WASHINGTON — Contentious from its conception, President Barack Obama´s health care law has survived the Supreme Court, a battle for the White House and rounds of budget brinkmanship. Now comes the ultimate test: the verdict of the American people. A government shutdown could dampen the rollout Tuesday as insurance markets open around the country. But it won´t stop the main components of "Obamacare" from going live as scheduled, glitches and all. The biggest expansion of society´s safety net since Medicare will be in the hands of consumers, and most of their concerns don´t revolve around ideology and policy details.
As Monday turns to Tuesday the U.S. government will lose its authority to spend money on non-essential services, unless House Republicans, Senate Democrats and the Democrat occupying 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue strike a budget deal that hinges on the future of President Obama´s controversial health insurance overhaul. House GOP leaders offered and passed last week a budget resolution that would fund the government, but without providing money for Obamacare. But now Republicans are working on a compromise measure that would delay the health care law´s implementation for a year instead.A competing plan would chip away at Obamacare more modestly by eliminating a
The federal government´s personnel office finalized rules Monday dictating how lawmakers and their staff will purchase health insurance through ObamaCare´s new exchanges. The rule finalizes a "fix" allowing the federal government to continue to contribute to the healthcare costs of lawmakers and staff. Many Republicans have labeled the policy an "exemption" from ObamaCare, although lawmakers and their aides are not exempt from the requirement to buy ObamaCare policies. (Snip) Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) and Rep. Dennis Ross (R-Fla.) had tried to attach an amendment to government funding bills that would overturn the OPM´s ruling, forcing lawmakers and their staffs to
In a speech at a Maryland community college last week promoting his namesake health reform law, President Obama mentioned the word "benefits" 10 times. Free preventive care, coverage for children up to age 26, a better drug plan for seniors. "We´re giving more benefits and protections," he said. But there was one word Obama didn´t mention once in his entire 51-minute talk. And that word was "mandate." That´s despite the fact that a central feature of ObamaCare is the requirement that all those adoring young people buy insurance or pay a fine, and is the key to whatever chances of
A novice Republican running in a rural state has shattered fundraising records campaigning as the "anti-Obamacare candidate."(snip) "I am the anti-Obamacare candidate," Sasse said cheerfully. "Not only have I read the 2,300-page bill, I have actually spent years studying it and I understand just how devastating this will be to American businesses, families and taxpayers." It was Sasse´s health care expertise and his outspoken opposition to Obamacare that inspired former Nebraska GOP chairman Mark Fahleson to draft Sasse to run for the open seat left by Sen. Mike Johann´s retirement. "2014 and probably 2016 will be about one thing more
President Obama could be hanging his hopes for productive nuclear negotiations with Iran on a hoax, according to one Middle East-focused think tank. On Friday, Obama cited a “fatwa,” or religious edict, from Iran’s all-powerful Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, banning the pursuit of nuclear weapons. “I do believe that there is a basis for a resolution [because] Iran’s Supreme Leader has issued a fatwa against the development of nuclear weapons,” Obama told reporters. But although talk of such a fatwa has been around for at least eight years, there’s no evidence it was ever issued, according to the Middle East Media Research Institute,
Animal fans around the region were overjoyed to hear about the birth of the National Zoo´s panda cub almost six weeks ago. As news hit Monday that the zoo´s Panda Cam would go dark in the event of a government shutdown, readers took to Twitter to vent their frustration, poke fun -- and post reminders that there are many more serious concerns. The National Zoo would remain closed to the public Tuesday morning in the event of a shutdown because the zoo´s animal cams require government resources which are not deemed essential, a zoo spokesperson confirmed to NBC Washington Monday
The Senate voted Monday afternoon to kill House Republicans’ latest stopgap spending offer, holding firm in their demand that Congress continue to fund Obamacare as part of any government-funding debate. The 54-46 vote officially tabled both proposals the House GOP passed early Sunday morning, one of which would have funded the government while delaying the health law for a year, and the other of which would have repealed one of the Affordable Care Act’s tax increases. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid bundled both of those proposals into a single vote, which made it easier to round up the support to
A two-decade family feud came to a violent end when a man shot dead the two home invaders that killed his wife and son, not knowing the assailants included his long-estranged daughter, authorities said Sunday. Though the investigation of Friday´s shootings continues, authorities said it appears Josephine and Jeffrey Ruckinger planned to murder her family at their rural central Pennsylvania home — but it remains unclear what exactly led to the deadly confrontation. [snip] Police say Roberta, 64, answered the door, and cried out something like "Oh my God, they have guns!" before her daughter shot her at point-blank range.
All that running on Baywatch has finally paid off. Pamela Anderson announced her plans to run the ING New York City Marathon on her Twitter account on Sunday – all in the name of a good cause. "I´m running the New York Marathon this year and raising funds for the J/P Haitian Relief Organization," she Tweeted. Spanning across the five boroughs, the Marathon takes place Nov. 3, leaving Anderson just over a month to raise funds to support J/P HRO, an organization that aims to save lives and bring sustainable programs to the Haiti following the earthquake of 2010.
The way Charles Ferguson tells it in a Huffington Post piece, he wasn’t stymied by the initial, negative reaction to the news that he’d be directing a CNN film on Hillary Rodham Clinton. He wasn’t stymied by the refusal of Clinton herself to make herself available for a private, off-the-record conversation. He wasn’t stymied by the work of Philippe Reines, who, he says, “contacted various people at CNN, interrogated them, and expressed concern about alleged conflicts of interest generated because my film was a for-profit endeavor (as nearly all documentaries and news organizations are).” Nor was he stymied by disapproval
This is damn crazy. Isn´t it about time for President Barack Obama to say that? Or something like that? Once again, a rump group of Republican radicals in the House are throwing the US government into chaos, threatening a shutdown of federal agencies (unless Obama agrees to smother Obamacare in the crib) that could harm the economy and setting up another showdown over the debt ceiling that could cause a financial crisis that stretches from the United States to markets around the world. The president has denounced this obstructionism gone wild. On Friday, he decried House GOP "grandstanding," noting that
As musical genres go, Greek anti-fascist rap is one of the more niche ones, and it´s probably fair to say that until recently, not many folks outside of his home country had heard of Pavlos Fyssas. A 34-year-old who sang under the name Killah P, his lyrics railed against the Greek Far Right --not the military junta who ruled from 1967 to 74, but the Neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party, whose MPs goosestepped their way into parliament last year on an anti-immigrant ticket. Since earlier this month, however, Mr Fyssas´s face has been all over Europe´s TV screens, having become a martyr
Washington -- The latest report on job creation and the unemployment rate, set to be released Friday, could be delayed if the federal government shuts down this week, the Labor Department said. "All survey and other program operations will cease and the public website will not be updated," Erica L. Groshen, commissioner of the Bureau of Labor Statistics, said in a Sept. 10 memo that is part of the department´s contingency plan for a shutdown. But Groshen said timing is important in determining whether economic data would be released during a shutdown, which would begin Tuesday if
A pack of bikers pummeled a driver in upper Manhattan on Sunday, after a wild chase that began with a fender bender on the West Side Highway, cops said. The brawl erupted after the victim — who was driving his wife and their young child — became surrounded by a swarm of motorcycles on the highway and accidentally hit one of the bikes near W. 125th St. about 2 p.m., police said. But when the driver stopped, several of the bikers began to damage the man’s black Range Rover — so he hit the gas and plowed through three motorcycles before speeding away, cops said.
The Washington region, home to the largest concentration of federal workers and contractors in the nation, could lose an estimated $200?million a day and could see more than 700,000 jobs take a financial hit if the federal government shuts down Monday night, according to a local economist’s projections. And that’s not counting the blow to tourism, one of the region’s economic mainstays, if the Smithsonian museums, the National Zoo, Civil War battlefields and other federally funded attractions are shuttered, said Stephen Fuller, director of George Mason University’s Center for Regional Analysis. “This is serious,” Fuller said. “The national economy may
Europe’s nascent economic recovery is too green to make any impact on the region’s jobs market yet, according to economists. Unemployment in the 17-nation euro area remained at a record high of 12.1 percent in August, according to the median estimate of 30 economists in a Bloomberg News survey. The European Union’s statistics office is due to publish the jobless numbers at 11 a.m. tomorrow in Luxembourg. “Europe is faced with a high level of structural unemployment and this is not going to change any time soon,” said Annamaria Grimaldi, an economist at Intesa Sanpaolo SpA in Milan.
Montgomery, Ala. — A federal judge has approved a settlement to end the segregation of HIV-positive inmates in Alabama prisons. U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson issued an opinion Monday saying the agreement isn´t perfect but can take effect. Female inmates already are living with other prisoners at the state´s lone women´s prison, and male inmates will be integrated into the general prison population next year. Thompson sided with prisoners in December and ordered the Department of Corrections to quit making HIV-positive inmates live in housing areas away from other prisoners. (Snip) The American Civil Liberties Union represents inmates who sued
Iran´s president is asking aviation authorities to study the possibility of resuming direct flights between Iran and the United States for the first time in more than three decades. Hassan Rohani´s request reflects Iranian efforts to possibly build on the groundbreaking exchanges with Washington that included a telephone chat last week between the new Iranian president and President Barack Obama. Iran´s immediate goal is to resume talks over its nuclear program to seek easing of Western sanctions. But Tehran also appears willing to explore expanded contacts. (Snip) More than 1 million Iranian-Americans live in California and elsewhere.
Washington – Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is conferring Monday in Washington with US President Barack Obama. The focus of the meeting is expected to be Netanyahu´s request for America to not be lured by Iran´s desire for diplomatic negotiations, and to keep the option of a military intervention on the table. The meeting in Washington is the first between Netanyahu and Obama since they met in March during President Obama´s visit to Israel. Netanyahu is also expected to meet US Vice President Joe Biden at the White House, and US Secretary of State John Kerry at the State Department Building.
A Wisconsin middle school has been forced to apologize after showing students a video produced after Barack Obama´s 2008 election that included celebrities pledging to ´be a servant to the President.´ Some parents who watched the video at an assembly at Hudson Middle School in Hudson, Wisconsin, called it propaganda and complained that it was inappropriate for young minds. The video, produced by Oprah Winfrey´s production company, includes celebrities like Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher, Cameron Diaz and Eva Longoria. Scroll down for video-It begins with the stars describing their pledges to do one thing to change the world. KMSP-TV
NEW YORK — Airlines are introducing a new bevy of fees, but this time passengers might actually like them. Unlike the first generation of charges which dinged fliers for once-free services like checking a bag, these new fees promise a taste of the good life, or at least a more civil flight. Extra legroom, early boarding and access to quiet lounges were just the beginning. Airlines are now renting Apple iPads preloaded with movies, selling hot first class meals in coach and letting passengers pay to have an empty seat next to them. Once on the ground, they can skip
Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) on Monday morning blasted Senate Democrats for not working on Sunday, even as they continued to warn about the dire threat of a government shutdown. "The Senate decided not to work yesterday," Boehner said in a rare speech on the House floor. "Well my goodness, if there´s such an emergency, where are they?" (Snip) "The fact that nobody knows what the rules are, employers scared to death to hire new employees, cutting the hours many of their current employees, and for what reason?" he asked. "This law is not ready for prime time.
The battle over Obamacare is taking on political importance as Democrats hope a successful roll-out among Hispanics will further bind those voters to the Democratic Party and undermine Republican efforts to build more support before the 2016 presidential election. In California, where Hispanics will outnumber whites within a year, backers of the Affordable Care Act are ramping up outreach in places like Richmond, a San Francisco Bay Area city whose population is almost 40 percent Hispanic and where about 18 percent of residents live below the poverty line. “A lot of the long-term implications, partisanship-wise and electorally, are going to
A year ago, when Major League Baseball added an extra wild card to each league, some traditionalists howled. Here was MLB further devaluing its regular season, they argued, offering more playoff spots to less deserving teams. But the upside was simple: More teams in contention. More late-season drama. More of the kinds of win-or-go-home games the sport so rarely offers. Those benefits were on full display Sunday. The final day of baseball´s regular season began with three teams competing for two American League wild-card spots. It ended with two teams still alive for one. The Tampa Bay Rays and the Texas Rangers