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Stephen Dinan

Stephen Dinan

Stephen Dinan can be reached at [email protected].

Articles by Stephen Dinan

Katrina, Bridge to Nowhere spurred 'storm' that doomed earmarks

It may have looked like boom times for earmarkers in 2006, when they carved out a record $29 billion in projects — but little did lawmakers realize that a perfect storm of events the year before had set the clock ticking on pork. Published February 9, 2011

American Conservative Union Chairman David Keene says CPAC is the place to meet new conservative people and parse out the politics. (Associated Press)

CPAC fissure over gays deepens; GOProud called incompatible

Deepening a rift ahead of the largest annual gathering of conservative activists in Washington this week, some of the movement's top leaders have circulated a private memo urging that conservatism's founding principles be recast to exclude gay rights groups from the Reagan coalition of economic, defense and social conservatives. Published February 8, 2011

Ronald Reagan, with wife Nancy and brother Neil, holds a gold key to his boyhood home in Dixon, Ill., on Feb. 6, 1984. The home, preserved by a nonprofit foundation, is the most likely candidate for purchase by the National Park Service. (Associated Press)

Reagan's own philosophy puts his boyhood home in limbo

Nearly a decade after Congress told the National Park Service to try to buy Ronald Reagan's boyhood home, the plan remains in limbo — the victim of a budget dispute and of the former president's own limited-government philosophy. Published February 3, 2011

Republicans find places to cut $43 billion

The Republicans who control of the purse strings in the House announced plans Thursday to cut basic domestic spending by at least $43 billion this year through reductions to most federal departments — though they still fell short of the GOP's pledge just months ago to return to pre-stimulus levels. Published February 3, 2011

Debate one-sided as Senators all praise Reagan

Sen. Joe Lieberman still remembers the trepidation he felt in January 1989 when he was to deliver the Democrats' radio response — the one to follow then-President Reagan's final weekly radio address before leaving office. Published February 3, 2011

**FILE** Ronald Reagan (Associated Press)

Ronald Reagan's enduring legacy

From the granite facade of Mount Rushmore to road signs and school buildings in communities across the country, the push is going strong to enshrine Ronald Reagan's legacy in stone and steel — a fitting tribute, admirers say, to the man who ended communism in Europe and turned the political debate from Roosevelt's New Deal to supply-side economics or, more simply, Reaganism. Published February 3, 2011

Former President Jimmy Carter

Keeping Carter's home neat costs U.S. a tidy sum

The tennis court at former President Jimmy Carter's private home is swept twice a day, his pool is cleaned daily and his grass cut, his flower beds weeded and his windows washed on a regular basis — all at taxpayers' expense. Published February 1, 2011

Senate Democrats ban earmarks

Signaling defeat, at least for the moment, Senate Democrats said Tuesday they won't allow any earmarks in spending bills this year. Published February 1, 2011

Senior U.S. District Judge Roger Vinson, seen here in 2007, declared the Obama administration's health care overhaul unconstitutional Monday, siding with 26 states that sued to block it, saying that people can't be required to buy health insurance. (AP Photo/Pensacola News Journal, Tony Giberson)

Judge rules against health law, cites Obama's words

In ruling against President Obama's health care law, federal Judge Roger Vinson used Mr. Obama's own position from the 2008 campaign against him, when the then-Illinois senator argued there were other ways to achieve reform short of requiring every American to purchase insurance. Published January 31, 2011

**FILE** President Obama addresses the Families USA 16th Annual Health Action Conference in Washington on Jan. 28, 2011. Families USA is an consumer advocacy health care organization. (Associated Press)

Judge strikes down health care law

Quoting James Madison and Thomas Jefferson as authorities, a federal judge in Florida ruled Monday that Congress breached the Constitution when it passed the health care law, dealing the broadest rejection yet to President Obama's signature initiative. Published January 31, 2011


House votes for repeal of public-paid campaigns

Saying it has become an obsolete waste of money, the House on Wednesday voted to end the taxpayer-funded presidential campaign finance system that has fallen out of favor over the past decade as candidates have chosen to ignore it. Published January 26, 2011

Sen. Kent Conrad, North Dakota Democrat and Senate Budget Committee chairman, speaks about the Congressional Budget Office's economic outlook Wednesday during a news conference on Capitol Hill. (Associated Press)

CBO: Federal deficit to hit $1.5T this year

Last month's bipartisan tax cuts and spending deal has deepened the federal deficit dramatically this year, putting the government on track for a nearly $1.5 trillion shortfall — the largest in history — the Congressional Budget Office said Wednesday. Published January 26, 2011

As Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and House Speaker John A. Boehner look on, President Obama called Tuesday night for rejuvenating America's innovative spirit. (Associated Press)

Obama: Restrain budget, but invest in infrastructure

Picking a fight with his own party, President Obama on Tuesday called for ending earmark spending and proposed a five-year partial budget freeze in his first State of the Union address before a Congress packed with newly ascendant Republicans eager to cut even more deeply. Published January 25, 2011

Obama defends campaign financing

Though he opted out of the public financing system in 2008 to run the most expensive presidential campaign in history, President Obama on Tuesday said he opposes House Republicans' effort to do away with the taxpayer-financed system altogether. Published January 25, 2011

Ryan's star rising with Obama rebuttal

Moments after President Obama concludes his State of the Union address from the imposing podium of the House of Representatives on Tuesday night, Rep. Paul D. Ryan will deliver the GOP's answering speech from the House Budget Committee's hearing room, across the street in one of the House office buildings. Published January 23, 2011

First lady, Wal-Mart reach pact on nutrition

A day after serving a calorie-laden state dinner to Chinese President Hu Jintao, first lady Michelle Obama announced a deal Thursday with Wal-Mart, the country's largest retailer and grocery store, to reduce sodium, cut prices on fruits and vegetables, and label healthful foods to guide customers. Published January 20, 2011

WELCOME: President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama greet Chinese President Hu Jintao on Wednesday before a state dinner for him. The leaders agreed to deals Mr. Obama said are worth $45 billion and 245,000 jobs to the U.S., but human rights and currency manipulation also came up. (Associated Press)

Thorny issues surface in Hu visit

The closely structured pageantry of a state visit was unable to mask simmering issues between the United States and China on Wednesday, as President Obama prodded Chinese President Hu Jintao to revalue the Chinese currency, the yuan, and Mr. Hu acknowledged "a lot still needs to be done" on his country's human rights record. Published January 19, 2011

House GOP spoils for Constitution fight

As the House prepares for Wednesday's vote to repeal the Democrats' health care law, Republicans say it marks more than a shot at a controversial Obama policy — they argue it is the first step toward making Congress relevant in debates over the Constitution. Published January 18, 2011

House votes to cut down on printing of congressional measures

Citing the hundreds of thousands of wasted pages of government printing each year that go straight from delivery to congressional recycling bins, the House voted Tuesday to tell the Government Printing Office to cut it out. Published January 18, 2011