Statement by the Press Secretary on the President Signing the Border Tunnel Prevention Act of 2012
Today the President signed the Border Tunnel Prevention Act of 2012, which builds on past efforts to criminalize the construction or financing of unauthorized tunnels across an international border. The Administration appreciates the leadership of Congressman Silvestre Reyes and Senator Feinstein, which led to the passage of the bill. Today’s bill signing is one more step in the Obama Administration’s efforts to strengthen our nation’s border security to deter and prevent smuggling, trafficking, and illegal immigration, while safeguarding and encouraging the efficient flow of lawful trade, travel, and immigration.
Over the last three and a half years, this Administration has dedicated unprecedented resources to our borders with real and significant results. Our borders are more secure than ever. We have nearly doubled the number of Border Patrol agents since 2004, Department of Homeland Security unmanned aerial capabilities now cover the Southwest border from California to Texas for the first time ever, and apprehensions along that border reflect far fewer attempts to cross illegally while seizures of illegal currency, drugs, and guns are dramatically up – leading to increased criminal arrests and prosecutions. Today, the Department of Homeland Security released the first unified Northern Border Strategy that provides a framework to enhance security and resiliency while expediting lawful travel and trade.
Statement by the Press Secretary on Syria
The United States strongly condemns the outrageous targeted killings of civilians including women and children in Al-Qubeir in Hama province as reported by multiple credible sources. This, coupled with the Syrian regime’s refusal to let UN observers into the area to verify these reports, is an affront to human dignity and justice. There is no justification for this regime’s continued defiance of its obligations under the Annan Plan, and Assad’s continued abdication of responsibility for these horrific acts has no credibility and only further underscores the illegitimate and immoral nature of his rule.
The future of Syria will be determined by the Syrian people, and the international community must come together in support of their legitimate aspirations. We call once more on all nations to abandon support for this brutal and illegitimate regime, and to join together to support a political transition in Syria—one that upholds the promise of a future for which far too many have already died.
STATEMENT OF ADMINISTRATION POLICY S. 3240 – Agriculture Reform, Food, and Jobs Act of 2012 (Sen. Stabenow, D-MI)
STATEMENT OF ADMINISTRATION POLICY
S. 3240 – Agriculture Reform, Food, and Jobs Act of 2012
(Sen. Stabenow, D-MI)
The Administration supports Senate passage of S. 3240, the Agriculture Reform, Food, and Jobs Act of 2012, and looks forward to working with the Congress to address the important concerns described below prior to final passage.
The Administration greatly appreciates the Senate’s bipartisan efforts to enact a farm bill. With authorization for farm- and food-related programs set to expire this year, it is critical that the Congress pass legislation that provides certainty for rural America and includes needed reforms and savings. The new farm bill should promote rural development, preserve a farm safety net, maintain strong nutrition programs, enhance conservation, honor our World Trade Organization commitments, and advance agricultural research. In light of the Nation’s long-term fiscal challenge, the legislation should also contribute significantly to deficit reduction.
The Agriculture Reform, Food, and Jobs Act of 2012, S. 3240, makes meaningful progress toward the Administration’s goals. Notable reforms include eliminating the direct payment system; tightening payment and eligibility requirements; strengthening access to healthy, affordable food; protecting emergency food aid programs and authorities; and increasing flexibility in the delivery of international food aid. The Administration supports the Senate’s efforts to consolidate and streamline conservation assistance, which will reduce administrative burdens on farmers and ranchers and improve environmental outcomes. The bill’s funding for bioenergy programs will enhance our energy security while supporting innovation and growth in rural economies.
Consistent with the President’s Budget, the Administration looks forward to working with the Congress to achieve crop insurance and commodity program savings that are not contained in S. 3240, while at the same time strengthening the farm safety net in times of need and supporting the next generation of farmers. The Administration also strongly supports the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), a cornerstone of our Nation’s food assistance safety net, which is why it was not subject to cuts in the President’s Budget. SNAP helps families put food on the table, while also benefitting farm and rural economies. The Administration also looks forward to working with the Congress to structure reporting requirements and the proposed Research Foundation in ways that will maximize and facilitate agricultural research.
FACT SHEET: Encouraging Reliable Supplies of Molybdenum-99 Produced without Highly Enriched Uranium
Ahead of this week’s Society of Nuclear Medicine meeting and the July gathering of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the United States is announcing steps to ensure the reliable supply of medical isotopes while minimizing the use of highly enriched uranium (HEU) for civilian purposes. In order to maintain access globally to reliable supplies of the isotope molybdenum-99 (Mo-99) for legitimate medical purposes, the United States is accelerating commercial projects that produce Mo-99 domestically without the use of HEU. The United States is committed to eliminating the use of HEU in all civilian applications, including in the production of medical radioisotopes, because of its direct significance for potential use in nuclear weapons, acts of nuclear terrorism, or other malevolent purposes. Today there is wide agreement that civilian use of HEU should be minimized, and the U.S. is working with international partners to eliminate its use in radioisotope production worldwide, consistent with this commitment.
Medical patients in both the United States and around the world require access to reliable supplies of radioisotopes for use in medical procedures. Over the past few years, the supply of the short-lived medical isotope Mo-99 and its daughter product technetium-99m have encountered periods of shortage and unreliability, as Mo-99 is produced in only a few facilities around the world, most of which are reaching the end of their projected life, and none of which are located domestically. Moreover, most of the facilities that currently produce large-scale quantities of Mo-99 use HEU targets in the production process.
The ongoing success of worldwide efforts to assure the supply of medical isotopes will depend upon the transition of the industry to a full cost-recovery, market-driven model, along with the conversion of the current global medical isotope production from HEU to low enriched uranium (LEU) targets. The United States will support these efforts by taking the following actions, consistent with policy principles developed and adopted by the international community, including those outlined in the Communiqué of the Seoul Nuclear Security Summit in 2012 and by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s Nuclear Energy Agency:
- Calling upon the Mo-99 industry to voluntarily establish a unique product code or similar identifying markers for Mo-99-based radiopharmaceutical products that are produced without the use of HEU;
- Preferentially procuring, through certain U.S. government entities, Mo-99-based products produced without the use of HEU, whenever they are available, and in a manner consistent with U.S. obligations under international trade agreements;
- Examining potential health-insurance payment options that might promote a sustainable non-HEU supply of Mo-99;
- Taking steps to further reduce exports of HEU that will be used for medical isotope production when sufficient supplies of non-HEU-produced Mo-99 are available to the global marketplace;
- Continuing to encourage domestic commercial entities in their efforts to produce Mo-99 without HEU during the transition of the Mo-99 industry to full-cost-recovery, and directing those resources to the projects with the greatest demonstrated progress; and
- Continuing to provide support to international producers to assist in the conversion of Mo-99 production facilities from HEU to LEU.
The reliability of supply of medical isotopes is a priority for the United States. The actions and approach outlined above will directly support the long-term reliability of supply of this vital commodity for the medical community and ensure that patient needs are met both in the United States and around the world, all the while continuing to minimize the use of HEU in the civilian sector.
In no less than a thirty day span, President Barack Obama has witnessed full blown fires threaten to incinerate his goal of being re-elected to a second term as President of the United States. Former Governor Mitt Romney can not accept responsibility for the launch of these heat seeking missiles that have en-flamed the President’s camp. But Romney isn’t complaining. He is definitely reaping the benefits from the apparent chaos. Why wouldn’t he? Just watching the Obama campaign implode from within must be very entertaining for the GOP to watch. There is so much recent raw material in the press from Obama supporters that Romney really doesn’t need to spend too much energy or fundraising money on manipulating or distorting President Obama’s record. Why? All Romney has to do is rewind the various gaffes, blunders and bloopers made by those who claim to support the re-election of President Barack Obama. That makes for some pretty interesting campaign ads.
First, on May 6, 2012, Vice President Joe Biden, who is known for having an acute case of diarrhea of the mouth, let it slip on national television that he supports same sex marriage and is “absolutely comfortable” with the idea BEFORE the Obama Administration was willing to address it. At the time, the Obama Administration had not yet officially “evolved” on the subject and furthermore the President planned to discuss his feelings on same sex marriage at a much later date, but was forced to address it soon after the Vice President’s blunder. The Obama Administration denies that Vice President Biden had a case of the running mouth that particular Sunday morning, but does admit that the Vice President “went off script” that day. Even the President himself denied any harsh feelings or words of reprimand for his Vice President’s rogue comments. But that little spark fanned the flames of the same sex marriage debate that singed President Obama that particular week.
Next we have Newark, New Jersey Mayor, Democrat Cory Booker. On May 20, 2012, Mayor Booker appeared on “Meet The Press” as part of a panel discussion on the different issues related to the election campaign itself for both candidates. The topic turned to political campaign ads and that was when Mayor Booker stepped in it and caused a national conversation. Mayor Booker compared the President’s campaign ads that attacked Mitt Romney’s tenure at Bain Capital with the Jeremiah Wright ads that circulated back in 2008. Mayor Booker said that the President’s campaign ad was “nauseating” and a “distraction”. The Obama Administration was incensed! Once again, a gaffe, blooper, and blunder torpedo hits the campaign and a fire starts. May 21, 2012, Mitt Romney released a campaign ad that featured Mayor Booker in a starring role. Soon, after a White House intervention, Mayor Booker back peddled his comments and reaffirmed his commitment to the President.
And finally, former President Bill Clinton. Bill Clinton suggested in an interview on June 7, 2012 that the Bush tax cuts should be extended. President Obama has repeatedly stated that he would not be extending the Bush tax cuts. Another launch. Target hit. Fire. David Axelrod, strategist for the Obama campaign immediately went on CNN and even though he said he wasn’t looking for an “apology” from the former President, but an apology is what the Obama campaign received just a day after Clinton went rogue. Not only is Bill Clinton guilty of a gaffe, blooper, and blunder, the former President is also guilty of being a little soft where it comes to Mitt Romney. Recently, Clinton was quoted saying that Romney had a “sterling” business record and in defense of his complimentary appraisal of Romney, he went on to say that “I don’t think I should have to say bad things about Gov. Romney personally to disagree with him politically.”
What’s the deal?
These three incidents prove only one thing: The President needs to tighten up his camp. Everyone associated with the re-election campaign should be briefed thoroughly and informed that going rogue and off script will definitely not be tolerated. There may very well be party divisions over where the country is headed and how that should take place, but during an election year, all of the in-fighting and chaos should be tabled and the focus diverted to the re-election of the party leader. In this case, that would be President Barack Obama. When Obama supporters sit down for an interview with the press, the main topic of discussion should be WHY, as a political entity, President Obama deserves a second term. The clear focus should be on the President’s record, which is his platform, and how his plan to move the nation forward deserves a chance.
Discussions outside of President Obama’s re-election campaign parameter should be discouraged and stamped out like a spark. This is not the time to market and nurture ones own political aspirations and ideals. This is not the time to plump up approval ratings if your name is not President Barack Obama. The Obama campaign needs to effectively streamline, define and curtail the voices that the media broadcasts. To do this, a cohesive front should be created that fosters the image of party unity and cohesiveness that decimates the established public image of divisiveness.
In other words, it would be nice if everyone associated with the President’s re-election campaign force themselves to stay on the same page. No more going off-script. No more inane bloopers. No more giving brownie points to the Romney campaign. No more inadvertently making the President look like a fool! Get on the SAME page and STAY there. At least until November 5, 2012.
Is that TOO much to ask?
Written by Tracey Ricks Foster