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Stephen Dinan

Stephen Dinan

Stephen Dinan can be reached at [email protected].

Articles by Stephen Dinan

**FILE** Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Kentucky Republican, accompanied by Senate Minority Whip John Cornyn (right), Texas Republican, and Sen. John Barrasso, Wyoming Republican, speaks with reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington on June 18, 2013. (Associated Press)

McConnell: Obama a free-speech 'bully'

A year after he warned that President Obama was pursuing a broad government overreach that threatened free speech, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says the recent scandal with the IRS shows how far the White House has gone in a "coordinated effort to stifle speech." Published June 21, 2013

** FILE ** Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack. (Associated Press)

Coburn slams Agriculture for wasteful spending

Even as it is cutting food programs for poor women and children, the Agriculture Department is still spending money on housing for wealthy residents on Martha's Vineyard and paying companies to run marketing campaigns for alcohol, pickles and jelly, according to a senator who wants to see those priorities changed. Published June 20, 2013

**FILE** James Comey will be nominated by President Obama to replace FBI Director Robert Mueller. (Associated Press)

Obama to officially nominate Comey for FBI

President Obama on Friday will officially nominate James B. Comey to lead the FBI, a White House official said, tapping a former member of the Bush administration to oversee the country's top law enforcement agency at a time when it's facing new pressures over secrecy and snooping. Published June 20, 2013

**FILE** U.S. Border Patrol agent Jerry Conlin looks to the north on June 13, 2013, near where the border wall ends as is separates Tijuana, Mexico and San Diego. (Associated Press)

Border security deal boosts immigration bill's chances in Senate

Senators struck a deal Thursday to boost border security in the immigration bill, including building 700 miles of fence and adding 20,000 Border Patrol agents to the Southwest, in a move those on both sides say could clear the way for a bipartisan vote next week. Published June 20, 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)

Rubio breaks with Gang of Eight

Sen. Marco Rubio broke Thursday with the rest of the Gang of Eight that wrote the immigration bill, voting to back a strict border security amendment that would have imposed real yardsticks for any eventual path to citizenship for illegal immigrants. Published June 20, 2013

** FILE ** This file photo taken July 28, 2010, shows a group of illegal immigrants waiting in line while being deported to Mexico at the Nogales Port of Entry in Nogales, Ariz. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File)

Immigration agents say border security deal not good enough

Republican senators are nearing agreement on a border security amendment they hope can win over wavering votes on the immigration bill, but the head of the immigration agents' union sent a letter to the two key senators Thursday warning that a narrow focus on border security will still leave the U.S. vulnerable. Published June 20, 2013

Sen. Mike Lee, Utah Republican

Senate cuts itself out of border security certification

Senators said Wednesday they don't want to be involved in certifying whether the border is secure, saying that putting that question before a political body could keep illegal immigrants from being legalized. Published June 19, 2013

**FILE** Rep. Steve Stockman (second from right), Texas Republican, participates in a mock swearing-in ceremony with Speaker of the House Rep. John Boehner, Ohio Republican, for the 113th Congress in Washington on Jan. 3, 2013. (Associated Press)

House staffer survives — easily — on food stamps

A staff member for a Texas Republican decided to take on the challenge of eating a fill week's worth of meals on the $31.50 allotted for a food stamp recipient, and says he ended up with nearly $4 to spare. Published June 19, 2013

**FILE** In a Aug. 24, 2005, file photo, Reconstructive surgeon Dr. Maria Siemionow adjusts her sterile bonnet as she heads into a micro-surgical procedure at the Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland, Ohio. The Cleveland Clinic has done the nation's first almost total face transplant, a hospital spokeswoman said Tuesday, Dec.16, 2008. Dr. Maria Siemionow replaced 80 percent of a woman's face with that of a dead female donor. The hospital spokeswoman said that the operation was done a couple weeks ago.

Immigration bill boosts costs of 'Obamacare'

The Senate immigration bill will be good for the U.S. economy as a whole, but for individual workers the picture is not as good — in fact, unemployment will rise slightly and average wages will drop over the next decade, according to the Congressional Budget Office's analysis Monday. Published June 19, 2013

People shout out against the Strengthen and Fortify Enforcement Act in the hall outside the House Judiciary Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington on June 18, 2013. The committee in the Republican-led House is preparing to cast its first votes on immigration this year, on a tough enforcement-focused measure that Democrats and immigrant groups are protesting loudly. (Associated Press)

CBO: Immigration bill only stops 25 percent of illegal immigration

The Senate immigration bill will be a major boost to the federal budget but does relatively little to clamp down on illegal immigration — cutting the future flow by only about 25 percent — according to the Congressional Budget Office analysis of the bill, released Tuesday afternoon. Published June 18, 2013

**FILE** The sun casts a shadow on the border fence that passes through the Nature Conservancy's southernmost preserve in Brownsville, Texas, on Sept. 4, 2012. (Associated Press)

Senate rejects border fence

Senators on Tuesday rejected building the 700 miles of double-tier border fencing Congress authorized just seven years ago, with a majority of the Senate saying they didn't want to delay granting illegal immigrants legal status while the fence was being built. Published June 18, 2013

** FILE ** A road lined with vehicle barriers marking the U.S-Mexico border in New Mexico is the spartan territory for Border Patrol agents. (Associated Press)

Senate set to vote on border fence amendment in immigration bill

A week into the immigration debate, the Senate has finally set up showdowns Tuesday afternoon on some of the biggest questions, including whether to build the full 700-mile fence Congress approved seven years ago, but never followed through on. Published June 18, 2013

Fat chance: At 24 pounds, immigration bill is too big for many to swallow

At 1,075 pages long, it's not the biggest bill to come through in recent years — that honor still belongs to the health care law — but the immigration legislation pending in the Senate is challenging the ability of voters to get their brains around its complexity. Published June 16, 2013

"There are still restrictions, but there is greater flexibility" on the issue of transferring detainees held at Guantanamo Bay, said Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Sen. Carl Levin. (Associated Press)

Senate panel gives Obama flexibility on transferring detainees

The Senate Armed Services Committee voted Thursday to give President Obama more flexibility to transfer detainees from Guantanamo Bay into the U.S. or to other countries, moving to grant some of the powers the administration is seeking. Published June 13, 2013

** FILE ** Syrian President Bashar Assad speaks during an interview on Wednesday, April 17, 2013. (Associated Press/Syrian State TV via AP video)

Obama says Syria has crossed 'red line' with chemical weapons, will send weapons

The Syrian government used chemical weapons against rebel forces trying to overthrow the regime, the Obama administration said Thursday, acknowledging that President Bashar Assad has without doubt crossed the "red line" President Obama laid down for U.S. action in the country's bloody civil war. Published June 13, 2013