• Paul Ryan: Won’t hand out voting card to get deal on guns

    Power Players

    With the Senate poised to start voting on its first gun measures of the year, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) says he is carefully watching the legislation, particularly the compromise reached on background checks with Senators Pat Toomey (R- Pa.) and Joe Manchin (D -W.Va.).

    Ryan and Toomey were elected to Congress at the same time and were roommates on Capitol Hill, but Ryan tells Power Players he would not automatically follow his lead on guns.

    “I don’t give my voting card based on someone’s name. I vote for something if I think it’s the right thing to do,” Ryan said.

    Ryan said he’s concerned that Congress will rush to legislate on guns and miss an opportunity to address related issues like mental illness.

    “We need to look at the root cause of these problems, and I hope that we can do that. I am worried that we won't,” Ryan said.

    On the president’s budget, Ryan, the chairman of the House Budget Committee, was skeptical that the president has presented a true compromise that

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  • Guess who’s not coming to dinner? Sen. Bernie Sanders says liberals want face time with Obama

    Top Line

    Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) doesn't like what President Obama's budget could do to Social Security benefits. And he's not that happy that the White House is hosting a dozen Republican Senators for dinner tonight -- while progressives' invitations appear to have been lost in the mail.

    Asked whether Obama ought to reach out more to liberals, including those like Sanders who are eager to chew up his budget, the senator joked: “Am I anxious to get a good free dinner? Absolutely, I am always open for a good free dinner.”

    But "that invitation has not been offered," Sanders told Top Line in an interview on Pennsylvania Avenue just outside the White House gates. "He hasn't reached out to me, to the best of my knowledge, he hasn't reached out to progressives, and that is disappointing.”

    Sanders is part of a group of progressive members of Congress, and interest groups, opposing the president’s budget. Following his interview with Top Line, he joined a rally in front of the White House

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  • Head v. Heart: How Supreme Court justices wrestle with tough decisions

    Top Line

    When the Supreme Court takes on a politically heated case, as it recently did with two cases involving gay marriage, the justices are more likely to listen to their heads over their hearts.

    So say Tim O’Brien and Martin Clancy, veteran journalists and authors of the new book “Murder at the Supreme Court.”

    “The justices often vote the law as opposed to their own feelings,” former ABC News producer Martin Clancy tells Top Line.“I mean time and time again, we've discovered in notes of Supreme Court conferences where justices are really conflicted.”

    Clancy and O’Brien’s book looks specifically at how the Supreme Court has wrangled with the death penalty historically, but the book also sheds light into how the justices avoid getting personal opinions involved in their rulings.

    “Sometimes justices will vote to uphold capital punishment even though they personally oppose it,” says retired ABC News Law Correspondent Tim O’Brien. “No justice now thinks it's unconstitutional, per se,

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