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November 11, 2013 | By Michael McGough
Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. isn't a member of the tea party, but he alluded to one of the movement's obsessions the other day during oral arguments in one of the more unusual cases of the court's current term. It involves Carole Anne Bond, a Pennsylvania woman who tried to poison her romantic rival by smearing dangerous chemicals on her doorknob. Bond was prosecuted by the feds under a statute enacted to implement the 1993 Chemical Weapons Convention. Bond's lawyer - superstar litigator and former U.S. Solicitor General Paul Clement - argued that the federal government lacked the constitutional authority to prosecute a purely local crime.
November 3, 2013 | Doyle McManus
Only two weeks ago, President Obama looked like a man on the rise. He and his party had successfully stared down Republicans in a 16-day government shutdown. Voters were angrier at the GOP than any time since, well, the last government shutdown. A confident-looking Obama declared it was time to get the country back on track with quick action on a budget agreement, immigration reform and a bipartisan farm bill. "One of the things that I hope all of us have learned these past few weeks is that it turns out smart, effective government is important," he said.
November 3, 2013 | By The Times editorial board
The day after Halloween, the federal government rolled back food stamp benefits for all 47.6 million people who receive them, officially ending one of the last remaining stimulus efforts left over from President Obama's first months in office - while also making it harder for millions of Americans to get enough to eat. The callousness displayed in cutting vital safety net benefits at a time when millions lack the resources to feed their families adequately...
November 1, 2013 | By Michael Muskal
WASHINGTON--More than 47 million Americans who receive food stamps awoke on Friday to deal with the harsh reality that their benefits will decrease because emergency payments from the federal government to stimulate the economy have expired. That decrease, which works out to about $36 a month for a family of four, could be just the first step in food allowance cuts. Congress is currently debating how to fund what is now called the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, with Republicans seeking sharp reductions in the rapidly growing program.
October 31, 2013 | By Dan Weikel
In the wake of September's deadly jet crash, Santa Monica officials sued the Federal Aviation Administration on Thursday to gain control of the city's embattled airport, which local groups want to turn into a park. Filed in U.S. District Court in downtown Los Angeles, the lawsuit seeks a declaration that the city holds clear title to the 227 acres containing the oldest continuously operating airport in the county. It also challenges the constitutionality of a 1948 agreement between the city and federal authorities that requires the historic property and its 5,000-foot runway to remain an airport in perpetuity or be returned at the option of the FAA to the U.S. government.
October 30, 2013 | By Lisa Mascaro
WASHINGTON - With another government shutdown looming as soon as January, congressional negotiators convened Wednesday to attempt to reach a budget compromise and end the brinkmanship that has left the capital lurching from one fiscal crisis to another. But just two weeks after a short-term deal ended the 16-day government shutdown, familiar partisan divisions over tax hikes and spending cuts reemerged and expectations remained low that members of the House and Senate panel would achieve the kind of far-reaching deficit reduction deal once pursued by President Obama and House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio)
October 27, 2013 | Doyle McManus
One of these weeks, now that the Obama administration has recruited a SWAT team of computer whizzes, will recover from its shambolic debut and turn into, well, just another website. After all, it's only a website, and websites can be fixed. But that's when a far more interesting chapter in the life of Obamacare will begin. We're about to witness a massive experiment in federalism to see whether the Affordable Care Act can succeed in two very different kinds of states: those where governments are actively working to help the law succeed, and those where they're working to make it fail.
October 25, 2013 | By The Times editorial board
The problems at the federal government's new health insurance website are so severe that even Democrats are starting to talk about neutering a key provision of the 2010 healthcare law: the requirement that adult Americans obtain coverage next year. But now is not the time to take such a drastic step, which could lead to sharper increases in premiums for individuals. It is true that the federal government hasn't yet fixed its website's problems, but there is still time to do so before Jan. 1, the first day coverage is supposed to go into effect.
October 24, 2013 | By Evan Halper
WASHINGTON--As Washington tries to find a way past the political dysfunction that triggered the shutdown of the federal government, Gov. Jerry Brown came to town Thursday to suggest it look for inspiration in California. Brown told a ballroom of liberals celebrating the anniversary of the Center for American Progress, one of the left's favorite think tanks, that it was only a few years ago California had been written off by the pundits as a lost cause. “Three years ago California was called a failed state,” he said.
October 20, 2013 | By David Gamage and David Louk
It is difficult to explain the recent government shutdown to citizens of other nations. In most of the world's democracies, this kind of disruption can't happen. Rules are in place to keep the government running even if a new budget isn't passed on time. The U.S. needs to reform its budgetary processes to prevent the kind of crisis we saw recently. Currently, budgeting differs from almost every other area of federal policy. When Congress and the president cannot agree on other kinds of legislation, existing law remains in effect.
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