Flight attendants who have OSHA protections on the ground -- but lose them the minute they board a plane -- may soon retain those protections in the sky. In a move that may also benefit airline passengers, the Federal Aviation Administration and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration announced Friday they plan to share responsibility for the flight attendants' safety on aircraft. Flight attendants would, for the first time, be able to report workplace injuries and illnesses to OSHA, ending a 37-year era in which the FAA claimed sole jurisdiction for cabin safety.
For the swarms of limousines headed to the Obama inauguration, the toll to enter Washington just got a lot cheaper. The District of Columbia Taxicab Commission on Friday scuttled plans to require each out-of-town limo to obtain a $500 permit, lowering it to $150.
The White House and Congressional Republicans are squaring off in negotiations to avert the fiscal cliff, with each side accusing the other of blocking a deal. For the first time we're getting a look at what the White House is offering to break the stalemate. Republicans consider it an overreach. Democrats make clear it's a first offer, to get specific on the numbers.
Stumping for a deal to avoid automatic tax increases and spending cuts that will otherwise hit at year's end, President Barack Obama on Friday toured a Pennsylvania toy factory that's churning out would-be holiday gifts, warning of a "Scrooge" Christmas if Congress does not pass legislation extending tax cuts for 98% of Americans.
While there is currently no plan for Congressional leaders to meet with the president, according to an official familiar with the situation, Democratic Sen. Max Baucus said the two sides should get to work on the fiscal cliff negotiations-and soon, before the U.S. enters "uncharted waters."
Two coalitions of progressive groups are trying to exert more pressure on lawmakers to protect the Bush-era tax cuts for the middle class as congressional leaders and the White House try to avert the fiscal cliff when all tax rates rise and major spending cuts are enacted at the beginning of next year.
The U.S. House approved Republican-backed immigration legislation on Friday that had previously fallen short in September, though Democrats described it as a piecemeal political move by Republicans after their poor election showing among non-white voters. House Democrats predicted it would fail in the Democratic-controlled Senate, partly due to White House opposition. The "STEM Jobs Act" would grant as many as 55,000 visas to non-citizens who complete some advanced degrees at U.S. universities in science, technology, engineering, and math.
House Speaker John Boehner named Rep. Candice Miller of Michigan as the chairman of the House Administration Committee on Friday, three days after the Republican conference took heat for electing only males as committee heads.
Sen. Rand Paul, a Kentucky Republican, will travel to the Middle East in the new year, his spokeswoman confirmed to CNN on Friday.
U.S. stocks went nowhere Friday as investors remain sidelined by political gridlock in Washington.
Another day, another European downgrade. Ratings agency Moody's announced a downgrade Friday of the continent's main bailout vehicle, the European Stability Mechanism, knocking it one notch from prized Aaa status to Aa1.
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