White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs Update
Welcome to the White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs state update. In this week's update, President Obama signs the the Water Resources Reform and Development Act, speaks to Western Governors on wildfire preparedness, and takes new steps to make higher education affordable for all Americans.
Keep an eye on your inbox, check out the White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs website, and follow us on Twitter at @DavidAgnew44 for more information.
President Obama Signs WRRDA Bill to Modernize Water Infrastructure
President Barack Obama signs H.R. 3080, the Water Resources Reform & Development Act of 2014. Vice President Joe Biden and stakeholders share the stage with the President in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building South Court Auditorium, June 10, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
On Tuesday, President Obama signed two bills into law -- the Water Resources Reform and Development Act (WRRDA), and the 65th Infantry Regiment Congressional Gold Medal.
In his remarks, the President explained how the Water Resources Reform and Development Act will "put Americans to work modernizing our water infrastructure and restoring some of our most vital ecosystems."
"This bill gives a green light to 34 water infrastructure projects across the country, including projects to deepen Boston Harbor and the Port of Savannah, and to restore the Everglades. And with Congress's authorization, these projects can now move forward. So this bill will help towns and cities improve their commerce, but it's also going to help them prepare for the effects of climate change -- storms, floods, droughts, rising sea levels -- creating more adaptability, more resilience in these communities."
Although investing in infrastructure has historically garnered bipartisan support in Congress, the President noted that hasn't been the case over the last few years. As such, he hoped that the passage of WRRDA would set a positive precedent for additional work on our nation's transportation infrastructure -- noting the urgent need for Congress to pass a bill to put Americans to work repairing our crumbling roads and bridges.
Read the President's full remarks from the bill signing event.
The President Meets with Western Governors on Wildfire Preparedness
As part of the Western Governors Association annual meeting, President Obama met with a bipartisan group of western Governors via video-teleconference to discuss wildfire season and associated preparedness efforts. The conversation was a continuation of the dialogue the President began in February when he met with a group of western governors to discuss the complex challenges presented by an increasingly dry future for the West. Due to the drought affecting the western part of the country, the wildfire season in some parts of the West has begun earlier and is expected to last longer than usual. The President expressed his commitment to working closely with the governors as they deal with fires and their devastating impacts. He also reiterated the Administration's commitment to fund wildfire suppression in a more responsible and effective way, a commitment that was included in his Fiscal Year 2015 budget request.
The President and his advisors discussed the outlook for the existing drought and the current fire season, as well as for long-term wildfire trends. They also highlighted progress in providing the best-available science to aid in preparedness and response operations, modernizing wildland firefighting resources like airtankers, and efforts to build resilience to fires by restoring landscapes and forests. The President stated that the Federal Government will continue to look for ways to effectively partner with state and local governments, and that he looked forward to continuing to engage with the governors as they prepare their states for the impacts of a changing climate.
Read more about what the Administration is doing to support Western Governors as they deal with wildfire, drought, and other climate impacts.
"No Hardworking Young Person Should Be Priced Out of A Higher Education"
More students than ever before are relying on student loans to pay for their college education. 71 percent of students earning a bachelor's degree graduate with debt, averaging $29,400. While most students are able to repay their loans, many feel burdened by debt, especially as they seek to start a family, buy a home, launch a business, or save for retirement.
That's why, as part of his year of action to expand opportunity for all Americans, President Obama is taking steps to make student loan debt more affordable and manageable to repay.
On Monday, the President signed a memorandum directing the Secretary of Education to propose regulations that would allow nearly 5 million federal direct student loan borrowers the opportunity to cap their student loan payments at 10 percent of their income. The memorandum also outlines new executive actions to support federal student loan borrowers, especially vulnerable borrowers who may be at greater risk of defaulting on their loans.
Read the President's full remarks from Monday's signing, and learn more about how the President is working to make college more affordable.
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