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Jun 13, 2013

Senate rejects Republican effort to gut immigration bill

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Democratic-led U.S. Senate on Thursday rejected a Republican amendment that foes said would have undermined a key element of the White House-backed bill that aims to provide a pathway to citizenship for 11 million undocumented immigrants.

Republican Senator Charles Grassley of Iowa said the defeat of his amendment, 57-43, broke a promise by President Barack Obama’s Democrats to permit an “open debate” on the landmark immigration legislation. Democrats forced a vote after little discussion.

Jun 13, 2013

Lawmakers tire of playing ’20 questions’ in surveillance briefings

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Some members of the Congress say that getting straight answers from intelligence agencies about top-secret surveillance is like playing the game “20 Questions,” where answers come only if a questioner knows exactly what to ask.

They say quality of closed briefings depends largely on who conducts the sessions and whether members go in with a working knowledge of programs and pointed questions.

Jun 13, 2013

U.S. lawmakers tire of playing ’20 questions’ in surveillance briefings

WASHINGTON, June 13 (Reuters) – Some members of the U.S.
Congress say that getting straight answers from intelligence
agencies about top-secret surveillance is like playing the game
“20 Questions,” where answers come only if a questioner knows
exactly what to ask.

They say quality of closed briefings depends largely on who
conducts the sessions and whether members go in with a working
knowledge of programs and pointed questions.

Jun 7, 2013

Long debate over immigration begins in Senate

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Senate on Friday plunged into a spirited debate on overhauling the country’s immigration rules, with a verdict likely by the end of June on legislation that could define President Barack Obama’s final years in office.

The “Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernization Act,” a nearly 900-page reworking of the nation’s 27-year-old immigration law, faces a tough fight in the Democratic-held Senate and an even harder battle in the more conservative House of Representatives later this year.

Jun 5, 2013

Senate Republicans push tougher border plans in U.S. immigration bill

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Two leading Republican senators on Wednesday unveiled proposals requiring much tighter security on the U.S.-Mexico border before undocumented immigrants could gain legal status under the broad immigration bill the Senate is considering.

The two separate amendments by John Cornyn, the second-ranking Senate Republican, and Rand Paul, a potential 2016 presidential contender, are likely to draw fire from many Democrats who have said such provisions would erode the path to citizenship at the heart of the White House-backed bill.

Jun 3, 2013

Democratic Senator Lautenberg of New Jersey dies at 89

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Senator Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey, a liberal Democrat and the Senate’s last surviving World War II veteran, died on Monday from complications of viral pneumonia, his office said. He was 89 and will likely be temporarily replaced by a Republican.

President Barack Obama’s Democrats will retain control of the Senate, but they will have one less vote next week when the sharply divided chamber begins consideration of Obama’s top legislative priority, overhaul of the U.S. immigration system.

May 26, 2013

Will immigration reform get killed in Republican-led House?

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The biggest overhaul of U.S. immigration laws in a generation won bipartisan approval from a powerful U.S. Senate committee last week, but there is a strong chance that Republicans in the House of Representatives will end up killing it.

The problem: House Republicans are far from convinced by arguments from party leaders that passage of the bill would help Republicans draw support from Hispanic voters. Many also believe any kind of amnesty for the estimated 11 million immigrants who are in the United States illegally is just plain wrong.

May 16, 2013

Obama picks temporary IRS head as Tea Party rallies on scandal

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Barack Obama on Thursday chose a White House budget official to lead the beleaguered Internal Revenue Service temporarily and vowed to ensure that the tax-collection agency will not single out any more groups based on their political beliefs.

Danny Werfel, the controller of the Office of Management and Budget who served as a point man on the controversial automatic spending cuts known as “sequestration,” will start in the new post on May 22.

May 16, 2013

Obama vows to fix IRS as Tea Party rallies on Capitol Hill

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Barack Obama said on Thursday he would install new leadership at the Internal Revenue Service and vowed to ensure that the tax-collection agency will not single out any more groups based on their political beliefs.

As Republicans and conservative groups accused Obama’s administration of using the levers of power to persecute political enemies, Obama raced to get out in front of a scandal that threatens to derail his second-term agenda.

May 14, 2013

McConnell tells Obama ‘no more stonewalling’ in IRS scandal

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell called on President Barack Obama on Tuesday to make available for questioning everyone who knew about the Internal Revenue Service’s targeting of conservative groups, and demanded “no more stonewalling.”

With Congress preparing to hold hearings on the IRS’s holding conservative groups to extra scrutiny, McConnell said he was “calling on the president to make available, completely and without restriction, everyone who can answer the questions we have as to what was going on at the IRS, who knew about it, and how high it went.”

    • About Thomas

      "Thomas Ferraro joined Reuters in 1998; he has helped cover a number of presidential campaigns and is a veteran of Capitol Hill where he has seen Democratic and Republican majorities rise and fall. He has also covered a number of Supreme Court confirmation battles, including those of four nominees now on the highest U.S. court."
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