Posts Tagged ‘Obama’

Obama Colorado Gun Control

WASHINGTON — In danger of losing congressional momentum, President Barack Obama is drawing attention to Colorado’s newly passed gun control laws as he applies public pressure on Congress to pass similar federal measures.

Obama was traveling to the Denver suburbs Wednesday, stepping up his call for universal background checks for gun buyers as well as his demands for Congress to at least vote on an assault weapons ban and limits on large-capacity ammunition magazines.

The trip is heavy with political symbolism. Colorado expanded background checks and placed restrictions on magazines despite being a state with a deep-rooted hunting tradition, where gun ownership is a cherished right. Moreover, Obama will meet with law enforcement officials and community leaders at the Denver Police Academy, not far from the Aurora suburb where a gunman last summer killed 12 people in a movie theater. The president’s trip is occurring in the same week that prosecutors announced they would seek the death penalty for James Holmes, accused of carrying out the Aurora rampage.

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Obama announces his Brain Initiative

US President Barack Obama speaks in the East Room at the White House announce his administration’s Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies Initiative.

Making good on a promise first hinted at during his State of the Union speech in February, President Obama on Tuesday unveiled the broad outlines of a scientific initiative aimed at mapping the human brain. The project’s ambitious goals include understanding how the brain forms memories and controls human behavior; how it becomes damaged by conditions such as Parkinson’s disease and autism; and how it can be repaired when afflicted by Alzheimer’s disease, post-traumatic stress disorder and other illnesses.

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MIAMI – President Obama plans to visit a tunnel project at the Port of Miami on Friday to promote a series of proposals that White House officials think could appeal to Republicans.

President Obama Holds Meeting With The Sultan of Brunei

Among them: $4 billion to invest in rebuilding roads and bridges that businesses depend on. Seed money to encourage companies to invest in ports and other points of commerce. Even tax cuts designed to attract investors – at home and abroad – to such projects.

“There is no reason this should be  a Democratic tunnel or a Republican tunnel,” Josh Earnest, White House principal deputy press secretary, said aboard Air Force One. “These are projects that are helpful to the economy and shouldn’t break down on partisan lines.”

Yet Republicans welcomed Obama to Miami with an attack on his economic philosophy and lampooned his proposals.

Writing in the Miami Herald, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fl.) said Obama needs to listen to people in Florida “to get a true sense of the effect more tax increases and spending hikes will have on our nation’s middle class.”

He wrote, “He would learn that many aspects of policies like Obamacare have ended up hurting many middle-class families instead of helping them. He would find that the expanding role of our government has created uncertainty by establishing rules that many small businesses can’t afford to follow.”

And Don Stewart, spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), said, “Have they said yet how they’re going to pay for all of this? That matters, of course. Last time, I think he wanted to tax the same people that were supposed to create the jobs.”

The White House says the proposals won’t add a dime to the deficit, meaning they will have to be offset by either spending cuts or tax increases. The details are expected on April 10, when the president will release his fiscal 2014 budget. Obama also has a much larger infrastructure plan on the table: a $40 billion  “Fix it First” plan to spur the hiring of construction workers and the building of roads and bridges across the country.

A complicating factor is sequestration – the deep spending cuts now spreading through the federal government. Rather than invest in infrastructure, the cuts are reducing investment. Aboard Air Force One, Alan Kruger, chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, warned that the country had spent less on infrastructure compared to global competitors.

But not all hope for bipartisan compromise is loss. Last month, after the unveiling of the “Fix it First” plan, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) agreed that the nation needs to spend more in this area.

“The president talked about infrastructure, but he didn’t talk about how to pay for it,” he said. “And it’s easy to go out there and be Santa Claus and talk about all the things you want to give away, but at some point somebody has to pay the bill.”

He added, “I’m committed to working to find a funding source so that we can begin to repair America’s aging infrastructure.”

The president’s proposal on Friday has several parts. It would spend $4 billion on local and state projects. It would invest $10 billion in an “infrastructure bank” that would then make loans to private companies looking to invest in building projects. It would finance new tax-free bonds that make it easier for states and localities to raise money and offer other tax subsidies totaling $7 billion.

 

Collected from-http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-politics/wp/2013/03/29/obama-to-visit-miami-tunnel-project-to-promote-economic-development-plan/

President says US should be ashamed if Newtown was being forgotten already and rejects criticism he has delayed on reform

Barack Obama rejected criticism on Thursday that he has delayed too long on gun reform, allowing memories of the Newtown shooting to fade and allowing time for opponents to regroup.

In a speech at the White House, attended by parents of gun victims, he said bluntly that the United States should be ashamed if the horror of Newtown was already being forgotten.

The president’s comments were part of National Day to Demand Action, organised jointly with Mayors Against Illegal Guns, the campaign to put pressure on Congress to pass “commonsense” reforms driven by New York mayor Michael Bloomberg.

There have been complaints from gun reform activists that Obama has squandered an opportunity for action in the immediate aftermath of the Newtown shooting in December.

But Obama disputed that the country had moved on from Newtown. “Less than 100 days ago that happened. And the entire country was shocked, and the entire country pledged we would do something and this time would be different. Shame on us if we have forgotten. I have not forgotten those kids. Shame on us if we have forgotten,” he said.

Obama said he expected votes in the Senate on gun reform measures soon after Congress returns from its Easter break on 8 April. The relatively modest package of measures he proposed in January has already been scaled back, with a ban on military-style automatic weapons effectively scuppered and even background checks to keep guns out of the hands of those with mental problems in the balance.

One of the criticisms of Obama is that instead of asking vice-president Joe Biden to oversee a task force looking at proposals for reform in January and then leaving Congress to come up with a draft bill, he should have pushed his own set of proposals when emotions were still raw.

The president at the White House, accused opponents of reform of trying to run down the clock. He called for members of the public who back gun reform to put pressure on their members of Congress, most of them back in their districts and home states for the Easter break.

Among those in the audience at the White House were the families of Newtown victims Grace McDonnell, Lauren Rousseau and Jesse Lewis, as well as the mother of Hadiya Pendleton, who was killed in Chicago, and Nardyne Jeffries, the mother of Washington shooting victim Brishell Jeffries.

Obama acknowledged he had read an article “in the news just the other day wondering has Washington missed its opportunity, because as time goes on after Newtown, somehow people start moving on and forgetting”

This was not the case, he said. “Let me tell you, the people here, they don’t forget. Grace’s dad is not forgetting. Hadiya’s mom hasn’t forgotten. The notion that two months or three months after something as horrific as what happened in Newtown happens and we’ve moved on to other things, that’s not who we are.”

It was an extremely emotional event, with people behind him, some of them families of victims, weeping throughout. “We need everybody to remember how we felt 100 days ago and to make sure that what we said was not just a bunch of platitudes. That we meant it,” Obama said.

“Tears are not enough. Expressions of sympathy are not enough. Speeches are not enough. We have cried enough. We have known enough heartbreak. What we are proposing is not radical. It is not taking away anyone’s gun rights. It is something if we are serious we will do. Now is the time to turn that heartbreak into something real.”

Several Republicans have threatened to filibuster gun reform measures in the Senate. Without 60 of the 100 senators needed to break a filibuster, almost all of the packages proposed by Obama could fall. Obama reiterated he still wanted a ban on military-style assault weapons, even though the Democratic leader in the Senate, Harry Reid, has effectively said it has no chance.

Democrats see the best chance of getting something into law as background checks to ensure guns are not sold to the mentally unstable and checks at gun shows to ensure someone does not have a criminal background. Republicans favour increased security at schools, the line backed by the National Rifle Association.

Mayors Against Illegal Guns put out its first ad in its $12m television campaign Thursday with interviews with family members of those killed at Newtown. The ad campaign is targeting 13 states during the recess.

Bloomberg said: “We cannot afford to wait for another tragedy – it’s long past time for elected officials to listen to their constituents and pass reforms like comprehensive background checks that we know will save lives.”

His co-chair on Mayors Against Illegal Guns, Thomas Menino of Boston, echoed this. “The Senate now has the opportunity to take a vote that the American people are demanding to make our neighborhoods safer. The time has come to pass legislation and make reform a reality.”

The coalition is hiring dozens of organisers and opening campaign offices in 10 states. More than 140 events were scheduled for Thursday in 29 states.

Source:http://www.guardian.co.uk

Marco Antonio Durazo had been awaiting deportation from an Arizona detention center for six months when an officer came to get him from his cell.

“Obama doesn’t have any money,” the officer said.

“We found it very funny,” Durazo said, but it wasn’t a joke.

Soon, he was free along with hundreds of other illegal immigrants who were released by the Obama administration because of budget pressures. Officials have also scaled back border agent hours, drug patrols and staffing at border crossings — all during the peak illegal border-crossing season.

While prompted by the nation’s money woes, the changes also come amid the nation’s shifting immigration policy after years of mass arrests and deportations and billions spent on border security.

The long-term impact of that change has yet to be seen. The Border Patrol said January and February numbers showed a nearly 10 percent increase in apprehensions along the Mexico border for the first two months of the year, compared with 2012.

There could be several factors for the rise, including immigrants motivated by an improving U.S. economy or those anticipating congressional action that could create a path to citizenship. The cuts come as lawmakers are struggling to work out a comprehensive immigration reform package whose success may ultimately be tied to questions of border security.

On Wednesday, Sen. John McCain led a bipartisan group of senators on a tour of the border, and they said they were close to a deal but continued to tie it to keeping immigration in check. They promised more details next week, but McCain said that there’s “no doubt” in his mind that the border is less secure because of the budget cuts.

The release of more than 2,200 immigrants like Durazo drew headlines this month as the government prepared for looming cuts that began in March. In February, the government let go of hundreds of immigrants from detention centers in states including Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia and Texas. The administration planned to let roughly 3,000 more go in March, according to an internal government budget document reviewed by the AP and later released by the House Judiciary Committee.

The moves were an attempt by Immigration and Customs Enforcement to get its detainee population in line with what it could afford. The released immigrants still face deportation but will not be held while awaiting their court dates.

Some in Congress said ICE should have explained beforehand that there wasn’t enough money to keep everyone in detention.

The immigrants and their lawyers say they were released with little notice or instruction beyond being told to check in periodically.

In many cases, the immigrants were dropped off in the middle of the night at bus stations or airports in metropolitan centers without money to finish their journey home. In Florida, some were released from a facility bordering rural swamp land outside Miami.

Critics argue the plan allowed the release of thousands of criminals without regard to public safety, but officials say almost all the detainees were characterized as low risk. ICE Director John Morton told a congressional panel that 10 of the 2,228 people were the highest level of offender.

Source:http://www.washingtonpost.com