Dec 27, 2012, 7:23 pm EDT
With Congress running out of time to cut a deal to avoid the fiscal cliff, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., has run out of patience.
After House Speaker John Boehner, R-Oh., failed to reach a deal for his “Plan B” bill in the House, Reid has accused Boehner of sacrificing a debt deal in order to keep his position as House Speaker.
While speaking with reporters today, Reid pulled no punches when talking about Boehner. Read
Dec 27, 2012, 11:28 am EDT
Companies that object to extending employee health insurance to cover contraceptives will have to comply with the requirement even as they challenge President Barack Obama’s healthcare law in court.
The ruling comes from U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, who rejected an emergency appeal to a 10th Circuit Court ruling against Hobby Lobby Stores and Mardel, whose owners argued that complying with the insurance mandate would violate their Christian religious beliefs, Reuters noted.
Some contraceptives covered under the insurance mandate could induce an abortion. Failure to comply with the mandate could result in fines of up to $1.3 million per day for the two companies, which are controlled by billionaire David Green. Read
Dec 26, 2012, 6:13 pm EDT
With just five days left until the United States goes over the fiscal cliff, things are looking pretty grim for a last-second deal. Last week, right before Congress went on Christmas vacation, House Speaker John Boehner was unable to muster up enough support for his “Plan B” fiscal cliff legislation.
This has left the ball in the Senate’s court to come up with a deal to avoid the mandatory tax increases and spending cuts that will be triggered if a deal is not reached by December 31. His hands tied, Boehner has urged the Senate to come up with a deal and promised the House would consider whatever legislation it came up with.
President Barack Obama is due back in Washington tomorrow and will be meeting with members of Congress in order to hash out a last-second deal. However, even with Boehner’s pleas and Obama’s efforts, a fiscal cliff deal will be an uphill battle. Read
Dec 21, 2012, 9:30 am EDT
Efforts to avoid the U.S. fiscal cliff were in tatters last night after Republicans in the House of Representatives rejected House Speaker John Boehner’s “Plan B” legislation, which would have preserved Bush-era tax cuts on Americans earning less than $1 million a year.
Boehner had introduced the legislation as a fallback position to strengthen his bargaining power in budget talks with President Barack Obama. However, the speaker failed to muster enough GOP support to pass the bill and had to pull it from the House floor, Reuters noted.
With “Plan B” dead, and Congress readying to leave Washington for its Christmas break, the window for a deal is closing fast. In 11 days, mandatory tax hikes and budget cuts, part of last year’s deal to raise the debt ceiling, will kick in. Read
Dec 20, 2012, 9:48 am EDT
One likely outcome of any budget deal between President Barack Obama and congressional Republicans is raising fees on higher-income Medicare beneficiaries.
Both sides in the ongoing, if rocky, negotiations over tax hikes and budget cuts have signaled their support for letting Medicare premiums rise for senior citizens considered wealthy under government rules, the Associated Press notes.
Medicare premiums could rise by increasing monthly costs for prescription drug coverage and outpatient services on seniors with incomes over specified levels. Currently, individuals with annual incomes over $85,000 or couples with combined incomes over $170,000 are hit with surcharges. Read
Dec 19, 2012, 10:07 pm EDT
President Barack Obama is asking Congress to pass bills that would ban the sale of assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines, as well as require that any firearm sale be accompanied by a background check. The president’s request comes five days after the school shooting at a Connecticut elementary school that killed 27 people, including 20 children.
The president’s suggested gun control measures will likely be looked at by a working group led by Vice President Joe Biden. Obama’s proposals are his most significant to date dealing with gun violence in the U.S.
Gun-control advocates and many Democrats are pleased with Obama’s suggestions, particularly in the wake of his previous unwillingness to act on gun control. During his first term as president, there have been four mass shootings of civilians, including two this year and the shooting that severely injured former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz. in 2011. Read