The White House this week is gearing up for major clashes on both the domestic and foreign fronts, with the administration set to release the first Obamacare enrollment figures and defend a proposed nuclear deal with Iran.
The administration will release this week a tally of those who have signed up for public health exchanges, having already tried to downplay expectations by suggesting that such numbers would be “very low.”
President Obama's surrogates have kept enrollment data under wraps as Washington has remained consumed by the problem-ridden rollout of healthcare.gov and Obama's broken promise that all Americans could keep their insurance plans under the new health law.
The White House had set a goal of enrolling 7 million Americans in Obamacare by the end of March, and the expected dismal early showing will give Republicans ammunition to argue that Obama’s signature domestic achievement should at least be delayed.
The first batch of enrollment figures will include those who signed up for new insurance exchanges and Medicaid, which was expanded under the new health law.
At the same time, the White House is exploring possible fixes for the millions of Americans who are receiving cancellation notices for insurance plans that don’t meet Obamacare standards.
The president last week apologized for repeatedly promising all Americans they could keep their doctors and medical insurance, but the administration is struggling to put forward a fix that doesn't require a legislative change.
Secretary of State John Kerry is also set to return to Washington after days of talks in Geneva, Switzerland, between western nations and Iran that failed to produce a deal on curtailing Tehran's nuclear ambitions.
Even with the lack of a breakthrough, Kerry is arguing that a deal remains within reach.
The nation’s top diplomat will testify on Capitol Hill on Tuesday as lawmakers look to impose a new set of sanctions on Iran — and as U.S. ally Israel strongly lobbies against the proposed framework. The White House though has urged Congress to delay another round of economic punishments against Iran in hopes of a diplomatic breakthrough.
“We are not blind, and I don't think we're stupid,” Kerry insisted on NBC's “Meet the Press.” “I think we have a pretty strong sense of how to measure whether or not we are acting in the interests of our country and of the globe.”
Amid the glaring focus on Obamacare and Iran, the president will also recognize Veterans Day on Monday by hosting members of the military and their families for a White House breakfast and participating in a wreath-laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery.
The president on Wednesday will also deliver remarks at the 2013 Tribal Nations Conference, a gathering at the Interior Department of leaders from the 566 federally recognized tribes.
And on Thursday, Obama will travel to Philadelphia for a Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee fundraiser.