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By Justin Sink, Bloomberg News (TNS)

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama is calling for a ban on psychiatric “conversion” therapies aimed at changing the sexual orientation of gay, lesbian, and transgendered youth, a top aide said Wednesday.

The White House shares concerns over the “potentially devastating effects” of the therapy, senior adviser Valerie Jarrett said in a blog post on the White House website. She was responding to a petition calling for a federal law banning the practice.

“The overwhelming scientific evidence demonstrates that conversion therapy, especially when it is practiced on young people, is neither medically nor ethically appropriate and can cause substantial harm,” Jarrett said. “This administration supports efforts to ban the use of conversion therapy for minors.”

(c)2015 Bloomberg News, Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC

In this Jan. 21, 2013, file photo, President Barack Obama delivers his Inaugural address at the ceremonial swearing-in at the U.S. Capitol during the 57th Presidential Inauguration in Washington. Obama’s emphatic gay-rights advocacy in his inaugural address thrilled many activists. Yet almost immediately came the questions and exhortations as to what steps should be taken next. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

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US Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi wants her Democrats to push through trillions of dollars worth of investments in infrastructure and social service programs before a self-imposed deadline of September 30, 2021

Washington (AFP) - House Speaker Nancy Pelosi expressed confidence a massive infrastructure bill will pass this week but acknowledged it would not get a Monday vote as planned, with fellow Democrats warning critical work remains to meet the party's deadlines.

Democrats have been scrambling to hammer out a landmark plan to upgrade the nation's roads and bridges, but are also under immense pressure to finalize a $3.5 trillion public investment package and fund the government to avert a looming shutdown -- all by September 30.

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