Politics

Gun control debate goes silent in the Senate – for now

Congressional efforts to pass or even debate serious gun-control legislation are over for the foreseeable future. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid put the legislation aside Thursday as it became clear that gun control forces lacked the votes to pass major measures they sought. | 04/18/13 16:28:33 By - By David Lightman

Tim Scott sole senator to vote against energy nominee

Scott, a South Carolina Republican who joined the Senate in January, acknowledged that Moniz is “well-educated and experienced,” but said he opposed Moniz’ nomination because of his “lack of clarity” in explaining the MOX (mixed-oxide fuel) program based at Savannah River Site in Aiken County, S.C. | 04/18/13 16:27:23 By - James Rosen

McConnell campaign claims he is Obama's 'No. 1 target' in new TV ad

Sen. Mitch McConnell depicts himself as a victim of "dirty" attacks by liberals and President Barack Obama's "No. 1 target" in a TV ad that begins airing Friday. | 04/18/13 14:23:48 By - Jack Brammer

Obama assures a reeling Boston: ‘We will finish the race’

President Barack Obama on Thursday celebrated this city’s resilience in the face of a bomb attack that upended the legendary Boston Marathon and rattled much of the country, pledging that runners will return to the streets of an unbowed city next year. | 04/18/13 18:07:07 By - By Lesley Clark and Anita Kumar

Senate vote crushes families devastated by gun violence

Families of gun violence victims filled the side of the Senate gallery Wednesday, awaiting a vote on a bill that would expand background checks for gun sales. Some wore ribbons and shirts in kelly green, which has become the color of gun violence remembrance. | 04/17/13 18:52:01 By - By Beena Raghavendran

Senate rejects series of tougher gun control measures

Gun control advocates led by President Barack Obama suffered a huge setback Wednesday as the Senate defeated a delicately crafted compromise aimed at strengthening background checks for gun buyers – and then proceeded to reject a ban on assault weapons and limits on ammunition clips. | 04/17/13 19:27:36 By - By David Lightman and Curtis Tate

Suspect arrested in Mississippi in poison letters to Congress, White House

The FBI arrested a Mississippi man Wednesday in connection with letters mailed to President Barack Obama and Republican Sen. Roger Wicker that tested positive for the poisonous substance ricin. | 04/17/13 21:33:08 By - By William Douglas, Greg Gordon and Anita Kumar

Some Democrats tacking left before possible 2016 White House runs

While the Republican Party grapples with a center-right divide after its election losses last fall, Democrats may be setting up a center vs. left battle for the 2016 election to succeed President Barack Obama. | 04/17/13 12:00:53 By - By David Lightman

Suspicious letters sent to President Obama, U.S. senator

A letter addressed to President Obama containing a "suspicious substance" was intercepted on Tuesday at a remote Secret Service mail screening facility, the presidential protective agency said. | 04/16/13 21:46:26 By - By David Lightman, William Douglas and Greg Gordon

Obama honors NASCAR champ Brad Keselowski at White House

President Barack Obama honored NASCAR champion Brad Keselowski at the White House on Tuesday for winning the 2012 Sprint Cup Championship for the first time and for his work with wounded veterans. | 04/16/13 18:43:34 By - By Emma Kantrowitz

Immigration overhaul: 'Something for everybody to hate'

The introduction of the most far-reaching immigration overhaul in decades marks only the first chapter in a long battle that will test emotions and political wits. | 04/16/13 18:37:05 By - By Franco Ordonez

Obama took his time in calling Boston Marathon attack ‘terrorism’

It took President Barack Obama nearly 24 hours to describe Monday’s bombings at the Boston Marathon the same way that lawmakers, experts and even his own staff did: as an act of terrorism. That was no accident. | 04/16/13 18:18:23 By - By Anita Kumar

Senators wrangle over how to shape gun-control amendments

The Senate struggle over guns begins Wednesday, and even the easiest votes are going to be hard. | 04/16/13 20:16:30 By - By David Lightman and Curtis Tate

Immigration bill to be unveiled this week focuses more on workers, less on families

After lengthy closed-door negotiations, a bipartisan group of senators plans to submit legislation to enact a sweeping overhaul of the nation’s immigration laws on Tuesday. The controversial proposal would grant most of the 11 million people here illegally a path to citizenship and give thousands of deported individuals a chance to return, but would also adopt some of the toughest immigration enforcement measures in the history of the United States. | 04/16/13 00:00:00 By - By Franco Ordonez

Immigration overhaul faces a long road in Congress

The massive legislative overhaul of the nation’s immigration laws that’s expected to be unveiled in the Senate on Tuesday may represent a bipartisan breakthrough for the so-called Gang of Eight, but it’s just the beginning of a long slog. | 04/15/13 19:00:46 By - By William Douglas, James Rosen and Kevin G. Hall

Notion of gene patenting raises eyebrows at Supreme Court

Supreme Court justices pushed back Monday against the idea of patenting human genes during oral arguments that ranged from baseball bats and chocolate chip cookies to imaginary plants in the Amazon. | 04/15/13 17:28:07 By - By Michael Doyle

America turns left on social issues, but not on government

Some saw Barack Obama as a modern-day Franklin Roosevelt, ushering in a 21st century version of New Deal liberalism. Others saw a John F. Kennedy, heralding the dawn of a new progressive age of expanding rights. | 04/15/13 16:42:52 By - By David Lightman

Criticism of Sen. Roy Blunt’s role in agriculture provision illustrates concerns about Congress

Late last month, the Senate was under deadline pressure. The eleventh hour was approaching and Congress had to pass a stopgap budget bill to avert a federal government shutdown. The bill passed the Senate after a flurry of last-minute amendments on March 20. The House of Representatives approved it the next day. Buried in the 587-page package, a rider nicknamed the “farmer assurance provision” drew little notice. | 04/15/13 16:40:30 By - By Lindsay Wise

Same-sex benefits may be ‘poison pill’ in immigration debate

The Supreme Court may have an unexpectedly decisive role in helping to determine whether 11 million people who are in the U.S. illegally are allowed to remain without fear of deportation. | 04/15/13 00:00:00 By - By Franco Ordonez

Obama’s 2014 budget has more new taxes than he talked about

President Barack Obama touted a proposal this week to collect $580 billion in new taxes from the wealthy to reduce the nation’s escalating deficit. | 04/12/13 18:51:10 By - By Anita Kumar

Supreme Court to consider whether firms can patent genes, the essence of life

The building blocks of life are now stacked up before the Supreme Court, as justices consider whether scientists can patent an isolated human gene. | 04/12/13 17:22:05 By - By Michael Doyle

For gun control supporters, the hard part has just begun

The Senate next week plans votes on a wide-ranging series of gun control measures, the first time in years lawmakers will go on the record on major steps to curb gun violence, such as banning assault weapons and restricting the size of magazine clips. | 04/12/13 16:36:36 By - By David Lightman and Curtis Tate

Obama and Biden release tax returns, with pitch for the Buffett Rule

President Obama released his 2012 federal income tax return today, with he and first lady Michelle Obama filing jointly and reporting adjusted gross income of $608,611. The Obamas paid $112,214 in total tax. | 04/12/13 13:59:28 By - Lesley Clark

Obama proposes $3.78 trillion budget for 2014

President Barack Obama unveiled his $3.78 trillion budget proposal Wednesday for the fiscal year that starts Oct. 1, promising that it would boost the economy and cut projected deficits by investing in job growth and raising taxes on the wealthy. | 04/12/13 18:58:39 By - By Lesley Clark and Anita Kumar

Hearing on EPA nominee Gina McCarthy focuses on agency’s long reach

Even the Republicans who are the most critical of the Environmental Protection Agency had few questions about whether Gina McCarthy has the qualifications for the job. The agency’s regulatory practices and transparency got a lashing at McCarthy’s Senate confirmation hearing, though. And both Democrats and Republicans acknowledged that the agency under her leadership would likely take the lead in reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the absence of significant congressional action on climate change. | 04/11/13 15:43:19 By - By Erika Bolstad

Spring is in the air on Capitol Hill – for now

The cherry blossoms are in bloom in Washington this week. Is long-absent bipartisanship on Capitol Hill flowering as well? | 04/11/13 15:34:10 By - By William Douglas and David Lightman

White House employees will take unpaid leave because of sequester

The president’s staff will start implementing furloughs for 468 employees next month as part of the across-the-board budget cuts implemented March 1. | 04/11/13 14:39:20 By - By Anita Kumar

White House honors Florida scientist Jennifer Jurado for work on climate change

The White House on Thursday honored a Broward County, Fla., scientist who helped launch a multi-county initiative to address sea level rise and other consequences of climate change in South Florida. | 04/11/13 13:15:21 By - By Erika Bolstad

Gun measure clears first Senate hurdle, but tougher ones await

A Senate vote Thursday to proceed with debate on gun legislation cleared an important, early hurdle for supporters of firearms restrictions, but backers face huge and potentially insurmountable obstacles in the days and weeks ahead. | 04/11/13 17:23:10 By - By David Lightman and Curtis Tate

Come tax time, many refunds go to identity thieves

An epidemic of tax-related identity theft continues to plague the Internal Revenue Service despite efforts by the agency and law enforcement officials to combat the fraud, witnesses told a Senate panel Wednesday. | 04/10/13 19:03:33 By - By Lindsay Wise

Immigrant advocates rally for change on Capitol Hill

Nancy Chavez feels the pain of being away from her 2-year-old every time she leaves her Salinas, Calif., home to go to work in the fields picking broccoli and lettuce. | 04/10/13 18:35:19 By - By Rebecca Lurye

Rand Paul tries to spread GOP gospel to black students

Adding his voice to his party’s recent quest to broaden its minority appeal, Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, a potential Republican presidential hopeful in 2016, told an audience at a historically black university on Wednesday that his party “has always been the party of civil rights and voting rights.” | 04/10/13 18:32:43 By - By Matthew Schofield

House Republicans push to give Keystone pipeline approval authority to Congress

Promoters of the Keystone XL pipeline are agitating for its fast approval now that the State Department has downplayed the project’s impact on global warming. Energy leaders in the House of Representatives back a bill to force the government to approve it, and the premier of the Canadian province of Alberta is in Washington lobbying for the project. | 04/10/13 18:07:08 By - By Sean Cockerham

One likely winner in budget fight – status quo

President Barack Obama’s $3.78 trillion budget Wednesday provided fresh, vivid evidence that Washington remains desperately divided over key spending and tax issues – and that government appears poised to keep limping along without a broad budget agreement. | 04/10/13 16:37:51 By - By David Lightman

Senate moves closer to compromise on gun background checks

Nearly four months after the shooting deaths of 20 schoolchildren and six others in Connecticut, the Senate moved closer Wednesday to a vote on a package of gun-related legislation, in a turnaround for supporters of new gun restrictions whose efforts have faltered in recent weeks. | 04/10/13 19:29:52 By - By Curtis Tate

Obama may trade one flawed Social Security formula for another

President Barack Obama’s coming push for less generous increases in Social Security benefits is angering his party and perplexing economists, many of whom question why he’d replace one ineffective measure with another. | 04/09/13 18:15:49 By - By Kevin G. Hall

Senators apply brakes to fast-moving immigration talks

The bipartisan group of senators who last week proclaimed the imminent release of the most sweeping immigration overhaul in decades may have hit some political snags. | 04/09/13 17:53:34 By - By Franco Ordonez

Energy nominee Ernest Moniz questioned about Hanford nuclear site

President Barack Obama’s energy secretary nominee, Ernest Moniz, faced Senate questioning Tuesday on how he’d fight global warming and fix federal mismanagement of the contaminated Hanford nuclear site in Washington state. | 04/09/13 17:23:52 By - By Sean Cockerham

Obama budget: An act of political outreach?

President Barack Obama will unveil a spending plan Wednesday that he hopes will provide a compromise to the two feuding parties on Capitol Hill, offering Republican-friendly proposals – including those that cut Social Security and Medicare – tied to tax increases on the wealthiest Americans. | 04/05/13 17:25:11 By - By Anita Kumar, Lesley Clark and Kevin G. Hall

Obama apologizes for the 'distraction' caused by his remarks about Calif. AG's looks

President Obama called California Attorney General Kamala Harris to apologize for the "distraction" created when he remarked on her good looks, Press Secretary Jay Carney said Friday. | 04/05/13 15:22:40 By - Lesley Clark

Florida fifth-graders help plant White House garden

While the rest of his classmates were stuck in school Thursday, Emilio Vega, 11, planted bread wheat seeds with first lady Michelle Obama in her garden on the South Lawn of the White House. | 04/04/13 17:20:33 By - By Emma Kantrowitz

Is Democratic Alaska Sen. Mark Begich conservative enough to win again?

In the hyper-partisan world of Washington politics, it’s not surprising that there are two competing narratives about Mark Begich’s four-plus years in office as a first-term senator. | 04/04/13 15:45:46 By - By James Rosen

Public still anxious over economy, has little faith in Washington, poll finds

President Barack Obama’s job approval rating is a so-so 50 percent, as Americans continue to have serious concerns about whether the country is headed in the right direction, according to a new McClatchy-Marist poll. | 04/03/13 16:50:24 By - By David Lightman

NRA-paid study calls for armed guards on all school campuses

A task force working for the National Rifle Association recommended Tuesday that at least one armed guard be stationed on every campus in America as part of a three-month review on how to make schools safer in the wake of the mass shooting in Newtown, Conn. | 04/02/13 18:03:43 By - By Anita Kumar

The really early 2016 line: Hillary, Biden look strong over potential GOP field

The 2016 presidential election is far off, but an early sign indicates that Republicans could face trouble if Hillary Clinton or Joe Biden becomes the Democratic nominee, according to a new McClatchy-Marist poll. | 04/02/13 17:05:36 By - By David Lightman

Quietly and behind the scenes, gun research and regulation has been stymied

Each year, lawmakers quietly tuck language into spending bills that restricts the ability of the federal government to regulate the firearms industry and combat gun crime. | 04/02/13 18:28:29 By - By Anita Kumar

NRA consultant recommends a gun on every school campus

A consultant hired by the National Rifle Association recommended Tuesday that at least one armed guard be stationed on every campus in America as part of a three-month review on how to make schools safer in the wake of the mass shooting in Newtown, Conn. | 04/02/13 13:41:05 By - Anita Kumar

Immigration plan heads to bill writing – and devilish details

Politics still might get in the way of a final agreement on a bipartisan immigration bill. Now that labor and business have agreed on an immigrant temporary-worker program, a bipartisan group of eight senators say they’ve cleared every major policy hurdle and are ready to introduce the most dramatic overhaul to the U.S. immigration system in decades. But first they have to write the bill, and that’s rarely an easy task. | 04/01/13 19:05:14 By - By Franco Ordonez

Supreme Court won’t hear Spirit Airlines’ appeal of ad price policy

Feisty ad tactics from Florida-based Spirit Airlines won’t become a First Amendment test for the Supreme Court, after all. In a case closely watched by the airline industry and free-speech advocates alike, the court declined Monday to hear Spirit’s challenge to federal mandates on how prices are advertised. The court’s decision effectively upholds Department of Transportation rules opposed by several airlines and civil libertarians who are concerned about government controls over commercial speech. | 04/01/13 17:05:20 By - By Michael Doyle

Democrats fear Obama group will siphon money from them

President Barack Obama’s decision to launch his own political organization has some Democrats wondering: Is he just in it for himself? | 04/01/13 14:33:03 By - By Anita Kumar

Alaska Rep. Don Young apologizes for using ethnic slur to describe Hispanics

The national leaders of both major political parties condemned Alaska Republican Rep. Don Young on Friday for calling Latino farm workers “wetbacks,” a slur that comes at a time that the Republican Party is desperately courting Latino voters. | 03/29/13 18:00:58 By - By Sean Cockerham

N.C. lawmakers say school safety bill is nation's most comprehensive

North Carolina lawmakers on Thursday unveiled what they call the nation’s most comprehensive response to the Newtown shootings, a bipartisan package designed to add more law enforcement officers in elementary and middle schools and install panic alarms in every classroom. | 03/29/13 07:19:06 By - John Frank

Fla. Gov. Scott wants state reimbursed for port dredging project

President Barack Obama will use the construction cranes and cargo containers at PortMiami as a backdrop Friday to speak about boosting the economy through investments in ports, roads and bridges. | 03/29/13 06:58:00 By - Patricia Mazzei

Obama: ‘Shame on us’ if Congress does little about guns after Newtown

President Barack Obama delivered an emotional plea Thursday for lawmakers to pass legislation intended to curb gun violence, saying Americans couldn’t possibly have forgotten the horror three months ago of 20 children shot to death in their elementary school in Newtown, Conn. | 03/28/13 17:33:18 By - By Anita Kumar

The country, not the Supreme Court, will settle gay marriage

The same-sex marriage battle won’t be settled with a Supreme Court decision, regardless of what the justices rule. Should the court stop short of recognizing gay marriage, gays and lesbians will still press for the right to marry in the court of public opinion, not to mention the halls of justice and government. And should the court grant the right, millions of Americans still will refuse to rally to the decision of a court of nine men and women. | 03/28/13 18:31:02 By - By David Lightman

Sen. Rand Paul discusses filibuster, immigration and guns at University of Kentucky

On March 6, U.S. Sen. Rand Paul went to work without any particular plans, certainly none that included making a speech for 13 hours straight. | 03/28/13 07:01:33 By - Linda B. Blackford

In federal gay-marriage case, more than 1,100 benefits at stake

The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision on the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act will have implications far beyond how much same-sex couples might owe in income and estate taxes. | 03/27/13 19:15:23 By - By Lindsay Wise

Ashley Judd tells Twitter followers she will not run for Kentucky's U.S. Senate seat

Actress Ashley Judd will not challenge U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell's seat in 2016, she announced late Wednesday. | 03/27/13 17:49:45 By - Linda B. Blackford

Gay-marriage debate day 2: Supreme Court takes up Defense of Marriage Act

The federal Defense of Marriage Act may be hanging by a thread after a Supreme Court oral argument Wednesday that exposed sharp divisions over the 1996 law prohibiting same-sex married couples from obtaining myriad federal benefits. | 03/27/13 17:33:16 By - By Michael Doyle

Sen. Kay Hagan declares her support for gay marriage

Sen. Kay Hagan said Wednesday that she supported the right of gay people to marry, saying “we should not tell people who they can love or who they can marry.” | 03/27/13 16:59:22 By - Rob Christensen

South Carolina becomes Republican's immigration reform 'test market'

U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham called South Carolina ground zero in the fight for immigration reform as evangelicals join Republicans in pushing for change. | 03/27/13 07:30:00 By - Noelle Phillips

Fla. Gov. Scott weighs in on 'Jesus' stomping incident at Florida Atlantic University

Florida Atlantic University has apologized for a controversial classroom lesson that led critics to accuse the school of religious intolerance. But that didn’t stop Gov. Rick Scott for stepping into the fray on Tuesday. | 03/27/13 07:13:35 By - Tia Mitchell

Outside Supreme Court, supporters and opponents of gay marriage divided by family, faith

While lawyers inside the majestic Supreme Court building argued over gay marriage Tuesday, hundreds of opponents and supporters gathered outside to dance, sing and pray – and debate the issue. For the opponents of California’s ban on gay marriage, which a federal court already had declared unconstitutional, the day was reason for near-celebration, as a cause that they said was so central to same-sex couples’ ability to enjoy what every other American can – but that they’ve been denied – had scaled to the top of the legal system. | 03/26/13 19:16:14 By - By Curtis Tate and Emma Kantrowitz

Obama honors hockey and soccer champions at White House

President Barack Obama, a basketball devotee, displayed his soccer prowess and hockey knowledge Tuesday as he honored the National Hockey League Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings and Major League Soccer champ Los Angeles Galaxy at the White House. The president bounced a silver-colored soccer ball – a gift from the Galaxy, along with a white team jersey – off his head as cameras clicked to capture the shot. “I hope you guys caught that,” Obama quipped. “That doesn’t happen very often.” | 03/26/13 18:46:49 By - By William Douglas

Kentucky House overrides 'religious freedom' bill veto from Gov. Beshear

Kentucky House Democrats voted Monday night to override a gubernatorial veto of controversial legislation known as the "religious freedom" bill. | 03/26/13 07:16:53 By - Beth Musgrave

Supreme Court will hear 1st of 2 gay-marriage cases

California Attorney General Kamala Harris and unemployed consultant Jason Wonacott both earned their way into the Supreme Court for Tuesday’s oral arguments over gay marriage. Wonacott’s way was more painful or, at least, wetter. He secured his seat in the courtroom by showing up outside four days earlier, enduring occasional snow just to hear one hour of argument about California’s Proposition 8, which bans gay marriage. “I’m gay,” Wonacott explained, “and I would like to get married someday.” | 03/25/13 18:14:28 By - By Michael Doyle

In a Congress split by party, region and culture, gun control prospects appear dim

Despite a strong push for tighter gun restrictions by the White House and others, common ground continues to elude lawmakers, even in the wake of the December massacre at a Connecticut elementary school that left 20 children dead and a nation horrified. | 03/22/13 18:07:49 By - By Curtis Tate and David Lightman

Beshear vetoes Kentucky religious freedom bill

Gov. Steve Beshear vetoed a controversial religious-freedom bill Friday afternoon, saying the measure was well intended but would spark costly taxpayer-funded court cases and bring an array of unintended consequences. | 03/22/13 17:17:45 By - Beth Musgrave

Black caucus chair to Obama: No more Ms. Nice Guy

Rep. Marcia Fudge didn’t sugarcoat her feelings about the fact that President Barack Obama has not yet chosen any African-Americans to fill open high-level positions in his second term. | 03/22/13 16:27:08 By - By William Douglas

GOP plan includes stalking Democratic candidates for video gaffes

Republicans are touting a 100-page report full of lofty talk about reaching out to minority voters and projecting an air of tolerance. But three paragraphs spell out another way of doing business: Stalking Democrats. | 03/22/13 14:05:37 By - By David Lightman

Senators lean toward point-based immigration system, giving workers more of an edge

Senators working on a comprehensive immigration plan are quietly talking about letting people into the United States by giving more weight to potential job skills and less weight to family connections than now exists – a departure from the current system and one sure to rile immigrant advocates while pleasing business interests. | 03/21/13 18:23:54 By - By Franco Ordonez

Sen. Patty Murray seeks new calm in partisan budget fight

After getting word in December that she’d be heading the Senate Budget Committee in 2013, Democrat Patty Murray picked up the check when she had breakfast with Republican Rep. Paul Ryan in the Senate Dining Room. | 03/21/13 21:06:44 By - By Rob Hotakainen

Kansas Sen. Pat Roberts: We must cut food stamps to save them

Once hailed as the savior of food stamps, Kansas Sen. Pat Roberts has introduced a bill to cut $36 billion from the federal aid program over 10 years. | 03/21/13 17:22:09 By - By Lindsay Wise

Obama considering Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx for Cabinet job

President Barack Obama is considering Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx for secretary of transportation, according to two people familiar with the matter, Bloomberg News reported Wednesday. | 03/21/13 07:26:18 By - Steve Harrison

Alaska Senate OKs oil industry tax cuts

The Senate voted Wednesday night by the barest of margins to approve a massive tax cut for the oil industry in the hope that it would lead to more oil production in Alaska. | 03/21/13 06:53:18 By - Richard Mauer

Congress moves to keep sequester spending cuts – while easing impact on public

Just weeks after Washington nearly went to war over automatic spending cuts, Congress scripted a peaceful ending to the clash Thursday as it backed the reductions while giving government managers flexibility to minimize the impacts on the public by finding the savings elsewhere in their budgets. | 03/21/13 11:06:41 By - By David Lightman and Lindsay Wise

Categorizing Alaska's Begich depends what you look at

Sen. Mark Begich can marshal some impressive evidence to bolster his claim that he is a centrist more in line with fellow Alaskans than with many of his Senate Democratic colleagues. | 03/20/13 13:49:34 By - James Rosen

Launching Mideast trip, Obama says he’s not sure about chemical attack in Syria

The two men appeared chummy during the visit, joking easily and saluting one another in a sharp departure from the often frosty rapport they’ve exhibited in the past. They met privately at Netanyahu’s residence, then again over a working dinner into the evening, with reports of a chemical weapon attack in Syria and continued fears of Iran’s nuclear program topping their agenda. | 03/20/13 19:13:27 By - By Lesley Clark

Obama calls trip an opportunity to 'reaffirm the unbreakable bond' between the US and Israel

President Obama landed in Israel Wednesday, pledging that the U.S. will remain a steadfast ally of Israel, amidst "winds of change" in the turbulent region. | 03/20/13 07:51:08 By - Lesley Clark

Assault weapons ban dropped from Senate bill in setback for Feinstein

California Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s effort to ban assault-style weapons fizzled Tuesday, as Majority Leader Harry Reid did not include the measure in a larger package of legislation to address gun violence. | 03/19/13 19:22:14 By - By Curtis Tate

Sequester politics on Capitol Hill: ‘Did not! Did too!’

Republicans in the House of Representatives sought Tuesday to aggressively debunk dire claims by the Obama administration about some of the impacts of the across-the-board federal spending cuts known as sequestration. | 03/19/13 18:57:11 By - By William Douglas

Republicans question ICE on release of illegal immigrant detainees

House Republicans pressed White House officials for more answers Tuesday on the unexpected release last month of more than 2,000 illegal immigrants in anticipation of automatic across-the-board federal budget cuts. | 03/19/13 18:20:36 By - By Franco Ordonez

Tea party darling Rand Paul supports immigration overhaul

Tea party hero Sen. Rand Paul on Tuesday backed a dramatic overhaul of the nation’s immigration system, a fresh, strong signal that Republicans are coming to accept broad changes – and that Paul wants to widen his appeal. | 03/19/13 16:54:37 By - By David Lightman and Franco Ordonez

Ethics Committee investigating Rep. Don Young of Alaska

The House of Representatives Ethics Committee is investigating Alaska Republican Rep. Don Young over allegations of wrongly taking gifts, using campaign funds for personal purposes and lying to federal officials. | 03/19/13 16:25:50 By - By Sean Cockerham

Obama turning to executive power to get what he wants

President Barack Obama came into office four years ago skeptical of pushing the power of the White House to the limit, especially if it appeared to be circumventing Congress. Now, as he launches his second term, Obama has grown more comfortable wielding power to try to move his own agenda forward, particularly when a deeply fractured, often-hostile Congress gets in his way. He’s done it with a package of tools, some of which date to George Washington and some invented in the modern era of an increasingly powerful presidency. And he’s done it with a frequency that belies his original campaign criticisms of predecessor George W. Bush. | 03/19/13 14:32:39 By - By Anita Kumar

Congress takes a pass – so far – on college sports scandals

Several groups have been tapping on the door of Congress lately with a request for oversight into the often opaque, big-money world of college sports. | 03/19/13 06:26:35 By - By Renee Schoof and Dan Kane

Confirmation fight looms for Labor Secretary nominee Thomas Perez

The road to confirmation will likely be long and difficult for the first Latino picked to serve in President Barack Obama’s Cabinet during his second term. | 03/18/13 18:32:15 By - By Franco Ordonez

Obama looks to connect with Israeli people on his visit

President Barack Obama hopes to “connect with the Israeli people” when he arrives in Jerusalem on Wednesday, making his first visit in more than four years as president and facing a skeptical audience. | 03/18/13 16:12:32 By - By Lesley Clark and Sheera Frankel

Hillary Clinton announces support of same-sex marriage

Another sign Hillary Clinton may run for president in 2016?

The former secretary of state, senator and first lady on Monday endorsed same-sex marriage in a video distributed by the gay rights group Human Rights Campaign. | 03/18/13 14:08:08 By - Anita Kumar

Republicans’ self-analysis: The party of ‘stuffy old men’

The Republican Party’s got a big image problem that won’t be easily overcome, as a new GOP study found it’s often viewed as the party of "stuffy old men” with a weak, ineffective message. | 03/18/13 19:53:00 By - By David Lightman

Obama to nominate Justice official cited in negative report for Cabinet

President Barack Obama will nominate Thomas Perez to be labor secretary on Monday, a week after an inspector general's report said the assistant attorney general provided incomplete testimony to the U.S. Civil Rights Commission about a lawsuit involving the New Black Panther Party. | 03/18/13 06:22:58 By - Anita Kumar

Americans expect little from Obama’s Middle East trip

Few Americans expect much progress on Middle East peace during President Barack Obama’s trip to Israel and the West Bank, according to a new McClatchy-Marist poll. | 03/15/13 17:58:55 By - By Lesley Clark

Compromise with Obama isn’t on red-meat CPAC menu

They might talk about it in downtown Washington. But moderation and compromise weren’t up for discussion as conservatives gathered to plot strategy in a suburb down the Potomac River. Higher revenues for the government were anathema at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference at a resort just south of Washington. So were same-sex marriage, abortion, gun control and Democrats. | 03/15/13 17:38:44 By - By David Lightman

Frustrated Sen. Murkowski takes heat as Alaska tribes get left out of new domestic violence law

Across the nation, Indian tribes cheered when President Barack Obama signed a new Violence Against Women Act last week, expanding the power of tribal courts to try non-Indians for crimes of domestic violence committed on reservations. | 03/15/13 16:30:21 By - By Rob Hotakainen

Sen. Portman: Government 'shouldn't deny' same-sex couples right to marry

Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, a leading conservative voice in the Senate, said Friday he now believes government should not stand in the way of allowing same sex couples to marry. | 03/15/13 08:38:09 By - David Lightman

Texas lawmaker wants to stop plastic grocery bag bans

Texas State Rep. Drew Springer embraces freedom.

Even for plastic bags. | 03/15/13 07:33:22 By - Anna M. Tinsley

Obama’s Capitol Hill charm offensive may not pay off

President Barack Obama’s three days of visits to Capitol Hill produced no serious thaw in the bitter partisan standoff that’s impeded progress on budget and fiscal matters for years. | 03/14/13 19:42:41 By - By David Lightman, Emma Kantrowitz and William Douglas

Marco Rubio, Rand Paul, Tim Scott – young GOP stars – work to rally conservatives

A trio of rising Senate Republican stars – Marco Rubio of Florida, Rand Paul of Kentucky and Tim Scott of South Carolina – rallied thousands of conservative activists Thursday in rousing speeches that signaled a passing of the torch to a younger, more diverse group of party leaders focused on winning back the White House. | 03/14/13 18:53:16 By - By James Rosen McClatchy Newspapers

Obama will face pressure on Middle East trip to do more on Syria

President Barack Obama will hear plenty about Syria when he steps off Air Force One in the Middle East next week, very likely facing new pressure from worried allies to help rebels oust Syrian President Bashar Assad but carrying no change in U.S. policy that could calm fears of the crisis spreading across borders and destabilizing the region. | 03/14/13 18:36:13 By - By Lesley Clark and Hannah Allam

Assault weapons ban clears Senate panel, with ‘uphill’ battle yet to come

After a couple of false starts, the Senate Judiciary Committee approved a bill Thursday that would ban assault weapons, restrict the size of ammunition clips and require universal background checks on gun sales. | 03/14/13 19:42:05 By - By Curtis Tate

Parties change tune on deficit when they change power

The debate this week over the federal budget is essentially a clash over when politicians think the budget deficit matters, and whether it really does matter. | 03/14/13 15:01:00 By - By Kevin G. Hall

N.C. renewable energy program would end under state House bill

House Republicans on Wednesday introduced legislation that would roll back a sweeping energy program that has paid financial incentives to North Carolina homeowners for buying efficient appliances, solar panels and home energy audits. | 03/14/13 07:23:19 By - John Murawski

Alaska Senate debates oil-tax revenue's effect on state

New projections that show the latest version of a major oil tax overhaul could cost the state more than $9 billion over the next six years sparked sharp divisions Wednesday on a key Senate panel over whether that will be harmful. | 03/14/13 06:53:08 By - Lisa Demer

With Democrats finally submitting budget, it’s game on vs. GOP version

Senate Democrats on Wednesday unveiled their first budget plan in nearly four years, a proposal that sets up a lengthy fight with Republicans over the two parties’ stark differences on taxes, spending and the future of Medicare. | 03/13/13 19:04:41 By - By David Lightman and William Douglas

Kansas bill would allow school employees to carry guns

Christina Blair of Shawnee has twin daughters in high school, including an aspiring teacher.

She worries what might happen “if a madman comes in with a gun and you’re locked in a classroom. How do you defend against that? You can’t,” Blair said. | 03/13/13 07:00:26 By - Brad Cooper

House GOP proposes plan to balance budget; Democrats balk

Republicans in the House of Representatives on Tuesday proposed a plan to balance the federal budget in 10 years, their opening bid in a clash with President Barack Obama over how best to curb soaring budget deficits and eventually stop the debt from climbing. | 03/12/13 18:58:14 By - By William Douglas and David Lightman

Sequester doesn’t spare arts; check times before you go, ignore dust

Used to operating on a shoestring budget, the arts are, nevertheless, bracing for the latest hit as the capital’s constellation of federally supported museums, galleries and other cultural institutions grapples with governmentwide budget cuts. | 03/12/13 17:43:28 By - By Maria Recio

Republicans question structure of consumer agency as they query nominee Richard Cordray

Richard Cordray received polite questions – and even a few compliments – from a panel of U.S. senators at his nomination hearing Tuesday on Capitol Hill. After two hours of testimony, however, his chances for being confirmed as director of Washington’s newest consumer watchdog agency looked grim. | 03/12/13 17:37:15 By - By Lindsay Wise

Poll: Americans want background checks for guns, ban on assault weapons

Americans overwhelmingly support tougher background checks for prospective gun owners, and a majority support bans on assault weapons and big ammunition clips, according to a new McClatchy-Marist poll. The survey also found that Americans have widely differing views on how to proceed on immigration, another issue that’s high on the Obama administration’s priority list. Guns and immigration are expected to provide some of this year’s most heated congressional debate. | 03/12/13 15:04:02 By - By David Lightman

Reid on Ryan budget: 'The same fuzzy math'

Paul Ryan's new budget? Sounds like the old Paul Ryan budget to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. | 03/12/13 13:31:08 By - David Lightman

Sen. Dianne Feinstein presses her decades-long crusade on guns

Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s long pursuit of stricter gun laws began more than three decades ago on a day of bullets and bloodshed in San Francisco, when she was the president of the city’s Board of Supervisors. On Nov. 27, 1978, former supervisor Dan White walked into City Hall with a grudge and a .38 revolver. He fatally shot Mayor George Moscone, walked past Feinstein’s office and then turned his weapon on Supervisor Harvey Milk, one of the country’s first openly gay elected officials and a rising political star. The shootings recast her political career, becoming its consequential moment and one that’s forever defined her in the public sphere. | 03/12/13 12:21:45 By - By Curtis Tate

McClatchy-Marist poll shows Obama tumbling in voters’ eyes

If President Barack Obama had piled up political capital with his impressive re-election, it’s largely gone. His approval rating has dropped to the lowest level in more than a year, with more voters now turning thumbs down on his performance than thumbs up, according to a new McClatchy-Marist poll. The measure of how much people like him also has dropped. | 03/11/13 16:07:42 By - By Steven Thomma

Obama heads to Capitol Hill, where everything is uphill now

President Barack Obama will try to jump-start budget talks Tuesday as he kicks off a series of extraordinary meetings with congressional lawmakers with a huge obstacle to overcome: Personal relationships in Washington don’t matter as they once did. | 03/11/13 15:36:44 By - By David Lightman

Jeb Bush on immigration: ‘A lot of hair on fire —Mine isn’t’

Bush’s new book, Immigration Wars: Forging an American Solution, exploded on the political scene last week and left the former Florida governor uncharacteristically wobbly over how to legalize the status of the undocumented. | 03/11/13 14:49:55 By - Marc Caputo

Like Bush, Obama rebuffs pardon for boxing great Jack Johnson

For nine years, a pair Hill lawmakers have asked the president to posthumously pardon American boxing legend Jack Johnson. George W. Bush failed to act, but the congressmen thought they might be able to convince the nation’s first African-American president to do so on behalf of the world’s first African-American heavyweight boxing champ. But Obama hasn’t issued a pardon either, and his administration says it’s unlikely he will. That isn’t stopping the lifelong boxing fans from trying again. | 03/11/13 14:27:07 By - By Anita Kumar

Missouri bill would let health providers opt out of more reproductive services

Laws allowing health care workers to refuse to participate in an abortion have been on the books for decades.

Missouri legislators, however, don’t think they go far enough. | 03/11/13 07:16:41 By - Jason Hancock

Rights groups urge Kentucky Gov. Beshear to veto religious freedom bill

Human rights and fairness groups are pressuring Gov. Steve Beshear to veto a bill that they say would make it easier to discriminate against gay, lesbian and transgender people in Kentucky. | 03/11/13 07:10:48 By - Jack Brammer and Beth Musgrave

Poll: Sequester has not hit home

The budget cuts in Washington have not hit home in America, at least not yet. | 03/10/13 13:17:49 By - By Steven Thomma

Report: Obama still secretive despite transparency vow

President Barack Obama has relied on state secrets and secret laws to make national security decisions with little congressional or public oversight much as his predecessor did, according to a report being released Sunday by a liberal government watchdog group. | 03/10/13 00:00:00 By - By Anita Kumar

White House official who bettered Hispanic media access steps down

Luis Miranda is leaving to return to the private sector as a communications consultant. The White House’s director of Hispanic media, Miranda is credited with helping to provide access not seen in previous administrations. The outreach came as the White House was courting the growing Hispanic vote, which helped President Barack Obama win-re-election. | 03/08/13 17:39:00 By - By Lesley Clark

How right is too right for GOP? Virginia is next battleground

The split between hard-right conservative Republicans and mainstream party moderates will be on vivid display in Virginia over the next few months, a struggle that’ll be watched closely as key to the party’s hopes for a national revival. | 03/08/13 15:30:43 By - By David Lightman

Obama looks to reset relations with Benjamin Netanyahu in trip to Israel

President Barack Obama’s coming trip to Israel will focus as much on looking to restart a frosty relationship with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as on any other issue. | 03/08/13 12:59:52 By - By Lesley Clark

NAACP vows to fight N.C. voter ID efforts

Critics of a proposed voter photo ID law vowed Thursday to launch a vigorous effort to fight the proposal, saying it amounted to a 21st-century version of the poll tax used to keep blacks from voting. | 03/08/13 07:19:25 By - Rob Christensen

Senate confirms CIA chief – after GOP senators rip Rand Paul for filibuster

The Senate confirmed John Brennan to head the Central Intelligence Agency on Thursday after two Republican senators blasted Sen. Rand Paul’s 13-hour filibuster, which temporarily held up the vote on President Barack Obama’s choice to head the spy agency. | 03/07/13 18:20:01 By - By William Douglas and Lesley Clark

Obama changing course, talking to Congress

President Barack Obama is doing something he rarely does: Talking to Congress. | 03/07/13 18:09:09 By - By Anita Kumar

Hillary Clinton tops in 2016 presidential poll

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton looks like a strong 2016 presidential candidate, according to a new Quinnipiac University poll. | 03/07/13 07:52:46 By - David Lightman

Kentucky's religious freedom bill advances in state legislature

A bill intended to clarify religious freedom in Kentucky advanced in the legislature Wednesday over the objections of groups who fear that the measure could be used to trample civil rights. | 03/07/13 07:03:46 By - Beth Musgrave

Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky filibusters vote on Obama's choice for CIA, John Brennan

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., on Wednesday began a filibuster of President Barack Obama’s nominee to head the CIA, saying he would continue speaking from the floor of the Senate until he had guarantees that U.S. policy on the use of drones would not be applied to Americans at home. Editor's note: The filibuster ended at 12:39 a.m., Thursday, March 7th. | 03/06/13 19:23:29 By - By Matthew Schofield and William Douglas

What is a CR and what does it do?

It’s become an annual ritual: Congress can’t agree on a budget, so it adopts a “continuing resolution” to keep the government funded. | 03/06/13 17:29:23 By - By David Lightman

Eric Holder gets an earful on marijuana, promises quick decision

Attorney General Eric Holder is getting plenty of conflicting advice as he tries to figure out how the federal government should respond to the decision by voters in Washington state and Colorado to legalize marijuana for recreational use. | 03/06/13 16:55:06 By - By Rob Hotakainen

Statement glosses over Vicky Hartzler's votes on Violence Against Women Act

At first glance it seemed as though Republican Rep. Vicky Hartzler of Missouri had broken with the majority of her fellow conservatives in the House of Representatives last week to renew an expanded version of the 1994 Violence Against Women Act, which funds programs to assist survivors of sexual assault and domestic abuse. | 03/06/13 16:48:07 By - By Lindsay Wise

House passes bill to keep government open past March 27

The House of Representatives took the first step Wednesday toward keeping the federal government open after March 27, passing a bill to extend spending levels through Sept. 30 and preserving the automatic spending cuts that went into effect Friday. | 03/06/13 16:38:13 By - By David Lightman and William Douglas

Joe Manchin is man in the middle - of guns and Senate

When he jumped into the contentious debate over the nation’s gun laws, Sen. Joe Manchin learned quickly that he’d committed a crime in politically toxic Washington. | 03/06/13 14:01:09 By - By William Douglas

N.C. farmers, industry wary of federal cuts to meat inspectors

Looming federal budget cuts are threatening to temporarily shut down North Carolina's multibillion-dollar hog and poultry industry by disrupting federal meat inspections, according to state and federal officials. | 03/06/13 07:01:00 By - Rob Christensen

Kentucky Gov. Beshear says Ashley Judd would be a 'formidable candidate'

Gov. Steve Beshear said Tuesday that he has spoken with actress Ashley Judd about her potentially challenging U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell in 2014, but he declined to give details of the conversation. | 03/06/13 06:44:48 By - Beth Musgrave

NRA to sponsor NASCAR Sprint Cup race in Texas

The National Rifle Association, a touchstone for gun-rights advocates in the national debate about gun control, is putting its name on the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Texas Motor Speedway in April. | 03/05/13 07:10:38 By - Carlos Mendez and Mac Engel

Critics of Alaska abortion bill fear risks to poor women

A legislator's effort to restrict state-paid abortions in Alaska came under fire Monday during a hearing dominated by testimony from Planned Parenthood and other advocates worried that poor women may resort to dangerous back-room abortions if the state cuts off funding. | 03/05/13 06:40:52 By - Lisa Demer

Alleged prostitute recants story about sex with Sen. Menendez

A woman who allegedly appeared in a video in which she claimed to have been paid for sex with Sen. Bob Menendez is now saying the video was a setup. | 03/04/13 22:12:43 By - EZRA FIESER

Sequester starts, as does politicians parceling out blame

The federal government will start cutting spending as early as Saturday, with President Barack Obama and congressional leaders unable to bridge their fundamental disagreement over spending and taxes. | 03/01/13 18:40:45 By - By Lesley Clark and William Douglas

Americans’ reaction to sequestration might change course of politics

Already, a decade of budget deficits run up in war and economic crisis has saddled the government with a $16 trillion debt, a bill that will force the country to come to grips with how much government it wants and how much it wants to pay for it at the very time the aging baby boomers put new strains on the budget through such vast programs as Medicare and Social Security. Now the government is about to start cutting spending in some programs, offering a first look at how the American people will react. | 03/01/13 18:20:42 By - By David Lightman

Working in secret, House has its own bipartisan immigration plan

A bipartisan group of members of the House of Representatives is close to introducing its own immigration bill, which would grant legal status to many of the nation’s estimated 11 million illegal immigrants but _ in a significant departure from similar proposals in the White House and Senate _ isn’t expected to include new paths to citizenship, according to those involved in the discussions. | 03/01/13 17:31:12 By - By Franco Ordonez

Republicans warn government against political use of furloughs

House Republicans, among them the head of a key oversight panel, threatened Friday to call Cabinet secretaries and other executive agency managers before congressional hearings on how furloughs are applied in the wake of forced spending cuts. | 03/01/13 17:53:04 By - By James Rosen

President Obama warns no budget deal means economic pain

President Obama took to a White House lectern to warn that he and Congress' failure to meet an agreement on avoiding $85 billion in spending cuts means "many middle class families will have their lives disrupted in significant ways." | 03/01/13 12:28:30 By - Lesley Clark

Karl Rove goes to California GOP convention dogged by new controversy

GOP strategist Karl Rove may be an unpopular figure among Republican volunteers, especially after launching a drive this year that tea party activists considered an attack on their brand of grassroots conservatism. | 03/01/13 06:53:53 By - Kevin Yamamura

Rep. Jim Clyburn celebrates Lincoln, MLK, but says Voting Rights Act under threat

House Assistant Democratic Leader Jim Clyburn, speaking Thursday at the cottage where Abraham Lincoln drafted the Emancipation Proclamation, celebrated its 150th anniversary but warned that one of the most important products of the slain president’s visionary leadership is under threat at the Supreme Court. | 03/01/13 06:25:30 By - By James Rosen McClatchy Newspapers

Automatic spending cuts set to start after Congress fails to act

Sometime Friday, the federal government will take the first step toward cutting spending in dozens of departments and programs after the two major parties each tried and failed to muscle partisan alternatives through the Senate. | 02/28/13 20:03:49 By - By William Douglas and Lesley Clark

Did Obama go too far in warnings of sequestration?

For weeks, President Barack Obama has warned Americans about the dire consequences of allowing the automatic across-the-board spending cuts known as sequestration to go into effect . | 02/28/13 19:17:38 By - By Anita Kumar and Lesley Clark

Tribes win new power to prosecute non-Indians for domestic violence

Ending a 16-month battle with the Senate, the House voted 286-138 to approve the plan as part of an expansion to the 1994 Violence Against Women Act. Republican opponents relented after failing to win enough votes to reauthorize the law without the provision. The bill now goes to President Barack Obama, who said he’d sign it. | 02/28/13 17:34:02 By - By Rob Hotakainen

Texas military bases await sequestration impacts

The federal budget ax is poised to chop $46 billion from defense spending, and communities around Texas military bases are bracing for the impact. | 02/28/13 11:58:41 By - Alex Branch

Alaska Senate panel rebuts abortion experts' testimony

An effort by an anti-abortion state senator to restrict state-funded abortions using state law, not a doctor's opinion, to define what is "medically necessary" was sharply challenged Wednesday during a legislative hearing. | 02/28/13 06:41:03 By - Lisa Demer

Back from Middle East, Sen. Marco Rubio urges more help for Syrian rebels

Sen. Marco Rubio, back from a Middle East trip, said Wednesday that the United States should start supplying ammunition to moderate Syrian opposition groups in order to protect U.S. interests by countering the rise of radical groups. | 02/27/13 19:27:43 By - By James Rosen McClatchy Newspapers

Now the parties don’t even agree on when sequester starts

Republicans said the spending cuts start Friday. The White House said it’s really Saturday. Either way, the seemingly trivial dispute underscored the inability of the two sides to avert spending cuts neither side wanted when they were first enacted and signed into law in 2011. | 02/27/13 19:00:08 By - By William Douglas and Anita Kumar

Heated Senate testimony on assault weapons brings sides no closer

More than two months after the horrific mass shooting at a Connecticut elementary school, the Senate on Wednesday held its second hearing on legislation to ban assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition clips and to extend background checks to gun shows and private sales. | 02/27/13 18:16:02 By - By Curtis Tate

Supreme Court reviews whether parts of 1965 Voting Rights Act are out of date

The politically charged issue of race was before the U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday in a case that could determine how the landmark 1965 Voting Rights Act applies to the South. | 02/27/13 13:37:52 By - By Maria Recio

Obama to meet with congressional leaders about spending cuts

President Barack Obama will meet with congressional leaders Friday, the day across-the-board spending cuts are scheduled to take place. | 02/27/13 10:35:49 By - Anita Kumar

Texas lawmaker wants tax holiday for guns, ammo sales

Texans love their independence -- and their guns.

State Rep. Jeff Leach, R-Plano, is proposing to give Texans more of both. | 02/27/13 07:27:07 By - Anna M. Tinsley

Federal budget cuts would hit South Florida from ports to national parks

At PortMiami, federal dollars fund Customs agents, security operations and cargo inspectors. But with a historic cut in federal spending set to begin Friday, port director Bill Johnson must contemplate how to keep the place running with less help from Washington. | 02/27/13 07:01:33 By - Douglas Hanks and Martha Brannigan

Sens. Lindsey Graham, Dianne Feinstein push problem-solving over politics

Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Lindsey Graham called Tuesday for an end to hyper-partisanship, saying the urgent issues the nation faces require lawmakers to focus on solving problems instead of assigning blame. Feinstein, a California Democrat, and Graham, a South Carolina Republican, expressed great respect for each other as each accepted the Prize for Civility in Public Life. | 02/26/13 18:45:39 By - By James Rosen McClatchy Newspapers

As Congress wrangles, Obama warns naval shipyard workers of defense cuts

President Barack Obama journeyed Tuesday to military-rich Virginia to prod Congress to halt looming federal spending cuts, warning of the potential consequences on America’s armed forces and economy. | 02/26/13 17:53:02 By - By Anita Kumar and William Douglas

Former Mississippi Gov. Barbour: 'I hope and believe' GOP allows sequestration

While South Mississippi braces for the effects of "sequestration," former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour said in a recent nationally-televised interview he hopes the budget cuts go forward to help reduce the deficit. | 02/26/13 12:53:47 By - Michael Newsom

Alaska House passes bill challenging federal gun restrictions

In a chamber dotted with female legislators wearing new camo scarves, the Alaska state House on Monday passed a gun measure that is wildly popular among the GOP-controlled Legislature even though it raises serious constitutional issues. | 02/26/13 07:01:32 By - Lisa Demer

GOP will propose sequester changes; wary Democrats plan their own

In a last-minute bid to minimize the most painful impacts of federal spending cuts – and perhaps blame – Republicans will propose this week allowing the government to choose where to cut. | 02/25/13 18:57:40 By - By Anita Kumar and William Douglas

Sen. Ted Cruz’s crusade draws praise from allies, scorn from critics

He’s not your usual newbie senator. After just weeks on the job, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, has managed to ruffle feathers on both sides of the aisle with his aggressive questioning of former Sen. Chuck Hagel, R-Neb., the Obama administration’s nominee for defense secretary. Some critics said it contained echoes of the McCarthy era. | 02/25/13 17:40:21 By -

Obama urges governors to lobby their congressional delegations

President Barack Obama told the National Governors Association -- meeting today at the White House -- that members should lobby their members of Congress to avoid the looming series of spending cuts known as the sequester. | 02/25/13 14:24:08 By - Lesley Clark

Doc Hastings accuses Department of Interior inspector general of mismanagement

Congressman Doc Hastings in a letter to the White House accused a Department of the Interior official of mismanagement and called for President Obama to nominate a replacement. | 02/25/13 13:43:58 By - Michelle Dupler

N.C.'s Gov. McCrory likes 'pink licenses' aimed for immigrants

Gov. Pat McCrory says he signed off on the controversial “pink licenses” that will be issued to some young illegal immigrants who were granted protection from deportation for two years. | 02/25/13 12:19:41 By - Franco Ordonez

Will Mark Sanford's apology tour work?

Former South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford says he wants to return to Congress to tackle the growing national debt, but first he is tackling his past. | 02/25/13 07:18:22 By - Andrew Shain

White House warns again of budget cuts

The White House on Sunday ramped up its campaign to avoid across-the-board spending cuts scheduled to take place in less than a week by releasing detailed estimates of what reductions could mean in every state. | 02/24/13 20:09:38 By - By Anita Kumar

White House Releases New State-by-State Reports on the Impacts of the Sequester

Today, the White House is releasing new state-by-state reports on the devastating impact the sequester will have on jobs and middle class families across the country if Congressional Republicans fail to compromise to avert the sequester by March 1st. | 02/24/13 20:01:20 By -

GOP governors turn pragmatic as election nears

Faced with tough re-elections and constituents clamoring for government services, Republican governors in some big swing states are turning pragmatic, pulling away from the conservative line that helped them win in 2010. | 02/24/13 15:32:59 By - By David Lightman

In efforts to tame deficits, Obama leans against spending cuts

President Barack Obama insists he wants a balance of more taxes and less spending to curb runaway budget deficits. His record suggests, however, that he leans against cutting spending. | 02/22/13 15:56:10 By - By Lesley Clark

Democrats ask: How can we drill, baby, drill if we let sequester happen?

The upcoming automatic federal budget cuts would mean a big hit to energy development, as well as to America’s national parks, according to the Interior Department, which says oil and gas leasing would be slowed and popular parks would see reduced hours and fewer services. | 02/22/13 07:22:15 By - By Sean Cockerham

No plans to remove Cuba from terror list, according to U.S. officials

A newspaper report that top State Department officials believe Cuba should be removed from the U.S. list of countries that support terrorism drew denials Thursday from the department and the White House. | 02/22/13 06:50:43 By - Juan O. Tamayo

Dianne Feinstein, Lindsey Graham to be honored for civility in partisan-prone D.C.

Sens. Dianne Feinstein of California and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina are being honored for displaying civility in politics, a rare Washington commodity they’ll need plenty of in the coming months as they champion the divisive issues of gun control and immigration legislation. | 02/21/13 20:00:00 By - By James Rosen

Not everyone will feel impact of automatic federal budget cuts

Don’t be too frightened by the doomsday talk about the automatic spending cuts that look more and more likely to kick in next week. | 02/21/13 16:32:43 By - By David Lightman

Looming federal budget cuts are bad news for Mount Rainier National Park

Mount Rainier National Park will not open the Ohanapecosh Visitor Center this season if Congress and the Obama administration fail to reach a budget deal by March 1. | 02/21/13 07:31:31 By - Jeffrey P. Mayor

Fla. Gov. Scott supports Medicaid expansion

Gov. Rick Scott said Wednesday he supports expanding Medicaid and funneling billions of federal dollars to Florida, a significant policy reversal that could bring health care coverage to 1 million additional Floridians. | 02/21/13 07:10:38 By - Tia Mitchell and Steve Bousquet

Hagan plans bill that would encourage failing schools to improve

Sen. Kay Hagan, D-N.C., on Wednesday said that she’ll introduce a bill in Congress next week that would reward high-poverty schools that improve their test scores and lower dropout rates. | 02/21/13 06:31:40 By - By Renee Schoof

Are congressmen worth $107,000 a year in retirement?

After retiring from a 36-year career in the U.S. House of Representatives last month, Norm Dicks has no doubt that he’s worth every penny of his new pension: It will allow the Washington state Democrat to cash a monthly check from the U.S. government for $7,365.82. Critics say the pension system is far too generous and that members of Congress should put their retirement money on the table as they look for ways to cut federal spending. | 02/20/13 17:29:46 By - By Rob Hotakainen

Poll: Obama's approval rating up to 62 percent in California

President Barack Obama's job approval rating among California voters has climbed above 60 percent for the first time since 2009, the year he first took office, according to a new Field Poll. | 02/20/13 07:03:20 By - David Siders

Rollback of cruiseship wastewater rules approved by Alaska Senate

The Alaska Senate on Tuesday approved a Parnell administration measure to roll back cruise ship wastewater standards that were approved by voters in 2006. The vote was 14-6. | 02/20/13 06:52:54 By - Lisa Demer

Obama calls Republican senators Graham, Rubio, McCain to talk immigration

After days of criticism that he was excluding Republicans from immigration talks, President Barack Obama on Tuesday reached out to several Republican leaders who are calling for an overhaul of the nation’s immigration system. | 02/20/13 06:23:39 By - By Franco Ordonez

Rich-poor spending gap on schools hurts kids, report says

America is failing too many of its children in public schools because it doesn’t spread the opportunity for a good education fairly to all, according to a report for the government released Tuesday. | 02/19/13 18:47:17 By - By Renee Schoof

Obama kicks off bid to stop automatic spending cuts

President Barack Obama is launching a public campaign to pressure Congress to avoid “brutal” spending cuts he said could hurt a still wobbly economy and increase the unemployment rate. | 02/19/13 18:44:53 By - By Lesley Clark

Every drug dog has his day – in court; even Supreme Court

Aldo the drug-sniffing dog and his canine colleagues won a big treat at the Supreme Court on Tuesday, as justices unanimously approved a sniff search that had led to a Florida bust. | 02/19/13 14:40:23 By - By Michael Doyle

Washington state’s new members of Congress fret over looming budget cuts

Federal spending cuts planned for March 1 could hit Washington state hard, costing 41,700 jobs and removing $3.4 billion from its economy, according to state estimates. | 02/19/13 18:55:34 By - By Rob Hotakainen

Mitch McConnell lampoons Democratic efforts to find a challenger for him

U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell’s re-election campaign released its first video ad Tuesday, a parody highlighting the difficulty Democrats are having trying to recruit a viable candidate to run against him. | 02/19/13 13:18:59 By - Jack Brammer

Some Texas Democrats seek regulations for gun shows in Fort Worth

There's a new push to add regulations on gun shows held at city facilities.

As elected officials in Congress and the state Legislature consider whether to place additional restrictions on gun purchases, a local group is pressing for change at gun shows held on city property such as the Will Rogers Center. | 02/19/13 07:36:05 By - Anna M. Tinsley

Immigration plans from Obama and Rubio are similar

President Obama’s administration drafted legislation this month that could give undocumented immigrants a pathway to citizenship in eight years, require employers to check workers’ immigration status and increase penalties for those who break immigration law. | 02/19/13 06:59:56 By - Marc Caputo

Bill resisting federal gun laws gets OK from Alaska House panel

A controversial Alaska gun bill sponsored by House Speaker Mike Chenault that would put federal agents at risk of felony charges for enforcing certain future weapons laws cleared the lone committee assigned to hear it Monday, despite a legal opinion saying it is likely unconstitutional. | 02/19/13 06:49:09 By - Lisa Demer

As immigration vote looms, some southern Democrats get queasy

Immigration isn’t a touchy subject just for many Republicans. Southern and moderate Democrats also may be a bit skittish about the idea of granting a path to citizenship for the nation’s 11 million illegal immigrants. | 02/18/13 15:52:43 By - By Franco Ordonez

Alaska bill would undo wilderness restrictions in state park

A bill moving through the Alaska Legislature would eliminate wilderness restrictions in a portion of a state park in the Bristol Bay region so a utility can study a hydroelectric project on a lake where such development now is banned. | 02/18/13 06:54:58 By - Richard Mauer

As budget crisis looms, Congress leaves town

Military readiness will be threatened. So will food inspections, teaching jobs, mental health services and more, all because of the automatic spending cuts due to take effect March 1. Congress, though, has left the building. | 02/15/13 15:04:46 By - By David Lightman

N.C. to give driver's licenses to immigrants in Deferred Action program

The state Division of Motor Vehicles will comply with a state attorney general’s opinion and issue driver’s licenses to thousands of young illegal immigrants who are eligible to drive because of a federal program that gives them temporary protection from deportation, Transportation Secretary Tony Tata said Thursday. | 02/15/13 07:18:45 By - Bruce Siceloff and Anne Blythe

GOP says it needs more time on Hagel for Pentagon

With Republicans balking, the Senate put off a confirmation vote on former Republican Sen. Chuck Hagel to be secretary of defense. | 02/14/13 18:32:03 By - By William Douglas

Democrats pitch budget alternative to avoid pending automatic cuts

Senate Democrats proposed a $110 billion plan Thursday to cut projected budget deficits and replace automatic spending cuts scheduled to take effect March 1. | 02/14/13 17:54:40 By - By David Lightman

SC Sen. Graham fights to keep guns from mentally ill

U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham said he will propose legislation to prevent a repeat of an incident last week in which a Lady's Island woman, who once pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity, passed a background check and legally purchased a gun. | 02/14/13 13:21:58 By - Gina Smith

Rep. Clyburn not interested in Transportation post

U.S. Rep. Jim Clyburn rejected Wednesday the possibility of serving in President Barack Obama’s Cabinet as transportation secretary, saying he wants instead to help Obama show that an African American can lead the nation. | 02/14/13 11:33:37 By - James Rosen

N.C. bill leaves thousands with few health insurance options

The thousands of low-income North Carolinians denied health insurance in a Republican-drafted measure that passed the House on Wednesday are left with few options for coverage. | 02/14/13 07:17:57 By - John Frank

Come 2016, Sen. Rand Paul could be the anti-Rubio choice for tea party faithful

Sens. Marco Rubio’s and Rand Paul’s delivery of back-to-back rebuttals of President Barack Obama’s speech to Congress – Rubio as the Republican response, Paul as the tea party rejoinder – raises some tantalizing questions: | 02/13/13 17:27:00 By - By James Rosen McClatchy Newspapers

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