Shortly after Obama's election, Gen. Craig R. McKinley, the chief of the National Guard Bureau, was promoted to four-star general. While the position now carries the same rank as the other four Joint Chiefs, the Guard still does not have an official chair on the council.
The cram-down measure failed in the Senate on a 45-51 vote.
By ALINA SELYUKH
President Obama established yet another new executive office on Thursday, fulfilling a campaign promise by naming Bronx Borough President Adolfo Carrión Jr. as head of the new White House Office of Urban Affairs. Derek Douglas, director of New York Gov. David Paterson's Washington office, was named as special assistant to the president for urban affairs.
The new Office of Urban Affairs was created on Thursday by an executive order to guide, coordinate and oversee funding of all urban affairs policy and programs. In addition to doling out federal dollars to urban areas, Carrión told the Washington Post that he will work across traditional Cabinet divisions to coordinate health, education and environmental initiatives in American's cities. Obama told the U.S. Conference of Mayors today that he had also asked his new urban czar "to set up an advisory council with mayors and other urban leaders so that we can develop a new metropolitan strategy based on the lessons you've learned."
John F. Kennedy envisioned a similar office in 1962, offering to combine the Housing and Home Finance Agency and related agencies in the Department of Urban Affairs and Housing to address the population shift from rural to urban areas. But Congress killed the proposal. President Johnson brought attention back to the issue in 1966, creating the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Since then, urban affairs questions have passed through HUD and the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs -- a committee whose broad jurisdiction has resulted in chronic inattention to urban issues, according to some observers.
The Environmental Protection Agency finalized a rule a rule that will put into place the renewable fuels target of 36 billion gallons by 2022 that Congress mandated in 2007.
The standard falls short on the other part of this promise: to increase this mandate to at least 60 billion gallons of advanced fuels like cellulosic ethanol by 2030. In the finalized rule, EPA said it expects the biofuels industry to produce 6.5 million gallons of cellulosic ethanol in 2010, falling far short of the 100 million gallons Congress anticipated in the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007.
In presenting his new education plan, Obama vowed to "treat teachers like the professionals they are while holding them more accountable." As part of this process, he said, "new teachers will be mentored by experienced ones."
As the U.N. climate change conference got under way in Copenhagen, Obama met with Gore at the White House. The one-on-one meeting strongly suggests the president cares a great deal about what the vice president has to say about climate change, but there has still been no official talk of Gore taking a position in the administration.