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Stephen Dinan

Stephen Dinan

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** FILE ** Speaker of the House John Boehner, R- Ohio, pauses during a news conference after a House Republican Conference meeting about the ongoing budget fight on Capitol Hill on Monday, Sept. 30, 2013, in Washington.  (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)

House rejects restoration of funds during shutdown for veterans, parks

With the government shutdown closing national monuments and sending federal office workers home, House Republicans changed tactics Tuesday and tried to pass individual spending bills that they said would restore money to high-profile programs such as veterans affairs, national parks and the Smithsonian Institution. Published October 1, 2013

The dome of the Capitol is reflected in a skylight of the Capitol Visitor's Center in Washington on  Jan. 1, 2013. (Associated Press) ** FILE **

Government shutdown begins as gridlocked Congress gives up

Congress adjourned early Tuesday morning without renewing funding for the federal government and the White House issued orders beginning the grim task of shutting down "nonessential" services across the nation. Published September 30, 2013

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., leaves the Senate Chamber after lawmakers once again rejected the House version of the government funding bill, Monday night, Sept. 30, 2013, in Washington. The Republican-controlled House and the Democrat-controlled Senate are at an impasse as Congress continues to struggle over how to prevent a possible shutdown of the federal government when it runs out of money. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

House GOP tries fourth shutdown proposal, Democrats vow rejection

House Republicans tried a fourth different option late Monday, proposing to enter into official spending negotiations with Senate Democrats over a stopgap year-end spending bill, but it, like the three earlier proposals, was immediately rejected by Democrats who said there will no talks. Published September 30, 2013

**FILE** Former Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa P. Jackson (Associated Press)

EPA officials cleared of email abuse charges

The EPA's inspector general cleared the agency Monday of wrongdoing in its employees' use of private email accounts to conduct government business, saying that, after talking with senior officials, investigators found no evidence employees were trying to circumvent open-records laws. Published September 30, 2013

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) speaks with his communications director Adam Jentleson, right, as he heads to a meeting with democratic leaders hours before a Monday night deadline on a government funding bill threatens the first government shutdown in 17 years, Washington, D.C., Monday, September 30, 2013. (Andrew Harnik/The Washington Times)

Senate again rebuffs House as shutdown clock ticks down to midnight

Weathering the early signs of cracks in their unity, the Republican Party passed its latest spending proposal through the House Monday night, saying it was a good-faith effort to prevent a government shutdown while working to blunt the worst parts of President Obama's health law. Published September 30, 2013

The Capitol in Washington, Monday, Sept. 30, 2013, as the government teeters on the brink of a partial shutdown at midnight unless Congress can reach an agreement on funding. Hours before a threatened government shutdown, the Senate has the next move Monday on must-do budget legislation that has fueled a bitter congressional dispute over President Barack Obama's signature health care law.  (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite) (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Shutdown deadline not set in stone

There's not a lot of wiggle room, but Monday's midnight deadline for a government shutdown may not be as firm as it seems. Published September 30, 2013

House bill extends visa deadline for Iraqi translators

One casualty of Congress' spending fight could be Iraqi translators who helped the U.S. during that nation's war, but whose visa applications are about to stall unless Congress can extend a Sept. 30 deadline written into law. Published September 29, 2013

House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio, walks to the House Floor at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Saturday, Sept. 28, 2013.  Lawmakers from both parties urged one another in a rare weekend session to give ground in their fight over preventing a federal shutdown, with the midnight Monday deadline fast approaching. But there was no sign of yielding Saturday in a down-to-the-wire struggle that tea party lawmakers are using to try derailing President Barack Obama's health care law.  (AP Photo/Molly Riley)

House passes bill to delay Obamacare, keep government funded

With a government shutdown two days away, House Republicans powered their latest stopgap spending bill through the chamber early Sunday morning, trying yet again to put a dent in Obamacare while vowing they don't want a shutdown. Published September 29, 2013

** FILE ** House Speaker John A. Boehner, Ohio Republican, speaks President Obama. (Associated Press photographs)

House GOP to seek one-year delay in Obamacare on government shutdown bill

House Republicans said Saturday they will try to pass another stopgap spending bill that delays President Obama's health law for one year, in a final effort to try to put a dent in Obamacare before more of it takes effect next week — but Democrats immediately shot the plan down, saying it virtually guarantees a government shutdown. Published September 28, 2013

** FILE ** President Obama. (Associated Press)

Obama: Health law can't be stopped by govt. shutdown

President Obama said Friday that major parts of Obamacare will go into effect next week no matter what happens with the debate in Congress over stopgap spending, saying that should undercut Republicans' fight. Published September 27, 2013

Storm clouds hang over Capitol Hill in Washington, Friday, Sept. 27, 2013, as the Republican-controlled House and the Democrat-controlled Senate stand at an impasse with Congress continuing to struggle over how to fund the government and prevent a possible shutdown. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Senate defeats Cruz filibuster, passes bill that funds Obamacare

Senators from both parties linked arms to defy Sen. Ted Cruz, overcoming his attempt to filibuster the stopgap spending bill, which allowed Democrats to add back in full funding for Obamacare and power the bill through the chamber and sending it back to the House. Published September 27, 2013

Actor Jim Caviezel portraying Jesus in "The Passion of the Christ." (Associated Press)

Out of debate ideas, Congress turns to God

With a government shutdown looming and all sides digging in, the men of the cloth are weighing in, with the Senate chaplain delivering a stinging rebuke Friday morning of the shutdown showdown playing out in Congress. Published September 27, 2013

**FILE** Sen. Dianne Feinstein, California Democrat (Associated Press)

Congress takes action against NSA phone snooping; security argument fails

Congress took the first steps Thursday to restrain the NSA's phone-snooping program, with Sen. Dianne Feinstein laying out details of a bill that require phone data be deleted more quickly and agents to let a secret court know immediately every time they want to dig through the data. Published September 26, 2013

Ron Binz (From Ron Binz' Public Policy Consulting website)

Obama energy nominee Ron Binz becomes climate change battleground

President Obama's nominee to head an obscure but powerful energy panel is in deep trouble on Capitol Hill, but the White House said Thursday it's still standing by Ron Binz in what is shaping up to be a major battle over Mr. Obama's climate agenda. Published September 26, 2013

With four days to go before the federal government is due to run out of money, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (left), Nevada Democrat, looks at a countdown clock during a Sept. 26, 2013, news conference on Capitol in Washington, where Senate Democratic leaders blamed conservative Republicans for holding up a stopgap spending bill to keep the government running. From left are Reid, Senate Budget Committee Chair Sen. Patty Murray of Washington, Senate Majority Whip Richard Durbin of Illinois, Senate Appropriations Committee Chair Barbara Mikulski of Maryland, and Charles Schumer of New York, the Democratic Policy Committee chairman. (Associated Press)

Republican infighting over health care flares in Senate as shutdown looms

The Republican rift over Obamacare spilled onto the Senate floor Thursday during an ugly debate in which Sen. Ted Cruz questioned a colleague's knowledge of Senate rules and Sen. Bob Corker retorted that Mr. Cruz was putting his political ambitions ahead of his party and the country. Published September 26, 2013