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OK, we relaxed this tax act thingy. Now what?

House Republicans redeemed a campaign promise to repeal President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul, but now must march against the headwinds of a Democratic-controlled Senate and the specter of a White House veto. The GOP owes its newfound control of the House in part to its appeal last fall to voters outraged about the new health care law. And when the roll call was taken, they prevailed by a lopsided 245-189 margin. But given the solid wall of opposition among Senate Democrats and the certainty that the president would veto any repeal legislation that reached the White House, Wednesday’s House
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Another giant step for Gabrielle Giffords

In the latest milestone in Gabrielle Giffords‘ recovery from a bullet wound to the brain, the congresswoman stood up and looked out a window even as preparations got under way for a move to Houston, where she’ll undergo extensive mental and physical rehabilitation. Her swift transition from an intensive care unit to a rehab center is based on the latest research, which shows the sooner rehab starts, the better patients recover. Giffords’ family hopes to move the Arizona congresswoman on Friday to TIRR Memorial Hermann hospital in Houston, where her husband lives and works as an astronaut. “I am extremely
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Health care claims long on hype, short on facts

Republicans pushing to repeal President Barack Obama‘s health care overhaul warn that 650,000 jobs will be lost if the law is allowed to stand. But the widely cited estimate by House GOP leaders is shaky. It’s the latest creative use of statistics in the health care debate, which has seen plenty of examples from both sides. Republicans are calling their thumbs-down legislation the “Repealing the Job-Killing Health Care Law Act.” Postponed after the mass shootings in Tucson, a House vote on the divisive issue is now expected Wednesday, although Democrats promise they’ll block repeal in the Senate. A recent report
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Giffords’ husband: ‘She recognized me’

Congressman Gabrielle Giffords’ husband, astronaut Mark Kelly, says he is certain his wife recognizes him and is making her awareness of his bedside presence known more than a week after she was shot through the head. While doctors at University Medical Center in Tucson, Arizona, said over the weekend that Giffords remained mostly incommunicative, Kelly said his spouse is connecting with him through small, but distinct gestures. “If I hold her hand, she’ll play with my wedding ring,” Kelly, a NASA space shuttle commander, told ABC News in his first television interview since his wife was gravely wounded in a
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Sargeant Shriver dead at 95

who spent four decades in public service as a member of the Kennedy family, the first director of the Peace Corps and a key warrior in Lyndon Johnson‘s War on Poverty, died on Tuesday. He was 95. Shriver, who had suffered from Alzheimer’s disease in his final years, was surrounded by his five children and 19 grandchildren when he died in Suburban Hospital in Bethesda, Md., his family said in a statement. Shriver, the Democratic substitute nominee for vice president in 1972 and briefly a presidential candidate in 1976, was an advocate for the poor and powerless who helped launch
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Public opinion on health care law rises

As lawmakers shaken by the shooting of a colleague return to the health care debate, an Associated Press-GfK poll finds raw feelings over President Barack Obama’s overhaul have subsided. Ahead of a vote on repeal in the GOP-led House this week, strong opposition to the law stands at 30 percent, close to the lowest level registered in AP-GfK surveys dating to September 2009. The nation is divided over the law, but the strength and intensity of the opposition appear diminished. The law expands coverage to more than 30 million uninsured, and would require, for the first time, that most people
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Steele out; Priebus in at RNC

The national Republican Party, coming off huge election victories but facing a $22 million debt and an internal war over identity, ousted chairman Michael Steele Friday and chose Wisconsin party chief Reince Priebus to lead in the run-up to the 2012 presidential race. The embattled Steele dropped his re-election bid halfway through an afternoon of balloting when it became clear he could not win another two-year term after a first marked by verbal missteps and financial woes. “We have to get on track. And together we can defeat Barack Obama in 2012,” Priebus, the chairman of the Wisconsin GOP, said
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Tight security for judge’s funeral

One day after mourning the death of a child, an Arizona city will remember the life of a judge. A funeral for U.S. District Judge John Roll is expected to draw many other federal judges, and security is tight. Three hours before services Friday, U.S. marshals and local law officers were at the church, where Thursday evening 2,000 people gathered for the funeral of 9-year-old Christina Taylor Green. She was the youngest of six people killed Saturday when a gunman opened fire at a supermarket meet-and-greet for Democratic Rep. Gabrielle Giffords. Across the street from the church, graffiti on a
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Mourners pack church for nine-year-old’s funeral

Some 2,000 mourners packed a Catholic church to honor Christina Taylor Green, the bubbly 9-year-old who was the youngest victim of the Arizona shootings, while hundreds more lined streets outside in a show of unity and support. Christina’s was the first of half-a-dozen funerals in the coming days, and was to be followed Friday with a service for U.S. District Judge John Roll at the same church, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton. Security was expected to be tight at the ceremony, with many federal judges among the mourners. Roll and Christina were among six people killed Saturday when a gunman opened
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Obama to the nation: ‘We can be better than this’

Summoning the soul of a nation, President Barack Obama on Wednesday implored Americans to honor those slain and injured in the Arizona shootings by becoming better people, telling a polarized citizenry that it is time to talk with each other “in a way that heals, not in a way that wounds.” Following a hospital bedside visit with Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, the target of the assassination, he said: “She knows we’re here, and she knows we love her.” In an electrifying moment, the president revealed that Giffords, who on Saturday was shot point-blank in the head, had opened her eyes for
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