US Congress

Ricin found in letter to US Senator’s office

The letter was detected during a routine mail inspection and did not reach US Senator Roger Wicker's office on Capitol Hill. Photo: AP

US federal authorities intercepted a letter that contained the deadly poison ricin and was bound for the Washington office of Senator Roger Wicker, officials said on Tuesday.

Thursday, 29 August, 2013, 4:13am

John Boehner narrowly re-elected as House Speaker

Speaker of the House John Boehner holds up the gavel of authority after being re-elected on the first day of the 113th Congress. Photo: Reuters

John Boehner, the top Republican in Washington, has been narrowly re-elected to his powerful job as Speaker as the new US Congress opened for business, despite a mini-revolt in his own party over the "fiscal cliff" deal.

The 113th Congress welcomed dozens of new members to face festering problems and a partisan and crisis-driven era of divided government.

5 Jan 2013 - 6:18am

Top Republican keeps job as new US Congress opens

Re-elected US House Speaker John Boehner. Photo: Xinhua

The top Republican in Washington was narrowly re-elected to his powerful job as the new Congress opened for business, despite a mini-revolt in his own party over the “fiscal cliff” deal and a bruising fight over Superstorm Sandy recovery legislation.

4 Jan 2013 - 9:51am

Small steps are enough

Vice-President Joe Biden negotiated a compromise deal when President Barack Obama's own talks with Republicans failed. Photo: Bloomberg

The just-in-time budget deal the US Congress passed on New Year's Day calls to mind Samuel Johnson's observation about dogs that walk on their hind legs: "It is not done well; but you are surprised to find it done at all."

4 Jan 2013 - 2:48am

We're all at the mercy of this US circus

The 113th Congress convenes Thursday fresh from the year-end fiscal cliff fiasco. Photo: AFP

Some choice words have been used to describe the brinkmanship across a US Congress that led us to the edge of the American "fiscal cliff" - "shenanigans", "circus", "omnishambles". Certainly few are pretending that it represents the festival of democracy envisaged by America's higher motives.

4 Jan 2013 - 3:26am 1 comment

US House leaders plan to vote on Sandy relief measures

John Boehner. Photo: AP

A chastened US House Republican leadership scrambled to tamp down seething bipartisan fury over a failure to approve emergency relief for victims of superstorm Sandy, saying a vote will now occur today.

4 Jan 2013 - 4:46am

Obama cuts Hawaii holiday short over fiscal cliff

Obama waves goodbye to his holiday, as he prepares to face reality in Washington. Photo: AP

US President Barack Obama has cut his Christmas vacation short to return to Washington to make a last-ditch push for a compromise on a tax and spending dispute with Congress that remains stubbornly unresolved.

Without action by Obama and Congress, automatic budget cuts and tax increases are set to begin in January, which many economists say could send the country back into recession.

27 Dec 2012 - 8:59am

Briefs, December 24, 2012

Dozens of people were killed and wounded in an air strike on a bakery in Syria's central Hama province yesterday, activists said, with some reporting up to 200 dead.

24 Dec 2012 - 5:07am

US Congress passes law to lower volume of television ads

In the end it took an act of Congress, but US television advertisers are finally required to do something parents have been demanding of them for decades: turn down their excessively loud ads.

15 Dec 2012 - 4:51am

Congress, Obama resume 'fiscal cliff' negotiations

Congress returns from its week-long Thanksgiving holiday today, as lawmakers and US President Barack Obama try to avert a looming fiscal crisis that could send the entire US economy plunging into recession again.

26 Nov 2012 - 4:26am

Divide over 'fiscal cliff'

The possibility of a compromise is keeping Wall Street traders on edge, with the stock market likely to remain volatile until the matter of the fiscal cliff is resolved. Photo: Reuters

Trading action on Wall Street is likely to retain its tentative edge over the new year, as uncertainty over the United States' financial future and its economy casts a pall over the market.

26 Nov 2012 - 9:06am

Jesse Jackson Jnr quits Congress

Jesse Jackson Jnr resigns for health reasons. Photo: Reuters

Jesse Jackson Jnr, citing his mental health, has resigned from the US House of Representatives, effectively ending the once-promising political career of the civil rights icon's son and namesake.

Jackson had previously gone on a mysterious period of extended medical leave, while facing separate federal investigations.

23 Nov 2012 - 2:56am

First 'fiscal cliff' meeting called constructive

John Boehner meets Barack Obama. Photo: Bloomberg

The first face-to face meeting between President Barack Obama and US congressional leaders about the so-called fiscal cliff yielded optimism but few details on how they would resolve their disagreements.

House Speaker John Boehner and White House Press Secretary Jay Carney both described Friday's meeting as "constructive".

18 Nov 2012 - 3:11am

Obama: maths does not work in just curbing rich tax breaks

US President Barack Obama speaking at his first White House news conference after his re-election. Photo: EPA

US President Barack Obama on Wednesday said the deficit cannot be pared by simply curbing tax breaks for the wealthy as he headed into congressional talks this week on avoiding the ‘fiscal cliff’ of US$600 billion in tax hikes and spending cuts looming at year’s end.

15 Nov 2012 - 2:35pm

Congress, White House start 7-week quest to avoid fiscal cliff

US lawmakers return to Capitol Hill this week with a seven-week deadline to prevent the nation careering over a so-called 'fiscal cliff'. Photo: AP

Amid global stock-market jitters over Washington's political brinkmanship, United States lawmakers return to the capital this week with a seven-week deadline to prevent the nation careering over a so-called fiscal cliff into another recession.

14 Nov 2012 - 3:52am