Paul Ryan is not running for president _ or passing a budget

WASHINGTON (AP) — House Speaker Paul Ryan's national stature is such that he had to call a news conference to deny he wants to be president. Back on Capitol Hill, he's about to blow through a statutory deadline to pass an annual budget, a major embarrassment for him and House Republicans.

  • Written by ERICA WERNER, Associated Press ANDREW TAYLOR, Associated Press

Public wants Senate action on court, but interest is modest

WASHINGTON (AP) — Nearly 2 in 3 Americans back Democrats' demands that the Republican-run Senate hold hearings and a vote on President Barack Obama's pick for the Supreme Court. But an Associated Press-GfK poll also suggests that GOP defiance against considering the nominee may not hurt the party much because, to many people, the election-year fight is simply not a big deal.

  • Written by ALAN FRAM, Associated Press EMILY SWANSON, Associated Press

Country artists condemn LGBT laws, but labels silent

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Several country music artists and songwriters have condemned proposed laws that critics say discriminate against LGBT people, but anyone looking for reaction from the record labels and production companies on Nashville's Music Row has heard only the sound of silence.

  • Written by KRISTIN M. HALL, Associated Press

Verizon workers go on strike amid contract dispute

NEW YORK (AP) — About 39,000 Verizon landline and cable workers on the East Coast walked off the job Wednesday morning after little progress in negotiations since their contract expired nearly eight months ago.

  • Written by MICHAEL BALSAMO, Associated Press