Official White House Photo by Pete Souza(WASHINGTON) — A U.S. official confirmed to ABC News on Saturday that President Obama signed an executive order expanding the scope of the U.S. mission in Afghanistan beyond what had been initially planned.

As part of the order, U.S. troops will be allowed to target Taliban forces that threaten U.S. troops within Afghanistan or that provide support to al-Qaeda. Originally, the 9,800 U.S. troops staying in Afghanistan were expected to be involved in training.

The order will also allow American aircraft to provide air support for Afghan troops on combat missions.

The ongoing combat mission is slated to end on Dec. 31.

According to the New York Times, the new name for the mission in Afghanistan will be Operation Resolute Support.

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Official White House Photo by David Lienemann(WASHINGTON) — Vice President Joe Biden announced on Saturday that the U.S. would pledge an additional $135 million in humanitarian aid to help feed citizens impacted by the conflict in Syria.

According to a release from the White House, the latest round of humanitarian assistance brings the total pledged by the U.S. to over $3 billion since the start of the crisis, including $222 million to international humanitarian organizations working with the Turkish government. The White House notes that an estimated 1.6 million refugees from Syria have received aid from Turkey, and 190,000 refugees have left the town of Kobani for Turkey in recent weeks.

The breakdown of the aid money includes $133 in regufee food needs — $63 million for those displaced by the conflict to other parts of Syria and $70 million for those forced to neighboring countries. About $11 million of the $70 million will go towards food assistance for those refugees in Turkey.

Biden made the announcement from Istanbul, following a meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

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Official White House Photo by David Lienemann(WASHINGTON) — Vice President Joe Biden announced on Saturday that the U.S. would pledge an additional $135 million in humanitarian aid to help feed citizens impacted by the conflict in Syria.

According to a release from the White House, the latest round of humanitarian assistance brings the total pledged by the U.S. to over $3 billion since the start of the crisis, including $222 million to international humanitarian organizations working with the Turkish government. The White House notes that an estimated 1.6 million refugees from Syria have received aid from Turkey, and 190,000 refugees have left the town of Kobani for Turkey in recent weeks.

The breakdown of the aid money includes $133 in regufee food needs — $63 million for those displaced by the conflict to other parts of Syria and $70 million for those forced to neighboring countries. About $11 million of the $70 million will go towards food assistance for those refugees in Turkey.

Biden made the announcement from Istanbul, following a meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

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Official White House Photo by Pete Souza(WASHINGTON) — A U.S. official confirmed to ABC News on Saturday that President Obama signed an executive order expanding the scope of the U.S. mission in Afghanistan beyond what had been initially planned.

As part of the order, U.S. troops will be allowed to target Taliban forces that threaten U.S. troops within Afghanistan or that provide support to al-Qaeda. Originally, the 9,800 U.S. troops staying in Afghanistan were expected to be involved in training.

The order will also allow American aircraft to provide air support for Afghan troops on combat missions.

The ongoing combat mission is slated to end on Dec. 31.

According to the New York Times, the new name for the mission in Afghanistan will be Operation Resolute Support.

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Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

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Official White House Photo by David Lienemann(WASHINGTON) — Vice President Joe Biden announced on Saturday that the U.S. would pledge an additional $135 million in humanitarian aid to help feed citizens impacted by the conflict in Syria.

According to a release from the White House, the latest round of humanitarian assistance brings the total pledged by the U.S. to over $3 billion since the start of the crisis, including $222 million to international humanitarian organizations working with the Turkish government. The White House notes that an estimated 1.6 million refugees from Syria have received aid from Turkey, and 190,000 refugees have left the town of Kobani for Turkey in recent weeks.

The breakdown of the aid money includes $133 in regufee food needs — $63 million for those displaced by the conflict to other parts of Syria and $70 million for those forced to neighboring countries. About $11 million of the $70 million will go towards food assistance for those refugees in Turkey.

Biden made the announcement from Istanbul, following a meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

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Sean Gardner/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — In this week’s Republican address, U.S. Rep. Bill Cassidy of Louisiana talks about fighting for job-creating projects.

He specifically cites the Keystone XL Pipeline, which failed in the Senate this week.

Cassidy says the benefits of building the pipeline include boosting the construction industry and creating over 40,000 jobs.

“The case for approving the pipeline is clear and obvious,” Cassidy said. “This is a perfect example of what the American people want President Obama and Congress to do. Americans’ frustration with the President’s failure to strengthen the economy, create jobs and make America energy secure was evident in the election November 4th. But more than six years after the Keystone application was first submitted, the pipeline has still not been approved. This is six years too long.”

Read the full transcript of the Republican address:

Hello. I’m Doctor Bill Cassidy.


“I’ve had the privilege of representing the 6th Congressional District of Louisiana.

“As a doctor, I’ve worked in Louisiana’s public hospital system treating the uninsured and underinsured for 25 years.

“When my patients tell me about their health concerns, they also tell me they are worried about the economy, their jobs, the direction of our country.

“Many families, many Louisiana families, are struggling.

“They need better jobs, better wages, better benefits.

“We have the opportunity to create these jobs. It starts with developing North America’s natural resources and securing America’s energy independence now.

“That’s why I’ve been fighting for job-creating projects like the Keystone XL pipeline.

“Last week, the House of Representatives passed the Cassidy Keystone bill which would approve the construction of this pipeline. This is the ninth time the House has voted to build the Keystone pipeline.

“Building Keystone would create more than 40,000 high-paying jobs, putting billions of dollars in workers’ pockets, and give a much needed boost to America’s construction industry.

“Manufacturers and their employees throughout the economy also benefit from the construction of this infrastructure project.

“Refiners in Louisiana and along the Gulf Coast benefit from a reliable supply of heavy crude, including American oil from North Dakota, which would be transported through the pipeline.

“More than 60 percent of Americans support building the pipeline.

“The State Department review found that the pipeline would have little or no impact on the environment. And it will also save lives, because when oil is transported by train or truck inevitably there are accidents and workers may die.

“Yet President Obama doesn’t seem to care.

“The case for approving the pipeline is clear and obvious. This is a perfect example of what the American people want President Obama and Congress to do. Americans’ frustration with the President’s failure to strengthen the economy, create jobs and make America energy secure was evident in the election November 4th.

“But more than six years after the Keystone application was first submitted, the pipeline has still not been approved.

“This is six years too long.

“So why hasn’t President Obama approved?

“Why did it take Louisiana’s Senior Senator nearly 3,000 days to do something about it?

“If there was ever legislation that should be easy to get through the United States Senate, it is the Keystone XL pipeline.

“When the House passed the Cassidy Keystone bill, we made it as easy as possible for the Senate to get a bill to the President’s desk.

“The Cassidy bill contained the legislative language proposed by the Senate.

“I worked with colleagues in the House of Representatives to pass this version as quickly as possible. It passed with strong Republican and Democrat support.

“Unfortunately, President Obama and his supporters in the Senate oppose the Keystone jobs.

“It is time for the President to approve these jobs.

“But this isn’t just about Keystone. Keystone has become a symbol for the need to achieve North American energy independence.

“We need to expand access for energy production both on and offshore, and to allow the development of the infrastructure to transport fuel to the American people.

“That’s why Americans spoke loud and clear on November 4th. They want Congress to work together to do what’s right for the American people. They rejected President Obama’s agenda that discourages the creation of manufacturing and construction jobs – the jobs that would be created because of projects like Keystone.

“Americans voted for Republicans. Republicans – we are the party of jobs.

“And on December 6th, it’s the people of Louisiana’s turn to be heard.

“We, the people of Louisiana will decide whether we want someone in the Senate who represents President Obama, or who represents us. Someone who will work hard for jobs in Louisiana all the time, not just when their job is on the line.

“Someone who will repeal and replace Obamacare with patient-centered solutions;

“Who will push back on the EPA’s job-killing regulations;

“Who will fight against President Obama’s executive amnesty;

“Who will defend our second amendment rights;

“And who will push to get the Keystone pipeline and other energy development projects built.

“I’m running for the United States Senate because I am that person. Louisiana needs a Senator who can pass Keystone. Louisiana does not need a Senator who supports President Obama 97 percent of the time; we need a Senator who supports us, the people of Louisiana, 100 percent of the time.

“Representing the people of Louisiana is a great honor. On December 6th, Louisiana will choose our next U.S. Senator. My commitment to you is that if you choose me, Bill Cassidy, I will do my best to live up to that honor.

“Thank you. God bless America, and God bless the great state of Louisiana.”

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Official White House Photo by Pete Souza(WASHINGTON) — In this week’s address, President Obama discusses immigration reform.

Obama talks about the specific steps he outlined this week.

“We’re providing more resources at the border to help law enforcement personnel stop illegal crossings, and send home those who do cross over,” Obama says. “We’ll focus enforcement resources on people who are threats to our security – felons, not families; criminals, not children. And we’ll bring more undocumented immigrants out of the shadows so they can play by the rules, pay their full share of taxes, pass a criminal background check, and get right with the law.”

Obama says he will continue to work with Congress on a bipartisan bill that can fix the immigration system.

Read the full transcript of Obama’s address:

Hi everybody. Today, I’m at Del Sol High School, in Las Vegas, to talk with students and families about immigration.

We are a nation of immigrants. It has always given America a big advantage over other nations. It keeps our country young, dynamic, and entrepreneurial. But today, our immigration system is broken, and everybody knows it.

That’s why, nearly two years ago, I came to this school and laid out principles for immigration reform. And five months later, Democrats, Republicans, and Independents in the Senate came together to pass a commonsense compromise bill. That bill would have secured our border, while giving undocumented immigrants who already live here a pathway to citizenship if they paid a fine, started paying their taxes, and went to the back of the line. Independent experts said it would grow our economy, and shrink our deficits.

Now, had the House of Representatives allowed a yes-or-no vote on that kind of bill, it would have passed with support from both parties. Today it would be the law. But for a year and a half, Republican leaders in the House have refused to allow that simple vote. Now, I still believe that the best way to solve this problem is by working together – both parties – to pass that kind of bipartisan law. But until that happens, there are actions I have the legal authority to take as President – the same kinds of actions taken by Democratic and Republican Presidents before me – that will help make our immigration system more fair and more just.

I took those actions this week. We’re providing more resources at the border to help law enforcement personnel stop illegal crossings, and send home those who do cross over. We’ll focus enforcement resources on people who are threats to our security – felons, not families; criminals, not children. And we’ll bring more undocumented immigrants out of the shadows so they can play by the rules, pay their full share of taxes, pass a criminal background check, and get right with the law.

Nothing about this action will benefit anyone who has come to this country recently, or who might try and come to America illegally in the future. It does not grant citizenship, or the right to stay here permanently, or offer the same benefits that citizens receive. And it’s certainly not amnesty, no matter how often the critics say it. Amnesty is the immigration system we have today – millions of people living here without paying their taxes, or playing by the rules. And the actions I took this week will finally start fixing that.

As you might have heard, there are Members of Congress who question my authority to make our immigration system work better. Well, I have one answer for that: Pass a bill. The day I sign it into law, the actions I’ve taken to help solve this problem will no longer be necessary.

In the meantime, we can’t allow a disagreement over a single issue to be a dealbreaker on every issue. That’s not how our democracy works. This debate deserves more than politics as usual. It’s important for our future. It’s about who we are, and the future we want to build.

We are only here because this country welcomed our forebears, and taught them that being American is about more than what we look like or where we come from. What makes us Americans is our shared commitment to an ideal – that all of us are created equal, and all of us have the chance to make of our lives what we will. That’s the country we inherited, and it’s the one we have to leave for future generations.

Thank you, God bless you, and have a great weekend.

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Feng Li/Getty Images(NEW YORK ) — Two-hundred prominent Democratic strategists, former Clinton aides and donors, joined forces on Friday for a day-long strategy meeting hosted by the pro-Hillary Clinton super PAC Ready for Hillary to coalesce their efforts, plot and plan for when and if Hillary Clinton runs for president.

The meeting, held at the Sheraton Hotel in Midtown Manhattan, where the Clintons hold their annual Clinton Global Initiative summit, was made up of a series of closed-to-the-media strategizing panels and marked the beginning of the end of Ready for Hillary, which plans to shut down its operations once Clinton announces a run.

It also marked a turning point for Clinton’s potential 2016 campaign.

Although nobody would flat out say it (hypotheticals like “if” and “hope” preceded all statements about her candidacy), the general sentiment among the panelists and attendees was: She’s running. And when she does, her supporters said, they will be ready.

“Hopes run high,” Marty Chavez, the former Albuquerque mayor and a senior adviser for Ready for Hillary, told reporters. “The biggest takeaway I have is … there are a lot of people who have her back if she says yes.”

The attendees at the event included Correct the Record’s David Brock and Bruce Strider, who were invited guests to last weekend’s 10th anniversary event for the Clinton Presidential Library in Little Rock, Arkansas, as well as political strategists Harold Ickes, James Carville and Paul Begala. Two people who have been mentioned as possible campaign managers for Clinton, Stephanie Shriock, the head of EMILY’s List, and Guy Cecil, executive director of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, also were there.

Hillary Clinton herself was not at the event. Super PAC rules would not allow her to go.

Very little was said about other possible Democratic presidential candidates, such as former Sen. Jim Webb of Virginia, who just this week became the first candidate to throw his hat in to the ring. The panelists said they saw Hillary Clinton as the most “formidable” candidate and that any concerns were not about a “Hillary Clinton problem,” but rather a problem for the Democratic Party, as a whole.

“We have yet to figure out a message on the economy that resonates with working-class voters,” Mitch Stewart, a former Obama adviser and founding partner of 270 Strategies, which partnered with Ready for Hillary, told reporters. “We have not been able to persuade them that your values align with ours. And that, for me, is the biggest concern out there.”

The meeting also focused on acknowledging what Ready for Hillary has accomplished since it launched nearly two years ago. In that time, the group has raised $11 million and gained 3 million supporters. Once it shuts down, the group plans to transfer its vast email list of supporters to Clinton’s campaign. It was unclear, however, what would happen to the group’s now-famous bus.

Ready for Hillary’s meeting came a day after Hillary Clinton came out in support of President Obama’s executive action on immigration and blamed Congress for inaction on the issue. It was a rare move for Clinton, prompting speculation she might be starting to position herself as a candidate, because she has remained relatively mute on policy matters since she stepped down as Obama’s secretary of state in 2013.

Ready for Hillary also hosted a grassroots fundraising event Thursday night at a noisy, haram-themed lounge downtown.

The event, with roughly 150 people, cost $20.16 to attend and offered up cocktails thematically linked to Clinton, who might run to become America’s 45th president.

“I’ll have one ‘Ceiling Breaker’ and one ’45,’” a young 20-something guy, donning a small Ready for Hillary sticker on his button-down shirt, was heard yelling out to the bartender.

Two minutes later, he was handed two ambiguously colored drinks.

“No idea,” he shouted out when asked what was in them. But, he said with a smile, “They’re named after her.”

Hillary Clinton, who has a lighter-than-usual schedule in the coming month, has said she will likely make a decision on 2016 sometime early next year.

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Feng Li/Getty Images(NEW YORK ) — Two-hundred prominent Democratic strategists, former Clinton aides and donors, joined forces on Friday for a day-long strategy meeting hosted by the pro-Hillary Clinton super PAC Ready for Hillary to coalesce their efforts, plot and plan for when and if Hillary Clinton runs for president.

The meeting, held at the Sheraton Hotel in Midtown Manhattan, where the Clintons hold their annual Clinton Global Initiative summit, was made up of a series of closed-to-the-media strategizing panels and marked the beginning of the end of Ready for Hillary, which plans to shut down its operations once Clinton announces a run.

It also marked a turning point for Clinton’s potential 2016 campaign.

Although nobody would flat out say it (hypotheticals like “if” and “hope” preceded all statements about her candidacy), the general sentiment among the panelists and attendees was: She’s running. And when she does, her supporters said, they will be ready.

“Hopes run high,” Marty Chavez, the former Albuquerque mayor and a senior adviser for Ready for Hillary, told reporters. “The biggest takeaway I have is … there are a lot of people who have her back if she says yes.”

The attendees at the event included Correct the Record’s David Brock and Bruce Strider, who were invited guests to last weekend’s 10th anniversary event for the Clinton Presidential Library in Little Rock, Arkansas, as well as political strategists Harold Ickes, James Carville and Paul Begala. Two people who have been mentioned as possible campaign managers for Clinton, Stephanie Shriock, the head of EMILY’s List, and Guy Cecil, executive director of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, also were there.

Hillary Clinton herself was not at the event. Super PAC rules would not allow her to go.

Very little was said about other possible Democratic presidential candidates, such as former Sen. Jim Webb of Virginia, who just this week became the first candidate to throw his hat in to the ring. The panelists said they saw Hillary Clinton as the most “formidable” candidate and that any concerns were not about a “Hillary Clinton problem,” but rather a problem for the Democratic Party, as a whole.

“We have yet to figure out a message on the economy that resonates with working-class voters,” Mitch Stewart, a former Obama adviser and founding partner of 270 Strategies, which partnered with Ready for Hillary, told reporters. “We have not been able to persuade them that your values align with ours. And that, for me, is the biggest concern out there.”

The meeting also focused on acknowledging what Ready for Hillary has accomplished since it launched nearly two years ago. In that time, the group has raised $11 million and gained 3 million supporters. Once it shuts down, the group plans to transfer its vast email list of supporters to Clinton’s campaign. It was unclear, however, what would happen to the group’s now-famous bus.

Ready for Hillary’s meeting came a day after Hillary Clinton came out in support of President Obama’s executive action on immigration and blamed Congress for inaction on the issue. It was a rare move for Clinton, prompting speculation she might be starting to position herself as a candidate, because she has remained relatively mute on policy matters since she stepped down as Obama’s secretary of state in 2013.

Ready for Hillary also hosted a grassroots fundraising event Thursday night at a noisy, haram-themed lounge downtown.

The event, with roughly 150 people, cost $20.16 to attend and offered up cocktails thematically linked to Clinton, who might run to become America’s 45th president.

“I’ll have one ‘Ceiling Breaker’ and one ’45,’” a young 20-something guy, donning a small Ready for Hillary sticker on his button-down shirt, was heard yelling out to the bartender.

Two minutes later, he was handed two ambiguously colored drinks.

“No idea,” he shouted out when asked what was in them. But, he said with a smile, “They’re named after her.”

Hillary Clinton, who has a lighter-than-usual schedule in the coming month, has said she will likely make a decision on 2016 sometime early next year.

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iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — Students across the country are tweeting photos of their school lunches and using the hashtag #ThanksMichelleObama.

The first lady has been active in pushing for reform in school cafeterias and encouraging healthier eating overall. The White House passed the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act, championed by Michelle Obama in 2010, intended to improve the nutritional value of school lunches.

Some kids still don’t seem too pleased by what their schools are dishing out, and the hashtag, which has been in use since August, went viral again on Friday.

While some students used the hashtag sarcastically, some used it to show support for Obama, thanking her for her efforts to get kids eating healthy.

Check out some of the tweets below:

this Looks like chicken and tastes like sausage im so confused #ThanksMichelleObama pic.twitter.com/3y150oGZpl

— hard pa$$ (@idkaysia) November 21, 2014

Whole wheat buns #ThanksMichelleObama pic.twitter.com/1nG6lr9hWW

— Lucas mcgeachy (@mcgluc18) November 21, 2014

This is considered a “meal” #ThanksMichelleObama pic.twitter.com/k3WOVbJpxv

— Jordan Fite (@jordan_fite37) November 21, 2014

Grilled cheese and plastic for lunch..yummy

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