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Editorial Results (free)

1. Congress OKs New IRS Chief, Ends Turbulent Year -

WASHINGTON (AP) – A cross Congress ended its business for the year Friday as the Senate approved a new boss for the troubled Internal Revenue Service but remained slowed and bitterly riven over majority Democrats' weakening of Republicans' power to filibuster.

2. Senate Panel Advances Yellen’s Bid to Lead Fed -

A Senate panel on Thursday advanced Janet Yellen's nomination to lead the Federal Reserve, setting up a final vote in the full Senate after lawmakers return from a two-week Thanksgiving break.

The Senate Banking Committee approved her nomination on a 14-8 vote. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-V.Wa., was the only Democrat to oppose Yellen's nomination. Republican Sens. Bob Corker of Tennessee, Tom Coburn of Oklahoma and Mark Kirk of Illinois supported her.

3. Senate Panel Advances Yellen's Bid to Lead Fed -

WASHINGTON (AP) – A Senate panel on Thursday advanced Janet Yellen's nomination to lead the Federal Reserve, setting up a final vote in the full Senate after lawmakers return from a two-week Thanksgiving break.

4. No Surprises for Alexander and GOP Incumbents -

NASHVILLE (AP) – Faced with a potentially serious primary challenger, Tennessee Sen. Lamar Alexander was not about to sit back and wait.

The former two-term governor locked down endorsements, banked more than $3 million and linked arms with popular Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky and former GOP presidential contender Mike Huckabee. When conservative state Rep. Joe Carr announced he would challenge Alexander, the senator's team was ready.

5. US Government Collecting Huge Number of Phone Records -

WASHINGTON (AP) – The government is secretly collecting the telephone records of millions of U.S. customers of Verizon under a top-secret court order, according to the chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee. The Obama administration is defending the National Security Agency's need to collect such records, but critics are calling it a huge over-reach.

6. Senate Confirms Physicist Moniz as Energy Chief -

WASHINGTON (AP) – Physicist Ernest Moniz won unanimous Senate confirmation Thursday to be the nation's new energy secretary.

Moniz, 68, a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, replaces Steven Chu, who served as Energy secretary in President Barack Obama's first term. Moniz served as an energy undersecretary in the Clinton administration.

7. Obama Aide: Budget Will Make Both Parties Unhappy -

WASHINGTON (AP) – The White House is warning friend and foe alike: They're not going to like every part of President Barack Obama's budget when it is released this week.

White House senior adviser Dan Pfeiffer is telling Republicans their "my way or the highway" approach would spell the GOP's defeat in upcoming budget negotiations. He also is telling Obama's Democratic allies that they, too, will have to bend on the spending plan that is due Wednesday.

8. Obama Presses On With GOP Charm Offensive -

WASHINGTON (AP) – President Barack Obama pressed on with his Republican charm offensive Thursday, holding a White House lunch with House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan in an effort to soften the ground for potential talks on a long-term deficit reduction deal.

9. White House, GOP Draw Red Lines in Debt Debate -

WASHINGTON (AP) – Struggling for the upper hand in the next round of debt talks, Republicans and Democrats this weekend drew lines in the sand they said they'd never cross when it comes to the U.S. debt limit.

10. Lawmakers Seize on Report Detailing Impact of Cuts -

WASHINGTON (AP) — Republicans and Democrats seized on a new report estimating that automatic budget cuts will cost the economy 2 million jobs to level election-year charges that underscored the deep political divide over how to avert the looming crisis.

11. Defense Cuts Test Lawmakers' Resolve on Deficits -

WASHINGTON (AP) – President Barack Obama's call to shrink the military, shut bases and cancel weapons to meet the demand for budget cuts tests the resolve of lawmakers who came to Washington determined to slash the deficit.

12. Defense Hawks Insist on Sparing Military From Cuts -

WASHINGTON (AP) – Congress' defense hawks insist the military should be spared from automatic spending cuts after a special panel failed to reach a deal on reducing the deficit.

No way, says President Barack Obama, who vowed Monday to veto any effort to undo the roughly $1 trillion in across-the-board cuts, half from domestic programs and half from defense.

13. Congress Sputters on Deficit Cuts, Spending Bills -

WASHINGTON (AP) – A sputtering Congress enveloped in an atmosphere poisoned with politics and distrust enters its final weeks of the year struggling to complete a lengthy to-do list on the budget.

14. Debt-Limit Votes: Senate Momentum, House Concerns -

WASHINGTON (AP) – The House began debate Monday on the hard-bargained plan to avert a national financial default, even as the White House and congressional leaders struggled to round up enough votes to approve it. Supporters said momentum for the deficit-reduction compromise was on their side, but resistance from both liberals and conservatives made the outcome unclear.

15. Lawmakers Return to Capitol to Clean Up Leftovers -

WASHINGTON (AP) – Congress resumes its lame-duck session work Monday with the two parties sharply divided over how to deal with the George W. Bush-era tax cuts due to expire at year's end.

16. Judiciary Panel OKs Elena Kagan for Supreme Court -

WASHINGTON (AP) — Pushing toward an election-year Supreme Court confirmation vote, a polarized Senate Judiciary Committee Tuesday approved Elena Kagan to be the fourth female justice.

Just one Republican joined Democrats to approve Kagan's nomination and send it to the full Senate, where she's expected to win confirmation within weeks.

17. Senators Willing to Scale Back Energy Bill -

WASHINGTON (AP) – The authors of sweeping energy legislation stalled in the Senate said Tuesday they were prepared to scale back their bill to get Republican support.

Sens. John Kerry and Joe Lieberman made the comments after meeting at the White House with fellow senators and President Barack Obama, who is pushing for action in the wake of the Gulf oil spill.

18. Senate Democrats Advance US Climate Bill -

WASHINGTON (AP) - Senate Democrats sidestepped a Republican boycott Thursday, pushing a U.S. climate bill out of committee in an early step on a long and contentious road to passage.

At least five other committees still must weigh-in on the measure, but the partisan antics early on threatened to cast a pall over the bill – one of President Barack Obama's top priorities. While the measure makes its way to the Senate floor, nations are preparing to meet in Copenhagen, Denmark next month to hammer out a new international treaty to slow climate change.

19. Alexander to Back Sotomayor for High Court -

The Senate’s No. 3 Republican said Thursday he’d break with the rest of his party’s leaders to support Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor, who’s in line to become the first Hispanic justice.

Tennessee Sen. Lamar Alexander said he was voting for President Barack Obama’s nominee despite his differences with her, particularly on gun rights.

20. Sotomayor Wins GOP Backers After Smooth Hearings -

WASHINGTON (AP) -U.S. Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor won her first public pledges of support from Senate Republicans and one prominent GOP opponent, after a smooth performance at her confirmation hearings that has placed her firmly on track to become the high court's first Latina and the first Democratic-named justice in 15 years.

21. Firefighter Criticizes Sotomayor Over Ruling -

WASHINGTON (AP) - Frank Ricci, the white firefighter who recently won his reverse discrimination case at the Supreme Court, said Thursday that an unfavorable ruling by Sonia Sotomayor and other judges "divides people who don't wish to be divided along racial lines."

22. Sotomayor Pledges Impartial Justice if Confirmed -

WASHINGTON (AP) - Her confirmation all but assured, Sonia Sotomayor pledged Monday to serve the "larger interest of impartial justice" rather than any narrow cause if she becomes the first Hispanic on the Supreme Court.

23. War-Funding Bill May Face Difficulty in Senate -

WASHINGTON (AP) - Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said Wednesday that this is the last time Congress will go through the ordeal of passing an off-the-books, expensive bill to fund two wars. It may also be one of the more difficult.

24. To Cover Both Wars, Senate Passes $91.3B Bill -

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Senate is backing President Barack Obama's efforts to ramp up the war in Afghanistan, granting his request for $91.3 billion for military and diplomatic operations there and in Iraq.

25. Stimulus Dollars to be Released for Schools -

WASHINGTON (AP) – The first round of school dollars from the economic stimulus law is going to states this week.

To mark the occasion, U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan on Wednesday visited first- and fifth-grade classes at Doswell Brooks Elementary School in Capitol Heights in the Maryland suburbs of Washington.

26. Obama Urges Spending Curbs, Hands Out $15 Billion -

WASHINGTON (AP) - Urging future restraint even as current spending soars, President Barack Obama pledged on Monday to dramatically slash the skyrocketing annual budget deficit as he started to dole out the record $787 billion economic stimulus package he signed last week.

27. Bailout: Accord on Chiefs' Pay, Bush on TV Tonight -

WASHINGTON (AP) - The White House bowed on a crucial change in the $700 billion financial bailout plan Wednesday, and President Bush readied a prime-time speech to the nation as the administration scrambled to pull loudly resistant lawmakers onboard and stave off a deepening economic crisis.

28. Alexander, Corker Bargain for Votes to Revive Stalled U.S. Senate Immigration Bill -

WASHINGTON (AP) - Two Tennessee Republicans are co-sponsors of a compromise in the U.S. Senate that could help keep an immigration reform bill alive.

Sens. Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker have co-sponsored a provision crafted by Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas, to toughen a requirement that unlawful immigrants seeking green cards return home to apply for permanent legal residency.