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Obama finds fault with Congressional flight delay fix

President Barack Obama chided Republicans on Saturday for approving a plan to ease air-traffic delays caused by federal spending cuts while leaving budget cuts that affect children and the elderly untouched. The Senate and the House of Representatives backed a plan this week to give the Department of Transportation flexibility to cover immediate salaries of air traffic controllers at the Federal Aviation Administration who had been furloughed as part of budget cuts known as “sequester. The furloughs, which started Sunday, led to take-off and landing delays at airports nationwide. “This week, the sequester hurt travelers, who were stuck for hours
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Republicans run into recruiting problems in key Senate races

Republicans are struggling to recruit strong Senate candidates in states that present the party’s best opportunities to reclaim the majority, a sign that the GOP‘s post-2012 soul-searching may end up creeping into the midterm congressional elections. It’s admittedly early, with more than 18 months before the November 2014 elections. But candidate recruitment efforts are well underway. And, so far, Republicans haven’t been able to field a top-tier candidate in Iowa or Michigan, swing-voting states where the GOP hopes to make a play for seats left open by the retirement of veteran Democratic senators. Also, the GOP is facing the prospect
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Biden claims economy allowed Obama to beat McCain in 2008

Vice President Joe Biden said Friday that Arizona Sen. John McCain probably would have beat his boss in the 2008 presidential election had the economy not collapsed. Biden’s comment about McCain and President Barack Obama came during the opening dinner of an annual forum among the Red Rocks of Sedona in northern Arizona. He and McCain, a Republican, touched on the gun control debate following the Newtown shootings and the bombings in Boston, but made no mention of Syria. Just as the night came to a close, Biden turned to the grueling nature of presidential campaigns. “The truth of the
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Plane landing gear found in New York City: From 9/11?

A rusted 5-foot-tall piece of landing gear believed to be from one of the hijacked planes destroyed in the Sept. 11 attacks has been discovered near the World Trade Center wedged between a luxury apartment building and a mosque site that once prompted virulent national debate about Islam and free speech. The twisted metal part, jammed in an 18-inch-wide sliver of open space between the buildings, has cables and levers on it and is about 17 inches wide and 4 feet long, New York Police Department Commissioner Raymond Kelly said Friday. “It’s a manifestation of a horrific terrorist act a
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Slower than expected growth adds more bad economic news

The economy regained speed in the first quarter, but not as much as expected, heightening fears it could struggle to cope with deep government spending cuts and higher taxes. Gross domestic product expanded at a 2.5 percent annual rate, the Commerce Department said on Friday, after growth nearly stalled in the fourth quarter. Economists had expected a 3.0 percent growth pace. “It wasn’t the bang-up start to the year we had hoped for, and the signals from March suggested that we will only decelerate from here,” said Avery Shenfeld, chief economist at CIBC World Markets in Toronto. Growth rebounded in
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Is tax-free Internet shopping headed for the dumpster?

Internet shoppers are moving closer to paying sales taxes for their online purchases. But the fight is far from over. The Senate voted 63-30 Thursday to advance a bill that would impose state and local sales taxes on purchases made over the Internet. An agreement among senators delayed the Senate’s final vote on passage until May 6, when senators return from a weeklong vacation. Opponents hope senators hear from angry constituents over the next week, but they acknowledged they have a steep hill to climb to defeat the bill in the Senate. Their best hope for stopping the bill may
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How the Boston bombers’ plan to strike next in Times Square ran out of gas

Armed with a pressure-cooker explosive and five pipe bombs, the suspects in the Boston Marathon bombing made a spur-of-the-moment decision last week to give the Big Apple a taste of their mayhem, New York officials say. The potentially deadly scheme fell apart when the brothers realized the car they had hijacked was low on gas. “We don’t know if we would have been able to stop the terrorists had they arrived here from Boston,” Mayor Michael Bloomberg said Thursday. “We’re just thankful that we didn’t have to find out that answer.” New York Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said Dzhokhar Tsarnaev
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Senate moves to end air traffic controller furloughs

The Senate moved quickly late on Thursday to end air traffic controller furloughs that were causing widespread airline flight delays related to last month’s automatic federal spending cuts. Without any debate, the Senate unanimously passed legislation giving the Department of Transportation flexibility to use unspent funds to cover the costs of air traffic controllers and other essential employees at the Federal Aviation Administration. The House of Representatives, which is expected to approve the measure, could take it up on Friday, capping a feverish effort by Congress to end the flight delays that were snarling traffic at major U.S. airports and
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Will immigration reform pass? That depends on who you ask

The push for comprehensive immigration legislation faces an uncertain fate in the Republican-controlled U.S. House of Representatives even as Senate supporters voiced optimism on Thursday for overwhelming backing in that chamber. As the Democratic Party-controlled Senate pushed ahead on an 844-page bill that aims to rewrite America’s immigration law, the Republican-controlled House was still undecided on how broad of a bill it might consider – or even if it would advance legislation this year. That was the message delivered Thursday by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte, who told reporters that he would be introducing a series of individual bills,
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Lots of talk about deficit reduction but little action

Liberals’ loud objections to White House proposals for slowing the growth of huge social programs make it clear that neither political party puts a high priority on reducing the deficit, despite much talk to the contrary. For years, House Republicans have adamantly refused to raise income taxes, even though U.S. taxes are historically low, and the Bush-era tax cuts were a major cause of the current deficit. And now, top Democrats are staunchly opposing changes to Medicare and Social Security benefits, despite studies showing the programs’ financial paths are unsustainable. Unless something gives, it’s hard to see what will produce
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