(CNN) - In recent months, the deeply divided U.S. Congress has shown signs of freeing itself from extended gridlock that caused an angry public to give it historically low approval ratings.
It adopted a budget without much partisan rancor, scaling back dreaded sequestration cuts in favor of more targeted spending reductions.
CNN's live, comprehensive coverage of President Barack Obama's State of the Union address starts at 7 p.m. ET Tuesday. Go to CNN.com for complete coverage or take it with you on your iPhone, iPad or Android.
(CNN) - White House senior adviser Dan Pfeiffer said President Barack Obama's plan to take more action in 2014-even without congressional approval-shouldn't be considered a threat to lawmakers on Capitol Hill.
"I don't think it's confrontational. It's 'Let's find areas to work together,'" he said Sunday on CNN's "State of the Union." "There are some items right before Congress we can do together."
(CNN) - Allan Levene really - really - wants to serve in Congress.
So much so, that he plans to run in four states: Georgia. Minnesota. Michigan. Hawaii.
It's puzzling, but the Republican freely admits his strategy increases his odds of winning a House seat.
As he sees it, all roads lead to Rome.FULL STORY
Editor's note: CNN's "AC 360" begins a yearlong series of reports this week about an enormous surge in political donations to candidates of both parties. Longtime corporate executives tell CNN that the incessant push for money amounts to "legalized extortion" but the cash buildup shows no signs of stopping.
(CNN) – The former president of Shell Oil USA didn't candy-coat it: America's political fund-raising system, he said, amounts to legalized extortion.
"I feel extorted," John Hofmeister told CNN's Drew Griffin. "Every time I wrote a check I felt that it was a form of extortion, the price of entry, because of the reception that you got when you contributed versus the reception when you did not contribute."FULL STORY
(CNN) – Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates is defending his criticism of Vice President Joe Biden's record on national security.
Gates writes in his new book, "Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War," that Biden was "wrong on nearly every major foreign policy and national security issue over the past four decades."
Updated 7:46 p.m. ET, 1/16/2014
(CNN) – The Senate on Thursday easily passed a $1.1 trillion spending bill to fund the government through September and sent it to President Barack Obama, a notable departure from chronic, partisan-fueled budget battles in recent years that included the government shutdown last October.
The decisive vote, 72-to-26, concluded congressional action that for the first time since 2012 determined federal spending agency by agency instead of through temporary stopgap measures that spotlighted the divisiveness in Washington.
Updated 5:06 p.m. ET, 1/16/2014
Washington (CNN) – Tucked into the $1.1 trillion dollar spending bill racing toward passage in Congress this week is a provision sending tens of millions of dollars to a uranium enrichment company that just last month announced it is filing for bankruptcy.
USEC, a government supported company formerly known as the United States Enrichment Corporation, has already received nearly a quarter billion in federal subsidies in the last two years, and billions over the last two decades. The latest multimillion dollar lifeline to USEC comes even though it has been rejected for loan guarantees by the federal government, despite support from House Speaker John Boehner and other members of the Ohio congressional delegation.
Washington (CNN) – A conservative group that's spent millions attacking Democrats over the new health care law this election cycle is going up with a new TV commercial supporting a Republican congressman in Montana who's running for that state's open U.S. Senate seat.
The ad by Americans for Prosperity thanks Rep. Steve Daines for his fight against the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare.
Updated 1:32 p.m. ET, 1/15/2014
(CNN) - In what may be a sign to come for the midterm elections, Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan of North Carolina, who faces a tough re-election battle this year, stayed far away from President Barack Obama's visit to her home state on Wednesday.
And Republicans didn't let the snub go unnoticed.