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The Washington Times' political blog.

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President Obama shakes hands Feb. 4, 2013, with invited guests after he brought his gun-violence proposals on the road to the Minneapolis Police Department's Special Operations Center, where he outlined his plan before law enforcement personnel. (Associated Press)

Obama misses his 4th budget deadline

President Obama missed the Monday deadline for submitting a budget to Congress, marking the fourth time in five years he has been late — and in a town where missing deadlines is routine, this one is beginning to get noticed.

** FILE ** Former D.C. Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee (The Washington Times)

Rhee urges 'balance' as testing backlash grows

As organized opposition to standardized testing grows, one of the nation's most outspoken and controversial education activists said Sunday that such assessments have a place in public schools but cautioned against an "overemphasis" on them.

** FILE ** Former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, who was seriously injured in a mass shooting that killed six people in Tucson, Ariz., in 2011, sits with her husband, Mark Kelly, a retired astronaut, on Capitol Hill in Washington on Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2013, before speaking before the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on what lawmakers should do to curb gun violence in the wake of the December shooting rampage that killed 20 schoolchildren in Newtown, Conn. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Kelly: LaPierre should listen to NRA members on background checks

Former astronaut Mark Kelly said Sunday that the universal background check at the heart of President Obama's new gun control proposals has the support of gun owners such as himself and his wife, former Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords — and should be supported by the National Rifle Association as well.

Lawmakers to Supreme Court: Uphold voting rights law

A bipartisan group of lawmakers from the House Judiciary Committee, as well as Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, filed briefs Friday urging the Supreme Court to keep intact a key 1960s-era law in the federal government's fight against voter discrimination.

In this Aug. 13, 1987 file photo, New York Mayor Edward I. Koch waves to onlookers as he arrives at New York's Columbia Presbyterian Hospital Neurological Center. Koch died Friday, Feb. 1, 2013 from congestive heart failure, spokesman George Arzt said. He was 88. (AP Photo/David Bookstaver, file)

Obama praises ex-NYC Mayor Koch

President Obama hailed former New York City Mayor Ed Koch, who died Friday at age 88, as "an extraordinary mayor, irrepressible character, and quintessential New Yorker."

**FILE** U.S. Sen. John Kerry acknowledges applause while addressing constituents at Faneuil Hall in Boston on Jan. 31, 2013. (Associated Press)

White House mum on timing of Kerry offer

The White House didn't deny a report Friday that President Obama asked John F. Kerry to become Secretary of State a week before embattled U.N. Ambassador Susan E. Rice withdrew her name from consideration.

** FILE ** In this Jan. 7, 2013, file photo, President Barack Obama shakes hands with Defense Secretary-nominee, former Nebraska Sen. Chuck Hagel, in the East Room of the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais. File)

White House unfazed by Hagel's poor showing

A day after Chuck Hagel gave a weak performance in his confirmation hearing to become Defense secretary, the White House said it still has confidence in him. "We expect the Senate to confirm Sen. Hagel," said White House press secretary Jay Carney.

** FILE ** Rep. Tom Price, Georgia Republican, speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Washington on Feb. 11, 2011. (Associated Press)

New bill would force Obama to balance budget

Fresh off passing a bill that forces the Senate to write a budget for the first time in four years, House Republicans are now training their fire on President Obama with a new measure that would require him to submit a budget that actually gets the government out of the red.

**FILE** Department of Energy Secretary Steven Chu (Associated Press)

Energy Secretary Chu stepping down

Beleaguered Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced his resignation from President Obama's Cabinet Friday after a tenure marred with criticisms over his handling of federal energy subsidies and the Solyndra solar-energy affair.

President Obama (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

Long after Election Day, major donors keep giving to Obama

President Obama's special large-donor campaign vehicle, which can accept donations of more than $100,000 — far more than individuals can give to standard campaign committees — continued to take in money weeks after the election, raising $1.8 million between November 27 and December 31, record show.

** FILE ** President Obama listens as Vice President Joseph R. Biden speaks Jan. 16, 2013, at the White House about proposals to reduce gun violence. (Associated Press)

Biden huddles with Senate Dems on guns

Vice President Joseph R. Biden huddled Thursday with Democratic senators on Capitol Hill to talk about the administration's gun-control proposals, telling reporters afterward that there's a "sea change" in the attitudes of Americans on the issue in the wake of last month's school shootings in Connecticut.