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Congress: Plotting the return

“When House Republicans return from recess next week, one of their top priorities will be charting out the next fiscal battle—the debt ceiling,” National Journal writes. “Tea party members view this as a key time to extract serious cuts to entitlement programs from President Obama and the Democrats… The trick for the Republican caucus will be holding together its members; maintaining some leverage over the negotiations; and simultaneously, not allowing the party reputation to be damaged by any fiscal brinksmanship, or by failing to raise the debt ceiling and defaulting on the nation's debt. While the appetite seems low for a massive showdown like the debt-ceiling fight of the summer of 2011, particularly as the Republican Party does some soul-searching on how to best present itself on fiscal and economic issues, House Republicans have continued their aggressive rhetoric.”

“A bill Sen. Mark Pryor says would help keep guns out of the hands of the mentally ill could actually make it easier for them to possess them, a liberal think-tank said this week,” USA Today writes. “Pryor, D-Ark., joined a bipartisan group of senators in March in introducing the NICS Reporting Improvement Act of 2013, saying the bill would make it easier to keep the dangerously mentally ill from buying firearms under federal law.”

Florida Sen. Bill Nelson (D) announced his support yesterday for same-sex marriage. He said in a statement to the Tampa Bay Times: "It is generally accepted in American law and U.S. society today '... that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.' I believe that. The civil rights and responsibilities for one must pertain to all. Thus, to discriminate against one class and not another is wrong for me. If we are endowed by our Creator with rights, then why shouldn't those be attainable by Gays and Lesbians?"

The Washington Post notes that now a majority of the Senate supports same-sex marriage. “Nelson is the 51st senator to do so,” the Post writes.