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  • Briefing by U.S. State Department Spokesperson Morgan Ortagus, May 22, 2019

    Briefing by U.S. State Department Spokesperson Morgan Ortagus, May 22, 2019 | site |



    Washington, DC - - (May 22, 2019) - - Today, the U.S. Department of State's Office of the Spokesperson provided the following transcript of a special briefing Department Spokesperson Morgan Ortagus presented:

    MS ORTAGUS: Thanks, everybody, for having me. I appreciate it. Hopefully, the first of many. I just got something for you on Africa Day that I’m going to read and then we’ll jump into the questions, if you’re ready.

    Okay. This Saturday marks Africa Day, the annual commemoration of the founding of the Organization of African Unity, now the African Union. In the 56 years since the AU was formed, the continent has made significant democratic and economic strides. We reaffirm our unwavering commitment to the AU’s vision for a free and prosperous continent, and the United States will continue to promote stronger trade and commercial ties with Africa. We are proud of our partnership with the governments and people of Africa, and we’ll continue to work with them to advance our common interests and goals. There you go.
    Mr. Lee, I’m sure you have something for me.

    QUESTION: Okay. That was – yeah, but let’s talk about Africa Day. Welcome.

    MS ORTAGUS: Thank you. It’s lovely to be here.

    QUESTION: I do hope that it will be the first of many.

    MS ORTAGUS: Me too.

    QUESTION: I’m going to start with something that has come up within the last hour or so, and I’m pretty sure we can dispense with this pretty quickly, and that is there’s concern from Democrats on the Hill, particularly Senator Murphy, that you guys are going to use an emergency authorization provision of the Arms Control Act to circumvent congressional approval of some arms sales to Saudi Arabia —

    MS ORTAGUS: Yes.

    QUESTION: — and that it could happen this week. What do you say about that?

    MS ORTAGUS: The only thing is we do not confirm – we do not comment to confirm or deny potential arms sales or transfers until Congress is formally notified.

    QUESTION: So you can’t say if anything is in the works, if his concern is justified?

    MS ORTAGUS: That’s it, sir.

    QUESTION: Okay. Is there an emergency exemption?

    MS ORTAGUS: We do not comment to confirm or deny arms sales.

    QUESTION: Does the law contain a provision that allows you to bypass congressional – the answer is yes, it does.

    MS ORTAGUS: Thank you. I’ll look that up.

    QUESTION: That’s all for me.

    MS ORTAGUS: Go ahead.

    QUESTION: I actually wanted to ask what you can tell us about sort of what your plans are for briefing, returning to briefings.

    MS ORTAGUS: Oh, okay, sure.

    QUESTION: And if you’re going to do this, off-camera but on-the-record gaggles, for a few days, or if you could tell us what you have in mind –

    MS ORTAGUS: Sure.

    QUESTION: — and how often you think they may happen.

    MS ORTAGUS: I think that we’ll do this or maybe even perhaps off camera from the podium tomorrow. I was planning on taking Friday off. That may or may not happen given world events. But then I think next week – so I’m in town Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday next week before I leave with the Secretary. I think all of you have the FFPO on that; some of you are coming. And so I’d like to try to make those on-camera podium remarks or briefing next week. And I would say the goal is as often as possible. I don’t know that it will be five days a week, but I’ve said this I think from the very beginning that my hope was to make these as routine as possible. So I’m hoping at least three days a week.

    And then, of course, travel will be a little bit different. So those of you who will be on the – some of you have traveled with us already and the Secretary has gaggled quite a bit. I’ll try to make a more regular habit of that now that I’m formally doing gaggles and briefings. So I hope to be as accessible to all of you as possible. I think I’ve – I have tried to be over email and phone since – in the six weeks, or I don’t even know if it’s been six weeks yet – but in the six weeks that I’ve been here I’ve attempted to do that and of course want more communication with all of you.

    QUESTION: Do you think there’s something unique about the State Department that makes the briefings more necessary than, say, other buildings?

    MS ORTAGUS: I don’t know if it makes it more necessary. I would say I have been watching – this makes me sound like a nerd. I’ve been watching State Department press briefings probably my whole career. I mean, literally, I remember watching these in college, and so this is – I think I’ve told all of you – this is something that, for me, is the honor of a lifetime to be representing the diplomats around the world here in the building. Some of you know I’ve worked in a couple of embassies, and while I’m a political appointee obviously in this job, most of my career has been as a career servant in some form or the other.

    So I take speaking for the Secretary and speaking for everyone in this building and everyone in our embassies around the world very seriously. And I appreciate what all of you do. I think that this is a very serious and substantive press corps. We’re dealing with real issues around the world every day, issues with – of serious consequence. So I hope that I have treated all of you with respect; I hope that you will treat me the same way. And we all, I think, have a good working relationship and I hope that continues.

    QUESTION: You watched the briefings when you were in college? (Laughter.)

    MS ORTAGUS: I actually – I will admit I had a picture of – maybe it was my first job. I kind of remember I printed out this big picture of Condoleezza Rice and her bio and I used to, like, stare at it in college. I’m – yeah, level 10 dork.

    QUESTION: Was Matt Lee in those briefings?

    MS ORTAGUS: He was in the briefings when I was in college actually.

    QUESTION: Great. (Laughter.)

    MS ORTAGUS: I watched an old one this morning when I was getting dressed and you were in there. It was definitely college days. You’re the OG, Matt, the OG.

    QUESTION: Oh God.

    QUESTION: I have an Afghanistan question.

    MS ORTAGUS: Yes, ma’am.

    QUESTION: Zal Khalilzad was up on the Hill today briefing members of Congress, and I just wondered if you can give us a sense of what kind of progress he’s made with his talks with the Taliban and when he intends – when he hopes to get the Afghan Government involved in this peace process.

    MS ORTAGUS: So I will defer largely to what – to the statements that he made. Were they on the record?

    QUESTION: No.

    MS ORTAGUS: Oh, they weren’t on the record, okay. So let me get back to you on that. I mean, I would say writ large on the peace process, I think that the ambassador has done an amazing job at bringing the parties to the table that many in the U.S. Government probably thought would never be able to get to the table. He’s making slow and steady progress on these talks. I know he completed another round recently. And while he has an incredibly tough job, I think that he is doing something that is important to the President, to the Secretary, and to the American people: to try to get a peaceful solution in Afghanistan.

    So I’ll be happy to. I know a few of you have asked me about getting to speak with him when he’s in town, so I’ll be happy to take that as a follow-up for anyone who’s asked me. I think Nick did.

    QUESTION:
    Does the – does the Secretary have kind of a timeline for this, or is this open-ended? I mean, is there —

    MS ORTAGUS: Well, clearly, we have until, what, January 20th for – in this administration until the President is sworn in or not. So, I mean, if it relates to a timeline, that’s an obvious timeline for us. I think I actually have – some of you heard my interview with Guy Benson on the radio show on Fox. I have on my wall in my office, and I change it every day, we’re at 608 days until the end of this administration. That’s something I think about every single day because that’s the amount of time that I have for my dream job and to help make an impact, and I think the ambassador and I know the Secretary, that we’re all thinking about this. This is our moment in time to make a difference, and that’s what we’re working towards.

    Yes, sir.

    QUESTION: Good morning.

    MS ORTAGUS: I’m sorry, I don’t know everybody’s names, so —

    QUESTION: David Brunnstrom from Reuters.

    MS ORTAGUS: Okay. And you’ll be going on the trip, right?

    QUESTION: That’s right.

    MS ORTAGUS: Okay, great.

    QUESTION: I’ve got one on Turkey. Can you bring us up to date on where things are heading, but can – especially on the S-400 issue? There’s a delegation in town. It’s fairly sort of mid-level, I suppose. But will there be any interaction with that delegation?

    MS ORTAGUS: I don’t know the answer to that, and – but if there’s interaction with the delegation, I’m happy to – happy to check into that to see who’s maybe meeting with them. Did you have another question in there?

    QUESTION: Just on the S-400 issue, I believe there’s – I mean, what happens next on that? There doesn’t seem to be any movement on the Turkish side.

    MS ORTAGUS: Sure.

    QUESTION: And then what happens if there isn’t any movement?

    MS ORTAGUS: So, listen, I think that our position on the S-400 has been pretty consistent. The Secretary’s spoken to it, and we have said that the S-400 defense system, the acquisition of that would have serious consequences for the United States and NATO’s defense relationship with Turkey. We’re clearly willing to engage with them and have continued to engage about our – regarding our concerns on this acquisition, but there will be very real and very negative consequences if that happens, and I think that the Secretary has been very forward-leaning on that. So nothing new from what the Secretary has said and continues to say.

    Yeah.

    QUESTION: Lalit Jha from PTI, Press Trust of India.

    MS ORTAGUS: PT what?

    QUESTION: PTI, Press Trust of India.

    MS ORTAGUS: Okay.

    QUESTION: It’s an Indian wire service.

    MS ORTAGUS: Thank you.

    QUESTION: I have a question on the Indian elections.

    MS ORTAGUS: Yeah.

    QUESTION: Almost all of the results will be declared tomorrow. So what is your expectations of the new government on India-U.S. relationship?

    MS ORTAGUS: So I would say from the U.S. perspective we’re very confident in the fairness and the integrity of the Indian elections, and we will obviously work with the – whoever is the victor and whatever the outcome is there. We have a very strong relationship, obviously, a lot of cooperation with the Indian Government on a full range of issues, and the Secretary has said numerous times that we have a true strategic partner in India – largest extra – I thought this was fascinating. Someone pointed this out to me today that their election, India’s election, is the largest exercise in democracy in human history. And I think with everything going on in the world, that’s a thing that we can pause and think about and certainly commend the Indian people for that brave act.

    QUESTION: Thank you.

    MS ORTAGUS: Yeah. Hey, Shaun.

    QUESTION: Thanks. Can I follow up on your statement yesterday on Syria?

    MS ORTAGUS: Yes.

    QUESTION: You mentioned suspicions of chemical weapons being used. I wanted to see how confident you were on that. Is that just something that’s being investigated at this point? What’s the process now? Is there going to be – is there somebody in the United States Government that’s actually looking into that?

    MS ORTAGUS: So I think Jim talked about that a little bit on the Hill this morning, and we’re not confirming that, but we are – as Jim said, we’re watching that closely. Certainly the regime has shown that they’re willing to use them in the past, and I believe the White House has already spoken – has referred – talked about this as well. But we will quickly and appropriately respond to any use of chemical weapons by the Assad regime. The use of chemical weapons shows no human decency, violates human rights, and we will hold anybody accountable, especially this regime, for the indiscriminate killing of men, women, and children which results from the use of chemical weapons.

    So I don’t know that I have anything further than that other than to speak to my statement yesterday, and of course, Jim’s statements on the Hill today. We’re watching this closely.

    QUESTION: You said the White House is today saying something, or has said something? I missed it.

    MS ORTAGUS: I don’t know if they – I don’t know if they officially said it. I know that I’ve spoken to them about it. If they haven’t gone on record, I would tell you that in my conversations with the White House today about this, they of course saw my statement and let me know that they were fully in line that – in letting the world know that we’re watching the Assad regime and that we will respond quickly and appropriately.

    QUESTION: Well, what was it specifically that triggered that statement? Was it this report from the Syrian medical group, or was it some of your own information?

    MS ORTAGUS: I think that it’s speaking writ large, like if you look back holistically at any of these things, there’s normally never one report; it’s typically a combination of things that we’re looking at and investigating. So other than that, I don’t think I’m going to have many specifics.

    QUESTION: Morgan, do you know what – have – do you know if anybody from State has spoken to the Russian Government since this alleged attack?

    MS ORTAGUS: Mm-hmm. Since – I don’t know if anyone has since the attack. I will tell you, well, Conor was with me on the last trip, and of course I was in the meetings with the Secretary and Lavrov in which many, many issues around the world were brought up, and of course Syria was one of them. So I do know that the Secretary and Lavrov spoke about that in Sochi. I do not know in the past 24 hours who has spoken, but we can certainly follow up on that.

    Yeah. Hey, Conor.

    QUESTION: Just to follow —

    MS ORTAGUS: Yeah.

    QUESTION: Just briefly, is – I mean, is there anybody actually actively looking into it right now on the part of the U.S. Government? Do you have a timeline for when this is going to be determined?

    MS ORTAGUS: I don’t think we ever have a timeline for investigations when it’s happening. I think that we have – we’ve been very loud about our – about watching what happens as it relates to the Assad regime and their use of chemical weapons. We think that sort of thing is intolerable. So I don’t think we have any – certainly any timetables to announce, but the Assad regime should know that we are watching this incredibly closely and we won’t stand for it.

    Conor.

    QUESTION: A follow-up on this as well. The last time the administration has taken military action has been in response to the use of sarin gas.

    MS ORTAGUS: Yeah.

    QUESTION: Not chlorine.

    MS ORTAGUS: Right.

    QUESTION: When you promise swift and appropriate response, does that mean for the use of chlorine or is this if there’s a wider use of sarin or something else?

    MS ORTAGUS: Yeah, I’m not a weapons or munitions expert, but my understanding is that chlorine is considered a chemical weapon when it is, of course, weaponized and used against people. So we would – I would never from the State Department podium preview any sort of military action. But I think the statements that I’ve given you today about – that we’re closely watching this, we’ll be working to investigate it, and we’ll hold the regime accountable if it’s found that they are using chemical weapons.

    QUESTION: On the —

    QUESTION: Just a follow-up —

    MS ORTAGUS: In the back.

    QUESTION: Hi.

    MS ORTAGUS: Hi.

    QUESTION: I’m Guy Taylor from Washington Times. How are you?

    MS ORTAGUS: Oh. Hi, Guy.

    QUESTION: Hey, how are you?

    MS ORTAGUS: You’ll be on the trip too, right?

    QUESTION: I think so. Yeah.

    MS ORTAGUS: Okay. It’s going to be a party.

    QUESTION: I want to ask an Iran question. Yesterday —

    MS ORTAGUS: Yeah.

    QUESTION: — 62 organizations – mainly NGOs – wrote to every member of Congress, calling on lawmakers to urgently pursue legislation that would basically require the administration to get congressional approval to do any military action against Iran. Do you have a response to that? Is that something that is a good idea, that legislation, or do you feel like the – that Congress has been sufficiently briefed now after yesterday’s briefings on Iran?

    MS ORTAGUS:
    I haven’t seen the note that the – that you’re referencing from the NGOs. Feel free to email it to me. I’ll be happy to look at it.

    I was with the Secretary yesterday in both those House and Senate briefings and I think that they were – and it wasn’t just the Secretary, of course. We had General Dunford and Acting Secretary Shanahan, and I’m forgetting the name of the other briefer. We can get him to you. But I think that they were very thorough. They went quite long, longer than we expected, so I think that you’ve seen a number of members of Congress make statements on what they thought about that briefing. But my perception is that they were briefed on the current threats and where we stand at the moment.

    QUESTION: Can I ask a follow-up on that?

    MS ORTAGUS: Yeah.

    QUESTION: The Secretary yesterday – I think it was yesterday when he said that it was possible that Iran was responsible for these tanker attacks.

    MS ORTAGUS: Yeah.

    QUESTION: Do you have any sort of further evidence on who may have been responsible, or is there any – anything new that led to him to say that? Is the U.S. getting a greater sense that Iran may have been behind that?

    MS ORTAGUS: We continue to work with the Saudis, with the Emiratis, and with other partners to investigate. I don’t have an outcome of those investigations to announce. I would assume that those countries that were affected will probably be the ones that would be announcing the outcome of those investigations. But they’ve asked for assistance, and we are cooperating.

    QUESTION: Can you bring us up to date on the diplomacy around Iran? I mean, has the Secretary made any more calls on the subject? What’s the state of play?

    QUESTION: And is Oman acting as a possible middle party in this?

    MS ORTAGUS: What’s your name? Sorry.

    QUESTION: Oh, Edward Wong from The New York Times.

    MS ORTAGUS: Oh, Ed. Hey, sorry.

    QUESTION: Hi. Nice to meet you.

    MS ORTAGUS: I know – well, I knew everyone’s names, not necessarily faces. Okay. So your question is: What’s the update on the diplomacy effort?

    QUESTION: Yeah, just on the – has there been any – I mean, other than the Hill with foreign governments.

    MS ORTAGUS: Okay.

    QUESTION: And is Oman acting as a middle party in this since they traditionally have served that role?

    MS ORTAGUS: Yeah. I mean, I – as it relates to diplomatic efforts, I don’t know that we would have an update. I mean, I think that we have – the Secretary said yesterday and so did Acting Secretary Shanahan – I actually think that their public statements are what I would refer to – in which they said the – what we’ve engaged in over the past few weeks is really looking at protecting our people, first and foremost. Also, deterring any sort of additional threats by the Iranian regime to us or to our allies and our interests. And I think that the immediate discussions right now as it relates to protecting our people and to deterring the Iranians from taking any further escalating behavior.

    QUESTION: Right, but I – that’s more of – I’m asking a much simpler question.

    MS ORTAGUS: Okay.

    QUESTION: So in the – or since the – this began, the heightened tensions and the national security advisor’s statement on the third —

    MS ORTAGUS: Well, I don’t think the heightened tensions began with the national security —

    QUESTION: Well, no, but since then —

    MS ORTAGUS: Yeah, okay.

    QUESTION: But since then, the Secretary has changed his travel plans twice, flown to Baghdad, flown —

    MS ORTAGUS:
    He did. You were on the trip when he did that.

    QUESTION: — flown to Brussels to talk to the Europeans about this. He’s been on the phone with the sultan of Oman, he’s been on the phone with – he talked about it with Lavrov and Putin, he talked to the Japanese about it. I mean, these are all just public readouts that you guys have —

    MS ORTAGUS: Sure.

    QUESTION: — that have all – including yesterday he spoke to the Norwegian foreign minister. I’m sure there’s others that I’m not – I’m just asking if there have been any more of those since the last call I guess that we know about was the Norwegian.

    MS ORTAGUS: I’d have to check on that. I don’t think so. I mean, I know that he spent a significant amount of time on the Hill yesterday, which is important, obviously. They’re a co-equal branch of government. And I don’t know that I’ve ever worked with anyone as hard-working as the Secretary. I know that he’s talking to our allies constantly, traveling the world constantly. He takes the safety and security of the people who work for him very seriously. He takes the safety and security of the American citizens very seriously. So if there’s any further calls, I’ll certainly let you know. We’ll have readouts. Not aware of any, but he takes the —

    QUESTION: Morgan, after the briefings yesterday some of the members of Congress, both in the House and the Senate, said that they were somewhat skeptical that it was the Iranians who were provoking this. They may have been taking steps designed to thwart the United States, but some of its – it was not clear who was starting this. It could have gone either way. Is there one piece of evidence, is there one thing out there that makes you think that it was the Iranians who were acting in a way that was not responsive to American actions and that made you believe that the threat was imminent?

    MS ORTAGUS: Well, first of all, I’d point out for every legislator that was skeptical, you have an equal number of legislators that went out and were very concerned about the threats and that were very supportive of the – actions that the administration is taking to deter Iran. There’s never one piece of information, as the Secretary has said I think to many of you, or at least on the record there’s 40 years of information that you can point to.

    And so – I mean, I think many of you know this, there’s never sort of actions that are taken based on one piece of intelligence, right? Like, I know this from my junior days as an intelligence analyst, that’s never how the U.S. Government makes decisions. This is clearly incredibly highly classified information that has been kept at the very highest levels of government but has now been briefed to the Congress. It’s clearly incredibly sensitive and very serious. This isn’t about politics, this isn’t about posturing, this is about keeping the American people safe, keeping our diplomats safe.

    QUESTION: Morgan?

    MS ORTAGUS: Yeah.

    QUESTION: On Iran —

    MS ORTAGUS: Wait, just let her really quick, thanks.

    QUESTION: This is related, thanks. A couple members of Congress yesterday hoped that – or expressed hope that you could reveal a little bit, without revealing sources and methods, to sort of demonstrate to the American people the severity of the threat. Is there any plan to do that?

    MS ORTAGUS: To declassify intelligence for the American people?

    QUESTION: Not necessarily to declassify intelligence, but to elaborate a little bit more so that perhaps that skepticism dissipates, or that —

    MS ORTAGUS: I think – I mean, you guys are asking me questions, which I understand, but they’re questions from how a certain group of people see the world. I mean, again, I would refer back to many members of Congress who have been in the Intelligence Community or have served overseas who have very vastly different readouts from the briefing yesterday. So I certainly understand that there may be a few people, of course, that were skeptical and voiced that. I would just refer you back to every member in Congress who wasn’t skeptical, who was quite grateful, and say, obviously, in democracy in America sometimes people disagree about policy and the actions that we take. But I certainly didn’t read an overwhelming amount of skepticism.

    QUESTION: I don’t know that this was necessarily all from members who are skeptical of the administration’s motives or the validity of the intelligence, but I think the goal that some members expressed was just to demonstrate to the American people —

    MS ORTAGUS: To communicate to the —

    QUESTION: Yeah.

    MS ORTAGUS: Okay, well that is why I’m here, to communicate to the American people through all of you. So thank you for this opportunity to do so. Go ahead.

    QUESTION: Excuse me. Hi, Morgan.

    MS ORTAGUS: Hi.

    QUESTION: This is Nike Ching with Voice of America. Pleasure meeting you. So kind of a follow-up with Matt’s question about – Secretary Pompeo spoke to Japanese foreign minister and the Chinese foreign minister Monday and Saturday. What is the U.S. asking those two countries to do regarding Iran specifically?

    MS ORTAGUS: I would need to take a look at the readout of those calls. Off the top of my head, I – I’m – Iran may have been discussed, but I would need to go look at the readout and speak to him to fully answer that question.

    QUESTION: If I may —

    QUESTION: Morgan?

    QUESTION: If I may —

    MS ORTAGUS: Yeah, go ahead.

    QUESTION: The – Michel Ghandour with Alhurra Television.

    MS ORTAGUS: Yes.

    QUESTION: My question was asked by colleague too, on Oman, if Oman is playing any mediating role between the U.S. and Iran, especially that Oman foreign minister went to Iran after the Secretary’s call with Sultan Qaboos. And the Iraqi prime minister said that he would be sending an Iraqi delegation to Washington to talk about the tension between the U.S. and Iran. Are you expecting any delegation?

    MS ORTAGUS: I have not seen anything official from the Government of Iraq expecting a delegation, so I can get back to you on that. And I don’t think we have any new announcements on – oh, you said on Oman?

    QUESTION: Yeah.

    MS ORTAGUS: Yeah, we don’t have anything new on Oman other than clearly they’re part of the GCC and an ally of ours, and a country that we work with quite closely on a range of issues.

    QUESTION: Two questions, one Iran and one on Syria. On Iran: Is there any sense that – do you have any evidence or any observations of whether China is abiding by the end to the oil imports? We know that China – both China and Turkey had said that they don’t believe that the U.S. can impose unilateral sanctions, and so there’s a lot of analysts who think China will continue to import oil whether it’s in the open or sort of in – sort of more covert ways. I was just wondering whether you have any intelligence on that.

    And then the second one is on Syria. I just want to broaden the discussion beyond just chemical weapon attacks, and there’s been this offensive going on in Idlib for a couple weeks now where there’s air bombing by Assad and by the Russians, which you mentioned in your statement yesterday.

    MS ORTAGUS: Yeah.

    QUESTION: But does the U.S. plan on doing anything about that? Like, the Trump – last fall it was a big deal, and Trump expressed concern that civilians will be killed, and now a couple of —

    MS ORTAGUS: Okay, do me a favor. If you ask me one at a time, it’s probably easier for me to get —

    QUESTION: Okay. All right, so those were the two.

    MS ORTAGUS: So let’s go back to China.

    QUESTION: Right.

    MS ORTAGUS: So what exactly do you want on China?

    QUESTION: Are they importing oil? Is there any sense that they’re importing – continuing to import oil from Iran or that they will continue to import oil?

    MS ORTAGUS: Yeah, got it. So listen, the SREs have expired. This is a part of our maximum pressure campaign. We – I think we have been – the Secretary spoke to all of you I believe from the podium about this, about getting to zero, which is something that – since we withdrew from the JCPOA, there is no hiding this, right. Like, the moment that we announced from the – withdrew from the JCPOA, it was something that we said very publicly that we would be getting to zero. We have done that, and we expect all countries to comply with our sanctions. And obviously any country in the world, any sanction in the world that the U.S. has, if a country does not comply with them, there are ramifications for not complying with sanctions. And that goes for any country.

    QUESTION: Right.

    QUESTION: But his —

    MS ORTAGUS: And sorry, the second question about Syria?

    QUESTION: Wait, wait. But his question is specific to do you —

    QUESTION: Is China complying or not?

    QUESTION: Is China continuing to import or have they stopped? Do you know?

    MS ORTAGUS: I’ll have to get back to you.

    QUESTION: Okay. And the second one’s the ongoing offensive in Idlib and that area, which has been going for a few weeks.

    MS ORTAGUS: Yeah.

    QUESTION: Does the administration plan on taking action in regard to that?

    MS ORTAGUS: Well, I think the – what you probably heard from Ambassador Jeffrey today on the Hill, and certainly what you’ve heard from this administration, is the importance of a political process and a political solution in Syria. We’re going to continue to call for the halt of violence, for a de-escalation agreement, and we are – I mean, this is what Ambassador Jeffrey is working on every day, right, actively engaging with our partners and allies for three mutually enforcing strategic objectives. We’ve got the defeat of ISIS, which of course the President’s talked about quite prolifically; the removal of Iranian-led forces from Syria; and of course, the resolution of the Syrian crisis through UNSCR 2254. And that’s something that we talk to the Russians about as well.

    QUESTION: North Korea?

    MS ORTAGUS: Go ahead.

    QUESTION: On Iran?

    MS ORTAGUS: Yeah.

    QUESTION: One of the other things that Congress expressed was concern about if there was military force used against Iran, whether or not the administration would seek a new AUMF. And I wondered if there was any evidence that al-Qaida was associated with any of the recent threats that you’ve been speaking to regarding Iran, or if they had any direction in those threats.

    MS ORTAGUS:
    No. The Secretary and the administration have not announced any connection with – as it relates to these specific events they’ve been talking about over the past two weeks with al-Qaida. I think that we all know quite well that they are given safe haven in Iran, and we know that there are deep connections. But this is not necessarily connected, and I think the Secretary’s been clear about that.

    Hi.

    QUESTION: Hi, Morgan. It’s Ben with NHK.

    MS ORTAGUS: Ben, right. Hey.

    QUESTION: Could I ask you about North Korea?

    MS ORTAGUS: Why not?

    QUESTION: The South Korean Government said that they were going to provide some food aid to North Korea in the hopes that it’ll restart negotiations. Is the United States taking any kind of active action to restart negotiations, or is the State Department just waiting on North Korea right now?

    MS ORTAGUS: So I want to make sure I heard you correctly. I probably don’t have the best hearing from all of my years in the marching band. It goes along with the nerd thing we were talking about. So your question —

    QUESTION: What instrument?

    MS ORTAGUS: Huh?

    QUESTION: Please don’t say tuba. (Laughter.)

    QUESTION: Trombone?

    MS ORTAGUS: It’s worse than that. I was the drum major.

    QUESTION: Oh.

    MS ORTAGUS: Yeah, queen of the dorks, and the saxophone. That was my instrument. So, saying that, you’re going to have to speak up. I’m sorry.

    QUESTION: Yeah, sorry. What’s the State Department doing —

    MS ORTAGUS: I’m going to get in trouble from Greenan for making jokes.

    QUESTION: What’s the State Department doing to try and restart negotiations with North Korea? Is the State Department just waiting to hear back from them or are you guys —

    MS ORTAGUS: Yeah.

    QUESTION: — doing anything to reach out?

    MS ORTAGUS: So what the President said recently is that – is – I believe it was a tweet, I’ll have to double-check, but what the President said is that he was disappointed in some of the recent developments, but that the President has remained very clear, and so has the Secretary, that the United States is open to negotiations. The Secretary has said that Kim Jong-un has told him at least six times that he would denuclearize. He has said that to the President as well.

    And so these talks, these discussions, are ongoing. I don’t think that I will ever probably in the next year and a half, hopefully, that you see me, get into the specifics on that, but this is clearly one of the most important national security issues of our time, and that’s – I really don’t have anything more than that.

    QUESTION: Just a quick follow-up: Is the U.S. mission at the UN and the North Korean mission at the UN having any kind of conversations?

    MS ORTAGUS: Yeah, that’s not something that I would telegraph from the podium. I would just say that talks and negotiations are ongoing. The President has made it quite clear, and so has the Secretary, that they see a vision of a very bright future for the North Koreans if they would like to continue along the path that they have committed to.

    QUESTION: Just the same – a little more granular detail —

    MS ORTAGUS: Could we – I’m sorry, guys. Look, there’s some people that haven’t asked a question yet.

    QUESTION: Oh, okay.

    MS ORTAGUS: Do we mind for the people who haven’t asked yet – who hasn’t asked one yet?

    QUESTION: Can I ask a Venezuela?

    MS ORTAGUS: Yes.

    QUESTION: Jennifer Hansler with CNN.

    MS ORTAGUS: Hey.

    QUESTION: What is the latest with Venezuela? It seems things have come to a standstill on the ground and now we have envoys from both Guaido and Maduro’s camps meeting in Norway for talks. What does State make of these talks? Would you accept something that came out of those talks where Maduro stays in power?

    MS ORTAGUS: So, I mean, the fundamental elements as it relates to Venezuela have not changed. Our position remains that we clearly recognize Juan Guaido as the rightful leader of Venezuela. This is – of course, we’ve made this decision about recognizing him based on the constitution of Venezuela, based off of the action from the countries in the region, from the Venezuelan people, from the Lima Group, from the Organization of American States. And we would say any transition that Maduro tries to oversee, we would see as a phony process, right? The problems of Venezuela – Maduro has proven that he cannot solve these problems, and so the sooner he leaves, the better.

    MR PALLADINO: Would you like to take maybe one more and wrap up?

    MS ORTAGUS: Okay. Anybody who hasn’t gone – did you not go yet? Okay.

    QUESTION: Francesco Fontemaggi for AFP.

    MS ORTAGUS: Yeah, hi.

    QUESTION: Back to Iran, if I may.

    MS ORTAGUS: Are you going on the trip too?

    QUESTION: Yes, I am I think.

    MS ORTAGUS: Okay, good. Thank you.

    QUESTION: Back to Iran, if I may.

    MS ORTAGUS: Sure.

    QUESTION: The Secretary also said yesterday that there are plenty of ways to have a communication channel with Iran.

    MS ORTAGUS: Yeah.

    QUESTION: My question is: Has the U.S. used any of those channels in the recent days to reach out to them to – at least to avoid miscalculations? And if yes, are you confident that this could work out and that —

    MS ORTAGUS: Right.

    QUESTION: — this is a – the de-escalation period after escalation?

    MS ORTAGUS: So I’m not going to telegraph the Secretary’s conversations, obviously, on this. I think it’s important to note – and the Secretary has said this emphatically, the Acting Defense Secretary has said this, the President has said this – we are not seeking a war with Iran, right. This is all about deterrence. It’s not about going to war. Our main focus right now – and Shanahan said this yesterday – our biggest focus at this point is to prevent Iranian miscalculation, and we do not want the situation to escalate. And I actually don’t think I could say it any better than Secretary – Acting Secretary Shanahan said it.

    MR PALLADINO: All right, great.

    MS ORTAGUS: Thank you for having me.

    QUESTION: Morgan, can I ask one tiny follow-up? Can I ask one tiny one?

    MS ORTAGUS: Okay, Christina.

    QUESTION: I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry.

    MS ORTAGUS: You’re making me feel bad.

    QUESTION: Can you – just – but on that nature —

    MS ORTAGUS: Yes.

    QUESTION: — can you characterize – because everything yesterday was about deterrence and preventing Iranian miscalculation.

    MS ORTAGUS: Mm-hmm.

    QUESTION: Can you give us any kind of guidance about the current nature of the threat? Do you feel like U.S. action repositioning assets has deterred it, has it lessened it, is it the same, is it going forward, are we worried it’s going to pick up again? Like, can you just – because it’s so vague, it’s hard to quantify it, and can you give us some sort of —

    MS ORTAGUS: Mm-hmm. Sure. Well, I mean, again, we would hope that the actions that we’ve taken over the last two weeks – well, longer than the last two weeks, but if we’re just looking specifically at what’s gone on the past couple of weeks, two and a half weeks at this point, certainly the goal is deterrence, and that’s the reason why we have taken the position that we have. I mean, listen, the —

    QUESTION: Do you have any evidence that it has deterred it, that it’s worked?

    MS ORTAGUS: I think it’s difficult to answer that. I would just say, as it relates to deterrence and as it relates to the conversations and the actions of the Iranian regime writ large – and I’m going to keep going back to this every time, I know you guys have heard the Secretary say this – he laid out, I think it was at least a year ago or nine months ago at least, in between nine months and a year ago, 12 steps for which the Iranian regime can be welcomed into the national – international community, 12 steps for how they can relieve sanctions.

    If they want sanctions gone, there are steps that we have laid out very clearly and communicated to them publicly by which they can become a normal member of society, they can have the sanctions gone. We welcome any efforts by the Iranian regime to take a serious look at those 12 steps and enter into dialogue with us around that, and that’s going to be our steadfast position.
    And with that, I will see all of you tomorrow.

    QUESTION: Thanks a lot.

    MS ORTAGUS: Thank you.

    QUESTION: Thank you.

    MS ORTAGUS: Thanks for having me.

    QUESTION: Thank you.

    QUESTION: Thank you, Morgan.

    QUESTION: Anytime.









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    Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Food Safety Alert: E. coli. Outbreak Linked to Ground Bison

    Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Food Safety Alert: E. coli. Outbreak Linked to Ground Bison | site |


    (July 17, 2019) - - Today, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published the following information:

    A CDC announcement about a multistate outbreak of E. coli infections linked to ground bison produced by Northfork Bison Distributions, Inc., has been posted at https://www.cdc.gov/ecoli/2019/bison-07-19/index.html .

    ... read more
    Staff Reporter 2 3 Days Ago
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    U.S. State Department announces Designation of Persons Linked to Iranian Weapons of Mass Destruction Procurement Network

    U.S. State Department announces Designation of Persons Linked to Iranian Weapons of Mass Destruction Procurement Network | site |



    (July 18, 2019) - - The U.S. Department of State published (today) the following statement of U.S. Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo:

    Today, the United States designated 12 entities and individuals based in Iran, Belgium, and China that are
    ... read more
    Staff Reporter 2 3 Days Ago
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    U.S. Education Secretary DeVos Congratulates Bob King on Senate Confirmation as Assistant Secretary for Postsecondary Education

    U.S. Education Secretary DeVos Congratulates Bob King on Senate Confirmation as Assistant Secretary for Postsecondary Education | site |



    (July 11, 2019) - - The U.S. Department of Education published (today, July 11, 2019) the following information:

    Washington- Today, U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos congratulated Bob King on being confirmed by the U.S. Senate to serve as
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    Staff Reporter 2 3 Days Ago
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    U.S. Veterans Affairs extends Agent Orange Presumption to ‘Blue Water Navy’ Veterans

    U.S. Veterans Affairs extends Agent Orange Presumption to ‘Blue Water Navy’ Veterans | site |


    Eligible Veterans may now be entitled to disability compensation benefits


    (July 5, 2019) - - Today (July 5, 2019), the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs published the following information:


    WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is preparing to process Agent Orange exposure claims for “Blue Water Navy” Veterans who served offshore of the Republic of Vietnam between Jan. 9, 1962, and May 7, 1975.

    These Veterans may be eligible for presumption of herbicide exposure through Public Law 116-23, Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act of 2019, which was signed into law June 25, 2019, and goes into effect Jan.
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    Staff Reporter 2 3 Days Ago
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    U.S. Agriculture Secretary Perdue Visits Sysco for Signing of the Pledge to America’s Workers

    U.S. Agriculture Secretary Perdue Visits Sysco for Signing of the Pledge to America’s Workers | site |



    (July 15, 2019) - - Today, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) published the following information:

    (San Diego, Calif., July 15, 2019) – U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today visited Sysco Corporation in San Diego, California to tour the facilities and join the company’s signing of the Pledge to America’s Workers. Sysco is pledging nearly 35,000 opportunities for America’s workers.

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    ... read more
    Staff Reporter 2 3 Days Ago
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    Fatal Train Collision in South Carolina Subject of National Transportation Safety Board Meeting

    Fatal Train Collision in South Carolina Subject of National Transportation Safety Board Meeting | site |


    (June 27, 2019) - - Today (June 27, 2019), the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) published the following information:

    ​WASHINGTON (June 27, 2019) – The National Transportation Safety Board announced Thursday its intention to hold a board meeting July 23, 2019, 9:30 a.m. (EDT), to determine the probable cause of the Feb. 4,
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    Staff Reporter 2 3 Days Ago
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    Federal Trade Commission Chairman Supports Common Understanding of G7 Competition Authorities on Competition and the Digital Economy

    Federal Trade Commission Chairman Supports Common Understanding of G7 Competition Authorities on Competition and the Digital Economy | site |



    (July 18, 2019) - - Today, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) published the following information:

    Federal Trade Commission Chairman Joseph J. Simons has issued the following statement about the Common Understanding of G7 Competition Authorities... read more
    Staff Reporter 2 3 Days Ago
    Staff Reporter 2

    Agencies propose Rule on the Capital Treatment of Land Development Loans

    Agencies propose Rule on the Capital Treatment of Land Development Loans | site |


    Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System
    Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation
    Office of the Comptroller of the Currency



    (July 12, 2019) - - Today (July 12, 2019), the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System published the following information:


    The federal bank regulatory agencies today invited
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    Staff Reporter 2 4 Days Ago
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    U.S. State Department Deputy Secretary Sullivan’s Participation in Strategic Security Dialogue With Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov

    U.S. State Department Deputy Secretary Sullivan’s Participation in Strategic Security Dialogue With Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov | site |


    (July 17, 2019) - - The U.S. Department of State's Office of the Spokesperson provided (today, July 17, 2019) the following information:


    Today, Deputy Secretary of State John J. Sullivan, accompanied by Under Secretary for Arms Control and International
    ... read more
    Staff Reporter 2 4 Days Ago
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    Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Final Investigation Notice: E. coli O26 Outbreak linked to Flour

    Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Final Investigation Notice: E. coli O26 Outbreak linked to Flour | site |



    (July 11, 2019) - - Today (July11, 2019), the Centers or Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published the following information:


    The final investigation notice regarding a multistate outbreak of E. coli O26 infections linked to flour has been posted at https://www.cdc.gov/ecoli/2019/flour-05-19/index.html .
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    Staff Reporter 2 4 Days Ago
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    U.S. State Department provides Update on the Condition of the CITGO 6

    U.S. State Department provides Update on the Condition of the CITGO 6 | site |



    (July 12, 2019) - - Today, Morgan Ortagus, Department Spokesperson for the U.S. Department of State issued the following statement:

    The United States has received numerous conflicting reports regarding the welfare and whereabouts of the wrongfully detained “CITGO 6” in Venezuela, and we insist
    ... read more
    Staff Reporter 2 1 Week Ago
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    U.S. Department of Education says New Data Show Secretary DeVos' Reforms to the Office for Civil Rights are Driving Better Results for Students

    U.S. Department of Education says New Data Show Secretary DeVos' Reforms to the Office for Civil Rights are Driving Better Results for Students | site |



    (July 10, 2019) - - Today, the U.S. Department of Education published the following information:


    WASHINGTON—The Office for Civil Rights (OCR) at the U.S. Department of Education released new data today that show students who file civil rights complaints under U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos’ leadership are served more efficiently and effectively than students who filed civil rights complaints during the previous administration. In fact, OCR has, on average, resolved almost double the number of civil rights complaints per year compared to the prior eight fiscal years. Additionally, OCR has achieved a 60% increase in the number of complaint resolutions that required schools to make changes to protect students’ civil rights.

    “From day one, our approach has been clear and unwavering: vigorously enforce civil rights laws, treat students as individuals, and resolve cases both efficiently and effectively,” said Secretary DeVos. “The backlog of cases we inherited
    ... read more
    Staff Reporter 2 1 Week Ago
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    U.S. Department of Homeland Security Statement on Safety and Enforcement During Tropical Storm Barry

    U.S. Department of Homeland Security Statement on Safety and Enforcement During Tropical Storm Barry | site |



    (July 11, 2019) - - Today (July 11, 2019), the U.S. Department of Homeland Security published the following information:

    The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued the following statement on safety and enforcement during Tropical Storm Barry:
    ... read more
    Staff Reporter 2 1 Week Ago
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    Federal Emergency Management Agency and Partners Prepare to Respond to Tropical Storm Barry

    Federal Emergency Management Agency and Partners Prepare to Respond to Tropical Storm Barry | site |


    (July 12, 2019) - - Today, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) published the following information:

    WASHINGTON – As Tropical Storm Barry moves toward land, FEMA urges all residents to execute emergency planning and final preparedness actions now for dangerous storm surge, heavy rains and high winds.

    A large and slow-moving system, Tropical Storm Barry is forecasted to strengthen to a Category 1 hurricane before making landfall on the central Louisiana coastline early Saturday. In the central Gulf Coast, rain accumulations between 10 and 20 inches are expected,
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    The FCC's Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau publishes Public Notice announcing the activation of the Disaster Information Reporting System in Response to Tropical Storm Barry

    The FCC's Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau publishes Public Notice announcing the activation of the Disaster Information Reporting System in Response to Tropical Storm Barry | this site |




    (July 12, 2019) - - Today, the Federal Communications Commission published a Public Notice titled as follows:



    PUBLIC SAFETY & HOMELAND SECURITY BUREAU ANNOUNCES THE ACTIVATION... read more
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    Have a Sunnier Tax Season with these Summertime IRS Tax Tips

    Have a Sunnier Tax Season with these Summertime IRS Tax Tips | site |


    (July 10, 2019) - - Today (July 10, 2019), the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) published the following information:

    WASHINGTON — Buying a home? Working a summer job? Volunteering? Activities that are common in the summer often qualify for tax credits or deductions. And, while summertime and part-time workers may not earn enough to owe federal income tax, they should remember to file a return to get a refund for taxes withheld
    ... read more
    Staff Reporter 2 1 Week Ago
    Tags: irs  season  Summertime  Sunnier  tax  tips 
    Staff Reporter 2

    The United States Takes Action Against Venezuela’s Counterintelligence Agency

    The United States Takes Action Against Venezuela’s Counterintelligence Agency | site |



    (July 11, 2019) - - Today, the U.S. Department of State's Office of the Spokesperson provided the following information:

    On July 11, the United States sanctioned the Maduro-aligned General Directorate of Military Counterintelligence, known as DGCIM, for operating in Venezuela’s defense and security sector,
    ... read more
    Staff Reporter 2 1 Week Ago
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    Federal Reserve System White Paper examines the Effects of Synthetic Identity Payments Fraud

    Federal Reserve System White Paper examines the Effects of Synthetic Identity Payments Fraud | site |




    (July 9, 2019) - - Today, the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System published the following information:


    Synthetic identity payments fraud is a fast-growing but little-understood problem that affects individuals, financial institutions, government agencies, and private industry. The severity of this type of fraud
    ... read more
    Staff Reporter 2 1 Week Ago
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    U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Wheeler Highlights America's Environmental Progress

    U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Wheeler Highlights America's Environmental Progress | site |



    (July 9, 2019) - - Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published the following information:

    Yesterday, Administrator Wheeler joined President Trump and members of his cabinet to address the progress America has made cleaning up and protecting our nation's environment. All six criteria air pollutants have been reduced, our nation's access to clean drinking water is ranked number one in the world, and under President Trump we have reached the highest number of Superfund deletions in a year since 2005. To read more about the incredible progress our nation is making on improving
    ... read more
    Staff Reporter 2 1 Week Ago
    Staff Reporter 2

    Federal Government Achieves Small Business Contracting Goal for Sixth Consecutive Year with Record-Breaking 120 Billion Dollars to Small Businesses

    Federal Government Achieves Small Business Contracting Goal for Sixth Consecutive Year with Record-Breaking $120 Billion to Small Businesses | site |


    Eight Federal Agencies Receive A+ Rating on FY2018 Small Business Federal Procurement Scorecard



    (June 25, 2019) - - The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) published today (June 25, 2019) the following information:

    WASHINGTON – Today, the U.S. Small Business Administration announced that the federal government exceeded its small business federal contracting goal for the sixth consecutive year, awarding 25.05 percent in federal contract dollars to small businesses totaling $120.8 billion, an increase from the previous fiscal year of nearly $15 billion. The Fiscal Year 2018 Small Business Federal Procurement Scorecard marks the first time more than $120 billion in prime contracts has been awarded to small businesses. Overall, the federal government earned an “A” on this year’s government-wide scorecard.

    “I’m happy to report that for the first time in history the federal government has awarded more than $120 billion
    ... read more
    Staff Reporter 2 1 Week Ago
    Staff Reporter 2

    U.S. Department of State addresses Turkish Drilling in Cypriot Claimed Waters

    U.S. Department of State addresses Turkish Drilling in Cypriot Claimed Waters | site |



    (July 9, 2019) - - Today, Morgan Ortagus, Department Spokesperson for the U.S. Department of State issued the following statement:


    The United States remains deeply concerned by Turkey’s repeated attempts to conduct drilling operations in the waters off Cyprus and its most recent
    ... read more
    Staff Reporter 2 1 Week Ago
    Staff Reporter 2

    Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Urges Doctors to Rapidly Recognize and Report AFM Cases

    Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Urges Doctors to Rapidly Recognize and Report AFM Cases | site |


    Intense effort underway to understand and prevent this serious neurologic syndrome



    (July 9, 2019) - - Today, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published the following information:

    As the late summer/early fall “season” for acute flaccid myelitis (AFM) nears, CDC is calling on medical professionals to quickly recognize AFM symptoms and report all suspected cases to their health department. Early recognition and reporting are critical for providing patients with appropriate care and rehabilitation, and better understanding AFM,... read more
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    Complaints about Government Imposter Scams Reach Record High, According to New FTC Data

    Complaints about Government Imposter Scams Reach Record High, According to New FTC Data | site |


    (July 1, 2019) - - Today (July 1, 2019), the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) published the following information:

    As the nation prepares to celebrate the Fourth of July, the Federal Trade Commission is reminding consumers that scammers are increasingly trying to make a buck by falsely claiming to be Uncle Sam. Monthly complaints to the FTC’s Consumer Sentinel Network about scammers pretending... read more
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    Staff Reporter 2

    U.S. General Services Administration Issues Draft Solicitation to Support Section 846 Commercial e-Commerce Portals Implementation

    U.S. General Services Administration Issues Draft Solicitation to Support Section 846 Commercial e-Commerce Portals Implementation | site |


    Feedback will inform development of the initial proof of concept


    (July 2, 2019) - - Today (July 2, 2019). the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) published the following information:


    WASHINGTON – The U.S. General Services Administration today issued a draft solicitation to obtain feedback from portal providers
    ... read more
    Staff Reporter 2 1 Week Ago
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    U.S. State Department expresses Concerns for Wrongfully Detained U.S. Persons in Venezuela

    U.S. State Department expresses Concerns for Wrongfully Detained U.S. Persons (CITGO 6) in Venezuela | site |



    (July 8, 2019) - - Today, the U.S. Department of State's Department Spokesperson, Morgan Ortagus, issued the following statement:

    The United States demands that the former Maduro regime release the wrongfully detained “CITGO 6” in Venezuela. These men are suffering serious health
    ... read more
    Staff Reporter 2 1 Week Ago
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    Federal Reserve Board Announces it is Seeking Individuals to serve on its Insurance Policy Advisory Committee

    Federal Reserve Board Announces it is Seeking Individuals to Serve on its Insurance Policy Advisory Committee (IPAC) | site |



    (July 3, 2019) - - Today (July 3, 2019), the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System published the following information:

    The Federal Reserve Board on Wednesday announced that it is seeking individuals to serve on its Insurance Policy Advisory Committee on International
    ... read more
    Staff Reporter 2 1 Week Ago
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    IRS Nationwide Tax Forum in Chicago - - - Tax Pros can get up-to-date Info on Cybersecurity, Ethics, plus Hear from IRS Commissioner

    IRS Nationwide Tax Forum in Chicago: Tax Pros can get up-to-date Info on Cybersecurity, Ethics, plus Hear from IRS Commissioner | site |



    Annual Filing Season Program participants and other tax professionals can register at the standard rate of $255 through July 9. Attendees registering after that date or on-site pay $370.


    (July 1, 2019) - - Today (July 1, 2019), the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) published the following information:


    WASHINGTON — Tax professionals interested in attending the IRS Nationwide Tax Forum in Chicago, July 23-25, to... read more
    Staff Reporter 2 1 Week Ago
    Staff Reporter 2

    U.S. Department of Education hosts a State Education Leadership Conference for key North Carolina Education Officials

    U.S. Department of Education hosts a State Education Leadership Conference for key North Carolina Education Officials | site |



    (June 27, 2019) - - The U.S. Department of Education published (today, June 27, 2019) the following information:

    The U.S. Department of Education this week hosted at its headquarters in Washington a State Education Leadership Conference for key North Carolina education officials. This was the second in a series of meetings held by the Department to give state leaders the opportunity to engage in in-depth discussions with senior Department officials on a wide range of education-related topics.




    Participants discussed issues important to the Tar Heel State, including... read more
    Staff Reporter 2 1 Week Ago
    Staff Reporter 2

    U.S. Department of Energy's Public-Private Collaboration Stimulates Innovation to Bolster U.S. Competitiveness, Security

    U.S. Department of Energy's Public-Private Collaboration Stimulates Innovation to Bolster U.S. Competitiveness, Security | site |



    (June 25, 2019) - - The U.S. Department of Energy published (today, June 25, 2019) the following information:

    WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced over $24 million in funding for 77 projects supported by the Office of Technology Transitions (OTT) Technology Commercialization Fund (TCF). With matching funds from the private sector, these projects will advance the commercialization of promising energy technologies and strengthen partnerships between DOE’s National Laboratories and private sector companies to deploy these technologies to the marketplace.

    “Technology transfer is an essential component of our mission at DOE, helping ensure we deliver the maximum return on the investment of the American taxpayer, said U.S. Secretary of Energy Rick Perry. “Through the Technology Commercialization Fund, we are connecting entrepreneurs in the private sector with researchers at our National Labs to help deliver the innovations and technologies that will keep our nation secure, competitive, and energy abundant.”

    “Working alongside the private sector through initiatives like the Technology Commercialization Fund ensures our innovators in the National Labs are plugged into the engine of our economy, American business,” said Chief Commercialization Officer and OTT Director Conner Prochaska. “The TCF creates an effective pathway to putting these lab-derived technologies to work and helps to maximize the impact of our research investment for the benefit of the entire nation.”

    Secretary Perry has championed the Department’s commercialization and technology transfer activities by further empowering OTT to execute its mission across the entirety of the DOE research enterprise. To lead this effort, the Secretary named Conner Prochaska DOE’s first Chief Commercialization Officer, who also serves as OTT Director.

    The TCF was created by the Energy
    ... read more
    Staff Reporter 2 1 Week Ago
    Staff Reporter 2

    U.S. Agriculture Department says USDA Research is Driving Technological Innovation

    U.S. Agriculture Department says USDA Research is Driving Technological Innovation | site |


    USDA scientists and researchers reported 320 new inventions in 2018



    (June 28, 2019) - - Today (June 28, 2019), the U.S. Department of Agriculture published the following information:

    (Salinas, California, June 28, 2019) – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today released its annual Technology Transfer Report, which highlights innovations from scientists and researchers that are solving problems for farmers, ranchers, foresters, and producers; and... read more
    Staff Reporter 2 1 Week Ago
    Staff Reporter 2

    U.S. Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo Remarks to the Press July 8, 2019

    U.S. Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo Remarks to the Press July 8, 2019 | site |



    Washington, DC - - (July 8, 2019) - - Today, the U.S. Department of State provided the following transcript of remarks to the press made by U.S. Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo:

    SECRETARY POMPEO: Good morning, everyone. In my address at the Claremont Institute back in May, called “A Foreign Policy from the Founding,” I made clear that the Trump administration has embarked on a foreign policy that
    ... read more
    Staff Reporter 2 1 Week Ago
    Tags: 2019  July  michael  pompeo  press  remarks  secretary  state  u.s. 
    Staff Reporter 2

    Final Report on DuPont, Washington, Amtrak Train Derailment Published

    Final Report on DuPont, Washington, Amtrak Train Derailment Published | site |


    (June 24, 2019) - - Today (June 24, 2019), the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) published the following information:

    ​WASHINGTON (June 24, 2019) — The National Transportation Safety Board published its final report Monday for the agency’s investigation of the Dec. 18, 2017, fatal, Amtrak train derailment in DuPont, Washington.

    The
    ... read more
    Staff Reporter 2 1 Week Ago
    Staff Reporter 2

    U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Overhauls Religious and Spiritual Symbol Policies to Protect Religious Liberty

    U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Overhauls Religious and Spiritual Symbol Policies to Protect Religious Liberty | site |


    (July 3, 2019) - - Today, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs published the following information:

    The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) recently revised its directives permitting religious literature, symbols and displays at VA facilities to protect religious liberty for Veterans and families while... read more
    Staff Reporter 2 1 Week Ago
    Staff Reporter 2

    Federal Communications Commission to hold Open Commission Meeting Wednesday, July 10, 2019

    Federal Communications Commission to hold Open Commission Meeting Wednesday, July 10, 2019 | site |



    (July 3, 2019) - - Today (July 3, 2019), the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) published following information:

    The Federal Communications Commission will hold an Open Meeting on the subjects listed below on Wednesday, July 10, 2019 which is scheduled to commence at 10:30 a.m. in Room TW-C305, at 445 12th Street, S.W., Washington, D.C.


    ITEM NO. BUREAU SUBJECT
    ... read more
    Staff Reporter 2 1 Week Ago
    Staff Reporter 2

    CDC Update for am Outbreak of Salmonella Infections Linked to Papayas Imported from Mexico

    CDC Update for am Outbreak of Salmonella Infections Linked to Papayas Imported from Mexico | site |



    (July 5, 2019) - - Today (July 5, 2019), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published the following information:


    A CDC update for an outbreak of Salmonella infections linked to papayas imported from Mexico has been posted at https://www.cdc.gov/salmonella/uganda-06-19/index.html.

    Updates:

    • Epidemiologic
    ... read more
    Staff Reporter 2 1 Week Ago
    Staff Reporter 2

    Salmonella Outbreak Linked to Papayas

    Salmonella Outbreak Linked to Papayas | site |



    (June 28, 2019) - - Today (June 28, 2019), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published the following information:

    A CDC food safety alert for an outbreak of Salmonella infections linked to papayas imported from Mexico has been posted at https://www.cdc.gov/salmonella/uganda-06-19/index.html .

    Key points:


    • CDC, FDA, and public health and regulatory officials in several states are investigating an outbreak of Salmonella Uganda infections linked to whole, fresh papayas imported from Mexico.


    • Do
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    Frank Lloyd Wright Buildings Designated as the 24th U.S. World Heritage Site

    Frank Lloyd Wright Buildings Designated as the 24th U.S. World Heritage Site | this site |


    (July 7, 2019) - - Today, the U.S. Department of State's Office of the Spokesperson publishe the following information:

    The United States is pleased to learn of the decision by the World Heritage Committee to inscribe a group of eight masterworks by American architect Frank Lloyd Wright as a single World Heritage... read more
    Staff Reporter 2 1 Week Ago
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    Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao Joins American Airlines as they Pledge to Invest in America’s Workers

    Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao Joins American Airlines as they Pledge to Invest in America’s Workers | site |



    (June 24, 2019) - - Today (June 24, 2019), the U.S. Department of Transportation published the following information:


    DALLAS, TX – U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine L. Chao today joined American Airlines Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Doug Parker at Dallas Fort Worth International Airport as the company
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    President Donald J. Trump and President Moon Jae-in Reaffirm the United States’ and Republic of Korea’s Ironclad Alliance

    President Donald J. Trump and President Moon Jae-in Reaffirm the United States’ and Republic of Korea’s Ironclad Alliance | site |


    (July 2, 2019) - - Today (July 2, 2019), the U.S. Department of State's Office of the Spokesperson published the following information:

    President Donald J. Trump visited the Republic of Korea (R.O.K.) June 29–30. During this visit, President Trump and R.O.K. President Moon Jae-in affirmed the unbreakable bond between our two countries and committed to further strengthen our bilateral relationship. Both sides reaffirmed that the strong U.S.-R.O.K. alliance is the linchpin of peace and security in the Indo-Pacific.
    ... read more
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    U.S. Department of Education says Today Marks the Beginning of a New Era in Career and Technical Education

    U.S. Department of Education says Today Marks the Beginning of a New Era in Career and Technical Education | site |


    Perkins V, which goes into effect today, will provide more students with access to high-quality training for in-demand careers


    (July 1, 2019) - - The U.S. Department of Education published (today) the following information:

    WASHINGTON—Today, July 1, marks the beginning of a new era in career and technical education as states... read more
    Staff Reporter 2 2 Weeks Ago
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    U.S. Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo makes Remarks to Press

    U.S. Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo makes Remarks to Press | site |



    Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea - - (June 30, 2019) - - Today (June 30, 2019), the U.S. Department of State published the following transcript of remarks U.S. Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo made to the press:

    SECRETARY POMPEO: Go ahead. You all saw it. I don’t need to tell you about the story, but what do you all want to talk about?

    QUESTION: Well, when talks resume, where do you – what’s the next step? Where do you start? Would you start where you left off or —

    SECRETARY POMPEO: Yeah, so I think so. And so I think one of the things that hadn’t been written about is even in Hanoi we’d made progress, all right? And so we think we do have a jumping-off point for these discussions, which have put us in a place where
    ... read more
    Staff Reporter 2 2 Weeks Ago
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    U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao Emphasizes Importance of Safety at USDOT Summit

    U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao Emphasizes Importance of Safety at USDOT Summit | site |


    (June 20, 2019) - - Today (June 20, 2019), the U.S. Department of Transportation published the following information:

    WASHINGTON – U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine L. Chao today hosted the 2019 U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) Safety Summit at their headquarters in Washington, D.C. In keynote remarks before USDOT
    ... read more
    Staff Reporter 2 2 Weeks Ago
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    What to Expect at This Year's Annual Fourth of July Celebration

    What to Expect at This Year's Annual Fourth of July Celebration | site |



    (July 1, 2019) - - Today, the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) published the following information:

    WASHINGTON – This year's annual Independence Day celebration on the National Mall, will feature music, flyovers, fireworks, and an address by President Donald J. Trump. Salute to America will honor each of the nation’s five service branches with music, military demonstrations, multiple flyovers including a flight demonstration by the Blue Angels, and much more.




    Photo by National Park Service

    One-of-a-kind
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    Staff Reporter 2 2 Weeks Ago
    Tags: annual  Celebration  Expect  fourth  July  year 
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    U.S. Homeland Security Acting Secretary McAleenan to Travel to El Salvador and Honduras

    U.S. Homeland Security Acting Secretary McAleenan to Travel to El Salvador and Honduras | site |


    (July 1, 2019) - - Today, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) published the following information:


    WASHINGTON – On July 1, Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Kevin K. McAleenan will travel to San Salvador, El Salvador for a two-day visit to discuss continued collaboration in addressing the
    ... read more
    Staff Reporter 2 2 Weeks Ago
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    U.S. Participation in the 49th Organization of American States General Assembly

    U.S. Participation in the 49th Organization of American States General Assembly | site |



    (July 1, 2019) - - Today, the U.S. Department of State's Office of the Spokesperson provided the following information:


    Assistant Secretary of State Kimberly Breier led the U.S. delegation to the 49th Organization of American States (OAS) General Assembly in Medellin, Colombia, June 26-27, 2019.
    ... read more
    Staff Reporter 2 2 Weeks Ago
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    U.S. Veterans Affairs Secretary says One-Sided Hearing Puts HVAC Bipartisanship at Risk

    U.S. Veterans Affairs Secretary says One-Sided Hearing puts House Veterans Affairs Committee Bipartisanship at Risk | site |



    (June 25, 2019) - - The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) published (today) the following information:

    WASHINGTON — Today, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert Wilkie released a letter he wrote to House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs Chairman Mark Takano regarding the committee’s decision to exclude VA from testifying before the committee during a hearing on the department’s handling of whistleblower complaints.
    ... read more
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    Electronic Tax Administration Advisory Committee issues 2019 Annual Report; Recommendations target Identity Theft, Refund Fraud

    Electronic Tax Administration Advisory Committee issues 2019 Annual Report; Recommendations target Identity Theft, Refund Fraud | site |



    (June 19, 2019) - - Today (June 19, 2019), the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) published the following information:

    WASHINGTON — The Electronic Tax AdministrationAdvisory Committee (ETAAC) today released its annual report to Congress,featuring recommendations focused on the prevention of identity theft... read more
    Staff Reporter 2 2 Weeks Ago
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    U.S. Department of Agriculture Farm Bill Implementation Progress Update

    U.S. Department of Agriculture Farm Bill Implementation Progress Update | site |



    (June 26, 2019) - - Today, the U.S. Department of Agriculture published the following information:

    (Washington, D.C., June 26, 2019)
    — U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today announced an update on the implementation status of the 2018 Farm Bill. President Trump signed this Farm Bill into law on December 20, 2018, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) promptly began implementing key programs. In addition, USDA held several listening sessions with stakeholders and the public specific to each agency’s respective mission areas.

    “America’s farmers, ranchers, foresters, and producers depend on the certainty and availability
    ... read more
    Staff Reporter 2 2 Weeks Ago
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    U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson to Chair White House Council on Affordable Housing

    U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson to Chair White House Council on Affordable Housing | site |


    (June 25, 2019) - - The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development published (today) the following information:

    WASHINGTON - Today, President Donald Trump signed an Executive Order establishing the White House Council on Eliminating Barriers to Affordable Housing, and named Housing
    ... read more
    Staff Reporter 2 2 Weeks Ago
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    U.S. State Department addresses Mobile Data Shutdown in Burma’s Rakhine and Chin States

    U.S. State Department addresses Mobile Data Shutdown in Burma’s Rakhine and Chin States | site |



    Washington, DC - - (June 29, 2019) - - Today (June 29, 2019), Morgan Ortagus, Department Spokesperson for the U.S. Department of State, issued the following statement:

    The United States is deeply concerned by the ongoing shutdown of mobile data services in violence-affected areas of
    ... read more
    Staff Reporter 2 2 Weeks Ago
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    U.S. Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo Remarks to Press June 23, 2019

    U.S. Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo Remarks to Press June 23, 2019 | site |



    Joint Base Andrews - - (June 23, 2019) - - Today, the U.S. Department of State published the following transcript of remarks U.S. Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo made to the press:


    SECRETARY POMPEO: Hi. Well, good afternoon, everyone. I wanted to say a couple things as we head off on this extended trip. First, I think it’s really important for everyone to understand that the Iranians are out sowing disinformation in lots of places. First of all, you’ve seen the childlike map that Foreign Minister Zarif put
    ... read more
    Staff Reporter 2 3 Weeks Ago
    Tags: 2019  June  michael  pompeo  press  remarks  secretary  state  u.s. 
    Staff Reporter 2

    U.S. Department of Interior’s BLM analyzes 11,000 miles of Fuel Breaks in the Great Basin to Combat Wildfires

    U.S. Department of Interior’s BLM analyzes 11,000 miles of Fuel Breaks in the Great Basin to Combat Wildfires | site |


    Trump Administration works to proactively curb wildfires with strategically placed fuel breaks in Idaho, Oregon, Washington, California, Nevada, Utah



    Washington, DC - - (June 21, 2019) - - The U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) published (today) the following information:

    Boise, Idaho – Today, the Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Land Management released the Draft Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for Fuel Breaks in the Great Basin for a 45-day public comment period. This Draft Programmatic EIS analyzes a system of up to 11,000 miles of strategically placed fuel breaks to control wildfires within a 223
    ... read more
    Staff Reporter 2 3 Weeks Ago
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    FCC Commissioner Starks announces Workshop on Security Vulnerabilities within our Communication Networks

    FCC Commissioner Starks announces Workshop on Security Vulnerabilities within our Communication Networks | site |


    (June 21, 2019) - - Today (June 21, 2019), the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) published the following information:


    COMMISSIONER STARKS ANNOUNCES WORKSHOP ON “SECURITY VULNERABILITIES WITHIN OUR COMMUNICATIONS NETWORKS: FIND IT, FIX IT, FUND IT”


    WASHINGTON, June 21, 2019 — On Thursday, June 27th, 2019, Commissioner Geoffrey Starks of the Federal Communications
    ... read more
    Staff Reporter 2 3 Weeks Ago
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    U.S. Education Secretary DeVos - - Final "Supplement, not Supplant" Guidance Helps Promote Effective Spending, Flexibility

    U.S. Education Secretary DeVos: Final "Supplement, not Supplant" Guidance Helps Promote Effective Spending, Flexibility | site |


    (June 20, 2019) - - The U.S. Department of Education published (today) the following information:

    WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos released final non-regulatory guidance to support school districts’ compliance with the requirement that federal funds supplement,... read more
    Staff Reporter 2 3 Weeks Ago
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    U.S. Secretary of State Pompeo’s Travel to Saudi Arabia, the UAE, India, Japan, and the Republic of Korea

    U.S. Secretary of State Pompeo’s Travel to Saudi Arabia, the UAE, India, Japan, and the Republic of Korea | site |



    (June 23, 2019) - - Today, the U.S. Department of State's Department Spokesperson Morgan Ortagus issued the following statement:

    Secretary Pompeo will travel to Saudi Arabia, the UAE, India, Japan, and the Republic of Korea June 23-30 to discuss issues of regional and mutual concern, and to broaden
    ... read more
    Staff Reporter 2 3 Weeks Ago
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    National Transportation Safety Board issues 10 Safety Recommendations following Investigation of Oakland, Iowa, School Bus Crash

    National Transportation Safety Board issues 10 Safety Recommendations following Investigation of Oakland, Iowa, School Bus Crash | site |


    (June 18, 2019) - - Today, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) published the following information:


    A driver’s failure to maintain control of a school bus – for reasons that could not be determined – and the failure of the Riverside Community School District to provide adequate oversight by allowing a driver with a known physical impairment to operate a school bus led to the fatal Dec.
    ... read more
    Staff Reporter 2 3 Weeks Ago
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    U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Takes Important Step to Further Protect Children from Exposure to Lead-Contaminated Dust

    U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Takes Important Step to Further Protect Children from Exposure to Lead-Contaminated Dust | site |



    (June 21, 2019) - - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency published (today) the following information:

    Today, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler, along with Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson, announced new, tighter standards for lead in dust on floors and window sills to protect children from the harmful
    ... read more
    Staff Reporter 2 3 Weeks Ago
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    USDA World Agricultural Outlook Board Chair Dr. Seth Meyer to Depart

    USDA World Agricultural Outlook Board Chair Dr. Seth Meyer to Depart | site |



    (June 19, 2019) - - Today, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) published the following information:

    WASHINGTON, June 19, 2019 – USDA Chief Economist Robert Johansson has announced the departure of USDA World Agricultural Outlook Board Chair Dr. Seth Meyer, effective July 13, along with the appointment of Deputy Board Chair Dr. Mark
    ... read more
    Staff Reporter 2 3 Weeks Ago
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    U.S. Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo makes Statement on Iranian Disinformation

    U.S. Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo makes Statement on Iranian Disinformation | site |


    Washington, DC - - (June 22, 2019) - - Today (June 22, 2019), the U.S. Department of State published the following statement of U.S. Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo:


    Iran’s leaders know the truth is a dangerous thing. It is important to correct the record.

    First, President Trump did not pass a message through Oman
    ... read more
    Staff Reporter 2 3 Weeks Ago