Wednesday, 18 December 2013 16:38 Published in National News
WASHINGTON (AP) - A Senate panel has approved a bill that would allow the U.S. to restore its full aid relationship with Egypt.
Wider congressional support for the measure is unclear.
The Senate Foreign Relations Committee's bill, passed Wednesday, softens the American ban on assistance to governments suffering coup d'etats. It allows the president to waive the restriction for up to a year on national security grounds.
For Egypt specifically, President Barack Obama has a waiver option through September 2015.
However, the bill requires the administration to make a coup determination within 30 days of a questionable government change. Obama's aides avoided such a decision after the Egyptian Army's July overthrow of the country's Islamist president, citing the risk to important military programs.
The administration suspended much of the aid in October.
Wednesday, 18 December 2013 16:07 Published in National News
WASHINGTON (AP) - Democratic officials say President Barack Obama intends to nominate Montana Sen. Max Baucus as ambassador to China.
The nomination is subject to Senate confirmation. The Democrat had announced earlier this year that he would not seek re-election.
The 72-year-old Baucus is chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, with jurisdiction over taxes, trade and other areas.
He was instrumental in efforts to pass Obama's health care law four years ago and has spent much of this year seeking to build support for a sweeping overhaul of the tax code.
There was no immediate comment from the White House.
The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren't authorized to publicly discuss the nomination in advance of Obama's announcement.
Wednesday, 18 December 2013 15:58 Published in Local News
CHICAGO (AP) - Gov. Pat Quinn says he wants to raise Illinois' minimum wage to at least $10 by Christmas of next year.
The Chicago Democrat who's seeking re-election campaigned on the issue in 2010 and mentioned it during his annual address this year.
The minimum wage in Illinois is $8.25. Quinn said Wednesday that raising the wage will help eliminate poverty.
Illinois last raised the minimum wage in 2010. There's legislation pending in Springfield to increase it, including a call for $15 an hour.
However Republicans and business groups say raising the minimum wage kills jobs. Quinn says that claims are flat wrong.
Some business groups have also accused Quinn of trotting out the issue ahead of the 2014 election.
Quinn says it's not a new issue for him.