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May 8, 2013

Republican senator’s bill to target ‘political intelligence’ firms

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Law firms, brokerages and other companies that analyze the U.S. government for investors could be forced to disclose client lists and other sensitive information under legislation that a top Republican lawmaker hopes to soon resurrect.

Iowa Republican Senator Charles Grassley, who is investigating whether one such “political intelligence” firm engaged in insider trading last month, will introduce a bill shortly that would shed light on the industry, a spokeswoman for Grassley said.

May 6, 2013

Amid budget cutbacks, U.S. shipping sector seeks more federal funds

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – As Congress imposes deep spending cuts on everything from national defense to child care, shipping industry executives are urging lawmakers to spend hundreds of millions of dollars more on a river network that accounts for a declining share of the nation’s domestic freight.

During a lobbying blitz in the past month, roughly 130 tugboat and barge operators fanned across Capitol Hill, meeting with lawmakers and congressional staffers.

Apr 20, 2013

NRA ardor, clout overwhelm gun-control groups, for now

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – As lawmakers gathered in the U.S. Senate on Wednesday to vote on a plan to expand background checks for gun buyers, staffers in the office of Alaska Democratic Senator Mark Begich fielded a steady stream of calls urging him to break with his party and vote against the measure.

Those callers got what they wanted: Begich voted no – one of four Democrats from gun-friendly states to do so – and the most ambitious gun-control push in two decades went down to defeat.

Apr 20, 2013

NRA ardour, clout overwhelm U.S. gun-control groups, for now

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – As lawmakers gathered in the U.S. Senate on Wednesday to vote on a plan to expand background checks for gun buyers, staffers in the office of Alaska Democratic Senator Mark Begich fielded a steady stream of calls urging him to break with his party and vote against the measure.

Those callers got what they wanted: Begich voted no – one of four Democrats from gun-friendly states to do so – and the most ambitious gun-control push in two decades went down to defeat.

Apr 12, 2013

New state laws illustrate America’s stark divide on gun control

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – While Washington politicians battle over new gun-control measures, state legislators have already passed dozens of new firearms laws since the Newtown school massacre ignited a national debate in December.

The new state laws, a small fraction of the 1,500 or so gun-related bills that have been proposed at state level, reflect the vast political and ideological differences in the debate over gun rights – a gulf that helps explain why lawmakers in Washington find it so difficult to reach a consensus on the issue.

Apr 10, 2013

Obama budget makes cybersecurity a growing U.S. priority

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama proposed on Wednesday increased spending to protect U.S. computer networks from Internet-based attacks in a sign that the government aims to put more resources into the emerging global cyber arms race.

Obama’s budget proposal for the 2014 fiscal year, which begins October 1, calls for more military “hackers” to head off escalating cyber threats from China, Iran, Russia and other countries. It would also bolster defenses for government and private-sector computer networks.

Apr 10, 2013

Obama budget would increase U.S. clean-energy spending

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama proposed a dramatic increase in clean-energy spending on Wednesday as he sought to expand U.S. government support for electric cars, wind power and other “green” technology despite persistent Republican criticism.

The president would pay for the expansion in part by eliminating tax breaks and subsidies for oil, gas and coal industries. Previous efforts by Obama’s fellow Democrats to repeal the $4 billion worth of fossil-fuel subsidies have fallen short.

Apr 5, 2013

FAA says will delay planned closure of air traffic towers

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Federal Aviation Administration said on Friday that it will delay its planned closure of control towers at 149 smaller airports until June 15 in order to resolve several legal challenges.

The closures, which were due to begin as early as Sunday, were one of the most visible signs of the broad “sequester” budget cuts that kicked in on March 1.

Mar 24, 2013

NY Mayor Bloomberg predicts success for expanded U.S. gun checks

WASHINGTON, March 24 (Reuters) – New York Mayor Michael
Bloomberg predicted on Sunday that pressure from the American
public would eventually force the U.S. Congress to expand
background checks for gun buyers, even though the measure faces
an uncertain fate in the Senate.

As Bloomberg launched a $12 million national advertising
campaign aimed at prodding members of the Senate to support
expanded background checks, he said the measure’s widespread
popularity would trump gun-rights groups like the powerful
National Rifle Association that oppose it.

Mar 22, 2013

Lawmakers try to shield U.S. Army Corps of Engineers from cuts

WASHINGTON, March 22 (Reuters) – As the U.S. government
prepares for years of austerity, a bipartisan group of senators
is aiming to give the agency that maintains ports and waterways
extraordinary protection from budget cuts.

The Army Corps of Engineers, best known for its
flood-protection role in hurricane-prone areas such as
Louisiana, is also responsible for keeping the nation’s ports
and rivers open for cargo traffic.

    • About Andy

      "I've covered presidential elections, hurricanes, corruption scandals and computer hackers since joining Reuters in 2000. In my free time I'm a musician -- my song "The Internet Is Changing Everything" has been played on NPR and CNBC. I'm currently working on a rock opera about Jack Abramoff."
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