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Congress Buys the Navy a $400 Million Pork Ship

Littloral combat shipIn the nearly eight years since the first Littoral Combat Ship was delivered to the Navy, it hasn’t won many ardent fans beyond the Navy, its home-state lawmakers or the employees of the two shipbuilders producing dueling models. The ships’ maiden voyages have been marked by cracked hulls, engine failures, unexpected rusting, software snafus, weapons glitches and persistent criticism of how vulnerable they are to an attack.

“The ship is not reliable,” the Pentagon’s operational test and evaluation director said in a report released in January, only the most recent such judgment it has made. During 113 days of testing on one ship last year, some of the engines and water jets responsible for propelling the ship forward were out of commission for 45 days.

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Dems release parallel Benghazi report ahead of GOP

John LewisDemocrats on the House Select Committee on Benghazi released their rebuttal to the Republican-led committee’s argument on Monday, before the GOP leaders published their own report.

The 339-page Democratic report aims to refute allegations expected to be made by Chairman Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) in what they have long claimed is a partisan witch hunt.

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House Democrats end gun-vote sit-in

House Dems end sit-inDemocrats ended their sit-in on the House floor at around 1 p.m. Thursday afternoon, after more than 24 hours of stalling proceedings to call for action on gun control legislation.

Civil rights icon Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) spoke while surrounded by his Democratic colleagues to close the protest, which lasted through the night after beginning shortly after11:30 a.m. Wednesday.

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House GOP leaders block vote banning LGBT discriminaton

House blocks ban against LGBT discrimination Republican House leaders have refused to allow a vote on a bill that would outlaw anti-LGBT discrimination by federal contractors.

Their decision came just days after the mass shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando that killed 49 people and left 53 more injured.

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Senate Fails To Secure Visas For Afghan Interpreters Who Risked Their Lives For U.S. Troops

Afghani interpreters do not get visas extendedA bipartisan attempt to secure thousands of visas for Afghan interpreters who risked their lives to assist American troops in the war in Afghanistan stalled on Tuesday, when the Senate passed a version of the massive defense spending bill that omitted the amendment backed by Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) and Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain (R-Ariz.).

The seemingly uncontroversial amendment, which extends the existing special immigrant visa program for one year and allocates an additional 2,500 visas for the program, never had a vote on the Senate floor. In an effort to force a vote on his unrelated amendment, Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah), blocked votes on several amendments, including the Shaheen provision, which the Utah senator said he supported.

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Senate passes bill allowing Sept. 11 victims to sue Saudi Arabia

Senate pass bill allowing familiees to sue Saudi ArabiaThe U.S. Senate passed legislation on Tuesday that would allow survivors and relatives of those killed in the Sept. 11 attacks to file lawsuits seeking damages against the government of Saudi Arabia.

The legislation, known as the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act, or JASTA, passed in the Senate by unanimous voice vote.

If it passes the House of Representatives and is signed into law by U.S. President Barack Obama, JASTA would allow lawsuits to proceed in federal court in New York as lawyers try to prove that the Saudis were involved in the 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

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Pentagon slams Benghazi panel for wasting money with exhaustive probe

DOD slams Benghazi panelThe U.S. Department of Defense this week sent a letter to the House panel still investigating the 2012 attack in Benghazi and expressed frustration with the committee's prolonged probe and exhaustive requests, which have persisted for nearly two years.

The letter was sent to Benghazi panel chair Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., from Stephen Hedger, the assistant secretary of Defense. It is dated April 28.

"I write in response to the Select Committee on Benghazi's recent crescendo of requests of the Department of Defense," Hedger wrote to start the letter, before identifying hundreds of pages of documents, several classified briefings and other cooperation given by the Pentagon over the past year to the Benghazi investigators.

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