President Barack Obama participates in a high level meeting on Libya at the United Nations in New York, N.Y., Sept. 20, 2011. Pictured with the President, from left, are: Ambassador Susan Rice, U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations; National Security Advisor Tom Donilon; Chief of Staff Bill Daley; Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton; and President Nicolas Sarkozy of France. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
Presidential Daily Schedule (All Times Eastern)
11AM: VP Biden delivers remarks highlighting the launch of the U.S.-Mexico High Level Economic Dialogue at the Ministry of Foreign of Affairs.
11:30AM: VP Biden attends the inaugural meeting of the U.S.-Mexico High Level Economic Dialogue.
12:20PM: Pres. Obama arrives in Kansas City, Mo
1PM: First Lady Michelle Obama hosts a luncheon at the White House in honor of the winners of the 2013 National Design Awards.
1:50PM: Pres. Obama delivers remarks at the Ford Stamping Plant.
2:55PM: Pres. Obama departs Kansas City, Mo., enroute to Washington.
NYT: Administration Presses Ahead With Limits On Emissions From Power Plants
A year after a plan by President Obama to limit greenhouse gas emissions from new power plants set off angry opposition, the administration will announce on Friday that it is not backing down from a confrontation with the coal industry and will press ahead with enacting the first federal carbon limits on the nation’s power companies.
The proposed regulations, to be announced at the National Press Club by Gina McCarthy, the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, are an aggressive move by Mr. Obama to bypass Congress on climate change with executive actions he promised in his inaugural addressthis year. In her speech, Ms. McCarthy will unveil the agency’s proposal to limit new gas-fired power plants to 1,000 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions per megawatt hour and new coal plants to 1,100 pounds of carbon dioxide, according to administration officials who were briefed on the agency’s plans. Industry officials say the average advanced coal plant currently emits about 1,800 pounds of carbon dioxide per hour.
Great news from the Consumer Financial Protection Board today. JP Morgan Chase, a major credit card issuer, has been hit with a $309 million fine for defrauding customers. More than 2 million customers will get refunds for unfair fees imposed by JP Morgan Chase. In addition, JP Morgan Chase will be required to audit its own procedures and present evidence to the CFPB that it has stopped the practices that led to the fine—specifically, billing customers for services they weren’t being provided.
This is precisely why the CFPB exists. JP Morgan Chase was breaking the law and getting away with it. The amount of money being taken through these fees was small enough to not be worth suing over individually, but in the aggregate, it represented a big transfer of money—illegally!—from customers to their credit card company. There was a time when, even if they noticed it happening, customers wouldn’t have been able to do anything about it.
It’s an annual ritual: we get to late summer, something goes wrong for Barack Obama, and the press piles on. This time it’s Syria — Obama is getting widely criticized for vacillation and changes of course. Here’s a rule of thumb: If you want to criticize Obama’s handling of process, then make sure you do it right. Don’t turn process criticisms into an excuse for mind-reading or magical versions of the presidency.
Another problem arises when analysts get process completely wrong. See, for example, a Politico article called “What’s Wrong With President Obama?” We get process criticism on Syria and on the Fed chair choice with a bald assertion that if only Obama was tougher, something would have been better (it’s not clear exactly what, or how).
For another example of getting process wrong, see Matt Miller’s column yesterday. Miller is explicit about some of his policy preferences: for gun control; against the Bush tax cuts; for a jobs bill. But he manages to attack not the opponents of those policies (that would be mainly Republicans in Congress) but Obama for “blinking” and “losing his nerve” in trying to get them done. But it’s nonsense to claim gun safety legislation failed in the Senate because Obama lost his nerve. It lost because the votes weren’t there. This is just magical presidency thinking, where it’s assumed that any president can get any policy he wants simply by wanting it enough.
Another key finding from this week’s Washington Post/ABC News poll: Do you think the Republican leaders in Congress are doing too much, too little, or about the right amount to compromise with Obama on important issues? Too much: 10. Too little: 64. About the right amount: 23. An astonishing 72 percent of independents say Republican leaders are doing too little to compromise.
Does anyone imagine Republicans won’t be seen as the unreasonable party here? Things will probably look even worse after the government shutdown fight. But then we’ll only be gearing up for another one in which the threat to the economy is far more serious, and the demands even crazier. Really? This is how it’s going to go? Okay.
The president announced September 19 that Diane J. Humetewa is a nominee for the U.S. District Court for Arizona. She is a Hopi citizen, and from 2002 to 2007 she served as an appellate court judge for the Hopi Tribe Appellate Court. Obama has previously nominated one tribal citizen to serve on the federal bench, Arvo Mikkanen, of the Kiowa Tribe, but Republican senators successfully blocked that nomination during the president’s first term.
If Humetewa can pass muster with the Senate Judicial Committee and Arizona’s senators, then she will have the distinction of being the first Native American appointed and confirmed to the federal bench by Obama.
Even if you were stuffing yourself full of the first weekend of college football, by now you know that President Barack Obama conducted one of the most important Rose Garden addresses in the history of the modern Presidency.
Taking the baton from his Secretary of State John Kerry, he again laid out, in forceful, passionate language, the situation as it was in Syria. He explained that the intelligence community had concluded with great certainty that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad was responsible for the chemical attacks in contested areas of Damascus the week before. He passionately argued that American values and national interest dictated that Assad’s regime be punished militarily for the use of those chemical weapons against civilians. He stated that the military had assets in place and was ready to go at any time.
And then he did something no modern president had done. Even though he believed he had the authority to act, he knew that this was a divisive issue, and that the people’s representatives had to join in the decision. He called for Congress to debate and vote on a resolution granting him specific authority to militarily strike Assad for violating international treaties banning the use of chemical weaponry, some of the oldest weapons conventions in international law. He had heard the rumblings from Congress saying that he had to seek approval before any strike, and agreed.
But why did he agree? This is where he pivots beyond what all the pundits and talking heads expected. Just before declaring that he would seek Congressional approval, he reiterated that he believed that he had the authority to conduct the attacks with or without Congressional approval. But such an action, in a region of the world where such action could quickly spiral out of control, needed more than just Barack Obama’s say-so as Commander in Chief. Syria is not Libya. In the Libyan crisis, the President had a UN resolution with which to work. As a signatory to the UN charter, all member nations had a duty to enforce Security Council resolutions. That was all the authorization he needed.