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Seth McLaughlin

Seth McLaughlin, a reporter on the Politics Desk, can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter: @SethMcLaughlin1

Articles by Seth McLaughlin

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada (left) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky are sparring on the eve of a session to change Senate rules to remove a 60-vote threshold for President Obama's nominations to win confirmation. Mr. Reid says the changes are minimal; Mr. McConnell says Mr. Reid would be "breaking the rules  in order to change the rules." (Associated Press)

Senate 'nuclear option' on filibusters defused — for now

The "nuclear option" has been defused — for now — after Republican senators said Tuesday they would drop their blockade of Richard Cordray to be the new head of a consumer protection bureau, ending for now what had appeared to be a major crisis over the filibuster and minority rights in the Senate. Published July 16, 2013

** FILE ** J. Russell George is the Treasury Department's inspector general for tax administration. (Associated Press)

Democrats want to probe IG who started IRS scandal; question GOP bias

As Republicans press their investigation into the Internal Revenue Service, Democrats are trying to turn the focus to the Republican ties of the agency's chief investigator, Inspector General J. Russell George, whose May audit ignited the firestorm. Published July 14, 2013

** FILE ** Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Nevada Democrat, speaks with reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington on Tuesday, July 9, 2013, following a Democratic strategy session. (Associated Press)

Harry Reid prepares Senate to go 'nuclear,' end nomination filibusters

Senate Democrats laid the groundwork Thursday to trigger the "nuclear option" against minority filibusters, setting up a dramatic Tuesday showdown in which Republicans either will have to accept seven of President Obama's controversial appointments or watch as Democrats change the rules and end filibusters of executive branch nominees. Published July 11, 2013

**FILE** Sen. Marco Rubio, Florida Republican, speaks at the Faith and Freedom Coalition "Road to Majority" conference in Washington on June 13, 2013. (Associated Press)

Marco Rubio in hot water with tea party over immigration bill

Sen. Marco Rubio's popularity has plummeted among tea party activists who say the Florida Republican, who helped ignite their movement with his 2010 Senate bid, has failed to live up to the hype — and made a major wrong turn by joining Sen. John McCain's push to legalize illegal immigrants. Published July 10, 2013

Thomas Rabe, right, places a wedding ring on Robert Coffman's finger during a marriage ceremony at City Hall in Baltimore, Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2013. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky) ** FILE **

GOP still struggling on gay marriage messaging

Virginia Attorney General Kenneth T. Cuccinelli II used to be on record supporting a federal constitutional amendment against same-sex marriage, but now that he is running for governor, he refuses to take a stand. Published July 9, 2013

** FILE ** In this April 8, 2004, file photo, Texas Gov. Rick Perry makes a face and flexes his muscles as he talks with students at Fox Tech High School following the announcement of his school finance proposal in San Antonio. Perry announced Monday, July 8, 2013, that he would not seek re-election as Texas governor next year. (AP Photo/Eric Gay, File)

Rick Perry not running for Texas governor, coy on 2016

Texas Gov. Rick Perry announced Monday that he will not seek a fourth term, fueling speculation of another White House run for the nation's longest-serving chief executive and opening the door for a new leader of the biggest GOP-leaning state. Published July 8, 2013

Susan B. Anthony List and other pro-life groups have been lobbying Sen. Marco Rubio, Florida Republican, for weeks to lead the charge in the Senate on legislation would ban abortions 20 weeks into pregnancy, with exceptions for risks to the mother's life and rape or incest, though such a bill is unlikely to be taken up in the chamber. (Associated Press)

Rubio weighs sponsorship of bill to end abortions after 20 weeks

Sen. Marco Rubio is expected to sign on as the chief sponsor of a bill that calls for the end of most abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy — a move that would put him in the thick of another politically charged national debate and perhaps shield him from the barrage of criticism he is facing on immigration. Published July 3, 2013

** FILE ** Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes is the Democratic Party opponent of Sen. Mitch McConnell. (Associated Press)

Grimes says McConnell has lost touch with voters

Minutes after Alison Lundergan Grimes launched her Senate bid in Kentucky the battle lines were drawn, with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell tying the Democrat to President Obama and the agenda of "Washington liberals." Published July 2, 2013

An Egyptian protesting President Mohammed Morsi waves a national flag in front of a banner criticizing Morsi and U.S. President Barack Obama in Tahrir Square, the focal point of Egyptian uprising, in Cairo on June 30, 2013. Thousands of opponents and supporters of the president began massing in city squares in competing rallies, gearing up for a day of massive nationwide protests that many fear could turn deadly as the opposition seeks to push out Mohammed Morsi. Arabic reads, "Leave." (Associated Press)

Obama appeals for restraint in Egyptian protests

Responding to the escalating anti-government protests in Egypt, President Obama warned Monday that there could be more violence and urged people on both sides of the uprising to "show restraint." Published July 1, 2013

U.S. President Barack Obama shakes the hands of a line of women stationed to welcome his arrival, accompanied by Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete, right, at State House in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania Monday, July 1, 2013. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)

Obama steps up aid to save Africa's animals

President Obama issued an executive order Monday targeting the illegal trafficking of elephant tusks, rhinoceros horns and other products from protected animals in Africa, saying the poaching and trafficking is threatening the continent's iconic wildlife and must be stopped. Published July 1, 2013

** FILE ** In this June 26, 2013, file photo, Texas state Sen. Wendy Davis, Fort Worth Democrat, stands in pink tennis shoes on a nearly empty Senate floor as she filibusters in an effort to kill an abortion bill in Austin. (Associated Press)

GOP lawmakers in Texas take another swing at stricter abortion limits

Days after a Democrat-led filibuster helped kill new abortion restrictions, Republican Gov. Rick Perry and GOP lawmakers plan to take another swing at the politically charged issue when they return to Austin on Monday for a second special legislative session. Published July 1, 2013

** FILE ** House Speaker John A. Boehner, Ohio Republican (Associated Press)

Same-sex marriages still divisive in GOP

The Supreme Court's rulings on gay marriage this week exposed growing fissures among Republicans, with some social conservatives issuing a call to arms in defense of traditional marriage and others warning it is time for the party to soften its rhetoric on the politically charged issue. Published June 27, 2013

President Obama pauses during a speech on climate change at Georgetown University on June 25, 2013, in Washington. (Associated Press)

Obama administration has lost two-thirds of Supreme Court cases

President Obama celebrated the Supreme Court's decisions Wednesday on gay marriage, but overall it has been a rocky term before the court for his administration, winning just more than a third of the cases in which it was involved. Published June 26, 2013

A new White House video reveals that climate change is much on President Obama's mind (image from the White House)

Obama to push unilateral action against climate change

President Obama says he will renew his push to combat climate change, beginning with a speech Tuesday — but he will find his options more limited than during his first term when temperatures appeared to be on the rise, along with momentum for curbing greenhouse gas emissions at home and abroad. Published June 24, 2013