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World/National News

November 5, 2013

Around the World and Nation

Medicare chief faces questions from Senate panel

WASHINGTON (AP) — Under growing pressure, the administration refused repeatedly to state a position Tuesday on legislation formalizing President Barack Obama’s oft-stated promise that people who like their existing coverage should be allowed to keep it under the new health care law.

Senate Democrats spoke dismissively of the proposals, signaling they have no intention of permitting a vote on the issue that marks the latest challenge confronting supporters of “Obamacare.”

An earlier controversy appeared to be ebbing on a law that has generated more than its share of them. Even so, one strong supporter of the health care law, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R. I., good-naturedly told an administration official, “Good luck getting through this mess.”

Whitehouse spoke to Marilyn Tavenner, the head of the agency deeply involved in implementing the law. She had assured lawmakers that initial flaws with the government’s website were systematically yielding to around-the-clock repair effort.

Senate moves ahead on gay rights bill; foes largely remain silent

WASHINGTON (AP) — Invoking the Declaration of Independence, proponents of a bill that would outlaw discrimination against gays in the workplace argued on Tuesday that the measure is rooted in fundamental fairness for all Americans.

Republican opponents of the measure were largely silent, neither addressing the issue on the second day of Senate debate nor commenting unless asked. Written statements from some rendered their judgment that the bill would result in costly, frivolous lawsuits and mandate federal law based on sexuality.

The Senate moved closer to completing its work on the Employment Non-Discrimination Act that would prohibit workplace discrimination against gay, bisexual and transgender Americans. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said a final vote in the Senate is possible by week’s end.

Illinois was poised to become the 15th state to legalize gay marriage after a vote in the state House on Tuesday.

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