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Wednesday, Jan 28th

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The Power of AIPAC: Congress to pass Israel partnership bill

AIPAC bill to pass congressCongress was poised to give its final approval Wednesday afternoon to a bill that supporters say will create a unique status for Israel and serve as a framework for increased partnership in a number of key sectors, particularly energy and defense.

If all goes as expected, the long-anticipated legislation will represent a significant achievement for the pro-Israel groups that pushed for its passage.

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Lawmakers make 'hands up' gesture on House floor

Hands up in CongressSeveral lawmakers took to the House floor Monday evening to make the “Hands up, don’t shoot,” gesture to protest the police shooting of the unarmed Ferguson teen, Michael Brown.

“Hands up, don’t shoot. It’s a rallying cry of people all across America who are fed up with police violence,” Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) said as he took the floor. “In community, after community, after community, fed up with police violence in Ferguson, in Brooklyn, in Cleveland, in Oakland, in cities and counties and rural communities all across America.”

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Obama dealt major setback in closing Guantanamo

GitmoPresident Barack Obama's 5-year-old campaign to close the federal prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, has suffered a major setback.

House and Senate negotiators finalizing the annual defense policy bill have rejected a provision that would have given the president the authority to transfer terror suspects to the United States if Congress signs off on a comprehensive plan to shutter the facility.

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Senate plans release of torture report by year's end

waterboardingA Senate committee plans to release its long-delayed report on CIA interrogation practices before the end of the year.

Members of the Senate Intelligence Committee, chaired by Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., have said the summary, on the "enhanced interrogation" practices allegedly used during the administration of George W. Bush, could be submitted before the current Senate's last session on Jan. 3.

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Generic drug price spikes of 8,000% draw Senate scrutiny

generc drug price hikeSome low-cost generic drugs that have helped restrain health care costs for decades are seeing unexpected price spikes of up to 8,000 percent, prompting a backlash from patients, pharmacists and now Washington lawmakers.

A Senate panel met today to scrutinize the recent, unexpected trend among generic medicines, which usually cost 30 to 80 percent less than their branded counterparts.

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Republican-led report debunks Benghazi theories and accusations

Benghazi reportAn investigative report prepared by the House Intelligence Committee finds little to support questions raised about CIA actions on the ground in Benghazi, Libya, the night of a deadly 2012 attack on the U.S. diplomatic compound.

The report, from Chairman Mike Rogers, R-Michigan, and ranking member Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger, D-Maryland, concludes there was no intelligence failure prior to the attack, no stand-down order to CIA operatives trying to go assist at the besieged consular building, and found conflicting intelligence in the wake of the attack about the motive and cause, which were reflected in early public comments by the administration.

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House Republicans Pass Bill Forbidding Scientists from Advising EPA on Their OWN Research

GOP stops scientific adviceCongressional climate wars were dominated Tuesday by the U.S. Senate, which spent the day debating, and ultimately failing to pass, a bill approving the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline. While all that was happening, and largely unnoticed, the House was busy doing what it does best: attacking science.

H.R. 1422, which passed 229-191, would shake up the EPA’s Scientific Advisory Board, placing restrictions on those pesky scientists and creating room for experts with overt financial ties to the industries affected by EPA regulations.

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