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WVa Dems slam Boehner for blocking vets ceremony at Capitol

West Virginia’s two Democratic senators blamed House Speaker John Boehner on Thursday after their hopes of having the remains of World War I veteran Frank Buckles honored in the Capitol Rotunda were dashed, at least for now. Sens. Jay Rockefeller and Joe Manchin III both released statements saying the Ohio Republican had blocked the Capitol honor. Asked if that were true, Boehner spokesman Mike Steel said the speaker and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., would seek Defense Department permission for a ceremony for Buckles at Arlington National Cemetery. Buckles died Sunday on his farm in Charles Town, W.Va., at
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Wisconsin state workers brace for layoffs

Thousands of Wisconsin state workers were bracing for layoff notices Friday as Republican Gov. Scott Walker and absent Democrats remained in a standoff over a budget balancing bill that would also strip public workers of their collective bargaining rights. Walker said he would issue 1,500 layoff notices Friday if at least one of the 14 Senate Democrats doesn’t return from Illinois to give the Republican majority the quorum it needs to vote. Senate Republicans voted Thursday to hold the missing Democrats in contempt and force police to bring them back to the Capitol. The legislation has led to nearly three
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Exclusive: Wisconsin’s Walker vows no compromise on unions

MADISON, Wis (Reuters) – Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker vowed on Thursday never to compromise on the core of his plan to curb the power of public sector unions and said investors should buy the state’s bonds precisely because he was taking a tough stance. Read the full story.
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Obama says Libya stalemate a danger

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama said on Thursday he was concerned a bloody stalemate could develop between Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi and rebel forces but gave no sign of a willingness to intervene militarily. Read the full story.
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Obama and Mexico’s Calderon seek to ease tensions

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama and Mexican President Felipe Calderon on Thursday vowed greater cooperation to combat drugs and arms smuggling and ease trade tensions as they sought to smooth over cross-border differences. Read the full story.
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Gingrich exploring 2012 presidential bid

ATLANTA (Reuters) – Former House of Representatives Speaker Newt Gingrich on Thursday edged toward becoming the first big-name Republican to challenge President Barack Obama in the 2012 election. Read the full story.
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U.S. sees limited progress in Pakistan spy standoff

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – National security officials say progress is being made to persuade Pakistan to free a CIA contractor held on murder charges but that Washington could take punitive diplomatic and financial action if the case is not resolved soon. Read the full story.
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GOP to relaunch flood insurance overhaul

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Draft legislation to overhaul the U.S. National Flood Insurance Program will be unveiled next week, said the Republican chairman of a congressional insurance oversight panel on Thursday. Read the full story.
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Budget crisis forces states to spend creatively: Duncan

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – With some states taking a budget-cutting ax to public school funding, the U.S. education department on Thursday offered some guidance on finding and spending federal money flexibly — but did not attach any dollars to the advice. Read the full story.
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