Board and member of the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton Advisory Council. She was a Rhodes Scholar and a Truman Scholar. Ms. Nieves was the recipient of a Robin Hood Hero Award (John F. Kennedy Jr. Hero Award) from the Robin Hood Foundation, and El Diario’sMujeres Destacadas Award from La Opinion. She holds a B.A. from Brooklyn College and a M.P.A. from the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton University.
Darline P. Robles, Appointee for Member, President’s Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for Hispanics
Dr. Darline P. Robles is currently a Professor of Clinical Education at the Rossier School of Education at the University of Southern California. From 2002 to 2010, Dr. Robles served as the first Latina Superintendent of the Los Angeles County Office of Education. Previously, she served as Superintendent of the Salt Lake City School District and the Montebello Unified School District. Dr. Robles was named among the Top 100 Influential Hispanic Americans by Hispanic Business Magazine and Woman of the Year by the L.A. County Commission for Women. She is a Board Member for Families in Schools, the Association of Latino Administrators and Superintendents, and the Josephson Institute. Dr. Robles holds a B.A. from California State University at Los Angeles, an M.A. from Claremont Graduate School and a Ph.D from the University of Southern California.
Ricardo Romo, Appointee for Member, President’s Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for Hispanics
Dr. Ricardo Romo is currently the President of The University of Texas at San Antonio. Previously, Dr. Romo served as Vice Provost of Undergraduate Education at the University of Texas at Austin. He is a member of the American Association for Higher Education, the Institute of Latin American Studies, and the National Association of Chicano Studies. Dr. Romo has written numerous books, monographs and articles on the history of Mexican-Americans and Chicano studies. He is the recipient of the Isabel la Catolica Award, given by King Juan Carlos of Spain, the Life Achievement Award given by Latinos in the Millennium, and the Outstanding Citizen Award given by San Antonio Youth Literacy. Dr. Romo holds a B.S. from the University of Texas at Austin, an M.A. from Loyola University, and a Ph.D. from the University of California at Los Angeles.
Manny Sanchez, Appointee for Member, President’s Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for Hispanics
Manny Sanchez is the Founder and Managing Partner of Sanchez Daniels & Hoffman LLP, a civil litigation law firm in Chicago, Illinois. From 1981 to 1987, Mr. Sanchez was a Capital Partner at Hinshaw, Culberton, Moelmann, Hoban & Fuller. He sits on the boards of Northern Illinois University, the Boys and Girls Club of Chicago, the Children’s Memorial Hospital, and Hispanocare, among others. Mr. Sanchez was a founding member of the Mexican American Lawyers Association and the Latin American Bar Association. He holds a B.A. from Northern Illinois University and a J.D. from the University of Pennsylvania Law School.
Marta Tienda, Appointee for Member, President’s Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for Hispanics
Dr. Marta Tienda is the Maurice P. During ’22 Professor of Demographic Studies and Professor of Sociology and Public Affairs at Princeton University. Dr. Tienda is also the founding Director of the Program in Latino Studies at Princeton University. She has held tenured appointments at the University of Wisconsin, Madison and at the University of Chicago. Earlier in her career, Dr. Tienda was the President of the Population Association of America, served as Director of Princeton University’s Office of Population Research, and chaired the National Academy of Sciences Panel on Hispanics. She has published over 175 scholarly papers and monographs and edited multiple volumes. Dr. Tienda is currently a trustee of the Sloan Foundation and the Jacobs Foundation of Switzerland. She holds a B.A. from Michigan State University, and an M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Texas, Austin.
Joint Fact Sheet: The U.S.-UK Partnership for Global Development
Prime Minister Cameron and President Obama reaffirm our commitment to changing the lives of the 1.2 billion poor people in the world today. Recent success and new technologies provide hope and opportunities to accelerate progress towards the Millennium Development Goals by 2015.
Combating poverty, mitigating disasters and preventing conflict is morally right and is firmly in line with our respective national interests and fundamental values. The President and Prime Minister are pleased to announce our collective interventions to achieve the best results for the world’s poorest people—advance economic growth, prevent conflict in fragile states, improve global health particularly for girls and women, and mitigate the effects of climate change.
The private sector is the key to stimulating sustainable economic growth, which helps countries pull themselves out of poverty. We will help create the right environment for business, markets and investments in education, skills and innovation, in addition to building capable and accountable institutions and governments. Together, we will tackle corruption and bribery that prevent resources from reaching the people they are intended to help. We will renew our efforts to stimulate trade and regional integration – especially in Africa, where the potential is immense.
We will redouble our collaboration with other countries in the G-20 to promote sustained economic growth through the Seoul Multi-Year Action Plan for Development and commit to the promises made at L’Aquila to invest heavily in agriculture and nutrition, and ensuring young children have adequate nutrition during the initial phase of their lives. Over the next five years, we will: help 18 million vulnerable women, children and family members escape the grip of hunger and poverty; prevent stunting and child mortality in seven million undernourished children; generate $2.8 billion agricultural GDP through research and development activities; and leverage $70 million in private investment to improve market opportunities and links with smallholders.
Conflict and Fragility
Fragile states pose a significant, yet distinct, development challenge. As a group, fragile states have not achieved a single Millennium Development Goal, and most remain heavily dependent on foreign assistance. The United States and the United Kingdom were among the first to recognize this unique development challenge and we are working closely together in countries such as Sudan and Afghanistan using the new approaches we have developed. We will strengthen local economies, make job creation a priority and ensure that women are involved in every level of the decision-making process. We will promote greater openness in order for citizens to hold their governments and officials accountable, and will strengthen civilian policing and local forms of dispute resolution so citizens feel safer. We are the two largest humanitarian aid donors and are coordinating our operations to help vulnerable countries to prepare for disasters and to enhance their resilience. We will continue to work together to improve international responses and to encourage other donors to bear their share of responsibility. In all of our programmes, we will measure the results we achieve so that we base our investment and policy decisions on solid evidence.
Aid Effectiveness – Accountability, Transparency and Results
The United States and the United Kingdom believe the quantity of our aid must be seen as equal in importance to its quality and we must be open, transparent and accountable in how we are spending our taxpayers’ money. Together, we have put in place mechanisms such as the UK Aid Transparency Guarantee and the U.S. Foreign Assistance Dashboard so the public – both at home and abroad – are able to access clear, comparable information about our aid programs. In so doing, we will help individuals understand the results being achieved, provide developing countries a stronger voice, and encourage other donors to follow our lead. We will ensure that the Fourth High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness in November 2011 transforms the way bilateral aid is delivered around the world and we will continue to work together to strengthen multilateral organisations.
Twenty first century technology and innovation can help us achieve our development goals. We will continue to work together, not least at the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI) Replenishment Conference in June, and to ensure the GAVI Alliance has the resources it needs to do its job. The introduction of new and underused vaccines could result in another 250 million children being immunized and prevent four million childhood deaths by 2015. We will also work to increase the level of care given to pregnant women and newborn babies by supporting the UN Secretary-General’s Global Strategy for Women and Children. Our alliance with Australia and the Gates Foundation should help 100 million more women meet their need for modern family planning by 2015.
Girls and Women
Women disproportionately bear the burden of poverty as they own only 10 percent of the world’s property and represent two-thirds of the developing world’s illiterate. But we know that investing in girls and women has transformative impacts on growth and poverty reduction. It is also cost-effective as women tend to invest returns in their families and communities. Over the next five years, our investments alone will: save the lives of at least 50,000 women in pregnancy and childbirth; get more than five million girls into primary and secondary school; help 18 million women to access financial services and; do more to prevent violence towards women in at least 15 countries.
Without urgent global action, climate change could reverse our hard-won gains and increase the risk of insecurity and fragility in many parts of the world. The United States and the United Kingdom therefore continue to seek to hold the increase in temperature below two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. We also continue to work towards implementing the key agreements reached in Cancun, including making the very best use of the climate financing and encouraging innovation that will help the poorest countries get on a climate resilient, low emissions path to sustainable economic growth and development. By employing existing technologies, such as drought and flood resistant crops, and new ways of delivery clean and affordable energy, we will work with the private sector and other stakeholders to ramp up investments in clean technologies while protecting the world’s precious forests and rich biodiversity. Our support for the REDD+ partnership will increase the incomes of the 1.2 billion of the world’s poorest people who depend on forests for their livelihoods.
Fact Sheet: U.S.–Poland Bilateral Defense Cooperation
The United States and Poland have forged an exceptional bilateral defense partnership, firmly rooted in the enduring NATO alliance. Poland and the United States work together in the Euro-Atlantic region and globally with shared values and shared democratic principles. In Afghanistan, U.S. and Polish soldiers fight bravely to advance security and stability and deny violent extremists safe haven. Committed to each other’s defense through NATO, the United States and Poland have undertaken contingency planning, joint exercises and Polish basing upgrades in support of Article 5 commitments under the North-Atlantic Treaty. Strengthening their partnership, the United States and Poland are building on the August 2008 Declaration on Strategic Cooperation through collaboration in military training and modernization, missile defense, information sharing, and defense/industrial research. Key joint actions include:
Aviation Detachment: During his visit to Warsaw, President Obama and President Komorowski welcomed the conclusion of a bilateral Memorandum of Understanding, a key step toward the establishment of a U.S. Air Force Aviation Detachment in Poland. The Aviation Detachment will strengthen joint interoperability through regular training exercise rotations in Poland, largely with U.S. F-16 or C-130 aircraft, beginning in 2013. F-16s from the California Air National Guard will also participate in the July 2011 SAFE SKIES training exercise with Polish F-16s as part of Poland’s security preparations for the EURO 2012 soccer tournament.
Missile Defense: President Obama discussed with President Komorowski and Prime Minister Tusk next steps in the European Phased Adaptive Approach (EPAA) to missile defense, including recent progress in implementing Phases I and II of the new missile defense architecture. The United States welcomes Poland’s May 2011 ratification of our Missile Defense Agreement, and the U.S. European Command and Polish military leaders will jointly inaugurate a series of consultations to take necessary actions to implement this agreement, leading to the deployment of the EPAA’s land-based interceptor site in Poland in 2018.
Preparation for Deployments to Afghanistan: The United States and Poland jointly train before each Polish ISAF deployment (which now totals 2,600), with support from the U.S. Army Europe, Special Operations Command, and the Illinois National Guard. Members of the Illinois National Guard proudly serve shoulder-to-shoulder with Polish forces in Afghanistan. The U.S. supports Polish operations with loans of armored vehicles and other combat equipment and services.
Special Operations: In the wake of the February 2009 signing of the Memorandum of Understanding establishing a strategic partnership between the U.S. and Polish Special Operations commands, the United States continues to assist Poland in becoming a fully interoperable Special Operations Forces partner nation by 2014.
Air Defense Training: In May 2010, the United States began quarterly rotations of a Patriot battery to Poland. Four rotations have already been completed and there are plans for seven more. These rotations and other military cooperation are possible because the United States and Poland negotiated a supplemental Status of Forces Agreement that entered into force in early 2010.
Reciprocal Defense Procurement Agreement: The United States and Poland have concluded negotiations and will soon sign a Reciprocal Defense Procurement MOU that will facilitate defense cooperation by greatly reducing barriers to trade in defense articles.
In addition to close cooperation within NATO, the United States and Poland continue regular, high-level consultations between our governments. The State Department and Ministry of Foreign Affairs hold annual Strategic Dialogue and Strategic Cooperation Consultative Group meetings. The Department of Defense leads annual High Level Defense Group meetings with the Polish Ministry of Defense. These dialogues span transatlantic, European, and NATO security issues, ranging from Afghanistan to missile defense to non-proliferation and arms control.
FACT SHEET: U.S.-Polish Efforts to Advance Democracy Worldwide
Advancing democracy is the oldest of the three pillars (democracy, economic, security) of our bilateral relationship. Poland and the United States have strong traditions of supporting democracy and human rights around the world and cooperate closely on these issues in the OSCE, Community of Democracies, and UN, where both are currently serving on the Human Rights Council. Through a multitude of initiatives, Polish and U.S. nongovernmental organizations cooperate closely to promote good governance, democratization and civil society, particularly in Eastern Europe. In March, the United States and Poland launched a Democracy Dialogue to expand our joint efforts to strengthen democracy and civil society around the world. We also applaud Poland’s decision to establish an International Solidarity Fund for democracy assistance, modeled on and supported by the U.S. National Endowment for Democracy.
In Warsaw, President Obama and President Komorowski met with Polish democracy activists to discuss strengthening U.S.-Polish cooperation in democracy promotion. President Obama was briefed on their recent efforts in Tunisia, and Foreign Minister Sikorski described Polish actions to promote democracy and civil society in Eastern Europe and North Africa. President Obama welcomed Polish support for political transition in Libya and for the Libyan opposition’s Transitional National Council, which is seen as a legitimate and credible interlocutor for the Libyan people. President Obama and Prime Minister Tusk recommitted their governments to continue these essential endeavors, with a specific focus on the following actions:
Tunisia Joint Mentorship Initiative – helping Tunisia learn from Central Europe
The United States and Poland plan to send additional Polish democracy activists and transition experts to Tunisia to support political reform, party building, civil society, and elections.
Continuing Joint Efforts to Pressure the Belarus Regime and Support Civil Society
President Obama took the opportunity of his visit to commend Polish leadership on Belarus. Poland has been a driving force behind the EU’s condemnation of the Lukashenka regime’s post-elections crackdown on opposition leaders, civil society, and independent media, and has worked hard to ensure a coordinated U.S.-EU approach to tougher sanctions.
- The United States welcomes Poland’s leadership in pressing for tough measures by the EU against Lukashenka and those responsible for the crackdown in Belarus. Unless Lukashenka frees all political prisoners and detainees, stops the intimidation of civil society and democratic forces, and allows for a freer media environment, the United States will impose additional sanctions on Belarusian firms connected to those responsible, and calls upon the EU to do the same.
- We continue our joint efforts to support civil society in Belarus. At Poland’s International Donors’ Conference on “Solidarity with Belarus” in February, the United States announced an additional $4 million in democracy assistance for Belarus. These additional funds will help address some of the urgent humanitarian and legal needs of those being repressed in Belarus, support monitoring and reporting on the human rights situation, and help the Belarusian people create and expand space for free expression, a free media, and an engaged civil society. A portion of this additional assistance we hope to use to establish pilot projects in Belarus with the newly created Polish International Solidarity Fund. Poland and the U.S. are also collaborating to expand the Kirkland and Kalinowski Scholarships for Belarusian youth and young leaders, giving them access to education in open societies. The United States Broadcasting Board of Governors will also work with Poland’s BelSat television station to develop content and programming on democracy education.
Moldova – Taking up the Democracy Partnership Challenge
The Community of Democracies’ Democracy Partnership Challenge looks to leverage resources and expertise from around the world to encourage reform in emerging democracies. Poland and the United States have agreed to support this effort by co-chairing the international task force responsible for assistance to Moldova, one of the participants in this year’s Challenge.
Standing up the Lifeline NGO Fund
In Krakow last July, Secretary Clinton announced the creation of a new international Lifeline Fund to support embattled NGOs around the world. The U.S. and Poland are founding contributors to this effort.
WEEKLY ADDRESS: The Big Three Drive a Growing Manufacturing Sector
WASHINGTON – Speaking to the American people from a Chrysler plant in Toledo, Ohio, President Obama commended the work of America’s dedicated autoworkers, who have helped reinvigorate the domestic auto industry. Each of The Big Three automakers is now turning a profit, and the domestic auto industry continues to add shifts and create new jobs across the country. When President Obama decided to lend a hand to the American automotive industry shortly after taking office, it was with the understanding that these great manufacturers would have to restructure, modernize and position themselves to thrive in a competitive global marketplace. Now, just a few years after the American auto industry teetered on the brink of collapse, America’s great manufacturers of yesterday have emerged as some of the great manufacturers of today.
The audio and video of the address will be available online at www.whitehouse.gov at 6:00 a.m. ET, Saturday, June 4, 2011.
Remarks of President Barack Obama
As Prepared for Delivery
Saturday, June 4, 2011
Hello, everyone. I’m speaking to you today from a Chrysler plant in Toledo, Ohio, where I just met with workers, including Jill. Jill was born and raised here. Her mother and step-father retired from this plant. And she met her husband here, and now they have two children of their own. This plant has not only been central to the economy of this town. It’s been a part of the lifeblood of this community.
The reason I came to Toledo was to congratulate Jill and her co-workers on the turnaround they helped bring about at Chrysler and throughout the auto industry. Today, each of the Big Three automakers – Chrysler, GM, and Ford – is turning a profit for the first time since 2004. Chrysler has repaid every dime and more of what it owes American taxpayers for their support during my presidency – and it repaid that money six years ahead of schedule. And this week, we reached a deal to sell our remaining stake. That means soon, Chrysler will be 100% in private hands.
Most importantly, all three American automakers are now adding shifts and creating jobs at the strongest rate since the 1990s. Chrysler has added a second shift at the Jefferson North plant in Detroit that I visited last year. GM is adding a third shift at its Hamtramck plant for the first time ever. And GM plans to hire back all of the workers they had to lay off during the recession.
That’s remarkable when you think about where we were just a couple of years ago. When I took office, we were facing the worst recession since the Great Depression – a recession that hit our auto industry particularly hard. In the year before I was President, this industry lost more than 400,000 jobs, and two great American companies, Chrysler and GM, stood on the brink of collapse.
Now, we had a few options. We could have done what a lot of folks in Washington thought we should do – nothing. But that would have made a bad recession worse and put a million people out of work. I refused to let that happen. So, I said, if GM and Chrysler were willing to take the difficult steps of restructuring and making themselves more competitive, the American people would stand by them – and we did.
But we decided to do more than rescue this industry from a crisis. We decided to help it retool for a new age, and that’s what we’re doing all across the country – we’re making sure America can out-build, out-innovate, and out-compete the rest of the world. That’s how we’ll build an economy where you can see your incomes and savings rise again, send your kids to college, and retire with dignity, security, and respect. That’s how we’ll make sure we keep that fundamental American promise – that if you work hard and act responsibly, you’ll be able to pass on a better life to your kids and grandkids.
Now, we’ve got a ways to go. Even though our economy has created more than two million private sector jobs over the past 15 months and continues to grow, we’re facing some tough headwinds. Lately, it’s high gas prices, the earthquake in Japan, and unease about the European fiscal situation. That will happen from time to time. There will be bumps on the road to recovery.
We know that. But we also know what’s happened here, at this Chrysler plant. We know that hardworking Americans like Jill helped turn this company and this industry around. That’s the American story. We’re a people who don’t give up – who do big things, who shape our own destiny. And I’m absolutely confident that if we hold on to that spirit, our best days are still ahead of us. Thanks for tuning in, and have a great weekend.
On 30th Year of HIV/AIDS, Obama Administration Recommits to Fighting Pandemic
Washington, D.C. – Thirty years ago this Sunday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention first reported on the condition that would eventually become known as human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection. Over the past three decades, HIV has emerged as a potent global pandemic, and today more than 33 million people around the world are living with HIV and more than two million deaths from Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) annually. Even today, more than 50,000 people in the United States are infected with HIV in the United States.
“We pause to mark the thirty years we have been fighting HIV/AIDS.” said President Barack Obama. “As we remember people in our own lives we have lost and stand by those living with HIV/AIDS, we must also rededicate ourselves to finally ending this pandemic – in this country and around the world.”
“This battle is not over,” said Secretary for Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius. “As long as the AIDS virus threatens the health and lives of people here and around the globe, our work will continue to connect people to treatment, educate them about how to protect themselves, battle discrimination, and to keep the country focused on our collective fight against this pandemic.”
While America has made great strides in the fight against HIV/AIDS in recent years, the Obama Administration has made it a priority to re-focus national attention on a domestic epidemic that is still in play. Building on a growing body of evidence and lessons learned, the Administration released last year and is now implementing a comprehensive National HIV/AIDS Strategy that provides a roadmap for reducing new infections, improving care and health outcomes for people living with HIV/AIDS, and reducing the health disparities that have characterized this epidemic.
The President is also deeply committed to expanding access to HIV/AIDS prevention and care for more Americans and to supporting a robust research agenda to ensure that we make steady progress toward ending the pandemic. Under the President’s leadership, the Administration has increased domestic HIV/AIDS funding to support the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program and HIV prevention. On the global stage, the Obama Administration’s Global Health Initiative has built on the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) by expanding access to treatment, prevention and care for those in need around the world, and further enhanced our impact by providing increased support for maternal-child health and by supporting the efforts of governments and communities in the developing world to build their capacity to fight this epidemic and meet the other health challenges they face. The Administration will continue to use its leadership to call upon other countries to honor their commitments to defeat a pandemic that demands the attention of the entire world.
On the domestic front and international stage, the Administration continues to work closely with the American people who, on this day, should stand proud of what they have done, at home and abroad, to ignite our collective commitment to this worthy cause.
To view an interactive timeline of the HIV/AIDS epidemic and read more information, including upcoming events, please go tohttp://aids.gov/thirty-years-of-aids/
President Obama Announces New White House Counsel Kathryn Ruemmler
Washington, DC – Today, June 2nd , the White House announced that White House Counsel Bob Bauer will return to private practice and that current Principal Deputy Counsel to the President Kathryn Ruemmler will serve as White House Counsel.
“Bob is a good friend and has served as a trusted advisor for many years,” said President Obama. “Bob was a critical member of the White House team. He has exceptional judgment, wisdom, and intellect, and he will continue to be one of my close advisors.”
At the end of June, Bauer will return to Perkins Coie where he will resume his practice focused on serving as general counsel to the President’s reelection campaign, general counsel to the Democratic National Committee, and personal lawyer to President Obama.
“Kathy is an outstanding lawyer with impeccable judgment,” said President Obama. “Together, Bob and Kathy have led the White House Counsel’s office, and Kathy will assure that it continues to successfully manage its wide variety of responsibilities.”
Kathryn Ruemmler currently serves as the Principal Deputy Counsel to the President and has served as Bob Bauer’s deputy since January of 2010. Ruemmler joined the Obama Administration in January of 2009 as the Principal Associate Deputy Attorney General at the United States Department of Justice.
Ruemmler was a litigation partner in the Washington, D.C. office of Latham & Watkins from 2007 to 2009. Prior to Latham, Ruemmler served as a federal prosecutor for six years, where she was a co-lead prosecutor in the successful prosecution of the former CEOs of Enron. Ruemmler received the Attorney General’s Award for Exceptional Service for her work on the Enron investigation.
From 2000 to 2001, Ms. Ruemmler served as Associate Counsel to President Bill Clinton. Ruemmler received her J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center where she was Editor-in-Chief of the Georgetown Law Journal, and her B.A. cum laude with distinction in English from the University of Washington. She clerked for the Honorable Timothy K. Lewis on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.
Statement by the Press Secretary on S. 1082
On Wednesday, June 1, 2011, the President signed into law:
S. 1082, the “Small Business Additional Temporary Extension of Act of 2011,” which extends the authorizations of the Small Business Innovation Research and the Small Business Technology Transfer programs until September 30, 2011, and extends the authorizations of certain other Small Business Administration programs until July 31, 2011.