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Stephen Dinan

Stephen Dinan

Stephen Dinan can be reached at [email protected].

Articles by Stephen Dinan

Medicaid work in 11 states sent oversea; privacy worries raised

Eleven states ship some of their Medicaid administrative work to foreign countries, including nine that have no specific protections in law to make sure private health information isn't sent overseas, according to an inspector general's audit released Monday that raises potentially thorny questions about the policy. Published April 14, 2014

FILE - This March 4, 2014 file photo shows copies of President Barack Obama’s proposed fiscal 2015 budget set out for distribution on Capitol Hill in Washington. The Congressional Budget Office releases its analysis of President Barack Obama's 2015 budget proposal, including the effects of the insurance coverage provisions of the health law, along with updated 10-year projections of federal spending, revenues and deficits.  (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

Obamacare costs drop, helps improve deficit picture

Obamacare will be cheaper than initially predicted because the plans health insurers are offering through the exchanges are not as generous as those most Americans get through their jobs, according to a new analysis Monday by the Congressional Budget Office. Published April 14, 2014

House Committee on Homeland Security Chairman Rep. Bennie G. Thompson, D-Miss., speaks during a luncheon in Washington, Monday, Jan. 29, 2007. (AP Photo/Haraz N. Ghanbari)

TSA defies audit, quietly expands behavior screening activity

The government's chief auditor has urged TSA to cut its behavior screening program, but the agency instead quietly expanded it last month on passengers at Baltimore-Washington Thurgood Marshall International Airport. Published April 10, 2014

** FILE ** In this May 22, 2013, file photo, then Internal Revenue Service official Lois Lerner refuses to answer questions as the House Oversight Committee holds a hearing to investigate the extra scrutiny the IRS gave tea party and other conservative groups that applied for tax-exempt status, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

Contempt: Oversight committee votes to cite IRS's Lerner

The House Oversight Committee voted along party lines Thursday to cite Lois G. Lerner for contempt of Congress, rejecting Democrats’ comparisons to McCarthy-style tactics in the 1950s and saying Congress has a right to get information about Ms. Lerner’s role in the IRS’s tea-party targeting scandal. Published April 10, 2014

FILE - House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., goes before the House Rules Committee for final work on his budget to fund the government in fiscal year 2015, at the Capitol in Washington, in this April 7, 2014 file photo. The plan being considered Thursday April 10, 2014 is a nonbinding framework aimed more at engaging GOP voters than rival Democrats. The budget plan from Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., revives a now-familiar list of spending cuts to promise balance, including $2.1 trillion over 10 years in health care subsidies and coverage under the Affordable Care Act; $732 billion in cuts to Medicaid and other health care programs; and almost $1 trillion in cuts to other benefit programs like food stamps, Pell Grants and farm subsidies. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

House clears GOP budget in relatively easy vote

House Republicans pushed their 2015 budget through on Thursday, adopting a plan that holds steady on taxes but calls for deep spending cuts to bring the budget into balance by 2024. Published April 10, 2014

Cynthia Diaz, 18, from Arizona, is senn outside the White House on Tuesday April 8,2014. She was there with a group of immigrant activists to protest deportations. Cynthia's mother was deported in 2011 and crossed back into the US from Mexico this March, and is now being detained in Arizona. Cynthia, a US citizen, says she'll go on hunger strike to pressure Obama to lay off the deportations.   (AP Photo/The Tampa Bay Times, Alex Leary)

Ladies get special treatment: Few women deported from U.S.

Almost all immigrants deported by the federal government are men, and more than three-quarters of them are in their 20s and 30s, according to a new report Thursday that gives the clearest look yet at who immigration agents are removing from the country. Published April 10, 2014

** FILE ** In this May 22, 2013, file photo, then Internal Revenue Service official Lois Lerner refuses to answer questions as the House Oversight Committee holds a hearing to investigate the extra scrutiny the IRS gave tea party and other conservative groups that applied for tax-exempt status, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

Displays of Obama, Democratic support common at some IRS offices

Ethics investigators publicly accused several Internal Revenue Service employees and offices Wednesday of engaging in pro-Democratic politics on government time, including one agency office in Dallas where employees posting pro-Obama stickers and buttons was "commonplace." Published April 9, 2014

Rep. Jackie Speier, California Democrat. (Associated Press) ** FILE **

Improper disability pay may be from review backlog

As many as one-fifth of all those receiving Social Security disability probably don't deserve the benefits, the president of the association for disability examiners told Congress on Wednesday, as lawmakers searched for ways to cut down on fraud in the fast-growing Social Security disability caseload. Published April 9, 2014

**FILE** House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (right), California Republican, with the committee's ranking member, Rep. Elijah Cummings, Maryland Democrat, continues his probe of whether tea party groups were improperly targeted for increased scrutiny by the Internal Revenue Service as the panel questions IRS Commissioner John Koskinen on March 26, 2014, during a hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington. (Associated Press)

Issa: IRS coordinated with Dems to attack tea party group

House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell E. Issa on Wednesday accused his Democratic counterpart, Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, of colluding with the IRS to attack one of the tea party groups that was targeted by the tax agency for intrusive scrutiny and long delays. Published April 9, 2014

** FILE ** In this Friday, March 22, 2013, file photo, the exterior of the Internal Revenue Service building in Washington, is shown. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)

IRS under fire: Vote for Obama stickers, campaign cheerleading commonplace

Even as the IRS faces growing heat over Lois G. Lerner and the tea party targeting scandal, a government watchdog said Wednesday it's pursuing cases against three other tax agency employees and offices suspected of illegal political activity in support of President Obama and fellow Democrats. Published April 9, 2014

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

Deportations down again; pace is lowest of Obama presidency

The Obama administration deported its 2 millionth immigrant sometime Wednesday, according to projections by The Washington Times that also showed agents are on pace this year to remove the fewest number of immigrants of President Obama's tenure. Published April 9, 2014

Lois G. Lerner

Handling of former IRS employee Lois Lerner makes lawyers cringe

As the House prepares for several key votes on former Internal Revenue Service employee Lois G. Lerner and potential legal action, analysts say she and her attorney have mishandled their case by picking and choosing when they want to talk, and to whom they are willing to talk. Published April 7, 2014

This photo taken Nov. 25, 2013 shows microbiologist Heather Carleton pulling up results of Listeria bacteria DNA while demonstrating a whole-genome sequencing machine called a MiSeq in a foodborne disease outbreak lab at the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta. The nation's disease detectives are beginning a program to try to outsmart outbreaks by routinely decoding the DNA of deadly bacteria and viruses. The initial target: Listeria, a kind of bacteria that's the third-leading cause of death from food poisoning, and one that's especially dangerous to pregnant women. Already, the technology has helped to solve a small listeria outbreak that killed one person in California and sickened seven others in Maryland.(AP Photo/David Goldman)

Corporate scramble over shortage of 'high tech' visas could spark reform debate

It took less than a week for businesses to apply for all 85,000 specialty visas under the government's H-1B program, which is generally used to bring high-tech workers into the country, and the quick pace could be the spark that reignites the immigration debate in Congress this year. Published April 7, 2014

Rep. Kyrsten Sinema, Arizona Democrat, applauded Congress' bipartisan effort to reverse the planned cuts to Medicare Advantage payments. (Associated Press)

Medicare will see boost, not cuts, in 2014

Bowing to intense election-year pressure from both Democrats and Republicans, the Obama administration reversed course Monday and said that rather than cutting Medicare Advantage payments, it will actually boost them next year. Published April 7, 2014

Feds run $413 billion deficit at halfway point of fiscal year

The federal government ran a $413 billion deficit through the first half of fiscal 2014, according to a new estimate Monday from the Congressional Budget Office that showed continued improvement in the nation's fiscal picture. Published April 7, 2014

The American Civil Liberties Union of Arizona accused the Tucson Police Department of violating protections included in state law, arguing that officers last year conducted an illegal stop of two men sitting in a van just because they were Hispanic. The ACLU is trying to build a case that the Arizona's immigration law, known as SB 1070 and upheld in principle by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2012, is being applied in an unconstitutional manner. (Associated Press)

ACLU uses profiling charges against police to target Arizona's illegal immigrant law

In a coordinated legal blitz against one of the nation's toughest anti-immigration statutes, the ACLU of Arizona last week accused the Tucson Police Department of violating protections included in the law, arguing that officers last year conducted an illegal stop of two men sitting in a van just because they were Hispanic. Published April 6, 2014