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Apr 26, 2014

If it’s Saturday, it’s time for Obama to talk up the minimum wage

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – For the fifth Saturday this year, the White House used the president’s weekly address to exhort Republicans to support an increase in the minimum wage, a key part of President Barack Obama’s voter-friendly economic agenda aimed at keeping Democrats in control of the U.S. Senate.

Obama has been pushing Congress to raise the federal minimum wage to $10.10 per hour, up from the current level of $7.25, a move that would lift wages for almost 28 million people and is supported by more than 70 percent of Americans.

Apr 12, 2014

White House to send Biden to Kiev as conflict with Russia escalates

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Vice President Joe Biden will travel to Kiev on April 22, to demonstrate high-level U.S. support for Ukraine, the White House said on Saturday after expressing concern about escalating tensions in the eastern part of the country.

The White House warned Russia against further military action in Ukraine after armed separatists seized government offices in the eastern city of Slaviansk, saying the situation was reminiscent of what happened before Russia annexed Ukraine’s Crimea region.

Apr 11, 2014

Obama names Burwell as U.S. health secretary to fix Obamacare woes

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama said on Friday he will promote budget director Sylvia Mathews Burwell to be his next health secretary, who will preside over the next difficult phase of his healthcare law in the months before November congressional elections.

Burwell, whose nomination must be approved by the U.S. Senate, will replace Kathleen Sebelius, who became the public face of the disastrous rollout of Obamacare, formally known as the Affordable Care Act, which Republicans plan to exploit as they seek to take control of the Senate.

Apr 10, 2014

Obama’s health secretary resigns after Obamacare launch woes

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Kathleen Sebelius, the U.S. health secretary who oversaw the botched rollout of President Barack Obama’s signature healthcare reforms, has resigned, a senior administration official said on Thursday.

Obama has chosen Sylvia Mathews Burwell, his budget director, to replace Sebelius, a second official said. Obama was due to announce the change with Sebelius and Burwell at his side at a White House event at 10:45 ET on Friday.

Mar 28, 2014

White House eyes new regulations to cut methane from oil, gas sector

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The White House said on Friday it will take a hard look at whether new regulations are needed to cut emissions of methane from the oil and gas industry, part of President Barack Obama’s plan to address climate change.

Regulators will start by proposing new rules later this year to reduce venting and flaring from oil and gas wells on public lands, one way to begin slashing emissions of the potent greenhouse gas, said Dan Utech, Obama’s top energy and climate aide.

Mar 27, 2014

Obamacare enrollment tops 6 million as deadline looms -White House

WASHINGTON, March 27 (Reuters) – More than 6 million people
have now signed up for private insurance plans under President
Barack Obama’s signature healthcare law known as Obamacare,
reflecting a surge in enrollments days before the March 31
deadline, the White House said on Thursday.

The milestone gives the White House some ammunition to
counter Republican critics, who have described the program as an
expensive flop in the build-up to midterm congressional
campaigns in November, when Democratic control of the U.S.
Senate is at stake.

Mar 27, 2014

White House says Obamacare enrollment tops 6 million as deadline looms

WASHINGTON, March 27 (Reuters) – The White House said on
Thursday that more than 6 million people have now signed up for
private insurance plans under President Barack Obama’s signature
healthcare law known as Obamacare, reflecting a surge in
enrollments days before the March 31 deadline.

Ten days ago, the administration had pegged enrollment at
more than 5 million people, and enlisted celebrities and top
government officials to try to convince more uninsured people -
particularly the young and healthy – to sign up.

Mar 27, 2014

White House unveils plan to end bulk collection of phone data by NSA

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Obama administration on Thursday announced details of its plan to end the government’s vast bulk collection of data about phone calls made in the United States, including new procedures to get judicial approval before asking phone companies for such records.

Under the plan, telephone companies would have to provide data from their records quickly and in a usable format when requested by the government, a senior administration official told reporters. It would also allow the government to seek the data without a court order in a national security emergency.

Mar 25, 2014

NSA ‘metadata’ reform plans seek to defuse potential opposition

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Proposals by the White House and a congressional committee to reform the National Security Agency’s collection of Americans’ telephone “metadata” are being crafted with an eye toward defusing potential opposition from telephone companies and privacy advocates, sources familiar with the plans said.

Lawmakers are considering giving government compensation to phone companies for expenses incurred when the intelligence agency asks for searches of phone records, as well as offering the firms greater protection against lawsuits challenging their compliance with those requests.

Mar 25, 2014

Obama to propose ending NSA bulk collection of phone records: official

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama plans to ask Congress to end the bulk collection and storage of phone records by the National Security Agency but allow the government to access the “metadata” when needed, a senior administration official said on Monday.

If Congress approves, the Obama administration would stop collecting the information, known as metadata, which lists millions of phone calls made in the United States. The practice triggered a national debate over privacy rights when the extent of the surveillance program was exposed last year by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

    • 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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