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Jul 10, 2013

Honoring opera to ‘Star Wars,’ Obama awards arts medals to 24

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Citing the power of artists and academics to open minds, President Barack Obama on Wednesday awarded 24 medals to people including “Star Wars” creator George Lucas and writer Joan Didion who he said touched his life and the lives of Americans.

“They challenge us to think and to question and to discover, to seek that inward significance,” Obama said, awarding the winners of the National Medal of Arts and National Humanities Medal at a ceremony in the East Room of the White House.

Jul 10, 2013

Obama pushes economic case for immigration as House eyes next steps

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The White House is trying to turn up the pressure on Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives to pass sweeping immigration reform in coming weeks, making the argument that modernizing the outdated system would boost the economy and cut the deficit.

President Barack Obama’s top advisers released a 32-page report on Wednesday pulling together well-known economic arguments – highlighted by quotes from some Republican stalwarts – that passing reforms will grow the economy by 3.3 percent by 2023 and reduce the deficit by almost $850 billion over 20 years.

Jul 9, 2013

Privacy fears grow as Obama weighs expanded gun-buyer database

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Mental health advocates are worried that the privacy of people who have received treatment for their illnesses could be jeopardized by a White House push to expand a database used to run background checks on gun buyers.

President Barack Obama said he wants to see state governments contribute more names of people barred from buying guns to the database, part of a sweeping set of executive actions he announced after a gunman killed 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, in December.

Jul 9, 2013

White House trims economic forecast ahead of Congress budget battle

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The White House on Monday trimmed its outlook for U.S. economic growth but said the deficit was shrinking faster than projected in a budget update that was virtually ignored by Republicans ahead of tough negotiations with Congress on spending cuts and raising the U.S. debt limit.

The White House said it expected gross domestic product to rise 2.0 percent this year and 3.1 percent next year – less than the 2.3 percent and 3.2 percent forecast in President Barack Obama’s budget released in April.

Jul 8, 2013

White House trims GDP forecast, citing global slowdown, sequester

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The White House on Monday trimmed its outlook for U.S. economic growth in 2013 and 2014, citing “serious headwinds” from European austerity measures and a slowdown in China, as well as across-the-board budget sequester cuts at home.

The mid-session budget and economic update highlighted the lingering impact of the recession that has stymied President Barack Obama’s economic agenda.

Jul 4, 2013

Obama, Merkel agree to talks on U.S. surveillance program

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama sought to allay concerns from German Chancellor Angela Merkel about reported U.S. spying on European allies on Wednesday, and they agreed to hold a high-level meeting on the subject in coming days.

The European Union has demanded the United States explain a report in a German magazine that Washington was spying on its European allies, calling such surveillance shocking if true.

Jul 3, 2013

Obama, Merkel agree to high-level talks on U.S. surveillance program

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama sought to allay concerns from German Chancellor Angela Merkel about reported U.S. spying on European allies on Wednesday, and they agreed to hold a high-level meeting on the subject in coming days.

The European Union has demanded the United States explain a report in a German magazine that Washington was spying on its European allies, calling such surveillance shocking if true.

Jun 28, 2013

Who makes the most in Obama’s White House?

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Twenty-two of President Barack Obama’s top advisers make the top White House salary of $172,200 per year – but there is one official who earns 30 percent more.

It’s not Chief of Staff Denis McDonough. Not Obama’s senior adviser and close friend Valerie Jarrett. Not Cecilia Munoz, who is overseeing White House efforts on immigration reform, nor Lisa Monaco, who advises Obama on homeland security and counterterrorism.

Jun 26, 2013

Obama takes on power plants as part of new climate plan

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama tried to revive his stalled climate change agenda on Tuesday, promising new rules to cut carbon emissions from U.S. power plants and other domestic actions including support for renewable energy.

Obama also signaled he would block construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline from Canada if it contributed to climate change. That does not mean the project is doomed, however. A State Department report, which Obama could reference, has said the pipeline would not change the outlook for carbon emissions because the development of Canada’s oil sands would continue whether it is approved or not.

Jun 26, 2013

Rivals read what they want in Obama Keystone remarks

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – When President Barack Obama weighed in on the Keystone XL pipeline controversy on Tuesday, his comments became a kind of Rorschach inkblot test for rival lobbies, reflecting their wishes for the fate of the long-delayed project.

The pipeline, designed to carry 830,000 barrels of crude oil per day from the Canadian oil sands and the Bakken shale in North Dakota and Montana south to Texas refineries, was first proposed in 2008, but approval has been delayed several times due to a groundswell of criticism.

    • 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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