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Inertia on immigration reform riles Dems

Democrats are hitting back at Speaker John Boehner’s statement today that the House won’t take up a comprehensive immigration reform bill before this year’s end.

NBC Latino reports Boehner, R-Ohio, was eating breakfast at a Washington diner this morning when he was approached by two children of immigrants who urged House action.

“I’m trying to find some way to get this thing done,” he reportedly told them. “It’s as you know, not easy, not going to be an easy path forward but I made it clear since the day after the election, it’s time to get this done.”

Later this morning, Boehner wouldn’t set a timeline, but rather said Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., is working with Democrats to develop a set of principles “for us to deal with this issue.” He also said the House has “no intention of ever going to conference” on S.744, the bipartisan bill that the Senate passed in June on a 68-32 vote.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-San Francisco, replied to Boehner with a tweet this morning:

Pelosi tweet

H.R. 15 is the “Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act” introduced last month by Rep. Joe Garcia, D-Fla. It mostly mirrors the Senate bill, but replaces the Senate’s border-security plan with a different one authored by Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, and approved unanimously by the Homeland Security Committee.

Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-San Jose, the senior Democrat on Judiciary’s Immigration and Border Security Subcommittee, spoke about Boehner’s comments during today’s committee hearing on an automated, biometrics-based entry-exit system to track the entry and exit of all travelers to and from the United States.

“Before I close, let me just say, how disappointed I was to hear the news that the House is not intending to consider immigration bills before the end of the year. I think we have a historic opportunity before us to work together to improve our immigration laws. I thank the Chairman of the [Immigration] Subcommittee [Rep. Trey Gowdy] for his kind comments about myself and Mr. [Luis] Gutierrez. I am mindful that we did not do immigration reform in a comprehensive way when we had the majority as Democrats. We were actually, in the House, deferring to the Senate hoping that they could have bipartisan agreement. They ultimately failed. The gentleman was not a Member of that Congress, but we did pass the DREAM Act when Democrats were in the majority, and it fell short in the Senate.

“I just believe that we can put our hands across the aisle and work together to improve our laws. I would hope the spirit and intent to do that has not faded on the part of the majority [Republicans]. Certainly I would hope to continue to work with the majority to solve this problem for our country.”

President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and senior administration officials met this morning at the White House with faith leaders to discuss the importance of passing immigration reform.

“The leaders expressed their concerns over the impact the broken immigration system is having on families throughout their congregations,” according to the White House’s readout of the meeting. “The President and the leaders discussed their shared commitment to raise the moral imperative for immigration reform and said they will continue keeping the pressure on Congress so they can swiftly pass commonsense reform.”

Obama commended the faith leaders for their efforts, and “noted there is no reason for House Republicans to continue to delay action on this issue that has garnered bipartisan support,” the readout said. “It would show the American people that Washington can still work together to solve our nation’s challenges.”

Rep. Jeff Denham, R-Modesto, last month was the first House Republican to sign onto H.R. 15; others who’ve done so since then include Rep. David Valadao, R-Hanford. They and certain other California Republicans might face tougher re-election fights next year if no action is taken on immigration reform.

Posted on Wednesday, November 13th, 2013
Under: Barack Obama, Immigration, John Boehner, Nancy Pelosi, Obama presidency, U.S. House, U.S. Senate, Zoe Lofgren | 16 Comments »

Three Bay Area execs meet with President Obama

Three Bay Area business executives were among those who met with President Obama this morning at the White House to discuss the nation’s cybersecurity framework.

The meeting in the Situation Room was to “discuss the importance of cybersecurity, the joint efforts by the Administration and industry to develop the Cybersecurity Framework, and ongoing work to implement the Executive Order to enhance the cybersecurity of critical infrastructure,” the White House reported.

A White House official said the participants included Steve Bennett, president and CEO of Mountain View-based Symantec; Renee James, President of Santa Clara-based Intel; and Charlie Scharf, CEO of Foster City-based Visa.

Other attendees included Mastercard CEO Ajay Banga; Northrop Grumman CEO Wes Bush, Lockheed Martin CEO Marillyn Hewson, Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan and Pepco Holdings CEO Joe Rigby.

Posted on Tuesday, October 29th, 2013
Under: Obama presidency | 9 Comments »

More White House interns with Bay Area ties

The White House today announced its Fall 2013 interns, including several who either hail from or attended school in the Bay Area.

This crop of interns, along with their hometowns and the universities they most recently attended, includes:

    Joanna Chen of Anaheim (University of California, Berkeley)
    Caitlin Etienne of Richfield, Minn. (Monterey Institute of International Studies)
    Elva Linares of Oakland (University of California Hastings College of the Law)

Interns work in one White House departments including the Domestic Policy Council, the National Economic Council, the Office of Cabinet Affairs, the Office of Chief of Staff, the Office of Communications, the Office of Digital Strategy, the Office of the First Lady, the Office of Legislative Affairs, the Office of Management and Administration, the Office of Presidential Correspondence, the Office of Presidential Personnel, the Office of Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs, the Office of Scheduling and Advance, the Office of the Vice President, the Office of the White House Counsel, and the Office of White House Fellows.

Posted on Monday, October 21st, 2013
Under: Obama presidency | No Comments »

Three locals to advise Obama on manufacturing

Several Bay Area people will serve on the new steering committee for President Barack Obama’s Advanced Manufacturing Partnership, the White House announced Thursday.

The president created the partnership in 2011 to bring industry, academia and government together to revitalize the manufacturing sector and boost the nation’s global competitiveness.

Among those on the new committee are University of California, Berkeley Chancellor Nicholas Dirks; Ajit Manocha, CEO of Milpitas-based semiconductor manufacturer GLOBALFOUNDRIES; and Mike Splinter, executive board chairman of Santa Clara-based Applied Materials Inc.

The original steering committee issued a report last year, “Capturing Domestic Competitive Advantage in Advanced Manufacturing,” that called for sustaining U.S. investments in science, technology, and innovation; establishing a National Network of Manufacturing Innovation Institutes, a set of public-private partnerships to build shared high-tech facilities and advance U.S. leadership in emerging technologies; upgrading community-college workforce training programs and deploying the talent of returning veterans to meet critical manufacturing skills needs; and improving the business climate for manufacturing investment through tax, regulatory, energy, and trade reform.

The new steering committee will build on that work, functioning as a working group of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology and in partnership with the National Economic Council, White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, and the Commerce Department. It’s also going to hold regional working sessions and forums designed to find examples of innovative strategies to build manufacturing competitiveness.

Posted on Thursday, September 26th, 2013
Under: economy, Obama presidency | 4 Comments »

SF man to be force-fed outside White House

ConterisA San Francisco man will subject himself to nasogastric force-feeding outside the White House tomorrow in solidarity with Guantanamo Bay inmates who’ve been similarly force-fed.

That is exactly what it sounds like: A nasogastric tube carries food and medicine to the stomach through the nose.

Andres Conteris, who turned 52 Thursday, since July 8 has been fasting in solidarity with the Guantanamo Bay detainees, too, and says he has lost 50 pounds.

nasogastric feeding - AP photo“Force-feeding is torture,” he said in a news release. “I wish to make visible what the U.S. government is perpetrating against prisoners in Guantánamo and what the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation is threatening for hunger strikers in Pelican Bay. The only way to end the hunger strikes and force-feeding is to shutter the Gitmo prison and respond favorably to the demands of the prisoners in California.”

The California inmates ended their hunger strike Thursday.

Conteris’ force-feeding, administered by a medical professional, will be webcast live at 9 a.m. Pacific on Friday.

Posted on Thursday, September 5th, 2013
Under: War on Terror | 3 Comments »

Oakland & Sac mayors met with Obama today

Oakland’s Jean Quan and Sacramento’s Kevin Johnson were among 18 U.S. mayors who met with President Barack Obama and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder today at the White House to discuss strategies to reduce youth violence.

According to the White House’s readout of the meeting, Obama “reiterated that government alone can never fill the void that causes a child to turn to violence, but that we all have a responsibility to do our part to create safe communities and save lives.”

“The President applauded the mayors for their local efforts to combat violence, solicited their input about proven methods, and pledged his Administration’s partnership,” the White House reported. “He also vowed to continue doing everything in his power to combat gun violence through executive action and to press Congress to pass common-sense reforms like expanding the background check system and cracking down on gun trafficking.”

For the complete list of mayors at today’s meeting, follow after the jump.
Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Tuesday, August 27th, 2013
Under: Jean Quan, Oakland, Obama presidency, Public safety | 3 Comments »

Senate to probe state-federal marijuana conflicts

U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy said Monday he’ll hold a hearing Sept. 10 on the conflict between federal and state marijuana laws.

That’s big news for 20 states including California that have legalized medical marijuana, as well as for Colorado and Washington, which have legalized it for recreational use.

Leahy, D-Vt., has invited Attorney General Eric Holder and Deputy Attorney General James Cole to testify. Perhaps someone will ask them why President Obama’s rhetoric and action haven’t matched up on this issue: Though he has said that federal law enforcement resources are better targeted toward violent elements of the drug trade, federal agents and prosecutors have continued to pursue dispensaries that are in compliance with California law.

Leahy wrote to White House “drug czar” Gil Kerlikowske last December, asking how the federal government intended to deal with states like Colorado and Washington. In that letter, Leahy also suggested that federal legislation could be introduced to legalize up to an ounce of marijuana, at least in states that have legalized it; he also sought assurances that state employees would not be prosecuted for implementing state laws.

Congress’ efforts to address this haven’t advanced. H.R. 1523, the Respect State Marijuana Laws Act by Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Huntington Beach, would protect those operating under medical-marijuana laws in 18 states including California plus the District of Columbia, or under the recreational legalization laws enacted last year in Colorado and Washington state. Introduced in April, the bill has 18 cosponsors from both sides of the aisle yet has never had a hearing.

“Ending marijuana prohibition not just in the states but also nationally is going to require the sort of leadership that Senator Leahy is now providing,” Drug Policy Alliance executive director Ethan Nadelmann said Monday. “Now is the time for his colleagues to stand up as well in defense of responsible state regulation of marijuana.”

Posted on Monday, August 26th, 2013
Under: marijuana, Obama presidency, U.S. Senate | No Comments »

President Obama welcomes & praises SF Giants

President Barack Obama today welcomed the San Francisco Giants to the White House to honor their 2012 World Series win.

Mayor Ed Lee and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi were on hand for the event, too. No mention was made of the Giants’ current position at the bottom of the NL West division.

Read the president’s full remarks, after the jump…
Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Monday, July 29th, 2013
Under: Obama presidency | 2 Comments »

New White House interns have Bay Area ties

The White House today announced its Summer 2013 interns, and as usual, several either hail from the Bay Area or have attended school here:

Interns work in one of several White House departments, including the Domestic Policy Council, the National Economic Council, the Office of Cabinet Affairs, the Office of Chief of Staff, the Office of Communications, the Office of Digital Strategy, the Office of the First Lady, the Office of Legislative Affairs, the Office of Management and Administration, the Office of Presidential Correspondence, the Office of Presidential Personnel, the Office of Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs, the Office of Scheduling and Advance, the Office of the Vice President, the Office of the White House Counsel, and the Office of White House Fellows.

Posted on Tuesday, July 9th, 2013
Under: Obama presidency | 1 Comment »

White House honors local immigrant innovators

Four Bay Area residents are among 11 Americans being honored by the White House today as Immigrant Innovator “Champions of Change,” described as “the best and brightest from around the world who are helping create American jobs, grow our economy, and make our nation more competitive.”

“Immigrants have long made America more prosperous and innovative, and the Champions we are celebrating today represent the very best in leadership, entrepreneurship, and public service,” U.S. Chief Technology Officer Todd Park said in a news release. “We are proud to recognize these leaders who work every day to grow our economy, advance science and technology, and support their home communities.”

The Champions of Change program is the White House’s effort to feature groups of Americans – individuals, businesses and organizations – who are doing extraordinary things to empower and inspire members of their communities.

Here are the four Bay Area honorees, as described in the White House’s news releases today:

Victoria Ransom, Menlo Park
Victoria RansomVictoria Ransom has been an entrepreneur since her early twenties and has developed three companies, the most recent of which, Wildfire, was acquired by Google in 2012. As founder and CEO of Wildfire, Victoria led the company to profitability in just one year and built the company to tens of thousands of customers, over 400 employees, and eight offices worldwide. Victoria is #19 on Fortune Magazine’s 40 under 40 list and she was named one of Fortune Magazine’s Most Powerful Women Entrepreneurs in 2012. She has been featured in several publications including The New York Times’ Corner Office, Bloomberg TV, Entrepreneur Magazine, and The Wall Street Journal. In her spare time she is an avid snowboarder and surfer and a passionate adventure traveler who once spent six weeks living with a remote Amazonian tribe and five months living in a favela in Brazil.

Anna Mongayt, Palo Alto
Anna MongaytAnna Mongayt is a Co-Founder at Upstart — a crowdfunding platform that lets people raise money in exchange for a portion of their future income. Upstart is enabling young people to alleviate financial burdens such as student loans or living expenses by monetizing their future potential. It helps recent graduates pursue their dreams—to start a business, learn to code, or begin a career in a field they’re passionate about—by matching them with backers who believe in their aspirations. Investors can opt-in to become mentors and earn a return based on a regression model that predicts an individual’s income over ten years.

Jonas Korlach, Newark
Jonas KorlachJonas Korlach is Chief Scientific Officer at Pacific Biosciences. He co-invented the company’s SMRT technology with Stephen Turner, Ph.D., Pacific Biosciences Founder and Chief Technology Officer, when the two were graduate students at Cornell University. SMRT technology dramatically improves the accuracy and speed of DNA sequencing. Dr. Korlach joined Pacific Biosciences as the company’s eighth employee in 2004. Dr. Korlach is the recipient of multiple grants, an inventor on 33 issued U.S. patents, and an author of numerous scientific studies on the principles and applications of SMRT technology, including publications in Nature, Science, and PNAS. He received both his Ph.D. and his M.S. degrees in Biochemistry, Molecular and Cell Biology from Cornell, and received M.S. and B.A. degrees in Biological Sciences from Humboldt University in Berlin, Germany.

Zack Rinat, Redwood Shores
Zack RinatZack Rinat is Model N’s Founder and has served as the Chairman of the Board of Directors and as Chief Executive Officer since its inception in December 1999. Previously, Mr. Rinat co-founded and ultimately served as President and Chief Executive Officer of NetDynamics, Inc., an application server software company, before its acquisition by Sun Microsystems in 1998, where he served as the Vice President and General Manager of the NetDynamics business unit. From 1998 to 1999, Mr. Rinat served as a founding member of the Board of Directors of TradingDynamics, and from 2005 to 2012 he served on the Board of Directors of Conduit Ltd., serving as Chairman of the Board of Directors from 2005 to 2011. Previously, Mr. Rinat held senior management positions in operations, marketing, and engineering at Silicon Graphics, Inc., and at Advanced Technology Israel. He holds an MBA from Harvard Business School and a BA in computer science from the Technion (Israel Institute of Technology).

Posted on Wednesday, May 29th, 2013
Under: Obama presidency | 5 Comments »