Archives for White House

Obama to nominate Baucus as China ambassador

President Barack Obama is looking to the Senate again to fill a top diplomatic post, with Democratic officials saying he intends to nominate six-term Sen. Max Baucus of Montana to be the next U.S. ambassador to China. Baucus, who announced earlier this year that he would not seek re-election, is knowledgeable on trade issues as chairman of the Senate Finance Committee but better known for his work on that panel steering Obama’s health care overhaul into law three years ago. If confirmed by the Senate, Baucus would replace Ambassador Gary Locke, who plans to step down next year. The White
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Muted reaction in White House over budget deal

There were no champagne corks popping at the White House after Congress passed a two-year budget deal, no declarations of a new era of cooperation in President Barack Obama’s second term. Instead, the modest agreement that passed Wednesday served as a stark year-end reminder of how low expectations for Washington sank in 2013, particularly for a president who hoped his resounding re-election would clear the way for progress on immigration, the long-term debt and tax reform. The president’s advisers say they’re still searching for the larger meaning in the bipartisan budget deal, if there is one at all. At best,
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White House panel proposes curbs on NSA spying

A White House-appointed panel on Wednesday proposed curbs on some key National Security Agency surveillance operations, recommending limits on a program to collect records of billions of telephone calls and new tests before Washington spies on foreign leaders. Among the panel’s proposals, made in the wake of revelations by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, the most contentious may be its recommendation that the eavesdropping agency halt bulk collection of the phone call records, known as “metadata.” Instead, it said, those records should be held by telecommunications providers or a private third party. In a further limitation, the U.S. government would
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Tech execs to Obama: ‘Stop spying on Americans’

Technology company executives pressed President Barack Obama on Tuesday to rein in the U.S. government’s electronic spying after a court dealt a blow to the administration’s surveillance practices. Top executives from Apple Inc, Google Inc, Yahoo Inc, Netflix Inc, Comcast Corp, AT&T Inc, Microsoft Corp, Twitter Inc, Facebook Inc and other companies met privately for more than two hours with Obama and top White House aides. The session came as Obama and his national security team decide what recommendations to adopt from an outside panel’s review on constraining the activities of the National Security Agency without compromising U.S. national security.
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Obama more popular on foreign policy issues

President Barack Obama’s approval ratings for handling foreign policy issues generally top his ratings for most domestic issues, including the economy and health care, according to a new Associated Press-GfK poll. But the poll also suggests a majority of Americans want the president to pull troops out of Afghanistan faster than he’s doing, and many are skeptical about a tentative nuclear deal with Iran. The poll found that 57 percent now say going to war in Afghanistan after the 2001 terror attacks was probably the “wrong thing to do.” And 53 percent say the pace of the planned withdrawal is
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Obama, on Newtown anniversary, calls for ‘safer’ communities

On the anniversary of the massacre of 20 children and six school workers in Newtown, Conn., President Barack Obama says the nation hasn’t done enough to make its communities safer. Obama says in his weekly radio address that the country should do more to keep dangerous people from getting their hands on guns and to heal troubled minds. He also says real change won’t come from Washington, but from the American people pushing for change In the Republican weekly address, Sen. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania describes how his wife tried to shop for a new health insurance plan for their
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Congress, Obama face low public approval ratings

Heading into a congressional election year, Americans hold Congress in strikingly low regard, and nearly two-thirds say they would like to see their House member replaced, a new poll finds. Even though Americans are feeling somewhat better about the economy — and their personal finances — elected officials in Washington aren’t benefiting from the improved mood, the Associated Press-GfK poll found. President Barack Obama’s approval rating was negative: 58 percent disapprove of the job he’s doing as president, while 42 percent approve. Obama isn’t running for office again, however, whereas all 435 House seats and one-third of the Senate’s seats
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Former Obama aide returns to get health care law back on track

President Barack Obama is bringing a former top aide with deep ties to Congress back to the White House to help get his health care overhaul back on track after a bungled rollout. Officials say Phil Schiliro, who as Obama’s top liaison to Capitol Hill helped push the Affordable Care Act through Congress, is taking on a short-term assignment to help coordinate policy surrounding the law. He’ll work with the Department of Health and Human Services, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, other agencies and members of Congress. The Medicare agency oversees the federal website that uninsured people are
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White House lied about President not meeting wayward uncle

When the White House earlier claimed President Barack Obama had never met his Kenyan-born half uncle Onyango Obama, it lied. Now White House spokesman Jay Carney says the President not only met the uncle who faced deportation but actually lived with him for a while The 69-year-old, Kenyan-born half-brother of Obama’s estranged father was granted permission this week to stay in the U.S. after ignoring a deportation order two decades ago. The uncle is also known as Omar Obama. White House spokesman Jay Carney said that when the case first arose, officials looked for records of a meeting but never
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Obama: Time for government to triple use of renewable power

Saying the government should lead by example, President Barack Obama is ordering the federal government to nearly triple its use of renewable sources for electricity by 2020. Obama says the plan to use renewables for 20 percent of electricity needs will help reduce pollution that causes global warming, promote American energy independence and boost domestic energy sources such as solar and wind power that provide thousands of jobs. Obama was set to announce the plan Thursday as part of his wide-ranging, second-term drive to combat climate change and prepare for its effects. A plan announced in June would put first-time
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