Archives for White House

Obama taps Castro as new housing secretary

In a second-term Cabinet reshuffle, President Barack Obama tapped San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro on Friday to be the nation’s next housing secretary, giving a prominent national platform to one of the Democratic Party’s most celebrated up-and-comers. Joined by Castro and Vice President Joe Biden, Obama also announced he was nominating current Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan to run the White House budget office — an opening Obama created when he asked his former budget chief to take over the Health and Human Services Department last month. “Just because you are of modest means does not mean that
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Obama trying to sooth fears over Syria inaction

White House officials have been holding private meetings this week aimed at soothing lawmakers’ concerns over the U.S. posture in Syria, the future of the American military presence in Afghanistan and defense spending. The meetings come as a frustrated White House seeks to push back at criticism of President Barack Obama’s foreign policy. But the White House outreach appeared to be having little effect on some lawmakers’ concerns. Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker, the top Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, described Tuesday night’s White House meeting with chief of staff Denis McDonough and national security adviser Susan Rice as
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Obama to Democrats: Vote in mid-term elections

President Barack Obama on Thursday urged Democrats to vote in November elections, saying the chance to pass immigration reform is at risk if Republicans gain control of both houses of Congress. “We have a congenital defect to not vote in midterm elections,” he said at a fundraising reception for Democratic Senate candidates. “The midterm comes and we fall asleep.” Democrats hold a 55-45 seat majority in the Senate, but many analysts give the Republicans an even chance of picking up the six seats they would need to seize control of the chamber. The Republican majority in the House of Representatives
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Obama finally breaks silence on VA debacle

After weeks of criticism for a detached response, President Barack Obama is showing new resolve to respond to a growing crisis over veterans’ health care. Obama called in Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki for a White House meeting and then repeatedly vowed to take action during a 20-minute appearance Wednesday at the White House briefing room. Obama also dispatched a top aide, Deputy Chief of Staff Rob Nabors, to Phoenix to meet with staff at the hospital that is at the center of the allegations of treatment delays and falsified reports at VA medical facilities. Obama had remained publicly silent
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Obama ‘madder than hell’ over VA problems

The White House chief of staff says President Barack Obama is “madder than hell” about reports of treatment delays at veterans’ hospitals across the country. Top aide Denis McDonough tells CBS’ “Face the Nation” that Obama is demanding that Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki (shin-SEHK’-ee) and others in the administration “continue to fix these things until they’re functioning the way that our veterans believe they should.” Allegations of preventable deaths that may be linked to delays at the Phoenix VA hospital have triggered an election-year uproar. On Friday, the top official for veterans’ health care resigned. House Republicans have set
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Obama continues his Cabinet shuffle

Shuffling his second-term Cabinet, President Barack Obama plans to nominate Housing Secretary Shaun Donovan to be budget director and is considering San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro to succeed Donovan, according to people familiar with the selection process. The moves would raise the profile of two men with close ties to the president. Donovan is an original member of Obama’s Cabinet and is well-liked within the White House, where officials have lauded his work overseeing the government’s response to Hurricane Sandy. As budget director, he would have significant influence over the administration’s policy and spending priorities. Castro’s star has been on
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Obama touts jobs over lunch with workers

President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden promoted government-financed work projects as they lunched outside the White House Friday, saying the projects could be endangered if Congress does not act by the end of the summer. Obama and Biden ate at a Shake Shack burger restaurant a few blocks from the White House with four workers from a $9.1 million Washington reconstruction project underway about 3 miles away from the lunch spot. The White House said the project included $6.9 million in federal aid. “It is a no-brainer for Congress to do what it’s supposed to do, pass transportation
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Obama’s new deportation policy: Lots of political risk

President Barack Obama’s decision on possible changes to U.S. deportation policy sets up an election-year skirmish that could help Democrats win points with their political base while irritating Republicans who are open to immigration reform. The Obama administration is expected to announce revisions in the coming weeks to policies that determine how undocumented immigrants are selected for removal from the United States. Advocates want sweeping executive actions since broad legislation to rewrite immigration laws is stalled in Congress. But experts say the changes are likely to be modest as the White House holds out hope for a legislative fix this
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Obama congratulates gay NFL draftee

President Barack Obama sends his congratulations to Michael Sam, the first openly gay player drafted by an NFL team. Obama calls the selection of Sam “an important step forward.” Obama says that from the playing field to the corporate boardroom, gay and lesbian Americans, quote, “prove every day that you should be judged by what you do and not who you are.” Sam was the Associated Press defensive player of the year in the Southeastern Conference. He was picked late Saturday in the third and final day of the NFL draft by the St. Louis Rams. Sam played college football
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New White House focus: Road, bridge repair

With time running out, the White House was preparing to press Congress next week to keep money flowing into a federal fund for road and bridge repairs, warning of economic harm, lost aid to states and idled construction workers unless lawmakers act. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx has said the federal Highway Trust Fund is expected run dry by late August. Without congressional action, transportation aid to states will be delayed and workers will be laid off at construction sites nationwide, Foxx said. To that end, the White House will spend next week highlighting the issue and pressing for action. In
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