Archives for White House

Obama pledges help after tornado rips Arkansas

President Barack Obama is sending his deepest condolences to those affected by a deadly tornado that ripped through Arkansas. Obama says he wants everyone affected to know that the federal government is on the ground to help. He says the Federal Emergency Management Agency will work with local officials. Obama says, quote, “Your country will be there to help you recover and rebuild, as long as it takes.” The president is also praising the heroic efforts of first responders and neighbors. A broad tornado killed at least 11 when it sliced through suburbs in Arkansas on Sunday at the start
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Obama calls team owner’s comments ‘racist’

President Barack Obama on Sunday described comments reportedly made by the owner of the Los Angeles Clippers “incredibly offensive racist statements,” before casting them as part of a continuing legacy of slavery and segregation that Americans must vigilantly fight. “When ignorant folks want to advertise their ignorance, you don’t really have to do anything, you just let them talk,” Obama said when asked to respond to Donald Sterling’s reported comments. Obama’s description of the controversy as part of a larger historical context is the latest example of his continuing willingness to expound on matters of race in his second term.
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In prison for 10 years or more? Apply for clemency

The Obama administration is encouraging many nonviolent federal prisoners to apply for early release — and expecting thousands to take up the offer. It’s an effort to deal with high costs and overcrowding in prisons, and also a matter of fairness, the government says. On Wednesday, the Justice Department unveiled a revamped clemency process directed at low-level felons imprisoned for at least 10 years who have clean records while in custody. The effort is part of a broader administration push to scale back the use of harsh penalties in some drug prosecutions and to address sentencing disparities arising from the
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Obama to view Washington mudslide damage

President Barack Obama plans a brief visit near Seattle to survey damage from a recent mudslide that killed more than three dozen people. Obama will stop while on his way to the Asia-Pacific region for a four-country trip that begins Wednesday in Tokyo. While in Washington state, Obama will also visit with victims of the deadly March 22 disaster, emergency responders and recovery workers. The massive mudslide killed at least 41 people and buried dozens of homes in the small town of Oso, which is about an hour northeast of Seattle. The Snohomish County medical examiner’s office has identified 39
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Obama to Republicans: Obamacare is working. So shut up!

President Barack Obama mounted a vigorous effort on Thursday to show his signature healthcare law is working and dismissed Republican critics who are using flaws in Obamacare to campaign for ousting Democrats from the U.S. Congress in November. Appearing in the White House briefing room days before leaving the national stage for a week-long trip to Asia, Obama used a news conference to make the case that the Affordable Care Act had mended nicely from its disastrous October rollout. He announced that 8 million people had now signed up for health insurance and that 35 percent of enrollees through the
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Parallels between Clinton, Obama health care fights

Thousands of pages of documents from President Bill Clinton’s White House affirm a longtime adage: The more things change, the more they stay the same. As Clinton prepared for an August 1994 news conference in which he hoped to build public support for his struggling — and ultimately unsuccessful — health care overhaul, he told his advisers: “A lot of them want to know they can keep their own plan if they like it.” Later that fall, Clinton’s Democrats were routed in midterm elections and lost control of Congress. Nearly two decades later, President Barack Obama sought to reassure Americans
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Late enrollments improve prospects for Obamacare

A surge of eleventh-hour enrollments has improved the outlook for President Barack Obama’s health care law, with more people signing up overall and a much-needed spark of interest among young adults. Nonetheless, Obama’s announcement Thursday that 8 million have signed up for subsidized private insurance, and that 35 percent of them are younger than 35, is just a peek at what might be going on with the nation’s newest social program. Still to be announced is what share of those enrolled were previously uninsured — the true test of Obama’s Affordable Care Act — and how many actually secured coverage
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Obama, Biden to unveil $600 million in job grants

Striving to show action on jobs, President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden are hitting the road to trumpet $600 million in new competitive grants to spur creation of targeted training and apprenticeship programs that could help people land well-paying jobs. They were making the announcement Wednesday at the Community College of Allegheny County West Hills Center in the western Pennsylvania borough of Oakdale. Administration officials say they hear from too many businesses that they cannot find skilled workers for jobs they need to fill. On top of that, officials say many people who are looking for work may
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Obma: Republicans threaten Americans’ right to vote

In an unsparing critique of Republicans, President Barack Obama on Friday accused the GOP of using voting restrictions to keep voters from the polls and of jeopardizing 50 years of expanded ballot box access for millions of black Americans and other minorities. “The stark, simple truth is this: The right to vote is threatened today in a way that it has not been since the Voting Rights Act became law nearly five decades ago,” Obama said in a fiery speech at civil rights activist and television talk host Al Sharpton’s National Action Network conference. Obama waded into the acrid debate
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Obama taps Sylvia Burwell to head HHS

Sylvia Mathews Burwell, nominated to run “Obamacare,” would bring a wealth of expertise in economics and government management to one of Washington’s toughest jobs, even though she has little direct experience in the health care industry. In selecting Burwell to replace Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, Obama chose a veteran technocrat who members of both parties say is up to the challenge of running a $1 trillion bureaucracy that rivals the Pentagon in complexity. If confirmed, she’ll inherit a beleaguered agency seeking desperately to turn the page on a tumultuous chapter characterized by the shambolic rollout of Obama’s
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