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Readout of the Vice President's Call with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko

Barack Obama's White House Presidential Office (D) posted a Press Release on December 21, 2014 | 6:19 pm - Original Item - Comments (View)

Vice President Joe Biden and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko spoke today about the situation in eastern Ukraine and diplomatic efforts to support the Minsk peace process. They also discussed the financial situation in Ukraine and the government's notable efforts to implement broad reforms. President Poroshenko thanked the United States for enacting additional restrictions on trade and investment with entities in Crimea, and for the President's signing of the Ukraine Freedom Support Act of 2014. The Vice President and President Poroshenko discussed progress in assembling a new package of international financial assistance to support Ukraine as it moves forward with its reform program.

Statement by the President

Barack Obama's White House Presidential Office (D) posted a Press Release on December 20, 2014 | 6:03 pm - Original Item - Comments (View)

I unconditionally condemn today's murder of two police officers in New York City. Two brave men won't be going home to their loved ones tonight, and for that, there is no justification. The officers who serve and protect our communities risk their own safety for ours every single day - and they deserve our respect and gratitude every single day. Tonight, I ask people to reject violence and words that harm, and turn to words that heal - prayer, patient dialogue, and sympathy for the friends and family of the fallen.

BARACK OBAMA

Weekly Address: America's Resurgence Is Real

Barack Obama's White House Presidential Office (D) posted a Press Release on December 20, 2014 | 6:00 am - Original Item - Comments (View)

WASHINGTON, DC — In this week’s address, the President reflected on the significant progress made by this country in 2014, and in the nearly six years since he took office. This past year has been the strongest for job growth since the 1990s, contributing to the nearly 11 million jobs added by our businesses over a 57-month streak.  America is leading the rest of the world, in containing the spread of Ebola, degrading and ultimately destroying ISIL, and addressing the threat posed by climate change.  And earlier this week, the President announced the most significant changes to our policy towards Cuba in over 50 years. America’s resurgence is real, and the President expressed his commitment to working with Congress in the coming year to make sure Americans feel the benefits.

The audio of the address and video of the address will be available online at www.whitehouse.gov at 6:00 a.m. ET, December 20, 2014.

Remarks of President Barack Obama
Weekly Address
The White House
December 20, 2014

Hi, everybody.  As 2014 comes to an end, we can enter the New Year with new confidence that America is making significant strides where it counts.

The steps we took nearly six years ago to rescue our economy and rebuild it on a new foundation helped make 2014 the strongest year for job growth since the 1990s.  Over the past 57 months, our businesses have created nearly 11 million new jobs.  And in a hopeful sign for middle-class families, wages are on the rise again.

Our investments in American manufacturing have helped fuel its best stretch of job growth since the ‘90s.  America is now the number one producer of oil and gas, saving drivers about 70 cents a gallon at the pump over last Christmas.  The auto industry we rescued is on track for its strongest year since 2005.  Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, about 10 million Americans have gained health insurance in the past year alone.  And since I took office, we have cut our deficits by about two-thirds.

Meanwhile, around the world, America is leading.  We’re leading the coalition to degrade and ultimately destroy ISIL.  We’re leading the global fight to combat the Ebola outbreak in West Africa.  We’re leading global efforts to address climate change, including last month’s joint announcement with China.  We’re turning a new page in our relationship with the Cuban people. 

And in less than two weeks, after more than 13 years, our combat mission in Afghanistan will be over, and our war there will come to a responsible end.  Today, more of our troops are home for the holidays than at any time in over a decade.  Still, many of our men and women in uniform will spend this Christmas in harm’s way.  And as Commander-in-Chief, I want our troops to know:  your country is united in our support and gratitude for you and your families.

The six years since the financial crisis have demanded hard work and sacrifice on everyone’s part.  But as a country, we have every right to be proud of what we’ve got to show for it.  More jobs.  More insured.  A growing economy.  Shrinking deficits.  Bustling industry.  Booming energy.

Pick any metric you want – America’s resurgence is real.  And we now have the chance to reverse the decades-long erosion of middle-class jobs and incomes.  We just have to invest in the things that we know will secure even faster growth in higher-paying jobs for more Americans.  We have to make sure our economy, our justice system, and our government work not only for a few, but for all of us.  And I look forward to working together with the new Congress next year on these priorities. 

Sure, we’ll disagree on some things.  We’ll have to compromise on others.  I’ll act on my own when it’s necessary.  But I will never stop trying to make life better for people like you. 

Because thanks to your efforts, a new foundation is laid.  A new future is ready to be written.  We have set the stage for a new American moment, and I’m going to spend every minute of my last two years making sure we seize it. 

On behalf of the Obama family, I wish all of you a very Merry Christmas.

Thanks, and have a wonderful holiday season.

Weekly Address: America's Resurgence Is Real

Barack Obama's White House Presidential Office (D) posted a Blog Post on December 20, 2014 | 6:00 am - Original Item - Comments (View)

In this week’s address, the President reflected on the significant progress made by this country in 2014, and in the nearly six years since he took office.

This past year has been the strongest for job growth since the 1990s, contributing to the nearly 11 million jobs added by our businesses over a 57-month streak. America is leading the rest of the world, in containing the spread of Ebola, degrading and ultimately destroying ISIL, and addressing the threat posed by climate change. And earlier this week, the President announced the most significant changes to our policy towards Cuba in over 50 years.

America’s resurgence is real, and the President expressed his commitment to working with Congress in the coming year to make sure Americans feel the benefits.

Transcript  | mp4 | mp3

Weekly Address: America's Resurgence is Real

Barack Obama's White House Presidential Office (D) posted a Audio Clip on December 20, 2014 | 5:00 am - Original Item - Comments (View)
In this week's address, the President reflected on the significant progress made by this country in 2014, and in the nearly six years since he took office.

Weekly Address: America's Resurgence is Real

Barack Obama's White House Presidential Office (D) posted a Video on December 20, 2014 | 5:00 am - Original Item - Comments (View)
In this week's address, the President reflected on the significant progress made by this country in 2014, and in the nearly six years since he took office.

Weekly Address: America's Resurgence is Real

Barack Obama's White House Presidential Office (D) posted a Video (YouTube) on December 20, 2014 | 4:30 am - Original Item - Comments (View)
In this week's address, the President reflected on the significant progress made by this country in 2014, and in the nearly six years since he took office.
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The Trans-Pacific Partnership and Financial Regulatory Reform

Barack Obama's White House Presidential Office (D) posted a Blog Post on December 19, 2014 | 7:23 pm - Original Item - Comments (View)

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) represents a once-in-a-generation opportunity for America to set the rules for global trade in the 21st century. The agreement aims to expand access to the world’s fastest-growing markets, even as we enshrine higher standards of protection for workers and consumers. 

Recently, questions have arisen over how we will protect the progress toward a safer financial system that we have made since the crisis in the context of these trade negotiations. President Obama inherited a financial crisis that was the consequence of years of poor financial regulation, and he made Wall Street reform a top priority as he worked with Congress to craft a set of historic protections that ultimately became the Dodd-Frank Act. Since he signed that legislation in 2010, his Administration has made significant progress implementing its key provisions. Just as important, the President has pushed for stronger rules across the globe through the G-20 and other venues, and he has also fought against repeated attempts to undermine Wall Street reform here at home. He will do whatever it takes to make our financial system stronger and more stable.

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Statement By The President on S. 2673

Barack Obama's White House Presidential Office (D) posted a Press Release on December 19, 2014 | 6:42 pm - Original Item - Comments (View)

Today I have signed into law S. 2673, the "United States-Israel Strategic Partnership Act of 2014," an Act that underscores the United States unshakeable commitment to Israel's security and its future.  This bipartisan piece of legislation reflects the importance placed by my Administration on strengthening and deepening U.S.-Israel bilateral cooperation and ties.  It reinforces critical defense and security programs, which have reached an unprecedented level under my Administration.  It also lays the groundwork for increased trade and cooperation across a range of cutting-edge fields, including energy, water, agriculture, and technology.  Sections 11(b) and 12(c)(2) of this bill purport to require me to provide to the Congress certain diplomatic communications and direct the Secretary of State to undertake certain diplomatic initiatives.  Consistent with longstanding constitutional practice, my Administration will interpret and implement these sections in a manner that does not interfere with my constitutional authority to conduct diplomacy and to protect the confidentiality of diplomatic communications.

BARACK OBAMA

THE WHITE HOUSE,
December 19, 2014.

Statement By The President on H.R. 3979

Barack Obama's White House Presidential Office (D) posted a Press Release on December 19, 2014 | 6:40 pm - Original Item - Comments (View)

Today I have signed into law H.R. 3979, the "Carl Levin and Howard P. 'Buck' McKeon National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2015." I have signed this annual defense authorization legislation because it will provide vital benefits for military personnel and their families, as well as critical contingency authorities needed to counter the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant and to respond to emerging needs in the face of evolving terrorist threats and emergent crises worldwide.

Earlier this month, the Department of Defense transferred the last remaining third-country nationals held in U.S. custody in Afghanistan, ending U.S. detention operations in Afghanistan.  Yet halfway around the world, the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, remains open for the 13th consecutive year, costing the American people hundreds of millions of dollars each year and undermining America's standing in the world. As I have said many times, the continued operation of this detention facility weakens our national security by draining resources, damaging our relationships with key allies and partners, and emboldening violent extremists.  Closing the detention facility is a national imperative.

I have repeatedly called upon the Congress to work with my Administration to close the detention facility at Guantanamo once and for all.  Individuals from across the political spectrum have recognized that the facility should be closed.  But instead of removing unwarranted and burdensome restrictions that curtail the executive branch's options for managing the detainee population, this bill continues them.  Section 1032 renews the bar against using appropriated funds to construct or modify any facility in the United States, its territories, or possessions to house any Guantanamo detainee in the custody or under the control of the Department of Defense unless authorized by the Congress.  Section 1033 likewise renews the bar against using appropriated funds to transfer Guantanamo detainees into the United States for any purpose.  The Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2015, contains similar provisions as well as those relating to existing restrictions on the transfer of detainees abroad.  I have consistently opposed these restrictions and will continue to work with the Congress to remove them.  More than 80 percent of detainees at one time held at the detention facility have now been transferred.  The executive branch must have the flexibility, with regard to those detainees who remain, to determine when and where to prosecute them, based on the facts and circumstances of each case and our national security interests, and when and where to transfer them consistent with our national security and our humane treatment policy.  Under certain circumstances, the provisions concerning detainee transfers in both bills would violate constitutional separation of powers principles.  In the event that the restrictions on the transfer of detainees operate in a manner that violates constitutional separation of powers principles, my Administration will implement them in a manner that avoids the constitutional conflict.

The Guantanamo detention facility's continued operation undermines our national security.  We must close it.  I call on Members from both sides of the aisle to work with us to bring this chapter of American history to a close.

BARACK OBAMA

THE WHITE HOUSE,
December 19, 2014.

 

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