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 Congress Today
House - meets at 9:00 a.m. on Thursday, September 18, 2014.
Senate - meets at 9:30 a.m. on Thursday, September 18, 2014.
 Breaking News
From washingtonpost.com:
The seven biggest takeaways from the final Iowa Senate debate
Rep. Bruce Braley (D) and state Sen. Joni Ernst (R) debated one final time in the all-important Iowa Senate race Thursday night. Our biggest takeaways from their final faceoff:
Fact Checker: Obama's claim that Obamacare has helped produce a '$1,800 tax cut'
"If we hadn't taken this on, and [health insurance] premiums had kept growing at the rate they did in the last decade, the average premium for family coverage today would be $1,800 higher than they are. Now, most people don't notice it, but that's $1,800 you don't have to pay out of your pocket or see vanish from your paycheck. That's like a $1,800 tax cut."
Bill Clinton waxes nostalgic and cracks wise in New Hampshire
MANCHESTER, NH - Former president Bill Clinton joked Thursday that campaigning "and taking orders," in New Hampshire for four women Democrats is "like being at home." Clinton railed against Republican economic policies, exhorted Democrats to vote, mused about raising the minimum wage and fighting Ebola and told sweet stories about his new grandchild during a long extemporaneous address to New Hampshire Democrats.
Obama may appoint an Ebola czar, he says
President Obama said Thursday night he would consider appointing an Ebola czar to coordinate the federal government's efforts to combat the deadly virus.
Biden's son discharged from Navy after positive cocaine test
Vice President Joe Biden's son Hunter was discharged from the Navy Reserve after testing positive for cocaine, a source familiar with the matter confirmed Thursday.
On outskirts of Baghdad, Islamic State's advances raise tensions
ABU GHRAIB, IRAQ - About 14 miles from Baghdad International Airport, a mortar shell landed with a thud. A second followed, closer, and then a third struck across the Iraqi army's lines, as the Islamic State militants zeroed in on their target.
American tourist trapped in a London bookstore tweets his way to freedom
Dallas tourist David Willis thought he had tried everything to find a way out of the London bookstore he'd been stuck in for the last hour. He had set off an alarm, called a security guard and talked to the police.
The Fix: The good news for Mark Begich, Mary Landrieu and Mark Pryor: People like them have survived before
The main reason that the Democratic Party is likely to lose control of the Senate this year is that its incumbents are playing defense in hostile territory. Sens. Mark Pryor (D-Ark.), Mark Begich (D-Alaska) Kay Hagan (D-N.C.) and Mary Landrieu (D-La.) all represent states that went for Mitt Romney in 2012 -- and it wasn't close in three of those states. And with the prospect of a possible GOP electoral wave, it seems even more difficult to imagine how they might end up winning reelection.
GovBeat: Where the minimum wage stands in each state and how it could change on Nov. 4
At least 10 states and D.C. passed minimum wage increases this year, with four more set to join them - if voters approve the hikes this fall.
The Fix: Democrats are winning on social issues - politically, at least
Across the 50 states, two separate and very divergent social movements are progressing apace.
In the Loop: Obama really wants Ruemmler for AG, but can he get her confirmed in time?
We've written that President Obama and senior players at the White House really, really want to nominate former White House counsel Kathy Ruemmler to replace Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr.
Federal Eye: Presidential fellows grow disillusioned with government work, survey shows
A prestigious internship program designed to develop future federal managers is falling short of participants' expectations, according to a survey released Thursday. Nearly 26 percent of respondents who finished the two-year Presidential Management Fellows program in 2013 had a more negative impression of working for the federal government than they did when they started. Additionally, only 67 percent said they were satisfied with the agencies in which they had spent time.
GovBeat: At least 30 states are spending less per pupil than before the recession, report says
More than half the states are spending less per student than they were before the recession hit seven years ago, according to a new study. Most states increased per-pupil spending for the 2014-2015 school year from the year before, but at least 30 still aren't spending as much as they were before the recession, at least on the main form of state aid to local schools and adjusted for inflation. That analysis comes from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a think tank focused on "fiscal policy and public programs that affect low- and moderate-income families and individuals."
Bill Clinton to campaign for Mary Landrieu in Louisiana
Bill Clinton will be in Louisiana next week to campaign for Sen. Mary Landrieu (D), who is in a tough reelection fight.
Who is overseeing the U.S. response to Ebola in Africa?
President Obama said this week that the most important thing the United States can do to prevent a more serious outbreak of Ebola on American soil is getting the epidemic in West Africa under control. And for the past month, he has tasked the U.S. military to oversee the response.
Hillary Clinton takes swipe at Romney in Michigan over auto bailout
Hillary Rodham Clinton, a potential 2016 Democratic presidential candidate, on Thursday took an apparent swipe at Mitt Romney over his opposition to the federal government's bailout of the auto industry.
Hillary Clinton takes swipe at Romney in Michigan over auto bailout
Hillary Rodham Clinton, a potential 2016 Democratic presidential candidate, on Thursday took an apparent swipe at Mitt Romney over his opposition to the federal government's bailout of the auto industry.
New Afghan leaders face culture clash as they form Cabinet
KABUL - Mohammad Mohaqiq thinks he's owed a lot for throwing his support behind Afghanistan's U.S.-brokered coalition government. The influential former warlord-turned-politician expects nothing less than a fifth of all Cabinet ministries and governorships for his ethnic group.
In Ebola-crippled Liberia, six U.S. ambulances become critical
MONROVIA, Liberia - In a country where public services have virtually collapsed, where about a dozen ambulances are normally available for 4 million people, saving an Ebola patient often comes down to this: phoning a barrel-chested politician with a taste for Hummers.
WorldViews: Chart: Here is what else the world is worried about, apart from Ebola
As panic over the spread of Ebola persists, a new report from the Pew Global Attitudes Project offers a bit of perspective. It explores the larger threats people in different regions of the world fear. Unsurprisingly, concerns vary across continents.
WorldViews: How a gorgeous mountain pass in Nepal turned into a graveyard
For decades, October has been the best month to trek along the Annapurna Circuit, one of the most popular mountain trails in Nepal and one that requires crossing the Thorung La Pass at an altitude of 5,416 meters.
WorldViews: State Department hints that Kerry could use a new plane
VIENNA - As secretary of state, John Kerry is one of the most powerful men in the world. But if his plane can't get off the ground, he is pretty much powerless to do anything about it.
WorldViews: Dutch biker gang members join the fight against the Islamic State
At least three members of Dutch biker gang have joined up with Kurdish fighters in Iraq, according to Agence France Presse. The trio belong to a group known as "No Surrender," a gang with chapters across the country.
In Japan, former American prisoners of war close a dark chapter
HEIWAJIMA, JAPAN - Bill Sanchez looked out over the canal. "That's where the geisha girls used to be," he said, pointing at the opposite bank, now lined with modern apartment buildings. "They used to wave at us."
Libyan general's forces make major push to oust Islamist militants from Benghazi
CAIRO - A rogue Libyan general waging a months-long campaign against Libya's Islamists launched a full-blown assault on Benghazi this week, touching off clashes with the militants dominating the city. More than a dozen people have been killed in the violence, which started Wednesday, raising fears that the battles will evolve into an all-out civil war.
Rental America: Why the poor pay $4,150 for a $1,500 sofa
CULLMAN, Ala. - The love seat and sofa that Jamie Abbott can't quite afford ended up in her double-wide trailer because of the day earlier this year when she and her family walked into a new store called Buddy's. Abbott had no access to credit, no bank account and little cash, but here was a place that catered to exactly those kinds of customers. Anything could be hers. The possibilities - and the prices - were dizzying.
Obama nominates former Google exec to lead U.S. Patent Office
Cable blackouts could someday be broadband blackouts, too
The Great CBS Blackout of 2013 was a disaster for Time Warner Cable. While the cable company and CBS squabbled over how much TWC should pay the broadcaster for its programming, CBS shows were off the air for a month - and TWC lost more than 300,000 subscribers.
Another rocky ride for stocks extends market's moody spell
The stock market took another rocky ride Thursday, as some investors remained spooked by global economic malaise.
 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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Examining the Patients' Bill of Rights Debate
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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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