Congress, Obama: Let the fights begin

Not wasting any time, new Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and President Barack Obama are setting course for showdowns over health care, a big oil pipeline, immigration policy and financing of the agency that tries to protect the U.S. from terrorists. At the same time, both insist they are eager for compromise — if only the other side would give in. “It seems with every new day, we have a new veto threat from the president,” McConnell, R-Ky., complained Wednesday, his second day as Senate leader. Republicans won control of the chamber in the November elections, and strengthened their hold
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Republicans taking control in Congress

Republicans are assuming full control of Congress for the first time in eight years in a day of pomp, circumstance and raw politics beneath the Capitol Dome. They planned to move swiftly Tuesday toward a veto showdown with President Barack Obama over the Keystone XL pipeline, summoning unity despite a tea party-backed effort to unseat House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio. As mandated by the Constitution, Congress was to convene at noon. In the Senate, with Vice President Joe Biden presiding, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky was to automatically ascend to majority leader following his approval by rank-and-file Republicans last year.
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Can Obama deal with a Republican-run Congress?

President Barack Obama this week will test whether he still has the sway to keep Washington focused on his own priorities, even as a new Republican-run Congress descends on the Capitol eager to take him on. Fresh off a two-week vacation, Obama immediately began ramping up for his State of the Union address — his best chance to set the agenda for 2015 on his own terms. Obama will roll out new executive steps and proposals for Congress this week on home ownership, higher education and manufacturing jobs — a similar menu to the one Obama has offered in years
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Senate GOP plans to strip away Obama’s policies

Republican senators poised to lead major committees when the GOP takes charge are intent on pushing back many of President Barack Obama’s policies, setting up potential showdowns over environmental rules, financial regulations and national security. The all-GOP Congress — Republicans also have a commanding majority in the House — gives the powerful Senate committee heads a newfound opportunity to steer legislation and help shape the national debate. With Republicans winning control of the Senate in the November election, all the committees will get new leaders, though all have been around for years. The heads of the 13 major committees and
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Republicans back Scalise in white supremacist flap

Republican lawmakers are closing ranks behind the No. 3 House GOP leader, Steve Scalise, as the party aims to move past the controversy over his speech 12 years ago to a white supremacist group. Scalise has said the speech was a mistake he now regrets, and party leaders, including House Speaker John Boehner, have backed him. Several incoming rank-and-file lawmakers added their support Sunday, including Utah’s Mia Love, the first black female Republican elected to the House. Love told ABC’s “This Week” that Scalise has the support of his colleagues. “I believe he should remain in leadership,” Love said. “There’s
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Congress’ goal: Cut budget, block Obama at every turn

In the first Republican-dominated Congress to confront President Barack Obama, GOP leaders will focus on bolstering the economy and cutting the budget — and oh yes, avoiding self-inflicted calamities that make voters wonder if the party can govern competently. When the new Congress raises the curtain Tuesday, Republicans will run both the House and Senate for the first time in eight years. GOP leaders want to showcase their legislative priorities, mixing accomplishments with showdowns with Obama but shunning government shutdowns and other chaotic standoffs. Another priority is minimizing distractions like the recent admission by No. 3 House leader Steve Scalise,
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