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Lawmakers see ‘fiscal cliff’ deal slipping away

With anxiety rising as the country lurches towards a “fiscal cliff,” lawmakers are increasingly skeptical about a possible deal and some predict the best possibility would be a small-scale patch because time is running out before the yearend deadline. Sen. Joe Lieberman predicted Sunday: “We’re going to spend New Year’s Eve here, I believe.” Even those who see the possibility of a deal don’t expect a lot. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas, said she expects “it is going to be a patch because in four days we can’t solve everything.” With the collapse Thursday of House Speaker John Boehner‘s plan
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Congress shows more support for limitng size of gun magazines

Lawmakers from both parties voiced their willingness Sunday to pursue some changes to the nation’s gun laws, but adamant opposition from the National Rifle Association has made clear than any such effort will face significant obstacles. NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre dismissed efforts to revive a ban on assault weapons as a “phony piece of legislation” that’s built on lies. Democratic lawmakers in Congress have become more adamant about the need for stricter gun laws since the shooting of 20 children and six teachers at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California is promising to push
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Gun enthusiasts flock to shows to buy new arms

Gun enthusiasts thronged to shows around the country on Saturday to buy assault weapons they fear will soon be outlawed after a massacre of school children in Connecticut prompted calls for tighter controls on firearms. Reuters reporters went to gun shows in Pennsylvania, Missouri and Texas, and found long lines to get in the door, crowds around the dealer booths, a rush to buy assault weapons even at higher prices and some dealers selling out. The busiest table at the R.K. Gun & Knife show at an exposition center near the Kansas City, Missouri airport was offering assault weapons near
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Failure on ‘fiscal cliff’ issue could sink John Boehner

John Boehner is a bloodied House speaker following the startling setback that his own fractious Republican troops dealt him in their “fiscal cliff” struggle against President Barack Obama. There’s plenty of internal grumbling about the Ohio Republican, especially among conservatives, and lots of buzzing about whether his leadership post is in jeopardy. But it’s uncertain whether any other House Republican has the broad appeal to seize the job from Boehner or whether his embarrassing inability to pass his own bill preventing tax increases on everyone but millionaires is enough to topple him. “No one will be challenging John Boehner as
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‘Fiscal cliff’ worries last minute shoppers

Retailers may not see a sales surge this weekend as ho-hum discounts and fears about imminent tax hikes and cuts in government spending give Americans fewer reasons to open their wallets in the last few days before Christmas. The acrimonious debate in Washington over how to avoid the so-called “fiscal cliff” is one of a number of concerns weighing on shoppers, experts said, as consumers head to malls on the last Saturday ahead of the holiday – typically one of the busiest shopping days of the year. “I don’t think we’re going to get a great pickup in the last
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GOP policies led to ‘fiscal cliff’ meltdown

Republicans seem shocked by their party’s meltdown on the so-called fiscal cliff. They shouldn’t be. The uncompromising conservatives who blocked Speaker John Boehner‘s tax bill were merely sticking to policies that Boehner and nearly all other GOP leaders have pushed, without reservation, for years: It’s always wrong to raise tax rates on anyone, no matter how rich. The nation’s big deficit is entirely “a spending problem, not a revenue problem.” And in any deficit-reduction plan, spending cuts must overwhelm new revenues, by 10-to-1 if not more. To be surprised by Boehner’s failure is to assume one of two things. Either
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Armed security in schools? Yep, that’s the NRA’s answer to school shootings

The nation’s largest gun-rights lobby called Friday for the placement of an armed police officer in every school, but parents and educators questioned how safe such a move would keep kids, whether it would be economically feasible and how it would alter student life. Their reactions ranged from supportive to disgusted. Already, there are an estimated 10,000 sworn officers serving in schools around the country, most of them armed and employed by local police departments, according to a membership association for the officers. Still, they’re deployed at only a fraction of the country’s approximately 98,000 public schools, and their numbers
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Pennsylvania Police investigate latest shootings

Authorities in central Pennsylvania are trying to determine why a man fatally shot three people along a rural road before being killed in a gunfight with police. Police were still trying to piece together a timeline in the arduous investigation of the Friday shootings that began in Frankstown Township and spanned five crime scenes within a 1.5-mile radius. A woman decorating a church hall for a children’s Christmas party was among those killed. Three state troopers were injured. Authorities haven’t released a motive for the shootings. “It’s going to take us some time to put this all together … and
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Court rules that employers can fire ‘too sexy’ employees

  The Iowa Supreme Court ruled on Friday that employers in the state can legally fire workers they find too attractive. In a unanimous decision, the court held that a dentist did not violate the state’s civil rights act when he terminated a female dental assistant whom his wife considered a threat to their marriage. The dental assistant, Melissa Nelson, who worked for dentist James Knight for more than 10 years and had never flirted with him, according to the testimony of both parties, sued, saying she would not have been fired if she were a man. At trial, Knight
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Boehner’s ‘fiscal cliff’ bill lacks votes to pass, House recesses

The U.S. House of Representatives abruptly recessed on Thursday amid uncertainty if Republicans had the votes needed to pass a “fiscal cliff” tax plan offered by Speaker John Boehner. Boehner and fellow Republicans huddled in his office. The bill would renew tax breaks for all but only about 1 percent of Americans. Some conservative oppose the measure, saying all should be protected against tax hikes.
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