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Stephen Dinan

Stephen Dinan

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

Articles by Stephen Dinan

The Social Security retirement system was implemented in the 1930s. (Illustration by M. Ryder)

Social Security fix would require big tax increase

Preserving Social Security for the next 75 years without reducing any projected benefits would require an immediate and permanent 3.4 percent payroll tax increase, the Congressional Budget Office said Tuesday in a new report looking at long-term budget challenges that shows there are no easy options left. Published September 17, 2013

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

Top Obama energy nominee Ron Binz asked oil company employees for confirmation help

President Obama's nominee to head the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission asked top officials at BP oil company to lobby on his behalf, further expanding the list of lobbyists and former lobbyists Ron Binz has worked with as he's tried to win the chairmanship of the obscure but powerful panel, new emails released late Monday showed. Published September 17, 2013

"There is apparently not a whole lot of will by Republicans or Democrats to make the concept a reality," Sen. Lindsey Graham, South Carolina Republican, said about biometric technology at land and sea ports. (Associated Press)

Biometric ID viable at U.S. entry points: report

Federal law has long called for all visitors to the U.S. to submit to biometric identification both coming and going, but the government has never lived up to that promise — and senators in their immigration bill this year even announced a retreat, weakening the law, saying the requirement is too expensive. Published September 17, 2013

A S.W.A.T. team arrives outside of the Navy Yard as workers are evacuated from the area while police search for a gunman, in Washington, D.C.,  Monday, Sept. 16, 2013.  (Andrew S. Geraci/The Washington Times)

Senate lockdown lifted

The Senate lifted its lockdown Monday afternoon after a little more than an hour, though Sergeant at Arms Terrance W. Gainer defended the initial decision, which came more than seven hours after the Navy Yard shooting, saying he believes it kept staffers safe. Published September 16, 2013

**FILE** Roberto Morales, 25, holds a sign representing a permanent resident card while attending the "Rally for Citizenship" on Capitol Hill on April 10, 2013, in support of immigration reform. (Associated Press)

Immigrant-rights groups call for October rally in D.C.

Fighting to make sure they don't lose steam in their push for Congress to act, immigrant-rights groups said Monday that they are planning a major Washington rally on Oct. 8 to try to keep a focus on their issue. Published September 16, 2013

**FILE** Illegal immigrants file into a U.S. Border Patrol facility in Tucson, Ariz. (Associated Press)

U.S. releases illegal immigrants who are sex offenders

The news last week that federal authorities had to release 2,837 convicted sex offenders back onto the streets has renewed focus on a Supreme Court case that requires the government to release immigrants whose home countries won't take them back. Published September 15, 2013

New Jersey employs a system called Public Safety Assessment to help judge's determine which defendants should be granted bail. Advocates say the algorithm PSA depends on eliminates racial bias from the process. (Associated Press) ** FILE **

Feds' 'Predator App' nabs first sex crimes suspect

The federal government's new "predator app" that enrolls the public in helping spot child sex crimes suspects was operating for little more than a day before it nabbed its first capture, authorities said Friday. Published September 14, 2013

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

Energy nominee Ron Binz plots with lobbyists to win confirmation

President Obama's nominee to head the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is coordinating his campaign with two lobbyists for energy companies, a Democratic strategy firm and several other green-technology strategists, according to emails that show an unprecedented effort to gain a position on the obscure board. Published September 12, 2013

** FILE ** President Obama pauses after speaking to members of the media during his meeting with Baltic leaders in the Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington, Friday, Aug. 30, 2013. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Greens, lobbyists and partisans helping Ron Binz, Obama's FERC pick, move through Senate

EXCLUSIVE: President Obama's nominee to head the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is coordinating his campaign with two lobbyists for energy companies, a Democratic strategy firm and several other green-technology strategists, according to emails that show an unprecedented effort to gain a position on the obscure board. Published September 12, 2013

Lois Lerner, head of the Internal Revenue Service unit that decides whether to grant tax-exempt status, was put on administrative leave after she declared her innocence but refused to answer congressional questions about the targeting. (Associated Press)

Emails show IRS' Lois Lerner specifically targeted tea party

Lois G. Lerner, the woman at the center of the Internal Revenue Service scandal over special scrutiny of conservative groups, specifically targeted tea party applications and directed that they be held up in 2011 in order to come up with an agency policy, according to several of Ms. Lerner's emails released by a House committee Thursday. Published September 12, 2013

Immigrant activists arrested in Hill protest

More than 100 female immigrant-rights activists, including some who are in the country illegally, were arrested after they shut down Independence Avenue in front of the Capitol on Thursday, demanding Congress pass a legalization bill. Published September 12, 2013

Homeland Security's new app to help catch sex predators.

Feds launch predator app on iTunes to catch child sex criminals

Taking crowdsourcing to the next level, the federal government unveiled a new "predator app" Thursday that is designed to enlist Americans in urgent hunts for potential sex predators by pushing photos and descriptions of suspects onto their mobile phones. Published September 12, 2013

** FILE ** Linda Norman (right) and Joanna Galt, both from Florida, hold their banners during a "Exempt America from Obamacare" rally on the West Lawn of the Capitol in Washington on Sept. 10, 2013. (Associated Press)

Obamacare has been amended or delayed 19 times: study

President Obama has already signed 14 laws that amend, rescind or otherwise change parts of his health care law, and he's taken five independent steps to delay the Affordable Care Act on his own, according to a new report from the Congressional Research Service, released Wednesday. Published September 11, 2013

** FILE ** "Every public official has to use her best judgment in ensuring appropriate use of personal emails," says Environmental Protection Agency ex-chief Lisa P. Jackson. (Associated Press)

Technology entangles federal officials in open-records quagmires

Lisa P. Jackson, the former EPA chief who used both secondary and private email accounts to conduct government business, said she never intended to violate open-records laws and said only those who want to "theorize that there is a hidden agenda" would see her actions negatively. Published September 10, 2013

President Obama addresses the nation in a live televised speech from the East Room of the White House in Washington on Tuesday, Sept. 10, 2013. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, Pool)

Obama asks Congress to delay Syria vote, give diplomacy a chance to work

President Obama and his Western allies faced off against Russia on the international stage Tuesday, battling over how exactly to force Syria to turn over its chemical weapons, even as the president pleaded with Congress to give him time to see the diplomatic efforts through. Published September 10, 2013

**FILE** House Oversight Committee Chairman Rep. Darrell Issa, California Republican, speaks on Capitol Hill in Washington on May 15, 2013. (Associated Press)

Issa accuses law firm of meddling in congressional investigation

The House's top investigator accused a prominent Washington law and lobbying firm of trying to meddle with Congress's investigation into transparency when one of the company's lobbyists pleaded that lawmakers not ask their client any questions at a hearing Tuesday. Published September 10, 2013