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Stephen Dinan

Stephen Dinan

Stephen Dinan can be reached at [email protected].

Articles by Stephen Dinan

Alejandro N. Mayorkas is director of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service. (Associated Press)

Review finds some aliens get benefits

The federal government's system of tracking immigration status is so broken that it gives a green light to one in eight aliens who have been ordered deported, according to an audit Tuesday that found the government has gone on to approve some of those who slip through for work in sensitive areas of airports and granted them benefits such as Medicaid or food stamps. Published December 18, 2012

Press Secretary Jay Carney briefs reporters at the White House in Washington, Monday, Dec. 17, 2012. Carney says the president will engage the American people and lawmakers on the issue of gun violence in the coming weeks. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

Gun bills face tough sailing on Capitol Hill

The last time either chamber of Congress took on gun control was in 2004, when the Senate considered a pro-gun bill, ended up adding three major gun control measures — then killed it, saying the whole thing had become too messy. Published December 17, 2012

** FILE ** In this Monday, Sept. 19, 2011 photo, Sen. Daniel K. Inouye, Hawaii Democrat, president pro temper of the Senate, and a recipient of the Medal of Honor, attends a ceremony on Capitol Hill in Washington, where he is presented a commemorative coin marking the 150th anniversary of the creation of the Medal of Honor by Congress. Inouye died of respiratory complications, Monday, Dec. 17, 2012. He was 88. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

Sen. Inouye of Hawaii dies of respiratory failure

Senate President Pro Tempore Daniel K. Inouye, the chamber's senior member and a hero of World War II, died Monday of respiratory failure, leaving what his colleagues said was a giant hole in the fabric of the chamber. Published December 17, 2012

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia, right, accompanied by Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, Washington Republican, gestures as he speaks to reporters during a news conference on Capitol Hill, Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2012, following a GOP strategy session. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Porked-up Sandy relief bill storms into Senate

The Senate's emergency spending bill to cover costs from Hurricane Sandy includes millions of dollars that will never touch the affected Northeast — including money for salmon fisheries in Alaska, cash for an expansion of train service into New York, and funds to preserve and repair historic properties. Published December 16, 2012

This undated photo released by the U.S. Marines, shows Sgt. Rafael Peralta, 25. Peralta is being considered for a posthumous Medal of Honor, the United States' highest military award. Peralta was shot during a house-to-house search in Fallujah. Lying wounded on the floor of a home, he grabbed a grenade that had been lobbed in by an insurgent. The blast killed him. "If he wouldn't have scooped up the grenade, the other three of us in the room that day would have been killed," said former Cpl. Robert Reynolds, who was in Peralta's squad. (AP Photo/U.S. Marines)

Panetta says too much 'doubt' in Marine's Medal of Honor case

Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta said Thursday that he denied the Medal of Honor to Sgt. Rafael Peralta because the evidence from his autopsy created more than a reasonable doubt that he was able to knowingly scoop a grenade beneath him — the act his fellow Marines said saved their lives. Published December 13, 2012

Sen. Scott P. Brown leaves town quietly after losing his re-election bid last month in Massachusetts. He delivered a farewell address to the Senate on Wednesday. (Associated Press)

Scott Brown makes quiet exit from Senate stage

Sen. Scott Brown entered the chamber in 2010 as the tea-party darling who made Republicans relevant in Washington once again, giving them the 41st vote in the Senate that allowed them to filibuster President Obama's agenda. Published December 12, 2012


Top medal denied twice to Marine

Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta has denied the request to give Sgt. Rafael Peralta the Medal of Honor, saying there are still too many questions to accept that he knowingly scooped a grenade beneath himself to absorb its blast and save his fellow Marines. Published December 12, 2012

Sen. Harry Reid, Nevada Democrat, is the Senate majority leader.

Lawsuit aims to be a filibuster buster

Even as some Senate Democrats push to rewrite the rules governing the filibuster, the chamber's attorneys were in federal court Monday trying to defend the very existence of the filibuster against a legal challenge that says it is an affront to democracy. Published December 10, 2012

This Oct. 30, 2012 file photo shows water reaching the street level of the flooded Battery Park Underpass in New York. (AP Photo/ Louis Lanzano, File)

White House says federal bill for Sandy is $60 billion

The White House sent Congress a $60.4 billion emergency spending request Friday to pay for recovery from Superstorm Sandy, which struck the northeastern U.S. five weeks ago, killing dozens and flooding homes and businesses across New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. Published December 7, 2012

U.S. borrows 46 cents of every dollar it spends

The federal government borrowed 46 cents of every dollar it has spent so far in fiscal 2013, which began Oct. 1, according to the latest data the Congressional Budget Office released Friday. Published December 7, 2012

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (right) of Nevada, seen here Thursday with fellow Democratic Sen. Richard J. Durbin of Illinois, ridiculed his Republican counterpart for flip-flopping on a measure to give the president more debt-ceiling authority. (Associated Press)

White House won’t sidestep Hill on debt ceiling

Even with year-end budget talks at a standstill, the White House said Thursday it will not do an end-run around Congress and claim constitutional powers to raise the debt ceiling on its own. Published December 6, 2012

**FILE** Sen. Dianne Feinstein, California Democrat (Associated Press)

Detention bill cleared, but language no clearer

Senators had vowed to use the annual defense debate to clear up lingering questions about indefinite detention of U.S. citizens after last year's go-around — but the bill they cleared this week only added to the confusion. Published December 6, 2012

GOP Rep. Trey Gowdy of South Carolina, citing terrorism, sponsored legislation to give former U.S. presidents and their wives lifetime Secret Service protection. (Associated Press)

Protection for former presidents advances

The House voted Wednesday to grant all ex-presidents lifetime Secret Service protection, arguing that in a world of terrorist threats, such a precaution has become necessary. Published December 5, 2012

President Obama made a recess appointment to enable Richard Cordray (behind him) to begin serving as director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Mr. Obama made three other recess appointments. (Associated Press)

Court puts doubt on Obama's appointments in recess

A federal appeals court cast doubt Wednesday not only on President Obama's controversial January recess appointments but on most such appointments, using oral arguments to question whether presidential powers can ever be used unless Congress has officially adjourned for the end of a year. Published December 5, 2012

**FILE** Former President Bill Clinton (left) listens to former President George W. Bush speak on Saturday, Jan. 16, 2010, in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Ron Edmonds)

War on terrorism spurs House to grant presidents Secret Service protection for life

Two decades ago, Congress passed a bill canceling former presidents' Secret Service protection 10 years after they left office, beginning with George W. Bush. But now, with the war on terrorism presenting new dangers and presidents taking more active roles around the globe, the House did an about-face Wednesday. Published December 4, 2012

** FILE ** In this March 30, 2010, photo reviewed by the U.S. military, a U.S. trooper stands in the turret of a vehicle with a machine gun, left, as a guard looks out from a tower at the detention facility on Guantanamo Bay U.S. Naval Base in Cuba. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley)

Obama veto possible over Guantanamo

The Senate Tuesday approved a defense policy bill that calls for a fast transition in Afghanistan, orders a study of U.S. military options in Syria such as imposing a no-fly zone, and restricts President Obama's authority to transfer detainees from Guantanamo Bay. Published December 4, 2012

Sen. Rand Paul

Senate orders study on U.S. no-fly zone in Syria

The Senate voted Tuesday to order President Obama to study what military options the U.S. would have if it wanted to get more deeply involved in the revolt against Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad. Published December 4, 2012