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Featuring breaking political news and commentary on local, state, and national issues.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Daily Political Wire

George Wenschhof

Obama to Host Mental Health Conference at White House Today - Actors Bradley Cooper and Glenn Close are among those gathering Monday at the White House for a conference on mental health, organized as part of President Barack Obama’s response to last year’s shooting massacre at a Connecticut elementary school.
Although the one-day conference was a response to gun violence, its agenda is much broader and includes discussion of insurance coverage for mental health care and substance abuse, recognizing the signs of mental illness in young people and improved access to services for veterans. The overall goal is reducing the stigma of mental health problems and encouraging those who are struggling to get help.

Obama plans to deliver opening remarks in the East Room and Vice President Joe Biden, the president’s point man on gun violence, is scheduled to close it from the Eisenhower Executive Office Building. Around 150 invited attendees include mental health advocates and patients, educators, health care providers, faith leaders, lawmakers and local government officials from across the country. has more here.


Immigration Reform Tied to Border Security - The Gang of Eight’s hopes for a Senate supermajority is running into the GOP’s push for a dramatic crackdown on border security — testing the limits of the bipartisan coalition that’s propelling the bill through Congress.

With Congress back this week to work on the measure, Senate negotiators want to pick up as many as two dozen Republican votes in a show of force that compels the House to act. But the result has to be much stricter than the current version of the bill to give it any hope of passing there either. They’ve got to do it without alienating the vast majority of Senate Democrats who like the bill as it is. has more here.


IRS Spends $50 Million on Conferences over Last 3 Years - a review by the Treasury Department’s inspector general found that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) spent $50 million dollars on conferences for employees between 2010 to 2012, according to reports.

The audit, set to be released on Tuesday, says the agency spent the funds on more than 200 employee conferences, including an August 2010 meeting in Anaheim, Calif., which cost taxpayers $4 million. has more here.


Kerry Presses for Peace in Middle East - Four months into his term, Secretary of State John Kerry is trying, simultaneously, to end two of the world's most intractable conflicts: the Syrian civil war and the struggle between Israel and the Palestinians.

The two issues, according to an aide, have consumed the vast majority of Kerry's time and energy - he has already flown more than 100,000 miles to 23 countries, including four trips to Israel - since he took office February 1.

What is unclear, however, is whether all the movement will lead to progress, or whether it will go down as the quixotic, if laudable, efforts of an enthusiastic new secretary of state. has more here.


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