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** FILE ** In this Jan. 14, 2013, file photo, Sen. Tim Sheldon, D-Potlatch, sits at his desk on the Senate floor at the Capitol in Olympia, Wash. Sheldon and fellow Democrat Rodney Tom currently side with Republicans in the Senate leading to questions as to whether the Reproductive Parity Act, as it is known to supporters, has enough votes to pass. The measure would require most insurers in Washington state to cover abortions. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)

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A gun control bill proposed by Democratic Gov. Martin O’Malley has cleared the Senate but is stuck in a House committee over the issue of assault weapons. Zero tolerance policies in some schools have gone overboard, according to critics. (Associated Press)

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**FILE** Sen. James Inhofe of Oklahoma, the top Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, leaves the Senate chamber at the Capitol in Washington on Feb. 14, 2013. (Associated Press)

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**FILE** Sen. Jason Rapert, Conway Republican, waits to be interviewed near the senate chamber at the Arkansas state Capitol in Little Rock on March 5, 2013. The Senate voted to override Gov. Mike Beebe's veto of Rapert's legislation that would ban most abortions from the 12th week of pregnancy onward. (Associated Press)

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Arkansas Legislature _Live.jpg

**FILE** Sen. Jason Rapert, Conway Republican, waits to be interviewed near the senate chamber at the Arkansas state Capitol in Little Rock on March 5, 2013. The Senate voted to override Gov. Mike Beebe's veto of Rapert's legislation that would ban most abortions from the 12th week of pregnancy onward. (Associated Press)

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** FILE ** New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and legislative leaders applaud after Cuomo signed New York's Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act into law during a ceremony in the Red Room at the Capitol on Jan. 15, 2013, in Albany, N.Y. From left are Senate co-leader Jeffrey Klein, Bronx Democrat, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, Manhattan Democrat, Lt. Gov. Robert Duffy (behind Cuomo) and Senate Democratic Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, Yonkers Democrat. (Associated Press)

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**FILE** House Speaker John Boehner, Ohio Republican, wraps up a news conference Feb. 26, 2013, on Capitol Hill in Washington, where he and GOP leaders challenged President Obama and the Senate to avoid the automatic spending cuts set to take effect four days later. (Associated Press)

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**FILE** House Speaker John Boehner, Ohio Republican, wraps up a news conference Feb. 26, 2013, on Capitol Hill in Washington, where he and GOP leaders challenged President Obama and the Senate to avoid the automatic spending cuts set to take effect four days later. (Associated Press)

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Budget Cuts- Sparing _Live.jpg

**FILE** House Speaker John Boehner, Ohio Republican, wraps up a news conference Feb. 26, 2013, on Capitol Hill in Washington, where he and GOP leaders challenged President Obama and the Senate to avoid the automatic spending cuts set to take effect four days later. (Associated Press)

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Rep. Edward J. Markey (left) is still favored to win the the Democratic runoff election for a Senate seat against Rep. Stephen F. Lynch, which will decide who moves on to the June 25 special election. (Associated Press)

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"My understanding is that the waivers [for No Child Left Behind] become obsolete" if new federal education reforms go into effect, Education Secretary Arne Duncan told a Senate panel Thursday. (Associated Press)

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Caroline Kennedy was the highest-profile name to actively lobby for the Senate seat vacated by Mrs. Clinton. (Associated Press)

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Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta will testify to a Senate panel that hopes to get satisfactory answers Thursday to questions about the deadly attack in Benghazi, Libya. (Associated Press)

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Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta will testify to a Senate panel that hopes to get satisfactory answers Thursday to questions about the deadly attack in Benghazi, Libya. (Associated Press)

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** FILE ** Former Sen. Chuck Hagel stumbled through his Senate confirmation hearing last week, but Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta said “the political knives were out for” him. (Andrew Harnik/The Washington Times)

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** FILE ** Former Sen. Chuck Hagel stumbled through his Senate confirmation hearing last week, but Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta said “the political knives were out for” him. (Andrew Harnik/The Washington Times)

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Former Sen. Chuck Hagel stumbled through his Senate confirmation hearing last week, but Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta said “the political knives were out for” him. (Andrew Harnik/The Washington Times)

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** FILE ** Former Sen. Chuck Hagel stumbled through his Senate confirmation hearing last week, but Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta said “the political knives were out for” him. (Andrew Harnik/The Washington Times)

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William "Mo" Cowan smiles Jan. 30, 2013, during a news conference at the Statehouse in Boston where he was selected to fill John F. Kerry's seat on an interim basis in the Senate. Kerry was confirmed by the Senate the previous day to be the nation's next secretary of state. (Associated Press

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**FILE** Sen. Ralph S. Northam, D-Norfolk during the floor session of the Senate in Richmond, Va., Tuesday, Feb. 17, 2009. (AP Photo/Richmond Times-Dispatch, Bob Brown).