Political News from Yahoo

Bill would restore Egypt aid with conditions

WASHINGTON (AP) — A spending bill in Congress would restore $1.5 billion in aid to Egypt, but only on condition that the Egyptian government ensures democratic reform.

NJ's Christie apologizes again for payback scheme

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — Faced with a widening political scandal that threatens to undermine his second term and a possible 2016 presidential run, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie apologized again Tuesday, saying his administration "let down the people we are entrusted to serve" but that the issue doesn't define his team or the state.

Unemployment compensation bill hits new snags in Senate

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Legislation to renew federal jobless benefits for 1.4 million Americans appeared stalled again in the Senate on Tuesday, with Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell blasting Democrats' latest offer for debating a bill. McConnell protested Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's plan to allow votes on amendments from both parties, saying it was "ridiculous" to do so in a way that McConnell said would favor Democrats, who control the chamber. ...

RNC ditching role of ad maker, funder

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Republican National Committee is largely getting out of the advertising business and instead will defer to super PACs and campaign committees to have a greater role during this year's midterm election, senior GOP officials said Tuesday.

Spy court judge slams proposed privacy advocate

WASHINGTON (AP) — The former chief judge of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court is slamming the idea of having a privacy advocate on the secret court. He says it's unnecessary and possibly counterproductive.

Christie still oddsmakers' favorite to win GOP nomination

Despite facing a pair of controversies worthy of having the word "gate" attached to them, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie remains one of the odds-on favorites to win the 2016 Republican presidential nomination.

Senate Dems divided over new Iran sanctions

WASHINGTON (AP) — Senate Democrats stand divided over whether to slap a new batch of sanctions on Iran as President Barack Obama, fearing the penalties could derail negotiations, has implored Congress to hold off.

GOP chairman fails to obtain Afghan detainee names

WASHINGTON (AP) — A House Republican chairman has failed to obtain from U.S. military officials the names of 72 detainees that Afghan President Hamid Karzai has ordered released from prison.

GOP constituents want jobless aid renewed

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) — In her 17 months out of work, Lita Ness has heard all the criticisms of extended unemployment insurance that has led to the program getting suspended amid a partisan standoff in Congress.

US condemns Iran minister visit to Hezbollah grave

WASHINGTON (AP) — The United States is condemning a visit by Iran's foreign minister to lay a wreath at the grave of a former Hezbollah leader the U.S. says was behind deadly terrorist attacks.

House Republicans voice support for $1.1 trillion spending bill

By David Lawder WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Republicans in the House of Representatives voiced tentative support on Tuesday for a $1.1 trillion spending bill, signaling likely passage and removing one source of potential drama ahead of the 2014 elections. Enactment will eliminate the threat of another government shutdown like the 16-day standoff in October that dropped public opinion of Congress to new depths in polls. The bill adds funding for some Democratic priorities such as a $1 billion increase the Head Start pre-school education program for the poor, but Republicans scored a victory when negotiators denied a funding increase for implementation of "Obamacare" health insurance reforms. Republicans also succeeded in denying funds for high-speed rail projects and for International Monetary Fund reforms.

Alaska GOP senator urges Obama to lift ban on U.S. oil exports

Senator Lisa Murkowski urged President Barack Obama on Tuesday to lift a ban on exporting U.S.-produced crude oil, stepping up pressure on the administration to allow producers involved in the domestic energy boom to gain access to global markets. "Lifting the ban will help create jobs, boost the economy and keep our production at record levels," Murkowski, from Alaska and the top Republican on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, said in a letter to Obama. While U.S. energy companies are allowed to export oil products, including gasoline and jet fuel, a presidential waiver from current laws is required to sell most unrefined crude abroad. "While I believe you retain the executive authority necessary to lift the ban on crude oil exports, if you need legislative support from the Congress in order to do so, you will always have a willing partner from Alaska," Murkowski said in the letter to Obama.

U.S. spending bill restores aid to Egypt, includes $1.5 billion

By Patricia Zengerle WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Congress' new spending bill would restore more than $1.5 billion in military and economic aid to Egypt, which had been largely cut off after Egypt's military ousted President Mohamed Mursi last summer. The bill includes up to $1.3 billion in military assistance, and $250 million in economic support for Cairo, but ties the funding to the Egyptian government taking steps toward restoring democracy. The funds also would only be available if the U.S. Secretary of State certifies to congressional appropriations committees that the Cairo government is sustaining its strategic relationship with the United States and meeting its obligations under the 1979 Egypt-Israel peace treaty. The restoration of aid to Egypt could set a precedent for assistance to any country after a coup, despite differences of opinion between Mursi's supporters and Egypt's current government over what to call the military takeover.

Christie to address scandal in speech, aide says

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — Faced with a widening political scandal that threatens to undermine his second term and a possible 2016 presidential run, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie will address the issue in his State of the State address Tuesday and say that it won't stop him from pursuing his agenda, according to an aide.

Aide says Christie to address scandal in speech

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — Faced with a widening political scandal that threatens to undermine his second term and a possible 2016 presidential run, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie will address the issue in his State of the State address Tuesday and say that it won't stop him from pursuing his agenda, according to an aide.

Obama: Won't wait for legislation to advance 2014 priorities

President Barack Obama said on Tuesday he would not wait for Congress to pass legislation to advance his policy priorities this year and said he was "getting close" to finishing a review of U.S. surveillance practices - to be unveiled on Friday. Obama, speaking to reporters during a cabinet meeting at the White House, foreshadowed his upcoming State of the Union address and what appeared to be a new messaging strategy by emphasizing his ability to take executive actions without approval from lawmakers. And I can use that pen to sign executive orders and take executive actions ... and I've got a phone that allows me to convene Americans from every walk of life," he said.

Obama says he will focus on executive actions

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama predicts Congress will be busy this year debating a renewal of jobless benefits for the long-term unemployed and an immigration overhaul. But he says he wants his Cabinet also to focus on executive actions that don't require legislation.

Senators ask Target CEO for information on data breach

Two key U.S. senators have written to Gregg Steinhafel, chief executive officer of Target Corp, seeking "detailed information" on the hacking of credit and debit cards of millions of customers during the holiday shopping season. "We ask that Target's information-security officials provide a briefing to committee staff regarding your company's investigation and latest findings," John Rockefeller, chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, and Claire McCaskill, chair of the Commerce subcommittee on consumer protection, wrote to Steinhafel in a letter dated January 10 and released on Tuesday. Target's recent incident shows the need for federal legislation on commercial data practices, the senators said.

Boehner: Need better enforcement of safety rules

WASHINGTON (AP) — House Speaker John Boehner is suggesting that the Obama administration needs to do a better job of enforcing safety regulations designed to protect the public against disasters like the chemical spill into West Virginia's drinking water supply.