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Congress OKs stop-gap spending, ready to go home
Washington (CNN) - Congress on Thursday passed a measure to fund the federal government another two months, their last major legislative action before shutting down and returning to the campaign trail for the Nov. 2 elections.
The House voted 228-194 early Thursday morning and the Senate voted 69-30 on Wednesday to pass a stop-gap effort that effectively keeps the lights on at agencies and major federal programs until Dec. 3. The tab for the 64 days tops $219 billion, meaning the overall budget for the new fiscal year will be $219 billion lighter, a congressional aide explained.
The move marks Congress' second major accomplishment since returning from summer break in September. Congress also passed a bill giving tax breaks to small businesses. The Senate also confirmed two of three nominees to the Federal Reserve board of governors, a seven-member board which has been operating short by three members.
"We may not agree on much," said Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., who is facing a tough re-election fight. "But with rare exception, all 100 senators want to get out of here and get back to their states."
Army's largest base reeling from four apparent suicides in one weekend
(CNN) - Four soldiers from Fort Hood, Texas died over the week. In all four cases, it appears the soldiers, all decorated veterans from the wars in Iraq or Afghanistan, took their own lives, according to Christopher Haug, a Fort Hood spokesman.
If confirmed as suicides, it would be on top of 14 other suicides on the base this year. Base officials called a news conference for Wednesday afternoon to discuss the problem of suicides at the huge base in central Texas.
"Every one of these is tragic," said Maj. Gen. William Grimsley, the post commander. "It's personally and professionally frustrating as a leader."
Grimsley did not announce any major action or response during the news conference. "I don't think there is a simple answer," he said.
The recent spate of incidents, began Friday Sept. 24 when the body of Pvt. Antonio E. Heath, 24, of Warren, New York, was found in Temple, Texas, the victim of a gunshot wound. Heath was deployed to Iraq for most of 2009 and earned a number of medals including the Army Commendation Medal. FULL STORY
Student's apparent suicide linked to webcast of sexual encounter
(CNN) - A Rutgers University student who apparently committed suicide was the unknowing target of an internet broadcast showing him in a sexual encounter, New Jersey authorities said Wednesday.
Two other Rutgers students have been charged with invasion of privacy after they allegedly placed a camera in 18-year-old Tyler Clementi's dorm room without his knowledge and then broadcast Clementi's sexual enounter, according to the Middlesex County prosecutor's office.
"If the charges are true, these actions gravely violate the university's standards of decency and humanity," Rutgers President Richard L. McCormick said in a statement Wednesday.
Although Clementi's body has not been found, an attorney for the Ridgewood, New Jersey, family said Wednesday, "On behalf of the family of Tyler Clementi, I can confirm that Tyler committed suicide last week by jumping from the George Washington Bridge."
"The family and their representatives are cooperating fully with the ongoing criminal investigations of two Rutgers University students," attorney Paul Mainardi added.
A law enforcement source confirmed with CNN that while a body has not yet been recovered, Clementi's wallet and cell phone were found on the bridge that spans the Hudson River between New Jersey and New York. FULL STORY
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