The U.S. House of Representatives next week will pass a stop-gap funding measure to prevent a government shutdown for three days as negotiators try to finalize a $1 trillion spending bill, Republican Majority Leader Eric Cantor said on Friday. This will allow more time for the spending bill to clear often lengthy procedural hurdles in the U.S. Senate. Lawmakers have been trying to reach agreement on the massive funding bill by January 15, when all government spending authority expires for military and domestic discretionary programs and federal agencies. But negotiators on the measure, which sets thousands of budget line items from national parks to Pentagon weapons programs, still have a number of funding and policy issues to resolve that will likely take through this weekend.
By Gabriel Debenedetti WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The elections that will decide who controls the U.S. Congress and most state governorships are 10 months away, but they already are becoming an early test of the political muscle of several potential contenders for the White House in 2016. No one has officially announced that they are seeking election in 2016 to be Democratic President Barack Obama's successor. But the race for the White House effectively will begin right after the 2014 election ballots are counted on November 4, so this year's elections could help build momentum - and a team of allies - for anyone considering a run for president. With that scenario as a backdrop, potential contenders for the Republican presidential nomination such as New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, Florida Senator Marco Rubio, Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan and Texas Senator Ted Cruz have begun getting involved in 2014 congressional and governor's races.
U.S. efforts to persuade Afghan President Hamid Karzai to sign a long-term security agreement according to Washington's timetable will likely fail, the lead American negotiator has warned the Obama administration, the Washington Post reported on Thursday. In a classified cable that the Post said was transmitted in recent days, U.S. Ambassador James Cunningham wrote that he did not think Karzai would agree to sign the agreement before Afghanistan's presidential election in April, the newspaper said, citing U.S. officials who spoke on condition of anonymity. The United States wants the Afghanistan government to sign the agreement in matter of weeks if a contingent of U.S. troops is to remain there after 2014, the White House said on Monday. Without a deal, the United States could pull out all troops, the "zero option," leaving Afghan forces to battle the Taliban on their own.