Political News from Yahoo

Kerry seeking cease-fire, aid for Syria

WASHINGTON (AP) — Secretary of State John Kerry is headed to Paris and Kuwait on Saturday to rally international support for ending the three-year civil war in Syria and increase aid for its victims.

Chris Christie Aide's Emails Linked to NJ Traffic Nightmare

Newly discovered emails appear to connect a top aide of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie to the controversial closure of several lanes on the world’s busiest bridge as political payback against a local mayor. “Time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee,” Bridget Anne Kelley,...

Immigration foes dig in amid expectations

WASHINGTON (AP) — A chief Republican foe of immigration legislation says it would be a "colossal mistake" for the House to consider any measure this year and shift attention from President Barack Obama's health care law. For months, Republicans have been focused on attacking the health care law, sensing a political boost in its problem-plagued rollout.

Biden calls Iraqi leader for 2nd time this week

WASHINGTON (AP) — Vice President Joe Biden has spoken for a second time this week to Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki (NOO'-ree ahl-MAHL'-ih-kee), voicing support for the Baghdad government's effort to regain control of the city of Fallujah from al-Qaida-linked fighters.

Germany closer to right balance on growth: U.S.'s Lew

Germany is moving in the right direction in striking a balance between economic growth and fiscal consolidation but should continue to look for ways to spur domestic demand, U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew said on Wednesday. "Over the course of this past year, I think we've seen very constructive movement to get the balance right between fiscal consolidation and growth," he said in a joint news conference with his German counterpart Wolfgang Schaeuble. Still, Lew echoed the message that he gave during his last visit in April 2013, saying it was important for countries like Germany, which run large current account surpluses, to take further steps to promote growth in order for Europe and the global economy to rebalance and recover. "We have made very clear that we think that more domestic demand and investment would be a good thing," he said.

Commander who reversed conviction to retire

WASHINGTON (AP) — The commander whose decision to overturn a sexual assault conviction forced major changes in military law said Wednesday he is retiring, blaming public second-guessing of his actions as a distraction for the Air Force.

Biden, al-Maliki discuss ongoing battle in Anbar province-White House

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden spoke on Wednesday with Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki about the ongoing fight against al Qaeda affiliated insurgents in the country's western Anbar province, the White House said in a statement. In the leaders' second phone call this week, Biden encouraged al-Maliki to continue to work with local, tribal, and national leaders, and said he welcomed a decision to extend state benefits to tribal forces killed or injured in the fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), the White House said. Wednesday's call came as al-Maliki prepared to launch a major assault against ISIL.

Utah puts status of newly married same-sex couples 'on hold'

For now at least, Utah's state government won't recognize the marriages of about 1,000 newly married same-sex couples, the governor's office announced on Wednesday. This article was originally published at http://www.thewire.com/politics/2014/01/utah-puts-recognition-newly-married-same-sex-couples-hold/356817/

House Dems McCarthy, McIntyre to retire

WASHINGTON (AP) — Senior Democratic aides say two House Democrats — Carolyn McCarthy of New York and Mike McIntyre of North Carolina — plan to retire.

Emails link Christie staffer, lane closings in NJ political controversy

Claims that New Jersey Governor Chris Christie's administration closed traffic lanes at the George Washington Bridge as payback against a political opponent were boosted on Wednesday with the publication of a series of incriminating emails. The emails quote a top Christie aide, Bridget Anne Kelly, saying to an executive at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey that it was "time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee," which is at the New Jersey end of the bridge. The Port Authority executive, David Wildstein, wrote back in an email: "Got it." The Port Authority oversees the bridge that links New Jersey with New York City. The decision to block off two of three local access ramps to the George Washington Bridge created traffic jams in Fort Lee and angered commuters who were caught in major delays.

Business lobby seeks major push on immigration

WASHINGTON (AP) — The president of the US Chamber of Commerce says the nation's biggest business lobby intends to "pull out all the stops" to pass an overhaul of immigration laws. That would place the chamber on the side of President Barack Obama on one of the White House's top legislative priorities of the year.

Liberal ally to NY Mayor de Blasio expected to head city council

The New York City Council is due to elect its new speaker on Monday, with a liberal ally of Mayor Bill de Blasio, who has placed confronting economic inequality at the center of his agenda, heavily favored to win. De Blasio, an unabashed liberal who took office on January 1, has been openly supportive of Melissa Mark-Viverito, co-chair of the Council's progressive caucus who has taken liberal stances on issues like paid sick leave, affordable housing and police reform. Working together, the two would represent a strong leftward political shift from de Blasio's more moderate predecessor, Michael Bloomberg, and former City Council Speaker Christine Quinn. Mark-Viverito declared victory in the speaker's race several weeks ago, but Councilman Daniel Garodnick has forged ahead with his own campaign.

Obama nearing a decision on intelligence review

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama is hosting a series of meetings this week with lawmakers, privacy advocates and intelligence officials as he nears a final decision on changes to the government's controversial surveillance programs.

Obamacare Ad Blitz Planned for Olympics

The White House is planning to make a major play to sign up young and healthy Americans for Obamacare when the Winter Olympics open next month. The Department of Health and Human Services will launch a TV ad blitz to take advantage of anticipated increased...

Gov't: End overly zealous discipline in schools

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration is urging schools to abandon overly zealous discipline policies that civil rights advocates have long said lead to a school-to-prison pipeline that discriminates against minority students.

Senators introduce bill to force more disclosure of settlements

By Aruna Viswanatha WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Two U.S. lawmakers on Wednesday unveiled a new bill that would force enforcement agencies to provide more details about deals to resolve corporate misconduct by U.S. companies. Senators Elizabeth Warren, the Massachusetts Democrat and a fierce consumer advocate, and Tom Coburn, a Republican from Oklahoma, introduced legislation they said would force regulators to better explain the true value of those legal settlements. When the Justice Department announced a $13 billion deal with JPMorgan Chase & Co. in November that included a $2 billion penalty to resolve a civil fraud investigation into flawed mortgage bonds, for example, it did not lay out the specific charges or explain how that penalty was calculated. "When government agencies reach settlements with companies that break the law, they should disclose the terms of those deals to the public," Warren said in a statement.

Study cites 'dangerous weak link' in nuke security

WASHINGTON (AP) — The number of countries possessing the makings of a nuclear bomb has dropped by almost one-quarter over the past two years, but there remain "dangerous weak links" in nuclear materials security that could be exploited by terrorist groups with potentially catastrophic results, according to a study released Wednesday.