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Gun control advocates struggle to keep focus on issue

Gun control forces are targeting Sens. Kelly Ayotte, Max Baucus and others as they struggle to persuade five senators to switch their votes and revive the rejected effort to expand background checks to more firearms buyers. With Congress back from a weeklong recess, the bottom line remains familiar: Advocates of broadened checks lack the new votes they need and Congress has moved onto other issues. A few lawmakers who opposed expanding the checks when the Senate defeated the measure last month say they’d consider changes the sponsors might offer but haven’t committed to backing anything, while others show no signs
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Internet sales tax bill a tough sell in the House

Traditional retailers and cash-strapped states face a tough sell in the House as they lobby Congress to limit tax-free shopping on the Internet. The Senate voted 69 to 27 Monday to pass a bill that empowers states to collect sales taxes from Internet purchases. Under the bill, states could require out-of-state retailers to collect sales taxes when they sell products over the Internet, in catalogs, and through radio and TV ads. The sales taxes would be sent to the states where a shopper lives. Current law says states can only require retailers to collect sales taxes if the merchant has
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Obama’s golf outreach turns into Senatorial hole-in-one

So much for overshadowing your rivals, Mr. President. Republican Sen. Saxby Chambliss didn’t seem fazed by a rare congressional invitation to golf with President Barack Obama Monday, sinking a hole-in-one on the par-three 11th hole. The ace shot helped lead Chambliss and GOP teammate Sen. Bob Corker or Tennessee to victory over the Democratic duo of Obama and Colorado Sen. Mark Udall on an outing meant to strengthen ties between the president and Congress. Chambliss told reporters upon his triumphant return to Capitol Hill that “everyone went crazy” when he made the shot and there were high-fives all around. The
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Fat chance? Christie tried surgery to lose weight

Gov. Chris Christie secretly underwent gastric band surgery in February to try to lose weight at the urging of his family. The father of four agreed to the surgery, in which a tube was placed around his stomach to restrict the amount of food he can eat, after turning 50 in September, he told The New York Post for a story in Tuesday’s edition. He said he wasn’t motivated by thoughts of running for president. “I’ve struggled with this issue for 20 years,” he told the newspaper. “For me, this is about turning 50 and looking at my children and
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The days of tax free Internet shopping may soon end

Attention online shoppers: The days of tax-free shopping on the Internet may soon end for many of you. The Senate is scheduled to vote Monday on a bill that would empower states to collect sales taxes for purchases made over the Internet. The measure is expected to pass because it has already survived three procedural votes. But it faces opposition in the House, where some Republicans regard it as a tax increase. A broad coalition of retailers is lobbying in favor of it. Under current law, states can only require retailers to collect sales taxes if the store has a
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Yegads! Republicans want to mess with overtime pay!

It seems like a simple proposition: give employees who work more than 40 hours a week the option of taking paid time off instead of overtime pay. The choice already exists in the public sector. Federal and state workers can save earned time off and use it weeks or even months later to attend a parent-teacher conference, care for an elderly parent or deal with home repairs. Republicans in Congress are pushing legislation that would extend that option to the private sector. They say that would bring more flexibility to the workplace and help workers better balance family and career.
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Will Obamacare be a boon or bust?

Healthcare reform should be the signature Democratic achievement of President Barack Obama’s presidency. But with “Obamacare” five months from show time, Democrats are worried about whether enough Americans will sign up to make the sweeping healthcare overhaul a success – and what failure might mean for Congress heading into the 2016 presidential race. Some of the law’s main advocates fear that not enough of America’s 49 million uninsured will know about health coverage offered in their own states. Even if they do, new insurance plans may not be attractive to young, healthy consumers needed to offset an expected influx of
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The war over gun control will get worse

National Rifle Association leaders told members Saturday that the fight against gun control legislation is far from over, with battles yet to come in Congress and next year’s midterm elections, but they vowed that none in the organization will ever have to surrender their weapons. Proponents of gun control also asserted that they are in their fight for the long haul and have not been disheartened by last month’s defeat of a bill that would have expanded background checks for gun sales. The debate over gun control legislation has reached a fever pitch in the wake of December’s mass shooting
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Why the American economy stays in the crapper

The American economy and job market are moving in the right direction, just not very quickly. The news Friday that U.S. employers added a solid 165,000 jobs in April and unemployment fell to a four-year low of 7.5 percent came as a relief. The Dow Jones industrial average surged 142 points, or 1 percent, on the news to close at a record 14,973. The better-than-expected April numbers erased worries that the U.S. economy was stalling for the fourth year in a row — a fear that had emerged after a disappointing jobs report for March. Friday’s report also showed job
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NRA praises gun-toting women

The National Rifle Association is showcasing women members and emphasizing that increasingly it’s not just men who own firearms and oppose gun-control efforts. Female membership is up, the nation’s leading advocate for gun ownership says, and its revamped website features profiles of “armed and fabulous” women and describes how women are bringing “new energy” to the NRA. “This is the National Rifle Association catering to demand,” NRA spokesman Andrew Arulanandam said. “We’ve seen in the last few years an increase in women buying guns, joining the National Rifle Association, enrolling in personal safety classes and going out and organizing women’s-only
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