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The Obama Administration: July 1-17, 2009

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This article is the twelfth 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.

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"This isn't just about those Americans without health care. It's about every American -- because if we do not act to bring down costs, everybody's health care will be in jeopardy. If you lose your job, or if you've got a preexisting condition, you don't know that your family is going to be secure. All of us are in this together. " Barack Obama, President of the United States of America

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Day160/July1st/Wednesday: the President held an online town hall meeting on health care from Northern Virginia Community College in Annandale. Transcript Video

The President signed into law S.614, a bill to award a Congressional Gold Medal to the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP). WASP was established during World War II with the primary mission of flying non-combat military missions in the United States thus freeing their male counterparts for combat missions. Its pilots were the first women ever to fly American military aircraft and flew almost every type of aircraft operated by the United States Army Air Force during World War II on a wide range of missions.

The President signed into law: H.R.1777, which makes technical corrections and other changes to the Higher Education Act of 1965.

The White House publicly disclosed its Annual Report to Congress on White House Staff. salaries PDF

United States Vice President Joe Biden traveled to Erie, Pennsylvania for an American American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 event on broadband investments, where he announced the availability of $4 billion in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act loans and grants to help bring broadband service to un-served and underserved communities across America.

United States Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Shaun Donovan announced the federal government's Home Affordable Refinance program will serve people whose mortgages are up to 125 percent of the value of their homes. The program, part of the Obama Administration's Making Home Affordable initiative, applies to mortgages owned or guaranteed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Source

The United States Justice Department filed a court brief to deny a Freedom of Information (FOIA) request for the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) interview notes with former United States Vice President Dick Cheney about the leak of Valerie Plame's identity as a United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) covert operative. The brief declared "If law enforcement interviews of senior-level White House officials become subject to routine public disclosure, the White House official may agree to talk only in response to a grand jury subpoena." Source: MSNBC/Countdown/July 2, 2009

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Day161/July2nd/Thursday: the President met in the Roosevelt Room of the White House with leaders of innovative large and small energy companies that are creating jobs. The importance of innovation and the long-term strength of the United States economy was discussed.

The President delivered remarks about innovation and jobs in the Rose Garden of the White House. Excerpt: "So much of the debate around health care, so much of the debate around energy, has been based on this idea that somehow if we stand still and we don't do anything that we're going to be better off. And that's just not how this world works. It's certainly not how the modern economy works. We know we're going to have to change how we use energy. " Transcript Video

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

  • Jonathan Addleton, Ambassador to Mongolia

  • Gayleatha Beatrice Brown, Ambassador to Burkina Faso

  • Earl M. Irving, Ambassador to the Kingdom of Swaziland

  • Douglas Kmiec, Ambassador to the Republic of Malta

  • Fay Hartog-Levin, Ambassador to the Kingdom of the Netherlands

The President declared a major disaster exists in the State of Illinois and ordered Federal aid to supplement State and local recovery efforts in the area struck by severe storms, flooding, and tornadoes during the period of May 8-9, 2009.

The President Obama taped the audio for the debut of his life-size animatronic figure for Disney's Hall of Presidents. Video

Vice President Joe Biden landed at Camp Victory, Iraq for a visit with U.S. troops and to meet with Iraqi leaders. This was Vice President Biden's second trip to Iraq this year and his first as Vice President.

Day162/July3rd/Friday: the President traveled to Camp David.

Day163/July4th/Saturday: in his weekly address, the President focused on creating a clean energy economy, comprehensive health reform, and revitalizing an education system in need of change, pledging not to leave these decades-old problems to yet another generation to solve. Transcript Video

The President returned to the White House, where a barbecue, military band and fireworks on the South Lawn honored military heroes and their families. Jimmy Fallon emceed a special concert, put on by the USO, featuring the Foo Fighters and Michelle Branch. Transcript of the President's Remarks

United States Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar officially reopened the crown of the Statue of Liberty to the public, the first time visitors could tour the crown since it was closed following the 9/11 attacks. About 240 visitors per day will be able to tour the crown, but you can visit the Statue of Liberty anytime from home by taking the new Statue of Liberty National Monument virtual tour

Vice President Biden, in Iraq, presided over a naturalization ceremony for U.S. service members in one of Saddam Hussein's old palaces.

Day164/July5th/Sunday: President Obama spoke with Turkish President Abdullah Gul. President Gul thanked President Obama for his Cairo speech on America's relationship with Muslim communities around the world. The two Presidents also discussed the situation in the Caucasus and the Minsk Group's ongoing efforts to address Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

The President and the First Lady departed in the evening for Moscow, Russia.

Day165/July6th/Monday: In Moscow, Russia, the President participated in a wreath-laying ceremony at the Russian Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

The President met with Russia's President Dmitry Medvedev at the Kremlin, where they held a working meeting.

Joint Statement By President Obama and President Of The Russian Federation Medvedev Concerning Afghanistan This agreement grants flights over Russia of United States planes to supply troops in Afghanistan.

Joint Statement by President Obama of the United States of America and President Dmitry Medvedev of the Russian Federation on Nuclear Cooperation

Joint Statement by Dmitry A Medvedev President of the Russian Federation and Barack Obama President of the United States of America on Missile Defense Issues

FACT SHEET US-Russia Bilateral Presidential Commission

FACT SHEET The Joint Understanding for the START Follow on Treaty This agreement would trim U.S/Russian nuclear warheads by a third. Each country would still retain over 1500-1675 nuclear warheads.

United States Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Michael Mullen and Chief of Defense for the Russian Federation General Nikolay Yegorovich Makarov signed a new strategic framework for military-to-military engagement between the United States and the Russian Federation. This agreement will enable the resumption of bilateral activities, which had been suspended since August of 2008. Transcript


In the evening, President Obama and President Medvedev held a joint press conference at the Kremlin. Transcript Video 1 Video 2

The President and First Lady Michelle Obama met with U.S. Embassy personnel at the U.S. Embassy.

The President and First Lady Michelle Obama had dinner with President Medvedev and Lady Sletvana Medvedeva at the Gorky.

In an exchange of diplomatic notes, the United States and the Russian Federation reached a common understanding on a framework for the U.S. Russia Joint Commission on Prisoners of War and Missing in Action (POW/MIAs).

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

  • John Fernandez, Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development and Economic Development Administration Administrator, Department of Commerce

  • Anthony Marion Babauta, Assistant Secretary for Insular Areas, Department of the Interior

  • Joseph A. Main, Assistant Secretary for Mine Safety and Health, Department of Labor

  • Alexa E. Posny, Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative Services, Department of Education

  • Christopher P. Bertram, Assistant Secretary for Budget and Programs and Chief Financial Officer, Department of Transportation

  • Terry A. Yonkers, Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Installations and Environment, Department of the Air Force, Department of Defense

  • Kelvin James Cochran, U.S. Fire Administrator, Federal Emergency Management Agency, Department of Homeland Security

  • Joseph G. Pizarchik, Director, Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement, Department of the Interior

  • Daniel R. Elliott, III, Chairman, Surface Transportation Board

  • Patricia D. Cahill, Member of the Board of Directors, Corporation for Public Broadcasting

The President sent these nominations to the United States Senate:

Jonathan S. Addleton, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to Mongolia.

Anthony Marion Babauta, to be an Assistant Secretary of the Interior

Rafael Borras, to be Under Secretary for Management, Department of Homeland Security

Gayleatha Beatrice Brown, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to Burkina Faso.

Patricia D. Cahill, to be a Member of the Board of Directors of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting for a term expiring January 31, 2014

George H. Cohen, to be Federal Mediation and Conciliation Director

Peggy E. Gustafson, to be Inspector General, Small Business Administration

Samuel D. Hamilton,, to be Director of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service

Jon M. Huntsman, Jr., to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the People's Republic of China.

Earl Michael Irving, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Kingdom of Swaziland.

Douglas W. Kmiec, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of Malta.

Joseph A. Main, to be Assistant Secretary of Labor for Mine Safety and Health

John M. McHugh, to be Secretary of the Army

David H. Thorne, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Italian Republic, and to serve concurrently and without additional compensation as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of San Marino.

Day166/July7th/Tuesday: the President met with Russia's Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and had a working breakfast at Putin's dacha. Transcript of Remarks Before the Meeting

The President met with former Russian President Mikhail Gorbachev at Gostinny Dvor.

The President delivered the commencement address at the ceremonies for the 2009 graduating class of the New Economic School at Gostinny Dvor. Transcript & Video

The President held a one-on-one meeting with Russia's President Medvedev at the Kremlin, then attended with First Lady Michelle Obama a lunch reception hosted by President Medvedev.

The President and President Medvedev met with the Parallel Business Summit at the Manezh Exhibition Hall. Transcript

The President met with the Parallel Civil Society Summit at the Metropol Hotel. Transcript

The President met with Russian opposition leaders at the Ritz Carlton.

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

  • Michael H. Posner, Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, Department of State

  • Stephen J. Rapp, Ambassador at Large for War Crimes Issues, Department of State

  • Alexander G. Garza, Assistant Secretary for Health Affairs and Chief Medical Officer, Department of Homeland Security

  • Susan L. Kurland, Assistant Secretary for Aviation and International Affairs, Department of Transportation

  • Joe Garcia, Director of the Office of Minority Economic Impact, Department of Energy

  • Kenneth A. Spearman, Member of the Board of Directors, Farm Credit Administration

  • Rolena Adorno, Member of the National Council on the Humanities

  • Marvin Krislov, Member of the National Council on the Humanities

The President sent these nominations to the United States Senate:

Matthew Winthrop Barzun, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to Sweden.

William Carlton Eacho, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of Austria.

Alexander G. Garza, to be Assistant Secretary for Health Affairs and Chief Medical Officer, Department of Homeland Security

Fay Hartog-Levin, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

Susan L. Kurland, to be an Assistant Secretary of Transportation

Patricia Newton Moller, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of Guinea.

Michael H. Posner, to be Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor

Alexa E. Posny, to be Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative Services, Department of Education

Stephen J. Rapp, to be Ambassador at Large for War Crimes Issues

United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton met with Honduran President Manuel Zelaya at the State Department.

Day167/July8th/Wednesday: The President arrived in Italy for the G8 summit.

The President met with Italy's President Giorgio Napolitano, continuing on to L'Aquila for the summit.

The President and leaders of the G8 nations agreed that global temperatures should be kept from rising by more than 2 degrees Celsius, or 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit, and endeavor to cut greenhouse gases by 2050 to slow dangerous climate change.

Remarks By U.S. President Obama & Italy's President Napolitano After Bilateral Meeting. Video

FACT-SHEET On G8 Global Issues

Statements and declarations from G8 meetings in L'Aquila, Italy:

The President attended a dinner hosted by Italy's Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.

The President announced his intent to nominate Francis S. Collins as Director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) at the United States Department of Health and Human Services.

The President sent to the United States Senate these nominations:

(1) Irene Berger for the United States District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia

(2) Roberto Lange for the United States District Court for the District of South Dakota.

Vice President Joe Biden announced a major investment from hospitals of $155 billion toward Medicare and Medicaid savings over the next 10 years to cover health care cost reform. Transcript

Day168/July9th/Thursday: the President attended a bilateral meeting with President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva of Brazil.

The President attended a meeting of the leaders of G8, Brazil, China, India, Mexico South Africa, and Egypt.

The President addressed the G8. Transcript Video

The President attended a working lunch of the leaders of the G8 +5, Egypt, and six international organizations (United Nations, International Monetary Fund, World Bank, World Trade Organization, International Energy Agency, and Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development).

The President attended a meeting with representatives of the Junior 8.

The President attended a discussion on world trade and a Major Economies Forum discussion on the environment.

Remarks By President Obama On Major Economies Forum Declaration

Declaration of the Leaders of the Major Economies Forum on Energy and Climate

Fact-Sheet Meeting the International Clean Energy and Climate Change Challenges

In the evening, the President attended a working dinner hosted by Italian President Giorgio Napolitano.

The President named 100 beginning researchers as recipients of the Presidential Early Career Awards for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE), the highest honor bestowed by the United States government on young professionals in the early stages of their independent research careers. The recipient scientists and engineers will receive their awards in the Fall at a White House ceremony. A list of the 100 can be found here.

The President Barack Obama announced his intent to nominate Brian Hayes as a member of the National Labor Relations Board.

President Barack Obama announced his intent to nominate the following individuals for key administration posts:

  • Philip D. Murphy, Ambassador to the Federal Republic of Germany

  • Richard A. Serino, Deputy Administrator, Federal Emergency Management Agency, Department of Homeland Security

  • Dr. Marcia K. McNutt, Director of the United States Geological Survey and Science Advisor to the Secretary of the Interior

The President sent these nominations to the United states Senate:

Rolena Klahn Adorno, to be a Member of the National Council on the Humanities for a term expiring January 26, 2014

Craig Becker, to be a Member of the National Labor Relations Board for the term of five years expiring December 16, 2014. (Reappointment)

Craig Becker, to be a Member of the National Labor Relations Board for the term of five years expiring December 16, 2009

Christopher P. Bertram, to be an Assistant Secretary of Transportation

Francis S. Collins, to be Director of the National Institutes of Health

Sherry Glied, to be an Assistant Secretary of Health and Human Services

Brian Hayes, to be a Member of the National Labor Relations Board for the term of five years expiring December 16, 2012

James A. Leach, to be Chairperson of the National Endowment for the Humanities for a term of four years

Philip D. Murphy, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Federal Republic of Germany.

Mark Gaston Pearce, to be a Member of the National Labor Relations Board for the term of five years expiring August 27, 2013

United States Vice President Joe Biden traveled to the American Can Building in the Northside neighborhood of Cincinnati, Ohio, where he highlighted the many ways in which the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act is supporting Southwest Ohio. The American Can Building, a formerly abandoned factory that is being converted to a multi-use economic development project, is just one of thousands of Ohio projects and facilities to benefit from the act.

United states Vice President Joe Biden, in Saratoga County, New York, announced the release of over $275 million in unemployment insurance modernization funds authorized by the Recovery Act.

Day169/July10th/Friday: the President attended a working breakfast and a meeting of the leaders of the G-8, participating African countries (Angola, Algeria, Nigeria, and Senegal), and six international organizations (United Nations, International Monetary Fund, World Bank, World Trade Organization, International Energy Agency, and Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development).

Joint Statement on the Nagorno Karabakh Conflict

Food Security Investing in Agricultural Development to Reduce Hunger and Poverty

The President held a bilateral meeting with South African President Jacob Zuma.

The President traveled to Rome, where he met with Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone at the Vatican.

The President attended a bilateral meeting with Pope Benedict XVI, followed by an audience with the Pope for the Obama family.

President Barack Obama announced his intent to nominate the following individuals for key administration posts:

  • Glyn Davies, United States Representative to the Vienna Office of the United Nations, with the rank of Ambassador and United States Representative to the International Atomic Energy Agency, with the rank of Ambassador

  • Jim R. Esquea, Assistant Secretary for Legislation, Department of Health and Human Services

  • Jonathan B. Jarvis, Director, National Park Service, Department of the Interior

The President announced his intent to nominate the following individuals as United States Attorneys:

Dennis Burke, District of Arizona
Steven Dettelbach, Northern District of Ohio
Brendan Johnson, District of South Dakota
Karen Loeffler, District of Alaska
Florence T. Nakakuni, District of Hawaii
Carter M. Stewart, Southern District of Ohio

In the evening, the President and the First Lady departed Italy for Accra, Ghana.

Day170/July11th/Saturday: In his weekly address, the President spoke of why he believes the Recovery Act helped end our economic free fall. Transcript Video

The President addressed the Ghanaian Parliament at the Accra International Conference Center in Accra, Ghana, laying out his vision for human rights and democracy in Africa's future, and he described what America's role in promoting better governance in Africa will be. The speech was entitled, "A New Moment of Promise." Transcript Video

Day171/July12th/Sunday: the President called Judge Sonia Sotomayor from the Oval Office of the White House to wish her good luck as she completed preparations for her confirmation hearing.

Day172/July13th/Monday: the President met with more than a dozen labor leaders about shared priorities like creating jobs, health care reform and the Employee Free Choice Act. A list of the attendees can be found here.

The President met with over a dozen heads of influential American Jewish organizations in the Roosevelt Room of the White House. A list of the attendees can be found here.

The President announced his nominee for the U.S. Surgeon General, Dr. Regina Benjamin in the Rose Garden of the White House. Transcript Video

The President welcomed the crew of the Columbus Crew Soccer Team to the White House. Transcript

The President delivered remarks at the Urban and Metropolitan Policy Roundtable conducted by the White House Office of Urban Affairs and Domestic Policy Council in Room 350 of the Eisenhower Executive Office Building. Transcript Video

The President's Council of Economic Advisers released a report today on "Jobs of the Future (pdf)" outlining how the U.S. labor market is expected to grow over the next few years. The report includes information on likely shifts and changes in the labor market, skills and training that will likely be most relevant in growing occupations, the importance of worker flexibility, and how the construction and manufacturing sectors are expected to rebound as a result of the Recovery Act.

The President sent these nominations to the United States Senate:

Glyn T. Davies, to be Representative of the United States of America to the Vienna Office of the United Nations, with the rank of Ambassador.

Glyn T. Davies, to be Representative of the United States of America to the International Atomic Energy Agency, with the rank of Ambassador.

Jonathan B. Jarvis, to be Director of the National Park Service

Bryan Hayes Samuels, to be Commissioner on Children, Youth, and Families, Department of Health and Human Services

The President declared a major disaster existed in the State of Tennessee and ordered Federal aid to supplement State and local recovery efforts in the area struck by severe storms, tornadoes, straight-line winds, and flooding during the period of June 12-14, 2009.

Steve Rattner, who had overseen President Obama's auto task force, announced he will be leaving the post and will be replaced by Ron Bloom, a former union official.

The Obama administration announced that it would seek to ban many routine uses of antibiotics in farm animals in hopes of reducing the spread of dangerous bacteria in humans. Source

The U.S. Forest Service agreed to sell timber to a Ketchikan mill in a roadless area of the Tongass National Forest after the Obama administration's approved the sale. Source

Day173/July14th/Tuesday: the President met with Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende of the Netherlands.

The President traveled to Warren, Michigan, where he delivered remarks on community colleges at Macomb Community College. Among his remarks, the President announced:

"today I'm announcing the most significant down payment yet on reaching the goal of having the highest college graduation rate of any nation in the world. We're going to achieve this in the next 10 years. And it's called the American Graduation Initiative. It will reform and strengthen community colleges like this one from coast to coast so they get the resources that students and schools need and the results workers and businesses demand. Through this plan, we seek to help an additional 5 million Americans earn degrees and certificates in the next decade-5 million." Transcript Video

Fact Sheet On the American Graduation Initiative

The President announced his intent to nominate Aaron Williams to be Director of the Peace Corps.

The President sent these nominations to the United States Senate:

Dennis K. Burke, to be United States Attorney for the District of Arizona for the term of four years

Brenda Dann-Messier, to be Assistant Secretary for Vocational and Adult Education, Department of Education

Steven M. Dettelbach, to be United States Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio for the term of four years

Brendan V. Johnson, to be United States Attorney for the District of South Dakota for the term of four years

Karen Louise Loeffler, to be United States Attorney for the District of Alaska for the term of four years

Florence T. Nakakuni, to be United States Attorney for the District of Hawaii for the term of four years

Carter M. Stewart, to be United States Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio for the term of four years

Aaron S. Williams, to be Director of the Peace Corps


The President traveled to St. Louis, Missouri, where he threw out the first pitch at the MLB All-Star Game.
The legendary Willie Mays joined President on Airforce One for the trip. Video of the President and Mays on Airforce One

Day174/July15th/Wednesday: the President delivered remarks on health care reform in the Rose Garden of the White House. Transcript Video

The President met with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in the Oval Office of the White House.

The President and the Vice President met with Secretary of Defense Robert Gates in the Oval Office.

In an interview with CBS News, the President revealed he had changed his campaign view that Americans should not be required to buy health insurance. Source: CBS Evening News July 15, 2009.

The President sent this nomination to the United States Senate:

Richard Serino, to be Deputy Administrator and Chief Operating Officer, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), United States Department of Homeland Security

The President announced his intent to nominate Jacqueline A. Berrien as Chair of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

The Obama Administration released an official letter on the bill that would fund the Pentagon budget for next year, declaring opposition to language in the bill that would require video of intelligence interrogations.

United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton delivered a policy speech at the Council on Foreign Relations, outlining the Obama Administration's goals and approaches to foreign policy, discussed some of the world's greatest challenges, the shape of American leadership in the world, the need for global cooperation, and the benefits of diplomacy.

The United States Senate confirmed former astronaut and Marines general Charles Bolden as the new administrator of NASA. Bolden becomes the US space agency's first African-American chief.

Day175/July16th/Thursday: the President met separately with United States Senator Ben Nelson of Nebraska and U.S. Senator Olympia Snowe of Maine to discuss health care reform.

The President delivered remarks to the NAACP during their 100th anniversary convention at the Hilton New York in New York City.
Transcript Video

United States Vice President Joe Biden led a discussion with older Americans on how reforming health care will lower costs, cut waste, create stability and improve quality for them at a Middle Class Task Force meeting on healthcare at the Dr. Oswald Durant Memorial Center in Alexandria, Virginia.

United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton departed for a week-long trip to India and Thialand.

United States Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and United States Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood traveled to Wisconsin to talk about economic development.

United States Commerce Secretary Gary Locke said U.S. consumers should pay for part of Chinese greenhouse-gas emissions. Locke told the American Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai:

"It's important that those who consume the products being made all around the world to the benefit of America - and it's our own consumption activity that's causing the emission of greenhouse gases, then quite frankly Americans need to pay for that." Source

Day176/July17th/Friday: the President delivered unscheduled remarks about the progress being made on health care reform and the way forward in keeping costs under control. Transcript C-Span Video

The President sent this nomination to the United States Senate:

Joseph G. Pizarchik, to be Director of the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement

[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.]

 

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

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