Archives for White House

President tries to calm Dems’ fears over Obamacare

President Barack Obama sought on Friday to ease strains with his Democratic allies in the U.S. Congress, who are fearful they could face election consequences from the botched rollout of the president’s signature healthcare law known as “Obamacare.” Speaking to House of Representatives Democrats during their three-day retreat, Obama cited an increase in the number of people signing up for insurance coverage under Obamacare as evidence that the law’s implementation was going more smoothly after a troubled start. Republicans, who have denounced Obamacare as an unpopular disaster, have put the issue at the center of their strategy for November’s congressional
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Obama appointees may decide fate of gay marriage

The overturning of Virginia’s gay marriage ban places the legal fight over same-sex unions increasingly in the hands of federal appeals courts shaped by President Barack Obama’s two election victories. It’s no accident that Virginia has become a key testing ground for federal judges’ willingness to embrace same-sex marriage after last year’s strongly worded pro-gay rights ruling by the Supreme Court. Judges appointed by Democratic presidents have a 10-5 edge over Republicans on the Richmond-based 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, formerly among the nation’s most conservative appeals courts. Nationally, three other federal appeals courts will soon take up the
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Obama plans 18 Democratic fundraisers in 2014

President Barack Obama has committed to holding more than 18 fundraisers to help Democrats this year, putting the full force of his political brand behind his party’s efforts to gain seats in the House and prevent Republicans from snatching control of the Senate. The stepped-up commitment from the president stands in clear contrast to 2010, when Democrats complained Obama did too little to boost the party — and has been paying a heavy price ever since. Democrats that year took what Obama dubbed a “shellacking,” losing control of the House and severely impeding the president’s ability to move his legislative
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Obamacare met sign-up goal in January

While states are having varying success getting people to sign up, January marked the first time since new health insurance markets opened last fall that a national monthly enrollment target was met. The administration said Wednesday about 1 million people signed up for private insurance under President Barack Obama’s health care law in January, extending a turnaround from early days when a dysfunctional website frustrated consumers. An Associated Press analysis found that most states are still lagging when it comes to sign-ups under the health care law, and their success in getting those sign-ups could help determine if the White
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Big companies get ‘wiggle room’ on Obamacare

Big retail stores, hotels, restaurants and other companies with lots of low-wage and part-time workers are among the main beneficiaries of the Obama administration’s latest tweak to health care rules. Companies with 100 or more workers will be able to avoid the biggest of two potential employer penalties in the Affordable Care Act by offering coverage to 70 percent of their full-timers. That target is considerably easier to hit than the administration’s previous requirement of 95 percent, but the wiggle room is only good for next year. “It will be very helpful to employers,” said Bill O’Malley, a tax expert
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Obama reluctant to act alone on immigration

For a president looking for a legacy piece of legislation, the current state of the immigration debate represents a high-wire act. President Barack Obama could act alone to slow deportations, and probably doom any chance of a permanent and comprehensive overhaul. Yet if he shows too much patience, the opportunity to fix immigration laws as he wants could well slip away. As Republican leaders dampen expectations for overhauling immigration laws this year, the White House is hoping that the GOP resistance is temporary and tactical, and Obama is resisting pressure from some political allies to take matters into his own
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Obama to sign Farm Bill, cuts to food stamps

President Barack Obama is carrying out a presidential duty that he hasn’t had a lot of opportunity to perform recently: signing into law a major piece of bipartisan legislation. Obama planned to sign a far-reaching farm bill Friday at Michigan State University, a rare celebration of Washington political compromise being held in heartland America. The bill expands federal crop insurance and ends direct government payments to farmers, but the bulk of its cost is for the food stamp program that aids 1 in 7 Americans. The bill cuts food stamps by $800 million a year, or around 1 percent, one-fifth
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Obama to Democrats: ‘Yeah, I’m here to help’

President Barack Obama spent part of a third straight day on Wednesday talking to congressional Democrats about an agenda for the year that party leaders hope will help them make gains or limit losses in November elections. Obama trooped over to the Washington Nationals baseball stadium for a private session with Senate Democrats in a meeting room in a section of the stadium behind home plate. Former President Bill Clinton also addressed the group. An atmosphere of worry hangs over Democrats as they gird for congressional elections in November in which they will attempt to hang on to control of
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Obama meeting with frustrated Democrats

When President Barack Obama solicits advice Wednesday from his party’s senators, the voices of some Democrats may come through louder than others. Of the 53 Democratic senators, it’s the nearly two dozen facing re-election this year who are causing jitters for Obama and the party. With control of the Senate at stake, many of those Democrats are actively seeking ways to distance themselves from a president who is deeply unpopular in their home states. After publicly exhibiting his goals for the year in his State of the Union address last week, Obama is making the pitch in more intimate settings
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Can Obama hold Democrats together in election year?

Seeking to preserve party unity in an election year, President Barack Obama is trying to tamp down internal Democratic divisions on issues like trade and energy, even as friendly lawmakers show little restraint in publicly breaking with the White House. The president will hold separate meetings this week with House and Senate Democrats, where he’s likely to face more pushback on the Keystone XL pipeline and health care, particularly from lawmakers who will face voters in November. Obama also met Monday with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who has sharply opposed the president’s proposal for letting Congress vote quickly to
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