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NEWS
February 1, 2013 | By Noam N. Levey
WASHINGTON -- The Obama administration tried anew Friday to defuse controversy over a requirement in the healthcare law designed to broaden access to contraception, proposing new regulations to protect some religious organizations from having to cover these services in their health plans. The proposal, which comes after more than a year of heated debate, expands an exemption from the contraceptive mandate for churches and other houses of worship. That was a nod to intense criticism from many religious groups that have been enraged by the provision in the Affordable Care Act that requires most employers to provide women contraceptive coverage with no co-pays or other cost-sharing.
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OPINION
April 9, 2014 | By The Times editorial board
The United States is irked that Iran has chosen as its representative to the United Nations a diplomat who apparently was involved with a student group that seized the U.S. Embassy in Tehran in 1979. The embassy takeover, a violation of international law that led to the 444-day captivity of 52 American hostages, contributed to hostility between the two countries that only recently has begun to abate. But the Obama administration is making a mistake in publicly labeling as "not viable" the posting to the U.N. of Hamid Aboutalebi, an experienced diplomat aligned with Iran's reformist President Hassan Rouhani.
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CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
January 19, 2012 | By Dean Kuipers
The Times' Politics Now blog reports that the Obama administration has rejected a permit for the controversial Keystone XL pipeline project. The decision was due by Feb. 21, under provisions voted in by Congress as part of the payroll tax cut extension in December, but the president and his appointees are expected to announce a decision as early as Wednesday. This does not mean, however, that the project is dead. The pipeline's parent company TransCanada will need to propose an alternative route to avoid putting the pipe over a large aquifer in Nebraska, and then it can resubmit its permits.
OPINION
April 8, 2014 | By The Times editorial board
No one should have expected that putting more vegetables in front of elementary school students would instantly turn them into an army of broccoli fans. Plenty of food has been thrown out since new federal rules took effect in 2011 requiring students in the subsidized school lunch program to choose a fruit or vegetable each day. Nevertheless, studies find that continued exposure to produce is resulting in more children eating at least some of it. That's worth a certain amount of wasted food.
NEWS
November 9, 2012 | By Noam N. Levey
WASHINGTON - The Obama administration moved Friday to give states more time to submit plans for setting up insurance exchanges in 2013, a central pillar of the healthcare law. These exchanges are designed to allow Americans who don't get coverage through work to buy insurance on Internet-based marketplaces much as they shop for airline tickets today. They were to be operated by states starting next fall so consumers could get insurance starting in 2014. But just 15 states, including California, Maryland and Connecticut, as well as the District of Columbia, have established an exchange, according to the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation.
NEWS
October 20, 2011 | By Noam N. Levey, Washington Bureau
Working to salvage a much-touted initiative in the new healthcare law aimed at controlling costs, the Obama administration issued revised regulations Thursday to encourage doctors, clinics and hospitals to take greater responsibility for improving patients' care. The rules will reward healthcare providers who form partnerships to reduce the cost of caring for Americans on Medicare while also boosting quality, two goals of the sweeping overhaul the president signed last year. These partnerships -- known as Accountable Care Organizations, or ACOs -- have been held up by many experts as one of the most promising remedies for the poor outcomes and high costs that bedevil the American healthcare system.
NEWS
April 5, 2013 | By Brian Bennett
WASHINGTON - The chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee asked the Obama administration Friday to provide data to back up its assertions that the southwest border is more secure than it has been in decades. In a letter to Janet Napolitano, secretary of Homeland Security, Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas) said the administration's claims of success on the border appeared at odds with a Times story Thursday that cited details from internal Customs and Border Patrol reports.
NEWS
February 5, 2014 | By Christi Parsons
WASHINGTON - The Obama administration is changing the rules for refugees and asylum seekers in the United States so that people will no longer be barred entry for providing incidental or unintentional support to terrorist organizations. The new definition of what it means to provide “material support” to terrorists comes after years of complaints from human rights advocates that the old rules led to the exclusion of vulnerable refugees who pose no harm. Among those turned away in recent months were a Syrian refugee who paid an opposition group to gain safe passage out of Syria and a farmer who paid tolls to a resistance group to cross a bridge to take his food to market, according to the Department of Homeland Security.
NEWS
June 6, 2013 | By Kathleen Hennessey
WASHINGTON -- The Obama administration is defending the government's secret seizure of millions of domestic telephone records from Verizon, saying the data collection program “has been a critical tool in protecting the nation from terrorist threats to the United States.” A senior administration official released a statement Thursday after the British newspaper The Guardian first reported the secret operation. The paper posted on its website a classified court order that requires the telecommunications company to turn over daily records with the length, location and time of individual phone calls, as well as phone numbers.
NEWS
March 4, 2014 | By Kathleen Hennessey
WASHINGTON - The Obama administration will ask Congress to approve $1 billion in loan guarantees and other assistance to help stabilize the new, pro-Western government in Ukraine, Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew said Tuesday. The loans will be part of a larger international aid package coordinated by the U.S. and European allies, and distributed largely through the International Monetary Fund. The money is needed to close a gaping budget hole left when the Ukraine opposition deposed President Viktor Yanukovich and rejected a loan package from Moscow.
BUSINESS
March 28, 2014 | By Neela Banerjee
WASHINGTON - In an effort to deliver on President Obama's pledge last summer to tackle emissions that drive climate change, the White House announced a strategy to limit releases of methane, a highly potent greenhouse gas. The methane strategy, disclosed Friday, is the most recent in a string of climate change initiatives that the White House has unveiled at a rapid pace in recent weeks. It lays the groundwork for regulations that could affect agriculture and the oil, gas and coal industries.
BUSINESS
March 26, 2014 | By Noam N. Levey and Michael A. Memoli
WASHINGTON - As Monday's deadline approaches to sign up for insurance under President Obama's health law, more than 1 million people a day are visiting HealthCare.gov, Obama administration officials said Wednesday. The site - the main portal for insurance marketplaces in 36 states - drew 1.2 million visitors Tuesday and 1.1 million visitors Monday, according to the administration. Over the same period, call centers received more than 500,000 calls. California's state-run health insurance exchange reported a similar surge in interest, with nearly 40,000 people picking a health plan Monday and Tuesday.
OPINION
March 23, 2014 | By The Times editorial board
For-profit colleges that wildly exaggerate their graduates' success and talk prospective attendees into taking on extraordinary debt are not only harming their students but costing taxpayers billions of dollars on wasted Pell grants and defaulted federal student loans. After an earlier court defeat, the Obama administration is trying again to set rules to stop schools from overpromising to attract students. This time, the rules should stick. The administration has spent years looking for ways to crack down on the bad actors within the for-profit college industry, which accounts for just 13% of college enrollment but almost half of all federal student loan defaults.
OPINION
March 14, 2014 | By The Times editorial board
If a sentence contains the phrases "New York state" and "Common Core," chances are that somewhere between the two is the word "botched. " New York and California have taken opposite approaches to implementing the new academic standards, which have been adopted by 45 states but are now the target of a backlash. California's approach bucked the Obama administration's rules, but as it turns out, California was right. New York jumped feet first into the new standards, administering tests based on them - tests that, among other things, were supposed to be used in teacher evaluations.
NEWS
March 13, 2014 | By Christi Parsons
The Obama administration is preparing to crack down on some for-profit colleges, requiring them to do a better job of preparing students for work or risk losing access to federal student aid. Newly proposed regulations expected from the Education Department on Friday are designed to stop the flow of federal funds to poor-performing colleges. Students at most for-profit colleges rely heavily on federal loans and grants, and few programs could survive if the flow of federal money were ended.
OPINION
March 9, 2014 | By John Kiriakou
The confirmation in December that former CIA Director Leon Panetta let classified information slip to "Zero Dark Thirty" screenwriter Mark Boal during a speech at the agency headquarters should result in a criminal espionage charge if there is any truth to Obama administration claims that it isn't enforcing the Espionage Act only against political opponents. I'm one of the people the Obama administration charged with criminal espionage, one of those whose lives were torn apart by being accused, essentially, of betraying his country.
NEWS
March 13, 2014 | By Christi Parsons
The Obama administration is preparing to crack down on some for-profit colleges, requiring them to do a better job of preparing students for work or risk losing access to federal student aid. Newly proposed regulations expected from the Education Department on Friday are designed to stop the flow of federal funds to poor-performing colleges. Students at most for-profit colleges rely heavily on federal loans and grants, and few programs could survive if the flow of federal money were ended.
NEWS
March 5, 2014 | By Doyle McManus
It sounds as if someone in the Obama administration has been re-reading George F. Kennan, who ( as I noted in my column ) advocated a policy of “containing” Russian expansionism - but always giving Moscow's rulers a face-saving way to back down. “It is a sine qua non of successful dealing with Russia that the foreign government in question should remain at all times cool and collected,” Kennan wrote in 1947, “and that its demands on Russian policy should be put forward in such a manner as to leave the way open for a compliance not too detrimental to Russian prestige.” What does that mean in 2014, when Russian troops have occupied the Crimean peninsula (once part of Russia, now part of Ukraine)
NATIONAL
March 5, 2014 | By Noam N. Levey
WASHINGTON - The Obama administration announced Wednesday that some Americans with health insurance policies that don't meet consumer standards set by the president's new healthcare law would be allowed to keep their plans into 2017, three years later than originally envisioned. The delay, which could put off the final cancellation of some health plans until after President Obama leaves office, may have limited practical impact. Senior administration officials, briefing reporters on condition of anonymity, said they believed that only about 1.5 million consumers nationwide currently were covered under such plans, about 500,000 of which were purchased by individuals and the rest by small businesses.
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