Archives for White House

Obama near a decision on NSA spying programs

President Barack Obama is hosting a series of meetings this week with lawmakers, privacy advocates and intelligence officials as he nears a final decision on changes to the government’s controversial surveillance programs. Obama could announce the changes as early as next week. He’s weighing more than 40 recommendations from a presidential review board that proposed restrictions on the National Security Agency’s collection of telephone records from millions of Americans. A separate task force appointed by Congress has also undertaken its own review of the NSA’s vast powers. However, the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board doesn’t expect to issue its
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Obama pushes new gun control regulations

The Obama administration on Friday proposed two new gun control regulations aimed at clarifying restrictions on gun ownership for the mentally ill and strengthening a database used for background checks before firearm purchases. The measures are the latest step in a year-long push by President Barack Obama to tighten U.S. gun laws in the wake of a school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, where 20 children were killed. Obama tried last year to bring in sweeping new gun control measures in the aftermath of that shooting, but most of his proposals were defeated in Congress. He has pledged to continue working
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Obama closes out the year on a low key

President Barack Obama is closing out a difficult year in low-key fashion, with hopes for better results to come in 2014, particularly for his troubled health care law. Obama kicked off the last day of 2013 with an hourlong workout at a military base near his rented vacation home in Hawaii. He and first lady Michelle Obama then headed to Hanauma Bay for a midday snorkeling outing on a sun-splashed day on the island of Oahu. The White House said the president planned to stay at home Tuesday night and ring in the new year with friends and family. The
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White House under pressure to name healthcare CEO

The White House is coming under pressure from some of its closest allies on healthcare reform to name a chief executive to run its federal health insurance marketplace and allay the concerns of insurers after the rocky rollout of Obamacare. Advocates have been quietly pushing the idea of a CEO who would set marketplace rules, coordinate with insurers and state regulators on the health plans offered for sale, supervise enrollment campaigns and oversee technology, according to several sources familiar with discussions between advocates and the Obama administration. Supporters of the idea say it could help regain the trust of insurers
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After a rough 2013, Obama hopes for a better 2014

It was a moment for Barack Obama to savor. His second inaugural address over, Obama paused as he strode from the podium last January, turning back for one last glance across the expanse of the National Mall, where a supportive throng stood in the winter chill to witness the launch of his new term. “I want to take a look, one more time,” Obama said quietly. “I’m not going to see this again.” There was so much Obama could not — or did not — see then, as he opened his second term with a confident call to arms and
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Key dates and tests for Obamacare in 2014

The new year brings the big test of President Barack Obama’s beleaguered health care law: Will it work? The heart of the law springs to life Wednesday, after nearly four years of political turmoil and three months of enrollment chaos. Patients will begin showing up at hospitals and pharmacies with insurance coverage bought through the nation’s new health care marketplaces. The course of 2014 will show whether Obama can get affordable care to millions of people in need, without doing intolerable damage to the 85 percent of U.S. residents who already were insured. Lots of Americans are nervous. Will their
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Obama signs budget deal, new defense bill

Rounding out a tough and frustrating year, President Barack Obama signed a bipartisan budget deal Thursday easing spending cuts and a defense bill cracking down on sexual assault in the military, as the president and Congress began pivoting to the midterm election year ahead. Obama put his signature on both hard-fought bills while vacationing in Hawaii, where he has been regrouping with his family since Saturday. The bill signing marks one of Obama’s last official acts in a year beset by a partial government shutdown, a near-default by the Treasury, a calamitous health care rollout and near-perpetual congressional gridlock. Although
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Obamacare’s line: ‘Don’t worry, bet happy’

The U.S. government said it was still processing thousands of sign-ups for health insurance under President Barack Obama’s signature healthcare law on Tuesday as Americans made a final rush to obtain medical coverage in time for New Year’s Day. Citing nearly 2 million visits to the HealthCare.gov website and over 250,000 inquiries at call centers before Monday’s sign-up deadline, the government gave consumers an extra day to enroll by midnight on Tuesday for January coverage. It added flexibility by encouraging consumers to contact government call centers if they had started but not been able to finish their applications, without specifying
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President enrolls for Obamacare but won’t use it

He won’t use it, and he didn’t actually sign up for it himself, but President Barack Obama has enrolled for health coverage through the new insurance exchanges. Announcing his enrollment Monday, the White House called it a symbolic show of Obama’s support for the fledgling exchanges where millions of Americans must buy insurance or face a penalty. Ironically, it also served as a reminder of just how complex and sometimes daunting the process can be. Obama, like so many other Americans, couldn’t use the website. “The complicated nature of the president’s case required an in-person sign-up,” the White House said.
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Obama concentrates on year’s ups, not downs

Has the fifth year of his presidency been its worst? President Barack Obama laughs off such questions even as he acknowledges many months of frustrating ups and down. “That’s not how I think about it,” Obama told reporters during his annual end-of-the year news conference. Instead of brooding about tumbling approval ratings, the disastrous rollout of his signature health care law or the pile of unfinished domestic priorities, Obama looked ahead to the promise of 2014 and predicted “a breakthrough year for America.” Before he joined his family on Air Force One for a Christmas vacation in his home state
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