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June 26, 2013 | By Jim Puzzanghera, Los Angeles Times
WASHINGTON - Nearly five years ago, the subprime meltdown triggered a huge taxpayer bailout of housing finance giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Now a bipartisan group of senators has launched the most comprehensive effort yet to clean up the mess and dramatically reduce the government's role in the mortgage market. Four Democrats and four Republicans want to shut down Fannie and Freddie over five years and replace them with a new government agency modeled on the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.
June 20, 2013 | By Michael A. Memoli, Washington Bureau
WASHINGTON - A revolt among rank-and-file Republicans helped kill the farm bill in the House on Thursday, the latest vote to reflect the influence of conservative groups that have often been at odds with the chamber's GOP leadership. More than a quarter of the Republicans joined with most Democrats to defeat the nearly $1-trillion bill to reauthorize farm subsidies and nutrition programs, legislation that has traditionally been bipartisan. House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio)
June 9, 2013 | By Katherine Skiba, Washington Bureau
WASHINGTON - Conservative Republican Sen. Kelly Ayotte announced her support Sunday for the Senate's bipartisan immigration overhaul, lending momentum to the comprehensive measure. "Our immigration system is completely broken," the New Hampshire lawmaker said on CBS' "Face the Nation. " "This is a thoughtful, bipartisan solution to a tough problem. " Ayotte, who was elected in 2010, is the first Republican to endorse the measure apart from the four in the Senate's so-called Gang of Eight who crafted the bill: Sens.
June 8, 2013 | By Lisa Mascaro and Brian Bennett, Washington Bureau
WASHINGTON - Sen. Charles E. Schumer, awakened from a nap in his office, bounded to the Senate floor, staff in tow. It was approaching 2 a.m. The New Yorker joined fellow Democratic Sen. Richard J. Durbin of Illinois, who was presiding wearily over an almost empty chamber. The two senators and six others, Republicans and Democrats, had finished writing the most comprehensive overhaul of immigration laws in a generation. Now the bill was ready to be introduced. "I would like to thank everybody ... who worked so hard on this great legislation whose voyage begins now," Schumer said.
June 5, 2013 | By Lisa Mascaro and Brian Bennett, Washington Bureau
WASHINGTON - The Senate immigration bill is poised to undergo a decidedly rightward shift in an attempt to attract more Republican votes, but that threatens to erode bipartisan consensus. Democratic and Republican authors of the bill have expressed a willingness to make changes and toughen the border security provisions as the sweeping immigration overhaul heads to the floor next week. But a debate has emerged over how much is too much. Leading the effort to engage Republicans is Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.)
June 1, 2013 | By Howard Blume, Los Angeles Times
The passage for the seventh-grade lesson was blatantly offensive - an excerpt from a 1938 anti-Semitic children's book . But that was the point: to provide students in the Santa Ana school district with a perfect illustration of insidious propaganda. In the book, a mother and her son gather mushrooms in the forest, and she explains that, as with mushrooms, there also are poisonous people. Slapping his chest in pride, the boy says, "Of course I know, mother! They are the Jews!"
May 21, 2013 | By Lisa Mascaro and Brian Bennett, Washington Bureau
WASHINGTON - A sweeping bipartisan plan to overhaul the nation's immigration system headed to the Senate floor after a key committee approved it Tuesday, setting the stage for a debate next month that could lead to the biggest victory for advocates of immigrant rights in a generation. The centerpiece of the legislation - a 13-year path to citizenship for many of the 11 million people now in the country without legal status - survived intact. But the bill's supporters accepted amendments that tilted it to the right to attract GOP backing, including some to toughen border security.
May 14, 2013 | By Lisa Mascaro and Brian Bennett, Washington Bureau
The Senate Judiciary Committee amended the sweeping immigration bill Tuesday to tighten student visa rules in the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombings. The committee, which is trying to get through the 844-page bill by the end of the week, also fended off changes that threatened to derail the delicate compromise reached by a bipartisan group of eight senators who drafted the legislation. The lengthy meeting of the committee unfolded as a core group of House Republicans turned up the volume against the immigration overhaul.
May 7, 2013 | By Lisa Mascaro, Washington Bureau
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. - Wearing a 2010 vintage Marco Rubio campaign T-shirt and matching button, Cheryl Griffin spewed frustration that the man she helped win a long-shot conservative bid for Senate is now leading an immigration overhaul. An evening downpour was falling on this coastal town, less a city than a hodgepodge of new and old subdivisions. But the weather did not deter Griffin, a small, skeptical woman, or her husband, Mark, a friendly man twice her size with rain dripping from his straw cowboy hat. The Griffins, who came down from neighboring Fort Pierce, were protesting Rubio's appearance at the annual Republican Party dinner.
May 7, 2013 | By Brian Bennett and Lisa Mascaro, Washington Bureau
WASHINGTON - As a sweeping immigration bill moves forward in the Senate, Republicans are demanding stronger border security measures than those agreed upon during four months of bipartisan negotiation. The process of toughening the bill could win additional votes from the GOP, but there is also a risk of losing Democratic support if the amendments go too far. "If, in fact, the American people can't trust that the border is controlled, you're never going to be able to pass this bill," Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, the top Republican on the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, told four officials from the Department of Homeland Security during a hearing Tuesday.
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