National Political News

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FILE - In this Jan. 6, 2015 file photo,  corn is delivered to the Green Plains ethanol plant in Shenandoah, Iowa. Hawaii is poised to end a mandate that fuel for automobiles must be mixed with 10 percent ethanol, and it could become the second state to do so.  (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)

Hawaii enters national debate over future of ethanol in gas

Hawaii lawmakers have put the state at the front of a national discussion over the future of ethanol in gasoline by passing a bill that puts an end to a requirement that the corn-based additive be mixed into fuel sold in the state. The move comes as Congress faces pressure ...

Jim Wright early casualty of rising US House partisanship

As a member of what he called "the people's house" for more than a generation, Texas Democrat Jim Wright was known for his rich oratorical skills in the U.S. House. He never relied on them more than the day in 1989, when he told those who had elected him speaker ...

FILE - In this July 29, 2005, file photo, former House Speaker Jim Wright of Texas stands next to the Texas pillar while touring the World War II Memorial in Washington. Wright, a veteran Texas congressman who was the first House speaker in history to driven out of office in midterm, has died. He was 92.  (AP Photo/Yuri Gripas, File)

Former House Speaker Jim Wright dies at age 92

Former U.S. House Speaker Jim Wright, the longtime Texas Democrat who became the first House speaker in history to be driven out of office in midterm, has died at age 92. The World War II veteran and author, often praised for his eloquence and oratorical skills, was living in a ...

Christie returning to New Hampshire after bridge indictments

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is returning to New Hampshire as he struggles to press forward with a likely presidential bid following indictments in the George Washington Bridge scandal. The Republican governor will be in the early-voting state Thursday and Friday for a series of events and meet-and-greets. The trip ...

FILE - In this May 5, 2015 file photo, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton arrives at Rancho High School in Las Vegas. Hillary Rodham Clinton's challenge to the GOP on immigration is an early counter to Jeb Bush and other Republican White House contenders seeking Hispanic voters. Among them are GOP lawmakers who once opposed an immigration overhaul in Congress but now say they may be willing to allow millions living in the country illegally to stay. (AP Photo/John Locher, File)

Clinton challenges Bush on immigration as GOP shifts

Hillary Rodham Clinton has injected new fire into the immigration debate with her call to allow people in the country illegally to gain citizenship, challenging a centerpiece of Republican presidential prospect Jeb Bush's likely candidacy. The elevated focus on immigration shines new light on the growing willingness of Republican presidential ...

Hillary Rodham Clinton, a 2016 Democratic presidential contender, second from right, speaks with a group, including students, about immigration at an event at Rancho High School Tuesday, May 5, 2015, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)

Clinton signals support for super PAC backing campaign

Hillary Rodham Clinton will personally do outreach to potential donors for a super PAC backing her presidential campaign, deepening Democratic acceptance of the outside groups. Clinton's decision is another sign of how a vast network of super PACs that can accept unlimited donations is reshaping presidential politics. While Republicans have ...

Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz. talks with reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington,Tuesday, May 5, 2015, as he walks to a Senate GOP policy luncheon. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Reporters press for open session on defense bill

A group advocating for the Capitol Hill press corps asked the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee on Wednesday to open the panel's crafting of the annual defense policy bill. The Standing Committee of Correspondents wrote to Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., and urged him to reconsider the panel's April ...

FILE - In this April 22, 2008 file photo, a natural gas well pad sits in front of the Roan Plateau near the Colorado mountain community of Rifle, Colo. Federal officials sold oil and natural gas leases on nearly 55,000 acres of federal land on the Roan Plateau but development will not occur immediately because of protests of the leases. Significant amounts of natural gas on federal lands are being wasted, costing taxpayers tens of millions of dollars each year and adding to harmful greenhouse gas emissions, a congressional investigation has found. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski, File)

GAO: Gov't waste of natural gas costing taxpayers millions

Significant amounts of natural gas on federal lands are being wasted, costing taxpayers tens of millions of dollars each year and adding to harmful greenhouse gas emissions, a congressional investigation has found. The nonpartisan Government Accountability Office also said the Bureau of Land Management failed to conduct production inspections for ...

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner, left, shakes the hand of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, right, before Rauner's address to the city council Wednesday, May 6, 2015, in Chicago. The historic address, the first by a sitting governor in the council's chambers, focused on the city's and state's financial and economic challenges. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

GOP Gov. Bruce Rauner says Illinois can't bail out Chicago

Gov. Bruce Rauner told Chicago aldermen Wednesday that Illinois can't "bail out" the nation's third-largest city, and urged cooperation addressing the looming financial challenges during an unprecedented speech by a sitting governor to the City Council. In a roughly 10-minute speech, the new Republican governor gave dueling takes on the ...

Conservatives threaten defense bill over immigration

Two dozen House conservatives are threatening to oppose a sweeping defense policy bill over a nonbinding provision aimed at allowing immigrants brought illegally to this country as children to serve in the military. Their move could provoke a clash on a perennially volatile topic that's become a major issue in ...

FILE- In this April 13, 2014 file photo, the Internal Revenue Service Headquarters (IRS) building is seen in Washington. Wednesday, April 15, 2015, is the deadline for filing income tax returns, a day long associated with the dread of rushing to fill out complicated forms and, perhaps, making a payment to Uncle Sam. But for most, it’s not that bad. Aside from the complicated forms, tax season generates $300 billion in tax refunds each year, a significant boost to the U.S. economy.  (AP Photo/J. David Ake, File)

Report: 1,580 IRS workers evaded taxes over 10-year period

Nearly 1,600 IRS workers were found to have willfully evaded taxes over a 10-year period, including some who were responsible for enforcing the nation's tax laws, a government watchdog said Wednesday. It's a small percentage of the tax agency's employees — about 160 workers a year out of a workforce ...

Ohio Gov. John Kasich speaks to an audience member during an event during an event hosted by the New Hampshire Business Caucus and Greater Concord Chamber of Commerce at The Barley House in Concord, N.H., Wednesday, May 6, 2015. (Elizabeth Frantz/The Concord Monitor via AP)

No Clinton-bashing for Ohio Gov. John Kasich

For most Republican presidential hopefuls, the question from the audience would be a big fat softball lobbed across the plate: Name two or three reasons why Hillary Rodham Clinton would make a bad president. But when that question came to Ohio Gov. John Kasich, he wouldn't swing. "If I've got ...

Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, R-Rockville Centre, left, stands with Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, D-Bronx, before a ceremony at the New York State Police Officers Memorial on Tuesday, May 5, 2015, in Albany, N.Y. Skelos is holding on to power following federal corruption charges even as some fellow Republicans say he should step down as leader to avoid a political distraction. Skelos was arrested Monday on charges that he traded his influence for payments from a real estate firm and environmental technology company that went to his son, Adam Skelos, who is also charged in the case.  (AP Photo/Mike Groll)

Democrats fail to oust NY Senate's GOP leader after arrest

The Republican leader of the state Senate survived a largely symbolic effort by Democratic lawmakers to oust him from his position Wednesday following his arrest on federal corruption charges. Democratic lawmakers walked out of the Senate in protest after Republicans refused to allow a vote on their motion to remove ...

A look at where the 2016 hopefuls stand on immigration

Immigration, a prominent issue as the presidential campaign begins in earnest, is a complicated, emotional and broad subject. But for political purposes there's a very real question to be answered: What to do about the estimated 11 million people in the country illegally. With Republicans in Congress unable to agree ...

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry meets with youth at Salman Mosque in Dijbouti, Dijbouti, Wednesday, May 6, 2015. Kerry is also visiting Sri Lanka, Somalia, France, and Saudi Arabia on his trip. Kerry said Wednesday he intends to discuss with Saudi Arabian officials how to implement a "humanitarian pause" in Yemen's civil war, citing increased shortages of food, fuel and medicine that are adding to a crisis that has already caused some thousands of people to flee to neighboring countries.(AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, Pool)

Kerry seeks pause in Yemen war as he arrives in Saudi Arabia

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry sought to secure a pause in Yemen's war as he arrived in Saudi Arabia Wednesday to meet with the king and other top officials, citing increased shortages of food, fuel and medicine that are adding to a crisis that already has neighboring countries bracing ...

This handout photo provided by Daniel A. Fletcher shows a Cellscope being used in an outdoor setting. Prick a finger and have the blood checked for parasites _ by smartphone? Scientists are turning those ubiquitous phones into microscopes and other medical tools that could help fight diseases in remote parts of the world. In the newest work, University of California, Berkeley, researchers used a smartphone-run video microscope to target a challenge in parts of Central Africa _ some devastating infections caused by tiny parasitic worms. (Daniel A. Fletcher, UC Berkeley via AP)

Using a smartphone microscope to detect parasites in blood

Prick a finger and have the blood checked for parasites — by smartphone? Scientists are turning those ubiquitous phones into microscopes and other medical tools that could help fight diseases in remote parts of the world. In the newest work, University of California, Berkeley, researchers used a smartphone-run video microscope ...

FILE - In this Jan. 14, 2014 file photo, Senate Budget Committee Chairman Sen. Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., leaves a closed-door GOP caucus luncheon on Capitol Hill in Washington. On paper and in speeches, Republicans boast that Congress’ first budget since they won control of the Senate and House last fall will eliminate red ink within a decade. Actually, it will do nothing of the sort.That’s because the budget itself is non-binding, and on its own, has no effect on spending.  (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File )

Analysis: Republican budget claims don't add up

On paper and in speeches, Republicans boast that Congress' first budget since they won control of the Senate and House last fall will eliminate red ink within a decade. Actually, it will do nothing of the sort. That's because the budget itself is nonbinding and, on its own, has no ...

Karen Kaiser, general counsel at The Associated Press, testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, May 6, 2015, before the Senate Judiciary hearing on open records laws. Kaiser testified that despite promises of greater transparency by the Obama administration, most agencies are not abiding by their legal obligations under open records laws. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

State official: Clinton email practices 'not acceptable'

A high-ranking State Department official said Wednesday it's "not acceptable" for any agency employee to conduct government business on a private email server as former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton did. Joyce Barr, the agency's chief freedom of information officer, made the comment under questioning from Republican senators who ...

FILE - In this Sept. 16, 2014, file photo, Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., speaks at a hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington. Troubled by delays in handling of veterans claims, a bipartisan group of senators is seeking a wide-scale independent review of the Department of Veterans Affairs for mismanagement and changes to improve budgeting and speed up applications. "The VA system again finds itself engulfed in another scandal," said Heller, co-chair of the Senate's VA backlog working group. VA offices nationwide are suffering from poor management, he said, proving "it is time for an overhaul of the entire system." (AP Photo/Lauren Victoria Burke, File)

Are bungled VA claims systemic? Senators want agency review

Troubled by delays in handling veterans claims, a bipartisan group of senators on Wednesday urged a wide-scale, independent review of the Department of Veterans Affairs for mismanagement and changes to improve budgeting and speed up applications. A report released by nine senators acknowledged recent efforts by the VA to reduce ...

US warships no longer accompanying commercial ships in Gulf

The Pentagon says that U.S. Navy warships are no longer accompanying American and British-flagged commercial vessels through the Strait of Hormuz at the mouth of the Persian Gulf. Army Col. Steve Warren, a Pentagon spokesman, says the order to accompany the vessels through the narrow strait along Iranian territorial waters ...

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