Gay and lesbian couples can start picking up their wedding certificates and licenses Thursday. Last month, voters in Washington, Maine and Maryland voted to approve same-sex marriage, making them the first states where gay marriage has passed through popular vote.
If Congress fails to reach an agreement on tax increases and spending cuts this year, it will mean sharp reductions in a broad swath of federal spending, from defense and Medicare to education and unemployment benefits. Economists say the cuts would be a serious setback for the economy as a whole.
The president and House Republicans continued to snipe at each other Wednesday over the impending set of automatic tax hikes and spending cuts known as the fiscal cliff. President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner later spoke briefly by phone for the first time in a week, according to reports.
The Obama administration is expected to ask for $50 billion to $60 billion. Top administrators told Congress Wednesday that they want at least some of that money to go toward preventing the kind of devastation caused by Sandy and other recent storms.
The way Texans speak, from using words like "y'all" to that old Texas twang, is iconic in American culture. But linguists say the twang is fading — and that, in a few decades, "talking Texan" may sound quite different than it does today.
Many conservative faith leaders are among those calling for immigration reform. They joined government leaders on Wednesday in Washington, D.C., to map out what that reform could look like, calling it a moral as well as economic issue.
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