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Congress: Menendez dismisses 'smears'

“Sen. Robert Menendez said Monday that allegations that he engaged with prostitutes in the Dominican Republic are false ‘smears,’” AP writes. “He said he has done nothing wrong and that allegations otherwise are ‘totally unsubstantiated.’”

He said, “It’s amazing to me that anonymous, nameless, faceless individuals on a website can drive that type of story into the mainstream. But that’s what they've done successfully. Now nobody can find them, no one ever met them, no one can talk to them, but that’s where we’re at. The bottom line is all of those smears are absolutely false.”

House Majority Leader Eric “Cantor plans to introduce his vision of America in a Tuesday speech at the conservative American Enterprise Institute,” Politico notes. “It includes granting more visas for highly educated workers, eliminating medical-device taxes and simplifying tax filings. His aides concede that all he’s doing is ‘taking policies that have been on the shelf for a while, or back burner, and elevating them.’ He’s not completely abandoning Republicans’ core focus on slashing spending, just pairing it with other more palatable talk. Call this Cantor 4.0 — just the latest twist in the majority leader’s attempt to hit on a winning conservative agenda at a time when Republicans are trying to regain their footing in the midst of a political pummeling at the ballot box and fiscal fights that haven’t worked to their advantage.

This isn’t Cantor’s first crack at repackaging Republicanism. Or second. Or third.”

There will be a House Republican-led hearing on immigration today. House Republicans are very slow to embrace immigration reform and are not endorsing the Senate plan right away.

The New York Times has more on the hearing: “The chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Representative Robert W. Goodlatte of Virginia, said on Monday that a series of hearings he will schedule in the coming months would examine different pieces of a possible overhaul of the immigration system, including proposals for a pathway to citizenship for 11 million illegal immigrants in the country.”

“Republicans in Congress are much better armed than their Democratic counterparts — a fact that helps explain the deep partisan divide as Congress gears up for its first major votes on gun control in a decade. One hundred nineteen Republicans and 46 Democrats declared themselves as gun owners in a USA TODAY survey of lawmakers.”