• What does the political wrangling over a one-lane gravel road through 10 miles of a remote Alaskan wildlife refuge tell us about President Barack Obama’s influence with Congress? Plenty, as it turns out.

    Inside the Beltway, reporters and political players have been consumed with trying to gauge the prospects for Obama's second-term agenda in light of his defeat in the fight over a bipartisan bill to enhance background checks of would-be gun buyers. Can he twist arms? Can he cut deals? Is Congress immune to his charms and his threats?

    On Monday, the New York Times' analysis was that the president lacks “an appetite for ruthless politics that instills fear in lawmakers.” Exhibit A, the Times said: Democratic Sen. Mark Begich of Alaska asked Obama to send newly minted Interior Secretary Sally Jewell to his home state to help get the road approved. Begich voted against the gun bill, but Jewell is still going. The rebellious senator still gets what he wants from the wobbly White House.

    Case closed? Not so much. A closer look at Jewell’s trip also teaches a very different lesson, providing evidence of a president cutting deals with recalcitrant lawmakers to get what he wants. And then keeping his end of the bargain.

    Read More »from What does an obscure Alaska road project say about Obama’s clout?
  • Tamerlan Tsarnaev waits for a decision during the 2009 Golden Gloves National Tournament of Champions on May 4, 2009. (Glenn DePriest/Getty Images)The immigration status of the Boston bombings suspects may become a stumbling block for a new bill that seeks to legalize nearly 11 million immigrants and increase the number of legal immigrants to the United States.

    Opponents of the bill—which was crafted by a bipartisan "Gang of Eight" in the Senate—and even some supporters, say the process of reforming the country's immigration system should be stalled until all the facts about the suspects' interactions with the immigration system are known.

    Both Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev, the two brothers accused of the Boston Marathon bombings, emigrated to the United States legally from Russia as refugees a decade ago when they were children. The Tsarnaev family, which is ethnically Chechen, was granted asylum because it feared persecution in its home country, according to media reports.

    Tamerlan's application for citizenship was put on hold in 2012 by the government, because he had been questioned by the FBI at the request of the Russian government for possible ties to Chechen terrorism, the New York Times reported. Dzhokhar's citizenship application was approved, and he naturalized in 2012.

    At a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing over the bill on Tuesday, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano defended immigration officials' handling of the Tsarnaevs, saying the process for granting asylum is rigorous.

    "In the past four years we have increased both the number and the coverage of the vetting that goes on," Napolitano said. As things currently stand, she noted, those who seek asylum must go through multiple screening interviews and submit biometric data to be checked across government databases. If granted asylum and legal status, immigrants must go through two more interviews if they want to become citizens when they become eligible five years later.

    (Asylum applicants must show that they face government-sanctioned persecution in their home country stemming from their race, religion, nationality, political views or membership in a particular social group.)

    Napolitano argued that the immigration reform bill would make the country safer because the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants in the country would be brought "out of the shadows" and screened. The bill requires immigrants to pass a background check before they are eligible for temporary legal status. They must pay fines and back taxes and enroll in English classes to gain permanent legal status.

    Opponents of the immigration bill have argued that the Tsarnaevs' alleged crime suggests that the current immigration system is unable to weed out potential terrorists, and that the process of crafting the bill should be slowed down to address that. If the bill is stalled until next fall, opponents hope it will be close enough to the next election that on-the-fence lawmakers will withdraw their support, effectively killing the bill. President Barack Obama has said he hopes the bill will pass this summer.

    Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, one of the most prominent opponents of legalizing immigrants, said at Monday's Senate Judiciary Committee hearing that the legalization process in the bill could present a national security threat.

    "The background checks in this bill are insufficient from preventing a terrorist from getting amnesty," Kobach said.

    Supporters of the immigration reform bill say the argument is a specious excuse to delay the legislation.

    Read More »from Bombing suspects’ immigration status could stall reform
  • Obama to keynote Planned Parenthood gala

    President Barack Obama (Charles Dharapak/AP)President Barack Obama will keynote Planned Parenthood's annual gala on Thursday night, the abortion rights group announced on Tuesday.

    “President Obama has done more than any president in history for women’s health and rights,” Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, said in a statement. “We are honored to have President Obama join us at our 'Time for Care’ Gala at this pivotal moment for women's health.”

    The White House had previously confirmed the president would attend the gala in Washington, D.C. But his keynote address wasn't publicly announced until Tuesday.

    Discussions about the country's abortion laws have increased in recent weeks amid the Philadelphia murder trial of former abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell, who is charged with murdering a woman during an abortion procedure and with killing seven babies.

    White House press secretary Jay Carney said on April 15 that the president could not take a position on the case because it is currently in trial.

    Carney said Obama is "aware" of it, and later added that "certainly, the things that you hear and read about this case are unsettling."

    Read More »from Obama to keynote Planned Parenthood gala

Pagination

(7,168 Stories)
  • 10 Things to Know for Today
    10 Things to Know for Today

    Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about today:

  • Who is Steven Sotloff, the other U.S. journalist being held by ISIL?
    Who is Steven Sotloff, the other U.S. journalist being held by ISIL?

    The family of Steven Sotloff — believed to be the person who appears at the end of an Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant video showing the beheading of fellow American journalist James Foley — is asking the White House to do everything it can to free him.

  • COUSIN'S TAG-ALONG KIDS PUSH THE LIMIT OF BRIDE'S GUEST LIST

    DEAR ABBY: I am being married later this year, and I'm planning my guest list. My cousin "Emily" has five young children who I'm making an exception to invite. She lives across the country, so she's starting to book her plane reservations. Emily just announced that she's being remarried and her fiance has three children he shares joint custody of. Am I obligated to invite three children I have never met? This is causing a lot of grief between me and my fiance because Emily assumes that they are all welcome. Please advise. -- D.C. IN NYC DEAR D.C.: Call Cousin Emily. ...

  • World of Warcraft may soon be a job-related skill
    World of Warcraft may soon be a job-related skill

    More and more young people want to list new pursuits like World of Warcraft, Minecraft and fantasy baseball on their resumes but will it catch on?

  • 2 American Ebola patients released from hospital
    2 American Ebola patients released from hospital

    ATLANTA (AP) — At least one of the two American aid workers who were infected with the Ebola virus was to be discharged Thursday from an Atlanta hospital, a spokeswoman for the aid group he was working for said.

  • Calm largely holds in Missouri after grand jury opens shooting investigation
    Calm largely holds in Missouri after grand jury opens shooting investigation

    By Scott Malone and Carey Gillam FERGUSON Mo. (Reuters) - Small crowds staged largely peaceful protests late on Wednesday over the fatal shooting of a black teenager by a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, the calmest night since riots erupted over the racially charged killing. Attorney General Eric Holder met the parents of 18-year-old Michael Brown and promised his department would hold a thorough investigation into a case that has reignited a debate over the justice system's treatment of African Americans. A grand jury also began hearing evidence in the case on Wednesday, though protesters stepped up their demands that the local criminal investigation be turned over to a special prosecutor. We didn't have as many agitators and, as I said, criminals in the crowd," said Missouri State Highway Patrol Captain Ron Johnson, a black officer appointed to oversee security last week.

  • How your boss will run your life in a few years
    How your boss will run your life in a few years

    Want job security? Let your company monitor you 24/7.

  • The Galaxy Note 4 may come with a very cool accessory you won’t see on the iPhone 6
    The Galaxy Note 4 may come with a very cool accessory you won’t see on the iPhone 6

    You may not really need an Ultrasonic Cover to get around while using your smartphone, but Samsung is developing one for the Galaxy Note 4 nonetheless, SamMobile has learned. In case you’ve never heard of an Ultrasonic Cover before, it’s designed to help people with vision disabilities and can detect objects nearby thanks to an embedded ultrasonic sensor that provides feedback to the user. Galaxy Note 4 owners will be able to set three levels of range for the ultrasonic beam, including short, middle and long. FROM EARLIER: New benchmark confirms the Galaxy Note 4 will be as monstrously great as you hoped Samsung already has an Android smartphone that comes with various accessories meant to help people with disabilities better manage

Follow Yahoo! News