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Monday, Dec 22nd

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House Republicans Pass Bill Forbidding Scientists from Advising EPA on Their OWN Research

GOP stops scientific adviceCongressional climate wars were dominated Tuesday by the U.S. Senate, which spent the day debating, and ultimately failing to pass, a bill approving the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline. While all that was happening, and largely unnoticed, the House was busy doing what it does best: attacking science.

H.R. 1422, which passed 229-191, would shake up the EPA’s Scientific Advisory Board, placing restrictions on those pesky scientists and creating room for experts with overt financial ties to the industries affected by EPA regulations.

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Senate Torture Report Talks Break Down As Administration Pushes For Redactions

Dianne FeinsteinNegotiations between the Obama administration and the Senate over how much of the upper chamber's CIA torture report can be released have hit a major snag, less than a day after the talks appeared to be wrapping up.

On Tuesday, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said that negotiations had come "down to essentially one item in the redaction. It happens to be a very sensitive and important item. I talked to the president yesterday, I talked to his chief of staff the day before, I expect to hear about it hopefully today or tomorrow."

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Senate blocks NSA phone records measure

NSA data collectionThe Senate on Tuesday blocked a bill to end bulk collection of Americans' phone records by the National Security Agency, dealing a blow to President Barack Obama's primary proposal to rein in domestic surveillance.

The 58-42 vote was two short of the 60 needed to proceed with debate under Senate procedural rules. Voting was largely along party lines, with most Democrats supporting the bill and most Republicans voting against it. The Republican-controlled House had previously passed its own NSA bill.

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Senate defeats Keystone XL pipeline

Senate defeats pipeline billThe Democrat-controlled Senate failed to gather the 60 votes it needed to approve the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline. The Senate's 59-41 vote Tuesday night was a nail-biter to the end.

The Keystone XL pipeline project has been at the center of a major political debate since 2008 when TransCanda applied for permission to construct the 1,179-mile-long pipeline.

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U.S. House passes Keystone XL pipeline bill... again

Keystone pipelineThe Republican-led U.S. House of Representatives approved the Keystone XL pipeline on Friday, but a similar measure struggled to get enough support in the Senate and President Barack Obama indicated he might use his veto if the bill does get through Congress.

The legislation, approved by 252 votes to 161, circumvents the need for approval of TransCanada Corp's (TRP.TO) $8 billion project by the Obama administration, which has been considering it for more than six years. No Republicans voted against the measure, while 31 Democrats voted for the bill.

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Warren Joins U.S. Senate Democratic Leadership Team

Elizabeth WarrenU.S. Senate Democrats elevated first-term Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren to an expanded leadership team as they prepare to become the chamber’s minority party in January.

Warren, who will act as a bridge to the party’s liberal wing, said she’ll use her role to focus on financial equality in the U.S.

“Wall Street is doing very well; CEOs are bringing in more and more, yet families everywhere are struggling,” Warren told reporters at the Capitol in Washington.

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Sens. Cruz and Lee threaten to block Attorney General nominee over immigration

Ted CruzAfter President Obama nominated New York prosecutor Loretta Lynch for Attorney General, Senators Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Mike Lee (R-UT) threatened to block her.

In a statement released on Saturday, the senators claim the current Congress should not decide the fate of the nominee, since many have lost their seats, and they want to know her opinion on President Obama's executive amnesty plans before confirming her.

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