Lisa's Feed
May 25, 2011

Education grants made available for 9 U.S. states

WASHINGTON, May 25 (Reuters) – Nine U.S. states will be
eligible to compete for education grants of up to $50 million
through President Barack Obama’s “Race to the Top” program, the
federal government said on Wednesday.

The states — Arizona, California, Colorado, Illinois,
Kentucky, Louisiana, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and South
Carolina — were picked in the third round of grant competition
after they failed to win funding in their first two tries.

May 25, 2011

Americans want to “keep Medicaid as it is”: survey

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – More than half of Americans do not want Medicaid funding cut and are skeptical of changing how the federal government funds the healthcare program for the poor, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation survey released on Wednesday.

Currently, states administer Medicaid with partial reimbursements from the federal government. The healthcare reform law passed last year made more people eligible for the program and also increased some rates of reimbursement.

May 20, 2011

States seek to escape rising prison costs

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – States have been shackled for years by the rising cost of keeping inmates in prison. Now they are planning a getaway.

In the final stretch of approving budgets for the next fiscal year, many statehouses want to save money by changing incarceration policies and closing prisons. Florida is set to bring in more private contractors to run its prisons while Ohio and Louisiana consider selling theirs.

May 20, 2011

Jailbreak: U.S. states seek to escape prison costs

WASHINGTON, May 20 (Reuters) – U.S. states have been
shackled for years by the rising cost of keeping inmates in
prison. Now they are planning a getaway.

In the final stretch of approving budgets for the next
fiscal year, many statehouses want to save money by changing
incarceration policies and closing prisons. Florida is set to
bring in more private contractors to run its prisons while Ohio
and Louisiana consider selling theirs.

May 18, 2011

Build America Bonds sellers saved billions-Treasury

WASHINGTON, May 18 (Reuters) – U.S. state and local
governments that sold Build America Bonds, the taxable debt
created in the federal stimulus plan, “realized considerable
savings,” a Treasury official said on Wednesday.

Treasury found that issuers of the bonds, which paid them
federal rebates equal to 35 percent of interest, saved $20
billion, said John Bellows, acting assistant secretary for
economic policy.

May 10, 2011

US appeals court questions Obama healthcare lawsuit

, May 10 (Reuters) – A U.S. appeals court on
Tuesday sharply questioned whether the state of Virginia could
challenge President Barack Obama’s signature healthcare law,
which requires Americans to buy insurance in a bid to slow
healthcare costs.

The Obama administration is trying to save the individual
mandate after a Virginia federal judge agreed with the state it
was unconstitutional and struck down that part of the law.

May 10, 2011

Obama administration fights to save healthcare law

RICHMOND, Virginia (Reuters) – Lawyers for President Barack Obama go to court on Tuesday to try to save the cornerstone of his healthcare overhaul, arguing that the requirement for Americans to buy insurance is constitutional.

A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit will consider whether a lower court was correct in striking down the requirement. But they will not be the final arbiter in a fight that is expected to reach the Supreme Court.

May 5, 2011

House Republicans want to help states on jobless debt

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Leading Republicans in the House of Representatives on Thursday introduced a bill that would allow states to pay down debts for unemployment benefits with federal funds set aside for emergency aid.

The legislation, introduced by the powerful chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, Dave Camp, along with Kentucky’s Geoff Davis and North Dakota’s Rick Berg, would rely on $31 billion designated for extended unemployment benefits.

May 4, 2011

UBS settles with U.S. in muni bond case

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – UBS AG acknowledged that its former employees in its municipal bond reinvestment desk broke the law, and agreed to pay $160 million to federal and state agencies, the Justice Department said on Wednesday.

UBS settled with the Justice Department, Securities and Exchange Commission, Internal Revenue Service and 25 state attorneys general.

Apr 29, 2011

Bring BABs back and cap tax-exempts: think tank

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Bringing back Build America Bonds (BABs) would entice investors into the $2.9 trillion U.S. municipal bond market and promote infrastructure investment, the Center for American Progress said on Friday.

But at the same time, the left-leaning think tank called for a cap on the issuance of the tax-exempt debt.