Obama administration

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Family Rains Cash on Dems, Immigration Breaks Ensue

Travel ban on Estefania Isaias is dropped

(Newser) - Estefania Isaias was banned from entering the US after getting illegal visas for her maids—a ban that was lifted right around the time the Isaias family donated tens of thousands of dollars to President Obama's campaign, the New York Times reports. The family has given vast sums to... More »

What New US-Cuba Relations Look Like

US to cut travel restrictions after release of Alan Gross

(Newser) - With the release of American Alan Gross , the beleaguered relationship between the US and Cuba is poised to undergo major changes. The two countries are preparing to normalize their diplomatic relations, which were severed in January 1961, the Wall Street Journal reports, and the US plans to re-establish its embassy... More »

Obama Picks Pentagon Nominee: Report

Ashton Carter has worked quietly behind the scenes until now

(Newser) - President Obama has apparently chosen a new candidate for Pentagon chief—a relative unknown on the national stage who worked as former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta's "alter ego" for about two years. That candidate is Ashton Carter, whose public profile was boosted by his role in planning the... More »

Biden Vacayed for Cheap in Fancy Federal Log Cabin

Other Obama bigwigs also apparently stayed at Wyoming's Brinkerhoff Lodge

(Newser) - With its ritzy decor and stunning view of the Grand Tetons, Wyoming's Brinkerhoff Lodge sounds like a vacation home fit for a king—or at least for VP Joe Biden and high-level Obama team members who've all stayed at the fancy log cabin with their families and friends.... More »

Ebola Death Toll Passes 3K

WHO prepares thousands of experimental vaccines

(Newser) - The number of deaths linked to Ebola has now passed 3,000, according to a WHO toll published today. In just two days, more than 150 people died in Liberia, the hardest-hit country. And WHO has warned that even those high tolls might be an underestimate as patients fear going... More »

US Cracks Down on Companies Moving Overseas

Treasury Dept tries to curb tax inversions

(Newser) - The Obama administration cracked down today on so-called tax inversions, aiming to curb a spate of American companies shifting overseas in an attempt to shirk paying US taxes. New regulations from the Treasury Department will make inversions less lucrative by barring creative techniques that companies use to lower their tax... More »

Homeland Security's Big Problem: Staff Keep Quitting

Department grapples with morale problems

(Newser) - One of the biggest challenges faced by the Department of Homeland Security is an internal one: Top staff members keep quitting, and it's hampering officials in their efforts to fight external dangers. In the past four years, the rate of departure from the department has been almost double the... More »

White House's New Enemy: Coolant Found in Your Home

Calls on firms, trading partners to cut down on R-134a

(Newser) - The Obama administration has a new goal in its effort to fight climate change: get Americans—and the world—to quickly stop using a chemical coolant found in just about every US home, car, and office. R-134a is a hydrofluorocarbon, or HFC; the chemical was used to replace ozone-damaging Freon... More »

Bobby Jindal Sues White House Over Common Core

Says education standards amount to nationalizing education

(Newser) - Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal is suing the Obama administration over Common Core education standards, arguing that they represent a federal effort to wrest control over education from the states, the AP reports. According to the suit filed today, the White House has "effectively force[d] states down a path toward... More »

Clinton Knocks White House 'Failure' in Syria

And suggests she'll run in 2016?

(Newser) - In a new Atlantic interview, Hillary Clinton has underlined her differences with President Obama on foreign policy—particularly when it comes to Syria. Clinton pointed to the administration's limited involvement in Syria as a major factor in the Islamic State's surge to power in Iraq, Politico notes. "... More »

US Spent $11B Spinning Wheels on High-Speed Rail

Obama's 2011 promise was 'unadulterated hype,' critics say

(Newser) - Since 2009, $11 billion has gone toward speeding up passenger trains in the US, yet there's little to show for it, the New York Times reports. Though the Obama administration isn't wholly to blame—GOP opposition, community protests, and lawsuits have also ridden the brakes—an expert says... More »

Trade in Focus as African Leaders Meet in Washington

Coca-Cola leads way in agricultural initiative

(Newser) - This week, Washington is hosting most of Africa's leaders for the White House's US-Africa Leaders Summit, which aims to forge stronger ties between the US and the continent, CNN reports. The event will address issues ranging from trade to security, the Wall Street Journal notes. A business forum... More »

Obama Approves Sonic Gun for East Coast Oil Search

Eastern Seaboard will be open for exploration in 2018

(Newser) - The Obama administration is opening the Eastern Seaboard to oil exploration for the first time in decades, it announced today, and it's approving the use of a controversial sonic cannon in the effort. Companies will be able to apply for permits from Delaware to Florida in 2018, when the... More »

Obama Needs a New 'Team of Rivals'

White House can't be 'echo chamber for the president’s views': Fred Hiatt

(Newser) - When President Obama first took office, he was wise to install a " team of rivals ," from Hillary Clinton to Bush-era defense secretary Robert Gates, who ensured his views would be challenged. But his second-term staff appears to be more a "team of loyalists," writes Fred Hiatt... More »

White House Seeks Tougher Rules on Child Migrants

Central Americans could quickly be sent home

(Newser) - Amid an influx of child migrants , many from Central America, President Obama is calling on Congress to change the rules on how their cases are handled—and it looks like his proposals will make it harder for the kids to stay. As it currently stands, children from countries that don'... More »

New Airport Security Concern: 'Creative' Bombs

Intelligence indicates terrorists in Syria may be working on them

(Newser) - The US may boost security measures at its own airports—and call for improvements abroad—amid fears of attacks fueled by the crisis in Syria, ABC News reports. Terrorists in the country, according to new US intelligence, may be working on "creative" bombs targeting commercial planes, sources tell ABC.... More »

In 40-Year First, US Paves Way for Oil Exports

Administration allowing two firms leeway on 1970s ban

(Newser) - Since the 1970s, the US has largely banned the exporting of unrefined oil. But the rules put in place after that decade's Arab oil embargo are changing: The Commerce Department is allowing two companies to export condensate, a form of ultralight oil that can be turned into gasoline, diesel,... More »

Obama Makes Gay Marriage More Like Straight Marriage

A host of federal benefits to be extended to same-sex couples

(Newser) - The White House is rolling out a slew of reforms today that will extend to same-sex married couples many of the federal benefits long reserved for straight couples. And in "almost all instances," the couples will get those benefits whether the state they live in recognizes same-sex marriage... More »

VA Accused of Retaliating Against Whistleblowers

Meanwhile, Obama's pick for health undersecretary backs out

(Newser) - As if the cloud over the Department of Veterans Affairs wasn't dark enough, the Office of Special Counsel has now launched an investigation into allegations that it retaliated against 37 whistleblowers—including some that tried to bring the waiting list scandal to light, the Washington Post reports. Employees in... More »

Shinseki: VA Has 'Systemic' Problems

He moves to fire senior leaders of Phoenix hospital

(Newser) - Eric Shinseki has begun the process to fire the senior leaders of the infamous Phoenix VA medical center, he announced today, as he apologized for his department's lapses. When the crisis broke, Shinseki said he believed the problem was isolated. "I no longer believe that. It is systemic,... More »

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