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Stephen Dinan

Stephen Dinan

Stephen Dinan can be reached at [email protected].

Articles by Stephen Dinan

The dome of the Capitol is reflected in a skylight of the Capitol Visitor's Center in Washington on  Jan. 1, 2013. (Associated Press) ** FILE **

Congress gets 3½ months to run up debt

Chastened by its last brush with the debt limit, Congress on Thursday approved a waiver allowing the government to run up as much debt as it needs over the next 3½ months — but senators also prodded themselves to finally write a budget for the first time in four years. Published January 31, 2013

From left: Former Sens. John W. Warner of Virginia, Chuck Hagel of Nebraska and Sam Nunn of Georgia arrive Jan. 31, 2013, on Capitol Hill to testify before the Senate Armed Services Committee at Hagel's confirmation hearing to be the next Secretary of Defense. (Andrew Harnik/The Washington Times)

Defense secretary nominee Hagel roughed up by friendly fire

Former Sen. Chuck Hagel appears to face an even steeper climb to become the next defense secretary after a rocky confirmation hearing Thursday in which his fellow Republicans blasted him for positions on issues and for what they called his willingness to alter positions "for the sake of political expediency." Published January 31, 2013

Mexican immigrant Roberto Garcia (center) and son Alan (left) look at wristwatches while shopping in Los Angeles on Jan. 28, 2013. (Associated Press)

Border numbers rise ahead of talks on immigration

Seeking to boost the bipartisan momentum in Congress for tackling immigration reform, President Obama said Tuesday that he now sees "a genuine desire to get this done soon" — but warned that the debate will get more heated in the weeks ahead. Published January 29, 2013

**FILE** This aerial photo from Jan. 18, 2013, shows homes damaged by Superstorm Sandy in Fire Island, N.Y. (Associated Press)

Congress OKs $50B in Sandy aid

Congress on Monday cleared $50 billion in additional Superstorm Sandy relief and reconstruction aid for the Northeast, sending it to President Obama for his signature and bringing the total tab for taxpayers from the storm to $60 billion. Published January 28, 2013

**FILE** Immigration reform activists hold a sign in front of Freedom Tower in downtown Miami on Jan. 28, 2013. The Florida Immigrant Coalition, together with other immigrant families and community organizations, have initiated the "Di Que Si!" campaign, which translates into English "I said yes!," demanding immigration reform that creates a system that keeps families united. (Associated Press)

Immigration plan mirrors 2007's

Powered by the results of the November elections, a bipartisan group of top senators on Monday floated the latest proposal to overhaul the nation's shattered immigration system — but acknowledged they are at the earliest stages of what is a fragile balancing act. Published January 28, 2013

President Obama announces in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington on Thursday, Jan. 24, 2013, that he will nominate Mary Joe White (right) to lead the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and will renominate Richard Cordray (left) to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, a position he has held for the past year under a recess appointment. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

Ruling puts presidential power at risk

The federal appeals court ruling last week finding President Obama abused his recess appointment powers harkened back to a vision of the Constitution that many thought long dead, and could upend decades of practice by Republicans and Democrats. Published January 28, 2013

Sandy relief bill eats up taxes on the rich

Congress is poised to clear the final $50 billion chunk of emergency aid for Superstorm Sandy relief Monday — and in one vote, it will have used up all the new tax money President Obama won by raising rates on the wealthy in the "fiscal cliff" deal. Published January 28, 2013

**FILE** Richard Cordray stands left as President Obama announces in the State Dining Room of the White House on Jan. 24, 2013, that he will re-nominate Cordray to lead the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, a role that he has held for the last year under a recess appointment, and nominate Mary Joe White to lead the Security and Exchange Commission (SEC). (Associated Press

Obama recess appointments unconstitutional

In a case freighted with major constitutional implications, a federal appeals court on Friday overturned President Obama's controversial recess appointments from last year, ruling he abused his powers and acted when the Senate was not actually in a recess. Published January 25, 2013

"We're sending a message to the Democrat-controlled Senate: It's time to do your job," House Speaker John A. Boehner said Wednesday. (Associated Press)

Republican strategy switch clears the way for debt hike

Acting well before the deadline and with rare bipartisan unity, the House voted Wednesday to waive the federal debt ceiling for the next four months as Republicans retreated from their insistence that any raising of the ceiling be matched dollar-for-dollar with spending cuts. Published January 23, 2013

** FILE ** House Speaker John A. Boehner, Ohio Republican, walks to his ceremonial office off the House floor to greet new members of Congress at the Capitol in Washington on Monday, Jan. 14, 2013. (Associated Press)

GOP reverses course, kicks debt extension down the road

House Republicans backed away from threats of a government shutdown on Wednesday, passing a bill that pushes a debt crisis off until at least the middle of May to give all sides more space to negotiate broader tax and spending deals. Published January 23, 2013

** FILE ** House Speaker John A. Boehner, Ohio Republican, walks to his ceremonial office off the House floor to greet new members of Congress at the Capitol in Washington on Monday, Jan. 14, 2013. (Associated Press)

Tying members’ pay to debt limit legal, GOP says

House Republicans will force a vote Wednesday on a plan to stave off a debt-ceiling crisis for three months, but it's the rest of their plan — to hold lawmakers' pay hostage to their ability to pass a budget — that is testing the limits of the Constitution. Published January 22, 2013

President Obama cited the beginning of the Constitution's preamble during an 18-minute speech Monday from the grand platform of the Capitol as he started his second term in office with a blueprint for national unity. (Andrew Harnik/The Washington times)

Obama uses the Constitution as basis for his aggressive plans

President Obama's appeal for unity in his inaugural address four years ago gave way Monday to a more pointedly aggressive vision of liberalism and social justice, coming from a chief executive who survived his first term's legislative battles and is determined to make his second term consequential. Published January 21, 2013

President Obama talks with Vice President Joseph R. Biden in the presidential box during the inaugural parade down Pennsylvania Avenue en route to the White House on Jan. 21, 2013. (Associated Press)

Biden seems revved up and ready for 2016

Even as President Obama on Monday grasped the reins of power for another four years, the man who would be his successor — Vice President Joseph R. Biden — was never far away. Published January 21, 2013

The U.S. Capitol is kept largely out of reach from American taxpayers.

Obama gut-busting lunch menu tops 3,000 calories

The ceremonial lunch President Obama and his former congressional colleagues are eating Monday tops out at 3,000 calories, according to a website that has tallied up the luxurious menu of lobster, bison and apple pie. Published January 21, 2013

The sun rises over Capitol Hill looking down Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, Monday, Jan. 21, 2013, as Washington prepares for the 57th Presidential Inaugural and the ceremonial swearing-in of President Barack Obama's second term. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Mall swells with inauguration crowd

Hundreds of thousands of well-wishers for President Obama were streaming onto the National Mall in front of the Capitol early Monday morning in anticipation of the ceremonial inauguration. Published January 21, 2013

President Obama is officially sworn in by Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. in the Blue Room of the White House during the 57th Presidential Inauguration in Washington on Sunday, Jan. 20, 2013. (AP Photo/Brendan Smialowski, Pool)

Obama faces a daunting 4 years as he takes the reins for second term

Barack Hussein Obama took the presidential oath at 11:55 Sunday morning in a small ceremony at the White House, gripping the reins of office for another four-year term and a chance to build on his already historic legacy — though unlike the beginning of his first term, he now faces a divided Congress capable of thwarting him. Published January 20, 2013