FW: Friday White House print pool report No. 1 // lid

From: Korte, Gregory [mailto:xxx@email.com]
Sent: Friday, March 27, 2015 3:53 PM
To: Allen, Jessica
Subject: Friday White House print pool report No. 1 // lid

President Obama met with the President’s Council on Science and Technology (PCAST) in the Roosevelt room. The pool was allowed in for remarks at the top at about 3: 25 p.m.

In addition to members of the Council (listed below), the meeting was attended by Senior Adviser Valerie Jarrett (to his right) and cabinet secretaries Sylvia Burwell of HHS and Tom Vilsack of USDA (to his left). John Holdren, Assistant to the President for Science and Technology, sat immediately across from the president and handed him a copy of today’s report for the photo op.

Obama spoke for about 4 ½ minutes at the top of the meeting.

Highlights of remarks (with the usual transcription caveats):

“This is a major public health issue,” Obama said, noting that antibiotic-resistant bacteria “cause tens of thousands of deaths, millions of illnesses, and that’s just in the United States.”

He said the action plan was ”the product of extraordinary work by some of our top scientists.”

Obama said the plan has five goals: to slow the spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria and infections; improve surveillance of infection outbreaks, improve diagnostic tests, research alternative drugs and antibiotics, and coordinate globally.

Obama said he will ask Congress to double funding for the efforts, to $1.2 billion in FY 2016. “This plan spells out exactly where the money will go, so I’m urging Congress to pass a budget that will help save lives. We can’t do this without Congress. But in order for us to get it done, we’re also going to have to educate the public.”

Obama said the issue wasn’t a day-to-day concern for most Americans until it affects their families. “We take antibiotics for granted for a lot of illnesses that can be deadly and debilitating.”

“Part of the solution is not just finding replacements for traditional antibiotics, but also making sure we use antibiotics properly.”

Obama did not respond to a shouted question about the contents of the letter from Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.

Additional Background from the White House:

President Obama will meet with the Nation’s leading scientists, engineers, and innovators who make up the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST). The meeting follows the Administration’s release of the National Action Plan to Combat Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria, and PCAST’s public discussion of significant Federal efforts to combat antibiotic resistance.

The meeting will include John P. Holdren, Assistant to the President for Science and Technology and Co-Chair of PCAST, Secretary of Health and Human Services Sylvia Mathews Burwell, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, Senior White House Advisor Valerie Jarrett, and Director of the Domestic Policy Council Cecilia Muñoz.

Additional members of PCAST who will participate in today’s meeting include:

·         Eric Lander, Co-Chair of PCAST, Director of the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard

·         William Press, Vice-Chair of PCAST, Professor of Computer Sciences at the University of Texas at Austin

·         Maxine Savitz, Vice-Chair of PCAST, former Assistant Secretary of Energy

·         Wanda Austin, the newest member of PCAST, and President and CEO, Aerospace Corporation

·         Rosina Bierbaum, Professor of Natural Resources and Environment, University of Michigan

·         Christine Cassel, President and CEO of the National Quality Forum

·         Christopher Chyba, Director, Program on Science & Global Security, Princeton University

·         S. James Gates Jr., Director of the Center for String and Particle Theory at the University of Maryland, College Park

·         Mark Gorenberg, Founder and Managing Director, Zetta Venture Partners

·         Susan L. Graham, Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Emerita, University of California, Berkeley

·         Michael McQuade, Senior Vice President, Science & Technology, United Technologies Corporation

·         Craig Mundie, President, Mundie Associates and former senior Microsoft executive

·         Ed Penhoet, Director, Alta Partners, and Professor of Biology, University of California, Berkeley

·         Barbara Schaal, Dean of Arts and Sciences and Professor of Biology at Washington University in St Louis

·         Daniel Schrag, Director of the Harvard University Center for Environment

And with that, the Press Office called a travel/photo lid.

Gregory Korte

White House reporter


Washington Bureau
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