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Ben Wolfgang

Ben Wolfgang

Ben Wolfgang covers the White House for The Washington Times.

Before joining the Times in March 2011, Ben spent four years as a political reporter at the Republican-Herald in Pottsville, Pa.

He can be reached at

Articles by Ben Wolfgang

President Barack Obama speaks at the El Reno Federal Correctional Institution,  in El Reno, Okla., Thursday, July 16, 2015. As part of a weeklong focus on inequities in the criminal justice system, the president will meet separately Thursday with law enforcement officials and nonviolent drug offenders who are paying their debt to society at the El Reno Federal Correctional Institution, a medium-security prison for male offenders near Oklahoma City. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Inside federal prison, Obama urges justice system reform

After meeting with inmates and becoming the first sitting president to visit a federal prison, President Obama said Thursday young people who make mistakes and use drugs should not be sentenced to decades behind bars. Published July 16, 2015

FILE - This Sept. 30, 2014 file photo shows the Colstrip Steam Electric Station operated by Talen Energy in southeastern Montana. Coal companies and their supporters scored a courtroom victory with a U.S. Supreme Court decision that said the Obama administration failed to take potential costs into account when it decided to regulate toxic emissions from many power plants, Monday, June 29, 2015. (AP Photo/Matthew Brown, File)

Obama targets coal industry with new water regulations

In the latest clash between the Obama administration and the U.S. coal industry, the Interior Department on Thursday released stringent new regulations requiring companies to monitor water quality and plant trees and vegetation in the area around mining sites. Published July 16, 2015

President Barack Obama pauses speaks at Taylor Stratton Elementary School in Nashville, Tenn., Wednesday, July 1, 2015, about the Affordable Care Act. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster) ** FILE **

Rights groups push Obama to act swiftly on criminal justice reforms

In demanding the nation overhaul its criminal justice system, President Obama has zeroed in on an issue ripe for true bipartisan action, but he's also given himself an immense political challenge as activists now expect him to deliver tangible results quickly. Published July 15, 2015

Secretary of State John F. Kerry, who threatened to walk away from the Iran nuclear deal negotiations last week, said Sunday that "a few tough things" remain in the way but added, "We're getting to some real decisions." (Associated Press)

White House: No firm timetable on Iran talks

The White House said Monday that there's no firm timetable on reaching a final nuclear agreement with Iran, and Secretary of State John Kerry and other U.S. officials will remain in Vienna as long as negotiations remain constructive. Published July 13, 2015

President Obama speaks at the University of Wisconsin at La Crosse on July 2, 2015, about the economy and to promote a proposed Labor Department rule that would make more workers eligible for overtime. (Associated Press) **FILE**

Obama commutes sentences for 46 drug offenders

President Obama on Monday commuted the sentences of 46 men and women convicted of nonviolent drug crimes, saying the cases exemplify why Congress must make permanent changes to the criminal justice system. Published July 13, 2015

Despite President Obama's hailing clean energy as the next great thing for America, watchdog groups say that government subsidies for solar power have led to artificial demand. (Associated Press)

Obama green energy spending distorts solar power markets, risks 'bubble'

President Obama has engaged in unprecedented spending on wind and solar power, and argues they're key to getting the U.S. off of fossil fuels, but recent studies have raised new questions about just how much the so-called green energy sources will cost taxpayers. Published July 12, 2015

The crude oil debate has once again pitted President Obama against his traditional friends in organized labor. Major labor unions also have criticized the president for refusing to approve the Keystone XL oil pipeline, which the administration admits would create more than 40,000 jobs. (Associated Press)

Oil export ban support pits Obama against allies in Congress, labor

President Obama this week has found himself at odds with allies in Congress and in organized labor over lifting the 40-year ban on U.S. crude oil exports, with the White House still blocking efforts to ship American fuel abroad despite growing support for the idea and mounting evidence that exports will drive down domestic gasoline prices. Published July 9, 2015

Secretary of State John Kerry, center, and US Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power, left, listen as President Barack Obama speaks during a bilateral meeting to discuss the Ebola epidemic with Ethiopian President Hailemariam Desalegn, Thursday, Sept. 25, 2014 in New York. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais) **FILE**

White House puts onus of failure on Iran with nuclear talks at a standstill

As international negotiations over Iran's nuclear program continue with no new signs of a breakthrough and with critics saying the U.S. should give up, the Obama administration on Wednesday put the burden for completing a historic deal squarely on the shoulders of Tehran. Published July 8, 2015

Sen. Bernard Sanders, Vermont Independent. (Associated Press)

Low unemployment rate obscures decline in Americans seeking work

The Obama administration once again is touting new data showing job growth and another drop in the nation's unemployment rate, but beneath the surface lies a more bleak picture of the U.S. economy, as more and more Americans disappear from the labor force. Published July 7, 2015

Chief Justice John Roberts may be beyond reconciliation with conservatives

Now an outcast among conservatives, Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. may get the chance to redeem himself in the coming months with his stand on affirmative action, the power of labor unions and other key cases, but some on the right say it's too late for him to salvage his credibility with them. Published July 5, 2015

Keystone pipeline divides Congress as deadline nears

With a decision looming, both sides of the Keystone XL pipeline debate are making last-ditch appeals to President Obama, with opponents saying the project fails the White House's climate test and supporters arguing it's a no-brainer that will spur U.S. energy independence and economic growth. Published July 1, 2015

The White House this week once again is zeroing in on climate change, a top priority for President Obama during his final 18 months in office. (Associated Press)

Obama climate change agenda faces legal, political resistance

With Barack Obama's legacy on health care seemingly secure after last week's landmark Supreme Court decision, the president's ambitious environmental agenda will come into sharper focus -- but a host of legal challenges and growing defiance across the country threaten his efforts to fight climate change. Published June 30, 2015

FILE - In this April 3, 2015 file photo, President Barack Obama walks through a solar array at Hill Air Force Base, Utah, to speak about clean energy. The growth of renewable energy outpaced that of fossil fuels in the electricity sector last year, with a record 135 gigawatts of capacity added from wind, solar, hydropower and other natural sources, a new study shows. The annual report released early Thursday, June 18, 2015 in Europe by Paris-based REN21, a non-profit group that promotes renewable energy, underscored how China, the world’s top consumer of coal, has become a global leader in clean energy, too. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)

Obama vows U.S. will triple renewable energy by 2030

President Obama on Tuesday vowed that the U.S. will nearly triple the amount of electricity generated by renewable fuel sources by 2030, part of the White House's broader plan to phase out fossil fuels. Published June 30, 2015

This Dec. 13, 2010, file photo shows CMS Energy Corp.'s B.C. Cobb Plant in Muskegon, Mich. (Jeffrey Ball, The Muskegon Chronicle via AP) ** FILE **

Supreme Court strikes down Obama power-plant regulations

President Obama's climate change agenda hit a roadblock at the Supreme Court on Monday, but the administration brushed aside the decision and declared victory anyway, saying most utilities already have made the pollution cuts that technically are no longer necessary in light of the high court's ruling. Published June 29, 2015