Alex Wong/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — House Speaker John Boehner appealed once again to President Obama Wednesday to deploy the National Guard to relieve the border patrol and send additional personnel to process and remove the children who entered the country illegally.

The speaker was also non-committal on the president’s request this week for $3.7 billion to deal with the surge in undocumented immigrants.

Boehner, R-Ohio, told reporters at a news conference in the Capitol Wednesday, “It’s time for us to take a serious look at what needs to happen. If we don’t secure the border, nothing’s going to change.”

He urged Obama to send the National Guard to the border.

“The National Guard is uniquely qualified to respond to such humanitarian crises,” Boehner wrote June 20 in a letter to Obama. “They are able to help deal with both the needs of these children and families as well as relieve the border patrol to focus on their primary duty of securing our border.”

Boehner emphasized that the president’s $3.7 billion supplemental request, which lawmakers received on Tuesday, must be reviewed by House appropriators and a GOP immigration working group before he decides what to do next. Boehner refused to say whether he believes the supplemental request is a “blank check” or should be offset by spending cuts.

“I’m going to look for the recommendations from [House Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers] and the border working group in terms of how we address this,” Boehner said.

Boehner also implored Obama in his letter to direct the State Department to begin discussions with Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras — where many of the children are coming from — “to ensure that apprehended migrants can be promptly and efficiently returned to their home countries.”

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iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — Democratic Sens. Patty Murray and Mark Udall fought back Wednesday against the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby ruling with plans for legislation intended to restore the contraceptive coverage requirement under the Affordable Care Act.

Joined by fellow Democrats from both chambers of Congress and women’s rights groups, the senators urged Republicans to support the bill they have nicknamed “Not My Boss’s Business Act.”

“We are here to ensure that no CEO or corporation can come between people and their guaranteed access to healthcare,” Murray, of Washington state, said, speaking at the Capitol. “I hope Republicans will join us to revoke this court-issued license to discriminate and return the right of Americans to make their own decision about their own health care and their own bodies.”

It’s an issue that Democrats hope will sway voters in the midterm elections. With their control of the Senate in jeopardy, Democrats are trying to energize and awaken liberal voters who tend to sit out congressional elections.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., made clear that politics were at the center of the debate. He said he intends to bring the bill to a Senate vote as soon as next week, adding that anyone who opposes the measure faces the risk of being “treated unfavorably come November with the elections.”

The bill, the Protect Women’s Health from Corporate Interference Act, mandates that employers cannot disrupt coverage for contraception or other health services that are guaranteed under federal law. It comes a week after the Supreme Court’s controversial ruling that closely held for-profit companies can deny contraceptive coverage under their company health plans if it goes against a sincerely held religious belief.

Although the court issued a narrow ruling focused on contraception in the Hobby Lobby case, some Democratic leaders fear the decision sets a precedent that could allow employers to deny other health care coverage based on religious beliefs.

“If bosses can deny birth control, they can deny vaccines, HIV treatment or other basic health services for employees or their dependents,” Murray said.

Colorado’s Udall said women should never have to ask their bosses for a “permission slip” to access birth control or other critical health services. Udall, who is among the Democrats facing a tough re-election bid, has publicly criticized his Republican opponent for his voting record on birth control and abortion.

The bill is receiving strong Democratic support, with 35 senators signing onto the legislation.

Sen. Tom Harkin, chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, said Wednesday’s bill “protects the right of all Americans, men and women alike, to make decisions about their medical care in consultation with their doctor, not their boss.”

Harkin, D-Iowa, authored the health care act’s provision to protection contraception coverage.

Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., who has championed women’s rights throughout her career, called the Supreme Court’s decision an “outrage” at Wednesday morning’s news conference and threw her support behind the bill as a congressional fix.

“The court’s majority has decided that corporations are entitled to more rights than individual Americans,” Boxer said, calling the majority’s ruling “ideological” and “political.”

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., suggested that Democrats were simply trying to hold “show votes” to prepare for the November elections.

“We’d have a better chance of working our way through the bills that we need to pass if we cut out the show votes and didn’t eat up time trying to score points for the fall election,” McConnell said.

Rep. Diana DeGette, D-Colo., said she would be introducing companion legislation in the House, joined by fellow Democrats Jerrold Nadler and Louise Slaughter, both of New York, “to ensure that women in American get the health care that they need.”

Sixty members have already signed on to co-sponsor the bill, she said.

Slaughter said the Supreme Court was “peddling” the country back to the 19th century with its decision.

The members were joined on Wednesday by women’s rights groups, including Planned Parenthood, who thanked Congress for its decision to stand up for women.

“Bosses should stick to what they know best: the boardroom and the bottom line,” said Marcia D. Greenberger, co-president of the National Women’s Law Center. “Stay out of the bedroom and the exam room.”

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iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — Democratic Sens. Patty Murray and Mark Udall fought back Wednesday against the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby ruling with plans for legislation intended to restore the contraceptive coverage requirement under the Affordable Care Act.

Joined by fellow Democrats from both chambers of Congress and women’s rights groups, the senators urged Republicans to support the bill they have nicknamed “Not My Boss’s Business Act.”

“We are here to ensure that no CEO or corporation can come between people and their guaranteed access to healthcare,” Murray, of Washington state, said, speaking at the Capitol. “I hope Republicans will join us to revoke this court-issued license to discriminate and return the right of Americans to make their own decision about their own health care and their own bodies.”

It’s an issue that Democrats hope will sway voters in the midterm elections. With their control of the Senate in jeopardy, Democrats are trying to energize and awaken liberal voters who tend to sit out congressional elections.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., made clear that politics were at the center of the debate. He said he intends to bring the bill to a Senate vote as soon as next week, adding that anyone who opposes the measure faces the risk of being “treated unfavorably come November with the elections.”

The bill, the Protect Women’s Health from Corporate Interference Act, mandates that employers cannot disrupt coverage for contraception or other health services that are guaranteed under federal law. It comes a week after the Supreme Court’s controversial ruling that closely held for-profit companies can deny contraceptive coverage under their company health plans if it goes against a sincerely held religious belief.

Although the court issued a narrow ruling focused on contraception in the Hobby Lobby case, some Democratic leaders fear the decision sets a precedent that could allow employers to deny other health care coverage based on religious beliefs.

“If bosses can deny birth control, they can deny vaccines, HIV treatment or other basic health services for employees or their dependents,” Murray said.

Colorado’s Udall said women should never have to ask their bosses for a “permission slip” to access birth control or other critical health services. Udall, who is among the Democrats facing a tough re-election bid, has publicly criticized his Republican opponent for his voting record on birth control and abortion.

The bill is receiving strong Democratic support, with 35 senators signing onto the legislation.

Sen. Tom Harkin, chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, said Wednesday’s bill “protects the right of all Americans, men and women alike, to make decisions about their medical care in consultation with their doctor, not their boss.”

Harkin, D-Iowa, authored the health care act’s provision to protection contraception coverage.

Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., who has championed women’s rights throughout her career, called the Supreme Court’s decision an “outrage” at Wednesday morning’s news conference and threw her support behind the bill as a congressional fix.

“The court’s majority has decided that corporations are entitled to more rights than individual Americans,” Boxer said, calling the majority’s ruling “ideological” and “political.”

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., suggested that Democrats were simply trying to hold “show votes” to prepare for the November elections.

“We’d have a better chance of working our way through the bills that we need to pass if we cut out the show votes and didn’t eat up time trying to score points for the fall election,” McConnell said.

Rep. Diana DeGette, D-Colo., said she would be introducing companion legislation in the House, joined by fellow Democrats Jerrold Nadler and Louise Slaughter, both of New York, “to ensure that women in American get the health care that they need.”

Sixty members have already signed on to co-sponsor the bill, she said.

Slaughter said the Supreme Court was “peddling” the country back to the 19th century with its decision.

The members were joined on Wednesday by women’s rights groups, including Planned Parenthood, who thanked Congress for its decision to stand up for women.

“Bosses should stick to what they know best: the boardroom and the bottom line,” said Marcia D. Greenberger, co-president of the National Women’s Law Center. “Stay out of the bedroom and the exam room.”

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iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — Democratic Sens. Patty Murray and Mark Udall fought back Wednesday against the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby ruling with plans for legislation intended to restore the contraceptive coverage requirement under the Affordable Care Act.

Joined by fellow Democrats from both chambers of Congress and women’s rights groups, the senators urged Republicans to support the bill they have nicknamed “Not My Boss’s Business Act.”

“We are here to ensure that no CEO or corporation can come between people and their guaranteed access to healthcare,” Murray, of Washington state, said, speaking at the Capitol. “I hope Republicans will join us to revoke this court-issued license to discriminate and return the right of Americans to make their own decision about their own health care and their own bodies.”

It’s an issue that Democrats hope will sway voters in the midterm elections. With their control of the Senate in jeopardy, Democrats are trying to energize and awaken liberal voters who tend to sit out congressional elections.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., made clear that politics were at the center of the debate. He said he intends to bring the bill to a Senate vote as soon as next week, adding that anyone who opposes the measure faces the risk of being “treated unfavorably come November with the elections.”

The bill, the Protect Women’s Health from Corporate Interference Act, mandates that employers cannot disrupt coverage for contraception or other health services that are guaranteed under federal law. It comes a week after the Supreme Court’s controversial ruling that closely held for-profit companies can deny contraceptive coverage under their company health plans if it goes against a sincerely held religious belief.

Although the court issued a narrow ruling focused on contraception in the Hobby Lobby case, some Democratic leaders fear the decision sets a precedent that could allow employers to deny other health care coverage based on religious beliefs.

“If bosses can deny birth control, they can deny vaccines, HIV treatment or other basic health services for employees or their dependents,” Murray said.

Colorado’s Udall said women should never have to ask their bosses for a “permission slip” to access birth control or other critical health services. Udall, who is among the Democrats facing a tough re-election bid, has publicly criticized his Republican opponent for his voting record on birth control and abortion.

The bill is receiving strong Democratic support, with 35 senators signing onto the legislation.

Sen. Tom Harkin, chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, said Wednesday’s bill “protects the right of all Americans, men and women alike, to make decisions about their medical care in consultation with their doctor, not their boss.”

Harkin, D-Iowa, authored the health care act’s provision to protection contraception coverage.

Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., who has championed women’s rights throughout her career, called the Supreme Court’s decision an “outrage” at Wednesday morning’s news conference and threw her support behind the bill as a congressional fix.

“The court’s majority has decided that corporations are entitled to more rights than individual Americans,” Boxer said, calling the majority’s ruling “ideological” and “political.”

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., suggested that Democrats were simply trying to hold “show votes” to prepare for the November elections.

“We’d have a better chance of working our way through the bills that we need to pass if we cut out the show votes and didn’t eat up time trying to score points for the fall election,” McConnell said.

Rep. Diana DeGette, D-Colo., said she would be introducing companion legislation in the House, joined by fellow Democrats Jerrold Nadler and Louise Slaughter, both of New York, “to ensure that women in American get the health care that they need.”

Sixty members have already signed on to co-sponsor the bill, she said.

Slaughter said the Supreme Court was “peddling” the country back to the 19th century with its decision.

The members were joined on Wednesday by women’s rights groups, including Planned Parenthood, who thanked Congress for its decision to stand up for women.

“Bosses should stick to what they know best: the boardroom and the bottom line,” said Marcia D. Greenberger, co-president of the National Women’s Law Center. “Stay out of the bedroom and the exam room.”

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Alex Wong/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — As concern spreads throughout the nation’s capital over the escalating humanitarian crisis at the Southwestern border, House Speaker John Boehner called on President Obama to secure the border so that Congress can take up immigration reform.

“It’s time for us to take a serious look at what needs to happen. If we don’t secure the border, nothing’s going to change,” Boehner, R-Ohio, told reporters at a news conference in the Capitol Wednesday. “We’ve got to do something about sealing the border and ending this problem so that we can begin to move on with the bigger question of immigration reform.”

After spending the past several months insisting Congress would not take up immigration reform because Republicans do not trust the president to enforce the law as written by Congress, perhaps the comment was intended to shift blame to the president’s failed border policy and create fresh justification for legislative inaction.

Or perhaps it’s a veiled recognition that a continued stalemate on immigration reform does not help fix the country’s broken immigration system.

Tealeaves aside, Boehner emphasized that the president’s $3.7 billion supplemental request, which lawmakers received Tuesday, must be reviewed by House appropriators and a GOP immigration working group before he decides what to do next. Boehner refused to say whether he believes the supplemental request should be offset by spending cuts.

“I’m going to look for the recommendations from [House Appropriations Hal Rogers] and the border working group in terms of how we address this,” he said. “I sent a letter to the president more than two weeks ago outlining actions that he could take already under the law.”

In that letter, Boehner pressed Obama to deploy the National Guard to relieve the border patrol and send additional personnel to process and remove the children.

“The National Guard is uniquely qualified to respond to such humanitarian crises,” Boehner wrote on June 20. “They are able to help deal with both the needs of these children and families as well as relieve the border patrol to focus on their primary duty of securing our border.”

Boehner also implored Obama to direct the State Department to begin discussions with Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras — where many of the children are coming from — “to ensure that apprehended migrants can be promptly and efficiently returned to their home countries.”

He added that the State Department should also encourage the Mexican government to improve its enforcement of its borders.

“He’s not followed any of those recommendations,” Boehner contended Wednesday.

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Alex Wong/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — Hillary Clinton insists that she donates fees for giving speeches at colleges and universities but still has not released documents to back up her claims.

In an interview with ABC News’ Ann Compton Friday, Clinton defended the high-dollar fees she charges for speaking at universities by saying the money goes to charity through the Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation she controls with her husband, former president Bill Clinton. But Hillary Clinton, in response to specific follow-up questions, has offered nothing but silence.

“I have been very excited to speak to many universities during the last year and a half, and all of the fees have been donated to the Clinton Foundation for it to continue its life-changing and lifesaving work,” Clinton said. “So it goes from a Foundation at a university to another foundation.”

After the interview, ABC News reached out repeatedly to representatives from both the Clinton Foundation and Hillary Clinton’s office requesting documents to support Clinton’s claim, but none were provided.

As a nonprofit, the Clinton Foundation is required by law to turn over detailed financial information to the Internal Revenue Service and release much of that to the public upon request. But the foundation has yet to file its annual IRS form No. 990, which would include donation and expenditure details, for the period since she left the State Department at the start of President Obama’s second term. The deadline for filing is Nov. 15, 2014.

If Clinton does to decide to run for president, she would have to file detailed financial-disclosure reports that would shine a light on both her personal income and assets and those of her husband.

At least eight universities, including four public institutions, have individually paid Clinton six-figures to speak on their campuses over the past year, according to the Washington Post.

(Included in this group is the University of Connecticut, which reportedly paid $252,250 from a donor fund for Clinton to speak in April, and the University of California at Los Angeles, which reportedly paid $300,000 for Clinton to speak in March.)

By the Post’s calculations, Clinton has earned at least $1.8 million in speaking income from universities in the past nine months.

Such revelations have sparked a backlash from students on some of these campuses, including at the University of Nevada Las Vegas, where Clinton is scheduled to speak at a fundraiser in October. Students at the school have asked the former secretary of state to refund her fee of $225,000.

In her interview with ABC News last week, Clinton offered no indication that she would do so and justified taking the fee because she donates the money back to charity.

Prior to the interview, Clinton’s spokesman, Nick Merrill, told the Post that both her UCLA and UNLV fees are dedicated to go to the family’s foundation, but said he did not know whether the other six payments were.

Representatives for Clinton and the Clinton Foundation have yet to provide any documents supporting her claim that all of them have. ABC News has also requested that Clinton’s office provide a full list of every school where she has spoken in the past year and a half, but there has been no response.

Clinton’s speaking fees — roughly $200,000 per engagement — became a point of contention after she told ABC News’ Diane Sawyer in an interview last month that she and her husband were “dead broke” after leaving the White House. Clinton’s detractors seized on the comment as an indication that the potential presidential candidate is out of touch with average Americans.

The Republican opposition-research super PAC, America Rising, on Tuesday called on the Clinton Foundation to disclose how it spends its money, in light of the comments Clinton made about donating her fees to the nonprofit.

“Secretary Clinton is using the foundation as a shield from scrutiny,” the group’s executive director, Tim Miller, told ABC News. “If she is going to cite donating speaking fees to the Clinton foundation as her defense for taking big speaking fees then she has a responsibility to be transparent about how that money is being spent.”

The Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation was founded by former president Bill Clinton in 2001 and donates millions of dollars a year to improve global health, opportunities for women and girls, economic growth and the environment. According to its website, the group says its work has helped 430 million lives around the world.

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Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — House Speaker John Boehner doesn’t think much of Sarah Palin’s suggestion that the House should begin impeachment proceedings against President Obama.

“I disagree,” Boehner told reporters on Wednesday.

When pressed about the growing call from other Republicans to impeach, his answer was the same.

“I disagree,” he said.

Calls for impeachment have been echoing across the Capitol since Boehner and House Republicans said they intend to file a lawsuit against the president for what they believe is over stepping his executive authority.

Boehner has said impeachment is out of the question, but that hasn’t quieted some critics.

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United States Senate(WASHINGTON) — Angus King may be one of only two Independent senators in Congress, but that doesn’t mean he’s excused himself from the table of party politics.

“I haven’t traded lobsters, but I’ve bought a lot of ribs in here when I have friends for dinner – particularly senators,” the senator from Maine told “Power Players” during an interview at Kenny’s BBQ Smoke House in Washington, where he frequently picks up racks of ribs for bipartisan dinners he hosts at his nearby Washington home.

Menu options aside, King said he has a simple agenda for the Republicans and Democrats who sit down for dinner together at his house: Relax.

“The idea is to get us together in a kind of relaxed setting, and a non-partisan setting, because everything up there is always partisan,” King said of Congress. “You get a group of senators together and usually what you end up with is a sort of collective relaxation … telling stories about campaigns and what’s going on — rarely policy.”

But relaxing isn’t always as easy it may sound, especially when you consider that King doesn’t usually tell the senators he invites who else is coming for dinner. He recalled one dinner when some guests were caught off guard upon realizing they were about to share a meal with Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas.

“Ted Cruz went upstairs at 8 o’clock and called his kids, which apparently he does every night, and it was a nice sort of human touch,” King said. “It’s easier to demonize people if you don’t know them, and I find this is a sort of pretty good way to sort of try and break a little ice around here.”

As an Independent, King tries to straddle the line between the two parties. And while he currently caucuses with the Democrats, he is leaving the door open to switching sides should the Republican Party win the majority in the upcoming 2014 midterm elections.

“I’ll make that decision at the time based upon what I think is in the best interests of Maine,” said King, who was similarly non-committal in the 2012 election, refusing to pick sides until he was officially Maine’s senator-elect.

Even still, King said Republican senators eager to sway him over to the right already have a “good-natured” charm offensive in swing.

“I’ve had a lot of ‘Hey Angus, you’ll like the weather over here’ and ‘love to have you,’ and that king of thing,” King said. “And then my Democratic friends have said ‘stay here.’”

No matter what he decides come November, King said it’s his Senate class as a whole that matters most.

“I’ve never been with a better group of people who gets less done. They’re good people. They want to do good things for the country, but there’s something about the current situation,” King said. “[This is] not a prediction, but a hope, that after these elections we may be able to change the footing somewhat and see a more productive Congress.”

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Architect of the Capitol(NEW YORK) — While many Americans disapprove of the work being done — or not being done — by Congress, much of the blame for ongoing gridlock seems to be pointed at Republicans, according to a new Quinnipiac University poll.

The latest polling data shows 73 percent of American voters disapprove of the job Republicans in Congress are doing, higher than the 63 percent who feel the same way about Democrats in Congress.

Just 36 percent of Americans have a positive opinion of the Republican Party, lower than the Democratic Party’s 41 percent.

The poll finds 46 percent of American voters want Republicans to win control of the Senate, while 44 percent hope the Democrats maintain control. The same small margin applies to control of the House of Representatives as well.

Tim Malloy, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University poll, says, “Americans are split on whether they want Republican or Democratic wins in the midterms, but on one thing they are in complete agreement — Congress as a whole is doing a lousy job.”

The same Quinnipiac University poll finds Hillary Clinton as the top presidential candidate for 2016, with an edge of seven to nine percentage points over a number of Republican contenders, including Kentucky Senator Rand Paul and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.

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Alex Wong/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — The Veterans Affairs hospital scandal was the subject of a House hearing on Capitol Hill Tuesday evening with testimony from VA whistle-blowers who claim supervisors and top management retaliated against them when they uncovered wrongdoing.

Dr. Katherine Mitchell, a medical director at the Phoenix VA Health Care System, told the House Veterans Affairs committee that she was routinely retaliated against for reporting health and safety concerns.

Dr. Mitchell told the House panel that “approximately 20 percent of the ER nurses would retaliate against” her and “would stop” doing her orders for patients and “would refuse to answer questions in the nurses station.”

“The VA in my opinion has routinely intimidated any employee who brings forth information that is contrary to the public image that the VA wishes to project,” Mitchell told the panel.

Dr. Christian Head worked for the VA in Los Angeles and told congressional lawmakers that his boss ridiculed him at a year-end party for blowing the whistle on fraud. “In front of close to 300 individuals I was labeled a rat,” Head testified.

Scott Davis, program specialist at the VA National Health Eligibility Center, told the panel that despite the criticism nothing is changing at the VA. “Every day a window of opportunity closes on a veteran to receive quality health care because of the inaction of senior VA officials. Some veterans even face the burden of being billed for care their service has earned them,” Davis said.

Earlier in the day Tuesday, acting Secretary of Veterans Affairs Sloan Gibson decried “intimidation or retaliation…against any employee who raises a hand to identify a problem, make a suggestion, or report what may be a violation in law, policy, or our core values.”

The Department of Veterans Affairs announced Tuesday that changes are being made to the Office of Medical Inspector to create what Gibson said was “a strong internal audit function which will ensure issues of care quality and patient safety remain at the forefront.”

The OMI had allegedly been playing down the effect of treatment errors and appointment delays.

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