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Feb. 18, 2009

National News for Jan. 31 - Feb. 13

by Alisa Lu, Online News Editor
This is not original reporting. All information has been compiled from CNN, Reuters and the Wall Street Journal. Silver Chips Online posts this news summary to provide readers with a forum for discussion.

Washington, D.C.

Feb. 3 - Former Senate Majority Leader Thomas Daschle (D-S.D.) withdrew his nomination as Secretary of Health and Human Services in the Obama cabinet after it was revealed that he failed to pay more than $100,000 in taxes from 2005 - 2007. He had paid back the amount he owed and an additional $11,964 in interest last month during the vetting process. In addition, questions regarding a potential conflict of interest were cited by political analysts as reasons that he withdrew his nomination. Since he left the Senate, Daschle had earned income from advising heath insurers and hospitals and speaking for health care interests.

On the same day, Nancy Killefer also withdrew her nomination as Chief Performance Officer after it was disclosed that she failed to pay all her taxes.

Feb. 11 - Senators and Representatives in a Conference Committee settled on a compromised version of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. The stimulus package, which is estimated to cost $787.2 billion, will be the greatest stimulus bill in American history. The bill provides for spending in education, health care, road work and infrastructure, expansion of welfare and unemployment benefits and tax cuts. The modified bill passed in the House on a 246-183 vote and in the Senate with a 60-38 vote late Friday night. Leaders of the chambers hope that it will reach President Obama's desk on Feb. 16.

California

Feb. 2 - California as a state officially ran out of money and has started to rely on federal funds to provide government assistance checks to the disabled and the elderly. The state has also decided to only pay bills that it is legally obliged to pay and has issued IOUs on the other bills, including tax refunds, which will not be paid until next month at the earliest. The state has been in a stalemate over the budget for more than three months.

Colorado Springs, Colo.

Feb. 5 - USA Swimming suspended Olympian Michael Phelps for three months after British tabloid News of the World published pictures of Phelps smoking marijuana at a college party. Kellogg Co. also chose to not renew its endorsement contract with Phelps, and Subway temporarily pulled down advertisements that included him. Phelps made history at the 2008 Beijing Olympics after winning eight gold medals, and he holds the record for winning the most gold medals in a single Summer Olympic Games and having the most gold medals of all time.



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