When President Barack Obama announced to the world late Sunday that Al Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden was killed in a raid of his compound in Abbottadad, Pakistan, an air of suspicion was born. The doubters and conspiracy theorists have concocted full narratives as to the ‘true’ story of the demise of Bin Laden. Some say Osama Bin Laden died in 2007 from complications of kidney failure. Others say he was killed around 2006. Still, several days after DNA confirmation, a small but growing segment of Americans and world watchers alike are doubtful of the U.S. government’s proclamation that Bin Laden is dead and was buried at sea. They want evidence. Photographic proof.
It appears that the Obama White House is caving in to the pressure to release death photos of Osama Bin Laden. CIA Director Leon Panetta said that the administration knows that it has to “reveal to the rest of the world” photographic documentation of Osama Bin Laden in death. However, sources note that Osama Bin Laden was shot in the head, near the left eye with a powerful, technologically advanced firearm. What does that mean? That perhaps the whole side of Bin Laden’s head was obliterated?
Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters Tuesday that the administration is “taking into consideration” the release of the Bin Laden death photos even though these could be “inflammatory.” Carney also admitted that the photos are “gruesome” and that “there are sensitivities here in the terms of the appropriateness of releasing photos of Osama Bin Laden after the fire fight and the sensitivities involved.”
However, the press is hot on the trail of those death pictures. If these are as “gruesome” as the White House would have the public believe, why is there an outcry to see them? Maybe it is the craving for senastionalism that the media has nurtured in the minds of the public. The desire to feed off of violence is thoroughly ingrained in the psyche of Americans due to insidious, horrifically violent movies thick with grotesque killings and murders. Prime time tv is filled to the brim with CSI dramas and programming about rogue medical examiners. And this is not the “Quincy” or “Kojak” type of fare either. Crime on television shows have gone high tech and very graphic. There are scenes of dead bodies, decomposing in the alley or the park. Television crime is more visual than ever before. Local news stations are notorious for the adoption of the mantra “if it bleeds, it leads” five and six o’clock daily news broadcasts. YouTube, cable news websites, and blogs all feature uncanny fascination stories about the dead. Such as the story about a Puerto Rican man standing at his own funeral. Or video surveillance of a man being shot to death outside a neighborhood store while talking on his cell phone. Crime sites awash with fresh spilled blood on the sidewalk or floor of a home, splattered blood on a terrorist bombed bus, the video cam operator can not resist. Or is it really the appetite of the public?
With this in mind, is it really a stretch of the imagination that the world and the press want to see a dead Osama Bin Laden in all his blown out head glory? If the White House concedes that the death photos are “gruesome,” will the pictures be subjected to photo-shopping? If the decision of photo-shopping or cropping is done, won’t that affect the authenticity of the death shot that the public and Al Qaeda want to view? Will those who scream ‘conspiracy!’ or ‘Osama is alive!’ be satisfied with the release of the death photo of Bin Laden? Will Al Qaeda throw its’ hands up and scatter like rats into a hole, giving up on their murderous philosophy because their leader was killed? Probably not. So why should the White House even consider releasing these pictures? Why did the White House consider and release President Obama’s long form birth certificate only to have the President admit that the whole matter was “silly” to begin with?
The Washington Review and Commentary will not be among those blogs and news outlets who will run the death pictures of Osama Bin Laden. That is, if the Obama administration decides to release these photos. There is too much hatred, anger, and all around hostility in the world today against America for the justification of publishing such “gruesome” pictures. Also, what earthly good will publishing pictures of a dead Osama Bin Laden with a huge, gapping hole in his head, possibly no face or eyes, do for the media and the public? For the press and the media in general, high ratings and millions of hits for blogs and websites. For the public? A freak show, free for all frenzy to gaze upon death without emotion or understanding causing an even more intense case of desensitizing. No matter how it is viewed through the prism of ethics, politics, religion, and morality, the decision to release the death pictures of Osama Bin Laden, or not, should be a no brainer.
If the Obama administration concedes to this demand, like it conceded to Donald Trump with the release of President Obama’s long form birth certificate, what does that really say? That the Obama White House can be bullied into more “silliness” and has become a part of the “side show” that it claims to detest.
REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT
ON OSAMA BIN LADEN
11:35 P.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT: Good evening. Tonight, I can report to the American people and to the world that the United States has conducted an operation that killed Osama bin Laden, the leader of al Qaeda, and a terrorist who’s responsible for the murder of thousands of innocent men, women, and children.
It was nearly 10 years ago that a bright September day was darkened by the worst attack on the American people in our history. The images of 9/11 are seared into our national memory — hijacked planes cutting through a cloudless September sky; the Twin Towers collapsing to the ground; black smoke billowing up from the Pentagon; the wreckage of Flight 93 in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, where the actions of heroic citizens saved even more heartbreak and destruction.
And yet we know that the worst images are those that were unseen to the world. The empty seat at the dinner table. Children who were forced to grow up without their mother or their father. Parents who would never know the feeling of their child’s embrace. Nearly 3,000 citizens taken from us, leaving a gaping hole in our hearts.
On September 11, 2001, in our time of grief, the American people came together. We offered our neighbors a hand, and we offered the wounded our blood. We reaffirmed our ties to each other, and our love of community and country. On that day, no matter where we came from, what God we prayed to, or what race or ethnicity we were, we were united as one American family.
We were also united in our resolve to protect our nation and to bring those who committed this vicious attack to justice. We quickly learned that the 9/11 attacks were carried out by al Qaeda — an organization headed by Osama bin Laden, which had openly declared war on the United States and was committed to killing innocents in our country and around the globe. And so we went to war against al Qaeda to protect our citizens, our friends, and our allies.
Over the last 10 years, thanks to the tireless and heroic work of our military and our counterterrorism professionals, we’ve made great strides in that effort. We’ve disrupted terrorist attacks and strengthened our homeland defense. In Afghanistan, we removed the Taliban government, which had given bin Laden and al Qaeda safe haven and support. And around the globe, we worked with our friends and allies to capture or kill scores of al Qaeda terrorists, including several who were a part of the 9/11 plot.
Yet Osama bin Laden avoided capture and escaped across the Afghan border into Pakistan. Meanwhile, al Qaeda continued to operate from along that border and operate through its affiliates across the world.
And so shortly after taking office, I directed Leon Panetta, the director of the CIA, to make the killing or capture of bin Laden the top priority of our war against al Qaeda, even as we continued our broader efforts to disrupt, dismantle, and defeat his network.
Then, last August, after years of painstaking work by our intelligence community, I was briefed on a possible lead to bin Laden. It was far from certain, and it took many months to run this thread to ground. I met repeatedly with my national security team as we developed more information about the possibility that we had located bin Laden hiding within a compound deep inside of Pakistan. And finally, last week, I determined that we had enough intelligence to take action, and authorized an operation to get Osama bin Laden and bring him to justice.
Today, at my direction, the United States launched a targeted operation against that compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan. A small team of Americans carried out the operation with extraordinary courage and capability. No Americans were harmed. They took care to avoid civilian casualties. After a firefight, they killed Osama bin Laden and took custody of his body.
For over two decades, bin Laden has been al Qaeda’s leader and symbol, and has continued to plot attacks against our country and our friends and allies. The death of bin Laden marks the most significant achievement to date in our nation’s effort to defeat al Qaeda.
Yet his death does not mark the end of our effort. There’s no doubt that al Qaeda will continue to pursue attacks against us. We must –- and we will — remain vigilant at home and abroad.
As we do, we must also reaffirm that the United States is not –- and never will be -– at war with Islam. I’ve made clear, just as President Bush did shortly after 9/11, that our war is not against Islam. Bin Laden was not a Muslim leader; he was a mass murderer of Muslims. Indeed, al Qaeda has slaughtered scores of Muslims in many countries, including our own. So his demise should be welcomed by all who believe in peace and human dignity.
Over the years, I’ve repeatedly made clear that we would take action within Pakistan if we knew where bin Laden was. That is what we’ve done. But it’s important to note that our counterterrorism cooperation with Pakistan helped lead us to bin Laden and the compound where he was hiding. Indeed, bin Laden had declared war against Pakistan as well, and ordered attacks against the Pakistani people.
Tonight, I called President Zardari, and my team has also spoken with their Pakistani counterparts. They agree that this is a good and historic day for both of our nations. And going forward, it is essential that Pakistan continue to join us in the fight against al Qaeda and its affiliates.
The American people did not choose this fight. It came to our shores, and started with the senseless slaughter of our citizens. After nearly 10 years of service, struggle, and sacrifice, we know well the costs of war. These efforts weigh on me every time I, as Commander-in-Chief, have to sign a letter to a family that has lost a loved one, or look into the eyes of a service member who’s been gravely wounded.
So Americans understand the costs of war. Yet as a country, we will never tolerate our security being threatened, nor stand idly by when our people have been killed. We will be relentless in defense of our citizens and our friends and allies. We will be true to the values that make us who we are. And on nights like this one, we can say to those families who have lost loved ones to al Qaeda’s terror: Justice has been done.
Tonight, we give thanks to the countless intelligence and counterterrorism professionals who’ve worked tirelessly to achieve this outcome. The American people do not see their work, nor know their names. But tonight, they feel the satisfaction of their work and the result of their pursuit of justice.
We give thanks for the men who carried out this operation, for they exemplify the professionalism, patriotism, and unparalleled courage of those who serve our country. And they are part of a generation that has borne the heaviest share of the burden since that September day.
Finally, let me say to the families who lost loved ones on 9/11 that we have never forgotten your loss, nor wavered in our commitment to see that we do whatever it takes to prevent another attack on our shores.
And tonight, let us think back to the sense of unity that prevailed on 9/11. I know that it has, at times, frayed. Yet today’s achievement is a testament to the greatness of our country and the determination of the American people.
The cause of securing our country is not complete. But tonight, we are once again reminded that America can do whatever we set our mind to. That is the story of our history, whether it’s the pursuit of prosperity for our people, or the struggle for equality for all our citizens; our commitment to stand up for our values abroad, and our sacrifices to make the world a safer place.
Let us remember that we can do these things not just because of wealth or power, but because of who we are: one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.
Thank you. May God bless you. And may God bless the United States of America.
BREAKING NEWS: REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT ON BUDGET TALKS: “WE HAVE MADE SOME PROGRESS TODAY; GOING TO BE WORKING AROUND THE CLOCK TO CLOSE A DEAL”
REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT
ON BUDGET TALKS
James S. Brady Press Briefing Room
9:33 P.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT: I just completed another meeting with Speaker Boehner and Leader Reid, and I wanted to report again to the American people that we made some additional progress this evening. I think the staffs of both the House and the Senate, as well as the White House staff, have been working very hard to try to narrow the differences. We made some progress today. Those differences have been narrowed. And so once again the staff is going to be working tonight around the clock in order to see if we can finally close a deal.
But there is still a few issues that are outstanding. They’re difficult issues. They’re important to both sides. And so I’m not yet prepared to express wild optimism. But I think we are further along today than we were yesterday.
I want to reiterate to people why this is so important. We’re now less than 30 hours away from the government shutting down. That means, first of all, 800,000 families — our neighbors, our friends, who are working hard all across the country in a whole variety of functions — they suddenly are not allowed to come to work. It also means that they’re not getting a paycheck. That obviously has a tremendous impact.
You then have millions more people who end up being impacted because they’re not getting the services from the federal government that are important to them. So small businesses aren’t seeing their loans processed. Folks who want to get a mortgage through the FHA may not be able to get it, and obviously that’s not good as weak as this housing market is. You’ve got people who are trying to get a passport for a trip that they’ve been planning for a long time — they may not be able to do that. So millions more people will be significantly inconvenienced; in some ways, they may end up actually seeing money lost or opportunities lost because of a government shutdown.
And then finally, there’s going to be an effect on the economy overall. Earlier today one of our nation’s top economists said — and I’m quoting here — “The economic damage from a government shutdown would mount very quickly. And the longer it dragged on, the greater the odds of a renewed recession.”
We’ve been working very hard over the last two years to get this economy back on its feet. We’ve now seen 13 months of job growth; a hundred — 1.8 million new jobs. We had the best report, jobs report, that we’d seen in a very long time just this past Friday. For us to go backwards because Washington couldn’t get its act together is unacceptable.
So, again: 800,000 federal workers and their families impacted; millions of people who are reliant on government services not getting those services — businesses, farmers, veterans; and finally, overall impact on the economy that could end up severely hampering our recovery and our ability to put people back to work.
That’s what’s at stake. That’s why it’s important to the American people. That’s why I’m expecting that as a consequence of the good work that’s done by our staffs tonight, that we can reach an agreement tomorrow.
But let me just point out one last thing. What I’ve said to the Speaker and what I’ve said to Harry Reid is because the machinery of the shutdown is necessarily starting to move, I expect an answer in the morning. And my hope is, is that I’ll be able to announce to the American people sometime relatively early in the day that a shutdown has been averted, that a deal has been completed that has very meaningful cuts in a wide variety of categories, that helps us move in the direction of living within our means, but preserves our investments in things like education and innovation, research, that are going to be important for our long-term competitiveness.
That’s what I hope to be able to announce tomorrow. There’s no certainty yet, but I expect an answer sometime early in the day.
All right. Thank you very much, everybody.
Statement by the President on the Violence in Afghanistan
Today, the American people honor those who were lost in the attack on the United Nations in Mazar-e-Sharif, Afghanistan. Once again, we extend our deepest condolences to the families and loved ones of those who were killed, and to the people of the nations that they came from. The desecration of any holy text, including the Koran, is an act of extreme intolerance and bigotry. However, to attack and kill innocent people in response is outrageous, and an affront to human decency and dignity. No religion tolerates the slaughter and beheading of innocent people, and there is no justification for such a dishonorable and deplorable act. Now is a time to draw upon the common humanity that we share, and that was so exemplified by the UN workers who lost their lives trying to help the people of Afghanistan.
Statement by CEA Chairman Austan Goolsbee on the Employment Situation in March
WASHINGTON – Today, the Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers Austan Goolsbee posted the following statement to the White House blog on the employment situation in March. You can view the statementHERE.
The Employment Situation in March
Posted by Austan Goolsbee on April 01, 2011
Today’s employment report shows that private sector payrolls increased by 230,000 in March, marking 13 consecutive months of private employment growth. Private sector employers added 1.8 million jobs over that period, including more than half a million jobs in the last three months. The unemployment rate fell for the fourth straight month to 8.8 percent. The full percentage point drop in the unemployment rate over the past four months is the largest such decline since 1984, and, importantly, it has been driven primarily by increased employment, rather than people leaving the labor force.
As long as millions of people are looking for jobs, there is still considerable work to do to replace the jobs lost in the downturn. Nonetheless, the steep decline in the jobless rate and the solid employment growth in recent months are encouraging. The last two months of private job gains have been the strongest in five years. We are seeing signs that the initiatives put in place by this Administration – such as the payroll tax cut and business incentives for investment – are creating the conditions for sustained growth and job creation. We will continue to work with Congress to find ways to reduce spending, so that we can live within our means and focus on the investments that are most likely to help grow our economy and create jobs – investments in education, infrastructure, and clean energy.
In addition to the increases last month, the estimates of private sector job growth for January (now +94,000) and February (now +240,000) were revised up significantly. Overall payroll employment rose by 216,000 in March. Payroll employment grew in almost every sector. Solid employment increases occurred in professional and business services (+78,000), education and health services (+45,000), leisure and hospitality (+37,000), wholesale and retail trade (+31,800), and manufacturing (+17,000). Local government experienced a decline of 15,000, and has shed jobs in 16 of the past 17 months.
The overall trajectory of the economy has improved dramatically over the past two years, but there will surely be bumps in the road ahead. The monthly employment and unemployment numbers are volatile and employment estimates are subject to substantial revision. Therefore, as the Administration always stresses, it is important not to read too much into any one monthly report.
Statement from White House Drug Policy Director on Synthetic Stimulants, a.k.a “Bath Salts”
Washington, D.C. – Today, Gil Kerlikowske, Director of National Drug Control Policy, released the following statement following recent reports indicating the emerging threat of synthetic stimulants, including MDPV (3,4-methylenedioxypyrovalerone) and mephedrone. These stimulants are often sold and marketed in stores as “bath salts” under names such as “Ivory Wave” or “Purple Wave.”
“I am deeply concerned about the distribution, sale, and use of synthetic stimulants – especially those that are marketed as legal substances. Although we lack sufficient data to understand exactly how prevalent the use of these stimulants are, we know they pose a serious threat to the health and well-being of young people and anyone who may use them. At a time when drug use in America is increasing, the marketing and sale of these poisons as “bath salts” is both unacceptable and dangerous. As public health officials work to address this emerging threat, I ask that parents and other adult influencers act immediately to discuss with young people the severe harm that can be caused by the use of both legal and illegal drugs and to prevent drug use before it starts.”
Recent information from poison control centers indicates that abuse of these unlicensed and unregulated drugs is growing across the country. According to the American Association of Poison Control Centers, there were 251 calls related to “bath salts” to poison control centers so far this year. This number already exceeds the 236 calls received by poison control centers for all of 2010. Doctors and clinicians at U.S. poison centers have indicated that ingesting “bath salts,” containing synthetic stimulants, can cause chest pains, increased blood pressure, increased heart rate, agitation, hallucinations, extreme paranoia, and delusions. Already, several states have introduced legislation to ban these products, including Hawaii, Michigan, Louisiana, Kentucky, and North Dakota. Several counties, cities, and local municipalities have also taken action to ban these products.
Director Kerlikowske also cited three steps parents can take today to protect young people:
1. Talk to your kids about drugs. Research shows parents are the best messengers to deliver critical information on drug use. Make sure they know of the harms that can result from drug use and that you don’t approve of them. For tips and parenting advice visit www.TheAntiDrug.com.
2. Learn to spot risk factors that can lead to drug use. Association with drug-abusing peers is often the most immediate risk factor that can lead young people to drug use and delinquent behavior. Other risk factors include poor classroom behavior or social skills and academic failure. Parents can protect their kids from these influences by building strong bonds with their children, staying involved in their lives, and setting clear limits and consistent enforcement of discipline.
For more information on National efforts to reduce drug use and its consequences visit: www.WhiteHouseDrugPolicy.gov
The Office of National Drug Control Policy seeks to foster healthy individuals and safe communities by effectively leading the Nation’s effort to reduce drug use and its consequences.
WEEKLY ADDRESS: “America Will Win the Future by Out-Innovating, Out-Educating, and Out-Building Our Competitors”
WEEKLY ADDRESS: “America Will Win the Future by Out-Innovating, Out-Educating, and Out-Building Our Competitors”
WASHINGTON – In this week’s address, President Obama called Orion Energy Systems in Manitowoc, Wisconsin an example of how America can win the future by being the best place on Earth to do business. Orion was able to open with the help of small business loans and incentives that are creating demand for clean energy technologies. By sparking innovation and spurring new products and technologies, America will unleash the talent and ingenuity of American workers and businesses, which will lead to new, good jobs.
The audio and video of the address will be available online at www.whitehouse.gov at 6:00 a.m. EDT, Saturday, January 29, 2011.
Remarks of President Barack Obama
January 29, 2011
I’m speaking to you today from Manitowoc, Wisconsin, where I’m at an innovative company called Orion Energy Systems.
Just a few years ago, this was an empty warehouse. A major employer had shut down this factory, moved its operations abroad, and took a lot of jobs away from this town.
But today, as you can see behind me, this is a thriving enterprise once more. You are looking at a factory where 250 workers are building advanced clean energy systems – state-of-the-art technologies that use solar power and energy efficiency to save farms and businesses thousands of dollars on their utility bills.
I’m here because this business and others like it are showing us the way forward. And in the coming days, I’ll be shining a spotlight on innovators across America who are relying on new technologies to create new jobs and opportunities in new industries.
That’s what companies like Orion are doing. And that’s how America will win the future – by out-innovating, out-educating, and out-building our competitors. We’ll win the future by being the best place on Earth to do business. That is what we are called to do at this moment. And in my state of the union, I talked about how we get there.
It starts by making sure that every single child can get a good education and every American can afford college or career training. Because that’s what will help light the spark in the minds of innovators – and ensure that our people have the skills to work for innovative companies.
We also need to make sure that America can move goods and information as fast as any of our competitors, whether on the road or online. Because good infrastructure helps our businesses sell their products and services faster and cheaper.
We have to reform our government and cut wasteful spending, so that we eliminate what we don’t need to pay for the investments we need to grow, like education and medical research.
And as we can see here in Manitowoc, we need to ensure that we are promoting innovation – especially in promising areas like clean energy. This is going to be key to growing our economy and helping businesses create jobs. Orion, for example, was able to open with the help of small business loans and incentives that are creating demand for clean energy technologies like wind power and solar panels.
That’s why I’ve proposed a bigger tax credit for the research that companies do. And to give these companies the certainty of knowing there will be a market for what they sell, I’ve set this goal for America: by 2035, 80 percent of electricity should come from clean energy.
This is going to help spark innovation at businesses across America. This is going to spur new products and technologies. This is going to lead to good, new jobs. And that’s how we win the future – by unleashing the talent and ingenuity of American businesses and American workers in every corner of this country.
So to those who say that America’s best days are behind us, let them come here, to Manitowoc. Let them come to this once-shuttered factory that is now bustling with workers building new technologies for the world. Let them come here to see the incredible promise of our country.
This is the future. And it’s bright.
GUEST LIST FOR THE FIRST LADY’S BOX
STATE OF THE UNION ADDRESS
JANUARY 25, 2011
First Lady Michelle Obama
Dr. Jill Biden
Phil Schiliro, Assistant to the President and Director, Office of Legislative Affairs
Gary and Robert Allen (Rochester Hills, MI)
Gary and his brother Robert have been partners in the family business, Allen Brothers Inc., a roofing products manufacturing company, for 25 years. With the help of $500,000 from the Recovery Act, the Allen brothers were able to retool half of their manufacturing facility in order to manufacture solar shingles and launch a whole new business, Luma Resources. A graduate of Saginaw Valley State University, Gary, his wife Diane, and their six children are residents of Rochester Hills, Michigan. Robert lives in Oakland Township, Michigan with his wife Nicole, and their three children.
Ursula M. Burns (Norwalk, CT)
Ursula M. Burns is the chief executive officer of Xerox Corporation. She joined Xerox in 1980 as a mechanical engineer summer intern and later assumed roles in product development and planning. From 1992 through 2000, Ms. Burns led several business teams including the office color and fax business and office network printing business. In 2000, she was named senior vice president, Corporate Strategic Services, heading up manufacturing and supply chain operations. She then took on the broader role of leading Xerox’s global research as well as product development, marketing and delivery. In April 2007, Ms. Burns was named president of Xerox, expanding her leadership to also include the company’s IT organization, corporate strategy, human resources, corporate marketing and global accounts. At that time, she was also elected a member of the company’s Board of Directors. Ms. Burns was named chief executive officer in July 2009. Ms. Burns earned a Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical engineering from Polytechnic Institute of NYU and a Master of Science degree in mechanical engineering from Columbia University. Ms. Burns was named by the President to help lead the White House national campaign on STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education in November 2009, and is on the board of Change the Equation, a coalition of over 100 CEOs focused on STEM education that the President announced in September 2010. She was appointed vice chair of the President’s Export Council in March 2010.
Amy Chyao (Richardson, TX)
Amy, a sixteen-year-old high school junior from Richardson, Texas, has developed a photosensitizer for photodynamic therapy (PDT), an emerging cancer treatment which uses light energy to activate a drug that kills cancer cells. After her freshman year biology class, Amy became interested in cancer research and came up with an idea for improving the way medicine is designed. So over her summer vacation she taught herself some basic chemistry and began her research. With her work, Amy won the first place Gordon E. Moore Award at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair, a program of Society for Science & the Public, in May 2010. Since taking home the top prize at the Intel science fair, she and her teacher have received inquiries from researchers who are actually implementing the therapy and are interested in her work. Amy, whose parents came here from China, is also a cellist and tutors younger children in her spare time. Amy met the President at the October 2010 White House Science Fair.
Kendra Baker and Zachary Davis (Santa Cruz, CA)
Business partners Kendra Baker and Zachary Davis had a dream of opening an organic, homemade ice cream shop in Santa Cruz, California, but had trouble finding a lender that would help finance their dream. With the help of a Recovery Act SBA loan of $250,000, Kendra and Zack were able open the doors to The Penny Ice Creamery in August 2010. The SBA Recovery Act funding allowed them to not only open the shop, but also to employ eleven people, purchase American-made equipment, and to hire nearly twenty local businesses to design and renovate the space. Kendra and Zack were so thankful for the financing help, that they posted a video on YouTube thanking the Administration and Members of Congress for their Recovery Act SBA loan. As a result of the video, the Vice President called them in November 2010 to thank them for the video and wish them good luck.
Brandon and Julie Fisher (Berlin, PA)
Brandon Fisher is the owner of a small business, Center Rock, in Berlin, Pennsylvania that specializes in a new kind of drilling technology. Last summer, Center Rock manufactured the drill bits and other equipment used to find and rescue the 33 trapped Chilean miners. The technology enabled a considerable shortening of the rescue timeline. Brandon and his wife, sales director Julie, spent 37 days in Chile working to drill the rescue shaft. Brandon, along with some of the Americans involved in the Chilean mine rescue efforts, met the President in October 2010.
Brandon Ford (Philadelphia, PA)
Brandon, a junior at West Philadelphia High School, is a leader of the West Philly Hybrid X Team which includes students from an after school program at the West Philadelphia High School Academy of Automotive and Mechanical Engineering. West Philadelphia is a public high school serving one of the most disadvantaged neighborhoods in Philadelphia. Brandon and the Hybrid X team recently entered two cars in the Progressive Automotive X PRIZE competition, a global challenge that sought to deliver production-ready highly fuel efficient vehicles. As high school students, they successfully went head to head with corporations, universities and other well-funded organizations from around the world, even advancing to an elimination round with their Ford Focus that got an official 65.1 MPGe. Brandon is also one of a group of students who entered the Conrad Foundation’s Spirit of Innovation Awards with their proposal for an Electric Very Light Car. He and 4 other students spent many hours writing the proposal and graphic for the contest. Brandon is a dedicated and hard working team member; for example, last week he worked with the team Tuesday, Thursday, all day Saturday, and then on Sunday participated with the team in a MLK Day of Service activity. He also plays varsity football for West Philadelphia High School. Brandon and the West Philly Hybrid X team attended the President’s September 2010 “Change the Equation” event.
The Green Family (Tucson, AZ)
John and Roxanna are the parents of eleven-year-old Dallas and the late Christina Taylor, the nine-year-old girl killed when a gunman opened fire on Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords in Tucson earlier this month. At just nine-years-old, Christina Taylor already had big plans to one day serve her country. Christina Taylor was born on 9/11 and had used her birthdate as a source of inspiration during her short life. Christina Taylor attended Mesa Verde Elementary, where she was a member of the student council.
Staff Sergeant Salvatore Giunta (Hiawatha, IA)
Staff Sergeant Salvatore Giunta, a native of Hiawatha, Iowa, enlisted in the United States Army in November 2003. He attended Basic Training and Advanced Individual Training at Fort Benning, Georgia. Staff Sergeant Giunta is currently assigned to 2-503rd Infantry Battalion, Rear Detachment, Camp Ederle, Italy. Staff Sergeant Giunta has completed two combat tours to Afghanistan totaling 27 months of deployment. His military decorations include: the Bronze Star, Purple Heart, Army Commendation Medal w/oak leaf cluster, Army Achievement Medal, National Defense Service Medal, two Army Good Conduct Medals, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, to name a few. He is married to Jennifer Lynn Mueller. In November 2010, the President awarded Staff Sergeant Salvatore Giunta, U.S. Army, the Medal of Honor for conspicuous gallantry. He received the Medal of Honor for his courageous actions during combat operations against an armed enemy in the Korengal Valley, Afghanistan in October 2007.
Daniel Hernandez (Tucson, AZ)
Daniel Hernandez is a student advocate and political activist from Tucson, Arizona. He currently serves as a Congressional Intern for Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and a Director with the Arizona Students’ Association. Born in 1990, Daniel attended public schools in the Sunnyside Unified School District and is earning a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science as a junior at the University of Arizona.
Jim Houser (Portland, OR)
Jim Houser and his wife have owned an auto repair shop in Portland, Oregon for over 25 years, and it’s important to them to retain their employees and keep them healthy. They invest time, energy and money to train their workers and they don’t want to lose valuable employees. That’s why Jim has always provided health insurance to his employees. But in the last ten years, Jim has been forced to contend with skyrocketing premium increases, with premiums making up over 20 percent of his payroll. Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, Jim and small business owners like him are getting immediate relief. The health reform law provides tax credits for small businesses that offer employees health insurance. And small business owners like Jim are benefiting from the tax credit today. Jim estimates that the tax credits will save him over $10,000.
James Howard (Katy, TX)
James Howard was diagnosed with brain cancer in March and later thought his lack of health insurance was a death sentence. Fortunately, he was able to join the Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan and is now getting the treatment he needs.
Staff Sergeant Brian Mast and Brianna Mast (Washington, DC)
Staff Sergeant Brian Mast is a native of Grand Rapids, Michigan, and joined the United States Army Reserves after graduating from high school in 1999. Four years ago he joined the Special Forces and was trained in bomb disposal. Staff Sergeant Mast deployed to Afghanistan in July 2010. He was seriously injured by a roadside bomb on September 19, 2010. He lost both legs just below the knee and an index finger. Staff Sergeant Mast suffered a broken arm, shrapnel wounds, and a damaged ear drum in the blast and is currently recovering at Walter Reed. Staff Sergeant Mast, his wife, Brianna, and their son, Magnum, met the Vice President and Dr. Biden at a Thanksgiving dinner for military families that the Bidens hosted at the Vice President’s Residence in November 2010.
Gunnery Sergeant Nicole Mohabir (Fort Lee, VA)
Gunnery Sergeant Mohabir enlisted in the United States Marine Corps in December 1991. After completing recruit training at Parris Island, South Carolina, she attended the Marine Corps Basic Food Service School at Camp Johnson, North Carolina, and was assigned as a Food Service Specialist. Gunnery Sergeant Mohabir made her first deployment to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) from December 2002 to June 2003 with Combat Service Support Group-12. In 2004, she made her second deployment in support of OIF and was assigned to Headquarters and Service Battalion, 1st Force Service Support Group at Camp Taqaddum, Iraq. Gunnery Sergeant Mohabir deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in March 2010 and is currently back at her duty station in Fort Lee, Virginia.
Mikayla Nelson (Billings, MT)
Mikayla Nelson is currently a freshman at Central Catholic High School in Billings, Montana. As a middle schooler at Will James Middle School, she led her Science Bowl team to a 1st place finish at the National Science Bowl for the design document of their solar car. They also won 5th place in the U.S. Dept of Energy’s Junior Solar Sprint. In addition to excelling academically, Mikayla is taking flying lessons in hopes of attaining her pilot’s license, is building a 1932 Pietenpol Sky Scout airplane, runs her own birdhouse business, and is restoring a 1967 VW Beetle . She also works at a local hobby store to help cover the cost of her school tuition. Mikayla is working towards acceptance at the United State Air Force Academy where she hopes to major in mechanical engineering. Mikayla met the President at the October 2010 White House Science Fair where she represented her Science Bowl team and exhibited their solar car.
Kathy Proctor (Winston-Salem, NC)
Kathy Proctor grew up in Trinity, North Carolina where, after graduating, she went to work in the furniture industry like many others in the area. About six years ago, Kathy realized that furniture jobs were dwindling and started taking Math and English classes at night and on weekends to brush up on her skills after being out of school for so long. When she was laid off in 2009, Kathy began taking classes in biotechnology at Forsyth Technical Community College. Kathy will graduate in July 2011, with an Associate Degree in Science, and hopes to attain a job working as a bio-fuels analyst. Kathy met the President when he visited Forsyth Tech in early December 2010.
Dr. Peter Rhee (Tucson, AZ)
Dr. Peter Rhee is an United States Navy veteran and military surgeon, currently serving as the Chief of Trauma at the University Medical Center in Tucson, Arizona. Dr. Rhee oversaw the medical care associated with Arizona’s recent shooting tragedy, including the care of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. Rhee has handled hundreds of battlefield injuries in two war deployments beginning in 2001. He was one of the first battlefield surgeons to be deployed to Camp Rhino, the first U.S. land base in Afghanistan, located in the remote desert about 100 miles southwest of Kandahar. In 2005, he served in Iraq. Rhee earned his medical degree at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences F. Edward Hebert School of Medicine in 1987. He has a master’s degree in public health from the University of Washington in Seattle and a diploma in the medical care of catastrophes.
Diego Vasquez (Phoenix, AZ)
Diego Vasquez, currently a freshman at South Mountain Community College in Phoenix, Arizona, was a member of the 12 person team from Cesar Chavez High School in Laveen, Arizona that won a grant through the Lemelson-MIT Program’s InvenTeams initiative for their design of a fully adjustable motorized chair for medically fragile individuals. The team decided to design the chair, which is to be used primarily for physical therapy, after seeing a disabled friend and fellow student struggle at school. The students and their families held a tamale “bake sale” so that the entire team could travel to MIT to attend EurekaFest, the Lemelson-MIT Program’s annual celebration of invention. For many members of the team, flying to Eurekafest was their first time on a plane. Diego hopes to become an aerospace engineer. Diego met the President at the October 2010 White House Science Fair where he represented his team and demonstrated their chair.
Wendell P. Weeks (Corning, NY)
Wendell P. Weeks is chairman and chief executive officer of Corning Incorporated. He was named chief executive officer in April 2005 and chairman of the board in April 2007. He has been a member of the company’s board of directors since December 2000. Mr. Weeks began his career with Corning in 1983 in the corporate control group and moved through a variety of financial and business development roles. He then progressed through commercial and general management leadership positions in the company’s television and specialty glass businesses. In 1993, Mr. Weeks was named general manager of external development in Corning’s telecommunications business. He was named vice president and general manager of the company’s optical fiber business in 1996. In early 2001, Mr. Weeks was named president of Corning’s optical communications businesses, leading them through both dynamic market growth and the subsequent challenges of market declines. Mr. Weeks was named president and chief operating officer of Corning in April 2002. Mr. Weeks is a graduate of Lehigh University and earned a Master of Business Administration from Harvard University as a Baker Scholar.
U.S. – China Joint Statement
January 19, 2011
1. At the invitation of President Barack Obama of the United States of America, President Hu Jintao of the People’s Republic of China is paying a state visit to the United States of America from January 18-21, 2011. During his visit, President Hu met with Vice President Joseph Biden, will meet with U.S. Congressional leadership, and will visit Chicago.
2. The two Presidents reviewed the progress made in the relationship since President Obama’s November 2009 State Visit to China and reaffirmed their commitment to building a positive, cooperative, and comprehensive U.S. – China relationship for the 21st century, which serves the interests of the American and Chinese peoples and of the global community. The two sides reaffirmed that the three Joint Communiqués issued by the United States and China laid the political foundation for the relationship and will continue to guide the development of U.S. – China relations. The two sides reaffirmed respect for each other’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. The Presidents further reaffirmed their commitment to the November 2009 U.S. – China Joint Statement.
3. The United States and China committed to work together to build a cooperative partnership based on mutual respect and mutual benefit in order to promote the common interests of both countries and to address the 21st century’s opportunities and challenges. The United States and China are actively cooperating on a wide range of security, economic, social, energy, and environmental issues which require deeper bilateral engagement and coordination. The two leaders agreed that broader and deeper collaboration with international partners and institutions is required to develop and implement sustainable solutions and to promote peace, stability, prosperity, and the well-being of peoples throughout the world.
Strengthening U.S. – China Relations
4. Recognizing the importance of the common challenges that they face together, the United States and China decided to continue working toward a partnership that advances common interests, addresses shared concerns, and highlights international responsibilities. The two leaders recognize that the relationship between the United States and China is both vital and complex. The United States and China have set an example of positive and cooperative relations between countries, despite different political systems, historical and cultural backgrounds, and levels of economic development. The two sides agreed to work further to nurture and deepen bilateral strategic trust to enhance their relations. They reiterated the importance of deepening dialogue aimed at expanding practical cooperation and affirmed the need to work together to address areas of disagreement, expand common ground, and strengthen coordination on a range of issues.
5. The United States reiterated that it welcomes a strong, prosperous, and successful China that plays a greater role in world affairs. China welcomes the United States as an Asia-Pacific nation that contributes to peace, stability and prosperity in the region. Working together, both leaders support efforts to build a more stable, peaceful, and prosperous Asia-Pacific region for the 21st century.
6. Both sides underscored the importance of the Taiwan issue in U.S. – China relations. The Chinese side emphasized that the Taiwan issue concerns China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, and expressed the hope that the U.S. side will honor its relevant commitments and appreciate and support the Chinese side’s position on this issue. The U.S. side stated that the United States follows its one China policy and abides by the principles of the three U.S.-China Joint Communiqués. The United States applauded the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait and welcomed the new lines of communications developing between them. The United States supports the peaceful development of relations across the Taiwan Strait and looks forward to efforts by both sides to increase dialogues and interactions in economic, political, and other fields, and to develop more positive and stable cross-Strait relations.
7. The United States and China reiterated their commitment to the promotion and protection of human rights, even as they continue to have significant differences on these issues. The United States stressed that the promotion of human rights and democracy is an important part of its foreign policy. China stressed that there should be no interference in any country’s internal affairs. The United States and China underscored that each country and its people have the right to choose their own path, and all countries should respect each other’s choice of a development model. Addressing differences on human rights in a spirit of equality and mutual respect, as well as promoting and protecting human rights consistent with international instruments, the two sides agreed to hold the next round of the U.S.- C hina Human Rights Dialogue before the third round of the Strategic and Economic Dialogue (S&ED).
8. The United States and China agreed to hold the next round of the resumed Legal Experts Dialogue before the next Human Rights Dialogue convenes. The United States and China further agreed to strengthen cooperation in the field of law and exchanges on the rule of law. The United States and China are actively exploring exchanges and discussions on the increasing role of women in society.
9. The United States and China affirmed that a healthy, stable, and reliable military-to-military relationship is an essential part of President Obama’s and President Hu’s shared vision for a positive, cooperative, and comprehensive U.S.-China relationship. Both sides agreed on the need for enhanced and substantive dialogue and communication at all levels: to reduce misunderstanding, misperception, and miscalculation; to foster greater understanding and expand mutual interest; and to promote the healthy, stable, and reliable development of the military-to-military relationship. Both sides noted the successful visit of Secretary of Defense Robert Gates to China earlier this month, and that the United States welcomes Chief of the PLA General Staff General Chen Bingde to the United States in the first half of 2011. Both sides reaffirmed that the Defense Consultative Talks, the Defense Policy Coordination Talks, and the Military Maritime Consultative Agreement will remain important channels of communication in the future. Both sides will work to execute the seven priority areas for developing military-to-military relations as agreed to by Secretary Gates and General Xu Caihou, Vice Chairman of the Central Military Commission in October 2009.
10. The United States and China agreed to take specific actions to deepen dialogue and exchanges in the field of space. The United States invited a Chinese delegation to visit NASA headquarters and other appropriate NASA facilities in 2011 to reciprocate for the productive visit of the U.S. NASA Administrator to China in 2010. The two sides agreed to continue discussions on opportunities for practical future cooperation in the space arena, based on principles of transparency, reciprocity, and mutual benefit.
11. The United States and China acknowledged the accomplishments under the bilateral Agreement on Cooperation in Science and Technology, one of the longest-standing bilateral agreements between the two countries, and welcomed the signing of its extension. The United States and China will continue to cooperate in such diverse areas as agriculture, health, energy, environment, fisheries, student exchanges, and technological innovation in order to advance mutual well-being.
12. The United States and China welcomed progress by the U.S.-China Joint Liaison Group on Law Enforcement Cooperation (JLG) to strengthen law enforcement cooperation across a range of issues, including counterterrorism. The United States and China also agreed to enhance joint efforts to combat corruption through bilateral and other means.
Promoting High-Level Exchanges
13. The two sides agreed that high-level exchanges are indispensable to strong U.S.-China relations, and that close, frequent, and in-depth dialogue is important to advance bilateral relations and international peace and development. In this spirit, both Presidents look forward to meeting again in the coming year, including in the state of Hawaii for the U.S.-hosted 2011 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Leaders’ meeting. China welcomed Vice President Biden for a visit in 2011. The United States welcomed a subsequent visit by Vice President Xi Jinping.
14. The two sides praised the S&ED as a key mechanism for coordination between the two governments, and agreed to hold the third round of the S&ED in Washington, D.C., in May 2011. The S&ED has played an important role in helping build trust and confidence between the two countries. The two sides also agreed to hold the second meeting of the High-Level Consultation on People-to-People Exchange in the United States in the spring of 2011, and the 22nd meeting of the U.S.-China Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade (JCCT) in China in the second half of 2011. The two sides agreed to maintain close communication between the foreign ministers of the two countries through mutual visits, meetings, and other means.
15. The two sides emphasized the importance of continued interaction between their legislatures, including institutionalized exchanges between the National People’s Congress of China and the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives.
Addressing Regional and Global Challenges
16. The two sides believe that the United States and China have a common interest in promoting peace and security in the Asia-Pacific region and beyond, and agreed to enhance communication and coordination to address pressing regional and global challenges. The two sides undertake to act to protect the global environment and to work in concert on global issues to help safeguard and promote the sustainable development of all countries and peoples. Specifically, the United States and China agreed to advance cooperation to: counter violent extremism; prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons, other weapons of mass destruction, and their means of delivery; strengthen nuclear security; eliminate infectious disease and hunger; end extreme poverty; respond effectively to the challenge of climate change; counter piracy; prevent and mitigate disasters; address cyber-security; fight transnational crime; and combat trafficking in persons. In coordination with other parties, the United States and China will endeavor to increase cooperation to address common concerns and promote shared interests.
17. The United States and China underlined their commitment to the eventual realization of a world without nuclear weapons and the need to strengthen the international nuclear non-proliferation regime to address the threats of nuclear proliferation and nuclear terrorism. In this regard, both sides support early entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), reaffirmed their support for the early commencement of negotiations on a Fissile Material Cutoff Treaty in the Conference on Disarmament, and agreed to work together to reach these goals. The two sides also noted their deepening cooperation on nuclear security following the Washington Nuclear Security Summit and signed a Memorandum of Understanding that will help establish a Center of Excellence on Nuclear Security in China.
18. The United States and China agreed on the critical importance of maintaining peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula as underscored by the Joint Statement of September 19, 2005 and relevant UN Security Council Resolutions. Both sides expressed concern over heightened tensions on the Peninsula triggered by recent developments. The two sides noted their continuing efforts to cooperate closely on matters concerning the Peninsula. The United States and China emphasized the importance of an improvement in North-South relations and agreed that sincere and constructive inter-Korean dialogue is an essential step. Agreeing on the crucial importance of denuclearization of the Peninsula in order to preserve peace and stability in Northeast Asia, the United States and China reiterated the need for concrete and effective steps to achieve the goal of denuclearization and for full implementation of the other commitments made in the September 19, 2005 Joint Statement of the Six-Party Talks. In this context, the United States and China expressed concern regarding the DPRK’s claimed uranium enrichment program. Both sides oppose all activities inconsistent with the 2005 Joint Statement and relevant international obligations and commitments. The two sides called for the necessary steps that would allow for early resumption of the Six-Party Talks process to address this and other relevant issues.
19. On the Iranian nuclear issue, the United States and China reiterated their commitment to seeking a comprehensive and long-term solution that would restore international confidence in the exclusively peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear program. Both sides agreed that Iran has the right to peaceful uses of nuclear energy under the Non-Proliferation Treaty and that Iran should fulfill its due international obligations under that treaty. Both sides called for full implementation of all relevant UN Security Council Resolutions. The United States and China welcomed and will actively participate in the P5+1 process with Iran, and stressed the importance of all parties – including Iran – committing to a constructive dialogue process.
20. Regarding Sudan, the United States and China agreed to fully support the North-South peace process, including full and effective implementation of Sudan’s Comprehensive Peace Agreement. The two sides stressed the need for all sides to respect the result of a free, fair, and transparent referendum. Both the United States and China expressed concern on the Darfur issue and believed that further, substantive progress should be made in the political process in Darfur to promote the early, comprehensive, and appropriate solution to this issue. Both the United States and China have a continuing interest in the maintenance of peace and stability in the wider region.
21. The two sides agreed to enhance communication and coordination in the Asia-Pacific region in a spirit of mutual respect and cooperation, and to work together with other Asia-Pacific countries, including through multilateral institutions, to promote peace, stability, and prosperity.
Building a Comprehensive and Mutually Beneficial Economic Partnership
22. President Obama and President Hu recognized the vital importance of working together to build a cooperative economic partnership of mutual respect and mutual benefit to both countries and to the global economy. The two leaders agreed to promote comprehensive economic cooperation, and will develop further a framework of comprehensive economic cooperation, relying on existing mechanisms, by the third round of the S&ED in May, based on the main elements outlined below:
23. The two sides agreed to strengthen macroeconomic communication and cooperation, in support of strong, sustainable and balanced growth in the United States, China and the global economy:
- The United States will focus on reducing its medium-term federal deficit and ensuring long-term fiscal sustainability, and will maintain vigilance against excess volatility in exchange rates. The Federal Reserve has taken important steps in recent years to increase the clarity of its communications regarding its outlook and longer run objectives.
- China will intensify efforts to expand domestic demand, to promote private investment in the service sector, and to give greater play to the fundamental role of the market in resource allocation. China will continue to promote RMB exchange rate reform and enhance RMB exchange rate flexibility, and promote the transformation of its economic development model.
- Both sides agree to continue to pursue forward-looking monetary policies with due regards to the ramifications of those policies for the international economy.
- The two sides affirmed support for efforts by European leaders to reinforce market stability and promote sustainable, long-term growth.
24. The two countries, recognizing the importance of open trade and investment in fostering economic growth, job creation, innovation, and prosperity, affirmed their commitment to take further steps to liberalize global trade and investment, and to oppose trade and investment protectionism. The two sides also agreed to work proactively to resolve bilateral trade and investment disputes in a constructive, cooperative, and mutually beneficial manner.
25. The two leaders emphasized their strong commitment to direct their negotiators to engage in across-the-board negotiations to promptly bring the WTO Doha Development Round to a successful, ambitious, comprehensive, and balanced conclusion, consistent with the mandate of the Doha Development Round and built on the progress already achieved. The two sides agreed that engagement between our representatives must intensify and expand in order to complete the end game.
26. The two leaders agreed on the importance of achieving a more balanced trade relationship, and spoke highly of the progress made on this front, including at the recent 21st Meeting of the JCCT in Washington, D.C.
27. China will continue to strengthen its efforts to protect IPR, including by conducting audits to ensure that government agencies at all levels use legitimate software and by publishing the auditing results as required by China’s law. China will not link its innovation policies to the provision of government procurement preferences. The United States welcomed China’s agreement to submit a robust, second revised offer to the WTO Government Procurement Committee before the Committee’s final meeting in 2011, which will include sub-central entities.
28. The two leaders acknowledged the importance of fostering open, fair, and transparent investment environments to their domestic economies and to the global economy and reaffirmed their commitment to the ongoing bilateral investment treaty (BIT) negotiations, recognizing that a successful BIT negotiation would support an open global economy by facilitating and protecting investment, and enhancing transparency and predictability for investors of both countries. China welcomed the United States’ commitment to consult through the JCCT in a cooperative manner to work towards China’s Market Economy Status in an expeditious manner. China welcomed discussion between the two sides on the ongoing reform of the U.S. export control system, and its potential implications for U.S. exports to its major trading partners, including China, consistent with U.S. national security interests.
29. The two sides further acknowledged the deep and robust nature of the commercial relationship, including the contracts concluded at this visit, and welcomed the mutual economic benefits resulting from the relationship.
30. The two sides agreed to continue working to make concrete progress on the bilateral economic relationship through the upcoming S&ED and the JCCT process.
31. The United States and China recognized the potential for their firms to play a positive role in the infrastructure development in each country and agreed to strengthen cooperation in this area.
32. The two countries committed to deepen bilateral and multilateral cooperation on financial sector investment and regulation, and support open environments for investment in financial services and cross-border portfolio investment, consistent with prudential and national security requirements. The United States is committed to ensuring that the GSEs have sufficient capital and the ability to meet their financial obligations.
33. The United States and China agree that currencies in the SDR basket should only be those that are heavily used in international trade and financial transactions. In that regard, the United States supports China’s efforts over time to promote inclusion of the RMB in the SDR basket.
34. The two countries pledged to work together to strengthen the global financial system and reform the international financial architecture. The two sides will continue their strong cooperation to strengthen the legitimacy and improve the effectiveness of the International Monetary Fund and Multilateral Development Banks (MDBs). The two sides will jointly promote efforts of the international community to assist developing countries, in particular the Least Developed Countries to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The two sides will also, in partnership with the Multilateral Development Banks, explore cooperation that supports global poverty reduction and development, and regional integration including in Africa, to contribute to inclusive and sustainable economic growth.
35. The two countries reiterated their support for the G-20 Framework for Strong, Sustainable and Balanced Growth and reaffirmed their commitments made in the Seoul Summit Declaration, including using the full range of policies to strengthen the global recovery and to reduce excessive imbalances and maintain current account imbalances at sustainable levels. The two sides support a bigger role for the G-20 in international economic and financial affairs, and pledged to strengthen communication and coordination to follow through on the commitments of the G-20 summits and push for positive outcomes at the Cannes Summit.
Cooperating on Climate Change, Energy and the Environment
36. The two sides view climate change and energy security as two of the greatest challenges of our time. The United States and China agreed to continue their close consultations on action to address climate change, coordinate to achieve energy security for our peoples and the world, build on existing clean energy cooperation, ensure open markets, promote mutually beneficial investment in climate friendly energy, encourage clean energy, and facilitate advanced clean energy technology development.
37. Both sides applauded the progress made in clean energy and energy security since the launch of the U.S.-China Clean Energy Research Center, Renewable Energy Partnership, U.S.-China Joint Statement on Energy Security Cooperation, and Energy Cooperation Program (ECP). Both sides reaffirmed their ongoing exchanges on energy policy and cooperation on oil, natural gas (including shale gas), civilian nuclear energy, wind and solar energy, smart grid, advanced bio-fuels, clean coal, energy efficiency, electric vehicles and clean energy technology standards.
38. The two sides commended the progress made since the launch of the U.S.-China Ten Year Framework on Energy and Environment Cooperation (TYF) in 2008. They agreed to further strengthen practical cooperation under the TYF, carry out action plans in the priority areas of water, air, transportation, electricity, protected areas, wetlands, and energy efficiency, engage in policy dialogues, and implement the EcoPartnerships program. The United States and China were also pleased to announce two new EcoPartnerships. The two sides welcomed local governments, enterprises, and research institutes of the two countries to participate in the TYF, and jointly explore innovative models for U.S.-China energy and environment cooperation. The two sides welcomed the cooperation projects and activities which will be carried out in 2011 under the TYF.
39. The two sides welcomed the Cancun agreements and believed that it is important that efforts to address climate change also advance economic and social development. Working together and with other countries, the two sides agreed to actively promote the comprehensive, effective, and sustained implementation of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, including the implementation of the Cancun agreements and support efforts to achieve positive outcomes at this year’s conference in South Africa.
Expanding People-to-People Exchanges
40. The United States and China have long supported deeper and broader people-to-people ties as part of a larger effort to build a cooperative partnership based on mutual respect and mutual benefit. Both sides agreed to take concrete steps to enhance these people-to-people exchanges. Both sides noted with satisfaction the successful Expo 2010 Shanghai, and the Chinese side complimented the United States on its USA Pavilion. The two sides announced the launch of a U.S.-China Governors Forum and decided to further support exchanges and cooperation at local levels in a variety of fields, including support for the expansion of the sister province and city relationships. The United States and China also agreed to take concrete steps to strengthen dialogue and exchanges between their young people, particularly through the 100,000 Strong Initiative. The United States warmly welcomes more Chinese students in American educational institutions, and will continue to facilitate visa issuance for them. The two sides agreed to discuss ways of expanding cultural interaction, including exploring a U.S.-China cultural year event and other activities. The two sides underscored their commitment to further promoting and facilitating increased tourism. The United States and China agreed that all these activities help deepen understanding, trust, and cooperation.
41. President Hu Jintao expressed his thanks to President Obama and the American people for their warm reception and hospitality during his visit. The two Presidents agreed that the visit has furthered U.S.-China relations, and both sides resolved to work together to build a cooperative partnership based on mutual respect and mutual benefit. The two Presidents shared a deep belief that a stronger U.S.-China relationship not only serves the fundamental interests of their respective peoples, but also benefits the entire Asia-Pacific region and the world.
REMARKS BY PRESIDENT OBAMA AND PRESIDENT HU OF THE PEOPLE’S REPUBLIC OF CHINA IN ROUNDTABLE WITH AMERICAN AND CHINESE BUSINESS LEADERS
REMARKS BY PRESIDENT OBAMA
AND PRESIDENT HU OF THE PEOPLE’S REPUBLIC OF CHINA
IN ROUNDTABLE WITH AMERICAN AND CHINESE BUSINESS LEADERS
Eisenhower Executive Office Building
12:36 P.M. EST
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, first of all, thanks to all of you for joining, both American and Chinese business leaders.
President Hu and I have had some excellent discussions, both last night in a smaller dinner and then this morning with our respective teams. But we very much believe that in order for the U.S.-China relationship to deepen and to grow, that it can’t just be a matter of government-to-government contacts.
And there has been no sector of our societies that have been stronger proponents of U.S.-China relations than the business sector. And so I’m very pleased that we have some of America’s top businesses here. Many of them have a longstanding relationship with China; have been selling American goods, promoting American services in China. And they, I think, can testify to the benefits that the United States obtains from strong relations with China.
We’ve got some Chinese business leaders here, who I know are already doing business in the United States, making investments in the United States, engaging in joint ventures in the United States, and helping grow the economy here in the United States. I know they’re interested in finding ways that they can expand their activities in the United States.
And so I think our goal here today was to make sure that we break out of the old stereotypes that somehow China is simply taking manufacturing jobs and taking advantage of low wages; the U.S. is importing cheap goods and thereby having cheaper products, but also putting strains on our employment base — the relationship is much more complex than that, and it has much more potential than that.
China is one of the top markets for American exports. We’re now exporting more than $100 billion a year in goods and services to China, and that supports about half a million American jobs, from manufacturing to agriculture. And in fact, our exports to China are growing nearly twice as fast as our exports to the rest of the world.
Of course, here in the United States, we’ve got one of the most open economies in the world, and that makes us a top destination for Chinese exports, but also Chinese investment.
It is important, I think, to note that even with China’s enormous population, the United States still does more trade with Europe than it does with China. That, I think, gives an indication of the amount of progress that can be made if we are consulting with each other, if we are hearing specifically from businesses in terms of how we can ease some of the frictions that exist in our trading relationship.
And so my hope is that today, in the brief time that we have, we’ll be able to hear some concrete ideas about how we make sure that trade is fair, that there’s a level playing field; how can we protect intellectual property; how can we promote innovation; how can both of our governments remove barriers to trade and barriers to job creation.
And with China’s growing middle class, I believe that over the coming years, we can more than double our exports to China and create more jobs here in the United States. And I’m sure that Chinese business leaders see enormous opportunities here as well.
So with that, I’d like to just turn it over briefly to President Hu, and then maybe we can hear from some of the leaders around the table.
PRESIDENT HU: (As translated.) Business leaders, today it gives me a great pleasure to be here with President Obama and meet with you, business leaders.
All of you around this table and your companies are leading performers of the two countries. You have not only made positive contribution to the economic growth of your respective countries, but also to China-U.S. relations.
So I wish to offer you my sincere appreciation. All business leaders around this table have seized the opportunities presented by the deepening economic globalization. You have been working vigorously to expand market in each other’s countries. You have grown your business, but also promoted mutual beneficial cooperation between the two countries.
I will cite a set of statistics to show how far we have come.
In 1979, when we firmly established diplomatic ties, our two-way trade was less than $2.5 billion U.S. But the figure for last year was $380 billion U.S., which is more than 150-fold increase. Our mutual investment also started from virtually nothing to an accumulation of $70 billion U.S.
The trade and investment cooperation between our two countries have indeed brought real benefits to the people of our countries and important business communities — opportunities for our business communities.
According to figures, our total trade has brought about $60 billion U.S. of benefits to U.S. consumers.
If we look ahead to the future, our trade cooperation enjoys a promising future. Here I have a message to all of you — that is, China is speeding up this transformation of economic growth pattern and economic restructuring. We are focusing our efforts to boosting domestic demand, especially consumer spending.
In recent years, China’s domestic spending has been growing at a double-digit rate every year. In 2010, our domestic market has surpassed a scale of $2 trillion U.S. And here in the United States, you are also working all-out to stimulate your economy.
President Obama has launched a program to double your exports. Both in the dinner last night and in my meeting with President Obama just now, we discussed how to advance economic cooperation between our two countries across the board.
We agreed to strengthen our cooperation in the financial, economic, trade and the environment, science and technology, agriculture, infrastructure and many other fields.
So, indeed, there is a promising future for trade and investment cooperation between our two countries. I do hope that companies from both countries can seize the opportunities, take active options and achieve great things.
I also have a message to American entrepreneurs. That is, we welcome you as companies to China. China follows reform and opening up. We will, as always, try to provide a transparent, just, fair, highly efficient investment climate to U.S. companies and other foreign companies.
I also wish to tell you that all companies registered in China are given national treatment. In terms of innovation products, accreditation, government procurement, IPR protection, the Chinese government will give them equal treatment.
Here, I also have a message to Chinese entrepreneurs. That is, the Chinese government will, as it has always done, support you in making investments and doing business here in the United States. I hope that you can continue to be enterprising and creative, and at the same time, don’t forget to give back to the local communities.
I do believe that President Obama and the U.S. administration will provide a level playing field for Chinese companies to make investments here in the United States.
To conclude, I wish the companies you represent even greater growth in the new year. And I also expect that you can make even greater contribution to promoting trade and investment cooperation between our two countries.
And now I’m ready to listen to your views. Thank you.
First Lady Michelle Obama Urges American Youth to Strengthen U.S. – China Ties, Announces Major Commitments Helping Students Study in China
First Lady Michelle Obama Urges American Youth to Strengthen U.S. – China Ties, Announces Major Commitments Helping Students Study in China
President Obama’s “100,000 Strong Initiative” will increase the number and diversity of American student studying in China.
Washington, DC – Citing the need to prepare young people to succeed in the modern global economy, First Lady Michelle Obama encouraged students to study in China, work together and make America and the world stronger. In support of the President’s “100,000 Strong Initiative, Mrs. Obama spoke to more than a thousand young people from Washington, DC, area public, private and parochial schools, colleges and universities about the importance of building relationships with their peers in China and creating a mutual understanding around the world. The First Lady has made youth engagement her international focus by both reaching out to young people around the world on behalf of the U.S. and also encouraging American youth to become more involved in world affairs, as she highlighted in her 2010 George Washington University commencement speech.
Mrs. Obama was joined by Madame Chen Naiqing, the wife of China’s ambassador to the U.S., Zhang Yesui, and Mary Kaye Huntsman, wife of U.S. ambassador to China Jon Huntsman.
President Obama and the First Lady began the day by hosting Chinese President Hu Jintao, President of the People’s Republic of China, at the White House for a State Visit. President Hu’s visit highlights the importance of expanding cooperation between the United States and China on bilateral, regional, and global issues, as well as the friendship between the peoples of our two countries. The President and Mrs. Obama will conclude the evening by hosting President Hu for a State Dinner.
“Studying in countries like China isn’t only about your prospects in the global marketplace. It’s not just about whether you can compete with your peers in other countries to make America stronger. It’s also about whether you can come together, and work together with them to make our world stronger. It’s about the friendships you make, the bonds of trust you establish, and the image of America that you project to the rest of the world,” said First Lady Michelle Obama. That’s why it is so important for more of our young people to live and study in each other’s countries – because that’s how you develop that habit of cooperation. By immersing yourself in someone else’s culture, by sharing your stories and letting them share theirs, by taking the time to get past the stereotypes and misperceptions that too often divide us.”
“The State Department sends more Americans to study abroad in China than to any other country, “said Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs Ann Stock, “Students who study abroad learn firsthand how critical international exchange programs are to developing the next generation of global citizens.”
President Obama unveiled the “100,000 Strong Initiative” during his 2009 visit to China. Today the First Lady announced more than $2.25 million in private sector pledges in support of the initiative’s goal of dramatically increasing the number and diversity of American students studying in China. In particular, the $1 million pledges by both Caterpillar Inc. and Citigroup, the $100,000 pledges by Motorola Solutions Foundation and the U.S.-China Education Trust (USCET) are the first major financial commitments made in support of the Initiative. They will advance the goal of increasing the number of American students who study in China by 2014, particularly among under-represented groups such as minority and community college students.
Building off Mrs. Obama’s remarks, a panel of students who studied in China gave their insights. Critical Language Scholarship alumna Nicole Baden of Howard University, Lyric Carter from Phelps Architecture, Construction and Engineering High School in Washington, D.C., Gilman alumna Valery Lavigne from the College of New Jersey, and Gilman alumnus David Marzban from Pepperdine University shared their life-transforming experiences studying in China with moderator Ann Stock, Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs.
In addition to announcing major funding pledges, the U.S. Mission in China recently relaunched its “EducationUSA” program to ensure that Chinese students and their parents receive trustworthy information about studying in the United States. EducationUSA also features online and mobile services to make this information available throughout China.
The First Lady also highlighted several new efforts launched under the 100,000 Strong Initiative, including:
- The D.C. Center for Global Education and Leadership (CGEL) will create up to 1,000 study abroad opportunities over the next four years in support of the President’s Initiative for students, teachers, and education policymakers from Washington, D.C. public and public charter schools, an underserved community.
- Although community colleges enroll more than half of the undergraduates in the United State, community college students represent only three percent of those who study abroad. To address this discrepancy, the Center for Global Advancement for Community Colleges (CGACC) is establishing an inter-semester China program in collaboration with the West Los Angeles Community College. The program would offer month-long, study-abroad opportunities tailored to community college students. Students from West Los Angeles College, Northern Virginia Community Colleges, Community College of Spokane, Richland Community College, Miami Dade College, and Bronx Community College will be invited to participate in the pilot project, which will later be expanded nationwide.
- In support of the Initiative, last week Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton sent a letter to leading educational umbrella groups encouraging their member organizations to increase the number of their students who study abroad in China. To date, 324 institutions have answered in support of her invitation and have pledged to double their numbers over the next four years. Included in these supporters are the 47 public Historically Black College and University members of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund; the 39 private HBCU members of the United Negro College Fund; and the 199 U.S.-based Hispanic-serving members of the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities. This commitment will help address the significant underrepresentation of minority students in study abroad overall and in China in particular.
- A Federal Advisory Committee composed of celebrated China experts and private-sector leaders is being created to provide guidance and support to the Initiative.
Other new efforts include:
- Zinch, a private U.S. information management company with operations in China, will create a free online database for American students to find study abroad opportunities in China.
- The Ford Foundation, a U.S. non-profit with a long-history in China, is providing seed money to the non-profit organization Golden Bridges for the creation of a robust alumni network to bring together students who have traveled to China as part of the 100,000 Strong cohort and previously.
- GreenPoint Group and the Friends of Charitable Education Trust have offered scholarships to students from rural Kansas to participate in the Experiment in International Living’s China program.
- Van Eyck Global has contributed $100,000 in support of the Initiative to the U.S.-China Education Trust. USCET has distributed this money among four forward-looking colleges to provide travel grants for their students to go to China: University of Arkansas, Boston University, North Alabama University, and San Francisco State University.
- The Chinese government has offered 10,000 scholarships for Americans studying in China. These “bridge” scholarships will cover all in-country costs and target high school and college students and teachers.
- In addition, the State Department is working with a large number of schools and study abroad programs to help them identify new sources of funding so that they can scale up their excellent China study programs.
About the 100,000 Strong Initiative
The 100,000 Strong Initiative aims to increase significantly the number of Americans who have the opportunity to study in China. Citing the strategic importance of the U.S.-China relationship, President Obama announced the Initiative in Shanghai in November 2009, and Secretary Clinton officially launched the effort in May 2010. The Initiative is designed to help educational institutions establish or expand China study programs. It also seeks to reach communities that are traditionally underrepresented in study abroad, including minority, community college, and high school students, as well as students in the science and technology field and those pursuing advanced degrees in China studies. The Initiative relies exclusively on private-sector funds. More information about the Initiative can be found at: www.state.gov/100000strong.
About the Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs
The Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) promotes international mutual understanding through a wide range of academic, cultural, private-sector, professional, and sports exchange programs. ECA exchanges engage youth, students, educators, artists, athletes, and emerging leaders in many fields in the United States and in more than 160 countries. Alumni of ECA exchanges comprise over one million people around the world, including more than 50 Nobel Laureates and more than 300 current or former heads of state and government.
ECA’s programs for study abroad for Americans include the Fulbright Program, providing opportunities for students and scholars from the United States and countries around the world to study, teach, and conduct research in each other’s country, the Gilman Program, providing scholarships to American undergraduates with financial need for study abroad; the Critical Language Scholarship Program, supporting study for American undergraduate and graduate students in intensive summer language institutes overseas; and the National Security Language Initiative for Youth (NSLI-Y) Program, sending American high school students overseas for intensive language study for summer, semester and academic year programs.
THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the First Lady
For Immediate Release December 19, 2010
REMARKS BY THE FIRST LADY
AT THE “100K STRONG” STATE VISIT EVENT
10:51 A.M. EST
MRS. OBAMA: Well, it is wonderful to be here. Thank you. Thank you so much. I am very excited.
I want to start by thanking President Ribeau for that very kind introduction but more importantly for his leadership here at one of my favorite universities. (Applause.)
And I also want to acknowledge my counterpart here at Howard, your First Lady — (applause) — Dr. Paula Whetsel-Ribeau. It is always nice to see her. And she’s looking pretty good today, too, I might add. (Laughter and applause.)
I also want to recognize Ambassador Chen and thank her for those wonderful remarks, the history of educational exchange between our countries. It’s important to know.
And I’d also like to acknowledge Mary Kaye Huntsman, the wife of our Ambassador to China, Jon Huntsman, for taking the time to join us here today. Let’s give them both a wonderful round of applause. (Applause.)
And finally, I want to thank all the folks here from the Ralph J. Bunche International Affairs Center — (applause) — for all their work to promote international study and exchange here at Howard. So thank you all for the work you’re doing. You’re setting a tremendous example.
So we’ve had a pretty busy morning at the White House. As you know, we welcomed President Hu, the President of China, for an official state visit. We are so very pleased to have this chance to return the hospitality that President Hu showed my husband during his trip to China a little over a year ago.
Visits like these provide an important opportunity to strengthen ties, and to deepen bonds of understanding between our countries and our leaders. But as you all know, that work doesn’t just happen at the White House or within the walls of the U.N. It isn’t just about relationships between our governments and our presidents. It’s also about relationships between our people –- between our business leaders, and our scientists, our educators, and particularly between our young people.
That’s why, when we travel abroad, my husband and I just don’t visit palaces and parliaments. We always visit schools and universities and we meet with students just like all of you — (applause) — because we believe strongly that young people like you can play a vital role in strengthening ties between people and nations all around the world.
So the topic of today’s panel –- which is the importance of studying abroad, particularly in China –- you have to understand is a key component of this administration’s foreign policy agenda.
Through the wonders of modern technology, our world has grown increasingly interconnected. Ideas can cross oceans with the click of a button. We can speak, and text, and email, and Skype, and all that other stuff you guys do with people in every corner of the globe. Companies here in America can do business –- and compete with –- companies all over the world.
And as a consequence, studying abroad isn’t just an important part of a well-rounded educational experience. It’s also becoming increasingly important for success in the modern global economy. Getting ahead in today’s workplaces isn’t just about the skills you bring from the classroom. It’s also about the experience you have with the world beyond our borders — with people, and languages, and cultures that are very different from our own.
But let’s be clear: studying in countries like China is about so much more than just improving your own prospects in the global market.
The fact is, with every friendship you make, and every bond of trust you establish, you are shaping the image of America projected to the rest of the world. That is so important. So when you study abroad, you’re actually helping to make America stronger.
And these experiences also set the stage for young people all over the world to come together and work together to make our world stronger, because make no mistake about it, whether it’s climate change or terrorism, economic recovery or the spread of nuclear weapons, for the U.S. and China, the defining challenges of our time are shared challenges. Neither of our countries can confront these alone. The only way forward, the only way to solve these problems, is by working together.
That’s why it is so important for more of our young people to live and study in each other’s countries. That’s how, student by student, we develop that habit of cooperation, by immersing yourself in someone else’s culture, by sharing your stories and letting them share theirs, by taking the time to get past the stereotypes and misperceptions that too often divide us.
That’s how you build that familiarity that melts away mistrust. That’s how you begin to see yourselves in one another and realize how much we all share, no matter where we live.
So the question today is, how do we provide that opportunity for more of our young people?
Now, the good news is that we are headed in the right direction. In recent years, we’ve seen a 50 percent increase in students studying in China. And today, the highest number of exchange students in the U.S. are in China — are from China.
But still, there are too many students here in the United States who don’t have that chance. And some that do are reluctant to seize it. Maybe they may feel like study abroad is something that only rich kids do, or maybe kids who go to certain colleges; they’re the only ones who do that. They may hear those voices of doubt in their heads — you know, the ones that say that, “Kids like me don’t do things like that,” or “How will this really be relevant in my life?”
Now, I say this because I understand these feelings. I felt that same way back when I was in college. I grew up in a blue-collar neighborhood on the South Side of Chicago, and the idea of spending time abroad just never registered with me. My brother and I were among the first in our families to go to college. So, trust me, we were way more focused on getting in, getting through, and getting out — (laughter and applause) — than we were with finding opportunities that would broaden our horizons.
And the truth is, with the high cost of college these days, many young people are struggling just to afford a regular semester of school — (applause) — let alone pay for the airline tickets and the living expenses to go halfway around the world.
So we know that it’s not enough for us to simply encourage more people to study abroad. We also need to make sure that they can actually afford it.
And that’s why, during this visit — his visit to China, my husband announced the 100,000 Strong Initiative. This is a new initiative to increase both the number — and the diversity — of young people from the U.S. studying in China. And, today, we’re pleased to announce a series of new efforts that will bring us even closer to that goal.
To start, Secretary Clinton, who’s been a tireless champion for this program, has just launched a “Double the Numbers Challenge.” She’s asking college and university presidents to double the number of students who study in China. And we’re placing a special emphasis on reaching Hispanic Serving Institutions and Historically Black Colleges and Universities like Howard. (Applause.)
To make it easier for students to meet this challenge, we’re launching a new Community College Mini-mester program, providing shorter-term, more affordable study abroad opportunities. And the Chinese government is offering — listen to this — 10,000 scholarships to cover all in-country costs for American students and teachers who study in China. (Applause.)
To give more high school students the opportunity, right here the DC Center of Global Education and Leadership is creating weekend and after-school Mandarin classes for DC public school students, and they’ll be offering new opportunities for these same students to study in China during the summer. That’s wonderful. (Applause.)
And, finally, to help oversee all these new programs and all these wonderful outreach efforts, the State Department has created a high-level federal advisory committee composed of prominent China experts and leaders in business, academic, and the non-profit worlds.
So, we’re making some very good progress. And I am proud of what we’re doing here because I know, I know, because of what I missed, the impact an opportunity like this can have on a young person’s life. I know the growth it can spur, the passion it can spark, the sense of direction and purpose it can provide.
When reflecting on his time in China, Jason Williams, a graduate of Seattle Pacific University, said — and this is a quote — “I’ve come to understand the world as more complex, more interconnected, and more beautiful than I ever could have imagined.”
Nina Robinson, who attended School without Walls right here in D.C., described the sense of independence she gained from learning a new language and navigating a new city all on her own. As she concluded simply — and this is her quote — “Not only was this trip an educational experience, but it was [a] life experience.”
And I can guarantee all of you that when you study abroad, you won’t just change your own life. You’ll change the lives of every single person you come in contact with.
President Kennedy once said about young people who come to study in the U.S. — he said, “I think they teach more than they learn.” And I think that’s true as well for young Americans who study abroad.
As my husband once put it, “America has no better ambassadors to offer than our young people.” You all are America’s true face to the world. You show the world our energy and our optimism. You show the world our decency and our openness and our compassion.
So, we need you. We need you out there taking some risks and doing some really hard things. And that’s certainly true for the four ambassadors that we have on today’s panel. These impressive young people have each spent time studying in China, and they have generously agreed to share their experiences with us today.
So, with that, I will happily turn things over to Ann Stock, our Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs, who will be leading our discussion.
So I want to thank you all, as always. I love coming to Howard. (Applause.) I love seeing you all. (Applause.) I am proud of every single one of you who have stepped outside of this comfort zone into another country. Keep it up.
I want to thank our panelists for joining us. And I look forward to seeing many of you follow in their footsteps in the years ahead. So, keep working hard. Thank you all so much. (Applause.)
WEEKLY ADDRESS: President Obama Touts Benefits of Tax Cut Package to Take Place in the New Year
WASHINGTON – In his weekly address, President Obama looked forward to how the tax cut package he signed into law in December will benefit millions of Americans in the new year. For one year, any business, large or small, can write off the full cost of most of their capital investments. The payroll tax cut will mean $1,000 more this year for a typical family – 155 million workers will see larger paychecks because of that tax cut. Twelve million families will benefit from a $1,000 child tax credit and an expanded Earned Income Tax Credit. And eight million students and families will continue to benefit from a $2,500 tuition tax credit. Independent experts have concluded that the tax cut package should significantly accelerate the pace of the recovery.
The audio and video of the address will be available online at www.whitehouse.gov at 6:00 a.m. ET, Saturday, January 08, 2011.
Remarks of President Barack Obama
As Prepared for Delivery
The White House
January 08, 2011
Last month, our economy added more than 100,000 private sector jobs and the unemployment rate fell sharply. This follows encouraging economic news from increased auto sales to continued expansion of our manufacturing sector.
Now, we know that these numbers can bounce around from month to month. But the trend is clear. We saw 12 straight months of private sector job growth – the first time that’s been true since 2006. The economy added 1.3 million jobs last year. And each quarter was stronger than the last, which means the pace of hiring is picking up.
Now we’re seeing more optimistic economic forecasts for the year ahead, in part due to the package of tax cuts I signed last month. I fought for that package because, while we are recovering, we plainly still have a lot of work to do. The recession rocked the foundations of our economy, and left a lot of destruction and doubt in its wake.
So, our fundamental mission must be to accelerate hiring and growth, while we do the things we know are necessary to insure America’s leadership in an increasingly competitive world and build an economy that will provide opportunity to any American willing to work for it.
I’m absolutely confident we will get there. I am confident, first and foremost, because of you; because of the ingenuity of our entrepreneurs and business owners; the tenacity of our workers; and the determination of the American people. This is what has made our economy the envy of the world. But we have to do everything we can to help our businesses and workers win in this new economy.
Yesterday, I visited the Thompson Creek Window Company, a small business in Maryland. Over the past year, sales there have grown by 55% thanks, in part, to an energy tax credit we created. And this year, they’re also planning to take advantage of a new tax incentive for businesses. For one year, any business, large or small, can write off the full cost of most of their capital investments. This will make it more affordable for businesses like Thompson Creek to expand and hire.
So, if you’re a business owner, I’d encourage you to take advantage of this temporary provision. It will save you money today and help you grow your business tomorrow.
This incentive is part of the economic package I signed into law last month – a package that also includes a payroll tax cut that will mean $1,000 more this year for a typical family. In fact, 155 million workers will see larger paychecks this month as a result of this tax cut.
Twelve million families will benefit from a $1,000 child tax credit and an expanded Earned Income Tax Credit. Eight million students and families will continue to benefit from a $2,500 tuition tax credit to make college more affordable.
And millions of entrepreneurs in big cities and small towns across the country will benefit not only from the business expensing plan I mentioned, but from additional tax cuts that will spur research and development.
Independent experts have concluded that, taken together, this package of tax cuts will significantly accelerate the pace of our economic recovery, spurring additional jobs and growth.
And that is our mission. That should be the focus, day in and day out, of our work in Washington in the coming months, as we wrestle with a challenging budget and long-term deficits. And I’m determined to work with everyone, Republicans and Democrats, to achieve that goal. What we can’t do is refight the battles of the past two years that distract us from the hard work of moving our economy forward. What we can’t do is engage in the kinds of symbolic battles that so often consume Washington while the rest of America waits for us to solve problems.
The tax cuts and other progress we made in December were a much-needed departure from that pattern. Let’s build on that admirable example and do our part, here in Washington, so the doers, builders, and innovators in America can do their best in 2011 and beyond. Thanks everyone, and have a nice weekend.
Official White House Press Statement: Jack Lew White House Blog Post on ACA Repeal and Today’s CBO letter
Jack Lew Blog Post on ACA Repeal and Today’s CBO letter
WASHINGTON – Today, the Director of the Office of Management and Budget Jack Lew posted the following statement to the White House blog. You can view the statement HERE.
New Year, New Estimate, Same Result
Posted by Jack Lew on January 06, 2011 at 04:18 PM EST
The new year starts with a renewed focus on the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which the President signed into law last year and has already delivered a host of consumer protections and benefits to millions of Americans.
Yesterday, the House Republican leadership introduced a bill to repeal the ACA. Today, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) sent a letter to the Speaker of the House giving its assessment of the budgetary effects of a repeal: it would increase the budget deficit by hundreds of billions of dollars over the next decade. The CBO letter notes that “over the 2012–2021 period, the effect of H.R. 2 [the repeal of ACA] on federal deficits … is likely to be an increase in the vicinity of $230 billion.” This result is not surprising since CBO scored the ACA as reducing the deficit by more than $100 billion through 2019 and by more than $1 trillion in the decade after that.
To be fair, CBO is clear that this is a preliminary estimate that does not take into account a host of changes in the economy, technical matters, and the effects of the implementation to date. But even after a more comprehensive analysis, we should expect the same outcome: the deficit would increase substantially if ACA were repealed. As CBO Director Elmendorf wrote in his blog today, “those developments will probably not have a major effect on the overall budgetary impact of repealing the legislation.”
For those in both parties who care about the deficit and our future fiscal course, the repeal of the ACA should concern them deeply. Rising health care costs are the biggest driver of our long-term deficits, and getting them under control is crucial for the fiscal health of the nation and to keep our economy growing, creating jobs, and competing in the world economy. Beyond that, we need to keep in mind that repealing the ACA also would roll back what the bill already has done to help millions of Americans — from the families benefitting from the end to lifetime dollar limits on essential benefits to the young people now able to join their parents’ policies and the seniors who now are able to afford their prescription drugs. And repeal would deny an estimated 32 million American citizens health insurance in years to come.
Jack Lew is the Director of the Office of Management and Budget
White House Drug Policy Director Highlights Growing Public Health Toll of the “Prescription Drug Abuse Epidemic”
New Data Reveal Doubling of Emergency Department Visits Involving Pharmaceutical Abuse
White House Drug Policy Director Highlights Growing Public Health Toll of the “Prescription Drug Abuse Epidemic”
WASHINGTON – According to new data from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA) Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN), visits by individuals to hospital emergency rooms involving the misuse or abuse of pharmaceutical drugs have doubled over the past five years and, for the third year in a row, exceed the number of visits involving illicit drugs.
According to DAWN, which provides national estimates on individuals who experience drug-related medical emergencies that are severe enough to require treatment in an emergency department, there were approximately 1.2 million visits by individuals to hospital emergency rooms involving pharmaceutical drugs in 2009. This compares to about 974,000 visits involving illicit drugs in 2009.
Additionally, while visits to emergency rooms involving illicit drugs have remained relatively stable at just under 1 million visits per year from 2004 to 2009, visits involving pharmaceutical drugs have almost doubled – increasing by 98 percent over the past five years. In 2009, there were approximately 1.2 million visits to emergency rooms involving pharmaceutical drugs, compared to 627,000 in 2004. These visits do not include adverse reactions to pharmaceuticals taken as prescribed.
“Prescription drug abuse is our Nation’s fastest-growing drug problem, with shocking consequences measured by overdose deaths, emergency room visits, treatment admissions, and increases in youth drug use, said Gil Kerlikowske, Director of National Drug Control Policy. “The Obama Administration is mounting an unprecedented effort to address this public health epidemic, and as we coordinate a national response to reduce drug use and its consequences, we need communities to be our partners in this effort. Parents should act today to protect young people by talking to their kids about the consequences of drug use, even legal drugs such as prescription drugs, and by properly disposing of unused, expired, or unneeded medications found at home.”
The Obama Administration is mounting an unprecedented government-wide effort to combat prescription drug abuse. These efforts include:
· Increasing prescription drug return, take-back, and disposal programs across the Nation. Prescription drugs that are commonly abused are often found in the family medicine cabinet. In October 2010, President Obama signed into law the Secure and Responsible Drug Disposal Act, which will support local efforts to curb prescription drug abuse by providing Americans with safe, environmentally sound ways to dispose of unused, unneeded, or expired prescription drugs found at home.
· Expanding state-based prescription drug monitoring programs. Currently, monitoring programs are operating in 34 states. The Administration supports expanding these programs in every state, and is seeking to ensure new and existing monitoring programs effectively use the data they acquire and share information across state lines.
· Educating prescribers about opiate painkiller prescribing. The Administration’s FY 2011 Budget request asks Congress for funding to train prescribers on how to instruct patients in the use and proper disposal of painkillers, to observe signs of dependence, and to use state-based prescription drug monitoring programs to detect when an individual is going from doctor to doctor in search of prescriptions (also called “doctor shopping”).
· Assisting states in cracking down on doctor shopping and so-called “pill mills.” Criminal organizations have established thriving businesses of transporting people to states with little regulation to obtain prescription drugs from multiple doctors or from “pill mills,” which distribute drugs indiscriminately. ONDCP is working closely with Federal, state, local, and tribal authorities to address this problem.
DAWN data are based on a national sample of general, non-Federal hospitals operating 24-hour emergency departments. In each participating hospital, emergency department medical records are reviewed retrospectively to determine visits that involved recent drug use. All types of drugs—illegal drugs, prescription and over-the-counter pharmaceuticals, and non-pharmaceutical inhalants—are included.
Click here to see the full DAWN report.
For more information on how to properly dispose of prescription drugs click here.
For more information on National efforts to reduce drug use and its consequences visit www.WhiteHouseDrugPolicy.gov
The Office of National Drug Control Policy seeks to foster healthy individuals and safe communities by effectively leading the Nation’s effort to reduce drug use and its consequences.
Fact Sheet on Security Enhancements
Statement By John Brennan on Holiday Security
As Prepared for Delivery
As we enter the peak of another holiday season, the homeland security, law enforcement, and intelligence communities are collectively focused on doing everything they can to prevent terrorists from disrupting the safety and security of Americans as they travel, spend time with family and friends, and enjoy holiday festivities both at home and abroad.
We remain vigilant to attempts by al-Qa’ida and other terrorist organizations to carry out cowardly attacks against innocent men, women, and children, and we are working very closely with other governments to share all threat information immediately and to coordinate closely our counterterrorism and security activities. These international partnerships are critically important to our ability to identify would-be terrorists and to thwart their plans before they are able to act.
In response to President Obama’s direction, senior officials from departments and agencies met yesterday at the White House to review the latest threat reporting and to coordinate security and counterterrorism plans that will be in place during the holiday season.
Protecting the American people from the scourge of terrorism is an ongoing and constantly evolving process. It is the goal of the counterterrorism community to stay several steps ahead of our terrorist adversaries so that we can stop terrorists dead in their tracks before they are able to carry out either small scale or potentially devastating attacks. That is what the President has directed, that is what the American people rightly expect and deserve, and that is what we are bound and determined to do.
Finally, President Obama has been provided an update on the many steps that have been taken over the past year to enhance our counterterrorism capabilities as a result of the after-action reviews on several terrorism and security-related incidents, including the tragic shooting at Fort Hood, Texas; the attempted bombings of passenger and cargo aircraft as well as of Times Square in New York City; and a variety of arrests and disruptions of terrorist plots in the homeland.
Post-Fort Hood Security Enhancements
Strengthened Cooperation Between DOD and FBI
The Department of Defense and the Federal Bureau of Investigation have standardized, streamlined and strengthened the processes and written procedures governing the investigation of individuals serving in or associated with the military who may pose a security threat, including the sharing of information between the two organizations about such threats. This will streamline information sharing and coordination between the FBI and all components of DOD, and will ensure that all counterterrorism investigators from both departments have all available information to further their investigations.
Thorough Analysis of CT Information
The FBI established a process that ensures a more thorough analysis of certain information available to the counterterrorism (CT) community about potential terrorist-related threats, particularly those that affect multiple equities inside and outside the FBI. The FBI has moved to ensure that it has allocated the necessary resources to accomplish that goal.
Improved Information Technology
The Government deployed specific, targeted technological enhancements to facilitate the automation of data correlation of counterterrorism-related information.
The FBI developed enhanced training programs for all counterterrorism personnel, including for detailees assigned from other departments to its Joint Terrorism Task Forces (JTTFs). The FBI has ensured that all personnel assigned to its JTTFs have received this enhanced training.
Post-December 25 Security Enhancements
Clarified Analytic Responsibility
The Director of National Intelligence (DNI) issued new guidance to clarify the counterterrorism responsibilities of each IC analytic component. This clarification will ensure that each member of the CT community has a clearly defined mission, ensuring an appropriate level of redundancy and accountability for threat warning and response but without creating gaps in coverage.
Established Pursuit Groups
The National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC) established analytic “Pursuit Groups” to identify, pursue and track information and connect disparate pieces of intelligence that could lead to discovery of threats aimed against the U.S. Homeland or our interests abroad. These programs are aimed at ensuring that the full range of analytic tools and expertise are brought to bear on tracking and uncovering any such threats, including internal coordination to ensure suspected terrorists and their identities are expeditiously processed for inclusion on the watchlist.
Improving Information Technology
Consistent with the need to protect information from unauthorized disclosure, we continue to develop and deploy enhanced information technology tools that assist analysts in correlating disparate pieces of data, helping them to be both more efficient and more effective at identifying and connecting relevant terrorist threat information. The intelligence community is coordinating an IC-wide infrastructure that aggregates and analyzes data across agencies and networks, including the development of software that allows CT personnel to conduct “Google-like” searches across databases they are authorized to access. These technological enhancements, the implementation of which are time and resource intensive, are in various stages of development – some have been deployed, while others are in the pilot stages.
Enhancing Analytic Tradecraft
ODNI has developed new analytic training courses to enhance the rigor and raise the standard of tradecraft of intelligence analysis, with particular emphasis on uncovering and preventing terrorist plots. We are now in the process of deploying these pilot courses to train our CT analysts.
Watchlist Process Improvements and Enhanced Targeting
The Administration has revised and modified the criteria used to create terrorist watchlists, including enhancements to the process by which names are added to the No-Fly and Selectee Lists. Further, the Administration expanded the use of Terrorist Screening Database records to ensure the safety of the traveling public. In addition, TSA fulfilled a key 9/11 Commission recommendation by implementing the Secure Flight program, which matches passengers against terrorist watchlists for all flights within or bound for the U.S.. NCTC has also established an enhancement group and expanded its research of and access to relevant databases to enhance records of known or suspected terrorists.
Deploying Advanced Imaging Technology
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) accelerated deployment of Advanced Imaging Technology, and has now deployed nearly 500 machines at over 75 domestic airports.
Real Time Watchlist Information
DHS and FBI launched the Watchlist Service, a new technical mechanism to transmit data from the Terrorist Screening Database, operated by the FBI’s Terrorist Screening Center, to DHS in real time. In addition to bolstering security, this system also achieves efficiencies by creating a centralized service for transmitting information to DHS instead of maintaining separate connections to multiple organizations within DHS.
Advances in Cargo Screening
In 2010, as required by the 9/11 Act, 100 percent of all cargo transported on passenger aircraft that depart U.S. airports is being screened commensurate with screening of passenger checked baggage. TSA’s Certified Cargo Screening Program strengthens security by certifying more than 1,000 entities responsible for conducting cargo screening throughout the supply chain, minimizing the impact on the movement of commerce. In addition, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, in coordination with the World Customs Organization, launched Operation Global Shield in 2010, an unprecedented multilateral law enforcement effort aimed at combating the illicit cross-border diversion and trafficking of precursor chemicals for making improvised explosive devices by monitoring their cross-border movements.
Following the thwarted terrorist plot to conceal and ship explosive devices on cargo aircraft bound for the United States in October 2010, DHS took a number of additional steps to further strengthen supply chain security. These steps included adapting inbound cargo targeting rules to reflect the latest intelligence and ordering a ground halt on all cargo coming from Yemen and Somalia; prohibiting high risk cargo on passenger aircraft; prohibiting toner and ink cartridges over 16 ounces on passenger aircraft – in both carry-on bags and checked bags – on domestic and international flights in-bound to the United States, as well as on certain inbound international air cargo shipments; and implementing additional and enhanced screening of all cargo identified as high risk.
DHS is also working closely with industry and international partners to expedite the receipt of advanced cargo data for international flights to the United States prior to departure in order to identify and screen items based on risk and current intelligence before they are airborne. In December 2010, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and the air cargo industry launched a new joint technology pilot project to enhance the sharing of electronic shipping information to improve the identification of high-risk shipments.
Accelerated and expanded deployment of new technologies
Through the Recovery Act, TSA accelerated the deployment of a series of new technologies to airports around the country designed to detect the next generation of threats, including Advanced Imaging Technology units, Explosive Detection Systems, Explosives Trace Detection units, Advanced Technology X-Ray systems, and Bottled Liquid Scanners.
Strengthening International Aviation Security
DHS coordinated an unprecedented international commitment to enhance global aviation security. Through its participation in the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), DHS secured: (1) a joint declaration committing member states to improving aviation security; (2) a new aviation security strategy framework that emphasizes the use of advanced screening technology and use of evolving security measures to defeat an adapting threat; and (3) a commitment to enhance global security standards, including the screening of cargo and airport workers.
2010 Information Sharing Counterterrorism Highlights
Information sharing across the federal government has increased significantly and productively since 9/11 and continues to improve every day. The Intelligence Community (IC) is cooperating with homeland security, law enforcement, and other key partners around the globe to fuse domestic and foreign intelligence in an effort to identify and disrupt homeland threats posed by alleged extremists. Below are several examples of terrorism prosecutions and / or thwarted plots that reflect such information sharing.
February 22: Najibullah Zazi pleaded guilty to several federal terrorism violations in connection with his role in an al-Q’aida plot to bomb the New York subway system in September 2009. Two of his associates, Adis Medunjanin and Zarein Ahmedzay, both U.S. citizens, were indicted on February 25 for their respective roles in the plot. Ahmedzay later pleaded guilty. A subsequent indictment in July charged Adnan El-Shukrijumah and other senior members of al-Q’aida for their alleged roles in recruiting Zazi, Medunjanin and Ahmedzay to carry out the attacks on the New York subway.
March 18: David Coleman Headley, a U.S. citizen and Chicago, Ill resident, pleaded guilty to a dozen federal terrorism violations, admitting to helping plan the November 2008 terrorist attacks in Mumbai, India, that killed more than 160 people, as well as later plotting to attack a Danish newspaper that published cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed. Headley admitted he attended Lashkar-e-Tayyiba training camps in Pakistan on five occasions and traveled to India five times to surveil targets on behalf of Lashkar. He also admitted that he conspired with accused terrorist leader Ilyas Kashmiri and others in plotting an attack on the Danish newspaper.
March 26: Raja Lahrasib Khan, a naturalized U.S. citizen and Chicago, Ill., resident, was arrested on federal charges for allegedly attempting to provide funds overseas to al-Qa’ida. Khan was charged with two counts of providing material support to terrorism.
April 2: A superseding indictment was unsealed charging Colleen R. LaRose, aka “Jihad Jane,” and Jamie Paulin Ramirez, both U.S. citizens, with conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists in connection with their alleged travels to Europe to participate in violent jihad. LaRose was further charged with conspiring to murder an individual in Sweden and working with others to recruit individuals via the Internet to wage violent jihad in South Asia and Europe.
April 30: An indictment of Wesam el-Hanafi and Sabirhan Hasanoff, both U.S. citizens, was unsealed in federal court. The two were charged with conspiring to provide material support, including computer advice and assistance, to al-Qa’ida in Yemen.
May 4: Faisal Shahzad, a naturalized U.S. citizen from Pakistan was charged with attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction, and other federal crimes for attempting to detonate a car bomb in Times Square, N.Y. on the evening of May 1, 2010. Shahzad pleaded guilty to all ten counts of the indictment on June 21, 2010, admitting that he received explosives training from the Tehrik-e-Taliban in Pakistan and received funds for the operation from a co-conspirator in Pakistan. In October, he was sentenced to life in prison.
May 19: Khalid Ouazzani pleaded guilty to conspiracy to provide material support to al-Qa’ida. Ouazzani swore an oath of allegiance to al-Qa’ida in 2008, personally provided more than $23,000 to al-Qa’ida and performed other tasks on behalf of the terrorist organization.
June 3: Barry Walter Bujol Jr., a U.S. citizen and Texas resident, was arrested and indicted on charges of attempting to provide material support to al-Qa’ida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) as a result of his alleged efforts to travel to Yemen to join AQAP as a foreign fighter and to provide AQAP with currency, GPS devices, and U.S. military publications.
June 5: Mohamed Hamoud Alessa and Carlos Eduardo Almonte, both U.S. citizens, were arrested on charges of conspiring to kill, maim and kidnap persons abroad. The defendants allegedly conspired to go to Somalia, where they intended to join al-Shabaab and wage violent jihad
June 9: Syed Hashmi, charged with providing material support to al-Qa’ida and providing military gear to others who transported the gear to al-Q’aida associates in Pakistan, was sentenced to 15 years in prison after pleading guilty in April.
August 5: Four separate indictments were unsealed in Minnesota, Alabama and California charging 14 individuals with terrorism violations for providing money, personnel and services to al-Shabaab. Among those charged were Omar Hammami, a U.S. citizen and former resident of Alabama, and Jehad Mostafa, a U.S. citizen and former resident of San Diego, both of whom have allegedly joined al-Shabaab and risen to prominence in the organization.
September 1: A criminal complaint was unsealed charging Hakimullah Mehsud, the self-proclaimed emir of the Pakistani Taliban for his alleged involvement in the murder of seven American citizens on Dec. 30, 2009 at a U.S. military base in Afghanistan. The complaint charged Mehsud with conspiracy to murder U.S. citizens abroad and conspiracy to use a weapon of mass destruction (explosives) against U.S. citizens abroad.
September 19: Sami Samir Hassoun was arrested by FBI agents after he attempted to detonate what he believed to be an explosive device outside a nightclub in Chicago.
September 23: Aafia Siddiqui was sentenced in New York to 86 years in prison for attempted murder and assault on FBI agents and military officers in Afghanistan. In 2008, Siddiqui was detained in Afghanistan by local authorities who found documents in her possession that referred to “a mass casualty attack,” and “dirty bomb” and that listed various U.S. landmarks.
October 18: James Cromitie, David Williams, Onita Williams, and Laguerre Payen were convicted in New York of several terrorism violations stemming from their efforts to detonate explosives near a synagogue and Jewish community center in the Bronx, N.Y. and also plotting to shoot down military planes at the New York Air National Guard Base in Newburgh, N.Y., with surface-to-air missiles.
October 19: Hosam Maher Husein Smadi, a Jordanian national, who was arrested in September 2009 for attempting to detonate an explosive-laden vehicle at Fountain Place in downtown Dallas, Texas, was sentenced to 24 years in prison after pleading guilty to one count of attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction
October 20: Zachary Adam Chesser, a U.S. citizen and Virginia resident, pleaded guilty to charges of communicating threats against the writers of the “South Park” television show, soliciting violent jihadists to desensitize law enforcement and attempting to provide material support to al-Shabaab. Chesser, who allegedly communicated with radical cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, attempted to travel twice to serve as a foreign fighter for al-Shabaab and repeatedly encouraged violent jihadists to kill U.S. citizens.
October 27: Farooque Ahmed, a naturalized U.S. citizen from Pakistan, was arrested on charges of assisting others whom he believed to be members of al-Qa’ida in planning multiple bombings at Metrorail stations in the Washington, D.C. area.
October 29: Two packages, each containing a bomb, were discovered on separate cargo planes as a result of intelligence received from Saudi Arabia. The packages, bound from Yemen to Chicago, Ill, were discovered en route during stopovers in England and Dubai. AQAP claimed responsibility for the plot.
November 26: Mohamed Mohamud, a naturalized U.S. citizen from Somalia, was arrested on charges of attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction in connection with a plot to detonate what he believed to be a vehicle bomb at the annual Christmas tree lighting ceremony in downtown Portland, Ore.
December 8: Antonio Martinez (aka Muhammad Hussain), a U.S. citizen, was arrested on charges of attempting to murder federal officials and attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction in connection with a plot to detonate what he believed to be a vehicle bomb at an Armed Forces recruiting center in Catonsville, Md..
December 15: Abdul Kadir was sentenced to life in prison for his role in a plot to bomb JFK International Airport in Queens, N.Y. In August 2010, Kadir and co-defendant Russell Defreitas were convicted of conspiring to attack JFK International Airport by exploding fuel tanks and the fuel pipeline under the airport. Another defendant, Abdel Nur, pleaded guilty before trial. A fourth alleged member of the plot, Kareem Ibrahim, faces trial on the same charges.
REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT AND THE VICE PRESIDENT AT SIGNING OF THE DON’T ASK, DON’T TELL REPEAL ACT OF 2010
REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT
AND THE VICE PRESIDENT
AT SIGNING OF THE
DON’T ASK, DON’T TELL REPEAL ACT OF 2010
Department of Interior
9:10 A.M. EST
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Hey, folks, how are you? (Applause.) It’s a good day. (Applause.) It’s a real good day. As some of my colleagues can tell you, this is a long time in coming. But I am happy it’s here.
Ladies and gentlemen, welcome. Please be seated.
It was a great five-star general and President, Dwight D. Eisenhower, who once said, “Though force can protect in emergency, only justice, fairness and consideration, and cooperation can finally lead men to the dawn of eternal peace.”
By repealing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” today, we take a big step toward fostering justice, fairness and consideration, and that real cooperation President Eisenhower spoke of.
This fulfills an important campaign promise the President and I made, and many here on this stage made, and many of you have fought for, for a long time, in repealing a policy that actually weakens our national security, diminished our ability to have military readiness, and violates the fundamental American principle of fairness and equality — that exact same set of principles that brave gay men and women will now be able to openly defend around the world. (Applause.)
It is both morally and militarily simply the right thing to do. And it’s particularly important that this result was fully supported by those within the military who are charged with implementing it. And I want to pay particular respect, just as a personal note — as we used to say, I used to be allowed to say in the Senate, a point of personal privilege — Admiral Mullen, you’re a stand-up guy. (Applause.) I think they like you. (Applause.)
He already has enough power. Don’t — (laughter.)
And it couldn’t have been done without these men and women leading our military. And certainly it could not have been done without the steady, dedicated and persistent leadership of the President of the United States. (Applause.)
Mr. President, by signing this bill, you will be linking military might with an abiding sense of justice. You’ll be projecting power by promoting fairness, and making the United States military as strong as they can be at a time we need it to be the strongest.
Ladies and gentlemen, the President of the United States of America, the Commander-in-Chief, Barack Obama. (Applause.)
AUDIENCE: Yes, we did! Yes, we did! Yes, we did!
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you! Yes, we did.
AUDIENCE MEMBER: Thank you, Mr. President!
THE PRESIDENT: You are welcome. (Applause.)
This is a good day.
AUDIENCE MEMBER: Yes, it is!
AUDIENCE MEMBER: (Inaudible.) (Laughter.)
AUDIENCE MEMBER: You rock, President Obama!
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you, thank you, thank you. (Laughter.)
You know, I am just overwhelmed. This is a very good day. (Applause.) And I want to thank all of you, especially the people on this stage, but each and every one of you who have been working so hard on this, members of my staff who worked so hard on this. I couldn’t be prouder.
Sixty-six years ago, in the dense, snow-covered forests of Western Europe, Allied Forces were beating back a massive assault in what would become known as the Battle of the Bulge. And in the final days of fighting, a regiment in the 80th Division of Patton’s Third Army came under fire. The men were traveling along a narrow trail. They were exposed and they were vulnerable. Hundreds of soldiers were cut down by the enemy.
And during the firefight, a private named Lloyd Corwin tumbled 40 feet down the deep side of a ravine. And dazed and trapped, he was as good as dead. But one soldier, a friend, turned back. And with shells landing around him, amid smoke and chaos and the screams of wounded men, this soldier, this friend, scaled down the icy slope, risking his own life to bring Private Corwin to safer ground.
For the rest of his years, Lloyd credited this soldier, this friend, named Andy Lee, with saving his life, knowing he would never have made it out alone. It was a full four decades after the war, when the two friends reunited in their golden years, that Lloyd learned that the man who saved his life, his friend Andy, was gay. He had no idea. And he didn’t much care. Lloyd knew what mattered. He knew what had kept him alive; what made it possible for him to come home and start a family and live the rest of his life. It was his friend.
And Lloyd’s son is with us today. And he knew that valor and sacrifice are no more limited by sexual orientation than they are by race or by gender or by religion or by creed; that what made it possible for him to survive the battlefields of Europe is the reason that we are here today. (Applause.) That’s the reason we are here today. (Applause.)
So this morning, I am proud to sign a law that will bring an end to “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” (Applause.) It is a law — this law I’m about to sign will strengthen our national security and uphold the ideals that our fighting men and women risk their lives to defend.
No longer will our country be denied the service of thousands of patriotic Americans who were forced to leave the military -– regardless of their skills, no matter their bravery or their zeal, no matter their years of exemplary performance -– because they happen to be gay. No longer will tens of thousands of Americans in uniform be asked to live a lie, or look over their shoulder, in order to serve the country that they love. (Applause.)
As Admiral Mike Mullen has said, “Our people sacrifice a lot for their country, including their lives. None of them should have to sacrifice their integrity as well.” (Applause.)
That’s why I believe this is the right thing to do for our military. That’s why I believe it is the right thing to do, period.
Now, many fought long and hard to reach this day. I want to thank the Democrats and Republicans who put conviction ahead of politics to get this done together. (Applause. I want to recognize Nancy Pelosi — (applause) — Steny Hoyer – (applause) — and Harry Reid. (Applause.)
Today we’re marking an historic milestone, but also the culmination of two of the most productive years in the history of Congress, in no small part because of their leadership. And so we are very grateful to them. (Applause.)
I want to thank Joe Lieberman — (applause) — and Susan Collins. (Applause.) And I think Carl Levin is still working — (laughter) — but I want to add Carl Levin. (Applause.) They held their shoulders to the wheel in the Senate. I am so proud of Susan Davis, who’s on the stage. (Applause.) And a guy you might know — Barney Frank. (Applause.) They kept up the fight in the House. And I’ve got to acknowledge Patrick Murphy, a veteran himself, who helped lead the way in Congress. (Applause.)
I also want to commend our military leadership. Ending “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” was a topic in my first meeting with Secretary Gates, Admiral Mullen, and the Joint Chiefs. (Applause.) We talked about how to end this policy. We talked about how success in both passing and implementing this change depended on working closely with the Pentagon. And that’s what we did.
And two years later, I’m confident that history will remember well the courage and the vision of Secretary Gates — (applause) — of Admiral Mike Mullen, who spoke from the heart and said what he believed was right — (applause) — of General James Cartwright, the Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs; and Deputy Secretary William Lynn, who is here. (Applause.) Also, the authors of the Pentagon’s review, Jeh Johnson and General Carter Ham, who did outstanding and meticulous work – (applause) — and all those who laid the groundwork for this transition.
And finally, I want to express my gratitude to the men and women in this room who have worn the uniform of the United States Armed Services. (Applause.) I want to thank all the patriots who are here today, all of them who were forced to hang up their uniforms as a result of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” — but who never stopped fighting for this country, and who rallied and who marched and fought for change. I want to thank everyone here who stood with them in that fight.
Because of these efforts, in the coming days we will begin the process laid out by this law. Now, the old policy remains in effect until Secretary Gates, Admiral Mullen and I certify the military’s readiness to implement the repeal. And it’s especially important for service members to remember that. But I have spoken to every one of the service chiefs and they are all committed to implementing this change swiftly and efficiently. We are not going to be dragging our feet to get this done. (Applause.)
Now, with any change, there’s some apprehension. That’s natural. But as Commander-in-Chief, I am certain that we can effect this transition in a way that only strengthens our military readiness; that people will look back on this moment and wonder why it was ever a source of controversy in the first place.
I have every confidence in the professionalism and patriotism of our service members. Just as they have adapted and grown stronger with each of the other changes, I know they will do so again. I know that Secretary Gates, Admiral Mullen, as well as the vast majority of service members themselves, share this view. And they share it based on their own experiences, including the experience of serving with dedicated, duty-bound service members who were also gay.
As one special operations warfighter said during the Pentagon’s review — this was one of my favorites — it echoes the experience of Lloyd Corwin decades earlier: “We have a gay guy in the unit. He’s big, he’s mean, he kills lots of bad guys.” (Laughter.) “No one cared that he was gay.” (Laughter.) And I think that sums up perfectly the situation. (Applause.)
Finally, I want to speak directly to the gay men and women currently serving in our military. For a long time your service has demanded a particular kind of sacrifice. You’ve been asked to carry the added burden of secrecy and isolation. And all the while, you’ve put your lives on the line for the freedoms and privileges of citizenship that are not fully granted to you.
You’re not the first to have carried this burden, for while today marks the end of a particular struggle that has lasted almost two decades, this is a moment more than two centuries in the making.
There will never be a full accounting of the heroism demonstrated by gay Americans in service to this country; their service has been obscured in history. It’s been lost to prejudices that have waned in our own lifetimes. But at every turn, every crossroads in our past, we know gay Americans fought just as hard, gave just as much to protect this nation and the ideals for which it stands.
There can be little doubt there were gay soldiers who fought for American independence, who consecrated the ground at Gettysburg, who manned the trenches along the Western Front, who stormed the beaches of Iwo Jima. Their names are etched into the walls of our memorials. Their headstones dot the grounds at Arlington.
And so, as the first generation to serve openly in our Armed Forces, you will stand for all those who came before you, and you will serve as role models to all who come after. And I know that you will fulfill this responsibility with integrity and honor, just as you have every other mission with which you’ve been charged.
And you need to look no further than the servicemen and women in this room — distinguished officers like former Navy Commander Zoe Dunning. (Applause.) Marines like Eric Alva, one of the first Americans to be injured in Iraq. (Applause.) Leaders like Captain Jonathan Hopkins, who led a platoon into northern Iraq during the initial invasion, quelling an ethnic riot, earning a Bronze Star with valor. (Applause.) He was discharged, only to receive emails and letters from his soldiers saying they had known he was gay all along — (laughter) — and thought that he was the best commander they ever had. (Applause.)
There are a lot of stories like these — stories that only underscore the importance of enlisting the service of all who are willing to fight for this country. That’s why I hope those soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsmen who have been discharged under this discriminatory policy will seek to reenlist once the repeal is implemented. (Applause.)
That is why I say to all Americans, gay or straight, who want nothing more than to defend this country in uniform: Your country needs you, your country wants you, and we will be honored to welcome you into the ranks of the finest military the world has ever known. (Applause.)
Some of you remembered I visited Afghanistan just a few weeks ago. And while I was walking along the rope line — it was a big crowd, about 3,000 — a young woman in uniform was shaking my hand and other people were grabbing and taking pictures. And she pulled me into a hug and she whispered in my ear, “Get ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ done.” (Laughter and applause.) And I said to her, “I promise you I will.” (Applause.)
For we are not a nation that says, “don’t ask, don’t tell.” We are a nation that says, “Out of many, we are one.” (Applause.) We are a nation that welcomes the service of every patriot. We are a nation that believes that all men and women are created equal. (Applause.) Those are the ideals that generations have fought for. Those are the ideals that we uphold today. And now, it is my honor to sign this bill into law. (Applause.)
AUDIENCE MEMBER: Thank you, Mr. President!
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you!
AUDIENCE MEMBER: We’re here, Mr. President. Enlist us now. (Laughter.)
(The bill is signed.)
THE PRESIDENT: This is done. (Applause.)
END 9:35 A.M. EST
Remarks of President Barack Obama
Saturday, September 4, 2010
On Monday, we celebrate Labor Day. It’s a chance to get together with family and friends, to throw some food on the grill, and have a good time. But it’s also a day to honor the American worker – to reaffirm our commitment to the great American middle class that has, for generations, made our economy the envy of the world.
That is especially important now. I don’t have to tell you that this is a very tough time for our country. Millions of our neighbors have been swept up in the worst recession in our lifetimes. And long before this recession hit, the middle class had been taking some hard shots. Long before this recession, the values of hard work and responsibility that built this country had been given short shrift.
For a decade, middle class families felt the sting of stagnant incomes and declining economic security. Companies were rewarded with tax breaks for creating jobs overseas. Wall Street firms turned huge profits by taking, in some cases, reckless risks and cutting corners. All of this came at the expense of working Americans, who were fighting harder and harder just to stay afloat – often borrowing against inflated home values to pay their bills. Ultimately, the house of cards collapsed.
So this Labor Day, we should recommit ourselves to our time-honored values and to this fundamental truth: to heal our economy, we need more than a healthy stock market; we need bustling main streets and a growing, thriving middle class. That’s why I will keep working day-by-day to restore opportunity, economic security, and that basic American Dream for our families and future generations.
First, that means doing everything we can to accelerate job creation. The steps we have taken to date have stopped the bleeding: investments in roads and bridges and high-speed railroads that will lead to hundreds of thousands of jobs in the private sector; emergency steps to prevent the layoffs of hundreds of thousands of teachers and firefighters and police officers; and tax cuts and loans for small business owners who create most of the jobs in America. We also ended a tax loophole that encouraged companies to create jobs overseas. Instead, I’m fighting to pass a law to provide tax breaks to the folks who create jobs right here in America.
But strengthening our economy means more than that. We’re fighting to build an economy in which middle class families can afford to send their kids to college, buy a home, save for retirement, and achieve some measure of economic security when their working days are done. And over the last two years, that has meant taking on some powerful interests who had been dominating the agenda in Washington for far too long.
That’s why we’ve put an end to the wasteful subsidies to big banks that provide student loans. We’re going to use that money to make college more affordable for students instead.
That’s why we’re making it easier for workers to save for retirement, with new ways of saving their tax refunds and a simpler system for enrolling in retirement plans like 401(k)s. And we’re going to keep up the fight to protect Social Security for generations to come.
That’s why we stopped insurance companies from refusing to cover people with pre-existing conditions and dropping folks who become seriously ill.
And that’s why we cut taxes for 95 percent of working families, and passed a law to help make sure women earn equal pay for equal work in the United States of America.
This Labor Day, we are reminded that we didn’t become the most prosperous country in the world by rewarding greed and recklessness. We did it by rewarding hard work and responsibility. We did it by recognizing that we rise or we fall together as one nation – one people – all of us vested in one another. That is how we have succeeded in the past. And that is how we will not only rebuild this economy, but rebuild it stronger than ever before.
Thank you. And I hope you have a great Labor Day weekend.
REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT
AT THE SIGNING OF THE MANUFACTURING ENHANCEMENT ACT OF 2010
3:07 P.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you. Thank you very much. Everybody please have a seat.
Good afternoon, everybody. Welcome to the White House. From the day I took office, my administration’s highest priority has been to rescue our economy from crisis, rebuild it on a new foundation for lasting growth, and do everything we can, every single day, to help the American people whose lives have been upended by a brutal recession.
Now, we knew from the beginning that reversing the damage done by the worst financial crisis and the deepest recession in generations would take some time — more time than anyone would like. And we knew that it would require an ongoing effort across all fronts.
Now, the challenges we face have been confirmed not just by the economic data that we’ve seen since last spring, when events in Europe roiled the markets and created headwinds for our economic recovery. They’re also confirmed every day in the conversations that I have with folks around the country, and in the letters that I read at night — stories of Americans who are still looking for work, and the men and women who are still struggling to grow their businesses and hire in these challenging times.
So while we have fought back from the worst of this recession, we’ve still got a lot of work to do. We’ve still got a long way to go. And I’m more determined than ever to do every single thing we can to hasten our economic recovery and get our people back to work. So that’s why I’m pleased today to sign into law a bill that will strengthen American manufacturing and American jobs. And as I do, I’m joined by two members of my economic team — Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke, who’s been a tireless advocate for America’s manufacturers; and Ambassador Ron Kirk, who’s been doing a great job and putting in a lot of miles as our U.S. Trade Representative.
Few areas of our economy have been as hard-hit as manufacturing — not just in recent years, but in recent decades. Throughout the 20th century, manufacturing was the ticket to a better life for generations of American workers. It was the furnace that forged our middle class. But over time, the jobs dried up. Companies learned to do more with less, and outsourced whatever they could. Other nations didn’t always live up to trade agreements and we didn’t always enforce them. And over the last decade, the manufacturing workforce shrank by 33 percent, leaving millions of skilled, hardworking Americans sitting as idle as the plants that they once worked in. This was before the recent recession left them and millions more struggling in ways they never imagined.
Now, some suggest this decline is inevitable, that the only way for America to get ahead is to leave manufacturing communities and their workers behind. I do not see it that way. The answer isn’t to stop building things, to stop making things; the answer is to build things better, make things better, right here in the United States. We will rebuild this economy stronger than before and at its heart will be three powerful words: Made in America.
For too long, we’ve been buying too much from the rest of the world, when we should be selling more to the rest of the world. That’s why, in my State of the Union address, I set an ambitious goal for this country. Over the next five years, we are going to double our exports of goods and services, an increase that will grow our economy and support millions of American jobs. We’ve got a lot of work to do to reach this goal. Our economy has fallen into the habit of buying from overseas and not selling the way it needs to. But it is vitally important that we reverse that trend. After all, 95 percent of the world’s customers and the world’s fastest-growing markets are beyond our borders. And when the playing field is even, American workers can compete with anybody. And we’re going to compete aggressively for every job, for every industry, and every market out there.
That’s why we fought for and passed tax breaks for companies that are investing here in the United States rather than companies that are keeping profits offshore. That’s why we closed loopholes that encourage corporations to ship American jobs overseas. That’s why we’re enforcing our trade laws — in some cases, for the very first time. That’s why we told America’s automakers that if they made the tough decisions required to compete in the future, that America would stand by them. And that’s why we’re investing in a clean energy industry and the jobs that come with it -– jobs that pay well and carry America to a cleaner, more secure and more energy-independent future.
Now, already we’re beginning to see some of these investments pay off. I’ve seen it myself in factories where American workers are now manufacturing wind turbines and solar panels, components for the advanced batteries of tomorrow.
I’ve seen it in retooled auto plants where American workers are building high-quality, fuel-efficient cars and trucks that can go toe to toe with any in the world. In fact, for the first time in more than five years, the Big Three are operating at a profit, and the auto industry has added 76,000 jobs since last June -– that’s the strongest period of job growth in more than 10 years.
So overall, the manufacturing sector has actually added 183,000 jobs so far this year. That’s the strongest seven months of manufacturing job growth in more than a decade. Instead of plants leaving America to set up shop overseas, we’ve actually begun to see the opposite -– a growing number of firms setting up shop and hiring here at home.
So we’re not yet where we need to be, but there are some good trends out there. And we can’t let up. We’ve got to keep moving forward. That’s why today, I’m signing a bill into law that will make it cheaper and easier for American manufacturers and American workers to do what they do best: build great products and sell them around the world.
The Manufacturing Enhancement Act of 2010 will create jobs, help American companies compete, and strengthen manufacturing as a key driver of our economic recovery. And here’s how it works. To make their products, manufacturers — some of whom are represented here today — often have to import certain materials from other countries and pay tariffs on those materials. This legislation will reduce or eliminate some of those tariffs, which will significantly lower costs for American companies across the manufacturing landscape -– from cars to chemicals; medical devices to sporting goods. And that will boost output, support good jobs here at home, and lower prices for American consumers.
This bill passed both houses of Congress on an overwhelmingly bipartisan basis, and I want to thank Democrats and Republicans for coming together on behalf of America’s businesses and workers. And before I sign it into law, I want to take this opportunity to encourage that same kind of bipartisan spirit on another step that will create jobs and move America forward.
The extraordinary growth we’ve seen in the clean energy sector is due first and foremost to the entrepreneurial drive of our businesses and our workers. But it’s also due to the fact that we invested in them. One of these investments came in the form of clean energy manufacturing tax credits. What we said to clean energy firms was, if you’re willing to put up 70 percent of the capital for a worthy endeavor, we’ll put up the other 30 percent. That means that for every dollar we invest, we leverage more than two private sector dollars.
The only problem we have is, these credits worked so well, there weren’t enough to go around. More than 180 clean energy projects in over 40 states received $2.3 billion in tax credits, but the program was such a success that we received 500 qualified applications for $8 billion in tax credits.
I believe that if an American company wants to innovate, grow, and create jobs right here in the United States, we should give them the support they need to do it. That’s why I’m urging Congress, once again, to invest $5 billion in these clean energy manufacturing tax credits. It’s an investment that will generate $12 billion or more in private sector investment and tens of thousands of new jobs.
And as I’ve said before, the nation that wins the race for the clean energy economy will lead the 21st century economy. Other nations know this. They’ve been investing heavily in that future. They want those jobs. But the United States of America doesn’t play for second place. We compete to win. And we will win this if we move forward free of politics, focused on just what it takes to get the job done.
This is an idea that already has bipartisan support, but it’s been delayed for months. So my simple message is, don’t let politics get in the way of doing what’s right for our economy and for our future. And don’t bet against the American worker or lose faith in American industry. This is a nation that has always been proud of what it builds, and it is that spirit that’s going to lead our recovery forward.
We’ve been through tough times before, and it is precisely in those times that we rebuilt, we retooled, we recaptured the ingenuity and resilience that makes this nation so great. That’s how our predecessors built the first American century. That’s how we’ll build the next. And it’s in that spirit that I will now sign this bill into law. Thank you very much, everybody. (Applause.)
(The bill is signed.)
Statement by President Barack Obama on the Release of Nuclear Posture Review
One year ago yesterday in Prague, I outlined a comprehensive agenda to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and to pursue the peace and security of a world without them. I look forward to advancing this agenda in Prague this week when I sign the new START Treaty with President Medvedev, committing the United States and Russia to substantial reductions in our nuclear arsenals.
Today, my Administration is taking a significant step forward by fulfilling another pledge that I made in Prague—to reduce the role of nuclear weapons in our national security strategy and focus on reducing the nuclear dangers of the 21st century, while sustaining a safe, secure and effective nuclear deterrent for the United States and our allies and partners as long as nuclear weapons exist.
The Nuclear Posture Review, led by the Department of Defense, recognizes that the greatest threat to U.S. and global security is no longer a nuclear exchange between nations, but nuclear terrorism by violent extremists and nuclear proliferation to an increasing number of states. Moreover, it recognizes that our national security and that of our allies and partners can be increasingly defended by America’s unsurpassed conventional military capabilities and strong missile defenses.
As a result, we are taking specific and concrete steps to reduce the role of nuclear weapons while preserving our military superiority, deterring aggression and safeguarding the security of the American people.
First, and for the first time, preventing nuclear proliferation and nuclear terrorism is now at the top of America’s nuclear agenda, which affirms the central importance of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. We have aligned our policies and proposed major funding increases for programs to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons around the world. Our nuclear security summit next week will be an opportunity for 47 nations to commit to specific steps to pursue the goal of securing all vulnerable nuclear materials around the world within four years. And next month in New York, we will work with the wider world to strengthen the global non-proliferation regime to ensure that all nations uphold their responsibilities.
Second, we are further emphasizing the importance of nations meeting their NPT and nuclear non-proliferation obligations through our declaratory policy. The United States is declaring that we will not use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear weapons states that are party to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and in compliance with their nuclear nonproliferation obligations. This enables us to sustain our nuclear deterrent for the narrower range of contingencies in which these weapons may still play a role, while providing an additional incentive for nations to meet their NPT obligations. Those nations that fail to meet their obligations will therefore find themselves more isolated, and will recognize that the pursuit of nuclear weapons will not make them more secure.
Finally, we are fulfilling our responsibilities as a nuclear power committed to the NPT. The United States will not conduct nuclear testing and will seek ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. The United States will not develop new nuclear warheads or pursue new military missions or new capabilities for nuclear weapons.
As I stated last year in Prague, so long as nuclear weapons exist, we will maintain a safe, secure and effective arsenal that guarantees the defense of the United States, reassures allies and partners, and deters potential adversaries. To that end, we are seeking substantial investments to improve infrastructure, strengthen science and technology, and retain the human capital we need to sustain our stockpile, while also strengthening the conventional capabilities that are an important part of our deterrent. The nuclear strategy we’re announcing today therefore reaffirms America’s unwavering commitment to the security of our allies and partners, and advances American national security.
To stop the spread of nuclear weapons, prevent nuclear terrorism, and pursue the day when these weapons do not exist, we will work aggressively to advance every element of our comprehensive agenda—to reduce arsenals, to secure vulnerable nuclear materials, and to strengthen the NPT. These are the steps toward the more secure future that America seeks, and this is the work that we are advancing today.