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President Barack Obama smiles as he speaks at Adas Israel Congregation in Washington, Friday May 22, 2015, as part of Jewish American Heritage Month. The president addressed one of the largest Jewish congregations in Washington to highlight efforts to combat anti-Semitism, a problem he says has created an intimidating environment worldwide for Jewish families. The appearance coincides with Solidarity Shabbat, devoted to showing unity by political leaders in Europe and North America against anti-Semitism. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

Senate passes free trade bill, House remains bigger hurdle

- The Washington Times

Senators passed the first major free trade bill in years late Friday, with more than a dozen pro-trade Democrats linking arms with most Republicans to grant President Obama a major legislative victory — and powers to conclude a Pacific trade deal.

FILE - In this May 5, 2015 file photo, Senate Majority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell of Ky. walks to his office on Capitol Hill in Washington. Supporters of President Barack Obama’s trade agenda hope to fend off hostile Senate amendments Friday, May 22, 2015, and send a major trade bill to the House, where another fierce debate awaits.  Legislation to renew the Patriot Act is also on the calendar, as is a bill to renew authority to commit federal funds for highway and bridge construction. McConnell is intent on keeping the anti-terrorism Patriot Act from lapsing while Republicans control the House and Senate. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)

Fight over NSA snooping, Patriot Act goes down to wire

- The Washington Times

Senators on Friday raced their own holiday-imposed deadline for preserving key Patriot Act powers, with Democrats accusing Republican leaders of trying to force a choice between having to back the NSA’s controversial bulk collection powers or else letting other wiretapping and lone-wolf terrorism tools expire.

FEC Commissioner Ann Ravel fought back against allegations that Democrats had proposed regulations for Internet politicking. (Associated Press)

FEC deadlocks on wealthy donor giving limits

- The Washington Times

The Federal Election Commission stalemated Thursday on writing new campaign finance rules to limit wealthy donors’ spending in federal elections, virtually ensuring next year’s elections will be fought under the current rules that the Supreme Court has written in several major decisions this decade.

"We will continue to fight for the rule of law by asking the district court to carefully review the administration's withheld documents and hold the DOJ accountable so they provide reliable information about this case," said Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton. (Associated Press)

Texas demands Obama prove he’s halted deportation amnesty

- The Washington Times

Texas asked a federal judge Wednesday to consider imposing a fine on the Obama administration lawyers who misled the court over President Obama’s amnesty, filing papers saying the Justice Department is still trying to hide details of how Homeland Security botched the rollout of the program.

Rolling Thunder founder Artie Muller has brought attention to veterans' issues for years; here he is greeted at the White House by President George W. Bush in 2008. (white house)

‘Never forget’: Rolling Thunder founder stays true to his mission for POWs, MIAS, vets

- The Washington Times

Rolling Thunder is revved and ready. Indeed, the capital of the free world will soon reverberate with the thud of several hundred thousand motorcycles, assembled for the annual Ride for Freedom on Sunday, piloted by patriots who have a mission on their minds. Despite the spectacle of noise, power and prowess, none of these riders forgets that the Washington visit is to draw attention to the visceral question of POWs and those still missing in action, along with the ongoing needs of military veterans.

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FILE In this June 6, 2013 file photo, a sign stands outside the National Security Agency (NSA) campus in Fort Meade, Md. The Justice Department warned lawmakers that the National Security Agency will have to wind down its bulk collection of Americans' phone records by the end of the week if Congress fails to reauthorize the Patriot Act. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)

Senate blocks House bill on surveillance

- Associated Press

The Republican-led Senate has blocked a House bill that would have ended the National Security Agency's bulk collection of domestic phone records.

Texas Senate approves open carry of handguns

- Associated Press

Texas took a major step toward allowing the licensed open carry of handguns, with Senate approval Friday night after a fierce debate over restricting police powers to ask people carrying guns if they are legal.

Senators sing blues over impasse; GOP hopefuls stuck in DC

- Associated Press

Two senators have a plane to catch to Cuba, others were hoping to impress Republican presidential primary voters and then there's Sen. Lamar Alexander, who is slated to deliver a sunset piano performance of "Ol' Man River" on the banks of the Mississippi.

FILE- In this March 30, 2012 file photo, Rose Gottemoeller, Acting Under Secretary for Arms Control and International Security, delivers a lecture to students in Moscow. Gottemoeller spoke for the U.S. delegation Friday, May 22, 2015, in blocking the final conference document during a landmark nuclear treaty review conference at the United Nations. (AP Photo/Sergey Ponomarev, File)

US rejects nuclear disarmament document over Israel concerns

- Associated Press

The United States on Friday blocked a global document aimed at ridding the world of nuclear weapons, saying Egypt and other states tried to "cynically manipulate" the process by setting a deadline for Israel and its neighbors to meet within months on a Middle East zone free of such weapons.

Kentucky Court of Appeals upholds eminent domain ruling

Associated Press

A three-judge panel of the Kentucky Court of Appeals has upheld a ruling saying eminent domain can't be used to take private land to build a pipeline to carry natural gas liquids through the state.

Highlights from around the state Capitol

Associated Press

The first state budget under Republican Gov. Greg Abbott spends lavishly on border security, defunds one of Rick Perry's signature initiatives and includes the biggest tax cuts in a decade. The House and Senate are expected to give final approval next week to the roughly $210 billion spending bill.

Arizona sheriff seeks to remove judge from profiling case

- Associated Press

An embattled Arizona sheriff has asked a federal judge to disqualify himself from a racial profiling case, saying questions during a recent hearing have created the appearance of judicial bias.

FILE - This May 13, 2010 file photo Pelicans float on the water as an oil platform sits in the background off the coast of Santa Barbara, Calif.    More than 7,700 gallons of oil has been raked, skimmed and vacuumed from a spill that stretched across 9 miles of California coast, just a fraction of the sticky, stinking goo that escaped from a broken pipeline, officials said on Thursday, May 21, 2015.  (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill,File)

Federal data: As oil production soars, so do pipeline leaks

- Associated Press

The oil pipeline leak that fouled a stretch of California coastline this week reflects a troubling trend in the nation's infrastructure: As U.S. oil production has soared, so has the number of pipeline accidents.

Jon McBride, who designs and builds drones with Digital Defense Surveillance, flies a training drone for members of the the Box Elder County Sheriff's Office search and rescue team during a demonstration in Brigham City, Utah, on Feb. 13, 2014. Law enforcement, government agencies and others are itching to use drones for everything from finding lost hikers to tracking shifting wildfires. But privacy watchdogs are urging state legislatures to step in and head off any potential privacy violations. That tension is on display as more than 35 states consider drone legislation this year, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The bills include ways to attract an industry that could generate billions and restrictions on drone use and data collection. (Associated Press) **FILE**

Obama bans discrimination by drones

- The Washington Times

The Obama Justice Department issued new guidelines Friday for how the government should operate drones, including declaring a ban on flying them "to engage in discrimination," ticking off race, ethnicity, gender, national origin, religion, sexual orientation and "gender identity" as out of bounds for drone targeting.

This picture released on Thursday, May 21, 2015 by the website of Islamic State militants, shows damaged Syrian military helicopters at Palmyra air base that was captured by the Islamic State militants after a battle with the Syrian government forces in Palmyra, Syria. Activist and officials say members of the Islamic State group are conducting search operations in the ancient town of Palmyra where they have detained and killed dozens of people. (The website of Islamic State militants via AP)

IS captures Iraqi town, purges opponents in Syria's Palmyra

- Associated Press

Islamic State group militants searched through the Syrian town of Palmyra for government troops and fighters, using lists of names and informers to track them down and shooting some in the head on the spot, activists said Friday, estimating at least 150 have been killed in the past two days.