Politics

Rubio picks a candidate in close Iowa GOP Senate race

Sen. Marco Rubio, a potential 2016 Republican presidential candidate, Monday jumped into the Iowa U.S. Senate race, endorsing State Sen. Jodi Ernst in the Republican primary. | 05/05/14 14:50:51 By - By David Lightman

GWB: Run, Jeb, Run

Former President George W. Bush is all for his younger brother Jeb running for president. | 05/01/14 17:20:59 By - By Maria Recio

Rubio, Christie make pitches to conservatives

Potential 2016 Republican presidential candidates regaled conservative activists with a preview of the next presidential campaign Thursday, sticking to long-held principles while largely avoiding incendiary social issues. | 03/06/14 17:13:52 By - By David Lightman

Hotels count more than politics as GOP weighs sites for 2016 convention

Hotels, transportation and finances _ not political considerations _ will matter most to Republican officials choosing a 2016 national convention site, party leaders said Monday after hearing bids from cities across the country. | 03/03/14 16:05:41 By - By David Lightman and Lindsay Wise

California’s Bera finds place in Congress, and uphill re-election fight

More than a year after he came to Congress, Rep. Ami Bera is enjoying his work. | 02/27/14 18:41:16 By - By Curtis Tate

Some in GOP think George W. Bush should mediate South Sudan conflict

Salva Kiir, the president of South Sudan, spent decades in the bush of Central Africa outfitted in dusty army fatigues and an army beret. Since becoming president in 2011, however, the rebel leader-turned politician is rarely seen without his black cowboy hat. It signals his ascent to statesmanship. But more importantly, it’s a cherished gift from an old friend – George W. Bush. | 02/26/14 19:51:32 By - By Sam Sturgis

Is it Obamacare or Hillarycare?

Is it Obamacare or Hillarycare? | 02/26/14 12:12:07 By - Anita Kumar

In DC, nation’s governors bash DC

Top officials of the National Governors Association expressed frustration Saturday with how the nation’s capital operates -- as they launched a three-day quest for more money and other help from Washington lawmakers. | 02/22/14 14:13:54 By - By David Lightman

Democrats passing the torch – will new generation be different?

Democrats are starting to shed their old guard, leaving behind a party perceived as liberal and strong largely on the two coasts _ images that cause the party big problems in more moderate and conservative areas. | 02/07/14 18:55:40 By - By David Lightman

Obamacare: The political issue that keeps on giving

Republicans and Democrats on Wednesday engaged in a fierce brawl to define what the Affordable Care Act means to consumers – making it clear that Americans’ qualms about the law will remain a volatile issue throughout the election year. | 02/05/14 17:47:59 By - By David Lightman

CBO: Obamacare would lead employees to work less

A government analysis sparked fierce debate Tuesday, projecting that the Affordable Care Act will lead American workers to voluntarily put in fewer hours on the job, a total that would add up to the equivalent of as many as 2.5 million jobs over the next decade. | 02/04/14 18:22:16 By - By Kevin G. Hall, Lesley Clark and Tony Pugh

GOP proposes legal status for undocumented immigrants

House Republican leaders on Thursday proposed legal status for most undocumented immigrants, a stance aimed at helping the party appeal to Hispanic voters but also likely to further divided an already-torn Republican Party. | 01/30/14 19:24:39 By - By David Lightman and Franco Ordonez

GOP plans alternative agenda to Obama’s

Armed with fresh political momentum for the first time in months, House Republicans headed to a Maryland retreat Wednesday looking to shape a unified message on immigration, debt and health care that could offer voters an alternative rather than just persistent opposition to President Barack Obama. | 01/29/14 15:47:34 By - By David Lightman

Prepared Remarks: President Obama State of the Union Address

"I believe this can be a breakthrough year for America. After five years of grit and determined effort, the United States is better-positioned for the 21st century than any other nation on Earth." | 01/28/14 21:14:18 By -

Kansas City, Las Vegas and others bid for 2016 GOP convention

Care for some real Kansas City air-roasted coffee? A souvenir Denver Broncos insulated bag? How about a fleece vest from Las Vegas? | 01/24/14 16:22:05 By - David Lightman

Senate passes spending bill, averts shutdown

The Senate voted overwhelmingly Thursday to approve a $1.1 trillion federal spending plan, a peaceful and bipartisan truce after years of bitter feuding over the government’s role and reach. | 01/16/14 18:18:45 By - By David Lightman

Democrats, Republicans use jobless benefits fight to score politically

As the Senate struggle over extending benefits for the long-term unemployed heads into another week Monday, both political parties are using the issue _ the first big domestic battle of the 2014 election year _ to establish agendas they’ll be touting throughout this election year and beyond. | 01/13/14 06:00:00 By - By David Lightman

Rubio wants states, not U.S., to lead second wave in war on poverty

Sen. Marco Rubio on Wednesday proposed a sweeping overhaul of the nation’s anti-poverty programs, arguing that for decades Washington has been too fixed on dealing with poverty’s consequences rather than its causes. | 01/08/14 17:35:45 By - By David Lightman

Obama presses for jobless benefits; fate in Congress uncertain

President Barack Obama pressed Congress on Tuesday to extend jobless benefits for 1.3 million Americans, dismissing the suggestion that the checks lead people to shun work and insisting there’s no need for budget offsets to pay the price. | 01/07/14 16:10:18 By - By David Lightman and Lesley Clark

An icon to the world for 150 years, Capitol Dome is slowly crumbling

“To-night I have been wandering awhile in the Capitol, which is all lit up,” wrote poet Walt Whitman in 1865. | 12/20/13 17:26:02 By - By David Lightman

Senate approves budget, Obama expected to sign

The Senate approved a bipartisan federal budget Wednesday that could lead to two rare years of fiscal stability for a government that’s lurched from showdown to showdown for two years. | 12/18/13 20:58:15 By - By David Lightman

House exhales after passing compromise budget

The House of Representatives on Thursday approved by a vote of 332-94 a modest bipartisan plan to spend more on both defense and domestic programs for the next two years, an agreement aimed at avoiding government shutdowns and easing automatic spending cuts. | 12/12/13 18:38:04 By - By David Lightman and William Douglas

McClatchy-Marist Poll: Obama gets worst ratings of his presidency

The American public is unusually pessimistic about the direction of the country and increasingly fed up with Washington gridlock, a sour mood reflected in the worst disapproval ratings for President Barack Obama since he took office nearly five years ago. | 12/09/13 15:22:25 By - By David Lightman

McClatchy-Marist Poll: 68% of Americans expect no budget deal by shutdown deadline

A Congressional budget deal expected this week might not be a grand bargain to solve the country’s long term fiscal woes, but it is largely what Americans want, according to a new McClatchy-Marist Poll. | 12/08/13 13:57:24 By - By David Lightman

Congress’ year-end list of unfinished business likely to remain long

Congress’ to-do list for the rest of the year has it all: billions of budget dollars. Farm policy. Jobless benefits. National defense. The next Federal Reserve chairman. | 12/06/13 16:36:22 By - By David Lightman

More states raise taxes to pay for transportation

This year, several states have done something that’s become politically impossible in Congress: They raised taxes to pay for transportation improvements. | 11/27/13 16:38:47 By - By Curtis Tate

Half a century later, JFK conspiracies still thrive

Who killed JFK? Fifty years after the slaying of the nation’s 35th president, that’s still a provocative question for many. Conspiracy theories began swirling almost immediately after President John F. Kennedy’s assassination in Dallas on Nov. 22, 1963, and have never really stopped. | 11/17/13 00:00:00 By - By Maria Recio

Congress' approval rating: 9 percent

Congress' latest Gallup poll approval rating sank to 9 percent, the lowest since the question was first asked 39 years ago. | 11/13/13 15:54:54 By - David Lightman

Sen. Hagan wants probe of health law website as her political support drops

Sen. Kay Hagan said Tuesday that she wants federal investigators to examine how contractors who were paid to create the go-to site for the new health insurance law botched it. | 11/12/13 19:33:30 By - By Renee Schoof

There are danger signs for Democrats in Tuesday’s elections

Voters sent Democrats sobering warnings this week: They’re not crazy about President Barack Obama, the new health care law or the state of the economy – messages that could cause the party trouble as the 2014 election campaign intensifies. | 11/06/13 17:45:47 By - By David Lightman

GOP split runs through the heartland, endangering election prospects

The bitter divide among Republicans over an ill-fated budget fight that shuttered parts of the government reaches far beyond the Congress and Washington, deep into the heartland and smack into the Machine Shed restaurant. | 10/31/13 06:00:00 By - By David Lightman

The State’s Lee Bandy, the dean of S.C. political journalists, passes away

Lee Bandy, the genial, big-hearted political reporter who earned the title of dean of the South Carolina press corps, died Monday from complications of Parkinson’s disease, according to a family member. He was 78. | 10/21/13 17:48:03 By - Carolyn Click

Europeans agog at Americans’ inability to compromise, aghast at likely long-term impact

A German newspaper columnist this week asked why people here were shocked by the American government stalemate that led to the recent shutdown. | 10/18/13 06:00:00 By - By Matthew Schofield

End of shutdown stalemate shows a GOP at war with itself

The Republican Party is at war with itself. | 10/17/13 18:03:42 By - By David Lightman

Debt talks stall, bond firm warns of possible rating downgrade

Congressional efforts to raise the nation’s debt limit and reopen the shuttered federal government stalled Tuesday when the House of Representatives delayed a vote on its latest proposal as the threat of possible default loomed larger and a top bond rating agency warned of a possible downgrade for U.S. bonds. | 10/15/13 20:36:16 By - By William Douglas, David Lightman and Lesley Clark

Talks over shutdown and debt ceiling hold risks for tea party and its influence

The tea party’s future as an influential Washington player is at stake in the showdown over the debt limit and federal budget. | 10/14/13 18:56:21 By - By David Lightman

Let’s make a deal? Obama and GOP are talking

The White House and Republican congressional leaders moved toward common ground Thursday on raising the nation’s debt limit and reopening the partially shuttered government, trading ideas and engaging in lengthy private talks for the first time since parts of the government ran out of money Oct. 1. | 10/10/13 19:51:37 By - By David Lightman and Lesley Clark

In federal shutdown, deciding who’s essential is essentially a guess

The websites that offer information about President Obama’s health care law survived the government shutdown – even with glitches. But a federal website featuring information about the Amber Alert went dark. Make any sense? Hardly. No one really knows who has an essential mission in the federal government and who doesn’t. | 10/10/13 07:01:00 By - By Lesley Clark and David Lightman

Trust us, says government. Fat chance, says America

Americans’ confidence in officials’ ability to handle domestic issues reached the lowest point in recent history last month. It’s a trend that shows few signs of any serious reversal anytime soon, particularly not with Republicans and Democrats in Congress, as well as President Barack Obama, primed for another down-to-the-wire duel over government money. The government is expected to exhaust its borrowing capacity Oct. 17, and there’s no accord in sight on how to proceed. | 10/04/13 11:11:53 By - By David Lightman

Driver in car chase near Capitol dead after shooting

A woman was killed and two federal law enforcement officers were injured Thursday after a wild car chase through the streets of downtown Washington left lawmakers, tourists and congressional staff briefly trapped inside a tense, locked-down Capitol. | 10/03/13 20:36:40 By - By David Lightman and William Douglas

Ending the shutdown: So many options, so little political will

With no end in sight to the partial government shutdown, the prevailing questions across the country are when and how does this bad movie end? | 10/03/13 17:25:37 By - By William Douglas

Libertarians taste success, want more

Libertarians sees the political mainstream inching closer to their points of view. | 10/03/13 15:48:52 By - By David Lightman

Plain English or wonk-speak is only 1st decision for next Fed chairman

Whoever chairs the Federal Reserve next year will have to decide a lot more than how to handle the economy. She or he will have to decide whether to talk in English or Fed-speak. | 10/03/13 06:00:00 By - By Kevin G. Hall

Is shortened Obama trip strike three for Asia pivot?

President Barack Obama’s decision to cut short a trip to Asia next week because of the government shutdown is a setback to the administration’s efforts to focus on the economic and strategically important region. | 10/02/13 18:41:21 By - By Lesley Clark

Some lawmakers giving away or withholding pay during shutdown

In a show of solidarity with furloughed government workers, dozens of members of Congress announced this week that they are having their paychecks withheld or are donating the money to charity during the shutdown. | 10/02/13 18:18:35 By - By Maria Recio

Shutdown standoff: GOP offers to open more of the government, Dems say all or nothing

President Barack Obama and congressional leaders struggled Wednesday to find a path to ending the shutdown that closed much of the federal government for a second day and threatened to last far longer. | 10/02/13 20:20:23 By - By David Lightman and Anita Kumar

All rise: The justices will now hunt antelope, or attend the opera

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg turns 81 in March, just as the court starts the really heavy lifting. | 10/02/13 13:27:05 By - By Michael Doyle

Democrats reject GOP offer to reopen part of government

National parks and monuments closed and hundreds of thousands of federal employees began an unpaid furlough Tuesday, with no end in site of the first government shutdown in 17 years. | 10/01/13 20:49:09 By - By Lesley Clark, William Douglas and Anita Kumar

How California lawmakers are handling the shutdown

No California Central Valley lawmaker wants the federal government shut down. | 10/01/13 17:45:53 By - By Michael Doyle

The longer the shutdown, the greater the risk for GOP

Republicans are taking a big political risk if the government shutdown persists. | 10/01/13 17:21:01 By - By David Lightman

Smartphones dial up a controversy over search warrants

David Riley’s smartphone ratted him out. | 10/01/13 16:05:12 By - By Michael Doyle

Government starts shutting down

The U.S. government started shutting down early Tuesday after a bitter fight over the new health care law deadlocked the Congress and stymied every attempt to keep money flowing after the federal fiscal year ended at midnight. | 10/01/13 12:26:43 By - By Anita Kumar, William Douglas and Lesley Clark

New normal: This is the way government works now

Don’t like the mess that led to Tuesday’s government shutdown? Nothing’s going to change anytime soon. | 10/01/13 00:02:40 By - By David Lightman

The Supremes are back, and another docket of big cases looms

In coming months, the nine justices of the Supreme Court will revisit affirmative action, potential unwind campaign finance reform and consider political prayers and presidential appointments. | 09/30/13 15:21:11 By - By Michael Doyle

DC works overtime on blame with shutdown less than 24 hours away

As the nation careened closer towards a government shutdown Tuesday, the political protagonists traded blame Sunday over whose fault it will be if federal-salaried workers are furloughed and some federal services are shuttered. | 09/29/13 19:10:32 By - By William Douglas and David Lightman

Congressional hopeful wants to give Valley ‘a strong voice’

A San Joaquin Valley native who became the first Latina chief of staff to a U.S. senator has now set her eyes on the House of Representatives, as she embarks on a high-profile challenge to freshman Rep. David Valadao, R-Hanford. | 09/29/13 03:00:00 By - By Michael Doyle and John Ellis

House will vote Saturday on plan to delay Obamacare, keep government open

The House of Representatives plans to vote later Saturday on a budget plan that would delay the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, for a year. | 09/28/13 13:29:23 By - David Lightman and William Douglas

Obama, Rouhani talk on phone for 15 minutes, breaking 34-year freeze

Barack Obama and Hassan Rouhani spoke Friday by telephone in the first conversation between the presidents of the United States and Iran in more than 30 years, a stunning and unexpected development that may boost prospects for settling the years-long standoff over Iran’s nuclear program and other long divisive issues. | 09/27/13 21:01:07 By - By Jonathan S. Landay and Anita Kumar

Senate divide over health care, budget gets personal

With Congress deadlocked over fiscal policy and a government shutdown looming, personal disputes have clouded the usually collegial Senate, straining relationships between lawmakers who otherwise work well together. | 09/27/13 18:55:53 By - By Curtis Tate

Both sides threaten government shutdown Tuesday over Obamacare

Defiant Republicans and determined Democrats on Friday pressed toward a showdown over how and whether to keep the federal government running past Monday night, with each side signaling that it would let the government close before compromising over the fate of the new national health care law. | 09/27/13 17:41:00 By - By David Lightman and Anita Kumar

NSA defender Feinstein bows to growing pressure, says she’ll offer bill to limit surveillance programs

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., the chair of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and a longtime defender of the National Security Agency, unveiled plans Thursday for legislation designed to rein in some aspects of the NSA’s controversial domestic surveillance programs. | 09/26/13 20:19:03 By - By Ali Watkins

Lawmakers push Postal Service restructuring amid losses, soaring debt

Members of a Senate committee said Thursday that the U.S. Postal Service, which continues to struggle amid ongoing financial losses and mounting debt, needs to make massive changes if it hopes to thrive in the digital age. | 09/26/13 18:00:10 By - By Sarah Sexton

India’s leader, Obama to meet in visit high on symbolism, low on expectations

U.S.-India relations will take a cautious step forward Friday, when Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh meets with President Barack Obama in what may be the last visit in a relationship marked by unmet expectations. | 09/25/13 17:06:36 By - By Ali Watkins

As Ted Cruz ends protest, Senate votes 100-0 to take up budget bill

After a marathon day and night of talking, the Senate moved Wednesday toward a budget plan that would keep the government open past a Monday night deadline while maintaining funding for the new health care law. | 09/25/13 20:40:19 By - By David Lightman and Maria Recio

In budget shutdown, Obama gets big say in what stays open

Here’s the first thing you need to know about next week’s possible shutdown of the federal government: The federal government would not actually shut down. | 09/25/13 10:59:30 By - By Anita Kumar

Obama’s speech signals Middle East will remain a dominant U.S. concern

President Barack Obama’s speech Tuesday at the United Nations made clear that the Middle East would be a focal point of U.S. foreign policy “for the long haul,” with renewed efforts toward resolutions on Iran’s contested nuclear program, the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and the civil war in Syria. | 09/24/13 20:58:04 By - By Hannah Allam

Cruz-ing strategy: Texas senator attacking Obamacare with an eye on 2016?

Sen. Ted Cruz is smack in the middle of the No. 1 political story in the country, has energized his party’s conservative base and has become the most visible 2016 Republican presidential wannabe in an early – and crowded – field. | 09/24/13 18:42:46 By - By Maria Recio

Senate moves toward showdown vote on Obamacare

The Senate is expected to take a key vote Wednesday that would smooth the path for an eventual showdown over President Barack Obama’s health care plan, but the midday vote is likely to inflame a raging war within the Republican Party. | 09/24/13 19:00:35 By - By David Lightman

This time, little push for gun control after mass shooting

This time, it’s different. After the December 2012 shooting at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn., President Barack Obama launched a full-court press for gun control legislation. Lawmakers sought, though eventually failed, to reach a compromise to tighten background checks for firearms. But a week after the shooting at the Navy Yard in Washington, despite calls from gun control advocates, lawmakers and Obama seem disinclined to launch another significant push. | 09/23/13 18:16:09 By - By Lesley Clark

How the Congressional clock might tick as the fiscal year ends

If you're planning your week around Congress' consideration of a fiscal 2014 budget, here's a guide to what may be coming next.Keep in mind that it's all tentative. A last minute compromise, or one side's sudden decision to drop its opposition, or bad weather, for that matter, could change everything. | 09/23/13 17:01:15 By - David Lightman

IRS official who pleaded Fifth during tea party tax probe resigns

Lois Lerner, at the center of the Internal Revenue Service scandal and in the crosshairs of Congress, stepped down on Monday before an internal review reportedly was set to remove her for mismanagement. | 09/23/13 17:19:34 By - By Kevin G. Hall

Obama in Kansas City touts better economy, blasts Republicans

To cheering and applause from union autoworkers, President Barack Obama tore into Congress, demanding it fund the government and raise the debt ceiling without touching his signature accomplishment, the Affordable Care Act. | 09/20/13 17:00:47 By - Dave Helling

2 more GOP congressman exit immigration ‘Gang of Eight’

The bipartisan group in the House of Representatives that’s working on comprehensive immigration restructuring is on the verge of collapse after two more Republican members left the so-called Gang of Eight. Florida Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart is now the group’s sole Republican. | 09/20/13 18:37:30 By - By Franco Ordonez

Texas Republicans vote to defund health care law

Despite the risk of another government shutdown, Rep. Joe Barton, R-Texas, the only lawmaker representing Tarrant County who was in the U.S. House of Representatives the last the time the federal bureaucracy was shuttered in 1995, nonetheless stood firm Friday with four other Republicans who represent the region and voted to defund Obamacare. | 09/20/13 17:34:05 By - By Maria Recio

House votes to defund health care law in bill to finance government

The House of Representatives approved a contentious $986 billion short-term measure Friday to keep the federal government running through mid-December and defund the Affordable Care Act, President Barack Obama’s legacy accomplishment. | 09/20/13 17:00:22 By - By William Douglas

N.C. lawmakers are in the thick of Capitol Hill budget showdown

North Carolina congressmen are helping lead a pack of emboldened conservatives pushing Republican leadership toward a potential government shutdown over the 2010 health care law and, in the process, are driving a wedge between the GOP’s old and new guard. | 09/19/13 17:46:45 By - By Franco Ordonez and David Lightman

House committee blasts VA over information delays

A House of Representatives committee on Thursday sharply criticized what it described as a lack of cooperation and transparency by the Department of Veterans Affairs that’s made it difficult for Congress to adequately investigate delays and deaths at VA hospitals. | 09/19/13 17:06:33 By - By Sarah Sexton

Republican move could kill Obamacare – or the GOP

Republicans will proclaim solidarity Friday when the House of Representatives votes to defund the 2010 health care law. Don’t be fooled: | 09/19/13 16:18:25 By - By David Lightman

Obama playing it low key in immigration push

The last time President Barack Obama delivered a speech focused on immigration was more than three months ago. The one before that occurred when there was still snow on the ground. | 09/19/13 08:00:00 By - By Anita Kumar

Showdown: House will tie government funding to defunding Obamacare

President Barack Obama and congressional Republicans on Wednesday began hurtling toward an unpredictable collision over the federal budget, as the House of Representatives planned to vote to strip money from the national health care law while the White House readied plans for a government shutdown. | 09/18/13 17:36:26 By - By David Lightman and Lesley Clark

Brazil to Obama: We’re not coming to dinner

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff has scrapped a scheduled state visit to the White House amid Brazilian outrage over news that the U.S. spied on her and a Brazilian oil company. | 09/17/13 20:19:44 By - By Lesley Clark and Vinod Sreeharsha

2014 election campaign is underway in battle for control of Congress

Voters may not see the yard signs, but the 2014 election campaign is well underway. Congress is taking "test votes" that are more props for future TV ads than serious governing. Interest groups are raising millions to buy the TV ads that will flood the airwaves next fall. And potential candidates are deciding whether to run. | 09/17/13 16:37:04 By - By David Lightman

Obama to award ‘lost’ Medal of Honor to former Army captain

President Barack Obama next month will bestow the nation’s highest military award for gallantry to former Army Capt. William Swenson for valor he displayed during a six-hour battle in eastern Afghanistan in 2009. | 09/16/13 18:40:32 By - By Lesley Clark

IRS chief counsel facing scrutiny by Congress

There are only two political appointees at the sprawling Internal Revenue Service, and an important one has yet to be heard from about the inappropriate scrutiny given to certain conservative organizations that were seeking tax-exempt status. | 09/16/13 00:00:00 By - By Kevin G. Hall

Congressman concerned about attack in U.S. with Syrian chemicals

A North Carolina congressman is warning that Syrian chemical weapons, if gotten into terrorists hands, could be used to attack port cities such as Wilmington, N.C., Charleston, S.C., or Boston, killing hundreds of thousands of people. | 09/13/13 17:44:29 By - By Franco Ordonez

Congress does something unusual on Syria – its homework

Mired in low approval ratings and saddled with the image that it does almost nothing, Congress demanded a deciding role in President Barack Obama’s drive to launch a limited military strike against Syria. | 09/13/13 16:10:47 By - By William Douglas

House adds water infrastructure bill to pile of unfinished business

Lawmakers in the House of Representatives introduced their version of a bill Wednesday to move forward work on an array of water projects across the country, legislation that traditionally sails through Congress on a bipartisan basis. | 09/11/13 18:37:56 By - By Curtis Tate

Calif. officials press their lawmakers for federal support

San Joaquin Valley officials are struggling this week to enlist the attention of lawmakers consumed with Syria and other Capitol Hill concerns. | 09/11/13 15:38:33 By - By Michael Doyle

Did Obama stumble into – or engineer – the Syria deal?

A potential international deal to seize Syria’s chemical weapons and avoid U.S. airstrikes comes after a dizzying run of events that raises the question: Did President Barack Obama stumble into a deal with Russia or was this the work of quiet diplomacy and closed-door talks? | 09/10/13 20:34:30 By - By Lesley Clark and William Douglas

Congress honors girls who died in ’63 Birmingham church bombing

Congress on Tuesday presented the nation’s highest civilian award to a representative of four girls who were killed during one of the pivotal moments of the civil rights movement, the 1963 bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Ala. | 09/10/13 19:36:48 By - By Sarah Sexton

Congress asked to provide fix for cash-only pot stores

King County Sheriff John Urquhart says that the war on drugs has failed and that legalizing marijuana is the way to go, which might be a good thing in his case. In less than nine months, he’ll have 61 retail pot shops operating in his county, the most in Washington state. | 09/10/13 19:21:02 By - By Rob Hotakainen

Poll: Voters reject airstrikes, question Obama’s leadership

When President Barack Obama addresses the nation Tuesday in his bid for airstrikes against Syria, he will confront the most unfriendly political landscape of his presidency, one where opposition knows no boundaries and Democrats, Republicans, whites, blacks, Hispanics, old, young, men and women all are deeply skeptical of the mission. | 09/09/13 18:55:42 By - By David Lightman

INTERACTIVE: Congressional positions on Syria strike

With a diplomatic solution perhaps within reach to safeguard against chemical weapons use in Syria, President Barack Obama has asked Congress to delay authorizing the use of force. The Obama administration was planning a military strike after asserting that Syrian President Assad used chemical weapons in an attack near Damascus on Aug. 21. The Senate had scheduled an initial vote for Wednesday, Sept. 11, but Majority Leader Harry Reid delayed it. The House of Representatives has not scheduled a vote. | 09/09/13 14:07:09 By - By Danny Dougherty

Obama’s riddle: How to strike without sparking Syrian retaliation

With President Barack Obama lobbying Congress to agree to the United States’ punishing Syria for alleged use of chemical weapons, he must convince wary lawmakers that Syria’s response won’t lead to tit for tat retaliation that escalates the conflict. | 09/09/13 04:42:09 By - By Kevin G. Hall

Is it Syria or Obama? GOP turning anti-war

The Republican Party may be turning anti-war. | 09/09/13 00:00:00 By - By David Lightman and Maria Recio

Obama to address Americans in bid for support for Syria airstrikes

President Barack Obama won qualified support from allies Friday in his charge that Syria used chemical weapons against its people, but he walked away from a summit without expanding his coalition of explicit support for a military strike. Facing a divided country at home as well, Obama said he’d address the nation Tuesday to make his case as Congress weighs its approval. | 09/06/13 17:05:03 By - By Lesley Clark

Obama gets no early takers on Syria among Washington state lawmakers

Headed into the biggest vote of the year on Capitol Hill, Washington state’s congressional delegation is in no rush to line up behind President Barack Obama in his bid to use military force in Syria. | 09/06/13 15:35:00 By - By Rob Hotakainen

Obama’s talk on Syria ‘red line’ was spin, analysts say

President Barack Obama’s statement earlier this week that he wasn’t the one who’d set a red line against chemical weapons in Syria caught Washington by surprise and lit up the Web and social media. It was no accident. | 09/06/13 13:44:21 By - By Anita Kumar

Putin and Obama meet on Syria, reach little common ground

Russian President Vladimir Putin said today he and President Barack Obama talked Syria today at an unexpected encounter, but that neither side blinked: "We stuck to our guns," Putin told reporters Friday at a closing press conference, describing the meeting, nevertheless as "very friendly." | 09/06/13 10:02:10 By - Lesley Clark

House Democrats could be tough sell on Syria strike

As the House of Representatives prepares to vote this month on whether to launch military action in Syria, President Barack Obama will have to persuade not only Republicans but also members of his own party to go along. | 09/05/13 19:05:03 By - By Curtis Tate

Obama shadowboxes with Putin at summit

President Barack Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin exchanged a handshake, some pleasantries and seemingly little else Thursday as they met before an economic summit overshadowed by Obama’s call for a military strike against Putin’s ally, Syria. | 09/05/13 17:46:49 By - By Lesley Clark

Farmers want Obama to back off immigration workplace enforcement

Farmers’ congressional allies are pressuring the Obama administration to ease up on some immigration work-site enforcement, underscoring a conflict at the heart of a broad-based immigration bill. | 09/05/13 17:32:34 By - By Michael Doyle

Congressional showdown looms over budget, debt ceiling

When Congress returns Monday from its summer break, lawmakers must quickly forge a deal to avoid a government shutdown and then pivot to raise the government’s borrowing authority by mid-October or face a damaging U.S. debt default. | 09/05/13 15:26:10 By - By David Lightman, Anita Kumar and Kevin G. Hall

San Joaquin Valley Republicans skeptical about Syria attack plan

San Joaquin Valley congressional Republicans are resisting the Obama administration’s request for authorization to attack Syria, even as lawmakers refine the proposal. | 09/04/13 18:13:23 By - By Michael Doyle

Despite resistance, Senate panel passes Syria strike measure

Even as Congress took a step Wednesday toward authorizing the use of force in Syria, a growing number of lawmakers spoke out strongly against a U.S. military strike and warned that it would draw the United States into an escalating conflict that could spread throughout the Middle East. | 09/04/13 19:47:49 By - By James Rosen and William Douglas

For members of Congress, war vote is wrenching

A vote on military action is the most wrenching, most profound decision a member of Congress can make, and that’s why Tom Carper was glad the minister talked about the Syrian crisis in church. | 09/04/13 14:47:45 By - By David Lightman

Obama says he didn’t draw the red line on Syria, world did

President Barack Obama said Wednesday that he didn’t set the “red line” against Syria for the use of chemical weapons. | 09/04/13 17:02:18 By - By Lesley Clark

Sen. Rand Paul skeptical of proposed U.S. strike against Syria

A highly skeptical Sen. Rand Paul on Tuesday sharply criticized President Barack Obama’s bid to launch military strikes against Syria, saying the mission’s purpose remained murky and uncertain. | 09/03/13 19:51:01 By - By David Lightman

N.C. delegation divided on Syria airstrikes

The Republican leadership of the House of Representatives declared support on Tuesday for air strikes on Syria, but some Republicans in the North Carolina delegation expressed serious reservations and several said they’d vote against military retaliation. | 09/03/13 18:25:52 By - By Renee Schoof

Syrian groups gearing up to campaign on behalf of military strike

A graphic half-page ad published Tuesday by a California-based advocacy group foreshadows an escalating lobbying campaign in support of a U.S. military attack on Syria. | 09/03/13 17:13:19 By - By Michael Doyle

Boehner supports Syria airstrikes, but testy Senate hearing suggests still a tough sell

Senators from both parties pressed President Barack Obama’s top Cabinet officers Tuesday to provide guarantees that no U.S. troops would be sent to Syria after an initial strike in a sign of the potential political pitfalls and widespread public skittishness over even a limited retaliatory attack. | 09/03/13 21:10:39 By - By James Rosen, William Douglas and Anita Kumar

Obama heads to Russia summit seeking Syria support

President Barack Obama heads this week to a global summit in Russia, hoping to rally international support for his bid to launch a military strike against Syria. | 09/03/13 15:32:12 By - By Lesley Clark

Would-be voters are exasperated by Kansas’ new registration law

Lee Albee never thought signing up to vote would be so cumbersome. | 09/03/13 12:58:44 By - Brad Cooper

Obama: "This is not Iraq. This is not Afghanistan."

President Barack Obama said Tuesday that any military action in Syria would be "limited" and "proportional" and doesn't involved "boots on the ground." | 09/03/13 10:26:10 By - Anita Kumar

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Kerry says it was sarin gas in Syria; Congress questions US stake

The Obama administration pressed Congress Sunday for an expansive green light to attack Syria, amid continued Middle East turmoil and Capitol Hill skepticism from both right and left. | 09/01/13 17:41:44 By - By Michael Doyle

Obama’s proposal seeks broad war power despite vow of limits

While President Barack Obama insists he wants only a limited air attack on Syria, his proposed authorization of force would empower him to do much more than that. Congress is likely to impose tighter reins, as lawmakers have learned that presidents are prone to expand on powers once granted | 09/01/13 17:13:09 By - By Michael Doyle

Ever private, Obama kept even close aides in dark about plan to go to Congress

For weeks he weighed what to do about Syria. The decision to strike came more quickly. Then, in a long walk around the White House grounds, he told a close aide of a second decision, to postpone the strikes and ask Congress for approval. | 09/01/13 14:16:14 By - By Anita Kumar and Lesley Clark

Obama risks embarrassing loss in Congress

President Barack Obama is taking a risk by asking Congress to approve airstrikes against Syria. | 09/01/13 10:22:55 By - By Anita Kumar and Lesley Clark

Obama asks Congress for OK to hit Syria

President Barack Obama said Saturday he will ask Congress to approve military strikes against Syria’s government, a risky step likely to delay action for at least 10 days that could signal broad popular support but also could end in rejection by the legislative branch. | 08/31/13 17:17:59 By - By David Lightman, William Douglas and Anita Kumar

Texas lawmakers push for compensation for Fort Hood victims and their families

Convicted Fort Hood shooter Maj. Nidal Hasan’s guilty verdict and death sentence this week mean a new chapter for his victims, say Texas lawmakers, who will announce Monday a new push for increased benefits and recognition through the Purple Heart medal and its civilian equivalent. | 08/30/13 18:01:07 By - By Maria Recio McClatchy Washington Bureau

Washington, London: A study in contrasts over Syria debate

The British Parliament spent Thursday slugging it out over Syria. The U.S. Congress stayed away. For the fourth straight week. | 08/29/13 17:46:34 By - By David Lightman

Washington State Congress members leery of air strike in Syria

Two of Washington’s senior lawmakers in Congress are concerned that a quick air strike to punish the Syrian government for using chemical weapons against its own people would draw the American military into another open-ended war, they said Wednesday. | 08/29/13 16:30:20 By - Adam Ashton

Typically divided California politicians united in view on Syrian strike

President Barack Obama has temporarily united California’s liberals and conservatives, as ideologically diverse lawmakers join in warning against an unauthorized U.S. attack on Syria. | 08/29/13 16:15:28 By - By Michael Doyle

Congress presses Obama for more details about possible Syria strike

Any effort by President Barack Obama to launch military action against the Syrian regime faces growing resistance on Capitol Hill, as increasing numbers of lawmakers from both parties insist on having a say. | 08/28/13 18:57:08 By - By David Lightman and William Douglas

In Idaho, Boehner vows to succeed with entitlement reform this fall

House Speaker John Boehner said Monday that getting the GOP-controlled House to agree to raising the U.S. debt ceiling will only come with a bipartisan deal to make cost-saving changes to Social Security, Medicaid, Medicare, farm programs and government pensions. | 08/27/13 11:30:09 By - Dan Popkey

N.C. Republican lawmakers at odds over anti-Obamacare strategy

Republicans in Congress are divided over whether to use the threat of a government shutdown to defund the president’s health care law, and the split is nowhere more evident than in North Carolina. | 08/26/13 17:49:13 By - By Renee Schoof

Obama convenes Saturday meeting on Syria

President Obama will meet this morning in a rare Saturday session with his national security team "to discuss the reports of a chemical weapons attack by the Syrian government in Syria earlier this week," a White House official said. | 08/24/13 17:13:30 By - Lesley Clark

DeMint tours US to challenge Republicans on Obamacare

Jim DeMint is back in a familiar role – challenging other Republicans to put conservative principles over political costs, and not particularly caring how many friends or allies he offends along the way. | 08/24/13 15:45:35 By - By James Rosen

States, Justice Department girding for battle over voting laws

Now comes the far-flung fallout from a Supreme Court decision in June blowing up a key provision of the 1965 Voting Rights Act. | 08/23/13 17:06:15 By - By Michael Doyle

Boehner suggests short-term spending plan, but will it be enough for Congressional conservatives?

House Speaker John Boehner told Republicans Thursday night he would seek a short-term spending measure to keep the government open once the fiscal year begins Oct. 1--but many conservatives want defunding the 2010 health care law to be included. | 08/23/13 12:51:48 By - David Lightman

Justice Department seeks to overturn Texas voter ID law

The Justice Department on Thursday sued to stop Texas from implementing a strict new voter identification law and also joined a challenge to the state’s redistricting plan, in the latest, but by no means final, fallout from an incendiary Supreme Court ruling. | 08/22/13 16:49:59 By - By Michael Doyle

Colin Powell slams NC’s new voting law in speech

Former Secretary of State Colin Powell took aim at North Carolina’s new voting law Thursday, saying it hurts the Republican Party, punishes minority voters and makes it more difficult for everyone to vote. | 08/22/13 16:26:38 By - John Murawski and John Frank

Obama isn’t high on changing federal marijuana laws

President Barack Obama doesn’t support changing federal laws to legalize marijuana, though a prominent physician he once was said to want as his surgeon general says the drug has "very legitimate medical applications." | 08/21/13 16:35:03 By - By Lesley Clark

As Obama debates Egypt, U.S. allies pick sides

Key U.S. allies are picking clear sides in the bloody showdown between the Egyptian military and its opponents, creating a challenge to the Obama administration’s efforts to remain neutral in Egypt’s worsening crisis. | 08/19/13 18:58:54 By - By Hannah Allam and Lesley Clark

Marijuana industry eager to pay taxes – and cash in on deductions

As Congress wrestles with big budget cuts, one budding industry wants to help out the federal government with a novel message: Tax us, please. Marijuana businesses and their backers say legalizing the drug and taxing it like alcohol would add billions to the federal treasury. Some analysts dismiss a pot tax bonanza as far-fetched, neither likely nor lucrative. But the idea is stirring newly serious debate on Capitol Hill. | 08/19/13 00:00:00 By - By Rob Hotakainen

Feinstein defends Congress’ intelligence oversight amid new revelations

Some secrets don’t faze Sen. Dianne Feinstein. She keeps plenty, after all, as the chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee. But the 15-member panel that the California Democrat has led since 2009 is scrambling to catch up with the latest public revelations about government spying. It’s a potentially awkward position for the 80-year-old lawmaker, who’s regularly defended secret surveillance programs that others have knocked, and who now must defend the quality of congressional oversight as well. | 08/16/13 19:37:23 By - By Michael Doyle

Congress outraged by news that NSA frequently broke privacy rules

Members of Congress expressed outrage Friday after news reports indicated that the National Security Agency had broken privacy rules thousands of times a year while administering surveillance programs, just a week after President Barack Obama had tried to allay growing concerns about the spying.. | 08/16/13 19:15:25 By - By Anita Kumar and Lesley Clark

Rough seas ahead as lawmakers embark on plan to save Lake Tahoe

Lake Tahoe has friends in high places, like Capitol Hill. | 08/16/13 15:08:33 By - By Michael Doyle

Senators differ on role for military brass in sexual assault cases

The Pentagon on Thursday unveiled new efforts to combat sexual assaults in the military, but it left the most controversial question unanswered. Its action doesn’t change how much control military commanders hold over the prosecution of major crimes. Whether to keep that power in the chain of command remains a contentious issue, one that’s split lawmakers who otherwise agree that dramatic changes are long overdue. | 08/16/13 10:42:29 By - By Lindsay Wise and Michael Doyle

U.S. cancels military operation with Egypt, but not aid

The United States on Thursday advised Americans to leave Egypt and canceled a joint military training exercise, but stopped short off cutting off aid, reflecting the Obama administration’s attempt to retain some influence as the situation continued to deteriorate following a lethal crackdown on supporters of the country’s deposed president. | 08/15/13 18:47:41 By - By Lesley Clark and Hannah Allam

Democrats turn up heat on Republican climate-change skeptics

Members of Congress have come to expect controversy sometimes during their August break. Four years ago, it was health care. This year many thought it would be immigration. But in California, global warming has become an unexpectedly hot topic. | 08/15/13 17:29:49 By - By Curtis Tate and Erika Bolstad

US to scrap joint military exercise with Egypt

President Barack Obama said today he's told Egypt that the U.S. will cancel a bi-annual joint military exercise that had been scheduled for September -- in response to a lethal crackdown by the Egyptian military. | 08/15/13 10:29:05 By - Lesley Clark

Obama’s surveillance revisions omit limits on warrantless email searches

In pledging to make changes that could curtail the federal government’s ability to spy on Americans, President Barack Obama failed to address calls by lawmakers and experts to overhaul a law that allows the National Security Agency to search vast databases of individual Americans’ emails without court warrants. | 08/14/13 19:34:23 By - By Anita Kumar and Jonathan S. Landay

Has border security spending been effective? It’s hard to say

Despite the billions of dollars spent on border security, it’s pretty hard to tell whether the money is accomplishing what it’s supposed to, according to two federal oversight agencies. The Government Accountability Office and the Congressional Research Service say in recent reports that even with the amount of border data collected by the federal government, there’s no adequate barometer to measure the effectiveness of the enforcement efforts. | 08/14/13 16:13:38 By - By Kavya Sukumar

White House chief of black education is ‘passionate’ about his work

All through his years of schooling, David Johns was one of the few African-Americans in his classroom, from the high school in Los Angeles that was nearly an hour away – but that his mother insisted he attend – to Columbia University. Even when he taught elementary school in Manhattan, not a single black student sat behind one of the desks before him. Now Johns sits behind a desk – at the U.S. Department of Education, no less – where he leads a presidential effort to improve education for African-American students everywhere. | 08/14/13 15:35:18 By - By Renee Schoof

Senate’s pivotal 2014 races take shape

The battle for Congress won’t fully engage until next year, but it sure looks like election season now as political activity explodes this summer at America’s county fairs, town halls and campaign fundraisers. From Alaska to West Virginia, what’s happening around the country as lawmakers spend a month back home might shape the 2014 political map. | 08/14/13 14:47:51 By - By David Lightman

Feds told to stop stalling on Yucca Mountain nuclear waste decision

A top appeals court on Tuesday ordered the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to end the suspense and come to a decision on the controversial Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository. | 08/13/13 18:01:08 By - By Michael Doyle

Senate intelligence panel could seek to declassify documents; it just doesn’t

Outspoken members of the Senate Intelligence Committee have said frequently that they wanted to warn the public about the National Security Agency’s sweeping collection of telephone records but the program’s highly classified nature prevented them from making public reference to the programs. That, however, is not the full story. Buried in the pages of Senate Resolution 400, which established the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence in 1976, is a provision that allows them to try. Across those nearly 40 years, it’s never been used. | 08/12/13 22:21:08 By - By Ali Watkins

Obama wants more oversight on government surveillance

President Barack Obama unveiled a series of proposals Friday that could curtail the federal government’s ability to spy on Americans, in light of eroding confidence by the public after recent leaks about the massive surveillance programs. | 08/09/13 18:23:38 By - By Anita Kumar, Michael Doyle and Ali Watkins

SC challenger calls Sen. Lindsey Graham a ‘Nancy boy’ in retweet

A retweet by a Republican challenger to Lindsey Graham referred to the U.S. senator as “Nancy boy graham,” according to a government watchdog website. | 08/08/13 18:00:56 By - Jamie Self

Michelle Nunn, daughter of Sam Nunn, seeks U.S. Senate seat

Michelle Nunn and her family are on a minivan tour of Georgia, taking the message of her U.S. Senate cities in 14 days. Nunn, the daughter of former U.S. Sen. Sam Nunn, was in Columbus Thursday, spreading her “What Washington can learn from Georgia” campaign slogan. Some of the lessons she said she would like to take to Washington are civility, compromise and cooperation. | 08/08/13 17:05:55 By - Mike Owen

Obama-Putin talks are off, but the fallout is unclear

President Barack Obama’s decision to scrap a meeting in Moscow with Russian President Vladimir Putin reflects the White House’s growing frustration with the Russian government over its embrace of intelligence leaker Edward Snowden, as well as its reluctance to engage over a host of issues that are key to the relationship. | 08/07/13 19:15:18 By - By Lesley Clark and Anita Kumar

Obama on Russia: 'They slip back into Cold War thinking'

President Barack Obama talked with Jay Leno on "The Tonight Show." | 08/07/13 07:32:39 By - Anita Kumar

Obama trumpets housing gains, calls for affordable mortgages

Proclaiming a rebounding housing market, President Barack Obama on Tuesday pressed Congress to help more Americans secure cheaper mortgages – or affordable rentals – and stressed a need to limit government involvement in the mortgage giants Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae. | 08/06/13 18:51:49 By - By Anita Kumar, Kevin G. Hall and Lesley Clark

Kansas congressman defines GOP faction tugging hard from right

When House Republican leadership yanked Tim Huelskamp off the Budget and Agriculture committees last year, some predicted a slow slide into irrelevancy. The 44-year-old congressman from western Kansas lost the coveted spot for refusing to toe his party’s line. But far from suffering a premature political demise, the tea party-backed Huelskamp used the episode to bolster his credentials as an uncompromising Washington outsider. | 08/06/13 17:59:32 By - By Lindsay Wise

GOP head objects to networks’ plans for Hillary Clinton dramas

Had enough of Hillary Clinton? Republican Party Chairman Reince Priebus has. He sent biting letters Monday to network executives at NBC and CNN, asking them to drop their planned projects – a mini-series and a documentary, respectively – about the will-she-or-won’t-she 2016 Democratic presidential contender. Such programs, he charged, would be a "thinly veiled attempt at putting a thumb on the scales of the 2016 presidential election." | 08/05/13 17:40:06 By - By David Lightman

Poll: Christie, Clinton hot; Congressional leaders not

Chris Christie and Hillary Clinton are hot. Congressional leaders, cold. Those are among the findings of a new Quinnipiac poll released Monda | 08/05/13 09:25:02 By - David Lightman

N.C. representative favors sequester cuts, with exception for cancer care

Rep. Renee Ellmers voted for across-the-board budget cuts and likes that they’re chipping down federal spending. | 08/04/13 00:00:00 By - By Renee Schoof

High-ranking Senate Democrat joins calls to disclose NSA collection programs

The Senate’s No. 2 Democrat on Friday joined the growing push in Congress against the National Security Agency’s sweeping collection of cellphone records, announcing that the Senate Appropriations Committee had approved a measure that would require the agency to make public declarations about the once-secret program. | 08/02/13 19:12:30 By - By Ali Watkins and David Lightman

McConnell, Lundergan Grimes to open political battle for Kentucky Senate seat

Republican U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell and his major Democratic opponent, Alison Lundergan Grimes, will take the same stage Saturday for the first time as rivals in next year's U.S. Senate race in Kentucky. | 08/02/13 18:58:07 By - Jack Brammer

House bans IRS Obamacare enforcement; Senate unlikely to agree

The Republican-run House of Representatives voted 232-185 Friday to bar the besieged Internal Revenue Service from enforcing or implementing the new health care law, but the effort was largely a political exercise. | 08/02/13 17:09:10 By - By David Lightman and Ben Kamisar

Obama reverses FEMA, OKs disaster relief for West, Texas

President Barack Obama overruled the Federal Emergency Management Agency on Friday and signed a declaration that there’s a “major disaster” in West, Texas, due to the fertilizer plant explosion in April that killed 15 people and destroyed much of the town. | 08/02/13 16:33:49 By - By Maria Recio

Miami-Dade ports to return staffing to pre-sequestration levels

Miami International Airport and PortMiami were chosen Friday as one of five sets of ports around the nation to participate in a reimbursement program that will allow staffing at customs and immigration to return to pre-sequestration levels. | 08/02/13 15:59:50 By - Charles Rabin

Congress taking rhetoric, and partisanship, home for recess

Congress’ sophisticated message machines roar into action this weekend, as lawmakers head home eager to mobilize constituents and gain momentum for budget and immigration battles to come. Chances are, their efforts will sputter. | 08/02/13 14:30:04 By - By David Lightman

After explosion, Obama issues order to improve oversight of chemicals

The White House issued an executive order Thursday to improve safety and security at chemical facilities in the wake of the explosion last April at a fertilizer plant in West, Texas, that killed 15 people and created a fireball that leveled much of the town. | 08/01/13 19:05:44 By -

Senators want advocate for Constitution added to secret FISA court hearings

Three key members of the Senate introduced legislation Thursday that would change the way the country’s secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court functions and how its members are selected, the latest sign that the uproar over leaks by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden is likely to have a lasting impact on the country’s intelligence practices. | 08/01/13 19:45:58 By - By Ali Watkins and Lesley Clark

Denham shaping immigration stance to district demographics

Immigration matters more than ever to Republican Rep. Jeff Denham, as the conservative California lawmaker adjusts to a San Joaquin Valley district with a large Hispanic population. | 08/01/13 19:04:08 By - By Michael Doyle

Senators spar over definition of ‘journalist’ in seeking to protect them

The Senate Judiciary Committee, looking to provide protections for journalists and their sources, ran into a roadblock Thursday when lawmakers couldn’t agree on the definition of “journalist.” | 08/01/13 17:36:23 By - By Kate Irby

Senators worry about cost of finding long-dead U.S. warriors

A Senate subcommittee review Thursday of the military commands that oversee finding and bringing home the remains of long-lost troops made it clear there are deep problems. | 08/01/13 17:36:01 By - By Matthew Schofield

Sen. Murkowski’s switch clears way for new ATF boss

A pivotal switch by Alaska Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski on Wednesday cleared the way for confirmation of the director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. | 08/01/13 07:16:38 By - By Trevor Graff

Student loan bill wins final congressional passage, goes to Obama

Congress took the government out of the job of setting student loan rates Wednesday when the House of Representatives passed a bill that leaves the work to markets. | 07/31/13 19:11:54 By - By Renee Schoof

Possible Fed choice brings Obama flak from the left

President Barack Obama on Wednesday staunchly defended one of the presumed front-runners to lead the Federal Reserve Board, a candidate liberal Democrats see as emblematic of loosening regulations on Wall Street. | 07/31/13 18:58:16 By - By Lesley Clark and David Lightman

Ahead of recess, congressional leaders mark date of March on Washington

Congress had a dream to celebrate the anniversary of the March on Washington before leaving for a five-week recess, and luckily for its members it had the clout to pull some strings. | 07/31/13 18:31:34 By - By Ben Kamisar

Obama talks jobs on Capitol Hill, but not compromise

President Barack Obama came to Capitol Hill Wednesday to give Democrats a pre-summer recess pep talk – with little mention of compromise. | 07/31/13 17:35:15 By - By David Lightman and Anita Kumar

Obama pushes for tax change to fund infrastructure; Republicans push back

President Barack Obama hadn’t yet left the White House on Tuesday to unveil his latest economic pitch when Republicans began tearing it apart. | 07/31/13 07:16:34 By - By Lesley Clark and David Lightman

Democrats seek law to end racial profiling by police

Invoking the shooting death of Florida teenager Trayvon Martin, two Democratic congressmen joined civil rights leaders Tuesday to promote legislation abolishing racial profiling by police officers. | 07/30/13 17:41:38 By - By Ben Kamisar

For Congress, ‘it’s classified’ is new equivalent of ‘none of your business’

The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence reportedly gave its approval last week to an Obama administration plan to provide weapons to moderate rebels in Syria, but how individual members of the committee stood on the subject remains unknown. | 07/30/13 17:07:03 By - By Ali Watkins

Dollars to diplomats: How to become an ambassador in a plush foreign outpost

There’s the vice president of global licensing and retail at the television network HBO, the senior managing partner for a consulting firm based in Chicago and a Miami trial attorney who makes a living suing insurance companies. | 07/30/13 14:38:32 By - By Anita Kumar

Obama meets with Middle East negotiators

President Obama met today at the White House with Israeli and Palestinian negotiators meeting in Washington in an effort to renew peace talks. | 07/30/13 11:31:33 By - By Lesley Clark

Obama heads to Congress today, but will make nice only with Democrats

President Barack Obama will make a rare trek to Capitol Hill this week to huddle behind closed doors with lawmakers as they debate how to pay the government’s bills, rewrite the nation’s immigration laws and adjust the government’s surveillance programs. | 07/29/13 17:35:34 By - By Anita Kumar and David Lightman

In post-Obama America, small inroads with blacks would be big for GOP

Down in Monroe, La., hard by Black Bayou Lake, U.S. Rep. Rodney Alexander wonders why Republican leaders in Washington haven’t sought his advice on their initiative to improve the party’s anemic standing among African-American voters. | 07/29/13 00:00:00 By - By James Rosen and Kevin Thibodeaux McClatchy Washington Bureau

INTERACTIVE: Where Southern blacks voted for Republicans

With nine of 10 African-American voters choosing Democrats over Republicans in last November's congressional races, the GOP is starting to examine how it might make inroads in a community that has long been a Democratic stronghold.

| 07/26/13 19:11:55 By -

Americans’ frustration with gridlocked Washington grows

Americans are eager for Washington to act on a host of issues they care deeply about, but instead they’ve just witnessed another week of sharp rhetoric and political finger-pointing. They’re clamoring for their elected representatives to do something about all their concerns – or even just one – but think that they’re not. President Barack Obama’s job approval numbers this month hit their lowest level in nearly two years of McClatchy-Marist polling, and Congress’ are even worse. | 07/26/13 17:02:32 By - By David Lightman and Lesley Clark

Mad dash lands Sanford on House floor in running shorts

Rep. Mark Sanford isn’t wet behind the ears, but that’s what he’s saying to explain how he ended up on the floor of the House of Representatives in shorts, a T-shirt, gym socks and sneakers. | 07/25/13 18:58:55 By - By James Rosen

Justice Department to take on states over voting rights

The Obama administration announced Thursday that it will legally contest a series of laws around the country as part of an aggressive campaign to fight a recent Supreme Court ruling that it says could reduce minority voting. | 07/25/13 18:29:34 By - By Anita Kumar

Rep. Mulvaney gets win in U.S. House on defense cuts

U.S. Rep. Mick Mulvaney, R-S.C., gained a major legislative victory Wednesday as the House passed his measure to reduce military spending by $3.5 billion. | 07/25/13 17:17:43 By - James Rosen

Poll: Public wants immigration, voting rights fixed, but differs on solutions

Americans want the nation’s broken immigration system fixed, but they’re torn over how to do it. | 07/25/13 16:01:33 By - By David Lightman

Obamacare enrollment efforts, and message wars, heat up

Amid a resurgent effort by critics to attack the new health care law, the Obama administration and its allies are focusing on getting millions of Americans enrolled in coverage next year and making sure the new state health insurance exchanges will be ready for open enrollment in October. But convincing a skeptical public to heed the Affordable Care Act’s “individual mandate” will be a major challenge when the bulk of the health care overhaul is fully implemented next year. | 07/25/13 13:32:21 By - By Tony Pugh

With little argument, House limits U.S. military involvement in Syria, Egypt

The House of Representatives approved measures Wednesday that would prevent the Obama administration from spending money on U.S. military operations in Syria without consulting Congress and would forbid funding U.S. military or paramilitary operations in Egypt. | 07/24/13 20:31:31 By - By William Douglas and Hannah Allam

Obama attacks GOP gridlock, says economy his ‘highest priority’

President Barack Obama vowed Wednesday to use “every minute, every second” of the rest of his second term to boost the middle class, even as he took Republicans to task, arguing that an “endless parade of distractions, political posturing and phony scandals” has taken Washington’s eye off the economy. | 07/24/13 20:22:21 By - By Lesley Clark and Dave Helling

5 senators at Guantanamo hearing easily outnumbered by protesters

More than four years after President Barack Obama ordered the closure of the U.S. detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, members of Congress are still sparring over the future of the facility. The latest round came Wednesday in a Senate hearing room, where just five senators listened to service members and think tank leaders in a new attempt to take the issue off the back burner as hunger strikes and force-feedings continue at the prison. | 07/24/13 19:49:23 By - By Ben Kamisar

Bid to rein in NSA snooping goes down in the House

The House of Representatives on Wednesday tried mightily but fell short in its bid to send a tough, pointed message to the Obama administration: Put limits on the National Security Agency’s ability to collect personal data. | 07/24/13 19:44:05 By - By David Lightman

Senate passes new student loan interest-rate formula

Interest rates on student loans would drop for 11 million college students for the upcoming school year but are expected to rise in the future under a market-based rate plan the Senate approved Wednesday. | 07/24/13 19:30:17 By - By Renee Schoof

Obama nominates Caroline Kennedy to be ambassador to Japan

President Barack Obama on Wednesday nominated Caroline Kennedy, daughter of former president John F. Kennedy, as U.S. ambassador to Japan. | 07/24/13 17:19:08 By - Anita Kumar

President Obama says Washington has 'taken its eye off the ball'

President Obama used a trip to his home state of Illinois to kick off what he says will be a series of speeches and appearances, arguing that Washington needs to refocus on the economy. | 07/24/13 14:45:16 By - By Lesley Clark

House may vote today to limit massive NSA surveillance program

A senior member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence urged fellow legislators Tuesday to rein in sweeping data collection programs before they become an irreversible part of American society. | 07/23/13 20:30:16 By - By Ali Watkins

Obama’s major economy talk comes amid growing doubts about recovery

Hiring is picking up, and consumer confidence and the housing market are showing signs of life, but the U.S. economy still is lumbering to reach a full recovery, posing a political threat to President Barack Obama as he travels to Illinois on Wednesday to deliver what the White House bills as a major speech on the economy. | 07/23/13 18:00:20 By - By Lesley Clark

2016 poll: Hillary’s the Democrat to beat; Christie tops conservative-heavy GOP field

The latest McClatchy-Marist poll is a tale of two very different political parties: Hillary Clinton has a huge lead among Democrats for the party’s 2016 presidential nomination, while the Republicans face a melee with no clear front-runner. | 07/23/13 17:29:59 By - By David Lightman

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