As a piece of legislation, the two-year package is among the biggest in history, reflecting a broad view in Congress that urgent fiscal help is needed for an economy in crisis, and at a time when the Federal Reserve has already cut interest rates almost to zero.

Russia has held out an olive branch to President Barack Obama by suspending plans to deploy missiles in Europe.

Defence Ministry officials said that the move had been made because the new United States leadership was reconsidering plans to establish a missile defence shield in Eastern Europe. Deployment of Iskander short-range missiles, which can carry nuclear warheads, in Russia’s Baltic exclave of Kaliningrad had been halted in response.

“We’re going to have to apply some flinty Chicago toughness to this town,” Obama said this morning. “I’m saying that when it comes to the weather, folks in Washington don’t seem to be able to handle things.”

The chairman of the House Judiciary Committee subpoenaed Karl Rove, a former top White House aide, to testify about the Bush administration’s firing of United States attorneys and prosecution of a former Democratic governor. The subpoena, by Representative John Conyers Jr., Democrat of Michigan, continues a long-running legal battle and directs Mr. Rove to appear for a deposition next Monday. Mr. Rove previously refused to appear before the panel, arguing that former presidential advisers cannot be compelled to testify before Congress. Mr. Conyers said the transfer of power in the White House, with President Obama now in office, could affect the legal arguments available to Mr. Rove.

About The Author

Trevor Francis is a Blast Magazine staff writer. He manages the Politics, Sports, Anything Blog

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