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Tuesday, May 31st

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Emergency funding for Flint, Mich., stripped from Senate energy bill

Flint water plantThe U.S. Senate moved past a three-month impasse on a comprehensive energy bill Wednesday after stripping emergency funding to address the Flint, Mich., water crisis from the document.

The bill, which has bipartisan support, is the most comprehensive energy legislation since 2007. It reinforces the nation's energy infrastructure and modernizes government energy policy at time when the United States is the world's leading producer of oil and natural gas, the use wind and solar power is increasing and clean-air regulations are changing power systems across the country.

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Report: Four People Have Accused Former House Speaker Dennis Hastert of Sexual Abuse

Dennis HastertIn October, former House Speaker Dennis J. Hastert pleaded guilty to bank fraud and lying to the FBI about millions he paid to cover up what an indictment called “prior misconduct.” That “misconduct” is widely rumored to be sexual abuse, committed when Hastert was a wrestling coach; the Chicago Tribune now reports that four people have made separate allegations against him.

Last year, the sister of a man named Steve Reinboldt said that her brother had disclosed that Hastert sexually abused him. Reinboldt died of AIDS in 1995. Now, the Tribune, citing anonymous sources, says there are “at least” four people who have made sexual abuse allegations, and that they’ve identified three of them, all linked to the wrestling team Hastert coached:

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GOP senators seek to block proposal on Iran dollar rules

GOP senators try to block Iran access to fundsTwo Republican senators opposed to the Iran nuclear deal are trying to block an Obama administration proposal that would ease rules on using U.S. dollars in trade transactions with Iran.

Marco Rubio of Florida and Mark Kirk of Illinois plan to introduce legislation on Wednesday that would bar the Treasury from permitting foreign banks to conduct foreign currency trades in U.S. dollars for transactions involving Iran. A copy of the bill was obtained by The Associated Press.

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Leahy asked State Dept. to investigate Israeli human rights 'violations'

Leahy asked State Dept to investigate Israel and Egypt abusesSen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and 10 House members have asked the Obama administration to investigate claims that the Israeli and Egyptian security forces have committed “gross violations of human rights” — allegations that infuriated Israel's leader, but, if proven true, could affect U.S. military aid to the countries.

In a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry dated Feb. 17, the lawmakers list several examples of suspected human rights abuses, including reports of extrajudicial killings by Israeli and Egyptian military forces, as well as forced disappearances in Egypt. The letter also points to the 2013 massacre in Egypt's Rab’aa Square, which left nearly 1,000 people dead as the military cracked down on protesters, as worthy of examination.

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Senate confirms John King as Education Secretary

New Sec. of Education John KingActing Education Secretary John B. King Jr. was confirmed for the job late Monday in a 49-40 Senate vote.

"The reason we are voting today is because we need an education secretary who is confirmed, who is accountable to Congress," Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee said prior to the roll call.

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Report: Powell, Rice staff received classified emails on private servers

Colin PowellIn a letter obtained by NBC, Inspector General Steve Linick said that a total of 12 classified emails, now classified as "secret" or "confidential," were found to have been sent to the personal email accounts. Ten of them were sent to Rice's aides and two sent to Powell.

Linick added that none of the emails were marked classified at the time, and none were sent from the intelligence community.

In an interview with NBC, Powell downplayed the significance of the emails, saying that the information in the messages, which were sent by ambassadors, should not be classified.

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Obama vetoes anti-climate change measures passed by Congress

obamaPresident Barack Obama has vetoed two measures that would have blocked steps that his administration is taking to address climate change.

One would have nullified carbon pollution standards set by the Environmental Protection Agency. The second would have voided a set of national standards designed to reduce the amount of greenhouse gas pollution from existing power plants.

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