SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Illinois lawmakers were poised Tuesday to vote on a plan to solve the state's $100 billion pension crisis — a proposal many are calling the most important vote of their careers and one that could deeply reduce the retirement benefits of hundreds of thousands of workers and retirees.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama will try to sell the American people on the relaunch of his troubled healthcare program on Tuesday in a bid to restore confidence in his signature domestic policy initiative and, more broadly, in his presidency. Obama will speak on the healthcare program, formally called the Affordable Care Act, at 2:30 p.m. (1930 GMT) Tuesday, the White House said. The rollout of the program through a government website, HeathCare.gov, has been plagued by technical problems since it was launched two months ago. ...
By Elaine Lies TOKYO (Reuters) - U.S. Vice President Joe Biden urged Japan and China to lower tensions that have spiked since Beijing announced an air defense zone over disputed islands in the East China Sea, while repeating that Washington was worried by the move. Biden will meet Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Tuesday before flying to China the next day as part of an Asian trip in which he will seek a delicate balance between calming tensions over the zone while backing key ally Japan. "This latest incident underscores the need for agreement between China and Japan to establish crisis management and confidence building measures to lower tensions." Japan reiterated on Tuesday that Tokyo and Washington had both rejected Beijing's move to set up the zone - despite the fact that three U.S. airlines, acting on government advice, are notifying China of plans to transit the area.
(Reuters) - Washington Mayor Vincent Gray, whose first term has been marred by a federal campaign finance probe stemming from the 2010 campaign, said on Monday he will run for re-election, putting an end to months of speculation. Gray, a Democrat who previously served on the City Council, was elected mayor of the semi-autonomous U.S. capital in 2010. Federal prosecutors have been looking into an off-the-books shadow campaign that was organized to assist Gray's bid, but Gray has denied wrongdoing.
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Illinois lawmakers began putting the pieces in place Monday for a potentially historic vote to address the nation's worst public-pension shortfall, as legislators scrambled to digest the complex deal and labor unions and other political heavyweights ratcheted up pressure for and against it.
President Barack Obama on Monday announced a boost to funding for research into HIV/AIDS prevention and pledged up to $5 billion to support an international effort aimed at combating HIV/AIDS. Speaking at the White House to mark World AIDS Day, the president said the United States would contribute $1 for every $2 pledged by other donors over the next three years to support The Global Fund, an international financing institution that fights AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. Obama also said he would redirect $100 million into a National Institutes of Health program to research a cure for HIV, the human immunodeficiency virus that causes AIDS. "The United States should be at the forefront of new discoveries into how to put HIV into long-term remission without requiring lifelong therapies - or, better yet, eliminate it completely," Obama said at an event attended by Secretary of State John Kerry and software magnate Bill Gates, whose foundation has pledged up to $500 million for The Global Fund.
TOKYO (Reuters) - The United States remains "deeply concerned" about China's establishment of an air defense zone in the East China Sea, U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, visiting Japan, was quoted by the Asahi Shimbun daily as saying. In a written interview with the paper, Biden, who will meet with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and other officials on Tuesday, also called on both China and Japan to take steps to lower tensions in the region, where they are locked in a territorial dispute over a set of islands. Biden will visit China and South Korea after Japan. ...
(Reuters) - New Jersey's Republican Governor Chris Christie on Monday said he will nominate his chief of staff, Kevin O'Dowd, to be the state's next attorney general. O'Dowd, a former federal prosecutor in New Jersey, must be confirmed by state lawmakers. Both Democrats and Republicans issued statements of support for the selection on Monday. Christie's last choice for the post was controversial. He previously picked Paula Dow, a Democrat and the state's first African-American top cop. ...
The Michigan legislature will consider a proposal this week that, if enacted, would make it the ninth state to prohibit insurance companies from offering abortion services unless women pay an extra fee in addition to the usual premium. The proposal will go before the majority-Republican legislature as a petition organized by Right to Life of Michigan, an anti-abortion group, that was approved on Monday by the Michigan Board of Canvassers. Under Michigan's constitution, the legislature could approve the proposed "Abortion Insurance Opt-Out Act" by a simple majority vote that does not require the signature of Republican Governor Rick Snyder. "Michigan citizens do not want to pay for someone else's abortion with their tax dollars or health insurance premiums," Right to Life of Michigan President Barbara Listing said in a statement.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Democrats running for re-election in Arkansas, Louisiana and other Republican-leaning states faced enough problems before President Barack Obama's popularity swooned in November. Now they are awkwardly distancing themselves from him a year before the election, seeking the right balance between independence and betrayal.