- German President Joachim Gauck boycotting Sochi Olympics
- Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel: If you want to pay more for your doctor, you can under Obamacare
- Sen. Rand Paul: ‘I am seriously thinking about’ running for president in 2016
- Sleet, ice, deepfreeze hit large swath of U.S.
- ‘Welcome to the edge of freedom’: Biden’s boots touch down in DMZ
- Obama: Hole U.S. ‘digging out of’ requires billions more in unemployment benefits
- Obama’s regulatory agenda will cost U.S. economy $143B next year: report
- Patriot Act author on James Clapper: Fire, prosecute him
- Russia P.M. Medvedev: No amnesty for political prisoners
- Michigan GOP Senate hopeful reminds government is the ‘servant’
President signs 9/11 survivor-aid bill
HONOLULU | President Obama has signed into law a bill to provide aid to survivors of the Sept. 11 attacks and first responders who became ill working in the ruins at the World Trade Center.
The bill was one of the last measures Congress passed before adjourning in December. Some Republicans were concerned with how to pay for the bill and they tried to block the measure. But they dropped their opposition after lawmakers struck a compromise to reduce the costs.
The $4.2 billion measure will be paid for with a fee on some foreign companies that get U.S. government procurement contracts.
Mr. Obama signed the bill in Hawaii, where he’s vacationing with his family.
Congress failed last year to pass limits and let companies buy and sell pollution permits. That system was known as “cap and trade” - but to Republicans it was “cap and tax” because they said it would raise energy prices.
The administration now says it’ll act on its own to clamp down on power plant and oil-refinery emissions by developing new standards over the next year.
But Michigan Rep. Fred Upton tells “Fox News Sunday” that the GOP-led House won’t “let this administration regulate what they’ve been unable to legislate.” He says Republicans want to tackle the problem “in a reasonable way.”
Lawmakers expect to weigh abortion bills
OMAHA | Abortion foes fueled by success restricting the procedure in Nebraska during the last legislative session don’t expect the issue to fall by the wayside in 2011.
Two anti-abortion groups that lobbied lawmakers during the last session are shopping new legislation for introduction this month, and at least one senator is working on a bill of her own.
Sen. Annette Dubas, of Fullerton, says she’s preparing legislation that would limit insurance coverage for abortions under the federal health care overhaul.
Under the reform law, private plans in new insurance markets opening in 2014 can cover abortion, but payment must come from enrollees themselves, not from federal tax credits that will be offered to make premiums more affordable. Part of the law allows states to restrict abortion coverage by those private plans.
Governor’s race looms over legislative session
FRANKFORT | All signs point to a tension-filled 2011 legislative session, thanks to an acrimonious governor’s race involving two of the state’s political heavyweights.
“There’s plenty of time to run the governor’s race after the session is over with,” Mr. Beshear told reporters in a year-end interview.
GOP planning long-term rule
TOPEKA | Coming off its first clean sweep of congressional and statewide races in Kansas since 1964, the state Republican Party has drafted a plan for maintaining that dominance in politics for at least another decade.
The state GOP wants to increase its already large majorities in both houses of the Legislature, boost the percentage of voters who register Republican, set up a farm system that recruits business leaders early as potential candidates and hold quarterly forums to connect business leaders and party activists with elected officials.
The goals are outlined in an eight-page strategic plan from state Chairwoman Amanda Adkins, and the ultimate aim is giving Kansas a state government that’s consistently controlled by pro-business, anti-tax, small-government conservatives — and results in the policies such control implies.
The work by party officials comes as some prominent Kansas Republicans are pondering how to capitalize on the rise of the tea party movement and as downtrodden Democrats ponder their future after a bad election.
Gov.-elect Sam Brownback, who takes office Jan. 10, said the state GOP showed last year that it could operate as a unified party. But he said it wants to sustain that success.
Charges filed in Levin pie-in-face case
BIG RAPIDS | An antiwar protester who hit Michigan Sen. Carl Levin in the face with an apple pie has been charged with assault.
An indictment filed Thursday charges Ahlam Mohsen of Coldwater with two counts of assault against the Democrat while he was meeting with constituents in August in Big Rapids. Her friend Max Kantar of Big Rapids was also charged.
U.S. Attorney Don Davis in Grand Rapids says elected leaders should be able to listen to constituents without being attacked.
Levin spokeswoman Tara Andringa said he wasn’t immediately available for comment. At the time of the incident, the senator said his critics were hurting their cause.
• From wire dispatches and staff reports
- Obama: Hole U.S. 'digging out of' requires billions more in unemployment benefits
- Spike in battlefield deaths linked to restrictive rules of engagement
- PRUDEN: British press horrified as London's new mayor dares to proclaim the truth
- Bill OReilly reminds: Nelson Mandela was a communist
- 'Hunger Games' delivers Obama's message on income inequality
- Craigslist killers: Police say newlyweds stabbed man for thrills
- 'Dude, I'm dreading that I will have to go': Czech prime minister on Mandela funeral
- Dick Cheney: Family feud over gay marriage has been 'dealt with'
- Rush Limbaugh: Obama trying to make Mandela death about himself
- Sen. Rand Paul: Long-term unemployment benefits are disservice to workers
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