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Ex-House Speaker Hastert lawyers talking possible plea deal

Denny HastertA possible plea agreement is being negotiated in the hush-money case of former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert, attorneys told a judge Monday, meaning potentially embarrassing details about the underlying actions in the case may never be divulged in court or anywhere else.

Hastert, who led the U.S. House for nine years, has pleaded not guilty to charges that the Republican skirted federal banking laws in an attempt to pay someone $3.5 million to hide claims of past misconduct.


GOP Lawmakers: Speaker Boehner to resign at end of October

BoehnerIn a stunning move, House Speaker John Boehner informed fellow Republicans on Friday that he would resign from Congress at the end of October, giving up his top leadership post and his seat in the House in the face of hardline conservative opposition.

The 13-term Ohio Republican shocked his GOP caucus early Friday morning when he announced his decision in a closed-door session. It came one day after a high point of Boehner's congressional career, a historic speech by Pope Francis to Congress at Boehner's request.


Senate blocks legislation to defund Planned Parenthood

Senate halts Planned Parenhood defunding planDemocrats in the U.S. Senate, joined by some Republicans, blocked an effort on Thursday to deny federal funds for the women's health care group Planned Parenthood in a move that could help avoid a government shutdown on Oct. 1.

Most Senate Republicans had supported the plan to attach the Planned Parenthood defunding to a bill that keeps the government operating with the start of the new fiscal year on Oct. 1.


Pope to Congress: ‘Do unto others...’

Pope FrancisPope Francis stood before a bitterly divided U.S. Congress on Thursday and reminded lawmakers of that most golden of rules, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

Those others, the pope made it clear, include immigrants, the impoverished, the Earth itself, and political rivals.

In white robes that glowed against the austere setting, flanked by two former Catholic altar boys -- House Speaker John Boehner and Vice President Joe Biden -- the pope delivered a stern exhortation to show more legislative responsibility and compassion for all citizens.


Senate Dems block GOP bill that would curb late abortions

Mitch McConnellSenate Democrats blocked Republican legislation Tuesday that would prohibit most late-term abortions, the second time since this summer's release of videos involving Planned Parenthood that they've derailed an abortion-related drive by the GOP.

Senators voted 54-42 to move ahead on the legislation, but that fell six short of the 60 votes needed to advance the bill. With Republicans holding 54 Senate seats and the two parties sharply divided over abortion, the outcome was no surprise. But the showdown afforded each side an opportunity to highlight its willingness to fight to its most loyal voters and contributors.


Obama seals Iran nuclear deal with final Senate vote

Iran deal sealedU.S. Senate Democrats' final blockage of a resolution rejecting the Iran nuclear agreement Thursday hands a legislative victory to President Barack Obama.

In the third vote on the issue, senators voted 56 to 42 against concluding debate on the resolution of disapproval of the deal, falling four votes short of the 60 required to move to a final vote.


Evidence comes under attack: How Congress is quietly killing one of the best ideas in government.

Evidence under attack“Every man has a right to his own opinion,” investor Bernard Baruch said in 1950, “but no man has a right to be wrong in his facts.”

Politicians are, of course, sometimes wrong on the facts, but the federal government is actually making significant progress to bring hard evidence into the policymaking process. It might sound obvious, but it’s actually one of the most promising ideas in governance: “evidence-based policymaking,” the use of credible research to drive public policy, and independent evaluation to decide which government programs work, and which don’t.


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