Presidential Archive 2/11 – 2/17/09
By Linnie Frank Bailey
In his first major act as President, Obama shepherded his Stimulus Bill through Congress this week, and signed the bill—called the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act—into law. The bill had strong opposition from Congressional Republicans, although the public, as well as revenue-strapped Governors and Mayors from both parties, tended to support the legislation.
The Administration suggested this needed stimulus package was only the first step in solving America’s economic challenges.
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
First Lady Advises College Students
First Lady Michelle Obama spoke to students at Howard University in D.C. She told them it is okay to be in college and not sure where your life is heading. She stated, "The question that I hate most that we ask of young people is, 'What are you going to be when you grow up?' And the truth is, I still don't know, and I'm 45 years old," she said. "All I know is that it's important for you to be true to yourselves, not to worry too much about what other people are going to think or make of your choices, because everyone will question what you do and tell you you should've done it the other way."
Negotiations Continued on Stimulus Bill
Democrats and Republicans, House members and Senators, continued their fight over provisions in the President’s Stimulus Bill—with Republicans wanting more tax cuts, and Democrats wanting to keep spending programs intact. Despite some contentious sessions, they eventually brought the House and Senate versions of the bill into accord.
"I want to thank the Democrats and Republicans in Congress who came together around a hard-fought compromise that will save or create more than 3.5 million jobs and get our economy back on track," the President said in an official statement.
Thursday, February 12, 2009
Celebrating “The Great Emancipator”
Marking the 200th birthday of Abraham Lincoln, President Obama, who has stated his admiration of the 16th President, participated in several commemorative activities.
In the morning, he spoke at the Lincoln bicentennial celebration on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, and later that evening he addressed the 102nd Abraham Lincoln Association Annual Banquet Dinner. The previous night he appeared at the Re-Opening of Ford’s Theatre, the site of the April 14, 1865, assassination of President Lincoln
At the Lincoln Memorial celebration, the 44th President commended Lincoln stating, “And so even as we meet here today, in a moment when we are far less divided than in Lincoln's day, but when we are once again debating the critical issues of our time -- and debating them sometimes fiercely -- let us remember that we are doing so as servants of the same flag, as representatives of the same people, and as stakeholders in a common future. That is the most fitting tribute we can pay -- the most lasting monument we can build -- to that most remarkable of men, Abraham Lincoln.”
Commerce Secretary Nominee Withdraws
President Obama’s choice for commerce secretary, Senator Judd Gregg, withdrew his nomination on Thursday, saying there were “irresolvable conflicts” between him and the administration. At a news conference after his statement was released, Gregg said it had become clear that he had made a mistake in accepting the president’s offer to join the cabinet. “That was my mistake, not his,” the senator said, adding that he admired President Obama and the team he has assembled. “Bottom line,” he concluded, “this is simply a bridge too far for me.”
White House spokesmen seemed surprised at the sudden withdrawal. Robert Gibbs, the White House press secretary, issued a statement that Mr. Gregg had “reached out to the president and offered his name for secretary of commerce.”
“He was very clear throughout the interviewing process that despite past disagreements about policies, he would support, embrace, and move forward with the President’s agenda,” Mr. Gibbs said. “Once it became clear after his nomination that Senator Gregg was not going to be supporting some of President Obama’s key economic priorities, it became necessary for Senator Gregg and the Obama administration to part ways.”
The president selected Mr. Gregg after his first choice for commerce secretary, Gov. Bill Richardson of New Mexico, withdrew from consideration because of a federal investigation into state contracts.
Friday, February 13, 2009
Congress Passes the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act
Nearing midnight, the Senate passed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Three Republican Senators, Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe of Maine and Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, were among the sixty votes required for passage. Earlier in the day, the House of Representatives passed the same version by a vote of 246-183.
The bill was then sent to President Obama to be signed into law.
Monday, February 16, 2009
The First Family returned from a weekend visit to their home in Chicago, during which the President and First Lady shared a Valentine’s Day meal at a local restaurant. This was the family’s first trip home since the President assumed office.
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
The Bill Becomes Law, with a Website to Track Spending
President Barack Obama signed into law the $787 billion rescue plan designed to spur consumer spending and create millions of jobs. With the economy still in a tailspin, Obama chose the Rocky Mountain state to sign what has been called the most sweeping economic overhaul plan put forth in decades.
The setting was the Denver Museum of Nature & Science. It was chosen to underscore the investments the new law will make in "green" energy-related jobs.
Simultaneously, the administration launched Recovery.gov, billed as: “a website that lets you, the taxpayer, figure out where the money from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act is going…..the money is being distributed by Federal agencies, and soon you'll be able to see where it's going -- to which states, to which congressional districts, even to which Federal contractors.”
The website is a first for the American public and continues the deft use of technological innovations by the Obama staff.