Political News from Yahoo

New prospects in 2014 for an immigration overhaul

WASHINGTON (AP) — His agenda tattered by last year's confrontations and missteps, President Barack Obama begins 2014 clinging to the hope of winning a lasting legislative achievement: an overhaul of immigration laws.

Bloomberg donates $2.5 million to U.S. Senate Democrats

Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has donated $2.5 million to a political action committee that aims to help U.S. Senate Democrats maintain their majority in next year's congressional elections, a Bloomberg aide said on Tuesday. Bloomberg, an independent who stepped down last week after 12 years as New York mayor, gave the money to Senate Majority PAC, according to Howard Wolfson, a former deputy mayor. The news was first reported by Politico, which said Bloomberg developed a close relationship with Harry Reid, the Senate Democratic leader, working on issues from Hurricane Sandy relief to gun safety. Senate Majority PAC is a so-called super PAC, which raised $3 million as of July 15, according to Federal Election Commission filings.

RNC starts negative ads in 40 media markets

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Republican National Committee began running ads in 40 media markets Tuesday, mostly targeting incumbent senators who supported President Barack Obama's health care program. Billionaire former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, meanwhile, gave $2.5 million to help Democrats defend their majority in the Senate.

Obama: Senate jobless vote an 'important step'

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama is applauding a Senate vote advancing legislation to renew jobless benefits for the long-term unemployed as an important step.

Unemployment benefits bill clears hurdle

WASHINGTON (AP) — White House-backed legislation to renew benefits for the long-term unemployed unexpectedly cleared an initial Senate hurdle on Tuesday, clearing the way for bipartisan negotiations in the opening days of an election-year session of Congress.

After 42 years, burglars of FBI 'Cointelpro' docs reveal their roles

Three former political activists have revealed their part in a brazen 1971 burglary an FBI office outside of Philadelphia, where they stole up to 1,000 documents, enraging FBI director J. Edgar Hoover and exposing a domestic spying operation that predated the one leaked by Edward Snowden in 2013.

Last Compassionate Conservative?

Dean Heller is no big spender, yet he talked five fellow Republicans into breaking his own party’s filibuster of extended unemployment benefits.

Key senator urges end to U.S. ban on crude oil exports

By Valerie Volcovici WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The top Republican on the Senate Energy Committee on Tuesday urged an end to a decades-old U.S. ban on exporting crude oil, saying it will disrupt supply and discourage U.S. production rather than keep domestic gasoline prices stable. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, at an event at the Brookings Institute in Washington, stated her full support for easing restrictions on crude oil exports as the United States reaches record levels of production. Murkowski, whose state is alone among U.S. states because it can already export crude oil, released a report aimed at triggering debate among lawmakers over whether the United States should ease the restrictions. While the United States can export crude oil products such as gasoline and diesel, the Mineral Leasing Act of 1920 and the Outer Continental Shelf Leasing Act require a presidential waiver to sell most unrefined crude oil abroad.

Lawmakers put finishing touches on spending bill

WASHINGTON (AP) — After weeks of secretive work, senior lawmakers on Capitol Hill are trying to put the finishing touches on a $1.1 trillion spending bill that would lay to rest last year's budget battles.

California Democrats to push for free preschool

By Sharon Bernstein SACRAMENTO, California (Reuters) - A top California lawmaker on Tuesday is expected to unveil a proposal to fund free public preschool for all children in the most populous U.S. state. The plan by Senate Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, a Democrat, to offer a pre-kindergarten program to four-year-olds in the western state comes as he and other Democratic legislators try to push California Governor Jerry Brown to increase spending on social services, including education, in next year's budget. Steinberg and senate Democrats who support his plan expect to introduce legislation establishing the pre-kindergarten program this week, said the senator's spokesman, Mark Hedlund. The proposal is expected to involve expanding an existing program aimed at children who turn five years old too late in the year to attend regular kindergarten.

Tea Party Groups Awaken From Holiday Slumber to Fight IRS Rules

After getting off to a slow start, conservative tea party groups are pushing back on the Internal Revenue Service’s new proposal to regulate tax-exempt groups. It’s the latest chapter of a saga over the targeting of conservative groups throughout the 2012 election that exploded over the...

Yellen faces challenges as Fed trims bond buys

WASHINGTON (AP) — Janet Yellen will take the helm of a Federal Reserve facing a significantly different economic landscape from the one that dominated Ben Bernanke's tenure as chairman, confronting her with different decisions as well.

Showdown set on unemployment bill in Senate

WASHINGTON (AP) — The new year looks a lot like the old one in the Senate, with Democrats scratching for votes to pass an agenda they share with President Barack Obama, and Republicans decidedly unenthusiastic about supporting legislation without changes.

Dueling surveillance rulings stir legal ripples

WASHINGTON (AP) — Opposing court rulings on the National Security Agency's massive phone record surveillance — one threatening the program and the other supporting it — are stirring fast legal footwork as both cases start to wind their way through federal appeals courts and possibly to the Supreme Court.

Embattled Los Angeles County Sheriff to retire early: report

By Dana Feldman LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Embattled Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca, whose department is plagued by allegations of civil rights violations and corruption, is set to announce his retirement rather than seek re-election, a California newspaper reported on Monday. A spokesman for the Los Angeles County Sheriff would neither confirm nor deny media reports that Baca, 71, was to retire or resign. Baca's announcement would come about one month after federal prosecutors accused 18 current or former sheriff's deputies of beating or wrongly detaining inmates and visitors at two downtown Los Angeles lockups and trying to cover up the abuse.

Now Wanted: Girl Babies in China

With China set to relax its one-child policy, experts say the stigma against daughters is fast disappearing even in rural areas.