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Leon Panetta Returns to Pentagon for Official Portrait

Leon Panetta Returns to Pentagon for Official PortraitAlex Wong/Getty Images(ARLINGTON, Va.) -- Former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta returned to the Pentagon Thursday for the unveiling of his official portrait. And he brought along his dog Bravo, who is also included in the portrait. Speaking to an audience in the Pentagon Courtyard, Panetta explained he had included Bravo in the portrait because he too had enjoyed his time at the Pentagon.“Bravo truly loved the Pentagon, particularly the parade field, and he left his mark there,” he joked.  But Panetta said the most important reason to include Bravo was because of the smile it will bring to people’s faces “in a town that doesn’t have a lot of smiles.”He said that smile will serve as a reminder that with all of the global flashpoints and concerns, the U.S. still has the world’s strongest military. He also said Bravo has been his loyal friend and his presence in the portrait will be a reminder of the loyalty those in the military have to each other and to their country. Panetta said his proudest moment as defense secretary was being “able to open up opportunities for everyone to be able to serve their nation.” It was Panetta who lifted the restrictions on women serving in combat units, a process that is to be completed in January. Follow @ABCNewsRadio Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

How Hillary Clinton Made Chipotle Manager Famous in Ohio for a Day

How Hillary Clinton Made Chipotle Manager Famous in Ohio for a DayChip Somodevilla/Getty Images(MAUMEE, Ohio) -- His quotes are uninspiring: “She got great food.” "She was just another lady." “We were trying to do our jobs.” But somehow, abruptly, Charles Wright has become the most influential guy in Ohio politics.Wright, the 29-year-old manager of the Maumee, Ohio, Chipotle where Hillary Clinton made an incognito pit stop earlier this week, didn’t realize his staff was serving a presidential contender until a horde of reporters called the restaurant to confirm. Since then, he’s been bombarded by media requests. His limited insight was gleaned mostly from security footage: Clinton was wearing sunglasses and ordered a chicken burrito bowl with guac, along with a blackberry Izzy drink.Nevertheless, the press made much of his revelations. The Wall Street Journal surveyed the “gastronomical symbolism” of the venue and suggested Taco Bell would have been “more electorally savvy.” The New York Times, meanwhile, analyzed the burrito bowl’s caloric content and deemed it “above average.” (The Times reporter did acknowledge there were probably more important things worthy of contemplation.)But one of Wright’s seemingly offhand comments might actually hurt the 2016 hopeful: Clinton didn’t tip.“Her bill was $20 and some change, and they paid with $21 and left” after pocketing the change, Wright told Bloomberg.(For those unfamiliar with the buffet-style burrito joint: There’s a tip jar near the cash register. Some tip, some don’t.)Some Chipotle employees make just 10 cents above Ohio minimum wage -- $8.20, instead of $8.10, according to Politico. For someone who’s been criticized for being out of touch, this oversight might not play so well for Clinton.In any case, "it's really nobody's business,” Wright said, “if somebody leaves a tip or they don’t.” Follow @ABCNewsRadio Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

White House: ‘Useful Lessons’ to Be Learned from Gyrocopter Incident

White House: ‘Useful Lessons’ to Be Learned from Gyrocopter IncidentABC News(WASHINGTON) -- The White House believes there are some “useful lessons” to be learned after a 61-year-old Postal Service worker from Florida managed to land a small helicopter on the West Front lawn of the U.S. Capitol Building Wednesday.“I'm confident that there will be, you know, a careful look at this incident. And while we certainly are pleased that no one was harmed in this incident, it may provide an opportunity for law enforcement agencies, including the Secret Service, to review their procedures and to get some useful lessons from it,” White House press secretary Josh Earnest told reporters Thursday at the daily briefing. The Postal Service worker, identified as Doug Hughes, was arrested shortly after he landed the gyrocopter. Law enforcement sources said he wanted to draw attention to the issue of campaign finance reform. “The Secret Service takes very seriously the responsibility that they have to protect the president, to protect the White House, to protect those of us who work at the White House, to protect the airspace above the White House,” Earnest said. “They obviously are dealing with a very dynamic, challenging security environment. Not only is there all kinds of new technology that they have to be prepared for, but there are also threats that emanate from a lot of different places.”Earnest did not have any reaction from the president to share. President Obama was in the air aboard Air Force One when the small aircraft landed on the Capitol lawn.“I wasn't on the trip, so I didn't see his initial reaction. It might have been, ‘What's a gyrocopter?’ I know that was my reaction,” Earnest joked. Follow @ABCNewsRadio Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Sen. Pat Robert’s “Frozen” Ringtone Interrupts Senate Hearing

Sen. Pat Robert’s “Frozen” Ringtone Interrupts Senate HearingUS Senate(WASHINGTON) -- During a Senate Finance Committee hearing about Congress and U.S. Tariff Policy Thursday, Sen. Pat Roberts’ cellphone interrupted Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack while he was speaking.And it wasn’t any ordinary ringtone that rang through the committee room. It was Disney’s hit song "Let It Go" from the movie Frozen.“Aw, come on,” Roberts, R-Kan., said as the tune rang out from his cellphone.“Just let it go mister,” Roberts joked to laughs from the committee room. “Sorry about that.”Disney is the parent company of ABC News. Follow @ABCNewsRadio Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

The Secret Lives of the Globetrotting White House Press Corps

The Secret Lives of the Globetrotting White House Press Corps Official White House Photo by Pete SouzaREPORTER'S NOTEBOOK By ABC's MARY BRUCE and HANK DISSELKAMP(WASHINGTON) — Covering the White House is an amazing honor and privilege and, sometimes -- as a recent trip to Panama for the Summit of the Americas proved -- a mad, harried scramble.Here’s a behind-the-scenes look at what it’s actually like to be part of the traveling press corps on a major international trip with President Obama:Wake Up and Dust SomeoneIt’s 9:30 a.m. and the press pool, the small team of reporters and photographers who follow the president’s every move, is covered in thick dust.Marine One, the president’s helicopter, had just made an unexpected landing on an athletic field near the Panama Canal.Reporters, me included, were so busy looking up at the skies as Marine One flew overhead, that none of us noticed the dustbowl beneath out feet.Before we had a chance to think twice, we were sandblasted, caught in a massive dust storm. My shoes had turned to sandboxes and I could feel the grit in my teeth. But there was no time to waste (or bemoan the fact that we were still at least 14 hours away from our next shower).Seconds later we were in the motorcade, picking grass out of our hair as we race toward the Panama Canal for the president’s surprise visit to the engineering marvel, one of the rare moments when the president gets to play tourist.And this was just the start of the day. From the Canal we zoomed to a nearby hotel, bouncing over bumpy roads, so the president could attend a full day of meetings.‘We’re Running!’“We’re running!” is a phrase heard often from our wranglers, the tireless White House press aides who corral and advocate for the press pool. They guided us as we raced up and down stairs, our camerawoman hauling 45 pounds of gear, and zipped into elevators on our way to capture a few minutes or sometimes just seconds of the president’s meetings.The pool is usually brought in at the top or bottom of these gatherings to capture brief remarks from the president and foreign leaders or sometimes just a handshake between them. Being in the right place and the right time is critical. Mary Bruce/ABC NewsA Door Slams ShutWhile being with the White House definitely has its perks, those advantages are often challenged on foreign soil. The wranglers have to vie with the foreign press and local representatives to make sure we get access to the president’s events.Sounds easy enough, but it can lead to some dramatic skirmishes.In Panama, we found ourselves elbowing our way through aggressive media scrums to get to the front of the pack and capture those images that would later grace broadcasts and front pages around the world.At one point, we got into a heated clash with Panamanian authorities. We had just sprinted from the press vans, which are located toward the back of the president’s lengthy motorcade, up to the side door of a hotel where the president was set to deliver remarks on civil society, only to find the door slammed in our face, literally. Mary Bruce/ABC NewsOur wranglers and the advance press aides shouted to colleagues inside, but to no avail. The local authorities were not convinced.Meanwhile, the president was taking the stage inside.After a few quick phone calls, we were ultimately let in, though we still got some dirty glances from the local officials as we ran past to capture the last few minutes of Obama’s speech.Expect the UnexpectedThe day is choreographed to a T. But sometimes the president has other plans in mind.It was 10:30 p.m. and the president was attending a formal dinner for summit leaders and, although we were an hour and half behind schedule, he was still expected to stay for hours.The pool was just settling in for what was expected to be a long hold. While a lot of the day is a mad dash, there is also a ton of waiting around.Hungry reporters were just lining up to hit the buffet -- media outlets pay for all of the press amenities provided on these trips -- when we were told to race back to the vans. Mary Bruce/ABC NewsThe president had decided not to stay, after all.Dishes clashed and clanged as we dropped everything, grabbed our gear and ran.Just as we reach the vans, “kaboom,” a loud blast is heard. It’s impossible not to think about security concerns when traveling with the president. We instinctively look toward the Secret Service agent assigned to travel with us and he isn’t flinching. The boom was just fireworks erupting overhead.Moments later we are rolling once again, but this time back to our hotel and, finally, to those much-needed showers. Follow @ABCNewsRadio Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Obama Argues Against Repeal of the ‘Death Tax’

Obama Argues Against Repeal of the ‘Death Tax’Official White House Photo by Pete Souza(CHARLOTTE, N.C.) — At a town hall meeting in Charlotte, North Carolina, Wednesday, President Obama argued against a push by congressional Republicans to repeal the estate tax.  Republicans say the so-called “death tax” prevents small business owners and family farmers from passing on their businesses to their heirs, but Obama argues the estate tax only affects about 5,000 families and eliminating it would cost $270 billion.Obama told those in attendance that the Republicans' tax plan “would give the average millionaire and billionaire a $50,000 tax cut.”“That's about what the average middle-class worker makes in an entire year,” Obama added.The president said the GOP plan “would cut taxes for the top 1/10th of one percent and let taxes go up on 25 million working families and students.”The GOP-backed legislation is expected to pass the House this week.  President Obama has threatened to veto the measure if it reaches his desk.Follow @ABCNewsRadio Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

State Department Says It Responded Properly to 2012 Inquiry on Hillary Clinton’s Email Use

State Department Says It Responded Properly to 2012 Inquiry on Hillary Clinton’s Email Use State Department Spokesperson Jeff Rathke at a December 2014 press briefing. Photo by Samuel Corum/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The State Department on Wednesday says it responded properly to a Congressional inquiry regarding former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's email use in 2012 -- while she was still in office.The New York Times reported on Wednesday that House Oversight and Government Reform Commitee Chairman Darrell Issa sent a letter to Clinton in December 2012 -- during her tenure -- asking about her use of personal email, a subject that has put Clinton in the spotlight in recent months. State Department Spokesperson Jeff Rathke said at Wednesday's press briefing that the department responded in March 2013 -- saying that the delay was caused by a deluge of congressional requests.Rathke said the department "described our policies in detail" and "included...relevant attachments that governed the department's policies." According to the New York Times, Issa's letter specifically asked whether any senior official at the State Department used a private email account. Rathke was unable to say definitively whether that question was answered.The department's response in March 2013 came after Clinton had left her post. Asked what caused the response to Issa's inquiry to take three months, Rathke said that the department gets "thousands of requests" which could cause some responses to be slower than others. Follow @ABCNewsRadio Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Clinton Foundation Will Keep Taking Money from Some Foreign Governments

Clinton Foundation Will Keep Taking Money from Some Foreign Governments Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The Clinton Foundation has enacted a policy change, ensuring that it will only accept money from six countries outside of the U.S. -- all American allies.Hillary Clinton resigned from the Clinton Foundation shortly after announcing her candidacy for president this past weekend. Still, the foundation said Wednesday it would only accept money from Australia, Canada, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, and the United Kingdom. Prior to that, the foundation had accepted millions from governments including Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates -- countries that critics were quick to point out have controversial positions on issues like women's rights and homosexuality.  The foundation has an event scheduled in Morocco in May, but has cancelled an event in Greece in June."The Clinton Foundation is committed to improving millions of lives around the world," a statement read. "In light of Secretary Clinton's decision to run for President, Secretary Clinton has stepped down from the Clinton Foundation board and, while she is a candidate for President, the Foundation will modify its policies."Specifically, the foundation plans to increase donor disclosure by doing so quarterly instead of annually. It will also hold no international events, will not accept any contributions or sponsorships from foreign governments. The foundation will take funding from the six foreign governments that have funded foundation programs. ABC Breaking US News | US News Videos Follow @ABCNewsRadio Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Aaron Schock Donor Files Lawsuit Accusing Former Congressman of Racketeering and Fraud

Aaron Schock Donor Files Lawsuit Accusing Former Congressman of Racketeering and Fraud Nancy Stone/Chicago Tribune/TNS via Getty Images(CHICAGO) -- A Chicago man who says he donated $500 to then-Congressman Aaron Schock filed a lawsuit on Wednesday accusing the former Rep. of racketeering and fraud.The Chicago Tribune reports that Howard Foster filed the lawsuit Wednesday, just two weeks after Schock, a Republican, resigned his post. Schock is currently under federal investigation regarding his campaign and congressional expenditures. The lawsuit, the paper says, claims that Foster was misled into giving his money to the former Congressman."Like all Schock donors," the suit says, Foster "gave money to the rising young Republican congressman because he believed Mr. Schock was ethical, a breath of fresh air in Illinois politics, and had a bright future in Congress." Instead, it continues, "the opposite was true, and while Schock may have been a new, young face in Congress, he willingly followed well-tread paths of political sleaze for personal gain."It's not clear how realistic the lawsuit is, as the Tribune notes that political donations are considered gifts, making them the property of the recipient. Follow @ABCNewsRadio Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

US Military Unaware Gyrocopter Violated DC Airspace Before Landing Near Capitol Building

US Military Unaware Gyrocopter Violated DC Airspace Before Landing Near Capitol Building Gary Blakeley/iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The United States military says it was unaware that an aircraft had flown into restricted airspace over Washington, D.C., Wednesday and was only alerted of its presence after it landed.Just before 2 p.m. ET, ABC News reported a Florida man was arrested after landing his gyrocopter on the West lawn of the United States Capitol building.The United States Northern Command and North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD), the military organizations responsible for protecting the capital region airspace, say they never saw it. “There was no NORAD involvement,” said spokesman Michael Kucharek. He deferred questions about who may have detected it first to the U.S. Capitol Police and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).Kucharek said the military has MH-65 helicopters on standby at all times in Washington, D.C., for the specific purpose of intercepting slow-moving aircraft, yet none were sent.It appears the man who piloted the aircraft is the same individual who spoke to the Tampa Bay Times about his intent to fly his gyrocopter to Capitol Hill and deliver 535 letters -- one addressed to each member of Congress -- calling for campaign finance reform. In an online interview with the paper, Dough Hughes said he is a postman, not a terrorist, and that he did not intend to harm anyone, including himself.But the incident raises questions as to why no one was able to intercept him before he gained access to the Capitol grounds, particularly if the news media knew about the flight beforehand.In additional to the media's knowledge, sources say law enforcement, including a Secret Service officer, interviewed Hughes last year after learning he may have been planning something for the future.In an interview with ABC’s Jim Avila, Tampa Bay Times reporter Ben Montgomery claimed he informed the United States Secret Service ahead of time about Hughes’ plan to land a helicopter on the Capitol.Whether authorities had prior knowledge of the plan, Kucharek was skeptical that an aircraft that small could have flown undetected into the restricted airspace. Kucharek said no one should rule out the possibility that Hughes launched the aircraft from within the restricted airspace, possibly explaining why he went unnoticed.Investigators are still trying to determine where the flight originated, and if it’s discovered he came from outside Washington, the military may have more questions to answer. Follow @ABCNewsRadio Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Chris Christie Calls Normalizing Relations with Cuba a ‘National Disgrace’

Chris Christie Calls Normalizing Relations with Cuba a ‘National Disgrace’ Photo by Darren McCollester/Getty Images(LONDONBERRY, N.H.) --  A day after the Obama administration recommended that the U.S. government reverse its long-standing policy designating Cuba a state sponsor of international terrorism, Chris Christie called the move a "national disgrace."In an appearance Wednesday at a town hall meeting in Londonberry, New Hampshire, Christie took aim at President Obama's diplomatic warming with the Communist nation."It is a national disgrace that the president is engaged in those conversations and even considering taking that country off the terrorist watch-list," Christie said."If Cuba wants normalized relations with the United States, start acting like a normal country," he said.Obama Tuesday recommended reversing the longstanding U.S. policy of keeping Cuba on a list of state sponsors of terrorism. The administration released a statement declaring Obama's "intention to rescind Cuba’s State Sponsor of Terrorism designation" days after his return from the Summit of the Americas in Panama.Christie also said he would make his final decision on a run for president in "late spring, early summer." Follow @ABCNewsRadio Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Why the IRS Won’t Refund Victims of Tax Preparer Fraud

Why the IRS Won’t Refund Victims of Tax Preparer Fraud iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- If you're a victim of tax preparer fraud, don't rely on compensation from the Internal Revenue Service. The agency is not prohibited from issuing refunds to such victims, but it has no procedures to do so, according to warnings from National Taxpayer Advocate Nina Olson.But it’s a different matter when it comes to victims of tax identity theft. When someone uses your personal information, such as a Social Security number, to steal your tax refund, you could get a refund from the IRS.Olson, who heads the U.S. government Office of the Taxpayer Advocate, argues there's little difference between that crime and that of tax preparer fraud.About 60 percent of taxpayers use tax professionals to prepare their returns, according to the IRS."The IRS has known about this problem and its severe impact on victims for many years," since at least 2000, Olson wrote in a report presented to Congress Wednesday. She presented her 2014 annual report to Congress in a hearing before the House Subcommittee on Government Operations.The IRS commissioner decided in March 2014 that the IRS will issue refunds to victims of tax preparer fraud who provide a copy of a police report."It has now been over a year since the Commissioner made this decision, and the IRS still has no procedures in place to implement this policy," Olson writes. "The IRS has not even circulated draft procedures for TAS (Taxpayer Advocate Service) to review and comment upon."A spokeswoman for the IRS said commissioner John Koskinen has long advocated for better mechanisms for enforcement and taxpayer solutions. When the IRS named tax preparer fraud as one of its annual "dirty dozen" tax scams, it said the IRS Criminal Investigation works closely with the Department of Justice to end scams and prosecute criminals."The IRS has been taking steps to help taxpayers know where and how to get the help they need," Koskinen said two weeks ago during a speech at the National Press Club. "We’ve also been working with the national tax groups, including some of those here in the room, on raising taxpayer awareness about the different types of tax professionals available to help."The IRS launched a new directory of tax return preparers on IRS.gov earlier this year, allowing taxpayers to find tax professionals with credentials and qualifications in their local area.Suraj Patel, New York University Stern School of Business adjunct professor, said the problem of enforcement and refunding victims of tax preparer fraud is a symptom of a much larger problem."No politician ever gets votes by advocating for a higher IRS budget, so years of cuts have really led to a situation where the agency can't possibly adequately handle the helpline or do proper enforcement," Patel said. "On the other hand, it also goes to show how complicated and burdensome the annual filing of taxes has become. It's a huge externality on the economy." Follow @ABCNewsRadio Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

House Oversight Committee Loses Confidence in DEA Administrator

House Oversight Committee Loses Confidence in DEA Administrator Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call(WASHINGTON) -- Members of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee said on Wednesday that they have lost their confidence in Drug Enforcement Administration Administrator Michele Leonhart.The announcement comes after Leonhart's testimony during a hearing Tuesday regarding sex parties involving DEA agents in Colombia."After over a decade of serving in top leadership positions at DEA, Administrator Leonhart has been woefully unable to change or positively influence the pervasive 'good old boy' culture that exists throughout the agency. From her testimony, it is clear that she lacks the authority and will to make the tough decisions required to hold those accountable who compromise national security and bring disgrace to their position," committee chairman Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, and ranking member Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., along with 20 other committee members, said in a statement."Ms. Leonhart has lost the confidence of this Committee to initiate the necessary reforms to restore the reputation of a vital agency," they added. Follow @ABCNewsRadio Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

President Obama Meets with West African Leaders to Talk Ebola

President Obama Meets with West African Leaders to Talk EbolaChip Somodevilla/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — Transmission of the Ebola virus in West Africa has slowed tremendously, but for some of the countries hit hardest by the virus, the fight continues. President Obama, in a White House meeting Wednesday with the presidents of Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone, pledged that the United States will continue its support in the fight against Ebola in those nations where the virus struck the hardest.“We have to be vigilant, and the international community has to remain fully engaged in a partnership with these three countries, until there are no cases of Ebola in these countries,” President Obama said from the White House Cabinet Room alongside West African presidents Ellen Sirleaf of Liberia, Ernest Koroma of Sierra Leon and Alpha Condé of Guinea.The virus has killed more than 10,000 people since the epidemic broke -- but this week, there were just 40 new cases, the president noted.“Now we’re focused on a shared goal, and that is getting to zero,” he said. “We can’t be complacent.” The meeting comes one day after the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced it would begin testing an Ebola vaccine in Sierra Leone.The African leaders will now also meet with the IMF, World Bank and other organizations on their visit.Follow @ABCNewsRadio Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Congress Holds Hearing on Tax Scams

Congress Holds Hearing on Tax Scams iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- At an alarmingly high rate, con artists are claiming that they're from the Internal Revenue Service, threatening legal action if people don't pay up.The scams are happening all over the U.S., and just in time for Tax Day, Congress is taking steps to try to stop them.Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, will hold a hearing on this tax fraud epidemic on Wednesday. She says more than 400,000 Americans have been targeted by scammers pretending to be IRS agents.The scammers will usually call taxpayers, telling them that they owe money and need to act fast before the IRS takes action against them. But as IRS spokesman Eric Smith notes, any caller that asks you to pay by phone using your credit or debit card is the telltale sign of a scam."We will never call you and demand that you pay your tax debt in a particular way," Smith says. He adds, "If you owe the IRS money, you generally know."Among those testifying at the hearing Wednesday is Al Cadenhead, a 67-year-old pastor from Charlotte, North Carolina. He says he was scammed out of $16,500. Follow @ABCNewsRadio Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Obama Offers $200 Million in Humanitarian Aid to Iraq

Obama Offers $200 Million in Humanitarian Aid to IraqOfficial White House Photo by Pete Souza(WASHINGTON) — President Obama met with Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi in the Oval Office Tuesday and offered $200 million in humanitarian aid to help Iraqis displaced by the terrorist group ISIS.The president said the aid would go to “help stabilize communities and to help those who have been displaced from their homes, have lost their jobs, have seen their property destroyed.”It was Abadi's first official U.S. visit since taking office last September.Speaking to reporters, President Obama said while Iraqi forces continue to be equipped and trained by the U.S. military, the ultimate responsibility for Iraqi troops lies with the Iraqi government.“The government is accountable for the actions of armed forces, so that if there are criminal acts or sectarian retributions that are carried out, that ultimately Prime Minister Abadi is able to call those forces to account," Obama said.Abadi assured the president that he was cracking down on abuses. “I have to admit that there are some violations, human rights violations, being committed by some criminal parties and outliers, but we have zero tolerance for any violations of human rights,” Abadi said. “And when we manage to catch these people, we are bringing them before the judicial system and we punish them.”Follow @ABCNewsRadio Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Senate Foreign Relations Committee Passes Legislation Allowing Congressional Review of Iran Nuclear Deal

Senate Foreign Relations Committee Passes Legislation Allowing Congressional Review of Iran Nuclear Deal Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Tuesday approved legislation requiring Congressional right to approve or disapprove a potential nuclear deal with Iran.The committee approved the legislation by a unanimous 19-0 vote. Chairman Bob Corker called it, "exactly the congressional review that we've been working on from day one."The compromised legislation gives Congress 52 days to review a final deal with Iran -- 30 days for congressional review, 12 for Obama to have the opportunity to veto a disapproval, and 10 more for Congress to consider an override of a potential veto.Prior to the vote, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said that Obama, "would be willing to sign the proposed compromise that is working its way through the committee today."The deal would extend the review period to 60 days if the deal is sent to Congress after July 9. Further, the administration would be required to certify Iranian compliance with the agreement for 90 days, and if violations occur, the White House would have to inform Congress to allow for reapplication of sanctions against Iran. Follow @ABCNewsRadio Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Senate Passes Doc-Fix Bill

Senate Passes Doc-Fix Bill Credit: Architect of the Capitol(WASHINGTON) -- The Senate passed the so-called "doc-fix" bill, which passed the House last month, in an effort to reform the way Medicare pays doctors. The measure passed by a 92 to 8 vote.The bill ends the sustainable growth rate, a formula used to calculate doctors' Medicare payments. Doctors were due to face 21 percent cuts in Medicare reimbursements if the bill wasn't passed.The bill now heads to President Obama's desk. "This is a bill that will provide better health care for seniors and real savings for taxpayers," House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said last month when the House passed the bill. "This'll be the first real entitlement reform that we've seen in nearly two decades, and that's a big win for the American people." Follow @ABCNewsRadio Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

DEA Administrator Criticized in Committee Hearing for Response to Alleged Sex Parties

DEA Administrator Criticized in Committee Hearing for Response to Alleged Sex Parties Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call(WASHINGTON) -- U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency Administrator Michele Leonhart was criticized by members of the House Oversight and Governmental Affairs Committee on Tuesday for her response to sex parties involving DEA agents in Colombia.Leonhart attempted to explain to the committee why she could not fire the agents who participated in the parties with prostitutes paid for by drug cartels in government housing paid for by U.S. tax payers. Some of the agents received punishments between two and 14 days suspension without pay, but civil service protections made harsher discipline difficult, Leonhart said."It is embarrassing that you don't fire that person," committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, said. "If this is the kind of behavior that they're going to engage in, it's totally unacceptable. They should not have the security clearance and they should be fired."The allegations involved conduct that occurred between 2001 and 2012, some of which were revealed in a Department of Justice Inspector General report last week. Leonhart has been in charge of the DEA since 2007, during the time when some of the allegations occurred. Rep. Jody Hice, R-Ga., suggested Leonhart may need to be replaced. "We need to seriously consider new leadership at DEA," he said. The Inspector General report focused on how the four enforcement agencies housed in the Department of Justice, DEA, FBI, ATF and U.S. Marshals Service, handled misconduct allegations. The DEA had by far the largest share of allegations involving the solicitation of prostitutes overseas, accounting for 19 of 26 total offenses of this type among the four agenciesThe report found that in many cases, DEA supervisors in the field did not notify headquarters about allegations of misconduct. One regional director who failed to move cases involving sex parties further up the chain of command was merely counseled as a reprimand for his actions.   Some members raised the possibility of amending the Title V of the Civil Service Act to allow for more swift and severe punishment for sexual misconduct. However, Chairman Chaffetz questioned whether the charges leveled at the agents involved with prostitutes were appropriate, suggesting that different charges could have resulted in dismissal. Attorney General Eric Holder last week took the unusual step of issuing a memorandum to all Department of Justice employees expressly prohibiting the solicitation of prostitutes on or off duty in any foreign or domestic jurisdiction. “Department employees who violate these prohibitions will be subject to suspension or termination,” the memo states. Supervisors who fail to report such conduct are also subject to discipline. Follow @ABCNewsRadio Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved. Follow @ABCNewsRadio Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Hillary Clinton Backs Constitutional Amendment on Campaign Money

Hillary Clinton Backs Constitutional Amendment on Campaign Money Michael B. Thomas/AFP/Getty Images(MONTICELLO, Iowa) -- Hillary Clinton could have one of the best-funded campaigns in history, but she wants to get so-called dark money out of politics altogether.To that end, Clinton says she supports a constitutional amendment barring it.“We need to fix our dysfunctional political system and get unaccountable money out of it once and for all, even if that takes a constitutional amendment,” Clinton said at the first event of her 2016 presidential run, speaking to students and teachers at Kirkwood Community College in Monticello, Iowa.Clinton has said similar things in the past--just not as strongly. In 2014, for instance, she said she would consider such a measure, MSNBC reported at the time.The Democratic frontrunner is expected to be supported in her bid by Priorities USA Action, the super PAC that helped President Obama defeat Mitt Romney in 2012. While super PAC support may seem contradictory with Clinton's complaint against political money, it isn't: Super PACs disclose their donors and are not considered "unaccountable" in the same way as nonprofit 501(c)(4) groups, which can also take in unlimited donations from people and corporations, but which do not disclose their sources of money.Clinton also backed President Obama's call for free community college."I fully support President Obama's plan to make community college free," Clinton said.The community-college roundtable discussion was the first of what Clinton's campaign has described as a series of small, intimate events in Iowa, where the former secretary of State will listen to voters on an array of issues.Sitting at the head of several folding tables, Clinton asked the small group of attendees about their experiences as students paying tuition and planning their lives, and as educators seeking to help students along the way.After officially announcing her candidacy this week, Clinton traveled to Iowa in a van she dubbed "Scooby," making a surprise stop at Chipotle along the way. Her campaign has not yet publicly disclosed a full list of the events she'll attend while she's in the state. Follow @ABCNewsRadio Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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