Obama’s N. American Agenda Hits Congressional Drag

But the separate negotiations with the European Union and 11 Pacific Rim nations are generating strong emotions at home and abroad. Many Democrats up for reelection in November are fearful of drawing primary-election opposition over the trade talks. Concerned about lost jobs that are important to labor unions, they’re abandoning Obama on this issue. Late last year in fact, 151 House Democrats, roughly three-quarters of the chamber’s Democratic membership, signed a letter to Obama signaling their opposition to granting him fast-track trade authority. Obama said his goal in requesting such authority Obama Student Loan Forgiveness was “to protect our workers, protect our environment and open new markets to new goods stamped ‘Made in the USA.’ ” But the president, never known as an enthusiastic free-trader in the past, has yet to make an all-out push for the authority, which was last approved by Congress in 2002 for President George W.
Source: http://www.philly.com/philly/news/nation_world/20140219_Obama__fellow_Dems_are_at_odds_on_big_trade_bills.html

Obama administration calls on Ukraine president to ‘de-escalate’ violence, talk with protesters

In April, he travels to Japan, Malaysia, South Korea and the Philippines . Last Tuesday morning, French President Francois Hollande invited Obama to France for the 70th anniversary of D-Day ; Obama accepted before lunchtime. After Obama met with Senate Democrats earlier this month, one of the lawmakers told The Posts Ed OKeefe that Obama assured them that he would not be offended if he were not invited to campaign for them. Even when he travels around the country, its often for anodyne appearances such as Tuesdays visit to a grocery distribution center in the safely Democratic state of Maryland. Thats hardly surprising.
Source: http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/dana-milbank-obama-can-help-democrats-all-the-way-to-the-bank/2014/02/18/5b44dfa6-98d9-11e3-80ac-63a8ba7f7942_story.html

Johns, who runs UTs program in Tuscany, was stunned to get a handwritten apology from the president himself on White House stationery. Ann let me apologize for my off-the-cuff remarks. I was making a point about the jobs market, not the value of art history, he wrote. As it so happens, art history was one of my favorite subjects in high school, and it has helped me take in a great deal of joy in my life that I might otherwise have missed, Obama said in the 13-line note. He added: So please pass on my apology for the glib remark to the entire department, and understand that I was trying to encourage young people who may not be predisposed to a four-year college experience to be open to technical training that can lead them to an honorable career. He signed the letter, Sincerely, Barack Obama. Johns wrote on her Facebook page that she loves Obama and now feels badly about the whole incident.
Source: http://nypost.com/2014/02/18/obama-apologizes-to-art-teacher-for-mocking-art-history-degrees/

During a visit to a grocery store distribution center, President Obama will order the Environmental Protection Agency and Transportation Department to develop and issue the new standards by March 2016, according to a White House official who would not be named when discussing the announcement ahead of the event. The new fuel efficiency requirements will mark the second phase of the effort to reduce the harmful pollutants by targeting trucks. In 2011, the Obama administration completed fuel standards for medium and heavy vehicles. Those regulations call for a 20% reduction in heavy-vehicle emissions by 2018 and applied only to truck models 2014 through 2018. Experts estimate car manufactures would need to boost fuel efficiency to an average of 8 miles per gallon to reach the new standards, up from 6 miles per gallon at the time of the announcement.
Source: http://www.latimes.com/nation/politics/politicsnow/la-pn-obama-deadline-fuel-efficiency-trucks-20140217,0,682284.story

The U.S. is also in the midst of negotiations over a Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership with the European Union. But the president is facing stiff election-year resistance from Democratic leaders over his desire to get “fast track” trade authority, which would require Congress to give yes-or-no votes on the trade agreements and deny lawmakers the opportunity to amend them. Both Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi have made clear they don’t want Obama pushing the issue this year. Trade agreements have typically been more popular with Republicans than with Democrats; business groups tend to support the removal of trade barriers whereas labor unions fear the loss of jobs.
Source: http://news.yahoo.com/obama-39-n-american-agenda-hits-congressional-drag-052522996.html

Biden asked Yanukovych to pull back government forces and also urged him to talk immediately with opposition leaders to address protesters’ legitimate grievances and to put forward serious proposals for political reform, according to the White House. Biden also made clear the United States is committed to supporting efforts toward a peaceful resolution that reflects the will and aspirations of the Ukrainian people, the White House said. The violence Tuesday was the deadliest in nearly three months of anti-government protests that have paralyzed Ukraine’s capital and the worst in the country’s post-Soviet history. The protests began in late November after Yanukovych turned away from a long-anticipated deal with the European Union in exchange for a $15 billion bailout from Russia. The political maneuvering continued, however, with both Moscow and the West eager to gain influence over this former Soviet republic.
Source: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2014/02/18/obama-administration-calls-on-ukraine-president-to-de-escalate-violence-talk/

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