May 5th, 2010
08:46 AM ET
8 years ago

Goodbye, stimulus. Hello, state budget cuts

New York ( - Think states have made deep spending cuts? You ain't seen nothing yet.

States have been struggling with huge budget gaps since 2008, but this year could be worse as federal stimulus funds wind down.

Until now, stimulus money spared governors and state lawmakers from making some of the most brutal budget cuts. But with this lifeline running out, officials are looking at making significant cutbacks to public services, particularly schools and health programs.

"The stimulus funds have staved off what could have been even deeper cuts," said Todd Haggerty, policy associate at the National Conference of State Legislatures. "You're seeing states now are coming to that point where they will have to make additional cuts or find new sources of revenue for fiscal 2011 and that will continue in fiscal 2012."

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Filed under: economic stimulus
May 5th, 2010
08:38 AM ET
8 years ago

House committee to consider progress in Afghanistan


Wednesday's hearing will evaluate how security and stability has changed since President Obama began adding troops into the central Asian nation. (Photo Credit: Getty Images/File)

Washington (CNN) - The House Armed Services Committee will take stock of the Obama administration's new counterinsurgency strategy in Afghanistan on Wednesday.

The hearing will evaluate how security and stability has changed since President Obama began adding troops into the central Asian nation.

The Obama administration has poured about 30,000 additional U.S. troops into Afghanistan since December, bringing the number of American troops to about 100,000. An additional 40,000-plus NATO troops are also in the conflict.

Allied and Afghan troops recently retook the southern city of Marjah from the Taliban and have been expected to move on the Kandahar region in June.

Those plans have been met with apprehension by Afghan leaders, including President Hamid Karzai.

Full story

Filed under: Afghanistan • Congress • Obama administration • President Obama
May 5th, 2010
08:35 AM ET
8 years ago

Senator: BP CEO balks at paying damages beyond $75 million cap

Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Florida, met with BP executives Tuesday on Capitol Hill.

Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Florida, met with BP executives Tuesday on Capitol Hill.

Washington (CNN) - There were conflicting messages Tuesday from a Democratic senator from Florida and the CEO of BP about whether the oil giant will pay for all economic damages to workers and communities along the Gulf Coast facing possible harm from the large oil spill there.

The potential costs are huge and could go well beyond merely paying for the actual cleanup of the leaking oil. Federal law currently caps economic damages from an oil spill at $75 million and allows damages up to $1 billion to be paid for by a special industry-funded trust fund. To this point, BP's responses to questions about whether it will pay for damages beyond that cap have not been clear.

"What I've said is what I mean; all legitimate claims will be honored," BP CEO Tony Hayward said when CNN pressed him to clarify the company's position. He added that he thinks it's "inevitable" the cap will be exceeded.

However, Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Florida, who summoned Hayward and BP America Chairman Lamar McKay to his Senate office, said he heard a different message from the BP chief.

"He expects the $75 million to be exceeded," Nelson said after the approximately 45-minute meeting. "When I pressed him on who was going to be liable for the economic damages, not the cleanup damages - the economic damages - he said that will be something we will determine in the future."

Filed under: Bill Nelson • Energy
May 5th, 2010
04:59 AM ET
8 years ago

Billionaire Florida Senate candidate defends investments

(CNN) - Jeff Greene, the billionaire real estate investor running for Senate in Florida, is rebuffing his Democratic primary opponent's charges that he made his fortune on the backs of the Sunshine State's suffering homeowners.

Greene, who joined the Senate race last Friday, has promised to spend whatever it takes to win the seat. He made hundreds of millions of dollars by speculating against the real estate market before it collapsed.

His primary opponent, Rep. Kendrick Meek, has dismissed Greene's candidacy as a novelty act and accused him of profiting off the many foreclosures dragging down Florida's housing market.

In an interview with CNN Chief National Correspondent John King, Greene said Meek is trying to "distort the truth."


Filed under: 2010 • Florida • Jeff Greene • JKUSA • John King USA
May 5th, 2010
04:56 AM ET
8 years ago

POLITICAL HOT TOPICS: Wednesday, May 5, 2010


The CNN Washington Bureau’s morning speed read of the top stories making news from around the country and the world.

For the latest political news:

CNN: Landrieu won't say if she'll return BP money
Despite receiving nearly $1.8 million in campaign donations from BP over the last ten years, Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-Louisiana, avoided saying Tuesday whether she will give the money back in the wake of the company's devastating oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The Democrat dismissed claims that the energy industry is poorly regulated.

The Hill: McCain: 'Serious mistake' if car bombing suspect was Mirandized
It would have been a serious mistake to have read the suspect in the attempted Times Square car bombing his Miranda rights, Sen. John McCain said Tuesday. McCain, the ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee and a longtime leading Republican on national security issues, said he expected the suspect in the case could face charges that might warrant a death sentence if convicted.

CNN: Controversial memo sends financial giant backtracking
A JPMorgan Chase spokesperson is apologizing Tuesday after a top executive at the firm authored a note implying that senators displayed a "low level of economic literacy" at last week's Goldman Sachs hearings. JPMorgan Chase spokesperson Jennifer Zuccarelli, in a statement to CNN, distanced the company from Glassman's May 3 analysis.

Indianapolis Star: GOP turns to Dan Coats
Even as former Sen. Dan Coats celebrated his victory Tuesday in the Republican primary election, the battle lines were being drawn in what is shaping up as a bruising fight for U.S. Senate. Coats overcame four Republican opponents and the antipathy of many in the tea party movement to win the GOP nomination for the Senate seat he held from 1988 to 1998. With 98 percent of the precincts tallied, Coats had won with 39 percent of the vote. Democrats won't officially pick U.S. Rep. Brad Ellsworth as their nominee until May 15, when the party's state central committee votes on a replacement to succeed Sen. Evan Bayh. But the intensity of the coming election between Coats and Ellsworth was immediately apparent.

Charlotte Observer: House, Senate races headed for runoffs
At least two primaries are headed for runoffs as N.C. voters set up fall showdowns that could become referendums on Washington and change the balance of power in Raleigh. In a year of disaffection with establishment politics, voters renominated every congressional incumbent. But they toppled four state legislators, including Democratic Rep. Nick Mackey of Charlotte. In the Democratic U.S. Senate race, Secretary of State Elaine Marshall fell just short of the 40 percent needed to avoid a runoff. She faces former state Sen. Cal Cunningham of Lexington in the runoff.

Cleveland Plain Dealer: Lee Fisher, Third Frontier winning big in Ohio, Tea Party effect minimal and voters deny many local school taxes
In an Election Day where in Cuyahoga County, at least, more voters cast their ballots by mail over the last few weeks than showed up at the polls, there were some big winners and some disappointed losers. Lt. Gov. Lee Fisher handily defeated his primary challenger, Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner, in Democratic primary race for the U.S. Senate seat now held by two-term Republican Sen. George Voinovich, who is retiring. Fisher will face Republican Rob Portman, a former Cincinnati congressman, who was unopposed in Tuesday's GOP primary.


Filed under: Political Hot Topics
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