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Congress to pass stopgap funding bill next week: top Republican

The House of Representatives next week will pass a stop-gap funding measure to prevent a government shutdown for three days as negotiators try to finalize a $1 trillion spending bill, Republican Majority Leader Eric Cantor said on Friday. This will allow more time for the spending bill to clear often lengthy procedural hurdles in the U.S. Senate. Lawmakers have been trying to reach agreement on the massive funding bill by January 15, when all government spending authority expires for military and domestic discretionary programs and federal agencies. But negotiators on the measure, which sets thousands of budget line items from national parks to Pentagon weapons programs, still have a number of funding and policy issues to resolve that will likely take through this weekend.


Arkansas lieutenant governor resigns over ethics violations

By Steve Barnes LITTLE ROCK, Arkansas (Reuters) - Arkansas Lieutenant Governor Mark Darr, under political siege from fellow Republicans as well as Democrats after admitting to numerous violations of state ethics laws, announced on Friday that he would resign effective February 1. I will no longer subject my family to its hard lessons," Darr said in a statement. Darr continued to insist that he was guilty only of "mistakes, but not one with malicious intent." "I have been honest, forthright and acted with integrity," said Darr. In December, Darr agreed to an $11,000 fine imposed by the Arkansas Ethics Commission and accepted its finding of 11 breaches of regulations and statutes including converting campaign funds to personal use and receiving improper expense reimbursements from taxpayer funds.

Ark. lt. gov. says he'll resign over ethics case

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Arkansas Lt. Gov. Mark Darr said Friday he would leave office Feb. 1, giving in to pressure from Democrats and fellow Republicans who said his impeachment was inevitable over ethics violations tied to his campaign and office spending

Damage-control worries followed NJ lane closings

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — Officials squabbled over media leaks and worried about bad publicity in the days after lane closings near the George Washington Bridge caused huge traffic jams that now appear to have been politically orchestrated by members of Gov. Chris Christie's administration, documents released Friday show.


Documents reveal anger, chaos in Christie bridge scandal

By Dave Warner TRENTON, New Jersey (Reuters) - Documents related to the bridge closure scandal engulfing New Jersey Governor Chris Christie revealed on Friday that authorities were deeply divided about the shutdown, with one warning it was illegal and risking people's lives. More than 1,000 pages of anxiously awaited documents subpoenaed by New Jersey lawmakers investigating the massive, four-day traffic jam on the George Washington bridge were made public after revelations that Christie's staff appeared to have orchestrated the closure as political payback. The documents, many subpoenaed from former Port Authority executive David Wildstein, cast new light on the turmoil within the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, the agency overseeing the nation's busiest bridge. On the fourth day of the shutdown, Patrick Foye, executive director of the Port Authority, lashed out in an email to executives, including Port Authority Chairman David Samson, and ordered the lanes reopened.


Air Force drug probe grows to 10 officers

WASHINGTON (AP) — An Air Force investigation into alleged drug use in the ranks has expanded to include 10 officers at six bases in the U.S. and Britain.

Damage-control scramble followed NJ lane closings

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — Newly released documents show officials scrambled to control the publicity damage in the days after lane closings near the George Washington Bridge caused huge traffic jams that now appear to have been politically orchestrated by officials in Gov. Chris Christie's administration.


GOP House targets health care law; 67 Dems join in

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Republican-led House voted overwhelmingly Friday to bolt new security requirements onto President Barack Obama's health care law, with 67 Democrats breaking ranks to join with the GOP. It was the first skirmish of what is certain to be a long and contentious election-year fight.


Feds won't renew health website's lead contractor

WASHINGTON (AP) — The government's much-maligned health insurance website is getting a new outside contractor to steer the revamped portal through the remainder of open enrollment season.

Obama picks ex-Bank of Israel head as No. 2 at Fed

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama took a step Friday toward reshaping the Federal Reserve under incoming chairman Janet Yellen, choosing a leading expert on the global economy to be her vice chairman.


Emails: Police partly in dark on NJ lane closings

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — Newly released emails show a police captain had a difficult time getting details about lane closings near the George Washington Bridge that appeared to have been politically orchestrated.


US issues travel alert for Sochi Olympics

WASHINGTON (AP) — The State Department is advising Americans going to the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia to be vigilant about their security due to potential terrorist threats, crime and uncertain medical care.

More documents released in NJ bridge scandal

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — A New Jersey legislative committee investigating politically influenced traffic jams that led to a public apology by Gov. Chris Christie has released hundreds of pages of documents.


US withdraws diplomat after India expulsion demand

WASHINGTON (AP) — A U.S. diplomat will leave India after the government there demanded expulsion in retaliation for the arrest and strip search of an Indian diplomat in New York.

U.S. Congress to pass stopgap funding bill next week: top Republican

The U.S. House of Representatives next week will pass a stop-gap funding measure to prevent a government shutdown for three days as negotiators try to finalize a $1 trillion spending bill, Republican Majority Leader Eric Cantor said on Friday. This will allow more time for the spending bill to clear often lengthy procedural hurdles in the U.S. Senate. Lawmakers have been trying to reach agreement on the massive funding bill by January 15, when all government spending authority expires for military and domestic discretionary programs and federal agencies. But negotiators on the measure, which sets thousands of budget line items from national parks to Pentagon weapons programs, still have a number of funding and policy issues to resolve that will likely take through this weekend.


Obama lunches with youth promoting health sign-ups

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama is lunching with five young people to call attention to the need for young Americans to enroll for insurance through his health care law.


Proposed Medicare drug change stirs access worries

WASHINGTON (AP) — In a move that some fear could compromise care for Medicare recipients, the Obama administration is proposing to remove special protections that guarantee seniors access to a wide selection of three types of drugs.

Feds recognize same-sex couples in Utah

WASHINGTON (AP) — Attorney General Eric Holder is recognizing the marriages of more than 1,000 same-sex couples in Utah that took place before the Supreme Court put those unions on hold.

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