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May 23, 2008 | Peter Spiegel and Julian E. Barnes, Times Staff Writers
Army Gen. David H. Petraeus, the top U.S. military commander in Iraq, on Thursday gave Congress a markedly more upbeat assessment of the war than he did six weeks ago, saying violence has hit a four-year low and further troop reductions are likely in the fall. Qualifying his assessment, Petraeus said the additional troop withdrawals might be small, potentially less than a full 3,500-member combat brigade.
May 15, 2008 | James Hohmann, Times Staff Writer
Congress on Wednesday waded into an escalating scientific dispute over a controversial ingredient in plastic products that some think may harm the development of children's brains and interfere with human reproduction. Members of a Senate consumer affairs subcommittee faulted federal agencies for reacting too slowly to concerns that children are exposed to bisphenol A, or BPA, through leaching from such items as water bottles, baby bottles and the linings of food and baby formula cans.
May 8, 2008 | Richard Simon, Times Staff Writer
Only gasoline prices nearing $4 a gallon could accomplish this political feat: bringing together congressional Democrats and Republicans to support a halt to oil deliveries for the nation's Strategic Petroleum Reserve. With fuel costs becoming a crucial election-year issue, members of both parties -- separately -- pitched their ideas Wednesday for bringing down prices.
May 2, 2008 | Nicole Gaouette and Richard Simon, Times Staff Writers
With high food prices prompting grocery-store apologies to customers and raising fears of starvation in impoverished countries, Congress suddenly faces renewed pressure to cut subsidies to the wealthiest farmers and incentives for ethanol production. The American farmer, long an untouchable political icon, has even become something of a political embarrassment on Capitol Hill, with President Bush earlier this week demanding an end to crop subsidies for "multimillionaire farmers."
April 27, 2008 | Nicole Gaouette, Times Staff Writer
Twice in the last two years, Congress tried to overhaul the nation's immigration laws and failed, leaving the explosive issue for dead. But during an election year in which no action was expected, the House and Senate now are quietly helping certain groups of immigrants favored by both ends of the political spectrum. Even in polarized Washington, Democrats and Republicans can appreciate immigrants who throw a fast pitch, have a beautiful face or sing a catchy song.
April 17, 2008 | David Reyes, Times Staff Writer
More than two dozen members of California's congressional delegation have sent a letter urging the secretary of Commerce to uphold the state Coastal Commission's veto of a controversial toll road proposal in southern Orange County. The letter, sent this week from Rep. Susan Davis (D-San Diego) and signed by other members of Congress, also urged Commerce Secretary Carlos M.
April 11, 2008 | Paul Richter, Times Staff Writer
Senators warned Thursday that Congress would not allow the Bush administration to complete pending security agreements with Iraq without lawmakers' approval, because of concerns that the pacts would tie the hands of the next president. The administration is negotiating two agreements with Iraq -- over long-term security strategy and over rules for activities of the U.S. military.
April 6, 2008 | Peter Spiegel and Julian E. Barnes, Times Staff Writers
The weeklong cavalcade that will accompany Army Gen. David H. Petraeus' return to Washington on Tuesday will look much like his pivotal visit last September: formal testimony, talk show appearances, and lots of charts and graphs. But this time, the Iraq commander's presentation to Congress collides head-on with a raging presidential campaign and two Democratic candidates demanding almost the opposite of his advice. The change could prove jarring.
March 13, 2008 | Kevin Drawbaugh and Lisa Lambert, Reuters
Moody's Investors Service plans to rate municipal debt on the same scale used to grade corporate bonds if such treatment is requested by a government issuer, a Moody's executive told a House committee Wednesday. State treasurers and municipal bond issuers have argued that billions of dollars in interest and insurance costs could be saved by city and state governments if bond rating firms used a unified rating system for municipal and corporate debt. According to Municipal Market Advisors, corporate bonds with AAA ratings, the highest available, have defaulted at 10 times the rate of municipal bonds rated A, a much lower grade.
March 13, 2008 | Janet Wilson, Times Staff Writer
Congress is considering permanent protection for 26 million acres of beautiful and historic landscapes in the American West, but has quietly excluded millions of acres of California desert.
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