Political News from Yahoo

Commentary: Why I Don't Have a Voice in Congress

Congress' approval ratings are near record lows, with just 12 percent of Americans saying the House and the Senate are doing a good job, according to a mid-December Gallup poll. But the chance that an individual House representative will be re-elected every two years is well more than 90 percent. Yahoo News asked voters to compare and contrast their representative with Congress as a whole and to indicate why they like, or dislike, one over the other. We need more purple in Congress!

Commentary: Growing to like My Congressman, in Spite of Myself

Congress' approval ratings are near record lows, with just 12 percent of Americans saying the House and the Senate are doing a good job, according to a mid-December Gallup poll. Yahoo News asked voters to compare and contrast their representative with Congress as a whole and to indicate why they like, or dislike, one over the other. COMMENTARY | H. Morgan Griffith is my U.S. congressman and represents the ninth district of Virginia. In fact, when Griffith first ran against Rick Boucher, a Democrat who served 13 consecutive terms and was a much loved political figure in the area, I was determined to do everything that I could to defeat him.

Obama discusses intelligence review in call with Cameron

President Barack Obama on Thursday discussed a review of U.S. intelligence gathering with British Prime Minister David Cameron a day before the president's announcement of reforms triggered by revelations about U.S. spying, the White House said. "President Obama ... updated the Prime Minister on the ongoing U.S. signals intelligence review and both leaders noted the intensive dialogue that the United States and United Kingdom have had on these issues, at all levels," the White House said in a statement about the phone call.


Republicans warn of security flaws in Obamacare website

Republicans in Congress sought to showcase what they call major security problems with the Obamacare website HealthCare.gov on Thursday, just as U.S. officials ramp up a national campaign to persuade young adults to use the site to enroll in health insurance. In a public messaging tug-of-war that will likely intensify in coming weeks, the Republican-led House of Representatives targeted the healthcare reform law in three separate oversight hearings. The administration also disclosed plans for a media promotion campaign during next month's Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, and unveiled 30-second ads with former basketball stars Magic Johnson and Alonzo Mourning. U.S. officials are eager to boost youth participation, which is widely seen as vital to the success of President Barack Obama's signature domestic policy achievement.

For Obama, NSA review a quest for public trust

WASHINGTON (AP) — Faced with Edward Snowden's first leaks about the government's sweeping surveillance apparatus, President Barack Obama's message to Americans boiled down to this: trust me.


Obama urges expanding access to higher education

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama tested his persuasive powers Thursday, summoning university presidents to the White House to win their commitments to expanding access to higher education and to demonstrate a new determination to use his own presidential authority in the face of legislative roadblocks.


Justice likely to expand profiling definition

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Justice Department is likely to expand the definition of racial profiling to bar federal agents from considering religion, national origin, gender and sexual orientation in their investigations, a person familiar with the issue said Thursday.

U.S. lawmakers seek to expand human rights act from Russia to world

Two senior U.S. lawmakers introduced legislation on Thursday that would expand to all countries the "Magnitsky" act passed in late 2012 to penalize Russia for alleged human rights abuses. Democratic Senator Ben Cardin of Maryland, who championed the original law, and Republican Senator John McCain of Arizona said their "Global Human Rights Accountability Act" would ensure human rights abusers from anywhere in the world are denied entry to the United States and barred from using U.S. financial institutions. The Magnitsky Act was named for Sergei Magnitsky, a Russian whistleblower lawyer who died in his jail cell in 2009. Under the act, the White House designated a list of human rights abusers tied to Magnitsky's death who are subject to visa bans and asset freezes in the United States.


High court could weigh in on cellphone searches

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court decided 40 years ago that police don't need a search warrant to look through anything a person is carrying when arrested. But that was long before smartphones gave people the ability to take with them the equivalent of millions of pages of documents or thousands of photographs.


Kerry to make statement on Syria at 1.30 p.m.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry will make a statement on Syria at 1:30 p.m. (1830 GMT) on Thursday, the State Department said. Kerry just returned from travel in Europe and the Middle East where discussions focused on a peace conference in Switzerland next week to end the Syrian civil war. Donors pledged more than $2.4 billion in Kuwait on Wednesday for U.N. aid efforts in Syria. (Reporting by Lesley Wroughton; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)


Boehner: House won't repeal flood insurance hikes

WASHINGTON (AP) — Speaker John Boehner says the GOP-controlled House won't take up legislation aimed at neutering a 2012 overhaul of the federal flood insurance program that is hitting homeowners who have long paid below-market rates with big premium hikes.

Obama urges action on expanding college access

WASHINGTON (AP) — His education agenda mired in Congress, President Barack Obama is urging university presidents to copy each other's best examples to expand access to higher education, highlighting his efforts to use presidential persuasion in the absence of legislation.


Christie takes scandal damage test with election fundraising

By Gabriel Debenedetti WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The first real test of the damage to Chris Christie's chances of being the Republican nominee for president in 2016 from the "Bridgegate" scandal could come during the next few days. Christie is scheduled to attend a $1,000-per-ticket reception for New Jersey Republican House candidate Steve Lonegan on Thursday. He then will head to Florida for a series of weekend events aimed at raising money for Republican Governor Rick Scott's re-election campaign, plus a meeting with wealthy Republican donors from all over the United States. Interviews with a half-dozen Republican strategists, donors and operatives indicate that if Christie is interested in a bid for the White House, as many suspect, he has some work to do.


U.S. 'shouldn't even get close to' debt default: Boehner

House Speaker John Boehner on Thursday said the United States should avoid a major fight over raising the federal debt ceiling that brings the United States close to a default. After passage of a $1.1 trillion spending bill, the only major fiscal hurdle facing Congress over the next nine months is an increase in the $17 trillion debt ceiling that is expected to be needed in as little as six weeks. Boehner told a news conference that the United States should not default on its debt and "shouldn't even get close to it." He did not say whether Republicans would tie an increase in the debt ceiling to demands for additional deficit reduction. Speaking to reporters at his weekly press conference, Boehner was asked whether he would engage in direct negotiations with President Barack Obama on a new deficit-reduction package as part of the effort to increase the debt limit.


House passes bill requiring health care numbers

WASHINGTON (AP) — The House has approved a bill that would require the Obama administration to report weekly on how many Americans have signed up for health care coverage.

HealthCare.gov Passes Critical Security Tests

Nearly three months after its launch, HealthCare.gov underwent end-to-end security testing and passed with flying colors, the top cybersecurity official overseeing the website told Congress today. Teresa Fryer, the chief information security officer for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, told the House Oversight Committee that...

Justice Dept. to expand profiling definition

WASHINGTON (AP) — A person familiar with the issue of racial profiling says the Justice Department is likely to expand the definition of profiling to bar federal agents from considering religion, national origin, gender and sexual orientation in their investigations.

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