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Stephen Dinan

Stephen Dinan

Stephen Dinan can be reached at [email protected].

Articles by Stephen Dinan

Copies of President Barack Obama's proposed fiscal 2015 budget are set out for distribution by the Senate Budget Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, March 4, 2014. President Obama is unwrapping a nearly $4 trillion budget that gives Democrats an election-year playbook for fortifying the economy and bolstering Americans' incomes. It also underscores how pressure has faded to launch bold, new attacks on federal deficits. (Associated Press)

Obama budget raises spending, taxes

Saying he's optimistic the economy and the government's fiscal picture have finally turned the corner five years into his tenure, President Obama announced a $3.9 trillion 2015 budget Tuesday that calls for tax hikes and a $60 billion boost in spending next year. Published March 4, 2014

Sally Jewell

National parks shutdown cost local economies $400 million

When federal officials closed national parks during last year's government shutdown, it meant nearly 8 million fewer visits to the parks and cost local communities more than $400 million in economic activity, the National Park Service said Monday. Published March 3, 2014

Selling Hillary Clinton: Papers reveal advice, 'fans'

As first lady, Hillary Rodham Clinton and her team had a deep preoccupation with the press, repeatedly searching for ways to soften her image and taking stock of who her friends in the media might be, according to documents released last week from her private papers. Published March 2, 2014

First lady Michelle Obama talks at the Jessie Trice Community Health Care Center in Miami, Wednesday, March 5, 2014, to highlight the work that hospitals, doctors and clinics are doing to educate their patients about the Affordable Care Act and how patients can get insurance. (AP Photo/Luis M. Alvarez)

1M kids stop school lunch due to Michelle Obama’s food standards

The federal government's changes to school lunch menus have been disastrous, causing problems for cafeterias trying to comply with the rules and leaving the menu so expensive or unpalatable that more than 1 million students have stopped buying lunch. Published February 27, 2014

Ousted IRS chief Steve Miller, right, and J. Russell George, Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, are sworn in on Capitol Hill, in Washington, Friday, May 17, 2013, prior to testifying before the House Ways and Means Committee hearing on the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) practice of targeting applicants for tax-exempt status based on political leanings. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

EXPOSED: The yearlong IRS plot to punish tea party, nonprofit groups

The IRS's new proposal to crack down on nonprofits was in the works a year before the tea party targeting scandal broke, according to a Treasury Department official who told congressional investigators it was spurred by pressure from outside parties. Published February 27, 2014

House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio meets with reporters on e Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Feb. 26, 2014, following a Republican caucus. When asked about House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Rep. Dave Camp, R-Mich., and his plan to release a rewrite of the nation’s tax code later today, Boehner distanced himself from the details and wouldn't promise a House vote on the plan this year.   (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Boehner: 'Healthy' talk with Obama on immigration reform

Immigration was the one area of agreement House Speaker John A. Boehner highlighted out of his private meeting this week with President Obama, signaling that the prospect for legislation may still have legs this year. Published February 27, 2014

** FILE ** House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, California Democrat, holds a  Jan. 23, 2013, news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington to discuss the reintroduction of the Violence Against Women Act. (Associated Press)

Nancy Pelosi is adamant: I'm not retiring

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said Thursday that the looming retirements of many of her top lieutenants doesn't mean she will be leaving soon. Published February 27, 2014

Peralta

Fallen Marine Rafael Peralta’s family accuses reporter of playing 'race card'

Ten years after a 2004 firefight in Iraq, Sgt. Rafael Peralta’s death continues to ignite controversy, with Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel last week refusing to reopen his nomination for the Medal of Honor and the Marine’s family accusing a newspaper of race-baiting in its reporting on the standoff. Published February 27, 2014

Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson told Congress on Wednesday that he wants to keep the department's drones focused on border security. He did not rule out, though, the possibility of loaning to drones out to other governmental agencies. (Associated Press)

Jeh Johnson wants Homeland Security drones focused on border

Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson told Congress Wednesday that he wants to try to keep the department's drones focused on border security — though he didn't rule out lending them out to other law enforcement agencies for serious investigations. Published February 26, 2014

Internal Revenue Service (IRS( Commissioner John Koskinen arrives on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2014, to testify before the House Ways and Means Oversight Subcommittee hearing on the IRS.  (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

IRS says planned tea party crackdown rules won't be in place by November

The IRS said Wednesday its new proposal to crack down on tea party and other nonprofit groups won't be ready before the November elections — even as House Republicans voted to halt the entire process for the next year, arguing the tax agency hasn't even learned the lessons of its previous problems. Published February 26, 2014

** FILE ** Illegal immigrants have been the focus of much debate. (Associated Press)

Obama eases penalties for businesses hiring illegal immigrants

The Obama administration regularly cuts a break for businesses that violate immigration hiring rules, reducing their fines by an average of 40 percent from what they should be, according to an audit released Tuesday that suggests the government could be doing more to go after unscrupulous employers. Published February 25, 2014

FILE - In this Feb. 6, 2014 file photo, House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington. It was once the backbone of the House Republican majority _ the steadfast stand that brought President Barack Obama to the negotiating table and yielded more than $2 trillion in deficit reduction. On Tuesday, Feb. 11, it abruptly vanished, the victim of Republican disunity and a president determined not to bargain again.   (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

Tea party group settles on challenger to Boehner

After conducting a search and straw poll, a national tea party group has settled on a Republican primary challenger to House Speaker John A. Boehner, picking high school teacher J.D. Winteregg to carry the tea party banner in the intraparty battle. Published February 25, 2014

FILE - This Feb. 4, 2014 file photo shows Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky. during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington. The Supreme Court appeared divided on Monday over the sole Obama administration program already in place to limit power plant and factory emissions of gases blamed for global warming. The presence of McConnell in the courtroom underscored the political stakes in President Barack Obama’s high-profile effort to deal with global warming _ a policy Obama is pursuing after failing to persuade Congress to enact climate change legislation. McConnell is facing a tough re-election fight in which he refers often to the administration’s assault on the coal industry in Kentucky and elsewhere.  (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

Supreme Court weighs EPA powers on clean air

A divided Supreme Court grappled Monday with just how much power Congress intended to give the EPA in the Clean Air Act, in a case that could determine how much of an end run President Obama can do around Capitol Hill as he seeks to impose his own solutions to climate change. Published February 24, 2014

**FILE** President and Chief Executive Officer of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Thomas J. Donohue, left, listens as AFL-CIO President Richard L. Trumka, right, testifies before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee hearing on transportation infrastructure Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2014. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh) **FILE**

U.S. Chamber of Commerce pleads for increased immigration

Polls show most Americans prefer to see legal immigration kept steady or reduced, rather than increased, believing more immigration will lead to competition for jobs. But Chamber President Thomas J. Donohue said Americans shouldn't be worried. Published February 24, 2014