- - Monday, May 14, 2012

Republican Sen. John McCain wants the Obama administration to ramp up its free trade agenda in Asia and suspend U.S. economic sanctions on Myanmar.

The Arizona senator said Monday the U.S. has been “sitting on the sidelines” while China has moved swiftly to secure free trade agreements in Asia and Latin America.

He said the U.S. was negotiating too slowly on the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a trade pact with eight other nations, and should seek bilateral pacts with Taiwan and India.

Mr. McCain is the latest U.S. lawmaker to want to ease economic restrictions on Myanmar’s military-dominated government as a reward for democratic reforms. Rights groups oppose such a step.

Mr. McCain, who spoke at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, said he supports retaining the U.S. arms embargo with Myanmar.


Judge strikes down union election rules

A federal judge has struck down new regulations that were expected to help unions win more workplace elections.

U.S. District Judge James Boasberg says the National Labor Relations Board never had a quorum when it voted last year to approve regulations to speed up the pace of union representation elections.

Judge Boasberg did not address the merits of the rules Monday and said the NLRB could take a new vote to approve them.

At the time the rules were approved in December, the five-member board only had three members — two Democrats and one Republican. The Republican did not technically participate in a final vote on the rule, even though he later wrote a dissenting opinion.

Federal law requires a quorum of at least three board members to consider new rules.


State considers bill to protect homeless

PROVIDENCE — Rhode Island is considering creating a homeless bill of rights to prevent discrimination against people who some lawmakers say are among society’s most vulnerable.

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