|Congress scrambles for security funding plan as deadline nears|
By David Lawder and Richard Cowan WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Congressional leaders scrambled on Thursday to figure out how to avert a partial shutdown of the U.S. domestic security agency, with some Republican lawmakers suggesting a stop-gap funding bill to buy time. As the clock ticked toward a midnight Friday deadline for funding the Department of Homeland Security, the Senate was trying to move toward passing a "clean" funding bill that would exclude contentious immigration restrictions. Conservative Representative Joe Pitts, a Pennsylvania Republican, said short-term funding would "give the two sides of the Capitol time to negotiate and work out some kind of a strategy." The House has passed a $39.7 billion bill to pay for DHS operations but that measure blocks funding for Democratic President Barack Obama's executive order last year lifting the threat of deportation for millions of undocumented immigrants. Senate Democratic and Republican leaders reached a tentative deal on Wednesday to vote on a spending bill without the House restrictions, although it was unclear when the vote would occur.
|Carly Fiorina ramps up Hillary Clinton attacks at C-PAC|
|Boehner defends Netanyahu's upcoming speech to Congress|
By Patricia Zengerle WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner on Thursday challenged an assertion by the Obama administration that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's upcoming speech to Congress about Iran's nuclear program would be destructive to U.S.-Israeli relations. "The president's national security advisor says it's destructive for the prime minister of Israel to address the United States Congress. I couldn't disagree more," Boehner said at his weekly news conference. "The American people and both parties in Congress have always stood with Israel and nothing, and no one, could get in the way," the Republican leader said.
|GOP's Jeb Bush working to reassert conservative credentials|
|Future of Puerto Rico bankruptcy bill uncertain in Congress|
|US Republican presidential hopefuls talk tough|
US Republican presidential hopefuls wooed thousands of conservatives gathered near Washington on Thursday, coming out swinging against the Obama administration, Hillary Clinton and fellow party members seen as not conservative enough. Candidates-in-waiting, including New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and Texas Senator Ted Cruz, brought crowds to their feet at the Conservative Political Action Conference with red-meat messages such as peace through strength, repealing "Obamacare" and the need for greater presidential leadership. CPAC is a must stop for Republicans politicos. The Texas Republican raised hackles in his own party in recent years when he helped push the US government into shutdown over budget fights, and for opposing Republican leadership on a series of issues.
|Tennessee Black Caucus seeks apology from GOP lawmaker|
|New Jersey's Christie to conservatives: 'I'm still standing'|
By Steve Holland and Emily Flitter NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. (Reuters) - New Jersey Governor Chris Christie addressed head-on questions about his volatile temper on Thursday and dismissed critics, telling a gathering of conservatives: "I'm still standing." The potential Republican presidential contender is trying to remain viable for the November 2016 election despite losing some financial donors to rival Jeb Bush. Polls put Christie in the middle of a Republican pack led by Bush and Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker. The subject came up when he took questions from conservative radio talk show host Laura Ingraham at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Maryland, near Washington.
|Missouri state auditor and candidate for governor dies|
|Senate panel OKs auto industry whistleblower incentive|
|Former US Rep. Todd Akin: I'm not running in 2016|
|Netanyahu sets meeting with bipartisan leaders of U.S. Senate|