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Stephen Dinan

Stephen Dinan

Stephen Dinan can be reached at [email protected].

Articles by Stephen Dinan

First responders transport a wounded soldier an ambulance at Fort Hood, Texas, on Nov. 5, 2009. Lawmakers have introduced legislation that would allow domestic attacks on service members to be reviewed the same way as international terrorist attacks when it comes to awarding the Purple Heart. (Associated Press)

Lawmakers: Victims of domestic terrorism deserve Purple Heart

Top lawmakers on Capitol Hill are challenging the U.S. military to rethink how it classifies terrorist attacks on U.S. soil after the Defense Department decided the 2009 attack at Fort Hood and the attack on a recruiting office in Arkansas were domestic killings rather than flash points in the global war on terrorism. Published May 9, 2012

President Obama nominated Kristine L. Svinicki to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission despite opposition from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. (NRC via Associated Press)

NRC selection sets up battle with Senate

President Obama on Tuesday officially nominated Kristine Svinicki to keep her seat on the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, setting up an expected battle with his own party in the Senate. Published May 8, 2012

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Kentucky Republican (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Senate blocks Obama's student loan bill

Senators blocked President Obama's student loan bailout bill Tuesday, upping the chances of another deadline-busting battle this summer as both sides dig in over how to pay for continued government assistance to college students. Published May 8, 2012

**FILE** Congressional Budget Office Director Douglas Elmendorf (Associated Press)

Deficit streak ends: Obama sees first monthly surplus

The federal government broke its record deficit streak in April, notching its first monthly surplus since the end of the Bush administration, according to preliminary estimates released Monday. Published May 7, 2012

"This is a major action-forcing event. I'm not saying there will be a grand bargain during the lame-duck session but I would certainly hope that we reach some way to sort-of structure [or] at the very least create a process in which a credible balanced deficit reduction plan can be reached." - Rep. Chris Van Hollen of Maryland, top Democrat on the House Budget Committee. (Associated Press)

Budget Control Act not living up to its name

Eight months after President Obama ratified the last-minute Budget Control Act to avert a federal default, the budget deficit has only grown and the control is hard to see. Published May 6, 2012

**FILE** Demonstrators outside the White House march in November with a replica of a pipeline during a protest of the planned Keystone XL pipeline that would bring tar sands oil from Canada to Texas. (Associated Press)

Obama to get do-over on Keystone pipeline

The Canadian company seeking to build the massive Canada-to-Texas Keystone XL pipeline through the U.S. reapplied for a permit on Friday, pushing the politically sensitive issue back onto President Obama's plate six months before the election. Published May 4, 2012

Sen. Tom Coburn, Oklahoma Republican and a top taxpayer watchdog, said putting the Internet off-limits means giving up a valuable anti-fraud weapon - one that he said even federal courts have used in reviewing some disability cases. (Associated Press)

Web put off-limits to Social Security claims judges

The Social Security Administration last month told its disability-claims judges they are no longer to seek out information from websites when deciding cases — taking away a tool some of those judges say would help in uncovering fraud. Published May 3, 2012

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney talks to supporters at Exhibit Edge in Chantilly, Va., on Wednesday, May 2, 2012. (Barbara L. Salisbury/The Washington Times)

Romney blasts Obama for opposing D.C. voucher program

Mitt Romney said Wednesday that it was "inexcusable" for President Obama to try to shut down the District's federally backed voucher pilot program that has sent thousands of the city's students to private schools. Published May 2, 2012

Sen. John F. Kerry, Massachusetts Democrat, is at the fore of his party's donation campaign.

Campaign donors squeezed at end of month

It was the end of the month and the wheedling, pleading, demanding and outright begging were at full throttle as political parties, racing the latest fundraising deadline, tried to shake every nickel out of potential donors' pockets. Published April 30, 2012

** FILE ** In this April 26, 2012, file photo, House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio speaks during his weekly news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington. Republicans ignored a veto threat and overcame a rebellion by party conservatives to push a bill through the House Friday keeping interest rates on millions of federal student loans from doubling this summer. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File)

House defies Obama to pass student loan bill

Defying a veto threat from President Obama, the House voted Friday to extend federal student loan subsidies for another year, and cover the added cost by slashing a prevention fund from Democrats' health bill. Published April 27, 2012

Barry Knight of Farmingham, Mass., and a woman who did not want to give her name exchange heated words during the rally in front of the Supreme Court. (Rod Lamkey Jr./The Washington Times)

Justices suggest Arizona is helping on immigration

The Supreme Court took a dim view of the Obama administration's effort to halt Arizona's immigration-crackdown law, with the justices signaling an inclination during oral arguments Wednesday to approve requiring police to check the status of those suspected of being in the U.S. illegally. Published April 25, 2012

Supreme Court casts doubt on Obama's immigration law claim

Supreme Court justices took a dim view of the Obama administration's claim that it can stop Arizona from enforcing immigration laws, telling government lawyers during oral argument Wednesday that the state appears to want to push federal officials, not conflict with them. Published April 25, 2012

**FILE** Sen. Tom Coburn, Oklahoma Republican (Associated Press)

Vegas scandal drives Senate to police agency conferences

Reacting swiftly to the scandal over a Las Vegas spending spree by employees at the General Services Administration, the Senate moved Tuesday to require federal agencies to do more to justify conferences and imposed a $500,000 limit on spending for each meeting. Published April 24, 2012

Former Arizona state Sen. Russell Pearce, the architect of Arizona's controversial immigration law S.B. 1070, left, accompanied by former Arizona Sen. Dennis DeConcini, testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, April 24, 2012, before the Senate Immigration, Refugees and Border Security subcommittee hearing titled "Examining the Constitutionality and Prudence of State and Local Governments Enforcing Immigration Law." (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Democrats to intercept Supreme Court ruling on immigration

The Supreme Court hears arguments Wednesday over Arizona's immigration-crackdown law, but Democrats are already preparing for a potential loss by saying they'll try to pass legislation stripping states of the power to enact their own immigration rules. Published April 24, 2012

**FILE** Miroslava Acosta, 4, holds a sign during a rally at the Arizona state capital building in Phoenix on May 9, 2011, to protest Arizona's decision to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court a decision by a lower court that put the most controversial parts of the state's immigration enforcement law on hold. (Associated Press)

Power is top prize in Arizona immigration battle

The Supreme Court's health care showdown last month was all about Constitution theory and prerogatives. Wednesday's arguments between Arizona and the Obama administration over the state's tough immigration law looks to be all about power. Published April 22, 2012

Kristine Svinicki's term at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission expires in June.

Obama goes to battle with Reid over NRC appointment

A day after a very public prodding by Senate Republicans, the White House said Thursday that President Obama will renominate Kristine Svinicki to serve on the Nuclear Regulatory Commission — a move that puts him at odds with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Nevada Democrat, who vehemently opposes her appointment. Published April 19, 2012

**FILE** Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Nevada Democrat (Associated Press)

Obama backs GOP over Reid in bitter personnel fight

The White House will renominate Kristine Svinicki to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission in a move that puts him on the side of Senate Republicans and against Sen. Majority Leader Harry Reid, Nevada Democrat, who vehemently opposes her. Published April 19, 2012

Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney speaks at a campaign stop in Charlotte, N.C., Wednesday, April 18, 2012. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)

Battlegrounds established for Hispanic votes

Dream Act students rallied outside Mitt Romney's campaign speech in North Carolina on Wednesday, accusing him of forsaking Hispanic immigrants and vowing to make him pay in the November election — even as President Obama's campaign announced its own outreach efforts to try to shore up his support among Hispanic voters. Published April 18, 2012

Kristine Svinicki's term at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission expires in June.

McConnell, Reid spar on status of nuclear appointee

A simmering proxy fight between the top Republican and Democrat in the Senate spilled onto the chamber floor Wednesday when Minority Leader Mitch McConnell accused opponents of stonewalling a female appointee to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission because she blew the whistle on bullying by the commission's male chairman, a longtime Democratic staffer. Published April 18, 2012