Political News from Yahoo

Senate hopeful Brown: Health law costs liberty

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — Hoping to return to Washington by way of New Hampshire, former Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown is using a variation of the state's "Live Free or Die" motto to argue against President Barack Obama's health care overhaul law.

Hagel seeks to increase ties with Mongolia

ULAN BATOR, Mongolia (AP) — U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is seeking to bolster U.S. military relations with Mongolia as he wraps up 10-day trip to the Asia-Pacific.

New voting laws roll back U.S. civil rights strides of 1960s: Bill Clinton

Restrictions on voting rights in conservative states endanger the core of the U.S. civil rights movement and force Americans to recreate "a yesterday we're better off done with," former President Bill Clinton said on Wednesday. Speaking to a crowd of students and activists in Austin, Texas, Clinton slammed new voting laws that require photo IDs, make voting harder for students, or otherwise tighten up access to the polls. "We all know what this is about," Clinton said at a gathering called the Civil Rights Summit at the Lyndon Baines Johnson presidential library. "This is a way of restricting the franchise after 50 years of expanding it." Last year the Justice Department separately sued Texas and North Carolina to block voter-identification laws.

Clinton: New voter restrictions are a step back

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Former President Bill Clinton used the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act to criticize efforts in several states to restrict voting, notably photo identification requirements, saying they threaten to roll back half a century of progress.

Ethics complaint against Rep. Tom Cotton dismissed

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — A House ethics panel dismissed a complaint against Arkansas congressman and Republican U.S. Senate hopeful Tom Cotton that accused him of illegally soliciting donations during a radio interview at the U.S. Capitol, according to a letter released by his campaign Wednesday.

Obama blasts 'least productive Congress in modern history'

By Steve Holland HOUSTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama sharply criticized what he called the least productive U.S. Congress in modern history on Wednesday in a fund-raising speech that he used to try to energize Democrats to vote in November congressional elections. Obama blasted Republicans in the U.S. Senate for blocking a Democratic-supported bill earlier in the day aimed at addressing a gap in pay between male and female workers. Republicans argued that pay discrimination is already illegal. Obama also cited Republicans' refusal to agree to an immigration overhaul and an increase in the minimum wage as examples of what he called obstruction by his political opponents.

Thank God It Wasn’t Guns

Twenty-one were stabbed in a Pennsylvania school rampage Wednesday, but all are expected to live—and one even took a selfie. Think how different the toll would have been with bullets.

Was 'Cuban Twitter' program political or not?

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration is looking into whether a "Cuban Twitter" program secretly backed by the U.S. government contained messages that were political in nature, despite assertions from the administration that the effort was intended only to increase the flow of information in a country that heavily restricts Internet access.

Congress turns GM probe focus to engineers, considers legislation

One month after congressional committees launched formal probes into why it took GM more than a decade to respond to ignition switch safety defects with the recall, lawmakers still do not know exactly how company engineers initially reacted to the problem or whether senior executives were made aware of it. House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee investigators last month spoke with GM lawyers about company documents. GM Chief Executive Mary Barra had few detailed answers for lawmakers at hearings last week. "If you really want to get to the bottom of it you really have to talk to people who were actually there when all this was going on," said Senator John Thune of South Dakota, the senior Republican on the Senate committee.

US in talks with France on Holocaust compensation

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration on Wednesday warned several state legislatures against initiatives that would punish the state-owned French railway company SNCF for carrying out Holocaust-era deportations to Nazi death and labor camps.

Obama offers solace to nation at Fort Hood

FORT HOOD, Texas (AP) — President Barack Obama returned to the grieving Army post Wednesday where he first took on the job as the nation's comforter five years ago, mourning with families and uniformed comrades of those killed during last week's Fort Hood shooting spree. "We somehow bear what seems unbearable," he declared.

AP source: GOP chair pushes McAllister resignation

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Captured on tape kissing another man's wife, a Republican congressman from Louisiana was urged Wednesday by the leader of the state GOP to resign from the seat he's only held since November.

Illinois House leader halts millionaire tax plan

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — An effort to tax Illinois millionaires is on hold after the state's powerful House speaker couldn't get enough votes to push his plan through the Democratic-controlled Legislature.

U.S. may test influence at U.N. by denying visa to Iran envoy

By Mark Hosenball WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States may soon deny a visa to Iran's proposed U.N. ambassador, two U.S. officials said on Wednesday, a rare and potentially precedent-setting step that would test U.S. influence over the world body. The U.S. government objects to Hamid Abutalebi entering the United States because of his suspected participation in a Muslim student group that held 52 Americans hostage for 444 days starting in 1979, when the group seized control of the U.S. embassy in the Iranian capital Tehran. Iran on Wednesday rejected U.S. reservations about the veteran diplomat as "unacceptable." Abutalebi has played down his role in the embassy takeover, saying that he was only a translator for some of the militants.

US seeks swift deal with France on SNCF's Nazi past

The US State Department Wednesday said it hoped to be able to reach a deal quickly with France to compensate victims of French rail firm SNCF for the deportation of Jews in World War II. Spokeswoman Jen Psaki confirmed the United States and France were in talks on "compensation for victims of deportations by rail from France to Nazi labor and death camps as well as for victims' families." But she hit out at state assemblies such as Maryland and New York which she said had "begun to pose a serious obstacle to achieving this goal." During the occupation of France by Germany and the so-called Vichy regime, SNCF deported some 76,000 Jews to concentration camps in freight cars between 1942 and 1944.

Ex-Christie aides can withhold 'Bridgegate' papers: New Jersey judge

Two former top aides to New Jersey Governor Chris Christie do not have to turn over documents subpoenaed by a state legislative committee investigating a traffic scandal, a New Jersey Superior Court judge ruled on Wednesday. Attorneys for Bill Stepien, Christie's former campaign manager, and Bridget Kelly, his former deputy chief of staff, had argued that producing e-mails and other documents related to the September 2013 lane closures at the George Washington Bridge would violate their clients' constitutional protection against self-incrimination and unreasonable search and seizure. Subpoenas were issued to Kelly and Stepien in January by members of the Democrat-controlled state legislature investigating the lane closings, and Mercer County Superior Court Judge Mary Jacobson had ordered them to explain why she should not force them to comply. "Since a federal investigation touching on the same subject matter is currently active ... Mr. Stepien's and Ms. Kelly's fear of releasing incriminating evidence is not a 'mere imaginary possibility' nor is it 'trifling,'" she wrote.

Duck Dynasty Star Counsels Kissing Congressman

When  Vance McAllister needed help in winning his Louisiana congressional seat last year, he turned to “Duck Dynasty” star Willie Robertson for an endorsement. When the newly-elected McAllister needed a date to January’s State of the Union Address — his first as a  congressman —...

New Hillary Clinton memoir set for June 10 release

Hillary Clinton, the former US secretary of state who is contemplating a second run for the White House, will release a new memoir on June 10, her publisher announced Wednesday.

Obama vows to protect soldiers in Fort Hood tribute

Fort Hood (United States) (AFP) - President Barack Obama vowed to do more to protect US soldiers on Wednesday as he paid a somber tribute to victims of last week's Fort Hood shooting, the second gun rampage at the Texas military base in five years. Speaking before the families of three soldiers killed by a comrade who took his own life during the April 2 shooting, Obama referenced the 2009 massacre at the base which claimed 13 lives. "Part of what makes this so painful is that we've been here before," Obama said. Completely eliminating every security risk from a base the size of Fort Hood may not be possible, Obama said.

Israeli ban on Palestinian contact 'unfortunate,' US says

Washington on Wednesday denounced as "unfortunate" an order from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to limit his cabinet's contacts with their Palestinian counterparts. We regard it as unfortunate," State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said, as her boss John Kerry met with Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman. Netanyahu ordered ministers to limit contact with their Palestinian counterparts in response to "the Palestinian violation of their commitments under peace talks," an Israeli official told AFP.