NASA's OSIRIS-REx Spacecraft Prepared for Mission to an Asteroid

05/25/2016: NASA Image of the Day

NASA's OSIRIS-REx spacecraft is revealed after its protective cover is removed inside the Payload Hazardous Servicing Facility at Kennedy Space Center, on May 21, 2016. OSIRIS-REx, targeted for a Sept. 8 launch, will be the first U.S. mission to sample an asteroid, retrieve at least two ounces of surface material and return it to Earth for study.

Government at Work - The White House

"We Have a Narrow Window of Opportunity" Tom Frieden & Anthony Fauci on Zika

05/20/2016: White House Video

“We have a narrow window of opportunity to scale up programs, to figure out how the virus is spreading, to stop it, and to develop a vaccine.” Watch @DrFriedenCDC & @AnthonyFauci after their meeting with @POTUS

5/20/16: White House Press Briefing

05/20/2016: President Obama's Weekly Address

White House Press Briefings are conducted most weekdays from the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room in the West Wing

Government at Work - Today

Amendments to H.R. 4974 - Military Construction and Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2017

05/17/2017: US House of Reps

To view the amendments to H.R. 4974 that were preprinted in the Congressional Record, please click here

You can also receive live updates on amendments by following us on Twitter, @repcloakroom

The President delivers remarks

05/23/2016: Presidential Daily Schedule

Government at Work - Alerts

Arthritis Awareness (A Cup of Health with CDC)

05/19/2016: A Cup of Health with CDC

As the U.S. population ages, so does the frequency of certain chronic diseases, such as arthritis. In this podcast, Dr. Kamil Barbour discusses ways to manage arthritis.

March Flood Survivors: Stay in Touch With FEMA to Keep Recovery Going

05/25/2016: FEMA Region 4

RIDGELAND, Miss. – The Mississippi Emergency Management Agency and the Federal Emergency Management Agency encourage survivors of the March storms and flooding in Mississippi to keep their recovery process on track by calling the FEMA helpline. The deadline to register with FEMA was May 24, but survivors can still call to check on the status of their applications, appeal decisions, update contact information, or ask questions about the process.


Laos Travel Alert

03/30/2016: International Travel Alerts

The Department of State alerts U.S. citizens to shooting attacks targeting vehicles traveling the “new road” northwest of Kasi in Luang Prabang Province at about 9:00p.m. on March 23, 2016.

A charter bus and a pickup truck were both hit by automatic weapons fire on this heavily traveled route between the towns of Luang Prabang and Vang Vieng, two of Laos’ most popular tourist destinations. One person was killed, and six wounded.

Due to this incident, U.S. Embassy Vientiane has restricted official travel by Embassy staff on the “new road” between the Kasi junction and the Road 4 junction. Both roads connecting the towns of Luang Prabang and Vang Vieng are now subject to Embassy travel restrictions. This Travel Alert supersedes the March 7, 2016, Travel Alert concerning Road 13 and Xaisomboun province and it expires on June 30, 2016.

The Embassy restricted official travel along Road 13 from Km 220 north of Kasi in Vientiane Province to Km 270 at the Phou Khoun junction in Luang Prabang Province following similar shooting attacks on vehicles in recent weeks. The Embassy also restricts official travel to Xaisomboun Province in its entirety because of the unpredictable nature of violence in the area and the lack of official information regarding possible motives or a Lao government response.

The Embassy still permits its personnel to travel between Vientiane and Vang Vieng on Road 13, and to travel to the town of Luang Prabang by air. Travel by road from the town of Luang Prabang northward is also not affected by these restrictions. Nevertheless, U.S. citizens traveling to or residing in Laos should take precautions, remain vigilant about their personal security, and be alert to local security developments.

For further information:

  • See the State Department’s travel website for the Worldwide Caution, Travel Warnings, Travel Alerts, and Country Specific Information.
  • Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive security messages and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
  • Contact the U.S. Embassy in Laos, located at Thadeua Road Km 9, Ban Somvang Tai, Hatsayfong District, at +856-21-48-7000, 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. weekdays, excluding U.S. and Lao holidays. After-hours emergency number for U.S. citizens is also +856-21-48-7000. Non-emergency services are provided by appointment only.
  • Call 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or 1-202-501-4444 from other countries from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).
  • Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

Government at Work - Archives

Amendments to H.R. 4974 - Military Construction and Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2017

05/17/2017: US House of Reps

To view the amendments to H.R. 4974 that were preprinted in the Congressional Record, please click here

You can also receive live updates on amendments by following us on Twitter, @repcloakroom

FALQs: Impeachment Process in Brazil

05/25/2016: Library of Congress

The following is a guest post by Eduardo Soares, a foreign law specialist covering Brazil and other Portuguese-speaking countries at the Law Library of Congress. Eduardo has previously published posts about the Brazilian law collection, capoeira and the law, a Law Library report on citizenship pathways and border protection, highlights of the Law Library’s collection […]

Government at Work - Issues

Climate, Environment, and Conservation: Joint Announcement of the United States-Vietnam Partnership To Combat Wildlife Trafficking

05/23/2016: Climate, Environment, and Conservation

Joint Announcement of the United States-Vietnam Partnership To Combat Wildlife Trafficking

Media Note
Office of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC
May 23, 2016

On the occasion of the visit by United States President Barack Obama to Vietnam on May 23–25, 2016, the Governments of the United States of America and the Socialist Republic of Vietnam launched a new U.S.-Vietnam Partnership to Combat Wildlife Trafficking (the Partnership) guided by the following principles.

The United States and Vietnam recognized that the illegal trade in and illegal consumption of wildlife and wildlife products are threatening the world’s irreplaceable biodiversity and adversely impacting communities and economies around the globe. Both countries acknowledged that wildlife trafficking is a transnational criminal enterprise that generates billions of dollars of illicit revenue annually, threatens national security, undermines the rule of law, and facilitates the spread of emerging infectious diseases.

Recognizing the urgency of the situation, the United States and Vietnam have decided to form a new Partnership to frame and advance joint activities to combat the illegal trade in wildlife and wildlife products.

Under this Partnership, Vietnam and the United States are committed to strengthening their respective and collective efforts to combat wildlife trafficking and to improving collaboration in four strategic areas:

  • Reduce Consumer Demand for and Consumption of Illegal Wildlife and Wildlife Products
  • Strengthen Wildlife Law Enforcement and Prosecution
  • Improve and Implement the Legal Frameworks for Wildlife Crime
  • Bolster International Cooperation

The two countries intend to take a comprehensive, whole-of-government approach to addressing the issue of wildlife trafficking and intend to collaborate with the private sector, non-governmental organizations, academia, the scientific community, and other local and international partners. The two countries plan to cooperate actively through joint training, technical exchanges, information sharing, and public education and demand reduction campaigns.

To enhance the effectiveness of law enforcement, both leaders pledged to expand bilateral law enforcement cooperation on wildlife crime. Vietnam also highlighted its commitment to implement effectively the new wildlife crime provisions in its recently revised Penal Code. Both sides agreed to consider measures to reduce the domestic sale and commercial breeding of endangered species of wild fauna and reduce public demand for endangered wildlife. Both countries pledged to treat wildlife trafficking as a serious crime in accordance with the UN General Assembly Resolution A/RES/69/314 on Tackling the Illicit Trafficking in Wildlife.

To further the implementation of activities under this new Partnership, the leaders of the United States and Vietnam anticipate launching a new five-year bilateral program to combat wildlife trafficking through the United States Agency for International Development whose counterpart is the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development of Vietnam for this program. The new program is aimed at reducing consumer demand for illegal wildlife products, building wildlife law enforcement and prosecution capacity, and augmenting and harmonizing the legal framework for combating wildlife crime in Vietnam. The United States also intends to support the protection of endangered and threatened species in Vietnam through a new conservation program in key provinces. The program is expected to build upon ongoing United States-Vietnam cooperation, supported by the U.S. Department of State, U.S. Agency for International Development, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, among other U.S. government agencies, and partnering with a range of Government of Vietnamese partners to halt wildlife crime, to improve governance, and to reduce demand for illegal wildlife products.

As part of this Partnership, both countries reaffirmed their intention to fulfill their obligations under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).

Finally, the United States recognized Vietnam’s leadership at the international level, as evidenced by its planned hosting of the third Conference on the Illegal Wildlife Trade in Hanoi in November 2016, and noted the importance of Vietnam’s event in galvanizing the international community to take stronger action against wildlife crime.