• An American flag flies at the U.S.-Mexico border near Sonoita, Ariz., in February. (John Moore/Getty Images)

    Two Republican lawmakers have hashed out a deal aimed at assuaging conservative concerns about immigration reform, proposing to double the size of the Border Patrol and add 350 miles of extra fencing to the southern border over 10 years.

    The deal, struck by Sens. Bob Corker of Tennessee and John Hoeven of North Dakota, replaces a more stringent border deal supported by John Cornyn, a Republican from Texas. Cornyn's plan, which failed in the Democrat-controlled Senate this week, would have made the legalization of millions of unauthorized immigrants contingent on the Border Patrol certifying that it is able to stop 90 percent of all illegal crossings. Immigrant groups blasted Cornyn's plan, saying it endangered the path to citizenship for unauthorized immigrants, a key part of the bill.

    The Corker-Hoeven compromise says immigrants cannot receive permanent legal status, or green cards, until 350 extra miles of fencing has been added to the southern border and the Border Patrol there has

    Read More »from Senators reach immigration deal to attract conservative support
  • The Parrot eBee drone on display near Paris on June 18, 2013. (Francois Mori/AP)When it comes to domestic surveillance, sometimes Congress seems like it’s expressing shock and outrage about something it already knows—or should have known. Take the use of drones on U.S. soil.

    FBI Director Robert Mueller admitted at a hearing this week that his agency uses unmanned aerial vehicles for surveillance on U.S. soil. Mueller insisted the FBI used drones “in a very, very minimal way”—but his comments did nothing to quiet the raging debate over privacy rights in the aftermath of National Security Agency spying revelations.

    Mueller didn’t help himself when, asked by Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, whether the FBI had set limits on when drone use on U.S. soil is OK, he replied: “I will tell you that our footprint is very small. We have very few and have limited use, and we're exploring not only the use but also the necessary guidelines for that use.” It sounded like the drone equivalent of shooting first and then asking questions.

    “If there’s a legitimate law-enforcement reason

    Read More »from Congress surprised by drone use on U.S. soil? It shouldn’t be
  • Political ad experts critique first OFA-backed Obamacare ad

    In Organizing for Action's new television ad about the president's health care law, a man of indeterminate ethnicity appears to be filling out his taxes. A "FACT" about the benefits of Obamacare flashes across the screen. An assumed small-business owner counts out change.

    The "Impact of Obamacare" ad, released this week and airing nationwide, is the first in a seven-figure series of an ad campaign OFA is planning this summer in the runup to this fall's health care law enrollment. (OFA is the nonprofit advocacy group born out of the president's 2012 campaign organization, Obama for America.)

    Since Obama signed the health care law in 2010, television ad spending around Obamacare has been dominated by the law's opponents, roughly five to one—$400 million to $75 million—through May 21 of this year, according to Kantar Media CMAG. OFA is expected to join Health and Human Services, which already re-released a pro-Obamacare ad this year, as one of the largest promoters of Obamacare this

    Read More »from Political ad experts critique first OFA-backed Obamacare ad

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