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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.
April 25, 2014
Re “U.S. drones attack Yemen targets,” April 22 The article states in part that “these strikes marked an escalation in the Obama administration's shadow war against the terrorist network's most powerful franchise,” killing a mix of 55 militants and civilians. Isn't this the same president who won a Nobel Peace Prize? Erik Lawrence San Diego More letters to the editor ...
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.
April 24, 2014 | By Don Lee
WASHINGTON -- The U.S. and Japan failed to reach agreement on free-trade talks as President Obama left Japan on Friday without the breakthrough needed to advance a key element of his broader agenda of strengthening America's hand in Asia. Despite a last-minute push through the night, the two sides could not bridge their differences on tariffs and market access, clouding the prospects for the proposed free-trade pact among a dozen nations that include the U.S., Japan, Canada and Mexico.
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.
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.
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.
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.
August 29, 2013 | By David G. Savage
WASHINGTON -- The Obama administration announced Thursday a limited pullback on federal enforcement of marijuana, saying it will not interfere with new state laws that permit recreational use of marijuana. The Justice Department said it will not seek to veto new state laws in Colorado and Washington that legalize the recreational use of marijuana, and it will not bring federal prosecutions against dispensaries or businesses that sell small amounts of marijuana to adults. A department official stressed, however, that marijuana remains illegal under federal law, and that U.S. prosecutors will continue to aggressively enforce the law against those who sell marijuana to minors and to criminal gangs that are involved in drug trafficking.
September 30, 2011 | By David G. Savage
The Obama administration is appealing a judge's decision in Alabama that upheld key parts of the nation's strictest state immigration law, including requirements for the police and school officials to question the status of persons, including children, who may be in the country illegally. U.S. District Judge Sharon Blackburn cleared the way Wednesday for much of Alabama's new law to take effect. School officials now face the task of determining the citizenship of newly enrolled students.
April 21, 2014 | By Kathleen Hennessey and Christi Parsons
WASHINGTON — Two and a half years after President Obama vowed to shift America's diplomatic, economic and military focus to Asia, he will head back to the region this week to try to convince allies and adversaries alike that he really meant it. Since the much-touted decision to "pivot" to Asia, the Obama administration has found itself repeatedly pulled away by crises in the Middle East, political battles in Washington and, more recently, turmoil...
April 18, 2014 | By Neela Banerjee and Lisa Mascaro
WASHINGTON - The Obama administration on Friday delayed a decision on the construction of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline, citing a Nebraska state court decision that invalidated part of the project's route. The latest hold-up in the unusually lengthy review of the $5.3-billion oil pipeline almost certainly will push any decision until after the November midterm election, getting President Obama off a political hook. The White House has been pressed on one side by environmentalists who have turned opposition to the pipeline into a touchstone issue and on the other by conservative Democrats from energy-producing states who say approving Keystone XL would show the administration's commitment to job creation.
April 15, 2014 | By Neela Banerjee
WASHINGTON - The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit on Tuesday upheld the Environmental Protection Agency's first-ever limits on air toxics, including emissions of mercury, arsenic and acid gases, preserving a far-reaching rule the White House had touted as central to President Obama's environmental agenda. In a 2-to-1 decision, the court ruled that the mercury rule “was substantively and procedurally valid,” turning aside challenges brought both by Republican-led states that had argued the rule was onerous and environmental groups that had contended it did not go far enough.
April 11, 2014 | By Christi Parsons and Michael A. Memoli, This post has been corrected. See note below.
WASHINGTON - President Obama named White House budget director Sylvia Mathews Burwell to take over the implementation of the Affordable Care Act on Friday, saying there was "no manager as experienced and competent" to run the next phase of his signature domestic program. "Sylvia was a rock, a steady hand on the wheel" as the administration dealt with the government shutdown last year, Obama told a crowd gathered in the White House Rose Garden for the announcement. "Once the government was allowed to reopen, Sylvia was vital to winning the two-year budget agreement that put an end to these manufactured crises that we had seen here in Washington so that we could keep our full focus on growing the economy and creating new jobs and expanding opportunity for everybody who's seeking opportunity.
April 11, 2014 | By Kathleen Hennessey
WASHINGTON -- The Obama administration on Friday sanctioned six Crimean leaders, a former lawmaker from Ukraine and a natural gas company as it tried to ramp up pressure on Russia to de-escalate tensions over control of Ukraine. The Treasury Department identified the individuals as Crimean separatists and leading organizers of the March referendum approving the Crimean peninsula's secession from Ukraine. The U.S. and many European officials say the vote was unconstitutional and invalid.
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.
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.
March 28, 2014 | By Tony Perry
In his scathing and deeply reported examination of the U.S. Border Patrol, Todd Miller argues that the agency has gone rogue since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, trampling on the dignity and rights of the undocumented with military-style tactics. "The U.S. Border Patrol is not just the 'men in green,' it is a much larger complex and industrial world that spans from robotics, engineers, salespeople and detention centers to the incoming generation of children in its Explorer programs," Miller writes in "Border Patrol Nation: Dispatches From the Front Lines of Homeland Security.
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