- - Thursday, March 3, 2011

HEALTH CARE

Judge tells states to abide by heath care law, pending appeal

PENSACOLA, Fla. | A federal judge who declared President Obama’s health care overhaul unconstitutional ruled Thursday that states must continue implementing it while the case makes its way through the appeals process.

U.S. District Judge Roger Vinson was responding to a request from Obama administration attorneys who sought to ensure Florida and 25 other states follow the law until their challenge to it is resolved.

Three other federal judges have upheld the law and a fourth in Virginia has ruled against it, but that ruling is also on hold until appeals are heard. The issue is widely expected to wind up before the U.S. Supreme Court.

In Thursday’s ruling, Judge Vinson admonished the administration for being slow to file its appeal and for asking him to clarify his ruling instead of filing a motion to put it on hold. Still, he said, it is in the nation’s best interest for states to continue following the law for now.

“It would be extremely disruptive and cause significant uncertainty” to halt implementation, he wrote.

EPA

House GOP pushes bill to ax emissions rules

Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives introduced a bill Thursday that would permanently stop the Environmental Protection Agency from regulating emissions blamed for warming the planet.

President Obama would veto a bill that permanently blocks the agency from tackling climate change, administration officials have said. Mr. Obama has pledged to the world that the United States will cut greenhouse gases to about 17 percent below 2005 levels by 2020.

Rep. Fred Upton, Michigan Republican and chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, introduced the bill, called the Energy Tax Prevention Act.

Sen. James M. Inhofe, Oklahoma Republican and a climate skeptic who is writing a book on global warming called “The Hoax,” also plans to introduce a version of the legislation Thursday.

SENATE

No Capitol honor for last WWI vet

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