Political News from Yahoo

NJ lawmaker: Traffic plot was 'an abuse of power'

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — A high-ranking New Jersey Democrat says an investigation into massive local traffic jams that has ensnared Gov. Chris Christie's administration has grown into an abuse of power probe.

Commentary: 2014 Primary Challengers Take Advantage of Congress' Dismal Ratings

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. COMMENTARY | While congressional approval ratings hit single-digits, my representative, Lynn Westmoreland of Georgia's third House district, drew a primary challenger.


Commentary: Pride in My Congressman, Ashamed of My 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. COMMENTARY | I live in the bluest neighborhood, the Boston-based seventh district in the bluest state, Massachusetts, represented by Mike Capuano who has been re-elected to the House seven times.

U.S. justices skeptical about Obama labor board appointments

By Lawrence Hurley WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A majority of U.S. Supreme Court justices signaled willingness on Monday to rule against the administration of President Barack Obama over his attempt to appoint members of the National Labor Relations Board without Senate approval, raising the possibility of a decision that could limit presidential appointment power. It was not clear how broadly the court will rule, but questions from the nine justices in a 90-minute oral argument indicated that the bottling company that is contesting an adverse ruling from the labor board was likely to win in its attempt to challenge appointees to the NLRB made in January 2012. Obama used his "recess appointment" power to name three members to the five-member NLRB in January 2012. Presidents of both parties have made many such "recess appointments" to install officials who otherwise would have had difficulty winning Senate confirmation.


Pelosi confidante Miller says not seeking re-election

U.S. representative George Miller, a liberal Democrat and close political ally of House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi, will step down at the end of his term this year after nearly four decades in Congress, his office announced on Monday. Miller, a Californian, has been in the House of Representatives since 1975, when a large number of Democrats swept into office after the Watergate scandal. He has helped draft important laws affecting education, labor, health and the environment, such as the "No Child Left Behind Act" proposed by former President George W. Bush, a Republican. Miller co-wrote it with Representative John Boehner, a Republican who is now speaker of the House, and the late Senator Edward Kennedy, a Democrat.


Kerry to hold talks with Vatican on Mideast, other issues

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry will travel to the Vatican to meet a top aide to Pope Francis for talks on Tuesday on the Middle East and other foreign policy issues, the State Department said. Kerry is to meet Secretary of State of the Holy See Pietro Parolin "to discuss foreign policy priorities, including Pope Francis' vocal leadership on the Middle East peace process, poverty, and humanitarian issues", spokeswoman Jen Psaki said in a statement.


Veteran Calif. congressman not seeking re-election

WASHINGTON (AP) — Rep. George Miller, the top Democrat on the House Education and Workforce Committee, says he will not seek re-election in 2014 after four decades in Congress.

Obama to meet Senate Democrats on Wednesday

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama will meet members of the Senate Democratic majority on Wednesday night on "shared priorities" for the year, a White House official said on Monday. The meeting comes as Obama prepares for his State of the Union speech on January 28 in which he is expected to promote his ideas for reducing income inequality among Americans. Obama has also been trying to fend off an attempt by some senators to increase economic sanctions on Iran. He is concerned that increasing sanctions could upset delicate diplomatic efforts over Iran's nuclear program. ...


US carbon pollution up 2 percent in 2013

WASHINGTON (AP) — A new government report says energy-related carbon dioxide pollution increased slightly last year after declining for several years in a row. The 2 percent increase was largely due to a small increase in coal consumption in the electric power sector.

Christie faces probe over Sandy funds

By Barbara Goldberg NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. investigators are looking into whether embattled New Jersey Governor Chris Christie misused about $2 million in Superstorm Sandy relief funds for an ad campaign that put him in the spotlight in an election year, a lawmaker said on Monday. Already enmeshed in a scandal over snarled traffic at the George Washington Bridge, Christie, a rising star in the Republican party, is now being audited by the Inspector General at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, said New Jersey Congressman Frank Pallone Jr., a Democrat. The inspector is focusing on a federally financed $25 million Jersey Shore marketing campaign that included a television commercial featuring Christie and his family, which cost $2 million more than a competing bid without them. "While promoting tourism at the Jersey Shore in the wake of Hurricane Sandy is certainly a worthy endeavor, recent reports have led me to believe that the state has irresponsibly misappropriated funding allocated by Congress from the Sandy aid package and taken advantage of this waiver for political purposes," the letter said.


Special NJ committee to investigate bridge tie-up

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — New Jersey lawmakers announced Monday that they are intensifying their investigation into the role that politics played in causing massive local traffic jams last fall, a probe that threatens to undermine Gov. Chris Christie's second term and his chances at a 2016 presidential run.

Commentary: My Congressman Isn’t the Problem in Washington; it's the RNC, DNC

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. COMMENTARY | The 113th Congress is the least popular and least productive Congress since WWII.

Commentary: Chris Van Hollen a Rose in a Briar Patch

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 | Chris Van Hollen, the Democratic representative for Maryland's eighth district, which includes Montgomery County, a heavily democratic enclave on the outskirts of the nation's capital, was elected to the House of Representatives in 2002. Like the man, but dislike the institution

Commentary: Congressional Problems Boil Down to Career Politicians

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. However, now I view our political system as nothing more than ambitious men and women looking to keep their status quo. As a resident of California's 50th district, I am represented by Duncan D. Hunter.

Secretary of State Kerry to visit Vatican

WASHINGTON (AP) — Secretary of State John Kerry will visit the Vatican to discuss the Middle East peace process, poverty and humanitarian issues.

High court rejects ex-Somali official's case

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court has rejected an appeal from a former top official in Somalia who has been ordered to pay Somali torture victims $21 million.

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