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Stephen Dinan

Stephen Dinan

Stephen Dinan can be reached at [email protected].

Articles by Stephen Dinan

Copies of the fiscal 2013 budget are delivered and ready to be picked up on Feb. 13, 2012, at the Cannon House Office Building on Capitol Hill in Washington. (Rod Lamkey Jr./The Washington Times)

Federal government balanced its books in December

The federal government came within a whisker of running a budget surplus in December, according to a preliminary estimate Tuesday that underscored some good news for the federal budget. Published January 8, 2013

The Capitol dome is seen on Capitol Hill in Washington on Tuesday, Dec. 11, 2012. (Associated Press)

Once again, fights on spending, taxes and debt dominate the debate

After Republicans won control of the House in the 2010 elections, they triumphed in the first showdown with the White House on spending. Six months later, they and President Obama dueled to a draw on the debt. And Mr. Obama has emerged the victor in last week's tax fight. Now, all sides are gearing up for even bigger battles over entitlement spending and broad tax reform. Published January 7, 2013

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents in New Jersey take a person into custody on March 28, 2012, during Operation Cross Check III. (Associated Press/U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement) **FILE**

Immigration enforcement funding tops FBI's, ATF's

After decades of steady growth, immigration-enforcement spending has dropped slightly under President Obama — though the amount is still more than the budgets of the FBI, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and all other federal law enforcement agencies combined, according to a report released Monday. Published January 7, 2013

The U.S. Capitol building is seen Saturday, Nov. 19, 2011, in Washington. The six Democrats and six Republicans on the supercommittee, as it's familiarly called, have until next Wednesday, Nov. 23, to come together on a deficit reduction plan. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

GOP eyes shutdown as ‘fiscal sanity’ jolt

The appetite for a government shutdown is growing among Republicans, who shied away from one during the debt and spending fights in the last Congress but now say one may be needed. Published January 4, 2013

House Speaker John A. Boehner of Ohio, left, performs a mock swearing in for Rep. Donna Edwards, Maryland Democrat, Thursday, Jan. 3, 2013, on Capitol Hill in Washington as the 113th Congress began. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)

Religious diversity in Congress expands list of holy texts

The Bible and Torah, for years the standard religious texts used to swear in members of Congress, have been joined by the Constitution, the Koran — and, Thursday, for the first time ever, the Hindu Bhagavad-Gita. Published January 3, 2013

House Speaker John A. Boehner holds the gavel after narrowly being re-elected to lead the U.S. House of Representatives in the 113th Congress on Thursday, Jan. 3, 2013, at the U.S. Capitol in Washington. (Andrew Harnik/The Washington Times)

Boehner returns as speaker by three votes

House Speaker John A. Boehner narrowly survived his re-election battle on Thursday as the 113th Congress convened at the Capitol amid calls for cooperation on the same issues that left lawmakers gridlocked over the past two years. Published January 3, 2013

** FILE ** Sen. Marco Rubio, Florida Republican. (Associated Press)

‘Cliff’ vote could haunt Republicans

Tuesday's votes on the "fiscal cliff" agreement will reverberate all the way into the 2016 presidential campaign as potential Republican contenders split their votes on the tax deal. Published January 2, 2013

Late on New Year's Day, Speaker of the House John A. Boehner, Ohio Republican, walks past reporters after a closed-door meeting meeting of House Republicans as the "fiscal cliff" bill passed by the Senate last night waits for a vote in the GOP-controlled House, at the Capitol, Jan. 1, 2013. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Boehner splits with GOP on 'fiscal cliff' vote

Tuesday's vote to avoid the "fiscal cliff" exposed a deep rift within the House GOP that ran from the rank-and-file all the way to the very top of the party. Published January 1, 2013

House Speaker John A. Boehner leaves a GOP caucus meeting on "fiscal cliff" legislation at the U.S. Capitol in Washington on Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2013. (Andrew Harnik/The Washington Times)

Congress approves 'fiscal cliff' deal in bipartisan vote

After briefly pumping the brakes, House Republicans were poised Tuesday night to pass the deal to avert the "fiscal cliff" despite deep misgivings about hundreds of billions of dollars in new spending included in the compromise foisted on them by Senate Republicans and the White House. Published January 1, 2013

Rep. Harold Rogers (Associated Press)

House counters with slimmer Sandy spending bill

House Republicans proposed a $27 billion emergency spending bill for Superstorm Sandy relief on Tuesday, preparing to rush the measure through the House with just two days left before the current congressional session ends. Published January 1, 2013

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (right), Kentucky Republican, returns to his office after a vote on the "fiscal cliff" deal on Capitol Hill on Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2013, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Senate votes to avoid 'fiscal cliff'

Congress careened over the edge of the fiscal cliff at midnight, but a solution was in the offing after the Senate voted early Tuesday to approve a deal that combined tax-rate hikes and new stimulus spending, along with a two-month delay of automatic spending cuts. Published December 31, 2012

Speaker of the House John Boehner, Ohio Republican, walks to a closed-door GOP caucus as Congress meets to negotiate a legislative path to avoid the so-called "fiscal cliff" of automatic tax increases and deep spending cuts that could kick in Jan. 1., at the Capitol, Sunday, Dec. 30, 2012. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

GOP backs off Social Security income change

Republicans on Sunday conceded on their demand that any "fiscal cliff" deal trim Social Security cost-of-living increases, signaling the end — for now — of their push to reform entitlements in exchange for higher tax rates. Published December 30, 2012

Sen. Chuck Grassley

Sandy-hit agencies get no free ride for new cars

The Senate passed a massive Superstorm Sandy relief bill late last week but not before lawmakers took a stab at some accountability — including insisting that the FBI, Secret Service and other law enforcement agencies first try to replace flood-damaged vehicles from within their existing fleets. Published December 30, 2012

"There's still significant distance between the two sides. We intend to continue negotiations," said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. (Associated Press)

Offers fly, but still no 'fiscal cliff' agreement

With hours to go, President Obama and Congress barreled toward the New Year's Day "fiscal cliff," trading last-minute offers and narrowing the range of options Sunday, but reaching no deal. Published December 30, 2012

President Obama delivers a statement on the "fiscal cliff" negotiations with congressional leaders in the briefing room of the White House on Friday, Dec. 28, 2012, in Washington. The negotiations are a last-ditch effort to avoid across-the-board first-of-the-year tax increases and deep spending cuts. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Obama says immigration reform will be priority

President Obama says immigration is his major second-term priority, on par with his push for health care in his first term, according to an interview aired Sunday that continues to boost the issue to the top of the political conversation. Published December 30, 2012