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Are there any adults in Washington?

Suddenly everyone in Washington wants to be an adult. President Barack Obama says he wants to have an adult dialogue on the budget. Republican lawmakers contend they’re the ones trying to have a grown-up talk. Both sides are pointing fingers yet both have agreed to repeated delays in completing a budget to keep the government open for the last six months of the fiscal year. The bickering might seem, well, childish, but the stakes are high as each side tries to win public opinion and display the leadership qualities to attract voters at the ballot box through 2012 and beyond.
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GOP looking at one-week budget extension

Republicans battling with President Barack Obama over budget cuts are moving one-week legislation Thursday to avoid a government shutdown, despite opposition from the White House and Senate Democrats pressing for a longer-term solution. The move by House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, to advance the interim budget measure angered his Democratic negotiating counterparts and came after slower-than-hoped White House talks Wednesday night. The president said Republicans need to display more urgency, while Boehner said honest differences remain. Thursday’s GOP measure would combine a full-year Pentagon budget with a big slice of cuts to domestic programs as the price to keep the
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Wisonsin court challenger declares victory, recount certain

The union-backed challenger in the race for a seat on Wisconsin’s state Supreme Court declared victory on Wednesday in a contest that became a referendum on a new restrictions on public sector unions. But Wisconsin’s first statewide recount in 20 years was virtually certain because just 204 votes separated the two candidates out of nearly 1.5 million cast. A recount could be a complicated, drawn-out affair, experts said. “It may become ballot-by-ballot warfare in some places,” said Richard Esenberg, a former partner at Foley & Lardner who now teaches at Marquette University Law School and an expert on Wisconsin law.
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Government shutdown: A big risk for both parties

Democrats and Republicans say the last thing they want to do is to shut down the government. But with budget talks showing little signs of a breakthrough, there are growing worries that a stalemate could hurt the economy’s fragile recovery. Many economists and budget analysts suggest that a government shutdown, if it’s lengthy, or even a deal that calls for deep short-term spending cuts could stifle economic growth and lead the country back into recession. Private forecasters already have lowered their growth projections for this year based on surging fuel, food and raw material costs, and tensions in the Middle
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GOP budget will raise health care costs for seniors

Congressional budget experts say future retirees would pay more for health care under a new House Republican budget proposal. The fiscal blueprint would put people now 54 and younger in a different kind of health care program when they retire. Unlike parents and grandparents in traditional Medicare, they’d get a federal payment to buy private insurance from a choice of government-regulated plans. The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office, in an analysis released late Tuesday, said a typical beneficiary would spend more for health care under the proposal. GOP leaders want the House to act quickly on the ambitious plan from House
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No budget deal yet: Next stop, shutdown?

Talks appear to be intensifying on Capitol Hill on reaching a deal on long-overdue legislation to finance the government through the end of September — and avoid a government shutdown. Whether a shutdown can be avoided in three days’ time is another matter. A White House meeting Tuesday that included President Barack Obama, House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., failed to produce the hoped-for breakthrough, however, with a stopgap government funding bill set to expire Friday at midnight. Obama ratcheted up the pressure afterward, sounding exasperated with Republicans for not warming to a White
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Romney leads in New Hampshire but Trump a wild card

Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney leads potential Republican primary opponents in the early voting state of New Hampshire, but celebrity candidate Donald Trump has substantial support, according to a new poll. Public Policy Polling’s survey, released on Tuesday, showed 31 percent support for Romney, who many see as the front-runner for the Republican nomination to go up against Barack Obama in the 2012 presidential election. That was similar to the 32 percent that Romney received in the state’s 2008 primary, when he finished second to John McCain, but down from 40 percent when the group last polled in November. Romney
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Wisconsin judge’s race too close to call

A routine election for a Wisconsin Supreme Court seat that became a referendum on the state’s new curbs on unionized public employees appeared too close to call early on Wednesday with the incumbent clinging to a narrow lead. With 98 percent of the state’s precincts reporting and more than 1.44 million votes counted, incumbent Justice David Prosser, who was backed by Republicans, held onto a narrow lead over JoAnne Kloppenburg, a candidate backed by Democrats and organized labor, according to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel newspaper and WTMJ-TV. As of 12:41 a.m. Central time, Prosser had garnered 727,208 of the votes cast
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Bohner to GOP: Get ready for government shutdown

House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner on Monday told fellow Republicans to prepare for a government shutdown, undercutting optimism that progress is being made on a deal that would keep the government running. Boehner and other congressional leaders are due to meet with President Barack Obama on Tuesday to try to make headway on the plan, which would slice roughly $33 billion from this year’s budget and ensure that the government will keep running beyond midnight on Friday, when current funding expires. Boehner instructed his fellow Republicans in an evening meeting to draw up plans on how the House would
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Obama calls Boehner to White House to talk budget

U.S. Speaker of the House John Boehner speaks in front of fellow GOP leaders about Senate Democrats and their failure to pass a long-term bill to cut spending and keep the U.S. government running while on Capitol Hill in Washington. REUTERS/Larry Downing President Barack Obama has summoned the top Republican in Congress to the White House on Tuesday for talks aimed at averting a government shutdown this weekend. Negotiations have stalled on legislation blending immediate spending cuts with the money required to run federal agencies through the end of September. Democrats are accusing the GOP of pressing harmful spending cuts
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