Updated at 8:44 a.m. on 6/20
(CNN) - A bipartisan group of Senate negotiators is expected to announce Thursday it has reached an agreement designed to bolster border security mandates in the pending immigration reform bill, according to a Senate source involved in the negotiations.
The agreement includes a “border surge” plan, which would double the size of the border patrol from its current level of 21,000 agents and ensure that there would be 700 miles of fence, sources tell CNN.
A Senate aide familiar with the negotiations cautions there could be a last-minute change, but this is what is expected to be announced.
(CNN) - New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie called James Gandolfini a "true Jersey guy" in a statement mourning the actor's death Wednesday.
Gandolfini, whose most famous character was mob boss Tony Soprano, was born in Westwood. His manager said Wednesday he had died, possibly of a heart attack, while in Rome. He was 51.
“It’s an awful shock," Christie wrote. "James Gandolfini was a fine actor, a Rutgers alum and a true Jersey guy. I was a huge fan of his and the character he played so authentically, Tony Soprano. I have gotten to know Jimmy and many of the other actors in the Sopranos cast and I can say that each of them are an individual New Jersey treasure. Mary Pat and I express our deepest sympathies to Mr. Gandolfini’s wife and children, and our prayers are with them at this terrible time.”
(CNN) - Extensive fraud has been committed by investigators responsible for conducting background checks used in granting security clearances to national security employees, a government watchdog will tell lawmakers on Thursday.
Patrick McFarland, the inspector general for the Office of Personnel Management, will tell a joint hearing of Senate subcommittees on homeland security that his office doesn't have the resources it needs to ensure the checks – which were required of the millions of Americans with clearances – are not falsified.FULL STORY
Washington (CNN) - The Justice Department's sweeping collection of Associated Press phone records as part of a national security leak investigation has had a chilling effect on sources, the news agency's top executive said on Wednesday.
"Some of our long-trusted sources have become nervous and anxious about talking to us - even on stories that aren't about national security," AP Chief Executive and President Gary Pruitt said at the National Press Club.FULL STORY
(CNN) - Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, talks with CNN's Jim Acosta about the FBI using drone aircraft within the U.S.
Washington (CNN) - A statue honoring the legacy of abolitionist, author and statesman Frederick Douglass was unveiled Wednesday in the United States Capitol.
Hundreds of people filled Emancipation Hall in the Capitol Visitor Center for a ceremony dedicating the seven-foot bronze statue.
CNN's GUT CHECK | for June 19, 2013 | 5 p.m.
- n. a pause to assess the state, progress or condition of the political news cycle
IMMIGRATION WATCH: Senate debate on a massive immigration reform bill moved slowly Wednesday as the floor sat lifeless in a quorum call for much of the day. However, behind the scenes, the bipartisan “gang of eight” senators continued its push to find compromises on key outstanding issues in hopes of building broad support for the contentious legislation. – Ted Barrett
MAKE IT THREE: THIRD GOP SENATOR BACKS SAME-SEX MARRIAGE… Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska announced her support Wednesday for same-sex marriage, becoming the third sitting GOP senator to back the right for gay and lesbian couples to marry.
(CNN) – The group pushing for tighter restrictions on guns that's partly funded by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg apologized Wednesday after accused Boston bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev's name was read at an event memorializing gun victims.
Noting they were using a list compiled by Slate.com of people killed by guns since December's school shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, Mayors Against Illegal Guns said in a statement Tsarnaev "was absolutely not a victim, his name should have been deleted before the list was provided to a family member for reading and his name should never have been read. It was a mistake, it should not have happened and we sincerely apologize."
(CNN) – Thousands of tea party activists gathered Wednesday outside the Capitol in loud protest of the Internal Revenue Service, seeking to keep the beleaguered agency's scandal afloat nearly six weeks after the news first broke.
A range of congressional representatives and popular conservative speakers took to the podium as they fired off zings and digs at the IRS and the Obama administration for close to four hours.
Washington (CNN) - When the chairman of the South Carolina Republican Party abruptly resigned two weeks ago to take a new job in Washington, GOP activists appointed Matt Moore, the party's former executive director, to replace their leader.
Moore earned another distinction in the process. The boyish-looking 31-year-old is now the youngest state party chairman in the country, in either party.FULL STORY