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Republicans subpoena emails of Obama’s Labor nominee

GOP lawmakers have subpoenaed the private emails of Labor secretary-nominee Thomas Perez, a possible sticking point ahead of his Senate confirmation hearing next week. The subpoena, issued Wednesday by House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrel Issa, R-Calif., to the Justice Department, seeks the emails as part of an investigation into an agreement Perez brokered last year in his capacity as the nation’s top civil rights enforcer. In the deal, Perez persuaded the city of St. Paul, Minn., to withdraw a lending discrimination lawsuit before it could be heard by the Supreme Court. In exchange, the Justice Department declined to join two
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Immigration bill could exclude many from citizenship

A bipartisan immigration bill soon to be introduced in the Senate could exclude hundreds of thousands of immigrants here illegally from ever becoming U.S. citizens, according to a Senate aide with knowledge of the proposals. The bill would bar anyone who arrived in the U.S. after Dec. 31, 2011, from applying for legal status and ultimately citizenship, according to the aide, who spoke on condition because the proposals have not been made public. It also would require applicants to document that they were in the country before Dec. 31, 2011, have a clean criminal record and show enough employment or
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Senate debate on gun background checks starts next week

The first hurdle cleared with deceptive ease, the Senate turns to the heart of the battle over curbing gun violence next week when it considers a proposal to expand required federal background checks to gun shows and online firearms sales. In a bipartisan 68-31 vote Thursday, senators rejected an effort by conservatives to block debate on Democrats’ gun control legislation, a measure backed by President Barack Obama. Senators then formally opened debate on the bill, lawmakers’ response to the mass shooting in December at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn., and the most ambitious effort to limit gun violence in
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Second white supremacist arrested as result of Colorado prison chief’s death probe

Both of the white supremacist prison gang members whose names surfaced during an investigation into the slaying of Colorado’s prisons chief are now behind bars. Colorado Springs authorities arrested Thomas Guolee, 31, around 5:30 p.m. Thursday, according to El Paso County sheriff’s officials. They didn’t immediately release circumstances or details of his arrest. He was being held without bond for a parole violation, sheriff’s officials said. Last week, fellow 211 Crew member James Lohr was arrested in Colorado Springs after a short chase. Lohr, 47, is now being held on charges including vehicular eluding. His bond has been set at
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Rick Warren says son killed himself with illegal gun purchased over the ‘Net

Pastor Rick Warren said his son killed himself with an unregistered gun he purchased through the Internet. Warren sent a tweet Thursday saying he forgives whoever sold the weapon to his 27-year-old son Matthew, who committed suicide last Friday. The Orange County Sheriff’s Department is trying to find the seller but it won’t be easy. The gun’s serial number was scratched off, making it impossible to trace, spokesman Jim Amormino said. “We can’t tell if it’s registered or not because the serial number is scratched off,” he said. “At one point in time, it may have been, but it’s going
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Background check compromise gives new life to gun control in Senate

The Senate is ready to launch an emotion-charged debate on new gun restrictions, four months after the carnage at a Connecticut elementary school spurred President Barack Obama and Congress to address firearms violence. In an opening showdown Thursday, senators were scheduled to vote on an attempt by conservatives to scuttle the Democratic bill before debate even started. There were no real doubts the conservatives would be defeated and lawmakers would turn to the legislation, which would expand background checks to more gun buyers, toughen penalties against illicit firearms sales and offer slightly more money for school security. The roll call
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How does Obamacare affect federal budget? Good question

Next year is the year President Barack Obama’s signature health care law goes into high gear, covering millions of uninsured Americans by a mix of private plans and government programs infused with tens of billions of dollars in taxpayer money. You’d think there’d be a chapter in the new 2014 budget that lays it all out. Wrong. Well, maybe a table? Wrong again. A box? Nope. It turns out that the costs of the Affordable Care Act — Obamacare to its unyielding Republican foes— are sprinkled here and there through hundreds of pages of budget books. It’s partly due to
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Loud minorities often prevail in gun debate

At first glance, it seems Republicans are verging on a blunder. With about 90 percent of Americans favoring universal background checks for gun buyers, GOP lawmakers’ strong resistance might appear foolhardy. But these Republicans are making a calculated and probably safe choice, for several reasons. Their districts’ all-important GOP primaries are dominated by hard-right activists. The gun lobby is far more organized and fierce than any opposing groups. And Americans’ voting habits often reward those who refuse to compromise. “A small, passionate group of people, no matter how radical or extreme, can be more successful than a reasonable but less
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Critics nail Obama for breaking promises

Advocates for seniors say President Barack Obama is breaking his promise to protect Social Security, while conservatives say he is breaking his promise not to raise taxes on the middle class. Obama’s budget proposal includes a mix of tax increases and benefit cuts in an effort to reduce government borrowing and spark the still-fragile economy. Obama says it is the kind of balanced approach that is necessary to tame runaway budget deficits. But advocates from across the political spectrum are reminding the president of his past campaign promises. “Clearly it will be up to members of Congress to set fiscal
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McConnell calls exposure of his dirty campaign plans ‘Nixonian’

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky politician known for his own dirty tricks, is accusing liberal news site Mother Jones of using “Nixonian” moves in exposing his plans to get nasty with anyone who dares run against him in 2014. The web site has published an audio tape that reveals McConnell’s campaign operatives discussing using what they called “odd” religious beliefs and a purported history of depression of potential opponent Ashley Judd if she ran against him. Judd, citing “family obligations” said last month she would not run and those close to her told Capitol Hill Blue that she
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