THE HUFFINGTON POST
By Sam Stein and Arthur Delaney
WASHINGTON — The looming expiration of federal unemployment benefits raises the question of whether Democratic lawmakers bungled the debate.
Though Congress can still act retroactively, Democrats‘ goal had been to pass an extension of the benefits before Dec. 28, when they are set to expire. The administration and allies on the Hill tried to attach a provision to the budget deal passed in mid-December. But by the time they began engaging the fight, few Democrats seemed particularly attentive and Republicans were more than comfortable running out the clock.
Now, with Congress in recess, long-term unemployment insurance will come to an end for 1.3 million Americans, potentially costing 240,000 jobs, according to the White House‘s Council of Economic Advisers. Was it inevitable? Or was it a case of political mismanagement?
By Jennifer Epstein
President Obama will sign up for health insurance through an Affordable Care Act exchange, press secretary Jay Carney said Monday
“I don’t have an update for you on that. I know that he will and has said that he will,” Carney told reporters.
Asked when the registration will happen and whether the White House will make it open to the press, Carney responded: “I’ll get back to you.”
Soon after the ACA passed, the White House had told USA Today that Obama would sign up for insurance through an exchange, and when POLITICO followed up earlier this year, a reporter was directed back to those comments.
Carney’s comments Monday were the first recent confirmation of the president’s plans. He has the option of choosing to work through the District of Columbia or his home state of Illinois.
By Daniel Arkin, Staff Writer, NBC NEWS
The announcement this weekend that the United States and five other world powers had struck a deal with Iran that curtails its contentious nuclear program in exchange for limited relief from painful economic sanctions marks the most significant accord between Washington and Tehran in more than a quarter-century.
It also caps off nearly three months of whirlwind diplomacy — as swift as it was unprecedented — following a decade-long global nuclear standoff with Iran and an extended history of failed negotiations.
“Diplomacy opened up a new path toward a world that is more secure,” President Barack Obama said late Saturday night from the State Dining Room in the White House just after the historic agreement was signed at the Palace of Nations in Geneva.
THE WASHINGTON POST – OPINION
Eugene Robinson, Opinion Writer
The economy is growing much more quickly than expected. Inflation is basically nonexistent. The federal budget deficit has been slashed dramatically. The stock market is reaching all-time highs. One of our long-running wars is over, and the other is winding down. The status of the United States as the world’s preeminent economic and military power is unchallenged.
The sour public attitude toward elected officials in general — and the Republican Party in particular — is understandable. Indeed, the wonder is that pollsters can findanyone beyond paid staffers who will express approval of Congress. And as for the White House, the rollout of the Affordable Care Act does not scream competence and efficiency.
By Meredith Clark
The leaders of the Congressional intelligence committees said Sunday they oppose any possibility of clemency for Edward Snowden, the former National Security Agency contractor who released thousands of documents shedding light on the agency’s constant global surveillance.
Nearly five months after the first reports based on the documents were published, Snowden – who is living in Russian under temporary asylum – requested clemency through a German member of parliament. Snowden also suggested he would be willing to testify before Congress about NSA abuses and help German authorities investigate allegations of U.S. spying on their country.
Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Rep. Mike Rogers (R-MI) have been forceful defenders of the intrusive and secretive surveillance programs, many of which collect private information from US citizens and companies without their knowledge.
The revelations, which have appeared chiefly in The Washington Post and the Guardian, have stoked public outrage and harmed U.S. diplomatic relations with many key allies.
By Kristen Welker and Daniel Arkin, NBC News
As the Obama administration scrambles to rectify the rocky rollout of the online health care marketplace, the Health Department said Sunday that it has enlisted the “best and brightest” to help fix the website’s torrent of technical glitches and bugs as the president prepares to address the problems at the White House on Monday.
“Our team is bringing in some of the best and brightest from both inside and outside government to scrub in with the team and help improve HealthCare.gov,” the Department of Health and Human Services said in a blog post published Sunday.
The blog post also says technology officials have been working “around the clock” to ensure that individuals can create accounts and apply for health care coverage without any digital roadblocks.
“We’re proud of these quick improvements, but we know there’s still more work to be done,” the post says. “We will continue to conduct regular maintenance nearly every night to improve the experience.”
President Obama is “frustrated” by the problems in the rollout of his signature domestic policy achievement, Treasury Secretary and former White House Chief of Staff Jack Lew said Sunday.
“I think there’s no one more frustrated than the president at the difficulty in the website,” Lew said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” Sunday morning.
THE HUFFINGTON POST
By Sam Stein
WASHINGTON — Three senior Obama administration officials have made it abundantly clear that the president has no interest in budging from his position on the government shutdown or the looming debt ceiling fight.
The officials met with a handful of columnists and reporters on Thursday morning on condition that they not be named or quoted. They said President Barack Obama feels as strongly about this issue as he has about anything else during his time in office, including passing health care reform.
The meeting came the day after congressional leaders and the president met in the White House in hopes of finding a path forward on the dual budget fights. That meeting ended without an agreement. And the fact that both sides continued a media blitz the morning after suggests that a resolution remains far off.
By Michael Isakoff and Daniel Arkin, NBC NEWS
Pete Souza / The White House
President Barack Obama receives an update on the Washington Naval Yard shootings investigation by FBI Director James Comey, center, and Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. in the Oval Office on Tuesday. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, far left, and Lisa Monaco, assistant to the president for homeland security and counterterrorism also attended.
President Barack Obama has ordered a comprehensive review of government contractor and employee protections, according to the White House.
The move comes in the wake of the mass shooting at the Washington Navy Yard, which raised concerns about security procedures at U.S. military installations.
White House spokesman Jay Carney said Tuesday that Obama has directed his Office of Management and Budget to closely inspect security measures for contractors and employees across federal agencies.
Military officials said that the shooter — Aaron Alexis, 34, a former Navy reservist who was working as a civilian contractor — had a security card that allowed him access to the Navy Yard but not to the office building where he later opened fire, killing 12 people and wounding several others Monday.
President Obama will address the situation in Syria from the White House at 1:15 p.m. today. Get complete coverage of breaking news on CNN TV, CNN.com and CNN Mobile.
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