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Flashpoint Ferguson: Latest news on crisis roiling U.S.

Stephen Dinan

Stephen Dinan

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Articles by Stephen Dinan

Sen. Chuck Grassley

Judges admit they goofed on taxpayer-funded Hawaii conference

Under fire from prominent Senate Republicans, the chief judge of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals says that, looking back, they probably made a bad decision when they scheduled a judges' meeting, at taxpayers' expense, in famously expensive Hawaii. Published August 8, 2012

**FILE** Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano

Dream-Act students will pay $465 fee for legal status document

The Homeland Security Department said Friday that illegal immigrants will have to pay $465 to apply for legal status in the U.S. under President Obama's administration Dream Act, with the fees going to make sure no taxpayer funds are used. Published August 3, 2012

Rep. Laura Richardson, who is running for the Senate in California, is seen here in a 2012 photograph provided by her campaign. (Associated Press)

House reprimands California congresswoman

The House prolonged its three-year ethics investigation of one California Democrat while officially voting to reprimand and fine another. Published August 2, 2012

Sen. Max Baucus, Montana Democrat, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee pauses following final votes as the Senate leaves for a five-week recess, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Aug. 2, 2012. (Associated Press)

Slaying the monstrous tax code is no easy task

From President Obama to House Speaker John A. Boehner, there's broad consensus that Congress needs to unclutter the federal tax code and remove the special breaks that litter its 70,000 pages -- but Thursday's dry run in a Senate committee showed just how tough it will be to slash. Published August 2, 2012

** FILE ** Sen. Carl Levin, Michigan Democrat

GAO: Tax cheats get millions in Medicaid money

One in every 20 health care providers getting taxpayer money from Medicaid is delinquent on federal taxes, and in some cases the tax cheats are years behind in paying the Internal Revenue Service, according to an audit by congressional investigators. Published August 2, 2012

Sen. Marco Rubio

Rubio bill eliminates federal tax on Olympic medals

Sen. Marco Rubio introduced a bill Wednesday to eliminate the federal government's tax on Olympic medals, saying the levy amounted to yet another way the government tries to punish those who succeed. Published August 1, 2012

**FILE** Catfish are released into a pond at a Little Rock, Ark., park on July 16, 2008. (Associated Press)

Vietnam threatens trade war over U.S. catfish laws

Vietnam's ambassador to the U.S. pointedly warned the House this week that lawmakers are inviting a battle over free trade if it continues to protect a catfish inspection program that even Congress's own investigators say is useless. Published August 1, 2012

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Nevada Democrat, announces July 31, 2012, at the Capitol in Washingtonto reporters that he and GOP House Speaker John Boehner have reached an agreement to keep the government running on autopilot for six months when the current budget year ends on Sept. 30. (Associated Press)

Democrats: Doomsday; Republicans: Your fault

President Obama's budget director told Congress Wednesday that automatic spending cuts will slash funding for 16,000 school employees, cut the U.S. Border Patrol and kick 100,000 children out of the Head Start program as the White House sought to up the political pain for lawmakers bickering over how to stave off the cuts. Published August 1, 2012

**FILE** An illegal immigrant from El Salvador is searched June 26, 2012, on the tarmac at Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport in Mesa, Ariz., as the sun rises prior to boarding an MD-80 aircraft for a repatriation flight of 80 immigrants to their home country. (Associated Press)

Report cites killings blamed on non-deported illegals

The Obama administration released illegal immigrants who went on to commit more crimes, including charges of 19 murders, 3 attempted murders and 142 sex crimes, the House Judiciary Committee said in a report Tuesday. Published July 31, 2012

** FILE ** Sen. John Cornyn, Texas Republican (Associated Press)

GOP: White House pressuring defense industry not to warn of layoffs

Republicans on Tuesday accused the White House of trying to "intimidate" defense companies into keeping silent about major job losses if automatic military spending cuts take effect early next year, after the administration said Monday that it would be "inappropriate" for employers to warn workers of layoffs. Published July 31, 2012

Rep. Barney Frank, a member of the committee drawing up the Democratic Party platform, said the draft document includes language backing gay marriage. The Republican platform is expected to still define marriage as the union of a man and a woman. (Associated Press)

Democratic platform to endorse gay marriage

Democrats said Monday their party's platform will support extending marriage rights to gay couples, marking the first time one of the two major parties has endorsed it. Published July 30, 2012

** FILE ** Gov. Bob McDonnell of Virginia meets with editors and reporters of The Washington Times on Friday, July 27, 2012. (Barbara L. Salisbury/The Washington Times)

Va. Gov. McDonnell sees Paul platform influence

Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell said the rise of the tea party and Rep. Ron Paul's supporters within the Republican Party will push the GOP platform this year to focus more on matters such as the deficit and constitutional liberties. Published July 29, 2012

President Obama walks from Marine One after returning to the White House on the South Lawn in Washington, Friday, July 27, 2012. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

White House downgrades GDP numbers

President Obama quietly downgraded his own evaluation of the U.S. economy last week, issuing an updated budget that showed slower growth than he'd projected just five months ago — a striking acknowledgment of what he called economic "head winds." Published July 29, 2012

**FILE** A statue of former Treasury Secretary Albert Gallatin stands outside the Treasury Building in Washington on Aug. 8, 2011. (Associated Press)

Federal deficit to reach $1 trillion for fifth straight year

The federal government will flirt with its fifth-straight trillion-dollar deficit next year and is still on track to notch $25 billion in debt within a decade, the Obama administration predicted on Friday as it released an update of the country's fiscal picture. Published July 27, 2012

**FILE** Sen. Tom Coburn, Oklahoma Republican (Associated Press)

Democrats fume after Coburn stops spending bill

For years, it's been the budget secret of Washington — the rules allow Congress to spend money in one year and then take 10 years to refill the government's coffers, all the while piling up the national debt because the money has to be borrowed. Published July 26, 2012

**FILE** Rep. Ron Paul, Texas Republican, speaks April 5, 2012, in Berkeley, Calif. (Associated Press)

House passes Ron Paul's Fed audit measure

In a move that serves as a capstone to Rep. Ron Paul's colorful career, the House on Wednesday voted to have Congress' chief investigators conduct a full audit of the Federal Reserve's shrouded decision-making process. Published July 25, 2012

President Obama addresses the National Urban League convention at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans on July 25, 2012. (Associated Press)

Congress pressures Obama to lay out spending cuts

Senators on Wednesday passed and sent to President Obama a bill that would force him to lay out exactly which federal programs he would cut if the automatic trims put in place by last year’s debt deal go into effect in January. Published July 25, 2012