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White House fires Twitter critic

President Obama's staff has unmasked and fired a national security official who tweeted critical comments under a pseudonym.

Jofi Joseph, tweeting under the handle @natsecwonk, once wrote: "I'm a fan of Obama, but his continuing reliance and dependence upon a vacuous cipher like Valerie Jarrett concerns me."

Other Obama staff members and officials -- including Secretary of State John Kerry and former National Security Adviser Tom Donilon -- have also been targeted by @natsecwonk, which was shut down last week.

The secret Twitter feed also raised questions about the administration's handling of the 2012 attack on a U.S. facility in Benghazi, Libya.

President Obama addresses widespread health care glitches

WASHINGTON (AP) - President Barack Obama on Monday said there was "no excuse" for the cascade of computer problems that have marred the rollout of a key element in his health care law, but declared he was confident the administration would be able to fix the issues.

"There's no sugarcoating it," President Obama said. "Nobody is more frustrated than I am."

The president said his administration was doing "everything we can possibly do" to get the federally run websites where people are supposed to apply for insurance up and running. That includes bringing in additional technology experts from inside and outside the government to work on the issues.

People have until March 31 to sign up for coverage. The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office had projected that about 7 million people would gain coverage through the exchanges during the first year.

Shutdown over, solution to next crisis unclear

WASHINGTON (AP) - The partial government shutdown has ended but that doesn't mean anyone has a solid idea for dodging a potential sequel.

The 16-day partial shutdown ended last week although a possible repeat may be on the horizon. Lawmakers approved a budget that keeps the lights on through Jan. 15 and lets Treasury continue to pay its bills through Feb. 7.

Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew says such a standoff cannot be repeated. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell similarly says there won't be another government shutdown.

That's not to say there is a solution at hand, and no one is rushing forward with alternatives to a potential repeat of the gridlock that shuttered parts of the government and pushed the nation toward a default on its debt.

President Obama Obama taps former Pentagon lawyer to lead DHS

WASHINGTON (AP) - President Barack Obama says the former Pentagon lawyer he's recalling to service to lead the Department of Homeland Security is an outstanding public servant whom he has known and trusted for years.

If confirmed by the Senate, Jeh Johnson would succeed Janet Napolitano, who is now president of the University of California system.

Obama says Johnson has a deep understanding of the threats and challenges facing the United States.

The 56-year-old Johnson was the Defense Department's top lawyer in Obama's first term. He returned to private practice last year.

At the Pentagon, Johnson oversaw the increased use of unmanned drone strikes, the revamping of military commission to try terrorism suspects and the repeal of the ban on gays in the military.

How will Congress deal with long-term budget?

As soon as lawmakers in Washington brokered a deal to reopen the government and raise the debt limit, President Obama urged Congress to "put the last three weeks behind us" and move forward with the fiscal plan it agreed to."

"We now have an opportunity to focus on a sensible budget that is responsible, that is fair, and that helps hardworking people all across this country," Mr. Obama said from the White House Wednesday evening.

Biden thanks government employees returning to work

(USA TODAY) -- Vice President Joe Biden went on a morale-boosting mission this morning. He welcomed back federal employees at the Environmental Protection Agency who were furloughed during the 16-day partial government shutdown.

See him speak to the employees in the video.

President Obama signs into law bill that opens government, avoids default

WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama signed into law a bipartisan deal approved by Congress Wednesday to reopen the federal government and avert an unprecedented debt default, ending a bitter and partisan 16-day impasse.

The Senate voted 81-18; The House voted 285-144. Only Republicans opposed the deal in each chamber.

Both chambers then adjourned for the rest of the week.

House GOP leaders accepted the Senate deal to end the partial shutdown and avert a Thursday deadline to raise the nation's $16.7 trillion debt ceiling, that risked the nation's economic standing.

"The compromise we reached will provide our economy with the stability it desperately needs," said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., who negotiated the agreement with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.