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Stephen Dinan

Stephen Dinan

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

Articles by Stephen Dinan

Obama trails Bush on judicial confirmations

President Obama won two Supreme Court nominations in his first Congress, but his overall stamp on the federal judiciary has been muted as fights over judges have taken a lower profile than in recent years. Published December 27, 2010

** FILE ** In this Sept. 30, 2010, file photo, Rep. Chris Van Hollen, Maryland Democrat, takes part in a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington. Van Hollen, the congressman in charge of the House Democrats' campaign efforts, is leaving that post just days after his party lost more than 60 seats to the Republicans. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen, File)

'We the people' to open next Congress

The Constitution frequently gets lip service in Congress, but House Republicans next year will make sure it gets a lot more than that - the new rules the incoming majority party proposed this week call for a full reading of the country's founding document on the floor of the House on Jan. 6. Published December 23, 2010

Sen. Tom Harkin, Iowa Democrat

Senate passes short-term spending stopgap

The Senate on Tuesday cleared the last must-pass bill of the year, a stopgap spending measure that funds basic government operations through March 4 at the same rate as in 2010. Published December 21, 2010

Senate Majority Leader Sen. Harry Reid, Nevada Democrat, from right, speaks as he stands with Sen. Joe Lieberman, Connecticut Independent, Sen. Mark Udall, Colorado Democrat, and Sen. Patrick J. Leahy, Vermont Democrat, at a press conference about the "Don't Ask Don't Tell" bill during an unusual Saturday session on Capitol Hill in Washington Saturday, Dec. 18, 2010.(AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Senate repeals 'don't ask, don't tell'

Setting the stage for a major social change, the Senate voted Saturday to overturn the military's policy banning openly gay and lesbian troops, know as "don't ask, don't tell," sending the repeal to President Obama for his signature. Published December 18, 2010

Senate rejects legalization for illegal immigrant students

In a final showdown on immigration legislation, the Senate on Saturday blocked a bill to grant legal status to hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrant children and young adults, likely taking the issue off the table for several years. Published December 18, 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

Senate Majority Leader Sen. Harry Reid of Nev., holds a copy of the Constitution and Declaration of Independence during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington Thursday, Dec. 16, 2010. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Reid pulls $1.1T omnibus spending bill

Senate Democrats conceded defeat Thursday and pulled their $1.1 trillion spending bill loaded with earmarks from the chamber floor, stymied by Republicans who unified to block the massive bill in the final days of a contentious session of Congress. Published December 16, 2010

Reid: Earmarks are 'what we're supposed to do'

Preparing for a final showdown on the massive $1.1 trillion spending bill, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid defended the thousands of earmarks in the measure as the basic function of Congress. Published December 16, 2010

Sen. Jon Kyl of Arizona, seen here with fellow Republican Sen. George LeMieux (left) of Florida, gestures during a news conference Wednesday on ratification of the New START treaty.

Senate votes to begin debate on START

The Senate voted Wednesday to begin debating a nuclear arms reduction treaty with Russia in a test vote that signals the treaty — which would cut the number of nuclear weapons that the U.S. and Russia have deployed — has enough support to be ratified. Published December 15, 2010

Senate approves Obama-GOP tax-cut deal

Taking a major step toward staving off the largest tax increase in history, the Senate voted overwhelmingly Wednesday to pass the tax-cut deal President Obama and congressional Republicans struck last week. Published December 15, 2010

Senate strongly backs continued tax cuts

Taking a major step toward staving off the largest tax increase in history, the Senate voted overwhelmingly Wednesday to pass the tax-cut deal President Obama and congressional Republicans struck last week. Published December 15, 2010

Senate's agenda grows as the clock ticks

Senate Democrats on Tuesday unveiled a broad agenda for an end-of-session sprint that otherwise could be a whole year's worth of activity — including an arms-reduction treaty with Russia, a major immigration reform bill and legislation overturning the ban on openly gay military service members. Published December 14, 2010

Ruling hinged in part on terminology

When Congress was writing the health care bill, lawmakers insisted the individual mandate that consumers buy insurance was backed up by a penalty, not a tax. On Monday, that decision came back to bite them. Published December 13, 2010

Tax-cut deal clears big hurdle in Senate

In an overwhelming bipartisan vote the Senate on Monday cleared a path for the tax-cut deal President Obama struck with Republicans last week, with even former staunch opponents of the Bush-era tax cuts voting for their extension. Published December 13, 2010

Dems' sales pitch derails health-care law

When Congress was writing the health-care bill, lawmakers insisted the individual mandate that consumers buy insurance was backed up by a penalty, not a tax. On Monday, that decision came back to bite them. Published December 13, 2010

Obama, GOP wrote deal in red ink

Republicans wanted more tax cuts. Democrats wanted more spending. They got both in the tax-cut deal President Obama struck with the GOP, and it's the federal budget that will take the hit. Published December 12, 2010

Senate vote eyed for tax-cut deal

The lame-duck Congress careened Thursday toward a conclusion after lawmakers cleared the nice-but-not-essential bills out of the way and settled down to the serious work on the must-pass tax-cut legislation. Published December 9, 2010