The Senate on Wednesday overwhelmingly passed a bipartisan measure aimed at easing healthcare delays for veterans by giving them more access to private care and allowing the Department of Veterans Affairs to open more clinics and hire more medical staff. The 93-3 vote in the Democratic-led Senate followed unanimous passage on Tuesday in the Republican-controlled House of Representatives of a similar bill. Before passing the bill, senators voted 75-19 to turn aside objections to its cost raised by Republican Jeff Sessions of Alabama. "I feel strongly we've got to do the right thing for our veterans. But I don't think we should create a blank check, an unlimited entitlement program, now," Sessions said. Sessions and two other Republicans, Ron Johnson of Wisconsin and Bob Corker of Tennessee, voted against the bill's passage.
The House has quietly stripped away the requirement that privately sponsored travel be included on lawmakers' annual financial-disclosure forms, making it more difficult to ferret out which members of Congress are lavished with all-expenses-paid trips around the world. The move, made behind closed doors and without a public announcement by the House Ethics Committee, reverses more than three decades of precedent. "This is such an obvious effort to avoid accountability," said Melanie Sloan, executive director of the watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington. "There's no legitimate reason. There's no good reason for it."
After a Channelview, Texas, fast-food restaurant was robbed, the pregnant shift manager claimed she was fired for refusing to reimburse the company the nearly $400 that was stolen. The heist happened March 31 at a Popeyes fried-chicken restaurant and was captured on surveillance video. "I told them I'm not paying nothing," Marissa Holcomb said. "I just had a gun to me. I'm not paying the money." read more
Kevin Drum, Mother Jones: From Republican Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, who asked for horror stories about Obamacare and was instead deluged with stories from people who have been helped by it: The stories are largely around pre-existing conditions and those that are getting health insurance up to age 26. Well, sure. Everyone likes the idea of making sure that people with pre-existing conditions can get health insurance. Unfortunately, as Greg Sargent points out, Republicans can't just say they support Obamacare's pre-existing conditions provision but oppose the rest of it ... read more
The former volunteer neighborhood watchman acquitted in the 2012 shooting death of a black Florida teen lashed out at President Obama and said he feels no guilt in the racially charged case that galvanized the country.
In a 13-minute video posted on the website of his lawyer, George Zimmerman says the Obama administration acted irresponsibly in publicly expressing empathy for the family of Trayvon Martin, who died in Feb. 26, 2012, in Sanford, Fla., during a scuffle with Zimmerman. read more