Nation/World Briefly: Pelosi wants docs’ fees, jobs agenda combined

  • Mon Jun 21st, 2010 10:33pm
  • News

WASHINGTON — The top House Democrat says her chamber won’t vote on Senate legislation to reverse a cut in Medicare payments to doctors unless the bill includes elements of the Democrats’ jobs agenda.

The Medicare legislation would reverse a 21 percent cut on Medicare doctor fees that was imposed on Friday.

The move by the House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California appears aimed at pressuring the Senate to break a logjam on long-sought legislation to extend unemployment benefits and give money to states to help them avoid additional layoffs and furloughs. That bill is stuck on the Senate floor because of a GOP filibuster.

The Senate passed the doctor fee fix as a stand-alone measure Friday after a GOP filibuster killed the bigger jobs-related measure the night before. The measure would only forestall the cuts — they are required under a 1990s budget-cutting law that Congress has routinely waived — for six months.

The House passed legislation to prevent the Medicare cuts from going into effect through the end of next year.

The Senate bill would also increase payments to providers by 2.2 percent. The legislation, which costs about $6.5 billion, is paid for with a series of health care and pension changes that Democrats and Republicans agreed to.

Deal on Iran sanctions reached

House and Senate negotiators said Monday they have reached agreement on a new round of economic sanctions against Iran aimed at dissuading the government from pursuing the development of nuclear weapons. The latest proposed sanctions against Iran focus on disrupting exports of gasoline and other refined petroleum products to Iran and banning U.S. banks from doing business with foreign banks that provide financial services to Iran’s Revolutionary Guard.

Gay workers to get family leave, White House sources say

The Labor Department intends to issue regulations Wednesday ordering businesses to give gay employees equal treatment under a law permitting workers unpaid time off to care for newborns or loved ones. Labor Secretary Hilda Solis plans to announce that the government would require employers to extend the option that has been available to heterosexual workers for almost two decades, two officials briefed on the plan said Monday on condition of anonymity.

Budget chief stepping down

White House Budget Director Peter Orszag will resign this year, a Democratic official said Monday night, positioning him to be the first high-profile member of President Barack Obama’s team to depart the administration. The exact timing of Orszag’s leaving was unclear, but the move had been speculated for some time.

Nebraska: Town votes to restrict hiring of and renting to illegal immigrants

Voters in Fremont on Monday approved a ban on hiring or renting property to illegal immigrants. About 57 percent of voters supported the proposal, according to unofficial results that still must be certified by the election commissioner. The measure is likely to face a long and costly court battle, with the American Civil Liberties Union saying it will try to block it before it even goes into effect.

Texas: Charges in school beating

A teacher and three other educators at a Houston charter school were charged Monday in connection with the videotaped beating of a 13-year-old boy who was attending the school. Teacher Sheri Lynn Davis, 40, was charged with injury to a child, a third-degree felony. A cell phone video recorded by another student shows Davis pummeling a 13-year-old boy in class April 29. She was fired the following week from Jamie’s House Charter School in northwest Houston. Three school employees — including school superintendent and founder Ollie Hilliard, principal David Jones and a teacher who witnessed the attack, Gabriel Moseley — were charged with failure to report child abuse, a misdemeanor charge.

Kyrgyzstan: Police attack, kill Uzbeks, witnesses say

Kyrgyz government forces swept into the ethnic Uzbek village of Nariman, beating men and women with rifle butts in an assault that left at least two dead and more than 20 wounded, witnesses said Monday. The allegations were among the strongest Uzbek claims of official collusion in ethnic rampages that killed as many as 2,000 people last week and forced nearly half of the region’s roughly 800,000 Uzbeks to flee.

From Herald news services