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Dec 15, 2012

Some Democrats call for action on gun control after Connecticut shootings

WASHINGTON, Dec 15 (Reuters) – A day after the Connecticut
elementary school massacre, a senior congressional Democrat on
Saturday called on U.S. lawmakers to pass sweeping new gun
control measures including banning assault weapons and
high-capacity clips, saying, “Politics be damned.”

Representative John Larson, chairman of the House of
Representatives Democratic Caucus, gave a list of specific
policies he wanted the U.S. Congress to vote on quickly after
the mass shooting in his home state of Connecticut.

Dec 14, 2012

U.S. states inch closer to pre-recession prosperity

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. states are coming close to the end of a three-year trek back to the financial prosperity they enjoyed before the recession, according to a survey released on Friday that found the recovery is slow and uneven.

The National Association of State Budget Officers and National Governors Association found that total state spending will likely rise 2.2 percent this fiscal year from last, while general fund revenues grow 3.9 percent to $692.8 billion.

Dec 12, 2012

Cuts, hikes and borrowing as US states work to pay jobless loans

WASHINGTON, Dec 12 (Reuters) – North Carolina lawmakers next
month will begin considering chipping away at aid for the
jobless, while squeezing more money from employers, all in the
hopes of retiring a debt to the federal government of more than
$2 billion.

As unemployment rose during the recession, North Carolina
borrowed repeatedly from the U.S. government to pay jobless
benefits. It has the third-largest such outstanding loan in the
country, $2.4 billion, behind California and New York.

Dec 11, 2012

Thousands of unemployed in Illinois face end of federal aid

WASHINGTON, Dec 11 (Reuters) – About 90,000 people in
Illinois will lose federal jobless aid at the end of the month
when an emergency assistance program ends, the state’s
employment department said on Tuesday.

Currently, people who are laid off can claim benefits from
the state for 25 weeks. They then move on to receive payments
from a national emergency program started under President George
W. Bush that has been extended multiple times under President
Barack Obama and has carried a price tag of roughly $520 billion
over five years, according to the non-partisan Congressional
Budget Office.

Dec 6, 2012

Good, but not great: US states find fiscal stability

WASHINGTON, Dec 6 (Reuters) – Most U.S. states reached a
plateau of fiscal stability in 2012 as their revenues slowly
grew, but they still face threats from escalating costs, high
unemployment and federal budget cuts.

That has given rise to a single refrain in describing
current state budgets: good, but not great.

Nov 30, 2012

Only three major US cities see economic recovery-study

WASHINGTON, Nov 30 (Reuters) – Retailers moving into old
downtown buildings, an abundance of freshly planted greenspaces,
and a stream of new jobs in Knoxville, Tennessee, are all signs
to Mayor Madeline Rogero that for the last year prosperity has
been blooming in her city.

“We feel very good about how we’re coming out of this
recession,” Rogero said. “We see new interest. We see new
development that’s occurring. We’re optimistic that this
recovery is going to continue.”

Nov 16, 2012

Congressional leaders optimistic after meeting Obama

WASHINGTON, Nov 16 (Reuters) – Republican and Democratic
congressional leaders emerged from a meeting with President
Barack Obama on Friday pledging to find common ground on taxes
and spending that would allow them to avert a looming “fiscal
cliff” that could send the economy back into recession.

The top lawmakers spoke to reporters as a group for the
first time in more than a year in what aides said was a joint
decision to project a message of unity.

Nov 16, 2012

Obama, Congress leaders meet to avert “fiscal cliff”

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Republican and Democratic congressional leaders emerged from a meeting with President Barack Obama on Friday pledging to find common ground on taxes and spending that would allow them to avert a looming “fiscal cliff” that could send the economy back into recession.

The top lawmakers spoke to reporters as a group for the first time in more than a year in what aides said was a joint decision to project a message of unity.

Nov 16, 2012

Republicans say revenue is on the table in fiscal cliff talks

WASHINGTON, Nov 16 (Reuters) – Top Republicans emerged from
a meeting at the White House on Friday saying they are prepared
to agree to additional revenue in order to avert looming harsh
tax hikes and spending cuts, as long as there also are
reductions in spending.

“To show our seriousness, we’ve put revenue on the table as
long as it’s accompanied by significant spending cuts,” House
Speaker John Boehner told reporters at the White House.

Nov 14, 2012

Obama seeks comprehensive immigration reform in early 2013

WASHINGTON, Nov 14 (Reuters) – Emboldened by the large
turnout of Hispanic voters in last week’s general election, U.S.
President Barack Obama said Wednesday he plans to move quickly
to address what he has called the biggest failure of his first
term – comprehensive immigration reform.

“Before the election, I had given a couple of interviews
where I predicted that the Latino vote was going to be strong
and that that would cause some reflection on the part of
Republicans about their position on immigration reform. I think
we’re starting to see that already,” Obama said at his first
press conference since winning re-election.