Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

NATION [Derived Headline]

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

NATION [Derived Headline]

Article excerpt

ANOTHER EXTENSION TO KEEP HEALTH PLANS

WASHINGTON - The Obama administration will allow a two-year extension for people whose individual health insurance policies don't comply with requirements of the new health care law. The decision will help defuse a politically difficult issue for Democrats during an election year.

A government official familiar with the policy said today that the administration has decided to extend for another two years a transition plan the White House announced last fall. The extension would be valid for policies issued up to Oct. 1, 2016. The official was not authorized to discuss the change on the record and spoke on condition of anonymity.

The cancellation of at least 4.7 million individual policies was the most politically damaging issue in the transition to a new insurance system under President Barack Obama's law.

IRS OFFICIAL REFUSES TO TESTIFY

WASHINGTON - The former Internal Revenue Service official at the heart of the agency's Tea Party scandal once again refused to answer questions at a congressional hearing today that quickly devolved into political bickering between Democrats and Republicans.

Lois Lerner headed the IRS division that improperly targeted Tea Party and other conservative groups for extra scrutiny when they applied for tax-exempt status during the 2010 and 2012 elections. She was the first IRS official to publicly disclose the targeting, issuing an apology on behalf of the agency at a law conference in May 2013.

But when she was called to testify before the House Oversight Committee a few days later, she invoked her Fifth Amendment right not to incriminate herself. Committee Chairman Darrell Issa recalled Ms. Lerner for a hearing today.

Ms. Lerner appeared with her lawyer, but she invoked the Fifth Amendment at least nine times when questioned by Mr. Issa.

Mr. Issa, a California Republican, quickly adjourned the hearing despite attempts by Rep. Elijah Cummings, the top Democrat on the committee, to make a statement. At one point, Mr. Issa said "Shut it down," and Mr. Cummings' microphone was turned off.

Afterward, Mr. Cummings, of Maryland, said he wanted to point out that despite Republican claims of a political conspiracy, the committee's investigation so far has not shown any political motivation by IRS agents. The investigation also hasn't shown any links to the White House, Mr. Cummings said.

FLOOD LAW SCALED BACK

WASHINGTON - Less than two years after Congress approved a landmark bill to overhaul the federal flood insurance program, lawmakers are poised to undo many of the changes after homeowners in flood-prone areas complained about sharp increases in premiums.

The House overwhelmingly passed a bill Tuesday night that would allow sellers to give their subsidized, below-market insurance rates to new buyers and lower the cap on how much flood insurance premiums can rise each year. …

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