- - Thursday, June 14, 2012

PHOENIX — The tea party Republican who sought former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords‘ seat in Congress has dropped out of the fall race, two days after losing a special election to serve out her term.

Republican candidate Jesse Kelly made the announcement Thursday after, in his words, “looking at the results from Tuesday.”

Mr. Kelly lost Tuesday’s election to Democrat Ron Barber by 6 percentage points. Mr. Barber was a Giffords staffer when he was wounded in the mass shooting that critically wounded Ms. Giffords and led to her resignation in January.

It was Mr. Kelly’s second losing race for the House seat. He lost to Ms. Giffords in 2010 by about 4,000 votes.

Mr. Barber is expected to be sworn in next week. He will have to win over voters again in the November general election.


Panel blocks new rules on foreign workers

Several Democrats on a key Senate panel have voted with Republicans to temporarily block new organized labor-friendly Obama administration rules for seasonal foreign workers who often perform backbreaking labor at low wages.

The Appropriations Committee voted 19-11 to block the controversial rules for one year when debating legislation setting the Department of Labor’s budget.

The rules are designed to make it more difficult for businesses like seafood processors to exploit foreign workers and to get more Americans into seasonal jobs.

But business groups say requirements like paying transportation costs and visa fees for imported workers are too high. Employers also oppose a requirement to pay workers for three-quarters of the length of a contract, even if weather or other circumstances mean there isn’t that much work.


Lawmakers confirm Obama nominee to El Salvador

The Senate has confirmed President Obama’s nominee to be U.S. ambassador to El Salvador.

Six months after the nomination seemed dead, the Senate voted 62-37 Thursday to cut off debate and pave the way for approval of Mari Carmen Aponte. Her nomination won final confirmation on a voice vote less than an hour later.

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