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Dec 15, 2014

U.S. Senate approves new surgeon general

WASHINGTON, Dec 15 (Reuters) – The U.S. Senate confirmed the
long-delayed nomination of Dr. Vivek Murthy for surgeon general
on Monday, as Democrats pushed to approve some of President
Barack Obama’s stalled choices for government posts before
Republicans take power in Congress next year.

Obama’s pick for the top U.S. public health job was approved
51-43. Earlier, Murthy barely cleared a procedural hurdle after
he drew opposition over his support for stricter gun
regulations.

Dec 15, 2014

U.S. Senate Democrats push votes on Obama’s nominees

WASHINGTON, Dec 15 (Reuters) – With the clock ticking down
on their Senate majority, Democrats pushed on Monday to win
approval for some of President Barack Obama’s stalled
nominations for government posts.

Leading the list is Vivek Murthy, Obama’s choice for the top
U.S. public health job of surgeon general, who has drawn
opposition over his support for stricter gun regulations, and
Sarah Saldana, whose nomination to head the Immigration and
Customs Enforcement office became bogged down after she said the
president’s executive action on immigration was legal.

Dec 11, 2014

Democrats balk at U.S. spending bill, raising shutdown risk

WASHINGTON, Dec 10 (Reuters) – Congressional Democrats
objected on Wednesday to controversial financial and political
campaign provisions tucked into a $1.1 trillion U.S. spending
bill, keeping the risk of a government shutdown alive.

The complaints from House of Representatives Minority Leader
Nancy Pelosi and other top Democrats clouded the chances for
passage of the funding bill as a midnight Thursday deadline drew
near.

Dec 9, 2014

Obamacare consultant apologizes for remarks about stupidity of voters

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Obamacare consultant Jonathan Gruber apologized on Tuesday for his recent remarks about “the stupidity of the American voter,” telling a congressional committee he did not think President Barack Obama’s signature healthcare law was passed in a deceptive manner.

    Gruber, a healthcare economist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, said he had not intended to denigrate the 2010 Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare.

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 3, 2014

U.S. conservatives stand firm against funding for immigration order

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Conservative Republicans on Wednesday resisted a plan to avert a budget fight over President Barack Obama’s immigration order, raising the likelihood that the spending struggle in Congress could last right up to the Dec. 11 deadline for a government shutdown.

Tea Party lawmakers stood firm against House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner’s plan to pass a spending bill keeping most of the government running through September 2015 and postponing the battle over immigration until early next year, when Republicans take control of the Senate and expand their House majority.

Dec 3, 2014

Tea Party more subdued, pragmatic as budget deadline looms

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Tea Party Republicans who led the charge into a 16-day government shutdown last year are now taking a more pragmatic approach as they weigh options how to fight President Barack Obama’s immigration order.

Pushed by their dissident wing, Republicans blocked government funding in September 2013 in a bid to stop Obama’s healthcare reform law, but now numerous Tea Party members appear reluctant to take the battle over immigration that far.

Dec 2, 2014

Republican Boehner tries to avoid spending fight on immigration

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner urged fellow Republicans on Tuesday to pass a long-term government spending bill next week, avoiding a government shutdown and pushing any budget fight over President Barack Obama’s executive order on immigration into 2015.

At a closed meeting of House Republicans to plot strategy on how to handle a must-pass government spending bill, Republicans said Boehner argued for funding most of the government through next September but only giving a short-term extension to the Department of Homeland Security, the agency that would implement the executive orders Obama announced on Nov. 20.

Dec 1, 2014

Boehner to seek support for plan to avoid government shutdown

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner will try to sell fellow Republicans this week on a government spending bill that avoids a shutdown fight but allows the party to strike back at President Barack Obama’s immigration order.

Republicans have a lot riding on their handling of must-pass government funding. Having scored huge wins in Nov. 4 voting that handed them a majority in the Senate and gave them a bigger majority in the House, Republican leaders want to demonstrate that they can govern responsibly next year.

Nov 21, 2014

Obama announces action on sweeping U.S. immigration reform

WASHINGTON, Nov 20 (Reuters) – President Barack Obama
planned on Thursday to impose the most sweeping immigration
reform in a generation, easing the threat of deportation for
about 4.7 million undocumented immigrants and setting up a clash
with outraged Republicans.

In excerpts ahead of his 8 p.m. (0100 GMT Friday) speech,
Obama rejected Republican critics who say his actions are
tantamount to amnesty for illegal immigrants and urged them to
pass comprehensive immigration reform legislation.