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Tuesday, Sep 02nd

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U.S. House passes $17 billion veterans healthcare bill, 420-5

Veteran's administrationThe U.S. House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved a $17 billion plan to ease long healthcare delays at the scandal-plagued Veterans Affairs Department, adding much of the cost to the federal deficit.

The compromise measure was reached on Monday between House and Senate negotiators to provide funds for veterans' temporary access to private medical care, to allow the VA to hire more doctors and nurses and to open more outpatient clinics.

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Senate Democrats set with military contraception bill

shaheenSenate Democrats plan to introduce a bill Wednesday that would require military health care to cover all forms of contraception without co-pays — similar to the coverage required under Obamacare.

The bill, authored by New Hampshire Sen. Jeanne Shaheen and backed by a dozen other Democrats, including Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, comes just weeks after the Supreme Court ruled that businesses with a religious objection to the health care law’s contraceptive coverage don’t have to provide it.

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House, Senate appear to have deal on VA care

Vet bill passes CongressTop lawmakers appear to have reached a deal on a bipartisan bill that would allow veterans to seek private care if they face long wait lines at Veterans Affairs' facilities.

An aide close to the negotiations said the compromise addresses both the short- and long-term needs of VA. The aide sought anonymity so as not to pre-empt a formal announcement panned for Monday afternoon.

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Former CIA officials can't see 'torture' report

CIA torture reportAbout a dozen former CIA officials named in a classified Senate report on decade-old agency interrogation practices were notified in recent days that they would be able to review parts of the document in a secure room in suburban Washington after signing a secrecy agreement.

Then, on Friday, many were told they would not be able to see it, after all.

Some of them were furious, while Democratic Senate aides were angry that they were given the chance in the first place.

It's the latest chapter in the drama and recriminations that have been playing out behind the scenes in connection with what some call the Senate torture report, a summary of which is being declassified and is expected to be released in the coming weeks.

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Rep. Curt Clawson Mistakes U.S. Officials For Indian Nationals

Curt ClawsonRep. Curt Clawson (R-Fla.) addressed what he believed were two members of the Indian government at a House hearing on Thursday and assured them that, as a U.S. representative, he would support all efforts to facilitate a better relationship between America and "your country" and "your government."

There was only one problem. The officials testifying before the House Asia and Pacific subcommittee weren't Indian officials at all, but two senior members of the U.S. government.

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Obama signs bill to overhaul job training programs

Job training bill overhaulFederal job training programs will see their biggest overhaul in 16 years after President Obama put his signature Tuesday on a law intended to streamline a tangled web of programs.

It's the first major rewrite of federal job training programs since Congress passed the Workforce Development Act in 1998 — when Netscape was the Web browser of choice, résumés were on paper and largely sent in the mail and newspaper want ads were the primary way of learning of job openings.

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Senate GOP blocks bill on contraception coverage

Senate stios contraception billSenate Republicans on Wednesday blocked a bill aimed at restoring free contraception for women who get their health insurance from companies with religious objections, a legislative setback for Democrats that they hope will be a political winner in November's elections.

The vote was 56-43 to move ahead on the measure, short of the 60 votes necessary to proceed.

Democrats sponsored the election-year bill to reverse last month's Supreme Court ruling that closely held businesses with religious objections could deny coverage under President Barack Obama's health care law.

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