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The GOP’s same-sex marriage evolution: A slow, choppy tidal shift

The GOP’s same-sex marriage evolution: A slow, choppy tidal shift

Thom Tillis has helped ink plenty of bipartisan deals over the past two years. His advocacy for protecting same-sex marriage rights still surprised some of his fellow senators. “When people first saw me get involved, they were scratching their heads,” the North Carolina Republican said in an interview just before the marriage bill passed the Senate on Tuesday. The second-term Tillis saw the opportunity to put his own mark on an issue central to LGBTQ rights just a few weeks…

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The quiet maneuvering that delivered Jeffries the top House Dem spot

The quiet maneuvering that delivered Jeffries the top House Dem spot

The strategy behind Hakeem Jeffries’ yearslong ascent to House Democratic leader, as his top allies see it, focused on making the outcome feel inevitable. And in the end, it did. The New York Democrat culminated a remarkably frictionless climb of the party ladder on Wednesday, securing every vote and avoiding a single challenger. He became the highest-ranking Black congressional leader in U.S. history just 12 days after formally declaring his run. “He makes it look easy, what is difficult. That’s…

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Rail contract faces uncertain Senate future as freight shutdown looms

Rail contract faces uncertain Senate future as freight shutdown looms

A House-passed bill to head off a nationwide freight rail strike faces an uncertain future in the Senate — just days before the threatened work stoppage is likely to begin affecting the economy. The bill, which still needs a vote in the Senate, would impose a labor contract opposed by tens of thousands of unionized workers. It is meant to prevent a freight shutdown that the railroads say would cost the U.S. an estimated $2 billion per day, but the…

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Dems’ rail-strike challenge: Save the economy and your ties to unions

Dems’ rail-strike challenge: Save the economy and your ties to unions

House progressives forced Democratic leaders to boost paid leave for railroad workers before agreeing to avert a potentially disastrous strike. They may end up with little more than a symbolic win. The compromise arranged between Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s leadership team and an emboldened left hinged on a seemingly elegant solution to avoid a rail strike: House members voted on both the base labor agreement and a separate bill adding seven days of paid sick leave to it. When the two-part…

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Senate passes same-sex marriage protections

Senate passes same-sex marriage protections

The Senate passed legislation Tuesday to enshrine same-sex marriage protections in federal law, bringing the bill a critical step closer to President Joe Biden’s desk. Senators spent months negotiating adding language to the bill related to religious liberty, a bid to attract the necessary 10 GOP votes to break a filibuster. The legislation still needs to clear the House, a likely easy lift since a previous version was approved by nearly 50 House Republicans and all Democrats. A total of…

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Jury convicts Oath Keepers leader of seditious conspiracy

Jury convicts Oath Keepers leader of seditious conspiracy

A jury on Tuesday convicted Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes of masterminding a plot to violently subvert the transfer of power from Donald Trump to Joe Biden, finding that Rhodes entered into a seditious conspiracy against the U.S. government. The jury also convicted Rhodes ally Kelly Meggs, leader of the Florida Oath Keepers, of seditious conspiracy. But the jury acquitted three co-defendants — Jessica Watkins, Kenneth Harrelson and Thomas Caldwell — of joining Rhodes in that conspiracy. All five, however,…

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Congress lines up behind Biden’s strike plan — but it might not be quick

Congress lines up behind Biden’s strike plan — but it might not be quick

Democratic and Republican leaders lined up Tuesday behind President Joe Biden’s call for Congress to head off a potential freight rail strike, with just days left before a threatened shutdown could start to affect supplies for critical resources such as drinking water. Both Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said Tuesday that Congress needs to act soon — well before the official Dec. 9 deadline, considering that certain industries will begin sidelining freight shipments as soon…

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Inside Biden’s decision to halt a rail strike

Inside Biden’s decision to halt a rail strike

President Joe Biden knew he would be risking a backlash from his labor allies if he stepped in to head off a holiday-season rail strike. But the dangers such a strike would pose to the U.S. economy and Americans’ health and safety proved too great as months of talks barreled toward a Dec. 9 deadline with no resolution in sight, White House aides said Tuesday. The administration also worried that Republicans, who are set to take control of the House…

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Conservatives sharpen their knives as McCarthy works to peel off skeptics

Conservatives sharpen their knives as McCarthy works to peel off skeptics

“Knives Out” isn’t just playing on screen this week: Conservatives are digging in against Kevin McCarthy before the conclusion of a closed-door fight over consolidating the House GOP leader’s power. As House Republicans keep debating their rules for next year’s majority, the Freedom Caucus — home to several members seeking to derail McCarthy’s speakership bid — is pushing for institutional changes that they argue will restore power to rank-and-file members. Before that debate Wednesday, McCarthy allies likely will move to…

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