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Feb 25, 2014

Veterans healthcare bill advances in U.S. Senate

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – An expansion of healthcare and education programs for veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan cleared its first procedural hurdle on Tuesday, as Democrats in the U.S. Senate attempted to win passage of the legislation this week.

By a vote of 99-0, the Senate laid the groundwork for debating a bill that would create 27 new medical facilities in 18 states and Puerto Rico to help meet the growing needs of veterans of the long combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Feb 25, 2014

UAW chief says VW vote tainted by outside ‘threats’

/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The head of the United Automobile Workers said on Monday the union’s appeal of a failed organizing vote at a Volkswagen plant in Tennessee will focus on the actions of outsiders, not VW — in a clear reference to remarks by Senator Bob Corker, an outspoken UAW critic.

Corker defended himself, saying he had the right as an elected official to speak out ahead last week’s vote, in which workers rejected the UAW’s bid to represent them.

Feb 24, 2014

Michigan’s Dingell, longest-serving U.S. lawmaker, to retire

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Michigan Democrat John Dingell, a gruff legislator who has served longer in the Congress than any other person in history, will retire from the House of Representatives after this year, a senior House Democratic aide said on Monday.

“I’m not going to be carried out feet first,” Dingell, 87, told the Detroit News. “I don’t want people to say I stayed too long.”

Feb 18, 2014

U.S. minimum wage hike would kill jobs but alleviate poverty: CBO

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Raising the U.S. minimum wage would lead to the loss of about half a million jobs by late 2016 while lifting almost a million Americans out of poverty, the Congressional Budget Office forecast in a report on Tuesday that reignited debate over one of President Barack Obama’s top priorities this year.

Buoyed by polls showing three-quarters of Americans in favor of a minimum wage hike, Obama and his fellow Democrats advocate raising the minimum hourly wage to $10.10 from the current $7.25 in a move to boost the stagnant wages of millions of low income workers.

Feb 15, 2014

Union vote at VW plant nears end after Obama weighs in

/CHATTANOOGA, Tennessee (Reuters) – P resident Barack Obama on Friday waded into a high-stakes union vote at Volkswagen AG’s plant in Tennessee, accusing Republican politicians who oppose unionization of being more concerned about German shareholders than U.S. workers.

Obama’s comments, made at a closed-door meeting of Democratic lawmakers in Maryland, came as the vote to allow union representation at the Chattanooga plant drew to a close.

Feb 14, 2014

Obama seeks to allay Democrats’ fears on Obamacare

, Feb 14 (Reuters) – President Barack Obama
sought on Friday to ease strains with his Democratic allies in
the U.S. Congress, who are fearful they could face election
consequences from the botched rollout of the president’s
signature healthcare law known as “Obamacare.”

Speaking to House of Representatives Democrats during their
three-day retreat, Obama cited an increase in the number of
people signing up for insurance coverage under Obamacare as
evidence that the law’s implementation was going more smoothly
after a troubled start.

Feb 14, 2014

Obama weighs in on contentious union vote at Volkswagen plant

/CHATTANOOGA, Tennessee (Reuters) – P resident Barack Obama on Friday waded into a high-stakes union vote at Volkswagen AG’s plant in Tennessee, accusing Republican politicians who oppose unionization of being more concerned about German shareholders than U.S. workers.

Obama’s comments, made at a closed-door meeting of Democratic lawmakers in Maryland, came as the vote to allow union representation at the Chattanooga plant drew to a close.

Feb 13, 2014

As Volkswagen workers vote, Tennessee senator ramps up anti-union talk

WASHINGTON/CHATTANOOGA, Tennessee (Reuters) – One of Tennessee’s two U.S. senators ramped up his anti-union rhetoric on Thursday in an attempt to sway workers at Volkswagen AG’s Chattanooga plant who are voting this week on representation by the United Auto Workers.

Republican Senator Bob Corker told Reuters on Thursday that he is “very certain that if the UAW is voted down,” the automaker will announce new investment in the plant “in the next couple weeks.”

Feb 13, 2014

U.S. Senator Corker defends intervention in Volkswagen union vote

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Senator Bob Corker on Thursday defended wading into a labor union organizing campaign at a Tennessee Volkswagen plant, saying it would have been irresponsible to remain silent about possible production plans at the automaker’s facility related to the union vote.

On Wednesday, Corker issued a statement saying that he had “conversations” that led him to believe that if VW employees voted against representation by the United Auto Workers union at the Tennessee VW plant, “Volkswagen will announce in the coming weeks that it will manufacture its new mid-size SUV here in Chattanooga.”

Feb 12, 2014

U.S. House approves ‘clean’ debt limit after Republicans drop demands

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. House of Representatives narrowly approved a one-year extension of federal borrowing authority on Tuesday after Republicans caved into President Barack Obama’s demands to allow a debt limit increase without any conditions.

The 221-201 vote, carried mainly by Democrats, marked a dramatic shift from the confrontational fiscal tactics House Republicans have used over the past three years, culminating in last October’s 16-day government shutdown.

    • About Richard

      "I have been a Washington correspondent for Reuters since 2001. I have written about climate change and the environment, the U.S. Congress, politics, economic issues and agricultural trade disputes."
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