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The Obama Administration: January 17-31, 2010

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This article is the twenty-fifth in a continuing series chronicling the unfolding history of the Obama Administration. The writer's opinions are not offered, leaving the readers to arrive at their own conclusions.

"With its ruling today, the Supreme Court has given a green light to a new stampede of special interest money in our politics. It is a major victory for big oil, Wall Street banks, health insurance companies and the other powerful interests that marshal their power every day in Washington to drown out the voices of everyday Americans."__Barack Obama, President of the United States, on the January 21, 2010 Supreme Court Decision on Corporate Speech

Day359/Jan17th/Sunday: The President delivered remarks in remembrance of the late Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. at Vermont Avenue Baptist Church in Washington D.C. Transcript Video

The President traveled to Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts where he delivered remarks at a public campaign event for Massachusetts United States Senate candidate Martha Coakley. Transcript C-Span Video

Day360/Jan18th/Monday: The President, First Lady Michelle Obama and their family visited So Others Might Eat in Washington, D.C., an organization dedicated to helping people get off the streets and empowering them to make lasting changes in their lives. The First Family served food to homeless and hungry men, women and children. Obama Administration officials who also participated and how they participated in the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service:

Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner prepared hot and cold food for area shelters at Washington Hebrew Congregation.

Attorney General Eric Holder prepared meals for local area homeless at Church of the Epiphany.

Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar and Director of the National Parks Service John Jarvis participated in a clean-up and site beautification project at the DC War Memorial on the National Mall.

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius visited and spoke with underprivileged care recipients at an on-site H1N1 clinic at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Library.

Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood removed trash and participated in a community clean-up project with Living Classrooms near the Navy Yard.

Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and Corporation for National and Community Service Acting CEO Nicky Goren participated in a school painting and beautification project with City Year at Ron Brown Middle School.

Secretary of Veterans' Affairs Eric Shinseki helped prepare food for distribution to area soup kitchens at DC Central Kitchen.

Council on Environmental Quality Chair Nancy Sutley participated in a canvass kick-off and door-to-door canvass with Weatherize DC to encourage homeowners to weatherize their homes.

Peace Corps Director Aaron Williams prepared and served dinner for the homeless at Miriam's Kitchen. Source

The President hosted a conversation with a small group of African American seniors and their grandchildren on the legacy of the civil rights movement in the Roosevelt Room of the White House. Transcript Video

The President visited the American Red Cross headquarters in Washington, DC to thank staff and volunteers for their work to support the Haiti earthquake response. Video

The President and the First Lady Michelle Obama attended the "Let Freedom Ring" concert at the Kennedy Center, and the President delivered remarks. The concert featured nationally renowned artists and choir members from Washington area churches. Transcript of the President's Remarks

The National Science Board, in an event at the White House, released its Science and Engineering Indicators 2010 report. This report, produced every two years by the Board--the governing body for the National Science Foundation (NSF) and NSF's Division of Science Resources Statistics, is the major authoritative source of U.S. and international data on science, engineering, and technology. Source

Day361/Jan19th/Tuesday: The President and United States Secretary of Education Arne Duncan held a group discussion with 6th grade students at Graham Road Elementary School in Falls Church, Virginia before the President delivered remarks on race to the Top. Transcript of the President's Remarks Fact Sheet Video#1 Video#2

The President met with United States Senator George Voinovich in the Oval Office of the White House.

The White House announced the new White House App , which delivers dynamic content from WhiteHouse.gov to the palm of the hand and available for Apple iPhone and iPod Touch. Features included:

(1) Live video streaming of the President's public events at the White House, frequent web chats with Administration officials, and other events like key speeches and press briefings in real time.

(2) Allows users to stay up to date with the White House Blog and the latest from the Briefing Room, browse behind-the-scenes photos and watch on-demand videos.

(3) Provides instant access to full videos from recent speeches, press briefings, and special events.

(4) A first step for WhiteHouse.gov's mobile platform, the White House App is available for free download from the iTunes App Store. Source

The United States Justice Department filed a brief before U.S. District Judge for the District of Massachusetts Nancy Gertner supporting $675,000 in damages a Massachusetts student had previously been ordered to pay the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) for file sharing 30 songs. "The current damages range provides compensation for copyright owners because, inter alia, there exist situations in which actual damages are hard to quantify," the Justice Department wrote. "Furthermore, in establishing the range, Congress took into account the need to deter the millions of users of new media from infringing copyrights in an environment where many violators believe they will go unnoticed." Source According to Wired.com, the President has appointed 5 RIAA lawyers to the Justice Department.

Day362/Jan20th/Wednesday: The President delivered remarks in Room 430 of the Eisenhower Executive Office Building and signed a directive cracking down on tax cheats getting federal contracts and directing the IRS to conduct a review of the overall accuracy of companies' claims about tax delinquency to be sure that when a company says it's paying taxes, it is telling the truth. "It's become standard practice in Washington to give contracts to companies that don't pay their taxes," the President said, adding that, "The total amount owed in unpaid taxes by companies like that is estimated at more than $5 billion." Transcript of the President's Remarks Video Memorandum

The President, along with First Lady Michelle Obama, delivered remarks at an event in honor of National Mentoring Month in the East Room. Transcript Video

The President, in an interview with ABC News, said Congress must wait for newly elected Massachusetts Republican Scott Brown to be sworn in as a United States Senator before lawmakers move forward on healthcare reform. Source

In accordance with section 202(d) of the National Emergencies Act (50 U.S.C. 1622(d)), the President continued for 1 year the national emergency with respect to foreign terrorists who threaten to disrupt the Middle East peace process. Source Message to Congress

The President sent these nominations to the United States Senate:

Jeffrey R. Moreland, Director, Amtrak Board of Directors Bio

Dana K. Bilyeu, Member, Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board for a term expiring October 11, 2011 Bio

Michael Kennedy, Member, Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board for a term expiring September 25, 2010 and a term expiring September 25, 2014. (Reappointment) Bio

JoAnn Lynn Balzer, Member, Board of Trustees of the Institute of American Indian and Alaska Native Culture and Arts Development for a term expiring May 19, 2012 Bio

Cynthia Chavez Lamar, Member, Board of Trustees of the Institute of American Indian and Alaska Native Culture and Arts Development for a term expiring May 19, 2010 Bio

Daryl J. Boness, Chairman, Marine Mammal Commissionfor a term expiring May 13, 2010 Bio

Michael F. Tillman, Member, Marine Mammal Commissionfor a term expiring May 13, 2011 Bio

John Coppola, Member, National Museum and Library Services Board, National Foundation on the Arts and the Humanities for a term expiring December 6, 2013 Bio

Carla D. Hayden, Member, National Museum and Library Services Board, National Foundation on the Arts and the Humanities for a term expiring December 6, 2014 Bio

Winston Tabb, Member, National Museum and Library Services Board, National Foundation on the Arts and the Humanities for a term expiring December 6, 2013 Bio

Robert Wedgeworth, Member, National Museum and Library Services Board, National Foundation on the Arts and the Humanities for a term expiring December 6, 2013 Bio

Hernán D. Vera, Member, Board of Directors of the State Justice Institute for a term expiring September 17, 2012 Bio

Marsha J. Rabiteau for Member, Board of Directors of the State Justice Institute for a term expiring September 17, 2010 Bio

Earl F. Weener for Member, National Transportation Safety Board for the remainder of the term expiring December 31, 2010 Bio

Katherine G. Hammack for Assistant Secretary of the Army (Installations and Environment), Department of Defense Bio

Theodore Sedgwick for Ambassador to the Slovak Republic, Department of State Bio

Dennis P. Walsh for Chairman, Special Panel on Appeals for a term of six years Bio

Dawn Elizabeth Johnsen for Assistant Attorney General

Christopher H. Schroeder for Assistant Attorney General

Mary L. Smith for Assistant Attorney General

Craig Becker for Member of the National Labor Relations Board for the term of five years expiring December 16, 2014

United States District Court Judges:

Jon DeGuilio for the United States District Court, Northern District of Indiana Bio

Judge Audrey Goldstein Fleissig for the United States District Court, Eastern District of Missouri Bio

Judge Lucy H. Koh for the United States District Court, Northern District of California Bio

Judge Jane Magnus-Stinson for the United States District Court, Southern District of Indiana Bio

Judge Tanya Walton Pratt for the United States District Court, Southern District of Indiana Bio

Louis B. Butler, Jr., for the Western District of Wisconsin

Edward Milton Chen for United States District Judge for the Northern District of California

Milton C. Lee, Jr.for Associate Judge of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia for the term of fifteen years

United States District Attorneys:

Stephanie A. Finley for United States Attorney, Western District of Louisiana Bio

Robert Booth Goodwin, II for United States Attorney, Southern District of West Virginia Bio

David J. Hale for United States Attorney, Western District of Kentucky Bio

Kerry B. Harvey for United States Attorney, Eastern District of Kentucky Bio

Loretta E. Lynch for United States Attorney, Eastern District of New York Bio

United States Marshals:

Christopher Hoye for United States Marshal, District of Nevada Bio

Gervin K. Miyamoto for United States Marshal, District of Hawaii Bio

Peter Munoz for United States Marshal, Western District of Michigan Bio

Kelly M. Nesbit for United States Marshal, Western District of North Carolina Bio

Brian T. Underwood for United States Marshal, District of Idaho Bio

Source for all above listed nominees

The President proclaimed January 21, 2010, as National Angel Island Day and called upon the people of the United States to learn more about the history of Angel Island and to observe this anniversary with appropriate ceremonies and activities. The Immigration Station on the northeast corner of the island processed approximately one million Asian immigrants and has been designated a National Historic Landmark. Source

The United States State Department Spokesman Philip Crowley announced the lifting of a George W. Bush-era ban on Muslim scholars Adam Habib and Tariq Ramadan, saying neither is deemed a security threat to the United States. United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton signed documents allowing the South Africa-based Habib and Britain-based Ramadan to apply for U.S. visas like other prospective visitors. Source

The United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced a 92 million dollar settlement with insurance firm General Re, controlled by investor Warren Buffett, for its role in fraudulent accounting practices, including a scheme to help AIG. The SEC had sued General Re for accounting schemes involving AIG and another insurance company, Prudential Financial, "to manipulate and falsify their reported financial results." Source

The United States Justice Department Inspector General's internal audit was released. The report harshly criticized how the Federal Bureau of Investigation's (FBI) Communications Analysis Unit relied on so-called "exigent" letters to get carriers to turn over phone records immediately. According to Wired.com, the letters were a hangover from the investigation into the 9/11 attacks in New York and promised telecoms, falsely, that subpoenas would follow shortly.

The United States Justice Department announced it had reached a proposed settlement with the Daily Gazette Company and MediaNews Group Inc. (now known as Affiliated Media Inc.), that requires the companies to restructure their newspaper joint operating arrangement and take other steps to remedy the anticompetitive effects of the 2004 transaction, which was originally challenged by the Justice Department in May 2007. Source

Day363/Jan21st/Thursday: The President and Vice President Joe Biden met with Presidential Economic Recovery Advisory Board Chair Paul Volcker in the Oval Office of the White House before the President delivered remarks on financial reform in the Diplomatic Reception Room. The President announced that he was adding these two proposals the the list he requested the United States Congress pass for his signature:

(1) the "Volcker Rule", where banks be prohibited from owning, investing, or sponsoring hedge funds, private equity funds, or proprietary trading operations for their own profit, unrelated to serving their customers.

(2) the further consolidation of our financial system should be legislatively reined in by requiring a deposit cap in place to guard against too much risk being concentrated in a single bank, and the same principle apply to wider forms of funding employed by large financial institutions. Transcript Video

The President and Vice President Joe Biden addressed the delegation from the U.S. Conference of Mayors in the East Room of the White House on strengthening the economy and creating jobs in communities large and small across America. Transcript Video List of Mayors Expected In Attendance

The President released the final report (pdf) of the White House Jobs Forum.

The President and Vice President Joe Biden met with United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in the Oval Office.

The President, in a video message, announced the American public will be invited to nominate candidates for the Citizens Medal, the nation's second highest civilian award, to recognize Americans who have "performed exemplary deeds of service for their country or their fellow citizens." Source

The President withdrew these nominations previously sent to the United States Senate:

Roszell Hunter, of Virginia, to be a Member of the Board of Directors of the Export-Import Bank of the United States for a term expiring January 20, 2013, which was sent to the Senate on October 1, 2009

Erroll G. Southers, of California, to be an Assistant Secretary of Homeland Security, which was sent to the Senate on September 17, 2009

Jide J. Zeitlin, of New York, to be Representative of the United States of America to the United Nations for U.N. Management and Reform, with the rank of Ambassador, which was sent to the Senate on September 24, 2009

Jide J. Zeitlin, of New York, to be Alternate Representative of the United States of America to the Sessions of the General Assembly of the United Nations during his tenure of service as Representative of the United States of America to the United Nations for U.N. Management and Reform, which was sent to the Senate on September 24, 2009 Source

The President released a statement on this day's United States Supreme Court's decision on corporate free speech:

"With its ruling today, the Supreme Court has given a green light to a new stampede of special interest money in our politics. It is a major victory for big oil, Wall Street banks, health insurance companies and the other powerful interests that marshal their power every day in Washington to drown out the voices of everyday Americans. This ruling gives the special interests and their lobbyists even more power in Washington--while undermining the influence of average Americans who make small contributions to support their preferred candidates. That's why I am instructing my Administration to get to work immediately with Congress on this issue. We are going to talk with bipartisan Congressional leaders to develop a forceful response to this decision. The public interest requires nothing less." Source

United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. at the Newseum in Washinton, DC, delivered remarks on internet freedom around the world and where the United States stands:

"On their own, new technologies do not take sides in the struggle for freedom and progress, but the United States does. We stand for a single Internet where all of humanity has equal access to knowledge and ideas. And we recognize that the world's information infrastructure will become what we and others make of it. Now, this challenge may be new, but our responsibility to help ensure the free exchange of ideas goes back to the birth of our republic." Transcript Video

United States Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack and U.S. Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus signed a Memorandum of Understanding between their departments to encourage the development of advanced biofuels and other renewable energy systems, with the objectives of strengthening the economic recovery in rural America, creating new jobs and new industries that cannot be exported, enhance national security by decreasing dependence on foreign oil, and address the challenge of climate change. Source

Judge Vaughn R. Walker, Chief Judge of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California tossed lawsuits accusing the government of teaming with the nation's telcos to funnel Americans' electronic communications to the United States National Security Agency (NSA) without warrants. Walker ruled the courts are not available to the public to mount that challenge. "A citizen may not gain standing by claiming a right to have the government follow the law," Walker said. Ruling (pdf)

Day364/Jan22nd/Friday: The President traveled to Lorain County, Ohio, where he toured the Wind Turbine Manufacturing and Fab Lab facilities at Lorain County Community College in Elyria and where he held a town hall meeting to discuss ways to grow the economy and put Americans back to work. Transcript Video

The President made stops at local businesses in the Lorain County, Ohio, area to speak to workers and families about the challenges faced by them and solicit their ideas for how the economy can be rebuilt for the long term.

The President sent the United States Congress this message:

"Consistent with the authorities related to official immunity in the interdiction of aircraft engaged in illicit drug trafficking (Public Law 107-108, 22 U.S.C. 2291-4), as amended, and in order to keep the Congress fully informed, I am providing a report by my Administration. This report includes matters related to support for the interdiction of aircraft engaged in illicit drug trafficking." Source

The President signed into law:

H.R. 4462, which allows taxpayers to accelerate the income tax benefits for certain charitable cash contributions made before March 1, 2010, for the relief of victims of the January 9, 2010 earthquake in Haiti. Source

Vice President Joe Biden was in Iraq to get an assessment of the progress that country was making and to discuss any problems that may emerge. Biden met with United States Ambassador to Iraq Christopher Hill l and Commanding General for United States Forces in Iraq General Raymond Odierno. Source

General David Petraeus, Commander United States Central Command, spoke at a conference at the Institute for the Study of War about the placement of special ships off the Iranian coast and antimissile systems in at least four Arab countries, part of the Obama Administration's acceleration of the deployment of new defenses against possible Iranian missile attacks in the Persian Gulf. Source

The White House Press Office announced Nearly 300 new sets of data are now online as part of the Obama Administration's commitment to breaking down barriers between the federal government and the American people. Source

Day365/Jan23rd/Saturday: In his Weekly Address, the President blasted the United States Supreme Court's January 21, 2010 5-4 vote that,"overturned more than a century of law including a bipartisan campaign finance law written by Senators John McCain and Russ Feingold that had barred corporations from using their financial clout to directly interfere with elections by running advertisements for or against candidates in the crucial closing weeks." "This ruling strikes at our democracy itself," the President said. Transcript Video

The White House announced that, though the President had been summoned for jury duty in Chicago, Illinois, the court had been informed "he would not be able to serve" according to the Chicago Sun-Times.

United States Vice President Joe Biden promised Iraqi leaders the United States would appeal the dismissal of manslaughter charges against five Blackwater Security contractors involved in a 2007 deadly shooting in a crowded Baghdad traffic circle, which killed 17 people, including women and children. "A dismissal is not an acquittal," Biden said after meeting with Iraqi President Jalal Talabani. Source

Day366/Jan24th/Sunday: The President took his children to the United states Department of the Interior gym to play basketball. Source

Day367/Jan25th/Monday: The President and Vice President Joe Biden held a meeting of the Middle Class Task Force at the White House, where they discussed the Obama Administration's commitment to investing in middle class families who have been struggling under the down economy. Vice President Biden and the Task Force proposed several policy initiatives to help middle class families, including:

(1)Nearly doubling the child and dependent care tax credit for families making under $85,000

(2)Limiting a student's federal loan payments to 10 percent of his/her income

(3)Creating a system of automatic workplace IRAs

(4)Expanding tax credits to match retirement savings

(5)Expanding support for families balancing work while caring for elderly relatives Transcript of the President's & VP's Remarks Video

The President welcomed the National Basketball Association (NBA) Champion Los Angeles Lakers to the White House to honor their 2008-2009 season. Transcript of the President's Remarks Video

The President and Vice President Joe Biden met with Kurdistan Regional Government President Masoud Barzani. Source

The President declared an emergency existed in the State of Arizona and ordered Federal aid to supplement State and local response efforts in the area struck by a severe winter storm beginning on January 20, 2010, and continuing. The President's action authorized the Department of Homeland Security, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), to coordinate all disaster relief efforts for the purpose of alleviating the hardship and suffering caused by the emergency on the local population, and to provide appropriate assistance for required emergency measures, authorized under Title V of the Stafford Act, to save lives and to protect property, public health and safety, and to lessen or avert the threat of a catastrophe in Apache, Coconino, and Navajo Counties and the Hopi Tribe and Navajo Nation within these counties. Specifically, FEMA was authorized to identify, mobilize, and provide at its discretion, equipment and resources necessary to alleviate the impacts of the emergency. Emergency protective measures, limited to direct Federal assistance was, also, authorized at 75 percent Federal funding. Source

The President announced his intent to nominate the following individuals to key Administration posts:

Elisabeth Hagen, Under Secretary of Agriculture for Food Safety, Department of Agriculture

Michele M. Leonhart, Administrator of Drug Enforcement, Drug Enforcement Administration, Department of Justice Source&Bios

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Justice Department announced Westar Energy agreed to spend approximately $500 million to significantly reduce harmful air pollution from the company's Jeffrey Energy Center, a coal-fired power plant near St. Marys, Kansas, and pay a $3 million civil penalty, under a settlement to resolve violations of the Clean Air Act. Source

Day368/Jan26th/Tuesday: The President had lunch with business leaders in the Old Family Dining Room of the White House.

The President and Vice President Joe Biden met with United States Secretary of Defense Robert Gates in the Oval Office of the White House.

The President sent this nomination to the United States Senate:

Elisabeth Hagen, for Under Secretary of Agriculture for Food Safety, Department of Agriculture Bio

Assistant to the President Chris Lu announced a new interactive online feature, "The President's Cabinet Reporting to You." Through short videos, members of the President's Cabinet describe their agencies' accomplishments over the past year, as well as their plans for moving the country forward. Source

The U.S. State Department launched an investigation into the leak of the highly sensitive documents. "We have asked Diplomatic Security here at the State Department to look into it," P.J. Crowley, the department's assistant secretary for public affairs, told Mother Jones. "We take seriously the protection of classified information and the New York Times got its hands on cables that it had no right to have."

The United States Department of Homeland Security announced the start of tougher new U.S. security rules, requiring exporters to the United States to tell Washington who sold the goods, who bought them and a host of other information 24 hours before the cargo is loaded on a US-bound vessel, or face fines running to thousands of dollars and possible seizure of the goods. Source

Day369/Jan27th/Wednesday: The President gave his State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress at the Capitol. Among the President's remarks:

"It's time the American people get a government that matches their decency; that embodies their strength."

"Jobs must be our number-one focus in 2010, and that's why I'm calling for a new jobs bill tonight."

"So tonight, I'm proposing that we take $30 billion of the money Wall Street banks have repaid and use it to help community banks give small businesses the credit they need to stay afloat. I'm also proposing a new small business tax credit, one that will go to over one million small businesses who hire new workers or raise wages. While we're at it, let's also eliminate all capital gains taxes on small business investment, and provide a tax incentive for all large businesses and all small businesses to invest in new plants and equipment."

"And to encourage these and other businesses to stay within our borders, it is time to finally slash the tax breaks for companies that ship our jobs overseas, and give those tax breaks to companies that create jobs right here in the United States of America."

"You see, Washington has been telling us to wait for decades, even as the problems have grown worse. Meanwhile, China is not waiting to revamp its economy. Germany is not waiting. India is not waiting. These nations -- they're not standing still. These nations aren't playing for second place. They're putting more emphasis on math and science. They're rebuilding their infrastructure. They're making serious investments in clean energy because they want those jobs. Well, I do not accept second place for the United States of America." Transcript Video

After the President's State of the Union speech concluded, people could submit a follow-up question and vote on others at YouTube.com/CitizenTube in preparation of the President's answers in a special online, live from the White House event scheduled for a week after. Source Video

The President signed into law:

S. 2949, the "Emergency Aid to American Survivors of the Haiti Earthquake Act of 2010," which increased, from $1 million to $25 million, the cap for fiscal year 2010 on the amount that the Department of Health and Human Services could spend for the provision of assistance to repatriated U.S. citizens; increased, by $65 million, the 2010 funding for the Medicaid Qualified Individual program; and reduced the Medicaid Improvement Fund by $90 million. Source

Day370/Jan28th/Thursday: The President traveled to Tampa, Florida, and, with Vice President Joe Biden, toured a maintenance hangar and greeted crewmembers working on a KC-135_Stratotanker.

The President and Vice President Joe Biden held a town hall meeting at the University of Tampa Bob Martinez Sports Center, where they will announce $8 billion in Recovery Act awards to lay the groundwork for a nationwide high-speed rail system. Transcript of the President & VP Remarks Video

The White House Press Office released this statement by the President on the confirmation of Ben Bernanke as Chairman of the Federal Reserve:

"I am gratified by the Senate's broad bipartisan vote to confirm Ben Bernanke for another term as Chairman of the Federal Reserve. As the nation continues to face the consequences of the worst recession in a generation, Ben Bernanke has provided wisdom and steady leadership in the midst of the financial and economic crisis. While the worst of the storm has passed, its devastation remains and we have a lot of work to do to rebuild our economy. I congratulate him on his confirmation and look forward to working with him in the days ahead."

The United States Treasury Department announced new rules to simplify and speed the decision-making process for struggling borrowers trying to modify the terms of their distressed mortgages. The new Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) requirements will force servicers to have in hand all the needed documents from borrowers before they extend a three-month trial modification. As of December 2009, only 110,000 permanent modifications had taken place, a fraction of the 3 million to 4 million sought by 2012. Source

United States Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder joined private sector leaders, law enforcement personnel and health care experts for a National Summit on health care fraud held at the Natcher Conference Center at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland. Source

Day371/Jan29th/Friday: The President and Vice President Joe Biden met with the Cabinet in the Cabinet Room of the White House.

The President traveled to Baltimore, Maryland, where he visited the Chesapeake Machine Company and unveiled a 33-billion-dollar package of tax cuts to spur small businesses to hire new workers. The proposal, which must be passed by Congress, would allow small businesses to claim a 5,000-dollar tax credit for every new employee they hire and to be reimbursed for Social Security retirement taxes on increased payrolls. Firms will be allowed to claim the credit every quarter, so they would not have to wait until the end of the tax year to benefit from the plan. Transcript Video

The President, in the afternoon, delivered remarks to and took questions from Republicans attending a GOP House Issues Conference at the Renaissance Baltimore Harborplace Hotel. Transcript Video

The President returned to the White House, where he met with United States Secretary of the Treasury Tim Geithner in the Oval Office.

The President announced his intent to nominate the following individuals to key Administration posts:

Larry Robinson, Assistant Secretary of Commerce (Conservation and Management), NOAA, Department of Commerce

Jeffrey A. Lane, Assistant Secretary for Congressional and Intergovernmental Affairs, Department of Energy

Paul Steven Miller, Governor, Board of Governors of the United States Postal Service

Dennis J. Toner, Governor, Board of Governors of the United States Postal Service

J. Patricia Wilson Smoot, Commissioner, United States Parole Commission, Department of Justice

Lana Pollack, Commissioner, International Joint Commission, Department of State Source&Bios

The President announced the Federal Government will reduce its greenhouse gas (GHG) pollution by 28 percent by 2020. Federal Departments and Agencies were to achieve greenhouse gas pollution reductions by measuring their current energy and fuel use, becoming more energy efficient and shifting to clean energy sources like solar, wind and geothermal. Examples of agency actions underway are available on the White House Council on Environmental Quality website and can be found at www.whitehouse.gov/ceq. Source

The President signed into law:

H.R. 4508, which extends the authorizations of certain Small Business Administration programs until April 30, 2010 Source

The President sent a memorandum to United States Energy Secretary Steven Chu requesting Chu, ""conduct a comprehensive review of policies for managing the back end of the nuclear fuel cycle, including all alternatives for the storage, processing, and disposal of civilian and defense used nuclear fuel and nuclear waste. This review should include an evaluation of advanced fuel cycle technologies that would optimize energy recovery, resource utilization, and the minimization of materials derived from nuclear activities in a manner consistent with U.S. nonproliferation goals". Source

The Obama Administration made available more than 75,000 White House visitor records from the month of October 2009. including visitor information for Vice President Joe Biden and his staff at the White House Complex, the names and dates of visitors to the Vice President's Residence for the official events between October 1 and October 31, and the visitors to the Residence who appear on the daily schedules of the Vice President and his wife Dr.Jill Biden. In addition were over 200 pre-Sept 16 visitor records that were responsive to more than 100 specific requests that the White House received from the public during the month of December 2009. Source Records

The Obama Administration approved the sale of an arms package to Taiwan that included Patriot missiles, Black Hawk helicopters, and communications equipment for Taiwan's F-16 fleet. Source

The United States Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) announced First Regional Bank in Los Angeles, Florida Community Bank, First National Bank of Georgia, American Marine Bank in Washington, Marshall Bank in Minnesota and Community Bank and Trust in Georgia were seized and closed, pushing the tally to 15 banks that have failed in 2010. Source

Day372/Jan30th/Saturday: In his Weekly Address, the President pledges to rein in the deficit, citing four specific steps to this end:

(1) the Senate restoration of the pay-as-you-go law

(2) a freeze in discretionary spending

(3) middle class tax cuts while cutting spending for redundant or ineffective programs

(4) a bi-partisan Fiscal Commission to hammer out concrete deficit reduction proposals. Source Video

The President declared an emergency existed in the State of Oklahoma and ordered Federal aid to supplement State and local response efforts in the area struck by a severe winter storm beginning on January 28, 2010, and continuing.The President's action authorized the Department of Homeland Security, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), to coordinate all disaster relief efforts for the purpose of alleviating the hardship and suffering caused by the emergency on the local population, and to provide appropriate assistance for required emergency measures, authorized under Title V of the Stafford Act, to save lives and to protect property and public health and safety, and to lessen or avert the threat of a catastrophe in all 77 counties of the State of Oklahoma. Specifically, FEMA was authorized to identify, mobilize, and provide at its discretion, equipment and resources necessary to alleviate the impacts of the emergency. Emergency protective measures, limited to direct Federal assistance, were provided at 75 percent Federal funding. Source

The President was paid a social call at the White House by former United States President George H.W. Bush and his son former Florida Governor Jeb Bush. The Bushes departed 35 minutes after their arrival. Source

The President attended with Joe Biden, David Axelrod, Robert Gibbs and Reggie Love the college basketball matchup between No. 7 Georgetown and No. 8 Duke. The president also offered commentary during part of the CBS broadcast of the game. Source

The Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board posted on Recovery.gov quarterly reports required from some recipients of Recovery Act funding. Source

China announced suspension of military exchanges and security talks with the United States and a halt of high-level talks on arms control and non-proliferation, and plans to impose sanctions on U.S. firms involved in a 6.4 billion-dollar deal to sell arms to Taiwan. Source

Day373/Jan31st/Sunday: The President had no scheduled public events.

[Author's note: all days in these chronicles are full days. The Obama Inaugeration on January 20, 2009 was a half-day, so not counted.]

 

Retired, Robert Arend was president of an AFSCME local from 1997-2007.

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