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Seth McLaughlin

Seth McLaughlin, a reporter on the Politics Desk, can be reached at smclaughlin@washingtontimes.com. Follow him on Twitter: @SethMcLaughlin1

Articles by Seth McLaughlin

GOP recalls Obama, Biden opposed debt-limit hikes

President Obama's vow not to negotiate on the debt limit this year is a stark reversal for an administration whose two top officials both have a history of balking at debt hikes. Published January 14, 2013

Bill Pahlck wears a "Restore The Shore" sweatshirt Wednesday morning as he and others in Belmar, N.J., listen to Gov. Chris Christie describe rebuilding plans. The governor helped Belmar officials kick off construction of a 1.3-mile boardwalk to replace the one destroyed by Superstorm Sandy in October. (Associated Press)

Watchdog sees pork in Sandy relief bill

As Congress takes up the second slice of relief money for Superstorm Sandy, the influential Club for Growth said Monday it will seek to punish the lawmakers who support the $51 billion package because it includes wasteful spending and pork that have nothing to do with reconstruction efforts in the Northeast. Published January 14, 2013

John D. Rockefeller IV (Associated Press)

W.Va. Sen. Rockefeller’s exit shakes up ’14

The decision by Sen. John D. Rockefeller IV, West Virginia Democrat, not to seek another term in the Senate is the first dent in Democrats' chances of hanging onto power in the upper chamber in 2014 — and emblematic of the challenges the party faces in protecting seats they hold in red states. Published January 13, 2013

**FILE** Sen. Jay Rockefeller, West Virginia Democrat, speaks Aug. 3, 2011, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (Associated Press)

W.Va. Sen. Rockefeller won't seek re-election

Sen. Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia announced Friday that he will not seek a sixth term — ending a three-decade run in the upper chamber and giving Republicans some more hope that they can capture the seat in the 2014 election. Published January 11, 2013

Vice President Joseph R. Biden (right), accompanied by Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr., speaks during a meeting with sportsmen and sportswomen and wildlife interest groups on Thursday, Jan. 10, 2013, in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building at the White House complex in Washington. Mr. Biden is holding a series of meetings this week as part of the effort to develop policy proposals in response to the Newtown, Conn., school shootings. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

Executive gun 'order' easier said than done

The administration is eyeing unilateral steps on gun control, but analysts said there are few things President Obama can do on his own because gun control is one area where Congress has jealously guarded its power to make the laws. Published January 10, 2013

**FILE** President Obama speaks at the South Court Auditorium at the White House in Washington on Dec. 31, 2012. (Associated Press)

‘Fiscal cliff’ deal boosts GDP share of taxes, spending

The tax deal President Obama and congressional Republicans struck last week will send government revenue soaring above its historic average, but did nothing to control spending, which remains stubbornly high. Published January 8, 2013

From left, U.S. Chamber of Commerce Chief Executive Tom Donohue, former Minnesota Gov. and GOP presidential candidate Tim Pawlenty, and, Jeffrey Zients of the Office of Management and Budget, walk from the White House after a meeting with White House staff regarding the fiscal cliff, Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2012, in Washington. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

‘Cliff’ talks center on targets of tax hikes

The crux of the negotiations between President Obama and House Speaker John A. Boehner is no longer about whether to raise tax rates, but about who would get hit. Published December 20, 2012

**FILE** Americans for Tax Reform chief Grover Norquist. (Barbara L. Salisbury/The Washington Times)

For conservatives, tax increase is in eye of beholder

President Obama and House Speaker John A. Boehner are squabbling over the "fiscal cliff," but an even bigger fight is going on within conservative circles over Mr. Boehner’s latest offer to extend tax cuts for all but millionaires, who would see their taxes increase. Published December 19, 2012

** FILE ** House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. (Associated Press)

Obama, Boehner grapple near ‘fiscal cliff’

Racing to find common ground in the "fiscal cliff" negotiations, President Obama and House Speaker John A. Boehner are backing off what were once ironclad positions on taxes and spending — though not enough to reach an agreement just yet, as both men continue to demand additional concessions before signing off on a year-end deal. Published December 18, 2012

Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-Ohio, arrives for a closed-door meeting with House Republicans as he negotiates with President Obama to avert the fiscal cliff, at the Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, Dec. 18, 2012. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

As Boehner prepares 'Plan B' on 'fiscal cliff,' Democrats already reject it

Concerned that the "fiscal cliff" negotiations with President Obama will not bear any fruit, House Speaker John A. Boehner said Tuesday the House GOP is prepared with a "Plan B" option that calls for higher taxes on millionaires and locks in current tax rates for everyone else. Published December 18, 2012

** FILE ** President Obama acknowledges House Speaker John A. Boehner, Ohio Republican, while speaking to reporters in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington on Sunday, Nov. 16, 2012, as he hosts a meeting of the bipartisan, bicameral leadership of Congress to discuss the deficit and the economy. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

Boehner’s ‘fiscal cliff’ bargaining stirs some uneasiness

House Speaker John A. Boehner's latest "fiscal cliff" offer to the White House has budget hawks fearing he is preparing to break his promise to deliver a dollar in spending cuts for every dollar increase in the nation's borrowing limit. Published December 17, 2012

**FILE** President Obama speaks to workers about the economy during a visit to Daimler Detroit Diesel in Redford, Mich., on Dec. 10, 2012. (Associated Press)

House members told to plan for Christmas on Hill

President Obama has advised Democrats not to buy any nonrefundable plane tickets before the end of the year, and House leaders have told their members that they may not be home for Christmas. Published December 12, 2012

** FILE ** Speaker of the House John Boehner, Ohio Republican, speaks to reporters at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2012. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Boehner seen holding top post despite purge

Despite rumblings from some Republican backbenchers, Speaker John A. Boehner's hold on the House's top post appears secure after key conservative lawmakers said they don't expect anyone to challenge him. Published December 12, 2012

House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio is pursued by reporters as he walks to the House floor to deliver remarks about negotiations with President Barack Obama on the fiscal cliff, Tuesday, Dec. 11, 2012, on Capitol Hill in Washington. Boehner said President Barack Obama is slow-walking talks to avoid the fiscal cliff, and hasn't outlined spending cuts he's willing to support as part of a compromise. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Americans desire a 'fiscal cliff' deal without pain

With the clock ticking on Congress to strike a deal to avert the "fiscal cliff," Americans increasingly want to see their leaders compromise to get a deal done — as long as the pain of any compromise leaves them untouched. Published December 11, 2012

**FILE** Sen. Jeff Sessions, Alabama Republican

Storm relief sets up new spending without cuts

President Obama's call for $60 billion in additional spending to cover damage from Superstorm Sandy tops a congressional wish list of more stimulus spending, expanded unemployment benefits and extending the payroll tax cut — all without finding cuts elsewhere in the federal budget. Published December 10, 2012

Sen. Charles Schumer, New York Democrat, accompanied by Sen. Chris Coons, Delaware Democrat, gestures during a news conference on Capitol Hill, Thursday, Dec. 6, 2012, to discuss efforts to "boost the economy and prevent Americans from abruptly losing their jobless benefits at the end of the year." (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

Little interest in renewing payroll-tax holiday

Democrats want to see tax rates go up on the wealthy; Republicans want to see cuts in entitlement programs. But neither side is trumpeting an extension of the payroll-tax cut, which is also expected to expire at the end of the year — opening the door for the federal government to dig deeper into the pockets of 160 million workers. Published December 9, 2012

**FILE** With fellow Republican Sen. John Thune of South Dakota (left) and others looking on, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky outlines Republicans' stance on negotiations with the president and Hill Democrats on the "fiscal cliff" on Nov. 27, 2012. (Associated Press)

Democrats block quick vote on Obama 'fiscal cliff' plan

Senate Republicans forced their Democratic counterparts to block a vote on President Obama's own "fiscal cliff" budget proposal Wednesday — a move that GOP lawmakers said exposed the weakness of the White House's proposal. Published December 5, 2012

House Speaker John A. Boehner, Ohio Republlican, talks to reporters after private discussions with Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner on the "fiscal cliff" negotiations at the Capitol in Washington on Thursday, Nov. 29, 2012. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Democrats shrug off Republicans' 'fiscal cliff' counter

House Republican leaders delivered a $2.2 trillion "fiscal cliff" counteroffer to President Obama on Monday that included $800 billion in tax increases, but the White House and congressional Democrats said that still isn't enough revenue to begin negotiating. Published December 3, 2012