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Tea party to Boehner: Stand firm

Tea Party activists demanded House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner deliver on budget cuts at a rally on Monday at his Ohio offices, urging the Republican leader to “stand strong” in debt negotiations. About 100 people chanted “no more spending” and hoisted banners and signs reading “No New Taxes” and “Do Not Cave” outside the 11-term Republican’s offices near Cincinnati. “He needs to hear a resounding message that Americans want him to BE BOLD, STAND STRONG, CUT THE SPENDING,” said the rally announcement from the local Tea Party. Around the same time as the rally, Boehner outlined his party’s budget
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Pawlenty vs. Bachmann: A good political feud

Call it the Minnesota feud — Iowa style. The simmering rivalry between Republican presidential candidates Tim Pawlenty and Michele Bachmann spilled out onto the campaign trail Monday as the two Minnesotans campaigned in the leadoff caucus state three weeks before a test vote by Iowa Republicans that could hinder or help their presidential bid. “She has a record for saying things that are off the mark and this is another example of that,” Pawlenty told 125 people in a Davenport restaurant as he responded to Bachmann’s criticism a day earlier that he had espoused the same policies as President Barack
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Boehner: GOP will do debt deal without Democrats if necessary

With bipartisan debt-limit talks deadlocked, House Republicans and Senate Democrats readied rival emergency fallback plans Sunday in hopes of reassuring world financial markets the U.S. government will avoid an unprecedented default. In a conference call, Speaker John Boehner summoned his conservative rank and file to swing behind a “new measure” that could clear both houses of Congress. “It won’t be ‘Cut, Cap and Balance’ as we passed it,” he said, referring to a measure — killed in the Senate on Friday — that would have required spending cuts of an estimated $6 trillion as well as congressional approval of a
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Boehner walks out on debt limit talks

House Speaker John Boehner abruptly broke off talks with President Barack Obama Friday night on a deal to make major cuts in federal spending and avert a threatened government default, sending already uncertain compromise efforts into instant crisis. Within minutes, an obviously peeved Obama virtually ordered congressional leaders to the White House Saturday morning for fresh negotiations on raising the nation’s debt limit. “We’ve got to get it done. It is not an option not to do it,” he declared. For the first time since talks began, he declined to offer assurances, when asked, that default would be avoided. Moments
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Obama’s shifts complicate debt limit negotiations

The roller-coaster debate over raising the nation’s debt limit has forced the White House to explain away, brush aside or even ignore declarations by President Barack Obama and his top aides that no longer served much purpose in the unpredictable negotiations. First, the White House wanted the debt ceiling vote separated from spending cuts. Now the administration likes them linked. Then, Obama adamantly vowed to reject any short-term deal to raise the borrowing limit. Now the White House says he could make an exception. And Obama pledged to meet with congressional leaders every day until a deal was reached. But
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Crunch time on debt limit talks

Efforts to avoid an unprecedented U.S. default enter crunch time on Friday, with President Barack Obama and top lawmakers engaged in a sometimes chaotic drive to strike a sweeping deficit-reduction deal. With the clock ticking toward an August 2 deadline to raise the U.S. debt ceiling, Obama and the senior Republican in Congress, House Speaker John Boehner, worked toward a plan that could include up to $3 trillion in spending cuts but might leave tax reform for later, congressional aides said. The main obstacle remained the issue of tax increases that Obama’s Democrats demand and Republicans vehemently oppose. There were
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House budget plan faces defeat in Senate

The Senate is moving to cast away a budget cutting plan passed by the Republican-controlled House, clearing the way for increasingly urgent government talks over raising the nation’s debt ceiling. President Barack Obama and House Speaker John Boehner searched once more for an ambitious $4 trillion grand bargain, but officials said wide differences remained. Less than two weeks from an Aug. 2 deadline that could precipitate a first-ever government default, the continuing Obama-Boehner talks kept alive the possibility of substantial deficit reduction that would combine cuts in spending on major benefit programs like Medicare and Medicaid and revenue increases through
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Panetta set to end gay military ban

Pentagon chief Leon Panetta has decided to end the ban on gays serving openly in the armed services and certify that repealing the 17-year-old prohibition will not hurt the military’s ability to fight, officials said Thursday. His decision, which was expected, comes two weeks after the chiefs of the military services told Panetta that ending the ban would not affect military readiness. Dismantling the ban fulfills a 2008 campaign promise by President Barack Obama, who helped usher the repeal through Congress and signed it into law late last December. But the move also drew vehement opposition from some in Congress
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Obama’s tattered legacy: A withered American Dream

Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign trumpeted hope for the future, but his legacy may include presiding over the withering of the American Dream. Belief that the American Dream is possible has dropped by nearly 20 points since his election, falling just below one-half of U.S. adults. My research since 1998 about the American Dream has shown its definition evolving away from material wealth and toward spiritual happiness (both secular and religious.) So this drop in belief hints that our economic and political problems are shaking American confidence about the future and even our way of life. This should be an enormous
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New debt plan targets favored tax deductions

A new bipartisan plan to reduce government borrowing would target some of the most cherished tax breaks enjoyed by millions of families — those promoting health insurance, home ownership, charitable giving and retirement savings — in exchange for lowering overall tax rates for everyone. Many taxpayers would face higher taxes — a total of at least $1.2 trillion over the next decade, and perhaps more. The details and impact of the plan, released this week by the bipartisan “Gang of Six” senators, emerged as President Barack Obama called congressional leaders to the White House on Wednesday to determine, in separate
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