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 Congress Today
House - meets at 12:00 p.m. on Monday, January 26, 2015.
Senate - meets at 4:30 p.m. on Monday, January 26, 2015.
 Breaking News
From washingtonpost.com:
Device found on White House grounds but officials say it posed no threat
A "device" was found on the grounds of the White House early Monday, but officials said it did not pose a threat.White House press secretary Josh Earnest, speaking to reporters in New Delhi, said the Secret Service recovered the device and were investigating. He gave no further details.
Ted Cruz, Rand Paul and Marco Rubio decry income inequality, clash over foreign policy
RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. - Three of the likely Republican presidential contenders decried the nation's income gap and argued that President Obama deserves little credit for the improving economy in a forum Sunday night that offered a preview of the themes expected to dominate the 2016 election.
White House: 'We cannot be an occupying force in a place like Yemen'
White House chief of staff Denis McDonough on Sunday sought to shore up the Obama administration's message on recent events in the Middle East, stressing that the collapse of Yemen's central government will not derail strategic counterterrorism operations in the region.
Obama, long inspired by Gandhi, visits his memorial in India
NEW DELHI -- President Obama has long shown a fascination with Mohandas Gandhi, hanging a photo of the slain Indian independence leader on the wall of his office and citing Gandhi in his Nobel Prize acceptance speech.
New Saudi king ascends to the throne as terrorism threat grows
ARAR, Saudi Arabia - At 3 a.m. on a cold desert night earlier this month, four Islamic State militants carrying guns, grenades and cash slipped into Saudi Arabia here through a hole in the new heavy fencing that separates this country from Iraq.
The Fix: What, exactly, is Hillary Clinton's strategy to get voters excited about her candidacy?
With the necessary caveat up front -- it is very, very, very, very, early -- 2016 is shaping up to be an awful lot like 2012, not 2008: A Democrat facing no real opposition who will sit back and watch an eccentric mixture of Republicans battle it out for the right to be on the ballot in November. Unlike 2012, though, that's not great news for Democrats.
Federal Eye: Partisan divide in federal employee legislation
When it comes to federal employees, one party wants to give, the other plans to take away.Legislation introduced by House Democrats and Republicans demonstrates their differing approaches to the federal workforce. With the GOP now running the House and the Senate, federal employees don't need to guess which party will prevail.
Federal Eye: Federal offices remain open today
Federal offices in the Washington region are open on Monday, but agency employees have the option to telework or use unscheduled leave.The Office of Personnel Management made the announcement early Monday morning as rain and snow moved into the area.
This fish lived in peace for 70 million years. Then it met the Army Corps of Engineers
This is how the pallid sturgeon, the so-called "dinosaur of the Missouri River," an animal that has survived for more than 70 million years, winds up on the federal endangered species list in Montana.It starts with their babies. They eventually grow up to 6 feet long and weigh 80 pounds, but before that happens they're larva that can barely eat their way out of the yolk they're spawned in. They need to float down the Missouri for 125 miles, but because of six dams placed throughout the river by the Army Corps of Engineers, they get less than half that, says a new study by U.S. Geological Survey and Montana State University researchers.
The Fix: Republicans oppose raising taxes. Except not really.
We're headed for another debate about taxes, after President Obama laid out his vision last week for a re-imagined tax system. This vision includes, as it has before, some tax increases.Which, of course, is the GOP's red line. Here's how Grover Norquist, the country's most prominent anti-tax-increase activist, put it over the weekend.
Federal Eye: Democrats, Republicans divided over which agencies they like
A national poll this month showed a sharp partisan divide in how Americans view different federal agencies, with Republicans approving most of the national-security variety while Democrats gave high marks to, well, a bit of everything.
Fact Checker: Does Obamacare provide federal subsidies for elective abortions?
"The president's health-care law authorized massive subsidies to assist millions of Americans to purchase private health plans that will cover abortion on demand. In other words, hard-earned taxpayer dollars are now being used to pay for elective abortions. This is simply unacceptable."
Daddy issues: Are Ron Paul's hard-core stands a problem for son's presidential bid?
HOUSTON - Rand Paul wants to lead the United States. On Saturday in Texas, his father was speaking at a conference about how to leave it."A lot of times people think secession, they paint it as an absolute negative," said former representative Ron Paul (R-Tex.). After all, Paul said, the American Revolution was a kind of secession. "You mean we should have been obedient to the king forever? So it's all in the way you look at it."
The Fix: Handicapping the Hispanic vote for 2016 GOPers
The last Texas Republican to occupy the Oval Office, George W. Bush, took 49 percent of the state's Hispanic vote in his 2004 presidential re-election, setting a relatively high bar for the handful of Texas-born or -raised Republicans who might be hoping to follow in his footsteps in 2016.
Huckabee says "it's pretty evident" he's moving toward a White House run
Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee said it is "pretty evident" he's running for president in an appearance on "Meet the Press" Sunday. He spoke on a range of issues from immigration policy to Common Core education standards.
Jindal: GOP needs to "earn the right" to govern in 2016
Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) on Sunday said the Republican party needs to "earn the right" to govern in 2016, pushing a solutions-oriented message that echoes his call in 2012 for Republicans to "stop being the stupid party."
WorldViews: Obama attends India's elaborate Republic Day parade
NEW DELHI -- President Obama attended India's Republic Day parade Monday, a stunning display of military might, lavish floats, dance performances, and daredevilish feats on motorcycles.Obama attended as a special guest of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The invitation, offered after Modi visited Washington in the fall, underscores the desire of the two men to strengthen the relationship between the two countries.
WorldViews: How Greece's triumphant leftists want to change Europe
Greece's likely new prime minister, the charismatic Alexis Tsipras, has been described as a "fiery" politician, a "dangerous ideologue," and even a "serial killer" -- a wily operative who ruthlessly elbowed his way to the top. His Syriza party has been cast as a radical, anti-establishment outfit, whose stubborn socialist agenda may plunge Europe into crisis.
'One is enough': Chinese families lukewarm over easing of one-child policy
BEIJING - When China announced it was relaxing its one-child policy in late 2013, marketing director Kang Lu chatted with her husband about whether they wanted a second baby."But given our current circumstances, we quickly abandoned the idea," she said. "It wasn't a tough decision."
Greeks emphatically reject austerity, elect Syriza in historic vote
ATHENS - After five years of extreme austerity prescribed to treat an epidemic of debt, a battered but defiant Greece on Sunday emphatically rejected the medicine.With millions of voters turning out - from graffiti-scarred lanes in the Parthenon's shadow to islands lapped by aqua-green waves - the country delivered a historic win to Syriza, a radical leftist party that could put Greece on a collision course with the rest of Europe. The expected showdown has already rattled Greek financial markets and may challenge the core principle behind Europe's currency union.
Obama, India's Modi claim breakthrough on nuclear issues
NEW DELHI - At the start of a three-day U.S. presidential visit rich with pageantry and symbolism, President Obama and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said Sunday that the two countries have made progress toward resolving a long-standing impasse on civilian nuclear cooperation.
Rocket attack puts Ukraine back on the West's agenda
Moscow - Western leaders are weighing what new pressure they can put on Moscow to rein in pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine, after a rocket attack on the port city of Mariupol left dozens of civilians dead.
WorldViews: How Indians feel about Obama's visit for their country's Republic Day
President Obama will be attending India's Republic Day festivities Monday on his second visit to India during his administration. Despite lukewarm relations with India in the past, the Modi and Obama administrations have been pursuing a strong bilateral partnership.
As Boko Haram rampages, Nigerians head to polls. John Kerry is worried.
LAGOS, Nigeria - Against a backdrop of militant Islamist attacks, Secretary of State John F. Kerry on Sunday urged Nigeria's president and his leading opponent in upcoming elections to accept the results of next month's vote and encourage their supporters to eschew postelection violence.
Stop paying so much for tax help
If there is ever a year in which you might be tempted to hire a tax pro, this could be it.The Internal Revenue Service is warning it will probably answer fewer than half of the phone calls it receives. Many people may struggle with calculating their health insurance subsidy or figuring out if they need to pay a penalty.
New at the top: Bernerd Da Santos is chief operating officer at AES
I was born and grew up in Venezuela and lived there until 2005. Even though I was a Venezuelan, I have a mix of cultures. My grandfather on my mother's side, he was in the war between the United States and Mexico. He fought next to Pancho Villa. He moved to Venezuela after that. My father is British. My mother Venezuelan. I also have Brazilian roots and Mexican roots.
Tight budgets, terrorism and task orders: What's next for government contracting
If you ask government contractors to talk about what affects their business, it takes less than a minute before you hear the familiar refrains of budget cuts, sequestration, and political gridlock. Those issues may be at the top of everyone's minds now, but for those who do business with the government, a long-term vision is essential for surviving Washington's ongoing crises.
Labor Department takes data-driven approach to veteran hiring
Contractors will have to start collecting annual data on their veteran hiring practices in 2015, according to an updated Labor Department regulation. The rule, released last fall, is a significant modification to a 1974 rule related to the hiring of veterans after the Vietnam War and an example of the government's push to use data to study industry trends.
Virginia happy hours could become less secretive if new booze law passes
It's after five but before seven on a recent Friday evening, and across Clarendon, despite the odds, office workers have found themselves sitting in front of discounted drinks. Happy hour in Virginia is a somewhat secretive affair. Bars can detail drink specials anywhere inside an establishment. But signs in windows, chalkboards on the street, online menus and social media accounts are heavily restricted. Only recently were bars allowed to reveal outside their walls that they had drink specials at all. If new proposed legislation succeeds, they might be able to say what drinks are involved - say, tequila cocktails or Dominion beer. But they still won't be allowed to advertise the price.
 stateline.org - State and Local Issues

Latest state and local issue stories and analyses from stateline.org and the Pew Center on the States.

States move slowly toward digital textbooks
Despite enthusiasm for digital textbooks at the national level, states have been slow to get on board. But the movement is gaining strength.
Indiana gov squashes vp speculation
TODAY'S TAKE: Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels is the latest GOP governor who says he's not interested in becoming Mitt Romney's running mate.
Note to readers: A new Stateline is coming soon
Stateline and the Pew Center on the States are launching a new website at Pewstates.org
AZ: Arizona's immigration law gets its day in U.S. Supreme Court
When Paul Clement walks into the U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday he's going to try to convince at least five justices that Arizona has an inherent right to enforce federal immigration laws.
NC: North Carolina judge vacates death penalty under racial justice law
In a landmark ruling, a North Carolina judge on Friday vacated the death penalty of a black man convicted of murder, saying prosecutors across the state had engaged in deliberate and systematic racial discrimination when striking black potential jurors in death penalty cases.
NJ: New Jersey drops out of lawsuit against EPA over ozone
New Jersey has dropped out of a lawsuit challenging the White House decision to bypass strict ozone standards that the EPA had recommended as necessary to protect human health.
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  •  Governing.com - State and Local News
    The Way We Tax: A 50-State Report
    The vast majority of state tax systems are inadequate for the task of funding a 21st-century government. Most of those tax systems are also unfair. They break the golden rule of tax equity: collect the lowest possible rates on the widest possible base of taxpayers.
    Governing February Issue
  • Assessments: Alan Ehrenhalt on living with "lifestyle centers"
  • Potomac Chronicle: Donald F. Kettl on the states as beggars
  • Technology: Thomas R. Davies on outside resources for new IT leaders
  • Tax Talk: David Brunori on the principles of sound tax policy
  • Economic Development: William Fulton on how a city's size affects its competitiveness
  • Environment: Tom Arrandale on the risks of weakening longstanding laws

  •  White House Update
    White House schedule information and recent statements and news releases.

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