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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.
NEWS
July 23, 2013 | ASSOCIATED PRESS
WASHINGTON - Three years after campaigning on a vow to "repeal and replace" President Obama's health-care law, House Republicans have yet to advance an alternative for the system they have voted more than three dozen times to abolish in whole or in part. Officially, the effort is "in progress" - and has been since Jan. 19, 2011, according to GOP.gov, a leadership-run website. But internal divisions, disagreement about political tactics and Obama's 2012 re-election add up to uncertainty over whether Republicans will vote on a plan of their own before the 2014 elections, or if not by then, perhaps before the president leaves office, more than six years after the original promise.
BUSINESS
July 23, 2013 | By Jay Hancock, KAISER HEALTH NEWS
Like businesses across the country, Angelo's restaurant has been recovering from a miserable economy, a load of debt, and a bottom line that until recently was the color of its special marinara sauce. So owner Michael Passalacqua probably speaks for many when he expresses relief about the decision to delay enforcing until 2015 the Affordable Care Act's mandate for employer health insurance. That was one challenge he didn't need next year, he said. He's glad for the extra time to figure out whether his Washington, Pa., restaurant must conform to the law and, if so, how. "It's nothing but a noose hanging right over my head," Passalacqua said.
NEWS
July 22, 2013 | VOTERAMA IN CONGRESS
WASHINGTON - Here is how Philadelphia-area members of Congress voted on major issues last week: House Republican education plan. Voting 221-207, the House on Friday passed a GOP bill (HR 5) to greatly diminish the federal role in K-12 education, increase state and local authority over schools, and freeze spending for elementary and secondary education for several years at sequestration levels. The bill, which renews the Elementary and Secondary Education Act for five years, would repeal most of the Bush-era No Child Left Behind requirements.
NEWS
July 5, 2013 | By Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar, Associated Press
WASHINGTON - The sudden delay of a major part of President Obama's historic health-care overhaul is raising questions about other potential problems lurking in the homestretch. The requirement that many employers provide coverage is just one part of a complex law. But its one-year postponement has taken administration allies and adversaries alike by surprise. White House officials said Wednesday that the delay was firm and would not be extended after a year - and that the overhaul will still be fully implemented by the time Obama leaves office.
NEWS
July 3, 2013 | By Amy Worden, Inquirer Harrisburg Bureau
HARRISBURG - As the health-care industry and advocates for the poor anxiously watched and waited, a soft-spoken Bucks County Republican took the state House floor Monday night to break with his caucus and call for expansion of health insurance for hundreds of thousands of lower-income Pennsylvanians. "I believe in bottom of my heart that this is the right thing to do," said Rep. Gene DiGirolamo, who is chairman of the House Health and Welfare Committee, to applause from Democrats.
NEWS
June 23, 2013 | By Frank Diamond, For The Inquirer
Barbara Bloomfield had it all figured out. When she retired from her job at the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, she would get into solar energy. "But then I suddenly got arthritic knees, and I had to go for physical therapy and I thought about all the people who didn't have health care," said Bloomfield, 70, of Chestnut Hill. "So I decided to get involved in supporting the Affordable Care Act just before it came up for a vote in Congress. " She also volunteered with the Philadelphia Unemployment Project, helping those with no health coverage navigate the Byzantine world of insurance.
NEWS
June 20, 2013 | By Carla K. Johnson, Associated Press
CHICAGO - A nonprofit group helping to spread the word about President Obama's health-care overhaul launched a campaign Tuesday that will target states with high numbers of uninsured Americans and tackle their skepticism with straightforward messages. The "Get Covered America" campaign will include door-to-door visits by volunteers, brochures handed out at farmers markets and churches, and, possibly, partnerships with sports leagues and celebrities, said Anne Filipic, a former White House official who recently became president of Enroll America, the group sponsoring the campaign.
NEWS
May 17, 2013
Tsarnaev left note in boat NEW YORK - Dzhokhar Tsarnaev left a "deathbed" note inside the hull of the boat where he was captured, claiming he and his older brother set off bombs at the Boston Marathon as retribution for U.S. attacks on Muslims in Iraq and Afghanistan, a law enforcement source said Thursday. The note said the victims of the April 15 attack were essentially collateral damage, the source said. He referred to his brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, who died in a shootout with police, as a martyr whom he wouldn't miss because he would join him in the afterlife, the source said.
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