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The Obama Administration: July 1-16, 2010

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This article is the thirty-sixth 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.

"Unless your business model depends on cutting corners or bilking your customers, you have nothing to fear from this reform."__Barack Obama, President of the United States, on U.S. Senate passage of the Restoring American Financial Stability Act of 2010, June 15, 2010

Day524/July1st/Thursday: The President met with United States Secretary of the Treasury Tim Geithner in the Oval Office of the White House. Source


The President delivered remarks at American University School of International Service
, Washington, D.C. on the need to fix the broken United States immigration system. Transcript Video


The President had lunch with business leaders in the Old Family Dining Room of the White House. Source



The President and Vice President Joe Biden met with United States Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid in the Oval Office. Source

The President and Vice President Joe Biden received a briefing on the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Situation Room of the White House. Briefing Readout


The President welcomed Women's Professional Soccer Champions Sky Blue FC in the East Room of the White House to honor their 2009 season and for winning the inaugural Women's Professional Soccer championship. Transcript of the President's Remarks Video


The President signed the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act of 2010 in the East Room of the White House. Among the President's remarks, he said, "
I'm pleased to sign into law the toughest sanctions against Iran ever passed by the United States Congress." Transcript of the President's Remarks Video Text of Released Statement

The President declared a major disaster existed in the State of Maine and ordered Federal aid to supplement State and local recovery efforts in the area struck by severe storms and flooding during the period of March 12 to April 1, 2010.Federal funding was made available to State and eligible local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations on a cost-sharing basis for emergency work and the repair or replacement of facilities damaged by the severe storms and flooding in the counties of Hancock and York. Federal funding was also made available on a cost-sharing basis for hazard mitigation measures statewide. Source

United States Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced the launch of HealthCare.gov , a new consumer website geared to provide one-stop shopping access to a wealth of information, including new consumer rights and benefits under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, a timeline of when new programs under the new law would come online between the present and 2014, and a new insurance finder to locate both private and public health insurance options that suit individual needs. state and federally run high-risk insurance pools began taking applications from American citizens and legal residents who had been uninsured for six months and could provide proof of denial of health coverage due to a pre-existing condition such as a written letter of rejection by a single healthcare insurer. Source

The Obama Administration released to the public the second Obama Administration White House Office employment report to Congress, which provided a "snapshot in time" look at employment and salaries at the White House. Source

All new federal student loans came under the Federal Direct Student Loan Program and the maximum Pell Grant award for 2010-2011 was increased to $5,550: $800 more than at the start of the Obama Administration. Source

Day525/July2nd/Friday: The President delivered a statement to the press at Andrews Air Force Base about the monthly employment numbers and announced, "Secretary Locke and Secretary Vilsack have joined me here today to announce that the Departments of Commerce and Agriculture will invest in 66 new projects across America that will finally bring reliable broadband Internet service to communities that currently have little or no access." Transcript Video

The President and Vice President Joe Biden traveled to the West Virginia State Capitol in Charleston, West Virginia to participate in and deliver remarks at the memorial service for U.S. Senator Robert Byrd. Among the President's remarks, he said of Robert Byrd, "But as I soon discovered, his passion for the Senate's past, his mastery of even its most arcane procedures, it wasn't an obsession with the trivial or the obscure. It reflected a profoundly noble impulse, a recognition of a basic truth about this country that we are not a nation of men, we are a nation of laws. Our way of life rests on our democratic institutions. Precisely because we are fallible, it falls to each of us to safeguard these institutions, even when it's inconvenient, and pass on our republic more perfect than before." Transcript Video

The President declared a major disaster existed in the State of Minnesota and ordered Federal aid to supplement state and local recovery efforts in the area struck by severe storms, tornadoes, and flooding during the period of June 17-26, 2010. Federal funding was made available to state and eligible local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations on a cost-sharing basis for emergency work and the repair or replacement of facilities damaged by the severe storms, tornadoes, and flooding in Faribault, Freeborn, Olmsted, Otter Tail, Polk, Steele, and Wadena Counties. Federal funding was also made available on a cost-sharing basis for hazard mitigation measures statewide. Source

The President issued an Executive Order directing fundamental changes to the way highly hazardous pathogens and toxins in the United States are secured against misuse. Details&Fact Sheet

The President signed into law:

H.R. 5569, the "National Flood Insurance Program Extension Act of 2010," which retroactively reauthorized the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to enter into new contracts for flood insurance under the National Flood Insurance Program through September 30, 2010; and reduced FEMA's authority to borrow under the Program by $50 million to up to $20.725 billion.

H.R. 5611, the "Airport and Airway Extension Act of 2010, Part II," which extended through August 1, 2010, authorities to collect taxes that fund the Airport and Airway Trust Fund, make expenditures from the Airport and Airway Trust Fund, and make grants to airports under the Airport Improvement Program.

H.R. 5623, the "Homebuyers Assistance and Improvement Act of 2010," which extended the date by which purchasers must have closed on a home to be eligible for the homebuyer tax credit. Source

The President traveled to Camp David.

United States Defense Secretary Robert Gates sent a three-page memo to senior military and civilian Pentagon staff titled "Interaction with the Media," that ordered U.S. Pentagon officials to notify the Defense Department's assistant secretary for public affairs "prior to interviews or any other means of media and public engagement with possible national or international implications." In the memo, Gates warned, "Leaking of classified information is against the law, cannot be tolerated and will, when proven, lead to the prosecution of those found to be engaged in such activity." Source

The United States Transportation Security Administration (TSA) sent an email to all its employees that, effective July 1, 2010, barred access to five categories of websites that had been deemed "inappropriate for government access." The categories included: chat/messaging, controversial opinion, criminal activity, extreme violence (including cartoon violence and gruesome content) and gaming. Source

The United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit released its June 28, 2010 decision (with a number of classified portions blacked out) that reversed a lower court decision that Algerian Belkacem Bensayah's imprisonment was legal. "The evidence upon which the district court relied, in concluding Bensayah supported Al-Qaida is insufficient," U.S. Circuit Judge Douglas H. Ginsburg wrote, instructing the lower court must determine whether Bensayah "was functionally part of al-Qaida." Source

The week's West Wing Week was released.

Day526/July3rd/Saturday: In his Weekly Address, the President announced the United States Department of Energy was awarding nearly $2 billion in conditional commitments from the Recovery Act to two solar companies. The President revealed Abengoa Solar had agreed to build one of the largest solar plants in the world in Arizona, resulting in the creation of about 1,600 construction jobs with over 70 percent of the construction components and products manufactured in the U.S. Also, Abound Solar Manufacturing would be building two new plants, one in Colorado and one in Indiana. Transcript White House fact sheet Video

The President departed Camp David with his family and returned to the White House in the evening.

Day527/July4th/Sunday: The President and his family celebrated the Fourth of July by hosting military heroes and their families for an Independence Day celebration with a barbeque, concert and a view of fireworks on the South Lawn of the White House. Video The President delivered remarks from the Blue Room Balcony of the White House. Transcript Video

Obama Administration National Security Council (NSC) spokesman Mike Hammer issued a statement "condemning the recent decisions by the Syrian government to convict and sentence human rights lawyers, 79-year old Haitham Maleh on Sunday, July 4, and Muhanad al-Hasani on June 23, for publicly expressing their views. These actions are part of a worrying trend of actions taken by the government against lawyers and civil society activists. We also condemn the re-arrest of Damascus Declaration's National Council member Ali Abdullah, who was originally scheduled for release from prison on June 18, but now faces new charges" and urged, "As President Assad approaches the 10th anniversary of his presidency on July 20, Syria should demonstrate its commitment to international legal norms by releasing Maleh, al-Hasani, Abdullah, and other Syrian citizens who have been imprisoned solely for seeking to exercise their right to peaceful free expression and freedom of association." Source

Day528/July5th/Monday: The President held a conference call with United States Ambassador to Afghanistan Karl Eikenberry and Commander of the U.S. Central Command General David Petraeus, congratulating General Petraeus on the change in command, expressing his appreciation for their sacrifice, and reiterating the importance of the mission in Afghanistan. Source

The President telephoned acting President Bronislaw Komorowski to congratulate him on his election as President of Poland. President Obama expressed appreciation for Poland's contributions in Afghanistan, offered his condolences for Poland's sacrifices in the allied effort there, and invited President Komorowski to visit Washington. Source

Day529/July6th/Tuesday: The President met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the Oval Office of the White House. Source

The President and Prime Minister Netanyahu held a joint press in the Oval Office. Transcript Video

The President held a working lunch with Prime Minister Netanyahu in the Cabinet Room of the White House.

Readout of the President's Meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu

The President met with United States Secretary of Defense Robert Gates in the Oval Office. Source

The United States Justice Department filed a lawsuit against Arizona's controversial immigration law, claiming the state's law hampered the authority of the Obama Administration to enforce national immigration policy and placed significant "burdens" on federal agencies and law enforcement. Source

The United States Army in Baghdad, Iraq, released a statement announcing Private First Class Bradley E. Manning had been charged on July 6, 2010 with eight violations of federal criminal law, including unauthorizedcomputer access, and transmittingclassified information to an unauthorized third party, and with two charges of misconduct for allegedly leaking video footage of a US Apache helicopter strike in Baghdad that killed two employees of the Reuters news agency to the whistleblower website Wikileaks. Source

The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved a surgical procedure that implants a tiny telescope inside only one eye for better central vision, while leaving the other eye alone to provide peripheral vision, forcing the brain to fuse two views into a single image. Meant to help in the end stages of incurable age-related macular degeneration, the FDA warned, however, that patients would need post-surgery rehabilitation to make the procedure work. Source

Day530/July7th/Wednesday: The President delivered remarks in the East Room of the White House on his Administration's commitment to export promotion to grow the economy and support new American jobs by:

(1) "going to go to bat for everyone from the largest corporations to the smallest business owner with an idea that she wants to market and sell to the world"

(2) "increasing access to export financing for small and medium-sized businesses that want to export their goods and services, but just need a boost; so the Export-Import Bank has more than doubled its loans in support of American exporters since last year, and that step alone has helped support nearly 110,000 jobs"

(3) "upping our efforts to remove barriers to trade and open new markets and new opportunities for American business; on a global level; this begins with pushing hard in the Doha Round to improve those negotiations so that they have a higher level of ambition in the way that will translate directly into more opportunities for American exporters. Regionally, we're working on the Trans-Pacific Partnership Free Trade Agreement to expand our commercial presence in some of the most dynamic markets in Asia. And where our businesses run up against barriers in individual markets, we are acting"

(4) "reforming our own restrictions on exports, consistent with our national security interests"

(5) "Where American producers face unfair trade practices, we'll use every tool at our disposal to enforce trade agreements. Last week, for example, the WTO ruled in favor of the United States on a case that found European governments were subsidizing planes that Airbus manufactures. That practice was unfair and hurt American workers. This ruling will help keep the playing field level and boost American jobs." Transcript Video

The President and the Vice President Joe Biden met with United States Secretary of the Treasury Tim Geithner in the Oval Office of the White House. Source

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

The President signed into law:

S. 1660, the "Formaldehyde Standards for Composite Wood Products Act," which establishes national air emission standards for formaldehyde in domestic and imported composite wood products

S. 2865, the "Congressional Award Program Reauthorization Act of 2009," which reauthorizes the Congressional Award Program

S.J.Res. 32, which recognizes the 60th anniversary of the outbreak of the Korean War and reaffirms the United States-Korea alliance Source

The President extended his congratulations to the people of Guinea, "who peacefully and successfully conducted an initial round of voting in the country's first free elections since becoming an independent state in 1958." Source

The President announced the recess appointment of these three nominees to fill critical administration posts that have been left vacant:

Dr. Donald Berwick, for Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Department of Health and Human Services

Philip E. Coyle III, for Associate Director for National Security and International Affairs, Office of Science and Technology Policy, Executive Office of the President

Joshua Gotbaum, for Director, Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation Source&Bios

The President announced the designation of a Presidential Delegation to Bosnia and Herzegovina to attend the Ceremony Commemorating the 15th Anniversary of the Srebrenica Genocide on July 11, 2010. Charles L. English, U.S. Ambassador to Bosnia and Herzegovina, was chosen to lead the delegation.

Members of the Presidential Delegation:

Stephen J. Rapp, Ambassador-at-Large for War Crimes Issues, U.S. State Department

Samantha Power, Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Multilateral Affairs and Human Rights, National Security Council Source

The President was interviewed by Yonit Levi for Israeli Television in the Diplomatic Room of the White House. Transcript

Assistant to the President for Special Projects Stephanie Cutter announced that by visiting HealthCare.gov people can quickly access the Hospital Compare tool which analyzes and compares data about the quality of care at more than 4,700 hospitals across the country. Simply typing in zip code or city and state opens access to a wealth of information, including data on 44 quality measures such as how well local hospitals of interest to the individual handle conditions like heart attacks and diabetes. Source

Day531/July8th/Thursday: the President traveled to Kansas City, Missouri, where he toured Smith Electric Vehicles (an all-electric, zero emissions commercial truck manufacturer that received a $32 million Recovery Act grant to build all-electric trucks) and delivered remarks on the economy. Smith Electric established operations at a re-purposed jet engine overhaul facility at the Kansas City International Airport, the first of as many as 20 regional assembly plants Smith Electric planned to open in the United States. Transcript of the President's Remarks Video

The President welcomed the decision by the European Parliament to join the Council and Commission of the European Union in approving a revised agreement between the United States and the European Union on the processing and transfer of financial messaging data for the Terrorist Finance Tracking Program (TFTP). "We look forward to the Council's completion of the process, allowing the agreement to enter into force on August 1, 2010, thus fully restoring this important counterterrorism tool and resuming the sharing of investigative data that has been suspended since January 2010. The threat of terrorism faced by the United States and the European Union continues and, with this agreement, all of our citizens will be safer," the President said in a released statement.

The President announced the appointment of the following individuals to serve on the Council of the Administrative Conference of the United States:

Preeta D. Bansal, Vice Chair (Government Official), Council of the Administrative Conference of the United States

Thomasina Rogers, Member (Government Official), Council of the Administrative Conference of the United States

Michael Fitzpatrick, Member (Government Official), Council of the Administrative Conference of the United States Source&Bios

The President announced his intent to appoint the following individuals to serve on the Council of the Administrative Conference of the United States:

Ronald A. Cass, Member, Council of the Administrative Conference of the United States

Mariano-Florentino Cuéllar, Member, Council of the Administrative Conference of the United States

Julius Genachowski, Member (Government Official), Council of the Administrative Conference of the United States

Theodore Olson, Member, Council of the Administrative Conference of the United States

Thomas Perez, Member (Government Official), Council of the Administrative Conference of the United States

Jane C. Sherburne, Member, Council of the Administrative Conference of the United States

Patricia McGowan Wald, Member, Council of the Administrative Conference of the United States Source&Bios

The President traveled to Las Vegas, Nevada, where he attended a fundraiser for United States Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. Transcript of the President's Remarks

The President spent the night in Las Vegas.

The Obama Administration announced the start of the second SAVE Award competition that asked federal workers on the frontlines to share their cost-savings ideas and insight at SAVEAward.gov. In order to allow employees to apply their insight to the evaluation process, making sure the best ideas make it into the FY 2012 Budget, federal employees were invited to help rate the submissions from their fellow workers. Source

United States District Court Judge for the District of Massachusetts Joseph Louis Tauro ruled against the United States Justice Department, declaring a federal gay marriage ban unconstitutional because it interferes with the right of a state to define marriage, deciding in favor of gay couples' rights in two separate challenges to the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). "The federal government, by enacting and enforcing DOMA, plainly encroaches upon the firmly entrenched province of the state, and in doing so, offends the Tenth Amendment. For that reason, the statute is invalid," Tauro wrote in the ruling in a lawsuit filed by Attorney General Martha Coakley. Source

Day532/July9th/Friday: The President delivered remarks on the economy at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Transcript Video

The President spoke by telephone with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, noting, ""The positive momentum generated by the recent improvements on the ground in Gaza and in the West Bank, the restraint shown by both sides in recent months, and progress in the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian proximity talks."The two Presidents reviewed ways to advance to direct talks in the near term in order to reach an agreement that ends the conflict and establishes an independent and viable Palestinian State living side by side in peace and security with Israel. Source

The President returned to Washington, DC in the evening.

The week's West Wing Week was released.

Day533/July10th/Saturday: In his weekly Address, the President announced Monday, July 12, 2010, "" the Department of Veterans Affairs, led by Secretary Ric Shinseki, will begin making it easier for a veteran with PTSD to get the benefits he or she needs." Transcript Video

The President declared a major disaster existed in the State of Montana and ordered Federal aid to supplement State and local recovery efforts in the area struck by severe storms and flooding beginning on June 15, 2010, and continuing. Federal funding was made available to State and eligible local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations on a cost-sharing basis for emergency work and the repair or replacement of facilities damaged by the severe storms and flooding in Hill County and the Rocky Boy's Indian Reservation.Federal funding was also made available on a cost-sharing basis for hazard mitigation measures for all counties and Tribes within the State. Source

Day534/July11th/Sunday: In a released statement to commemorate the 15th anniversary of the Srebrenica Genocide, the President declared, "" Fifteen years ago today, despite decades of pledges of "never again,' 8,000 men and boys were murdered in these fields and hills. They were brothers, sons, husbands, and fathers, and they all became victims of genocide. I have said, and I believe, that the horror of Srebrenica was a stain on our collective conscience. We honor their memories and grieve with their families, as many of them are laid to rest here today."

The President golfed at Fort Belvoir, Virgina with Special Assistant to the President and Trip Director for the President: Marvin Nicholson and two others. Source

Day535/July12th/Monday: The President met with President Leonel Fernandez of the Dominican Republic to discuss trade, drug-trafficking and Haiti and, afterward, both Presidents answered questions from the press in the Oval Office of the White House. Transcript of Q&A Video

The President sent a letter to the Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, enclosing amendments to Fiscal Year (FY) 2010 proposals in his FY 2011 Budget for the Department of Commerce that supported efforts to reduce backlogs in processing patent applications by spurring innovation and reforming U.S. Patent and Trademark Office operations to make them more effective and assure the continuation of efforts to administer and oversee grants awarded under the Broadband Technology Opportunity Program. The amounts requested for the amendments were to be fully offset by a proposed cancellation of FY 2010 unobligated balances from within the Department of Commerce's Census Bureau. Source

The President sent these nominations to the United States Senate:

Alexander A. Arvizu, of Virginia, a Career Member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Minister-Counselor, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of Albania. Bio

Pamela E. Bridgewater Awkard, of Virginia, a Career Member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Career Minister, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to Jamaica. Bio

Nisha Desai Biswal, of the District of Columbia, to be an Assistant Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development Bio

Michele Thoren Bond, of the District of Columbia, a Career Member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Minister-Counselor, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Kingdom of Lesotho. Bio

Sean P. Buckley, of New York, to be Commissioner of Education Statistics for a term expiring June 21, 2015 Bio

Paul W. Jones, of New York, a Career Member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Minister-Counselor, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to Malaysia. Bio

Robert P. Mikulak, of Virginia, for the rank of Ambassador during his tenure of service as United States Representative to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. Bio

Phyllis Marie Powers, of Virginia, a Career Member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Minister-Counselor, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of Panama. Bio

Francis Joseph Ricciardone, Jr., of Massachusetts, a Career Member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Career Minister, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of Turkey. Bio

Duane E. Woerth, of Nebraska, for the rank of Ambassador during his tenure of service as Representative of the United States of America on the Council of the International Civil Aviation Organization. Bio Source

United States Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced a new moratorium on deep-water offshore drilling no longer based on water depth but applied to any deep-water floating facility with drilling activities. The new moratorium was to last through November 30, 2010. Source

United States Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki announced a critical step forward in providing an easier process for Veterans seeking health care and disability compensation for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), with the publication of a final regulation in the Federal Register to simplify the process for a veteran to claim service connection for PTSD. Under the new rule, VA would not require corroboration of a stressor related to fear of hostile military or terrorist activity if a VA doctor confirms that the stressful experience recalled by a veteran adequately supports a diagnosis of PTSD and the veteran's symptoms are related to the claimed stressor. For additional information, go to www.va.gov or call VA's toll free benefits number at 1-800-827-1000. Source

National Security Advisor James L. Jones visited Paris and Brussels to consult with NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, senior French officials, and other allies. His discussions focused on coordinating transatlantic actions with regard to Afghanistan and Iran and on furthering Middle East peace efforts. General Jones also discussed preparations for the upcoming November 19-20, 2010 NATO Summit in Lisbon, including advancing allied agreement on key deliverables to prepare NATO to face 21st Century challenges. Source

Day536/July13th/Tuesday: The President and Vice President Joe Biden met with the Senate Democratic Leadership Team in the Roosevelt Room of the White House to discuss legislative priorities before the August 2010 recess. Source

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

The President announced his nomination of Jacob Lew to be the Director of the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to replace outgoing OMB Director Peter Orszag. Transcript

The President signed S. 3104, legislation that provided permanent authorization for Radio Free Asia. Source

The President discussed the National HIV/AIDS Strategy in the East Room of the White House during remarks at a press reception to honor the work of the HIV/AIDS Community. Transcript Video

The President issued a Presidential Memorandum for the heads of Executive Branch departments and agencies on the implementation of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy.

The President was interviewed in the Diplomatic Room of the White House by a reporter for South African Broadcasting Corporation. Transcript

United States Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, White House Domestic Policy Council Director Melody Barnes, Office of National AIDS Policy Director Jeffrey Crowley, and HHS Assistant Secretary for Health Dr. Howard Koh unveiled the National HIV/AIDS Strategy and discussed its goals and details:

(1) reduce the number of people who become infected with HIV

(2) increase access to care and optimizing health outcomes for people living with HIV

(3) reduce HIV-related health disparities. Source Video

United States Attorney General Eric Holder announced the indictment of six current or former New Orleans Police Department officers in connection to the New Orleans, Louisiana, Danziger Bridge Shootings of six civilians on September 4, 2005, which occurred during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Source

The 2nd United States Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan struck down the 2004 Federal Communications Commission (FCC) policy that prohibited as profanity references to sex or excrement. "By prohibiting all 'patently offensive' references to sex, sexual organs and excretion without giving adequate guidance as to what 'patently offensive' means, the FCC effectively chills speech, because broadcasters have no way of knowing what the FCC will find offensive," the appeals court wrote.Source

The Obama Administration sent a bill for 99.7 million dollars to BP for clean up and recovery operations in the wake of the April 20, 2010 BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. The bill was the fourth submitted to BP and was for the costs of the disaster response operation by more than two-dozen federal entities and agencies spanning three states. Source

Day537/July14th/Wednesday: The President and Vice President Joe Biden met with United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in the Oval Office of the White House. Source

The President attended a meeting in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building to discuss the progress made by the Administration's increased cybersecurity efforts. Cybersecurity Coordinator Howard Schmidt, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and Commerce Secretary Gary Locke led the meeting attended by an array of cybersecurity stakeholders from the federal government, state and local government, law enforcement and private sector representatives from across multiple sectors of the economy, as well as representatives from academia and the privacy and civil liberties communities.The purpose was to draw attention to the efforts of these communities to reduce risk and build confidence in the critical information and communications infrastructure of the United States. Source

The President declared a major disaster existed in the State of Wyoming and ordered Federal aid to supplement state and local recovery efforts in the area struck by flooding during the period of June 4-18, 2010. Federal funding was made available to state and eligible local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations on a cost-sharing basis for emergency work and the repair or replacement of facilities damaged by the flooding in Fremont County and the portions of the Wind River Indian Reservation that lie within Fremont County. Federal funding was also available on a cost-sharing basis for hazard mitigation measures statewide. Source

The President sent a letter to the Chairman and Ranking Members of the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate Appropriations Committees and the Chairman and Ranking Members of the House and Senate Foreign Affairs Committee:

"Consistent with section 306(c)(2) of the Cuban Liberty and Democratic Solidarity (LIBERTAD) Act of 1996 (Public Law 104-114)(the "Act"), I hereby determine and report to the Congress that suspension, for 6 months beyond August 1, 2010, of the right to bring an action under title III of the Act is necessary to the national interests of the United States and will expedite a transition to democracy in Cuba." Source

The President sent these nominations to the United States Senate:

Conrad Ernest Candelaria, of New Mexico, to be United States Marshal for the District of New Mexico for the term of four years Bio

James Edward Clark, of Kentucky, to be United States Marshal for the Western District of Kentucky for the term of four years Bio

Mark F. Green, of Oklahoma, to be United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Oklahoma for the term of four years Bio

Joseph H. Hogsett, of Indiana, to be United States Attorney for the Southern District of Indiana for the term of four years Bio

Marco A. Hernandez, of Oregon, to be United States District Judge for the District of Oregon Bio

Beryl Alaine Howell, of the District of Columbia, to be United States District Judge for the District of Columbia Bio

Steve C. Jones, of Georgia, to be United States District Judge for the Northern District of Georgia Bio

Sue E. Myerscough, of Illinois, to be United States District Judge for the Central District of Illinois Bio

Victoria Frances Nourse, of Wisconsin, to be United States Circuit Judge for the Seventh Circuit Bio

Joseph Anthony Papili, of Delaware, to be United States Marshal for the District of Delaware for the term of four years Bio

Diana Saldaña, of Texas, to be United States District Judge for the Southern District of Texas Bio

Michael H. Simon, of Oregon, to be United States District Judge for the District of Oregon Bio

James Alfred Thompson, of Utah, to be United States Marshal for the District of Utah for the term of four years Bio Source

The President notified the United States Senate of his withdrawal of the nomination of Sue E. Myerscough, of Illinois, to be United States District Judge for the Central District of Illinois, which was sent to the Senate on June 17, 2010. Source Bio

The President and Vice President Joe Biden met in the evening with United States House of Representatives Democratic leadership in the Oval Office to discuss legislative priorities before the August recess. Source

Vice President Joe Biden and his wife Dr. Jill Biden hosted an evening reception with leaders of labor organizations at the Naval Observatory.

Obama Administration National Security Council (NSC) spokesman Mike Hammer conducted a conference call in which senior Obama Administration officials answered questions on the Al Shabaab terrorist group. Transcript

The United States Department of Health and Human Services announced that under new rules private insurers would be barred from charging co-pays or deductibles for certain cancer screenings, blood pressure exams, routine vaccinations and a range of other preventive health services for new health plans that begin on or after September 23, 2010. To remain exempt from the law, grandfathered plans could not significantly reduce benefits or increase employee premium contributions by more than 5 percentage points, though co-pays and other forms of cost-sharing would still be allowed for out-of-network care and the treatment of conditions identified by screening. Source Video

The United States Department of Energy released a new report on the economic impact of Recovery Act investments in advanced batteries and vehicles. The report, "Recovery Act Investments: Transforming America's Transportation Sector," documented how Recovery Act funds were being matched with private capital to create new jobs, construct new plants, add new manufacturing lines, install electric vehicle charging stations across the country and help build the emerging domestic electric vehicle industry from the ground up. The report can be viewed in full HERE

The United States Military in Iraq, at a ceremony in a hangar at Camp Cropper detention center near Baghdad airport, handed over its last prison in Iraq to the Iraqi Military. The U.S. Military lost the right to detain Iraqis under a bilateral security agreement signed in 2008 that paved the way for a full U.S. withdrawal by the end of 2011. Camp Cropper would remain open for at least two years under Iraqi control but renamed Camp Al Karkh. Source

Day538/July15th/Thursday: The President traveled to Holland, Michigan and delivered remarks at the groundbreaking of the Compact Power Plant, the ninth of nine new advanced battery factories to start construction as a result of $2.4 billion in Recovery Act advanced battery and electric vehicle awards. Transcript Video

The President spoke with Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh by telephone. The two presidents discussed U.S. and international support for policies to address Yemen's political and economic challenges, including through the Friends of Yemen group, the importance of all parties to the Houthi conflict fully complying with the ceasefire in the north of Yemen and recent increases in U.S. assistance to persons displaced by the conflict. President Obama supported a comprehensive and inclusive Yemeni national dialogue on economic, political, and human rights issues. They also discussed the continuing threat of Al Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, and international assistance to Yemen to support its counterterrorism efforts. Source

The President declared a major disaster existed in the State of Nebraska and ordered Federal aid to supplement State and local recovery efforts in the area struck by severe storms, flooding, and tornadoes beginning on June 1, 2010, and continuing. Federal funding was made available to state and eligible local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations on a cost-sharing basis for emergency work and the repair or replacement of facilities damaged by the severe storms, flooding, and tornadoes in the counties of Antelope, Arthur, Blaine, Boone, Boyd, Brown, Burt, Cass, Chase, Cherry, Cheyenne, Colfax, Cuming, Custer, Dodge, Douglas, Frontier, Garden, Garfield, Greeley, Harlan, Hayes, Holt, Howard, Keya Paha, Knox, Lincoln, Logan, Loup, Madison, McPherson, Morrill, Nance, Nemaha, Nuckolls, Otoe, Perkins, Phelps, Pierce, Platte, Richardson, Rock, Sarpy, Saunders, Sherman, Sioux, Stanton, Thomas, Valley, Washington, Wayne, Webster, and Wheeler. Federal funding was also made available on a cost-sharing basis for hazard mitigation measures statewide.Source

The President provided remarks from the South Driveway of the White House on the United States Senate's passage of financial regulatory reform. Among his remarks, the President said, "Unless your business model depends on cutting corners or bilking your customers, you have nothing to fear from this reform." Transcript Video

Vice President Joe Biden hosted a conference call with Mayors and county officials from across the country to discuss implementation of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (Recovery Act). The following elected officials participated:

" Mayor Michael Bell (I-Toledo, OH)
" Mayor Richard J. Berry (R-Albuquerque, NM)
" Mayor Nicholas M. Mavodones, Jr. (D-Portland, ME)
" Mayor Michael McGinn (D-Seattle, WA)
" County Supervisor Valerie K. Brown (D- Sonoma County, CA)
" County Executive Ed Mangano (R-Nassau County, NY) Source

The United States State Department sent out an email warning all 14,574 Washington-area employees that "On Monday July 19, the Washington Post plans to publish a website listing all agencies and contractors believed to conduct Top Secret work on behalf of the US Government" and that "The website provides a graphic representation pinpointing the location of firms conducting Top Secret work, describing the type of work they perform, and identifying many facilities where such work is done" and directing the employees to "neither confirm nor deny" the Washington Post's claims. Source A copy of a letter sent by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence to "Industry Partners" with the subject line "Potential Disclosure of Contract Information" can be found here.

Day539/July16th/Friday: The President delivered remarks from the Rose Garden of the White House on BP's successful capping of the wellhead with a new cap and took questions from the press. Transcript Video

The President proclaimed July 18 through July 24, 2010, as Captive Nations Week, calling upon the people of the United States to reaffirm deep commitment to all those working for human rights and dignity around the globe. Source

The President and his family departed for a weekend vacation to Maine's Mount Desert Island, home of Acadia National Park. Source

Obama Administration National Security Advisor James L. Jones was in Kabul where he met with U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan Karl Eikenberry, Commander of the U.S. Central Command General David Petraeus, and Afghan and international officials. Jones discussed the current security situation, regional stability, and the upcoming Kabul Conference. Source

United States Attorney General Eric Holder, attending the first in a series of regional "summits" on health-care fraud prevention in Miami with U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, announced federal agents had fanned out across five states to arrest 94 defendants accused of bilking Medicare out of more than $251 million through false claims for services that were medically unnecessary or never provided. Among those charged were doctors and health-care company owners and executives. Source&Transcript

U.S. District Judge for the District of Columbia Reggie Walton sentenced 73-year-old Kendall Myers, the great-grandson of Alexander Graham Bell, to life in prison without possibility of parole for spying for Cuba and sentenced Myer's wife, Gwendolyn, to more than 5 years behind bars for helping her husband steal U.S. secrets. Source

The week's West Wing Week was released.

[Author's note: all days in these chronicles are full days. The Obama Inauguration 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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Even as I prepared to submit this chronicle, this ... by Robert Arend on Saturday, Jul 17, 2010 at 7:16:29 AM
Why did we NOT have a 'letter' like this on the sh... by kanawah on Saturday, Jul 17, 2010 at 7:14:38 PM
Much of the information compiled in these chronicl... by Robert Arend on Saturday, Jul 17, 2010 at 8:48:25 PM