Skeptical Supreme Court justices hear gay marriage case
By Lawrence Hurley WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments on Tuesday on whether the Constitution provides same-sex couples the right to marry, with a majority of the nine justices firing skeptical questions at a lawyer asking them to legalize gay marriage nationwide. Five justices including a possible swing vote, Justice Anthony Kennedy, and a member of the court's liberal wing, Justice Stephen Breyer, asked lawyer Mary Bonauto why the high court should change a definition of marriage that has existed for millennia, rather than allowing American voters to decide. The oral arguments, scheduled for 2-1/2 hours, continued and were expected to end about 12:30 p.m.. A lively crowd estimated at more than 1,000 people, with those favoring legalized gay marriage outnumbering those opposed, gathered outside the white marble courthouse as the justices heard arguments in the case, known as Obergefell v. Hodges.
Tue, 28 Apr 2015 11:46:36 -0400
Senate leader expects strong debate over Iran bill amendments
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said on Tuesday he wants to pass a "sensible" bipartisan bill giving Congress the right to review an international nuclear agreement with Iran but made clear he expects lawmakers to introduce a wide variety of amendments to the legislation. I still expect to see a robust amendment process," McConnell said in a Senate speech before debate on the bill began on Tuesday. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee voted 19-0 last week for a compromise version of the Iran Nuclear Review Act in a rare display of bipartisan unity in the deeply divided Congress. Many Republicans worry that Democratic President Barack Obama is so eager to reach a nuclear agreement with Iran that he will allow the Tehran government to develop a nuclear weapon.
Tue, 28 Apr 2015 10:44:10 -0400
U.S. lawmakers seek limits on travel to Cuba
Members of the House of Representatives launched an effort on Tuesday to prevent new travel from the United States to Cuba, one of the first legislative efforts in Congress to thwart President Barack Obama's effort to normalize relations with the Communist-ruled island. A House Department of Transportation appropriations bill introduced on Tuesday included a provision barring the use of funds to facilitate new scheduled air transportation originating from the United States if any such flights would land on or pass through any property confiscated by the Cuban government. Obama announced on Dec. 17 that he would move toward more normal relations with Cuba after more than half a century of enmity. The announcement was met with strong resistance from many members of Congress, especially Republicans, who say that Cuba must protect human rights for its citizens and make other changes, including sending U.S. fugitives to face trial, before Washington ends more than 50 years of trade restrictions.
Tue, 28 Apr 2015 11:15:16 -0400
Republicans reach deal for budget plan, target Obamacare
By David Lawder WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Republican budget negotiators on Monday reached a compromise deal for the first joint House-Senate budget in six years, one that seeks to boost military spending while calling for deep cuts to social programs to eliminate deficits in a decade. Instead, it will focus on the use of budget procedural tools on repealing or replacing President Barack Obama's signature health reform legislation, the aides said. As reported by Reuters last week, the compromise budget will exclude Representative Paul Ryan's longstanding proposals to convert the Medicare health program for seniors to a system of subsidies for largely private health insurance.
Mon, 27 Apr 2015 17:56:17 -0400
Obama envoy John Allen may be turning the tide in the campaign against the Islamic State
Not long ago, retired Marine Corps Gen. John Allen was a pretty good argument for the wisdom in the old adage Be careful what you wish for. As fighters for the so-called Islamic State rolled through Iraq last summer, sources say Allen was privately furious with the Obama administrations tepid response. As the deputy commanding general of Marine forces in Anbar province back in 2006-08, Allen had participated in the Sunni uprising against al-Qaida in Iraq, commonly known as the Anbar Awakening. And then last September, the Obama administration named Allen as its Special Presidential Envoy for the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL. The privately fuming critic was suddenly very publicly in charge.
Mon, 27 Apr 2015 16:24:27 -0400
Lincoln Chafees 2016 run might matter more than you think
Lincoln Chafee says that when he first got the idea to run for president, he went to see Michael Bloomberg, who, like Chafee, has belonged to both parties and to neither. Bloomberg, the former New York mayor, said he had concluded that you needed to run from inside a party in order to mount a credible White House campaign. (I dont think hes right, especially if youre like the 10th-richest man in America, but thats a conversation for another time.)
Thu, 23 Apr 2015 07:22:10 -0400
Bowe Bergdahl Charged With Desertion, Could Face Life
American soldier and former Taliban captive Bowe Bergdahl has been charged with desertion over his disappearance from an Afghan outpost in 2009 and could face life in confinement, the Army announced today. As part of the deal, the Taliban five were relocated to Qatar. After Bergdahl's dramatic return to the U.S., the Army launched an investigation into whether the soldier willfully left his post in Afghanistan before he was taken by the Taliban in 2009, as some Afghan war veterans alleged.
Wed, 25 Mar 2015 20:26:13 -0400
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