From: Date, Shirish [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: Tuesday, May 26, 2015 12:58 PM
To: Velz, Peter
Subject: WH Pool Report #2
POTUS in 8 minutes of remarks addressed (Please check against transcript):
POTUS on “terrible flooding” in Texas. Said he spoke with Abbott this morning.
“I assured Gov. Abbott that he could count on the help of the federal government. We have FEMA personnel already on the ground. They are coordinating with Texas emergency management authorities and I will anticipate that there will be some significant requests made to Washington. My pledge to him is that we will expedite those requests.”
On Senate and FISA:
Last week, Congress was obviously busy. It left town without finishing necessary work on FISA and some of the reforms that are necessary to the Patriot Act. I said over a year ago that it was important for us to properly balance our needs for security with civil liberties, and this administration engaged on a bipartisan, bicameral basis, talking to Republicans and Democrats about how we could preserve necessary authorities but provide the public greater assurance that those authorities were not being abused. The House of Representatives did its work and came up with what they’ve called the USA Freedom Act which strikes an appropriate balance; our intelligence communities are confident that they can work with the authorities that are provided in that act; it passed on a bipartisan basis and overwhelmingly. It was then sent to the Senate. The Senate did not act.
And the problem we have now is that those authorities run out at midnight on Sunday. So I strongly urge the Senate to work through this recess and make sure that they identify a way to get this done. Keep in mind that the most controversial provision in there which had to do with the gathering of telephone exchanges in a single government database – that has been reformed in USA Freedom Act. But you have a whole range of authorities that are also embodied in the Patriot Act that are non-controversial, that everybody agrees are necessary to keep us safe and secure. Those also are at risk of lapsing. So this needs to get done. And I would urge folks to just work through whatever issues can still exist. Make sure we don’t have on midnight Sunday night this task still undone, because it’s necessary to keep the American people safe and secure.
He and Stoltenberg discussed:
The “increasingly aggressive posture that Russia has taken.”
Also discussed NATO’s new “southern front” and the fight with ISIL.
And making sure that member nations appropriate spending levels to keep the alliance sound.
White House Correspondent