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Bill to help long-term unemployed advances in Senate, approval seen likely later in week

WASHINGTON - Legislation to resurrect benefits for the long-term unemployed took an essential step Wednesday toward likely Senate approval, despite complaints from Republicans that Democrats refuse to allow changes designed to stimulate job creation. The vote was 61-38, one more than the 60 needed for the bill to advance toward likely approval in the next several days.

7.1 million: Obama basks in health care sign-up success - but will it save Democrats in fall?

WASHINGTON - Mocking his critics, President Barack Obama boasted Tuesday that 7.1 million people have signed up for his health care law, an unexpected comeback after a disastrous rollout sent his poll numbers plummeting and stirred fears among Democrats facing re-election this fall. "The debate over repealing this law is over," he declared.

Obama cheers seven million health care sign ups

President Barack Obama Tuesday cheered seven million people who bought into his health care law and lashed out at political foes who were "mad" that more Americans could get insured. Obama savored a rare moment of triumph in his second term after the Affordable Care Act sign-up process defied skeptics and a rocky launch to hit its enrollment target ahead of a Monday deadline. "Yes, at times, this reform has been contentious and confusing and obviously it's had a share of critics," Obama told a crowd in the White House Rose Garden.

Obamacare sign-ups hit seven million target: White House

The White House said Tuesday it had reached its target of signing up seven million people to new insurance plans under President Barack Obama's health care law. "I think it is fair to say we surpassed everybody's expectations," spokesman Jay Carney said, noting that 7,041,000 people had signed up before a midnight deadline. col-sst/jm

U.S. administration says midday HealthCare.gov glitch resolved

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Obama administration said on Monday that it has resolved a glitch affecting HealthCare.gov that temporarily prevented new users from accessing application and enrollment tools around midday, as website traffic volumes surged hours before a midnight deadline to enroll in private health insurance. (Reporting by David Morgan; Editing by Meredith Mazzilli)

AP sources: Obama health law sign-ups on track to hit 7M on deadline day despite glitches

WASHINGTON - Government officials tell The Associated Press that President Barack Obama's health care law is on track to hit 7 million sign-ups as a result of a deadline-day surge. Two officials spoke on condition of anonymity Monday because they were not authorized to discuss the matter ahead of an official announcement. Seven million sign-ups was the original target set by the Congressional Budget Office for subsidized private health insurance offered through new online markets.

Late Obamacare surge jams website

Tens of thousands of Americans jammed the website for President Barack Obama's health care law Monday as a six-month window closed to sign up for plans under his top domestic achievement. The White House, which has paid a heavy political price for the unpopular law, was triumphant as a predicted late rush for policies materialized and banished memories of a disastrous website outage that haunted the launch of enrollments late last year.

Obama health care website stumbles on deadline day; Official cites 'technical problem'

WASHINGTON - The Obama administration's health care website is stumbling on deadline day for sign-ups. Visitors to HealthCare.gov on Monday morning saw messages that the site was down for maintenance. At times the visitors were also directed to a virtual waiting room — a feature designed to ease the strain on the site during periods of heavy use.

Obama agents sent home from Europe for boozing

In a new embarrassment for the US Secret Service, three agents were sent home from Amsterdam for drunkenness, after one was found passed out in a hotel hallway. The agents were in The Netherlands ahead of US President Barack Obama's trip there this week as part of the elite unit tasked with protecting the president in the event of an attack. Secret Service spokesman Brian Leary confirmed to AFP Wednesday that "three employees were sent home for disciplinary reasons," without giving any further details.

Virginia lawmakers recess without Medicaid, budget deal

By Gary Robertson RICHMOND, Virginia (Reuters) - Virginia's legislature has recessed without reaching agreement with Democratic Governor Terry McAuliffe over a budget or Medicaid expansion. McAuliffe, a former Democratic Party fundraiser, and the Republican-dominated House of Delegates are deadlocked over a two-year pilot expansion of Medicaid, the federal healthcare program for the poor the governor has proposed.
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