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If debt ceiling reached, what bills won’t be paid?

In the summer of 2011, when a debt crisis like the current one loomed, President Barack Obama warned Republicans that older Americans might not get their Social Security checks unless there was a deal to raise the nation’s borrowing limit. After weeks of brinkmanship, Republicans consented and Obama agreed to a deficit-reduction plan the GOP wanted. Crisis averted, for a time. Now that there’s a fresh showdown, the possibility of Social Security cuts β€”and more β€” is back on the table. The government could run out of cash to pay all its bills in full as early as Feb. 15,
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Post election realities push some Congress types towards the middle

There’s a lot of political currency these days in being labeled a “problem-solver,” a title that has become highly sought-after following a polarizing election and protracted fight in Congress over raising taxes and curbing spending. With sharp divisions in Washington entering President Barack Obama’s second term, lawmakers from both parties are seeking the political middle as voters increasingly view government as bitter and paralyzed. For Sen. Joe Manchin, a Democrat representing conservative West Virginia, Washington has become a place where any politician faces “guilt by conversation,” in which merely raising the need to address fundamental problems can imperil their political
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Critics say too much Hurricane Sandy aid tied to other projects

Conservatives and watchdog groups are mounting a “not-so-fast” campaign against a $50.7 billion Superstorm Sandy aid package that Northeastern governors and lawmakers hope to push through the House this coming week. Their complaint is that lots of the money that lawmakers are considering will actually go toward recovery efforts for past disasters and other projects unrelated to the late-October storm. A Senate-passed version from the end of the last Congress included $150 million for what the Commerce Department described as fisheries disasters in Alaska, Mississippi and the Northeast, and $50 million in subsidies for replanting trees on private land damaged
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Biden set to meet with House members on gun control issues

Vice President Joe Biden and members of President Barack Obama’s Cabinet will meet on Monday with members of the U.S. House of Representatives as he prepares recommendations on how to curb a rash of gun violence in the United States. Biden is heading a task force due to provide Obama this week with recommendations on how to curb the gun violence. Obama formed the task force after the massacre – one month ago as of Monday – in Newtown, Connecticut, in which a gunman shot dead 20 children and six adults at a primary school. The White House said the
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RFK children: Bobby didn’t believe Warren Commission report on JFK’s death

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. is convinced that a lone gunman wasn’t solely responsible for the assassination of his uncle, President John F. Kennedy, and said his father believed the Warren Commission report was a “shoddy piece of craftsmanship.” Kennedy and his sister, Rory, spoke about their family Friday night while being interviewed in front of an audience by Charlie Rose at the Winspear Opera House in Dallas. The event comes as a year of observances begins for the 50th anniversary of the president’s death. Their uncle was killed on Nov. 22, 1963, while riding in a motorcade through Dallas. Five
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Biden’s gun control proposals will spark a gunfight on Capitol Hill

Vice President Joe Biden wrapped up a series of White House meetings on Friday and prepared recommendations to curb gun violence that will call for expanded background checks on gun buyers and set up a heated, likely uphill battle in Congress to revive a ban on military-style assault weapons. Biden, who heads a task force due to give President Barack Obama recommendations next week, met with representatives of the video game industry, whose products often enable players to carry out shootings in graphically violent games. The vice president has said he will recommend “universal” background checks for all gun buyers
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No clear path for Obama to act alone on debt ceiling crisis

The White House would be taking a risk if it tries to make a constitutional end-run around Congress’ authority to raise the debt ceiling, legal experts said. The “public debt” clause of the 14th Amendment is being cited by a number of lawmakers as giving President Barack Obama a legal way to issue debt and pay bills, working around the debt ceiling and avoiding default. The 14th Amendment is best known for extending civil rights protections in the wake of the Civil War. The amendment’s fourth section was designed to guarantee Union debt incurred during the war, including compensation due
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Obama rules out building jobs-oriented ‘Death Star’

A “Death Star” won’t be a part of the U.S. military’s arsenal any time soon. More than 34,000 people have signed an online petition calling on the Obama administration to build the “Star Wars” inspired super-weapon to spur job growth and bolster national defense. But in a posting Friday on the White House website, Paul Shawcross, an administration adviser on science and space, says a Death Star would cost too much to build β€” an estimated $850 quadrillion β€” at a time the White House is working to reduce the federal budget. Besides, Shawcross says, the Obama administration “does not
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Biden looks to video game industry to help curb gun-related violence

Looking for broader remedies to gun violence, Vice President Joe Biden is reaching out to the video game industry for ideas as the White House seeks to assemble proposals in response to last month’s massacre at a Connecticut elementary school. Biden is scheduled to meet with video game representatives Friday as the White House explores cultural factors that may contribute to violent behavior. The vice president, who is leading a task force that will present recommendations to President Barack Obama on Tuesday, met with other representatives from the entertainment industry, including Comcast Corp. and the Motion Picture Association of America,
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Obama meeting with Karzai to discuss end of U.S. role in Afghanistan

Charting the course for a war’s end, President Barack Obama and Afghan President Hamid Karzai meet Friday at the White House to discuss the future of the U.S. role in Afghanistan and the 66,000 American troops in harm’s way. The two leaders plan a joint afternoon news conference. White House officials said, however, that Obama will not announce any decisions on the next phase of troop withdrawals or whether any U.S. forces will stay behind in Afghanistan after the war formally ends in 2014. U.S. commanders in Afghanistan have proposed keeping 6,000 to 15,000 U.S. troops after 2014 to continuing
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