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House Stuns Itself By Passing Bipartisan $214 Billion Medicare Package

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The House passed a bill Thursday that may be its biggest legislative accomplishment of the year: a $214 billion package that fixes a massive funding gap in Medicare, extends health care for poor children and makes long-term spending cuts.

The bill overwhelmingly passed 392-37, a rare moment of bipartisanship for a Congress accustomed to little action.

“If someone came down from Mars today, into this chamber, they’d be shocked at this camaraderie,” said Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-N.J.). “This is great. You’ve got to admit, this is a good feeling.”

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PELOSI BOEHNER

House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) teamed up to cut a deal on a bill that replaces a massive funding gap in Medicare. | ASSOCIATED PRESS

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Click link below for story and slideshow:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/03/26/house-medicare-doc-fix_n_6947276.html

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Senator Harry Reid Announces Retirement

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Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) will not seek re-election, he said in an interview with The New York Times published Friday. Reid has led the Senate Democrats since 2005.

In a video posted Friday morning, Reid thanked his constituents for allowing him to serve the state of Nevada.

In the video, Reid said he will work to help the Democrats take control of the Senate again, noting he felt it was “inappropriate” to “soak up all those resources on me, when I can be devoting those resources to the caucus.” Reid also warned Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) he’d be working hard until the end of his current term.

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!!!!!BNMasterCallsItQuits1Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.)

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Click link below for story, videos and slideshow:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/03/27/harry-reid-retirement_n_6954262.html

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Rudy Giuliani Tells His Party To Stop Blocking Loretta Lynch’s Nomination

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Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani (R) said Friday that Loretta Lynch is an “extraordinary” nominee for U.S. attorney general, and called on Senate Republicans to stop holding up her confirmation vote.

In a call with reporters, Giuliani said he is a “very dedicated Republican” and doesn’t always agree with President Barack Obama. But he does think that a president should be able to get his or her appointees confirmed by the Senate.

“The confirmation process has been really tremendously distorted. … It’s become Republicans torture Democrats, Democrats torture Republicans. Who started it, God knows,” he said. “But as a Republican and looking at the Constitution, I find Loretta Lynch not only to be an acceptable appointment, but I find her to be an extraordinary appointment.”

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RUDY GIULIANI

Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani says Senate Republicans need to hold a confirmation vote for Loretta Lynch, President Barack Obama’s nominee for U.S. attorney general. | Rob Kim via Getty Images

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Click link below for story and slideshow:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/03/20/rudy-giuliani-loretta-lynch_n_6910424.html

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Obamacare Is Turning 5 Years Old, And The Debate Has Barely Changed

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A big f***ing deal happened five years ago Monday.

On March 23, 2010, President Barack Obama signed the Affordable Care Act — a law designed to make health insurance available to all Americans and, over time, to make the health care system more efficient. Vice President Joe Biden’s comment that the law was a “B.F.D.,” which an open microphone at the White House ceremony caught, was mainly a reference to the decades-long quest to establish some kind of universal health care system, bringing to the U.S. the same guarantees of financial security and access to medical care that have long existed in every other developed country.

But Biden’s quip was also a statement about the grueling fight to get a bill through Congress. For more than a year, stretching back to Obama’s very first days in office, Republicans and their allies had attacked the law relentlessly and, at times, hyperbolically. They didn’t just doubt that the law would achieve its goals, they also predicted that it would wreak havoc on the federal budget, the economy and the health care system.

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OBAMA SIGNS AFFORDABLE CARE ACT 2010

President Barack Obama (C) signs the Affordable Health Care for America Act during a ceremony with fellow Democrats in the East Room of the White House March 23, 2010 in Washington, D.C. Five years later, Republicans still want the law repealed. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images) | Win McNamee via Getty Images

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Click link below for story and slideshow:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/03/22/obamacare-5-years_n_6918326.html

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Criticism, Some From The Right, Builds On GOP Letter To Iran

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Criticism of 47 Republican senators’ letter to Iranian leaders escalated Friday, and one of the lawmakers expressed misgivings about writing directly to an adversary to raise doubts about President Barack Obama’s nuclear negotiations.

Several newspapers that had endorsed the senators’ elections were harshly critical. A handful of conservative commentators and former GOP aides joined legions of liberals in calling the letter ill-advised.

Republican Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, who may face a tough re-election next year, defended the letter, but added, “If there was any regret, tactically, it probably would have been better just to have it be an open letter addressed to no one.”

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!!!!!BNLetterRegret1.

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Click link below for article:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/03/14/gop-iran-letter-criticism_n_6868398.html

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2 Police Officers Shot During Ferguson Protest

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Two police officers were shot outside the Ferguson Police Department just after midnight Thursday, police and eyewitnesses said. The shootings came during protests following the Ferguson police chief’s resignation on Wednesday afternoon.

In a press conference outside the hospital where the officers were being treated on Thursday morning, St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar said that a 32-year-old officer from suburban Webster Groves was shot in the face and a 41-year-old officer from St. Louis County was shot in the shoulder, according to the Associated Press. Belmar said the injuries were “very serious” but that both officers were conscious, and that he assumed they were targeted because they were police officers. Police had no one in custody in connection with the shooting.

Witness Tony Rice told The Huffington Post he heard several shots and saw one officer on the ground hollering. Photographer Bradley Rayford said in an interview that he was standing near the line of officers outside the Ferguson Police Department when he heard gunshots and saw a muzzle flash. He said heard the bullets whiz through the air and saw one fallen officer being dragged to safety.

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!!!!!BN2CopsShotInFerguson1.

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Click link below for story, video and slideshow:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/03/12/ferguson-officers-shot-_n_6852700.html

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Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson To Resign

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Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson, who became one of the city’s most well-known figures after a police officer killed teenager Michael Brown in August 2014, plans to resign in the wake of a blistering Justice Department report on the revenue-driven policing and court practices Jackson oversaw in the St. Louis suburb.

Jackson is the sixth and most high-profile Ferguson city employee to resign after the release of the Justice Department report, which critically examined the practices of the police department and municipal court system. Two police officers and a court clerk stepped down because the report revealed they had sent racist emails, while the municipal judge and City Manager John Shaw resigned over their roles in implementing police practices that prioritized generating revenue over public safety concerns.

In a resignation letter published by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Jackson said he was stepping down with “profound sadness” and that he hoped to “continue to assist the city in anyway I can in my capacity as a private citizen.”

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!!!!!BNFergusonFallout!.

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Click link below for story, video and slideshow:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/03/11/thomas-jackson-resignation_n_6849334.html

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