Congress

7:26am

Fri February 17, 2012
It's All Politics

Some Friday Political Stories Worth Noting

Those aren't bags of money but they might as well be. President Obama and the DNC raised $29.1 million in January.
Susan Walsh AP

A few of the political stories worth noting this Friday:

Congressional negotiators reached agreement on extensions of the payroll tax cut as well as federal jobless benefits and a "fix" that would prevent Medicare reimbursements to doctors from being cut. But while the House's Republican leaders and the Senate's Democratic leaders were on board, Senate Republicansn weren't. Votes are expected in both chambers Friday.

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5:11am

Fri February 17, 2012
Economy

Does The Strengthening Economy Still Need Congress?

Originally published on Fri February 17, 2012 10:25 am

Employment has been rising in recent months, but most economists say Congress should keep trying to boost consumer spending.
Mark Lennihan AP

Congress on Friday approved legislation to continue a payroll tax holiday and extend benefits for the long-term unemployed.

The goal is to make sure Americans have enough spending money to keep the recovery from faltering. President Obama is expected to sign the legislation.

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10:23am

Wed February 15, 2012
It's All Politics

Election-Year Realities Bring Compromise On Payroll Taxes And More

Originally published on Wed February 15, 2012 12:11 pm

Speaker John Boehner didn't cite it being an election year or Congress' low approval ratings for the GOP's new flexibility but it's hard to ignore such realities.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Part of President Obama's 2012 re-election strategy was to run against a do-nothing Congress. But congressional Republicans now appear determined to make that approach harder for him by coming to terms on some Democratic priorities.

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2:00am

Wed February 15, 2012
Politics

Congress May Skip Payroll Tax Showdown This Time Around

Congress appears to have avoided another showdown over the payroll tax reduction that has been pumping billions of dollars back into the economy. There may even be a deal ahead on jobless benefits and payments to Medicare doctors.

The last time Congress extended the payroll tax holiday was in December, when it passed a two-month extension tied to two other measures. One extended unemployment benefits, and the second fixed a formula by which Medicare doctors are paid. The Medicare fix would stop big cuts in reimbursements for doctors.

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10:01pm

Thu February 9, 2012
Shots - Health Blog

Rules Requiring Contraceptive Coverage Have Been In Force For Years

Originally published on Fri February 10, 2012 6:31 am

In 2002, state lawmakers in Massachusetts approved legislation requiring most employers to provide contraceptive coverage to their employees. One of the groups pushing for the law was the Coalition for Choice, led by Melissa Kogut (center).
Lawrence Jackson AP

There's been no let-up in the debate about the Obama administration's rule requiring most employers to provide prescription birth control to their workers without additional cost.

Here's the rub: The only truly novel part of the plan is the "no cost" bit.

The rule would mean, for the first time, that women won't have to pay a deductible or copayment to get prescription contraceptives.

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