US Navy Fires Warning Shots at Iranian Vessels
A U.S. Navy destroyer fired three warning shots at four Iranian fast-attack vessels near the Strait of Hormuz after they closed in at high speed and disregarded repeated requests to slow down, U.S. officials said on Monday. The incident, which occurred on Sunday and was first reported by Reuters, comes as U.S. President-elect Donald Trump prepares to take office on Jan. 20. In September, Trump vowed that any Iranian vessels that harassed the U.S. "This was an unsafe and unprofessional interaction…
White House Pleased Iran Released Sailors, Still Has Concerns
The White House is pleased that Iran released 10 U.S. sailors it had detained but continues to have concerns about Tehran's sponsorship of terrorism and threats to Israel, a spokesman said on Wednesday. White House spokesman Josh Earnest said he was not aware of any discussions between Washington and Tehran about a U.S. apology for the incident and noted one "certainly" had not been given. Earnest said U.S. President Barack Obama had not mentioned the incident during his State of the Union address on Tuesday night so as not to elevate the issue and jeopardize the sailors' release. (Reporting by Roberta Rampton; Writing by Jeff Mason; Editing by Susan Heavey)
US Aims to Prevent China from Taking Territory in International Waters
The new U.S. "I think the U.S. is going to make sure that we protect our interests there," White House spokesman Sean Spicer told a news briefing. Spicer was responding to a question as to whether Trump agreed with comments by his Secretary of State nominee, Rex Tillerson, on Jan. 11 that China should not be allowed access to islands it has built in the contested South China Sea. Tillerson's remarks at his Senate confirmation hearing prompted Chinese state media to say the United…
Trump, Trudeau to Discuss Trade on Monday
President Donald Trump will host Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Monday, the White House said on Thursday, a meeting in which trade and a major crude oil pipeline are likely to be on the agenda. The meeting will be the first for the two men since Trump won last November's election. "President Trump and Prime Minister Trudeau look forward to a constructive conversation on strengthening the relationship between our two nations," the White House said in a statement. Canada sends 75 percent of its exports to the United States and is keen to avoid becoming the target of protectionist measures. Trump wants to renegotiate the trilateral NAFTA trade pact with Canada and Mexico, which he says has been disastrous for American workers.
White House Is Confident Of Senate Approval for Alaskan Drilling
The White House is confident its plans to open an Alaskan wildlife refuge to oil and natural gas production will win approval in the Senate in September, an administration official said on Wednesday. The area in question, a remote area in northeast Alaska called the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR), is ground zero for President George W. Bush's energy package to boost domestic production and wean Americans from some of their dependence on foreign oil imports. "This administration is confident that it can move this package in its entirety," Karen Knutson, deputy director of Vice President Dick Cheney's national energy policy taskforce, said at a panel hosted by a conservative think-tank.
U.S. Navy To Pay Cheney's Utility Bill?
The White House is asking the U.S. Navy to pay the six-figure utility bill for Vice President Dick Cheney's house, as Democrats accused Cheney, the administration's point man on energy policy, of "staggering insensitivity." The bill for electricity, gas and water for the 33-room official vice presidential residence at the U.S. Naval Observatory is projected at $136,000 for fiscal 2002 which ends in September, compared with a budget of $43,600, the White House said. The bills have far outstripped the budget since an electricity meter was installed in 1998, the White House said. This has driven Cheney to practice the energy conservation…
Trump Prohibits Dealings in New Venezuelan Government, PDVSA Debt
U.S. President Donald Trump signed an executive order prohibiting dealings in certain Venezuelan public sector debt on to pressure the government of President Nicolas Maduro to halt its "tyranny," the White House the White house said on Friday. The order prohibits dealings in new debt and equity issued by the Venezuelan government and by its state oil company, PDVSA. But the White House said the order allows Treasury to provide licenses for other commercial and humanitarian transaction, including financing for commercial trade, petroleum exports and imports and transactions that only involve PDVSA's U.S. unit, Citgo. (Reporting by David Lawder and Tim Ahmann)
Trump Waives Jones Act for Puerto Rico Relief
President Trump has waived shipping restrictions for Puerto Rico on Thursday at request of the island's governor Ricardo Rosselló and after an outcry from Congress about the scarcity of fuel, food and emergency supplies following Hurricane Maria. "At @ricardorossello request, @POTUS has authorized the Jones Act be waived for Puerto Rico. It will go into effect immediately," White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders tweeted this morning. The Jones Act – which limits shipping between U.S. ports exclusively to U.S.
US Marine Sanctuary Oil Drilling Report Sent to Trump, Not Public
U.S. Commerce Department Secretary Wilbur Ross sent a report to the White House on Wednesday containing recommendations on whether to change the boundaries of 11 marine sanctuaries to allow more oil and gas drilling, but the report was not made public. Commerce reviewed sanctuaries containing 425 million acres of coral reefs, marine mammal habitats and pristine beaches, as part of an administration strategy to open new areas to oil and gas drilling. The goal was to “put the energy needs of American families and businesses first,” according to the order Trump signed in April that triggered it.
White House: No Threat from China Navy Ships in Bering Sea
The Pentagon has not detected any threatening activity from the Chinese navy vessels in the Bering Sea, the White House said on Wednesday. "Based on their analysis they have not detected any sort of threat or threatening activities," said White House spokesman Josh Earnest. "They are monitoring movement of the ships but the intent of this is still unclear." Five Chinese Navy ships are sailing in international waters in the Bering Sea, off Alaska, the Pentagon said on Wednesday, in an apparent first for China's military that came just as President Barack Obama toured Alaska. (Reporting by Roberta Rampton; Writing by Doina Chiacu; Editing by Sandra Maler)
White House: Iranian Ships' Actions in Gulf Increase Risk of Miscalculation
Actions by Iranian vessels in several encounters with U.S. warships in the Gulf this week are cause for concern and increase risks of miscalculation, the White House said on Friday. The intentions of the Iranian vessels in the incidents is not clear, White House spokesman Josh Earnest said in a news briefing, but the behavior is unacceptable and "in a compressed space like the Strait of Hormuz it increases the risk associated with possible miscalculations." (Reporting by Ayesha Rascoe; Writing by Mohammad Zargham)
White House Sees a Path to Approval of Pacific Trade Deal
The White House on Monday said it was hopeful it could win congressional approval of the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact before President Barack Obama leaves office, and warned that failing to do so would undermine U.S. leadership in the region. "The president is going to make a strong case that we have made progress and there is a path for us to get this done before the president leaves office," White House spokesman Josh Earnest told a new briefing ahead of a trip by Obama to Asia this week. (Reporting by Roberta Rampton; Writing by Tim Ahmann; Editing by James Dalgleish)
White House Does Not Back US House Bill to Repeal Oil Export Ban
The White House said on Tuesday it does not support a bill in the U.S. House of Representatives to repeal the 40-year-old ban on exports of crude oil. "This is a policy decision that is made over at the Commerce Department, and for that reason, we wouldn't support legislation like the one that's been put forward by Republicans," White House spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters at a briefing. "The administration believes that the American people are better served by making sure that we pursue the kind of approach that also invests in renewable energy," he said.
White House: New Cuba Rules Advance US Interests
The White House defended its new regulations opening up business activity with Cuba on Friday as advancing U.S. interests in the region and empowering the Cuban people, something it said five decades of economic embargo failed to do. "The United States remains committed to our enduring objective of promoting a more prosperous Cuba that respects the human rights and fundamental freedoms of all its people," said White House spokesman Josh Earnest. "We believe the regulatory changes announced today will allow the United States to continue to advance our interests and improve the lives of ordinary Cubans." (Reporting by Doina Chiacu and Alina Selyukh; Editing by Eric Walsh)
White House Does Not Support Efforts to Lift Oil Export Ban
The White House does not support efforts by the U.S. Senate to lift the ban on oil exports, despite provisions in the legislation allowing the president to halt exports if he deemed them not in the interests of national security, a spokesman said on Wednesday. "The administration does not support efforts to move this bill," White House spokesman Frank Benenati said. Legislation that removes crude export restrictions is not needed, at this time, he added. "Congress should be focusing on meeting America's clean energy needs and our transition to a low-carbon economy," Benenati said. (Reporting by Timothy Gardner and Roberta Rampton)
White House Issues Veto Threat for US House Oil Export Bill
The White House issued a veto threat on Wednesday for a U.S. House of Representatives bill that would lift a ban on crude oil exports, saying the legislation was "not needed at this time." Congress should instead cut subsidies for oil companies and invest in wind, solar and other renewable energy projects, the White House said in a statement about the bill, which is expected to face a vote in the House on Friday. (Reporting by Roberta Rampton; Editing by Sandra Maler)
White House Backs El Faro Investigation
President Barack Obama on Wednesday offered condolences to the families of the 33 sailors presumed to have lost their lives aboard cargo ship El Faro which is believed to have sunk amid Hurricane Joaquin last week. The investigation into the incident will receive the government’s full support, the President said in a statement issued by the White House Press Secretary Office. There were 28 American citizens and five Polish nationals aboard the vessel when it lost power and communication and went missing in the path of the storm.
US DOT Chief: Weighing All Options to Fund Infrastructure
The Trump administration is weighing a range of options to fund public infrastructure projects, including private-sector investments and a higher tax on gasoline, U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao said on Tuesday. Trump will donate his quarterly salary to the Transportation Department to help fund infrastructure projects, White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said at a daily White House news briefing. (Reporting by Steve Holland, Lisa Lambert and Mohammad Zargham; Writing by Susan Heavey; Editing by Leslie Adler)
White House: US Will Fly, Sail Where Law Allows
U.S. freedom-of-navigation operations, including one in the South China Sea on Tuesday, do not assert any unique rights, the White House said on Tuesday, adding that the United States will fly and sail anywhere international law allows. Asked about the patrol of a U.S. Navy guided-missile destroyer near China's manmade islands in the South China Sea, White House spokesman Eric Schultz said he could not discuss details about military operations, but added: "Our freedom of navigation operations do not assert any specific U.S. rights." (Reporting by Julia Edwards; Additional reporting by Jeff Mason and Susan Heavey; Editing by Will Dunham)
Trump's Tariff Announcement on Track for This Week
U.S. President Donald Trump's announcement on steel and aluminum tariffs is on track to come by the end of this week, White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders told reporters on Wednesday. Trump is also seeking to sign a presidential proclamation on Thursday in an effort to set his tariff plan in motion, Axios media outlet reported separately, citing two senior administration officials. Reporting by Susan Heavey
White House Adviser says Trump Could Seek Coalition on China Trade
U.S. President Donald Trump may be open to forming an international coalition to grapple with Chinese trade issues, his top economic adviser said on Monday, adding that it remained unclear whether the proposed U.S. tariffs on China would eventually materialize. Asked whether Trump would consider seeking the support of European nations, Japan and others, White House National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow told CNBC: "The president is amenable to that. He's not necessarily out soliciting support yet, but he is amenable." Reporting by Susan Heavey and Doina Chiacu
White House Opposes Moves to End Crude Oil Exports Ban
The White House said on Tuesday that it continues to oppose legislation that would lift a longstanding ban on U.S. crude oil exports, and urged Republicans to focus on funding the government without attaching unrelated measures ahead of a looming deadline. But White House spokesman Josh Earnest stopped short of saying that President Barack Obama would veto a government funding bill that included the crude oil measure. "Our position on that (measure) is firm - we oppose it - but we also oppose other things that have been floated for possible inclusion in the omnibus," Earnest said. (Reporting by Roberta Rampton and Jeff Mason)
White House ‘Playing Politics’ Arctic Drilling Ban -AEC
The Obama Administration announced that it will ban offshore oil and gas development throughout much of the U.S. Arctic. Under the authority of a provision in a 1953 law, the decision designates "the bulk of the Arctic” indefinitely off limits. Commenting, Lucas Frances, spokesperson for the Arctic Energy Center, said, “This is a deeply frustrating development and one that will mean a bleak economic future for Alaska. After the White House cited a lack of industry interest in the Arctic for removing the region from the offshore leasing program…