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U.S. budget talks expected Thursday at White House

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama has invited Congressional leaders to White House talks on Thursday to try to reach a budget deal within two weeks that reduces the US deficit and raises the debt limit. “I’ve asked leaders of both parties and both houses of Congress to come here to…

Senate abandons authorization of Libya conflict

WASHINGTON — The polarized US Senate hastily abandoned plans to vote Tuesday on a symbolic resolution authorizing the US role in Libya after a Republican insurrection to demand action on the country’s debt woes. “We’ve agreed, notwithstanding the broad support for the Libyan resolution, the most important thing for us…

Entire police force laid off in small Texas town

Crime is on the rise in one small Texas city because the police department has been padlocked and the officers sent home. The city of Alto laid off its entire police force about two weeks ago because the city council completely cut the department’s budget. “They put a bulls-eye target…

For Washington, debt deal not far out of reach

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – You would never know it from all the hot air rising out of Washington, but President Barack Obama and congressional Republicans could easily reach a deal to raise the debt limit and avoid an early August default. Before talks hit a brick wall last weekend, negotiators were tantalizingly close to a $2…

U.S. State Department asks for $6.2 billion budget for Iraq

BAGHDAD — The US ambassador in Baghdad said on Saturday that the State Department has asked for a $6.2 billion budget for Iraq in 2012, underscoring that its oil and gas reserves were critical for the world’s future energy needs. “This country is on a glide path to increase its…

Minnesota government shuts down

MINNEAPOLIS (Reuters) – Minnesota’s state government began a broad shut down on Friday going into the July 4 holiday after Democratic Governor Mark Dayton and Republican legislative leaders failed to reach a budget deal. Parts of the government had already begun to shut down on Thursday ahead of the midnight…

Gov. Jerry Brown signs California budget cuts

LOS ANGELES — California Governor Jerry Brown signed a state budget Thursday approved by the legislature that prescribes $15 billion in spending cuts in a bid to alleviate the crisis in the deficit-ridden state. It was the first time in years that California has adopted its budget on time. Last…

Panetta will not gut military despite spending concerns

WASHINGTON — Incoming US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta is determined to avoid gutting the American military despite the prospect of difficult budget decisions looming, a Pentagon spokesman said Thursday. “He (Panetta) believes that it is a false choice between fiscal responsibility and national security,” spokesman Douglas Wilson told reporters. Amid…

Obama’s call for stimulus, tax hikes may complicate deficit talks

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama called on Wednesday for new steps to spur job growth and tax hikes on the rich, hardening a stance that will likely complicate deficit reduction talks with Republicans. Obama’s call came as the International Monetary Fund and the Treasury Department urged Washington to reach a budget deal that…

Obama to meet U.S. senate leaders on debt talks

WASHINGTON (AFP) – President Barack Obama is scheduled to meet leaders of the US Senate Monday in an attempt to break the impasse over raising the country’s debt limit, with a deadline fast approaching. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner has warned lawmakers they have until August 2 to raise the debt…

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