Archives for White House

Obama censors more, blocks access to FOIA files

For the second consecutive year, the Obama administration more often than ever censored government files or outright denied access to them under the U.S. Freedom of Information Act, according to a new analysis of federal data by The Associated Press. The government took longer to turn over files when it provided any, said more regularly that it couldn’t find documents, and refused a record number of times to turn over files quickly that might be especially newsworthy. It also acknowledged in nearly 1 in 3 cases that its initial decisions to withhold or censor records were improper under the law
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Does economic news give Obama an ‘upper hand?’

Bolstered by a spate of upbeat economic news, President Barack Obama is claiming the upper hand in the budget fight unfolding in Congress, aiming to exploit recent Republican stumbles to give Democrats an advantage despite their status as a weakened minority. But while Obama retains full use of the bully pulpit, his leverage over matters of government spending may prove limited. The White House has put a spotlight on GOP missteps and infighting in recent weeks, arguing that Republicans who promised to govern effectively are falling down on the job since taking control of Congress earlier this year. Drawing an
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Obamacare success? More Americans now insured

The share of Americans without health insurance dropped to its lowest level in seven years in 2014 as President Barack Obama’s overhaul took full effect, according to an extensive survey released Tuesday. The Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index found that the trend appears likely to continue this year, since 55 percent of those who remained uninsured told the pollster they plan to get coverage rather than face escalating tax penalties. No state saw a statistically significant increase in the share of its residents uninsured. However, states that have embraced the health care law continued to outperform those where political opposition remains strong.
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Obama finding opposition from both right and left

Reps. Barbara Lee and John Fleming are highly dubious at best about President Barack Obama’s requests for enhanced powers to make trade deals and to deploy the U.S. military. And that’s like oil and water mixing easily. Ideological chasms usually separate Democrat Lee of California — one of Congress’ proudest liberals — and Republican Fleming of Louisiana, among its staunchest conservatives. But they personify Congress’ odd left-right coalition that’s complicating Obama’s bid for two of his priorities. Like many House Democrats and Republicans, they reached their positions by different paths. Lee says trade deals hurt American workers. And she shares
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Obama open to compromise on military actions on IS

President Barack Obama is open to negotiating with Congress on his request for new authorization for military force against Islamic State militants, including his proposed three-year time limit on U.S. military action and the use of American troops, according to the White House. After a weeklong holiday break, lawmakers return to Washington on Monday and start work on Obama’s request. Some Republicans say Obama’s proposal is too restrictive for the mission to succeed. On the other side, some Democrats want more limitations on Obama’s authority so the United States doesn’t sign on for another open-ended war. White House officials said
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Obama mixes politics with monument designation

Officially, President Barack Obama came home to Chicago on Thursday to designate a new national monument. But you’d be forgiven for mistaking the visit for a campaign event for Mayor Rahm Emanuel. Obama’s visit to the area near the Pullman National Monument on the city’s South Side put a spotlight on Emanuel, who served as Obama’s first-term chief of staff and now faces re-election as mayor of Obama’s hometown. To avoid a runoff in Tuesday’s vote, he needs strong backing from African-American voters — one of the only groups still reliably supportive of the president. “Rahm hasn’t just fought for
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Obama: Fight extremism by embracing Muslims

In the fight against violent extremism, President Barack Obama has argued the U.S. has one thing going for it that Europe doesn’t: a long tradition of warmly embracing its immigrants, including Muslims. With the Islamic State group spreading and terrorists gaining strength in the Mideast and Africa, Obama has sought to use this week’s White House summit on violent extremism to urge the world to broaden its response far beyond military interventions. U.S. airstrikes have managed to blunt some of the militants’ gains in Iraq and Syria, but they don’t address the extreme ideologies that underpin deadly groups such as
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Obama faces uphill fight to overturn court order

President Barack Obama’s administration faces a difficult and possibly lengthy legal battle to overturn a Texas court ruling that blocked his landmark immigration overhaul, since the judge based his decision on an obscure and unsettled area of administrative law, lawyers said. In his ruling on Monday that upended plans to shield millions of people from deportation, U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen avoided diving into sweeping constitutional questions or tackling presidential powers head-on. Instead, he faulted Obama for not giving public notice of his plans. The failure to do so, Hanen wrote, was a violation of the 1946 Administrative Procedure Act,
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More than 11 million sign up for health care plans

More than 11 million people signed up for subsidized private health insurance under President Barack Obama’s law this year, the White House announced Tuesday evening. But that preliminary estimate — 11.4 million people — comes with a couple of asterisks: —The final number could grow because the administration is offering a grace period for people who started applications — but couldn’t finish them — before last Sunday’s official deadline. They have until February 22, this coming Sunday. Also, Democratic lawmakers are pressing Obama to grant a second chance to sign up for uninsured people facing tax penalties. —The final number
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Appeal planned on block of Obama immigration plan

The Justice Department will appeal a federal judge’s ruling that temporarily blocked President Barack Obama’s executive action on immigration, the White House said Tuesday. On Monday, U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen in Texas issued a temporary injunction, giving a coalition of 26 states time to pursue a lawsuit that aims to permanently stop the orders. The ruling puts on hold Obama’s orders that could spare more than 4 million people who are in the U.S. illegally from deportation. In a statement, the White House said Monday’s ruling “wrongly prevents” the president’s “lawful, commonsense policies” from taking effect. The Justice Department,
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