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The 251-177 vote sent the bill to the Democrat-led Senate. The White House this week threatened to veto it.

The legislation is the Republicans’ latest attempt to chip away at President Obama’s signature health care overhaul. It would prevent people from deducting the cost of an abortion from their taxable income, except when the procedure is performed in cases of rape, incest or when the woman’s life is at risk.

Opponents of abortion rights say the bill would close loopholes in the new health law. Abortion rights supporters say the bill is really about discouraging insurance companies from covering the procedure.


Government properties eyed for sale, demolition

The Obama administration asked Congress on Wednesday to sell off or demolish more than 12,000 government-owned or leased properties, saying they are underutilized or no longer needed.

The White House recommended the creation of a seven-person independent commission of property experts that would determine how best to get rid of the properties. They include warehouses, office buildings, storage facilities, laboratories and unused roads.

The move to sell off government land comes as President Obama and congressional Republicans are debating ways to slash deficits expected to average more than $1 trillion annually over the coming decade. If enacted, the plan would use 60 percent of the savings to pay down the deficit and 40 percent to cover costs for other government-run facilities.

Taking the properties off the federal government’s books would save $15 billion over three years, administration officials said. The federal government is the largest landowner in the United States. It owns more than 1 million properties and has an annual operation and maintenance budget running more than $20 billion.


Panel OKs funds for special forces

A House panel on Wednesday approved $10.5 billion for Special Operations Command and its Navy SEALs unit widely praised for the bold mission to take out terrorist leader Osama bin Laden.

By voice vote, the House Armed Services subcommittee on emerging threats and capabilities agreed to the amount, an increase of about 7 percent from the current level, with lawmakers marveling at the success of the Navy SEALs. The elite unit infiltrated bin Laden’s Pakistan compound Sunday and killed the mastermind of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

Rep. Mac Thornberry, Texas Republican, chairman of the subcommittee, said Special Operations Forces “do such things time and again with precision and professionalism that is unmatched.”


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