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U.S. Senate Democrats invite Netanyahu to meeting during visit

Israel's Prime Minister Netanyahu speaks during a news conference in JerusalemBy Patricia Zengerle WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Two senior U.S. Senate Democrats invited Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday to a closed-door meeting with Democratic senators during his upcoming visit to Washington, warning that making U.S.-Israeli relations a partisan political issue could have "lasting repercussions." Senators Richard Durbin and Dianne Feinstein extended the invitation "to maintain Israel's dialogue with both political parties in Congress," according to a letter to the Israeli leader obtained by Reuters. Netanyahu has faced criticism at home and abroad for his plans to address Congress on Iran's nuclear program on March 3, just two weeks before Israeli elections. He accepted the invitation from Republican leaders in the U.S. Congress, who consulted neither Democrats in Congress nor Democratic President Barack Obama's administration.


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Judge tells Chris Christie: Put more money in pension funds

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie speaks at the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce's Walk to Washington and Congressional Dinner event at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel on Thursday, Feb. 19, 2015, in Washington. (AP Photo/Kevin Wolf)TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — Republican Gov. Chris Christie and the state's Democrat-controlled Legislature must find $1.57 billion to put into pension funds for retired public workers, a judge ruled Monday in a decision that comes as a major legal blow to the governor as he prepares to run for president.


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California lawmakers seek to increase penalties for possessing date-rape drugs

By Sharon Bernstein SACRAMENTO, Calif. (Reuters) - Illegal possession of so-called date-rape drugs would become a potential felony under a bill in California to reverse what supporters say is an unintended consequence of a voter-approved law reducing penalties for non-violent crimes. The measure by Republican Tom Lackey, set to be heard by the Assembly Public Safety Committee next month, would allow prosecutors the discretion to charge people in illegal possession of the drugs Rohypnol, GHB and ketamine with either a felony or a misdemeanor. "Date rape drugs are tools in the hand of predators and they’re not a recreational drug," said Lackey.

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McConnell proposes immigration vote to resolve impasse

Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson, joined by the department employees, during a news conference in Washington, Monday, Feb. 23, 2015. A partial shutdown of the Homeland Security Department loomed at week’s end, but no solution was in sight as senators returned to the Capitol from a week-long recess Monday to confront an impasse over the issue. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)WASHINGTON (AP) — Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell is seeking to break an impasse over funding for the Homeland Security Department by allowing a vote to overturn President Barack Obama's executive actions on immigration.


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Emboldened Obama embraces presidential power

US President Barack Obama speaks during a meeting at the White House in Washington, DC on February 23, 2015Barack Obama is expected to issue the third and most significant veto of his presidency Tuesday, embracing raw executive power in the twilight of his administration. "This is even better than the veto pen," said a steely Obama, gripping a silvery hockey stick gifted to him in the midst of another fight with Republicans. Combative and confident, it is just the sort of defiant tone that Obama has adopted since Republicans seized control of both houses of Congress. Since last November, Obama has threatened to veto more than a dozen Republican-backed bills -- from tougher sanctions on Iran to rules undercutting his hallmark healthcare reforms.


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Nebraska lawmakers begin debate on winner-take-all system

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Republicans in Nebraska — one of just two states that allow their electoral votes for president to be split — want to reinstate a winner-take-all system, but Democratic lawmakers argued Monday that such a change would remove any incentive for national candidates to visit the rural state.

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Nebraska lawmakers begin debate on winner-take-all system

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Republicans in Nebraska — one of just two states that allow their electoral votes for president to be split — want to reinstate a winner-take-all system, but Democratic lawmakers argued Monday that such a change would remove any incentive for national candidates to visit the rural state.

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LePage’s plan to raise, broaden sales tax faces opposition

Lawyers, accountants, camp directors and others whose customers would be newly taxed under Republican Gov. Paul LePage's budget plan told lawmakers on Monday that the proposal would drive away business ...

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US Senate to hold Fed reform hearing on March 3-aide

By Michael Flaherty WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Senate Banking committee is expected to hold a hearing next week on reforms aimed at the Federal Reserve, a Senate aide said on Monday, as lawmakers push for more transparency at the U.S. central bank. Gat...

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