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December 20, 2013 | By Kathleen Hennessey
WASHINGTON - President Obama, despite a year marked by stumbles and unforced errors, vowed to deliver a "year of action" in 2014, telling reporters Friday that his healthcare law was rebounding, his immigration overhaul effort was still alive and his stormy relations with Congress were showing signs of "possible daylight breaking. " The president's sunny outlook for his sixth year, offered at his year-end news conference, came backed by some hopeful data for the beleaguered administration.
December 13, 2013 | By Paul Richter
WASHINGTON - Despite intense lobbying, advocates of imposing new sanctions on Iran failed to advance key legislation in Congress this week, a sign that the Obama administration may have more support for its pleas of  restraint than it appears. Supporters of more penalties have been urging lawmakers to lose no time in approving measures that would take effect if Iran failed to fulfill the terms of an interim nuclear agreement signed last month in Geneva, or if Tehran dragged its feet in negotiations for a comprehensive accord.
December 11, 2013 | By Richard Fausset and Tracy Wilkinson
MEXICO CITY - Mexico has taken a giant step toward the most radical opening of the country's nationalized oil and gas industry in 75 years, a move analysts say could boost lagging petroleum production here and further cement North America's new reputation as an energy-producing powerhouse. Passage of a bill in the Mexican Senate was hailed this week by oil industry analysts and goes much further in the effort to attract outside investment to Mexico than a proposal originally introduced in August by President Enrique Peña Nieto's centrist Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI. Peña Nieto praised the more vigorous measure Wednesday.
December 11, 2013 | By Richard Simon
WASHINGTON - Congress sent President Obama legislation on Wednesday that its chief sponsor said he wished weren't necessary. The Alicia Dawn Koehl Respect for National Cemeteries Act authorizes the Department of Veterans Affairs to disinter from national cemeteries any veterans who have committed capital crimes. The measure was approved by the House on Wednesday after earlier passing the Senate. It grew out of what its chief sponsor, Sen. Dan Coats (R-Ind.), said was a "very disturbing mistake" by Veterans Affairs: burying the killer of a mother of two at a national cemetery, and with military honors.
December 9, 2013 | By Paul Richter
WASHINGTON - The Obama administration will launch a lobbying push Tuesday to stop Congress from approving harsh new penalties for Iran, a move the White House warns could sink international negotiations aimed at curbing Tehran's nuclear program. A bipartisan group of lawmakers, including Sens. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) and Mark Steven Kirk (R-Ill.), has nearly completed sanctions legislation that it hopes to attach as an amendment to the annual, must-pass defense authorization bill, which could face a vote this week before Congress adjourns for the holidays.
December 7, 2013
Re "Do lawmakers deserve a raise?," Editorial, Dec. 4 It's important to note that the legislature is the most democratically responsive of all the branches of state government. It is, in theory at least, the people's representative body in the state's representative democracy. Nonetheless, in California, we've reduced the salaries of these elected officials by about $25,000 since 2007. We've also limited their terms in office, with politicians often making a game of musical chairs out of office-holding, going from one post to the next, always learning on the job, while typically focusing on self-serving and short-term goals.
November 21, 2013 | By The Times editorial board
It's disappointing that the Supreme Court denied a request to temporarily block an onerous new abortion law in Texas from taking effect while a federal appellate court determines whether the law is constitutional. The high court's decision could force as many as a third of the abortion clinics in Texas to close, creating a hardship for thousands of women seeking to terminate their pregnancies. The Supreme Court's decision was the wrong one. Now supporters of abortion rights must turn their attention back to the appellate court, which we hope will declare the underlying law unconstitutional.
November 15, 2013 | Sandy Banks
In its recent ranking of popular spots, CNN's business website called Silver Lake the nation's second-best big city neighborhood. It's "a haven for families as well as hipsters ... packed with shops and hotspots, defying the 'no walking in L.A.' cliche. " There is indeed plenty of walking on Silver Lake's main drag, but that's because there's practically nowhere to park along that busy stretch of Sunset Boulevard. Look up the hill along Hyperion Avenue and you'll see those visitors' cars - hogging spots that local residents have long considered theirs.
November 14, 2013 | By Patrick McGreevy and Melanie Mason
SACRAMENTO - A federal court ordered law enforcement officials Thursday to respond to an accusation by state Sen. Ronald S. Calderon that they leaked a confidential FBI affidavit alleging that he took bribes. A clerk for U.S. District Judge Troy L. Nunley in Sacramento sent federal authorities and Calderon an order to provide a "joint status report" on the leak allegations and on whether they can be resolved through mediation or settlement talks. A sealed FBI affidavit, published recently by a cable television network, accuses Calderon (D-Montebello)
November 13, 2013 | By Marc Lifsher
SACRAMENTO - Low wages paid by the fast-food industry come with a high public cost for California taxpayers, academics and advocates for the working poor told state lawmakers. Workers at hamburger, pizza and other, mainly franchise, eateries are paid at near-minimum-wage levels, making them eligible for public assistance that totaled an average of $717 million a year in California from 2007 to 2011. The condition of low-wage fry cooks and sandwich makers was the focus of a joint hearing of the Senate and Assembly labor committees Wednesday.
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