WASHINGTON (AP) — The budget gurus in Congress have failed for years to find a grand bargain to reduce the government's long-term debt, so this year they decided to go small. Just 1 percentage point would be shaved from the annual cost-of-living increase in military pensions for veterans under age 62.
WASHINGTON (AP) — In a sudden reprise of Cold War sensibilities, the U.S. and its allies are weighing sanctions on Moscow and whether to bolster defenses in Europe in response to Russia's military advances on Ukraine. Secretary of State John Kerry, soon on his way to Ukraine's capital, said world leaders "are prepared to go to the hilt in order to isolate Russia with respect to this invasion."
The leaders of the world's top industrialized powers turned on fellow G8 member Russia for its "clear" violation of Ukraine's sovereignty, withdrawing from preparations for June's G8 summit in Sochi. Symbolically billing themselves as the "G7," the leaders said Russia's actions were incompatible with the Group of Eight Nations, which Moscow joined in 1997, and said they would stay out of the Black Sea resort summit until the G8 can return to "meaningful" dialogue. The leaders said they joined together to "condemn the Russian Federation's clear violation of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine, in contravention of Russia's obligations under the UN Charter and its 1997 basing agreement with Ukraine." "We call on Russia to address any ongoing security or human rights concerns that it has with Ukraine through direct negotiations, and/or via international observation or mediation under the auspices of the UN or the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe."
By Phil Stewart WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama needs to look "two or three moves out" as he weighs his response to Russia's seizure of Ukraine's Crimea Peninsula, which Moscow is unlikely to soon reverse, Obama's former defense secretary, Robert Gates, said on Sunday. Gates, a Russia expert and former CIA chief, portrayed a difficult path for Obama in which European allies may "huff and puff" but fail to match rhetoric with strong action and where Russian President Vladimir Putin feels he has the upper hand.
President Barack Obama will take his campaign to increase the minimum wage on the road in the coming week in an effort to build pressure on Republicans who oppose the raise. Obama will appear on Wednesday in New Bristol, Connecticut alongside four New England governors to make the case, the White House said. The president wants to increase the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour from $7.25, where it has been since 2009. The president will make the pitch a day after presenting his federal government budget proposal for fiscal year 2015.
Secretary of State John Kerry will visit Kiev on Tuesday to lend support to Ukraine's new interim leaders, US officials said, adding that Russian forces now controlled the Crimean peninsula. "In Kiev, on March 4, Secretary Kerry will meet with senior representatives of Ukraine's new government, leaders of the Rada and members of civil society," State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said. On a conference call with reporters, senior US administration officials repeatedly warned that Moscow risked a deepening fallout for sending its troops into southern Crimea.
US Secretary of State John Kerry warned Russia on Sunday that it risked losing its seat among the prestigious Group of Eight nations, as well as economic turmoil and sanctions, over the Ukraine crisis. The top US diplomat hit the Sunday US talk shows to ratchet up pressure on Moscow, after he convened a crisis conference call with European and Canadian foreign ministers, and President Barack Obama held a 90-minute phone call with counterpart Vladimir Putin on Saturday. Washington and its G8 allies were prepared to slap sanctions on Moscow, Kerry said, warning of damage to billions of dollars in trade and investment, as well as possible visa bans and moves by American businesses to quit Russia.
By Andrea Shalal WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Boeing Co is considering a slower build rate and other options to keep production of its EA-18G electronic attack planes running into 2017, and give Congress time to add more orders, a top company executive told Reuters in an interview. The St. Louis production line for Boeing's F/A-18E/F Super Hornets and EA-18G Growlers is slated to shut down after 2016 unless the Pentagon's No. 2 supplier wins additional U.S. or foreign orders for the planes soon. U.S. Navy officials often laud the performance, on-time deliveries, and low operating cost of the Super Hornet and Growler aircraft, which fly from U.S. aircraft carriers. But U.S. defense officials say the Pentagon's 2015 budget will not fund any more of the Boeing planes given competing budget demands and a growing focus on Lockheed Martin Corp's next-generation F-35 fighter, which has three models, including a carrier-based model for the Navy.