By Lesley Wroughton WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Monday pressed Iran to finalize an agreement that can prove to the world its nuclear program is peaceful, but said he has "no specific expectations" for talks in Geneva this week between major powers and Iran. The White House said President Barack Obama will meet with Senate leaders on Tuesday to press his case that lawmakers should not adopt any further economic sanctions on Iran over its nuclear program to allow the international talks a chance to succeed. Last week, a senior U.S. official said the six major powers and Iran were getting closer to an initial agreement, but Kerry appeared to tamp down expectations two days before talks resume. Kerry said he hoped that "Iran will understand the importance of coming there prepared to create a document that can prove to the world this is a peaceful program." "I am not going to negotiate this in public.
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Justice Department and JPMorgan Chase & Co. have reached agreement on all issues in a $13 billion settlement of a civil inquiry into the company's sales of low-quality mortgage-backed securities that collapsed in value in the financial crisis, a person close to the talks said late Monday.
By Patricia Zengerle WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Legislation to impose tough new sanctions on Iran is not expected to come to a vote in the Senate before December, after the end of the next round of negotiations over Tehran's nuclear program, U.S. lawmakers and congressional aides said on Monday. As diplomats headed to Geneva for a third round of talks this week, members of Congress have been debating behind closed doors whether to go ahead with the new set of stricter economic sanctions on Iran relating to its nuclear program. President Barack Obama has asked Congress to hold off on more sanctions to allow time to pursue a diplomatic deal. The Senate Banking Committee, which had been expected to vote on a stand-alone sanctions bill by September, delayed such action at the Obama administration's request.
By Thomas Ferraro WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Senate Republicans on Monday blocked a fourth nominee by President Barack Obama to a District of Columbia appeals court, defying a threatened rule change by Democrats to strip them of their ability to stop such picks. On a nearly party-line vote of 53-38, seven short of the needed 60, Democrats failed to end a Republican procedural hurdle known as a filibuster and move forward on the nomination Robert Wilkins. Obama wants to elevate Wilkins, a federal district court judge in Washington since 2011 who has received the American Bar Association's highest rating, to the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia.
By Curtis Skinner NEW YORK (Reuters) - Healthcare workers assisting people to sign up for insurance on the HealthCare.gov marketplace on Monday told Reuters they had noticed improvement in the problem-plagued website. Seven organizations funded through the health reform law that assist applicants, from Kansas to Pennsylvania, said that they'd seen successes enrolling people from start to finish in recent days. And I know on Saturday that wasn't the case for everyone on my team, but more and more consistently we're having success with it," said Rachel Udow, program director for MHP, a community-based organization focused on migrant issues in Weslaco, Texas. The Obama administration has pledged that the websites would be working smoothly by the end of November, just two weeks before the December 15 deadline to purchase health insurance that starts on Jan 1.
By David Morgan and Caren Bohan WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The race intensified on Monday between Republicans trying to discredit President Barack Obama's signature healthcare law and officials trying to repair the flawed website crucial to the success of his policy reform. While Obama administration officials said they had made significant improvements to HealthCare.gov, Republicans began appealing to the public on Monday for personal accounts of negative experiences with the Affordable Care Act, commonly called Obamacare. Congressional aides say the strategy by Republicans in the House of Representatives is aimed at putting a more human aspect to opposition arguments that have been largely abstract up to now. We want to hear your story," said a message posted to the website of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, a panel led by Republican Representative Fred Upton, whose bill to allow insurers to renew canceled insurance policies won approval on Friday from House lawmakers including 39 Democrats.
By Diane Bartz WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Two leading U.S. senators introduced a bill on Monday aimed at making it harder for "patent trolls" to file frivolous infringement lawsuits. Patent assertion entities (PAEs), called patent trolls by critics, are companies that typically do not invent or make products but buy patents to obtain licensing fees or file infringement lawsuits. Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont, chair of the Judiciary Committee, and Senator Mike Lee, a Republican from Utah, introduced a bill that would require patent holders to disclose ownership and allow manufacturers to step into lawsuits to protect customers accused of using an infringing device, the two lawmakers said in a statement. The American Hotel and Lodging Association was quick to praise the bill.
By Caren Bohan WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The troubled rollout of President Barack Obama's signature healthcare law has hurt the popularity of the initiative, but the decline has been fairly modest, a Reuters/Ipsos poll showed on Monday. Forty-one percent of Americans expressed support for the 2010 law popularly known as Obamacare in a survey conducted from Thursday to Monday. Opposition to the healthcare law stood at 59 percent in the latest poll, versus 56 percent in the earlier survey. Jackson said the relatively small change in the poll numbers was consistent with a pattern in place since the passage of the law three years ago in which opinions about it have fluctuated very little.
By Roberta Rampton WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama will meet with Senate leaders from both parties on Tuesday to try to convince them not to adopt further sanctions on Iran as the United States and other world powers head for new nuclear negotiations with Tehran, the White House said. Obama urged Congress last week to hold off on new sanctions and sought to reassure lawmakers that any easing would be modest and could be quickly reversed if Iran shows it is not serious about curbing its nuclear program. The president plans to make that case again to lawmakers when he meets them at the White House, presidential spokesman Jay Carney said on Monday.