February 2014

Feb 26, 2014

Bill Clinton Says Defeating Mitch McConnell ‘Makes a Big Difference’

By Shushannah Walshe and Jeff Zeleny, ABC News

Former President Bill Clinton took center stage today in the most watched Senate race in the country, telling a crowd of 1,200 that “it makes a big difference” whether Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes wins in November.

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Why Lawmaking on a Grand Scale Is a Dying Art

By Janet Hook, Wall Street Journal

When Rep. Dave Camp (R., Mich.) laid plans to unveil a big tax reform bill this week, it was as if he was operating in some kind of time warp. No one seemed to have told the Ways and Means Committee chairman that Congress isn’t doing much legislating any more. And it hasn’t been for some time.

Having enacted just 72 laws in all of 2013 – one of its least productive sessions ever – Congress is not just gridlocked. It is getting rusty at the art of legislating.

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Reid and McConnell agree: Tax overhaul will be difficult

By Susan Davis, USA Today

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., don’t agree on much, but they found common ground Tuesday when they dampened expectations for an overhaul of the federal tax code this year.

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Putin Tests Russian Military as Ukraine Looks to EU

With Indira Lakshmanan, Bloomberg News

Bloomberg U.S. diplomacy correspondent Indira Lakshmanan examines Russian President Vladimir Putin’s call for a test of Russian military readiness and tension between Russia and Europe over Ukraine.

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Trust Eroded, Obama Looks Beyond Karzai

By Mark Landler and Helene Cooper, The New York Times

President Obama, apparently resigned to President Hamid Karzai’s refusal to sign a long-term security agreement with the United States before he leaves office, told him in a phone call on Tuesday that he had instructed the Pentagon to begin planning for a complete withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan by the end of the year.

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Feb 25, 2014

House GOP tax plan would cut top rates but also hit high earners with a surtax

By Lori Montgomery, Washington Post

The long-awaited simplification of the tax code being drafted by House Republicans would slash the top income tax rate to 25 percent from 39.6 percent and impose a surtax on some of the nation’s wealthiest households.

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Wary Stance From Obama on Ukraine

By Peter Baker, The New York Times

Televisions around the White House were aglow with pictures of Ukrainians in the streets, demanding to be heard and toppling a government aligned with Russia. It was an invigorating moment, and it spurred a president already rethinking his approach to the world.

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In John Dingell’s departure, a changing of the guard and the end of an old style of power

By Karen Tumulty and Paul Kane, Washington Post

In the arc of Rep. John D. Dingell’s storied legislative career, it is easy to discern the fading trajectory of power in Washington over the past six decades.

He was the last of the true committee barons, one who muscled for legislative turf and who had been known to pound his gavel so hard it shattered.

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Dingell retirement marks generational shift in House

By Susan Davis, USA Today

The storied career of the longest-serving lawmaker in the nation's history, Rep. John Dingell, is drawing to a close as he announced Monday that his current term will be his last.

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Feb 24, 2014

Governors’ races offer a barometer for 2016

By Dan Balz, Washington Post

In Washington, the focus right now is on the Senate: Who will control it after the November midterm elections? But the National Governors Association winter meeting this weekend is a reminder that the outcome of this year’s gubernatorial elections will be equally important in shaping the political future.

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2014 Midterm races to test Tea Party power to last

By Susan Davis, USA Today

The 2014 primary election season that kicks off March 4 may serve as a test of the Tea Party's ability to shape the Republican Party.

The movement that became a potent political force in the 2010 elections and helped Republicans retake control of the House is at war with the Republican establishment and taking on GOP incumbents in a handful of key races.

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Obama seeks to defuse tensions among Democrats

By Karen Tumulty, Washington Post

President Obama is stepping up his efforts to coalesce and energize the Democratic base for the 2014 elections, backing off on issues where his positions might alienate the left, and more aggressively singling out Republicans as being responsible for the country’s problems.

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