President Barack Obama has authorized the U.S. to impose travel restrictions and economic sanctions on individuals determined to be involved in Russian military intervention in the Crimea region of Ukraine, the White House announced Thursday. The White House said the move was in response to what it called "Russia's ongoing violation of Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity."
As part of an effort to support the new government in Ukraine, the Obama administration is looking to provide the country with $1 billion in loan guarantees. The administration is working with Congress and the Ukrainian government to provide the loan guarantees, which the White House said are aimed at helping insulate vulnerable Ukrainians from the effects of reduced energy subsidies.
Continuing her fight against childhood obesity, First Lady Michelle Obama has proposed new government regulations that would ban the advertising of sugary drinks and junk food in public schools. The proposed rules, announced by Obama and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on Tuesday, would prevent companies from advertising high calorie products on cups, vending machines, posters and menu boards.
While the proposal is expected to face significant opposition on Capitol Hill, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has outlined a defense budget plan that would shrink the U.S. Army to its smallest size since before World War II. Hagel told reporters that the budget proposal reflects the transition the Defense Department is making following more than a decade of war in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Federal regulators issued guidelines Friday for financial institutions to provide services to legal marijuana sellers without violating the law. The guidance issued by the Treasury and Justice Departments clarifies customer due diligence expectations and reporting requirements for financial institutions seeking to provide services to marijuana-related businesses.
Avoiding another political standoff over raising the U.S. borrowing limit, the Senate voted Wednesday to approve legislation suspending the debt ceiling. The Senate voted 55 to 43 in favor of final passage of the bill, which suspends the nation's debt limit through March 15, 2015. The final vote came down strictly along party lines, with Democrats voting to approve the legislation.
Citing a poll showing that most Americans support normalizing relations with Cuba, Sens. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., and Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., have called on President Barack Obama to end the trade embargo against the communist island nation.
Providing additional ammunition for critics of Obamacare, the Obama administration revealed Monday that it is further delaying the implementation of the employer mandate for medium-sized businesses. The Treasury Department announced that businesses with between 50 and 99 employees will now have until 2016 to provide health insurance to their full-time workers before facing a tax penalty.