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Stephen Dinan

Stephen Dinan

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**FILE** Helen Strom of the Brooklyn borough of New York listens to a speaker during the People's Budget Hearing at the Capitol on Feb. 27, 2013, in Albany, N.Y. Anti-poverty groups rallied for a raise in the state's minimum wage and increased funding for jobs and human services programs. (Associated Press)

House defeats minimum wage increase

The House on Friday rejected a Democratic push to raise the federal minimum wage to $10.10, shooting down one of President Obama's priorities from his State of the Union speech. Published March 15, 2013

Bipartisan proposal would add Hispanic museum to Mall

A bipartisan group of lawmakers Thursday proposed adding an American Latino museum to the Mall, saying it's time to recognize the growing public role and power of the Hispanic population in the U.S. Published March 14, 2013

Broadest gun ban in two decades clears Senate committee

Senate Democrats pushed the broadest gun ban in decades through the Judiciary Committee on Thursday, voting to halt sales of military-style semiautomatic weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines in what's likely to be the high-water mark for gun control after December's Newtown, Conn., shooting spree. Published March 14, 2013

** FILE ** Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, the front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination, speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) at the Marriott Wardman Park in Washington on Friday, Feb. 10, 2012. (Andrew Harnik/The Washington Times)

CPAC 2013: Straw poll signals wide-open 2016 presidential race

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie may not have been invited to speak at this year's Conservative Political Action Conference — but his name has made CPAC's presidential straw poll as one of the 23 listed hopefuls to be the GOP's nominee in 2016. Published March 14, 2013

‘No sacred cows’ in Democratic spending plan

Four years after they last passed a budget through the Senate, Democrats announced a new blueprint for federal spending Wednesday that proposes significant tax increases, new stimulus spending and some budget cuts — making slight headway in controlling federal debt. Published March 13, 2013

**FILE** Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada pauses during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington on March 5, 2013, following a Democratic strategy session. (Associated Press)

Senate Democrats join push to cut Obama's illegal immigrant advocate

Buried inside the Senate's massive spending bill is a provision eliminating the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Public Advocate — an office President Obama created just last year to hear complaints about how immigrants were being treated. Published March 12, 2013

President Obama meets with Brunei Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington on March 12, 2013. (Associated Press)

Obama to appeal recess appointment ruling to Supreme Court

President Obama will elevate the controversy over his recess appointment powers to the highest level, with the National Labor Relations Board announcing Tuesday it will appeal to the Supreme Court a lower-court ruling that held his appointments to the board were illegal. Published March 12, 2013

**FILE** Gina McCarthy stands on stage in the East Room of the White House in Washington on March 4, 2013, as President Obama announced he would nominate McCarthy to head the EPA. (Associated Press)

EPA email: Goal was 'shaming' states into compliance

Internal EPA emails released Tuesday show an agency hostile to new energy production in the U.S. and an effort at "shaming" states into complying with Obama administration environmental priorities, according to the top Republican on the Senate environment committee. Published March 12, 2013

National Geographic photographs
An African lioness wears a camera around her neck in the exhibit "National Geographic Crittercam: The World Through Animal Eyes." Visitors can press buttons to see clips of the lions and other animals.

Sequester spending: Feds pay $227,000 to study magazine photographs

Some of the toughest sequester spending decisions involve taxpayer-financed research, where funding today can produce huge benefits tomorrow — but can the government really afford to spend $227,437 to study pictures of animals in National Geographic magazines? Published March 11, 2013

Customs and Border Protection Officer Rebecca Rhinehart asks a passenger about something in his suitcase at Washington Dulles International Airport. Customs officers search for illegal drugs, plants, animal products and food items. (The Washington Times)

Court curbs laptop searches at U.S. border

The Border Patrol cannot confiscate or download every laptop or electronic device brought into the U.S., a federal appeals court said, ruling that people have an expectation their data are private and that the government must have "reasonable suspicion" before it starts to snoop. Published March 8, 2013

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

Senator: EPA lied about using private emails

Environmental Protection Agency officials lied when they said a top official used his private email only once for public business, a Republican senator said Friday as he released copies of several emails in which that official conducted business with the EPA's director and with outside groups. Published March 8, 2013

**FILE** John Brennan, then-nominee for CIA director, testifies Feb. 7, 2013, on Capitol Hill in Washington during his confirmation hearing before the Senate Intelligence Committee. (Associated Press)

Senate confirms CIA director Brennan after Paul gets assurances

Sen. Rand Paul said Thursday his 13-hour filibuster was a success after Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. sent a letter saying the Obama administration does not think it is legal to use drones to kill non-combatant Americans on U.S. soil. Published March 7, 2013

Rep. Tom Cole, Oklahoma Republican (Associated Press) ** FILE **

House reaffirms sequesters in latest funding measure

With deadline fatigue setting in, a bipartisan House voted Wednesday to fund the federal government through the end of the fiscal year, which would head off the potential for a government shutdown later this month. Published March 6, 2013

Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky challenged the Republican Party establishment to win his seat in 2010. He started a nearly 13-hour filibuster Wednesday, demanding assurances that the Obama administration would not use drones in the U.S. to kill terrorist suspects. (Associated Press)

After almost 13 hours, Rand Paul ends Brennan filibuster

After years in the shadows, the administration's secret drone program burst into very public view Wednesday with lawmakers grilling the attorney general over legal justification for targeted killings and Sen. Rand Paul launching an old-style one-man filibuster to demand answers from President Obama. Published March 6, 2013

President Obama announces in the East Room of the White House in Washington March 4, 2013, he will nominate, Gina McCarthy to head the EPA; MIT physics professor Ernest Moniz for Energy Secretary; and Walmart Foundation President Sylvia Mathews Burwell to head the Budget Office. (Associated Press)

Email tells feds to make sequester as painful as promised

The White House announced Tuesday that it is canceling tours of the president's home for the foreseeable future as the sequester spending cuts begin to bite and the administration makes good on its warnings of painful decisions. Published March 5, 2013