Sep 15, 2011, 11:54 p.m.

Perry says Romney not stark enough contrast to Obama

DES MOINES (Reuters) - Presidential candidate Rick Perry said Republican rival Mitt Romney would not provide a stark enough contrast with President Barack Obama in the 2012 election because of his record on health care policy. "Government-mandated, government-run health care - It is part of what he put in place as the governor of Massachusetts," Perry said on Thursday during a speech in the early caucus state of Iowa.

Pakistan PM cancels U.S. visit due to floods

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) - Pakistani Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani has canceled a visit to the United States to attend the U.N. General Assembly session to direct relief efforts as floods devastate southern Pakistan, his office said on Friday. Pakistani leaders were widely criticized for neglecting victims of floods last year that killed about 2,000 people and made 11 million homeless and again stand accused of moving too slowly.

Obama backs away from Social Security in deficits plan

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama, yielding to pressure from his political base, has backed off a proposal to reform Social Security retirement benefits in a high-stakes deficits deal Congress needs to reach this year. The Democratic president upset many core supporters in July when he considered changing how the popular pension funds are linked to inflation during acrimonious negotiations with Republicans over raising the U.S. debt ceiling.

Lobbyists seek to penetrate debt committee

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The special "super committee" tackling U.S. deficit reduction was meant to operate independently and free from outside influence -- but Washington's corps of high-paid lobbyists has found a way in. They have descended on the Congress in recent days to persuade rank-and-file lawmakers to act as de facto lobbyists themselves, penetrating the committee and convincing their colleagues to protect the interests of special groups.

Senate approves $6.9 billion in disaster aid

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Democratic-led Senate on Thursday sent the House of Representatives a measure to fund disaster aid by twice as much as the House wants to spend -- laying the groundwork for another political showdown. The Senate voted 62-37 to approve $6.9 billion to cover disaster response until October 2012.

Senate panel keeps budget boosts for SEC, CFTC

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Securities and futures regulators will see large budget increases to help them implement sweeping new financial regulations under a bill approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee on Thursday. The plan, which will now go to the full U.S. Senate for a vote, would give the Securities and Exchange Commission a fiscal 2012 budget of $1.407 billion, an increase of roughly 19 percent from its current fiscal 2011 budget of $1.185 billion.

Obama makes job, tax case to big donors

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama made the case for his re-election and his jobs plan at two big-ticket fundraisers on Thursday, emphasizing the importance of higher taxes to pay for his $447 billion proposal. "We can pay for it in a way that is responsible and that has everybody sharing in the burden," Obama told the guests attending the first of two intimate $35,800-per-couple Democratic events.

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