A Guide to the 113th Congress

The latest updates and debate on the 113th Congress covering key issues such as immigration, defense, cybersecurity and taxes along with demographics, historical data and biographies of the newest members of the Senate and House of Representatives.

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  • Rep. Barbara Lee, California Democrat, addresses the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C., on Tuesday, Sept. 4, 2012. (Andrew S. Geraci/The Washington Times)

    13 Democrats: Failing to fix climate change will drive women to prostitution

    By Cheryl K. Chumley - The Washington Times

    Failing to address climate change could drive women into prostitution, said 13 House Democrats who signed a resolution saying women are affected more negatively than men by the dramatic weather shifts. Published April 30, 2013

  • ** FILE ** Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Nevada Democrat, speaks with reporters following a Democratic strategy session at the Capitol in Washington on Tuesday, April 9, 2013. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

    Democrats try to shift budget onus to GOP

    By David Sherfinski - The Washington Times

    After several years of complaining that Congress didn't have a budget, Republicans are now the ones holding up the 2014 budget process. Published April 23, 2013

  • Rep. Charles Boustany, Lousiana Republican (Associated Press)

    Tax Day memo: Lawmakers want IRS to come clean on email searches

    By Shaun Waterman - The Washington Times

    It's Tax Day, and lawmakers from both parties are pressing the Internal Revenue Service to come clean about its policy on reading taxpayers' email without a warrant. Published April 15, 2013

  • House panel OKs cybersecurity bill; opponents fear more monitoring of Internet

    By Shaun Waterman - The Washington Times

    Opponents of a bill to let private companies share cybersecurity information with the federal government vowed Thursday to continue their fight, saying the proposed law would lead to broader government monitoring of the Internet. Published April 11, 2013

  • In this photo combo, Wayne LaPierre, left, CEO of the National Rifle Association, makes remarks at CPAC 2013, at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center in National Harbor, Md., Friday, March 15, 2013; and at right, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg speaks to the Economic Club of Washington, Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2012, in Washington. LaPierre and Bloomberg claim their views on guns have the support of the overwhelming number of Americans. (AP Photo, Ron Sachs, Manuel Balce Ceneta)

    Senate becomes ground zero in costly gun debate — with both sides predicting victory

    By David Sherfinski - The Washington Times

    New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn predict the Senate will pass a measure to strengthen background checks on gun sales, but National Rifle Association CEO Wayne LaPierre warned Sunday that Mr. Bloomberg cannot "buy America" on the issue. Published March 24, 2013

  • **FILE** House Budget Committee Chairman Rep. Paul Ryan, Wisconsin Republican, holds up a copy of the House Budget Committee 2014 Budget Resolution as he speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington on March 12, 2013. (Associated Press)

    Debate over budget balance less than balanced

    By Stephen Dinan - The Washington Times

    For Republicans, the budget debate is all about "balance." For Democrats, it's about being "balanced." That letter "d" amounts to a $4 trillion difference between the two sides. Published March 21, 2013

  • ** FILE ** House Speaker John A. Boehner, Ohio Republican, listens on Tuesday, March 5, 2013, during a news conference on Capitol Hill following a Republican strategy session. (Associated Press)

    John Boehner: Trust President Obama? 'Absolutely'

    By Cheryl K. Chumley - The Washington Times

    House Speaker John Boehner says he and President Obama have their differences, but in the end, their relationship is one of trust and friendship. Published March 18, 2013

  • Sen. Bob Corker, Tennessee Republican (Associated Press)

    Sen. Bob Corker: 'Grand bargain' fiscal deal 'possible'

    By David Eldridge - The Washington Times

    Sen. Bob Corker, Tennessee Republican, said Sunday that his GOP colleagues would support a "grand bargain" — a long-term deal addressing the country's fiscal problems — that includes additional tax revenue if President Obama and the Democrats will back substantive reform in entitlement programs. Published March 17, 2013

  • House Speaker John A. Boehner, Ohio Republican, listens on Tuesday, March 5, 2013, during a news conference on Capitol Hill following a Republican strategy session. (Associated Press)

    House Speaker John Boehner: Talk of tax increases is 'over'

    By Valerie Richardson - The Washington Times

    Republicans presented a united front on debt and taxes Sunday, ruling out tax increases as a way of reaching a "grand bargain" on the budget despite President Obama's recent efforts to pour on the charm. Published March 17, 2013

  • Rep. Frank R. Wolf, Virginia Republican (The Washington Times)

    GOP lawmakers: Obama administration blocking access to Benghazi survivors

    By Guy Taylor - The Washington Times

    More than six months since the deadly attacks on a U.S. diplomatic post and a nearby CIA facility in Benghazi, Libya, several Republican lawmakers say they still are looking for answers and are frustrated that the White House is blocking their access to an unknown number of American survivors. Published March 17, 2013

  • **FILE** Sen. John McCain (Associated Press)

    Sen. John McCain apologizes for 'wacko birds' comment

    By Jessica Chasmar - The Washington Times

    Sen. John McCain is walking back from calling Sens. Rand Paul and Ted Cruz "wacko birds" in an interview, saying he respects the senators and what they stand for. Published March 17, 2013

  • ** FILE ** Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2012. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

    Democratic Sen. Harry Reid, GOP push to switch to 2-year budget

    By Cheryl K. Chumley - The Washington Times

    Sen. Harry Reid, who heads a Democratic-controlled Senate that hasn't passed a budget in more than three years, says bringing forth a tax-and-spend plan each year — as required — is too hard. Published March 15, 2013

  • Sen. Ted Cruz (Associated Press)

    Sen. Ted Cruz's push to withhold 'Obamacare' funds ends in defeat

    By Tom Howell Jr. - The Washington Times

    Senate Democrats on Wednesday defeated the latest Republican effort to repeal President Obama's health-care law, signaling that the 2012 elections did little to change the bitter political divisions over the 3-year-old policy. Published March 13, 2013

  • Bill Gates

    Bill Gates set for closed-door session with freshmen lawmakers

    By Cheryl K. Chumley - The Washington Times

    Bill Gates will don his Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation co-chairman hat and head to Capitol Hill on Thursday, where he's expected to speak before the freshmen class of lawmakers. Published March 13, 2013

  • **FILE** Gun dealer Mel Bernstein fires his AK-47 assault rifle on full automatic at his own Dragonman's shooting range and gun store, east of Colorado Springs, Colo., on Feb. 5, 2013. (Associated Press)

    First post-Newtown shooting gun control bill clears key Senate hurdle, tougher work lies ahead

    By David Sherfinski - The Washington Times

    Amid deep party-line divisions, the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday approved Congress' first post-Newtown gun control bill — a proposal to crack down on gun trafficking and straw purchases meant to circumvent the law — but the panel pushed the toughest work off until next week. Published March 7, 2013

  • ** FILE ** House Speaker John A. Boehner (left), Ohio Republican, and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Kentucky Republican (Associated Press)

    McConnell and Boehner: Republicans united on sequesters

    By Ben Wolfgang - The Washington Times

    They spent the weekend blaming each other for the $85 billion in sequestration cuts that began taking effect Friday — but top Democrats and Republicans were careful Sunday to keep the door open to a breakthrough deal on the federal budget. Published March 3, 2013

  • House Majority Eric Cantor, Virginia Republican (Associated Press)

    Congress passes bill renewing anti-violence law

    By Jim Abrams - Associated Press

    The House on Thursday passed and sent to President Obama a far-reaching extension of the Violence Against Women Act. The vote came after House Republican leaders, cognizant of divisions in their own ranks and the need to improve their faltering image among female voters, accepted a bill that cleared the Senate two weeks ago on a strong bipartisan vote. Published February 28, 2013

  • Rep. Tom Latham (left), Iowa Republican, has declined to run for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Democratic Sen. Tom Harkin. Others who might run are Reps. Bruce Braley (center), a Democrat, and Steve King, a Republican. (AP Photo/File)

    Iowa Senate seat up for grabs as GOP Rep. Tom Latham declines run

    By Cheryl K. Chumley - The Washington Times

    Rep. Tom Latham, Iowa Republican, said he won't seek the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Democratic Sen. Tom Harkin. Published February 28, 2013

  • Minister Louis Farrakhan speaks during the Saviours' Day annual convention at the U.I.C. Pavilion in Chicago, Sunday, Feb. 24, 2013. (AP Photo/Paul Beaty)

    Louis Farrakhan: Failing to confirm Hagel as defense secretary 'sentences America to war with Iran'

    By Cheryl K. Chumley - The Washington Times

    Secretary of Defense nominee Chuck Hagel may not find a lot of love within the Republican Party, but Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan supports him. Published February 26, 2013

  • **FILE** The Supreme Court (Associated Press)

    Supreme Court won't hear campaign contributions appeal

    By Associated Press

    The Supreme Court won't hear an appeal of a decision upholding a century-old ban on corporate campaign contributions in federal elections. Published February 25, 2013

  • Tea partyers fight for right-thinking GOP; electability vs. principle at issue

    By Seth McLaughlin - The Washington Times

    Though years in the brewing, the internal fight over the direction of the Republican Party has exploded onto front pages and political talk shows this month after strategist Karl Rove announced the formation of a new political action committee designed to promote more electable candidates. Published February 24, 2013

  • **FILE** Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Kentucky Republican, speaks to reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington on Feb. 12, 2013. (Associated Press)

    White House ups rhetoric on dangers of sequester

    By Sean Lengell - The Washington Times

    The Obama administration amped up its offensive Sunday with Republicans over the $85 billion in across-the-board federal spending cuts scheduled to kick in Friday, releasing fresh warnings of a "real impact on people's lives" despite GOP claims the White House is exaggerating the potential ill effects. Published February 24, 2013

  • Rep. Steny H. Hoyer, Maryland Democrat

    Hoyer, No. 2 House Dem, says bickering must come to end

    By Associated Press

    House Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer says Congress must "put aside ideological constraints" and resolve differences over taxes, budget and spending. Published February 21, 2013

  • Former President Jimmy Carter

    Jimmy Carter insists he had better support from Republicans, Congress than President Obama

    By Cheryl K. Chumley - The Washington Times

    Former President Jimmy Carter, who touts one of the lowest average approval ratings among all U.S. chief executives for his 1977-1981 term of office, said President Obama's biggest problem is Congress. Published February 21, 2013

  • President Obama and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, California Democrat, want to repair their injured party after devastating congressional election losses but have diverging mandates at a critical time. (Associated Press)

    Obama's liberal agenda seen as risky for red state Democrats

    By Seth McLaughlin - The Washington Times

    House Speaker John A. Boehner's new "Senate first" strategy could put red state Democrats — especially those facing potentially tough re-election battles in 2014 — in a tough spot: Reject the White House's liberal second-term agenda and run afoul of party leaders, or back the president and alienate voters back home. Published February 18, 2013

  • **FILE** Sen. Rand Paul, Kentucky Republican (Andrew Harnik/The Washington Times)

    Obama leak of visa plan draws fire

    By David Sherfinski - The Washington Times

    Congressional Republicans on Sunday accused the White House of poisoning the well on immigration reform by leaking a draft proposal while senators from both parties are working toward a compromise on the issue, saying the move shows President Obama is more concerned with scoring political points than passing legislation. Published February 17, 2013

  • New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg (AP Photo/Allan Tannenbaum, Pool)

    Bloomberg to dump $2M into Chicago race to defeat gun advocate Halvorson

    By Jessica Chasmar - The Washington Times

    New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg has taken the gun fight to Chicago and is poised to spend $2 million in an attempt to defeat former Rep. Debbie Halvorson in her bid for the U.S. House seat vacated by disgraced Rep. Jesse L. Jackson Jr. Published February 17, 2013

  • ** FILE ** Social Security Administration Commissioner Michael J. Astrue speaks at a news conference on the Social Security and Medicare trustees report at the Treasury Department in Washington on Aug. 5, 2010. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

    Social Security head Astrue: Program fraying from neglect

    By Stephen Ohlemacher - Associated Press

    Outgoing Social Security Commissioner Michael J. Astrue has some parting shots for Congress, the White House and advocates for seniors. They have all "really walked away from Social Security," he says, leaving the program "fraying because of inattention to its problems." Published February 14, 2013

  • The Capitol dome is seen on Capitol Hill in Washington on Tuesday, Dec. 11, 2012. (Associated Press)

    Democrats to target millionaires with tax legislation

    By Cheryl K. Chumley - The Washington Times

    Democrats in the Senate are gearing up legislation that will offset proposed spending cuts to federal agencies and the Pentagon, with a focus on imposing taxes on million-dollar earners. Published February 14, 2013

  • From left, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y. and Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C. sit on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2013, before President Barack Obama's State of the Union address during a joint session of Congress . (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, Pool)

    Congressional members send subtle messages with ribbons, pins

    By Cheryl K. Chumley - The Washington Times

    It's the message of the ribbons: Dozens of congressional members wore green ribbons at Tuesday's State of the Union address to show solidarity with victims of gun violence. Published February 13, 2013

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  • ** FILE ** President Barack Obama, flanked by Vice President Joseph R. Biden and House Speaker John A. Boehner of Ohio, gives his State of the Union address during a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2013. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, Pool)

    MILLER: The State of the Union gun grab

    By Emily Miller - The Washington Times

    President Obama's State of the Union speech Tuesday was carefully staged to promote his gun-grabbing second-term agenda. Arrangements were made so TV cameras would pan to the faces of victims of gun violence in the House galleries. Published February 13, 2013

  • "The 'Fiscal Cliff'" (Illustration by Alexander Hunter/The Washington Times)

    WOLF: Grappling on the 'fiscal cliff'

    By Dr. Milton R. Wolf - The Washington Times

    "Et tu, GOP?" tweeted writer and comedian Stephen Kruiser upon watching the Republicans cave to President Obama's so-called "fiscal cliff" tax and spending hikes. "Kidding, I knew you had the knife." Published January 7, 2013

  • House Speaker John A. Boehner of Ohio walks in House of Representatives chamber on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Jan. 3, 2013, as the 113th Congress began. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

    WEINER AND MANN: Boehner puts country before politics

    By Robert Weiner and Richard Mann

    Despite outward statements of widespread support from his caucus after his re-election Thursday, Rep. John A. Boehner's speakership was hanging by a thread, within three votes of mandating a second ballot, largely because he allowed the "fiscal cliff" deal to go through the House. Published January 7, 2013

  • Illustration Fiscal Cliff by Alexander Hunter for The Washington Times

    PERKINS: 'Fiscal cliff' compromise deal betrays lack of courage

    By Chris Perkins

    My neighbor's 10-year-old station wagon has a terrible noise coming from the engine compartment that has been getting louder over time. Something is obviously very wrong. Published January 4, 2013

  • House Speaker John A. Boehner holds the gavel after narrowly being re-elected to lead the U.S. House of Representatives in the 113th Congress on Thursday, Jan. 3, 2013, at the U.S. Capitol in Washington. (Andrew Harnik/The Washington Times)

    MILLER: Boehner's challenge

    By Emily Miller - The Washington Times

    Rep. John A. Boehner was re-elected speaker on Thursday, but his grasp of the oversized gavel is less firm. Nine Republicans abstained or voted to have someone lead the House, unlike two years ago, when the ranks were unified behind him. Published January 3, 2013

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