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Monday, Dec 22nd

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Rep. Michael Grimm Expected to Plead Guilty to Tax Evasion

Michael GrimmRepublican Congressman Michael Grimm will be in court tomorrow to, according to reports, plead guilty to one of the many federal charges leveled against him. Back in April, Grimm was charged on multiple counts of fraud and tax evasion.

Grimm had allegedly not provided accurate numbers for both profits and employee wages for Healthalicious, the New York restaurant he ran, and thereby avoiding having to pay more in taxes.

People close to Grimm told The New York Times that the congressman will plead guilty to just one count on tax evasion.

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$14 Million An Hour: War Costs Top $1.6 Trillion Since 9/11, Say Congressional Researchers

US war costsAmerican taxpayers have shelled out roughly $1.6 trillion on war spending since 9/11, according to a new report from Congress’ nonpartisan research arm. That’s roughly $337 million a day -- or nearly a quarter million dollars a minute -- every single day for 13 years.

The $1.6 trillion estimate, which comes to $14 million per hour since 9/11, from the Congressional Research Service is up roughly half a trillion dollars from its 2010 estimate, which found that the post-9/11 military operations are second only to World War II in terms of financial cost.

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CIA unlikely to punish staff over Senate computer search: NYT

CIA unlikely to punish staffA panel investigating the CIA's search of a computer network used by U.S. Senate staff will not recommend disciplining the agency officials involved in the incident, according to the New York Times.

The review panel is looking into the search by agency officials of staffers from the Senate Intelligence Committee who were investigating the CIA's use of torture in interrogations of detainees after the Sept. 11 attacks on the United States.

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Senate Confirms Vivek Murthy As Surgeon General Over NRA Opposition

Vivek MurthyIn a rare show of defiance of the National Rifle Association, the Senate on Monday confirmed Dr. Vivek Murthy to serve as surgeon general of the United States. Murthy's nomination had been stalled for nearly a year due to comments he made in support of stricter gun laws.

Murthy is a Harvard- and Yale-educated physician, and has identified obesity and chronic disease as areas of focus for his tenure. He will be the first Indian American to hold the position.

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Senate Passes $1.1 Trillion Spending Bill

Senate passes spending billThe Senate passed a $1.1 trillion spending package Saturday night on a 56-40 bipartisan vote, after overruling an objection from Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas.

Earlier Saturday, the Senate had voted on a short-term continuing resolution that extended their deadline to pass the spending bill. But in the evening, Senate leadership came to an agreement and the legislative body voted to move the bill forward sooner than anticipated, ending debate and allowing a vote Saturday night.

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House votes to avoid govt shutdown, passes $1 trillion spending bill

House of RepresentativesThe House of Representatives voted to pass a massive spending bill that will keep the government running into next year, narrowly avoiding a shutdown as Republicans and Democrats spent the night at odds over various provisions.

Next, the Senate will vote on the bill – the so-called “cromnibus,” which is part continuing resolution and part omnibus spending bill. If the chamber approves, it will head to President Barack Obama’s desk for his signature. Obama previously said he would support the bill’s passage.

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Congressional staffers walk out over Brown, Garner decisions

Congressional staffers walk out over Brown, Garner decisionsCongressional staff members staged a walkout Thursday in protest of the recent killings of black men by police officers, both of which did not result in grand jury indictments.

They were protesting the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., and Eric Garner in New York as racial tension builds across the nation.

The walkout comes as both chambers attempt to pass a $1.1 trillion spending measure and avoid another government shutdown.

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