From: Nelson, Colleen McCain [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Wednesday, May 27, 2015 04:17 PM
To: Barnes, Desiree N.
Subject: Travel Pool Report #2 -- Miami arrival and gaggle
Air Force One landed in Miami at 3:56 p.m. after an uneventful flight.
Several minutes later, President Obama exited and jogged down the steps. He was greeted on the tarmac by Philip Levine, Mayor of Miami Beach, Florida.
At 4:14 p.m., the motorcade is rolling to the first fundraiser.
Principal Deputy Press Secretary Eric Schultz gaggled en route to Miami.
Highlights are below. (please check quotes … you know the drill)
On the trip to Miami: Schultz said in Miami, the president will visit the National Hurricane Center to receive the annual hurricane briefing and tour the center. The president will speak about how climate change will mean more intense hurricanes, and rising sea levels will result in more flooding and damage from the storms.
On clean water rules announced today: Schultz declined to say whether the president would veto legislation blocking the rules. “I’m not going to speculate on legislation that it’s not entirely clear that it will pass. What I can say is that we believe the rule today is a win-win, both for the economy and for public health. This is a rule that will protect streams and wetlands that form the foundation of our nation’s water resources.”
“Protection for about 60% of the nation’s streams and millions of acres of wetlands has been confusing and complex as a result of several recent Supreme Court decisions. And so the rule we announced today protects the streams and wetlands that are scientifically shown to have the greatest impact on downstream water quality and form the foundation of our nation’s resources.”
“It’s important to note that this rule has no direct cost to a community, business or individual. It only applies if someone is going to pollute or destroy a body of water and needs a permit. So money and time will actually be saved by all involved because we will not have to deal with long, drawn out case-by-case basis for those determinations,” Schultz said.
On the immigration ruling: “There’s an important hearing scheduled for July 6 at which the Department of Justice is preparing its arguments on the legal merits of the executive actions that the president announced last fall. The Department of Justice remains focused on that argument and that hearing proceeding on an expedited basis,” Schultz said.
DOJ and White House lawyers continue to review yesterday’s ruling, he said, adding that he doesn’t have any next steps to announce now.
On FIFA: Schultz said he doesn’t have much of a reaction. Those decisions are made by career prosecutors at DOJ, he said. “Clearly, this has been an investigation that’s been in the works for some time,” he said.
The president is a big sports fan, but Schultz said he has not had a chance to ask Obama about this development. Schultz said he wasn’t sure if the White House received an early heads-up on this case.
On Monday’s lifting of travel restrictions for five Taliban detainees: Schultz said, “We do remain in close contact with our partners to mitigate the threat that might be posed by former detainees.”
He said he doesn’t have specific conversations to read out in regard to these former detainees. “It’s fair to say that we and our partners remain vigilant and in close contact.”
On Obama’s fundraising schedule in Miami and whether this is a trip driven by fundraising: Schultz said the hurricane briefing is given to the president annually. He said that this year, they thought it would be appropriate to go down to the hurricane center in person to look at the new technology that they’ve been employing. Obama’s previous hurricane season briefings have been conducted in Washington, he said.
A lot of communities already are feeling the effects of climate change, and the president is going to be talking about the steps that the federal government and local communities have taken to prepare.
Schultz said Obama’s recent fundraising schedule is a pace that appears consistent with past years. “The president is also head of the Democratic Party. He takes that responsibility seriously to make sure that candidates and campaigns have the resources they need to wage effective campaigns,” Schultz said.
On tomorrow’s court hearing on the House lawsuit challenging the president’s actions on the Affordable Care Act: Schultz said one of the president’s main pledges as a candidate was to expand health care and to make sure quality health care was affordable for all Americans.
“That process of building out legislation was not always a pretty one, but it’s one that ended up with a piece of legislation that the president’s very proud of,” he said.
“We are very proud of the Affordable Care Act, notwithstanding Republican partisan attempts to dismantle it,” he said.
On the USA Freedom Act: Schultz said clearly the path forward is for the Senate to pass the USA 8Freedom Act. He noted that it got 338 votes from both Republicans and Democrats in the House.
“We feel strongly this is something the Senate should take up very quickly and pass,” he said.
On Iraq: Schultz said the Department of Defense could provide a more detailed assessment of recent events on the ground. “We are encouraged by Iraqi forces mobilizing at the order of the prime minister and are now beginning to push back to retake parts of Anbar province,” he said.
Iraqis have suffered setbacks before, he said, but they have been able to retake territory from ISIL. “We have said all along there will be ebbs and flows on the battlefield. While we understand the serious nature of what happened in Ramadi, setbacks like this will occur,” he said.
Colleen McCain Nelson
The Wall Street Journal
Sent from my iPhone