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.
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.
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.
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.
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.