May 1, 2013, 12:36 pm EST
The price of getting Americans into space has gone up.
Russia has increased the amount of money it charges the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to ferry U.S. astronauts from Earth to the International Space Station by $8 million per person. That means each time the U.S. sends an astronaut to the space station in coming years it must pay the Russian Space Agency $70.6 million, the Associated Press notes.
The higher price is included in a contract signed by NASA covering transit to and from the space station in 2016 and 2017. Under the agreement’s terms, NASA will pay the Russians a total of $425 million for transportation via Russia’s Soyuz vehicle. Read
May 1, 2013, 11:38 am EST
Another prominent Republican has shifted his views on a gay rights issue.
U.S. Representative from Wisconsin Paul Ryan, the GOP’s vice presidential candidate in last year’s election, told attendees at a town hall-style event on Monday that he now supports adoption of children by homosexuals. More than a decade ago, he voted to support a ban of adoptions by homosexuals in the District of Columbia, USA TODAY noted.
Ryan said that his view on the subject had changed since that vote and he would not vote for such a ban today. Despite his changed stance on gay adoption, Ryan says he is still opposed to gay marriage, insisting that the definition of marriage remains between a man and a woman. Read
Apr 29, 2013, 7:54 pm EST
The truth is out there — and six former members of Congress are hoping to get to the bottom of it.
A week-long series of hearings hosted at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. is hoping to find clear answers on whether or not extraterrestrials have contacted Earth. There are 30 hours of congressional-style meetings planned, starting today and running through Friday.
Many of those testifying aim to prove that aliens — the kind from space, not the ones from other countries — are real, have contacted Earth, and that our government has hid this fact. Read
Apr 29, 2013, 9:12 am EST
An unidentified White House source tells the Washington Post that Charlotte, N.C., Mayor Anthony Foxx will be tapped to replace outgoing Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood.
Fox would become the first African-American transportation secretary. His selection is viewed as a way for President Barack Obama to satisfy critics, including the Congressional Black Caucus, who have accused him of failing to promote sufficient diversity in his administration.
During his tenure as mayor, Foxx has moved to upgrade Charlotte’s public transportation system, including the construction of a city-wide streetcar service. He has also collaborated with other civic leaders to expand the region’s light rail system. Read
Apr 25, 2013, 7:06 pm EST
One of the tools in the president’s toolbox to avoid partisan gridlock — the recess appointment — has been challenged recently, and President Barack Obama is hoping the Supreme Court can sort things out.
Recess appointments are a way for presidents to get around required Senate confirmation votes for presidential appointees. They typically occur when the Senate is out of session and senators have left town. The Obama administration — and several other presidential administrations before his — have argued that the president has authority to have his appointments put in place without confirmation when the Senate is out of session.
Currently, the issue is three appointees to the National Labor Relations Board from January 2012. After Senate Republicans refused to consider two of his nominees, Obama issued recess appointments for them. The appointments were challenged in court, and the federal appeals court in Washington D.C. ruled Obama did not have the authority to make these appointments. They argued that this violated the Senate’s advise-and-consent role. Read
Apr 25, 2013, 12:20 pm EST
As airlines face mounting flights delays due to sequester-related spending cuts that have furloughed air traffic controllers at major U.S. airports, the White House is moving to find the money to stem the problem before frustrated fliers can blame President Barack Obama.
Since the cuts went into effect on Sunday, airlines have struggled to handle delayed and canceled flights and rising customer irritation. Analysts worry that disruption to the nation’s air travel system could hurt an already struggling economy. Meanwhile, republicans in Congress have upbraided the president for not adjusting the sequester cuts to avoid harming needed services, accusing the administration of using the cuts as a political stunt, Reuters noted.
Facing a potential backlash, the administration is backing a measure advanced by U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid that would leverage reduced spending from troop withdrawals from Iraq and Afghanistan to offset funds cut by the sequester. Read