Inside Politics: Obama offers more aid for housing market

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Mr. Levin, who chairs the Senate Armed Services Committee, made his remarks to reporters Tuesday after meeting privately with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Mr. Levin said Tehran was violating a half-dozen U.N. resolutions. He said that as long as Iran refuses to open up its uranium enrichment facilities to U.N. inspections and refuses to stop the nuclear processing, “then I would say an attack on them by Israel is very likely.”

Iran maintains that its nuclear development program is for peaceful uses only.

SENATE

Highway bill stalls, layoffs loom in construction industry

A bipartisan transportation bill failed to clear a procedural hurdle in the Senate, ratcheting up pressure on lawmakers to find a way to keep federal aid flowing to highway and transit programs beyond the end of this month or face widespread construction industry layoffs.

Senate Democrats on Tuesday fell eight votes short of the 60 needed to limit debate on a two-year, $109 billion transportation bill. All but two Republicans voted against the motion.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Nevada Democrat, accused Republicans of political obstruction. Senate Republicans said they were trying to preserve their right to offer amendments, including on such unrelated issues as the Keystone XL oil pipeline project and pollution controls for industrial boilers.

The government’s power to fund transportation programs is due to expire March 31.

SOUTH CAROLINA

County GOP wants hopefuls to sign pledge of purity

COLUMBIA — The Republican Party in a small, conservative South Carolina county expects its candidates to lower taxes. They also expect them to not watch porn, be faithful to their spouses and not have sex outside of marriage.

The Laurens County Republican Party originally decided that anyone who wanted to run for office with the GOP’s blessing would have to sign a pledge and be approved by party leaders. They backed off that idea after the state party told them it was illegal and the pledge received international attention, becoming another cultural issues nightmare for Republicans.

The 28-point pledge passed last week appeared to be at least in part a response to an extramarital affair had by the county sheriff, who also was accused in a lawsuit of driving his mistress to get an abortion in a county-owned vehicle, leading to an interparty squabble when the local group’s leader called for the sheriff to resign.

The pledge is full of traditional Republican talking points in a conservative state — balancing budgets, opposing gun control laws and abortion, supporting school choice and a statement that marriage is “fundamental to the stability, betterment and perpetuation of our society.”

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