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Stephen Dinan

Stephen Dinan

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

Articles by Stephen Dinan

Senate Democrats ban earmarks

Signaling defeat, at least for the moment, Senate Democrats said Tuesday they won't allow any earmarks in spending bills this year. Published February 1, 2011

Senior U.S. District Judge Roger Vinson, seen here in 2007, declared the Obama administration's health care overhaul unconstitutional Monday, siding with 26 states that sued to block it, saying that people can't be required to buy health insurance. (AP Photo/Pensacola News Journal, Tony Giberson)

Judge rules against health law, cites Obama's words

In ruling against President Obama's health care law, federal Judge Roger Vinson used Mr. Obama's own position from the 2008 campaign against him, when the then-Illinois senator argued there were other ways to achieve reform short of requiring every American to purchase insurance. Published January 31, 2011

**FILE** President Obama addresses the Families USA 16th Annual Health Action Conference in Washington on Jan. 28, 2011. Families USA is an consumer advocacy health care organization. (Associated Press)

Judge strikes down health care law

Quoting James Madison and Thomas Jefferson as authorities, a federal judge in Florida ruled Monday that Congress breached the Constitution when it passed the health care law, dealing the broadest rejection yet to President Obama's signature initiative. Published January 31, 2011

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House votes for repeal of public-paid campaigns

Saying it has become an obsolete waste of money, the House on Wednesday voted to end the taxpayer-funded presidential campaign finance system that has fallen out of favor over the past decade as candidates have chosen to ignore it. Published January 26, 2011

Sen. Kent Conrad, North Dakota Democrat and Senate Budget Committee chairman, speaks about the Congressional Budget Office's economic outlook Wednesday during a news conference on Capitol Hill. (Associated Press)

CBO: Federal deficit to hit $1.5T this year

Last month's bipartisan tax cuts and spending deal has deepened the federal deficit dramatically this year, putting the government on track for a nearly $1.5 trillion shortfall — the largest in history — the Congressional Budget Office said Wednesday. Published January 26, 2011

As Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and House Speaker John A. Boehner look on, President Obama called Tuesday night for rejuvenating America's innovative spirit. (Associated Press)

Obama: Restrain budget, but invest in infrastructure

Picking a fight with his own party, President Obama on Tuesday called for ending earmark spending and proposed a five-year partial budget freeze in his first State of the Union address before a Congress packed with newly ascendant Republicans eager to cut even more deeply. Published January 25, 2011

Obama defends campaign financing

Though he opted out of the public financing system in 2008 to run the most expensive presidential campaign in history, President Obama on Tuesday said he opposes House Republicans' effort to do away with the taxpayer-financed system altogether. Published January 25, 2011

Ryan's star rising with Obama rebuttal

Moments after President Obama concludes his State of the Union address from the imposing podium of the House of Representatives on Tuesday night, Rep. Paul D. Ryan will deliver the GOP's answering speech from the House Budget Committee's hearing room, across the street in one of the House office buildings. Published January 23, 2011

First lady, Wal-Mart reach pact on nutrition

A day after serving a calorie-laden state dinner to Chinese President Hu Jintao, first lady Michelle Obama announced a deal Thursday with Wal-Mart, the country's largest retailer and grocery store, to reduce sodium, cut prices on fruits and vegetables, and label healthful foods to guide customers. Published January 20, 2011

WELCOME: President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama greet Chinese President Hu Jintao on Wednesday before a state dinner for him. The leaders agreed to deals Mr. Obama said are worth $45 billion and 245,000 jobs to the U.S., but human rights and currency manipulation also came up. (Associated Press)

Thorny issues surface in Hu visit

The closely structured pageantry of a state visit was unable to mask simmering issues between the United States and China on Wednesday, as President Obama prodded Chinese President Hu Jintao to revalue the Chinese currency, the yuan, and Mr. Hu acknowledged "a lot still needs to be done" on his country's human rights record. Published January 19, 2011

House GOP spoils for Constitution fight

As the House prepares for Wednesday's vote to repeal the Democrats' health care law, Republicans say it marks more than a shot at a controversial Obama policy — they argue it is the first step toward making Congress relevant in debates over the Constitution. Published January 18, 2011

House votes to cut down on printing of congressional measures

Citing the hundreds of thousands of wasted pages of government printing each year that go straight from delivery to congressional recycling bins, the House voted Tuesday to tell the Government Printing Office to cut it out. Published January 18, 2011

Hutchison says she won't seek re-election to Senate

Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison said Thursday she won't seek re-election to a fourth full term next year, marking the first retirement of the 2012 election cycle and leaving an open seat Democrats say they'll force Republicans to defend. Published January 13, 2011

**FILE** Sen. Patrick J. Leahy, Vermont Democrat and Judiciary Committee chairman (Associated Press)

Senate to reconsider scuttled judicial picks

The Senate will take quick action to try to push through judicial nominees Republicans blocked at the end of last year, Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick J. Leahy said Tuesday. Published January 11, 2011

Shooting from hip followed Arizona rampage

Saturday's shootings in Tucson, Ariz., have sparked calls for restraining political rhetoric, but some of the most vociferous groups are the same ones already blamed for the harsh climate, and that's raising deep questions about where robust debate ends and incendiary speech begins. Published January 10, 2011

Republicans patch over constitutional snafu

Call it a constitutional do-over. Two days after they took control of the House, Republicans on Friday had to clean up the mess left when two of their members failed to properly take the oath of office, even though they had been voting and conducting business as if they had. Published January 7, 2011

Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., holds a copy of the U.S. Constitution during his mock swearing-in ceremony on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 5, 2011. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

Constitution read for first time, but not in its entirety

More than 200 years after the first part was written, the Constitution produced standing ovations and strident but respectful debate as lawmakers from both parties read the government's founding document on the House floor in its entirety — or nearly so. Published January 6, 2011

**FILE** Rep. Jeff Flake, Arizona Republican (Associated Press)

GOP faces spending test as debt nears $14.3T ceiling

The Obama administration on Thursday told Congress the government is about to hit the $14.3 trillion debt ceiling and will need authority to borrow more, kicking off the first major test of spending restraint and the strength of Republicans' new congressional power. Published January 6, 2011

CBO: Health repeal will increase deficit

Congress's official scorekeeper said Thursday that the House Republicans' first major bill — repealing last year's health care law — would actually increase deficits by about $145 billion over 10 years. Published January 6, 2011