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Oct 15, 2013

Obama backs Health Secretary Sebelius despite ‘Obamacare’ woes

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama has “full confidence” in Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius despite the troubled launch of the U.S. government website for signing up for his signature healthcare insurance program, the White House said on Tuesday.

Americans trying to shop for health insurance at under Obama’s healthcare law have been frustrated by error messages, long waits and system failures, with many failing to make it through the system despite repeated tries.

Oct 14, 2013

Squirrels relish White House kitchen garden as shutdown sidelines staff

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – In the famous White House kitchen garden, tomatoes are rotting on the vine. Herbs have gone to seed. And the sweet potatoes – a favorite of President Barack Obama – have become worm food.

It’s another impact of the government shutdown, one that only the fox and the many squirrels that live on the White House grounds could love.

Oct 14, 2013

U.S. senators close in on fiscal deal as deadline looms

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. senators said they were closing in on a deal Monday that would reopen the government and push back a possible default for several months, though many hurdles remained as a Thursday deadline drew near.

Ahead of a meeting with President Barack Obama, the Senate’s top Democrat and top Republican both said they were optimistic that they could soon reach an agreement that would allow them to avert a looming default and end a partial government shutdown that has dragged on for 14 days so far.

Oct 14, 2013

Obama says it appears some progress in Senate toward averting default

WASHINGTON, Oct 14 (Reuters) – President Barack Obama said
on Monday it appears there has been progress in Senate fiscal
impasse negotiations but that there is a good chance the United
States will default on its debts if Republicans are unwilling to
set aside some partisan concerns.

Obama emerged from the White House to visit Martha’s Table,
an organization that makes meals for low-income families where
some furloughed government workers have been volunteering.

Oct 13, 2013

U.S. veterans groups take shutdown protest to White House gates

WASHINGTON, Oct 13 (Reuters) – Veteran and Tea Party groups
protested the U.S. government shutdown in Washington on Sunday,
taking down barricades around the World War Two memorial on the
National Mall before marching to the gates of the White House.

Police officers, some in riot gear, pushed back against the
crowd when it got too close to the White House fence, creating a
brief flashpoint of anger in an otherwise peaceful

Oct 12, 2013

Obama pressures Republicans to raise debt ceiling, end shutdown

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama pressured Republican lawmakers on Saturday to agree to raise the U.S. debt ceiling for longer than they would prefer, as their fiscal impasse dragged into the weekend with five days left to find a deal.

The budget battle between Obama and Republicans who control the House of Representatives has idled hundreds of thousands of government workers hit by a 12-day government shutdown and put the United States at risk of a historic debt default, possibly by next Thursday, unless the borrowing limit is raised.

Oct 9, 2013

During shutdown, U.S. charity to ensure fallen troops’ death benefits

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A private U.S. charity struck a deal with the Pentagon on Wednesday to advance a “death gratuity” to families of American troops who die during the government shutdown, after the Defense Department determined it was legally unable to make the $100,000 payment.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel announced the agreement after returning from Dover Air Force Base, where he attended a ceremony marking the return of the bodies of four U.S. soldiers killed by insurgents in Afghanistan on Sunday.

Oct 9, 2013

Obama says Republicans must end ‘threats’ on fiscal impasse

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama refused to give ground in a fiscal confrontation with Republicans on Tuesday, saying he would negotiate on budget issues only if they agree to re-open the federal government and raise the debt limit with no conditions.

At a news conference, an unbending Obama said he would not hold talks on ways to end the fiscal impasse while under threat from conservative Republicans, but agreed to discuss anything, including his healthcare plan, if they restore government funding and raise the debt limit.

Oct 8, 2013

Obama tells Republicans he will negotiate once they end ‘threats’

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama turned up the political pressure on Republicans on Tuesday, saying he would be willing to negotiate on budget issues only after they agree to re-open the federal government and raise the debt limit with no conditions.

At a news conference, an unbending Obama said he would not hold talks on ways to end the fiscal impasse under threat from “more extreme parts of the Republican Party.”

Oct 5, 2013

As U.S. shutdown drags on, House votes to pay idled workers

WASHINGTON, Oct 5 (Reuters) – Democrats and Republicans in
the U.S. House of Representatives agreed on Saturday to
retroactively pay 800,000 furloughed federal employees once the
government reopens, but there was no end in sight to the
shutdown that was in its fifth day.

The House of Representatives passed the bill unanimously and
it is expected to clear the Senate and be signed by President
Barack Obama. It was a rare moment of cooperation in the House
as the two parties were entrenched in their positions on the

    • 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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