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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

Senator wants to mix it up at Obama address

Sen. Mark Udall wants his colleagues to adopt a new seating arrangement, calling on lawmakers to break with tradition by sitting next to a member of the opposing party during President Obama's State of the Union address Jan. 25. Published January 12, 2011

GOP disputes deficit effect of health law repeal

Congress' official scorekeeper said Thursday that the House Republicans' first major bill, which would repeal last year's health care law, would increase deficits by $230 billion over 10 years - setting off a firestorm of criticism from Democrats who said the GOP is already walking away from its pledges of fiscal restraint. Published January 6, 2011

Centrists likely to sway priority issues on Hill

Tea partyers may be getting all the attention, but the centrist wings of both parties remain the fulcrum in Congress, though which way they swing depends on the issues lawmakers tackle first. Published January 5, 2011

Tea party organizers warn: 'We are watching'

Eager to dispel the notion that their protest movement is a mere flash in the pan, the nation's tea party activists are preparing to welcome the newest crop of lawmakers to Washington by reminding them of the consequences if they walk away from their campaign promises. Published January 4, 2011

Legislators acted with eye on 2012 races

It's no coincidence the tax-cut deal President Obama and Republicans reached extends the Bush-era tax breaks for two years, or just in time for the next national election. Published December 26, 2010

Collins, Lieberman prove formidable team

The repeal of the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy owes much to Sens. Susan Collins and Joseph I. Lieberman, who kept the issue alive when it appeared dead in the kind of partnership that is likely to become a model for getting things done in next year's divided Congress. Published December 21, 2010

Virginian: Bar gays from National Guard

Responding to the federal repeal of the military policy banning open gays from serving in the armed forces, a state lawmaker in Virginia plans to fight back with legislation that bars "active homosexuals" from serving in the Virginia National Guard. Published December 19, 2010

President Barack Obama updates the status of the tax-cut deal struck with congressional Republicans, at the White House in Washington, Monday, Dec. 13, 2010. The legislation would avert a Jan. 1 increase in income taxes for nearly all Americans, including middle and high earners. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

House approves tax-cut compromise bill

Staving off the largest tax increase in history, lawmakers Friday morning passed President Obama's tax-cut deal with Republicans through the House after fending off a last-minute effort to increase the estate tax beyond what was proposed. Published December 16, 2010

'Don't ask' bill OK'd by House, sent to Senate

Democrats jammed through the House a repeal of the ban on gays openly serving in the military, breathing new life Wednesday into a proposal that appeared dead a week ago and putting the pressure on the Senate to take up the vote before the end of the year. Published December 15, 2010

LIBERALS' FOE: "I'm on dartboards all over the country," Virginia Attorney General Kenneth T. Cuccinelli II says. (Associated Press)

Cuccinelli savors health care win

The man who put the first dent in the president's health care law, Virginia Attorney General Kenneth T. Cuccinelli II, is a newcomer to the national stage, but he's long been a crusader against the expansion of federal powers — winning his share of friends and foes along the way. Published December 14, 2010

"This is not a tax on the rich. This is a tax on the very, very, very rich," said Sen. Bernard Sanders. He delivered an eight-hour speech on Friday in opposition to President Obama's tax-cut deal with Republicans. (Associated Press)

Democrats not pleased with deal on estate taxes

Sen. Bernard Sanders' impassioned eight-hour speech Friday, slamming President Obama's tentative tax-cut deal with Republicans, directed some of his sharpest attacks at the plan's provisions to tax dead people's estates. Published December 12, 2010

Hill economist gets hosannas and hoots

Mark Zandi, Moody's Analytics chief economist, has become an oracle of sorts on Capitol Hill, where members of both parties have recited his financial forecasts in an attempt to seize the high ground in battles over stimulus packages, deficit reduction plans and the tax cuts enacted during the George W. Bush administration. Published December 9, 2010

Debt commission falls short on test vote

President Obama’s high-profile debt commission Friday fell three votes short of the support it needed to forward a far-reaching deficit reduction plan to Congress, with 11 of the 18 members voting to back the proposal. A supermajority of 14 votes was needed to formally endorse the blueprint. Published December 3, 2010

Support erodes for deficit panel plan

Six members of President Obama's deficit commission are expected to vote on Friday against its final report, meaning the panel will not be able to submit any recommendations to Congress for action. Published December 2, 2010

**FILE** Sen. Tom Coburn, Oklahoma Republican (Associated Press)

Deficit plan gains new support

Two top Republicans on the president's high-profile deficit reduction commission said Thursday they will support the blueprint rolled out this week by the panel's co-chairmen — edging the plan closer to garnering the support it needs to be forwarded to Congress. Published December 2, 2010

Deficit panel's plan a mix of sweeping cuts, tax increases

Warning that the nation is on an unsustainable fiscal path, the co-chairmen of President Obama's deficit reduction commission rolled out a final plan this morning that challenges lawmakers to put politics aside and to embrace a series of unpopular spending cuts and tax increases to get the "crushing debt burden off our backs." Published December 1, 2010

ASSOCIATED PRESS
FOR IT: Sens. Kent Conrad (right), North Dakota Democrat, and Judd Gregg, New Hampshire Republican, the top two lawmakers on the president's deficit-reduction panel, endorsed its recommendations Wednesday.

Deficit panel leaders upbeat

The chairmen of President Obama's deficit-reduction commission said members are halfway to securing the support they need to forward their recommendations of unpopular spending cuts and tax increases to Congress, where Democratic leaders have vowed to hold a vote before the end of the lame-duck session. Published December 1, 2010

Vote on deficit-slashing measures delayed

The leaders of President Obama's independent deficit commission said Tuesday they'll delay a vote on their recommendations until the end of the week in order to give members a chance to digest their revamped plan. Published November 30, 2010

ASSOCIATED PRESS
David Stockman, budget director for President Reagan, sees tough decisions for President Obama's deficit commission as it prepares a final report.

Value-added tax, or VAT, back as proposal to solve revenue ills

Seven months after the Senate knocked down the idea of a value-added tax, the VAT is back on the table -- one of a host of familiar proposals that has been recycled as a proposed answer to the nation's financial problems. Published November 29, 2010