WASHINGTON -- President Barack Obama plans to ask Congress for about $50 billion in additional emergency aid for states hit by Superstorm Sandy, Democrats on Capitol Hill said Wednesday.
Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan told a Senate Appropriations subcommittee the administration is working on a request for a supplemental spending bill to provide the aid and expects to send it to Congress this week.
"The president isn't going to leave New York, New Jersey or the entire region to fight for itself," Mr. Donovan, who is coordinating the government's Sandy recovery efforts for Mr. Obama, told reporters after the hearing.
WASHINGTON -- NASA seems lost in space and doesn't have a clear sense of where it is going, an independent panel of science and engineering experts said in a stinging report Wednesday.
The report by a panel of the distinguished National Academy of Sciences doesn't blame the space agency; it faults President Barack Obama, Congress and the nation for not giving NASA better direction.
The space shuttles were retired in 2011 and are now museum pieces. Few people are paying attention to the International Space Station, and American astronauts have to rely on Russian spaceships to get there and back. Meanwhile, rocket-building is being outsourced to private companies, and a commercial venture plans to send people to the moon by the end of the decade.
WASHINGTON -- The House has voted to give lifelong Secret Service protection to former presidents and their wives, due to increased national security threats posed to post-9/11 leaders. The bill passed Wednesday morning by voice vote.
The measure, which now goes to the Senate, would reverse a 1994 law limiting Secret Service protection to 10 years after a president leaves office. Under the previous law, the Department of Homeland Security can extend that protection temporarily any time after the 10-year period expires.
Bill Clinton is the last president under current law who will receive lifelong protection, meaning George W. Bush and Barack Obama are the first in line for the limited 10-year protection period. But if passed by Congress, the new law will restore uniformity for the protection of all presidents by returning to lifetime protection. It would also authorize protection for minor children of former presidents until they turn 16.
KABUL -- Gov. Jan Brewer, who left Arizona for an undisclosed destination Sunday, is visiting soldiers from her state in Afghanistan, a person familiar with the governor's schedule said.
The Republican's absence was noticed Monday when she didn't attend the state's official certification of the November election results.
A lack of information led reporters from organizations including ABC News and the Huffington Post to question the whereabouts of the 68-year-old governor.
Richard Dale Stokley, 60, was executed by injection in Florence, Ariz., Wednesday for murdering two 13-year-old girls in a ghost town where they were raped, strangled and stabbed before being dumped in a partly flooded mine shaft in 1991. ... The mystery surrounding the whereabouts of Emily Bracamontes, a sick girl with leukemia, deepened Wednesday after her father said his 11-year-old daughter is being treated in Mexico and authorities in Phoenix considered bringing child neglect charges against the family.