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James Clapper’s sordid history of lying to Congress, America

As the director of national intelligence, James Clapper has told Congress that the regime of Moammar Gadhafi would likely prevail in Libya, that Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood party was “largely secular” and that the National Security Agency doesn’t collect data on millions of Americans. Not quite. Gadhafi ended up killed by Libyan rebel forces, and the Brotherhood’s Mohammed Morsi quickly moved to install conservative Islamists into top positions when he became Egypt’s president. And Clapper’s latest misstep may have dented trust in the chief intelligence officer despite public assurances of support from the White House and key members of Congress. Clapper
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Texas set to pass tough restrictions on abortion

This time when the Texas Senate takes up tough new abortion restrictions, the chamber’s top Republican is determined not to let anything — or anyone — derail a vote. The Senate’s leader, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, has scheduled a vote for Friday on the same restrictions on when, where and how women may obtain abortions in Texas that failed to become law after a Democratic filibuster and raucous protesters were able to run out the clock out on an earlier special session. But when protesters arrive at the state Capitol on Friday, dozens of extra police officers will be waiting
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Spitzer collects more than enough signatures for return to politics

Former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer, who shook up the New York political world this week with an 11th-hour bid for city comptroller, announced on Thursday he had collected enough signatures to get on the Democratic primary ballot. Eyeing a comeback five years after he resigned from office in a prostitution scandal, Spitzer arrived at the New York Board of Elections office carrying four boxes of petitions, with about an hour to go before the midnight deadline. “It’s important to those who said it was not possible in the course of three and a half days to gather enough signatures
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GOP rejects comprehensive approach on immigration

House Republicans are embracing a step-by-step approach to immigration, in contrast to the sweeping plan passed by the Senate and backed by the White House. But they’re offering neither specifics nor a timetable — nor any mention of possible citizenship for an estimated 11 million immigrants living in the country unlawfully. Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, and other Republican leaders said in a statement the administration “cannot be trusted to deliver on its promises to secure the border and enforce laws as part of a single, massive bill like the one passed by the Senate.” House GOP lawmakers streaming out of
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Republicans strip food stamps from farm bill

Bruised from the defeat of a massive farm bill last month, Republicans are giving the legislation another chance by bringing a pared-down version to the House floor. GOP leaders were still counting how many votes they could muster for the new measure, which drops the politically sensitive food stamp portion of the bill, when they released the legislation late Wednesday. The White House swiftly issued a veto threat, and House Democrats reacted angrily to the last-minute move. A vote is expected Thursday. The dropped section would have made a 3 percent cut to the $80 billion-a-year food stamp program. Many
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Time running our as Congress lacks a solution on student loans

The clock is ticking loudly as Congress looks for a deal to bring back low interest rates on student loans. Lawmakers and their aides are continuing talks about how they can restore 3.4 percent interest rates on subsidized Stafford student loans and retroactively undo the doubling of those rates. Some suggested Wednesday that compromise was at hand, while others tried to shame their political rivals into agreement. A Senate vote to extend the 3.4 percent rate for another year failed to clear a procedural hurdle Wednesday. If fresh negotiations prove fruitless, millions of students returning to campus next month will
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Pentagon payroll budget snafus left an injured soldier, others broke

As Christmas 2011 approached, U.S. Army medic Shawn Aiken was once again locked in desperate battle with a formidable foe. Not insurgents in Iraq, or Taliban fighters in Afghanistan – enemies he had already encountered with distinguished bravery. This time, he was up against the U.S. Defense Department. Aiken, then 30 years old, was in his second month of physical and psychological reconstruction at Fort Bliss in El Paso, Texas, after two tours of combat duty had left him shattered. His war-related afflictions included traumatic brain injury, severe post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), abnormal eye movements due to nerve damage, chronic
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Republicans say Obama ignores Constitution, exceeds authority

In the courts of law and public opinion, congressional Republicans increasingly accuse President Barack Obama of exceeding his constitutional authority for the benefit of special interests, most recently by delaying a requirement for businesses to provide health care for their workers. In one instance, Senate Republicans formally backed a lawsuit challenging the president’s appointment of three members of the National Labor Relations Board without confirmation. The Supreme Court has agreed to review a ruling in the case, which found that Obama overstepped his bounds. Most recently, the White House’s decision to postpone a key part of the president’s health care
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Senate to try once again to pass new student loan bill

Senate Democrats are trying to restore lower interest rates on student loans, a week after Congress’ inaction caused those rates to double. A procedural vote is scheduled for Wednesday on a Senate measure that would return rates on subsidized Stafford loans to 3.4 percent for one year. An earlier attempt in the Senate to keep rates low came up short and rates for those loans doubled to 6.8 percent on July 1. The increase did not affect many students right away; loan documents are generally signed just before students return to campus, and few students returned to school over the
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House Republicans want to split farm bill

A month after suffering an embarrassing defeat, House Republican leaders are considering a new strategy to try to win support for the massive, five-year farm bill: splitting it into two separate measures, one for farm programs and one for food stamps. It’s an attempt to gather support from conservatives who voted against the $100 billion-a-year farm bill, and critics say it could lead to bigger cuts in both farm subsidies and the domestic food aid. Republicans discussed the strategy in a Tuesday caucus meeting, with House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas, R-Okla., saying for the first time that he would
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