Jan 2, 2013 10:24 AM by AP
FISCAL CLIFF CRISIS ENDS
WASHINGTON (AP) - Legislation to block the "fiscal cliff" is headed to the White House for President Barack Obama's signature. The bill will avoid, for now, the major tax increases and government spending cuts that had been scheduled to take effect with the new year.
Final approval came in the House on New Year's Night. The vote was 257 to 167.
The Senate passed the bill less than 24 hours earlier.
The measure raises tax rates on incomes over $400,000 for individuals and $450,000 for couples, a victory for Obama.
It also extends expiring unemployment benefits for the long-term jobless, prevents a cut in fees for doctors who treat Medicare patients and cancels a $900 pay increase due to lawmakers in March.
Another provision is designed to prevent a spike in milk prices.
PRESIDENT LAUDS TAX CODE CHANGES IN CONGRESSIONAL "CLIFF" DEAL
WASHINGTON (AP) - President Barack Obama says an effort to change the nation's tax code that is too skewed toward the wealthy has been achieved with the "fiscal cliff" deal approved in Congress.
The president said in an appearance last night at the White House that the House vote to prevent a mix of tax increases and spending cuts avoids a problem that could have sent the economy back into recession.
Obama says the deficit is "still too high" and warns that he will not negotiate with Congress over another increase in the nation's debt ceiling.
The House approved Senate-backed legislation preventing middle-class tax increases and spending cuts that technically took effect with the new year.
It represented a triumph for Obama after he campaigned for re-election on higher taxes on the wealthy.
NEW YORK AREA LAWMAKERS UPSET WITH HOUSE REPUBLICANS OVER SANDY RELIEF
WASHINGTON (AP) - New York area-lawmakers in both parties are erupting in anger, saying the House Republican leadership has decided to let Congress adjourn without holding a vote on aid for victims of Superstorm Sandy.
There is no immediate comment from either Speaker John Boehner (BAY'-nur) or Majority Leader Eric Cantor, who sets the floor schedule.
In remarks on the House floor, Republican Rep. Peter King called the decision absolutely indefensible, while Democratic Rep. Nita Lowey said she felt betrayed.
The Senate approved a $60.4 billion measure Friday to help with recovery from the October storm that devastated parts of New York, New Jersey and nearby states. The House Appropriations Committee has drafted a smaller, $27 billion measure, and a vote had been expected before Congress' term ends tomorrow at noon.
STATEN ISLAND PRESSES ON WITH FERRIS WHEEL PROJECT, DESPITE SANDY
NEW YORK (AP) - While New York City grapples with rebuilding after Superstorm Sandy, developers are pressing ahead with plans to build the world's largest Ferris wheel on the shoreline of storm-torn Staten Island.
Sandy's flooding spurred some changes to the nearly $500 million project, which includes an outlet mall and hotel. But developers haven't slowed it or scaled it back.
Supporters say Staten Island needs the boost now more than ever.
Some residents have asked whether it makes sense to push ahead with a tourist attraction, set partly in a flood zone, before officials take a comprehensive look at how to build smarter after Sandy.
Wheel developer Richard Marin says the project stands to provide a one-of-a-kind boon that Staten Island "would have no other way of getting right now."
PA. GOVERNOR TO SUE NCAA OVER PENN STATE SANCTIONS
HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett says he plans to sue the NCAA in federal court over sanctions imposed against Penn State in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky child sexual abuse scandal.
The Republican governor has scheduled a news conference today on Penn State's campus in State College to announce the filing in U.S. District Court in Harrisburg.
The sanctions were agreed to by the university in July. They included a $60 million fine that would be used nationally to finance child abuse prevention grants. State and federal lawmakers have raised objections to the money being spent outside Pennsylvania.
The NCAA has declined to comment.
Sandusky was a Penn State assistant football coach. He was convicted of abusing boys and was sentenced to decades in prison. He maintains his innocence.
HANNA STORM RETURNS AFTER BEING BURNED IN GAS GRILL MISHAP
UNDATED (AP) - Hannah Storm was back on the air New Year's Day, hosting the Rose Parade telecast three weeks after a propane gas grill accident left the ESPN anchor with first- and second-degree burns to her face, hands, chest and neck.
Storm lost roughly half her hair in the accident December 11 outside her home in Connecticut. She wore extensions for the ABC telecast and her left hand was bandaged.
Storm's eyebrows and eyelashes were burned off. A makeup artist drew on eyebrows for the telecast.
This was the fifth time Storm has hosted the Rose Parade in Pasadena, California She says it was a familiar and comforting setting to make her return.
Storm says she hopes to turn her ordeal into an opportunity to talk about how to safely operate propane gas grills.