Monthly Archives: October 2009
Attorney General Eric Holder says a lawsuit in San Francisco over warrantless wiretapping threatens to expose ongoing intelligence work and must be thrown out. In making the argument, the Obama administration agreed with the Bush administration's position on the case but insists it came to the decision differently. A civil liberties group criticized the move Friday as a retreat from promises President Barack Obama made as a candidate.
Celebrities George Clooney and Oprah Winfrey and prominent lobbyists, corporate executives and Democratic fundraisers were among the first to score visits with President Barack Obama, his wife Michelle or top aides at the White House, newly released records show. The White House late Friday afternoon posted a list of roughly 480 records in response to questions about whether specific people visited the president's home. It plans to start disclosing comprehensive visitor lists in coming months. The records are a step toward making good on Obama's promise of transparency. But they also show that despite a campaign pledge to reduce special-interest influence on policymaking, lobbyists are getting face time with him and his aides. The visits included in the records released Friday include roughly eight dozen with Obama.
Republicans say the Democrats' proposal to overhaul health care is far too complicated, intrusive and expensive and are urging several steps they claim would bring down costs while not greatly expanding government involvement. House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, outlined a health care alternative in the GOP's weekly radio and Internet address Saturday. It comes as the Democrats' health care proposals are gaining momentum in Congress and Republicans are scrambling for support to try to block it.
Citing faulty memory, former Vice President Dick Cheney told federal investigators in a 2004 interview he had no idea who revealed to reporters that Valerie Plame, the wife of a Bush administration critic, worked for the CIA. Cheney's chief of staff, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, was convicted of perjury, obstruction and lying to the FBI in the probe of who leaked the former spy's identity to the news media. At the end of Libby's trial, prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald said "there is a cloud over the vice president" regarding the leaking of Plame's identity.
President Barack Obama said Saturday that reports the economy is growing again and that more than 1 million jobs were saved or created by his stimulus plan show "we are moving in the right direction." But he tempered his upbeat message with a cautious word about further job losses and progress yet to be made. Unemployment hit a 26-year high of 9.8 percent in September, and the October report due next week could show it topping 10 percent. The government reported this week that the economy grew 3.5 percent from July through September, the first signs of growth in a year and unofficial confirmation that the economic slide that began in December 2007 is over. Separately, the White House said Obama's $787 billion stimulus plan — a mix of spending and tax cuts — had saved or created more than 1 million jobs.
The United States has emerged from a long and crippling recession, posting its strongest growth in two years in the third quarter as government stimulus spurred consumer spending, official data showed. After four negative quarters, the world's largest economy grew at a seasonally adjusted 3.5-percent annual rate in the July-September period from the second quarter, the Commerce Department said.
The health care overhaul bill produced by House Democrats would impose an array of new taxes, fees and government mandates on major players in the health industry, including insurers, doctors and drugs and medical devices makers. In most cases, the pain has been meted out with an eye toward raising the money needed to finance President Barack Obama's plan for reshaping the health system but also with careful regard for gaining the votes that will be needed to pass a final bill.
The Obama administration's new proposal for tackling financial risk in the U.S. economy, unveiled just two days ago, came under attack on Thursday from Congress and regulators, with questions raised about its funding and scope. U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner scrambled in a congressional hearing to defend the plan against critics who said it would give too much power to regulators and enshrine government bailouts for troubled financial firms in law.
Tugged in different political directions, the White House is seeking credit for good economic news and trying to escape blame for the bad stuff. President Barack Obama greeted as "obviously welcome news" a government report showing the economy grew 3.5 percent from July through September after four quarters of declines. That's unofficial confirmation that the long, harsh recession has ended.