House OKs Debt Limit Increase, Bill Heads to Senate

Feb 12, 2014, 10:12 am EDT

The US House of Representatives passed a clean debt limit increase without any conditions — just barely — that signals a win for President Barack Obama, who held his ground against Republicans.

The 221-201 vote for a debt limit increase — again led by Democrats — marked a shift from the failed tactics that House Republicans used repeatedly over the past three years, which culminating a 16-day government shutdown last October.

The debt increase, which is needed when the US reaches its borrowing limit, is not for new spending, but to pay the bills that the US has already incurred. Read 

Obamacare News: Employer Mandate Delayed for Another Year

Feb 11, 2014, 9:20 am EDT

On Monday, the White House said that businesses with more than 50, but less than 100 employees, would get another year to come into compliance with requirements of the Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare.

Companies with more than 100 workers will have to meet Obamacare requirements for 70% of their employees who work more than 30 hours a week by 2015, and 95% by 2016. The administration of President Barack Obama, who championed the Affordable Care Act, has already issued several delays to the implementation of the new law, USA TODAY notes.

Republicans pounced on the latest Obamacare delay. A leading GOP congressman called the Obamacare mandate on businesses “bad for middle class families” and warned that it will dampen the nation’s economic growth. Republicans, who have repeatedly attempted to pass legislation to repeal Obamacare have also criticized the president for unilaterally delaying troublesome parts of the law. Read 

AOL Cuts Employee Benefits, Blames Obamacare

Feb 7, 2014, 2:06 pm EDT

AOL (AOL) is cutting some of its employee benefits in order to pay for new costs induced by Obamacare. Source: mailto:letters@investorplace.com

The tech company claims that President Obama’s new health care reform law is costing the company an additional $7.1 million. AOL CEO Tim Armstrong said that these costs have so forced the company to either pass that expense to employees or to cut other benefits.

Armstrong added that the company had to pay two different employees with distressed babies $1 million each to ensure their health. People immediately criticized Armstrong’s statements which refer to 401(k) changes to childbirth costs. Read 

Obama to Sign Farm Bill That Cuts Food Stamps

Feb 7, 2014, 10:44 am EDT

On Friday, U.S. President Barack Obama will affix his signature to a farm bill at a ceremony at Michigan State University, making the bill law.

The farm bill, the result of rare bipartisan compromise in Congress, has left both liberals and conservatives unhappy. The legislation trims $800 million in annual spending on food stamps, but continues subsidies to a broad range of agricultural groups. Squabbling between Democrats and Republicans in Congress delayed passage of the bill for two years, the Associated Press notes.

The signing of the farm bill will be linked to the Obama administration’s “Made in Rural America” program, which seeks to connect rural business with federal support. Obama is heading to the home territory of Democrat Michigan Senator Debbie Stablenow, who worked with the GOP to negotiate the deal to pass the farm bill. Read 

Clay Aiken to Run for Congress

Feb 5, 2014, 12:09 pm EDT

Clay Aiken, announced on Wednesday, that he will be running for Congress in North Carolina. Source: mailto:letters@investorplace.com

Clay Aiken plans to run for North Carolina’s 2nd Congressional District seat. That seat is currently held by Rep. Renee Ellmers. Aiken is seeking to be the Democratic nomination for the seat and will likely run against Keith Crisco and Toni Morris for the position. He also announced that his career in the entertainment industry will be paused while he works to help Congress focus on jobs, the economy and education, reports the Associated Press.

“I saw this as the best place I could serve because I think Washington, in general, is dysfunctional,” Clay Aiken told NewsObserver. “I think it’s high time we put people in Congress who were not beholden to their party and not beholden to anything but the people who they live around and grew up around, in my case.” Read 

USPS News: Proposal to Bring Banking Services to the Post Office

Feb 4, 2014, 2:01 pm EDT

One proposal suggest that the United States Postal Service (USPS) could bring banking services to small communities. Source: mailto:letters@investorplace.com

The USPS proposal has been backed by Sen. Elizabeth Warren as a way to provide safe banking services. According to Warren, banks in these small communities could lend money to people without giving them huge interest rates. This would protect the people from high-interest lenders that target small communities with few banking options and could also be a source of revenue for the USPS, reports ThinkProgress.

The average person spends $520 to get a $375 payday loan from high-interest lenders. However, USPS offices could offer those loans without the high-interest. Six out of 10 USPS locations area already in communities that could benefit from the change and it could also potentially bring $9 billion to the USPS, ThinkProgress notes. Read 

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