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  • President Barack Obama on Thursday announced a historic visit to Cuba next month, speeding up the thaw in relations between the two Cold War former foes but igniting opposition from Republicans at home. In the first U.S. presidential trip to the Caribbean nation in nearly 90 years, Obama will meet with Cuban President Raul Castro, entrepreneurs, and "Cubans from different walks of life" during the trip on March 21 and 22, the White House said.
  • In an unprecedented move, the $4.1 trillion budget will not receive even a formal hearing from the Republican controlled House and Senate budget committees.
  • They’ve tried to repeal it over 50 times. Now they’ve finally managed to get a real Bill to his desk. And they’re so proud of themselves:
  • Blasting hard-line conservatives as "false prophets," U.S. House Speaker John Boehner on Sunday said Congress will avoid a government shutdown this week and he will push through as much unfinished legislation as possible before leaving at the end of October. Speaking on CBS' Face the Nation two days after his surprise resignation, he said the House this week would pass a Senate-authored government funding bill that does not meet conservatives' demands to cut off money for Planned Parenthood.
  • The last time Republicans shut down the federal government, they were furious that uninsured Americans were being offered access to affordable, comprehensive health insurance. Now, just two years later, there are rumblings about another shutdown, and this time the impetus is even more baffling: Far-right lawmakers in Congress want to stop federal funds from going to Planned Parenthood, where the money is used to subsidize contraception and other reproductive health care needs.
  • Republicans are back at their five-year fight, preparing this week to vote to yank tens of millions of federal dollars from enemy No. 1 – Planned Parenthood. But the abortion-defunding fight wasn’t always waged this way. In fact, Republicans used to have a more ambitious line of attack, one that aimed to take on all providers of the procedure. But since 2011, they’ve shifted strategy. Instead of focusing on a hazy notion of abortion providers, they created a clear enemy in Planned Parenthood.
  • The White House confirmed that President Obama would veto any budget legislation that included a Planned Parenthood defund measure, setting the stage for a government shutdown fight if Republicans decide to attach such a provision in a government spending proposal set to be debated this fall. "What we have indicated in the past continues to be true today, that we have routinely opposed the inclusion of ideologically-driven riders in the budget process," White House spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters Friday. "And certainly a rider that would on a wholesale basis defund Planned Parenthood, which is the proposal of some Republicans in the House, is certainly something that would draw a presidential veto."
  • According to critics of the Iran deal, Obama got played. If he had just waited, they argue, painful economic sanctions would have forced the Iranians to cave completely. And when that happened, the United States could have taken down Iran's nuclear program entirely, instead of just limiting it. This narrative sounds compelling. It's also a total fantasy. The way sanctions actually worked means that the longer the US waited to make a deal, the worse it would have been.