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President Donald J. Trump Proclaims July 27, 2017, as National Korean War Veterans Armistice Day

Wed, 07/26/2017 - 17:49


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On National Korean War Veterans Armistice Day, we honor the patriots who defended the Korean Peninsula against the spread of Communism in what became the first major conflict of the Cold War.  We remember those who laid down their lives in defense of liberty, in a land far from home, and we vow to preserve their legacy.

Situated between World War II and the Vietnam War, the Korean War has often been labeled as the "Forgotten War," despite its having claimed the lives of more than 36,000 Americans.  The Korean War began on June 25, 1950, when North Korean forces, backed by the Soviet Union, invaded South Korea.  Shortly thereafter, American troops arrived and pushed back the North Koreans.  For 3 years, alongside fifteen allies and partners, we fought an unrelenting war of attrition.  Through diplomatic engagements led by President Eisenhower, Americans secured peace on the Korean Peninsula.  On July 27, 1953, North Korea, China, and the United Nations signed an armistice suspending all hostilities.

While the armistice stopped the active fighting in the region, North Korea's ballistic and nuclear weapons programs continue to pose grave threats to the United States and our allies and partners.  At this moment, more than 28,000 American troops maintain a strong allied presence along the 38th parallel, which separates North and South Korea.  These troops, and the rest of our Armed Forces, help me fulfill my unwavering commitment as President to protecting Americans at home and to steadfastly defending our allies abroad.

As we reflect upon our values and pause to remember all those who fight and sacrifice to uphold them, we will never forget our Korean War veterans whose valiant efforts halted the spread of Communism and advanced the cause of freedom.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, DONALD J. TRUMP, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim July 27, 2017, as National Korean War Veterans Armistice Day.  I call upon all Americans to observe this day with appropriate ceremonies and activities that honor and give thanks to our distinguished Korean War veterans.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-sixth day of July, in the year of our Lord two thousand seventeen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and forty-second.


Categories: News Pit Feeds

Remarks by President Trump in Jobs Announcement

Wed, 07/26/2017 - 17:23

East Room

5:39 P.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you very much.  I want to thank our great Vice President.  Thank you to Speaker Ryan.  We're working very, very closely.  We're getting a lot done.  

Governor Walker has been so tremendous from the first time we announced that Terry even had a small amount of interest in going into this country someplace.  And, you know, when you give that to Governor Walker, it's pretty much of a done deal.  (Laughter.) 

Ron Johnson, senator -- he's been so helpful to us on a thing that you haven't heard too much about recently -- healthcare.  And I think we're doing okay, Ron.  I'm hearing good things.  I’m hearing good things.

Secretary Mnuchin, Secretary Ross, all of the congressmen -- great congressmen -- and senators we have in the audience:  Thank you very much.

And thanks especially to my friend -- one of the great businessmen anywhere in the world -- Terry Gou.  (Applause.)  I would see Terry, and I'd say, Terry, you have to give us a couple of those massive -- these are massive -- places that you do such great work with.  And he's going to be doing that in a state that's very close to my heart -- Wisconsin.  So we're very happy.  One of the big job producers anywhere at any time, Scott.  So I know it's going to be fantastic for the people.

This is a great day for American workers and manufacturing, and for everyone who believes in the concept and the label, "Made in the USA."  (Applause.)

Today, I am pleased to announce that Foxconn, a world leader in manufacturing for computers, communications, and consumer electronics -- one of the truly great companies of the world -- will build a state-of-the-art manufacturing facility for the production of LCD panel products in Wisconsin, investing many, many billions of dollars right here in America and creating thousands of jobs.  And I mean American jobs -- that's what we want.  (Applause.)  

Another big investor in our country -- Steve Wynn, would you stand up?  (Applause.)  He's raising so much money for our great Republican Party.  Andrea, please stand up.  Please.  Thank you.  Thank you, Steve.  Done a great job.  You've done a great job, Steve.  Thank you.

Foxconn will invest in southeast Wisconsin while a larger facility is constructed over the coming years.  And that facility is currently under negotiation.  It will be about the biggest there is anywhere.  The company’s initial investment of more than $10 billion will create 3,000 jobs, at a minimum, with the potential for up to 13,000 jobs in the very near future.  The construction of this facility represents the return of LCD electronics and electronics manufacturing to the United States, the country that we love.  That's where we want our jobs.  

To make such an incredible investment, Chairman Gou put his faith and confidence in the future of the American economy.  In other words, if I didn’t get elected, he definitely would not be spending $10 billion.  (Laughter and applause.) 

His great company has seen our -- you know, you see exactly what I'm saying -- our administration’s work to remove job-killing regulations -- he's been watching -- to institute Buy American and Hire American, and all of those policies, and to pursue the steps necessary to revitalize American industry, including repealing and replacing Obamacare -- we better get that done, fellas, please.  Mike, we need that so badly -- cutting taxes, fixing our trade deals, and rebuilding our infrastructure.  We'll be submitting an infrastructure bill in the not-very-distant future.  We're going to be submitting a tax bill in the very near future.  (Applause.)  

When this investment is complete, Foxconn has the potential to create more manufacturing jobs than we've seen in many, many decades.  

Chairman Gou, I thank you for your investment in the American worker.  They appreciate it.  They will not let you down.  They never let us down.  There is nobody like the American worker.

Terry Gou told me that he believes in America -- and he really believes in America -- and that, as a great entrepreneur -- one of the greatest in the world, by the way -- he won't say it, but I'll say -- one of the great entrepreneurs of the world -- he has a real bond with the administration and with Americans.  Foxconn joins a growing list of industry leaders who understand that America’s capabilities are limitless and that America’s workers are unmatched, and that America’s most prosperous days are just ahead.  We are going to have some very, very magnificent decades.  

Thank you all for being here.  Thank you, Terry.  And thank you to Foxconn.  God bless the United States of America.  God bless you all.  Thank you very much.  Thank you.  (Applause.)  

5:47 P.M. EDT   

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Remarks by Vice President Pence Introducing President Trump at a Jobs Announcement

Wed, 07/26/2017 - 16:57

East Room

5:37 P.M. EDT

THE VICE PRESIDENT:  Governor Walker, Speaker Ryan, Senator Johnson, Secretary Mnuchin, Secretary Ross, Chairman Gou, members of Congress who join us today of the House and Senate, distinguished members of the state legislature in Wisconsin:  On behalf of the First Family, welcome to the White House.  (Applause.)  

And thanks to the leadership of President Donald Trump, welcome to a historic day for American jobs in the American heartland.  (Applause.)  

Since the very first day of this administration, President Trump has been busy rolling back federal red tape, unleashing American energy, working to lower taxes, rebuild our infrastructure, and give the American people the world-class healthcare they deserve.  And job creators have responded to the President’s agenda with optimism and action.

Businesses large and small have created more than 800,000 new jobs since President Trump took office.  (Applause.)  Company after company are announcing record investments -- billions of dollars and thousands of jobs.

And today’s announcement here at the White House is just the latest vote of confidence in our President and his agenda, and our partners at the state level.  And companies across this country and across the wider world are going to continue to invest in American jobs and American workers and America’s future -- because under President Donald Trump, America is back.  (Applause.)  

So, ladies and gentlemen, with gratitude for his leadership and his determination to make America prosperous again, it is now my high honor and distinct privilege to introduce to you the 45th President of the United States of America, President Donald Trump.  (Applause.)  

5:39 P.M. EDT

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Remarks by President Trump to the American Legion Boys Nation and the American Legion Auxiliary Girls Nation

Wed, 07/26/2017 - 15:26

Rose Garden

3:11 P.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT:  Hello, everybody.  

AUDIENCE:  Hello, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDENT:  We actually just met, for the audience.  We just met.  (Laughter.)  We took pictures, right?  


THE PRESIDENT:  That's right.  Well, thank you very much.  It’s my great honor to officially welcome Boys and Girls Nation to the White House.  Really special place, isn’t it though?  Isn’t it great?  (Applause.)  Great.

And I want to congratulate you -- what a job you’ve all done -- basically on all you’ve achieved at a very young age.  It’s incredible.  For decades, the American Legion has brought the best and brightest to the White House.  This has taken place for many years.  

Each of you were chosen out of the many thousands of people, that -- you know, they’re all calling in, they want to get into the White House.  Is anybody upset that you’re here?


THE PRESIDENT:  Okay, but you’re all really happy that you’re here, right?  (Applause.)  

But you represent your state, and that’s a very, very important element too.  And a very important factor in getting here.  You all share incredible talent and drive.  

Most importantly, you have each other to really work with and to help.  And you help each other, you’re teammates, you love our country -- that’s something we all have in common, right?  We love our country, right?  (Applause.) 

While you come from all corners of our great landscape, you are all united by your devotion -- total devotion -- to our great American flag, our freedom, and the principles that bind us together as one people and one nation.   

For more than a century, the American Legion has taught young citizens about the importance of patriotism and loyalty to our country.  And through it all, there’s nothing like what you’re doing today and what you’ve achieved over a very, very short period of time.  We want to thank you, and we want to thank the national chapters and everybody else.  

We have to really give a special thanks to Commander Charles Schmidt.  Where’s Charles?  Where is Charles?  (Applause.)  Come here.  Come here, Charles.  Come on up here, Charles.  What a great job.  Come on.  See, he wants to give you all the credit.  (Laughter.)  Who served in the Air Force for 28 years and now advances the Legion’s proud legacy.  Thank you, Charles.  (Applause.)  

Today, we are joined by President of the American Legion and Auxiliary Mary Davis.  Where is Mary?  Where is Mary?  Hello, Mary.  Want to come up here?  Come on, Mary.  (Applause.)  And Executive Director -- who I know -- Verna Jones.  Come on, Verna.  Come on up.  Come on up.  (Applause.)  Come on up, Mary.  Be careful.  

I want to thank you for your commitment to these incredible students and to our country.  Thank you.  (Applause.) 
I also want to honor former National Commander Bob Turner, who everyone really knows.  (Applause.) 

AUDIENCE:  Bob!  Bob!  Bob!

THE PRESIDENT:  Wow.  That’s pretty good, Bob.  That’s as good as I’ve ever heard.  (Laughter.)  That’s fantastic.  Come on over here, Bob.  Be careful.  We don’t want to see Bob go down.  Do you agree with that?  (Laughter.)  Because he will never forget that.  Come on, Bob.  

This year, Bob is celebrating his 35th year helping to lead Boys Nation -- all as a volunteer.   Thank you very much, Bob.  That’s so great.  (Applause.)  

And, Bob, I know everyone here today agrees when I say thousands of young Americans are better patriots because of your incredible and steadfast service.  Right, fellas?  Right?  (Applause.)  

Through this program, countless young people like you have been inspired to protect American interests and to promote American values.  Right?  Many of those who have been in your place have gone on to become governors, members of Congress, generals, and one even became a President.  You know who that one was?

AUDIENCE:  Bill Clinton.  
THE PRESIDENT:  That’s true.  See?  (Laughter.)  

The American Legion has held this meeting for seven decades.  Just think of the history that has occurred during that time.  When the first group of students met in 1946 -- oh, that’s an important day, you know why?  That’s when I was born.  (Laughter.)  I hate to admit it.  (Applause.)  I hate to admit it.  Oh, 1946.  Oh wow.  I shouldn’t have said that, Bob.  (Laughter.)  

Our nation had just welcomed home our brave heroes whose spirit and courage achieved victory over tyranny in World War II.  Just over twenty years later, young men and women like you watched a man land on the moon and dreamed of new frontiers in space.

In 1987, Americans all across this nation joined their hearts with President Ronald Reagan in the hope, the prayer, and the conviction that the Berlin Wall would crumble in the face of truths, justice, and freedom.  You know all about that.

AUDIENCE:  Yes, sir.

THE PRESIDENT:  In each of these moments, and so many others, America triumphed.  We win.  We know how to win, right?  

AUDIENCE:  Yes!  (Applause.) 

THE PRESIDENT:  And we win because of the spirit of our people.   Believe me, that's a big part of it.

Just think of the amazing moments in history you will witness during your lifetime.  Well, you saw one on November 8th, right?  (Applause.)  That was a pretty amazing moment we have -- and we're doing a good job.  Our country is doing so well now.  We're doing a good job.  You all happy?

AUDIENCE:  Yes!  (Applause.) 

THE PRESIDENT:  Because you have what it takes to be the leaders that will shape this future.  Some of you may want to come back to the capital -- someday, you're going to be back, many of you -- and help make the laws that will guide this nation and govern our land.

Others may choose to answer the call of duty, put on the uniform, and risk everything for our nation and for our nation’s people.  Still others may become business leaders, teachers, artists, and inventors.   We have them all, and we have them all here today.  

And some of you don't even really know what it might be, but we have people that are going to be so successful, so incredible in their lives.  And you're going to be happy.  Do what you love.  Do what you love.  Follow what you love.

So I want to just tell -- as you pour your whole heart into everything you do, really you're doing it for your family, you're doing it for your country, but you're also doing it for yourselves.  Because ultimately you have to do it for yourself.  It’s better for your country, and your country wants you to succeed so much.

But there’s no country like the United States of America, and there’s no country that can give you the kind of opportunity that we give you in the United States.  (Applause.) 

Being successful is about finding your purpose in life and never ever giving up.  Do you ever give up?  No.  Does anybody here give up?

AUDIENCE:  No, sir!  

THE PRESIDENT:  What about here?

AUDIENCE:  No, sir!

THE PRESIDENT:  You're right.  (Laughter.)  And I think they mean it.  I think they mean it.

A PARTICIPANT:  Yes, sir, they mean it.

THE PRESIDENT:  You were chosen for this program because you believe in America’s future and because you have the ambition and the heart to ensure that America will always be victorious and will always prevail.

Through Boys and Girls Nation, you are learning the values that are necessary for a nation to endure and for a nation to thrive -- pride in our history, loyalty to our citizens, and allegiance to our great American flag.

In the decades to come you will help our nation reach new heights -- we’ll be so proud of you -- discover new frontiers, and strengthen the bonds of loyalty between our country and its people.

It is my honor to meet with you all today, and it was my greater honor to come out here early before the press got here to take all of those pictures that we took, and I hope they send you the right pictures.  (Laughter and applause.)  And they will.

As I look out at the audience, I see the next generation of American leaders.  I see the promise of our future.  I see the strength and love of the American spirit.  And because of young people like you, I am more confident than ever in the future of the United States.

Together, we will make America greater than ever before.  I mean that.  We're going to make America greater than ever before, and we're on our way.  You see what’s going on.  We're building up military.  We're getting great job numbers -- best in 17 years.  Best job numbers in 17 years.  The enthusiasm for manufacturers and business is at just about the highest point since they started taking those tests.

So I just want to tell you:  Go out there.  Go get them.  I have no doubt you're going to -- every one of you -- be successful.  

Never quit.  Never give up.  Always do what you love.  Take great care of your family and your parents because we love your parents.  You probably wouldn’t be here without your parents, right?  (Laughter and applause.) 

So thank you again to the American Legion, and congratulations to you all.  God bless you, and God bless America.  And thank you for being at the White House.   (Applause.) 

(A song is performed.)


THE PRESIDENT:  You got the last word.  (Applause.)  Thank you, Bob.  Thank you everybody.  Have a great life and love your country and love your God.  Okay?  Bye everybody.  Bye everybody.  Thank you.  (Applause.) 

3:26 P.M. EDT

Categories: News Pit Feeds

Press Briefing by Press Secretary Sarah Sanders, 7/26/2017, #1

Wed, 07/26/2017 - 15:22

James S. Brady Press Briefing Room

2:36 P.M. EDT

MS. SANDERS:  Good afternoon.  It's that time again, as many of you have probably noticed and I know several of you have asked about, for us to announce where the President will be donating his quarterly salary.

Last quarter, the President's salary went toward the restoration of two projects at a national battlefield.  After his donation, additional donors quickly stepped up to bring the total gift to over $260,000. 

In this quarter, the President will be donating his salary to the Department of Education.  And with that, I would like to bring up Secretary DeVos to tell you about what the department will be doing with the President's money to help equip the boys and girls who will be the leaders of tomorrow.

Secretary DeVos, it's my pleasure, on behalf of the President of the United States, to present a check for $100,000 to the Department of Education.  

SECRETARY DEVOS:  Well, thank you so much, Sarah.  I want to start by saying how grateful I am to the President for this generous gift.  The President is committed to our nation's students and to reforming education in America so that every child, no matter their ZIP code, has access to a high-quality education.  

He and I have had many conversations about how best to put students' needs first, and ensure we are setting them up for a lifetime of success.  There's much work to be done, but we are certainly on the right track thanks to the President's leadership.

Just yesterday, Ivanka Trump and I hosted a summer reading event at the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History, where the focus was on getting young girls, age six to ten, excited about learning science, technology, engineering, and math.  It was fun to see their eyes light up as they got to explore, create, and experiment in a collaborative environment. 

Today's and tomorrow's economy requires students prepared for STEM careers.  That's why we've decided to use the President's second-quarter salary to host a STEM-focused camp for students at the Department of Education.  We want to encourage as many children as possible to explore STEM fields in the hope that many develop a passion for these fields. 

We look forward to this exciting endeavor, and I thank President Trump again for this generous gift.  Thanks.

MR. SANDERS:  Thank you, Secretary DeVos.  Thank you for coming and being here for that today.

Now, I know Anthony is probably a little bit disappointed that he's not up here today, but since he did some TV this morning, he was able to go ahead and get his hair and makeup done, so I think he'll be okay.  (Laughter.) 

As Anthony said when he was up here last week, we’re looking to mix things up a little bit.  From time to time, I’d like to give us all a little reminder of why we’re here every day, which I imagine for most of us is because we love our country and want to help to make it better.

I've spent quite a bit of time around the President over the last year and I know exactly why he’s here.  He's tough, he's a fighter, he's a strong leader, and he's somebody who deeply loves this country.  And he loves its people and he wants to make America great again.   

In Washington, it's often easy to go to work, get lost in the process, and forget why we're here every day.  The reason we're here is to serve the American people.  And today I’d like for you to indulge me and let me tell you a little bit about what that means for me.  

To the best of my knowledge, I'm the first mom to hold the job of the White House Press Secretary.  That says less about me than it does about this President.  It’s not just with personnel, it's about people and it's about policy.  Empowering working moms is at the heart of the President's agenda, particularly when it comes to things like tax reform.

I have three children, and the oldest, Scarlett, starts kindergarten in a few weeks.  Scarlett and every little girl in America should grow up in a country that if we deliver on the President's agenda of better jobs, better healthcare, and a better tax system, that incentivizes women to work and raise children.

As a working mom, it's not lost on me what a great honor and what a privilege it is to stand here at the podium, and I thank the President for the opportunity.  I'll always do my absolute best to truthfully answer your questions and to deliver the President's message. 

Jonathan, I preempt you from asking that question later.  (Laughter.) 

But I also hope to send my daughter a message and to every other kid in America:  Don't listen to the critics, dream big, and fulfill your potential -- because in this country, you still can.  

To remind us a little bit more often about some of the forgotten men, women, and children that we're here to serve and that the President is fighting for, we're going to start the White House briefing every once in a while with a letter or an email that we may receive from some of those individuals.

To kick it off with that process, I'd like to read you a letter from 9-year-old Dylan:

"My name is Dylan Harbin, but everybody calls me Pickle.  I'm nine years old, and you're my favorite President.  I like you so much that I had a birthday about you.  My cake was the shape of your hat."  

And then Dylan goes on to ask a few questions:  "How old are you?"  Dylan, President Trump is 71 years old.  "How big is the White House?"  The White House is 168 feet long, it's 70 feet tall on the south side, and 60 feet, four inches tall on the north, and it takes 300 gallons of white paint to cover the exterior of the White House residence.  It has 132 rooms and approximately 55,000 square feet.  "How much money do you have?"  Dylan, I'm not sure, but I know it's a lot.  

"I don’t know why people don’t like you."  Me either, Dylan.  "You seem really nice.  Can we be friends?"  I'm happy to say that I directly spoke to the President, Dylan, and he would be more than happy to be your friend.  "My picture is in here.  So, if you can, see me and say hello."  Dylan, I hope you're watching, because the President wanted me to personally tell you hello.  "Your friend, Dylan."

Dylan, thanks for writing to the President.  And if you're ever in Washington, D.C., I hope you'll stop by and let us show you around the White House.  

And with that, I'll take your questions.


Q    Sarah, Jeff Sessions was here today.  What was he doing here?  Did he meet with the President?  And what does the President think about the conservatives who are rallying behind Jeff Sessions, saying he's essential to staying in his office?

MS. SANDERS:  The Attorney General was here for other meetings, not with the President -- it was a principals committee meeting -- and did not see the President while he was here.  

I think the President has been very clear about where he is.  He's obviously disappointed but also wants the Attorney General to continue to focus on the things that the Attorney General does.  He wants him to lead the Department of Justice.  He wants to do that strongly.  He wants him to focus on things like immigration, leaks, and a number of other issues, and I think that’s what his focus is at this point.

Q    Can I just follow up?  If the Attorney General launches a leak probe, would that help his status with the President?

MS. SANDERS:  I don’t think that’s the nature of the relationship.  Again, I think that the President is disappointed.  He stated that, and I don’t think there’s anything more to add beyond that at this point.

Q    Sarah, thank you.  A couple questions about the new policy on transgender servicemembers the President announced this morning.  First, what happens to transgender servicemembers now?  Are you they immediately thrown out of the military?  

MS. SANDERS:  That’s something that the Department of Defense and the White House will have to work together as implementation takes place and is done so lawfully.

Q    So it’s possible -- because I see the President was pretty clear in his tweet that transgender individuals -- he will not accept or allow a transgender individual to serve in any capacity.  So does that mean that those that are now in theater, that are now deployed to Afghanistan, for example, will have to be immediately sent home and discharged?

MS. SANDERS:  Again, implementation policy is going to be something that the White House and the Department of Defense have to work together to lawfully determine, and I would imagine the Department of Defense will be the lead on that and keep you posted as that takes place.

Q    Why did he decide to do this given that during the campaign he had declared that he would protect the rights of transgender individuals?  He said he would be better on this issue than Hillary Clinton, and now he’s turned the clock back on this issue regarding the military.

MS. SANDERS:  The President has a lot of support for all Americans and certainly wants to protect all Americans at all times.  The President has expressed concerns since this Obama policy came into effect, but he’s also voiced that this is a very expensive and disruptive policy.  And based on consultation that he’s had with his national security team, came to conclusion that it erodes military readiness and unit cohesion, and made the decision based on that.

Q    Thank you, Sarah.  If I could follow up on what Jonathan just said, the President actually tweeted, “Thank you to the LGBT community.  I will fight for you while Hillary brings in more people that will threaten your freedoms and beliefs.”  And so I’m wondering, you said the policy -- the President in general wants to protect all Americans.  Does this shift in policy protect transgender Americans?  And what is the message that he is attempting to send to them by making this shift in policy?  

And if I could follow on that, healthcare --

MS. SANDERS:  Let me answer that first, and then we’ll come back to healthcare.

Q    Sure, sure.

MS. SANDERS:  On that, the decision is based on a military decision.  It’s not meant to be anything more than that, and it’s simply about -- obviously it’s a very difficult decision.  It’s not a simple one, but the President feels that it’s the best one for the military.

Q    Okay, on healthcare, then, if I could follow really quickly.  Can you repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act and still protect Medicaid funding?  We’re talking about the most dependent among us, and the need for Medicaid is great.  And that seems to be a major concern among some lawmakers, including Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski.  So I’m wondering, from the President’s perspective, if congressional lawmakers do send him a repeal that does not protect Medicaid funding, is that something he would still support?  And what is he doing to try to protect Medicaid as it is now?

MS. SANDERS:  The President has been clear that he wants to protect those that are part of that program but also very focused on repealing and replacing.  We’re working through that process.  Excited about the progress that was made yesterday, and we’re going to continue pushing forward until we get a new and better healthcare plan.


Q    Thank you, Sarah.  One short thing and then questions.  Can you provide us with a copy of the letter that you read, and even hold it up, or distribute a copy to us?

MS. SANDERS:  Sure.  I’ll be happy to.

Q    That would be wonderful.

MS. SANDERS:  I'll knock out Dylan’s name -- last name.

Q    Yes, thank you. 

But back on Attorney General Jeff Sessions.  You said that he didn’t meet with the President when he was at the White House this week.  Has he spoken to the President this week?  Do you know when the last time the two of them spoke was?

MS. SANDERS:  I don’t believe they’ve spoken this week.  I’m not sure on the timeframe.

Q    Okay.  And then another follow-up on Jeff Sessions.

MS. SANDERS:  Always two.

Q    You said that the President has been very clear about his position on Jeff Sessions, and yesterday the President said that he wasn’t leaving him to “twist in the wind.”  But he continued to tweet about him this morning.  If he is so frustrated and so disappointed in him, why doesn’t he just ask him to resign or fire him?  Why does he continue to just tweet about him instead?

MS. SANDERS:  Look, you can be disappointed in someone but still want them to continue to do their job.

Q    Does he want him to continue in that job?

MS. SANDERS:  I think that I made clear last week that if there comes a point he doesn’t, he’ll make that decision.


Q    Sarah, thank you.  Let me have you please clarify if you can some comments that the President made in the Wall Street Journal interview yesterday about tax reform.  He said -- and I quote here -- “The truth is the people I care most about are the middle-income people in this country who have gotten,” as he says, “screwed.  And if there’s upward revision it’s going to be on high-income people.”  On that upward revision part, what exactly was the President talking about?  Is it a revision from his plan on the personal side of 35 percent, or is it reviving it up from the current tax code? 

MS. SANDERS:  When we get ready to walk through the full details of the plan, I’m happy to do that at that time.  But right now, we’re focused on the three big priorities of the tax reform:  a simple, fair tax code, middle class relief, and creating jobs.  That’s where we are right now.  We’re continuing to work through that process, and we’ll make announcements as we have specifics.

Q    Let me just ask you a more general question on that.  Does the President believe that the wealthiest Americans deserve a tax cut?

MS. SANDERS:  I think the President is looking and prioritizing middle-class tax relief.  He's made no secret about that.  That's one of the biggest priorities of the three things that he's focused on when it comes to tax reform.


Q    Thanks, Sarah.  Two questions for you.  First, the President has had almost 24 hours to review the Russia sanctions legislation.  Has he decided if he's going to sign that?

MS. SANDERS:  Well, it's a little bit more complicated than that.  Senator Corker actually came out earlier today and said that he's not fully supportive of where the bill stands.  We expect that there's a possibility that more changes take place.  And so we're going to see what that looks like before we make a final decision.

But I can tell you that the White House, the President, and the entire administration -- as we've said many times before -- strongly support sanctions against Russia, Iran, and North Korea.

Q    My second question is, is the President considering looking at any kind of policy about transgender people serving in the White House now that he's tried to make a decision on transgender people serving in the military?

MS. SANDERS:  No.  Once again, this was a decision based on what was best for the military and military cohesion, and on the counsel of his national security team.


Q    So the impression that we get at the Pentagon is they were a little bit -- caught a little bit flat-footed by the President's tweets.  As I understand it, this was and has been for the last couple of weeks a conversation here specifically about Tricare coverage for transgender procedures.  And it suddenly evolved for the President to then go on Twitter to announce this ban.  And as you already told us, the White House and the Pentagon are going to have to lawfully implement that.  

Typically, when you have an announcement of this magnitude, all of that work has been done at the procedural level between the bureaucracy of the Pentagon and the White House.  Why wasn't any of that work done?  And why was the Pentagon caught so surprised this morning by the President's tweets on it?

MS. SANDERS:  As I said before, that the President's national security team was part of this consultation.  You mentioned yourself that there have been ongoing conversations --

Q    Yeah, but the smaller issue, not a whole ban.

MS. SANDERS:  Right.  When the President made the decision yesterday, the Secretary of Defense was immediately informed as were the rest of the national security team that had been part of this ongoing conversation.

Q    But you can't answer the question of what's going to happen to transgenders who are in the military now.  Shouldn't you have been able to answer that basic question for a policy of this magnitude?

MS. SANDERS:  Look, I think sometimes you have to make decisions.  And once he made a decision, he didn't feel it was necessary to hold that decision.  And they're going to work together with the Department of Defense to lawfully implement it.


Q    Okay, one last thing on Sessions -- just because this is the baseline question.  You said earlier the President was "frustrated."  Is that frustration now in the past?  And does he fully have confidence in the Attorney General to carry out his duties from this day forward?

MS. SANDERS:  The President wants the Attorney General to focus on his duties as Attorney General.  And I think we've both spoken about that pretty extensively, and I don't have anything else to add.


Q    You just announced the President is donating his second-quarter salary of $100,000 to the Department of Education.  So, clearly, he must care about education.  Why then is he calling for $9.2 billion in spending cuts to the Department of Education in the next budget?

MS. SANDERS:  Look, I think that oftentimes you have a lot of duplicative efforts, and they want to streamline the process.  And we simply have a government that's completely out of control when it comes to spending.  We have an outrageous deficit, and we're looking to make things so that we have a balanced budget in the next 10 years.  The President campaigned on it, he's committed to seeing it through, but he's also committed to education, as you can see by his own personal commitment and looking for ways that we can save and continue on to make education better, passing some of the decision-making down to more local and state control, and something we're certainly supportive of.

Q    Can I ask you then, quickly on transgender -- just a quick follow-up.  In June of 2016, in the heat of the campaign, he wrote, "Thank you to the LGBT community.  I will fight for you."  Did the President today just betray his commitment to the transgender community?

MS. SANDERS:  No.  As I answered before, this was a decision about military readiness.  And I've already answered even to that specific tweet.

Q    But do you say to the transgender community that he is still committed to fight for them?  And how is this not not fighting for them?

MS. SANDERS:  I think the President has made very clear he's committed to fighting for all Americans.

Q    Is this fighting for all Americans?

Q    Thank you very much, Sarah.  Was this decision on transgenders in the military made to put pressure on Democrats running in 2018, particularly Democrats running in socially conservative districts like in Ohio, Michigan, and Wisconsin?

MS. SANDERS:  Not that I'm aware.

Q    And just to follow up on that, what is the timeline for when guidance will be delivered to the Pentagon on how the President's decision should be implemented?

MS. SANDERS:  We'll let you know when we have an announcement.


Q    Sarah, the President said this morning -- or tweeted this morning, asking why the Attorney General has not fired Andrew McCabe as acting FBI Director.  Why hasn't the President fired Andrew McCabe as acting FBI Director?

MS. SANDERS:  The President has made an incredible nominee in Chris Wray, and he's looking forward to getting him confirmed and taking over the FBI.

Q    (Inaudible) fire him, why should Attorney General Sessions fire him?

MS. SANDERS:  Again, he's made a choice to lead that agency and we're looking forward to getting him confirmed soon.


Q    Sarah, two questions.  One following up on Major with Tricare and the transgender community.  There's been a concern from the transgender community before President Trump became President Trump that, if Obamacare changed to Trumpcare, they were wondering if they were able to get the procedures to help them complete their phases of becoming the other sex, or the other gender.  

What do you say to those people who are seeing this now with this ban in the military?  What do you say to transgender America who wants to continue with the change?  Maybe some who already had part of the change and want to do the change and are scared because of what's happening now, not for certain.  What do you say to transgender America?

MS. SANDERS:  As I've said before and I'll try to make this clear, this was a military decision.  This was about military readiness, this was about unit cohesion, this was about resources within the military, and nothing more.  

Guys, I really don't have anything else to add on that topic.  As I do, I'll keep you posted.  But if those are the only questions we have, I'm going to call it a day.  But if we have questions on other topics, I'll be happy to take --

Q    I'm sorry, Sarah, I wanted to finish.  Everyone had a second question.  On the morale of the Cabinet, Anthony Scaramucci this morning on “New Day” said that the Cabinet Secretaries need to have tough skin.

How is the President working with the Cabinet Secretaries right now?  How does he build their morale after all of this with Sessions and we're hearing things coming out of State with Rex Tillerson?  How is the President working on their morale?

MS. SANDERS:  I think the same way he works with all of us; he empowers us to do our jobs.  And I don't think it matters whether you're a Cabinet Secretary or a low-level staffer.  We're here to do a job.  He’s asked us to do it, and he expects us to get it done.

And I’ve spent a good bit of time with quite a few Cabinet Secretaries over the last couple days, and morale is high.


Q    One more point about transgender servicemembers not here in this country, but overseas.  And there are 18 countries where transgender servicemembers are allowed to serve openly.  The U.K. is one.  Australia is another.  Israel is a third.  The President in his tweet this morning referred to disruptions.  What does he mean?  And is he concerned that there are disruptions in our allies’ militaries in Australia and the U.K. and Israel?  And should we worry about that from the military standpoint?

MS. SANDERS:  As I said earlier, this decision was made after extensive discussions with his national security team, and the President decided it was in the best interest of the military to end this Obama policy.

I can't speak to anything about another country.  Pretty focused on making sure we get good things happening here.


Q    Sarah, you were talking earlier about what the President wishes Attorney General Sessions to be doing in his job right now.  Why hasn’t the President picked up the phone or invited him over into the Oval Office?  Does the President have any intention of speaking with the Attorney General this week?

MS. SANDERS:  I’ll keep you posted if he does.  


Q    Sorry.  Second question on the transgender servicemember issue.  You mentioned that the President reached his decision to improve or maintain unit cohesion.  How does it maintain or improve unit cohesion to leave thousands of servicemembers, some who may be overseas, serving in units overseas, in the dark about their status within the military?

MS. SANDERS:  Once again, this was a decision made after the consultation with his national security team and decided the best decision. 


Q    I want to ask you about a tweet the President had on Sunday.  He said, “It’s very sad that Republicans, even some that were carried over the line on my back, do very little to protect the President.”  Which Republicans was the President talking about?  And what would he like to see from them?  What sort of protection?

MS. SANDERS:  I’m not going to call out any senators by name up here today.  But I think the President is very committed to a robust agenda and changing America for the better.  And Republicans have both the House and Senate -- he’s hoping they’ll join him in pushing forward a lot of the policies that most of those people campaigned on, like repealing and replacing Obamacare.  I think that's a perfect example of Republicans needing to step up to commitments that they made during the campaign and since being elected, and get those things done.

Guys, I hate to cut it short.  The President has got an event as I know you can all hear by all of the cheering children.  I hope that we can join together in welcoming the boys and girls from the Girls Nation.  Thanks, guys.

2:59 P.M. EDT

Categories: News Pit Feeds

Second Lady Karen Pence to Serve as the Honorary Vice Chairwoman for Sister Cities International

Wed, 07/26/2017 - 10:06

WASHINGTON, DC – Second Lady Karen Pence will serve as the Honorary Vice Chairwoman for Sister Cities International. In this role, she will be a champion for the everyday citizen diplomat and the Sister Cities International network global movement in advancing the cause of World Peace.

“Sister Cities International serves an important purpose of renewing and strengthening global relationships,“ said Mrs. Pence. “I am honored the organization asked me to serve as the Honorary Vice Chairwoman and I look forward to working alongside Sister Cities International to raise the visibility of this important resource to cities throughout our country and world.”

Sister Cities International recently honored Mrs. Pence in March with the Sister Cities International Diplomatic Leadership Award for her numerous contributions to American diplomacy. Mrs. Pence partnered with Sister Cities International while serving as the First Lady of Indiana to build and strengthen Indiana’s international relationships through cultural ties by initiating several cultural and educational exchanges. For example, her first exchange took place in 2013 between third grade students in Lafayette, Indiana and its Japanese sister-city, Ota City. Mrs. Pence asked third graders in Lafayette to draw self-portraits based on the theme, “Me Seeing My Favorite Things.” Mrs. Pence delivered the artworks to the third graders at Ota Elementary School in Japan where the students there drew self-portraits with the same theme. After returning to the United States, Mrs. Pence delivered the Japanese artwork to the students in Lafayette to complete the exchange.

“We are delighted to have Mrs. Pence begin her new role as the Honorary Vice Chairwoman of Sister Cities International,” said Mary Kane, President and CEO of Sister Cities International. “Her experience as the First Lady of Indiana and now as the Second Lady of the United States demonstrates her commitment to sister cities programs and citizen diplomacy efforts throughout the United States.”

Mrs. Pence’s new role is effective today.

About Sister Cities International

Founded by President Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1956, Sister Cities International serves as a hub for institutional knowledge and best practices for citizen diplomacy. The group has united tens of thousands of citizen diplomats and volunteers in over 500 member communities with over 2,000 partnerships in 145 countries on six continents. You can learn more about Sister Cities International at www.sistercities.org.


Categories: News Pit Feeds

Statement by the Press Secretary in Response to Reports the Government of Israel has Removed Metal Detectors and Cameras from Temple Mount/Haram al Sharif

Tue, 07/25/2017 - 20:47

Israel has removed the recently installed magnetometers and cameras, despite the demonstrated need to enhance security at the Temple Mount/Haram al Sharif in the wake of the murder of two Israeli police officers at the site on July 14.  The United States applauds the efforts of Israel to maintain security while reducing tensions in the region.

Categories: News Pit Feeds

Remarks by President Trump Saluting American Heroes | Struthers, OH

Tue, 07/25/2017 - 19:54

AMVETS Post 44
Struthers, Ohio

6:28 P.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT: Look at all those cameras back there. Isn't that nice? (Laughter.) We love Ohio. Boy, do we love Ohio. (Applause.)

AUDIENCE MEMBER: Ohio loves you!

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you. And I'm going to be speaking about you in a couple of minutes. You are something. You are brave and strong, and we're going to be talking about you. And that's why we're here, to talk about you. So thank you very much.

And thank you, Secretary Shulkin, for the introduction -- a special guy. And he's doing a tremendous job in leadership of the VA. He's working every day to keep our promise to take care of our great veterans.

Now, I went all over Ohio, but I went all over almost every state, and the veterans were a very, very big topic for me. You know that. And I think what we're doing, it's never been done before. We just had a bill -- the VA Accountability bill. They've been trying to get it for many, many decades. They were unable to get it, and we got it. That means people are accountable. (Applause.) That means people are accountable for taking care of our vets. And if they don’t care proper care, we hold them accountable. So I think it's just great.

So, Secretary, thank you very much. I appreciate it.

I also want to recognize two veterans here with us who now serve the American people as members of our Cabinet -- Secretary Zinke and Secretary Perry. And we're going to be a net exporter of energy very shortly. Where is our Perry? Come here. (Applause.)

And Secretary of the Interior controls about, what, 22 percent of the entire United States. So when somebody thinks they're big landlords, they're actually very small compared to him. (Laughter.)

SECRETARY ZINKE: He's in real estate. He knows. (Laughter.)

THE PRESIDENT: It's great to be back in Youngstown. It was an incredible time we had. And you know the numbers, and you saw for many, many years Democrats -- and they're really great -- but Democrats, they win in Youngstown. But not this time. (Laughter and applause.) Right? They started to get a little nervous at the beginning of that evening when they see Youngstown seems to be going the other way. That hasn’t happened in a lot of decades.

And I hear we're doing better in the polls, even right now, than we were even on election night, in so many different places -- swing states, et cetera -- because they see what we're doing with jobs. The jobs are the best they've been in 17 years. The stock market hit another all-time high today. We're doing trade deals. And, you know, we have statutory length problems where you have to wait statutorily before you do them. But everybody has been put on notice.

We're renegotiating NAFTA. And if we don’t get the deal we want, we'll terminate NAFTA. NAFTA has been a disaster for Youngstown. It's been a disaster for Ohio. And people are coming back, if you look at Ohio. But if you look at Michigan and other places, the auto industry is starting to come back in a very, very big way. You see what's happening with coal. Coal is coming -- clean coal. We love clean coal. And it's coming back.

I especially want to thank John and Jan Brown whose leadership in AMVETS has improved the lives of so many. Thank you. Thank you. (Applause.) Thank you, John. Thank you, Jan. And they were with us right from the beginning, first time I was here. First time. We really appreciate it, Jan. Thank you very much. Is he a good husband? Or just average? (Laughter.)

MRS. BROWN: (Inaudible.)

THE PRESIDENT: I know he is.

To all the veterans with us this evening, we're here to honor you, to celebrate your service, and to thank you for your sacrifice. A grateful nation salutes you. And that's from the bottom of the President's heart -- a truly grateful nation salutes you.

All week at the White House, we are celebrating American heroes. And nothing fills our hearts with more pride than to be with those who risked everything to protect our citizens and preserve our way of life.

This evening, we're joined by veterans from every major engagement since World War II. You have crossed oceans, trekked deserts, scaled mountains, and cut your way through jungles to secure our nation and defend our people. And nobody -- throughout history, nobody has done it better than you.

You gave all that you have for our country and for victory. We love victory, don’t we? (Applause.) We haven't had enough victory, but we're having it now. We're seeing it. We're having it now. You carried out your duty with honor, courage and devotion. And with your sacrifice, you earned our freedom.

In my administration, we will always protect those who protect us. Believe me, we will protect you because you have protected us.

AUDIENCE MEMBER: Thank you, sir.

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you, sir. Thank you very much. I tell you, thank you very much. That includes reforming the Department of Veterans Affairs -- where David is doing such an incredible job -- so we can serve you as faithfully as you served our nation.

Since my first day in office, we’ve taken one action after another to make sure that our veterans get the care they so richly deserve. We’ve begun to process a -- seamlessly transferring veterans’ medical records. Horrible situation. You couldn’t get your medical records. And now it's so easy and so good. And the system is fixed, finally, after all of these years. (Applause.)

We’ve published wait times at every VA facility. I used to go around and talk about the veterans and they'd stand on line for nine days, seven days, four days -- that was a good one -- fifteen days. People that could have been given a prescription and been better right away end up dying waiting on line. That’s not happening anymore.

And we have choice. If that happens, you’re going to go out to the doctor. We’re going to have choice, David. And it seems so obvious to me. Even before I really got into the nitty-gritty of the VA, it just seemed like -- why would this great veteran, who protected us, stand on line for days and days and days and wait for a simple solution where it became a big problem because of those time delays.

And we are now doing choice. And you go out and you take care of it with a great doctor. Hopefully, you have a great doctor. If he’s not so good, you get another one, right? (Laughter.)

We’ve delivered same-day mental health services at every VA medical center. And so many of the veterans would come up to me during the campaign, and they really stressed how important the mental health aspect of what we’re doing is.

We have nearly doubled the number of veterans given approvals to see the doctor of their choice. So not only is it choice, but we’ve doubled up and now we’re going to be tripling up very shortly.

And, so importantly, I have signed new historic legislation to ensure that every single federal VA worker has to do what they have to do. They’re going to be held accountable. (Applause.)

The pushback on that bill was unbelievable. I said to myself, oh, that should be easy. And then I looked at 40 years of turmoil trying to get it through. And we won’t attack any particular group, but you understand why it was not easy to get through. Because some people didn’t want that. They wanted it to be that certain workers could do a horrible job. And most of the workers are great. And the doctors -- a lot of the doctors in the VA are phenomenal talents -- phenomenal. But now we’re going to be able to get to those doctors.

You've put America first every day of your lives, and now we have a VA that will truly put our veterans first -- veterans. Your stories are America’s stories, and your names are the names of true American heroes.

I’d like to honor one such hero who is with us tonight: Robert M. Bishop. (Applause.) He looks good.

Nearly 76 years ago, Bob was a gunner aboard the USS Tennessee in Pearl Harbor when the Japanese bombs struck the turrets of that once-great ship.

During the attack, Bob was below the deck at his battle station for four excruciating hours of fire and hell. Five of his crewmembers never made it off the ship, giving their last breath in this courageous and incredible service to our country.

Bob stayed with his ship after the attack. And once it was repaired -- which went, actually, much faster than it goes today, folks -- you’ll have to explain that one, folks. (Laughter.)

AUDIENCE MEMBER: And it cost less.

THE PRESIDENT: It cost a lot less. (Laughter.) He served on the Tennessee for another four-and-a-half years, fighting in some of the greatest engagements in the Pacific Ocean.

After World War II, Bob and his wife Doris moved back to Ohio. Good choice, Bob. That is a good choice. I love this state. Remember at the beginning, they always said, there is no victory without Ohio. Right, Mr. Chairman? Boy, did we win Ohio. Right? Remember? (Applause.) And it wasn’t like it was close. That was a -- that was a big one.


THE PRESIDENT: Thank you. Thank you very much. Where Bob served in the Navy Reserve and also worked in the steel industry for over 50 years. This year, Bob and Doris celebrated -- now, you’re going to have to explain this to me -- their 74th wedding anniversary. Wow. (Applause.) That is fantastic. That is so beautiful.

He’s been back to Pearl Harbor eight times to pay tribute to his comrades. And it is with his -- really, this great wish of his and the great wish of so many people that know Bob, that he will attend the 80th anniversary of Pearl Harbor on the eve of his 101st birthday. And if your party gets -- (applause) -- and Bob, if your party gets a little bit cheap with the money, I’ll pay for it, okay? (Applause.) Right? Right?

So, Bob, the depth of your love for the country -- you really inspire us all. Today, I’m truly honored to present you with a Certificate of Recognition for your heroic sacrifice, your lifetime of service, and your undying devotion to our great nation. Thank you, Bob.

Where is that beautiful certificate? Oh, nice frame. They never give me frames. They just give me the paper. I have to go out and get my own frame. It’s never great. Thank you, Bob. Thank you. Congratulations. (Applause.)

To every veteran here this evening, your courage is the strength of our nation, and your patriotism is the beating heart of our shared destiny. Your stories will inspire generations of Americans to fight and to win for our country and for our great, beautiful American flag that we all honor.

May God bless you. May God bless our veterans. And may God bless the United States of America. And thank you very much, it’s such an honor to be with you again. You are special people in a special state. Thank you. Thank you. (Applause.)

6:42 P.M. EDT

Categories: News Pit Feeds

President Donald J. Trump Approves Oklahoma Disaster Declaration

Tue, 07/25/2017 - 18:50

Today, President Donald J. Trump declared that a major disaster exists in the State of Oklahoma and ordered Federal assistance to supplement State and local recovery efforts in the areas affected by severe storms, tornadoes, straight-line winds, and flooding from May 16 to May 20, 2017.

Federal funding is 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, straight-line winds, and flooding in the counties of Alfalfa, Beckham, Cherokee, Coal, Cotton, Delaware, Johnston, LeFlore, Murray, Muskogee, Okfuskee, Okmulgee, Pittsburg, Pontotoc, Roger Mills, and Washita.

Federal funding is also available on a cost-sharing basis for hazard mitigation measures statewide.

Brock Long, Administrator, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Department of Homeland Security, named Charles Maskell as the Federal Coordinating Officer for Federal recovery operations in the affected areas.

Additional designations may be made at a later date if requested by the State and warranted by the results of further damage assessments.



Categories: News Pit Feeds

Eight Nominations Sent to the Senate Today

Tue, 07/25/2017 - 17:23

Joseph Balash, of Alaska, to be an Assistant Secretary of the Interior, vice Janice Marion Schneider.

Samuel H. Clovis, Jr., of Iowa, to be Under Secretary of Agriculture for Research, Education, and Economics, vice Catherine E. Woteki.

Daniel Alan Craig, of Maryland, to be Deputy Administrator, Federal Emergency Management Agency, Department of Homeland Security, vice Joseph L. Nimmich.

Mark T. Esper, of Virginia, to be Secretary of the Army, vice Eric K. Fanning.

Kathleen M. Fitzpatrick, 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 Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste.

Anthony Kurta, of Montana, to be a Principal Deputy Under Secretary of Defense, vice Laura Junor, resigned.

A. Wess Mitchell, of Virginia, to be an Assistant Secretary of State (European and Eurasian Affairs), vice Victoria Nuland.
Robert L. Wilkie, of North Carolina, to be Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, vice Jessica Garfola Wright, resigned.

Categories: News Pit Feeds

President Donald J. Trump Proclaims July 26, 2017, as a Day in Celebration of the 27th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act

Tue, 07/25/2017 - 16:36

- - - - - - -

On the anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), we celebrate the landmark legislation that marks our Nation's commitment to ending discrimination against people with disabilities. The ADA's recognition of the inherent dignity of disabled persons solidified America's status as the world leader in protecting fundamental rights.  Today, we pay special respect to the contributions of the more than 56 million Americans living with disabilities, and we look forward to further advancing accessibility for all those who need it.
President George H.W. Bush signed the ADA on July 26, 1990, and for 27 years it has been instrumental in protecting the rights and liberties of people with disabilities and strengthening their access to everyday American life. Disabilities are an unavoidable part of the human experience veterans injured in service to their Nation, survivors of accidents and illnesses, children born with disabilities, and our elderly.  Since its inception, the ADA has helped empower people living with disabilities by ensuring they have fair and just access to employment, government services, public accommodations, commercial facilities, and public transportation.
Americans are justifiably proud of the ADA and its accomplishments, but more can be done to protect the rights and dignity of Americans living with disabilities.  Disabled Americans in the workforce already contribute substantially to our Nation's productivity and prosperity.  We must continue to empower them by breaking down obstacles that prevent their full participation in the public and economic affairs of our Nation.  In addition, my Administration will encourage American ingenuity and technological advancements in medicine and science, which will give millions of Americans with disabilities opportunities to work, engage in commerce, and connect with others in ways we could not have imagined 27 years ago.
On the anniversary of the ADA, we reaffirm our commitment to fostering an environment that provides all Americans with the opportunity to pursue their American dream.  Let us all take this time to refocus our efforts to support our fellow Americans and help them succeed, no matter the obstacles they may face.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, DONALD J. TRUMP, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim July 26, 2017, as a day in celebration of the 27th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act.  I call upon all Americans to observe this day with appropriate ceremonies and activities that celebrate the contributions of Americans with disabilities and to renew our commitment to achieving the promise of our freedom for all Americans.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-fifth day of July, in the year of our Lord two thousand seventeen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and forty-second.



Categories: News Pit Feeds

Remarks by President Trump and Prime Minister Hariri of Lebanon in Joint Press Conference

Tue, 07/25/2017 - 16:13

Rose Garden

3:24 P.M. EDT

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  Thank you very much.  Please.  I'm very happy to announce that, with zero of the Democrats' votes, the motion to proceed on healthcare has just passed, and now we move forward towards truly great healthcare for the American people.  We look forward to that.  This was a big step.  

I want to thank Senator John McCain -- very brave man.  He made a tough trip to get here and vote.  So we want to thank Senator McCain and all of the Republicans.  We passed it without one Democrat vote.  And that's a shame but that's the way it is, and it's very unfortunate.  

But I want to congratulate American people because we're going to give you great healthcare.  And we're going to get rid of Obamacare which should have been, frankly, terminated long ago.  It's been a disaster for the American people.  

Thank you very much.

Good afternoon and thank you all for being here.  It is my honor to welcome Prime Minister Saad Hariri of Lebanon to the White House.  

The Prime Minister and I have just concluded an extensive conversation about the challenges and opportunities facing Lebanon and its neighbors.  Lebanon is on the front lines in the fight against ISIS, Al Qaeda, and Hizballah.  The Lebanese people, of all faiths, are working together to keep -- and you know this, and we've been discussing this at great length -- their country safe and prosperous.  They love their country, and they're going to keep it safe and prosperous.   

Mr. Prime Minister, I want to commend you and your people for standing up for humanity in a very troubled part of the world.  The ties between our two countries stretch back more than a century.  Long, long relationships.  

In 1866, American missionaries founded the American University of Beirut.  Now, more than 150 years later -- and with ongoing American support -- this university continues to educate generations of leaders in the region.  

Today, our two countries seek to strengthen our relationship in many ways, including the pursuit of stability, mutual prosperity, and peace.  What the Lebanese Armed Forces have accomplished in recent years is very impressive.  In 2014, when ISIS tried to invade northern Lebanon, the Lebanese army beat them back.  Since that time, the Lebanese army has been fighting continually to guard Lebanon's border and prevent ISIS and other terrorists -- of which there are many -- from gaining a foothold inside their country.  

The United States military has been proud to help in that fight and will continue to do so.  America's assistance can help ensure that the Lebanese army is the only defender Lebanon needs. It's a very effective fighting force. 

Threats to the Lebanese people come from inside, as well. Hizballah is a menace to the Lebanese state, the Lebanese people, and the entire region.  The group continues to increase its military arsenal, which threatens to start yet another conflict with Israel, constantly fighting them back. 

With the support of Iran, the organization is also fueling the humanitarian catastrophe in Syria.  Hizballah likes to portray itself as a defender of Lebanese interests, but it's very clear that its true interests are those of itself and its sponsor -- Iran. 

I have repeatedly emphasized that Syria’s neighbors in the Middle East must take responsibility for helping Syrian refugees until they can return home and rebuild their country.  The Lebanese people have led the way, accepting more Syrian refugees per capita than any other nation.  It's not even close.

I want to thank the Prime Minister and the Lebanese people for giving shelter to those victimized by ISIS, the Assad regime, and their supporters and sponsors, and pledge our continued support to Lebanon.  

Since the start of the Syrian crisis, the United States has helped Lebanon support Syrian refugees with clean water, food, shelter, and health care.  Our approach, supporting the humanitarian needs of displaced Syrian citizens as close to their home country as possible, is the best way to help most people.  America is proud to stand with those who have the courage to stand up to terrorism and take responsibility for affairs in their own region. 

The reliance and resilience of the Lebanese people in the face of war and terror is extraordinary.  We honor the citizens of Lebanon who are working to secure a future of peace, stability, and prosperity for their children.

Mr. Prime Minister, I'm grateful that you're here today.  It's a big day in our country because of the vote that you just heard about.  We stood and watched the results on television before coming out, and you found it very interesting, I hope --


PRESIDENT TRUMP:  -- and very important.  I look forward to working with you to strengthen our partnership and the enduring friendship between the American and Lebanese peoples.  

Thank you very much.  Mr. Prime Minister.

PRIME MINISTER HARIRI:  Thank you.  Good afternoon.  I had the honor and pleasure -- and the pleasure to hold a very good meeting with President Trump.  I appreciate his leadership and the United States' leadership in the world today.  We discussed the situation in our region and the efforts we, in Lebanon, are making to safeguard our political and economic stability, while combatting terrorism.  

I thank President Trump for his support to our army and security agencies, as well as his support to maintaining peace and stability along our southern border, where our government is committed to the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1701, as well as all resolutions.

We also discussed the pressures Lebanon is facing as a result of 1.5 million Syrians displaced in our country.  I outlined to President Trump my government's vision for dealing with this crisis with the support of the international community.  We also discussed economic prospects in Lebanon and our government's effort to jumpstart inclusive economic growth with a particular emphasis on job creation.

I thank President Trump and the United States of America for their support to the Lebanese people, striving to keep their country a model of moderation, dialogue, coexistence, and democratic governance in our region.

Thank you.  

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  Thank you very much.  

Margaret Talev, please.

Q    Thank you.

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  Hello, Margaret.

Q    Hi.  Hi, Mr. President.  Mr. Prime Minister, I'll have a question for you also in just a second, if you'll bear with me.  
You spoke earlier today with The Wall Street Journal -- we've all seen those comments -- but I think everybody here probably is hoping that you could talk a little bit more about this.  You have called your Attorney General "beleaguered."  You have criticized his decision to recuse himself on the Russia matters.  And your, kind of, catch-phrase or motto before the White House was, "You're fired."  So I'm wondering if you would talk to us a little bit about whether you've lost confidence in Jeff Sessions, whether you want him to resign on his own, whether you're prepared to fire him if he doesn’t, and why you're sort of letting him twist in the wind rather than just making the call for him.  Thank you.

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  Well, I don’t think I am doing that, but I am disappointed in the Attorney General.  He should not have recused himself almost immediately after he took office.  And if he was going to recuse himself, he should have told me prior to taking office, and I would have, quite simply, picked somebody else.  So I think that's a bad thing not for the President, but for the presidency.  I think it's unfair to the presidency.  And that's the way I feel.  Thank you.

Q    Thank you.  Mr. Prime Minister, could you tell us what you think about the Saudi-led blockade of Qatar?  This is something that has been of great concern to the U.S. also in terms of resolving.  Do you think that Qatar is doing enough on terror?  And if so, would you like to see President Trump increase the pressure on the Saudi coalition to ease its blockade?

And, Mr. President, if you would give us any more of your thinking on, going forward, the path with Attorney General Sessions, and maybe your timeline for making a decision, that would be great.  Thank you.

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  You don’t give up.  That's okay.

PRIME MINISTER HARIRI:  Thank you.  I think there is an effort by the Kuwaitis.  They're leading this effort.  And I think they made some progress.  We believe that dialogue is the best way in improving this relationship between Saudi Arabia and Qatar.  I believe that maybe the United States also could help in solving this issue in the Gulf.

Denise (ph).

Q    I have one question for the President and also for the Prime Minister.  Congress introduced additional sanctions against Hizballah last week.  What is your position towards these sanctions and on the role Hizballah is playing in the region and Syria?

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  I'll be making my position very clear over the next 24 hours.  We're going to see what is exactly taking place.  I have meetings with some of my very expert military representatives and others, so I'll be making that decision very shortly.  Okay?  Thank you.

Q    And about its role in Syria and the region?


Q    Hizballah's role.

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  I'll be talking about that tomorrow.

Q    (No translation provided.)

PRIME MINISTER HARIRI:  (No translation provided.)  

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  Blake Burman.  Thank you.  Hello, Blake.

Q    President Trump, hello.  Thank you.  Indulge us here for a second.  Just to pick up where Margaret left off, the American people I think would like to know:  Do you feel that the Attorney General should indeed stay?  Do you intend on firing him?  Why should he remain as the Attorney General?

And, secondly, on a separate topic, with the healthcare vote that just came about, there is a still long ways to go.  At what point do you feel that Republicans, if they can't get something done, should just say, you know what, we gave it a go, let's move on to tax reform instead?  Thank you.

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  I want the Attorney General to be much tougher on the leaks from intelligence agencies, which are leaking like rarely have they ever leaked before, at a very important level.  These are intelligence agencies.  We cannot have that happen.  You know many of my views in addition to that, but I think that's one of the very important things that they have to get on with.

I told you before, I'm very disappointed with the Attorney General, but we will see what happens.  Time will tell.  Time will tell.

On healthcare, I'm extremely happy that we got this vote.  They say, if you look historically, this is the tough vote to get.  Now we're all going to sit together and we're going to try and come up with something that's really spectacular.  We have a lot of options, and a lot of great options.  And the Republican senators really went out there.  It's not easy when you have 52 senators and you have a bloc of 48 voting against you.  No matter what it is, no matter how good it sounds, it's very hard to get the kind of numbers that we got.  We ended up with 51 votes -- 51 to whatever.  I don’t know what it is.  Yeah, 51-50.  

So we had two Republicans that went against us, which is very sad, I think.  It's very, very sad -- for them.  But I'm very, very happy with the result.  I believe now we will, over the next week or two, come up with a plan that's going to be really, really wonderful for the American people.  

Obamacare is a disaster.  It's failing on every front.  It's too expensive.  It gives horrible coverage.  It was gotten by a lie, 28 times.  It was a lie.  "You can keep your doctor, you can keep your plan" -- all lies.  And the people are sick of it.  And we're going to come up with a great healthcare that satisfies the needs of the people that we serve, which is the people of the United States.  

I will say -- and I said it right at the beginning -- healthcare is always difficult because you have to weed a very, very narrow path, like a quarter of an inch wide, right down the middle.  And if you go a little bit too far right, you lose three people on the left.  And if you go a little bit too far left, you lose five people on the right.  It is a very, very complex and difficult task, but it's something I actually know quite a bit about.  I want to just thank some of the Republican senators, who were really fantastic in getting us here, in particular John McCain for making the trip.  

But I think you're going to have a great healthcare.  This is the beginning of the end for the disaster known as Obamacare.
Thank you very much.

Q    Mr. President, how can the United States help Lebanon cope with the massive number of refugees -- of Syrian refugees?  And is there a way you can help facilitate the refugees' return to their home country?

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  Well, we are helping.  And one of the things that we have made tremendous strides at is getting rid of ISIS.  We have generals that don’t like to talk; they like to do.  And we were with General Mattis last night, and the success they've had against ISIS is extraordinary.  We've made more progress in the last four or five months than previous -- really, I could say, the previous administration made in eight years. 

And then we have to see what we have to see.  But I will tell you, ISIS in Syria, ISIS in Iraq, ISIS in other locations -- we have made tremendous strides.  Our military is an incredible fighting force.  And as you know, I let the commanders on the ground do what they had to do.  Before, they used to have to call in this beautiful house and speak to people that didn’t know what was happening -- where they were, what locations -- practically, probably never heard of the countries they were talking about, or the towns.  I let the generals do what they had to do.  And we have made tremendous plans.  We were discussing it just before.  We have made tremendous gains with respect to ISIS in Syria, Iraq, and other places.  

Thank you.

Q    What about Bashar al-Assad in Syria?


Q    Assad.

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  I'm not a fan of Assad, okay?  He will tell you that, because we hit 58 out of 58, or, you could even say, 59 out of 59, when we launched the Tomahawk missiles. 

No, I am not a fan of Assad.  I certainly think that what he's done to that country and to humanity is horrible.  So, I have been saying that for a long time.  I am not somebody that will stand by and let him get away with what he tried to do.  And he did it a number of times -- when President Obama drew the red line in the sand.  And then he should have crossed that red line, because some horrible acts against humanity took place, including gas and the killing through gases.  That was a bad day for this country.  And I'd go a step further that, had President Obama gone across that line and done what he should have done, I don’t believe you'd have Russia and I don’t believe you'd have Iran to anywhere near the extent, and maybe not at all, in Syria today.

Thank you very much.

Q    (No translation provided.)

PRIME MINISTER HARIRI:  (No translation provided.)

Q    (No translation provided.)

PRIME MINISTER HARIRI:  (No translation provided.)

PRESDIDENT TRUMP:  Thank you very much, everybody.  Appreciate it.  Thank you.

PRIME MINISTER HARIRI:  Thank you so much.

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  Mr. Prime Minister, thank you.

3:45 P.M. EDT

Categories: News Pit Feeds

Remarks by President Trump and Prime Minister Hariri of Lebanon before Bilateral Meeting

Tue, 07/25/2017 - 15:09

Oval Office

2:07 P.M. EDT

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  Well, it's great to have Prime Minister Hariri with us.  We have watched the tremendous progress made in Lebanon; it's not easy.  It's not easy.  But he's fighting many fronts, and they've really developed great relationships with our representatives and with me.  And Mr. Prime Minister, it's an honor to have you in the Oval Office.

PRIME MINISTER HARIRI:  It's an honor to be here with you, Mr. President.  And also, we're happy to make sure that this partnership that you have with fighting ISIS and all terrorism is ongoing.  And we'll keep on the partnership, hopefully, for the best of the region.  And I hope that in our talk we will have much more -- you know, much more talk about this issue.

PRESIDENT TRUMP:  We will.  We will.  Thank you all very much.

2:09 P.M. EDT

Categories: News Pit Feeds

Statement by President Donald J. Trump on the Senate Supporting the Motion to Proceed on Healthcare

Tue, 07/25/2017 - 14:31

I applaud the Senate for taking a giant step to end the Obamacare nightmare. As this vote shows, inaction is not an option, and now the legislative process can move forward as intended to produce a bill that lowers costs and increases options for all Americans. The Senate must now pass a bill and get it to my desk so we can finally end the Obamacare disaster once and for all.

Categories: News Pit Feeds

Sec. Perry: “Time to discard the burdens and costs of Obamacare”

Tue, 07/25/2017 - 11:19

“The debate over health care has consumed Washington for over a decade. America can’t afford another decade of spiraling costs, political bickering, or inaction. This may be the only window we have to do this. Millions of Americans are depending on their representatives to repeal this crushing law and can benefit from the common-sense solutions being considered in the Senate. We cannot, and must not, fail them any longer.”

Time to discard the burdens and costs of Obamacare
By Rick Perry
July 25, 2017 

On Jan. 25, 2007, then-Sen. Barack Obama delivered a speech declaring that ”the time has come for universal health care in America.” Two years later, he was president of the United States -- and he told a joint session of Congress that health care was his top priority. Just over a year after that, Obamacare became the law of the land.

America has been staggering under its burdens and failures ever since.

Insurance companies have pulled up stakes in states across the country, leaving consumers few options throughout the country.

Costs have risen dramatically, despite Democratic promises Obamacare would lower insurance costs. Patients have lost choices, doctors and insurance plans, and in some cases, lost access to cancer specialists and other life-saving caregivers.

I served as governor of Texas, the second largest state, for 14 years. I know full well that Texans largely have different ideas about health care than well-intentioned Washington bureaucrats.


The proposal from Congress contains many positive reforms to Medicaid -- in fact, they are included in the Senate’s Better Care Reconciliation Act. These would give states more control to deliver better care at lower costs for those in need.


There is an historic opportunity for Congress to finally empower people and states and move control out of Washington. There will not be another opportunity like this for a very long time.

It has never been enough to repeal Obamacare. Repeal is obvious, because its failure is obvious. Replacing it is much harder work. But it must be done, with a focus on returning health care to states, individuals, and the health care professionals that care for them.

The debate over health care has consumed Washington for over a decade. America can’t afford another decade of spiraling costs, political bickering, or inaction.

This may be the only window we have to do this. Millions of Americans are depending on their representatives to repeal this crushing law and can benefit from the common-sense solutions being considered in the Senate.

We cannot, and must not, fail them any longer.

Read the full op-ed here.

Categories: News Pit Feeds

Remarks by President Trump at 2017 National Scout Jamboree

Mon, 07/24/2017 - 20:10

Summit Bechtel National Scout Reserve
Glen Jean, West Virginia

6:32 P.M. EDT


THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you, everybody.  Thank you very much.  (Applause.) I am thrilled to be here.  Thrilled.  (Applause.) And if you think that was an easy trip, you’re wrong, but I am thrilled -- 19th Boy Scout Jamboree -- wow -- and to address such a tremendous group.  Boy, you have a lot of people here.  The press will say it’s about 200 people.  (Laughter.)  It looks like about 45,000 people.  You set a record today.  (Applause.)  You set a record.  That’s a great honor, believe me.  

Tonight, we put aside all of the policy fights in Washington, D.C. -- you’ve been hearing about with the fake news and all of that.  (Applause.)  We’re going to put that aside.  And instead we’re going to talk about success, about how all of you amazing young Scouts can achieve your dreams.  What to think of -- what I’ve been thinking about -- you want to achieve your dreams.  I said, who the hell wants to speak about politics when I’m in front of the Boy Scouts?  Right?  (Applause.)  

There are many great honors that come with the job of being President of the United States, but looking out at this incredible gathering of mostly young patriots -- mostly young -- I’m especially proud to speak to you as the honorary President of the Boy Scouts of America.  (Applause.)  


THE PRESIDENT:  You are the young people of character and integrity who will serve as leaders in our communities, and uphold the sacred values of our nation.

I want to thank Boy Scouts President Randall Stephenson, Chief Scout Executive Michael Surbaugh, Jamboree Chairman Ralph de la Vega, and the thousands of volunteers who have made this a life-changing experience for all of you, and when they asked me to be here I said absolutely, yes.  (Applause.)  

Finally, and we can’t forget these people, I especially want to salute the moms and the dads and troop leaders who are here tonight.  (Applause.)  Thank you for making scouting possible.  Thank you, mom and dad -- troop leaders.  

When you volunteer for the Boy Scouts, you are not only shaping young lives, you are shaping the future of America.  (Applause.)  The United States has no better citizens than its Boy Scouts.  (Applause.)  No better.  The values, traditions, and skills you learn here will serve you throughout your lives, and just as importantly they will serve your families, your cities, and in the future and in the present, will serve your country.  (Applause.)  The Scouts believe in putting America first.  (Applause.)  

You know, I go to Washington and I see all these politicians, and I see the swamp.  And it’s not a good place.  In fact today I said we ought to change it from the word swamp to the word cesspool or, perhaps, to the word sewer.  But it’s not good.  Not good.  (Applause.)  And I see what’s going on, and believe me I’d much rather be with you.  That I can tell you.  (Applause.)

I’ll tell you the reason that I love this and the reason that I really wanted to be here is because as President, I rely on former Boy Scouts every single day, and so do the American people.  It’s amazing how many Boy Scouts we have at the highest level of our great government.  Many of my top advisors in the White House were Scouts.  Ten members of my cabinet were Scouts.  Can you believe that?  Ten.  (Applause.)  

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is not only a Boy Scout, he’s your former national president.  (Applause.)  

The Vice President of the United States, Mike Pence -- good guy -- was a Scout, and it meant so much to him.  (Applause.)  Some of you here tonight might even have camped out in this yard when Mike was the governor of Indiana, but the scouting was very, very important.  And by the way, where are our Indiana Scouts tonight?  (Applause.)  I wonder if the television cameras will follow you.  They don’t like doing that when they see these massive crowds.  They don’t like doing that.  Hi, folks.  (Applause.) A lot of love in this big, beautiful place.  A lot of love, and a lot of love for our country.  There’s a lot of love for our country.  

Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke is here tonight.  Come here, Ryan.  (Applause.)  Ryan is an Eagle Scout from Big Sky Country in Montana.  (Applause.)  Pretty good.  And by the way, he is doing a fantastic job.  He makes sure that we leave our national parks and federal lands better than we found them, in the best Scouting tradition.  So thank you very much, Ryan.  (Applause.) 

Secretary of Energy Rick Perry, of Texas, an Eagle Scout from the Great State.  (Applause.)  The first time he came to the national jamboree was in 1964.  He was very young then.  And Rick told me just a little while ago, it totally changed his life.  So, Rick, thank you very much for being here.  And we're doing a lot with energy.  (Applause.) 

And very soon, Rick, we will be an energy exporter.  Isn’t that nice -- an energy exporter?  (Applause.)  In other words we’ll be selling our energy instead of buying it from everybody all over the globe.  So that's good.  (Applause.)  We will be energy dominant.  And I’ll tell you what, the folks in West Virginia who were so nice to me, boy, have we kept our promise.  We are going on and on.  So we love West Virginia.  We want to thank you.  

Where’s West Virginia by the way?  (Applause.)  Thank you.  

Secretary Tom Price is also here.  Today Dr. Price still lives the Scout Oath, helping to keep millions of Americans strong and healthy as our Secretary of Health and Human Services.  And he’s doing a great job.  And hopefully, he’s going to get the votes tomorrow to start our path toward killing this horrible thing known as Obamacare that's really hurting us, folks.  (Applause.)  


THE PRESIDENT:  By the way, you going to get the votes?

He better get them.  He better get them.  Oh, he better -- otherwise, I’ll say, Tom, you're fired.  I’ll get somebody.  (Applause.) 

He better get Senator Capito to vote for it.  You got to get the other senators to vote for it.  It’s time.  After seven years of saying repeal and replace Obamacare, we have a chance to now do it.  They better do it.  Hopefully they’ll do it. 

As we can see just by looking at our government, in America, Scouts lead the way.  And another thing I’ve noticed -- and I’ve noticed it all my life -- there is a tremendous spirit with being a Scout, more so than almost anything I can think of.  So whatever is going on, keep doing it.  It’s incredible to watch.  Believe me.  (Applause.)  

Each of these leaders will tell you that their road to American success -- and you have to understand, their American success, and they are a great, great story was paved with the patriotic American values as traditions they learned in the Boy Scouts.  And some day, many years from now, when you look back on all of the adventures in your lives, you will be able to say the same:  I got my start as a Scout just like these incredibly great people that are doing such a good job for our country.  So that's going to happen.  (Applause.) 

Boy Scout values are American values, and great Boy Scouts become great, great Americans.  As the Scout Law says: “A Scout is trustworthy, loyal” -- we could use some more loyalty, I will tell you that.  

AUDIENCE:  “helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent.”  (Applause.)

THE PRESIDENT:  That was very impressive.  (Laughter.)  You've heard that before.  

But here you learn the rewards of hard work and perseverance.  Never ever give up, never quit.  Persevere.  Never, ever quit.

You learn the satisfaction of building a roaring campfire, reaching a mountain summit, or earning a merit badge after mastering a certain skill.  There’s no better feeling than an achievement that you’ve earned with your own sweat, tears, resolve, hard work.  There’s nothing like it.  Do you agree with that?  


THE PRESIDENT:  I’m waving to people back there so small I can't even see them.  Man, this is a lot of people.  Turn those cameras back there, please.  That is so incredible.

By the way, what do you think the chances are that this incredible, massive crowd, record-setting is going to be shown on television tonight?  One percent or zero?  (Applause.)

The fake media will say:  President Trump -- and you know what this is -- President Trump spoke before a small crowd of Boy Scouts today.

That's some -- that is some crowd.  (Applause.)  

Fake media.  Fake news.  Thank you.  And I’m honored by that, by the way, all of you people they can't even see you.  So thank you.  I hope you can hear. 

Through scouting you also learn to believe in yourselves -- so important -- to have confidence in your ability, and to take responsibility for your own life.  When you face down new challenges, and you will have plenty of them, develop talents you never thought possible, and lead your teammates through daring trials, you discover that you can handle anything.  And you learn it by being a scout.  It’s great.  (Applause.) 

You can do anything.  You can be anything you want to be.  But in order to succeed, you must find out what you love to do.  You have to find your passion.  No matter what they tell you -- if you don't -- I love you, too.  I don't know.  It’s a nice guy.  (Applause.)  Hey, what am I going to do?  He sounds like a nice person.  He, he, he, he.  Thank you.  I do.  I do love you.  

AUDIENCE:  We love Trump!  We love Trump!  We love Trump!

THE PRESIDENT:  By the way, just a question, did President Obama ever come to a jamboree?  


THE PRESIDENT:  And we’ll be back.  We’ll be back.  The answer is no, but we’ll be back.

In life, in order to be successful, and you people are well on the road to success, you have to find out what makes you excited.  What makes you want to get up each morning and go to work?  You have to find it.

If you love what you do and dedicate yourself to your work, then you will gain momentum, and look -- you have to, you need to.  The word momentum -- you will gain that momentum, and each success will create another success.  The word momentum.  

I’ll tell you a story that’s very interesting for me when I was young.  There was a man named William Levitt -- Levittowns, you have some here, you have some in different states.  Anybody ever hear of Levittown?  (Applause.)  And he was a very successful man.  He was a homebuilder -- became an unbelievable success, and got more and more successful.  And he built homes, and at night he’d go to these major sites with teams of people and he’d scour the sites for nails and sawdust and small pieces of wood.  And they’d clean the site so when the workers came in the next morning, the sites would be spotless and clean, and he did it properly.  And he did this for 20 years, and then he was offered a lot of money for his company.  

And he sold his company for a tremendous amount of money.  At the time especially -- this was a long time ago -- sold his company for a tremendous amount of money.  And he went out and bought a big yacht, and he had a very interesting life.  I won’t go any more than that because you’re Boy Scouts, so I’m not going to tell you what he did.

AUDIENCE:  Booo -- 

THE PRESIDENT:  Should I tell you?  Should I tell you?  


THE PRESIDENT:  Oh, you’re Boy Scouts, but you know life.  You know life.  So -- look at you.  Who would think this is the Boy Scouts, right?  

So he had a very, very interesting life, and the company that bought his company was a big conglomerate.  And they didn’t know anything about building homes, and they didn’t know anything about picking up the nails and the sawdust and selling it -- and the scraps of wood.  This was a big conglomerate based in New York City, and after about a ten year period they were losing a lot with it.  It didn’t mean anything to them, and they couldn’t sell it.  

So they called William Levitt up and they said, would you like to buy back your company, and he said yes, I would.  He so badly wanted it, he got bored with this life of yachts and sailing and all of the things he did in the south of France and other places.  You won’t get bored, right?  You know, truthfully, you’re workers.  You’ll get bored too.  Believe me.  (Applause.)  Of course, having a good few years like that isn’t so bad.  (Applause.)  But what happened is he bought back his company, and he bought back a lot of empty land.  And he worked hard in getting it zoning, and he worked hard on starting to develop.  

And in the end he failed, and he failed badly.  Lost all of his money.  He went personally bankrupt, and he was now much older.  And I saw him at a cocktail party, and it was very sad because the hottest people in New York were at this party.  It was the party of Steve Ross who was one of the great people -- he came up and discovered -- really founded -- Time Warner, and he was a great guy.  He had a lot of successful people at the party. 
And I was doing well so I got invited to the party.  I was very young, and I go in -- but I’m in the real estate business -- and I see 100 people, some of whom I recognize and they’re big in the entertainment business.  And I see, sitting in the corner, was a little old man who was all by himself.  Nobody was talking to him.  I immediately recognized that that man was the once great William Levitt of Levittown, and I immediately went over -- I wanted to talk to him more than the Hollywood show business communications people.  

So I went over and talked to him, and I said, Mr. Levitt, I’m Donald Trump.  He said I know.  I said, Mr. Levitt, how are you doing?  He goes, not well, not well at all.  And I knew that, but he said not well at all.  And he explained what was happening and how bad it has been and how hard it has been.  And I said what exactly happened?  Why did this happen to you?  You’re one of the greats ever in our industry.  Why did this happen to you?  And he said, Donald, I lost my momentum.  I lost my momentum.  A word you never hear when you’re talking about success.  When some of these guys that never made ten cents, they’re on television giving you things about how you’re going to be successful, and the only thing they ever did was a book and a tape. 

But I’ll tell you, it was very sad, and I never forgot that moment.  And I thought about it, and it’s exactly true.  He lost his momentum.  Meaning, he took this period of time off long -- years -- and then when he got back, he didn’t have that same momentum.  In life, I always tell this to people, you have to know whether or not you continue to have the momentum, and if you don’t have it that’s okay.  Because you’re going to go on and you’re going to learn and you’re going to do things that are great.  But you have to know about the word momentum.  

But the big thing:  Never quit.  Never give up.  Do something you love.  When you do something you love -- as a Scout I see that you love it.  But when you do something that you love you’ll never fail.  What you’re going to do is give it a shot again and again and again.  You’re ultimately going to be successful, and remember this, you’re not working.  Because when you’re doing something that you love like I do -- of course I love my business, but this is a little bit different.  Who thought this was going to happen?  We’re having a good time.  We’re doing a good job.  (Applause.)  Doing a good job.  But when you do something that you love, remember this, it’s not work.  

So you’ll work 24/7, you’re going to work all the time, and at the end of a year you’re not really working.  You don’t think of it as work.  When you’re not doing something that you like or when you’re forced in to do something that you really don’t like, that’s called work.  And it’s hard work and tedious work.  

So as much as you can, do something that you love.  Work hard, and never ever give up, and you’re going to be tremendously successful.  Tremendously successful.  (Applause.)  

Now with that, I have to tell you our economy is doing great.  Our stock market has picked up -- since the election November 8th.  Do we remember that date?  (Applause.)  Was that a beautiful date?  (Applause.)  What a date.  Do you remember that famous night on television, November 8th, where they said -- these dishonest people -- where they said there is no path to victory for Donald Trump?  They forgot about the forgotten people.  By the way, they're not forgetting about the forgotten people anymore.  They're going crazy trying to figure it out.  But I told them, far too late.  It’s far too late.

But do you remember that incredible night with the maps and the Republicans are red and the Democrats are blue, and that map was so red, it was unbelievable, and they didn't know what to say?  (Applause.) 

And you know we have a tremendous disadvantage in the Electoral College -- popular vote is much easier.  Because New York, California, Illinois -- you have to practically run the East Coast.  And we did.  We won Florida.  We won South Carolina.  We won North Carolina.  We won Pennsylvania.  (Applause.)  

We won and won.  So when they said, there is no way to victory, there is no way to 270.  I went to Maine four times because it’s one vote, and we won.  But we won -- one vote.  I went there because I kept hearing we're at 269.  But then Wisconsin came in.  Many, many years -- Michigan came in.  

And we worked hard there.  My opponent didn't work hard there because she was told --


THE PRESIDENT:  She was told she was going to win Michigan, and I said, well, wait a minute, the car industry is moving to Mexico.  Why is she going to move -- she’s there.  Why are they allowing it to move?

And by the way, do you see those car industry -- do you see what’s happening, how they're coming back to Michigan?  They're coming back to Ohio.  They're starting to peel back in.  (Applause.) 

And we go to Wisconsin -- now, Wisconsin hadn’t been won in many, many years by a Republican.  But we go to Wisconsin, and we had tremendous crowds.  And I’d leave these massive crowds.  I’d say, why are we going to lose this state?

The polls -- that's also fake news.  They're fake polls.  But the polls are saying -- but we won Wisconsin.  (Applause.)  So I have to tell you what we did, in all fairness, is an unbelievable tribute to you and all of the other millions and millions of people that came out and voted for Make America Great Again.  (Applause.) 


THE PRESIDENT:  And I’ll tell you what, we are, indeed, making America great again.  What’s going on is incredible.  (Applause.) 

We had the best jobs report in 16 years.  The stock market on a daily basis is hitting an all-time high.  We're going to be bringing back very soon trillions of dollars from companies that can't get their money back into this country, and that money is going to be used to help rebuild America.  We're doing things that nobody ever thought was possible.

And we've just started.  It’s just the beginning.  Believe me.  (Applause.) 

In the Boy Scouts you learn right from wrong, correct?  


THE PRESIDENT:  You learn to contribute to your communities, to take pride in your nation, and to seek out opportunities to serve.  You pledge to help other people at all times.  (Applause.) 

In the Scout Oath, you pledge on your honor to do your best and to do your duty to God and your country.  (Applause.) 

And by the way, under the Trump administration, you’ll be saying, merry Christmas again when you go shopping.  Believe me.  Merry Christmas.  (Applause.) 

They've been downplaying that little, beautiful phrase.  You're going to be saying, merry Christmas again, folks.  (Applause.) 

But the words duty, country, and God are beautiful words.  In other words, basically what you're doing is you're pledging to be a great American patriot.  (Applause.) 

For more than a century that is exactly what our Boy Scouts have been.  Last year you gave more than 15 million hours of service to helping people in your communities.  (Applause.) 

Incredible.  That's an incredible stat.  

All of you here tonight will contribute more than 100,000 hours of service by the end of this jamboree -- 100,000.  (Applause.) 

When natural disaster strikes, when people face hardship, when the beauty and glory of our outdoor spaces must be restored and taken care of, America turns to the Boy Scouts because we know that the Boy Scouts never, ever, ever let us down.  (Applause.) 

Just like you know you can count on me, we know we can count on you because we know the values that you live by.  (Applause.) 

Your values are the same values that have always kept America strong, proud, and free.  And by the way, do you see the billions and billions and billions of additional money that we're putting back into our military?  Billions of dollars.  (Applause.)  New planes, new ships, great equipment for our people that are so great to us.  We love our vets.  We love our soldiers.  And we love our police, by the way.  Firemen, police -- we love our police.  (Applause.)   Those are all special people.  Uniformed services. 

Two days ago, I traveled to Norfolk, Virginia to commission an American aircraft carrier into the fleet of the United States Navy.  (Applause.)  It’s the newest, largest, and most advanced aircraft carrier anywhere in the world, and it’s named for an Eagle Scout, the USS Gerald R. Ford.  (Applause.)  Everywhere it sails, that great Scout’s name will be feared and revered, because that ship will be a symbol of American power, prestige, and strength.  (Applause.) 

Our nation honors President Gerald R. Ford today because he lived his life the scouting way.  Boy Scouts celebrate American patriots, especially the brave members of our armed forces.  Thank you very much.  Thank you.  Thank you.  (Applause.) 

American hearts are warmed every year when we read about Boy Scouts placing thousands and thousands of flags next to veterans’ gravesites all across the country.  By honoring our heroes, you help to ensure that their memory never, ever dies.  You should take great pride in the example you set for every citizen of our country to follow.  (Applause.) 

Generations of American Boy Scouts have sworn the same oath and lived according to same law.  You inherit a noble American tradition, and as you embark on your lives, never cease to be proud of who you are and the principles you hold dear and stand by.  Wear your values as your badge of honor.  What you've done, few have done before you.  What you've done is incredible.  What you've done is admired by all.  So I want to congratulate you, Boy Scouts.  (Applause.) 

Let your scouting oath guide your path from this day forward.  Remember your duty.  Honor your history.  Take care of the people God put into your life, and love and cherish your great country.  (Applause.) 

You are very special people.  You're special in the lives of America.  You're special to me.  But if you do what we say, I promise you that you will live scouting’s adventure every single day of your life, and you will win, win, win and help people in doing so.  (Applause.) 

Your lives will have meaning and purpose and joy.  You will become leaders, and you will inspire others to achieve the dreams they once thought were totally impossible, things that you said could never, ever happen are already happening for you.  And if you do these things -- and if you refuse to give in to doubt or to fear -- then you will help to make America great again.  You will be proud of yourself, be proud of the uniform you wear, and be proud of the country you love.  (Applause.) 


THE PRESIDENT:  And never, ever forget, America is proud of you.  (Applause.) 

This is a very, very special occasion for me.  I’ve known so many Scouts over the years.  Winners.  I’ve known so many great people.  They've been taught so well, and they love their heritage.  But this is very special for me.  And I just want to end by saying very importantly:  God bless you.  God bless the Boy Scouts.  God bless the United States of America.  

Go out.  Have a great time in life.  Compete and go out and show me that there is nobody -- nobody -- like a Boy Scout.

Thank you very much, everybody.  Thank you very much.  Thank you.  Thank you very much.  (Applause.) 

7:10 P.M. EDT

Categories: News Pit Feeds

President Donald J. Trump Announces Key Additions to his Administration

Mon, 07/24/2017 - 18:13

President Donald J. Trump today announced his intent to nominate the following individuals to key positions in his Administration:

Ann Marie Buerkle of New York to be the Chairman of the Consumer Product Safety Commission and to be a Commissioner of the Consumer Product Safety Commission for a term of 7 years beginning October 27, 2018.  Ms. Buerkle currently serves as Commissioner of the Consumer Product Safety Commission.  Since 2017, she has also served as Acting Chair.  Prior to joining the Consumer Product Safety Commission, Ms. Buerkle represented New York’s 25th Congressional District in Congress.  During her time in Congress, Ms. Buerkle served as a United States Representative to the 66th Session of the General Assembly of the United Nations from 2011 to 2012.  From 1997 to 2009, Ms. Buerkle was an Assistant Attorney General for the state of New York.  Earlier in her career, she practiced law in a private firm.  Before her legal career, Ms. Buerkle worked as a registered nurse at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital in New York City.  She received a BS from Le Moyne College and a JD from Syracuse University College of Law.

Peter Hoekstra of Michigan to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Kingdom of the Netherlands.  Mr. Hoekstra is a prominent politician and business executive who served as a member of Congress from 1993-2011, representing Michigan’s 2nd Congressional District.  He was the Chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence from 2004 to 2007 and then the ranking Republican on the Committee until 2011.  Mr. Hoekstra continues to be active on public policy issues and in business affairs as a consultant, researcher, and writer.  He was a distinguished fellow at the Heritage Foundation and a Shillman Senior Fellow at the Investigative Project on Terrorism.  He earned a BA at Hope College and an MBA at the University of Michigan.

Justin Hicks Siberell of Maryland to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America the Kingdom of Bahrain.  Mr. Siberell, a career member of the Senior Foreign Service, class of Minister-Counselor, has served as an American diplomat since 1993.  He is currently the Acting Coordinator for Counterterrorism, U.S. Department of State.  Through six postings in Middle East countries, Mr. Siberell has developed a deep knowledge of the Gulf States and critical American interests in the region.  He has led large, diverse organizations in Washington and abroad and has created unified, resilient, and highly productive interagency teams addressing challenges in high-threat environments.  Mr. Siberell earned a BA in History from the University of California at Berkeley.  He speaks Spanish and Arabic.


President Donald J. Trump Announces Intent to Appoint Christopher Krebs to the Department of Homeland Security

Christopher Krebs of Virginia to be the Assistant Secretary for Infrastructure Protection, Department of Homeland Security.  Mr. Krebs has extensive experience in critical infrastructure protection and cybersecurity risk management.  He most recently served as Senior Counselor to the Secretary of Homeland Security, where he advised the Secretary on a range of cybersecurity, infrastructure protection, and resilience issues.  Prior to his work at the Department of Homeland Security, Mr. Krebs was Director for Cybersecurity Policy for the Microsoft Corporation in the Washington, D.C. office, where he managed Microsoft’s U.S. policy work on cybersecurity and encryption issues.  Before Microsoft, Mr. Krebs advised private sector, and Federal, State, and local government customers on range of cybersecurity and risk management issues.  From 2007 to 2009, he served as Senior Advisor to the Assistant Secretary for Infrastructure Protection, playing a formative role in a number of national and international risk management programs.  He holds a bachelor’s degree in environmental sciences from the University of Virginia and a JD from the Antonin Scalia Law School at George Mason University.


Categories: News Pit Feeds

Press Gaggle by Principal Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Sanders and Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price en route Beaver, WV

Mon, 07/24/2017 - 17:44

Aboard Air Force One
En Route Beaver, West Virginia

5:03 P.M. EDT

MS. SANDERS:  We’ve got a couple special guests.  I’m going to let -- I know we’re tight on time -- if we have to, we’ll come back on the way back and answer a few more questions, but I’m going to let Secretary Price kick off, give a little update on healthcare, talk about some of the stuff from today, and then I’ll answer questions after that.

SECRETARY PRICE:    Well, it’s an honor to join President Trump on this trip to the Boy Scout Jamboree.

But regarding healthcare, we’ve had a number of conversations, obviously, over the weekend, and we’re looking forward to a positive vote tomorrow in the Senate.  Senator McConnell has assured his members that the vote will occur, and the President is adamant about moving forward and getting on a bill so that we can have the debate, have the discussion, and move forward on behalf of the American people.  

There are folks who are hurting out there.  We had an event at the White House today that had a number of families -- four families from across the country, many with children -- who have been harmed by the current policies of Obamacare.  So our goal is to fix that -- is to move in a better direction where patients and families and doctors are making medical decisions and not Washington, D.C.  So we look forward to a positive outcome tomorrow.

MS. SANDERS:  All right, we’ll take a few questions.

Q    -- have Senator Lee’s vote now?

SECRETARY PRICE:  Beg your pardon.

Q    Do you think you have Senator Lee’s vote now?

SECRETARY PRICE:  We look forward to having at least 50 votes in the Senate, and the Vice President will be there, obviously, tomorrow in order to break a tie if there is a tie.  But you can’t begin to solve this challenge and crisis of Obamacare without voting to proceed on the legislation and having the debate.  As the Vice President says, as the President says, this vote is to begin the debate on the repeal of Obamacare. 

Q    Senator Collins said yesterday that she hadn’t received a call from the President on this topic.  Does the President plan to pick up the phone and call some senators himself?

SECRETARY PRICE:  We’ve talked to virtually every single Republican senator.  The Senator has been at the White House on a number of occasions.  There have been conversations that have gone back and forth, so I think that the input that we have taken from senators has been extraordinary and, frankly, unprecedented.  Having been involved in these healthcare conversations and debates for years, this is the greatest amount of involvement by a President that I have ever witnessed one-on-one with members of Congress -- both the House and the Senate.

Thank you, all.

MS. SANDERS:  We’ll jump straight in -- since we’re short on time -- on other questions.

Q    Can you talk a little bit about what’s going on in the Middle East?  I know that we have some envoys over there, but the U.N. warned today that if things aren’t solved by Friday prayers, things could really spin out of control.  What is the administration doing to try to lessen tensions in Jerusalem?

MS. SANDERS:  Certainly an effort to deescalate is important.  Jason Greenblatt has gone over -- arrived earlier today -- and we’re not going to get ahead of any conversations that he has, but he is meeting with a number of people while he’s there.  And we’ll keep you guys updated as those meetings take place.

Q    Sarah, what does the President mean when he said that Jeff Sessions was beleaguered?  What did he mean by that?

MS. SANDERS:  Look, I think the President has been extremely clear about his position.  I know I’ve answered this question a number of times over the last week.  He’s very disappointed that Attorney General Sessions chose to recuse himself, and there’s not much more to add beyond what we’ve already said on the matter.

Q    And there are some reports that he was at the White House today.  Can you share any information about that?

MS. SANDERS:  Sure.  I can confirm he was at the White House, but he did not meet with the President while he was there today.  

Q    Does the President actually want Attorney General Sessions to open an investigation into Hillary Clinton or is he making a political point?

MS. SANDERS:  I’m sorry?

Q    Does the President actually want the Attorney General to open an investigation into Hillary Clinton or is he making a political point?

MS. SANDERS:  I think that he would hope that the Department of Justice would look into any potential area where the law could have been broken, and if they think there’s a possibility of that, then certainly they should take a look.

Q    Sarah, is the President going to sign the new sanctions bill?

MS. SANDERS:  In regards to the sanctions bill, the President has been very vocal about his support for continuing sanctions on those three countries.  He has no intention of getting rid of them, but he wants to make sure we get the best deal for the American people possible.  Congress does not have the best record on that.  I think you can look at NAFTA, you can look at the Iran deal, and the President wants to make sure that we actually get the best deal for the United States.  And so he’s very focused on that, but at the same time wants to make sure that sanctions on those three countries remain, and he’s going to study that legislation and see what the final product looks like.

Q    If it looks like it does now, does he approve of it?

MS. SANDERS:  I’m sorry?

Q    If it looks like it does now -- as they currently have it shaped and they plan to vote on it tomorrow, is he fine that -- he’s supportive of that, right? 

MS. SANDERS:  As I said, he’s looking over where it stands exactly at this point, and we’ll keep you guys posted on the decision.  I think the important part of this is that the President very much supports sanctions on those countries and wants to make sure that those remain; but at the same time, wants to make sure that we get good deals.  And those two things are both very important for the President.

Q    Did the President talk to Jared Kushner after he came back from the Hill?

MS. SANDERS:  I know that the President was very proud of Jared for voluntarily going to the Hill and being very transparent with every interaction that he’s had.  He thought Jared did a great job and was very glad that he was able to go through that process and lay everything out and I think show the members of that committee, as well as everybody else, what a witch hunt and hoax this whole thing is.  And we're going to continue pushing forward and focus on things the American people actually care about, and Russia is I don't think really it.

Q    Did they talk afterwards?

MS. SANDERS:  Again, I’m not sure if they talked, but I know that he watched and saw Jared’s statement and thought he did a great job.

Q    -- statement that was made on the driveway, did he help craft it, or did he have any role in crafting it? 

MS. SANDERS:  Not that I’m aware of, but I’d have to check to be sure.  I just don't know.  

Q    Sarah, the Secretary said the President has been more engaged than he’s seen in the past.  Does the buck stop with the President whatever happens?  Whether this passes or fails, is it the President’s responsibility on that?

MS. SANDERS:  Sure, I’ll let Secretary Price weigh in.  He’s said that --

SECRETARY PRICE:  What was the question?

Q    Does the buck stop with the President?  You said he’s been more engaged than any President you've seen.  So if this fails, is it his responsibility?

SECRETARY PRICE:  Well, all of us in the administration understand and appreciate that the current healthcare system for the individual and small-group market and many in Medicaid just simply isn’t working.  That's the President’s passion about this.  He wants to fix this for the American people. 

It’s not whether or not the patients are able to see the doctor that they want to see necessarily; it’s that he wants to fix the system itself.  And so that's the charge that he’s given us.

Q    Have Republicans done enough?  Has the President done enough, the administration, too?  Obviously, today the talk was a lot about the problems with Obamacare.  Have you guys done enough to sell what the Senate is hoping to begin debate on this week, the new bill?

SECRETARY PRICE:  Well, as I say, we've reached out to virtually every single senator who is interested in moving forward in a positive direction, the President has personally to so many.  And the status quo is simply untenable.  You can't have people that are paying premiums that have deductibles that they can't afford, so they have an insurance card, but they don't have any care.  That's a system that may work for insurance companies.  It may have worked for the previous administration.  But it doesn't work for patients, and that's what we're trying to correct.

Q    Have you done enough to sell to the public, though?  The public polling is that the new bill looks even less popular than Obamacare.  Do you think more needs to be done to explain to the American people what’s in the Senate bill?

SECRETARY PRICE:  Well, when the opponents of what we're trying to do aren’t constrained by the truth, it’s a challenge.  So we continue to put our message out there, the message that we believe that patients and families and doctors ought to be the ones making medical decisions -- not Washington, D.C.; the message that we believe that health coverage and care ought to be affordable and accessible to the American people of the highest quality and provide choices for patients.

That's not the system that we currently have in so many areas.  That's why the President has such a passion for this.

Q    Sarah, do you think we're going to see the steel report?  Are we going to see the steel report this week?

MS. SANDERS:  We’ll keep you posted when we have an announcement on that front.

Q    Sarah, can you tell us about the President rejecting the Afghanistan plan that H.R. McMaster and the national security team presented to him this last week?

MS. SANDERS:  I’m not going to weigh in on anything at this time, but we’ll certainly keep you guys posted as the progress moves forward on that front.

And we're about to land, so I’ll take one last question.  

Q    Are we going to have on-camera briefings from now on?  Is this the new precedent?

MS. SANDERS:  Look, we've always maintained the idea that we're going to do things in a way to get the message out.  We've had a mix of both on- and off-camera briefings, and we’ll continue to do that and do our best to provide as many on-camera briefings as possible.

Thanks, guys.

Q    Thanks.

5:11 P.M. EDT


Categories: News Pit Feeds

H.R. 3219 — Make America Secure Appropriations Act, 2018

Mon, 07/24/2017 - 16:45

July 24, 2017
(House Rules)


H.R. 3219 — Make America Secure Appropriations Act, 2018
(Rep. Frelinghuysen, R-NJ)

The Administration supports House passage of H.R. 3219, making appropriations for defense, military construction, Veterans Affairs, the Legislative Branch, energy and water development, and for other purposes for the fiscal year (FY) ending September 30, 2018.

This package is a strong step to fulfilling the President’s promise to put the safety of the American people first. The bill ensures our security abroad by funding operations to defeat the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), rebuilding our military after years of neglect, and improving our missile defense capabilities to defend against threats from North Korea and other adversaries. It protects us at home by providing for construction of the border wall. It also keeps faith with those who defend us by generously funding care for our veterans. In addition, the bill makes major investments in our military and civilian infrastructure, supporting our economy while improving our security.

The Administration strongly supports the Committee’s commitment to include the President’s border wall proposal, which is a critical element of the President’s strategy to secure the borders. This proposal provides $1.6 billion for physical barrier construction along the southwest border, including $784 million for 32 miles of new border fencing in Rio Grande Valley (RGV), Texas, $498 million for 28 miles of new levee wall in RGV, $251 million for 14 miles of secondary fencing in San Diego, California, and $38 million for program planning and management.

Physical barriers are vital for border security because they deter, prevent, and deny potential illegal border crossings, for illegal alien movement generally and for human smuggling and drug smuggling specifically. The funding provided in the bill would allow Customs and Border Protection to make critical investments in the areas of the border with the highest current risk and the greatest current operational need. The Administration strongly supports these efforts.

The bill provides $667.7 billion for the Department of Defense, including $74.6 billion for Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO). The previous administration signed into law harmful cuts to defense spending. This Administration strongly supports restoring America’s investment in defense. To ensure that our military is not rebuilt on the backs of future generations of Americans, however, the Administration strongly supports fiscally responsible reductions to spending elsewhere in the Federal Budget, as outlined in the FY 2018 Budget request.

Veterans’ access to timely, high-quality healthcare and services is a top priority, and the Administration appreciates the bill’s provision of $78.3 billion in discretionary funding for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), a $3.9 billion increase above FY 2017. This funding supports care for our veterans as well as crucial reforms to the VA to reduce the disability claims backlog and provide greater oversight and accountability.

If H.R. 3219 were presented to the President in its current form, his advisors would recommend that he sign the bill into law.

The Administration would like to take this opportunity to share additional views regarding the Committee’s version of the bill. The Administration may also provide more detail regarding its views in the future, including constitutional concerns, on other provisions.

Division A – Department of Defense Appropriations Act, 2018

Department of Defense (DOD)

Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC). The Administration strongly objects to section 8113, which prohibits the use of appropriated funds for proposing, planning, or executing a new BRAC round. The Administration strongly urges the Congress to provide BRAC authorization as requested so that DOD can ensure it is not wasting resources on unneeded infrastructure. The Department estimates that a new BRAC round in 2021 would save an additional $2 billion or more annually—resources it could apply to higher priorities such as readiness and modernization.

Palau Compact Funding. The Administration strongly urges the Congress to include the $124 million requested to fulfill the entire remaining United States financial commitment to the Republic of Palau under the 2010 Compact Review Agreement (CRA). The CRA requires payment of United States commitments in full to enact the Agreement. Failure to fund the CRA could imperil ongoing national security initiatives with the Republic of Palau and jeopardize United States access and influence in a region that is increasingly contested by China.

Missile Defense Programs. The Administration objects to the reduction of $308 million to United States Ballistic Missile Defense programs during a period of escalating threats from North Korea to the homeland and allies of the United States.

Counter-ISIL Train and Equip Fund (CTEF). The Administration objects to the $112.5 million in rescissions to CTEF. These reductions would limit DOD’s ability to quickly and effectively provide assistance to partners fighting ISIS, undermining the Administration’s “by, with, and through” strategy to degrade, dismantle, and ultimately defeat ISIS.

Coalition Support Fund (CSF). The Administration objects to the $450 million in reductions, which includes a rescission to CSF. These reductions would limit DOD’s ability to reimburse key partners in the fight against ISIS and other extremist groups in the region. The rescission, notably, would reduce funds available for programs that are already underway. Furthermore, the rescission would inhibit the Executive Branch’s ability to conduct foreign policy, limit the Secretary of Defense’s ability to act in the national security interest of the United States, and unnecessarily complicate relationships with key partners.

Innovation and Enhancing Combat Capability. The Administration objects to the reduction of $170 million to the Strategic Capabilities Office FY 2018 Budget request. Specifically, the Administration is concerned that this reduction would add considerable risk to the timely demonstration and transition of critical warfighter capabilities.

Division C – Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2018

Department of Defense

Next National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency West (N2W) Campus. The Administration objects to the Committee’s decision to reduce N2W by $181 million through an incremental funding approach and recommends that funding be provided at the FY 2018 Budget request level. The Administration is opposed to such use of incremental funding for military construction projects because it undermines program stability and cost discipline and could negatively impact other mission-critical priorities. In the case of this project, the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency expects to obligate the full amount of the Budget request in FY 2018.

Division D – Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2018

Corps of Engineers

Agency Topline. The Administration appreciates the bill’s investments in the Nation’s water resources through the Corps of Engineers civil works program, but believes that funding should be limited to the amounts requested in the FY 2018 Budget. The Budget focused on investments to maintain the performance of the key features of existing water resources infrastructure that the Corps owns and operates and the navigation channels that serve the Nation’s largest coastal ports. It also supports the construction of projects that would provide a high economic or environmental return to the Nation or that would address a significant risk to public safety.

Department of Energy

Mixed Oxide (MOX) Fuel Fabrication Facility Termination. The Administration strongly objects to continued construction of the Mixed Oxide (MOX) Fuel Fabrication Facility as directed in the bill. The project is unaffordable and risky. The most recent estimates, conducted by the Department of Energy and the Corps of Engineers, project $12 billion in remaining construction costs, and total construction costs of $17 billion when including $5 billion in sunk costs to date. In addition, the projected operating costs are between $800 million and $1 billion per year for nearly two decades. The alternative—dilute and dispose—is a proven approach with significantly less risk and expense, and can be implemented decades sooner than the MOX approach.

Excess Facilities. The Administration strongly opposes the $150 million reduction to the request to dispose of excess facilities at the Department of Energy sites that are not in the Environmental Management program. These resources are critical to addressing the increasing risks these facilities pose. The Administration urges the Congress to provide the requested $225 million to protect the health and safety of workers and the public, and support modernization of the nuclear security enterprise.

Nuclear Waste Management (Interim Storage and Yucca Mountain Licensing). While the Administration supports the inclusion of $120 million for nuclear waste management activities, the Administration strongly opposes the prohibition on using funds appropriated from the Nuclear Waste Fund for interim storage activities.

Applied Energy Programs. The Administration commends the Committee for beginning to shift the focus of applied energy research and development to earlier-stage activities where the Federal role is strongest, but strongly encourages the Congress to accelerate this shift and further reduce funding for costly later-stage development, commercialization, and deployment activities, some of which are unauthorized.

The Administration looks forward to working with the Congress as the FY 2018 appropriations process moves forward.

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H.J. Res. 111 – Disapproving the Rule, Submitted by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Known as the Arbitration Agreements Rule

Mon, 07/24/2017 - 16:08

July 24, 2017
(House Rules)


H.J. Res. 111 – Disapproving the Rule, Submitted by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Known as the Arbitration Agreements Rule
(Rep. Rothfus, R-PA, and 33 cosponsors)

The Administration strongly supports House passage of H.J. Res. 111. This joint resolution of disapproval would nullify the “Arbitration Agreements” rule, 82 Fed. Reg. 33210 (July 19, 2017), promulgated by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). The rule would bar certain financial institutions from using contract clauses that provide for arbitration of disputes with customers to restrict participation in class-action lawsuits. If allowed to take effect, the CFPB’s harmful rule would benefit trial lawyers by increasing frivolous class-action lawsuits; harm consumers by denying them the full benefits and efficiencies of arbitration; and hurt financial institutions by increasing litigation expenses and compliance costs (particularly for community and mid-sized institutions). In many cases, these increased costs would be borne, not by the financial institutions, but by their consumers. The CFPB’s rule is also in tension with the policy expressed by Congress in the Federal Arbitration Act, as recognized repeatedly by the Supreme Court, favoring resolution of disputes through arbitration. The Administration is committed to protecting Americans by making regulation efficient and effective and restoring public accountability within the Federal financial regulatory agencies as outlined in Executive Order 13772, Core Principles for Regulating the United States Financial System. This legislation would protect consumer choices by eliminating a costly and burdensome regulation and reining in the bureaucracy and inadvisable regulatory actions of the CFPB.

If H.J. Res. 111 were presented to the President in its current form, his advisors would recommend that he sign it into law.

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