Congress on Thursday passed a sweeping $1.3 trillion spending bill that makes good on President Donald Trump's promises to increase military funding while blocking most of his proposed cuts to domestic programs and placing obstacles to his immigration agenda. The House passed the bill Thursday afternoon and the Senate passed it later Thursday night (or early Friday morning in Washington, D.C.) by a vote of 65-32. Here is a look at some of the highlights: Overall spending The "omnibus" appropriations bill doles out funding for the remainder of fiscal 2018 — that is, until Sept. 30 — to virtually every federal department and agency pursuant to the two-year budget agreement Congress reached in February. Under that agreement, military spending generally favored by Republicans is set to jump $80 billion over previously authorized spending levels, while domestic spending favored by Democrats rises by $63 billion. Border wall The bill provides $1.6 billion for barriers along the … [Read more...] about What’s in the spending bill passed by Congress?
Number of laws passed by congress
WASHINGTON (AP) — Looking for common ground with your neighbor these days? Try switching subjects from the weather to Congress. Chances are, you both agree it's terrible. In red, blue or purple states, in middle America or on the coasts, most Americans loathe the nation's legislature. One big reason: Most think lawmakers are listening to all the wrong people, suggests a new study by researchers at Stanford University and the University of California-Santa Barbara with the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. "We have the best Congress you can buy and pay for," said Chester Trahan, 78, of Palm Coast, Fla. "Congress, they're subject to the special interest groups and that's really who's running the show." Hating Congress has become a lasting feature of American politics, regardless of which party is in power or whether the 435 House members and 100 senators pass lots of legislation — or don't do much of anything at all. A new poll from the AP-NORC Center … [Read more...] about Americans say Congress is listening to all the wrong people
WASHINGTON — She loved pink. She loved the beach. She wanted to be a painter. And she is an inspiration for the sweeping $500 million plan that President Obama announced Wednesday to curb gun violence. SIGN THE ONLINE DAILY NEWS ASSAULT WEAPONS BAN PETITION Obama singled out 7-year old Grace McDonnell — one of the victims of the Newtown, Conn., shooting rampage — as he launched the biggest national push for new gun laws in 20 years. At a White House ceremony attended by relatives of the Newtown tragedy, including Grace’s parents, Obama invoked her memory and those of the other Newtown victims as he vowed swift action. MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images US President Barack Obama, flanked by Vice President Joe Biden, announces his 23 proposals to reduce gun violence. MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images U.S. Vice President Joe Biden also speaks on the new proposals to reduce gun violence on January 16. The executive actions need … [Read more...] about FOR THE LOVE OF GRACE: President Obama honors fallen 7-year-old, Grace McDonnell in his emotional speach to announce gun reforms
WASHINGTON — The United States is in a perpetual state of national emergency.Thirty separate emergencies, in fact.An emergency declared by President Jimmy Carter on the 10th day of the Iranian hostage crisis in 1979 remains in effect almost 35 years later.A post-9/11 state of national emergency declared by President George W. Bush — and renewed six times by President Obama — forms the legal basis for much of the war on terror.Tuesday, President Obama informed Congress he was extending another Bush-era emergency for another year, saying "widespread violence and atrocities" in the Democratic Republic of Congo "pose an unusual and extraordinary threat to the foreign policy of the United States."Those emergencies, declared by the president by proclamation or executive order, give the president extraordinary powers — to seize property, call up the National Guard and hire and fire military officers at will."What the National Emergencies Act does is like a toggle … [Read more...] about Special report: America’s perpetual state of emergency
Water conservation advocates recoiled at a bill passed Thursday by the Arizona House of Representatives that would sidestep groundwater management rules and green-light big residential developments in southern Arizona.If Gov. Doug Ducey signs SB 1268, the bill would remove an impediment to building a 7,000-home Sierra Vista development called Tribute that wildlife and water activists say could kill the tiny San Pedro River and possibly endanger the future of the Army's Fort Huachuca.The bill allows cities and towns in certain counties with groundwater pumping restrictions to opt out of the rules.The bill also would tarnish Arizona's image as a smart water steward, earned by enactment of the 1980 Groundwater Management Act, the Arizona Municipal Water Users Association argued.That law mandated pre-construction proof of 100-year supplies in urban counties such as Maricopa. It also allowed more rural counties to opt in with their own similar requirement … [Read more...] about Water advocates: Bill passed by Arizona Senate, House threatens San Pedro River
WASHINGTON - Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan is expected to begin her testimony in confirmation hearings Monday by making a forceful case the nine justices should be more respectful to the will of the people.The high court is "wondrous" but must be a "modest" branch of government and "properly deferential to the decisions of the American people and their elected representatives," Kagan will tell the Senate Judiciary Committee, according to excerpts of her statement released by the White House.While acting as a safeguard against an overstepping government, "the Court must also recognize the limits on itself and respect the choices made by the American people," Kagan will say.President Obama and Kagan - his second nominee to serve a lifetime appointment as an associate justice - have each sought to leverage the first and biggest case she argued as solicitor general, Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, as a fight to protect Main Street from Wall Street in elections.Kagan … [Read more...] about Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan to urge court to be ‘modest,’ respect will of people at hearings
This story was originally published in 2014.The term "serial killings" means a series of three or more killings, not less than one of which was committed within the United States, having common characteristics such as to suggest the reasonable possibility that the crimes were committed by the same person or persons. That's according to a 1998 federal law passed by Congress.While not intended to be the clear definition of "serial killer," it is a means by which the FBI can assist local law enforcement agencies with their investigations since serial killers at times commit murders in multiple states — even countries.While mass murder is defined by four or more murders occurring in the same incident, a serial murder requires a "cooling-off" period between murders. Murders can occur days, weeks even years apart.We have had our share of serial killers in Indiana: Herbert BaumeisterIn 1996, the remains of 11 people were found on the 18-acre Fox Hollow Farm near Westfield owned by … [Read more...] about Retro Indy: Heinous crimes of serial killers in Indiana
In a statement that led some to accuse Rudy Giuliani of softening his tune on federal gun control yesterday, the Republican presidential hopeful said the Virginia Tech shooting "does not alter the Second Amendment." "People have the right to keep and bear arms and the Constitution says this right will not be infringed," Giuliani said in a statement. He added that a recent federal appeals court decision, which struck down Washington's handgun ban, showed "that restrictions, if any, must be reasonable and these are best decided on a state-by-state basis." But as mayor, Giuliani was a strong supporter of federal licensing of all handguns and other national efforts to restrict handgun ownership. In an interview on "Meet the Press" in 2000 and posted yesterday on the Politico.com Web site, Tim Russert asked the mayor if he supported registration of all handguns. "You know I am in favor of that," Giuliani responded, adding that he backed a proposal by then-President Bill … [Read more...] about Is Rudy aiming for votes of conservatives?
WASHINGTON — A Republican bill to replace Obamacare would lead to 14 million fewer Americans with health insurance by 2018 and 24 million fewer by 2026, the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office said Monday in an analysis that could make the controversial legislation even tougher for GOP leaders to push through Congress.Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price said the projections of uninsured were too high and called them "just not believable."Most of the initial increase in uninsured people in 2018 would come from consumers deciding not to buy insurance because they would no longer have to pay a penalty for failing to do so, the CBO said in an analysis done with the Joint Committee on Taxation. However, others would stop buying insurance because premiums will go up over the next two years, the report said.The bill is expected to raise the average premiums that Americans would have to pay before 2020, and then lower them after that, the CBO projected. In 2018 and … [Read more...] about Obamacare repeal will increase the number of uninsured by 24 million by 2026, CBO says
WASHINGTON - The Senate failed by just one vote yesterday to pass a constitutional amendment to ban flag desecration. A number of Democrats joined with Republicans in the 66-to-34 vote - one shy of the two-thirds needed to amend the Constitution - even though they slammed the GOP-sponsored move as an election-year stunt. Republicans insisted they were acting to save a beloved symbol and reverse what they called an unjust Supreme Court ruling in 1989 that found flag burning constitutional. The proposed amendment, sponsored by Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) read: "The Congress shall have power to prohibit the physical desecration of the flag of the United States." "Whether it's the Marines struggling to plant the flag on Iwo Jima, or firefighters lifting the flag above the ruins of the World Trade Center, it's the flag that inspires us to great acts of heroism," said Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.). The House has voted six times for the amendment, and if 67 senators … [Read more...] about FLAG LAW FOLDS – BY 1 VOTE