Political News from Yahoo

Senate completes overhaul of key appeals court

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Senate confirmed one of President Barack Obama's key judicial nominees on Monday, completing an overhaul of the country's second most powerful court into one dominated by Democratic-appointed judges.

Test votes postponed on unemployment bill

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Senate postponed a pair of test votes on stalled unemployment legislation on Monday as Republicans and Democrats sought a compromise to restore benefits to 1.3 million long-term jobless workers who lost them abruptly late last year.

Christie faces criticism, silence from GOP rivals

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — As Democrats intensify their probe in New Jersey, Gov. Chris Christie has found little support — and sharp criticism in some cases — from the slate of potential rivals for the Republican presidential nomination. At the same time, would-be allies from key states have been slow to rally behind the Republican governor, whose administration appears to have created a massive traffic jam to punish a political adversary.

Long-serving Obama aide is leaving White House

WASHINGTON (AP) — One of President Barack Obama's longest serving advisers, who joined his team a decade ago when he was running for the Senate, is leaving the White House this month to work as a lawyer in private practice.

Why This GOP Governor Still Wants to Hang Around Chris Christie

Who wants a visit from New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie this weekend? Florida Gov. Rick Scott does. Before last week’s bridge scandal struck Christie, Republican Scott was set to kick off his 2014 re-election campaign with a bang. Christie, the newly minted chairman of the Republican...

Senate to complete overhaul of key appeals court

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Senate is set to confirm one of President Barack Obama's key judicial nominees and complete an overhaul of the country's second most powerful court.

Gabby Giffords Drops a 'Maybe' About Her Political Future

Over the past week, Gabrielle Giffords has kept busy. She wrote an Op-Ed in The New York Times about gun control, sat down with her husband for a network television interview and even went skydiving in Arizona. The former congresswoman was marking the three-year anniversary of...

Unemployment bill remains stalled in Senate

WASHINGTON (AP) — Senate Republicans and Democrats squabbled in public while negotiating in private on Monday on stalled legislation to resurrect unemployment benefits for the long-term jobless.

Obama defends himself from Gates criticism in book

President Barack Obama on Monday rejected criticism from former Defense Secretary Robert Gates who questioned whether the president supported his own policy toward Afghanistan. Answering questions during an Oval Office appearance, Obama said Gates was an outstanding defense secretary and that because of the strategy that the Obama administration formulated, the United States will have concluded combat operations in Afghanistan by the end of this year. "I think what's important is that we got the policy right but that this is hard and it always has been," Obama said. Gates, who was defense secretary from 2006 to 2010, wrote a memoir out this week entitled "Duty" that complains that Obama did not believe in his own strategy and "doesn't consider the war to be his." "Secretary Gates did an outstanding job," said Obama.

Youth participation low in early Obamacare enrollment

By David Morgan WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The new private health plans available under Obamacare drew in fewer young and healthy Americans than needed for the administration to make healthcare reform a market success in the first wave of enrollment, an official report showed on Monday. Twenty-four percent of the 2.2 million people who signed up for private coverage between October 1 and December 28 belonged to a target audience of 18- to 34-year-olds, according to an administration report, the first to provide a demographic breakdown on enrollment in the new plans offered under President Barack Obama's healthcare law. That compares with a target closer to 38 percent set before the program's botched October 1 rollout, when administration officials believed that about 2.7 million of a forecast 7 million potential enrollees for 2014 would be between 18 and 35 to help offset the cost of covering sicker consumers. Health policy experts say the administration may still get closer to that ratio by the time 2014 enrollment closes at the end of March, when more young Americans sign up to avoid the law's penalty for not being insured.

House Democrats request probe into Target card breach

By Mark Hosenball and Alina Selyukh WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Democratic members of the Financial Services Committee of the House of Representatives have called on the panel to investigate the hacking of credit and debit card data belonging to millions of customers of retailer Target Corp. The request piggybacks on a similar move by Senate Democrats on Friday as lawmakers respond to the massive breach at Target, the No. 3 U.S. retailer, during the holiday shopping season, which resulted in the theft of about 40 million credit and debit card records and 70 million other records containing customer information. In a letter to Jeb Hensarling, the committee's Republican chairman, 17 committee Democrats, led by ranking member Maxine Waters, asked for a "full Financial Services Committee hearing." It was unclear whether the committee's Republican majority would respond to the request. After the request from Senate Democrats last week, Senate Banking Committee leaders have confirmed they plan to hold a hearing on data security issues in late January.

Gates: White House 'should go look in the mirror'

Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates pushed back against critics who suggested he should have sat on his memoir about his years in the Obama administration, insisting his tell-all is not a “betrayal” of Obama.

Gates: White House 'should go look in the mirror'

Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates pushed back against critics who suggested he should have sat on his memoir about his years in the Obama administration, insisting his tell-all is not a “betrayal” of Obama.

Syrian peace talks yield potato diplomacy

PARIS (AP) — For some watchers of international diplomacy, the somber road to Syrian peace was overrun Monday by potatoes and furry pink hats.

Top lawmakers wrapping up catchall spending bill

WASHINGTON (AP) — Top congressional negotiators raced to complete an agreement Monday on a bipartisan $1.1 trillion spending bill that would fund the operations of government through October and finally put to rest the bitter budget battles of last year.

Iran nuke deal doesn't end debate over sanctions

WASHINGTON (AP) — A weekend deal spelling out how Iran will roll back its nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief buttresses the Obama administration's argument Tehran may be prepared for a grand diplomatic compromise averting the potential for war.

Court could limit president's recess appointments

WASHINGTON (AP) — Just back from their own long break, Supreme Court justices set out Monday to resolve a politically charged fight over when the Senate's absence gives the president the power to make temporary appointments to high-level positions without senators' approval.

US Supreme Court won't hear Nevada ballot case

CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) — Nevada's unique "none of the above" voting option for statewide races will remain an election spoiler for the foreseeable future after the U.S. Supreme Court declined Monday to consider an appeal by national Republicans.

NJ Democrats intensify Christie scandal inquiry

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — Democrats in New Jersey sharpened their aim at Republican Gov. Chris Christie on Monday, forming special legislative committees to explore the role politics played in traffic jams last fall and announcing that the investigation has grown into an abuse of power probe.