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Inside Politics: Re-elected Jackson leaves Mayo Clinic

- - Tuesday, November 13, 2012

CHICAGO — Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. has left the Mayo Clinic, where he was being treated for bipolar disorder for the second time since taking a leave of absence from Congress in June.

Mr. Jackson was elected Nov. 6 to a ninth full term representing his Chicago area district, despite not campaigning and barely appearing in public since taking medical leave. He remains under a U.S. House committee’s investigation into his dealings with imprisoned former Illinois Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich.

SENATE

Independent King near decision on caucusing

Independent Sen.-elect Angus King of Maine says he probably won’t keep people guessing long about which party he will align himself with.

The former governor said he’s trying to make a decision on which party to caucus with in time for the leadership votes both parties will hold Wednesday.

It’s widely assumed he will caucus with Democrats, especially after GOP and conservative super PACs spent millions of dollars to attack him during the campaign.

Lawmakers pass bill boosting vets’ benefits

The Senate has sent the White House a bill giving nearly 4 million veterans and survivors a 1.7 percent increase in their monthly benefit payments next year.

The normally routine measure was delayed for weeks because an unidentified Republican senator objected to it.

That objection was lifted, without explanation, when Congress returned this week. The Senate then acted quickly to ensure that checks issued beginning in January reflect the adjustment for the higher cost of living.

The House approved the measure in July. The bill now goes to President Obama for his signature.

Lawmakers seek more disaster aid for coast

Thirteen senators from seven states damaged by Superstorm Sandy are asking President Obama to boost federal disaster aid to the states.

Senators from New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Rhode Island, West Virginia, Delaware and Maryland asked Mr. Obama in a letter Tuesday to add more emergency aid for federal disaster-assistance programs in his 2013 budget request. They want quick action by Mr. Obama to help speed recovery efforts from the massive storm that pounded the East Coast.

The lawmakers are seeking the money in the postelection lame-duck session of Congress. Congress and Mr. Obama are wrestling with how to avert a fiscal crisis, and conservative lawmakers are expected to oppose new spending without offsets elsewhere.

HOUSE

Pelosi to announce plans regarding leadership role

House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi says she will announce Wednesday whether she will continue in her current position or step down after her party failed to gain the 25 seats it needed to win the House majority.

When a few still-undecided races are called, Democrats will gain fewer than half of that number. But Mrs. Pelosi, who raised millions of dollars to put Democrats back in power, has refused to say whether she will relinquish or keep her leadership post, serve out the two-year term to which she was just elected, or retire.

CAMPAIGN

Ryan: Optimism became 'shock' as votes came in

The polling and other data and all the smart people watching the election gave Rep. Paul Ryan an optimistic view on the night of last week’s election. When Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney lost, his running mate felt "a bit of a shock."

"Going into Boston that day, we felt like we had a pretty darn good chance of winning," Mr. Ryan told ABC News in an interview broadcast Tuesday. "So as you can imagine, it was a bit of a shock when we didn’t win, but that’s just the way these things go."

Mr. Ryan said President Obama deserves to be congratulated for having "a fantastic ground game."

VICE PRESIDENT

Biden meets with U2's Bono at White House

The White House says Vice President Joseph R. Biden has met with U2 frontman Bono to discuss global development, AIDS and efforts to fight poverty.

The singer and activist has been a leading advocate for Africa, drawing attention to issues ranging from poverty and hunger to AIDS.

Spokesman Jay Carney joked that Bono and Jim Messina — President Obama’s campaign manager — were forming a new band. Mr. Messina also visited the White House on Tuesday. Mr. Carney says Mr. Obama did not meet with Bono.

From wire dispatches and staff reports