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Politicians Become Cats With Artist’s Touch

Politicians Become Cats With Artist’s Touch

Anthony Pego(OKLAHOMA CITY) -- An Oklahoma artist’s not "kitten" around when he says he wants to draw a cat version of all 100 U.S. senators. Anthony Pego, an Oklahoma City artist, has started posting on his website drawings of politicians as cats, giving whiskers and fur to pols ranging from the Senate majority leader to an Oklahoma representative. The drawings began as a silly gift for Pego’s friends on his birthday and served as a way for him to hone his skills using a digital stylus, the artist told ABC News. Pego, 36, typically creates metal jewelry, but the colder winter temperatures make that process more difficult this time of year, he said. So he drew Oklahoma's U.S. senators, the governor and a district representative -- clad in suits, posing before flags, and with whiskers sprouting from their cheeks. Pego, an owner of two dogs but no cats, decided on felines because of the animal’s pervasiveness online -- and said they were more of a challenge to fuse with people. “It’s very easy to get a human emotion out of a dog. We anthropomorphize them more easily,” he said. “With cats it’s a little harder, you don’t really know what’s going on in their mind.” He scans the politicians’ photos online -- official portraits and unflattering shots alike -- and takes time to learn their positions, too. After purr-fecting his own state’s leaders, he noticed a photo of a New York state senator wielding machetes he wanted to ban -- a photo Pego found absurd -- and decided to “cat-ify” that politician, along with others from New York. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., took on the name "Purrsten Giilibrand." And New York’s governor, Andrew Cuomo, became "Andrew Cuomew."Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., got a cat version of himself and even tweeted out a link to Pego’s site, Boo Science.

Not sure what to make of this: http://t.co/5qbF52dPF2 pic.twitter.com/LgY1AgWg7y

— Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) February 24, 2015

Pego hopes to draw all 100 U.S. senators before the year is out. “I wont stop until I mange to get all of them,” he said, “and hopefully I manage to get them all before some of them get booted out by voters.” He’s now working on a cat version of Woody Guthrie, for the release of a pineapple-infused version of a beer dedicated to the late singer-songwriter. But he’s been blown away by the response to his political “catifications” -- and says he had to check to make sure Schumer’s tweet didn’t come from a fake account. “It’s really me just teaching myself who’s running my country,” he said. “It’s just for fun.”

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Senate Dems Agree to Vote on Clean DHS Funding Bill

Senate Dems Agree to Vote on Clean DHS Funding Bill

DHS(WASHINGTON) -- Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid announced Wednesday that Senate Democrats will agree to vote on a clean Department of Homeland Security funding bill -- despite House Speaker John Boehner not giving assurances he will hold a vote on the measure in the House of Representatives.“We're going to do everything we can to make sure it passes by an overwhelming vote,” Reid, D-Nev., told reporters Wednesday. “I think virtually every Democrat will vote for that.”Reid said that if the House of Representatives does not vote on the clean measure and instead sends a funding bill with immigration provisions attached, Senate Democrats will not agree to go to conference on the bill, which is one option being floated on the House side.“This isn't the time for games. If the House of Representatives led by Speaker Boehner is interested in doing a funding measure for the Department of Homeland Security, it has to be one that has no tricks, no riders,” Reid said. “If you send something back, that is vexatious with all these riders and anti-immigrant stuff, he won't be able to go to conference and he has to understand that.”Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell could begin the process to set up votes on a clean measure in the Senate as soon as Wednesday afternoon. But the timing of any vote will depend on whether all senators give their consent to give back debate time.

Reid said Senate Democrats are ready to give their consent, but it is unknown at this time whether any Republican senators will force the Senate to use all debate time on the measure.McConnell, R-Ky., has introduced a separate measure that would address the president’s executive actions on immigration without tying it to DHS funding, but Reid said Democrats would not agree to move onto the measure until the DHS funding bill has cleared the House.

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Texas Governor: ‘Rule of Law’ Trumps ‘Compassion’ for Undocumented Immigrants

Texas Governor: ‘Rule of Law’ Trumps ‘Compassion’ for Undocumented Immigrants

Erich Schlegel/Getty Images(AUSTIN, Texas) -- Texas Gov. Gregg Abbott told ABC News the “rule of law” trumps “compassion” for undocumented immigrants.In an exclusive interview with ABC News inside the ornate governor’s mansion in Austin, Texas, Abbott, whose federal lawsuit stopped President Obama’s executive action protecting millions from deportation, admitted he has no solution for what to do with the 11 million undocumented people living and working in the United States today. He said that’s not his responsibility, its Obama’s.“As the governor of Texas, I don’t have the luxury of making that decision. That is the job of the United States Congress and the president,” Abbott said. “And [that is] the reason why we have this lawsuit.”Undocumented immigrants, many of whom are already paying taxes and have no criminal history, were granted legal status by Obama’s executive action taken last November.A federal judge earlier this month blocked Obama’s plans to allow more undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children and undocumented parents of U.S. citizens to remain in the U.S. without fear of deportation. The judge was ruling on a lawsuit filed by Abbott when he was the Texas attorney general.That is being appealed by the Obama administration. The administration filed an emergency stay this week to allow applicants to his immigration programs to register while the lawsuit moves through the court system.Abbott claims Obama's executive action overstepped his authority.“What the president did here was to trample the rule of law,” Abbott told ABC News. “The president is being a dictator by issuing laws in contradiction of his power under the United States Constitution.”A study this week by a pro-immigration reform group put the cost of deporting 11 million undocumented currently living in the United States at $50 billion.Abbott told ABC News more should be spent on border security, even though the Department of Homeland Security says fewer immigrants are crossing America’s southern frontier than they have since the 1970s.Undocumented families interviewed by ABC News said they want the governor to know the issue is not about a “political battle” with the president, it’s about their lives."I've got compassion for everyone," Abbott told ABC News in response. "But in the Constitution, it requires the president to follow the law. There's no article or Bill of Rights in the Constitution that says compassion allows the president to circumvent the rules of the Constitution. And that's exactly what the president has done."

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DHS Might Shut Down on Friday: Should You Be Worried?

DHS Might Shut Down on Friday: Should You Be Worried?

Win McNamee/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- In an ideal world, the Department of Homeland Security submits a budget plan for the coming year, lawmakers who control federal money approve it and then the DHS gets funded for that full year.But since September, Republicans and Democrats haven’t been able to agree on a full year of funding -- instead, twice since then, they’ve agreed to fund the DHS for a couple of months, each time hoping to reach a deal on a full year of funding. Time runs out again Friday night, but no deal is in sight.Republicans irked by President Obama’s plan to give legal status to five million illegal immigrants say this time they’ll let the DHS “shut down” unless the Obama administration backs down from its immigration plan. Democrats insist DHS funding shouldn’t be tied to a presidential action taken without Congressional approval.But if the DHS does “shut down,” should you be worried? It depends who you are, and how long the shutdown lasts.If you’re one of the 40,000 DHS employees who will be furloughed, you won’t get paid for your time off -- even if you're struggling to pay your mortgage or put food on the table. And if you’re one of the tens of thousands of front-line personnel who still has to show up at work each day, you won’t get paid either -- even those of you putting your lives on the line. It’s unclear whether any future deal in Congress will reimburse you for the paychecks you’ll miss.If you’re one of the millions of others in America whom the DHS is supposed to protect, there won’t be much of an impact from a shutdown lasting only a matter of days.If a shutdown lasts weeks or months, however, here’s how that DHS mission will be affected, according to DHS officials:FEDERAL EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AGENCY

If a major snowstorm or earthquake or even terrorist attack hits a city or state, the DHS won’t be able to send the state federal funds for recovery. State and local authorities rely on federal grants to afford many of their first responders, but new grant requests won’t be processed -- potentially forcing cities and towns across the country to cut back on police, fire and ambulance services. Each month, FEMA trains thousands of state and local emergency personnel how to handle “very specialized” cases such as those involving Ebola, anthrax or sarin gas, but that training will stop.

CUSTOMS AND BORDER PROTECTION (INC. BORDER PATROL & CUSTOMS OFFICERS)

500 recruits currently in training in Georgia will be sent home, wasting significant amounts of taxpayer money already invested in them and possibly losing them as recruits. CBP won’t be able to replace or upgrade aging surveillance systems along the Southwest border. Certain criminal cases against those trying to cross the border illegally or smuggle prohibited items into the United States will slow or stop, especially after lawyers at CBP are sent home.

SECRET SERVICE

The Secret Service won’t be able to make certain security upgrades at the White House in the wake of several recent breaches there. The 2016 presidential candidates could be put at risk because the Secret Service won’t be able to pay “for the things we need” to protect them.

IMMIGRATION AND CUSTOMS ENFORCEMENT

ICE will miss out on hundreds of millions of dollars intended to address “unaccompanied minors” and families still crossing the Southwest border illegally.

TRANSPORTATION SECURITY ADMINISTRATION

“Nothing to report here,” though training and other “non-essential administrative functions would cease.”

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Boehner Mum on Plan to Fund DHS

Boehner Mum on Plan to Fund DHS

Alex Wong/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- House Speaker John Boehner on Wednesday said that the House is in a “wait-and-see mode” while the Senate continues to attempt to pass legislation to fund the Department of Homeland Security.“I don’t know what the Senate’s capable of passing and until I see what they’re going to pass, no decisions have been made on the House side,” Boehner, R-Ohio, insisted, resisting questions about how he would hypothetically deal with a clean bill.“The House has done its job to fund the department of Homeland Security and to stop the president’s overreach on immigration, and we’re waiting for the Senate to do their job,” he reiterated. “Senate Democrats have stood in the way now for three weeks over a bill that should have been debated and passed, and so until the Senate does something, we’re in a wait and see mode.”As of Wednesday morning, Boehner has not spoken personally with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, although a deadline looms at the end of the day on Friday.“You know, our staffs talked back and forth but Senator McConnell’s got a big job to do and so do I,” Boehner said, dismissing a reporter’s perception that the two leaders should be speaking as the deadline approaches. “Our staffs have been talking back and forth but at the end of the day, the Senate has to act,” he said. “I’ve made it pretty clear over the past couple of weeks, we’re waiting for the Senate to act.”

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Joe Biden’s Got Jokes: One Night, Five Punchlines

Joe Biden’s Got Jokes: One Night, Five Punchlines

Drew Angerer/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Few politicians pack the same entertaining punch as Vice President Joe Biden. He tends to cause a stir in the Twittersphere with his one-liners and gif-worthy reactions. That habit continued Tuesday night in the opening of his remarks during a Black History Month event at his residence in Washington, D.C.Biden started with a jab at members of Congress, blaming them for his late arrival at the event."I've been waiting for Congress all my life," he joked.He continued to poke fun at the Department of Homeland Security funding fight. The department could shut down if Congress doesn't agree on a department budget by the end of the week. A provision in the budget aimed at stopping President Obama's executive action on immigration has stalled the measure.DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson was at the event and Biden joked that the secretary could be out of a job if Congress doesn't find a solution."Be good to Jeh. Jeh may need some help because he may lose his pay,” Biden joked. “Congress is, you know, shutting down. I don’t know Jeh, man, I’d think you had a little more whack than that.”Biden also traded comments with D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser, who he complimented for her ability to "get things done."“The only good thing is I don’t have to pay taxes in the district,” he joked. The mayor shouted back “not yet!”But Biden spoke highly of his residence at the Naval Observatory in Northwest D.C. -- even commenting that the president wanted to switch houses."Not a problem as long as the power goes with the house!" Biden joked.He added on, alluding to the possibility that he will run for the Democratic nomination for president in 2016.“By the way, if I ever ran for president, I’d turn this into the White House,” he said.

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Rick Scott on ‘Frustrating’ #Fangate and Jeb Bush’s 2016 Prospects

Rick Scott on ‘Frustrating’ #Fangate and Jeb Bush’s 2016 Prospects

Robert Sullivan/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- It was one of the most unforgettable debate moments of 2014.Former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist took his place on stage for a televised debate against Gov. Rick Scott. And for the first seven minutes of the live debate, Crist was the only candidate on the stage -- accompanied only by a small electric fan whirling cool air behind his podium.In an interview with Top Line, Scott revealed what was going through his mind during the “fangate” incident and said he was told the debate was being held up by Crist.“It was pretty frustrating,” the recently reelected Republican governor told Top Line, explaining that he was in a trailer away from the main building when his Democratic challenger took the stage at the debate’s start. “We were told he was not going to come out.”Prior to the debate’s start, the Scott campaign had protested Crist’s use of the fan as a violation of debate rules, which forbade the use of electronic devices at the podium.“We were waiting, and then he goes out, and so that was pretty frustrating,” he continued. “But we had a good debate and fortunately we won.”With another term as Florida governor now ahead of him, Scott said he’s not considering a White House bid in 2016. And though he declined to pick any early favorites in the presidential contest, he outlined the qualities he wants the next Republican presidential nominee to possess.“I think the biggest issue in Florida and every state is going to be jobs,” Scott said. “So, we need to have a president that's going to have a plan that's gonna limit the growth of government. We're gonna cut taxes. We're going to reduce the regulation. We're going to actually go out and compete. …[And] second, we expect our president to defend our country. …We need to have a president that brags about our country -- that we are an exceptional country.”On former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, a likely Republican 2016 contender, Scott said that Bush’s championing of the controversial Common Core education standards “is an issue.”“We all want high standards…but I don't think they have to be federal standards,” Scott said. “The federal government doesn't need to be involved in data mining; they don't need to be involved in our curriculum decisions. We should be able to make those decisions, and let us compete globally.”Scott has long been an outspoken critic of President Obama’s Affordable Care Act and, since it went into effect, has declined to set up a Florida health care exchange under the law.Still, nearly a million low-income people in Florida have benefited from new health care subsidies created under the law. But a case before the Supreme Court may change that, making people in states without an exchange ineligible for those subsidies.No matter how the court rules, Scott said he will not set up a state-run health care exchange in Florida.“My expectation is the federal government caused this problem, they need to solve the problem,” Scott said. “I can't solve all of the federal government's problems.”“We don't need a federal government prescriptive health care system. We need a free market system that we have good competition,” he said. “If we had that system, the cost of health care would not be what it is today, and more citizens would be able to afford health insurance. “For more of the interview with Scott, including a discussion on how he has modeled aspects of his governorship on Texas Gov. Rick Perry, check out this episode of Top Line.

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VA Secretary Issues Another Apology

VA Secretary Issues Another Apology

ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- Veteran Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald Tuesday again apologized for misstating his service record last month in a conversation with a homeless man who said he served in special forces.Speaking outside VA Headquarters in Washington, D.C., McDonald told reporters, "I made a misstatement. I apologize for that. I have no excuse for it but if you look at my 61 years of biography, you'll never find anywhere in any of my biographies that I've claimed to be part of special forces. I've never claimed that. It was a misstatement, it was a mistake."In late January, CBS-TV videotaped McDonald responding, “Special forces? What years? I was in special forces.”Although an Army veteran with the 82nd Airborne Division while also winning the Meritorious Service Medal, McDonald never served in any branch of special forces that includes the Army Rangers, Green Berets, Delta Force and Navy SEALs.McDonald, who issued a lengthy written apology less than 24 hours earlier, said Tuesday, "We at VA are working hard to restore trust and again I apologize to those who may have been offended by my misstatement."McDonald was confirmed by the Senate last June to take over an agency rife with problems, including unacceptable wait times for thousands of veterans seeking medical care.A month later, Congress overwhelming approved $17 billion in funding to help tens of thousands of veterans who’ve been unable to get prompt medical attention.Follow @ABCNewsRadio Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

President Obama Vetoes Keystone Pipeline Bill, Sending Formal Message to Senate

President Obama Vetoes Keystone Pipeline Bill, Sending Formal Message to Senate

Tom Pennington/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama has carried out his threat on Wednesday to veto the bill approving construction of the Keystone Pipeline. The president issued the third veto of his presidency on Wednesday as a bill to approve the controversial Keystone XL Pipeline made its way from Capitol Hill to his desk.  Once a bill hits the Oval Office, the president has ten days to approve or dismiss it. Before he received the bill, spokesperson Josh Earnest had already said he wouldn't need that long.“The President does intend to veto this piece of legislation and do it without any drama or fanfare or delay,” Earnest said.Earnest said the White House is waiting for the State Department to finish a review of whether the pipeline is the national interest.There are not enough votes in Congress to override his presidential veto.

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Mitch McConnell Offers New Plan to Avoid Shutdown of Department of Homeland Security

Mitch McConnell Offers New Plan to Avoid Shutdown of Department of Homeland Security

United States Senate(WASHINGTON) -- With four days left until funding for the Department of Homeland Security is set to expire, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Tuesday he is prepared to hold a vote on a clean bill to fund the department through the end of the fiscal year without any immigration provisions attached. “I’ve indicated to the Democratic leader that I’d be happy to have his cooperation to advance a consideration of a clean DHS bill which would carry us through September 30th,” McConnell said at a news conference at the Ohio Clock on Tuesday. “With Democratic cooperation on a position they have been advocating for the last two months, we could have that vote very quickly.” In addition to the vote on the clean DHS funding bill, McConnell would have the Senate vote on a separate measure that would specifically halt funding to carry out President Obama’s executive actions on immigration -- an issue that has been the main cause for the current impasse over funding. Earlier this month, the House of Representatives passed a funding measure that includes provisions to block the president's immigration actions from taking effect, but Senate Democrats have filibustered moving forward on the bill. Senate Democrats have long advocated for a clean funding bill, but they aren’t ready to agree to a vote on it just yet. Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, who met with McConnell Tuesday morning, said he wants House Speaker John Boehner to sign on to the proposal. “We have to make sure we get a bill to the president, not that we send a hot potato to Boehner. That doesn't do the trick,” Reid said. “We have said for 4 weeks now, we must fund Homeland Security. We can't do it alone. It's a bicameral legislature. Unless Boehner’s in on the deal, it won't happen.” Before agreeing to a vote on a clean funding measure, Senate Democrats want assurances from Boehner that he would in fact hold a vote on the bill. “It leaves in suspense and in doubt because we could be back in this same predicament 24 hours from now,” said Sen Dick Durbin, D-Illinois. “We want to solve the problem, not just create the next chapter in this political saga.” The plan could be a way to avert a shutdown of the Department of Homeland Security, but it will be a tough sell among some House Republicans who insist on tying immigration to any DHS funding bill. “There are some on the Republican caucus who don’t vote for anything that doesn’t somehow undo the president’s executive order,” Durbin said. Funding for the Department of Homeland Security expires on Friday.

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‘Cold War on a Sheet of Ice': Political Legacy of ‘Miracle on Ice’ Hockey Win

‘Cold War on a Sheet of Ice': Political Legacy of ‘Miracle on Ice’ Hockey Win

Focus on Sport/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Thirty-five years of hindsight provide fresh perspective on the “Miracle on Ice,” the improbable 1980 victory by a group of U.S. college hockey players over the powerful Soviet team in the Lake Placid Winter Olympic Games. The New York Games were played at the dawn of a decade defined by the Cold War and its end. World events from Afghanistan through Iran served as a backdrop for the shocking result, and Olympic boycotts in 1980 and 1984 would later bring even greater political implications into international sporting events. On the latest episode the ESPN-ABC podcast Capital Games, we hear from some of the key players in that drama. You can listen to the episode HERE on desktop and HERE on mobile. Al Michaels, the legendary broadcaster whose on-air call on ABC would give the event the “miracle” label for which it’s known, talks about how he came up with that line, and the broader political and social implications that derived from the game. U.S. team captain Mike Eruzione, who scored the game-winning goal against the Soviets, speaks about how the young American players were only vaguely aware of what it meant to be playing that game at that time. We also spoke with Jonathan Hock, the filmmaker behind the new 30 for 30 film Of Miracles of Men, which explores the game and its aftermath from the perspective of the Soviet athletes who left Lake Placid in shocking disappointment. You can listen to the full episode of Capital Games HERE on desktop or HERE on mobile. You can also subscribe to the podcast for free using the podcast app on Apple devices. Watch the segment This Week with George Stephanopoulos aired on the 35th anniversary of the “Miracle on Ice” HERE. The interviews with Michaels and Eruzione were originally conducted for that program.

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NFL Teams Must Tackle Sexual Assaults or Lose Draft Picks: Lawmakers

NFL Teams Must Tackle Sexual Assaults or Lose Draft Picks: Lawmakers

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- If NFL teams don't tackle the issue of domestic violence and sexual assaults, their draft picks may be in jeopardy.In a letter sent to National Football League Commissioner Roger Goodell on Tuesday, Rep. Jackie Speier, D-Calif., and Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, called for the NFL to begin taking away draft picks from teams that do not properly address the issue.“The NFL has previously penalized teams by removing draft picks for other infractions,” the lawmakers wrote. “We support this potential disciplinary action as a significant indication that the NFL takes these issues very seriously and intends to hold teams responsible for allowing cultures of violence and abuse.”Concern over whether the NFL is doing enough to reduce instances of domestic violence among its players reached a fever pitch last summer when the league suspended Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice for just two games after Rice was charged with knocking his then-fiancée unconscious in a New Jersey casino. In comparison, players receive a four-game suspension for breaking the league’s substance abuse policy.NFL teams lose draft picks for many forms of misconduct. The New England Patriots lost their first-round selection in the 2008 draft for illegally videotaping the Jets’ defensive signals and are now under investigation for “DeflateGate,” which could cost the team even more. The New Orleans Saints lost their second-round draft picks in 2012 and 2013 after it was discovered that they were offering players a bounty for injuring opposing players.In the letter to Goodell, Speier and Schatz noted that NFL executive Troy Vincent said the league would potentially use the removal of draft picks as a penalty for teams who were not proactive in preventing instances of domestic violence and sexual assaults at a Dec. 2, 2014, hearing of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation. However, Goodell did not mention any potential removal of draft picks in a Jan. 15 letter to Sens. Schatz and Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn.The lawmakers concluded the letter by asking Goodell to “provide further clarification on whether the removal of draft picks will be used as a penalty for teams that do not appropriately address domestic violence and sexual assault.”The 2015 NFL draft will take place from April 30 to May 2.

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Harry Reid Wears Sunglasses in Press Conference on DHS Funding

Harry Reid Wears Sunglasses in Press Conference on DHS FundingBill Clark/CQ Roll Call(WASHINGTON) -- Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid is sporting some new eyewear Tuesday on Capitol Hill. Reid, D-Nev., started out the day with a giant bandage strapped across his right eye, which has become a staple since he sust...

Janet Yellen: Federal Reserve Will Be ‘Patient’ in Raising Interest Rates

Janet Yellen: Federal Reserve Will Be ‘Patient’ in Raising Interest Rates

The US Federal Reserve(WASHINGTON) -- Testifying before the Senate Banking Committee on Tuesday, Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen reiterated that the Fed will be “patient” in deciding when to raise interest rates, saying “important progress” has been made in the economy but more progress is still needed.“Too many Americans remain unemployed or underemployed, wage growth is still sluggish, and inflation remains well below our longer-run objective,” she said.

Yellen said that interest rate hikes would be considered on a “meeting-by-meeting basis,” but also said the Federal Reserve will be mindful not to raise rates too soon.“If the fed were to raise rates too soon...we would risk undermining a recovery that is really just taking hold,” Yellen said.On the Audit the Fed bill that Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., has introduced, Yellen said she strongly opposes the measure, saying it would “politicize monetary policy.”“I want to be completely clear that I strongly oppose Audit the Fed. I believe the transparency and providing Congress and the public with adequate information to be able to understand our operations, our financial condition, the conduct of our meeting the responsibilities that Congress has assigned to us is essential,” Yellen said. “But Audit the Fed is a bill that would politicize monetary policy, would bring short term political pressures to bear on the Fed in terms of openness about our financial accounts. We are extensively audited.”Yellen is scheduled to testify Wednesday before the House Committee on Financial Services.

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SC Gov. Nikki Haley Fumes After White House Governor’s Luncheon

SC Gov. Nikki Haley Fumes After White House Governor’s Luncheon

Office of the Governor South Carolina(WASHINGTON) -- After the President hosted the nation’s governors at the White House for a discussion Monday, the Republican Governors Association held a press conference at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Among those expressing their frustration was South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, who said this was her fifth year going to the White House to speak with the president. “Every time we try and move the ball with [President Obama] he says, ‘no,’ and so you look at the fact that we asked him about the Keystone Pipeline. He said it’s not gonna happen,” Haley said. “We talk about healthcare and he says he’s not going to consider what the Supreme Court’s going to do because he refuses to think about it.”

At Monday's event, the president joked with the 2016 hopefuls in the room about their campaigns, saying, “I’m in the fourth quarter of my presidency, or as some of you may call it, the kickoff for your campaign season,” drawing a few laughs."But I think there's still a lot that we can get done together," Obama told the crowd of governors.

The long-awaited bill approving construction in the Keystone Pipeline will arrive at the White House later Tuesday. The president's spokesman says Obama will veto it without "drama or fanfare."

President Obama has 10 days to veto the bill. When he does, it will be his first veto of this Republican Congress and only the third of his presidency.

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Chris Christie to Announce Teachers’ Union Partnership in NJ Budget Speech

Chris Christie to Announce Teachers’ Union Partnership in NJ Budget Speech

ABC/ LOU ROCCO(TRENTON, N.J.) -- New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie will deliver his annual budget address in Trenton Tuesday afternoon, when he'll announce a thawing of relations with a one-time bitter enemy, the New Jersey Education Association, the state's largest teacher union.

Christie will say Tuesday afternoon that he is joining force with the group to fix the state's pension system.

According to the governor’s office, Christie and the NJEA have been “working behind the scenes” to “find a sustainable, long-term solution to the pension problem.”

In an excerpt released ahead of the his speech, Christie will say, “I know we can get this done. We have proven time and again that even when we look like we’re not going to make it work and that politics and partisan interests have won, we flip the script.” 

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Two Senate Democrats Invite Netanyahu to Closed Door Meeting

Two Senate Democrats Invite Netanyahu to Closed Door Meeting

Uriel Sinai/Getty images(WASHINGTON) -- Many Senate Democrats have said they will boycott Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s address to Congress next month, but two Democratic senators have extended an invitation for the prime minister to privately address Senate Democrats in March.On Monday night, Sens. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., and Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., sent a letter to Netanyahu inviting him to a closed door meeting with Democrats when he is in the U.S. next month. An aide to Durbin says they have not received a response from Netanyahu yet.“[T]o maintain Israel’s dialogue with both political parties in Congress, we invite you to a closed-door meeting with Democratic Senators during your upcoming visit to Washington,” the senators wrote. “We believe such a venue would be a wholly appropriate opportunity to discuss the range of issues that face our two countries.”Durbin and Feinstein expressed their concern with how Netanyahu's address to a Joint Session of Congress came about, saying it “threatens to undermine the important bipartisan approach toward Israel” and was a way for Republicans to score “short-term partisan points.”“The invitation you received from House Speaker Boehner to address a Joint Session of Congress was sent without consultation with the White House or the Democratic leadership in the House or Senate,” the senators wrote. “This unprecedented move threatens to undermine the important bipartisan approach toward Israel -- which as long-standing supporters of Israel troubles us deeply.”“It sacrifices deep and well-established cooperation on Israel for short-term partisan points -- something that should never be done with Israeli security and which we fear could have lasting repercussions,” they added.

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Department of Justice Seeks Stay on Immigration Action Block

Department of Justice Seeks Stay on Immigration Action Block

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The Justice Department Monday asked for a stay of a federal judge's order that blocked President Obama's executive action on immigration reform.Attorneys for the Justice Department maintained Texas Judge Andrew Hanen's ruling will cause "irreparable harm" to national security.In issuing the preliminary injunction, Hanen said that the White House failed to allow public comment on the action that would allow as many as five million undocumented immigrants to apply for legal status.It's doubtful whether the request for an emergency court ruling will affect the injunction, meaning the administration will next have to make an appeal before the Fifth Circuit Court in New Orleans, one of the most conservative benches in the country.Should the appeals court uphold Hanen's order, the case will likely go to the U.S. Supreme Court, which will essentially rule if Obama overstepped his legal authority to unilaterally issue such broad-based immigration reform.Follow @ABCNewsRadio Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

VA Secretary Robert McDonald Apologizes for Misstating He Served in Special Forces

VA Secretary Robert McDonald Apologizes for Misstating He Served in Special Forces

The White House(WASHINGTON) -- Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald apologized Monday for mistakenly saying in a videotaped exchange with a homeless man that he had served in the special forces, though his service was entirely with the 82nd Airborne Division. "Secretary McDonald has apologized for the misstatement and noted that he never intended to misrepresent his military service," a White House officials told ABC News. "We take him at his word and expect that this will not impact the important work he’s doing to promote the health and well-being of our nation’s veterans." The exchange with the homeless man was part of a report about an effort to find military veterans among the homeless that aired on CBS News on Jan. 30. "While I was in Los Angeles, engaging a homeless individual to determine his Veteran status, I asked the man where he had served in the military," McDonald said in a statement on Monday. "He responded that he had served in special forces. I incorrectly stated that I had been in special forces. That was inaccurate and I apologize to anyone that was offended by my misstatement." "I have great respect for those who have served our nation in special forces," McDonald added. "They, and all Veterans, deserve a Department of Veterans Affairs that provides them the care and benefits they have earned. I remain committed to continuing our progress to improve VA services and our ongoing effort to reform VA for the long-term." McDonald, former Procter and Gamble CEO, served with the Army's 82nd Airborne Division and completed jungle, arctic and desert warfare training, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs. He earned the Ranger tab, the Expert Infantryman Badge and Senior Parachutist wings, the VA added, noting that McDonald, who retired as a captain, was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal after leaving the service.

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Jindal: Obama Loves America, but Rudy’s Point Was Right

Jindal: Obama Loves America, but Rudy’s Point Was Right

Photo by Cheryl Gerber/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) – President Obama loves America, but he’s disqualified himself as commander-in-chief, according to Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal.“The president loves America. He loves our country. There’s no doubt about that,” Jindal told ABC at a press conference with governors on Monday after the National Governors Association’s luncheon with Obama at the White House, when asked about Giuliani’s Wall Street Journal op-ed and whether the mayor had lost any credibility in this whole exchange.Jindal had previously defended Rudy Giuliani while saying the mayor should have used different “phraseology.”At the same time, Jindal said Obama has “really disqualified himself to be our commander-in-chief.”“I think the point is right, there are many of us concerned about this president's unwillingness to identify and take on directly the threat of radical Islamic terrorism,” he told ABC News. Jindal said Congress should change Obama’s proposed AUMF by eliminating the ban on long-term ground combat operations and by eliminating the three-year timeline.

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