Noontime News is a snapshot of the news from the past 24 hours.  (More)

White House Defends Minimum Wage Increase

House Speaker John Boehner’s (R-OH) swift rejection of President Obama’s proposal during the State of the Union to raise the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $9 has reignited a long running, contentious battle over the economic consequences of a price floor for labor. Perhaps predictably the latest skirmish has begun with a salvo of economic studies from each side.

Napolitano: Ok, The Border Is Secure … Can We Have Reform Now?

For years, the Republican base has demanded a more patrolled, better reinforced, and more secure border as a prerequisite to even discussing immigration policy. Janet Napolitano had a message for them at Wednesday’s Senate hearing: Congratulations, you won!

American, US Airways Boards Approve Merger

The boards of AMR and US Airways have approved a merger Wednesday night that would create the world largest carrier, The Wall Street Journal is reporting citing “people familiar with the matter.”

The Drug Laws That Changed How We Punished

The United States puts more people behind bars than any other country, five times as many per capita compared with Britain or Spain.

Hagel Becomes First Filibustered Defense Nominee

For President Obama’s choice to become defense secretary, first came the flaying, then the filibustering.

It wasn’t that much of a surprise that Senate Republicans on Wednesday refused to end debate on Chuck Hagel’s nomination, forcing Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., to try to find 60 votes to move the nomination forward to a final vote.

Obama’s second term begins in earnest as he takes his pitch to the people

Barack Obama has embarked on an effort to rally grassroots support for his ambitious second-term programme outlined in his state of the union speech, including a bigger role for government in uplifting the poor and strengthening the middle class.

Euro Zone economy falls deeper than expected into recession

(Reuters) – The euro zone slipped deeper than expected into recession in the last three months of 2012 after its largest economies, Germany and France, shrank at the end of a wretched year for the region.

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