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May 18, 2013

IRS chief declines to identify employees involved in scandal

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The outgoing head of the U.S. Internal Revenue Service angered Republican lawmakers on Friday by resisting their demands that he identify who at the tax-collection agency had inappropriately targeted conservative groups for extra scrutiny.

But during the first hearing into a growing IRS scandal that could preoccupy Washington for months, Republicans did learn that a top official in President Barack Obama’s administration knew that the IRS was looking into targeting by the tax agency nearly a year ago.

May 17, 2013

Lawmakers accuse IRS officials of lying in tax scandal

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Lawmakers accused leaders of the Internal Revenue Service of lying on Friday as they opened the first in a series of investigative hearings about the tax collection agency’s targeting of conservative groups.

Republicans and Democrats said senior IRS officials should have alerted Congress last year when they found out that their examiners were singling out Tea Party groups for intense scrutiny when the groups applied for tax-exempt status.

May 14, 2013

Emails show lobbyists, not insiders, underpinned U.S. market-moving report

WASHINGTON, May 13 (Reuters) – The researcher whose report
prompted a spike in health stocks last month appears to have
relied on lobbyists rather than U.S. government insiders who had
direct knowledge of a pending healthcare decision, according to
emails reviewed by Reuters.

The messages could help bolster Height Securities LLC’s
claim that its analyst was essentially doing what reporters,
lobbyists and others in Washington do every day: trying to
figure out what the government is going to do next.

May 8, 2013

Republican senator’s bill to target ‘political intelligence’ firms

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Law firms, brokerages and other companies that analyze the U.S. government for investors could be forced to disclose client lists and other sensitive information under legislation that a top Republican lawmaker hopes to soon resurrect.

Iowa Republican Senator Charles Grassley, who is investigating whether one such “political intelligence” firm engaged in insider trading last month, will introduce a bill shortly that would shed light on the industry, a spokeswoman for Grassley said.

May 6, 2013

Amid budget cutbacks, U.S. shipping sector seeks more federal funds

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – As Congress imposes deep spending cuts on everything from national defense to child care, shipping industry executives are urging lawmakers to spend hundreds of millions of dollars more on a river network that accounts for a declining share of the nation’s domestic freight.

During a lobbying blitz in the past month, roughly 130 tugboat and barge operators fanned across Capitol Hill, meeting with lawmakers and congressional staffers.

Apr 20, 2013

NRA ardor, clout overwhelm gun-control groups, for now

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – As lawmakers gathered in the U.S. Senate on Wednesday to vote on a plan to expand background checks for gun buyers, staffers in the office of Alaska Democratic Senator Mark Begich fielded a steady stream of calls urging him to break with his party and vote against the measure.

Those callers got what they wanted: Begich voted no – one of four Democrats from gun-friendly states to do so – and the most ambitious gun-control push in two decades went down to defeat.

Apr 20, 2013

NRA ardour, clout overwhelm U.S. gun-control groups, for now

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – As lawmakers gathered in the U.S. Senate on Wednesday to vote on a plan to expand background checks for gun buyers, staffers in the office of Alaska Democratic Senator Mark Begich fielded a steady stream of calls urging him to break with his party and vote against the measure.

Those callers got what they wanted: Begich voted no – one of four Democrats from gun-friendly states to do so – and the most ambitious gun-control push in two decades went down to defeat.

Apr 12, 2013

New state laws illustrate America’s stark divide on gun control

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – While Washington politicians battle over new gun-control measures, state legislators have already passed dozens of new firearms laws since the Newtown school massacre ignited a national debate in December.

The new state laws, a small fraction of the 1,500 or so gun-related bills that have been proposed at state level, reflect the vast political and ideological differences in the debate over gun rights – a gulf that helps explain why lawmakers in Washington find it so difficult to reach a consensus on the issue.

Apr 10, 2013

Obama budget makes cybersecurity a growing U.S. priority

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama proposed on Wednesday increased spending to protect U.S. computer networks from Internet-based attacks in a sign that the government aims to put more resources into the emerging global cyber arms race.

Obama’s budget proposal for the 2014 fiscal year, which begins October 1, calls for more military “hackers” to head off escalating cyber threats from China, Iran, Russia and other countries. It would also bolster defenses for government and private-sector computer networks.

Apr 10, 2013

Obama budget would increase U.S. clean-energy spending

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama proposed a dramatic increase in clean-energy spending on Wednesday as he sought to expand U.S. government support for electric cars, wind power and other “green” technology despite persistent Republican criticism.

The president would pay for the expansion in part by eliminating tax breaks and subsidies for oil, gas and coal industries. Previous efforts by Obama’s fellow Democrats to repeal the $4 billion worth of fossil-fuel subsidies have fallen short.

    • About Andy

      "As a politics and general-news correspondent, I’ve covered four budget crises, three presidential elections, two hurricanes and one exploding bridge since joining Reuters in 2000. One of my stories in the 2012 election inspired a spoof on “Saturday Night Life.” I’m a native of Cape Elizabeth, Maine and in my free time I play guitar in several rock bands around Washington, D.C."
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