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Stephen Dinan

Stephen Dinan

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Articles by Stephen Dinan

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

Detention bill cleared, but language no clearer

Senators had vowed to use the annual defense debate to clear up lingering questions about indefinite detention of U.S. citizens after last year's go-around — but the bill they cleared this week only added to the confusion. Published December 6, 2012

President Obama made a recess appointment to enable Richard Cordray (behind him) to begin serving as director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Mr. Obama made three other recess appointments. (Associated Press)

Court puts doubt on Obama's appointments in recess

A federal appeals court cast doubt Wednesday not only on President Obama's controversial January recess appointments but on most such appointments, using oral arguments to question whether presidential powers can ever be used unless Congress has officially adjourned for the end of a year. Published December 5, 2012

GOP Rep. Trey Gowdy of South Carolina, citing terrorism, sponsored legislation to give former U.S. presidents and their wives lifetime Secret Service protection. (Associated Press)

Protection for former presidents advances

The House voted Wednesday to grant all ex-presidents lifetime Secret Service protection, arguing that in a world of terrorist threats, such a precaution has become necessary. Published December 5, 2012

Sen. Rand Paul

Senate orders study on U.S. no-fly zone in Syria

The Senate voted Tuesday to order President Obama to study what military options the U.S. would have if it wanted to get more deeply involved in the revolt against Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad. Published December 4, 2012

** FILE ** In this March 30, 2010, photo reviewed by the U.S. military, a U.S. trooper stands in the turret of a vehicle with a machine gun, left, as a guard looks out from a tower at the detention facility on Guantanamo Bay U.S. Naval Base in Cuba. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley)

Obama veto possible over Guantanamo

The Senate Tuesday approved a defense policy bill that calls for a fast transition in Afghanistan, orders a study of U.S. military options in Syria such as imposing a no-fly zone, and restricts President Obama's authority to transfer detainees from Guantanamo Bay. Published December 4, 2012

**FILE** Former President Bill Clinton (left) listens to former President George W. Bush speak on Saturday, Jan. 16, 2010, in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Ron Edmonds)

War on terrorism spurs House to grant presidents Secret Service protection for life

Two decades ago, Congress passed a bill canceling former presidents' Secret Service protection 10 years after they left office, beginning with George W. Bush. But now, with the war on terrorism presenting new dangers and presidents taking more active roles around the globe, the House did an about-face Wednesday. Published December 4, 2012

House Speaker John A. Boehner, Ohio Republlican, talks to reporters after private discussions with Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner on the "fiscal cliff" negotiations at the Capitol in Washington on Thursday, Nov. 29, 2012. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Democrats shrug off Republicans' 'fiscal cliff' counter

House Republican leaders delivered a $2.2 trillion "fiscal cliff" counteroffer to President Obama on Monday that included $800 billion in tax increases, but the White House and congressional Democrats said that still isn't enough revenue to begin negotiating. Published December 3, 2012

**FILE** Scott Veley of Kensington, Conn., holds a Gadsden flag during a tea party protest at the Capitol in Hartford, Conn., on April 15, 2010. (Associated Press)

Historic town's clash leaves 'Tread' marks

Officials in Culpeper, Va., decided to create a new public relations branding campaign, and tourism officials suggested they go with a new, less "political" emblem. The problem: The town's existing logo — the famous Revolutionary War-era rattlesnake and "Don't Tread On Me" combination — had been "hijacked" by the conservative tea party movement, staffers said. Published December 3, 2012

**FILE** Rep. Darrell E. Issa, California Republican (Associated Press)

House passes bill to cancel diversity visa lottery

The House voted Friday to cancel the annual diversity visa lottery and give those immigration visas to high-tech foreign-born who earn advanced degrees from American universities, as Republicans powered through their chamber the first major immigration bill since the election. Published November 30, 2012

Sen. Charles E. Schumer, New York Democrat (AP Photo/Luis M. Alvarez)

Palestinians gain U.N. status as ‘observer state’

Palestinians won a victory on the world stage Thursday when the U.N. General Assembly voted to grant them enhanced status in the world body, but they could face a backlash in Washington, where lawmakers introduced legislation to kick them out of their diplomatic offices and to strip U.S. aid. Published November 29, 2012

** FILE ** Sen. Kelly Ayotte, New Hampshire Republican, speaks with reporters after a closed-door meeting with U.N. Ambassador Susan E. Rice about the deadly Sept. 11 raid in Libya, at the Capitol in Washington on Tuesday, Nov. 27, 2012. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Senate votes to rewrite detention rules in war on terror

Senators voted late Thursday to rewrite some of the key rules in the war on terror, including prohibiting indefinite detention of U.S. citizens captured at home, and a permanent ban on transferring suspected terrorist detainees from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to the United States. Published November 29, 2012

A Libyan man investigates the inside of the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, on Thursday, Sept. 13, 2012, after an attack that killed four Americans, including Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens, two days before. (Associated Press)

Senate calls for more Marines at U.S. diplomatic posts

The Senate voted Wednesday to authorize adding Marine security forces to more U.S. diplomatic posts around the globe in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist assault in Benghazi, Libya, that left four Americans dead. Published November 28, 2012

Are parties hurtling toward 'fiscal cliff'?

With little tangible headway being made in Washington on averting the looming federal taxes-and-spending crisis, a key observer said Wednesday that he puts the chances of Congress reaching a deal before the Jan. 1 "fiscal cliff" deadline at less than 1 in 3. Published November 28, 2012

Obama opposes GOP option for amnesty

The Obama administration said Wednesday it opposes House Republicans' first postelection immigration effort to entice more high-tech university graduates to stay in the U.S., signaling that this month's election has yet to foster a breakthrough on Capitol Hill on an issue all sides expect to dominate. Published November 28, 2012

** FILE ** Sen. Jon Kyl, Arizona Republican, talks to reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington on Sunday, July 3, 2011. (Associated Press)

Senators in GOP propose immigration reform

Moving to try to steal the immigration spotlight from Democrats, top Senate Republicans on Tuesday introduced their own version of the Dream Act to grant young illegal immigrants legal rights — though it wouldn’t give them a special path to citizenship. Published November 27, 2012

Data show Hispanics more likely to relate to Democrats

Stung by their election defeat, Republicans are eager to try to woo Hispanic voters, arguing that once their party puts immigration reform behind them, the ethnic group will be open to the GOP's conservative message. Published November 26, 2012

GOP immigration bill keeps the well-educated

Trying to beat Democrats to the punch on the first post-election immigration bill, House Republicans have scheduled a vote later this week on a business-friendly proposal to grant green cards to foreigners who earn high-tech doctoral degrees from U.S. universities. Published November 26, 2012

Reid threatens filibuster change

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid confirmed Monday he will push to change Senate rules and curtail some Republican filibusters next year, setting up a major test of collegiality and power politics in the usually chummy chamber that bills itself as "the world's most exclusive club." Published November 26, 2012

Roosevelt’s movable feast sparked outrage in year of ‘Franksgiving’

The year was 1939, and American businesses, still reeling from the previous year's recession, decided they wanted an extra week of Christmas shopping. The solution? They asked President Roosevelt to move Thanksgiving up a week. Roosevelt complied — and confusion and outrage ensued. Published November 21, 2012