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.
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.
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.
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. ...
(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.