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NEWS
September 29, 2013 | By Jonathan Tamari, Inquirer Washington Bureau
WASHINGTON - In a high-profile moment fraught with political implications, U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey (R., Pa.) voted Friday to block a spending bill needed to keep the government running, prompting Democratic attacks that painted him as "extreme. " Toomey, a Democratic target in a state that tilted blue last year, sided with GOP hard-liners in a key procedural vote that split the party between its establishment leaders and rising stars of the right. He joined Sen. Ted Cruz (R., Texas)
NEWS
September 22, 2013 | By Jonathan Tamari, Inquirer Washington Bureau
WASHINGTON - The Republican-controlled House of Representatives approved a controversial plan Friday to fund government operations through Dec. 15 but eliminate all the money behind President Obama's signature health care law, helping set in motion a budget fight with potentially severe consequences. Each of the Philadelphia suburbs' Republican lawmakers voted for the plan. The tactic - essentially demanding that Democrats agree to slash Obamacare in order to keep the government running - has been pushed by some of the GOP's most combative figures, but opposed by many Republicans who worry that a government shutdown would backfire.
NEWS
September 21, 2013 | By Jonathan Tamari, Inquirer Washington Bureau
WASHINGTON - Mike Fitzpatrick epitomizes the plight of a rare and diminishing breed in Washington: the Republican congressman who has to hew to the center to survive. Fitzpatrick, from Bucks County, represents a district that blends from suburban to rural, nearly evenly split between Republicans and Democrats. He has courted and won tea party backing while casting himself as a moderate problem-solver with the centrist group "No Labels. " So as some of the GOP's most defiant conservatives have urged a showdown over President Obama's health-care law and raised the specter of a government shutdown, Fitzpatrick has been squeezed in a political vise.
NEWS
September 11, 2013 | By Don Sapatkin, Inquirer Staff Writer
The Obama administration moved Monday to insulate community nonprofits from demands of House Republicans, minimizing disruption weeks before a key part of the Affordable Care Act kicks in while potentially irking those who want to kill it. Fifteen Republicans on the House Energy and Commerce Committee sent letters two weeks ago to 51 organizations that are receiving funds for "navigators" intended to help determine eligibility and enroll people in...
NEWS
August 24, 2013 | By Andrew Seidman, Inquirer Staff Writer
Republican Steve Lonegan on Thursday praised Gov. Christie's controversial decision to schedule the special New Jersey U.S. Senate election in October, saying the odd date would make the race against Newark Mayor Cory Booker a referendum on President Obama's health-care law. "This is an opportunity to talk about Obamacare without any interference of other elections, other candidates on the ballot, other issues clouding the agenda," Lonegan told...
NEWS
August 24, 2013 | By Don Sapatkin, Inquirer Staff Writer
If there was any question about why Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius was in Philadelphia on Thursday, the literature in the back of the room made it clear before she uttered a word. There were oversize postcards ("Need affordable health insurance?"), glossy brochures ("About the Health Insurance Marketplace"), 81/2-by-11-inch color photocopies ("Key Dates for the Health Insurance Marketplace"), and multiple fact sheets detailing the Top Five Things You Need to Know About the Affordable Care Act, headlined for "Seniors" and "Young Adults" and "Families With Children" and "People With Disabilities and Serious Health Conditions.
NEWS
August 15, 2013 | By Allison Steele, Inquirer Staff Writer
Heralding the move as a triumph for Pennsylvania's working poor, Gov. Corbett signed a measure Tuesday that will pump $4 million into community health centers in rural and "underserved" areas of the state. The funds also will increase access to care for residents in those areas, particularly preventative care, officials said. "Without these clinics, many people would go without care," said Joan Richards, chief executive officer of Crozer-Chester Health System in Chester, where Corbett held a ceremonial signing Tuesday amid a group of doctors, nurses, and local politicians.
NEWS
August 2, 2013 | By Andrew Seidman, Inquirer Staff Writer
Second in a series of profiles of New Jersey's U.S. Senate candidates. On a recent Monday morning, Mary Martinez needed $530 worth of medicine to treat her asthma. But Martinez, 49, a certified nurse's aide who works at a rehabilitation facility in Hillsborough, Somerset County, cannot afford health insurance. She anticipates also that she will have to take a pay cut soon to spend more time caring for her husband, who has diabetes. And now, she worries that President Obama's health-care overhaul will be a "kick in the teeth.
NEWS
July 28, 2013 | By Andrew Taylor, Associated Press
WASHINGTON - Despite pressure from some liberal Democrats for a September showdown in hopes of ending huge automatic, government-shrinking spending cuts, Washington appears on track to avert what would be the first government shutdown in nearly two decades. That's not to say it will be easy. Senior lawmakers on Capitol Hill are finding trickier-than-usual obstacles in their path as they try to come up with must-do legislation to keep federal agencies running after Sept. 30. At issue is what is normally routine: a plug-the-gap measure known as a continuing resolution to fund the government for a few weeks or months until a deal can be worked out on appropriations bills giving agencies their operating budgets for the full 2014 fiscal year, which begins Oct. 1. On the one hand are some Democratic liberals who don't want to vote to continue to fund the government at new, lower levels mandated by automatic, across-the-board spending cuts known as sequestration.
NEWS
July 28, 2013 | By Joann Loviglio, Associated Press
A federal appeals court ruled Friday against the Mennonite owners of a central Pennsylvania cabinetmaker who claimed new health-insurance requirements that they pay for employees' contraceptive services violated their First Amendment rights. The 2-1 decision by a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit upheld a decision that Conestoga Wood Specialties Corp. of East Earl, Lancaster County, does not qualify for the exemption because it is a for-profit company making a secular product with no formal ties to a church or other religious group.
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