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Senate Republicans defend balanced budget; Democrats see fodder

- The Washington Times

Republicans defended their balanced budget and Democrats walked away with dozens of votes they think can be used against the GOP in upcoming elections as the Senate pressed toward passage late Thursday of a blueprint to govern spending and provide a path for repealing Obamacare.

Dan Stein, president of the Federation for American Immigration Reform, said Thursday during a debate that former Sen. Rick Santorum is the strongest advocate for strict immigration in the GOP's possible presidential candidate pool. (Associated Press)

Stein lauds Santorum’s strict immigration stance

- The Washington Times

Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum is the most vociferous advocate for a strict immigration policy that respects American workers among the crowded field of 2016 presidential hopefuls, Dan Stein, president of the Federation for American Immigration Reform, said Thursday.

Uniformed Secret Service agents patrol the top of the White House as seen from the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Tuesday, March 17, 2015. According to the Secret Service a letter sent to the White House tentatively tested positive for cyanide. The letter was received at an off-site mail screening facility on March 16 and additional testing Tuesday returned a "presumptive positive" for cyanide. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

Republicans push Secret Service reforms

- The Washington Times

Top House Republicans on Thursday introduced legislation to clean up the Secret Service after a string of embarrassing scandals and security lapses, most recently involving two allegedly drunk agents driving into a barrier near the White House.

Sen. Marco Rubio, Florida Republican, introduced legislation to roll back restrictive gun laws in the District, arguing that congressional intervention is needed to "correct" prohibitions that prevented law-abiding citizens from owning and carrying firearms. (Associated Press)

Marco Rubio takes aim at restrictive D.C. gun control laws

- The Washington Times

Sen. Marco Rubio, a likely Republican presidential contender in 2016, introduced legislation Thursday to roll back restrictive gun laws in the District of Columbia, arguing that congressional intervention is needed to “correct” laws that violate the Second Amendment.

The Golden Hammer

Inmates gone wild at Brooklyn half-way house

- The Washington Times

Inmates at a halfway house in Brooklyn, New York, were allowed to come and go from the facility as they pleased, did not receive mandatory drug testing, and didn’t have required verification of employment, according to a new audit report from the Department of Justice.

The salaries of world leaders don't exactly measure up to the likely worth of the world's many billionaires. (associated press)

The list: World leaders with the highest salaries on the planet

- The Washington Times

There are currently 2,089 billionaires and 16 million millionaires in the world, according to several excruciating studies by the China-based Hurun Report, the Global Wealth Report and Forbes — with several analysts already predicting that the first trillionaire is in the making. Money does not always equal power, however. Compared with the planet’s high-rollers, world leaders are not necessarily cruising in the financial fast lane. Using a variety of data sources ranging from Business Inside to China Daily, Forbes contributor Niall McCarthy now reveals the world leaders with the highest salaries.

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Former Republican presidential candidate and U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum speaks during the New Yorker's Family Research Foundation legislative day event on Tuesday, March 17, 2015, in Albany, N.Y. (AP Photo/Mike Groll) ** FILE **

Rick Santorum: Not worried about support from GOP backer Foster Friess

- The Washington Times

Former Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania said the wide-open 2016 GOP presidential field would likely narrow into focus after about a few weeks of nominating contests, and that he's not concerned about the prospect of GOP backer Foster Friess, who boosted Mr. Santorum's candidacy in 2012, leaving him for someone else.

Democrats push for background checks on private gun sales

- Associated Press

Oregon Democrats introduced a bill Thursday to require background checks on private firearm sales, setting up a showdown with gun rights advocates that will happen as soon as next week.

Former presidential candidate Mitt Romney told supporters that he will not make a run at the White House in 2016, leaving the GOP field wide open. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis, File)

Mitt Romney: Jeb Bush 'is one of those new faces'

- The Washington Times

Former Massachusetts Gov. and 2012 GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney says he wasn't leaving out former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush when he said in late January that one of the "next generation" of Republican leaders may well emerge as being better able to beat the 2016 Democratic presidential nominee.

Growth in South Florida, I-4 corridor propelled population

- Associated Press

People moving to the Interstate 4 corridor and South Florida propelled the state's population to almost 20 million residents last year, allowing it to surpass New York as the nation's third-largest state, according to U.S. Census Bureau figures released Thursday.

Watchdog says senior Homeland official broke no laws

- Associated Press

A senior Obama administration official violated agency ethics policies but did not break any laws when he intervened in three visa cases involving foreign investors with ties to prominent Democrats, a government watchdog told Congress Thursday.

In this photograph taken on Monday, March 23, 2015, musician Shawn King poses in the Cruise Room in the Oxford Hotel in Denver. King, who plays with the Denver band DeVotchKa, has joined forces with lyricist Raul Pacheco to produce an album drawn from a stage show that mixes music with personal and political monologues about young people brought to the United States before they were old enough to know what it means to be illegal. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

Denver, LA musicians find universal stories behind headlines

- Associated Press

The trials of young people brought to the U.S. before they are old enough to know what it means to be illegal are the themes of an album being released Thursday featuring Shawn King of the Denver-based group DeVotchKa.

Correction: Vermont-Gun Bill story

- Associated Press

In a story March 25 about Vermont legislation to impose new regulations on gun ownership, The Associated Press erroneously reported the party affiliation of Sen. Joe Benning of the Caledonia district. He is a Republican, not a Democrat.

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence responds to a question during a news conference Wednesday, March 25, 2015, in Scottsburg, Ind. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings) ** FILE **

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence signs religious liberty law

- Associated Press

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence signed into law Thursday a religious-protection bill similar to one in federal law and 19 states. Some convention organizers and business leaders opposed it amid concern it could allow discrimination against gay people.

NY budget talks wear on over minimum wage, school funding

- Associated Press

Minimum wage increases, spending on schools and a requirement that lawmakers disclose their legal clients hang in the balance as New York lawmakers worked Thursday to finalize a state budget.

FILE - This Jan. 15, 2014, file photo, a Los Angeles Police officer wears an on-body cameras during a demonstration for media in Los Angeles. A small number of Cleveland patrol officers will take to the streets Wednesday, Feb. 4, 2015, equipped with new city-owned body cameras, technology that officials hope will provide more accountability within the troubled department and close the gap of mistrust of police within the community. Cleveland joins a growing roster of big cities that equip officers with body cameras, including Los Angeles, which announced a plan in December to provide them to 7,000 officers. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes, File)

Rand Paul backs police body-camera pilot programs

- The Washington Times

Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky is teaming up with a few Democrats to push a measure that would help state and local law enforcement cover the cost of purchasing or leasing body-worn cameras as part of pilot programs that will test whether the equipment could help increase public trust in law enforcement and bolster public safety.