- The Washington Times - Sunday, July 8, 2012

President Obama says legislation to keep transportation projects going and prevent interest rates from doubling on new loans to college students will help many in this country.

But, he says “we’ve got more to do.”

Mr. Obama said in his weekly radio and Internet address Saturday that the measure he signed into law Friday will keep thousands of construction workers on the job and help students and their families.

But he said Congress should do more to promote infrastructure and reform and expand financial aid offered to students.

In the Republican address, Rep. Ann Marie Buerkle of New York said Mr. Obama’s policies are “making things worse, starting with his health care law.”

She said the Supreme Court’s upholding of the law adds urgency to repealing the health care overhaul.


Romney to head overseas for Olympics, Israel

ELK RAPIDS — Mitt Romney is planning a trip overseas ahead of the Republican National Convention in August.

A Republican official says the Republican presidential candidate is set to visit the Olympics in London for the opening ceremonies and the beginning of the competition. Then he’ll head to Israel, where he plans to meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Mr. Romney’s advisers are considering plans to visit other countries in Europe, though the itinerary is still being finalized.

Mr. Romney, who has been vacationing in Wolfeboro, N.H., speaks to the NAACP’s annual convention on Wednesday and is planning a Thursday fundraiser with former Vice President Dick Cheney.


Sen. Collins’ voting streak nears 5,000

PORTLAND — Maine Sen. Susan Collins is nearing another milestone as she continues her unbroken streak of consecutive votes.

Ms. Collins, who’s never missed a vote since taking office in 1997, is expected to make her 5,000th vote sometime this week.

For Ms. Collins, it’s serious business. She says her unblemished voting record demonstrates her commitment to her Maine constituents. Only Republican Chuck Grassley of Iowa has a longer voting streak, but he can’t claim to never have missed a vote.

Ms. Collins has gone to great lengths to keep the record intact, once twisting her ankle while racing to the Senate for a vote with seconds to spare. Her record stands at 4,997 votes with the Senate scheduled to reconvene this week.


Congressman Frank marries longtime partner

NEWTON — Rep. Barney Frank has tied the knot with his longtime partner in a ceremony officiated by Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick.

Frank spokesman Harry Gural says the 72-year-old congressman married 42-year-old Jim Ready in a Saturday evening wedding at the Boston Marriott hotel in Newton. Mr. Gural says more than 300 friends, family and colleagues attended.

Mr. Frank, a Democrat who is retiring after more than three decades in office, represents the 4th Congressional District in southeastern Massachusetts.

Mr. Ready, of Ogunquit, Maine, has a small business doing custom awnings, carpentry, painting, welding and other general handyman services. He’s also a photographer.


McConnell sees closely divided chamber coming

Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell says the odds of Republicans taking over the Senate after November’s elections and him becoming the new majority leader are “50-50.”

The Kentucky senator says he expects “a very close, competitive election” in the battles for the 33 seats on ballots this fall.

Mr. McConnell is not predicting a sweep for Democrats or Republicans in the fall Senate elections. With 50 seats needed to take control, Mr. McConnell says “at the end of the day, we will have a very narrow Senate one way or the other.”

There are currently 51 Democrats and 47 Republicans in the Senate. There are two independents, Bernie Sanders and Joe Lieberman, who align with Democrats. Mr. Sanders is running for election, but Mr. Lieberman is retiring.

Mr. McConnell made his remarks Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union.”


Portman in New Hampshire, but not to meet Romney

Sen. Rob Portman, Ohio Republican, spoke at a New Hampshire Republican party fundraiser Saturday night, and says he’s also taking a college tour in the area with his daughter.

But former President George W. Bush’s budget director — widely presumed to be on Mitt Romney’s shortlist for potential running mates — told reporters he has not visited Mr. Romney at his nearby vacation home, nor does he plan to before heading out of the New England area. He’s expected to appear in the Boston area to help fundraise for Mr. Romney on Monday.

Consistent with previous statements, Mr. Portman did not say whether he is being vetted by the Romney camp.


Egypt claims Obama invited Islamist president to U.S.

President Obama has invited Egypt’s newly elected Islamist president to visit the U.S. in September, an Egyptian official told Reuters news agency on Sunday.

While Washington had long been allied with the authoritarian regimes of Hosni Mubarak and Anwar Sadat, which suppressed Islamist groups, it has within the past year opened contacts with the Muslim Brotherhood, to which new Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi belonged before his electoral victory.

“President Obama extended an invitation to President Morsi to visit the United States when he attends the U.N. General Assembly in September,” Egyptian aide Yasser Ali said after Mr. Morsi met U.S. Deputy Secretary of State William Burns on Sunday in Cairo.

Mr. Burns did not mention the invitation at a news conference earlier Sunday, according to Reuters.

At the news conference, Mr. Burns said he delivered a message from Mr. Obama assuring him of America’s commitment to a “new partnership” with Egypt.

White House officials told the Associated Press that Mr. Obama hoped to meet with Mr. Morsi during the U.N. General Assembly meetings in New York in September.

• From wire dispatches and staff reports

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