New York Times: "The Obama administration told Congress on Thursday that it would allow the federal government to continue paying a large share of the cost of health insurance for members of Congress and their aides, averting a problem for many who work on Capitol Hill. However, under the arrangement, lawmakers and many of their aides will have to get coverage through new health insurance marketplaces, or exchanges, being set up in every state."
NBC’s Michael O’Brien: “President Barack Obama named a new, full-time commissioner of the IRS on Thursday, giving the besieged agency a permanent leader. Obama nominated John Koskinen, a veteran of government service who helped oversee the restructuring of mortgage giant Freddie Mac in the aftermath of the 2008-09 recession, to lead the IRS.”
From the Washington Post: “ ‘Many people would have been unable to deal with all that stress, but he did, and the company did well,’ said Ed Haldeman, who eventually became chief executive of Freddie Mac, serving until 2012. During his tenure with D.C., Koskinen was credited with budget innovations that helped the District deal with a $323 million shortfall in 2003, including making better use of federal grants and the collection of Medicaid dollars, according to a Washington Post article that year. ‘John Koskinen is the best appointment I have ever made,’ Williams said Thursday. Koskinen has a reputation for nonpartisan leadership. ‘We had some very Republican kinds of people on the [Freddie Mac] board, but it was always collegial and cooperative on the board when John was chair,’ Haldeman said. ‘He was very balanced in dealing with people and nonpartisan.’”
The Hill notes that "key members from both parties also said that Obama made a positive step in moving to put a full-time, Senate-confirmed commissioner at the head of an agency that has had temporary leaders for close to nine months. But while Republicans said they hoped Koskinen could help rebuild taxpayer trust in the IRS, they also expressed concern about the timing of Obama’s announcement and Koskinen’s history of political contributions."
NBC’s Carrie Dann: “The Senate has confirmed Samantha Power to be the next ambassador to the United Nations. The vote was 87-10. Power, who has served as a foreign policy adviser to President Barack Obama, replaces Susan Rice, now the president’s national security adviser.”
Washington Post: "Lost in all the rancor among Republicans over the National Security Agency’s surveillance programs has been this: A similar ideological divide has been exposed in the Democratic Party that could pose even more political difficulties for President Obama. Several Democrats from the party’s civil liberties wing — the mirror image of the Republicans’ rising libertarian strain — met with Obama and Republican lawmakers Thursday at the White House to discuss concerns about the NSA’s phone data collection program and elements of the administration’s broader surveillance effort."
New York Times: "President Obama is even less likely to go through with a visit to Moscow this fall after Russia’s decision on Thursday to grant Edward J. Snowden temporary asylum. For Mr. Obama, though, the Snowden affair is only one of myriad reasons to beg off the scheduled meeting with President Vladimir V. Putin...The White House, which began debating last month whether to cancel the September trip, said Mr. Obama still had not made a final decision. “
The Washington Post also notes Organizing for Action launched a "Truth Team "that will enlist its supporters in efforts to counter criticism of the Affordable Act Act and other White House policies."