‘Military solution’: Joe Biden Military Solution

January 24, 2016 by  
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‘Military solution’: Joe Biden Military Solution, US Vice-President Joe Biden has said the US and Turkey are prepared to seek a military solution against so-called Islamic State (IS) if a political agreement in Syria proves impossible.

Mr Biden said a political deal “would be better” but “if that’s not possible” the US would pursue alternatives.

US officials said Mr Biden’s remarks on a deal referred to planned peace talks between Syrian officials and rebels.

They said his comment on possible military action applied only to IS.

The US vice-president was speaking after meeting Turkish PM Ahmet Davutoglu in Istanbul.

Commenting on the chance of achieving a political settlement in Syria, Mr Biden said: “We are neither optimistic or pessimistic. We are determined.”

Referring to possible military action, he said this would entail “taking out Daesh”, using the Arabic acronym for IS.

Mr Biden said he and Mr Davutoglu had discussed how their countries could further support Sunni Arab rebels opposing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.


Orders paid sick leave: President Obama Paid Leave

September 8, 2015 by  
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Orders paid sick leave: President Obama Paid Leave, President Obama signed an executive order on Monday requiring federal contractors to provide up to seven days of paid sick leave a year, even as he accused Republican congressional leaders of endangering the economy and Republican presidential candidates of undercutting American workers.

Addressing a union audience gathered here for Labor Day, Mr. Obama said he was glad not to be on the ballot but then sounded like a candidate himself as he went after the Republicans who hope to succeed him in the White House. He mocked them individually and as a group for portraying themselves as champions of the middle class while opposing labor unions.

“You can’t just talk the talk,” Mr. Obama said to cheers. “You’ve got to walk the walk. You can’t talk middle class and then do things that hurt the middle class.”

He also chastised abortion opponents in Congress for threatening to shut down the federal government in an effort to cut off taxpayer financing for Planned Parenthood, saying such a move could damage the economy at a time of global volatility.

“A shutdown would be completely irresponsible,” Mr. Obama said. “It would be an unforced error, a fumble on the goal line.”

Mr. Obama’s executive order on paid leave was his latest use of executive power to change the rules of the American workplace and was designed to appeal to his union base. A fight over trade this year ruptured the usual alliance between the Democratic president and the organized labor movement.

The executive order will have no real effect until after Mr. Obama’s presidency. Because it must first go through a public comment period, it will apply only to new federal contracts starting in 2017. But the White House hopes it will set a standard that will prod lawmakers, private employers, and state and local governments to expand their leave policies.

Speaking in shirt sleeves to more than 700 people at a Boston hotel, a relaxed Mr. Obama appeared almost gleeful as he went after the Republican presidential candidates as a group. He also singled out a few of them, including Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin and Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey, by ridiculing recent statements they have made, although he did not mention their names.

He noted that one candidate (Mr. Walker) said his battles with labor unions would prepare him to take on terrorists, and that another candidate (Mr. Christie) said a teachers’ union deserved a punch in the face. After each, he asked with a smile and disdain, “Really?”

Mr. Obama, who invited labor leaders to fly with him here on Air Force One, said the “constant war against unions” undermined regular workers. “It reminds me of something our old friend Ted Kennedy used to say,” he said. “What is it about working men and women they find so offensive? Why are they so mad about folks just trying to make a living?”

At a campaign stop later in the day at the Pink Cadillac Diner in Rochester, N.H., during a motorcycle tour of the first primary state, Mr. Walker defended his battle with unions and portrayed Mr. Obama as a tool of entrenched interests.

“It’s clear the president stands with the big-government union bosses,” Mr. Walker said. “We stand with the hard-working people.” He said his actions were “pro-taxpayer” and “pro-worker,” adding: “I think the president and his allies fear us more than anybody else in this race because they know we don’t just talk about it; we get it done. We fight, we win, we actually get results.”

During his speech here, Mr. Obama made no mention of his support for new free trade agreements with Asia and Europe, which has deeply angered many of the union leaders and Democratic political leaders he was addressing. Among those on the dais was Senator Elizabeth Warren, the Massachusetts Democrat with whom he quarreled bitterly in the spring over legislation authorizing him to negotiate trade pacts like one with 11 other Pacific Rim nations.

Led by Ms. Warren and egged on by labor union leaders, most of Mr. Obama’s fellow Democrats voted against him in Congress on the trade negotiation measure, which passed only with the active leadership of Republicans. As he sought to repair the rift on Monday, Mr. Obama emphasized his working-class message after the speech with a stop at Union Oyster House, where he ordered clam chowder to go. He also gave Ms. Warren a ride back to Washington on Air Force One.

The paid leave order is the latest move by Mr. Obama to use his power over federal contracts to institute changes on a small slice of the labor market when he cannot persuade Congress to enact those measures for the whole country. Among other things, he has signed orders requiring contractors to pay higher minimum wages, banning retaliation against workers who discuss their compensation, providing employees more information about their pay and protecting gay and transgender workers from discrimination.

Mr. Obama’s assertive exercise of his authority over federal contactors has generated objections from business groups that argue he is going too far and from lawmakers who complain that he is circumventing the legislative process. Critics say he is piling expensive directives onto companies doing business with the federal government as a sop to his political base without accounting for additional costs.

The National Federation of Independent Business, while acknowledging that Mr. Obama has the authority to place conditions on federal contractors, said his latest action was another burdensome government mandate on private firms.

“No business in America would require its suppliers and contractors to increase costs that will naturally boomerang back in the form of higher prices,” said Jack Mozloom, the federation’s media director. He said any call by the president to follow suit would ignore the fact that most employers are small businesses that cannot afford the benefit.


Hillary Clinton Raises $47 Million

July 17, 2015 by  
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Hillary Clinton Raises $47 Million, Hillary Rodham Clinton raised $46.7 million for her primary campaign, more than half of it from women, according to campaign officials and reports filed on Wednesday with the Federal Election Commission.

Mrs. Clinton had $28 million in cash on hand at the beginning of July after spending more than $18 million since starting her campaign in April, as she moved rapidly to establish infrastructure in key primary states after months of waiting to enter the race. And while her campaign has focused on raising contributions for the primary, Mrs. Clinton accepted $824,620 in money earmarked for the general election should she win the Democratic nomination.

About one in six dollars of the almost $47 million Mrs. Clinton raised came from donors giving less than $200, a smaller proportion than some Democratic and Republican rivals, such as Senators Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Ted Cruz of Texas. Mr. Sanders raised far less than Mrs. Clinton overall – about $15 million, including money transferred from his Senate account – though more than two-thirds of it came from smaller donors.

“Thanks to the more than 250,000 Americans who have stepped up to support Hillary Clinton’s campaign, we have had the ability to make critical investments in our organization that will put us in position to win the primary and the White House,” Robby Mook, Mrs. Clinton’s campaign manager, said in a statement. “With Republicans tapping their billionaire backers for unlimited sums of money, we are glad to be able to have such broad support to be able to show why Hillary Clinton is the only candidate who will fight for policies that allow everyday Americans to get ahead and stay ahead.”

Hillary Clinton Raises $47 Million


Obamacare Staff Signup

November 8, 2013 by  
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Obamacare Staff Signup, President Barack Obama’s apology to Americans whose health insurance plans are being canceled because of the Affordable Care Act opens the door to the question of how the problem will be fixed — even as his administration tries to overcome the dysfunctional rollout of the website where people are supposed to be able to choose new coverage.

As the president’s apology was being aired in an exclusive interview with NBC News on Tuesday, talk was in the air of new legislation in Congress and unspecified steps the president might take on his own.

Meanwhile, Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius’ office promised “an important announcement related to the Affordable Care Act” during a visit to Atlanta on Friday.

Insurers are sending cancellation notices to some of the 12 million Americans whose individual policies don’t meet Obamacare requirements for more comprehensive care.

The law does not require cancellation of policies that were issued before the new law passed Congress in 2010. But people whose policies have changed since then must get polices that conform to the new requirements. In 2010, the Health and Human Services Department estimated that 40% to 67% of individual plans would eventually lose their “grandfathered” status.

Some insurance companies also appear to be canceling policies for other reasons, such as withdrawing from states where they have fewer subscribers.

The president contends many of the people who have received cancellation notices actually will wind up with better coverage at lower cost. But he acknowledged that’s a hard sell when people are still having trouble logging onto the Obamacare website to enroll.

“Even though it’s a small percentage of folks who may be disadvantaged, you know, it means a lot to them,” Obama told NBC. “And it’s scary to them. And I am sorry that they, you know, are finding themselves in this situation, based on assurances they got from me. We’ve got to work hard to make sure that they know we hear them and that we’re going to do everything we can to deal with folks who find themselves in a tough position as a consequence of this. … Obviously, we didn’t do a good enough job in terms of how we crafted the law. And, you know, that’s something that I regret. That’s something that we’re going to do everything we can to get fixed.”


Obama Obamacare Apology

November 8, 2013 by  
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Obama Obamacare Apology, President Obama said Thursday he was “sorry” Americans are losing health insurance plans he repeatedly said they could keep, and vowed to work with those who are finding themselves in a “tough situation” as a result.

His remarks came as a bipartisan bill was introduced in the Senate to delay the implementation of the individual mandate of ObamaCare by one year, meaning Americans would avoid a $95 penalty for not having health insurance that is scheduled to kick in next year.

Referring to those who are losing their health insurance plans, Obama told NBC News, “I am sorry that they are finding themselves in this situation based on assurances they got from me. We’ve got to work hard to make sure that they know we hear them and we are going to do everything we can to deal with folks who find themselves in a tough position as a consequence of this.”

The White House, while defending the health care law and vowing to fix the problems with the website, has not explicitly ruled out the possibility of delaying the individual mandate.

House Speaker John Boehner responded to Obama’s apology late Thursday, saying “an apology is certainly in order, but what Americans want to hear is that the president is going to keep his promise.”

Thursday’s bill was introduced by Senators Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and Mark Kirk, R-Ill., who said since the Affordable Care Act was passed, there have been “many identifiable problems exposed in the law that need to be addressed.”

“We need to start working together to fix this law and make it work so that all Americans have access to affordable and reliable health care coverage,” Manchin said in a statement. “We can start with a one-year delay of the individual mandate to eliminate penalty fees if individuals choose to not enroll for a health care plan in 2014.


Mitt Romney For President

June 28, 2012 by  
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Mitt Romney For President, The Supreme Court’s 5-4 ruling on Thursday to uphold the country’s sweeping health care overhaul affected the presidential race almost immediately, with President Obama praising the decision as a landmark boon that will help all Americans and Mitt Romney pledging to make repeal his first priority as president.

How voters respond to those contradictory analyses could determine who wins the election.

“They have reaffirmed a fundamental principle,” Obama said of the high court. “Here in America, in the wealthiest nation on earth, no illness or accident should lead to any family’s financial ruin.”

In the brief remarks at the White House, Obama also touched on the decision’s electoral implications.

“Whatever the politics, today’s decision was a victory for people all over this country,” the president said. “Thanks to today’s decision, all of these benefits and protections will continue.”

Obama added, “What the country cannot afford to do is re-fight the political battles of two years ago or go back to the way things were.”

Minutes earlier, Romney renewed his pledge to repeal the law.

“What the court did not do on its last day in session, I will do on my first day if elected president of the United States,” Romney said from a rooftop on Constitution Avenue in Washington, with the US Capitol in the background. “And that is I will act to repeal Obamacare.”

Romney’s campaign said it raised $1.1 million from more than 9,500 donors within hours of the ruling. (Boston)


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