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Stephen Dinan

Stephen Dinan

Stephen Dinan can be reached at [email protected].

Articles by Stephen Dinan

** FILE ** A Customs and Border Protection agent patrols by car along the U.S.-Mexico border in Nogales, Ariz., in April 2010. (Associated Press)

Obama to slash National Guard force on U.S.-Mexico border

Blaming budget cuts, the Obama administration early next year will cut the number of National Guard troops patrolling the U.S.-Mexico border by at least half, according to a congressman who was briefed on the plan. Published December 12, 2011

** FILE ** Rep. Jeff Landry, Louisiana Republican, holds a sign during a speech by President Obama to a joint session of Congress at the Capitol in Washington on Thursday, Sept. 8, 2011. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

House GOP playing hardball at recess

House Republicans have a not-so-secret weapon that could bring the National Labor Relations Board to a halt and block Democrats' Wall Street watchdog agency from getting started — and all it requires is just sitting around. Published December 11, 2011

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (left) and former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich take part in the Republican presidential debate on Saturday, Dec. 10, 2011, in Des Moines, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

GOP's second-tier candidates target Romney, Gingrich

Michele Bachmann channeled Herman Cain, Rick Santorum rattled off the geography of Iowa, and Rick Perry stressed his Christianity on Saturday night as the stragglers in the GOP presidential field sought to use the little time left to close the gap with front-runners in the first-in-the-nation caucus state. Published December 11, 2011

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nev., center, accompanied by, from left, Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., Senate Majority Whip Richard Durbin of Ill., and Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., speaks to reporters about extending the payroll tax cut, Thursday, Dec. 1, 2011, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

Senate defeats Democrats' latest payroll tax cut plan

Republicans on Thursday blocked Democrats' new effort to extend the payroll tax cut into next year in a vote that showed neither side is ready to give ground just yet in a stalemate that threatens to derail the tax cut entirely. Published December 8, 2011

**FILE** Rep. Duncan Hunter, California Republican (Associated Press)

Justice presses jailed agent for $7,000 in fines

Ignoring calls for leniency, the Justice Department has told a jailed former Border Patrol agent it will start docking his commissary account as a way to begin assessing nearly $7,000 in fines, even though a judge told him he wouldn't have to start paying immediately. Published December 7, 2011

Newt Gingrich

Gingrich: John Bolton will be my secretary of state

Newt Gingrich promised conservatives on Tuesday he would ask former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton to be his secretary of state if he's elected president next year, according to several of those who met with him Published December 7, 2011

Newly printed $20 notes are seen at the Bureau of Engraving and Printing in Washington. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite) ** FILE **

Feds run deficit for 38th straight month

The federal government ran a $139 billion deficit in November, marking the 38th straight month in the red, according to a preliminary estimate the Congressional Budget Office released Wednesday. Published December 7, 2011

** FILE ** Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Kentucky Republican (Associated Press)

GOP ends truce on judicial hopefuls

Senate Republicans on Tuesday filibustered one of President Obama's appellate court nominees, ending a six-year truce and reigniting one of the bitterest recurring battles on Capitol Hill. Published December 6, 2011

President Obama urges Republican lawmakers to extend the payroll-tax cut in remarks to reporters in the James Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House in Washington on Monday, Dec. 5, 2011. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

Obama seizes advantage on payroll-tax cut

Republicans are increasingly divided over whether to extend this year's payroll-tax cut into next year, leaving a political opening that President Obama moved to seize Monday by accusing the GOP of ignoring middle-class families' needs and unveiling a White House countdown clock ticking off the seconds until taxes get higher. Published December 5, 2011

Sen. Bob Corker, Tennessee Republican (Associated Press)

Parties' competing plans to extend payroll-tax cut fail

The Senate late Thursday defeated both Republicans' and Democrats' attempts to extend this year's payroll tax cut into next year in dueling votes that signaled the nearly $1,000-per-family break may be in more peril than previously thought. Published December 1, 2011

Sen. Lindsey Graham

Senate OKs sanctions on Iran's central bank

Saying they were fed up with Chinese and Russian stalling on sanctions, senators on Thursday voted to punish both Iran's central bank and foreign institutions that do business with it — moving further than the Obama administration has been willing to go. Published December 1, 2011

Sen. John McCain, Arizona Republican

After 207 years, Navy commandos' wait continues

Navy commandos whose remains have languished in Libya for more than two centuries will have to wait at least a little longer after the Navy on Thursday blocked senators' efforts to have their bodies brought back to the U.S. Published December 1, 2011

"I am confident that we will supply the information you have requested," Gary Mead of ICE told the House's immigration subcommittee. (Associated Press)

Homeland Security will comply with subpoena

The Obama administration will comply with a subpoena seeking details on illegal immigrants it has come in contact with but failed to deport under its Secure Communities initiative, one of the program's leaders told Congress on Wednesday. Published November 30, 2011

Cheri White Owl, founder of Horse Feathers Equine Rescue, is pictured with one of the 33 horses for which she  cares in Guthrie, Okla., on Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2011. Ms. White Owl said she's seen more horse neglect during the recession, which coincided with the end of horse slaughtering in the U.S. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

Obama, Congress restore horse-slaughter industry

President Obama earlier this month quietly signed into law a spending bill that restores the American horse-slaughter industry, just a few months after a government investigation said the ban on slaughtering for human consumption was backfiring. Published November 30, 2011


Senate defies threat of veto in terrorist custody vote

Defying a veto threat from President Obama, the Senate voted Tuesday to preserve language that would give the U.S. military a crack at al Qaeda operatives captured in the U.S., even if they are American citizens. Published November 29, 2011

Texas Gov. Rick Perry

Family: Illegal-immigrant student martyred himself for Dream Act

An illegal-immigrant student in Texas who committed suicide the day after Thanksgiving left letters saying he felt trapped by his lack of opportunities and, according to his family, he "decided to sacrifice himself for the cause." Published November 28, 2011

** FILE ** Sen. Dean Heller, Nevada Republican (AP Photo/Harry Hamburg, File)

Senators look to repatriate 1804 commandos of Tripoli

For years, the Navy has been reluctant to reclaim the remains of its first 13 commandos, who perished in a failed raid on Tripoli Harbor in Libya in 1804 — but pressure has been growing in Congress to force them to do just that. Published November 27, 2011

Bernard Madoff

Victims' revenge: Ponzi targets cheat the taxman

The federal government allows a tax break for investors who get cheated — but most of those who claim the deduction are cheating the IRS itself, according to a new inspector general's report released Wednesday that looked at the surge in fraud in 2008. Published November 23, 2011