US Senate(WASHINGTON) — A campaign manager for Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell resigned his position on Friday in the wake of a scandal from the 2012 caucuses.

Jesse Benton, Ron Paul’s grandson-in-law, had worked for the McConnell campaign in 2012 and was expected to run Rand Paul’s campaign in 2016. He released a statement Friday, saying that working for McConnell was “one of the great honors of [his] life.”

Still, Benton offered his resignation effective Saturday to avoid becoming a distraction to McConnell’s reelection campaign. Benton pointed to “inaccurate press accounts and unsubstantiated media rumors” about his role in “past campaigns” as the cause of his resignation.

“This decision breaks my heart, but I know it is the right thing for Mitch, for Kentucky and for the country,” Benton’s statement read.

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Official White House Photo by Pete Souza(WASHINGTON) — With Labor Day just around the corner, President Obama outlined the arguments behind his continued push for an increased minimum wage in his weekly address.

Obama reiterated once again that Congress should act to help hardworking Americans around the country. Obama raised the minimum wage for federal workers to $10.10 per hour using an executive order earlier this year, and in his address he praised the 13 states and the District of Columbia who have followed his lead.

“America deserves a raise,” Obama said, because the country built “the greatest middle class the world has ever known” by ensuring that all hardworking Americans can get ahead.

Read the full transcript of the president’s address:

Hi, everybody. Whether you’re firing up the grill, fired up for some college football, or filling up the car for one last summer roadtrip – Happy Labor Day weekend.

We set aside Labor Day to honor the working men and women of America. And this Labor Day, we’ve got more to celebrate. Over the past 53 months, our businesses have added nearly 10 million new jobs. Last month, for the first time since 1997, we created more than 200,000 jobs for six straight months. And for the first time in over a decade, business leaders worldwide have declared, two years running, that the number one place to invest isn’t China – it’s America.

So there are reasons to be optimistic about where we’re headed. And the decisions we make now will determine whether or not we accelerate this progress – whether economic gains flow to a few at the top, or whether a growing economy fuels rising incomes and a thriving middle class.

Think about it this Labor Day. The things we often take for granted – Social Security and Medicare, workplace safety laws and the right to organize for better pay and benefits, even weekends – we didn’t always have these things. Workers and the unions who get their back had to fight for them. And those fights built a stronger middle class.

To build a stronger middle class in today’s changing economy, we’ve got to keep fighting. We’ve got to fight for the right to affordable health insurance for everybody. The right to fair pay, family leave, and workplace flexibility. The right to a fair living wage.

Let me focus on that last one for a minute. In America, no one who works full-time should ever have to raise a family in poverty. A hard day’s work deserves a fair day’s pay. And raising the minimum wage would be one of the best ways to give a boost to working families. It would help around 28 million Americans from all walks of life pay the bills, provide for their kids, and spend that money at local businesses. And that grows the economy for everyone.

The bottom line is, America deserves a raise. But until we’ve got a Congress that cares about raising working folks’ wages, it’s up to the rest of us to make it happen. And in the year and a half since I first asked Congress to raise the minimum wage, Americans of all walks of life are doing just that.

Thirteen states and D.C. have done their part by raising their minimum wages. Four more states have minimum wage initiatives on the ballot this November. And the states where the minimum wage has gone up this year have experienced higher job growth than the states that haven’t.

Business leaders at companies like The Gap are doing their part. They’re raising base wages for tens of thousands of workers because they know it’s good for business.
Mayors across the country are doing their part. Mayor Emanuel in Chicago and Mayor Garcetti in L.A. are working to lift their cities’ wages over time to at least thirteen dollars an hour.

I’ve tried to do my part by requiring companies that get contracts with the federal government to pay their workers a fair wage of ten dollars and ten cents an hour.

And earlier this month, the president of Kentucky State University set a great example by giving himself a $90,000 pay cut, so that he could give raises to his lowest-paid employees. His sacrifice will give more of his workers and their families a little extra money to help make ends meet.

That’s how America built the greatest middle class the world has ever known. Not by making sure a fortunate few at the top are doing well, but by making sure that everyone who’s willing to work hard and play by the rules can get ahead. That’s the bedrock this country is built on. Hard work. Responsibility. Sacrifice. And looking out for one another as one united American family.

Let’s keep that in mind this Labor Day, and every day. Have a great weekend, everybody.

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US Congress(WASHINGTON) — In the Republican weekly address, Rep. Larry Bucshon of Indiana discussed what American political leaders must do to bring jobs back to the United States.

With Labor Day on Monday, Bucshon spoke of how “Americas workers make our country go.” He noted, however, that many of those workers are “hurting.”

Bucshon mentioned 40 “good jobs bills awaiting action,” blame for which he pointed at the Democrat-held Senate.

Bucshon argues for lowering energy costs, fixing the tax code and restoring opportunities for all Americans.

Read the full transcript of the GOP address:

Hello, I’m Dr. Larry Bucshon, proudly serving Indiana’s Eighth Congressional District.

I’m honored to be speaking with you from the Heartland of America on this weekend when we tip our hat to the working man and woman.

America’s workers make our country go, so our goal should be to make our economy work for them.

But traveling around Indiana this week, going from job fairs to listening sessions to small businesses, it was easy to see how our workers are still hurting.

We’re seeing some jobs come back, but too many of our fellow Americans are stuck in part-time work or have stopped looking altogether. And between wages staying flat – and costs on everything from food to health care going up – families are being squeezed at every turn.

Here in Indiana, and in many states throughout the union, we rely on coal to power our homes and provide good-paying middle class jobs – like the one my family relied on when I was a kid.

My dad spent 35 years as a UMWA coal miner in my hometown of Kincaid, Illinois. He was proud of the work he did everyday and rightly so. The coal mine helped put food on our table and helped me pursue an education and realize the American Dream.

Unfortunately, the current administration is waging a war on this reliable, affordable source of energy and the countless jobs it supports. This is one example of many where the policies coming from Washington, D.C. just don’t make sense.

As a physician, I took an oath to “do no harm.” While this Administration’s policies continue to harm our nation’s economy and families struggling to make ends meet, Republicans are offering solutions America’s workers can count on. Our solutions will address the sluggish job market and grow our economy over the long run.

First, we need to get people back into steady, good-paying jobs. One thing we’ve already done is fix our job training system to make it easier for workers to find the skills they need to get ahead – this was a bipartisan, common-sense compromise with our colleagues in the Senate. We’ve also offered proposals to jumpstart small business investment and rein in the red tape factory that makes it harder for employers to hire and expand.

All told, we have more than 40 good jobs bills awaiting action in the Democratic-run United States Senate.

Lowering costs is another area that demands action. Several of the bipartisan jobs bills we’re asking Senate Democrats to act on would help make energy less expensive for families and small businesses, like the manufacturers that help support the Hoosier economy. And we need to implement real health care reform that lets patients choose the plans they want at a price they can afford.

And third, we need to restore real opportunities for all Americans. That’s why we’ve sent the Senate solutions to make education more affordable and accessible for middle-class families. And we’re ready to fix our tax code to make it simpler and fairer for everyone.

These three things – getting people back to work, lowering costs at home, and restoring opportunity – will continue to be our focus in the weeks ahead.

We call them ‘American Solutions’ because they put the American people first. Which is exactly what we’re asking of President Obama and Senate Democrats as we celebrate our nation’s workforce: put aside politics, and do what Americans do every day, and that’s get to work.

Thanks for listening. God bless you and God bless the United States of America.

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iStockphoto/Thinkstock(AUSTIN, Texas) — A federal judge rejected part of the state’s abortion law that would have required abortion clinics to meet hospital-level operating room standards by Sept. 1 or close.

The law would have left just seven facilities in Texas as legal abortion sites. For now, at least 19 such facilities will remain open. An appeal from the state is expected.

Texas state Sen. Wendy Davis called the decision “a victory for women’s health care.” Davis notably filibustered the abortion bill for 11 hours before it passed during a special session. “These decisions,” Davis said, “should only be made between a woman, her doctor and her God — not Austin politicians like Attorney General Greg Abbott, who would make abortion illegal even in cases of rape and incest.”

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Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(JACKSON, Miss.) — A Mississippi judge threw out a lawsuit Friday filed by Senate candidate Chris McDaniel who sought to overturn Senator Thad Cochran’s narrow victory in their June primary runoff.

Judge Hollis McGehee ruled that McDaniel failed to file the challenge within the 20-day period required by Mississippi law.

McGehee’s decision was issued a day after hearing arguments regarding the timing of the lawsuit.

The challenge by McDaniel centered on his frustration over the means by which Cochran won the runoff to their June 3 Republican primary. Refusing to concede his loss, McDaniel argued that he and his campaign team discovered over a thousand ineligible ballots, largely cast by voters who also participated in the state’s Democratic primary the day before. Though state law does not require that voters register with a particular party to vote in a primary, it requires voters to align in the runoff with the party they voted for in the primary.

Out of more than 380,000 ballots cast, McDaniel lost to Cochran in the runoff by fewer than 8,000 votes.

McGehee sided with Cochran’s lawyers, who referenced a Mississippi Supreme Court Law issued in 1959 that stated election challenges must occur within 20 days of the final day of voting. McDaniel filed the challenge on Aug. 14, well past the deadline.

An aide to McDaniel told ABC News it is currently “unclear” whether they will appeal to a higher court, perhaps the same Supreme Court that issued the law that prevented the successful challenge in the first place.

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A Mississippi judge threw out a lawsuit today filed by Senate candidate Chris McDaniel who seeking to overturn Senator Thad Cochran’s narrow victory in their June primary runoff.

Judge Hollis McGehee ruled that McDaniel failed to file the challenge within the 20-day period required by Mississippi law.

McGehee’s decision was issued a day after hearing arguments regarding the timing of the lawsuit.

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The challenge by McDaniel centered on his frustration over the means by which Cochran won the runoff to their June 3 Republican primary. Refusing to concede his loss, McDaniel argued that he and his campaign team discovered over a thousand ineligible ballots, largely cast by voters who also participated in the state’s Democratic primary the day before. Though state law does not require that voters register with a particular party to vote in a primary, it requires voters to align in the runoff with the party they voted for in the primary.

Out of more than 380,000 ballots cast, McDaniel lost to Cochran in the runoff by fewer than 8,000 votes.

McGehee sided with Cochran’s lawyers, who referenced a Mississippi Supreme Court Law issued in 1959 that stated election challenges must occur within 20 days of the final day of voting. McDaniel filed the challenge on Aug. 14, well past the deadline.

An aide to McDaniel told ABC News it is currently “unclear” whether they will appeal to a higher court, perhaps the same Supreme Court that issued the law that prevented the successful challenge in the first place.

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ABC/Matthew Putney(DALLAS) — Texas Gov. Rick Perry criticized President Obama on Friday at the annual Americans for Prosperity summit in Dallas.

Calling out the commander in chief for his admission that the administration does not yet have a strategy on how to combat the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria on Thursday, Perry called the militant group a “clear and present danger to the free world.” Obama, he said, needs to understand that “the peace of the free world requires presidential decisiveness, not dithering and debating.”

Addressing the conservative crowd, Perry called for action, declaring that “presidential leadership is needed now, more than ever.”

Changing topics, Perry also criticized Obama’s overreach on immigration. “On the one hand we’re seeing a willful neglect of clear presidential responsibility,” Perry said, “and on the other, we’re seeing an aggressive overreach into powers that don’t even belong to a president.”

Perry was indicted earlier this month on charges of abuse of official capacity and coercion of a public official for his threat to veto funding for the Texas state public integrity unit when District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg refused to resign following a DUI.

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ABC/Matthew Putney(DALLAS) — Texas Gov. Rick Perry criticized President Obama on Friday at the annual Americans for Prosperity summit in Dallas.

Calling out the commander in chief for his admission that the administration does not yet have a strategy on how to combat the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria on Thursday, Perry called the militant group a “clear and present danger to the free world.” Obama, he said, needs to understand that “the peace of the free world requires presidential decisiveness, not dithering and debating.”

Addressing the conservative crowd, Perry called for action, declaring that “presidential leadership is needed now, more than ever.”

Changing topics, Perry also criticized Obama’s overreach on immigration. “On the one hand we’re seeing a willful neglect of clear presidential responsibility,” Perry said, “and on the other, we’re seeing an aggressive overreach into powers that don’t even belong to a president.”

Perry was indicted earlier this month on charges of abuse of official capacity and coercion of a public official for his threat to veto funding for the Texas state public integrity unit when District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg refused to resign following a DUI.

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US Senate(WASHINGTON) — Louisiana Sen. Mary Landrieu is facing questions this week after a tea party candidate for her seat filed a letter with the Louisiana Secretary of State urging them to investigate Landrieu’s residency status.

Retired Air Force Col. Rob Maness, a tea party candidate for the Louisiana Senate seat said that while Landrieu owns a home in Louisiana, she lists a home in Washington, D.C. as her home address on a number of forms and has referred to the D.C. home as her residence. This, Maness says, should disqualify her from the requirements to represent the state. Specifically, Louisiana statutes require a Senator to be an “inhabitant of this state.”

In his letter to the Louisiana Secretary of State, Maness cites numerous media interviews and paperwork in which Landrieu has called Washington her home. Her campaign website refers to the Louisiana home as “the house she grew up in,” and not her current home.

Landrieu is registered to vote at the Louisiana home and is a joint owner of the home along with a limited liability corporation set up for her family’s estate planning. However, Maness argues, that is not the same as being an inhabitant of the state.

Still, Landrieu’s daughter still attends high school in Louisiana and lives in the state regularly, and Landrieu is listed as the partial owner of a home in the state, making it difficult for Maness to prove that she is not legally a Louisiana resident.

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US Senate(WASHINGTON) — Louisiana Sen. Mary Landrieu is facing questions this week after a tea party candidate for her seat filed a letter with the Louisiana Secretary of State urging them to investigate Landrieu’s residency status.

Retired Air Force Col. Rob Maness, a tea party candidate for the Louisiana Senate seat said that while Landrieu owns a home in Louisiana, she lists a home in Washington, D.C. as her home address on a number of forms and has referred to the D.C. home as her residence. This, Maness says, should disqualify her from the requirements to represent the state. Specifically, Louisiana statutes require a Senator to be an “inhabitant of this state.”

In his letter to the Louisiana Secretary of State, Maness cites numerous media interviews and paperwork in which Landrieu has called Washington her home. Her campaign website refers to the Louisiana home as “the house she grew up in,” and not her current home.

Landrieu is registered to vote at the Louisiana home and is a joint owner of the home along with a limited liability corporation set up for her family’s estate planning. However, Maness argues, that is not the same as being an inhabitant of the state.

Still, Landrieu’s daughter still attends high school in Louisiana and lives in the state regularly, and Landrieu is listed as the partial owner of a home in the state, making it difficult for Maness to prove that she is not legally a Louisiana resident.

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Photo Credits: ABC/ JON GARCIA (L) and ABC/Randy Holmes (R)(WASHINGTON) — Former Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton will team up again, they announced on Friday, to launch an educational leadership program.

The Presidential Leadership Scholars program will offer “motivated leaders an opportunity to study presidential decisions, and learn from key administration officials, practitioners, and leading academics.” This program is the product of a partnership between the presidential centers of Bush, Clinton, George H.W. Bush, and Lyndon B. Johnson.

The specific details of the program will be unveiled on Sept. 8 during a lunch event at Washington D.C.’s, Newseum. That event will be also be steamed live.

According to a press release, the program’s intent is to allow its participants to “foster the skills they’ll need to address both the challenges and opportunities presented in the 21st century.”

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