"Through this law, we will strengthen the protections against crimes based on the color of your skin, the faith in your heart, or the place of your birth. We will finally add federal protections against crimes based on gender, disability, gender identity, or sexual orientation. And prosecutors will have new tools to work with states in order to prosecute to the fullest those who would perpetrate such crimes. Because no one in America should ever be afraid to walk down the street holding the hands of the person they love. No one in America should be forced to look over their shoulder because of who they are or because they live with a disability." __United States President Barack Obama at the signing of the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, October 28, 2009
This article is the nineteenth 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.
Day268/Oct17th/Saturday: In his weekly address, the President both heralded the sight of the finish line on healthcare reform and warned against complacency in the effort. "For decades, whenever we have tried to reform the system, the insurance companies have done everything in their considerable power to stop us," the President said. Transcript Video
The President and President Abdullah Gul of Turkey, speaking by telephone, discussed the progress being made on normalization of relations between Turkey and Armenia and the need for sustained engagement in resolving the Cyprus problem and in promoting stability in Bosnia-Herzegovina.
Day269/Oct18th/Sunday: The President informed Afghanistan's President Hamid Karzai that the United States won't send additional troops until Karzai can prove his government is credible.
The President announced the designation of a Presidential Delegation to Belgium to attend the Thanksgiving Mass for Saint Damien de Veuster on October 18, 2009. The Honorable Howard W. Gutman, U.S. Ambassador to the Kingdom of Belgium will lead the delegation.
Members of the Presidential Delegation:
The Honorable Neil Abercrombie, U.S. Congressman, Hawaii
The Honorable Mazie K. Hirono, U.S. Congresswoman, Hawaii
Mr. Joshua DuBois, Director, The White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships
Reverend Larry J. Snyder, President, Catholic Charities USA
Day270/Oct19th/Monday: The President met with winners of the National Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge in the Oval Office of the White House.
The President traveled to Viers Mill Elementary School in Silver Spring, Maryland, where he talked about the benefits of reading with 3rd and 4th graders while the students were eating lunch. Remarks to the students by the President
The President met with Senator Kent Conrad in the Oval Office.
The President met with a group of columnists and commentators. Among those who attended the lunch: Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow of MSNBC, Eugene Robinson, E.J. Dionne, Ron Brownstein, John Dickerson, Frank Rich, Jerry Seib of the Wall Street Journal, Maureen Dowd, Bob Herbert, Gloria Borger, and Gwen Ifill. Source Video of Olbermann&Maddow Discussion of the Meeting
The President continued the NATIONAL EMERGENCY WITH RESPECT TO
SIGNIFICANT NARCOTICS TRAFFICKERS CENTERED IN COLOMBIA, ordering:
"Because the actions of significant narcotics traffikers centered in Columbia continue to threaten the national security, foreign policy, and economy of the United States and to cause an extreme level of violence, corruption, and harm in the United States and abroad, the national emergency declared on October 21, 1995, and the measures adopted pursuant thereto to deal with that emergency, must continue in effect beyond October 21, 2009. Therefore, in accordance with section 202(d)
of the National Emergencies Act (50 U.S.C. 1622(d)), I am continuing for 1 year the national emergency with respect to significant narcotics traffickers centered in Colombia." Source
The President signed into law:
H.R. 1687, which designates the federally occupied building located in Canton, Ohio, as the " Ralph Regula Federal Building and United States Courthouse,"
H.R. 2053, which designates the United States courthouse located in El Paso, Texas, as the "Albert Armendariz, Sr., United States Courthouse,"
H.R. 2121, which authorizes the General Services Administration to convey the U.S. Custom House, to the Galveston Historical Foundation;
H.R. 2498, which designates the Federal building located in Chicago, Illinois, as the " William O. Lipinski Federal Building,"
H.R. 2913, which designates the United States courthouse located in Key West, Florida, as the " Sidney M. Aronovitz United States Courthouse,"
S. 1289, which establishes procedures for the execution of Federal court orders in response to requests from foreign authorities for assistance in the investigation or prosecution of criminal offenses. Source
The President announced the designation of a Presidential Delegation to Jakarta, Indonesia to attend the Inauguration of His Excellency Dr. Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, President of the Republic of Indonesia, on October 20, 2009. The Honorable Lisa P. Jackson, Administrator, United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will be the head of the delegation.
Members of the Presidential Delegation:
The Honorable Cameron R. Hume, U.S. Ambassador to Indonesia
The Honorable David N. Merrill, President of the United States-Indonesia Society Source
Vice President Joe Biden met with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri_al-Maliki. Vice President Biden noted that the October 20-21 U.S.-Iraq Business and Investment Conference is an important part of our efforts to promote cooperation under the U.S.-Iraq Strategic Framework Agreement. Source
Vice President Joe Biden and the unveiled the Recovery Through Retrofit Report, at a public event inside the Eisenhower Executive Office Building. The report identified three barriers that have prevented a national market for home retrofits from taking off.
(1) consumers don't have access to reliable information about retrofits.
(2) the upfront costs of home retrofits can be high but consumers don't have access to financing.
(3) there aren't enough skilled workers to serve a robust national retrofit market.
steps toward breaking down each barrier:
[a] give consumers the information they need by development of federal government standardized measures of home energy performance applicable to every home as well as a home performance label to signal that a home is energy efficient -- like ENERGY STAR does for appliances.
[b] make it easier for homeowners to pay for home retrofits by promoting accessible and affordable financing options.
[c] establish nationally recognized standards for worker training and certification so when a consumers decide to invest in a home retrofit, they can be assured the work will be done right. Video
United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced the results of the Obama Administration's Sudan policy review, revealing three primary strategic objectives:
(1) a definitive end to conflict, gross human rights abuses, and genocide in Darfur
(2) implementation of the North-South Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) that results in a peaceful post-2011 Sudan, or an orderly path toward two separate and viable states at peace with each other
Incoordination with National Energy Awareness Month, any Federal employee or military member can submit a clean energy idea to WhiteHouse.gov/GreenGov from October 19th through October 31, 2009 as part of the GreenGov Challenge.
The Obama Administration announced preliminary indications are that state governments will credit the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Recovery Act) with creating and saving at least 250,000 education jobs across the country when reports filed on Recovery Act education spending to-date are posted online later in October 2009. Source
The United States Environmental Protection Agency ordered Indiana regulators to revamp a new operating permit for the Midwest's biggest refinery, operated by BP. Enviromental groups and Illinois officials contended Indiana had allowed the oil giant to avoid stringent requirements under the federal Clean Air Act. Source
Fifteen current members of federal Industry Trade Advisory Committees e-mailed a request for advice from Norm Eisen, Special Counsel to the President for Ethics and Government Reform on whether or not lobbyists on those boards can "de-register and remain compliant." Eisen responded that a suggestion that "Some would de-register as lobbyists in order to remain on these panels is disturbing, I would hope that Industry representatives would not seek to circumvent the rules in order to retain their preferred positions on these bodies." Further in his three-page letter, Eisen wrote, ""I am happy to meet with you to discuss this matter. But please know that the President remains determined to limit the inordinate influence of lobbyists to ensure that government is devoted to serving the public interest on behalf of the American people." Source Letter to President Obama on Industry Trade Advisory Committees & Eisen October21, 2009 Response
The United States Justice Department issued a directive ordering agency lawyers to refrain from prosecuting those prescribed medical marijuana nor legitimate suppliers in states that have legalized the drug for medical purposes. Source
Day271/Oct20th/Tuesday: the President met with Prime Minister Maliki of Iraq in the Oval Office of the White House on the promotion of international investment in Iraq. The President reinterated his promise to pull all United States combat troops out of Iraq by August 2010 and all remaining troops by the end of 2011. Text of the President's"³ Minister Maliki Remarks after the Meeting Video
The President, by telephone, expressed his appreciation to Afghanistan's President Hamid Karzai's for Karzai's decision to accept the certification of Afghanistan's first round election results and agreement to a second round of voting for November 7, 2009. The President also called Dr. Abdullah Abdullah to express appreciation for his constructive efforts. Also by telephone the President received an update from United States Ambassador to Afghanistan Karl Eikenberry on developments related to the Afghan elections, the President thanked Eikenberry and his team for their hard and exceptional work and expressed his appreciation for United States Senator John Kerry's collaboration with the Ambassador. Source
The President honored Troop A, First Squadron, 11th Armored Combat Regiment of the U.S. Army, recipients of the Presidential Unit Citation for actions in the Republic of Vietnam. Eighty-six Troop A veterans attended to receive the unit honor from the President at the White House in recognition of their exemplary service and personal sacrifice nearly four decades ago. In March of 1970, the honorees rescued 100 soldiers pinned down in the jungle of Vietnam. Among the President's remarks, he said, "But this much we know. Among the many casualties that day, some 20 members of Alpha Troop were wounded. And at least two made the ultimate sacrifice -- their names now among the many etched in that black granite wall not far from here. But because of that service, that sacrifice, Alpha Troop completed its mission. It rescued Charlie Company. It saved those 100 American soldiers, some of who join us today. And those soldiers went on to have families -- children and grandchildren who also owe their lives to Alpha Troop." Transcript Video
The President traveled to New York City, where he toured the Joint Terrorism Task Force Headquarters and delivered remarks to staff members. Among the President's remarks, he said, "the record of your service is written in the attacks that never occur -- because you thwarted them; and because of the countless Americans who are alive today as a consequence of that work. And so America is in your debt for that." Transcript Video
The President presented remarks at a fundraiser for Bill Owens, the Democratic candidate running for New York's 23rd Congressional District, at the Mandarin Ballroom. Transcript
The President received a seasonal flu shot. Source
Day272/Oct21st/Wednesday: The President met with United States Senator John Kerry in the Oval Office of the White House.
The President visited Metropolitan Archives, a family-owned small business that recently expanded with an SBA loan, in suburban Maryland, where he announced a package of initiatives that will increase credit to small businesses. The proposal will increase the caps for existing Small Business Administration (SBA) loans and give smaller banks better access to Troubled Assets and Relief (TARP) funding to encourage more lending to small business. Among the President's remarks, he said, "So far, the Recovery Act has supported over 33,000 loans to small businesses that have already helped save or create nearly tens of thousands of jobs -- nearly $13 billion in new lending -- $13 billion. And more than 1,200 banks and credit unions that had stopped issuing SBA loans when the financial crisis hit are lending again today. And more than $4.3 billion in federal contracts are now going to small businesses." Transcript Video
The President attended a Cabinet-level exercise at the United States Treasury Department that concentrated on the immediate aftermath of a fictional catastrophic earthquake in the United States. The exercise utilized federal incident management policies and practices for response and immediate recovery from an incident of such magnitude. Source
The President traveled to New Jersey to deliver remarks at a rally for Governor Jon Corzine at the Rothman Center at Fairleigh Dickinson University in Hackensack, and then returned to Washington, DC. Transcript
The President signed into law H.R. 2997, the "Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2010," which provides FY 2010 appropriations for the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Health and Human Services, and other related agencies. Source
The President continued Executive Order 13413 for another year, the national emergency with respect to the situation in or in relation to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, declared on October 27, 2006, and the measures adopted on that date., in accordance with section 202(d) of the National Emergencies Act (50 U.S.C. 1622(d)). Source
Vice President Joe Biden was in Warsaw, Poland where he delivered a joint statement with Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk (Transcript) and another (Transcript) with Polish President Lech Kaczynski. Prime Minister Tusk expressed Poland's readiness to embrace a new United States anti-missile system, telling reporters, "Poland feels this so-called SM-3 concept, a reconfigured anti-missile system, is very interesting, and needed." "We are prepared to participate in it on the necessary scale." Source
Day273/Oct22nd/Thursday: The President met with Lieutenant General Karl Eikenberry, U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan, via videoconference in the Situation Room of the White House.
The President met with Speaker of the United States House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi for lunch in the Private Dining Room of the White House.
The President signed into law the Veterans Health Care Budget Reform and Transparency Act, which guarantees a timely and predictable flow of funding for Department of Veterans Affairs medical care, and gave remarks in the East Room of the White House. The President was joined by Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki, members of Congress and leaders from various Veterans Service Organizations, for the ceremony. Among the President's remarks, he said, "With this legislation we're fundamentally reforming how we fund health care for our veterans. With advance appropriations, veterans' medical care will be funded a year in advance. For the VA, this means timely, sufficient and predictable funding from year to year. For VA hospitals and clinics, it means more time to budget, to recruit high-quality professionals, and to invest in new health care equipment." Transcript Video
The President met with United States Secretary of the Treasury Tim Geithner in the Oval Office of the White House.
The President met with United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in the Oval Office.
The President met with United States Senator Jim Webb in the Oval Office.
The President met with United States Senator Patrick Leahy in the Oval Office.
The President telephoned Denver's FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force and spoke to FBI Special Agent in Charge Jim Davis and about thirty of his fellow JTTF members, thanking them for stopping alleged terrorist plotter Najibullah Zazi and two others that law enforcement officials say were part of a terrorism bomb plot against New York City. Several other suspects are also being sought in a case that the Obama administration says was the biggest terrorist plot on US soil since 9/11. Source
The President sent the following nominations to the United States Senate:
Betty E. King, of New York, to be Representative of the United States of America to the Office of the United Nations and Other International Organizations in Geneva, with the rank of Ambassador
Lillian A. Sparks, of Maryland, to be Commissioner of the Administration for Native Americans, Department of Health and Human Services Source&Bios
The President announced his intent to nominate the following individuals to key administration posts:
" Caryn A. Wagner, Under Secretary for Intelligence and Analysis, Department of Homeland Security
" Philip S. Goldberg, Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Intelligence and Research, Department of State
" P. David Lopez, General Counsel, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Source&Bios
At Central University Library in Bucharest, the Vice President delivered remarks on the partnership between the United States and Central Europe in the 21st Century. Transcript
Attorney General Eric Holder announced the arrest of nearly 1,200 individuals on narcotics-related charges and the seizure of more than 11.7 tons of narcotics as part of a 44-month multi-agency law enforcement investigation known as "Project Coronado," a series of drug raids in 38 cities in 19 states led to the arrest of over 300 drug dealers, with additional arrests in the pipeline of a Mexican drug cartel. "This unprecedented, coordinated U.S. law enforcement action - the largest ever undertaken against a Mexican drug cartel - has dealt a significant blow to La Familia's supply chain of illegal drugs, weapons and cash flowing between Mexico and the United States," Holder said. Source
The United States Department of the Interior announced plans to designate more than 200,000 square miles in Alaska as critical habitat for polar bears. The habitat would cover 200,541 square miles and include barrier islands along Alaska's coast, sea ice habitat, land and rivers near the coast where the bears make their dens. "Proposing critical habitat for this iconic species is one step in the right direction to help this species stave off extinction, recognizing that the greatest threat to the polar bear is the melting of Arctic sea ice caused by climate change," Interior Assistant Secretary for Fish, Wildlife and Parks Tom Strickland said in a statement announcing the move. Source
Treasury Department Compensation Chief Ken Feinberg ordered AIG, Bank of America, Citigroup, Chrysler Financial, GMAC, Chrysler and GM to cut salaries of their 25 highest-paid executives an average of 90 percent and their annual compensation by an average of 50 percent over 2008 compensation. Also, these executives will have to ask the government for permission if they want to use company perks that exceed $25,000. Among the President's remarks, he said, "But more work needs to be done, which is why I urge the Senate to pass legislation that will give company shareholders a voice on the pay packages awarded to their executives. And I also urge Congress to continue moving forward on financial reform that will help prevent the crisis we saw last fall from happening again." Comments of the President Video
The Federal Reserve announced that, within 30 days, it will begin subjecting executives, traders, deal makers and other employees of the biggest banks to regulatory scrutiny of their compensation and crack down on pay packages that encouraged bankers to take excessive risks. "Compensation practices at some banking organizations have led to misaligned incentives and excessive risk-taking, contributing to bank losses and financial instability," said Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke. "The Federal Reserve is working to ensure that compensation packages appropriately tie rewards to longer-term performance and do not create undue risk for the firm or the financial system." Source
Day274/Oct23rd/Friday: The President toured a research laboratory at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and delivered remarks on clean energy. Among the President's remarks, he said, "There are those who will suggest that moving toward clean energy will destroy our economy, when it's the system we currently have that endangers our prosperity and prevents us from creating millions of new jobs." Transcript Video/PT1 Video/PT2 Video/PT3
The President declared the swine flu outbreak a national emergency and signed a declaration that authorized Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to bypass federal rules so health officials can respond more quickly to the outbreak of H1N1 flu. Source Proclamation
The White House announced the US Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) had issued a call for proposals for the fund, which will provide financing of between 25 and 150 million dollars for selected projects and funds throughout Asia, the Middle East and Africa. Source
The United States State Department placed on its website its Inspector General's report that concluded the United States should seek a refund of up to 132 million dollars from First Kuwaiti Trading and Contracting, the Kuwaiti company that built the massive US embassy in Iraq, for "construction deficiencies, incomplete and undocumented design work, additional maintenance charges attributable to inadequate quality control and commissioning procedures, and unrecovered liquidated damages and interest on unauthorized advance mobilization payments." Source
The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced it had settled a lawsuit brought against it with an agreement to put controls on the emissions of hazardous pollutants such as mercury from coal-fired power plants for the first time by November 2011. Source
The United States Interior Department announced a rapid, sweeping review of the way the federal government manages subsistence hunting and fishing in Alaska. In a statement, the Interior Department said subsistence is vital to the physical and spiritual culture of Alaska Natives, and federal oversight needs to be retooled to better meet the needs of Native communities. Source
The United States Treasury Department froze the assets of the Amroggang Development Bank, controlled by North Korea's Tanchon Commercial Bank, an institution already blacklisted and sanctioned by Washington, after the Treasury designated it a proliferator of weapons of mass destruction, officials said. Source
The US military closed its Iraq command center for the United States Army Corps of Engineers, responsible for pouring billions of dollars into major construction and engineering projects across Iraq since the invasion. Source
Day275/Oct24th/Saturday: In his Weekly Address, the President reinterated his commitment to small business as key to economic recovery, from the Recovery Act to Financial Stability to Health Reform. Transcript Video
The President telephoned President Dmitry Medvedev to thank Medvedev for Russia's leadership in developing the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) proposal that responds to Iran's request for fuel for the Tehran Research Reactor. Both men affirmed their full support for this agreement and discussed the importance of all parties accepting the proposal so that implementation can begin as soon as possible.They also discussed other bilateral issues on which the United States and Russia are cooperating, including continued work to finish a new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) by the end of the year. Source
Day276/Oct25th/Sunday: The President played golf.
Day277/Oct26th/Monday: The President met with his national security team on Afghanistan and Pakistan in the Situation Room of the White House.
The President traveled to Jacksonville, Florida for a meeting with 11 United States Navy and Marine Corps personnel and delivered remarks. These sailors and Marines were selected by Naval Air Station Jacksonville leadership for high achievement and excellence in performing their duties. Among the President's remarks, he said, "You are the best trained, the best prepared, the best led force in history. Our people are our most precious resource. We're reminded of this again with today's helicopter crashes in Afghanistan. Fourteen Americans gave their lives, and our prayers are with these service members, their civilian colleagues, and the families who loved them." Transcript List of Participants
The President spent the night in Miami.
The United States Defense Department's chief auditor, Director of the Defense Contract Audit Agency, April Stephenson, was removed and will take a senior position in the office of Pentagon Comptroller Robert Hale. The director of the Army Audit Agency, Patrick Fitzgerald, will replace Stephenson effective Nov. 9. The shakeup came after reports highly critical of the agency from the United States Government Accountability Office and the Pentagon Inspector General. Source
Day278/Oct27th/Tuesday: the President journeyed to Sarasota, Florida, where he toured and announced Recovery Act funding for a variety of Smart Grid technologies that will modernize the nation's electricity grid and allow for the integration of clean, renewable energy, all while helping consumers save money. Included in the President's announcement:
Empowering Consumers to Save Energy and Cut Utility Bills -- $1 billion. These investments will create the infrastructure and expand access to smart meters and customer systems so that consumers will be able to access pricing information and have the ability to save money by programming smart appliances and equipment to run when rates are lowest.
Making Electricity Distribution and Transmission More Efficient -- $400 million. Funding several grid modernization projects across the country to significantly reduce the amount of power that is wasted from the time it is produced at a power plant to the time it gets to a customer.By deploying digital monitoring devices and increasing grid automation, it is expected these awards will increase the efficiency, reliability and security of the system, and will help link up renewable energy resources with the electric grid, such as making it easier for a wind farm in Montana to instantaneously pick up the slack when the wind stops blowing in Missouri or a cloud rolls over a solar array in Arizona.
Integrating and Crosscutting Across Different "Smart" Components of a Smart Grid -- $2 billion.Funding a range of projects that will incorporate these various components into one system or cut across various project areas: including smart meters, smart thermostats and appliances, syncrophasors, automated substations, plug in hybrid electric vehicles, renewable energy sources, etc.
Building a Smart Grid Manufacturing Industry -- $25 million. These investments are expected to help expand the manufacturing base of companies that can produce the smart meters, smart appliances, synchrophasors, smart transformers, and other components for smart grid systems in the United States and around the world and creating a significant and growing export opportunity for the United States and new jobs for American workers. Transcript Video
President Barack Obama announced his intent to nominate the following individuals to key administration posts:
Philip E. Coyle III, Associate Director for National Security and International Affairs, Office of Science and Technology Policy
Lawrence G. Romo, Director, Selective Service System Source&Bios
The President sent the United States Congress notice that: "Because the actions and policies of the Government of Sudan continue to pose an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States, the national emergency declared on November 3, 1997, as expanded on April 26, 2006, and with respect to which additional steps were taken on October 13, 2006, must continue in effect beyond November 3, 2009. Therefore, consistent with section 202(d) of the National Emergencies Act (50 U.S.C. 1622(d)), I am continuing for 1 year the national emergency with respect to Sudan." Source
The President returned to the White House in the evening.
Vice President Joe Biden hosted two conference calls with Governors, Mayors, and county officials from across the country to discuss implementation of the Recovery Act.
The following elected officials participated:
MAYORS & COUNTY OFFICIALS:
" Mayor Bob Diebold (R-Newark, OH)
" Mayor Patrick Henry Hays (D-North Little Rock, AR)
" Mayor Charles Meeker (D-Raleigh, NC)
" Mayor Chuck Reed (D-San Jose, CA)
" Mayor Elaine Walker (D-Bowling Green, KY)
" County Commissioner Tim Josi (D-Tillamook County, OR) Source
Vice President Joe Biden announced Fisker Automotive is re-opening a shuttered former GM factory in Wilmington, Delaware, to produce long-range, plug-in, electric hybrid vehicles. Source
United States Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner assured investors at a conference in New York that, though the dollar had dropped to a 14-month low against the euro on October 26, 2009,"The dollar will remain the principal reserve currency for a long time." Source
Day279/Oct28th/Wednesday: The President delivered remarks at the Congressional Gold Medal Ceremony in honor of former Senator Edward Brooke at the U.S. Capitol. Of Brooke, the President said, "He didn't care whether a bill was popular or politically expedient, Democratic or Republican. He cared about whether it helped people, whether it made a difference in their daily lives. That's why he fought so hard for Medicare, for mass transit and the minimum wage, for civil rights and women's rights. It's why he became a lifelong advocate for affordable housing, establishing protections that are the standard to this day." Transcript Video
The President hosted a meeting of the President's Intelligence Advisory Board (PIAB) and the senior leadership of the intelligence community in the Cabinet Room of the White House. The President announced former United States Senators Chuck Hagel and David Boren have agreed to serve as co-chairmen of the President's Intelligence Advisory Board. Transcript Video
The President signed the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2010 in the East Room of the White House and delivered brief remarks. Among the President's remarks, he said, "I have always rejected the notion that we have to waste billions of dollars of taxpayer money to keep this nation secure. In fact, I think that wasting these dollars makes us less secure. And that's why we have passed a defense bill that eliminates some of the waste and inefficiency in our defense process -- reforms that will better protect our nation, better protect our troops, and save taxpayers tens of billions of dollars." Transcript List of Attendees Video
The President and Vice President Biden met with United States Secretary of Defense Robert Gates in the Oval Office of the White House.
In the evening, the President attended a commemorative tree planting on the North Portico of the White House. Video
The President hosted a reception and delivered remarks commemorating the enactment of the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act in the East Room of the White House. Among the President's remarks, he said, "Through this law, we will strengthen the protections against crimes based on the color of your skin, the faith in your heart, or the place of your birth. We will finally add federal protections against crimes based on gender, disability, gender identity, or sexual orientation. And prosecutors will have new tools to work with states in order to prosecute to the fullest those who would perpetrate such crimes. Because no one in America should ever be afraid to walk down the street holding the hands of the person they love. No one in America should be forced to look over their shoulder because of who they are or because they live with a disability." Transcript Video
The President sent these nominations to the United States Senate:
Philip E. Coyle, III, of California, to be an Associate Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy
Lawrence G. Romo, of Texas, to be Director of Selective Service Source
The President signed into law:
H.R. 2892, the "Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act, 2010," which provides FY 2010 appropriations for the Department of Homeland Security
H.R. 3183, the "Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2010," which provides FY 2010 appropriations for the Department of Energy, the Department of the Interior's Bureau of Reclamation, the Army Corps of Engineers, and other agencies. Source
The President also signed into law a Homeland Security appropriations bill that grants the United States Department of Defense (DOD) the authority to continue suppressing photos of prisoner abuse. The amendment, which would allow the DOD to exempt photos from the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), is aimed at photos ordered released by a federal appeals court as part of an American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) FOIA lawsuit for photos and other records related to detainee abuse in U.S. custody overseas, although it would apply to other photos in government custody as well. Source
The President was helicoptered to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware near midnight to witness and honor the return of the bodies of 18 soldiers. The fallen consisted of 7 U.S. Army soldiers and 3 Drug Enforcement Agency agents killed when their MH-47 Chinook crashed at Darreh-ye-bum, and 8 U.S. soldiers killed when their STRYKER personnel vehicle was struck by an IED blast in the Arghandab River Valley. Both incidents occurred on October 26, 2009. The deaths contributed to the deadliest month for the U.S. in Afghanistan. Source Video
United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was in Pakistan, where she urged Pakistan to face up to the potential threat of nuclear-armed terrorists and encouraged the country to join nuclear non-proliferation talks. Source Video
United States Energy Department Secretary Steven Chu hosted a Clean Energy Economy Forum with "stakeholders" from around the country.Assistant to the President for Energy and Climate Change Carol Browner and other top Administration officials were featured speakers at the forum that included a focus on science, innovation, and job creation in the emerging clean energy economy. Source Video
Special Counsel to the President for Ethics and Government Reform, Norm Eisen announced receiving " this letter (pdf) from the American League of Lobbyists protesting this Administration's steps to end the era of undue lobbyist influence on Washington. The letter makes a number of arguments with which we disagree, and to which we will respond." On the White House Blog, Eisen wrote: "the days of lobbyists arguing not to the government, but from within the government, should come to an end-that is why the agencies are taking these strong steps with respect to the composition of these boards and commissions." Source
Day280/Oct29th/Thursday: The President returned to the White House from Dover Airforce Base around 4:45 A.M.
The President delivered remarks in the South Court of the Eisenhower Executive Office Building to members of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), and small business owners and organizations from across the country. Transcript Video
The President met with Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew of Singapore in the Oval Office of the White House. Remarks of the President and Lee Kuan Yew Before the Meeting
The President met with Senator Patrick Leahy in the Oval Office.
The President signed the Girl Scouts USA Centennial Commemorative Coin Act in the Oval Office.
The President met with representatives of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, Congressional Black Caucus, Congressional Hispanic Caucus, and Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus on health insurance reform in the Roosevelt Room of the White House.
The President sent these nominations to the United States Senate:
William M. Conley, of Wisconsin, to be United Stated District Judge for the Western District of Wisconsin Source&Bio
Brian Anthony Jackson, of Louisiana, to be United States District Judge for the Middle District of Louisiana Source&Bio
Frank Kendall III, of Virginia, to be Principal Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics. (New Position)
Suresh Kumar, of New Jersey, to be Assistant Secretary of Commerce and Director General of the United States and Foreign Commercial Service Source&Bio
James P. Lynch, of the District of Columbia, to be Director of the Bureau of Justice Statistics Source&Bio
The President withdrew this nomination, which was sent to the United States Senate on August 5, 2009:
United States Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius released a new report, Lower Premiums, Stronger Businesses: How Health Insurance Reform Will Bring Down Costs for Small Businesses. The report looks at the current status quo and outlines how reform will help solve this problem and bring costs down for small businesses. Source
Day281/Oct30th/Friday: The President delivered remarks and signed the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Treatment Extension Act of 2009 in the Diplomatic Reception Room of the White House. "In a few minutes, I'm going to sign the fourth reauthorization of the Ryan White Care Act," the President said. "Now, in the past, policy differences have made reauthorizations of this program divisive and controversial. But that didn't happen this year. And for that, the members of Congress that are here today deserve extraordinary credit for passing this bill in the bipartisan manner that it deserves." Transcript Video
The President met with the Joint Chiefs of Staff on Afghanistan and Pakistan in the Situation Room of the White House.
The President signed into law:
H.R. 2996, the "Department of the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2010 (Division B is the further Continuing Resolution)," which provides FY 2010 appropriations for the Department of the Interior, the Forest Service (Department of Agriculture), the Indian Health Service (Department of Health and Human Services), the Environmental Protection Agency, and various other agencies. Division B of this Act provides FY 2010 appropriations through December 18, 2009, for continuing projects and activities of the Federal Government currently provided under the first Continuing Resolution, Public Law 111-68
S. 1929, which extends authorizations of certain Small Business Administration programs until January 31, 2010. Source
Attorney General Eric Holder announced the United States Justice Department invoked the state secrets privilege to try to stop a lawsuit over Bush-era wiretapping. Holder said that in the current case, that review process had convinced him "there is no way for this case to move forward without jeopardizing ongoing intelligence activities that we rely upon to protect the safety of the American people." To proceed with the case, Holder said, would expose intelligence sources and methods. Source
The Obama Administration released a list of nearly 500 visitors to the White House. Visitor Records
Day282/Oct31st/Saturday: In his Weekly Address, the President said that, while times are still too difficult for too many American families, this week saw real evidence of progress in the economy, when third quarter GDP grew for the first time in over a year, and grew faster than it has in the previous two years. He spoke of reports from across the country that made it clear that Recovery Act has now created or saved over one million jobs. Transcript Video
[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.]