First-class stamp to increase 1¢ in January
WASHINGTON — The cost of mailing a first-class letter will go up by a penny in January.
The Postal Regulatory Commission on Friday approved the proposed rate increase, which raises the price of a first-class domestic stamp to 46 cents.
The price of a postcard will increase from 32 cents to 33 cents, while a new global “forever” stamp will allow customers to mail letters anywhere in the world for one set price of $1.10. Currently, the prices for international letters vary.
The prices go into effect Jan. 27.
The U.S. Postal Service, which posted a record annual loss of $15.9 billion, proposed the rate increase last month.
The rate increase is tied to the rate of overall inflation. It will make only a small dent in the mail agency’s financial losses.
After meeting with Obama, congressional leaders voice confidence in deal to avoid fiscal cliff
WASHINGTON — Congressional leaders from both parties voiced fresh optimism Friday after meeting with newly re-elected President Barack Obama about avoiding year-end “fiscal cliff” tax increases and spending cuts that would hammer the middle class and risk plunging the economy into recession.
House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio said Republicans are willing to consider increased revenue “as long as it is accompanied by spending cuts” as leaders in a divided government get to work on a possible deal after a fierce election campaign.
He presented a framework that one official said called for a deficit down-payment of unspecified size by year’s end, to be followed by comprehensive tax reform and an overhaul of Medicare and other benefit programs in 2013.
Democrats indicated some spending cuts would be fine with them. “I feel confident that a solution may be in sight,” said House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi of California.
The goal of the high-pressure talks to come is to produce a multitrillion-dollar deficit-reduction plan that can take the place of the across-the-board tax increases and spending cuts that are slated to take effect on Jan. 1.
Nearly half of states say they’ll help carry out key component of Obama’s health overhaul
WASHINGTON — Threatened with repeal just weeks ago, President Barack Obama’s health care law now appears on track in close to half the states, with others playing catch-up and the administration readying a fallback for states not wishing to participate.
Friday was the original deadline for states to notify Washington if they would play a role in building new health insurance markets through which the uninsured can get coverage starting in 2014. Though the administration granted a month’s extension, most states have already made their intentions known.
States that plan to run their own exchanges are California, Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington. All but four have Democratic governors. Several other states, including Illinois, are planning to operate theirs in partnership with the federal government.
Those deferring completely to the federal government are Alabama, Alaska, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming. All but one have GOP governors.
States that remain undecided are Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Idaho, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Utah and West Virginia.
By wire sources