WASHINGTON -- Just weeks after his re-election, President Barack Obama summoned about 20 senior administration officials to the White House's Roosevelt Room for an hour-long meeting on the implementation of his health care law.
Mr. Obama began by reminding his staff that the Affordable Care Act would be one of his major legacies and its execution among the highest priorities of his second term, according to a Democrat familiar with the gathering. The session, which has been followed by regular presidential briefings, led to a two-track campaign to defend the measure against united Republican opposition declaring it a failure and to motivate uninsured Americans to sign up for health care coverage.
The first phase will be on display today, when the president meets at the White House with women who will tell personal stories of how the law has already helped them.
Fannie Mae's payback
WASHINGTON -- Fannie Mae, the mortgage-financier seized by U.S. regulators in 2008, will pay the Treasury Department $59.4 billion after reporting a record quarterly profit driven by rising home prices and declining delinquencies.
The government-sponsored enterprise, which is operating under U.S. conservatorship, had net income of $8.1 billion for the three-month period that ended March 31, according to a statement released Thursday.
Cabinet picks are stalled
WASHINGTON -- Senate Republicans continued a campaign to delay confirmation of President Barack Obama's second-term Cabinet-level nominees Thursday, blocking a committee vote on Gina McCarthy, the president's pick to lead the Environmental Protection Agency.
The action came a day after Republicans on the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee threw a wrench in the nomination of Thomas Perez to be labor secretary, delaying it for at least a week.
In both cases, Republican committee members said the nominees had failed to adequately respond to their questions.
Benghazi data sought
WASHINGTON -- House Republicans on Thursday called on the Obama administration to release a new batch of emails that they believe will shed more light on how the White House and the State Department responded in the days after the attacks on American facilities in Benghazi, Libya.
Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, in a written statement, made the request, saying, "The truth shouldn't be hidden from the American people behind a White House firewall."
Killer on suicide watch
PHOENIX -- Jodi Arias will spend the weekend on suicide watch and return to court next week when jurors are expected to consider whether the death penalty should be an option for the former waitress' sentence.
The case was scheduled to resume Thursday, but court officials postponed it until Wednesday without any explanation.
Citrus disease spreading
AVON PARK, Fla. -- Florida's citrus industry is grappling with the most serious threat in its history: a bacterial disease with no cure that has infected all 32 of the state's citrus-growing counties.
Although the disease, citrus greening, was first spotted in Florida in 2005, this year's losses from it are by far the most extensive. While the bacteria, which causes fruit to turn bitter and drop from the trees when still unripe, affects all citrus fruits, it has been most devastating to oranges, the largest crop.