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Senate set to send Obama stopgap spending bill

In an early victory for Republicans, the Democratic Senate is voting to send President Barack Obama a GOP-drafted measure that cuts $4 billion in spending as the price for keeping the government open for an additional two weeks. Sweeping bipartisan support is expected Wednesday for the measure, which passed the House on Tuesday by a 335-91 tally. More than 100 Democrats broke with Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California to support it. “The president is encouraged by the progress Congress is making towards a short-term agreement,” White House press secretary Jay Carney said after the House vote. “Moving forward, the
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U.S. could hit debt limit by April 15

The United States is likely to hit its $14.29 trillion debt limit a little later than expected, the US Treasury said Tuesday, as lawmakers worked to avert a government shutdown. “The Treasury Department now estimates that the United States will reach the debt limit between April 15, 2011, and May 31, 2011,” senior Treasury official Mary Miller said. If the ceiling is not raised, the United States would only have weeks before it runs out of cash to pay its bills, according to government estimates. The Treasury had expected to run up against the ceiling between April 5 and May
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Walker’s plan would hurt Wisconsin schools

Gov. Scott Walker is plowing ahead with his full plan for balancing Wisconsin‘s budget, proposing massive cuts to public schools even as he faces a stalemate over his proposal to strip public workers of collective bargaining rights. With Senate Democrats still missing, Walker presented the second part of his two-year spending plan to the Legislature on Tuesday. It relies on getting concessions from government employees to help pay for about $1 billion cuts in aid to schools, counties and cities while avoiding any tax or fee increases, furloughs or widespread layoffs as lawmakers grapple with a projected $3.6 billion shortfall.
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Will Wisconsin battle restore union power?

In trying to take away nearly all collective bargaining rights from state workers, Wisconsin‘s governor may have unintentionally given the American labor movement the lift it needed after years of decline. That was the sentiment this week at the annual meeting of the AFL-CIO, the nation’s largest labor federation. “We’ve never seen the incredible solidarity that we’re seeing right now,” AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka told reporters Tuesday at the federation’s headquarters. Trumka said the clash between pro-union protesters and Republican leaders in Wisconsin has brought a level of excitement to unions that he hasn’t seen in years — one that
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Tea Party rhetoric clashes with local desire for pork

First-term Republican Rep. Tim Scott of Charleston, S.C., says he’s looking for “any way in the world” to get federal money to expand his hometown’s aging harbor. It’s the one way he won’t pursue that’s making South Carolinians angry. Scott, like his state’s famously conservative senator, Jim DeMint, is among a new breed of tea party-backed conservatives who have sworn off “earmarks” — the pet projects that lawmakers can write into spending bills for their districts. He won’t ask for one, won’t support one, doesn’t even want to talk about it. His opposition to earmarks helped get him elected last
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