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Washington is entering a distinctly familiar situation: a paralyzing legislative stalemate with outsize importance for the nation’s economic and homeland security.

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The federal government helped bring the economic recovery to a virtual halt late last year as cuts in military spending and other factors overwhelmed the Federal Reserve’s expanded campaign to stimulate growth.

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The Federal Debt Ceiling is a looming catastrophe one day and a crisis averted the next. It seems a never-ending cycle. WSJ’s David Wessel explains the basics of the debt limit and why you should care.

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A bipartisan group in the U.S. House of Representatives is attempting to craft a bill that would give millions of undocumented immigrants a way to become citizens, House aides said on Thursday, mirroring an effort in the Senate.

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Congressional leaders sound increasingly resigned to the possibility that across-the-board government spending cuts could start taking effect on March 1, as scheduled, and continue for at least a few weeks.

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Though Washington can’t seem to get enough of it, the debt and deficits fixation continues to feel pretty theatrical. Far scarier, by contrast, is the state of the economy. Notwithstanding some positive signs in the housing and construction sectors, the drifting economy remains troubled.

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When Barack Obama took office four years ago, reducing the budget deficit was a middle-tier item on the public’s agenda. Only about half of Americans (53%) viewed it as a top policy priority in January 2009, placing it ninth on a list of 20 policy goals.

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A bipartisan group of senators has just unveiled a new proposed framework for overhauling the U.S. immigration system.

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Senate Democratic leaders announced Wednesday that they plan to accept the House GOP plan to extend the Treasury’s borrowing authority, committing themselves to approving a budget outline this spring and putting off any potential default on the nation’s swelling debt until well into the summer.

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The number of Americans filing first-time claims for unemployment insurance payments fell more than forecast last week to the lowest level in five years, pointing to further improvement in the labor market.

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Maybe it was the lobster tails — or the sparkling wine. But for a few brief moments on Monday, President Barack Obama and congressional Republicans actually seemed to enjoy each other’s company over an elaborate three-course lunch in the Capitol’s opulent National Statuary Hall.

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Reiterating a threat he first issued in the summer of 2011, President Barack Obama on Monday warned Republicans that older Americans might not get their Social Security checks and veterans won’t get timely benefits if Congress fails to increase the government’s borrowing authority.

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