Hi, all. Today's report features:
West Wing Week: President Obama welcomed the nation's governors, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, and Mexican President Felipe Calderón to the White House. The First Lady and Education Secretary Arne Duncan also kicked off Education Month at the Library of Congress.
U.S.-Mexico Bilateral Meeting: The President and President Calderón of Mexico hold a joint press availability. President Obama also makes remarks on the situation in Libya. Fact sheet on enhancing U.S.-Mexico cooperation.
Ambassador Rice on Libya: U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations comments on the suspension of Libyan membership to the United Nations Human Rights Council.
Energy Update: Secretary Chu discusses innovation in clean technology; manufacturing biofuels and electrofuels; support for a wind power plant in Maine.
Open for Questions: America's Great Outdoors: Council for Environmental Quality Chair Sutley and EPA Administrator Jackson take questions about the initiative.
White House Initiative on Asian American and Pacific Islanders: Weekly highlights and upcoming events.
Women Business Owners: Valerie Jarrett discusses a White House report on women in America.
Would You Like Them Here or There?: Behind the scenes as the First Lady and Education Secretary prepare to read Green Eggs and Ham to children on Read Across America Day.
And that's the report. See you again Monday, March 7.
WEST WING WEEKWhite House, March 3, 2011:
West Wing Week: 3/04/11 or "Green Eggs and Governors"
Welcome to the West Wing Week, your guide to everything that's happening at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. It was a busy week on the 18 acres, with President Obama welcoming the nation's governors, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, and Mexican President Felipe Calderón to the White House. The First Lady and Education Secretary Arne Duncan also kicked off Education Month at the Library of Congress.
U.S.-MEXICO BILATERAL MEETINGWhite House, March 3, 2011:
President Obama's Press Availability with President Calderón & Statement on Libya
President Obama and President Calderón of Mexico hold a joint press availability after an expanded bilateral meeting at the White House. President Obama also makes remarks on the situation in Libya, saying that Muammar Gaddafi has lost legitimacy and must leave.
White House Blog, March 3, 2011:
The President on Libya: "The Violence Must Stop; Muammar Gaddafi Has Lost the Legitimacy to Lead and He Must Leave"Office of the Press Secretary, March 3, 2011:
Posted by Jesse Lee
There was no shortage of issues pertaining to the two countries' close relationship and mutual interests for President Obama and President Calderón of Mexico to discuss during their meetings today. Nonetheless, during the joint press conference afterward, the President took a moment to address the situation in Libya that has rightly garnered so much attention around the world. Firstly, he noted that the Mexican government has been integral in the actions of the United Nations regarding Libya:
"Most recently, our governments have spoken out forcefully for the human rights of the Libyan people, and Mexico played a leading role at the United Nations in suspending Libya from the Human Rights Council. President Calderon, this not only reflects our commitment to the shared values of freedom and justice and rule of law. It’s also another example of Mexico’s global leadership—as you said in your address to our Congress last year—that “Mexico is standing tall” and ready to take its “rightful place in the world.”
President Obama went on to forcefully condemn the violence once again:
"The United States, and the entire world, continues to be outraged by the appalling violence against the Libyan people. The United States is helping to lead an international effort to deter further violence, put in place unprecedented sanctions to hold the Qaddafi government accountable, and support the aspirations of the Libyan people. We are also responding quickly to the urgent humanitarian needs that are developing.
Tens of thousands of people—from many different countries—are fleeing Libya, and we commend the governments of Tunisia and Egypt for their response, even as they go through their own political transitions. I have therefore approved the use of U.S. military aircraft to help move Egyptians who have fled to the Tunisian border to get back home to Egypt. I’ve authorized USAID to charter additional civilian aircraft to help people from other countries find their way home. And we’re supporting the efforts of international organizations to evacuate people as well.
I have also directed USAID to send humanitarian assistance teams to the Libyan border, so that they can work with the United Nations, NGOs and other international partners inside Libya to address the urgent needs of the Libyan people.
Going forward, we will continue to send a clear message: the violence must stop; Muammar Gaddafi has lost the legitimacy to lead and he must leave; those who perpetrate violence against the Libyan people will be held accountable; and the aspirations of the Libyan people for freedom, democracy and dignity must be met."
FACT SHEET: Enhancing U.S.-Mexico Cooperation
President Obama and President Calderón today announced that Mexico and the United States have found a clear path to resolving the cross-border long-haul trucking dispute. This path will allow for the establishment of a reciprocal, phased-in program built on the highest safety standards that will authorize both Mexican and United States long-haul carriers to engage in cross-border operations under NAFTA. Once a final agreement is reached, Mexico will suspend its retaliatory tariffs in stages beginning with reducing tariffs by 50 percent at the signing of an agreement and will suspend the remaining 50 percent when the first Mexican carrier is granted operating authority under the program. Mexico will terminate all current tariffs once the program is normalized. The agreed schedule will not affect the rights and obligations of Mexico or the United States under the NAFTA, including Mexico's right to apply its retaliatory measures.
This agreement will deliver a program that is safe, secure, efficient, and advances the economic interests of both the United States and Mexico. It also will feature a number of program improvements that are important to both United States and Mexican interests. U.S. and Mexican negotiators are continuing to work through the remaining issues and expect to have a draft final agreement in place very soon. As soon as all of the details are in place, the United States Department of Transportation and USTR will confer with interested members of Congress and publicly share the proposed agreement and seek comment.
During the May 2010 State Visit, President Obama and President Calderón directed the creation of a High-Level Regulatory Cooperation Council to identify areas of mutual interest for regulatory cooperation, with a focus on improving intra-North American commerce and enhancing the competitiveness of North American producers. In September, senior officials from the United States Office of Management and Budget and the Mexican Secretariat of the Economy co-chaired the first meeting of the HLRCC and discussed their shared commitment to regulatory cooperation on key issues that affect both countries. The two sides agreed to work collaboratively to share information about upcoming regulations, identify those regulations that might impede North American competitiveness, and consider joint work in specific sectors.
Today, the U.S. and Mexico finalized Terms of Reference for the Council, which set out six major goals:
•Making regulations more compatible and simple;
•Increasing regulatory transparency;
•Promoting public participation;
•Improving the analysis of regulations;
•Linking regulatory cooperation to improved border-crossing and customs procedures; and
•Increasing technical cooperation.
As follow-up, the Council will create a Work Plan to implement these goals. Both governments will be reviewing the Council's progress on a regular basis.
Clean Energy and Climate Change:
President Obama and President Calderón reaffirmed the strong commitment of both the United States and Mexico to combat global climate change and create markets for clean energy technologies. President Obama applauded President Calderón’s leadership on the successful outcome of the climate negotiations in Cancún, including the creation of the Green Climate Fund, a new multilateral vehicle to deliver financing to address climate change mitigation and adaptation in developing countries. The United States strongly supports Mexico’s ongoing leadership in this area. The Presidents agreed to work together this year to implement the other major agreements reached in Cancún, including on transparency, technology, adaption, and forest preservation.
The leaders welcomed the achievement of significant milestones under the Bilateral Framework on Clean Energy and Climate Change, including plans for cooperation on mapping of wind resources in Mexico, and wind turbine testing and design. Mexico and the United States continue to work together, with Canada, to complete by April 2012 a North American Carbon Storage Atlas under the North American Carbon Atlas Partnership (NACAP). President Calderón and President Obama noted progress on the Cross Border Electricity Task Force to promote a bilateral renewable energy market, increase grid reliability and resiliency, and make energy use more efficient in both countries.
Transboundary Energy Negotiations:
Today, President Obama and President Calderón reaffirmed the desire of the United States and of Mexico to conclude an agreement on transboundary reservoirs. In May 2010, the Presidents issued made a joint commitment to the safe, efficient, and equitable exploitation of transboundary reservoirs with the highest degree of safety and environmental standards, and the two governments began work on a transboundary agreement. The two leaders have acknowledged the energy security benefits to both countries of responsible stewardship and development of these resources and the high level of significance of completing such an agreement for both countries. President Obama and President Calderón both reiterated their commitment to conclude these negotiations by the end of 2011.
AMBASSADOR RICE ON LIBYADepartment of State, March 2, 2011:
Ambassador Rice on the Suspension of Libyan Membership to UN Human Rights Council
U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations comments on the suspension of Libyan membership to the United Nations Human Rights Council, at the United Nations in New York, New York, on March 1, 2011.
Department of State, March 1, 2011:
Remarks by Ambassador Susan E. Rice, U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations, on the General Assembly Resolution Suspending Libya from the Human Rights Council, at the General Assembly Stakeout
Ambassador Rice: Good afternoon. We had, just, a historic session of the General Assembly when all members unanimously agreed to the suspension of Libya’s membership from the Human Rights Council. This is the first time that either the Human Rights Council or its predecessor, the Human Rights Commission, have suspended any member state for gross violations of human rights. And we think this is an important step forward in enhancing the credibility of the Human Rights Council, whose credibility on these issues has often, quite legitimately, been called into question. Today, the General Assembly exercised its authority to suspend a member state for gross violations of human rights. In our view, this is progress, as was last Friday’s special session in Geneva for the Human Rights Council, and we hope its progress will be sustained.
Reporter: What’s the importance that many Arab countries, as Lebanon, took the lead for this resolution and many Arab countries sponsored the resolution for a human rights issue in an Arab country?
Ambassador Rice: I think it’s very significant and an important development. And similarly the Africa Group, which also claims Libya as a member, took strong leadership and brought this effort both to Geneva and to New York. And so, while we’re proud to have co-sponsored it, we certainly applaud their leadership.
Reporter: Ambassador, do you think it was an outrage that Libya was elected to the Human Rights Council in the first place? And also, this morning, lots of American officials said that all options are on the table, yet you denied forcefully that there is an invasion plan.
Ambassador Rice: The Venezuelan Perm Rep’s comments were ugly and reprehensible and I think I dealt with them emphatically in the chamber. And, you know, he can live in the fantasy world that he apparently does. Apparently there’s more than one delusional person speaking aloud this week. But, we’ll let his own remarks speak for themselves. But with respect to Libya’s membership in the Human Rights Council, we regretted its election last year, we thought it was an unfortunate decision, but this, unfortunately, is a factor that comes into play when we have, as is sometimes customary, clean slates out of regional groups. And we have worked successfully in other instances to generate competition such that that kind of outcome is avoided.
Reporter: Can I ask you a question about the Security Council resolution? (inaudible) On the Security Council resolution that passed Saturday, some have now raised a question about the US asking for that paragraph six, which exempts Americans, and, I guess, others, anyone that’s not an ICC member, from referral and prosecution by the ICC. They say it undercuts international law—Brazil said it, now the head of the Rome Statute grouping of member states said it. Why did the US ask for that? And don’t you see a downside to saying there’s no impunity if you are excluding people from referral?
Ambassador Rice: No, I don’t see a downside. As you well know, the United States is not a party and we have thought it important, if we were going to, for the first time, affirmatively support such a resolution, to make sure that is was clear the limitations as to who jurisdiction applied to. That’s why we supported that phrase. Your assertion and that of others that somehow this provides a pass for mercenaries, I think, is completely misplaced. I don’t think that the International Criminal Court is going to spend its time and effort on foot soldiers that have been paid small amounts of money by Qadhafi. They’re going to focus on the big fish, so I think your interest was misplaced.
Reporter: (inaudible) Other action in the Security Council now, are you currently discussion a no fly zone?
Ambassador Rice: Are we currently discussing other action? No, not yet.
Reporter: Can you discuss what the Russians and Chinese are saying about the idea of a no fly zone?
Ambassador Rice: We’re constantly in discussions with our partners on the Council, in particular the P5, about issues that threaten international peace and security. We view this as one that falls into that category. And we’ll continue to stay in close consultation with them and with others.
Thanks very much.
ENERGY UPDATEDepartment of Energy, March 2, 2011:
ARPA-E 2011 Keynote: Secretary Steven Chu
Secretary for the US Department of Energy, Steven Chu, discusses the big picture of how the United States uses Energy and why innovation in clean technology is the key to Winning the Future.
Department of Energy, March 3, 2011:
[Looking Ahead with a Look Back at the 2nd Annual ARPA-E Energy Innovation SummitDepartment of Energy, March 1, 2011:
Submitted by Andy Oare, New Media Strategiest with the Department of Energy
Yesterday, we wrapped up 2nd Annual ARPA-E Energy Innovation Summit, an event that featured some of today's most cutting-edge clean energy technologies. Over the past three days, the Summit hosted leaders in the energy arena and featured speeches from big names -- from Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus's exciting announcement of a new partnership between the Department of Defense and the Department of Energy, to former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's humor filled but poignant speech about changing the tone of the energy conversation.
The Summit also brought together leaders from across business, academia and government to participate in panels on hot energy technology topics. And the technology showcase featured dozens of the most transformative projects in the world. The last few days have certainly been exciting. A wealth of knowledge and information has come out of the Summit and will help us push forward toward the energy technologies of tomorrow....
(See more videos and photos from the summit at the link.)
Electrofuels: More Efficient Than Photosynthesis
Advanced Research Projects Agency for Energy has funded successful programs with OPXBIO, NC State, and others to create hyper efficient processes for manufacturing biofuels and electrofuels which can be used in the existing transportation infrastructure.
Department of Energy, March 3, 2011:
Department of Energy Offers Conditional Commitment for a Loan Guarantee to Support Maine Wind Project
Recovery Act-Funded Project Expected to Create Approximately 200 Jobs and Avoid over 70,000 Tons of Carbon Pollution Annually
U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu today announced the offer of a conditional commitment to Record Hill Wind LLC for a $102 million loan guarantee. The loan guarantee will support the Record Hill wind project, which includes a 50.6 megawatt wind power plant and an eight mile transmission line and associated interconnection equipment near the town of Roxbury, Maine. Developed and managed by Wagner Wind Energy of New Hampshire and Independence Wind of Maine, Record Hill is sponsored by the Yale University Endowment fund. In addition to providing clean, renewable power to New England's grid, the sponsor expects the project to create 200 construction jobs in Maine.
"Today's announcement is good for this country's clean energy future, and it's good for the people of Maine who will benefit from the jobs generated by this project," said Secretary Chu. "Record Hill introduces an innovative technology to the U.S. that will boost domestic wind generation and help us reach President Obama's goal of doubling clean energy produced in America by 2035."
The Record Hill project will avoid over 70,000 tons of carbon pollution annually, equivalent to the annual greenhouse gas emissions from over 13,000 passenger vehicles. The wind facility will consist of 22 2.3 megawatt SWT-2.3-93 turbines and new transmission lines to interconnect with Central Maine Power, the local utility. The turbines will be installed with innovative Turbine Load Control (TLC) technology, a system of sensors and processing software that allows the turbines to continue to generate electricity under turbulent conditions, rather than be shut down completely. TLC is also expected to reduce wear-and-tear on the turbines, reduce operation and management costs, and preserve the lifetime of the turbine components.
The Department of Energy, through the Loan Programs Office, has issued loan guarantees or offered conditional commitments for loan guarantees totaling nearly $18 billion to support 20 clean energy projects. The program's nine generation projects will produce nearly 23 million megawatt-hours, enough to power almost two million homes. Additional DOE-supported projects include two of the world's largest solar thermal projects, two geothermal projects, the world's largest wind farm and the nation's first new nuclear power plant in three decades. For more information, please visit the Loans Programs Office website.
OPEN FOR QUESTIONS: AMERICA'S GREAT OUTDOORSWhite House, March 3, 2011:
Open for Questions: America's Great Outdoors
Council for Environmental Quality Chair Nancy Sutley and EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson take your questions about the America's Great Outdoors initiative to achieve lasting conservation strategies for America's outdoor spaces.
WHITE HOUSE INITIATIVE ON ASIAN AMERICANS AND PACIFIC ISLANDERSWHIAPPI Blog, March 3, 2011:
WHIAAPI Weekly Highlights
Posted by Miya Saika Chen
Welcome to this week's edition of the WHIAAPI Week in Review. WHIAAPI welcomed four new agency plans into the fold from the Department of Labor, Department of Transportation, Federal Communications Commission, and Social Security Administration. This is your opportunity to influence and shape policy in a meaningful way, and we want you to check them out and tell us what you think! Comments are due on March 31, 2011.
The upcoming week is full of exciting convenings across the country--from the President's Conference on Bullying Prevention, to the National Conversations on English Learner Education, to our Commissioners converging in Washington, DC. Read below for further details on these events.
WHIAAPI is partnering with the Department of Education's Office of English Language Acquisition to present a series of National Conversations about English learner education. There are two conferences taking place on March 7th and 8th in Los Angeles, CA and Seattle, WA. Check the links for details and registration.
On March 10, President Obama, the Department of Education, and the Department of Health and Human Services will welcome students, parents, teachers and others to The White House for a Conference on Bullying Prevention. The conference will bring together communities from across the nation who have been affected by bullying as well as those who are taking action to address it. Participants will have the opportunity to talk with the President and representatives from the highest levels of his Administration about how all communities can work together to prevent bullying.
On March 14 and 15, the President’s Advisory Commission will convene for their second annual meeting in Washington, DC. Members of the Inter Agency Working Group will join them to discuss strategies on implementing the agency priorities to increase access to and participation by AAPIs in federal programs and resources.
WHIAAPI Call Out for Health Care Stories! Email WhiteHouseAAPI@ed.gov by March 11, 2011 to share how health reform has benefitted you or your family.
Remember if you have friends or family that would like to join our efforts, please have them click here.
WOMEN BUSINESS OWNERSWhite House Council on Women and Girls Blog, March 3, 2011:
A Celebration of Women Business Owners
Posted by Valerie Jarrett, Senior Advisor to the President for Intergovernmental Affairs and Public Engagement and Chair of the White House Council on Women and Girls
Yesterday, I attended a luncheon hosted by Women Impacting Public Policy (WIPP). WIPP has been a key partner of the Obama Administration on a range of issues from the Affordable Care Act, to business issues, and the federal budget. WIPP has also steadfastly worked with the Administration in promoting women owned small businesses.
At the WIPP luncheon, we celebrated the launch of President Obama’s Women Owned Small Business Federal Contract Program. The Program identifies 83 industries in which women owned businesses are under-represented and sets a goal of 5% of all federal contracts be awarded to women owned small businesses in those industries.
Since his first day in office, President Obama has proposed and implemented policies that form a comprehensive plan to support women at all stages of their careers. The Administration’s policies promote economic expansion and job growth for women and support their efforts to acquire and maintain equal jobs and incomes in all fields. The President believes that the success of women and girls is encouraged by programs such as the Women Owned Small Business Federal Contract Program. These programs are vital to winning the future.
This month we honor the tradition of women’s accomplishments throughout history that have set the stage for the achievements of tomorrow. To kick-off Women’s History Month, the White House just released a new report – Women in America – which is a statistical portrait showing how women are faring in the United States today and how their lives have changed over time. The information in this report is vitally important to inform the efforts of the White House Council on Women and Girls – and in providing facts to a broad range of other stakeholders who are concerned with the well-being of women and girls in our nation.
This is the first comprehensive federal report on women since 1963, when the Commission on the Status of Women, established by President Kennedy and chaired by Eleanor Roosevelt, produced a report on the conditions of women. Based on Federal data collected by the Department of Commerce and the Office of Management and Budget, the report focuses on five critical areas: people, families and income, education, employment, health, and crime and violence. The Administration will be honoring Women’s History Month throughout March and will highlight a different section of the report every week.
The report serves as a reminder that the issues facing women today are not just women’s issues. When women make less than men for the same work, it impacts families who then find themselves with less income and often increased challenges in making ends meet. When a job does not offer family leave, it impacts both parents and often the entire family. When there's no affordable child care, it hurts children who wind up in second-rate care or spending afternoons alone in front of the television set. And when women owned small businesses struggle to gain federal contracts and equitable access to capital, it hinders our ability to promote a fair distribution of work.
Understanding these facts is deeply important in helping to paint a picture of the changing lives and circumstances of American women over time. But reading facts alone can never substitute for taking actions that directly address the challenges faced by women and girls of all ages and backgrounds.
WOULD YOU LIKE THEM HERE OR THERE?White House, March 3, 2011:
Behind the Scenes on Dr. Seuss's Birthday
Posted by Kori Schulman
As part of Read Across America Day and in celebration of Dr. Seuss’ 107th Birthday, First Lady Michelle Obama and Education Secretary Arne Duncan spent yesterday morning reading the Seuss classic Green Eggs and Ham to elementary school students at the Library of Congress.
Mrs. Obama and Secretary Duncan stressed the importance of reading to an audience of more than 300 children wearing red-and-white striped stovetop hats, best known from Seuss' Cat in the Hat. Secretary Duncan said, "If you become lifelong readers you can do anything you want to do."
Watch Mrs. Obama and Secretary Duncan prepare backstage for their joint reading of Green Eggs and Ham: