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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.

House GOP accuses agencies of failing to prepare for sequester cuts

By Tom Howell Jr. - The Washington Times

House Republicans on Tuesday accused federal agencies of failing to prepare for the automatic sequester cuts, saying they had two years to get ready but instead the administration spent time on "scare tactics." Published March 19, 2013

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Sen. Bob Corker, Tennessee Republican (Associated Press)

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

- 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.

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

- 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.

House Majority Eric Cantor, Virginia Republican (Associated Press)

Congress passes bill renewing anti-violence law

- 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.

**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

- 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.

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

- 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.

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

Obama leak of visa plan draws fire

- 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.

** 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

- 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."

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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

- 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.

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

WOLF: Grappling on the 'fiscal cliff'

- 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."

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

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.

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

- 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.

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