By Mark Felsenthal RALEIGH, North Carolina (Reuters) - President Barack Obama on Wednesday announced a new public-private manufacturing hub in North Carolina during his visit to the state, seeking to bolster an industry that he considers essential to raising middle class incomes. Eager to press economic themes in an election year after struggling with the rollout of his healthcare plan, Obama has said he would like to create a network of 45 of such hubs around the country, but that would require money from Congress, which has not been as enthusiastic about the idea. I want it to be right here in the United States of America," Obama said on the North Carolina State University campus following a tour of Vacon, which manufactures components used in electronic engines. "Manufacturing is a bright spot in this economy." Although manufacturing output has recovered well from the recession, job growth in the sector has not tracked the gains, said Peter Ward, professor of operations management at the Fisher College of Business at Ohio State University.
By David Ingram WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A federal judge on Wednesday rejected a conservative challenge to health insurance subsidies available to people in the 34 U.S. states that declined to establish their own online marketplaces under President Barack Obama's healthcare law. The suit, brought by individuals and businesses from Texas, Kansas, Missouri, Tennessee, West Virginia and Virginia, asserted that the wording of the 2010 law allowed subsidies to help people obtain insurance only in exchanges established by states, not those set up by the federal government. In his ruling, U.S. District Judge Paul Friedman wrote that Congress clearly intended to make the subsidies available nationwide under the new law. Michael Carvin, a lawyer for those who brought the suit, filed a notice that he would appeal the ruling within an hour after it was posted online.
The U.S. Senate overwhelmingly approved a three-day funding extension that will stave off a government shutdown at midnight on Wednesday and buy extra time to pass a $1.1 trillion spending bill for fiscal 2014. The 86-14 vote in the Democratic-controlled Senate sends the stop-gap measure to President Barack Obama to be signed into law. It comes as the Republican-controlled House of Representatives began consideration of the full-year, "omnibus" spending bill, which will fund government agencies and programs through September 30. It fleshes out a budget deal passed in December following a 16-day government shutdown in October over government funding disputes in Congress.
By Mark Hosenball WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Senate Intelligence Committee said on Wednesday that the deadly September 11, 2012, attack by militants on U.S. government posts in Benghazi, Libya, was preventable and faulted the State Department for inadequate security precautions. In the months before the attacks on an American diplomatic post and CIA compound in Libya's second-largest city, U.S. intelligence agencies had issued numerous reports warning that security in eastern Libya was deteriorating and that U.S. personnel and posts in Benghazi were at risk, according to a declassified report issued by the committee. But the committee said the State Department "failed to increase security enough to address the threat," even though the U.S. diplomatic post in Benghazi had suffered two earlier, but less damaging, attacks during the previous six months. Four Americans, including Christopher Stevens, the U.S. ambassador to Libya, were killed when militants attacked the lightly protected U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi and a better-fortified CIA base nearby on the night of September 11.
New Jersey voters do not blame Governor Chris Christie for an epic September traffic jam on one of the world's busiest bridges, but think the scandal will hurt his chances as a 2016 presidential contender, a poll released on Wednesday found. The prominent U.S. Republican's repeated apologies for the four-day tie-up has softened his image with voters who recently reelected him to a second term, earning him one of the lowest "bully" scores recorded in a poll by Quinnipiac University.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Americans spend a total of 600,000 years stuck in traffic every year. The nation has about 100,000 bridges old enough for Medicare. And a recent global ranking put the United States' infrastructure in 25th place, just behind Barbados. But Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx says he sees signs the nation may finally be ready to tackle its "infrastructure deficit."