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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 bwolfgang@washingtontimes.com.

Articles by Ben Wolfgang

**FILE** President Obama pauses as he speaks about the new health care law during a White House Youth Summit on Dec. 4, 2013, in the South Court Auditorium in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on the White House complex in Washington. Americans who already have health insurance are blaming President Barack Obama's health care overhaul for their rising premiums and deductibles, and overall 3 in 4 say the rollout of coverage for the uninsured has gone poorly. (Associated Press)

Obama administration refuses to negotiate on debt ceiling increase

Despite the recent bipartisan breakthrough on the budget, the White House insisted Monday it will not negotiate with congressional Republicans on the next debt ceiling increase and will demand an unconditional increase before the government hits its borrowing limit early next year. Published December 16, 2013

** FILE ** This photo taken Dec. 11, 2013, shows House Budget Committee Chairman Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., right, accompanied by House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio speaking during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

White House: Once again, no negotiations on debt ceiling

With the threat of a government shutdown off the table for the next two years, attention now has turned to another looming fight over the nation's debt ceiling — and the White House has no interest in negotiating with Republicans as that limit approaches. Published December 16, 2013

In this Dec. 14, 2012, file photo, Robert and Alissa Parker, at right, leave a firehouse staging area following a shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. Gunman Adam Lanza opened fire inside the school, killing 26 children and adults, including the Parkers' daughter Emilie Parker, 6. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill, File)

Clinging to gun control positions — more change, but more of the same

One year after the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., all sides of the debate — from President Obama and single-issue groups led by outgoing New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and others to powerful gun advocacy voices — sound much the same as they did 12 months ago in the immediate aftermath of one of the worst shootings in American history. Published December 14, 2013

Supreme Court Justice Stephen G. Breyer noted during arguments Tuesday the fact the Environmental Protection Agency has been granted by courts wide latitude in how it interprets the Clean Air Act. (ASSOCIATED PRESS)

High court likely to allow Obama's clean-air rules

The fate of key clean-air regulations — central to the President Obama's larger environmental agenda — now rests with the Supreme Court, which on Tuesday hinted it may throw the administration a lifeline and allow controversial pollution rules to be reinstated. Published December 10, 2013

Funding boost of $100M for mentally ill a 'small step'

Having failed thus far in pushing gun control legislation through Congress, the White House has turned to the much less controversial effort of improving the quality of the nation's mental health services. Published December 10, 2013

North Carolina and Gov. Pat McCrory, a Republican, are the latest to come under direct fire from a White House that admittedly is waging a full-blown PR offensive on Medicaid expansion in response to Obamacare's rocky rollout. (Associated Press)

White House PR blitz hits states that rejected Medicaid expansion

The Obama administration's all-out public relations push to sell its health care reform law increasingly is targeting individual governors, who will bear much of the blame, the White House says, if millions of poor Americans remain uninsured. Published December 9, 2013

The flag above the White House flies at half staff in honor of former South African President Nelson Mandela, Friday, Dec. 6, 2013 in Washington. For most of the world, his name is synonymous with courage and perseverance. Leaders and citizens, athletes and artists remembered Mandela on Friday _ though many struggled to find words big enough to describe the man who changed the face of South Africa and inspired a continent and a world: a colossus, a father figure, a giant baobab tree providing shade for an entire nation. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)

Obama, first lady will attend Mandela memorial services

President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama will travel to South Africa next week to attend memorial services for former South African President Nelson Mandela, who died Thursday at the age of 95. Published December 6, 2013

** FILE ** This Nov. 17, 2001 file photo shows  Nelson Mandela and his wife Graca Machel sharing a private moment during a ceremony to rename a school Nelson Mandela Park Public School in Toronto. The former South African president, who spent much of 2013 in and out of the hospital, died Thursday, Dec. 5, 2013 at age 95. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Frank Gunn)

Nelson Mandela now 'belongs to the ages'

President Obama was a junior senator from Illinois and was only beginning his meteoric political rise, which ultimately propelled him into the White House in 2008 and into the history books as America's first black president. Nelson Mandela, by contrast, was nearing the end of his incredible journey, having emerged from decades in prison during South Africa's dark apartheid era to become his own nation's first black leader. Published December 5, 2013

President Barack Obama speaks about the new health care law during a White House Youth Summit, Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2013, in the South Court Auditorium in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on the White House complex in Washington. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

Obama returns to class warfare as poll numbers plunge

Turning his attention yet again to the economy, President Obama on Wednesday zeroed in on the "defining challenge" of this generation — growing income inequality between the richest 1 percent and the rest of America. Published December 4, 2013

President Barack Obama gestures as he speaks about the new health care law, Tuesday, Dec. 3, 2013, in the South Court Auditorium in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on the White House complex in Washington. The president said his signature health care law "is working and will work into the future." Obama said the benefits of the law have "gotten lost" in recent months as attention focused on the widespread problems that crippled the website where people can sign up for health insurance. On stage with the president are Americans the White House says have gained as a result of the Affordable Care Act.  (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)

President defends Obamacare: 'We're not going back'

He stopped short of declaring "mission accomplished," but President Obama on Tuesday offered another full-throated defense of his landmark health-care reform law, sidestepping the lingering problems and stating flatly that Obamacare has been and will continue to be a success for the American people. Published December 3, 2013

** FILE ** In this Oct. 30, 2013, file photo, President Barack Obama speaks at Boston's historic Faneuil Hall about the federal health care law. (AP Photo/Stephan Savoia, File)

Obama to take second swing at health care reform pitch

President Obama has embraced his role as the nation's most famous salesman, pitching his namesake health care reform law to uninsured Americas and seeking to convince them that problems with Obamacare — chief among them a faulty website — will be fixed. Published December 3, 2013

Education Secretary Arne Duncan has championed the Common Core system but apologized for saying the program's critics are driven by "white suburban moms" who fear their children's test scores will drop as a result of more rigorous standards. (Associated Press)

Common Core education supporters want Obama administration to shut up

The Obama administration's cheerleading for the Common Core State Standards Initiative is designed to calm critics and rally supporters for the ambitious overhaul of the nation's elementary and secondary school curriculums. But that effort may be backfiring. Published December 2, 2013

White House press secretary Jay Carney answers a question during the daily press briefing, Monday, Dec. 2, 2013, in the White House briefing room in Washington. Carney answered questions on the ongoing rollout of the Healthcare.gov website. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)

Obama administration: Private sector runs better websites

Those visiting HealthCare.Gov still are experiencing delays, a fact that demonstrates how the private sector simply is better than the government when it comes to building a functional website, according to the White House. Published December 2, 2013

"There are certain circumstances where it is not feasible to have independent journalists in the room," White House deputy press secretary Josh Earnest said. (Associated Press)

White House seen shaping image by limiting access

A picture may be worth 1,000 words, but the Obama administration's controls on photojournalists may say even more about how this White House sees the role of a free press in the digital age, analysts say. Published December 1, 2013

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Nevada Democrat, defends the vote to weaken filibusters and make it harder for Republicans to block confirmation of the president's nominees for judges and other top posts on Thursday. According to the Congressional Research Service, Mr. Reid filed cloture on just 54 nominations from 2009 through 2012, and only seven of them were filibustered. (Associated Press)

Senate's 'nuclear' move opens one-year window for Obama on nominations

After the bomb may come the flood. By invoking the "nuclear option" last week, the Democrat-controlled Senate has given the White House a clear but temporary path to install judicial and executive nominees who otherwise may have faced stiff opposition from Republicans. Published November 24, 2013