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Stephen Dinan

Stephen Dinan

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

Articles by Stephen Dinan

Vice President Joseph R. Biden takes the oath of office, administered by Supreme Court Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor at the residence of the vice president at the U.S. Naval Observatory as Jill Biden looks on, on Sunday, Jan. 20, 2012, in Washington. (AP Photo/New York Times, Josh Haner, Pool)

Biden officially sworn in to second term

Vice President Joseph R. Biden was officially sworn in to a second term of office Sunday morning at a small ceremony at the Naval Observatory, hours ahead of President Obama's expected inauguration in a similar ceremony at the White House. Published January 20, 2013

**FILE** Transportation Security Administration employee Anthony Brock (left) demonstrates a new full-body scanner with TSA employee Andres Lozano at San Diego's Lindbergh Field on Sept. 1, 2010. The American Civil Liberties Union has denounced the machines as a "virtual strip search." (Associated Press/San Diego Union Tribune)

TSA to scrap full-body 'naked' X-ray scanners

The Obama administration says it will scrap the controversial airport X-ray machines that critics said showed a little too much of travelers' bodies. Published January 18, 2013

Leahy: Abolish mandatory minimum sentences

The longest-serving Democrat in the Senate on Wednesday called for scrapping mandatory minimum sentences at both the federal and state levels, and said he wants Congress to take a critical look at the way U.S. law enforcement agencies use drones. Published January 16, 2013

** FILE ** Sen. Patrick J. Leahy, Vermont Democrat (Associated Press)

Top Senate Democrat warns against police use of drones

The senior Democrat in the Senate on Wednesday called for scrapping mandatory minimum sentences at both the federal and state levels and said he wants Congress to take a critical look at the way police agencies in the United States are using drones. Published January 16, 2013

Obama using gun issue to advance health law

President Obama is using the national debate over gun violence to push for further action on his health care law, including insisting on the kind of mental health coverage states must provide under their Medicaid programs. Published January 16, 2013

Rep. Harold Rogers (Associated Press)

Sandy funding passes House; GOP is denied cost offsets

The House on Tuesday approved $50 billion in emergency funds for Superstorm Sandy relief, rejecting conservatives' plea to offset the spending with cuts as most lawmakers said worries about the deficit need to take a back seat when natural disasters strike. Published January 15, 2013

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

Schumer says he'll back Hagel nomination for Pentagon

Sen. Charles E. Schumer said Tuesday he will vote to confirm former Sen. Chuck Hagel to be secretary of defense, clearing a major hurdle to President Obama's pick for the Pentagon chief. Published January 15, 2013

GOP recalls Obama, Biden opposed debt-limit hikes

President Obama's vow not to negotiate on the debt limit this year is a stark reversal for an administration whose two top officials both have a history of balking at debt hikes. Published January 14, 2013

**FILE** House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (Associated Press/The Roanoke Times, Stephanie Klein-Davis)

Congress has a Constitution problem — many don't understand document

Each of them takes an oath to defend the Constitution, but many House lawmakers either don't understand the founding document or don't take its precepts seriously, according to an analysis by The Washington Times that studied the constitutional backing that representatives submitted for each of the more than 3,000 bills they introduced in 2011. Published January 14, 2013

** FILE ** A Marine sentry stands guard at the White House on Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2013, an indication that President Obama is working in the West Wing. (Associated Press)

Obama puts debt deal on shoulders of lawmakers

The White House this weekend rejected Senate Democrats' push for President Obama to do an end run around Congress and raise the government's borrowing limit, saying he won't test the limits of executive power and that it's up to lawmakers to strike a deal. Published January 12, 2013

**FILE** Immigrant rights groups and community members call in Los Angeles on Aug. 15, 2011, for an end to the Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) Secure Communities program, which was created in 2008 and calls for police to submit suspects' fingerprints to DHS so they can be cross-checked with federal deportation orders. (Associated Press)

Under pressure, DHS releases high-profile illegal immigrants

Federal authorities released the mother and brother of a prominent illegal immigrant activist Friday morning after Hispanic and immigrant-rights activists objected and flooded the Obama administration with phone calls. Published January 11, 2013

**FILE** Shackled Mexican immigrants are directed by a guard for deportation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement in Harlingen, Texas, on May 25, 2010. (Associated Press)

Interceptions of immigrants stubbornly low

Despite massive increases in manpower, the U.S. Border Patrol is still intercepting only about 61 percent of would-be illegal immigrants along the U.S.-Mexico border, according to an audit that the investigative arm of Congress released Wednesday. Published January 9, 2013

Copies of the fiscal 2013 budget are delivered and ready to be picked up on Feb. 13, 2012, at the Cannon House Office Building on Capitol Hill in Washington. (Rod Lamkey Jr./The Washington Times)

Federal government balanced its books in December

The federal government came within a whisker of running a budget surplus in December, according to a preliminary estimate Tuesday that underscored some good news for the federal budget. Published January 8, 2013