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Stephen Dinan

Stephen Dinan

Stephen Dinan can be reached at sdinan@washingtontimes.com.

Articles by Stephen Dinan

The Capitol building in Washington, D.C. (Associated Press)

House GOP tries flanking move to avoid looming shutdown

Seeking to outflank Democrats, House Republicans announced early Thursday morning they had introduced a new 1,219-page spending bill to keep the government open past Friday, when current funding is scheduled to run out. Published December 15, 2011

House Speaker John A. Boehner called Wednesday for Democrats to release a year-end spending bill from their blockade. Democrats said they won't allow the bill to go through until lawmakers also pass an extension of this year's payroll-tax cut. (Associated Press)

Congressional stalemate sets up Christmastime government shutdown

Congress flirted Wednesday with yet another partial government shutdown - the third this year - as Democrats said they won't allow a year-end funding bill to go through until lawmakers also pass an extension of this year's payroll tax cut. Published December 14, 2011

CHALLENGE: "The Senate can take up our bill and amend it, or it can pass its own bill. But the Democrats who run the Senate can't continue to shirk their responsibility to govern," says House Speaker John A. Boehner. (Associated Press)

GOP ties payroll tax to oil pipeline

House Republicans voted Tuesday to give President Obama the payroll-tax-cut extension he desperately wants, but only if he accepts major changes to unemployment benefits and speeds up a decision on building the Keystone XL pipeline, which the administration has sought to delay until after the 2012 election. Published December 13, 2011

(Associated Press)

Republicans calling for reform cite $16B in unemployment overpayments

The Unemployment Insurance program's error rate has jumped as the program has grown during the economic downturn, paying out billions of dollars in improper payments in 2011, making it the second-worst program on a special government watch list. Published December 12, 2011

Levin

House, Senate strike deal on defense bill

House and Senate negotiators struck a deal Monday that gives the military first crack at holding suspected al Qaeda terrorists caught in the U.S., setting up a final showdown with President Obama who had said he might veto the bill if he thought it constrained his authority. Published December 12, 2011

** FILE ** With law enforcement supporters behind her, Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer signs immigration bill SB1070 into law on Friday, April 23, 2010, in Phoenix. The sweeping measure, major portions of which a federal court later blocked from implementation, would require local law enforcement to question people about their immigration status if there is reason to suspect they are in the country illegally. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

High court to consider Ariz. migrant law

The Supreme Court announced Monday it will take the case of Arizona's tough immigration crackdown law, adding yet another contentious clash between the Obama administration and the states to its docket. Published December 12, 2011

** FILE ** A Customs and Border Protection agent patrols by car along the U.S.-Mexico border in Nogales, Ariz., in April 2010. (Associated Press)

Obama to slash National Guard force on U.S.-Mexico border

Blaming budget cuts, the Obama administration early next year will cut the number of National Guard troops patrolling the U.S.-Mexico border by at least half, according to a congressman who was briefed on the plan. Published December 12, 2011

** FILE ** Rep. Jeff Landry, Louisiana Republican, holds a sign during a speech by President Obama to a joint session of Congress at the Capitol in Washington on Thursday, Sept. 8, 2011. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

House GOP playing hardball at recess

House Republicans have a not-so-secret weapon that could bring the National Labor Relations Board to a halt and block Democrats' Wall Street watchdog agency from getting started — and all it requires is just sitting around. Published December 11, 2011

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (left) and former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich take part in the Republican presidential debate on Saturday, Dec. 10, 2011, in Des Moines, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

GOP's second-tier candidates target Romney, Gingrich

Michele Bachmann channeled Herman Cain, Rick Santorum rattled off the geography of Iowa, and Rick Perry stressed his Christianity on Saturday night as the stragglers in the GOP presidential field sought to use the little time left to close the gap with front-runners in the first-in-the-nation caucus state. Published December 11, 2011

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nev., center, accompanied by, from left, Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., Senate Majority Whip Richard Durbin of Ill., and Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., speaks to reporters about extending the payroll tax cut, Thursday, Dec. 1, 2011, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

Senate defeats Democrats' latest payroll tax cut plan

Republicans on Thursday blocked Democrats' new effort to extend the payroll tax cut into next year in a vote that showed neither side is ready to give ground just yet in a stalemate that threatens to derail the tax cut entirely. Published December 8, 2011

**FILE** Rep. Duncan Hunter, California Republican (Associated Press)

Justice presses jailed agent for $7,000 in fines

Ignoring calls for leniency, the Justice Department has told a jailed former Border Patrol agent it will start docking his commissary account as a way to begin assessing nearly $7,000 in fines, even though a judge told him he wouldn't have to start paying immediately. Published December 7, 2011

Newt Gingrich

Gingrich: John Bolton will be my secretary of state

Newt Gingrich promised conservatives on Tuesday he would ask former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton to be his secretary of state if he's elected president next year, according to several of those who met with him Published December 7, 2011

Newly printed $20 notes are seen at the Bureau of Engraving and Printing in Washington. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite) ** FILE **

Feds run deficit for 38th straight month

The federal government ran a $139 billion deficit in November, marking the 38th straight month in the red, according to a preliminary estimate the Congressional Budget Office released Wednesday. Published December 7, 2011

** FILE ** Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Kentucky Republican (Associated Press)

GOP ends truce on judicial hopefuls

Senate Republicans on Tuesday filibustered one of President Obama's appellate court nominees, ending a six-year truce and reigniting one of the bitterest recurring battles on Capitol Hill. Published December 6, 2011

President Obama urges Republican lawmakers to extend the payroll-tax cut in remarks to reporters in the James Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House in Washington on Monday, Dec. 5, 2011. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

Obama seizes advantage on payroll-tax cut

Republicans are increasingly divided over whether to extend this year's payroll-tax cut into next year, leaving a political opening that President Obama moved to seize Monday by accusing the GOP of ignoring middle-class families' needs and unveiling a White House countdown clock ticking off the seconds until taxes get higher. Published December 5, 2011

Sen. Bob Corker, Tennessee Republican (Associated Press)

Parties' competing plans to extend payroll-tax cut fail

The Senate late Thursday defeated both Republicans' and Democrats' attempts to extend this year's payroll tax cut into next year in dueling votes that signaled the nearly $1,000-per-family break may be in more peril than previously thought. Published December 1, 2011

Sen. Lindsey Graham

Senate OKs sanctions on Iran's central bank

Saying they were fed up with Chinese and Russian stalling on sanctions, senators on Thursday voted to punish both Iran's central bank and foreign institutions that do business with it — moving further than the Obama administration has been willing to go. Published December 1, 2011

Sen. John McCain, Arizona Republican

After 207 years, Navy commandos' wait continues

Navy commandos whose remains have languished in Libya for more than two centuries will have to wait at least a little longer after the Navy on Thursday blocked senators' efforts to have their bodies brought back to the U.S. Published December 1, 2011