Republicans push offshore drilling

Republican lawmakers in the U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday pushed a trio of bills through a congressional committee that would boost U.S. offshore oil drilling and ease some regulations on oil companies. Republicans said the bills would reverse the Obama administration energy policy of the last two years that they claimed has reduced domestic oil production and made the United States more reliant on foreign suppliers and vulnerable to oil price spikes. “Congress must take action to increase energy production,” said Representative Doc Hastings, who chairs the House Natural Resources Committee that approved the three bills. The legislative action
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Montana Gov. vetoes medical marijuana repeal

Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer on Wednesday vetoed a bill that would have repealed the state’s seven-year-old, voter-approved law legalizing marijuana for medical purposes. Critics of the broadly written law, approved as a ballot measure by 62 percent of voters in 2004, say the statute has been used by some as a pretext for recreational pot smoking and even for illegal drug trade. The supply chain of pot-growing facilities and storefront dispensaries allowed under Montana’s medical marijuana statute is little regulated and has expanded rapidly during the past couple of years. Meanwhile, the number of residents carrying cards allowing them to
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Romney officially in White House race

Republican heavyweight Mitt Romney entered the 2012 race for the White House on Monday, forming an exploratory committee to raise money for a challenge to President Barack Obama. Romney, an unsuccessful presidential contender in 2008, opens his campaign as a well-funded early front-runner to Obama, a Democrat. He scores high in opinion polls against other Republicans likely to seek their party’s nomination. The former head of a private equity firm and a multimillionaire, Romney said Obama’s economic policies had failed because he did not understand how jobs were created in the real world. “It is time that we put America
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Obama saved favorite programs from budget cuts

A close look at the government shutdown-dodging agreement to cut federal spending by $38 billion reveals that lawmakers significantly eased the fiscal pain by pruning money left over from previous years, using accounting sleight of hand and going after programs President Barack Obama had targeted anyway. Such moves permitted Obama to save favorite programs — Pell grants for poor college students, health research and “Race to the Top” aid for public schools, among others — from Republican knives. And big holes in foreign aid and Environmental Protection Agency accounts were patched in large part. Republicans also gave up politically treacherous
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Budget battle tests Obama’s leadership

President Barack Obama promised to change Washington’s ways. Yet he is as caught up in them as ever. It was just at the start of this week that Obama launched his re-election bid with a sunny video of real people talking about their hopes and needs. It was the very image of life outside Washington politics. By week’s end, Obama was mired in budget negotiations, canceling trips and scrambling to hold off a government shutdown that would surely erode the public’s faith in his leadership. That’s the messy business of governing. And this is how it is going to be
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Terror suspects secretly detained for weeks

“Black sites,” the secret network of jails that grew up after the Sept. 11 attacks, are gone. But suspected terrorists are still being held under hazy circumstances with uncertain rights in secret, military-run jails across Afghanistan, where they can be interrogated for weeks without charge, according to U.S. officials who revealed details of the top-secret network to The Associated Press. The Pentagon has previously denied operating secret jails in Afghanistan, although human rights groups and former detainees have described the facilities. U.S. military and other government officials confirmed that the detention centers exist but described them as temporary holding pens
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Arizona passes law allowing guns on campuses

The Arizona House on Thursday approved a landmark bill allowing guns on campuses, making it only the second state in the nation to allow firearms to be carried at colleges and universities. The Republican-led House voted 33 to 24 to allow firearms to be carried in the open or concealed in public rights of way, such as campus streets and roadways. “We’re allowing people to defend themselves,” said Rep. David Gowan Sr., a Republican, who voted for the bill. “The purpose of carrying a gun with you is to defend yourself against that aggressor,” he added. The measure now goes
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Why is a crybaby running the House of Representatives?

John Boehner cries more than a woman with PMS. The Speaker of the House is more of a crybaby than the woman who preceded him as in the job. He’s shed more tears in three months than Nancy Pelosi did in four yours. On Wednesday, Boehner appeared before a GOP caucus to talk about the budget impasse and a pending government shutdown and teared up once again. ABC New quoted a attendee at the meeting: “He cried, but only briefly.” That he cried at all is a sad testament to the GOP. Why is this wimp running the House? As
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End of the road for Glenn Beck’s show

Glenn Beck later this year will end his Fox News Channel talk show, which has sunk in the ratings and has suffered from an advertiser boycott. Fox and Beck’s company, Mercury Radio Arts, said Wednesday they will stay in business creating other projects for Fox television and digital, starting with some documentaries Beck is preparing. Beck was a quick burn on Fox News Channel. Almost immediately after joining the network in January 2009, he doubled the ratings at his afternoon time slot. Fans found his conservative populism entertaining, while Comedy Central’s Stephen Colbert described Beck’s “crank up the crazy and
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Are federal workers overpaid? Checking the facts

Are federal employees overpaid? Republican leaders in Congress think so, and they are calling for an overhaul of the entire federal pay system to help slash government spending. Democrats and other defenders of the government work force say federal workers are actually underpaid compared with their private counterparts. A closer look at the data shows that both sides have a point but that supporters of federal workers are a bit closer to reality. The debate has heated up since the GOP budget blueprint unveiled this week calls for federal pay “to be reformed to be in line with the private
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