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Obama, lawmakers to discuss Iraq...GM CEO grilled again...Gas tax increase proposed

By The Associated Press | Posted - Jun. 18, 2014 at 11:01 a.m.



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WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama has called top congressional leaders to the White House this afternoon to discuss how to respond to the collapsing security situation in Iraq. Some options are already being ruled out. Obama says U.S. combat troops won't be sent back to Iraq, and officials say there are no plans for airstrikes at this time because there aren't many clear targets. House Speaker John Boehner (BAY'-nur) is rejecting suggestions that the U.S. consider joining with Iran to help the Iraqi government battle insurgents.

WASHINGTON (AP) — The head of General Motors has been facing more tough questioning from Congress about the automaker's handling of a deadly safety issue. Members of a House subcommittee asked CEO Mary Barra (BAHR'-uh) why it took GM more than 10 years to recall cars with defective ignition switches. GM blames the switches for at least 13 deaths, but one lawmaker said she thinks there could be up to 100 deaths associated with the problem.

NEW YORK (AP) — The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has opened two new investigations into Chrysler over complaints that the ignition key could shut the engine off involuntarily and may cause air bags not to deploy in a crash. The investigations cover about 1.2 million Chrysler vehicles. The agency started looking into problems with air bag deployments after similar ignition switch problems in GM vehicles.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Two senators are offering a bipartisan plan to raise federal gasoline and diesel taxes for the first time in more than two decades. Connecticut Democrat Chris Murphy and Tennessee Republican Bob Corker are pitching their proposal as a solution to Congress' struggle to pay for highway and transit programs. The plan would raise the tax by 12 cents over the next two years, and then index the taxes to keep pace with inflation. The current tax is 18.4 cents for gasoline and 24.4 cents for diesel. The increases would be offset by other tax cuts.

HOUSTON (AP) — The Federal Aviation Administration says it has completed a redesign of the Houston region's air traffic corridors in an effort to save money, fuel and time while cutting pollution. It's the first of several national projects that are part of a transformation of the nation's radar-based air traffic control system into a more modern satellite-based program. Among the improvements, the FAA says pilots arriving at Houston's two airports will be able to almost idle their engines while landing "like sliding down a banister."

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The Associated Press

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