- - Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Retiring Sen. Joe Lieberman in his final Senate floor speech urged Congress to put partisan rancor aside and reach across party lines to break Washington’s gridlock.

The Democrat-turned-independent from Connecticut said Wednesday that strong bipartisan leadership is needed to solve the nation’s most pressing problems, such as the looming “fiscal cliff” budget crisis.

Mr. Lieberman nearly won the vice presidency on the Democratic ticket with running mate Al Gore in 2000 and mounted an unsuccessful presidential bid in 2004.

Mr. Lieberman is leaving the Senate in January after 24 years and will be replaced by Democratic Rep. Christopher S. Murphy, who defeated Republican wrestling magnate Linda McMahon in November’s election. Mr. Lieberman did not seek re-election and did not endorse either candidate.

SENATE

Democrats craft disaster aid package for $60.4B

Senate Democrats have quickly cobbled together a $60.4 billion disaster aid package for New York, New Jersey and other states hit by Superstorm Sandy in late October.

Working from the emergency spending request President Obama made five days ago, the Senate Appropriations Committee on Wednesday released a draft of the legislation.

While the bill calls for $60.4 billion, the Congressional Budget Office estimates that only about $9 billion would be spent over the next nine months. An additional $12 billion would be spent the following year.

The bill is laden with big infrastructure projects that often require years to complete.

ILLINOIS

Jackson’s wife won’t run for his House seat

CHICAGO — The wife of Jesse Jackson Jr. said Tuesday that she’s not interested in running for the U.S. House seat her husband held for nearly 17 years, ending talk that she was eying the Chicago-area district.

“No. I am not a candidate for Congress,” Chicago Alderman Sandi Jackson told reporters. “I intend to remain an alderman.”

Mr. Jackson resigned last month citing his health and acknowledging that he’s under federal investigation, reportedly for misusing campaign funds. His decision followed a hushed medical leave for treatment of bipolar disorder. He remained out of the public eye for five months, even leading up to the Nov. 6 election, in which he easily won re-election.

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