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May 14, 2014

White House says no issue with Biden’s son, Ukraine gas company

WASHINGTON, May 13 (Reuters) – The White House on Tuesday
brushed aside questions about whether the involvement of Vice
President Joe Biden’s son in a Ukrainian natural gas company
raised ethical issues at a time when the administration is
promoting energy diversity in the country.

R. Hunter Biden, a lawyer and a partner in an investment
firm, was recently named to the board of directors of Burisma
Holdings, a private company that has drilled for natural gas in
Ukraine since 2002.

May 14, 2014

U.S. slaps sanctions on five Central African Republic men tied to violence

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama has imposed sanctions on Central African Republic’s former president, François BozizĂ©, and four other men linked to violence and human rights abuses in the country, the White House said on Tuesday.

The country has been racked by sectarian violence for a year after Seleka rebels, who are mostly Muslim, seized power, and “anti-balaka” militias, mainly Christian, fought back.

May 12, 2014

White House, Democrats calibrate how best to play Benghazi probe

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The White House and its Democratic allies in the U.S. House of Representatives have considerable legal leeway to avoid cooperating with a new Republican-driven probe of the 2012 Benghazi attacks, but the politics of participating are a bit trickier to navigate.

Stonewalling the new select committee could feed into the Republican narrative that President Barack Obama and his advisers are trying to hide something about the way they responded to the attacks in the Libyan city, which killed U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans.

Apr 29, 2014

White House wades cautiously into effort to protect online privacy

WASHINGTON/SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – The White House will lay out ideas this week for protecting U.S. consumers’ privacy in an era in which the ubiquitous use of computers and mobile phones provides a constant data feed on individuals.

But after a 90-day review of “big data,” the White House is expected to suggest ways to encourage companies to protect privacy and identify areas for further study, rather than calling for a legislative overhaul.

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.

    • 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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