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Sunday, Feb 07th

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Congress approves bill to boost nation's infrastructure

America's infrastructureCongress has approved a 5-year, $305 billion bill to address the nation's aging and congested transportation systems, loading down the measure with industry favors, parochial projects, safety improvements and union demands, to win overwhelming bipartisan support.

The bill was approved on a 359-65 vote in the House, and an 83-16 vote in the Senate. The bill that was passed on Thursday now goes to the White House for President Barack Obama's signature.

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Senate passes budget repealing Obamacare, Planned Parenthood funding

McConnellThe Senate narrowly passed a budget bill to repeal core provisions of the Affordable Care Act and strip funding from Planned Parenthood for one year, approving legislation that is sure to be vetoed.

The legislation passed 52 to 47 and needs to be approved by the House before being sent to the White House, where President Obama has already vowed to veto it. Republicans hailed the bill as a political message and a fulfillment of promises to force Obama to veto his landmark healthcare reform law.

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Obama signs defense bill despite Guantanamo provisions

Obama signs defense billPresident Barack Obama on Wednesday signed a $607 billion defense policy bill, despite his opposition to restrictions in the legislation that ban him from moving Guantanamo Bay detainees to the United States — a campaign promise that remains unfulfilled.

Obama has opposed provisions preventing detainee transfers since Congress first attached the measures to spending bills in an attempt block his plans. The dispute has taken on added intensity this year, because the White House has launched a final push to close to the prison before Obama leaves office.

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Ex-staffer sues Gowdy and Benghazi panel

Gowdy and Benghazi panel suedThe ex-GOP House Benghazi investigator who accused the panel of conducting a partisan witch-hunt against Hillary Clinton filed suit Monday against the committee and Chairman Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) for wrongful termination and defamation.

Air Force Reserve Maj. Brad Podliska in his court filing alleged he was fired from his post in June because he took leave for active duty. He also says he was singled out because he refused to focus his investigative work on Clinton and the State Department.

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Congress Shorted 9/11 Responders By $12 Billion

Congress shorts first respondersWhen Congress rushed to finish a 9/11 health and compensation bill in 2010, just before Christmas, supporters of the legislation were forced to scale back their proposals to win over skeptical Republicans.

Now the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office has revealed how much 9/11 responders were shorted in that deal -- somewhere between $11.5 billion and $14.5 billion.

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Senate passes legislation barring transfer of Guantánamo prisoners to US

Senate passes legislation barring Gitmo prisoners from USBarack Obama’s efforts to fulfil his promise of closing the Guantánamo Bay detention centre before he leaves office were dealt a significant blow on Tuesday as the Senate passed legislation preventing the administration from relocating prisoners to the United States.

The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which has the primary purpose of setting the US Defense Department budget, passed the Senate by an overwhelming majority of 91-3 in a faster-than-usual passage through Congress, designed in part to frustrate White House plans to announce a new Guantánamo closure strategy.

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Ex-Benghazi investigator alleges Rep. Gowdy violated federal law

gowdt broke lawsThe legal battle between the House Benghazi Committee and its former investigator, Todd Podliska, escalated Monday afternoon, when Podliska’s lawyers alleged that Chairman Trey Gowdy violated government confidentiality rules and federal law in responding to allegations made by Podliska.

“Both Representative Gowdy and the committee have clearly violated terms of the confidentiality agreement and the Congressional Accountability Act,” said Peter Romer-Friedman, one of Podliska’s attorneys, to MSNBC on Monday afternoon.

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