Beltway Insider: Obama Initiates Action Year; Christie’s Traffic Jam; December Job Report; Iran Sees Aid

President Barack Obama returned to Washington, from his Hawaiian Christmas holiday, heralding 2014 an “Action Year” and calling on every American to work together to capitalize on the economic gains of the past year.  

According to Gallup, President Obama’s job approval, over the past week rose three percentage points to 43% of those polled who approve of his effectiveness as President and those who disapprove of his effectiveness as President dropped two percentage points to 51%.

Obama Unveils Action Plan

With his New Year’s resolution for America in hand, President Barack Obama launched his “Action Year Plan” and initiated an innovated approach to make the most of the hard fought victories that the country has won over the last year.  

Beginning with a continued call to congress to pass the Reid-Heller Bill, which would retroactively enable over 1.3 Americans who are dependent on the financial lifeline of emergency unemployment benefits to receive them, the President revealed part of his plan, which included a mission statement, as he addressed the media.

“I will mobilize the country around the national mission of making sure our economy offers everyone who works hard a fair shot at opportunity and success,” the President said. “As Americans, that’s what we should expect.  And after everything you’ve done to recover and rebuild from crisis these past five years – after all your hard work and sacrifice – that’s what you deserve.”

The across the board sector gains over the past year presents the President with a real opportunity to make a significant difference in 2014 as the country is slowly recovering from the worst economic recession since the great depression.

The President presenting a more work less talk plan said, “And on January 28th, in my State of the Union address -- which I’m going to try to keep a little shorter than usual I will mobilize the country. Anybody in this country who works hard should have a fair shot at success, period.  It doesn’t matter where they come from, what region of the country, what they look like, what their last name is -- they should be able to succeed.”

The drab December job report may have burst what appeared to be the economic momentum and job creation but in actuality the President and the American people head into 2014 poised for continued cuts in unemployment.

The President, addressing the single most struggling sector in the unemployment demographics that of the long term unemployed said, “Business owners are ready to play their part and hire more workers.  So next week, I’ll be joined by college presidents as we lay out specific steps we can take to help more workers earn the skills they need for today’s new jobs.  Later this month I’ll host CEOs at the White House to announce commitments we’re making to put more of the long-term unemployed back to work.”

Recovery projections indicated it would be 2017 before all jobs lost in the global recession would be recovered. The opportunity stands for 2014 to recover a significant portion of those jobs accelerating the jobs forecast.

The President also made it clear he is tired of politics as usual and Washington leverage power plays and economic hostage games. He is moving beyond the political squabbling and is focused on the issues at hand. “And I will work with anybody who’s willing to lay out some concrete ideas to create jobs, help more middle-class families find security in today’s economy, and offer new ladders of opportunity for folks to climb into the middle class,” he said.

The fruit of the President’s labor and the struggle of the American people will yield crops that cannot be stolen and will benefit as every area as the economy produces growth.

New Jersey’s Governor Chris Christie Tackles Traffic Trap

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, in the first real political scandal of 2016 Presidential race, is facing further review and investigation into what is now being called “Bridge-gate,” a scandal that has the potential of derailing the GOP front runner.  

With calls from democratic state senators for additional investigation and review, rumors of resignation or impeachment are swirling around the Sunday politico circuit, as Christie remains outspoken in both contrition and response.

The “Bridge-gate” scandal began after Mark Sokolich, the democratic mayor of Fort Lee, New Jersey, endorsed the democratic challenger for governor in the November election.

Christie Aides, Deputy Chief of Staff Bridget Anne Kelly and Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Executive David Wildstein, decided to engage in spiteful, malicious, and retaliatory behavior by closing toll booths on the George Washington Bridge that separate the Garden State from New York State and causing a traffic snarl that resulted in up to four hour delays for commuters.

A contrite Christie faced media for over two hours this week, apologizing for the behavior of his now terminated staff members. He was very clear indicating if any staff member is caught lying to him, they will be fired.

Scandals are not new to the political process and the outspoken, brash and well known governor after his decisive re-election, in which he crossed party lines and handily won all demographics,  became the Republican front runner for the 2016 White House race.

His candor, if it holds up under continued scrutiny, will better position the already strong contender as the GOP looks for potential democratic challengers.

"Bridge-gate” could only derail the governor if subsequent investigations find he had knowledge of, approved the endorsement pay back or lied.

With all the corruption scandals New Jersey has faced including the decade long sexual assault cover up initiated by the Hudson County Sexual Assault Victim's Assistance (SAVA) Unit, “Bridge-gate” certainly shouldn’t have the GOP’s best bet taking a tumble.

December Job Report Reveals Silver Lining

The dismal December jobs report sent the White House into a tailspin as the economy added less than 100,000 jobs ending 2013’s slow climb upward with a slight tumble.

Creating a paltry 74,000 jobs was still enough for the overall unemployment rate to fall from 7% to a record 6.7%, the lowest it has been in over five years.

The .03% fall, over a single month, is solid news for the struggling White House and is the silver lining in an otherwise dreary December job report..         

While the final job creation numbers for the final month of 2013 may be the worst showing in the past year, the decline in the overall unemployment was the largest single month drop in over five years.

Until October 2012, unemployment was cemented at 8% where it had stayed for over forty straight months.

Throughout 2013, unemployment has steadily fallen, with six months registering a tenth of a percentage decline and five months with no decline, until November 2013 when unemployment reached its first major milestone, falling to 7%.

With unemployment now at 6.7% the White House is poised to bring in solid declines to the overwhelming unemployment problem.

Employment trends across the board are continuing up in Healthcare, Professional Services and Manufacturing.

President Offers Condolences; Sends Delegation to Israel

President Barack Obama has extended a strong show of support to the Israel people in this time of national mourning over the passing of former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.

“On behalf of the American people, Michelle and I send our deepest condolences to the family of former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon,” President Obama said in a released statement.

“We reaffirm our unshakable commitment to Israel’s security and our appreciation for the enduring friendship between our two countries and our two peoples. We continue to strive for lasting peace and security for the people of Israel, including through our commitment to the goal of two states living side-by-side in peace and security. As Israel says goodbye to Prime Minister Sharon, we join with the Israeli people in honoring his commitment to his country.”

The White House announced Vice President Biden would be leading the delegation along with members of the White House Senior Staff including the current and former ambassador to Israel, the Honorable Daniel Shapiro and the Honorable Daniel Kurtz. Joining them are U.S. House of Representatives Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (D-FL), and Eliot Engel (D-NY).

Ariel Sharon, the 11thPrime Minister of Israel died January 11, 2014 after eight years in a coma. He was 85.

Iran Sees Foreign Aid

Iran has begun to see foreign aid reach its borders as the P5 +1 security partners honor their agreements with the one-time enemy.

The P5 +1, France, Germany, China, the United States, United Kingdom and Russia, along with the European Union, are cautiously moving ahead with incremental aid which is solely dependent on Iran maintaining its outlined obligations that call for the elimination of its Nuclear program.

The United States has continued to seek a peaceful solution in the Middle East. As Israel, the long term and steadfast ally of the United States, sees the progress with Iran through slightly more cautious eyes, the United States along with the P5 +1 security partners will continue to monitor Iran’s progress.



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