Political News from Yahoo

Senate sets Monday vote on Janet Yellen to head Fed

By Richard Cowan WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Janet Yellen came a step closer to final approval as the Federal Reserve's next chair after the U.S. Senate set a Monday vote on President Barack Obama's choice to succeed Ben Bernanke. The Senate is expected to vote at around 5:30 p.m. EST Monday on Yellen, according to a Senate Democratic leadership aide. Yellen, who would become the first woman to chair the U.S. central bank, would take the reins on February 1, one day after Bernanke ends a two-term stint during which he reached deep into the Fed's monetary toolbox to try to revive an economy hit by a massive financial crisis that sent it into the worst downturn in decades.

Obamas' Christmas gift for godmother delivered to wrong family

A Chicago-area family got a belated Christmas surprise this week - a book of family photos from the White House meant for the Obama girls' godmother, according to media reports and the White House. Alane Church, who lives north of Chicago, told NBC's "Today" show on Thursday that her family got a box of Christmas presents a week late from an uncle in New York. Church said the gifts appeared to have been re-boxed by the U.S. Postal Service. The photo book was addressed to "Mama Kaye + Papa Wellington from Barack, Michelle + the girls." "Mama Kaye" is the Obama girls' godmother, Eleanor Kaye Wilson, who lives in the south Chicago suburbs.

Clemency for Snowden ‘Outrageous’

Editorials in the New York Times and The Guardian urged leniency with the leaker, but former NSA director Michael Hayden says that would send the wrong message.

Kerry: Mideast peace still possible despite rifts

JERUSALEM (AP) — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu blasted his Palestinian partner in peace-making efforts on Thursday, accusing him of embracing terrorists "as heroes," harsh words that clouded the start of Secretary of State John Kerry's tenth trip to the region to negotiate a peace deal he claims is "not mission impossible."

Relief, confusion as new health benefits begin

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — After a troubled rollout, President Barack Obama's health care overhaul now faces its most personal test: How will it work as people seek care under its new mandates?

Obamacare Has a New Problem

Health-care reform is supposed to save money by steering poor people away from emergency rooms. But a new study shows that’s not happening—and they’re not getting healthier, either.

36 Hours of Frozen Fury

A storm covering 100 million Americans has the ingredients—fluffy flakes, strong winds, and record-low temps—to virtually shutdown everything from Boston to New York.

US construction spending up 1 percent in November

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. construction spending rose in November at the strongest pace in more than four years, driven by solid gains in home construction and commercial projects.

The First Yuppie President

There’s no mystery about him anymore: he is just like the rest of rich, middle-aged guys.

Kerry arrives in Israel to revive flailing peace talks

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in Israel on Thursday in his latest bid to reenergize peace negotiations and find scarce common ground between pessimistic Israeli and Palestinian officials. His visit, the 10th to the region in under a year, aims to lay the foundations of a "framework agreement" that addresses the core issues of the decades-old conflict and open the way for an independent Palestine, according to U.S. officials. But on the question of borders, security, refugees and the status of Jerusalem, leaders from both sides have sounded far apart this week. Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Zeev Elkin on Thursday rejected the creation of a Palestinian state based on the lines pre-dating the 1967 Six Day War, in which Israel captured and occupied Gaza, East Jerusalem and the West Bank.

Kerry in Israel for new round of Mideast talks

TEL AVIV, Israel (AP) — U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry arrived Thursday in Israel to broker Mideast peace talks that are entering a difficult phase aimed at reaching a two-state solution between the Israelis and Palestinians.

Threatening snowstorm may be early test for N.Y. Mayor de Blasio

By Edith Honan NEW YORK (Reuters) - New York Mayor Bill de Blasio is coming into City Hall with a sweeping mandate to address the city's most vexing problems, from economic inequality to police and community relations. A winter storm that is due to hit on Thursday, de Blasio's second day in office, could pose the first challenge to the new mayor, as he tries to enact a progressive agenda while ensuring the city of more than 8 million people is well managed. De Blasio succeeds Michael Bloomberg, who had no political experience when he took office in 2001 but had founded and run the successful company that takes his name. De Blasio, a Democrat, most recently was the city's public advocate and, before that, served two terms in the city council.

Poll: Americans have little faith in government

WASHINGTON (AP) — Americans enter 2014 with a profoundly negative view of their government, expressing little hope that elected officials can or will solve the nation's biggest problems, a new poll finds.

Health overhaul benefits take effect with new year

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — After a troubled rollout, President Barack Obama's health care overhaul now faces its most personal test: How will it work as people seek care under its new mandates?