Political News from Yahoo

Government panel urges end to phone data spying

WASHINGTON (AP) — A sharply divided government task force that reviewed the National Security Agency's surveillance program for four months has urged President Barack Obama to shut down the agency's bulk collection of phone data and purge its massive inventory of millions of Americans' calling records, The Associated Press has learned.

Lobbyist charged in San Diego campaign scandal

SAN DIEGO (AP) — A lobbyist was charged in a widening scandal over more than $500,000 that allegedly was funneled illegally from a Mexican businessman to San Diego political campaigns.

Obama, Iraqi Sunni leader talk security, terrorism

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama and Iraq's parliamentary speaker have discussed formally integrating Sunni tribal militias into Iraqi government forces that are fighting al-Qaida-linked militants.

California Gov Brown urges continued fiscal restraint

By Sharon Bernstein SACRAMENTO, California (Reuters) - California Governor Jerry Brown took credit for his state's fiscal rebound in a state of the state address on Wednesday that also urged continued restraint by lawmakers seeking to rebuild a social safety net tattered by years of tight budgets and economic malaise. In a speech that could preview the tone of an expected bid for re-election this year, Brown said that California had added 1 million jobs since 2010 and extricated itself from "a financial sinkhole that defied every effort to climb out of it.

6.3 million eligible for Medicaid since Obamacare launch: U.S. agency

More than 6.3 million Americans were deemed eligible for government healthcare plans for the poor since the October 1 launch of President Barack Obama's healthcare law through December, federal officials reported on Wednesday. The swelling rolls for Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) reflect both an expansion of Medicaid under Obama's Affordable Care Act (ACA) and what healthcare policy analysts call an "out-of-the-woodwork effect," in which people who heard about Obamacare sought to obtain health insurance and discovered that they had qualified for Medicaid even before the law expanded eligibility. "We have people who for the first time will have some health security that they never had before," Kathleen Sebelius, secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, said of the Medicaid numbers at the winter meeting of the U.S. Conference of Mayors in Washington, D.C. It was not clear how much credit goes to the healthcare law, however.

Interior secretary headlines outdoor-gear show

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell made a pitch Wednesday for a privately funded youth conservation corps and sought donations for the effort from executives at an outdoor-gear trade show.

U.S. anti-abortion marchers brave freezing cold in Washington

By Lacey Johnson WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Thousands of U.S. anti-abortion activists braved frigid temperatures to rally at the annual March for Life on Wednesday, and a top Republican lawmaker vowed that the House of Representatives would vote soon to end taxpayer-funded abortions. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor told the rally, one of the key yearly events for the anti-abortion movement, that the Republican-controlled chamber would approve the measure halting taxpayer funding for the procedure next week. But Cantor acknowledged that the House Republican measure might ultimately be a symbolic one, saying that passage in the Democrat controlled Senate and acceptance by President Barack Obama "will be a much tougher task." Opponents of the procedure failed in their attempts to attach new anti-abortion provisions to the $1.1 trillion spending bill Congress approved last week. I love my life" and "Stop abortion now." Groups of Catholic high school students chanted: "We love babies, yes we do! We love babies, how about you?" From Vatican City, Pope Francis used Twitter to back the rally.

White House not mulling Puerto Rico bailout, U.S. official says

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The White House is not currently considering a bailout for Puerto Rico, where chronic financial challenges have raised the specter of a Detroit-like bankruptcy, a White House official said on Wednesday. "The President's Task Force continues to partner with the Commonwealth to strengthen Puerto Rico's economic outlook and to ensure that it is taking advantage of all existing federal resources available to the Commonwealth," White House spokeswoman Katherine Vargas said in an email. "There is no deep federal assistance being contemplated at this time," she said. ...

New rules sought to make child car seats safer

WASHINGTON (AP) — Child car seats would for the first time have to protect children from death and injury in side-impact crashes under regulations the government proposed Wednesday.

A fast 2014 start on presidential prep

WASHINGTON (AP) — This is a year of auditioning, positioning, networking and just plain hard work for people who are considering running for president in 2016.

Court considers what child porn viewer owes victim

WASHINGTON (AP) — Supreme Court justices expressed compassion for a woman raped as a child as they struggled with how much money should be paid to her by one man convicted of possessing pornographic images of the abuse that have spread among thousands of online viewers.

In solidarity, Senate women help female candidates

WASHINGTON (AP) — Rep. Shelley Moore Capito's responsibilities are familiar to many women: plan her daughter's May wedding, look out for her elderly parents and concentrate on her day job. The Republican congresswoman from West Virginia is also running for the U.S. Senate.

New DOD waiver policy for religious observances

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Pentagon has approved a new policy that will allow troops to seek waivers to wear religious clothing, seek prayer time or engage in religious practices.

State of the Union: Of pledges, pleas and setbacks

WASHINGTON (AP) — Here's a little secret about the State of the Union address that President Barack Obama will deliver next week: He'll give Congress a long list of requests but few likely will be approved. That's just the reality of a politically divided government.

Australian minister slams Snowden's 'treachery'

WASHINGTON (AP) — Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop is accusing Edward Snowden of "unprecedented treachery" for his leaks about secret government surveillance.

Michigan governor to push plan to protect Detroit art, pensions: court

(Reuters) - Michigan Governor Rick Snyder is set to announce "significant state participation" in a plan to aid Detroit's art museum and public pensions, mediators said Wednesday, as the city works through its historic bankruptcy. The move by the state's Republican governor comes after plans for state involvement first were reported in local media last week. At the time, Michigan House of Representatives Speaker Jase Bolger, a Republican, indicated he would not support state participation in any direct bailout of Detroit. Snyder's spokeswoman, Sara Wurfel, confirmed the governor and Republican legislative leaders will hold a press conference concerning Detroit later on Wednesday.