By Aruna Viswanatha and Julia Edwards WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Barack Obama's pick for his next attorney general faces a Senate confirmation hearing on Wednesday that will likely highlight tensions between the Obama administration and the new Republican Congress. Loretta Lynch, nominated to the post in November, has stirred little controversy in her 16 years with the U.S. Attorney's office in Brooklyn and is expected to win confirmation.
(Reuters) - New York Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver will be replaced next week by a state lawmaker as he fights federal corruption charges, the New York Times newspaper reported on Tuesday, citing Democratic lawmakers. Rochester-area Assemblyman Joseph Morelle, the majority leader and a top pick to succeed Silver on a permanent basis, is to take over as interim speaker on Monday, the newspaper said. I believe very deeply in the institution," Silver told reporters as he exited the capitol in Albany late on Tuesday, a spokesman said. The replacement was announced after a meeting of Democrats in Albany, the Times said.
By Ellen Wulfhorst and Scott Malone BOSTON/NEW YORK (Reuters) - A powerful blizzard struck Boston and surrounding New England on Tuesday, leaving some 4.5 million people grappling with as much as three feet of snow and coastal flooding but sparing New York City residents who had braced for a significant blast. Snow was forecast to keep falling into early Wednesday in eastern New England, possibly setting a record snowfall in Boston. At Logan International Airport, 23.3 inches (59.2 cm) of snow was on the ground early evening, swept higher in parts by strong winds. "There are drifts now of four, five and six feet in some places," Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker said.
An employee of a U.S. spy agency has confessed to operating a small drone that crashed on the grounds of the White House, the agency said on Tuesday, the latest in a series of incidents that raised questions about the president's security. A spokesman for the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency (NGA) said that an off-duty employee had told the U.S. Secret Service, which guards the presidential mansion, that he had been flying the four-propellor drone when it crashed on Monday. The NGA is a Defense Department agency whose principal job is to analyze photographs taken by spy planes and satellites. The spokesman said that the Secret Service was investigating and at this point the man was not facing disciplinary action.
President Barack Obama has dropped a controversial proposal to tax "529" college savings plans, a White House official said on Tuesday, calling it a "distraction" from administration efforts to provide middle-class tax relief. The proposal had aroused opposition from Republicans and Democrats in Congress. A source familiar with the situation said House of Representatives Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi had pressed senior administration officials to drop the proposal as she flew with Obama on Air Force One from India to Saudi Arabia. "Given it has become such a distraction, we’re not going to ask Congress to pass the 529 provision so that they can instead focus on delivering a larger package of education tax relief that has bipartisan support," the White House official said.
(Reuters) - More than 9.5 million people have signed up for 2015 individual health insurance on the new exchanges created under the national healthcare reform law, the U.S. government said on Tuesday, beating its enrollment target weeks before the deadline. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services said that it had signed up or automatically enrolled more than 7.1 million people on its HealthCare.gov website through Jan. 16.
Uber, a ride service facing legal challenges around the world, on Tuesday released a survey showing that people are less likely to drive home after drinking alcohol after such businesses started operating in their cities. The results of the survey, done with advocacy group Mothers Against Drunk Driving, were based on a December poll of 807 adults in the largest U.S. cities where Uber operates. Uber customers who request rides over the upcoming Super Bowl weekend, a time that traditionally sees a spike in drunk driving, can opt to donate $1 to Mothers Against Drunk Driving by typing in the code THINKANDRIDE, it said. Other factors, such as intensified campaigns against drunk driving, may have contributed to the numbers, Uber executive Jonathan Hall said in a phone interview.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl, who disappeared from his base in Afghanistan in 2009 but was released last year in a prisoner swap with the Taliban, will be charged with desertion, according to NBC. The television network, citing senior defense officials, said the charges could come within a week. (Reporting by Susan Heavey; Editing by Bill Trott)