Political mainstay heads home to Utah, questions in his wake

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Since arriving in Washington in 2009, Republican Rep. Jason Chaffetz has been a political mainstay, doggedly investigating Democrats, frequently appearing on cable TV and regularly updating his legions of social media followers with photos of himself, his family and even his dog, Ruby. His Twitter handle reminds people that of the 435 members, he's @jasoninthehouse. Not for the next few weeks though.

From 0-100: Presidents' first days come at varying speed

WASHINGTON (AP) -- A president's first 100 days can be a tire-squealing hustle from the starting line (Franklin Roosevelt), a triumph of style over substance (Jimmy Carter), a taste of what's to come (Ronald Reagan) or an ambitious plan of action that gets rudely interrupted by world events (pick a president).

Disputes over abortion, financial rules slow spending bill

Political fights over abortion, financial regulations and Puerto Rico have slowed Republican and Democratic negotiators working on a sweeping, government-wide spending bill. President Donald Trump's tweetstorm lashing out at Democrats didn't help. Congress faces a midnight Friday deadline to avert a government shutdown on Trump's 100th day in office.

The Latest: Senators battle diplomacy spending cuts

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Latest on efforts in Congress to repeal the health care law and agree on a spending bill to keep the government open (all times local): 1:50 p.m. Republicans and Democrats in the Senate have joined forces against the deep cuts President Donald Trump has planned for American diplomacy and foreign aid.

Trump to sign order creating accountability office at VA

WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Donald Trump plans to sign an executive order Thursday creating an accountability and whistleblower protection office at the Department of Veterans Affairs. Trump, who made improving veterans' care a prominent issue as he campaigned for office, was to issue the order while visiting the VA. It will create a new Office of Accountability and Whistleblower Protection within the department.

Congress doing bare minimum to keep government running

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Congress is doing the bare minimum to keep the country running, readying a short-term spending bill to keep the lights on in government past Saturday, when President Donald Trump will mark his 100th day in office. The short-term legislation will carry through next week, giving lawmakers more time to complete negotiations on a $1 trillion government-wide spending bill for the remainder of the 2017 budget year.

Conservatives back revised health bill, GOP moderates balk

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The moribund Republican health care bill received a jolt of life Wednesday when the conservative House Freedom Caucus endorsed a revised version of the measure. But a leading GOP moderate criticized the reshaped legislation as a conservative exercise in "blame-shifting and face-saving" that wasn't winning new support from party centrists, leaving its fate unclear.

When is a wall not a wall? GOP redefines Trump's border wall

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Congressional Republicans have a new talking point about President Donald Trump's border wall: It's not really a wall at all. Instead, the wall is "a bit of a metaphor as to border security," in the words of Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart of Florida. Or, a "quote, wall," as Sen. John McCain of Arizona put it: A combination of drones, towers, anti-tunneling devices and the like that add up to enhanced border security.

Bill to better fight mosquito-borne disease passes committee

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) -- A bill authored by Maine U.S. Sen. Angus King designed to help combat the spread of mosquito-borne illnesses such as the Zika virus has passed a committee test. The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee unanimously approved King's bill on Wednesday. King, an independent, says his bill would give states and communities more tools to control mosquitoes.

Lawmakers: Congress close to deal on coal miners' benefits

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Congress is close to a deal to extend health benefits for more than 22,000 retired miners and widows whose medical coverage is set to expire Sunday, coal-state lawmakers said Wednesday. A "permanent" fix will be included in a measure to keep the government open, said Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and other lawmakers. The fix would cost $1.3 billion over 10 years.

The Latest: GOP offers stopgap bill to fund government

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Latest on efforts in Congress to repeal the health care law and agree on a spending bill to keep the government open (all times local): 11:30 p.m. Republicans controlling the House have unveiled a stopgap bill to keep the government open past a shutdown deadline of midnight Friday.

Different president, same old government shutdown threats

WASHINGTON (AP) -- There's an unconventional new president in the White House. And the Republicans now have a new lock on both ends of Washington's Pennsylvania Avenue. But the capital city is still up to its old gridlock tricks. Just as occurred repeatedly during the Obama administration, the government is only days away from a shutdown, and Congress and the White House are engaged in familiar partisan brinkmanship.

Lawmakers: Former Trump aide Flynn may have broken US law

WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Donald Trump's former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, appeared to violate federal law when he failed to seek permission or inform the U.S. government about accepting tens of thousands of dollars from Russian organizations after a trip there in 2015, leaders of a House oversight committee say.

Dispute over health payments defused, spending bill on track

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The White House and congressional Democrats on Wednesday defused a tense standoff over payments for the working poor under the health care law, keeping a massive government spending bill on track just days ahead of a shutdown deadline. President Donald Trump on Wednesday backed away from a threat to immediately withhold payments to help people with modest incomes with out-of-pocket medical expenses under Democrat Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act.

Lawmakers: Faith-based adoption groups can spurn gay couples

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) -- Alabama lawmakers on Tuesday gave final approval to a bill protecting faith-based adoption organizations that refuse to place children with gay parents, or other households, because of their religious beliefs. The legislation would prohibit the state from refusing to license faith-based adoption groups that refuse placements because of their religious beliefs.

Shutdown? New president, same old government brinkmanship

WASHINGTON (AP) -- There's an unconventional new president in the White House. And the Republicans now have a new lock on both ends of Washington's Pennsylvania Avenue. But the capital city is still up to its old gridlock tricks. Just as occurred repeatedly during the Obama administration, the government is only days away from a shutdown, and Congress and the White House are engaged in familiar partisan brinkmanship.

Senator: Trump won't let NKorea build missile to reach US

WASHINGTON (AP) -- A senior Republican senator says he emerged from a dinner meeting with Donald Trump confident the president will not allow North Korea to build a nuclear-tipped missile capable of striking the United States. "If I were North Korea, I would not underestimate President Trump's resolve to stop them from getting a missile to hit our homeland," Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina told reporters Tuesday. Graham joined Sen.

Senate panel approves Trump's choice to lead trade office

WASHINGTON (AP) -- A Senate panel on Tuesday unanimously approved President Donald Trump's pick to represent the U.S. in trade negotiations, a position that will place Robert Lighthizer in the center of the administration's efforts to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement and other pacts Trump has criticized as detrimental to the nation's economy. The 26-0 vote by the Senate Finance Committee now moves Lighthizer's nomination to the full Senate.

Lawmakers suggest former Trump aide Flynn broke US law

WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Donald Trump's former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, appeared to violate federal law when he failed to seek permission or inform the U.S. government about accepting tens of thousands of dollars from Russian organizations after a trip there in 2015, leaders of a House oversight committee said Tuesday.