Sen. Harry Reid (AP/Photo by Scott Applewhite)

Jeopardizing free speech?

Congress | In a late-night vote, Senate Democrats add an expansive hate-crimes amendment to a key defense-spending bill
by Jacob Parrish
Posted 7/17/09, 02:35 pm

WASHINGTON-The Senate passed an expansive federal hate-crimes amendment late Thursday night, extending current federal protections to cover those physically attacked because of their gender, sexual orientation, or disability.

But conservatives opposing the legislation said it infringes on states' rights and free speech protection and could lead to the criminalization of some religious expression that opposes homosexuality.

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Associated Press/Photo by Mary Ann Chastain

'The taxpayers' greatest ally'

Congress | But conservative Sen.
by Edward Lee Pitts
Posted 7/17/09, 09:02 am

Sen. Jim DeMint had 
four words to say to the designers of the new $621 million Capitol Visitors Center: "In God We Trust."

During a tour of the new entryway to the U.S. Capitol, which opened Dec. 2, 2008, the 57-year-old lawmaker from South Carolina noticed architects had ignored the phrase, which Congress established as the national motto in 1956.

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Franken sworn in (AP/Photo by Manuel Balce Ceneta)

Blast off

Congress | Senators, including one new one, return from the Fourth of July break ready to ignite their own legislative fireworks
by Jacob Parrish
Posted 7/07/09, 12:00 am

WASHINGTON-With Independence Day festivities over, the U.S. Senate returned to Capitol Hill this week to blast off some of its own legislative fireworks and kick off the last few weeks before its long August recess. On Tuesday senators sparred on health care, a Supreme Court confirmation, an energy bill, and the stimulus bill-and still managed to find the time to swear in a new colleague.

"Welcome back to town," said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell with a smile at an afternoon press conference.

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