Senator Calls for Airlines to Cut Flight Change Fees

May 20, 2013, 1:16 pm EDT

No one likes to pay fees when they have to change flights. With those fees rising, one lawmaker has had enough.

A number of airlines, including AMR‘s (AAMRQ) American Airlines, United Airlines (UAL), U.S. Airways (LCC) and Delta (DAL), have hiked ticket change fees from $150 to $200 in recent months. New York U.S. Senator Charles Schumer says that unfairly hurts families traveling on fixed budgets, CBS News notes.

Schumer, who has previous called for the reduction in carry-on bagged fees, is urging the airlines to scale back the fee hikes. He called the change of flight fees “out of control.” Read 

Once Again, House Republicans Vote to Repeal Obamacare

May 16, 2013, 7:19 pm EDT

In what is fast beginning to sound like a broken record, the Republicans in the House voted to repeal President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act — for the 37th time.

Today’s vote on getting rid of what’s commonly known as Obamacare passed the House by a 229-195 margin. Every Republican in the House voted in favor of the repeal, with just two Democrats crossing the aisle to support it.

Of course, much like the 36 other attempts by the House to get rid of the Affordable Care Act, this one is going nowhere. The Democrats still control the Senate, and there’s no way they’re going to pass it this time. Read 

IRS Chief Forced to Resign Amid Scandal

May 16, 2013, 9:58 am EDT
IRS Chief Forced to Resign Amid Scandal

With his administration besieged by a rising wave of scandals, President Barack Obama moved on Wednesday to appease bipartisan anger over the improper singling out of conservative groups by the Internal Revenue Service.

Saying that Americans were “right to be angry about” IRS actions, the president announced that he had requested and received the resignation of acting IRS Commissioner Steven T. Miller. The president made the statement during a brief appearance in the East Room of the White House, but did not take questions from reporters afterward. He also released a letter sent from Treasury Secretary Jack Lew to Miller demanding his resignation, the Washington Post notes.

On Friday, IRS officials admitted that the agency had used words associated with the Tea Party and conservative politics to flag groups seeking tax-exempt status. Those groups were then subjected to greater scrutiny. Obama called the practice “inexcusable” on Wednesday. Read 

NTSB: U.S. Should Lower the Legal Limit for Blood Alcohol to …

May 15, 2013, 12:59 pm EDT
NTSB: U.S. Should Lower the Legal Limit for Blood Alcohol to …

The National Transportation Safety Board says the tolerance for alcohol in the blood should be cut in the interest of safety.

Lowering the limit to 0.05 — from the current 0.08 — could reduce the incidence of crashes by 50%, USA TODAY reports.

The NTSB is not a regulatory body. It can only make recommendations to the federal and state governments. Each state legislature would need to act on the recommendation to make it law or the federal government would need to enact a law that places pressure on the states. Read 

US Gov’t Secretly Seized Journalist Phone Records

May 14, 2013, 10:09 am EDT
US Gov’t Secretly Seized Journalist Phone Records

On Monday, the Associated Press (AP) published a letter to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder criticizing the Justice Department for obtaining records of phone calls made to AP reporters and editors.

The AP said the government had disclosed subpoenas allowing it to obtain the phone data on Friday. More than 20 telephone lines belonging to AP staffers, editors and bureaus were probed by the government. The president of the AP, Gary Pruitt, called the subpoenas a “massive and unprecedented intrusion” against its First Amendment rights by the government and demanded that all data collected by federal agents be destroyed, CNN notes.

The Justice Department did not say why it obtained the records. However, the AP said the federal investigators were probing the leak of information regarding a failed 2012 bomb plot targeting aircraft heading to the U.S. Read 

Minnesota Set to Allow Same-Sex Marriages

May 14, 2013, 9:44 am EDT
Minnesota Set to Allow Same-Sex Marriages

Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton is set to sign a bill that permits same-sex marriage this afternoon.

The bill — which passed the legislature on Monday — will be signed at 5 p.m. this afternoon on the front steps of Minnesota’s Capitol building, the Associated Press reports.

Minnesota becomes the 12th state to legalize same-sex marriage in the U.S. and the third — Both Delaware and Rhode Island passed same-sex marriage laws this month — in 10 days. Minnesota becomes the first state in the Midwest to allow same-sex marriage by legislation rather than through the courts or other methods. Read 

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