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Dec 18, 2014

White House does not dismiss idea of Castro visit

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The White House does not dismiss the possibility of an eventual, precedent-shattering visit to Washington by Cuban President Raul Castro as part of President Barack Obama’s plans to normalize relations with Havana.

“I wouldn’t rule out a visit from President Castro,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters on Thursday, a day after the two governments announced they would restore ties and open embassies after half a century of hostility.

Dec 17, 2014

Obama grants first commutations under new clemency program

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Eight Americans serving time for drug
offenses will be allowed to leave prison ahead of schedule next
year, making them the first inmates to earn reduced sentences
through a broad clemency program announced by the Obama
administration earlier this year.

President Barack Obama on Wednesday granted the commutations
to men and women from Alabama, Virginia, Iowa and other states
who were in prison for possessing crack cocaine or
methamphetamine, with the intent to distribute the drugs or
related charges.

Dec 11, 2014

U.S. Senator Hatch sees hope for tech immigration bill in new year

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A senior Republican in the U.S.
Senate plans to revive legislation early in 2015 that would
raise the cap for temporary work visas for programmers,
engineers and high-skilled workers.

Utah Senator Orrin Hatch said his tech-focused bill could be
a way for lawmakers to start to make progress on the polarizing
issue of immigration reform.

Dec 7, 2014

Congressional Republicans to grill Obamacare consultant at hearing

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Republicans in the U.S. Congress plan to renew their attacks on President Barack Obama and his signature healthcare plan on Tuesday when they grill a consultant who said “the stupidity of the American voter” helped ensure the law’s passage.

Representative Darrell Issa, chairman of the House Oversight Committee, said panel members will ask consultant Jonathan Gruber about possible deceptions and a lack of transparency in the 2010 Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare.

Dec 5, 2014

Obama nominates Ashton Carter for Pentagon chief

WASHINGTON (Reuters) РU.S. President Barack Obama nominated longtime Defense Department understudy Ashton Carter as his fourth defense secretary on Friday to replace Chuck Hagel, the lone Republican in Obama’s Cabinet, who resigned last week after disagreements with the White House.

In Carter, Obama gets a policy expert who has worked for 11 defense secretaries. The 60-year-old Carter pronounced himself ready to give Obama candid, strategic advice once he clears U.S. Senate confirmation, which should move fairly quickly.

Dec 4, 2014

Obama sketches 2015 agenda of taxes, trade; meets McConnell

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama on Wednesday laid out a business-friendly legislative agenda for next year that hinges on whether he and the new Republican Congress can set aside long-simmering disputes and find common ground.

Obama also spoke one-on-one in the Oval Office with Republican Senator Mitch McConnell, whose party routed Democrats in midterm elections last month and who will become Senate majority leader in January.

Dec 2, 2014

Obama urges Congress to approve $6 bln for Ebola fight

/WASHINGTON, Dec 2 (Reuters) – President Barack
Obama urged Congress on Tuesday to approve $6.18 billion to help
fight the Ebola outbreak, reminding them that even though the
story has faded from the headlines, the battle against the virus
is far from over.

“Every hotspot is an ember that if not contained can become
a new fire, so we cannot let down our guard even for a minute,”
Obama said. “And we can’t just fight this epidemic. We have to
extinguish it.”

Dec 2, 2014

Obama to urge Congress to loosen purse strings for Ebola fight

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama on Tuesday will press Congress to approve $6.18 billion in emergency funding to help fight the Ebola outbreak in West Africa and prepare U.S. hospitals to handle future cases.

Most of the request is aimed at the immediate response to the disease at home and abroad. But the package also includes $1.5 billion in contingency funds – money that could become a target if lawmakers decide to trim the bill.

Nov 26, 2014

Tensions flare between Senate Democrats, White House

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Criticism of President Barack Obama’s signature healthcare law by a top Senate Democrat this week laid bare post-election tensions that could pose challenges for the party in upcoming fights with Republicans over taxes, energy and immigration.

In a high-profile speech on Tuesday dissecting Democrats’ losses in this month’s midterm elections, Charles Schumer, the No. 3 Senate Democrat, listed “a cascade of issues” botched by the White House, starting with Obama’s push for healthcare reforms soon after he took office in 2009.

Nov 21, 2014

Obama unveils U.S. immigration reform, setting up fight with Republicans

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama imposed the most sweeping immigration reform in a generation on Thursday, easing the threat of deportation for some 4.7 million undocumented immigrants and setting up a clash with Republicans who vow to fight his moves.

In a White House speech, Obama rejected Republican arguments that his decision to bypass Congress and take executive action was tantamount to amnesty for illegal immigrants.

    • About Roberta

      "Based on Capitol Hill, I help cover U.S. energy and environmental policy. I have reported on commodities since 1995, and have been with Reuters since 2002, moving to Washington from Canada in 2008."
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