- - Monday, January 14, 2013


Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton will testify Jan. 23 before the House Foreign Affairs Committee about the deadly Sept. 11 assault on the U.S. mission in Libya.

That’s the word from Rep. Ed Royce, chairman of the panel. He said in a statement late Monday that Mrs. Clinton will answer questions about the raid that killed U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three other Americans in Benghazi, Libya.

Mrs. Clinton had been scheduled to testify last month, but she suffered a concussion when she fell during an illness. She was later hospitalized with a blood clot in her head.

She plans to step down, and President Obama has nominated Sen. John F. Kerry, Massachusetts Democrat, to replace her.


Duncan stays on board for 2nd term in Obama’s Cabinet

An Education Department official said Secretary Arne Duncan will remain in President Obama’s Cabinet into a second term.

The official disclosed the decision Monday on the condition of anonymity because a public announcement had not been made.

Mr. Duncan, a former head of Chicago public schools, was widely expected to stay. He is a former college basketball player who often joins Mr. Obama on the court.

During his first term, Mr. Duncan put into place the Race to the Top program that encouraged schools to compete for education dollars. Mr. Duncan’s department also gave most states exemptions to the No Child Left Behind federal education law when it became clear that they would not be able to meet the requirement that all students be proficient at grade level in math and reading by 2014.


Pro-choice group names media veteran as president

The nation’s oldest pro-choice organization named political and media veteran Ilyse Hogue as its next president Tuesday.

Ms. Hogue is “the ideal candidate to build on the legacy of the pro-choice movement and raise this cause to new heights,” said Janet Denlinger, chairwoman of NARAL Pro-Choice America’s board of directors.

“I am absolutely thrilled to be given the honor of leading this great organization,” said Ms. Hogue, who also will head the organization’s foundation. “This is a critical moment to engage a new generation of young people in the conversation about what choice means in a modern age,” she said.

Ms. Hogue is a former co-founder and co-director of Friends of Democracy super PAC, a campaign-reform group. She also has held positions with Media Matters for America and MoveOn.org, and is on the editorial board of The Nation magazine.


Reid’s office says senator not involved in pay deal

SALT LAKE CITY — Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s office said Monday that he was never involved in a deal to have a Utah businessman pay the senator to make a federal investigation disappear.

St. George businessman Jeremy Johnson, who is accused of running a $350 million software scheme, said a top official in the Utah attorney general’s office orchestrated an agreement in 2010 to pay $600,000 to someone connected to Mr. Reid.

Mr. Johnson told The Salt Lake Tribune over the weekend that he thought Mr. Reid would intervene in the Federal Trade Commission’s investigation into his business.

A spokeswoman for Mr. Reid’s office, Kristen Orthman, said Monday that the Nevada Democrat “had no knowledge or involvement” in Mr. Johnson’s case and said the allegations “are nothing more than innuendo and simply not true.”

Federal prosecutors say Mr. Johnson’s company sent software to consumers for a supposedly risk-free trial but billed them anyway.

Mr. Johnson was arrested at a Phoenix airport in 2011, carrying more than $26,000 in cash and a one-way plane ticket to Costa Rica.


Lawmaker seeks to end abortion provider funding

Rep. Diane Black, Tennessee Republican, is reviving the push to cut federal funding for Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers.

Mrs. Black has reintroduced a proposal that would prohibit the secretary of health and human services from funneling federal funds to abortion providers.

“I urge my colleagues to stand up for life and support this important legislation,” Mrs. Black said Monday on the House floor.

She singled out Planned Parenthood, which performs more abortions than any other provider in the nation.

Former Rep. Mike Pence, who was elected governor of Indiana in November, introduced the bill in the 112th Congress, but it died in the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

The proposal has exceptions for abortions performed in cases of rape, incest against a minor and where the mother’s physical well-being is at stake.


Tribes try to raise funding for Inauguration presence

RIVERTON — The Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho tribes are trying to raise money to send a group of drummers and dancers to Washington so Wyoming isn’t without representation at next week’s presidential inaugural parade.

Northern Arapaho tribal liaison Gary Collins said Monday that the Presidential Inaugural Committee contacted him to let him know that Wyoming would be the only state not represented at the parade to mark President Obama’s second swearing-in ceremony unless he was able organize a last-minute delegation.

Mr. Collins reached out to the Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho tribes, and they have organized a group of at least 15 dancers and drummers from the Wind River Reservation, a Democratic stronghold in the heavily Republican state.

Mr. Collins said he contacted business groups, the oil and gas industry and fundraisers in Jackson. No one has committed to donating some of the $35,000 needed, but nobody has turned him down either. An account has been set up at Atlantic City Federal Credit Union to accept donations.

“We’re on pins and needles right now,” he said.


After trip, GOP leader optimistic on Afghanistan

The Senate minority leader says he is optimistic about Afghanistan and favors a residual U.S. force of about 10,000 after combat troops leave next year.

Sen. Mitch McConnell, Kentucky Republican, spoke with reporters Monday after completing his seventh trip to the country. He traveled with Republican Sens. John Barrasso of Wyoming, Jeff Flake of Arizona, Ted Cruz of Texas and Deb Fischer of Nebraska.

Mr. McConnell said after meetings with military leaders, including Gen. John Allen, that he left the country with a genuine sense of optimism.

Combat troops are slated to leave Afghanistan by the end of 2014. At issue is the size of a residual force for training and assisting Afghans.

The congressional group also traveled to Israel, where they met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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